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iPhone Users in Iran Now Unable to Access the App Store

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 20:23
It appears the App Store is no longer accessible to iPhone and iPad users in Iran, with Apple apparently implementing a countrywide IP ban.

According to Bleeping Computer, Iranians have been unable to access the App Store since approximately noon GMT, and when attempting to use the App Store, they're receiving a message that the store is unavailable in the country.

All Iranian IPs appear to be unable to use the App Store at the current time. Iranian security researcher Meysam Firouzi told Bleeping Computer that he was able to connect to the App Store when using a VPN, even though he has an account with Iranian details.

Because of U.S. sanctions, Apple does not sell its products in Iran nor is there an Iranian App Store, but there are millions of iPhones in the country that have been smuggled from places like Dubai and Hong Kong. iPhone users in Iran have previously been able to access the App Store by setting their devices to other regions.

Back in August, Apple began removing apps from its App Stores created by Iranian developers for Iranian citizens, such as Snapp, a popular app for an Uber-like ride hailing service popular in Iran. Apple has now gone one step further and appears to be preventing all users with an Iranian IP from accessing the App Store entirely.

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: App Store
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Video Depicts Likely Fake iPhone X-Style 'iPhone SE 2'

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 19:10
A video featuring a device that appears to be a cross between an iPhone SE and an iPhone X surfaced on Weibo this morning and was shared by Japanese site Macotakara.

The smartphone in the video, which has a notch at the front, an edge-to-edge display, and a vertical rear camera in a body that's similar to the current iPhone SE, is very likely an Android clone device. Fake devices like these can often be found in China, where the video originated.

There have been rumors suggesting Apple is working on a second-generation iPhone SE, but none of those rumors have indicated the device will take on iPhone X design elements. There is no indication that the device in the video is a valid Apple product at all, and in fact, it conflicts with rumors we've heard about a potential future iPhone SE 2.

For example, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often shares reliable information on Apple's upcoming products, has said that if a new iPhone SE 2 is indeed in the works, it's not likely to offer design updates or outward-facing changes due to Apple's work on the three iPhones expected in September of 2018. Kuo is, in fact, skeptical that a new iPhone SE 2 is in development right now.

Rumors about the iPhone SE have been somewhat conflicting in general. Supply chain rumors in November indicated an iPhone SE 2 would be released in the first half of 2018, but recent information suggests Apple has no plans to introduce a new iPhone until later in 2018.

Sketchy rumors from a Chinese site also recently said Apple would introduce a new iPhone SE that looks similar to the current iPhone SE at WWDC, but the site has no reliable track record.

All in all, Apple may have a new iPhone SE 2 in the works, but it's unlikely that the device is going to adopt iPhone X elements as the iPhone SE is a low-cost device while the iPhone X is Apple's top-of-the-line flagship smartphone.

Later in 2018, Apple is expected to introduce a second-generation iPhone X with a 5.8-inch OLED display, an "iPhone X Plus" with a 6.5-inch display, and a lower-cost iPhone with a 6.1-inch LCD display. All three of these are expected to adopt edge-to-edge displays with minimal bezels and the TrueDepth Camera system for Face ID.

It could perhaps be argued that the device in the video is the 6.1-inch iPhone, but we've heard no rumors suggesting that particular device will have an iPhone SE-style body thus far.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE, 2018 iPhonesTags:, WeiboBuyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
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Deals: 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle, New Anker Chargers, and Latest 4K iTunes Movies on Sale

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:42
StackSocial this week launched the 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle, made up of ten apps that can help you be more productive, keep your online identity secure and private, clean up your Mac, and more. The bundle has an estimated value of $524.90 when adding up the cost of all ten apps included, but StackSocial knocked the price down to $19.99 for a limited time.

Additionally, those interested can enter the promo code SAVEMAC during checkout to get the 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle for an even cheaper price of $14.99. Note that you'll need a StackSocial account to checkout on the company's store. Once you have an account created, add the bundle to your cart, tap checkout, then enter SAVEMAC in the promo code box under "Order Summary" on the right side of the screen to take a further $5.00 off your order.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The bundle offer should last for the next few weeks, so if you're interested head over to StackSocial for more information and to place your order. Below we've listed each app included in the bundle, license and access information where applicable, and a brief description.
  • BusyCal 3 / single-user license / lifetime access - A customizable calendar app that integrates with iCloud, Google, Exchange, and more, offering features like To Do lists, smart filters, iPhone syncing, and live weather forecasts.

  • Cargo VPN / two year access - Provides you with the ability to encrypt an internet connection and keep your personal data private.

  • HoudahSpot 4 - Find files by "hundreds of criteria" like name, file extension, pixel count, and more.

  • uBar 4 / single-user license / lifetime access - Dock replacement with tab grouping options, window previews, in-dock reminders, and more.

  • Cisdem DuplicateFinder 4 / lifetime access to all updates - Find and delete duplicate files in one go so that your Mac runs more efficiently.

  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum - Build your own theme park and gain access to expansion packs "Soaked!" and "Wild!" with the Platinum version.

  • Systweak Anti-Malware Pro / 2 year subscription - Detects and quarantines unwanted or malicious programs automatically.

  • Concealer / lifetime access - Hide and encrypt files, passwords, credit card details, and more.

  • Movavi Photo Editor - Edit photos, add filters, correct photo orientation, change backgrounds, insert watermarks, scale down photos, and more.

  • Flip PDF for Mac / lifetime license - Convert PDF files into mobile-friendly flipbooks, aimed at designers, publishers, and advertisers who want to create e-books, brochures, catalogs, and more.
In other deals, Anker today launched its new 7.5-watt 'PowerWave' Wireless Chargers, along with a set of promo codes that offer savings on the new chargers. For a limited time on Amazon, you can get 15 percent off one charger (with promo code POWER752) or 20 percent off two or more (with promo code POWER753).

The new devices include the PowerWave 7.5W Stand and PowerWave 7.5W Pad, each coming with built-in fans to help keep things cool and the ability to charge iPhones up to an hour faster than other accessories on the market, according to Anker. For a more detailed look at the new Qi-compatible chargers, be sure to read our full review.

Recently, DirecTV Now launched its latest offer for new subscribers, allowing them the chance to get $25 off each month for the first three months of any channel package. For example, you could get the low-tier "Live a Little" package for just $10/month for your first three months, down from $35/month. New subscribers interested can enter the promo code YESNOW3 in the checkout process, but this code is incompatible with DirecTV Now's ongoing Apple TV 4K offer.

In regards to that offer, it's worth noting that we're now entering what is expected to be the last few weeks of DirecTV Now's free Apple TV 4K deal. If you've been on the fence about it, definitely check out our full post on the deal and head over to DirecTV Now to place your order. For those who haven't been following, the offer lets new users prepay for three months of DirecTV Now at $105, and then receive a 32GB Apple TV 4K for free.

Lastly today, we've rounded up a few of the latest sales hitting 4K HDR films on the iTunes Movies store and some notable discounts on iOS gaming apps.

4K HDR movies on sale

iOS games on sale
Visit our full Deals Roundup for more of the latest sales, this week including 10 percent off all certified pre-owned MacBooks on Gazelle.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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Android Wear Becomes 'Wear OS by Google' as 1 in 3 Android Wear Watches are Used by iPhone Owners

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:31
Google today announced that it's dropping the "Android" moniker from the name of its software designed for smart watches because it's not just Android users who are using the devices.

Going forward, Android Wear, which is built into a wide range of smart watches from companies like LG, Misfit, Asus, Huawei, Fossil, and more, will be known as "Wear OS by Google."

Google says that it's making this change because in 2017, one out of every three new Android Wear watch owners used an iPhone.

Android Wear was also designed with the belief that wearable technology "should be for everyone" regardless of what style you wear on your wrist or what phone you use, so Google chose the new name to reflect this philosophy.So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we're announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all--the people who wear our watches. We're now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone.All existing devices using the software formerly known as Android Wear will begin displaying the new Wear OS by Google name "over the next few weeks."

Tags: Android, Android Wear
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Intel's 8th-Gen Xeon and Core Processors Feature Redesigned Hardware to Address Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:17
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced that its next-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors will feature redesigned components to protect against the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that affect all modern processors.

Spectre variant 1 of the vulnerabilities will continue to be addressed in software, while Intel is implementing hardware-based design changes to offer future protection against Spectre variant 2 and Meltdown variant 3.

We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3. Think of this partitioning as additional "protective walls" between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.Intel's new Xeon Scalable processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors are expected to start shipping out to manufacturers in the second half of 2018.

Ahead of the hardware changes, Intel says that software-based microcode updates have now been issued for 100 percent of Intel products launched in the past five years, and all customers should make sure to continue to keep their systems up-to-date with software updates.

Krzanich also reaffirmed Intel's commitment to customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security reassurance.

Apple began addressing the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities back in early January with the release of iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2, which introduced mitigations for Meltdown. Subsequent iOS 11.2.2 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental updates introduced mitigations for Spectre, as did patches for both macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan in older machines.

Apple's software mitigations for the vulnerabilities have not resulted in any significant measurable decline in performance.

Tags: Intel, Meltdown-Spectre
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SwiftKey Updates iOS App With New 'Toolbar' for Quicker Access to GIFs and More

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:56
iOS and Android keyboard app SwiftKey today announced its "biggest update" since the company was acquired by Microsoft in April of 2016. SwiftKey 7.0 includes a "Toolbar" designed to give users fast access to features that are both old and new.

Found under a new "+" sign to the left of the prediction bar, Toolbar will give iOS users the ability to quickly add emoji, GIFs, and items copied from the Clipboard into their messages, as well as customize the keyboard's theme.

For Android users, Toolbar will house a few additional features like stickers, collections, calendar, and quick settings. SwiftKey 7.0 also adds in eight new 'Lish' hybrid languages, in this case letting people shift between English and Indic languages. SwiftKey said that down the line it will launch location sharing for U.S. and India-based users, as well as Calendar sharing, so that you can insert addresses and appointments into messages.

Third-party keyboards grew in popularity following the launch of iOS 8 in 2014, which introduced the ability for iPhones and iPads to support such keyboards on a systemwide basis. Companies like Fleksy have faced some trouble in the ensuing years, and others -- like Swype -- have shut down completely. Along with SwiftKey, Google's Gboard is one of the other major third-party keyboards for iPhone.

SwiftKey is available to download for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link], and users should begin seeing the version 7.0 update rolling out today.

Tags: SwiftKey Keyboard, SwiftKey
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Apple Denies Abusing French Developers, Says They've Earned 1 Billion Euros From App Store

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:34
Apple has issued a statement defending against allegations made by France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who earlier this week accused the iPhone maker of treating French startups and developers unfairly.

In the statement, loosely translated from French to English, Apple said it has "strong relationships" with French developers, and added that they have collectively earned one billion euros in revenue from the App Store.

Le Figaro via MacGeneration:We are proud to have strong relationships with tens of thousands of developers across France, who have earned 1 billion euros on the App Store. Many of these talented developers founded their companies with one or two people and then saw their teams grow to offer their applications to users in 155 countries. This was only possible thanks to Apple's investment in iOS, development tools, and the App Store. Apple has always defended the confidentiality and security of users and does not have access to user transactions with third-party applications. We are fully prepared to share our history in the French courts and to clarify this misunderstanding. In the meantime, we will continue to help French developers realize their dreams and support French students in their learning of the code through our coding program.Le Maire said France will be taking Apple and Google to court in Paris for "abusive trade practices." In a radio interview, he mentioned that Apple and Google "take all their data" and "can unilaterally rewrite their contracts.""I learned that when developers develop their applications, and sell to Google and Apple, their prices are imposed, Google and Apple take all their data, Google and Apple can unilaterally rewrite their contracts," Le Maire said in an interview with RTL radio. "All that is unacceptable and it’s not the economy that we want. They can’t treat our startups and developers the way they do."

"I will therefore be taking Google and Apple to the Paris commercial court for abusive trade practices," Le Maire said.It's not very clear what Le Maire is referring to exactly. It's possible the bit about prices being "imposed" refers to the 30 percent cut that Apple and Google collect from sales of apps and in-app purchases, but his comments were vague.

Tags: App Store, France
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Review: Anker Debuts New 7.5-Watt 'PowerWave' Wireless Chargers Optimized for iPhones, On Sale Up to 20% Off

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:56
With the launch of the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus last September, Apple finally embraced wireless smartphone charging, and as of the release of iOS 11.2 in December, the devices became able to support faster 7.5-watt charging.

Belkin and Mophie were Apple's launch partners for wireless charging, with their optimized charging bases launching alongside the new phones and supporting the 7.5-watt power targeted by Apple. While Belkin and Mophie's chargers had Apple's early seal of approval, plenty of other manufacturers already had wireless chargers rated at 5 watts and higher on the market. Pretty much all of them work just fine with iPhones, and in fact in our testing we found not much difference in iPhone charging speed between 5-watt and 7.5-watt chargers.

Now that Apple's 7.5-watt charging spec has been available for a while, we're starting to see more accessory manufacturers launching new chargers optimized to work with the new iPhones. One of the first major brands out of the gate in this wave is Anker, which has long been very popular with consumers for offering solid charging accessories at good prices with excellent customer service.

I profiled some of Anker's previous wireless chargers back in December as part of my early wireless charger roundup, and several of those models have been strong sellers. With Apple's specs for 7.5-watt charging now available, Anker today is releasing two new wireless chargers optimized to work with the iPhone. The new chargers, arriving under the "PowerWave" marketing name, feature built-in fans to help keep things cool and maintain high charging speeds at both 7.5 watts for iPhones and 10 watts for compatible Android phones. According to Anker, the fans help charge iPhones up to an hour faster than other chargers on the market.“After testing most of the chargers on the market, we discovered that they shared a major flaw: the wireless coils gradually heat up and this prevents the chargers from dispensing 7.5W for long periods of time,” explained Steven Yang, CEO of Anker Innovations. “By adding a fan underneath the coil, we manage to regulate temperature and therefore allow the device to output consistent 7.5W power, resulting in the fastest wireless charge for the new iPhones.”Anker certainly isn't the first company to incorporate fans into its chargers, as the feature has been important for some of the 10-watt and even 15-watt chargers compatible with some Android phones. But pairing a fan-based cooling system with optimizations for Apple's 7.5-watt spec has enabled Anker to charge iPhones even faster.

I've spent some time with both of Anker's new PowerWave offerings, which include a stand model and a pad model. Anker's previous 5-watt stand model has been my charger of choice on my office desk for the past several months, so I was eager to try out that style of PowerWave charger in particular.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand
The PowerWave 7.5W Stand is normally priced at $49.99 and has a similar molded plastic design to the earlier 5-watt model, but comes in white instead of black. The white certainly attracts some attention, which can be a positive or a negative depending on the environment it's placed in. I happen to like the look. The other design difference compared to the 5-watt model is that the base is much thicker in order to incorporate the fan. With the micro-USB port for the stand over to one side of the base, there's room for a relatively large fan grille to help keep air moving.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand
In my testing, the PowerWave 7.5W Stand certainly lived up to Anker's claims of charging speed, as it was able to charge my iPhone X battery from 10 percent to 56 percent in just one hour. Nearly all of the over two dozen other chargers I've tested have only been able to reach between 38 and 43 percent over that time period. Whether charging speed is important depends on your individual use patterns, and some users have concerns over fast charging having a negative impact on long-term battery health, which is also part of the reason for having a fan to keep things cooler. But for many people, the risk to long-term battery health is worth it if they can top off their phones more quickly when they're dropped onto a charger.

While the fan helps keep things cool and lets the charger maintain optimal charging speed for longer, it does make some noise. The stand generates an audible whirring sound that can be heard even from across a quiet room. For that reason, you might want to think twice about using this charger on a nightstand or in other quiet environments. But in a busy office setting with noise around or if you typically have music or other sounds playing while your phone is charging, it may not be noticeable.

I also tested out the $45.99 PowerWave 7.5W Pad, and interestingly, it didn't charge my iPhone X quite as quickly as the stand did, but it was still able to outperform nearly every other charger I've tested, boosting my battery from 10 percent to 49 percent in an hour. Otherwise, this is a pretty typical pad-style charger, although it does have a similar eye-catching white color to the stand and is a little bulkier than some other pads due to the fan underneath the pad.

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Pad
Both the stand and the charger have distinctive small, circular, blue LEDs that light up while charging and flash to let you know if there'a problem. The LEDs are subtle enough that they're not distracting even in dark rooms. The pad's fan is audible, although it sounds significantly quieter than the stand.

Beyond Apple's strict requirements, there's another reason these PowerWave chargers are priced a bit higher than some of Anker's other offerings, and that's the fact that not only do you get a micro-USB cable but also a compact 18-watt Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter with folding prongs and a single USB-A port. The inclusion of the power adapter is important, as these chargers require a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter in order to work at all. If you plug the charger into another power adapter like one of Apple's iPhone or iPad adapters, or even a standard USB port on a hub, the charger will not charge your phone. That's something to keep in mind depending on how you're planning to use the chargers.

Anker's new PowerWave chargers are launching today on Amazon, and the company is submitting them to the Wireless Power Consortium for official Qi certification. The PowerWave stand is normally priced at $49.99 and the PowerWave pad at $45.99, but for a limited time Anker is offering a special deal through Amazon that gives you 15 percent off one charger (promo code POWER752) or 20 percent off two or more (promo code POWER753).

Note: Anker provided the wireless chargers to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTag: AnkerBuyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral), iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Spotify Testing Voice Control Features in iOS App

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:37
A small group of users have begun noticing a new voice control feature appearing within the Spotify app for iOS devices, and The Verge this week got a chance to see how the music streaming service's new voice commands work.

As expected, the voice control allows users to call up their favorite artists, songs, albums, and playlists without having to navigate around the app with taps. Voice control is initiated by first navigating to the magnifying glass icon at the center of the app's bottom tab row.

Image via The Verge
In this area users can tap a microphone icon inside a white bubble, and then Spotify will begin listening for their voice (once access to the iPhone's microphone is allowed). Right now the commands are only available in English, but once a command is asked Spotify will begin playing the content within the app.

The Verge was mostly impressed with the time spent asking Spotify to play various songs, comparing it favorably to Siri on HomePod: "It all happened as quickly as Siri does the same thing on a HomePod." It should still be noted that Spotify's solution as of now isn't a fully talkative AI assistant, but simply voice controls.
I spent the past hour spitting queries at the microphone, with mostly accurate results. I queued up the Gold School and Top Hits Today playlists, artist radio stations for Radiohead and Wilco, and the magnificent strains of “Despacito.” It all happened as quickly as Siri does the same thing on a HomePod.

And I did encounter some errors. I created a playlist for songs I found on Spotify that I call “Spotifinds,” and when I searched for it the very confused app asked me if maybe I was searching for “Spotify memes.” (I am now!) The voice commands are said to be limited to music only inside Spotify's catalog, and queries like "Who are the Beatles?" were met with the app playing a Beatles playlist, "without telling you anything about the band."

Spotify's voice control test follows rumors that the company is planning to launch its first hardware product, expected to be a smart speaker of some kind and compete with Sonos, Echo, and Apple's HomePod. Particularly for the HomePod, Spotify users face a lesser experience due to Apple's decision to only allow native streaming for Apple Music.

If these new tests roll out to a wider audience, it could be an indication of the technology users can expect to see in a smart speaker built by Spotify. For now, The Verge noted that "the early version works well enough to make it a core part of my music listening."

Tag: Spotify
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Apple Pay Promo Kicks Off Spring Break With Free Song Credits From TouchTunes

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 13:16
The latest Apple Pay promotion has launched today, and this time Apple is preparing users for Spring Break. When using Apple Pay in the TouchTunes jukebox iOS app [Direct Link], users can get three free song credits. The offer is valid through 11:59 p.m. PT on March 27, 2018 in the United States and Canada only.

TouchTunes uses a network of digital jukeboxes across 65,000 bars, restaurants, and other social venues across North America, which users of the app can control from their iPhone. Users amass TouchTunes' "credits" and spend the credits when choosing which song they want to play next, creating a community-built playlist of songs with anyone else using TouchTunes at the same location.

Now, with the new promotion users can purchase in-app credits using Apple Pay and with the three free credits they should be able to play one song at a bar for free (TouchTunes notes that the number of credits required for song plays may vary). Other springtime apps promoted by Apple include clothing brands lululemon, J.Crew, and Zara. Apple also encourages users to "get back to the beach quicker" when using Apple Pay in apps for Reef, Ray-Ban, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

The TouchTunes promo follows two weeks after Apple celebrated the Oscars with a discount on two or more movie tickets through Fandango.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Apple Pay promo
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Samsung's Galaxy S10 Rumored to Feature 3D Facial Recognition Like Face ID on iPhone X

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 13:00
Israeli startup Mantis Vision is reportedly working with camera module firm Namuga to develop 3D sensing camera solutions for Samsung's tentatively named Galaxy S10, according to Korean news outlet The Bell.

The technology would pave the way for Samsung to implement a 3D facial recognition system on the Galaxy S10, similar to Face ID on the iPhone X. The new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, which officially launch tomorrow, still rely on a less secure 2D facial recognition system paired with an iris scanner.

Last year, videos surfaced that showed the same 2D solution on the Galaxy S8 could be unlocked by waving a photo of the registered user's face in front of the camera. Samsung even confirmed that its facial recognition solution cannot be used to authenticate access to Samsung Pay or its Secure Folder feature.

By comparison, Face ID uses a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user's face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3D image for authentication. Face ID has been duped with sophisticated masks, but not with a simple photo of a person.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently opined that it would take Android smartphone makers up to two and a half years to catch up with Face ID. Apple released the iPhone X last November, while the Galaxy S10 will likely be released around March or April of 2019, a roughly one-and-a-half year span.

It's a given that Samsung will catch up with Face ID at some point, but it remains to be seen if its 3D facial recognition system can match the iPhone X's user experience. Around this time next year, we should find out.

Tags: Samsung,, Galaxy S10,
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Pocket Introduces Time Estimates for Articles and Videos in iOS App

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:06
The developers behind read-it-later service Pocket this week announced a new update for iOS and Android that will give users a simple but useful glimpse into how long each article will take them to read. After updating to version 6.6.16 on the iOS App Store, the Pocket app for iPhone and iPad will display time estimates "for every article and video" that has been saved.

The time estimates will be located below the titles of each saved piece of content, to the right of the URL. At launch, time estimates are available on devices set to English, but the Pocket team said that it plans to add support for more languages "in the near future." The developer is also working on introducing time estimates to Pocket for Web down the line.

You’ve told us that it would be helpful to know how long it takes to start and finish each item in your list, and now you can! When you open Pocket on your phone or tablet, you’ll see time estimates for every article and video you’ve saved, right below the title.

So the next time you have 3 minutes waiting for an appointment, 10 minutes on your commute, or are unwinding on the couch after a long day, open up Pocket and find a story that suits your moment.
Pocket is a service available across multiple platforms that lets users save any web page to revisit later, be it an article, video, recipe, shopping item, or other similar pieces of content. This way, users can save an article on Safari for iOS using the Share Sheet extension, and then look at it a few days later on the Mac app, even when they're offline.

Just over one year ago Pocket was acquired by Mozilla, and at the time Mozilla stated that the Pocket would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Corporation and part of the Mozilla open source project. Mozilla said that Pocket's core employees and technology would help accelerate its Context Graph initiative, while promoting the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content.

One of Pocket's biggest rivals in the read-it-later app space is Instapaper, which itself was acquired by Pinterest in 2016.

Pocket is available for free on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Pocket
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Researchers Uncover macOS and Safari Exploits at Pwn2Own 2018

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 11:48
The eighteenth annual CanSecWest security conference is underway in downtown Vancouver, Canada, where researchers are competing in the 11th Pwn2Own computer hacking contest for over $2 million in prizes.

Day one results have already been published over at the Zero Day Initiative website, with a couple of successful Mac-related exploits already appearing in the list of achievements.

Image via Zero Day Initiative
Samuel Groß of phoenhex returned to Pwn2Own to successfully hack Apple's desktop Safari browser. Groß used a JIT optimization bug in Safari, a macOS logic bug, and a kernel overwrite to execute code to successfully exploit the browser, earning himself $65,000 and six points towards Master of Pwn. The exploit also caused a text-based message to appear on a MacBook Pro's Touch Bar.

The achievement harks back to Groß's similar success at last year's event, where he targeted Safari with an escalation to root on macOS that allowed him and Niklas Baumstark to scroll a message on a MacBook Pro Touch Bar, earning them $28,000.

Another Safari exploit at Pwn2Own 2018 was initiated by Richard Zhu, who managed to bypass iPhone 7 security protocols with the help of two Safari bugs at November's Pwn2Own mobile event. However, this time Zhu failed to get his exploit chain working within the allotted 30-minute time limit.

Richard Zhu at Pwn2Own 2018 (Image via ZDI)
Unfazed, Zhu returned to wow the crowd with a Microsoft Edge exploit that used two use-after-free (UAF) bugs in the browser and an integer overflow in the kernel to successfully run his code with elevated privileges. The dramatic effort against the ticking clock earned him $70,000 and seven points towards Master of Pwn.

Apple representatives have attended the Pwn2Own contest in the past, and affected parties are made aware of all security vulnerabilities discovered during the contest so that they can be patched in future software updates.

The participating teams earned a total of $162,000 in prizes on day one, and the event resulted in three Apple bugs, two Oracle bugs, and three Microsoft bugs. Pwn2Own day two begins today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific and will involve additional exploit attempts against macOS and Safari.

Tag: Pwn2Own
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European Regulators Set April 23 Deadline to Decide on Apple's Proposed Shazam Acquisition

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 11:41
The European Commission today announced it has set a provisional deadline of April 23 to decide on Apple's proposed acquisition of Shazam.

Last month, the regulatory body said it would consider whether Apple's purchase of the popular music identification service may lead to a significant adverse effect on competition in Europe, after Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden requested the deal be assessed under European Union merger law.

The European Commission didn't specify how the deal could hurt competition, but Shazam does have partnerships with European companies like Spotify that could be affected by the acquisition. However, it's standard for major acquisitions to be subject to review, so the deal will likely be approved without any scrutiny.

Apple announced its plans to acquire Shazam in December in a statement provided to MacRumors and other publications:We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it's used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today's agreement.Shazam is a popular service that can identify the name and lyrics of songs, music videos, TV shows, and more. It has apps across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and iMessage, while the service has been built into Siri since iOS 8. The app is also integrated with streaming music services like Apple Music and Spotify.

In addition to Shazam, Apple this week announced it plans to acquire digital magazine subscription service Texture to be integrated into Apple News.

Via: Reuters

Tags: European Commission, Shazam
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How to Set Up Medical ID on Your iPhone

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:51
Medical ID is a built-in feature of your iPhone's Health app that gives ambulance crews and other emergency first responders fast access to potentially life-saving information about any allergies or medical conditions you have, even if your iPhone is locked.

Even if you don't suffer from any health conditions, it's still worth enabling Medical ID, because it can also provide other vital information about you to emergency services, such as your blood type and who to contact in an emergency. This article shows you how to set up Medical ID in iOS 11.

How to Set Up Your Medical ID in iOS 11
  1. Launch the Health app on your iPhone. (If you're using an iPhone 6s or later, firmly press the Health app icon to jump straight to the Medical ID via 3D Touch and skip the next step.)

  2. Tap Medical ID at the bottom of the screen.
  3. If you're in the U.S., you can opt to register as an organ donor with Donate Life America by tapping the option at the bottom of the Medical ID screen. If you don't want to register, or you're outside the U.S., simply skip this step.
  4. Tap the Edit button at the top right of the screen.

  5. Under Emergency Access, toggle the Show When Locked switch to the On position. Make sure you perform this step, otherwise emergency services won't be able to access your Medical ID.
  6. Start adding information to your Medical ID card. Apart from your name and date of birth, the other types of information you can add in this section include medical conditions and medical notes, allergies and reactions, medications, blood type, organ donor status, weight, and height. (Note that information added to your Medical ID isn't included in your Health Data or shared with other apps.)
  7. Under Emergency Contacts, tap the green plus sign to add someone from your Contacts list. (You can add several people, but bear in mind that if you use the Emergency SOS feature on your iPhone's lock screen, all emergency contacts receive a message alerting them of the SOS and your location.)

  8. For each emergency contact you add, select an option from the list that best describes your relationship to that person, e.g. "father" or "doctor".
  9. Tap Done in the top right of the screen when you're finished.
If you decide against keeping a Medical ID record, the Edit mode includes a Delete Medical ID option at the very bottom of the screen.

Accessing Medical ID on a Locked iPhone 8 or Earlier
  1. Press the Home button on the iPhone to activate the passcode screen.
  2. Tap Emergency in the bottom left corner of the passcode screen.
  3. Tap Medical ID in the bottom left corner of the Emergency keypad screen.

Note: If the Apple handset doesn't have a Home button, swipe up with your finger from the bottom of the screen to trigger the passcode screen, or use the alternative method for accessing Medical ID below.

Accessing Medical ID on a Locked iPhone X or Later

  1. Simultaneously press and hold the Side (power) button on the right and the Volume Up button on the left of the handset.
  2. Swipe rightwards across the Medical ID slider.
You can also access the Medical ID on Apple Watch: Press and hold the side button and drag the Medical ID slider to the right.

Related Roundup: iOS 11Tag: health
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Documents Reveal 26 Million U.S. Viewers Tuned into Amazon Prime Video in Early 2017

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:45
Amazon's U.S. audience for all movie and TV show programming on Amazon Prime Video was about 26 million customers in early 2017, according to company documents seen by Reuters.

Amazon Prime Video is provided as a benefit to Amazon Prime members who subscribe to Amazon's $99 per year Prime service, and features thousands of TV shows and movies, along with original content produced by Amazon.

Amazon has never revealed figures for its total Prime Video audience, but the documents provide an insight into the success of Amazon's successful original programming strategy, which involves producing content to entice consumers into Prime membership and boost merchandise sales.

For example, the documents cover late 2014 to early 2017 and compare metrics for 19 shows exclusive to Amazon, including cost, viewership and the number of people they helped lure to Prime. Known as Prime Originals, the shows account for around a quarter of what analysts believe to be total Prime sign-ups over the same period.Video has grown to be one of Amazon’s biggest expenditures at $5 billion per year for original and licensed content, two people familiar with the matter said. The company has never disclosed how many subscribers it won as a result, making it hard for investors to evaluate its programming decisions.

The internal documents show what Amazon considers to be the financial logic of its strategy, and why the company is now making more commercial projects in addition to high-brow shows aimed at winning awards, the people said.According to the documents, season one of alternate history drama "The Man in the High Castle", which is based on Philip K Dick novel, had 8 million U.S. viewers as of early 2017. The program cost $72 million in production and marketing, and attracted 1.15 million new subscribers worldwide.

Amazon's accounting reveals that the show drew new Prime members at an average cost of $63 per subscriber. A Prime subscription costs $99, while Prime members often go on to buy more goods from Amazon than other consumers. The documents also reveal that Amazon drew over 5 million people globally into its Prime subscription membership by the beginning of the 2017.

Apple announced Amazon Prime for Apple TV last summer, but owners of the set-top box had to wait six months for the service to eventually drop. Amazon Prime Video supports Apple's centralized TV app, meaning users can use Siri Universal Search to find Amazon Prime Video content, and add it to their "Up Next" queue of shows and movies.

Tags: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime
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Nest Now Shipping 'Hello' Smart Doorbell With Night-Vision Camera and Two-Way Audio

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:02
Nest has begun shipping the Hello, a smart doorbell that's capable of streaming 160 degree HD live video from your door directly to your phone.

First announced back in September, the $229 doorbell device can take a photo of a person standing on your doorstep before the bell is even rung, and also supports two-way audio so you can speak with them.

The doorbell features a 3-megapixel camera with infrared night vision and records 1,600 × 1,200 video at 30 frames per second. The Hello also has a 160-degree field of view, and is 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi compatible. It stores up to three hours of video out of the box, with additional storage available by taking up a Nest Aware subscription.

In addition to shipping Hello orders via its online store, Nest also announced it is now shipping the $249 Nest x Yale Lock, a tamper-proof deadbolt front door lock with touchpad that connects to the Nest app. The touchpad means owners can give people they trust a passcode instead of a key for entry, and the door it's attached to can be locked and unlocked wirelessly.

Lastly, Nest also revealed that it is now taking pre-orders for its new wireless external temperature sensors for the Nest Learning Thermostat and Thermostat E. Owners can add up to six of the battery-powered, inch-wide sensors, each of which cost $39, or $99 for a three-pack. Nest also says it plans to bundle its thermostats with the temperature sensors after they officially hit stores in April.

Nest products don't integrate with Apple's HomeKit setup, but are popular competing connected home solutions. See the Nest website for more details.

Tag: Nest
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Google Maps Adds 'Wheelchair Accessible' Routes to Transit Navigation in Several Cities

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 09:03
Google Maps today announced the availability of new "wheelchair accessible" routes in its transit navigation directions for several cities around the world, recognizing that using trains and buses can present challenges for people who use wheelchairs or have other mobility needs.
Information about which stations and routes are wheelchair friendly isn't always readily available or easy to find. To make public transit work for everyone, today we're introducing "wheelchair accessible" routes in transit navigation to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs.

To access the new "wheelchair accessible" routes in the Google Maps app, enter a desired destination, tap Directions, select the public transportation icon, and then tap Options. The new route type can be found under the Routes section.

After selecting the "wheelchair accessible" option, Maps' directions list routes that take mobility needs into consideration, such as if a transit station has accessible stops, platforms, entrances, and exits.

Google says the feature is rolling out across London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney, with other major metropolitan transit centers around the world to follow.

In addition to the new feature, Google has been updating its Street View imagery of transit stations and city centers to allow users to preview locations ahead of time. Google says it hopes the expanded coverage will make life easier not only for people who use wheelchairs, but also for anyone who's using crutches or pushing a stroller.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google Maps
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Apple Allegedly Suspends iPhone Production at Assembly Plant Over Use of Unauthorized Parts

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 08:24
Apple supplier Wistron has dismissed a report claiming operations at its China-based iPhone production plant have been suspended by Apple for alleged use of "unauthorized components".

Taiwan's Chinese-language Commercial Times reported on Thursday that Apple ordered Wistron to halt production of iPhone 8 Plus handsets at its plant in Kunshan, China for two weeks pending a probe into alleged use of water-proof components from a supplier not certified by Apple. Wistron penalized several high-level executives in an attempt to regain Apple's trust, according to the report.

In a morning filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange this morning, Wistron said it wouldn't comment on matters between specific clients and denied there had been a "two-week production suspension as reported", maintaining that operations remained "completely normal". Wistron shares dropped on the report by more than 5 percent during early TSE trading, before recovering to close at NT$26.50, down by NT$0.45.

Wistron provides Apple with a smaller portion of iPhone 8 Plus models compared to rival supplier Foxconn, which makes up to 80 percent of the handsets, although Wistron has recently emerged as Apple's principal iPhone manufacturer in India.

The Taiwanese firm has reportedly invested around $157 million to build a new assembly unit in the tech hub of Bengaluru, where it plans to manufacture iPhone SE and potentially iPhone 6s models for the Indian market.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Tag: Wistron
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Logitech Releases New G560 Gaming Speaker System With Lights That Sync to Games and Movies

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 07:01
Logitech's G brand today announced the launch of a new gaming speaker, the G560. While primarily designed for gaming PCs, the G560 Gaming Speaker has unique features that may also be appealing to Mac users.

The G560, which features two light-up speakers and a subwoofer, is the first of Logitech's gaming speaker systems to come equipped with Logitech G Lightsync, designed to synchronize light and sounds to gameplay, movies, music, and more for a more immersive experience.

With Lightsync support, the lights built into the speaker can light up while you're playing games that have implemented the Lightsync API to add ambiance to gameplay. Many game developers have added support for Lightsync and have custom chosen the colors that will be displayed during various aspects of the gameplay. Supported games include Dota 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, and more.

Developer-supported Lightsync options are mainly for PCs, but Lightsync also works based solely on the colors on your display. Using the screen sampling tool in Logitech's Gaming Software for Mac, you can tie the lights to four different zones of your Mac's display, so while you're playing a game or watching a movie, the G560 lights will light up with colors that are linked to whatever colors are in the media you're using.

If you're watching a colorful movie, for example, the colors of the movie will be reflected through the G560's lights, and the same is true for when you're playing a game. If you're playing music, you can also set the lights to change in time with the beat of the music, and colors can be customized using Logitech's app. The lights support 16.8 million colors and several animation effects, and sound can be customized using a detailed equalizer tool.

According to Logitech, the G560 offers "amazing sound" with 240 Watts Peak/120 Watts RMS power, making it suitable for all kinds of media on PC and Mac. On PCs, it also includes DTS:X Ultra 1.0 support for precise positional audio.

Along with these features, the G560 supports Logitech's Easy-Switch technology, which allows you to connect several devices to the speaker at once and then switch between them. You can connect one USB device, one device through the 3.5mm input, and two Bluetooth devices at the same time. So, for example, you could connect your Mac, your iPhone, and your iPad to the speakers and then easily swap between them, allowing you to use the G560 with all of your devices.

Logitech's new G560 Gaming Speaker will be available for purchase from retailers around the world starting in April of 2018. It will be priced at $199.99, and it will be sold alongside the new $150 G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which also supports Lightsync.

Tag: Logitech
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