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Apple, iPhone, iPad, Mac News and Rumors



Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:42:27 PDT

 



Apple Responds to Hack Threats, Says There Were no iCloud or Apple ID Breaches

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:57:00 PDT

In response to a ransom threat in which hackers are claiming to have access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts, Apple told Fortune there have been no breaches of its systems.

Instead, if the hackers do have access to iCloud accounts, Apple suggests previously compromised third-party services are at fault. From an Apple spokesperson:
There have not been any breaches in any of Apple's systems including iCloud and Apple ID," the spokesperson said. "The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.
Apple's response follows a report from Motherboard that suggests a group of hackers known as the "Turkish Crime Family" have claimed to have access to hundreds of millions of iCloud accounts.

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The Turkish Crime Family has threatened to reset the iCloud accounts and remotely wipe victims' Apple devices if Apple does not pay $150,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum by April 7. If Apple does not pay in three days, the group plans to increase the amount of money it is asking for.

Originally the group was believed to have access to 300 million icloud.com, me.com, and mac.com email addresses, but that number later jumped to 627 million due to additional hackers allegedly stepping forward to provide account credentials. The hackers say at least 220 million of the login credentials are verified to work and do not have two-factor authentication enabled.

With Apple denying a breach, the iCloud account information has likely been obtained from major hacking incidents that have affected companies like Yahoo. iCloud users who have the same username and password that was used for both a hacked site and for iCloud should change their passwords immediately.

The Apple spokesperson also told Fortune the company is "actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved," but did not outline what specific steps are being taken to monitor the situation beyond "standard procedure."

Apple recommends that all iCloud users choose strong passwords, use different passwords for different sites, and turn on two-factor authentication to protect their accounts.
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Apple Acquires Popular Automation App Workflow

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:48:16 PDT

Apple has acquired well-known and popular automation app Workflow, reports TechCrunch. The deal was reportedly finalized today for an unspecified sum.

Workflow, first released in 2014, is an automation tool that can essentially do anything. It allows users to create a variety of workflows to accomplish tasks like creating GIFs from a series of photos, pulling images from a web page, translating an article, posting photos to multiple social networks at once, calculating a tip, and tons more.

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It is equipped with a built-in Gallery, which allows people to quickly find and use a wide range of automation tasks, and it can be used to create custom automations.

Apple is purchasing the Workflow app and the Workflow team, including Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, and Nick Frey, will be joining the company.
"We are thrilled to be joining Apple," said Weinstein in a statement. "We've worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can't wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world.
Apple confirmed the acquisition of Workflow, which notably received an Apple Design Award in 2015 for its excellent accessibility features, likely one of the reasons behind the purchase.

Typically apps acquired from Apple disappear from the App Store, but Workflow will remain available and will be made free starting later today. The Gallery will continue to be updated on a regular basis, as will app integrations.

Beyond the app, it is not clear what Apple will do with Workflow in the future, and whether it will be built into future versions of iOS and macOS, but it is definitely a possibility. TechCrunch speculates that it could be used alongside Siri in the future, or perhaps be the backbone of powerful automation tools for the iPad.

Update: Workflow can now be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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The New iPad vs. 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air 2

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:07:22 PDT

Apple yesterday announced the newest addition to its iPad lineup, somewhat confusingly called the "iPad" and known officially as the "5th-generation iPad," following in the footsteps of the fourth-generation model that was released before the iPad Air. Designed to replace the iPad Air, the iPad comes with a tantalizingly low price tag: $329. It is Apple's most affordable tablet to date and it's a competitive price point that will allow the iPad to better compete with lower-priced Android offerings. What do you get for $329? As it turns out, quite a lot. The iPad is a little bit iPhone 6s, a little bit iPad Air, and a little bit iPad Air 2. In a nutshell, compared to the iPad Air 2, the iPad has a brighter display and a faster A9 processor (first introduced in the iPhone 6s). Other internal hardware seems to be very similar to what's included in the iPad Air 2, with the exception of the display and the casing. Camera, battery life, Wi-Fi, LTE, and other sensors are all nearly the same. The iPad does not include a laminated display, and is thus thicker, much like the original iPad Air. It measures in at 7.5mm thick, compared to the 6.1mm iPad Air 2. The thickness and accompanying weight discrepancy is noticeable and the one downside between the new iPad and its predecessor. Compared to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the new iPad is, of course, significantly inferior, which is why it's priced at $329 and not $599. It does not support the Apple Pencil or the Smart Keyboard (no Smart Connector), and it lacks many of the display improvements, including True Tone color shifting and wide color gamut. The iPad has a slower processor than the iPad Pro, an inferior camera (8-megapixel vs. 12-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel vs. 5-megapixel front), two speakers instead of four, a slower LTE modem, and of course, since the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the same size as the iPad Air 2, the iPad is noticeably thicker and heavier. If you're looking for top of the line hardware and accessory support, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the tablet to buy, but if you don't need the bells and whistles, the iPad is a steal at its price point. Performance wise, it's going to run all the latest games and apps, it'll take decent pictures, it still has a high-quality Retina display, and it features a 10 hour battery life, so it will hold up for several years, especially when doing basic tasks like web browsing and emailing. Click for larger version For those looking for a bit more, Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce an updated ~10-inch iPad Pro model that's going to replace the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The ~10-inch model is said to have smaller bezels and perhaps an edge-to-edge display, allowing it to feature a bigger screen in a 9.7-inch-sized body. That tablet was originally rumored to be coming in the spring, but now it's looking like we won't see it until later in the year. Based on rumors, it may be worth the wait for those willing to shell out more money for the best technology. Apple plans to start selling the new iPad on Friday, March 24. The entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi only model will be priced at $329, and a 128GB model is available for $429. Wi-Fi + Cellular models are available at a $130 premium, so $459 for 32GB and $559 for 128GB. For more details on Apple's new iPad, make sure to check out our official iPad roundup. And for details on the upcoming iPad Pro updates, check out our iPad Pro roundup.Related Roundups: iPad, iPad Pro Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Caution), 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Tim Cook Confirms Apple Will Make Global Fund Donations From Sales of Red iPhone 7 in China

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:45:05 PDT

With the news earlier today that Apple has ditched the PRODUCT(RED) branding for the red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in China, MacRumors reached out to CEO Tim Cook to find out if any of the proceeds on sales in the country would still be donated to charity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. MacRumors' question: We noticed the (PRODUCT)RED branding is missing from the new red iPhone 7 on the China Apple website. Will you be donating any of the proceeds from the phone's China sales to the HIV/AIDs cause anyway? Tim Cook's response: We donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus we sell in every country in the world. Since the omission of the branding came to light, there's been some speculation that recent changes in Chinese law prevent not-for-profit organizations from being involved in commercial advertising. Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears Apple will be upholding its (PRODUCT)RED charitable donations commitment with or without said branding. Apple's special edition red iPhone 7 models, due to be launched on Friday in more than 40 countries, are the first iPhones to join Apple's (PRODUCT)RED line-up. Apple said the new handset color was in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and the charity (RED), offering customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund and "bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation". In the same press release, (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the fund, having contributed more than $130 million to the charity, which seeks to provide "testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs with a specific focus on eliminating transmission of the virus from moms to their babies". Other Apple products in the (PRODUCT)RED range that are available all year round include the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tags: China, Tim Cook, (PRODUCT)RED Discuss this article in our forums [...]



iPhone Named World's Most Popular Smartphone Last Year

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:34:56 PDT

iPhone was the world's most popular smartphone last year, in terms of global shipments, according to research firm IHS Markit. iPhone 6s took the top spot as the most-shipped smartphone in the world in 2016, trailed by the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus, based on research from IHS Markit's Smartphone Shipment Database, which tracks quarterly shipment data for more than 350 smartphone models. Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge took the fifth spot, followed by the low-cost Galaxy J3 and several other Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S7. Notably absent was the Galaxy Note7, which was recalled last year due to safety concerns after some units were found to have defective batteries. Apple's lead over Samsung is impressive given that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were launched in March 2016, around six months prior to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September. The mid-range Galaxy J3, Galaxy J5, and Galaxy J7 also preceded the latest iPhone models when they launched in April 2016. The above chart makes it hard to determine exactly how many shipments each smartphone model had, but it looks like the iPhone 6s was around 60 million, while the Galaxy S7 edge and most other Samsung smartphones are around the 25 million mark. IHS declined our request for specific shipment figures. An earlier version of the chart had the iPhone 6s Plus labeled twice. IHS Markit has corrected this mistake and sent us the new chart shown above. Oppo's A53, a popular smartphone in markets such as China and India, was the only smartphone not manufactured by Apple or Samsung to make the list. Huawei, the world's third largest smartphone maker after Samsung and Apple, did not have any of the top ten smartphones shipped last year, IHS said. Apple's iPhone 6s was similarly declared the world's most-shipped smartphone in the second quarter of 2016 by research firm Strategy Analytics, ahead of the iPhone 7, and if IHS Markit's data is accurate, then Apple's last-generation smartphone remained most popular through to the end of last year. It is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales. Apple does not break out iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis in its quarterly earnings results.Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 Tag: IHS Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Siri and Alexa Battling to Become Go-To Voice Assistants in Hotel Rooms

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:50:14 PDT

Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are being put through their paces in a "tech incubator" hotel chain, in order to determine which voice assistant brings more to the table for guests wanting to order room service, control lights, change TV channels, adjust the temperature, and more (via Bloomberg). The main incubator for the test is happening in Aloft Hotels, which are owned by Marriott. The Aloft Hotel in Boston is using Amazon Echo devices and a collection of iPhones and iPads to gather information on which voice assistant will ultimately best serve guests in the long run. Marriott hasn't divulged information on who might be the winner as of yet, but the company did say that it expects to decide if it will expand the test to more chains besides Aloft Hotels "as early as mid-year." Marriott expects to decide whether to adopt the technology for one or more of its chains as early as mid-year, potentially boosting sales for the device of choice. More important, it will increase the winning company’s exposure in the market for voice-activated devices, which are gaining more mainstream traction. “Those two players are in the game right now,” said Toni Stoeckl, who oversees the Aloft, Element, AC and Moxy chains as global brand leader for lifestyle brands at Marriott. There are almost 130 Aloft hotels in the U.S., and more than 100 additional ones planned. Carolina Milanesi, a market analyst with Creative Strategies, compared the introduction of voice assistants into hotel rooms to when the hospitality industry began putting iPhone docking stations into rooms so guests could easily charge their phone and listen to their own music. Still, personalization with the voice assistants remains a key question for the new tests. As of now it's unclear whether guests will be able to somehow access their own accounts to use Alexa and Siri, or be treated with a "standard set of skills relevant to a hotel stay," concerning news reports, weather forecasts, and other default commands that might be easier for guests unfamiliar with voice assistant technology. In regards to the overall voice assistant battle over hotel rooms, Alexa currently appears to be winning. Amazon's assistant and its connected speaker system Echo are now helping out guests in hotels like the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, with Alexa devices installed in 10 of 1,002 rooms and plans to add around 100 more as early as next month. On an even bigger scale, the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas plans to equip all 4,748 rooms with an Echo speaker by this summer. Although most users agree Siri is inferior to other assistants from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, Apple isn't out of the running yet in the battle to win hotel rooms, and Siri's advantageous support of multiple languages could give it a leg up over its competition with international travelers. According to Toni Stoeckl, Marriott's global brand leader, the company is searching for which voice assistant can become the "ideal solution" and ultimately turn into "a global platform" with Siri or Alexa installed at multiple of its locations around the world. Stoeckl said that the company should have an indicator of where it's headed by the end of 2017, so "the race is still on." Marriott’s Stoeckl said his company is “looking for the ideal solution to make this a global platform.” Aloft hotels act as a “tech incubator” for new concepts, and a successful test may determine whether digital assistants -- and which ones -- are installed at other Marriott chains, he said. Of course that means that neither assistant could win, but the company said it will continue to test both out in its Aloft Hotels, and even plans to add more "concierge-like" services in the future, which hint that more personalized experiences are likely to be introduced. These include the ability to connect with a guest's personal smartphone to fuel actions like setting an automatic [...]



New (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 Plus Shown Off in Unboxing Video

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:43:19 PDT

Early this morning, Apple unveiled new Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, which feature a vibrant red aluminum finish paired with a silver Apple logo and white front bezels.

While the new red iPhone models won't be available for purchase until Friday, March 24, tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on one of the new devices early, and has shown it off in the first (PRODUCT)RED iPhone unboxing video.

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The (PRODUCT)RED iPhone ships in a box decorated with red text and a red iPhone, and inside, there's a (PRODUCT)RED insert alongside the regular manuals. Aside from that, the packaging is the same as other iPhone models with a charging cable and Lightning EarPods.

Brownlee's first reaction to the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone was "Wow, this thing is really red and really good looking." He goes on to say that it's as "ridiculously good as you think," and calls it the most photogenic iPhone he's seen in a long time.

According to Brownlee, in person, the device has an almost satin finish that is super saturated, and because it's not as dark as the Matte and Jet Black iPhones, it isn't as prone to showing fingerprints. Brownlee is not a fan of the white front of the device (he calls it "goofy") and says he'd prefer it with a black front.

Apple release the Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to celebrate more than 10 years of partnership with the (RED) charity. All (PRODUCT)RED purchases let customers contribute to the Global Fund to join the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Over the course of its 10 year partnership with (RED), Apple has been responsible for donating more than $130 million and is the largest corporate donor to the Global Fund.

The new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone models are available in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities, priced at $749/$849 for the iPhone 7 and $869/$969 for the iPhone 7 Plus. As mentioned above, the new devices will go on sale on Friday in more than 40 countries around the world.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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Recap: Everything Apple Announced Today in Under 3 Minutes

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:51:35 PDT

Apple didn't hold an official event to make major announcements this week, but there was a mini press release extravaganza that saw the company introduce new hardware products, a new app, and improvements to existing devices. A new 9.7-inch iPad debuted with an impressively low $329 price point, and there's now a red aluminum iPhone 7. New Apple Watch bands are out, there are iPhone cases in new colors, Apple is about to release an app for making videos, and the iPhone SE and the iPad mini 4 got new minimum storage tiers and pricing drops. We've recapped everything Apple announced today in the video below, and we've rounded up all of our new product coverage. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o6gT_rnydl8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> - Apple Debuts New 9.7-Inch iPad With A9 Chip to Replace iPad Air 2, Starting at $329 - iPad Mini 4 With 128GB of Storage Now Starts at $399 as 32GB Model Discontinued - Apple Unveils Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus - Apple Announces Video Creation iOS App 'Clips' - Apple Doubles iPhone SE Storage to 32GB and 128GB - Apple Watch Gets New Striped Woven Nylon, Classic Buckle, and Standalone Nike Sport Bands - Apple Launches New Silicone and Leather iPhone 7 Case Colors - Apple Discontinues iPad Mini 2 - Swift Playgrounds Now Available in Five Additional Languages While we saw new devices today, there's still quite a bit on the horizon. The much-rumored ~10-inch iPad with a revamped design has yet to make an appearance, and we're still awaiting a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, too, along with Kaby Lake Macs and the highly anticipated iPhone 8. With no event coming up in the near future, we may be waiting until June's Worldwide Developers Conference or the fall to see many of these new releases but make sure to keep an eye on MacRumors for the latest rumors on Apple's launch plans.Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple Unveils Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 05:39:05 PDT

Apple today announced it is launching a special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on Friday, March 24. PRODUCT(RED) models will be available in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for the same $749/$849 and $869/$969 prices as the equivalent iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models in standard colors. The anodized aluminum's vibrant red finish is complemented by a white Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple says the model is in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which it says gives customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund and "bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation."“Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products, from the original iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition all the way to today's lineup of Beats products and accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers' hands."The special edition iPhone joins the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available to purchase year-round, including the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone will be available to order on Apple's website, at Apple Stores, and at select authorized resellers and carriers. Apple says the new model will begin shipping to customers by the end of March in the United States and more than 40 countries and regions around the world. The other countries will include Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, and the UK. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Turkey and other countries will follow in April.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple Debuts New 9.7-Inch iPad With A9 Chip to Replace iPad Air 2, Starting at $329

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 05:35:44 PDT

Apple today announced it is launching a new 9.7-inch iPad equipped with an A9 chip and a brighter Retina display to replace the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. The tablet, which Apple is simply calling "iPad," is Apple's new entry-level model at the 9.7-inch size, starting at $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB. The new 9.7-inch iPad is similar in many ways to the iPad Air 2, which had an A8X chip and started at $399, but slightly thicker and heavier with a faster A9 chip and a brighter Retina display. Another difference is that the new 9.7-inch iPad does not have a fully laminated display or anti-reflective coating per its tech specs. Beyond the A9 chip, those specs include a 9.7-inch screen with 2,048‑by‑1,536 resolution and 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.2.“iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”Given its price point, the tablet lacks most iPad Pro features, including a True Tone display with a wide P3 color gamut, Smart Connector, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, 4K HD video recording, LTE Advanced, Live Photos, True Tone flash, and four-speaker audio. The new 9.7-inch iPad is available to order beginning Friday, March 24 from Apple.com, and starts delivering to customers and arriving next week in Apple Stores, through select carriers, and at Apple Authorized Resellers in the United States and more than 20 countries and regions. Namely, the March 24 launch will also include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Turkey, and other countries will follow in April. Brazil and Taiwan, among others, will follow in May. This low-cost 9.7-inch iPad was accurately rumored by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in August 2016.Related Roundup: iPad Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums [...]



iPad Mini 4 With 128GB of Storage Now Starts at $399 as 32GB Model Discontinued

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 05:34:34 PDT

Apple today announced that the iPad mini 4 now offers more capacity for the same price. The 128GB model with Wi-Fi now starts at $399, which was previously the price for the 32GB model with Wi-Fi, which has been discontinued. A cellular model with 128GB of storage is also available for $529.

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Apple has also introduced a new low-cost 9.7-inch iPad and discontinued the iPad mini 2 as part of its tablet lineup refresh. Japanese website Mac Otakara had claimed that Apple would release a 7.9-inch iPad Pro, but other analysts had disagreed, and it turns out the rumor was indeed incorrect, at least for now.

The newly priced iPad mini 4 is available now on Apple.com in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray with next-day shipping.

Related Roundup: iPad mini 4 (2015)
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Caution)

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Apple's Online Store Down for Scheduled 'Maintenance' Break, Possibly Ahead of Product Updates

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:33:07 PDT

Apple's online store has been taken offline for a scheduled "maintenance" break between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. The extended downtime is fueling hopes that fresh hardware will be available when the store is brought back online, as has been the case many times in the past. Apple traditionally invites the media to Special Events to unveil new products, but it does not have one planned for today. Accordingly, any additions or changes to Apple's online store today are likely to be minor, and a press release would be an appropriate medium for sharing the announcements. Lending credence to this theory is that 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time happens to be exactly when Apple typically distributes press releases. Rumors suggest Apple is planning updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, a 128GB iPhone SE, a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and new Apple Watch bands, all of which could be minor enough to simply be added to Apple's online store and announced with press releases. Less likely to be announced today is a rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro sporting slimmer bezels that allow for an edge-to-edge display, which seems too significant to be unveiled without an Apple event. If so, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro could be introduced at an upcoming Spring event, WWDC 2017, or possibly even later. One rumor said Apple would host an event in March, but that appears increasingly unlikely at this point. Apple has yet to invite the media to said event, and there are only ten days remaining in the month. A subsequent report said Apple will host an event in April, coinciding with the opening of its new Apple Park campus. Apple's online store has gone down roughly six hours before many of its recent Special Events, while today's maintenance break is scheduled to last five and a half hours. Apple said its online store will be "updated" during this time, suggesting that at least something new might be coming today. So-called "maintenance" really could just be maintenance, but the classic "We've got something special in store for you" placeholder notice on the site suggests something more. We'll know for sure in just a matter of hours, so keep checking back.Tag: Apple retail Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple's iPhone 8 Said to Feature 'Water Drop Design' in Homage to Original iPhone

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:42:20 PDT

Apple's upcoming 2017 iPhone will feature a design that's similar to the original iPhone, according to industry analysts who spoke to Korean site ETNews [Google Translate]. The site says the iPhone will use a "water drop design" that's an homage to the original iPhone, with a rear curve that is both gentler and rounder than existing metal case edges. Apple is said to be using a three-dimensional glass material on the back of the iPhone 8 to make it more closely resemble the deeper curves on the case of the original iPhone. It would, of course, be much larger than the first iPhone, with rumors suggesting a 5.8-inch display, and it would undoubtedly be much thinner. The "3D glass case" is said to "make curves" around the top, bottom, left, and right edges of the iPhone, moving away from the less curved, flat back design that was introduced with the iPhone 4 and has been used in every iPhone up to the iPhone 7. Apple used a curved aluminum and plastic design for the original iPhone and plastic alone for the iPhone 3G. Shape wise, the iPhone 8 is said to resemble the first iPhone, but it will use all glass, similar in design to the plastic used in the second iPhone. While an original iPhone-style curved back is rumored to be included, ETNews agrees with existing display information and suggests the OLED screen of the iPhone 8 will be "relatively flat." It will not feature a dramatically curved edge like the Samsung Galaxy line. There have been several mixed rumors about the curve of the iPhone 8's display due to difficulty interpreting details about what constitutes a curve, but information seems to be aggregating around a 2.5D design that features a similar curve to the existing iPhone 7. We expect the display, which is said to be edge-to-edge with no side bezels, to curve just slightly downward at the edges much like the cover glass of the iPhone 7. Little has been said about the rear design of the 2017 iPhone, so there is no information to back up the claims shared by ETNews as of yet. Rumors do, however, suggest that it will indeed use an all-glass body, with Apple planning to move away from aluminum. There has also been speculation that the 2017 iPhone will be celebrated and introduced as a 10th anniversary device, and in that light, an homage to the original iPhone makes some sense, but these design rumors should be viewed with some skepticism until confirmed by additional sources.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: etnews.com Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple Seeds Eighth Beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.4 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:03:24 PDT

Apple today seeded the eighth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to developers and public beta testers, four days after seeding the seventh macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta and two months after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

The eighth macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta is available for download through the Apple Developer Center or the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who have previously installed a beta.

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macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's Night Shift mode to the Mac for the first time. First introduced on iOS devices with iOS 9.3, Night Shift is designed to gradually shift the display of a device from blue to yellow, cutting down on exposure to blue light. Blue light is said to disrupt the circadian rhythm and is believed to interrupt sleeping patterns.

Night Shift can be activated through the Displays section of System Preferences, where a setting to have it come on at sunset and turn off at sunrise is available. Night Shift can also be toggled on manually through the Notification Center or via Siri.

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The 10.12.4 update focuses mainly on Night Shift, but also includes dictation support for Shanghainese, cricket scores for Siri, improved PDFKit APIs, and iCloud Analytics options.

Few outward-facing changes have been discovered in macOS Sierra 10.12.4 outside of the first beta, as Apple has been working on bug fixes and improvements ahead of a public release. With the eighth beta out and the short interval since the last seed, we are getting closer to the end of the beta testing period and are likely to see a public release soon.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra

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Apple Online Store Going Down for 'Maintenance' Tomorrow Morning Ahead of Rumored Product Updates

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:42:22 PDT

Apple has updated its System Status page to indicate that its online store will be "updated and unavailable" due to "maintenance" tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, between 3:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The timing of the downtime is notable given that Apple is rumored to launch new products as early as this week. Moreover, Apple commonly issues press releases at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, which is exactly when the so-called "maintenance" update is scheduled to be completed. Last week, a well-known research firm that requested confidentiality told us that, based on their own sources, it expects Apple to announce new products later this month, most likely during this week. The research firm did not say which products it expects Apple to announce, but rumors have widely suggested new iPad Pro models could be unveiled as early as this month, including updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models and an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, although the latter is less likely without an Apple event. At this point, it remains unclear if the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is even ready, so its introduction could be delayed until a future Spring event or WWDC 2017. However, a press release would be appropriate for the more iterative updates expected for the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models, along with any other smaller announcements. Given that it is already March 20, and that Apple usually invites the media to its launch events at least 10 days beforehand, an update to its online store accompanied by a press release is likely at this point if new products are imminent. Japanese blog Mac Otakara said Apple will host a March event to debut its new iPad Pro lineup, an iPhone SE with 128GB storage, new Apple Watch bands, and a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but an event this month is looking increasingly unlikely with only 11 days remaining in March. Apple recently redesigned its System Status page to provide more granular details about the statuses of its services, so there is no precedence for the page foreshadowing new product announcements this way. Accordingly, it is certainly possible that the downtime will indeed be related to maintenance and nothing else. (Thanks, Nathan!)Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tags: system status, Apple retail Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple's AR Team Includes Talent From Lucasfilm and Weta Digital, Smart Glasses Still 'A Ways Off'

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:06:28 PDT

It's been known that Apple has people working on augmented reality initiatives for future devices, which range from the technology's inclusion in a future version of the iPhone to separate "mixed reality" glasses. Today, a Bloomberg report has gathered all of the speculation surrounding Apple and AR together, while also providing some insight into a few lesser-known areas of Apple's AR project. Apple's augmented reality team is said to combine "the strengths of its hardware and software veterans," along with new additions within the company, according to people familiar with Apple's plans. The team is run by Mike Rockwell, who came from Dolby, and also consists of Yury Petrov (formerly of Oculus), Avi Barzeev (formerly of HoloLens), Cody White (formerly of Amazon's VR project "Lumberyard"), Tomlinson Holman (formerly of Lucasfilm), and more. A concept image of what AR on future iPhones could look like. The total scope of Apple's AR team is rounded out by many camera and optical lens engineers, as well as "people with experience in sourcing the raw materials for the glasses." Apple has even included talent from 3D animation company Weta Digital, which worked on films like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings. This team of individuals, along with AR advocate Tim Cook, see the new technology as a way for Apple "to dominate the next generation of gadgetry and keep people wedded to its ecosystem." Apple has built a team combining the strengths of its hardware and software veterans with the expertise of talented outsiders, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal strategy. Run by a former Dolby Laboratories executive, the group includes engineers who worked on the Oculus and HoloLens virtual reality headsets sold by Facebook and Microsoft as well as digital-effects wizards from Hollywood. Apple has also acquired several small firms with knowledge of AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software. The separate glasses are said to still be "a ways off," but AR integrated iPhone devices could show up much sooner, said the inside sources. Bloomberg compared the AR glasses to the Apple Watch, mentioning that the technology would come with its own OS and likely be tethered to an iPhone to send images and content to the user while consuming a lot of power, forcing Apple to find a battery life solution that would fit in the wearable's small frame. In addition to battery problems, Apple will have to find a way to convince users to wear the glasses in the first place. Explanations regarding the usefulness of AR on an iPhone remain scarce, but some feature details were also provided by Bloomberg today. The camera-specific abilities include ways for users to change the depth of an entire photo, or the depth of a specific object in the photo. In the past, Apple has cited interest in such technology, filing a patent for a digital camera with a refocusable imaging mode adapter that could be included in an iPhone. Former CEO Steve Jobs even met with a company, Lytro, who created the first light field camera. Hundreds of engineers are now devoted to the cause, including some on the iPhone camera team who are working on AR-related features for the iPhone, according to one of the people. One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person's head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works. Apple i[...]



Galaxy S8 Retail Price to Significantly Undercut Premium 'iPhone 8'

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 03:54:12 PDT

Fresh leaks of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 have revealed that the de facto "iPhone 8" rival will come in three colors and cost upwards of 799 euros ($859) when it goes on sale next month in Europe.

Serial mobile leaker Evan Blass revealed the news in a Sunday tweet, which included an official press image of Samsung's new flagship phone in colors described as Black Sky, Orchid Grey, and Arctic Silver.

Labels and other streaming services have expressed displeasure with Apple's push for exclusive content, and one music group, UMG, has even banned its artists from agreeing to Apple Music exclusives. Apple Music rival Spotify has also allegedly punished artists who make deals with Apple, refusing to include them on featured playlists.

Chance the Rapper says he shared the info because he wants to "remain transparent." He went on to say artists can gain a lot from streaming wars by remaining in control of their own product (Chance the Rapper is not signed to a label). "If you come across opportunities to work with good people, pick up cash and keep your integrity, I say Do It," he wrote on Twitter in reference to Apple Music.


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