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AWT News Update: July 29, 2016

5 hours 8 min ago

A slow Friday for Apple News, but we have a few tasty nuggets to send your way:

  • The 2nd-generation Apple Watch that might be announced soon might use a new display technology
  • Microsoft is laying off 2,850 more employees as part of its move away from the smartphone business
  • Hyundai announces CarPlay support for two more vehicles
  • A look back at a Steve Jobs quirk

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

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Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for July 29, 2016.

The usually inaccurate DigiTimes has a new rumor today, but not about the next-generation iPhone. Instead, they're saying that the second-generation Apple Watch will use a "One Glass Solution" or OGS display technology rather than Glass on Glass (G/G) technology. The information comes from Apple supplier TPK Holding, which apparently says that the production of the OGS panels for the second-generation Apple Watch has run into some technical issues and low yield rates. The switch to OGS would let Apple save some space inside the next Apple Watch and possibly reduce the weight of the device. While a lot of Apple fans are hoping for cellular connectivity, a faster processor and vastly improved battery life, the device will probably only see minor design changes with some improvement in specifications.

Microsoft announced that it's laying off 2,850 employees as part of its continued move away from the disastrous acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business in 2014. That acquisition cost $7.2 billion, not including restructuring charges that came later. These layoffs are in addition to 1,850 layoffs that were announced in May, and will eliminate most traces of the Nokia takeover. Microsoft still sells a few phones, but has changed its strategy to develop apps for iOS and Android phones that support its core businesses.

Hyundai has announced that two more of its 2017 model vehicles, the Tucson SUV and Sonata sedan, will add support for Apple CarPlay. Hyundai has been aggressively pursuing support of both CarPlay and Android Auto in its vehicles, adding software updates in May that allowed 2015 and 2016 vehicles with internal displays to join in on the fun. For the Tucson SUV, only the Limited editions of the vehicle will provide support. Apple has noted that iOS 10 will add many enhancements to CarPlay, such as an automatic parking marker when a car and iPhone disconnect from each other and the ability to hide and manage home screen icons.

Finally, a look back at one of Steve Jobs' many quirks. Ars Technica reports that the State of California has closed what's now known as the Steve Jobs license plate loophole. To quote the article, "One of the many things Steve Jobs was famous for was his refusal to put a license plate on the back of his car, a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. Jobs—or someone close to him—spotted a loophole in California DMV regulations allowing six months of grace before a license plate had to be attached to a new car. As a result, the Apple supremo maintained a rolling six-month lease on a series of new SL55 AMGs, replacing one with another just before the grace period ran out."

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

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Rumors: second gen Apple Watch will be (shock!) thinner and lighter

7 hours 39 min ago

The second-generation Apple Watch will feature "One Glass Solution" (OGS) display technology instead of Glass on Glass (G/G) technology, according to DigiTimes quoting Apple supplier TPK Holding. The goal (to no one’s surprise): to make the upcoming smartwatch slimmer and lighter.

One Glass Solution technology eliminates the space between your display and touchscreen. It replaces one of the layers of glass from G/G technology with a thinner material. My take on the rumor: it’s correct. The second generation Apple smartwatch will be more svelte and slightly lighter.

What’s more, I think we’ll see the Apple Watch 2 (pictured in fun mock-ups; trust me, it WON'T look like these images) arrive alongside the iPhone 7 in early September. It will, in my opinion, be completely waterproof and be much less dependent on an iPhone when on a Wi-Fi network.

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Apple ready for the Supreme Court to run in the Samsung patent battle

10 hours 31 min ago

Apple has reportedly filed the brief in relation to damages the company believes it should be paid in a smartphone design patent battle with Samsung. Reuters says Apple has requested the Supreme Court rule on the case and not send it back to a lower court.

Apple argues Samsung has not presented evidence challenging Apple's position that anything other than the value of a whole smartphone should be used to decide damages.

Earlier this year, Samsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million for the five-years-and-counting-legal brouhaha over patent infringement — with some stipulations. However, the company then went to the U.S. Supreme Court “in a last-ditch effort to pare back” the damages it must pay Apple for infringing the patents and designs of the iPhone.

In its petition to the high court, Samsung said it should not have had to make as much as $399 million of that payout for copying the patented designs of the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, bezel, and gridded icons. It said that awarding total profits from the sale of its devices with those designs, even if they relate only to a small portion of the phone, allows for "unjustified windfalls" far beyond the inventive value of the patents.

This is all part of the ongoing, global legal battle. Apple and Samsung have filed more than 30 lawsuits against each other across four continents. For example, Apple alleges that Samsung copied the slide-to-unlock technology of its iPhone and iPad devices.

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iPads have their best quarter in two years, as Apple sees the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

10 hours 47 min ago

Global tablet shipments fell 8% year-on-year in in the second quarter (Q2) of 2016 to 46.7 million units while average selling prices (ASPs) went the other way, climbing 9% during the same period, according to Strategy Analytics. Consumers and enterprises alike are buying more “pro slates” (such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4) than ever before “as prices reach tolerable levels and as computing behaviors and needs shift toward more mobility and touchscreen interfaces,” adds the research group.

Apple iOS shipments came in at 10 million iPads in Q2 2016 leaving it with a worldwide market share of 21% of the tablet market. The 10 million shipments in Q2 2016 declined 9% annually and 3% sequentially. However, Q2 2016 represented the first full quarter of iPad Pro 9.7 sales, which helped drive ASPs to $490 and contributed to the best quarter Apple has had in two years.

“The iPad has marked 10 quarters of annual shipment declines but some light is now visible at the end of the tunnel,” says Peter King, Service Director, Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies service, Strategy Analytics. “In the same way that Windows tablets gained market share with a wide range of premium to low tier 2-in-1 Tablets, Apple is riding consumer and enterprise demand for 2-in-1s with multiple price tiers of buy-in to its vision of what a converged computing device can achieve.”

Android-branded vendors shipped 30.1 million units among them worldwide in Q2 2016, down 15% from 35.2 million a year earlier and flat sequentially. Market share has fallen to 64% as high growth of Windows tablet shipments squeeze Android tablets. There is a reordering underway among Android vendors in the middle tier so even though shipments by large vendors like Samsung have fallen, smaller vendors like Huawei, Amazon, and TCL-Alcatel continue to expand their reach, according to Strategy Analytics.

Windows shipments grew 43% year-on-year at 6.7 million units in Q2 2016, from 4.6 million in Q2 2015, reaching 14% market share. Shipments climbed 5% sequentially. Windows share continues to improve as more models are launched by traditional PC vendors and mobile-first vendors alike, Microsoft expands its Surface distribution and lineup, and “white box” vendors sell more Windows tablets, says Strategy Analytics.

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Notable apps and app updates for July 29, 2016

10 hours 53 min ago

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

iOS Apps and Updates

Rio 2016

If July, 2016 was the month of blithering idiots (otherwise known as politicians) taking to the airwaves to spout nonsense, then August of 2016 will be the month of the Olympics. Coming from Rio de Janiero, Brazil, the games are sure to be...interesting. The Russians have pretty much been banned from participating thanks to widespread doping, Brazil is in a deep economic and political crisis, and the tropical heat of Brazil is sure to bring concerns about the Zika virus. But hey, I'm being a pessimist here! Enjoy the 2016 Summer Games Torch Run right now with the official and free Rio 2016 app, and let's hope nobody gets accidentally burned.

 Severed

How many games do you know about that feature a one-armed warrior? In Severed ($5.99 through August 4), you take control of Sasha, that one-armed warrior who is on a journey in search of her family. The game is an App Store "Favorite Game of the Month," and has been described by Pocket Gamer as "One of the deepest, most rewarding touch-experiences in recent memory". Swipe your way through puzzles, find secrets, and do battles. Severed sounds like it will be much more exciting than watching Bob Costas hosting the Rio games...

OS X Apps and Updates

My Reasons - Habit Builder

One of my personal favorite apps for iOS is Streaks, a simple app that tracks and motivates your compliance with good habits. It's helped me personally to establish good exercise habits, keep my cats happier, and track my weight and blood pressure. For the Mac, there's a similar app available called My Reasons - Habit Builder ($4.99) that is even more motivating, because it allows you to add visual reminders and text to show WHY you're trying to build those good habits. 

 

Economist: Apple’s profit reporting in Ireland a ‘fraud’

13 hours 41 min ago

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said U.S. tax law that allows Apple to hold a large amount of cash abroad is “obviously deficient” and called the company’s attribution of significant earnings to a comparatively small overseas unit a “fraud.”

“Our current tax system encourages companies to keep their money abroad, opens up a vast loophole through what is called the transfer-pricing system that allows them not only to keep their money abroad but, effectively, to escape taxation,” Stiglitz, who advises Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

 

He was answering question about whether policy makers like Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, could develop a plan to encourage companies like Apple to bring their accumulated foreign earnings back to the U.S. Under current law, companies can defer U.S. income tax on their foreign earnings until they repatriate them, or return them to the U.S. About $215 billion of Apple’s total $232 billion in cash is held outside of the country, third-quarter earnings results showed this week.

What’s more, the EU, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency, has claimed that Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have attracted investment and jobs by helping big companies avoid tax in other countries, including EU members. The commission suspects Ireland was too lenient in rulings it gave to Apple and which helped the company shield tens of billions of dollars in profit from taxation. 

At 12.5%, Ireland’s corporate tax rate beats the U.S. rate of 35%. However, participating companies don’t pay that 12.5% under the double Irish structure. Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that Ireland will fight any negative commission decision to the EU courts. The government will “vigorously defend’’ any adverse Apple tax decision, he added.

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iMovie for iOS gets new project creation, sharing features

14 hours 26 sec ago

Apple has updated iMovie for iOS to version 2.2.3. It allows you to start projects quickly by selecting multiple photos and videos.

You can also share to Facebook and Vimeo by using the standard iOS share interface. iMovie for iOS 2.2.3 also supports the Shared iPad feature in iOS 9.3 or later. Plus, it has stability and performance improvements.

iMovie for iOS 2.2.3 is available for free at the Apple App Store. It requires iOS 9.3 or higher.

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Daily Deal: Virtually indestructible Titan Lightning Cable at 24% off

15 hours 23 min ago

Tired of Lightning cables that fall apart after a little bit of use? Fuse Chicken's amazing Titan Lightning Cable uses two layers of flexible high-strength steel in a Made-For-iPhone (MFi) certified Lightning cable that can stand up to years of abuse. The Apple World Today Deals Shop has the Titan Lightning Cable on sale for a limited time for just $22.49, a full 24% off of the suggested retail price. 

Titan cables are meant to last for years, through an innovative and proven design:

  • Keep your devices safe w/ MFi certification
  • Loop to your keychain, belt loop, bag, etc.
  • Easily extend to your USB port & plug in
  • Enjoy durability of industrial strength steel
  • Avoid dealing w/ frayed ends & damaged connector housings
  • Carry in your backpack, briefcase or purse w/o taking up too much space

They won't be available at this price for long, so order your Titan Lightning Cable today

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Kanex’s GoPower USB-C portable battery is a great traveling companion for the 12-inch MacBook

15 hours 53 min ago

Sometimes when I’m visiting my siblings I find that my 12-inch MacBook and 12.9-inch iPad Pro both need charging. Do I lug two chargers? Nope, I take Kanex’s $99.95 GoPower USB-C portable battery.

It offers two charging ports, so you can charge two devices simultaneously, even when one of the devices is a laptop. The USB-C output port is 5V at 3Amps and the USB-A port is 5V at 2.4Amps. This means you can charge a MacBook and an iPad Pro at the same time. (The Kanex GoPower doesn’t work with some PC ultrabooks, I’m told, but that wasn’t a concern for me.)

The battery has a total of 55.5Wh power. It charged my MacBook from less than 10% of juice to 100 percent in about two hours. It charged the iPad Pro at about the same rate. That’s not super fast, but it’s adequate. 

Also, even though the GoPower USB-C sports a 15W USB-C output (5.0V x 3A), you don’t get the full 15W when charging your MacBook. You’ll get about 6.8W, so charging your Mac laptop with the Kanex battery pack will be less than half as fast as charging your MacBook with its adapter. Also note that the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery needs about hours to recharge when it’s depleted.

When it’s time to recharge, just plug the included USB-IF Certified USB-C cable into the battery pack's input port, then to a USB-C power source. A USB-C to USB charging cable is also included, so you can charge via a standard USB power source if you wish.

You can charge both your MacBook and the GoPower USB-C battery via pass-thru charging. To use pass-thru charging, connect the battery to a power adapter via its charging port, and connect your Mac laptop to the battery via a separate USB-C cable.

One really convenient feature of the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery is its “priority charging detection.” If you have devices plugged into the battery and plug the battery into a power supplier, the portable battery will detect your device, charge it first, then charge itself.  It also sports safety features such as surge protection.

Looks aren’t everything, but if you’re using an accessory with the good-looking MacBook, might as well use an attractive one. And the GoPower USB-C isa handsome peripheral with its slim (6.87 x 4.80 x 0.5 inches), relatively light (about a pound), space gray aluminum body with curved sides. 

LED indicators show the power level of the portable battery. You can press the power button to see how much charge is left on the battery. And can press and hold the button to disable charging.

The GoPower USB-C doesn’t work (nor is it meant to) as a power adapter replacement for a MacBook. However, its great for slowly charging the laptop while it’s in use and for charging multiple devices. For those reasons, it’s a fantastic accessory to have for business trips, weekend get-aways, and vacations. 

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Cabinet for OS X and iOS can save time for Neenah Paper customers

16 hours 23 min ago

By Aaron Lee

If you use products from Neenah Paper — which manufactures — papers for premium writing, text, cover, digital, packaging and specialty needs, you'll want to check out its free Cabinet apps for Mac OS X and iOS devices. Available at the Mac App Store and Apple App Store respectively, they allow you to browse Neenan products to quickly find the right paper for your needs.

With Neenah Cabinet, you can browse, search, view and compare paper for print projects whenever or wherever they work — on a Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device. And it automatically updates itself so it always has the most up-to-date info.

Cabinet users have access to papers and envelopes numbering in the tens of thousands within the Neenah family. A global search feature enables users to filter or search by product. Action buttons and contextual drop downs make for an intuitive user experience.

Cabinet is a virtual library of paper samples. Designers can view by paper grade, texture, color, weight, and more. Print demonstrations and swatchbooks are available with a single click from Cabinet through neenahpaper.com.  Users can test design ideas and concepts by ordering Neenah’s Personal Proof on the paper or papers of their choice to share with their clients or to imagine creative possibilities.

If you're not a Neenah Paper customer, the app will have no appeal. If you are, it's a fine time-saver — plus, it's free.

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Patent report: iPads/iPhones with digital crowns, full screen Touch ID, quantum dot displays

Thu, 2016-07-28 16:17

Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product, so here are today’s patent highlights:

One newly filed patent application (number 20160216801) for “capacitive touch panel for sensing mechanical inputs to a device” shows that Apple is considering expanding the digital crown feature of the Apple Watch to other iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone. The patent would provide a digital crown on the side of the iOS device to facilitate scrolling, control volume, resize text and images, and other mundane tasks like locking or unlocking the touchscreen.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that, in addition to touch panels, many electronic devices may also have mechanical inputs, such as buttons and/or switches. These mechanical inputs can control power (i.e., on/off) and volume, among other functions. However, mechanical inputs, such as buttons or rotary inputs, can have considerable component costs associated with them, as the mechanical inputs generally can include structure for providing tactile feedback to a user (e.g., the “click” of a button) and also structure for sensing an input from the mechanical input. These two structures can be complex. 

What’s more, such structures can occupy substantial volume in electronic devices, which can make it difficult to reduce the sizes of such devices. Apple is at least considering ways to overcome these issues.

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20160216813) for “an electronic device including finger biometric sensor including transparent conductive blocking areas carried by a touch display and related methods.” Whew. That’s a long-winded description of technology that would allow the entire screen of an iPhone or iPad to act as a Touch ID sensor.

The patent involves a device that could include a finger biometric sensor in a touch display. In the filing, Apple notes that fingerprint sensing and matching is a “reliable and widely used technique for personal identification or verification.” In particular, a common approach to fingerprint identification involves scanning a sample fingerprint or an image thereof and storing the image and/or unique characteristics of the fingerprint image. The characteristics of a sample fingerprint may be compared to information for reference fingerprints already in a database to determine proper identification of a person, such as for verification purposes. 

Finally, Apple has filed for a patent (number 20160218252) dubbed “display light sources with quantum dots” that shows that future Mac OS X and iOS devices could sport quantum dot LED (QDLED or QLED) displays. 

QLED is considered as a next generation display technology after OLED-Displays. They have several advantages: 

  • Pure color: they deliver 30-40% luminance efficiency advantage over organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) at the same color point.
  • Low power consumption: QLEDs have the potential to be more than twice as power efficient as OLEDs at the same color purity.
  • Low-cost manufacture: the ability to print large-area QLEDs on ultra-thin flexible substrates will reduce luminaire manufacturing cost.
  • Ultrathin, transparent, flexible form factors: QLEDs will enable designers to develop new display and lighting forms not possible with existing technologies.

However, quantum dots and phosphors can be sensitive to moisture and oxygen. Their lifetimes can also be adversely affected by exposure to high pump light intensities and elevated temperatures. Quantum dot performance is also affected by the type of structures used to form the quantum dots. If care is not taken, quantum dots will exhibit insufficient quantum confinement and instability. Apple is working on methods to deal with these issues.

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AWT News Update: July 28, 2016

Thu, 2016-07-28 16:00

After Apple's Tuesday earnings surprise, things have quieted down a bit but we still have some news from and about the company to share with you:

  • Bond, Apple Bond. The company's selling bonds to raise funds for its stock buyback program
  • Apple's Ivan Krstic will be a speaker at this year's Black Hat USA in Las Vegas on August 4
  • Bluetooth headphones have overtaken wired 'phones for the first time, and Apple's benefitting from the change
  • Be sure to enter our giveaway of a brand new Apple 12-inch Retina Display MacBook!
  • Join Team AWT for special content, as well as a members-only giveaway next week

The text version of the podcast can be read 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 July 28, 2016.

Apple is taking advantage of low interest rates and an upcoming bond sale to US investors to raise $7 billion to support the company’s stock buyback program. The Financial Times says that the bond sale is three times oversubscribed, and will be divided into five parts. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities and J.P. Morgan will share management duties for the sales as they have in the past.

Do you attend the Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas? This year, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture Ivan Krstic will be giving a talk about iOS security, including details of new technology to be unveiled as part of iOS 10. Apple says that Krstic plans to discuss the “cryptographic design and implementation of our novel secure synchronization fabric” with detail on how it relates to HomeKit, iOS 10’s Auto Unlock, and iCloud Keychain. During the briefing, Krstic will also shine a little light on the Secure Enclave of Touch ID devices, and how the company plans to make Safari’s Just-in-Time compiler harder to hack. The talk will be held on August 4 at Black Hat USA.

You know how there has been so much hue and cry about the alleged lack of a headphone port in the next iPhone? Well, NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service discovered that Bluetooth headphone revenue was greater than that for non-Bluetooth for the first time in June of 2016. Bluetooth headphones accounted for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the US. Who are the two companies making the most of the boom in Bluetooth headphones? Apple’s Beats and LG account for 65 percent of dollar sales.

Just a reminder — today and tomorrow are the last two days that you can enter our giveaway for a brand new Apple 12-inch Retina Display MacBook. The giveaway is being done in cooperation with StackCommerce, the company that runs our Deals Shop, and all it takes to be entered is to follow this link. That MacBook is valued at $1,299, and would be perfect for back-to-school.

If you’re not a member of Team AWT yet, we have a reason for you to sign up today. Apple World Today will be announcing a giveaway this week of a Drobo 5Dt RAID array with five 2TB drives. This is a super fast RAID box with twin Thunderbolt 2 ports, 128GB of SSD cache, and it’s expandable as drive capacities grow. The giveaway will be announced soon and the prize is worth almost $1200. Join Team AWT for just $5 per month and you’ll be eligible not only to receive all of the extras that come along with membership, but get into this giveaway.

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

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Apple Store mobile app may soon offer recommendations based on your past purchases

Thu, 2016-07-28 15:49

Apple plans to roll out a redesigned version of its Apple Store mobile app that will use a customer’s buying history to recommend more purchases, according to Bloomberg.

The updated app could appear in the next two weeks, the article adds, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” Bloomberg says it could offer a “For You” tab that suggests products based on your previous orders, sort of like Amazon does. It will reportedly be a universal app that works on both the iPhone and the iPad.

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Apple’s Ivan Krstić to speak on iOS security at Blackhat USA 2016

Thu, 2016-07-28 15:42

Apple’s Ivan Krstić will lead a session on “Behind the Scenes of iOS Security” at Blackhat USA 2016, an annual event for security practitioners of all levels, which will run July 30 to Aug. 2 in Las Vegas. You can register here.

Here’s a summary of Krstić’s session: “With over a billion active devices and in-depth security protections spanning every layer from silicon to software, Apple works to advance the state of the art in mobile security with every release of iOS. We will discuss three iOS security mechanisms in unprecedented technical detail, offering the first public discussion of one of them new to iOS 10.

“HomeKit, Auto Unlock and iCloud Keychain are three Apple technologies that handle exceptionally sensitive user data – controlling devices (including locks) in the user's home, the ability to unlock a user's Mac from an Apple Watch, and the user's passwords and credit card information, respectively. We will discuss the cryptographic design and implementation of our novel secure synchronization fabric which moves confidential data between devices without exposing it to Apple, while affording the user the ability to recover data in case of device loss.

“Data Protection is the cryptographic system protecting user data on all iOS devices. We will discuss the Secure Enclave Processor present in iPhone 5S and later devices and explain how it enabled a new approach to Data Protection key derivation and brute force rate limiting within a small TCB, making no intermediate or derived keys available to the normal Application Processor.

“Traditional browser-based vulnerabilities are becoming harder to exploit due to increasingly sophisticated mitigation techniques. We will discuss a unique JIT hardening mechanism in iOS 10 that makes the iOS Safari JIT a more difficult target.”

Krstić is head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, the group responsible for end-to-end security of all Apple products. He has led the design and implementation of key security mechanisms across Apple platforms.

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Ex-QNX CEO joins the ‘Apple Car’ team

Thu, 2016-07-28 15:29

Earlier this week it was reported that Apple had lured Bob Mansfield, former senior vice president, Technologies, out of retirement to head the “Apple Car” project (dubbed “Project Titan”). Now Bloomberg reports that software architect Dan Dodge, co-founder and once CEO of BlackBerry division QNX, has joined the company to work on a team led by Mansfield.

Apple is emphasizing a focus on an autonomous driving system, though it’s not ruled out developing its own vehicle, the article adds. That leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker instead of building a car itself.

Engineers working on a vehicle design reportedly number in the hundreds, says Bloomberg. The article says that Apple has originally eyed a 2020 release date for its car project, but that it’s been delayed by “multiple departures, technical delays and confusion regarding the direction of the project.”

Dodge is the co-creator of the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment, a set of pre-integrated and optimized technologies from QNX Software Systems and dozens of ecosystem partners. Designed for flexibility, it “provides development teams with a variety of options for building reliable world-class infotainment systems that keep pace with ongoing advancements in mobile device markets.”

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Notable apps and app updates for July 28, 2016

Thu, 2016-07-28 15:00

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

Mac OS X Apps and Updates

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

While Call of Duty 4 is by no means a new game, it's certainly had staying power over the years. Developer Aspyr Media is having a sale on the huge (7.35 GB) app, 50% off (just $9.99) for a limited time. Note that your Mac needs to meet specific system requirements to be able to handle the graphics demands of the game -- be sure to check those requirements before you buy. If you're not familiar with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, here's a description: "Featuring a tense storyline, filled with plot twists, Call of Duty 4 thrusts players into battle like never before. With amazing special effects, including rim-lighting, depth of field, texture streaming and character self-shadowing, players are enlisted into one of the most photo-realistic gaming experiences imaginable."

Human Resource Machine

While we're on the topic of games for OS X, here's a relatively new game from the folks who brought you Little Inferno and World of Goo. Human Resource Machine ($9.99) is described as "a puzzle game for nerds," in which you're given a task to do and you need to automate it by programming an office worker. Succeeding gets you promoted to the next level for another year of work... sounds like life, doesn't it? 

iOS Apps and Updates

NightCap Pro

Aurora by Chris Romig, Brooklyn, NY. Via nightcapcamera.com

I've been meaning to highlight this app for a while, as it's a special photography app that's designed for photography of the night sky or poorly lit scenes, star trails, meteors, and satellites. NightCap Pro ($1.99) requires an iPhone 5 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or an iPod touch 6 or later. The app uses an AI camera operator to handle ISO and exposure settings for the best possible photos under really tough conditions. To top it off, if you have an Apple Watch, you can use it to set the mode and start an exposure. If you really want to see what NightCap Pro can do, visit nightcapcamera.com and check out the tutorials.

Amaziograph

Have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil? Amaziograph ($0.99) is a totally unique drawing app that creates symmetric pictures in a variety of patterns. Simply select the type of repeating pattern that you want, then draw and you can see how the pattern changes as you draw. Colors are mixed as if you were using paints on a palette, and the size, opacity and softness of your brushes can be controlled with fine detail. A very cool app, especially if you're a designer.

WSJ: Apple’s ‘hard nosed’ bargaining tactics are why the company has no streaming TV service

Thu, 2016-07-28 11:13

Apple’s “hard nosed” bargaining tactics are the reason we’ve yet to see an Apple streaming TV service — if we ever do, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Apple Inc. executives had every reason for optimism when they approached Walt Disney Co. in early 2015 to join the streaming television service Apple planned to launch. Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger is an Apple director and had said he was keen to strike a deal,” the article says. “Disney, which owns channels such as ESPN and ABC, was stunned, though, when Apple executive Eddy Cue made demands that would have upended decades of cable-industry [business tactics]. In particular, Apple wanted to freeze for several years the monthly rate per viewer it would pay to license Disney channels. TV channels usually get annual rate increases and rely on them to fuel profit growth. Disney balked. Similar talks with media giants that included 21st Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp. also stalled.”

What do we know about Apple's rumored TV service, which I call Apple Web TV? The Wall Street Times has said previously that Apple has talked — to no avail, so far — with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks that will be available on Apple gadgets such as the Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone. Apple purportedly wants the service to offer about 25 channels for US$30 and $40 per month. Apple’s Web TV offering will reportedly be anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox, but won’t include smaller channels typically included in a standard cable TV package.

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Apple tops list of top 10 websites with safe password practices

Thu, 2016-07-28 10:46

Dashlane has released a list of the top ten websites with safe password practices, just in time to help parents navigate online safety risks during the busy back-to-school season. Apple’s website tops the list.

"Password security is a serious issue for families as passwords are the seatbelts of the digital world," says Emmanuel Schalit, CEO of Dashlane. "Weak passwords leave your kids' personal information vulnerable. It's important that parents teach kids how to create strong passwords, and follow safe practices, such as using a password manager to store and share them. Fortunately, popular websites like Apple, Gmail, and Facebook also prioritize safety by requiring strong passwords and following best practices that keep users' identities secure.”

The Dashlane team examined the password requirements for popular websites, including minimum required password length, complexity of required passwords, and whether or not sites employ safeguards, such as sending account creation emails and providing on-screen password strength assessments. The top 10 sites in the study were Apple, Snapchat, Gmail, Yahoo, Tumblr, Vimeo, AOL, Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter.

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Apple is planning a retail store in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Thu, 2016-07-28 10:36

Apple plans to open an Apple Store in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (pictured), Jason Barlia, head of Apple's marketing for New York stores, while speaking at the opening of Apple's first Brooklyn store.

The World Trade Center store will extend Apple's presence in the downtown Manhattan area, which has seen a revitalization thanks to investment in One World Trade Center tower and the surrounding financial district, reports CNET. The store will sit underneath the "Oculus," a domed structure a block away from the main World Trade Center area that serves as the centerpiece of the transit hub.

No timetable has been given as to when the store will open. With the opening of the store, Apple will have 487 retail stores in 20 countries and an online store available in 39 countries.

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Tomorrow's the last day to enter to win a 12-inch Retina MacBook

Thu, 2016-07-28 09:30

It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of July, but it's rapidly winding down. That means one thing: you have only today and tomorrow to enter our giveaway for a brand-new Apple 12-inch Retina Display MacBook worth $1,299.

At 11:59 PM EDT tomorrow night, entries close for this great giveaway. All you need to do is head over to this page and make your entry, and within the next week or so one of you lucky readers will be notified by our friends at StackCommerce that you'll soon be getting a MacBook.

Be sure to share this post with your friends! There's no cost or obligation to enter, so get it done!