posted about 3 hours ago on mac rumors
Several new icons unearthed in the latest build of iOS 11.2.5 and shared on Twitter appear to reveal additional functionality included in Apple's upcoming HomePod smart speaker. On Sunday, Filipe Espósito found an image hidden amongst Apple's Home app assets that includes icons which suggest it will be possible to create custom scenes that mute the HomePod speaker's "Hey, Siri" function. As Espósito notes, the function could be useful in a house party scenario, for example, where the owner might want to control other smart devices like lights and motion sensors while disabling Siri responses for privacy reasons. Apple has not yet mentioned if HomePod can support more than one user, but Espósito believes there are references that indicate the speaker will distinguish between different voices to service multiple accounts. He also notes that existing assets show support for combining two HomePods for stereo sound, or using two or more HomePods to simultaneously stream music using Apple's AirPlay 2 wireless streaming protocol. Apple originally announced the HomePod back in June 2017 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where it demoed the speaker's advanced spatial awareness which intelligently adjusts to the surroundings to deliver the best possible sound. The company initially planned to release the Siri-based speaker in December 2017, but in a subsequent statement said it was pushing back launch to a more non-specific "early 2018" timeframe. Rumors suggest HomePod supplier Inventec has started shipping the HomePod to Apple, whose historical definition of "early" is January through April, so it's still not entirely clear when it will launch. Supplies of the HomePod could also potentially be limited at launch, based on information shared from Inventec, and Apple has said the $349 speaker will initially only ship in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.Related Roundup: HomePodTag: HomeKitDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 1 day ago on mac rumors
Duke University today announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the 2018 commencement address on May 13 in Wallace Wade Stadium on the university's campus in Durham, North Carolina. Cook earned an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1988 and has served on the university's Board of Trustees since 2015."I am absolutely delighted that Tim Cook will be returning to campus as this spring's commencement speaker," said [Duke President Vincent E.] Price. "Throughout his career, Tim has embodied Duke's values of innovation and service to society, whether through his contributions to Apple's groundbreaking technology or his advocacy for social justice. I can imagine no better person, and no bigger Duke fan, to inspire the Class of 2018."As part of today's announcement, Duke included a brief video revealing its commencement speaker selection using Animoji, with Cook making an appearance as the fox. "From the first day I walked onto campus more than 30 years ago, Duke has been a source of inspiration and pride for me -- both professionally and through the deep personal friendships that have endured to this day," said Cook. "It's my honor to be returning to salute the class of 2018 as they begin the next chapter of their lives as Duke graduates."In addition to this year's upcoming appearance at Duke, Cook has delivered a number of other commencement addresses in recent years, including at his undergraduate alma mater Auburn University in 2010, at George Washington University in 2015, and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year.Tags: Tim Cook, Duke UniversityDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 2 days ago on mac rumors
Apple this morning announced the expansion of its "Everyone Can Code" initiative to 70 educational institutions across Europe, and following the announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at Harlow College in Essex, one of the schools that will adopt the new curriculum. The Guardian shared several of Cook's comments, which covered overuse of technology and boundaries for children. Cook said he believes there are concepts that can't be taught using technology, and in many courses, technology shouldn't dominate."I don't believe in overuse [of technology]. I'm not a person that says we've achieved success if you're using it all the time," he said. "I don't subscribe to that at all." "There are still concepts that you want to talk about and understand. In a course on literature, do I think you should use technology a lot? Probably not."According to Cook, Apple cares about children out of the classroom, a topic that's notable as Apple investors recently urged Apple to do more to protect children from smartphone addiction. Apple in early January said in a statement that it thinks deeply about how its products are used and the impact they have on people, including children. Apple takes its responsibility to protect children "very seriously," and has promised more robust parental controls for iOS devices in the future. Though he does not have children of his own, Cook says in his own personal life, he "put some boundaries" on his nephew. "There here are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network," he said. On the topic of learning to code, Cook spoke passionately, as he has done several times in the past. Learning to code, he says, is more important than learning a foreign language.Cook said: "I think if you had to make a choice, it's more important to learn coding than a foreign language. I know people who disagree with me on that. But coding is a global language; it's the way you can converse with 7 billion people."Cook's full commentary, which covers diversity, coding at an early age, and the importance of the press, can be read over at The Guardian.Tag: Tim CookDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Ahead of the promised "early 2018" launch of the HomePod, Apple has received official FCC approval for the smart speaker. Now that FCC approval has been obtained, Apple is free to begin selling the device at any time. All devices that use communications technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be submitted to the United States Federal Communications Commission to ensure compliance with federal regulations before they're eligible to be sold in the United States. That FCC approval has been obtained suggests the HomePod will launch in the near future. For comparison's sake, Apple received FCC approval for the iPhone X on October 4, just under one month before the device was released to the public on November 3. Today's FCC clearance of the HomePod follows a rumor earlier this week suggesting HomePod supplier Inventec has already started shipping HomePod units to Apple. Apple is reportedly set to receive "about 1 million" HomePod devices and an industry source that spoke to the Taipei Times, the source of the rumor, has said that the HomePod is coming "soon." Apple originally planned to release the HomePod in December, but the company ended up requiring additional development time, delaying its debut until 2018. Apple has said the HomePod will ship out to customers in the US, UK, and Australia in "early 2018." Early 2018, by Apple's historical definition, is something of a broad window. Apple considers "early 2018" to be the period between January and April, so it's been tough to narrow down the prospective launch date of the HomePod. Given the shipment rumors and the FCC approval, however, we may see the device in late January or early February rather than later in the year. Like many new Apple products, rumors suggest initial supplies of the HomePod could be constrained at launch. Inventec is expecting revenue from the HomePod to be "limited" during Q1 2018 due to a low quantity of HomePod devices available for shipment.Related Roundup: HomePodDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
If you have a damaged iPhone 6 Plus that qualifies for a whole-device replacement, Apple may replace it with an iPhone 6s Plus through March, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers today. Apple specifically states that "orders for whole unit service inventory of some iPhone 6 Plus models may be substituted to an iPhone 6s Plus until the end of March 2018." MacRumors confirmed the memo's authenticity with multiple sources, who requested to remain anonymous due to their positions. Apple doesn't specify which iPhone 6 Plus models are eligible, nor does it provide a reason for the substitution, but it likely relates to Apple's shortage of iPhone 6 Plus replacement batteries until late March to early April. A previous internal document obtained by MacRumors states that Apple no longer manufactures the iPhone 6 Plus, so it likely has to reboot its production lines to replenish its supply of both the device itself and batteries, which would certainly take time. Apple did not respond to our request for comment. It's possible that some customers who have visited a Genius Bar recently opted for a whole-device replacement rather than waiting until March or April for a new battery, which may have depleted the little supply of iPhone 6 Plus replacement units that Apple had, but this is only speculation on our part. Apple and most Apple Authorized Service Providers can replace an iPhone's display, battery, speakers, rear camera, or Taptic Engine individually, while a defective Lightning connector, faulty logic board, and most other repairs are generally eligible for a whole-device replacement, our source said. Your mileage may vary depending on the exact damage to your iPhone and the results of Apple's diagnostic tests. Apple Support can be reached on the web or by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store.Related Roundup: iPhone 6sBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
iOS 11 is now installed on 65 percent of iOS devices, according to new statistics Apple shared yesterday on its App Store support page for developers. That's up six percentage points since December 5, when iOS 11 was installed on 59 percent of devices, and 13 percentage points since November 6, when iOS 11 was installed on 52 percent of devices. 28 percent of devices continue to use iOS 10, while earlier versions of iOS are installed on seven percent of iOS devices. Since iOS 11 was released, its adoption rate has been quite a bit slower than iOS 10 adoption rates in 2017. In January of 2017, for example, iOS 10 was installed on 76 percent of iOS devices. Apple has released several updates for iOS 11 since its September launch, but the operating system has also been plagued by bugs and security issues, which doesn't appear to have helped adoption rates. iOS 11.2.1 and iOS 11.2.2, the two latest iOS 11 updates, were both released to address major bugs and vulnerabilities. iOS 11.2.1 fixed a HomeKit bug that allowed for unauthorized access to HomeKit accessories, while iOS 11.2.2 introduced mitigations for the Spectre vulnerability impacting all modern processors. iOS 11.2, released in early December, did bring some major new features to the operating system, like Apple Pay Cash and 7.5W Wireless Charging, but even that update doesn't appear to have spurred a larger than normal growth in adoption rate. Some iOS 11 users who were unhappy with the current version of iOS were also able to recently downgrade their operating systems when a brief oversight saw Apple signing older versions of iOS dating back to iOS 6. Apple next week will introduce iOS 11.2.5, another update that introduces an important bug fix for an exploit that allows a malicious link to freeze the Messages app when received via text message.Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has hired several data scientists from Silicon Valley Data Science, a consulting firm that offers data engineering and data science services, reports Bloomberg. A few dozen employees from Silicon Valley Data Science joined Apple in December and January to help the company better use its data to improve its advertising efforts. According to the Silicon Valley Data Science website, the startup helped businesses improve customer retention, increase engagement, improve conversion rates, develop new revenue-generating data products, streamline operations, and more. At Apple, the team will work on ad-related analytics to bolster Apple's advertising efforts. One area of focus could be better optimizing App Store ads. Founder and CEO of Silicon Valley Data Science Sanjay Mathur is one of the employees that has taken a position as Apple. His LinkedIn profile now says that he leads "strategy and analytics initiatives for a group at Apple." Several other LinkedIn profiles from former Silicon Valley Data Science employees now list data scientist positions at Apple. The company's former CTO, for example, now works on "Algorithms," while the former Head of Data Science is now Apple's "Principal Data Scientist." While the Silicon Valley Data Science website is still up, the company shut down in December and its services are no longer offered.Tags: Apple ads, Apple acquisitionDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2.5 update to developers, just a few days after seeding the sixth beta and more than a week after releasing iOS 11.2.2, an update designed to mitigate a serious hardware-based vulnerability called "Spectre." Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2.5 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. Early iOS 11.2.5 betas introduced a new feature letting Siri play daily news podcasts from MPR, Fox News, CNN, or The Washington Post when queried about the current news, but the feature was officially released in iOS 11.2.2 ahead of the iOS 11.2.5 update. iOS 11.2.5 appears to address a bug that allowed a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on iOS devices. As of the sixth beta, the link in question no longer affects the Messages app. It's not clear what other new features, if any, will be introduced in the iOS 11.2.5. We didn't discover other noticeable outward-facing changes in the first six iOS 11.2.5 betas, so it's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes and security improvements aside from the Siri news update. If that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release. Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled from the iOS 11 release, but there has been no indication of when we can expect iCloud Messages to be reintroduced. Today's beta appears to be the final golden master version of iOS 11.2.5 that will be released to the public next week. Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has topped Fortune's annual list of the World's Most Admired Companies for the 11th consecutive year. Apple finished ahead of Amazon, the runner-up for a second consecutive year, while Google's parent Alphabet, Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway, and coffee chain Starbucks rounded off the top five. Apple topped the list in every category, such as innovation, quality of management, social responsibility, use of corporate assets, financial soundness, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness. The rankings were determined by some 3,900 executives, directors, and securities analysts who selected the 10 companies they admired most. More on Fortune's methodology:As we have in the past, Fortune collaborated with our partner Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputations. We began with a universe of about 1,500 candidates: the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue, along with non-U.S. companies in Fortune's Global 500 database that have revenues of $10 billion or more. We then winnowed the assortment to the highest-revenue companies in each industry, a total of 680 in 29 countries. The top-rated companies were picked from that pool of 680; the executives who voted work at the companies in that group.The complete list includes 50 companies, ranging from other tech giants like Microsoft at 7th and Facebook at 12th to iconic brands like Coca-Cola at 18th and McDonald's at 37th. On the upside, both Adidas and Lockheed Martin made it onto the list for the first time. Meanwhile, GE plummeted from 7th to 30th. In terms of technology companies, Apple ranked sixth in Thomson Reuters' first-ever list of the Top 100 Global Technology Leaders.Tag: fortune.comDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China has led market analysts to revise down shipments for the first half of 2018, but larger-sized iPhone models in the pipeline should see Apple grow its overall worldwide shipments year-on-year, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who shared the information in a new research report obtained by MacRumors. We revise down 1Q18 and 2Q18 shipments of iPhone X to 18mn units and 13mn units, respectively, lower than market consensus of 20-30mn and 15-20mn units. We expect iPhone X will go to end of life (EOL) around mid-2018 and that total life cycle shipments will be around 62mn units, lower than our previous forecast of 80mn units.Two main reasons are given for the weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China. First, in Q4 2017, consumers were willing to wait on average 10 months longer before replacing their existing phones, compared to shorter replacement cycles in the year-ago quarter. In Q4 2016, smartphone users upgraded after between 14 and 16 months of ownership, compared to between 24 and 26 months in Q4 2017. The numbers are are said to be reflected in lower shipment forecasts by Chinese phone makers for the second half of last year. The second big factor is said to be Chinese consumers' penchant for larger displays. According to Kuo, many potential buyers are under the misapprehension that iPhone X's notched design means it has a smaller screen than 5.5-inch iPhone Plus models. This confusion, coupled with the high price of iPhone X, is thought to have undercut replacement demand. Despite the downward revisions in shipments for the first half of this year – and Kuo's moot point that Apple might end iPhone X sales in the summer – Kuo believes overall iPhone shipments will maintain year-on-year growth of 0-5 percent over the first half of 2018, mainly thanks to Apple's corrected supply chain share. However, Kuo thinks Apple's next product line-up will significantly improve competitiveness in the second half of the year, when Apple's "real super cycle" will kick in. Kuo has previously predicted Apple will introduce three iPhones in 2018: an OLED model that measures in at 5.8 inches like the current iPhone X, an OLED model that measures in at 6.5 inches that will serve as a sort of "iPhone X Plus," and a 6.1-inch model that features an LCD display. Kuo believes all three models will be equipped with a full-screen notched design and TrueDepth camera system like the iPhone X. We believe the addition of 6.5-inch OLED and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone models will boost Apple's market share in China, and that the US$650-750 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will make it easier for users worldwide to own a 3D sensing and full-screen design iPhone which offers an innovative user experience. For these reasons, Kuo believes iPhone shipments will grow 5-10 percent year on year over 2018. Kuo's estimate is better than the market consensus of overall smartphone shipment growth worldwide, which is expected to experience between a 5 percent decline and 5 percent growth. As a result, KGI retains a positive outlook for the iPhone supply chain in the second half of 2018.Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi KuoBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today announced that 70 colleges and universities across Europe have adopted its "Everyone Can Code" initiative, which aims to help people learn to create mobile apps for the App Store. Education institutions in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Portugal are now offering Apple's App Development with Swift curriculum, which is a full-year coding course designed by Apple educators and engineers. "Coding is an essential skill for today's workforce, and through Everyone Can Code, we're giving people around the world the power to learn, write and teach coding," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Since launching Everyone Can Code two years ago, we've seen growing excitement for the initiative from schools around the world, who are increasingly incorporating the curriculum into their classrooms."Institutions highlighted in Apple's press release include: the Technical University of Munich in Germany, which uses Swift and ARKit to teach business skills that are relevant to the local workplace; the publicly funded Mercantec Vocational College in Denmark, which will offer the course to its 3,000 students; and the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen in the Netherlands, where 34,000 students will be offered the chance to learn to code. The U.K.'s Harlow College will also offer the course to its 3,000 students, some of which are adults seeking to regain employment. "At Harlow College, we recognize that learning to code will help students prepare for a technological future. It develops their approach to problem solving, logic and reasoning, as well as reinforcing key mathematical skills," said Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College. "Everyone Can Code demonstrates how any student can code by providing a unique and innovative environment for learning."Apple introduced its App Development with Swift curriculum in early 2017, with the materials available as a free download from the iBooks Store. At the time the initiative was introduced, six community college systems serving 500,000 students across the United States agreed to offer the Apple-designed course. Later in the year, the course expanded to 30 more community college systems in the U.S. before becoming available internationally. Tags: App Store, Swift, App Development with SwiftDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 3 days ago on mac rumors
Apple recently introduced an all new design for App Store apps on the web, with a new, cleaner interface that puts screenshots and critical information front and center. You can see the new redesigned interface by accessing or searching for any iOS or Mac app while on the web. With iOS apps, you'll see a clear notice that you need to open up the App Store to download the app, while with a Mac app, you'll get a notice letting you know you need to open up the Mac App Store. App listings include the app's name, icon, and screenshots, along with information like star rating, ranking, purchase price and whether or not there are in-app purchases. While an app's description used to be the first thing that came up when accessing an app on the web, it's now listed underneath screenshots, which, as 9to5Mac points out, are iPhone X screenshots. App Store webpages also include a listing of what's new, select reviews, app size, and a list of related apps. The change to the way apps are displayed on the web comes following the launch of iTunes 12.7, which entirely eliminated the built-in App Store for iOS apps. With no App Store in iTunes, iOS apps can only be downloaded directly on an iPhone or iPad, rather than downloaded on a Mac and then transferred to an iOS device. When making the change, Apple didn't really alter the way apps were displayed on the web, which had the potential to be confusing. The new look is much more streamlined and makes it clearer how apps can be downloaded on an iOS device. Because of the elimination of the App Store in iTunes 12.7, some users have decided to continue using iTunes 12.6.3, which does include App Store functionality. Apple made iTunes 12.6.3 available for its educational and business customers who need iTunes to install apps, but it is also available to the general public.Tag: App StoreDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
MacRumors videographer Dan recently got his hands on the new 8-core iMac Pro, and he decided to compare it to his other machines, a 2015 5K iMac and a 2016 MacBook Pro to see how it measures up when it comes to his everyday video editing workload. In the video below, Dan takes a look at how well the iMac Pro performs on tasks like editing video, exporting video, and reading and writing data. If you're wondering whether the entry-level iMac Pro is worth the $5,000 price tag when you've already got hardware on hand like an iMac or a MacBook Pro, this video is worth checking out because it might help you make a decision. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan compared the entry-level 8-core iMac Pro with a 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W processor to a late 2015 iMac with a 3.2GHz 6th-generation Intel processor, 24GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, and AMD Radeon M390 graphics card and a late 2016 MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz 6th-generation Intel processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 455 graphics card. Unsurprisingly, the iMac Pro was much faster when it came to benchmarks and performance tasks, and compared to the iMac and the MacBook Pro, the overall experience is smoother due to the sheer power of the processor and the GPU. It's ultra quick when editing video, even with multiple system intensive apps open, and it's quiet as a mouse with no loud fans. The 5K iMac did win out slightly on video exporting time over the iMac Pro, but the iMac Pro wasn't far behind and it came out on top in all other tests. Pricing on the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 for the entry-level 8-core model with 32GB 2666 MHz ECC RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card, but goes up to $13,199 depending on the upgrades you choose. Even at $4,999 it's a couple thousand dollars more expensive than an iMac or a MacBook Pro, but it has the potential to be fully worth the asking price if you do system intensive creative work like video editing. For more details on the iMac Pro, make sure to check out our iMac Pro roundup.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
A software update coming next week will fix an issue that allows a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on the iPhone and iPad, Apple confirmed to MacRumors this morning. Apple is likely talking about iOS 11.2.5, which is nearing the end of the beta testing period. iOS 11.2.5 beta 6, as we discovered yesterday, does indeed address the issue and prevents the malicious link from working. We expect to see a final release of iOS 11.2.5 available next week alongside macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, watchOS 4.2.2, and tvOS 11.2.5. The malicious link first surfaced on Tuesday after it was shared on Twitter. When texted to an iOS device, it is able to cause the Messages app on the iPhone or iPad to freeze up and become unusable. Macs are also affected, and we expect to see a Mac fix in macOS 10.13.3. A user who receives the link will see their Messages app freeze entirely, and the fix appears to require users to quit out of the Messages app and then delete the entire conversation with the person who sent the link to restore the app to working condition. The link initially went to a webpage on GitHub, but GitHub took it down on Wednesday, limiting its spread. Most users are not likely to be impacted at this point because the original link has been disabled, but if you do get a text with a bad link before iOS 11.2.5 is released, deleting the Messages conversation is a reliable fix.Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
Ireland will begin collecting €13 billion from Apple around March, with payments expected to continue through September, according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ via Cult of Mac. Derek Moran, the Secretary General of Ireland's Department of Finance:"However, identification of the escrow agent/custodian by the end of March 2018 will then allow for a payment into the escrow fund account, with payments continuing through the course of April, May and June and up to the end of September 2018".The money will be held in an escrow account while both Apple and Ireland continue to battle the European Commission, which in August 2016 ruled the iPhone maker received illegal state aid from the country, and ordered the Irish government to collect up to 13 billion euros—nearly $16 billion currently—in back taxes. Ireland is required to collect the money until the legal process is completed, according to the report. Apple has previously said the money will be reported as restricted cash on its balance sheet once it begins making payments. The premise is that the Irish government gave Apple unfair advantage between 1991 and 2007 by allowing the company to move income from the European market through two "non-resident" head office subsidiaries based in Ireland, but Apple says the European Commission made "fundamental errors" in its findings. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the decision "total political crap" and said Apple pays all of the taxes it owes based on the laws of each country in which it operates. Likewise, the Irish government said it did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple and added that it "does not do deals with taxpayers." Apple expects its appeal with the European Union's highest courts to take several years, but it is confident the European Commission's decision to be overturned, in which case the €13 billion would be returned to the company. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Tag: Apple-Ireland tax caseDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other technology companies have sent a message to the Trump administration through various Washington, D.C. lobbying groups, urging President Trump to keep protecting spouses of immigrants who work in the U.S. with H-1B visas. The companies reportedly fear a "looming end" to the program that protects these spouses and allows them to work in the U.S., as it could cause "immense trouble" for many of their workers and potentially lead to large swaths of H-1B employees having to "reconsider working for U.S. companies at all" (via Recode). The spousal work permit program began in 2015 under the Obama administration, allowing spouses of high-skilled immigrants to be granted work authorizations while in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status. The Trump administration has worked throughout 2017 to fundamentally reevaluate the program, and in November the Department of Homeland Security noted imminent plans to "propose to rescind" the final rule and remove H-4 dependent spouses "from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization." Apple CEO Tim Cook attending an executive tech summit at Trump Tower in 2016 Now, a coalition of tech companies have responded with a statement, noting that spouses are "eager to work" to support their families. Their statement also describes fear of an "increased risk" of losing long-term employees. “We represent employers who are committed to growing the U.S. economy and creating jobs for American workers. However, we cannot achieve these goals unless companies can recruit and retain the most qualified employees,” wrote a slew of companies, all speaking through their Washington, D.C.-based lobbying groups, including the Information Technology Industry Council. In the Thursday letter, ITI, the U.S. Chamber and other organizations stressed that spouses are “eager to work in order to support their families, contribute to their communities by paying taxes, and utilize their skills to help the U.S. economy grow.” “Employers would also face an increased risk that their valued, long-term employees will choose to leave their companies for other employment opportunities in countries that allow these workers and their families to raise their standard of living,” the business groups continued. Tech companies like Apple would be the hardest hit by such sweeping changes to work visa policies since it employs many workers with H-1B visas, whose spouses potentially also benefit from the program. Nearly one year ago, Apple was also affected by the drafting of an executive order by President Trump, which stated that the country's policy on immigration should not give priority to foreign workers and should instead prioritize and protect American workers. Following the draft proposal, the Trump administration followed through and rolled out a collection of policy shifts that planned out a roadmap to better serve American workers' current and future jobs. Apple and other tech companies were affected out of the gate as the first change came from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which "made it harder" for such companies to bring foreign workers to the country using the H-1B work visa. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Tag: Donald TrumpDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 4 days ago on mac rumors
While visiting the Apple data center located in Reno, Nevada this afternoon, Apple CEO Tim Cook did a quick interview with Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News, where he discussed Apple's economic announcements and touched on the ongoing controversy over power management features in older iPhones. According to Cook, when the power management features were first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, Apple did explain what was going on, but following the controversy, he believes Apple should have been clearer. The company did indeed mention that the shutdown issue was caused by uneven power delivery and explained that its power management system had been tweaked, but there was no clear notice that it could cause devices to operate more slowly at times. Cook says Apple "deeply apologizes" to customers who thought the company had other motivations.About a year ago, we released some code that essentially what it does... is all batteries age over time and they become unhealthy at a point in time and an unhealthy battery has a probability that it will create an unexpected restart. When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention and maybe we should have been clearer as well. And so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation.Apple previously apologized for the misunderstanding over the iOS 10.2.1 update and has since implemented a battery replacement program that allows all customers with an iPhone 6, 6s, 7, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and SE to replace their batteries for a reduced $29 fee through the end of 2018. Apple is also introducing better battery monitoring features in a future iOS update, but the company is still facing dozens of lawsuits over the issue. Much of the rest of Cook's interview focused on the announcements that Apple made today. The company plans to repatriate a large portion of its $250 billion in overseas cash thanks to a change in U.S. tax policy, which will result in Apple paying $38 billion in taxes. With the tax bill, investments, the creation of a new campus, and more, Apple believes it will directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, along with 20,000 new jobs. When asked about whether Apple would have been able to make these announcements without the tax policy changes, Cook said there are "large parts" of the announcement that are "the result of the tax reform" and "large parts" that Apple "would have done in any situation." He went on to explain that the corporate part of the recent tax bill has the potential to bring a faster growing economy.There are two parts of the tax bill. There's a corporate piece and an individual piece. I do believe the corporate side will result in job creation and a faster growing economy.When asked about whether Apple would introduce a cheaper iPhone due to the new policies, Cook said it was unlikely, telling interviewer Jarvis that "the phone costs what the innovation inside of it costs." The final bit of the interview touched on where Apple might open its new campus, which was announced by the company earlier today. Cook said details will be shared later in the year, but it won't be located in Texas or California, where Apple already has campuses in Austin and Cupertino, respectively.Tag: Tim CookDiscuss this article in our forums

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Apple today started construction on a new warehouse in downtown Reno, Nevada, with the site visited this afternoon by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. In a speech given at the groundbreaking of the warehouse, which is located near the company's Reno data center, Cook said the data center is a key component in the ecosystem that provides billions of iMessages, photos, and FaceTime calls to customers around the world each day. Breaking ground in Reno today with @GovSandoval & @MayorSchieve as part of our data center expansion plan, one of many Apple initiatives which will contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy and create 20,000 new jobs over the next 5 years. pic.twitter.com/g40dlHsxuC— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 17, 2018 "We've invested $1.6 billion in the region today and over the course of the next six years, we intend to invest an additional $1 billion," said Cook."Reno plays an incredibly important role in the products and services that we provide our customers worldwide. Without the data center here, none of this would be possible."Apple's presence in Reno kicked off in 2012 with the construction of its data center. As part of that deal Apple was required to build a facility in the downtown Reno tourism improvement district, hence the warehouse. Apple plans to use the upcoming Reno, Nevada warehouse to move equipment to the data center, which Apple allowed the Reno Gazette-Journal to tour today following Cook's speech. Image via the Reno Gazette-Journal The site shared nearly 50 photos captured from inside the data center, filled with racks and racks of the servers that power Apple services. The images provide glimpses at Apple's server setup, cabling, cooling operations, cleaning rooms, and more.Tags: data center, RenoDiscuss this article in our forums

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Apple today highlighted its plan to to bolster the U.S. economy through job creation, existing investments, and new investments, with the company on target to contribute $55 billion to the economy in 2018 and $350 billion over the course of the next five years. Along with its $350 billion contribution through direct employment, investment with domestic suppliers, and the App Store economy, Apple will increase its Advanced Manufacturing Fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The Advanced Manufacturing Fund is designed to create jobs in the United States through investments in Apple suppliers. Apple has already invested $200 million in Corning, maker of Gorilla Glass, and $390 million in Finisar, a supplier that makes vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) components found in the iPhone X's True Depth camera."Apple is a success story that could only have happened in America, and we are proud to build on our long history of support for the US economy," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible."Apple plans to repatriate much of its overseas profits and expects to pay taxes of $38 billion when doing so, which Apple says is likely to be the largest payment of this kind ever made. That tax payment, combined with its U.S. investments and planned capital expenditures, will account for $75 billion of its projected $350 billion contribution. Apple will be paying 15.5 percent in taxes to repatriate its overseas cash, suggesting the company plans to repatriate approximately $245 billion, or nearly all of its foreign money. Apple will create 20,000 new jobs and spend $30 billion hiring new employees at its existing campus and opening a new campus. Apple has a new campus in the works that will "initially house technical support for customers." Its location will be announced later in the year. More than $10 billion of Apple's planned capital expenditures will be investments in data centers across the United States, with Apple breaking ground on a new facility in Reno, Nevada starting today. Apple's final plan to bolster the economy is through education. The company will expand its current coding initiatives that are designed to help people learn how to create iOS apps using Swift and it will increase funding for ConnectED to help students in "historically underserved communities" learn coding skills. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2.5 update to developers, one week after seeding the fifth beta and a little over a week after releasing iOS 11.2.2, an update designed to mitigate a serious hardware-based vulnerability called "Spectre." Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2.5 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. iOS 11.2.5 introduces a new feature that lets Siri play daily news podcasts when queried about the current news. Siri will offer up news from The Washington Post by default, but you can also choose to switch to Fox News, CNN, or NPR. The new audio news feature, which appears to have been developed for use with Apple's upcoming HomePod speaker, is invoked when using Hey Siri or asking Siri about the news when using CarPlay or with headphones connected - essentially any situation where you're not looking at the display of an iOS device. If you activate Siri using the side button or Home button of a device, standard Apple news headlines are provided instead of the audio-based news highlights. This new feature is also available on devices running iOS 11.2.2 as of this week. It's not clear what other new features, if any, will be included in the iOS 11.2.5 beta. We didn't discover other noticeable outward-facing changes in the first five iOS 11.2.5 betas, so it's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes and security improvements aside from the Siri news update. If that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release. Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled from the iOS 11 release, but there has been no indication of when we can expect iCloud Messages to be reintroduced. Should new features be discovered in the sixth beta of iOS 11.2.5, we'll update this post.Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple has placed an order for a 10-episode half-hour comedy show starring Kristen Wiig, reports Variety. The show is said to be based on the upcoming "You Think It, I'll Say It" short story collection by Curtis Sittenfeld. Curtis Sittenfeld's book features 10 stories that "upend assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided," according to its description on Amazon. It was created by Colleen McGuinness, who worked on "30 Rock," "Mercy," and "About a Boy." Image via Esquire The television show will be Wiig's first regular role since leaving "Saturday Night Live" in 2012. Over the course of the last few years, Wiig has focused heavily on movies, starring in "Bridesmaids," "The Martian," and "Ghostbusters." Wiig will serve as an executive producer on the comedy alongside Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter, with author Sittenfeld serving as a consulting producer. The new Kristen Wiig comedy is the third show Apple is working on alongside Reese Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine company. Witherspoon herself will star in an upcoming morning show drama alongside Jennifer Aniston, and she's also executive producing "Are You Sleeping," a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer. Other TV shows in the works at Apple include Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica," "Home," a docuseries that will look at extraordinary houses, and "See," an epic world-building drama set in the future. Apple is also said to be in a bidding war for a new sci-fi drama series penned by J.J. Abrams.Related Roundup: Apple TVTag: Apple's Hollywood ambitionsBuyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)Discuss this article in our forums

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A little over one week after Apple investors urged the company to do more to protect children from smartphone addiction, a new column by The New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo has looked into potential ideas that Apple could implement in a future iOS update to curb addiction for all users, including kids. Manjoo spoke with Tristan Harris, former design ethicist for Google and owner of Time Well Spent -- an organization that works to improve technology's impact on society -- and Harris offered a few suggestions for ways Apple could help combat smartphone addiction. While Harris's ideas are not confirmations for features coming to iOS in 2018 and beyond, it is an interesting glimpse into potential solutions Apple might implement if it decides to tackle this issue down the line. To start, he suggested a way for Apple to offer feedback on the iOS devices that customers use, imagining a weekly report that would include the time spent within apps in a sort of ranking system. Users could then set prompts for future weeks that would pop up when their time spent in a specific app is reaching their set limit. Imagine if, once a week, your phone gave you a report on how you spent your time, similar to how your activity tracker tells you how sedentary you were last week. It could also needle you: “Farhad, you spent half your week scrolling through Twitter. Do you really feel proud of that?” It could offer to help: “If I notice you spending too much time on Snapchat next week, would you like me to remind you?” Harris then focused on notifications, which have long been an area that iOS users have asked to be updated. The new idea was for more granular, "priority level" notifications that Apple would require to be placed on every app. Harris explained there would be three levels for "heavy users, regular users and lite, or Zen," and then Apple would have to pen the rules for which notifications would go to each level. So, for example, if someone chose the medium "regular" level, a DM from a friend on Instagram would appear on the lock screen. But at the same time, something less important -- like when Instagram sends out a reminder to view a friend's Story -- would be prevented from appearing. "And then Apple could say, by default, everyone is in the middle level — and instantly it could save a ton of users a ton of energy in dealing with this," Harris explained. If Apple implemented similar features, Manjoo pointed out that it could set a precedent for the industry as a whole. Every tech company needs a presence on the iPhone or iPad; this means that Apple can set the rules for everyone. With a single update to its operating system and its app store, Apple could curb some of the worst excesses in how apps monitor and notify you to keep you hooked (as it has done, for instance, by allowing ad blockers in its mobile devices). And because other smartphone makers tend to copy Apple’s best inventions, whatever it did to curb our dependence on our phones would be widely emulated. Following the investors' open letter last week, Apple stated that it thinks about its products' impact on users, and it takes this responsibility "very seriously." With a larger spotlight being shined on the issue, Harris said that now is Apple's "time to step up" and really get behind anti-addiction features for its devices. Harris went on to say that in regards to this problem, Apple "may be our only hope."Tag: nytimes.comDiscuss this article in our forums

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HomePod supplier Inventec has begun shipping the smart speaker to Apple, with an initial shipment "of about 1 million units," according to industry sources speaking with the Taipei Times. Apple is said to have sent out a shipment notice to companies in the HomePod supply chain in early January, and now that the first supplier has answered the notice one source stated that HomePod should be launching "soon." As the first batch of HomePods makes its way to Apple, a release date for the delayed smart speaker has yet to be confirmed by the company, although it did state HomePod will debut in "early 2018." Traditionally, Apple’s definition of "early" is January through April. Inventec's revenue from the HomePod is expected to be "limited" this quarter due to the low quantity initial shipment. This falls in line with Inventec's own statement from last August, when it warned that supplies for HomePod might be limited at launch, similar to most Apple product launches. Following the launch, HomePod shipments for all of 2018 are expected to grow to between 10 million and 12 million units. “The Taiwanese company has begun HomePod shipments. However, revenue contribution from the product to Inventec is expected to be limited this quarter, as the initial shipment is not large,” a source in HomePod’s supply chain told the Taipei Times by telephone on condition of anonymity. Industry sources said that Inventec and second HomePod supplier Foxconn will fulfill an even half of these orders. Furthermore, the HomePod's delay was said to be caused by "fine-tuning of software and hardware integration." When it does launch, HomePod will be Apple's first entry into the smart speaker market, currently dominated by Amazon Echo and Google Home. During its unveiling of the product, Apple said that HomePod is more music-focused than its rivals with high-quality sound and microphone technology, spatial awareness, touch controls, and more, all powered by an A8 chip.Related Roundup: HomePodDiscuss this article in our forums

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BMW plans to offer CarPlay as a subscription-based service beginning next year, rather than charge a one-time fee, reports The Verge. The automaker will charge $80 per year for access to CarPlay starting next year, with no fee during the first year of ownership of a new BMW, according to Don Smith, technology product manager for BMW North America. BMW currently charges a $300 upgrade fee to drivers who want CarPlay, available in its 2017 model year and newer vehicles. Smith believes switching to a subscription-based pricing system will provide BMW owners with more flexibility. "This allows the customer to switch devices," he said, while mentioning Android as a specific example. BMW doesn't currently support Android Auto, although Smith said Google Assistant is coming to new BMW models later in 2018. Smith also argued that the annual fee could actually work out to be cheaper for somebody with an average length lease, as the total cost after four years after the free first year of access would be $240, cheaper than the one-time $300 charge. Of course, those who don't trade in their BMW once every four years can expect the CarPlay subscription fees to add up significantly over the long term. All the while, many other automakers now offer CarPlay as a standard feature. BMW may ultimately decide against this idea if it receives enough negative feedback from customers, but we'll have to wait and see.Related Roundup: CarPlayTag: BMWDiscuss this article in our forums

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Thomson Reuters today published its first "Top 100 Global Technology Leaders" list, designed to pinpoint and celebrate "the industry's most operationally sound and financially successful organizations." The list's top five companies are Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, IBM, and Alphabet. Apple sits in sixth place, followed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, SAP, Texas Instruments, and Accenture. Thomson Reuters explained that it assessed each company using a 28-data-point algorithm to "objectively identify organizations with the fortitude for the future in today's complex business environment." Specifically, each company saw its performance in eight categories measured before being ranked: Financial, Management and Investor Confidence, Risk and Resilience, Legal Compliance, Innovation, People and Social Responsibility, Environmental Impact, and Reputation. "Tech companies operate at warp speed confronting competitive, regulatory, legal, financial, supply chain and myriad other business challenges. Oftentimes, their financial success overshadows their operational integrity, making it difficult to identify those organizations with true longevity for the future," said Alex Paladino, global managing director of the Thomson Reuters Technology Practice Group. "With the Top 100 Global Tech Leaders, we've identified the unique data points that embody technology-industry leadership in the 21st century; congratulations to the companies that made the list." Outside of the top 10, companies like Amazon, Facebook, Mastercard, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Pegatron made it onto the list. These remaining 90 companies on the list are not ranked, but were measured and added based on the same 28-factor algorithm as the top 10. The entire list was restricted to companies that have at least $1 billion in annual revenue as well. The full report goes into greater detail and breaks down how each individual category was researched for the companies. For example, the number of granted patents that are issued each year factored into Innovation, and an overall news sentiment and global media score measured a company's Reputation. For Legal Compliance, Thomson Reuters measured the amount of litigation where the company was a defendant "in the areas of employment/labor, intellectual property, commercial law and contracts, civil rights, and unfair competition." The researchers didn't go into Apple's performance statistics for each of the eight categories, but they did provide a few tidbits about the overall rankings. In total, 45 percent of the 100 companies are headquartered in the United States, followed by Japan and Taiwan tied in second place with 13 companies each, and then India with five. In terms of continents, North America led with 47 companies, Asia followed closely with 38, Europe had 14, and Australia had one (stock transfer company Computershare). Apple topped a few lists over the past year, including Interbrand's "2017 Best Global Brands," Fortune's "World's Most Admired Companies," and climbing to become the World's Most Profitable Company on the Fortune Global 500 list. Conversely, in December Apple dropped to 84th on Glassdoor's annual list of the best companies to work for in the United States, after earning the 10th spot on the same list years prior in 2012.Tag: reuters.comDiscuss this article in our forums

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