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Apple tells developers to get their Apps and Games Ready for Subscriptions

Apple is moving ahead with some more of the App Store changes promised back in June, with an email sent to developers today announcing new auto-renewable subscription capabilities and advising that they can now begin getting their apps and games ready for the new subscription model. As Apple’s developer page on Offering Subscriptions explains, auto-renewable subscriptions can now be offered on all Apple platforms and in all app categories, including games, to provide users with access to content or services on an ongoing basis, and automatically renew until a user chooses to cancel. Developers will be able to allow users to sign up for subscriptions with free trial periods, subject to the normal subscription durations, and will also be able to offer upgrades, downgrades, and crossgrades to subscriptions, all controlled via Apple’s in-app purchase APIs.

Irish cabinet plans to join Apple in EU tax ruling appeal

Ireland’s cabinet has agreed that it will join Apple in an appeal against the European Commission’s €13 billion (~ $14.5b USD) demand for back taxes from the company, Reuters reports. Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan has been on the record since the EU began investigating Apple’s Irish tax affairs in 2014 in stating that the government would fight any adverse ruling in order to protect Ireland’s interests in attracting large multinational companies to the country. Although the cabinet ministers have agreed to join in the appeal, Ireland’s minority government is currently supported by independents who have concerns about multinationals tax policies being reviewed to ensure foreign companies are “seen to be paying their fair share.” However, the main opposition party also favors a legal challenge, suggesting that the government should have no problem winning parliamentary support to move forward with the appeal. The cabinet is expected to ask parliament to endorse the legal challenge next Wednesday.

Apple to debut new Beats products at Sept. 7 event

In addition to unveiling next-generation iPhones, it appears that Apple will also unveil new Beats products at next week’s event, according to an email received from the Beats PR team by iGeneration. Although the announcement merely says “a selection of new Beats by Dre products will be unveiled” without going into specifics, considering that the iPhone 7 is expected to omit the headphone jack in favor of the Lightning port, it seems likely that new Lightning-equipped headphones and possibly even wireless headphones will make their debut.

BMW selling CarPlay as standalone option

BMW will be the first auto manufacturer to sell CarPlay as a separate option on its vehicles rather than including it in a package. Unlike other manufacturers, who either include CarPlay as a standard feature or bundle it into a package, BMW will be offering it as a standalone $300 option throughout its entire model line, even up to the top end. Even customers buying the $138,000 Alpina B7 xDrive will need to spend the extra $300 to add the CarPlay option, regardless of any other packages included in the bundle. By comparison, Porsche offers CarPlay as part of its Porsche Connect package which also provides smartphone vehicle control and monitoring, and Volkswagen provides CarPlay either as part of its Connectivity Package on lower models, which also includes Android Auto and other enhanced media features, or as a standard feature on its higher models. Ford, Mercedes, Honda, and Audi all offer CarPlay in similar manners. Despite the additional charge, however, the report notes that CarPlay will likely still be factory-installed in many vehicles available at dealerships and the price already included in the invoice for buyers driving a BMW off the lot. [via TechCrunch]

Apple to begin removing outdated and non-functional apps from App Store on Sept. 7

In an email sent to registered developers, Apple today announced that as of Sept. 7 it will begin “an ongoing process of evaluating apps” and removing any apps that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated” with a goal of improving the quality of apps in the App Store and making it easier for users to find apps which meet their needs. The announcement notes that the review will cut across all categories on the App Store, and developers of apps that don’t meet the criteria will be contacted to be given a 30-day window to make any necessary changes in order for their app to remain on the App Store. Apps that are completely non-functional — that is, those that crash on launch — will be removed immediately. Apps that are removed will only be taken down from the App Store’s catalog, and users who have already downloaded a removed app will be able to continue using it and even take advantage of in-app purchases.

Apple Watch 2 leaks reveal larger battery, thinner display

A new set of exclusive photos posted by Byte show key components which allegedly come from the upcoming second-generation Apple Watch. The most notable components reveal that the new LCD and touch screen digitizer will be thinner than in the prior generation Apple Watch, with a smaller front bezel and an additional chipset — which may point to a thinner overall Apple Watch. The battery on the new model will also apparently come in at a 1.28 WH of power, an increase of 0.3 WH from the first-generation Apple Watch, although the battery in the new model will be thicker. A new Force Touch gasket is also shown, which uses a new layout and also includes an additional chipset.

Logitech announces Circle Safe subscription video storage plan for Logi Circle camera

Logitech has announced Circle Safe, a new subscription-based video storage plan for its Logi Circle camera that allows users to keep and replay video footage beyond the default 24 hours. Priced at $10/month or $100/year, Circle Safe allows users to keep up to 31 days of video footage in their Logitech Circle account, along with the ability to create custom time-lapse Day Briefs covering a specific time frame, rather than an entire day’s worth of footage. All Logi Circle users can take advantage of a 31-day free trial for Circle Safe, and plans are available at discounted rates for a limited time. Users can sign up through the updated Logi Circle app.

Jobs continued to work on Apple TV set after tenure as CEO

A new report from Re/code reveals that after Apple CEO Steve Jobs turned over the reigns of the company, he planned to remain with Apple working on his own secret pet project to reinvent television. Walt Mossberg explains how Jobs called him on the night that he formally handed over the Chief Executive role to Tim Cook and shared his TV ambitions, telling Mossberg, “I think we figured out a way to do it, and it’s going to be fantastic.” Although Jobs invited Mossberg to come and see what he was working on, the untimely demise of the former CEO only two months later meant that much of his vision never came to fruition. The report notes that “Mossberg believes (Jobs) was talking about an integrated set.” Of course, Apple has yet to introduce its own TV set, and rumors on that front died down some time ago.

Apple CEO Tim Cook dismisses EU tax accusations as ‘total political crap’

In an exclusive interview with Ireland’s Independent, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated on the record that he rejects the European Competition Commissioner’s assertion that Apple did not pay sufficient tax in Ireland as “total political crap” and that he believes Ireland is being “picked on” by the European Union in an effort to forcibly harmonize tax rates across the EU without any kind of public discussion.

I think we’ll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable.

Cook went on to state that the Commission just “picked a number” from nowhere, and that in the year that Commission alleges that Apple paid only 0.005pc tax in Ireland, the company actually paid $400 million, making it what he believes was the highest taxpayer in the entire country during that year. Cook’s latest comments stem from the EU’s ruling earlier this week that Apple owed €13 billion (~ $14.5b USD) in back taxes to Ireland, stating that the Irish government provided selective tax benefits to Apple — a practice illegal under EU state aid rules. Despite this, Cook emphasizes that Apple will still be pressing ahead with its expansion in Ireland, including a new data center in Country Galway and 1,000 new jobs in its offices in Cork. “I want to be really clear that we are very committed on Ireland,” Cook said.

Instagram 9.2 update for iOS includes pinch-to-zoom on photos and videos

Instagram’s latest update to its iOS app adds the ability to pinch-to-zoom on photos and videos, a feature long requested by iPhone users. The improvement allows users to get a closer look at images and videos, but notably, snaps back to the original size instantly when released. The updated app also makes changes to the Stories feature, providing better options for taking photos and videos in the dark by adding a low-light button that will appear when the camera detects darkness.

Judge dismisses key claims of Monster’s case against Beats over Apple deal

A judge has thrown out a former partner’s claim that the he was double-crossed by Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine during negotiations for the headphone maker’s $3 billion sale to Apple, the Associated Press reports. Noel Lee, founder of video and audio cable maker Monster, contended that Dre and Iovine orchestrated a “sham” deal with HTC in 2011 that led to the termination of Beats’ alliance with Monster and reduced his 5 percent share in Beats to 1.25 percent. Lee said Beats’ misrepresentations led him to sell off that remaining stake for $5.5 million in 2013, ahead of the 2014 Apple deal that would have made that stake worth $30 million.

Apple adds 2TB iCloud storage option

Responding to the ever-growing size of many users’ photo libraries, Apple has added a new 2TB tier to its iCloud storage service, doubling the previous upper limit. Apple’s website lists worldwide pricing figures for the 2TB option, which costs $20 a month for U.S. users. Last September, Apple reduced the monthly cost of the 1TB option from $20 to $10, cut the price of the 200GB option from $4 to $3, raised the storage space for the $1 a month subscription from 20GB to 50GB, and eliminated the 500GB option all together.

Spec sheet shows Lightning EarPods, Lightning headphone adapter packed in with 256GB iPhone 7 Plus

A new photo posted by French site NowhereElse alleges to show that Apple will include both Lightning-equipped EarPods and a Lightning adapter for 3.5mm headphones with its iPhone 7 Plus. The image shows an alleged packaging insert for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus that lists both accessories alongside the usual Lightning-to-USB cable and USB power adapter included with every iPhone.

Papa John’s releases pizza-ordering app for Apple TV

Papa John’s has come up with what seems to be a first for the Apple TV: its new app allows users to order food from the device. The app lets users select from the restaurant’s entire menu, customize their pizza, save favorites, and re-order past orders. The company also offers a 25 percent discount on orders placed through the Apple TV and the ability to collect rewards points to be used on future orders.

Apple call Australian banks’ request a ‘detriment to consumers’

Apple has filed a scathing response to Australian banks requesting the ability to negotiate to have their own mobile payment apps featured on the iPhone, claiming the country’s “big three” banks are looking to stall Apple Pay’s adoption among consumers to stifle competition. The banks asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the right to collectively bargain with Apple, and while the ACCC refused their request for interim approval to start the negotiations, the Commission won’t release its final ruling until October.

EU determines Apple should pay 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland; Apple plans appeal

After a three-year investigation, the European Commission has concluded that Ireland should recover 13 billion euros (about $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple, saying the company’s deal in that country was illegal, the BBC reports. The commission said Apple paid substantially less than other companies, ending up with a corporate tax rate of no more than 1 percent while other companies pay around 12.5 percent. “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

SIM tray photos hint at alleged ‘gloss black’ iPhone color

On the heels of previous leaked images of SIM trays that purported to show there was a black iPhone in the works, Macotakara has unearthed more images which may hint at a glossy black iPhone color to be revealed next week. The image shows five SIM trays held side by side and includes a black option among the existing space gray, rose gold, gold and silver. The site also posted a mock up of what a black version of the iPhone 7 might look like, which also serves as a warning that painting or Photoshopping a SIM tray to be black in the other photo is a clear possibility.

Trademark filings hint at wireless EarPods, two new Apple Watch models

Russian trademark filings uncovered by mobiltelefon.ru show identifiers for 10 different individual versions of Apple Watch and wireless headphones referred to as “AirPods” designed for use with the iPhone 7. A leaked video of EarPods featuring a Lightning connector has led to speculation that Apple may package those with the iPhone 7, since they’re rumored to have done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. These latest filings hint that Apple may be offering its first version of wireless earbuds for users who want to ditch the cord all together. The AirPods name implies that the accessory will be a first-party accessory, not branded through the company’s Beats label. But whether they’ll be in the box with the iPhone or sold separately is an open question.

Report: EU to rule against Apple-Ireland tax deals, recommend Apple pay 1B+ Euros

The European Commission will rule against Ireland’s tax deals with Apple on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The commission will reportedly make the recommendation for Ireland to recoup more than 1 billion Euros (about $1.19 billion) in back taxes from Apple. Both Apple and Ireland have previously said they would appeal any such ruling, and neither Apple nor the European Commission has commented as of yet. Despite the commission’s recommendation, Irish authorities will be able to determine exactly what must be owed — further details will likely emerge upon the expected official announcement from the European Commission on Tuesday.

Apple sued over unresponsive iPhone 6/6 Plus touchscreen issues

Photo: iFixit

A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by some iPhone 6/6 Plus owners, Reuters reports. The suit has been prompted by the issue which iFixit recently dubbed “Touch Disease” — flickering gray lines appear at the top of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, causing the screen to become glitchy or unresponsive. iFixit claims Apple has refused to recognize the problem as a major issue. The problem may be caused by bending either phone, which causes connections between the touchscreen controller chips and logic board to break down.

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