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Cases and renderings show possible new 10.5” iPad Pro design

A new series of case images tweeted by prolific leaker Benjamin Geskin (via MacRumors) show the possible physical design of the upcoming 10.5” iPad Pro. The cases include the expected cutouts for the Lightning connector, speakers, and microphone, as well as a cutout for a 3.5mm headphone jack; however the camera cutout suggests a camera with a vertically aligned flash. Cases for an upcoming 12.9” iPad Pro were also shown, and Geskin adds that no new iPad mini is expected this year, confirming rumours last week that Apple may be planning to discontinue the smaller tablet. Geskin also shared several mockups and renderings with MacRumors of what the new 10.5” iPad Pro might look like based on the case designs that he’s seen. In his tweet, Geskin also claims that the 10.5” iPad is “100% confirmed. Already in mass production,” supporting claims made last week by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that there’s an “over 70 percent change” that the new 10.5” iPad Pro will see its unveiling at WWDC in two weeks.

Report: Apple to discontinue iPad mini

A new report from BGR claims Apple is preparing to discontinue the iPad mini. When it debuted in 2012 the iPad mini occupied a useful niche between the small iPhone and the much larger iPad, competing with the popular Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. But with 5.5” iPhones encroaching on the smaller tablet’s main selling point — size — a source now claims Apple is experiencing “fierce cannibalism of our own products” and says the iPad mini has been “sized out of its own category.” Apple hasn’t updated the iPad mini since 2015 and recently ditched the 32GB iPad mini 4 from its online store, lowering the price of the 128GB model to $399. The sources weren’t clear however on whether Apple will simply continue to go on selling the device without updating it or plans to pull it entirely in the near future.

Analyst predicts new 10.5” iPad Pro will be revealed at WWDC

Respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims there’s an “over 70 percent” chance that Apple will debut a 10.5” iPad Pro during its WWDC conference next month, AppleInsider reports. Kuo said suppliers are ramping up to begin mass production in early June for the new tablet, which sill be a similar size to the current 9.7” iPad Pro but feature a larger display because of narrower bezels. Other analysts claimed the 10.5” device would launch this spring, but that window is rapidly closing. The analyst also shared some new details about the rumored Siri-enabled home speaker, which he thinks has a 50 percent chance of debuting at WWDC as well. Kuo thinks the device will feature some physical controls in addition to being voice activated, but whether those controls will be basic buttons or a touch screen is still unclear. Other reports have also predicted the device will feature some form of manual controls.

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2

Only three days after the release of iOS 10.3.2 beta 4, Apple has already rolled out a fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2 to registered developers. The release notes appear to be basically unchanged from the prior beta, listing SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes and a few outstanding notes on managed and shared devices, openURL, WebKit, and SOS (which continues to be supported only in India).

Dutch court rules Apple can’t replace broken iPads with refurbished models

A Dutch judge has ruled that Apple can’t use refurbished iPads to replace broken ones covered by its AppleCare warranty, Tweakers reports. While Apple’s terms of service explicitly state that the company can use refurbished units as replacements, the judge ruled that Apple can only issue refurbished replacements to customers who initially purchased a refurbished unit. “If a plaintiff had purchased a refurbished or replacement iPad, Apple may replace it with a refurbished or replacement copy,” the judge said. “But if the consumer, as in this case, purchased a new iPad, She is entitled to a new iPad as a replacement.”

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1

Apple has rolled out a fourth set of iOS 10.3.2, tvOS 10.2.1, and watchOS 3.2.2 betas to registered developers. The iOS 10.3.2 beta 4 release notes list SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes, while tvOS 10.2.1 beta 4 fixes an issue that caused the Apple TV to sometimes wake from sleep with an AirPlay error.

Apple releases third betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1

Apple has rolled out a third beta of iOS 10.3.2 to its registered developers, along with new betas of watchOS 3.2.2 and tvOS 10.2.1. This latest betas all appear to include only bug fixes and security improvements.

Apple offering superior iPad Air 2 for fourth-generation iPad replacements

Customers eligible for a replacement of their fourth-generation iPad could also receive something of an upgrade, 9to5Mac reports. With stock of the discontinued fourth-generation iPad running out, Apple sent a memo to retail stores that stated, “Starting March 30th, iPad 4th generation whole unit repairs may be substituted to iPad Air 2.” Owner replacing a 16GB or 64GB fourth-generation iPad will likely be particularly happy with the upgrade, as they’d also be getting a storage upgrade since the iPad Air 2 only comes in 32GB and 128GB sizes. The iPad Air 2 is also discontinued, but Apple will offer it as a replacement until supplies run out.

Report: Apple may drop Dialog Semiconductor, build its own power management chips

An analyst at Bankhaus Lampe claims that there is “strong evidence” Apple could cut ties with Dialog Semiconductor and begin producing its own power management integrated circuits, Reuters reports. Another source said Apple is “poaching like crazy” from Dialog, hiring top engineers from the company and ramping up to begin its own in-house efforts. Neither Apple nor Dialog commented on the report, but Dialog’s stock lost as much as 36 percent in one day on the news.

Apple releases second betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1

Apple has rolled out a second beta of iOS 10.3.2 to its registered developers, along with new betas of watchOS 3.2.2 and tvOS 10.2.1. This latest iOS beta fixes issues with SiriKit and third-party VPN apps, while the new watchOS and tvOS betas appear to include only bug fixes and security improvements.

Apple patent hints at improvement to let Siri recognize specific voices

A new Apple patent spotted by Patently Apple would train Siri to recognize specific voices, creating the potential to limit who the digital assistant recognizes and add new controls. Once configured, a customized combination of a specific phrase and a user’s voice—which Apple’s patent refers to as a “lexical trigger”—would be required to get Siri to respond. Current voice-activated digital assistants respond to specific speech, but not to specific speakers, creating circumstances where a user’s request can be picked up and acted upon by other devices in earshot. In addition to limiting that type of confusion, the change could allow users to place restrictions on everything from who can use Siri’s search on an unattended iPhone to who is allowed to rent movies from an Apple TV.

Apple releases minor iOS 10.3.1 security update

One week after the public release of iOS 10.3, Apple has now pushed out a small iOS 10.3.1 update, noting that it “includes bug fixes and improves the security your iPhone or iPad.” While no details of specific improvements are otherwise listed in any release notes, Apple’s About the security content of iOS 10.3.1 support article suggests that it was pushed out to address a Wi-Fi vulnerability that could allow an “attacker within range ... to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip.”

iFixit posts teardown of the new iPad

iFixit has posted its teardown of the new 9.7” iPad released this week. Dubbing it the “iPad 5” for clarity’s sake, the teardown reveals that the latest iPad model is basically a merging of the original 2013 iPad Air design with upgraded specs such as a 64-bit A9 CPU and improved cameras. Comparing the new model with the original iPad Air, iFixit notes that the new model does omit the lock switch (which first disappeared on the iPad Air 2), uses smaller microphone holes, and a single row of speaker holes, and also of course adds Touch ID. The teardown report also suggests that the screen used in the new iPad appears to be very similar to that found in the original iPad Air, including an unfused digitizer and LCD and connections compatible with the original iPad Air. iFixit also took comparison photos of the internals of the new iPad and the original iPad Air, revealing that both models look remarkably similar, also sporting the same capacity 32.9 Wh batteries and having similar dimensions.

Unboxing the new 9.7-inch iPad

We’ve just gotten our hands on Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad and have a quick first look at the new entry-level tablet with a series of unboxing and comparison photos. The images highlight what’s in the box along with the differences between the new device and its small sibling, the iPad mini 4. The new 9.7-inch iPad is essentially the successor to the 2014 iPad Air 2, featuring an upgraded processor while adding a few millimetres to the thickness of the earlier model. The box includes a USB-to-Lightning cable and a 10W USB power adapter. The new iPad ships with iOS 10.3. Be on the lookout for our full, independent, comprehensive iPad review coming later this week once we’ve had a chance to put it through its paces.

MLB.com At Bat and NHL now allow users to personalize Home Screen icons

One of the lesser-known new features in iOS 10.3 is the ability for third-party apps to offer alternative home screen icons, and today the first major apps have been updated for these new capabilities, reports TechCrunch. Both MLB.com At Bat and NHL now provide the ability for users to change the default home screen icon to reflect their favourite team’s logo. Both apps will prompt the user initially to select an icon to use when first re-entering the app or setting up their favourite teams for the first time, however users can change the icon to another team at any time from the app’s settings. Interestingly, for whatever reason icons don’t yet appear to be available for all teams (sorry, Leafs fans).

Apple pulls over-the-air iOS 10.3 update for iPhone 5, 5c; iOS 10.3.2 seems to end support for them

Apple has pulled back the over-the-air update to iOS 10.3 for iPhone 5 and 5c devices without giving any reason, AppleInsider reports. The update was available for a few hours before mysteriously disappearing, despite there being no noted outcry of users who had tried and failed to install the update on the devices. The update can still be installed through the standard process using iTunes, and seems to function fine on an iPhone 5c.

In a related development, The Apple Post has discovered that the beta version of iOS 10.3.2 appears to end support for devices with 32-bit processors — like the iPhone 5 and 5c. The beta only contains restore images for 64-bit devices, hinting at the possibility that 32-bit devices are about to lose support. Apple announced back in 2014 that new apps or app updates would have to support 64-bit processors, and recent speculation has swirled around iOS 11 ending support for 32-bit devices. A warning dialog discovered by developers working with the iOS 10.3 beta stated that apps that have not been updated to include 64-bit support “will not work with future versions of iOS.” Given the new findings in the iOS 10.3.2 beta, the change could come sooner than expected. If so, the 4th generation iPad would also be unsupported as it features a 32-bit processor.

Apple releases iOS 10.3.2 beta to developers

Only one day after the public release of iOS 10.3, Apple has already rolled out a new iOS 10 beta to its registered developers. The first new beta, interestingly numbered iOS 10.3.2, has a build number of 14F5065b and according to the release notes includes little other than fixes for SiriKit car commands. New betas of watchOS 3.2.2 and tvOS 10.2.1 were also released to developers today, with similarly sparse release notes indicating only bug fixes and security improvements.

Apple adds ability for developers respond to apps reviews, tweaks in-app rating prompt rules

Apple has added the ability for developers to reply to reviews, finally giving app creators an outlet to respond to user critiques. Developers can now respond to any review — no matter when it was written — and after an Apple moderator approves the reply, the user will be notified of the response. After that, the user will be given the option to update their review, and then the developer can also update their response, providing a way for both sides to discuss (or argue over) any concerns. No matter how many times the response is edited, only the most recent version will be displayed on each review, and Apple is still moderating all posts to maintain some sense of decorum.

Report: 10.5” iPad Pro could still arrive this spring

Despite the release of an updated 9.7” iPad model last week, multiple sources are suggesting that the much-rumoured 10.5” iPad Pro may still be just around the corner. A new report in Forbes cited IHS Markit analyst Rhoda Alexander indicating that the production of the new 10.5” iPad Pro model is expected to commence this month, although she noted that an April launch “still looks somewhat tentative.” This is largely due to the expectation of limited initial production, but Alexander suggests that Apple could do a limited initial launch in a few countries as the company has sometimes done in the past, expanding further “as volume allows.”

Apple releases iOS 10.3 with Find My AirPods, Siri + CarPlay improvements

After a significant number of beta releases, Apple has finally released iOS 10.3 to the public today, featuring a new “Find My AirPods” option along with several improvements to Siri and CarPlay along with some other more minor changes and fixes. “Find My AirPods” allows iOS 10.3 users to user the “Find My iPhone” app to view the last reported location of their AirPods as well as playing a loud sound on one or both AirPods to help locate them. Siri in iOS 10.3 gains support for payment apps, scheduling with ride booking apps, checking car status with automaker apps, and Cricket sports scores. CarPlay users will also gain the ability to quick access recently used apps from the CarPlay screen, as well as several improvements to the Apple Music experience. As expected, iOS 10.3 also adds the cross-device movie rental capabilities debuted in iTunes 12.6 last week, a new unified view for iCloud and Apple ID account information within the Settings app, a “Report Junk” feature for dealing with iCloud Calendar spam, and several other improvements to the Home, Maps, and Podcasts apps.

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