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Last Build Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:50:41 PDT

 



New Apple Park Drone Video Shows Off Last Minute Construction as Opening Draws Near

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:15:38 PDT

Drone videographer Matthew Roberts has posted a new video on his YouTube channel this morning, covering the ongoing progress of construction at Apple's soon-to-open campus, Apple Park. A few weeks ago, Roberts posted what was expected to be the final update before Apple Park's grand opening, but the campus still hasn't opened its doors to employees with just a few days left in April.

Ever since Apple officially announced the name for Apple Park back in February, construction on the site has ramped up rapidly over the ensuing weeks. Today, solar panel installation on the roof of the central "Spaceship" building appears nearly complete, while the courtyard of the building is still seeing major construction related to the large pond and surrounding greenery.

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Landscaping everywhere on the campus has been expanding over the past few weeks, so much so that Apple has caused tree shortages for other companies in the area. In Roberts' newest video, it's evident that there is still much time left for Apple's landscaping to be finished, which will eventually end with 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees spread across the site.

The continuation of landscaping, as well as construction on some of Apple Park's auxiliary buildings, will continue into the summer, well after Apple moves the first employees into the main building. While some of the side buildings are complete -- like the parking garage -- a few still have a ways to go, including the new campus auditorium, which has been named the "Steve Jobs Theater" in honor of the late CEO.

Once employees begin moving in, it's estimated to take Apple around six months to move in all the workers coming to Apple Park, which will number about 13,000. Earlier in April, another well-known drone videographer, Duncan Sinfield, shared off a video of what Apple Park looks like when it's lit up at night.


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AT&T Customers With Grandfathered Unlimited iPad Data Plans Will See Throttling After 22GB of Usage

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:51:44 PDT

AT&T today sent out emails to customers who continue to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan for the iPad, informing them that its unlimited status is essentially being eliminated on May 24, 2017.

Going forward, customers with an unlimited tablet data plan may see their data usage throttled when using more than 22GB of data during a single bill period. According to AT&T, data may be slowed down during times of network congestion.
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While that's in line with AT&T's policy for its newly announced unlimited data plans, it's a big change for iPad owners who are not used to having a data cap in place. Prior to the change, iPad owners with the grandfathered unlimited plan have not been subject to restrictions.

AT&T briefly offered unlimited iPad data plans after the original iPad was released in 2010, but phased them out just months later. Since then, customers who managed to purchase one of the plans have been able to hold onto them, making the unlimited plan highly coveted.

The plans required no contract and cost $29.99 per month, with customers able to transfer them to new iPads and even sell them to other iPad owners. With the change coming on May 24, the original unlimited iPad data plans will be much less attractive.

(Thanks, David!)

Tag: AT&T

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Repair Period for First-Gen Apple Watches With Battery Issues Extended to 3 Years

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:51:53 PDT

Apple today informed retail store employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers that it is extending the service coverage for first-generation Apple Watch models experiencing battery problems to three years.

In an entry in Apple's repair database (via 9to5Mac), the company explains that coverage is extended for original Apple Watch models that are seeing swollen or expanded batteries. A public announcement about the service extension has not been made, and it's not clear if Apple will offer reimbursements for customers who have already paid for battery replacements or have done battery replacements themselves.

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Image via MacRumors forum user Rosepod5

Customers who have an original Apple Watch afflicted with a swollen or expanded battery will now be able to have the device repaired for up to three years after its purchase date, even when AppleCare was not purchased for the watch. From the repair database:
Apple has extended Service coverage for eligible Apple Watch (1st gen) models with an expanded/swollen battery to three years after the original date of purchase. Eligible devices will be covrered for two years beyond the original 1-year Limited Warranty.
Complaints about swollen batteries on the original Apple Watch have been circulating for a few months on reddit, the Apple Support Communities, and the MacRumors forum.

Reports are rare, but it does appear to be an issue affecting a small number of original Apple Watch users. The battery problem causes the Apple Watch screen to pop away from the casing, rendering it unusable.

The first-generation Apple Watch, first introduced in April of 2015, recently reached its second birthday on April 24.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tag: Apple retail
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Asks California DMV to Make Changes to Autonomous Vehicle Testing Policies

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:17:07 PDT

Apple has asked the California DMV to alter the rules that require it to publish detailed public reports about the success of Apple's self-driving car tests, according to papers shared by the DMV. If the DMV complies with Apple's request, less information would be included in the reports. [PDF] In a letter, Apple says it is "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and goes on to say the company is "excited" about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation. One of the SUVs Apple is using to test its autonomous driving software, courtesy of Bloomberg The company then proposes that the DMV "amend or clarify" its positions in the areas of disengagement reporting, definitions, and testing without safety drivers. Apple is concerned that inconsistency in how permit holders reports disengagements can lead to media coverage that causes public confusion and misunderstanding. Apple wants disengagement reports to cover times when a driver takes control of a vehicle to prevent a crash or traffic violation, and little else.Apple suggests the following changes to the disengagement reporting requirements to achieve an objective set of data to accurately and clearly inform the public about the safety of the automated vehicles being tested A disengagement should be defined as an unexpected event or failure that requires the safety driver to take control of the vehicle in order to prevent a crash or traffic violation. A disengagement should not be reported for the following: - Operational constraints where either the safety driver has been trained to disengage the system, or when the system detects the constraint and disengages automatically. For example, a system that requires the safety driver to navigate through a construction zone. - System errors or failures. For example, a software bug or sensor dropout that does not affect the safe operation of the system. - Discretionary decisions made by the safety driver. For example, when the safety driver perceives a vehicle is approaching too quickly and opts to disengage the system. - Any tests that are planned to result in a disengagement. - The end of a test or experiment. Additionally, the proposed requirement in §227.50(b)(3)(B)(vi) to describe the type of incident that would have happened without the disengagement should be removed. It requires speculation about future events that have not occurred.Apple two weeks ago was granted a permit for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, and has already begun to do so. The company has three Lexus SUVs equipped with sensors and cameras, presumably running the autonomous driving software the company has been working on for the last several months. Those SUVs have been spotted on Cupertino roads this week. By participating in the DMV's Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program, Apple will need to publicly share many details about its testing process, which will make it difficult to keep development on the software under wraps.Related Roundup: Apple Car Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple's Echo-Like Smart Speaker With Siri and AirPlay Could Debut as Early as WWDC

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:41:00 PDT

Apple is widely rumored to be working on a Siri-based smart home device with a speaker, and Australian leaker Sonny Dickson has shared new details about its possible design and features on Twitter and with MacRumors. Apple's smart speaker could take design cues from the Google Home Dickson said that Apple is currently "finalizing designs" for the Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor, which he expects to be marketed as a Siri and AirPlay device. "It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology," he added, while noting that the device will run a variant of iOS software. It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology, and is expected to run an variant iOS— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) April 27, 2017 The schematic appears to depict the interior of the OLED iPhone 8, and it matches many previously-leaked design schematics and rumors. The device pictured features a vertical dual-lens rear camera with an LED flash in the middle, and it includes a large circular area, perhaps for some kind of wireless charging functionality. No rear Touch ID button is included in the schematic. Over the course of the last few weeks, we've seen several alleged design schematics and renderings that are said to represent the iPhone 8, but because Apple is said to be testing multiple prototypes, we appear to be seeing two distinct devices, and it's not clear which one represents Apple's final 2017 iPhone. One device, which seems to be similar to the device in the schematic above, features an edge-to-edge display with a small 4mm bezel, what appears to be a glass body (perhaps with a stainless steel frame), and a Touch ID Home button that appears to be embedded in the display, while the other features an edge-to-edge display with slightly wider top and bottom bezels, an aluminum body, and a Touch ID Home button located on the rear of the device. Both are said to be representative of different designs Apple has pursued, and Apple is reportedly experimenting with a rear Touch ID button due to difficulties implementing it under the display. It's not yet known if a Touch ID button under the display will pan out. While we're seeing different designs at the current time, there are several rumors that are consistent. The OLED iPhone is said to be similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone but with a display closer in size to that of the 5.5-inch iPhone, and almost all current rumors point towards a vertical dual-lens camera for improved images and perhaps some kind of augmented reality or 3D functionality. Not much has been said about wireless charging recently, but Apple is supposedly implementing some kind of inductive charging solution, and we can count on an improved A11 processor in the device. Apple plans to sell the OLED iPhone alongside two standard iPhones with LCD displays, which are said to be similar in size to the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. With many of the rumors focusing on the flagship OLED iPhone, not much is known about the other two iPhones and their specific design also remains unclear. Recent rumors are suggesting the OLED iPhone may be severely constrained when it launches in September, so it could be difficult to get for several months. That's a common rumor that we hear every year ahead of the debut of a new iPhone, but the rumors, coming from trusted sources, are especially emphatic and dire this year, suggesting there's some truth there.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple AI Expert Says Computers Should Augment Human Capabilities

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:29:29 PDT

Apple product designer and Siri co-founder Tom Gruber gave a TED Talk today, where he covered his vision of the future of computers and artificial intelligence. Both Axios and Business Insider shared details on his talk.

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According to Gruber, computers should be used to lessen human failings, like memory, and augment human capabilities. He believes computers should log every aspect of our lives, allowing us to remember every person we've met and every aspect about them, like favorite sports, family members, and name pronunciation.
"I believe AI will make personal memory enhancement a reality. I think it's inevitable," he said onstage, adding that he doesn't know when or how it will happen. [...]

Gruber imagines that this kind of technology will not only be useful for satisfying data geeks who want to optimize their health and happiness, but it could also assist those who suffer from diseases like dementia and schizophrenia. "It's the difference between a life of isolation and one of dignity and connection," he said.
Privacy, is of course, a key part of artificial intelligence and future computing capabilities. "We get to choose what is and is not recalled," said Gruber. "It's absolutely essential that this be kept very secure."

Apple has already taken the first steps towards linking artificial intelligence and memory, with its Photos app. Photos on Mac and iOS devices includes a "Memories" feature that intelligently organizes photos into dynamic events that can be relived through the app. It also incorporates facial recognition and deep levels of privacy - facial recognition features are not cross-device and do not sync over iCloud.

Gruber also highlighted other useful applications for artificial intelligence, like cancer detection and more advanced personal assistants like Siri.


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'Today at Apple' Sessions About Art, Music, and Coding Expanding to Every Apple Store in May

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:01:39 PDT

Apple today announced that it will be expanding its "Today at Apple" educational sessions to all of its 495 retail stores around the world in May. "Today at Apple" will offer programs with more than 60 different hands-on sessions in creative skills. The free sessions, which have been offered at Apple's flagship Union Square store in San Francisco since last year, will cover topics such as photography, videography, music, coding, art, and design.“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president, Retail. “‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level. We think it will be a fun and enlightening experience for everyone who joins.”Many sessions will be taught by highly-trained Creative Pros, which Apple describes as the "liberal arts equivalent" to its technical Geniuses. In select cities, Apple says world-class artists, photographers, and musicians will also teach sessions from "basics and how-to lessons" to "professional-level programs." "Today at Apple" will cater to all skill levels and ages, with special programs such as Teacher Tuesday and Kids Hour targeted towards families and educators respectively. Other sessions will focus on professional software such as Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, or coding with the Swift Playgrounds app for iPad.Teachers can come together for Teacher Tuesday to learn new ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms, or aspiring coders of all ages can learn how to code in Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS and Mac apps. Families can join weekend Kids Hour sessions ranging from music making to coding with robots.Apple said each of its stores will receive large displays created specifically for "Today at Apple" sessions. Each store will also have updated seating and sound. Apple has already renovated dozens of its existing retail stores with these next-generation features since 2015, with dozens more locations to follow this year. Apple has been redesigning its stores under the leadership of retail chief Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of luxury fashion brand Burberry. Ahrendts wants to position Apple Stores as not only shopping destinations, but also as gathering places for the community. "Meet me at Apple," she envisions someone as saying. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CCEJZYUypoE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Video is available in the United States only Ahrendts, in a new interview with CBS This Morning:“A lot of the big online guys have said they’re opening stores. Amazon’s investing in stores. Google’s investing in stores. ... Starbucks figured it out, you know? Being a gathering place for – right? ‘Meet me at Starbucks,”’ Ahrendts said. “And you know, I’ve told the teams, ‘I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, “Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?”’”Apple's latest next-generation store will open at Dubai Mall on April 27, the company recently announced.Related Roundup: Apple Stores Tags: Angela Ahrendts, Today at Apple Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Questionable Rumor Claims Apple Will Debut Two iPhones This Year, Not Three

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:02:00 PDT

A Chinese tech blog bucked the iPhone rumor trend today by claiming it had received insider information from the Apple supply chain that Apple will release two iPhone models this year rather than the expected three. Micgadget.com posted the rumor in the early hours of Tuesday, citing "some [of] our friends from Foxconn" who apparently "confirmed" that Hon Hai had received an order for two models, corresponding to two versions of Apple's radically redesigned OLED iPhone, the so-called "iPhone 8". "iPhone 8" rendering from KK Sneak Leaks Rumors say that Apple will release two iPhone 7S and one iPhone 8 (or iPhone Edition) models. Today we can tell you, that it's not true. This fall we can see only two models with new technology. Very interesting that rumors leaked new iPhone 8 and big iPhone 8 Plus will have similar dual cameras.It's highly unusual for a supply chain rumor to go against the prevailing assumption this late into the iPhone cycle, and Micgadget.com has a mixed history of releasing information on Apple's plans. The site has also been pushing the idea that Apple will release an additional "iPhone 8 Plus" since at least February with little evidence to back up the claim, so we're covering this rumor merely to highlight our current doubts regarding its veracity. For some time now, analyst expectations and supply chain hints have indicated that Apple will break away from its annual tradition of launching two models of iPhone and will instead reveal a radically overhauled smartphone in addition to its usual "S" refresh model updates. The rumor trail began all the way back in March of 2016, when noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo laid out his expectations that Apple would launch 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD iPhones alongside a standout "premium" OLED model, because of supply constraints on AMOLED technology. Multiple reports have since corroborated this scenario, with Apple said to be aiming for a more complete transition to Samsung-made OLED displays in 2018 when supplies become more available. Indeed, it's possible Micgadget.com is misinterpreting information from its purported Foxconn source for precisely this reason. Multiple reports suggest Apple will debut its redesigned OLED iPhone in September, but it could still face severe supply shortages until perhaps as late as October or November. Therefore, while orders for Apple's two LCD-based iPhones may have been cemented in good time for the usual August-September ramp-up in production, orders for an "iPhone 8" at the supply chain level may have still not been pegged down. Apart from an edge-to-edge OLED display in a typical-sized 4.7-inch casing, the "iPhone 8" is expected to include wireless charging, no physical Home button, and perhaps 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning. In addition, rumors suggest that Touch ID could be embedded in or under a True Tone display, or could possibly be relocated to the rear of the device if Apple can't perfect the under-screen technology in time. Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: micgadget.com Discuss this article in our forums [...]