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Apple countersues Caltech over Wi-Fi patents

Apple and Broadcom have countersued the California Institute of Technology, claiming that the school’s Wi-Fi patents should be invalidated, MacRumors reports. Caltech’s original lawsuit claims Broadcom’s chips—used in several Apple devices—infringe on four of the school’s patents related to improvements in Wi-Fi standards. Apple is arguing that Caltech filing its lawsuit more than six years after publication of the 802.11n wireless standard makes it ineligible to collect damages. The company also pointed out that Caltech doesn’t make, use or sell any product that makes use of the patents.

Apple Music launches in Israel, adds Bloomberg Radio

Apple has expanded Apple Music into Israel, letting customers there sign up for the standard three-month free trial, 9to5Mac reports. Apple’s regional website still lists the service as “coming soon,” but Israeli users have reported being able to enroll in the service. The price per month for an individual plan in Israel after the free trial expires works out to roughly $5.20 in U.S. dollars, well below the $10 U.S. users currently pay. In other Apple Music news, the service has added Bloomberg Radio to all countries where the streaming service is supported. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day and provides U.S. and international news along with updates on the financial markets.

Apple debuts Smart Keyboard in new languages

Apple’s Smart Keyboard for both 9.7” and 12.9” iPad Pro models is now available in several new languages. Apple’s websites in regions where the new keyboard options are available allow users to select keyboards configured for Arabic, British English, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean and other languages. The rollout seems to have been done by region, so the British English model is available on Apple’s United Kingdom-based site and the Arabic option is listed on Apple United Arab Emirates site. So far, sites in Canada and the United States only show the standard English option as available for sale and Apple Stores aren’t offering the ability to order any of the specialized models.

Apple releases third iOS 10 public beta

Apple has released the third public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program. Corresponding to the fourth beta released to developers earlier this week, the latest public beta continues enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. The latest version also features updated emoji characters first revealed yesterday, including Apple’s replacement of the gun emoji with a water gun. 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 settles lawsuit over streaming patents

Kudelski Group, owners of software company OpenTV, has announced a deal to settle a legal fight over patents with Apple. In March, Kudelski Group won a German lawsuit against Apple over streaming technology used in iOS, OS X, the App Store, iTunes and on Apple TV, with similar lawsuits pending in the United States. In today’s announcement, Kudelski Group said it has reached a “comprehensive patent license agreement with Apple” and agreed to dismss all pending litigation over patents. Apple hasn’t publicly commented on the story and financial terms weren’t disclosed. Under the German ruling, Apple was barred from selling products that used the streaming software covered under the five OpenTV patents, but it’s not clear if the new settlement resolves that issue as well. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple releases iTunes 12.4.3 to fix playlist sync bug

Only two weeks after the release of iTunes 12.4.2, Apple has released iTunes 12.4.3, a minor update intended to address a specific bug that caused changes made to playlists on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to not synchronize back to iTunes. Earlier this month, iTunes 12.5 also began appearing for users running the macOS Sierra developer and public betas, appearing mostly to add support for optimization features in macOS Sierra and Apple Music features in iOS 10; it’s unclear if the playlist syncing bug has been fixed in the iTunes 12.5 betas or not.

Cyclist’s iPhone catches fire after fall

A man was severely burned when his iPhone exploded after a minor fall on his bike, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Gareth Clear said the phone was in his back pocket when he took a tumble off his bike, then burst into flames when he fell on top of it. “I just saw smoke coming out of my back pocket…and then all of a sudden I felt this surging pain,” he said. “I just remember looking at my leg and I had this black discharge all down my leg and this smell of phosphorus​.” Gareth sustained third-degree burns to his leg that required a skin graft.

Frank Ocean’s new album to launch as Apple Music exclusive

Frank Ocean’s next album, “Boys Don’t Cry,” is set to be released Friday as an Apple Music exclusive, The New York Times reports. A person with knowledge of the release said a major video will be released simultaneously, as well as an accompanying book also titled, “Boys Don’t Cry” that will be distributed through Apple stores. The album is expected to remain an Apple Music exclusive for two weeks before becoming available on other platforms. Ocean’s label, Def Jam, declined to comment, but on Monday a mysterious video appeared on a website connected to the album, showing a pair of workbenches in an empty room. Director Francisco Soriano took credit for the video in an Instagram post that was subsequently deleted, but viewers noted an Apple Music watermark on the feed. Today Ocean added a photo of himself next to two stacks of books, each with a different cover labeled “Boys Don’t Cry” and the caption, “I got two versions. I got twoooo versions.”

Apple releases new Apple TV Remote app

Apple has released its new Apple TV Remote app in the App Store. The app, which requires iOS 9.3.2 or later, allows users to take advantage of features found on the 4th-gen Apple TV’s Siri Remote. Siri access is available from the app, and an iOS device can be used as a game controller, in addition to past features like a keyboard for text, and playback controls. The app works for 2nd and 3rd-gen Apple TV units, as well, but without the Siri and game controller features, of course. We first detailed the Apple TV Remote app in our tvOS 10: Inside the betas article, and now the app is available to the public for free.

Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

Apple has released the fourth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The fourth round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases; the fourth round of betas likely continues to refine the experience from the third round of betas, with the release notes indicating mostly minor updates. We’ll update if any major developments pop up.

Judge throws out $656M patent judgment against Apple

A federal judge has overturned a verdict requiring Apple to pay $625.6 million in damages to VirnetX for infringement of four patents, Reuters reports. This is the second time a judge has thrown out a huge judgment won by VirnetX against Apple. In 2014 an appeals court overturned a $368 million judgment over the uses of VirnetX patents in FaceTime technology, contending that Apple did infringe on the patents, but that the damages hadn’t been calculated properly. A second trial concluding this year put Apple on the hook for $625.6 million, but the most recent court decision contends that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. “The repeated references to the prior jury verdict in the consolidated case resulted in an unfair trial,”  U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder wrote. Schroeder has ordered that both cases be retried separately, with the first slated to begin on Sept. 26.

After Apple investment, Didi Chuxing buys out Uber in China

After Apple’s $1 billion investment in May, Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing has announced plans to buy Uber’s operations in China, Bloomberg reports. The deal will see Didi absorb Uber’s brand, business operations and stored data in the country, with Uber receiving a 20-percent stake in the combined company. Didi founder Cheng Wei and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will also join each other’s boards.

Video claims to show Apple EarPods with Lightning connector

After last week’s video showing a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter, new footage appears to show a new set of Apple EarPods with a Lightning connector. Like pictures leaked earlier this month, the new EarPods in the video feature an in-line remote that allows users to control music playback and volume. A report from last week cited supply chain sources who said Apple would be including a Lightning adapter with the iPhone 7 rather than Lightning-equipped EarPods, but the narrator of this latest video seems convinced the new EarPods will ship with the latest iPhone. [via Apple Insider]

Tim Cook to host Hillary Clinton fundraiser

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be hosting a fundraiser next month with Hillary Clinton, Buzzfeed reports. Cook will be joined by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, to help raise money for the Hillary Victory Fund, which is a joint fundraising committee for the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 38 state parties. Notably, Cook is hosting the event as a private citizen rather than as a representative of Apple, as the company does not have a political action committee or donate to either party’s candidates. Last month, Cook also hosted a fundraiser for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, although Apple itself declined to provide support to the Republican party’s national convention protest to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments. The Cook-Clinton fundraiser will take place on Aug. 24.

Report: Apple to update Apple Store app with personalized recommendations

Apple has a redesigned version of its Apple Store app in the works that will feature personalized recommendations, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The updated app, expected to roll out within the new two weeks, will likely include a “For You” section that features suggested products based on a user’s prior purchasing history. While the report incorrectly indicates that there are separate Apple Store apps for the iPhone and iPad that will be merged in the new version, it is possible that Apple may be taking steps to provide a more unified interface design in the app on both the iPad and iPhone.

Report: Apple now prioritizing autonomous driving system in car project

A new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reveals that Apple may be scaling back on its ambitions to build an actual car, shifting its strategy to focus on the development of an autonomous driving system. The report notes that Apple has not entirely abandoned efforts to design its own vehicle, and may in fact even partner with or acquire an established car maker rather than building a car on its own, but those familiar with the project say that the recent hire of Dan Dodge — the head of BlackBerry’s automotive software division — is an indicator that an emphasis on the self-driving technology has increased.

WSJ: Apple’s ‘hard-charging’ approach unsuccessful in negotiations with TV networks

A new report in the Wall Street Journal provides some insight as to why Apple’s efforts to launch a web-based streaming service may have failed to gain much traction last year. Clearly drawing on information gleaned from sources from within the television industry, the report describes Apple’s typically “assertive” negotiating style as having alienated networks and cable providers, suggesting that the tactics used by Steve Jobs to “muscle music labels into selling songs online for 99 cents apiece” may have backfired on the company in working with television media companies. Executives are said to be concerned that if they agree to “Apple’s sweetheart terms” it would set a precedent for traditional cable distributors to demand a similar arrangement, cutting into their bottom lines.

Video purports to show official Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter

A new video posted today on Vietnamese site (via 9to5Mac) demonstrates what appears to be an official Apple Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter that will likely ship with the new iPhone coming this fall. The adapter, which features a design reminiscent of Apple’s previous Lightning accessory adapters, appears to be between 2.5” and 3” in length and includes a male Lightning connector on one end and a female 3.5mm headphone jack on the other. The post accompanying the video claims the adapter was picked up from a Foxconn Apple supplier factory in Vietnam, and that the adapter only works with devices running iOS 10 beta, not iOS 9; when used with a current iPhone model — one that actually has a headphone jack — audio is sent to the Lightning port rather than the built-in headphone jack.

New iPhone pre-orders to start Sept. 9?

Following up on his earlier leak suggesting that the next-generation iPhone will go on sale on Sept 16, Evan Blass has sent out a another tweet adding that iPhone pre-orders will begin on Sept. 9, and suggesting that readers can extrapolate the launch event date from there — likely to be Wednesday, Sept. 7, based on Apple’s prior event dates and the shorter Labor Day week.

A Sept. 9 pre-order date with a Sept. 16 release date would be in line with most prior iPhone launches — Since the iPhone 4s release in October 2011, Apple has traditionally opened pre-orders one week prior to retail availability, although it’s worth noting that last year’s iPhone 6s launch had a two-week lead time for pre-orders.


Apple has sold one billion iPhones

Apple today announced that it has now officially sold one billion iPhones. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news earlier today at an employee meeting in Cupertino, stating that “iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It’s become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day,” said Cook. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.”

Apple crossed the threshold of “one billion active devices” earlier this year, announced at the company’s Q1 2016 Financial Results Conference Call in January, although this earlier number presumably included non-iPhone devices such as iPads and iPods, and was limited to active devices; today’s number refers to the total number of iPhones sold by Apple to date, and presumably includes those that have been retired from active use.

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