posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
French website Consomac has discovered a new Russian-language regulatory filing in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database pointing towards several unreleased iPhone models that Apple could be launching relatively soon. Versions of iPhone running iOS 11 are listed with the model numbers A1920, A1921, A1984, A2097, A2098, A2099, A2101, A2103, A2104, A2105 and A2106. None of the numbers correspond to Apple's existing smartphone lineup. The EEC filing, published on Tuesday, satisfies Russia's requirement for companies to register all products containing encryption and/or cryptographic tools. On February 19, the EEC revealed the existence of two new models of iPad, which proved to be the Wi-Fi and cellular versions of Apple's 9.7-inch iPad unveiled on March 27, so there's a decent chance the new model numbers identify iPhones tipped for a May or June launch. Several new models of MacBook were also registered with the EEC in May of last year, and those laptops were announced at WWDC 2017. Apple is rumored to be introducing three flagship iPhones in 2018: Two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three will feature Face ID and edge-to-edge displays, but none are expected to arrive before the usual September timeframe when Apple's major annual iPhone event typically takes place. However, rumors suggest Apple will bring a new entry-level smartphone model to market similar to the iPhone SE that will support wireless charging and be released in time for summer 2018. Apple hasn't properly refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched back in March 2016, although it did double the available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. A May/June launch would put it within touching distance of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts on June 8, although Apple hasn't launched an iPhone at WWDC in the last seven years. The last announcement being the iPhone 4 in 2010.Related Roundups: iPhone SE, 2018 iPhonesTag: EECBuyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
The iPhone X accounted for 35 percent of total worldwide handset profits in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to new estimates shared this morning by Counterpoint Research. The device generated 5x more profit than the combined profit of more than 600 Android OEMs during the quarter, despite the fact that it was only available for purchase during the final two months of the year and in spite of reports pointing towards lackluster sales of the device. Other Apple iPhones, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for a second large chunk of global handset profits, with iPhones holding 8 of the top 10 profit share rankings. Apple was the most profitable brand with 86 percent of total handset market profits. While overall global handset profits declined by one percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, Apple's profits grew one percent year over year."Global handset profits declined 1% YoY, but Apple grew 1% YoY even with the iPhone X being available for only two months in Q4 2017. The iPhone X alone generated 21% of total industry revenue and 35% of total industry profits during the quarter and its share is likely to grow as it advances further into its life cycle. Additionally, the longer shelf life of all iPhones ensured that Apple still has eight out of top ten smartphones, including its three-year-old models, generating the most profits compared to current competing smartphones from other OEMs."Apple does not break out iPhone sales by device, so it is difficult to confirm Counterpoint Research's specific numbers, but Apple did set new revenue records in Q4 2017, earning $10.7 billion on $52.6 billion in revenue. The company sold a total of 46.7 million iPhones during the quarter. Similar reports and estimates published in the past have also confirmed that Apple's iPhones bring in the lion's share of smartphone industry profits, earning significantly more than its closest competitors like Samsung and Huawei. Apple has been the most profitable smartphone company for several years running.Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4 update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.3, the last major update to the iOS 11 operating system. Today's public beta is identical to the developer beta that was provided to developers earlier this week. Beta testers who are members of Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 11.4 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device. Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device. The iOS 11.4 beta is much like the iOS 11.3 beta because several key features that were removed from iOS 11.3 ahead of its release have been reintroduced in iOS 11.4. The update includes support for AirPlay 2 features, allowing you to play the same song on multiple devices and adding the Apple TV and speakers connected to AirPort Express to the Home app. iOS 11.4 also reintroduces Messages on iCloud. Messages on iCloud was present throughout the iOS 11.3 beta testing period, but it did not make it into release. With Messages on iCloud, your iMessages are stored in iCloud rather than on each individual device, allowing for improved syncing capabilities. Currently, incoming iMessages are sent to all devices where you're signed in to your Apple ID, but there is no true cross-device syncing. Messages on iCloud will allow you to download all of your iMessages on new devices, and a message deleted on one device will remove it on all devices. Older messages and attachments are also stored in iCloud rather than on-device, saving valuable storage space. The most recent beta introduces new (PRODUCT)RED wallpaper on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and it removes mentions of stereo sound on the HomePod that were present in the first beta. Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update. The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 beta can be downloaded through Apple Developer Center or the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed. macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 introduces support for Messages on iCloud, a feature that was previously present in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 betas before being pulled ahead of the release of the update. Messages on iCloud is also available in iOS 11.4. The update also likely includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, but as Apple does not provide detailed release notes for macOS High Sierra updates, we may not know exactly what's included until the new software is provided to the public. No major outward-facing changes were found in the first beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5, but we'll update this post should any new features be found in the second. The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update brought support for external graphics processors (eGPUs) along with Business Chat in Messages and several other bug fixes and smaller feature improvements.Related Roundup: macOS High SierraDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has expanded its office space at Two Union Square, a 56-story office tower in Downtown Seattle, according to GeekWire. The report claims Apple will soon occupy five floors inside the skyscraper, up from a floor-and-a-half of space it originally leased, based on permits filed with the city and the publication's own visits to the building. The expansion gives Apple more than 70,000 square feet of space, enough for potentially close to 500 people, the report adds. Last year, Apple confirmed that its Seattle engineering hub is focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies that power the likes of Siri and advanced facial recognition on the iPhone X. Apple's jobs website lists 19 open positions in its Seattle office in a variety of fields, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart home automation, cloud computing, and natural language processing. Apple's senior director of artificial intelligence and machine learning Carlos Guestrin back in February 2017:We're trying to find the best people who are excited about AI and machine learning — excited about research and thinking long term but also bringing those ideas into products that impact and delight our customers. The bar is high, but we're going to be hiring as quickly as we can find people that meet our high bar, which is exciting.Seattle has become a hotbed for technology companies because of its talent pool and lower cost of living compared with the San Francisco area, with Amazon, Facebook, and Google among the tech giants with offices in the region. Last year, Apple became a member of the Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society." Apple recently hired John Giannandrea, the former head of Google's search and artificial intelligence division. Apple's Machine Learning Journal documents the company's efforts in the artificial intelligence area.Tags: Seattle, artificial intelligenceDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple plans to offer a subscription-based news service within the next year, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News. Apple declined to comment on the report, as it has not announced the plans publicly. The service is said to be based on subscription-based digital magazine app Texture, which is expected to be integrated into the Apple News app on iPhone and iPad, pending approval of Apple's agreement to acquire the company. Texture provides unlimited access to over 200 digital magazines for $9.99 per month. Available magazine titles include People, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Maxim, Men's Health, GQ, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN The Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users," said Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, on Apple acquiring Texture. The service would essentially be like Apple Music, which provides unlimited streaming of over 45 million songs for $9.99 per month, but for news and magazines. The revenue would help boost Apple's growing services division, including the App Store and iCloud, while a cut would also go to publishers. The premium tier would likely complement the existing ad-supported content available within the Apple News app, which is currently available in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom on iOS 9 and later. Apple previously offered a Newsstand app with digital magazines and newspapers, but subscriptions were only available on a title-by-title basis.Tags: bloomberg.com, Apple News, TextureDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Law enforcement agencies have a new iPhone cracking tool that works with all modern iPhones and the newest versions of iOS 11, the GrayKey, designed by a company called Grayshift. Previous reports have suggested the GrayKey can crack 4-digit passcodes in a matter of hours and 6-digit passcodes in days, but as highlighted by VICE's Motherboard, cracking times for the GrayKey and other similar iPhone unlocking methods can potentially be even faster and 6-digit passcodes no longer offer adequate protection. GrayKey iPhone cracking box, via MalwareBytes Matthew Green, assistant professor and cryptographer at John Hopkins Information Security Institute, said this morning on Twitter that with an exploit that disables Apple's passcode-guessing protections, a 4-digit passcode is crackable in 6.5 minutes on average, while a 6-digit passcode can be calculated in 11 hours. Guide to iOS estimated passcode cracking times (assumes random decimal passcode + an exploit that breaks SEP throttling):4 digits: ~13min worst (~6.5avg)6 digits: ~22.2hrs worst (~11.1avg)8 digits: ~92.5days worst (~46avg)10 digits: ~9259days worst (~4629avg)— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) April 16, 2018 Apple does have built-in options to erase an iPhone after 10 incorrect passcode guessing attempts and there are automatic delays after a wrong passcode has been entered more than five times, but GrayKey appears to bypass these protections. It's not clear if the GrayKey can reach the fastest unlocking times outlined by Green, but even at slower unlocking speeds, it only takes days to get into an iPhone with a 6-digit passcode. Comparatively, it takes over a month to crack an iPhone with an 8-digit passcode, or more than 13 years to get into an iPhone with a 10-digit passcode. With the release of iOS 9 in 2016 Apple switched from a four digit passcode to a 6-digit passcode as the default, making iOS devices more secure, but for those concerned about their iPhones being accessed either by law enforcement with the GrayKey or by a hacker with a similar cracking tool, a 6-digit passcode is no longer good enough. Several security experts who spoke to Motherboard said people should use an alphanumeric passcode that's at least seven characters long and uses numbers, letters, and symbols."People should use an alphanumeric passcode that isn't susceptible to a dictionary attack and that is at least 7 characters long and has a mix of at least uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numbers," Ryan Duff, a researcher who's studied iOS and the Director of Cyber Solutions for Point3 Security, told me in an online chat. "Adding symbols is recommended and the more complicated and longer the passcode, the better."To change your iPhone's passcode from a simple numeric 6-digit passcode to something more secure, you'll need to use the Settings app. Go to "Face ID & Passcodes" in the Settings app, enter your current passcode, scroll down, and then choose "Change Passcode." You'll be asked to enter your new passcode on this screen, but you'll actually want to tap on the blue "Passcode Options" text towards the middle of the display. Choose "Custom Alphanumeric Code" to enter a passcode that consists of letters, numbers, and symbols. With an alphanumeric passcode in place, you'll no longer be presented with a numeric keyboard when unlocking your iPhone, and instead, you'll see a full keyboard available to type in your passcode. There's a definite compromise between easy device accessibility and security when using a longer alphanumeric passcode like this. It's a lot easier to type six numbers than it is to type a mixed character alphanumeric passcode into an iOS device, but for complete security, longer and more complex is the way to go.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4 update to developers, two weeks after releasing the first beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.3, a major update that introduced several new features. Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.4 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. The iOS 11.4 update introduces a new ClassKit framework for educational institutions, which will support new features announced at Apple's March 27 event. For standard users, the iOS 11.4 update adds features that were originally present in the iOS 11.3 beta but removed ahead of release. It includes support for Messages on iCloud, designed to store your iMessages in iCloud and sync them across devices. There's also support for AirPlay 2 features, with the Apple TV once again available in the Home app. With AirPlay 2, the same audio content can be played in multiple rooms. On the HomePod, there are signs of support for stereo sound, but stereo sound is not currently available as it requires 11.4 HomePod software not available for developers. iOS 11.3, the previous update, introduces a new Battery Health feature for monitoring the status of your iPhone's battery, Business Chat for iMessage, which lets you communicate with companies directly in the Messages app, ARKit 1.5 with augmented reality improvements, new Animoji on iPhone X, Health Records from participating medical providers, and more.Related Roundup: iOS 11Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Amazon appears to have gained an edge over Apple in deals with smart home builders, according to The Information. The paywalled report claims that an increasing number of home builders have agreed to partnerships with Amazon to build homes with preinstalled Alexa-enabled accessories, rather than HomeKit-based products from Apple. Last year, for example, Amazon reportedly struck a large-scale deal with Lennar, one of the biggest home builders in the United States. Lennar first had a partnership with Apple in 2016, but the company is "prioritizing Amazon now."As part of its deal, Lennar gets access to Amazon's growing army of so-called Amazon experts, the company's in-home service team, to go around to every new homeowner and make sure their smart home is hooked up. Every new Lennar home comes with Echo Dot speakers and Echo Show displays to connect with Alexa, as well as a suite of connected doorbells, locks, light switches and thermostat.A few other builders, such as Arizona-based Meritage Homes and Shea Homes, also said they considered Apple but opted for Amazon."Apple is closed source about what will talk to their system, so we shied away from it," said CR Herro, a vice president with Arizona-based Meritage Homes. "I don't want to restrict what I think the future could be because I have no idea what it will be."The report claims that Apple requiring accessory makers to install an authentication chip for HomeKit compatibility has "significantly limited the number of new devices getting to market," but that is no longer the case, as iOS 11.3 introduced software-based authentication for accessories to interface with HomeKit. Meanwhile, some builders believe there is a downside in allowing Amazon to embed a network of Alexa-powered devices that can collect data into homes, ranging from privacy concerns to competitive reasons.Startup home builder Kasita, for instance, thinks these traditional players are giving up a huge amount of business by linking up with Amazon. Kasita uses Alexa devices for performing voice control in its "micro homes," but tries to maintain its relationship with the consumer by providing its own app and wants to offer its own services to consumers in the future. "Amazon owns you when you buy anything online," said Jeff Wilson, founder and chairman of Kasita. "Do you really want them owning home experiences?"While new homes are estimated to account for only about 10 percent of residential home sales in the United States, Apple believes the best way to introduce homeowners to HomeKit is from the get-go. "We want to bring home automation to the mainstream," said Greg Joswiak, a marketing executive at Apple, in an interview with Bloomberg. "The best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created."Tags: HomeKit, theinformation.comDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's latest entry in its online Machine Learning Journal focuses on the personalization process that users partake in when activating "Hey Siri" features on iOS devices. Across all Apple products, "Hey Siri" invokes the company's AI assistant, and can be followed up by questions like "How is the weather?" or "Message Dad I'm on my way." "Hey Siri" was introduced in iOS 8 on the iPhone 6, and at that time it could only be used while the iPhone was charging. Afterwards, the trigger phrase could be used at all times thanks to a low-power and always-on processor that fueled the iPhone and iPad's ability to continuously listen for "Hey Siri." In the new Machine Learning Journal entry, Apple's Siri team breaks down its technical approach to the development of a "speaker recognition system." The team created deep neural networks and "set the stage for improvements" in future iterations of Siri, all motivated by the goal of creating "on-device personalization" for users. Apple's team says that "Hey Siri" as a phrase was chosen because of its "natural" phrasing, and described three scenarios where unintended activations prove troubling for "Hey Siri" functionality. These include "when the primary users says a similar phrase," "when other users say "Hey Siri"," and "when other users say a similar phrase." According to the team, the last scenario is "the most annoying false activation of all." To lessen these accidental activations of Siri, Apple leverages techniques from the field of speaker recognition. Importantly, the Siri team says that it is focused on "who is speaking" and less on "what was spoken." The overall goal of speaker recognition (SR) is to ascertain the identity of a person using his or her voice. We are interested in “who is speaking,” as opposed to the problem of speech recognition, which aims to ascertain “what was spoken.” SR performed using a phrase known a priori, such as “Hey Siri,” is often referred to as text-dependent SR; otherwise, the problem is known as text-independent SR. The journal entry then goes into how users enroll in a personalized "Hey Siri" process using explicit and implicit enrollment. Explicit begins the minute that users speak the trigger phrase a few times, but implicit is "created over a period of time" and made during "real-world situations." The Siri team says that the remaining challenges faced by speaker recognition is figuring out how to get quality performance in reverberant (large room) and noisy (car) environments. You can check out the full Machine Learning Journal entry on "Hey Siri" right here. Since it began last summer, Apple has shared numerous entries in its Machine Learning Journal about complex topics, which have already included "Hey Siri", face detection, and more. All past entries can be seen on Apple.com.Tag: machine learningDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Tony Fadell, who was instrumental to the creation of the iPod, believes Apple should tackle the issue of smartphone addiction. Tony Fadell, second from the left, alongside Steve Jobs and other Apple executives following the original iPhone announcement in 2007 In an editorial with Wired UK, the former Senior Vice President of the iPod division said Apple can solve the problem at the software level by "empowering users to understand more about how they use their devices." "To do this, it should let people track their digital activity in detail and across all devices," said Fadell. "You should be able to see exactly how you spend your time and, if you wish, moderate your behavior accordingly." Fadell said his solution would essentially be like a digital scale to monitor time spent in apps, web browsing, and other tasks:We need a "scale" for our digital weight, like we have for our physical weight. Our digital consumption data could look like a calendar with our historical activity. It should be itemized like a credit-card bill, so people can easily see how much time they spend each day on email, for example, or scrolling through posts. Imagine it's like a health app which tracks metrics such as step count, heart rate, and sleep quality.He added that Apple could also let users set their device to a "listen-only" or "read-only" mode, but it's unclear how this would differ from Apple's existing Do Not Disturb mode, which can be enabled when an iPhone is locked or unlocked. Fadell believes Apple is "particularly well-placed to tackle this problem," and that implementing these tools wouldn't be difficult. Fortunately, it appears that Apple is already working on improved parental controls similar to what Fadell outlined. More specifically, Bloomberg News reported that iOS 12 will feature "new features for parents to better monitor how long apps are being used for by kids and their overall screen time." In January, Apple confirmed it is working on "even more robust" parental controls following pressure from investors to do more to curb smartphone addition. The new controls would likely extend to the Mac and other devices. Fadell's editorial was first published in the May-June issue of WIRED magazine, as part of a series of articles about "Apple's next move."Tag: Tony FadellDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Duncan Sinfield says that piloting his drones over Apple Park has become increasingly difficult in the past few weeks, and that he believes it's "only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely." Sinfield's comment on Apple Park security comes in the text description of a new video that he uploaded today, where he talks about the response that he's been getting to drone piloting over the campus. The drone videographer says that security "generally responds" to his precise takeoff location "in 10 minutes or less." He speculates that Apple has set up a geofence of some kind and that the company could be tracking all drone flights near the campus in an effort to lower the amount of eyes on Apple Park. He further guesses that Apple might be using technology from a company like Dedrone, which describes itself as "the airspace security platform that detects, classifies, and mitigates all drone threats.​" This is an extended length video, it's only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely... with a geo-fence, or something similar. Security at Apple Park generally responds in two white Prius's to my precise take-off locations in 10 minutes or less. While this is speculation, my instincts tell me that Apple is tracking all drones in the vicinity of the campus with sophisticated radio frequency technology from companies such as DeDrone (a San Francisco-based aerospace security company). As always, I respect all requests by Apple Security to land my drone and leave the area when asked to do so. They are always asking if I'm an Apple employee too. So to all of the Apple Employees watching (and reading), don't fly your drones over The Park, it's frowned upon! Last summer, multiple reports emerged about Apple Park security's first efforts at stopping drone pilots from accessing the airspace above the campus. Despite those attempts, drone update videos have been consistently uploaded to YouTube by multiple videographers, including Sinfield and Matthew Roberts. Apple Park's latest stance on drones appears to be a bit more strict this time around, and follows a recently leaked memo from the company that warned employees against leaking details about future devices to the media. Besides the security-focused topic of the description, Sinfield's video today is an extended update providing the usual coverage of Apple Park. The campus looks essentially complete except for a few remaining dirt mounds and empty landscaping areas outside of the main spaceship building and near the Steve Jobs Theater. Apple Park has become increasingly busy since more employees began moving in earlier this year, with the campus providing a backdrop for executive interviews as well as housing CEO Tim Cook's own office. In another drone video posted back in February, Matthew Roberts captured a drone that malfunctioned and crashed among the solar panels covering the roof of Apple Park. Tag: Apple ParkDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 9 days ago on mac rumors
Apple may be considering allowing third-party developers to create custom Apple Watch faces, if a line of code discovered in the latest watchOS beta is anything to go by. Historically, Apple has resisted allowing third-party developers to create and release custom watch faces for Apple Watch, instead electing to add to its stock options for watch faces in successive iterations of the device's operating system, such as the Siri and kaleidoscope watch faces introduced in watchOS 4. However, a log message in watchOS 4.3.1 beta, unearthed by 9to5Mac, suggests Apple may be considering the possibility in a future version of Apple Watch software. As part of its NanoTimeKit framework which provides developer access to watch face components, the beta includes references to a currently inactive developer tools server that will likely allow communication with Xcode on macOS. Within this portion of code is a log message that reads: "This is where the 3rd party face config bundle generation would happen." Image via 9to5Mac Whether or not Apple decides to implement the missing feature for watchOS 5 or in a later version is unknown, but the mere mention of third-party face configuration will likely be cause for hope for anyone longing for additional personalization beyond the existing color-adjustable stock options and third-party watch complications. On the other hand, any such hope could prove misplaced given Apple's traditional reluctance to open up the most outward-facing aspects of its operating systems to third parties (such as the lock and home screens in iOS, for example). Apple imposes strict limits on changes to major interface elements out of a concern that they guarantee a high level of usability, stability and security, and it's hard to imagine the company casting aside those principles. It's worth noting that Apple tends to reject third-party Apple Watch apps that closely duplicate existing functions, as per its developer guidelines, although whether watch faces would come under this provision remains unclear. At any rate, while Apple welcomes "creative ways of expressing time as an app interface", currently it does not allow apps that look like watch faces. Meanwhile, rival smartwatch operating systems like FitbitOS and Android Wear have allowed users to install third-party watch faces on their devices for some time, but the design and usability standard on offer is highly variable and Apple isn't likely to warm to the idea unless it can enforce a consistent means of quality control. Apple is expected to release the fifth version of watchOS at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: WatchOS 4Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 11 days ago on mac rumors
Apple will repair select Apple Watch Series 2 models that do not power on or have a swollen battery free of charge as part of a new service policy. An original Apple Watch with an expanded battery via Apple Support Communities "Apple has determined that under certain conditions, some Apple Watch Series 2 devices may not power on or they may experience an expanded battery," wrote Apple, in an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday and subsequently obtained by MacRumors. "Apple will service eligible devices free of charge," according to the document, numbered SN4534 in Apple's internal GSX portal. "Apple will authorized coverage for eligible devices for three years after the original date of purchase." The policy was issued in at least the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, so it is likely a worldwide initiative where service providers are available. A swollen battery can prevent an Apple Watch from powering on or cause the display to burst open. Photos of the issue have been shared by customers in the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors forums in recent months, but the majority of the incidents are first-generation models released in 2015. Eligibility is limited to any 42mm-sized Apple Watch Series 2 models, including Sport, Edition, Hermès, and Nike+ variants, pending a visual-mechanical inspection, according to a companion document numbered OP1977. The warranty status of the Apple Watch does not affect coverage, the document states. This new policy does not apply to the original Apple Watch, Series 1 and Series 3 models, or any 38mm model. A few years ago, however, Apple enacted a similar policy for original Apple Watch models with swollen or expanded batteries that offers free repairs within three years of the original date of purchase. Affected customers can visit the Contact Apple Support page, select Apple Watch → Battery, Power, and Charging → Bring in for Repair to schedule an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. There are also options to contact Apple advisors by phone or online chat. Battery replacements are completed at an off-site Apple Repair Center. Apple advises customers inquiring about a refund for a previous Apple Watch Series 2 battery replacement to contact its support advisors. Apple has not announced this policy publicly as it does with some of its other repair programs, but MacRumors has verified the internal document's authenticity with multiple sources. However, outside of our control, some Apple employees advise customers that no such policy exists. In these cases, our only advice is to keep trying or escalate the case to a senior advisor if possible.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: repair programBuyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple early this week introduced new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models, which officially launched today. As of this morning, the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone devices are available for purchase in Apple retail stores, and the first (PRODUCT)RED orders have been delivered to customers. We got our hands on one of the new candy Apple-colored devices to check out how the new bright red shade looks with a glass body, and, as is no surprise, it's gorgeous. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple in 2017 introduced (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, but those devices paired an aluminum shell with a white front plate. 2018's (PRODUCT)RED options are arguably more attractive with a glossy red glass backplate, a red aluminum shell, and a black faceplate for the first time. The red and black combo is undeniably attractive, and the iPhone 8's glass body looks fantastic with such a bright red shade. Other than the new color, though, the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are identical to existing iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models introduced back in September. Apple's (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are priced the same as other iPhone 8 models, with Apple charging $699 for the 64GB iPhone 8, $849 for the 256GB iPhone 8, $799 for the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, and $949 for the 256GB iPhone 8 Plus. Ahead of the unveiling of the 2018 (PRODUCT)RED devices, there were rumors suggesting Apple might also debut a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone X, but no red iPhone X materialized. Instead, Apple introduced a new (PRODUCT)RED Leather Folio for the iPhone X, which is nice looking but somewhat of a disappointment compared to the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Given how nice a bright, colorful red shade looks when paired with a glass body, we're hoping Apple plans to expand to other colors in the iPhone lineup in the future. What do you think of the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus? Let us know in the comments.Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple appears to have designed a gold iPhone X, according to documents filed with the United States Federal Communications Commission. When releasing a new device, smartphone companies must share details with the FCC, which Apple did for the iPhone X in September of 2017. In the document, Apple appears to have used an iPhone X in a gold colorway that was not ultimately released. The document in question, which again, was filed back in September, includes several images of a gold iPhone X from multiple angles to outline included features and the device's dimensions. The gold shade of the iPhone X appears to be similar to the gold color of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Other documents indicate Apple had prepared its FCC filing in July, suggesting the photos were taken as much as several months ahead of the iPhone X unveiling in September. While many of the documents in the filing were available soon after submission, external photos and other sensitive details were subject to a six-month confidentiality clause that only recently expired. Given the timing of the document, it's likely Apple planned on releasing the iPhone X in three colors - gold, silver, and space gray - but was ultimately forced to shelve the gold color option ahead of release due to production issues. Prior to the launch of the iPhone X, most rumors did indeed suggest it would come in three colors. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, for example, said that Apple was experiencing problems manufacturing a "Blush Gold" iPhone X, and he suggested in September that the gold version could go on sale at a later date to give Apple time to work out the problems. It's possible that the stainless steel frame of the gold device was causing issues, as Apple was able to release the iPhone 8 - which uses an aluminum frame - in gold. Whatever the reason, Apple ended up only launching the iPhone X in silver and space gray. It is not clear if Apple still has plans to debut a gold iPhone X, but recent rumors have speculated that Apple may be aiming to introduce the new color in an effort to boost mid-year sales of the device. If that is the plan, it could perhaps make a debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference. It would have been logical to introduce the new shade alongside new spring Apple Watch bands or alongside the recently announced (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, so it's also possible that Apple is going to hold off on debuting the new color. Provided manufacturing issues have been worked out by this point, we could see Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup in the traditional gold, silver, and space gray options, regardless of whether or not Apple releases a gold iPhone X ahead of when those devices debut in September.Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple recently posted a "lengthy" cautionary memo on its internal website that uses aggressive scare tactics to warn employees against leaking details about future products to the media, reports Bloomberg. In 2017, Apple said it caught 29 leakers and that 12 of those people were arrested. "These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere," the company said in the memo. Images of iPhone X components that leaked well ahead of the device's launch The memo details several instances where sensitive data had been leaked to the media, such as the leaked iOS 11 GM, which divulged details on the iPhone X, and meetings where Craig Federighi detailed delays to planned functionality in iOS 12 to focus on improving existing features. The employees who leaked this info were caught and fired, said Apple. It also warns Apple employees against befriending members of the press, analysts, and bloggers and "getting played." Apple told employees that leaking information about an unreleased product can impact sales of current models, lead to fewer sales when the product is released, and give competitors more time to mimic product features. "We want the chance to tell our customers why the product is great, and not have that done poorly by someone else," Apple's Greg Joswiak said in the memo, the full text of which is below, courtesy of Bloomberg:Last month, Apple caught and fired the employee responsible for leaking details from an internal, confidential meeting about Apple's software roadmap. Hundreds of software engineers were in attendance, and thousands more within the organization received details of its proceedings. One person betrayed their trust. The employee who leaked the meeting to a reporter later told Apple investigators that he did it because he thought he wouldn't be discovered. But people who leak -- whether they're Apple employees, contractors or suppliers -- do get caught and they're getting caught faster than ever. In many cases, leakers don't set out to leak. Instead, people who work for Apple are often targeted by press, analysts and bloggers who befriend them on professional and social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and begin to pry for information. While it may seem flattering to be approached, it's important to remember that you're getting played. The success of these outsiders is measured by obtaining Apple's secrets from you and making them public. A scoop about an unreleased Apple product can generate massive traffic for a publication and financially benefit the blogger or reporter who broke it. But the Apple employee who leaks has everything to lose. The impact of a leak goes far beyond the people who work on a project. Leaking Apple's work undermines everyone at Apple and the years they've invested in creating Apple products. "Thousands of people work tirelessly for months to deliver each major software release," says UIKit lead Josh Shaffer, whose team's work was part of the iOS 11 leak last fall. "Seeing it leak is devastating for all of us." The impact of a leak goes beyond the people who work on a particular project -- it's felt throughout the company. Leaked information about a new product can negatively impact sales of the current model; give rival companies more time to begin on a competitive response; and lead to fewer sales of that new product when it arrives. "We want the chance to tell our customers why the product is great, and not have that done poorly by someone else," says Greg Joswiak of Product Marketing. Investments by Apple have had an enormous impact on the company's ability to identify and catch leakers. Just before last September's special event, an employee leaked a link to the gold master of iOS 11 to the press, again believing he wouldn't be caught. The unreleased OS detailed soon-to-be-announced software and hardware including iPhone X. Within days, the leaker was identified through an internal investigation and fired. Global Security's digital forensics also helped catch several employees who were feeding confidential details about new products including iPhone X, iPad Pro and AirPods to a blogger at 9to5Mac. Last year Apple caught 29 leakers. Leakers in the supply chain are getting caught, too. Global Security has worked hand-in-hand with suppliers to prevent theft of Apple's intellectual property as well as to identify individuals who try to exceed their access. They've also partnered with suppliers to identify vulnerabilities -- both physical and technological -- and ensure their security levels meet or exceed Apple's expectations. These programs have nearly eliminated the theft of prototypes and products from factories, caught leakers and prevented many others from leaking in the first place. Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes. In 2017, Apple caught 29 leakers. 12 of those were arrested. Among those were Apple employees, contractors and some partners in Apple's supply chain. These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere. "The potential criminal consequences of leaking are real," says Tom Moyer of Global Security, "and that can become part of your personal and professional identity forever." While they carry serious consequences, leaks are completely avoidable. They are the result of a decision by someone who may not have considered the impact of their actions. "Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives -- work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together," says Joswiak. "The best way to honor those contributions is by not leaking."Apple has always been an intensely private and secretive company, but as it has grown, leaks have become harder to contain, both among its own corporate employees and from its supplier partners. In 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple was going to "double down on secrecy on products," but each and every year, details on new products manage to leak out ahead of launch.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple last year sued an aftermarket repair shop in Norway, accusing the owner, Henrik Huseby of infringing on Apple's trademarks by using non-genuine aftermarket repair parts. Details on the lawsuit were shared today by Motherboard, a site that has been covering "Right to Repair" efforts in the United States. Apple started out by sending Huseby a letter demanding that he stop using aftermarket displays to repair broken devices after Norwegian customs officials seized iPhone 6 and 6s replacement screens that were addressed to him and discovered they were counterfeit. Image via iFixit Huseby had ordered the screens, which were "refurbished screens assembled by a third party" from Hong Kong. The displays were refurbished using genuine broken iPhone components. Apple wanted Huseby to destroy the counterfeit displays, pay a fine of about $3566, and sign an agreement not to manufacture, import, sell, or otherwise "deal with any products that infringe Apple's trademarks." Huseby decided he would not sign Apple's settlement, instead deciding to fight it, leading Apple to sue him. According to Norwegian news sites, Apple had five lawyers working on the case against Huseby, but he ultimately won when the court sided with him. Apple appealed the decision and Huseby is waiting to hear whether or not a court will accept the appeal. The court decided that Norwegian law "does not prohibit a Norwegian mobile repair person from importing mobile screens from Asian manufacturers that are 100 percent compatible and completely identical to Apple's own iPhone screens, so long as Apple's trademark is not applied to the product." [...] "It is not obvious to the court what trademark function justifies Apple's choice of imprinting the Apple logo on so many internal components," the court wrote. "Huseby is largely dependent on being able to import screens with covered up Apple logos to be able to operate in the market as a non-authorized iPhone repair technician." "They threw all kinds of claims against me and told me the laws and acted so friendly and just wanted me to sign the letter so it would all be over," Huseby told Motherboard. I had a good lawyer that completely understood the problem, did good research, and read the law correctly." As Motherboard points out, while the specifics of the legal case will only be relevant to Norway, the lawsuit should be of interest to other independent repair shops around the world who may face similar situations with Apple. In the U.S., for example, Apple has worked with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to seize counterfeit parts and raid independent iPhone repair shops. It's no surprise that Apple does not want its iPhones and other devices repaired with counterfeit and inauthentic parts because it can lead to a whole slew of problems, and in fact, damage caused by such repairs can void a device's warranty. Some repair shops don't want to pay Apple's fees or submit to Apple's restrictions to become an Apple Authorized Service Provider, however, which is the only way to receive genuine replacement parts. This dispute between Apple and independent repair shops is at the heart of the "Right to Repair" legislation that Apple is lobbying against in several states. Apple may also be disabling certain iPhone features after repairs are done by aftermarket shops, even when using genuine parts. Earlier this week, a report suggested iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus display repairs disable the ambient light sensor on the devices, preventing the device's auto brightness features from working. It's still not clear if this is a bug or intentional, as Apple has not commented.Tag: Right to RepairDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
On Monday, Apple introduced new (PRODUCT)RED models of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which went up for pre-order on Tuesday and are available to purchase in Apple Stores as of today. Since it's an Apple product launch day, customers interested in the new iPhone 8 color can visit Apple.com to check stock at their local Apple stores and arrange for an in-store pickup on the smartphone. Apple's iPhone availability tool shows that the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus devices should be easy to obtain today at most Apple stores across the United States and in other countries, in both 64GB and 256GB. Those who don't feel like picking up at an Apple store, or who don't live nearby one, can also choose to have the iPhone delivered via free next day shipping. The unlocked/SIM-free prices of each new model can be found below: iPhone 8 / 64GB: $699 iPhone 8 / 256GB: $849 iPhone 8 Plus / 64GB: $799 iPhone 8 Plus / 256GB: $949 The (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 has all of the same internals and hardware as the models that launched last September, including a glass body for wireless charging, A11 processor, True Tone display, and more. In the box, you'll get EarPods with a Lightning Connector, Lightning to USB cable, 5W USB power adapter, and a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter. The new iPhone 8 models are available in stores as of today in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore. Later this month, the devices will arrive in Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, and other countries. Chile, Colombia, India, Israel, and Turkey will follow in May. Alongside the new iPhone 8, Apple also launched a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone X Leather Folio at $99. As with every (PRODUCT)RED accessory and device, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X Leather Folio are part of Apple's partnership with (RED), which helps raise money for The Global Fund in its fight against HIV/AIDS.Related Roundup: iPhone 8Tag: (PRODUCT)REDBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
HomePod shipments "could be far below market expectations" this year, according to reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. "Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units," wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes the "major miss" in HomePod shipments could be attributable to the speaker's design and pricing, among other factors. For starters, at $349, he said the HomePod's high price "could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality." He added that Siri provides an "uninspiring user experience" compared to competitors, presumably including the Amazon Echo with Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant. Kuo said the HomePod's potentially lackluster sales highlights "underlying concerns" in Apple's development of artificial intelligence.It's been six years since Apple introduced Siri to the market, which was way ahead of the firm's major competitors. The massive population of iOS and macOS users is also conducive to the promotion of the voice assistant function. However, we note that for most users worldwide, Siri is not a must-have function, and Apple has not yet become a leading brand in the AI voice assistant market. We also note that HomePod has not added support for new languages in the device since launch, suggesting Apple is facing challenges in AI/voice assistant development spanning the globe; this will cap the shipments momentum of HomePod.The oft-accurate analyst said Apple is "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod that may help short-term shipments. However, even if the product materializes, he predicts it will only provide a short-term boost to sales. More importantly, Kuo believes Apple needs to improve Siri, support more languages, and make other improvements to the HomePod to stay competitive against Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market. Premium audio quality alone may not be enough for customers to justify dropping $349 on the speaker. Kuo's research on potentially lower-than-expected HomePod shipments echoes similar reports from Bloomberg News and the China Times earlier this week. Rumors about a lower-priced HomePod have also surfaced a few times in recent months, with one report suggesting a $150-$200 price in the United States. Apple released the HomePod in early February in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and it also confirmed availability in France and Germany later this spring. AirPlay 2 features such as stereo sound and multi-room audio won't be available until later this year, according to Apple.Related Roundup: HomePodTags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi KuoBuyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
New vehicle owners who have purchased a car that's equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are satisfied with the system and are increasingly relying on it for all in-car tasks, according to a new report released today by Strategy Analytics. In a survey querying new vehicle owners that have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto installed in their vehicles, Strategy Analytics found that 34 percent of CarPlay owners rely on CarPlay for all of their audio infotainment needs, while 27 percent of Android Auto users use the Android platform exclusively for audio infotainment. 32 percent of CarPlay users and 33 percent of Android Auto users rely on those systems for all of their navigation needs, with CarPlay's slightly lower number here likely attributable to customers who continued to be unsatisfied with Apple Maps compared to other mapping apps like Google Maps or Waze. Speech recognition usage is said to be "strong" across both sets of users, with CarPlay owners taking advantage of Siri for hands-free tasks while driving. Overall, more than 85 percent of CarPlay and Android Auto users are "somewhat or very satisfied" with their system, and more than 90 percent are likely to recommend those systems to others. In a similar report from October, Strategy Analytics learned that CarPlay is becoming an increasingly important feature that consumers look for when purchasing a vehicle. In the United States, for example, 23 percent of respondents said that CarPlay was a "must have" feature for a new car, while another 56 percent said they were "interested" in vehicles equipped with CarPlay. While CarPlay has been available since 2015, car manufacturers did not begin widely adopting the feature until mid-2016. CarPlay is now included in many new vehicles from a wide range of manufacturers, with more than 200 vehicles on the market offering CarPlay support.Related Roundup: CarPlayDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
GrayShift's recently publicized "GrayKey" box designed to crack locked iPhones is seeing wide adoption among police forces and federal agencies across the United States according to a recent investigation by Motherboard. Motherboard found that regional police forces like the Maryland State Police, the Indiana State Police, and the Miami-Dade County Police have purchased or are soon purchasing GrayKey technology, while other forces like the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department have looked into boxes and received quotes from GrayShift. GrayKey box, via MalwareBytes The Secret Service is also planning to purchase "at least half a dozen" GrayKey boxes for unlocking iPhones, while the State Department has already bought them and the Drug Enforcement Administration has expressed interest. Current FBI Director Christopher Wray said in January at the International Conference on Cyber Security that law enforcement officials are facing a "Going Dark" challenge where an "enormous" number of cases rely on an electronic device. "We're increasingly unable to access that evidence, despite lawful authority to do so," said Wray. Motherboard's investigation into GrayShift, the GrayKey iPhone unlocking boxes, and other smartphone unlocking methods suggest that is not the case. The FBI uses the going dark debate to advocate for easier access to electronic devices through backdoors, but the seemingly readily available tools like GrayKey undermine these arguments."It demonstrates that even state and local police do have access to this data in many situations," Matthew Green, an assistant professor and cryptographer at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, told Motherboard in a Twitter message. "This seems to contradict what the FBI is saying about their inability to access these phones." "The availability and affordability of these tools undercuts law enforcement's continual assertions that they need smartphone vendors to be forced to build 'exceptional access' capabilities into their devices," Riana Pfefferkorn, cryptography fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told Motherboard in a Twitter message.In recent months, law enforcement officials have been quietly revisiting proposals that would require tech companies to build backdoor access into smartphones and other electronics, something Apple vehemently fought against back in 2016 following the San Bernardino shooting where the FBI attempted to order the company to provide it with a tool to crack the iPhone 5c involved in the case. As has been previously reported, the GrayKey mentioned by Motherboard is a small, portable gray box that's equipped with dual Lightning cables. An iPhone can be plugged into one of the cables to install proprietary software that's able to guess the passcode for an iPhone in either a few hours or a few days, depending on the strength of the passcode. Once the GrayKey software has unlocked an iPhone, it can be plugged back into the GrayKey box to download all of the data on the iPhone. GrayKey can crack the latest iPhones running modern versions of iOS, including iOS 11, providing law enforcement officials with easy access to locked iPhones for criminal investigations. Grayshift charges $15,000 for a GrayKey box that requires internet connectivity, is geofenced to a specific location, and allows for 300 unlocks, or $30,000 for a box that requires no connection, can be used anywhere, and can unlock an unlimited number of devices. As Motherboard points out, the technology used in the GrayKey boxes may eventually be outdated through updates to the iOS operating system, leading to periods where some versions of iOS may be difficult to access. Because of the ongoing cat and mouse game of Apple patching a vulnerability as third-party iPhone cracking services look for new methods to get into iPhones, the argument for backdoors into smartphones is likely to surface time and time again. Motherboard's full report on the iPhone unlocking tools available to law enforcement officials can be viewed over on the website. 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-FBIDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
Starting tomorrow, the major credit card companies in the United States are officially eliminating the signature requirement for purchases, marking an end to a long running but increasingly unnecessary policy. American Express, Visa, Discover, and Mastercard first announced plans to end credit card signatures late last year, but have now confirmed to The Verge that the policy change will go into effect starting on April 13. American Express, Mastercard, and Discover all plan to stop requiring signatures tomorrow, while Visa plans to follow later in the month. Credit and debit card companies have long required signatures for purchases as an added security measure, but with technology improvements that include contactless payments and the adoption of EMV chip technology, signatures are an outdated authentication method. Officially eliminating signatures when making a purchase will allow for a more consistent, streamlined, and speedy checkout experience for both merchants and cardholders. It should also streamline the Apple Pay experience in the United States, as a signature can on occasion be required for purchases over $50 when using Apple Pay, a step that will be eliminated when the signature changes become official. American Express plans to end the signature requirement in the United States and other countries around the world, while Mastercard will eliminate it in the United States and Canada. Discover plans to end signatures in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and Visa is making signatures optional in North America for companies that offer chip systems. All merchants continue to be able to collect signatures if required to do so by an applicable law in a particular jurisdiction.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Store employees will celebrate Earth Day by again wearing green shirts instead of traditional navy blue for the next few weeks. Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts with employees ahead of Earth Day in 2017 Apple has already provided many of its retail employees with the new uniform, which they will begin wearing as early as Friday, April 13 in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries, according to a reliable source. The new shirts will likely be worn through Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. A tipster who asked to be identified as The Apple Post informant today sent us photos of what appears to be the new uniform items. Apple also celebrates Earth Day by adding a green leaf accent to the Apple logos at its retail stores around the world, and by offering an Earth Day activity challenge on Apple Watch. And, in recent years, Apple has shared a series of Earth Day videos, Apple Music playlists, and featured App Store apps. Apple will likely release its 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report around Earth Day, highlighting the company's commitment and progress in relation to recycling, renewable energy, and other green initiatives around the world. Earlier this week, Apple announced that its global facilities, including retail stores, offices, and data centers across 43 countries, are now powered with 100 percent renewable energy. In addition, an additional nine Apple suppliers around the world have committed to using renewable energy sources. Related Roundup: Apple StoresTag: Earth DayDiscuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
A new supply chain report out of Taiwan echoes a recent Bloomberg News story suggesting that HomePod sales have been lackluster, but as with most channel checks, it can be difficult to draw accurate conclusions. Namely, the China Times claims that Apple has reduced its HomePod shipment forecast to 200,000 units or less per month in the second quarter, down from around 500,000 units per month in the first quarter, due to lower-than-expected sales. Apple is also said to revise down its shipment forecast for all of 2018. HomePod sales may very well be lackluster, as a relatively niche product with an expensive $349 price tag, and given a handful of early reviews that criticized Siri's capabilities, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously warned against trying to interpret single data points from the supply chain. Cook on Apple's first quarter earnings call in 2013:I suggest it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to interpret that data point as to what it meant to our business. The supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for things. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on.For example, the China Times report only mentions Inventec and a few smaller suppliers affected by the cuts, despite reports that Foxconn would begin assembling HomePods alongside Inventec at some point in 2018. It's possible that Inventec has simply lost a portion of its orders as Apple diversifies its production. A few months have passed since the HomePod launched, too, so early adopters who were eagerly waiting to purchase the speaker have likely already done so. Just like an iPhone, sales can be expected to be strongest within the first few weeks of availability, followed by a gradual decline over time. Production cuts are to be expected. Moreover, the HomePod has yet to even launch outside of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, so sales remain limited geographically. Apple said the speaker will launch in France and Germany later this spring. If sales are in fact poor, one way that Apple could boost interest is by offering a more affordable HomePod, and today's report echoes rumors about a possible lower-priced version. However, the report predicts that Apple wouldn't launch a revised or cheaper HomePod until at least the fourth quarter of this year. We'll likely never know exactly how well the HomePod is selling, as Apple said it will group the speaker under its "Other Products" category in its quarterly earnings reports, alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod, and more. But we'll be listening to the May 1 earnings call for any potential hints.Related Roundup: HomePodTag: chinatimes.comBuyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)Discuss this article in our forums

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