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iOS 8.2 Could See Public Release Next Week, Two More Betas of iOS 8.3 to Come

ios_8_iconApple may be planning to release iOS 8.2 to the public as early as next Monday, reports BGR. iOS 8.2 has been in testing since November and notably contains support for the Apple Watch. The March release date has been rumored for several weeks now, but earlier information pointed towards a launch a bit later in the month, possibly during the second week of March.

A Monday, March 2 release date for iOS 8.2 would mean the software would be released to consumers a full week ahead of Apple's scheduled March 9 "Spring Forward" media event, where the company is expected to divulge additional details on the Apple Watch.

BGR is fairly accurate when it comes to iOS release date predictions. The site correctly determined several iOS 7 beta release dates, but it has been wrong on occasion. Because March 2 is not in line with earlier predictions, BGR could be off by a week, but we will certainly be seeing a public release of iOS 8.2 sometime during the first two weeks of March, even if the March 2 date is inaccurate.

Thus far, there have been five iOS 8.2 betas, with the last beta coming on Monday, February 2, suggesting either another beta or a public release is coming in the near future.

The site also says that it has learned from its sources that there may be as many as four betas of iOS 8.3. We have had two iOS 8.3 betas, so there could be two more beta updates before the software is provided to the public. That would put iOS 8.3 on track to launch in April. iOS 8.3 brings several new features to the operating system, most notably introducing a redesigned emoji picker and adding both new emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features , Tags: iOS 8.2, bgr.com

Tim Cook in London to Talk Apple Watch and Visit Covent Garden Retail Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday made an unannounced visit to the iconic Apple Store in Covent Garden, a popular shopping and tourist location in London, according to The Telegraph. The chief executive also sat down for an interview with the British publication to discuss the Apple Watch, providing a few more interesting details about the device ahead of Apple's highly-anticipated "Spring Forward" media event on March 9.

Tim Cook Convent Garden London
Cook claimed that the Apple Watch will have several features that go beyond timekeeping and health and fitness, such as the ability to replace large car key fobs that come with most current vehicles. "This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons," he said.

The chief executive told Apple retail employees at the Covent Garden store that the Apple Watch will be unlike any other product the company has ever sold before. "We've never sold anything as a company that people could try on before", said Cook. He added that "tweaking the experience in the store" will likely be a requirement when the wrist-worn device launches in April.

During his visit to the Covent Garden store, one retail employee asked Cook what his biggest accomplishment was in the past year. "I'm proud we stayed true to our North Star", replied Cook. "We are pro-privacy, pro-environment and pro-human rights." He added that the Covent Garden location is one of his favorite Apple Stores and praised the retail staff for being such a contributing factor to Apple's success.

Cook has been traveling on an international tour this week, making stops in Belgium, Germany and Israel over the past several days. The chief executive kicked off the week in Belgium to meet with the European Commission, visited the newsroom of popular German publication BILD on Tuesday and traveled to Israel on Wednesday to sit down with President Reuven Rivlin, committing to continued growth in the country.

Tag: Tim Cook

Apple Faces Ericsson Lawsuit After Refusing Licensing Deal

ipad_iphone_ios_8Apple faces further legal action from Ericsson this week after refusing to accept a licensing deal for its patented LTE technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Swedish networking company on Friday said it is suing Apple for infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believes are critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad.
“By refusing Ericsson’s fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation,” the company said in a statement.
Ericsson has filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to secure an exclusion order against Apple, which could block the iPhone, iPad and other products involved from being sold in the United States. The company has also filed seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as part of the negotiations. Apple's previous licensing deal with Ericsson expired in mid-January.

Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson on January 12, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 million to $750 million in royalties per year for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Ericsson is the world's largest provider of mobile network equipment and holds over 35,000 patents related to 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies.

Apple was ordered to pay Smartflash LLC a $533 million settlement earlier this week in a separate patent lawsuit.

'Click' Aims to Introduce Apple Watch Band Adapter in Upcoming Crowdfunding Campaign

Ahead of the Apple Watch's launch, accessory makers are already hoping to create solutions that will allow the device to be used with a wide array of existing watch bands. Click, for example, is an upcoming watchband adapter that will slide into the band slots of the Apple Watch, allowing the Apple Watch casing to be used with any existing 24mm watchband.

According to Click's creators, the adapter is a spring bar that will attach to a watchband, which will then fit into the Apple Watch's grooves, much like one of Apple's own watch bands. It appears to use the pin that comes with an existing watchband rather than shipping with one of its own.

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Click takes advantage of the sliding and locking mechanism on both sides of the watch to hold the adapter in place just like one of Apple's watchbands. Click allows customers to truly personalize the Apple Watch to match their style and at a fraction of the cost of Apple's Watchbands.
Click is currently in the prototype stage with only 3D printed versions of the adapter available to show off, but the team behind Click is planning to introduce it via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the next two weeks.

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It's possible, however, that Click will never make it out of the prototype phase and into the hands of consumers. Click is not the first Apple Watch watchband adapter as it claims to be, but the second. Earlier this year, a designer introduced a crowdfunding campaign for another strap adapter designed for the Apple Watch. The campaign was shut down shortly after it launched, presumably by Apple, in an effort to prevent people from circumventing the specific design aesthetic the company has in mind for the Apple Watch.

Apple's distaste for adapters that will allow the Apple Watch to be used with any watch band is not surprising given the amount of work that went into developing the six custom bands for the Apple Watch: the Link Bracelet, the Sport Band, the Leather Loop, the Modern Buckle, the Classic Buckle, and the Milanese Loop. Jony Ive has called the Apple Watch "one of the most difficult projects" he's ever worked on, and in multiple interviews, he's detailed the extensive amount of time that the company put into design of the Apple Watch.

applewatchbands
It's possible Apple will relax its stance on third-party Apple Watch bands and adapters in the future, and it's even likely that the company will form partnerships or design guidelines for those wishing to create bands for the device, but at this early stage, Apple likely wants to keep a tight rein on the bands the watch is worn with given its position as the company's first fashion accessory.

Related roundup: Apple Watch , Tags: Click, Apple Watch accessory

FCC Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality Rules, Classifies Broadband Service as a Utility

FCCThe U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor by a 3-to-2 decision to enforce net neutrality rules that it claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet, reports Ars Technica. The FCC ruling classifies broadband service as a utility and prevents Internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering prioritized service through so-called Internet "fast lanes" for payment.
"The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "Think about it. The Internet has replaced the functions of the telephone and the post office. The Internet has redefined commerce, and as the outpouring from four million Americans has demonstrated, the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules."
The ruling will reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service, and Internet providers will be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act. The decision was heavily contested by Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, which could sue the FCC in an attempt to reverse the new rules. FCC officials believe that Type II reclassification will give them more legal authority to prevent net neutrality rules from being overturned.

While the new requirements are intended to ensure that the Internet remains fast, fair and open, the FCC did not follow through with last-mile unbundling that would have required Internet service providers to sell wholesale access to their networks. That decision would have allowed new competitors to enter local markets and sell broadband service using the existing infrastructure of larger providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
"But the FCC decided not to impose unbundling," adds Ars Technica. "As such, the vote does little to boost Internet service competition in cities or towns. But it's an attempt to prevent incumbent ISPs from using their market dominance to harm online providers, including those who offer services that compete against the broadband providers' voice and video services."
The FCC's order on Thursday could be faced with legal challenges and action from Congress, according to the report, suggesting that debate surrounding net neutrality is far from over. The new rules will go into effect 60 days after being published in the U.S. Federal Register, although the Office of Management and Budget will continue to manage enhancements to the transparency rule.

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.

Apple Opens Up 'iWork for iCloud' to Everyone, No Apple Device Required

Following a short beta testing period, Apple's iCloud.com website has been updated to make its iWork suite of apps accessible to all users, even those without an Apple device.

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As of today, anyone can sign up for an Apple ID to access Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for free. The software suite lets users create and edit text documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from their browsers. Signing up for a free Apple ID account entitles users to 1GB of complimentary iCloud storage to be used with the apps for storing documents.

createappleid
Previously, access to Apple's iWork suite of apps was limited to users who owned an iOS device or a Mac, but with Apple's new web-only iCloud access, the company can draw new users to its platform and compete with more universal software offerings like Microsoft's Office Suite.

iCloud.com's web-only apps can be accessed from recent versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Free accounts are limited to 1GB of storage and users will need an iOS device or Mac to acquire more storage or access iCloud's full set of features.

Tags: iWork, iCloud

Apple Targeting Early April Launch Date for Apple Watch

Apple has not provided details on when the Apple Watch might begin shipping to customers beyond the broad "April" launch date shared by CEO Tim Cook, but new information provided to MacRumors suggests the Apple Watch could see a release more towards the beginning of April rather than the end of the month.

According to a reliable source that spoke with MacRumors, Apple is planning to begin moving Apple Watches to centralized distribution points in the U.S. during the first few days of the month, with an Apple Watch release possibly coming during the first full week of April, between April 6 and April 10.

applewatchemojis
A launch date around this time would see the Apple Watch shipping approximately one month after the company's planned March 9 media event, where it is expected to unveil new details about the Apple Watch. There are many details about the device that the company has kept under wraps, including its prospective battery life and full pricing details on the middle tier Apple Watch and higher-end Apple Watch Edition.

Apple will likely share a specific Apple Watch release date during the March 9 event, and we're also likely to find out whether the company will be accepting pre-orders. With an early April launch timeline, Apple could begin accepting pre-orders during the last week of March.

Apple will be live streaming its March 9 media event, and MacRumors will also be providing live coverage of the information the company unveils about the Apple Watch.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Smartflash Hits Apple With Second Lawsuit After Winning $533 Million Verdict

itunesiconJust one day after Apple was ordered to pay a $532.9 million settlement to Smartflash LLC for infringing upon its patented technologies, the Texas-based patent licensing firm has sued the Cupertino-based company a second time over the same patents (via Reuters). The new lawsuit covers Apple products that were introduced after the original case was filed, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2.
"Smartflash filed the complaint to address products that came out too far into the last proceedings to have been included," Smartflash's attorney, Brad Caldwell, told Reuters on Thursday. "Apple cannot claim they don’t know about these patents or understand that they are infringing. A diligent jury has already rejected those arguments."
The new lawsuit was filed in the same Tyler, Texas district court on Wednesday night, only hours after a federal jury found Apple guilty in the original trial. Apple plans to appeal the decision in the original lawsuit under the belief that the patents are invalid. The patented technologies relate to digital rights management for downloaded songs, videos and games.
“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”
Smartflash LLC fits the definition of a so-called "patent troll," which is generally considered to be a company that licenses patents but does not sell any products or services based on the inventions. The small company has also filed similar lawsuits against Samsung Electronics, Google and Amazon in recent months over the same patents. The new lawsuit against Apple was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Apple to Live Stream 'Spring Forward' Apple Watch Event on March 9

Apple today updated its website to notify users that it plans to live stream its Monday, March 9 media event that will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

The event will be broadcast on Apple's Live website and it will also be available on the Apple TV via a dedicated channel. MacRumors will be providing live coverage of the event as well, both on MacRumors.com and on the MacRumorsLive Twitter account for those unable to watch Apple's live stream.

applewatcheventlive
The March 9 event, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, is expected to focus on the Apple Watch. Apple will likely unveil new details about the device that have been previously kept under wraps, including information on pricing, battery life, and accessory options. We may also get a concrete release date. Apple may also debut other products at the event, like the rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Air.

Related roundup: Apple Watch , Tag: Apple event

Apple Sends Invites for 'Spring Forward' Media Event on March 9

Apple today sent out invites for a media event that will be held on Monday, March 9 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, reports The Loop. As with most Apple media events, it will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

The event's "Spring Forward" tagline is decidedly time related and March 9 falls one day after the start of Daylight Saving Time in the United States, suggesting the Apple Watch may be the focal point.

apple_event_spring_forward
There are still many details on the Apple Watch that Apple has kept under wraps, including full information on pricing, battery life, and accessory options, all of which may be revealed at the event ahead of the Apple Watch's April launch. The event could also see the launch of other products, such as the rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Air or refreshed 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs, which are due for an update.

Related roundup: Apple Watch , Tag: Apple event

Google's Sundar Pichai Discusses Search Partnership With Apple and iPhone 6 Success

SundarGoogle's Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Google Apps, recently spoke about his company's relationship with Apple in an in-depth interview with Forbes. The executive discussed a few topics related to Apple, including the impact of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on the high-end smartphone market and Google's long-standing search partnership with Apple that is rumored to be up in the air.

Questioned about the possibility of Apple ditching Google as the default search engine on iOS, Pichai did not appear worried and remains committed to building a product that users need. Google renewed its search partnership with Apple in 2010, although the contract is reportedly set to expire this year and there has been increasing speculation that Apple is considering a number of options. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have reportedly courted Apple to become the default search engine for Safari in the past.
Q: Your relationship with Apple is complicated. How concerned are you that you may lose them as a search partner on iOS?

A: There are areas with Apple in which we have always collaborated. We have had a long term search partnership. We work closely with them in areas like YouTube. When I look at search, largely the evolution depends on “are we bulding something which users need?” If we are building something that users need and there is a lot of value we are driving, I think how search manifests in iOS will work out just fine. We have a long term search partnership and are working together with them, and we’ll have to see.
Pichai also reflected on how Google expected the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to do very well for Apple, adding that Android is healthy both overall and in the high-end market. He adds that Android is building upon the momentum of one billion devices shipped and believes both Google and Apple are doing well as the smartphone industry continues to evolve.
Q: There’s a perception that as Samsung is going through some challenges, Apple is regaining share at the high end. Do you see that in the numbers?

A: Share is tough to assess. There is a lot of noise. Based on what we see things are healthy overall globally including the high end. Apple obviously has done very well with iPhone 6 and 6 plus, but we always expected that. We knew this would be a big upgrade cycle for them. To me looking at the momentum of having shipped a billion devices, people even on the high reporting high loyalty rates across Android, I haven’t seen anything to be concerned about. The bigger story here is a growing pie. All of us are doing well.
The full-length interview goes into more detail about the state of Google, touching upon a number of products and services such as Android, Nest, Google Wallet, Google Hangouts, Google Shopping Express and the Play Store. Pichai also reflects on competitors in various spaces, including Amazon in e-commerce and WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger in messaging.

Apple Begins Animating Landmarks in Maps, Starting With London Eye and Big Ben's Clock

Apple yesterday updated its 3D "Flyover" map of London, adding animated images onto popular London-based attractions that result in real-time moving pictures right inside of the Maps app (via The Daily Mail).


The update causes the current time to be showcased on the face of Big Ben's clock tower, and the popular giant London Eye to constantly rotate when users find each structure in the London Flyover map. The feature, according to The Daily Mail, is expected to hit other big cities "within weeks."

Though a straightforward and purely aesthetic update, the addition of real-time animated effects in the Maps app brings a more immersive experience to Apple's mobile map service and could give it a slight edge on competing map apps.

big_ben_clock_apple_maps
Thanks to hefty amount of criticism following the rocky launch of Maps, even resulting in a public letter of apology by Tim Cook, Apple has been steadily attempting to straighten the app's course and win back the users that migrated to services like Google Maps in the intervening years.

Apple has steadily improved the accuracy of its maps, increased the number of points of interest displayed, and improved the quality of its Flyover imagery, while also reportedly working to add new features such as transit directions and indoor mapping information. Apple-leased minivans with equipment rigs on top have also been seen in a number of U.S. cities in recent months, suggesting the company may be collecting street-level imagery to compete with Google's Street View.