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New Photos Offer an Inside Look at Apple Campus 2

Apple shared some updated photos and information on its spaceship-shaped second campus with employees, which French site MacGeneration managed to get a hold of. The photos give a detailed view of the exterior building, and give us one of our first glimpses at its interior.

Apple Campus 2 has been in development for more than two years, and is nearing its completion date. We've seen a series of monthly drone videos cataloguing progress at the site, and as of December, much of the main ring-shaped building is finished, with Apple now working on landscaping.

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Just recently, Apple installed the glass panels for the atrium of the main building, which will be used as a cafeteria for employees. Along with the cafeteria, there will be vast outdoor eating spaces covered with greenery native to California.

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The floor-to-ceiling doors of the atrium are each made from 10 glass pieces and are similar to the giant glass doors that were introduced in Apple's San Francisco Apple Store. The doors open an entire side of the building to let in light and air for an outdoor feel.

To install the doors, Apple has used cranes outfitted with suction cups to hold the glass in place while it's secured into the building.

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The ceiling of the ring-shaped building is equipped with a series of skylights that will let in natural light, while cutouts in marble walls will house speakers in some areas. Close attention has been paid to the smallest of details, and Apple says in just one access tunnel, it's taken 60 workers five months to lay small tiles on the curved walls. Ledges extending out over windows block light, as do built-in window shades.

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Outside, full-sized trees and other plants are being installed. Ahead of being added to the campus, many of the trees were grown at a local nursery. Apple has said more than 3,000 species of trees will be on the campus, including many fruit trees.

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Apple plans to finish construction on the campus in the first quarter of 2017, though landscaping work will extend into the second quarter of the year. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said employees will begin working at the campus in early 2017.

European Union Moves Forward With Plans to Eliminate Roaming Charges Next Year

European Commission members met on Wednesday to discuss draft rules intended to eliminate roaming charges in the European Union as of June 15, 2017.

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(Image: TapSmart)

The Commission said it is determined to put an end to roaming charges commonly billed by carriers when a customer calls, sends messages, or uses data on their mobile device while abroad in the European Union, outside of their primary country of residence, subject to proportionate checks for abusive usage.

European regulators have proposed a "Roam like at Home" solution that would allow travelers to call, text, and browse the web on their mobile devices when abroad in the European Union for no extra charge than the price they pay at home. It is not intended to be used for permanent roaming.

"Roam like at Home" is aimed at people who travel in the European Union for work or leisure. "They spend more time at home than they do abroad, and they make most of their calls, texts and use data in their home country," the Commission explained.
Example: with his €70 per month contract, Tim living in Netherlands gets unlimited calls, texts and data for his smartphone. When he travels abroad on holidays, he will have unlimited calls and text. For data, he will get twice the equivalent of €70 worth of data at the wholesale roaming data price cap, i.e. 0.85 cent/MB according to the Commission wholesale proposal, meaning more than 16 GB in this case. While roaming, he will get twice the volume he has paid for.
The latest draft further clarifies consumer rights, such as ensuring that customers abusing a carrier's roaming policy are not subject to over-intrusive background checks and establishing a minimum alert period of 14 days before roaming charges can be imposed on customers who exceed fair usage.

The revised rules also introduce safeguards to ensure carriers remain competitive. Customers can be asked to prove they live or have "stable links" to a specific country before "Roam like at Home" is included in their contract, while those roaming excessively can be sent a warning message and/or small roaming charge.
If, over a 4-month period, billing data suggests that a consumer has been more abroad than at home, but also consumed more data while travelling in the European Union, the operator can send a warning message. This message will warn the consumers that they have two weeks to inform their operator about their travel situation, or to change their travel or use patterns. Only a very small roaming charge […] can then be applied.
The proposed surcharges for customers who exceed fair usage are €0.04/minute per call, €0.01 per SMS, and €0.0085 per MB of data usage.

The draft legislation has now been sent to representatives for each European Union member state, who will meet on December 12 to vote on the text. Afterwards, the European Commission will be able to adopt the rules.

EU member states include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In September, the Commission said the European government agreed to its proposal to end roaming charges in Europe. This week, the Commission said it will be steadfast to ensure an agreement is reached as soon as possible.

Samsung Matches Jet Black iPhone With New Glossy 'Black Pearl' Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung as rumored last month has announced the Galaxy S7 edge will be available in a new "Black Pearl" color in select markets starting tomorrow. The glossy finish, exclusive to 128GB versions of the smartphone, will inevitably draw comparisons to the Jet Black iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

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Samsung already offered the Galaxy S7 edge and ill-fated Galaxy Note7 in a somewhat glossy Black Onyx finish, so we will have to wait for actual photos of the new Black Pearl color to see the difference between the two colorways. Samsung said the all-black finish "radiates quality and luxury."
Black Pearl was designed to be modern and striking. The sleek black finish blankets the entire device – edges and all – and adds depth to its glass design. The result is a stylish all-black aesthetic that captures the essence of the color in its purest form.
The new color arrives nearly two months after Samsung permanently discontinued the Galaxy Note7 following battery-related safety risks.

Samsung following in the footsteps of iPhone colors is not unprecedented. Earlier this year, it released the Galaxy S7 in Pink Gold after Apple launched the iPhone 6s in Rose Gold last year. However, in Samsung's defense, it has offered some variation of a pink smartphone in select markets since at least 2012.

The new color follows reports Samsung's next-generation Galaxy S8 will not include a headphone jack, following in the footsteps of the Moto Z in June and iPhone 7 in September. The Galaxy S8 is also said to have a bezel-free display and virtual home button, two features rumored for Apple's next iPhones.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 to Beat Next iPhone to Bezel-Free Display and Virtual Home Button

Samsung will beat Apple to the punch in next year's smartphone wars by including features in its Galaxy S8 handset that have long been rumored for the 2017 "iPhone 8", such as a bezel-free wraparound OLED screen with a virtual home button embedded in the display.

Bloomberg on Thursday referred in its favored manner to "people with direct knowledge of the matter" who said that Samsung is targeting a March release for the redesigned S8, but that launch could be delayed by about a month as the company adopts tougher testing procedures in the wake of the Note 7 debacle. Apple's smartphone launch cycle usually runs on a yearly September release.

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Samsung is understandably wary of the dangers of rushing its smartphone development after quality control reportedly suffered in the company's race to release the feature-rich, but ultimately fire-prone, Note 7.
"Since the phones have a record of burning up, it needs time for these phones to be verified as safe. How safe the phones turn out to be is more important than any hardware innovation," said Greg Roh, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities Co. "It will take about a month or two for people to actually start opening their pockets," he said.
The bezel-less devices will come in sizes similar to Samsung's 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch S7 Edge models. Samsung is also said to be introducing a "significantly differentiated" voice-activated personal AI assistant in the handsets that will be able to send text messages, make phone calls and manage calendar schedules. The AI technology will come courtesy of Viv Labs, which was founded by the developers of Apple's Siri and acquired by Samsung in October. Samsung is considering scrapping dual-cameras on the S8 due to high manufacturing costs, Bloomberg sources said. According to a separate report, the models will also drop the headphone jack.

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi made a splash back in October by debuting an almost bezel-less display with the Mi Mix "concept phone", boasting a screen that covers 91 percent of the front of the handset. While Xiaomi's limited-availability phone was more a proof of concept than a device ready for the mass market, both Samsung and Apple will be relying on the mainstream appeal of similarly standout features to boost unit sales in a stagnant market short on innovation.

In the near term, Samsung is desperate to bounce back from the impact of this year's Note 7 recall and discontinuation, which could end up costing the company more than $6 billion. The Korean-based firm reported a 17 percent drop in net income in the three months ending September, and has advised investors to expect a multibillion dollar slump in earnings in the December and March quarters as its market share struggles to recover.

As well as a bezel-free OLED display and virtual home button, Apple is said to be readying an all-glass casing and wireless charging for its 10th anniversary iPhone, with the possibility of a new 5-inch premium model and two lower tier aluminum models also in the offing.

Bluetooth 5 With 4x Longer Range and 2x Faster Speed is Officially Approved

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that the Bluetooth 5 standard has been officially adopted, which means manufacturers are now able to build it into their devices.

The next-generation Bluetooth standard offers longer range, faster speed, a larger broadcast message capacity, and better interoperability with other wireless technologies.

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Compared to existing Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, Bluetooth 5 offers four times the range, two times the speed, and eight times the broadcast message capacity, bringing whole home coverage and more reliable connections between connected devices.
"This means whole-home and building coverage, as well as new use cases for outdoor, industrial, and commercial applications will be a reality. With the launch of Bluetooth 5, we continue to evolve to meet the needs of IoT developers and consumers while staying true to what Bluetooth is at its core: the global wireless standard for simple, secure, connectivity."
With the debut of Bluetooth 5, SIG's Bluetooth naming convention will drop all references to version and point number going forward, simplifying marketing.

Devices that adopt Bluetooth 5 will be available within two to six months, meaning the next-generation products Apple plans to debut in 2017, including the iPhone 8, may offer Bluetooth 5 support.

macOS 10.12.2 Fixes Time Machine Backup Crashing Issue on New MacBook Pro

Apple in the latest macOS Sierra beta appears to have fixed a common issue where transferring files to an external hard drive or SSD connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port caused the new MacBook Pro to crash for some users.

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MacRumors forum member Dave Miles claims he received an email response from Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi, who apologized for the inconvenience and confirmed the issue has been fixed in the fifth macOS 10.12.2 beta seeded to developers and public testers on Monday.

While we have not been able to verify the authenticity of the email beyond a reasonable doubt, the issue does appear to be fixed regardless.

At least a half-dozen users claim the fifth beta of macOS 10.12.2 addresses the crashing issues, which most often affected users backing up their new MacBook Pro to an external drive with Time Machine using a wired connection. Some users also reported crashing issues when transferring files between two external drives.

MacRumors forum member TreadEverSoLightly succinctly described the dilemma that a number of other users faced:
I'm already on my 2nd MacBook Pro. Picked up last Wednesday and swapped it for another model 2 days later after experiencing crashing while my laptop backs up via Time Machine to an external HD. Computer freezes up during data transfer and refuses to acknowledge my inputs. Then crashes and restarts itself.
It is unclear what the underlying problem was, with some users speculating it could have been related to USB driver, firmware, or software issues. Others believe large file transfers contributed to the problem. Ultimately, what matters the most is the issue now appears to be resolved.

MacRumors forum member saba01 is one of several users who delivered the good news today following weeks of complaints:
I had the same issue. My MacBook Pro crashed when transferring large files (over 4TB). I installed macOS 10.12.2 and the problem is solved! Yesterday I did a 40TB backup with no problems at all!
macOS Sierra 10.2.2 will likely be publicly released as a free software update later this month following completion of beta testing.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, macOS Sierra
Tag: Time Machine
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

Apple Negotiating to Offer Rentals for Movies Still in Theaters, but at a Price

Apple wants to bring new movies to iTunes more quickly, and is in talks with several film studios over rights that would allow it earlier access to content, reports Bloomberg.

Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, and 21st Century Fox are all seeking deals to offer higher-priced rentals of new movies as soon as two weeks after they debut in theaters, and the studios are said to be considering an offer from Apple.

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Like Apple Music exclusives, access to earlier releases could draw more people to Apple's platform, but encryption is said to be a concern. Studios aren't sure whether iTunes will be a secure platform for showing movies that are still in theaters, because content can be recorded and leaked online.
The most recent talks are part of longer-running efforts by Cupertino, California-based Apple to get new movies sooner, two of the people said. Such an arrangement could help iTunes stand out in a crowded online market for movies, TV shows and music. While the iTunes store helped Apple build a dominant role in music retailing, the company hasn't carved out a similar role in music and video streaming.
Most major movies that debut in theaters are not available on iTunes and other streaming platforms for a period of 90 days, but film companies are said to be looking to expand beyond theaters to find new revenue streams.

At least one option studios are considering involves a $25 to $50 fee for a new rental, which is potentially more affordable than a movie theater ticket depending on how many people are watching a film.

No deal has been established as of yet, and it's possible the film studios could decide to offer the rights to a competing company.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tags: iTunes, bloomberg.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

Apple's AI Team Working on LiDAR, Smaller Neural Networks, Image Processing and More

At an exclusive invitation-only lunch at an AI conference in Barcelona, Spain that took place on December 6, Apple head of machine learning Russ Salakhutdinov and other Apple employees talked about their work on artificial intelligence.

Quartz has obtained some of the slides that Salakhutdinov used during the presentation, giving us a glimpse at the advancements Apple is making in AI and machine learning.

Based on one of the slides, topics at the lunch were wide-ranging, including health and vital signs, volumetric detection of LiDAR, prediction with structured outputs, image processing and colorization, intelligent assistant and language modeling, and activity recognition.

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One of the slides, related to Apple's LiDAR work, featured a picture of two cars, but Apple engineers did not mention cars or any automotive research, such as self-driving vehicles. Another slide focused on Apple's image recognition algorithms, which are able to process 3,000 images per second, twice as fast as Google's capabilities. Apple's work on smaller neural networks that can run directly on devices was also covered.
Another slide focused on Apple's ability to build neural networks that are 4.5 times smaller than the originals with no loss in accuracy, and twice the speed. The technique, not unknown in AI research, uses a larger, more robust neural network to teach another network the decisions it would make in a variety of situations. The "student" network then has a streamlined version of the "teacher" network's knowledge. In essence, it predicts the larger network's predictions about a given photo or audio sample.
The discussion also covered some of Apple's research focus areas:

- Deep generative models
- Model compression
- Holistic scene understanding
- Model reliability
- Deep reinforcement learning
- Unsupervised learning, transfer learning, one-shot learning
- Reasoning, attention & memory
- Efficient training on distributed computing

Going forward, Apple plans to allow its AI and machine learning researchers to start publishing papers, marking its willingness to contribute to the research community. Apple has always been notoriously secretive, but allowing researchers to publish could attract top talent that would not otherwise want to join the company.

A full rundown of the slides from Apple's presentation can be seen over at Quartz.

T-Mobile's New 'Digits' Service Lets Customers Use Multiple Numbers Across All Their Devices

T-Mobile is famous for uncoupling device costs from mobile service plans through its "Uncarrier" initiatives, a move that changed the entire smartphone industry, and now the company is aiming to do the same thing with phone numbers.

T-Mobile's newly announced "Digits" service lets customers use their phone number across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, and PCs, while also allowing multiple phone numbers to be used on a single device.

Many people have separate phone numbers for work and personal use, and the Digits service, which is a souped-up blend of AT&T's NumberSync and Google Voice, puts both numbers on one smartphone. And then those numbers can be used on any device a customer owns, even if it's not on the T-Mobile network.

"Simply put, DIGITS is breakthrough technology that won't be replicated any time soon," said Mike Sievert, Chief Operating Officer of T-Mobile. "This isn't the first time you can add extra numbers to a device, but this IS the first time you can do it all -- multiple numbers on one device and one number on multiple devices - and do it with carrier-grade quality. DIGITS is your real T-Mobile number with every bit of the reliability, call prioritization, services and mobility you expect."
While Digits is built directly into newer Samsung smartphones like the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 and later (purchased on the T-Mobile network), on iOS devices, Digits will be available through an iOS app. On the Mac, Digits will work through the browser.

When Digits is used on a device without cellular service, voice calls and texts will be received over a Wi-Fi connection, delivering "crystal clear HD voice quality."

Simple Choice and T-Mobile ONE customers can sign up to test a beta version of the Digits service. iOS 9 and newer, Android 5.0 and newer, and Firefox or Google Chrome are required.

During the beta testing phase, Digits is free, but it will require customers to pay an additional fee when it launches next year. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Apple Seeds Seventh Beta of iOS 10.2 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 10.2 update to developers and public beta testers, two days after seeding the sixth beta of iOS 10.2 and more than a month after releasing iOS 10.1, the first major update to iOS 10.

Registered developers can download the seventh beta of iOS 10.2 from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.

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iOS 10.2 introduces new emoji, such as clown face, drooling face, selfie, face palm, fox face, owl, shark, butterfly, avocado, pancakes, croissant, and more.

There are dozens of new Unicode 9 emoji, plus several profession emoji available in both male and female genders, such as firefighter, mechanic, lawyer, doctor, scientist, and more. Apple has also redesigned many existing emoji, adding more detail to make them look more realistic.

Along with new emoji, iOS 10.2 includes new wallpaper, new Music sorting options and buttons for Repeat and Shuffle, new "Celebrate" and "Send with Love" Screen Effects, an option for preserving camera settings, Single-Sign On support for watching live TV via apps, and the official "TV" app that was first introduced at Apple's October 27 event.

The TV app serves as an Apple-designed TV guide that aims to simplify the television watching experience and allow users to discover new TV shows and movies to watch.

The TV app is available on both iOS devices and the Apple TV (in the tvOS 10.1 beta), and in iOS 10.2, the "Videos" app has been replaced entirely with the new "TV" app, which will now serve as the iOS TV and movie hub.

Apple has called iOS 10 its "biggest release ever" for iOS users, with a revamped lock screen, a Siri SDK for developers, an overhauled Messages app, a dedicated "Home" app for HomeKit users, new facial and object recognition capabilities in Photos, and redesigned Maps and Apple Music apps.

Related Roundup: iOS 10

Apple Believes MacBook Pro Graphics Issues May Be Fixed in Latest macOS 10.12.2 Beta

Last week, we reported an increasing number of early adopters experiencing concerning graphics issues on the new MacBook Pro.

All late 2016 MacBook Pro models appear to be affected, including standard 13-inch and 15-inch configurations with AMD Radeon Pro 450 or AMD Radeon Pro 455 graphics, but the issues appear to be most prevalent on the high-end 15-inch model with built-to-order AMD Radeon Pro 460 graphics.

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15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar exhibiting graphics issues (jscooper22)

User complaints have continued to surface over the past five days, with new videos emerging showing the usual symptoms, ranging from brightly colored flickering and full-screen checkerboard patterns to screen tearing and visual artifacts. Affected systems sometimes become unresponsive or crash due to a kernel panic, requiring some new MacBook Pro users to perform a hard restart.

Separately, a number of users continue to report brief glitches during the boot up process on new MacBook Pro models, particularly along the bottom of the screen. It appears this issue is related to FileVault 2 startup disk encryption, as the glitches go away for many of these users once the feature is disabled.


Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge or comment on the graphics issues, but in a supposed email response to a MacRumors forum member, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi allegedly said he believes the problems have been resolved in the latest macOS Sierra 10.12.2 beta released on Monday. As a point of emphasis, this email response has not been verified.
Hi,

Thanks for your note! We believe we have addressed all of these graphics issues in the latest beta of Sierra 10.12.2 (available at beta.apple.com).

I hope that you enjoy your new MacBook Pro — it’s a fantastic machine!

- craig
While we have yet to verify the authenticity of the email beyond a reasonable doubt, there is some unscientific evidence to suggest it could be real:

• Although it could easily be faked, the response appears to resemble previous email responses sent by Federighi
• The user who shared the email response is a longtime MacRumors forum member who registered his account in June 2007
• Apple executives appear to be increasingly using email as a vehicle to subtly address customer questions and concerns
• MacRumors viewed a lengthy follow-up email the user received from Apple's Executive Relations team, which appears to be legitimate

Reports from affected users running the latest macOS Sierra beta are slim at this point, but at least one forum member claims to still be experiencing graphics issues on the fifth and latest macOS Sierra beta.


macOS Sierra 10.12.2 should be publicly released later this month, so additional user reports should soon prove if the graphics issues have truly been fixed.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, macOS Sierra
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

'iPhone 7s' and 'iPhone 7s Plus' Said to Come in All-New Red Color, Lack New Design and Wireless Charging

red-iphone-7sApple will release updated versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus next year, aptly called the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus," according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The report claims the smartphones will retain the same aluminum design as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with only internal changes, including the addition of a faster A11 chip.

The report added it is highly probable the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will come in an all-new red color alongside current Black, Jet Black, Gold, Rose Gold, and Silver options.

Multiple rumors suggest Apple plans to release three new iPhone models next year, including updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models with traditional LCD displays and a larger premium model with an OLED display and glass casing, but reports have been conflicting about which features will be included on each model.

If this report is accurate, it could signify Apple's plans to release a completely overhauled glass-backed iPhone with a curved, bezel-free OLED display and wireless charging at the high end of its 2017 smartphone lineup, while making only incremental upgrades to its traditional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones with LCD displays.

An earlier report from Japanese website Nikkei Asian Review said Apple plans to release three glass-backed iPhones next year, while it was said the 4.7-inch iPhone would get wireless charging, so there remains a lack of consensus among rumors—perhaps unsurprising given new iPhones are likely over nine months away.

Mac Otakara was first to report about Apple's plans to remove the headphone jack and add a new Jet Black color for the iPhone 7 lineup, but its track record is not perfect. Its rumor from November about Apple adding a "Jet White" color for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has also yet to materialize.