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Apple releases fourth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fourth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

ARKit developer videos show maps, navigation overlaid on live camera feed

Two new videos posted to Twitter by iOS developer Andrew Hart show points of interest and navigation directions overlaid on what the device’s camera sees, illustrating one possible use for the company’s upcoming ARKit. In the first video, Hart moves his phone around from a London rooftop as the app points out points of interest in the skyline. In the second video, Hart types in “Starbucks” and is greeted by floating red arrows and a blue line displayed over the roads seen in his camera feed, leading him to his destination. The idea is similar to an Apple patent filed late last year for “Augmented Reality Maps” that layer map information and directions over live iPhone video, although the Apple model is displayed with the phone held horizontally and Hart said he’s only been able to get his working with the phone held vertically due to issues in ARKit. Hart said he plans to have his library up on GitHub this week.

Apple releases iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released minor updates to iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3, focused exclusively on bug fixes and security improvements. iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3 will likely be the last updates to be released prior to the rollout of iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 expected in September, although it’s possible Apple may release one or two more very minor iOS 10 patches in the future for legacy 32-bit devices such as the iPhone 5 that won’t be capable of running iOS 11.

Samsung to produce processors for Apple’s 2018 iPhones

While the speculation swirling around this year’s iPhones is still at a fever pitch, Samsung already has its sights set on the 2018 model, with The Korea Herald reporting the company has purchased specialized equipment to produce seven-nanometer processors for Apple. Samsung is the sole provider of the iPhone 8’s OLED display and was a major chip maker for Apple as well until TSMC adopted the seven-nanometer process before its rivals. Since then Samsung has caught up and begun purchasing the extreme ultra violet lithography machines necessary to build Apple’s processors again. Sources claim Kwon Oh-hyun, the Samsung CEO who oversees component production, clinched a deal to produce at least some of the processors again starting in 2018, but how much business the company ends up taking back from TSMC remains to be seen.

Apple showcases new emoji headed to iOS, watchOS, macOS later this year

Apple has released a sneak peek at the new emoji coming to iOS, macOS and watchOS later this year. The update includes more mundane changes like adding a sandwich to the food items and a bearded face alongside more socially conscious changes like a woman in a headscarf and a breastfeeding mother. A T-Rex has made his way into the animals section and zombies and elves will make their first appearance. To further celebrate World Emoji Day, the company is highlighting apps to create or utilize emoji in the App Store and has replaced some movie titles with emoji versions over in iTunes.

Facing delays, Apple is buying its own equipment to produce circuit boards

Apple has purchased “tens of millions of dollars” in equipment to produce the rigid flexible printed circuit boards it needs to build the new OLED iPhone 8, The Korea Herald reports. Apple doesn’t have its own production facilities, but has reportedly begun leasing the equipment to manufacturers to ensure its supply of the RFPCB components. The company was supposed to be securing the RFPCBs from Korea’s Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics and another Taiwanese company, but a source claims the supplier in Taiwan has backed out of the arrangement after the difficult work and strict quality controls made the project much less profitable. Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics are still expected to share the estimated 100 million RFPCB orders — with Apple shelling out to boost their capacities — but Apple is still looking for a new supplier in Korea to fill the gap.

Apple considering rear 3D laser for ARKit applications and autofocus

A new report from Fast Company reveals a previously undisclosed technology that Apple is working on for the company’s upcoming “iPhone 8” in the form of a rear-facing 3D laser sensor system that would be used to provide a more accurate autofocus for photography as well as enabling better depth detection for augmented reality apps. The report’s source suggests that the new VSCEL laser system is “probably intended for the 10th anniversary iPhone,” expected to arrive later this year, although that remains uncertain in light of all of the other technical hurdles that Apple is reportedly struggling with. The source suggests that the main issue in this case is integrated the laser system into the iPhone, rather than the system itself.

Rumor: ‘Sense of panic’ at Apple over iPhone 8 software problems

A source claiming to have knowledge of Apple’s iPhone 8 development said there’s a “sense of panic in the air” among engineers and designers over software problems, Fast Company reports. In addition to the wireless charging software problems reported earlier this week, Apple is reportedly having trouble with the new 3D sensors rumored to be used in a new facial recognition process for unlocking the device. With other rumors claiming that Apple is also having problems with the iPhone 8’s under-the-glass fingerprint scanner, facial recognition has been seen as a possible alternative for authentication, leaving the company in an even more precarious position if that software is not functional at launch.

Report: Apple has ‘just weeks’ to fix iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner or risk Apple Pay problems

In a new research note, Barron’s claims Apple is down to the wire with “just weeks to fix its fingerprint problem” or be forced to either delay the iPhone 8’s launch or do away with Touch ID altogether. Problems with the speed and accuracy of sensors embedded under the iPhone 8’s OLED screen has led Apple to delay orders on the necessary chips to run a fingerprint sensor, leading analyst Andy Hargreaves to conclude that if Apple doesn’t place the necessary orders by early August, the company will have to delay the device’s launch or drop the fingerprint scanning feature.

Apple releases third developer betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11

Apple has released third betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. A new beta for watchOS 4 has not yet appeared. Apple released the second set of betas on June 21, followed by very minor updates a week later, immediately prior to the release of the public bets for iOS 11 and tvOS 11.

iPhone 8 rumored to come in four colors, may not ship with wireless charger

Tech blogger Benjamin Geskin claims the iPhone 8 will come in four colors, including a new mirror finish. Geskin posted images of a reflective case on a current iPhone to illustrate his point, but said an unnamed source hinted at a black or silver reflective backing joining some of Apple’s existing colors. If his information proves reliable, that would mean Apple is scaling back on its available colors since the iPhone 7 is available in five colors (or six if you count the special PRODUCT(RED) version that’s still available). The tweet didn’t provide any information about which colors would be cut from the existing slate.

2017 32GB iPhone 6 model now available in Canada

Apple’s resurrected iPhone 6 is now being sold in Canada by Bell, Virgin Mobile, and Koodo, MobileSyrup reports. Quietly launched in Asia back in March, the 32GB iPhone 6 is a “new” version of the 2014 iPhone 6, featuring the same specifications as the original model, but available in the previously-unavailable 32GB capacity, and only available in Space Grey. Bell, Canada’s second-largest carrier, and Virgin Mobile, which operates on Bell’s network, are providing the special edition iPhone for free on select two-year contracts, or for outright purchase for $484 CAD; while Koodo is offering it for between $100 and $220 on various 24-month “Tab” contracts.

Apple expected to go ‘all-in’ on OLED screens for iPhones in 2018

Recent reports suggest that Apple may be launching a full lineup of OLED iPhone models as early as next year. A new report from Nikkei cites two industry sources, one of which suggests Apple is tentatively considering three new iPhone models for 2018, with the new design process already underway, although of course Apple’s plans are always subject to change. Further, sources among OLED suppliers suggest that they may not be able to keep up with demand if Apple expects to use OLED displays in all new iPhones in 2018. Analysts reiterated that Apple is still expected to release an OLED display in the “iPhone 8” premium model this year, but that two lower-end “iPhone 7s” models will continue to feature traditional LCD displays, and are expected to continue being sold into early 2019. [via MacRumors]

Reports claim iPhone 8 won’t support Touch ID, could replace it with 3D face scanning

Contradicting speculation that Apple had discovered a method to scan fingerprints that let them do away with a physical home button, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 8 will feature a virtual home button that “won’t support fingerprint recognition,” Street Insider reports. Kuo claims “the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges,” leaving Apple to scrap fingerprint recognition on the device all together to avoid production delays. Kuo adds that the iPhone 8 will support facial recognition with new 3D sensors, a claim boosted by a Bloomberg report that the new face scanner “allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face.”

Apple’s Greg Jozwiak reveals strong developer uptake in new ARKit tech

In an interview with The Australian, Greg “Joz” Jozwiak, Apple’s VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, provide some insights into Apple’s new ARKit technology that will be rolling out in iOS 10, describing the rapid uptake by iOS developers has been “unbelievable,” and describing some of the applications that he’s already seen rolling out for the new technology: “They’ve built everything from virtual tape measures (to) ballerinas made out of wood dancing on floors. It’s absolutely incredible what people are doing in so little time.”

Apple releases first iOS 11, tvOS 11 public betas, updates to developer betas

For those willing to accept the risks associated with installing a beta OS on your device, Apple has rolled out its first public iOS 11 and tvOS 11 betas. The iOS 11 update provides a greatly expanded and customizable Control Center, the ability to record what’s happening on your screen, a Maps app that includes indoor maps for airports and malls, and new HomeKit functionality, among other improvements. On iPad, iOS 11 provides a new dock and better support for the Apple Pencil. The tvOS 11 upgrade comes with some new bells and whistles as well, including an automatic setting for toggling between Light and Dark Mode, and the ability to store your Home screen layout in iCloud — along with your installed apps — so that this information can be synced across multiple Apple TVs or restored should you ever have to reset or replace your Apple TV. For anyone not already enrolled in the public beta program, you can get started on Apple’s website.

Virgin Mobile USA to become first ‘iPhone-only’ carrier

Virgin Mobile USA plans to become the world’s first “iPhone-only” network as part of a new deal with Apple to begin selling the carrier’s wireless plans through Apple’s retail network, Reuters reports. The carrier, which is a subsidiary of Sprint that licenses its name from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is revamping its business to remove Android devices from its lineup in the coming years. Branson, who was directly involved with the deal, told Reuters in an interview that he felt it was a good fit due to the similarities between the Apple and Virgin brands in advocating for human rights and other social causes, and that Apple’s retail head Angela Ahrendts was “tremendously supportive” of the partnership, and that Virgin was basically “knowing on an open door” in approaching Apple.

Indoor Maps for Airports and Malls now appearing in iOS 11 betas

Early signs of Apple’s new Indoor Maps feature in the iOS 11 Maps app have begun appearing for specific airports and shopping malls as of the second beta of iOS 11 released earlier this week. According to MacRumors, indoor maps are now available for Philadelphia International Airport, Mineta San Jose International Airport, Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, California and Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California. The new feature, similar in design to the indoor maps feature introduced in Google Maps in 2013, provides detailed floor plans airports and shopping malls to allow users to help locate way to key points of interest ranging from stores to facilities such as washrooms, boarding gates, security checkpoints, baggage claims, information kiosks, and more.

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2 to developers

Apple has released fourth developer betas for iOS 10.3.3 and tvOS 10.2.2; a new beta of watchOS 3.2.3 has not been released at this point. As with the last round of betas, these all include only minor updates and bug fixes, alongside the iOS 11 developer releases that are currently in beta with major new features, expected to be debuted in the fall.

Apple releases second set of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4

Apple has released a second round of betas for iOS 11, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11, addressing a number of issues in the initial developer previews released during WWDC. As only the second betas of major new OS releases, however, the release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. iOS 11 beta 2 also enables the new Do Not Disturb while Driving feature, which was not implemented in the first beta, as well as Hindi dictation in Siri, a new sync system for Safari Bookmarks and Reading List, and several other developer changes under the hood.

Particularly noteworthy is that, for the first time Apple has taken the unusual step of listing compatibility issues with several third-party apps in the iOS 11 release notes, including Tweetbot, VSCO, Square Cash, Citi Mobile, KakaoTalk, SlingTV, Kindle Books, Skype, Pinterest, and Facebook Messenger; it’s unclear why Apple has chosen to single out those particular apps out of the two million apps available on the App Store, since it’s normally expected that problems will occur with third-party apps when using early betas for major iOS releases.

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