Apple has announced the exclusive publication of interactive digital editions of Game of Thrones to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular George R.R. Martin best-seller. The new interactive iBooks will allow readers to go deeper into the history of some of the great houses of Westeros, via interactive character maps, detailed annotations, and more, along with glossary terms that will provide insight into character connections and the lineage of the various houses. An appendix of all 92 house sigils is also included, with comprehensive information about symbolism, house seats, regions, and allegiances.
Apple has sent out an email to registered developers announcing the debut of search ads in the App Store. Apple SVP Phil Schiller announced earlier this year that search ads would be coming to the App Store, however provided few additional details at the time beyond saying that Apple was giving careful consideration on the best way to implement ads in a customer-friendly manner. Search Ads will allow developers to easily create tailored ads to promote their apps at the top of App Store search results, with basic ads created automatically using metadata and imagery from the developer’s app and automatic matching of ads to relevant searches in the App Store. Advanced features will allow developers to target their ads to iPhone or iPad users, adds their own keywords, specify a target demographic for ads, and schedule campaigns to appear only during certain time periods. Apple has published a new set of pages at searchads.apple.com where developers can find out more information on the new service and sign up to receive a $100 credit toward their first campaign.
Apple has announced a new partnership with Deloitte aimed at promoting business solutions on the iOS platform. As part of the new initiative, Deloitte will be creating a first-of-its-kind Apple consulting practice that will include over 5,000 strategic advisors focused on helping enterprise organizations develop and implement solutions in over 20 different industries, including retail, field services, recruiting, R&D, inventory management and back-office systems. EnterpriseNext, a new service from Deloitte Consulting, will help clients properly implement and leverage iOS hardware, software, and services, discovering new possibilities, prioritizing digital resources, and developing custom solutions with rapid prototyping. Apple also has enterprise relationships with IBM and SAP.
A new report from The Intercept reveals a caveat to Apple’s privacy policies surrounding text and iMessage communications. According to the report, while Apple’s end-to-end iMessage encryption precludes the company from being able to disclose the content of messages between iOS device users, the company does maintain a server-based log of phone numbers that users have attempted to communicate with via the Messages app. Numbers are added to these logs whenever an iMessage user enters a new phone number into the Messages app and Apple’s servers need to determine whether the message should be delivered to the recipient via its own iMessage service or using the carrier’s SMS text messaging services.
Apple is reportedly briefing a select group of hackers on its plans to launch a bug bounty program for those discovering iOS and Mac vulnerabilities, Forbes reports. One source said the group attending the meeting “is not too big at all,” limited to an invite-only list focused more on quality than quantity of hacking talent. Apple is said to be rewarding hackers with up to $200,000 for providing the company with information about security flaws in its devices. Apple first announced the program during August’s Black Hat security conference, joining companies like Google and Microsoft who have long offered similar programs for hackers.
Apple is moving its 1,400 London employees into a new headquarters inside the once-derelict Battersea Power Station, the Evening Standard reports. The London employees are currently scattered across eight sites, but when the new six-floor office space opens in 2021, the entire operation will finally be under one roof. “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood rich with history,” Apple said in a statement. Apple’s facility in Cork, Ireland will remain its main European headquarters, but the new London office will be one of the company’s largest worldwide.
Honeywell’s new HomeKit-enabled Lyric T5 thermostat ($150) will allow users to control their home’s temperature from anywhere with Apple’s Home app or using Siri voice controls. Priced $50 lower than Honeywell’s previous Wi-Fi thermostats (currently on sale) and $100 cheaper than ecobee’s ecobee3, the Lyric T5 features a touchscreen display, allows for scheduling up to 7 days in advance, and provides push notifications to warn users when their air filter needs changing or when the inside of the house reaches extreme temperatures. The device also uses a phone’s location to track when a user is headed home, changing the temperature in anticipation of the homeowner’s arrival. The Lyric T5 is available for preorder on Amazon, but is currently listed at $249 on that site instead of the $150 that Honeywell lists on its homepage.
After the launch of iOS 10 and a revamp of the Apple Music interface, Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes Bozoma Saint John sat down with Buzzfeed to take stock of where the company’s streaming music service has been and where it’s going. Along with a cleaner, simpler user interface, the updated Apple Music adds two new playlist options: My Favorites Mix and My New Music Mix. Where the service initially banked exclusively on human curation of playlists, the My Favorites Mix is generated by an algorithm that uses deep historical knowledge of a user’s tastes and listening habits, culled from years of data brought over from iTunes. Songs given high ratings and ones that are played frequently appear on that mix, while the My New Music Mix algorithm uses that profile to serve up recently released songs that music experts think compliment those tracks users already like. “We were too ambitious in the beginning — we probably put too much into it,” Iovine said of the former focus on 100 percent human-curated playlists. “But we’re getting there now, one foot in front of the other, and the stuff we’re creating I don’t think anyone is gonna see coming.”
Apple has announced that it will release its Q4 financial results on Thursday, October 27. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q4 of revenue between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.
Sonos announced today on Twitter that its wireless speakers will be listed on Apple’s online store today and sold in Apple Stores starting October 5. Customers buying a Sonos system through Apple’s website or in an Apple Store before December 31 will receive a gift card giving them three months of Apple Music for free (ostensibly on top of the three-month free trial Apple already offers to new users). The deal further solidifies Sonos’ ties to Apple Music, following the company’s move earlier this year to make Apple Music available on all of its speakers for users without an Apple device. Apple Music users can add the service by selecting “Add Music Services” from any Sonos controller app, scrolling down to the Apple Music icon, and logging in.
Apple is fighting with the European Union over $14.5 billion in taxes without the usual lobbying force of a major company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company spent just over $1 million in 2015 lobbying the EU, when Google parent company Alphabet dropped $4.5 million and employs more than 10 full-time lobbyists. American companies lack direct national representation within EU institutions, leaving them at a disadvantage when competing against European countries who can have their national representatives lobby on their behalf. Other companies have built a strong European lobbying presence to sway investigations and potential legislation, but while CEO Tim Cook has personally made the trip to Brussels to clarify the company’s positions directly with the EU’s antitrust chief, Apple is far behind in employing locals charged with keeping a constant eye on developing situations.
Apple will soon offer “Spoken Editions” of written content from some publishers through iTunes, TechCrunch reports. Early versions of podcasts branded Spoken Editions from brands like Time, Wired, and Forbes have begun appearing on iTunes, offering users the ability to get the written news delivered in audio form so they can listen while doing other things.
Apple is making a big push to turn HealthKit into a diagnostic tool, Bloomberg reports. The app currently collects fitness data from a user’s devices, but people familiar with Apple’s plans said the company has scores of health-care experts building improved software to analyze and understand the implication’s of patient information. The team is also working on new apps for the Apple Watch, including one that tracks sleep patterns and another that gauges fitness levels by measuring the time it takes a user’s heart rate to fall from peak to resting levels.
Apple has acknowledged claims that iOS 10 has weaker password security for local backups and promised it is looking into a fix, Forbes reports. Russian forensics company Elcomsoft discovered that the new iOS uses weaker password protection than previous versions when it comes to manual backups via iTunes. “We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups,” Elcomsoft’s Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post. “We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older.”
Apple has released iOS 10.0.2, a minor update that fixes a problem with headphone controls on Lightning EarPods reported earlier this week, as well as an issue with enabling iCloud Photo Library and some app extensions. The update follows Thursday’s release of the iOS 10.1 public beta.
Apple’s rumored standalone Siri home control hub may be getting closer to a reality, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Rumors earlier this year suggested that Apple was working on a standalone “Siri home speaker” that would rival Amazon’s Echo, with subsequent reports suggesting that it might go farther than merely being an Echo-like speaker, integrating a camera and possibly other technology. Citing people familiar with the project, the latest Bloomberg report reveals that it’s been in the works for more than two years, and has now reached the prototype testing stage where key Apple employees are now using prototypes of the device in their own homes.
Apple has acquired machine learning company Tuplejump, TechCrunch reports. According to the report, Apple had specific interest in the company’s “FiloDB”, an opensource project designed to “efficiently apply machine learning concepts and analytics to massive amounts of complex data right as it streamed in.” Apple gave its typical response to the reported acquisition, saying that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Following yesterday’s release of the iOS 10.1 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.1 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.1 public beta notably adds the “Portrait Camera” depth of field effect for iPhone 7 Plus, which Apple demonstrated at its event earlier this month — an enhancement that may encourage iPhone 7 Plus users to sign up for the public beta program to take an early peek at the feature. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site.
Apple has brought the promised “Portrait Camera” depth of field effect to the iPhone 7 Plus as part of the iOS 10.1 beta released earlier today, suggesting that the company will likely exceed most expectations on its goal to deliver the feature “later this year.” The new feature places an additional “Portrait” mode on the slider in the camera app, between Photo and Square, and seems to require a higher level of lighting to make the feature work. There appear to be no additional controls related to the feature, although it automatically requires the use of the second 2X lens and requires the subject to be approximately two to eight feet away from the camera.
The feature is presently labelled as being in “beta” although even in this state is appears to work quite well in our preliminary testing, as these photos indicate. It’s unclear whether this designation only represents the state of iOS 10.1 itself or may continue following the public release of the iOS update, as other features like Visual Voicemail Transcription have.
Only a little more than a week following the general release of iOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10, Apple has now seeded the first developer betas for all three platforms — iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 — to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists no significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs, improving performance, and polishing up the major iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 releases. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.