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Apple releases fourth iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 betas to registered developers

Apple has released the fourth betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers. While iOS 11.3 adds a few interesting new features, the fourth beta seems to mostly consist of bug fixes and relatively minor improvements, following the introduction of the battery health feature in iOS 11.3 beta 2. 9to5Mac found that the new code adds support for Brazilian Portuguese to the TV app, hinting that that app could be released in Brazil soon. There’s also no sign of the return of AirPlay 2 — removed in iOS 11.3 beta 3 — and the release notes still make no mention of it, so it’s unclear whether these are coming back in a future iOS 11.3 beta or will be pushed off to a later release.

Report: Apple plans to release ‘largest iPhone ever’ this fall

Apple is planning to release its “largest iPhone ever” alongside the successor to the iPhone X and a lower-cost model with some of the iPhone X’s features, Bloomberg reports. People familiar with the planning process said Apple is aiming to reach those customers who were interested in the iPhone X’s new features but balked at the $1,000 price tag, while still offering something new for those users who want the multitasking abilities and larger screen size of a “phablet.” “When you have a measurable upgrade in screen size, people go to update their phone in droves,” said Gene Munster, co-founder of Loup Ventures. “We saw that with the iPhone 6, and we think this is setting up to be a similar step up in growth.”

Report: Cellebrite has tools that can break into any device running iOS 11, including iPhone X

Cellebrite — the security firm that made headlines after rumors surfaced that it was responsible for breaking into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone in 2016 — is now able to get into any iPhone running iOS 11, even the iPhone X, Forbes reports. The company hasn’t made any flashy public statements about the breakthrough, but its latest marketing materials claim the company can unlock and extract data from “Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.” Sources said Cellebrite is telling customers its engineers have devised ways to get around Apple’s most up-to-date security features, and it’s likely that the company’s tech was used to crack an iPhone X for the Department for Homeland Security last November. Apple hasn’t publicly responded to the news.

Number of class-action lawsuits over iPhone slowdowns swells to more than 60, to be consolidated

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will likely consolidate the more than 60 class-action lawsuits filed against Apple over iPhone slowdowns since the initial revelations surfaced last December, MacRumors reports. A court filing shows a hearing scheduled for March 29 to consider consolidation, likely in the Northern District of California near where Apple is headquartered and where around half of the original lawsuits have been filed. Apple also faces lawsuits in six other countries, including one filed last Friday with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada. The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are both also investigating whether Apple broke securities laws by not disclosing that it was intentionally slowing down older iPhones with aging batteries. Apple has publicly apologized for its lack of transparency and offered reduced-cost battery replacements to some affected users.

Shure hints at iOS 11.3 coming this week in since-deleted tweet

While Apple has only given a “Spring” release timeline for iOS 11.3, audio tool manufacturer Shure seems to have let the cat out of the bag that the update is coming this week, according to PiunikaWeb. In a weekend response to a customer question about problems with a specific condenser microphone, Shure’s Twitter account replied that “iOS 11.3, due out next week, resolves it.” The tweet has since been deleted, so time will tell is Shure was just speculating or actually has inside knowledge of Apple’s release timeline.

Leaked images allegedly show display and other components for ‘iPhone X Plus’

Two new leaked images posted on the MacX forums purport to show the screen size for the larger “iPhone X Plus” rumored to be coming later this year. The images of the displays and digitizer — which have since been deleted — were accompanied by text that claimed they were from a “production equipment trial run” at an LG facility in Vietnam. While the digitizer is larger than that of 2017’s iPhone X, the notch appears to be about the same size, although it’s difficult to tell without something to compare for scale.

iOS 11.3 beta 3 introduces Apple Music Videos improvements

With the release of the third beta of iOS 11.3 earlier this week, Apple now appears to be gradually rolling out its expanded music videos features within Apple Music. When Apple previewed iOS 11.3 last month, it noted that it would also be bringing improvements to the music video experience in Apple Music, making it “the home for music videos” and providing ad-free streaming and curated music video playlists. Although the new content doesn’t appear to be widely available within the iOS 11.3 Music app quite yet, opening the app in iOS 11.3 beta 3 now presents a welcome screen outlining the new features, which will presumably be gradually rolling out on the back-end of Apple Music as the public release date approaches.

Apple posts video with behind-the-scenes look at Portrait Lighting

Apple has shared a new video on its YouTube channel providing a brief behind-the-scenes look at how the company developed the Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, ranging from studying classic portraiture, bringing in top artists and photographers, and incorporating established lighting principles to build the machine learning algorithms used for the new photography feature.

Apple releases third watchOS 4.3 developer beta, new public betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3

Apple has released a third watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the third developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation. The latest beta also appears to resolve issues with weather information in Greater China and accuracy in the battery complication.

Apple releases third iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 betas to registered developers

Apple has released the third betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers. While iOS 11.3 adds a few interesting new features, the third beta seems to mostly consist of bug fixes and relatively minor improvements, following the introduction of the battery health feature in iOS 11.3 beta 2, although iOS 11.3 beta 3 is also now available for the sixth-generation iPod touch, which was excluded from the two prior betas. It is likely that updated public beta versions will also appear in the next day or two.

Update: MacRumors reports, and we’ve also confirmed, that the third beta of iOS 11.3 also removes support for AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV entry in the Apple Home app. The release notes make no mention of this, so it’s unclear whether these are coming back in a future iOS 11.3 beta or will be pushed off to a later release.

Apple releases iOS 11.2.6 with Telugu character fix, watchOS 4.2.3 and tvOS 11.2.6

Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 with an update that fixes issues with third-party apps connecting to external accessories and a bug causing the Indian Tegulu character to crash Messages and other apps. Apple had fixed the special character bug in the iOS 11.3 beta, but seems to have pushed out the fix early to keep users from having to wait for the next big release. A macOS 10.13.3 update fixes the Tegulu problem for Mac users, and Apple also released tvOS 11.2.6 for Apple TV and watchOS 4.2.3 for Apple Watch.

Apple to require all new iOS apps to support iPhone X starting in April

Apple has announced that all new apps submitted to the App Store after April 2018 will be required to support the iPhone X. In an e-mail sent to registered developers, the company heralded the new features that iOS 11 has brought to the iOS platform, adding that “Starting April 2018, all new iOS apps submitted to the App Store must be built with the iOS 11 SDK, included in Xcode 9 or later. All new apps for iPhone, including universal apps, must support the Super Retina display of iPhone X.” Apple’s page on Submitting iOS apps to the App Store also adds that developers should make sure their App Store product page showcases updates for the Super Retina display of the iPhone X, and provides additional tips for developers on how to make sure that their apps look great on the iPhone X and how to submit proper screenshots for their App Store pages.

New iOS 11 bug crashing iPhones when a special character is received

A bug in iOS 11.2.5 has been discovered that’s will crash the iPhone when a specific Indian-language character is received in a text message or e-mail, The Verge reports. Originally discovered by Italian blog Mobile World, the bug affects iPhones running iOS 11.2.5 as well as Messages and Safari on macOS, and has been confirmed as affecting not only the built-in Messages and Mail apps, but also third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook, and Gmail. The crash is triggered when the device receives the Indian language Telugu character, which will cause the iOS Springboard to crash and prevent the affected app such as Messages to open as a result of trying and failing to load the character, at least until the point at which another message is received.

Apple considering placing orders for Chinese-made memory chips

Apple is considering buying some of the flash memory chips destined for use in the iPhone from Chinese manfacturer Yangtze Memory Technologies, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The little-known chipmaker is set to begin producing NAND flash memory chips this year, but sources close to the discussions with Apple said it will likely be 2020 or later before Yangtze can produce enough parts to meet Apple’s standards. The sources said the chips would be used only in iPhones destined for use in China, where Apple has been facing increasing pressure from the government on multiple fronts. Apple has shown a willingness to work with the Indian government to produce and assemble more of its products locally in exchange for more access to the country’s smartphone market, but it’s unclear if the Yangtze deal is part of any intervention on behalf of the Chinese government. Apple currently buys its NAND flash memory chips from Toshiba, Western Digital, SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics, and the company’s iPhone orders account for 15 percent of all such shipments worldwide.

Apple dispels security concerns regarding leaked iOS 9 source code

While Apple has confirmed that recently leaked iOS 9 iBoot source is authentic, the company has dispelled any concerns users may have about the leak compromising iPhone security. In a statement to MacRumors, Apple emphasized that the leak is for iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that is installed on less than seven percent of devices, and notes that “by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code” and “There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products.”

Apple releases second watchOS 4.3 developer beta alongside new public iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 betas

Apple has released a second watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the second developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation.

2017 iPhone models less susceptible to performance throttling

It appears that Apple may have made hardware improvements in its 2017 iPhone models to mitigate the need for the controversial performance throttling experienced by users of iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 series models. A new section in an updated support document on “iPhone Battery and Performance” referenced in the second beta of iOS 11.3 notes:

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery’s power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

The support document doesn’t go as far as saying that performance won’t suffer as batteries age in these newer models, but it does suggest that the level of throttling may not be as severe, indicating that Apple was likely able to solve some of the power consumption issues that previously resulted in unexpected shutdowns from older iPhone batteries.

Apple seeds iOS 11.3 beta 2 to developers with promised ‘Battery Health’ feature

Apple has released the second beta of iOS 11.3 to registered developers (a public beta is likely to follow soon), incorporating the promised Battery Health feature that should provide users with more insight into performance throttling that occurs on older batteries. As one might expect, the new feature can be accessed from the Battery section of the iOS Settings app, and provides a percentage indicator showing the battery’s relative health compared to when it was new, along with a section on “Peak Performance Capability.” A note at the top points out that batteries come less effective as they age, and provides a link to an Apple support article on iPhone Battery and Performance.

Report: Apple to ditch Qualcomm chips completely for Intel versions in 2018 iPhones

Amid Apple’s ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now saying the company may be ditching Qualcomm’s baseband chips all together, 9to5Mac reports. Kuo said he expects Apple to use Intel’s chips exclusively in its 2018 iPhones since Intel chips now meet Apple’s technical requirements at a more competitive price, but he added Apple may be forced to return to Qualcomm if it turns out Intel can’t get ready for 5G networks fast enough. Previous reports claimed Qualcomm’s current 5G chips offer more specialized features, but sources said since many of those features won’t be widely adopted by carriers it’s likely Intel’s 5G modem will be more than sufficient for future iPhones.

Some iPhone X users unable to answer calls as screen fails to wake

Some iPhone X users are unable to answer calls because their phone displays aren’t waking up when a call comes in, The Financial Times reports. Users report that the ringtone will play for an incoming call, but the screen won’t wake up for several seconds, sometimes resulting in a missed call. A restart seems to resolve the problem temporarily, but after 15 to 20 calls the problem reappears. Users who have had their iPhone X replaced by Apple are reporting the same issues with the replacement units, but it’s still unclear whether a hardware or software problem is to blame. Apple is “looking into these reports,” but hasn’t provided any further information on a fix.

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