Mac Rumors

Google Photos App Update Brings Long-Awaited Apple TV Streaming Feature

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:34:02 PDT
Google continued its steady improvement of the Google Photos app this week by adding the ability to wirelessly transmit photos and videos to an Apple TV on the same network.

Coming almost two years since the app's debut on iOS, the feature addition in the version 2.14 update has been a long time coming, but it does mean users can now stream their Google Photo libraries to big-screen televisions regardless of whether they have a Chromecast or an Apple TV.


The update marks a trend for Google quietly improving the Photos app, which has recently seen feature additions like automatic white balance, video stabilization, Live Photos support, and more.

Signaling its lingering intent to rival Apple in the media sharing space, Google introduced an app last year called Motion Stills that lets users edit Live Photos and turn them into GIFs and short movies for easy sharing.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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'Super Mario Run' 2.1 Update Adds New Buildings and Game Center Achievements

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 01:58:54 PDT
Super Mario Run received a point one update late on Monday, bringing some additional enticements for newcomers and offering long-time fans new reasons to continue playing the game.

Probably the biggest upgrade to the runner is the addition of several new buildings up for collection. These include the 8-bit Bowser Statue, Bullet Bill Statue, Bob-omb, and many more.


Elsewhere, players can now use their Miitomo character as their player icon, Game Center achievements have been implemented, and it's now possible to find friends from a linked Nintendo account.

In addition, the maximum number of Toads that can live in a player's kingdom has been increased to 99,999, providing plenty of reasons for gamers to keeping on running.

Super Mario Run is a free download, with a $9.99 in-app purchas to unlock the full content, available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Apple Maps Gets Traffic Data for Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 01:35:03 PDT
Apple has updated its Maps app with traffic data for major metropolitan areas in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

So far, the new coverage extends to the capitals of the two countries and other heavily populated areas, with more limited traffic information on major highways and thoroughfares also available.


Examples in UAE include Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, and Al Ain, with locations in Saudi Arabia including Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and Ta'if.

Turn-by-turn navigation still appears to be unavailable in the Middle East regions, which may explain why Apple hasn't added the countries to its iOS feature availability page, but the inclusion of traffic data strongly suggests Apple is about to follow up with live direction information.

The update marks Apple's first visible effort to increase its geographical data services to the Middle East beyond the standard street information and notable points of interest.

(Thanks, Ram!)


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Apple Delays Launch of 'Carpool Karaoke' Series

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:13:29 PDT
Apple has delayed the release of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series," its first original television series, reports Reuters. The series, which will premiere on Apple Music, was supposed to launch in April, but its debut has been delayed.

Apple, a company known for its precisely coordinated product launches, declined to explain the delays, but said in a statement that "Carpool Karaoke: The Series will premiere on Apple Music later this year."
Apple was originally planning to hold a premiere party for "Carpool Karaoke" in March, but the party was postponed. The party was then supposed to take place on Monday, but it was again pushed back due to the show's delayed launch.

"Carpool Karaoke: The Series" is based on the popular Carpool Karaoke segment from "The Late Late Show with James Corden." Apple purchased rights to the show back in mid-2016 and showed off the first trailer for the series in February of 2017.

The show, composed of 16 half-hour episodes, will feature celebrity pairs "riding along in a car together as they sing tunes from their personal playlists." According to Apple, the show's stars will also "surprise fans" who are not expecting to see "big stars belting out tunes one lane over."

"Carpool Karaoke: The Series" will star James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O'Neal, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, and more, with a different host for each episode.

Apple is aiming to drive more subscribers to Apple Music with "Carpool Karaoke," and the show, when it launches, will be available only to Apple Music subscribers.


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Apple Hires NASA Augmented Reality Expert Jeff Norris

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:43:27 PDT
Apple has hired Jeff Norris, an augmented reality expert who founded the Mission Operations Innovation Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, reports Bloomberg.

Norris has reportedly joined Apple as a senior manager working on the augmented reality team led by Mike Rockwell, who formerly ran Dolby Labs. The team is said to be working on the previously-rumored augmented reality smart glasses as well as AR features for future versions of the iPhone.

Prior to joining Apple, Norris worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was employed since 1999. Along with founding the Mission Operations Innovation Office, he founded the JPL Ops Lab for developing human-system interfaces for mission operations, and he led multiple projects focused on human-system interaction with an emphasis on virtual and augmented reality.

On his website, Norris features a speech he gave on augmented reality and Nasa's JPL Ops Lab, much of which was focused on augmented reality headsets and their uses.


Under Norris' leadership, the JPL Ops Lab provided the Microsoft HoloLens to astronauts onboard the International Space Station and developed software for virtually working on Mars with the HoloLens.


For the last couple of years, Apple has taken a deep interest in augmented and virtual reality, and is said to have a large team of employees working on the technologies and exploring ways they could be used in future Apple products.

Apple has been working on both virtual reality headsets and augmented reality smart glasses, with the aim of launching the latter in 2018. We've also heard rumors suggesting augmented reality functionality could be incorporated into the iPhone, perhaps as early as the iPhone 8 set to be released this September.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed his excitement about augmented reality several times in recent months. "I think AR is that big, it's huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives," he said in February of 2017.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
Tags: bloomberg.com, NASA

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Sling TV's Cloud DVR Functionality Comes to Apple TV for $5 Per Month

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:08:22 PDT
Starting today, Sling TV is expanding its Cloud DVR service to Apple TV users. Sling TV subscribers with an Apple TV can purchase 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage for $5 per month, which is a fee in addition to the standard Sling TV subscription cost.

Content stored in Sling TV's Cloud DVR remains indefinitely, and the service supports pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding through saved shows and movies. Most Sling TV content, including live TV, sports, and movies can be saved to the Cloud DVR service, but Sling says the DVR functionality is not available on all channels that it offers, including Disney, FOX, and ESPN.

Here are some features currently available through Cloud DVR "First Look":

Watch anytime, anywhere- Record your favorite programs and watch whenever you want across all Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android mobile devices, Android TVs, Apple TVs, Roku streaming players and Roku TVs. AirTV Player is not currently compatible with Cloud DVR.

Conflict-free recording- Record multiple programs simultaneously, and forget about recording conflicts.
Keep recordings as long as you want- With Sling TV, your recordings won't expire as long as you remain a Sling TV subscriber with Cloud DVR.

Auto-managed recordings- Sling TV will make room for new recordings by deleting your old recordings as you reach capacity, starting with your oldest 'watched' recording, so you can binge on your new favorite show.
To enable the Cloud DVR service, Sling TV subscribers need to sign into their Sling TV accounts on the Sling website and choose the "Add Cloud DVR" option. The service works on the Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, and Android devices.

Sling TV, owned by Dish Network, offers 30+ channels at prices starting at $20 per month. Three packages are available, with the high-end package that includes 50 channels priced at $40 per month.

Tag: Sling TV

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Spotify May Be Working on its First Hardware Device

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:27:59 PDT
Spotify appears to be working on its first wearable device, developing a "category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles," based on a job listing discovered by Zatz Not Funny. The text from the job description, which has since been removed from Spotify's website, is below:
We are looking for a passionate and seasoned Senior Product Manager that will join the Platform & Partner Experience team working to build frictionless and creative Spotify experiences via fully-connected hardware devices. You will be leading an initiative to deliver hardware directly from Spotify to existing and new customers; a category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles.

You will define the product requirements for internet-connected hardware, the software that powers it, and work with suppliers/manufacturers to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users. Above all, your work will affect the way the world experiences music & talk content.
There's no word on what Spotify might be planning to build, but the job description implies it may be a wearable device rather than something like a speaker, so it's possible the company is working on a set of headphones that are perhaps similar to modern offerings like the Bragi Dash and Apple's own AirPods. Other hints include internet connectivity and something developed by Spotify itself, rather than an integration with existing hardware, but it's ultimately entirely unclear what's being conceptualized.

A separate job listing also appears to hint at Spotify's interest in voice-based technologies. "Voice is quickly becoming a key interaction mechanism for control of digital devices and services," reads the description.

Spotify's job listing suggests any work on a hardware product is in the early stages of development, so it could be some time yet before we get a clearer picture of what the company might be developing, if anything.

Tag: Spotify

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Galaxy S8 Preorders Were Samsung's 'Best Ever'

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:00:42 PDT
Samsung's trouble with the Galaxy Note 7, which notably caused several fires due to battery troubles and led to a full recall, hasn't affected demand for its newly launched Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

According to a statement released this morning by Samsung (via VentureBeat), Samsung saw 30 percent year-over-year growth in preorders compared to the Galaxy S7. While Samsung did not give specific sales numbers, the company said it saw its "best ever" preorder period.

"We are delighted to see the response to the Galaxy S8 and S8+," remarked Samsung Electronics America president Tim Baxter. "The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are a result of that recommitment and the market has responded -- with a more than 30 percent year-over-year growth in pre-orders versus the record pre-orders we had with Galaxy S7, making it our best ever. The response is humbling, energizing and points to a great launch week. We aim to push the boundaries of what's possible in the name of a better, smarter, more exciting experience for our consumers."
The Galaxy S8 shares many features that could potentially be coming in Apple's 2017 OLED iPhone, including an edge-to-edge OLED display, iris scanning, a rear fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, IP68 water resistance, and camera improvements, though it does not feature a dual-lens setup as the iPhone 8 will.

Samsung's smartphone is, however, launching without one of its key features -- support for Bixby, Samsung's new virtual assistant built on Viv technology acquired from the original developers behind Siri. Bixby's English-language launch has been delayed due to performance issues, leaving one of the buttons on the Galaxy S8 non-functional.

Despite the missing functionality, the S8 and S8+ have received largely positive reviews. The AMOLED display is said to be "wonderfully vibrant and sharp," while the phone itself has been described as "slimmer and more attractive" than the iPhone 7 Plus but with a bigger screen.

Camera reviews suggest the low-light camera performance of the S8 beats the performance of the iPhone 7 Plus, but that's comparing a new device to a previous-generation device. Rumors suggest a major camera overhaul is coming with the iPhone 8, which appears to feature a dual-lens vertical camera that could result in both better images and augmented reality functionality.

Apple's iPhone 8 won't be coming until September, and even then, rumors suggest the higher-end OLED model could be constrained until late 2017 or early 2018.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+ went on sale on April 21 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 starts at $750, while the larger 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ starts at $850.


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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of watchOS 3.2.2 to Developers

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:59:44 PDT
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming watchOS 3.2.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the third watchOS 3.2.2 beta and one month after the release of watchOS 3.2, which introduced Theater Mode.

The fourth beta of watchOS 3.2.2 can be downloaded through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General <-->> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.


watchOS betas require an iPhone running iOS 10 to install, and they're only available to developers because there's no way to downgrade the software on an Apple Watch.

It's not yet clear if watchOS 3.2.2 introduces any new features or bug fixes because Apple doesn't typically provide release notes for betas.

Given that this is a minor 3.x.x update, it's likely to focus primarily on bug fixes. No notable features were found in the first three watchOS 3.2.2 betas, but we'll update this post should anything new be discovered in the fourth.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 10.2.1 to Developers

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:59:30 PDT
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 10.2.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the third 10.2.1 beta and one month after releasing tvOS 10.2, an update that included improve scrolling and iPad support for the Apple TV Remote app.

The tvOS 10.2.1 beta is designed for the fourth-generation Apple TV. It can be downloaded by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software from a registered developer account using iTunes.


Because of the installation requirements, tvOS betas are limited to developers. tvOS 10.2.1 will not be available to the public until the final version of the software launches.

Apple does not typically provide detailed beta release notes, so we don't yet know what's included in tvOS 10.2.1. It's likely to focus primarily on bug fixes, security enhancements, and performance improvements, so we may not know what's new until the software sees an official release.

No notable changes were found in the first three tvOS 10.2.1 betas, but should anything new popup in the fourth beta, we'll update this post.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Too]

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:58:57 PDT
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.5 update to developers, one week after seeding the third beta and one month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.4, which introduced Night Shift for the Mac.

The fourth beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


According to the release notes accompanying the beta, the update "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac."

Apple's release notes don't often provide a lot of insight into what's included in new beta software, so we don't know what features or bug fixes might be included in the 10.12.5 update.

No notable changes or major bug fixes were discovered in the first three betas, but should anything pop up in the fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.5 beta, we'll update this post.

Update: Apple has also provided the fourth beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.5 to public beta testers.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of iOS 10.3.2 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:57:19 PDT
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3.2 update to developers, one week after seeding the third iOS 10.3.2 beta and one month after introducing iOS 10.3, which included features like a new Find My AirPods feature and Apple File System. Apple also released a minor iOS 10.3.1 update in early April, which focused on security improvements.

Registered developers can download the fourth iOS 10.3.2 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.


Apple doesn't typically provide detailed release notes for its iOS updates, so we don't yet know what features, improvements, or bug fixes might be coming in iOS 10.3.2, aside from some fixes for SiriKit car commands, outlined in the release notes for the first beta.

As a minor 10.x.x update, we can expect iOS 10.3.2 to offer bug fixes and performance improvements rather than outward-facing features. No notable features were found in the first three betas, but if anything new is found in the fourth iOS 10.3.2 beta, we'll update this post.

Update: Apple has also provided the fourth beta of iOS 10.3.2 to public beta testers.

Related Roundup: iOS 10

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Apple to Reduce Affiliate Program Commission Rate to 2.5% for Apps Next Week

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:34:09 PDT
Apple today emailed its iTunes Affiliate Program members to inform them that its commission rate for all apps and in-app content will be reduced to 2.5 percent on May 1, down from 7 percent, globally.


Apple will continue to offer a 7 percent commission rate for all other iTunes content, including music, movies, TV shows, and books. Apple will also continue to offer a one-time 50 percent commission on Apple Music subscriptions.


Through the iTunes Affiliate Program, websites can link to and promote App Store apps and receive a percentage of the sale in return.


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Western Digital Upgrades Suite of Storage Drives With Thunderbolt 3, Optimized Speeds, and More

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 07:30:27 PDT
After revealing the G-Drive USB-C a few weeks ago, Western Digital today announced the launch of a trio of upgrades coming to a few of its G-Technology product lines, including the G-Drive with Thunderbolt 3, G-Raid with Thunderbolt 3, and G-Speed Shuttle XL. The performance upgrades mainly account for optimized speeds that will help creative professionals who capture and transfer heavy loads of high-resolution content.

The new G-Drive with Thunderbolt 3 includes dual TB3 ports, a USB-C port, and supports USB 3.1, allowing users to daisy chain as many as five additional devices at once so multiple drives can remain connected, enabling complex workflows through a single connection. The G-Drive with Thunderbolt 3 includes a HGST-brand Ultrastar 7200RPM Enterprise-class hard drive, transfer rates up to 245 Mb/s, and includes the G-Drive line's usual Time Machine plug-and-play set-up.

The G-Drive with Thunderbolt 3

Users interested can pre-order the G-Drive with Thunderbolt 3 now, and it's available with four optional storage capacities: 4TB ($399.95), 6TB ($499.95), 8TB ($599.95), and 10TB ($699.95). An additional 12TB version will debut sometime "next quarter" at $799.95.
“G-Technology recognizes the need for a complete workflow solution that takes advantage of the power of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C,” said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing, Client Solutions, Western Digital. “The result is a substantial upgrade across several product lines that delivers reliable, fast, and easy-to-use storage solutions to fit the current and future needs of our customers.”
Western Digital is also updating its line of high-performance, removable dual-hard drives with the G-Raid with Thunderbolt 3, which features two TB3 ports, one USB-C port, and one HDMI port that is out-of-the-box ready for video running at 60fps in 4K as well as HDR content. The G-Raid has dual removable 7200RPM hard drives, can daisy chain up to five additional devices, and has a transfer rate of up to 500 Mb/s.

The G-Raid with Thunderbolt 3

Storage tiers for the G-Raid with Thunderbolt 3 start at 8TB ($749.95), and increase to 12TB ($849.95), 16TB ($1,099.95), 20TB ($1,549.95), and 24TB ($1,999.95). The first four tiers will launch this June, while the 24TB model is set to launch next quarter.

The last of Western Digital's updates centers on the company's high-performance, transportable 8-bay RAID solution -- which now comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports -- called the G-Speed Shuttle XL. The new unit offers hardware RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and 50 configurations and comes equipped with G-Technology's usual Ultrastar 7200RPM Enterprise-class hard drives, and boasts transfer rates up to 2000 MB/s.

The G-Speed Shuttle Xl

The G-Speed Shuttle XL will be available to buy in the following storage tiers: 32TB ($4,099.95), 48TB ($5,399.95), 64TB ($6,999.95), 80TB ($8,599.95), and 96TB ($10,199.95). Similar to the previous G-Technology products announced today, the first four tiers will debut ahead of time in June, while the highest-capacity model will see a launch sometime after.

All of Western Digital's G-Technology devices come pre-formatted for Macs, enabling easy set-up and storage drive compatibility with Time Machine. More information about G-Technology's new Thunderbolt 3 family of products -- including new ev Series bay adapters -- can be found on the company's website.


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Apple Maps Now Supports Transit in Paris

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 06:43:35 PDT
Apple Maps has been updated with transit data for Paris, enabling iPhone users in the city and the greater Île-de-France region to navigate with public transportation, including the subway, commuter trains, and buses.


Apple Maps supports many public transportation services operated by the RATP Group, including the Métro subway system, RER commuter trains, and buses. Transilien trains and select other services are also supported in the suburbs.

Apple Maps is several years behind Google Maps in supporting transit routing in Paris, as in many other cities, but Apple's public transportation support is comprehensive, mapping all station entrances and listing departure times.


Apple Maps has had a Transit tab since iOS 9.

At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

Apple Maps transit support in Paris was expected, as station outlines in the city increased significantly in the weeks leading up to today's rollout. Likewise, transit directions may soon be enabled in Adelaide and Perth in Australia, Las Vegas, Madrid, Phoenix, Rome, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

A smaller number of station outlines in Apple Maps are visible in the American and Canadian cities of Albuquerque, Buffalo, Calgary, Edmonton, Orlando, Ottawa, Nashville, Norfolk, St. Louis, and Tucson.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.

(Thanks, Bernd!)


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Ming-Chi Kuo Agrees iPhone 8 Will Launch in September With 'Severe' Shortages Due to Delayed Production

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 05:33:21 PDT
As more alleged design schematics and dummy models of the "iPhone 8" leak online, one of the biggest questions remains the smartphone's actual launch date. Although some industry sources believe the tenth-anniversary iPhone will still launch in September -- perhaps in very short supply -- Japanese site Mac Otakara earlier this year suggested the OLED iPhone 8 would launch "very much" behind the the LCD models.

Today, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has published a report supporting the theory that Apple will debut the OLED iPhone in September, but the device will face "severe supply shortages" for some time. Kuo believes that production ramp-up on the OLED iPhone model won't begin until as late as October-November, two months later than previous ramp-ups in August-September. Similar delayed production rumors have been circulated by Bloomberg, analysts from Barclays, and Brian White.


Kuo believes that this delay "won't undermine actual demand," as long as the iPhone 8 lives up to the hype, but the heaviest demand might be pushed back until as far as the first quarter of 2018, when the bulk of users could get their hands on the device according to Kuo.
Production ramp up of OLED iPhone could be delayed to October-November (previously estimated to be August-September, as in previous years). That said, if new features, such as 3D sensing, can provide good user experience, a temporary supply shortfall won’t undermine actual demand, which may be deferred to 1H18. In that case, potential contribution starting late-2Q17 from OLED iPhone could be partially delayed by 3-6 months for related suppliers.
This delayed production ramp-up is listed by Kuo as a "potential downside risk to shipments" of all three iPhone models believed to launch this year, with a second risk coming from Apple's competitors. Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi are all gearing up to launch "high-end full-screen smartphones" in 2017, and all could have an impact specifically on the LCD models of the 2017 iPhone, according to Kuo, because those models "do not have full-screen form factors."

Because of these potential risks affecting the iPhone's shipments this year, Kuo adjusted shipping estimates for the device accordingly. The analyst believes that the "worst case scenario" could see iPhone shipments decrease by 15 to 20 percent and result in 80 to 90 million units shipped, versus a previous estimate of 100-110 million units (a 60:40 weighting is placed for the OLED and LCD iPhone models). Ultimately, Kuo said that, "We see a higher probability of the worst case scenario coming to pass."

Production delays in this year's OLED iPhone are again sourced from the device's intricate manufacturing processes, thanks to numerous upgrades including its customized OLED panel, new 10-nanometer A11 processor, all-new 3D Touch module, substrate-like printed circuit board, and 3D sensing. Despite these production difficulties, Kuo said that the iPhone 8's announcement and launch time of the new iPhones will remain similar to previous years, suggesting the usual September iPhone event from Apple.
While we believe the announcement and launch time of the new iPhones will be similar to previous ones, production ramp up of OLED iPhone could be delayed to as late as October-November compared to the usual ramp up period of August-September, due to increased production difficulty. In other words, severe supply shortages may persist for a while after the new models are launched, capping total shipments of new iPhones in 2H17.
Kuo also sees a potential loss of appeal by high-end users on the LCD versions of the new iPhone models, due to their lack of a full-screen design, contributing to Apple's potentially weak shipping momentum for the iPhone later this year in addition to the worst case scenario for the OLED model.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: Ming-Chi Kuo, OLED

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Dummy 'iPhone 8' Images Appear Online Suggesting Touch ID Embedded in Edge-to-Edge Display

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:36:18 PDT
Pictures of a dummy "iPhone 8" model appeared on social media over the weekend depicting a handset with a front and rear made of what looks like 2.5D curved glass and a stainless steel edge design.

The dummy device is purportedly a "CNC model according to Foxconn", according to the original Twitter poster, but there's no way to verify the claim one way or the other, so take the following with a big pinch of salt.


The front of the device appears to have an edge-to-edge screen with no discernible bezels, while around the back there's a vertically aligned dual-lens camera, but no other identifiable markings. That includes no rear-mounted Touch ID sensor, but also no Apple logo, either.


The sides look like stainless steel, similar to those of the iPhone 4. There are volume buttons and a mute switch on the left, and a power button and SIM tray on the right. The power button appears to be longer than on previous iPhones, however.

The poster of the images offered additional details supposedly from a source with links to Foxconn, suggesting that the "iPhone 8" will have a thickness and size similar to the current iPhone 7, while the steel edges will be finished in a polished "Space Black" color.

Apart from a further image showing off the latter feature, the poster has also shown off schematics "based on blueprints" that depict a series of components hidden beneath the top of the display, where the edges of the display are indicated by a red outline. An alleged schematic of the internal components of the next iPhone has also been shared.


Apple is thought to be testing more than 10 prototype iPhone models, so it's not yet clear what we should expect. Most rumors so far suggest the upcoming OLED iPhone will have a 5.5-inch bezel-less screen with Touch ID embedded in the front display, so there will be no home button.

However Apple is said to be having trouble integrating the Touch ID technology into the screen, and leaked design schematics have indicated that the fingerprint sensor could be moved to the rear of the device, so the final design is far from certain.

Some rumors suggest the display itself may feature edges that are curved on both sides like the Galaxy S7, but the phone may have the same slightly curved 2.5D display as the iPhone 7 due to technical challenges manufacturing the more curved version. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the glass will be built around a polished stainless steel frame that's similar in design to the Apple Watch.

More images of the dummy iPhone shown above, including one of a machined chassis, can be found here.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)

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Tim Cook Threatened to Remove Uber From the App Store Over iPhone Tagging Tactics

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 03:00:05 PDT
Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to pull Uber's app from the App Store in early 2015 after discovering the ride-hailing company was secretly "fingerprinting" iPhones that used the app, it emerged on Sunday.

The claim appeared in a New York Times report profiling Uber's risk-taking chief executive Travis Kalanick, who was apparently summoned to Apple's campus for a face-to-face meeting with Cook over the app's behavior.

Travis Kalanick (left) and Tim Cook at a 2016 fashion gala (Image: Reuters)

According to the report, Uber was trying to prevent fraudsters from creating multiple fake accounts on the same device to collect new account bonuses, but to do this it had been recording the UUID serial numbers of iPhones so that it could identify them even after the app had been deleted and the phone wiped.

Knowing that the approach was a clear violation of Apple's app privacy guidelines, Uber implemented the tactic regardless, and even went so far as to geofence Apple's Cupertino campus so that Apple engineers using the app wouldn't see its fingerprinting behavior.
Mr. Kalanick told his engineers to "geofence" Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., a way to digitally identify people reviewing Uber’s software in a specific location. Uber would then obfuscate its code from people within that geofenced area, essentially drawing a digital lasso around those it wanted to keep in the dark. Apple employees at its headquarters were unable to see Uber’s fingerprinting.
However, the tactic didn't go unnoticed by Apple engineers for long. Soon after the discovery was made, Tim Cook had a meeting with Kalanick and demanded that Uber stop the fingerprinting immediately, otherwise the app would be removed from the App Store. Facing the loss of millions of iPhone customers which would essentially destroy the ride-hailing business, Mr. Kalanick acceded.

This isn't the first time reports have emerged over the Uber app's dubious-sounding behavior. Concerns were raised late last year when users complained that the app appeared to track them for days or even weeks after they last used the ride-hailing service, forcing an explanation from the company.

The New York Times article offers more detail on the Uber CEO's history of controversial business tactics and can be read here.

Tag: Uber

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Apple Confirms iCloud Subscription Tier Cancelation Emails Were Sent in Error

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:55:45 PDT
Apple on Saturday emailed some iCloud users to apologize for a bug that caused them to receive an email earlier this week stating their paid storage subscription plan had been canceled.

The emails went out to predominantly 50GB iCloud subscribers on Wednesday, causing some MacRumors readers to speculate that Apple was discontinuing the storage tier completely. Options to purchase some of the plans through macOS and iOS were also reportedly affected.


However, as predicted, the emails were sent in error. Apple has now followed up the errant message to clarify that it was a mistake and that there has been no change to users' subscription plans.

"You recently received an email incorrectly stating that your iCloud storage plan has been discontinued," the email read. "Your 50 GB iCloud storage plan is not affected and will continue to renew automatically.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions, please contact us."


(Via AppleInsider.)


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Apple Autonomous Driving Training Program Confirms Self-Driving Software Platform

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:12:03 PDT
Apple has developed a training program to instruct employees on how to handle cars being used to test its autonomous driving software platform, according to documents obtained by Business Insider.

The company's "Development Platform Specific Training" document references an "Apple Automated System" and a "Development platform," alluding to the self-driving software platform Apple is rumored to be building after plans for a full autonomous electric vehicle fell through.

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Apple recently obtained a permit from the California DMV that will allow it to test self-driving vehicles on public roads, and as part of that process, the company appears to be training employees to use whatever system it's testing. According to the DMV, Apple plans to use three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which will be driven by six drivers with expertise in areas like machine learning.

Based on the documents, drivers are required to pass seven tests as part of their training before being allowed to work with Apple's software platform. Each driver must complete two practice runs and three trials to pass tests, which cover topics like taking control of the vehicle at tight U-turns, sudden acceleration, sudden braking, and more.

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According to the training packet, Apple's self-driving car uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.

Pressing the brake pedal or grabbing the steering wheel in Apple's test vehicles will disengage the electronic driving mode, but drivers can accelerate without overriding the "drive by wire" mode.
Apple's work in the car industry has been something of an open secret for the past three years. The company was originally planning to create its own autonomous vehicle, but pivoted to an autonomous driving software platform following internal strife and leadership issues.

Apple is now said to be creating a driving system under the leadership of Bob Mansfield, with the car team having been given until the end of this year to prove the feasibility of a self-driving car platform. Such a system could potentially allow Apple to partner with car manufacturers as a sort of expansion of CarPlay.

With Apple ready to test the software on public roads, it appears development is fairly far along. Should the company take vehicles out on California streets, its work will need to be publicly shared with the DMV based on California law.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: businessinsider.com

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