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This week on AppleInsider: 'iPhone 7' rumors, iPhone 6s production cuts, stock market troubles & more

News stepped to a fast pace at the beginning of 2016, with numerous rumors about the iPhone 7, and worries about Apple's stock price and the prospects for iPhone 6s sales.

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Lawsuit accuses Apple of stealing heart rate tech

A company called Valencell said that Apple showed interest in its heart rate technology in early 2013, even proposing a partnership, but then simply exploited its resources and used patent-infringing technology in the sensor on the Apple Watch. Apple thought it would be more economically efficient to risk infringing patents than pay for a license, Valencell's lawyers claimed.

Both the Apple Watch and Valencell's sensors use optical technology to measure blood flow. If Valencell wins the case, it could damage Apple's reputation, since the latter is essentially being accused of outright theft.

'iPhone 7' dropping 3.5mm jack, going waterproof

A flood of rumors suggested that Apple's next-gen iPhone will lose a 3.5mm headphone jack to go even thinner, depending on Bluetooth and Lightning for audio output instead. The phone may also become waterproof, support wireless charging, and implement native noise-cancellation support.

Apple may even be developing a set of "premium" Bluetooth earbuds with completely separate left and right pieces, charged in a special carrying case with its own battery.

Apple rumored to be cutting iPhone 6s production

On Tuesday a report said that Apple was cutting iPhone 6s/6s Plus production by some 30 percent for the March quarter. Although skepticism abounded, this was supported by a number of Apple suppliers —including Foxconn —declaring financial setbacks.

Nikkei suggested that rather than pointing to a drop in demand, Apple is simply performing an "inventory adjustment" to help clear out retail stockpiles.

App Store sets new records during 2015 holidays

Apple used Wednesday to trumpet the App Store's performance during the Christmas holidays. The shop raked in $1.1 billion in revenue during a two-week span including both Christmas and New Year's, with $144 million of that flowing from New Year's Day alone. The latter was Apple's best-ever day at the App Store.

Apple argues against mandated diversity in upper echelons

In a 2016 proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple recommended that shareholders vote against a proposal that would require Apple to increase the number of non-white members in both its board of directors and upper executive ranks. Apple insisted that its current approach to diversity is better.

At the moment, Apple has only two non-white people in the highest tiers of the company: HR head Denise Young Smith, and Andrea Jung, who sits on the board of directors.

Apple stock takes price hit

Thursday saw Apple stock begin daily trading under $100, something that hadn't happened since Oct. 2014. Investors may have been concerned about the alleged drop in iPhone 6s production, as well as the iPhone's long-term potential, especially since a majority of Apple's revenue stems from the product.

Apple buys facial recognition firm Emotient

Emotient specializes in AI used to detect a person's emotional state from imagery. Prior to being snapped up by Apple, the technology was primarily exploited by the advertising and marketing industries.

What Apple might do with the tech is unknown, but in recent years the company has picked up a number of small companies connected to motion capture and facial analysis.

AppleInsider podcast

Editors Neil Hughes, Shane Cole, and Mikey Campbell had plenty to talk about this week, including not just iPhone rumors but the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, and whether Apple could take a lesson from PC gaming hardware like the Razer Core.