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Apple adds three-year coverage to 1st-generation Apple Watches with detached back covers

Apple has updated its internal service policy to offer free repairs to first-generation Apple Watches whose back covers have become detached, MacRumors reports. Apple now admits “that under certain conditions on some first-generation Apple Watch devices the back cover may separate from the watch case,” which seems to usually occur when the device is being taken off its magnetic charger, according to many users on Reddit. To address the growing problem, the company has decided to provide the same three-year warranty for the back cover that it added recently for swollen batteries in all first-generation Apple Watches. Now Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers will fix the back cover for free up to three years from the user’s original purchase date. Customers who have already paid for such a repair have been advised to contact Apple Support about a possible refund.

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.

Apple to open second renewable-powered data center in Denmark

Apple is planning to open a second data center in Denmark, to be run entirely on renewable energy, Reuters reports. The center is expected to power online services like the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for European customers. “The planned facility in Aabenraa, like all of our data centers, will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one, thanks to new clean energy sources we’re adding,” said Erik Stannow, Nordic manager for Apple. The first announced facility in Denmark is scheduled to go online later this year, and the newly announced project should be up and running by mid-2019. Stannow said ‘the reliability of the Danish grid” was a key factor in choosing the county for two data centers, as well as an abundance of wind and biomass energy.

Apple opening office near Imagination Technologies months after severing ties to the company

Apple is opening an office near Imagination Technologies just months after severing ties to the company, The Telegraph reports. The move to open its own graphics technology development office a “stone;‘s throw away” from Imagination’s headquarters has led to speculation that Apple is intent on poaching away the British company’s top employees. In April, Apple announced its plans to part ways with the company that previously crated the technology to power the iPhone’s graphics, instantly cutting Imagination’s revenue in half and sending the company’s stock dropping. Imagination’s CEO has expressed doubts that Apple will be able to create its own graphics technology without infringing on his company’s patents, but the struggles since Apple’s announcement have forced Imagination to put itself up for sale. Apple was reportedly in talks to acquire Imagination in 2016, but a deal never materialized.

iTunes Store losing its dominance in movie rentals, sales

Apple’s market share of digitally renting and selling digital movies through iTunes — as high as 50 percent as recently as 2012 — has fallen to between 20 and 35 percent, The Wall Street Journal reports. While third-party tracking is basically nonexistent in the digital movie business, various studios have reported a serious decline in Apple’s dominance in the industry. An Apple rep didn’t dispute the estimates, but pointed out that iTunes rentals and purchases have hit their highest level in more than a decade over the past year. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that Apple’s movie rentals and sales rose 12 percent last year in the US, for a total of $5.3 billion in sales, but that growth is on account of a general shift to renting and buying movies online, not an indicator that Apple is outperforming the competition.

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.

Apple’s Bug Bounty program not paying enough to entice hackers

An Apple program that’s intended to entice hackers to reveal iOS security flaws in exchange for cash is failing to generate the necessary traction due to insufficient cash incentives, Motherboard reports. The program, announced by Apple’s security chief Ivan Krstic at last summer’s Black Hat conference, offers a cash bounty of up to $200,000 to hackers who discover and report vulnerabilities in the company’s products. However, almost a year later, the program appears to have struggled to take off, with many researchers reporting that they can sell exploits for considerably more money on the grey market than the mere $200,000 that Apple is willing to pay.

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.

Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ comes to Apple Music following Tidal exclusive

Jay-Z’s new album “4:44” is now available on Apple Music, following an exclusive release last week on the artist’s own Tidal music streaming service. When the album was released on Tidal, several reports predicted that it would be expanding to Apple Music and other services within the week, and earlier this week Jay-Z debuted a video for one of the album’s tracks on Apple Music, even while the album itself remained a Tidal exclusive. Even with its exclusivity to Tidal, 4:44 went platinum in under a week, although that certification also includes physical album sales.

Apple Pay expanding to additional banks in France, Italy, Spain, and Canada

Apple Pay is expanding to several new banks in Europe, MacRumors reports, with Apple having updated its regional web sites listing several new banks in France, Italy, and Spain as either now or soon to be supporting the mobile payment service. Apple Pay is available now in Italy at Banca Mediolanum for Mediolanum Card debit cards, and in Spain by prepaid mobile wallet provider Boon. Apple has also tacitly announced that Apple Pay will be coming later this year to Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest, Crédit Mutuel Massif Central, and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s online banking subsidiary Fortuneo in France as well as mobile-only bank N26 in Spain.

Meanwhile in Canada, iPhone in Canada reports that Apple Pay has launched today for MBNA MasterCard users, following several months of from the credit card provider. MBNA Canada is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank, which introduced Apple Pay support for its own credit and debit cards in June 2016.

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]

US government trying to intervene in Apple’s $14.8B EU tax case

The US government is trying to intervene on Apple’s behalf in the company’s $14.8 billion EU tax case, Reuters reports. In December, Apple appealed the European Commission’s ruling that it owed Ireland $14.8 billion in back taxes, and now an unnamed source “can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple.” At the time of the ruling, the Obama administration claimed the EU was attempting to claim money that should be landing in US coffers instead, and since then the Trump administration has set its sights on creating a tax break that would allow companies to repatriate the estimated $26 trillion sitting in overseas banks. Europe’s second highest court, the General Court based in Luxembourg, is expected to hear the case late next year. Ireland is also backing Apple’s claims that the European Commission’s tax ruling oversteps its authority and is based on faulty math.

Beats 1 DJs reflect on 2 years anchoring Apple Music’s flagship station

As Beats 1 nears its second year as Apple Music’s flagship radio station, DJs Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga reflected on their biggest moments so far in an Q&A session with High Snobiety. Lowe said he views Apple Music as a platform trying to take what it can from the old radio format and blend it with the “college, pirate, digital and blogs” model that’d driving much of new music discovery today. For Beats 1, that meant giving artists their own space to do things how they wanted. “We had to face up to the reality that the old expectations may not fit the artist anymore, Lowe said. “We have to trust the artists. Let them drive their own conversation. Trust that they know their audience.”

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.”

Alpine releases first aftermarket Wireless CarPlay System

Alpine has released the iLX-107 ($900), the first aftermarket Wireless CarPlay system. Although this is not the first CarPlay receiver in Alpine’s lineup, it’s particularly unique as it not only provides support for Apple’s Wireless CarPlay standard, but is the first of such aftermarket receivers. The unit itself sports a 7” VGA display with a capacitive touchscreen, and is designed to provide full Apple CarPlay support over a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection, as well as compatibility with Alpine’s own TuneIt iPhone app. Most of the other usual Alpine features are in here as well, including a 9-band parametric equalizer, 6-channel time correction, accessory expandability, and support for 50W on 4 channels and three 2V pre-outs.

August adds Visual Notifications for Doorbell Cam + more

August has released an update to the iOS app for its Smart Lock and Doorbell Cam, adding visual lock screen notifications for the Doorbell Cam as well as several other improvements for the Smart Lock and Smart Keypad. Although promised HomeKit support for the Doorbell Cam has yet to materialize, users of the August app will be able to access image preview alerts directly from the notification on their iPhone or iPad lock screen to they can quickly determine who is at the door without having to unlock their iPhone or wait for the August app to open. Although users will be unable to take any action from the Lock Screen without full HomeKit support, a “View” button provides the ability to open the August app to view the Doorbell cam live feed directly and choose to respond via the intercom or unlock an associated August Smart Lock.

IK Multimedia announces iRig Pro I/O

IK Multimedia has announced the release of the iRig Pro I/O, a new pocket-sized mobile audio/MIDI interface for iPhone/iPad and Mac users. The successor to the company’s highly rated 2013 iRig Pro, iRig Pro I/O raises the bar with a plethora of new features as well as bundled software and apps to enhance the digital musician’s experience. iRig Pro I/O provides a wide range of connectivity options, with inputs for guitars, basses, studio mics, vocal mics, keyboard, and more, with a combo XLR and 1/4” input as well as MIDI inputs for digital instruments. Built-in 24-bit analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters with a 96KHz sampling rate provides for professional audio quality in a device that can fit into your pocket and be ready to go with your iPhone or iPad for spontaneous jam sessions. A high-quality 1/8” headphone/line out is included with level control to provide pass-through audio for connecting to headphones, mixers, and powered monitor speakers — particularly applicable for iPhone 7 users — and built-in device charging is supported with an external power adapter for extended playing sessions. iRig Pro I/O retails for $150 and is available now from the IK Multimedia online store and other IK authorized retailers. We’ll be publishing a full review in the coming weeks.

New Kickstarter campaign producing documentary on ‘Firing Steve Jobs’

A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched seeking funding for a new documentary about the early history of Apple and Steve Jobs. Titled “Firing Steve Jobs,” the documentary promises to take a unique point of view on the dramatic events surround Jobs’ firing from Apple in the early days of the Mac back in 1985. The documentary plans to feature interviews with John Sculley, Mike Markkula, Steve Wozniak and many others, with a goal to capture the contradiction and controversy that led to the decision to dismiss Jobs without frills or embellishment but focusing merely on the facts behind the story, painting a portrait of who Steve Jobs was at the time from the perspective of those who worked most closely with him in the early days of Apple. The new documentary is expected to be released in the spring of 2018, provided the project meets its funding goal of €35,000 before the close of the Kickstarter campaign.

‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ game lands on iOS June 29

‘Futurama’ fans who have been waiting for new stories set in that universe since the show went off the air will get their wish on June 29, when Jam City and FoxNext Games release ‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ for iOS. The free-to-play game combines “simulation, combat, galactic exploration, and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay” to tell a new set of stories featuring the Planet Express crew, and the stories were created in collaboration with the show’s original writers and executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. In keeping with the show’s quirky cameos, geek icons Stephen Hawking, George Takei, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are all featured in the promo trailer and are actually playable charaters in the game, each with their own unique storyline. Registering for updates on the game’s launch will net users a free in-game gift.

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