Apple's iMessage chat service may dodge EU regulatory demands for platform interoperability after all. Bloomberg reports that an investigation by the bloc's antitrust watchdog has tentatively concluded that the chat service is not popular enough with business users to warrant being subject to the new rules.
The EU has been working on legislation under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that would have required Apple to make changes to iMessage to make it available on other platforms. The rules will apply to tech giants that meet its "gatekeeper" criteria, force them to open up their various services and platforms to other companies and developers.
The interoperability rules theoretically mean that Meta apps like WhatsApp or Messenger could request to interoperate with Apple's iMessage framework, and Apple would be forced to comply within the EU. But today's report suggests iMessage may fall outside the legislation because it is not widely used by businesses.
The report notes that the possible reprieve for Apple is part of a five-month market investigation by the European Commission, and Apple's exemption has not and will not be officially confirmed until the probe is completed in February.
Regardless of the investigation's conclusions, the DMA will likely still force Apple to make major changes to the way the App Store, FaceTime, and Siri work in Europe. For example, it is expected to allow users to install third-party app stores and side-load apps, and give developers the ability to promote their offers outside the App Store and use third-party payment systems.
Unidentified governments are surveilling smartphone users by tracking push notifications that move through Google's and Apple's servers, a US senator warned on Wednesday (via Reuters).
In a letter to the Department of Justice, Senator Ron Wyden said foreign officials were demanding the data from the tech giants to track smartphones. The traffic flowing from apps that send push notifications put the companies "in a unique position to facilitate government surveillance of how users are using particular apps," Wyden said. He asked the Department of Justice to "repeal or modify any policies" that hindered public discussions of push notification spying.
In a statement given to Reuters, Apple said that Wyden's letter gave them the opening they needed to share more details with the public about how governments monitored push notifications.
"In this case, the federal government prohibited us from sharing any information," the company said in a statement. "Now that this method has become public we are updating our transparency reporting to detail these kinds of requests."
According to the report, Wyden's letter said a "tip" was the source of the information about the surveillance. A source familiar with the matter confirmed that both foreign and U.S. government agencies have been asking Apple and Google for metadata related to push notifications. The data is said to have been used to attempt to tie anonymous users of messaging apps to specific Apple or Google accounts.
Reuters' source would not identify which governments were making the data requests but described them as "democracies allied to the United States." They did not know how long the requests had been going on for.
Apple advises developers not to include sensitive data in notifications and to encrypt any data before adding it to a notification payload. However, this requires action on the developers' part. Likewise, metadata (like which apps are sending notifications and how often) is not encrypted, potentially giving anyone with access to the information insight into users' app usage.
Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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 has told component suppliers it wants iPhone 16 batteries to be made in India, as part of the company's efforts to diversify its global supply chain and reduce its reliance on Chinese manufacturing.
The Financial Times reports that Apple has informed battery suppliers including China's Desay and Taiwan's Simplo Technology of its preference to have batteries for next year's iPhone made in India, and has encouraged the manufacturers to establish new factories there or scale up production at existing sites for future orders.
"If all goes well with iPhone 16 battery supply, Apple plans to move more iPhone battery production to India," said one of the people close to Apple who spoke to FT.
Apple already works with Foxconn, Pegatron, and Tata (new owner of Wistron) to manufacture iPhones in India, with Foxconn handling 75 to 80 percent of the device assembly. Foxconn has invested more than $500 million in India to ramp up its manufacturing capabilities.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that 12 to 14 percent of global iPhone shipments are made in India, with that proportion to increase to 20 to 25 percent by 2024. Introductory production on the standard iPhone 17 will start in India in the second half of 2025, according to Kuo, marking the first time that Apple begins development of a new iPhone outside of China.
In addition to allowing Apple to move manufacturing away from China, increasing production in India provides Apple with an opportunity to strengthen its relationship with the Indian government. India is a key market for Apple due to growing demand for Apple products in the country.
EE TV, a new broadband TV platform from EE, today launched as a BT TV replacement service in the UK, offering subscribers the option of an Apple TV 4K with customized remote control.
EE TV offers access to more than 70 Freeview channels, a Netflix subscription, as well as premium channels from Sky, Discovery, Eurosport, TNT Sports, and more.
To access the platform, subscribers can opt to receive one of three set-top boxes: A standard EE TV "mini" box, a "pro" EE TV box that includes a hard drive for recording live TV, or – in what EE is calling a "UK-first" – a bespoke Apple TV 4K set up for EE TV content consumption.
Made in partnership with Apple, the custom Apple TV 4K features a streamlined setup process and the EE TV app preinstalled, featuring live streaming and on-demand content, with quick access to live channels and third-party apps such as BBC iPlayer, as well as a unified search to find content across multiple platforms. The Apple TV also comes with a custom EE-branded remote including a special TV guide button and channel rockers.
The EE TV boxes offer a similar hub that combines live broadcast TV, access to UK catch-up and on demand apps, and the ability to buy and rent content, but they lack access to the other services that Apple TV typically provides. Those new to EE TV are also eligible to six months of Apple TV+ for free.
All 24-month contracts come with live free-to-air channels and catchup. The platform also offers a range of additional services and premium channel packages, priced between £4.99 and £76, with customers able to flexibly add or remove packages from month to month. EE also offers subscribers a bonus EE TV Box Mini for "free multi-room TV." For more information, see the EE website.
Apple's Korean suppliers have begun developing smartphone under-display cameras (UDC), paving the way for the first iPhone with a true "all-screen" appearance.
According to The Elec, LG Innotek has entered the preliminary development of the UDC, which sits under the display and does not result in a visible hole in the panel when the camera is not in use.
A UPC differs from a typical front camera module, since it delivers less light to the image sensor. This is because light loss occurs as it passes through the display area before it reaches the camera lens, which can result in a deterioration in image quality and brightness.
To compensate for this, LG Innotek is developing a special "freeform optic" multiple lens system that can reduce optical aberrations and increase the light intensity ratio around the optical module to improve peripheral image quality. LG Innotek has been publishing patents for the technology since December last year, and more are expected now that development has begun.
LG Display, an affiliate of LG Innotek's LG Group, has also started UPC development, according to the report. LG Display aims to increase the UPC's light transmittance to 20% by 2023 and 40% after 2024, bringing it closer to the standard that Apple expects. Apple reportedly already received a UPC sample from an unnamed vendor, but rated it as unsatisfactory in performance.
Before Apple uses the perfected under-screen camera technology, it is expected to adopt under-panel Face ID technology in 2025's iPhone 17 Pro. This is expected to be Apple's last premium model to include a circular cutout for the front-facing camera. Apple will then adopt the UPC in 2027's "Pro" iPhone models, according to respected analyst Ross Young of research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants.
Disney Dreamlight Valley is a life simulation game starring Disney characters, and it has previously been available on console platforms. The Apple Arcade version of the game includes the base version and the A Rift in Time expansion that is a paid option on other platforms.
Compared to other versions of the game, the Apple Arcade version does not have in-app purchases and thus does not include Star Path seasons or the Premium Shop.
Sonic Dream Team is a racing game that stars popular Sonic characters, while Puzzle & Dragons Story is an RPG adventure match-3 game. Turmoil+ is an oil rush simulation game that tasks players with digging oil to make money and grow the nearby town.
Many of these games were announced back in November following the October price increase to the Apple Arcade service. Apple Arcade now costs $6.99 per month in the United States, up from $4.99 per month. Apple Arcade games are free from all in-app purchases and ads.
Adventure game "Stray," which is designed to let players take on the role of a daring orange cat, is available for download on the Mac as of today.
Though the game was first released in 2022, it has been limited to Windows machines and PlayStation consoles until today.
In this third-person adventure title, a stray cat's curiosity causes him to get stuck in a walled city filled with robots and mutant bacteria, and the aim in the game is to get back up to the surface using B-12, the cat's drone companion.
Stray asks players to solve puzzles, bypass obstacles, and complete quests while avoiding security bots and evil bacteria. The game is platform-based, so players will need to climb up various obstacles and interact with the environment to open up new pathways.
Since the main character is a cat, players can sneak, sleep, meow at robots, and nuzzle up to NPCs. Stray is limited to Apple silicon Macs, and it uses Metal Upscaling for accelerated graphics performance and high-quality visuals.
The iPhone SE was sold until September 2018, so it has been five years since it was last available for sale, making it eligible for Apple's vintage designation. Products are marked as vintage five years after the device was last sold by Apple, while products are marked as obsolete at the seven year point.
Vintage devices are not guaranteed to be eligible for repairs through Apple or Apple Authorized Service Providers, though Apple will offer repairs if the parts are available.
Apple has continued on with the iPhone SE line, and today, it continues to be the only iPhone that has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. There have been three generations released to date, with the iPhone SE 3 introduced in March 2022.
Apple today has also marked the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro as vintage, as well as the special edition Mickey Solo3 Wireless headphones. The Powerbeats 2 and Solo2 Wireless headphones are now considered obsolete.
iOS 17.2 addresses a bug that was preventing some iPhones from wirelessly charging on the wireless charging pads included in some vehicles, according to Apple's release notes for the iOS 17.2 RC that came out today.
There have been multiple complaints from iPhone 15 owners who have had charging issues in their Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick vehicles. In some of these cars, an iPhone placed on the wireless charging pad would either not charge at all or start to charge and then stop.
Most of the complaints were from iPhone 15 owners, and came after the iOS 17.1 update. General Motors said in November that it was aware of an issue and investigating the problem.
This is the second charging-related bug fix that Apple has implemented in recent weeks. The iOS 17.1.1 update that came out in early November addressed an issue that caused some iPhone 15 models charged in BMW vehicles to lose NFC functionality.
iOS 17.2 is expected to see a public release next week. The update also adds the Journal app, a Translate Action button option for iPhone 15 Pro models, new features in Messages, Weather and Clock widgets, and more.
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6B34, up from the 6B32 firmware introduced in November.
Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update, but prior software releases have been refining functionality introduced in iOS 17 such as Adaptive Audio.
Apple does not give customers instructions on how to upgrade AirPods software, but firmware is generally installed over-the-air while the AirPods are connected to an iOS device. Putting the AirPods in the case, connecting the AirPods to a power source, and then pairing the AirPods to an iOS device or Mac should force the update.
You can check your AirPods firmware by following these steps:
Connect your AirPods Pro to your iOS device.
Open the Settings app.
Look at the number next to "Firmware Version."
If we learn more about what's new in the firmware release, we'll update this article.
Starting with iOS 17.2 and watchOS 10.2, Siri can access data from the Health app for health and fitness queries, according to Apple's release notes for the updates, which are currently in beta. For the Apple Watch, this functionality is limited to the Series 9 and Ultra 2, as these are the only models that support on-device Siri processing.
For example, Apple says users can ask how many hours of sleep they had the previous night, ask about the progress of closing their Activity rings for the day, or ask about their blood glucose level if they have a connected monitor.
On the Apple Watch, health data is limited to the previous week or so.
Siri is also gaining the ability to log data in the Health app. Macworld shared another list with examples of supported queries:
My weight is 195.3 pounds.
I started spotting today.
I've taken my 6 pm medications.
My body temperature is 98.5 degrees.
My period started today.
My blood sugar is 143.
Record my blood pressure as 118 over 76.
This functionality must be enabled first to work. On the iPhone, open the Settings app and select Health → Data Access & Devices → Siri, and then toggle on "Access Health Data." On the Apple Watch, open the Settings app and select Health → Apps and Services → Siri, and then toggle on "Allow Siri Access to Health Data."
iOS 17.2 and watchOS 10.2 are expected to be released next week.
The iOS 17.2 update that Apple is set to release to the public in the near future will bring support for the next-generation Qi2 wireless charging standard to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models. Qi2 was mentioned in the release notes for the RC version of the update that came out today.
With the addition of support for the new standard, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models will work with Qi2 wireless chargers. Qi2 is a next-generation Qi wireless charging technology that incorporates a Magnetic Power Profile. Qi2 devices will work like accessories that support MagSafe, using magnets for alignment and speedier charging. Apple added Qi2 support to the iPhone 15 models ahead of release, so they are already compatible with the standard.
The Magnetic Power Profile was designed based on MagSafe contributions from Apple, and it is being combined with the new Extended Power Profile (EPP) to form what is considered "Qi2." Qi2 is meant to ensure that phones and other battery-powered mobile products are perfectly aligned with chargers for improved energy efficiency and faster charging. It will allow for new accessories that would not be chargeable wirelessly using existing flat surface-to-flat surface devices.
While Qi2 chargers will be able to charge devices at up to 15W, it is not yet clear if Apple's iPhones will support faster wireless charging speeds with Qi2 accessories. For the iPhone 15 models, for example, Apple's technical specifications page says that the devices still support Qi wireless charging "up to 7.5W" despite the fact that they work with Qi2.
The first Qi2 accessories are set to launch during the holiday season.
Apple today seeded the release candidate versions (RCs) of upcoming iOS 17.2 and iPadOS 17.2 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after Apple released the the fourth betas of iOS 17.2 and iPadOS 17.2. The RCs represent the final version of the software that is expected to be provided to the public.
Registered developers are able to opt into the betas by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 Developer Beta. An Apple ID associated with a developer account is required to download and install the beta.
The biggest new feature in iOS 17.2 is the Journal app, which can be used to record daily activities and thoughts. You can write about your day to day life, but Apple also provides topic suggestions based on the music you listen to, the places you visit, and the people you see. Journal entries support pictures, voice recordings, and location information, with the app organized by entry date.
In Apple Music, there's a Favorites playlist that houses everything you've favorited, plus Apple added support for collaborative playlists. You can now share a playlist with multiple people, and each participant can add songs.
Stickers can now be used to reply to iMessages when you long press on a chat bubble in the Messages app, and there's also now support for the extra-secure iMessage Contact Key Verification option. If you have an iPhone 15 Pro, the Action Button supports Translate in iOS 17.2, and there are new Weather and Clock widgets. Apple's full release notes for the update are below.
This update introduces Journal, an all-new way to reflect on life’s moments and preserve your memories. This release also includes Action button and Camera enhancements, as well as other features, bug fixes, and security updates for your iPhone.
Journal - Journal is a new app that lets you write about the small moments and big events in your life so you can practice gratitude and improve your wellbeing - Journaling suggestions make it easy to remember your experiences by intelligently grouping your outings, photos, workouts, and more into moments you can add to your journal - Filters let you quickly find bookmarked entries or show entries with attachments so you can revisit and reflect on key moments in your life - Scheduled notifications help you keep a consistent journaling practice by reminding you to write on the days and time you choose - Option to lock your journal using Touch ID or Face ID iCloud sync keeps your journal entries safe and encrypted on iCloud
Action Button - Translate option for the Action button on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to quickly translate phrases or have a conversation with someone in another language
Camera - Spatial video lets you capture video on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max so you can relive your memories in three dimensions on Apple Vision Pro - Improved Telephoto camera focusing speed when capturing small faraway objects on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
Messages - Catch-up arrow lets you easily jump to your first unread message in a conversation by tapping the arrow visible in the top-right corner - Add sticker option in the context menu lets you add a sticker directly to a bubble - Memoji updates include the ability to adjust the body shape of any Memoji - Contact Key Verification provides automatic alerts and Contact Verification Codes to help verify people facing extraordinary digital threats are messaging only with the people they intend
Weather - Precipitation amounts help you stay on top of rain and snow conditions for a given day over the next 10 days - New widgets let you choose from next-hour precipitation, daily forecast, sunrise and sunset times, and current conditions such as Air Quality, Feels Like, and wind speed - Wind map snapshot helps you quickly assess wind patterns and access the animated wind map overlay to prepare for forecasted wind conditions for the next 24 hours - Interactive moon calendar lets you easily visualize the phase of the moon on any day for the next month
This update also includes the following improvements and bug fixes: - Siri support for privately accessing and logging Health app data using your voice - AirDrop improvements including expanded contact sharing options and the ability to share boarding passes, movie tickets, and other eligible passes by bringing two iPhones together - Favorite Songs Playlist in Apple Music lets you quickly get back to the songs you mark as favorites - Use Listening History in Apple Music can be disabled in a Focus so music you listen to does not appear in Recently Played or influence your recommendations - A new Digital Clock Widget lets you quickly catch a glimpse of the time on your Home Screen and while in StandBy - Enhanced AutoFill identifies fields in PDFs and other forms enabling you to populate them with information such as names and addresses from your contacts - New keyboard layouts provide support for 8 Sámi languages - Sensitive Content Warning for stickers in Messages prevents you from being unexpectedly shown a sticker containing nudity - Qi2 charger support for all iPhone 13 models and iPhone 14 models - Fixes an issue that may prevent wireless charging in certain vehicles
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
Apple is expected to release iOS 17.2 and iPadOS 17.2 to the public next week.
Apple today seeded the release candidate (RC) version of an upcoming macOS Sonoma 14.2 update to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after Apple seeded the fourth beta of macOS Sonoma 14.2. The RC represents the finalized version of macOS Sonoma 14.2 that will be released to the public should no major issues be found.
Registered developers can opt-in to the beta through the Software Update section of the System Settings app. Under Beta updates, toggle on the Sonoma Developer Beta. Note that an Apple ID associated with an Apple Developer account is required to get the beta.
macOS Sonoma 14.2 adds support for enhanced AutoFill for PDFs, along with Contact Key Verification for Messages, a sticker tapback option, new Weather widgets, and more. Apple's release notes for the update are below.
This update introduces enhanced Autofill for PDFs and improvements to Messages and Weather. This release also includes other features, bug fixes, and security updates for your Mac.
PDFs - Enhanced AutoFill identifies fields in PDFs and other forms enabling you to populate them with information such as names and addresses from your contacts
Messages - Catch-up arrow lets you easily jump to your first unread message in a conversation by clicking the arrow visible in the top-right corner - Add sticker option in the context menu lets you add a sticker directly to a bubble - Contact Key Verification provides automatic alerts and Contact Verification Codes to help verify people facing extraordinary digital threats are messaging only with the people they intend
Weather - Precipitation amounts help you stay on top of rain and snow conditions for a given day over the next 10 days - New widgets let you choose from next-hour precipitation, daily forecast, sunrise and sunset times, and current conditions such as Air Quality, Feels Like, and wind speed - Wind map snapshot helps you quickly assess wind patterns and access the animated wind map overlay to prepare for forecasted wind conditions for the next 24 hours
Clock - Multiple timers let you run several timers simultaneously and create a name for each timer - Timer presets help you quickly start a timer with a range of preset options - Recents makes it easy to restart your recently used timers
This update also includes the following new features: - Favorite Songs Playlist in Apple Music lets you quickly get back to the songs you mark as favorites - Use Listening History in Apple Music can be disabled in a Focus so music you listen to does not appear in Recently Played or influence your recommendations - Shazam Music Recognition allows you to quickly identify songs playing online or around you, even when wearing AirPods - New keyboard layouts provide support for 7 additional Sámi languages - Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices.
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
Apple is expected to release macOS Sonoma 14.2 next week.
Apple today seeded the release candidate version of an upcoming watchOS 10.2 update to developers for testing purposes, with the update coming a week after Apple seeded the fourth watchOS 10.2 beta.
To install the watchOS 10.2 update, developers will need to open the Apple Watch app, go to the Software Update section under "General" in Settings, and toggle on the watchOS 10 Developer Beta. An Apple ID linked to a developer account is required.
Once beta updates have been activated, watchOS 10 can be downloaded under the same Software Update section. To install software, an Apple Watch needs to have 50 percent battery life and it must be placed on an Apple Watch charger.
watchOS 10.2 adds support accessing Health app data using Siri, though this feature is limited to the newest Apple Watches. The update also reintroduces an option to change watch faces by swiping left and right, along with a handful of other new features. Apple's release notes for the update are below.
watchOS 10.2 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:
- Access and log Health app data with Siri (Available on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2) - Automatically view Now Playing when in proximity of HomePod (2nd generation) or HomePod mini playing media from Music or Podcasts (Available on - Apple Watch Series 6 and later and Apple Watch Ultra) - Enable the ability to swipe to change watch faces in Settings - Enable the ability to confirm ending workouts in Settings - Prioritize the volume of either the music or trainers’ voices in most Fitness+ workouts - Resolves an issue that can cause watch faces added in the Watch app on iPhone to not appear on Apple Watch
Apple is expected to release watchOS 10.2 to the public next week.
Apple today seeded the release candidate version of an upcoming tvOS 17.2 to developers for testing purposes, with the update coming a week after the release of the fourth tvOS 17.2 beta.
Registered developers are able to download the tvOS 17.2 update by opting in to the beta through the Settings app on the Apple TV. A registered developer account is required.
tvOS updates are often minor in scale compared to other operating system updates, focusing primarily on bug fixes and smaller improvements rather than notable outward-facing changes, but tvOS 17.2 introduces an overhauled Apple TV app.
The app now includes a sidebar that houses content from both Apple's services and streaming services that integrate with the tvOS Watch Now feature. There are dedicated sections for Search, Watch Now, Apple TV+, MLS Season Pass, Sports, the Store, and the Library at the top of the sidebar, along with dedicated sections for streaming services like ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Hulu, ESPN, Discovery, Peacock, Prime Video, and more.
You can click into each streaming service to see content that's available specifically on that service, and there's also a new My TV section that replaces "My Channels."
Beeper Mini, a new app that ostensibly brings iMessage to Android devices with no need for sign-in with Apple ID credentials, today launched on the Google Play Store.
Beeper Mini operates by identifying text message conversations from iMessage users and converting them to the recognizable blue bubbles associated with Apple's exclusive messaging service. This enables Android users to interact with iMessage features such as reactions, threads, high-quality media sharing, and group chats, without the iPhone users noticing any difference.
The app represents a departure from previous methods of accessing iMessage on non-Apple devices, which typically involved relaying messages through a Mac hosted in the cloud or signing in with an Apple ID. Beeper Mini's approach involves direct communication with Apple's servers by registering a user's phone number with iMessage, a process that apparently required extensive reverse engineering of Apple's messaging system.
Beeper is a startup led by Eric Migicovsky that aims to consolidate various messaging services into a single platform. Since its initial launch on desktop devices in 2021, Beeper raised $16 million in funding. Beeper claims that Beeper Mini does not access messages, contacts, or Apple ID passwords. The app's code will also be made open source, offering transparency and allowing for independent review.
Beeper Mini is now available for download on the Google Play Store, with a seven-day free trial followed by a subscription fee of $2 per month.
Twelve South today introduced its newest product, called the "ButterFly" and priced at $129.99. The device is a compact 2-in-1 MagSafe-compatible charger that can fuel up an iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time.
Twelve South says that when closed, the ButterFly is about the size of an AirPods Pro case. When unfolded, a small strip of vegan leather connects the magnetic fast charger for Apple Watch and MagSafe-compatible charger for iPhone or AirPods.
You can fold the accessory into a hands-free display stand for iPhone or tilt the Apple Watch magnetic charger up and use Nightstand Mode. The device includes a 30W USB-C power adapter and four international plug adapters.