Supreme Court looks ready to let customers sue Apple for abusing its App Store monopoly

The Supreme Court hearing on Pepper v Apple has not gone well for Apple; the Supremes are considering whether App Store customers are entitled to sue Apple over its monopoly control over the Ios App Store. Read the rest

Chinese Iphone ownership is a marker of membership in the "invisible poor"

China's "invisible poor" are poor people who successfully project a facade of affluence through consumer goods, clothing, etc: a research report from Shanghai's MobData found that Iphone ownership is strongly correlated with membership in the "invisible poor," with the median Iphone owner being an unmarried woman aged 18-34, with no post-secondary education and a monthly income of less than RMB3,000 (USD430). Read the rest

Apple's CEO: tech regulation is "inevitable"

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that the free market "is not working" and as a result, regulation of the tech sector is "inevitable." Read the rest

Pricier, more powerful Mac Mini reviewed

I'm tempted by the finally-upgraded Mac Mini (pictured above with the new 13" iPad Pro configured as its display), long the black sheep of the Mac lineup but loved for the promise of compact power it (again) justifies. Rather than make the new model smaller, as some expected, they kept the same box and filled it with powerful modern parts like 8th-Gen desktop-class i7 CPUs.

Nick Statt:

The Mac mini was simple, it was cheap, and it did its job well. So well, in fact, that it took on a second life for many owners as a home media PC, a NAS server, and even as part of a compute cluster.

But the 2018 Mac mini is a different beast. It is much more powerful — it is, without hyperbole, a miniature Mac Pro — and as a result, it is no longer all that cheap. In fact, Apple’s cheapest Mac has moved from a sub-$500 purchase to a $799 one, and much more if you want a larger solid state drive, a faster processor, or more memory. You can spec out a lowly Mac mini all the way up to $4,199 if you really desire. (This time around the RAM is user replaceable, while the SSD is not.)

With other models a generation behind, the i7 model benchmarks faster than everything in the lineup short of the iMac Pro.

The big drag, however, is the integrated graphics. At the price, there should be something more. That said, it is still much smaller than even the smallest MXM-slot game/workstation-class PCs, and it hopefully won't be long before there are external GPUs in the Mac Mini form factor (similar to the Sonnet Puck) to stack atop it. Read the rest

Apple's world-beating financial engineering is teaching the corporate world how to exploit Trump's tax cuts

After Trump's tax-cuts and forgiveness program, Apple repatriated $260 billion it had stashed in offshore tax havens (or, more truthfully, had funneled through offshore tax-havens to buy onshore financial products that were notionally held offshore); this made Apple the leading beneficiary of the Trump tax forgiveness program. Read the rest

Apple's new bootloader won't let you install GNU/Linux -- Updated

Locking bootloaders with trusted computing is an important step towards protecting users from some of the most devastating malware attacks: by allowing the user to verify their computing environment, trusted computing can prevent compromises to operating systems and other low-level parts of their computer's operating environment. Read the rest

Apple's war on repair continues: Amazon now bans refurb Apple products from third parties

Apple has long understood that hardware products that last a long time result in falling unit sales, as customers opt to keep their old machines instead of buying the latest models; that's part of why the company led the charge that killed every single Right to Repair bill introduced last year -- less repairs leads to more "recycling," which is Applespeak for dropping used units into giant shredders without harvesting any usable parts first. Read the rest

New iPad Pro amazing for work, but iOS not up to the job

I want the new iPad Pro, which is in a league of its own but for one thing: iOS still can't be used for work unless your job has no workflow. Nilay Patel's review sums up why it remains a poor tool for professionals who have to deal with files.

...either you have to understand the limitations of iOS so well you can make use of these little hacks all over the place to get things done, or you just deal with it and accept that you have to go back to a real computer from time to time because it’s just easier. And in that case, you might as well just use a real computer.

I had the last-gen iPad Pro and spent a lot of time trying to make it work for me, and eventually gave up.

All the workflow problems seem to result from iOS's security model, where apps live in their own sandboxes and can't access the file system or other apps' boxes. The "Files" app acts as a bridge between apps but doesn't provide access to a shared set of genuinely-accessible local files and therefore leads inexorably to headaches. For me, this situation only got worse when I started adding third-party file system apps, because they were really just complicated clones of the "Files" app or cloud/network synching services masquerading as file systems. The more I squirmed, the more annoying and frustrating it got.

If you want an iPad Pro, the sad fact is you probably need a Microsoft Surface, with its own mirror-world of compromises: complexity, slowness, pen latency, bloated OS features and general lack of fun. Read the rest

Barbra Streisand shares Siri anecdote on 'Carpool Karaoke'

James Corden is back with a new episode of Carpool Karaoke. On this drive, he rides, sings, and chats with living legend Barbra Streisand.

The 76-year-old singer sat in the driver's seat and shared that she once phoned Apple CEO Tim Cook in the hopes he could get Siri to pronounce her last name correctly. It worked, Siri now pronounces it the right way, "Strei-sand."

Ms. Streisand has a new album out. It's called "Walls" and she created it in response to "these difficult times:"

screenshot via Read the rest

Analyst: Apple's poor earnings will recover now they've switched from innovating to rent-seeking

Apple just had a really poor Q3 earnings report, with hardware sales falling off as people figure out that they just don't need to get a new phone every year or so; writing in Bloomberg, Leonid Bershidsky tries to soothe investors by pointing out that Apple is still seeing growth in "services" and that there's plenty more growth to be realized there. Read the rest

Apple to release iOS 12.1 on October 30 with Group FaceTime, new emoji, more 🍎

Apple is holding a launch event on Tuesday, October 30, and the image shown on invitations is above. Here's what the smart guesses are on what they're going to announce. Read the rest

Review: The Oneplus 6T is almost as nice as a flagship handset for a fraction of the price

When I need to futz with an Android device, OnePlus is the company that I typically turn to. For the money, you won't find a more capable handset in North America. The OnePlus 6, thanks largely to its zippy performance and Android Oreo's being a joy to use, was the first Android device I was able to live with as my daily driver. The OnePlus 6T is, with the exception of a few minor tweaks, very much the same handset as its predecessor. I'm very OK with this.

Under the hood, there's not much to see: OnePlus has used the same Snapdragon 845 processor. The version of the 6T that I took for a spin comes packing 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It's a speedy-feeling set of specs that served me well with the OnePlus 6 and now, the 6T. Apps, fly open, I've yet to see any interface lag and I've no complaints about how quickly either smartphone does anything.

With the OnePlus 6T, users get a 3,700mAh battery. Given that I've grown accustomed to the low level of battery that my aging iPhone 7 Plus leaves me with at the end of the day, I was pretty pleased with how much juice was still left in the 6T when I set it down for the night. While it might not come with wireless charging baked into it, the OnePlus 6T's Dash quick charging technology more than made up for its absence. I'll take a rapid charge over the simplicity of not having to plug a cord into my hardware any day. Read the rest

Genius Bar says it'll cost $1200 to fix MacBook. Third-party repairman replaces worn $35 cable.

This kid took his MacBook Air into the Apple store to find out why the screen wouldn't work. The Genius Bar told him it needed to have its graphics chip, logic board and screen replaced at a cost of $1200. But being smart, he knew the MacBook Air didn't have a discrete graphics chip, so he took it to a professional repairman, Louis Rossmann. It turns out the laptop had two worn pins on a $35 sensor cable.

"You now understand more than a Genius," Rossmann tells him. "If they replaced your logic board and your screen, they would never have replaced this cable, and it would still have not worked."

Apple's laptops get a lot of criticism of late, but those are mostly matters of taste. These reports of crazy prices for repairs are anothing thing entirely. It sounds like a maliciously-compliant way of refusing to repair something in order to generate a new purchase. But we're attached to our possessions, so I don't doubt that plenty of folks end up paying outrageous prices for minor and unnecessary repairs.

Get yourself a TS-100 [Amazon] and get to work! Read the rest

Apple may pop an updated iPad Mini in 2019

Apple will be plopping out new hardware at their second fall event, come the end of the month. Those that spend their days puzzling out what trillion dollar companies will aspire to sell us next think that there's a good chance that we'll see a refresh of the iPad Pro (possibly with a USB-C port baked into them) and refreshed MacBooks. Good stuff, all around, especially if they can figure out how to fix the hot mess that Apple currently has the nerve to call a keyboard.

But what's down the road? Ming-Chi Kuo thinks he knows. Kuo is a supply chain analyst for IT International Securities. It's part of Kuo's gig to try and figure out what products a company plans on making, based on the components that they order. According to Kuo, a new iPad Mini is a-coming.

From The Verge:

Kuo says that the new iPad Mini will get “an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel,” which would seem to position it as a smaller option for those considering Apple’s entry-level iPad model rather than a miniature version of the iPad Pro. An iPad Mini update has been a long time coming — Apple last updated the device with the iPad Mini 4 back in 2015.

Kuo also says that Apple is still looking at either late 2018 or early 2019 for the AirPower charging mat along with the rumored AirPod update that would add a Qi-compatible case. It’s still not clear whether those will be showing up at next week’s event, or if Apple will even mention the still missing charging pad at all.

Read the rest

US Customs is seizing refurbished Apple batteries and calling them "counterfeits"

Louis Rossman is one of the highest-profile independent Apple repair technicians, famous in part for fixing devices that Apple has declared to have reached their end-of-life, diverting these devices from landfill and keeping them in the hands of the people who paid good money for them. Read the rest

Apple's new parental control: Daily Stormer is in, sex-ed is out

The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked). Read the rest

Apple invites press to New York for Oct. 30 event, here's what's predicted...

Apple invited consumer technology reporters to an event scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30, at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. The late-October event will presumably feature something different from the September iPhone-centered event. Read the rest

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