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Apple Launches Battery Replacement Program for Non-Touch Bar 13-Inch MacBook Pro Models

Apple today announced a new worldwide battery replacement program for some 13-inch MacBook Pro models that do not have a Touch Bar. Affected machines were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017.

Apple says that a limited number of these units feature a component that can fail and cause the built-in battery to expand. It is not a safety issue, according to the company, and Apple will replace all eligible batteries.


Customers who want to see if their machines are eligible for a fresh battery should use the serial number checker on the MacBook Pro Battery Replacement page. You can find your serial number by clicking on the Apple logo in the menu bar and selecting "About This Mac." The serial number is located at the bottom of the information window.

Affected customers who are eligible for a new battery will need to visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple retail store, or mail their device into an Apple Repair Center after initiating a repair with Apple Support.

Apple suggests customers who are getting a battery replacement back up their machines ahead of time. Apple also says that if the MacBook Pro in question has damage that will impair the replacement of the battery, it must be addressed prior to the battery replacement process.

Any customer who has already paid for a replacement battery can contact Apple Support about a refund.

The battery replacement program covers affected MacBook Pro models for five years after the first retail sale of the unit.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro

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Posted on 20 April 2018 | 3:53 pm

U.S. Department of Justice Investigating Claims AT&T, Verizon and GSMA Colluded to Prevent Customers From Easily Switching Carriers [Updated]

The United States Department of Justice today launched an antitrust investigation to determine whether U.S. carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, have coordinated to prevent consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, reports The New York Times.

AT&T, Verizon, and GSMA, an industry group that sets mobile standards, were asked in February for documents related to their efforts to hinder the implementation of eSIMs. An embedded SIM, or eSIM, is a standardized chip that's designed to replace a physical SIM card.

A physical SIM card slot in an iPhone, via iFixit

With eSIM technology, there is no need to swap out SIM cards when switching carriers, making it easier to make a switch from one carrier to another. eSIMs are designed to be compatible with all major carriers, regardless of network type.

eSIMs are a major change from physical SIM cards, which require customers who wish to switch carriers to obtain a new SIM card when changing providers. eSIMs make it simpler for customers to swap carriers while traveling, and, of interest to device makers, they free up space currently taken up by a SIM card.

AT&T and Verizon are accused of colluding with the GSMA to create standards that would allow devices with eSIM technology to be locked to their networks. Representatives from the two carriers attended a meeting for a private task force called GSMA North America earlier this year and advocated for the ability to keep eSIM devices tied to a single carrier.

Verizon reportedly claimed that phones needed to be locked to its network in order to prevent theft and fraud.
At the heart of the investigation is whether the nation's biggest wireless carriers, working with the G.S.M.A., secretly tried to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, in a way that hurt competition and consumers and hindered innovation in the wider mobile industry.

AT&T and Verizon together control about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions in the United States. A technology that made it easy to switch carriers could lead to more churn and fewer subscribers for them.
The Department of Justice launched began the probe several months ago following formal complaints from at least one device maker and one wireless carrier. The investigation may include other carriers beyond Verizon and AT&T.

AT&T, Verizon, and other U.S. carriers have long resisted features that would make it easier for customers to switch carriers at will without being tied to a specific network. Verizon, for example, refused to allow Apple to offer Verizon service through the Apple SIM built into newer iPads. The Apple SIM, a multi-carrier SIM card, is designed to make it easier for customers to choose a carrier after an iPad purchase and switch to a new carrier when traveling.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other wireless carriers in the United States are proponents of the eSIM. Apple, for example, is said to want to use eSIM technology in its 2018 iPhones, but may instead opt for dual-SIM technology because "some carriers are resistant to the idea."

Apple has already implemented eSIM technology in the Apple Watch Series 3 models equipped with LTE connectivity. The eSIM is also a feature of the Google Pixel 2 smartphone and the Microsoft Surface.

Update: According to CNBC, all four major U.S. carriers received requests from the U.S. Justice Department.

Update 2: Apple is one of the companies that submitted a complaint to the Department of Justice, according to Bloomberg.
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Posted on 20 April 2018 | 1:28 pm

Featured Apps in Revamped iOS 11 App Store Can See 800% Download Boost

Earning a featured spot in the revamped iOS App Store can increase app downloads by up to 800 percent, according to new data sourced from app analytics site Sensor Tower and shared by TechCrunch.

The data, collected from September 2017 to the present, suggests an app that's highlighted using either the "App of the Day" or "Game of the Day" feature in the U.S. sees the greatest increase in downloads.


Specifically, "Game of the Day" apps have seen a median download increase of 802 percent for the week following the feature, while "App of the Day" apps have seen a boost of 685 percent.

Other features, such as a developer story or an app list can increase downloads by up to 240 percent. Stories resulted in a 222 percent boost in downloads, while app lists increased downloads by 240 percent. A theme feature had the lowest impact at a 164 percent increase in downloads.


Sensor Tower has also outlined what kind of data Apple has chosen to highlight through the new App Store design. Many of the top publishers that have been featured are larger companies, like Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., Square Enix, Gameloft, Noodlecake Studios, and King, which is unsurprising as these companies have put out some of the most popular apps in the App Store.

13 of the top 15 featured publishers had at least one million U.S. iPhone downloads since the launch of the new App Store.


Apple has, however, also focused on highlighting indie apps. 29 percent of apps featured since the launch of the new App Store have been from publishers who had fewer than 10,000 downloads at the time.

"While it's clearly the case that big publishers are more likely to receive the largest number of features, small publishers still very much have their chance to benefit from a feature on the App Store," said Sensor Tower's Mobile Insights Analyst, Jonathan Briskman.
Apple introduced the redesigned App Store in iOS 11 to offer additional opportunities for exposure to app developers. The new App Store includes a "Today" section that's updated daily with app suggestions, featured spots, app lists, developer features, and more, and it splits apps and games into two distinct categories.

Content featured in the new App Store is chosen and curated by Apple's App Store editorial team, which ensures high-quality recommendations that don't rely solely on popularity rankings.

As noted by TechCrunch, Sensor Tower's data suggests that Apple's goal of increasing developer exposure through the new App Store design has largely been a successful venture.


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Posted on 20 April 2018 | 11:45 am

New iPhone SE Could Launch in May With Touch ID and A10 Fusion, Without 3.5mm Headphone Jack

Apple will release an updated iPhone SE in May, according to case makers who spoke with Japanese website Mac Otakara at the Global Sources Mobile Electronics trade show in Hong Kong this week.


The case makers said the second-generation model will retain the same physical size as the current iPhone SE, and Touch ID is expected to remain, suggesting the device will continue to have a four-inch display sandwiched between top and bottom bezels for the home button, camera, and earpiece.

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 7 and beyond, the case makers do not expect the new iPhone SE to have a 3.5mm headphone jack. If accurate, and with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus likely to be discontinued in September, Apple would no longer sell any iPhone model with a headphone jack.

Also like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the new iPhone SE will supposedly be powered by Apple's last-generation A10 Fusion chip, up to 40 percent faster than the A9 processor in the current iPhone SE. The chip will likely enable support for the HEIF image format and HEVC video compression standard.

The report speculates that the new iPhone SE may have a glass back with wireless charging capabilities, like the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, but evidence is said to be inconclusive at this time.

It's unclear how and where the case makers obtained this information, but they are likely compelled to dig up details from the supply chain in order to be first to the market with properly fitting cases and accessories.

Earlier this week, Apple filed several unreleased iPhone models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, as legally required, and this action has often foreshadowed product launches. Apple submitted a new tablet to the database in February, for example, and the new 9.7-inch iPad debuted in March.

If history repeats itself, the regulatory filings in April do lend credence to a new iPhone SE debuting next month. DigiTimes also predicted May or June. Apple has only debuted new products in May twice in the past five years, including the fifth-generation iPod touch in 2013 and a refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2015.

WWDC 2018 in June could also provide Apple with stage time to introduce the new iPhone SE, but that hasn't happened since the iPhone 4 in 2010. A press release in May could be more fitting if the update is insignificant.

iPhone SE rumors have been all over the map in recent months. A sketchy report from Chinese website QQ.com, for example, claimed the second-generation model will have a larger 4.2-inch display, Touch ID, A10 Fusion chip, 2GB of RAM, and metal back and frame, available with 32GB or 128GB of storage.

Apple is likely most focused on making under-the-hood improvements to the iPhone SE, as the device is now outdated by a few years. At its $349 price point, its new design is unlikely to resemble the iPhone X.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who relays information from Apple's supply chain in Asia, recently cast some doubt on rumors about a second-generation iPhone SE launching in the second quarter of 2018.

If there really is a so-called iPhone SE 2 on Apple's roadmap, Kuo expects it will have few outward-facing changes. He predicts the device would likely have a faster processor and a lower price, rather than iPhone X-like features like a nearly full screen design, 3D sensing for Face ID, or wireless charging.

The current iPhone SE looks much like the iPhone 5s, including its smaller four-inch display preferred by a subset of customers. The device is powered by Apple's A9 chip, like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it has 2GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Touch ID.

Apple hasn't fully refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched in March 2016, but it did double its available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. It also dropped the device's starting price to $349 last September.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)

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Posted on 20 April 2018 | 7:01 am

Apple Retail Store Logos Gain Green Leaves in Celebration of Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, which takes place on Sunday, April 22, Apple has started tweaking the logos of some of its retail stores with green leaf accents, in a departure from the usual uniformly white design.

Apple Orchard Road Store, Singapore (Images courtesy of Stanford Chong)

For example, Singapore's Apple Orchard Road store has already been updated with the green logo, as Apple gears up for its annual Earth Day celebrations at multiple retail locations around the world.

In typical fashion, Apple store staff are also encouraged to wear green shirts instead of their usual blue ones to promote the event. Apple may also be planning to hold a special Earth Day celebratory event at its Cupertino headquarters, as it has done in the past.


Apple often uses Earth Day as a way to highlight its environmental efforts and reaffirm its commitment to recycling, renewable energy, and other initiatives. This year it is explicitly tying the event to its new GiveBack trade-in program, which offers customers credit and/or free recycling on old Apple devices, as well as a donation to Conservation International.

On Thursday, Apple published its environmental report outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company's overall environmental impact.

In addition, Apple shared details on initiatives that support its goal of making its products using only recycled or renewable materials, and introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy – an improved version of Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016.

Also on Thursday, Apple Watch owners received a notification about an Earth Day activity challenge. If previous years are anything to go by, customers can expect more Earth Day-related goings-on from Apple over the coming days.

(Thanks, Stanford!)


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Posted on 20 April 2018 | 1:59 am

Greenpeace Criticizes Apple's 'Daisy' Recycling Robot, Says Focus Should be on 'Repairable and Upgradeable Product Design'

As part of its 2018 environmental report, Apple today unveiled the latest iteration of its recycling robot, named Daisy. Daisy is an upgraded version of Liam, the recycling robot Apple debuted in 2016. Daisy is smaller, faster, and more efficient than Liam, able to disassemble 200 iPhones per hour and obtain their component parts for recycling.

In response to Apple's environmental report and details about the new robot, Greenpeace has released a statement suggesting Apple's focus should be on product longevity rather than recycling robots.

Daisy, Apple's newest recycling robot.

In a statement, Greenpeace Senior analyst Gary Cook said Apple needs to work on product designs that better accommodate upgrades and repairs, allowing for devices to be used for a longer period of time. Cook says customers clearly want to keep their devices for longer, citing demand for battery replacements under Apple's discounted battery program.
"Rather than another recycling robot, what is most needed from Apple is an indication that the company is embracing one of its greatest opportunities to reduce its environmental impact: repairable and upgradeable product design. This would keep its devices in use far longer, delaying the day when they'd need to be disassembled by Daisy.

Customers want to keep their devices longer, as evidenced by a 3 to 4 week wait for a battery replacement at Apple retail stores earlier this year, when Apple was compelled to dramatically reduce the replacement cost.
Greenpeace often champions device repairability and longevity, especially in regard to Apple products. Last summer, for example, Greenpeace teamed up with iFixit to rate the repairability of Apple devices, accusing Apple of shortening device lifespan with difficult, proprietary repair processes and components, ultimately leading to more electronic waste.

For its part, Apple in its environmental report says that device durability and longevity is one of its goals, citing its efforts to provide parts and repairs for five years after a product is no longer manufactured. "When products can be used longer, fewer resources need to be extracted from the earth to make new ones," reads the report.

While Greenpeace criticized Apple's lack of focus on repairability, it did laud Apple's efforts to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to Apple competitors. Samsung, for example, operates on 1 percent renewable energy, a sharp contrast to Apple's operations that now run on 100 percent renewable energy.
"Apple's latest environment report highlights the company's continued leadership in aggressively deploying renewable energy to tackle the greenhouse gas footprint of not only its own operations, but also its suppliers who are responsible for the vast majority of its emissions. Apple's leadership on climate change contrasts sharply with its main competitor, Samsung Electronics, who currently operates on only 1% renewable energy.
Greenpeace regularly gives Apple high marks for the company's dedication to environmental improvements, which is close to unparalleled in the tech world. Apple received a B- in Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics, beating out Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, HP, LG, and more.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Posted on 19 April 2018 | 12:35 pm

Apple Shares 2018 Environmental Report With Details on Daisy Recycling Robot, Progress on Closed-Loop Supply Chain

Apple today shared its 2018 environmental report [PDF], outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company's overall environmental impact.

As was announced earlier this month, Apple recently hit a major milestone and longtime environmental goal, with 100 percent of its operations around the world powered by renewable energy. Apple has also convinced 23 of its suppliers to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy so far.

A map of Apple's renewable energy projects

These efforts allowed Apple to cut down on its total carbon footprint in 2017. During the year, Apple was responsible for 27.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, down from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016.

A breakdown of Apple's carbon footprint

Through its unwavering commitment to renewable energy, improvements to energy efficiency, and a reduction in emissions from aluminum manufacturing, Apple has reduced emissions by 54 percent worldwide since 2011, and as of 2018, 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple procures comes from Apple's own projects.

Over the course of 2017, Apple worked to implement energy efficiency improvements to its facilities around the world, including Apple retail stores. Upgrades were made to LED lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, resulting in an overall electricity savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.


Apple's overall energy footprint was reduced by 14.7 million kWh and 225,000 therms in fiscal 2017, and combined with other efficiency measures implemented since 2011, Apple cumulatively saves 70 million kWh of electricity and 2.4 million therms of natural gas per year. The company has also worked directly with its suppliers to audit facilities and find opportunities for better energy efficiency, with the program saving an annualized 320,000 metric tons of C02e from entering the atmosphere in 2017.

Today's environmental report highlights Apple's newest recycling robot, Daisy. Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, removing and sorting components more efficiently than Apple's previous recycling robot, Liam. Daisy removes and sorts components from the iPhone, allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recycling methods.

Daisy has a smaller footprint than Liam and can disassemble multiple models of iPhone with higher variation compared to the earlier robot. Using Daisy, Apple was able to make progress towards its goal of creating products without mining materials from the earth, aka the closed loop supply chain that it announced as a goal in 2017.


Apple says that in 2017, it invited "key stakeholders" to small "closed-door roundtables" in Europe, the U.S., and China to get targeted feedback on its closed-loop supply chain ambitions. Apple spoke with academics, NGOs, industry leaders, and other companies.

The company has also been investing in research to figure out the barriers to implementing a closed-loop system, and it has been launching pilot programs to determine possible solutions. Apple outlines several materials and programs it's currently focusing on, including aluminum (sourced from old iPhones), cobalt (battery scrap is now shipped to a recycler), copper (reducing copper usage on PCBs), glass (new reuse and reprocess methods), paper (sustainable forests), plastics (aiming to eliminate plastics), rare earth elements (exploring new recycling technologies), steel (increasing recycled content), and tungsten (recovered from the Taptic Engine and sent to specialty recycler).

Apple's main accomplishment in 2017 was the use of 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board in the iPhone 6s. Recycled tin is now being used for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

For those interested, Apple's full environmental report [PDF] goes into much greater detail on landfill usage, water usage, dangerous materials, recycling, product efficiency, and more, and it's well worth reading if you want to brush up on Apple's environmental protection efforts.


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Posted on 19 April 2018 | 12:02 pm

Apple Debuts New iPhone Recycling Robot Daisy and GiveBack Trade-In Program

Ahead of Earth Day on Sunday, Apple today announced a few initiatives that support the company's commitment to the environment, including its goal of making its products using only recycled or renewable materials.

Apple's new iPhone disassembly robot Daisy

First, for every device traded in or recycled at Apple Stores or on Apple.com worldwide between today and April 30, the company will make a donation of an undisclosed amount to the non-profit environmental organization Conservation International, which has worked to protect the nature in more than 30 countries.

Apple has streamlined its trade-in and recycling options into a new GiveBack program, available on its website and at its participating retail stores.


Second, Apple introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy as an improved version of Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016. Daisy is located in Austin, Texas, with a second robot coming to Breda, Netherlands.
Daisy is made from some of Liam's parts and is capable of disassembling nine versions of iPhone and sorting their high-quality components for recycling. Daisy can take apart up to 200 iPhone devices per hour, removing and sorting components, so that Apple can recover materials that traditional recyclers can't — and at a higher quality.
Apple's environmental chief Lisa Jackson:
At Apple, we're constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet's precious resources. In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We're also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what's possible when innovation and conservation meet.
Apple has also released its 2018 Environment Report today, detailing the company's environmental progress in three priority areas: reducing its carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, conserving precious resources, and pioneering the use of safer materials in its products and processes.

Last week, Apple announced its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy, including its retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities across the United States and 42 other countries.

Last, Apple Watch owners today will receive a notification about an Earth Day activity challenge, as we revealed earlier this week. To earn the badge, users will have to complete any workout for 30 minutes or longer on April 22.


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Posted on 19 April 2018 | 10:00 am

Tim Cook Insists Merging Mac and iPad Would Result in Compromises

Apple CEO Tim Cook remains against the idea of merging the Mac and iPad to create one unified hardware and software experience, according to a brief conversation he had at Apple's education event in Chicago last month.


"We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other," said Cook, speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Wells. "One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises."

"So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day, but that's not what it's about," he added. "It's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."

Cook reiterated that he generally uses a Mac at work, and uses an iPad at home and for travel, but added "I use everything and I love everything."

Apple's boss also revealed that an Apple IIc, released in 1984, was his first computer. "I first used it for a project, as a senior in engineering school, making an inventory control program or for a rental business that was close by," said Cook, who majored in industrial engineering at Auburn University.

Cook's comments echo those he shared with the Irish Independent in 2015, when he said Apple is not interested in creating a "converged Mac and iPad."

"What that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways."

While the Mac and iPad will remain distinct products, Apple has and will continue to bridge the gap between its desktop and mobile platforms. In 2014, for example, it introduced Continuity features like Handoff and Universal Clipboard that enable more seamless experiences across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.


Apple may go one step further in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently reported that developers will be able to design a single third-party app that works with both a touchscreen, and a mouse or trackpad, depending on whether it's running on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, starting later this year.


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Posted on 19 April 2018 | 8:45 am

Apple May Offer Two 6.1-Inch iPhone Models in 2018 With Price Tag as Low as $550

Apple's upcoming lower-cost 6.1-inch iPhone could be available in two models, one that includes a single SIM and a second that offers dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS) functionality, aka two physical SIM card slots, according to an investor's note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo believes that the 6.1-inch dual-SIM iPhone could be priced at $650 to $750, while a single SIM model could potentially be less expensive at $550 to $650. Prospective prices for the two OLED iPhones Apple plans to introduce in 2018 were not mentioned in today's note, but those two devices are expected to be significantly more expensive.

6.1" LCD iPhone may have model that supports DSDS. If the 6.1" LCD iPhone comes with DSDS and single-SIM models, we believe it will result in two benefits: (1) more price segments would be created, significantly boosting shipments via the low-price single-SIM model. For instance, if the DSDS model sells for US$650-750, the single-SIM model may sell for US$550-650; and (2) the DSDS model will help increase market share in China and commercial markets.
Kuo has mentioned dual-SIM dual standby functionality in prior notes, where he said at least one of the three new iPhones expected in 2018 would offer the feature. In this note, Kuo clarifies that both the 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch devices will support DSDS, while the 5.8-inch iPhone will not.

Kuo also previously said that Apple will use Intel's XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X20 modems for faster LTE speeds, and that the DSDS devices will support LTE+LTE connections to allow two SIM cards to be active simultaneously using one set of chips. A dual-SIM feature would make it easier for people to switch carriers when traveling by allowing and Kuo believes it would be highly popular in China.

Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce three iPhones in 2018, the 6.1-inch LCD model outlined here, a 5.8-inch OLED model positioned as a sort of second-generation iPhone X, and a 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus."

Kuo believes that mass production on the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will start three to five weeks later than the two OLED models because of the recent decision to add a DSDS model. Apple's supply chain will see strong growth in 4Q18-2Q19F, says Kuo, with the 6.1-inch iPhone's low price and DSDS feature to "significantly boost shipment momentum."

Kuo predicts the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone and the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone will be Apple's most popular devices next year, with consumers less interested in the 5.8-inch model due to its smaller screen, higher price tag, and lack of DSDS functionality compared to the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

The 6.1-inch LCD model in particular could account for 65 to 75 percent of total iPhone shipments from 3Q 2018 to 3Q 2019.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

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Posted on 18 April 2018 | 3:19 pm

Apple Releases Second Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today released the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 update to public beta testers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. Today's public beta is identical to the second beta provided to developers earlier this week.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 once again introduces support for Messages on iCloud, a feature that was present in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 betas but pulled ahead of the release of the updated software.

Messages on iCloud is designed to store your iMessages in iCloud for improved syncing. Right now, incoming iMessages will be sent to all devices where you're signed into your Apple ID, but it's not true cloud-based syncing because your old messages don't show up on new devices nor does deleting a message remove it from all of your devices, both features enabled through Messages on iCloud.

The Messages on iCloud feature also allows your older iMessages to be stored in iCloud rather than on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, saving valuable storage space. Older attachments are also stored in iCloud.

No other major outward-facing changes were discovered in the first two developer betas, but the update likely includes bug fixes and improvements to address issues discovered since the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4. Because Apple does not provide detailed release notes for macOS High Sierra updates, we may not know exactly what's included until the new software is provided to the public.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Posted on 18 April 2018 | 11:21 am

Popular YouTuber Says Apple Won't Fix His iMac Pro Damaged While Disassembled

Linus Sebastian, who runs the popular YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips, recently shared a video in which he claimed Apple and an Apple Authorized Service Provider denied to service his damaged iMac Pro.


For background, Sebastian and his team fully disassembled the iMac Pro in January for their video review, which shows components like the main logic board and memory modules laid out individually. The real-time footage of the damage occurring in the new video appears to be a reenactment with visual effects.

The damage resulted when they dropped the display while attempting to reattach it to the aluminum chassis. Towards the end of the video, Sebastian also says the iMac Pro requires a new logic board and power supply unit, suggesting there may have been a short circuit that caused damage to internal components as well.


Sebastian contacted Apple to inquire about repair options, and visited the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, but the company ultimately declined to service the iMac Pro. In an email, an Apple support advisor placed blame on limited availability of replacement parts, but the actual reason is likely rooted in policy.

As has long been the case, Apple's terms and conditions for repairs stipulates that the company will not service products that have failed due to "unauthorized modification," including "faulty installation, repair, or maintenance by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

Apple's limited one-year warranty is also void if a product has "damage caused by service, including upgrades and expansions, performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

In his defense, Sebastian confirms he is aware of those policies, but his argument is that Apple should still be obligated to repair the iMac Pro if he pays out-of-warranty fees. In the video's comments section, reaction is mixed, with some people agreeing with him and others siding with Apple.

iMac Pro is a non-user-upgradeable, all-in-one workstation by design, so it's easy to see why Apple may not be interested in servicing one that was fully disassembled. While the team at Linus Tech Tips may be more tech savvy than some, a lot can go wrong when an average customer tampers with internals.

After the repair was declined by Apple, Sebastian and his team contacted an Apple Authorized Service Provider in Canada, where they are located. The repair shop also declined the repair, but their reason was allegedly that Apple has yet to offer the required certification courses to service the iMac Pro.

However, Apple's internal iMac Pro Service Readiness Guide obtained by MacRumors states that ATLAS online training and learning resources for servicing the iMac Pro have been available in English since December. We also spoke to multiple sources who completed the course and received certification months ago.

The guide adds that iMac Pro service parts availability began in early to mid January, with replacement logic boards, flash storage, and memory available by late February. Multiple sources at Apple Authorized Service Providers also confirmed that iMac Pro displays are available with two-week-or-less delivery estimates.

MacRumors contacted a reliable source who confirmed that Apple Authorized Service Providers are permitted to deny service for any product that has been opened or modified by a customer, regardless of warranty, both for safety reasons and to avoid responsibility if the machine cannot be fixed.

In the end, Apple has to draw a line somewhere, and not everyone will agree with it. MacRumors contacted Apple, but a spokesperson declined to comment. We've also contacted Linus Tech Tips for comment.

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)

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Posted on 18 April 2018 | 10:15 am

Apple Registers Several New Unreleased iPhone Models in Eurasia Ahead of WWDC

French website Consomac has discovered a new Russian-language regulatory filing in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database pointing towards several unreleased iPhone models that Apple could be launching relatively soon.

Versions of iPhone running iOS 11 are listed with the model numbers A1920, A1921, A1984, A2097, A2098, A2099, A2101, A2103, A2104, A2105 and A2106. None of the numbers correspond to Apple's existing smartphone lineup.

The EEC filing, published on Tuesday, satisfies Russia's requirement for companies to register all products containing encryption and/or cryptographic tools. On February 19, the EEC revealed the existence of two new models of iPad, which proved to be the Wi-Fi and cellular versions of Apple's 9.7-inch iPad unveiled on March 27, so there's a decent chance the new model numbers identify iPhones tipped for a May or June launch. Several new models of MacBook were also registered with the EEC in May of last year, and those laptops were announced at WWDC 2017.


Apple is rumored to be introducing three flagship iPhones in 2018: Two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three will feature Face ID and edge-to-edge displays, but none are expected to arrive before the usual September timeframe when Apple's major annual iPhone event typically takes place.

However, rumors suggest Apple will bring a new entry-level smartphone model to market similar to the iPhone SE that will support wireless charging and be released in time for summer 2018.

Apple hasn't properly refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched back in March 2016, although it did double the available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. A May/June launch would put it within touching distance of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts on June 4, although Apple hasn't launched an iPhone at WWDC in the last seven years, the last announcement being the iPhone 4 in 2010.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE, 2018 iPhones
Tag: EEC
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)

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Posted on 18 April 2018 | 4:02 am

iPhone X Responsible for 35% of Total Worldwide Phone Profits in Q4 2017

The iPhone X accounted for 35 percent of total worldwide handset profits in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to new estimates shared this morning by Counterpoint Research.

The device generated 5x more profit than the combined profit of more than 600 Android OEMs during the quarter, despite the fact that it was only available for purchase during the final two months of the year and in spite of reports pointing towards lackluster sales of the device.


Other Apple iPhones, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for a second large chunk of global handset profits, with iPhones holding 8 of the top 10 profit share rankings. Apple was the most profitable brand with 86 percent of total handset market profits.

While overall global handset profits declined by one percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, Apple's profits grew one percent year over year.

"Global handset profits declined 1% YoY, but Apple grew 1% YoY even with the iPhone X being available for only two months in Q4 2017. The iPhone X alone generated 21% of total industry revenue and 35% of total industry profits during the quarter and its share is likely to grow as it advances further into its life cycle. Additionally, the longer shelf life of all iPhones ensured that Apple still has eight out of top ten smartphones, including its three-year-old models, generating the most profits compared to current competing smartphones from other OEMs."
Apple does not break out iPhone sales by device, so it is difficult to confirm Counterpoint Research's specific numbers, but Apple did set new revenue records in Q4 2017, earning $10.7 billion on $52.6 billion in revenue. The company sold a total of 46.7 million iPhones during the quarter.

Similar reports and estimates published in the past have also confirmed that Apple's iPhones bring in the lion's share of smartphone industry profits, earning significantly more than its closest competitors like Samsung and Huawei. Apple has been the most profitable smartphone company for several years running.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Neutral)

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Posted on 17 April 2018 | 12:40 pm

Apple Releases Second Beta of iOS 11.4 for Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4 update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.3, the last major update to the iOS 11 operating system. Today's public beta is identical to the developer beta that was provided to developers earlier this week.

Beta testers who are members of Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 11.4 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.


Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device.

The iOS 11.4 beta is much like the iOS 11.3 beta because several key features that were removed from iOS 11.3 ahead of its release have been reintroduced in iOS 11.4.

The update includes support for AirPlay 2 features, allowing you to play the same song on multiple devices and adding the Apple TV and speakers connected to AirPort Express to the Home app.

iOS 11.4 also reintroduces Messages on iCloud. Messages on iCloud was present throughout the iOS 11.3 beta testing period, but it did not make it into release. With Messages on iCloud, your iMessages are stored in iCloud rather than on each individual device, allowing for improved syncing capabilities. Currently, incoming iMessages are sent to all devices where you're signed in to your Apple ID, but there is no true cross-device syncing.

Messages on iCloud will allow you to download all of your iMessages on new devices, and a message deleted on one device will remove it on all devices. Older messages and attachments are also stored in iCloud rather than on-device, saving valuable storage space.

The most recent beta introduces new (PRODUCT)RED wallpaper on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and it removes mentions of stereo sound on the HomePod that were present in the first beta.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Posted on 17 April 2018 | 10:17 am

Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and three weeks after releasing the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 beta can be downloaded through Apple Developer Center or the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.


macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 introduces support for Messages on iCloud, a feature that was previously present in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 betas before being pulled ahead of the release of the update. Messages on iCloud is also available in iOS 11.4.

The update also likely includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, but as Apple does not provide detailed release notes for macOS High Sierra updates, we may not know exactly what's included until the new software is provided to the public.

No major outward-facing changes were found in the first beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5, but we'll update this post should any new features be found in the second.

The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update brought support for external graphics processors (eGPUs) along with Business Chat in Messages and several other bug fixes and smaller feature improvements.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Posted on 17 April 2018 | 9:59 am

Apple Expands Its Machine Learning Hub in Downtown Seattle

Apple has expanded its office space at Two Union Square, a 56-story office tower in Downtown Seattle, according to GeekWire.


The report claims Apple will soon occupy five floors inside the skyscraper, up from a floor-and-a-half of space it originally leased, based on permits filed with the city and the publication's own visits to the building.

The expansion gives Apple more than 70,000 square feet of space, enough for potentially close to 500 people, the report adds.

Last year, Apple confirmed that its Seattle engineering hub is focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies that power the likes of Siri and advanced facial recognition on the iPhone X.

Apple's jobs website lists 19 open positions in its Seattle office in a variety of fields, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart home automation, cloud computing, and natural language processing.

Apple's senior director of artificial intelligence and machine learning Carlos Guestrin back in February 2017:

We're trying to find the best people who are excited about AI and machine learning — excited about research and thinking long term but also bringing those ideas into products that impact and delight our customers. The bar is high, but we're going to be hiring as quickly as we can find people that meet our high bar, which is exciting.
Seattle has become a hotbed for technology companies because of its talent pool and lower cost of living compared with the San Francisco area, with Amazon, Facebook, and Google among the tech giants with offices in the region.

Last year, Apple became a member of the Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society."

Apple recently hired John Giannandrea, the former head of Google's search and artificial intelligence division. Apple's Machine Learning Journal documents the company's efforts in the artificial intelligence area.


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Posted on 17 April 2018 | 6:43 am

Apple Expected to Launch Subscription News Service Within Next Year Following Texture Acquisition

Apple plans to offer a subscription-based news service within the next year, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News. Apple declined to comment on the report, as it has not announced the plans publicly.


The service is said to be based on subscription-based digital magazine app Texture, which is expected to be integrated into the Apple News app on iPhone and iPad, pending approval of Apple's agreement to acquire the company.

Texture provides unlimited access to over 200 digital magazines for $9.99 per month. Available magazine titles include People, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Maxim, Men's Health, GQ, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN The Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly.

"We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users," said Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, on Apple acquiring Texture.

The service would essentially be like Apple Music, which provides unlimited streaming of over 45 million songs for $9.99 per month, but for news and magazines. The revenue would help boost Apple's growing services division, including the App Store and iCloud, while a cut would also go to publishers.

The premium tier would likely complement the existing ad-supported content available within the Apple News app, which is currently available in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom on iOS 9 and later.

Apple previously offered a Newsstand app with digital magazines and newspapers, but subscriptions were only available on a title-by-title basis.


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Posted on 17 April 2018 | 5:00 am

iPhone Cracking Methods Like GrayKey Box Can Guess a Six-Digit Password in 11 Hours on Average

Law enforcement agencies have a new iPhone cracking tool that works with all modern iPhones and the newest versions of iOS 11, the GrayKey, designed by a company called Grayshift.

Previous reports have suggested the GrayKey can crack 4-digit passcodes in a matter of hours and 6-digit passcodes in days, but as highlighted by VICE's Motherboard, cracking times for the GrayKey and other similar iPhone unlocking methods can potentially be even faster and 6-digit passcodes no longer offer adequate protection.

GrayKey iPhone cracking box, via MalwareBytes

Matthew Green, assistant professor and cryptographer at John Hopkins Information Security Institute, said this morning on Twitter that with an exploit that disables Apple's passcode-guessing protections, a 4-digit passcode is crackable in 6.5 minutes on average, while a 6-digit passcode can be calculated in 11 hours.

Guide to iOS estimated passcode cracking times (assumes random decimal passcode + an exploit that breaks SEP throttling):

4 digits: ~13min worst (~6.5avg)
6 digits: ~22.2hrs worst (~11.1avg)
8 digits: ~92.5days worst (~46avg)
10 digits: ~9259days worst (~4629avg)

— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) April 16, 2018

Apple does have built-in options to erase an iPhone after 10 incorrect passcode guessing attempts and there are automatic delays after a wrong passcode has been entered more than five times, but GrayKey appears to bypass these protections.

It's not clear if the GrayKey can reach the fastest unlocking times outlined by Green, but even at slower unlocking speeds, it only takes days to get into an iPhone with a 6-digit passcode. Comparatively, it takes over a month to crack an iPhone with an 8-digit passcode, or more than 13 years to get into an iPhone with a 10-digit passcode.

With the release of iOS 9 in 2015, Apple switched from a four digit passcode to a 6-digit passcode as the default, making iOS devices more secure, but for those concerned about their iPhones being accessed either by law enforcement with the GrayKey or by a hacker with a similar cracking tool, a 6-digit passcode is no longer good enough.

Several security experts who spoke to Motherboard said people should use an alphanumeric passcode that's at least seven characters long and uses numbers, letters, and symbols.
"People should use an alphanumeric passcode that isn't susceptible to a dictionary attack and that is at least 7 characters long and has a mix of at least uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numbers," Ryan Duff, a researcher who's studied iOS and the Director of Cyber Solutions for Point3 Security, told me in an online chat. "Adding symbols is recommended and the more complicated and longer the passcode, the better."
To change your iPhone's passcode from a simple numeric 6-digit passcode to something more secure, you'll need to use the Settings app. Go to "Face ID & Passcodes" in the Settings app, enter your current passcode, scroll down, and then choose "Change Passcode."

You'll be asked to enter your new passcode on this screen, but you'll actually want to tap on the blue "Passcode Options" text towards the middle of the display. Choose "Custom Alphanumeric Code" to enter a passcode that consists of letters, numbers, and symbols.


With an alphanumeric passcode in place, you'll no longer be presented with a numeric keyboard when unlocking your iPhone, and instead, you'll see a full keyboard available to type in your passcode.

There's a definite compromise between easy device accessibility and security when using a longer alphanumeric passcode like this. It's a lot easier to type six numbers than it is to type a mixed character alphanumeric passcode into an iOS device, but for complete security, longer and more complex is the way to go.
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Posted on 16 April 2018 | 12:10 pm

Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 11.4 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4 update to developers, two weeks after releasing the first beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.3, a major update that introduced several new features.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.4 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


The iOS 11.4 update introduces a new ClassKit framework for educational institutions, which will support new features announced at Apple's March 27 event.

For standard users, the iOS 11.4 update adds features that were originally present in the iOS 11.3 beta but removed ahead of release. It includes support for Messages on iCloud, designed to store your iMessages in iCloud and sync them across devices.

There's also support for AirPlay 2 features, with the Apple TV once again available in the Home app. With AirPlay 2, the same audio content can be played in multiple rooms. On the HomePod, there are signs of support for stereo sound, but stereo sound is not currently available as it requires 11.4 HomePod software not available for developers.

iOS 11.3, the previous update, introduces a new Battery Health feature for monitoring the status of your iPhone's battery, Business Chat for iMessage, which lets you communicate with companies directly in the Messages app, ARKit 1.5 with augmented reality improvements, new Animoji on iPhone X, Health Records from participating medical providers, and more.

Update: Mentions of the non-functional HomePod stereo pairing feature have been removed in iOS 11.4 beta 2, and Apple has added a new (PRODUCT)RED wallpaper for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Posted on 16 April 2018 | 10:02 am