Apple Responds to Controversy on iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

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To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

Apple also updated their knowledge base:

When power is pulled from a battery with a higher level of impedance, the battery’s voltage will drop to a greater degree. Electronic components require a minimum voltage to operate. This includes the device’s internal storage, power circuits, and the battery itself. The power management system determines the capability of the battery to supply this power, and manages the loads in order to maintain operations. When the operations can no longer be supported with the full capabilities of the power management system, the system will perform a shutdown to preserve these electronic components. While this shutdown is intentional from the device perspective, it may be unexpected by the user.

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With a low battery state of charge, a higher chemical age, or colder temperatures, users are more likely to experience unexpected shutdowns. In extreme cases, shutdowns can occur more frequently, thereby rendering the device unreliable or unusable. iOS 10.2.1 (Released January 2017) includes updates for previous models of iPhone to prevent them from unexpectedly shutting down. This includes a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE to dynamically manage the instantaneous performance peaks, only when needed, to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down. This capability was also extended to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 11.2, and we will continue improving our power management feature in the future. This feature’s only intent is to prevent unexpected shutdowns so that the iPhone can still be used.

Source: https://www.apple.com/iphone-battery-and-performance/

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Apple is Currently Sold Out of AirPods Until January

Apple is Currently Sold Out of AirPods Until January

Apple’s wireless earphones are currently estimated for delivery in early January if ordered today from Apple’s online store in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and several other countries.

AirPods are also currently out of stock at most of Apple’s retail stores around the world, and at authorized resellers such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and Verizon in the United States. Bottom line: they’re hard to find anywhere.

At $159, AirPods are a more affordable gift idea than many Apple products, which may be causing stronger demand than Apple can keep up with.

Source: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/12/17/airpods-sold-out-until-january/

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Amazon Prime Video finally arrives on Apple TV

From Apple’s press release:

Starting today, customers around the world can access the Amazon Prime Video app on Apple TV to stream award-winning and critically acclaimed titles including Prime Original Series and Movies.

Also starting this week, the Apple TV app — a unified place for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users to discover and start watching the best shows and movies — supports live sports, giving fans in the US a simple and seamless way to keep track of their favorite teams and games in real time.

Participating sports apps in the Apple TV app include ESPN and the NBA, developed in partnership between the NBA and Turner Sports, with more to be added soon. Starting tomorrow, Prime members in the US can enjoy Thursday Night Football on the Apple TV app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

Source: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/12/amazon-prime-video-arrives-on-apple-tv-in-over-100-countries/

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Two Major Cydia Repositories Shut Down as Jailbreaking Fades

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

ModMy today announced it has archived its default ModMyi repository on Cydia, which is essentially an alternative App Store for downloading apps, themes, tweaks, and other files on jailbroken iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

ZodTTD/MacCiti also shut down last week, meaning that two out of three of Cydia’s major default repositories are no longer active as of this month.

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The closure of two major Cydia repositories is arguably the result of a declining interest in jailbreaking, which provides root filesystem access and allows users to modify iOS and install unapproved apps on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Source: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/11/23/modmyi-macciti-cydia-repos-shut-down/

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Apple explains on-device face detection

Apple started using deep learning for face detection in iOS 10. With the release of the Vision framework, developers can now use this technology and many other computer vision algorithms in their apps. We faced significant challenges in developing the framework so that we could preserve user privacy and run efficiently on-device. This article discusses these challenges and describes the face detection algorithm.

Source: https://machinelearning.apple.com/2017/11/16/face-detection.html

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EA response to ‘Battlefront II’ complaint is the most downvoted comment in Reddit history

Just as many people enjoy a nice cold Goose Island pale ale but hate the beer megacorp AB InBev which owns it, so too is the rage palpable against Electronic Arts, which owns many a beloved franchise but is far less than the sum of its parts.

Today, that dislike is slightly more quantifiable thanks to a comment on Reddit from the account “EACommunityResponse,” which sought to defend the company’s decision to shield popular characters from being immediately available to users who purchase Battlefront II, which has its worldwide release later this week. The comment was made about 24 hours ago and has become the most downvoted comment in the history of Reddit by a margin far-and-wide.

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At the time of writing, the posting had a total score (upvotes minus downvotes) of over -394,000. For perspective, the second-most downvoted post had a score of -24,333. In 2015, Reddit detailed that they were receiving about 2 million comments per day on average, and given how awful so many of them are, this is undoubtedly a major feat.

This post is almost certainly getting downvoted en masse a little help from bots as well, regardless the post has been gaining a lot of attention with thousands of responses mostly lambasting EA for messing with the gaming industry.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/13/ea-response-to-battlefront-ii-complaint-is-the-most-downvoted-comment-in-reddit-history

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Hackers claim to beat Face ID with a mask

Hackers claim to beat Face ID with a mask

Andy Greenberg, writing for Wired:

On Friday, Vietnamese security firm Bkav released a blog post and video showing that—by all appearances—they’d cracked Face ID with a composite mask of 3-D-printed plastic, silicone, makeup, and simple paper cutouts, which in combination tricked an iPhone X into unlocking. That demonstration, which has yet to be confirmed publicly by other security researchers, could poke a hole in the expensive security of the iPhone X, particularly given that the researchers say their mask cost just $150 to make.

In the video posted to YouTube, shown above, one of the company’s staff pulls a piece of cloth from a mounted mask facing an iPhone X on a stand, and the phone instantly unlocks. Despite the phone’s sophisticated 3-D infrared mapping of its owner’s face and AI-driven modeling, the researchers say they were able to achieve that spoofing with a relatively basic mask: little more than a sculpted silicone nose, some two-dimensional eyes and lips printed on paper, all mounted on a 3-D-printed plastic frame made from a digital scan of the would-be victim’s face.

I remember when android brought out the first facial recognition to unlock phones, a friend was excited that no one but her could unlock the phone, and I took her picture, held the picture to the phone and it unlocked it.

After reports of that, Google made the facial recognition look for blinking to make sure it was an actual face (video still got around that).

Face ID was never going to be unbreakable, there’s never been a security measure invented yet that can’t be beaten.

Heck, even Touch ID has been broken multiple times, but everybody keeps using it.

But in the case of Face ID and Touch ID, it involves getting something from the phone owner.

Touch ID involves getting a mold of the phone owners finger that can then be placed in clay (play-doh for example).

And to break Face ID:

The researchers concede, however, that their technique would require a detailed measurement or digital scan of a the face of the target iPhone’s owner. The researchers say they used a handheld scanner that required about five minutes of manually scanning their test subject’s face. That puts their spoofing method in the realm of highly targeted espionage, rather than the sort of run-of-the-mill hacking most iPhone X owners might face

if you have that much access to someone’s face, there are easier ways of opening their phones.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/hackers-say-broke-face-id-security/

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Logitech will brick its Harmony Link hub for all owners in March

Chris Welch, for The Verge:

Logitech has announced that it’s shutting down all services for the Harmony Link hub, a plastic puck the company released in 2011 that gave smartphones and tablets the ability to act as universal remotes for thousands of devices.

Owners of the product have received an email from the company warning that the Link will completely stop working in March. “On March 16th, 2018, Logitech will discontinue service and support for Harmony Link. Your Harmony Link will no longer function after this date,” the email says. There’s no explanation or reason given as to why service is ending in the email, but a Logitech employee provided more details on the company’s forums. “There is a technology certificate license that will expire next March. The certificate will not be renewed as we are focusing resources on our current app-based remote, the Harmony Hub.” The Verge has reached out to Logitech for further comment.

Customers are voicing frustration and anger towards the company on Reddit, with many vowing to stop buying products as a result of this decision. As is usually the case with angry consumers, “class action lawsuit” is being tossed around a lot. Bizarrely, it seems that Logitech has censored that phrase from appearing on its forum.

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But remember that this thing came out in 2011, and since then it has been replaced by the $100 Harmony Hub. The Hub, which has the same features plus new ones focused on the smart home, is what Logitech is offering to Link owners as consolation. Anyone with a Link that’s still under warranty can upgrade to the Hub for free. If your Link is outside that one-year manufacturer’s warranty, you can get 35 percent off when buying a Hub from Logitech’s store.

So to sum up, users are getting several months notice that a gadget they own is going to abruptly stop working on March 16th. But I think it’s perfectly valid to question why Logitech feels the need to completely cripple the device. Phasing out customer support and warranty service would be one thing, but it always feels a little cold and mean to just brick something that’s given some customers years of utility.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/11/8/16623076/logitech-harmony-link-discontinued-bricked

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Code mistake freezes up to $280 million in digital currency

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

Imagine if one person’s code error deprived you of a pile of money, and there was no guarantee you’d get your funds back. Wouldn’t you be hopping mad? That’s how many cryptocurrency owners are feeling right now. The digital wallet company Parity is warning users that a large volume of Ethereum funds have effectively been frozen after code contributor devops199 claims to have accidentally deleted the library needed to use multi-signature wallets (those that require more than one signature to move funds) created after July 20th. Devops triggered a long-unpatched bug that turned Parity’s wallet contract into a standard multi-signature wallet, making every wallet “suicide” and erase the guiding library code.

Whether or not you believe that it was a mistake, it could have very serious consequences. Observers estimate that there could be more than 1 million in ether locked away, which would amount to roughly $280 million. A lower estimate still pegs the damage at over $150 million. Parity describes these figures as “speculative” and suggests you should take them with a grain of salt, but there’s no question that some Ethereum holders are suddenly without a lot of cash.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/07/code-mistake-freezes-280-million-in-digital-currency/

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Introductory pricing coming to app subscriptions

Soon, you’ll be able to offer new customers a discounted introductory price for your auto-renewable subscriptions on the App Store.

iOS 11.2 introduces new classes … and new properties … to provide details on the introductory pricing and billing period you’ve selected for your auto-renewable subscriptions.

You’ll be able to configure introductory pricing on your in-app purchase page in iTunes Connect soon.

Auto-renewing subscriptions were made available to all app developers with iOS 10 and already include the option to offer a free trial. With iOS 11.2 though, developers will have added flexibility to help them attract customers.

Source: https://www.macstories.net/news/introductory-pricing-coming-to-app-subscriptions/

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