Mark Wycislik-Wilson

The iPhone 6 is Apple's most problematic handset -- over a fifth suffer some form of failure

Broken phone screens

When you spend a few hundred dollars on a phone, you expect it to last you a while. But if you splashed out on an iPhone 6 there's a very high change that you've experienced some sort of problem with your handset.

A report shows that the iPhone 6 is by far Apple's least reliable handset, with a staggering 22 percent of them suffering failures. The iPhone 6S isn't far behind, and for Android users, Samsung handsets fare poorly too.

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Apple offers free Beats and big discounts in its Back to School promotion

MacBook Pro and Beats headphones

From now until September 25, Apple is running a Back to School promotion, and there are some great offers for students.

If you qualify, you can bag yourself a free pair of Beats headphones or earphones when you buy a Mac or iPad Pro -- including the Powerbeats3 Wireless in new Beats Pop Collection colors. There are also special deals on accessories and AppleCare.

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A new free version of Microsoft Teams is ready to compete with Slack

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has launched a free version of Teams, the company's collaborative chat tool. Teams has pitted itself against the likes of Slack since it first appeared, but the arrival of a free edition makes it a viable alternative.

As this is a free product, it should come as no surprise that there are limitations. However, the free edition of Microsoft Team can still be used by up to 300 people -- the same as the Essentials and Premium versions -- which should be enough to cater for most small to medium sized businesses.

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Apple starts selling exclusive Blackmagic eGPU to boost MacBook Pro performance

Blackmagic eGPU

As well as refreshing its MacBook Pro line-up, Apple today started to sell the $699 Blackmagic eGPU. This 8GB external GPU features a Radeon Pro 580 to bring more graphic horsepower to laptop users.

The aim is to bring desktop-level power to laptop users when they are working on graphic-intensive projects. At a shade under $700, it's not a cheap piece of hardware, but it also doubles up as something of a docking station.

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Chrome's RAM usage is higher than ever as Google introduces Site Isolation to fight Spectre

Chrome icon with a padlock

Google's Chrome browser may be popular, but you'll find a lot of its users complain about high memory usage. With Chrome 67, things just got even worse.

If you've noticed that Chrome on the desktop is using more RAM, you're not imagining it. Google has enabled a Site Isolation feature in Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS to help mitigate against the Spectre vulnerability -- and it's a bit memory-hungry.

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New Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2 CPU vulnerabilities exposed

Spectre logo on CPU

It seems that the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities saga is never-ending, and now there are two new related CPU flaws to add to the mix. Dubbed Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2, the vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-3693) exploit speculative execution and can modify data and bypass sandboxes.

Two security researchers have disclosed details of the new vulnerabilities, both of which have the potential to leak sensitive data. By tinkering with the speculative execution processes of Intel and ARM CPUs, it would be possible to use malicious code to extract information such as passwords and crypto keys.

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Your Twitter follower count is about to drop as part of a clean-up operation

Twitter icon on an iPad

Over the coming week, you may well notice that you lose a number of Twitter followers. Don't worry, it's (probably) not the result of something you said -- Twitter is having a spring clean and is cutting locked accounts from follower numbers.

The company says that the change is being introduced so that everyone's follower counts are "meaningful and accurate" and that they are something people can have confidence in. So just how many followers are you likely to lose?

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Timehop admits its security breach was worse than first thought

Timehop on mobile

The security breach suffered by Timehop on July 4 was much more serious than the company first thought. In an update to its original announcement, the company has revealed that while the number of account affected by the breach -- 21 million -- has not changed, the range of personal data accessed by hackers is much broader.

Timehop has released an updated timeline of events, having initially felt forced by new GDPR rules to publish some details of the breach before all information had been gathered. The company says that it is also unsure of where it stands with GDPR, and is working with specialists and EU authorities to ensure compliance.

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Canonical releases Minimal Ubuntu for servers, containers and the cloud

Stacked Ubuntu logo

There's a new version of Ubuntu on the block -- Minimal Ubuntu. It's been stripped right back to the bone to leave a tiny footprint, and these back Linux distros  should boot 40 percent faster than a standard Ubuntu server image. Despite the reduced footprint size, Minimal Ubuntu retains all of Ubuntu's standard tools (such as ssh, apt and snapd) and maintain full compatibility.

Designed for cloud developers and ops, Canonical says that the release is intended for completely automated operations, and as such much of the user-friendliness has been stripped out, but it's still ideal for used in KVM, Google Computer Engine and AWS.

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Arch Linux AUR packages found to be laced with malware

Arch Linux

Three Arch Linux packages have been pulled from AUR (Arch User Repository) after they were discovered to contain malware. The PDF viewer acroread and two other packages that are yet to be named were taken over by a malicious user after they were abandoned by their original authors.

A user by the name of xeactor took ownership of acroread and tweaked the source code of the package, lacing it with malware. In this particular instance there were no major consequences, but it highlights the security issues associated with user-submitted software.

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Leaked: The P in Android P stands for...

Pistachios

For a little while now it has been thought that the P in Android P stood for Popsicle -- based largely on speculation and the fact Google shared some popsicle-related images on Instagram. But it seems that this is wrong.

A new leak -- this time courtesy of Huawei -- suggests that Google has gone with a nutty theme for the upcoming Android 9.0.

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Hide your viewing and search history with YouTube Incognito Mode

YouTube logo in hand

Chrome's Incognito Mode is handy for those times you want to hide your browsing history from others on a shared system -- whether it's because you want to keep a birthday gift secret, or there are just sites you visit that you’d rather keep private.

Now the same feature is coming to YouTube. Having already undergone a period of testing, Incognito Mode is rolling out to Android users around the world, making it easy to hide evidence of the videos you have been watching, or the type of content you have been searching for.

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Apple releases iOS 11.4.1 with passcode cracking blocker -- that can be easily bypassed with an accessory it sells

iPhone passcode

Apple is working away on iOS 12 at the moment, but it's still pushing out updates for iOS 11. As promised just a few weeks ago, a new update aims to block the use of iPhone passcode cracking tools, such as those used by law enforcement. But the patch has already been found to be flawed.

The latest update to iOS introduces a new USB Restricted Mode which is supposed to prevent the Lightning port of an iPhone or iPad being used to transfer data an hour after the device is locked. However, security researchers discovered that it is possible to bypass this security feature by plugging in an "untrusted USB accessory" -- and Apple sells such a device for just $39.

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Microsoft Surface Go now available to pre-order

Microsoft Surface Go

There might be interest in a Surface Phone, but for now there's the Surface Go to enjoy. Revealed late yesterday, the Surface Go is described as Microsoft's "smallest, lightest Surface yet" -- and it's available to pre-order right now.

Unfortunately, there's no discount for jumping on a pre-order, but if you're quick, you should be able to guarantee that you'll get one when it launches on August 2. The tablet will cost you $399, but you'll need to purchase a Signature Type Cover separately if you want to type rather than using the on-screen keyboard, and a Surface Pen if you like the idea of stylus operation.

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Google Pay gains support for tickets and boarding cards, friend and family payments, and a web app

Google Pay boarding passes

Google continues to expand the capabilities of Google Pay, and today the company launched a new series of updates. Catching up with the likes of Apple Pay, Google's own digital wallet can now be used to store boarding cards and tickets.

While this is something that is already catered for by other apps -- such as those from airlines and box offices -- Google is clearly hoping that its "everything under one roof" approach will attract users. In addition to the new ticketing option, Google Pay is also combining the Google Pay and Google Pay Send apps.

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