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Apple releases third round of betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released a third set of developer betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3. As with the second round of betas, these all include only minor updates and bug fixes. iOS 11 is expected to be debuted next week at WWDC, with a public release likely to follow alongside the new iPhone models in the fall.

Apple unveils iOS 11, featuring major iPad UI improvements

As expected, Apple unveiled iOS 11 during today’s WWDC 2017 Keynote, showing off the next-generation of the company’s mobile operating system which features several iterative improvements across the board, combined with some significant new UI changes for iPad users.

Apple announces iPad Pro updates, including new 10.5” model

During today’s Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote, Apple took the wraps off two new iPad Pro models, including an update to the 12.9” iPad Pro along with the expected new 10.5” model, which replaces last year’s 9.7” iPad Pro. The 12.9” iPad Pro retains the same size and form factor as before, but comes into line with its smaller counterpart, which previously provided a better display. The 10.5” iPad Pro provides a screen 20% larger than the prior 9.7” model, reducing the screen borders by about 40% to retain the same general size and weight. Both devices now incorporate a six-core A10X Fusion Chip that provides 30% faster performance and 40% faster graphics performance from the prior models, while still maintaining the same ten-hour battery life. New displays provide True Tone and a Wide Colour Gamut, ultralow reflectivity, 600 nits brightness, and HDR video — a minor display upgrade for the smaller iPad Pro, but a larger bump for the 12.9” model, which previously lacked the True Tone display technology.

Apple has also added a new “ProMotion” feature to the display technology in both models, doubling the refresh rate to 120Hz, thereby providing significantly smoother scrolling performance as well as reduced latency for Apple Pencil users. The display can, however, automatically adjust refresh rates downward when the faster rates aren’t necessary, thereby improving battery performance. The new models also gain the iPhone 7 camera improvements, with a 12MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture, six-element lens, quad-LED True Tone flash, and wide colour and 4K video capture, as well as a 7MP front camera with wide colour capture and optical image stabilization. Both models will also feature USB 3.0 support and high-speed USB-C charging — a feature previously limited to the 12.9” iPad Pro. Apple has also doubled memory capacities across the board, with the entry level iPad Pro models starting at 64GB, and the higher-end models available in 256GB and 512GB capacities.

The new iPad Pro models are available for order from Apple’s online store beginning today, starting at $649 for the 10.5” and $799 for the 12.9” and are expected to begin shipping early next week.

Apple releases second round of betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3. As with the first round of betas, these all include only minor updates and bug fixes. iOS 11 is expected to be debuted next week at WWDC, with a public release likely to follow alongside the new iPhone models in the fall.

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.

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