Watch Apple's special event live

Apple will announce the iPhone 11 at 10am PT today. Here's the live stream. Read the rest

Alex Stamos schools Apple after they whine about Google revealing a whack of Ios zero-days

Early this month, Google's Project Zero revealed a breathtaking attack on multiple OSes, including Apple's Ios, in which a website that served Uyghur people was found to be hosting at least five different kinds of Ios malware that exploited previously unknown defects in Apple's code (the attack is presumed to have been the work of the Chinese state, which has been prosecuting a genocidal campaign against Uyghurs, whose high-tech fillips have seen both cities and apps suborned to aid in the pogrom). Read the rest

A software update has given new life to my ancient MacBook Air

My wife recently expressed an interest in learning how to use Final Cut Pro to do a bit of video editing to record her dives and time on trail when she’s out in the wilderness doing her thing. We already own the software, so no problem there.

However, she’s rocking a 2012 11” MacBook Air: a hand-me-down laptop that I gifted her a few years back when I bought a new MacBook Pro. Read the rest

Apple led the campaign to kill Right to Repair, now it's supplying parts to (some) independent repair shops

Apple was at the vanguard of the massive corporate spending that killed Right to Repair bills in 20 state legislatures last year, and while the company claims that it wants to protect its users from evil repair dudes who secretly hack their devices while claiming to fix them, Apple's CEO's frank warning to investors that profits are expected to slide if people keep fixing their Iphones instead of replacing them points at a much more likely answer. Read the rest

Apple sets date to plop our new iPhones

I spend a lot of time typing shit and talking smack about Apple's recent hardware shortcomings, greasy dealings with authoritarian governments and questionable labor practices. But you know what? The still make my favorite smartphone. I kind of hate myself for that, but here we are.

It's looking like we'll soon have a whole new crop of iPhones to love/covet and loathe as the invitations for this fall's iPhone event have, it would seem, been dispatched on the chamfered wings of a lily white dove.

From The Verge:

Although Apple’s invitation doesn’t explicitly say what the company plans to announce at the event, the rumors suggest we’ll see three new iPhone models, and these will act as successors to the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max. Two of these phones are expected to feature Apple’s first triple-camera system on the rear of the device, and the successor to the XS could also have a slightly bigger 6.1-inch display (up from 5.8 inches on the current model).

Another rumor suggests that these iPhones could support bidirectional wireless charging, allowing them to charge AirPods when used with their new wireless charging case. Upgrades to battery life and Face ID biometric security, as well as the use of new shatter-resistance technology have also been suggested.

I tend to ignore any talk of what Apple'll be releasing until it's been trotted out on stage—the world's on fire and careening off into space. So you know, things to do. But I know that lots of people dig playing what if with Cupertino-designed hardware. Read the rest

Apple cleans up Siri's privacy problems, screwing over workers in the process

Good news everybody: Apple's really sorry about recording our conversations with Siri. In a statement issued earlier today, the company's talking heads stated that they realized that the '...haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals'. The letter goes on to say that, to make up for their eavesdropping shenanigans, Apple's going to be making a few changes to how Siri does its thing.

From Apple:

First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.

Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri

This of course, is great news for anyone that uses Apple's Siri voice assistant. Unfortunately, that less people will be needed to snoop on the conversations between the companies customers and their tech likely means that some resources will need to be shifted around in order to accomoda—wait, what?

From The Guardian:

Hundreds of Apple workers across Europe who were employed to check Siri recordings for errors have lost their jobs after the company announced it was suspending the programme earlier this month.

Read the rest

Trump and Tim Cook had dinner, Trump says Apple CEO made 'very compelling argument' to help Apple get richer

Illegitimate, popular vote losing, and manifestly unfit United States President Donald Trump said on Monday that at a recent dinner with Tim Cook -- what, you didn't think they hung out and shared meals? -- the Apple CEO made a “very compelling argument” that Apple may lose its competitive edge to Samsung because of Trump's tariffs on goods from China. Read the rest

Defeating Apple's Faceid's proof-of-life by putting tape over glasses' lenses

Apple's Faceid -- a facial recognition tool that unlocks mobile devices -- has a countermeasure that is designed to prevent attackers from scanning an sleeping/unconscious (or dead) person's face to unlock their phone, by scanning the face for signs of consciousness. Read the rest

FAA just banned these recalled Apple laptops from flights and cargo

* FAA says some MacBook Pros are unsafe on airplanes • Apple recently recalled certain laptops over battery fire risk Read the rest

Apple's contractors also listening to private conversations

Android apps are tracking your every move. Amazon is watching and listening. Google's watching you watch porn. Facebook is up all of our shit, all of the time. Perhaps it shouldn't come as any surprise that Apple, a company that's been flogging user privacy as one of the greatest selling points of their mobile devices, is listening in on many of their customers as well.

From The Verge:

Apple is paying contractors to listen to recorded Siri conversations, according to a new report from The Guardian, with a former contractor revealing that workers have heard accidental recordings of users’ personal lives, including doctor’s appointments, addresses, and even possible drug deals.

According to that contractor, Siri interactions are sent to workers, who listen to the recording and are asked to grade it for a variety of factors, like whether the request was intentional or a false positive that accidentally triggered Siri, or if the response was helpful.

According to The Verge, Apple admitted to The Guardian (I'd love to quite this stuff directly, but European copyright laws yadda yadda) that a 'small number' of user interactions with Siri are analyzed to improve the virtual assistant and to buff up the dictation abilities of Apple's various operating systems. They also note that less than 1% of all user interactions are analyzed in this manner and claim that when they do their picking through of our private conversations, the audio they're focusing on has no user information attached to it. Read the rest

Trump: Apple won't get a tariff break for Mac Pro parts made in China

Donald Trump says his administration will not provide any waivers or relief for Apple Mac Pro components built in China, and said Apple should instead build its products in the U.S. Read the rest

Small but meaningful progress towards a federal Right to Repair rule

The Right to Repair movement has introduced dozens of state-level laws that would force companies to support independent repairs by making manuals, parts and diagnostic codes available, and by ending the illegal practice of voiding warranties for customers who use independent repair services, but these bills keep getting killed by overwhelming shows of lobbying force from members of the highly concentrated manufacturing sector, particularly Apple, whose CEO, Tim Cook, warned investors in January that the number one threat to Iphone sales is that customers are choosing to repair, rather than replace, their mobile devices. Read the rest

Apple rumored to release 3 new 'iPhone 11' models in Fall 2019

We can expect three new “iPhone 11” models this fall from Apple, according to the official unofficial rumor mill. Each of these is said to be designed with an A13 chip, a Lightning port, and a new 'Taptic Engine' that will replace iPhone's current 3D Touch. Read the rest

Apple disables Walkie Talkie app for Apple Watch over eavesdropping vulnerability

Apple has temporarily disabled the 'Walkie Talkie' iOS app for Apple Watch after a vulnerability was revealed that could allow a third party to eavesdrop on your iPhone. Read the rest

Tech analyst claims Apple is giving up on butterfly keyboards

Tim Cook waved goodbye as Jony Ive pulled out of the car lot for the last time. Without dropping the smile, Cook tilted his head at Jeff Williams. "Finally," he whispered though his teeth. "We can fix the fucking keyboards"

Here's Benjamin Mayo, quoting Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro

Apple is apparently set to ditch the butterfly mechanism used in MacBooks since 2015, which has been the root of reliability issues and its low-travel design has also not been popular with many Mac users.

In a report published today, Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will roll out a new keyboard design based on scissor switches, offering durability and longer key travel, starting with the 2019 MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is also getting the new scissor switch keyboard, but not until 2020.

The new scissor switch keyboard is a whole new design than anything previously seen in a MacBook, purportedly featuring glass fiber to reinforce the keys. Apple fans who have bemoaned the butterfly keyboard should be optimistic about a return to scissor switches.

Tech analysts are often wrong, but this one reportedly has an unusually good record. Read the rest

PSA: Take Your Borked Apple Gear to Best Buy

While I travel, one of the biggest pains in the ass that I fret over is the possibility of having to get my hardware repaired. This past winter, the closest Apple-certified repair depot to where my wife and I set up camp (the work laptop supplied to me is a MacBook Pro,) was three hours away. Just taking my laptop in to drop it off is a six-hour round trip. I could have it shipped off, but that takes an ass load of time as well. According to The Verge, this pain-in-the-ass could very well be demoted to a simple pain-in-the-neck: Moving forward, 1,000 Best Buy stores across the United States will be able to fix all of the Apple-branded shit that I can't.

From The Verge:

Best Buy has offered Apple repairs at many locations for some time now, but the completed expansion brings that number up to nearly 1,000 stores. “Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products,” Apple said in a press release. There are Best Buy stores in neighborhoods that might not have an Apple presence, so this is a nice option to have at the ready. Most Best Buy locations have Apple showcase sections with the company’s iOS devices, MacBooks, HomePod, and other products.

At its own stores, Apple has recently been pushing to speed up keyboard repairs for its MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops, promising a next-day turnaround in many cases.

Read the rest

Apple considering moving hardware production out of China

The escalating tariff slap-fight between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China is messing with so many bottom lines that the only people playing the market and making bank are those with companies that make red ink in their portfolios. Even Apple, a company that pretty much prints its own damn money, isn't immune. In a week where Chinese telecom and computing giant Huawei declared that they'd be making billions less than forecasted, signs that the fruit flavored phone floggers may be looking to shift their operations away from mainland China have cropped up.

From the Nikkei Asian Review:

Apple has asked its major suppliers to evaluate the cost implications of shifting 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a fundamental restructuring of its supply chain, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

The California-based tech giant's request was triggered by the protracted trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, but multiple sources say that even if the spat is resolved there will be no turning back. Apple has decided the risks of relying so heavily on manufacturing in China, as it has done for decades, are too great and even rising, several people told Nikkei.

The Nikkei Asian Review goes on to talk up the fact that a slowing birthrate, concerns over dependency on centralized production in one locale and rising labor costs are a part of driving Apple's wandering industrial eyes to look on over yonder. Read the rest

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