Tag - Iran
Apple is talking to Iranian distributors about the possibility of selling the iPhone in the country, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Senior Apple executives have reportedly met with the distributors at the former party's London headquarters. If the iPhone does become available in Iran, it will be through premium resellers, rather than Apple itself, which has no direct footprint to speak of. "Over a dozen" Apple employees -- including technical and marketing staff -- have been involved in the recent efforts, the Journal adds.
Facebook-owned Instagram has been blocked in Iran, marking another social media block from the country this month. A different Facebook company, WhatsApp, was banned at the beginning of the month, stemming from Mark Zuckerberg's family heritage, which is Jewish. Instagram was also temporarily banned in the country for 12 hours last December.
Censors in Iran have moved to ban the WhatsApp messaging service, for being owned by an "American Zionist," according to reports. The reasoning of the ban stems from the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook for a total of $19 billion earlier this year, with the Jewish background of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg being at issue.
Apple will start selling hardware to people planning to bring them to Iran, according to an official statement. The company tells the Wall Street Journal that the policy change is a result of a May 30th decision by the US Treasury Department, easing trade sanctions. "Weíve been told by the US government that most Apple products are covered by regulatory changes announced by the Treasury Department," a spokeswoman explains. "As a result, Apple is no longer banned from selling Macs and iOS devices to customers who plan to bring or send those products to Iran."
Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei will likely see increased scrutiny from US regulators, as a report from Reuters found that the company offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of embargoed computer equipment to the largest mobile phone operator in Iran two years ago. The report cites documents in which Huawei and a closely-tied Iranian affiliate proposed providing Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran (MCI) with Hewlett-Packard servers, disk arrays, and switches. The revelation is the second in as many months that has seen a major Huawei partner in Iran accused of violating technology embargoes.
Authorities in Iran have unblocked access to Google's email service, it was announced today. Access to Gmail had been blocked last week in protest over a YouTube video that had been deemed blasphemous by religious leaders. Reuters reports that the reversal came partly as a result of complaints from officials within Iran's own government, and Iranian officials now claim that the blocking of Gmail was unintentional.
Iran has blocked its citizens from accessing Google and Gmail. The country is blocking access to the web giant's websites as part of the ongoing protests over a YouTube video deemed blasphemous by religious leaders, however some see it as the first stage in the country creating its own national network, separate from the Internet.
The policy director for the National Iranian American Council, Jamal Abdi, is speaking out on the subject of discrimination against Iranians at Apple Stores. Writing in the New York Times, Abdi claims that an incident at an outlet in Georgia was not isolated. "Imagine if your ethnicity determined which products you were able to buy. Or if sales clerks required you to divulge your ancestry before swiping your credit card. Some of us donít have to imagine," he comments.
The Stuxnet malware said to have ravaged Iranian nuclear facilities two years ago, and long thought to have been deliberately planted, was indeed the result of a joint collaboration between the United States and Israel. In a lengthy, in-depth examination of Stuxnet's history, The New York Times has examined the development of the worm, its survival through the end of the Bush administration, and the Obama administration's decision to press ahead with cyberattacks as a means of slowing Iran's alleged progression toward the development of nuclear capabilities.
Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE is reportedly under investigation by the US Department of Commerce over alleged sales of embargoed US computer equipment to Iran. Commerce Department officials close to the investigation tell Reuters that the department is aggressively conducting its investigation, and fines for ZTE could range into the tens of millions of dollars.
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Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX