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Apple releases third developer beta for watchOS 3.1.1

Following Monday’s release of iOS 10.2 beta 3 to developers, Apple has now also released a third developer beta for watchOS 3.1.1. As with other recent watchOS betas, the accompanying release notes list few significant changes, with the new version likely being primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new watchOS beta from Apple’s Developer site.

Report: Three new iPhones next year; two with dual camera, one with OLED screen

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is doubling down on previous rumors that Apple will release three new iPhones next year — two phones with dual-camera setups and one without. He foresees two large phones in the 2017 lineup boasting dual cameras: A deluxe redesigned model with an OLED screen, and one more like the current iPhone 7 Plus with the same type of LCD display. The smaller 4.7” model, also featuring a more traditional LCD display, will keep the single camera, possibly as a result of size constraints limiting the space for components inside the phone.

Apple releasing photo book chronicling 20 years of its designs

In time for the holidays, Apple is releasing “Designed by Apple in California,” a book with 450 photographs of some of the company’s most iconic products. Starting with 1998’s iMac and ending with 2015’s Apple Pencil, the images Apple has released so far show images of the products standing out on a white background, letting the designs speak for themselves. The press release also promises insights into the “materials and techniques used by Apple’s design team over two decades of innovation.” Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, said the book is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs and illustrates the company’s thinking and creative inspiration.

“The idea of genuinely trying to make something great for humanity was Steve’s motivation from the beginning, and it remains both our ideal and our goal as Apple looks to the future,” Ive said. “This archive is intended to be a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years. We hope it brings some understanding to how and why they exist, while serving as a resource for students of all design disciplines.” The book is clearly aimed at hardcore Apple design enthusiasts, as the prices demonstrate: Designed by Apple in California is available in two sizes, 10.20” x 12.75” ($199) and 13” x 16.25” ($299). It will be available starting Wednesday on Apple’s website and in select stores.

TV app begins appearing on Apple TVs running tvOS beta in U.S., Canada

The TV app aimed at streamlining the Apple TV’s content discovery experience has begun appearing in the latest tvOS beta for some users in the U.S. and Canada. For those seeing the update, the Apple TV remote’s TV button now takes users to the TV app rather than the home screen. It’s still unclear whether the app’s appearance on Canadian Apple TVs is intentional, as Apple has previously said the feature would be U.S.-only. The app is clearly still a work in progress, with the most recent update cleaning up issues with fonts and menus displaying improperly, although the “Get Started” button on the welcome screen doesn’t yet do anything. The Canadian version also seems to lack access to features, with the “Store” screen showing no content and the app itself of course only providing access to iTunes movies and TV shows since other participating content apps are not available outside of the U.S.

Super Mario Run to debut Dec. 15, full unlocked game to cost $10

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Run will go on sale in the U.S. and several other regions on December 15. The game can be downloaded for free, giving players a chance to try out the three game modes. For those who want to keep playing, a one-time $10 payment will unlock unlimited access to all game three modes. In the new game, Mario continues to run on his own as a user performs single finger taps to make him “jump over obstacles, avoid enemies, pull off stylish moves, collect coins and reach the flagpole to complete courses.” For anyone who wants to view simulated gameplay or pre-register for the game, Nintendo has created a special website.

Apple considering creating ‘smart glasses’ with augmented reality tech

Apple is considering creating its own digital glasses as part of a further push into wearable technology, Bloomberg reports. People familiar with the matter said the company is in the “exploration phase” with the glasses, which would pair wirelessly with an iPhone to display images and possibly project augmented reality elements into the user’s field of vision. Apple recently patented an augmented reality mapping system, and KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects the company to begin integrating AR into its existing product lines within the next few years.

Apple Pay adds support for donations to non-profits

Apple will now allow users to donate to non-profits using Apple Pay, CNET reports. Under its old rules, Apple banned iOS apps from accepting funds for charities or fundraisers through Apple Pay, restricting those transactions to Safari or SMS. Now non-profits can integrate Apple Pay into their website’s checkout page on the web, and add it as an option within mobile apps. Mobile users can authorize their payments with Touch ID right away, and even web users can confirm their payment on an iPhone or Apple Watch after pushing a “donate” button in Safari. Starting today, the American Red Cross, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, and many other charities have begun accepting Apple Pay donations. The full slate of charities currently accepting Apple Pay donations and those working to roll out the payment method soon are listed below.

Apple releases third beta for iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released new betas for iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 to developers today. The company seems to be keeping up a weekly schedule of new beta releases at this point. We’ll update if any major changes are found, but it’s more likely these updates will offer minor tweaks from last week’s betas. A public iOS beta release should follow shortly.

Report: Apple to release curved 5”, 5.8” iPhones without bezels next year

Researchers from Barclays are predicting Apple will release new 5” and 5.8” iPhones next year that have a curved, bezel-free design, MacRumors reports. Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, the analysts said the move to a borderless design will let the screens of both the iPhone and iPhone Plus “extend vertically as well as horizontally” while allowing the devices to maintain the same overall size as the current models. While other reports have suggested Apple will be eliminating the home button to expand the iPhone’s screen size, Barclays doesn’t think the home button is going to be replaced by a version embedded inside the screen.

Report: New iPads coming in March, with new 10.9” borderless screen version

A new research note by Barclays analysts reveals that Apple may be planning to release three new iPad models in March 2017. Citing Asian supply chain sources, the report indicates that Apple plans to release refreshed versions of the 9.7” and 12.9” iPad Pro models, alongside an entirely new bezel-free 10.9” model. The new model is said to be in the same physical dimensions as the current 9.7” iPad Pro, with an edge-to-edge design on the display itself. This latest information somewhat aligns with an August report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo which predicted a 10.5” iPad Pro model, although Kuo suggested that the new model would replace the 9.7” iPad Pro, rather than coming in alongside it with a different design. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases iBooks StoryTime for Apple TV

Apple has released iBooks StoryTime for U.S. Apple TV users, an interactive spoken-word books app for kids. iBooks StoryTime includes a small selection of handpicks children’s titles with Read-Aloud narration and colourful illustrations that allows children to view and listen to stories on the Apple TV. The Siri Remote can be used to swipe between pages, and parents can turn off Read-Aloud narration to read the story to their children themselves. Additional Read-Aloud books can be purchased using the iBooks app on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and books purchased by all family members will automatically appear in the iBooks StoryTime library on the Apple TV.

Twitter awards Gold Customer Service Award to Apple

In Twitter’s first annual #TwitterAwards, the social network has presented Apple with the Gold #Customer Award for its highly successful launch of the @AppleSupport Twitter account in 2016 — the first time Apple has operated any kind of official support account on a social networking site. In publishing the award, Twitter noted that the @AppleSupport account has “received outstanding customer feedback and generated more than 150,000 likes and Retweets since its launch in March 2016” effectively placing it number one among all of the support accounts from various companies on Twitter for average engagements. Twitter also commended Apple for jumping into conversations with customers to offer assistance and its use of rich media in responses.

Tim Cook internal staff email calls for unity following U.S. election

Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent out an internal email to U.S. Apple employees calling for unity in the aftermath of the U.S. election results. The memo, obtained by Buzzfeed, encourages Apple employees to “move forward together” and reaffirms Apple’s strong commitment to social progress and equality.

While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed. Our products connect people everywhere, and they provide the tools for our customers to do great things to improve their lives and the world at large. Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world — regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love.

Cook notably avoids mentioning any candidates by name or making any specific comments on their election campaigns, simply stating that the “aftermath leaves many [...] with strong feelings”  and reiterating that Apple’s “very diverse team of employees” includes supporters of both candidates. Cook encourages employees to reach out to their fellow “co-workers if they are feeling anxious.”

 

Direct web linking to tvOS apps now available

Apple has announced to developers that they can now generate direct links to Apple TV applications that will preview in a user’s web browser, similar to the way in which iOS and macOS links presently work. Links to universal apps — those that include iOS and tvOS versions in the same application package — will still go to the iOS app by default, and no specific Apple TV references appear in those app previews; however, apps that exist solely for the Apple TV can now be previewed on the web, with full descriptions, screenshots, and reviews. Notably, it appears that Mac/PC users will still need to visit the Apple TV App Store to actually download or purchase tvOS apps — unlike iOS apps, a “View in iTunes” button does not appear for tvOS-only apps. However, links opened on an iPhone or iPad will automatically take the user to the iOS App Store, where the app can be purchased and then automatically downloaded to the Apple TV.

Apple begins selling refurbished iPhones in online Apple Store

Apple’s online store has begun selling refurbished iPhone 6s models, allowing customers to save money on last year’s iPhone models by purchasing certified refurbished versions. A variety of colors and capacities are available, with prices starting at $449 for a 16GB iPhone 6s — about $100 less expensive than a brand new entry-level iPhone 6s, although it’s worth keeping in mind that Apple has doubled storage capacities on this year’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, making the refurbished iPhones arguably less of a deal — a brand new 32GB iPhone 6s sells for $549. All refurbished iPhone models currently being sold appear to be unlocked and SIM-free, meaning they can be used on any carrier.

Report: Apple acquired technology, employees from streaming music startup

When streaming music startup Omnifone went bankrupt this summer, Apple acquired some of the company’s technology and at least 16 of its employees, TechCrunch reports. Apple was initially rumored to be acquiring Omnifone in June, and 16 of the company’s London-based employees have since changed their LinkedIn status to show they’re now working at Apple. Omniphone still owns over 50 patents related to streaming, downloading and digital media identification, but it’s unclear how many of those — if any — Apple has acquired. A source claims some of that technology found its way into Apple Music and iTunes, and the employees who joined Apple from Omnifone include engineers now working in iTunes and apps. Apple declined to comment on the story.

Apple patents augmented reality mapping system

Apple has been granted a patent for “Augmented Reality Maps” that layer map information and directions over live iPhone video, giving more credibility to recent rumors that the company will soon be integrating AR into its existing product lines. A drawing enclosed with the patent application shows street names superimposed on the image being received by the iPhone’s camera and points of interest labeled in the distance. The idea is to use the phone’s GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass to determine the device’s precise position and use that information to provide thew correct information about what’s in front of the user.

Apple releases second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released its second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. The first betas were released a week ago, and Apple also later added the Single Sign-On feature for Apple TV and iOS beta users.

Apple makes deal with NBCUniversal to sell ads in News app

Apple is handing off ad sales for its News app to NBCUniversal, Recode reports. Publishers can still sell their own ads and keep 100 percent of the profit generated, but NBCUniversal will now be selling the remaining ad space. Publishers will get 70 percent of the revenue from those ads sales, just like they’re currently getting under the existing arrangement with Apple. Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s head of sales, said the company is creating a new “dedicated sales group” for the app. Earlier this year Apple pulled the plug on its lackluster iAd service after not being able to find a reasonable way to use customer data while still maintaining privacy.

Google brings ‘undo send’ feature to Gmail iOS app

Google has released an improved version of its Gmail app for iOS, finally adding the popular “undo send” feature. Users will now have a five-second window to take back a message if they immediately realize that message wasn’t complete (or wasn’t going where they intended). The update also provides the ability to archive or delete messages with a swipe and improves searches by providing instant results and spelling suggestions. The Gmail app is available on the App Store.

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