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

Moment is offering a new telephoto smartphone lens and I'm so there for it

I'm a big fan of Moment's lens system for Android and iOS smartphones. The company is staffed by folks who are just as passionate about mobile photography as I am. More importantly, they seem to understand that having to buy entirely new lenses every time you land a new handset is twelve different kinds of Bullshit. With Moment's second generation lens system, all you need to do when you invest in a new smartphone is plunk down some new cash for a new photo case and you're in business. Their business model makes me feel comfortable with fielding the relatively steep cost of their high quality smartphone accessory lenses and other kit.

Today, Moment announced that they're releasing a new 58mm telephoto lens. If you're using it with a single lens smartphone like the Google Pixel 3, it'll provide you with 2X optical zoom. Have a dual camera lensed phone like my iPhone 7 Plus? You can expect 4X optical telephoto zoom. That means better photos of far away subjects, portraits and landscapes without having to deal with the pixilation that comes from using digital zoom. Having this option makes me feel much less obligated, in many cases, to bring along an actual camera with me.

I've got one on the way to me and can't wait to try it out. I'm curious to see how it performs versus the last incarnation of their tele lens. I'll post a review with a few choice shots of the lens in action just as soon as I can. 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'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

iPhone Xs charging and connectivity woes can be cured with a software update

Last week, we warned you about a couple of ugly, low-rent bugs baked into Apple's decidedly high-falooting iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. A number of users, including Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy fame, have reported that the handset has a hella hard time, in certain circumstances, recharging. If you plug in a Lightning cable while the phone's in standby, there's a good chance that it's not going to be juiced up. Given the high price of ownership associated with Apple's latest smartphones, that's twelve different flavors of bullshit. Fortunately, Apple agrees and has come up with a software fix for the issue, as well as one for poor cellular connectivity reported by a whack of the new iPhone's owners.

From The Verge:

Apple has issued an update to iOS 12, which fixes several bugs that have plagued iPhone XS and XS Max users since the phones were released. The IOS 12.0.1 update is available to download now in Settings —> General —> Software Update on your iPhone or iPad.

The update should fix one of the biggest issues on the iPhone XS and XS Max: users reported poor Wi-Fi reception compared to their previous iPhone X devices when used in their homes, but it doesn’t address the separate LTE issues. It also resolves the widespread issue of iPhone XS devices requiring to be unlocked before recognizing the Lightning cable charger.

So, if you've got a handset giving you guff, get on it.

Image: Apple Read the rest

Affinity Photo is an awesome low cost Photoshop alternative

I pay for a monthly subscription to Adobe's suite of photo editing apps. They streamline my workflow on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. What's more, they allow me to make my mediocre photos almost look like they were taken by someone who knows what they're doing. I'll be the first to admit, however, that subscription-based software is bullshit. Yes, you'll always have access to the latest updates that the application developers have to offer, but for all of the money you're paying over the course of months, or even years, you never end up with a product that you can say you own. Stop paying that monthly fee and you're left with bupkis. I don't much care for how that feels. I'm also not crazy about how much horsepower Adobe's software needs to perform well. Photoshop and Lightroom work great on my 2015 MacBook Pro. The same goes for Adobe's mobile apps on my iOS devices and Android smartphones. Unfortunately, the pixels flow like mud if I attempt to do any image editing in Lightroom on my Microsoft Surface Go. It's just not powerful enough. Happily, I discovered Affinty Photo a few years ago. It's a low cost Photoshop alternative for iOS, Mac OS and Windows that, for many image editing tasks, is just powerful enough to get shit done.

On my low-powered Surface Go, Affinty loads in half the time that Photoshop does, allowing me to get in and out of working on a photo quickly before uploading it to go along with a story. Read the rest

Play a free text adventure game using Apple Shortcuts

Space Alert is a simple and clever proof-of-concept text adventure game made using Apple's new Shortcuts app for iOS 12. Demo video above. From creator Marcel Wichmann:

Apple recently released iOS 12 and with it Shortcuts, an app that let’s you automate a bunch of stuff on your iOS devices. I didn’t find any useful way of automating anything, so I built a game. A text adventure, to be precise. It’s short and kind of stupid but… it’s free?!

Space Alert (via WAXY) Read the rest

Chinese iPhones crash when users try to type Taiwanese flag characters

A now-fixed bug in Ios caused Chinese-localized Iphones to reboot any time the user tried to enter the character combination for a Taiwanese flag or the word "Taiwan"; the bug was caused by Apple's China-only censorship and surveillance software. Read the rest

With the App Store monopoly case, the Supreme Court could reverse decades of frustrated antitrust enforcement

On Monday, the Supreme Court will review the 9th Circuit's decision in Apple Inc. v. Pepper, in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple has established a monopoly over apps for Ios (this part is actually incontrovertible, as Apple has used both technology and law to prevent rival app stores from operating), and that Iphone and Ipad owners have a right to ask the government to break up this monopoly (that's the controversial part). Read the rest

Telegram: ever since Russia's blocking demand, Apple has prevented us from updating our app

Last April, the Kremlin ordered a ban on the private messaging app Telegram, blocking millions of IP addresses that formed Amazon and Google's clouds in order to prevent users from accessing the service; not only was it an ominous moment in the evolution of the internet as a system for oppressive control, it was also an object lesson in how internet concentration has made the internet more susceptible to censorship and control. Read the rest

Fortnite is coming to Android to kill your productivity

It's still a few months down the road but, if you're an Android user, like I am more and more, these days, there's reason for celebration: Fortnite is finally coming to the platform.

Fortnight has been at the top of the hot game dog pile in the iOS App Store for some time now. And no wonder: it's accessible, fun, looks great and, at least on more recent iPhone handsets, plays like a dream. According to TechCrunch, prior to bringing the game to iOS, Epic Games was making $126 million in revenue off the title. With this being the case, it makes sense that they'd throw all of the resources possible to make Fortnight playable on every single platform on the planet. That Android users would soon be able to crush any hope they have of being productive throughout their day wasn't the only thing that Epic had to say about the game, either.

From TechCrunch:

That news comes amid a flurry of other Fornite related announcements this week. Earlier this morning, Epic unveiled a Battle Royale competition with a large in-game cash prize. This morning, the company also laid out plans to bring voice chat and improved gameplay and controls to the mobile side of things. Stats are coming to mobile, as well, along with a reduced install size.

While I prefer playing shooters, survival games and other twitchy fare that requires a fine touch with a keyboard, mouse or gamepad (I know you can can use all of that with Android, but it feels gross to haul those around with a smartphone,) Having the option to play a huge title like this on the go, no matter whether I'm rocking an iPhone or my OnePlus handset at the time, is pretty great.

Read the rest

Amazon doesn't like how Signal circumvents censorship

Signal is an encrypted messaging app for smartphones and desktops that I and a lot of other folks use on a daily basis to communicate with discretion and security. I like it so much that I've moved away from using other services on my iOS and Android phones to using Signal for all of the texting I do, even with those who don't use the app. Unfortunately, according to The Verge, the Signal team is having a difficult time trying to provide its services to users in the UAE, Egypt and Oman, where the app has been banned by the government. Considering the fact that these states aren't known for treating political dissidents and minorities none too well, that's a big deal. For some people, encrypted comms are essential to avoiding incarceration or worse.

The crux of Signal's issues with providing services to users in these countries is that Amazon, whose CloudFront web services Signal's parent company, Open Whisper System, uses, has banned domain-fronting. Domain-fronting, put simply, is a technique for making traffic from one site look like it's from another site. In an email received by Open Whisper System's founder, Moxie Marlinspike (best damn name in the business,) the General Manager of Amazon CloudFront called Open Whisper Systems' domain-fronting out, telling Marlinspike that Amazon would love to have their business, but not his company refuses to comply with their no domain-fronting policies.

From the email:

When access to Signal was originally censored in Egypt, Oman, Qatar, and UAE, we responded by through Google App Engine.

Read the rest

Cover of "Video killed the radio star" created entirely with a tablet

Dan Baker:

Here's my take on the Buggles' 1979 hit, "Video Killed the Radio Star", using NOTHING but the fantastic on-board sounds of GarageBand for iOS10: so unbelievably powerful... All vocal parts recorded using the internal mic, with lead vocal processed through the internal guitar amp simulator: the original 1979 vocal was played back through a VOX AC30 guitar amp to get that sound. Everything here mixed on the iPad as well, with lots of effects not fazing it in the slightest. "Alchemy" is an expensive sounding synth, also used on Logic Pro X, and the bass sound actually sounds like a Fender Precision.

Read the rest

Researchers craft Android app that reveals menagerie of hidden spyware; legally barred from doing the same with iOS

Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's devastating report on the dozens of invasive, dangerous "trackers" hidden in common Android apps was generated by writing code that spied on their target devices' internal operations, uncovering all manner of sneaking trickery. Read the rest

Easter egg: How to make Siri recite every word to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Read the rest

No, Italy isn't banning the iPhone

On June 23rd, 2017, a lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper that said that our new Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's an English article). That's just wrong. This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it will protect and benefit Italians.

Chinese Apple employees and contractors sold users' private data for as little as $1.50

Police in China's Zhejiang announced that they worked with colleagues in four provinces to arrest 22 suspects in a data-theft ring that raided Apple's internal networks for Iphone owners' sensitive personal information ("names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and other data") which they sold to criminals for as little as $1.50. Read the rest

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