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Midnight Blue M2 MacBook Airs Already Showing Tendency for Scuffing

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 23:37

It’s only been a handful of days since folks received the first Midnight Blue M2 MacBook Air laptops. Nevertheless, a concern has already come up that we haven’t seen since the Jet Black iPhone 7. The finish on these particular laptops appears to be especially prone to scratches and scuffing.

Scuffing Your Midnight Blue Laptop Almost As Soon As You Get It

Apple has previously pointed out that any aluminum product can get scratched up with use. Still, early reports are pointing to an issue the Cupertino-based tech giant has faced in the past. Like the space gray iPhone 5 and the aforementioned Jet Black iPhone 7, this Midnight Blue finish seems way too delicate.

Just a day into use, some reviewers and consumers noticed the issue. YouTuber Zone of Tech noticed the USB-C port showing scratches and scuffs after just a day of use. Similarly, MKBHD has shown his struggles with scuffing up the USB-C port on a brand new Midnight Blue MacBook Air.

The Finish Mars Easily In Other Places, Too

It doesn’t seem to be just the USB-C ports that are prone to blemishes in the finish. Those can almost be expected, since you’re plugging in and unplugging the metal connector fairly often. Some have seen scratches appear even around the trackpad, though.

Of course, that’s not the only thing folks are complaining about with the Midnight Blue color options. More than a few say the finish is a fingerprint magnet, a problem the silver models don’t have.

At least one Redditor suggested using an oleophobic coating, a “liquid screen protector,” to shield the laptop from fingerprints and scuffing. That, however, may not be the best idea. Since the M2 MacBook Air relies solely on passive cooling, without any fans, such a coating may lead to overheating.

Given the problems some have already noted with the new MacBook Air running hot, a smarter option might be to just choose a different color finish. Almost no complaints have surfaced about fingerprints or scuffing on the silver or Starlight variants.

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‘Ted Lasso’ Cast Speaks On Filming Season 3, Likely the Final Season

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 22:07

Ted Lasso fans, some bittersweet news may be arriving today concerning Season 3 of the hit Apple TV+ comedy. Reports indicate that the cast is in the middle of filming scenes for the third season, and much of the cast and crew reports this likely the final season for the series.

According to a report from Deadline, executive producer and star Brett Goldstein revealed last month the finale for Season 3 is being written as the series finale. For the Sunday Times, Goldstein stated, “We are writing it like that, it was planned as three.”

Season 3 of ‘Ted Lasso’ Likely to Be the Last

Co-creator Jason Sudeikis, as well as Brendan Hunt and Bill Lawrence has also stated this is likely to be the final season. Lawrence confirmed this with Deadline in October. Apple, on the other hand, has yet to confirm that Season 3 will be the end.

During a Ted Lasso FYC event on Monday Night, Deadline spoke to Hannah Waddingham, who plays Rebecca Welton on Lasso. While admitting that she was not willing to say goodbye to her fellow cast mates just yet, Waddngham also revealed that she was surprised about Sudeikis’ decision to end the show.

I thought Jason would be pushed and pushed [to keep going], she said. I have an immense sadness because she’s brought quite a lot to my life. Jason has as well—an immeasurable amount. He has changed my life. He’s changed how I view people.

Waddingham received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2021 for her role on Lasso, and when speaking to DeadLine, she could only assure fans that Rebecca will return to Season 3 as a “boss ass b**ch”.

The Casts Says Their Goodbyes

Recent Emmy-nominated actor Toheeb Jimoh, who plays soccer star Sam Obisanya, also spoke about his time on the show and what’s in store for Season 3. While he would not reveal if his romance in Season 2 will evolve in the third season, Jimoh did state that “whether you’re a TedBecca fan or SamBecca fan. There’s going to be a really interesting resolution for all the characters.”

Jimoh also stated that Obisanya’s purchase during the Season 2 finale will find more prominence within the third season.

Now Sam is investing in a business with the hope of welcoming people in. In Season 2, Sam talks about how he hasn’t had proper Nigerian food since arriving here so he makes that space for himself and that’s how he cements his ties back home here. He wants other Nigerians in London to find the restaurant and that they’ll find themselves there. I really identified with Sam’s story because it’s my story and my parent’s story too.

Additionally, Jimoh also stated that departing from the series and the character has been a struggle. Additionally, Kola Bokinni, who plays Isaac McAdoo, the team captain, said McAdoo is “trying to understand what it takes to be a leader”. Bokinni also laments that Season 3 will likely be the last season.

For Ted Lasso, the series has impressed both critics and fans alike. The comedy series has absolutely dominated at the Emmy Awards for two years in a row, and it is likely Season 3 will do the same. Even Apple’s rival Alphabet enjoys Ted Lasso.

Looking at Season 3

(Warning, heavy spoiler section.) In terms of Season 3, it will be interesting to see exactly how the characters evolve and resolve their issues. With Nate proving to be an absolute scumbag, one has to wonder if he’ll receive the Ted Lasso redemption arch, or continues on his antagonistic path.

For Lasso himself, his openness to working alongside Dr. Fieldstone is admirable, but it will be interesting to see if is able to keep it together when it matters most. Overall, the way the series explores mental health, both in sports and society, is rather refreshing and much needed.

Lastly, the love-triangle between Keeley Jones, Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent is sure to keep viewers glued to their seats. Jones starting her own PR firm is sure to only complicate matters. Lastly, it will also be interesting to see Obisanya’s journey. Obisanya has really grown throughout the series, and seeing how he tackles his relationships and the restaurant is sure to be exciting. Personally, I would like to see what happens to Trent Crimm of The Independent.

While Apple has not confirmed that Season 3 will be the end, hopefully the creators and the streaming service are able to reach an agreement. If the creators are writing the last episode of Season 3 to be a series finale, moving forward from there could create rather awkward writing situations (Futurama and Arrested Development, looking at you).

Sadly, it is likely fans will not get to find out until the end of 2022.

Have you watched Ted Lasso? What do you think about Season 3 likely being the last season? Let us know in the comments.

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Apple Music Live Series to Stream Homecoming Luke Combs Performance

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 20:51

Reports indicate that Apple Music will stream an exclusive Luke Combs performance as he returns to perform in his some state at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte, North Carolina. The performance is set for July 28 and will stream exclusively via the Apple Music Live series.

According to a report from BillBoard, Apple Music will exclusively stream the concert in over 165 countries, with a premier date of Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. PST. The full performance will be available to stream on-demand through Apple Music following the broadcast.

Luke Combs Arriving to Apple Music Live

Apple Music Live launched earlier this year with a “One Night Only” performance from Harry Styles in New York. Other guests who have performed for Apple Music Live include Lil Durk and Mary J. Blige.

In a statement, Combs stated,

Apple Music has been a big part of helping me get my music out to my fans, so I jumped at the idea of being able to play a special live show for them to enjoy, I also couldn’t think of a better place to do it than back home in North Carolina at Coyote Joe’s – a venue that I have lots of great memories at. I’m really looking forward to playing the full album live for the fans and everyone being able to watch it on August 24!

For Combs, the artist recently released his third studio album, Growin’ Up, which debuted at No. 2 on the all-genre Hot 100. Furthemore, for Combs and Apple, the artist also currently holds the record for the biggest country song of all time on Apple Music via first-day worldwide streams for his hit “Forever After All”.

Apple seems to be riding the country wave right now. In addition to Combs’ Apple Music Live performance, Apple also recently unveiled Apple Studio Sessions. With a focus on Spatial Audio, Apple Studio Sessions give artists the chance to reimagine hits from their catalogue or perform classic songs.

For the first Apple Studio Sessions, Cupertino chose Carrie Underwood and Tenile Townes. Additionally, other notable country artists arriving include Ronnie Dunn, Ingrid Andress and more.

Are you looking forward to Luke Combs’ performance? What are you listening to on Apple Music right now? Let us know in the comments.

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Apple Publishes Snapshot of Its Health Technology Work

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 20:41

It’s no secret that Apple has made incredible strides in advancing health and fitness tie-ins to technology. To illustrate what it’s accomplished and what’s to come, Apple has published a report that’s basically a snapshot of the company’s health technology work over the past eight years.

Breaking Down Barriers Between Users and Their Health Data

The Cupertino-based tech giant says the goal of almost all of its health innovations have had a simple aim. Apple wants to “help break down barriers between users and their own everyday health data, between health care providers and patients, and between researchers and study participants.”

The work, according to Cupertino, falls into two categories. Those two categories, personal health and fitness features and supporting the medical community, form the structure for Apple’s report.

Apple uses the report to note where it began and where it’s come, especially with the new features in iOS 16 and watchOS 9. Chief operating officer Jeff Williams writes that with the latest features, Apple Watch and iPhone focus on 17 areas of health and fitness. These features are available in nearly 200 nations and territories globally.

Apple’s Health Technology Work from 2014 to Present

Since the debut of the Health app in 2014, Apple’s dramatically grown the health tracking capabilities of its devices. This has been helped most notably by the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. Today, Apple points out, users are able to store more than 150 types of health data.

According to the report, more than 800 institutions offer health records on iPhone. On top of that, “tens of thousands” of apps use Apple’s HealthKit API. These include the likes of Nike Run Club, Calm and WeightWatchers.

Furthermore, the report outlines, ResearchKit allows medical researchers an easier way to recruit and study participants.Pulling from the ranks of iPhone and Apple Watch users, researchers have made great progress in numerous fields, such as the Apple Heart Study. That study was the first of its kind and the largest virtual cardiac clinic study of its time.

Since then, Apple’s worked with many leading health research institutions. It’s been involved in building “three first-of-their-kind research studies to advance the science.” These have focused on women’s health, hearing health, heart health, and more. Cupertino also helped respond to health crises such as COVID-19. Adapting its technology, Apple helped give people the resources they needed to keep healthy.

The full report can be found at Apple’s website as a PDF, and includes other spotlights of notable health applications and studies.

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Urban Mobility App Moovit Unveils Smarter Personalized Features in Over 112 Countries

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 20:08

Moovit, creators of the popular urban mobility app, has recently announced the launch of several new features offering a smart, personalized mobility experience. The new features roll out to 3,500 cities in 112 countries.

The Moovit app has guided over more than 1.4 billion global users since inception, and now the app will display dynamic and personalized predictions concerning travel information and routes that are most vital to a user at any given time. Users will be able to access this information as soon as they open the app.

The latest features for Moovit include Smart Cards, Smart Trips and Smart Returns.

New Moovit Features Provide Mobility Options for Users

Moovit is one of the most successful startups in Israel. Launching as a free app in 2012, the company was acquired by Intel for $900 million in 2020.

In a press release, the company stated,

Moovit’s new Smart Cards are dynamic and are prioritized based on location, previous app activity, time of day and day of the week, said Yovav Meydad, Moovit’s Chief Growth and Marketing Officer. That, coupled with pre-set preferred modes of transit and reminders to head back, allow Moovit to provide users with an even more simplified and intuitive interface to improve the way they travel.

For Smart Cards, they display on the Home Screen underneath the search bar. Smart Cards provide instant travel suggestions that users can scroll through. The cards predict a users’ travel needs, and display when the app is opened. Tapping on the card will send users to the relevant screen, providing necessary details to the user.

For example, a suggested trip card will pull up an itinerary. If a user happens to be by a nearby station, the card will provided details. Suggestions are based on previous app behavior, current location, time of day and day of the week.

Smart Cards offer several suggestions. This includes Best Way Home and Best Way to Work, which provide the user with information on the best routes to these locations. Additionally, users can look at Recent Trips, Last Route, Favorite Stops and Nearest Stations. Smart Cards present themselves according to priority and are based on data availability.

Smarter Trips and Smarter Returns for Urban Mobility

Additionally, Moovit now provides Smart Trips. From day one of using the app, new Moovit users can choose their favorite modes of transportations during the app onboarding process. Smart Trip planning filters accounts for how users like to ride, which gives Moovit the ability to suggest customized routs. Existing users will also be able to change their transit preferences.

Lastly, the new Moovit update also provides Smart Returns. Moovit is now able to remind users when to head back to the last location departed from. Users are also able to set up trip reminders, specifying a time they would like to head back to their location, all through the itinerary screen while planning a trip.

Tapping on the notification window instantly leads users to all route suggestions that will lead them back. Users can also set reminders for the current day, or at least one hour from the current time.

These new Moovit features are now available to iPhone users through the Apple App Store.

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Apple iPhone Shipments in China More Than Double Last Year’s

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 19:40

Despite overall smartphone shipments in China declining, Apple is still faring just fine, UBS estimates show. In fact, the Cupertino-based company has sold more than double the number of iPhones in China compared to last year. The news comes on the heels of reports iPhone shipments have been strong in more regions than just China.

Global Smartphone Shipments Decline, But Not For the iPhone

In April, we reported that global smartphone shipments for 1Q22 had dropped 11% year-over-year. That wasn’t the case for Apple, though. In fact, Cupertino saw an increase in shipments for the quarter. While other smartphone manufacturers suffered, Apple’s iPhone sold 56.5 million units worldwide during 1Q22. That marked an 8% increase, the only increase for the industry.

In China, according to UBS analyst David Vogt (via AppleInsider), that same narrative is holding true, as well. While China iPhone shipments did drop 9% in May year-over-year, Vogt reports a rebound in June. Shipments are up 227% year-over-year for the country.

Compare this with the rest of China’s smartphone shipments. Largely caused by COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May, overall smartphone shipments in China are actually down 12% year-over-year.

Apple iPhone Captures More Market Share in China

Since Apple’s iPhone shipments in China are up while others’ are down, Cupertino has captured more of the market there. Vogt estimates the iPhone now accounts for 11.4% of all smartphones in China, as local brands give up ground to Apple.

This, in all likelihood, is because Apple managed to stave off most of the supply chain problems caused by the lengthy lockdowns. Since a bit more than half of Apple’s suppliers were able to remain in production using closed-loop procedures, Cupertino was able to continue supplying iPhones when other manufacturers could not.

Vogt believes the strength of Apple’s iPhone shipments in China will help it weather what’s been an otherwise troublesome quarter. The analyst predicts Apple will report shipments of 42 million iPhones for 3Q22 globally.

This will reflect a drop of 9% year-over-year, but Vogt acknowledges the actual numbers could be slightly higher. “We believe our 42 million June quarter iPhone estimate (down 9% YoY) is likely conservative and already captures the earlier Covid disruptions suggesting upside is likely ahead of earnings next week.”

Apple will hold its earnings call for 3Q22 on Thursday, July 28.

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Russia Set to Fine Apple for App Store Policy’s Violation of Antitrust Laws

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 18:58

Russia is set to fine Apple for violating the country’s antitrust laws. The country’s competition authority accuses Apple of abusing its dominance in the app distribution market. Allegedly, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s App Store policies violate antitrust laws in Russia, hence Apple should be fined for its practices.

Russian Set to Fine Apple for Antitrust Violations

Reuters reported that Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said it would “levy a turnover-based fine against Apple App Store.” The report said that FAS will conduct an administrative investigation during which the amount of the fine will be decided upon.

According to FAS, “the company has abused its dominant position in the iOS app distribution market.” The Russian authority also cited similar issues hurled at Apple by other antitrust agencies. All of this is because Apple prohibits developers from using other payment systems for App Store purchases.

Russia Exerts More Control Over the Online Space

Moscow has long been known to object to foreign companies’ dominance in the Russian market. This is heightened by the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine. As we all know, Russia has received massive economic sanctions from U.S. companies as a result of its war against Ukraine. So, it would seem that this is Russia’s way of retaliating. Critics also said that it is the Kremlin’s way of exerting more control over the online space. Unfortunately for Apple, it has been the subject of various antitrust disputes and is hence an easy target for Russia.

Aside from the antitrust issues it hurled against Apple, Russia has also established rules that would compel foreign companies to store customer data on Russian servers, delete content upon request by Russia’s communications regulator, and open local offices in the country. Just last week, the Russian court fined Apple for refusing to store iCloud data on Russian servers. Apple received a fine of 2 million rubles ($34,000).

The Kremlin Also Fines Google and Other Tech Giants

Russia’s decision to penalize Apple for antitrust violations follows the European Commission’s accusations against Apple. Specifically, Apple’s alleged “closed ecosystem” that “unfairly shielded” the company from the competition.

Aside from Apple, Russia has also fined Google $370 million for repeatedly refusing to delete content that Russia wanted it to remove. Other big tech companies such as Twitch and Pinterest have also seen fines headed their way.

Reuters said Apple did not issue a response when it asked for a comment.

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Newly Discovered CloudMensis Malware Attacking Compromised Macs

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 18:54

A newly discovered Malware for Macs, known as CloudMensis, is unfortunately making the rounds. Reports today indicate that cybersecurity researchers have discovered a previously unknown macOS backdoor that is capable of spying on users with compromised Macs.

Discovered by the cybersecurity firm ESET, the malware has been named CloudMensis due to the way it utilizes cloud storage services. The company discovered the first Mac was compromised Feb. 4, 2022.

CloudMensis Malware Attacks Macs Through Cloud Storage

CloudMensis uses public cloud storage services to communicate with its operators. Reports from ESET show that the intent of the operators is to gather information from Mac victims via exfiltrating documents and keystrokes, listing email messages and attachments and listing files from removable storage and screen captures.

Marc-Etienne Léveillé, an ESET researcher, believes the operators may not have a firm understanding of Mac development.

In a statement, Léveillé said,

We still do not know how CloudMensis is initially distributed and who the targets are. The general quality of the code and lack of obfuscation shows the authors may not be very familiar with Mac development and are not so advanced. Nonetheless, a lot of resources were put into making CloudMensis a powerful spying tool and a menace to potential targets,

Reports also suggest that this malware is a targeted operation, as CloudMensis seems to have limited distribution so far. According to ESET, operators of this malware family utilize CloudMensis against specific targets that may be of interest to them.

Operators are able to use vulnerabilities within macOS to work around mitigations. However, research also suggests that no zero day vulnerabilities are currently being used by the group. This means that keeping your Mac up-to-date can, at the very least, avoid the mitigation bypass.

How CloudMensis Works

CloudMensis aims to gain control of code execution and administrative privileges. To accomplish this, it runs a first-stage malware that retrieves more features from a second stage in thanks to a cloud storage service.

CloudMensisMalwareIntextJuly2022

Cloud storage services include pCloud, Yandex Disk and Dropbox. CloudMensis utilizes cloud storage for receiving commands from operators and exfiltrating files.

If the malware is able to reach the second stage, there is much more it is capable of doing. In total, 39 commands await this stage, all with the intent of harvesting as much information as possible from compromised Macs. Research stated that here the attackers are attempting to exfiltrate documents, screenshots, email attachments and other sensitive data.

Apple Enters a Lockdown

This comes at a time when Apple recently introduced Lockdown Mode for iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. Lockdown Mode is extreme and optional protection for those that face targeted digital security threats.

Once Lockdown Mode is active, Apple blocks message attachments in Messaging, turns off several features while browsing the web and blocks incoming invitations and service requests. For example, it will block FaceTime calls if the user has not previously sent a call or request to the other user.

Additionally, locking the phone will block wired connections and configuration profiles cannot be installed. The phone is also incapable of enrolling in mobile device management.

Apple stated they will add more features later on. Cupertino is also starting an Apple Security Bounty program to help strengthen security features.

With the recent news of Pegasus attacking several protestors in Thailand, it’s good to see Apple is taking some rather extreme measure to protect users. Concerning CloudMensis, whether or not these are random attacks or specific targets remains to be seen.

As always, make sure that your devices are running the most up-to-date software to best protect your device.

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Apple Schedules Watch Activity Challenge to Celebrate National Fitness Day in China

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 18:50

To celebrate National Fitness Day in China, Apple has scheduled an Apple Watch Activity Challenge starting on August 8. Apple Watch users in China can participate in the activity challenge and earn cool badges and stickers by completing 20 minutes of workouts.

Apple Watch Activity Challenge Celebrates Fitness Day in China

For the fifth year in a row, Apple is participating in the National Fitness Day celebration in China. The country has been celebrating this special event since 2008. This year’s National Fitness Day will also commemorate the Beijing Olympics, which opened on August 8, 2008. And for this year’s Apple Watch activity challenge, participants can earn special awards exclusive to the event. By completing 20 minutes or more of any workout, Apple Watch users in China can unlock cool badges and stickers. They can then share these with their friends and family to brag about how healthy they are.

Incidentally, Apple decided to shorten the time limit for this year’s National Fitness Day activity challenge. Previously, Chinese Apple Watch users needed to complete at least 30 minutes of workouts to unlock the rewards.

How to Join the Apple Watch Activity Challenge

To join the activity challenge, Apple Watch users in China need to record their workouts using any app that connects with Apple’s Health app. Note that this special activity challenge has been geo-locked for Chinese nationals only. Apple Watch users from other countries who are looking to join an Apple Watch activity challenge will have to wait for the next global activity challenge.

To recall, the last Apple Watch activity challenge was held to celebrate the International Day of Yoga in June. If our memory serves us right, the next one would probably be around October to celebrate Veterans Day. Or perhaps Apple will have other activity challenges for another special event.

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M2 MacBook Air Teardown Reveals Accelerometer, Adhesive Pull Tabs for Battery

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 23:28

The folks over at iFixit are well known for product teardowns. They just can’t help but get the latest Apple product and disassemble it to see what gems they might uncover. Their latest adventure yields a surprising component. During a teardown of the M2 MacBook Air, we see an accelerometer, along with adhesive pull tabs for the battery.

Facts About the M2 MacBook Air a Prior Teardown Already Told Us

We’d already learned of the biggest potential problem with Apple’s redesigned MacBook Air. The base model, an M2 MacBook Air with 256GB of SSD storage, only uses a single NAND chip. Its predecessor offered a two-chip SSD. As a result, benchmark testing shows the M2 model offering SSD speeds 30% to 50% slower than the M1 MacBook Air.

The latest teardown, performed by repair experts at iFixit, confirmed that finding. It also reveals other logic board components, such as a 64-bit 8-core M2 chip. They also found an Apple-designed Thunderbolt 3 driver and a USI Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip. All of that was to be expected.

The Mysterious Inclusion of an Accelerometer Found In MacBook Air Teardown

Surprisingly, the team also discovered the M2 MacBook Air includes an accelerometer. There’s really no clear idea of what the component might be for, and other MacBooks don’t include it. On the other hand, the captions for the video point out the Studio Display does include an accelerometer.

While the presenter in the video never actually voices the question, the closed captioning does: could the accelerometer be there to support video stabilization? Since the MacBook Air doesn’t support Center Stage, the answer doesn’t come easily. Or, at all, at least for now.

More Questions About the M2 MacBook Air Assembly

The next question lies in just how the new laptop’s passive cooling works. The heat shield is very thin, and there’s no heat spreader at all. They suggest Apple may be just allowing the Air to run hot. Unless, that is, the notebook is really an iPad in disguise.

The battery proves to likely be very repair-friendly, using easily-accessed screws and pull tab adhesive. Check out the full video of iFixit’s teardown below and let us know what you think of the M2 MacBook Air. Especially, what could be up with that accelerometer?

 

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Apple Butterfly Keyboard Settlement to Cost Tech Giant Up to $50 Million

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 21:39

Between 2015 and 2019, many of Apple’s MacBook computers had a butterfly keyboard. These keyboards, found in the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lineups, had a serious defect. As a result, users experienced keyboards that would stick or just stop responding after time. A class-action lawsuit ensued. Apple has recently announced a settlement in the butterfly keyboard lawsuit, one that could cost the Cupertino-based tech giant $50 million.

Easily Clogged Butterfly Mechanism Causes Problems

Owners of the affected laptops discovered their keyboards were especially prone to problems from dust and debris. The butterfly mechanism within the keyboards became clogged easily, even by small amounts of dust and debris. Anecdotal evidence suggested the butterfly keyboard failed twice as often within the first year of service as previous MacBook keyboards did.

The class action includes customers in seven states. These include California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Washington. The settled lawsuit has Apple paying out $50 million to plaintiffs affected by the controversial keyboard design.

While denying any wrongdoing or fault in the matter, Apple did end up launching a keyboard service program in June 2018 for those affected Customers were eligible for free keyboard repairs for four years after original purchase. Most models have already fallen off that free repair list.

In 2018, Apple added a membrane to the mechanism. This was described as a way to quiet the keyboard, but it may also have been a way to keep debris out of the mechanism. It didn’t really work, nor did design changes in 2019.

When the 16-inch MacBook Pro came out in 2019, Apple ditched the butterfly keyboard altogether in favor of the new Magic Keyboard. That input device saw a change back to a scissor-style mechanism, and it’s since spread throughout the rest of the product line.

Customers Who Replaced a Butterfly Keyboard Can Claim Their Share of $50 Million Settlement

The affected customers are allowed maximum payouts of $395, if they replaced multiple keyboards. Those who replaced a single keyboard can expect up to $125. Meanwhile, anybody who paid to replace key caps get up to $50.

For their legal fees, law firms Girard Sharp LLP and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner and Donaldson-Smith LLP can claim up to $15 million of the settlement. The settlement does still require a judge’s approval, but that is likely just a formality.

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Apple TV+ Makes Waves With Trailer for ‘Surfside Girls’, Sets August Release Date

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 21:17

Apple TV+ has debuted the trailer for Surfside Girls, a mysterious new kids and family series from WGA Award winner and Daytime Emmy Award nominee May Chan.

The series is based on the titular bestselling graphics novel series by author Kim Dwinell. Surfside Girls premieres globally Friday, Aug. 19 on Apple TV+.

‘Surfside Girls’ Trailer Makes Big Splash on Apple TV+ Aug. 19

A co-development between Chan (The Astronauts), Alex Diaz and Julie Sagalowsky Diaz (What’s Up Warthogs!), Surfside Girls follows best friends Sam and Jade as they solve supernatural mysteries within their California beach town. The best friends “must combine their polar opposite strengths of imagination and logic in order to solve the supernatural mysteries that hide just beneath the surface of their town. “

Surfside Girls stars Miya Cech (Rim of the World), YaYa Gosselin (FBI: Most Wanted) and Spencer Hermes-Rebello (Troppo). The series sees production in thanks to Endeavor Content and IDW Entertainment. Additionally, Chan also serves as writer, co-developer and executive producer. Additionally, Paul Stupin (Dawson’s Creek) also acts as executive producer. Diaz and Sagalowsky Diaz are also co-developers and act as writers and executive producers.

Additionally, America Young (Legacies) directs and executive produces the first two episodes. Lydia Antonini (Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn) also serves as executive producer for Surfside Girls. On the behalf of IDW, Paul Davidson and Jeff Brustrom also serve as executive producers.

In terms of content, it looks as though Apple TV+ is doing a great job making sure to focus on kids and families. Last week, the streaming service announced that the Amber Brown series will premiere July 25. Additionally, Best Foot Forward should premiere this Friday, July 22.

For more kid-friendly content on Apple TV+, there’s also El Deafo, Hello, Jack!, It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown, Fraggle Rock and more.

Do you enjoy any family-friendly content on Apple TV+? Is there anything you’re looking forward to arriving on the streaming service? Let us know in the comments.

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Kuo Insists Supply Issues Will Have ‘Limited Impact’ for iPhone 14

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 20:44

According to a report from Ming-Chi Kuo on Twitter, Apple is currently facing supply issues with the iPhone 14 series as some panel and memory suppliers are experiencing a shortage. However, Kuo also stated that it will likely have a “limited impact” on the upcoming mass production of the device.

Kuo Says Supply Issues Have ‘Limited Impact’ On iPhone 14

At the top of July, information obtained by DigiTimes indicated that apple was slashing its initial iPhone 14 order by 10%. This reduction was initially believed to be the result of supplier TSMC having issues with semiconductor supplies.

However, Kuo expressed doubts about Cupertino making cuts to its order. For evidence, Kuo cited his own supply chain surveys, and also looked to how Apple typically responded in the past. According to Kuo, Apple typically does not markedly change shipment forecasts for new iPhones. This means if Apple does make changes, it is typically by a single percentage point.

Currently, Kuo stated that while there may still be supply chain issues, it will have “a limited impact on the coming mass production of the iPhone 14 because other suppliers can fill the supply gap”.

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I have learned that recently some iPhone 14 panel and memory suppliers have experienced supply issues, but it should have a limited impact on the coming mass production of the iPhone 14 because other suppliers can fill the supply gap.

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) July 19, 2022

Additionally, the analyst also provides some insight into the situation. Concerning memory, Kuo stated Samsung “is almost ole supplier for 3Q22 and can meet iPhone 14 Pro production ramp-up demand. Micron & SK Hynix will likely ship in 4Q22 at the earliest because the former’s certification schedule started later, and the latter encountered quality issues”.

Looking at Suppliers

Concerning panels, Kuo argues that LG Display’s panels are experiencing appearance issues, mostly with the iPhone 14 Max. Kuo looks to Samsung and BOE to fill the initial supply gap, but expects that LG Display will waste no time addressing the issue.

With BOE returning to suppling panels for Apple after a recent guffaw concerning quality, it seems Apple made the right decision in forgiving the company. As BOE aims to take more panel orders away from LG Display and Samsung, this may be a great time for BOE to make a better impression with Cupertino.

Apple likely will make the announcement for the iPhone 14 series a couple of months from now. Some speculators have suggested Sept. 13, though that is not confirmed. Mass production will likely begin in August.

Are you looking forward to the iPhone 14? Let us know in the comments.

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Apple TV HD With Original Siri Remote Goes Vintage

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 19:40

This week Apple is adding the Apple TV HD with original Siri Remote to its vintage products list. June 30 is when the device became vintage, according to an internal memo from Apple. It was only recently that the public list saw an update.

Apple TV with Original Siri Remote Heading to Vintage List

First releasing in 2015, the Apple TV HD arrived with the first-generation Siri remote. The original remote did not include a white ring around the Menu button, and it is only these ring-less remotes that find themselves on the vintage list. The white ring around the Menu button was added in 2017 in order to make the button more prominent when picking up the remote.

On the other hand, Apple TV HD units that shipped with a Siri Remote with a white ring—which is still a first-generation remote—as well as the second-generation Siri Remote that’s silver with a circular trackpad are not classified as vintage.

For Apple, devices are vintage after five years since Apple last distributed the device for sale. Typically, vintage products are ineligible for repairs at Apple Stores or Apple Authorized Service Providers, unless the parts are still available.

Going Vintage

Interestingly, the first MacBook Pro to feature a Touch Bar will also see itself on the vintage list July 31. Released back in October 2016, the redesigned MacBook Pro featured a butterfly keyboard, Touch ID and a larger trackpad. The Touch Bar still remains on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Furthermore, Apple continues to sell the Apple TV HD, which was originally known as the fourth-generation Apple TV, for $149. Though there has been some changes to the Siri remote, the device has not seen a hardware upgrade since its release nearly seven years ago.

In terms of other Apple TV news, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stated an Apple TV with the codename “J255” is in development and features an A14 chip and 4GB of RAM. Back in May, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicated that a new version of Apple TV is likely to arrive in the second half of 2022. Additionally, a mysterious Siri remote found its way into the code of iOS 16. “SiriRemote4” in the code does not cover any Siri Remote currently on the market.

You can find the complete list of Apple’s vintage and obsolete products here.

Do you own an original Apple TV? Are you excited for the new Apple TV? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Setting Up Personalized Spatial Audio for Your AirPods in iOS 16

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 19:34

One of the new features for iOS 16 announced during WWDC 2022 was Personalized Spatial Audio. This advanced feature helps give you a more immersive experience when listening to anything offering Spatial Audio. Let’s take a look at what it does and how to set it up.

All About Personalized Spatial Audio on iOS 16

Right now, Spatial Audio offers a wonderful sound experience. You can hear music and other recorded audio in ways never before possible. It’s almost like you’re in the studio or at the concert, listening to the sounds surround you. Almost every new Apple device supports it, even FaceTime in macOS Monterey. Personalized Spatial Audio steps that up about 10 notches, giving you a much more precise, immersive experience.

Using the TrueDepth camera on an iPhone, iOS creates a special personal profile based on a map of your particular ears. Your iPhone captures imagery of your ears, looking specifically at the size and shape of every nook and cranny. Initially, the feature is said to work with AirPods 3, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. It might eventually work with some Beats headphones, too, but Apple hasn’t said which ones.

You will need, however, an iPhone with a TrueDepth camera. Even though some iPad models feature a TrueDepth camera, the feature isn’t yet available on those devices. Any iPhone with Face ID, though, should work.

Setting Up Your Personalized Profile

When you first pair your AirPods 3, AirPods Pro or AirPods Max with your iPhone, you’ll get a prompt to set up Personalized Spatial Audio. If you don’t do it then, though, all isn’t lost. Just open your AirPods case (or turn on your AirPods Max) and go to Settings, then select your AirPods.

Setting Up Personalized Spatial Audio

Scroll down until you see Personalized Spatial Audio, where you can begin the setup. This process will walk you through scanning your face and each ear. Once it’s complete, the same profile can be used for any other supported AirPods or Beats headphones you might own.

The one “gotcha” I found with this setup is scanning your ears. While your iPhone will make a sound when it first starts detecting the shape of your ears and when it’s done, it can be a bit tricky getting there. After all, when you’ve got your iPhone beside your head pointed at your ear, you can’t really see what’s happening.

To get around this, you can have someone else help or you can take advantage of another iOS feature. Using Screen Mirroring, I was able to watch the process from my Mac. This will also work with many smart TVs, and it makes the whole scan go much smoother. Just watch on your display or TV for the square brackets to show up around your ear, and turn your head slightly as instructed to scan.

Personalized Spatial Audio is one of the greatest advances for music since, well, since Spatial Audio itself. You really feel like you’re in the middle of the recording. The feature is included in the upcoming iOS 16, currently in beta. If you want to try it out before it goes live to everyone, consider joining the public beta for iOS 16.

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New Apple Pay Ad Campaign Highlights Security and Ease Over Credit Cards

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 18:37

Today Apple has shared three new ads promoting the security benefits of Apple Pay on an iPhone rather than physical credit cards. Each ad is relatively short and available on Apple’s U.K. YouTube channel.

Apple Shares New Apple Pay Ad Campaign

Each short ad emphasizes that physical credit cards are able to be stolen, used by anyone, and leave your card number exposed to others. Additionally, the ads remind the audience that all of these issues can are avoidable by using Apple Pay. The first ad reminds users that credit cards be stolen, though Apple Pay can use secure payments through Face ID.

The second, much shorter ad, also reminds users that Apple Pay may be more secure thanks to Face ID. Lastly, the third ad reminds users that Apple Pay is able to keep credit card information more private and secure.

Hot Water

Right now, Apple Pay is at the center of an antitrust lawsuit that has been filed against Apple in California this week. The complaint alleges that the tech giant collected more than $1 billion in illegal fees from Apple Pay’s parent credit card companies. The complaint was filed by law firm Hagens Berman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The complaint also covers the claim that Apple has denied competitors access to the systems needed to develop a mobile wallet capable of competing with Apple Pay. What makes this case particularly interesting is that Hagens Berman previously won a $450 million settlement from Apple concerning ebook price fixing.

 

Additionally, back in May, the European Commission officially objected to Apple’s practices in regards to Apple Pay. The Commission stated that Cupertino may have abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. Essentially, this is largely similar to what is happening to the company in the U.S. Apple released a statement stating they plan to continue to engage with the Commission.

What do you think? Do you use Apple Pay? Let us know in the comments.

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Researchers Discover Way to Clone, Reprogram Apple AirTag

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 18:32

A team of researchers in Germany have discovered a way to hack the hardware within Apple’s immensely popular item finder. Once done, they’ve learned it’s possible to clone or completely reprogram the AirTag in ways that simply shouldn’t be possible. What’s worse is that the tools need to do it cost less than $5.

Voltage Glitching to Force AirTag Into Debug Mode

In a paper recently released (PDF), the team of researchers outline how they were able to voltage glitch the debug port on the AirTag. This port is typically disabled. The debug port allows someone to upgrade or downgrade firmware, change settings, and reprogram the device.

Changing the power supply to the microcontroller for a very short time disables protections on the debug port. They’re able to switch the debug port on. That’s when the fun begins as they carry out a variety of tasks on the firmware that should be impossible.

They successfully cloned one AirTag’s firmware onto another one, 850 km (528 miles) away. Once the cloned AirTag powered up, Apple’s Find My network showed the tracking device in the new location.

The researchers also demonstrated how to reprogram an AirTag. They’re able to make it identify itself as an iPhone instead of a tracking device. That would effectively prevent any of the anti-stalking measures Apple has developed. Digging into the other hardware within the AirTag, the team was also able to install custom sounds to play from the speaker instead of those built in.

Furthermore, they succeeded in using the built-in accelerometer as a microphone. While the audio recorded was unrecognizable, the team suggests that other modes of operating the accelerometer could be more successful. That could lead to someone using an AirTag not just as a tracker, but as a bug, a hidden microphone for surveillance purposes.

The Setup Required to Clone or Reprogram an Apple AirTag

The scariest thing about all of this is the equipment required to pull it off. Granted, this procedure requires a high level of technical expertise, knowing how to program firmware and so forth, but it’s really inexpensive to do. The researchers say that even amidst the chip shortage throughout 2021 and 2022, they sourced everything they needed for less than 5 euros (US $5).

The team pulled off their shenanigans with a Raspberry Pi Pico, a level shifter to glitch the voltage, and a MOSFET, a type of transistor. Prices have gone up some, but it’s still a very low-cost hardware hack:

  • Raspberry Pi Pico: as low as $9.50
  • 3.3V to 5V level shifter: $5
  • MOSFET: Less than $1 each

That brings the total bill of materials, minus supplies like wiring and solder, still under $20.

The team points out that since this is a hardware attack, Apple can’t just fix it with a firmware update. Furthermore, it requires physical access to the AirTag and can’t be done over-the-air.

Because of that requirement and the programming and electronics knowledge needed to pull the attack off, they say the risk for end-users is negligible compared to other means of repurposing or abusing AirTags. Still, the news could have an impact on just how well Apple can respond to growing criticism of the AirTag being abused and exploited to track people without their knowledge.

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Security Report Finds Lack of App Privacy Data in 10% of 5 Million Apps Analyzed

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 16:51

The latest App Store security report says that many apps in Apple’s App Store lack privacy details. After analyzing 5 million apps, the report claims that they found no privacy details in 10% of those apps.

Only 10% of 5 Million Apps Analyzed Contain Privacy Data

Pixalate, a fraud protection company, published the report. The firm analyzed 5 million apps from Google’s and Apple’s app stores. Their findings showed that 10% of those apps deemed “active” as of 1Q22 lacked privacy policies.

The report found a total of 787,000 apps lacking the data. These represent 13% of all apps on the iOS App Store. While it may seem that the figures are correct, it seems that the firm overlooked something. To recall, Apple requires app developers to submit privacy policies when they issue updates to their apps. This means that if apps haven’t receive any updates since the new privacy transparency policies took effect, there will be no privacy data in those apps.

Developers Have Not Updated Their Apps Since the New Policy

At the end of April, Apple informed app developers that it would start, in 30 days, removing apps not updated within the last three years Apple has not issued any statements yet as to how many apps it has removed from the App Store for not following its policy. So, it would be safe to say that app developers may have not yet updated their apps, hence Pixalate did not find privacy data for those apps during its course of analysis.

Pixalate’s Findings

The report published some interesting key findings. For instance, the report found that 98% of the apps without privacy policies also lack terms of service. Something more alarming is the fact that 7% of the apps with undetected privacy policies happened to likely be child-directed apps. Another interesting finding showed that more than 100,000 of the apps with no privacy data access end-user personal information.

Clearly, if these apps are in violation of data protection guidelines, both Google and Apple must do something to address the issue.

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Apple Gets Another Antitrust Lawsuit, This Time For Charging Apple Pay Fees to Card Issuers

Tue, 07/19/2022 - 16:22

Apple faces another antitrust lawsuit, this time regarding its Apple Pay policies. The complaint alleges that the Cupertino-based tech giant collected more than $1 billion in illegal fees from Apple Pay’s partner credit card companies.

Apple Gains from Apple Pay Fees

Hagens Berman filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday. The complaint accused Apple of illegally profiting from payment card issuers. At the same time, it also pointed out the fact that Apple denied competitors to access the systems needed to develop a mobile wallet that could compete with Apple Pay.

For those who are unaware, Hagens Berman won a previous case against Apple. The firm managed to score a $450 million settlement from Apple during a legal battle concerning ebook price fixing. In this case, the law firm represents the U.S. credit unions and financial institutions that have partnered with Apple Pay.

Apple’s Alleged Monopoly in the Mobile Wallet Industry

In a press release, Hagens Berman said, “Having secured a monopoly for Apple Pay in this fashion, Apple charges card issuers who use Apple Pay supracompetitive fees for a service that is available on Android devices for free.” The lawsuit gave more details about the exorbitant fees as well as the strategy that Apple allegedly employed to insert Apple Pay into the company’s mobile device dominance.

The law firm contended that although it may seem that Apple charges the U.S. card issuers small fees, these could compound into a larger amount over time. Hagens Berman co-founder and managing director Steve Berman said, “On the surface, Apple Pay fees pushed onto card issuers may seem small, but truly the devil is in the details of Apple’s policies.”

Apple Pay policy gives 15 basis points, or 0.15%, on credit card transactions and $0.05 on credit card transactions to U.S. card issuers. In contrast, both Google Pay and Samsung Pay don’t charge card issuers for transactions. Additionally, the law firm noted that Apple Pay’s “exclusionary practices” are evident in the fact that Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet allowed on iOS.

Lawsuit Seeks to Compel Apple to Reimburse Card Issuers

All that being said, Hagens Berman firmly believes that Apple violates antitrust regulations, including the Sherman Act. The said law eyes monopolistic practices of business firms. As such, the law firm seeks to compel Apple to reimburse card issuers. It also demands an injunction against Apple to stop it from unreasonable fees.

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Asahi Linux Now Supports Mac Studio and M2 MacBooks

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 23:03

The latest Macs, running Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel processors, were designed to only run macOS. That doesn’t stop folks from working to expand the capabilities of the latest Mac hardware, though. Asahi Linux was launched to reverse-engineer the processor support and enable installing Linux. With its latest alpha release, Asahi Linux now supports recent Macs, including the Mac Studio and M2-based MacBooks.

Definitely Still a Work In Progress

It’s been a long road for Asahi’s development team. Even though the M1 Ultra and Mac Studio have been out several months already, those were previously unsupported by Asahi Linux. Plenty of other aspects of the M1 Macs didn’t work, either, such as Bluetooth support for many configurations.

With the July 2022 release, the team has made plenty of progress. It reports the latest build supports the Mac Studio as well as the just-released M2 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Several components of the Mac Studio still don’t work, apparently, such as the USB-A ports on the rear and the USB-C ports on the front of the M1 Max model.

The latest version also introduces preliminary Bluetooth support, with some caveats.

According to the release notes, Bluetooth is working but spotty in certain circumstances. Notably, if you are connected to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth performance is particularly poor. The developers recommend switching to a 5GHz network or turning Wi-Fi off altogether if that isn’t an option.

Asahi Linux Adds Support for Mac Studio and M2 Macs

The team says Mac Studio support wasn’t difficult, but it did require boot loader and device tree changes. This is because the Mac Studio can provide multiple processor dies on a single System-on-a-Chip (SoC). They rolled the support in with other changes, which resulted in a longer-than-expected wait.

At the same time, the team started incorporating M2 support into Asahi Linux. The latest seed is more experimental than M1 support, but it’s a start. The devs say keyboard support is missing from the bootloader, but USB-connected keyboards should work.

I’ll be giving Asahi Linux a spin on the Mac Studio in the coming days or weeks, so look forward to a first-look review of the progress made thus far.

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