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by Maura at Oct 20, 2017
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Niantic launches now Pokemon Go Halloween event.JPG

Niantic has just announced Pokémon Go’s second annual Halloween trick-or-treat extravaganza, which starts today and runs until November 2. During this time there will be many more spooky Pokémon around than usual to catch, including Gastly, Drowzee, Cubone, and more. Even better, Sableye, Banette, and several other Hoenn-region Pokémon will be appearing in Pokémon Go for the first time ever. And that’s not all, as the rest of the Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire Pokémon will be arriving as soon as December.

You’ll also be able to catch a special Pikachu in a Halloween costume, and Mimikyu’s Disguise Hat is available as a free gift for your avatar from the Style section. Candy rewards for catching, hatching and transferring Pokémon will be doubled, and your buddy will find Candy twice as fast as usual. And finally, you will be able to purchase special boxes from the in-game shop, featuring such goodies as Raid Passes and Super Incubators.

Source: Halloween treats coming to Pokémon GO! - Pokémon GO
by Maura at Oct 20, 2017
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Delta switching to iOS devices from Windows.JPG

AppleInsider reports that Delta airlines is said to be moving its staff over from Windows devices to iOS, with flight attendants having their Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets replaced with iPhone 7 Plus models early next year. Pilots will also be getting 10.5-inch iPad Pro models in place of their current Microsoft Surface tablets.

The news was apparently leaked via an email that was sent to Delta employees on October 18. In the original email, which was first published by MacOSKen, the employees were told that “more than 23,000 flight attendants and 14,000 pilots” would all be getting new Apple hardware to replace their old Windows devices “as the airline transitions to its next generation of flight crew devices.”

Delta’s Joint Venture partners at Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic have already made the switch to Apple devices.

The email also revealed that one of the apps that will feature on the Delta staff iOS device will be the Guest Service Tool, which flight attendants use to “provide more personalized service and recognise high-value customers on each flight. Flight attendants can also provide customers with the status of down-line flights and connecting gate information.”

As far as the pilots equipment goes, the new iPad Pros will be pre-loaded with Delta’s app suite for pilots, “including the Jeppesen Flight Deck Pro for flight planning, the latest version of Delta’s turbulence app - Flight Weather View Plus, and a content library containing detailed aircraft and procedural manuals.”

Source: Delta allegedly switching flight crew hardware from Surface to iPad in early 2018
by Maura at Oct 20, 2017
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iPhone X production woes almost over.JPG

Yet more good news today from Apple’s supply chain about iPhone X production issues, with noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stating in a new report, via MacRumors, that the worst of the delays are almost over. Kuo says that the main production problems have been caused by the iPhone X antenna’s flexible printed circuit board (FPCB), mainly due to it being more complex to manufacture and also due to the original supply chain partner Murata not being able to meet Apple’s strict specifications.

Apparently, as Murata is unable to meet its 60%-plus order allocation until Q2 of 2018, it has been fully replaced by another supplier, Career. Kuo says that Career will “ramp up in November, as capacity expansion takes time, and its materials, recipes, design, processes, equipments and tests are different from those of Murata.”

Another issue has been the FPCB for the wide-angle rear camera lens, which has been giving supplier Interflex a few problems in terms of quality.

The third problem, which was with the TrueDepth camera, has been the most widely reported of all the issues over the past few weeks, but Kuo says that all is now good in that area, and “the worst is behind us.”

Bearing all this in mind, Kuo expects iPhone X shipments to “pick up markedly” in the first quarter of next year.

Source: KGI: iPhone X Production Woes Ending, but Only 2–3 Million Units Available for Launch
by Maura at Oct 19, 2017
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Game of Thrones Conquest out today.JPG

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and HBO Global Licensing have today launched Game of Thrones: Conquest worldwide for iOS and iPad.

The free-to-play MMO strategy game was developed by Turbine and is based on the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. The game gives players the chance to become lord or lady in Westeros and amass an army with which to defeat the Seven Kingdoms and claim the Iron Throne.

Gameplay sees players navigating the dangerous political landscape of Westeros at the same time as establishing their house, creating their sigil, and building up their army to defeat their rivals. You can choose to either sabotage your friends, or march with them into war together. As you might expect, there will be plenty of favourites from the show involved as well, including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Petyr Baelish, and many more.
Click here to download for free: Game of Thrones: Conquest™ on the App Store

Source: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
by Maura at Oct 19, 2017
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Apple to halve iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus production already.JPG

According to a new report in China’s Economic Daily News, via Reuters and MacRumors, Apple has already requested that its suppliers cut iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus production by almost 50 percent in November and December.

The information comes via an anonymous source that said that this is the first time in Apple’s history that Apple has cut back production of new iPhone models by so much and so soon after mass production started.

However, as has been said many times over the past few weeks, the main reason for slow iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sales is excitement over the iPhone X, which is expected to break sales records for Apple.
Source: iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Production Will Reportedly Drop Nearly 50% When iPhone X Launches
by Maura at Oct 18, 2017
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More pictures of Apple's self driving car emerge.JPG
New videos and pictures of Apple's self driving car emerge.JPG

While there hasn’t been much news about Apple’s rumoured self-driving car project lately, it seems that the project is still continuing, with The Verge reporting today that a self-driving car expert, MacCallister Higgins, has tweeted out a picture of what he says is Apple’s “Project Titan” out and about.

The car has certainly changed a lot from the last time a similar vehicle was spotted back in April of this year. The white Lexus has six Velodyne-made LIDAR sensors, various radar units, and several cameras, all coated in white plastic.

The photographer who captured the video is the co-founder of a startup called Voyage that has just launched a pilot self-driving taxi scheme in a retirement community in San Jose, so he knows what he’s talking about.


Underneath Higgins’ original tweet about the Project Titan car, someone else posted another picture of one of the cars, saying “I saw one of these a few weeks ago pull up to an Apple shuttle stop-sit there for a few then drove off.”

Source: Here’s a closer look at Apple’s secret self-driving car
by Maura at Oct 18, 2017
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Indoor maps added for 8 more airports in Apple Maps.JPG

MacRumors reports today that Apple has continued to expand one of the most popular features of its Maps app by adding indoor maps for eight more airports in the United States.

The newly added airports include O’Hare International and Midway International in Chicago; McCarran International in Las Vegas; Baltimore-Washington International; Miami International; Minneapolis-Saint Paul International; Oakland International; and Portland International. They join the original two airports that were introduced via iOS 11, namely Philadelphia International and San Jose International.

Now when you search for the above-mentioned airports on Apple Maps, you can select “Look Inside” or just zoom in to see the terminals, boarding gates, security gates, check-in desks, baggage claim area, info kiosks, restrooms, shops, restaurants, parking garages, as well as stairs, elevators, and escalators, among other things.

The new feature is so detailed that you can even browse floor-by-floor, or look for specific shops or other amenities in a specific terminal. And even better than that, another incredibly useful aspect of the indoor maps is that when you tap on the name of a restaurant you will see more details and photos about the restaurant, including opening hours.

Presumably more airports will be added soon in the US and then worldwide.

Source: Apple Continues Rolling Out Indoor Maps of Airports in iOS 11
by Maura at Oct 18, 2017
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Machine learning blog explains Hey Siri.JPG

AppleInsider reports today on a post on Apple’s Machine Learning blog that details exactly what happens when you use the “Hey Siri” command with your iOS device.

In particular, the blog post explains the role of the detector, which is a speech recognizer that is always listening out for the special wake-up words, but also has to be able to filter out other noises.

Apple explains that the hardware inside your iPhone or Apple Watch, in particular, turns the human voice into a stream of instantaneous waveform samples at 16000 per second. Approximately 0.2 seconds of audio at a time is sent to a “Deep Neural Network,” which classifies it and then determines the likelihood of it being the activation phrase and then sends that to the rest of the system.

Several sensitivity thresholds are set, and if the score is in the median range, then the software will listen more closely for the second time so that the phrase is not missed.

The waveform goes to the Siri server, and if the speech recognizer hears that something else has been said other than Hey Siri, such as “Hey seriously,” then a cancellation signal will be sent by the server to the phone so that it will go back into sleep mode.

Apparently, the Apple Watch being so much smaller than an iPhone leads to a unique set of problems that are solved by having the Hey Siri detector only running when the watch motion coprocessor determines that the wrist has been raised.

Sources: Latest Apple machine learning research paper discusses how the 'Hey Siri' invocation works
by Maura at Oct 17, 2017
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iPhone X supplies improve.JPG

After so many recent reports about iPhone X component delays and shortages, it’s very encouraging to read a report from DigiTimes, via MacRumors, that says that yield rates for iPhone X components have now improved and stabilised, and that as a result, iPhone X shipments are expected to grow significantly after October. In fact, it looks as though supplies of the new phone could soon be plentiful enough to fulfil Apple’s demand prior to the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

Apparently, the previously troublesome 3D sensing modules are now showing much improved production yield rates.

The sources in Apple’s supply chain who have revealed this latest news are the same sources that also reported yesterday that the first iPhone X units had started to ship from China.

DigiTimes also referred to its sources at analog IC suppliers who said that iPhone X chip supply have all been, and continue to be, on schedule.

Pre-orders for the iPhone X begin on Friday, October 27, ready for the launch on Friday, November 3.

Source: iPhone X Parts Suppliers Reportedly on Schedule to Meet 2017 Production Demand
by Maura at Oct 17, 2017
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Google cupcake update removed due to protests.JPG

9to5 Mac reports today on a rather unusual Google Maps iOS update, which included the addition of a “mini cupcakes” distance measurement for how many calories are burned when you walk a particular distance.

It certainly looks like a fun and cute way of letting people know just how many calories they’ll be burning when they walk, but it seems that not everyone saw the cute or fun side of the update, as Google decided to remove the offending cupcakes just 24 hours after they first appeared due to complaints from some quarters, such as Buzzfeed, which said that “for some, it feels, well, judgey.” Others complained about the fact that there was no way of turning the cupcakes off.

The end result was that Google removed the cupcakes, although it said that it was because it was only a test feature, and not even rolled out to all users.

Source: Google Maps gets – and then loses – cupcakes in short-lived iOS app update
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