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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Apple Unveils New Version of iOS 10

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Apple  unveiled iOS 10 featuring a huge update to Messages that delivers more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, like stickers and full-screen effects. iOS 10 also introduces the ability for Siri to do more by working with apps, redesigned Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps, and the Home app, a way to manage home automation products in one place.

“iOS 10 is our biggest release ever, with delightful new ways to express yourself in Messages, a native app for Home automation, and beautifully redesigned apps for Music, Maps, and News that are more intuitive and more powerful, making everything you love about your iPhone and iPad even better,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 10 adds Siri intelligence into QuickType and Photos, automates your home with the new Home app and opens up Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages to developers — while increasing security and privacy with powerful technologies like Differential Privacy.”

Read More [iClarified]

Via - iClarified

Apple Announces macOS Sierra with Auto Unlock, Universal Clipboard, Siri and More

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Apple  introduced a new version of OS X, which is now called macOS Sierra. The new version of macOS includes new features that Apple says make your Mac "smarter" and more "helpful" than ever. Siri is finally headed to the Mac, letting users easily find documents are look up information. A new Universal Clipboard allows you to copy content from one Apple device and paste it in another. Apple Pay is also coming to the Mac so that you can easily hope online with Touch ID authentication. Finally, Photos has been improved with new ways to rediscover your favorite memories.

“macOS Sierra is a major update that makes your Mac smarter and more helpful than ever with improvements to the apps you know and love and great new features throughout,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With macOS Sierra, you can get information, find files and multitask using Siri, access your Desktop and Documents from anywhere, copy and paste between Macs and iOS devices, and rediscover precious memories in Photos.”

Read More by [iClarified]

Via
- iClarified

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Apple boss Cook meets PM Modi to plot India strategy

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Apple Inc chief Tim Cook met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, concluding a four-day trip to India that could set the stage for Apple's expansion plans in one of the world's fastest growing smartphone markets.

Modi and Cook met for an hour in central Delhi and discussed Apple's plans for its India business, including the possibility of manufacturing and retailing in the country.

Apple is looking to expand its retail presence in India and is pursuing a license to set up its own stores, which could start to open as early as next year.

Government officials say India is keen to get Apple to start making products in the country in what would be a boost for Modi's "Make in India" manufacturing push.

"Every aspect of business was discussed. Now it's for Apple to talk about their plans," a close aide of Modi said.

Cook's first official visit to the country comes at a crucial time as Apple looks for new growth markets after posting its first-ever decline in iPhone sales.

More than 100 million smartphones were sold in India last year and sales are expected to grow 25 percent this year, but Apple only has about a 2 percent share of the market.

The company has been pushing the Indian government to allow it to import refurbished phones in the country, but that application was turned down earlier this month.

A second source aware of the meeting said Cook asked Modi to reconsider the company's plans to import refurbished phones - a strategy seen key for Apple to make affordable iPhones available in a country where most smartphone sell for less than $150.

In an interview with NDTV channel on Friday, Cook said Apple plans to import second hand phones and refurbish them at a facility in India.

Cook spent most of the week meeting heads of India's largest companies, including telecom operator Bharti Airtel and lender ICICI Bank, but also took out time to visit a temple, dine with Bollywood stars and watch cricket.

Apple also announced plans to expand a software development centre it recently opened in Hyderebad and launched a program for local developers working on its iOS platform.

Modi and Cook also discussed cyber-security and data encryption, a government statement said.

Apple has been at the centre of a debate on the role technology companies play in protecting data that led to a much-publicised dispute between Apple and the FBI over a phone linked to a shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Via - Reuter

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Apple upbeat on iPhone SE demand but some Asian retailers, suppliers less cheery

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After announcing its first-ever drop in iPhone sales on Tuesday, Apple Inc sought to reassure investors by saying its latest and cheapest model was in strong demand after being launched in late March. Some retailers and suppliers in Asia aren't so sure.

In a Reuters survey of 10 retailers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, seven - including four Apple Stores - reported solid early demand, but three third-party retailers said sales were weak. Two suppliers of components for Apple phones, including the new iPhone SE, said they were seeing lower orders.

"I've been dealing with iPhones for five to six years now. This current quarter for Apple feels weak," said an executive at a Taiwan-based company whose components are used in iPhones including the SE model, which markets for $399. "Our current shipment situation for Apple is not like the last two years. There are more iPhone models, but the total volume of iPhones is falling."

Such a mixed outlook from Greater China, its most important market after the United States and generator of a quarter of the company's revenue, could be a major cause of concern for Apple.

The company's revenue from the region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, dropped 26 percent in the March quarter, making it the weakest region in the world.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment on the Reuters survey.

STILL POPULAR

"iPhone is still popular but sales have dropped because... there's no new model and the SE is similar to 5C. So it doesn't sell well," said Zhu You Peng, a salesman at Apple product reseller Xiongyu in Shenzhen. The 5C was Apple's last attempt to produce a cheaper phone, back in 2013.

Zhu said it sold around 300 iPhones per month last year but the number has dropped to around 100-200 this year.

That view contrasts with upbeat comments about the phone from Apple's Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri on Tuesday.

"The situation right now around the world is that we are supply-constrained," he told Reuters, referring to the iPhone SE. "The demand has been very, very strong."

The iPhone SEs are sold out in Apple's own stores in mainland China and customers have to wait about three weeks to get the product delivered by Apple, according to Apple's websites. The size of the original supplies to the stores is unclear.

Apple, whose shares dropped about 8 percent after it reported the disappointing first-quarter results on Tuesday, is under pressure to show that the decline in iPhone sales represents just a hiccup, rather than a permanent shift for the product that fueled its meteoric rise.

It isn't the only challenge facing the U.S. technology giant. Its mobile entertainment services were blocked online in China earlier this month just at a time when it wants to grow services business as potential source of revenue against tapering iPhone sales. The New York Times reported that a state regulator had demanded Apple halt the services.

The new phone was seen as an important offsetting influence in subsequent periods until Apple launches its iPhone 7 - widely expected around September. The lower price point was part of a strategy to compete against Asian rivals in emerging markets such as China.

At the iPhone SE product launch in March, Apple vice president of iPhone Product Marketing Greg Joswiak singled out China as a target market, saying four-inch displays like that on the iPhone SE were still popular with first-time smartphone buyers. Apple's mainstream iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens.

SUPPLIERS ARE NOT UPBEAT

Another supplier said iPhone orders will be lower in the second quarter and second half of this year. It also provides a component for the SE model.

"Our customer is aiming for a higher target, but we are more conservative on that," the person said, referring to Apple.

That adds to concern that Apple may further lose momentum in China, where slowing economic growth may prompt more consumers to snap up cheaper phones.

"Local brands are taking up more sales, especially among low income people who earn less than 3,000 yuan a month. OPPO, Vivo phones that cost around 1,000-2,000 yuan sells the best among them," said Zhu at Xiongyu.

Aided by strong market share gain in China, Chinese smartphone vendors shipped more smartphones globally than Apple and Samsung Electronics Co combined had supplied for the first time in the first quarter, according to research firm TrendForce.

Underscoring the surging growth for Chinese vendors, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, third-largest after Samsung and Apple, reported earlier this month a 62 percent growth in global smartphone shipments in the first quarter.

"Consumers who want to show they are rich enough, they will buy an iPhone... those who want to use something different, they will choose Samsung," Joonsuh Kim, chief design officer of Huawei's consumer business group, told Reuters, referring to consumers in China.

"But these days consumers are not that old fashioned. They are getting much smarter, and this is why we have much chance," said the former Samsung mobile design director.

Via - Reuter

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Apple could use Brooklyn case to pursue details about FBI iPhone hack

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If the U.S. Department of Justice asks a New York court to force Apple Inc to unlock an iPhone, the technology company could push the government to reveal how it accessed the phone which belonged to a shooter in San Bernardino, a source familiar with the situation said.

The Justice Department will disclose over the next two weeks whether it will continue with its bid to compel Apple to help access an iPhone in a Brooklyn drug case, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

The Justice Department this week withdrew a similar request in California, saying it had succeeded in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters involved in a rampage in San Bernardino in December without Apple's help.

The legal dispute between the U.S. government and Apple has been a high-profile test of whether law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data.

Apple, supported by most of the technology industry, says anything that helps authorities bypass security features will undermine security for all users. Government officials say that all kinds of criminal investigations will be crippled without access to phone data.

Prosecutors have not said whether the San Bernardino technique would work for other seized iPhones, including the one at issue in Brooklyn. Should the Brooklyn case continue, Apple could pursue legal discovery that would potentially force the FBI to reveal what technique it used on the San Bernardino phone, the source said.

A Justice Department representative did not have immediate comment.

In a statement, Apple said "we don't know" the FBI's technical solution, which vendor developed it or "what it allegedly achieves."

A federal magistrate in Brooklyn last month ruled that he did not have authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone seized during a drug investigation. The Justice Department then appealed to a district court judge.

After filing that appeal, U.S. prosecutors notified the magistrate in the San Bernardino case that a third party had demonstrated a new technique which could access the iPhone in question.

The Justice Department disclosed the new technique to the judge one day after the demonstration, and then confirmed its success on Monday, according to court filings, though it did not reveal how its solution works.

The U.S. government did not disclose any details in a letter to the Brooklyn judge on Tuesday. Instead, prosecutors only agreed with a request by Apple to delay briefing deadlines in the case, and said it would update the court by April 11 as to whether it would "modify" its own request for Apple's assistance.

Law enforcement officials across the country have said they regularly encounter Apple devices they cannot access.

Hillar Moore III, the district attorney in East Baton Rouge, said he has asked the FBI whether its new technique would access an iPhone to help solve a murder case he is overseeing. Moore has not yet received an answer.

"Eventually we would like to know: Is this technology available to us, or is the third party going to sell it, and how much would it cost?" he said.

Via - Reuter

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Apple's new iPhone faces challenge measuring up in China, India

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Apple Inc's new iPhone SE has first-rate features and a relatively low price tag, but its prospects in key markets like China and India may be limited by its diminutive size.

At the product launch in Cupertino, California on Monday, Apple vice president of iPhone Product Marketing Greg Joswiak singled out China as a target market, saying four-inch displays like that on the iPhone SE were still popular with first-time smartphone buyers.

Chinese buyers tend to start off with a phone with a 4-inch screen, just like the iPhone SE, he argued.

China, Apple's second-biggest market, and India, one of the fastest-growing major markets in the world, are both seen as key for Apple, which expects overall iPhone sales to contract.

The iPhone SE is seen as particularly important for India, where Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, expects the smartphones market to double to 200 million units in the next two years.

But in India and China, smartphones are often the main connection to the digital world, and a big screen is highly valued, analysts said.

"(In India) the majority of the low-end, $100 phones have a five-inch display. The key reason being smartphone users are becoming more mature are preferring bigger screen size as many of them don't own a tablet or laptop," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research based in Mumbai.

Only 10 percent of smartphones sold in India at the end of December had a four-inch screen, according to Counterpoint, and Apple accounted for only two percent of overall smartphone shipments in India last year.

And with nearly 70 percent of smartphones selling for less than $150 in India, the iPhone SE's roughly $400 price tag may still be out of reach for most buyers there.

In China, analysts warned the iPhone SE could mirror the disappointing outcome of Apple's iPhone 5C, which was launched as an affordable gadget three years ago. It was also less technologically advanced than the top phone at the time.

"The 5C was awful, no one wanted it. Everyone knew that if you bought it you had no money," said Shanghai-based Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research Group.

"Just going cheap doesn't mean it'll do well," he said.

Apple's second attempt to enter the mid-tier smartphone market, crowded with Android devices by rivals like Samsung Electronics  and Huawei, is seen as an improvement on the 5C strategy.

The iPhone SE is up to date with the latest processor, fingerprint scanner and Apple Pay, and at $399 it costs nearly 40 percent less than the iPhone 6S's $649 opening price.

Via - Reuter 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

How to watch today's Apple's iPhone SE event live

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Apple will Livestream the event on the its website. You can watch it in the Safari browser from any computer or idevice, or you can watch it on Apple TV.
Requirements: Live streaming uses Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology. HLS requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. Streaming via Apple TV requires an Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation) with software 6.2 or later or an Apple TV (4th generation).


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Apple signs up for Google's cloud services: Re/code

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Apple Inc recently started using Google's cloud service even as it simultaneously builds its own data centers to reduce its reliance on third-party service providers, technology news website Re/code reported, citing sources familiar with the deal.

Apple currently also uses Amazon.com Inc's and Microsoft Corp's cloud services, but intends to end its reliance on all its rivals in the next few years, Recode said.

The iPhone maker is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google's cloud services, tech magazine CRN reported, adding that it was unclear if the range was for an annual rate or a set amount of capacity.

CRN said Apple has also significantly reduced its reliance on Amazon since signing up with Google late last year.

Apple, Amazon and Alphabet Inc-owned Google could not be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

Apple said last February that it would spend a combined $3.9 billion to build three data centers in Arizona, Ireland and Denmark. The Arizona facility is planned to be a command center to manage its other data centers.

Google has also been pushing to gain share in the fast-growing market. In November, the company appointed industry veteran Diane Greene to run its cloud business.

Last month, Google signed a deal to provide cloud services for online music streaming platform Spotify.

Via - Reuter 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Apple Sends Invites for 'Let Us Loop You In' Media Event on March 21

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Apple today sent out invites for a media event that will be held on Monday, March 21 at the company's Town Hall auditorium located on its 1 Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California, reports BuzzFeed. As with most Apple media events, it will kick off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Several products are expected to be showcased at the event, including the new 9.7-inch iPad, the 4-inch iPhone SE, and new Apple Watch bands. There's also a possibility that some Mac refreshes could be announced as the time is right for updates, but there have been no rumors confirming that is the case.

Headlining the event will be the 4-inch iPhone SE and a new 9.7-inch iPad. Rumors suggest the iPhone SE will look nearly identical to the iPhone 5s, but it will include new internal hardware that brings it in line with newer Apple devices. It is rumored to have an A9 chip, an improved camera, and NFC support for use with Apple Pay.

The new 9.7-inch iPad has been referred to as the iPad Air 3, but recent rumors have suggested it may instead be branded as an iPad Pro. The device is said to include many iPad Pro features, like a four-speaker design, a Smart Connector for connecting accessories, and display improvements for Apple Pencil support. It may also be the first iPad to feature a rear LED flash.

Apple also plans to introduce new Apple Watch bands at the event. Existing bands will likely be available in new colors and there may be new product lines, such as a rumored nylon band and a Space Black Milanese Loop.

Apple will be live streaming the event on its website and through the Apple TV. MacRumors will also provide live coverage of the event, both here on our website and through the MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

Via - Macrumors

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Apple e-books price-fixing appeal

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Apple Inc's challenge to an appellate court decision that it conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, meaning it will have to pay $450 million as part of a settlement.

The court's decision not to hear the case leaves in place a June 2015 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found Apple (AAPL.O) liable for engaging in a conspiracy that violated federal antitrust laws.

Apple, in asking the high court to hear the case, said the June appeals court decision that the company had conspired with the publishers contradicted Supreme Court precedent and would "chill innovation and risk-taking."

The 2nd Circuit's ruling followed a 2013 decision by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote that Apple played a "central role" in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices.

The Justice Department said the scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 price previously charged by market leader Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN.O)

"Apple’s liability for knowingly conspiring with book publishers to raise the prices of e-books is settled once and for all," said Bill Baer, head of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division.

Publishers that the Justice Department said conspired with Apple include Lagardere SCA's (LAGA.PA) Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp's (NWSA.O) HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group Inc, CBS Corp's (CBS.N) Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.

On Feb. 17, the appeals court in New York upheld the proposed settlement, which had been challenged by an e-books purchaser.

The publishers were concerned about the price of e-books being pushed down by Amazon while Apple was looking for a way to make its new iPad product a hit and was seeking to break up Amazon's low-cost dominance in the digital book market.

Apple and the publishers agreed on an arrangement in which Apple would get a 30 percent commission and publishers were allowed to set the prices for their books, a tactic known as "agency pricing" that prevents discounting.

The publishers also agreed they would charge all outlets the same amount, meaning Amazon was forced to raise its prices. E-books that had cost $9.99 suddenly cost $12.99 or $14.99.

Amazon said in a statement it was "ready to distribute the court-mandated settlement funds to Kindle customers as soon as we’re instructed to move forward."

Via - Reuter

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Police say criminals like Apple iPhones because of encryption

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Some criminals have switched to new iPhones as their "device of choice" to commit wrongdoing due to strong encryption Apple Inc has placed on their products, three law enforcement groups said in a court filing.

The groups told a judge overseeing Apple's battle with the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday that, among other things, they were aware of "numerous instances" in which criminals who previously used so-called throwaway burner phones had switched to iPhones. They did not list a specific instance.

The brief by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and two others also cited a jailhouse phone call intercepted by New York authorities in 2015, in which an inmate called Apple's encrypted operating system a "gift from God."

The government obtained a court order last month requiring Apple to write new software to disable passcode protection and allow access to an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December killings in San Bernardino, California.

Apple asked that the order be vacated, arguing such a move would set a dangerous precedent and threaten customer security.

Tech industry leaders including Google, Facebook and Microsoft and more than two dozen other companies filed legal briefs on Thursday supporting Apple. The Justice Department received support from law enforcement groups and six relatives of San Bernardino victims.

The law enforcement groups said in their brief that Apple's stance poses a grave threat to investigations across the country.

The FBI says Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were inspired by Islamist militants when they shot and killed 14 people on Dec. 2 at a holiday party. The couple later died in a shootout with police and the FBI said it wants to read the data on Farook's work phone to investigate any links with militant groups.

In a filing on Thursday, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said at least two 911 calls from the time of the shooting reported three assailants, not two.

Even though those reports were "not corroborated," if in fact there were three attackers it would be important to crack open the iPhone "to identify as of yet unknown co-conspirators," the District Attorney's filing stated.

Apple has said it respects the FBI and has cooperated by turning over data in its possession.

The latest request is different, Apple says, because it requires them to crack a phone with a software tool that does not currently exist.

Via - Reuter

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

N.Y. judge backs Apple in encryption fight with government

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The U.S. government cannot force Apple Inc to unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case, a federal judge in Brooklyn said on Monday, a ruling that bolsters the company's arguments in its landmark legal showdown with the Justice Department over encryption and privacy.

The government sought access to the phone in the Brooklyn case in October, months before a judge in California ordered Apple to take special measures to give the government access to the phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, attacks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn ruled that he did not have the legal authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone that was seized during a drug investigation.

His ruling echoed many of the arguments that Apple has made in the San Bernardino case, particularly his finding that a 1789 law called the All Writs Act cannot be used to force Apple to open the phone.

Orenstein also found that Apple was largely exempt from complying with such requests by a 1994 law that updated wiretapping laws.

A senior Apple executive, who spoke on condition he not be named, said during a call with reporters that Orenstein's decision would bode well for the company in the San Bernardino case, which has touched off a fierce national debate about the balance between fighting crime and preserving privacy in the digital age.

He said that the government's demands in the San Bernardino case, which include compelling Apple to alter its operating system, were even more far-reaching than in the NY case.

Although U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, the judge in the San Bernardino case, will not be bound by Orenstein's decision, the senior Apple executive said it will likely be influential. In both cases, the government relies on the All Writs Act, a broad 1789 law which enables judges to require actions necessary to enforce their own orders.

The Justice Department is "disappointed" in Orenstein's ruling and plans to ask a higher judge within the same federal district to review the matter in coming days, a department representative said.

Though the defendant in the drug case has already pleaded guilty, the Justice Department still believes the phone may contain evidence that "will assist us in an active criminal investigation," the official said.

When fighting the government's order to help extract data from the iPhone, Apple had argued that being forced to do so "could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand," according to court records.

Orenstein said his ruling in Apple’s favor was not a decision on "whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it is instead whether the All Writs Act (AWA) resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come."

Orenstein concluded that "the government posits a reading of the latter phrase so expansive – and in particular, in such tension with the doctrine of separation of powers – as to cast doubt on the AWA's constitutionality if adopted."

He also wrote: "The implications of the government's position are so far-reaching – both in terms of what it would allow today and what it implies about Congressional intent in 1789 – as to produce impermissibly absurd results."

Orenstein also found that Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, passed in 1994, exempted Apple from this sort of request.

Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc have voiced support for Apple.

The iPhone 5s at issue in the case was seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration during a 2014 search of the Queens, New York, residence of Jun Feng, who authorities suspected of being involved in drug trafficking.

Authorities sought to access the phone in 2015 while the case was pending. Feng later pleaded guilty in October while Orenstein was weighing the request, but both Apple and the Justice Department said they still wanted a ruling.

Prosecutors have said that since 2008, Apple has complied with 70 such court orders based on the All Writs Act without objection. Many of those cases appear to have involved earlier iPhone models that did not require customized software to unlock.

The case before Brooklyn was, according to prosecutors, the first time Apple had objected to law enforcement efforts to utilize search warrants to get the tech company to provide assistance and unlock iPhones seized during investigations.

But since October, when Apple first asked Orenstein to deny the government's request, Apple has objected to helping law enforcement access at least 12 devices for which the U.S. Justice Department has sought its help, according to a letter from Apple to Orenstein that was unsealed earlier this month.

The senior Apple executive said the company has never made a new piece of software in response to a government request.

Via - Reuter 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Apple calls FBI iPhone request 'unprecedented' in court filing

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Apple Inc on Thursday struck back in court against a U.S. government demand that it unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, arguing such a move would violate its free speech rights and override the will of Congress.

The high-stakes fight between Apple and the government burst into the open last week when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to shooter Rizwan Farook's iPhone.

The clash has driven to the heart of a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.

Arguing that the court should throw out the order that it issued last week, Apple said in its brief on Thursday that software was a form of protected speech, and thus the Justice Department's demand violated the constitution.

"The government's request here creates an unprecedented burden on Apple and violates Apple's First Amendment rights against compelled speech," it said.

Apple also contended that the court was over-stepping its jurisdiction, noting that Congress had rejected legislation that would have required companies to do the things the government is asking Apple to do in this case.

"No court has ever authorized what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the Constitution forbids it," Apple said in its filing.

The government argues that the All Writs Act, a broad 1789 law which enables judges to require actions necessary to enforce their own orders, compels Apple to comply with its request.

But Apple argued in its filing that prosecutors wrongly applied a key U.S. Supreme Court case, which involved a telephone company, to the San Bernardino situation. Since Apple is not a utility, and because Congress declined to force companies like Apple to build "backdoors" into their products, Apple said it should not be forced to help the government hack into the San Bernardino iPhone.

The Justice Department won the order from the federal court in Riverside, California last week, without the company present. The judge allowed Apple to respond in the brief on Thursday, and a hearing is scheduled for next month. [Read More]

Via - Reuter

Google, Facebook, others plan briefs supporting Apple in iPhone case - sources

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Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc will all file or sign on to amicus briefs in support of Apple Inc's fight against a magistrate's order, which requires it to help the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation break into a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Google and Facebook would make filings. Microsoft will file a friend-of the-court brief as well, company President Brad Smith said in Congressional testimony Thursday.

Twitter also will sign a brief in support of Apple, Twitter said.

Via - Reuter

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

As smartphone sales surge, Indian app-makers lure venture capital

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Foreign venture funds are stepping up investments in Indian mobile application makers, betting a surge in smartphone sales in the country will drive demand for home-grown apps, mirroring the trend in world's biggest mobile phone market China.

San Francisco-based incubator and venture capital firm 500 Startups on Tuesday launched a $25 million fund called '500 Kulfi' to invest in Indian mobile app-makers.

The firm said it would make 20 to 30 early-stage investments in India every year. By comparison, it made 50 investments in India in the last four years.

"How many places in the world do you know where there are half a billion people online, up from 100 million people just five years ago," said Dave McClure, founding partner at 500 Startups, attending a high-profile start-up industry conference in India's technology hub Bengaluru.

Indian start-ups raised a record $4 billion last year. But much of that went into established e-tailers such as top online marketplace Flipkart, which received $700 million in funding.

Smartphones account for about a quarter of the more than 1 billion mobile phone accounts in India, the world's second-biggest telecoms services market by number of users. And that segment is growing the fastest, with new smartphone sales crossing 100 million for the first time last year.

That bodes well for app-makers and their investors in a country where computer penetration is low and people use their smartphones to do everything from watching movies to shopping for goods and services.

With smartphone sales growth slowing in China, India is also becoming more important for those looking to cash in on the opportunity.

"India will become very likely the only growth engine for mobile internet in the entire world, when you think about it in reality China's smartphone sales significantly tapered off in 2015," said Alex Yao, who looks after strategy, innovation and investments at China-based app-maker Cheetah Mobile.

New York-listed Cheetah, which has more than 600 million monthly active users on its suite of mobile apps, this year launched its Indian operations and is looking to invest in, or buy out, Indian app-makers.

"The market in India is three to four years behind China. Given the similarity in population density, (economic development), so very likely what happened in China will also happen here in the next few years," said Yao.

Via - Reuter

Solid support for Apple in iPhone encryption fight - Reuters/Ipsos

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Nearly half of Americans support Apple Inc's decision to oppose a federal court order demanding that it unlock a smartphone used by San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, according to a national online Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Forty-six percent of respondents said they agreed with Apple's position, 35 percent said they disagreed and 20 percent said they did not know, according to poll results released on Wednesday.

Other questions in the poll showed that a majority of Americans do not want the government to have access to their phone and Internet communications, even if it is done in the name of stopping terror attacks.

The responses to the privacy questions in the poll are similar to results from a 2013 Reuters/Ipsos poll, showing a consistent desire on the part of Americans to keep their phone, Internet communications and other data private.

Most of those polled also feel that unlocking Farook's phone would set a dangerous precedent that authorities would use to force the company to unlock more phones, a claim that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook made in an open letter to customers last week.

When asked if the government would use the ability to unlock phones to "spy on iPhone users," 55 percent said they agreed, 28 percent disagreed and the rest said they were not sure.

“I don’t believe in giving up our right to privacy in order to make people feel safer,” said Steve Clevenger, a 55-year-old real-estate appraiser from Wheelersburg, Ohio, who took part in the poll and is supporting Apple.

“The government overstepped its bounds with the Patriot Act and they are likely to do it again,” he said, referring to a 2001 law that eased federal investigators' access to people's communications and financial records.

When asked if the U.S. government should be able to look at data on Americans' phones to protect against terror threats, 46 percent agreed, 42 percent disagreed and the rest said they were not sure.

The government has said Apple must help because there is no way to get at the data on Farook's phone without the company engineering a special software solution. Apple executives have refused, saying it is an onerous request that puts the security of its customers at risk.

Mike Kostrzewa, a 69-year-old retiree from Fairfax, Virginia, said he believed Apple should comply with the court order. “If a person has nothing to hide, there is no reason they should be afraid of the government looking at specific content with a warrant,” said Kostrzewa, one of the poll's respondents.

Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to agree with Apple's stand. Of those between 18 and 39 years old, 64 percent agreed with the company's decision to oppose the court order. That is nearly twice the percentage of older people who are supporting Apple.

The poll results reflect a deep sense of skepticism among Americans about the security of their information, said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson.

Privacy concerns have grown in response to revelations about U.S. government surveillance programs as well as a constant stream of high-profile security breaches that compromised consumer records including credit cards numbers, email logins and medical information, he said.

"People are very distrusting of everybody, but Americans actually trust Apple a bit more than the government on some issues," Jackson said.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that large numbers of Americans want to keep their phone records, text messages, emails and other Internet activity private.

For example in this month's poll, 69 percent said they would not give up email privacy even if it would help the government foil foreign terror plots and 75 percent said they would be unwilling to give up text-message privacy for the same reason.

Opinion on whether Apple is right is divided by political party lines: 54 percent of Democrats agree with Apple, while only 37 percent of Republicans support the company.

Donald Trump, front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, last week said he would boycott the company's products until it unlocks the phone.

Democratic U.S. Representative Ted Lieu on Tuesday asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to rescind the unlock order.

"There is this tension: Americans want terrorists to be prosecuted, but in the context of issues about security and privacy, it becomes a much more nuanced discussion," Jackson said.

On Monday, Pew Research Center said its polling found that 51 percent of Americans believe Apple should unlock the phone and just 38 percent support the company's refusal.

The Pew question provided less information about Apple’s concerns and mentioned that the FBI’s need is “an important part” of their investigation. (pewrsr.ch/1RiI8dB)

The Reuters/Ipsos poll question on the same issue stated the company's position, which is that complying with the request would set a precedent that would require it to provide similar assistance in future cases.

The online survey was conducted Feb. 19 to 23 with more than 1,500 U.S. adults, as Apple and the government made public statements to sway public opinion in the high-stakes case. It has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for all respondents.

FBI spokesman Christopher Allen declined comment on the poll results. Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

Via - Reuter

Monday, 22 February 2016

U.S. government, Apple take encryption case to court of public opinion

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Apple Inc on Monday urged the creation of a government panel on encryption, the latest salvo in a standoff over a locked iPhone linked to the San Bernardino shooting that has escalated into a public relations battle between the revered technology company and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook also sent a letter to employees Monday morning, making clear the company's hardline stance refusing to make software to unlock the phone addresses broader issues, not just a single device linked to a grisly attack.

"This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation," Cook said in the email to employees, seen by Reuters. "At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties."

But FBI Director James Comey, in an article published late Sunday on the national security legal blog Lawfare, asserted the case was not about setting a new legal precedent but rather about "victims and justice."

"Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined," Comey wrote. "We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law. That's what this is."

A federal judge last week ordered Apple to create new software and take others steps to retrieve data from the locked phone, used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, who was killed in a gun battle with police.

The company is fighting the order, arguing that creating such a key will jeopardise the security of all iPhones. The company's formal legal arguments are expected Friday.

The Justice Department’s manoeuvres over the past week have prompted Apple supporters to suggest the case is as much about putting political pressure on Apple and influencing the broader policy debate on encryption as it is about getting data from Farook's phone.

The Justice Department launched its unusually public campaign to force Apple's hand by publicizing the court order itself, which normally would have been under seal, according to legal experts. Then, on Friday, the Justice Department filed additional court papers that repeated its legal arguments and criticized the company’s resistance as a “brand marketing strategy.” The government acknowledged that the Friday filing was “not legally necessary.”

Apple responded hours later by holding a conference call with reporters - a rare move by a generally reticent company that is accustomed to making news rather than reacting to it. That was followed early Monday by a public blog post and an internal email to employees arguing the company's case.

Meanwhile, the government has actively solicited victims of the shooting to join its case against Apple.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, destroyed their personal phones before carrying out the Dec. 2 shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 and wounded 22. Authorities believe the couple was inspired by the Islamic State. The phone at issue is an iPhone 5c issued to Farook by San Bernardino County in his role as a health inspector.

DIGITAL SECURITY COMMISSION

The case has revived interest on Capitol Hill in pursuing legislation to address the problem of what law enforcement officials call "going dark" - where tight digital security prevents them from accessing the data of criminal suspects.

The idea of setting up a commission - which may be a prelude to a broader legislative solution - is not new, although a political resolution of the data privacy and encryption debate has proven elusive for many years.

A digital security commission comprising technology, business and law enforcement experts has been proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, to help break the impasse over encryption.

The bipartisan pair is scheduled to unveil details of legislation that would create a panel at a Washington event on Wednesday.

Apple indicated it would work with a commission or panel of experts to discuss the matter further.

"Apple would gladly participate in such an effort," the company wrote in the Monday post on its website addressing questions about the case.

The company could not be immediately reached for further comment.

The Justice Department has pushed back on framing the dispute as an encryption issue, insisting that it is only trying to get past the lock screen on one phone. Apple has argued that while it is technically possible to bypass the security features of the iPhone by building a new operating system, such a move would set a dangerous precedent.

Bipartisan leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee late Friday invited Apple's Cook and FBI Director James Comey to testify at an upcoming hearing on encryption, though no date was set.

Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the top Republican and Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee respectively, have long said they intend to introduce legislation that would force a company to be able to grant authorities access to a suspect's data, though a bill has not yet materialized.

Some victims of the attack will file a legal brief in support of the U.S. government's attempt to force open to unlock the phone, a lawyer representing the victims told Reuters on Sunday.

Via - Reuter 

Friday, 19 February 2016

U.S., Apple ratchet up rhetoric in fight over encryption

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The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion on Friday seeking to compel Apple Inc to comply with a judge's order to unlock the encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, portraying the tech giant's refusal as a "marketing strategy."

In response, a senior Apple executive, speaking with reporters on condition of anonymity, characterized the Justice Department's filing as an effort to argue its case in the media before the company has a chance to respond.

The back and forth escalated a showdown between the Obama administration and Silicon Valley over security and privacy that ignited earlier this week.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the tech company's help to access shooter Syed Rizwan Farook's phone by disabling some of its passcode protections. The company so far has pushed back and on Thursday won three extra days to respond to the order.

Another senior Apple executive said Congress is the right place for a debate over encryption, not a courtroom.

The executive said Apple was stunned that such a legal request had come from the U.S. government rather than a country with weaker traditions of protecting privacy and civil liberties.

The motion to compel Apple to comply did not carry specific penalties for the company, and the Justice Department declined to comment on what recourse it was willing to seek.

In the order, prosecutors acknowledged that the latest filing was "not legally necessary" since Apple had not yet responded to the initial order.

The clash between Apple and the Justice Department has driven straight to the heart of a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.

A federal court hearing in California has been scheduled for March 22 in the case, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.

The Justice Department said its Friday motion was a response to Apple CEO Tim Cook's public statement Wednesday, which included a refusal to "hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers."

"Rather than assist the effort to fully investigate a deadly terrorist attack ... Apple has responded by publicly repudiating that order," prosecutors wrote in the Friday filing.

"Apple’s current refusal to comply with the court’s order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy,” prosecutors said.

ID CHANGE POSES HURDLE

The two senior Apple executives said the company had worked hard to help investigators and tried multiple avenues including sending engineers with FBI agents to a WiFi network that would recognize the phone and begin an automatic backup if that had been enabled.

They criticized government officials who reset the Apple identification associated with the phone, which closed off the possibility of recovering information from it through that automatic cloud backup.

San Bernardino County reset the password on the iCloud account at the request of the FBI, said county spokesman David Wert.

The government first disclosed the identification change in a footnote to its filing Friday. The Apple executives said that the reset occurred before Apple was consulted. The Justice Department declined to comment on that contention.

The two sides have been on a collision course since Apple said it would offer strong encryption by default on its devices in 2014, a move prompted in part by the surveillance revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

But the Justice Department struggled to find a compelling case where encryption proved to be an insurmountable hurdle for its investigators until the Dec. 2 shooting rampage by Farook and his wife in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14. Authorities believe the couple was inspired by the Islamic State.

Some technology experts and privacy advocates backing Apple suggest Farook's work phone likely contains little data of value. They have accused the Justice Department of choreographing the case to achieve a broader goal of gaining support for legislation or a legal precedent that would force companies to crack their encryption for investigators.

The case has quickly become a topic in the U.S. presidential race. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on Friday called for a "boycott" against Apple until the company complied with the court order.

The two Apple executives said they felt in good company, noting that Trump has faulted many other groups and individuals.

The debate will also play out on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee late Friday invited Apple's Cook and FBI Director James Comey to testify at an upcoming hearing on encryption, though a date was not set.

The House Judiciary Committee is also planning an encryption hearing for March and has invited Apple to attend, according to a congressional source.

Via - Reuter

Thursday, 18 February 2016

What Apple and the U.S. government are fighting over

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Apple Inc is resisting a federal court order that it help the U.S. government break into the iPhone 5c of Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in a December shooting in San Bernardino, California, which the government has described as a terror attack.

The following is an explanation of the technology and data privacy issues at issue.

Q. Why does the U.S. government need Apple's help?

A. The government wants Apple to provide technical assistance to help it break into Farook's phone. Apple's mobile operating system encrypts virtually all of its data so that forensics experts cannot access email, text messages, photos or other information unless they enter a password.

The phone requires two digital "keys" to unscramble the data: a passcode entered by the user when they want to use the device and a unique 256-bit AES key that is coded into the hardware during manufacture. The hardware key cannot be removed from the device, which prevents hackers from copying the contents of its hard drive and then cracking the passcode with the help of powerful computers.

Apple's mobile iOS system offers an auto-erase function that will wipe the device after 10 failed attempts to unlock it. The government says it is not sure if Farook enabled that function but has not attempted to unlock it because it does not want to risk losing the data.

Q. What exactly does the government want Apple to do?

A. The government has asked Apple to create a new version of iOS that disables the auto-erase function. It also requested the new software circumvent a feature that causes delays of up to one hour when nine wrong passwords are entered - making it possible to break into the phone using the "brute force" method of trying millions of different passwords. The government says it is possible for Apple to create software that will only work on the device used by Farook.

Q. What are Apple's objections?

A. Apple says that such a tool would essentially create a "backdoor" that could be used by the FBI or others to break into any iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a letter to customers, cited the possibility of the specially created software falling into the "wrong hands" and rejected the notion that it would only be used in this single case.

Cook also said that the move would establish a dangerous precedent. "The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge," he said.

Q. Is Apple right?

A. It is not clear why Apple would worry about the specially created software being stolen or misused, since the work would take place in Apple's labs and would presumably be no more subject to theft than any other Apple software. Apple is known for its strong security and there are no known incidents of its source code or cryptographic keys being stolen.

Further, the same technique would not work on devices launched after the 5c because they are equipped with a chip known as "Secure Enclave," which helps encrypt data using both the password and a unique user ID that is provisioned during manufacturing and not known to Apple.

The bigger concern is the precedent. If Apple complied, it would mark the first time a software company created a tool to break into its own products in response to an order from law enforcement. Technology companies and privacy advocates fear an endless stream of similar requests - not just from the U.S. government, but also from foreign governments and even litigants in civil cases. Technologists are horrified by the very idea of deliberately creating software that undermines security.

Q. Why is practical compromise impossible here?

A. Apple is drawing a line in the sand to avoid setting a precedent.

Q. What information is the government seeking?

A. Prosecutors say they believe data on the phone could help determine who Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik communicated with as they planned the shootings, where they traveled to before and after the attack, and other details about the attack.

Q. Will all the data the government wants be on the device?

A. Not necessarily. Even if the government is right in its assumption that the phone was used to plan that attack, Farook may have used encrypted apps that wipe all evidence of communications. For example, Islamic State uses an mobile messaging service known as Telegram for propaganda and recruitment. The service allows the group to broadcast messages to large numbers of followers, then move to private, one-to-one encrypted messaging that likely cannot be retrieved by forensics experts.

Q. Are there similar issues with Android devices?

A. Smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system offer a variety of encryption options, depending on the manufacturer and model. Forensic technicians can "bypass" passcodes on some of the devices, according to a November report by Manhattan's district attorney. Google can remotely reset the passcodes, when served with a search warrant and an order instructing them to assist law enforcement to extract data, allowing authorities to view contents of a device.

Via - Reuter

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Apple Pay to go live in China on February 18

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Apple Inc's Apple Pay mobile payment system will be available in China from February 18 for Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) customers, bank representatives said in social media posts on Tuesday.

The technology giant had previously said the system would launch in China in early 2016, making it Apple Pay's fifth country as it accelerates development of a planned new revenue stream. ICBC is China's biggest lender by assets.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on ICBC's posts on the projected launch. The lender is set to be joined by a raft of peers: Apple's China website lists 19 Chinese lenders as official Apple Pay partners, and state media reported two other lenders will also go live with the service from February 18.

Greater China is Apple's second-largest market by revenue, but the company faces an uphill battle to match that prowess quickly in mobile payments.

Apple Pay's beginnings have been less than auspicious in other markets, including scepticism from retailers in its home market. But in China, Apple Pay's issue will be how to compete with dominant and entrenched players, serving shoppers well used to paying for goods and services with their handsets.

China is the world's biggest smartphone market. By the end of 2015, 358 million people, more than the population of the United States, had already taken to paying by mobile phone, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

Dominating those payments are China's two biggest Internet companies: social networking and gaming firm Tencent Holdings Ltd and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, through its Internet finance affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.

Tencent operates WeChat Payment, while Ant Financial runs Alipay.

Apple Pay has also struggled to gain traction with banks in some countries. In Australia, the four main banks are holding out against the new entrant. The company in Britain faced resistance from big banks over fees before relenting.

Earlier on Tuesday, China's state radio reported on its website that China Guangfa Bank Co Ltd and China Construction Bank Corp said on social media they would also launch Apple Pay on February 18.

A China Construction Bank spokesman declined to comment, while Guangfa could not be reached for comment.

Via - Reuter

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Apple to launch new iPhone, iPad in March

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Apple Inc is on target to introduce its next iPhone and iPad models on March 15, and aims to start selling the devices in the same week, technology blog 9to5Mac reported, citing sources.

Apple, which will introduce a new 4-inch iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 5se", and a new iPad Air at a launch event, is unlikely to take pre-orders for the new devices, the blog reported.

The technology giant has hit a trough in iPhone demand. The 0.4 percent rise in shipments in the fiscal first quarter was the slowest-ever increase in iPhone sales since the phone was launched in 2007.

The new 4-inch iPhone 5se is designed to spur iPhone hardware upgrades for customer seeking faster devices without upgrading to the far larger iPhone 6s and 6s Plus screen sizes.

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.

Via - Reuter

Monday, 8 February 2016

Apple next iPhone 5se to be unveiled in March: Report

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Apple's next iPhone will come in the same four colours — despite rumours that the company might opt for a bright colour scheme. Some reports had suggested that the phone might come in a bright pink, but it is likely to have the same four options as the iPhone 6s, according to reports.

The company will release the phone in the new Rose Gold — which was unveiled with the iPhone 6s in September — as well as silver, Space Gray and gold.

Otherwise, the phone is rumoured to look something like a cross between an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 6. It will keep the former's smaller size, but add many of the internal parts of an iPhone 6 or 6s as well as getting some of their rounded edges. The new handset is scheduled to be unveiled on March 15, according to numerous reports. The phone will probably come out a couple of weeks after that.

Some rumours had suggested that Apple might release the phone in a bright pink, not the rose gold that first appeared with the iPhone 6s. That would have been in line with Apple's previous cheaper iPhone, the 5c, which came in a plastic case sporting a range of different colours.

But the new phone will instead come in Rose Gold, according to a report from the usually reliable 9to5mac. The company wants to ensure that the colour schemes are consistent across its iOS devices — and the Rose Gold may even come to the new iPad and MacBooks, the site reported.

The new iPad, the Air 3, could be revealed at the same March event as the new iPhone, according to reports. That will be around the same size as the existing tablet, but will include new connectors for accessories, a rear-facing LED flash like on the iPhone, and new speakers to bring it in line with the wide and loud sound from the iPad Pro.

The company is also expected to release new Apple Watch accessories, including new straps, and updates to the operating system at the event. But it won't see a full redesign of the Watch itself, which is thought to be coming in September — probably at the same time as the iPhone 7 is released.

Via - TOI

Friday, 5 February 2016

Apple launching new broken iPhone upgrade, screen protector installation programs

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Apple is gearing up to launch a pair of new retail initiatives centered around the iPhone: an upgraded iPhone trade-in program for iPhones with damaged screens, cameras, or buttons, and a new program that allows Apple Retail Stores to install screen protectors on iPhones.

The Apple Store Reuse and Recycle iPhone trade-in program currently allows a customer to bring in an older iPhone model and trade it in for credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone model. The main exception since the launch of the program is that this does not apply toward older iPhones with cracked displays, or broken cameras and buttons. That’s about to change …


Starting this week, the updated program will allow Apple Stores to give credit for iPhone 5s and iPhone 6/6 Plus units with damaged displays, cameras, and buttons within reason. Apple believes that this new program will encourage new iPhone upgrades versus a standard iPhone screen repair.

In some cases, buying a new iPhone could be cheaper when combining subsidies and financing plans with the credit given for the traded-in device. This makes the new program beneficial to both Apple and customers as it will help Apple sell new phones and let customers save more money on an updated device.

Sources say that the current trade-in values for this program are: $50 for a 5s, $200 for a 6, and $250 for a 6 Plus.

Also involving iPhone displays, all Apple Stores will start offering official plastic screen protector installations on iPhones in the coming weeks. The program began rolling out in select stores today.

Apple has partnered with at least one screen protector maker (Belkin) to bring dedicated screen protector installation machines to the back of stores. Before this new program, Apple Stores were told to not perform screen protector installations on customer iPhones given the possibility of the installation of a third-party product not going smoothly.

If the installation via the new machine results in an error, Apple will offer a free screen protector replacement and re-attempt the installation. Above is a video demonstration of a Belkin screen protector machine that is similar to the ones that Apple will begin putting in its retail stores.

Via - 9to5Mac

Monday, 25 January 2016

Apple's Rumored 4-inch iPhone to be Called the iPhone 5SE?

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MyDrivers has posted some new details about Apple's much rumored 4-inch iPhone. The site claims that contrary to some reports, the 4-inch iPhone will resemble the iPhone 5s and be called the iPhone 5SE.

Foxconn insiders have allegedly revealed that the device will feature an A9 processor, 1GB to 1.2GB of RAM, a 1624mAh battery, NFC, VoLTE, 16GB and 64GB of storage, and start at 3,688 yuan ($560). Production of the device is said to have already started ahead of a possible March unveiling.

9to5Mac has also heard that the device will be called the iPhone 5 SE and has added some specifications to the list:
● Curved glass like on the iPhone 6 and 6s lines
● 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera from the iPhone 6
● Support for larger panoramas and autofocus for video recording
● Barometer for tracking elevation in the Health app
● The A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6 (Note: this differs from MyDrivers)
● Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, and 802.11ac WiFi chips from the iPhone 6s
● Live Photos from the iPhone 6s

It's expected that Apple will discontinue the iPhone 5s and replace it with the iPhone 5SE.


Via - iClarified

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Apple seeks nod to open India stores amid concerns of slowing sales growth

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Apple Inc has applied to set up its own stores in India, one of the world's fastest growing smartphone markets, as the iPhone-maker looks to tap new opportunities amid worries of slowing growth in its main markets.

Apple sells its iPhones, iPads and Macs in India through third party resellers, and industry analysts estimate that the Cupertino, California-based company has less than a 2 percent share in India's smartphone market, dominated by cheaper brands.

The company has filed an application with India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to open its own stores, Amitabh Kant, secretary at the federal trade ministry unit told Reuters.

Apple also confirmed the application filing, but declined to give details.

Its expansion plans in India come at a time when concerns about slowing growth in the United States and China, the world's most important market for smartphones, have weighed on the company's stock in the last few months.

Shares in Apple, the world's most valuable company by market value, are down 28 percent from their peak in April last year.

The company operates more than 450 stores in 18 countries. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in October that Apple had 25 stores in China and was opening a new one roughly every month.

Its plans for India have been held back due to restrictions on foreign investment in the retail industry, which require single brand overseas retailers to buy close to a third of the goods sold at their stores from local producers.

Apple representatives held talks with Indian government officials about a relaxation of the 30 percent local-sourcing norms before filing the application, said a source familiar with the company's plans.

Apple's plans come against the backdrop of initiatives unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met with Apple chief Tim Cook during his U.S. visit last year, to boost foreign investments in India.

In November, the government eased foreign investment norms in 15 major sectors, including relaxing the mandatory local-sourcing rule for foreign single-brand retailers in the case of "cutting-edge technology" products.

Kant said his department would examine Apple's application in view of the changes made for local sourcing.

For years, India has been a low priority market for Apple as spending power is weaker than in China, where the company's iPhones swiftly became must-have devices after their 2007 launch.

But Apple is now looking to boost its market share in India's rapidly growing market, and the company's recent growing spend on advertising in the country has indicated an aggressive campaign to sell more.

India is likely to overtake the United States to become the world's No. 2 smartphone market in 2017, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The local smartphone segment is dominated by Samsung Electronics and India's Micromax.

Via - Reuter