Apple Pledges to Be ‘Clearer and More Upfront’ With iPhone Users About Battery Health and Performance in UK

The UK's competition watchdog today announced that Apple has formally agreed to be "clearer and more upfront with iPhone users" about battery health and performance to ensure compliance with consumer law, as the BBC reports.


In a pledge submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority or CMA, Apple committed to several actions it has already taken, including providing consumers with "clear and comprehensible information" about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns, and performance management in iOS and on its website.

Apple added that if a future iOS update materially changes the impact of performance management when installed on an iPhone, it will notify consumers "in a clear manner" of those changes in the release notes for the update.

The CMA raised concerns with Apple last year after the iPhone slowdown controversy of late 2017, when it was discovered that Apple introduced a performance management system in iOS 10.2.1 that could slow down iPhones with aging batteries, while only mentioning bug fixes and improvements in the release notes.

Apple eventually apologized over its lack of communication and took several steps to address the situation, including introducing an option to disable the performance management, temporarily lowering the price of iPhone replacement batteries, and adding a new Battery Health menu in iOS 11.3.

The CMA acknowledges that, since it raised its concerns, Apple has "already started to be more up front with iPhone users," but notes that today's announcement "locks the firm into formal commitments." In the event Apple were to breach any of the commitments made, the CMA may take action through the courts.


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EE to Launch 5G in the United Kingdom on May 30

Mobile network EE has announced it will launch 5G in the United Kingdom on May 30, beating rival Vodafone's 5G offering which launches in early July.


At a London press event this morning, EE revealed that the new 5G service will run alongside 4G. EE also confirmed that it won't be throttling its 4G service to make the 5G look faster.

Marc Allera, chief executive of EE, said its 5G radio equipment will be supplied by its partners Qualcomm, Samsung, Google, LG, One Plus, Oppo, HTC, and Huawei.

EE will offer 5G to pre-order from today, with availability initially in six cities. EE says it plans to expand the rollout to 16 cities by the end of the year.

EE is offering 5G plans with next-generation devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, to pre-order from today, but iPhone users will have to wait. Apple isn't prepared to launch 5G iPhones in 2019, making 2020 is almost certainly the year 5G will come to iPhone.

Last week, Vodafone said it will switch on its 5G network in the UK on July 3, making it seem at the time that it would be the first carrier to launch the next-generation cellular technology in the country.


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Vodafone to Switch on UK’s First 5G Network on July 3, 2019

Vodafone on Tuesday said it will switch on its 5G network in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2019, making it the first carrier to announce a firm date for the launch of the next-generation cellular technology in the country.

Seven cities will get 5G coverage at launch, including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. The rollout will extend by the end of the year to Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.


In a press release on its site, Vodafone said it will price 5G the same as 4G for both consumers and business customers, while a choice of 5G smartphones will be available to buy online or in Vodafone stores over the summer. They will include the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G, the Samsung S10 5G and Huawei Mate 20 X (5G), and the Huawei Mate X (5G).

The company will also offer a 5G router for use in the home and office to give customers without a fixed line connection high-speed broadband access. Vodafone said it will also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: "We started our 5G journey more than three years ago. We led the way in setting 5G standards to ensure phones and networks work well together. We upgraded our masts to be able to take 5G without disruption. And we were the first UK company to test 5G over our all-fibre core fixed and mobile network.

"This is important. It means we can today announce the largest launch of 5G in the UK and be the first to announce 5G roaming. It means that UK businesses can lead the world in adopting 5G to boost productivity and attract investment. It means consumers can get the fastest mobile speeds ever, and it means that our public sector will be able to adopt new services to improve healthcare, social services and housing."
Multiple rumors dating back months have suggested Apple is going to launch a 5G iPhone in 2020, which means the 2019 iPhones will continue to use 4G.

There were questions about whether Apple would be able to acquire 5G chips for its 2020 devices following its dispute with Qualcomm, however that litigation has been cleared up, making a 5G iPhone in 2020 a real prospect.

Apple won't be prepared to launch 5G iPhones in 2019 and can't afford to wait until 2021, with competitors already launching 5G smartphones, therefore 2020 is almost certainly the year 5G will come to iPhone.


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Apple Pay Now Accepted By Some UK Online Government Services

British Government services have begun accepting Apple Pay to approve online transactions. The gov.uk website is accepting Apple's mobile payment system for four services initially, but it will roll out more widely as well as to local government, police, and the NHS later this year, ITV reports.


Payments for the Global Entry Service, enabling UK citizens to get expedited entry to the US, can now be made via Apple or Google Pay. The same goes for basic online disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks, the Registered Traveller Service and the Electronic Visa Waiver Service for people in the Middle East coming to the UK.
Till Wirth, lead product manager of gov.uk Pay, said: "Allowing people to pay for Government services through Apple Pay and Google Pay means they won't have to enter their credit or debit card information when making payments.

"This innovation will increase the convenience and security of gov.uk Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier."
Apple Pay launched in the United Kingdom in 2015, while the UK government launched its online Pay platform in 2016. The gov.uk Pay service has since been used to make more than 2.9 million transactions using credit and debit cards, according to the report.


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Apple to Open Retail Store in London’s Knightsbridge Estate

Apple has agreed to open a new 20,000-square-foot retail store in the heart of Knightsbridge, one of London's most luxurious shopping areas, according to local media.

Proposed development in Knightsbridge, London (Image via Chelsfield)

Citing property sources, The Evening Standard reports that Apple has signed a deal with Chelsfield, the property asset manager overseeing a makeover of The Knightsbridge Estate, to secure retail lettings between high-end department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

The transformation of The Estate as a whole is expected to deliver a mix of new "world-class" retail accommodation, including six flagship stores, 66,000 square feet of Grade A offices, 35 rental apartments around an internal courtyard garden, and a rooftop restaurant.

The landmark development is currently surrounded by a public artwork installation called "The Knights of Knightsbridge" to conceal construction.

Apple has five retail locations in the English capital, including flagship stores Regent Street and Covent Garden, which reopened late last year following a three-month renovation.

(Thanks, Tobias!)

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Apple Music Now Available on Amazon’s Alexa Devices in the UK and Ireland

Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices in the UK and Ireland are now compatible with Apple Music, reports Pocket-lint.

In the United States, Amazon Echo models have supported Apple Music since December of last year, allowing Echo speakers to integrate directly with Apple's music service, but the functionality was not made available in other countries.


Amazon Echo owners in the UK can now install the Apple Music integration using the Amazon Alexa app for iPhone or iPad and then use Alexa commands to play songs, albums, and more from the Apple Music service.

As of mid-March, Apple Music is also available as an option on the Amazon Fire TV.


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Channel 4’s ‘All 4’ Streaming Service Now Integrates With Apple’s TV App for UK Viewers

Late last year, United Kingdom broadcaster Channel 4 released a tvOS app for its "All 4" on-demand streaming service, allowing viewers to stream the channel's shows for free on Apple TV. This week, the All 4 app updated with integration for Apple's TV app, meaning that all of the shows that users watch in the All 4 app will sync in their Up Next queue in the TV app.


All 4 shows will also appear as part of recommendations in the TV app now, making it much easier as a whole for viewers to keep track of their show binges within the TV app. The All 4 tvOS app is not available in the United States at this time.


Channel 4 is the home of many well-known shows like The Great British Bake Off, the UK version of Big Brother, the original Black Mirror, Misfits, and The IT Crowd. It also hosts a few imported series like Community, 30 Rock, and The Goldbergs. To gain access to these shows and movies, all users need to do is create and sign into a free My4 account.

(Thanks John!)


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BBC and ITV Announce UK ‘BritBox’ Streaming Service to Rival Netflix

British broadcasters ITV and the BBC have announced joint plans to create "BritBox," a subscription streaming service for UK audiences to rival the likes of Netflix (via Reuters).


The two companies already offer a similarly named streaming service for the U.S., but today's news was about a new video-on-demand service for British audiences, which will offer subscribers a place to watch both well-known television series and original programming, according to ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall.
"This will provide an unrivaled collection of British boxsets and original series in one place," she said.

"We anticipate that other partners will be added to BritBox and we will both speak to regulators and the wider industry about our proposals."
The service is set to launch in the second half of 2019 and will be priced competitively, according to both broadcasters, although no further details were given.

BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub already provide British viewers with free catch-up streaming services featuring a limited range of programs, but the broadcasters claim research shows viewers embrace streaming and would be willing to add another service to current subscriptions, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky.

The BritBox streaming service for U.S. audiences is said to be ahead of expectations, having already broken through targets with over half a million subscribers.


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Apple Begins Selling Refurbished 2018 MacBook Air and Mac Mini Starting in UK

Apple today began selling refurbished 2018 models of the MacBook Air and Mac mini for the first time, although availability is currently limited to the United Kingdom. Listings for refurbished 2018 MacBook Air models have also gone live in the United States, but the purchase button does not work yet.


The base model MacBook Air is priced at £1,019, which is £180 off Apple's regular price of £1,199 brand new. The base model Mac mini is priced at £679, reflecting savings of £120 off the brand new price of £799.

The refurbished MacBook Air models will start at $1,019 in the United States when they become available to order. That is a discount worth passing over, as authorized resellers such as Amazon and B&H are currently offering the 2018 MacBook Air brand new in box for $999, a savings of $200:Mac mini deals are less common, so refurbished models could be worth considering. Orders placed today are estimated for delivery by early next week in the United Kingdom. We recommend using Refurb Tracker to monitor inventory.

Apple says certified refurbished MacBook Air and Mac mini models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged, with all manuals and cables included in the box. In our view, a refurbished Mac is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new one, and is also backed by Apple's standard one-year warranty.

A refurbished Mac's warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and B&H. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Related Roundups: Mac mini, MacBook Air

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British Broadcaster Channel 4 Releases ‘All 4’ On-Demand App for Apple TV

After months of uncertainty over when it would finally drop, British broadcaster Channel 4 on Monday officially brought its All 4 on-demand service to Apple TV in the form of a dedicated tvOS app.


Channel 4 is the last of the major terrestrial British broadcasters – BBC, ITV, and Channel 5 – to release dedicated apps for Apple TV. Prior to Monday's release, the only way TV viewers in the U.K. could watch the channel on Apple TV was by using the All 4 app on iPhone or iPad and streaming the feed over AirPlay.

Thankfully, that's no longer the case, as the All 4 app for Apple TV includes all the free box sets and on-demand catch-up services viewers have come to expect of the iOS app.


To access the service, regular viewers can log in using their existing account details, while new users will need to sign up for a free account on the Channel 4 website.

After logging in, viewers can use the Home tab to discover content and continue watching shows they've started, find shows using the Search tab, and manage their account via the My4 tab.


All that's missing now is TV app and universal Siri search integration, both of which are expected to come next year. The All 4 app for Apple TV is available to U.K. users for free on the tvOS App Store.


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