The financial turbulence that followed the UK's vote to leave the European Union has seen the value of the pound tumbling. With the pound and the dollar almost reaching parity, Apple has again been forced to increase prices.
While the US and UK currencies may not quite have reached parity, the price of apps in the two regions will very soon do just that. Apps that cost $0.99 in the US would have cost £0.79 in the UK pre-Brexit -- now this will jump to £0.99. Information about the price hike came in an email to developers, and it will take effect over the next seven days.
Apple is eager for MacBook Pro users to squeeze the best possible battery life out of their machines, so it's understandable that the company was taken aback by Consumer Reports' original, and disappointing battery life results.
With macOS, Apple helps users to be proactive in boosting battery performance by warning when a particular app is using a lot of power -- if it is not entirely necessary, users will hopefully feel compelled to kill it. In the latest beta version of macOS Sierra, screen brightness is also taken into account, and users are advised that lowering this setting will save power.
Cellebrite -- the Israeli security company famed for helping the FBI crack the iPhone at center of the San Bernardino case -- has been hit by hackers. The attack resulted in the theft of 900GB of data.
While the website Motherboard -- which was handed a copy of the data -- reports that "the cache includes customer information, databases, and a vast amount of technical data regarding Cellebrite's products", the company has downplayed the incident.
It is no secret that iOS is a tightly controlled ecosystem. There is not a whole lot that users can do to customize their iPhones, and there are not that many options for developers wanting to sell their apps outside of the App Store. In fact, if you do not want to reach a very small audience, who likes to jailbreak their devices, your one and only bet is the App Store.
A number of customers believe that that is a problem so serious that they sued Apple over its perceived iOS app distribution monopoly. A complaint was filed all the way back in 2011, but only now did a court allow the lawsuit to go forward.
In a shocking series of tests just before Christmas, Consumer Reports put the new MacBook Pro through its paces and came to the conclusion that battery life was so poor and so variable that it was the first MacBook Pro it could not recommend.
Apple was rather taken aback by the result and, after further investigation, blamed a hidden setting activated by Consumer Reports. This in itself exposed a bug in Safari. With this patched, the tests were re-run and the MacBook Pro is now the proud recipient of Consumer Reports' coveted 'recommended' award.
Owning a MacBook Pro (2016) has been a very fun experience. While some people are unhappy not having USB Type-A ports, I am happily embracing the Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. Sure, I have needed a dongle a few times when connecting some devices, but it hasn't been too bad. I've even embraced a USB-C dock (with power delivery) to create a Mac desktop experience in my home -- mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
So far, however, I haven't been very satisfied with USB-C docks. I sometimes face issues where USB ports don't work while delivering power. On a few occasions, my connected USB hard drives have disconnected when the Mac goes to sleep, leading to macOS warning messages. The market will soon be saturated with true Thunderbolt 3 docks that should provide a much better experience. Today, StarTech announces a new line of Thunderbolt 3 devices, including docks and display adapters.
Apple traditionally enjoys very strong iPhone sales after it launches new smartphones. And this is certainly true of the three months ending November 2016, when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus topped the sales charts in US and helped iOS close in on Android in Great Britain.
In US, it is actually an all-iPhone podium, with the iPhone 6s joining the newer models in the top three, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report. Apple saw its share rise to 43.5 percent, while Google's Android dropped to 55.3 percent of the market.
When Consumer Reports failed to recommend the MacBook Pro (2016) for poor battery life, many people raised an eyebrow. When the company suggested using Chrome instead of Safari for more consistent battery life, people's heads nearly exploded. Google's web browser has long been considered a battery hog, making many people -- including me -- doubt the findings by Consumer Reports. After all, my own MacBook Pro (2016) offers wonderfully consistent battery life.
Today we learn that Consumer Reports used flawed testing, which lead to the inconsistent and poor battery life on the computer. It used a hidden Safari developer setting which isn't normally used by consumers. With that obscure setting properly disabled, battery life is as it should be. So Apple is in the clear, right? Not so fast. As a byproduct of the flawed testing, Apple was able to discover a rare bug in Safari.
Greenpeace has crowned Apple the most environmentally-friendly tech company for the third year in a row. The Cupertino, Calif.-based giant is well ahead of most of the big players in the field, being one of just three companies to get an "A" grade from the NGO, alongside Facebook and Google.
With a score of 83 percent, Apple has the highest clear energy index, using little natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. Facebook comes second with 67 percent while Google takes the last place on the podium with a score of 56 percent. Both companies rely more on natural gas, coal and nuclear energy than Apple.
Gartner has a grim prediction for Microsoft which is pinning its hopes on Windows 10 and the forthcoming Creators Update. According to the research firm, Windows will lose OS share in 2017, and then flatline for at least the next two years.
Gartner’s prediction covers all flavors of Windows, but of course it really means Windows 10 since that is now Microsoft’s only readily available OS. Apple on the other hand is set for a brighter future, with its operating systems set to see continued growth.
Today we arrive at the first of two 10-year anniversaries regarding iPhone: Steve Jobs unveiling the handset six months before its release -- unusual for Apple's then-CEO to pre-announce something, but necessary, with the federal regulatory rigmarole that cellular devices go through. Jobs and his management team brought the smartphone to market at great risk: Established and entrenched manufacturers, mainly Nokia, had huge distribution channels and massive amounts of research and development invested in their cellulars. iPhone debuted in one market (United States) and on a single carrier (AT&T, which concurrently rebranded). By most measures of business strategies: Insanity. But risk was a defining characteristic of Jobs' leadership style running the company.
You will read many "state of iPhone" analyses and commentaries this week spotlighting slowing sales, as buying growth plateaus in major markets (China, Europe, and the United States) and observing that Android continues to gobble global market share. The problem with iPhone is something else, and it's a metaphor for what's desperately wrong at Apple as 2017 starts: Loss of innovative mindshare; obsession with an outdated design motif; unwillingness to take meaningful risks. The company's fortunes rose with iPhone, and they will fall with it.
Android Wear devices are hardly lighting the world on fire. Heck, smartwatches in general are not particularly popular. With that said, some consumers find real value in more basic wrist-worn wearables such as the fitness-focused Fitbit. Still, there are fans of more advanced smartwatches, such as Apple Watch, too.
While Samsung has created Android Wear devices in the past, its new focus is Tizen-based "Gear" wearables that work with its Galaxy devices -- and other smartphones running Google's mobile OS. Today, Samsung announces iOS support for three of its Tizen-based Gear devices -- Gear S2, S3, and Fit2. Will iPhone users really pick this over the Apple Watch, though?
Chinese New Year 2017 starts on January 28th, and this time, the Rooster is the representative animal. On that date, there will be parties all over the world, and many collectibles featuring that fowl will be sold.
To celebrate the upcoming new year, Apple releases five free "Nianhua" folk art-inspired wallpapers for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. All of the images were created by Chinese artists using Apple hardware, such as the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple Pencil. The software used for the creations? Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Savage Interactive Procreate.
Apple users tend to spend a lot of money on apps. That much is obvious by looking at how much App Store developers earned last year. Apple puts the figure at a massive $20 billion, which, after taking into account the fact that it takes a 30 percent cut, would mean that the App Store generated -- at least -- $28.5 billion in revenue in 2016.
The actual revenue is likely to be higher -- though not by much -- because Apple also makes money in other ways, like through ads shown in the App Store's search results or Developer Program subscriptions. It just goes to show why so many major developers like it.
The year 2016 is when the United States sold its soul to Donald Trump and I signed over mine to Apple. How's that for introduction to the five favs series, joining colleagues Alan Buckingham, Brian Fagioli, and Wayne Williams? Yup. I'm an Apple whore as 2017 opens onto its second day. The fruit-logo company won back my business as I gave up the Google lifestyle. Three main reasons: 1) I believed CEO Tim Cook's privacy promises, all while my concerns about Big G information collection increased. 2) I found the visual acuity of Apple fonts and user interfaces to be far superior to Google's, which helped compensate for diminishing reading vision (later recovered through eye surgery). 3) Google's platforms proved inadequate for easily recording, producing, and publishing the Frak That! podcast (a fun side project).
My contribution to the series is a bit disingenuous, though. I wouldn't call these "My favorite tech items of 2016". They are what I bought, or was released, last year that I use most often, regardless of their benefits and flaws. Each will get belated review sometime during the next few months. Consider this story each's preview. Okay, let's get to them.