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The Week in Mobile: August 7-13, 2016

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5th iOS 10 preview, HTC’s new VR app store, Logitech introduces Pop Home Switch and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Apple Rolls Out Fifth iOS 10 Preview

Last week, Apple released its fifth iOS 10 developer preview. As you would expect at this stage of the cycle, the release focuses on bug fixes and increased stability, improving upon already exposed features such as the new widgets panel, output icon and lock screen. Apple also released watch OS 3, tvOS and macOS betas.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that the second Apple Watch will hit shelves later this year. The new device is expected to come with a GPS radio and barometer and a larger battery. The design will remain similar to that of the first iteration and it’s unlikely we’ll see LTE support until 2018. Additionally, current speculation is that the iPhone 7 will hit stores on September 16.

Apple Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup

Apple announced the acquisition of machine-learning startup Turi for approximately $200 million. The Seattle-based company offers tools to help developers build AI functionality into their apps. The acquisition is one of several recent investments Apple has made in this space. Within the past year, Apple has purchased several AI companies including Perceptio, VocalIQ, Faceshift and Emollient.

Google Experiments with New “Explore Interests” Feature

Google is thought to be experimenting with a new feature for its AI assistant, Google Now, which could give users more control over the content it delivers. “Explore Interests” would prompt Google Now users to create a custom profile by indicating interest in such categories as sports, TV, movies and so on. Each selected interest directs the user to drill down into specific topics they would like to track.

This system would allow Google Now to better deliver custom content. Right now, the assistant relies on somewhat hidden app settings to determine which content to present.

HTC Announces New Vive VR App Store

HTC announced that a new app store dedicated to virtual reality is in the making. A beta of Viveport will launch soon, so developers can experiment with the new store before it releases to the general public in the fall. This is exciting news for Vive headset users, who will be able to more easily shop for VR apps and sign up for subscriptions. Viveport isn’t intended to replace HTC’s VR Steam store. Instead, it is meant to supplement and improve discoverability for VR content.

Logitech Introduces a New Way to Control Your Smarthome

Logitech unveiled its new Pop Home Switch, a button that can be programmed to control your smarthome. The Pop button is compatible with a range of devices, including smart speakers, locks, blinds, lights and beyond. Because the Logitech Pop responds to three triggers — single click, double click and long click — users can control multiple smart devices from a single switch. Users can also combine commands so one click turns off lights and simultaneously close the blinds. The device is available for preorder and is expected to ship within the next few weeks.

CVS Pharmacy Simplifies Pickup Process with Mobile

CVS pharmacy is streamlining the prescription pickup process with the launch of its own custom mobile payments solution. Built into the CVS mobile app, this new payment option will allow users to verify their identity for pickup, earn ExtraCare points and pay for prescriptions in one fell swoop. This is the first mobile payments solution CVS will support — the company does not yet accept Apple Pay or Android Pay. For now, CVS Pay is available in select stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The company plans to roll the solution out nationwide by the end of the year.

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