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Qualcomm's and Intel's Latest LTE Modems for Smartphones Exceed Gigabit Speeds

Ahead of Mobile World Congress next week, Qualcomm and Intel have separately announced the latest LTE modems for smartphones with theoretical download speeds exceeding so-called "Gigabit LTE," aka 1 Gbps. Apple sources LTE modems for iPhones from both chipmakers.

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X20 modem is the first-announced modem to support Category 18 download speeds up to an ultra fast 1.2 Gbps, with Category 13 upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps. That builds upon Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16, which has a peak download speed of 1 Gbps.

Qualcomm said the Snapdragon X20, built on a leading-edge 10nm FinFET process, supports more combinations of LTE carriers and a higher number of total LTE spatial streams. This "vastly expanded flexibility" will for more operators around the world to deploy Gigabit LTE in the future.

Qualcomm said the first products with the Snapdragon X20 modem are expected to be available in the first half of 2018.

Intel's new XMM 7560 modem [PDF] supports LTE Advanced Pro for up to Category 16 download speeds "exceeding" 1 Gbps, and Category 13 upload speeds of up to 225 Mbps. The XMM 7560 modem is Intel's fifth-generation LTE modem, and the first to be manufactured based on its 14nm process.

Intel said the XMM 7560 modem is expected to sample in the first half of this year and move into production soon afterward.

Both modems support 5x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO configurations, up to 256-QAM, and other technologies. Both chips also work with a number of cellular technologies, covering most LTE, CDMA, and GSM standards, meaning that

Apple Releases Third iOS 10.3 Public Beta to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to public beta testers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second public beta and one day after providing the third iOS 10.3 beta to developers.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 10.3 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on their iOS device.

Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and macOS Sierra betas. Betas are not stable and include many bugs, so they should be installed on a secondary device.

As a major 10.x update, iOS 10.3 introduces a new "Find My AirPods" option to help users locate a lost AirPod. Located in the "Find My Friends" app, the Find My AirPods feature keeps track of the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth, and it allows the AirPods to play a sound to make finding them nearby easier.

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Along with a Find My AirPods feature, the update also includes a shift to Apple File System (APFS). First introduced in 2016, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes strong encryption and other important features.

Apple recommends all users make an iCloud backup before installing iOS 10.3, as the update will cause the iPhone's file system to switch over to Apple File System.

iOS 10.3 also introduces a tweaked app animation, a new Apple ID profile in the Settings app,

New Touchscreen for 'Apple Watch Series 3' Said to Enter Production Later This Year

The tentatively named "Apple Watch Series 3" will feature a new glass-film touchscreen in place of the current touch-on-lens solution, with shipments to begin in the second half of this year, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes.

While it remains unclear if the switch to a film-based solution will have any obvious consumer-facing benefits, this is more interestingly the first rumor to surface about the supply chain ramping up for the next Apple Watch.

The timeline matches a Chinese report last month that claimed the third-generation Apple Watch will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017 with battery life and performance improvements. The report said Series 3 models, to be manufactured by Quanta, will lack any significant hardware changes.

Few other details are known about the next Apple Watch models, which could feasibly launch alongside the "iPhone 8" in September.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and other sources have claimed the Apple Watch could gain an LTE chip for cellular capabilities as early as 2017, while a supply chain report last year said Apple may switch from OLED to micro-LED displays for the Apple Watch in the second half of 2017 at the earliest.

Micro-LED displays have benefits such as thinness, lightness, improved color gamut, increased brightness, and higher resolutions. The panels do not require backlighting like traditional LCD displays, but they can be difficult and expensive to mass produce. Micro LEDs range in size from 1-micron to 100-micron.

Apple has filed patents for a number of ideas that could eventually be included in

iPhone 8 Said to Have 3GB of RAM and 64GB/256GB Storage Options

The widely rumored 5.8-inch iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display will match the iPhone 7 Plus with 3GB of RAM and come in two storage options, 64GB and 256GB, according to Chinese research firm TrendForce.

The report, which outlines several already-rumored features, added that the so-called "iPhone 8" will not have a fully curved display due to production and drop test issues with 3D glass. Instead, the high-end device will adopt the same slightly curved 2.5D cover glass used since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

TrendForce said Apple will remove the Home button on the iPhone, as widely rumored, and integrate the related functions into the display. If that fact is accurate, it suggests rumored 3D facial recognition capabilities could supplement rather than fully replace Touch ID, which could be embedded into the display.

TrendForce itself expects the "iPhone 8" to incorporate 3D sensing technology that can be used for facial recognition and augmented reality features.

The research note said the 5.8-inch iPhone will be accompanied by updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models with LCD displays. The 5.5-inch model will allegedly have the same 3GB of RAM as the iPhone 7 Plus, while the 4.7-inch model is said to have 2GB of RAM. Both models are expected to include up to 256GB of storage.

Rumors are generally shaping up to suggest the 5.8-inch iPhone with an OLED display will be a significant upgrade, but the model could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States. Meanwhile, the new 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models are expected to be iterative but less

iPhone 8 Will Include 'Revolutionary' Front Camera With 3D Sensing Abilities

The rumored "iPhone 8" with an edge-to-edge OLED display will gain a "revolutionary" front-facing camera system that consists of three modules that enable fully-featured 3D sensing capabilities, according to new predictions shared by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The upgraded camera system will be fueled by PrimeSense algorithms, which Apple acquired in 2013.

The three modules include an existing front camera module of current iPhones, an infrared transmitting module, and an infrared receiving module. Using these advancements, the camera will be able to find the location and depth of objects placed in front of it, with potential applications including facial and iris recognition.

The camera will function by merging the depth information captured by the IR transmitting and receiving modules with the traditional 2D images captured by the front camera. This not only could be used for the iPhone 8's long-rumored iris recognition feature, but even in some gaming applications -- and future AR/VR experiences -- where users could place their own 3D-scanned face in the game using a quick selfie.

Today's news of an overhaul to the front-facing camera of the iPhone 8 follows speculation surrounding the potential of Apple dropping Touch ID and instead focusing on either 3D facial recognition or iris scanning as the device's main security feature. JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall has stated that facial recognition could be a more secure alternative, and help increase Apple Pay adoption with retailers and financial institutions.

According to Kuo, this three-module

European Commission Made 'Fundamental Errors' in Irish Tax Ruling, Says Apple

Apple has claimed that the European Commission made "fundamental errors" when it ruled last year that the company owed Ireland 13 billion euros ($13.7 billion) in unpaid taxes plus interest.

Apple appealed the commission's decision in December, but on Monday the company published a piece in the Official Journal of the European Union detailing 14 pleas in law to support its action, according to The Irish Times.

The European Commission argues that Irish revenue commissioners gave Apple unfair advantage between 1991 and 2007 by allowing the company to move income from the European market through two "non-resident" head office subsidiaries based in Ireland.

Apple and the Irish government, which has also appealed the commission's decision, argue that the bulk of those profits are due in the U.S.
"The Commission made fundamental errors by failing to recognize that the applicants' profit-driving activities, in particular the development and commercialization of the intellectual property (Apple IP), were controlled and managed in the United States," Apple said, according to the Official Journal. "The profits from those activities are attributable to the United States, not Ireland."
Apple maintained that the commission had "failed to recognize that the Irish branches carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialization of Apple IP, which drove profits".

Cupertino also said that the commission failed to conduct a diligent and impartial investigation, and "exceeded its competence" as it relates to the Treaty on the Functioning

Apple Shares Four New 'One Night on iPhone 7' Ads Shot in New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai and Tokyo

As part of its ongoing "Shot on iPhone" advertising campaign highlighting the iPhone's camera, Apple today uploaded four videos that belong to its new "One Night" series.

Each of the 15 second ads features a compilation of photos and videos captured on a single night in New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai, and Tokyo and set to music.









Designed to showcase the low-light capabilities of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, all of the photos and videos in the One Night campaign were taken on November 5, 2016 in different places around the world.

Last week, Apple uploaded a one minute compilation video featuring much of the same footage, but today's videos show more of the individual photos and videos taken in each different location.

Though only four locations are shown in the videos uploaded today, the One Night ad campaign features images and videos taken by 16 photographers across 15 cities on six continents. Apple is also using the photographs as part of a "One Night" print and billboard campaign that's being showcased in 25 countries around the world.

Update: Apple has also uploaded two new videos that are part of a separate ad campaign showcasing Portrait Mode in the iPhone 7 Plus. Each video offers a short tutorial on the benefits of Portrait Mode, showing how it's able to blur the background to put the focus on the person in the photograph.



Apple Seeds Third macOS Sierra 10.12.4 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta and just under a month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

The third macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who have previously installed a beta.

macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's Night Shift mode to the Mac for the first time. First introduced on iOS devices with iOS 9.3, Night Shift is designed to gradually shift the display of a device from blue to yellow, cutting down on exposure to blue light. Blue light is said to disrupt the circadian rhythm and is believed to interrupt sleeping patterns.

Night Shift can be activated through the Displays section of System Preferences, where a setting to have it come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise is available. Night Shift can also be toggled on manually through the Notification Center or via Siri.

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The 10.12.4 update focuses mainly on Night Shift, but also includes dictation support for Shanghainese, cricket scores for Siri, improved PDFKit APIs, and iCloud Analytics

Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 10.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta of iOS 10.3 and more than a two months after the release of iOS 10.2, the last major update to the iOS 10 operating system.

Registered developers can download the third iOS 10.3 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.

iOS 10.3 is a major update, introducing several new features and changes to the iOS 10 operating system. The biggest new consumer-facing feature is "Find My AirPods," which is designed to help AirPods owners locate a lost earphone. Find My AirPods records the last known location of when an AirPod was connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth and can play a sound on a lost AirPod.

Apple's latest update also introduces a new Apple File System (APFS), installed when an iOS device is updated to iOS 10.3. APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption.

Apple plans to introduce some App Store changes in iOS 10.3, allowing developers to respond to customer reviews for the first time. iOS users are also able to label reviews in the App Store as "Helpful" or "Not Helpful," which should help surface the most relevant review content.

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Apple also plans to limit the number of times developers can ask for a review, allow customers to leave app reviews without exiting an app, and provide a "master switch" that will let users turn off all app review request prompts (said to be

Apple Said to Debut New iPad Pro Lineup, 128GB iPhone SE, and Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus at March Event

Apple will host a March event to introduce a new iPad Pro lineup and other products, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara.

In terms of the iPad Pro lineup, the report claims Apple will announce new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch models. The 10.5-inch model may not ship until May, while the other sizes are said to ship in March.

If the report is accurate, it would suggest Apple plans to refresh the iPad mini 4 with a new 7.9-inch iPad Pro model, update its existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and introduce an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is widely rumored to feature an edge-to-edge display without a Home button.

Mac Otakara previously said the 10.9-inch iPad Pro—it now says 10.5-inch—will have the same overall footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro thanks to its edge-to-edge design. The earlier report said the top bezel will remain in order to provide space for the front-facing FaceTime camera, but it will likely be slimmer.

The blog also previously said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and True Tone display like the current 9.7-inch model, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.

Meanwhile, it said the 7.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a Smart Connector, True Tone display, four speakers, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with True Tone flash, as Apple works to standardize features across its tablet lineup. All new iPad Pro models will reportedly gain

Expiring Developer Certificates Causing Some Mac Apps to Refuse to Launch

A number of Mac apps failed to launch for users over the weekend because of a change to the way Apple certifies apps that have not been bought directly from the Mac App Store.

Several users of apps including Soulver and PDFPen who had downloaded the apps from the developers' websites all reported immediate crashes on launch. Developers of the apps quickly apologized and said that the issue was down to the apps' code signing certificates reaching their expiration date.

Apple issues developer signing certificates to assure users that an app they have downloaded outside of the Mac App Store is legitimate, comes from a known source, and hasn't been modified since it was last signed. In the past, the expiration of a code signing certificate had no effect on already shipped software, but that changed last year, when Apple began requiring apps to carry something called a provisioning profile.

A provisioning profile tells macOS that the app has been checked by Apple against an online database and is allowed to perform certain system actions or "entitlements". However, the profile is also signed using the developer's code signing certificate, and when the certificate expires, the provisioning profile becomes invalid.

Victims of expired provisioning profiles over the weekend included users of 1Password for Mac who had bought the app from the developer's website. AgileBits explained on Sunday that affected users would need to manually update to the latest version (6.5.5), noting that those who downloaded 1Password from the Mac App Store were unaffected. The

Apple Acquires Israeli Firm RealFace Specializing in Facial Recognition

Apple has bought Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology.

The Times of Israel reported on Sunday that the Tel Aviv-based company, founded in 2014, was snapped up by Apple for an estimated $2 million, while Hebrew-language Calcalist said the deal was worth "several million dollars".

RealFace's website is currently offline, but according to promotional material, the startup had developed a unique facial recognition technology that integrates artificial intelligence and "brings back human perception to digital processes". RealFace's software is said to use proprietary IP in the field of "frictionless face recognition" that allows for rapid learning from facial features.

The Israeli startup also developed a now-defunct app called Pickeez, which selected and collated a user's best photos across various platforms using the RealFace recognition software.

Demo of RealFace's face recognition software
According to iPhone 8 rumors, Apple may ditch Touch ID along with the physical home button, in favor of a facial recognition-capable front-facing 3D laser scanner, although with the RealFace acquisition coming at such a late time, it's unlikely that the any of the startup's technology will feature.

RealFace is the fourth Israel-based firm Apple is known to have acquired. In 2011 it bought flash memory maker Anobit for a reported $400 million, then in November 2013 it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense for an estimated $345 million. Most recently in 2015, Apple bought LinX for around $20