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Security Researcher Discovers Method for Brute Forcing iPhone Passcode in iOS 11

3 hours 29 min ago
A USB-based vulnerability that allows for the brute forcing of a passcode on an iOS device has been discovered by security researcher Matthew Hickey, reports ZDNet.

The method, which bypasses the 10-entry attempt that erases an iOS device when the setting is enabled, allows a hacker to plug an iPhone or iPad into a computer and send all passcodes, from 0000 to 9999, all at once, triggering an input routine that takes priority over anything else on the device. Hickey demos the hack in the video below.

"Instead of sending passcodes one at a time and waiting, send them all in one go," he said.

"If you send your brute-force attack in one long string of inputs, it'll process all of them, and bypass the erase data feature," he explained.All that's required to use this brute force password cracking method is an iPhone or iPad that's turned on and locked and a Lightning cable, according to Hickey. It works on iOS devices up to iOS 11.3.

Hickey's iPhone cracking method takes between three and five seconds for each four-digit passcode, which means it's slow and not as advanced as other passcode cracking methods employed by companies like Grayshift, which makes the GrayKey box. For this method to guess a six-digit passcode, Hickey says it would take weeks.

Apple in iOS 12 is introducing a new USB Restricted Mode that may put a stop to the vulnerability that Hickey has discovered, as well as vulnerabilities exploited by tools like the GrayKey Box.


With USB Restricted Mode, enabled by default on iOS devices running iOS 12, USB access to an iPhone or iPad is cut off if it's been more than an hour since the device was last unlocked.

That means computers and other accessories can't be used to access a locked iPhone if it's been locked for over an hour, disabling access via a USB to Lightning cable.
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Apple Launches Repair Program for Faulty MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboards

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 23:11
Apple today launched a keyboard repair program for MacBook and MacBook Pro models equipped with butterfly keys to address complaints over letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly, letters or characters that do not appear, and keys that feel "sticky" or do not respond in a consistent manner.

According to Apple, a "small percentage" of MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards from 2015 to 2017 can experience these symptoms.


Apple says that customers can bring an affected MacBook or MacBook Pro into an Apple retail store or to an Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive repairs free of charge, with the type of service to be determined after the keyboard has been examined.

Repairs may include the replacement of one or more keys or the entire keyboard. Eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models are listed below:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)

  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)

  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)

  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

No other MacBook or MacBook Pro models are included in the program, but it does cover eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models for four years after the first retail sale of the unit.

To initiate the repair process, customers should find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple retail store, or mail the device into an Apple Repair Center after contacting Apple support. Apple says that if the affected MacBook or MacBook Pro has damage that impairs service, the issue will need to be repaired first.

Customers who experienced keyboard problems but were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair fees for their damaged MacBook or MacBook Pro models can contact Apple to inquire about a refund. In some cases, repairs for keyboard issues were priced at upwards of $500.

Apple's decision to offer a repair program follows increasing customer dissatisfaction with the failure rate of the first and second-generation butterfly keyboards in the 2015 and later MacBook models and the 2016 and later MacBook Pro models.


Customer complaints have suggested that these models experience issues more often than prior keyboards due to the flatter butterfly keys that adopt dome switches for a more responsive feel. The design of these keyboards can cause keys to fail when dust or other small particles get into the keys, leading to the "sticky" and non-responsive keys Apple describes above.

Apple is facing two potential class action lawsuits over the defective keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models from customers who were forced to pay high prices for out-of-warranty repairs. Thousands of customers also signed a Change.org petition calling on Apple to fix the keyboard issues that are being addressed with the new repair program.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, MacBookBuyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Don't Buy), MacBook (Don't Buy)
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Bethesda Sues Warner Bros for Copying Fallout Shelter With New Westworld iOS Game

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:39
Warner Bros' new Westworld game for mobile devices is a "blatant rip-off" of Bethesda game Fallout Shelter, according to a lawsuit Bethesda filed in a Maryland U.S. District Court this week.

At issue are the similarities between the two games. In Fallout Shelter, which was first released in 2015, you run an underground bunker in the Fallout universe, directing your bunker inhabitants to build and run new facilities, go out on expeditions, and more, with the ultimate goal of building up the bunker.


Westworld, based on the popular HBO show and released this week, uses a similar concept, with an underground Delos facility that players are required to build out to create AI hosts and satisfy guests in the park. The ultimate goal is to build up your underground Westworld facilities along with the above-ground park.


In the lawsuit, which was shared by Polygon, Bethesda accuses Warner Bros and game developer Behaviour Interactive of breach of contract, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Behaviour Interactive worked on both Fallout Shelter and Westworld.

The Westworld game, says Bethesda, uses the same game design, art style, animations, and features as Fallout Shelter, in addition to stealing copyrighted computer code created for Fallout Shelter. As evidence for this, Bethesda claims Westworld has a unique bug that was also found in early builds of Fallout Shelter.

Fallout Shelter
According to Bethesda, Behaviour Interactive utilized its restricted access to Bethesda's intellectual property, including copyrighted code, to reduce costs and development time to bring Westworld to market faster.The Westworld game is a blatant rip-off of FALLOUT SHELTER. Working with the same copyrighted computer code used by FALLOUT SHELTER, Westworld has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements as FALLOUT SHELTER, all of which are owned by Bethesda.

Behaviour's breach of its contract with Bethesda is evidenced by the gameplay of Westworld, which uses the same copyrighted computer code created for Bethesda's FALLOUT SHELTER game. Behaviour's use of the computer code owned by Bethesda to develop Westworld even included the very same 'bugs' or defects present in the FALLOUT SHELTER code.It's impossible not to see the similarities between Fallout Shelter and Westworld, and as is pointed out in the lawsuit, several reviews and stories on the Westworld game that have come out over the last few months have noted those similarities. VentureBeat, for example, said in March that the "side-view user interface looks a lot like Fallout Shelter," while ShackNews said "Westworld mobile is definitely taking a page out of the Fallout book," during the same timeframe.

Westworld
In light of the alleged intellectual property theft, Bethesda has asked the court for a jury trial, statutory damages, and actual damages, along with restitution and lawyers fees and costs. The company is also asking for every version of the Westworld mobile game to be removed from distribution.

Tag: App Store
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a 'Side Winder' Cable Wrangler for MacBook Pro or MacBook Air From Fuse

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:03
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Fuse to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Side Winder, which is an accessory that's designed to let you quickly and easily wind up your MacBook charger's cord.


The reel design of the Side Winder lets you carry a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air Power Adapter, cord, and extension cable in a neat, compact package with no tangles and no hassle, making it ideal for use at home, when traveling, at work, and everywhere else in between.


With a traditional Power Adapter and cable setup, you may try winding the cord and the extension cable up around the adapter itself, but it's unwieldy and the cable never stays in place, which is the problem that the Side Winder aims to solve.

Side Winder is compatible with all 45W, 60W, 61W, 85W, and 87W MacBook Pro and Air chargers, with both MagSafe 1 and 2 and USB-C versions available. The MagSafe versions are available for $29.99, while the USB-C version is $33.99. The USB-C model includes a USB-C cord, but neither model includes a power adapter or extension cable.


Once the Side Winder is in place with the Power Adapter in the center and the cables positioned properly, winding up a cable is done with a simple twist of the top piece. When needed, you can pull as much cable out as you need to reach a power outlet, and then later, wind it back up again.


According to Fuse, it takes less than six seconds to fully wind a cable using the Side Winder, and it offers protection against cable damage and fraying by preventing stress at weak points.


In addition to this week's giveaway, Fuse is also offering a 10 percent off discount code and free shipping on the Side Winder for MacRumors readers. Just use this link to make a purchase.

We have 15 Side Winders to give away to MacRumors readers. To enter to win the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (June 22) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 29. The winners will be chosen randomly on June 29 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Tag: giveaway
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Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrants to Obtain a User's Smartphone Location Data

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:25
The United States Supreme Court today ruled that the government "is required" to obtain a warrant if it wants to gain access to data found on a civilian's smartphone, but only when it's related to the user's location data (via The New York Times).

Image via Wikimedia Commons
The decision is expected to have major implications for digital privacy moving forward as it pertains to legal cases, and could cause ripples in unlawful search and seizure cases that involve personal information held by companies like emails, texts, internet searches, bank records, and more.
In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies.

But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the decision was limited. “We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party,” the chief justice wrote. The court’s four more liberal justices joined his opinion. Today's vote in the case Carpenter v. United States came down to a 5-4 ruling, and originally emerged from armed robberies of Radio Shacks and other stores in Detroit dating back to 2010.

In the case, prosecutors relied on "months of records" obtained from smartphone makers to help prove their case, ultimately showing communication between Timothy Ivory Carpenter outside of a robbery location -- with his smartphone nearby -- and his accomplices inside of the location. The companies reportedly turned over 127 days' worth of Carpenter's records, with information as specific as whether or not he slept at home on any given night or if he went to church on Sunday mornings.

This led to the question by the Supreme Court justices as to whether the prosecutors violated the Fourth Amendment in discovering so much data on Carpenter's movements. Now, police will have to receive a warrant issued by the court in order to obtain any smartphone data as it relates to the owner's location data.

As the case continued, Apple and other technology companies filed a brief in August 2017 arguing against "rigid analog-era" Fourth Amendment rules. The brief deliberately stayed neutral on the topic of choosing sides, but urged the Supreme Court to continue bringing the Fourth Amendment law into the modern era. The companies stated that customers should not be "forced to relinquish Fourth Amendment protections" against intrusion by the government, simply because they choose to use modern technology.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: privacy, Supreme Court
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Turner Classic Movies Launches 'Watch TCM' tvOS App With Thousands of Classic Films on Demand

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:41
Alongside a major version 3.0 update that rolled out to its iOS app [Direct Link] earlier this week, Turner Classic Movies has also expanded support for its "Watch TCM" app to tvOS devices. Now the app can be downloaded to the fourth-generation Apple TV and fifth-generation Apple TV 4K, with thousands of classic films available on demand.


You'll need to have TCM already on your current cable or satellite TV package, and then once you sync the app to your log-in information you'll get access to its content. This includes two live streams for the east and west coast feed of Turner Classic Movies in addition to the on-demand movies.
Turner Classic Movies presents WATCH TCM, a “TV Everywhere” service that lets you enjoy unlimited access to the best of TCM, at no additional cost with your TV subscription. Not your ordinary “TV Everywhere” service, WATCH TCM is a content rich and in-depth movie companion that lets you experience the richly textured world of classic movies that only Turner Classic Movies can bring you. The company says this back catalog includes "nearly every title playing on TCM," including introductions by special hosts like Ben Mankiewicz. Both live and on-demand movies are presented uncut, commercial free, and in their original aspect ratios.

The app also features articles, cast and crew information, photo galleries, short films, film collections ("Birthday Tributes", "31 Days of Oscar", "Silent Sunday Nights", etc.) and more. All of the films can be added to your Watchlist so you can keep an organized list of what you want to watch next, but the app doesn't appear to integrate with Apple's TV app as of yet.

Watch TCM differs from Turner Classic Movies' film streaming service "FilmStruck" since it connects to your pre-existing cable subscription. FilmStruck is a standalone subscription service that starts at $6.99/month and raises to $8.25/month ($99 billed annually) and includes most of TCM's classic films as well as the Criterion Collection. The app first debuted on the fourth-generation Apple TV in late 2016.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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Nanoleaf's New Dodecahedron-Shaped Remote Gives You Access to 12 HomeKit Scenes

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 14:52
Nanoleaf's new 12-sided light-up remote joins its existing Nanoleaf Light Panels and Nanoleaf Rhythm, adding a whole slew of smartphone-free physical control options for your HomeKit setup in one easy-to-use accessory.

The Nanoleaf Remote is bigger than button and remote devices from other companies, but it offers access to many more scenes and as you'll see in my review, it's a great value if you already own a Nanoleaf setup and want a simple iPhone-free control method that anyone in the household can use.


For people unfamiliar with Nanoleaf, the company makes the Nanoleaf Light Panels, a HomeKit-enabled set of flat, triangle-shaped lights that connect together in a range of different user-designed configurations, providing both light and art. The Light Panels have LEDs inside and can be set to display dozens of different colors and patterns, which make up different light recipes.

I've had a Nanoleaf setup for more than a year, and it continues to be one of my favorite HomeKit products. The Remote is specifically designed for users who already have Nanoleaf Light Panels.

Design
Nanoleaf's Remote has a design that's not quite like any other HomeKit-enabled remote-style device on the market, with dodecahedron shape where each side activates a different scene.

The remote, which is a little bigger than palm sized, is made from a white plastic that admittedly feels a bit cheap, but it doesn't look bad sitting on a desk.


When the remote arrives, it comes in two halves, with one empty side and a one side that houses the batteries, an LED light, and the mechanism that provides a slight vibration whenever a new scene is activated. Two AA batteries (included in the package) fit into the battery compartment to provide power.


Once the batteries have been inserted, the two halves of the remote snap together. I wasn't quite able to get a perfect, seamless fit between the two halves, but that could be operator error.


I'm not sure how long the batteries are meant to last, but after about two weeks of use, the battery level is down to 85 percent. I suspect the batteries will need to be swapped out every few months, which is similar to other battery-powered HomeKit devices I own.

Setup
Setting up the Remote took less than 30 seconds using the Nanoleaf app, and it was as simple as the setup for any other HomeKit product. Under the Remote section of the app, there's an "Add Accessory" option, which requires the HomeKit code on the inside of the Nanoleaf Remote to be scanned. Once that's complete, the Remote is added to a HomeKit setup and scenes can be set either in the Nanoleaf app or the Home app.


On iOS devices, the Nanoleaf Light Panels and the Nanoleaf Remote work over HomeKit, and a HomeKit setup is required. You can also pair the Remote to the Nanoleaf Rhythm, however, which is required to enable full functionality, such as brightness controls. Sans a Nanoleaf Rhythm, which connects to the Light Panels to allow them to respond to sound, adjusting brightness does not work.


Pairing the Remote to both a HomeKit setup and to the Nanoleaf Rhythm will result in some error warnings in the Nanoleaf app. These error warnings exist because the dual pairing creates a disconnect between changes made to the programmed scenes in HomeKit and in the Nanoleaf app.

For example, if you set a "Good Night" scene to one of the sides in the Home app and then set a different scene to the same side in the Nanoleaf app, it won't sync and one will overrule the other. This wasn't a problem in daily use because I stuck to making changes only in the Home app, but I did find it confusing. Nanoleaf says improvements will be made to the app and the website to better explain this conflict to Remote users.

Despite these ominous error messages, everything is working well more or less as long as I adjust scenes in just one app, but it's definitely a confusing setup and I have run into conflicts.
According to Nanoleaf, you will need a Home Hub to use the Remote on iOS devices, which means you'll need to have a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad connected to HomeKit.

Usage and App
Activating a scene with the Nanoleaf Remote is done by lifting it up, turning it to one of the sides of the dodecahedron, and then setting it back down. A couple of seconds after you place it down, it will vibrate, light up, and the scene on the side that's facing up will activate.


Each side of the remote lights up with a unique color when it's activated and there's also a number for each side in one corner, so it's easy to tell one side from another. You'll need to memorize which number does what, but it only takes a couple of days to learn your scenes unless you're changing them frequently.

I love the light built into the remote, and I wish that I could set it to be on all the time, but that would probably kill the battery too fast. As it is, it's white most of the time with the colors only displayed when you rotate it.


The Nanoleaf Remote accurately recognized each side of the dodecahedron and I didn't have problems accidentally activating scenes I didn't mean to. A scene will activate based on which side is up when you stop rotating, so keep that in mind. It takes a second or two between when the remote is rotated and when a scene activates.


In addition to rotating the remote to different sides to activate HomeKit scenes, if you pair it to a Nanoleaf Rhythm, you can twist it clockwise or counterclockwise to change the brightness of the Nanoleaf Light Panels. A clockwise turn makes the Light Panels brighter, while a counterclockwise turn makes them dimmer.

Controlling brightness this way was convenient and worked well, but it was easiest to do turning the Nanoleaf Remote while it was on a desk or other flat surface rather than while in my hand.


Within the Home app (or the Nanoleaf app) a HomeKit scene (or multiple HomeKit scenes) can be assigned to each side of the Remote. While other buttons like this have different gestures listed, Nanoleaf's are all single press because the scenes are activated through rotations rather than different presses.

If you have a HomeKit-connected Nanoleaf setup already, you know that all Nanoleaf light recipes you install are also HomeKit scenes by default, so you all of your favorite Nanoleaf patterns are available in the Home app right alongside scenes you've created for other HomeKit products.


If you prefer to use the Nanoleaf app to assign scenes to the Remote, the interface is almost identical. If connected to HomeKit, it lists all of your pre-existing HomeKit scenes, and you can choose one from there.

While the Remote is meant to control the Nanoleaf Light Panels, it can also control all of your other HomeKit products. You can use any scene with the Remote, including Nanoleaf color scenes, rhythm scenes, and multi-device HomeKit scenes.


For example, I have side 11 of the Nanoleaf Remote set to turn down all of the Hue lights in my office after work in a scene I call "Relax," while side 12 is set to a "Good Night" scene that turns off all of the lights in the house and activates a night light.

Bottom Line
I've had trouble with some of the button and remote-style HomeKit products refusing to connect to my HomeKit setup after a period of time, but that hasn't been an issue with the Nanoleaf Remote.

In the few weeks that I've been testing it, the Nanoleaf Remote has been responsive every time and while I was skeptical of its ability to determine which side was activated, it works well. When I turn it, it reliably detects the correct side and activates the corresponding scene.

A lot of HomeKit control options use a single button with multiple gestures, but the Nanoleaf Remote is simpler. There's no need to press, double press, or triple press -- I just turn the remote to the right side.

With the ability to activate 12+ scenes (you can set multiple scenes to a single side) the Nanoleaf Remote offers more options than other products on the market, and at $50, it's competitively priced. Scenes can include just the Light Panels or you can incorporate other HomeKit products, which is useful for people with a range of HomeKit accessories. My only complaint is that there are some error messages you'll encounter in the Nanoleaf app, which definitely needs some serious improvement.

It takes a few days to memorize the 12 sides, but I found it surprisingly easy to keep track of what's what with a little bit of use. If you have the Nanoleaf Smart Panels and want quick access to different lighting scenes and a way to control your other HomeKit products without an iPhone, the Nanoleaf Remote is worth the purchase price and beats out other remote control options on the market, even with the app quirks.

How to Buy
The Nanoleaf Remote can be purchased from the Nanoleaf website for $49.99, and it's also available in Apple retail stores and the Apple online store starting today.

Note: Nanoleaf provided MacRumors with a Nanoleaf Remote for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Tags: HomeKit, Nanoleaf
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TSMC Ramps Up Production of 7nm Chips Ahead of 2018 iPhones, Invests $25 Billion to Move to 5nm by 2020

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 14:45
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process (via DigiTimes). One of the major customers for chips built with the technology will be Apple and the A12 processor, which is expected to be found in all three upcoming 2018 iPhones.

The announcement comes from newly appointed TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, who spoke during the company's technology symposium in Taiwan yesterday in hopes of dismissing recent speculation that TSMC's 7nm production was facing a "slower-than-expected" yield rate. Wei didn't provide specific orders and customers for the 7nm chip output, but indicated the ramp up will boost TSMC's overall production capacity from 10.5 million wafers in 2017 to 12 million in 2018.

Renderings of the 2018 iPhones
The chips built using the 7nm process technology are destined for AI, GPU, cryptocurrency, and 5G applications -- totaling 50 chip designs by the end of 2018. For iPhones, the new 7nm process will pave the way for the type of performance improvements customers expect in new iPhones every year.
Orders for Apple's custom A12 processor for use in the upcoming iPhones will play a major driver of TSMC's 7nm chip production growth in 2018, according to market sources. The foundry has secured 7nm chip orders from about 20 customers including AMD, Bitmain, Nvidia and Qualcomm. The majority of the orders will be carried out in the first half of 2019, the sources said. At the technology symposium, Wei also said that TSMC is scheduled to move a new 5nm node technology to mass production towards the end of 2019 or early 2020, with plans to invest $25 billion into the technology.

In January, DigiTimes reported that Apple selected TSMC to remain the exclusive supplier of the upcoming A12 processor for its 2018 iPhones, following rumors from last summer that Samsung could be returning to iPhone chip production this year. TSMC is the exclusive supplier of the A11 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, as well as the sole supplier of the A10 Fusion processor in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

According to a DigiTimes report last year, TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging technology -- which the supplier uses in its 7nm FinFET chip fabrication -- is largely superior to any progress made by Samsung in the same field, which eventually led to Apple's decision to stick with one supplier for all of its processors again this year.

Apple's decision to keep TSMC as the sole A-series chip manufacturer in 2018 will mark the third year in a row that the supplier created iPhone chips alone, following the A10 in 2016 and the A11 Bionic in 2017. The last time Apple dual sourced chips was in 2015, when both Samsung and TSMC supplied the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which frustrated some users when TSMC's technology was discovered to boast slightly better battery life.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTag: TSMC
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Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Collecting Street-Level Data in Japan

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 14:28
Apple Maps vehicles equipped with LiDAR sensors have begun collecting street-level data in Japan for the first time this month.


Apple will be surveying the Tokyo and Urayasu areas between June and October of this year, according to a new Apple Maps vehicles page created specifically for Japan, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Japan is the 11th country where the vehicles are collecting data since the initiative began in 2015, alongside Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

To date, Apple has periodically updated a list of locations where the vehicles will be collecting data on its U.S. website, including other countries, but Japan now has its own localized page, perhaps to satisfy local laws.

The verbiage on the page has suggested that Apple could be working on a feature similar to Google's Street View for Apple Maps:Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.

We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.In 2015, Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to launch a 3D street view feature, based on a combination of its existing Flyover mode with street-level data. He also said the data would help Apple shift to an in-house mapping database by 2018, reducing its reliance on third-party sources like TomTom.

By the sound of it, Apple's mapping data could be used for advanced augmented reality applications, as part of a future update to ARKit.

Early speculation suggested the vehicles could be the basis of an Apple Car, but those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards testing self-driving software with Lexus 450h SUVs near its headquarters in California.

If you spot an Apple Maps vehicle in a location yet to be listed on Apple's website, be sure to let us know at tips@macrumors.com.

Tags: Japan, Apple Maps vehicles
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Microsoft Updates Bing iOS App With AI-Powered Visual Search

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:51
Microsoft has announced a new visual search feature for its Bing app that lets users snap a picture with their phone's camera and use it to search the web.

The new visual search function builds on the AI-powered intelligent search capabilities already used by Bing, and works pretty much like Google Lens: Users take a photo of something or upload one from their camera roll, and then the search engine identifies the object in question and offers additional information by providing links to explore.


The feature appears as an icon in the Bing app's search bar, and can be used to search for everything from landmarks to breeds of dog, but Microsoft is pushing it as a way to shop from photos for clothes and home furniture:
Let's say you see a friend's jacket you like, but don't know its brand or where to purchase. Upload a pic into the app's search box and Bing will return visually-similar jackets, prices, and details for where to purchase.
Visual Search is available today in the U.S. via the Bing app [Direct Link]. Microsoft says the feature will also roll out soon for Microsoft Edge on iOS as well as Bing.com, which remains a search engine option in Apple's latest version of Safari browser.

Tags: Microsoft, Bing
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How to Stop WhatsApp Auto-Saving Images and Video to Your iPhone's Camera Roll

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 12:04
Some 60 billion messages are sent over the WhatsApp chat platform every day. One of the reasons for the service's massive popularity is that it lets users send and receive as many media-rich messages as they want, which – as long as they've limited WhatsApp's use of their cellular data plan – costs them next to nothing.

That's great news for senders, but one of the drawbacks of receiving multiple images and video clips from your WhatsApp contacts is that they're automatically saved to your iPhone's Photo Library. Apart from being an unwelcome sight in your personal Camera Roll, they can start to take up valuable storage space. Fortunately, you can easily prevent this default behavior by following the steps below.

How to Stop WhatsApp Saving to Your Camera Roll
  1. Launch the WhatsApp app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Settings icon (the small cog wheel) at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Tap Chat Settings.

  4. Toggle off the Save Incoming Media option so that it no longer shows as green.
Once you've turned off the above setting in WhatsApp, you can still manually opt to save individual media files that you receive in a chat thread. If your iPhone supports 3D Touch, simply hard press on the photo or video clip in question and swipe up to reveal the Save option. Alternatively, you can access the Save option by tapping the photo or clip and selecting the Share icon in the lower left of the screen.

How to Limit WhatsApp Media Downloads to Wi-Fi
If receiving images or video over WhatsApp is sapping your cellular data when you're out and about, you can prevent them from downloading to your iPhone until you're safely back in range of a Wi-Fi connection.


To do so, return to WhatsApp's Settings tab and select Data and Storage Usage. The options under Media Auto-Download let you dictate which types of media can be downloaded and under what circumstances. Make sure that the media types you're happy to wait for are set to Wi-Fi.

Tag: WhatsApp
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Apple Challenges Four Qualcomm Patents in Ongoing Legal Battle

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 00:29
Apple today filed petitions with the United States Patent and Trademark Office challenging the validity of four Qualcomm patents amid an increasingly vicious legal battle, reports Bloomberg. Apple is aiming to get the USPTO to cancel the four Qualcomm patents, arguing that they do not cover new ideas.

The patents in question cover camera autofocusing, a device that functions as a phone and a digital assistant, touch-sensitive displays, and circuit memory.


Challenging patent validity is one of Apple's typical strategies in its legal battles. According to Bloomberg, Apple has filed a total of 398 such petitions with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

For the Qualcomm filing, a trio of judges will consider the petition along with responses from Qualcomm, and will issue a preliminary decision on whether Apple's argument has merit. If Apple has a chance of getting the patents declared invalid, the USPTO will conduct a formal review before issuing a final judgement on the matter.

Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a legal battle since the beginning of 2017, with the dispute centered on how much Apple should have to pay Qualcomm in royalties. Apple claims Qualcomm has been charging unfair royalties for "technologies [it] has nothing to do with," while Qualcomm claims its technology "is at the heart of every iPhone." Apple has used Qualcomm LTE chips in its devices for years, but has been moving away from Qualcomm's technology due to the legal fight.

Both Apple and Qualcomm have filed multiple lawsuits against one another, with Qualcomm also seeking import and export bans on some iPhones in the United States and China.

Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify on June 27 as part of Qualcomm's initial lawsuit against Apple, which accuses the Cupertino company of lying to regulators to cause trouble for Qualcomm in multiple countries.

Last week, the United States International Trade Commission began investigating whether Apple infringed on three Qualcomm patents related to power management, radio voltage, and graphics processing. A pre-trial report from the ITC's lawyers suggested Apple infringed on the power management patent, but not the other two patents. A ruling on the ITC case, which has the potential to lead to an iPhone import ban, is expected in September.

Tags: lawsuit, Qualcomm, patent trials, Patent lawsuits
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Deals: $15 Off $75+ Orders at eBay, 10% Off at Gazelle, Beats Studio3 for $205, and More

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 20:43
eBay today launched its latest sitewide coupon code, offering customers the chance to save $15 on orders that reach or exceed $75. The code isn't as enticing as eBay's previous sitewide sales, but could still give shoppers the chance to save money on a variety of items, excluding video game consoles, laptops and netbooks, coins and paper money, gift cards and coupons, and real estate.

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

Otherwise, those interested can shop throughout eBay, add items to their cart until it reaches $75, and checkout with the coupon code PSUPERSUMMER before 7:00 p.m. PT tonight, June 21. The code can only be used once and within a single transaction, and only eBay users registered with an address located in the United States, Canada, Latin America or the Caribbean can take part in the sale. Head to eBay's Daily Deals page and home page to start browsing before the sale ends in a few hours.

Gazelle has also kicked off a sitewide sale this week, allowing shoppers to take 10 percent off items across the site through June 24. Gazelle's storefront offers discounts on used iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more, all inspected by the company and ensured to be working properly and backed by a 30 day return policy. Those interested can start shopping on Gazelle today and simply add any item into their shopping cart to see the 10 percent savings automatically applied during checkout.


In other deals, there are a few Beats discounts happening this week on Amazon. The company's official Amazon store has the BeatsX in Black for $89.99, down from $149.99, which has been a frequent sale price for the in-ear headphones.

More notable is a nice discount on the Beats Studio3 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, marked down to $204.95 from $349.99 in Matte Black, White, and Blue. Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart have knocked down prices on the Studio3 Headphones to around $205-$220 in recent weeks, but Amazon's price is one of the lowest currently available online for the high-end headphones.

Below you can also find a few of the latest charging accessory promo code discounts offered by Anker and Choetech on Amazon:

Anker

Choetech
For more details about this week's best discounts and offers, be sure to visit our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
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GarageBand for Mac Updated With New Drummers, Loops, Sound Effects and Free Artist Lessons

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 19:57
Apple today updated its GarageBand music creation software for Mac to version 10.3, introducing new loops, sound effects, drummers, and more, all for free.

There are two new Drummers that offer Roots and Jazz-influenced brush styles, along with 1,000 new electronic and urban loops that cover genres like Reggaeton, Future Bass, and Chill Rap.


Apple says that it has added more than 400 animal, machine, and voice sound effects that can be worked into music creations, and there are also free downloadable Artist Lessons.

The new Artist Lessons are designed to teach users how to play hit songs on piano and guitar, and are taught by the artists that made the songs famous.

This is the first major update to GarageBand for Mac in a year. The last update, 10.2, was introduced in June 2017 and brought new Drummers along with support for the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.

Since April 2017, the GarageBand apps for both iOS and Mac have been available to download for free. You can get the new version of GarageBand for Mac from the Mac App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: GarageBand
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Final Cut Pro Gains Support for Editing RAW Files From DJI Inspire 2 Drone

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 19:42
Apple today updated Final Cut Pro, its video editing software for professionals, to version 10.4.3, introducing minor new features and a few bug fixes.

The new update introduces support for viewing and editing ProRes RAW files from the DJI Inspire 2 drone with the DJI D-log setting, which is the only new feature that Apple listed in its software release notes.


The update also addresses a bug that could cause deleting unused render files from a Compound clip in the browser not to work, and it fixes an issue that resulted in some Panasonic P2 video files being imported with mixed-down audio channels.

Today's 10.4.3 update to Final Cut Pro comes one month after 10.4.2, another minor bug fix update, and more than two months after the release of Final Cut Pro 10.4.1, a major update that introduced a new ProRes RAW format, new closed captioning tools, and enhanced tools for exporting files.

Final Cut Pro can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $299.99. [Direct Link]
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Facebook Messenger Expanding Chat Translation to All Users in United States and Mexico

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 19:00
Facebook today announced it is expanding chat translation within Messenger to all users in the United States and Mexico.


When you receive a message in a language that is different from your default language in Messenger, Facebook's artificial intelligence assistant M will automatically offer a suggestion to translate the message. When you tap on the suggestion, you will be asked to enable auto-translation. Upon doing so, all future messages received that are not in your default language will be automatically translated.

"This is a meaningful milestone for M Suggestions and will enable people to connect with people they would not be able to communicate with otherwise in a way that is seamless and natural," a Messenger spokesperson said.

Auto-translation is enabled on a per-conversation basis, and all messages are shown in both the original language and translated version. You can opt-out of the feature at any time via the M Settings menu in Messenger, accessible by tapping your profile picture in the top-left corner of the app.

At launch, M can translate from English to Spanish, and vice versa. Facebook plans to add other languages and countries in the future.

Facebook first launched chat translation via M for users of its Marketplace service in the United States in early May. M Suggestions as a whole launched in April 2017, and are now available in 11 countries and five languages.


At its F8 developer conference last month, Facebook previewed an upcoming redesign of Messenger, including a simplified user interface, a dark mode, and customizable chat bubbles. At the time, the company said the facelift will be available "very, very soon," but as of now, the update has yet to be rolled out.

Apple is known to have looked at a similar implementation of Siri in iMessage as M in Messenger. A patent published in 2016 for a "virtual assistant in a communication session" depicts a scenario in which users can invoke Siri from within chat threads to get answers to relevant queries, complete scheduling tasks, and more.


Apple hasn't moved forward with the idea, but it did introduce Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12, enabling users to connect certain third-party apps to Siri to greatly streamline voice controls with app-specific actions.

Tags: Facebook, Facebook Messenger
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Tim Cook Reaffirms Apple's Commitment to Ireland After Tax Dispute and Abandoned Data Center Plans

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 18:50
Just weeks after Apple abandoned its plans to build a $1 billion data center in Ireland, and amid a major Irish tax dispute with the European Commission, Apple CEO Tim Cook ensures his company remains committed to the country.


In a recent interview with The Irish Times, Cook said Apple appreciated the support it received from the community who wanted the data center to be there, and reaffirmed Apple's commitment to Ireland as a whole."We loved the community there. Fortunately we had great support from the community who wanted us there. That's probably the biggest disappointment from our point of view; we felt we could have been in the community and made a lot of friends like we had in Cork and grown the relationship over time," Cook said. "But we understand and respect the process."Of course, not all local residents wanted the data center there, as concerns were raised about its potential effects on local animals, flooding on a neighboring golf course, and its close proximity to a shut-down nuclear power plant.

Last October, Apple finally won approval for construction by the Irish High Court, after an appeal by two individuals against the decision was dismissed. However, the appellants decided to take their case to the country's Supreme Court, resulting in Apple abandoning its plans just before the hearing was to occur."Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre," Apple said in a statement ahead of the Supreme Court heading on Thursday.

"While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow," the company said, citing plans to expand its European headquarters in County Cork where it employs over 6,000 people.Cook added that Apple "didn't come to Ireland for tax," nearly two years after the European Commission ruled that the company received illegal aid from the country, ordering it to repay 13 billion euros to the country. Apple and Ireland are both appealing the ruling, as escrow payments begin for now."We came to Ireland in 1980 because we saw a community we thought we could grow, and could do a number of things to support the continent. We've stayed on course on that over almost four decades. It hasn't been a straight line – life isn't a straight line, things go up and down – but it's always been in a trajectory that is increasing. I don't anticipate that changing."Cook visited Ireland this week, where he met with the country's head of government Leo Varadkar in Dublin, before heading to Cork, where Apple's European headquarters are located. Apple recently expanded the campus with a new building that provides space for an additional 1,400 employees.


Apple's recently updated European Job Creation page reveals that it now supports 1.7 million jobs across Europe, including around 1.5 million jobs attributable to the App Store ecosystem, some 17,000 of which are based in Ireland.

Apple's website notes that it "has been based in Cork for over 35 years and now directly employs 6,000 people throughout Ireland supporting all aspects of the business." The company also says its Irish team has "doubled in size over the last five years and includes over 80 different nationalities."

All in all, this amounts to a good PR campaign for Apple, echoing much of what it said in its Message to the Apple Community in Europe a few years ago.

Tags: Tim Cook, Ireland
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MoviePass Will Introduce Surge Pricing for Popular Films Beginning in a Few Weeks

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 18:40
Movie subscription service MoviePass today confirmed that it will soon introduce surge pricing into its business model, charging customers from $2 and up for films that the company deems popular. The news comes from MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, who confirmed to Business Insider that surge pricing will affect monthly subscribers while annual subscribers will be exempt from what he describes as "high-demand" pricing.


The change will appear for affected subscribers within the "coming weeks," according to Lowe. Surge pricing is a dynamic, time-based strategy that apps like Uber use when a large amount of customers are requesting rides in the app but there aren't enough drivers to taxi them around.

Now this will extend to MoviePass, so on opening weekends or at particularly busy late-night showings of popular movies, monthly subscribers should expect to pay a bit more above their locked-in $9.95/month subscription price. Because this is not a fee that the movie theater is charging, users can expect MoviePass to take the surge pricing fee from the credit cards associated with their account -- although Lowe or any MoviePass spokesperson has yet to confirm this.
"At certain times for certain films — on opening weekend — there could be an additional charge for films," Lowe told Business Insider.

Lowe said this decision was a way to have its theaters partners see more traffic for big blockbusters in the mid-week and less-crowded weekends following the movie's opening weekend. It was also to "make sure that we can continue to offer a valuable service and support the whole enterprise," Lowe added. Otherwise, there are two other additions coming to MoviePass this summer: a bring-a-friend feature and IMAX/3D screenings. In the MoviePass iOS and Android app, subscribers will be able to add on a ticket for a non-MoviePass friend, the cost of which will be "somewhere near the retail price of the ticket."

For IMAX and 3D movies, users will be given the option to pay an added fee for the premium screenings, ranging from $2-$6 according to Lowe. As of now, one of MoviePass' detriments is that it only allows subscribers to watch regular 2D movies. At launch subscribers will have to choose one of these features or the other for a single film, but eventually they will be able to combine premium and bring-a-friend options for the same movie.

The MoviePass news comes after AMC just yesterday revealed its own movie subscription service, which will let customers watch three movies per week for $19.95 a month -- including IMAX and RealD 3D showings. Lowe responded to this new rival service today as well:
"It's been tough when you have the president of AMC essentially for eight or nine months telling everybody that our subscription was not sustainable, and then he comes out with a program that essentially could cost him $60 or $80 a month to pay the studios their minimums and collecting $19.95," Lowe said, referring to AMC CEO Adam Aron. "So it is a little bit kind of funny that it's pretty clear what he wanted to do — clear the way for his own subscription program and not have competition." All of the new MoviePass features -- including surge pricing -- will appear in the MoviePass app by the end of August.

Tag: MoviePass
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Google Assistant's 'Continued Conversations' Rolling Out to Reduce Need for 'OK Google' Commands

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 18:00
Siri rival Google Assistant received a major update today across the Google Home speaker ecosystem with a feature Google revealed at I/O in May, called "Continued Conversation." Now, when you speak to Google Assistant and wake it up with a "Hey Google" or "OK Google" phrase, you don't need to repeat the phrase again for a follow-up request.

For example, you can ask "Hey Google, what's the weather today?", and then follow up with "And what about tomorrow?" or "Can you remind me to bring an umbrella tomorrow morning?" When your thread of requests is finished, Google explains that you can say "thank you" or "stop" to end the conversation, but Google Assistant will also do this automatically if it detects you're no longer talking to it.


Continued Conversations will need to be turned on in the Google Assistant app's Settings > Preferences > Continued Conversation. When starting up a new conversation you'll still need to say "OK Google" or activate a physical trigger every time, but the company hopes that reducing the instances you need to speak a wake-up phrase will result in more fluid and natural interactions with Google Assistant.

In comparison, Apple's Siri still requires you to say "Hey Siri" every time a command is given, or by activating the AI assistant manually on iPhone or HomePod. Later this year, Apple will debut improvements to Siri in iOS 12 in the form of a new "Siri Shortcuts" feature, allowing iPhone owners to build customizable workflows and connect a variety of third-party apps and services under one voice command.

Siri remains one of the downsides for Apple's products for some users, with a recent survey finding that iPhone X early adopters were very satisfied with all features of the smartphone except Siri. Around the time of that survey, The Information reported that Siri has become a "major problem" within Apple and that the assistant remains "limited compared to the competition," including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Tags: Google, Google Assistant
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Gurman: Apple Considered Removing Lightning Connector on iPhone X

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 16:44
As a side note in his report about technical challenges facing the AirPower, expected to be released by September, well-connected reporter Mark Gurman also noted that Apple considered removing wired charging from the iPhone X.


From his Bloomberg News story:During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn't feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones.Just to be absolutely clear, Gurman confirmed to me that this would have included removing the Lightning connector from the device. In fact, his report notes that Apple designers eventually hope to "remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone," although this is likely multiple years away.

A few years ago, it was reported that Apple's design chief Jony Ive's end goal is for the iPhone to resemble a "single sheet of glass," while Apple has repeatedly expressed its ambitions to "create a wireless future," so the eventual removal of the Lightning connector should perhaps come as no surprise.

Apple is already well on its way towards that wireless future, with products and technologies ranging from AirPods and AirPower to its W1 and W2 wireless chips. Apple also made the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack from iPhone 7 models a few years ago, pushing users towards wireless earphones.

Still, removing the Lightning connector would certainly be another controversial decision, given it is not only used for wired charging, but also for audio and data transfer, such as syncing an iPhone with iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Removing the Lightning connector would also prevent an iPhone from directly connecting to a wide range of peripherals, including many adapters, docks, battery cases, power banks, keyboards, game controllers, audio cables, wired headphones, and other accessories authorized under Apple's MFi Program.

In many cases, however, wireless alternatives would be available. It's possible to sync an iPhone with iTunes over Wi-Fi, for example, while wired headphone users can go wireless, Bluetooth-enabled game controllers are available, and upright-positioned wireless chargers can double as a docking station.

Of course, there would be some friction with this transition, just like when Apple switched from its 30-pin dock connector to Lightning in 2012, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. In both of those cases, however, the controversy eventually died down as many users came to accept the new reality.

It's also worth noting that Apple considers a lot of different ideas internally that might never materialize in a public-facing product.

At this point, it appears like the Lightning connector on iPhones should live on for at least a few years. Rumors suggest Apple will bundle a faster 18W charger with a USB-C port with iPhones released in 2018, which would connect to the devices with a Lightning to USB-C cable included in the box.

Tags: bloomberg.com, Lightning, Mark Gurman
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