Tag - Syria
As the ongoing refugee crisis as a result of the Syrian civil war continues to flood Europe with migrants, Apple has opted to step up relief efforts beyond the pledge page for the American Red Cross, which is helping with refugee camps and other aid, and has worked with information specialist firm SAP and the band Imagine Dragons on a new charity single, called "I Was Me." All proceeds from sales of the song on iTunes will go to the United Nations Relief Agency, with an additional matching donation of 10 cents per copy being donated by SAP for the first five million in sales.
[Updated with further details on Apple Company Store] Apple has set up a donation page in iTunes -- with a link to it from the main page of its website -- to help customers who wish to donate money to the American Red Cross to help ease the migrant crisis that is sweeping across the Mediterranean and Europe. The crisis, fueled by the Syrian civil war and other upheavals in the region, has put a strain on the resources of the host countries, and displaced nearly half a million people.
Following yesterday's unexpected disappearance of Syria from the Internet, service to the war-torn country seems to be completely restored with no feared large-scale attack by the Syrian government against the rebels. Both the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency and Google's real-time reporting have demonstrated that traffic is increasing in the country.
Newswire Agence France-Presse had the Twitter account for its photo department hacked today, according to a statement. The account, @AFPphoto, has been suspended by Twitter until the matter is resolved. While it was compromised, the hacker(s) posted tweets attacking US President Barack Obama and promoting the Syrian government, for instance calling the Syrian civil war a "fake revolution" because of foreign intervention.
It has been revealed that Syrian rebels have resorted to using Skype to communicate with each other during the recent country-wide Internet outage. The messaging and voice-calling service was used alongside stockpiled equipment and a satellite connection so as to communicate with others around the country as well as overseas, despite government efforts to stop this from happening.
As Syria enters its second day of being cut off from the Internet, Google has reintroduced its voice-based Twitter update service, in an effort to allow Syrian users to contact the rest of the world. In collaboration with the microblogging service, Speak2Tweet lets users make a phone call to an international number, with the resulting voice recording posted on a dedicated Twitter feed.
Syria is cut off from the Internet, according to an access monitoring firm, in what is being seen as a bid for censorship by the local government. All 84 of Syria's IP address blocks are currently unreachable, "effectively removing the country from the Internet," and appears to be linked to the current battle between the country's armed forces and Syrian rebels.
The Syrian government has imposed a ban on iPhone use in the country, according to Customs Department documents reportedly obtained by local activists. "The authorities warn anyone against using the iphone in Syria," the statement reads. The move is believed to be a small additional step by the regime of Bashar al-Assad to prevent news of violence against protesters being made public. Footage from cellphones has often been one of the only means by which the outside world has learned of the crackdowns, since most foreign journalists are currently banned. Over 4,000 people have been murdered in the country since March.
The resistance to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria has deployed an iOS app as one of its tools, says the The Daily Beast. The new app, Souria Wa Bas (roughly "Syria and That's All"), gathers news on Syria from an opposition perspective, since al-Assad's government is accused of putting out false information. Users have access to text, videos, a map of opposition hotspots and even a joke collection. Thanks are given to resistance groups such as the country's Local Coordination Committees.
Nearly all Internet services in Syria have been disconnected amid local unrest that has continued to escalate over the recent months. The move is viewed as a last-ditch effort by the government to interfere with protestors' organizational efforts, as the number of participants in current gatherings is estimated to exceed 50,000 frustrated citizens.
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WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel