iOS 10.1 brings Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus

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Portrait Mode is finally here!
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

iPhone 7 Plus owners can finally start using Apple’s highly-touted Portrait Mode starting today.

Apple released iOS 10.1 to the public this morning after weeks of beta testing the new Portrait Mode. The software update comes with a couple of other tweaks for iPhone and iPad as well as a number of bug fixes.

Apple’s Japanese R&D center will be dedicated to AI

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Elektro, a robot built by Westinghouse in 1937, was a star at the World's Fair in 1939-40. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum
Tim Cook is eying Japan for Apple's AI research hub.
Photo: Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum

Apple’s new R&D base in Yokohama, Japan, will focus on artificial intelligence and other related technologies, Tim Cook has revealed.

The new facility is set to be completed by December, well ahead of the projected date of March 2017. In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Cook called it a center for “deep engineering,” and said it will be “very different” from the R&D centers Apple plans to build in China.

Tim Cook talks R&D, future collaboration with Japan’s prime minister

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Tim Cook and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be talking about the Note 7.
Photo: Sourikantei/Facebook

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a pit stop Friday at the office of Japan’s prime minister to talk about Apple’s growth in the country.

Cook told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Apple’s new R&D facility in Yokohama will be completed by December, well ahead of the projected date of March 2017. Apple says it hopes the new R&D facility near Tokyo will help it forge more local partnerships to source parts for future Apple products.

Apple to adopt new tap-to-pay standard for Japan

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FeliCa-Japan
Apple is adding support for FelICa.
Photo: Sony

Apple is planning to adopt a new tap-to-pay standard that will be integrated into future iPhones specifically for customers in Japan, according to a new report. The FeliCa standard, originally developed by Sony, will allow users to store public bus and train passes in Apple Wallet.

Japanese temple hopes Steve Jobs’ name will revive interest

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This is the temple where Jobs' spiritual advisor was trained.
Photo: 663highland/Wikipedia CC

It’s no secret that Japan is a big fan of Steve Jobs, which goes some way to explaining why Apple’s late co-founder is being used as a (pretty tenuous) connection to help reinvigorate interest in the country’s Buddhist Zen tourism trade.

How? Because, as it turns out, the 13th century Eiheiji temple Japanese local authorities hope to drum up interest in happens to be the same place which trained Kobun Chino Otogawa, a.k.a. Jobs’ spiritual advisor and wedding officiator.

We warned you it was tenuous!

Japanese helper-bot is as adorable as it is ridiculous

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This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
Photo: Sharp/YouTube

Now if Cupertino really wanted to make Siri something special, they would give her a head, arms and legs, and make her dance when she plays music.

Sharp Electronics has either jumped ahead of Apple or jumped the shark tank with an animated robotic smartphone called RoBoHon. It does everything your current smartphone does but with moving appendages, an adorable, futuristic face and a sweet voice to make it a very personable sidekick.

iPhone 6s sales may be up to 15% weaker in Japan

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iPhone 6s
Are iPhone sales finally starting to slow down?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has praised the iPhone 6s for selling a record-shattering 13 million units in its first three days. However, a new report suggests that in Japan the 6s and 6s Plus actually sold 10-15 percent fewer units than last year’s iPhone 6.

How can both of these reported facts (record-breaking sales figures and lower demand) be true at the same time? There is an answer — and, no, it’s not Schrödinger’s iPhone.

Apple’s Japanese R&D center will focus on materials, vehicles and health research

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R&D
Apple's shiny new Japanese R&D center.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s upcoming R&D center in Yokohama will allow the company to tap into the materials, vehicles and health expertise that exists in Japan, according to a new report.

The R&D facility — which will be Apple’s biggest in Asia — will join similar offices in the U.K., China and Israel.