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Apple Releases tvOS 11.2 for 4th and 5th Generation Apple TV Models

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 18:05
Apple today released tvOS 11.2, the second major update to the tvOS operating system designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 11.2 comes just over one month after the release of tvOS 11.1, the first tvOS 11 update.

tvOS 11.2 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System --> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to tvOS 11.2 automatically.

According to release notes provided during the beta testing period, tvOS 11.2 enables a new AVDisplayManager feature for developers, which is designed to allow the device to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content.

tvOS 11.2 brings a new Sports section to the dedicated TV app, which offers up access to live sports games through integration with the ESPN app. The Sports app can be accessed through a new "Sports" tab at the bottom of the app, and it offers up custom content based on team preferences and current sports seasons.

The update also includes support for switching the Apple TV 4K display output to SDR for apps that are GPU-bound when running in HDR and it re-introduces the Unwatched category in Home Sharing for Movies, TV Shows, and Home Videos.

Related Roundup: Apple TVBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
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Apple Will Start Paying Ireland Billions Owed in Back Taxes 'Early Next Year'

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 17:20
In August 2016 the European Commission ruled that Apple must repay 13 billion euros ($15.46 billion) in back taxes dating between 2003 and 2014. According to the EU, the taxes were avoided with the help of sweetheart tax deals from Ireland, and today The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will now begin paying these back taxes "as soon as early next year."

Ireland's Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, reports that Apple and Ireland have agreed to terms of an escrow fund for the money, setting a pace for Apple to begin repaying the taxes in Q1 2018. Apple's payment will sit in the escrow fund while both sides continue to appeal the EU's decision in court.

In October 2017, the EU announced its intention to take Ireland to court for its failure to recover Apple's back tax sum, with Ireland citing the escrow account as the reason why negotiations and repayment were being held up. Now, Donohoe said the next steps will be to determine who operates the escrow account and who manages the fund once Apple begins the repayment process. The EU said that it will only close court proceedings against Ireland once Apple's back taxes are recovered in full.
Ireland will begin collecting €13 billion ($15.46 billion) in back taxes from Apple Inc. as soon as early next year after both sides agreed to the terms of an escrow fund for the money, Ireland’s finance chief said Monday.

In a statement, Apple said, “We have a dedicated team working diligently and expeditiously with Ireland on the process the European Commission has mandated. We remain confident the General Court of the EU will overturn the Commission’s decision once it has reviewed all the evidence.” The center of the EU's argument is that Irish revenue commissioners gave Apple unfair advantages between 1991 and 2007 by allowing the company to move income from the European market through two "non-resident" head office subsidiaries based in Ireland.

Ireland's government has stated it "fundamentally disagrees" with the EU's analysis of the tax situation, leading to its appeal. For Apple, the company said that the EU made "fundamental errors" in the calculations related to the taxes it owes, arguing that the bulk of the profits during this period are due in the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook put it more succinctly after the first ruling came out, calling the tax avoidance claims "total political crap."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags:, Ireland
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Apple Pay Cash Now Available for iOS 11.2 Users

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 17:03
Apple released iOS 11.2 early in order to address a serious date bug that was affecting some users on December 2, and while the update introduced Apple Pay Cash, the feature was not yet activated by Apple.

Because it wasn't activated, Apple Pay Cash was not usable, despite being listed as a feature in the update's release notes. Apple today made Apple Pay Cash officially available in the United States, so it can be used by all iPhone and iPad owners who have iOS 11.2 installed. Apple Pay Cash is just now rolling out, so it may take a bit of time before it's fully functional and available for everyone.

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Apple Pay Cash is Apple's new peer-to-peer payments service, designed to allow for quick person-to-person money transfers, much like Square Cash or Venmo. The service is currently limited to the United States.

Using Apple Pay Cash, you can send and receive money through iMessage conversations using the Messages app. Cash is sent from a linked debit or credit card, while received cash is stored in an Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app and can be used for purchases or transferred to a bank account. For more on Apple Pay Cash, make sure to check out our how to.

Apple Pay Cash will also be available on the Apple Watch once watchOS 4.2 has been installed, and we're expecting to see watchOS 4.2 later this week.

Related Roundups: Apple Pay, iOS 11
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Apple Classifies 2011 Mac Mini as Obsolete

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 15:36
Apple this week added all Mac mini models released in mid 2011 to its public-facing vintage and obsolete products list.

Mid 2011 models have officially been classified as vintage or obsolete as of November 30, 2017, according to an internal memo distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

The distinction means that Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers will no longer repair or service the 2011 Mac mini, given over five years have passed since it was last manufactured, except where required by law.

The only regions exempted include California and Turkey, where customers may still obtain service for up to two additional years.

Apple repairs and services products for up to five years after they are no longer manufactured, and 2011 Mac mini models have now eclipsed that coverage period after being discontinued in late 2012.

2011 Mac mini models were the first with a Thunderbolt port, and the first without an optical disc drive for CDs/DVDs.

It has been over 1,100 days since Apple last refreshed the Mac mini, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide. The computer is still powered by Intel's dual-core Haswell processors, now five generations old.

When Apple announced plans for a modular Mac Pro, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said the Mac mini "is an important product" in the company's lineup, but he didn't confirm if a new machine is in the works.

Apple CEO Tim Cook likewise said the Mac mini will be an "important part" of Apple's product lineup going forward in a recent email.

Related Roundup: Mac miniTag: vintage and obsoleteBuyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Don't Buy)
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Facebook Announces Messenger App for Kids That Parents Can Remotely Monitor

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:54
Facebook today is rolling out a preview for a new standalone app aimed at kids under the age of 13, which the company says was built to make it easier for kids to "safely video chat and message with family and friends." The "Messenger Kids" preview is available only on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in the United States, letting young family members download the app, which can then be controlled by their parent's Facebook account.

Facebook said that it developed the app with guidance from the National PTA, as well as experts in child development and online safety. Messenger Kids does not require children to create a Facebook account, but instead asks parents to download the app, authenticate it, and then create a miniature profile of their kid that is linked to the parent's Facebook account.

Once parents set up an account, kids can have one-on-one or group video calls only with contacts approved by their parents. The home screen of the app shows these approved contacts, as well as which are online.
Whether it’s using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she’s working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families. This preview is available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone. Like other Facebook apps, there are a wide variety of masks, emojis, and sound effects to use within video chats. Kids will be able to send photos, videos, and text messages -- and edit them with GIFs, frames, stickers, and doodling tools -- to their friends also on Messenger Kids, as well as adult family members. The adult contacts will receive these messages on their normal Messenger app.

For parents, there will now be a Messenger Kids parental controls panel on their own Facebook app, where they can approve or disallow certain contacts from being able to talk with their kid. Facebook said that there are "no ads" in Messenger Kids and any of the child's information from the app "isn't used for ads."

Messenger Kids is available on the iOS App Store for free starting today [Direct Link], and Facebook confirmed that there are no in-app purchases. For more information, visit Facebook's new website for the kid-focused app.

Tags: Facebook, Facebook Messenger
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Spotify Testing Like/Dislike Feature for Songs in Discover Weekly Playlists

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:19
Spotify is quietly testing a new feature that enables listeners to provide positive or negative feedback on track selections in Discover Weekly playlists.

First spotted by Mashable, Spotify has started including a small heart symbol and a blocked sign at the lower left corner of the desktop app interface when a song is playing in a Discover Weekly playlist. When users hover over the heart or blocked sign, a description overlay shows "Like" or "Don't like", respectively.

Clicking "Like" adds the track to the listener's library, while clicking "Don't like" causes a dialog to appear asking whether it's the song or the artist the user isn't keen on. Selecting either ensures that track/artist doesn't show in Discover Weekly again.

According to Spotify, it is testing the like/dislike buttons as a possible new feature for Discover Weekly (they can already be found in the Daily Mix), but they won't appear for everyone, and the streaming service still hasn't decided if a full rollout will follow.

Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist has been a hit with subscribers. Spotify announced in May 2016 that more than 40 million people had used the playlist service, streaming just under five billion tracks in under a year. As Mashable notes, some users have been requesting like/dislike buttons for the playlists for at least a couple of years.

Tag: Spotify
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Dialog Shares Continue to Fall After Company Admits Apple Could Design Own iPhone Battery Chips

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:08
Dialog Semiconductor admitted on Monday that Apple, its top customer, could build its own power management chips for future iPhones without relying on the British-based chipmaker (via Reuters). The comments saw Dialog shares tumble as much as 19 percent, despite the firm claiming there was no risk to its existing supply deals in 2018.

Dialog said it was already in the advanced stages of working with Apple on designing "2019-type products" that could lead to commercial contracts by next March.

"Our position remains that we have seen no material change to our ongoing relationship with Apple Inc," Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told investors on a conference call.

However, the company acknowledged for the first time that "Apple has the resources and capability to internally design a PMIC and could potentially do so in the next few years".A report last week claiming Apple would design its own power management chips as early as 2018 came as a serious blow for Dialog, which exclusively designs the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models. Apple reportedly accounted for nearly three quarters of Dialog Semiconductor's revenue in 2016.

Dialog's PMIC chip controls an iPhone's battery, including charging capabilities and energy consumption. Apple's own design will supposedly be "the most advanced in the industry", according to Nikkei Asian Review, and could enable future iPhones to have a better balance between performance and battery consumption. Taiwanese supplier TSMC will be the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's in-house power management chip, according to the report.

Since last week's report, Dialog shares have lost nearly a third of their value. At one point this morning they were down 15.2 percent at 26.47 euros ($31.38), according to Reuters.
Bagherli said Apple's feedback so far on 2019 product plans had been 
"very good" and that he expected to have more clarity by March on the terms of new business from Apple for 2019. Dialog would update investors when it had more details, he said.

Semiconductor suppliers are typically barred by Apple from revealing their supply relationships. Dialog, which has previously declined to name Apple, referring to it only obliquely as its "largest customer" or its "main business", said it had received a special dispensation from Apple to mention it.Dialog emphasized that it had no reason to believe its 2018 business with Apple would be affected if Apple chose to design its own chips, but acknowledged that it would need to meet the company's "technology, quality, price, and volume expectations" if it wanted to remain a key supplier.

Dialog Semiconductor may turn out to be the second large British company to lose major business from Apple with the next couple of years. In April, Imagination Technologies shares plunged after Apple informed the firm it plans to stop using its PowerVR graphics technology in its devices by mid-2019.

Apple looks on course to start designing several other components in-house in the next few years, potentially including ARM-based Mac processors and iPhone modems.

Tag: Dialog
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KGI: AirPods Shipments Will Double Next Year Given Strong Demand

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:49
AirPods will remain one of Apple's most popular accessories in 2018, with shipments likely to double to an estimated 26-28 million units on a year-over-year basis, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo said there has been strong demand for AirPods, which he views as the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem. His prediction implies AirPods shipments will total 13-14 million units in 2017.

An excerpt from Kuo's latest research note with investment firm KGI Securities, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors:We believe demand for AirPods has been strong, and note that the shipping time of the product on Apple's official shopping website has shortened to 1-3 days, mainly thanks to an improved assembly process and increased capacity from Luxshare as the new assembler […] We expect AirPods to remain one of the most popular Apple accessories in 2018, with shipments likely to rise 100% YoY to 26-28mn units next year.Chinese company Luxshare could become the main assembler of AirPods in 2018, with a higher order allocation than fellow supplier Inventec, after improving its assembly process and increasing production capacity.

Apple doesn't break out AirPods sales like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the wireless earphones under its "Other Products" category, alongside Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats, iPods, and other accessories.

Apple reported revenue of $3.2 billion from its "Other Products" category last quarter, up 36 percent year over year.

Last month, on an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was "thrilled with the momentum" of AirPods. He boasted that Apple's entire wearables business generated the annual revenue of a "Fortune 400" company in the 2017 fiscal year.The combination of music streaming on Apple Music and AirPods is truly a magical experience for people on the go. We're thrilled with the momentum of these products. In fact, our entire wearables business was up 75 percent year over year in the fourth quarter, and in fiscal 2017, already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company.AirPods launched for $159 in December 2016 after a two month delay, but orders on Apple's website faced a six-week shipping estimate until August 2017 as Apple struggled to improve the supply-demand balance of the wireless earphones.

AirPods shipping estimates have gradually improved since then, with orders now slated for delivery in under one week.

We haven't heard many rumors about second-generation AirPods, but Apple will be releasing an inductive charging case for the wireless earphones designed to work with its AirPower charging mat, which itself will launch in early 2018.

Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, AirPods
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iPhone X Early Adoption Rate Said to Beat iPhone 8 and 7 Plus Levels

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:05
iPhone X handsets make up over 2 percent of the iPhone active installed base, just three weeks after it was released on November 3, according to research conducted by IHS Markit. The countries with the highest rates of adoption are markets with high gross domestic product per head, like Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland, and Japan.

According to IHS, countries where "Plus" models have been popular show a strong correlation with initial adoption rates for iPhone X, because consumers in those markets are more interested in larger displays and dual-lens camera technology, and are willing to spend more to get them.

Production constraints appear to have had little effect on early uptake of iPhone X, which is said to be "very similar" to adoption of previous flagship iPhones launches over the same period, said IHS analysts.
In the US, iPhone X adoption after three weeks matched the adoption of iPhone 8 Plus and beat early adoption levels for both the iPhone 8 and 7 Plus. Only the iPhone 7 model had greater initial success. In Japan, initial iPhone X adoption was as good as or better than any recent iPhone launch, and matched the level of the iPhone 7.Apple is set to enjoy its best ever year for iPhone, according to IHS, with year-on-year increases in iPhone shipments over the next four quarters. In the fourth quarter of 2017, IHS Markit forecasts Apple will ship 88.8 million iPhones, which would be the highest number of iPhones ever to be shipped in a single quarter.

Shipping 31 million iPhone X units would cause the iPhone average selling price (ASP) to exceed US$700 for the first time in the iPhone's 10-year history, assuming total shipments in the quarter amount to 88.8 million.

Shipping estimates for the iPhone X continue to improve in many countries. In the United States, iPhone X models ordered today will arrive in just about a week, while several European stores list delivery dates of December 12. In line with IHS Markit's analysis, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier claimed that improved iPhone X shipping estimates are due to better-than-expected improvements in production, rather than a lack of demand for the new device.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Tim Cook Touts Apple's Contribution to Chinese Economy at State-Run Web Summit

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 13:38
Chinese developers have earned more selling apps on its iOS platform than devs from any other country, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Sunday (via Bloomberg). His comments were made in a keynote speech given at China's annual state-run World Internet Conference, which aims to develop the digital economy, while operating under the rubric of respecting the right of sovereign nations to regulate and control public internet access.

Cook said users of its iOS platform number 1.8 million in China, collectively earning developers a total of $16.9 billion, which is roughly a quarter of total global App Store earnings. Apple said earlier this year that the global developer community has earned over $70 billion since the App Store launched in 2008.

Tim Cook delivers a speech at the Fourth World Internet Conference (Photo: IC)"The theme of this conference – developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits – is a vision we at Apple share," Cook said. "We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace."China's cyber regulation has stepped up in the last year, with new rules coming into force that require companies to store data locally and make data available for surveillance measures. Apple was the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to its data storage arrangements in China, when the cybersecurity laws came into effect in June.
"Much has been said of the potential downsides of AI, but I don't worry about machines thinking like humans. I worry about people thinking like machines," he said. "We all have to work to infuse technology with humanity, with our values."

Technology of the future should have openness, creativity and safeguards to protect users while providing privacy and decency, he added.Cook's words appeared carefully chosen so as not to upset his Chinese hosts, who routinely curtail access to online services seen as a potential threat to the country's internal cohesion. Facebook and Instagram have been blocked by China's Cyberspace Administration since 2009 and 2014, respectively. Encrypted messaging service Telegram was also blocked inside China after it became popular with the country's human rights lawyers, while several VPN apps – which are commonly used to evade censorship and access services abroad – were recently pulled from China's App Store in compliance with stricter state rules.

The Wuzhen-based conference was opened earlier on Sunday with comments from Chinese president Xi Junping, read by the head of the government's publicity department, in which Xi advocated for "cyber sovereignty", the idea that states should be permitted to manage and contain their own internet without external interference.
"Developments online are raising many new challenges to sovereignty and security, and China is willing to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships," said Xi in the note. "The development of China's cyberspace is entering a fast lane... China's doors will only become more and more open."China remains the world's biggest smartphone market, one which historically Apple has struggled to penetrate. The company shipped an estimated 11 million iPhones in China last quarter, up 40 percent from the year-ago quarter, despite six consecutive quarters of declining iPhone sales in the region.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: China, Tim Cook
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