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Adobe launching full Photoshop for iPad next year

Adobe is planning to shift its mobile app strategy once again with a full release of Photoshop for iPad, Bloomberg reports. The move, which is part of an effort to make its products available across as many device as possible and thereby boost subscription sales, would see a new full-featured Photoshop app unveiled at Adobe’s MAX creative conference in October, with the app scheduled to be released in 2019. The information comes from undisclosed sources, and engineering delays could still alter the timeline, however Adobe’s Chief Product Officer of Creative Cloud, Scott Belsky, did confirm that the company is working on a new cross-platform iteration of Photoshop, but declined to comment on when the new versions would be launched. “My aspiration is to get these on the market as soon as possible,” Belsky said in an interview. “There’s a lot required to take a product as sophisticated and powerful as Photoshop and make that work on a modern device like the iPad. We need to bring our products into this cloud-first collaborative era.”

Apple joins with suppliers to create China Clean Energy Fund

Apple has announced that it will be joining with its Chinese suppliers to create a $300 million investment fund for a new environmental project to connect suppliers with renewable energy sources. The China Clean Energy Fund will work over the next four years to invest in and develop clean energy projects with a goal of producing more than one gigawatt of renewable energy in China — equal to the energy required to power about one million homes. The new fund will help suppliers deal with the complexities of transitioning to clean energy by leveraging greater purchasing power, and will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, a company specializing in sustainable investments. ”At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet.”

Apple patent suggests enhanced ‘Find My AirPods’ feature

A new patent reported by AppleInsider reveals that Apple may be working on a way to improve the technology in its “Find My AirPods” feature to allow users to better locate where lost peripherals may be located. Currently, the Find My AirPods feature, which was introduced in iOS 10.3, plays a sound through the AirPods that will help a user locate the lost earbud, but still requires the user to hear it. A new patent application filed last year, titled “Locating Wireless Devices,” would expand on the pinging function by using an array of two or more microphones on a device such as an iPhone to estimate the direction that AirPods are located in, and point the user in that direction. The patent also describes methods for using other sensors to determine the device’s physical location and using sound readings to determine the approximately location of the accessory, guiding the user to the spot with a compass-style user interface. Other possibilities include using audio in areas of the spectrum not normally audible to human ears, allowing for “silent” pinging that would provide location estimation without disturbing nearby users and avoid issues with noisy environments. As with most patent applications, the mere existence of a patent filing doesn’t guarantee that Apple is even working on a feature, much less that it will see the light of day, although this one seems like a logical extension of Apple’s current Find My AirPods technology.

Plex adds Grid View on Apple TV

Last month, Plex announced a new Grid View for its DVR and Live TV feature, allowing users to browse a programming guide in the more familiar user interface. While the new layout was originally only available in the Plex web app, the company has now brought it to the Apple TV platform, allowing Plex fans to take advantage of a more traditional DVR-style experience. Plex added Live TV support to the Apple TV last year, although the original user interface for the feature only allowed users to browse by show, similar to navigating Plex library content.

Apple axes photo printing service, points users to App Store Photos extensions

Apple is shutting down its long-running Photo Print Products service, 9to5Mac has discovered, directing users instead to third-party apps on the Mac App Store that provide Photos extensions — a capability first introduced in macOS High Sierra. The service, which has been available since Apple first launched iPhoto in 2002, began by offering simple prints, later expanding to albums, photo books, and even calendars. Later this year, however, Apple plans to discontinue the service altogether, with a note in the macOS 10.13.6 Photos app that indicates final orders must be placed by Sept. 30, 2018, and pointing users to third-party apps on the Mac App Store that include Photos Projects extensions. The Projects section has also disappeared entirely in the macOS Mojave betas by default, with the File, Create menu now only providing links to a page on the Mac App Store that provides an overview of available extensions.

Apple announces 2018 Back to School Promo offering free Beats headphones with an iPad Pro or Mac

Apple has announced its annual Back to School Promotion for 2018, once again providing free or discounted Beats headphones with select Mac or iPad Pro purchases. This year’s promotion is similar to the deal Apple offered last year, although it notably excludes the iPhone from the list of eligible products. This year, qualifying educational customers purchasing just about any Mac model can choose to receive a free pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones, or BeatsX Earphones, while those purchasing an iPad Pro can receive a free pair of BeatsX Earphones, or alternatively choose to purchase a pair of Beats Solo3 headphones for $100 — basically receiving a discount equal to the price of the otherwise-free BeatsX Earphones.

Apple faces patent lawsuit over ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature

Apple is being sued for patent infringement for its “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature that was introduced in iOS 11 last fall, according to a report by Patently Apple. A company by the name of SMTT Technology has filed a formal complaint in the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, alleging that Apple infringes upon a patent that it acquired from inventor Nick Bovis titled “Mobile device inactive mode and inactive mode verification” and claiming that Apple’s “Do Not Disturb while Driving” features mirrors the patent in question, accusing Apple of willful and deliberate infringement of the patent by “[gambling] that SMTM and Mr. Bovis would not have the business acumen or the capital to vindicate their claims under the Bovis Patent.”

Jason Momoa to star in upcoming Apple sci-fi series

Jason Momoa has been cast in a lead role in a new Apple original series, Variety reports. Titled “See”, the series is described as an “epic, world-building drama set in the future.” Momoa, who is known for his five-year role on Stargate Atlantis as well as a one-season stint on Game of Thrones, will play Baba Voss, a fearless warrior, leader, and guardian. Little else is known about the new series, which was written by English screenwriter Steven Knight, who will also serve as executive producer alongside director Francis Lawrence, and Chemin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo. Momoa is the latest in an expanding lineup of big to sign on with Apple, following others such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Octavia Spencer.

Former Apple engineer charged with theft of trade secrets

A former Apple engineer has been charged by the FBI with theft of trade secrets related to Apple’s autonomous car project, MacRumors reports. Xiaolang Zhang was hired by Apple in late 2015 to work developing software and hardware for Apple’s Project Titan team, which gave him “broad access to secure and confidential internal databases” containing trade secrets and intellectual property for the project. In April 2018, Zhang took paternity leave from Apple and visited China, later telling his supervisor that he would be leaving Apple to work for a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup XMotors. Suspicions raised during Zhang’s resignation meeting led Apple’s Product Security Team to investigate, discovering that he had accessed a significant amount of confidential information just prior to his departure, including information on prototypes such as power requirements, low voltage requirements, battery system, and drivetrain suspension mounts. The FBI affidavit for the criminal complaint notes that “the majority of [Zhang’s] activity consisted of both bulk searches and targeted downloading copious pages of information from various confidential database applications.” The team also reviewed recorded video footage showing Zhang visiting the Apple campus on April 28 — the time period of the data download — and leaving the labs with a box of hardware.

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee questions Apple on privacy policies

U.S. lawmakers are asking Apple to clarify its privacy policies, specifically how it handles users’ personal information, speech, and location data, The Wall Street Journal reports. A letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook from the House Energy and Commerce Committee cites several recent media reports as raising concerns about how personal data is collected and used, particularly when users take “active steps to prevent being tracked by their device.” Specifically, the letter sent to Cook notes a November 2017 report that revealed that Android phones “collect information on nearby cellular towers even if location services, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities are disabled” and there are no third-party apps installed or even a SIM card inserted into the phone, and requests “Apple’s assistance in understanding whether these reports could apply to Apple products” such as the iPhone, and particularly whether data is being used in “ways that consumers do not expect.” The Committee also sent a similar letter to Alphabet CEO Larry Page.

Security researchers discover method to stall USB Restricted Mode

Security researchers at a well-known security firm have discovered a loophole that can be used to prevent Apple’s new USB Restricted Mode from activating without needing to unlock an iPhone. USB Restricted Mode is a new feature that Apple added in iOS 11.4 that locks down an iPhone’s Lightning Port when it hasn’t been used for a certain time period, requiring the user to unlock the device before they will be able to use Lightning to USB accessories. By blocking all data connections through the Lighting port, the new feature aims to foil many of the recent hardware hacking tools that have emerged to bypass iPhone security, and while iOS 11.4 introduced the feature with a seven-day timer, this was reduced to only one hour in the iOS 12 betas, and in iOS 11.4.1 released this week.

iTunes gains AirPlay 2 support in macOS High Sierra 10.13.6

Apple has added AirPlay 2 support into iTunes as part of this week’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 update. While iTunes has long supported multi-room audio using the standard AirPlay protocol (and AirTunes before that), the addition of AirPlay 2 support for iTunes will allow for faster performance when switching between and streaming to multiple speakers, better audio synchronization, and, perhaps most significantly, multi-device control, allowing you to begin streaming audio from your Mac or PC and then subsequently control it from an iPhone, iPad, or even an Apple Watch. AirPlay 2 support is also naturally included in macOS Mojave, currently in public beta, but will be a welcome surprise for those users who are still on High Sierra. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, watchOS 4.3.2, and HomePod 11.4.1 updates

Apple has released iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2, following a quiet beta cycle that involved five relatively uninteresting test releases. The minor bug fix release comes out in the midst of a series [iOS 12 public betas], although it presumably addresses enough minor issues with the prior versions, released in late May to make them worthwhile updates for those experiencing problems. While the release notes during the beta cycle didn’t provide any information on what the new versions would address, the final release notes for iOS 11.4.1 indicate that today’s update fixes an issue that prevented some users from viewing the last known location of their AirPods in Find My iPhone and improves the reliability of syncing data with Microsoft Exchange accounts. With iOS 12 expected to arrive in September, it seems likely this will be the last iOS 11 update that we’ll see. Release notes for tvOS 11.4.1 and watchOS 4.3.2 are considerably more vague, suggesting only minor fixes. An 11.4.1 update for HomePod also appeared today, similarly listing only unspecified bug fixes and performance improvements.

Microsoft bringing Windows Movies & TV to iOS

Microsoft is planning to release an iOS app for its Windows Movies & TV service, according to a new report by Windows Central, in a move intended to bring more of Microsoft’s presence onto the iOS and Android platforms following its own departure from the mobile space. This latest news follows the company’s rollout an iPad-optimized version of its Edge browser earlier this year, along with continuing advancements in its Microsoft Office suite of mobile apps for iOS. While Microsoft’s Movies & TV service isn’t a frontrunner compared to iTunes, an iOS app will be welcome news for users who have invested in Microsoft’s video content ecosystem, as well as helping Microsoft gain more customers for the service, which is currently available on Windows 10 PC and Xbox.

Apple Music moves ahead of Spotify in the U.S.

Apple has edged out Spotify in U.S. subscriber counts, according to a new report by Digital Music News. Citing confidential details from a major distributor, the report notes that both services now have 20 million U.S. subscribers, with Apple “now a hair ahead,” however the lead is expected to continue widening, with data that shows Apple experiencing a much stronger growth rate. The detailed report shared with Digital Music News provided subscriber counts from several major streaming services, including not only Apple Music and Spotify, but also Tidal and Sirius XM; while Apple Music is now first-place in the U.S. among on-demand services, Sirius XM has a count of 33 million North American subscribers, suggesting that it’s likely still ahead of Apple Music. These latest numbers line up with a report from the Wall Street Journal [earlier this year] that predicted Apple was “on the verge” of overtaking Spotify, with a five percent U.S. subscriber growth rate compared to Spotify’s two percent. The comparisons, however, do not factor in Apple Music trial users nor users on Spotify’s free tier.

Apple looks back at ten years of the App Store

Apple has published a news release heralding the 10th Anniversary of the App Store, a milestone that the venerable marketplace will be officially celebrating next Tuesday. As Apple points out, the App Store opened on July 10, 2008, with the release of the iPhone 3G and iPhone Software 2.0. At launch, the App Store included a mere 500 apps, 25 percent of which were available for free, and 90 percent of the commercial apps selling for $9.99 or less. Games also made up a third of the initial set of apps, and then-CEO Steve Jobs insisted that Apple was not trying to make money of the App Store specifically, but simply wanted to use the App Store as a way to “sell more iPhones.”

Apple offering Siri Shortcuts beta to selected developers via TestFlight

While Apple’s new Siri Shortcuts feature debuted at WWDC has been conspicuously missing from iOS 12 betas, the company now appears to be making it available as a separate app to select registered developers through its TestFlight program. The app, which is clearly the result of Apple’s 2017 acquisition of Workflow, will allow users to build automations that integrate with multiple iOS apps and can be launched with a single Siri voice command. Registered developers can request access to the TestFlight beta via Apple’s Developer Downloads page, although it appears that Apple may only be accepting some developers into the TestFlight program.

Second Public Beta of iOS 12 now available

As expected, Apple has rolled out a second public beta of iOS 12, corresponding to the third beta released to developers earlier this week. Apple’s Beta Software program allows members of the public to sign up to receive pre-release beta versions of Apple’s latest iPhone/iPad and Apple TV operating systems ahead of the fall release, with public beta releases normally mirroring the betas made available to developers one to two days earlier. Users who are interested in living on the edge and trying out the latest iOS and tvOS versions can sign up on Apple’s Beta Software Program page.

Report: Apple to introduce new colors for 2018 iPhone lineup

Apple is expected to be launching at least some of its 2018 iPhone models in additional colors, according to a new research note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, the second-generation iPhone X will only add the new gold option that was rumored earlier this year, however the lower-end 6.1-inch LCD model is expected to be available in “five possible casing colors,” adding blue, red, and orange to the usual grey and white, suggesting that Apple may be trying to give it a design appeal similar to the [2013 iPhone 5c], while still maintaining a more refined “premium” look for the higher-end OLED models. Kuo’s research note also adds that the 6.1-inch LCD model is expected to have a selling price below $700 USD, and that all models will include dual-SIM dual-standby (DSDS) technology. MacRumors also notes a subsequent tweet by OnLeaks’ Steve Hemmerstoffer adding that Apple is prototyping yellow and pink finishes as well.

Happy Independence Day from iLounge!

A very happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers. iLounge will be on a limited publishing schedule today as we celebrate Independence Day. We’ll return to our normal schedule tomorrow.

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