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Apple Music for Android Adds Support for Android Auto

Wednesday, 4:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Wednesday, 4:26 PM

Apple has updated its Apple Music application for Android devices and improved the app's usefulness in the car. Android device owners can now access their Apple Music service through the Android Auto user interface in the car. Apple Music also offers search by lyrics using a few words to find songs. The app tosses in a new artist page, letting people view artist information and play artist's hits with a tap, and the friends mix, which shows a playlist of songs liked by friends. Last, Apple Music for Android now includes the Top 100 songs from around the world. Apple Music is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Google Brings Google Maps to Apple’s CarPlay

Sep 18, 2018, 2:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said iPhone users can opt for Google’s Maps instead of Apple Maps when using their CarPlay-equipped automobile. Apple added support for third-party apps to CarPlay in the recently-released iOS 12 platform. Google has updated its navigation app in order to make it compatible with iOS 12 and Apple’s CarPlay system. Google says Maps via CarPlay supports seamless transitions from Maps on the iPhone to Maps via CarPlay; point-to-point navigation with real-time traffic updates and rerouting; offline maps for use in spotty coverage areas; and support for saved lists/favorites. Google says Maps should be available in most vehicles that include CarPlay, though it suggests users check online to view Apple’s list of compatible vehicles.


GarageBand Touts More Touch Instruments

Sep 18, 2018, 8:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Along with the release of iOS 12, Apple has updated its GarageBand app with more tools for music makers. To start, the latest version of GarageBand includes a fresh collection of Touch Instruments and Drummer Apple Loops. Apple says these let musicians shape their sounds and performances after they've been added to any given project. This version of GarageBand now supports the import and playback of MIDI files, something that's been on users' wishlists for a ling time. Apple also took the time to provide stability improvements and bug fixes. GarageBand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Turns the Page On iBooks, Now Apple Books In iTunes App Store

Sep 18, 2018, 8:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The new Apple Books reading app is now available to iPhones and iPads in the iTunes App Store. This app replaces the former iBooks app and is what iOS users will use moving forward for consuming books and other materials. Some of the new features include a Reading Now tab, which is a collection of the books being read or listened to by users. The Want to Read tool lets people manage wishlists of books, while the Complete the Series function offers suggestions based on previously read books. Apple Books more prominently calls out audiobooks, simplifying the process of listening on an iPhone, iPad, or via CarPlay. The Book Store tab includes new ways to browse via best-seller charts, staff picks, editorial recommendations, and special offers. Apple says the more people browse, buy, read, and listen via the app, the better the Apple Books store will be able to offer personalized recommendations. The new Apple Books app requires iOS 12, which was distributed to iPhones and iPads earlier this week.


Apple Gear Spared from Trump's Tariffs for Now

Sep 18, 2018, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods are not among the list of products that will be subject to a new 10% tariff directed against imports from China. The tariff, levied by President Donald Trump, covers some $200 billion of goods shipped into the U.S. Apple had feared its products would be among those hit with the tariff, but it has been spared. FitBit said its products were spared from this round of tariffs, as well, but some Cisco, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard components necessary for cloud computing equipment do fall on the list of taxed products. The 10% tariff goes into effect September 24, and rises to 25% on January 1, 2019. Trump has threatened to expand the tariffs to an additional $267 billion worth of goods. In that case, Apple's products would no longer be exempt from the added fees, nor would the phones from Samsung, LG, and most other manufacturers. Tariffs are generally viewed as a tax on consumers, as they often result in higher prices on goods.


Qualcomm's Efforts to Ban iPhone Imports Gets Underway

Sep 18, 2018, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A new trial between Qualcomm and Apple has begun at the U.S. International Trade Commission this week. In this case, Qualcomm is seeking to ban the import of Apple iPhones over patent violations. Qualcomm alleges that the iPhone's Intel-based modem violates two of its patents, and Apple's method for putting iPhones to sleep violates a third. Apple and Qualcomm are at war. Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair licensing practices, while Qualcomm has targeted Apple for patent violations. In a separate case, an administrative law judge at the FTC found Apple to be violating a Qualcomm patent and called for a ban. The full ITC panel is evaluating that early decision and will make a final ruling next month. Import bans are rare and Apple would be able to appeal the decision. As Reuters points out, Qualcomm is suing Apple in civil court over the same patents in this newer case. The ITC case is seen as a litmus test for the strength of those patents. A win at the ITC would bolster Qualcomm's civil case against Apple.


Apple Releases WatchOS 5 with Smarter Siri and Improved Notifications

Sep 17, 2018, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made watchOS 5 available to the Apple Watch with a wide range of new features. The wearable platform includes new social powers, allowing people to challenge one another to various workouts or closing rings. WatchOS 5 brings third-party access to Siri, which let's Siri on the Apple Watch surface content or suggestions for apps other than those made by Apple. The platform gains support for WebKit. WebKit views will make some content easier to view on the Watch. WatchOS 5 also gains a walkie-talkie function for quick conversations with other Apple Watch owners. It works over cellular and wifi. WatchOS 5 adds support for podcasts. Other features include student ID cards, notification tuning, UV index in weather, new emoji picker, auto workout sensing, background audio mode, support for stocks, and customized world clocks. WatchOS 5 is free to download from Apple.


Apple Releases iOS 12 with Screen Time, Memoji, More

Sep 17, 2018, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made the latest version of its mobile operating system available to the general public. iOS 12 targets iPhones and iPads and it introduces a number of new features and tools, such as screen time. This is meant to help people manage the time spent on their phone each day. iOS 12 introduces support for grouped notifications, which will let people view, manage, and dismiss multiple notifications at once. The update gives the iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, and Xr the ability to create Memoji, customized and animated emoji stickers that resembles their face. People can customize hair color and style, eye color, accessories such as glasses, and much more. With iOS 12, CarPlay, Apple's in-car system, will support third-party apps. This addition means people will be able to, for example, use Google Maps rather than Apple Maps for navigation from point to point when in their car. Other features include group FaceTime chats, dozens of new emoji, improved Do Not Disturb and more. Apple says iOS 12 will work on iPhones back to the iPhone 5s.


Sprint Says It, Too, Will Support the Apple eSIM in Latest iPhones

Sep 15, 2018, 10:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint plans to support the eSIM found in the Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max, reports PCMag. Earlier this week, Apple published a list of carriers that will support the eSIM and Sprint's name was conspicuously absent. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon were represented by Apple on stage. According to PCMag, Sprint's absence from the list was merely a matter of timing. The company will support the eSIM when it goes live later this year. The eSIM in the iPhone Xs and Xs Max will give owners the flexibility to switch carriers using software rather than a physical SIM card. The eSIM serves as a way for iPhones to add service from a second carrier when used in partnership with the physical SIM. Dual-SIM phones are common in some Asian markets, but have yet to fully penetrate western markets. This is the first time Apple has offered a dual-SIM device to U.S. consumers. Some MVNO carriers hope to use Apple's eSIM as well, says PCMag. TruPhone and GigSky, for example, are already on the list, while smaller providers Ting and Wing are working on it. Apple says the eSIM will not function immediately; it will be enabled by a software update to the iPhone Xs and Xs Max later this year.


Sprint Refreshes Its Insurance Program, Changes Name to Sprint Complete

Sep 14, 2018, 9:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 14, 2018, 2:09 PM

Sprint today relaunched its device insurance program with the goal of making the service more useful. Sprint has dropped the former name (Sprint Total Equipment Protection) and renamed the service Sprint Complete. The insurance provides for $29 cracked screen repairs on Apple and Android devices. It includes unlimited storage, for backing up photos and videos, through the Complete Storage app. Sprint Complete provides password protection and online password management tools, such as protecting and/or restoring your identity. Sprint Complete will replace lost or stolen devices, sometimes as quickly as the next day. Last, Sprint Complete provides subscribers with access to live tech experts at some 450 Sprint stores and 260 Apple stores. Customers can even schedule in-home consultations. The monthly cost ranges from $9 to $19, based on the device being insured. Sprint customers can sign up within 30 days of purchasing or upgrading their device.


Apple All But Scraps Its AirPower Wireless Charging Pad

Sep 13, 2018, 7:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A year after Apple announced the AirPower wireless charging pad, signs of the device have largely vanished from its web site. The company first teased the charging solution in September 2017 when it debuted the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Apple initially said the charger would reach the market at some point in 2018. This week, the company updated its line of iPhones with the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Each of these phones supports wireless charging and yet Apple provided no update concerning the AirPower charger itself. Moreover, most information about the AirPower charger has been scrubbed from Apple's web site. Performing a search on Apple.com for "AirPower" turns up only a photo and a link to Apple's trademark listings. The AirPower mat was supposed to be able to charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and EarPods all at the same time. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was having difficulty engineering the charger due to the different charging requirements of the iPhone and Watch. It's possible the device is still under development, but Apple has not commented on the matter one way or the other.


Apple Adjusts AppleCare+ for New iPhones, Adds Theft Protection

Sep 12, 2018, 3:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today refreshed its AppleCare+ offerings for its line of iPhones. The company is now allowing iPhone owners to make claims for the theft or loss of their iPhone. Previously, claims were limited to accidental damage. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss includes up to two incidents of accidental damage, theft, or loss, with certain deductibles. In order to qualify for Theft and Loss coverage, Find My iPhone must be enabled on the device in question when it is stolen or lost. AppleCare+ also includes Express Replacement Service and 24/7 access to Apple experts. When resolving claims, screen repairs will require a deductible of $29, while any other damage will require a deductible of $99. The deductibles for theft/loss are much higher. Apple will charge a deductible of $199 to replace a lost/stolen iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8; $229 to replace the iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and Xr; and $269 to replace the iPhone X, Xs, and Xs Max. The standard price for AppleCare+ is $199. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss costs $299. These fees can be broken down into monthly payments.


iPhone Xs and Xs Max eSIM Won't Work Until Later This Year

Sep 12, 2018, 3:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that its new iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be the first to support dual SIM cards. Rather that include the space for two physical SIM cards in the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the phones will include support for one physical SIM and one eSIM, an electronic SIM card that can be programmed with carrier service. The eSIM will not be accessible to those purchasing the Xs/Xs Max right away. Apple says an update to iOS 12 will enable the eSIM later this year. Using the eSIM and physical SIM together will not be as simple as it would be to use two physical SIM cards. "To use two different carriers, your iPhone must be unlocked," explained Apple on its web site. "Otherwise, both plans must be from the same carrier. If a CDMA carrier (Sprint or Verizon) provides your first SIM, your second SIM won't support CDMA." Apple says the eSIM can serve as your only cellular plan if you don't have access to a physical SIM card. Otherwise, the main cellular plan will be attached to the physical SIM and the second to the eSIM. Apple says with two active carrier accounts on a single iPhone, owners will be able to select primary and secondary accounts, set one for calls/texts and the other for data, or use both lines for calls, texts, and data. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will support the eSIM, but Sprint will not. Apple warns that the eSIM may be disabled when purchased from some carriers.


Apple iPhones Now Range In Price from $449 to $1,449

Sep 12, 2018, 2:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has realigned its roster of smartphones with the debut of the new iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Moving forward, Apple's entry-level model is the iPhone 7 at $449 and the iPhone 7 Plus at $569. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at $599 and $699, respectively. Last year's iPhone X has been discontinued, as have the iPhone 5 SE and iPhone 6s. The iPhone Xs costs $999 for the 64 GB model, $1,149 for 256 GB, or $1,349 for 512 GB. The iPhone Xs Max costs $1,099 for the 64 GB model, $1,249 for 256 GB, or $1,449 for 512 GB. All these iPhones are available with service from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless, as well as unlocked with support for global GSM/LTE networks. The iPhone Xr costs $749 for 64 GB, $799 for 256 GB, or $899 for 512 GB. The Xr will not initially be sold unlocked and must be purchased with service from one of the four national carriers. Each iPhone ships with Lighting EarPods, a Lightning charging cable, and a 5W charger. They do not include Lightning-to-3.5mm adapters for standard headphones.


HomePod Update Intros Siri Shortcuts and More Languages

Sep 12, 2018, 2:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said a host of new features are coming to its HomePod in-home speaker. Once the new software is available, HomePod owners will be able to search for songs by the lyrics. HomePod will gain support for multiple timers. The update introduces new support for making and receiving phone calls. People will need to call someone from their contact list or speak the number. Incoming calls can be directed from the iPhone to the HomePod if owners wish. HomePod gains a Find My iPhone feature so users can ping their iPhone. The HomePod will support Siri shortcuts, which let people personalize a series of tasks that become accessible with a single command. For example, saying "Hey Siri, good morning" can initiate a routine that turns on the lights, lists the first few calendar appointments, and then reads the latest headlines. Last, HomePod gains support for Spanish and Canadian French. Apple says this update will be pushed to the HomePod beginning September 17.


Apple Reveals Final iOS 12 Features Ahead of September 17 Launch

Sep 12, 2018, 1:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today showed off several unannounced features for iOS 12, which the company will make available to the general public on September 19. One of the key features of iOS 12 is Siri shortcuts. These are programmable sequences of actions that take advantage of Siri to automate certain tasks and processors. It includes ARKit 2 for improved augmented reality and view 3D objects in the real world. MLKit runs 10% faster while drawing less power. Other features of iOS 12 include improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. iOS 12 will run on all iPhones back to the iPhone 5s.


Apple's iPhone Xr Offers the All-Screen Look at a Lower Price

Sep 12, 2018, 1:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2018, 1:52 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone Xr, a more affordable all-screen iPhone. The Xr looks similar to the Xs and Xs Max, but has an LCD panel rather than OLED, and a 7000 series aluminum frame rather than stainless steel. The screen size sits between the 5.8-inch and 6.4-inch displays of the Xs and Xs Max, respectively, at 6.1 inches across the diagonal. Apple calls it the Liquid Retina display with 1,792 by 828 pixels and a pixel density of 326ppi. It supports tap-to-wake, and includes true-tone, 120Hz refreshing, and wide-color gamut. This iPhone will come in black, blue, green, yellow, and coral. The chassis are rated IP67 for protection from water and dust. A new shortcut from the home screen takes people directly to the camera. It includes the same bank of sensors for Face ID, such as infrared, proximity, and ambient light sensors. It is faster. This phone also includes the A12 Bionic and real-time machine learning. A single camera adorns the rear. It's a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera at f/1.8, OIS, Smart HDR, portrait mode, bokeh, 6-element lens, focus pixels, and a True Tone flash. The Xr also carries over the selfie camera from the Xs and Xs Max. Apple says the battery delivers more than 90 minutes more uptime than the iPhone 8+. The iPhone Xr starts at $799 and comes in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB variants. It will be available for preorder October 19 and reaches stores October 26.


iPhone Xs and Xs Max Update Key Specs of Apple's Flagship

Sep 12, 2018, 12:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2018, 1:42 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. These devices are upgrades to last year's iPhone X and feature the same design. The new iPhones have an all-screen look with a notch at the top of the display. The front and back surfaces are made of glass and a stainless steel frame is in between. The Xs maintains the same 5.8-inch size as last year's phone, while the Xs Max pushes the screen size to 6.5 inches. Apple says it uses new glass that is the most durable ever on a mobile device. The OLED displays support Dolby Vision and HDR10, with a 60% greater dynamic range. The screens have True Tone for accurate whites, as well as 3D touch and 120Hz touch response. The iPhone Xs and Xs Max will be sold in gold, silver, and space gray. The phones are rated IP68 for protection against water, dust, and other liquids. Apple has improved the stereo speakers, giving them a wider sound stage. The 10x features an improved Face ID with better sensors and faster performance thanks to quicker algorithms. In order to power the new iPhones, Apple designed the A12 bionic, with a 7nm process, 6-core CPU (2 high-performance, 4 efficiency cores), 4-core GPU (50% faster), and an 8-core neural engine with dedicated machine learning. Apple says the device can process far more real-time information for the camera, Animoji, selfie scenes, and more. The A12 Bionic helps Apple bring new tools to the iPhone's camera. The Xs has a two-camera system, each with a 12-megapixel sensor. The main lens features a wide-angle field of view at f/1.8 while the secondary lens features a telephoto view at f/2.2. The cameras have optical image stabilization. The A12 Bionic can perform 1 trillion calculations on the photos to improve them. The selfie camera has a 7-megapixel sensor and uses the IR sensor to deliver depth information for portraits. The new Smart HDR feature relies on the A12's neural engine to enhance color and improve exposure. The improved portrait shooting allows people to adjust the background blur with a new depth-of-field slider in the editing tool. The iPhone can now record stereo sound with video. Apple says the battery should deliver 30 more minutes of uptime when compared to the iPhone X, and the Xs Max delivers 90 more minutes. The new iPhones introduce gigabit LTE, dual SIM card support (with dual SIM, dual standby provided by eSIM), wide support for worldwide LTE bands. Apple says AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will support this dual SIM technology, which includes one physical SIM and one eSIM, this year. The iPhone Xs will start at $999 and the Xs Max will start at $1099. Both will be available in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB options. Preorders for the new iPhones start September 14, with in-store availability on September 21.


Apple Watch Series 4 Adopts Larger Screens, Boasts New Heart Tools

Sep 12, 2018, 12:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2018, 1:04 PM

Apple today announced the fourth-generation of Apple Watches. For the first time since the original Watch, Apple is changing the dimensions of its smart wearable. Gone are the 38mm and 42mm sizes and in their place are 40mm and 44mm displays. The screens of the new Apple Watch stretch edge-to-edge, and are able to show more information when compared to the older series. Apple made the watch thinner and says it has a smaller overall footprint than the original. The smartwatch has new faces that support up to eight complications, direct access to select contacts, and a redesigned control center. The "breathe" tool has been refreshed with three new animations. Other faces include fire, water, and vapor. Apple says the digital crown has been re-engineered to include haptic feedback. The speaker was completely redesigned and is 50% louder. Apple moved the mic to reduce echo during calls. The rear panel is made of ceramic and crystal to improve radio signal capabilities. The new S4 processor has a dual-core, 64-bit processor with a new GPU for faster graphics. The next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope are faster, handle more g-forces, and can detect falls. The Watch can initiate emergency calls if necessary, and will call 911 automatically of the wearer doesn't move for one full minute after the fall. The Watch Series 4 introduces new heart rate features, such as when it becomes dangerously low or when it detects atrial fibrillation (uneven heart rate). New electrical sensors in the digital crown can take an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to monitor the heart's electrical activity. This info can be used to diagnose certain heart conditions. The device has been approved by the FDA as a medical device. This feature will be limited to U.S. customers at first and will eventually be available elsewhere. Apple says all the health and fitness data is encrypted on the device and in the cloud. Other features include Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, and LTE. The wearable features 18 hours of continuous use, and full GPS tracking for up to 6 hours. It will be sold in three aluminum finishes and three stainless steel finishes. The Watch is compatible with the existing ecosystem of Watch bands, and the new Nike bands have reflective yarn for nighttime visibility. The Watch 4 starts at $399 for GPS and $499 for LTE. The Series 3 Apple Watch will still be available for $279. Preorders begin September 14 and it will be available September 21. WatchOS 5, the new UI, will be available to the Apple Watch September 17.


7-Eleven Rolls Out Support for Apple Pay and Google Pay

Sep 10, 2018, 6:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The 7-Eleven convenience store chain today said Apple Pay and Google Pay are now available at the majority of its U.S. locations. 7-Eleven expects to conclude its roll out by the end of the month. This means people who own the iPhone 6 and newer or most current Android phones (with NFC) can make tap-and-go payments at their favorite 7-Eleven store. The company also introduced a new mobile app called 7-Eleven Now, which lets people order items from 7-Eleven on-demand from their iPhone. 7-Eleven says the app is being rolled out to select U.S. markets before a wider release. It didn’t name the markets. Apple Pay and Google Pay must be set up directly on the mobile device worth a credit/debit card before either can be used to make purchases.


Apple Warns That Trump's Tariffs Will Impact Apple Watch and Other Products

Sep 8, 2018, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says the proposed list of tariffs the Trump administration plans to levy against imports from China will impact a "wide range" of its products. The iPhone maker called out the Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, and AirPods, as well as Beats headphones, the MacMini, and Apple-branded adapters, cables, and chargers. Apple did not say the iPhone, which is assembled in China, will be affected. The tariffs will also take a toll on Apple-designed components, tooling and manufacturing, and testing equipment found in Apple labs and stores. The Trump administration is seeking to place a 10% tariff on some $200 billion worth of goods. "Our concern with these tariffs is that the U.S. will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers," said Apple in a letter provided to U.S. trade officials. The company warned that the tariffs will lower Apple's economic impact on the U.S., which it values at some $350 billion. The Trump administration has not responded to Apple's comments publicly. Apple is expected to announced new iPhones and other products at September 12 event in Cupertino.


EU to Let Apple's Purchase of Shazam Move Forward

Sep 6, 2018, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The European Commission has given Apple permission to close its planned purchase of Shazam. In April, the Commission put the brakes on the deal in fear in might reduce choice for users of music streaming services. After conducting an investigation, the Commission now concedes that the acquisition will not harm European consumers. Shazam is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide to query song identities by pointing their phone or watch at an audio source. It is available to Android and iOS devices alike. The $400 million deal was first made public in December. It's not clear how quickly Apple will close the deal.


Instagram Publishes Helpful Guide for Parents

Sep 6, 2018, 8:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram hopes its new Parents Guide helps parents manage their kids' use of Instagram. The guide walks parents through three main areas of focus, including privacy, interactions, and time. For example, it will teach parents how to set appropriate privacy safeguards to protect their teens from unwanted interactions. It details comment controls and the ability to report unwanted interactions, as well as manage time spent within the app. Last, the app offers suggestions on how parents can approach their teens and discuss their experiences on Instagram. The company says it worked with educators and social media experts to develop these tools. The guide arrives as more companies are looking to help people manage their experiences with phones. For example, both Apple and Google have introduced tools into their respective mobile operating systems that track usage and offer ways to cut back on screen time. Instagram's Parents Guide is available online.


Apple to Repair Faulty iPhone 8 Logic Boards for Free

Sep 1, 2018, 2:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has launched a repair program to fix defective logic boards in the iPhone 8. The company says a small number of faulty units were sold between September 2017 and March 2018 in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, and the U.S. People who own an iPhone 8 can enter their serial number to see if it qualifies for a fix. The issue, accord to Apple, led to screen freezes, random restarts, and defective startups. The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are not affected. People with an eligible iPhone 8 can drop it off at an Apple Store, mail it in, or bring it to an authorized repair shop. Apple suggests people backup their phone before bringing it in. The program will be available for up to three years from the iPhone 8's September 2017 launch.


Apple Pushes Minor iOS 12 Beta Update to Squash Bug

Sep 1, 2018, 2:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made a fresh beta of iOS 12 available to developers and public testers alike. The update resolves an annoying bug that has pestered users with a notification to update their device. The popup notification, which read "A new iOS update is now available. Please update from the iOS 12 beta," appeared every time the phone was unlocked or the notification shade was pulled down. The latest beta takes care of the issue. iOS 12 is nearly ready for prime time. The new operating system should become available to iPhones and iPads later this month.


AT&T, T-Mobile Customer PINs Left Exposed by Security Flaws

Aug 25, 2018, 9:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Two different security flaws affecting the customers of AT&T and T-Mobile were revealed this week. The security gaps could have given hackers access to customer account PINs, which would in turn allow them to potentially hijack the customers' SIM cards. AT&T customers were left vulnerable by the insurance provider Asurion. When initiating claims through Asurion's web site, hackers could have gleaned PINs through a form that failed to have a limit on attempts to enter the PIN correctly. This opened the door for brute-force attacks. T-Mobile customers were left vulnerable by the Apple Store app on iPhones. The issue left an opening on a web page that bridged the Apple Store with T-Mobile's account verification system. Similar to the Asurion issue, the Apple Store didn't place a limit on the number of attempts for PIN entry. This also permitted a brute-force attack to guess the number. Both Asurion and Apple resolved the lapses after they were brought to their attention. The T-Mobile vulnerability left some 77 million customers exposed. The number of customers impacted at AT&T is not known. SIM hijacking allows hackers to essentially copy the identity of a legit phone that can then be used to verify identify in apps and services that used SMS-based two-factor authentication.


Twitter Sunsets Support for iOS 9

Aug 23, 2018, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter says it will no longer provide updates to its app for devices running iOS 9 and older. In the changelog for the most recent iteration of the app, Twitter explained that it is “streamlining our app development for all clients. As a result, devices on iOS 9 or older will no longer receive updates from Twitter.” Twitter goes on to say that people interested in the latest features, bug fixes, and security improvements to the app will need to update their iPhone or iPad to iOS 10 or higher. Apple’s iOS 9 is nearing three years old, and Apple is on the cusp of releasing iOS 12. Twitter for iOS 9 will still offer base functionality.


Facebook Security App Pulled from iTunes App Store

Aug 23, 2018, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook has removed Onavo Protect, its VPN service, from the iTunes App Store after being told by Apple that the app violated its rules. Onavo, which Facebook purchased in 2013, promised to "keep you and your data safe" by "blocking potentially harmful websites and securing your personal information." At the same time, the app provided analytical data to Facebook, such as app usage info, in order to help Facebook see which apps worked and which didn't. Apple, which views itself as a protector of personal privacy, explained, "We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. We made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used." Apple contacted Facebook about the matter last week and the social network agreed to pull the app. Even so, it insisted the app complied with Apple's guidelines. "We've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used," said Facebook in a statement. "As a developer on Apple's platform, we follow the rules they've put in place." Onavo is still available to Android devices through the Google Play Store.


Apple Pay Expands to Costco Warehouse Stores

Aug 21, 2018, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

All 750 of Costco's U.S. stores now accept Apple Pay at the register. The company had been testing Apple Pay at a small number of stores since earlier this year. Costco completed the Apple Pay rollout on August 10. Costco is working to bring Apple Pay to its store-based gas stations, too, but has only gone live in a few locations. "We've added additional mobile payment options to make your next visit more convenient," said Costco in a statement provided to MacRumors. "Costco members can now use Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay at U.S. Costco locations." Apple Pay will arrive at CVS and 7-Eleven stores later this year.


iOS 12 Developer Beta 9 Now Available to App Writers

Aug 20, 2018, 12:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made a new beta of iOS 12 available to its developer community. iOS 12 developer beta 9 was released today to registered developers. Apple didn't spell out any specific changes in this build other than bug fixes and improvements. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until September or October. A new public beta is expected to arrive later this week.


Apple Pushes iOS 12 Beta 8 to Developers

Aug 15, 2018, 1:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made iOS 12 Beta 8 available to developers. Beta 8 appears after Apple pulled Beta 7, which introduced performance problems to devices earlier this week. The new beta resolves the issues that appeared in Beta 7. Apple didn't spell out any other specific changes in this build other than bug fixes and improvements. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until September or October. A new public beta is expected to arrive later this week.


Verizon Says Indianapolis Is On Deck for Fixed 5G

Aug 14, 2018, 5:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said that Indianapolis will join Los Angeles, Houston, and Sacramento as one of its launch markets for 5G. This particular deployment will be fixed residential 5G broadband service. Verizon is testing a number of different technologies for its forthcoming 5G network, including millimeter wave. Verizon doesn't plan to launch mobile 5G service until 2019. Verizon and its carrier competitors are all racing to be first to deploy 5G, with AT&T and T-Mobile also targeting late 2018 launches. Initial rollouts will include fixed broadband service, with mobile service to follow later. Phones with 5G may reach the market as soon as the first half of 2019. Sprint and LG announced such a device today. AT&T has gone on the record saying its first mobile 5G device with be a puck, or mobile hotspot. Verizon also announced today that YouTube TV and Apple TV 4K will be included with its fixed 5G service.


Apple Seeds iOS 12 Beta 7 to Developers

Aug 13, 2018, 12:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made a new beta of iOS 12 available to its developer community. iOS 12 developer beta 7 was released today to registered developers. Apple didn't spell out any specific changes in this build other than bug fixes and improvements. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. Apple has, however, pulled the Group FaceTime feature, according to a report from The Verge. "Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12," said Apple in a message to developers. Instead, Group FaceTime "will ship in a future software update later this fall." The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until September or October. A new public beta is expected to arrive later this week.


Qualcomm Settles with Taiwan Over Patent Licensing Practices

Aug 10, 2018, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm has reached an agreement with Taiwan to close an investigation concerning its patent licensing practices. Qualcomm will pay a fine of $93 million, and has promised to invest some $700 million in Taiwan over the next five years. Taiwan had accused Qualcomm of improperly pressuring partners that wanted to use its chips with high royalty rates. Taiwan also accused Qualcomm of cutting Apple a discount on royalties to use its chips over that of competing firms. Qualcomm will have to license patents to its competitors, including Intel and MediaTek, at fair and reasonable rates before it takes them to court over fees. Qualcomm will have to provide a report to Taiwan's trade body every six months for the next five years to show that it is adhering to the terms. Qualcomm is facing similar disputes with the U.S. government, the European Commission, and the Korea Fair Trade Commission.


Verizon Customers On Unlimited Plans Get Free Apple Music

Aug 8, 2018, 5:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said its customers can enjoy Apple Music for six months at no cost. Beginning August 16, subscribers to any of Verizon's Unlimited plans, new and existing alike, will be able to register for Apple Music. The offer includes the full, ad-free version of Apple Music, meaning Verizon Unlimited customers can stream as many songs as they wish via 4G or WiFi, as well as download songs and playlists for offline playback. Apple Music is available on iPhones, the iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac and Windows computers, HomePod, CarPlay, and Android devices. After the six-month offer concludes, the normal $9.99 monthly fee for Apple Music applies. Verizon called this offer "the first step in an exclusive partnership with Apple."


Apple Hit with $145 Million Patent Fine

Aug 2, 2018, 12:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple owes WiLan $145 million for violating the small company's patents, says a jury in San Diego. The company sued Apple over its use of wireless technology in some iPhones. The jury said Apple was guilty of violating two such patents and ordered Apple to pay restitution. Apple has been the target of WiLan lawsuits before. In 2013, Apple was cleared of infringing different WiLan patents. Apple said it will appeal the court's latest decision.


Apple Pay Expanding to CVS and 7-Eleven

Jul 31, 2018, 4:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple Pay will reach CVS and 7-Eleven retail locations later this year, said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company’s earnings call with investors. The company didn’t say when Apple Pay will reach these retailers, but they are on deck. Apple noted that Apple Pay was responsible for more mobile payments than Square and PayPal combined during the second quarter of the year. Apple Pay is available from the newest iPhones, which are equipped with the proper wireless radio chip. Apple Pay is secured with the fingerprint reader on the iPhone 6s, 7, and 8, and Face ID on the iPhone X.


iOS 12 Beta Updated for Public Testers

Jul 31, 2018, 1:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made new betas of iOS 12 available to its developer community and public testers alike. iOS 12 developer beta 5 was released earlier this week and iOS 12 public beta 4 was released today. Apple didn't spell out any specific changes in these builds. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until the fall months.


Sprint Offering iPhone 8 Lease for $8 Per Month

Jul 30, 2018, 8:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint announced a new promotion today that sees the monthly lease price of an Apple iPhone 8 drop to just $8 per month. Sprint says this deal is only available online and via telesales from July 31 through August 9. Sprint says the promo is open to new customers and existing customers who add a new line of service. Sprint has a similar deal for the Galaxy S9, which has a monthly lease price of $9. Typical lease prices for these phones range between $27 and $35 per month.


Qualcomm Says Apple Won't Use Its Modems In Next iPhone

Jul 25, 2018, 5:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today revealed that its legal trouble with Apple will have a larger impact on its business later this year. Apple may not use Qualcomm's chips in future iPhones, representing a huge loss for Qualcomm. "We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitor's modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release," said CFO George Davis during a conference call with analysts and press. "We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices," meaning older iPhones that are still in production. Apple is one of Qualcomm's biggest customers, but the two have been tangled in a legal battle over royalties since last year. The last few iPhones have relied on a mix of Qualcomm and Intel modems. Intel's modems don't perform as well as Qualcomm's in some network environments, and yet Apple appears to have chosen Intel moving forward. Apple declined to comment on Qualcomm's revelation.


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