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Apple gets green light to add 1,000 jobs at Irish headquarters

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 22:02
More than nine months after Apple first announced plans to expand its European headquarters in Cork, Ireland, and amid an EU probe into questionable tax practices, the company was recently granted approval to add 1,000 people to its workforce over the next 18 months.

Apple again rumored to axe iPhone home button in 2017

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 19:06
Apple is again rumored to be on track to remove the iconic physical home button from its flagship mobile product, the iPhone, when a next-generation version of the device launches next year.

Apple to integrate Japan's FeliCa tap-to-pay standard in next-gen iPhone, report says

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 18:27
Apple is reportedly working to release a special iPhone model for the Japanese market that will integrate a specific iteration of Sony-developed FeliCa technology, a longstanding tap-to-pay solution for smartphones.

The Battery That’s Lasted 176 Years

MacObserver - Thu, 2016-08-25 17:20

I’m pretty darned nerdy. I’ve watched my share, your share, and all of your neighbors’ share of the Science Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, Nova, Discovery Channel, and every other sciency-nerdy thing I could get my eyes on. But I’ve never heard of the battery that’s been running for 176 years. Come on, that’s cool! It’s been ringing a bell all that time. Billions of time. We have only a loose idea of how it’s built, and we can’t figure it out without destroying it. Anyway, Sally Page tells us all about it in this marvelous video. Also,

Enough with iPhone Headphone Jack Kvetching

MacObserver - Thu, 2016-08-25 16:32

Bryan Chaffin has had it with the kvetching about Apple maybe ditching the headphone jack in the next iPhone. He argues we should wait to see how Apple handles it before getting tense.

How to Enable Apple Watch Screenshots in watchOS 3

MacObserver - Thu, 2016-08-25 16:30

Want to snap screenshots in watchOS 3 on your Apple Watch? The feature is disabled by default, but it’s pretty easy to turn on. Follow along with TMO’s video Quick Tip to learn how.

Watchdog group finds Pegatron exploiting workers in lead up to 'iPhone 7' launch

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 16:19
Apple's repeated demands that suppliers cut costs have reportedly prompted "iPhone 7" manufacturing partner Pegatron to skirt the tech giant's audits with covert decreases in effective pay and increases in illegal overtime amid worsening working conditions, according to frequent critic China Labor Watch.

Apple Patches Critical Zero-Day Data Security Exploit in iOS 9.3.5 Update

MacObserver - Thu, 2016-08-25 16:11

Apple released iOS 9.3.5 on Thursday to address a big security flaw that could expose iPhone and iPad user’s personal data. The threat could be used to exploit information from email, contacts, text messages, phone calls, and more—and it looks like NSO Group has been doing just that so governments can spy on journalists and people they classify as dissidents.

Apple advises immediate update to iOS 9.3.5 after discovery of targeted iPhone spyware

MacWorld - Thu, 2016-08-25 15:52

Apple released an update to iOS 9 on Thursday—iOS 9.3.5—that patches multiple critical zero-day vulnerabilities that have been shown to already have been deployed, allegedly by governments to target activists and dissidents, according to a report from Citizen Lab and Lookout Security. Apple turned around an update within 10 days from when the company received Citizen Lab’s initial report. The update is recommended immediately for all iOS 9 devices. 

When used together, the exploits allow someone to hijack an iOS device and control or monitor it remotely. Hijackers would have access to the device’s camera and microphone, and could capture audio calls even in otherwise end-to-end secured apps like WhatsApp. They could also grab stored images, tracking movements, and retrieve files.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

China Labor Watch says workers’ rights continue to be violated by Pegatron

AppleWorld.Today - Thu, 2016-08-25 15:31

A new report from China Labor Watch, a labor rights watchdog and advocacy organization, says there are are continued workers’ rights violations at factories owned by Pegatron. Pegatron is an electronics manufacturing company that develops mainly computing, communications and consumer electronics to branded vendors, including Apple.

“Working conditions are terrible, and workers are subject to terrible treatment. Currently, Apple’s profits are declining, and the effects of this decline have been passed on to suppliers,” writes China Labor Watch. “ To mitigate the impact, Pegatron has taken some covert measures to exploit workers. This report is based on interviews with Pegatron workers and a comparative study of 2015 copies of paystubs collected in 2015 and 2016. Through our investigation, we have found that Pegatron has taken some surreptitious measures to pass Apple’s audits. In addition, we discovered that Pegatron’s working conditions have worsened in 2016 compared to 2015.”

The report claims there are several critical issues:

  • The average wage in China has been increasing steadily. However, at Pegatron, workers’ wages dropped significantly in the past eight months.
  • 2. The Shanghai Municipal Government raised the minimum wage from US$304 to $330 in April 2016, and Pegatron workers indeed received a raise in wages. However, Pegatron managed to control labor costs by cutting welfare and sharing insurance payments with workers. As a result, workers’ total income decreased after the raise. Pegatron’s attitude toward workers is evident here. In 2015, workers’ hourly wage was $1.85. In 2016, workers’ hourly wage increased to $2.00, and after deductions, this amounts to only $1.60.
  • Excessive and illegal overtime work is still prevalent in Pegatron. Pegatron claimed that their ID check system could effectively control workers’ overtime hours, but this system did not have any effect in the departments where more overtime was needed. It is merely a tool for public relations. Paystub records reveal that the highest amount of overtime hours put in by a worker was recorded in March, which was a worker with 109 overtime hours. The worker was found to have put in a total of 293 hours of work in March.
  • Pegatron has recruited many student interns, who had overtime work amounting to 80 hours per month on average. This is roughly the same amount as full-time employees. However, the Chinese law forbids companies from asking interns to work overtime.
  • The base wage is still too low in Pegatron, and workers have to rely on overtime pay to support themselves and their families. Workers who do not work overtime only earn around $213 USD after expenses are deducted.
  • In most of the production lines, workers have to arrive at work 10 minutes earlier than the regular schedule, but the 10 minutes are not paid.
  • Workers spend about 60 minutes each day, passing through the security procedures and ID Checks before entering workshop. The ID Check system did not control excessive overtime, however, encroached on workers’ rest time.
  • The factory forces workers to work overtime, and those who ask for leave would usually not be approved.
  • Workers are exposed to potential occupational injuries without proper protection. For example, in departments that have noise and the use of lasers, the factory does not provide them with protection equipment.

Apple hasn’t yet responded to the report (which was just released).

AWT News Update: August 25, 2016

AppleWorld.Today - Thu, 2016-08-25 15:30

Image via CharityBuzz.com

For a rather slow Thursday, we have some fascinating news from the world of Apple for you today.

  • We tell you about the exploits patched by iOS 9.3.5, and why it's a good idea to install the patch as soon as possible
  • That "Celebration Apple-1" sold at auction for $815,000
  • An eBay auction of some old Apple CDs ended up with the discs going to none other than Apple
  • Investment firm JP Morgan reports that Apple's back tax bill in its conflict with the European Commission could be as high as $19 billion

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for August 25, 2016. Here are some of today’s Apple news highlights.

You probably already saw it on Apple World Today and on our twitter channel, but make sure that you download and install the iOS 9.3.5 patch made available today by Apple. The patch blocks three exploits that can make a remote jailbreak of an infected iPhone and pull data including device and account passwords from the device. The assault package called Pegasus was discovered on an activist’s phone, with the package delivered as part of an SMS message. Anyone clicking on the link in the message would be subject to a stealth attack that was solely designed to exfiltrate the target’s communications to a remote monitor. To quote Mike Murray of mobile security company Lookout, “It basically steals all of the information on your phone, it intercepts every call, it intercepts every text messages, it steals all the emails, the contacts, the FaceTime calls. It steals all the information in the Gmail app, all the Facebook messages, all the Facebook information, your Facebook contacts, everything from Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram — you name it.” The spyware was identified and Apple informed on August 15, and today’s patch blocks the attack. At this time it is targeted at dissidents and activists; but it’s expected that similar attacks in the future may target ordinary citizens.

You may remember an AWT News Update story where we talked about an auction of what was called the Celebration Apple-1, an original Apple-1 computer that was never sold to the public and wasn’t part of a known production run of the first Apple. The auction is now over, with bids reaching $1.2 million in the final minutes. However, the last bid was pulled, so the computer sold for $815,000. The auction was hosted by charity auction site CharityBuzz, with 10 percent of the proceeds from the auction going to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Speaking of auctions, an Apple collector was selling his vintage Apple software collection on eBay earlier this month and was surprised when the buyer ended up being none other than Apple. Seller “Marcoguy” received a message from someone wanting to buy a dozen discs in his collection. The shipping address for the buyer was 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California, the current address of Apple headquarters. The seller asked the buyer about the purchase, and was told that Apple has a lab that contains archived materials. The buyer said that “We were missing some of the disks that you placed on eBay.”

Yesterday we had a story about the European Commission’s desire to charge Apple back taxes over a deal the company and the Irish government made that gave Apple a discounted tax rate in return for the company making investments and creating jobs in Ireland. Well, JP Morgan today announced that the tax bill handed to Apple could be as high as $19 billion dollars. The US Treasury Department had yesterday warned the European Commission about charging back taxes, noting that those payments would not be a foreseeable expense for a company, would undermine international consensus, and set an “undesirable precedent”. Unfortunately, similar arrangements in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium with Starbucks and auto manufacturer Fiat have already resulted in those companies being told to pay the back taxes. Fortunately, Apple has a lot of cash on hand with which to pay the back taxes, but this is a case of the European Commission overstepping the sovereignty of a member EU state in making its own decisions about how to stimulate job and economic growth.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

Apple-1 'Celebration' motherboard auction pulls in $815K

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 14:43
The motherboard believed to be amongst the first hand built prototypes for the Apple-1 fell short of million dollar estimates, but still reaped $815,000 with a portion going to charity.

Apple's Siri & rivals being hampered by poor microphone tech

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 14:27
Apple's Siri -- and other voice assistants from the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft -- are being held back by the state microphone hardware, a report noted on Thursday.

The Complete iOS 9 and 10 Development Bundle:

MacObserver - Thu, 2016-08-25 14:22

Check out the Complete iOS 9 and 10 Development Bundle, two full tutorials for Apple’s current iOS 9 and the soon-to-be-released iOS 10. Combined you’ll get 417 lessons and 59 hours of video content. You can get this bundle through our deal for just $35.

Dangerous, targeted iPhone attack nullified by Apple with iOS 9.3.5 patch

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 13:41
More details have emerged about the need for the iOS 9.3.5 patch, which looks to have terminated a trio of exploits capable of a remote jailbreak and mass exfiltration of data from a target's iPhone, including device and account passwords.

J.D. Power: iTunes ranks fourth in satisfaction among paid streaming video providers

AppleWorld.Today - Thu, 2016-08-25 13:21

Overall satisfaction with paid streaming video service is highest among cord stackers—customers who subscribe to a traditional cable/satellite service in addition to streaming video service—according to the J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study.

The inaugural study measures overall satisfaction among customers who have used a subscription- or transaction-based streaming video service within the past six months. The study measures customer satisfaction by examining six key measures (listed in order of importance): performance and reliability; content; cost of service; ease of use; communication; and customer service. Scores for each measure are reflected in an index based on a 1,000-point scale.

The study finds that although the number of customers who cut the cord on pay TV is growing, the majority of streaming video customers still purchase a paid TV service in addition to a streaming video service. Three-fifths (60%) of streaming customers are cord stackers; 23% are cord shavers (those who still subscribe to TV but have downgraded their service package); 13% are cord cutters (those who have recently canceled TV service); and 4% are cord nevers (those who have never subscribed to pay TV and only subscribe to streaming video service).

Overall satisfaction is lowest among cord cutters (802), followed closely by cord nevers (807), while satisfaction is highest among cord stackers (826) and cord shavers (822). Satisfaction in all measures is lower among customers who do not have cable/satellite TV than among those who do, with an especially wide gap between the two segments in the content measure (40 points).

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of customers use a streaming service to binge watch—the act of watching multiple episodes in succession—TV programming. Overall satisfaction is 35 points higher among those who binge watch vs. those who do not (834 vs. 799, respectively). As binge-watching sessions increase in duration, so does overall satisfaction: 823 among those whose most recent session lasted less than four hours; 841 among those whose session lasted 4-8 hours; and 858 among those whose session lasted eight or more hours.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of customers view streaming content through their TV; 55% view content on a laptop/desktop computer; and 48% view content on a mobile device. More than half (56%) of viewers use multiple devices to watch streaming video.

More than half (54%) of cord nevers and 49% of cord cutters view original content vs. 43% of cord shavers and 41% of cord stackers.

Netflix ranks highest among the streaming video brands included in the study, with an overall score of 829 (out of 1000). Netflix leads or ties with the highest score in five of the six measures, performing particularly well in performance and reliability and in customer service. Hulu Plus follows closely at 821, which is one point above industry average. Cost of service and communication are strong measures of performance for Hulu Plus. VUDU scored 810, iTunes scored 807, and Amazon Prime 806. 

A J.D. Power rep told AppleInsider that iTunes did poorly mostly because of complaints about cost and customer service. iTunes only supports purchases and rentals — while Netflix and Hulu don't offer downloads, subscribers to them can watch anything they have available for less than $10 per month.

The 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 3,928 customers. The study was fielded in June-July 2016.

Apple's iTunes ranks fourth in JD Power satisfaction survey for paid streaming video

AppleInsider - Thu, 2016-08-25 12:35
J.D. Power on Thursday published a new customer satisfaction survey for paid video streaming services, ranking Apple's iTunes below three major competitors.

Only Apple Music subscribers will get to watch Apple's live music fest this year

MacWorld - Thu, 2016-08-25 11:50

The Apple Music Festival, previously known as the iTunes Music Festival, is celebrating its 10th-year anniversary in September. So, it’s fitting that Apple has chosen to live-stream 10 performances. And it’s also fitting that, for the first time, only Apple Music subscribers will get to watch them.

If you’re a fan of Elton John, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, or Calvin Harris—and you don’t already have a subscription to Apple Music—you might want to sign up for your three-month free trial right around now. These artists will perform for the Apple Music Festival, which this year will require an Apple Music subscription.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple posts iOS 9.3.5, an ‘important’ security update

AppleWorld.Today - Thu, 2016-08-25 11:40

Apple has posted iOS 9.3.5, an “important security update” that’s recommend for all users.


iOS 9.3.5 is available via the Software Update tool on iDevices. It can also be installed through iTunes on a connected Mac or PC. 

Primed for pigskin: The best ways to watch football this season (with or without cable)

MacWorld - Thu, 2016-08-25 11:30
Whether you’re a cord cutter or a pay-TV addict, we’ll show you all the ways you can watch this season’s bone-crunching action on screens of any size.
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