Apple investing 30% stake in wind power in China

Apple has bought a 30% stake of Goldwind, based in China, for wind energy that will produce 285 megawatts of power. Apple invested in four subsidiaries located in different provinces where the power will come from: Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, and Yunnan provinces in China.

Goldwind, one of the largest wind turbine makers based in Xinjian, made the announcement last week. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, told local chinese media that the investments in wind turbines will collectively yield 285 megawatts of clean energy. The company hopes to direct the power toward manufacturers connected to Apple’s supply chain.

Apple has been progressively moving towards alternative forms of energy by heavily investing in solar and wind. Apple previously invested in a 40 megawatt solar power project in Sichuan, including three other solar projects to generate 170 megawatts of power.

Apple spending $45 million on research center in Beijing

Apple is building a $45 million research facility in Beijing, The Wall Street Journal reports. The facility will employ 500 people and will develop computer, communications, audio, and visual hardware. This will be Apples first R&D facility in China.

Tim Cook announced last month about plans for China and investments for research and development. The facility is reportedly going to be developed in the Zhongguancun Science Park, Beijing, Wangjing district.

Apple has faced hard times recently in China. Chinese authorities shut down iTunes Movies and iBook services earlier this year, which prompted Tim Cooks visits to China. Apple has been manufacturing its devices in China for a long time.

Apple has already made investments in China including the $1 billion invested in Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing app in China. This new facility may help smooth relations with China and get Apple back one of its important markets.

iOS 10 public beta just went live!

Apple has released the first public beta of iOS 10. You don’t have to be a developer to download the beta, its for anyone who wants to risk installing and taking a look at some of the new features and functionalities that iOS 10 will have to offer.

Apple is also keen to see how well iOS 10 will perform, the company can begin to fix issues that occur before releasing the final product. So don’t be shy, if your interested install the beta version of iOS 10, just make sure you’re backed up just in case. Enroll your iOS device, install a configuration profile, and update iOS, then later in September your device should update to the final version of iOS 10.

Some features your can expect are updates to third party integration with Siri. Users also get a newly redesigned lock screen that can display notifications and widgets. The Photos app gets an update with facial recognition, deep learning integration for categorization, and intelligent photo albums. A new Messages app with various new features will be available. Apple Maps, Apple Music, HomeKit, and more services are also getting updates.

Apple takes a different approach to privacy

On Monday Apple displayed many new features surrounding its products though one feature showed just how much Apple has improved when it comes to privacy.

Apple announced their use of artificial intelligence, features like facial recognition, authentication, and software that knows whats in your photos and videos. Apple’s newest version of Photos app will have facial recognition to create virtual albums of people that users frequently take photos with or of. It also utilizes the ability to search using key words. Federighi said those features are powered by deep learning, which utilizes artificial intelligence.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, emphasized that the company uses machine-learning algorithms to be able to provide certain features such as for photos only within a users iPhone not on Apple’s servers. “We believe you should have great features and great privacy,” said Federighi.  “When it comes to performing advanced deep learning and intelligence of your data, we’re doing it on your device, keeping your personal data under your control.”


Apple launches Swift Playgrounds to teach kids how to code

Apple announced Swift Playgrounds for the iPad, aimed at making it easier for kids to learn how to code.

It works by giving users a number of basic coding lessons including challenges. The interface is bright and simple, allowing for quick access to lessons, though it should be noted that its colorful and fun since its made for kids.

The lessons are broken up and involve games and animations. A new special keyboard is also added with a number of shortcuts and other features that make it easier to input code.

Apple also introduced a new programming language and a developer preview is launching today, with the final version being shipped in iOS 10 this Fall. It might seem like a long wait though there’s good news, not only is the programming language open source, the app will also be available for free.

Apple Music gets a needed upgrade

Apple has launched a new version of Apple Music, which badly needed an update.

Apple says this new version was built “from the ground up” with simplicity in mind. The service has 15 million subscribers, as stated by Apple.

The new update is simplistic, getting rid of all the confusion and mess found in the previous version. Users get a simple library when opening up the app. It helps users identify music stored locally on phones and streaming tracks.

The deafening “For You” tab is now broken up into Discover, Recently Played, and a daily playlist that changes every day. The app will also show lyrics to songs. Though it was used to awkwardly get WWDC attendees to sing along, it’ll definitely be a useful feature.

iMessage Apps have launched for third-party devs

Apple is opening many things to developers such as Siri and now messages.

With iMessage apps, users can open an app drawer from within the messages app and interact with other users and apps at the same time.

Gifs such as Micky Mouse, paying friends through Messages with Square Pay, ordering food from Door Dash, and more will now be available.

Users can now also send rich links, with music and videos that play directly from conversations. This will also include emoji’s, allowing users to transform or accompany words with related emoji.

Users can also use bubble animations for their messages, examples given were gentle messages to surprise messages. Users can send messages that allow a hidden option, so when recipients see the message they have to swipe to reveal the message.

Apple also announced updates to QuickType that will be able to understand when users are asked for contact info and will offer suggestions to send them. The keyboard can understand when someone asks about you for example where you are and send them a location on maps.

Memories with Apple iOS 10

Apple introduces “memories” for iOS 10, that allows users to take photos and convert them to short movies. Using local, on-device facial recognition and AI detection within images, Memories combines photos and videos into themed movies, which can include soundtracks.

The demo by Apple was interesting as it took images and video clips and created a montage of a family ski trip. Themes are also included to allow users to create videos with centered on moods such as chill, gentle, uplifting, and allow users to choose the length.

Apple tackles IOT with new app

Apple’s SVP Craig Federighi announced at WWDC an update to Homekit, Apple’s Internet of Things (IOT) platform. Apple has built a dedicated app to control all the devices at users homes.

Users will be able to use the app to control lights, view cams, open garage doors, and more.

Apple will also release the app for iPad and Apple Watch.

Apple Pay updates at WWDC

Apple announced that Apple pay will be available on Safari.

Mac users will be able to pay online through Safari using a “Pay with Apple Pay” button, and use their Touch ID via iPhone or watch for authentication. Once users are ready to check out, Apple’s Continuity feature will pull up a prompt on the iPhone or watch for authentication.

Retail partners will  need to integrate Apple Pay into their checkout, and Apple has stated that many merchants have signed up for the payment platform.