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Apple delays AirPods release

Apple’s AirPods, the wireless W1-aided earphones which debuted at the company’s September event, apparently won’t be released in “late October” after all. Though Apple’s website still gives that time frame as of this writing, TechCrunch reports that the earphones aren’t ready for market. “The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. The report notes that no timeline was given for their availability — so we can only speculate on just how long “a little more time” will be.

Report: iPhone 8 likely to come in three glass-backed sizes

Three new iPhone 8 models set to be released next year could feature all-glass backs, Nikkei Asian Review reports. An industry source said the phones are likely to feature glass front and back pieces produced by China’s Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology, with the glass pieces held together by a metal frame. “Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year,” the source said.

Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations

An Apple TV app set to be announced Thursday will help users find new shows based on what they already like, USA Today reports. Sources said the app has been referred to as “the Watch List” in discussions with network executives, and it will recommend shows based on what viewers are accessing with their Apple TV. The move could be a boon for networks looking to adapt to a digital marketplace where they can’t simply schedule a new show next to an established hit to get their audience to give it a try.

Apple’s German website adds Apple Pay support page, but still no launch

Apple’s German website now features a support page explaining how to use Apple Pay, but the mobile payment service still hasn’t debuted in the country. Rumors about an impending Apple Pay launch in Germany started over the weekend, when a Reddit user unearthed several hints on Apple’s website, including a map that showed Germany highlighted alongside other Apple Pay countries. The new page wasn’t taken down after it was discovered, but it also doesn’t look like it’s complete, with the images featuring bank logos and user locations that are displayed on the U.S. version of the site.

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call

Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q4 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results were strong and near the top of the guidance that Apple provided for the quarter. Cook said that the iPhone continues to see year-over-year improvements compared to the last two quarters, and that iPhone sales are up year-over-year in 33 of the top 40 markets where the iPhone is sold. Fiscal 2016 also saw more customers switching from Android to iPhone than ever before, Cook said, and Apple saw a record-setting quarter for services, with revenue growth accelerating to 24 percent, reaching 6.3 billion dollars, with Apple Music doing particularly well. Cook noted that Apple Pay recently launched in Japan, Russia, and New Zealand and will be coming to Spain in the next few months; Apple Pay volume is up 500 percent year-over-year and in fact September saw more Apple Pay transactions than all of fiscal year 2015 put together. Cook also spoke about the release of iOS 10, hailing many of the new features but notably pointing out that Apple has seen a “marked increase” in iMessage users since the release of iOS 10, likely due to the new features available in the Messages app. Cook also touched on HomeKit, noting that we can expect over one hundred HomeKit-compatible products to be on the market by the end of this year, all reviewed and approved by Apple to help ensure customer security when using them.

Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2016 financial results today, with 45.5 million iPhones and 9.2 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. In Q4 2015, Apple had revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 62 percent of this quarter’s revenue.

For Q1 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.

Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada

Apple has reportedly hired two dozen engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX division to work on its new car operating system, Bloomberg reports. The engineers comprise part of a larger team based at an Apple office in Ottawa, Canada — about a five-minute walk from QNX headquarters. Apple was said to have targeted QNX employees specifically due to their experience in developing key components of operating systems and power management. The car operating system group is one of multiple teams working on various components of Apple’s Project Titan software, including a team working on the autonomous driving components for self-driving cars, and others working on heads-up display features, and a simulation group developing VR to test self-driving features. BlackBerry’s QNX unit currently maintains the operating system software used in more than 60 million cars, mostly for “infotainment” systems, although the company noted in January that it has also been working on building its operating system as a foundation for autonomous driving software.

Apple releases PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones

Apple has released the PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones ($200), the company’s second W1-chip-equipped set of headphones. The earphones include “Fast Fuel” charging, which the company claims provides a full hour of playback from a 5-minute charge. On a full charge the earphones boast 12 hours of playback and can be instantly linked to an iPhone by powering them on and holding them near the device (provided the phone is running iOS 10). The earphones can also be simultaneously synced to an Apple Watch running watchOS 3, an iPad running iOS 10, or a Mac running macOS Sierra, provided the user is also linked to an iCloud account.

Apple Pay launch in Japan encounters major problems

Apple Pay has launched in Japan, but the mobile payment method’s integration with JR East’s Suica transit card has hit a major snag, as acknowledged by Apple’s website. Apple said that problems cropped up around 9:20 a.m. local time, when users started having difficulty adding Suica cards to Apple Pay or were unable to add money to their cards. Users also had problems accessing JR East’s “Mobile Suica” system to buy express tickets, which local publication NHK attributed to an increase in traffic around 7:30 a.m. after people started realizing Apple Pay wasn’t working.

Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1

Apple has released iOS 10.1 to the public today. The update contains the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, improved Bluetooth connectivity, and a series of bug fixes and other minor improvements. Apple has also released tvOS 10.0.1 which features bug fixes, and watchOS 3.1, which includes bug fixes and — like iOS 10.1 — now gives users the option to replay the bubble and full screen effects in Messages.

New details about Apple Watch Nike+ exclusives, availability

The Apple Watch Nike+ model will be available at Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and ‘select Nike retail stores’ starting October 28, according to the company’s website. The watch will cost the same $369 for 38mm and $399 for 42mm as other Apple Watch Series 2 models, but is only available in space gray or silver. The watches come with a perforated sport band that’s exclusive to the Nike+ model and isn’t available for purchase separately. The watch also features custom Nike watch faces and complications for launching the Nike+ Run Club app which allow runners to connect with friends, set reminders and track progress. The watch will be available in 41 countries on October 28, expanding to 7 more throughout the weekend.

Apple’s website hints at possible Apple Pay launch in Germany

A few hints from Apple’s website unearthed by a Reddit user seem to suggest Apple Pay may be launching in Germany soon. In the updated Apple Pay coverage map released on October 10, Germany was shown in blue alongside the U.K., France, and Switzerland, the only European countries that already have Apple Pay up and running. The map has since been updated, but it sparked a search on Apple’s German website that turned up a link to an Apple Pay landing page. The page is currently inactive, leading responders on the Reddit thread to speculate that a problem with Apple’s CMS is allowing links that aren’t live yet to show up in the website’s search.

ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price

ConnectSense has announced an update to its Smart Outlet and app, adding detailed power monitoring capabilities, while also dropping the price to $60 — making it now one of the most competitively-priced HomeKit outlet solutions available. The new detailed power monitoring feature, available via a free firmware update, will allow users to individually monitor the energy usage of devices plugged into each of the Smart Outlets, including average energy usage and how long the outlet has been turned on. Users can also now configure rules in the ConnectSense based on energy consumption, such as turning off a connected appliance when it’s using too much energy, or if it has been left on for an certain period of time.

Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory

Automatic Labs has released Automatic Lite ($80), a new lower-cost version of its Automatic Pro vehicle monitoring and diagnostic solution; it’s much like the company’s original Automatic Link, which retailed for $100. Automatic Lite includes the same trip logging, engine diagnostics, and mileage and fuel tracking features as the more expensive Pro model, while eliminating the 3G data plan in favor of direct Bluetooth syncing with an iOS device. Due to the lack of 3G connectivity, Automatic Lite also omits crash alerts, parking tracking, live vehicle tracking, and third-party app integrations.

Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta

Apple has released a fourth developer beta of tvOS 10.0.1, following a new iOS 10.1 beta earlier this week. The release notes, along with the minor version number, indicate that this beta is focused primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements to tvOS 10. Registered developers can download the tvOS beta directly from Apple’s developer site or install a configuration profile to update to the latest beta version via the built-in Software Update mechanism in tvOS 10.

iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code

iOS Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has tweeted about a new discovery of a one-handed keyboard mode hidden within the iOS code. Troughton-Smith notes that the code has been in place going as far back as iOS 8, although Apple has chosen for whatever reason to not actually implement it yet. It appears the left/right one-handed keyboard mode is designed to be activated by swiping from either edge of the screen, compressing the spacing of the normal keyboard keys to make them easier to reach with a single thumb, while also bringing up cut, copy, paste, and undo buttons to the right or the left side. The presence of the feature as far back as the iOS 8 code base suggests that it was implemented for testing purposes with the original larger-screened iPhone models released that year, although Apple chose to never actually activate the feature. Troughton-Smith also posted a video to Twitter demonstrating the feature in the iOS Simulator; it would theoretically be possible to hack a jailbroken iPhone to enable the feature as well. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event

Apple has sent out press invites for a special event to be held next Thursday, Oct. 27. The event will be held at the company’s Cupertino campus at 10 a.m. Pacific time, and is expected to be primarily focused on unveiling new Mac hardware — the title of “hello again” on the invite is seemingly a reference back to the original Mac’s 1984 introduction. As the event will likely be focused on new Macs, we don’t expect that iOS hardware, software, or accessories will be featured to any significant extent, although it remains possible that Apple may mention a release date or further details on iOS 10.1, or give a release date for its upcoming AirPods, which are expected to be available by the end of this month. [via The Verge]

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to registered developers today, featuring minor bug tweaks to the new operating system. We anticipate that the official public release of iOS 10.1 — which contains the Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users — is not far off, based on this release and rumors of an Oct. 25 launch date from this morning.

Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes

As homebuilders are starting to include more smarthome devices in their new houses, Apple is looking to cash in by being the company providing the go-to devices for controlling them, Bloomberg reports. While homeowners may balk at paying $130 for two Phillips Hue lightbulbs or $229 for a Schlage smart deadbolt, Los Angeles-based KB Home is betting that new home buyers will be willing to pay a little extra for features like automated thermostats, lights, locks and security systems. Their basic package of HomeKit compatible devices costs $2,000, but that’s just the starting point. A $1.2 million home showcased by Lennar Corp. contains $30,000 worth of bells and whistles, and Apple is also working with other builders, like Brookfield Residential Properties Inc., who are declining to say when their smarthomes are going on sale or how much they’ll cost.

Report about Apple Pay in Japan hints at Oct. 25 release for iOS 10.1

Local media in Japan is reporting an Oct. 25 launch date for Apple Pay in the country, leading to speculation that iOS 10.1 will also launch that day, according to the Ata Distance blog. Apple’s partners Docomo iD and JR East are both taking their systems down for “unscheduled system maintenance” on the morning of October 25, leading to the conclusion that the necessary software update will also come out that day. All iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch 2 models sold in Japan already have the hardware to support the country’s FeliCa Type-F NFC mobile payment systems, but will require iOS 10.1 updates to make use of them. [via Apple Insider]

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