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The CW's New Apple TV App Doesn't Require a Cable Subscription to Watch

As promised last week, The CW network today released a new Apple TV app that allows all fourth-generation Apple TV owners to watch new episodes of shows on the network for free with no cable authentication or login required.

All of the shows on The CW, including Supergirl, The Flash, Jane The Virgin, Arrow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, iZombie, Supernatural, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The 100 Vampire Diaries, Reign, and The Originals are available to watch, with ads. Users simply need to download the app and click play on a show to watch, with no other hoops to jump through.

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The CW's iOS and Apple TV apps focus on only the newest episodes, with no archived content available from past seasons. Only five episodes from the most recent season are available to watch, but it's all free and should be welcome news to cord cutters who are hoping other television networks might adopt similar policies.

On iOS devices, an update to the CW app introduces support for both AirPlay and Chromecast, allowing content from the iOS app to be streamed to a television set as an alternative to using the Apple TV app or as a way to watch The CW's content on television sets without owning a fourth-generation Apple TV.

The CW can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Apple Debuts New 'Balloons' Ad Focusing on New iOS 10 Screen Effects Feature in Messages

Apple today shared a new television ad on its YouTube channel, designed to introduce people to the new Screen Effects feature in iOS 10. In the minute-long spot, a sole red balloon drifts through mountains, over the sea, and through hilly terrain to reach the city, where it's joined by hundreds of additional balloons floating through the streets.

The shot pans to an iPhone user who receives a "Happy Birthday" message, where balloons fill up the screen to accompany the text. It ends with the tagline "Expressive messages on iPhone 7. Practically magic."


Introduced in iOS 10, Screen Effects are designed to make the messages experience more emotive, personal, and fun. Screen Effects temporarily alter the look of the Messages display with full screen animations that play alongside text messages. There are several animations, ranging from balloons and confetti to lasers and fireworks.

With certain keywords like "Congratulations!" or "Happy Birthday!" Screen Effects play automatically whenever the relevant text phrase is sent to an iPhone user who has iOS 10 installed.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tags: Apple ads, iMessage

Verizon iPhone 7 Users Afflicted With LTE Connectivity Problems

A growing number of Verizon subscribers are complaining about a serious issue that causes them to regularly lose LTE connectivity on their iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, suggesting a major bug that needs to be resolved by either Apple or Verizon.

There are dozens of complaints from Verizon customers who have purchased either an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 7 Plus on the MacRumors forums, Reddit, and the Apple Support Communities.

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Phones from other carriers may also be experiencing the same problem, as there are also complaints from some AT&T subscribers. The problem appears to be limited to Apple's newest devices, with those who have earlier iPhones not reporting connectivity issues. As described by Reddit user Kangalex:
wow same exact issue. i have noticed that when my phone is out of wifi range, it will never automatically connect to LTE but rather get stuck at 3G until I put into airplane mode to reset the network connection. its really annoying and verizon swapped out the sim for me but mentioned that if this issue keeps happening they will replace the device for me. was starting to think that it was my phone that was defective but looks like a software issue =\
Affected customers are seeing their LTE connectivity cut out at regular intervals, leaving them stuck with 3G/1X speeds or no signal at all. This can cause calls to disconnect when VoLTE is in use in addition to interrupting data usage. Turning off VoLTE can avoid dropped calls, but it does not address the underlying problem.

There appears to be no clear fix for the issue, and customers have been complaining of being routed between Apple and Verizon with neither company offering a solution. Restarts, sim swapping, turning off HD voice, and putting the iPhone in Airplane Mode appear to resolve the issue temporarily, but it returns. Apple and Verizon have swapped out devices for some affected customers, but their new devices have the same problem.

Customers who are experiencing the issue say that the problem is exacerbated by switching between towers, as one might do when traveling in a moving car, and that it is not fixed in iOS 10.0.2 or in the iOS 10.1 beta.

One customer was told it was an Apple software issue, and according to several others, Verizon is aware of the problem and is working with Apple on a fix.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Verizon

FCC Delays Vote on Proposal to Make Subscription TV Available on Any Set-Top Box via Apps

apple_tv_squareAn FCC vote on a controversial proposal that would de-couple cable subscriptions from cable set-top boxes was today delayed as the Commission aims to work out "remaining technical and legal issues," the FCC said in a statement. [PDF]
"It's time for consumers to say goodbye to costly set-top boxes. It's time for more ways to watch and more lower-cost options. That's why we have been working to update our policies under Section 629 of the Communications Act in order to foster a competitive market for these devices. We have made tremendous progress - and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices. We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country."
Introduced in January by United States Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, the proposal initially called for content providers to allow cable and satellite subscribers to access and watch cable content on any set-top box of their choosing, including the Apple TV, rather than being forced to lease a set-top box provided by cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Cable companies want to have control over content and how and where it's displayed, so the FCC unsurprisingly met a lot of resistance over the proposal.

Major changes to the measure were announced in early September in response to pushback from cable companies, and the revised version requires cable providers to develop apps featuring access to all of their programming -- live and on-demand -- for all major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, and Roku.

Providers are also required to provide open access to their content catalogs for universal search purposes, but the revised measure is much less ambitious and more restrictive than the original proposal, but more agreeable to content providers.

With the first version of the proposal, companies like Apple could have built a full television-viewing interface around content provided by cable companies rather than simply offering content through a cable-branded app.

According to the FCC, the proposal will now go on the Commissions "circulation list" and will "remain under consideration."

Tag: FCC

iPhone 7 and BMW Owners Experiencing Bluetooth Audio Issues

Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users have experienced Bluetooth audio issues in vehicles. The majority of users experiencing problems appear to be BMW owners, regardless of model, but other vehicle brands such as Hyundai and Kia appear to be involved in limited cases.

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The issues range from audio cutting out to connectivity issues with infotainment systems. BMW users in particular report being able to stream music for about 5-10 seconds, at which point the ConnectedDrive system freezes. Fixing the system requires restarting the iPhone, but the issue reemerges once the connection is reestablished.

MacRumors reader YachtMac posted in our discussion forums:
My iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 10.0.2 will not stream audio for more than a few seconds in a BMW 4 series with the latest multimedia software. I have researched the issue and others with BMWs and other makes seem to be experiencing the same or similar streaming issues. Moreover, once the fault occurs the mobile telephone connection then becomes flakey as well. The only thing I can do is to disable the audio streaming option in order to have a phone that works in the car as a phone.
Apple Support Communities member Chandy911 echoed the same problem:
I just upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.0.1 and I am having issues playing music through Bluetooth on BMW ConnectedDrive. I've upgraded the BMW software on my car to the latest version from BMW's website, but I still get disconnected on Bluetooth after about 5-10 seconds after playing music. I've tried to restore the phone and set it up as a new phone. I've deleted the connection both on the device and car, but the issue persists.
MacRumors reader PorscheRain:
iPhone 7 in 2015 BMW 235i disconnects from Bluetooth after steaming audio for 10 seconds. Once disconnected, iOS no longer sees the vehicle's Bluetooth source. The only recourse is to forget the device in Settings and repair with the vehicle. I've isolated iOS as not the key issue (iPhone SE works fine on the same iOS 10.0.1, so did my prior iPhone 6s). Apple had me swap out the device at the store; the same thing is occurring on the new iPhone 7.
BMW itself has acknowledged the issues and said it is working with Apple to ensure iPhone 7 compatibility in its vehicles:
We are aware of the concerns you speak of and we are currently working directly with Apple to ensure iPhone 7 compatibility in our vehicles. At this time, the Apple iPhone 7 is not an approved device for our vehicles until testing has completed. We do not currently have an estimated time frame regarding the completion of iPhone 7 testing. Please continue to look for an update from Apple for a new iOS and our update website to help resolve your concerns: www.bmw.com/update. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Apple has seemingly told some customers the fix will be included in an upcoming software update. The issue is still present on iOS 10.1 beta. BMW owners are recommended to update to the latest version of ConnectedDrive as a preparative measure. BMWs equipped with CarPlay do not appear to be affected.

These types of issues have been seen before. In 2014, some users experienced trouble pairing their devices to their vehicles via Bluetooth after upgrading to iOS 8 or purchasing a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Apple fixed the issues in iOS 8.1. Similar issues affecting some iPhone SE users were addressed in iOS 9.3.2.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: BMW, Bluetooth

FCC Votes to Improve Emergency Smartphone Alerts With Longer Character Limits, Link Support

Emergency alerts delivered to iPhones and other smartphones to warn customers about poor weather conditions, missing children, local crime, and more, may soon feature support for web links, photos, phone numbers, and longer message content.

The United States Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to expand emergency alerts from 90 to 360 characters on 4G and LTE networks, and to include support for links so people can follow up to get more information about an unfolding situation. As it stands, emergency alerts are short in length and often offer no resources for people to get in contact with emergency personnel if necessary.

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Image via NBC

Wireless providers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile send these alerts and will be required to update their systems with support for the new features that have been mandated by the FCC.
"Vague directives in text about where to find more information about a suspect, just as we saw in New York, are not good enough," said Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner. "As we move into the 5G future, we need to ensure that multimedia is available in all of our alert messages."
Carriers will also need to start supporting the transmission of Spanish language alerts and introduce a new type of safety alert designed to send "Emergency Governmental Information" like the locations of emergency shelters or an order to boil water before drinking.

The FCC's decision follows criticism of the emergency alert system after alerts were sent out in New York and New Jersey asking citizens to help track down a man suspected of setting off bombs in the area. The alert included a message advising people to "See media for pic," highlighting its shortcomings. It is not clear when the new rules will go into effect.

Tag: FCC

2017 iPhone to Feature Glass Design With Stainless Steel Frame on High-End Models

apple-iphone7KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has outlined further predictions for next year's iPhone lineup, claiming the popularity of Jet Black models will encourage Apple to return to glass casing for 2017 models, as the material tends to have a higher gloss finish than metal.
While a glossy finish is possible for metal casing, we identify two prerequisites for the 2017 new iPhone to be competitive in terms of casing design, considering competitors will definitely launch smartphone models with glossy metal or glass casing prior to Apple’s launch: (1) adoption of a glossy finish design; (2) enhanced productivity and higher yield will prevent a supply shortage, as has happened with jet black casing, which is manufactured at an unsatisfactory yield rate of 60-70% due to the metal material; and (3) better scratch resistance will improve user satisfaction. All things considered, we see glass casing as the only option.
Kuo believes Apple is more likely to stick with slightly curved 2.5D cover glass on the 2017 iPhone, as used on iPhone 6s, rather than adopt a fully curved 3D design, in light of mass production considerations and drop test performance. Kuo previously said Apple will launch a 5.8-inch iPhone with a curved OLED display and glass casing next year, which a subsequent report said will be a high-end model. The other models would retain LCD displays with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes.

Kuo said the new glass casing will be reinforced by an aluminum metal frame, while stainless steel will be used for high-end models.
Metal frame can be stainless steel or aluminum, with former more likely for high-end models. As all-glass casing is not possible at present given technological bottlenecks, a metal frame surrounding the edge is necessary for reinforced structure design. As stainless steel has a better look than aluminum and costs more, we expect only high-end new iPhone models to come with a stainless steel frame next year.
The analyst believes Foxconn will be the sole supplier of high-end iPhone models next year as the exclusive manufacturer of the new stainless steel frame. Meanwhile, glass material supplier Corning and glass casing makers Lens Technology and Biel Crystal are said to be beneficiaries of the new glass design.

MacRumors Readers Share Beautiful Depth-of-Field Photos Shot With iPhone 7 Plus

Apple released iOS 10.1 beta last week with a new "Portrait" mode on iPhone 7 Plus. The depth-of-field feature uses the smartphone's dual cameras and advanced machine learning to make the subject in the foreground sharp while creating an out-of-focus blur in the background, known as the bokeh effect.


Since then, several MacRumors readers have shared beautiful shallow depth of field photos shot with iPhone 7 Plus. Many of the photos look like they were captured with a higher-end DSLR camera, which is impressive given how small the iPhone's cameras are. In many ways, the best camera truly is becoming the one you carry in your pocket.

MacRumors reader Bryan, for example, shared some photos he shot at the ArtPrize international art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week. Each photo beautifully demonstrates Apple's artificial bokeh effect, achieved by combining two images from the wide-angle and telephoto lenses to create a depth map.

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The crowdsourced iPhone 7 Plus Photography topic in the MacRumors discussion forums has dozens of other great examples of both regular and shallow depth of field photos, including this swimming pool portrait shared by reader erwheezy. Make sure to click the link ahead to read the full article with more examples.

➜ Click here to read rest of article...

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

Apple Likely Aiming for Late October Launch of Redesigned MacBook Pro

With the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 launches having dominated the Apple news cycle in recent weeks, attention is now turning back to the Mac lineup, which has been in need of updates for quite some time as highlighted by our Buyer's Guide. Looking ahead to the rapidly approaching holiday shopping season, rumors have suggested Apple is preparing to update several of its Mac lines before the end of the year, led by a redesigned MacBook Pro that has been rumored to be ready for launch "as soon as October."

MacRumors has learned that Apple is indeed moving rapidly toward a launch of the new MacBook Pro models, with the company's current development work on macOS 10.12.1 focused largely on preparing the operating system to support the updated hardware's new features, which have been rumored by several sources to include Touch ID support and an OLED "touch bar" replacing the current row of function keys across the top of keyboard. Apple is also said to be shifting to "Polaris" graphics chips from AMD on the higher-end 15-inch models.

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Leaked MacBook Pro top case showing space for touch bar in place of function keys

Our understanding is that Apple is planning to seed one more beta version of macOS 10.12.1 for developer and public beta testing early next week, with a goal of finalizing the software update by the end of that week so it can be loaded onto the new hardware currently being produced by Apple's supply chain partners.

This timeline could of course change should last-minute bugs or other circumstances require adjustments to Apple's plans, but if it holds true, it appears Apple could have its new MacBook Pro models ready to ship to customers some time in the second half of October.

With an emphasis on preparing for the new MacBook Pro models and thus a need to stick to an aggressive timeline, Apple appears to be pushing off all but the most critical bug fixes and security patches beyond macOS 10.12.1. Less crucial fixes will be incorporated into the following macOS 10.12.2 update, which we understand Apple is aiming to begin seeding to developers around late October with a goal of public release around late November.

In addition to redesigned MacBook Pro models, Apple has also been rumored to be launching updated MacBook Air models with USB-C ports and new iMacs with AMD graphics chips before the end of the year. It is unclear, however, whether all three lines will be updated simultaneously and whether Apple will hold a media event to introduce the hardware or opt for a more low-key introduction via press release, perhaps with some embargoed media reviews alongside.

Finally, Apple is reportedly working with LG on a new 5K external display to replace the discontinued Apple Thunderbolt Display, although a timeframe for that product has yet to be reported. We've also yet to hear any word about the Mac Pro and Mac mini, both of which remain in significant need of updates.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: Retina MacBook Pro (Don't Buy)

Apple Tracks Who You Contact on Messages, Stores Logs for 30 Days

Conversations in the Messages app feature end-to-end encryption that makes the content of the messages impossible to decipher, but according to documentation found by The Intercept, Apple tracks who its customers send iMessages to and is able to hand that information over to law enforcement when compelled to do so through a court order.

When a text message is sent to someone, the Messages app pings Apple's servers to see if the person has an iPhone or iPad in an effort to determine whether to send a message via iMessage or SMS. Each ping records date, time, number, and IP address, all of which is kept in a log that Apple says it stores for 30 days
Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.
The data on how Messages works was reportedly obtained by The Intercept from a document entitled "iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement" that was given to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Electronic Surveillance Support Team. While labled "Law Enforcement Sources" and "For Official Use Only," it is not clear who wrote it.

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Click to enlarge. Image via The Intercept

As The Intercept points out, the documentation suggests that each number entered into the Messages app is transmitted to Apple when a new chat is opened, even if a conversation does not end up taking place. An Apple spokesperson said that the logging information in the iMessage FAQ is "generally accurate" but did not give additional data to make it clearer exactly when the Messages app pings Apple's servers. Apple did, however, give the following statement:
When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession. Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications. In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices. We work closely with law enforcement to help them understand what we can provide and make clear these query logs don't contain the contents of conversations or prove that any communication actually took place.
Apple takes a strong stance on privacy and promises to keep customer data private with tools like end-to-end encryption for the Messages app, but it has always maintained that there is some information that it is able to provide to law enforcement officials when compelled to do so.

Apple's website features a privacy section that details the information it collects and the types of data that it provides for government requests, including a full rundown of what's available to law enforcement [PDF]. Apple's documentation does not appear to mention Messages specifically, but it does specify that iCloud connection logs are retained for 30 days and that FaceTime calls logs are also maintained.

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 and Deloitte Partnering on Consulting Service to Promote iOS Devices in Enterprise

Apple today announced an enterprise partnership with Deloitte, which will see Deloitte creating an Apple practice with more than 5,000 "strategic advisors" focused on providing businesses with guidance on how to "change the way they work," updating technology on all of their systems, from retail to R&D to inventory management.

The two also plan to create a new service from Deloitte Consulting called "EnterpriseNext," which will help Deloitte clients "fully take advantage" of the iOS ecosystem, from hardware to software.

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"As the leader in digital transformation strategy, Deloitte is an ideal partner that brings a team of Apple-dedicated strategic advisors to help clients truly revolutionize how they work using iOS, iPhone and iPad," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "iPhone and iPad are transforming how people everywhere get work done. And through this partnership, we're able to help even more businesses tap into the incredible capabilities that only the Apple ecosystem can deliver."
EnterpriseNext will offer expertise to businesses across more than 20 industries, providing guidance on how to take advantage of iOS devices, offering workshops on creating iOS solutions, and developing full native apps for businesses from Deloitte Digital Studios.
- EnterpriseNext Value Maps for iOS to help them discover the highest impact possibilities for iPhone and iPad within their industries, align their mobile opportunities and prioritize digital resources;
- EnterpriseNext Workshops for iOS to quickly take ideas from prototype to custom-built iOS solutions; and
- iOS architects, designers and engineers - housed within Deloitte Digital Studios around the world - to help produce easily deployable, high-quality native apps that integrate seamlessly with existing business platforms including ERP, CRM, analytics and HR.
Apple has been ramping up its efforts in the enterprise market over the past few years, first teaming up with IBM to get iPads and iPhones into the hands of businesses and help them to develop a range of custom apps. Apple has also partnered with Cisco and SAP to offer the necessary tools and integrations to make it easy for companies to adopt iOS devices.

iOS 10 Overtakes iOS 9, Now Installed on 48% of Devices

Just over two weeks after iOS 10 was released to the public, its adoption rate has reached 48.16 percent, successfully overtaking iOS 9, according to data obtained from Mixpanel's iOS 10 adoption tracker.

iOS 10 is now installed on slightly more iOS devices than iOS 9, with Mixpanel's numbers suggesting 47.79 percent of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches continue to run Apple's previous-generation operating system. 4.06 percent of devices still have iOS 8 or earlier installed.

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Since iOS 10 was released, its adoption numbers have been growing steadily and have been almost on pace with iOS 9 adoption rates during this time last year. One day after release, iOS 10 was installed on 14.5 percent of devices, and at just under one week, following the release of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, it was installed on 34 percent of devices.

iOS 10 saw some early installation issues that may have made people wary of downloading the update, but its steady growth can be attributed to the many appealing features it offers, including a revamped Messages app with stickers and a full App Store, a Siri API for developers, a redesigned Lock Screen experience, a new Music app, new facial and object recognition capabilities in Photos, and more.

Last year, less than two weeks after iOS 9 was released, Apple said it was installed on more than 50 percent of active devices, making it the operating system with the fastest ever adoption rates. Based on Mixpanel's numbers, it doesn't appear iOS 10 has outpaced it, but it did come close.

Related Roundup: iOS 10