Apple has released a sixth set of new betas to developers today — tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. The tvOS 10.2 update boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 3.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements.
Well-known forensic scientist and digital security advocate Jonathan Zdziarski has announced on his blog that he’s been hired by Apple. Zdziarski has exposed back doors into iOS in the past and is a popular security consultant for journalists whenever news about Apple security flaws breaks. After clearly getting Apple’s attention, Zdziarski said he has now “accepted a position with Apple’s Security Engineering and Architecture team, and [is] very excited to be working with a group of like minded individuals so passionate about protecting the security and privacy of others.” [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has joined Microsoft, Amazon and Cisco in filing an amicus brief in support of Google’s refusal to hand over email records to the FBI, Business Insider reports. The FBI’s warrant requests records stored in Google’s servers overseas, and Google has argued against applying the Stored Communications Act to data stored outside the U.S. The brief filed by the other companies argues that seeking emails from a foreign data center would be perceived as an “extraterritorial act on the part of the U.S. government” and invite other nations to begin demanding records currently kept on U.S. soil for their own investigations. A Pennsylvania court has ruled that Google must surrender the documents to the FBI, but the company has said it will fight the ruling.
Mazda has announced it will add CarPlay to its car and SUV lineup, but hasn’t made its timeline for doing so official, Cars.com reports. The company made the announcement during the launch of its 2017 CX-5, but included no details on which cars will be the first to get the new feature. Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown did add that once the feature is released, it “should be retroactively upgradeable onto all Mazda Connect systems with a potentially minimal hardware addition needed,” meaning that at least some current Mazda owners will be able to add the technology once it’s released. Toyota is now one of the final holdouts refusing to integrate CarPlay into its vehicles.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital have found that health data collected from Apple’s ResearchKit platform for one asthma study is reliable when compared to other methods, The Verge reports. The difficulty involved in recruiting study participants has made collecting data from smartphones—which is considerably easier—more appealing, but questions have always lingered about the accuracy of the data. The Mount Sinai study published in Nature Biotechnology suggests that the asthma study run with a smartphone app and that had data collected and reported by ResearchKit produced similar results to existing patient studies conducted with traditional methods.
Apple could be preparing to release new iPad models as early as next week, according to a new report from MacRumors. Citing “reputable supply chain analysts,” the report suggests that Apple is expected to release “new products” later this month, pointing to the week of Mar. 20–24 as the most likely timeframe. While the research firm MacRumors spoke with did not provide any details on which products it expects Apple to announce, it did indicate that the information came from its own first-hand sources.
Apple has released another new beta of iOS 10.3 to registered developers, with a build number of 14E5273a. The rapid beta cycle and increasingly sparse release notes suggest that iOS 10.3 is nearing public release. Unlike most prior beta update cycles, this time around no corresponding watchOS or tvOS betas have been released as of yet. A corresponding public beta update is expected in the near future.
Apple has placed a renewed emphasis on updating its improved HomeKit page with updates on newly announced products, but may have let the cat out of the bag too early on the ecobee4 in the process. Apple recently updated the page with a new design, marking unreleased products with either “Announced” or “Coming Soon” tags and grouping HomeKit-compatible products into categories like Security, Fans, Lights, etc. where the devices were previously sorted by brand. Since Apple revealed the updated page less than two weeks ago, iDevices Wall Switch, iDevices Wall Outlet, and Netatmo by Starck Smart Thermostat have all lost the “Coming Soon” tag as they’ve been released, showing Apple’s commitment to maintaining and updating the page in real time. But in an interesting turn of events, the ecobee4 was originally listed as “Announced,” but now has been removed from the list entirely. With no other mentions of the product at all, it seems Apple may have spilled the beans on the new device before its own parent company was ready to make an official announcement.
Google’s Area 120 program has just released a new iOS app called Uptime, allowing U.S. users to share YouTube videos with one another and chat in real time while watching them. The app also provides the ability to add reactions or comments, allows users to curate lists of their favorite YouTube clips and provides daily recommendations from friends and people you follow. The app is free on the App Store, but you’ll need to use the invitation code PIZZA to get in. [via TNW]
“Game of Thrones” stars Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner will be among the celebrity duos singing behind the wheel in Apple Music’s new “Carpool Karaoke” show, the pair announced in a video on Twitter. The show — based on a similar comedy bit developed by James Corden for his own late night TV show — will now feature two or more celebrities in each 30-minute episode. Other notable celebrities confirmed for the project include Corden, Blake Shelton, Will Smith, Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame), Ariana Grande, Shaq, and Michael Strahan. Apple has said it’s using original shows to make Apple Music stand out from other competing music streaming services, but the company continues to show interest in other shows outside the music realm as well.
European custom homebuilder WeberHaus has announced plans to begin featuring Apple HomeKit in its SmartHome projects beginning this year. The company has been building custom SmartHomes for some time now featuring its own “WeberLogic 2.0” platform that utilizes the MyHomeControl app from Swiss company BootUp, however with HomeKit, WeberHaus is planning to increase the number of compatible devices that can be controlled, as well as adding more tightly integrated home control using iOS devices and Siri voice commands. “Apple HomeKit is the control solution of choice for home manufacturers around the world, delivering a simple and secure smart home solution for new home buyers,” said Klaus-Dieter Schwendemann, marketing manager at WeberHaus. The company’s press release also notes that it chose to partner with Apple as it feels that HomeKit technology is the “global standard for the smart home,” providing a “simple and secure” solution and “interoperability between different brands and accessories throughout the home.” WeberHaus is the first European home manufacturer to add support for HomeKit.
Following reports last month on Apple’s planned opposition to a new “right to repair” bill being tabled in Nebraska, the iPhone maker has apparently begun low-key lobbying efforts in the state, according to BuzzFeed News. Nebraska is one of eight states considering “right to repair” legislation that would require manufacturers to provide repair manuals and parts to independent repair shops. Proponents of the bill claim that this would result in customers having more options to fix their devices and ultimately lower repair costs, while those companies opposing the bill, including Apple, Samsung, and John Deere, cite concerns with safety and security issues for consumers as well as revealing trade secrets. Other states considering similar legislation are Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wyoming.
Apple representative Steve Kester recently met with the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Lydia Brasch to discuss Apple’s position on the bill. According to Sen. Brasch, Kester told her that Nebraska would be a “mecca for bad actors” if the bill passed, suggesting hackers would flood into the state, but that Apple would not oppose the bill if phones were specifically excluded from the legislation. Notably, no mention was made of excluding other Apple devices such as iPads and Macs, which the bill would also apply to. Apple declined to comment on the Nebraska bill or any of its lobbying efforts in other states, saying merely that “limiting repairs to authorized vendors is the only way it can guarantee that genuine parts are used and that the devices are fixed correctly.”
Plex has announced that its new Plex Cloud feature, originally released as a limited beta last fall, is now available to all Plex Pass subscribers. The Plex Cloud service expands the capabilities of the company’s media streaming platform, allowing users to store their movies, TV shows, and other media content in the cloud rather than, or in addition to, running their own Plex Media Server at home. Although Plex Cloud integrated with Amazon Drive when originally launched in beta, the fully-deployed Plex Cloud service instead allows you to simply tie into your choice of three major storage providers — Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive — and use whatever paid storage you have available on these services.
While many AI researchers suggest that Siri is lagging behind competitors such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, one area in which Apple’s voice assistant clearly has the lead over its competitors is in its extremely wide language support. A new report from Reuters notes that Siri can speak and understand 21 different languages, with localized dialect support for over 36 countries in total. By comparison, Microsoft Cortana supports only eight languages for 13 countries, Google’s Assistant speaks four, and Amazon’s Alexa is limited to only English and German. Reuters also notes that Siri will also be adding support for Shanghainese, a special dialect of Wu Chinese spoken only around Shanghai.
Apple has released a fifth set of new betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. The betas are also accompanied by a fourth beta of Xcode 8.3. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.
Apple has ordered 3D imaging technology from STMicroelectronics slated to be included in a “future iPhone,” iGeneration reports. Sources familiar with the agreement said the 3D imagers are on track to begin production at a plant in Crolles, France as part of a joint collaboration between Apple and STMicroelectronics that began in 2015. Carlo Bozotti, CEO of STMicroelectronics, told investors that the company’s recent $1 billion investment in “new products and specialized technologies” was related to “a contract recently taken [which will lead to] substantial revenues expected in the second half of 2017.” Bozotti hasn’t named Apple as its customer, but sources have confirmed that’s the case.
Apple statement on the WikiLeaks CIA files: "Many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS" pic.twitter.com/yUoUeTTaXN— kif leswing (@kifleswing) March 8, 2017
In a statement posted by Kif Leswing on Twitter, Apple claims that it is working on assessing all of the iOS vulnerabilities detailed in yesterday’s WikiLeaks release, but claims, “many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS.” The company touted its ongoing commitment to protecting customer security and privacy and urged users to make sure their devices are running the latest version of iOS. WikiLeaks claims the CIA has put a “disproportionate focus on iOS” as a hacking target and kept known vulnerabilities from Apple in defiance of prior U.S. government promises of disclosure.
A new set of rumors from Macotakara claim the tenth-anniversary iPhone rumored to be making its debut this year could be called the “iPhone Edition” and include a dual camera similar to the iPhone 7 Plus in a 5” device that’s the same size as an iPhone 7. The site says that multiple prototypes are still under consideration by Apple, including varieties with or without a home button and varieties with thin-film-transistor LCDs or AMOLED displays. Aluminum, glass and white ceramic are also reportedly under consideration for the chassis, leading to speculation that with so many factors still undecided production on the device might start later than usual. The new report is firm on the idea that “iPhone Edition” will feature wireless charging, but previous reports have claimed Apple is still undecided on which type of wireless charging method to use.
The latest release from WikiLeaks claims that the CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch dedicated considerable resources to create malware intended to ” infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.” The agency allegedly obtained a number of “zero day” attack methods from fellow government agencies like the NSA and FBI, but purchased others from Baitshop and similar cyber arms contractors. While iPhones only make up around 14.5 percent of the global smartphone market, WikiLeaks suggests ” the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites” explains the government’s “disproportionate focus on iOS” as a hacking target.
Apple has launched Apple Pay in Ireland, making it the 14th country to adopt the mobile payment service and the first new addition this year. As of today, users who bank with Ulster Bank and KBC can now add their credit or debit cards to Apple Pay. Users of Wirecard’s Boon prepaid MasterCard can also add those cards to Apple Pay. Apple has long-standing business ties to Ireland, headquartering its international operations in the country.