Apple Renews ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for a Third Season

Apple is renewing its "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" show for a third season, Apple announced on YouTube today via James Corden's YouTube channel. The new season is already in production and will feature an episode with the cast of hit Netflix show "Stranger Things."

First launched in 2017, "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" is based on the "Carpool Karaoke" segment made popular by late night talk show host James Corden.


Apple's version of the show pairs up celebrities, musicians, athletes, and more, putting them in a car together to sing popular songs.

Last season featured pairings like Jason Sudeikis and the Muppets, Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg, Weird Al paired and Andy Samberg, Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, and more.

While "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" was initially developed as a way to promote Apple Music, Apple has been making the episodes available for free through the TV app. Previously, it was limited to Apple Music subscribers.

The second season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" began airing in October 2018, so third season episodes could come this fall.


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Apple Highlights Upcoming 2019 Emoji in Celebration of World Emoji Day

In celebration of World Emoji Day tomorrow, Apple has shared details on new emoji that are coming to iOS devices this fall following the Unicode 12 emoji release.

Unicode 12 brings 59 new emoji characters, 75 with gender variations, and 230 total emojis when gender variations and different skin tones are counted.



Orangutan, sloth, otter, skunk, and flamingo are the new animals included in the update, while new food items include garlic, onion, waffle, falafel, butter, oyster, beverage box, maté, and ice cube.

New faces, gestures, and poses include yawning face, pinching hand, person kneeling, person standing, and new people holding hands options that are both gender and skin tone inclusive.

To celebrate World Emoji Day, Apple is previewing a selection of new emoji coming this fall, revealing the newest designs that bring even more diversity to the keyboard, alongside fun and exciting additions to popular categories of food, animals, activities and smiley faces.

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

Several new accessibility-related emojis are included, such as ear with hearing aid, deaf person, mechanical arm/leg, person with cane, person in wheelchair, guide dog, wheelchair (manual and motorized), and probing cane.

Following Apple’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium last year to introduce more disability-themed emoji, a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg will be available in the emoji keyboard. Celebrating diversity in all its many forms is integral to Apple’s values and these new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.

Other miscellaneous emoji include Hindu Temple, auto rickshaw, parachute, ringed planet, diving mask, yo-yo, kite, safety vest, sari, one-piece swimsuit, briefs, shorts, ballet shoes, banjo, diya lamp, axe, drop of blood, bandage, stethoscope, chair, razor, white heart, and circles and squares in various new colors.



A full list of the emoji included in Unicode 12 are listed on the Emojipedia site.

Last year, Apple released new emoji in an iOS 12.1 update released in October, and the launch of new 2019 emoji could follow a similar timeline. New emoji won’t be included in iOS 13 at launch, but could come in one of the first major updates to the new operating system.

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Apple Store Website Goes Down [Update: Back Up]

Apple's Apple Store online site is currently down when attempting to make a purchase of an Apple device or accessory, but it's not quite clear why the site is unavailable.

Sometimes the Apple online store goes down due to an imminent product refresh, but at other times, the store becomes unavailable for routine maintenance purposes.


Apple last week introduced refreshed MacBook Air models and a new 13-inch entry-level MacBook Pro to coincide with this year's Back to School promotion, but there's no word on whether another new product is on the horizon.

Apple could potentially be planning an iPad refresh as five new iPad models recently popped up in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, which could be a new 7th-generation low-cost iPad, but it's not known when that device is set to launch. It may not be coming until later this year, and this could potentially be a situation where Apple is doing site maintenance.

We'll update this post with more info when the store comes back up.

Update: The Apple Store website is back up and there doesn't appear to be anything immediately new, suggesting this was a maintenance update.


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JP Morgan Analyst Expects up to Four New iPhone Models in 2020

JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee expects Apple to reignite its growth next year with the launch of four new iPhones featuring key selling points like OLED displays, 5G modem support, and new rearward-facing 3D sensing AR/VR capabilities.


As quoted by CNBC, JP Morgan's Monday report says it expects Apple to release three top-of-the-line OLED 5G iPhones in 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch sizes, two of which will feature advanced rear camera 3D sensing tech. In addition, analysts expect a fourth lower-cost model to be launched that's the same size as the iPhone 8 but without a 5G modem or OLED display.
"Our positive volume outlook for 2020 is driven by our current expectation for the launch of four iPhone models ... and more significant spec upgrades," Samik Chatterjee, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, wrote in the report.

[...]

"Our expectations include all three Sep-2020 iPhones (5.4"/6.1"/6.7" screen sizes) will adopt OLED displays and 5G baseband modems (with support for mmWave frequencies), and at least two of the three models adopting world facing 3D Sensing (Time of Flight) driving industry leading AR/VR capabilities which can be leveraged by custom built applications (including games)."
Apple's current iPhones have TrueDepth 3D-sensing cameras on the front, but the expectation is clearly that some of the 2020 iPhones will be equipped with similar cameras on the back. The report also says that Apple's lower-cost iPhone model will be aimed at "a much more 'value' category than it has been used to with its recent launches."

Some of the details in the report line up with previous predictions, notably from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo has said Apple plans to release three new iPhones in the second half of 2020, including high-end 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models with OLED displays and a lower-end 6.1-inch model, which he believes will also have an OLED display.

According to Kuo, the 5.4 and 6.7-inch iPhone options will support 5G speeds, while the lower-end 6.1-inch iPhone in 2020 will continue to work with LTE.

Bloomberg reported in January that Apple isplanning to add a laser-powered time-of-flight 3D rear camera that will result in significant improvements to AR experiences to its 2020 iPhones.

The camera is said to be able to scan areas up to 15 feet from the device. Apple's front-facing TrueDepth camera uses 3D technology but because it's infrared and not laser-powered, it only works at distances of 25 to 50 centimeters.

JP Morgan's Chatterjee says he expects the fresh line-up will help Apple sell 195 million iPhones in 2020, up from an estimated 180 million in 2019. Later this year, Apple is expected to release three new iPhones with triple-lens rear cameras, but without 5G connectivity.


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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue: Apple Execs Don’t Make Notes on Apple TV+ Scripts

Following a recent interview with The Times, Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue sat down with GQ to share further thoughts on Apple Music and Apple TV+, Apple's upcoming streaming television service.

According to Cue, Apple plans to differentiate its streaming service by offering "the best shows," such as "For All Mankind," an upcoming space drama from Ronald D. Moore that explores what would have happened had the Soviet Union landed on the moon first and had the space race never ended.


Cue says that Apple worked with "the best people in the business" to create a show with a lot of attention to detail. "Like, we took the Houston control panel. We were able to get a lot of the original stuff. We didn't create fake ones," said Cue.

Contrary to some reports, Cue says that Apple executives have not been involved in script editing and have not had input on the Apple TV+ shows in an editorial capacity.
"I saw the comments that myself and Tim were writing notes on the scripts and whatever," says Cue. "There's never been one note passed from us on scripts, that I can assure you. We leave the folks [alone] who know they're doing."

"I can assure you that was 100 per cent false. He didn't say, 'Don't be so mean.' He didn't say anything about a script."
Cue says that Apple is aiming to create shows for everyone, from children to mature adults. "We're going to do a lot of different shows," he said. Apple will have television shows that aren't family friendly, such as "The Morning Show" with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
"The Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston show [The Morning Show is a workplace drama set behind the scenes of breakfast TV]. It's a show about women in the workplace and some of the issues that happen to them are definitely not appropriate for you to watch with an eight-year-old."
As for the show that he's most excited about, Cue says that he can't wait for "Dickinson," a show about the life of poet Emily Dickinson that stars Hailee Steinfeld.

Cue also commented on the upcoming music lyric syncing feature in iOS 13, which scrolls through lyrics as a song plays.
"It just takes an inordinate amount of money to try to do this and to try to figure out how to do this the right way," says Cue. And while Apple is naturally starting with the most popular tracks, Cue says it doesn't intend to stop there. The plan is to add synced-up lyrics to every song in the Apple Music library.

"I honestly don't know the exact number of people who are working on it. In our ideal world it would be zero because we'd get them all from the labels. But we discovered that it wasn't going to work. In general it takes hundreds of people to do.
Cue's full interview can be read over at GQ, and for a rundown of all of the TV shows Apple has in the works, make sure to check out our guide. For details on how the Apple TV+ service will work, we have a guide for that too.


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Apple’s Project Catalyst Team Shares Thoughts on Limiting Compatibility to iPad Apps, Quality Concerns, and More

Apple in iOS 13 and macOS Catalina introduced Project Catalyst, designed to allow iOS developers to port their iPad apps over to the Mac with little effort, making it simpler for developers to design cross-platform apps.

Ars Technica recently spoke with some of the Apple team members responsible for creating and promoting Project Catalyst, and it's worth a read for those who are interested in the feature.


Apple decided to allow developers to port iPad apps instead of iPhone apps because it's a "more natural transition" bringing an app from an iPad to a Mac due to the closer display sizes. From Todd Benjamin, Apple's senior director of marketing for macOS:
Just design-wise, the difference between an iPad app and an iPhone app is that the iPad app has gone through a design iteration to take advantage of more screen space. And as you bring that app over to the Mac... you have something that's designed around that space that you can work with and that you can start from.
Ali Ozer, Apple's cocoa engineering manager, also said that choosing the iPad pre-empts user concerns about mobile ports spilling over to the desktop. "This is one way of making developers aware that an iPhone app in its current form might not be the right design," said Ozer.

Developers who have already used Project Catalyst have been able to port iPad versions of Twitter, TripIt, and Asphalt 9: Legends to the Mac. The developers that have worked with Project Catalyst told Ars that it was, on the whole, simple to use and "able to just work," as one Twitter developer said.

As for quality concerns, Apple's Catalyst team expects public reviews to be a major factor when it comes to ensuring Mac apps offer a rich, Mac-like experience. From Shaan Pruden, Apple's senior director of partner management and developer relations:
"Then we come down to customers' reaction and ratings and all of that kind of stuff. Which hopefully will drive the right behavior for a developer, which is to do the work and do it right and don't be lazy."
The full deep dive into Project Catalyst can be read over on the Ars Technica website, and it goes into detail on just how Project Catalyst functions, what developers think of the feature thus far, and it shares Apple's thoughts on SwiftUI.


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Intel to Auction Off Modem IP and Patents

Intel is planning to auction off its portfolio of patents related to cellular wireless connectivity, according to a new report from IAM.

Intel's upcoming auction follows the company's April decision to exit the 5G smartphone modem business. Intel stopped work on 5G modem technology after Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and a supply agreement that will see Qualcomm providing 5G modem chips for future iPhones.

Intel 5G Modem
Multiple rumors have suggested Apple and Intel have held talks about Apple's potential purchase of Intel's German modem unit. The two were in talks as early as this month, with Intel planning to sell its modem business off in pieces.

Intel is aiming to sell off 8,500 assets from its patent portfolio, including 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 patents on wireless implementation technologies.

The auction that Intel has planned is separate from its efforts to sell its smartphone modem business, though IAM speculates that an interested buyer could potentially pick up both. It's also possible that a group of companies could band together to purchase the patents that are up for grabs.
It could be that Intel's decision to sell its portfolio is part of a strategy to drum up interest in the modem business as a whole. There is no indication yet that Intel has ruled out selling the patent assets to a non-practising entity, which might encourage a group of operating companies to band together to take the assets off the assertion market.
Should Apple purchase either Intel's patent business, Intel's patents, or both, it would give the Cupertino company a leg up in its own mobile chip development. Apple is working on creating its own line of modem chips to reduce reliance on suppliers like Qualcomm, but it will be several years yet before Apple's own chips are ready to be used in iPhones and other devices.


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Apple’s Beddit Sleep Tracking Company Now Offering Beta for Testing New Features

Apple-owned Beddit recently launched a new beta testing program that's designed to allow those who own the new Beddit 3.5 device released in December to test new and upcoming features.

In a new "Beta Program" section of the Beddit website (via 9to5Mac), Beddit says it is launching a new customer beta program that will let customers contribute to "making the product even better."

Through the Beddit Beta Program, you will have early access to new versions of the Beddit app before the general public. Participants will share valuable feedback with Apple Inc. ("Apple") such as app use, app settings, sleep results, and other diagnostic information. We may also request additional feedback through surveys. More information about how this data will be shared with Apple will be explained in an informed consent form that you must complete before starting the program.
The beta program will provide early access to new versions of the Beddit app prior to when those updates are released. No specific details on what features might be tested were included.

Participants must own a Beddit Sleep Monitor (version 3.5), must be located in the United States and using Beddit only in the United States, and need to be at least 22 years old but not over 75 years old.

Participants must also agree to receive email communications from Apple "from time to time" about the Beddit Beta Program.

Beddit 3.5 owners can sign up for the beta on the website by clicking on the "Enroll Now" button to send an email to the Beddit support staff.

Apple released the updated Beddit 3.5 back in December. The new model received some criticism for doing away with features like an ambiguous "sleep score," but in our review, we found it to be much more accurate than the Beddit 3 sleep monitor.

The Beddit 3.5 marked the first new version of the device since Apple's 2017 acquisition of the company. It's not clear what Apple is doing with sleep data collected from the Beddit, but it could be used for developing a future sleep-related Apple product, such as sleep tracking capabilities for Apple Watch.


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Smart Fitness Device Activ5 Now Available From Apple

Apple retail stores and the Apple online store are now carrying the Activ5, a fitness device designed by Activbody.

Described as a portable isometric-based strength training device with digital coaching, the Activ5 coaches users through each isometric exercise, measures maximum strength for each exercise, and communicates this to an iPhone.


The device itself is a small pad that's outfitted with a number of pressure sensors inside.

The Activ5 is personalized to each user to create a challenging but achievable workout. Each workout pose is demonstrated in the app, and the device itself is able to tell users to push harder or less hard throughout the workout. Every detail of the workout is tracked via the app, providing fitness stats for each exercise.


There are more than 100 full body workouts available based on isometric exercises, which are designed around contractions of a specific muscle or group of muscles. Activbody says that the average strength gain for Activ5 users is 30 percent.

Because the Activ5 is portable, it can be taken to work, used at home, used in a bar, a plane seat, or anywhere else with workouts provided for different situations. Exercise is gamified through various games you can play in the app.


The Activ5 has an Apple Watch app to untether workouts from the iPhone, and it integrates with Apple's HealthKit so workout information is uploaded to the Health app. The Apple Watch app offers up exercise and heart rate tracking as well as calculating calories burned.


The Activ5 can be purchased from the Apple online store and Apple retail stores starting today for $130.


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