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Mayo Clinic to play role in today’s Apple event

Renowned Minnesota-based medical group the Mayo Clinic will reportedly be “at (Apple’s) side” during today’s event, according to the Star Tribune. Mayo will demonstrate how Apple’s iOS 8 Health app can mesh with a major health center system. According to the article, Mayo and Apple “have been working together for about two years.” An August report noted Apple has discussed its HealthKit with other providers, including Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins.

Apple Events channel returns to Apple TV for today’s live stream

  • September 9, 2014
  • Apple,

Following Apple’s announcement last week that today’s event will be live streamed, the Apple Events channel has returned to the Apple TV, allowing viewers to view the live stream on a television via Apple’s set-top box. The event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and Apple is expected to reveal its newest iPhones, debut the iWatch, and announce an official release date for iOS 8, amongst other announcements.

Renowned industrial designer Marc Newson joining Apple

  • September 5, 2014
  • Apple,

Industrial designer Marc Newson is joining Apple’s design team, Vanity Fair reports. Newson, who collaborated with Apple SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive for last year’s (RED) Auction, will join Ive’s team at Apple. The report notes that Newson will still be based in the U.K. as an employee, but he will make frequent visits to Apple headquarters in California. “I’m full of admiration and respect for the extraordinary design work that has been produced by Jony and the team at Apple,” Newson said. “My close friendship with Jony has not only given me a unique insight into that process, but the opportunity to work together with him and the people that have been responsible. I am enormously proud to join them.”

“Marc is without question one of the most influential designers of this generation,” Ive said in a statement. “He is extraordinarily talented. We are particularly excited to formalize our collaboration as we enjoy working together so much and have found our partnership so effective.” Newson has been commissioned by a number of large companies for his work. His personal website offers a good look at his many designs over the years.

Tim Cook says Apple to add more security alerts

Apple will soon issue more security alerts to users in an effort to boost privacy, CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal. The company will alert users when an account password change is attempted, when iCloud data is restored to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time. New notifications will start in two weeks, and users will be able to make immediate changes — the account password can be changed, or Apple’s security team can be alerted to the issue.

Cook said Apple could have done more to prevent incidents like the recent celeb photo hack. The company could have better informed users about hackers, and played up the importance of better passwords. “When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece,” Cook said. “I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That’s not really an engineering thing.” Apple also plans on “aggressively” pushing people to use its two-factor authentication in iOS 8.

New report alleges continued violations at Apple supplier

  • September 4, 2014
  • Apple,

A new report released by Green America and China Labor Watch titled “Two Years of Broken Promises” accuses Apple of failing to fix violations at supplier Catcher Technology in Suqian, China. Many violations found in a 2013 investigation at the supplier — violations which were shared with Apple — were reportedly seen again in an undercover investigation conducted this August. Employees are said to work excessive overtime and long shifts while standing, and employees working with “potentially toxic” chemicals are without proper protective equipment. The report notes those workers have suffered skin and eye irritation and “are at risk for more serious health problems.”

In total, China Labor Watch counted 22 violations at Catcher in a number of categories, which is more than the organization found at the same supplier in 2013. Despite Apple’s recent announcement that it has banned the use of benzene and n-hexane in iPhone and iPad assembly — the Green America/CLW report says this is “an important step forward for the company” — the company is still drawing criticism for its handling of chemicals. Apple told The New York Times that its May audit of the Suqian plant “found some concrete areas for improvement in Catcher’s operations, and we worked with Catcher to develop a corrective action plan.” The company has immediately sent a team to visit the plant in light of the new allegations.

Apple updates App Store Guidelines, reveals app rejection reasons

Apple has updated its App Store Guidelines ahead of its upcoming release of iOS 8 and iPhone 6. The updated introduction notes that “If your App doesn’t do something useful, unique or provide some form of lasting entertainment, or if your app is plain creepy, it may not be accepted.” Guidelines have been added for Extensions, HomeKit, HealthKit, and TestFlight. The new guidelines should alleviate some users’ fears about the new frameworks — HealthKit apps cannot store information in iCloud or share data with third parties without user consent, among other measures. Additionally, data gathered from HealthKit and HomeKit cannot be used for advertising or data mining purposes.

Along with the updated guidelines, Apple recently added a page to its developer site detailing common app rejections. The page reveals that “more information needed” was the most common reason for apps to be rejected in the seven-day period ending August 28 — the top 10 reasons for rejection within that time period are all included on the page.

Apple: Celeb photo hack ‘very targeted attack’ on accounts

In response to allegations that iCloud played a role in the recent release of many private celebrity photos, Apple has confirmed that “certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.” Despite the account intrusions, Apple claims that none of its systems, including iCloud and Find my iPhone, were breached. The company also claims it has already investigated the photo theft for more than 40 hours. To protect against such attacks, Apple suggests that users select a strong password and enable two-step verification.

Apple investigating “iCloud” celebrity photo hack

Apple is “actively investigating” a recent celebrity photo hack that may have involved its iCloud service, Re/Code reports. The hack has leaked a large number of private, revealing photos of various celebrities, and iCloud has come under fire. Actress Kirsten Dunst tweeted a sarcastic “Thank you iCloud,” with some choice emoji. “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said.

It’s unclear, however, how culpable Apple really is at this point; some reports have suggested that the leak included iPhone images alongside videos and Android images that presumably wouldn’t have come from iCloud servers. As reported by TheNextWeb, it’s possible that a hacker used a brute force password attack — a vulnerability that Apple notably didn’t patch until Monday. While Apple does its own investigation, the FBI is conducting the official investigation of the hack, The Telegraph reports. Apple does offer two-step verification that could have thwarted the hacker, but it’s not a surprise to see many not using the feature. We’ll see what comes of the investigation, but it calls Apple’s account security into question — bad timing, considering the company will reportedly debut its own mobile payment system as soon as next week.

Apple to add 3X Retina Display support to iPhone 6?

Apple may be adding support for a “triple-resolution” Retina Display into iOS 8 according to a new discovery by iOS Developer James Thomson. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Thomson indicated that he had discovered a bug in iOS 8 beta 5 that loads a 3X asset instead of a 2X asset, and further explained that this only happens specifically with 3X assets and not other resolutions like 4X, suggesting this indicates a deliberate decision in the iOS 8 code, rather than a matter of simply selecting the highest-resolution asset available.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac originally reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 screen resolution for the iPhone 6 that would be achieved by tripling each pixel from a “base resolution” of 568 x 320. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber added his speculation earlier this week suggesting different screen resolutions may be used and that the higher resolution would only apply to the larger 5.5” iPhone 6 in order to maintain a proper Retina Display pixel density. It still remains unclear what hardware Apple may ultimately intend to use this on, since although the iPhone 6 is scheduled for release next month, it is expected that new iPad models will also be appearing during the iOS 8 lifecycle, including a rumoured 12.9” iPad which may also require a higher pixel density for the larger display.

iPhone 6 logic board leak shows NFC, A8 chips

Another new report has surfaced adding more weight to rumors that the upcoming iPhone 6 will include NFC support. Field & Volk has released photos to Sonny Dickson alleged to be of the iPhone 6 logic board, which appear to show NFC chips along an Apple A8 chip, which will reportedly be a 2GHz dual-core CPU. A report from Wired earlier this week indicated that Apple plans to include an NFC-based mobile payment system, which seems to have been further confirmed by this morning’s Financial Times report that Dutch chipmaker NXP will be supplying Apple with the necessary NFC hardware.

Massive report reveals Apple’s PR strategies

A new nine-part report at 9to5Mac reveals techniques Apple has used to “quietly manipulate coverage over the years.” The comprehensive article relies on interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR pros — including some ex-Apple workers. Part one of the article discusses all of the prep that goes into Apple events, including how Apple plans for things to go awry, recounting once when an audience member fainted and was taken out by paramedics mid-Jobs keynote, and what happens backstage when things go badly.

Part two details all of Apple’s internal PR teams, including the Momentum and Buzz Marketing team, which “works with major sports leagues to integrate the iPad into coaching toolkits, helps music events integrate iPads into festivities, and gets organizations to deploy iBeacon-integrated apps for attendees.”

Part three notes that despite its detached public attitude, Apple actively monitors all media mentions of the company, even having employees checking tabloids for photos of celebrities holding iPhones. The company also actively pushes journalists and bloggers to go after negative reports about Apple in the press, providing them with links and information to undermine stories. Additionally, it plays journalists and publications against each other to get the best coverage, at one point telling Brian Lam of Gizmodo that he was getting an iPhone before the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, and pushing Newsweek and Time to fight over an exclusive cover story.

Report: iPhone 6 to feature NFC mobile payments

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will come with its own mobile payment system, and the solution will use NFC, Wired reports. Use of near field communication has been rumored in the iPhone for years — speculation began around the time of the iPhone 4 in 2010, and every iPhone since has been accompanied by an NFC report that never came true. Talk about the use of NFC in the iPhone has heated up again in recent weeks, though considering the device’s history, there have been plenty of reasons to remain skeptical. However, with Apple’s known interest in mobile payments — and the apparent upcoming introduction of such a service — perhaps the time has finally come for iPhone NFC. There’s also been discussion about Apple using its iBeacon platform for mobile payments; it’s possible that iBeacon could still be involved in some way.

Report: Apple to unveil iWatch with new iPhones on September 9

Apple plans on unveiling its new wearable device alongside its two new iPhones on September 9, Re/Code reports. As expected, the new device will “make good use of” Apple’s new HealthKit and HomeKit platforms, though how the latter will be implemented isn’t quite clear. The wearable device has generally been referred to as iWatch, but the true name is still unknown at this point. According to the report, Apple will likely still hold an event in October — that event would undoubtedly introduce new iPads, at the very least.

Bloomberg: Apple now plans 12.9” iPad for early 2015

Apple suppliers are getting ready to manufacture a new iPad with a 12.9-inch screen by the first quarter of 2015, Bloomberg reports. Such a device has already been rumored for some time — previous reports claimed Apple was testing a larger iPad, with one late 2013 report claiming the company was testing five different 12.9-inch iPad prototypes for a release of two possible versions of such a device. Talk about the device has been quiet for some time until now, as the larger iPad was originally expected to see release sometime this year. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller declined comment on the new report.

LA Unified School District suspends iPad contract

L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has suspended the school system’s highly-publicized contract with Apple to provide iPads to students, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract would have provided all students in the country’s second-largest school system with iPads, but recent accusations claim that Deasy and deputy superintendent Jaime Aquino had “especially close ties” to Apple executives. “Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.,” Deasy wrote in a memo to the Board of Education. “Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the (project).”

A district technology committee found numerous problems with the bidding process, including that Aquino appeared to conspire with executives from Pearson — the company that was to provide curriculum on the devices — within an email. “I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one,” he wrote. Aquino was formerly an executive with a Pearson affiliate before joining the L.A. school system. Despite the new controversy, Deasy reportedly believes Apple and Pearson will still participate as bidders in the new process for the school’s technology contract.

Apple launches iPhone 5 battery replacement program

Apple has launched a new program to replace “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 units that “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.” Replacements will be made free of charge. The affected devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013, and are only within a limited range of serial numbers. A serial number checker on Apple’s webpage for the program lets users see if their devices are eligible. The replacement process has already started in the U.S. and China, with a launch in other countries on Friday, August 29.

Apple removes Secret app from Brazilian App Store

Apple has removed the app Secret from the Brazilian App Store, according to 9to5Mac. A Brazilian judge recently ordered the removal, after ruling that the app violates an article in the Brazilian constitution which prohibits anonymous freedom of expression. The judge also ordered that Apple must remotely disable the app from users’ phones, but it’s unclear whether the company will proceed with that step. Secret allows users to write and share anonymous posts with people nearby.

iOS 8 beta suggests 1472x828 resolution, more icons for iPhone 6 Home Screen?

An iOS 8 preference list file has been found with an iPhone resolution of 736x414, reports 9to5Mac, which would translate to a Retina “2X” screen resolution of 1472x828. At a 4.7” screen size, this would be around 359 pixels per inch (PPI), versus a 307 PPI resolution for 5.5” — the latter just enough pixel density to qualify as a Retina display. If displayed on a 4” screen, this would equal 422 PPI. Previously, 9to5Mac reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 resolution for the next-generation iPhone, which we noted at the time oddly fell just shy of the “full HD” 1920x1080 resolution found in virtually all HDTVs and many competing smartphones. It’s possible that either or both reports are wrong, however, the 736x414 resolution comes directly from Apple’s latest Xcode 6 SDK betas for iOS 8.

If the new numbers are accurate, it suggests that Apple — rather than merely tripling every pixel from 320x568 as was previously suggested, increasing the level of detail while keeping the same balance of on-screen elements — may instead be adding 94 pixels of width and 168 pixels of height to the existing iPhone UI. Conceivably, that resolution could enable one additional column and one or two additional rows of Home Screen icons, adding 11-16 more icons to the Home Screen for a total of 35-40. It might also mean additional coding work for game developers, as on-screen art would need to be manually adjusted to fill the extra pixels. 9to5Mac reports, though, that the preference list file suggests the resolution will display the same number of icons—20—as on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s.

Report: Apple releases iOS 8 beta 6 to testing partners

Apple has released the sixth beta of iOS 8 to its testing partners, including cellular wireless providers, according to BGR. This beta has not gone out to the standard broad array of developers, reportedly since the sixth beta has arrived too close to iOS 8’s anticipated Gold Master release in September. The report also claims this carrier build has already been rejected as a potentially final version due to an issue with using YouTube in Safari. A number of fixes can be seen in the beta’s release notes, for resolving issues with Continuity, Mail, Messages, Photos, Push Notifications, and more.

Apple to debut reversible USB Lightning cable?

A few allegedly leaked photos of reversible USB cables have popped up in recent days, with reports claiming that Apple’s new Lightning to USB cables could include the feature. The most recent photo comes from Sonny Dickson, who has leaked real Apple parts in the past, depicting a USB connector that would work with any standard Type A USB port, but could be inserted upside down or right-side up. It’s notable that Apple has filed a recently-revealed patent for a reversible USB connector, discussing a “tongue” with contacts on its top and bottom, potentially capable of determining which side’s contacts are being used and deactivating the other side’s contacts. [via 9to5Mac]

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