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Amazon Prime Video app rolling out on Apple TV in US, Canada, UK, other parts of Europe

The much-hyped Amazon Prime Video app is rolling out to Apple TV for users in the US, Canada, UK and several other European countries. The app lets Prime subscribers watch Amazon’s original programming and other available content, features a watchlist for queuing up shows and movies, and supports the Siri Remote’s ability to search for content while in the app. News of the app’s pending release leaked out a day early after a Reddit user manually turned his device’s clock ahead a day and stumbled onto a story about Amazon Prime Video as the top feature in the App Store’s “Today” section. Apple quickly pulled the post, but not before it had been seen by plenty of others.

Apple acquires Pop Up Archive startup that helps make podcasts searchable

Apple has acquired Pop Up Archive, a startup that specializes in technology that transcribes and organizes audio files to make them more searchable, Nieman Lab reports. The company is known for producing podcast search engine Audiosear.ch, which shut down on November 28 — possibly after being acquired by Apple. The deal comes on the heels of Apple announcing in-episode analytics for podcasts at some point after the release of iOS 11.

Apple wins trademark court battle against Xiaomi

Apple has successfully prevented Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi from getting an EU trademark on the name “Mi Pad,” arguing that’s too similar to Apple’s own iPad moniker, Reuters reports. In its decision, the EU’s General Court ruled, “The dissimilarity between the signs at issue, resulting from the presence of the additional letter ‘m’ at the beginning of “Mi Pad”, is not sufficient to offset the high degree of visual and phonetic similarity between the two signs.” Xiaomi filed its trademark application in 2014, prompting Apple to complain to the EU Intellectual Property Office. Xiaomi can still appeal the decision to Europe’s highest court, but there’s no word yet on whether the company will.

Anki’s Cozmo Code Lab update enhances programming capabilities, adds new Constructor mode

Anki has expanded the capabilities of its Cozmo robot again in a new update to its Code Lab, adding a Constructor mode that includes six all-new minigames. The update gives Cozmo users acess to using ‘if’ statements, math operators, variables, function calls and more in their programs. Anki has increased the number and types of visual programming blocks available for use with Cosmo alongside the roll out of the vertically-oriented Constructor mode — structured to more closely mirror actual text-based code. The accompanying six minigames can be opened up and remixed as well, adding plenty of new options for more open-ended play.

Apple starts providing gift cards for Apple Watch trade-ins, adds new Sport bands

While Apple technically started accepting Apple Watch trade-ins last year, the company was just taking them for recycling without providing anything in return. Now the company has changed its recycling program to offer $50 to $175 on a gift card for the trades through a company named Brightstar, based on how functional it is and what model you have (size doesn’t seem to affect the payout at this point). Apple has also added new color options for the Apple Watch Sport band, now offering teal, orange and yellow options in its online store. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple manufacturer Quanta lands deal to produce AR displays for Lumus

Apple manufacturing partner Quanta Computer has landed a $45 million deal to produce augmented reality displays that project information into the user’s field of vision, Bloomberg reports. Lumus designed the displays, but has granted Quanta the option to produce the product for other technology companies, Lumus Chief Executive Officer Ari Grobman said. “This means that the most expensive key enabling technology in the AR glasses teardown will now be affordably priced, effectively bringing down the overall cost of consumer AR glasses,” Grobman said.

Apple Pay Cash now operational in iOS 11.2

After this weekend’s release of iOS 11.2, users were left wondering why Apple Pay Cash was mentioned in the release notes but not actually operational. The release was the first ever to be sent during the weekend — seemingly in response to a December 2 date bug that was causing iPhones to crash — leading to speculation that Apple rushed it out the door to fix the bug before Apple Pay Cash was ready. Now non-beta users are finding the feature is operational, allowing them to transfer funds to other iPhone users from linked credit or debit cards. Once received, the money is stored in an Apple Pay Cash card within Apple Wallet, from which funds can be spent through Apple Pay or transferred to a bank account. Transferring cash from a debit card is free, but using a credit card to send funds charges a 3 percent fee. Apple Pay Cash is available to users in the United States who are 18 years of age or older.

Tim Cook touts privacy, security at Chinese conference promoting internet censorship

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a surprise keynote at China’s World Internet Conference, touting the value of privacy, security and “humanity,” Bloomberg reports. The tone of the conference was decidedly different than Cook’s speech, with officials calling for more government data collection online to combat terrorism and other criminal activities. Wang Huning, one of the key officials in the Politburo Standing Committee that makes policy on government regulation of online activities, went so far as to call for a “global response team” that could operate well beyond China’s borders. Apple is facing increased pressure in China — its main manufacturing location and a lucrative smartphone market — as the government continues crackdowns on social media, news organizations and other in-app transactions. “The theme of this conference — developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits — is a vision we at Apple share,” Cook said in his mostly generic comments that didn’t note obvious censorship and privacy violations proposed by official government speakers.

Apple working on using iPhone’s faster circuit board tech in future Apple Watch, Mac devices

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors Apple is aiming to bring the liquid crystal polymer circuit boards found in iPhone X and iPhone 8 devices to the Apple Watch and Mac, 9to5Mac reports. Kuo claims Apple is working with manufacturing partner Career to incorporate the LCP flexible circuit boards into the Mac to help with USB 3.2 connections and save space inside the device, while the Apple Watch would benefit from LCP antennas for more stable LTE connectivity and better heat and moisture resistance than the current PI-based antennas.

Apple supplier Dialog takes big stock hit on report Apple could design its own power chips

Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor lost up to 19 percent of its stock value by simply mentioning the possibility that Apple could begin designing its own power-management chips, Reuters reports. CEO Jalal Bagherli said there was no risk to existing supply deals for 2018 and that the company was already in the process of working with Apple on “2019-type products” that could lead to new contracts by March, but investors became panicked by his admission that, “Apple has the resources and capability to internally design a PMIC and could potentially do so in the next few years.” Apple accounts for more than half of Dialog’s revenue, and the company has proved that it can be devastating for a supplier to lose its Apple deals. Apple severing ties with Imagination Technologies essentially cut that company’s revenue in half, and has led Imagination’s CEO to float the possibility of legal action if Apple’s new graphics chips infringe on his company’s patents.

App Store apps that haven’t been updated showing ‘phantom updates’ despite remaining unchanged

Developer Jeff Johnson has noticed several apps in the App Store showing what he calls “phantom updates,” with the App Store showing them as updated even though no changes had been made by the developers themselves for a year or more. Version numbers showed as the same and some apps had the exact same release notes as before while others included new text that stated, “This update is signed with Apple’s latest signing certificate.” Some have speculated that Apple performed a Bitcode recompilation on the apps, but Johnson dug into the app he worked on and found that didn’t seem to be the case. There were changes to the resource rules, but he found that unlikely to be the cause for an Apple-issued update, so the mystery of why these updates occurred remains as Apple hasn’t released a statement. The apps should operate just as before, so outside of getting an App Store notification to update an app that doesn’t need updating, the impact should be minimal for users, although those on limited data plans may want to check Settings, iTunes & App Store to ensure that automatic updates while on cellular are disabled.

iOS 11.2 released over the weekend with fix for Dec. 2 crash bug, Apple Pay Cash

After online reports of a bug that appeared to be crashing iPhones just after the date rolled over to December 2, Apple rolled out the iOS 11.2 on Saturday, the first time the company has ever released an update on a weekend. Time-based notifications for certain apps began crashing or respringing the devices at 12:15 a.m. on December 2, specifically apps that issue repeated reminders throughout the day. Apple took the unusual step of releasing its iOS update on the weekend to remedy that issue, but seems to have rushed it out with some parts not operational. Apple Pay Cash, the method for using Messages to send person-to-person payments, is included in the release but not yet functional. Users have also reported problems with Face ID in iPhone X after updating, but most have found a reboot after installation clears up the problem.

Apple releases Heart Study app

Apple has released it’s own Heart Study app for the iPhone and Apple Watch as part of a ResearchKit study to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and potentially serious heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation. The app forms part of a new study being done in collaboration with Stanford Medicine, and while it’s not the first heart study to be done using Apple’s technology — a similar study was conducted earlier this year by the University of California and the third-party app Cardiogram — this new study represents the first direct participation by Apple in a ResearchKit project.

Just Mobile ShutterGrip reaches funding goal to enter production

Just Mobile has reached its KickStarter funding goal to produce the ShutterGrip camera grip and shutter for mobile phones, and there are four days left to get it at the $28 Kickstarter price. The simple camera grip attaches to your iPhone and provides the feel of a traditional camera in the hand, allowing for a more stable grip to get the most out of the iPhone’s state-of-the-art cameras. The Bluetooth grip doesn’t require a dedicated app to function and is compatible with any standard tripod. The single battery should run the device for around 6 months of continuous use, and it comes in black, blue and rose gold color schemes.

Apple sues Qualcomm for patent infringement

Apple has filed a countersuit in its ongoing legal fight with Qualcomm, claiming Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile chips infringe on Apple patents, Reuters reports. Qualcomm filed a lawsuit in July claiming Apple infringed on several of its patents that help mobile phones get better battery life, and Apple’s new counterclaim is that it owns eight patents pertaining to battery life that Qualcomm is violating. Apple claims its innovations that make sure components only draw the minimum required power and turning off unused parts of the processor are being used in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and 820 processors, which are found in Samsung and Google devices. “Apple began seeking those patents years before Qualcomm began seeking the patents it asserts against Apple in this case,” the new filing reads.

Report: Apple leasing former Fiat Chrysler location to test autonomous vehicles

Apple seems to be leasing a facility once owned by Fiat Chrysler to test autonomous vehicles, Jalopnik reports. A source said Apple has been recruiting automotive technicians and test engineers from all over California, and a recent paper published by Apple researchers illustrates how laser-based radar could allow a car to detect 3D objects to navigate (among other applications). Apple declined to comment, but records show there has been recent activity at the site allowing for “all prior and current experimental and proving ground uses” at the site after a real estate development planned for the property fell through in 2015.

Apple to halt app updates from December 23-27

Apple has announced its annual iTunes Connect hiatus, informing developers they won’t be able to submit new apps or updates to existing apps from December 23 – 27. Other iTunes Connect functions will still be available during that period, so developers can “let customers know about promotions, upcoming features, and events within your app at any time using the promotional text field.”

Apple removes violent games tied to drug war in Phillipines

Apple has removed several violent games tied to President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs in the Philippines, The Asian Network of People who Use Drugs reports. ANPUD petitioned Apple CEO Tim Cook to remove multiple games that “actively promoted the war on people who use drugs in the Philippines,” which has been documented to include extrajudicial killings. Some of the games have upwards of a million downloads and featured a heroic Duterte killing zombie-like drug users. While Cook hasn’t directly responded to ANPUD’s letter, some of the games have since disappeared from the App Store.

Apple releases fifth betas for iOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2

Apple has released the fifth developer betas for iOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2. The new versions don’t seem to include any big features we haven’t seen before, but the iOS 11.2 beta is reportedly allowing users to wirelessly charge their iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X devices at 7.5-watt speeds instead of the previous five-watt limit and provides a new dialog box explaining how the Control Center’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles work; tapping these no longer turns off the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios, but instead merely disconnects or re-establishes your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, and Apple has clarified that for users. The latest beta for tvOS 11.2 provides more control over when videos are played in HDR and at different frame rates. Apple seems to have skipped an update to the watchOS 4.2 beta this time around.

Capsule personal storage device for backing up photos and videos nearing Kickstarter goal

For those with photos and videos piling up on their devices with no end in sight, a new Kickstarter for a personal cloud storage device called the Capsule is aiming to provide a simple solution. The Capsule boasts the ability to back up photos and videos from mobile devices, social network accounts, and other devices like cameras, Go Pros and hard drives. The Capsule has no on-board storage, so it will require an external hard drive to function, but the device accumulates and organizes photos from a much wider range of sources than other devices and cloud services with no monthly fee attached.

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