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Report reveals law enforcement routinely unlocks iPhones with dead people’s fingers

A new report by Forbes has revealed that it’s a rather common practice for law enforcement agencies to use the fingers of deceased suspects to attempt to unlock their iPhones. In the report, FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor outlined a 2016 case where an agent used the finger of a suspect who had been shot by police following a stabbing rampage to attempt to unlock an iPhone found on the deceased. While Moledor added that this particular attempt didn’t work — the report speculates it may have been an iPhone 5 rather than an iPhone 5s — it was the first known case of law enforcement officials attempting to use a deceased person’s finger to unlock an iPhone using Touch ID.

Apple Store app gains new ‘Sessions’ section

Apple has released a significant update to its Apple Store app, promising users “a more personal, relevant in-store experience” with recommendations for products and in-store training sessions. The highlight of the update is a new “Sessions” tab which allows users to more easily find daily sessions be held in local Apple Stores on creative subjects such as photography and music, and sessions can be filtered based on the products that a user already owns. Users can also now view stock levels for their favorite products, and scan accessories using their iPhone in-store to get more information on a product, including information such as device compatibility. New order management features also allow users to view invoices, edit shipping details and custom engraving messages, and cancel individual items in an order — all capabilities that previously required a visit to Apple’s website.

Apple confirms fix is in the works for bug that allows Siri to access hidden notifications

In a statement provided to MacRumors, Apple has confirmed that it already has a fix underway for a bug reported earlier this week in which Siri could bypass privacy restrictions on third-party messaging apps, allowing for otherwise hidden messages to be read aloud, even when an iPhone is locked.

YouTube becomes Top Grossing iPhone app

YouTube has just become the top-grossing app in the App Store, according to a new report by TechCrunch. The milestone was first spotted by the App Store marketing intelligence firm Sensor Tower. While YouTube’s position has been rising on the Top Grossing charts for a few years now — ever since the launch of its paid YouTube Red subscription service — this is the first time it has risen above third place. The month after YouTube Red’s launch, the YouTube iPhone app jumped to sixth place, at which point it was estimated to be bringing in between $100,000 and $300,000 per day from the iPhone version alone. Sensor Tower notes that the U.S. is the only country where YouTube’s iPhone app has ever hit the top spot, the U.S. is one of only five countries where the YouTube Red service is available (the others being Australia, Korea, Mexico, and New Zealand).

Canada’s mandatory National Public Alerting System to go live April 6

Canada’s new National Public Alerting System is scheduled to go live on April 6, and according to a new report from CTV News, the service will be mandatory for all users with no opt-out options available. While a report suggested that most wireless providers were pushing for an opt-out option that would allow end users to disable the alerts, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has decided that consumers will not be able to turn off the warnings. CRTC spokesperson Patricia Valladao emphasized that “There is a high importance that people—want it or not—receive these alerts,” a decision supported by Public Safety Canada, with assistant deputy ministry Patrick Tanguy adding that “When you’re getting those alerts your life is at risk. So it’s not there’s potentially a danger, there is a danger.”

Apple reveals new Apple Watch bands for spring

Apple has released a series of Apple Watch bands in new colors and styles just in time for spring. A release from Apple showcases the new looks, which start at $49 and include exclusive Nike bands that color-match with the latest Nike running shoes. Apple has also added new high-end Hermès bands and sportier woven nylon bands for those more interested in using the device as an exercise tool than a fashion statement.

Siri bug allows access to hidden messages on iPhone by asking Siri to read them

A bug discovered by Mac Magazine allows users to access hidden messages on an iPhone just by asking Siri to read them aloud. Apple has long allowed users to hide their notification previews in Messages — displaying only that a new message was received and keeping the contents private until the device was unlocked, and more recently extended this capability to third-party apps. The bug — spotted in both iOS 11.2.6 and the beta of iOS 11.3 — doesn’t affect Apple’s own Messages app, but it does allow messages in third-party apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype to be read aloud to anyone who asks Siri to do so, even when the device is locked. Apple has been made away of the bug but hasn’t commented publicly on the issue. [via 9to5Mac]

Technogym, Life Fitness add support for Apple’s GymKit to more gym equipment

After last year’s showcase of Apple’s GymKit syncing the Apple Watch to Technogym equipment in a Fitness First gym in Australia, Technogym has announced a much wider rollout to make more than 5,000 of its machines in hundreds of fitness clubs all over the world. Users simply tap their Apple Watch on the compatible equipment to track active and total calories burned, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline and pace, resulting in the most accurate measurements possible,” according to the company’s press release. Life Fitness has also partnered with Pure Fitness in Hong Kong and Anytime Fitness in Japan to add GymKit compatibility to some of its cardio machines in select clubs, 9to5Mac reports.

Iovine’s expected exit from Apple Music leaves leadership structure, overall strategy in the air

Apple executive Jimmy Iovine is expected to transition to a consulting role in August, stepping back from daily involvement with the Apple Music streaming service he helped create and brand, The Wall Street Journal reports. Of all the celebrity names who migrated over to Apple when Beats was acquired by the company in 2014, Iovine is the last one still actively involved with Apple’s growth of that brand. Iovine is expected to jump ship when his Apple shares fully vest in August, and how his role at the company will evolve is still an open question given the somewhat nebulous status he has enjoyed during his entire stint with Apple. Iovine has been an important part of Apple Music’s successes — smoothing over a public feud with Taylor Swift and securing exclusive deals with artists like Drake — but he’s also been a source of friction with other high-ranking executives, who have been in the middle of negotiations with artists and labels only to find Iovine was conducting his own separate discussions.

Apple up to 45 vehicles in its fleet of self-driving cars as Uber crash casts shadow on the industry

Apple has grown its fleet of self-driving cars from just three when the program started in April 2017 to a whopping 45 as of its most recent filings, The Financial Times reports. Those filings for legal purposes are the only indication Apple has given that the program even exists, and even sources inside the company still aren’t sure what final form of self-driving technology Apple may eventually offer to consumers, if any. Since Apple is so secretive about the project, it’s also unclear if the company has made any changes after a self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian earlier this week. Like Uber, Apple requires a human operator inside the vehicle during testing for safety purposes, but it’s unclear if the Uber driver even had time to react to the pedestrian who was killed. Uber has temporarily suspended its own testing in wake of the death, but preliminary reports seem to indicate the pedestrian was at fault in the accident.

Apple changes policy to force developers to go through App Review to edit URLs, ‘What’s New’ text

According to a policy update from Apple, developers will soon no longer be able to change support URLs and the text in the “What’s New” section on the App Store without going through the company’s App Review process again, 9to5Mac reports. Changes to that metadata will now require developers to submit an entirely new app update where up until now the app support URL, marketing URL and update notes were able to be edited at any time. The changes go into effect starting next month.

Apple thought to have two-year lead in 3D smartphone sensors

Most android devices won’t have 3D sensors comparable to this in the iPhone X until 2019, giving Apple a two-year lead in the burgeoning field expected to be worth billions over the next few years, Reuters reports. Three major parts producers said Samsung and others are too far behind Apple to get the tech into customers’ hands this year, leaving Apple out ahead on facial recognition, gesture sensing and immersive experiences for gaming and online shopping. Parts manufacturers Viavi Solutions Inc, Finisar Corp and Ams AG said Android producers are struggling to get access to the vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers that are central to Apple’s Face ID components.

Leaker’s latest photo shows ‘Blush Gold’ iPhone X he claims is in production

Well-known Apple product leaker Benjamin Geskin has posted photos of a “Blush Gold” iPhone X that he claims is in production now. The tweet includes a professional-looking shot of the back of the iPhone X in a copper-gold color and another grainier shot of a SIM tray in a different gold color. But Geskin has already been wrong about the number of colors the iPhone X would feature at launch and others have jumped the gun on speculation about the gold option being released, so we’ll have to see if the prediction materializes this time. The iPhone X currently only comes in silver and space gray.

Democrats interested in Apple’s download records on Trump administration officials

A memo released last week by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee could put Congress on a legal collision course with Apple if Democrats take back the House of Representatives, The Intercept reports. On page 20 of the document protesting the Republican decision to end the HIC’s Russian collusion inquiry, the Democrats proposed the committee go after Apple’s “records reflecting downloaded encrypted messaging apps for certain key individuals” of interest in the investigation. Encrypted communications app WhatsApp is another target of the proposed inquiry, but the Democrats won’t have subpoena power over any of the companies in question if they can’t manage to flip the House in November.

Report: Apple developing its own MicroLED screens in secret California manufacturing facility

For the first time, Apple is developing its own MicroLED screens for testing purposes, Bloomberg reports. Sources claim Apple has made a “significant investment” in the program designing and producing the new displays at a secret California manufacturing facility near the company’s headquarters. MicroLED screens can be built slimmer than OLED displays while still delivering a brighter display that consumes less power thanks to different light-emitting compounds, but that makes them much more difficult to produce. Apple almost pulled the plug on the project a year ago and is still a few years away from putting its own screens in Apple products, but the move further emphasizes the company’s current trend toward trying to bring the design of more of its components in-house. In the meantime, Digitimes is expecting Apple’s screen suppliers to field up to 270 million orders in 2018, which will far exceed Apple’s best annual iPhone sales of all time.

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Apple seeds sixth beta of iOS 11.3 to registered developers

Only a few days after Apple released a fifth beta of iOS 11.3, today the company has pushed out beta 6 to registered developers, featuring a build number of 15E5216a. This sixth beta release is not yet accompanied by a corresponding tvOS 11.3 beta. The release notes for the latest beta contain no significant changes, suggesting that Apple is primarily polishing iOS 11.3 for a final release, which is expected to be available by the end of this month.

Google Maps adds wheelchair-accessible transit navigation

Google has added support for finding “wheelchair accessible” transit routes to its Google Maps iOS app in order to make getting around easier for users with mobility needs. Users can filter transit directions to only include wheelchair-accessible routes by going into the “Options” section where a new “Wheelchair Accessible” route type will appear alongside the options for best route, fewest transfers, and least walking. Google says the feature is “rolling out in major metropolitan transit centers around the world” starting with London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney, however this initial list may not be entirely comprehensive as it also appears to already be available in Toronto as well.

Apple announces education-focused event for March 27

Apple has announced that it will be holding an education-related event at a Chicago high school on March 27, Bloomberg reports. While specific details are vague, the choice to hold this event away from the usual vicinity of its Cupertino campus makes it a particularly unusual one. The invitation for the March 27 event simply notes that Apple will share “creative new ideas for teachers and students” and lists the location as Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. It’s been several years since Apple has made any major announcements specifically targeted at the education market; the company held a similarly-themed education event in New York City in 2012, where it unveiled the iBooks Author tool, digital textbooks from major publishers on the iBookstore, and the advent of iTunes U as a standalone app targeted at handling online courses.

Apple responds to allegations that it is abusing French developers

Apple has responded to allegations that it has been treating app developers unfairly in France, following yesterday’s report that the French government was planning legal action against both Apple and Google over “abusive commercial practices” stemming from the strict controls Apple imposes on pricing, data use, and contract terms with app developers. In a statement to Le Figaro, Apple emphasized the advantages of its App Store for developers, citing strong relationships with “tens of thousands” of developers in France, and emphasizing that it has paid out over one billion euros to French developers alone. Apple also added that many small startups in France have been able to see their businesses grow to reach users in 155 countries, which of course Apple credits to its investment in iOS, app development, and the App Store. The company also emphasized its stance on privacy and security, noting that it has no access to user transactions within third-party applications.

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