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Last Build Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:22:47 PST

 



Apple Confirms Fix is Coming Next Week for Malicious Link That Freezes Messages App

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:51:46 PST

A software update coming next week will fix an issue that allows a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on the iPhone and iPad, Apple confirmed to MacRumors this morning.

Apple is likely talking about iOS 11.2.5, which is nearing the end of the beta testing period. iOS 11.2.5 beta 6, as we discovered yesterday, does indeed address the issue and prevents the malicious link from working.

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We expect to see a final release of iOS 11.2.5 available next week alongside macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, watchOS 4.2.2, and tvOS 11.2.5.

The malicious link first surfaced on Tuesday after it was shared on Twitter. When texted to an iOS device, it is able to cause the Messages app on the iPhone or iPad to freeze up and become unusable. Macs are also affected, and we expect to see a Mac fix in macOS 10.13.3.

A user who receives the link will see their Messages app freeze entirely, and the fix appears to require users to quit out of the Messages app and then delete the entire conversation with the person who sent the link to restore the app to working condition.

The link initially went to a webpage on GitHub, but GitHub took it down on Wednesday, limiting its spread. Most users are not likely to be impacted at this point because the original link has been disabled, but if you do get a text with a bad link before iOS 11.2.5 is released, deleting the Messages conversation is a reliable fix.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Apple to Begin Paying $16 Billion to Ireland Around March Amid Legal Battle With European Commission

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 06:12:57 PST

Ireland will begin collecting €13 billion from Apple around March, with payments expected to continue through September, according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ via Cult of Mac. Derek Moran, the Secretary General of Ireland's Department of Finance:"However, identification of the escrow agent/custodian by the end of March 2018 will then allow for a payment into the escrow fund account, with payments continuing through the course of April, May and June and up to the end of September 2018".The money will be held in an escrow account while both Apple and Ireland continue to battle the European Commission, which in August 2016 ruled the iPhone maker received illegal state aid from the country, and ordered the Irish government to collect up to 13 billion euros—nearly $16 billion currently—in back taxes. Ireland is required to collect the money until the legal process is completed, according to the report. Apple has previously said the money will be reported as restricted cash on its balance sheet once it begins making payments. The premise is that the Irish government gave Apple unfair advantage between 1991 and 2007 by allowing the company to move income from the European market through two "non-resident" head office subsidiaries based in Ireland, but Apple says the European Commission made "fundamental errors" in its findings. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the decision "total political crap" and said Apple pays all of the taxes it owes based on the laws of each country in which it operates. Likewise, the Irish government said it did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple and added that it "does not do deals with taxpayers." Apple expects its appeal with the European Union's highest courts to take several years, but it is confident the European Commission's decision will be overturned, in which case the €13 billion would be returned to the company. Apple's plans to repatriate much of its foreign cash reserves under new U.S. tax laws, which lower the corporate tax rate to 15.5 percent, will have no affect on the outcome of this European tax case. 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.Tag: Apple-Ireland tax caseDiscuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple and Other Companies Fear 'Looming End' of H-1B Work Visa Spousal Protection Program

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:17:45 PST

Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other technology companies have sent a message to the Trump administration through various Washington, D.C. lobbying groups, urging President Trump to keep protecting spouses of immigrants who work in the U.S. with H-1B visas. The companies reportedly fear a "looming end" to the program that protects these spouses and allows them to work in the U.S., as it could cause "immense trouble" for many of their workers and potentially lead to large swaths of H-1B employees having to "reconsider working for U.S. companies at all" (via Recode). The spousal work permit program began in 2015 under the Obama administration, allowing spouses of high-skilled immigrants to be granted work authorizations while in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status. The Trump administration has worked throughout 2017 to fundamentally reevaluate the program, and in November the Department of Homeland Security noted imminent plans to "propose to rescind" the final rule and remove H-4 dependent spouses "from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorization." Apple CEO Tim Cook attending an executive tech summit at Trump Tower in 2016 Now, a coalition of tech companies have responded with a statement, noting that spouses are "eager to work" to support their families. Their statement also describes fear of an "increased risk" of losing long-term employees. “We represent employers who are committed to growing the U.S. economy and creating jobs for American workers. However, we cannot achieve these goals unless companies can recruit and retain the most qualified employees,” wrote a slew of companies, all speaking through their Washington, D.C.-based lobbying groups, including the Information Technology Industry Council. In the Thursday letter, ITI, the U.S. Chamber and other organizations stressed that spouses are “eager to work in order to support their families, contribute to their communities by paying taxes, and utilize their skills to help the U.S. economy grow.” “Employers would also face an increased risk that their valued, long-term employees will choose to leave their companies for other employment opportunities in countries that allow these workers and their families to raise their standard of living,” the business groups continued. Tech companies like Apple would be the hardest hit by such sweeping changes to work visa policies since it employs many workers with H-1B visas, whose spouses potentially also benefit from the program. Nearly one year ago, Apple was also affected by the drafting of an executive order by President Trump, which stated that the country's policy on immigration should not give priority to foreign workers and should instead prioritize and protect American workers. Following the draft proposal, the Trump administration followed through and rolled out a collection of policy shifts that planned out a roadmap to better serve American workers' current and future jobs. Apple and other tech companies were affected out of the gate as the first change came from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which "made it harder" for such companies to bring foreign workers to the country using the H-1B work visa. 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.Tag: Donald TrumpDiscuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Power Management Feature in Older iPhones Will Be Able to Be Turned Off in Future Update

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:45:14 PST

While visiting the Apple data center located in Reno, Nevada this afternoon, Apple CEO Tim Cook did a quick interview with Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News, where he discussed Apple's economic announcements and touched on the ongoing controversy over power management features in older iPhones. According to Cook, when the power management features were first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, Apple did explain what was going on, but following the controversy, he believes Apple should have been clearer. The company did indeed mention that the shutdown issue was caused by uneven power delivery and explained that its power management system had been tweaked, but there was no clear notice that it could cause devices to operate more slowly at times. Cook says Apple "deeply apologizes" to customers who thought the company had other motivations.About a year ago, we released some code that essentially what it does... is all batteries age over time and they become unhealthy at a point in time and an unhealthy battery has a probability that it will create an unexpected restart. And so you can imagine if you're making an emergency call or you're making an important call that's important to you or a message that you're waiting for, or you want to capture that moment that's fleeting with your camera... we always focus on the user experience. So at the heart of any decision that we make is the user. We felt it would be better to take something off of the performance to prevent that from happening. When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention and maybe we should have been clearer as well. And so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation. Our motivation is always the user. The user is at the center of everything that we do.Apple previously apologized for the misunderstanding over the iOS 10.2.1 update and has since implemented a battery replacement program that allows all customers with an iPhone 6, 6s, 7, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and SE to replace their batteries for a reduced $29 fee through the end of 2018. Apple is introducing better battery monitoring features in a future iOS update, and Cook says Apple will also allow customers to turn off the power management feature, which is new information that the company has not previously shared. We're also going to... first in a developer release that happens next month, we're going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery. So it's very, very transparent. This hasn't been done before, but we've thought through this whole thing and learned everything we can learn from it. So we want to do that, and in the situation... and we will tell someone we're reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart. And if you don't want it, you can turn it off. Now we don't recommend it, because we think people's iPhones are really important to them, and you never can tell when something is so urgent. Our actions were all in service of the user. I can't stress that enough. Much of the rest of Cook's interview focused on the announcements that Apple made today. The company plans to repatriate a large portion of its $250 billion in overseas cash thanks to a change in U.S. tax policy, which will result in Apple paying $38 billion in taxes. With the tax bill, investments, the creation of a new campus, and more, Apple believes it will directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, along with 20,000 new jobs. src='https://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=52418916' width='560' height='315' scrolling='no' style='border:none;'> When asked about whether Apple would have been able to make these announcements without the tax policy changes, Cook said there are "large parts" of the announcement that are "the result of the tax reform" and "large parts" that Apple "would have done in any situation." He went on to explain that the corpor[...]



Apple Celebrates Groundbreaking of New Reno Warehouse With Visit From Apple CEO Tim Cook

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:39:01 PST

Apple today started construction on a new warehouse in downtown Reno, Nevada, with the site visited this afternoon by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.

In a speech given at the groundbreaking of the warehouse, which is located near the company's Reno data center, Cook said the data center is a key component in the ecosystem that provides billions of iMessages, photos, and FaceTime calls to customers around the world each day.


Apple confirmed plans to open its first store in South Korea just over a year ago, and both construction and hiring have been underway since. The store was originally reported to open December 30, but the location evidently wasn't quite ready in time, and it'll now officially open in less than two weeks.

Apple's first two stores opened in May 2001 at shopping malls in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. By our count, Apple now has 272 retail stores in the United States, while this Garosugil location will be its 228th retail store elsewhere, pushing it to the 500 mark in less than 17 years.

Apple remains in the process of renovating dozens of those stores with a fresher aesthetic. Many of the locations have expanded by adding a floor or taking over adjacent storefronts, while some stores have relocated entirely.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:09:23 PST

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth beta and more than a month after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, the second major update to the macOS High Sierra operating system.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.

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It's not yet clear what improvements the macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update will bring, but it's likely to include bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2. It offers additional fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that were discovered and publicized in early January and fixed initially in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2.

The update also fixes a bug that allows the App Store menu in the System Preferences to be unlocked with any password.

The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update focused solely on security fixes and performance improvements, with no new features introduced, and a supplemental update introduced a fix for the Spectre vulnerability.

Update: A new public beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 is available for public beta testers.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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2019 iPhones Could Have Smaller Notch as Apple 'Looking Into' Combining Face ID and Front Camera

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 07:39:25 PST

A new report from South Korea's ETNews insinuates that iPhones may have a smaller notch in 2019 or beyond. The report, citing industry sources, claims Apple is "looking into" combining the front-facing camera and Face ID on next year's iPhones, a move that could certainly reduce the size of the TrueDepth sensor housing.According to industries, it is heard that Apple is planning to strengthen face sensing function starting from 2019 models. That is why it is planning to increase number of parts that will be used for iPhones and is looking into combination of a face recognition module with a camera module.The confusing bit is that the report mentions a singular face recognition module, whereas Face ID is powered by an infrared camera, dot projector, and flood illuminator. The report doesn't specify how Apple would manage to combine these components, so like many very-early-on rumors, this one isn't entirely clear yet. The notch is easily the most controversial attribute of the iPhone X's design. While many early adopters don't mind the small cutout at the top of the display, others have heavily criticized it, including The Outline's Joshua Topolsky.The "notch" on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd — it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screen space.Unfortunately for those critics, it doesn't look like the smaller notch will arrive in 2018, as new iPhones and iPads set to launch later this year are expected to have the same TrueDepth sensor housing as the iPhone X. Back in November, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Face ID will be featured on a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a new mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone. Apple will also release at least one iPad Pro model with Face ID this year, according to Bloomberg News. LG Innotek will reportedly supply all or the majority of 3D sensing modules for the next-generation iPhone and iPad models, based on an $821 million investment, which may have been funded at least partially by Apple.Related Roundup: iPhone XTags: etnews.com, Face ID, TrueDepthBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)Discuss this article in our forums [...]



Apple Sued Over Meltdown and Spectre in U.S. as iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Now Total 45

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:39:16 PST

Apple faces its first legal action over Meltdown and Spectre in the United States, even though the vulnerabilities were found to affect nearly all computers and other devices, according to court documents reviewed by MacRumors. Meltdown and Spectre are serious hardware-based vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive information. All modern Intel, ARM, and AMD processors are affected, with many patches and mitigations already released. Anthony Bartling and Jacqueline Olson filed a class action complaint against Apple last week in a U.S. district court in San Jose on behalf of anyone who purchased a device with an ARM-based processor designed by Apple, ranging from the A4 to A11 Bionic chips used in iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV models. The complaint alleges that Apple has known about the design defects giving rise to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities since at least June 2017, and could have disclosed details to the public more promptly. An excerpt from the complaint:ARM Holdings PLC, the company that licenses the ARM architecture to Apple, admits that it was notified of the Security Vulnerabilities in June 2017 by Google's Project Zero and that it immediately notified its architecture licensees (presumably, including Apple) who create their own processor designs of the Security Vulnerabilities.The complaint added that it is unlikely Apple would be able to fully and adequately release fixes for Meltdown and Spectre without the performance of its processors decreasing by between five and 30 percent. Apple addressed Meltdown in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 and iOS 11.2, while Spectre mitigations were introduced in a macOS 10.13.2 supplemental update and iOS 11.2.2, both of which were released early last week. Despite one dubious claim that Apple's patch for Spectre resulted in a significant performance decrease on one developer's iPhone 6, Apple said its testing indicated that its mitigations had no measurable impact on its Speedometer and ARES-6 tests and an impact of less than 2.5 percent on the JetStream benchmark. The complaint expects at least 100 customers to be part of the proposed class, with the combined sum of compensatory and punitive damages expected to exceed $5 million if the case proceeds to trial. A group of Israelis have filed a request with the Haifa District Court to file a class action lawsuit against Apple, Intel, and ARM over Meltdown and Spectre as well, according to local news publication Hamodia. iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Continue to Mount Apple continues to face an increasing number of lawsuits that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1. In the United States, the iPhone maker now faces at least 39 class action complaints as of January 15, according to court documents compiled by MacRumors. Additional lawsuits have been filed in France, Israel, Russia, Korea, and Vietnam, with another pending in Canada, bringing the total to 45. Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and as Apple has already promised, add more detailed info to iOS about a device's battery health. We've already answered many frequently asked questions about Apple's power management process, and covered the issue extensively, so read our past coverage for more information about the matter.Tag: lawsuitDiscuss this article in our forums [...]



Steve Jobs Introduced the MacBook Air Exactly 10 Years Ago Today

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:30:02 PST

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the late Steve Jobs unveiling the MacBook Air, the world's thinnest notebook at the time. After introducing the AirPort Time Capsule and sharing some iPhone and Apple TV news, Jobs walked over to his podium, grabbed a manilla envelope, and pulled out the sleek MacBook Air. The crowd at Macworld erupted with applause as Jobs held the ultra-light notebook in the palm of his hand. The thinness came at a cost. The base model ran $1,799 for a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive. A maxed out version was also available for $3,098, around $300 more than the base Mac Pro at the time, with a faster 1.8GHz processor and a 64GB solid-state drive. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CgAKBf4bbU?start=2938" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> MacBook Air was all about firsts. The notebook was Apple's first without a CD/DVD drive, first to ditch a range of ports and connectivity options, first with a multi-touch trackpad, first to have the option for SSD storage, first to weigh just three pounds or less, and first with a mercury-free display. A single design decision also epitomized the past decade of Apple: a flip-down door on the right side of the machine provided access to only a single USB port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port. We've seen Apple go down this path many times since: it introduced the MacBook with just a single USB-C port, reduced the MacBook Pro's connectivity to Thunderbolt 3 ports, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Each change generated controversy, but ultimately set the course for its future. Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has shared a great piece titled The MacBook Air: A Decade's Worth of Legacy over at MacStories that dives into the notebook's history. He also put together the video below. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vyr-tngrmNI" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> A decade later, the MacBook Air remains a product in Apple's lineup, but likely only because it is a lower-cost option. Beyond a minor speed bump last June, the notebook hasn't been updated since March 2015, and it very well may be discontinued once Apple feels able to sell its 12-inch MacBook for around $999.Related Roundup: MacBook AirTag: Steve JobsBuyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)Discuss this article in our forums [...]