posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Communications chip maker and Apple supplier Broadcom is planning to phase out its Wi-Fi chip business in order to streamline its workforce and product line, according to industry sources in Taiwan (via DigiTimes). The move follows the company's recent acquisition by Avago Technologies and forms part of a larger strategy to allocate more resources for research and development in the fiber-optic and server sectors, according to the report. The Wi-Fi chip business is said to yield relatively low gross margins for Broadcom compared to other product lines. Sources cited fierce price wars for mass-market applications such as notebooks, tablets, TVs and smartphones as the reason behind the decision to phase out the company's involvement in the sector. Broadcom has reportedly almost halved the workforce stationed at its plant in Taipei, while companies such as MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have already received a pull-in of short lead-time orders from Broadcom's customers in the Wi-Fi chip sector. It's unclear whether the phase out, if confirmed, is a disruption for Apple as it gears up for annual product refreshes across its desktop and mobile devices. Apple currently uses Broadcom chips in its Apple Watch, iPhones and iPads, as well as its line of Macs that support 802.11ac, including the MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro, and iMac. Two years ago, Apple hired two high-level baseband hardware engineers who left their longtime positions at Broadcom to join an engineering team at Cupertino. In 2013, Apple acquired low-power wireless chip provider Passif Semiconductor. The acquisitions were seen as part of a larger strategy by the company to better control the development and production of its core technologies.Tag: digitimes.com Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple is working on building its own cloud infrastructure to reduce its dependence on services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, according to information shared by Re/code and VentureBeat. A project called "McQueen" is underway at Apple, with a team of employees working to create an in-house cloud storage system.According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple already has a team working on this; it's known internally as "McQueen," as in Steve. It's unclear if that project will materialize or when. But a source tells Re/code that the codename refers to Apple's intent, sometime in the next few years, to break its reliance on all three outside cloud providers in favor of its own soup-to-nuts infrastructure.According to VentureBeat, Apple is unhappy with AWS's inability to quickly load photos and videos onto iOS devices, something its own cloud system could fix. Apple executives reportedly believe that creating a full cloud infrastructure could pay for itself within three years. Estimates suggest Apple spends upwards of $1 billion on cloud services each year.Project McQueen kicked off after a conversation between a Microsoft employee and an Apple employee, the source said. Azure won't be able to handle the growth of Apple's workloads in the future, meaning Apple would have to pay much more in order to help Microsoft cover the cost of expanding Azure's data center infrastructure, the Microsoft person told the Apple person.Apple is already investing significant money into building new data centers around the world and is said to be planning for data centers in China and Hong Kong. Data centers are in the works in Ireland, Denmark, Reno, and Arizona, plus Apple is expanding its existing data center in Prineville, Oregon. Apple's Arizona data center, located in the former GT Advanced sapphire plant, is positioned as a "command center" for Apple's global data network. Apple has described the Arizona location is "one of the largest investments" the company has made. While Apple carries out plans to build its own cloud computing service, it will continue to rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Apple has long used AWS and Microsoft Azure, while Google Cloud Platform is a new partner that inked a deal with Apple late last year. VentureBeat cautions Apple's plan to create its own cloud infrastructure is still in the early stages, while Re/code says it is not clear if and when the project could materialize. Apple could abandon the plan and stick with its current providers or instead acquire a cloud infrastructure product in the future.Tags: recode.net, iCloud, venturebeat.com Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Should the FBI win its ongoing legal battle with Apple, resulting in the Cupertino company being ordered to unlock the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, some Apple engineers may decide not to cooperate with law enforcement. Apple employees who might be called on to help the FBI are already considering their actions should Apple lose the case, reports The New York Times, following interviews with half a dozen people involved in the development of mobile products and security at Apple. Apple employees are already discussing what they will do if ordered to help law enforcement authorities. Some say they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their high-paying jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created, according to more than a half-dozen current and former Apple employees.Accessing the iPhone in question would require Apple to comply with an FBI request for a new version of iOS that would both bypass passcode restrictions on the device and allow the FBI to enter a passcode electronically instead of manually. Apple has said it will take six to ten engineers a period of two to four weeks to develop the new operating system. Should Apple engineers decide not to develop the software the FBI is requesting, it could significantly delay the FBI's efforts to access the phone and it could result in legal consequences for those involved. As The New York Times points out, developing what Apple calls "GovtOS" would be difficult without the cooperation of key engineers, and Apple employees already have a solid idea who would be called on to help. They include an engineer who developed software for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. That engineer previously worked at an aerospace company. Another is a senior quality-assurance engineer who is described as an expert "bug catcher" with experience testing Apple products all the way back to the iPod. A third likely employee specializes in security architecture for the operating systems powering the iPhone, Mac and Apple TV.If Apple employees refuse to write the code for the software, Apple could potentially face hefty fines for non-compliance. Apple will face off against the FBI in court next Tuesday, one day after the company's March 21 event that will see the debut of the 4-inch iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Both Apple and the FBI have previously submitted several briefs arguing their sides. 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

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
While the Apple Watch captured an impressive 75.5 percent share of the smartwatch market through its launch quarter last year, market research firm IDC predicts that watchOS will gradually cede market share to competing platforms such as Android Wear, Tizen, and Pebble OS over the next four to five years. IDC forecasts that the Apple Watch software will capture 49.4 percent market share in 2016, but that figure is expected to drop to 37.6 percent in 2020. IDC expects global shipments of 237.1 million wearable devices in 2020, up from an estimated 110 million in 2016, as the wearable market continues to grow. The decline in market share will not be indicative of fewer Apple Watch sales, as sales of the wrist-worn device are projected to rise from an estimated 14 million units in 2016 to 31 million in 2020. Comparatively, Apple sold an estimated 11.5 million watches over the final 8 months of 2015, based on combined IDC and Strategy Analytics data. Instead, the wearable market is expected to become a more competitive landscape. IDC forecasts that Android Wear will remain the second most popular smartwatch platform, with an estimated 6.1 million sales and 21.4 percent market share in 2016 rising to 28.8 million sales and 35 percent market share by 2020. IDC believes that Chinese smartwatches using real-time operating systems (RTOS) will trail in third place in the smartwatch market with 10.1 percent market share by 2020. Tizen, Android, Linux, and Pebble OS round off the list with estimated 6.6 percent, 5.2 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.7 percent market shares by 2020.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Tags: IDC, Android Wear Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
In a new video from Unbox Therapy, YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger shares a hands-on look at third-party cases intended to fit both the iPhone 7 and iPhone SE. Assuming they are based on accurate designs, the two "leaked" cases in the video appear to confirm previous rumors about each iPhone, including the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and an iPhone SE form factor that is very similar to that of the iPhone 5 and 5s. Hilsenteger starts by comparing the supposed iPhone SE case to an iPhone 5, finding that the sixth-generation iPhone generally fits well into the iPhone SE case, with one minor discrepancy in the alignment of the volume buttons on the side of the device. This is most likely due to the expected design tweak on the 4-inch iPhone SE, which is rumored to adopt the curved-edge glass of recent iPhone models rather than the flat glass and sharper chamfered edges of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. He then moves on to comparing the iPhone 7 case with one for an iPhone 6s, noticing a "much larger opening" for the smartphone's camera. While an iPhone 6s fits almost perfectly inside the new iPhone 7 case, the cutout fails to align with the camera of the iPhone 6s and extends noticeably farther down. Current rumors state that a possible dual-camera system would be exclusive to the larger iPhone 7 Plus, and while the cutout on this smaller-screened iPhone 7 is larger than on the current model, it appears more likely designed for a larger single-lens camera than a dual-lens camera. Rumors have been inconsistent about whether the iPhone 7 rear camera will be flush with the rear shell continue to protrude slightly as on current models. The bottom cutout of the iPhone 7 case also appears to corroborate previous rumors that the next generation of iPhone will cease support for the 3.5mm headphone jack and move onto a universal Lightning cable solution for charging and music playback. Similar to a leaked case image from earlier in the month, the bottom section of the case has cutouts for possible stereo speakers with a Lightning adapter set in between. When Hilsenteger attempted to place a 3.5mm headphone plug through the speaker cutout while the iPhone 6s was placed in the case, he confirmed it was in fact too slim of an opening to successfully connect the headphones. Renderings from Feld & Volk, which worked from leaked designs of the iPhone 7, suggested that the iPhone 7 might also be substantially thinner than the iPhone 6s. In Unbox Therapy's video today, however, it appears the current model of iPhone fits snugly into the iPhone 7 leaked case, suggesting any reduction in thickness would be very minor. Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 7 during an event in its usual September timeframe, but the 4-inch iPhone SE is expected to be one of the centerpiece devices at the company's March 21 'Let Us Loop You In' spring event. The company today launched a new live events app on the tvOS store to get fans ready for the live streaming event from the new Apple TV on Monday.Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iPhone 5se, iPhone SE Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
A new photo has surfaced on Chinese microblogging service Weibo that appears to confirm the "iPhone SE" name and that it will feature 16GB base storage. The alleged packaging also indicates the new 4-inch iPhone will have NFC, lending credence to multiple rumors claiming the device will support Apple Pay. MacRumors rendering of possible iPhone SE design based on rumors The packaging, which could feasibly be photoshopped, also lists a Lightning to USB cable and EarPods in the box, meaning that the device will likely retain a 3.5mm headphone jack as expected. The iPhone SE should also unsurprisingly support LTE on both CDMA and GSM networks around the world. Alleged photo of iPhone SE packaging (Source: Weibo via iPhone-Ticker) Multiple sources have claimed the iPhone SE will feature 16GB and 64GB storage options. Our recent Twitter poll (for the iPhone 7) shows that only 2 percent of over 7,500 voters, or roughly 150 people, would prefer a 16GB model, while 45 percent said they would opt for 64GB. 36 percent of voters want at least 128GB storage.What would be your preferred iPhone 7 storage size? Rumors hint at a new 256GB model → https://t.co/EgITmY1uC9— MacRumors.com (@MacRumors) March 16, 2016Apple is expected to announce the iPhone SE at its "Let Us Loop You In" media event commencing on Monday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. The smartphone's design will likely resemble the iPhone 5s, and other features could include A9 and M9 chips, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a slightly larger battery compared to iPhone 5s, VoLTE calling, Bluetooth 4.2, and Live Photos, but no 3D Touch. iPhone SE could cost between $400 and $500 without carrier subsidies or financing. (Thanks, Burak!)Related Roundups: Apple Pay, iPhone 5se, iPhone SE Tag: NFC Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today released a new "Apple Events" app on the tvOS App Store, which will be used to live stream its upcoming "Let Us Loop You In" media event set to take place on March 21 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. This will be the first Apple Event live streamed since the fourth-generation Apple TV was released in October. Apple Events app on fourth-generation Apple TV App Store (Image: hrhnick/Reddit) Unlike on previous Apple TV models, the Apple Events app must be downloaded from the tvOS App Store on the fourth-generation Apple TV. As usual, second- and third-generation Apple TV users will likely have to wait until the Apple Events app automatically appears on their home screen. No software update is required. The live stream will also be available on Macs and iOS devices through Apple's event website. iOS 7 or OS X 10.8.5 with Safari 6.0.5 or later is required. Apple's spring event is expected to see the debut of the 4-inch "iPhone SE," which is rumored to look nearly identical to the iPhone 5s. It will include an A9 processor, an improved camera, and NFC support for use with Apple Pay. The 4-inch iPhone will be Apple's first small screen iPhone since 2013. Also expected is a new 9.7-inch iPad, which may be branded as an iPad Pro instead of an iPad Air. It is rumored to be adopting features from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including a four-speaker design, a Smart Connector for connecting accessories, and display improvements for Apple Pencil support. New Apple Watch bands will likely be introduced. Existing bands will be available in new colors and there may be new product lines, like a rumored nylon band and a Space Black Milanese Loop. MacRumors will provide live coverage of the event, both on MacRumors.com and through the @MacRumorsLive Twitter account.Related Roundup: Apple TV Tag: tvOS Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
British microchip designer and major Apple supplier Imagination Technologies announced additional cost cuts this morning, following a significant restructuring program unveiled by the UK firm only last month. The company, which supplies the PowerVR graphics architecture in Apple's iPhones and iPads, said it would reduce its cost base by an additional £12.5 million ($18 million) by April 2017, on top of the £15 million in cost cuts announced in February. Two hundred staff now face redundancy as a result, adding to the 150 job cuts announced last month. Tough trading conditions and a slowdown in iPhone shipment growth is said to be behind the decision, after the company posted an operating loss for the year to the end of April. "This swift and decisive action will put us back on a sound financial footing and will enable us to have the necessary resources to further strengthen our three core businesses," the company's interim chief executive Andrew Heath said in a statement. "The ongoing operational review will identify clearly where we need to focus, building on our current strengths and allocating the right capital to ensure growth and attractive returns." Imagination Technologies has reported financial difficulties for several years, despite repeated expectations that iPhone sales would boost its revenues. Shares dropped 10 percent last year when the company reported a first-half loss, and nosedived as much as 18 percent when the restructure was announced in February. The company has also put its digital radio business Pure up for sale. Apple has been a licensee and stakeholder in Imagination Technologies since at least 2008. The two companies have worked closely together over the years, with Apple being a key investor in the graphics firm since it raised its stake to roughly 10 percent in mid-2009. In 2014 Imagination announced an extended licensing agreement with Apple. However, it has been under pressure to reduce its dependence on Apple since at least 2012 because of declining average royalty rates. Imagination announced the next iteration of its PowerVR Rogue graphics architecture at this year's CES in January. The PowerVR Series7XT Plus builds on the Series7XT GPU used in the iPad Pro, with a focus on improved camera and vision processing capabilities for photography-based applications. It remains to be seen whether the new chips will appear in Apple's rumored 'iPad Pro' branded 9.7-inch tablet set to launch next week, the iPhone 7 expected this September, or indeed in any other future Apple devices. Related Roundup: iPad Pro Buyer's Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today shared a humorous new iPhone 6s ad that features well-known Sesame Street character Cookie Monster. In the spot, Cookie Monster is baking cookies and using the always-on hands-free "Hey Siri" feature to set a timer. While he impatiently waits for the cookies to be done, Cookie Monster uses "Hey Siri" to play Jim Croce song "Time in a Bottle." The iPhone 6s "Timer" ad starring Cookie Monster is one of several iPhone 6s ads starring well-known celebrities, but it is the first to feature a character rather than an actor or actress. Previous ads focusing on iPhone 6s features ranging from Live Photos to 3D Touch to the device's A9 processor have starred Jamie Foxx and Bill Hader.Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple has signed a deal with Google that will see the Google Cloud Platform providing some of the cloud infrastructure for iCloud and other cloud-based Apple services, reports CRN (via Business Insider). Apple reportedly established a $400 to $600 million deal with Google last last year and has, as a result, "significantly" cut down on its reliance on Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the sources, Google executives have told partners that Apple is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google Cloud Platform, although this couldn't be independently confirmed. Also unclear is whether this range refers to an annual spending rate or a set amount of capacity.While the money Apple is now paying Google was previously spent on AWS, Apple has not stopped using Amazon's cloud computing services entirely. Apple has never confirmed the cloud services that power iCloud, but past rumors have pointed towards AWS and Microsoft Azure, suggesting Apple will continue using multiple services to meet its needs. According to The Information's Amir Efrati, who has confirmed Apple's plans, it will take a year for Apple to transition to using Google Cloud Platform.It’s true, @iCloud to be partially powered by @googlecloud. But will take a year & unlikely to be profitable. @awscloud lost $ from iCloud.— Amir Efrati (@amir) March 16, 2016 Since last year, Google has been aggressively pursuing deals for its Google Cloud Platform, led by former VMware CEO Diane Greene. Google and Amazon have been involved in ongoing pricing wars, but Google claims to be the "price/performance leader" in public cloud and says its Google Cloud Platform is between 15 and 41 percent less expensive than AWS. In the future, Apple may scale back on the money it spends on third-party cloud computing platforms, based on its data center plans. Apple is building new data centers in Ireland, Denmark, Reno, and Arizona, plus it is expanding its existing data center in Prineville, Oregon. In Arizona, Apple's data center will be located at the former GT Advanced sapphire plant and has been described as a "command center" for Apple's global data network. Apple says the Arizona location is "one of the largest investments" the company has made.Tags: Google, Amazon, iCloud, Google Cloud Platform, AWS Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
A new iOS trojan has been found in the wild that's able to infect non-jailbroken iOS devices through PCs without the need to exploit an enterprise certificate. Named "AceDeceiver," the malware was discovered by Palo Alto Networks and is currently affecting iOS users in China. AceDeceiver infects an iOS device by taking advantage of flaws in FairPlay, Apple's digital rights management (DRM) system. According to Palo Alto Networks, it uses a technique called "FairPlay Man-in-the-Middle," which has been used to spread pirated iOS apps in the past by using fake iTunes software and spoofed authorization codes to get the apps on iOS devices. The same technique is now being used to spread the AceDeceiver malware. Apple allows users purchase and download iOS apps from their App Store through the iTunes client running in their computer. They then can use the computers to install the apps onto their iOS devices. iOS devices will request an authorization code for each app installed to prove the app was actually purchased. In the FairPlay MITM attack, attackers purchase an app from App Store then intercept and save the authorization code. They then developed PC software that simulates the iTunes client behaviors, and tricks iOS devices to believe the app was purchased by victim. Therefore, the user can install apps they never actually paid for, and the creator of the software can install potentially malicious apps without the user's knowledge.From July of 2015 to February of 2016, three AceDeceiver iOS apps were uploaded to the official iOS App Store, posing as wallpaper apps and providing attackers with a fake authorization code to use in the AceDeceiver attacks. A Windows iPhone management app called "Aisi Helper" that claimed to provide services like system backup and cleaning was installed by users in China, and it went on to install malicious iOS apps on connected devices offering a third-party App Store with free content as bait. The third-party App Store app requested users to input their Apple ID and password, information that was uploaded to the AceDeceiver server. Though Apple removed the apps from the App Store in February, the attack remains active because attackers still have the authorization code, AceDeceiver only affects users in China, but Palo Alto Networks believes the AceDeceiver trojan or similar malware could spread around to additional regions. It is especially insidious as it has not been patched (and could work on older versions of iOS even when patched), installs apps automatically from an infected computer, and does not require an enterprise certificate. An AceDeceiver third-party App Store app installed automatically on an iOS device through a computer using the Aisi Helper Malware AceDeceiver in its current incarnation requires users to download the Aisi Helper Windows app to their computers before the malware can spread to iOS devices, so people who have downloaded this software should remove it immediately and change their Apple ID passwords. In the future, AceDeceiver can be avoided by not downloading suspicious software. Palo Alto Networks has a full rundown of AceDeceiver, its history, and how it works on the Palo Alto Networks website. It's well worth reading for anyone who wants more information about the malware.Tags: Palo Alto Networks, malware Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Medical smartphone accessory company AliveCor today announced that it will bring "the first medical-grade EKG band" to the Apple Watch with the "Kardia Band," in addition to a new smartphone app for users of its heart-rate reading devices. The company already sells a few "mobile EKG" products in its online store, including cases for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 5/5s that have users place their fingers on metallic plates to get sufficient heart-rate readings. The Kardia Band for Apple Watch will function in a similar way, with a small, integrated metal sensor in the band communicating with the company's new app to take wrist-worn EKG readings. All users will have to do is navigate to the Apple Watch-compatible Kardia app, start a reading, place their thumb on the sensor, and wait for the 30-second analysis to complete. During this time, users can also speak into the Apple Watch's microphone to detail any palpitations, shortness of breath, or dietary habits that could be linked to heart-rate fluctuations. Users can record a single-lead EKG by simply touching Kardia Band’s integrated sensor that communicates with the Watch app, Kardia by AliveCor™. The Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Detector then uses Kardia’s automated analysis process (algorithm) to instantly detect the presence of AF in an EKG, the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a leading cause of stroke. Also included is the Normal Detector, which indicates whether your heart rate and rhythm are normal, and the Unreadable Detector, which tells you when to retake an EKG so physicians receive only the highest quality recordings. The collected recordings are stored and can be viewed in the iPhone version of the Kardia app, and even sent to a patient's preferred doctor if any suspicious activity is gathered during a reading. AliveCor said that the app can also connect to Apple's stock Health app, so users can integrate their EKG readings into established fitness data like step count and calorie intake to further bolster an overall assessment of their well-being. The Kardia Band is currently undergoing clearance approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and can't be sold until it does so, but AliveCor believes the device will be available to purchase as soon as "late spring." The updated Kardia by AliveCor app [Direct Link] can be downloaded today, however, and works with the company's re-branded Kardia Mobile device as well as the line of iPhone cases. AliveCor encourages those interested to sign up on its website to be the first to know when the Kardia Band will be for sale and at what price.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Following a rumor that Apple may sell an iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB storage, Italian website HDblog has shared pictures of a SanDisk 256GB NAND flash memory chip that could be appropriate for the next-generation smartphone. SanDisk's 256GB NAND flash chip (top) and older 64GB chip (bottom) Apple has used SanDisk flash memory chips in a number of previous iPhone models, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, while other models have used NAND flash chips from Samsung, SK Hynix, and Toshiba. SanDisk has managed to reduce the size of its 256GB flash memory chip to be smaller than its 64GB counterpart, which makes it a viable option given rumors that the iPhone 7 lineup could be up to 1mm thinner with a larger 3,100 mAh battery. It remains unclear if the iPhone 7 Plus will still have 16GB base storage, which has been a highly contested option in recent years, or if Apple will opt for larger storage sizes such as 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB at existing price points. Other rumored iPhone 7 series changes include a faster TSMC-built A10 chip, Smart Connector, dual-lens camera, stereo speakers, Intel 7360 LTE modem, no 3.5mm headphone jack, waterproofing, wireless charging, relocated antenna bands, and more. iPhone 7 Plus models could have 3GB of RAM.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tag: SanDisk Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple is working to further harden iCloud security so that even it won't be able to access user information stored on its data servers, The Wall Street Journal has reported. According to yesterday's report, which cites "people familiar with the matter", Apple executives are actively considering how to harden iCloud encryption without inconveniencing users. Currently, data kept on the cloud service is accessible by Apple using a key, which is used for restoring account information if, for example, a user forgets their password. Apple's access also allows the company to provide relevant information it has to law enforcement agencies that approach it with proper, legal requests. However, Apple appears to be concerned that keeping a copy of the key means it could be compromised by hackers or that the company could be legally compelled to turn it over to governments. The news follows a report earlier this month suggesting that Apple viewed privacy and security issues differently between physical devices that can be lost and its iCloud service. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple pointed to comments by senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi in reference to the company's fresh concerns. "Security is an endless race—one that you can lead but never decisively win," he wrote in a March 6 opinion piece in The Washington Post. "Yesterday's best defenses cannot fend off the attacks of today or tomorrow." iCloud backups contain iMessages and texts, content purchase history, photos and videos, device settings, app data, voicemail password, and health data. Any steps Apple takes to close off access to these backups are likely to further antagonize law enforcement authorities, especially given the company's current fight with the FBI over the latter's demand for help to unlock the iPhone at the center of the San Bernadino shooter investigation. A court hearing to address the issue is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 22, the day after Apple's media event, where it is expected to introduce a new 4-inch "iPhone SE" and a new 9.7-inch iPad, as well as make additional announcements. 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

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Following the U.S. government's filing last week once again urging the court to compel Apple to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, a document Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell called a "cheap shot," Apple today filed its response arguing that the government's reliance on the All Writs Act dating back to 1789 as justification for the request is an attempt to "rewrite history by portraying the Act as an all-powerful magic wand rather than the limited procedural tool it is." Today's filing, shared by Business Insider, outlines Apple's arguments as to why the All Writs Act should not apply in this situation and reiterates a number of positions the company has previously described, including belief that this issue needs to be settled legislatively and that the imposition of the order would cause "unprecedented and offensive burdens" and violate both Apple's First Amendment rights and the Due Process Clause.This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly-charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching. This Court should therefore deny the government’s request and vacate the order.Apple goes on to outline its arguments as to why the All Writs Act is not applicable, noting that Congress had previously declined to expand the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to include scenarios such as this and that the government's request usurp's the legislative authority exercised by Congress.CALEA’s legislative history makes clear the sound policy reasons behind its specific limitations on when decryption services can be required. During congressional hearings on CALEA, then-FBI director Louis Freeh assured Senator Leahy that CALEA would not impede the growth of new technologies. When Senator Leahy asked whether CALEA would inhibit the growth of encryption, he responded “this legislation does not ask [companies] to decrypt. It just tells them to give us the bits as they have them. If they are [en]crypted, that is my problem.”In its conclusion, Apple argues that "the government’s motivations are understandable, but its methods for achieving its objectives are contrary to the rule of law, the democratic process, and the rights of the American people." A court hearing to address the issue is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 22, the day after Apple's media event where it is expected to introduce a new 4-inch "iPhone SE" and a new 9.7-inch iPad, as well as make a few additional announcements. 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

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today opened up its Apple News Format to all publishers, giving independent publishers and individuals tools to offer rich media content within the Apple News app for iOS 9, as noted by Vanity Fair. Apple News launched as part of iOS 9, offering a one-stop location for users to keep up on news on various topics from a number of different sources. Any publication with an RSS feed could apply to be included in Apple News, but initially only a select group of major publications was given access to the Apple News Format that allowed for much richer content to be included in their feeds.Since Apple launched the app in September, it has attracted more than 100 major publishers as partners, including this magazine’s Web site. What the new launch means is that anyone—from individual bloggers to smaller, independent news organizations—will be able to edit and deliver their stories, videos, galleries, and audio in the Apple News format, with Apple News’s reach.As highlighted by Wired, Apple is also rolling out a new analytics dashboard for Apple News publishers, giving them access to data on users viewing their content on the platform. Apple should be updating its News Publisher portal shortly with details on how publishers can take advantage of the new format for maximum impact.Tags: Apple News, Apple News Format Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming OS X 10.11.4 update to developers for testing purposes, just over a week after seeding the sixth OS X 10.11.4 beta and more than a month after releasing OS X 10.11.3. OS X 10.11.4 has been in testing since January 11. The seventh OS X 10.11.4 beta, build 15E64a, can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or via the Software Update Mechanism in the Mac App Store. The update is also available to members of Apple's public beta testing program. OS X 10.11.4 offers a couple of new features, such as Live Photos support in Messages, the ability to password protect notes in the Notes app, and an option to import notes from Evernote, but like the recent OS X 10.11.3 update, it appears to focus primarily on under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements. Almost all of Apple's OS X updates to date have been smaller updates that improve performance rather than introduce new features. We'll update this post with any features or significant changes that are discovered in the seventh beta of OS X 10.11.4. OS X 10.11.4 is likely to see a spring release alongside iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, and watchOS 2.2, with the new software coming as early as March 21, the date of Apple's planned spring event.Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan Tag: OS X 10.11.4 Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
The first possible real photo of the iPhone 7 Plus has surfaced on Chinese website Bastille Post, providing a closer look at the design of the upcoming smartphone. The most notable change is the inclusion of a much-rumored dual-lens camera with a protruding, pill-shaped enclosure, as opposed to two separate circular camera openings depicted in some online renderings. Rumors are conflicting about whether the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, or both smartphones will have dual cameras, but it now appears that at least one model may not have a completely flush camera as originally expected. The dual-lens camera is accompanied by a microphone and an LED flash, as seen on previous iPhones, while the antenna bands have been repositioned along the top and bottom edges of the smartphone as we first reported last month. There are also three dots towards the bottom of the iPhone 7 Plus that appear to be for a Smart Connector, a new interface first introduced on the iPad Pro that can transmit both data and power at the same time for use with accessories. It is, however, unknown how a Smart Connector would be used on an iPhone. Working from past experience and the design of the phone shown in the leaked photo, aftermarket iPhone modification company Feld & Volk is already preparing its own custom versions of the device and has created several renderings that give a higher quality view of what the new iPhone would look like assuming this design is accurate. The renderings highlight the same features shown in the photo, including the dual-lens camera housed in a single oval-shaped protrusion and a Smart Connector near the bottom of the device's rear. Based on its research, Feld & Volk believes that both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus may include a dual-lens camera, contradicting several other claims that the camera will be unique to the larger iPhone 7 Plus. Feld & Volk also believes the iPhone 7 will measure approximately 6.1 mm thick (not including the camera protrusion), substantially thinner than the iPhone 6s and in line with the current iPod touch. The overall look and feel of the iPhone 7 Plus chassis shown in today's leaked photo is largely consistent with both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s lineups, including a unibody aluminum shell, pill-shaped volume buttons, a mute switch, and side-facing power button. The photo does not reveal the bottom of the smartphone, but multiple reports claim the iPhone 7 series will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity. The extra room on the bottom supports rumors that the iPhone 7 lineup could feature dual speakers powered by audio hardware from Cirrus Logic, although there appears to still be conflicting information on this feature. Stereo speakers route audio signals through two channels to simulate direction perception and would likely be louder. Eric Slivka contributed to this report.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple has announced a new partnership with Dubset Media Holdings to stream thousands of remixed songs and DJ mixes, both based on original recordings, that were previously unavailable due to copyright issues. Apple Music will be the first streaming music service to provide access to these previously unlicensed tracks, according to Billboard. Dubset will use a technology called MixBank to analyze a remix or DJ mix file, identify existing recordings within the file, pay the necessary rights holders, and distribute the mix through Apple Music and other streaming services. The process can take about 15 minutes for a 60-minute recording.But licensing remixes and DJ mixes, both based on original recordings, is incredibly complex. A single mix could have upward of 600 different rights holders. According to CEO Stephen White, a typical mix has 25 to 30 songs that require payments to 25 to 30 record labels and anywhere from two to ten publishers for each track. […] MixBank matches the recordings used in the remix or DJ mix against a database of three-audio snippets from Gracenote, where White was CEO prior to joining Dubset. He says fingerprinting is a “brute force” tool that can provide MixBand with up to 100 possible matches for each three-second match.The rise in popularity of the EDM genre has resulted in an increasing number of user-generated remixes, mash-ups, and DJ mixes of popular songs, and this partnership will help bring those underground tracks to Apple Music and potentially "all 400 distributors worldwide" in the future, said White. Dubset will retain a percentage of revenue for providing in-house licensing and pay the DJ or remixer a share of that amount. The service "allows everyone to make money on this content for the first time," according to White. The digital distributor has agreements with over 14,000 labels and publishers. In related news, Beats 1 recently announced that popular EDM artist deadmau5 will host his own show this Friday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.Tags: Apple Music, Dubset Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3 update to developers and public beta testers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the sixth iOS 9.3 beta and more than three months after the public release of iOS 9.2, the last major update to iOS 9. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11. The seventh iOS 9.3 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the iOS section of the Apple Developer Center (developers only). As a major update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new features. There's a Night Shift mode to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPad or iPhone display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum, and there are several features designed to improve the iPad for Education program, such as multi-user login. Multi-user login, while an appealing feature, is limited to MDM customers and is not available to the general public. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Multiple apps and features are also seeing updates in iOS 9.3. Apple News includes more personalized recommendations, faster updates, a landscape view on the iPhone, and support for in-line video, while Health includes an Apple Watch-style "Activity" view, Notes has an option to password protect individual entries, and third-party apps can add songs to Apple Music. Apple Music for CarPlay offers "New" and "For You" sections for better music discovery in iOS 9.3, and a Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps offers more information about points of interest that are close by. Paired with watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 is able to support multiple Apple Watches, and for iPhone 6s users, there are new Quick Actions for Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store. This is likely to be one of the last betas of iOS 9.3 we'll see before it is released to the public. Apple is planning to launch iOS 9.3 in the spring, perhaps following an event that is scheduled to take place on March 21.Related Roundup: iOS 9 Tag: iOS 9.3 Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Amid rumors suggesting the larger-screened iPhone 7 Plus will be differentiated from the iPhone 7 with a dual-lens camera system, multiple images depicting a dual-camera part that could be used in the device have surfaced. This morning, Taiwanese site Apple.club.tw [Google Translate] shared images of a dual-camera module potentially destined for the iPhone 7 Plus, which matches earlier images of a dual-camera module shared in January by Chinese site Chuansong.me [Google Translate] and highlighted over the weekend by French website Nowhereelse.fr. Similar camera module photos have also been spotted on Chinese social networking site Weibo (login required). Image via Chuansong All of the images appear to depict the same camera module, featuring a dual-lens setup with a narrower lens in a larger enclosure on the left and a wider lens in a smaller enclosure on the right, along with two cables that would allow it to attach to the logic board of an electronic device. Image via Weibo Because images of the module first started showing up in January, it might be easy to dismiss it as a part for another smartphone, but January is also the month we got our first look at an alleged iPhone 7 backlight component, suggesting early parts have perhaps been in production for several months already. We can't confirm this is a component that will be used in the iPhone 7 Plus, but in addition to lining up with dual-camera rumors, it is labeled with an "821" part number, which Apple has used in the past. With rumors suggesting Apple has been experimenting with dual-camera modules from several manufacturers, there's a good chance this is a genuine part. Image via Apple.club.tw Apple is said to be preparing to introduce a dual-lens setup in at least one version of the iPhone 7 Plus. Current rumors point towards the launch of an iPhone 7 and two variants of the iPhone 7 Plus, one with a single camera and one with two cameras. It isn't known if this is just a prototyping phase or if Apple actually intends to release two versions of the iPhone 7 Plus, but rumors do agree that while we may see dual cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 will continue to use a standard single-lens camera. Apple's dual-lens camera system is said to take advantage of technology acquired from LinX Imaging, introducing 2-3x optical zoom capabilities for images that are clearer, brighter, and with more detail, especially in low light conditions. Apple will likely launch the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in September of 2016.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tags: apple.club.tw, chuansong.me Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver tackled Apple and the FBI's duel over encryption as the main segment on his show last night. He played out cases for both sides before siding with Apple and creating a comical ad for the Cupertino company in its signature style explaining why encryption is important. Oliver starts the segment by explaining what encryption is, what it protects and how it can be hacked before diving into the debate between Apple and the FBI, which centers around San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone. The segment first lays out the case for law enforcement, touching on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposed Apple boycott, before spending a significant amount of time explaining why creating a backdoor for the government would be a bad idea. The Last Week Tonight host explains that many critics of Apple's stance on encryption don't seem to understand how modern technology works and that Apple creating a key for this one case is a slippery slope, allowing government officials to approach Apple for other cases. Oliver notes that the encryption debate was waged two decades ago with the Clipper Chip, which allowed for encrypted communication with a backdoor for authorities. The project was abandoned after hacker Matt Blaze figured out how to shut down the authorities' backdoor. "But decades later [authorities] seem to have convinced themselves that it can be done," Oliver said. Oliver then takes on Apple critics who say the company can figure it out due to its success at innovation, noting they may feel that way about "Apple's magic powers" due to the way the Cupertino company markets it products. He points out that thinking Apple could create a backdoor and then have the ability to police that backdoor is unrealistic, mentioning that the company has had trouble with hackers in the past. Additionally, he says that Apple bending their encryption standards doesn't matter due to the numerous third-party encryption alternatives that exist. The host closes by saying that other countries, like Russia and China, are watching the debate play out, hoping that they, too, would be allowed a similar level of access to devices. Oliver says that the "legal tenuousness" of the FBI's argument, the security risks, the impossibility of Apple enforcing backdoor-equipped encryption, the international fallout and the existence of third-party encryption apps is enough to "sway the most strident opinion." Oliver then closes by showing a comical encryption ad the show made for Apple in the style of the company's iPhone 6s ads. Last Week Tonight's segment comes the week after the feud between Apple and the FBI stepped up a notch, with the FBI accusing Apple of "deliberately" raising barriers to prevent law enforcement to access data on Apple devices. Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell called the claim an "unsupported, unsubstantiated effort to vilify Apple." On Friday, President Barack Obama cautioned against taking an "absolutist" view on encryption. 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: Apple-FBI, John Oliver, Last Week Tonight Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
The first purported leak of the case design for the iPhone 7 appeared yesterday on French blog Nowhereelse.fr. The alleged images from Taiwanese phone case manufacturer Catcher Technology depict a subtle chassis redesign for the iPhone 7, which is expected to be released by Apple this coming September. Photo allegedly depicting new iPhone 7 chassis design (Image: Nowhereelse.fr) The renders are consistent with information obtained by MacRumors last month from a previously reliable source claiming that the handset will lack antenna bands across the rear. As expected, the images show antenna bands are limited to the sides and around the top and bottom edges of the chassis. In addition to the cleaner all-metal look, the images of the rear of the case depict a larger hole for the camera. The orifice is described as closer to the edges of the chassis and forming a "slight bulging outgrowth", a phrasing which doesn't contradict our earlier source's claim that the camera sits flush with the rear casing. iPhone 7 mock-up by Steve Hemmerstoffer (Image: Nowhereelse.fr) The chassis leaker adds that the design "seems slightly thinner than the iPhone 6s, confirming in passing the lack of a headphone jack port". That would appear to support last week's leak of the first protective case prepared for the iPhone 7 showing two openings for stereo speakers in lieu of the 3.5mm headphone jack on current iPhones. However, the purported change is difficult to confirm one way or the other based on these latest renders. Earlier yesterday, Nowhereelse.fr also posted images allegedly showing dual-lens camera component parts for the iPhone 7 Plus, however these were later revealed to be identical to images that surfaced in early January. Some rumors claim the dual-camera setup may be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus, which reportedly may be called the iPhone Pro.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
United States President Barack Obama today spoke with Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith at South by Southwest (SXSW), where he indirectly addressed Apple's dispute with the FBI. While Obama said he could not comment specifically on the ongoing encryption battle between the two, he spoke on larger issues of privacy and security. Obama cautioned against taking an "absolutist" view on encryption and said American citizens already make concessions to balance privacy with security in other aspects of their lives. He used warrants to search homes and possessions, something the public agrees is necessary, as a parallel to accessing data on a smartphone. He also pointed towards airport security as an example of a compromise made between security and privacy. "It's not fun going through security," he said, "but we recognize it as important." He went on to say that the notion that data can be "walled off" from those "other tradeoffs we make" is incorrect.The question we have to ask is if technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong there's no key, there's no door, at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer? How do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot? What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement if in fact you cant crack that at all. If the government can't get in, everyone is walking around with a swiss bank account in their pocket. There has to be some concession to the need to get that information somehow. Folks who are on the encryption side will argue that any key whatsoever, even if it starts off directed at one device, could end up being used on every device. That's just the nature of these systems. That is a technical question. I am not a software engineer. It is technically true, but it can be overstated.Obama said that while he wants to make sure the government cannot "willy-nilly" get into everyone's iPhones without oversight and probable cause, there are "constraints we impose" to make sure we live in a safe and civilized society. He advocated for finding a balance between encryption and privacy and the government's need to investigate crimes.My conclusion so far is that you cannot take an absolutist view on this. So if your argument is strong encryption no matter what, and we can and should, in fact, create black boxes, that I think does not strike the kind of balance that we have lived with for 200, 300 years and it is fetishizing our phones above every other value. That can't be the right answer. I suspect that the answer is going to come down to how do we create a system where the encryption is as strong as possible, the key is as secure as possible, is accessible by the smallest number of people possible for a subset of issues that we agree are important.Obama went on to call on software engineers and technology companies to help the government solve the problem, and he said a thorough, well-formed encryption solution should be established before it's desperately needed. He cautioned against the tech community disengaging or taking a position that "is not sustainable for the general public as a whole over time," as it could lead to a stalemate that will ultimately lead to "sloppy" legislation should the political climate change after something "really bad happens." Apple, too, has urged for the issue to be solved in Congress instead of the courts. The president's comments come as Apple is facing off against the U.S. government in a fierce public battle over the order that would require Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook by creating new software to circumvent passcode restrictions on the device. Apple believes complying with the demand would set a dangerous precedent that could lead to the overall weakening of encryption on smartphones and other electronic devices. The Department of Justice has dismissed Apple's concerns, calling its fears overblown and insisting the request will not result in a universal "master key." Just yesterday, a government filing accused Apple of "deliberately" raising technological barriers preventing law enforcement from accessing data on Apple devices, something Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell went on to call an "unsupported, unsubstantiated effort to vilify Apple." 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

Read More...
posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Last summer, Intel announced 3D Xpoint, a new class of memory labeled as a "major breakthrough in memory process technology." 3D Xpoint is 1,000 times faster and more durable than NAND Flash storage, as well as 10 times denser than the DRAM chips used in computers.The innovative, transistor-less cross point architecture creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.Intel has promised that the first 3D Xpoint (pronounced "crosspoint") product will be coming in early 2016 in the form of its Optane solid state drives, which may be of interest to Apple. According to Macworld, 3D Xpoint is compatible with NVM Express (NVMe), an SSD protocol that offers improved latency and performance over the older AHCI protocol. Apple's Retina MacBooks already use NVMe technology, and it's likely Skylake Macs set to be released across 2016 will also support NVMe. With NVMe compatibility built into 3D Xpoint, Apple could adopt Intel's Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds that significantly outpace what's possible with current SSDs. As Macworld points out, Apple is often an early adopter of emerging technology, having been the first company to implement Thunderbolt and chip technology from Intel. While Intel is planning to make its Optane SSDs available in 2016, the technology is unlikely to see widespread adoption right away. 3D Xpoint storage solutions will likely exist alongside NAND Flash options until prices become affordable enough for use in mass-produced products. Intel is also working on Optane memory DIMMs. If Apple does choose to use Intel's Optane SSDs in future Macs, it could be some time before Optane-equipped machines are available. Upgraded Macs that are expected in 2016 will likely continue to use NAND Flash, but as mentioned previously, speed improvements could come in the form of wider NVMe adoption. Skylake chips appropriate for many of Apple's Macs are currently available or will be available in the near future, so we may begin seeing the the first Mac upgrades in the next few months, perhaps at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.Tags: Intel, 3D Xpoint Discuss this article in our forums

Read More...