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Report: 2018 OLED iPhones to support Apple Pencil

A new report from Economic Daily News (via 9to5Mac) is adding its voice to a chorus of other recent rumours that Apple may be bringing Apple Pencil support to its 2018 OLED iPhone lineup. Although Apple Pencil support debuted on the iPad Pro almost three years ago, support for Apple’s stylus hasn’t arrived on the iPhone as many had hoped it would. A report last fall suggested that Apple was at least considering iPhone stylus support by 2019, particularly in light of some of the new handwriting and markup function in iOS 11. Now, reports are suggesting the Apple may in fact bring support to its OLED iPhone models this fall, in hopes of driving adoption of the higher-end models, and making it another feature that will differentiate the OLED models from the lower-cost LCD version expected to also arrive this fall. The move may not be entirely surprising, considering that Apple expanded the previously iPad Pro only feature to the lower-end iPad with the release of the sixth-generation model earlier this year, suggesting a desire to move toward universal support for the stylus across all iOS platforms.

Tweetbot update removes deprecated features in advance of Twitter API changes

Tapbots has released an update to its popular Tweetbot client for Twitter, removing features that will no longer be supported as of today’s Twitter API changes. Twitter announced changes to its APIs last year — a move that was met with protests by developers of third-party Twitter clients, and while the company later extended its deadline, it offered no leeway in allowing third-party app developers to continue using many of the streaming and notification features that they had come to rely on. In the release notes for Tweetbot, Tapbots notes that “because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features” and that the matter is out of its control. this includes not only the popular live timeline streaming feature — users will now be limited to 1-2 minute refresh intervals rather than live updates — but also delays push notifications for mentions and direct messages, and removes them entirely for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes. Ina addition, the Activity and Stats tabs and the Apple Watch app are casualties of the new changes, as the latter depended heavily on the Activity data that is no longer available to third-party apps. Although Tapbots notes that it will be investigating how to bring some features back in the future, it seems this will depend heavily on finding workarounds in Twitter’s more limited API, and it’s unclear whether this will be successful, or, if so, for how long. [via 9to5Mac]

Australian teen pleads guilty to hacking Apple’s secure systems

An Australian teenager has pled guilty to criminal hacking charges for repeatedly breaking into Apple’s secure computer systems, The Age reports. The intrusions, which were discovered by Apple’s internal security teams and reported to the FBI and Australian authorities, saw the teen breaking into Apple’s mainframe from his home in suburban Melbourne on multiple occasions over the course of a year. According to his lawyer, the teen engaged in hacking Apple’s systems because he “was such a fan of the company” and that he had told police that he had “dreamed of working for Apple.” The teen had downloaded 90 GB of secure files and accessed various customer accounts over the course of his unauthorized access and had developed VPN tunnels and other systems to attempt to hide his identity, however, Apple was able to trace the source of the intrusions by logging the serial numbers from the MacBooks he was using, which were also matched up by authorities the the laptops were seized, along with a mobile phone and hard drive. The teen’s method of accessing Apple’s systems reportedly “worked flawlessly” until the intrusions were discovered by Apple and the teen was caught. The teen’s guilty plea has been acknowledged, however sentencing has been put off until next month due to the complexities involved in the case. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases iOS 12 beta 8, following removal of beta 7 earlier this week

Apple has released an eighth beta of iOS 12, following an issue with the seventh beta being pulled earlier this week, a few hours after it was released, due to reports of performance problems. The new beta features a build number of 16A5357b, a relatively small increment from Monday’s build of 16A5354b, suggesting that Apple simply addressed whatever was causing the performance issues and pushed out a new beta that’s otherwise similar to the earlier beta.

Kuo predicts Apple Car to launch by 2025

Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicted that Apple will indeed release an Apple car by the year 2025, according to a new investor note set out from TF International Securities, his new employer. The note, which outlines products that Kuo expects to see in Apple’s future, also makes note of Apple’s plans for an [augmented reality headset][2] that has been rumoured to be in development for the past couple of years, along with the prediction that Apple will hit a two trillion dollar market cap via these new products along with its ever-growing services business. Most notably, however, Kuo predicts that Apple still has a vehicle in the works, and the “Apple Car” will be “the next star product,” expected to launch sometime between 2023 and 2025. Kuo adds that the new car will be as disruptive to the automotive industry as the original iPhone was to the mobile industry.

Apple’s upcoming sci-fi series casts Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, and Sarah Jones

Apple appears to be building up its cast for its upcoming Ronald D. Moore sci-fi drama, Variety reports, with the addition of Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, and Sarah Jones to the roster. Apple reportedly placed the order for the new series late last year, which is set in a world where the global space race never ended, and considering Ron Moore’s extensive sci-fi experience with shows ranging from Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica, the new series is expected to be one of the company’s flagship productions.

Verizon’s 5G broadband service to include Apple TV 4K

As part of the launch of its new 5G broadband service, Verizon will be offering subscribers an Apple TV 4K set-top box alongside a YouTube TV subscription, Variety reports. A report last month revealed that Verizon was seeking a partnership with Apple to be a television provider for its new wireless broadband television service, which will initially be launching later this year in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston and Indianapolis. While it appears that, for now at least, Verizon has partnered with Google’s YouTube TV to provide content delivery — perhaps not surprising considering Apple has not yet revealed a timeline for its own video content service — Apple will be providing the set-top box that powers the new platform.

Report: Upcoming AirPods wireless charging case will be Qi-compatible

According to a new report from Chinese publication Chongdiantou (via MacRumors), Apple’s upcoming wireless charging case for the AirPods will be compatible with any standard Qi charger. Although Apple announced the AirPods charging case last fall, its announcement alongside Apple’s AirPower charging mat left it unclear whether the AirPods case would use an Apple-specific charging method like the Apple Watch, or whether it would embrace the open Qi standard like Apple’s 2017 iPhones. Although the new AirPods charging case was originally expected to arrive late last year, that didn’t happen and Apple has been typically quiet about any updated release timeframe, although recent betas of iOS 12 have revealed images for the new case, suggesting that it’s likely to be released sometime this fall, probably alongside a second-generation model of AirPods. Although Chongdiantou has been in the news lately with claims about Apple bundling a new 18-watt USB-C power adapter with this year’s iPhones, and additional predictions that Apple will be releasing AirPower in September, as MacRumors notes, the publication lacks an established track record, so it remains to be seen if any of these reports will come to fruition.

Apple reportedly pushing developers to move to subscriptions

According a new report by Business Insider (via VentureBeat), Apple has quietly been meeting with developers behind the scenes to attempt to push them into moving their apps over to a subscription model rather than one-off purchases. According to the report, the change is intended to keep users paying for apps “on a regular basis, putting money into developer coffers on a regular schedule,” and of course also provide a continued revenue stream for Apple, which gets a 15 to 30 percent cut of subscription revenue, depending on how long app users maintain their subscriptions. While Apple is telling developers that the move is to “create sustainable business models, instead of selling high-quality software for a few dollars or monetizing through advertising,” which is a valid concern, a move to subscriptions would also help to bolster Apple’s bottom line, particularly with the company placing a strong emphasis on its “Services” business in the past few years.

Apple pulls iOS 12 beta 7 due to reported performance problems

Apple has pulled the over-the-air update for the latest beta of iOS 12 due to reports of sluggish performance, 9to5Mac reports. The seventh beta of iOS 12 was released yesterday to developers, alongside new betas of tvOS 12, watchOS 5, and macOS Mojave. Although the manual beta image is still available for direct download from Apple’s developer portal, the OTA update was pulled a few hours after its release, seemingly as as result of performance issues reported by developers, including an unresponsive lock screen and apps taking several seconds to launch, although some developers indicated that the issues appear to clear up after a few minutes and normal performance resumes, while others have indicated that they return intermittently. Apple will presumably release an updated iOS 12 beta within the next day or two, but it seems likely that the public beta will be similarly delayed.

Apple releases seventh betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12 + watchOS 5

Apple has released a seventh series of betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 to registered developers. As with the last round, the newest betas come only a week after the last betas were released, with the increased frequency likely being due to the impending September release of iOS 12. iOS 12 beta 7 features a build number of 16A5354b, tvOS 12 beta 7 is build 16J5349a and watchOS 5 beta 7 is build 16R5349a, with the release notes for each documenting an increasingly smaller number of fixes as Apple polishes up each of its operating systems for a final release.

Apple orders new comedy series from ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ duo

Apple has placed an order for another comedy series, Variety reports, this time from the writing duo of Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, best known for their work on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The new series will be set in a video game development studio, with McElhenney also set to star in the series in addition to serving as writer and executive producer along with Charlie Day. This will mark the duo’s first collaboration since they worked together on “It’s Always Sunny,” where they both served as executive producers. The series will be produced by the Lionsgate-3 Arts Entertainment venture in partnership with video game publisher Ubisoft.

Report: Apple Pay now has over 250m users, or 31 percent of active iPhones

A new report from Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster estimates that 31 percent of iPhone users have made at least one purchase with Apple Pay in the past year, bringing the total number of Apple Pay users to around 252 million. This represents an increase of 7 percent from a year ago. These numbers are only educated estimates, however, as Apple does not release specifics on Apple Pay adoption, however Munster is basing his analysis on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent disclosure that over one billion Apple Pay transactions occurred last quarter, in light of past reports of year-over-year Apple Pay growth, and Munster adds that he expects transaction growth of 200 percent over the next year, and believes that the number of global smartphone users who use their iPhone as a digital wallet will eventually rise to 80 percent, adding that Apple will likely lead the pack as the “premium digital wallet” due to its payment integration across both mobile and desktop platforms, the strength of the Apple brand with retailers and banks, and its support for “all five payment pillars” of mobile, desktop, in-app, peer to peer, and point of sale transactions.

Apple GiveBack program streamlines online trade-in process

Apple has updated its GiveBack program to streamline the trade-in process when buying new devices, 9to5Mac reports. Up until now the trade-in program, which encouraged recycling of old iPhones and other smartphones, required users to send in their device to Apple before they could receive a gift card to apply against the purchase of a new iPhone. Although users could always visit an Apple Store in person for immediate credit, not everybody lives close enough to an Apple Store to take advantage of this option. Now, users shopping for an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac will be asked whether they have a device that they wish to trade in, and after answering a few questions about the device will be shown the amount of trade-in value immediately. A serial number will be required to proceed with the transaction, after which the user will be prompted to complete their purchase normally and be sent a trade-in kit to ship their old device back. Note that the trade-in credit is not applied immediately to the purchase; users be charged the normal price for the new device and receive a refund of the trade-in value once the old device is received and verified by Apple.

Apple explains technology behind Siri’s ability to find local destinations

Apple has shared a new paper in its Machine Learning Journal providing technical details on how it works to improve Siri’s ability to recognize names of local points of interest. In a post titled Finding Local Destinations with Siri’s Regionally Specific Language Models for Speech Recognition, Apple explains how iOS incorporates knowledge of the user’s current location into the speech recognition system behind Siri, to provide a level of accuracy beyond mere general speech recognition to the point of allowing Siri to more accurately recognize named entities like local businesses. While Apple acknowledges that most virtual assistants have little problem correctly recognizing and understanding the names of high-profile businesses like Starbucks, it’s more of a challenge to accurately identify the names of millions of smaller, local businesses and services that users ask about. To address this, Apple began by incorporating knowledge of the user’s location into the speech recognition system, not only to identify businesses that might be near a user’s location, but also to build a regional acoustic model of how users might be likely to pronounce names of local businesses, as well as addressing the complexity of hundreds of business names that have little to no representation in Siri’s language model database.

Apple may be casting too wide a net in gambling app ban

A new report by MacRumors suggests that Apple’s recent enforcement actions against gambling apps on the App Store may be catching unrelated apps as a result of an overly broad consideration of “unrestricted web access” as providing the potential for accessing gambling-related sites, since it would allow a user to access any URL from an in-app browser window. While the “Unrestricted web access” designation has long required apps to carry a “17+” age rating, since the browser window can circumvent parental controls, it seems that Apple considers it an open window into activities that would otherwise be banned on the App Store. Apps that have been caught up in the ban include a magazine app and even an Apple Watch app, WatchPlay, that’s designed to simply allow users to start YouTube videos from their wrist.

The new crackdown is based on a new App Store policy that now only permits “verified accounts from incorporated business entities” to publish gambling apps, with Apple sending other developers notices telling them that the move is “to reduce fraudulent activity on the App Store and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity.” The policy includes not only gambling apps that use real money but also any apps that “simulate a gambling experience.”

Verizon Unlimited customers to get six months of Apple Music for free

Verizon and Apple are teaming up to offer six months of Apple Music for free to Verizon customers on the company’s Unlimited wireless plans. Beginning on Aug. 16, both new and existing customers on any of Verizon’s Unlimited wireless plans will be able to access a special offer giving them six months of Apple Music at no cost. According to Verizon, existing Apple Music subscribers, and presumably those who have already been through Apple’s own free three-month trial period, will also be able to take advantage of this offer by cancelling and reactivating their Apple Music subscriptions. Following the six-month free period, users will automatically be billed the normal $9.99 per month subscription rate unless they opt to cancel their subscription prior to that time. Verizon notes that this is only the first step in what the company expects to be more exclusive Apple offers that will be made available through the partnership between the two companies. [via MacRumors]

Anki announces Vector, a new home robot with personality

Consumer robotics and AI company Anki has announced Vector, a new fully-autonomous little robot that builds on the technology of last year’s cute and brilliant Cozmo. Promising a major leap forward in consumer robotics, Vector will come alive with even more personality than its predecessor, and will include direct cloud connectivity over Wi-Fi, removing the need to rely on an iOS device to power its interactions, essentially becoming an always-on robotic pet who will have an awareness of surroundings through touch, sight, and sound. Like Cozmo, Vector will gain new features and more intelligence over time courtesy of software updates, but with a direct cloud connection, such updates will arrive autonomously over-the-air without the need for any user interaction. A high-res color IPS display will allow Vector to react to his environment and display his personality, and even respond to human touch via a capacitive touch sensor on his back. An “Ask Vector” feature will also allow him to provide answers to factual questions, provide weather reports, and set timers, allowing him to double as a home assistant, and he’ll also be able to take pictures, perform facial recognition, play games, and dance to music.

Apple lands rights to develop drama series based on ‘Pachinko’

Apple has landed the rights to develop a new TV series based on the New York Times best-seller “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee, according to an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter. Apple’s score followed a bidding war, with sources saying that the drama includes a sizeable script-to-series commitment. Pachinko, which was one of The New York Times’ 10 best books of 2017 and a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction, tells the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family, with a plot that is described as “epic in scope” that launches from a forbidden romance into a saga that cross through Korea, Japan, and America. Apple is said to be putting a sizeable budget behind the new show — on par with Netflix’s The Crown — which will be told in Korean, Japanese, and English. The script will be written by Soo Hugh, known for AMC’s The Terror, who will also be executive producing and serving as show runner. Author Min Jin Lee will also be credited as an executive producer.

Apple Pay continues to expand in the U.S., Russia and Ukraine; may finally come to Germany soon

Apple Pay has expanded to over 20 more banks in the United States, along with three banks in Russian and Ukraine, 9to5Mac reports. The mobile payment service only launched in Ukraine earlier this year, although it has been available in Russia since late 2016. Recent reports also suggest that a launch in Germany may finally be coming, following what looked like an imminent rollout in that country two years ago.

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