Samsung has acquired Viv, the AI system developed by the original creators of Siri, TechCrunch reports. Siri was originally a company acquired by Apple in 2010, which was developed into Apple’s own integrated voice assistant of the same name. A little over a year later, Siri’s co-founder and CEO, Doug Kittlaus, left Apple to pursue new opportunities, ultimately founding Viv Labs in 2012. A demonstration of Viv was shown at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY conference earlier this year — the demo revealed a more conversational and personal system that allows users to interact with multiple services through an open developer platform, allowing for more complex queries than Siri can typically handle. Viv also incorporates a “dynamic program generation” feature that allows it to better understand user intent and build routines to handle tasks on the fly.
Apple is working on bringing together its various Cloud Services teams into a single campus to improve product development, Bloomberg reports. Although they all come under the oversight of Apple SVP Eddy Cue, teams for services such as Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News, Apple Music, and iTunes generally work in isolation from each other, at various office park locations rented out throughout Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. With Apple’s new futuristic Apple Campus 2 scheduled to open next year, Cue feels that unifying his Cloud Services teams at the current Apple Campus will improve his organization in terms of improvement development time and product stability, and will continue to build on Apple’s rapidly growing cloud services business.
A new study from Citizens for Tax Justice claims that Apple tops the list of U.S. companies profiting from keeping its money in foreign countries. According to the study, Apple booked $214.9 billion in revenue offshore in 2015, revenue on which the company would have paid $65.4 billion if that money wasn’t kept outside the country. The report mentions a 2013 investigation into Apple’s two Irish subsidiaries that were structured to be “tax residents of neither the United States, where they are managed and controlled, nor Ireland, where they are incorporated.”
Omar Johnson, the chief marketing officer who helped make Beats into a household name, is leaving the company next month, Fast Company reports. Johnson joined Beats as vice president of marketing in 2010 and was named CMO in 2012. His unique ad campaigns — which feature personal looks at the athletes and musicians who endorsed the product — catapulted the company to prominence in pop culture. In a statement, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said, “Omar Johnson is a one of the most talented marketing executives I’ve ever met and we couldn’t have built Beats without him. He has my support in his future endeavor.” Jason White, who has worked for Johnson since 2014 when Apple acquired Beats, will become Beats’ executive vice-president of marketing.
Apple has officially discontinued the third-generation Apple TV, communicating the news to education partners and pulling the device from its online store, 9to5Mac reports. The company began phasing out the device last month, instructing employees to pull the third-generation models from Apple Store shelves and send them back to Apple. In an email, Apple promised to fulfill backlog orders of the device, but redirected partners to other products for new purchases. Refurbished models are still being sold on Apple’s website.
Apple has now released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists few significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.
Apple has rescheduled the earnings call for its Q4 financial results to Tuesday, October 25. The call was originally scheduled for October 27, but the company moved the event up two days citing a “scheduling conflict.” 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.
Apple Pay is now live in Russia, making it the 10th country to gain access to Apple’s mobile payment system. The company has partnered with Mastercard and Sberbank for the initial rollout and hasn’t yet announced any plans for expanding the service to other banks or credit providers. Apple is said to have its eye on a greater push to bring Apple Pay into more Asian countries, with recent reports claiming the company is going so far as to include special hardware in the iPhone to breaking into Japan’s mobile payment market.
Apple has patented scanning technology that would allow a fingerprint sensor to function through an iPhone’s display, lending new credibility to rumors that the company will be doing away with the home button in next year’s iPhone. The new technology uses a series of electrostatic lenses to focus fingerprint scans that would otherwise become too blurred to use for identification purposes. While the new system would allow the sensor to be placed behind the display, Apple notes a “drive ring” is still needed to supply voltage to a user’s finger for the scan, presenting a quandary for the company if it wants to entirely eliminate the stationary home button in favor of expanding the usable surface area of the screen.
After a quick test last month, Apple has officially launched its new Spoken Editions section under the podcasts heading in iTunes. Users can now get a spoken-word version of news updates from media companies like Time, Reuters, Slate, Wired, Mic, Bustle, Jezebel, and the Huffington Post. Apple’s simple pitch for the section targets people too busy to read their favorite websites each morning, offering narrated versions of the stories for those on the go. Providers are divided into categories that cover breaking news, politics, LGBT and racial issues, pop culture, lifestyle, business, and technology.
College student Darin Hlavaty said his iPhone 6 Plus burst into flames in his back pocket and burned a hole in his jeans, 6ABC reports. Hlavaty said, “I felt this crazy, hot burning in my leg” while sitting on his phone in class, reaching down to find his phone on fire and smoking in his pocket. “Out of nowhere, we heard a fizzing and a popping sound. Suddenly a great mass of smoke comes out from his pocket,” said Rebecca Bookbinder, a fellow student.
The Phoneys sticker app for iMessage has landed its creator in a serious conundrum after Apple called him with demands that he change it or face its removal from the iMessage app store. In a post on Medium, Adam Howell explains he built the sticker pack—which allows users to paste a convincing-looking iMessage bubble over a friend’s message to make it look like they said something they didn’t—with every expectation that it wouldn’t make it through the approval process. Once it did, people took notice, and with a little publicity, it shot to the top of the Top Paid list on the iMessage store.
Apple has been ordered to pay $302.4 million in damages after losing another round in its years-long legal fight with patent holder VirnetX, Reuters reports. In 2012, a jury awarded VirnetX $368.2 million in damages over Apple’s use of its patented security technology in the company’s FaceTime app, but an appeals court overturned the verdict over issues with how the damages were calculated. A second trial upped those damages to $625.6 million, but another judge threw out that verdict as well, after expressing concerns that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. Apple declined to comment on the case, but the company faces yet another court proceeding to determine if it willfully infringed on the patents, which could lead to higher damages.
A new report from Macotakara claims Apple’s 2017 line of iPad Pros will add a 7.9” mini version and increase the size of the 9.7” model to 10.1”. The story says a new 12.9” model will also be equipped with the 12 megapixel camera and True Tone flash from the current 9.7” model. The 7.9” model is said to include the improved camera and the standard Smart Connector seen on previous iPad Pros. All of the tablets will feature four microphones instead of the previous two, and sport the True Tone display that offers higher levels of brightness and a wider color display.
August has released an update for its Doorbell Cam adding promised support for motion detection and cloud-based video recording. Available via an iOS app update, the new version also offers a few other enhancements such as the ability to disable “Low Power Mode,” which can improve camera responsiveness, but may result in buzzing or humming from the doorbell chime as the Doorbell Cam continues to draw power rather than waking up on demand. With the new version, motion sensitive can be adjusted and motion notifications can be enabled, which will let you know when somebody is at your door regardless of whether they choose to ring the doorbell or not, and automatically record video whenever any motion is detected. The new August Video Recording service, now available as a free public beta trial, saves video clips recorded by the Doorbell Cam, allowing them to be reviewed at a later time directly from the in-app activity feed.
Black hat security firm triples exploit bounty to $1.5m in wake of improved iOS 10 security features
Black hat security company Zerodiium has tripled the bounty its offering for zero-day iOS 10 exploits to $1.5 million, according to a new report by Arstechnica. The company’s founder Chaouki Bekrar, explained that the higher bounty is in direct response to the improvements that Apple has made in iOS 10 that have made iOS devices “much harder to exploit than their previous versions.” Notably, Zerodium also increased its bounty for Android 7 exploits to $200,000, explaining that the lower price compared to iOS 10 represented a mix of both demand for iOS exploits and the difficulty in finding exploits in iOS 10 as compared to Android 7.
BMW has acknowledged an issue with Bluetooth compatibility between the iPhone 7 and at least some of its in-vehicle infotainment systems, according to a report by MacRumors. Users are reporting issues ranging from audio cutouts to connectivity issues, which require restarting the iPhone to temporarily fix, although the problem subsequently recurs. BMW issued a statement saying it’s working with Apple to address the issues, and that customers should look for an update from Apple to resolve the problems.
We are aware of the concerns you speak of and we are currently working directly with Apple to ensure iPhone 7 compatibility in our vehicles. At this time, the Apple iPhone 7 is not an approved device for our vehicles until testing has completed. We do not currently have an estimated time frame regarding the completion of iPhone 7 testing. Please continue to look for an update from Apple for a new iOS and our update website to help resolve your concerns: www.bmw.com/update. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Apple has also reportedly told some customers that a fix will be included in an upcoming iOS update, although the issue has still been found on the current iOS 10.1 betas. BMW owners are also being advised to update to the latest version of ConnectedDrive to prepare for the coming fix. The problem appears to be limited to Bluetooth and does not affect CarPlay systems, as these use a wired connection.
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.