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New videos appear to show assembly processes, dummy models of iPhone 8 in 3 colors

YouTube star Danny Winget claims to have obtained dummy models of the iPhone 8 in three colors, showing the mockups off in his latest video. Winglet’s non-functional devices show the silver and copper/gold coming with white front bezels and cutouts, leaving the black as the only model with the black bezels and cutouts if Apple sticks to three colors as previously rumored. The silver has a glass back with shinier stainless steel sides, and the copper/gold features a similar split between a flat bronze color on the back and a shinier gold look on the edges. The models also sport no visible home button or Touch ID sensors (either front or back) and as expected come in at about the same size as the iPhone 7.

Fifth beta of iOS 11 hints at German Apple Pay rollout

New details found in iOS 11 and watchOS 4 suggest that the launch of Apple Pay in Germany may be coming sooner than expected. While Apple’s website hinted at a German launch last fall, more recent reports from last spring have suggested that negotiations have moved more slowly than expected. However, iOS developer Philipp Ebener told MacRumors that the fifth regional betas of iOS 11 and watchOS 4 now include the option to add German bank cards to Apple Pay for the first time. While Ebener reports that he wasn’t able to actually register any of his German cards, the fact that the feature appears to now have been partially enabled suggests that full activation could come with the official public launch of iOS 11 in the fall.

iOS 11 drops ‘beta’ status for Portrait Mode, allows effect to be removed from existing photos

It appears that Apple has decided that the iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode feature will be ready for prime time with the release of iOS 11. The latest iOS 11 beta removes the “beta” status of the feature, first introduced in iOS 10.1 last fall, and also adds the ability to remove the effect from existing photos after the fact.

[via AppleInsider]

Group of Chinese developers launch antitrust complaint over App Store policies

A group of Chinese developers has filed a complaint against Apple alleging that the company has violated antitrust regulations in that country, Reuters reports. The group consisting of 28 developers is being represented by the Beijing-Based law firm Dare & Sure, and is accusing Apple of charging excessive fees and arbitrarily removing apps from the Chinese App Store without explanation. According to Lin Wei, an attorney at the firm, “During its localization process Apple has run into several antitrust issues ... after an initial investigation we consulted a number of enterprises and got a very strong response.” The law firm extends an invitation to developers in April to participate in the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday with China’s two anti-trust regulators — the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission. The law firm did not provide any details on which developers are involved in the complaint.

IKEA Tradfri lineup gets HomeKit support via firmware update [Update: Not yet]

As promised earlier this year, IKEA has quietly release firmware updates adding HomeKit support to its TRÅDFRI smart lighting product lineup. IKEA’s TRÅDFRI lineup is comprised of a wide range of inexpensive smart bulbs that associate with a residential gateway for use with a physical remote control or companion IOS app. With individual bulbs selling for as low as $12 and the bridge priced at $30, IKEA’s system is now one of the most inexpensive HomeKit-enabled lighting solutions on the market.

Unreal Engine updated with basic ARKit support

The latest version of Unreal Engine includes some basic support for Apple’s new ARKit, which the accompanying blog post calls “an early, experimental version.” The plug-in is based on the work done by director Peter Jackson’s Wingnut AR studio and will allow developers to get familiar with the new features before official support begins with the release of iOS 11 in the fall. Unreal Engine has been a popular platform for game creation since it was introduced in 1998, and we first made available on iOS in September 2010. [via AppleInsider]

International Trade Commission looks into Qualcomm’s request to ban US iPhone imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced it is investigating Qualcomm’s claims that Apple devices violate its patents, the latest front in Apple’s ongoing legal war with the chipmaker. Qualcomm asked the ITC to ban imports of iPhones into the U.S. in May, and the commission said it will set a target date for the completion of the investigation within 45 days. WHile the back and forth in the courts could take years, the ITC promised to “make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time.” Apple didn’t comment on the development, but CEO Tim Cook has previously said, “I don’t believe that anyone is going to decide to enjoin the iPhone based on that. I think that there’s plenty of case law around that subject, but we shall see.”

Apple suppliers ramping up to mass production of all 3 new iPhones

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple has already entered mass production for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, with the iPhone 8 expected to pass verification later this month before going into mass production as well in mid-September, according to AppleInsider. Kuo’s report reflects what has been seen by supply chain sources speaking to Digitimes, who said that all three models “have entered volume production.” Both reports foresee supply shortfalls of the iPhone 8, with Kuo estimating the company will produce 2–4 million units in this quarter.

Apple releases fourth round of public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a fourth series of public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, allowing end users an opportunity to get an early preview of what’s coming in the new operating systems this fall and provide their feedback to Apple. With this round, Apple has also taken the unusual step of sending out e-mail notifications to at least some registered developers letting them know that the public beta is available, although it’s unclear whether this was intentional or not. Users can enroll in Apple’s public beta program by visiting the company’s Apple Beta Program website.

Coach releases new and updated Apple Watch bands

Coach has released a series of new Apple Watch bands and updated the colors of some others for fall, Haute Ecriture reports. Many of the styles incorporate looks that have been seen in other Coach products, like a black leather band with the brand’s tea rose appliqué and a yellow band with its Rexy T-Rex emblazoned under the watch face. New printed leather straps include car, floral and cherry prints, while the woven-looking Snake Strap got a new red color. The bands range from $150 to $195 on Coach’s website, but not all types are available for both Apple Watch sizes.

Top telcom regulator in India angry over Apple’s slow review of government’s ‘do not disturb’ app

The head of India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority is taking Apple to task for refusing to approve an official government “do not disturb” app for iOS, The Times of India reports. The app serves to block annoying unsolicited calls and texts, and TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma claimed Apple is engaging in “anti-consumer” actions by not approving it. “So basically you (Apple) are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice. If a customer wants to share financial transaction data with his/her bank, for getting a loan, why should it not be allowed?” Sharma said. “This is what we call data colonization.”

Purported X-ray of prototype iPhone 8 shows inductive charging coil inside

Photos of a purported X-ray of an iPhone 8 in testing posted on Chinese social media site Weibo show a large dark area in the center thought to be the new inductive coil to enable wireless charging. Weibo is unpredictable in terms of accuracy, but wireless charging is expected to be a marquee feature in this year’s iPhone models. Problems with the wireless charging system’s development were reported in July, but it’s possible that those were related to software instead of hardware, meaning that it’s possible the problem could be patched with an iOS 11 update after the devices ship.

Apple patents way to use FaceTime camera and sensors to take health measurements

A recent Apple patent describes new ways to use the FaceTime camera and accompanying sensors in current iPhones to take health measurements. The process “uses one or more of the camera and the proximity sensor to emit light into a body part of a user touching a surface of the electronic device and one or more of the camera, the ambient light sensor, and the proximity sensor to receive at least part of the emitted light reflected by the body part of the user,” much like the Apple Watch uses reflected light from the sensors in contact with a user’s skin to take its measurements. With added sensors in future devices to boost what is already there, Apple claims it might be able to provide “a blood pressure index, a blood hydration, a body fat content, an oxygen saturation, a pulse rate, a perfusion index, an electrocardiogram, a photoplethysmogram, and/or any other such health data.” [via 9to5Mac]

Apple releases fifth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fifth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

Apple reportedly interested in deal for Bollywood movies and music

Apple is one of a handful of companies pursuing a deal with Indian movie production house Eros, Reuters reports. Apple’s video content strategy has been disorganized to say the least, and iTunes Store is losing its dominance in movie rentals and sales. A source familiar with the matter said the discussions are in a very early stage for what could be a $1 billion deal. Eros owns the rights to several Bollywood hits and has recently expanded into other Indian languages, claiming to now have a library of more than 3,000 films. Apple declined to comment, but is making a big push in India on multiple fronts.

Report: Apple working on multiple prototypes of AR glasses

While Apple has committed a considerable investment toward its augmented reality project, the Financial Times reports the company still has multiple prototypes for its rumored AR glasses. People familiar with the project said some of Apple’s AR glasses are separate units that rely on their own internal displays to overlay a virtual world on top of the real one, other methods rely on an iPhone inserted into a headset to create the effect. Some Apple engineers have pushed for the glasses to have their own 3D cameras, but rely on the iPhone for display purposes. The iPhone’s pixel count is lower than that of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive—making it likely to fall far behind those devices when used for up-close viewing—but with the iPhone 8 expected to contain a higher pixel density than the iPhone 7 Plus and the latest iPad Pros getting a bump to a 120Hz refresh rate, Apple is showing signs of closing the gap. [via AppleInsider]

Report: Cellular Apple Watch coming later this year

After last year’s speculation about a cellular Apple Watch didn’t come to fruition, a new Bloomberg report claims the device will be released later this year. Citing people familiar with the development, at least some new Apple Watches will come equipped with LTE chips and be able to perform tasks like downloading new songs or accessing apps without a tethered iPhone. Intel is said to be supplying the modems—not surprising since Apple is embroiled in a nasty legal battle with its other supplier, Qualcomm—and Apple is already said to be in talks with US and European carriers to support the devices. Previous predictions placed a cellular Apple Watch launching earlier next year and including a hybrid USB-C/Lightning connector, and Daring Fireball cites an unconfirmed source saying the device could even include an “all-new form factor,” but provided no specifics about what that would entail.

iPhone 8 fingerprint sensors reportedly scrapped while cameras add “SmartCam” mode, better 4K video

Code extracted from Apple’s new HomePod and posted on iOs developer Guilherme Rambo’s Twitter account seems to show a “SmartCam” feature in the iPhone 8 that will automatically select the best shots while photographing particular subjects. The setting names cover a variety of commonly photographed objects or scenes, including babies, pets, documents, brightly lit stages, fireworks, foliage, sports, snow, the sky, sunsets and sunrises. While the iPhone already makes educated guesses at which shots are best when used in burst mode, Rambo said the “SmartCam” functionality is new to the HomePod iOS 11.0.2 firmware. Other snippets of code show that both the front and rear iPhone 8 cameras may support recording video in 4K at 60 fps, according to iHelp BR. The front cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus currently record video at 4K at 30 fps, but the FaceTime camera tops out at 1080p.

mXers Audio announces Modular Earbuds

mXers Audio has debuted a new modular earphone system via a Kickstarter campaign. The new system features a patented connector design that allows the earbuds to be disassembled into separate parts so that any wire or earbud can be interchanged in seconds, allowing users to customize for features, fit, or simply their preferred choice of color and style. The interchangeable parts also make the Modular Earphones easier to repair, since only a single broken part such as a wire needs to be repaired or replaced, rather than an entire set of expensive earbuds. The system will offer both wired and wireless Bluetooth 4.2 base modules onto which either a standard set of mXers earbuds can be connected, or the bass-heavy xBass earbuds, both available in color choices of blue, red, or pink. Pricing via the Kickstarter campaign ranges from $30 for a basic wired set to to $120 for a set of three earbuds with the wireless module.

Leaked HomePod firmware suggests Apple Pay may use Facial Recognition

Developers are continuing to dig through the leaked HomePod firmware, discovering new insights into features that may be implemented on the upcoming premium “iPhone 8” that Apple is rumoured to be working on. The latest discovery by iOS developer @r_idn suggests that Apple may in fact be preparing to leverage the facial recognition features that are expected to be included in the new flagship iPhone to work with Apple Pay, supplementing or possibly even replacing Touch ID as the authentication method.

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