Apple offering battery replacements for iPhone 6s models with ‘unexpected shutdown issues’ (Updated)
Apple is offering free battery replacements for some iPhone 6s users whose phones are unexpectedly shutting down. The program is limited to certain devices manufactured from September to October 2015, and phones are subject to an inspection prior to the repair to make sure the serial number is within the correct range. Customers can contact Apple technical support, an Apple retail store or an authorized Apple service provider to find out of their phone is eligible for the repair. Owners of an iPhone 6s who have paid to replace their battery to remedy the shut down problem are also urged to contact Apple about a possible refund. Before customers take their phone in for service, Apple recommends backing up all personal data.
Update: Apple has added a serial number checker to the program page, allowing users who suspect they may be affected by this problem to enter their iPhone 6s serial number online to see if their device is eligible for replacement under the program.
Fitbit is putting the final touches on a deal to acquire Pebble, according to a report from The Information (via TechCrunch). The original report indicates that Fitbit will be paying a “small amount” for the well-known smart watch maker, which has been struggling recently with a downturn in investments that forced it to cut its staff by 25 percent earlier this year. The Information also indicates that the deal is more about Fitbit acquiring Pebble’s intellectual property and software assets, rather than the product itself, noting that Pebble and its products would be “closed down over time.”
Apple has issued a statement in response to a problem that many iCloud users — including members of our iLounge team — have experienced in recent weeks, with spam being sent via iCloud calendar invitations. Spammers have been exploiting the fact that iCloud calendar invitations are sent via a dedicated iCloud communications channel that, unlike email, doesn’t presently include any anti-spam filters. In a statement tweeted by Rene Ritchie, Apple apologized, noting that some users are experiencing the problem. The company is working to address it by identifying and blocking the culprits, and working to filter the invites themselves.
Apple’s statement on iCloud calendar spam. They’re sorry and they’re working on it. pic.twitter.com/oaSHSywVxG— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) November 30, 2016
In the meantime, users can work around this problem by logging into their web-based iCloud account online at iCloud.com, going to the Advanced tab in Calendar preferences, and opting to receive event invitations as email messages rather than in-app notifications, where email-based anti-spam filters will likely have better success at catching the bogus calendar invites.
Apple is planning on sending out airborne drones in the U.S. to improve data for its Maps application, Bloomberg reports. The company is also developing indoor mapping features for public buildings such as airports and museums. Apple applied for an FAA exemption in late 2015 that would allow it to fly drones for commercial purposes, and received approval earlier this year. The company has reportedly been putting together robotics and data collection experts to get the program underway. Drones would allow Apple to update map information much more quickly than the ground-based vehicles the company is currently using. Sources indicate that drones would examine street signs, track changes to roads, and monitor construction zones, with data fed back to Apple teams for rapid updates to the database behind the Maps app. Interestingly, the report also reveals that Apple has hired at least one person from Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery division to help run the drone team, which is being assembled in Seattle — where Amazon’s headquarters is also located.
In an email reply to a frustrated customer, Tim Cook has given a hint to when Apple’s AirPods will ship, MacRumors reports. In response to the customer complaint that he can’t charge his iPhone while listening to music, Cook allegedly wrote in regards to AirPods, “Sorry for the delay—-we are finalizing them and I anticipate we will begin to ship over the next few weeks.” MacRumors seems to believe the email is legit, but Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. The wireless earbuds were supposed to be released in late October, but were delayed after the company determined they needed “a little more time” to get them ready. Retailers have expected release dates all over the place between December and January, but Apple’s site still shows them as unavailable and “coming soon.”
Sources at Banco Santander are claiming that Apple Pay will launch in Spain tomorrow, Spanish site Applesfera reports. Santander customers in the UK can already use the mobile payment service, and barring any unforeseen difficulties, sources at the bank said a public announcement about the launch in Spain will be made tomorrow morning. Apple Pay had a rocky start during its recent launch in Japan and is still not available in Germany despite rumors that it would arrive last month. [via 9to5Mac]
Netflix is now allowing customers to download certain content through their iOS app for offline viewing. Not everything is available for download—with even the Netflix original season of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” not making the cut yet—but fan favorites like “Stranger Things,” “Narcos,” and “Orange Is the New Black” are among the early offerings, along with a number of films. Movies and shows available for offline viewing will have a “download” button on the details page, and video can be downloaded in standard or high quality, depending on how much space you want to use on your device.
Apple has announced it is taking part in the (RED) charity fundraiser to combat AIDS for the 10th straight year. Apple is adding four new products to its (PRODUCT)RED lineup, offering an iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, iPhone SE Case, Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones and Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker. All of the new products are available starting today. Apple is also donating a dollar to the cause for every purchase made with Apple Pay at the Apple Store, on the company’s website or through the Apple Store app, all the way up to $1 million.
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.”
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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]
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]
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 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.