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This week on AppleInsider: Apple TV & 4K iMac reviews, iPhone 7 plans, Apple Car hires & more

AppleInsider this week took a crack at reviewing not one but two major new Apple products, while the rumor cycle again turned to the long-term with possible details of iOS and iPhone upgrades, the Apple Car, and live content plans.




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Apple at work on indoor positioning tech



On Sunday a mysterious Apple app called Indoor Survey was spotted on the App Store, all but confirming that Apple is working on indoor mapping technology for iOS. Before being pulled, its description noted that the app would use a mix of RF signal data and iPhone sensors to scan indoor environments.

Just a day later, Maps Connect members reported seeing a banner encouraging larger venues to sign up for indoor positioning. In the long run, the technology could allow iPhone owners to navigate environments where GPS is weak or blocked.

Job listing teases original live Apple content






Apple is hiring a leader to help create "original content and live projects" for several of its online services, including Apple Music, iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store. What that might entail isn't clear, but music, radio, books, and TV/movies are all mentioned as potential content types in the job listing, and an ideal candidate would be familiar with "broadcast production teams and third party creative and production partners."

It's not certain though if the job is connected to rumors of Apple exploring original video programming, possibly for its streaming TV service coming next year. Such content would probably be modeled after services like Netflix.

Reviews: Fourth-gen Apple TV, 4K 21.5-inch iMac






AppleInsider's Neil Hughes found the new Apple TV to be a major improvement, thanks to things like tvOS, a new remote, and Siri voice control. It's the future of the device that will make or break it however, he said.

Mikey Campbell took a look at the first 21.5-inch 4K iMac, ruling that the device is solid overall within certain uses, but that Apple skimped on performance by making a 5,400 rpm hard disk the default storage.

Apple, GT Advanced reach pact to settle $439M in debt






Bankrupt Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced agreed to auction off some of its equipment, while keeping up to 600 furnaces, leaving any unsold items to be disposed by Apple. The company has until Nov. 23 to auction off any furnaces, and until Dec. 31 move equipment out of its former facility in Mesa, Arizona. Final approval from a bankruptcy judge is still pending.

GT has claimed that Apple pulled a "bait-and-switch" approach when it came to sapphire demands, luring it in with one set of terms but then making them more stringent. Apple has insisted that it gave plenty of leeway.

Rumors point to new 4-inch iPhone, early iPhone 7 launch






One rumor pointed to the return of a 4-inch iPhone option in 2016, which might sport features like an A9 processor and metal casing. The device might serve a low-cost role similar to the iPhone 5c.

Longer-term, separate reports pointed to an "iPhone 7" shipping earlier than Apple's usual September timeframe, and an iPhone 7 Plus coming with an A10 processor and 3 gigabytes of RAM, allegedly 1 gigabyte more than the regular iPhone 7.

Apple hires auto engineer with background in "digital license plates"






The engineer, Rónán Ó Braonáin, worked on digital plates with a company called Reviver, but also has experience with BMW as a software engineer, and CTO time at an EV fleet solutions firm, Vision Fleet. A LinkedIn profile describes him as a "Secret Agent" in Apple's Special Projects division.

Apple has made a number of high-level hires from the automotive industry for its electric vehicle project. Referred to internally as "Project Titan," Apple's initiative is well underway at facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif., and beyond.

AppleInsider podcast



Our editors assembled this week to talk about Apple's new and future hardware, as well as address listener questions.