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Pokémon GO coming to Europe, Asia ‘within a few days’

Nintendo’s Pokémon GO is already a full-fledged phenomenon, sending players out into the world to hunt down Pokémon in augmented reality and pushing the company’s stock up by 25 percent, The Wall Street Journal reports. Less than a day after its release, the game became the most downloaded and highest-grossing app in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand — the only countries where it’s currently available. People familiar with plans for the game said it will likely be launching in Europe, Japan and other Asian countries “within a few days.” Data firm SimilarWeb said the game is on pace to surpass Twitter among Android users in the U.S. in its number of daily active users, and it has even prompted safety warnings from police who warn users to be aware of their surroundings while hunting down Pokémon.

Blind Apple engineer discusses company’s commitment to accessibility

Apple underscores its dedication to making its products accessible to the blind and low-vision community in a new story fromMashable, told from the perspective of engineer Jordyn Castor. Blind since birth, Castor said Apple’s iPad took her existing love for technology to another level because of the features aimed directly at people like her. “Everything just worked and was accessible just right out of the box,” Castor said. “That was something I had never experienced before.”

New iPhone 7 leak shows larger camera, relocated antenna lines

The clearest leaked photo of an alleged iPhone 7 that we’ve seen so far, posted by NowhereElse, has further reinforced rumors that the phone will feature a redesigned camera and relocated antenna lines. The picture gives us our best view yet of the 4.7-inch model’s new camera, which features a much larger lens surrounded by an circular protrusion in the back casing. The redesigned antenna lines, as predicted, ditch the straight line across the back of the phone, instead hugging the top and bottom edges. The photo only shows the phone’s back, so it sheds no light on rumors of the removal of the headphone jack or the inclusion of stereo speakers.

Apple expected to release iOS 10 public beta today

Following the release of the second iOS 10 Developer Beta earlier this week, Apple is expected to be releasing the first public beta of iOS 10 for non-developers through its Apple Software Beta Program. Unveiled last month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 10 is being billed as the biggest iOS update that Apple has ever released, with major redesigns and enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News, an entirely new lock screen, today widget, and notification system, and breakthrough on-device intelligence for face, scene, and object recognition in the Photos app. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions later today; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site. [via CNET]

Apple TV Remote app beta 2 works as second game controller, adds legacy Apple TV support

Alongside the second developer betas for iOS 10 and tvOS 10 released earlier this week, Apple has also been providing developers with betas of the new Apple TV Remote App. We took a look at the first beta of the remote app in our sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10, noting that the new app will provide all of the capabilities of the Siri Remote, with a button for issuing Siri commands and support for turning the device into a game controller in landscape orientation, complete with accelerometer and gyroscope support. Now with the second beta of the Remote app released earlier this week, it appears that users will be able to use their iPhone as a second game controller, alongside the Siri Remote, marking an interesting slight departure from the original single Siri Remote limitation — although it appears that users will still only be able to pair one hardware Siri Remote with a given Apple TV.

Apple releases fifth developer betas for iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2

Apple has released the fifth developer betas for iOS 9.3.3 and tvOS 9.2.2, in parallel with the iOS 10 and tvOS 10 development cycle. As with prior betas, the sparse release notes and minor version numbers suggest that the betas are primarily focused on bug fixes and performance improvements. The minimal list of “Known Issues” in the release notes as compared to prior betas suggest that both versions may be nearing final release and will likely be the last updates in the iOS 9 and tvOS 9 series before the release of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 in the fall. The new betas are available to registered developers from Apple’s Developer Site; those developers who installed the necessary beta configuration profiles for the prior beta cycle should also automatically see the new betas appear as an over-the-air update.

Nintendo may design its own smartphone game controller

Nintendo may be designing its own controller for smartphones, Polygon reports. Shinya Takahashi, Nintendo’s general manager of entertainment planning and development, told shareholders the company is looking into both hardware and software development for its burgeoning entry into the smartphone and tablet game market. “Physical controllers for smart device applications are available in the market and it is possible that we may also develop something new by ourselves,” he said. “I believe Nintendo’s way of thinking is to look at whether action games are really not impossible (without a physical controller for smart device applications) to create and how we can make it happen to create such a game.”

Pokémon GO available on iOS in some countries

After rolling out a beta test in May, Pokémon GO has hit the App Store in Australia, but a company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. and Japanese customers will have to “wait a while” for the formal launch. While the timeframe seems unclear at this point, we’d expect to see the game pop up in the U.S. App Store soon, and we’ll update this story once the game is available in the U.S.

Update: Pokémon GO was released in the U.S. App Store on Wednesday night.

New alleged iPhone 7 renderings show more angles, lack of headphone jack

A new set of renderings, said to be of the upcoming iPhone, has recently been posted by NowhereElse. The renderings back up previous rumors that Apple is doing away with the headphone jack and adding a dual-lens camera to its larger model. The casing designs also show a larger camera hole on the smaller model—again, consistent with previous leaks—and the phone’s antenna lines moved to the edges, as has been seen before.

WSJ: New iPhones to bump base model storage up to 32GB

Starting with this fall’s new iPhone release, Apple will be bumping the base storage of the entry level model to 32GB, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. Citing a person familiar with Apple’s iPhone plans, the report notes that the new starting point for the iPhone will be 32GB, although there is no discussion of what other capacities will be available, making it unclear whether Apple plans to increase the capacities of other models accordingly or not. The report also touches on a number of other rumored features on the upcoming iPhone, noting that two main selling points for the device will likely be “improved water resistance and a thinner design.”

Apple releases second developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

Apple has released the second developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The second round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases; the second round of betas likely continues to refine the experience from the first round of betas, with the release notes indicating several items fixed in each beta, as well as the introduction of promised features such as auto unlock for watchOS 3 and macOS Sierra users, the Emergency SOS feature for the Apple Watch, an updated design for Apple Music in tvOS 10, and improvements to Apple Music in iOS 10. The updates are available to registered developers from Apple’s Developer Site; those developers who installed the necessary beta configuration profiles for the prior beta cycle should also automatically see the new betas appear as an over-the-air update.

Apple being sued by China over broadcast rights to propaganda film

A subsidiary of China’s broadcasting regulator has sued Apple over the rights to a 1994 propaganda film, The Associated Press reports. The suit from Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center accuses the developer of the Youku HD app of enabling users to watch “Xuebo dixiao,” a film that depicts Chinese forces fighting Japanese soldiers in the 1930s. The plaintiff claims that by making the app available for download, Apple has infringed its exclusive rights to broadcast the film online, resulting in “huge economic losses.”  The production company is asking both companies to stop broadcasting the film and pay damages amounting to around $10,000. Apple declined to comment.

Apple adding organ donor registration to Health app

When Apple rolls out iOS 10 this fall, the Health app will be getting a small update that CEO Tim Cook hopes will make a big difference for people waiting for an organ transplant, The Associated Press reports. The improved Health app will include a simple sign-up button allowing users to enroll in the National Donate Life Registry quickly and easily. Cook said the issue hit home for Apple since he and many others witnessed the “excruciating” wait Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured while awaiting a liver transplant in 2009. More information on enrollment through the Health app and Donate Life America can be found on Apple’s website.

Apple accuses Spotify of ‘asking for preferential treatment’ in response letter

Apple has responded to Spotify’s “public attacks” in a letter from Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell. Spotify recently made the public claim that Apple blocked the update to its latest app for anti-competitive reasons — Spotify is the top streaming rival of Apple Music. Sewell maintains that Apple’s guidelines are applied equally to all developers, and that Spotify has benefitted greatly from its App Store. “To imply that Spotify should not have to pay” would give the service a “tremendous advantage over other developers,” Sewell wrote, claiming this would be “preferential treatment.” Sewell also noted the Spotify app currently on the App Store is in violation of Apple’s guidelines. [via Buzzfeed]

WSJ: Apple ‘in talks’ to acquire Tidal

Apple is exploring the idea of buying competing music streaming service Tidal, The Wall Street Journal reports. The report claims Apple is “exploring the idea” of buying Jay-Z’s streaming service due to Tidal’s connections to such artists as Kanye West and Madonna. Terms are unknown at this point, and the talks “may not result in a deal,” sources said — a Tidal spokesman denied that such talks had taken place. Tidal currently has 4.2 million paying subscribers, who either pay $10 for a standard monthly plan, or $20 for a hi-fi plan. Apple recently noted that Apple Music has 15 million paying subscribers.

Spotify claims Apple anti-competitively blocking Spotify app update

Spotify has claimed that Apple is blocking the latest update of its iOS music streaming app because it competes with Apple Music, Re/code reports. A letter sent by Spotify to Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell accused Apple of “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” as a result of its rejection to an update to its iOS app. While Apple has not publicly commented on the reasons for rejecting the update, Spotify’s letter claims the company cited “business model rules” and demanded that the app use Apple’s billing system — which requires Spotify to give a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue to Apple — if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”

We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon.

The comments in Spotify’s letter are similar to a public statement the company made earlier this week in response to Senator Warren’s speech accusing Apple and other tech giants of locking out competition. It appears that Spotify will be using this latest standoff to bolster its ongoing fight over Apple’s longstanding in-app subscription rules, which require iOS apps to either use the in-app purchasing system to sell subscriptions — and give Apple a 30 percent cut — or rely on outside purchase methods, such as web-based signups, that cannot be linked to nor even advertised from within the iOS app. In the letter to Sewell, Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez stated that “This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” and “continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren accuses Apple, others, of locking out competition

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has accused Apple, Google, and Amazon of using their size to “snuff out competition.” In a speech delivered yesterday in Washington reported by Re/code, Warren singled out the three tech giants of using their dominant positions in the market to “lock out smaller guys and newer guys,” specifically noting that Apple “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services” that compete with Apple Music. Warren went on to acknowledge that the three companies have “created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and ... they deserve to be highly profitable and successful,” but that opportunities to compete must “remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again.” Warren’s comments, which also included other corporate giants such as Walmart and Comcast, were directed primarily at regulators and politicians that she feels are no longer fulfilling their obligations to “restore and defend competition.”

 

Cirrus Logic releases development kit for Lightning headphones

With Apple rumored to be doing away with the headphone jack on its new iPhone, Cirrus Logic is offering a development kit to aid headphone makers looking to simplify the switch to Lightning connectors. The company’s MFi Headset Development Kit includes reference designs for creating Lightning port connected headphones and a development board to be used in programming, debugging and testing audio performance. The design is compatible with earbuds or over-the-ear headphones and pre-programmed to support both digital audio playback and voice capture. With very few Lightning-connected headphone options currently available, the area is poised for rapid expansion.

Report details Apple Music’s vision for exclusive content

The man in charge of Apple Music’s original content said he’s trying to make the streaming service akin to “MTV in its Eighties and Nineties heyday,” Rolling Stone reports. Larry Jackson got his big break producing Lana Del Rey for Jimmy Iovine at Interscope Records, and he saw that focusing hard on the Internet rather than radio promotion was the recipe for success in the modern era. By pouring money into videos that then went viral, Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ debuted at number two on the Billboard charts without any singles in radio rotation.

Walgreens adds digital coupons to Apple Pay

Customers who have their Walgreens loyalty card synced up with Apple Pay can now save digital coupons to be used at the checkout. Coupons can be found through the store’s website or in its iOS app, then saved to the customer’s loyalty card. When visiting the store, a simple tap using Apple Pay at the terminal will now apply saved coupons to the customer’s order in addition to registering the loyalty card. [via 9to5Mac]

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