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Apple Q2 2017: $52.9B revenue, 50.8M iPhones + 8.9M iPads sold

Apple reported its second quarter 2017 financial results today, with 50.8 million iPhones and 9.8 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $52.9 billion and quarterly earnings of $2.10 per diluted share. In Q2 2016, Apple had revenue of $50.6 billion and earnings of $1.90 per diluted share.

For Q3 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.

Logitech reveals Slim Folio Bluetooth keyboard case for fifth-generation iPad

Logitech has revealed its Slim Folio ($99) Bluetooth keyboard case for the fifth-generation iPad. The keyboard features large keys spread out to the edges of the case and includes a full row of iOS shortcut keys tailored to the iPad. The flexible stand includes a magnetic lock to keep the tablet in place and the advanced Bluetooth Smart Technology allows users to sync up their device once and have the keyboard automatically connect any time the iPad is put into the typing position. The low-energy Bluetooth connection is powered by coin cell batteries that Logitech claims can provide nearly 3,000 hours of use. The Slim Folio is available for pre-order now and is set to be released sometime this month.

Several major apps ditching Apple Watch support?

Several major companies whose iOS apps once offered Apple Watch support have quietly dumped support for watchOS in recent updates, AppleInsider discovered. The most recent updates for apps from Amazon, Target, eBay and Google Maps have all seen them lose support for watchOS where they previously included it. While Google said about Google Maps, “We removed Apple Watch support from our latest iOS release but expect to support it again in the future,” others have stayed mum on the move. While it’s possible some of the apps will be reintroduced, it’s also possible (given the lack of outcry) that the companies saw little use in updating the watchOS functionality if it wasn’t being used.

Apple seems to add variable App Store pricing after increases

After an announcement last week that App Store prices in Europe would be going up, developers have spotted new pricing alternatives as low as € 0.49, iPhoneItalia reports. Tier 1 pricing was increased from € 0.99 to € 01.09, but after scrolling all the way to the bottom of the list developers discovered alternate pricing levels that would allow them to keep prices the same as before. While the changes automatically increased the prices of all apps at Tier 1 (and upped the cost of in-app purchases and subscriptions as well), some continue to be available at the previous rates or even for less, suggesting some developers have manually changed their prices back. [via 9to5Mac]

Deutsche Bank suggests iPhone 8 might not launch until next year

Deutsche Bank is the latest to voice doubts about the iPhone 8 launching before next year, Business Insider reports. Referencing a Value Walk story from last week claiming to have insider information from a Foxconn employee, the bank said, “Report suggests no new iPhone 8 this calendar year. As we have written in previous [research notes], several supply chain reports have suggested that key component shortages and technical challenges could delay the release of a high-end iPhone 8 device this fall.” Like previous reports, the Value Walk story relies on timelines for the delivery of packaging for the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, which the sources said will begin arriving at the end of June.

Apple adds new content services to Apple TV universal search and ‘TV’ app

Apple has added support for searching Spike, Nickelodeon, and Nick. Jr. to the fourth-generation Apple TV’s Universal Search feature, allowing users to call up results from these channels in Siri or by typing queries into the built-in tvOS Search app. A new set of services have also been brought into the fold of Apple’s “TV” app, including Crackle, FilmStruck, and Freeform (the Disney/ABC channel formerly known as ABC Family). Like most of the content services available on the Apple TV, these newest additions are available in the U.S. only. Apple maintains a list on its web site of all of the content channels supported by the Apple TV Universal Search, as well as a separate list of apps supported by the “TV” app. [via AppleInsider]

Apple to make online sales debut in India with locally produced iPhone SE

Apple will open its online store before it opens brick and mortar locations, according to a report from the Economic Times. Apple —which has had a difficult time gaining approval to open retail locations in the country because of India’s rules that require at least 30 percent of its product materials locally — recently opted to move forward with plans to produce the iPhone SE in India without waiting for the concessions it had been requesting from the Indian government. Producing the iPhone SE in India means it can also be sold there “since the government allows companies to directly sell online models manufactured locally.” The company reportedly plans to start assembling the devices in Bengaluru by June and offer “value-added services such as laser engraving to personalize the handset, sell models or variants which are exclusive such as a dedicated model, color option or storage space” once the devices go on sale online, one source said.

Apple partners with Tynker on free games that teach kids Swift coding language

Two new free games available in the Tynker app are aiming to get K-5 students learning Apple’s Swift programming language. Apple has incorporated the games — Space Cadet and Dragon Spells — into its Get Started with Code 1 and Get Started with Code 2 teacher guides, both of which are available for free on iBooks. Space Cadets is aimed at 5-7 year-olds, while Dragon spells is for kids 8-11. “In Space Cadet, students in kindergarten through second grade solve puzzles and complete programming challenges set in space,” the press release states. “In Dragon Spells, third through fifth grade students learn programming fundamentals as they train their dragon and collect treasures. In both courses, students learn through creative play as they solve puzzles, build projects, and animate characters.” The games prime kids for using Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app, designed for kids in sixth grade and up.

Report: Apple’s Siri-enabled home control hub may debut at WWDC (Update: KGI agrees)

Tech blogger Sonny Dickson claims Apple is “finalizing designs” for its answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, MacRumors reports.

Dickson says the device will “carry some form of Beats technology” and that “someone inside Apple” described the shape as “fat” like the Google Home, with a concave top for the controls and speaker mesh coving most of the device’s surface. A report from last September claimed the device will go beyond simply providing a basic “Hey Siri” interface for home and device control, possibly also adding a camera with facial recognition technology to detect who is in the room to allow it to more proactively apply HomeKit rules and other actions. Dickson said the device is expected to run some variant of iOS and could be revealed as early as the WWDC in June.

Apple extends swollen battery repair coverage to 3 years for 1st-generation Apple Watches

Apple has extended its repair coverage on first-generation Apple Watches to three years for those experiencing swollen battery issues, 9to5Mac reports. Apple provides a complimentary one-year limited warranty for its devices, and tacks on an extra year specifically for swollen batteries. But with several first-generation Apple Watch users taking to Reddit and Apple’s support pages to voice their problems with ongoing expanding battery issues, the company sent out a communication to its Apple Authorized Service Providers adding another year to its battery coverage just before the devices were set to age out of the program.

Apple Music to supply content to Musical.ly

Apple and Musical.ly have partnered to supply content from Apple Music for the popular music video app, Recode reports. Musical.ly is a service that lets users create their own music videos from snippets of songs, and beginning today, Apple Music will now be supplying many of the songs, expanding on Musical.ly’s current catalog from music distributor 7digital. The partnership will presumably increase the amount of content available to Musical.ly users while also providing a new way for Apple to promote the Apple Music service to Musical.ly users — those who are Apple Music subscribers will gain the benefit of being able to listen to full songs within the Musical.ly app.

Apple now withholding royalty payments to Qualcomm as dispute escalates

Apple has now suspended all licensing payments to Qualcomm related to the iPhone amidst the legal dispute between the two companies, Bloomberg reports. The battle between the two tech firms began earlier this year when Apple filed lawsuits accusing Qualcomm of withholding $1 billion in patent royalties, allegedly as a punishment in response to Apple’s cooperation with Korean antitrust regulators. A subsequent lawsuit filed in Beijing by Apple claimed that Qualcomm had abused its position in the chip industry and failed to deliver on its promises to inexpensively license “standard essential patents.” Qualcomm followed those filings up its own countersuit earlier this month, accusing Apple of breaching its contract and asking for an unspecified amount in damages.

According to Qualcomm, Apple has now stated that it will be withholding all future payments until the legal matters between the two companies are resolved. Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg added that “While Apple has acknowledged that payment is owed for the use of Qualcomm’s valuable intellectual property, it nevertheless continues to interfere with our contracts,” and that “Apple has now unilaterally declared the contract terms unacceptable; the same terms that have applied to iPhones and cellular-enabled iPads for a decade.” In a statement to The Financial Times, an Apple spokesperson responded “We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms. Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court. As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”

New Puff Daddy Documentary will be another Apple Music exclusive

Apple Music will be gaining another exclusive on a music documentary, this time in the form of Puff Daddy’s biopic “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story.” Billboard reports that the powerful new documentary, which is premiering tonight at the TriBeCa Film Festival, will come exclusively to Apple Music starting on June 25. The film chronicles Sean “Diddy” Combs’ rise to the top of the music business back in the mid-nineties, as well as the challenges he faced in putting together the 20th anniversary Bad Boy reunion shows last year. Although specific terms of the deal between Combs and Apple weren’t revealed, Apple Music is expected to have exclusive rights to the documentary for at least the first year. This latest exclusive documentary deal comes right on the heels of last week’s announcement that Apple Music would also be the exclusive home of legendary record producer Clive Davis’ new documentary.

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2

Only three days after the release of iOS 10.3.2 beta 4, Apple has already rolled out a fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2 to registered developers. The release notes appear to be basically unchanged from the prior beta, listing SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes and a few outstanding notes on managed and shared devices, openURL, WebKit, and SOS (which continues to be supported only in India).

Report: Apple’s Jimmy Iovine still has ambitious video plans for Apple Music

Apple Music impresario Jimmy Iovine is continuing to take a slow and steady approach to developing the popular streaming music service into a cultural centre point that goes beyond being merely “a bunch of songs and a few playlist.” In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Iovine touched on several of the projects that he’s working on with various artists and Hollywood moguls, from already announced projects like “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps” to several documentaries, suggesting that Apple could release as many as 10 original series by the end of the year. While Iovine didn’t go into details on any unannounced projects, sources suggest that two will about the legendary hip-hop labels Bad Boy Records and Cash Money Records, while another is about Clive Davis.

I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans. We have the freedom, because it’s Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn’t work until it feels good.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his roots, Iovine remains focused on music-related projects at this point. A possible sequel to R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” is said to be in the works, and Iovine is developing another show “loosely based” on the life of Dr. Dre. However, Iovine notes that he eventually does plan to go beyond music and has already had discussions with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer and director J.J. Abrams. As Iovine describes it, “Apple music is nowhere near complete in my head,” but emphasizes that he plans to grow the service slowly “no matter what,” much like how he founded and built Interscope back in 1989, beginning with a couple of lesser-known artists and slowly growing into one of the world’s most successful record labels.

 

Apple executive talks using AI to boost human memory

Apple executive and AI expert Tom Gruber told the crowd at the TED conference that he sees artificial intelligence providing a boost to human memory in the future, Axios reports. He was hesitant to make predictions about the specific technology that would be involved, but Gruber said in the near future computer intelligence could help people clearly remember everything from people they met only once to food they ate years ago. While privacy would be a key concern with preserving such a massive amount of very personal information, Gruber said the benefits — especially for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s — could make a huge difference in quality of life in a person’s later years. He added that a friend of his who is blind and quadriplegic is already enjoying the life-changing benefits of AI, using Siri to meet other people online. “Here’s a man whose relationship with AI helps him… with genuine human relationships,” Gruber said.

Apple rolling out ‘Today at Apple’ educational courses starting in May

All of Apple’s 495 stores will begin featuring ‘Today at Apple’ educational sessions focusing on a wide range of topics starting sometime in May, the company announced today. While most will be led by Apple employees, the company also teased that in select cities participants will be treated to sessions from “world-class artists, photographers and musicians.” The free programs will focus on activities centered around Apple devices, like iPhone photography, drawing with the Apple Pencil and coding classes for kids that teach the company’s Swift programming language. For more advanced users, Pro Series courses will also provide “a deep dive into Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X with sessions on color correction and grading to post production, or audio mixing to editing for emotion, and more.”

Smart home device maker iDevices acquired by Hubbell

Smart home device maker iDevices has been acquired by Hubbell, a company that’s been around for more than 100 years. As with many such acquisitions, iDevices claims nothing will change with its day-to-day operations, pledging that, “We will continue to support and update our existing products and make new ones; all while utilizing the backing and expertise of Hubbell to accelerate our growth and leadership position in the IoT space.” Hubbell has been around since the early days of electricity, gaining initial fame by patenting the now-ubiquitous pull chain lamp socket. According to the release, the partnership will see iDevices focused on “developing and designing smart home solutions” and utilizing Hubbell’s “extensive expertise in manufacturing and distribution across residential, commercial and industrial markets.”

Apple delays ‘Carpool Karaoke’ release to ‘later this year’

Apple is delaying the release of its “Carpool Karaoke” adaptation for Apple Music, now saying only that “‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’ will premiere on Apple Music later this year,” Reuters reports. During the Code Media conference in February, Apple said the show would debut in April, but a launch party scheduled for March was postponed without explanation, and another rescheduled for this Monday was also scrapped. A statement from CBS Television Studios echoed Apple’s vague timeline, saying, “We’re excited about our ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for Apple Music, and look forward to everyone seeing it later this year.”

Dutch court rules Apple can’t replace broken iPads with refurbished models

A Dutch judge has ruled that Apple can’t use refurbished iPads to replace broken ones covered by its AppleCare warranty, Tweakers reports. While Apple’s terms of service explicitly state that the company can use refurbished units as replacements, the judge ruled that Apple can only issue refurbished replacements to customers who initially purchased a refurbished unit. “If a plaintiff had purchased a refurbished or replacement iPad, Apple may replace it with a refurbished or replacement copy,” the judge said. “But if the consumer, as in this case, purchased a new iPad, She is entitled to a new iPad as a replacement.”

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