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Hands-On With Apple's 'News' App Introduced in iOS 9 Beta 3

Apple released the third beta of iOS 9 to developers this morning, bringing some significant changes to the operating system, including the new Apple News app.

First introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, "News" provides curated lists of personalized news content for iOS users, offering up content from popular websites and newspapers and displaying it in an iOS-friendly layout. We went hands-on with News to give our readers a detailed walkthrough of the app and the different features that it offers.


News is built around topics and channels that are selected by each individual user, which are then used to populate an individualized "For You" tab that displays a list of stories each day. There's a Favorites section that display the sites you've added to a favorites list for quick browsing, a search feature for finding new content, and an Explore tab for casual browsing. Explore suggests topics or channels you might be interested based on what you've previously read.

If you come across a favorite story, you can add it to the "Saved" section in News, and you're able to share stories with friends by using the Share Sheet when reading content. In Safari, there's also a feature that will let you add any RSS feed to News by visiting a site and choosing "Add to News."

News includes more than a million topics, and as you read more stories, the app will get better at offering content that might interest you. Media content like photos and videos can be displayed full screen and there are features like built-in audio and photo galleries.

News is

iOS 9 Beta 3 Tidbits: 4x4 Folders on iPad, Screenshot and Selfie Folders, News App, and More

Apple today released the third beta of iOS 9, which has turned out to be the biggest update to the operating system so far. It adds a revamped Music app with access to Apple Music, the News app that was first unveiled at WWDC, a new two-factor authentication system, and several other smaller tweaks, along with the traditional performance improvements and bug fixes.

With today's changes, the beta is feeling faster, more polished, and more full featured. For beta testers and those eager to know what's coming in the OS ahead of its official release, we've rounded up a complete list of all of the new changes introduced in iOS 9 beta 3 below.

News app - Today's beta is the first iOS 9 beta to include Apple's new News app, first announced at WWDC. The news app offers up a curated list of news stories based on each user's preferences and interests. The News app displays specific channels and topics and also supports the addition of RSS feeds from Safari. The News app appears to be available only to U.S. users for the time being.

Two-Factor Authentication - iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan include an entirely revamped two-factor authentication system that Apple says is more streamlined.

App folders on iPad - App folders on the iPad now display apps in a 4x4 arrangement instead of a 3x3 arrangement, allowing users to see more apps in a folder at a glance.

Photo app folders - There are new folders for selfies and screenshots in the Photos app. The "Selfies" folder aggregates all photos captured with the front-facing camera, while the "Screenshots" folder houses

iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan Public Betas Coming Soon

The third betas of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan launched today, and a new document outlining a revamped two-factor authentication feature built into the operating systems suggests we may be seeing public beta availability in the very near future. A support document accompanying the two-factor authentication changes explicitly states that it's designed for "the public betas of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan."

When Apple introduced iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan at its Worldwide Developers Conference, the company promised that a public beta would be available beginning in July, so customers who are enrolled in Apple's public beta testing programs may not have much longer to wait to get access to the new software.

It is not clear exactly when the public beta will be seeded to customers, but the wording in the support document suggests beta testers will be receiving access to the same third betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 that were seeded to developers this morning.

Public beta tests for major software releases are a relatively new feature from Apple, introduced for OS X with OS X Yosemite last year and iOS with the release of iOS 8.3 in March of 2015. iOS and Mac users can sign up for Apple's Beta Software Program on the company's dedicated beta testing site.

Apple Introduces Revamped Two-Factor Authentication for iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan

With the third betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple is introducing a revamped two-factor authentication system, according to both the beta release notes and a detailed support FAQ that outlines the changes.

The new two-factor authentication system is different from Apple's existing two-step verification system, using "different methods" to trust devices and deliver verification codes. Apple also says it includes a "more streamlined user experience."

Based on the support document, the new two-factor authentication system works similarly to the existing two-step verification system. Any device that you sign into using two-factor authentication in iOS 9 or El Capitan becomes a trusted device that can be used to verify identify when signing into other devices or services linked to an Apple ID.

Apple recommends that iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan beta testers using the new two-factor authentication system update all of their devices to iOS 9 or El Capitan for "the best experience." As outlined in the release notes, customers who use two-factor authentication with older devices may be required to put a six-digit verification code at the end of a password instead of using a dedicated verification field.
If you enable two-factor authentication, iTunes purchases on Mac and Windows will require you to append a 6-digit code to the end of your password on every purchase. The 6-digit code will automatically be sent to your iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan devices.
Older devices are also not able to receive two-factor authentication codes when used with devices running iOS 9 and

Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third watchOS 2 beta to developers, just over two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2 beta and a month after announcing the new operating system update at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

watchOS 2 requires iOS 9 and can be downloaded over-the-air through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General -> Software Update.

watchOS 2 is the first major update to the software that runs on the Apple Watch. The new software brings many new features that Apple Watch developers can take advantage of, including native apps that run on the Apple Watch itself instead of the iPhone. It also allows developers to access the Taptic Engine and a number of other sensors in the Apple Watch, including the heart rate monitor, the microphone, and the accelerometer.

Along with these features for developers, which will lead to much more complex and full-featured third-party Apple Watch apps, the update introduces new watch faces (photo albums and time-lapse), third-party Complications, Time Travel for viewing upcoming events in a watch face Complication, and a Nightstand mode that's activated when the watch is charging, displaying the time.

watchOS 2 is currently only available to registered developers who have also installed iOS 9 on their iPhones. Apple plans to release the software to the public in the

Apple Seeds Third iOS 9 Beta to Developers With News App

Apple today seeded the third beta of iOS 9 to developers for testing purposes, just over two weeks after releasing the second beta and exactly a month after unveiling the new operating system at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update, build 13A4293f, is available through Apple's over-the-air updating system on iOS devices and is also available for download through the Apple Developer Center.

As promised by Eddy Cue last week, today's beta includes the updated Music app, allowing those running iOS 9 to access the new Apple Music service and the Beats 1 radio station. Today's beta also includes the new News app, a new two-factor authentication system, and more. For a full rundown of changes, make sure to check out our iOS 9 beta 3 tidbits post.

iOS 9 is Apple's newest operating system, focusing on intelligence and proactivity. It allows iOS devices to learn user habits and act on that information, providing recommendations on places we might like, apps we might like to use, and more. Siri is smarter in iOS 9, with the ability to create contextual reminders, and search is improved with new sources.

Many of the built in apps have been improved, including Notes, Maps, and Mail. Passbook has been renamed to Wallet, and iOS 9 introduces split-screen multitasking for the iPad along with a revamped keyboard. In addition to these consumer-facing features, iOS 9 brings significant under-the-hood performance improvements.

With battery optimizations, iOS devices have an additional hour of battery life, and a new Low Power Mode extends the battery even

Apple Seeds Third OS X 10.11 El Capitan Beta to Developers

Apple today released the third beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan to developers for testing purposes, just over two weeks after releasing the second El Capitan beta and a month after unveiling the new operating system at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update is available through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Apple Developer Center.

OS X El Capitan largely builds on the features introduced with OS X Yosemite, focusing on improving performance and user experience. Behind-the-scenes improvements in El Capitan have made a number of apps and processes on the Mac much faster, and the introduction of Metal makes system-level graphics rendering 40 percent more efficient.

Along with a new systemwide font, El Capitan includes a revamped Mission Control feature, a new Split View feature for using two full-screen apps at once, deeper functionality for Spotlight, and several new features for Safari, including Pinned Sites for housing frequently-visited websites and a universal mute button that quiets all tabs.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan is currently only available to registered developers, but Apple plans to offer a public beta of the software in July. Following testing, El Capitan will see a final release in the fall of 2015.

What's new in OS X El Capitan beta 3:

Two-Factor Authentication - iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan include an entirely revamped two-factor authentication system.

Photos app - As in iOS 9 beta 3, there are new albums for selfies and screenshots in the Photos app in El Capitan beta 3.

Spotify Encourages Customers to Cancel App Store Subscription, Resubscribe via Web to Save $3

Spotify is sending emails to its customers encouraging them to stop paying for the Spotify music service through Apple's App Store, reports The Verge. The email informs customers they can save $3 per month on their Spotify fees by canceling their App Store Spotify subscription and resubscribing through the Spotify website.

Spotify subscriptions that people signed up for using the App Store are priced at $12.99 to account for the 30 percent fee that Apple collects for all app and subscription revenue routed through the App Store. The same service is priced at $9.99 through Spotify's website.

Customers who subscribe to Spotify through the App Store might mistakenly think that Spotify is more expensive than Apple's new streaming service, Apple Music, which is also priced at $9.99 per month. That's true, but only when the service is purchased via the App Store.

Spotify's emails are accompanied by a step-by-step tutorial that walks customers through the process of turning off auto-renew on their App Store subscriptions and then instructs them to wait for the service to run out before resubscribing to the Spotify service on the web.

Spotify continues to be the dominant on-demand streaming service in the music industry with 75 million active users and 20 million paid subscribers, but it is unclear what impact Apple Music will have on the company's

Apple to Order Record-Breaking 85-90 Million Force Touch-Equipped 'iPhone 6s' Models

Apple is asking suppliers to assemble a record-breaking 85 to 90 million units of its next-generation iPhone models combined by year-end, according to The Wall Street Journal. That order tops the reported 70 to 80 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units that Apple ordered during its initial production run last year.

The report reiterates rumors that the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" will feature both Force Touch, which can distinguish between a light tap and deep press, and a new color option, likely rose gold or pink. Foxconn and Pegatron are expected to be the main suppliers of the next-generation iPhones, while Apple may elect to use a third assembler Wistron to help fulfill the record-breaking number of orders.

The next-generation iPhones will reportedly enter mass-production starting next month and are expected to retain the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes and current display resolutions. The "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" are widely expected to be announced in September with a focus on non-cosmetic improvements such as an A9 processor with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch, faster Qualcomm LTE chip and improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Microsoft to Lay Off 7,800 Employees 'Primarily' in its Phone Business

In a letter to Microsoft employees sent out this morning, company CEO Satya Nadella confirmed that over the next few months Microsoft will undergo a massive restructuring mainly focused on its phone business and which will see the loss of "up to 7,800 positions globally."

In addition, the company will take a $7.6 billion impairment charge and an estimated restructuring cost of $750 million to $850 million as Microsoft attempts to rebuild its phone hardware division after its 2013 acquisition of Nokia's hardware units that has failed to generate momentum.

In his letter to Microsoft employees, Nadella reaffirmed that he doesn't take such changes lightly, and that the company has plans for its future, with Microsoft moving from a hardware-focused phone strategy and pivoting to the building of a "vibrant Windows ecosystem."
I don’t take changes in plans like these lightly, given that they affect the lives of people who have made an impact at Microsoft. We are deeply committed to helping our team members through these transitions.

I am committed to our first-party devices including phones. However, we need to focus our phone efforts in the near term while driving reinvention. We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family.
As the iPhone and Android devices have taken increasingly large shares of the smartphone market, Microsoft's Windows Phone division and BlackBerry have struggled to compete, seeing their market shares fall to the low single digits

Judge Drops Apple's $533M Fine in iTunes-Related Lawsuit, Sets New Damages Trial

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday voided $532.9 million in damages awarded to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in February in an iTunes-related patent lawsuit, per Reuters.

The report claims federal judge Rodney Gilstrap has set a new damages trial on September 14 after ruling that "his jury instructions might have 'skewed' jurors' understanding of the damages that Apple should pay."

Apple was initially ordered to pay $532.9 million in damages to Smartflash LLC after a federal jury in the Tyler, Texas courtroom found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon the company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems.

Apple countered that Smartflash LLC was exploiting the patent system to collect royalties.
“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 was originally seeking $852 million in damages, and claimed it was entitled to a percentage of sales of Apple products used to access iTunes, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple argued that $4.5 million was fair at most, claiming it does not infringe upon any of Smartflash LLC's inventions and that its patents are invalid.

Apple likely still faces

Banks in the U.K. Gearing Up for Apple Pay Launch as Santander Allows Customers to Register Cards

Apple Pay in the United Kingdom has yet to officially launch, but some banks are preparing for the upcoming release of the payments service and have begun allowing customers to register their cards for use with Apple Pay.

Several Santander customers on the MacRumors forums have been able to successfully add their cards to Passbook for use with Apple Pay, making the cards available on both their iPhones and their Apple Watches.

Customers registering their cards are also receiving confirmation emails from Santander, informing them that they're now able to use Apple Pay. As of the time of writing, customers have not yet tested the Apple Pay service at a location that accepts Apple Pay. One customer was told the bank's system is not live and that customers who were able to mistakenly register early would be de-registered, so it is not clear if the registered cards will be able to be used to make purchases.

Activating a Santander card with Apple Pay at this time requires U.K. users to set their region to U.S., add a card, and change their region back to U.K., at which point the card remains available in Passbook. It's clearly a workaround, but a sign that banks are preparing to accept Apple Pay in the near future.

Other banks, like MBNA and Nationwide, are giving error messages like "Contact Card Issuer" and "Your Issuer Does Not Yet Offer Support."

It is not clear exactly when Apple Pay will become officially available in the United Kingdom, but during its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said the payments service would launch in July. Recently