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Apple’s Bug Bounty program not paying enough to entice hackers

An Apple program that’s intended to entice hackers to reveal iOS security flaws in exchange for cash is failing to generate the necessary traction due to insufficient cash incentives, Motherboard reports. The program, announced by Apple’s security chief Ivan Krstic at last summer’s Black Hat conference, offers a cash bounty of up to $200,000 to hackers who discover and report vulnerabilities in the company’s products. However, almost a year later, the program appears to have struggled to take off, with many researchers reporting that they can sell exploits for considerably more money on the grey market than the mere $200,000 that Apple is willing to pay.

2017 32GB iPhone 6 model now available in Canada

Apple’s resurrected iPhone 6 is now being sold in Canada by Bell, Virgin Mobile, and Koodo, MobileSyrup reports. Quietly launched in Asia back in March, the 32GB iPhone 6 is a “new” version of the 2014 iPhone 6, featuring the same specifications as the original model, but available in the previously-unavailable 32GB capacity, and only available in Space Grey. Bell, Canada’s second-largest carrier, and Virgin Mobile, which operates on Bell’s network, are providing the special edition iPhone for free on select two-year contracts, or for outright purchase for $484 CAD; while Koodo is offering it for between $100 and $220 on various 24-month “Tab” contracts.

Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ comes to Apple Music following Tidal exclusive

Jay-Z’s new album “4:44” is now available on Apple Music, following an exclusive release last week on the artist’s own Tidal music streaming service. When the album was released on Tidal, several reports predicted that it would be expanding to Apple Music and other services within the week, and earlier this week Jay-Z debuted a video for one of the album’s tracks on Apple Music, even while the album itself remained a Tidal exclusive. Even with its exclusivity to Tidal, 4:44 went platinum in under a week, although that certification also includes physical album sales.

Apple Pay expanding to additional banks in France, Italy, Spain, and Canada

Apple Pay is expanding to several new banks in Europe, MacRumors reports, with Apple having updated its regional web sites listing several new banks in France, Italy, and Spain as either now or soon to be supporting the mobile payment service. Apple Pay is available now in Italy at Banca Mediolanum for Mediolanum Card debit cards, and in Spain by prepaid mobile wallet provider Boon. Apple has also tacitly announced that Apple Pay will be coming later this year to Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest, Crédit Mutuel Massif Central, and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa’s online banking subsidiary Fortuneo in France as well as mobile-only bank N26 in Spain.

Meanwhile in Canada, iPhone in Canada reports that Apple Pay has launched today for MBNA MasterCard users, following several months of from the credit card provider. MBNA Canada is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank, which introduced Apple Pay support for its own credit and debit cards in June 2016.

Apple expected to go ‘all-in’ on OLED screens for iPhones in 2018

Recent reports suggest that Apple may be launching a full lineup of OLED iPhone models as early as next year. A new report from Nikkei cites two industry sources, one of which suggests Apple is tentatively considering three new iPhone models for 2018, with the new design process already underway, although of course Apple’s plans are always subject to change. Further, sources among OLED suppliers suggest that they may not be able to keep up with demand if Apple expects to use OLED displays in all new iPhones in 2018. Analysts reiterated that Apple is still expected to release an OLED display in the “iPhone 8” premium model this year, but that two lower-end “iPhone 7s” models will continue to feature traditional LCD displays, and are expected to continue being sold into early 2019. [via MacRumors]

US government trying to intervene in Apple’s $14.8B EU tax case

The US government is trying to intervene on Apple’s behalf in the company’s $14.8 billion EU tax case, Reuters reports. In December, Apple appealed the European Commission’s ruling that it owed Ireland $14.8 billion in back taxes, and now an unnamed source “can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple.” At the time of the ruling, the Obama administration claimed the EU was attempting to claim money that should be landing in US coffers instead, and since then the Trump administration has set its sights on creating a tax break that would allow companies to repatriate the estimated $26 trillion sitting in overseas banks. Europe’s second highest court, the General Court based in Luxembourg, is expected to hear the case late next year. Ireland is also backing Apple’s claims that the European Commission’s tax ruling oversteps its authority and is based on faulty math.

Beats 1 DJs reflect on 2 years anchoring Apple Music’s flagship station

As Beats 1 nears its second year as Apple Music’s flagship radio station, DJs Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga reflected on their biggest moments so far in an Q&A session with High Snobiety. Lowe said he views Apple Music as a platform trying to take what it can from the old radio format and blend it with the “college, pirate, digital and blogs” model that’d driving much of new music discovery today. For Beats 1, that meant giving artists their own space to do things how they wanted. “We had to face up to the reality that the old expectations may not fit the artist anymore, Lowe said. “We have to trust the artists. Let them drive their own conversation. Trust that they know their audience.”

Reports claim iPhone 8 won’t support Touch ID, could replace it with 3D face scanning

Contradicting speculation that Apple had discovered a method to scan fingerprints that let them do away with a physical home button, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 8 will feature a virtual home button that “won’t support fingerprint recognition,” Street Insider reports. Kuo claims “the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges,” leaving Apple to scrap fingerprint recognition on the device all together to avoid production delays. Kuo adds that the iPhone 8 will support facial recognition with new 3D sensors, a claim boosted by a Bloomberg report that the new face scanner “allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face.”

Apple’s Greg Jozwiak reveals strong developer uptake in new ARKit tech

In an interview with The Australian, Greg “Joz” Jozwiak, Apple’s VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, provide some insights into Apple’s new ARKit technology that will be rolling out in iOS 10, describing the rapid uptake by iOS developers has been “unbelievable,” and describing some of the applications that he’s already seen rolling out for the new technology: “They’ve built everything from virtual tape measures (to) ballerinas made out of wood dancing on floors. It’s absolutely incredible what people are doing in so little time.”

Alpine releases first aftermarket Wireless CarPlay System

Alpine has released the iLX-107 ($900), the first aftermarket Wireless CarPlay system. Although this is not the first CarPlay receiver in Alpine’s lineup, it’s particularly unique as it not only provides support for Apple’s Wireless CarPlay standard, but is the first of such aftermarket receivers. The unit itself sports a 7” VGA display with a capacitive touchscreen, and is designed to provide full Apple CarPlay support over a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection, as well as compatibility with Alpine’s own TuneIt iPhone app. Most of the other usual Alpine features are in here as well, including a 9-band parametric equalizer, 6-channel time correction, accessory expandability, and support for 50W on 4 channels and three 2V pre-outs.

August adds Visual Notifications for Doorbell Cam + more

August has released an update to the iOS app for its Smart Lock and Doorbell Cam, adding visual lock screen notifications for the Doorbell Cam as well as several other improvements for the Smart Lock and Smart Keypad. Although promised HomeKit support for the Doorbell Cam has yet to materialize, users of the August app will be able to access image preview alerts directly from the notification on their iPhone or iPad lock screen to they can quickly determine who is at the door without having to unlock their iPhone or wait for the August app to open. Although users will be unable to take any action from the Lock Screen without full HomeKit support, a “View” button provides the ability to open the August app to view the Doorbell cam live feed directly and choose to respond via the intercom or unlock an associated August Smart Lock.

IK Multimedia announces iRig Pro I/O

IK Multimedia has announced the release of the iRig Pro I/O, a new pocket-sized mobile audio/MIDI interface for iPhone/iPad and Mac users. The successor to the company’s highly rated 2013 iRig Pro, iRig Pro I/O raises the bar with a plethora of new features as well as bundled software and apps to enhance the digital musician’s experience. iRig Pro I/O provides a wide range of connectivity options, with inputs for guitars, basses, studio mics, vocal mics, keyboard, and more, with a combo XLR and 1/4” input as well as MIDI inputs for digital instruments. Built-in 24-bit analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters with a 96KHz sampling rate provides for professional audio quality in a device that can fit into your pocket and be ready to go with your iPhone or iPad for spontaneous jam sessions. A high-quality 1/8” headphone/line out is included with level control to provide pass-through audio for connecting to headphones, mixers, and powered monitor speakers — particularly applicable for iPhone 7 users — and built-in device charging is supported with an external power adapter for extended playing sessions. iRig Pro I/O retails for $150 and is available now from the IK Multimedia online store and other IK authorized retailers. We’ll be publishing a full review in the coming weeks.

New Kickstarter campaign producing documentary on ‘Firing Steve Jobs’

A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched seeking funding for a new documentary about the early history of Apple and Steve Jobs. Titled “Firing Steve Jobs,” the documentary promises to take a unique point of view on the dramatic events surround Jobs’ firing from Apple in the early days of the Mac back in 1985. The documentary plans to feature interviews with John Sculley, Mike Markkula, Steve Wozniak and many others, with a goal to capture the contradiction and controversy that led to the decision to dismiss Jobs without frills or embellishment but focusing merely on the facts behind the story, painting a portrait of who Steve Jobs was at the time from the perspective of those who worked most closely with him in the early days of Apple. The new documentary is expected to be released in the spring of 2018, provided the project meets its funding goal of €35,000 before the close of the Kickstarter campaign.

‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ game lands on iOS June 29

‘Futurama’ fans who have been waiting for new stories set in that universe since the show went off the air will get their wish on June 29, when Jam City and FoxNext Games release ‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ for iOS. The free-to-play game combines “simulation, combat, galactic exploration, and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay” to tell a new set of stories featuring the Planet Express crew, and the stories were created in collaboration with the show’s original writers and executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. In keeping with the show’s quirky cameos, geek icons Stephen Hawking, George Takei, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are all featured in the promo trailer and are actually playable charaters in the game, each with their own unique storyline. Registering for updates on the game’s launch will net users a free in-game gift.

Apple urging developers to prepare for iOS 11 App Store changes after public beta release

After the release of the first public beta for iOS 11, Apple has sent communications to developers urging them to take advantage of changes to the App Store. With beta users already able to access the upgraded store ahead of the official fall release, Apple’s message is pushing developers to fill out new sections on their product pages, including “subtitles, promotional text, additional app previews that you can localize, and up to 20 promoted in-app purchases.” While users on the App Store for iOS 10.3 and later will still see the same page, those users will see fewer details — like being limited to only one preview — so Apple’s tips steer developers to creating a more robust experience for iOS 11 while still keeping an eye to the majority of users who haven’t migrated yet.

Urban Armor Gear rolls out Metropolis Series cases for 10.5” and 12.9” iPad Pro models

Urban Armor Gear has revealed its new Metropolis Series cases for 10.5” and 12.9” iPad Pro models, featuring a smart cover that both protects the screen and functions as a multi-position stand. The case has a spot to keep the Apple Pencil secure when it’s not in use, and corner bumpers provide extra drop protection for the iPad’s display. The case can be removed from the adjustable stand — making the case compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard — and features oversized ports and cutouts to make sure that all the buttons are easily accessible and the device is still able to use various third-party cables and accessories. The 10.5” case costs $60, and the 12.9” costs $90, with both models available in red, black and blue.

Report: Apple acquires computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments

A paper trail of purchases through shell companies seems to indicate that Apple has secretly acquired German computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments, MacRumors reports. On May 2, Apple’s vice president of corporate law Gene Levoff signed off on allowing a German law firm to buy SensoMotoric on behalf of Vineyard Capital Corporation — suspected to be a shell company. On June 16, SensoMotoric filed new articles of incorporation and subsequently removed more than a dozen pages that once featured information about its products, also deleting the site’s job listings and contact information, among other things.

Apple partners with Hertz to test self-driving car technology

Apple has leased a “small fleet” of cars from Hertz to test its self-driving car technology, Bloomberg reports. In the latest round of filings with the California DMV, Apple is shown to be leasing more of the Lexus RX450h models that it was originally reported to be using to test its systems, all coming from Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit. The deal mirrors a much larger agreement between Alphabet and Avis for a similar arrangement, and Hertz’s stock jumped 18 percent on the news of its relationship with Apple. Neither Hertz nor Apple commented on the report, but a person familiar with Apple’s project said the company has been testing a half-dozen self-driving vehicles on public roads near San Francisco for more than a year.

Apple releases first iOS 11, tvOS 11 public betas, updates to developer betas

For those willing to accept the risks associated with installing a beta OS on your device, Apple has rolled out its first public iOS 11 and tvOS 11 betas. The iOS 11 update provides a greatly expanded and customizable Control Center, the ability to record what’s happening on your screen, a Maps app that includes indoor maps for airports and malls, and new HomeKit functionality, among other improvements. On iPad, iOS 11 provides a new dock and better support for the Apple Pencil. The tvOS 11 upgrade comes with some new bells and whistles as well, including an automatic setting for toggling between Light and Dark Mode, and the ability to store your Home screen layout in iCloud — along with your installed apps — so that this information can be synced across multiple Apple TVs or restored should you ever have to reset or replace your Apple TV. For anyone not already enrolled in the public beta program, you can get started on Apple’s website.

Anki releasing Code Lab addition to Cozmo app to teach kids to program robots

After announcing the global roll out of its Cozmo robots will start in Canada next month, Anki is launching a companion program in its Cozmo app on July 31 to teach kids to code. In a press release, the company laments the current state of coding programs aimed at kids, calling them a “lackluster and disjointed experience.” The company’s Cozmo Code Lab is intended to make for a more intuitive experience, providing a simple visual programming language that allows users to program the robot with basic drag-and-drop actions. “With the launch of Code Lab, Cozmo now helps kids develop the logic and reasoning skills that programming requires,” said Boris Sofman, CEO and co-founder at Anki.  “Based on the Scratch Blocks project, a collaboration between MIT Media Lab and Google, we now have a powerful tool that gives anyone interested in learning to code a robot the opportunity to unleash their creativity.” The Cozmo app will allow owners to program their robots with anything from basic movements to much more complex actions, such as avoiding obstacles, speaking short phrases, playing dozens of animations and reacting to stimuli like a face, a smile, or a frown.

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