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New Siri Podcast News Feature Begins Rolling Out in iOS 11.2.2

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk A new feature that allows Siri to provide audio-based news updates appears to be rolling out to iOS users, allowing iPhone and iPad users to get audio news updates via the Podcasts app when asking Siri for current news info.

The new audio news feature has been previously seen in the iOS 11.2.5 beta, but until recently it was not available on devices running the current version of iOS. In our testing, the new Siri feature is now accessible on devices running iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.2 (the current version of iOS) and iOS 11.2.5.



When you ask Siri about the news of the day via Hey Siri or another hands-free method, the personal assistant will provide Podcast news from NPR by default in the United States. You can, however, ask Siri to switch to news from Fox News, CNN, or The Washington Post.

In other countries, local news podcasts will be played instead. In the UK, for example, Siri will offer up audio news from BBC, Sky News, or LBC.

The audio news feature, which appears to have been developed primarily for Apple’s upcoming HomePod speaker, is invoked when using "Hey Siri" or asking Siri about the news when using CarPlay or headphones. It’s essentially designed for situations where you’re not looking at your iPhone or iPad’s display.

If you activate Siri using the Side or Home button of a device and ask about the news, Siri will instead provide standard text-based news headlines instead of audio news.

The Siri podcast news feature appears to be available on devices running iOS 11 at least as of today, and in our testing, it is confirmed to be working in the United States and the UK.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Apple in Bidding War for J.J. Abrams Sci-Fi Drama

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple and HBO are embroiled in a bidding war for a new sci-fi drama television series penned by J.J. Abrams, reports Variety.

Little is known about the series at this time, but it’s said to deal with a "world’s battle against a monstrous, oppressive force," and it marks the first television series Abrams has written since "Fringe" in 2008.



Most recently, Abrams wrote "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and he is working on the upcoming and as of yet untitled "Star Wars: Episode IX." In the past, Abrams has worked on shows that include "Lost," "Felicity," and "Alias."

Abrams would serve as executive producer on the sci-fi series, alongside Ben Stephenson, head of TV for Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. The series would be produced by Warner Bros. Television, and while Variety says Apple and HBO are the top bidders at this time, the studio is open to other bidders.

Apple already has two other sci-fi shows in the works, including a revival of 1985 Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories" and an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica."

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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New York Attorney General Leads Filing of Multi-State Lawsuit to Block Rollback of Net Neutrality

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this afternoon announced that he and 22 other Attorneys General have teamed up to file a lawsuit aiming to stop the Federal Communications Commission’s planned rollback of net neutrality.

The multi-state lawsuit [PDF] asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the FCC’s repeal order, calling it arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion that violates federal law.



"An open internet – and the free exchange of ideas it allows – is critical to our democratic process," Schneiderman said in a statement on his website. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet."

The FCC has not filed its new rules with the Federal Register, so the repeal is not yet final, but the lawsuit has been filed out of "an abundance of caution" and to "preserve the right to be included in the judicial lottery procedure." It’s essentially the states’ way of establishing the first step towards a full challenge of the FCC’s decision.



The lawsuit is backed by Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

In related net neutrality news, 50 senators have now endorsed a legislative measure to override the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, reports The Washington Post. With one additional Republican vote, a Senate resolution of disapproval will be able to be passed, but it will still need to make it to the House and be signed by President Trump.

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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Apple’s 500th Store and First in Korea Opening January 27 Ahead of 2018 Winter Olympics

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple today announced that its first retail store in South Korea opens on Saturday, January 27, at 10:00 a.m. local time, just a few weeks prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday, February 9.



The store is located in the upscale Garosu-gil shopping area in the Gangnam District of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The location will be open seven days per week and, like other Apple retail stores, it will host Today at Apple sessions and have a Genius Bar for device repairs and troubleshooting.

By the looks of it, this should be Apple’s 500th retail store around the world. That total includes the Apple Park Visitor Center and Infinite Loop locations, which both sell Apple products alongside promotional merchandise, and it also factors in the rare permanent closure of Apple’s Simi Valley store last year.

It’s possible that Apple could announce at least one other new store opening between now and late January, such as its nearly ready Vienna, Austria location, in which case the Korean store would obviously not be exactly 500th. We’ve reached out to Apple for an official store count and we’ll update if we hear back.

Apple is promoting its Garosu-gil store with a colorful, animated greeting in both English and Korean on its website, with a matching mural along the storefront that now reveals the January 27 opening date to those passing by.



Apple confirmed plans to open its first store in South Korea just over a year ago, and both construction and hiring have been underway since. The store was originally reported to open December 30, but the location evidently wasn’t quite ready in time, and it’ll now officially open in less than two weeks.

Apple’s first two stores opened in May 2001 at shopping malls in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. By our count, Apple now has 271 retail stores in the United States, while this Garosu-gil location will be its 229th retail store elsewhere, pushing it to the 500 mark in less than 17 years.

Apple remains in the process of renovating dozens of those stores with a fresher aesthetic. Many of the locations have expanded by adding a floor or taking over adjacent storefronts, while some stores have relocated entirely.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 to Developers

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth beta and more than a month after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, the second major update to the macOS High Sierra operating system.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.



It’s not yet clear what improvements the macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 update will bring, but it’s likely to include bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren’t addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2. It offers additional fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that were discovered and publicized in early January and fixed initially in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2.

The update also fixes a bug that allows the App Store menu in the System Preferences to be unlocked with any password.

The previous macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update focused solely on security fixes and performance improvements, with no new features introduced, and a supplemental update introduced a fix for the Spectre vulnerability.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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2019 iPhones Could Have Smaller Notch as Apple ‘Looking Into’ Combining Face ID and Front Camera

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk A new report from South Korea’s ETNews insinuates that iPhones may have a smaller notch in 2019 or beyond.



The report, citing industry sources, claims Apple is "looking into" combining the front-facing camera and Face ID on next year’s iPhones, a move that could certainly reduce the size of the TrueDepth sensor housing.

According to industries, it is heard that Apple is planning to strengthen face sensing function starting from 2019 models. That is why it is planning to increase number of parts that will be used for iPhones and is looking into combination of a face recognition module with a camera module.

The confusing bit is that the report mentions a singular face recognition module, whereas Face ID is powered by an infrared camera, dot projector, and flood illuminator. The report doesn’t specify how Apple would manage to combine these components, so like many very-early-on rumors, this one isn’t entirely clear yet.



The notch is easily the most controversial attribute of the iPhone X’s design. While many early adopters don’t mind the small cutout at the top of the display, others have heavily criticized it, including The Outline‘s Joshua Topolsky.

The "notch" on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd — it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screen space.

Unfortunately for those critics, it doesn’t look like the smaller notch will arrive in 2018, as new iPhones and iPads set to launch later this year are expected to have the same TrueDepth sensor housing as the iPhone X.

Back in November, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Face ID will be featured on a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a new mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone. Apple will also release at least one iPad Pro model with Face ID this year, according to Bloomberg News.

LG Innotek will reportedly supply all or the majority of 3D sensing modules for the next-generation iPhone and iPad models, based on an $821 million investment, which may have been funded at least partially by Apple.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Sued Over Meltdown and Spectre in U.S. as iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Now Total 45

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple faces its first legal action over Meltdown and Spectre in the United States, even though the vulnerabilities were found to affect nearly all computers and other devices, according to court documents reviewed by MacRumors.



Meltdown and Spectre are serious hardware-based vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive information. All modern Intel, ARM, AMD, and Nvidia processors are affected, with many patches and mitigations already released.

Anthony Bartling and Jacqueline Olson filed a class action complaint against Apple last week in a U.S. district court in San Jose on behalf of anyone who purchased a device with an ARM-based processor designed by Apple, ranging from the A4 to A11 Bionic chips used in iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV models.

The complaint alleges that Apple has known about the design defects giving rise to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities since at least June 2017, and could have disclosed details to the public more promptly.

An excerpt from the complaint:

ARM Holdings PLC, the company that licenses the ARM architecture to Apple, admits that it was notified of the Security Vulnerabilities in June 2017 by Google’s Project Zero and that it immediately notified its architecture licensees (presumably, including Apple) who create their own processor designs of the Security Vulnerabilities.

The complaint added that it is unlikely Apple would be able to fully and adequately release fixes for Meltdown and Spectre without the performance of its processors decreasing by between five and 30 percent.

Apple addressed Meltdown in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 and iOS 11.2, while Spectre mitigations were introduced in a macOS 10.13.2 supplemental update and iOS 11.2.2, both of which were released early last week. The vulnerabilities have also been addressed in older versions of macOS and OS X.

Despite one claim that Apple’s patch for Spectre resulted in a significant performance decrease on one developer’s iPhone 6s, Apple said its testing indicated that the Safari-based mitigations had no measurable impact on its Speedometer and ARES-6 tests and an impact of less than 2.5 percent on the JetStream benchmark.

The complaint expects at least 100 customers to be part of the proposed class, with the combined sum of compensatory and punitive damages expected to exceed $5 million if the case proceeds to trial.

A group of Israelis have filed a request with the Haifa District Court to file a class action lawsuit against Apple, Intel, and ARM over Meltdown and Spectre as well, according to local news publication Hamodia.

iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits Continue to Mount

Apple continues to face an increasing number of lawsuits that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1.



In the United States, the iPhone maker now faces at least 39 class action complaints as of January 15, according to court documents compiled by MacRumors. Additional lawsuits have been filed in France, Israel, Russia, Korea, and Vietnam, with another pending in Canada, bringing the total to 45.

Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and as Apple has already promised, add more detailed info to iOS about a device’s battery health.

We’ve already answered many frequently asked questions about Apple’s power management process, and covered the issue extensively, so read our past coverage for more information about the matter.

Tag: lawsuit

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Steve Jobs Introduced the MacBook Air Exactly 10 Years Ago Today

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Today marks the tenth anniversary of the late Steve Jobs unveiling the MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook at the time.



After introducing the AirPort Time Capsule and sharing some iPhone and Apple TV news, Jobs walked over to his podium, grabbed a manilla envelope, and pulled out the sleek MacBook Air. The crowd at Macworld erupted with applause as Jobs held the ultra-light notebook in the palm of his hand.

The thinness came at a cost. The base model ran $1,799 for a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive. A maxed out version was also available for $3,098, around $300 more than the base Mac Pro at the time, with a faster 1.8GHz processor and a 64GB solid-state drive.



MacBook Air was all about firsts. The notebook was Apple’s first without a CD/DVD drive, first to ditch a range of ports and connectivity options, first with a multi-touch trackpad, first to have the option for SSD storage, first to weigh just three pounds or less, and first with a mercury-free display.

A single design decision also epitomized the past decade of Apple: a flip-down door on the right side of the machine provided access to only a single USB port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port.

We’ve seen Apple go down this path many times since: it introduced the MacBook with just a single USB-C port, reduced the MacBook Pro’s connectivity to Thunderbolt 3 ports, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Each change generated controversy, but ultimately set the course for its future.

Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has shared a great piece titled The MacBook Air: A Decade’s Worth of Legacy over at MacStories that dives into the notebook’s history. He also put together the video below.



A decade later, the MacBook Air remains a product in Apple’s lineup, but likely only because it is a lower-cost option. Beyond a minor speed bump last June, the notebook hasn’t been updated since March 2015, and it very well may be discontinued once Apple feels able to sell its 12-inch MacBook for around $999.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Air (Neutral)

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Apple and Tim Cook Honor the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple today has honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a full-page tribute on its website. A photo of Dr. King is accompanied by a famous quote of his: "The time is always right to do what is right."



Apple CEO Tim Cook also shared a quote from Dr. King on Twitter and added "let’s find the light and the love, together."



Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, a federal holiday in commemoration of his birthday. The iconic leader of the African-American civil rights movement would have turned 89 years old on Monday.

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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MacBook Pro Reportedly Won’t See Any Major Upgrades in 2018

http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple supplier Foxconn could be about to land a large number of additional MacBook orders this year, according to upstream supply chain sources (via DigiTimes). The increase could come at the expense of Quanta Computer, which has been Apple’s major MacBook manufacturer in recent years.

Taiwan-based Foxconn has reportedly been working to boost its chances of notebook orders from Apple by offering attractive quotes, while Apple has not majorly upgraded its MacBook range since 2016’s Touch Bar MacBook Pros, and is said to have no plan for one in 2018. Apple will therefore switch MacBook orders to Foxconn for models that are already in mass production as a way to save costs and reduce risks, according to the sources.

Foxconn is expected to begin mass shipments to fulfill the new orders in the second quarter of 2018, said the sources. Foxconn and Quanta both declined to comment on their clients or orders. The sources pointed out that Apple started outsourcing the assembly for some of MacBooks’ components to Foxconn’s plants in Shenzhen, China in the second half of 2017.

Despite the news, Quanta is expected to remain Apple’s biggest supplier going into 2018. According to DigiTimes’ research, out of 15 million MacBooks shipped to Apple a year, the shipment ratio between Quanta and Foxconn has been at around 8:2 for the past five years. Last year alone, Quanta had a 79.5 percent share and Foxconn took 20.5 percent.

Quanta is said to be looking to other brand vendors to offset the impact of the loss of orders, as it aims for similar growth to the market average in 2018. The Taiwan-based firm shipped 38.7 million notebooks last year, up 5 percent on year, and is currently the largest notebook supplier for Hewlett-Packard (HP), Apple, Acer and Asustek Computer.

Quanta also maintains orders from Apple for Apple Watch, and is said to be teaming up with Israeli-based augmented reality company Lumus to manufacture lenses for smart glasses. It’s not clear if Quanta and Lumus are working with Apple on a future AR headset or smart glasses, but it is a possibility as rumors suggest Apple has a wearable augmented reality product in the works.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, Apple VR Project
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

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