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New iOS phishing scam places fake call to ‘Apple Care’

A new phishing scam discovered by Ars Technica has upped the complexity of e-mail messages to drive users to a fake website where a Javascript will pop up a system dialog box to start a phone call to a call center impersonating Apple support. According to the report by Ars Technica, the scam is quite deceptive, with a realistic looking webpage telling users that their iPhone has been “locked for illegal activity” by Apple and directing them to click to call support in order to remove the lock. The current phish is targeted at iCloud e-mail addresses, and would appear to be designed to trick iPhone users into enrolling their devices into a rogue mobile device management “Apple security service” that would in fact actually allow hackers to push compromised apps onto a victim’s iPhone. More technical details on the nature of the phishing scam can be found in the original report on Ars Technica.

Apple seeds fifth developer betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12 + watchOS 5

Apple has released the fifth of betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 to registered developers, a little bit ahead of the usual two-week cycle following the last betas earlier this month. iOS 12 beta 5 features a build number of 16A5339e and is accompanied by release notes outlining resolved issues from the last beta, including fixes to app installation, Phone and FaceTime apps, Screen Time, Siri, and wallet, among many other smaller under-the-hood improvements.

Ecobee announces Peak Relief feature to cut back on energy bills

Ecobee has announced Peak Relief, a new feature that the company is piloting on its smart thermostats to help users on Time of Use rates save on energy costs by automatically focusing heating and cooling modes during times when energy rates are lower. The Peak Relief feature enhances ecobee’s existing smart thermostat algorithms to factor in electricity rates alongside other data such as comfort preferences, the energy efficiency of the home, and the local weather forecast, in order to determine when to run heating or cooling systems, optimizing running them just before peak times for the right amount of time. As ecobee notes, Peak Relief also has the side benefit of reducing demand on the power grid that can help reduce the risk of neighbourhood brownouts — one of the reasons many utility providers have implemented Time of Use rates in the first place. Peak Relief is an optional feature, and users can choose from one of two settings to choose whether to prioritize savings or home comfort, and a Peak Relief icon will appear on the ecobee thermostat display whenever the mode is engaged. Peak Relief is currently available as a pilot with select ecobee units in California and Arizona in the U.S., and the province of Ontario, Canada. To take advantage of it, users will need to be on a Time of Use rate with their current energy provider and have an electric heating or cooling system.

Report: Apple Pay to dominate contactless payments by 2020

According to new data from [Juniper Research][1], in-store contactless payments are expected to account for one third of all in-store transactions by 2020, with Apple Pay being in the dominant position, account for one in two of all digital contactless payment users globally. The Juniper report adds that in-store contactless payments will reach $2 trillion by 2020, or about 15% of all point of sale transactions, and that the payment method is actually expected to surpass the $1 trillion threshold this year, earlier than previously anticipated. Juniper conceded, however, that digital payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay will still make up only a fraction of all contactless payments, which are still expected to be dominated by physical card payments, which while very rare in the U.S., are in much more common use in Canada, Europe, and the Far East and China. Still, Apple Pay is expected to account for over 200 million mobile payment users worldwide by 2020, and gain the lion’s share of the $300 billion in mobile payment transactions expected by that time. [via MacRumors]

Rumor: New iPad Pro to drop 3.5mm jack, move Smart Connector

A new report from Japanese blog Mac Otakara had revealed some new possible information about Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro lineup. Most significantly — although perhaps not surprisingly — the rumour suggests that Apple is planning to eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack from the new iPad Pro models, following the lead set by the 2017 iPhone lineup. Mac Otakara also adds that the iPad Pro is not expected to include a 3.5mm Lighting to headphone adapter, likely due to the less audio-focused role of the iPad as compared to the iPhone. While rumours of a Face ID-equipped iPad Pro have been swirling since last fall, this latest report oddly suggests that Face ID may work only in portrait orientation, with Apple moving the Smart Connector to the bottom for use with keyboards in the vertical position. Lastly, Mac Otakara also comments on some design changes in the new models, suggesting that the rear part of the design will have more square edges, essentially looking like a large iPhone SE in design. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple close to deal for ‘Time Bandits’ TV series

Apple is close to closing a deal for the rights to produce a TV series based on Terry Gilliam’s cult classic fantasy film “Time Bandits,” Deadline reports. The move, which would add to Apple’s already burgeoning staple of original content, will be developed as a co-production between Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and Media Rights Capital, according to sources, who has also indicated that Gilliam will be on board as a “non-writing executive producer.” Released in 1980, Time Bandits tells the story of an eleven-year-old history buff who is launched on a time-travelling adventure through history after stumbling across six dwarves who have stolen a time map. It’s not yet known what form a TV series would take, or who would be pegged to star in it; the original film had a staple of well-known actors including John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, and David Warner, among others.

Hue announces connected bathroom mirror lighting

Philips has announced a new addition to its Hue lineup of lighting accessories in the form of a new illuminated bathroom mirror. The new Adore Bathroom Lighted Mirror is a round mirror circled by a light ring that can project adjustable white lighting, and is also read IP44 for protection against water splashes. As with the rest of the Hue product family, the Adore mirror can be connected to a Hue Bridge and tied into HomeKit. The new mirror rounds out Philips’ new lineup of bathroom lighting accessories, which also include the Adore Bathroom ceiling light, Adore Bathroom ceiling spot light, Adore Bathroom spot light, and Adore Bathroom mirror light. [via The Verge]

Apple offering free repairs for devices damaged by Japanese floods

Apple has announced an exception to its repair policies in light of flooding in Japan, stating that the company will repair any iPhones, iPads, iPods, or Macs that have been directly damaged by the recent heavy floods that have swept through the country. Mac Otakara reports that even though Apple’s standard repair policies normally exclude water damage, the company will attempt to repair any damaged products at no charge, and even provide free courier delivery. Announcing the new policy in a blog post, Apple also expressed its sympathies for all of those affected by the flooding and noted that affected residents can obtain service by calling Apple telephone support, and that almost all of its main product lines are eligible, although accessories are excluded. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Store app adds voice search

Apple has released an update to its Apple Store app for iOS adding an updated search interface with an enhanced design along with speech recognition technology to allow users to search for products by voice. The redesigned search now uses an interface that’s more in line with the App Store and iTunes Store apps, and also now displays trending searches. In the U.S. version of the app, a microphone icon can also now be found on the search bar to allow users to dictate search results instead of typing, although this doesn’t appear to have been rolled out in other countries.

Tablo adds Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound via firmware update

Tablo has announced the addition of Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound to its lineup of OTA DVRs. Rolling out gradually to existing users via a new firmware update (2.2.22), the new feature will allow Tablo devices to capture and pass AC3 surround sound audio through to supported viewing devices. The Tablo team notes that the feature has been a long time coming due to the problems with the DVR hardware only being engineered to deliver a single audio stream, and not all devices — especially mobile devices — being able to decode AC3 audio. While the single stream is still an issue, as more mobile devices are beginning to support surround sound, the team felt that it was a good time to begin offering the feature, although users will still have to make the choice between gaining surround sound on supported devices and maintaining compatibility with playback on other mobile devices that can’t handle the Dolby Digital stream. Surround Sound must be toggled globally, and when enabled, devices that can’t decode the AC3 stream will get no audio at all. Note that all current Apple devices are capable of surround sound decoding, including not only the Apple TV, but also an iPhone, iPad, or iPod running iOS 11 or later, and even a Mac using the Safari browser.

Report: Qualcomm predicts 2018 iPhones will ‘solely’ use Intel communication chips

Speaking to investors today, Qualcomm’s CFO said that there has been lower demand for its chips from Apple, and that the 2018 iPhone lineup will likely not use any Qualcomm modem chips at all. CNBC reported on the company’s earning call, where CFO George Davis said, “We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitors’ modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release” although he noted that the company will still be continuing to provide modem chips for Apple’s older devices. Qualcomm’s president, Cristiano Amon, also stated that the company doesn’t expect to be part of Apple’s next product launch. While Qualcomm executives naturally didn’t name their competitor, it seems most likely that they are referring to Intel, whose chips Apple has already been using in at least some iPhone models since splitting orders between the two companies back in 2016. Qualcomm’s prediction comes as little surprise, with reports last fall that Apple was looking more closely at Intel to be its sole supplier, followed by another report earlier this year by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Intel’s chips had been brought up to Apple’s technical requirements at a more competitive price point, which would potentially leave Qualcomm out of the loop even if it weren’t for the ongoing legal battle between the two companies. [via 9to5Mac]

Steve Jobs thoughts on the App Store, mobile strategy revealed in newly-released 2008 interview

The Wall Street Journal and The Information have jointly published a previously unreleased interview with Steve Jobs from August 7, 2008, discussing the advent of the App Store and the future of mobile technology. In the interview, Jobs expressed his surprise over how big the App Store had grown in even the one month since it’s debut, with 60 million applications downloaded in the first 30 days — or about a third as much volume as iTunes song downloads — noting that Apple hadn’t expected it to “be this big” and adding that neither the mobile industry or even the computer industry had never seen anything like it.

It says the App Store is much larger than we ever imagined, iTunes has been out for over five years. In 30 days, users downloaded 30% as many apps as everybody in the world downloaded songs from iTunes.

Jobs also expressed delight that the majority of apps being downloaded were still free, adding that “We love free apps” since “Our purpose in the App Store is to add value to the iPhone.” Discussing revenue, however, Jobs disclosed that the App Store made $30 million in the first 30 days, with 70 percent of that — $21 million — going to developers, and $9 million of that going to the top ten developers. While Jobs predicted that it would “crest to half a billion soon” he hedged more about it becoming a billion dollar marketplace, saying “that doesn’t happen very often [that] a whole new billion dollar market opens up” but added that he had “never seen anything like this in my career for software.”

Udoq announces The Ultimate Apple Dock

Udoq has announced “The Ultimate Apple Dock” — a new limited edition of its Udoq Docking System in a package that’s specifically tailored to Apple users, and includes the company’s upcoming Qi wireless charging module. Available for pre-order on Indiegogo for $100 — 50 percent off the final price — The Ultimate Apple Dock includes the anodized aluminum udoq 400 charging station in dark gray along with two Lightning modules, an Apple Watch adapter module, and the new Qi wireless charging module, providing users with the ability to charge all current Apple devices, from iPhones and iPads to the Apple Watch, AirPods, and even the Siri Remote. Additional modules can be purchased separately for users who may want to charge older Apple devices using a 30-pin connector or micro USB and USB-C devices. Udoq’s Ultimate Apple Dock is expected to be available starting in November.

Nike Training Club lands on the Apple Watch

Nike has announced that its Nike Training Club app is now available for the Apple Watch, allowing trainers, athletes, and workout enthusiasts to easily keep track of their drills right from their wrist. The [Nike Training Club app] has been available for the iPhone for a few years, but until now users had to keep their iPhone on-hand in order to use the app as part of their workout routines. Nike Training Club features more than 180 free workouts developed by Nike Master Trainers and elite Nike athletes across a range of disciplines, however Nike has been receiving requests from users around the world to bring the app onto Apple’s wearable, with Nike’s VP Mike McCabe adding that “The resounding feedback from athletes worldwide was that they wanted us to put the best training app onto Apple Watch, and I think we’ve done it in a way that will make it an intuitive and invaluable training tool.” While it seems that the new watchOS app will still need to be used in conjunction with the user’s iPhone, it will now be possible to start a workout on the iPhone and then monitor it on the Apple Watch in order to check things like time or reps remaining on a drill, with the Apple Watch also providing haptic prompts to signal the beginning of each drill. The Nike Training Club app for Apple Watch is available now as an update from the App Store, and supports all of the workouts currently available in the main NTC app.

Yevo Labs releases new Yevo Air Wireless Earbuds

Yevo Labs has announced the release of Yevo Air, a new true wireless earbud that builds upon last year’s Yevo 1, adding a new design and more advanced technology to improve sound quality and Bluetooth connectivity. The new earbuds incorporate Bluetooth 4.2 and 6mm drivers, promising a louder and more fine-tuned sound experience with deep bass and an optimized EQ. They’re also sweat and splash-resistant for workouts, and include three size options of silicon ear-tips for comfortable listening and a redesigned storage and charging case that’s lighter and more compact. Yevo Air promises to deliver 3.5 hours of listening time on a single charge, with the case providing 10.5 hours more — a 15-minute quick charge in the case will provide an extra 45 minutes of use. Integrated controls also provide the ability to adjust volume, control music playback, answer phone calls, and easily access Siri. Yevo Air sells for $129 and is available now directly from Yevo Labs and select retailers.

Apple offering exclusive premiere episode of ‘Castle Rock’ via TV app

Apple is teaming up with Hulu to promote “Castle Rock” by streaming the first episode for free in is Apple TV app. According to Engadget, the premiere episode of the new Stephen King inspired series will be available to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV users in the U.S. through Apple’s TV app for a two-week exclusive period, starting today. While Apple has offered free episodes for network shows before — it’s been doing so via the iTunes Store for a decade — this is the first time that the company has debuted a new series before it’s available on any paid streaming services.

Report: iPhones made up eight out of the ten best-selling smartphones last quarter

Apple’s various iPhone models made up eight of the ten best-selling smartphones last quarter, according to new research by [Kantar], results that the research panel attributes to the depth of the iPhone lineup that now ranges from the iPhone SE all the way up to the flagship iPhone X. Not surprisingly, the most popular models were in the middle of the range — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus together accounted for one in every five smartphones sold, according to the report, while the iPhone X was in fourth place during the same time period. The result is that iOS has gained a 5.9 percent market share increase in the U.S., putting it now at 38.7 percent, while Samsung and LG have seen their market share fall over the year, with overall Android marketshare dropping 4.4 percent down to 61.1 percent. The report notes, however, that Apple did lose a bit of ground to Android in the Chinese market, where Android devices make up 80.4 percent of the market, despite the iPhone X remaining the top-selling device in that country since it first went on sale last fall, and account for 5.3 percent of all phones sold in China. [via 9to5Mac]

Cavalier Audio debuts with Maverick artisan speaker system

Cavalier Audio has released the Maverick, an elegant new portable speaker that features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Amazon Alexa voice control. Designed to combine strong audio performance with refined craftsmanship, Maverick features two active 20-watt drivers backed by two passive radiators plus a built-in battery that offers up to nine hours of play time. The premium design includes luxurious materials such as genuine wood with natural oil finish, custom-knit fabrics, distressed leathers, and machine-edged materials for a rustic and refined look. A leather charging base and a custom-stitched USB-C charging cable are included, along with a canvas carrying case for protecting the speaker on the go. Multiple Maverick speakers can also be linked together for a wider sound stage or multi-room audio, and in addition to Amazon Alexa, Maverick supports streaming from TuneIn, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Audible, although AirPlay is not supported. A companion iOS app can be used to configure and control the speaker, including assigning the programmable smart button to specific Spotify or iHeartRadio playlists. Maverick is $300 and can be purchased directly from Cavalier’s web site.

Latest round of U.S.-China trade war tariffs could impact iPhone pricing

Although smartphones have generally been left out of the levies being imposed in the recent U.S.-China trade war, the Wall Street Journal reports that this may soon change. According to the report, U.S. President Donald Trump’s is now threatening to put down levies on “just about everything China ships to the U.S.” — which according to trade experts, would include the iPhone. Smartphones weren’t part of the $34 billion of levies on Chinese goods imposed on July 6, and were similarly excluded from the second $16 billion round expected in August, and were also left out of a third round of $200 billion that the Trump administration listed earlier this month. However, President Trump’s latest round of levies would encompass a total of $500 billion in imports.

Verizon seeking possible Apple TV partnership for 5G TV service

Verizon is considering the possibility of partnering with either Apple or Google to be a television provider as part of its new superfast 5G service rollout, Bloomberg reports. The 5G service is expected to launch Los Angeles and Sacramento later this year, and following Verizon’s failure to develop is own live online TV service, the company is now seeking a partner to fill in the gap. Negotiations are apparently ongoing, according to sources, and Verizon may not even end up reaching an agreement with either company. Verizon plans to use new fifth-generation wireless technology to deliver services to home receivers at speeds that were previously only available over wired broadband connections, and the company’s longer-term plan is to compete with AT&T and Comcast in delivering internet and online TV packages over 5G wireless connections. Debuting 5G TV with either Apple or Google would be used to promote the technology, but Verizon may not be looking for a long-term partnership, with Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis telling investors in May that it’s only looking to bridge the gap until it gets “comfortable” delivering its own internet-based video services. The company has struggled to develop a television service, however, scaling back its own ambitions and ceding the market to streaming providers like Netflix, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now. Details such as timing and pricing are still under discussion, and while Google has YouTube TV online already, Apple’s live TV streaming service is still under development, so it remains unclear whether Apple would even be able to deliver within Verizon’s timeline for the rollout.

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