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Apple acquires automation app Workflow

Photo: TechCrunch

Apple has acquired Workflow, a popular automation tool that allows users to tie together various apps on the iOS platform to create macro-like stored procedures, TechCrunch reports. While the financial terms of the deal are not yet available, the report suggests that it was a “solid payday” for the small team of developers. In the deal, Apple is not only acquiring the Workflow app, but also the team of Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, and Ayaka Nonaka, and Nick Frey. Despite the acquisition, Apple will continue to offer the Workflow app on the App Store, making it now available for free.

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Nintendo updates Super Mario Run, makes more courses available for free play

Nintendo has released a major update to Super Mario Run, adding new playable characters and allowing more courses to be played without purchasing the game, among other improvements. Super Mario Run 2.0 allows players to unlock four additional courses in the free version of the game by completing one of Bowser’s challenges, and adds different coloured Yoshis that can be used in Toad Rally to gain more toads of that particular colour. Players can also get new courses to play in Toad Rally by completing the first four courses, and get new buildings from the Shop using the new blue and green Toads; Nintendo also promises that additional buildings will be added in a coming event. The update also adds an “Easy Mode” that can be used to clear trickier courses, and makes general adjustments to the ease of play in various other areas.

Apple confirms iCloud and Apple ID systems have not been breached in response to hacker threat

Following yesterday’s report that a hacker group has been threatening to wipe hundreds of millions of iPhones if Apple does not pay them a ransom, Apple has unequivocally stated that there has been no breach of its systems. Although Apple neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the data the hackers claim to have, the company told Fortune that, if the list is legitimate, it was not obtained through any security breach at Apple, suggesting that the “alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.”

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Daily Deal: Ztylus Kamerar Zoom Lens Kit for iPhone 7 Plus

For Thursday’s iLounge Deal, we’re offering the Ztylus Kamerar Zoom Lens Kit for iPhone 7 Plus for only $31.95 — that’s 28% off the regular price. One of the very first twin lens solutions specifically designed for the iPhone 7 Plus, this kid merges the protection of the Camera ZLK case with the optical functionality of Ztylus lenses, giving you extended camera capabilities while keeping your iPhone protected. A macro zoom lens provides extreme, crystal clear close ups, while telephoto and fisheye lenses increase your optical focal length range so you can capture more unique photos.

Get the Ztylus Kamerar Zoom Lens Kit for iPhone 7 Plus now for only $31.95

Mac: IK Multimedia Fulltone Collection for AmpliTube

As if the collection of gear in IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 4 wasn’t already impressive enough, the music tech company has released another new collection of great high-end sounds and effects in the new Fulltone Collection for AmpliTube. Featuring a wide range of tones from the classic to the contemporary, the new collection promises “boutique sound for the discerning musician” inspired by guitarist and composer Michael Fuller’s vision for quality stompboxes.  The Fulltone Collection includes three powerful processors that work great in both music production and creative sound design, which, thanks to IK’s usual focus on hyperrealism, provide all of the mojo and feel of the original Fulltone hardware folded into the intuitive design of AmpliTube.

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Hackers claim to have access to millions of iCloud accounts, demand ransom from Apple

Hackers identifying themselves as the “Turkish Crime Family” claim to have access to millions of iCloud accounts and are threatening to remotely wipe victims’ devices unless Apple pays them a ransom, Motherboard reports. The hackers have demanded either $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards or $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum to delete the data they claim to have stolen. One hacker provided unverified screenshots of email exchanges with Apple security and access to an email account used to communicate directly with Apple. In one email, a member of Apple’s security team asked, “Are you willing to share a sample of the data set?” The hackers then uploaded a YouTube video of them accessing an elderly woman’s iCloud, prompting Apple to allegedly request that the video be taken down and inform the hackers the company was contacting authorities.

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Apple’s Siri in the running to voice control room functions at Marriott’s Aloft hotels

Marriott is holding tryouts for Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistants to see which would be best to provide voice controls for their rooms, Bloomberg reports. Marriott is testing devices from both companies at its Aloft hotel in Boston, putting them through their paces with tasks like turning the lights on, changing room temperature, closing the curtains and changing TV channels. The Wynn resort in Las Vegas added Alexa-equipped Echo devices to its rooms last December, and Apple is trying to get its own foothold in what could be a valuable showcase for customers in the emerging smarthome business. Apple has also partnered with home builders to begin including HomeKit-enabled devices in new upscale houses in a bid to boost the visibility of its platform. Toni Stoeckl, who oversees Marriott’s lifestyle brands, said the digital assistant they choose will eventually be required to provide more “concierge-like services,” including syncing with a user’s device to provide functions like setting an “automatic wake-up temperature or have the drapes open at a certain time.” Marriott expects to make a decision by this summer.

Apple releases iTunes 12.6 with new cross-device movie rental feature

Apple has released iTunes 12.6 with minor bug fixes and one big new feature: The ability to rent movies in iTunes and watch them on other devices running iOS 10.3 or tvOS 10.2. The wording in the release notes isn’t specific, but hints at the ability to simply stream a rented movie on any device linked to the Apple ID that rented it. Previously users have always had to actually transfer the rented file from one device to another and could only view it on one device at a time. And while the Apple TV has been able to stream a downloaded movie rental from a user’s computer, it wouldn’t appear in the “Movies” app (like it would if it had been rented on the Apple TV directly), but as a movie in the “Computers” app that is used to access the computer’s regular iTunes library. The iTunes update—combined with the imminent release of a new iPad this Friday—has led to speculation that Apple will release iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 in the next few days to enable this new feature.

Daily Deal: ARMOR-X Magnetic Charging Cables

Today in iLounge Deals, you can pick up the ARMOR-X Magnetic Charging Cables for only $19.99 — that’s 50% off the regular price. These magnetic cables are built with a tough, fray-resistant nylon cord and designed to magnetically clip onto any type of adapter you need to avoid pulling your iPhone or iPad onto the floor when your kids or pets happen to stumble over your charging cables.

Get the ARMOR-X Magnetic Charging Cables now for only $19.99

Tip of the Day: Adjusting 3D Touch Sensitivity

Apple’s 3D Touch gestures which debuted with the iPhone 6s can be pretty useful for quickly cross-referencing information, calling up shortcut menus, and accessing rich notifications. However, since 3D Touch is a distinct gesture from merely touching and holding your finger on the screen, sometimes it can get a bit tricky to differentiate between the two, such as when trying to rearrange icons on the home screen as opposed to triggering shortcut menus.

Fortunately, Apple has provided a way to adjust 3D Touch sensitivity, hidden away the Accessibility section of your iPhone Settings app. Selecting 3D Touch from here provides three sensitivity levels that you can choose from based on how hard you want to press on the screen to trigger a 3D Touch action, and there’s even a helpful test area so you can try out the different settings. Also, if you find that 3D Touch just gets in the way and you’d rather not use it at all, a switch at the top allows you to turn the feature off entirely.…

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