This week on AppleInsider: Ive's promotion, Apple Watch apps, augmented reality & more

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Several events this week pointed to Apple's future plans, including a promotion for designer Jony Ive, comments from operations head Jeff Williams, and a takeover of augmented reality firm Metaio.

Jony Ive becomes Apple's Chief Design Officer

On Monday Apple announced that Jony Ive was being promoted from senior VP of Design to a newly-created position, Chief Design Officer. The role will take Ive out of daily design duties and broaden his scope to include things like office and retail construction projects.

Filling in the gap will be Alan Dye, now the head of user interface design, and Richard Howarth, in charge of the industrial side. Both are long-time Apple designers, considered instrumental to projects like the Apple Watch and the iPhone.

iOS bug allows crashing devices via text

Various iOS users discovered that sending a specific set of Unicode characters through Messages can cause havoc for the recipient such as crashes, reboots, and/or a lockout from the app. The problem may involve faulty Unicode rendering triggering a cascading series of errors.

Apple later confirmed the issue, and promised a fix in a later iOS update. In the meantime the company suggested a workaround for lockouts involving the use of Siri to read and reply to a malicious message.

Native Apple Watch apps coming this fall

Apple COO Jeff Williams spoke at this year's Code Conference on Wednesday, and revealed that native Watch apps will become available in the fall. Developers will get a glimpse of a new SDK on June 8, the beginning of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Williams also teased the possibility of deeper Apple involvement in the car market. Apple has been strongly rumored to be working on an electric car, though even if so no vehicle is likely to launch for several years.

Apple Pay rewards program expected in June

Another June arrival could be an anticipated Apple Pay rewards program. Participants would get as-yet-unspecified perks for making use of Apple Pay, presumably in the form of discounts or free goods and services.

Rumors of a reward system first emerged after Apple Pay's launch in October 2014, but quickly went dormant, even as Apple has expanded the platform to more banks and merchants.

Court denies Apple request to remove antitrust monitor

Thursday saw Apple lose an appeal seeking to remove a court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor, Michael Bromwich. Bromwich was put in place after Apple was found to have violated antitrust laws in its dealings with book publishers, which led to artificially inflated e-book prices.

Apple has been hostile towards Bromwich for some time, accusing him of taking probes beyond the original court mandate, and refusing to allow any requested interviews since January. Despite ruling to keep Bromwich in place, the appeals court did agree with some of Apple's arguments.

Apple buys augmented reality firm Metaio

The acquisition was initially revealed on Thursday through several points of evidence, such as a share transfer, canceled product and subscription sales, and disabled Twitter accounts. Apple confirmed the deal in a boilerplate statement.

Apple's interest in augmented reality is unknown, but the company has been exploring AR and VR technologies for years, and could be looking to follow companies like Google and Microsoft in developing commercial products.

AppleInsider podcast

On this week's podcast, the AppleInsider team discusses topics like Jony Ive, using the Apple Watch when driving, and the future of Apple Pay after Target jumping on board.

The podcast is available through iTunes or on SoundCloud.

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