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  1. Apple Outs macOS Mojave 10.14.4 with Safari Improvements, AirPods 2 Support Apple released today the macOS Mojave 10.14.4 software update for Mac users adding several new features and enhancements across various other apps, as well as the usual bug fixes and stability improvements. Coming hot on the heels of iOS 12.2, the macOS Mojave 10.14.4 update is here for Mac users with support for the recently announced 2nd generation AirPods wireless headphones, and various improvements to the Safari web browser, including Dark Mode support for websites that support custom color schemes, warnings for unencrypted web pages, and automatic login to websites after filling the credentials. macOS Mojave 10.14.4 also restricts push notifications from websites only after the user interacts with them, and replaces the old "Do Not Track" feature with Intelligent Tracking Prevention to protect users against cross-site tracking. The update also adds support in the iTunes app for more editorial highlights in the Browser tab for Apple Music subscribers.Enhanced support for external GPUs, other improvements and bug fixesThe macOS Mojave 10.14.4 software update also introduces Air Quality Index support in the Apple Maps app in the US, UK, and India, enhanced support for external GPUs in the Activity Monitor app, better audio quality for recordings in the Messages app, improved reliability of USB audio devices with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models announced in 2018. It also resolves various annoying issues reported by users, such as Wi-Fi connection problems after upgrading to macOS Mojave, graphics compatibility issues with certain external display in 2018 Mac mini models, the disappearance of re-added Exchange accounts in the Internet Accounts panel in System Preferences, and default screen brightness problems in MacBook Air Autumn 2018 models. Other than that, macOS Mojave 10.14.4 fixes an issue with the App Store that may prevent the adoption of the latest versions of Apple's Keynote, Pages, Numbers, GarageBand, and iMovie apps, as well as a problem that prompted users for their AOL passwords in the Mail app. Apple recommends all Mac users to update to macOS Mojave 10.14.4 as soon as possible via the Software Update panel in System Settings. macOS Mojave 10.14.4 release notes Source
  2. Apple unveils TV streaming platform and credit card Apple has unveiled its new TV streaming platform, Apple TV+, at a star-studded event in California. Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey were among those who took to the stage at Apple's headquarters to reveal their involvement in TV projects commissioned by the tech giant. The platform will include shows from existing services like Hulu and HBO. Apple also announced that it would be launching a credit card, gaming portal and enhanced news app. The event was held in California and Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was clear from the start that the announcements would be about new services, not new devices. It is a change of direction for the 42-year-old company. Image copyrightAPPLE Image captionSteve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston Apple TV There had been much anticipation about Apple's predicted foray into the TV streaming market, dominated by the likes of Amazon and Netflix. The Apple TV+ app was unveiled by Steven Spielberg and will launch in the autumn. Spielberg will himself be creating some material for the new platform, he said. Other stars who took to the stage included Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, comedian Kumail Nanjiani and Big Bird from Sesame Street. The app will be made available on rival devices for the first time, coming to Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio smart TVs as well as Amazon's Firestick and Roku. Image copyrightAPPLE Image captionOprah Winfrey spoke of the potential of a book club on Apple TV+. The subscription fee was not announced, and notably absent from the launch line-up was Netflix, which had already ruled itself out of being part of the bundle. "The test for Apple will be, can new content separate them out from their competitors and can they commission and deliver on fresh new content that can reach audiences in the same way that Stranger Things has for Netflix for example?" commented Dr Ed Braman, an expert in film and production at the University of York. Apple Card Image copyrightAPPLE Image captionThe physical version of the card is made of titanium and does not have a card number or signature space on it. The Apple Card credit card will launch in the US this summer. There will be both an iPhone and physical version of the card, with a cashback incentive on every purchase. The credit card will have no late fees, annual fees or international fees, said Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey. It has been created with the help of Goldman Sachs and MasterCard. News stand The firm also revealed a news service, Apple News+, which will include more than 300 magazine titles including Marie Claire, Vogue, New Yorker, Esquire, National Geographic and Rolling Stone. The LA Times and the Wall Street Journal will also be part of the platform, the firm said. It added that it will not track what users read or allow advertisers to do so. Apple News+ will cost $9.99 (£7.50) per month and is available immediately in the US and Canada. It will come to Europe later in the year. Unlike TV+, the news platform will only be available on Apple devices. Image Copyright @[email protected] Report Gaming Image copyrightAPPLE Image captionApple Arcade will offer 100 games not available elsewhere. A new games platform, Apple Arcade, will offer over 100 exclusive games from the app store which will all be playable offline, in contrast with Google's recently announced streaming platform Stadia. It will be rolled out across 150 countries in the autumn but no subscription prices were given. in 2018 analyst firm IHS Markit valued the global gaming market on iOS, Apple's operating system, at $33.5bn. There is space within that market for a platform like Apple Arcade which is not financed by in-app purchases or advertising, said IHS director of games research Piers Harding-Rolls. "Apple's decision to move up the games value chain with a new, curated subscription service and to support the development of exclusive games for its Arcade platform is a significant escalation of the company's commitment to the games market," he said. "Apple joins the other technology companies Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon and others in investing directly in games content and services." Analysis: Dave Lee, North America technology reporter, at the Steve Jobs Theater Apple is making an aggressive push into several markets in which, thanks to sheer scale alone, it immediately becomes a massive player. Its TV service has been long in the making, and Apple has amassed a roster of big stars, as expected. A bigger test will be how creative those ideas will be - a lot of Netflix's success has been about finding new talent, not throwing money at already famous names. I also have reservations about how many boundaries Apple will be prepared to push with its creative endeavours: if it's as controlling with its television as it is with its brand, it will create a catalogue bereft of risk-taking. But TV is just a small part of what Apple is going for here. It wants (and needs) to turn its devices into the portal through which you do everything else - TV/film, gaming, reading the news... and you'd presume other things in the very near future. The announcement of a credit card shows how far Apple is prepared to go to make sure life is experienced through your iPhone. As Oprah put it on stage: "They're in a billion pockets, y'all." Source
  3. Poster's note: This is a long multipage article. Please use the source link or Table of Contents to see the full article and slideshows. Apple's TV play has been a long time coming, but there might be new hardware, too. Enlarge / The Steve Jobs auditorium on Apple's new campus. Update: Tomorrow, March 25, Apple will hold its first public event of 2019 at 1pm ET (10am PT). And press invitations, rumors, and prior evidence indicate this event could hold an unprecedented announcement for the company: its long-anticipated streaming content business. Ars will be on site Monday to find out and liveblog all of it, but for now we're resurfacing our rundown of what to expect from Apple this week and what surprises may be in store. This story originally ran on March 15, 2019 and appears unchanged below. On March 25, Apple executives and partners will take to the stage in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's Cupertino campus to talk about subscriptions, software, services, entertainment, and media. These are all things Apple has dealt with before, but never before has an event focused so completely on them as we're expecting later this month. That's not to say it's impossible that hardware will appear. The timing is right for an update to Apple's base iPad model, and reports and rumors have been joined by developer beta evidence to imply that hardware refreshes are imminent for a few Apple products like the iPad, iPad mini, iPod touch, and AirPods. These would fit perfectly in an event focused on services like TV, Music, and News: they are media-consumption devices, first and foremost. But this will be Apple's first public event after it reported a marked decline in worldwide iPhone sales, worrying pundits, analysts, and investors that the iPhone-hardware-dependent company is in for difficult times. It is fitting (and perhaps telling) that the event will focus on services—the division Apple is happiest to boast about right now—rather than hardware. Of course, you should be skeptical when you read hot takes on the Internet declaring that Apple is doomed because its iPhone sales are down primarily in China. It's not good news, but other companies would give anything to have the financial and market position that Apple does in most of its worldwide business interests, even with that rare sign of weakness. I write "most" because Apple is actually lagging substantially behind in the one area I expect the March event to emphasize the most: television. The iTunes Store is a relatively successful platform for buying episodes of TV series, but many people these days prefer to watch TV shows that are part of a streaming subscription bundle like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. And while we generally liked the Apple TV 4K as a media-streaming hardware solution when we reviewed it, Apple's market share in that space is unimpressive. The cheaper, more accessible, less closed-off Roku platform dominates. That's not to mention the fact that many of today's TVs ship with Netflix and the like built right in, and more than half of US households own video game consoles with ample video streaming app libraries. But the same story was emerging for music on iTunes before Apple launched the massively successful Apple Music service. Could the same happen again with television or with news? And what do we know about the new iPads that may or may not be announced? Let's explore both the definites and the possibilities at Apple's March 25 event. Table of Contents Definites An Apple streaming TV service A news and magazine subscription service Possibilities An updated iPad and iPad Mini (and maybe an iPod touch) Second-generation AirPods The AirPower charging mat New Apple Music or App Store features and content Stuff we won’t see <snip> Poster's note: This is a long multipage article. Please use the source link below or the above Table of Contents to see the full article and slideshows. Source: Everything you need to know before Apple’s March 25 “it’s show time” event (Ars Technica)
  4. Apple Overtakes Microsoft to Become the World’s Most Valuable Company Apple’s recent announcements of new iPads and AirPods have given a boost to the Cupertino-based tech giant, propelling it past Microsoft and helping the firm reclaim the title of the world’s most valuable company. Apple has long been the leader in terms of market cap and even reached $1 trillion in August 2018. Since then, however, the company has mostly been on a decline, with poor sales of new devices, like the iPhone XS and XS Max, often considered to be the main culprit. More recently, however, Apple announced products that have helped the company recover, including here the aforementioned iPads and AirPods. And this all pushed its market valuation to no less than $916 billion, enough to become the leader once again. Microsoft, who has previously been the number one for several months, dropped to the second place with a total market cap of $908 billion on Thursday.New Apple increase likely next weekBut while Microsoft is now the runner-up, there’s a good chance a switch of places happens again in the coming weeks, especially as the software giant has until now been on a constant ascending trend. Apple is also expected to record another boost next week, as the company will be holding a new event on March 25 to announce a series of new products, including what’s likely to be a news service. New iPhones are projected to launch in September this year, and according to people close to the matter, the company wants to launch three different models for the 2019 generation that will be all successors to the existing devices. What’s unclear at this point, however, is whether Apple plans to address the price issue of the iPhone, as sales have declined in the last few months specifically due to the high price of these devices. iPhone XS starts in the United States at $999. Source
  5. Kaspersky files antitrust complaint against Apple in Russia After Spotify complained about Apple's unfair App Store policies to EU authorities, Kaspersky does the same in Russia. Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab filed today an antitrust complaint against Apple with Russian authorities in regards to the OS maker's monopolistic grip over its official App Store. Kaspersky claims that Apple used its power over the App Store and the entire iOS app ecosystem to force its engineers into removing two features from the Kaspersky Safe Kids iOS app --namely app control and Safari browser blocking. The company argues that Apple did so to eliminate competition for the "Screen Time" feature that the OS maker added in iOS 12 in September last year. APPLE IS SABOTAGING "SCREEN TIME" COMPETITORS In a blog post published today, Kaspersky said that other app makers like AdGuard and Kidslox also lost their abilities to restrict access to apps after interventions from Apple. Furthermore, the Russian firm claims that Apple has embarked on what appears to be a concerted effort to crack down, remove, or reject any third-party screen time apps that may compete with built-in iOS features. "By setting its own rules for that channel, [Apple] extends its power in the market over other, adjacent markets: for example, the parental control software market, where it has only just become a player," Kaspersky Lab said. "It is precisely in this extension of its leverage through possession of so-called 'key capacity' over other segments, leading to restriction and elimination of competition, that we see the essential elements of antitrust law violation, which consist of erecting barriers and discriminating against our software," the antivirus maker added. "We have repeatedly tried to contact Apple to resolve this situation, but no meaningful negotiations have ensued." Kaspersky lodged its complaint with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS), and only in Russia, but not in the European Union. The antivirus maker recognized Spotify's similar effort in the EU. Last week, the music streaming service filed a similar antitrust complaint against Apple because of its strict control over the App Store. Spotify claimed that Apple had used unfair App Store taxes to suppress the growth of Spotify and other competitors for Apple's own music service --Apple Music. Apple posted a blog post answering the Spotify complaint in the EU, but an Apple spokesperson did not return a request for comment in regards to Kaspersky's complaint today. KASPERSKY TOOK ON MICROSOFT AND WON This is not the first time that Kaspersky Lab files antitrust complaints against a Silicon Valley tech giant. The company filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in Russia and the EU in November 2016. The antivirus maker argued that Microsoft made it unfairly difficult for antivirus providers to compete following a major Windows 10 update. Kaspersky dropped its complaints in August 2017 after reaching a common ground with Microsoft after the Redmond-based OS maker revised its antivirus and update policies. Source
  6. Apple wants all of the spotlight on its new services and subscriptions next week. Enlarge Apple We're one week out from Apple's services-focused event in Cupertino, and the company just announced a pair of devices we've been expecting for quite some time. Apple debuted a new, $499 10.5-inch iPad Air and a new, $399 7.9-inch iPad mini today. Both have familiar designs but also have the company's new A12 Bionic chip. The new iPad Air looks like previous models, with thicker bezels on the top and bottom of the advanced Retina display (now with True Tone technology) to house the camera array and the physical Home button. While both new iPads have updated cameras that can better handle low-light situations and immersive AR experiences, they appear to omit FaceID entirely. Inside the iPad Air is the new A12 Bionic chip with Apple's neural engine, and the company claims it will make the new Air 70 percent faster than previous versions, with twice the graphics power. The updated display now supports the Apple Pencil as well, giving more users the opportunity to draw, sketch, and take notes on an iPad. Similar updates were made to produce the new 7.9-inch iPad mini. Apple's most compact iPad now runs on its A12 Bionic chip, which the company claims will provide three times better overall performance and nine times faster graphics performance. The new iPad mini now has an advanced Retina display with True Tone, and it will support the Apple Pencil as well. Much like the new Air, the new mini didn't receive other noticeable design updates—it still has chunky top and bottom bezels as well as the physical Home button. The $499 iPad Air sits closer to the regular iPad in Apple's lineup, with a starting price that's $170 more than the $329 iPad that debuted last year. The latter device was positioned as an education-focused, affordable option for those who wanted an iPad but didn't want or need the power and price tag of an iPad Pro. With its A12 Bionic chip, the new Air will be a more powerful device than the base iPad, and it may attract more customers with its easier-to-swallow starting price (the iPad Pro, in comparison, starts at $799). While the new iPad mini looks identical to its previous model, it's a refresh that was much needed. The mini hasn't seen a meaningful update since 2015, and the spec bumps in the new version may encourage users to finally upgrade. Apple has typically announced new iPads at spring events, but the event to be held on March 25 this year will focus entirely on upcoming services. Apple will likely announce its new and highly anticipated TV streaming service and possibly a new news subscription service. The new iPad Air and iPad mini are available for preorder today from Apple's website. The iPad Air starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage (a cellular model starts at $629). The iPad mini starts at $399 for a Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage (a cellular model starts at $529). Source: Apple updates $499 iPad Air, $399 iPad mini ahead of services event next week (Ars Technica)
  7. Apple Releases Sixth Beta of iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 Apple released today the sixth and probably the last beta versions of their forthcoming iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 software updates. Continuing the weekly release cycle for new betas, Apple released today the iOS 12.2 beta 6 (16E5227a), macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta 6 (18E220a), watchOS 5.2 beta 6 (16T5225a), and tvOS 12.2 beta 6 (16L5226a) for testing through its Apple Developer portal for registered developers who want to prepare their apps for the upcoming software releases. Users running last week's beta 5 releases of iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 can now update their devices to the beta 6 builds, which they can download and install via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates or directly from their Apple Developer account from the Downloads section. Unfortunately, there are no important changes worth mentioning in this sixth beta milestone as Apple is putting the final touches to its iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 operating system updates, which will introduce several new features like Apple News support for Canadian users and new Apple Watch faces.Public beta 6 of iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 coming soonThe sixth public beta version of iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 will also be available later today or sometime in the next 24 hours for everyone else who doesn't have a paid Apple Developer account. We'll let you know as soon as the new public beta versions are available with an update to this article. We believe Apple plans to release the final iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 software updates to all supported devices by the end of the month as the Cupertino, California-based company plans a special event for March 25th, 2019, where it will unveil new video streaming and news subscription services. iOS 12.2 beta 6 Source
  8. Apple Unveils All-New iPad Air and iPad Mini with High-End Features, Performance Apple surprised everyone today by unveiling two new iPad models that were believed to be announced later this month during the company's forthcoming "It's show time" spring event. All-new 10.5-inch iPad Air and 7.9-inch iPad mini were announced today by Apple with high-end features and top-notch performance as the company aims to offer iPad users more diversity and compatibility with latest devices. The all-new 7.9-inch iPad mini is the first of its kind to offer support for the Apple Pencil, but also comes with an advanced Retina display and the A12 Bionic chip. The new iPad Air also comes with support for the Apple Pencil since it borrows the design of last year's iPad Pro models with 20% larger, edge-to-edge Retina display featuring True Tone technology. In addition, the 10.5-inch iPad Air promises 70% boost in performance, great Wi-Fi performance, Gigabit‑class LTE connectivity, and built-in eSIM technology. "iPad continues to provide magical new experiences for a growing range of uses where it is the absolute best device, from playing games in augmented reality to note-taking and drawing with Apple Pencil, from streaming HD movies and editing 4K films to learning to develop apps with Swift Playgrounds," said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.Prices and availabilityTargeted at remote workers who are always on the go, the all-new iPad Air and iPad mini are available to order starting today from apple.com, the Apple Store app, and local Apple Stores in 27 countries, and they will come to more countries next week. Both the 10.5" iPad Air and 9.7" iPad mini are available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold finishes with either 64GB or 256GB internal storage. As for the pricing, the 10.5-inch iPad Air starts at $499 USD for the Wi-Fi model and $629 USD for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, while the 9.7-inch iPad mini starts at $399 USD for the Wi-Fi model and $529 USD for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Customers will also be able to purchase them from Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers at different prices. Apple also announced today that next week it would release an update to the iWork suite for iOS that will feature enhanced integration of Apple Pencil to allow users to draw animation paths for any objects, as well as an all-new graphical user interface that makes it easier to build effects like move, scale, and rotate. The new iWork version will be available for all iOS users. iPad mini 5 iPad mini 5 with Apple Pencil support 7.9" iPad mini with Apple Pencil support iPad mini 5 with Apple Pencil and Apple Keyboard Developing story... Source
  9. Apple Loses Another Patent Violation Lawsuit Against Qualcomm The war between Apple and Qualcomm continues, and this time the one celebrating the victory is the San Diego-based chipmaker. The court ruled against Apple, as the jury explains that the company violated three different patents and must pay a total of $31 million in damages. This is also the amount that Qualcomm was hoping to obtain as part of the legal dispute. The lawsuit was started in 2017 by Qualcomm due to what it described as an infringement on three patents covering technology also used on an iPhone. Qualcomm said Apple used its systems to allow a smartphone connect to the Internet after powering on, graphics processing and battery life, and traffic management features for the processor and modem. The chipmaker was trying to obtain $1.41 per infringing iPhone, while Apple explained during the trial that one of its engineers, Arjuna Siva, was involved in the development of one patent that Qualcomm claimed it violated.Next legal battle in a monthWhile Apple lost this lawsuit, it’s expected the company would appeal the ruling. In a statement for Bloomberg, Cupertino accused Qualcomm of trying to switch the attention from what it describes as “larger issues,” all using such patent violation claims. “Qualcomm's ongoing campaign of patent infringement claims is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the larger issues they face with investigations into their business practices in US federal court, and around the world,” Apple said. Qualcomm, on the other hand, says the ruling is living proof that Apple used its technology without paying for it. “Today's unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in our worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them,” Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg explained. “The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly.” Apple previously sued Qualcomm in a separate lawsuit, with the iPhone maker claiming its partner refused to pay no less than $1 billion in rebate payments. The two will appear in court in this case next month. Source
  10. Apple to Unveil iOS 13, macOS 10.15, tvOS 13 & watchOS 6 at WWDC 2019 on June 3 Apple announced today that its annual developer conference, WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) will take place in San Jose between June 3 and 7, 2019. Apple fans rejoice, WWDC 2019 dates have been announced and registrations are now open for Apple's biggest event of the year for developers and users alike. The highly anticipated event will take place from June 3rd to June 7th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, the United States. As usual, Apple's CEO Tim Cook and other well-known employees will kick off the WWDC 2019 event with a keynote speech on June 3rd, where they will unveil the upcoming iOS 13, macOS 10.15, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13 operating systems and their new features, enhancements, and other notable changes. "WWDC is Apple’s biggest event of the year. It brings thousands of the most creative and dedicated developers from around the world together with over a thousand Apple engineers to learn about our latest platform innovations and to connect as a community," said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.WWDC 2019 registrations are now openApple announced today that developers interested in attending the WWDC 2019 event can now apply for tickets, which will be available starting today until March 20th at 5 p.m. PDT from the official Apple Worldwide Developers Conference website. Admitted developers will be notified of their application status on March 21st at 5 p.m. PDT. For those who can't attend this year's WWDC event, Apple said that it would live stream the entire conference on the Apple Developer website, as well as through the WWDC app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV devices. Apple also put up about 350 WWDC scholarships for students interested in joining the Apple developer community. Until then, we remind everyone that Apple plans to unveil a video streaming service and an expanded Apple News service for magazines and other publications later this month on March 25th during the so-called "It's Show Time" event, where the tech giant might also unveil some new hardware. Source
  11. Apple Announces "It's Show Time" March 25th Event, Here's What to Expect Apple finally started sending invites to the press on Monday to the company's spring event, which usually takes place at the end of March. On March 25th, Apple will hold a special event called "It's Show Time" where the tech giant is rumored to unveil new services and products. Last year, Apple unveiled the 2018 9.7" iPad with Apple Pencil support, as well as various new apps suitable for teachers, students, and related educational activities. While Apple is keeping the information about what it plans to unveil as secret as possible, this year we believe that the Cupertino, California-based company plans to expand its Apple News service with magazines and other publications, and announce a brand-new video streaming service to rival Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Most probably, Apple's "yet to be named" video streaming service will contain content that's already available on similar services, as well as original content as the tech giant spent more than $1 billion on original shows and signed big Hollywood stars like Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner.AirPods 2 and AirPowerThis year, Apple could only concentrate on the new news and video streaming services instead of hardware, so we don't think there will be a hardware announcement at this time. However, it is possible that the company might unveil the rumored 5th generation iPad mini, AirPods 2, and AirPower wireless charging mat. Whatever is the case, Apple's "It's Show Time" event will bring fans new services and products to enjoy at home or on the go. The special event will be live streamed on Apple's special event page and will take place at the Steve Jobs theater in Cupertino on March 25, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. PDT or 5:00 p.m. GMT. Source
  12. Fitbit Says Its Afib Detector Will Be Different from Apple’s One of the main selling points of the latest-generation Apple Watch is atrial fibrillation detection, a feature that rival Fitbit still lacks, even on its top devices. And while Fitbit’s wearables are yet to get such capabilities, the company started working on major improvements in the health department at least since 2017, and atrial fibrillation detection was one of the priorities. Many expect Fitbit to roll out this feature as soon as this year, but as far as Fitbit CEO James Park is concerned, there’s no reason to be in a hurry. Because, as he explains in an interview with Wareable, it all comes down not to being first to the market with a specific feature, but to actually get it right. “For us our strategy it’s not been about getting the latest features out there first, so when you see us launch FDA-regulated features like apnea or AFib, we’ll be taking a different approach,” he said. “I think for us it's making sure that it’s really clinically relevant. It’s not just about alerting people, but making sure that there’s a good next step. I’m a big fan of these technologies and early detection coming out, but if you read some of the criticisms it’s about the number of false positives, the unnecessary raising of people’s anxieties. And if you look at some of the use cases, you’re being told if you have AFib today this is not for you, or if you’re under 65 don’t really use it.”Afib detection on current Fitbit modelsOne of the main questions that need to be answered right now is whether Fitbit can enable atrial fibrillation detection on the current devices. Park says the system doesn’t necessarily be similar to Apple’s, which requires the user to touch the Digital Crown, which itself features a titanium electrode and allows the creation of a circuit to generate an EKG reading. In other words, the existing sensors could theoretically allow Afib detection too, and this means that once it’s read, the feature may become available on several Fitbit models. “I think there’s a lot of data you can get with purely the optical sensors,” Park explained. For now, the timing when Afib detection becomes available on Fitbit devices depends on a series of factors, including the FDA approval. The target seems to be 2019, but it could very well be pushed to 2020 if the first implementations aren’t as accurate as Fitbit expected. Source
  13. Apple Releases Fifth Beta of iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 Apple released today the fifth beta of its upcoming iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 software updates for registered developers via the Apple Developer portal. The iOS 12.2 beta 5 (16E5223a), macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta 5 (18E215a), watchOS 5.2 beta 5 (16T5222a), and tvOS 12.2 beta 5 (16L5221a) are now available for registered developers interested in testing their apps for compatibility against Apple's iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 operating systems. If you're running last week's fourth beta releases of iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2, you can now install beta 5 builds by downloading them via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates directly on your devices dedicated to beta software development, or by downloading them from your Apple Developer account. Developers are recommended to update their devices enrolled into the Apple Developer beta program to the fifth beta release as soon as possible. There are no notable changes included in the beta 5 release of iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2, which means that only bugs or security fixes are included this time. iOS 12.2 beta 5 Developing story... Source
  14. Hackers use stolen Apple prototypes to break into iPhone Apple's production lines are so massive that it's easy to imagine iPhones being smuggled out of there. We all know the story of the prototype iPhone 4 that was left at a bar, spoiling what could have been one of the biggest surprises in Apple history. But have you heard the one about the stolen prototype iPhones that are still winding up in unintended hands — in this case, hackers bent on finding ways to break into Apple’s operating system? As per a report, some of the most prominent iOS hackers have made use of prototype iPhones to break into iOS. Just like every smartphone maker, Apple also develops a prototype or 'dev-fused' iPhone for testing different technologies, modems, chips. If you are an iPhone user, chances are that you know about Cydia, the jailbroken app store for iPhone and iPads. While Jailbreaking is a type of hack that is mostly used to sideload paid apps for free, there are other types of hacks as well. Hacks that are either much more problematic or useful, depending on which side of the hack one is in. Apple phones come with a Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) that encrypts sensitive data on the phone and is set-up as a separate entity. Motherboard investigated how some of the best hackers were able to get study the chip and the answer is said to be a “dev-fused” iPhone, which is an iPhone that was lifted before finishing the production process. As per the report, these dev-fused iPhones are pre-jailbroken devices in which many security features are disabled. This is so that researchers can test them easily but these devices were never intended to get out of Apple’s reach. The Motherboard report says there’s now a gray market for “dev-fused” iPhones and each product sells for thousands of dollars. Why? Because they help hackers, security researchers crack iPhones and find critical vulnerabilities in them. Gaining root access to these pre-production iPhones is said to be much easier than doing the same on a commercially available iPhone. Source
  15. Apple Getting Ready to Launch 7th Gen iPod touch with All-Screen Design Rumors pointing to a new-generation iPod have been swirling around for many months, but as per Apple’s typical approach, not a single hint was offered that the company could be working on such a device. But as it turns out, the 7th Gen iPod touch is closer than we think, and there’s a good chance it’d feature an all-screen design with virtually no bezels, more or less like the iPhone XS. An icon discovered in iOS 12.2 beta 4 by Jonathan Mitchell shows the possible design of the upcoming iPod, with no home button apparently pictured. Interestingly, the device doesn’t seem to feature a notch either, so there’s a chance that Apple could give up on some features versus the iPhone. Details about a possible launch date of the new-generation iPod touch aren’t available right now, but Apple will be holding a new event on March 25 at its own headquarters. Many speculate this is the right moment for Apple to announce the new iPod, especially because the company typically uses the September event for the unveiling of new iPhones exclusively.Don’t hold your breath for a new iPodNeedless to say, you’re recommended to take this new leak with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially because there are signs that it could very well be fake. For example, the iPod touch logo doesn’t seem to be centered, which would be an unexpected design mishap from Apple given how attention the company typically pays to such things. Furthermore, the lack of modern features, like Face ID and the notch, raises questions regarding Apple’s approach on a new iPod, especially because Cupertino is so keen on bringing the facial recognition system on as many devices as possible. Expect more leaks to surface in the coming weeks as we approach the possible release date of the device. Source
  16. Is Apple getting ready to abandon Lightning for a new power and data port? Patent filings suggest that Apple is working on a new waterproof port to replace the Lightning port found on the iPhone and iPad. But does Apple need a new port? While there's no doubt that patent filings are interesting because they give you a glimpse into some of the things that secretive companies such as Apple are working on, you have to temper any enthusiasm with a healthy dose of suspicion because big companies file a lot of patents, and most of the time they have little or no intention of bringing that feature to market. Take the latest patent application spotted by Patently Apple for a new style of connector for the iPhone and iPad that's waterproof and could replace the Lightning port. Except it almost certainly won't. And here's why. First off, as has been demonstrated with the current iPhone, the Lightning port is already waterproof. While it might be nice to have a port that's completely impervious to water, dirt, and dust, I doubt that this is a high priority for Apple. The Lightning port is good enough as it is. Another reason is that Apple is already eyeing another port – the USB-C port. Not only can this be found on the new MacBooks, but it is also present on the new iPad Pro tablets. If Apple is going to shift to a new port, it's likely to be USB-C. But then there's the whole issue of whether in a few years if the iPhone will need a Lightning port at all. As wireless communication and charging take over, the need for that port lessens. And the Lightning port is itself proven, and likely has another decade in it before it hits old age. The fact is that big companies apply for a lot of patents. Most of the time the ideas never see light of day. That's just how it is. Source
  17. Apple Watch Makes Apple the King of Wearables New data provided by IDC for the fourth quarter of 2018 shows that sales improved by no less than 31.4% worldwide, reaching a record of 59.3 million units. Out of these shipments, smartwatches accounted for 34.3%, while wrist bands improved to 30%. Earn-worn devices like the AirPods secured 21.9% of the market, according to IDC. When it comes to Apple alone, the Cupertino-based tech giant is clearly the undisputed leader of the wearable market with more than double the shipments of the runner-up. Apple has thus remained number one during the quarter with total sales of 16.2 million units and a market share of 27.4%. This is up from 13.3 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 and a 29.6% share. Second-placed Xiaomi is far behind with just 7.5 million units sold in Q4 2018 and 12.6% market share, followed by Huawei and Fitbit with 5.7 million and 5.5 million units, respectively.Apple Watch sales going upOverall, Apple topped the charts in 2018 with total sales of 46.2 million units, up from 33.1 million units the year before. Xiaomi is again the runner-up with 23.3 million units, while Fitbit is third with 13.8 million units. Last year, Huawei posted the biggest growth, as its sales jumped no less than 147.3%, followed by Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple with 85.1%, 44.6%, and 39.5%, respectively. “The Series 4 has been off to a very strong start and IDC anticipates this to continue as more healthcare organizations and consumers adopt the latest device. The remainder of Apple's shipments were comprised of AirPods and Beats headphones in the ear-worn category,” IDC says. While the Apple Watch itself is growing bigger, IDC notes that Xiaomi is also improving all over the world, and its wearable portfolio benefits from increasing demand. “Xiaomi's Mi Band 3 alone accounted for over 30% of all wrist bands shipped during the quarter,” IDC notes. Source
  18. Apple Could Launch AirPods 2 on March 29 - Report Apple is expected to hold an event in late March, and one of the devices that could be introduced is the second-generation AirPods. While everything’s still in the rumor stage, Applesfera reports that sources in the supply chain obtained a document pointing out that the original AirPods would be discontinued in March as well. The site speculates that this is because the AirPods 2 could go live this month too, possibly to go on sale only a few days after the unveiling event. While Apple has obviously remained completely tight-lipped on everything related to the new AirPods, reliable leakster @OnLeaksrevealed in February that “brand-new AirPods and new colors” are only expected this fall, possibly alongside the 2019 iPhone generation. On the other hand, what Apple could introduce at the March event is a new wireless charging AirPods case that would also support the first-generation model.Second-generation iPhone SE unlikelyUp to this point, very little is known about Apple’s March 25 show, but the rumor mill speculates the company could roll out even a second-generation iPhone SE. This is once again very unlikely, with the majority of Apple analysts pointing out that the company’s iPhone lineup would comprise only three models that are all successors to the 2018 generation. This means Apple would only unveil upgrades to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR later this year, with no iPhone SE in sight. What Apple could announce at the event, however, is the highly-anticipated AirPower charging pad that would technically offer support for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. The product was originally projected to launch in 2018, but was pushed back a few months, so it’s now believed that late-March could be the new target for Apple. We’ll hear more about Apple’s plans in the coming weeks as we approach the March 25 event. Source
  19. Huawei regularly tried to steal Apple trade secrets: Report Huawei had an internal reward program for employees who stole trade secrets and a company engineer attempted to probe an Apple supplier for information on its latest smart watch, a report from The Information claims. An engineer for Huawei probed an Apple supplier for information on its latest smartwatch as part of the Chinese tech giant's alleged plan to steal Cupertino's trade secrets, a report claims. According to The Information, which cited unnamed sources, Huawei has approached suppliers and even Foxconn assembly line workers, for information on parts used in Apple products, from Apple Watch heart-rate monitors to connector cables in the MacBook Pro. Apple's current and former employees say it is part of a slew of tactics that Huawei has employed to obtain technology from rivals, especially via its suppliers in China. A Huawei spokesman denied the alleged report by The Information, while Apple did not provide comment. In January, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment accusing Huawei of pilfering trade secrets from wireless carrier T-Mobile. The indictment said Huawei had a formal program that rewarded employees for stealing information, with scaling bonuses based on the information's confidential value. The report also said Huawei employees posted what was obtained at an internal company website and were assured they would not be punished for such action. The allegations of trade theft have come amid an escalating row between the US and China. The US has charged the Chinese telecom giant with conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice, and IP theft after the company CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December for alleged money laundering and other crimes. China has denied the claims and has said the arrest of Meng and the charges were politically motivated. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week warned the country's allies on using Huawei equipment as it would make it more difficult to partner with them. The founder of Chinese telecom giant Ren Zhengfei had said there was "no way the US can crush" the company in his first broadcast interview that followed his daughter's arrest. Meng has since posted bail and is awaiting a hearing scheduled for March 6 while US has formally requested extradition. "There's no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit," Ren said in an interview with the BBC. "Even if they [US] persuade more countries not use us temporarily, we can always downsize and become smaller," he added. The company's 5G equipment in recent months has been banned or limited by the US, Australia, and New Zealand, while the UK's BT said it will be stripping Huawei from EE's mobile core. The Huawei founder was also critical of the US. "Firstly, I object to what the US has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable. The US likes to sanction others, whenever there's an issue, they'll use such combative methods. We object to this. But now that we've gone down this path, we'll let the courts settle it," he said. "If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn't represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world." Ren also said if the US "doesn't trust us", the company will shift its investment from the US to the UK at an even bigger scale. The founder also reiterated that it won't allow installations of backdoors by Huawei or the Chinese government. Ren has previously denied that the company had links to the Chinese government. Source
  20. Apple Releases Third Beta of iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 Apple has seeded today the third betas of its upcoming iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 operating system updates to registered developers via the company's Apple Developer portal. The iOS 12.2 beta 3 (16E5201e), macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta 3 (18E194d), watchOS 5.2 beta 3 (16T5201c), and tvOS 12.2 beta 3 (16L5201d) are here more than two weeks after the second beta versions, which Apple released earlier this month on February 4th, to fix more bug and recently discovered security issues. Registered developers with a paid and active Apple Developer account can now install the third iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 beta versions on their devices dedicated to beta software development via OTA (Over-the-Air) updates or from their Downloads page on the Apple Developer portal. Apple also released the second beta of its Classroom 2.0 app for Mac and macOS Server 5.8 beta 3. As for the changes included in the new betas, we can mention that photos shared using the "Sharing Suggestions" feature now load correctly on macOS and iOS, as well as an issue preventing prepaid data plan purchases over cellular data on iOS.Public beta 3 of iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 coming soonThe third public beta of iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 should be available shortly for public beta testing through Apple's Beta Software Program. If you're already running the previous public beta releases, you'll be able to update to public beta 3 via OTA updates as well. The iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2 software updates will be released in Spring 2019 as semi-major versions that add various new features like the availability of Apple News for Canadian users, support for Siri in iOS simulators, as well as exclusive Hermès faces for Apple Watch users. iOS 12.2 beta 3 Source
  21. His iPad Pro was bent. An Apple Genius found a sneaky way to get it replaced Perhaps it doesn't happen often, but some Apple Geniuses go out of their way to help. Even flouting the rules, it seems. They can be of kindly spirit. Apple Of late, Apple's been flexing its disciplinary muscles. Publicly berating Facebook for flagrantly ignoring Cupertino's app store rules, for example. Also: An Apple saleswoman says this is the only reason to buy an iPad Pro It's always been known for its harsh internal disciplinary methods. You can't imagine, then, that Apple store staff would ever circumvent company rules just to have a little fun. Or, imagine, to help customers. Yet a customer who experienced the profound pain of a bent iPad Pro 2018 offers a different tale. Revealing his story to the refined audience on Reddit, he said he was told by the Apple Genius that there were two possible outcomes: "Bend is within tolerance, no action taken." Or "Bend is outside of tolerance, paid replacement needed." After the iPad Pro Bendgate -- oh, it must be Apple Bendgate 7 by now -- the company insisted it was all perfectly normal, merely a "subtle deviation in flatness." I suppose that's a little like iPhone sales suffering a subtle deviation in magnitude. The Redditor -- handle u/hexcrucher -- said that his Genius offered a subtle deviation in the rules. "The genius kindly said, 'Well, if you had connectivity issues with your WiFi for example, I would have to order a replacement. So what is wrong with your iPad?". I replied, 'The WiFi I guess.'" It's a beautiful tale of one human simply trying to help another, rather than be bound by corporate strictures. What was even more moving, however, is that in the comments to this post, more tales of Apple Geniuses' sleight of mind emerged. One commenter revealed: "I had a 2016 MacBook Pro with a bad battery. Way out of warranty. I was going to get a repair quote. I had to wait 15 minutes past my scheduled time. The genius gave me a brand new MBP for my wait and took the old one off my hands." This seems like elevated humanity. How could the Genius do this? A former Genius, who says he left in 2015, said: "I would use a couple 'customer service codes' throughout the year. There's too much bullshit that consumers, myself included, have to put up with when it comes to device support." BS from Apple? Is that possible? Naturally, I asked Apple whether it views such acts of customer service generosity with admiration, or whether it's trying to track the miscreants down in order to flog them at the stake. I'll update, should I hear. Another Redditor claimed that such goodwill doesn't extend beyond corporate-owned stores. It seems that some non-corporately owned stores are even penalized for not finding a problem with a device. "Partners and Apple Authorized Service Providers are graded and compensated according to metrics, including No Trouble Found. If the reported symptoms are not present and reproducible it will negatively impact the partner," said one with apparent insider knowledge. Ultimately, it's not wise to waft into your Apple Store and ask for a Genius's sneaky indulgence. These tales may be exceptions, rather than norms. The Genius may be having a good or bad day. They might like the look of you or, well, dislike it rather a lot, especially your color matching. Please don't imagine they're all just looking to be loved. Why, not so long ago an Apple Genius told me, in withering terms, that I was charging my iPhone wrong. Source
  22. Former Microsoft Employee Joins Apple to Help Cupertino Catch Up with Google Apple is pushing harder on several fronts in order to revamp its smart home strategy, and one of the company’s latest moves is actually the hiring of a high-profile executive. Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft employee and owner of failed smart lock company Otto, will be joining Apple specifically with the purpose of helping the company catch up with Google and Amazon in the smart home race. Apple has more or less lost the battle here, despite the HomePod originally being praised by many people in the industry. As CNBCnotes, Apple hopes to win back the connected living room, and the new employee will have a major contribution in this regard. While an announcement over Jadallah joining Apple hasn’t been offered, the former Microsoftie has already updated his LinkedIn profile to state that he’s working for the Cupertino-based tech giant.A Microsoftie for more than 10 yearsJadallah previously spent more than a decade at Microsoft and later ran a start-up called Otto. The company was often described as “the Apple of smart locks,” and part of its workforce included former Apple engineers. The cited source mentions there’s no information right now on whether Jadallah would bring these employees with him at to Apple, but there’s a chance that at least some of them would join the company in order to work in the home division. There are several job openings in this particular unit at Apple, so former Otto employees could help fill in the spots to help Jadallah in his mission to revamp the smart home business. There are many questions that still need to be answered regarding this new hiring, but Apple’s making big efforts to grow in the connected living room, so expect other similar news in the short term, especially because Cupertino needs to act fast to get closer to Google’s Home and Amazon’s Echo. Source
  23. The AchieVer

    Apple buys voice app startup Pullstring

    Apple buys voice app startup Pullstring Apple has agreed to buy Pullstring, a San Francisco-based startup that enables the design and publishing of voice apps, Axios has learned from multiple sources. Why it matters: This could help Siri better compete with Alexa. Background: Pullstring was founded in 2011 by a group of former Pixar executives, and originally was used to power interactive voice apps for toys (including Hello Barbie in 2015). It later broadened its approach with the introduction of such IoT products as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant. It raised around $44 million in venture capital, from firms like CRV, Greylock, True Ventures, Khosla Ventures and First Round Capital. According to PitchBook, its most recent post-money valuation was just north of $160 million. The upfront deal value is said to be around $30 million, plus around $10 million in potential earn-outs for management. That would include CEO Oren Jacob, who once served as Pixar's CTO. Voice is seen as one of the next big things and Apple has been way behind both Google and Amazon in terms of adoption and being open to developers. Making it easier to write voice apps combined with a more open Siri could help close the gap, even though both Google and Amazon continue to invest heavily in voice. Apple was not immediately available for comment. Source
  24. Apple’s latest iPhone ad shows a different kind of portrait mode ‘fail’ ‘Why do you hate Jacob?’ Portrait mode causes some uncomfortable tension between two parents in Apple’s latest iPhone commercial, which has got to be one of the funnier spots that the company has produced in some time. In the ad, one mother is swiping through photos of the group’s kids when another notices that her son has been blurred and made unrecognizable by the iPhone’s portrait mode. She asks, “Did you... bokeh my child?” The ensuing conversation demonstrates how the effect can be dialed back or turned off altogether to get both kids in sharp focus — but the damage has already been done. Be considerate with your bokeh, people. This is also advice that extends to Android, as many devices now offer adjustable portrait blur. Apple doesn’t usually go for awkward humor with its marketing, but I’m into it. The “Why do you hate Jacob?” got me pretty good. I’m still one for just sticking with the regular camera mode, though. Maybe that changes once you have kids. Source
  25. Apple Imagines a Foldable iPhone But Don’t Get Your Hopes Too High Foldable phones are the next big thing in the mobile industry, and companies like Samsung and Huawei are spearheading this new form factor. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that others aren’t thinking about it either, and Apple is one of the companies that actually explore foldable phones too. While it goes without saying that you shouldn’t hold your breath for a foldable iPhone, a recent patentreveals that Apple has a slightly different idea as to what such a device should look like. As compared to the companies mentioned above, who plan to use the foldable concept in order to increase the available screen estate, Apple is looking into a different approach that would make it possible for a larger phone to become smaller and thus easier to carry around. Technically, Apple thinks that phones could fold using several hinges into a smaller form factor, which means that the device would offer a large screen in its default state, but become significantly smaller for portability.Idea dating back to 2011As DT notes, it’s not the implementation that matters right now, but the technology that Apple uses in this foldable phone, as the company could choose a different approach at any moment. In other words, if Apple does have the technology to create a foldable iPhone, it can further tweak it in a way that would allow more than one display to be used. The interesting part is that this patent is a continuation of another patent, which itself is a continuation of another patent, and so on until we go all the way back to 2011. So yes, Apple envisioned foldable patents nearly eight years ago, only that the company never tried to do anything about it. As with everything patent, you shouldn’t take this tech for granted, as it’s just an idea that Apple might just forget it existed and go forward with a different approach. Source
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