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Apple releases second developers betas for iOS 12, tvOS 12

Apple has released a second set of betas to registered developers for iOS 12 and tvOS 12, following the initial developer preview releases following WWDC at the beginning of the month. iOS 12 beta 2 features a build number of 16A5308e and according to the release notes resolves a number of issues from the first beta, including compatibility with certain third-party apps, accessibility issues, problems confirming Apple Pay payments in some cases, CarPlay alarms, Personal Hotspot, and issues with Phone, FaceTime and Screen Time features. The release introduces new problems as well, including the Weather widget, AirPods, CarPlay compatibility with certain vehicles, FaceTime, Screen Time, and Siri shortcuts. The second beta of tvOS 12 features a build number of 16J5303e and includes a smaller list of resolved and new issues. Both versions are available as over-the-air updates or via direct download from Apple’s developer pages. Public betas for iOS 12 and tvOS 12 aren’t expected to materialize until July, and will likely come following the third developer beta release.

Apple releases third round of iOS 11.4.1 and tvOS 11.4.1 betas to developers

Apple has released a third round of betas for iOS 11.4.1 and tvOS 11.4.1, only one week after the company pushed out its second round of the minor maintenance releases. The release notes remain devoid of any information, indicating that these releases likely just address bugs and other issues that are too minor to even be noteworthy. A third beta of watchOS 4.3.2 is not yet available, although it seems likely that it will appear later this week, as with last week’s release.

iOS 12 will introduce automatic location sharing with 911 call centres

Apple has [announced] that users will be gaining automatic location data sharing with 911 and other emergency services as part of the iOS 12 release later this year. The new feature will incorporate Apple’s HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) system released in 2015 that uses services such as cell towers, GPS, Wi-Fi access points, and more to estimate a mobile 911 caller’s location along with a partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS to deliver the HELO data to 911 call centres. RapidSOS already has infrastructure in place that integrates with the software used by many 911 call centres, which operate on industry-standard protocols, and Apple notes that location data will only be shared with the responding 911 call center during an emergency call and cannot be used for any non-emergency purposes.

Apple confirms security lockdown of Lightning port in iOS 12

Apple has confirmed plans to tighten security in iOS 12 to block the use of external hacking devices such as Grayshift’s GrayKey box by locking down the Lightning port on iOS devices, Reuters reports. A feature recently discovered in iOS 11.4 was designed to prevent the Lightning port from accepting USB device connections when nothing had been connected in seven days, and after the first iOS 12 beta came out, it was discovered that the feature had been adjusted to reduce the time limit down to a mere one hour — meaning that when connecting a USB device to an iPhone running iOS 12, users will be prompted to unlock their iPhone unless a USB device has already been connected in the past hour. While Apple had previously been silent on the issue, this week an Apple spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the feature is being implemented, but clarified that the move is being undertaken to protect all customers, and not specifically to thwart law enforcement efforts, as some have suggested.

Apple releases second round of iOS 11.4.1 and tvOS 11.4.1 betas to developers

Despite last week’s first beta releases of iOS 12 and tvOS 12, Apple is still continuing to run the beta cycle for iOS 11.4.1 and tvOS 11.4.1 in parallel, with second betas for each released today. Notably, watchOS 4.3.2 has not yet received a second beta, although that may still come later this week. As with the first betas, the basically empty release notes indicate that these release are focused on fixing bugs and other issues that are too minor to even be noteworthy.

iOS 12 significantly tightens Lighting port security mode

In addition to the many features highlighted in iOS 12 yesterday, it appears that Apple may also be doubling-down on Lightning port security in iOS 12. A report last month highlighted a new “USB Restricted Mode” that showed up in iOS 11.4 after briefly appearing in earlier betas, designed to lock down data communications through the Lightning port if an iPhone hadn’t been unlocked in at least seven days.

Apple unveils iOS 12, doubles down on performance and adds new AR, Screen Time features

As expected, Apple took the wraps off of iOS 12 today at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, with Craig Federighi taking the stage to highlight what’s new in the company’s latest flagship operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Federighi began by emphasizing that iOS 12 will be “doubling down on performance” and highlighting several metrics where iOS 12 will be improving performance, particularly on older devices. iOS 12 will be available to all of the same devices supported by iOS 11 — all the way back to the 2013 iPhone 5s — making it the largest base ever supported by an Apple release.

Apple releases first betas of iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2

Only one day after the release of iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1, Apple has already rolled out the first betas of iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2 to registered developers. The release notes for the new versions are basically devoid of any information at all, suggesting that they are focused almost entirely on fixing bugs and other issues that are too minor to even be noteworthy.

All-OLED 2018 iPhone lineup unlikely, analysts say

Some analysts are rebuffing recent rumours that Apple may be dropping LCD displays entirely, Bloomberg reports, after an article earlier this week suggested that Apple was planning to go “all-in” on OLED for all this year’s models. Offering up several reasons why such a move is unlikely for this year, the report quotes analysts suggesting that it’s too early for Apple to make this decision, that adding that an OLED screen to the rumoured third LCD model would drive up the price to the level where there wouldn’t be a point in selling it, and that Apple might not even be able to secure the number of OLED screens it would need for the very large volume of iPhones that Apple sells, particularly considering that Samsung remains the only OLED supplier at this point, with LG Display still struggling to get its facilities up and running for mass production.

Apple releases iOS 11.4 with Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 support

Apple has released iOS 11.4 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, adding the long-awaited support for Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2. Messages in iCloud allows users to store and sync their Messages across multiple devices via iCloud, a feature which was initially promised in iOS 11, and made an appearance in the iOS 11.3 betas before being pulled from the final release. The update also includes support for AirPlay 2, which allows audio streaming to multiple AirPlay 2 compatible speakers — a list that presently only includes the Apple TV and HomePod running the corresponding tvOS 11.4 or HomePod 11.4 updates, respectively. HomePod 11.4 also brings stereo pairing to HomePod speakers, allowing users to set up two of them in a stereo configuration. Users can also now ask Siri to play music in any room or group of rooms using AirPlay 2, and music can be streamed throughout the house without any need to manually group speakers.

Apple going all-in on OLED for 2018 iPhones

A new report from South Korea’s ET News has added weight to recent reports that Apple will be going with OLED displays for all of its 2018 iPhone models, dispelling previous rumours that the company had planned to release a 6.1-inch model with a full-faced iPhone X style display, but in LCD rather than OLED. Citing industry sources, however, the ET News says that Apple has recently decided to adopt OLED across all three models of iPhone to be released later this year; although it notes the possibility of a fourth LCD model, it’s possible this could be referring to the rumoured “iPhone SE 2” refresh. [via MacRumors]

Apple knew iPhone 6 models were susceptible to bending problems

New court filings obtained by Motherboard reveal that Apple knew from the beginning that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were much more susceptible to bending problems than prior iPhone models. While Apple has never publicly admitted that the iPhone 6 models have a bending problem, and in fact continues to maintain that position, internal Apple documents in a class-action lawsuit showed that Apple had conducted internal testing and confirmed that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend. While the documents themselves remain under seal, U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh disclosed some of the information in a recent opinion in the case, adding that “one of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were ‘likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations.’”

New Apple patent suggests enhancements to ‘Do Not Disturb’ on iOS

A new Apple patent reported by Patently Apple suggests a possible new addition the company might make to the iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb while Driving” feature. First introduced in iOS 11, Do Not Disturb while Driving allows users to automatically engage a special Do Not Disturb mode that not only silences incoming notifications, but suppresses them from the lock screen entirely to remove the temptation for users to check their iPhone while in the car. Users can also configure an automatic reply in Messages that will be sent to contacts when this mode is engaged, and this is where Apple’s new patent comes in. Patent application 20180146089, titled “Intelligent Digital Assistant for Declining an Incoming Call” would allow Siri to notify the user of an incoming phone message and allow them to dictate a short response that could be sent back to the caller. The response could also include not only text, but also a voice recorded message, a map location, or even a copy of the user’s calendar. Siri could also conceivably answer the call on the user’s behalf to let the caller know that the person is driving. Of course, as with all Apple patents, the mere indication of a patent doesn’t mean that an implementation of it will ever see the light of day, but this one seems like a logical extension of the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature.

Apple offering $50 credit to users who paid for iPhone 6 or later battery replacements

Apple has announced that it is offering a $50 credit to any customers who paid for out-of-warranty battery replacements in 2017 for the iPhone 6 or later. Apple is presumably rolling out the credit to compensate users who purchased battery replacements for affected iPhone models before Apple began offering $29 battery replacements at the end of 2017 to address the issue with deteriorating batteries slowing down older iPhone models. Apple notes that the credit will be provided as an electronic funds transfer or a credit on the credit card that was used to pay for the battery replacement service, and adds that it will be contacting eligible customers directly via e-mail from now until July 27, 2018, but adds that users who believe they are eligible for a credit should contact Apple directly if they do not receive an e-mail by August 1, 2018.

Sixth iOS 11.4 beta appears

Only three days after Apple pushed out a fifth beta of iOS 11.4, a sixth iteration has just appeared, with the increasing frequency suggesting a final iOS 11.4 release may be just around the corner. The sixth beta offers no significant changes from the last version, and shows only a small change in build number 15F5079a versus 15F5077a, indicating that it’s probably mostly about polishing and fixing relatively minor bugs at this point.

Another report suggests 2018 iPhones will ship with faster charging adapters, includes renders

A new report from ChargerLab backs up rumours from earlier this month that Apple plans to include USB-C Fast Charge power adapters with at least some of this year’s iPhone models. Citing sources from “inside production lines,” the report confirms that it will be an 18-watt USB-C to Lightning plug, and includes renders of a European version of the adapter. The new design also appears to be in line with the earlier Weibo report that the charger would see a change from the traditional square shape used since the iPhone 3G, making it more convenient and portable. The iPhone has supported at least 2.1-amp charging since 2014, but despite this, Apple has continued to bundle only the original anemic one-amp adapter in every box, up to and including last year’s fast-charge-capable iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models.

Apple releases fifth betas for iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1

Apple has just posted a fifth set of developer betas for iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1, again only a week after the fourth round of betas went out. Unsurprisingly, the release notes at this point list only extremely minor changes since the last beta, and it remains unclear whether iOS 11.4 and tvOS 11.4 will in fact incorporate AirPlay 2, which also made a brief appearance in the iOS 11.3 betas earlier this year before being removed before the final release, a fate similar to that of Messages in iCloud, which is still listed in the release notes as being included “for testing and evaluation purposes.”

Another new Unicode text bug discovered affecting iOS Messages

The iPhone is prone to another Unicode text bug, being dubbed the “black dot” bug. Outlined in a new video by EverythingApplePro (via 9to5Mac), the bug was first discovered on WhatsApp on Android, although it affects several other platforms as well, including the iOS Messages app. The bug was originally spread with the “black dot” emoji, but actually relies on the crafting of Unicode text strings that contain thousands of invisible Unicode characters that cause the receiving device to churn through CPU cycles in an attempt to process them, and such a string received as an iMessage will cause the recipient’s Messages app to repeatedly crash, much like other special-text bugs recently encountered.

Lightning port security mode looks to return in iOS 11.4

When Apple rolled out the first iOS 11.3 betas earlier this year, one smaller feature mentioned in the release notes was a new security protocol that would lock down a user’s Lightning port if it hadn’t been used for anything other than charging for more than a week. Specifically, Apple noted that users would be required to re-enter their device passcode to authorize a Lighting-connected USB accessory if it has not been connected to the device for more than a week. Although much like AirPlay 2 and Messages in the Cloud, this feature never made it into the final iOS 11.3 release, Elcomsoft notes that it’s back in the iOS 11.4 betas, with a report on exactly how it works and some of the ramifications of the new feature for iOS forensics.

Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, watchOS 4.3.1

Less than a week after Apple released the third betas for iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1, the company is back with its fourth round of developer betas. As expected, the release notes list only very minor changes, and although Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 support remain in place in iOS 11.4 beta 4, it’s unclear whether these will still make it into the final release. At this point, AirPlay 2 is only available with Apple TV devices running the tvOS 11.4 beta, although the HomePod will presumably get a similar 11.4 update by the final release — Apple is not making beta software available for the HomePod at this point.

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