'Trade Show' Plans at San Francisco Theater Spark Speculation of Apple Event Location

With just over two weeks to go until September 9, the expected date for Apple's next iPhone event, there's been some speculation that Apple might be planning to hold the event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

As outlined by San Francisco news site Hoodline, the auditorium is booked for a private event through September 13, with SFPD officers and private security guards patrolling the perimeter of the building.

Documents filed with the San Francisco Planning Department say the event is a "trade show" set to run from September 4 until September 10, which lines up with the timeline when Apple is expected to hold its event, but there are some potential red flags that make it unclear whether Apple is the company booking the event space at the auditorium.

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In investigating the documents filed with the Planning Department, MacRumors learned the space is being used by a company known as "Adams and Associates," which has no known ties to Apple. Additionally, there are very detailed documents that describe the removal of four window panels to accommodate an "exterior wall mounted star graphic sign." The star is depicted in two different ways in separate documents -- both as a standard star shape and as an oddly-shaped star with points at unusual angles.

As Hoodline suggests, it's possible the star-shaped logo is a placeholder for an Apple logo, but a structural document supplied by an engineer on the project includes detailed, specific calculations and drawings for the star shape that cast doubt on the theory that it could be a placeholder logo.

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In past years, Apple has held its iPhone-centric September event at several different locations around the Bay Area, so it would not be unusual for the company to choose a previously unused event spot. Its 2014 event was at the Flint Center in Cupertino, while its 2011 and 2013 events were held at its own campus. In 2010 and 2012, the events were held at the Yerba Buena Center For the Arts.

It's not yet known if Apple is preparing the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for its September 9 event, but with only 16 days to go until that date rolls around, we should be getting confirmation on Apple's plans in the form of media invites in the very near future.

Apple Stops Signing iOS 8.4

IPSWApple has stopped signing iOS 8.4 for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models, meaning that users can no longer upgrade or downgrade to that version using iTunes. Apple is now signing iOS 8.4.1 and later only.

iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users that have jailbroken their device on iOS 8.4 should refrain from updating to iOS 8.4.1, as the latest software update breaks the iOS 8.4 untethered jailbreak released in June by Chinese hacking team TaiG.

Chinese team Pangu demonstrated an iOS 8.4.1 untethered jailbreak (via iPhoneHacks) at the HackPwn2015 security conference last week, but the method has not been publicly released. With the public release of iOS 9 expected in less than a month, it is possible the team may hold off on exposing an exploit to Apple for a minor software update.

Apple Partners With Popular YouTubers for Possible Upcoming Ad Campaign

At VidCon this year, Apple was reportedly in talks with a few popular YouTube channels, suggesting the possibility of an advertising campaign collaboration between the Cupertino-based company and YouTubers like Louis Cole and Wong Fu Productions. Similar to Apple's experimentation with advertising the iPhone 5c on Tumblr, a move to partner with well-known YouTubers with subscribers numbering in the millions could help attract a younger-skewing audience for Apple.

Specifically, Louis' channel "FunForLouis" has just north of 1.5 million subscribers, while Wong Fu Productions has about 2.5 million. Louis made his partnership with Apple known in a video posted in early August, detailing a meeting at Apple HQ in San Francisco, which was instigated earlier in the summer at VidCon, the yearly conference for YouTube creators in Anaheim. Louis remains understandably silent on the specifics of the meeting in the San Francisco vlog, but does confirm he and Apple will be collaborating on something together in the future.

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"Well guys, that was an exciting, but very long meeting. We ended up going for some food and drinks and stuff in a bar, but turns out I'm going to be doing some stuff with Apple. They don't work with many people, but we're going to be doing some stuff together, which is exciting. I can't tell you more than that."
Wong Fu Production's potential connection with Apple comes from a report out of Ad Week, suggesting that the sketch comedy channel was "paired" with Apple at VidCon in a sort of speed-date set up by the conference. Far less of an official meeting between the two as Louis Cole had, there's still the potential that Wong Fu could see a similar partnership with the company as Louis' channel. The style of videos differ drastically between Louis and Wong Fu, with the former presenting a detailed travelogue of his various adventures around the world, and the latter publishing straight-forward comedic skit and parody videos.

Although their styles don't mesh together, Apple could be creating a new ad campaign, possibly for the upcoming "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus," that centers on creatives from YouTube using the company's new products as the main tools for shooting, editing, and publishing content for their channel. Even though FunForLouis and Wong Fu Productions aren't even close to the most popular channels on the site (the top 100 range in descending order from 38 million to 6 million subscribers), if Apple keeps partnering up with distinctive channels, it could create an interesting, idiosyncratic ad campaign.

MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Imvio Camera Lens Kit for iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Imvio to offer five MacRumors readers a chance to win a Imvio Camera Lens Kit for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

The Camera Lens Kit includes a shock absorbent case for the iPhone, a 170 degree fisheye lens, a 90 degree wide-angle lens, and a storage case to hold the lenses when they're not in use. With the Imvio case on an iPhone, lenses are quickly interchangeable thanks to a simple screw-on fit.

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With a wide-angle lens, it's possible to get improved landscape photos that capture more of your surroundings, while the fisheye lens is ideal for fun, stylized photos. Each lens is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum with an anti-reflective and durability coating to prevent lens glare and scratches.

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Imvio's Camera Lens Kit is available from the Imvio website for $89.99 and comes in four different colors. MacRumors readers can get a 40 percent discount using the code MACRUMORS.

Five readers will also get the chance to win an Imvio Lens Kit for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus through our giveaway. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter your email address. Your email address will not be given to any third party and will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (August 21) at 1:00 pm Pacific time through 1:00 pm Pacific time on August 28. The winners will be chosen randomly on August 28 and will be contacted by email. The winners have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address. The prizes will be shipped to the winners for free.

Tags: giveaway, Imvio

Questionable Rumor Points Towards Upcoming 'Smart Bands' For Apple Watch

Apple is working on next-generation Apple Watch bands that will be equipped with new health sensors, according to a questionable report from Czech site Letem Svetem Applem [Google Translate]. Citing an unnamed source, the site says Apple is planning on creating smart bands that include sensors for detecting blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

The bands are said to be able to plug into the diagnostic port on the Apple Watch, making them compatible with the current-generation device. Letem Svetem Applem suggests that all of the health monitoring functions above could not be built into the Apple Watch itself, a supposition that may not be accurate.

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When the diagnostic port was first discovered ahead of the Apple Watch's release, TechCrunch speculated it could be used for smart band accessories with additional sensors or external batteries, but there has thus far been no solid indication that Apple is working on such technology at this point in time.

It continues to be unclear what exactly the diagnostic port is capable of, but based on Apple Watch setups in retail stores and information discovered by third-party band makers, it looks like it's able to be used to charge the Apple Watch and relay data.

There are a number of reasons that Apple might be hesitant to embed multiple sensors in bands, including price concerns and durability issues. Apple would also need to consolidate bands or embed sensors into every band type, something that could be difficult with bands made of widely varied materials.

Letem Svetem Applem has accurately shared information gathered from resellers and other third-party sources in the past, but it does not have a known track record for sharing highly sensitive rumors that could only be sourced from a well-positioned insider within Apple. Because the site does not have a reliable track record, this rumor should be viewed with some skepticism for the time being.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Samsung Rumored to One-Up Apple's 'iPad Pro' With 18.4-Inch Android Tablet

Samsung may be working on an "iPad Pro" style tablet of its own, with a new report from SamMobile suggesting the company is currently in development for the tablet, codenamed "Tahoe," on an Android 5.1 Lollipop-based operating system and with an 18.4-inch screen. Samsung would target the tablet to enterprise and educational environments, with a lesser focus on day-to-day personal usage than the company's current line-up of Galaxy tablets.

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The kid-centered nabi Big Tab 20-inch tablet

The rumored tablet -- with the model number SM-T670 -- will feature a TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Lollipop system will be powered by an octa-core 64-bit 1.6GHz Exynos 7580 processor, include 2GB RAM along with 32GB internal storage, with the option to expand thanks to a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB cards. According to SamMobile, the tablet will also measure 451.8 mm wide by 275.8 mm tall and be 11.9 mm thick.

Apple is rumored to be developing its own larger-screened tablet, the so-called iPad Pro, which is believed to include a 12.9-inch screen. If Samsung's 18.4-inch "Tahoe" device does become available, it'd be one of the biggest tablet on the market, with a screen that's about 10-inches tall by 17-inches wide, far larger than most standard laptops.

Tag: Samsung

Apple Watch Expands to Retail Locations Outside of Apple Stores in France

Apple today continued the expansion of retail locations that offer the Apple Watch to customers, this time expanding the wearable device's availability in France (via iPhone Addict) [Google Translate]. The company confirmed customers in Paris will be able to purchase the Watch at Fnac locations within the city, starting with just one store alongside the Fnac official website.

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The Fnac retail store -- essentially equivalent to Best Buy -- initially selling the Apple Watch is the one located at the Champs Elysées, and will officially begin to sell the wearable on August 21. Other Fnac stores will begin to offer the Watch "within the next week," and the store's employees will be trained to field questions and concerns from customers regarding Apple's smartwatch.
Fnac will be the first European brand to offer the Apple Watch. Initially, it will be possible to buy it on the site of Fnac and at Fnac Champs Elysées. Other Fnac will have it within the next week, warns the sign. Employees will be trained to answer questions from interested users and thus better guide customers.
As iPhone Addict points out, the availability of the Apple Watch in new retail stores could dramatically increase sales for Apple in France, considering that there are only 18 Apple Stores in the country but over 100 Fnac locations. There was no confirmation of the exact range of models to be sold at Fnac, although it's likely the company will follow Best Buy's footsteps in offering the Apple Watch Sport and mid-tier Apple Watch in both the 38mm and 42mm sizing options alongside multiple Apple-branded bands and third-party accessories.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tag: Fnac
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

WhatsApp Web Begins Rolling Out on iPhone

WhatsApp has updated its website with instructions on how to access WhatsApp Web on iPhone, and the new settings appear to be rolling out for some users now. To access WhatsApp Web from iPhone, open the app, tap on Settings and a WhatsApp Web menu option should appear once live.

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WhatsApp Web settings on iPhone (Image: Reddit)

WhatsApp Web connects to your iPhone to sync messages with your computer, allowing you to send and receive messages from your web browser and view conversations on both devices. The service is also available for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and select Nokia smartphones.

WhatsApp Messenger [Direct Link] is free on the App Store for iPhone.

Fake 'iPhone 6s' Ad Envisions Colorful Versions of Apple's Next Smartphone

A new "leaked" commercial ad for the so-called "iPhone 6s" has been shared today on YouTube, showing off a 30-second spot for the next-generation iPhone in an array of color options that more closely hues to an iPhone 5c-inspired look than the main line-up of colors available today with Space Gray, Gold, and Silver.

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The ad is obviously fake, with no mention of the "iPhone 6s Plus" -- as a note, the two phones only appeared in commercials alongside one another last year and were never separated -- but still presents an interesting take on the new iPhones coming out in a few weeks.

Although well-edited, the false ad is more reminiscent of Apple's older iPod music-inspired ads than the somewhat downbeat and more feature-focused commercials from the past few years. The ad's suggestion of a line-up of next-generation iPhones without the now-expected Space Gray or Gold options -- backed by the tag "Be vibrant. Even faster." -- is perhaps the biggest tip-off of its mendacity.


News and rumors surrounding the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" have only gotten heavier as we move into September. Possible launch dates for the devices point towards September 18, with other stories suggesting Apple has fixed its "Bendgate" issues from last year and that users should see an increase in productivity and maneuverability on the new iPhone thanks to Force Touch shortcuts.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6, iPhone 6s (2015)
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Don't Buy)

Night Sky MiniScope Review: This iPhone Telescope is More Frustrating Than Fun

iCandi Apps makes a series of popular star gazing apps designed to let iPhone owners discover constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and more just by pointing an iPhone at the sky. For kids and people interested in learning more about the night sky, these kind of apps are invaluable, and now iCandi Apps has released a new device for home astronomers -- the Night Sky MiniScope.

Night Sky MiniScope is a full portable telescope that attaches to your iPhone and pairs with the Night Sky app so you can capture photographs of stars, planets, the Moon, and more. Night Sky MiniScope is not cheap, priced at $349, but it's undeniably unique.

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I want to make it clear that this review is written from a layperson's point of view. I have never owned a telescope, I don't do astrophotography, and I can't review the Night Sky MiniScope comparative to other similarly priced telescopes because I don't have a point of reference. I'm coming to this review as someone who has an iPhone, an interest in stargazing apps, and experience with photography, so testing the MiniScope is a new experience for me.

The Hardware


iCandi Apps packages the Night Sky MiniScope beautifully. It comes in a custom-designed box that houses the telescope itself, the miniature tripod, case adapters for six different iPhone models, lens caps, and a carry case.

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The Night Sky MiniScope is made from a brushed aluminum that matches the aluminum finish on the iPhone. It's much smaller than a standard telescope and is compact enough to fit into a backpack or a large purse, so it can be taken along on a hike or a camping trip. It's not going to fit in a pocket or anything, but it's more portable than the average telescope.

Click here to read more...

SwiftKey Keyboard for iPhone Gains New Emoji Insights Feature

The popular SwiftKey keyboard for iPhone was today updated to add a fun new tracking feature, Emoji Insights. Emoji Insights gives users a look into their personal emoji usage habits, offering up data on top emoji used, signature emoji, and emoji state, as detailed below.
My Signature Emoji - The emoji you use more than other people. This emoji is generated by the emoji you overuse compared to the average - this is not the emoji you use most often.

My Top Emoji - The emoji you use most often. This is a cloud-like visualization of the emoji you use the most - the bigger the emoji in the 'cloud', the more you use it.

Emoji State - The US state that most reflects your emoji use. We looked at how people use emoji in each state and compared your emoji use to that data to generate this stat. Do your emoji match up with your home state, or somewhere totally different?
Emoji Insights within SwiftKey are accessible to all users who use SwiftKey Cloud, the feature that allows user preferences and learned language data to be backed up and synced across several different devices. Emoji data can be accessed and shared with family and friends via social networks through the My Profile option in the SwiftKey app.

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SwiftKey has aimed to distinguish itself from other third-party keyboards through the inclusion of typing statistics and inside information on how the app works for each individual user. In April, the SwiftKey keyboard was updated with usage statistics, letting users get a look at words typed, distance Flow-ed, words predicted, words corrected, and more.

Today's new emoji usage statistics come seven months after the SwiftKey keyboard was updated to include both emoji and predictive emoji suggestions.

SwiftKey Keyboard can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Apple Pay Gains 18 New Participating Issuers in United States

Apple-PayApple updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list today with 18 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has over 400 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it's worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple's website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:
  • Arlington Community Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of Idaho
  • BankFirst
  • Charter Bank
  • Community Bank
  • Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest
  • Corporate America Family CU
  • Credit Union of New Jersey
  • Del Norte Credit Union
  • Empower FCU
  • FORUM Credit Union
  • Gesa Credit Union
  • Institution for Savings
  • Mid-Missouri Bank
  • Owen County State Bank
  • Pacific Service Credit Union
  • Statewide Credit Union
  • Vinton County National Bank
Apple Pay remains limited to the United States and United Kingdom, although Apple is committed to an international rollout of the mobile payments service in additional countries such as Canada and China in the future. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Apple is planning a November launch of Apple Pay in Canada.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay