MacRumors

Apple's new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, released yesterday, feature a bright red aluminum casing that many are a fan of. Unfortunately, it comes equipped with a white front plate, much like the Gold, Silver, and Rose Gold iPhones, something that's been a point of criticism for people who think it would have looked better with a black front plate.

YouTuber Danny Winget recently tore apart a red iPhone 7 Plus and replaced its logic board and front plate with parts taken from a Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus, giving us a glimpse at what an actual (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 Plus with a black front would have looked like.


Winget had to replace not only the front plate but also the logic board because if he swapped just the front portion of the device, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor would have been rendered unusable.


Apple ties the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to an iPhone's logic board and disables it for security reasons if any of the parts are swapped out. Therefore, most of the internal structure of the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone had to be replaced with parts from the Jet Black iPhone.

Purchasing an entire Jet Black iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for the purpose of creating a hybrid red/black iPhone 7 is probably out of the question for most people, but it's an interesting proof of concept.


This method essentially ruins the Jet Black iPhone 7 involved, making it a rather pricy project, and it destroys the waterproofing seal on the red iPhone.


It's also worth noting that this is a highly complicated process that essentially requires tearing apart two iPhones, melding them together, and hoping nothing goes wrong, something that the average person won't want to attempt.


For a closer look at the Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone, make sure to check out our hands-on video.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 25, 2017, 6:14 pm
A Beijing court has overturned a 2016 ruling that Apple's iPhone 6 violated a Chinese manufacturer's patent, which saw intellectual property regulators attempt to bar sale of the phone in the country (via South China Morning Post).

Last June we reported that ailing company Shenzhen Baili filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the iPhone 6 violated the patent of its 100c smartphone. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that the iPhone did infringe on Shenzhen's patent rights, accusing Apple of having "copied" the exterior design of the 100c phone.


The Cupertino company was ordered to halt sales in Beijing completely, but an appeal at a regional patent tribunal was granted that allowed both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to remain on sale. Today's news finally appears to have put an end to the legal dispute.
The court "quashes the decision of the bureau" and "recognises that Apple ... has not infringed the design patent filed by the company Shenzhen Baili", according to the verdict reported by the People’s Court Daily.
The Beijing court ruled that the features of the iPhone 6 "completely change[d] the effect of the entire product" and made both phones "easily distinguishable in the eyes of consumers".

The decision is likely to be another nail in the coffin for Baili, which was reported to "barely exist" even at the time of its original victory in the intellectual property office. The company, along with its parent Digione, is no longer a competitor in the Chinese smartphone market and has since collapsed, blighted by mismanagement and public criticism of its products, which were seen as poor quality.

Apple's lawyers will be relieved with today's ruling, given that Apple has been on the losing side of Chinese intellectual property lawsuits in the past. In May 2016, an "iPhone" branded leather goods maker won a lawsuit filed by Apple, after the court ruled Xintong Tiandi had registered the word as a trademark in 2007, while Apple's phones didn't go on sale in China until 2009.

Tag: China

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Author: Tim Hardwick
Posted: March 25, 2017, 2:19 pm
Apple's new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus went on sale online and in retail stores around the world today, and after a short wait in line, we managed to get our hands on one of the new devices.

Made from a matte red aluminum, the red iPhone 7 is super pigmented and bright in real life, but aside from its snazzy new casing, it's identical to existing devices. Check out the video below for our detailed look at Apple's first red iPhone.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The new red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus can be purchased from the online Apple Store and in retail locations, where supplies seem to be plentiful. There were lines at many stores around the country, however, so it could potentially sell out.

Prices for the red iPhone 7 start at $749, with the device available in 128 and 256GB capacities. Pricing for the red iPhone 7 Plus starts at $869.

The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in the United States and dozens of other countries today, and by the end of March, the device will be available in more than 40 countries and regions.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 9:12 pm
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Quell & Company to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Colony Organizer and a Leather Sleeve for their iOS and Mac devices.

The Colony Organizer, priced at $60, is essentially a charging dock for your iPhone and iPad, designed to securely and stylishly hold your devices while they charge. Made from Maple or Walnut wood, the Colony Organizer can hold up to four devices and two charging cables between its series of pegs, keeping them neatly stored away on a desk or surface while charging.


Charging cords (not included) run up through a center cutout in the organizer, and a felt base protects your devices from any scratches or damage. Micro suction pads on the base ensure that it's stable, so it's not going to fall over or slip off of your desk even when loaded with iPhones and iPads. It's compatible with the iPhone 5 and later, all Lightning-based iPads, the 12-inch MacBook, and the Apple Watch.


Quell & Company's Leather Sleeve, priced at $95, is designed to work with the 12-inch MacBook or any 9.7-inch iPad, including Apple's newly released $329 model. The Leather Sleeve, as the name suggests, is made from a high quality black leather lined with felt.


It features a zippered main pocket that fits your Apple device, along with three front pockets that can be used for other accessories like the Apple Pencil, charging cables, and even an iPhone.


Quell & Company is offering a Colony Organizer and a Leather Sleeve to three MacRumors readers, who will be able to pick the color (organizer) and size (sleeve) of their choosing. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (March 24) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 31. The winners will be chosen randomly on March 31 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Along with the giveaway, Quell & Company is offering an exclusive 20 percent discount on all of its products for MacRumors readers. To get the discount, enter the code "macrumors" when checking out on the site. The discount will be available for one week.


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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 6:04 pm
Apple today released a revised version of iTunes 12.6, which appears to eliminate a hidden option that may have accidentally been built into the software release.

Shortly after the original release of iTunes 12.6 on Tuesday, a reddit user discovered a "Show on Profile Page" toggle on a Playlist edit page.


The toggle didn't appear to do anything because there's currently no individual profile page feature in iTunes, and now the non-functional feature has been eliminated from the 12.6 iTunes release, suggesting it was added by mistake and could be destined for some kind of future iTunes profile addition.

It is entirely unclear what a Profile Page might entail, but reddit users speculated that it could be for a future social network or a Spotify-style searchable playlist database.

The new iTunes 12.6 update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. It includes a "Rent once, watch anywhere" feature that lets iTunes users watch iTunes movie rentals across all devices with the as-of-yet unreleased iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 updates.

Prior to the iTunes 12.6 update, iTunes movies could only be watched on a single device at a time. A movie rented on a Mac transferred to an iPhone would remove the movie from the Mac's iTunes Library, while a movie rented on an iOS device or Apple TV could not previously be transferred to other devices.

We don't yet know when the iTunes 12.6 update will become functional, as it is reliant on iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2, but those who are running the betas can use the cross-rental feature. The iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 software updates could come at any time.
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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 5:25 pm
T-Mobile today announced the launch of two new anti-scam features designed to cut down on scam phone calls, Scam ID and Scam Block.

Scam ID, as the name suggests, alerts customers when an incoming call is coming from a phone number known to be associated with a scam. Scam Block goes one step further, automatically blocking any calls identified as scams by Scam ID.

"Every year, three out of four people in the US get at least one scam call--and fraudsters cheat consumers out of more than half a billion dollars per year! It's insane - so we had to do something to protect our customers!" said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile. "So the T-Mobile team designed a brilliant set of patent-pending technologies -- then built them directly into our network, so there's nothing customers have to do. No hoops to jump through, no app to download. Like most T-Mobile technologies, it just works."
Scam ID is powered by a global database that contains "tens of thousands" of known scammer numbers. T-Mobile updates the database in near real-time by analyzing every call that comes into its network with "behavioral heuristics" and "intelligent scam pattern detection." Every call is analyzed to identify and block scammers.

Both Scam ID and Scam Block are available on all devices on T-Mobile's network and will be included at no cost. The features are rolling out to customers starting today, and will be available to T-Mobile ONE customers first.

New T-Mobile ONE customers will automatically get Scam ID beginning on April 5, while other T-Mobile postpaid customers can enable the feature on that date by dialing #ONI# (#664#). To turn on Scam Block, customers can dial dial #ONB# (#662#).

T-Mobile warns that enabling Scam Block could potentially cause customers not to receive legitimate calls, so caution should be used before turning it on. Once enabled, it can be turned off by dialing #OFB# (#632#).

Tag: T-Mobile

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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 4:47 pm
As Nintendo keeps launching new properties onto smartphones, the company has taken different strategies in regards to each app's payment model, including free-to-play (Miitomo, Fire Emblem Heroes) and pay-once-and-play (Super Mario Run). According to a senior official at the company, Nintendo actually "prefers" the Super Mario Run model over Fire Emblem Heroes, despite the more lucrative future that Fire Emblem Heroes' in-app purchases have in store for Nintendo (via Nikkei).

According to Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima, Super Mario Run's revenue "did not meet" the company's expectations. Ahead of the game's release, it was reported that Nintendo was eyeing a pay-once model so that parents could download Super Mario Run for their kids without the added anxiety of in-app purchases appearing later in their iTunes purchase history.


It appears that the gaming company still intends for most of its future apps to follow in Super Mario Run's footsteps and not those of Fire Emblem Heroes, with a senior company official referring to Heroes as "an outlier" in the grand scheme of Nintendo's mobile strategy.
Yet [Super Mario Run] was less of a moneymaker for Nintendo than might have been expected, due to the pay-once-and-play model. Revenue from the game "did not meet our expectations," Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said.

Even so, Nintendo has no intention of switching focus to freemium games. "'Heroes' is an outlier," a senior company official said. "We honestly prefer the 'Super Mario Run' model."
The company is believed to care more about expanding the reach of its intellectual properties to a wider audience and "aims to do more with its smartphone games than make money." Another goal for Nintendo is to mine the potential synergy future apps could have with the new Switch console, where players pick up the app to get hooked, and are convinced to further explore -- and spend more money -- on a larger version of the game.

According to Nikkei, the long-term success of Super Mario Run will be measured in how well it turns new Nintendo fans into console players and buyers: "The game's true value will be measured by how much it expands the ranks of Nintendo fans and helps sales of the Switch."

Last year, Isao Moriyasu -- Chief Executive of DeNA, Nintendo's mobile app developer partner -- said that the next two Nintendo apps would be "free-to-start apps," referring to Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing, which was recently delayed. Super Mario Run is technically free-to-start as well, allowing players to mess around with a few story levels and modes before asking for the monetary investment to unlock the full game. This week, that free section was expanded slightly in the game's version 2.0 update.

Players can purchase game-boosting "Orbs" in Fire Emblem Heroes

In terms of payment models, the distinction between Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Mario Run is clear, and it appears that Nintendo intends to keep focused on higher-priced gaming apps instead of the more popular freemium model. Looking towards the future, we still only know that Animal Crossing is set to appear next on mobile devices, likely sometime later this year. Unfortunately, today's news muddies the waters regarding that game's payment strategy, since it's now unclear whether it will lean towards Fire Emblem Heroes' freemium model, as Moriyasu said, or be part of Nintendo's preference for a pay-once option.

Super Mario Run launched in December and saw massive launch day download numbers, but the app has since dwindled down the Top Grossing charts for the Games section of the iOS App Store, amid users raising uncertainties over its $9.99 price tag and always-online requirements. At the time of writing, Super Mario Run is the 117th game on the Top Grossing Games list, while Fire Emblem Heroes sits at the 48th spot.


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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 24, 2017, 4:00 pm
Apple has just begun accepting orders for the new 9.7-inch iPad and (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on its online store in the United States and dozens of other countries and regions around the world. (PRODUCT)RED iPhones are also available for in-store pickup at select Apple Stores starting today.


The new 9.7-inch iPad is equipped with a faster Apple A9 chip and brighter Retina display compared to the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. It is also somewhat thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2 since it lacks a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating in order to keep costs down.

The tablet's tech specs are otherwise identical to the iPad Air 2, including a display resolution of 2,048‑by‑1,536 at 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, Touch ID with Apple Pay, and Bluetooth 4.2.

The new 9.7-inch iPad starts at $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi, making it the cheapest new tablet that Apple has ever sold. Apple also offers a 128GB model with Wi-Fi for $429, while cellular-capable 32GB and 128GB models are available for $459 and $559 respectively in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.

The new 9.7-inch iPad is now available to order on Apple's website in dozens of countries around the world. The first online orders are estimated for delivery between March 31 and April 5 in the United States.

Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad will be available to purchase at select Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores starting next week in more than 20 countries, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.


Apple's special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are also now available to order on Apple's website in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for $749/$849 and $869/$969 respectively. Initial orders are slated for delivery on Tuesday, March 28 in the United States.

(PRODUCT)RED iPhones have a vibrant red finish complemented by a silver Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple said the models are in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which gives customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund in support of HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

If you want a red iPhone today, try your local Apple Store. It’s in stock right now around the world. pic.twitter.com/hJt8o5sXF7

— Joe Rossignol (@rsgnl) March 24, 2017

The special edition iPhone joins the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available to purchase year-round, including the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

(PRODUCT)RED iPhones are available starting today at many Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores in the United States and dozens of other countries. Apple said the new models will begin shipping to customers by the end of March in the United States and more than 40 countries and regions.

Related Roundups: iPad, iPhone 7
Tags: (PRODUCT)RED, Apple retail
Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Caution)

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Author: Joe Rossignol
Posted: March 24, 2017, 3:06 pm
Casetify, a site that specializes in custom designed iPhone and iPad cases, today debuted a collection of shine-through design cases especially curated for Apple's special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which also debuts on Friday.

In total, 60 different designs make up the collection, which includes repeating pattern designs, favorite quotes, and vector graphics, among other illustrations. Individual cases cost $40 each for both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handset sizes.


The cases are made in a soft polycarbonate (TPU) Classic Grip, which safeguards the phone from any accidental drops. The matte, soft-touch frame enables a soft grip, while the semi-transparent back exposes the anodized aluminum red finish of Apple's new iPhone colorway.

Using the site's design feature, or the company's mobile app, users also have the ability to create their own see-through designs, by adding photos from their computers, Instagram, or Facebook to personalize their case.

Tag: Casetify

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Author: Tim Hardwick
Posted: March 24, 2017, 12:20 pm
Twitter is said to be "considering" whether to implement an all-new paid subscription tier that would be introduced in a premium package for TweetDeck, Twitter's popular desktop client, and be aimed directly at professionals (via Reuters). If enacted, this would be the first time Twitter charges users for any part of its social media services, which began eleven years ago in March of 2006.

A mockup of what the premium TweetDeck subscription service could look like

Twitter is looking at providing a professional experience for people on TweetDeck that would pack in advance tools and features not found anywhere else on the service. The premium package would cost $19.99 per month, be accessible on both desktop and mobile, and include the following features:

- Exclusive news/alerts summaries personalized for you
- Content management tools like bookmarks, to-do lists, and 'save for later'
- Cross posting to other social media platforms
- Advanced custom trend analysis and alerting tools
- Exclusive content on social media best practices and strategy
- Enhanced tools for managing and creating custom audience lists (e.g., by interest, customer, or region, etc.)
- Exclusive priority customer support
- The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts
- Advanced publishing features (e.g., scheduling, collaboration, drafting, etc.)
- Advanced tools for sorting or filtering searches
- An ad-free experience
- Analysis tools for understanding topics or conversations on Twitter
- Ability to access this experience on both desktop and mobile devices
- Ability to securely manage the account across multiple team members
- Twitter customization such as color themes and layouts
- Access to pre-populated lists of users and influencers by interest topic (e.g., industry or subject experts)
- Additional account activity details (e.g., influence scores, account unfollows, or ability to see who is looking at your profile page)
- Ability to import user lists from outside sources
- Advanced analytics on my own content performance

The news was shared by The New York Times affiliated journalist Andrew Tavani, and in addition to the detailed list of features, he tweeted out an overall summary of what the service is said to encompass. With the premium additions, Twitter is aiming to help journalists, marketers, and other such professionals "get even more out of Twitter."
"Twitter is considering offering a more advanced TweetDeck experience, with more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker, to gain more insights, and see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter. Whether you use Twitter for work or just want to be more informed on the latest news, sports, entertainment, political viewpoints, and information in today's world, this more advanced TweetDeck experience will be designed to help you get even more out of Twitter.

This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting, and signaling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard.

It will be designed to make it easier than ever to keep up with multiple interests, grow your audience, and see even more great content and information in real-time. It would also offer extra features such as advanced audience insight and analytics, tools to monitor multiple timelines from multiple accounts and from multiple devices, including mobile, all in an ad-free experience.
Twitter confirmed that it is conducting a survey "to access the interest" in this premium version of the service, so no official decision has been made as of yet. It should also be pointed out that the company's wording strictly stuck to the added value proposition for "professionals," with no apparent intention to make a monthly subscription version of Twitter for its casual users.

In the past few years, Twitter has struggled to convince users to stay with the service, as well as faced difficulties in enticing new users to adopt Twitter over its competitors like Snapchat and Facebook. Changes to the service have done some good in improving certain annoyances users had with it -- like removing handles and media attachments from the character count limit and improving anti-harassment tools -- but Twitter has seen little growth from these initiatives. Twitter's total worldwide users currently sit at 319 million, compared to Facebook's 1.86 billion.


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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 24, 2017, 12:16 pm
On Wednesday we reported that Apple had become the target of a ransom threat, with hackers claiming to have access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts. A group known as the "Turkish Crime Family" said they would reset and wipe the accounts unless Apple paid them $150,000 in Bitcoin by April 7.

Apple responded to the threat by stating that there had not been any breach of its systems, and that if hackers did have access to iCloud accounts then it could only be because of compromised third-party services.


Yesterday, ZDNet said it had received a set of 54 account credentials from the hacker group for "verification" and subsequently reported that all of the accounts were valid, based on a check using Apple's online password reset function.

The accounts include @icloud.com addresses dating back to 2011, as well as legacy @me.com and @mac.com domains from as early as 2000. The list of credentials is said to contain email addresses and plain-text passwords separated by a colon. According to Troy Hunt, data breach expert and owner of notification site Have I Been Pwned, this would suggest the data could have been aggregated from various sources.

ZDNet worked to contact each account holder via iMessage to confirm their password, and found that many of the accounts are no longer registered with Apple's messaging platform. However, of those that could be contacted, 10 people – all based in the U.K. – confirmed that the passwords were accurate, and they have changed them as a result.

When pressed about the original source of the data, the hackers claimed that it was "handled in groups" without explaining how or why. The hackers also refused to hand over a U.S.-based sample of accounts.

All of the people with compromised accounts said that until now, they had never changed their iCloud passwords before. One person said that the password he confirmed with ZDNet was no longer in use as of about two years ago, which narrows down the possible date of a breach or multiple breaches to somewhere between 2011 and 2015.

Most of the people confirmed that they used their iCloud email address and password on other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, three people said that their iCloud email address and password were unique to iCloud, and were not used on any other site. Also, two people claimed someone had tried to reset their iCloud passwords in the past day.

It's unclear if the sample provided is representative of the wider pool of credentials the hackers claim to have, but based on its communications with the group, ZDNet suspects that its members are "naïve and inexperienced" and primarily seeking publicity.

Given that Apple has denied a breach, the account information may have been obtained from a major hacking incident, such as the one that befell Yahoo. iCloud users who have the same username and password that was used for both a hacked site and for iCloud should change their passwords immediately.

Anyone else concerned about the hacking claims should change their password and consider using two-factor authentication to secure their Apple ID credentials. Apple has said that it is "actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved".

Tag: iCloud

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Author: Tim Hardwick
Posted: March 24, 2017, 11:34 am
Apple took down its online store early this morning as the company prepares to launch its special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in more than 40 countries and regions around the world.


Internet users attempting to access the store section of the U.S. site are being met with the familiar "We've got something special in store for you" placeholder, accompanied by a relaunch time of 8:01 a.m. Pacific Time, which is when Apple previously said it would officially be launching the new red colorway iPhone.

Today Apple is also launching a new lower priced 9.7-inch iPad to replace the iPad Air 2, as well as new storage tier options for the iPhone SE and the iPad mini 4.

The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 7 will be available in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for the same $749/$849 and $869/$969 prices as the equivalent iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models in standard colors. The anodized aluminum's vibrant red finish has a white Apple logo and white front bezels.

Apple's new tablet, which it is simply calling "iPad", is Apple's new entry-level model at the 9.7-inch size, starting at $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB. The device will be available in more than 20 countries and regions.

The new 32GB and 128GB storage capacities for the iPhone SE will cost $399 and $499 respectively, replacing the original 16GB ($399) and 64GB ($449) storage capacities. All other specs for the smaller profile handset remain the same.

The new 128GB model iPad mini 4 with Wi-Fi will start at $399, which was previously the price for the 32GB model with Wi-Fi, which has been discontinued. A cellular model with 128GB of storage will also be available for $529.

During Tuesday's announcement of the new products, Apple also launched new Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases in new colors.

Despite the unusually early shuttering of the store, it's very unlikely that it relates to anything other than updates to the online ordering process to reflect the new products, but we'll keep readers updated as soon as we learn more.

(Thanks, Andrea!)

Related Roundups: iPad mini 4 (2015), iPhone 7, iPhone SE
Tag: (PRODUCT)RED
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Caution)

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Author: Tim Hardwick
Posted: March 24, 2017, 9:25 am
Facebook's Messenger app for iOS devices was today updated with a new Message Reactions feature, which is similar to the Tapback features introduced in Apple's Messages app in iOS 10.

Message Reactions are designed to allow Facebook users to react to a message with an emoji symbol to express an emotion without needing to type out a response. Users can choose from emoji like thumbs up, thumbs down, a sad face, an angry face, a smiling face, and more.


To add a reaction to an incoming message, press and hold on the message and choose an emoji. For those who use Apple's Messages app, this action is already familiar.

The emoji reaction is added to whichever message it's attached to in the form of a small animation. Messenger Reactions work on one on one conversations and group conversations, and can be used on text, photos, stickers, videos, and more.

Also new in Messenger is "Mentions," designed to allow users to notify someone when they've been mentioned in a conversation. This is, of course, mainly useful for group conversations that have multiple participants.

A Mention can be sent by using the "@" symbol before someone's name, and the person who has been mentioned will receive a notification.

Both Mentions and Reactions are rolling out to the Messenger app today.

Facebook Messenger for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Facebook

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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 2:10 am
In response to a series of CIA documents leaked this morning that outline exploits the government used to gain access to Macs and iOS devices, Apple gave a statement to TechCrunch claiming that the documents are old and that the vulnerabilities outlined in the leak have long since been patched.

Apple says the iPhone vulnerability only affected the iPhone 3G and was fixed in 2009, while all Mac vulnerabilities were fixed in Macs launched after 2013.

We have preliminarily assessed the Wikileaks disclosures from this morning. Based on our initial analysis, the alleged iPhone vulnerability affected iPhone 3G only and was fixed in 2009 when iPhone 3GS was released. Additionally, our preliminary assessment shows the alleged Mac vulnerabilities were previously fixed in all Macs launched after 2013.

We have not negotiated with Wikileaks for any information. We have given them instructions to submit any information they wish through our normal process under our standard terms. Thus far, we have not received any information from them that isn't in the public domain. We are tireless defenders of our users' security and privacy, but we do not condone theft or coordinate with those that threaten to harm our users.
The new documents, part of an ongoing "Vault 7" leak focusing on the United States Central Intelligence Agency, were released by WikiLeaks this morning. Codenamed "Dark Matter," the documents primarily covered techniques for exploiting and accessing Macs through a peripheral device like a USB stick.

An iPhone exploit, called "Night Skies 1.2," was also featured, adding to the range of "Year Zero" iPhone exploits that were shared by WikiLeaks last week.

All of the Dark Matter and Year Zero documents can be found on WikiLeaks. Additional Apple-related hacks and exploits may surface as the Vault 7 series continues, and it will take time for security analysts and experts to determine the impact of the leaks.

While Apple says all of the exploits have been patched, its results are preliminary. Should any remaining exploits be unaddressed, Apple will undoubtedly fix them quickly.

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.

Tag: WikiLeaks

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Author: Juli Clover
Posted: March 24, 2017, 1:54 am
Instagram today continued its rollout of pressure free, community-focused updates that now include a blur filter to obscure potentially sensitive content, as deemed by the Instagram review team when a particular post is reported. Instagram said that this means users are "less likely to have surprising or unwanted experiences in the app," but they can still view the image or video by simply tapping on the blurred post.

Security is getting beefed up in the new update as well, with Instagram enabling two-factor authentication for every user. As it is everywhere else, when the security measure is implemented by a user they will have to type in a code -- sent through a text message -- every time they log in to their Instagram account. Instagram said that these updates will help the app continue to move towards "fostering a safer, kinder community."


Instagram's kindness-focused hopes for its community will be represented in a worldwide meet-up happening March 25 and 26, where users everywhere can find local meet-ups "to share their stories and spread kindness in the world."
The first step is to celebrate the kindness our community is already known for. On March 25 and 26, tens of thousands of Instagrammers all over the world will come together for Worldwide InstaMeet 15 to share their stories and spread kindness in the world. You can find an InstaMeet near you or spread kindness by leaving an encouraging comment, giving an inspiring person a like or sharing a message of support with a friend.

Our teams are focused on making Instagram a kind, welcoming place for everyone, and we’re just getting started.
Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report stated that Instagram is working on a way to let users book appointments directly within the app by visiting pages of hair salons and restaurants. The move is said to be intended to take on the likes of Yelp by also adding a way for users to post reviews of businesses on their Instagram page, fostering a community of opinions to inform potential customers of the quality of the location.

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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 23, 2017, 3:17 pm
Apple's widely rumored high-end iPhone with a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display will launch in September, although the majority of stock may not be available until later in the fourth quarter, according to the latest research from Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Christopher Hemmelgarn, Thomas O'Malley, and Jerry Zhang.

"iPhone X" concept by designer Gabor Balogh

The prediction suggests that Apple's tenth-anniversary iPhone, which has been variously dubbed the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Pro, or iPhone Edition, will still be available in limited quantities in September. However, shipping estimates could slip to several weeks out just minutes after pre-orders begin.

What do you think Apple's rumored "special edition" iPhone will be called? Tweet us your own ideas.

— MacRumors.com (@MacRumors) March 18, 2017

An excerpt from the Barclays research note obtained by MacRumors:
Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher ASPs. We now believe that all three devices will feature wireless charging and will all be launched in the normal September timeframe, although the majority of iPhone Pro volumes may not be available until Q4.
Barclays contradicts a recent report that claimed the 5.8-inch iPhone will be announced alongside updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, or the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, but might not go on sale until much later.

By the sounds of it, availability of Apple's first iPhone with an OLED display could be similar to the iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black, which was virtually nowhere to be found through the holiday shopping season last year. When an Apple Store or reseller happened to get a few Jet Black models in stock, they sold out almost instantly.

The analysts, citing information from Apple's supply chain following a trip to Asia earlier this month, also reiterated their expectations for the 5.8-inch iPhone. Many of its predictions echo those already made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a respectable track record at revealing Apple's plans.

Barclays said the phone will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable screen, as Kuo said. It expects Touch ID to be embedded in the display, and the remaining space could be for virtual buttons. It believes the device will have wireless charging, but wireless charging accessories will be sold separately.

It said the 5.8-inch iPhone's stacked logic board design will provide more space for a larger battery and other components, as Kuo previously said. Other features Barclays expects include a front-facing 3D sensor module, the same dual camera setup as the iPhone 7 Plus, and a film-based Force Touch solution.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tag: Barclays

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Author: Joe Rossignol
Posted: March 23, 2017, 2:56 pm
Walmart today announced that a new update to the mobile app for its streaming movie service, VUDU, will allow customers to scan and digitize any physical DVD or Blu-Ray into digital form for a price between $2 and $5, right from their smartphone. The update is an expansion of Walmart's "Disc-to-Digital" in-house service, which encouraged customers to bring their physical movies to a local Walmart to transfer them into cloud storage, and in recent years also added digital conversion on home computers.

Now, Mobile Disc-to-Digital will work on both iOS and Android devices and will support nearly 8,000 films from Lionsgate, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. VUDU said it intends to keep adding support from more distributors over the coming months.

“The average movie collector owns nearly 100 DVDs and Blu-rays. We know these customers have invested a lot into building their physical movie collections,” said Jeremy Verba, general manager, Vudu. “As more and more customers create digital libraries, we are constantly looking for ways to help them unlock additional value from the movies they already own.”

“Like Walmart, at Vudu we’re always striving to save our customers time and money,” added Verba. “Our Mobile Disc-to-Digital service is a key part of Vudu’s broader effort to make digital entertainment access simple and convenient.”
To convert a movie into a digital copy, customers must navigate to the new disc-to-digital section of the VUDU app and scan the physical barcode of the film they want to digitize. Here they will be presented with digital options and prices: converting a DVD to SD or a Blu-ray disc to HDX costs $2, while converting a DVD to the higher-definition HDX costs $5. Users can keep scanning and adding movies in bulk, and once the digitalization is finished, all of the movies can be viewed on any VUDU-enabled device.

To ensure that users are scanning in copies of films that they have already purchased, the VUDU app will enable disc-to-digital conversions only when it can determine that the user is at their designated home/billing address.

VUDU is available on the iPhone and iPad [Direct Link], and today's Mobile Disc-to-Digital update will go live at 12:00 p.m. EDT. An engineer working for the streaming company recently confirmed that an Apple TV app is in development, with no clear timetable as to when it might debut.

Tag: VUDU

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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 23, 2017, 2:47 pm
WikiLeaks today continued its "Vault 7" series by leaking details concerning CIA-related programs that were built with the intent to infect iMac and MacBook devices. Today's "Dark Matter" installation of Vault 7 follows a few weeks after WikiLeaks debuted "Year Zero," which focused on exploits that the CIA created for iOS devices. In a response the same day that Year Zero came out, Apple said that many of the vulnerabilities in the leak were already patched.

Now, WikiLeaks is shedding light on Mac-related vulnerabilities and exploits, which the leakers claim "persists even if the operating system is re-installed." The project in question, created and spearheaded by the CIA's Embedded Development Branch, is called the "Sonic Screwdriver" and represents a mechanism that can deploy code from a peripheral device -- a USB stick, or the "screwdriver" -- while a Mac is booting up.


According to WikiLeaks, this allows an attacker "to boot its attack software" even if the Mac has a password enabled on sign-up. In the report, it's said that the CIA's own Sonic Screwdriver has been stored safely on a modified firmware version of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter. Besides the Doctor Who-referencing exploit, Dark Matter points towards yet another bounty of CIA programs aimed at gathering information, infecting, or somehow crippling a Mac device.
"DarkSeaSkies" is "an implant that persists in the EFI firmware of an Apple MacBook Air computer" and consists of "DarkMatter", "SeaPea" and "NightSkies", respectively EFI, kernel-space and user-space implants.

Documents on the "Triton" MacOSX malware, its infector "Dark Mallet" and its EFI-persistent version "DerStake" are also included in this release. While the DerStake1.4 manual released today dates to 2013, other Vault 7 documents show that as of 2016 the CIA continues to rely on and update these systems and is working on the production of DerStarke2.0.
Dark Matter isn't exclusively Mac focused, however, and includes a few new iPhone exploits in the round-up as well. One is called "NightSkies 1.2" and is described as a "beacon/loader/implant tool" for the iPhone that is designed to be physically installed on an iPhone directly within its manufacturing facility. This conspiracy-leaning exploit is said to date back to 2008 -- one year after the first iPhone debuted -- and suggests, according to WikiLeaks, that "the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008."
While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization's supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.
The full list of the new Dark Matter documents can be found on WikiLeaks, and we're likely to see more Apple-related WikiLeaks as the Vault 7 series continues. As it was with Year Zero, it'll still take some time for security analysts and experts to determine the full impact of today's leaks.

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.

Tag: WikiLeaks

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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 23, 2017, 1:45 pm
Government officials in India today confirmed that Apple will begin manufacturing iPhone devices within its Bangalore plant over the next few months, in a bid to boost the company's presence within the Indian smartphone market.

As was previously reported, Wistron will take the brunt of iPhone manufacturing in the country, focusing on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE.

In terms of timeline, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s will begin production in the next four-to-six weeks, while Wistron will hold off adding the iPhone SE to the production line for another three months, according to the officials familiar with Apple's plans speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Today's news falls directly in line with a report from February that said Apple was planning to begin assembling iPhone SE devices within India in the coming months.
“Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron,” the official told The Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India,” an Apple spokeswoman said. “We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.” A Wistron spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”
Apple has been slowly and steadily ramping up its presence in India, over the past few months laying the groundwork by negotiating terms with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking tax concessions from locally manufactured iPhones, and setting up a local distribution center to streamline logistics as its presence in the country grows.

In regards to the tax concessions, the Indian government has yet to accept Apple's demand, but it did mention that it "will try to accomodate as much of their demands as possible" as the relationship between Apple and India grows.
“Apple is closely working with [the] government to move forward with its India plans. We want Apple to manufacture in India. They are also very keen,” an official who works closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, declining to be named. ”We will try to accommodate as much of their demands as possible, but they too appreciate and understand our limitations.”
Last summer, a report from Strategy Analytics detailed Apple's struggle within India due to the iPhone's expensive price tag, outlining a total 35 percent fewer iPhone devices sold in 2016 than in 2015.

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Author: Mitchel Broussard
Posted: March 23, 2017, 12:48 pm
Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an interview with Chinese media outlet Caixin on Tuesday, in which he emphasized Apple's ambitions in China and its long-term commitment to investment there.

Despite Apple's need to see off competition in the country from the likes of Chinese mobile makers Oppo and Huawei, Cook took pains to explain that Apple isn't simply in China to grab a piece of the market, but that it is actively working to create jobs and improve people's standard of living in the country.

Tim Cook poses for a photo during his visit to Ofo
"We're not just someone who's here to access the market," Cook told Caixin. "We've created almost 5 million jobs in China. I'm not sure there are too many companies, domestic or foreign, who can say that. … There's deep roots here. I think very highly of the country and the people in it. We're here to stay."
As reported earlier this week, Cook has spent the last few days in China to celebrate the company's announcement that it is building several research and development facilities in the region. On Wednesday he stopped in at Beijing-based bicycle sharing startup Ofo, which counts ride hailing company Didi Chuxing as one of its investors.

Apple surprised analysts last year when it bought a $1 billion stake in Didi, earning it a place on the company's board. Speaking to Caixin, Cook said the investment in Didi was an exceptional case and not a general direction for Apple.
"We've never invested in a developer before, and yet we met Didi, and Didi was so impressive. One, we thought their management was so great, we thought their idea was great," Cook said. "And we liked the holistic view, they were doing everything from taxi to the more-traditional private-car thing. There was a strategic alignment. They needed some funds to continue to grow. We really want them to be successful and be global."
Cook kicked off his China visit with a wide-ranging talk on Saturday at the China Development Forum, where he underlined his support for globalization. When asked by Caixin about the subject, the Apple CEO said there were three groups of people he always kept in mind.
"My view on globalization is that you can think of three groups of people. There's a group of people that globalization has helped tremendously. There's a group that globalization did not help. There's a group of people that globalization hurt," Cook said. "Globalization has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But I also recognize is that it did not help everyone."
Commenting further on the recent political steps away from globalized investment, such as the protectionist policies of the Trump administration, Cook admitted it was important for policymakers to address the issues that have led to resentment by some, but said it would be a mistake to roll back the process of globalization.
"You want to keep this going because it's great. But we must fix this," Cook said. "I do think there are ways to address it. I don't think it’s an impossible task. I hope the politicians will put their attention on fixing that problem. … I'm optimistic. We must be. There are so many good things in the world. We just have to make sure we focus on the thing to fix."
Cook is likely to remain in the country until at least Friday, when Apple will launch its special edition red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus globally. Despite the missing (PRODUCT)RED branding in China, Cook told MacRumors that proceeds from sales of the red colorway iPhones will still go to help the fight against HIV/AIDS, which has been called a "looming epidemic" in the country.

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.

Tags: China, Tim Cook

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Author: Tim Hardwick
Posted: March 23, 2017, 11:14 am
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