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Feb

Apple will start manufacturing iPhones in India at the end of April


Why it matters to you

Apple’s move signals its commitment to expanding its business in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets.

iPhones in India will soon say, “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in India.” That’s all thanks to Apple’s decision to build a manufacturing plant in the country.

India will soon overtake the United States to become the second-largest smartphone market, and Apple has desperately been trying to increase its presence in the country, which dominated by Chinese and South Korean manufacturers.

Apple’s market share is currently less than 3 percent in India, according to market research company Counterpoint. Samsung claims the top spot, but it’s followed largely by Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Lenovo that offer low-priced smartphones. That’s key, because 70 percent of the smartphones purchased in India cost less than $150.

More: The iPhone is the expensive phone of choice in India, but Android phones are still crushing it

Apple was said to have a long list of demands during negotiations with the Indian government, such as a “15-year tax holiday on imports of components and equipment,” according to Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California company is collaborating with Wistron Corp., a Taiwanese company, to head a manufacturing plant based in Bangalore, Karnataka. The plant is expected to begin producing iPhones at the end of April.

Apple's intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem & supply chain development in the state.

— Priyank Kharge (@PriyankKharge) February 2, 2017

Any iPhone made at the manufacturing plant will only be sold in the Indian market. During the company’s earnings call this week, CEO Tim Cook said the company has been in discussions with the Indian government “on a number of things, including retail stores.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook previously said annual sales reached 2.5 million in the country, and that iPhone sales had increased by 50 percent. Cook nevertheless acknowledged that Apple is “just kind of scratching the surface there.”

More: Apple Watch’s Theater Mode will save you from embarrassment at the movies

Cook made a trip to India last year, where he reportedly talked about the idea of building a manufacturing plant with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian government previously rejected Apple’s request to import refurbished phones and sell them in India. Apple also cannot open and operate stores in the country due to strict barriers against foreign retailers.

Apple is reportedly considering moving its smartphone production into the U.S. — a move motivated by President Donald Trump’s “America first” rhetoric. If it can produce phones in India, there’s a chance manufacturing could come into the U.S.

Article originally published in January. Updated on 02-03-2017 by Julian Chokkattu: Added news about a manufacturing plant opening at the end of April.

3
Feb

How to Install an SSD in a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro


Despite the fact that solid-state drives (SSDs) read and write data much faster than mechanical hard drives do, the PlayStation 4 and even the PlayStation 4 Pro come with the latter. Fortunately, Sony made the PS4 hard drive replaceable, so users can expand the consoles internal storage or, better yet, swap out the mechanical drive with a solid state drive.

More: 6 tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your PlayStation 4 Pro

With a few basic tools, you can add an SSD to your PS4 in no time at all. Here’s a glimpse at what an SSD can do for you, and instructions on how to drop one in yourself.

SSDs vs. mechanical hard drives

Before we swapped out the PS4’s hard drive with an SSD, we tested the hard drive that the system came with by measuring the amount of time the PS4 needed to boot up to the screen where the OS asks you to press the PS button on your controller. We tested it twice, and got times of 27 seconds, and 24.9 seconds.

Once we removed the PS4’s hard drive and performed the task that we’re about to take you through, we ran the boot tests again. We got boot times of 19.2 and 19.4 seconds with the SSD in there. So, boot-up is anywhere between roughly 5-8 seconds faster with an SSD than with the mechanical hard drive that the PlayStation 4 ships with.

If you don’t think that’s significant, remember that loading save games, loading levels, and more will also get substantially faster. Over time, those shaved seconds will make your PS4 feel a lot faster.

3
Feb

Lawsuit: Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 on purpose, blamed it on a “bug”


Why it matters to you

Were you forced to upgrade to iOS7 because of a “bug?” A lawsuit alleges that Apple actually broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to save money.

Apple has been accused in the past of planned obsolescence, a policy of designing a product that requires frequent upgrading. Now, a recent lawsuit fingers a new culprit as the cause of older Apple products’ degradation: FaceTime.

According to a lawsuit filed in California on Thursday, Apple intentionally broke its FaceTime video chat app on devices running iOS 6 and earlier in order to avoid high monthly data charges from Akamai, a server company that Apple contracted to serve multimedia content.

More: Furious iPhone 4S owners sue Apple for $5 million, alleging iOS 9 crippled their iPhones

According to AppleInsider, Apple used two methods of handling FaceTime sessions when the feature launched in 2010. One, a peer-to-peer technology, transmitted audio and video data over a direct connection between two iPhones, while the second, a “relay” method, routed traffic through Akamai’s servers.

Calls initially accounted for 5 to 10 percent of Akamai’s traffic, but usage soon spiked — Apple racked up a $50 million bill between 2013 and 2016, or around $8.3 million per month. Making matters worse, the iPhone maker was forced to ditch FaceTime’s peer-to-peer technology as the result of a lawsuit filed by VirnetX. In November 2012, a jury found Apple guilty of infringing on the company’s networking patents, and fined Apple $368 million.

Court documents that emerged during the VirnetX trial paint a damning picture. Apple executives expressed concern over the increased server usage, even going so far as to circulate an internal email with the subject line “Ways to Reduce Relay Usage” among Apple’s FaceTime engineers. The company came up with a peer-to-peer workaround for iOS 7, but one that wasn’t backward compatible with devices running iOS 6.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple devised a plan to “break” FaceTime on iOS 6 and earlier versions by causing the app’s certificate — the digital signature that verifies the app’s integrity and allows it to launch — to expire in April 2014. It blamed the incompatibility on a bug.

The suit cites two pieces of evidence: An email exchange between Apple engineers Patrick Gates and Gokul Thirumalai, and an Apple support page mentioning FaceTime’s ostensible incompatibility with iOS 6.

“Hey, guys. I’m looking at the Akamai contract for next year. I understand we did something in April around iOS 6 to reduce relay utilization,” an Apple engineering manager said. Another engineer replied, “It was a big user of relay bandwidth. We broke iOS 6, and the only way to get FaceTime working again is to upgrade to iOS 7.”

More: Which smartphone OS wins 2016? Android Nougat vs. iOS 10 vs. Windows 10 Mobile

Apple’s FaceTime support page in 2014, since updated, refers to the FaceTime issue as a “bug.”

“If you started to have issues making or receiving FaceTime calls after April 2014, your device or your friend’s device may have encountered a bug resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date. Updating both devices to the latest software will resolve this issue.”

Users with iOS 6 devices were left with no choice but to upgrade to iOS 7. And iOS 7, the lawsuit alleges, caused older devices like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S to become sluggish, crash, and run apps at “slower than optimal speeds.”

The suit is seeking undisclosed damages under California’s unfair competition law.

3
Feb

New preview build of Microsoft Office for Mac brings support for add-ins


Why it matters to you

This preview build is yet another step forward in Microsoft’s efforts to bring the Mac version of the Office suite closer to its Windows counterpart.

Microsoft has announced plans to bring support for add-ins to the Mac version of its Office suite. This functionality is currently available for testing by users who are enrolled in the Insider program.

Office add-ins are apps that run inside of the suite’s constituent programs, providing features that aren’t available by default. They’re broadly similar to browser extensions in terms of usage, but they’re tailored to the tasks users carry out in Office programs like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

For instance, one popular add-in gives users the ability to look up words and phrases on Wikipedia without leaving Word. Another introduces additional types of chart that can be utilized in Excel.

Add-ins are often free, but many examples require either a one-off payment or a monthly subscription. If Microsoft wants to help its Office Store flourish, it makes a lot of sense to add support for add-ins to the Mac version of the Office suite.

More: Office Insiders get Outlook collaboration in January 2017 Slow Ring update

To gain access to add-ins, Mac users need to ensure that they’re a member of the Insider program, and that they’ve opted in to its Fast Ring. From there, you should check that your installation of Office for Mac is build 170124 or later, according to a report from MS Power User.

You then need to find the Add-ins option from the Insert menu in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and select the Store — in Outlook, a link to the Store can be accessed directly from the Home menu. Once you’re in the storefront, find an add-in that you’re interested in and install it to get started.

There’s no word on when add-ins will be made available to all Office users on the Mac platform. However, if the functionality is ready for public testing, it seems safe to assume that its official release will come sooner rather than later.

3
Feb

T-Mobile offers a free year of Netflix with the purchase of a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge


Why it matters to you

In the market for a new smartphone? Love Netflix? T-Mobile’s promotion could save you $120.

As the world awaits the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S8, T-Mobile is making a compelling case for the Galaxy S7 with its latest promotion. The carrier is giving away a year of Netflix with the purchase or lease of a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge from now until February 7.

All customers need to do is visit Samsung’s Promotions site by February 21 — once they’ve purchased an eligible smartphone and paid any applicable sales tax or down payment, of course. From there, users can enter their device’s information and upload their receipt, and in exchange they’ll receive a single-use code the can be redeemed at Netflix’s Special Offers page. The code expires after March 31, though, so be sure to act fast.

More: Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors and news leaks

T-Mobile has run similar deals over the past two years, when the S6 and S7 were first made available for pre-order. This time, however, it appears Samsung could push the launch of its next-generation flagship to as far back as the end of April, giving the carrier a little more time to move inventory that is about to be superseded.

Still, the imminent release of Samsung’s next big thing doesn’t make the outgoing S7 devices any less compelling. We were impressed with the S7’s gorgeous, waterproof design, powerful Snapdragon 820 processor, and vibrant AMOLED display when we reviewed it last year, and the opportunity to save $120 with a free year of Netflix only sweetens the deal.

The Galaxy S7 is currently listed at T-Mobile for a full retail price of $674, while the edge is going for $780. They are also available for installment payments of $26 and $30 over 24 months, with $50 and $60 paid upfront, respectively. The Netflix subscription in question is of the standard variety, with simultaneous streaming for up to two devices.

3
Feb

Hutch wants to help you redecorate your room without having to talk to a human


Why it matters to you

While many other apps offer similar services, Hutch hopes to cut down on the turnaround time (and the conversations) with a more automated solution to decorating.

Who says redesigning has to be a royal nightmare? Certainly not Hutch, a new app that launched just this week to help you visualize your dream room right in your smartphone. Simply take a photo of the space you’re looking to spruce up, pick an aesthetic from one of the many designer-curated looks made instantly available in the app and then place them in your virtual room. You will be able to customize your design with as many product revisions as your heart desires and once you’re satisfied, you can shop the various pieces that comprise the final look straight from the app.

The app is one that has evolved from previous iterations of the same concept. In fact, Hutch was once Homee — in this previous version of the service, customers would be paired with a designer, with whom they would have a conversation about taste and style. The designer would then send over a few recommended pieces a day or so later to help customers decorate a space. But this process was both slow and expensive and as such, the app decided to go back to the drawing board and automate some of these processes.

More: DigitalBridge lets you visualize paint, furniture, and more in your home

Enter Hutch, which takes away the necessity of actually talking to a human, and instead requires naught more than a photo. When the team receives an image, they use their proprietary photo technology to not only virtually clear space but also make some educated guesses about measurements. Using context clues like outlets (which are generally 16 inches above the floor), they can create a pretty solid idea of the dimensions they are working with, which cuts down on a lot of the back and forth that some other similar services may require of users.

That said, the actual design process still depends on humans. According to TechCrunch, it takes the Hutch team about 20 minutes to design a room, and all visualizations are sent back to customers within a day. The goal, of course, would be to make this turnaround time almost instantaneous, perhaps by cutting out the human element altogether.

“Interior design is a space where you either have to spend a lot of money to go through a very long process or be overwhelmed at the number of options,” Hutch investor (and Tinder co-founder) Sean Rad told Fortune. “The most successful companies are those that help people filter through all the noise.”

3
Feb

Misconfigured Pentagon servers could have been exploited for cyberattack


Why it matters to you

A researcher’s discovery of buggy servers at The Pentagon show the government still has a lot of work to do on cybersecurity.

A cybersecurity researcher has discovered a number of misconfigured servers belonging to the Department of Defense that could have left internal networks vulnerable to outsider access and attack.

According to Dan Tentler of Phobos Group, these vulnerable servers could have been used, in theory, to carry out cyberattacks to make them look like they were perpetrated by United States actors. No classified information could be accessed through these vulnerabilities however.

“There were hosts that were discovered that had serious technical misconfiguration problems that could be easily abused by an attacker inside or outside of the country, who could want to implicate the U.S. as culprits in hacking attacks if they so desire,” Tentler told ZDNet.

More: Department of Defense officially launches ‘Hack the Pentagon’ program

Last year the Department of Defense launched its first bug bounty program. It allows accredited white hat hackers to test various (but not all) of the Pentagon’s public facing networks for bugs. Hackers are limited to the department’s services on the defense.gov and .mil domains. The servers that Tentler discovered were within these domains.

Tentler said it was “very likely” that these servers have been exploited already. The Pentagon was allegedly made aware of the misconfigured servers eight months ago but has yet to patch the flaws. Tentler reported the bugs to HackerOne, which operates bug bounty programs, but given the rules of the program, he is limited in what he can disclose publicly.

Tentler himself is critical of the cybersecurity preparedness of the Pentagon, and the government in general. “The Pentagon has created a circumstance where the good guys can’t find the problems because we’re not allowed to scan, or go out of scope, or find things on our own,” he said, while bad actors can tinker away at these systems with little or no regard.

Much has been made about how the Trump administration will handle cybersecurity. Tentler added that leaked plans to carry cyber reviews on federal systems every 60 days “demonstrates a complete lack of understanding what the existing problems are.”

3
Feb

August Smart Lock, connected Wink hub work together to secure your home


Why it matters to you

As the Internet of Things grows larger, ensuring that devices are compatible is increasingly important. In this case, it helps keep your home all the more secure.

Smarts and safety are now going hand in hand thanks to a new integration between August’s Smart Lock and connected home app Wink. As the Internet of Things continues to grow ever larger, finding ways to bridge the gap between various things is becoming ever more important. This latest partnership certainly serves as a step in the right direction.

August has been ahead of the game for quite some time when it comes to timely integrations. After all, it was one of the first to play nice with Apple’s HomeKit platform and similarly was an early adopter of Amazon’s Echo. That said, while it’s made an effort to be compatible with these big brands, it hasn’t been quite as quick to integrate with smaller platforms. But that is changing with Wink.

More: Hey Siri, lock my door! How the ‘August’ secured my smart apartment

Starting now, if you have an August smart lock, you will be able to monitor it remotely and unlock it no matter where you are. You can also keep tabs on activity in the vicinity of your smart lock by way of the Wink app, which means you’ll always know who’s coming into or going out of your home. And with Wink’s Shortcut function, you can lock your door, turn out the lights, and set the temperature for the evening all at once. Really, it’s this level of connectivity that makes the new smart home integration worth it — of course, even prior to the partnership, you could control your August from your phone. But now, you can control a lot more all at once.

To set up the integration, head over to Add Product in your Wink app and select the Locks category. Choose August Lock and ensure your smart lock has been installed and properly configured in the August app. From there, you should be able to follow the prompts to sign in with your August account and allow Wink to access the lock. You can check out Wink’s support page for more information.

3
Feb

‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ players keep reinstalling to get favorite characters


Why it matters to you

If you don’t like the random characters in Fire Emblem Heroes, there’s a way to get around it.

Fans of the newly launched Fire Emblem Heroes game have started using an interesting strategy to start off with their optimum team composition: repeated reinstalling. Thanks to the random nature of starting characters, players have begun downloading the game over and over, in order to find their favorites.

Fire Emblem Heroes is a “Gacha” game, one where randomly generated outcomes form a major part of the gameplay. Since the starting heroes are also randomized, it makes sense for some players to restart the game over and over to find their preferred characters, rather than actually playing it.

More: Fire Emblem series will get four new Nintendo games by 2018

This is a doubly viable strategy in Heroes because not only are the characters you get from your first orb purchases random, but so are their stats. As Kotaku explains, you can have two of the same hero with wildly different stats, which means that restarting the game can be a strategy that can save you a lot of time.

Unlocking a character the traditional way requires in-game currency, which can take a long time to build up, or cost a lot of real-world money to generate quickly. This is in every sense of the word an exploit, but some would argue that employing so much random generation in a game is an exploit of the players themselves.

While it’s not too dissimilar a technique to the one used in Pokémon games or others with random generation in them, this Fire Emblem trick does require a little more effort. Players must play through the game’s tutorial, spend their orbs, and if they don’t summon the characters they want with good stats, they have to uninstall the game, re-download it, and go through the whole process again.

3
Feb

Sprint switched LTE Advanced on for the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, and more


Why it matters to you

If you own an, iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, or one of four other phones and are on Sprint’s network, you’ll now get as much as double the data speed.

Sprint users with a flagship phone are about to get access to a much faster internet. Sprint confirmed it switched on three-carrier aggregation, essentially meaning that owners of those phones will be able to use the faster LTE Advanced network.

So which phones are capable of accessing the new, faster speeds? For starters, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be getting the feature, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, LG V20, and LG G5 — all of which will be joining the HTC Bolt, which was capable of LTE Advanced out of the box. Despite the fact that seven devices have the feature enabled, a total of 13 devices are capable of using Sprint’s LTE Advanced — all they need is for Sprint to flip the switch.

More: T-Mobile may be following Sprint and Rogers to offer RCS in Google Messenger

According to Sprint, enabling LTE Advanced gives users up to a hefty 200Mbps, which is quite an improvement over the two-carrier aggregation, which brings 100Mbps. The way it works is that it uses multiple LTE bands to improve speeds — so in theory, it’s basically the more LTE bands, the faster the speed.

The new data speed will only be available in select locations for now, including San Francisco, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Sprint first announced it would be bringing LTE Advanced to some handsets in some areas back in September, but at the time the system was only rolling out to Chicago and Kansas City, with automatic software updates coming and a later date. Two-carrier aggregation is currently available in more than 250 markets around the U.S. — and Sprint says that three-carrier aggregation, or LTE Advanced, is now available in more than 100 markets. If you have an LTE Advanced-enabled phone, you should be able to use it to its full potential in most major cities.

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