One of the undeniable highlights of Apple's iPhone X is Face ID -- the face recognition technology that makes it possible to unlock a phone with a glance. While exciting and impressive, many people have security and privacy concerns about the feature, and last month Senator Al Franken wrote to Apple asking a series of questions and outlining his worries.
Apple has now responded to Franken, just ahead of the launch of the iPhone X in a little over two weeks. The company points to a series of documents that have already been made public, but also goes on to provide some detail about how Face ID data is stored and used.
In an effort to continue to charge Apple for the use of its patents in mainland China, Qualcomm has filed lawsuits against the company with the end goal of stopping the production and sale of iPhones in China.
The suits were filed by the mobile chip manufacturer in an intellectual property court in Beijing. Qualcomm claims that Apple has violated its patents and the company is seeking injunctive relief over the misuse of its IP.
"iPhone jailbreaking is dead" reads the headline. Four words signaling the end of a 10-year long battle between Apple and those who wanted open control of their iOS devices. Here is an admission in black and white that prominent members of the jailbreaking community are giving up on attacking iOS devices. Apple created a system where their engineers, like soldiers in a castle under siege, were able to outlast the besieging army; throwing back assault after assault, until the attackers, deciding the siege was no longer worthwhile, packed up and headed home.
Ten years ago, finding a jailbreak was fairly doable, though it required skill. As iOS jailbreaks became harder to find, however, they became more valuable. Zerodium publicly announced it would pay $1 million, now increased to $1.5 million, for a remote jailbreak flaw (e.g. remote code execution) on iOS. This effectively priced the jailbreak community out of the market for iOS vulnerabilities. Markets only assign commodities such value when they are rare and difficult to obtain. If somehow you remain unconvinced, consider that the last publicly available untethered (e.g. persistent across reboots) jailbreak was discovered over a year ago, and was part of the government-quality attack tool Pegasus. The current generation of jailbreaks require the user to run a jailbreak app every time they reboot.
Last month, Apple released iTunes 12.7 which -- to the surprise and disappointment of many -- stripped out the App Store. Now, seemingly realizing that some people still want, or need, access to the Store from the desktop, Apple has release iTunes 12.6.3.
The 'new' version of the software sees the return of the App Store, but Apple has made the release a quiet one. Although this is technically an older version than that which was previously released, there's still support for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iOS 11.
EFF criticizes iOS 11's 'misleading' Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles for being a privacy and security risk
The strange, unintuitive way Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles work in iOS 11 has drawn ire from many quarters. The latest voice is that of digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which says that the "off-ish" setting now offered is misleading.
As we have covered in a previous story, Apple has changed the behaviour of the two toggles so that when they are flicked to the off position, the Bluetooth and wireless radios are not actually switched off. EFF says that this is "bad for user security" and calls for greater clarity from Apple.
With the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and iOS 11, a persistent rumor resurfaced. There has long been speculation that Apple deliberately slows down older iPhones in an attempt to encourage people to upgrade to the latest models.
Benchmarking firm Futuremark notes that around the launch of the new iPhones, there was a surge in Google searches for "iPhone slow" -- but are people's fears actually founded in anything? Futuremark is in exactly the right line of work to set the record straight, and its test results really speak for themselves.
Following a somewhat problematic initial release of iOS, Apple pushed out iOS 11.0.2 to fix a number of issues. But people are already looking forward to the next incremental, non-bug-fixing release. This is iOS 11.1, and Apple has revealed a little of what we can expect.
iPad and iPhone users are to be treated to a new batch of emoji -- hundreds of new ones in total -- encompassing "more emotive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters, clothing options, food types, animals, mythical creatures and more."
Since macOS is a Unix-based operating system, it is often seen as being stable and secure. For the most part, the OS is. With that said, it is not perfect, and certainly not infallible. Quite frankly, no operating system is impervious to security issues.
Unfortunately for Apple, its latest and greatest desktop operating system, macOS High Sierra 10.13, has some very serious flaws. First, it was discovered that the supposedly secure keychain password system could be easily infiltrated by malware. Arguably worse, it was then discovered that encrypted APFS disks had their passwords erroneously saved in plain text in the "hint" field. Yeah, that is not only bad, but embarrassing too. Both of these issues were patched today, however, with the emergency "Supplemental Update."
Even though smartphone manufacturers rigorously test new devices before releasing them into the market, defects sometimes do make it into production. In the best-case scenario, you can live with them. Sometimes though, you get one so serious that the manufacturer has to recall the smartphone -- take the Galaxy Note7 for example, which had the bad habit of catching fire spontaneously.
Apple seems to have a potentially major problem of its own with the iPhone 8 Plus. A number of users are claiming that their new smartphone has split open while charging, effectively turning it into a very expensive brick.
Apple's launch of the iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3 has certainly not been without its problems. Buyers of the latest addition to the iPhone range have complained about crackling audio, while owners of the new smartwatch have been less than impressed by problematic LTE and battery life.
Now Apple has pushed out a couple of updates that should help with the issues -- watchOS 4.0.1, and iOS 11.0.2.
The European Union has ordered Amazon to repay €250m ($294m) after it ruled that the retailer was granted illegal state aid by Luxembourg. The tax advantage dates back to 2003, but Amazon says that it is considering making an appeal.
At the same time, the European Commission has announced that it is going to sue the Irish government for failing to collect €13bn ($15.3bn) in tax from Apple. The Irish government will need to defend itself in the European Court of Justice for failing to gather money from the iPhone-maker following a 2016 ruling by the commission.
The iPhone is rarely the first smartphone to bring a new technology to market, but when Apple decides to implement a novel feature it typically gets it right from the start. This also seems to be the case with the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X, which is said to be a few years ahead of the Android competition.
TrueDepth works as an iris scanner and front-facing camera on the iPhone X and, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's rivals will need around two and a half years to offer the same level of functionality on their Android smartphones.
A judge has ruled that the FBI will not have to reveal any details about the hacking tool it bought to crack the iPhone at the center of the San Bernardino shooting case back in early 2016.
Following a Freedom of Information request by Vice News, USA Today and the Associated Press, federal judge Tanya Chutkan ruled in favor of the FBI, meaning that the agency will be able to keep this information secret.
For some time now, Apple has regularly released the source code for the shared iOS and macOS kernel. That the company has done so again might not be news, but Apple has, for the first time, released the source code for the ARM versions of the kernel.
Pushed to GitHub, the source code gives anyone who likes the idea of seeing exactly what makes iOS and macOS tick the opportunity to do just that.
In the wake of big storms recently, the National Association of Broadcasters and the FCC has piled the pressure on Apple to enable the FM radio in iPhones so they might be used for emergency broadcasts.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai went as far as issuing a statement saying that "Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted" enabling FM chips in its phones. There's just one problem, as Apple points out. The iPhone simply doesn't have an FM chip to enable.