Apple has released the third beta of iOS 10.2.1 to registered developers today, after a holiday break of sorts — the second beta was released before Christmas. A public beta release should soon follow. While a recent tweet claimed an iOS 10.3 beta would introduce “theatre mode” this week, that seems unlikely to happen so soon. Additionally, Apple has also released both the second betas for tvOS 10.1.1 and watchOS 3.1.3 to developers.
Apple has pulled the LinkedIn app from its App Store in Russia, The New York Times reports. The move came after Russia blocked the social networking site for not complying with local laws requiring them to store data on Russian citizens. Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, said the company was “disappointed” in Russia’s decision, adding the move “denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses.” Apple confirmed it was asked to remove the LinkedIn app in Russia, but declines further comment on the issue. Apple also confirmed that China has indeed requested the company remove The New York Times’ app, illustrating the direct blocking of websites — common in more repressive countries — is now creeping into the App Store.
Samsung has announced its Gear S3, Gear S2 and Gear Fit2 smartwatches are now compatible with iOS. Depending on the model, users will need the Gear S or Gear Fit apps, now available on the App Store. The apps will guide users through the steps of pairing their devices and, once installed, allow the wearer to track routes, log distance traveled and monitor heart rate and calories burned. The apps also provide the ability to find a lost watch using the device’s built-in GPS.
Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is doubling down on his August prediction that Apple will release three iPads in the second quarter of 2017, claiming Apple will release 12.9”, 10-10.5” and 9.7” models. The 12.9” is expected to be the new version of the existing iPad Pro and the 9.7” will be a “low-priced option” aimed at entry-level tablet buyers. There’s still some uncertainty around the final size of the high-end 10-10.5” option, mostly because a narrow bezel design could mean the device fits into the current footprint of the 9.7” iPad Pro while providing a larger screen, but how far Apple will go in eliminating the bezels is still unclear.
Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs debuted the iPhone, which he called “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device.” Apple is celebrating the iconic iPhone by heralding the many ways the device has changed the industry. Essentially creating the smartphone as we know it, the iPhone was the first device to introduce or popularize many of the features users take for granted today.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and other members of Apple’s executive team have received less compensation in 2016 as a result of revenue and profit goals for the year being missed, the Wall Street Journal reports. In its regulatory filing from earlier today, Apple stated that its revenue and operating income for 2016 had missed both its targeted and its stretch goals — the first time the company has failed to surpass its stretch goals since 2009, and the first time ever during Tim Cook’s tenure as CEO. As a result, unlike in prior years, company executives did not receive the full cash incentives specified in their compensation packages. In total, Apple CEO Tim Cook received $8.75 million in compensation for 2016, down from $10.3 million the year prior — a 15 percent decline; other Apple executives named in the regulatory filings saw an average decline of 9.6 percent. Apple has faced declining revenue in 2016 as a result of the first prolonged slump in iPhone sales, which account for 63 percent of the company’s annual revenue.
The Canadian Competition Bureau has announced that it has closed its investigation into concerns of anti-competitive conduct between Apple and Canadian wireless carriers related to the iPhone, stating that no “abuse of dominance” was found by the Bureau. The move brings to an end the investigation that began over two years ago when the Competition Bureau ordered disclosures from Apple Canada and several wireless carriers in separate court filings outlining concerns that Apple had been unfairly using its iPhone bargaining power to encourage carriers to overprice rival phones or charge higher fees for related wireless services. The Bureau reports that in examining the contracts between Apple Canada and the various Canadian wireless carriers, it “did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that Apple has engaged in an abuse of dominance under the Competition Act” and released a position statement on its website detailing the Bureau’s investigation.
Instagram has added support for wide color capture on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with the ability to convert Live Photos into Boomerangs in Instagram Stories. Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger tweeted the news out yesterday, noting in particular that the features are being rolled out in the existing Instagram app, with no update needed.
If you're on an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, Instagram now supports wide color capture and display throughout the app—writing an eng blog on it soon— Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) January 5, 2017
Instagram originally announced that it would be adding support for the new camera features in iPhone 7 at Apple’s event back in September, including the wider colors and Live Photos in Boomerang Stories announced today, along with a special color filter and one-finger zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus. Support for wide color capture and display should simply begin working, and users can add Live Photos to their Boomerang Stories by opening the Instagram Stories camera, swiping from the bottom of the screen to upload from the camera roll, and then selecting a Live Photo from the thumbnails that appear at the bottom of the screen. A 3D Touch on the screen will allow the Live Photo to be previewed as a Boomerang that can be shared in the current Story. [via TechCrunch]
According to a recent update to Apple’s App Store Developer Page, over 76 percent of compatible iOS devices are now running iOS 10 as of Jan. 4, 2017, suggesting that iOS 10 is being adopted at a somewhat faster rate than iOS 9 was last year, which took until March to reach 79 percent of devices. The metrics presented on Apple’s App Store Developer page are measured based on App Store usage, and are therefore limited to those devices actually downloading apps from the App Store. [via iPhone in Canada]
Internet of Things hardware developer Focalcrest Technology has announced Mixtile Hub, a new HomeKit-compatible multi-vendor bridging solution. The Mixtile Hub is designed to allow smart home devices from different brands to access the HomeKit platform, allowing compatible smart home products, surveillance devices, and probe sensors to connect through ZigBee and Z-Wave protocols. Mixtile Hub also acts as a normal smart home hub by itself to link devices from various manufacturers. In addition to remote control and voice control features, it supports auto-alarm and high-decibel warnings and battery backup to allow it to continue working even during a power failure. Pricing and availability have not been announced.
Capcom has released the entire series of original 8-bit Mega Man games for iOS devices, following reports last month that the series would at least be landing in Japan in early 2017. Coming only a few weeks after the Blue Bomber’s birthday, this release represents the first time that all six of the original 8-bit Mega Man games have been available on any smart device platform, 29 years after Mega Man first landed on gaming consoles. The iOS adaptations of the game are optimized for mobile devices with adjustments to game speed, and are designed to appeal to both long-time fans and newcomers to the series. Each title is available separately from the App Store for $1.99, including the original Mega Man through Mega Man 6.
Leviton has announced a new lineup of HomeKit-compatible Decora Smart lighting control accessories. Two new in-wall dimmers and a new in-wall switch will provide direct HomeKit integration with no additional hubs or bridges required, with support for Apple’s iOS 10 Home app and Siri-based voice control, as well as Leviton’s own Decora Smart Home iOS app. The new products include a 1000W Universal Dimmer, 600W Universal Dimmer and a 15A Universal Rocker Switch, all of which follow Leviton’s well-known Decora brand design motif with true rocker paddles, along with embedded LEDs to display illumination level. Advanced lighting control and customization is also available via the Decora Smart Home app, including bulb type, adjustable fade rate, minimum/maximum brightness levels and more, and the new switches also support multi-way lighting scenarios — such as hallways or staircases — in which one fixture is controlled by two devices. Common color change kits and screwless wall plates are also available for the new smart switches. Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit-enabled lighting control accessories are expected to be available this April. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Carrier has announced the addition of HomeKit support to its Côr Thermostat, allowing users to control their home comfort system using the iOS 10 Home app or Siri voice commands. Côr will also offer support for HomeKit triggers to provide interaction with other HomeKit-compatible products. Originally announced two years ago at CES 2015, Carrier’s Côr is a smart thermostat that provides advanced home heating and cooling features like smart setback to intelligently adapt the thermostat for greater efficiency and energy savings. The HomeKit-enabled Carrier Côr Thermostat is expected to be available in early 2017. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Google has released an update to its Google Calendar app for iOS devices, adding integration with Apple’s HealthKit framework for automatically tracking completion of fitness goals. Last year, Google added a new “Goals” feature to Google Calendar, allowing users to schedule goals for various recurring activities such as workouts, however users who wanted to keep track of their goals were required to mark them completed manually. The latest version of Google Calendar for iOS can now read workout data directly from Apple’s Health app, allowing daily workout goals to be automatically marked as completed within the Google Calendar app. The app can also now use workout data from HealthKit to tailor future goal schedules to times that more accurately reflect actual workout times.
Honeywell has announced that it will be bringing HomeKit compatibility to its Lyric Home Security and Control System, as well as adding two new Lyric Camera models to its home security ecosystem. Lyric HomeKit compatibility will be made available to both current and future Lyric Security customers via a software update, and will make Honeywell’s Lyric system one of the first pro-installed and pro-monitored security systems to integrate with HomeKit. The Lyric Security controller will remain the hub for securely arming and disarming the Lyric system — however, users will also be able to use Siri voice controls and the iOS 10 Home app to interact with the Lyric system, and set HomeKit triggers to receive notifications on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. HomeKit compatibility for the Lyric Home Security and Control System is expected to be widely available within the first three months of 2017.
D-Link has announced its new HomeKit-compatible Omna 180 Cam HD (DSH-C310), representing the company’s first entry in its new Omna family of HomeKit-enabled devices. The Omna 180 features a 180-degree field of view to provide monitoring for an entire room along with full HD 1080p video quality and advanced HomeKit security with end-to-end encryption and authentication between the camera and an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. HomeKit compatibility will also allow users to very quickly set up the 180 Cam HD using the Apple Home app in iOS 10.1, and will let users receive rich lock screen notifications showing a video snapshot of what’s happening whenever motion is detected. The Omna 180 Cam HD also integrates into HomeKit for setting rules and triggers so that it can activate other devices and scenes whenever motion is detected. The Omna 180 provides dynamic bitrate adjustment for optimal video streaming performance, two-way audio with a built-in microphone and speaker, infrared night vision, and local recording of video onto a microSDXC card. The home camera is expected to be available in Q1 2017; pricing has not yet been announced.
August has announced the Smart Lock Mortise Kit, a new solution that allows its popular August Smart Lock to be installed in a wider variety of homes and apartments. The new kit is the first of its kind in North America, allowing mortise-style locks — which combine a locking bolt and door handle — into a smart lock using the same August Smart Lock designed for single-cylinder deadbolts. The new kit is in response to what August CEO Jason Johnson says was “significant interest from consumers, home builders and locksmiths” looking to use the August Smart Lock with popular mortise locks commonly found in high-rise buildings and newer homes. In addition to consumers looking to convert their existing locks to smart locks, the new mortise kit allows building managers the ability to more easily install smart locks in multi-unit buildings to control access to the building or individual units within. The August Smart Lock Mortise Kit includes a mounting plate and adapter that allows users to connect the August Smart Lock to a mortise lock. As with single-cylinder deadbolt installations, the August Smart Lock installs only on the inside of the door so that existing exterior door hardware remains the same, and users can continue to use a traditional key as well as smart lock features. The August Smart Lock Mortise Kit is available for certified locksmiths, property developers, and managers for $100 with volume discounts available while the August Smart Lock is available separately for $229.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone stated that his wireless charging startup is on track to begin shipping its long-range wireless charging solutions by the end of 2017, likely in tandem with the key partner that Energous signed a deal with two years ago. While Rizzone has repeatedly declined to state the name of this partner, he did note that the partnership is with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world,” with most speculation pointing in Apple’s direction.
I cannot tell you who it is, but I can virtual guarantee that you have products from this company on your person, sitting on your desk, or at home.
Energous first unveiled its long-range wireless charging solutions at CES two years ago, with promises to begin shipping by the end of 2015. However, those plans changed after the company signed a deal with a “key strategic partner” just a month after the 2015 show ended. The partnership deal gave Energous’ new partner exclusive rights to be the first to ship its charging technology, as well as leading to a renewed focus on miniaturizing the technology. Many initially speculated then that Apple was the “key partner” that Energous was working with, and a new report last month noted that Energous was teaming up with Dialog Semiconductor, one of the largest suppliers of power management chips for Apple’s iOS devices.
Apple has announced that the 2017 began with the busiest day ever for the App Store, with over $240 million in customer purchases made on Jan. 1, 2017. The year 2016 was also a record-breaking year for the App Store overall, with developers earning over $20 billion — an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015, representing about a third of the total developer earnings over the course of the entire eight year history of the App Store. App Store purchases in December 2016 topped $3 billion; top grossing apps included Monster Strike, Fantasy Westward, Clash Royale, and of course Pokémon GO, while Super Mario Run was the most downloaded app globally on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, after breaking records with 40 million downloads in the first four days after its Dec. 15 release. Apple also added that through its Apps for Earth and Games for (RED) campaigns, developers helped to raise over $17 million for the World Wildlife Fund and (RED).
Apple has announced that it will release its Q1 2017 financial results on Tuesday, January 31. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q1 of revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.