Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of watchOS 4.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming watchOS 4 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after releasing the third watchOS 4.1 beta and a month after releasing the new watchOS 4 operating system to the public.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.

To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.


watchOS 4.1 brings support for streaming Apple Music content directly to the Apple Watch Series 3 over LTE and it introduces a new Radio app with access to Beats 1 and other Apple Music radio stations.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The Music app on the watch looks the same, offering up access to the Music Library, recently played songs, playlists, and Apple Music mixes, but now all Apple Music content can be streamed over an LTE connection and doesn't need to be downloaded to the device. watchOS 4.1 also adds a new Wi-Fi toggle for turning off Wi-Fi to force the Apple Watch Series 3 to use LTE and it displays the Wi-Fi SSID so users can see the Wi-Fi Network an Apple Watch is connected to.

Support for Apple Music streaming appears to be the main feature in the new watchOS 4.1 update, but Apple is also introducing a range of new Unicode 10 emoji characters that include vomiting face, head exploding, mermaid, zombie, hedgehog, fairy, broccoli, and more.

Apple says the watchOS 4 update addresses a serious vulnerability in the WPA2 Wi-Fi standard that protects many modern Wi-Fi networks.

watchOS 4 is a significant refresh of the watchOS operating system introducing new watch faces, including a personalized Siri face, improvements to the Workout app, support for integration with gym equipment, an Apple News app, a vertical Dock, and a new Flashlight feature in the Control Center.

For more on what's included in watchOS 4, check out our watchOS 4 roundup.

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Apple Watch Series 3 Facing LTE Setbacks in China, Likely Due to Government ‘Security Concerns’

The cellular capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 3 remain unavailable to new carrier plan subscribers in China, after having been "abruptly cut off...without explanation" just one week after the device's launch in September. A new report published today by The Wall Street Journal has looked into the LTE setbacks faced by the Apple Watch in the country, which is predicted to face ongoing issues over the next couple of months.

Originally, Apple Watch Series 3 models on launch were supported by the carrier China Unicom, but on September 28 -- almost one week after the September 22 launch -- Unicom cut off new LTE subscriptions for the device. Those who had signed up for a subscription prior to that date remain unaffected, but now anyone trying to sign up for LTE on their Apple Watch are unable to do so. Unicom said on its website that the feature had been available "on a trial basis" and didn't specify when it might resume.

But in China, the feature was abruptly cut off for new subscribers, without explanation, after a brief availability with one telecom company.

Industry analysts say the suspension likely stemmed from Chinese government security concerns to do with tracking users of the device, which uses different technology than standard mobile phones.
On the Apple Watch Series 3 cellular support site, all Chinese carriers -- China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom -- now say "coming later this year." Previously, Unicom specified the following: "Cellular service available only for mobile lines opened in Guangdong, Henan, Hunan, Shanghai, and Tianjin." A few days after September 28, Apple updated the page with the new reference to support later in 2017.

Industry analysts cited "security concerns" likely raised by the government in China related to tracking wearers of Apple's device. Because the Apple Watch uses different technology than standard smartphones, China's strict regulation policies can't simply be outfitted for the new LTE product.

Specifically, analysts believe the problem lies in China's user identification system. When users purchase a smartphone in the country, they register for a SIM card under their real names with a network carrier. But, the Apple Watch contains a tiny embedded SIM card (eSIM), which is placed in the device by Apple, not carriers. Analysts believe this raises questions of "how carriers and regulators can track the device user's identity," because the eSIM "isn't mature enough yet in China."
The benefit of a device carrying an eSIM is that, with software, users can choose a telecom operator and a communications plan. But in China, that new system raises the question of how carriers and regulators can track the device user’s identity.

“The eSIM (system) isn’t mature enough yet in China,” one analyst said. “The government still needs to figure out how they can control the eSIM.”
Now, officials at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology are said to be studying how to resolve the issue before granting any broad cellular access to the Apple Watch. This process, according to analysts, "could take months."

The Apple Watch LTE roadblock is the latest problem faced by Apple in China, after last year facing the shutdown of the iBooks and iTunes stores due to the release of a controversial independent movie. Over the summer, Apple then removed the majority of VPN apps from the App Store in China, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government.

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Tag: China
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 4.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 4 update to developers for testing purposes, a week after releasing the second watchOS 4.1 beta and a month after releasing the new watchOS 4 operating system to the public.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.

To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.


watchOS 4.1 brings support for streaming Apple Music content directly to the Apple Watch Series 3 over LTE and it introduces a new Radio app with access to Beats 1 and other Apple Music radio stations.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The Music app on the watch looks the same, offering up access to the Music Library, recently played songs, playlists, and Apple Music mixes, but now all Apple Music content can be streamed over an LTE connection and doesn't need to be downloaded to the device. watchOS 4.1 also adds a new Wi-Fi toggle for turning off Wi-Fi to force the Apple Watch Series 3 to use LTE and it displays the Wi-Fi SSID so users can see the Wi-Fi Network an Apple Watch is connected to.

Support for Apple Music streaming appears to be the main feature in the new watchOS 4.1 update, but Apple is also introducing a range of new Unicode 10 emoji characters that include vomiting face, head exploding, mermaid, zombie, hedgehog, fairy, broccoli, and more.

watchOS 4 is a significant refresh of the watchOS operating system introducing new watch faces, including a personalized Siri face, improvements to the Workout app, support for integration with gym equipment, an Apple News app, a vertical Dock, and a new Flashlight feature in the Control Center.

For more on what's included in watchOS 4, check out our watchOS 4 roundup.

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Apple Exploring Self-Adjusting Apple Watch Band Designs

Apple is investigating designs for Apple Watch bands that self-adjust to fit the wearer's wrist using an integrated tensioner mechanism (via AppleInsider). A patent application granted on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes multiple designs that utilize such a system, which could one day replace magnetic clasps, velcro, and other fasteners used in current bands.

Titled "Dynamic fit adjustment for wearable electronic devices", the patent begins by highlighting the cumbersome nature of existing fastening methods, which can be inconvenient to adjust or require special tools to achieve the desired fit, and often fail to offer fine-grained adjustment.


The patent goes on to note that not only can a sub-optimal fit be uncomfortable, it also risks decreasing the sensitivity of onboard biometric sensors and reducing their measurement accuracy. These potential problems are often exacerbated by sweat and motion during exercise, the document notes.

A number of possible solutions are offered, using variations of a built-in tensioner mechanism that adjusts automatically or at the wearer's request, tightening or loosening as required. Variations include embedded shape memory wire, internal ratcheting apparatus, gas or fluid bladders, retractable band elements, and even extendable portions of the device housing.


As always with patents, it's not known whether the inventions will ever be used in Apple's consumer product line-up, but the designs clearly relate to potential future models of Apple Watch or watch band, the latest being the Sport Loop with hook-and-loop fastener.


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Tag: patent
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Review: Fitbit Ionic is a Decent Fitness Smartwatch Spoiled By Lingering Bugs

The Ionic is Fitbit's first real effort at a "true" smartwatch, and there's plenty riding on the $300 device. Not only is the activity tracker company late to the smartwatch game, its market share in wearables has shrunk because of increasingly sophisticated rival devices from the likes Apple and Xiaomi.

To have a hope of reviving its fortunes, Fitbit sought out a new creative direction and subsequently bought Pebble late last year. The wearable technology that Fitbit inherited as part of the acquisition now powers the new Ionic operating system, called Fitbit OS.


Last month, app makers were supplied with an SDK to see what third-party apps they can come up with for the Ionic. In the meantime, I was interested to look at what Fitbit's smartwatch has to offer out of the box, and in particular, how it compares to its closest kin, the Fitbit Blaze.
Continue reading Review: Fitbit Ionic is a Decent Fitness Smartwatch Spoiled By Lingering Bugs

Apple Seeds Second Beta of watchOS 4.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming watchOS 4 update to developers for testing purposes, nearly two weeks after releasing the first watchOS 4.1 beta and three weeks after releasing the new watchOS 4 operating system to the public.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.

To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.


The watchOS 4.1 update introduces support for streaming Apple Music content directly to the Apple Watch Series 3 over LTE and it brings a new Radio app with access to Beats 1 and other Apple Music radio stations.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

While the Music app on the watch looks the same, offering up access to the Music Library, recently played songs, playlists, and Apple Music mixes, but now all Apple Music content can be streamed over an LTE connection and doesn't need to be downloaded to the device.

Support for Apple Music streaming appears to be the main feature in the new watchOS 4.1 update, but Apple is also introducing new Unicode 10 emoji characters.

watchOS 4 is a significant refresh of the watchOS operating system introducing new watch faces, including a personalized Siri face, improvements to the Workout app, support for integration with gym equipment, an Apple News app, a vertical Dock, and a new Flashlight feature in the Control Center.

For more on what's included in watchOS 4, check out our watchOS 4 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Apple Watch Nike+ Series 3 GPS and LTE Models Now in Stores

Apple Watch Nike+ GPS and LTE Series 3 models are now available to buy in stores across Australia, Europe and China, with customers already posting shots of their newly acquired smartwatches on the MacRumors forums and over on Reddit.


Several posts confirm that in some cases, customers are cancelling their online orders held up in shipping and are walking into local brick-and-mortar stores to buy their chosen Nike+ Series 3 model outright.

MacRumors forum member griffith_500 posted the above photo explaining that he preordered the Nike+ LTE with a reseller only to be informed today that they wouldn't receive the watch before mid October. "So I tried my luck and walked into the Apple store in Zurich where they had all the Nike models on stock... Love it!"

Nike+ Series 3 LTE bought in Shanghai Apple Store

Over in China, Reddit member eddietsai posted the above image of his Nike+ Series 3 LTE purchase from a local Shanghai Apple Store, where they only had the white Sport Loop in stock.

Meanwhile across the U.S., Apple orders are currently in transit across various locations and should be making their way into the hands of customers in the next few hours. Although some eager early risers have also cancelled their online orders with Apple after stores including Best Buy updated their stock to indicate availability for in-store pickup as soon as stores open today.

LTE Space Gray aluminum case with Pure Platinum band (Image via Reddit)

Several Nike+ watch bands are also available for in-store pickup today. Additional Nike+ bands are $49 each in the United States. Apple Watch Nike+ comes in four styles in both 38mm and 42mm sizes, with both cellular and Wi-Fi + GPS only models to choose from:

Silver Aluminum Case with Pure Platinum/Black Nike Sport Band
Silver Aluminum Case with Bright Crimson/Black Nike Sport Loop
Space Gray Aluminum Case with Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Band
Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black/Pure Platinum Nike Sport Loop

Apple Watch Nike+ models are priced between $329 and $429 in the U.S.

Countries in today's launch include the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

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Apple Releases watchOS 4.0.1 Update for Series 3 Models With Fix for Cellular Bug

Apple today released a new software update for the Apple Watch, upgrading watchOS 4 to watchOS 4.0.1. The watchOS 4.0.1 update comes one week after Apple first released watchOS 4 to the public.

watchOS 4.0.1 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone. Today's update is only for the Apple Watch Series 3 models.


watchOS 4.0.1 addresses a serious Wi-Fi bug impacting the performance of the new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 models.
watchOS 4.0.1 fixes issues that in rare cases were causing Apple Watch to join unauthenticated (captive) Wi-Fi networks, such as those found in public places like coffee shops and hotels, which direct the user to a web page before the network can be accessed.
During the review period for the new Apple Watch, testers discovered that the device would frequently disconnect from LTE, choosing to connect to an unusable Wi-Fi hotspot instead of an LTE tower due to its preference for Wi-Fi to save battery.

The Apple Watch was mistakenly connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots that have interstitial agreement pages to use the service. With no way to see the page or confirm, LTE Apple Watches couldn't actually use the Wi-Fi, but it still prevented them from connecting to LTE.

Apple said it was aware of the issue just before the Series 3 models launched, and said it was investigating a fix for a future software update, which is available today.

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Suppliers Expect Rising Revenues in Q4 2017 from Sales of AirPods and Apple Watch S3

Upstream suppliers are expected to see strong growth in wearable product operations in the fourth quarter of this year thanks to rising sales of Apple's AirPods and Apple Watch range, according to sources in the supply chain (via DigiTimes).

Quanta, Iventec, Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), as well as Foxconn subsidiaries Shunshin Tech and Luxshare-ICT are all expected to benefit from increased sales in Q4 2017, as Apple achieves supply/demand balance for its AirPods and consumer interest in the latest Apple Watch models increases into the holiday season.

Quanta and USI have been long-term supply-chain partners of the Apple Watch series and are expected to see a significant revenue contribution from the orders, while Shunsin has just recently joined the supply chain to provide SiP services and will begin processing related orders in February or March 2018, the sources noted.

As for the AirPods, the sources pointed out that the shortages have already eased and Apple has also increased its orders for the device.
Inventec is the manufacturer of the AirPods, while the device's proprietary W1 chip that allows seamless pairing is supplied by Luxshare-ICT. In addition to the orders, Luxshare-ICT also supplies connectors, cables and antennas for Mac and iPhone products.

AirPods now ship from the online Apple Store in just three to five business days in the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia, and several other countries around the world. Prior to August, the popular earphones had been in extremely short supply, with a typical wait time of six weeks from order to delivery.

Meanwhile, Apple has been getting backordered Apple Watch Series 3 LTE models out quicker than expected, with several customers who expected their devices in mid-October already receiving shipment confirmations.

All Apple Watch Series 3 models with LTE connectivity list shipment dates of at least three to four weeks when purchased online in the United States, and availability is similarly limited in other countries, but indications are that the wait could in fact be shorter. Non-LTE Series 3 Apple Watch models are readily available in stores and will ship out right away, while Nike+ models won't start arriving to customers until Thursday, October 5.

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Tag: AirPods
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See watchOS 4.1’s Music Streaming and New Radio App in Action

Today's watchOS 4.1 beta, seeded to developers this morning, introduces support for streaming music directly to the Apple Watch over LTE and it brings a new Radio app with access to Beats 1 live and other Apple Music radio stations.

We went hands-on with the beta to get a look at the new features, which are primarily aimed at Apple Music subscribers who have a Series 3 Apple Watch.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The Music app on the watch looks mostly the same with access to your Music Library, recently played songs, playlists, and Apple Music mixes, but now all of your music content can be streamed over an LTE connection on the Series 3 Apple Watch models and doesn't need to be downloaded to your device.

With the update, you have access to the full range of Apple Music content, and can ask Siri to play songs with or without a phone and over WiFi or LTE.

The new Radio app houses all of your Apple Music radio stations and provides access to Beats 1 radio content. Siri can also create new radio stations with requests like "Play Taylor Swift" or "Play something fun."

It's not yet clear just how much streaming music over an LTE connection will affect battery life, but when possible, the Apple Watch will use the iPhone's connection or a WiFi connection to conserve battery.

These new features are available in watchOS 4.1, which is only available to developers at the current time. Apple doesn't offer watchOS public betas, so non-developers will need to wait for the update to be released to try out the new music capabilities.

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