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Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 9.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second iOS 9.3 beta and two months after the public release of iOS 9.2. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11.

The third iOS 9.3 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the iOS section of the Apple Developer Center.

As a major .1 update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new features. There's a Night Shift mode to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPad or iPhone display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum, and there are several features designed to improve the iPad for Education program, such as multi-user login.

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Multiple apps and features are also seeing updates in iOS 9.3. Apple News includes more personalized recommendations, faster updates, a landscape view on the iPhone, and support for in-line video, while Health includes a new Apple Watch-style "Activity" view and Notes has an option to password protect individual entries.

Apple Music for CarPlay offers "New" and "For You" sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps offers more information about what's close by. Paired with watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 is able to support multiple Apple Watches, and for iPhone 6s users, there are new Quick Actions for Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store.

The second iOS 9.3 beta added a Control Center toggle for the

Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 2.1, the first major update to the watchOS 2 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2.2 has been in testing since January 11.

The third watchOS 2.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on an iPhone running the iOS 9.3 beta by going to General --> Software update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and each iPhone running iOS 9.3. watchOS 2.2 also includes a revamped look for the built-in Maps app on the Apple Watch with access to the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9 and new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.

There are were no other obvious outward-facing changes introduced in the first two watchOS 2.2 betas aside from the changes to the Maps app, but the update undoubtedly includes under-the-hood performance updates and bug fixes to address issues that have been discovered since the release of watchOS

Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 9.2 to Developers

Apple today provided developers with the third beta of an upcoming 9.2 update to tvOS, the operating system that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV and powers its built-in App Store. Today's tvOS 9.2 beta 3 comes two weeks after Apple released the second beta of tvOS 9.2 and two weeks after the release of tvOS 9.1.1, a minor update to tvOS 9.1. tvOS 9.2 has been in testing since January 11.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Those who have already installed the second tvOS 9.2 beta will be able to download the third update over the air.

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tvOS 9.2 is a significant update for the tvOS operating system. It brings support for Bluetooth keyboards, allowing a keyboard to be paired to the Apple TV for text entry. Bluetooth keyboard support is a major feature that was missing from previous versions of tvOS and its addition should make it much easier to do tasks like entering passwords on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Along with Bluetooth keyboard support, the tvOS 9.2 update introduces support for grouping apps into folders on the Home screen like on iOS devices, plus it includes a new look for the App Switcher interface and it brings support for iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos.

tvOS 9.2 also introduces MapKit so developers can incorporate maps into their tvOS apps, and it

Apple Launches Repair Program for Late 2013 Mac Pro Video Issues

Apple today launched a new Repair Extension Program that addresses video issues on some late 2013 Mac Pro models, according to an internal notice obtained by MacRumors.

Apple has determined that graphics cards in some late 2013 Mac Pros, manufactured between February 8, 2015 and April 11, 2015, may cause distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shut downs, or may prevent system start up.

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will repair eligible Mac Pro models affected by the video issues free of charge until May 30, 2018. Apple lists a turnaround time of about 3-5 days.

Apple says both graphics cards must be replaced on Mac Pros exhibiting any of the problems listed above. AMD's FirePro D500 (high-end model) and D700 (built-to-order) GPUs are affected. AMD's FirePro D300 GPU on the base Mac Pro is not listed.

Customers can book an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their Mac Pro is eligible for coverage. Unlike Apple's voluntary recall of some international AC wall adapters last week, Apple is unlikely to publicly announce this repair program on its support website, but it may contact some customers directly.

A lengthy Apple Support Communities topic was posted about Mac Pro video issues in February 2015, and it has since amassed nearly 3,500 views and 50 replies from affected users. One customer claimed Apple agreed to replace his Mac Pro's graphics card after he contacted the company's support team about the issue.

Apple also launched a repair

iPhone 5se May Come in Silver, Space Gray, and Bright Pink

Apple's rumored iPhone 5se may come in Silver, Space Gray, and a pink shade that's different than the Rose Gold of the iPhone 6s, reports Japanese site Mac Otakara [Google Translate], citing information obtained from a third-party vendor.

The site compares the shade of pink to that of the seventh-generation iPod nano and sixth-generation iPod touch, which is a deep pink that is brighter than the Rose Gold iPhone 6s. Mac Otakara was not able to see the shade of pink firsthand, so its exact tone is not clear, but the vendor said it is not the same color as the iPhone 6s.

Early iPhone 6s rumors said pink would be a color choice for the device, but it turned out that "pink" was actually Rose Gold. Today's rumor, if true, makes a clear distinction between Rose Gold and a deeper pink shade, so it seems unlikely the vendor is making the same mistake.

Other potential colors for the iPhone 5se are not mentioned, but Space Gray, Silver, and Bright Pink is an odd lineup, so there's a possibility that Apple will include other color options. The first "iPhone 6c" rumors pointed towards a brighter color lineup for the device, but later rumors have indicated that it will be available in the traditional Silver, Space Gray, and Gold colors.

With the iPhone 5se just over a month away from a potential unveiling at a March 15 event, we may soon see part leaks or more concrete detail that gives us a better picture of the colors we can expect. Other iPhone 5se rumors point towards an iPhone 5s-style design with the curved cover glass of the iPhone 6, an A9 processor, Touch ID, and

Apple Possibly Working With Energous on Extended Range Wireless Charging for Future iPhones

Amid rumors that Apple is working on extended range wireless charging capabilities for future iPhones, there has been some speculation that Apple has partnered with Energous to implement the technology. Energous is the company behind WattUp, an emerging wireless charging technology that uses radio frequencies to charge devices from up to 15 feet away.

Though there's no concrete proof of a relationship between Energous and Apple, a new research report from Louis Basenese of Disruptive Tech Research highlights a large pool of circumstantial evidence pointing towards a potential partnership, so it's worth taking a look at Energous's technology, both in that context and as an example of the wireless charging techniques that are currently being pursued by tech companies.

Basenese posits Apple is working with a partner rather than developing an in-house solution due to the small number of patents the company has filed surrounding wireless charging -- just five, with none filed since 2013. As evidence that partner is Energous, he points towards their common manufacturing partners (TSMC and Foxconn), their membership in ANSI working towards standards for wireless power transfer compliance testing, and most notably, the fact that Energous's RF-based wireless charging system is the only long-distance solution nearly ready to launch.


In early 2015, Energous also inked a deal with an unnamed consumer electronics company, positioned as one of the top five companies in the world. Names weren't mentioned, but that's a short list -- Apple, Samsung, HP, Microsoft, and Hitachi.

Users Facing 'Error 53' Bricking Message After Third-Party iPhone 6 Home Button Repairs

Some iPhone 6 users who had their smartphones repaired by third-party technicians are reporting that a mysterious "error 53" message is permanently bricking their iPhones (via The Guardian). Users who have had Touch ID on their iPhone 6 fixed by a non-Apple technician, and agreed to update the iPhone to the most recent version of iOS, are facing an issue which essentially prevents all access to the iPhone.

Freelance photographer Antonio Olmos is one such affected iPhone 6 user who had his iPhone repaired in Macedonia while working. He said "it worked perfectly" after the repair shop finished fixing the broken screen and home button, but once he updated to iOS 9 he got an "error 53" message and could no longer access any of his personal content on the iPhone. An Apple Store in London was shown the issue, and staff there admitted there was nothing they could do for him besides sell him a new iPhone.

“The whole thing is extraordinary. How can a company deliberately make their own products useless with an upgrade and not warn their own customers about it? Outside of the big industrialized nations, Apple stores are few and far between, and damaged phones can only be brought back to life by small third-party repairers," Olmos said. "I am not even sure these third-party outfits even know this is a potential problem."
Speaking with The Guardian, iFixit's Kyle Wiens said that the issue, while still unclear, appears to be Apple ensuring only genuine components are being used for repairs. Once a third party changes the home button or internal cable, the iPhone checks to be

Apple Says U.S. Supreme Court Should Reject Samsung's Appeal Request

In December, Samsung asked the United States Supreme Court to hear a final appeal in its ongoing patent battle with Apple, which would potentially nullify a $548 million settlement awarded to Apple. In a lengthy document filed with the court this afternoon (via Foss Patents), Apple urges the Supreme Court to deny Samsung's request, accusing the company of raising issues that do not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong court proceedings.

Samsung has claimed that the jury did not adequately understand the patents in question because members weren't provided with enough explanation by the court. The South Korean company has also suggested the case has wider implications that could encourage design patent trolls, an assertion Apple refers to as a "doomsday warning" based on "extreme hypotheticals."
Samsung's effort to make this case seem certworthy depends on a made-up narrative in which Samsung, not Apple, is the innovator, despite the overwhelming evidence that Samsung copied the iPhone's innovative design. [...]

Once Samsung's diversions are swept aside as they should be, the actual issues it presents do not deserve review. The decisions below broke no new legal ground; they simply applied the statute and well-settled law to the extraordinary record of infringement and copying in this case.
Apple goes on to say that Samsung has had its day in court and while the litigation is "high-profile," it is "legally unexceptional" and Samsung has not presented a legitimate reason as to why the court should prolong it.

While Apple doesn't feel Samsung's case is worth the

Apple TV Universal Search Feature Expands to FOX NOW, FXNOW, and NAT GEO

Universal search, which allows users to find content across multiple apps and services using text or Siri voice search, is one of the most useful features on the new fourth-generation Apple TV. At launch, universal search worked with iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime, but Apple promised to expand the feature to include additional content sources over time.

Apple has made good on that promise. As of today, searching for content on the Apple TV will encompass the aforementioned apps along with FOX NOW, FXNOW, and National Geographic. Apple also expanded universal search to include PBS and PBS Kids in January.

Apple maintains a full list of apps that are included in the Apple TV's universal search feature in a dedicated support document. The new channels aren't listed yet, but should be added to the document in the near future.

Universal search across iTunes, HBO GO, HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, PBS Kids, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, FOX NOW, FXNOW, and NAT GEO is limited to Apple TV users who are located in the United States. Content from these apps will be displayed when a user asks Siri to find a movie or television show or conducts a text-based search.

In Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK, universal search only encompasses movies and TV shows on iTunes and Netflix, and with all other countries, search is only available for movies in iTunes.

Apple plans to continue opening up its universal search API to additional apps going

Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

Following Apple's first quarter earnings report, Apple executives hosted a Town Hall meeting with Apple employees to answer questions and to divulge a few details about the company's future plans. 9to5Mac has shared highlights of what was covered at the event. While much of what was said was reiterating information that was shared during the earnings call, there are a few tidbits worth noting.

When it comes to the iPhone and the rumor that Apple has perhaps reached "peak iPhone," Cook said the device is the "greatest business of the future" with growth potential in key emerging markets like India and China. He said Apple does not need to launch a less expensive device with pared-down features to entice buyers in these markets, as research suggests people will spend more for a better experience. These comments relate directly to the upcoming "iPhone 5se," which some rumors have suggested will be positioned as a less powerful, lower-end device, though not a cheap one by general smartphone standards.

On the Apple TV and tvOS, Cook said the two products point towards a "bright" future for Apple, but he didn't mention how Apple might expand its presence in the living room going forward. tvOS is Apple's way of giving content providers the tools to offer streaming television solutions to customers after having failed to launch its own streaming service due to difficulties with negotiations. The most recent TV-related rumors suggest Apple is exploring the possibility of original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon.

Cook also reportedly expressed

Nearly One-Third of iPhone Users Still Have 4-Inch Screens

The latest data from Mixpanel shows that approximately 32.22% of active iPhone users still have a 4-inch screen. That is the same screen size as the so-called "iPhone 5se" that Apple is expected to announce at its rumored March 15 event.

Apple has released three iPhone models with 4-inch screens since 2013, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s, and some customers still feel these smartphones have the best screen size for pocketability and one-handed usage.

Apple's newest 4-inch smartphone, the iPhone 5s, represented just under 20 percent of current iPhones in use, trailed by the iPhone 5 at 7.53 percent and the plastic-backed iPhone 5c at 5.66 percent. The numbers fluctuate slightly in real time.

In the company's latest earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 60 percent of older-generation iPhone users have yet to upgrade to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 6s Plus.

Right now, customers that want a 4-inch iPhone have to settle for the over two-year-old iPhone 5s's outdated tech specs, and the smartphone also lacks many new features such as Apple Pay, 3D Touch, and Live Photos.

For that reason, the "iPhone 5se" with a rumored 4-inch screen, Apple's newest A9 chip, Live Photos, and purported price of around $500 may prove to be a more popular option among prospective iPhone

App Store and iTunes Experiencing Issues for Many Users Worldwide

Apple has updated its System Status page to reflect that many users may be unable to access, purchase, or update apps on the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Multiple other iCloud services are or were also experiencing downtime, including the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, and iWork for iCloud.

The issues began shortly before 7:00 a.m. Pacific and appear to be widespread, affecting customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, according to social media posts. Apple TV services and Apple's Volume Purchase Program are also affected by the service issues.

Update (9:10 a.m. Pacific): Apple's System Status page shows that the App Store, iTunes, and other iCloud services have been