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  1. RingCentral and Zhumu are now patched Apple informed us that it has sent out a silent security update to Macs to remove software that was automatically installed by RingCentral and Zhumu. These video conferencing apps both used technology from Zoom — they’re essentially white labels — and thus they also had Zoom’s security flaws. Specifically, they installed secondary pieces of software that could take commands from websites to open up your webcam in a video conference without your intervention. Even uninstalling those apps wouldn’t remove that secondary web server, which would mean that many users wouldn’t get the software vendors’ updates fixing the issue. That means Apple is best positioned to remove the offending software, and it is. Apple intends to fix the issue for all of Zoom’s partner apps. Yesterday, these additional issues arose from further research into Zoom’s partner apps, but the larger problem of Zoom installing a secondary web server that could potentially be insecure began with a zero-day disclosure on July 8th. Since then, Zoom itself has been scrambling to come to the right solution for users — including an about-face on whether such an update was even necessary in the first place. It ultimately decided that it was worth the update, but couldn’t remove software for users that had uninstalled its main app, which is why Apple had to step in. Apple issued its first silent patch to remove Zoom’s extra software on July 10th, and today’s update is essentially part of the same mitigation. The core issue stems from a change Zoom made to its video conferencing software to work around a security update Apple had made to Safari. Safari was recently updated in such a way that it required user approval to open up a third-party app, every time, and Zoom wanted to keep users from having to deal with that extra click. That required installing a web server that listened for calls to open up Zoom conferences. Combine that with the fact that it was common and easy for Zoom users to have their default set to have video on when joining a call, and it became possible for a malicious website with an iframe to open up a video call on your Mac with the camera on. Source
  2. When Apple CEO Tim Cook privately hosted six Democratic lawmakers at the company's space-age headquarters this spring, he opened the conversation with a plea - for Congress to finally draft privacy legislation after years of federal inaction. Image: Apple displayed its privacy message at the tech conference CES 2019 in January. "It was the first issue he brought up," said Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene, one of the lawmakers who made the trip to Cupertino, California. The Apple chief "really talked about the need for privacy across the board," said DelBene, a former Microsoft executive. But when DelBene discussed her own privacy bill, which would require companies to obtain consent before using consumers' most sensitive information in unexpected ways, Cook didn't specifically endorse it, she said. A number of privacy advocates and U.S. lawmakers - who did not attend the meeting - say Apple has not put enough muscle behind any federal effort to tighten privacy laws. And state lawmakers, who are closest to passing rules to limit data sharing, say Apple is an ally in name only - and in fact has contributed to lobbying efforts that might undermine some new data-protection legislation. While Apple formally supports the notion of a federal privacy law, the company has yet to formally back any bills proposed on the Hill - unlike Microsoft. "I would argue there's a need for Apple to be a more vocal part of this debate," said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a fierce critic of tech companies for their privacy violations. And in California, Washington and Illinois, home to the most significant state privacy bills, the iPhone giant has sought to battle back or soften local legislators' proposed bills, often through its trade associations. That has frustrated lawmakers such as California assemblyman Marc Levine, who has introduced two privacy bills in the Golden State's legislature this year. He and others argue that states represent the best hope for privacy legislation given the lack of federal progress. "While the headlines from Tim Cook have him being really forward on advancing the idea that policy can help control how data is used and mismanaged and abused, that hasn't played out in policy making," he said. "I would welcome a stronger presence by Apple and I would also welcome their advocacy on what best practices should be." Apple indirectly opposed the legislation, via trade groups it funded. On the other hand, Levine noted that Apple had approached him directly to discuss California's plastic bag ban. "They lobby in all these other areas. They're just not face forward on privacy." "We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and is at the core of what it means to be an American. To that end, we advocate for strong federal legislation that protects everyone regardless of which state they may live," said Apple spokesman Fred Sainz. "We understand the frustration at the state level - we are frustrated too - but this topic is so important we need to be united across America." The states' privacy protections could influence federal lawmakers as they try to craft a national standard, experts say. Politicians and aides said they hoped Apple would counterbalance the more active Google and Facebook, whose businesses are highly reliant on data-sharing. Still, by focusing any support purely behind a potential federal law, Apple's position for now allows it to function in an economy in which there is very little regulation of privacy. Apple and other tech giants are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee focused on antitrust issues, the latest blockbuster hearing to highlight one of Washington's most pressing questions: How to regulate large technology companies that have come to sway markets, influence elections and impact the social fabric of society. On the issue of privacy, Apple itself has helped create the sky-high expectations with its public pronouncements. For months, it has been running advertisements touting its privacy bona fides, including one plastered to the side of a hotel during a major tech conference that promised, "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone." Last year, Apple chief executive Cook sharply attacked Facebook for its practice of collecting personal information on users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Months later, he made a rare appearance before the European Parliament, calling for a U.S. version of Europe's tough data-protection rules, known by the acronym GDPR. In a recent commencement speech at Stanford University, Cook painted a frightening picture of a world in which the collection of consumer data continues unabated. "Even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself. Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. To risk less, to hope less, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less. The chilling effect of digital surveillance is profound, and it touches everything," he said. Despite Apple's public stance on privacy, a Washington Post investigation earlier this year found Apple allows iPhone apps to include tracking software that surreptitiously sends the personal data of Apple customers to outside companies. Apple said it requires its app developers to have a clear privacy policy. Apple announced in June that will prohibit that form of tracking in apps for children later this year. "If you are going to use the value of privacy in your marketing, I think you have an obligation to your consumers to tell us what that means," said India McKinney, a legislative analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization that advocates for internet privacy and security. McKinney noted that Apple hasn't signed on to privacy legislation that other companies, such as web browser DuckDuckGo, have supported, such as an amendment to the new California law that prevents consumer data collection by default and gives citizens the right to sue tech companies for violations. If Apple were to throw its weight behind strong privacy protections even at the state level, it would help counter pressure from other large tech companies to water down the legislation, she said. "That would make headlines. That would be really useful," she said. In many cases, though, Apple finds itself aligned with the companies it criticizes in seeking to ward off state legislative proposals, often through lobbying organizations in which they share membership, such as TechNet and CompTIA. While Apple sat on the sidelines, other tech companies, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, have been actively opposing laws in states including California, Illinois and Washington that would protect consumers and pushing for amendments that would roll back some of the provisions in the California Consumer Protection Act, the landmark state law, according to lawmakers in those states. Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook opted not to stand in the way of that law passing, according to people involved in getting the legislation passed, only after calculating that the alternative - putting privacy legislation in front of voters as a ballot measure - was less attractive. Facebook, Google and Amazon declined to comment. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Apple's business model stands in stark contrast to its rivals such as Google and Facebook because its bottom line doesn't depend on collecting user data for the purpose of advertising. In recent weeks, Cook and other Apple executives have been making the rounds in Washington to meet with members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission, touting the company's privacy practices in what many see as an attempt to draw contrast with tech giants such as Facebook, according to people who have attended the meetings. The FTC is expected to play a stepped-up role policing the privacy practices of tech giants if lawmakers pass legislation. On antitrust issues, meanwhile, the Department of Justice newly plans to scrutinize Apple for its business practices, the Post previously reported. Cook took his privacy pitch directly to lawmakers in May, on the heels of Apple's unveiling of its new D.C. flagship store, meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who leads his chamber's top tech-focused committee. Apple spokesman Sainz said the company has discussed its views on privacy in more than 100 meetings with lawmakers around the country. But Apple hasn't given its explicit stamp of approval to any federal bills that have been introduced, which would set a national privacy standard - something tech companies, including Apple, say they would prefer over a patchwork of state laws. A collection of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have said they plan to offer a national privacy proposal in the coming months. Warner offered an example of Apple's absence: A bill that would essentially outlaw so-called "dark patterns" that trick users into surrendering their personal information when they sign up for a service. The senator said the bill he introduced in April had garnered early support from Microsoft and Mozilla, a non-profit known for its privacy-focused Firefox internet browser. Not Apple. "We would be the first to say we can do more and constantly challenge ourselves to do so," Sainz said in the statement. "We have offered to help write the legislation and reiterate this offer." DelBene, who also visited other tech companies during the Democratic lawmakers' tour of Silicon Valley, said she "didn't think of it as a negative" that Cook didn't publicly endorse her legislation because most companies have backed concepts rather than specific bills so far in the privacy debate. Apple's history with lawmakers is complicated. Steve Jobs, Apple's late co-founder, openly disdained lobbying. Under Cook, though, Apple has stepped up its presence in D.C., particularly around privacy and government surveillance. It engaged in a legal battle with the FBI in 2015 when law-enforcement officials sought to force it to crack a password-protected iPhone at the heart of the deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California. Cook has embraced his powerful role as Apple's chief political spokesman. In private meetings spanning from Trump's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, to the Oval Office, the Apple chief executive has convinced the president to spare his company's iPhones, iPads and other products from the stiff tariffs that have affected other goods coming from China. Apple also lobbies for issues that would further its interests, such as lowering corporate taxes and reforming the U.S. patent system. Politically, though, Apple lags far behind competitors. Alphabet, Google's parent company, spent $22 million on federal lobbying efforts in 2018, and Facebook spent $13 million. That's compared to Apple's $7 million. And unlike its competitors, Apple doesn't donate directly to political candidates. On privacy legislation, most of the action is taking place outside of Washington. Over the past year, policymakers have considered at least 24 bills targeting data privacy, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many raced to act in the months after California adopted toughest-in-America rules last year that provide web users with more information about what happens to their data - and more ability to prevent it from being sold. Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer who championed California's privacy bill, for months couldn't snag sufficient support from tech companies, including Apple. One sticking point was a provision in his original proposal that gave Californians the right to sue companies caught violating their privacy. After several trips to Cupertino to meet with Jane Horvath, a former Google lawyer who now heads Apple's privacy efforts, Apple offered an olive branch: Mactaggart could tell lawmakers that if the bill narrowed citizens' right to sue to cases in which consumer data was leaked due to a company's negligence, Apple would "dislike the bill less," he said. "It allowed me to go to legislators and say the biggest company in the world is willing to live with this." Mactaggart said Apple's stance was instrumental in getting the bill passed, but Apple was far from a privacy champion. "I don't think Apple was super thrilled about it. They weren't going rah-rah-rah." Apple's stance opposing a citizen's right to sue companies for privacy violations is a strike against its pro-privacy reputation, said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. She also knocked Apple for supporting the idea of a single federal law that would override state laws. "Any company that says they are for strong privacy protections should not try to use federal legislation to wipe out the ability of states to put in place higher privacy standards," she said. "They should also be in favor of strong enforcement," which includes the ability to sue, she said. For tech giants, the stakes in the states are high. "The states will influence privacy legislation," said University of California, Berkeley law professor Paul Schwartz, who has studied the interplay between state and federal privacy legislation. California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson described a lack of support from Apple after she introduced legislation in February that would have expanded the ability of Californians to sue tech companies for violations of their privacy rights. Instead of directly weighing in on the legislation, Apple deferred to the industry associations it belongs to with Facebook, Amazon and Google, she said, which have been effective in stalling privacy legislation in California. TechNet, like many other business groups, actively opposed the measure. "It was all the different tech associations comprised of all the different companies. Nobody had to take responsibility," Jackson said. In a statement, TechNet said its agenda is a "collaborative effort" from its 80 corporate members. "At both the federal level and in 24 states this year, TechNet has promoted consumer privacy legislation that strikes the appropriate balance of these priorities," said spokeswoman Natalie McLaughlin. "America needs to continue its leadership to protect consumers while not discouraging companies from delivering new and innovative products and services," said Alexi Madon, CompTIA's vice president for state government affairs. In the state of Washington, meanwhile, Rep. Zack Hudgins said he also lacked Apple's help earlier this year in battling large tech companies over provisions in a privacy bill that ultimately failed in part because of industry opposition. "Apple could be doing a lot more than they did in Washington state," he said. "They could have put forth stronger legislation and they could have advocated for some of the legislation that was stronger on artificial intelligence." Hudgins, after speaking directly with Microsoft president Brad Smith and meeting directly with representatives from PayPal, Twitter, Google, IBM and Facebook, said he asked an Apple lobbyist to put him in touch with Apple's Cook. Apple did not make anyone from the company available, he said. Apple did step in when Illinois lawmakers proposed legislation that would have criminalized the unauthorized collection of audio by devices such as Amazon's Echo and Apple's HomePod - but only to ensure the wording of the law would not open Apple up to lawsuits, according to Abe Scarr, state director for the Illinois Public Interest Research Group. He said Apple wanted to make sure the language was sufficiently "tight," so that Apple wasn't liable for apps in the iOS ecosystem that might violate the law. The bill, in its final form, was significantly weakened. Apple was "opposed and remained opposed after we made lots of concessions," he said. When it came to that particular privacy bill, Apple wasn't an advocate for consumer privacy protections, he said. "They were an obstacle." Original Paywall Source NON Paywall Source
  3. Apple has stopped selling the ‘lower priced’ smartphones iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus and 6s Plus in India. Apple has taken four of its ‘lower priced’ smartphones off the shelves in India, making it more expensive to buy an entry-level iPhone. As part of its new strategy to focus on driving value in India instead of chasing volumes, Apple has stopped selling the iPhone SE, 6, 6Plus and 6sPlus, three senior industry executives said. This will increase the entry level price of an iPhone in India by almost Rs 8,000. The executives said supplies of these models stopped last month. Apple’s distributors and sales team have informed traders that the new entry model will be the iPhone 6s, as and when the existing stock of the earlier models gets sold. The iPhone 6s currently sells for about Rs 29,500, while the iPhone SE, the earlier entry model, used to sell for Rs 21,000-22,000. The four models are out of stock on Amazon India, while on Flipkart, the iPhone SE and 6Plus are out of stock and not all variants of the other two models are available. All four models continue to be listed as available in the US, according to Apple’s website. The decision was taken after Apple improved its revenue and profit in India in 2018-19, even though iPhone sales volumes took a hit, with the focus more on pushing the latest and higher-priced models. An industry executive said Apple India’s sales in the April-June quarter had gone up after it undertook apromotion to drop iPhone XR prices. Apple is yet to file its India financials for FY19 with the Registrar of Companies. In FY18, Apple India’s revenue increased 12% to Rs 13,097 crore while net profit more than doubled to Rs 896 crore, as per RoC disclosures. Cupertino, California-based Apple reduced the number of distributors in India to two from five last year and decided to rein in arbitrary discounts to reinforce the brand’s premium. “Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit,” said one leading trade partner of Apple. “These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue.” Apple India declined to comment on the matter. Apple used to assemble the iPhone SE in India along with the 6s and 7. The idle capacity may now be used to expand production of other models, one executive said. Another executive said Apple has certainly not given up on the potential of the Indian market and will continue to roll out affordability programmes like buy-back and cashback offers. The company will localise its upcoming iPhone operating system iOS 13 for the first time for Indian consumers, with support for 22 Indian languages, maps for navigation and virtual assistant Siri, which can now talk and understand Indian English. “These initiatives highlight how Apple still considers India an important market for business. Just that the priority has changed from just selling a box to improving overall-sales experience, brand positioning and financials,” he said. Analysts estimated that iPhone shipments fell in India last year and continue to plunge this year. The company, however, has expanded its iPhone assembling operations in the country and soon plans to start offering the newer and super-premium models too. Source
  4. (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) will likely see a surge in services revenue in the third quarter, charged by app store developer revenue and renewed growth in China, critical areas for the future as the iPhone maker faces a maturing smartphone market, Evercore ISI said on Tuesday. Shares of Apple were flat at $199.70. Apple has been focusing more on its Services unit, which includes sales from iCloud, the App Store and other businesses, as smartphone sales show signs of slowing down. The services business accounted for 20% of Apple’s $58.02 billion revenue in the second quarter, up from 16% a year earlier. The App Store is a key driver of Apple’s services segment, which brought in $37.1 billion in revenue last year. Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani expects total App Store developer revenue to grow 18% to about $9 billion in the third quarter. Apple is due to report quarterly results on July 30. “We think there is likely upside ahead when it comes to services revenues in the June-quarter, driven by a sizable acceleration in China-centric markets,” said Daryanani, who has a 3-star rating for accuracy of estimates on Apple, according to Refinitiv data. The iPhone maker earned nearly 18% of its revenue from Greater China in the quarter ended March. But, Apple still gets more than 50% of its revenue from iPhone sales. Wall Street analysts expect consumers to hold off upgrading their iPhones until Apple’s expected launch of a 5G-enabled smartphone in the second half of 2020. Brokerage Rosenblatt Securities on Monday downgraded Apple shares to “sell” from “neutral”, saying “new iPhone sales will be disappointing” leading to “fundamental deterioration” in the next six to 12 months. Rosenblatt Securities analyst, Jun Zhang, has a 4-star rating for accuracy of his estimates on the iPhone maker, according to Refinitiv data. Of the 44 analysts covering the stock, 23 have a buy or higher rating, 18 have a hold and the rest have a sell rating. Source
  5. In addition to launching refreshes to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Apple has lowered the cost of higher-end Mac solid state storage options, cutting the price in half for many of the configurations. For example, the 4 TB SSD of the 512 GB 15-inch MacBook Pro used to cost $2800. It now costs $1,400. These savings are seen across the iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Air line. Apple has also changed the SSD options for the MacBook Air. Previously, the MacBook Air was available in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1.5 TB configurations. The 1.5 TB option is now gone, replaced by a $400 1 TB upgrade — again equivalent to about half the price of the previous GB per $ offering. Apple’s SSD price drops are comprehensive, applying to Mac notebooks and desktops. The general pattern is that the first upgrade still costs the same, with price reductions applied to the bigger capacities. Let’s take the entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro, which comes with 256 GB SSD. Before today, a 512 GB upgrade cost $200, the 1 TB SSD cost $600, the 2 TB SSD cost $1,200, and the high-end 4 TB capacity was $3,000. Now, these same upgrades come in at $200, $400, $800, and $1,600. For MacBook Air, it now costs just $600 to upgrade to a 1 TB SSD from the 128 GB base storage capacity. On the iMac Pro, you can now get a 4 TB SSD for $1,200 — an upgrade that cost $2,400 just yesterday. The Mac mini price drop is less impressive. You can now max out to 2 TB for $1000, down from $1400. The prices of the other sizes are unchanged. The new rates help to bring Apple’s SSD pricing more in line with the rest of the industry, and obviously deliver significant cost savings to customers who choose build-to-order options. Source
  6. Key Points Apple launched a new MacBook Air with a TrueTone display on Tuesday. The MacBook Pro also has a TrueTone display and entry-level models now offer the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Apple lowered the prices on both laptops, too. Apple lowers prices on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Apple on Tuesday announced updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air price is being lowered to $1,099, but it will be offered to college students for $999. It will be sold in the same configurations as before, starting with 128GB of storage, but Apple updated the screen with new TrueTone technology. That means it sets the colors on the screen to match the lighting of the room for a more comfortable viewing experience. It also includes the updated keyboard design that Apple first launched in updated MacBook Pros back in May. It should help to prevent some of the sticky key problems experienced in Apple's MacBooks. But this is not the full keyboard refresh that's rumored to ship with an entirely new keyboard configuration. The new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (or $1,199 for college students.) and includes a quad-core processor in the entry-level model for the first time and improved graphics performance. Like the refresh in May, the entry-level models now also come with new keyboard materials to help prevent sticking keys. Apple's Touch Bar and Touch ID are now also offered in all 13-inch MacBook Pro models, including the entry-level option. It includes the Apple T2 security chip for added security, support for "Hey Siri" without having to click the menu to launch the assistant. The Retina screen also includes new True Tone technology and Apple improved the speakers with wide stereo sound and directional beam forming which reduces background noise for calls. Apple is also now offering up to 2TB of storage in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Air and new 13-inch MacBook Pro are available from Apple online or in stores today. Students who buy a Mac, an iPad Pro or an iPad Air will also receive a free pair of Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones, which normally cost $349.95. Source
  7. It redesigned the 'sick' poker game for the App Store's anniversary. In a surprise move, Apple has revived its Texas Hold’em game for iOS today. The update to the original game comes in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the App Store and has been redesigned to include new characters, improved graphics, more challenging gameplay, and much more. Apple highlighted the Texas Hold’em history and noted some of the updates to the refreshed version in the app listing (still the original listing with reviews from years ago!). Apple’s Texas Hold’em is back! To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the App Store, we’ve brought back one of its first games, a popular classic. Originally created for iPod, then brought to iPhone, fans will love the polished redesign, featuring new characters, more challenging gameplay, and stunning graphics for the newest iPhone and iPod touch. Players will also love that it’s free to play—for the very first time. The Apple game first launched in 2006 for iPod before making its way to the App Store in 2008 (the 10-year anniversary was officially last year). For a fun look at the early versions, check out this post from MacStories. The modern 2.0 version of Texas Hold’em features 24 opponents to play against in addition to being able to challenge friends. Texas Hold’em features: Opponents bet, bluff, and have secret tells Winning advances you to the next location Includes 10 distinctive locations—including Las Vegas, Paris, and Macau Bring up in-game hints, tips, statistics, and player ratings Texas Hold’em is entirely free-to-play, works online or off Play against up to 8 friends with Wi-Fi multiplayer Rotate between immersive first-person and top-down gameplay Re-designed, re-rendered, and re-built to use high-resolution graphics that look stunning Designed for iOS 12 and later Notably, the new version is quite large at 1.5GB in size. Texas Hold’em remains a free download from the App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Back in May Apple had some fun helping bring Warren Buffett’s game, Paper Wizard, to life. That was the first time since Texas Hold’em that the company had worked on a game. With Apple Arcade on the horizon, the company will be expanding its gaming focus for iOS. In the meantime, it’s cool to see Apple surprise and delight users with this Texas Hold’em update. Thanks, Nilesh! Source
  8. Irish regulator opens third privacy probe into Apple FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo DUBLIN (Reuters) - Apple’s (AAPL.O) main regulator in the European Union, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), has opened a third privacy investigation into the iPhone maker over the last few weeks, a spokesman for the DPC said on Tuesday. The probe is examining whether Apple has complied with the relevant provisions of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law in relation to an access request from a customer. It follows investigations opened last year regarding how Apple processes personal data for targeted advertising on its platform and whether its privacy policy on the processing of that data is sufficiently transparent. The Irish DPC has 20 investigations open into multinational technology companies whose European headquarters in Ireland puts them under its watch, with Facebook (FB.O) under the most scrutiny with eight individual probes, plus two into its WhatsApp subsidiary and one into Facebook-owned Instagram. Like Apple, Twitter (TWTR.N) is also under three different investigations with one each for Google’s (GOOGL.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) owned LinkedIn and U.S. digital advertising company Quantcast. Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), regulators have the power to impose fines for violations of up to 4% of a company’s global revenue or 20 million euros ($22 million), whichever is higher. Source: Irish regulator opens third privacy probe into Apple
  9. Apple Trying to Make the Most Out of Huawei’s US Trouble Apple is one of the companies that are trying to make the most out of Huawei’s legal trouble in the United States, so the Cupertino-based giant has recently increased iPhone production to ready more devices for international markets. This is what Cowen analyst claim in a note sent to investors, as Apple has reportedly boosted the output for the quarter ending in June from 39 million to 40 million units. The reason is as simple as it could be, the analyst explains. Apple expects some of the potential Huawei buyers to purchase iPhones, mostly as the future of the Chinese company in the United States and other large markets is currently uncertain. Huawei was banned by the US government from working with American companies, therefore it’s no longer allowed to use their software and hardware for the development of new devices. This means the Chinese firm can’t install Android on its new smartphones, and Apple expects the delays that Huawei’s models could experience to represent an opportunity to sell more devices.iPhone 5G coming next yearThe analysts believe that the latest-generation models account for 75% of the entire iPhone output, while the remaining 25% is represented by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. Furthermore, Cowen warns that Apple is still on thin ice due to the potential US tariffs that could hit the iPhone. The analysts also reiterate some rumors that have been swirling around the web lately, claiming that the 2019 iPhone lineup will also include an LCD model. Beginning with 2020, the entire iPhone lineup is expected to use OLED. Cowen says the new devices will all feature 4 GB RAM, so the iPhone XR successor will receive an upgrade in this regard as well. And last but not least, the analyst note indicates that a 5G iPhone is expected next year as part of the collaboration between Apple and Qualcomm. Source
  10. Jony Ive will depart Apple to start his own company Apple will be one of his new business' key clients, however. Enlarge / Jony Ive speaks onstage during the 2017 New Yorker TechFest in New York City. Brian Ach/Getty Images Jony Ive, Apple's longtime design chief, will depart Apple to form his own independent design company, according to a press release distributed by Apple today. While he will no longer be an employee, he will count Apple among his clients at the new firm, according to both parties. Ive's new company will be called LoveForm. It will be based in California, at least to start, and will launch in 2020 after a transition period later this year, according to a Financial Times article about the change. "While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved—I hope for many, many years to come. This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change," Ive told Financial Times. CEO Tim Cook also commented to Financial Times in his usual upbeat voice, saying, "We get to continue with the same team that we've had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony. I can't imagine a better result." Ive has been Apple's Chief Design Officer since 2015, but he has worked at the company in various design roles for two decades. He was often the voice of Apple's industrial design teams in highly stylized (and mocked) design videos, and his partnership with former CEO Steve Jobs on product design was written about at length in the tech press over the years. Ive went on to oversee software and UX design in addition to hardware design after the departure of Scott Forstall, and he was a key player in planning Apple's new Apple Park campus in Cupertino. Additionally, Ive was knighted by the Queen of England on 2012 and is Chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London. Apple is not naming a direct successor at this time. Apple VP of industrial design Evans Hankey and VP of human interface design Alan Dye will report to chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who played a role in the development of the Apple Watch and who will "spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio," according to Apple's press release. Apple turnover Apple has seen some other turnover of key senior talent lately. Retail head Angela Ahrendts, who joined the company from Burberry on 2014, departed in April. And key Apple A-series CPU architect Gerard Williams III left the company earlier this year, though it is possible some aspect of his role may have already been filled by ARM's Mike Filippo. As to what to expect from Ive and his company next, he was tight-lipped. Ive told the Financial Times: "There are products that we have been working on for a number of years. I'm beyond excited that I get to continue working on those, and there are some new projects as well that I'll get to develop and contribute to." Source: Jony Ive will depart Apple to start his own company (Ars Technica)
  11. Intel Can’t Survive Without Apple, to Exit Smartphone Modem Industry Intel sees no reason to continue investments in the smartphone modem industry, so the company will auction off all of its patents and leave the business completely. This is according to a report from IAM, which writes that Intel wants to sell some 8,500 patents to whoever pays more. Intel will sell cellular and connective device patents, with the first category said to include approximately 6,000 patents that concern technologies owned by the company for 3G, 4G, and 5G standards. The latter section is likely to comprise around 500 patents. While Intel wants to get rid of all its mobile patents, some 5G-related patents will be retained, as the firm will continue to invest in other devices, like PCs and laptops. 5G network is becoming the next big thing for all mobile devices, not just smartphones, and Intel wants to be a leader in the 5G market when it comes to products such as notebooks and 2-in-1s.Qualcomm to supply chip for 5G iPhoneIntel giving up on its smartphone modem business and auctioning off all of its patents comes only a couple of months after historic settlement between Apple and Qualcomm. The two companies decided to end their legal dispute over patent infringement and sign an agreement that would have the San Diego-based chipmaker supply 5G chips for future iPhone models. Intel was originally projected to finalize the development of its own 5G mobile chip next year, but after Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm, it decided to abandon the project altogether. Apple was Intel’s biggest partner in the mobile market. “We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan back in April. An official announcement regarding the auction isn’t yet available, but further information should surface soon as we get closer to Intel’s rumored exit from the mobile industry. Source
  12. Multiple reports have indicated that Apple plans to transition to its own ARM-based processors in Macs starting as early as 2020, and the company recently made a significant hire that lends credence to that objective. ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips. Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple. Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company. Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year. Apple already designs its own A-series chips for the iPhone and the iPad, and it also designs the custom T2 security chip in recent Mac models, as part of its broader efforts to move to in-house components and chip designs. Apple has long been known for closely integrating its hardware and software. Last year, Bloomberg reported that the transition to ARM-based processors is part of a multi-step process that will eventually allow developers to create one app with a single binary that runs across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has already laid the groundwork for this with Project Catalyst. Update: ARM has confirmed Filippo's departure in a statement provided to Bloomberg: "Mike was a long-time valuable member of the ARM community. We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him well in his next endeavor." Bloomberg suggests that Filippo's experience could assist Apple with its ARM-based Mac processors. The report also suggests that Filippo could help fill the void left by the departure of Gerard Williams III, the lead designer of Apple's custom iPhone and iPad chips from the A7 to A12X, earlier this year. Source
  13. Here's How to Install iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Public Beta on Your iPhone and iPad Apple has released today the first public beta of its upcoming iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 operating systems for supported iPhone and iPad devices through the company's Apple Beta Software Program. Announced earlier this month duringApple's WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) 2019 event, the iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 operating systems for iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices are now avaiable for public beta testing. This means that anyone who wants to install them can do so right now without needing an Apple Developer account. Both iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 are very similar in features, promising a long-anticipated Dark Mode, up to 60 percent smaller updates, up to 30 percent faster FaceID unlocks, twice as fast launching of apps compared to previous releases, a completely revamped Reminders app, and new ways to navigate the world with Maps. They also bring the ability to sign in to apps and websites with your Apple ID as a unique identifier, support for third-party apps in the CarPlay app, new ways to browse the Internet with Safari, including a desktop mode for Safari on iPad devices, improved location services, and lots of new privacy features.How to install iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 public betaThe installation process of the iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 public beta versions is very similar. If you decided to continue, you should first make sure you have a full backup of your iPhone or iPad before proceeding. You must use iTunes for that as iCloud backups won't work if you are downgrading from a major version. Once you've created a backup, you can enroll your device into the public beta program by visiting the Apple Beta Software Program website for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. On your device, sign in with your Apple ID, navigate to the "Get Started" section, tap on the "enroll your iOS device" link, and then on the "Download profile" button. The iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 public beta profile will be installed on your device, so you can download and install the iOS 13 public beta 1 and iPadOS 13 public beta 1 operating systems by accessing the Software Update section under the General area of the Settings app. Make sure you're device is charged to at least 50% and tap the "Download and Install" button to download and install the public beta versions of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. The entire installation process is automatic, so just sit back and relax. That's it, you're now running iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. Enjoy! Source
  14. Apple Releases First Public Beta of macOS Catalina, Here's How to Install It Apple released today the first public beta of its upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15 operating system for Mac computers to allow public beta testers to give it a try on their Macs and send feedback. Announced earlier this month, macOS Catalina 10.15 is the next major release of the macOS operating system featuring the new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps, an all-new SideCar feature that lets you extend your Mac's display to an iPad device as a secondary display, as well as new security features to increase the protection of your Mac. macOS 10.15 Catalina also promises a Screen Time feature similar to the one on iOS, a unified Find My app to let you find your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, even if they're offline, an enhanced Voice Control feature for users with disabilities to allow to them take full control of their Mac entirely with their voice, and many other improvements and optimizations.How to install macOS Catalina 10.15 public betaInstalling the macOS Catalina 10.15 public beta on your Mac is easy, but first you should check if your Mac is supported and do a recent backup of your most important files. Then, you must enroll your Mac into the macOS Catalina public beta program by visiting the Apple Beta Software Program website. Sign in with the same Apple ID that you're using on your Mac to enroll your Mac into the public beta program. Once you are signing it, click the "enroll your Mac" link in the "Getting Started" section, which will redirect you to a web page where you will find instructions on how to install the macOS Catalina 10.15 public beta. Basically, you must click the "Download the macOS Catalina Public Beta" link, which will open the Mac App Store app to activate the redemption code on your Mac. After that, you will be redirected to the macOS Catalina page in the Mac App Store where you can download the installer. Once the macOS Catalina installer has been downloaded, you must follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your Mac. The entire installation process will take a while, depending on how fast your Mac and Internet connection is, so sit back and relax as everything is done automatically. Don't forget to keep your Mac plugged during the entire installation operation. That's it, when the installation is over, you are macOS Catalina 10.15 public beta on your Mac. Future beta versions will be received automatically through the built-in Software Update section in Preferences. Source
  15. Apple Outs iOS 12.4 Beta 5, watchOS 5.2 Beta 4, and macOS Mojave 10.14.6 Beta 3 Apple released today the fifth beta of its upcoming iOS 12.4 mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad, along with new beta versions of the macOS Mojave 10.14.6 and watchOS 5.3 software updates. The iOS 12.4 beta 5 (16G5056d), macOS Mojave 10.14.6 beta 3 (18G59b), and watchOS 5.3 beta 4 (16U5558b) are now available for download via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates for registered developers with a paid and active Apple Developer account. These new betas come two week after the previous beta versions. If you're running a previous beta version of iOS 12.4, macOS Mojave 10.14.6, or watchOS 5.3, you should install these new beta versions on your devices dedicated to beta software development as soon as possible. Corresponding public beta versions of iOS 12.4 and macOS 10.14.6 will be available shortly. The iOS 12.4 beta 5 release resolves an issue for application developers where running an app under the Leaks instrument in iOS 12.2 or higher versions may lead to random numbers of false-positive leaks. On the other hand, the macOS Mojave 10.14.6 beta 3 release resolves an issue that allow newly installed kernel extensions to load properly when no Internet is available. "The system now registers tickets stapled to installer packages that aren’t scanned by Gatekeeper," reads the release notes. "As a result, newly installed kernel extensions load properly when internet access is unavailable, which can occur if a user launches installation from a local folder or an enterprise uses automated tools to deploy an installer."New public beta versions of iOS 12.4 and macOS 10.14.6 coming shortlyThose who are using the public beta versions of iOS 12.4 and macOS Mojave 10.14.6 will soon be able to install the iOS 12.4 public beta 5 and macOS Mojave 10.14.6 public beta 3 releases on their devices. We'll let you know when the new public beta versions are available for download with an update to this story. The final iOS 12.4, macOS Mojave 10.14.6, tvOS 12.4, and watchOS 5.3 releases are expected to land early next month for all supported devices running iOS 12.3, macOS Mojave 10.14.5, tvOS 12.3, and watchOS 5.2. These updates will bring minor performance improvements and various bug fixes. Source
  16. Apple Joining Forces with Samsung for OLED MacBook Is Bad News for Microsoft Apple is reportedly in talks with Samsung over OLED screens that would be used on a brand-new MacBook model launching later this year or in 2020. While specifics are missing at this point, a report from Korean site ETNews reveals that Apple and Samsung are currently negotiating such plans after the Cupertino-based tech giant ordered fewer OLED panels for the iPhone than mentioned in the supply agreement. Samsung is the supplier for OLED screens for iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. But because these iPhone models failed to reach the estimated sales figures, Apple ended up ordering fewer panels than originally anticipated, so it should now pay millions of dollars to Samsung in the form of a penalty because the terms of the agreement were breached. The Cupertino-based tech giant, however, has been looking into several alternatives, and one of them includes pledging to an exclusive OLED supply deal that would have Samsung build such panels for MacBooks and iPads. In other words, these two devices would soon use OLED screens too, and given the previous reports on Apple’s hardware plans, the Cupertino is now expected to launch a MacBook with a display featuring OLED tech and measuring between 16 inches to 16.5 inches.Full switch to OLEDBy moving the MacBook and iPad lineups to OLED, Apple would get a step closer to a complete transition to this type of display tech. OLED was first used on the Apple Watch and later on the iPhone. Beginning with 2020, all iPhones are expected to use OLED. At the same time, with a bigger screen and OLED, the MacBook would boost its hardware arsenal when comparing the device with Microsoft’s Surface lineup and other high-end laptops. While the software giant keeps insisting for touch-capable devices, a capability that Apple is not interested in, Surface models still use LCD screens, with no plans to switch to OLED in the short term. OLEDs allow manufacturers to make their devices thinner and lighter, and the substrate can be flexible, which itself allows for a series of advantages. An OLED screen is also brighter and does not need back-lighting, thus requiring less power, which in turn means longer battery life. How Microsoft will improve the Surface lineup is something that remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Apple seems to be very serious about overhauling its MacBook lineup as soon as possible without even using the touch approach that Microsoft has spearheaded. Source
  17. Foxconn Founder Wants Apple to Give Up on Making iPhones in China Apple is seen by many as the next big victim of the trade war between the United States and China, especially after Huawei got banned from working with American firms. And while Huawei officials think China should leave Apple alone, the founder of Foxconn, which is one of the largest employers in China and the company in charge of building iPhones, recommends the Cupertino-based tech giant to leave the country. Terry Gou says Apple should move its iPhone production to Taiwan, as his company has the necessary facilities here to cope with Apple’s requirements. “I am urging Apple to move to Taiwan,” Gou was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “I think it is very possible,” he continued. Gou insisting for Apple to move iPhone production to Taiwan, however, isn’t necessarily surprising. Foxconn’s founder, who is also the largest shareholder of the company, is running for president in Taiwan, and bringing an American giant the size of Apple to the country would be a major win.Building iPhone elsewhereReports that made the rounds back in April revealed that Apple was working with Foxconn on a series of tests to determine how much production can be increased at Indian facilities. This was considered to be a backup plan in case things get ugly in China, albeit Apple itself is likely to boost production in India anyway, especially as it wants more models to be manufactured in the country. Meanwhile, another Foxconn official says building iPhones outside China is something that’s totally doable. Young Liu, board nominee and semiconductor division chief for Hon Hai, the company that owns Foxconn, said the production can be quickly transferred elsewhere if the Chinese government imposes sanctions against Apple. “Twenty-five percent of our production capacity is outside of China and we can help Apple respond to its needs in the U.S. market,” Liu said. “We have enough capacity to meet Apple’s demand.” Apple has remained completely tight-lipped on moving iPhone production out of China, but there’s no doubt company officials are not only worried, but also looking into their options should the tension increase between the two governments. Source
  18. Apple might put OLEDs in laptops and tablets to make up for slowing iPhone sales Better screens may be coming to MacBooks and iPads iPhone XS Apple may use high-end OLED screens in more of its devices, not necessarily just because it wants to, but also because it may satisfy a penalty it supposedly owes to its OLED supplier, Samsung Display — after reportedly failing to buy enough iPhone screens to make good on its contract. According to a report from ETnews, this repayment might even see Samsung’s OLED screens appearing in Apple products that have never featured them before, including notebooks and tablets (via AppleInsider). That’s merely what industry sources sayApple and Samsung may be considering as one of their many options to settle the dispute, so it’s far too early to say if that will happen — but it could make sense. Apple uses the vibrant high-end screens as a selling point for its iPhone XS and XS Max, but iPhone sales have been slowingand the company may need other places to put those screens. OLED screens aren’t just used in phones, they’re in tablets and notebooks, too — though, notably, none made by Apple. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S tablets are praised for their OLED screens, and we’ve been wowed by OLED screens when manufacturers put them in laptops, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. But it’s not clear when we might see them appear in Apple devices even if Apple buys in. Future revisions of the MacBook Pro (rumored to launch in 2021) and iPad are said to be using mini-LED screen technology, not OLED, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid track record predicting Apple’s moves. If that’s true, and if Apple just now decides to order laptop- and tablet-sized OLED screens, any OLED-equipped MacBook Pro or iPad might be quite a few years away. A safer bet is that we’ll see an OLED screen come to the low-cost iPhone XR’s successor, because that’s also a rumor we’ve heard before from none other than Kuo. That phone will apparently release in 2020, alongside the first 5G iPhone. Apple says that the iPhone XR is its best-selling phone, so putting one of these displays into a popular, somewhat affordable iPhone might be a good way to move a lot of OLEDs and satisfy Samsung at the same time. Source
  19. If you own a MacBook Pro, you are very lucky -- they are great laptops. Unfortunately, even top computer makers, such as Apple, can experience hardware issues leading to safety concerns, and sometimes, a recall. Today, Apple announces a voluntary recall for some MacBook Pro laptops. It is quite a scary issue too -- the batteries can overheat and cause a fire. In other words, it can potentially damage property, cause injuries, and worst of all, lead to death. The current generation is not impacted thankfully; if you have a 2016-2018 MacBook Pro you can breathe a sigh of relief. Actually, the only model covered by the recall is the "Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015." If you own that model, don't panic -- it is not all of them. To see if your computer has the faulty battery, you need to enter your serial number on Apple's website. The iPhone-maker explains below. Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number. Customer safety is always Apple's top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge. To verify, simply click here and enter your serial number. If your MacBook Pro is part of the recall, you should power it down and stop using it immediately. Just contact Apple to schedule a fix. Sadly, you might be without your computer for a while -- Apple says service can take 1-2 weeks to get done. Source
  20. Jaguar is a mouse. He lives at Harvard’s Rowland Institute, where, from time to time, he plays video games on a rig that looks like it belongs in A Clockwork Orange. Metal bars position him inside a small platform in front of a metal lever; his mission is to find a virtual box’s edges by feel. To do this, he reaches with his right paw to grab the joystick, which can rotate 360 degrees, and maneuvers it until he feels feedback from the machine. When he reaches the right target area—say, an edge of the box—a tube rewards him with a dribble of sugar water. To track Jaguar’s brain activity, researchers have genetically altered him so his neurons emit fluorescent light when they fire. This light is visible through a glass plate fused to part of his skull with dental cement. A microscope affixed above the plate records images of his brain lighting up as he plays. “Within one session, you can teach them new rules and literally watch thousands of neurons learn this process and see how they change,” says Mackenzie Mathis, the neuroscientist leading the experiments. In decades past, Mathis’s insights would have served only to advance what we know about mice and brain function. Today, however, she’s one of a growing number of specialized animal researchers assisting in the development of artificial intelligence software and brain-computer interfaces. She wants to discover how mice learn, in part because it could inform how we teach computers to learn. Watching mice react to unexpected situations in video games, for instance, could someday let her pass on similar skills to robots. Other neuroscientists are studying zebra finches’ songcraft. Some are becoming expert in the electrical conductivity of sheep skulls. Still more are opting for the classics of high school biology: fruit flies, whose neural setup is relatively simple to behold, or worms, who wring considerable juice from their few neurons. Over the past few years, technology companies have been raiding universities to hire away such people. Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter all hired doctoral candidates from one of Mathis’s recent fellowship programs, she says. “The Ph.D. students would have jobs before they got their degrees.” Animals have long played important roles in advancing corporate science, of course, particularly for medical treatments. But the leap required to translate insights from the zebra finch’s sound-processing anatomy into Siri’s voice-recognition software—or mouse gaming into a future when Amazon.com Inc. runs all-android warehouses—is of an entirely different order. With whole new industries at stake, the race to unlock the secrets of the animal mind is getting weird. In 1958, Cornell neurobiologist Frank Rosenblatt unveiled the perceptron, one of the earliest attempts to mimic inside a computer the architecture of a brain. Its processing elements, which he called neurons, coordinated to figure out, say, whether a particular photo depicted a man or a woman—a primitive stab at image recognition. The lingo used to describe the perceptron stuck, and Facebook, Google, and other companies continue to describe their vast AI computing systems as “neural nets” with millions of neurons working in unison. The shorthand vastly exaggerates the overlap between the realms of computation and cognition even today. It’s tough to replicate something you don’t really understand. The true workings of the brain—for instance, how a group of neurons stores a memory—remain elusive to neuroscience, so the neurons’ digital counterparts can’t help but be flawed imitations. They’re rudimentary processing engines trained to perform reams of statistical calculations and identify patterns, with the imprimatur of a biological name. Still, with the technology industry chasing what’s known as artificial general intelligence, or AGI, the walls between the two realms have grown more porous. The implicit goal is a functionally sentient machine that can figure out things by itself, instead of relying on humans to train it, and that independently wants things. To the relief of some ethicists, we’re a long way from AGI, but many computer scientists and neuroscientists are betting that brains will show us the way. Separately, several companies are battling to build brain-computer interfaces that could help prostheses behave like natural limbs or allow people to download knowledge into their minds. Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corp. is one such company; another is Kernel, run by tech multimillionaire Bryan Johnson. Neuroscientists are advising these startups on everything including how to blast information through skulls and make sure electrodes don’t cause infections in test subjects. The scientific principles common to both endeavors are evident at Mathis’s Harvard lab. “Here’s our mouse palace,” she says, opening the door to a room filled with dozens of mice in plastic cages. The animals scamper around, cocking their heads and twitching their whiskers as they inspect visitors. Their clean quarters emit only a mild whiff of rodent. A red light fills the habitat to make sure the creatures, nocturnal by nature, stay awake during the day, ready to contribute to science. That science includes the virtual-box game and a much harder one that looks like a primitive form of Mario Kart. For the latter, a mouse straddles two custom, motorized circular plates, its paws nestled into grooves on either side. A screen displays a green pathway with a blue rectangle at the end. As the mouse begins to run in place, trying to approach the blue rectangle, it must steer carefully to stay on the virtual pathway. Like humans, the mice take on a glassy-eyed cast as they play. The sessions last about a half-hour before they lose interest. The microscopes peering into their brains record an incredible amount of information. “We can cover most all of their sensory, motor cortex, and decision-making areas at the same time,” Mathis says. The researchers sometimes change the games’ rules and controls—for instance, by making joystick pulls result in zigzag motions instead of straight ones—then look for differences in how the neurons light up. Mathis has also been working to shut off subsets of neurons, such as the nodes associated with learning, to check how the remaining ones react. One early insight: When it comes to decoding motion, the sensory cortex seems to play a larger role, alongside the motor cortex, than previously thought. “These neurons are doing a lot more than engaging in one specific thing,” she says. One of her primary motivations is to learn more about how animals rapidly adjust to changes in their physical environment. When you pick up an object of unknown weight, for example, your brain and body quickly compute what kind of force is needed to deal with it. Robots can’t currently do that, but one infused with the neuronal learning patterns of a mouse potentially could. Mice are an unusually strong candidate to help bridge the gap, Mathis says. Their brains are complex enough to demonstrate high-level decision-making but simple enough for the researchers to deduce the connections given enough time. We’ve only relatively recently developed computers powerful enough to capture, process, and analyze the volume of data produced by a subset of the average mouse brain’s roughly 75 million neurons. And it’s only within the last couple of years that AI software has advanced far enough to automate much of the research. Mathis and her husband, Alex Mathis, a fellow neuroscientist, have developed open source software called DeepLabCut to track their subjects’ movements. The application uses image recognition to follow a mouse’s tiny digits as it plays a game and track its reaction to the sugar-water reward. Scientists used to do this type of work manually, jotting down every sip of water in their notebooks. The software now performs in minutes tasks that once required weeks’ or months’ worth of attentive human labor. “There’s a paper on primates from 2015 where they track quite a few body parts, like knuckles and limbs and one arm, and the monkey has different tasks, like reaching for things and holding them,” Alex says. “The first author of the paper wrote me and said his Ph.D. could have been two years shorter.” More than 200 research centers now use DeepLabCut to follow all manner of animals. This type of software development and analysis attracts tech companies to neuroscientists just as strongly as their insights about animal cognition. The modern brain researcher has to know how to code and work with incredible volumes of information, much as an AI staffer at Google would to improve an advertising algorithm or the lane-merging abilities of a self-driving car. Animal-centric neuroscientists are also accustomed to working with unconventional ideas. “You tend to get creative people that are a little bit cowboy,” Mackenzie says. “People who are willing to bet their career on trying to study a black box.” Tim Otchy doesn’t do mice. He’s a bird man. A research assistant professor at Boston University, Otchy sports a tattoo of a zebra finch on his right forearm. It shows the short, squat bird with a bright orange beak sitting on a branch and gazing pensively at the sky. “I do really like birds,” he says, sitting in an office filled with books—The Cellular Slime Molds, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, and Principles of Brain Evolution, to name a few. While Otchy was majoring in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the late 1990s, he also worked for a company that specialized in automating factory systems. His job was to teach robots to identify things, whether gadgets or auto parts, and sort them as they came down a conveyor belt. “It was just astounding to me how difficult it was,” he says. “These were tasks that children do.” His frustrations left him determined to uncover the inner workings of perception, decision-making, and learning. He left the factory line and, eventually, made his way to neuroscience and the zebra finch. Songbirds such as the zebra finch have an unusual skill set. Whereas most creatures know instinctively how to make noises, songbirds learn to imitate what they hear, then vary the tunes, demonstrating some semantic understanding of their songs. Decades of research have pinpointed the structure in the finch’s brain, what’s known as the song nucleus, responsible for this behavior. Studying this area has led to rich insights into how neural circuits function, in turn informing other research around how humans move, feel, and emote. Figuring out how the birds imitate one another could help explain how we do the same thing, which could prove important in, say, teaching language skills to a machine. Otchy works with about 300 birds at a BU aviary. For one experiment, a researcher will outfit a zebra finch with a backpack containing batteries that power a host of electronics attached to its skull. The bird is then placed in a sound booth about the size of a microwave, where it sings for days while Otchy and his team peer into its brain via mechanisms similar to the ones Mathis uses for her mice. As researchers have learned more about the zebra finch’s sound processing centers, they’ve sought to answer increasingly precise questions about its brain. “We don’t know how the information of how to ride a bicycle, or fly a helicopter, or speak Japanese, is stored in the brain,” Otchy says. “One day, we will have that knowledge.” He came to run this research center, the Gardner Lab, after its namesake, Tim Gardner, took a leave of absence to work at Neuralink, which seeks to augment the human brain with a superfast computer processor. The departure created considerable buzz among neuroscientists and among students excited by Musk’s vision. (Gardner, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, is moving the lab to the University of Oregon; he’ll stay on at Neuralink part time.) “It’s a fantasy at this point, but I find the idea that we could, one day in the distant future, really write information directly into the brain … amazing,” Otchy says. “I would love to be able to contribute in even a small way to figuring out how.” Birdsong researchers are among the hottest hires in a wide range of AI fields. After his dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley and a stint at Apple Inc., Channing Moore joined Google’s sound-understanding group, where he creates sound-recognition systems as sophisticated as the company’s image-recognition software, capable of distinguishing a siren from a crying baby. At Intel Corp., another Berkeley Ph.D., Tyler Lee, is drawing on his zebra finch research to improve voice processing—the type of technology that ends up in voice-command software such as Siri. “We’re trying to ask very similar questions,” he says. “How can I take auditory input, process it in a way that I can understand what a person is saying, what is the noise they’re in, what’s the environment they’re in?” Berkeley professor Frederic Theunissen, who runs the lab where Moore and Lee studied, says many potential applications arise from the focused research he oversees. “It’s a special set of skills you gain if you’re interested in automatic speech recognition, voice recognition, and so forth,” Theunissen says. Voiceprint-based security systems for phones and other devices are one example. Another is noise reduction in phone calls and videos. That application came out of Moore’s work with the noise-resistant birds. The neurons of the zebra finch are capable of isolating another finch’s song from the surrounding cacophony. Academics have been trying to declare it the age of neuroscience since the Reagan era, but in the early years of this century, the prospects for a young neuroscience graduate were low, and so were their numbers. Fifteen years ago, American universities counted fewer than 1,500 neuroscience undergrads and handed out fewer than 400 doctorates, according to the U.S. Department of Education. And even with such modest numbers, schools didn’t have enough full-time work or grant money to go around. When Drew Robson graduated from Princeton with a math degree in 2005, his undergrad counselor gave him a memorable piece of advice: Whatever you do, don’t pursue neuroscience. Robson ignored it and went on to found the Rowland Institute’s RoLi Lab with Jennifer Li, his partner and Princeton sweetheart. They’ve seen the field grow to the point that U.S. schools now award about 5,000 neuroscience bachelor’s degrees and 600 doctorates a year. “We’ve had this explosion of tools in the last 10 years,” Robson says. Team RoLi studies zebra fish, members of the minnow family whose bodies are transparent when they’re young, which allows researchers to observe their neurons without skull-plate surgeries and dental glue. A special mobile microscope Robson and Li developed helps them record which neurons are active while the fish swim. To capture different facets of zebra fish behavior, they might vary the current—leading an animal to turn away or swim harder in the same direction. “That’s many orders of magnitude more data,” Li says. “If you were to use biology, you can essentially cheat and look at what the solution should be without having to reinvent the wheel.” Robson says he wouldn’t mind trying to help Tesla solve those kinds of problems someday. The fluid borders between public and private enterprise in neuroscience have opened the question of who’ll control prospective mergers between humans and machines. The universities that long performed the most ambitious research are now rivaled by tech companies with access to larger computers and datasets. A fresh Ph.D. can expect to earn about $50,000 a year at a typical university, whereas private companies are offering well into six figures and a vastly higher ceiling beyond. Chris Fry, another zebra fincher, was earning $10.3 million a year as senior vice president for engineering at Twitter within a decade and a half of leaving Theunissen’s lab. “There is a massive exodus of talent from academia right now,” says Mackenzie Mathis, the mouse researcher. “It’s a choice to stay in academia.” Beyond the pay, many neuroscientists are drawn to the private sector because it tends to give them a chance to do more exciting, even weirder work—not to mention a break from writing grant applications. Yet decamping for Silicon Valley can also mean cutting off promising lines of research or leaving colleagues adrift. When Gardner went to work for Neuralink, one of his Ph.D. students switched schools, only to see his next eminent adviser take a leave of absence to work on his own startup. Li and Robson are heading to the government-funded Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, and starting in September. The fish couple stay on the public side because they like the freedom and flexibility of what Robson calls the “playground setting.” Yes, the animal experiments can do unnatural things to harmless, helpless creatures. They can also encourage a humanizing perspective—something we might want to see AI exhibit. Four years ago, before they’d finished their trackable microscope, Li and Robson were using an adhesive gelatin to keep young zebra fish swimming in place for a couple of hours, to measure how their neurons lit up. One morning the two arrived at the lab to find a big surprise: A larva they’d left swimming was still going 18 hours later, far beyond what they’d expected. “This animal was a champion,” Robson says. “Perfect,” Li adds. “His behavior was perfect.” Because of the rigors of the experiment, the researchers couldn’t save their hero for posterity, but they did the next best thing: Li and Robson installed his mom in a special aquarium as their pet. They named her Fred, after Amy Acker’s whip-smart character from the TV show Angel. Robson and Li say the development of AI and brain-computer interfaces is going to force humans to become more humane. After all, if one of our goals is to imbue thinking machines with our own morals, we’ll have to grapple more than we’re used to with what morality is. Questions like: Who deserves the power of enhanced thought? Should a self-driving car choose to save a passenger over a pedestrian? And how smart do machines have to get before they’re considered part of that equation? “That’s a fundamentally very moral question—how do you value life?” says Li, who studied philosophy as an undergrad. “It forces us to be rigorous in what our morality really boils down to,” Robson says. “You have to commit to something.” Source
  21. Apple Makes Repairing an iPhone More Convenient with Expanded Service Network Apple has announced a deal with Best Buy that allows all stores of the retailer to provide authorized servicing for the iPhone. This means that nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores across the United States can now repair your iPhone, in addition to the existing network that now includes more than 1,800 third-party service providers. Apple says that some 7,600 Apple certified technicians will be part of Best Buy’s Geek Squad in order to provide same-day iPhone repairs or to help service other Apple devices, like the MacBook and the iPad. “If a customer ever needs to repair their products, we want them to feel confident those repairs are done safely and correctly. We’re always looking at how we can reliably expand our network of trained technicians and we’re excited to partner with every Best Buy store so it’s even easier for our customers to find an authorized repair location near them,” Tara Bunch, Apple’s vice president of AppleCare, says.Three times more service centersAccording to the Cupertino-based tech giant, its repair service network is three times larger than in 2016, and the company estimates that eight out of ten customers should have a service center within a 20-minute distance from home. There are several regions that will benefit from this deal between Apple and Best Buy, including Yuma, Arizona; Sioux City, Iowa; Twin Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming and Bismarck, and North Dakota. “We love being there for our customers no matter what their Apple need is, from helping them choose the right device, to offering AppleCare protection and now helping fix their devices,” Best Buy’s Trish Walker, president of Services, said in a typical press releasey statement. If you’re looking for more information on where to repair your iPhone, you can find all details on Apple’s dedicated page here. Source
  22. Apple Releases Beta 2 of iOS 13, macOS 10.15, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and watchOS 6 Apple has seeded the second beta version of its upcoming iOS 13, macOS Catalina 10.15, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and watchOS 6 operating systems to registered developers. Earlier this month, on June 3rd, Apple unveiled the future of its iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS operating systems, namely iOS 13, macOS Catalina 10.15, tvOS 13, and watchOS 6, along with an iOS derivative optimized for iPad devices, iPadOS 13. The company also seeded the first beta version for testing to registered developers at that point in time. Now, two weeks later, Apple seeded iOS 13 beta 2 (17A5508m), macOS Catalina 10.15 beta 2 (19A487l), iPadOS 13 beta 2 (17A5508m), tvOS 13 beta 2 (17J5501l), and watchOS 6 beta 2 (17R5507l) to registered application developers with a paid and active Apple Developer account. As expected, this second beta release resolves more bugs and adds various improvements. If you're running the first beta of iOS 13, macOS Catalina 10.15, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13 or watchOS 6, you can now install the beta 2 release via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates by downloading the respective beta profiles from the Download section on your Apple Developer account. However, be aware that many issues are still present in this early development releases. What's new in iOS 13, macOS 10.15, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and watchOS 6 beta 2 The iOS 13 and iPadOS beta 2 releases address AirPlay mirroring issues, adds support for syncing or updating devices running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 from a Mac computer that runs macOS 10.14 and Xcode 10, improves Face ID to no longer crash unexpectedly, and implements the ability to edit their widgets without rotating the iPad in landscape orientation. The Activity app for Apple Watch was improved as well to no longer crash when the user views the Trends on the last day of the month and accurately and reliably lists calorie count on Friend Activity Sharing history. iOS 13 and iPadOS beta 2 also adds Audio Sharing compatibility with 1st generation AirPods or later, as well as PowerBeats Pro. Additionally, iOS 13 and iPadOS beta 2 bring various audio improvements, enhancements to the Files app, support for uploading imported books and PDFs to iCloud Drive in the Books app, the ability to adjust the playback volume on the home screen when the song is paused, and fix numerous other annoying issues and bugs. macOS Catalina 10.15 beta 2 implements a new mechanism for loading third-party kernel extensions which requires you to restart your Mac, adds installation support for encrypted drives that aren't formatted as APFS, adds various improvements for Macs with the Apple T2 Security Chip, and adds support for Dolby Atmos content and downloads in the Apple TV app. Support for running iPad apps on macOS 10.15 was improved as well, the several app received various changes, including Mail, Books, iWork suite, Final Cut Pro, Finder, Music, Photos, Podcasts. macOS Catalina 10.15 beta 2 also adds the ability to automatically join WPA3 networks and support for Siri to communicate with the new Music and Podcasts apps. Lastly, watchOS 6 beta 2 removes the requirement to have your iPhone connected to Wi-Fi or the correct language and region before pairing an Apple Watch, adds support for voiceover to identify contact names and the status of their invitation in the Walkie-Talkie app, and adds support for downloading apps from the App Store using your Apple Watch cellular plan. Calendar events are now correctly synced with your iPhone, Clock complications now correctly appear in the Apple Watch Face Gallery on your iPhone, adds support for dialing Emergency Services using the keypad dials when the Screen Time and Downtime are enabled, and allows you to play visual Voicemail messages from within notifications. Source
  23. (Reuters) - Apple Inc has asked its major suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving 15%-30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a restructuring of its supply chain, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report on Wednesday. Apple's request was a result of the extended Sino-U.S. trade dispute, but a trade resolution will not lead to a change in the company's decision, Nikkei said s.nikkei.com/31zCGhw, citing multiple sources. The iPhone maker has decided the risks of depending heavily on manufacturing in China are too great and even rising, it said. Key iPhone assemblers Foxconn, Pegatron Corp, Wistron Corp, major MacBook maker Quanta Computer Inc, iPad maker Compal Electronics Inc, and AirPods makers Inventec Corp, Luxshare-ICT and Goertek have been asked to evaluate options outside of China, Nikkei reported. The countries being considered include Mexico, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. India and Vietnam are among the favorites for smartphones, Nikkei said, citing sources who did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. Last week, Foxconn said it had enough capacity outside China to meet Apple’s demand in the American market if the company needed to adjust its production lines, as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap further $300 billion tariffs on Chinese goods. China is a key market for Apple as well as a major production center for its devices. A group of more than 30 people from Apple’s capital expense studies team have been negotiating production plans with suppliers and governments over monetary incentives that could be offered to lure Apple manufacturing, the report said. A deadline has not been set for the suppliers to finalize their business proposals, Nikkei said, adding that it would take at least 18 months to begin production after choosing a location. Apple and Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Source
  24. Apple to Get a Step Closer to the iPhone of Our Dreams in 2020 The 2020 iPhone lineup will include several major changes for the Apple ecosystem, and these include not only the addition of a 5G smartphone and the full switch to OLED, but also new dimensions for the smallest and biggest iPhones. The latest-generation iPhone models are available in three different sizes, namely 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS, 6.1 inches for the iPhone XR, and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. But according to top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is aiming for a different lineup next year, so the three models will measure 5.4 inches, 6.1 inches, and 6.7 inches. In other words, the smaller iPhone will be smaller, while the bigger iPhone will be bigger, and the iPhone XR successor will be the only model retaining its dimensions. However, this particular configuration will give up on the LCD screen for OLED, as all iPhones will use this display technology beginning with the 2020 generation.5G iPhone just around the cornerKuo says 2020 will also witness the debut of a 5G iPhone, and this is something that we’ve heard before on several occasions. The device will use a Qualcomm chip, and the analyst claims Apple is pushing harder for its own 5G baseband chip, albeit this is unlikely to be ready until 2022. This means the iPhone 5G will be powered by Qualcomm for at least one year. Apple will launch 5G versions of both the 5.4-inch and the 6.7-inch iPhones, while the 6.1-inch configuration will only offer LTE. A smaller iPhone is without a doubt good news, especially given how successful the iPhone SE and the 4.7-inch iPhone have been over the years. By reducing the dimensions of the iPhone XS successor, Apple scores extra in terms of usability and the overall feeling in hand, which is something that many users are looking for these days. While I still believe that a 4.7-inch iPhone with the design and small bezels of the iPhone XS would be the right way to go, a 5.4-inch model could be a major step in this regard, but it obviously remains to be seen how the new iPhone will sell. Source
  25. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. US President Donald Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss trade and other hot-button issues facing the tech company as Trump deliberates whether to make good on his threat to hike tariffs on imports from China. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump during an event that Trump held with governors on skills development. Cook is a frequent visitor to the White House and has worked with Ivanka Trump on her job training and education initiatives. The president often name-checks Cook as a business leader who has brought jobs and investment back to the United States. On Thursday, Trump spoke with Cook about "trade, US investment, immigration and privacy," White House spokesman Judd Deere said. A spokesperson for Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. The meeting comes as Trump weighs whether to go ahead with proposed increases to tariffs in his trade war with China. He has said he will make a decision some time after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June, where he hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump is using tariffs to push Xi to change a host of Chinese trade practices, but negotiations have flagged. Makers of consumer electronics like phones and tablets have escaped the brunt of tariffs to this point but likely would be affected by the next hike. US authorities are also preparing to probe market power of large technology companies, according to sources. Cook has defended his company, saying it has a moderate share of the market and is not too large. Source
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