Tag - Briefly
It has been discovered that Apple acquired the two security researchers behind LegbaCore, Corey Kallenberg, and Xeno Kovah -- the developers of the firmware worm for Macs known as Thunderstrike 2. The hiring was revealed by fellow security researcher Trammell Hudson at a security conference in December, with Apple having brought the pair on board the previous month. LegbaCore had developed a method to infect Macs with a difficult-to-remove firmware hack that could be delivered via altered Thunderbolt connectors.
On Tuesday, Apple issued a minor upgrade to its Xcode development software, releasing version 7.2.1 specifically to fix some bugs and issues discovered since the release of v7.2 late last year. Among the most important of changes was that the certificate used by Safari Extensions and Push Notifications, along with certain kinds of Wallet passes, has been updated. Other issues resolved include a debugger crash and a command line tool that could time out.
Apple has apparently taken advantage of its sizable cash pile and a fortuitous opportunity to acquire an 86-acre site in northern San Jose for future development purposes, though it does not presently have firm plans for the location. In a deal with the city, Apple has up to 15 years to figure out what to do with the 4.15 million square feet of space. A likely option is that Apple will eventually build a third campus and office complex to house its growing workforce, which is currently spread out among many leased or rented spaces in the region.
Lynn University, a tier-2 US private college in Boca Raton, Florida -- which has had an iPad mini-centric curriculum for students and teachers since 2013 -- has opted to start providing its undergraduates and faculty members with a big upgrade: the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil, and the company's Smart Keyboard accessory, saying the new devices "provide even greater flexibility" in its efforts to make university education more affordable. It will supply up to 1,800 devices beginning this semester.
In new remarks the head of AT&T has said that encryption standards for personal data privacy should be left up to Congress rather than tech companies. CEO Randall Stephenson -- who's own company has been widely accused of assisting the NSA and other agencies mass-harvest telecommunications data on Americans not under any form of suspicion -- told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn't think "it is Silicon Valley's decision to make about whether encryption is the right thing to do."
U.S. Bank, the fifth largest American bank by deposits, on Thursday announced it had added support for Apple Pay to its FlexPerks American Express (Amex) credit cards. Users of the FlexPerks Reserve Amex card, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Amex card, and the FlexPerks Select+ card can immediately add their cards to the iOS Wallet program to gain Apple Pay functionality for online transactions, or retail store buying with an iPhone 6 or later, or an iPhone 5s paired with an Apple Watch.
New vehicles arriving later this year from Honda, Kia, and Lincoln will support Apple's CarPlay platform, as well as Android Auto. The latest announcements follow a long series of similar moves by most major car manufacturers for many model year 2016 and 2017 vehicles. Even Ford, a long holdout, said it would bring CarPlay support to its Sync 3-equipped 2017 cars, leaving Toyota as one of the major holdouts for now. The three carmakers have specified one model each for CarPlay support.
Supporting rumors that Apple was at one time hoping to offer its own low-priced package of TV channels that would not require a cable TV subscription, ESPN President John Skipper has revealed that his network is still working with Apple on trying to create "a great television experience" but has been "frustrated" by its inability to secure deals with networks and content creators. He told the Wall Street Journal that he did not expect to see an Apple package being offered in 2016.
On the legal observance of the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior, Apple's homepage has been altered to a full-screen remembrance, alongside a quote from him that reads "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'what are you doing for others?'". Apple CEO Tim Cook has often cited King as one of his biggest influences, and Cook speaks frequently about civil rights and justice for various minority classes.
Shortly before Apple introduced a new feature (seen in the latest betas of iOS 9.3) called Night Shift that reduces blue light emissions as the evening wears on to help fight eye fatigue and help with sleep, makers of a program that performs this function on Macs saw the iPhone maker reject a similar app for iOS. The OS X app is called f.lux, and was turned down because it used private APIs to manipulate the iPhone hardware, which is forbidden under the tighter rules for iOS.
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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