Pricing remains a major sticking point in Apple’s negotiations with content providers for its proposed subscription television service, according to a new report from The Information. Although Apple had been planning to unveil a new TV service as early as this fall, and was reported to be making progress in negotiations in June, more recent reports have indicated that the service isn’t expected to debut until 2016, citing talks that have been progressing more slowly than expected.
This latest report provides some insight, indicating that the major sticking point in negotiations is Apple’s desire to hold consumer pricing to roughly $40 per month, which is said to be considerably less than the media companies want to license their TV content to the service. This echoes similar difficulties Apple had in negotiations with record labels last fall, with Apple eventually capitulating. Despite the uncertain future of a television subscription service, Apple still plans to debut new Apple TV hardware in September, but will likely focus on integration with HomeKit and security. [via AppleInsider]
Ian Rogers, one of the key executives behind the Apple Music launch, has now left Apple, the Financial Times reports. Rogers originally headed up the Beats Music subscription service prior to the company’s acquisition by Apple in 2014, after which he was appointed to a senior director position with Apple Music, responsible for iTunes Radio and the new Beats 1 radio service. According to people familiar with the situation, he is now leaving to work for a European company in an unrelated industry, a move that came as a surprise to his colleagues when he announced his resignation. Apple confirmed that Rogers is leaving but did not provide any further comment.
Apple has announced a new Apple Pay deal with credit card processing firm PayAnywhere, CNBC reports. The new arrangement allows Apple Pay to be accepted at any PayAnywhere credit card reader — currently in place in More than 300,000 locations throughout the U.S. As part of the deal, Apple will also become the exclusive seller for the newest version of the PayAnywhere reader in its retail stores. To promote the new deal, PayAnywhere is also offering no processing fees for the first $5,000 in Apple Pay transactions for new users.
A new tweet from Steve Hemmerstoffer of OnLeaks shows more leaked photos of iPhone 6S packaging that would appear to confirm that Apple plans to release a 16GB version of the iPhone 6S, contrary to earlier speculation that the lowest-capacity device would be dropped in the next release. The leak notably also matches a report from early July that analyzed components purported to come from an iPhone 6S, identifying a 16GB Toshiba memory chip among them.
Apple has sent out media invitations to its September 9 event. The invites show a stylized top of the Apple logo with the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” As rumored earlier today, the event is being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, and as usual will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific time. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus debuted at the event, alongside a new Apple TV as well as official launch dates for iOS 9 and watchOS 2. As implied by the invitations tagline, Siri has now begun responding with cute and cryptic responses around the date of September 9th to the phrase “Siri, give me a hint.”
The iPhone 6S will include a screen-based front flash mode, 9to5Mac reports. The article also bolsters claims of a report from last month that the camera will be upgraded to 12MP and support 4K video recording. Apple is expected to move from its current 8-megapixel sensor design to a custom 12-megapixel image sensor in both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, along with an upgraded image signal processor that will be built into the new A9 system-on-a-chip. The new iPhones will also reportedly include an upgraded front FaceTime camera sensor for higher quality video calls and selfies, along with front-facing panorama shots and slow motion 720p video. Although contrary to earlier rumors, the new iPhone will not sport a physical LED on the front, the “flash mode” will illuminate an entirely white screen when the shutter button is pressed to simulate a flash when photos are taken — a feature that has already been implemented previously in some third-party apps such as Snapchat.
Update: 9to5Mac has added an additional report noting that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models will be available in a new “Rose Gold” color option, similar to that of the Apple Watch, although made from anodized aluminum rather than actual gold. The color is described as a “copper-like variation” on the existing gold color option. The front will be the same white color as the white and standard gold iPhone models.
Apple is expected to bring its Apple Watch Motion wallpaper feature to the iPhone 6S, according to 9to5Mac. Sources that have used internal iPhone 6S prototypes have revealed that it will support a new set of animated wallpapers that come from the same family as the “Motion” watchfaces of the Apple Watch, sporting images such as jellyfish, butterflies, and flowers. The iPhone 6S will reportedly include wallpapers such as sets of animated fish, a koi pond, and colorful arrays of smoke. This report also lends credence to a leaked packaging photo that shows a swimming fish on the box. Although sources noted that the animation features may not make it into the final iPhone 6S product, the leaked packaging suggests that it’s likely ready to go.
A new report from Chinese site cnBeta (Google Translate Link) suggests that the iPhone 6S Plus will be getting a lower-capacity battery compared to the iPhone 6 Plus that is currently on the market – 2750 mAh as compared to 2910 mAh in the current model. The report also includes a leaked low-quality photo of alleged iPhone 6S Plus packaging, showing a wallpaper of a goldfish swimming, although it suggests that the wallpaper may be different depending on the iPhone’s color.
A report has appeared in Hoodline, a local San Francisco neighborhood news site, that Apple is behind a “mystery event” being planned at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The venue has reportedly been booked through mid-September, and security personnel are already on constant duty with heavy equipment being moved in. Official documents simply reference a “trade show” scheduled for the week of September 4-10, however no companies or organizations seem to have any plans to host a trade show, and a source now confirms to Hoodline that the activity is specifically in preparation for an Apple event, revealing documents showing that Apple is renting the building through September 12. This corroborates a report from earlier this month that Apple is planning to hold its iPhone event on September 9.
Taiwan’s top court ruled that a former senior director of R&D at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company stole the trade secrets that enabled Samsung to produce A9 chips for Apple devices, DigiTimes reports. Samsung seemed to have lost Apple’s chip business to TSMC in 2013, when Apple signed a three-year deal with TSMC to produce its A8 and A9 chips. But after ex-TSMC employee Liang Mong-song allegedly helped Samsung shrink the size of the transistors in its chips, Apple turned back to Samsung to produce the A9 chip earlier this year. A report compiled by third-party experts shows that while older Samsung chips are very different in design from TSMC’s chips, newer models are almost impossible to tell apart. “It could be hard to tell (if the product) came from Samsung or TSMC if only structural analysis is used,” the report states. Liang taught at a Samsung-sponsored university in South Korea after leaving TSMC’s advanced modules technology division, then became CTO of Samsung’s system LSI division in July 2011. TSMC sued Liang in 2011 over trade secrets, and this latest ruling prohibits Liang from working for Samsung in any form until December 31, 2015. [via 9to5Mac]
Germany’s top civil court has ruled that Apple’s slide-to-unlock technology isn’t sophisticated enough to warrant a patent, Bloomberg reports. In 2012, Apple won an injunction against Motorola Mobility based on its patent on using a finger swipe to unlock smartphones, and while that case is still pending, Tuesday’s ruling is the second to say that feature can’t be patented. “This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art. The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention,” the court wrote in its ruling. Apple didn’t immediately comment on the ruling.
Best Buy will expand Apple Watch sales to all its stores in September, Fortune reports. The company started selling the watch in August and initially expected to have the watches in 300 of its stores by the holiday season. But in a call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Hubert Joly said Best Buy has seen such strong demand for the Apple Watch, both in stores and online, that sales will be expanding to all 1,050 of its storefronts next month. Joly also said 740 Best Buy locations are updating their Apple shop-in-shops to include new fixtures and more display tables for phones, computers and tablets. Best Buy will also begin selling AppleCare product service and support this quarter, with 50 stores acting as authorized service providers on a trial basis.
Philips has announced a new no-installation dimming kit for its Hue wireless light bulbs. The kit comes with a single Hue white light bulb and a battery-powered dimmer switch that can be mounted on the wall, or slide out of the base plate for use as a remote as well. The dimmer can control up to 10 bulbs at once through the Hue bridge, making it able to alter the lights in an entire room remotely. In a June Facebook post, Philips promised that Hue lighting will be integrated with Apple’s HomeKit “starting this fall,” but details about how the systems will integrate still haven’t been released. GE is also working on integrating its LED lighting system with HomeKit by the end of the year. Philips’ dimming kit will cost $39.95 (with additional Hue bulbs costing $19.95 each) and be available in North America starting in September.
Apple may be discontinuing its One to One tutoring program for iOS and Mac users, MacRumors reports. An unnamed source claims Apple is stopping the program to place more emphasis on free workshops that allow one employee to teach multiple people at once. Apple is also reportedly in the process of revamping its website to make registering for free workshops easier and more accessible to those with disabilities. The One to One program currently charges users $99 for one year of instruction on how to use their Mac, iPhone or iPad, providing users with individual or group training sessions on basic usage, Apple services and specific apps like Photos, Mail and Final Cut Pro. Apple plans to honor existing One to One memberships until they expire, but will no longer be offering new memberships.
Czech website Letem Svetem Applem claims Apple is planning to release a set of ‘smart bands’ that will use the hidden data port on Apple Watch to add new health monitoring functionality to the device. Citing unnamed sources, the website claims the new straps will include sensors to let the watch monitor blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and body temperature. The sensors would be located on the side of the wrist opposite the watch, to control for the heat and interference coming from the internal components of the watch itself. The sources claimed the new bands could appear as soon as early 2016 and be available with an array of sensor configurations. The 6-pin sensor port — located within the groove on the lower half of the watch where the wristband attaches — has proven to be capable of transmitting data and power to the watch, but is sealed. Apple’s guidelines for third-party band manufacturers make no mention of the hidden diagnostic port, but that hasn’t prevented speculation about possible uses for the port since its initial discovery in May. [via Apple Insider]
In an interview with Good Morning America at Tuskegee Public School in Alabama, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the company’s participation in the White House’s ConnectED initiative, which has delivered iPads to 114 schools in 29 states. Cook – himself a product of the public school system – said too many kids are stuck in a less-engaging analog environment at school that isn’t giving them the tools to succeed in a highly competitive digital world. “I think technology has to be a key part [of education] and that’s why we’re here,” Cook said. “Too many times today kids aren’t given the right for a great public education and this isn’t right. It’s not fair.” Cook also said establishing more diverse role models to encourage kids from various backgrounds to pursue a career in technology will benefit the industry in the long run, since “inclusion and diversity inspires innovation. And so we actually make better products because we’re more diverse.”
Apple will be making changes to its Genius Bar and Workshop services online, more deeply integrating them within individual Apple Store Retail pages as soon as Tuesday, August 25, 9to5Mac reports. In a note to retail employees, Apple said the updated service will focus on accessibility for those with visual and hearing impairments and provide a much more streamlined interaction for users on mobile devices. Like the upgraded Apple website, the new system will have unique appearances customized for viewing on desktops, smartphones and tablets. Sources briefed on the plans said in addition to moving to individual store pages, the existing complex array of Workshop scheduling options will be narrowed down within three categories — Discover, Create and Organize — making it easier for customers to select the workshops that apply to them. The system will also provide deep social media integration for sharing Workshops on Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, QQ, and email.
Apple recently announced a replacement program for defective iSight cameras found in some iPhone 6 Plus units sold between September 2014 and January 2015. Apple said a “small percentage” of the devices sold during that time contain a component that may fail, causing photos to come out blurry. The offer only applies to the iPhone 6 Plus, as Apple claims the iPhone 6 has been unaffected by the defect. Users can search their phone’s serial number here to see if it is covered by the recall and, if so, can have their phone’s iSight camera replaced free of charge after an examination to make sure the unit is in working order. Customers can contact Apple customer service or take their phones to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or an Apple Store for more information.
Apple and Beats co-founder Dr. Dre have both issued a formal response to the allegations of his past incidents of misogyny and decades-old criminal charges of physical abuse against women, which have resurged in the wake of the new N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. In a statement to The New York Times, Dre said, “Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
Apple followed this up with its own statement: “Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”
The CEO of Daimler — the automotive company best known for its Mercedes-Benz brand — has indicated that he’s open to “different types” of cooperation with Apple, Reuters reports. Although Damiler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche’s comments remained generally noncommittal, in an interview with Deutsche Unternehmerboerse, Zetsche simply said that “many things are conceivable,” with companies such as Apple and Google taking on a more active role in developing key software components for vehicles, and that such solutions can be “interesting for both sides.” Similar comments have been made by Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn, suggesting it’s necessary for traditional car makers to work with technology firms to “make future cars safer and more intelligent.” While it’s unclear what role Daimler would want to take in such a partnership, Zetsche did indicate that the company would not “allow itself to be demoted to the role of dumb supplier” that merely provides hardware to third parties and loses the relationship with customers.