TV remotes are all well and good, but they have a nasty habit of coming up missing at the worst possible moment — Apple TV’s new wand isn’t immune to this malady. It should come as good news then that Cupertino’s planning an update for the remote app on iOS with new features like voice commands with Siri. The news comes by way of an interview with Apple’s Eddie Cue and Craig Federighi on tech pundit John Gruber’s podcast this week.
More than that, if you’re playing a two player game, an iPhone can sub in as a second controller. Handy! “It really is a full replacement,” Federighi says. Beyond “a couple of months,” though, there’s no firm release date for the update. If you want more insight into Apple TV stuff (like Bluetooth keyboard support), check out the full episode; app talk starts at 22:09.
Source: Daring Fireball
Today, Apple tried to prod New York Magistrate Judge James Orenstein into settling a months-old debate about unlocking an iPhone at the heart of a criminal investigation. A letter submitted by one of the company’s attorneys maintains these sorts of unlocking requests aren’t going to to stop anytime soon, and that both Apple and the Department of Justice agree the judge should make a ruling. And really, that’s about the only thing those two players agree about.
To fully understand this story, let’s flashback to October 2015 when a man named Jun Feng plead guilty after being charged with possessing and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Normally that would be the end of the story, but what happened after was even more interesting — federal prosecutors tried to compel Apple to unlock Feng’s iPhone 5s so they could sift through potentially juicy details hidden inside. If Feng had updated his phone to run iOS 8, there’s not a thing Apple could have done — the update brought with it strong file encryption and security so Apple can’t get at a device’s sensitive data. Older versions, like the iOS 7 build on Feng’s phone — didn’t have those enhanced protections, leaving Apple with the ability to unlock them if legally forced.
At the end of the day, the DoJ wanted Apple to unlock Feng’s phone to help with its ongoing investigation into a narcotics ring. Apple, meanwhile, was concerned how a forced extraction of data “could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand”. And until Judge Orinstein makes a decision — one that will definitely be appealed anyway — the folks in Cupertino and D.C. will remain in a sort of legal limbo.
Via: Ars Technica
The Apple rumor mill has been in full swing over the last month or so, with as-yet-unconfirmed March 15th event that’s said to introduce a new 4-inch iPhone and the iPad Air 3. Those rumors are getting a little more concrete today, as 9to5Mac’s Marc Gurman is saying that both of those products will go on sale on March 18th — the Friday after the rumored event. Gurman’s been posting reports about this event and what we might see for weeks now, and this just appears to be further evidence that the company’s March plans are solidified. Of course, nothing’s official yet, but Gurman’s track record suggests these will be the big product introductions Apple has on tap.
The 4-inch iPhone is supposedly dubbed the iPhone 5se (special edition) and will combine the hardware guts of the iPhone 6 (including Apple Pay) with a modified body that is still more reminiscent of the iPhone 5s than the iPhone 6 and 6s. As for the iPad Air 3, it’ll keep the 9.7-inch screen the line is known for but may borrow some tricks from the iPad Pro, including its speaker arrangement and Apple Pencil support.
It sounds like these products will launch without the typical pre-order period that Apple typically offers, which is a little bit unusual for the company. But these products will certainly launch with less hype and fanfare than the flagship iPhones typically do, so perhaps the company doesn’t expect sales to be so overwhelming as to warrant a preorder period. Regardless of those plans, mid-March is coming up fast — Apple should be sending out invites for this event very soon if it’s going to happen.
Seattle-based law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala (PCVA) today followed through with plans to bring a class action lawsuit against Apple over the “Error 53” controversy that made headlines last week.
“Error 53” is the error code that some iPhone 6 owners have received after third-party repairs that affect Touch ID were made to their iPhones, rendering the devices unusable. As explained by iFixit, repairs made by third-party services using non-original components cause the iPhone to fail a Touch ID validation check because the mismatched parts are unable to properly sync. Parts that can impact Touch ID include the screen, flex cable, and Home button.
When this Touch ID validation check fails during an iOS update or restore, Apple disables the iPhone, effectively “bricking” it in an effort to protect Touch ID and the related Secure Enclave that stores customer fingerprint information. Apple says that without the validation check, a malicious Touch ID sensor could be used to gain access to the Secure Enclave.
PCVA attorney Darrell Cochran, who is leading the Error 53 lawsuit, claims that Apple’s security argument is invalid because affected iPhones often work fine for several months following repairs as the validation check only occurs when downloading a new version of iOS. He also cites Apple’s failure to give a warning about the consequence of an update as an issue that will be featured in the lawsuit.
“No materials we’ve seen from Apple ever show a disclosure that your phone would self-destruct if you download new software onto a phone,” Cochran said. “If Apple wants to kill your phone under any set of circumstances and for any reason, it has to make it crystal clear to its customers before the damage is done.”
Compounding the problem, according to Cochran, is how disagreeable Apple’s reaction to the problem has been. “The error code 53 signals the death of the phone, and Apple’s response has been to say ‘you have no options; it’s not covered under warranty, and you have to buy a new phone.’”
PCVA is aiming to get affected iPhone customers new, working devices to “provide immediate relief” to consumers. It is also seeking upwards of $5 million in damages and an update to eliminate the repair restrictions. PCVA is asking customers who have been impacted by Error 53 to get in touch.
Aside from explaining the reasoning behind the Error 53 message and its consequences, Apple has remained quiet about the controversy. MacRumors has, however, heard from a retail source that certain Apple Stores have received the go ahead from Apple to replace third-party screens and other components to resolve the issue. It is not yet clear if this replacement policy will be extended to all Apple Stores or if Apple will make an official comment on the situation.
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A new video by YouTube user Junya Sakamoto posted over the weekend shows off a homemade robot, created by Sakamoto, that masters the trickiest stages of popular mobile game Puzzles and Dragons (via Kotaku). The four minute video uploaded to Sakamoto’s self-titled YouTube channel details the initial creation and design of the robot to the final, tangible realization of the iPhone game-beating device.
Puzzles and Dragons requires users to match colored orbs to defeat monsters, with patterns that get increasingly tricky the further the game progresses. Connected to a laptop, the robot analyzes and predicts the best moves possible in the current level, resulting in high-scoring combos that would be extremely difficult for the game’s players to naturally achieve.
In an earlier video (the first of only two on Sakamoto’s channel), the robot’s creator uses an attached microphone to dictate commands to the device and navigate the iPhone without touching it. Using only voice, the robot unlocks the iPhone, transcribes a note, and even plays a piano app.
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When you’re the CEO of Apple and you have nearly 2 million followers on Twitter, your Twitter photo game better be on point all the time.
Sadly, Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t remember that bit of wisdom Sunday when he posted the photo seen above to his Twitter stream.
Taken from what appears to be about the 15 yard line of Levi’ Stadium in San Francisco, the photo of the postgame celebration after the Broncos won Super Bowl XL was a bit blurry. And the Twitterverse was not shy about letting him know it.
One user responded with this:
@tim_cook Uh… Is the message here that iPhones take terrible photos of important moments?! Because that really seems to be the msg here.
— Rich Brome (@rbrome) February 8, 2016
Another posted this response:
— Anthony Henderson (@AntPHenderson) February 8, 2016
And it appears Tim Cook actually blocked this user after his response:
— Soju Boy Tell ‘Em (@andykoh_) February 8, 2016
Just goes to show you that nobody, not even Tim Cook, is safe from the wrath of the Internet.
Source: Tim Cook (Twitter)
Come comment on this article: Apple CEO Tim Cook can’t take a good picture with his iPhone
Apple today announced that its Swift benchmark suite is open source, just over two months after making its Swift programming language open sourced as promised at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple’s Swift benchmarking suite is designed to track Swift performance with 75 benchmarks that cover multiple important Swift workloads, libraries with commonly needed benchmarking functions, drivers for running benchmarks and displaying performance metrics, and a utility for comparing benchmark metrics across multiple versions of Swift. The Swift benchmark suite is available on GitHub.
Introduced in 2014 and launched alongside iOS 8 and OS X, Swift is Apple’s programming language built for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS, designed to work with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks along with Objective-C while also being widely accessible. In 2015, Apple debuted Swift 2 with new features like advanced error handling and syntax enhancements.
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I am not a huge fan of using cases for my smartphones because they add too much bulk. There is definitely a purpose to them if you’re the type who is rough on your smartphone. But if you are gentle on your devices you should strongly consider getting a skin. I have a really unique skin made by Toast on my Nexus 6P and it is pretty freaking amazing.
Toast is a relatively new company getting its start in 2012 by a man named Matias Brecher which I had the pleasure of meeting him in person at CES 2016. My first impression was a good one. Similar to other people I know who own their own businesses, I could tell he took great pride and passion in his work. He was standing at the CES booth and actually applying real wood Toast skins to people’s personal phones.
In the 15 minutes I was at the booth, I did get a chance to speak with Matias and even though he was tired from being on the CES floor for three days straight, he took the time to tell me about his company. He even told me he was the one who designed and cut my custom AG skin.
Toast got its name by the process in which the designers engrave and cut with a laser that burns in a very precise manner. So Matias named his company after toast which also burns.
Toast is a true U.S. based company which does all of its business in Portland, OR. In just three quick years, they have already grown to a company of 10 where they handle every step of the skin creation process. They are very good people. Toast takes part in the 1% for the Planet program in which a minimum of 1% of Toast’s net proceeds are donated to help save the earth. It’s a rarity for such a new company to have a social conscience, but it does and I am happy to support a company like Toast.
“We are a small company dedicated to quality products and quality of life: for you, for us, and for our planet.”
Real wood skin made in the U.S.A.
Toast makes a wide variety of skins – mobile devices, tablets, gaming consoles and even custom skins out of real genuine wood. I happen to have the grey Nexus 6P which has an all metal body. And if you’ve owned an all metal device before you understand that metal can be easy to scratch. If you’re like me and are tired of having the same old look in a smartphone with most of them being black, white or gold, skins can offer a superior level of customization without adding bulk.
I have been a fan of the “wood” look but only a few devices employed the look. Leave it to Toast to fill that gap with real wood skins that can be applied to almost any smartphone. My Nexus 6P skin is made from Walnut with an Ebony inlay for the camera and custom laser etched AG in the center of the skin. I also have the optional Walnut front cover which rounds out skin.
Every single detail is covered when it comes to the Toast skin. The cutouts are perfect for the buttons, cameras, and sensors. The wood itself is about a millimeter thick which a sticky backing which means it is very delicate until it is actually applied to the phone. Since it does add thickness, the SIM slot, power and volume buttons are slightly recessed when the main skin is applied. But Toast provides perfectly cut out wood inserts for that too.
Every detail is well thought out and Toast even provides an alcohol swab to clean your device to make sure the skin gets proper adhesion.
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I am not a huge fan of applying skins because they can sometimes be painful, but not the Toast skin. The laser that does the cutting is perfect and I say that without exaggeration. Once you line up the rear microphone hole, found below the Nexus 6P camera, and align the buttons all you have to do is push down and it fits perfectly.
Once the main section is in place, I dropped in the Ebony AG insert as well as the camera insert. It was as simple as removing the protective covering over the glue and fitting it into the skin like a jigsaw puzzle. Following those, I then put the inserts in for the SIM card, power button and volume rocker. I was a little skeptical of the tight fit and was worried they would get stuck, but was pleasantly surprised when my buttons worked without issue. And then all I had to do was apply the front Walnut screen cover and I was done. The whole process took less than five minutes.
The skin fit perfect. It gives my 6P a unique look that I have not seen before on another phone. It definitely adds grip to what otherwise is a slippery Nexus 6P, and it is 100% made in the U.S.A. and supports charity at the same time. It even smells a little like burned wood. Rather than talk up the results I am just going to provide some sweet pictures. Words can’t do it justice.
Of all of the skins I have tried, the Toast all wood skin is by far my favorite. It was super easy to apply, has a unique look and is made by a company with values that I adore. The skins start at just $34 and can work their way up to $50+ if you want custom designs and graphics. I highly recommend checking out Toast skins if you’re up for a new look. You will not be disappointed.
Learn more at Toastmade.com
Introducing the Stadium of the Future, Where Technology is King
For sports fans, the experience of attending a game in person is becoming increasingly more high-tech. Levi’s Stadium, home of Super Bowl 50 this weekend, touts ticketing, concessions and instant replays from a mobile app. It’s also LEED certified and employs solar collection system. High-tech sports venues are becoming the norm and this piece from Curbed offers a glimpse at the near future.
Snowed in at NASA, Keeping Watch Over a Space Colossus
Just because there’s a massive snow storm doesn’t mean the work at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center comes to a halt.
Tech Has No Space for Breastfeeding Moms
This piece follows the difficulty of trying to be a breastfeeding mom and work the largest tech show of the year. There’s a simple solution, but the tech industry has to be willing to help.
30 Years in Space: Meet the Man Who’s Kept Space Sims Flying
Shawn Bower is the founder and only developer for Star Wraith 3D Games. He’s also done his part over three decades to make sure the genre continues.
Battling Postpartum Depression with an iPhone
While the photography of Erin Brooks is being used in an iPhone ad campaign, the snapshots also served a greater purpose. Capturing images with her phone helped Brooks overcome Postpartum Depression.
Apple users are now receiving a pretty strong incentive to swap to Android. An emerging iPhone ‘feature’ is discovered to brick devices that were repaired by non-Apple entities. When a user upgrades to the latest version of iOS 9, some are reporting an “error 53” that renders the device unusable. Although the phone may have been functioning perfectly for weeks or months after a repair job, this error will effectively render the handset inoperable, and the Guardian is reporting that any data lost on the phone this way is unrecoverable.
“The problem occurs if the repairer changes the home button or the cable,” said California tech expert Kyle Wiens, owner of the iFixit website. “Following the software upgrade the phone in effect checks to make sure it is still using the original components, and if it isn’t, it simply locks out the phone. There is no warning, and there’s no way that I know of to bring it back to life.”
Some suspect that this is a move by apple engineered to undercut independent repairers. Repairing the home button through Apple will run upwards of $200, but smaller repair shops can perform the fix much cheaper. There are concerns that this might go against competition rules. The Guardian points out that car manufacturers are not legally able to insist that automobile owners get serviced exclusively through their shops.
The worst thing about “error 53” is that there is no warning and no fix. The only solution is to get a new phone. Antonio Olmos, a freelance photographer, fell victim to this issue after he had his phone repaired in a shop in Macedonia in September. Months later, when prompted to upgrade his software, Olmos accepted the update and his phone was immediately bricked. The self-proclaimed Apple addict was incensed when he learned that he had to pay £270 for a replacement.
“The whole thing is extraordinary,” said Olmos. “How can a company deliberately make their own products useless with an upgrade and not warn their own customers about it? Outside of the big industrialised nations, Apple stores are few and far between, and damaged phones can only be brought back to life by small third-party repairers. I am not even sure these third-party outfits even know this is a potential problem.”
Apple has been pretty cagey about the whole issue. The closest we’ve gotten to an explanation is a jargon-stuffed statement from a spokesperson:
We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor. When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated. This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure… When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorised repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail if the pairing cannot be validated. With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an ‘error 53’ being displayed … If a customer encounters an unrecoverable error 53, we recommend contacting Apple support.
Apple support, by all accounts, will then tell you that you need to buy a new device from them. If you’re an iPhone user and you’ve had your device repaired by a non-Apple entity, it might be a good idea to hold off on any upgrades for the foreseeable future.