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Report shows Apple interested in heart monitoring hardware

Emails obtained by MobiHealthNews show Apple has been meeting with the FDA since July about two cardiac monitoring products. In the messages, Apple lawyer Robin Goldstein discussed “an introductory meeting where we will want to talk about two possible (and related) products in the cardiac space, as well as the associated regulatory and quality systems and requirements.” The emails don’t contain any information about the products, but the company recently patented a wearable electrocardiographic health device that could have been part of the discussion. CEO Tim Cook has hinted at ambitious plans for Apple in the health field, admitting that the scope of his vision might require devices other than the Apple Watch. Goldstein ‘s exchanges with FDA Associate Center Director for Digital Health Bakul Patel show a concern on Apple’s part about keeping the discussion private, with Goldstein at one point asking to cancel a larger gathering in favor of “a smaller meeting to discuss how Apple may engage with the FDA in a way that’s ‘non-regulatory’ so we can learn about your processes and thinking, and vice versa.”

Apple wins initial victory against Australian banks in Apple Pay fight

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a preliminary ruling against a group of Australian banks who wanted Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC controller for use with their mobile payment systems. The banks had asked for the right to collectively bargain with Apple to negotiate for access to the iOS platform and for the ability to pass Apple Pay fees on to the service’s users, but in the draft determination, Chairman Rod Sims said, “While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits are currently uncertain and may be limited.”

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.2, watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has seeded the fourth betas of iOS 10.2 and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. It’s now likely that iOS 10.2 will get its full public release soon, possibly next week. We’ll update with any noteworthy findings from the betas.

WSJ: Apple weighing cost of OLED iPhone, considering ‘more than 10 prototypes’

Apple is asking suppliers to scale up their production of OLED displays and submit samples for a curved-screen iPhone that could debut next year, The Wall Street Journal reports. But people familiar with the discussions said the OLED iPhone is far from a done deal, claiming the model is just one of more than 10 prototypes under consideration, and that there are growing concerns that the cost of the new screen might outweigh the benefits. Analysts think an OLED iPhone could cost up to $50 more to produce, and while the screens are thinner and more flexible than traditional LCD displays, other rigid internal components make it unlikely that the screen’s bendability will make much of a difference. Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu seemed confident that Apple would use OLED screens in at least some iPhone models next year during a speech last month, but isn’t bullish on the move being a game changer, saying, “We will make sample OLED screens, but I can’t see them having the potential to become a big market.”

Rumor: iPad Pro to ditch bezels, making 10.9” screen fit in current 9.7” size

Apple’s next iPad Pro release will feature a mostly bezel-less 10.9” model that’s the same size as the current 9.7” version, according to Macotakara. An “informed source in Taiwan” said that bezel will remain in the top portion of the device—where the FaceTime camera is located—but will be eliminated along the sides and the bottom, displacing the home button entirely. The source said the new tablet will also expand to 7.5mm in thickness, up from the current 6.1mm. The source predicts the larger iPad Pro will increase in thickness as well, and doubled down on its previous claim that Apple will release a third, smaller iPad Pro in the current iPad mini size. Rumors about Apple eliminating the bezels in its next iPhone to increase screen size have been floating around for some time, so it’s not impossible that the company is doing the same for its iPads, but we’d be a bit surprised to see such a dramatic redesign introduced in the iPad first.

Apple Black Friday deals kick off in U.S. and Canada

As expected, Apple has launched its Black Friday promotions in U.S. and Canadian Apple Stores, once again offering gift cards in place of discounts, as the company has done over the past few years. Apple is including a $150 gift card for customers purchasing a Mac, $100 for the iPad Pro, $50 for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE, and $25 Apple Watch Series 1, and fourth-generation Apple TV. Notably, Apple’s most recent product releases — such as the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2, and new MacBook Pro models — are not eligible for the gift card promotion, and refurbished and educationally-priced products do not qualify.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 from iLounge!

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and we at iLounge would like to wish you a happy holiday and express how grateful all of us are for your readership and support. We’ll be on a limited posting schedule today and Friday, returning to normal updates on Monday, November 28th. Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple makes deal to bring Apple Music to Indian ride-hailing company’s cars

Apple has partnered with Indian ride-hailing company Ola to provide Apple Music as “part of the in-car experience,” The Los Angeles Times reports. The service will be integrated with the company’s Ola Play platform, which also features options from Sony, Qualcomm and Audio Compass. Spotify has had a similar deal in place with Uber since 2014, allowing passengers to control music in the car through the app on their smartphone. The Ola deal is Apple’s second foray into the ride-hailing world, following a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing earlier this year.

Analyst says all 2017 iPhones will feature wireless charging

In a note to investors, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he believes all of the 2017 iPhones will feature wireless charging functionality, making a bolder claim than earlier sources who said the feature could be limited to certain models — if Apple could make it work at all. Kuo said the rumored all-glass chassis design coming next year will facilitate wireless charging, but he’s still unsure whether Apple will include a wireless charger in the box or sell it separately. Apple is said to be outsourcing the wireless charger’s construction to ensure it receives “comprehensive testing before production.” Other reports have been less certain that Apple will end up including wireless charging, citing concerns about the ability to manufacture wireless charging modules profitably. [via AppleInsider]

tvOS, iOS betas gain Single Sign-On support for DirecTV

Users running the latest tvOS and iOS betas are seeing DirecTV being added to the list of Single Sign-On partners. Apple’s initial press release listed DirecTV as a partner, but when the TV app first landed on devices, Dish Network and its Sling TV spinoff were the only major TV providers listed. On the Apple TV, the setting to enable Single Sign-On will be found under Accounts in the Settings app, while on the iPhone and iPad it can be found in the main Settings app, below the settings for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo. Enabling the feature makes DirecTV programming available through the TV app, but will also remove the need to log in again for users who are still watching TV through DirecTV’s own app. [via MacRumors]

Apple teases one-day Black Friday deals

In a post on its website, Apple is teasing Black Friday deals. There’s no information for which items will be discounted and by how much during the one-day sale, nor any indication of when the sale will start. Apple hasn’t offered its own Black Friday sale since 2014, opting to let other retailers handle the discounting of its products last year. Apple is offering free shipping for products ordered online, and items bought between November 10 and December 25 can be returned until January 8. In-store pickup is also available for online orders, and many Apple stores have extended hours listed online for the event.

Apple ends development of wireless routers

Apple has shuttered its wireless router division, transferring the engineers to teams developing the Apple TV and other products, Bloomberg reports. Apple has been slowly shutting down the router team over the last year, sources familiar with the matter said. Apple hadn’t released a new AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme or AirPort Time Capsule since 2013, but a company spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s future plans for the product lines. Apple’s router offerings have always lagged behind competitors in adopting new standards due to the company’s focus on integrating the devices into its device ecosystem, and the entire AirPort line only accounts for a tiny percentage of Apple’s overall sales.

Apple launches repair program for iPhone 6 ‘Touch Disease’

Apple has launched a new Multi-Touch Repair Program for iPhone 6 Plus, intended to address complaints about a problem dubbed “Touch Disease” that was brought to light by iFixit back in August. The issue, believed by iFixit to be the result of a design defect in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, resulted in a problem where touch functionality would become glitchy or unresponsive and flickering gray lines would appear at the top of the iPhone screen. With many of the affected iPhones out of warranty, Apple Stores generally refused to recognize the problem as being a real issue, prompting a class action lawsuit to be filed against Apple.

Sony brings PlayStation Vue to Apple TV

Sony has announced the launch of an updated PlayStation Vue app that adds Apple TV support, bringing the gaming network’s streaming video service to users of Apple’s set-top box. In addition to providing access to viewing PlayStation Vue content, the app also includes unique features such as cloud DVR capabilities and simultaneous streaming, while maintaining the standard look and feel of the PlayStation Vue service with Siri Remote support. Existing PlayStation Vue users can simply download the app onto their Apple TV, link their subscription and start streaming right away, while new users can sign up for a plan through the PlayStation Vue website (an in-app purchase option does not appear to be available).

Report: Apple exploring possibility of manufacturing iPhones in U.S.

Apple has been asking its suppliers to study the possibility of moving iPhone production to the U.S., according to a new report by Nikkei Asian Review. Back in June, Apple reportedly approached both of its major iPhone assemblers, Foxconn and Pegatron, asking them to look into making iPhones in the U.S.; Foxconn agreed, but Pegatron declined due to cost concerns. Sources for the report indicated that although Foxconn has been working on outlining a plan for Apple, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou had been “less enthusiastic” about it as production costs would inevitably rise — the cost of producing an iPhone in the U.S. would be expected to more than double. The move from Apple appears to be due to concerns about U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s promises to push U.S. based companies back to domestic manufacturing, promising to slap a 45 percent import tariff on any goods made in China. In addition to increased costs, however, moving full iPhone production into to U.S. may not even be feasible due to a lack of skilled workers and a cluster of domestic suppliers of components.

Report: Apple storing iPhone call logs in iCloud

A new report from Elcomsoft, a company that develops iPhone cracking tools, reveals that Apple is storing user’s iPhone call log histories in iCloud, according to Forbes. According to Elcomsoft’s CEO Vladimir Katalov, the call logs are stored separately from iCloud Backups, and cannot be disabled without switching iCloud Drive off entirely. Katalov also explains that the scope of logging has increased with iOS 10’s new CallKit support, logging not only calls made within the Phone app, but also calls made with third-party apps such as Skype that are CallKit-compatible — an understandable scenario considering iOS 10 CallKit apps log their call history in the Phone app’s Recent Call list alongside traditional phone calls. Katalov goes on to note that this data is stored in “almost real-time” and that it could be valuable to law enforcement looking to gain access to a user’s iPhone data, and also claims that Apple hasn’t properly disclosed just what data is being stored in iCloud in this case.

Apple to reduce cut of in-app subscription payments for streaming video services

Apple is planning to reduce its portion of fees for streaming video service subscriptions sold via the App Store, Bloomberg reports, a move that appears to be aimed at encouraging tighter integration streaming video apps on the iOS and Apple TV platforms. This is the second big move in Apple’s attempts to adjust its in-app subscription pricing models, after the company announced earlier this year that developers would see their share increase for every customer subscription that is retained beyond the first year. With this reported change, Apple will be giving streaming video apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO access to the better deal — reducing Apple’s revenue share to 15 percent — right out of the gate in the first year, provided they integrate with Apple’s forthcoming TV app.

Report: Apple’s video strategy has Hollywood confused

Apple recently tried to work out an exclusive video deal with Chris Rock, but walked away from the discussions and let the comedian’s two stand-up specials go to Netflix instead, The Information reports. This latest chapter in Apple’s scattered efforts to acquire exclusive video content has added to the confusion in Hollywood over what types of media Apple has an interest in acquiring. The company has been working aggressively to land movies for iTunes—most recently securing the rights to offer Michael Moore’s “TrumpLand” earlier than other online providers—and has picked up shows like “Carpool Karaoke” that fit into its strategy for promoting Apple Music. But after meeting with TV producers and movie studios about developing original content for iTunes, Eddy Cue was quoted as saying Apple is “not in the business of trying to create TV shows,” adding that the company is more interested in offering suggestions and guidance. Apple is refusing to commit the large sums of money necessary to compete with streaming rivals like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, leading analysts to worry the company’s hesitation “could stymie Apple’s ability to increase market share for its streaming video device, the Apple TV, and lock more people into the Apple ecosystem.” [via MacRumors]

‘808’ documentary about iconic drum machine will be Apple Music exclusive

Apple Music has secured the exclusive rights to ‘808,’ a documentary about the impact the Roland TR-808 drum machine had on music, CNET reports. Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe narrates the movie, which first premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and features interviews with music industry superstars like Pharrell, Questlove, David Guetta, and Rick Rubin. The documentary debuts on Apple Music December 9 and will be available to rent or buy from iTunes on December 19.

Apple releases third developer beta for watchOS 3.1.1

Following Monday’s release of iOS 10.2 beta 3 to developers, Apple has now also released a third developer beta for watchOS 3.1.1. As with other recent watchOS betas, the accompanying release notes list few significant changes, with the new version likely being primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new watchOS beta from Apple’s Developer site.

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