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Apple replies to senator’s questions about Face ID safety

Apple’s efforts to explain how its Face ID technology works and why it can be trusted to safeguard user data have drawn praise from Senator Al Franken, who sent the company an inquiry shortly after the feature was announced, CNET reports. Franken, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law, asked for specifics about the new technology, as he did in 2013 when he had similar questions about Touch ID. Apple reiterated many of its explanations from an extensive security white paper on Face ID, including how the device uses 30,000 unique dots to verify a user’s face scan, all without storing or sending out any biometric information. “I appreciate Apple’s willingness to engage with my office on these issues,” Franken said in a statement. “And I’m glad to see the steps that the company has taken to address consumer privacy and security concerns.”

Apple releases third developer betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1 + watchOS 4.1

Apple has released a third set of betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to registered developers. The release notes for all three platforms mostly indicate bug fixes, although watchOS 4.1 adds Apple Music streaming capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 3, including support for iCloud Music Library and Apple Music radio stations. Recent reports also suggest that iOS 11.1 may add support for Apple Pay Cash, with Apple’s corporate and retail employees already testing the feature, although it doesn’t appear to have yet been unlocked in the developer betas. Apple also released public betas for iOS and tvOS for those in the Apple Beta Software Program.

Report: Apple considering offering stylus-compatible iPhone as early as 2019

After debuting the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro two years ago, the company is reportedly considering making its iPhones compatible with some form of stylus as early as 2019, The Investor reports. While Steve Jobs was famously against introducing a stylus with his touchscreen devices, Apple released the Apple Pencil aimed at artists and designers to mostly warm reviews. Apple also added handwriting and markup functions in iOS 11, making the Apple Pencil more useful across a wider variety of apps. The source claims Apple engineers are currently working on an iPhone that would work with a digital pen and is “also in talks with a couple of stylus makers for a partnership,” which could mean the stylus that comes with a future iPhone could be different from the Apple Pencil — possibly more compact.

Apple reportedly moving to Face ID for all 2018 iPhones, getting rid of Touch ID

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple will abandon Touch ID entirely in its 2018 iPhones, opting to use Face ID instead for all models, 9to5Mac reports. Kuo previously said Face ID’s fate was dependent on how users reacted to the feature in the iPhone X, but he now believes the device’s 3D sensing capabilities will be a “key selling point” for Apple, allowing the company to “capitalize on its clear lead in 3D sensing design and production for smartphones.”

Apple releases iOS 11.0.3 with a warning about ‘non-genuine replacement displays’

Apple has released iOS 11.0.3, a minor update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users that addresses specific issues with iOS 11 on older iPhone models — audio and haptic feedback problems on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and unresponsive touch input on some third-party iPhone 6s displays. The iOS 11.0.3 release notes also include a specific caution against “non-genuine replacement displays” emphasizing that “Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts.”

Apple releases second developer betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1 + watchOS 4.1

Apple has released a second set of betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to registered developers. The release notes for all three platforms mostly indicate bug fixes, although watchOS 4.1 adds Apple Music streaming capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 3, including support for iCloud Music Library and Apple Music radio stations. Recent reports also suggest that iOS 11.1 may add support for Apple Pay Cash, with Apple employees already testing the feature, although it doesn’t appear to have yet been unlocked in the developer betas.

Apple releases iOS 11.0.2 with fix for iPhone 8 speaker problems

Apple has released iOS 11.0.2, which fixes a bug that caused crackling sounds in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus earpieces during calls. The update also sorts out an issue that was causing the devices to hide photos and fixed the problem causing attachments in encrypted emails not to open.

Best Buy in Canada starts selling all its iPhones unlocked ahead of Dec. 1 deadline

With the Canadian government’s ban on locked cell phones going into place on December 1, Best Buy has already started selling all of its iPhones unlocked regardless of the carrier that a customer chooses to use, iPhone in Canada reports. Users are also reporting that Rogers and Telus locations are already unlocking iPhones for free, waiving the usual $50 fee. We reached out to Apple to ask whether on-contract iPhones sold in their Canadian stores are also now being sold unlocked, but haven’t yet received a response.

Apple investigating reports of iPhone 8 Plus devices bursting open

Apple is investigating reports of an iPhone 8 Plus splitting open during charging, The Independent reports. Media in Taiwan interviewed one owner who said his device cracked open while plugged into an official Apple Lightning cable and power adapter when it was just five days old. Another iPhone 8 Plus received by a customer in Japan arrived with the screen partially detached as well. Apple is “looking into” the reports, which likely involve problems with swelling batteries.

Apple releases first beta of iOS 11.1

Only a little more than a week after Apple’s public release of iOS 11, the company has now pushed out a beta of its first point release to both developers and public beta testers. So far, the first iOS 11.1 beta only appears to have made a few relatively minor changes, and there’s not yet any sign of other features that Apple has promised in upcoming point releases, such as person-to-person Apple Pay support. Registered developers and members of the Public Beta Program can receive the new update over-the-air after installing the appropriate certificate on their iOS 11 devices.

Apple releases iOS 11.0.1 update amid user complaints of app failures, battery drain

The release of iOS 11 has brought the usual complaints about performance issues, with an entire thread on Reddit dedicated to users who have seen a steep drop in battery life, slow load times for apps and buggy performance in general. Apple has released iOS 11.0.1, only saying the standard “bug fixes and improvements” in the way of explaining what has changed, so it’s unclear whether this is in response to problems or just a routine update, but Apple did tell The Verge it is working on the static users have reported hearing in the iPhone 8 earpiece. The company claims the crackling has only come up in a “small number” of devices and a fix “will be included in an upcoming software release.”

Apple ditches two-step authentication for two-factor in iOS 11, macOS High Sierra

Apple is eliminating its old two-step verification process and migrating all users to two-factor authentication with the roll out of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, according to an updated support document. The company rolled out two-factor authentication back in 2015, but the company had been letting people keep going with the older two-step authentication if they wanted. The two-step method requires logging in with an Apple ID and then sending a code to an Apple device via SMS text message, allowing users to require the added confirmation layer for things like signing into iCloud, tinkering with an Apple ID or buying things from iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store from a new device.

 

Apple drops Bing for Siri and Spotlight searches, moves to Google

Apple has switched Siri and Spotlight’s default searches to Google, leaving Bing behind and bringing the searches in line with Safari, TechCrunch reports. Apple’s web browser already used Google — both on macOS and iOS — so the move should make the results returned in Siri and Spotlight more consistent with Safari. For the time being Bing is still the go-to for Siri image searches, and video results are delivered courtesy of YouTube. Now if users want to use Bing for Siri searches they’ll have to specify that in their request, but Google is far more popular so the change is unlikely to cause many problems.

Apple hiring editor to curate live sports content, developing AR technology for MLB

Apple is making a push into the sports world on multiple fronts, posting a job opening for a sports editor “to lead content curation and programming for the recently-announced live sports feature in the Apple TV app.” Unsurprisingly the post is looking for someone who lives and breathes sports of all kinds and has extensive experience in all aspects of the television business. The new live TV features coming down the pipe with tvOS 11 include on-screen notifications for games and all kinds of tracking abilities for fans, but direct deals with the sports leagues that are streaming the content will still be necessary for access to live events.

Some 2018 iPhones may stick with LCD screens, include new 3D Touch sensors

The iPhone X hasn’t even opened up for pre-orders yet and speculation has already turned to what’s in store for 2018, with The Korea Herald reporting that Apple is eyeing releasing a 5.85” OLED iPhone and a larger LCD model. The report claims Apple has scrapped work on a 5.28” OLED iPhone in favor of the larger devices and has already placed orders with Japan Display for LCD screens larger than 6”. It’s unclear whether both of the new devices will feature the same narrow bezels of the iPhone X, so it’s hard to tell how the purported increase in screen measurements will affect the overall footprint of the device.

Report: 3D camera improvements slowing down iPhone X production

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple suppliers are having trouble shipping the TrueDepth camera components the company needs to produce the iPhone X, MacRumors reports. “The 3D sensing (TrueDepth camera) on iPhone X is composed of a structured-light system, time-of-flight system and a front-facing camera, which represents a far more complex structure than those of rivals,” Kuo said in a note to investors. “It will therefore be harder to achieve mass production.” Kuo sees production finally ramping up in mid-October, but with pre-orders slated to begin on October 27, Kuo thinks the iPhone X will likely be in very limited supply for a few months at least.

iPhone 8, 8 Plus support Enhanced Voice Services, but users reporting static in calls

Takashi Tanaka, President of Japan’s KDDI cellular provider, said the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support Enhanced Voice Services that provide clearer calls and boost the connection’s reliability, according to Engadget’s Japanese-language site. The codec is the next step in Apple’s HD Voice, which has been around since the iPhone 8. The latest incarnation — which Gizmodo reports is being called “Enhanced HD Voice” in the UK — boosts the upper frequency range of calls from 7kHz to 14.4kHz, but it only works when both users have phones with the capabilities.

iFixit posts teardown of iPhone 8

iFixit has posted its usual complete teardown of the iPhone 8, as usual confirming much of the information that’s already been revealed while discovering a few additional interesting details. The new iPhone 8 model appears very similar to its predecessor on the outside, and is only a fraction of a millimetre larger in its dimensions. The model is identified from the box as A1863, although the report notes that it’s now conspicuously absent from the iPhone 8’s new all-glass back, thanks to a recent law that allows this information to be displayed only in the software.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Unboxing + comparison photos

We’ve just gotten our hands on Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, and we’ve posted a quick first look with some unboxing and comparison photos. Users familiar with past iPhone models will find no real surprises here; despite support for rapid charging, Apple still only bundles its standard 5W power adapter, along with the usual wired EarPods and standard Lightning cable. The new glass backs on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus hearken back to the iPhone 4 era, and make the space gray version look closer to last year’s jet black iPhone 7 than the matte black version. The high gloss glass back on the silver iPhone 7 still isn’t quite as white as the iPhone 4/4s models, but it definitely bears a closer resemblance. The new iPhones both ship with iOS 11. Keep your eyes out for our full, independent, comprehensive review of the new iPhone models next week once we’ve had a chance to put them through their paces.

iPhone X production faces further ‘incremental delay’ to mid-October

Apple’s new iPhone X is experiencing an “incremental delay” in its build plans that will likely delay production until mid-October, according to a new investor note obtained by Barron’s. The note reveals that production of the flagship iPhone doesn’t appear to have started yet, and the mid-October production start represents a one-month delay compared to previous expectations. The investor note primarily concerns itself with aspect of when Apple would be able to realize earnings from the sale of the new iPhone, noting that production would shift more into “the December quarter” and that it relates to the “tone and expectations” for that quarter. It’s not entirely clear, however, whether Apple has already factored in these production delays into its promised Nov. 3 ship date, or whether that date could possibly slip, however the note does seem to make it more likely that availability of the new iPhone X may be more limited than originally anticipated.

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