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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.

iOS 11.3 triggering microphone failures in small number of iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus devices

A small number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models appear to be experiencing a microphone issue following updates to iOS 11.3 or later, MacRumors reports. Apple appears to have acknowledged this issue in an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, which was obtained by MacRumors, and provides details on the issue, which may prevent affected users from being heard during phone calls or FaceTime video chats. The document provides some preliminary troubleshooting steps to diagnose the problem, and adds that service providers can “request an exception” for this issue for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus devices that are no longer covered by warranty of AppleCare+ coverage, although it doesn’t specify if the repairs will be completed entirely free of charge.

Report: 2018 iPhones may ship with USB-C Fast Charging adapters

Apple may finally be deciding to bundle faster charging adapters with this year’s iPhones, according to a new post on Weibo, reported by MacRumors. The report suggests that Apple would be planning to “upgrade to USB-C support” for all of its devices by shipping them with a redesigned 18-watt power adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable. Notably, however, it doesn’t appear that Apple is switching to a USB-C interface, but rather merely bundling a USB-C capable adapter, essentially a lower-powered version of its current 29W USB-C power adapter, and the company’s standard USB-C to Lighting Cable. Currently, Apple only includes a basic five-watt power adapter with current iPhones, relegating even the most recent iPhones — to the slowest possible charging speeds. The Weibo report also suggests that the charger will see a new design, replacing the traditional square shape used since the iPhone 3G era. The report also adds that Apple will continue to restrict MFi partners from making USB-C to Lightning cables until at least 2019.

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

Apple has released a third round of developer betas for iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1. The release notes reveal only minor changes and fixes compared to the prior betas. iOS 11.4 brings back Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 support — at least in the betas — but it remains unclear whether these features are planned to actually be included in the final release of iOS 11.4 or are once again being included solely for testing purposes; the release notes still state that Messages in iCloud is included “for testing and evaluation purposes.”

Report: 2018 iPhones may exclude headphone adapter

A new research note obtained by MacRumors suggests that Apple may be planning to unbundle the Lighting to 3.5mm Headphone Jack adapter from this year’s iPhone models. In the research note, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates state “We currently model no dongle this year,” and Barclays has lowered its quarterly and yearly revenue guidance for Cirrus Logic — the supplier of audio component in the adapter — by up to five percent as a result. It appears, however, that the Barclays analysts are merely guessing at this point, and have mentioned in prior research notes that it may take until May or June before they know for certain. That said, however, Barclays analysts did accurate predict last year that Apple would continue to include the adapter in the 2017 iPhone models, based on visits with Apple’s supply chain partners in Asia.

New leaked photos claiming to be ‘iPhone SE 2’ show glass back, headphone jack

A new set of leaked photos reported by 9to5Mac purport to show the much-rumoured “iPhone SE 2” sporting a glass back for wireless charging along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, confirming some rumours while refuting others. Although reports of an updated iPhone SE have been all over the place, with initial reports last fall of a new version launching in 2018 later refuted, before resurfacing last month as a result of regulatory filings. The most recent rumours have suggested that the new model might ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack and could even feature wireless charging, in addition to getting the faster A10 processor found in the iPhone 7 series.

 

Apple releases iOS 11.3.1, fixing iPhone 8 replacement display problem

Apple has released iOS 11.3.1, addressing the issue with third-party display replacements reported earlier this month. According to the release notes, the update “addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 8 devices because they were serviced with non-genuine replacement displays.” The update notes also repeated the same cautionary warning first shown in iOS 11.0.3 last fall, stating that “non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly.”

New iPhone SE could launch in May, sans headphone jack

An updated iPhone SE may in fact be coming as early as next month, according to a new report by Mac Otakara [via MacRumors]. Speaking with case makers at the Global Sources Mobile Electronics trade show in Hong Kong this week, the Japanese website was told that a second-generation iPhone SE would still maintain the same physical size as the current iPhone, but could eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack and possibly even move to a glass back with wireless charging capabilities, although case makers seem less certain on that last point.

Report: Apple considering dual-SIM 6.1” LCD iPhone model

Another new report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple may have plans this year for a dual-SIM iPhone model, 9to5Mac reports. The new investor note by Kuo suggests that the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone rumoured earlier this year, could be available in a version that would support dual-SIM technology, meaning that it would support two physical SIM card slots, and no eSIM support. This latest update adds to an earlier report that suggested Apple was considering a dual-SIM option for a new 6.5” OLED “iPhone X Plus” also rumoured to be in the pipeline for release later this year, which Kuo also corporate in his investor note, adding however that dual-SIM support will not be coming to the smaller 5.8-inch OLED version. Kuo also expects that the dual SIM iPhone would be priced higher than single SIM models, suggesting that the standard 6.1” LCD iPhone could sell for as low as $550, while the dual-SIM version might be priced in the $650 to $750 price range.

Report: New iPhone models may be coming this spring, likely iPhone SE updates

New regulatory filings discovered by Consomac (via 9to5Mac) suggest that several new iPhone models may be launching in the near future. References to new iPhone models were found yesterday in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, which has a solid reputation for accuracy in revealing products about a month before they ship, suggesting that new models could appear as early as May or June. Although the filing provides few useful details, logic suggests that this will be a smaller update, since Apple’s flagship iPhones are not expected to debut until the fall. While some reports have suggested it could be a slightly tweaked iPhone X, it seems much more likely that this would be the “iPhone SE 2” that we’ve been seeing sporadic rumours about over the past few months. More recent reports on an updated iPhone SE, however, have suggested that Apple may not have the resources for a major update, and that the most we’re likely to see is minor improvements such as a faster processor and lower price.

Israel joins the list of countries investigating Apple over iPhone slowdown issue

Israel has added its voice to the chorus of governments who have been looking into Apple’s handling of the iPhone slowdown issues revealed late last year, Reuters reports. Israel’s Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority revealed this week that it is investigating Apple “over a failure to disclose to consumers that its software could slow performance in some iPhones,” adding in a statement that it has already questioned Rony Friedman,  the head of Apple’s operations in Israel. The Israeli agency holds the power to levy significant fines in civil proceedings, however a spokesman for the agency said it was too early to discuss that possibility. A spokesman for Apple in Israel has declined to comment.

Third-party screen repairs causing iPhone 8 touchscreens to fail in iOS 11.3

Customers are once again experiencing problems with third-party screen repairs and iOS updates on Apple’s latest iPhone models, Motherboard reports. From information gleaned from repair shops, Apple’s iOS 11.3 update has been “killing touch functionality” in iPhone 8 models that have been repaired using aftermarket screens — iPhones that worked perfectly fine with the repaired screens prior to the update. According to Michael Oberdick of Ohio-based iPhone repair shop iOutlet, the repair community believes the problem is being caused by a small microchip that powers iPhone screens, and that some unknown component in the iOS 11.3 update kills touch functionality with that chip. Third-party screen suppliers have apparently solved the problem, but it requires the chip to be physically replaced in each affected iPhone.

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