If you own an iPhone, you might be eligible for $25 "throttling" lawsuit settlement

In 2017 Apple acknowledged it had been throttling iPhones with degraded batteries. This resulted in a class-action lawsuit and a $500 million settlement. Lifehacker has a guide on how you can collect a cash payment of $25 per eligible iOS device.

You’ll qualify for this settlement if you own(ed) one of the following iPhones before December 21, 2017:

An iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus or SE that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later

An iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later

I just checked and found that all four members of my family have eligible iPhones, and I submitted claims for all of them. Thanks for the $100, Lifehacker!

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

How to get a refund on an app you don't like

If you purchased a smart phone app that doesn't meet your expectations, Popular Science has a guide for how to get your money back. The first thing to try is contacting Google or Apple and explaining why you want your money back. The last resort is complaining on Twitter. One thing not to do is give the app a one star review before you try to get your money back, or you will lose any leverage you might have.

Similarly, the terms and conditions on iTunes and the Google Play Store also include refund requests, although in the case of Apple’s store terms are rather opaque. You have to log in to the Report a Problem portal, find the app you have an issue with, request a refund selecting what you feel is a valid and appropriate reason, briefly explain why, and hope it gets approved by the inner-bureaucracy.

Google’s policies are a bit clearer, although hedged with ifs and maybes. Within 48 hours of purchasing an app you can request a refund from Google by logging into your Play Store account, going to Order History, selecting Request a Refund on the app you want to return, and explaining why. If you miss that 48-hour window, you have to contact the developers directly.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash Read the rest

China virus outbreak may impact Apple iPhone if China extends Foxconn factory halt

Coronavirus, which WHO declared a global health emergency, threatens to disrupt Chinese manufacturing

The deadly virus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China continues to spread and claim lives around the world. At this time, still, the vast majority of infected patients and deaths are in mainland China, Hubei province.

The epidemic is also impacting business, finance, and technology production in China.

Apple's iPhone production relies in part on a Foxconn factory that has been shut down by the Chinese government.

If the halt is extended, Reuters reports today, this could impact iPhone production, availability, and sales. Read the rest

The FBI doesn't need Apple to give it a backdoor to encryption, because it already has all the access it needs

Once again, the FBI is putting pressure on Apple to help them break into the phone of a mass shooter. And once again, Apple has been largely resistant to the effort. Which is good, because a government having control over a private company that gives them secret backdoor access into people's personal technology devices is an authoritarian wet dream waiting to happen.

It also doesn't matter anyway because — as Reuters pointed out this week — Apple already buckled under FBI pressure a few years and cancelled their plans to add end-to-end encryption to all iPhone backups in iCloud:

The company said it turned over at least some data for 90% of the requests it received [from the FBI]. It turns over data more often in response to secret U.S. intelligence court directives, which sought content from more than 18,000 accounts in the first half of 2019, the most recently reported six-month period.

But what if the FBI wants access to someone's locked iPhone, and they haven't backed it up to iCloud? They still don't need Apple's help, because — as with the San Bernardino shooting — there are plenty of third-party companies that can and will gladly solve the problem in exchange for money.

From OneZero:

Over the past three months, OneZero sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to over 50 major police departments, sheriffs, and prosecutors around the country asking for information about their use of phone-cracking technology. Hundreds of documents from these agencies reveal that law enforcement in at least 11 states spent over $4 million in the last decade on devices and software designed to get around passwords and access information stored on phones.

Read the rest

Why AG Barr's use of Pensacola shooter case to rebuke Apple is so suspicious

FBI needs to be able to hack into your iphone, Trump's sham AG William Barr says

Enjoy "iCthulhu," a free Lovecraftian cyberpunk webcomic

My buddy Dave Ganjamie and I have been collaborating on comics for a few years now. Not all of our brainstorm-and-sketch sessions end somewhere exciting, but we did have one fun idea that came to fruition. It was the fall of 2013, and Dave half-jokingly challenged me to write him a — his words, and I quote directly from our GChat — "cyber-craftian Eldritch-punk time travel" story.

I assumed this was meant to be deliberately absurd. But I'm never one to back down from a challenge. So we pitched the idea to Grayhaven Comics for one of their sci-fi anthology collections — and much to our surprise, they gave us the greenlight. With only 3 pages to work with, we were fairly strapped with space to express our ridiculous concept. But we did the best we could, and ultimately came up with something pretty cool.

Some day we'll get around to finishing our Evil Academy concept, or dramatize that time at New York Comic-Con when we found ourselves in an Abbot-&-Costello, Who's-On-First routine at a party with Kieron Gillen and Karen Gillan. In the meantime, Dave is probably still pissed that I made him draw all those suckers on the bottom of the tentacles (even though it was technically his idea in the first place). So enjoy the fruits of our labor: "iCthulhu!"

"iCthulhu" — art by Dave Ganjamie, words by Thom Dunn. Originally published by Grayhaven Comics. Read the rest

Retractable Apple certified Lightning-to-USB cable also comes with good advice

Always pull both ends at the same time.

I absolutely hate it when my Amazon Basics retractable Lightning-to-USB cable disappears from my travel bag. These gadgets are small enough and neat enough they can just get jammed into a dark corner of your bag and will be there when you need a charging cable.

I would have enjoyed using mine today, but I was recently traveling with my daughter and find I must order another.

Watch what and how you pull.

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Retractable Lightning to USB Cable - 2 Feet (0.6 Meters) - White Read the rest

There's a new iOS update out but maybe wait before installing it

I love what iOS 13 has brought to my iPhone's party. I'm not attached, however, to how frigging buggy it's been. Read the rest

Malicious websites that hacked into iPhones over 2-year period targeted Uyghur Muslims in China: Report

A number of malicious websites that were recently reported to have been secretly hacking into iPhones over a two-year period were in fact targeting Uyghur Muslims, Zack Whittaker of TechCrunch reports today. 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 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

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’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

Apple bothering people with unwanted "Carpool Karaoke" push notifications

Apple's Carpool Karaoke... isn't great. But despite scathing critical reviews of the show, Apple keeps trying to make it happen. In fact, they're so horny for the show to succeed that they've been forcing advertisements for it out to iOS users. According to The Verge, many iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users have been receiving unwanted Carpool Karaoke push notifications from Apple, via the iOS TV app for the past few weeks.

From The Verge:

We’re not sure how many iPhone users received the notifications, but it looks like Apple has tried plugging its show at least twice in recent weeks: once on December 7th for an episode where Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin grill each other using a lie detector test, and once on December 14 for an episode featuring joint singalongs with comedian Jason Sudeikis and the Muppets.

Developed in house by Apple, the TV app doesn't ask for user permission to send along push notifications the first time that it's launched, like third-party developed iOS apps do. The shit and giggle part of this is that Apple App Store policy makes it very clear to developers that unsolicited notifications pushing advertising, features or promotions are not OK. If you know your way around iOS, turning off notifications spewed out by any app is as easy as flipping on a light -- but not all of Apple's users are software-savvy. So, without help, they could be stuck putting up with the company's unwanted solicitations.

It's a case of "do as we say and not as we do," I suppose. 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

Review: Moment 58mm Tele smartphone camera lens

I dig Moment's high quality smartphone camera lenses for the convenience that they offer. I don't always have my Sony RX100 III on me. It often isn't even charged and ready to use. But where ever I roam, I typically have my smartphone with me: thanks to Moment's lenses, I'm able to up my iPhone's photographic game to almost reach the heights that my pocket-sized Sony shooter affords. What's more, the money I've spent on their glass feels like a good investment. Should I ever pull together enough scratch to upgrade to a new iPhone, all I'll have to do in order to use the lenses I own is buy a new case for it. Currently, Moment makes cases for Apple, Samsung, and Google hardware and, as of earlier this week, OnePlus.

The one Moment lens that I used more than any other was their 60mm tele lens. It provided 2x optical zoom over what my old iPhone SE could manage on its own. My dual lens iPhone 7 Plus? Same thing, only better: when paired with the iPhone's native optical zoom, you wound up with 4x optical magnification. A couple of years ago, it allowed me to shoot this:

Not bad! But here's the thing: when you use the 60mm with a dual lens camera phone, like the iPhone X, which typically has a wider field of view, the images captured aren't as crisp at the edges as they are in the center. With the photo above, I was able to crop and correct for some of this in Lightroom, but it's a pain in the ass. 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

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