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German carrier claims September 19 iPhone 6 launch

German carrier Deutsche Telekom has informed its call center representatives to let customers know the iPhone 6 will launch September 19, according to apfelpage.de. iPhone launches traditionally occur on Fridays — September 19 does fall on a Friday this year, and September 20 was when Apple introduced the iPhone last year. Deutsche Telekom is apparently giving people a concrete date in order to keep people from leaving the carrier. The carrier may simply be estimating the date based on past launches, as it seems unlikely that Apple would have already given Deutsche Telekom a firm release date. [via Apple Insider]

Hacked Apple devices in Australia being held for ransom (Updated)

A number of Australian Apple device owners have discovered that their devices have been hacked, and are being held hostage for ransom, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. iPad, iPhone, and Mac owners have reported seeing messages stating their device was hacked, and would be unlocked if they sent money to a PayPal account. In some known cases, the message “Device hacked by Oleg Pliss” has prompted users to send $50 or $100 to a PayPal account. Dozens of users have reported seeing similar messages.

According to the report, users with a passcode were able to unlock their devices after receiving the message, but those without a passcode on their devices were unable to do so. A PayPal spokesman said no PayPal account was linked to the email address given, also noting that any money sent by hacked users would be refunded. Users have received little help from carriers, and have been told to contact Apple, which has yet to comment. The hacker appears to be exploiting an insecurity within Find My iPhone.

Update - May 28: Apple released a statement on the issue: “Apple takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised during this incident. Impacted users should change their Apple ID password as soon as possible and avoid using the same user name and password for multiple services. Any users who need additional help can contact AppleCare or visit their local Apple Retail Store.” [via ZDNet]

Apple launches 8GB iPhone 5c in India

Apple has launched the 8GB iPhone 5c in India, The Times of India reports. It was reported a few weeks ago the phone would launch soon, with a trade-in program designed to reduce costs, but the new report only mentions a “cash discount.” The phone is retailing for 37,500 rupees ($640) with a cash discount of 4,000 rupees ($68) for a total cost of 33,500 rupees ($572). For a limited time, Apple is also giving away a case with the phone, valued at 2,000 rupees ($34).

T-Mobile announces VoLTE launch

Following AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile has announced the launch of voice-over-LTE on its network, starting in the Seattle area. T-Mobile has already been offering HD Voice, though not on a VoLTE network. The carrier says users of certain devices can download a software update to access VoLTE, though the iPhone is not included in the brief list. It’s noted that T-Mobile will be adding cities and devices while increasing the size of the network.

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]

Verizon announces VoLTE rollout this year

Verizon has announced that it will start to roll out voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) on its network this year, claiming that the service will be available to customers “in the next few months.” The network’s VoLTE service will offer HD Voice, and the company says it will “have a robust line-up of VoLTE-enabled smartphones available when the service launches.” Software updates can enable VoLTE on handsets; iOS 8 has been rumored to include support for the feature. It’s also noted that Verizon’s VoLTE service will offer video calling options, which might benefit FaceTime users in the future. AT&T recently announced its HD Voice would be debuting on its own VoLTE network May 23 in several cities, with more to follow.

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]

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.

AT&T announces HD Voice coming to select markets May 23

AT&T has announced that it’s introducing HD Voice to select markets starting May 23 on a voice-over-LTE network. HD Voice — which AT&T initially claimed would debut last year — will allow users to have enhanced audio in conversations, even while using 4G LTE data. Although Apple has previously noted that its iPhone 5 supports HD Voice, AT&T’s press release doesn’t mention the iPhone, only claiming HD Voice will work on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, with more devices to be added later. It’s notable that T-Mobile already offers HD Voice support for the iPhone on its network, along with other carriers outside the U.S..

iOS can’t currently make calls over LTE networks, though a recent report claimed VoLTE could be added as a feature in the soon-to-be-announced iOS 8, or iOS 8.1. HD Voice from AT&T will debut in “select areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and will continue to expand on a market-by-market basis.”

Physical mockup of iPhone 5.5” compared to iPhone 5s

A physical mockup of the 5.5” iPhone created using a 3D printer has been compared to the iPhone 5s in a post on Japanese site RocketNews24. The mockup is 157 mm x 78 mm and 6.71 mm thick. Though not a visually impressive physical representation of the rumored device, it is notable for size comparison purposes.

Although it’s thinner than the 5s, the mockup’s overall size dwarfs the current iPhone. The translated post notes the size is “cumbersome” to use with one hand. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple testing iPhone 6 with 1704 x 960 screen resolution

Apple is testing an iPhone 6 with a 1704 x 960 resolution screen, 9to5Mac reports. The new resolution will be achieved by tripling the initial iPhone “base resolution” of 568 x 320. On a 4.7” screen, the pixel density would be 416 PPI; on a 5.5” screen, the density would be roughly 356 PPI. The aspect ratio will remain 16:9 — though not quite full 16:9 HD, which would be at 1920x1080 resolution, and would allow for 1:1 pixel sharing between an iPhone and an HDTV.

Though it’s expected that most UI elements of iOS will simply appear larger than before on the new screen, it’s possible the home screen and other functions could be redesigned in some way to better utilize the screen space. It should be easy for developers to make the transition to the new resolution due to a reduced reliance on raster graphics in iOS 7 — Apple is also working on a “multi-resolution” mode and developer toolset that will make it easier to scale applications to fit on multiple iOS devices with different resolutions.

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 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.

Apple to raise trade-in values for iPhone 4/4S

Apple is preparing to increase the trade-in values for the iPhone 4 and 4S in an attempt to get more customers to upgrade to an iPhone 5s or 5c, according to internal documents obtained by iLounge. The company will now offer up to $199 for an iPhone 4S, and up to $99 for an iPhone 4 trade-in when upgrading to a new device — allowing users to upgrade to an iPhone 5s for $0 or $99 depending on which model is traded in.

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Apple store workers are instructed to “speak to every eligible customer about this great opportunity with iPhone Reuse and Recycling,” the document notes. An earlier report noted that Apple was preparing for an upgrade event this week, though it’s currently unknown when these new trade-in values will go into effect, or if they will be tied to a specific event.

Apple pulls iPhone 4 from market in India

Apple is withdrawing its iPhone 4 from the market in India after relaunching it earlier this year, The Times of India reports. A trade partner said the phone was being pulled from all markets. Another trade partner told the Times the iPhone 4 had served its purpose by doubling the Indian iPhone consumer base in one year. It’s noted that the iPhone 4S is now Apple’s top-selling phone in India, as a recent buyback offer doubled sales of the device.

Report: TSMC shipping fingerprint sensors for new iPhone, iPads

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has already started to supply Apple with fingerprint sensors for its new devices, cecb2b.com reports. According to the report, TSMC started sending Apple fingerprint sensors in mid-April for the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and third-generation iPad mini. Xintec and Suzhou Jing Fang are reportedly taking care of the assembly. It’s been rumored that Apple’s Touch ID will be included in the new devices — recently, iOS 7.1 code was found to contain a reference to the iPad family within Touch ID resources.

Report: Apple to hold iPhone upgrade event this week

Apple will hold an “enormous” iPhone upgrade event in stores this week to boost sales, 9to5Mac reports. The company will contact upgrade-eligible iPhone users starting on May 8, sending email offers to upgrade to an iPhone 5s or 5c. This event will reportedly “be held in multiple states.” Further details are scarce, but considering the timing of the event, more information should be revealed in the very near future. It’s also noted that Apple is working on other initiatives designed to improve in-store iPhone sales.

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