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Tim Cook calls $1 trillion valuation a ‘significant milestone’ but emphasizes it’s about core values

Apple CEO Tim Cook has told employees that while the company’s trillion dollar valuation reached yesterday is a “significant milestone” it’s “not the most important measure” of the company’s success. In an e-mail obtained by Reuters, Cook noted that the record-breaking valuation is simply a result of Apple’s emphasis on its products, customers, and core values, and that Apple needs to continue to focus in these areas, “putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values” and that financial returns should simply be seen as a natural result of Apple’s innovation. “Steve [Jobs] founded Apple on the belief that the power of human creativity can solve even the biggest challenges — and that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do,” Cook wrote in the memo, adding that “Just as Steve always did in moments like this, we should all look forward to Apple’s bright future and the great work we’ll do together.” The full text of the memo can be found at 9to5Mac

Apple crosses the trillion dollar threshold

Apple has officially become the world’s first company to cross the trillion dollar mark, as stocks spiked upward following Tuesday’s quarterly results. According to CNBC, stocks rose nearly three percent, hitting a high of $207.05 in midday trading today before dropping back below $207 again. While 9to5Mac noticed Apple’s own Stocks app — based on Yahoo Finance — reporting that Apple had already hit the mark, it took Google Finance a while to catch up, as the Yahoo Finance numbers were based on outdated information regarding outstanding shares. The trillion dollar market capitalization is based on the company’s total outstanding shares — 4,829,926,000 in this case — multiplied by the price of each share, meaning the stock price had to reach $207.05 for Apple to cross the threshold. Apple’s stock has since dropped down below $207, placing its current market cap at only $999 billion, although Apple still retains the distinction of being the first company to reach one trillion dollars in valuation, even if only for a few moments, beating out rivals like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s Alphabet.

Apple to remove apps from iTunes Affiliate Program as of Oct. 1

Apple has announced that it will no longer be including apps in its iTunes Affiliate Program. According to an e-mail sent to publishers last night, apps for iOS and macOS will no longer be part of the affiliate program, beginning Oct. 1, 2018. This will likely be coincident with the release of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, as Apple explained that its new App Store interfaces on both the Mac and IOS platforms offer “increased methods of app discovery” that renders the Affiliate Program less necessary. Apple originally provided a seven percent affiliate rate for apps promoted through the iTunes Affiliate Program, although the company dropped that rate last year to 2.5 percent for in-app purchases, while reconsidering a decision to do the same for app purchases after publishers pushed back on the idea. Apple notes that all other content types — music, movies, books and TV shows — will remain in the affiliate program. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Watch, AirPods now account for $10 billion in total sales

Following yesterday’s quarterly results announcement, Apple CFO Luca Maestri revealed to the Financial Times that Apple’s revenue from wearables saw a 60 percent jump in the June quarter, and that over the last four quarters, revenue from this category — which primarily consists of the Apple Watch and AirPods — now exceeds $10 billion. Maestri underscored the results by adding that “This is a product category that essentially didn’t exist three years ago.” Apple doesn’t normally breakout wearables revenue separately in its financial statements, instead including these all under the border “Other Products” category which also includes things like the HomePod speaker, as well as the iPod. [via 9to5Mac]

Zagg acquires Braven from Incipio

Zagg has announced that it plans to acquire Braven from Incipio Group, adding the company’s premium rugged speaker lineup to its existing product portfolio. Braven, which began as an independent speaker company, was acquired by Incipio in 2013, although it continued to be run as an entirely separate division with its original branding. With its acquisition by Zagg, it appears Braven will move into a similar position under the new parent company, which also acquired Mophie in 2016 and continues to operate it as a separate brand. According to the press release, Zagg will acquire all intellectual property rights and product development capabilities, including Braven’s engineering and product design teams, while backing up Braven with Zagg’s retail, distribution, and supply chain strengths. “As a leading mobile lifestyle company, today’s announcement marks an important milestone for our company,” said Chris Ahern, CEO of Zagg. “Braven is a category creator and leader in technology, and expands our house of brands into new segments of the large and growing audio category while leveraging our global distribution to rapidly scale the company. Together, we look forward to continuing the Braven brand heritage of developing intelligently designed products with cutting-edge innovation and craftsmanship that will thrill even the most demanding outdoor adventurers and audio enthusiasts.” The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Apple Q3 2018: $53.3B revenue, 41.3M iPhones + 11.6M iPads sold

Apple reported its third quarter 2018 financial results today, with 41.3 million iPhones and 11.6 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $53.3 billion and quarterly earnings of $2.34 per diluted share. For Q4 2018, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $60 billion and $62 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent.

Nuvyyo releases major Tablo Apple TV app update

Nuvyyo has has released a major update of its Tablo app for the Apple TV, bringing many of the features of its Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps over to the tvOS version. Tablo for tvOS 1.6 adds a new guide screen with filters for prime time, premiering, TV shows, movies, and sports, similar to those found in the iOS version as well, along with a Scheduled screen with filters, support for turning the new Surround Sound feature on and off from the tvOS app, and display of the current time on the Live TV screen. The new version of the app should be appearing on the App Store as a free update within the next 24 hours.

Fourth Public Betas of iOS 12 + tvOS 12 now available

The fourth public betas of iOS 12 and tvOS 12 are now available to testers, corresponding to the fifth betas released to developers yesterday. 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.

Twelve South announces AirSnap case for AirPods

Twelve South has announced AirSnap, a stylish new protective case for Apple’s AirPods. Featuring full-grain leather, AirSnap is specifically designed to fit the encased AirPods while still offering easy access to the earbuds and the charging port without any need to remove the case. AirSnap is crafted from the same leather as Twelve South’s RelaxedLeather iPhone cases, and is designed to develop a unique patina over time for a personalized weathered look and feel. A built-in metal carabiner clip helps keep AirSnap attached to a bag, backpack, or even a keychain, and a secure snap closure is used to ensure that AirPods are protected with no risk of them falling out of the case when on the go. AirSnap is available from Twelve South in Black, Deep Teal, and Cognac colors for $29.99.

The Infinite Cooler launches on Indiegogo

The Infinite Cooler, a new high-tech cooler has just launched on Indiegogo that promises to reinvent the simple cooler with an astonishing amount of versatility and high-tech features. Designed by a team of experienced outdoor enthusiasts, engineers, and product designers, the 61-quarter cooler provides refrigeration capacity for up to 17 days of cooling, but adds significantly more, including a blender and coffee grinder, a Bluetooth speaker, and a USB charger. In addition to a touch screen with a dedicated music streaming and social media sharing app, the cooler also includes more utilitarian features, such as six cup holders, a cutting board with utensils, a bottle opener, and a corkscrew,

Logitech to acquire Blue Microphones

Logitech has announced plans to acquire Blue Microphones, the venerable studio-quality microphone company that’s known for unique gems such as the Spark, Raspberry, and Nessie. In the announcement, Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell stated, “Logitech’s acquisition of Blue Microphones will accelerate our entry into a growing market, and offers another way for us to help bring people’s passions (from music to blogging) to life. Joining with Blue is an adjacent opportunity for us – a new way to grow – with additional synergies related to our existing gaming, PC webcam and audio categories. It’s exciting!” Blue Microphones CEO John Maier added that, “Blue and Logitech have a lot in common. Both companies work at being small, fast and hungry, crafting great products with cutting-edge design and technology. We’re an established leader in the broadcasting space with a strong product portfolio. Logitech has design at its heart, tech know-how and global reach. Together we can do amazing things.” Blue produces a very unique and popular lineup of studio quality microphones used by music artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Imagine Dragons, and from Blue’s announcement, it would seem that Logitech will be continuing to operate Blue as an independent brand, joining its other recent acquisitions such as Ultimate Ears and Jaybird.

iOS 12 beta 5 points to HomePod phone call support, future dual-SIM iPhone

The fifth beta of iOS 12, released yesterday to developers, seems to confirm a report last month that the HomePod will be gaining support for placing phone calls, according to new screens discovered by 9to5Mac. Specifically, the “Personal Requests” setup screen for the HomePod now includes a fourth app icon and adds “Make phone calls” to the description of things that HomePod will b able to do, in addition to reading messages, adding reminders, and creating notes.

9to5Mac also discovered evidence of dual-SIM support coming to a future iPhone model, as also rumoured earlier this year, with internal components of iOS 12 referring to “second SIM status” and “second SIM tray status” and “dual SIM device,” all of which seem to be pretty clear indicators that iOS is getting ready to support two SIM cards, and as 9to5Mac notes, the reference to a “second SIM tray” suggests two actual physical SIM cards, rather than a regular SIM and an e-SIM that some have speculated would be used.

Latest iOS 12 beta reveals rumoured AirPods wireless charging case

New images found by 9to5Mac in the developer beta of iOS 12 released earlier today reveal what is very likely Apple’s new wireless AirPods charging case. While the difference is extremely subtle, the new images show the case with an LED displaying either a green or an amber light, indicative of charging status. The new charging case will possibly be included with the second-generation AIrPods that are expected to arrive this fall, but will also reportedly be sold separately for users who simply want to upgrade their original AirPods case to add wireless charging. Reports last fall suggested Apple would have a new AirPods wireless charging case much sooner, so it’s unclear whether those original rumours were off of whether Apple has experienced internal delays similar to problems it has encountered with its AirPower charging pad.

New iOS phishing scam places fake call to ‘Apple Care’

A new phishing scam discovered by Ars Technica has upped the complexity of e-mail messages to drive users to a fake website where a Javascript will pop up a system dialog box to start a phone call to a call center impersonating Apple support. According to the report by Ars Technica, the scam is quite deceptive, with a realistic looking webpage telling users that their iPhone has been “locked for illegal activity” by Apple and directing them to click to call support in order to remove the lock. The current phish is targeted at iCloud e-mail addresses, and would appear to be designed to trick iPhone users into enrolling their devices into a rogue mobile device management “Apple security service” that would in fact actually allow hackers to push compromised apps onto a victim’s iPhone. More technical details on the nature of the phishing scam can be found in the original report on Ars Technica.

Apple seeds fifth developer betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12 + watchOS 5

Apple has released the fifth of betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 to registered developers, a little bit ahead of the usual two-week cycle following the last betas earlier this month. iOS 12 beta 5 features a build number of 16A5339e and is accompanied by release notes outlining resolved issues from the last beta, including fixes to app installation, Phone and FaceTime apps, Screen Time, Siri, and wallet, among many other smaller under-the-hood improvements.

Ecobee announces Peak Relief feature to cut back on energy bills

Ecobee has announced Peak Relief, a new feature that the company is piloting on its smart thermostats to help users on Time of Use rates save on energy costs by automatically focusing heating and cooling modes during times when energy rates are lower. The Peak Relief feature enhances ecobee’s existing smart thermostat algorithms to factor in electricity rates alongside other data such as comfort preferences, the energy efficiency of the home, and the local weather forecast, in order to determine when to run heating or cooling systems, optimizing running them just before peak times for the right amount of time. As ecobee notes, Peak Relief also has the side benefit of reducing demand on the power grid that can help reduce the risk of neighbourhood brownouts — one of the reasons many utility providers have implemented Time of Use rates in the first place. Peak Relief is an optional feature, and users can choose from one of two settings to choose whether to prioritize savings or home comfort, and a Peak Relief icon will appear on the ecobee thermostat display whenever the mode is engaged. Peak Relief is currently available as a pilot with select ecobee units in California and Arizona in the U.S., and the province of Ontario, Canada. To take advantage of it, users will need to be on a Time of Use rate with their current energy provider and have an electric heating or cooling system.

Report: Apple Pay to dominate contactless payments by 2020

According to new data from [Juniper Research][1], in-store contactless payments are expected to account for one third of all in-store transactions by 2020, with Apple Pay being in the dominant position, account for one in two of all digital contactless payment users globally. The Juniper report adds that in-store contactless payments will reach $2 trillion by 2020, or about 15% of all point of sale transactions, and that the payment method is actually expected to surpass the $1 trillion threshold this year, earlier than previously anticipated. Juniper conceded, however, that digital payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay will still make up only a fraction of all contactless payments, which are still expected to be dominated by physical card payments, which while very rare in the U.S., are in much more common use in Canada, Europe, and the Far East and China. Still, Apple Pay is expected to account for over 200 million mobile payment users worldwide by 2020, and gain the lion’s share of the $300 billion in mobile payment transactions expected by that time. [via MacRumors]

Rumor: New iPad Pro to drop 3.5mm jack, move Smart Connector

A new report from Japanese blog Mac Otakara had revealed some new possible information about Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro lineup. Most significantly — although perhaps not surprisingly — the rumour suggests that Apple is planning to eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack from the new iPad Pro models, following the lead set by the 2017 iPhone lineup. Mac Otakara also adds that the iPad Pro is not expected to include a 3.5mm Lighting to headphone adapter, likely due to the less audio-focused role of the iPad as compared to the iPhone. While rumours of a Face ID-equipped iPad Pro have been swirling since last fall, this latest report oddly suggests that Face ID may work only in portrait orientation, with Apple moving the Smart Connector to the bottom for use with keyboards in the vertical position. Lastly, Mac Otakara also comments on some design changes in the new models, suggesting that the rear part of the design will have more square edges, essentially looking like a large iPhone SE in design. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple close to deal for ‘Time Bandits’ TV series

Apple is close to closing a deal for the rights to produce a TV series based on Terry Gilliam’s cult classic fantasy film “Time Bandits,” Deadline reports. The move, which would add to Apple’s already burgeoning staple of original content, will be developed as a co-production between Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and Media Rights Capital, according to sources, who has also indicated that Gilliam will be on board as a “non-writing executive producer.” Released in 1980, Time Bandits tells the story of an eleven-year-old history buff who is launched on a time-travelling adventure through history after stumbling across six dwarves who have stolen a time map. It’s not yet known what form a TV series would take, or who would be pegged to star in it; the original film had a staple of well-known actors including John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, and David Warner, among others.

Hue announces connected bathroom mirror lighting

Philips has announced a new addition to its Hue lineup of lighting accessories in the form of a new illuminated bathroom mirror. The new Adore Bathroom Lighted Mirror is a round mirror circled by a light ring that can project adjustable white lighting, and is also read IP44 for protection against water splashes. As with the rest of the Hue product family, the Adore mirror can be connected to a Hue Bridge and tied into HomeKit. The new mirror rounds out Philips’ new lineup of bathroom lighting accessories, which also include the Adore Bathroom ceiling light, Adore Bathroom ceiling spot light, Adore Bathroom spot light, and Adore Bathroom mirror light. [via The Verge]

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