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This week on AppleInsider: March event rumors, streaming TV on 'hold,' Smart Battery Case hoopla & more

Even with the Christmas break rapidly approaching, news actually picked up this week thanks to new releases, a possible Apple Watch event in March, and the company giving up on launching a streaming TV service —at least for the time being.




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Review: Apple Pencil is iPad Pro's must have accessory



AppleInsider's Mikey Campbell found the Apple Pencil to be well-designed, with intuitive pressure and tilt sensitivity. Although the iPad Pro may not be ready to replace a laptop or desktop, the Pencil was said to make the tablet a great tool for artists doing tasks like mockups and on-the-go work.

The only problems were said to be its restriction to the Pro, and a weak use case for people outside of the professional sphere.

Smart Battery Case debuts for iPhone 6/6s






Launched without fanfare, the Smart Battery Case is Apple's first-ever such accessory for an iPhone. The product effectively doubles the battery life of an iPhone 6 or 6s, while offering unique iOS integration and the rare use of a Lightning port instead of micro USB.

Its design was immediately controversial however, with some people calling it ugly, or criticizing its $99 price tag in light of modest features. Apple CEO Tim Cook was even forced to defend it when questioned.

Apple said to be planning March event for Watch, iPhone






A rumor claimed that Apple is preparing a March 2016 press event where the company will not only announce a second-generation Watch, but possibly a 4-inch "iPhone 6c" with an A9 processor and Apple Pay support. Earlier this year Apple used a March event to cement the details of the first-generation Watch.

Little is known about what a new Watch design might have, although talk has suggested things like a bigger battery, better outdoor visibility, and/or Pebble-style "smart bands."

Apple updates OS X, iOS, tvOS & watchOS






Not content with new accessories, Apple also released OS X 10.11.2, iOS 9.2, tvOS 9.1, and watchOS 2.1. As a rule, the updates mostly dealt with maintenance issues.

iOS 9.2, however, added new features to Apple Music, News, and Mail, while tvOS 9.1 added Apple Music support in Siri, plus compatibility with the iOS Remote app.

Streaming TV service on "hold"






Long mired in negotiations, Apple's efforts at launching a streaming TV service have been suspended, reports said on Tuesday. The stumbling block is believed to be resistance to Apple's demand for a "skinny" channel bundle costing less than $30 per month.

Talks with content partners are in fact said to have stopped several months ago. Instead, the company is concentrating on making the tvOS App Store a place where networks can sell directly to customers.

Apple rumored to be developing custom mobile GPU






The rumored project has been "under extreme secrecy for a few years," sources claimed on Thursday. There's no definite timeline though, and indeed Apple could still choose to abandon the idea.

iOS devices and the Apple TV generally use modified PowerVR GPUs designed by Imagination Technologies. By going with its own concepts, Apple could theoretically optimize its hardware even further.

AppleInsider podcast



Editor Mikey Campbell and contributor Victor Marks sat down to chat about the Apple TV, the Smart Battery Case, and a range of other topics like the Apple Watch's Christmas outlook.