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Apple officially acknowledges iMessage issue, says fix coming in future

Apple has officially acknowledged its iMessage issue that causes users who switch from an iPhone to stop receiving texts. “We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update,” Apple told Re/code in a statement. The report notes that a recent server glitch has only exacerbated the issue, making it harder for Apple support staff to fix iMessage using standard protocol.

To avoid the problem, Apple says users switching from an iPhone to a non-Apple phone can switch off iMessage on their iPhone, and uncheck the phone number from all other Apple devices using iMessage before making the switch — though this doesn’t do much good to those who have already made the transition. A recent report noted Apple is being sued over the issue.

Hackers claim compromise of iCloud and Activation Lock

Two hackers are claiming to have found a way to compromise iCloud by bypassing Activation Lock on stolen iPhones, De Telegraaf reports. The hackers — based in the Netherlands and Morocco, respectively — reportedly worked on the hack for five months. A vulnerability in Apple’s software apparently allows another computer to fool an iPhone into thinking it’s a genuine Apple server, allowing third-parties to gain Apple ID credentials and reverse Apple’s Activation Lock. The two hackers also claim they contacted Apple about the issue back in March, but the company never responded. They have allegedly unlocked 30,000 iPhones by exploiting the vulnerability. [via MacRumors]

Apple WWDC app update reveals keynote set for June 2

Apple has released version 2.0 of its free WWDC app ahead of its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. The app reveals a good portion of the conference’s schedule, including the keynote, which is set for 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST, Monday June 2. A number of the events on the conference schedule have still yet to be announced. Maps of the Moscone West venue in San Francisco and videos from past WWDCs are also included within the app. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple collector reveals Mac mini prototype with integrated iPod dock

Henry “Hap” Plain, a collector of rare Mac prototypes, revealed an unreleased prototype Apple Mac mini with a built-in iPod dock in an interview with Cult of Mac. According to Plain, a friend suggested that Apple originally planned on releasing the Mac mini at the same time as the new iPod that would dock on its top, but the iPod project was running behind schedule, so Apple left the feature out. While Plain says that the iPod in question was the iPod mini, both the Mac mini’s January 2005 release date and an accompanying photo suggest that the delayed iPod was actually the first-generation iPod nano, as Apple had released the iPod mini in 2004. The prototype Mac’s dock doesn’t appear to have enough space for larger iPods.

It’s unclear what exact plans Apple had for that Mac mini model, but reports in 2005 and 2006 noted that Apple was considering an integrated dock for the computer. A user who opened the original PowerPC G4-based Mac mini discovered an unused set of pins on the logic board that would have supported a Dock Connector interface, and rumors suggested that Apple might include the feature in an Intel processor-based followup the next year. Apple ultimately did not integrate an iPod dock into any of its computers.

Apple expands iPad trade-in program to France, Germany, Spain, UK

Apple has expanded its in-store iPad trade-in program to a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Both the UK and Spanish Apple sites are referencing the program, with iPhoneAddict.fr and Macerkopf.de verifying the program’s launch in France and Germany, respectively. Apple only started accepting the iPad in its Reuse and Recycling program last month. Both eligible iPads and iPhones can now be traded in toward the purchase of new iOS devices; current-generation devices are generally not eligible for trade-in. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Ahrendts plans Apple Retail tweaks on China, mobile payments, experience

New Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts “has outlined a three-part vision” for the future of Apple retail, 9to5Mac reports. The three parts include a greater emphasis on Apple’s presence in China, improving mobile payments in retail stores, and redesigning the Apple Store visitor experience from end to end. Ahrendts reportedly believes “the tastes of Chinese consumers are critical” around the world, and the company must be receptive to the Chinese people. The report notes that Apple currently has ten stores in China, and hopes to have 30 stores in the country by 2016.

Ahrendts wants to improve mobile payments in Apple’s retail stores and within its mobile apps, and hopes to “blur the lines” between Apple’s physical and online stores. It’s previously been reported that the company is pursuing its own mobile payments service, likely centered around the Touch ID sensors in iPhones. As for Apple’s retail locations, Ahrendts has apparently visited a number of stores already, leaving sources impressed with her interactions. It’s been said that she would like to change the experience a customer has in the store from start to finish — from finding a product to making the purchase, everything could be revamped.

Apple, Samsung in patent settlement talks after Google-Apple deal

Apple and Samsung have resumed talks aimed at settling the company’s ongoing patent disputes out of court, The Korea Times reports. “Samsung has recently resumed working-level discussions with Apple and the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits,” a source said.

One reason to believe Apple is willing to settle comes from the company’s recent settlement with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit on their respective patent issues, notes Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Apple and Google released a statement late on Friday stating that they’ve settled current patent litigation, but the settlement does not include cross-licensing of each other’s patents, Reuters reports. “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform,” the statement said.

Apple sued over unsent iMessage text issue

Apple is being sued over an issue that causes iPhone text messages to get lost when sent to Android devices, Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit was filed by a former iPhone user who claims she switched to a different device and stopped receiving texts. A few days ago, a widely distributed blog post was written about the very same issue; that post claimed Apple was aware of the problem, but has no standard solution. Texts sent from an iMessage system to a user who used to have an iPhone but switched to an Android phone are — often, apparently — getting delayed in delivery or are completely failing to reach the intended recipient. The suit is seeking class-action status. [via Business Insider]

Apple earns full marks in government data request report

A report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation titled “Who Has Your Back?” has awarded Apple a full six-star rating when it comes to standing with users when the government seeks access to data. Apple earned a star in all six criteria: require a warrant for content of communications, tell users about government data requests, publish transparency reports, publish law enforcement guidelines, fight for users’ privacy rights in courts, and publicly oppose mass surveillance.

In the last three years, Apple only earned one star in the report, which notes this year that “Apple shows remarkable improvement in its commitments to transparency and privacy.” The report features summaries for 26 tech companies. Eight other companies joined Apple in earning a six-star rating, and the lowest grade went to popular appmaker Snapchat, with one star.

OS X 10.9.3 update re-adds USB contact and calendar syncing to iOS

Today’s OS X update, 10.9.3, has re-added the ability to sync contacts and calendars with iOS devices via iTunes over a USB or Wi-Fi connection. Apple had quietly removed this feature in Mavericks, presumably as part of the deprecation of OS X SyncServices, directing users to iCloud instead for syncing. It has returned in this latest OS X update, possibly due to pressure from users concerned about the use of cloud-based services, although it is unclear if Apple has returned to the prior SyncServices model or simply developed a new synchronization architecture for this purpose.

Apple updates Podcasts, iTunes Connect apps

Alongside updates to its iTunes software, Apple today released new versions of two of its iOS apps: Podcasts and iTunes Connect. Podcasts 2.1 sees a number of improvements to episode browsing, Siri integration, and more. A new Unplayed tab lists podcasts that haven’t yet been listened to, while the Feed tab shows episodes available to download or stream. Podcast episodes can now be set to be automatically deleted after being played.

Among other new features, Siri can now play specific podcasts and stations, CarPlay support has been added, and links can be shared using AirDrop.

iTunes Connect, a developer tool, has been completely redesigned for iOS. Additionally, it can now be used to access music, movies, and TV shows developers have made available in the iTunes Store, in addition to apps.

Beats deal may not come until next week

Re/code is reporting Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics may not be finalized until next week. Original rumors pegged the deal to close this week at the earliest, although there’s been no word from either company on the issue. “Apple’s planned deal to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion may not be finalized until next week, according to people familiar with the transaction. That’s a longer timetable than some people expected as recently as a few days ago,” reports Peter Kafka.

Report: Apple acknowledges iMessages being sent to unused Apple IDs

An Apple tech support representative has reportedly verified that iMessages are still being sent to previously used Apple IDs in some cases, resulting in text messages never making it to their intended recipient. Former Lifehacker editor Adam Pash wrote a blog post about how he’s not receiving text messages from anyone with an iPhone, because he recently switched from iPhone to Android. The iPhone users sending the messages get a “delivered” receipt, but even after getting his phone number removed from his Apple ID, Pash hasn’t received any text messages from iPhone users. According to Pash, an Apple tech support employee explained that lots of people are having similar problems, but there’s no standard fix at this point. “No one can fix this but Apple because it’s a problem at the device level, which means people in my position have no recourse but to wait for Apple to figure out with the problem is,” Pash wrote. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple restricting employee vacation time in September for product launch

Apple is reportedly restricting its German retail employees from taking time off in September, hinting at the launch of a new product that month, iFun reports. It’s expected the 4.7” iPhone 6 will launch in September. Other stores across the world will likely follow suit with similar vacation time restrictions. Another recent rumor expected the new iPhone to launch in August, but that appears unlikely at this point.

Apple plans to offer hi-res audio, new headphones?

A report from Japanese Apple blog Macotakara suggests that Apple is planning to offer “high-resolution audio” hardware and iOS software options, though the specifics of the functionality remain somewhat unclear. According to the report, iOS 7 and the current Lightning connector limit audio playback of high-definition audio files, so Apple will update the Lightning connector’s unseen chipset and iOS to support the higher-bitrate audio, as well as offering high-definition audio tracks such as upcoming remastered “Super Deluxe Editions” of three early Led Zeppelin albums. The report also claims that Apple plans to launch a new and improved version of its In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic, though there are no details on what the update will include.

Although rumors of high-resolution audio support for iOS devices have appeared before, there has been a continued lack of mainstream consumer interest in previously-announced formats, despite numerous attempts to market virtually unhearable sonic distinctions as worthy of higher album and song prices. It’s possible that Apple’s reportedly pending acquisition of Beats Electronics will be used to push the high-definition format, despite the well-established lack of sonic accuracy in prior Beats products.

Blog spotlights risks in cheap, counterfeit iPad chargers

Comparing $19 Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapters and clones sold on eBay and elsewhere for $3, Ken Shirriff elucidates the risks unknowingly assumed by buyers of knockoff accessories. Cosmetically all but identical from the outside, the iPad chargers actually differ dramatically inside, with the Apple version providing a more stable flow of 2-Amp power with overheating and electrocution protection. By contrast, the clone produces only around 1-Amp power despite branding to the contrary, and cuts corners on everything from stability of the current to protection against temperature, moisture, and other electrical failures. Beyond supplying an inadequate flow of power to quickly recharge an iPad, Shirriff notes that the counterfeit charger’s board “is unsafe. If you use the charger in a humid bathroom and a drop of water condenses across the 0.6 mm gap, then zap!”

Counterfeit and other low-quality power adapters have been blamed for a number of iPhone-related electrocutions and deaths, most notably but not exclusively in China. In response to concerns, Apple offered to replace knockoff chargers last year for the equivalent of $10 U.S. in local currency. Similar concerns over sparking and exploding iPad chargers have been raised, as well.

Apple to offer India 8GB iPhone 5c with trade-in discount

Apple will launch the 8GB iPhone 5c in India following a brief early-2014 campaign to resuscitate the iPhone 4 there, reports The Times of India, using an old phone trade-in program to make the iPhone 5c more affordable for Indian consumers. According to the report, Apple will price the 8GB model at 35,000-37,000 rupees (approx. $588-$621), with the trade-in program reducing the price to 30,000 rupees (approx. $504)—a discount of only 2,000 rupees (approx. $34) below the 16GB version. The company has struggled to gain market share in India, selling far fewer units than rival Samsung and even regionally-known brands, but is apparently working to increase the average selling price of its devices in the value-conscious country.

Nokia PureView camera expert headed to Apple

Senior Lumia engineer Ari Partinen, who worked on Nokia’s PureView smartphone cameras, has been hired by Apple. Partinen confirmed the move in a tweet.

Nokia has referred to Partinen as the company’s “camera expert.” The PureView cameras are known for their large megapixel sensors, including the 41-megapixel sensor found in the Lumia 1020. [via Engadget]

Beats acquisition confirmed in Facebook post?

After last night’s report that Apple is in talks to acquire Beats Electronics, the deal was seemingly confirmed by a now-deleted post on actor Tyrese Gibson’s Facebook page. In the video, Gibson and Dr. Dre are both seen celebrating, with Dre describing himself as “the first billionaire in hip hop.” The caption to the video read: “How did I end up in the studio with Dr Dre ON THE night his deal went public that he did with Apple 3.2 BILLION!!!!! The BEATS HEADPHONES JUST CHANGED HIP HOP!!!!!!” [via The Verge]

Report: Apple close to acquiring Beats Electronics for $3.2B

Apple is reportedly close to acquiring Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, according to the Financial Times. A deal with the headphone maker could be announced as soon as next week, sources said, though “talks could still fall apart.” Apple would acquire Beats’ audio equipment business and its streaming music service, Beats Music. The acquisition would be the largest in Apple history, were it to happen. If the acquisition goes through, the Beats management team would report to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Both companies declined to comment on the report.

In February, Cook told the Wall Street Journal, “We have no problem spending 10 figures for the right company, for the right fit that’s in the best interest of Apple in the long-term. None. Zero.” It’s not immediately clear how the acquisition of streaming service Beats Music would affect Apple’s iTunes Radio. Beats Music is a subscription service, unlike iTunes Radio, so the two services could conceivably continue as separate entities, but perhaps Apple has other plans.

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