posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
Earlier today a new series of Wikileaks leaks that revealed the United States Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to hack iPhones. The leaks detail a number of iOS exploits that can be used to bypass security on devices. Tonight, Apple said in a statement provided to TechCrunch that most of the vulnerabilities detailed in the leaks have been patched. “Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates."Apple says its initial analyses indicates that many of the exploits detailed were patched in the latest version of iOS, and that it will continue to patch identified vulnerabilities. The Cupertino company closes by saying that it always urges users to download and install the latest version of iOS to ensure that they have the most recent security updates. The Vault 7 revelations aren't the first time the CIA has targeted Apple's mobile devices. In 2015 it was reported that the CIA worked on ways to compromise both iPhones and iPads. The full list of so-called "Year Zero" documents can be found on found on Wikileaks' 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.Tags: CIA, privacy, Wikileaks, Vault 7 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta and over a month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.3. The fifth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who have previously installed a beta. macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's Night Shift mode to the Mac for the first time. First introduced on iOS devices with iOS 9.3, Night Shift is designed to gradually shift the display of a device from blue to yellow, cutting down on exposure to blue light. Blue light is said to disrupt the circadian rhythm and is believed to interrupt sleeping patterns. Night Shift can be activated through the Displays section of System Preferences, where a setting to have it come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise is available. Night Shift can also be toggled on manually through the Notification Center or via Siri. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The 10.12.4 update focuses mainly on Night Shift, but also includes dictation support for Shanghainese, cricket scores for Siri, improved PDFKit APIs, and iCloud Analytics options.Related Roundup: macOS Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
In a new series of leaks focusing on the United States Central Intelligence Agency, code named "Vault 7," Wikileaks has revealed 8,761 documents discovered within an isolated network in Langley, Virginia that "amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code." The code contains what Wikileaks referred to as a "hacking arsenal" of malware, viruses, trojans, and weaponized "zero day" exploits for iOS devices, that could give anyone in possession of the code "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA." This "Year Zero" release is the first in the full Vault 7 series by Wikileaks, and is said to act as an introduction to the capacity and means of the CIA's covert hacking program. The agency's abilities can take aim at a number of popular consumer products from companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, turning everything from an iPhone to a smart TV into a "covert microphone." In its analysis of the released documents, Wikileaks looked at how iPhones and iPads have been targeted by the CIA in the past, and how they can continue to be exploited in the future. Although Android remains a dominant force in the global smartphone market, Wikileaks argued that a "disproportionate focus" has been placed on iOS devices by the CIA, most likely due to the Apple-branded phone's popularity. Because of this, the agency has a specialized unit in place within the Mobile Development Branch that creates and executes malware to infiltrate, take control of, and exfiltrate sensitive information from iOS products. The MDB's methods are said to include a collection of zero day exploits, which are vulnerabilities in a piece of software unknown by the software's creator and subsequently exploitable by hackers. Including the iOS malware, Wikileaks claimed that the CIA has recently "lost control" of the majority of its hacking arsenal. Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites. Wikileaks noted that in the wake of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, a group of technology companies convinced the Obama administration to disclose any zero day exploits and bugs to each company, rather than hoard the information. The Vulnerabilities Equities Process underlined this agreement in 2010, and the U.S. government said it would reveal any vulnerabilities discovered to the company in question. Documents in Year Zero paint a further negative image for the CIA, which is said to not have abided by the agreement between the technology companies and the U.S. government. An example was given by Wikileaks centering on one malware that can control both the Android phone and iPhone software "that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts." The government is said to not have brought the information forward to Apple or Google in the time it has had the hacking data. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable. The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable. The scope of the new Wikileaks documents includes detailed information on the iOS exploits, hacks that could potentially infest vehicle control systems, and even attacks against Samsung smart TV sets. This last point, dubbed "Weeping Angel," was said to have been developed by the CIA in conjunction with the United Kingdom's MI5 as a way to convert turned-off television sets into secret microphones. The full list of the Year Zero documents can be found on Wikileaks, and complete analysis of the documents by independent security experts will take some time in order for the impact of the release to be determined. 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: Wikileaks Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
While the next major version of macOS likely won't be announced until the WWDC 2017 opening keynote on June 5, eagle-eyed blogger Pike's Universum has discovered what appears to be Apple's first public sign of macOS 10.13. Specifically, the blog shared a portion of the App Store URL, otherwise known as a CatalogURL, for macOS 10.13. We were subsequently able to pinpoint the full URL by tweaking an older CatalogURL link, and it appears to be a secure HTTPS link originating from Apple's servers, so the screenshot is legitimate. The full URL: https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-10.13seed.merged-1.sucatalog.gz We don't know much about what's coming in macOS 10.13 at this point, but visits we're receiving from Macs running pre-release versions of macOS 10.13 have been picking up steadily since the beginning of the year, presumably as Apple's engineers work on the operating system update ahead of its unveiling. Visits to MacRumors from Macs running macOS 10.13 We don't know what the successor to macOS Sierra will be called, but in 2014, Apple trademarked a long list of names that could be used for future updates. Names range from popular beaches and well-known cities in California, where Apple is headquartered, to mountains, deserts, and animals. A list of known trademarked names that have yet to be used: Redwood, Mammoth, California, Big Sur, Pacific, Diablo, Miramar, Rincon, Redtail, Condor, Grizzly, Farallon, Tiburon, Monterey, Skyline, Shasta, Mojave, Sequoia, Ventura, and Sonoma. An entirely different name is certainly possible too. macOS 10.13 will likely be seeded to developers for testing purposes in early June ahead of a public release by the end of October. The beta will likely be available to public testers over the summer as well.Related Roundup: macOS 10.13 Tag: Pike's Universum Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Pay became available in Ireland this morning, marking the 14th country to accept Apple's payments service. Visa and MasterCard holders that bank with KBC and Ulster Bank can use Apple Pay in the country, and the service also works with the Boon prepay system. Apple Pay is available to all customers with an iPhone SE, 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, or an iPhone 5 or later when paired with the Apple Watch. Apple Pay can also be used within apps and on the web with an eligible iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro with Touch ID. Apple Pay can be set up using the Wallet app on all supported devices. Participating retailers in Ireland include Aldi, Amber Oil, Applegreen, Boots, Burger King, Centra, Dunnes Stores, Harvey Norman, Lidl, Marks and Spencers, PostPoint, SuperValu, and more, with a full list of participating retailers available on the Ireland Apple Pay website. Along with Ireland, Apple Pay is available in U.S., UK, China, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain. Taiwan is next on the list to get Apple Pay, with seven banks in the country having recently obtained permission from the Financial Supervisory Commission to offer the payments service. Related Roundup: Apple Pay Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
While a 5.8-inch iPhone with an OLED display is likely around six months away from being announced, the stock market is always looking ahead, and several analysts think the smartphone will be a hit among customers. Accordingly, over the past month, several financial analysts have raised their price targets for Apple's stock to between $150 and $185, per research notes obtained by MacRumors. Citi analyst Jim Suva, for instance, raised his Apple stock price target to $160 today. Likewise, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long rose his target to $160 in late February. Apple's stock has already been on an impressive run this year so far, closing at $139.34 on Monday, just cents off its record-breaking high of $139.79 set last week for comparison. Long in particular said he expects Apple's trio of new iPhone models, presumably arriving this September, to drive the "biggest refresh cycle" since the iPhone 6 in 2014.For the 2017 iPhone refresh, we expect some cannibalization by the premium model. While we expect like-for-like units to be 23 million lower, we model 34 million of unit volume from the new model. On balance, we estimate 11 million of incremental volume, the best launch since iPhone 6, though still less impactful. We believe this reflects conservatism in our estimates.iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were runaway hits as Apple's first smartphones with screen sizes as large as Samsung's competing Galaxy smartphones, but the iPhone's overall look and feel has gone largely unchanged since those models were introduced three years ago, and iPhone sales declined for the first time ever last year. The so-called "iPhone 8," or whatever Apple names its tenth-anniversary iPhone, will likely be something fresh and new, however, which Long expects could drive existing iPhone users to upgrade. Long estimated that the number of iPhones in use was around 715 million, including 228 million second-hand devices, as of December 2016. Of the new models, he estimated 31% of the new phone installed base will be 2 years or older at the time of Apple's presumed September launch event. This larger than usual base of customers with older iPhone models has led analysts such as Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty and UBS's Steven Milunovich to expect a "supercycle" of iPhone upgrades through next year. Huberty recently raised her price target to $154, up from $150, but with an "overweight" rating. She expects the 5.8-inch iPhone's significant form factor change, and rumored features such as wireless charging, longer battery life, 3D sensors, and more advanced AI software capabilities, to drive the accelerated upgrade cycle. Milunovich raised his price target to $151 in late February, up from $138, and he maintained a "buy" rating. Huberty and Milunovich are far more conservative than Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White, who has maintained a $185 price target since last year. "We continue to believe that Apple remains one of the most underappreciated stocks in the world," he said in a research note shared with investors in early February. Guggenheim Securities analyst Robert Cihra reportedly raised his price target to $180, up from $150, last week. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway went on an Apple stock buying spree over the past few months, increasing his position in the iPhone maker to around 133 million shares prior to the company's record-breaking earnings results at the end of January. His holding has likely netted him several billions.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: AAPL Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 17 days ago on mac rumors
Each year, Apple offers free WWDC scholarships to students and STEM organization members who don't have the funds to attend the company's developer conference. For 2017, Apple will begin accepting scholarship submissions on March 27, as is outlined on an updated scholarship website Apple shared today. Submissions will be accepted from March 27 at 10:00 a.m. until April 2 at 5:00 p.m. Winning applicants will be notified of their status on Friday, April 21. Scholarships traditionally offer free tickets to WWDC, a huge benefit as a ticket is normally priced at $1,599. Flights and accommodations are not typically included, but starting this year, Apple is providing free lodging. WWDC scholarship applicants must be at least 13 years old, registered as an Apple developer, and enrolled in a part-time or full-time course of study. Members and alumni of a STEM organization are also eligible. Apple instructs prospective scholarship attendees to share a visually interactive scene created in Swift Playgrounds that can be experienced in three minutes. Swift Playgrounds for iPad or Xcode on macOS must be used, and Apple will judge applications on technical accomplishment, creativity of ideas, and the content of written responses. Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will take place from June 5 to June 9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. It is the first WWDC that hasn't been held in San Francisco since 2003. While the conference is designed to allow developers to interact with Apple engineers and employees, Apple will hold a keynote event on June 5 to announce new software updates, including iOS 11 and macOS 10.13.Related Roundup: WWDC 2017 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 17 days ago on mac rumors
While the Genius Bar is the focal point of the Apple Store, it turns out the idea was initially panned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. On the Recode Decode podcast, Apple's former retail chief Ron Johnson recalled the day he told Jobs about the Genius Bar. Steve's initial reaction to the idea: "That's so idiotic! It'll never work!"“I remember the day I came in and told Steve about the Genius Bar idea and he says, ‘That’s so idiotic! It’ll never work!’” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Ron, you might have the right idea, but here’s the big gap: I’ve never met someone who knows technology who knows how to connect with people. They’re all geeks! You can call it the Geek Bar.’” “And I said, ‘Steve, kids who are in their 20s today grew up in a very different world. They all know technology, and that’s who’s going to work in the store.’”Jobs went on to tell Johnson that the Genius Bar may in fact be the "right idea," but he was not convinced at the time that people who knew technology would be able to communicate effectively with customers. "They're all geeks! You can call it the Geek Bar," he quipped. Johnson, who left Apple in 2011 and now runs online retail startup Enjoy, argued that people who were in their 20s at the time—this was around the year 2000—grew up in a world surrounded by technology, implying the Genius Bar would not be manned merely by "geeks." The following day, Johnson said Jobs instructed Apple's top lawyer to file a trademark for "Genius Bar." In an earlier interview, Johnson said it took some time before the Genius Bar gained traction, but within three years Apple was forced to create a reservation system due to its popularity. Nearly sixteen years later, the Genius Bar and the newer, more open concept Genius Grove remain a mainstay at most Apple Stores.Related Roundup: Apple Stores Tags: Steve Jobs, Ron Johnson, Genius Bar Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 17 days ago on mac rumors
A new supply chain report claims that Apple is planning to use OLED for every iPhone model by 2019, with the company expected to adopt OLED panels for 60 million units of the iPhone 8 later in 2017, equating to around 40 percent of its total manufacturing run (via The Bell) [Google Translate]. Apple will double the adoption of OLED panels for the 2018 iPhone before completely migrating over to OLED-only models for 2019. The same report claimed that both Samsung and Inteflex are currently gearing up production for flexible printed circuit boards (FPCB) for this year's iPhone 8, with Samsung specifically beginning an expansion of its Electro-Mechanics plant in Vietnam to account for the increased Apple supply quota this year. Apple plans to introduce OLED panels to all iPhone models by 2019. This year's introduction accounted for only 40%, but next year it is expected to double to 80% and 100% next year. For the 2017 iPhone line, Apple is expected to stick with LCD panels for two of the iPhones -- currently referred to as the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus" -- while making the "iPhone 8" its first-ever mobile device to include an OLED screen. Today's supply chain report said that Apple will use three suppliers to produce OLED panels, and orders for each will be decided and placed when production is started around April or May. The iPhone 8 is currently rumored to include an edge-to-edge OLED display with an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor embedded within the screen. The OLED display is widely agreed to measure 5.8 inches, while the primary area of user interaction will be 5.15 inches, and below that there will be a "function row." The other two models are believed to keep the same aluminum design of current-model iPhones.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: OLED Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 18 days ago on mac rumors
Apple will launch three new iPhone models in the fall, including one with a 5.8-inch OLED display and two with LCD displays, according to Nikkei Asian Review. While this is a rumor we have heard several times already, the Japanese website previously said Apple would launch a 5-inch iPhone—not 5.8 inches—in 2017. The relevant bit from today's report:The upcoming iPhone, to be launched this fall, will come in three configurations -- two with liquid crystal displays and one with a 5.8-inch organic light-emitting diode display.Here's what it reported last October:"Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year," the source said.5.8 inches is now the widely agreed upon screen size for Apple's first iPhone with an OLED display, but there is likely a reasonable explanation as to why Nikkei and two other reports suggested the model would have a 5-inch display. Namely, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said while the so-called "iPhone 8" will indeed have a 5.8-inch display, the primary area will actually be 5.15 inches, while the rest of the space will be reserved for a wide row of virtual buttons. Kuo also said the device's physical dimensions will likely be similar to a 4.7-inch iPhone. Given the size variation between the OLED panel, display area, and physical dimensions rumored, it remains unclear if Apple will officially categorize the "iPhone 8" as 5.1 inches, 5.2 inches, 5.8 inches, or a different size. Apple is expected to remove the Home button to make room for the larger display without significantly increasing the device's overall footprint. The bezels surrounding the display are also expected to be removed, although a very slim top bezel could remain to house the front-facing camera and earpiece cutout. While some reports have suggested Touch ID may be entirely replaced with biometric technologies such as iris or facial recognition or even ultrasound, Apple has filed a patent for a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath a touchscreen. Apple also has a patent for integrating the ambient light sensor into the display. The much-rumored 5.8-inch iPhone, which has also been coined the "iPhone Pro" or "iPhone X" in honor of the smartphone's tenth anniversary this year, could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States. It is expected to be announced in September alongside updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: OLED, nikkei.com Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today continued on with its latest iPad Pro campaign, today sharing two new Twitter-based video ads highlighting features like the Apple Pencil, the built-in camera, and recording functions. The first ad focuses on the note taking capabilities of the iPad Pro, explaining that students can take better notes with the Apple Pencil and even use the recording capabilities of the device to capture full lectures. The second video points out that an iPad Pro can replace several existing desktop accessories, like a scanner, a pad of paper, and a laptop. Like the rest of the videos in the new iPad Pro campaign, the two new spots use real tweets from real people, with each video focusing on a problem someone has tweeted about. Apple has shared several videos in the campaign so far, focusing on features like LTE connectivity, speed, the Apple Pencil, apps like Microsoft Word, and more. The ad series comes as Apple is rumored to be preparing to introduce an updated iPad Pro lineup, perhaps as early as March. A flagship 10.5-inch iPad Pro with an upgraded processor and edge-to-edge display is rumored to be in the works alongside refreshed 9.7, 12.9, and perhaps 7.9-inch tablets.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple senior executive Eddy Cue, who oversees services such as iTunes and Apple Music, held discussions last week with Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures, two of the biggest film studios in Hollywood, according to the New York Post, but the iPhone maker's exact ambitions in the content space are still uncertain. The report suggested Apple is looking for a "transformative acquisition" and "not just a deal to buy TV shows," while an unnamed source is quoted as vaguely saying Apple is "preparing something big." Apple has so far only flirted with original content, which it plans to distribute through Apple Music starting later this year. It acquired the rights to Carpool Karaoke, for example, the popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, which it plans to reboot as a series of sixteen half-hour episodes on Apple Music. The trailer for the show revealed it has a similar format of celebrity pairings singing along while driving. Likewise, Apple's upcoming reality TV series Planet of the Apps will be released on a weekly basis in the Spring. On the show, hosted by Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe, app developers compete for venture capital while receiving mentorship from influencers Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and will.i.am. Apple has sent mixed signals to Hollywood about its interest in original programming over the past few years, according to The Information. Last year, it said Apple has met with film studios and producers about developing original TV shows to offer exclusively on iTunes, but services chief Eddy Cue later said Apple is "not in the business of trying to create TV shows." Instead, Cue said Apple is willing to offer producers suggestions and guidance where possible.We're not in the business of trying to create TV shows. If we see it being complementary to the things we're doing at Apple Music or if we see it being something that's innovative on our platform, we may help them and guide them and make suggestions. But we're not trying to compete with Netflix or compete with Comcast.The report added that Apple is not interested in getting into expensive bidding wars over content with rivals such as Netflix and Amazon. The Wall Street Journal recently said Apple plans to "build a significant new business in original television shows and movies," which it compared to the likes of HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things. It agreed that Apple is not looking to compete with Netflix, but rather promote Apple Music. "In terms of original content, we've put our toe in the water doing some original content for Apple Music, and that will be rolling out throughout the year," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, on a conference call following the company's most recent earnings results. "We're learning from that and we'll go from there." Reports outlining Apple's interest in original content have gained momentum over the past few years alongside the iPhone maker's much rumored but since shelved plans for a streaming TV service in the United States.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple is set to feature its own in-house developed integrated fingerprint ID technology in OLED versions of its next iPhone, according to a new report out on Friday. Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" is expected to feature a virtual home button embedded in the display, but questions persist over the role of Touch ID in such a radical redesign as conflicting reports from analysts, rumors of biometric alternatives, and Apple patents abound. Today, DigiTimes cited industry sources claiming that an Apple-designed "built-in fingerprint sensor device" is indeed on the way, and will replace the traditional capacitive touch technology known as Touch ID. Apple has selected neither Synaptics' Natural ID touch fingerprint sensor nor Qualcomm's Sense ID fingerprint technology for its new OLED iPhones, and decided to use its own Authentec algorithm combined with Privaris glass identification technology to redesign a new fingerprint ID solution, according to industry sources.Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor technology originally came from AuthenTec, which Cupertino acquired in 2012, while the Privaris reference harks back to a patent portfolio Apple bought from the closed biometric security firm in June 2015 that included dozens of patents relating to fingerprint and touchscreen technology, including – in at least one example – the ability to use a touchscreen and fingerprint reader at the same time. DigiTimes has sources within Apple's supply chain, but it has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's unannounced product plans, so this latest report should be treated with caution. That said, additional claims made in the article potentially clarify mixed messages regarding production timelines for this year's iPhone line-up: Apple's in-house developed fingerprint ID solution will be fabricated at TSMC's 12-inch line using 65nm process technology, said the sources, adding that production for the new OLED iPhone is unlikely to start until September due to the redesigned fingerprint ID solution.Information previously gathered by others from the supply chain suggested that Apple plans to ramp up iPhone production in June, but this was assumed to relate exclusively to the iPhone 8 because that would allow Apple to work out any manufacturing issues and lead to better supply in preparation for a September launch. However, according to DigiTimes' sources, Apple will enter volume production in July for "two other new iPhones, which will retain LCD for their displays" – suggesting that reports of an early summer ramp-up only relate to the two new "S" cycle iPhones that Apple is also rumored to be launching this year. What that could mean for the launch date of the "iPhone 8" though remains unclear. Finally, the report goes on to claim that the tenth-anniversary edition iPhone will use "biometric authentication systems such as ultrasound", adding to the possible mix of facial recognition and iris scanning technologies also rumored to be in the works. Apart from the edge-to-edge display supplied by Samsung, other features more widely expected for the "iPhone 8" include some form of wireless charging and a glass body.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: Touch ID Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Spotify this afternoon announced that it has hit a new milestone, reaching a total of 50 million paying subscribers. That's up from 40 million in September, suggesting Spotify is growing at a rapid pace despite the surging popularity of Apple Music. As of December, Apple Music had over 20 million paying subscribers, and if the service has been growing at its typical pace, that number could now be somewhere around 22 million. Apple Music had 15 million subscribers in June of 2016 and 17 million subscribers in September of 2016. Thank you to our 50 million subscribers. #Spotify50 pic.twitter.com/eXkOV71bwu— Spotify (@Spotify) March 2, 2017 Spotify is Apple Music's staunchest rival and over the course of the last year, the two music services have clashed several times due to Apple Music's tactic using exclusives to lure new customers. Spotify in August made headlines when it allegedly started punishing artists who agreed to Apple Music exclusives, displaying their content less prominently and offering fewer promotional opportunities. Spotify denied the claims, but the relationship between the two has grown increasingly heated as Apple Music's popularity grows. Both services are now testing new features and subscription models to attract new users. Going forward, Apple plans to use original television programming to entice subscribers, debuting shows like Carpool Karaoke on Apple Music. Spotify, meanwhile, has recently started testing a lossless version of its streaming service to attract audiophiles.Tags: Spotify, Apple Music Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 have proven to be a "magnificent success" for Apple, which recorded its "best quarter ever" in the wearables market, according to the latest data from research firm IDC. Fourth quarter shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC) Apple shipped an estimated 4.6 million Apple Watch units in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from an estimated 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter, according to IDC. Its share of the wearables market, which includes basic fitness trackers, was an estimated 13.6%, down slightly from 14.1% in the year-ago quarter. Apple closed the gap with wearables market leader Fitbit, which experienced one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter. Fitbit shipped an estimated 6.5 million fitness trackers in the quarter, down from 8.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Fitbit's market share dropped from 29% to 19.2%, said IDC. Apple has been heavily marketing the Apple Watch's fitness capabilities as of late, rather than positioning it as a fashion accessory, and this shift in focus has allowed it to grow its presence in the wearables market, according to IDC:Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 proved to be a magnificent success for the company as it was the company's best quarter ever in the wearables market. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of GPS on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence. Apple is one of the few companies that has been able to quickly refocus its watch to gain traction in the consumer market and has also been leading the charge on introducing the smartwatch category to the commercial segment.Xiaomi finished second, between Fitbit and Apple, as its Mi Bands are priced well below most competing wearables, allowing the Chinese company to capture 15.2% market share based on an estimated 5.2 million shipments in the quarter. Xiaomi's market share rose considerably from 9.1% in the year-ago quarter. Annual shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC) Samsung was the fifth largest wearables vendor in the fourth quarter with an estimated 1.9 million shipments and 5.6% market share. IDC estimates that Apple Watch shipments totaled 10.7 million in 2016 for an estimated 10.5% market share, down from an estimated 11.6 million shipments and 14.2% market share in 2015. The annual data has the same top five rankings as the quarterly data: Fitbit, Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin, and Samsung. It is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales. Apple does not officially disclose Apple Watch sales, instead grouping the device under its "Other Products" category in earnings results. Apple only elected to share that the Apple Watch set all time sales records during the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, with CEO Tim Cook noting holiday demand was "so strong" that Apple "couldn't make enough." Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Tags: IDC, Fitbit Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
All three iPhones rumored to be launched in 2017 will retain Lightning connectors with the addition of USB-C Power Delivery for faster charging, including an all-new OLED model with a larger L-shaped battery and updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. An excerpt from his latest research note obtained by MacRumors:New 2H17 models may all support fast charging. We believe all three new iPhones launching in 2H17 will support fast charging by the adoption of Type-C Power Delivery technology (while still retaining the Lightning port). A key technical challenge lies with ensuring product safety and stable data transmission during a fast charge. In order to achieve that goal, we think Apple will adopt TI's power management and Cypress's Power Delivery chip solutions for the new iPhone models. We note the OLED version may have a faster charging speed thanks to a 2-cell L shaped battery pack design.Kuo expects Apple to retain the Lightning port given it has a slightly slimmer design compared to a USB-C port, to sustain MFi Program licensing income, and because he believes USB-C's high-speed data transmission is "still a niche application" for iPhone. Lightning officially supports up to USB 3.0 speeds. Kuo's prediction comes just two days after The Wall Street Journal seemingly reported that at least one upcoming iPhone model would have a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector. However, the report's wording was somewhat vague and sparked a lot of confusing reaction among the Apple community. Apple's latest MacBook Pro models are equipped with Thunderbolt 3 ports, which share the same connector design as USB-C, while the 12-inch MacBook also has a USB-C port. Apple could still bundle a Lightning to USB-C cable with its next iPhones to allow for connectivity with those notebooks out of the box.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, USB-C, Lightning Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple and 52 other major companies have signed a Supreme Court brief in support of seventeen-year-old Gavin Grimm, a young transgender man who's fighting with his local school district for the right to use the bathroom of his corresponding gender identity (via The New York Times). Other than Apple, the tech companies include Amazon, Microsoft, PayPal, Twitter, Yelp, eBay, Airbnb, and more. There are also a few companies not in the tech field that have signed the brief, among them including GAP, Warby Parker, Williams-Sonoma, and MAC Cosmetics. All of the companies signed a brief that will be filed today by gay rights organization the Human Rights Campaign, who is urging the Supreme Court to rule in Grimm's favor. Grimm is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in his fight against the Gloucester County School Board in his home state of Virginia. The case dates back to 2015 and the Supreme Court agreed to rule on it back in October of 2016. “These companies are sending a powerful message to transgender children and their families that America’s leading businesses have their backs,” Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Campaign’s president, said in a statement announcing the support. Grimm's case is heating up in the face of President Donald Trump's decision to remove guidelines put in place by the Obama administration, specifically covering the use of public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms by transgender students. The previous rules allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their corresponding gender identity, but now it's up to the states to decide whether or not to support the guidelines or put in place a more restrictive system. Last week, when Trump's decision was announced, Apple spoke out against the move and reiterated on its belief that "everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination." The Cupertino company also vocally disagreed with Trump's immigration executive order, joining another legal brief supported by nearly 100 U.S. companies in opposition to that immigration policy. Apple has long supported and fought for the rights of LGBTQ individuals, marching in the annual San Francisco pride parade each summer and condemning legislation that would freely allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers -- which was signed into law by Mike Pence in Indiana two years ago. A subsequent amendment to the religious freedom legislation was passed in the weeks after the initial law was signed, granting more protection to LGBTQ customers in the state of Indiana. For the new case regarding Gavin Grimm, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments from both sides at the end of March. 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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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple tonight debuted an ad for its Home app on the Home app webpage on its site, showing off what users can with the HomeKit ecosystem. The ad is not yet on Apple's YouTube page, and is only available on Apple's website. The ad depicts a woman who uses the Home app to get through the day. When she wakes up, she tells Siri good morning, prompting Siri to tell the woman that her home is ready for the day, turning on the lights and opening the window shades. She then opens the Home app and clicks on the "Breakfast Time" scene, which turns on her coffee maker via an iHome SmartPlug and adjusts the temperature via a Honeywell smart thermostat. Once she's ready for the day, she leaves home and clicks the "Lock Up" scene in the Home app, which turns everything in her house off and locks the door. Hours later, she returns home and clicks the "I'm Home" scene, which turns everything back on and unlocks the door. She heads to her Apple TV and uses the Siri Remote to declare that it's "movie time," which prompts the Home app to dim the lights and close the window shades. Finally, she clicks the "Lights Out" scene, which turns everything off other than a small lamp next to her bed so that she can read a book on her iPad. Eventually, she clicks the "Good Night" scene to turn off the lamp and go to sleep. In addition to the new ad, Apple has refreshed its Home webpage with new verbiage. The new copy appears to be less flowery and more direct and focused on app functionality. For instance, the accessories section of the webpage is now titled "One app for all your home accessories" rather than "So many accessories. One easy way to control them." Some lines in the descriptions have also been removed. The ad can be viewed on Apple's website. Tags: Apple ads, Ads, Home Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell recently sat down with TechCrunch for an interview discussing the future of the Oculus Rift, where he said that while Mac support is something the company would like to implement, it's not currently in the works. According to Mitchell, while Mac support is "near-and-dear" to his heart, Oculus is "just not quite there yet." Mac integration is, in fact, so far off that it's not even on the Oculus roadmap for the next six months. "We do want to do OS X (macOS) support for Rift, it's not something that's currently on the roadmap for-- I can even say-- the next six months," Mitchell tells me. "We will continue to revisit it, the real challenge for us is just how much we invest into that space because it does require a lot of our time and energy to get it right and to deliver a great experience."Early versions of the Oculus Rift did work with some higher-end Mac machines, but during the product's development period, Oculus was forced to drop Mac support. Mac development was put on hold in order to focus on "delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience," on Windows machines with more robust hardware. Last year, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey made headlines when he said the Oculus Rift wouldn't offer Mac support until Apple releases a "good computer." He said Oculus Rift support was ultimately "up to Apple," and that the company needed to "prioritize higher-end GPUs." Hardware requirements for the Rift became less stringent in October thanks to software advancements and will now run on any machine equipped with an Nvidia 960 or greater, an Intel i3-6100 or greater, or an AMD FX4350 or greater. With the changes, some Macs, including the latest MacBook Pro, could potentially work with the Rift, but Oculus isn't yet prepared to delve into Mac development. Starting today, Oculus is dropping the price of the Rift and Touch controllers by $100, dropping the price to $598 for both products, a much more affordable price point. Individually, the Rift is now priced at $499 and the Touch controllers are now priced at $99.Tag: Oculus Rift Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Target this week instructed its stores to return a number of iPhone SE models to Apple by today, March 1, according to a company memo obtained by MacRumors. iPhone SE devices that are to be returned include six unlocked 16GB and 64GB models in Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, and Space Gray, and two Sprint models. An anonymous employee informed us that her Target store had not received iPhone SE stock since before the iPhone 7 was announced in September 2016. While there are many possible reasons for Target to send back iPhone SE stock, such as poor sales of select models, the move comes just days or weeks before Apple's rumored March event, where a 128GB iPhone SE may be announced. However, no other hardware changes have been rumored. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said an iPhone SE refresh is unlikely in the first half of this year, so fans of Apple's lower-priced smartphone shouldn't set their hopes too high about a second-generation model yet. The original iPhone SE, which starts at $399, was introduced in March 2016. Even without a full refresh, one possible scenario is that Apple could begin selling the iPhone SE in 32GB and 128GB capacities, doubling the storage space of the current 16GB and 64GB models, going forward.Related Roundup: iPhone SE Tag: Target Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Reliable mobile phone leaker Evan Blass this morning posted what looks like an official press image of the Galaxy S8, Samsung's first flagship phone of 2017. Coming on the back of last year's Note7 debacle, the S8 represents a hopeful comeback for Samsung's smartphone business and is likely to be the biggest rival to Apple's radically redesigned "iPhone 8" expected to launch later this year. I think this is what you've been waiting for. pic.twitter.com/FvYfsLOy0R— Evan Blass (@evleaks) March 1, 2017 The single rendered image appears to confirm the expected new minimal-bezel design and the absence of a home button on the front of the handset, with the larger edge-to-edge curved OLED display showing launch icons in the bottom corners of the screen. On the right side of the handset is a power button, with those on the left side likely to be volume controls and a separate button to activate Bixby, Samsung's new virtual assistant, developed by the original creators of Siri. It's unclear from the picture which model size is shown, but the available display sizes of its Quad HD+ Super AMOLED panel will reportedly be 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches, according to Blass. The screen also teases the Galaxy S8 launch date of March 29, as confirmed by Samsung during its relatively low-profile appearance at the Mobile World Congress. Further spec details have yet to be confirmed, but the S8 is expected to feature the Exynos 9 Series 8895 processor, Samsung's first chip built on 10-nanometer FinFET process technology, along with 4GB of RAM and at least 64GB of internal storage, with a 12 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera also in the offing. Apple is widely expected to use Samsung-made AMOLED display technology in at least one of three possible phones to be released this year. Compared to LCD screens, OLED displays are thinner, lighter, and offer more flexibility, making modifications to a phone's form factor and geometry easier to undertake. With an edge-to-edge design, the "iPhone" 8 is said to be similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone, but with a display the size of the 5.5-inch iPhone. Rumors suggest it will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable area, with the rest given over to a "function area" for virtual buttons. Apple is expected to release its new iPhone line-up in the fall.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: Samsung, Galaxy S8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
YouTube today officially announced its new streaming television service, YouTube TV, reports Recode. Priced at $35 per month, YouTube TV features access to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and approximately 30 major cable channels, with television content available alongside YouTube's own video content. Separate from YouTube Red, the new TV service will be available as a standalone app that's launching later this year. While it will be available on laptops and TVs through Chromecast, YouTube TV is said to be focused on a "mobile first" experience, with YouTube expecting most users to watch on smartphones and tablets. At launch, available channels will be limited to cable networks owned by companies that also own broadcast networks, but that could change in the future.One thing that distinguishes YouTube TV from its competitors is that while it will feature cable networks owned by companies that also own broadcast networks -- so it will offer both ESPN and ABC, both owned by Disney -- it doesn't feature any networks owned by programmers that operate exclusively on pay TV, like Viacom, AMC or Time Warner.YouTube TV features include cloud DVR options with unlimited storage space, an AI-powered recommendation system, and service that scales reliably for no launch-time outages. At $35 per month, YouTube TV is at the price point Apple hoped to achieve when it was working on its own now-shelved television streaming service. It's also a price point that's competitive with offerings like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue. YouTube has been working on a streaming television service for more than two years, and while it was originally rumored to be called "Unplugged," the company appears to have gone with a simpler name. Compared to competing TV services, YouTube TV could potentially have an edge given its impressive existing user base. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal suggested people around the world are watching more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day.Tags: Google, YouTube Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today shared a new video that's part of its latest iPad Pro advertising campaign, highlighting the Apple Pencil and the ability to sign documents right on the tablet without the need to print them. The 16-second video, like previous videos in the campaign, is based on a tweet that an actual Twitter user shared on the social network. While a real tweet is used, an actress plays the part of the Twitter user. Don't print. With iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, you can just sign and send out that secret new job offer!Apple's newest iPad Pro ad campaign comes as the company is rumored to be preparing to introduce an updated iPad Pro lineup. A flagship 10.5-inch iPad Pro with an upgraded processor and edge-to-edge display is rumored to be in the works alongside refreshed 9.7, 12.9, and perhaps 7.9-inch tablets.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tag: Apple ads Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
During a Q&A session at today's shareholder meeting held at Apple's Cupertino campus, Apple CEO Tim Cook reassured investors that Apple is still very much focused on its professional customers and has plans to "do more" in the pro area. "You will see us do more in the pro area," Cook said. "The pro area is very important to us. The creative area is very important to us in particular." Cook's comments were directed towards the Mac, Apple Watch, services, and iPad, but may reassure those who are worried that Apple is abandoning its desktop Mac lineup, especially the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro has not been updated since December of 2013, going more than 1,100 days without a refresh. Other desktop Macs have also gone more than a year without an update. The iMac last saw a refresh in October of 2015, more than 500 days ago, while the Mac mini was last updated in October of 2014, over 860 days ago. "Don't think something we've done or something that we're doing that isn't visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere," Cook also told investors. There have been no hints that a Mac mini or Mac Pro refresh is on the horizon, but Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce new iMacs in 2017, perhaps as early as March. Future iMacs are expected to be updated with USB-C ports and AMD graphics chips. At the meeting, Cook was also questioned about a potential convergence between the Mac and iPad lines, in the from of a touchscreen Mac. While Cook said he didn't want to comment on future product plans, he again reiterated that he sees the iPad and the Mac as two separate product lines that serve different purposes. "Expect us to do more and more where people will view it as a laptop replacement, but not a Mac replacement - the Mac does so much more," he said. "To merge these worlds, you would lose the simplicity of one, and the power of the other." Much of the rest of the shareholder meeting consisted of voting on several proposals and reiterating information that was previously shared during Apple's January earnings call. While no shareholder proposals passed - including those calling for increased diversity and more transparency about donations - Apple reelected its board of directors, approved board compensation, and approved Ernst and Young as the company's accounting firm.Tag: Tim Cook Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Augmented reality could be the "next big thing" for Apple, according to the latest research from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich. Milunovich believes that Apple could equip the iPad and iPhone with AR-enabled hardware such as sensors, 3D cameras, and custom chipsets over the next two to three years. He speculates the iPhone 8, for example, could have "moderate 3D mapping using stereoscopic vision" based on a technology called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. An excerpt from his research note obtained by MacRumors:SLAM solves the chicken and egg problem of mapping a space without prior knowledge. The device starts from one angle and collects points of data. As the device moves, it observes how objects shift and begins to fuse data to create an environment. As the 3D map is forming, the device begins to understand its own positon in the context of the environment it is trying to map. SLAM underlies most of the advanced AR technologies available today and will likely be critical in the future. In 2015, Apple bought software company Metaio, which had one of the most advanced SLAM-based AR engines available at the time. The company has been silent since being acquired, but according to our industry checks it's likely the core team has remained and the IP could play a key role in Apple's strategy.Milunovich, citing "some industry sources," added "there may be over 1,000 engineers in Israel working on projects that could be related to AR," but he expects Apple to slowly roll out augmented reality features until the technology becomes more mainstream and "reaches a level of maturity suitable for Apple's brand." Perhaps related, iPhone 8 development is said to be ongoing at Apple's offices in Israel. Earlier this month, Apple acquired Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology. And in November 2013, Apple acquired Israeli 3D sensor company PrimeSense. Milunovich said that because new technologies must fit within and grow the Apple ecosystem, the company will likely release an augmented reality SDK that is tightly integrated with iOS. Beyond the next two to three years, Milunovich thinks an additional AR-enabled hardware device is possible, citing tech evangelist Robert Scoble's belief that Apple will launch a pair of smart glasses in partnership with German optics company Carl Zeiss. The report said the glasses could launch as early as 2017. In November 2016, Bloomberg likewise reported about Apple working on a pair of smart glasses that would connect wirelessly to the iPhone and display "images and other information" to the wearer. Scoble recently told MacRumors that Apple is "readying a three-ounce pair of glasses that pair with the iPhone 8 for mixed reality." He insists that "mixed reality," which he refers to as "next-generation augmented reality," will be key to Apple's future products. Treat this info with a proverbial grain of salt for now. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly expressed his interest in augmented reality. He recently said AR is "a big idea like the smartphone," but noted "there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream." In the past, he said AR is "profound" and should "amplify" human contact.Related Roundup: Apple VR Project Tags: Robert Scoble, UBS, Steven Milunovich Discuss this article in our forums

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