After its launch in retail stores last year, Apple has finally made its iPhone Upgrade Program available to those buying their iPhone online. After clicking the “Buy” option for an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, the first screen of the checkout process includes the option to enroll in the program for $32.41 per month for a 16GB 6s or $36.58 per month with the 16GB 6s Plus. The price goes up as the storage options increase.
The father of a teen who was lost at sea said Apple is attempting to reactivate his son’s iPhone in the hopes of learning more about his fate, ABC News reports. The phone was found aboard the boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were on when they went missing. Blu Stephanos said, “We’ve been working with the phone’s manufacturer who seems willing to help us try to get the phone operational again. That would be the first order of business, since Austin’s phone has been submerged in salt water for over eight months.”
Apple is endeavouring to add cellular capabilities to its next-generation Apple Watch, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the matter, the next-generation wearable may include cellular connectivity and a faster processor. The WSJ report also highlights the struggles that Apple Watch has faced; despite the fact that sales of the Apple Watch outpaced the sales of the iPhone in the first year that device was released, many users have observed that the current iteration of the wearable is too slow, too limited, or simply not useful enough, with a limited ecosystem of applications. Similarities are drawn between the Apple Watch and the original iPhone, and even the original iPod, noting that each of those devices started small and took a few years to hit their stride.
The Department of Justice has dropped its appeal of a decision that prevented the government from forcing Apple to unlock a convicted drug dealer’s iPhone, Bloomberg reports. The DOJ had pledged to fight on after a judge ruled the government’s use of the All Writs Act to compel Apple’s assistance was illegal, but dropped the case after obtaining the passcode to access the device from a third-party. That leaves a 50-page ruling supporting Apple’s view in the encryption dispute as the final word on the matter, and while that decision isn’t binding in other cases, it could still influence future court battles.
Apple has let developers know that starting June 1, apps designed for the Apple Watch will have to be native apps built with watchOS 2 SDK or later. The move makes a clean break with the non-native apps that initially launched with the Apple Watch, which made the Apple Watch seem like more of a second screen for the user’s paired iPhone instead of a device in its own right. Apps designed with the native SDK that launched with watchOS 2 have proven much faster and more responsive because they don’t rely on the iPhone for all of the required processing.
Only six months after Apple began selling iBooks and iTunes Movies in China, the company has now been ordered by a Chinese Government agency to shut down sales, The New York Times reports. Although Apple originally had the Chinese government’s approval to introduce the services, a government regulatory agency — the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television — stepped in last week and demanded the services be shut down. While Apple has been unusually successful in introducing new products into the Chinese market, this about-face could be a sign of future problems brewing in China, which is Apple’s second-largest market.
The FBI appears to have paid more than $1.3 million for the technique used to break into the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino terrorist, Reuters reports. When asked how much the purchase cost the agency, FBI director James Comey said, “More than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure.” Using figures from the FBI and U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Reuters determined Comey will make more than $1.34 million in that time, if he receives no raises or bonuses — so it will likely be a bit more than that, if you’re considering typical annual government pay adjustments. Comey said the purchase was “worth it” while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London. The FBI will be able to use the technique on other iPhone 5c models running iOS 9, though the agency already announced that no useful information was found on the San Bernardino iPhone.
Apple’s efforts to fix certain technical problems with iCloud and iTunes have been hampered by “political infighting” among two engineering teams in the company, The Information reports. One manager has already resigned from Apple, with more departures “expected soon.” Apple reportedly wishes to take the cloud infrastructure used in Siri and bring it to more of its services, some of which are within the realm of the iCloud team — iCloud engineers are said to be concerned about job security as the Siri infrastructure encroaches on their domain. Apple is also working to bring all of its iCloud infrastructure in house. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released the second developer betas for iOS 9.3.2 and watchOS 2.2.1. As with the prior beta, the sparse release notes and minor version numbers suggest that the betas are primarily focused on bug fixes and performance improvements and do not likely include any new user-facing features. The new betas are available to registered developers from Apple’s Developer Site; those developers who installed the necessary beta configuration profiles for the prior beta cycle should also automatically see the new betas appear as an over-the-air update.
Apple has agreed to pay $24.9 million to a Dallas company that claims Siri’s voice technology violates one of its patents, Albany Business Review reports. The years-long case alleged Siri was developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2007, four years before Apple introduced the voice assistant with the iPhone 4s. Dallas-based Dynamic Advances licensed the patent from Rensselaer and stands to gain $5 million from Apple after dropping its case, with the remaining $19.9 million to be paid after other, undisclosed conditions are met.
The FBI has told CNN that it found no useful information on San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone, but said the lack of information actually provided some answers. At issue was an 18-minute gap during which authorities couldn’t account for the actions of Farook and his wife. The iPhone hack eliminated the possibility that the couple used the phone to engage in communication with a third party, allowing the FBI to rule out contact with other ISIS supporters.
Apple has started making preview pages for some Apple TV apps viewable in iTunes from a web browser, finally making it easier to share links to interesting apps with friends, or on social media. While iOS and Mac apps have been visible in iTunes web previews for years, this is a new development for tvOS — it should solve a big problem for developers trying to link to their apps from their own websites or social media pages. First spotted by Twitter user Jeff Scott, the new iTunes previews don’t feature an ability to buy or download the apps since that would need to be done on the Apple TV itself.
Apple has published a Report on Government Information Requests covering how it handled demands for information from law enforcement agencies received during the second half of 2015. The company said the “vast majority” of those requests were for information about lost or stolen devices, about which Apple complied 80 percent of the time within the United States. Totals outside the U.S. fluctuated between 52 and 80 percent.
The code behind Apple’s WWDC map has led to speculation that the company is preparing to release a web version of its MapKit framework, allowing users to embed an Apple Map view into a website, 9to5Mac reports. The map includes the pan and zoom features you’d expect from Apple’s MapKit, which is currently exclusive to iOS and Mac apps. With a built-in core of users already accustomed to Apple Maps on their devices and recent expansions in map research and development, the company’s entry into the web could pose the first serious challenge to Google Maps, which is now used nearly any time a map is required on a web site.
Sources who visited Apple’s “iTunes Lounge” at the Sundance Film Festival said the company is courting “triple A-list” talent for original TV series to be launched on an “exclusives” app for Apple TV and sold on iTunes, Fast Company reports. The stealthy conversations at Sundance led to meetings in Los Angeles where Apple executives heard pitches for original TV shows from producers who kept things so quiet they were reportedly referring to Apple as the United Fruit Company. Five different sources who have spoken directly to Apple executives or have been briefed on Apple’s plans said the company is still “disorganized” in its approach and hasn’t yet presented a unified strategy for its original programming.
It appears that Apple has announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference through Siri. Asking Siri “When is WWDC?” gets the response, “The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held June 13 through June 17 in San Francisco. I can’t wait!” It’s possible this response went live earlier than expected, as Apple hasn’t updated its WWDC website yet to reflect this year’s dates, at least as of this writing. It’s assumed that Apple will debut iOS 10 at the event, and there will also likely be some buzz about the possible introduction of new hardware as the event gets closer.
Bill Campbell, a trusted mentor in the tech world and a longtime member of Apple’s Board of Directors, has died, Re/code reports. Campbell’s death comes after a long battle with cancer. Campbell resigned from Apple’s board in 2014, and was replaced by Susan L. Wagner. A 2014 Fortune interview with Campbell, which came as he was stepping down from the board, details his relationships with past and present Apple CEOs John Sculley, Tim Cook, and of course, Steve Jobs — Campbell was known to some as “Steve’s guy” while on Apple’s board.
In the latest round of speculation around Apple’s car project, German website Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claims that the company’s secretive Berlin facility is staffed by 15 to 20 “top-class” employees of the German automotive industry. Sources familiar with the matter said the small team operates the lab as an incubator for ideas on future vehicles, after leaving traditional car companies where they were held back by management.
In the latest report from KGI Securities, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doubles down on his earlier prediction that Apple will move to an all-glass body for its 2017 iPhone. The report said Apple is moving to adopt the all-glass body to keep the iPhone looking modern, ahead of competitors who are beginning to adopt its current aluminum design. The new iPhones are expected to feature OLED screens, a claim bolstered by the Korean Herald’s report last week that Apple has reached a $2.59 billion deal that would see Samsung produce 100 million OLED displays for iPhones over the next three years. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has begun promoting a new tvOS 9.2 feature on the new fourth-generation Apple TV called “Live Tune-In,” which allows users to initiate live playback in compatible apps by using a Siri voice command. While the option did not appear with the release of tvOS 9.2 last month, users in the U.S. who select Settings, System, What’s New can now see the feature has been added to the list of tvOS 9.2 features, highlighting the ability to issue Siri commands such as “Watch CBS” or “Watch ESPN live.” Thus far, Apple only lists CBS, ESPN, and Disney XD as examples of the feature, and it’s unclear whether third-party app developers have to explicitly add support for this feature going forward and which other apps may already include these capabilities. Apple’s tvOS Developer Documentation presently includes no obvious reference to hooks or APIs that would be used to enable this, suggesting that this feature may currently only be available to specific apps hand picked by Apple.