posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
With the launch of the Apple Watch and the fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple debuted two new operating systems -- watchOS and tvOS -- both of which share a common naming scheme with iOS, the operating system that runs on iPhones and iPads. Apple's unified naming system has led to speculation that OS X, the operating system for the Mac, is due for a name change to MacOS, bringing it in line with watchOS, tvOS, and iOS. Apple won't unveil the name of the next-generation Mac operating system until its 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference, but a new update to the company's website suggests MacOS is on the minds of Apple employees and a candidate for the name of the next upgrade. On a webpage that was updated this morning to share Apple's most recent environmental report, a Frequently Asked Questions section makes a mention of "MacOS," as noted by 9to5Mac. When discussing power consumption of products, MacOS is listed alongside tvOS, iOS, and watchOS.To model customer use, we measure the power consumed by a product while it is running in a simulated scenario. Daily usage patterns are specific to each product and are a mixture of actual and modeled customer use data. Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for MacOS and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.A mention of "MacOS" was also found buried Library files in OS X 10.11.4 in late March, but the file, "FUFlightViewController_macOS.nib," has been present in the Mac operating system since August of 2015, a month before the public launch of OS X El Capitan. If Apple does make the switch from "OS X" to "MacOS," it is not clear if the company will stick with naming each iteration after California landmarks, a tradition that started with OS X Mavericks in 2013. Prior to that date, Mac updates were named after large cats, but since then, we've seen OS X Mavericks, OS X Yosemite, and OS X El Capitan. With tvOS, watchOS, and iOS, operating system upgrades follow a number-based naming scheme, with the current versions being tvOS 9.2, watchOS 2.2, and iOS 9.3.1. Apple is expected to unveil the next version of its Mac operating system, OS X 10.12, at its 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference, which will likely be held from June 13 to June 17. Little is known about OS X 10.12 at this time, but it may be a more significant update than OS X 10.11, introducing Siri support for the Mac for the first time.Related Roundup: OS X 10.12 Tag: macOS Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
In January, Samsung announced plans to add iOS support to its Gear S2 Smart Watch, and it appears work on an iOS app is well underway. Screenshots of a beta Gear S2 app designed for iOS devices have been shared on the XDA forums, giving us a first look at the design of the app and the features that will be available. XDA forum members have also been able to download the test app and have provided details on its functionality. The Gear S2 iOS app will be able to deliver notifications to the smart watch, and it will be able to install and manage apps from the Gear store on the device. According to testers, while the Gear S2 can receive notifications from the iPhone, replies are not currently possible, and the Samsung Gear S2 Lite app has to be running in the background for the connection between the watch and the app to be maintained. The app appears to be in the developmental stages and Samsung has given no hints on when it plans to introduce a finished iOS app for the Gear S2. When the news was first announced, Samsung's only timeline was "later in the year." Currently, the Gear S2, which runs the Samsung Tizen operating system, is only compatible with Samsung smartphones, but when the iOS app is released, the Gear S2 will be able to compete with the Apple Watch on Apple's own platform. Introduced in August of 2015, the Gear S2 is Samsung's latest smart watch and the first to ship with a round display. While the first versions of the Gear S2 were originally only available in black or silver with matching rubber bands, Samsung introduced higher-end 18-karat rose gold and platinum plated versions to better compete with the more expensive Apple Watch models.Tags: Samsung, Gear S2 Discuss this article in our forums

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With Earth Day just over a week away, Apple has begun an initiative wherein users can help raise money for the World Wildlife Fund by making purchases within specially designated apps. Running from now until April 24 (two days after Earth Day), all proceeds collected from participating apps will go to the WWF, which is the world's leading conservation organization with aims to protect natural resources -- from forests and oceans to wildlife and food -- through innovative, global solutions. Some of the apps joining in on the fundraiser include Angry Birds 2 [Direct Link], Hearthstone [Direct Link], VSCO [Direct Link], Trivia Crack [Direct Link], and several dozen more. In addition to the Apps for Earth promotion, the company has thematically changed the entire front-end of the App Store with multiple environmentally conscious messages and themed categories. #AppsforEarth support @World_Wildlifehttps://t.co/mXyn438at4— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) April 14, 2016 The official WWF Together app [Direct Link] acts as a hub for all of the fundraising material, along with giving users exclusive Earth Day-themed content. WWF is proud to be part of Apps for Earth, helping protect the planet, one app at a time. Through April 24 only, when you download WWF Together and purchase Earth’s story, 100% of proceeds go to WWF. In addition to 16 free stories of amazing animals, you’ll experience a 360-panoramic image of Earth from space on iPhone, play with digital water, and take and share a photo with the origami planet as part of #AppsforEarth. Many of the apps have been updated to reflect the partnership with Apple and WWF, but some are also including exclusive content in addition to raising money for the organization. Popular camera app VSCO, for example, is introducing a limited edition WWF preset that "subtly enhances natural settings, and is ideal for landscapes & wildlife." Angry Birds 2 is also introducing a special level and spell into its campaign with an ocean conservation theme. For more information on the work achieved by the World Wildlife Fund, check out its official website. More details on Apple's own participation in environmental protection is available on its website, as well.Tag: Apple environment Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Motor Trend has published an in-depth article, roundtable video, and spin-off posts that offer a speculative look at the design and features of the so-called "Apple Car." The renders, which are completely imaginative, were designed by industrial designer Garrett DeBry and rendered by creative studio Mind Over Eye. While the article is headlined "Apple Car exclusive," most of the information and images are purely speculative and based on the fanciful vision of a group of automotive enthusiasts. In fact, the design looks largely based on the look and feel of the latest iPhones and iPads, right down to the matching gold color. The car features a tinted glass windshield and roof with a boxy frame and Apple logos emblazoned on the front, back, and all four wheels. The taillights appear to be one consolidated line of red dotted lights, while the rear wheels have fender skirts that provide further aerodynamic emphasis from the rear bumper forward. The renders highlight thirteen fun but certainly questionable features, such as a 360-degree augmented reality experience, wireless charging, proximity sensing and wearable technologies, Tesla Model X-like "Falcon Wing" doors, indirect and ambient lighting, and a color-coded light strip that can double as a turn signal. With few concrete details known about the Apple Car, these images are purely conceptual and, unsurprisingly, should not be interpreted as factual. Dozens of similar mockups are just one Google Images search away, and each offer a fun but likely mostly fanatical vision of Apple's much-rumored electric vehicle. Apple Car rumors have gained momentum since early last year, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has hundreds of employees working to develop an electric vehicle under the codename "Project Titan." The bulk of research and development may be taking place in secretive buildings in Sunnyvale, California, where late night "motor noises" have been heard in recent months. Multiple sources have indicated that the Apple Car could be finalized by 2019 or 2020, but a more precise timeframe remains unclear due to possible internal setbacks and other unforeseen circumstances. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently called the Apple Car an "open secret," as his company aims to begin fulfilling more than 325,000 pre-orders for its lower-priced Model 3 by late 2017.Related Roundup: Apple Car Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
With the Apple Watch 2 expected to launch in the second half of 2016, supply chain informant DigiTimes reports that Samsung and other overseas manufacturers have secured component orders for the next-generation device. Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering will fulfill the majority of system-on-a-chip production, while Amkor Technology and STATS ChipPAC will share a portion of remaining orders, according to the report. Meanwhile, additional Taiwanese supplier Kinsus Interconnect Technology is said to have secured Apple Watch 2 substrate orders, and Samsung Electronics will reportedly fabricate the Apple Watch 2's processor, consisting of mobile DRAM, NAND flash, and other chips. Both Kinsus and Samsung provide components for the original Apple Watch, which is powered by Apple's custom-designed S1 chip. Previous reports indicated that Quanta Computer will likely remain the key Apple Watch 2 manufacturer. The supplier reportedly began trial production of the second-generation watch in January, in time for a purported late-second-quarter launch around June. Volume shipments were said to begin in the third quarter, which could be any point between early July and late September. Opportunities for Apple to introduce a second-generation Apple Watch include its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, or its annual iPhone introduction event in September. The original Apple Watch was announced in early September 2014 and released in late April 2015, suggesting an elongated 14 to 19 month release cycle between models that may help avoid consumer exhaustion. Apple analyst Brian White recently speculated that a 20% to 40% thinner Apple Watch 2 could be unveiled by June, possibly at WWDC, but his track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans is far from perfect. More reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the Apple Watch 2 will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2016, in line with a fall launch alongside the iPhone 7. Few details are known about the Apple Watch 2 beyond a June 2015 report that said it will feature a FaceTime video camera and expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, while new bands and finishes are always a possibility. Kuo believes the Apple Watch 2 will feature mostly internal improvements, and possibly minor form factor changes, with a more complete redesign of the device not arriving until 2017.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Tags: Samsung, digitimes.com, Apple Watch 2 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Though the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus aren't coming out until the fall of 2016, rumors and alleged part leaks have already divulged many details about the prospective features of the device. In March, a photo of a device said to be the iPhone 7 Plus surfaced on a Chinese website, and a rendering supposedly sourced from Apple manufacturer Catcher Technology featured the design of the iPhone 7. There's no way to confirm whether these images are legitimate depictions of Apple's upcoming devices, but this morning, Japanese site Mac Otakara shared a report that corroborates many of the rumors we've heard and shares some new details on the features we might see in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Mac Otakara says "the possibility is great" that both the image of the iPhone 7 Plus housing and the design sourced from Catcher are "the real thing." The iPhone 7 Plus model featured a dual camera as has been rumored, along with a Smart Connector that Mac Otakara suggests could be used to accommodate a Smart Keyboard for the iPhone. Much of the rest of Mac Otakara's report focuses on speculation about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus based on the supposition that the photos are actual depictions of the two devices, along with a few new tidbits of information thrown in. Both the iPhone 7 Plus model and the rendering from Catcher show a design that's similar to the design of the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, and while previous rumors (including a rumor from Mac Otakara itself) have said the device could be thinner, even approaching the thinness of the 6.1mm iPod touch, Mac Otakara says the device photos suggest there will be little difference in size between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6s. Apple is expected to eliminate the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, and while some rumors have indicated Apple could use the space to introduce dual stereo speakers, Mac Otakara now believes Apple will continue to use a single speaker in the device. The report also includes a mention of Bluetooth-enabled EarPods that connect to the iPhone to charge much like the Apple Pencil. The larger lens of the rear-facing camera on the iPhone 7 image indicates it will perhaps use a larger sensor, giving it improved camera capabilities despite the fact that it will not include the dual camera layout rumored for the iPhone 7 Plus. Multiple rumors have said dual cameras will be a feature limited to the iPhone 7 Plus. A final detail in Mac Otakara's report focuses on the potential inclusion of two new sensors at the top of the device, the purpose of which remains unclear. There is a possibility that the two sensors could be related to the display of the device, based on recent speculation from DisplayMate suggesting features included in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro could be a logical inclusion for the iPhone 7. According to DisplayMate, True Tone display support, which adjusts the display to match the temperature of the ambient lighting in a room, could be added to the iPhone if Apple "upgrades the ambient light sensors so they measure color in addition to brightness." Many of the details Mac Otakara mentions in its report line up with previous rumors that we've heard. Both the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus are expected to look a lot like the iPhone 6s, but with redesigned antenna bands that don't span the back of the device. Rumors disagree about the potential thickness of the device, but there could be some improvements made by introducing a thinner display, new chip packing technology, and a slimmed-down Lightning port. Dual cameras for the iPhone 7 Plus and the elimination of the headphone jack are the most concrete rumors we've heard yet, corroborated multiple times by a variety of sources. As we creep closer to the fall launch date of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, we should begin to get a clearer picture of exactly what features and design changes we can expect to see in the two devices. Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Security researchers Patrick Kelley and Matt Harrigan have uncovered a new way to exploit the infamous January 1, 1970 bug that was found to be the cause of bricked iPhones in February. Despite Apple's patch of the original issue in iOS 9.3, Kelley and Harrigan discovered the way in which an iPhone constantly looks for trusted Wi-Fi networks could lend itself to the malicious bricking of a Wi-Fi enabled Apple device, without the user even knowing it was happening. In a hypothetical example described by Krebs on Security, if a user confirms that a network called "attwifi" is a trusted connection, any subsequent network they come into contact with boasting the same name will connect with their iPhone. That way, when users revisit the same location frequently, they never have to fiddle with going through the Wi-Fi set-up process again. But the feature could be used to silently weaponize the 1970 bug, connecting users to similarly-named networks they've never encountered and altering the date and time stamps of their iOS devices. In their research, Kelley and Harrigan used this feature of iPhones and iPads to build a nefarious Wi-Fi network, harnessing the requirement of iOS devices to occasionally connect to a network time protocol (NTP) server to keep date and time in sync. Once a user connected to their thought-to-be trusted network, the iPhone would reconfigure its software to update the date and time information from Kelley and Harrigan's own NTP date, which they specified as January 1, 1970.Harrigan, president and CEO of San Diego-based security firm PacketSled, described the meltdown thusly: “One thing we noticed was when we set the date on the iPad to 1970, the iPad display clock started counting backwards. While we were plugging in the second test iPad 15 minutes later, the first iPad said it was Dec. 15, 1968. I looked at Patrick and was like, ‘Did you mess with that thing?’ He hadn’t. It finally stopped at 1965, and by that time [the iPad] was about the temperature I like my steak served at.”Harrigan and Kelley coordinated with Apple when they discovered their findings to avoid preempting the company's promise of a fix for the bug, and possibly encouraging its malicious use in the wild. As such, the company has fixed the issue and anyone running iOS 9.3.1 will be protected from the new iteration of the 1970 bug. Older iOS releases, including the original iOS 9.3 update, are still susceptible, however. With the release of their research, the two security experts are understandably encouraging users to update their iPhones and iPads as soon as possible, and have created a video to better explain the issue.Related Roundup: iOS 9 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Adobe has announced major updates to Premiere Pro CC and its other video apps, with VR workflows spearheading a new focus on immersive VR and 360 video experiences. Set for an "early summer" release, the CC platform updates bring new VR capabilities to Adobe's flagship video editor, in the form of a "field of view" mode that allows editors to work with imported spherical stitched video and see what a viewer would see when looking in a given direction. The new mode will allow users to dynamically switch between monoscopic, stereoscopic and anaglyph frame layouts, freely reposition the viewing angle across 360 degrees while editing, and export video with VR tags so that video players like YouTube automatically recognize it. Adobe also announced a new workflow that enables editors to begin editing during "ingest" while importing video and audio in the background, as well as new proxy workflows for working with high resolution formats including 8K, HDR and HFR media. Additionally, Adobe is expanding Premier Pro's Lumetri color correction toolkit, which should give editors finer control when isolating and adjusting specific colors using HSL secondaries. New navigational keyboard shortcuts, an added Twitter export option, and extra captioning and titling features are also part of the forthcoming update. Many other apps in Adobe's Creative Cloud suite are also set to benefit from the new release. Other feature highlights coming to Adobe CC include: Media Encoder: A clearer media browser panel is coming to Adobe's standalone encoding app, as well as support for Audition and Character Animator apps. After Effects CC: The motion graphics and special effects editor is being given a new audio and video preview engine for smoother playback for cached frames, new GPU-accelerated Gaussian Blur and Lumetri Color effects for faster rendering, and new 3D media export options. Audition CC: A new Essential Sound panel boasts simpler sound mixing and preset saving, while a quick export option lets editors send video projects with finished audio directly to Adobe Media Encoder. Character Animator CC: A new puppet tag panel enables users to apply multiple motion trigger behaviors to video, track puppets in the field of view and quickly switch between facial profiles. Adobe Stock CC: Tighter integration with Adobe's suite of apps and a new filtered and tagged search system for quick access to over 50 million images and video clips from within Premiere Pro and After Effects. The new features were announced by Adobe ahead of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show next week, where it will be previewing the updates to Creative Cloud, which are expected to be made available to subscribers in the coming months. Adobe offers subscriptions to Creative Cloud for $49.99 a month, while non-subscribers have the option of a free 30-day trial. More information about Adobe video apps and Creative Cloud is available on Adobe's website.Tag: Adobe Creative Cloud Discuss this article in our forums

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Rumors have suggested the FBI employed Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite to hack into the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, but new information from The Washington Post suggests it was instead done with the help of "professional hackers" at least one of which is a "gray hat" researcher that sells flaws to governments, black market groups, or companies that create surveillance tools. According to sources who spoke to The Washington Post, the hackers told the FBI about a previously unknown software flaw, which was used to "create a piece of hardware" the FBI used to access the phone via its passcode. The hardware in question allowed the FBI to guess the passcode through multiple attempts without erasing the iPhone. The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone's four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said. The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution.The method the FBI allegedly used to break into the iPhone is similar in description to the tool that it had requested from Apple. Before finding an alternate way into the iPhone, the FBI had demanded Apple create a new version of iOS that would disable the passcode security features built into the operating system. Apple was ordered to give the FBI software to disable the erase feature that would have wiped the iPhone after 10 incorrect guesses, eliminate the time added between entry attempts after the wrong passcode was entered, and create a way for the FBI to enter passcodes into the device electronically instead of manually. The FBI did not need the services of Cellebrite "in this case," according to The Washington Post's sources, despite evidence the FBI signed a $15,000 contract with Cellebrite on March 21, the same day the Justice Department asked the court to postpone its imminent hearing with Apple. The tool acquired from the hackers did end up letting the FBI access the phone, leading the case against Apple to be dropped. The U.S. government has not decided whether the method used to break into the iPhone will be shared with Apple, but FBI director James Comey has said the tool used to access the iPhone only works on a "narrow slice of phones" that does not include the iPhone 5s and later. Apple does not plan to sue to obtain the information. 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-FBI Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Teen interest in Apple's iPhone continues to grow, according to data gathered by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in the latest semiannual teen survey. 69 percent of teens surveyed own iPhones, up from 67 percent in the Fall 2015 survey. 75 percent of teens queried expect their next device to be an iPhone, up 1 percent from the previous survey. Smart watches are not as popular among teens as smartphones, and only 12 percent of those surveyed owned a smart watch. With teen smart watch owners, the Apple Watch was the model most often chosen -- of the 12 percent of teens who own a smart watch, 71 percent are Apple Watches. Just 10 percent of teens say they're interested in purchasing a smart watch, a number that's grown just two percent since fall of 2015. We would expect the Apple Watch to maintain market share close to that of iPhone, but don't expect major changes in interest until stronger use cases emerge. We continue to view CY17 as the potential breakout year for Apple Watch.When considering the full range of wearables, the Fitbit was the most preferred brand among teens, with 72 percent surveyed choosing the Fitbit. Nike came in second at 12 percent, and interest in the Apple Watch was at six percent. Wearables are growing in popularity, with 22 percent of females and 18 percent of males surveyed owning a fitness tracker, up from 14 and 12 percent, respectively, in the previous survey. Tablet interest and ownership among teens in Munster's annual survey has been steadily declining. 59 percent of teens own a tablet, down from 61 percent, and just 13 percent of teens who do not own a tablet plan to buy one in the next six months. Still, the iPad remains the most popular tablet among teens. Of those who own a tablet, 64 percent have an iPad. Interest in the iPad has grown among teens who plan to buy a tablet, however, which may be attributed to the launch of Apple's 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros. When surveyed, 63 percent of the 13 percent of non-tablet owners planning to buy one said they would choose an iPad, up from 58 percent in the fall. iPhone adoption among teens may see growth in the fall, with the release of the iPhone 7, a major upgrade that's expected to bring significant new features like a dual camera on the Plus model and minor design refinements. Apple Watch growth may remain stagnant, as recent rumors have suggested the second-generation update will be relatively minor in scale. Interest in the iPad may see a continuing decline as Apple does not have any significant product changes in the works, having just released the iPad Pro models in late 2015 and early 2016.Tags: Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster, teen survey Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
As was rumored last week, Facebook today announced plans to bring chatbot support to its Messenger platform. At the Facebook F8 Developer Conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a Messenger chatbot on stage, using the Messenger platform to order flowers from 1-800-Flowers through a text conversation. "To order from 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again," said Zuckerberg, explaining that Facebook chatbots are designed to allow users and businesses to connect together in new ways. "You don't have to install an app or enter your credit card." Developers will be able to build chat programs to interface with users. These will range from product-based companies like 1-800-Flowers to news companies like CNN, another one of Facebook's partners. Facebook also plans to expand its Live Video feature, which has proven popular with users and public figures. According to Zuckerberg, Live Videos on Facebook garner 10 times more comments than standard videos, which is one of the reasons Facebook recently began rolling out a prominent video tab in the Facebook app to allow users to quickly access live videos from friends and other people. Starting today, Facebook is opening up its Live Video API, allowing the feature to be built into any device. One of Facebook's early launch partners is drone company DJI, and drone live streaming video was shown on stage. Over the next five years, Zuckerberg says Messenger Platform and Live Video will be built up over the next five years, and over the next 10 years, Facebook will focus on connectivity, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. Other features announced today include Facebook Accounts and a Save button for developers. Facebook Accounts will allow users to use Facebook's sign in feature for apps and services with just a phone number, eliminating the need to remember a username and password. With Accounts, a sign in code is texted to a user, with the code replacing a password. The Save feature will let users save content on websites with a built-in Facebook Save button to their Facebook feeds for accessing it later.Tag: Facebook Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
DisplayMate has performed in-depth testing of the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro and determined that its IPS LCD display is a "truly impressive top performing display" and a "major upgrade" over the iPad Air 2. While both tablets have similar tech specs, including matching 4:3 aspect ratios, 2,048×1536 pixel resolutions, and 264 PPI, Apple has made several underlying improvements to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro that qualified it as DisplayMate's "best performing mobile LCD display" it has ever tested. Specifically, the exhaustive display shootout found the 9.7-inch iPad Pro to have two color gamuts that deliver "color accuracy that is visually indistinguishable from perfect" and "very likely considerably better than any mobile display, monitor, TV or UHD TV" that most people own. The tablet uses a "new DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut that is used in 4K UHD TVs and Digital Cinema," in addition to the sRGB/Rec.709 gamut, described as "the color standard for most content" that is "needed for accurate color reproduction," that all previous iPhones and iPads have used. DisplayMate also determined that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro display is "more than 20 percent brighter than the other current iPads" and the "brightest full size production tablet" that it has ever tested. The tablet's brightness measures 511 cd/m2 (nits), compared to 415 nits for the iPad Air 2. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has "by far the lowest low screen reflectance of any mobile display," meaning that its image colors and contrast in high ambient light -- such as sunlight -- will "appear considerably better than any other mobile display." The tablet uses a new anti-reflectance coating that reduces its reflectance to just 1.7 percent, compared to the iPad Air 2's reflectance of 2.5 percent. The difference can amount to longer battery life in real-life usage. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also earned high marks for its contrast ratio of 1,022, described as "very good" for a mobile display, and almost identical to the iPad Air 2. However, its ratio was slightly lower than the record 1,631 for the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Meanwhile, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro's contrast rating in high ambient light is 301, by far the highest that DisplayMate has ever measured, and topping the iPad Air 2's rating of 166.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tag: DisplayMate Buyer's Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Earlier this morning, HTC announced its new smartphone, the HTC 10, revealing that the Android device will have the ability to wirelessly play audio through devices and speakers that support streaming via Apple's AirPlay feature (via SlashGear). In addition to AirPlay support, the basic specs of the phone include a 5.2-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 3,000 mAh battery for two full days of charge, and a USB Type-C port. The addition of support for AirPlay makes the HTC 10 the first Android smartphone to work with Apple's audio and video streaming feature out of the box. AirPlay's inclusion into the HTC 10 also means that the Android device will be able to stream directly to the new Apple TV. The move is a deliberate one by HTC, according to Darren Sng, vice president of product marketing for the company, as it plans to make its smartphones as feature rich as possible, even if it means support for third-party software. The company would even be open to including Apple Pay in its devices, if Apple ever opened up the mobile payments service to other manufacturers. "We are platform agnostic," Darren Sng, vice president of product marketing, says of the company's ambitions. That extends beyond just streaming standards, too: if Apple made Apple Pay available to third-party manufacturers, or Samsung did the same with Samsung Pay, the exec says, HTC would jump at the opportunity. "You wouldn't want credit card companies to determine what you can put in your wallet," Sng points out, "so why would you want a particular vendor to decide what payment you put in your phone?" The HTC 10 is the company's flagship smartphone for 2016, coming on the heels of last year's HTC One M9 device. Anyone interested will be able to purchase the HTC 10 in May for an unlocked price of $699, and various, undisclosed carrier prices. The phone can be pre-ordered from HTC's website today, and in the United States users will be able to choose from black and silver color options, while other markets will include a third alternative of gold. Read More: JBL Announces Noise-Canceling Headphones Powered by USB-CTags: AirPlay, HTC Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
A long-standing bug in Game Center that renders many games unplayable has reportedly been resolved in the latest public beta of iOS 9.3.2. Game Center for iOS is a necessary component of many turn-based multiplayer App Store titles, which rely on Apple's social gaming network to enable gamers to invite friends, start multiplayer matches, and compete for high scores. The bug, which first appeared in iOS 8, affects many popular games of the sort and involves the Game Center app launching as a white screen, crashing games to a white screen, and/or the Settings app freezing when Game Center's options are selected. TouchArcade forum member and journalist Craig Grannell's video of the bug in action. MacRumors sister site TouchArcade, which has a thread in its forums discussing the bug spanning over 75 pages, now notes that the 'white screen of death' bug appears to have been resolved, although given the long-standing nature of the problem, gamers remain understandably wary. Well, community members of ours who are brave enough to install beta iOS system updates have reported that Game Center is once again working for them in the iOS 9.3.2 beta. Now, before getting too excited, it's important to have a hefty dose of realism with all this: The Game Center bug is a vicious beast, and many people on our forums have thought they slayed it, only to have it return inside of a couple days. I'm cautiously optimistic, but by no means ready to strike up the band and declare the Game Center bug fixed.The latest posts on the forum thread suggest that Apple's latest beta has resolved the problem for many affected users, although claims of official confirmation from Apple that the bug is fixed remain unsubstantiated. Apple released the first beta of its upcoming iOS 9.3.2 update to public testers last Thursday, just a day after seeding the beta to developers. Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and OS X betas. Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 9.3.2 update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on their iOS device. Tags: iOS 9.3.2, Game Center Discuss this article in our forums

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Popular third-party Reddit apps like Narwhal, iAlien, Baconreader, Eggplant and Antenna have been pulled from the App Store for breaching clause 18.2 of the App Review Guidelines, Narwhal developer Rick Harrison told Gizmodo. The takedowns were first spotted on a Reddit thread. Today, we received notice that our new update with a lot of great new features was rejected under the App Store rule 18.2: “Your app contains a mechanism to enable or disable Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content, including pornographic content. Apps with sexually explicit content are not appropriate for the App Store.” About 15 minutes afterwards, we received notice that the current version of our app has been removed from the app store.While the third-party apps were pulled from the App Store, Reddit's new official app has remained. When Reddit launched its new app, it said users were "free to continue enjoying" the third-party app of their choice and pledged to continue support for its public API. Harrison told MacStories that he reached out to Reddit about the takedowns and was told that the company did not request that third-party apps be pulled. In fact, Reddit told Harrison that the company was also having issues with Apple over clause 18.2. Specifically, clause 18.2 states that apps containing user-generated content that is "frequently pornographic" would be rejected. Many of the pulled third-party apps have been in the App Store for about a year, and some of them include NSFW filters that allow users to disable potentially pornographic content. In the past, Apple has also pulled apps for featuring user-generated content that could be viewed as pornographic. In 2013, Apple pulled 500px's photo sharing app due to concerns that users could search for nude photographs. The app was eventually returned to the App Store once it added an age-gate.Tag: Reddit Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Amid a decline in worldwide PC shipments, Apple's Mac sales have held steady, according to new PC shipping estimates from Gartner. During the first quarter of 2016, Apple shipped 4.6 million Macs worldwide and held 7.1 percent of the market, up from 4.56 million Mac shipments and 6.4 percent of the market during the first quarter of 2015. While Apple only saw 1 percent worldwide growth, it fared better than the overall PC market, which saw total worldwide shipments of 64.8 million, a 9.6 percent decline from 71.7 million shipments in Q1 2015. Among other vendors, Lenovo and HP saw some of the biggest shipment drops with 12.5 million and 11.4 million shipments in 1Q 2016, down from 13.5 million and 12.5 million, respectively, in the year-ago quarter. Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q16 (Thousands of Units) With 7.1 percent of the market, Apple ranked as the number five worldwide vendor, coming in after Lenovo (19.3% share), HP (17.6% share), Dell (14.1% share), and ASUS (8.3% share). Other vendors, not ranked in the top five, accounted for 33.6 percent of the market.The deterioration of local currencies against the U.S. dollar continued to play a major role in PC shipment declines. Our early results also show there was an inventory buildup from holiday sales in the fourth quarter of 2015," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.While Apple's worldwide numbers were steady, Mac sales in the United States appear to have dipped slightly. According to Gartner's data, Apple shipped 1.666 million PCs in the United States, for 12.7 percent of the market. That's down from 1.672 million in the year-ago quarter, but market share is up from 11.8 percent. Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q16 (Thousands of Units) Dell, the number one vendor in the U.S., shipped 3.5 million PCs in Q1 2016 for 26.3 percent of the market, while HP shipped 3.1 million for 23.7 percent of the market. Lenovo saw the greatest growth with 1.9 million shipments and 14.5 percent of the market, while ASUS saw a decline in shipments from 770,000 in Q1 2015 to 667,000 in Q1 2016 for just 5.1 percent of the market. In the overall U.S. PC market, shipments totaled 13.1 million in the first quarter of 2016, a decline of 6.6 percent compared to the year-ago quarter and the lowest shipment volume in the country in three years. Apple's U.S. Market Share Trend: 1Q06-1Q16 (Gartner) IDC also released its shipment estimates today, and as is typical, its numbers are different than Gartner's numbers, in part due to the difference in the way Windows-based tablets are counted by each firm. According to IDC, worldwide PC shipments totaled 60.6 million, for an overall decline of 11.5 percent. While Gartner ranks Apple as number five vendor in worldwide PC shipments, IDC ranks Apple as number four with 4.5 million shipments and 7.4 percent of the market (a decline from 4.6 million shipments in Q1 2015), edging out ASUS's 4.4 million shipments. As for U.S. shipments, IDC puts the total number at 13.625 million, an overall decline of 5.8 percent. IDC's U.S. shipment estimates are more favorable to Apple, suggesting PC shipments totaling 1.8 million and 13 percent market share for growth of 5.6 percent rather than the slight decline Gartner estimates. Like Gartner, IDC lists Dell (3.5m shipments), HP (3.5m shipments), Lenovo (1.9m shipments), and Apple (1.8m shipments) as the top four PC vendors in the United States, but IDC positions Acer Group (711,000 shipments) as the number five vendor while Gartner lists it as ASUS. It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is preliminary and that the numbers can shift, sometimes dramatically, while other times, the estimates are closer to the actual data. Last year, for example, Gartner estimated Apple's Q1 2015 U.S. PC shipments to be 1.670 million, fairly close to the correct 1.672 million shipment number.Tags: IDC, Gartner Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple secretly purchased and leased several buildings in the Silicon Valley area and naming them after Greek mythological figures and other interesting inspirations in 2014 and 2015, according to city documents obtained by the Silicon Valley Business Journal (via Business Insider). Photo of "Rhea" building via Silicon Valley Business JournalApple and its contractors have been building out a network of industrial projects throughout the South Bay, giving them intriguing monikers largely drawn from Greek mythology and filling them with heavy-duty equipment, including gear with potential automotive applications.In February, loud "motor noises" were heard emanating from an Apple-leased Sunnyvale campus, sparking speculation that the building was a secret car testing facility for Apple's automotive project, dubbed Project Titan. In classical Greek mythology, Titans are divine beings who preceded the more well-known Greek gods like Zeus and Athena. Several of Apple's newly-leased buildings are named after Greek mythological figures who have direct connection to Titans. The Sunnyvale facility that emanated the reported "motor noises" is called Rhea, and city documents show that the building plans make references to automotive terms like "lube bay," "wheel balancer," "tire changer" and "wheel sensor." Rhea, in Greek mythology, was a Titan who was also the mother of Zeus. Zeus is also the name of a 290,000 square foot San Jose complex Apple bought in 2015. The location will house an "interim lab" that employs 15 people and an exterior service yard blocked out by a 12-foot fence with a black plastic material on the inside and a black mesh on the outside. The fence will "prevent any visual connection to the service yard from the parking lot," according to the city documents. Another building is named after Athena, daughter of Zeus. It's unknown what the building will be used for, but the Silicon Valley Business Journal says it will undergo a "lengthy facilities closure process" as it was originally used by semiconductor manufacturers. Another building is named after the Pegasus, a Greek mythological creature that's best described as a horse with wings. Apple demolished the interior of that building and plans to create new testing and mechanical rooms within. The final building named after a Greek mythological figure is a 105,000 square foot facility. This location, named after Medusa, will have rooms marked for "participant testing," "eye tracking," "vision lab," "spray room," and "metal / machine room." A list of chemicals for the facility lists car products like Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover and Bondo Body Filler. A contractor's filing found by the Silicon Valley Business Journal says the building will be used for research and design. In Greek mythology, Medusa's head is eventually placed on Athena's shield. The other buildings aren't inspired by Greek mythology. One building, which will be used to support a "regenerative thermal oxidizer," is named Magnolia. The machine is used to treat exhaust air, and is utilized by many manufacturing companies, including those in the car industry. Another building is named Corvinus and is planned for industrial use. The final building is named Aria and will have "stepper" tools installed inside. In January, it was reported that Apple Car lead Steve Zadesky had left Apple, with the company issuing a temporary hiring freeze as Apple executives were not happy with the progress of the project. While these recent developments put the future of the project in question, Tim Cook teased the Apple Car in February by saying "it's going to be Christmas Eve for a while," suggesting the much-rumored project will not be publicly revealed for sometime.Related Roundup: Apple Car Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today uploaded a series of seven new ads to its YouTube channel, all of which focus on different aspects of the Apple Watch. Each spot, which has a different colored background, is 16 seconds in length, giving a quick look at a single feature set to music. Three videos, "Row," "Chase," and "Golf," featuring a rower, a runner, and a golfer, respectively, all focus on the fitness capabilities of the Apple Watch. The ad depicts users reaching their fitness goals for the day, using the Workout app to track workout progress, and competing with friends for the best time. "Find," the fourth ad Apple shared today, highlights the Apple Watch's ability to locate the iPhone through a Glance on the device, while "Swap" highlights the myriad band options that are available. "Surprise," depicts the Apple Watch being used to plan a surprise party, showing off the Messages app and its ability to control HomeKit-connected products like lights. The final ad, "Rain," shows off app notifications, with an Apple Watch wearer getting a notification from a weather app about an incoming rain storm and pulling out an umbrella as everyone else starts getting soaked. Many of the Apple Watch ads shared today feature well-known celebrities like Chloë Sevigny and Nick Jonas, continuing on with Apple's recent trend of using celebrities in its ads. Recent ads for the Apple TV and iPhone have featured celebrities like Alison Brie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sesame Street character Cookie Monster, Jamie Foxx, Bill Hader, Jon Favreau, and Stephen Curry.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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In its latest 10-K annual report (PDF) filed last month, Intel confirmed the end of its long-heralded "tick-tock" strategy of delivering new microprocessors to the market. Intel originally introduced the product cadence to the world in 2006 with the launch of the "Core" microarchitecture, alternating "ticks" of shrinking chip fabrication processes with "tocks" of new architectures. Over the past ten years, Intel has successively delivered new processor families based on this tick-tock cycle on a nearly annual cycle from its 65 nm manufacturing node all the way up until recently. The tick-tock release cycle allowed Intel to reestablish dominance in both the consumer and enterprise CPU markets and had given OEMs such as Apple a regular update cycle to rely on for annual product updates. But with chip updates stretching about beyond a yearly cycle in recent generations, Apple's product launch cycles have started to be affected. In the face of the difficulties in maintaining the tick-tock cadence, Intel has announced that the launch of Kaby Lake this year as the third member of the 14-nm family following Broadwell and Skylake will mark the official end of the tick-tock strategy. Instead, Intel will move to a new "Process-Architecture-Optimization" model for the current 14 nm node and the 10 nm node. As part of our R&D efforts, we plan to introduce a new Intel Core microarchitecture for desktops, notebooks (including Ultrabook devices and 2 in 1 systems), and Intel Xeon processors on a regular cadence. We expect to lengthen the amount of time we will utilize our 14nm and our next-generation 10nm process technologies, further optimizing our products and process technologies while meeting the yearly market cadence for product introductions.This development is not unexpected, as semiconductor foundries have had increasingly tough times creating smaller process nodes as fabrication of smaller transistors has become increasingly expensive and complex. Transistors are rapidly approaching the physical limits of traditional semiconductor geometries, and the famous Moore's Law regarding transistor density has been formally acknowledged to no longer be valid. Intel has no doubt moved to this new release model in an attempt to get back to a regular product and platform cadence as it struggles with the technological challenges of bringing new fabrication nodes to volume production. As noted in our Mac Buyer's Guide, many of Apple's Macs have gone without update for the longest time since we began tracking them, though Apple has yet to update to the available Skylake microarchitecture for its Mac line. Some product uncertainty is due to continue as the launch of Intel's Kaby Lake microarchitecture has been recently delayed to the second half of 2016 after Skylake suffered similar setbacks last year.Tag: Intel Discuss this article in our forums

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Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone SE early adopters have reported audio issues with Bluetooth phone calls when the smartphone is paired with a vehicle or wireless headset. The issue extends to GPS voice navigation for some, but streaming music over Bluetooth appears to be unaffected. Specifically, dozens of users in the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums claim to be experiencing distorted, staticky, or inaudible phone calls when using an iPhone SE over Bluetooth. Many of those affected noted that their previous iPhone model had "crystal clear" audio quality. MacRumors reader HickDead recently posted a forum topic to share his experience:I actually had to return my SE back to Verizon because my Bluetooth calls reception quality was terrible. Playing music or YouTube videos through the Bluetooth was excellent but when it came to phone calls, the sound was constantly cutting in and out and sounded "scratchy" and distorted. Never had this issue with my previous 6S or my work-issued Android phone. Tried my SE in a different vehicle and got the same results. I've unpaired and repaired and I even restored my SE and set up up as a new device but nothing has worked. Based on crowdsourced information, the issue appears to affect all iPhone SE models running iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1, regardless of carrier or model, in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, U.K., and possibly elsewhere. The first iOS 9.3.2 beta does not appear to resolve the problem. The issue does not appear to be isolated to any particular carmaker, as customers have reported identical issues with vehicles sold by Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and many other makes and models. It remains unknown if the problem is rooted in software or hardware, but a number of affected customers have attempted basic troubleshooting without success, including restoring the iPhone SE, resetting network settings, un-pairing and re-pairing Bluetooth, toggling cellular data, and changing SIM cards. Some users that contacted Apple support by phone claim to have been escalated to higher-level iOS advisors that asked for log files. At least a few customers received confirmation that Apple engineers are aware of the Bluetooth issues internally and are working on a fix, but the timeline remains unclear. Apple Support Communities user Ross_H_D posted this message on April 9:I have been working with a high level support person who has assured me he is working directly with engineering. Apple has very much become engaged in this issue. They have had me do extensive testing of various conditions in order to document and troubleshoot. Further, there is an internal "Issue" board and tracking system for Apple support and this BT issue is on the top of the list. It was conveyed to me that this has become a very real issue internally and resources are now committed to its resolution.This type of problem is not unprecedented. In early October 2014, some users experienced trouble pairing their devices to their car audio systems over Bluetooth after upgrading to iOS 8 or purchasing a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The problems appeared to be fixed when Apple released iOS 8.1 later that month. (Thanks, Jon!)Related Roundup: iPhone SE Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple Watch shipments will decline more than 25 percent year-over-year in comparison to 2015, according to a new research note issued by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The wearable device sold an estimated 10.6 million units in eight months last year, but Kuo predicts that even with the launch of the Apple Watch 2, and a full twelve months of sales, the device's shipments will still come in at less than 7.5 million units in 2016. The analyst describes an "immature wearable device market" and a few key lacking features of the first-generation Apple Watch -- iPhone independency, no killer app, limited battery life, etc. -- that will contribute to its overall sales decline prior to the launch of the second-generation version. Kuo believes that the Apple Watch 2 will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2016, in line with a fall launch alongside the iPhone 7, so its overall contribution to shipping numbers for the year is predicted to be limited. Kuo's note also predicts some of the features of the next version of the Apple Watch, which is expected to adopt the same upgrade cycle as the iPhone. In essence, 2016's Apple Watch 2 will see some under-the-hood spec improvements and possibly minor form factor changes, while fans will have to wait until 2017 for a massively redesigned wearable from Apple. The similar design is one of Kuo's biggest reasons for declining Apple Watch shipments in 2016, despite even the uptick in sales the device could have during the holiday season. The recent KGI Securities research note directly conflicts with a report from less-reliable Apple analyst Brian White, released last Friday, that predicted the Apple Watch 2 will not only launch in two to three months, but adopt a 40 percent slimmer case design. That launch window would put a reveal by Apple at WWDC in June with a launch following a few weeks later. In either launch scenario, the Apple Watch 2 is rumored to have a bevy of feature improvements over its predecessor, including a FaceTime video camera, an expansion of its Wi-Fi capabilities, and new model tiers. Rumored casings of the next iteration of the device could possibly even incorporate new materials such as titanium, tungsten, palladium or platinum.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple has released a new television ad for the fourth-generation Apple TV called "Father Time" starring NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and actor Michael B. Jordan. It is the tenth ad for the new Apple TV since it launched in late October. The one-minute spot centers upon Bryant and Jordan using the Apple TV and Siri Remote to open the NBA app, play a movie, and fast forward to a specific time in the movie. The ad uses the same trailer backdrop as the earlier "The Kiss" spot. The underlying "Father Time" theme of the ad lightly pokes fun at how Bryant's all-star career with the Los Angeles Lakers, whom he will play the last game of his 20-year career for on Wednesday, is coming to an end. The ad closes with the tagline "future of television" and colorful bars as seen throughout the rest of Apple's advertising campaign for the new Apple TV, including billboards in major cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Hollywood. Related Roundup: Apple TV Tag: Apple ads Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
A draft of an encryption bill created by Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein was released last night, revealing the scope of the legislation that would require technology companies to decrypt data and share it in an "intelligible format" when served with a legal order. The Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, a copy of which was shared by Re/code, starts out by declaring "no person or entity is above the law." It says that all providers of communication services and products, from hardware to software, must both protect the privacy of residents of the United States through "implementation of appropriate data security," while still respecting the "rule of law" and complying with legal requirements and court orders to provide information stored either on devices or remotely. To uphold both the rule of law and protect the interests and security of the United States, all persons receiving an authorized judicial order for information or data must provide, in a timely manner, responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information.In acknowledgement of the disagreement between the FBI and Apple, the legislation does include a clause that prevents it from authorizing "any government officer to require or prohibit any specific design or operating system to be adopted by any covered entity," and it shies away from specific technical demands, but the wording of the act itself, with no contingencies for inaccessible data, makes end-to-end encryption impossible. Any data encrypted by companies must also be able to be decrypted. Security experts have heavily criticized the bill. Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation told Re/code the bill "sets up a legal paradox" while the ACT/App Association said it amounts to a government-mandated back door. Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski says the entire bill is dangerous, calling it "a hodgepodge of technical ineptitude combined with pockets of contradiction."The absurdity of this bill is beyond words. Due to the technical ineptitude of its authors, combined with a hunger for unconstitutional governmental powers, the end result is a very dangerous document that will weaken the security of America's technology infrastructure. This will affect everything from the iPhone you hold in your pocket to how data is transmitted over the Internet, allowing the government to effectively break all electronic commerce and Internet security. This is bad legislation in every way, and it very subtly allows for unconstitutional government control of private industry.In a report yesterday, Reuters said the White House has decided not to offer public support for the legislation, as "the administration remains deeply divided on the issue." The bill is still in draft form, with the language subject to changes based on input from stakeholders. In a joint statement, Burr and Feinstein said they hope to have a final version completed soon. 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-FBI Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple analyst Brian White of Wall Street firm Drexel Hamilton, who is currently on a Chinese tech tour, has issued a pair of research notes highlighting his upcoming Apple Watch and iPhone expectations through the end of 2016. Foremost, White cites a source who believes only the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will feature a dual camera system, echoing the same prediction made by often-accurate KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this week. The analyst claims that iPhone 7 production is expected to begin in July, and the next-generation smartphone is expected to help Apple and its suppliers return to smartphone growth in the second half of 2016, just months after the iPhone likely experienced its first year-over-year quarterly sales decline ever. Apple announces its Q2 2016 earnings results on Monday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific.Our meeting with a tech supply chain company highlighted a rough end to 2015 with significant forecast reductions from Apple; however, forecasts have been stable since then with 2Q:16 expected to be the trough. After a YoY sales decline in 1Q:16, our contact expects to return to growth in H2:2016. Production of parts of the iPhone 7 are expected to begin in July.Meanwhile, White predicts that the Apple Watch could be refreshed within the next two to three months. He believes that a 20% to 40% thinner Apple Watch 2 could be unveiled by June, possibly at Apple's annual WWDC, which could take place between June 13-17 based on scheduled availability at Moscone West, the San Francisco convention center where the developer event is typically held.Finally, we walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch.Early rumors suggested that the Apple Watch 2 could debut at Apple's "Let Us Loop You In" event in March, which saw the introduction of the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but multiple sources have now reported that the next-generation wearable could debut around September. The original Apple Watch was announced in early September 2014 and released in late April 2015. A few reports do line up with the June timeframe. In November 2015, a Chinese report surfaced indicating that Taiwan-based supplier Quanta Computer was developing the Apple Watch 2 in time for a late-second-quarter launch, with volume shipments beginning in the third quarter. In January 2016, another Chinese report said Quanta would begin trial production of the Apple Watch 2 by the end of that month. Moreover, in September 2015, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri claimed that the second-generation Apple Watch will launch in mid- to late-2016 and be thinner than current models. Few details are known about the upcoming device beyond a June 2015 report that said it will feature a FaceTime video camera and expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, while new bands and finishes are always a possibility. Whether the Apple Watch 2 is introduced in June or September, it appears clear that Apple may be elongating the wearable's release cycle beyond one year to avoid consumer exhaustion. Many customers only received the Apple Watch in December during the holiday shopping season, so a new model launching this spring may be considered too soon. A closer to year-and-a-half refresh would seem more appropriate. Brian White is a longtime Apple analyst that currently serves as Global Head of Technology Hardware & Software at institutional brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton. He previously worked at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, where he held the same title, and Topeka Capital Markets. Like many analysts, he has both hits and misses in regards to Apple's upcoming product plans.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2, iPhone 7, WWDC 2016 Tags: Brian White, Apple Watch 2 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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Starting last year, AT&T began charging a $15 activation fee for customers who wanted to upgrade to a new smartphone purchased outright or through an AT&T Next plan, and as of yesterday, that fee has been increased from $15 to $20. As Droid Life noticed yesterday, AT&T updated its wireless activation and upgrade fees document to reflect the new $20 pricing on April 6, matching Verizon's recently implemented fee. On Monday, Verizon started charging $20 for activating smartphones purchased through an installment plan or at full retail price, $5 less than AT&T was charging at the time. Less than two days later, AT&T raised its prices to $20. AT&T customers who bring a phone to the AT&T network, purchase a phone using AT&T Next, or purchase a device through Apple's Device Upgrade program will need to pay the one-time activation fee as outlined below. Customers with a two-year contract will need to pay the standard $45 fee, which has not changed.Wireless activation and upgrade fees,1 are one time fees that may be added to your first or next AT&T bill. - Activation and upgrade fees for smartphones with AT&T Next - Activation and upgrade fees are $20 per smartphone added or upgraded with AT&T Next. - Activation fees for installment agreements and bring your own devices - The fee is $20. - Activation and upgrade fees for two year agreement - Fees are $45. Note: Two year agreements are available only on select devices.As Ars Technica points out, AT&T doesn't provide any explanation or justification for the fee that it charges on its website, nor does it give an explanation for the price increase. In a leaked document we shared last week, Verizon said its own fee was to cover "increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices." Of the four major carriers in the United States, T-Mobile is the only carrier that does not charge an upgrade or activation fee. AT&T and Verizon both charge $20, while Sprint charges a fee of up to $36 per device.Tag: AT&T Discuss this article in our forums

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