Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.
Apple is reportedly set to launch a smart TV guide for Apple TV tomorrow, as parts of its ‘hello again’ event. The TV guide will aggregate different sources of TV shows and movies into a single view, so users do not have constantly switch between app to find something to watch, according to Recode.
The interface will summarize what’s available to watch and then direct users to the respective apps with deep linking for the selected content. Apple has partnered with video providers to bring this feature to market but apparently Netflix content will not be available. The feature will also be available on iOS devices, not just tvOS.
Although the Apple event scheduled for tomorrow has been colloquially labelled as a ‘new Mac’ unveiling, it appears Apple will be talking about some other things as well.
USA Today is reporting that Apple is preparing to unveil a new app for Apple TV, which will give users personalised TV shows recommendations. The app will contextually suggest TV shows to watch based on their existing viewing habits and content subscriptions.
Elgato is expanding its range of Bluetooth HomeKit devices with a new standalone smart light switch, available from today for $49.95. The Eve Light Switch replaces the wall switches you already have in your house, to make the lighting in the room accessible to HomeKit without changing bulbs or buying bridges and other accessories.
The lights are then exposed to HomeKit via Siri or the iOS 10 Home app; simply use your voice to turn them and off. The lights are also controllable away from home if you have a third-generation or fourth-generation Apple TV to act as a hub for Remote Access.
Apple’s head of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, is set to appear alongside other industry titans at Recode’s Code Commerce conference this December. The Apple exec ran the company’s online stores for many years and now leads Apple Pay, Apple’s contactless mobile payments solution.
The Code Commerce meeting takes place multiple times a year; Bailey will be appearing at the last one in 2016 on December 6. No doubt the new MacBook Pro with integrated Apple Pay will form part of the discussions.
Following the launch of the W1-equipped Beats Solo3 on-ear headphones, Beats has now launched the latest iteration of its Powerbeats wireless earphones, the Powerbeats 3, making it the second audio peripheral to ship with the Apple W1 chip, which enables easy instantaneous pairing between Apple devices.
The Powerbeats 3 feature up to 12 hour battery life on a single charge, with a ‘Fast Fuel’ 5 minute top up charge providing an hour of playtime in a hurry. You can order the Powerbeats 3 from Apple today, priced at $199.95.
Apple has today released watchOS 3.1 to the public, the newest operating system release for Apple Watch. watchOS 3.0 introduced many new features for the wearable, but sadly watchOS 3.1 is a much more subdued affair. watchOS 3.1 includes some small changes for Messages — you can now replay bubble and screen effects — as well as several issues related to Timer, Activity and Force Touch. The full release notes are included below. Anecdotally, watchOS 3.1 includes some noticeable improvements to battery life as well as the usual slew of bug fixes.
The release includes a critical fix for Apple Watch Series 2 owners that may have prevented the watch from charging. The update is available for all Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Series 1 and first-generation Apple Watch models.
In case there needed to be any more smoke to the fire, Russian trademark filings reveal that Apple is readying the release of three new Macs running macOS Sierra. The products have apparently passed the Russian registration, labelled as ‘portable personal computer models’ with model identifiers A1706, A1707 and A1708.
This all but confirms Apple plans to launch three new Mac laptops at its media event on Thursday, corroborating a KGI report from over the weekend. These product identifiers likely correspond to two new MacBook Pros and a new ultrathin 13-inch MacBook as a sibling to the 12-inch MacBook …
[Update: AT&T has officially announced that it will acquire Time Warner for $107.50 per share. The deal will now go through the usual legal process to ensure the companies comply with anticompetitive regulations.]
After a few days of deliberations, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the deal is done. AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for more than $80 billion. This values Time Warner shares at around $105 each, a significant premium over the closing price of $89 on Friday. The deal will entrench the carrier further into the entertainment business; AT&T and Time Warner are expected to announce the acquisition as soon as later today.
Reliable Apple analyst KGI has published a report on Saturday outlining their predictions for Apple’s Mac roadmap ahead of the media event on October 27th. The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.
It goes on to say that new iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.
Apple has launched a dedicated Facebook page for Beats 1, the free worldwide Apple Music radio station run by human hosts, unlike other Apple Music stations which are generated by computer algorithms and require an Apple Music streaming subscription.
The new Beats 1 account is currently highlighting Zane Lowe’s exclusive interview with Lady Gaga, featuring video snippets and quotes. Although the page is not yet verified on Facebook, the account’s legitimacy is confirmed as the verified Apple Music account shared a post from the Beats 1 page.
Prolific Apple hacker/developer Steve Troughton-Smith last night posted on Twitter that he has found a one-handed mode for the iPhone keyboard, hacking the iOS Simulator to demo the unreleased feature as shown above. The code has apparently been in the system since iOS 8 but is yet to be released as a public-facing feature.
The one-handed keyboard mode is activated by an edge swipe on the keys, revealing a sidebar of cut/copy/paste controls and squishing the other keys down to the side. This would make it much easier for the user to stretch their thumb across the entire width of the alphabet keys, improving one-handed use on larger iPhones.
Last week, we reported that Sonder Design was in talks with Apple to license its futuristic keyboard technology, that replaces the normal printed keys with dynamic E-Ink displays. A new article from the WSJ today confirms that Apple does intend to use the technology and is aiming to ship new MacBooks including the special keyboards in 2018, citing anonymous sources. The keys can automatically adjust to show emojis, international characters, special command functions, as well as the standard QWERTY layout.
Apple will be making its first steps in this direction next week, when it unveils a new MacBook Pro with OLED function key row at a to-be-announced October 27 media event. However, the E-Ink keyboard for 2018 could represent the most significant user interface changes for Apple’s line of laptops, although it’s still a few years away …
Apple appears to the be the primary beneficiary of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall blunders, with replacement devices also prone to catching fire which eventually resulted in the company cancelling production of the Note 7 entirely. This means Note 7 customers have no choice but to choose another type of phone. Obviously, Samsung hopes customers will flock to one of its other phones (like the Galaxy S7) but a report from KGI believes that Apple and Android manufacturer Huawei will be the biggest benefactors.
Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that 5-7 million ex-Note 7 orders will convert into iPhone 7 sales, predominantly iPhone 7 Plus thanks to the dual camera. KGI says Note 7 users will have lost faith in the Samsung brand and have a tendency to like iOS and camera features, making the new iPhone an attractive sale.
Apple has reportedly changed its near-term plans for the Project Titan electric car project, moving away from the development of a vehicle for the time being. After Bob Mansfield took the helm in July, Apple changed its outlook for the team according to Bloomberg.
Hundreds of employees have been let go or re-assigned with the remaining members focusing on development of a self-driving autonomous car platform. In the future, Apple may return to developing its own vehicle or could partner with an existing car manufacturer. Apparently, executives have set a late 2017 deadline for the team to “prove the feasibility” of the autonomous driving system. Reports about the project shifting gears towards the software stack first surfaced in July.
The Regent Street Apple Store has been closed for many months as it was undergoing major refurbishment works to modernize the interior. Apple has finally completed the work and the new store will be open to the public on Saturday, October 15. The press got an early look at the new appearance, as shown by these photos via Engadget. The glass staircase and most of the first floor have been removed to create a dramatic double-height “grand hall” replete with green trees bathed in natural light.
The redesign brings the Regent Store appearance in line with the ‘next generation’ stores already seen in some US locations, created by Jony Ive and team. Sadly, the iconic glass staircase has had to go — customers can now use one of two stairs made from Italian stone …
Amazon has launched its own music streaming service today called Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99/month, adding another worthy competitor to Apple Music and Spotify. The service offers access to tens of millions of songs from major labels like Sony, Universal and Warner. Music Unlimited features a 30 day free trial so you can give it a go without committing any money for the first month. On iOS, users access their streaming libraries through the Amazon Music app.
Amazon is incentivizing signups with some discounts for loyal Amazon users. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, then Music Unlimited is cheaper: just $7.99 per month. If you use Amazon Echo smart speakers in your home, you can also sign up to a dramatically cheaper $3.99 monthly plan, but this option limits music streaming to only Echo devices.
iOS 10 is now installed on more than two thirds of the active iOS device install base, recording 66.7% twenty-seven days after iOS 10 was released according to Fiksu. Mixpanel is also recording iOS 10 adoption topping 66% since Sunday.
As shown by the graph, iOS 10 has the fastest adoption rate than any previous update, a month after release. Interestingly, iOS 10 initially lagged behind iOS 6, 7 and 9 until about two weeks in. The upgrade rate then rockets upwards to take the top spot at the end of September.
Apple will unify its cloud service teams to improve product development and software quality, according to a new report by Bloomberg. Currently, employees that develop Internet services like Siri, Maps, iCloud, News and Apple Pay are housed in many different buildings mostly outside of the main Infinite Loop campus.
To improve collaboration and speed up product development, Apple will be moving all the relevant teams into the Infinite Loop buildings. This ultimately leads to a better services division, which is the leading source of revenue growth for the company. It is also unifying web products to run on a new backend, codenamed ‘Pie’ …