Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where the MacNN staff find stuff that you can get, and possibly make use of this weekend, without spending a single penny. The freebies this time include premium access to a fitness app, a way to convert your ebooks, and a tool to help you keep your finances under control.
Apple is being asked to get past the security of an iPhone to allow access to data stored inside, but this time from an individual instead of a law enforcement agency. An Italian father has written to CEO Tim Cook for assistance to unlock an iPhone 6, one owned by his deceased 13-year-old son during the last few months of his life, so that they can retrieve photographs, video, and anything else that can help preserve the memory of their child.
Over the last few years, consumer drones have slowly started to grow in popularity. What started as a fairly expensive hobby has grown into a much more competitive market. So much so, that the US government recently began imposing a new law that requires all drones over eight ounces in weight to be properly registered before flight. Walk through any mall, and you will likely find a booth selling relatively cheap quadcopters designed for kids, but as you are likely already aware, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Recently we got our hands on a high-end model: the Chroma Blade drone with a 4K camera. Is this the ultimate aerial hobby camera for you? Find out in our review.
A number of users are having issues with accessing iCloud services, with reports of an inability to connect to Apple's servers for a limited number of people. Starting a few hours ago, multiple iCloud services went down, affecting iMessage, calendars, iCloud email services, and other items iCloud supports, with users seeing a "connection error" warning message when their devices failed to connect to the server.
[update: Sprint has informed us that the issues have been resolved.] Some customers on the Sprint network have been notified by the carrier that it is working on LTE connectivity problems, likely induced by a Sprint carrier update made at the same time as Apple's iOS 9.3 update. Customers impacted by the problem, which span multiple versions of the iOS confirming that the problem is linked to a carrier update, report that certain bands are unavailable, limiting some to slower LTE speeds and others to only 3G connectivity.
Having gotten the gist of the March 21 event right (though many of the details wrong, as we'll see), and having already "called" the forthcoming Worldwide Developers Conference pre- and during-event announcements (mostly the obvious stuff -- iOS 10, OS X 10.12 which might be called something completely new, and an expected refresh of more-or-less the entire MacBook family), the rumor mill has moved on to next fall -- or possibly the fall after that -- with speculation on the "iPhone 7" -- or is it the "iPhone 8?"
Nobody writes the way you do. Just looking at the end result, at the words you choose to use and the sequence you write them in, plus the very topics that you decide to cover or explore, that is inevitably and distinctively you and nobody else. Then, the ways you get to that end result is probably unique: you'd think there are only so many ways of getting words down on Macs or iOS, but you'd be surprisingly wrong there.
Canadian phone manufacturer BlackBerry continues to slowly bleed to death. Once again, the company has posted a massive loss, posting a quarterly loss of $238 million on revenue of $464 million, after eking out a small profit in the year ago quarter. Notably, CEO John Chen claimed in a post-earnings announcement interview that the company would have to consider shedding itself of its smartphone division, should things not turn around this year for the department.
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN scour online retailers for discounts, bargains, promotions, and sales on hardware, software, gadgets, and games for our readers. Our list created throughout the week has been pruned of dead deals, with the new additions for today including a 50-inch Samsung 4K television for $698, a refurbished Apple Airport Express for $49, and a 960GB ADATA Premier SSD for $190.
Musical artist Jay-Z is suing the original owners of Tidal, for supposedly misleading the buyers of the struggling music streaming service about the real number of subscribers it actually had. The suit alleges Norwegian tech company Aspiro had inflated Tidal's subscriber count ahead of its sale to the rapper last year, in a high-profile deal said to be worth 464 million Swedish kronor ($56 million) at the time, with an investigation by the new owners discovering the apparent issue.
Thanks to a motion to unseal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), it has been revealed that the FBI is again trying to use the All Writs Act, a law from 1879 that can in some circumstances be used to ask companies render technical assistance to law enforcement, to force Apple to decrypt an iPhone (believed to be an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 9.1) in a gang-related case. Since the case that the FBI later dropped in San Bernardino became public, it has been revealed that the FBI, contrary to its claims, has attempted to use the AWA some 63 times to try and force companies to decrypt encrypted communications.
Usually when you speak of a significant figure with Apple, you mean Steve Jobs or Tim Cook. Yet on this April 1 -- the 40th birthday of the company -- we want to examine 40 other figures. Numbers. Digits. The history of Apple as sliced up into numbers. Though speaking of slicing history, do make sure you're reading the year-long MacNN series that examines each week for what happened then across 1976 to today.
There have periodically been bad actors among software bundle creators, and it has come to MacNN's attention that there is likely another that has been running bundles for some time under the BundleCult and MacBundler names, amongst others. Does this all sound familiar? It should -- MacNN originally ran the story about the group and issues paying developers in October, and we're reminding readers now about it, because another bundle by the same group has gone on sale today.
The ability to take pictures wherever you go is one of the great things about owning a smartphone, but sometimes it is a better idea to invest in a proper camera if you want to upgrade your photographs, but there is a way of getting a head start without spending a penny. One winner of a giveaway taking place over on MacNN Deals will receive a prize pack including the Canon EOS 7D Mk II DSLR with an included lens, a Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash, and a one-year subscription to Adobe Photography to edit their pictures, in a prize package claimed to be worth over $2,100.
A pirate flag is being flown outside Apple's Infinite Loop headquarters, as part of a number of events celebrating the anniversary of the company's founding 40 years ago today. Flying alongside other flags, the "Jolly Roger" banner, complete with a multicolored Apple logo covering one eye, refers to a time early on in the company's history when a team was developing what would become one of Apple's most important product launches.
Following a study critical of Apple's Siri technology, and its responses to sexual abuse-related questions, Apple has updated the personal assistant. With help from Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), nonsensical responses to related queries have been eradicated, with changes putting questioners one click away from calling a hotline to get information and help.
A second teardown of Apple's newest smartphone has uncovered more components previously used in other devices, with the iPhone SE using an identical display and Touch ID sensor to the iPhone 5s. Following after yesterday's teardown, which concentrated on the main circuitboard used in the mobile device, iFixit's teardown examines the rest of the smartphone, showing more repurposing of parts Apple has included in other products.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE