Apple is working to explain its new “differential privacy” method of collecting enough user information to make its products more useful while still protecting user privacy, Recode reports. Data collection will begin with the rollout of iOS 10, but will be entirely opt-in, allowing users to decide whether they’re willing to trade a little privacy in return for added functionality. Those opting in will allow Apple to see new words added to their local dictionaries, emojis they type, deep links used inside apps, and hints within notes.
Apple has confirmed to TechCrunch that the opening up of the iOS 10 kernel was an intentional decision on its part, citing performance optimizations as the main motivator for the move. Speaking to TechCrunch, an Apple spokesperson noted that “The kernel cache doesn’t contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we’re able to optimize the operating system’s performance without compromising security.”
A judge has thrown out the class-action lawsuit against Apple over ‘Error 53’ messages that temporarily left some users’ iPhone locked, Fortune reports. After users who had third-party repairs to their iPhone’s Touch ID sensor began seeing their phones rendered useless upon updating to iOS 9 in February, Apple quickly released a patch to fix the issue and offered to reimburse customers who has been forced to pay for out-of-warranty replacements for their devices.
The company that won a major patent ruling against Apple in Beijing last week barely even exists, The Wall Street Journal reports. Last week the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models infringe upon the design of Baili’s 100C phone. Since that ruling, phone calls to the company in question — Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co. — ring unanswered. The company’s websites are gone and visits to its registered addresses turned up no company offices.
The Supreme Court has upheld new government procedures for challenging patents, The Wall Street Journal reports. The upheld ruling is a big win for companies like Apple, which are constantly bombarded by patent lawsuits. The 2011 law in question put in place a quicker and cheaper process for challenging patents, placing the decision-making power in the hands of the patent office instead of a federal judge. Opponents of the law argued that the new process was too friendly to patent challengers and made patents too vulnerable to being overturned.
Starting today, millions of people who bought e-books from Apple will receive credits or checks as part of a $450 million settlement, the law firm Hagens Berman confirmed in a press release. Customers who bought e-books published by HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group Inc. and Simon & Schuster from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 are eligible for payments amounting to $400 million in total.
After months of back and forth, Apple once again seems close to opening retail stores in India after the country relaxed its restrictions on foreign retailers, Bloomberg reports. Apple was denied an exemption to rules that require single-brand retailers in India to source at least 30 percent of their components locally, but on Monday India relaxed restrictions on all foreign investors in an effort to boost investment.
Apple has notified Republican leaders that it won’t be providing any funding or support to this year’s convention in protest to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments, Politico reports. Facebook, Microsoft and Google are all providing some support to the GOP’s Cleveland convention, but two sources familiar with Apple said the company decided against donating cash or technology over Trump’s remarks about women, minorities and immigrants.
Apple will be requiring all the apps in its App Store to connect to the web through an HTTPS connection starting on January 1, 2017. TechCrunch reports. The company debuted its App Transport Security feature in iOS 9, but until now developers weren’t required to use it. While the end user won’t really be able to observe any difference, starting next year all connections between apps and servers will be encrypted. Apple has been ramping up its efforts to protect user privacy in iOS after its public fight with the FBI, even though there is still some internal disagreement within the company over how far its privacy mandates should go at the expense of user experience.
This week’s WWDC keynote also saw the unveiling of the next-generation version of OS X — now renamed as “macOS” to match its mobile counterparts (and likely to avoid confusion with iOS 10). macOS Sierra introduced a number of new “Continuity” features to build upon the tight integration between Apple’s Macs and iOS devices. Apple SVP Craig Federighi outlined several new features including automatic unlocking, Universal Clipboard, iCloud Desktop and Documents synchronization, and Apple Pay for Safari, all of which tie a user’s Mac into a closer relationship with their iOS and watchOS devices, and make it possible to work seamlessly across multiple devices. Here’s a closer look at those “crossover” features.
Apple has quietly removed its requirement that all games for tvOS be playable using the Siri Remote. The updated support document for game programmers now states that, “When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote.” Apple had such a suggestion in place when tvOS debuted last year, but soon began requiring all tvOS games to offer support for using the Siri Remote as a controller.
Expectations are high ahead of today’s WWDC keynote, with big improvements to Siri assumed to be a focal point of the event. Apple is expected to release a third-party Siri SDK for developers and is rumored to be putting out some kind of Siri-capable hardware device to rival Amazon’s Echo, though the latter isn’t expected to make an appearance today. “Sweeping changes” to Apple Music are also anticipated as part of the iOS 10 unveiling, with a more intuitive user interface and enhanced 3D Touch features among expected improvements.
The U.S. Justice Department has asked that the Supreme Court overturn a smartphone patent litigation favoring Apple over Samsung, Reuters reports. The case stretches back to a 2012 jury verdict in which Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $930 million for multiple patent infringements by a wide range of Samsung devices. The amount was later reduced to $548 million by an appeals court, although the original patent infringement claims were upheld.
In an interview with The Verge, Apple worldwide marketing chief Phil Schiller revealed that the company is planning on announcing a major shift to its revenue-sharing model for app developers at next week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, which will put a greater emphasis on selling apps as subscriptions rather than one-time purchases. Schiller explained that Apple would retain the standard 70/30 revenue split for normal app purchases and initial subscriptions, but that developers who can maintain subscriptions with customers longer than a year will see a shift in the revenue-sharing model to an 85/15 split. As part of this change, the option for selling subscriptions will be opened up to all developers across all categories of apps — and Schiller says “that includes games, which is a huge category.”
The U.K. has passed a bill giving its spy agencies wide-reaching powers to hack computer systems and engage in bulk surveillance, but protests from Apple and other technology companies kept out requirements for weakened encryption, Bloomberg reports. Tim Cook expressed concerns that there would be “dire consequences” if the bill passed as it was first offered, with language mandating access points that subverted encryption to provide government access. The law allows for collecting metadata and using malware to infiltrate the computers and mobile phones of terror suspects, but makes it clear that companies aren’t responsible for building backdoors into their encryption. Under the law, companies will only be required to remove encryption at the government’s request if it’s “technically feasible and not unduly expensive.” How those provisions will be interpreted by British judges going forward is an open question.
Apple has made another high-profile hire for its efforts to improve and expand HealthKit, Fast Company reports. Rajiv Kumar, who specializes in treating children with diabetes, drew attention in 2015 when he created a HealthKit-enabled diabetes monitoring system for kids. His former employer, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, confirmed Kumar will maintain a part-time appointment at the hospital, but CEO Christopher Dawes said, “We can’t compete with companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook when they really want one of our own.”
India’s government may allow Apple to open retail stores in the country and provide a 2-3 year exemption from local sourcing requirements, The Times of India reports. Apple was expected to be completely exempted from laws requiring companies to source 30 percent of their products’ material locally because of the company’s status as a provider of “cutting-edge technology”, but the company’s application to bypass those rules was rejected by India’s finance minister two weeks ago. Sources now say that discussions have begun between the finance ministry and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion aimed at granting Apple the waiver, but only in the first few years of Apple’s retail store operations.
Apple has hired Sinisa Durekovic, the software engineer behind the development of satellite navigation systems for several luxury carmakers, Bloomberg reports. Durekovic, who has more than 20 years of experience in developing satellite navigation software, was previously the principal architect and chief engineer for navigation at Harman International Industries, which develops in-car navigation systems for several high-end car manufacturers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. According to the report, Durekovic joined Apple in an “unspecified role” back in October, although it seems logical that his skills will be put to use in areas such as improving Apple Maps, CarPlay, or Apple’s much-rumored electric car project. Apple has recently made a stronger push toward Apple Maps development, opening an office in Hyperabad, India last month, where it will employ 4,000 staff focused on developing its mapping platform. Spokespersons for Apple and Harman had no comments to make on the hiring; Durekovic didn’t respond to a request for an interview.
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion for 2016, providing a free pair of Beats headphones to eligible students purchasing a new Mac, iPad, or iPhone for college or university. Students purchasing any new Mac model will receive a free pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones, valued at $300, while those purchasing an iPad Pro, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, or iPhone 6s Plus will get Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones, valued at $200. As with prior promotions, the promotion takes the form of an instant credit for the pre-tax price of the headphones, meaning the customer will still be responsible for any sales taxes that might otherwise apply. Standard Apple student discounts also apply on Mac and iPad purchases. The Apple Back to School promotion runs from today through Sept. 5, and users can take advantage of the offer by purchasing a Mac, iPad Pro, or iPhone at any Apple Retail Store of the online Apple Store for Education, and buyers must be enrolled in an eligible college, university, or similar higher education institution in order to qualify.
Apple has sent out press invites for the keynote to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference later this month. The keynote will be held on Monday, Jun. 13 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. It’s expected that Apple will announce new versions of its various mobile and desktop operating systems — iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and OS X — along with changes to Apple Music, a Siri SDK for developers, web-based support for Apple Pay and Maps, and possibly even the announcement of new hardware products. It is expected that the keynote will be broadcast on the web and via the Apple TV as Apple has done with past keynote presentations.