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Delayed BeatsX headphones to hit stores Feb. 10

The delayed BeatsX will be available at Apple stores in the U.S. and on the company’s website starting February 10, CNET reports. The $150 neckband-style headphones will feature Apple’s new power-efficient W1 chip already seen in AirPods, and will come in white or black. Beats has also announced gray and blue colors will be added, but there’s no official timeline for when those will appear or when international stores will be getting the headphones.

Apple patents ‘dual mode headphones’ that transform into standalone speaker

Apple has filed a patent for ‘dual mode’ headphones or earbuds that easily can be reconfigured into standalone speakers. Both the headphones and earbuds in the accompanying sketches have the ability to rotate to a freestanding position, which will trigger an internal sensor that tells the speakers to play at a much louder volume than when the device is right against the user’s ear. Apple already employs similar technology in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, using the phone’s ear speaker for stereo sound while the device is being held in a landscape position and reverting to the usual lower volume when the phone returns to the portrait orientation. [via Apple Insider]

App security service identifies 76 popular iOS apps with privacy vulnerabilites

In a post on Medium, verify.ly creator Will Strafach claims his team has discovered at least 76 popular iOS apps vulnerable to silent man-in-the-middle attacks. Strafach doesn’t disclose the most vulnerable apps for security purposes, but listed a few of the apps that have a lower degree of security risks, like the ooVoo video calling app, Trading 212 Forex & Stocks trading app and several different file uploaders affiliated with Snapchat. Most of the apps named leave user details like email addresses, user names and passwords open to interception by a third party, and Strafach says iOS’s App Transport Security feature doesn’t help block the vulnerability. The problem lies in commonly misconfigured networking code that Apple is unable to patch on its end, but data is only vulnerable to interception when using a public WiFi network, so Strafach simply recommends turning Wi-Fi off and using the phone’s cellular data when dealing with sensitive information away from home. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple releases second betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a new batch of second betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Apple negotiating to sell used iPhones in India after earlier denial

Apple has reopened its request to sell used iPhones in India during its seemingly endless negotiations with the country’s government, Bloomberg reports. India has already rejected Apple’s request to sell the pre-owned devices in their country, but with ongoing negotiations reportedly improving, the company is making a new case for bringing used phones to India to be refurbished. A person familiar with the matter said Apple is claiming it will open the proper facilities in India to ensure that refurbished products are up to local standards, adding the request to a long list of concessions it hopes to win in exchange for bringing manufacturing to the country.

Report: Blogger claims Apple augmented reality headset may arrive this year

Tech blogger Robert Scoble, who previously claimed that Carl Zeiss was working with Apple to create augmented reality glasses after an encounter at CES, is now claiming that the glasses will debut this year. On a recent episode of the show “This Week in Tech,” Scoble said several sources “at the highest levels” have told him Apple my announce the glasses this summer, possibly in conjunction with the opening of Apple’s new headquarters or release of the 10th anniversary iPhone.

Apple responds to Australian banks over Apple Pay

Apple has accused Australian banks of working to “delay or even block” Apple Pay to stifle competition from smaller companies and limit consumer options, Bloomberg reports. Apple is keeping the pressure on after winning a preliminary ruling against a group of Australian banks who wanted Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC controller for use with their own mobile payment systems. The banks have been boycotting Apple Pay over the fees Apple charges and filed a motion last July requesting the ability to collectively bargain with the company, but Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims said in December that, “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 joins 96 other companies in filing legal brief to oppose immigration order

Apple and 96 other companies have joined together to file an amicus brief opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Bloomberg reports. The companies filed the brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Sunday night, accelerating their timeline after legal challenges began to mount over the weekend, according to sources familiar with the process. “Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” the brief reads.

Tim Cook to receive honorary degree from University of Glasgow, participate in ‘Fireside Chat’

Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to make an appearance at the University of Glasgow next week to receive an honorary degree and participate in a a “Fireside Chat” Q&A session afterward. The event, which is only open to students and staff of the university, sold out within an hour of being announced; the university appears to have originally planned to include university alumni as well, but announced a half-hour after opening registration that it could no long offer tickets to a alumni due to a high volume of demand.

While a specific agenda has not been published, 9to5Mac notes that the rector of the University of Glasgow is currently Edward Snowden, suggesting that the conversation may touch on privacy, encryption and government policy issues.

Microsoft updates Outlook for iOS with support for third-party add-ins

Microsoft has announced a major update to its iOS email and calendar app, Microsoft Outlook, bringing support for third-party add-ins, and celebrating two years since the release of an iOS adaptation of the company’s venerable e-mail client. The new add-ins feature allows users to integrate with third-party apps such as Trello, Evernote, and more directly from email messages in their Outlook inbox. Microsoft has announced partnerships with Evernote, GIPHY, Nimble, Trello, and Smartsheet for an initial set of Outlook plug-ins, and has indicated that they are producing several of their own add-ins available for the platform as well, with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Translator available out of the gate, and “many more” promised to follow. The new add-ins for Outlook on iOS complement the versions already available for Outlook on Windows and Mac and on the web, extending their functionality to iPhone and iPad users. The new add-in features are available for Office 365 today, and Microsoft indicates that they’re “rolling out gradually” to Outlook.com users.

New lawsuit accuses Apple of deliberately ‘breaking’ FaceTime to force users to upgrade to iOS 7

A new class action lawsuit has been filed in California, accusing Apple of deliberately “breaking” FaceTime for iOS 6 users in order to force them to upgrade to iOS 7, thereby violating California’s unfair competition laws, AppleInsider reports. Citing documents disclosed in the VirnetX patent lawsuit, the class-action filing alleges that Apple secretly took this step in order to reduce high monthly data relay charges it was incurring from Akamai as a result of the “relay method” being used at the time to handle some FaceTime calls between iOS devices, which transmitted FaceTime data through Akamai’s servers — a relay service which Apple was paying for based on usage.

IBM announces Enterprise iOS app collaboration with United Airlines

Photo: Flickr/IBM

IBM and United Airlines have announced a new collaboration to develop a new suite of iOS business applications to help drive the airline’s digital transformation, as part of IBM’s MobileFirst partnership with Apple. United Airlines currently has more than 50,000 iOS devices being used by its front-line employees, and this new collaboration will see IBM developing a set of both market-ready and custom iOS apps for improving a number of aspects of United Airlines’ customer-facing operations, such as providing flight attendants and gate personnel readily available access to customer travel data at their fingertips without being tied to a fixed workstation or podium position.

Hacker releases iPhone hacking tools allegedly stolen from Cellebrite

A hacker who allegedly stole over 900 GB of data from Israeli forensics company Cellebrite has publicly released a cache of the files related to older iPhones, in addition to Android and BlackBerry devices, Motherboard reports. The stolen data suggested that Cellebrite, the company rumored to have helped the FBI in the San Bernardino forensics case, had also sold its technology to a variety of oppressive regimes such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia. The hacker’s motivation appears to be focused on stirring up the debate around backdoors and their use by authoritarian societies, as well as demonstrating that tools created to hack devices like iPhones are certain to make it out in the wild. Apple CEO Tim Cook made a similar point that such backdoors are ““too dangerous to create” when he penned an open letter last year opposing the FBI’s attempts to force Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

Apple drafts joint letter with Alphabet, Facebook, Uber, in opposition to Trump travel ban

Apple is working with several organizations, including Facebook, Uber, and Google parent company Alphabet, to draft a letter to President Donald Trump opposing the travel ban that has recently been imposed. Recode reports that while the effort is being led by tech companies, they are working to involve other industries in what will be the first major push from large U.S. corporations to try and support more open immigration in the wake of President Trump’s recent executive order suspending travel from seven largely Muslim countries and barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. completely. Recode was also able to obtain the following draft of the letter.

European Union announces an end to wireless roaming charges in June

The European Commission has announced that negotiators have come to a deal that will put an end to wireless roaming charges in European Union member countries as of June 15, 2017. Representatives of the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission have agreed on how wholesale roaming markets will be regulated such that Europeans will be able to travel within the EU without incurring any additional charges for roaming to different countries, effectively creating a “roam-like-at-home” system where travelers will be able to place calls, send text messages, and use data on their mobile devices anywhere in the EU at the same prices they pay in their home country. Regulators also agreed to wholesale caps on rates for voice calls and text messages, as well as a staged reduction over the next five years for wholesale data charges; these new wholesale caps represent the maximum charges that customers will pay while roaming if they exceed their contract limits.

Apple considering legal action against Trump’s immigration order

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is considering legal action and contacting “very, very senior people in the White House” in an effort to reverse President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, The Wall Street Journal reports. Cook said the order suspending travel from seven countries has affected hundreds of Apple employees. In a note to employees, Cook offered Apple’s full support to anyone impacted by the order, advising the company’s legal, human resources and security teams to do everything they can, but declined to get specific about what Apple’s possible legal action would entail, saying only that “we want to be constructive and productive.” Cook said he has heard numerous “heart-wrenching stories” about the order’s impact on his employees. “These are people that have friends and family, Cook said. “They’re co-workers. They’re taxpayers. They’re key parts of the community.”

Nintendo plans to release 2-3 mobile games a year, delays Animal Crossing

Nintendo told investors it plans to release two to three mobile games a year for the foreseeable future, Reuters reports. While the company said at least 70 game makers are producing an estimated 100 titles for the upcoming Switch console, Nintendo delayed the release of the upcoming Animal Crossing game by at least a month—it’s now slated for April at the earliest—to ensure the release of Fire Emblem: Heroes later this week. Nintendo roared to success in the mobile game industry with the wildly popular Pokémon GO, but it’s subsequent release of Super Mario Run didn’t generate the same revenue boost due to its one-time only payment structure.

Facebook reportedly developing video app for Apple TV

Facebook is developing a “video-centric app” for devices like the Apple TV, looking to open up a new platform for its video content and compete with traditional television providers for ad revenue, The Wall Street Journal reports. People familiar with the development said the app is one of many projects centered around turning Facebook into a “video-first” company, with the company going so far as to discuss licensing “TV-quality programming” from various media companies. With Facebook’s ad revenue growth slowing, employees have begun to see the company’s future as becoming a type of “mobile TV” that cuts into the time most people spend watching traditional live television broadcasts. Media executives familiar with the discussions said Apple is expressing interest in “scripted shows and sports and entertainment content created specifically for the platform,” although that content is expected to be capped at around 10 minutes in length.

Apple releases firmware 3.5.1 update for AirPods

Apple has released firmware 3.5.1 for its AirPods, which will be downloaded automatically to an iOS device that syncs with AirPods and will be installed when the AirPods are put into their plugged in charging case near the device while it’s connected to WiFi. The update fixes previously undisclosed bugs. [via Apple Insider]

Notes from Apple’s Q1 2017 earnings call

Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q1 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results represented the highest revenue in Apple’s history, along with breaking unit and revenue records for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, services, and Mac, as well as four out of five major geographic segments where Apple operates. Cook explained that the iPhone had a tremendous quarter thanks to exceptional demand, and that the iPhone 7 Plus demand was especially strong and represented a higher portion of the new product mix than Apple has ever seen with prior “Plus” models. Apple Pay users more than tripled over the past year, with four new countries added in the past quarter, bringing Apple Pay into a total of 13 markets; hundreds of millions of transactions and billions of dollars in purchases were made using Apple Pay in the December quarter alone. Cook also noted that Apple Pay on the web has been a success with over two million small businesses now able to accept online invoice payments using Apple Pay via services such as Intuit and Freshbooks, and revealed that soon Comcast customers will be able to pay their bills online using Apple Pay. Mac also returned to growth in the prior quarter with the release of the new MacBook Pro models and generated its highest quarterly revenue ever. Cook noted that most customers in the quarter were buying their first Mac, with the majority coming from the Windows platform.

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