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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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
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu