September 23

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Apple used the word ‘courage’ recently to describe its decision to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone 7, and much fun was poked at the company by those who missed the reference. But what I personally found far more courageous was Apple effectively admitting that it got the original Apple Watch user-interface badly wrong, and completely revamping it in watchOS 3.

Glances never worked. They were supposed to be a fast way to see information from your favorite apps, and to go on to quickly open those apps when required. In reality, neither objective was achieved: data was slow to load, and so were the apps.

And the side-button for immediate access to contacts was simply the waste of a button. Using the Watch Dick Tracy-style for phone calls was never more than a novelty, and sending scribbles and the like to contacts was even more of a gimmick.

So Apple had the courage to abandon both. Glances are gone, replaced by the app Dock, and the side button has been repurposed to access it. These two changes have transformed my use of my Watch …

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Not only is the iPhone 7 capable of outputting louder sound, but it also features two speakers that are capable of producing true stereo output.

The two speakers — one in the bottom of the iPhone, and one in the earpiece — are a first for an iPhone. Although the iPhone 7 doesn’t feature the four-speaker ensemble found on the iPad Pro, it is capable of producing true stereo-separated sound that your ears can perceive while the phone is oriented in landscape mode.

There’s just one problem. Unlike other apps, the iPhone Music app doesn’t yet support landscape mode…

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9to5toys 
Amazon Echo speaker with intelligent voice assistant
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We first heard suggestions that Apple was working on its own equivalent to Amazon’s Echo – an intelligent voice-controlled assistant in a speaker – in the run-up to WWDC back in May. A subsequent report suggested that the device would feature a camera capable of facial-recognition to identify household members and set preferences.

Little more has been heard since then, but a new Bloomberg report says that the product now exists in prototype form and has begun testing outside the lab …

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Reuters reports that Japanese regulators are considering taking action against Apple for possible antitrust violations. Three Japanese carriers are the main focus of the investigation, but it appears that Apple may also be implicated.

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that NTT Docomo, KDDI Corp and Softbank Group were refusing to sell older surplus iPhone models to third party retailers, thereby hobbling smaller competitors. Apple was not named in that report, but two senior government sources told Reuters that regulators were also focusing on Apple’s supply agreements with all three carriers.

It’s reported that it is Apple’s contract terms that ultimately prevents older model iPhones being made available for sale within Japan …

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