Ios and Android app stores both host Saudi government app that lets men track their spouses' movements

Senator Ron Wyden has publicly denounced both Apple and Google for hosting mobile apps that connect to Absher, a Saudi government service designed to allow Saudi men to track their spouses and employees' whereabouts at all times. Read the rest

Apple to launch 'Netflix for News' service at March 25 event. Publishers already hate it.

The event will be Apple's first major announcement in 2019.

Apple apologizes for Group Facetime bug, promises software update to fix it next week

The Group FaceTime bug that set the internet on fire this week? Apple's sorry about that, and says they've figured out a fix that all iOS users can load next week. They also thanked the mom and 14 year old kid who struggled to alert Apple of the vulnerability. Read the rest

Apple’s next iPhones and iPads: Triple camera, 3-D back camera for AR, new Face ID, iOS 13 Dark Mode, new cheap iPad

Rumor has it that Apple is testing a triple camera system for iPhones in 2019, plus other improvements including 'dark mode.' Less expensive iPads and an updated iPhone XR are also said to be in development. Read the rest

Another Apple engineer accused of stealing autonomous vehicle secrets for China

For the second time in 6 months, the FBI is accusing a Chinese national engineer who worked for Apple of stealing Apple trade secrets related to self-driving cars, to help a China-based competitor. Read the rest

Facebook cancels its all-spying, secret "research" program, Apple cancels Facebook's developer account

Yesterday, Techcruch published a deeply reported account of Facebook's "Project Atlas,", a "research" app whose users were paid up to $20/month (plus affiliate fees) to install on Ios devices, which exploited third parties with access to Apple's developer program to install a man-in-the-middle certificate that allowed Facebook to harvest every conceivable kind of data from its users' Iphones and other Ios devices. Read the rest

Apple was slow to act on FaceTime bug report, which came from mother of 14 year old who found it

Go get a developer account and send us a formal bug report, Apple reportedly told them.

FaceTime bug lets you hear or see through someone else’s iPhone, even if they haven’t answered

“We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.” — Apple.

A deep dive into the technical feasibility of Bloomberg's controversial "Chinese backdoored servers" story

Last October, Bloomberg published what seemed to be the tech story of the year: a claim that Supermicro, the leading supplier of servers to clients from the Pentagon and Congress to Amazon, Apple and NASA, had been targeted by Chinese spies who'd inserted devastating, virtually undetectable hardware backdoors into their motherboards by subverting a small subcontractor in China. Read the rest

Netflix walks away from App Store payments, costing Apple up to $256m/year

When Ios launched, Apple's App Store took a 30% royalty on all apps sold. App vendors responded in large part by switching to free apps that charged in-app for annual subscriptions and other fees, prompting Apple (by then the dominant smartphone seller and critical to many companies' businesses) to ban in-app purchases except through Apple, which would charge a 30% commission on the lifetime revenues from each user. Read the rest

New iPad Pros are coming out of the box already bent

It hasn't been a good year for Apple. The company's had to confirm that they've been throttling speeds of older iPhones to maintain battery efficiency. They were caught throttling their latest MacBook Pros to well below their advertised base processor speeds in order to deal with the thermal demands of the chipset inside of them. iOS 11 was buggy as all get out. Worst of all, the keyboards that are baked into almost all of the laptop computers sold by Apple over the past few years are so delicate that dust or a crumb getting beneath a key cap could be cause for costly repair.

The problem was such that a class action lawsuit over it was launched and Apple, caught up in a PR nightmare, was forced to start offering free repairs for their faulty input devices to all comers. The release of the company's latest crop of iPad Pro tablets, unfortunately, seems to have fallen into line with this new quality control status quo.

A few days ago, The Verge contacted Apple over the online rumors, later reinforced with hands-on demonstrations, that the new iPad Pro was so thin that it proved hilariously easy to bend. Some owners of the tablet also complained that the tablet came to them ever-so-slightly warped, right out of the box. The Verge's Chris Welch was among the victims of the industrial design tomfoolery. He reported that he could personally vouch for the issue:

...my 11-inch iPad Pro showed a bit of a curve after two weeks.

Read the rest

Apple Product Launch, a bad lip reading

While I'm sure the new Apple Handsome Anthony will get all the headlines, I'm most excited for the fancy tetra-fusion Hole. And I don't care that it isn't portable yet.

Read the rest

Apple's bi-annual report on government data requests is available to read

A couple of times a year, Apple plops out a report detailing all of the user data requests made by government and law enforcement agencies from around the world. In the latest bi-annual report, it looks like information requests have increased since the last reporting period.

From Engadget:

According to the report, which covers the first half of this year, Apple received 32,342 demands for user data from governments -- up 9 percent from the previous period -- spanning access to 163,823 devices. Germany made the most requests (42 percent), the majority of which were due to "stolen devices investigations," issuing 13,704 requests for data on 26,160 devices.

The US was in second place with 4,570 requests for 14,911 devices. More than half of these requests (2,397) were for users' basic account information or content, revealed Apple. The US also asked for 918 financial identifiers -- which cover suspected fraudulent credit, debit, or gift card transactions -- attributing them to iTunes gift card fraud.

It used to be that the report was only offered as a dense, boring PDF. But Apple, in an attempt to boost their corporate transparency, has made their report numbers available to peruse via an interactive website that can be searched by country and the month that the user data was requested.

According to Engadget, Apple's report doesn't include the number of FISA requests made, as there is a legally binding six-month delay required on reportage of such requests.

If you're an Apple hardware or services user, it's worth taking a quick jaunt over to the company's transparency website to see what kind of user information your government has been trying to get their hands on. Read the rest

Cydia, the app store for jailbroken iOS devices, will no longer sell apps

Almost immediately after buying my first iPhone in 2009, I became hooked on jailbreaking. Despite the fact that my iPhone 3GS met all of my mobile computing needs, I couldn't resist the temptation to tweak my user experience: tethering my computer on the go, messing with the color and style of my onscreen keyboard--you name it. If it was available for download via Cydia app, I gave it a spin. Some apps and hacks were worth paying for. Many weren't. I never dabbled in pirated apps, but I could have! That's what was so wonderful about Cydia: it offered the possibility of wandering off the path of what was normally a walled garden.

Sadly, after years of service to the homebrew and jailbreaking community, Cydia is shuttering its store.

From Engadget:

Service creator Jay Freeman (aka Saurik) has shut down the Cydia Store citing a combination of costs and security issues. It "loses [him] money" and, when there were multiple staffers, cost him a significant chunk of his "sanity." And while Freeman had already planned to close the store by the end of 2018, he bumped it up a week after learning of a security hole that let let someone buy apps through your account if you were logged in and browsing untrusted app repositories.

The good news is that you’ll still be able to gain access to apps previously purchased in the Cydia store – at least for the time being. As sad as it is to see Cydia winding down, this isn’t the end of the road for jailbreaking. Read the rest

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

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