Apple starts assembling iPhones in India in play for the world’s fastest growing smartphone market

 Apple has taken an important step in its longstanding goal of penetrating the world’s second largest smartphone market. The Wall Street Journal first reported that that the company has completed its first trial run assembly of the iPhone SE in India – a key step in gaining a foothold for a market that has thus far proven elusive for the smartphone maker.
The company has since… Read More

iPhone 8 renders point to glass back and wireless charging

Rumor has it that we won't be seeing the next flagship iPhone until much later this year, but we may have just the right thing to keep y'all entertained for the time being. Earlier this week, a reliable source in the accessory industry showed Engadge…

Licensing for the MP3 Format Used on Original iPod is Officially ‘Terminated’ as Patents Expire

Licensing for MP3, the digital audio coding format that Apple used for music downloads on the original iPod, has officially ended. The announcement comes from The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (via NPR).

The Fraunhofer Institute owns the patent rights related to selling encoders and decoders of the format to developers, and recently announced that its “mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.” This means that developer use of MP3 won’t require a licensing patent anymore.

According to the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute, this is because more modern digital audio coding formats have emerged, namely “Advanced Audio Coding,” or AAC.

In an email to NPR, Fraunhofer director Bernhard Grill said that AAC is now the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones,” because it’s “more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality.”

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.

Today AAC is the format that Apple uses for music downloading on both iOS and macOS devices, after originally helping popularize the MP3 format with the first-generation iPod in 2001, which could store up to 1,000 songs that were encoded using MP3. The Fraunhofer Institute noted that MP3 is “still very popular amongst consumers” and is expected to stick around on legacy devices for a few more years.

This article was edited to note that the patents related to MP3 have expired, not the format itself.
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Sleep Expert Who Worked on Apple’s Night Shift and Bedtime Features Leaves the Company

Sleep expert Roy J.E.M Raymann, who joined Apple back in 2014, has left the company and moved on to SleepScore Labs, where he will serve as Vice President of Sleep Science and Scientific Affairs.

Raymann joined Apple as the company was developing the Apple Watch, and at the time, his hiring spurred rumors that the device would have sleep tracking capabilities, which never materialized.



Prior to joining Apple, where he served as “Health and Health Technologies Staff,” Raymann was at Philips where he founded the Philips Sleep Experience Laboratory, a non-clinical sleep research facility.

According to his LinkedIn profile, while at Apple, Raymann worked on Night Shift, the Bedtime alarm, display recommendations and color filters, and HealthKit and ResearchKit.

News of Raymann’s departure comes just days after Apple acquired Beddit, a company that produces a sensor-equipped sleep monitoring system.

It’s not yet clear what Apple plans to do with Beddit’s technology, but Apple is continuing to sell the Beddit sleep monitor and has updated its privacy policy to note that it is collecting sleep-related data that could influence future projects at the company.
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EA Announces ‘The Sims Mobile’ Coming Soon to iOS

EA has announced a new free-to-play version of The Sims is coming to iPhone and iPad, six years after The Sims Freeplay – a simplified version of the original – launched on the mobile platform.

Called The Sims Mobile, the game looks like it will be the closest mobile approximation yet of the hit franchise, being based on The Sims 4 “legacy challenge” mode, in which players build and maintain a family across generations according to a set of self-imposed rules.



Like other games in the franchise, players will guide sims through life, establishing relationships, building homes, advancing through careers, and conquering goals.

Not much else has been revealed about the title beyond the fact that it will feature social elements, allowing players to become “virtual” best friends with their real-life friends. But the trailer for the game does show that it will include classic Sims mechanics, allowing players to design their characters and customize their home.



The Sims 4 on Mac and PC continues to have a healthy fanbase. Yesterday EA revealed that the game’s number of monthly active users jumped 33 percent year on year.

The Sims Mobile for both iOS and Android launches in Brazil today and should start rolling out globally soon after.

(via The Verge.)
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Laptop Ban May Expand to Flights Coming to U.S. From Europe

The United States Department of Homeland Security may be planning expand its laptop ban, disallowing laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States. News of the expanded ban, which could be announced as soon as Thursday, came from European security officials that spoke to The Daily Beast.

Passengers flying from Europe to the United States will need to put their laptops in their checked luggage should the ban be expanded to cover European countries. The Department of Homeland Security has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to expand the laptop restrictions, with Security Secretary John Kelly planning to discuss the matter with senators in a classified briefing on Thursday.

“No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

A laptop and tablet in-cabin ban was first announced in March on intelligence suggesting terrorists had discovered a way to turn laptops into bombs, but at the time, the ban only applied to passengers flying to the United States from Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. That first ban is still in place.

Though The Daily Beast‘s source says laptops will be banned on all flights from Europe, Reuters says the ban will include “some European countries.” The government is said to be reviewing how to make sure lithium batteries stored in luggage holds don’t explode before enacting the ban.

One issue under discussion is how to ensure that lithium batteries in any large collection of devices stored in airplane holds do not explode in midair, officials told Reuters.

European regulators have warned placing what could be potentially hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk of fire from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.

A ban in European countries could impact many United States carriers that offer European flights, including United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines. Airports and airlines in Europe have reportedly already been working on plans for an extension of the ban since it was first announced.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues 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.
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iBooks Store to Switch to Local Currencies in Several South American and European Countries

Apple is making some changes to the way customers are charged for books in several South American and European countries around the world, switching to local currencies for purchases in Chile, Columbia, Peru, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

The currency changes will be enabled 14 days or later from May 9, which will be on or after May 23.



Apple’s email says the company will do a one-time automatic conversion using the foreign exchange rate that is in effect at the time that content is processed in anticipation of the currency conversion.

Developers who have books in the store in the above listed countries will be paid in local currency and will be able to change the pricing of their content once the currency change is completed.
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Best Buy Discounts Apple Watch Series 2 by $70, Drops iPad Pro Price by $100

In celebration of Mother’s Day, which takes place on Sunday, May 14, Best Buy is having a major sale and dropping the price on the iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, and more.



Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy and may earn commissions on purchases made through these links.

All of Best Buy’s Apple Watch Series 2 models are available at a $70 discount, dropping the price on the entry-level 38mm models to $299 and 42mm models to $329.

All 9.7-inch iPad Pro models are also available at a discount, with Best Buy dropping the price by $100. For the entry-level 32GB 9.7-inch iPad Pro, that lowers the price to $499.99.

When purchasing and activating an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus on a monthly installment plan through Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, customers can save up to $300.

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models (the 13-inch version without a Touch Bar) are available from Best Buy for $100 off, dropping the price from $1,499 to $1,399. Both Silver and Space Gray models are discounted.

Best Buy is also discounting the MacBook Air by $200, dropping the price on the entry-level 13-inch model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage from $999.99 to $799.99.

Best Buy’s discounted prices will be available through the end of the week, with the deals set to end on May 13.
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