U.S. Apple Stores offer machine-applied protectors for iPhone

Apple Stores in the U.S. are now offering machine-applied screen protectors for iPhone. The service, which uses a Belkin protectors and the ScreenCare+ applicator tool, starts at $18 and is available for iPhone 6 and up. Apple Stores in Japan first began using Belkin’s tool to apply screen protectors last week, and now the service is […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Law Firms Consider ‘Error 53’ Lawsuits Against Apple as Some Stores Authorized for Repairs

Several law firms are considering lawsuits against Apple following news that the company disables iPhone 6 models that have third-party repairs that affect Touch ID, reports The Guardian. The „Error 53“ controversy started last week when news circulated about customers who have had their iPhones disabled and rendered unusable by a mysterious „error 53“ message.

It turns out Apple disables the iPhones of customers who have had unauthorized repairs on their devices. As explained in a thorough post from iFixit, a repair made by a third-party service using non-original components cannot pass a Touch ID validation check because mismatched parts don’t sync up properly.

According to an Apple spokesperson, when the iPhone’s parts can’t be properly validated because of a repair done to a component affecting the Touch ID sensor, the error message is triggered in an intentional effort to keep Touch ID and the secure enclave that stores fingerprint information safe. Damaged phones also have the potential to give the error.

„We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor. When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated. This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure.“

A UK barrister told The Guardian disabling iPhones „could potentially be viewed as an offense“ under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, which covers the destruction of property, and a Seattle-based law firm, PVCA said it wants to bring a class action lawsuit against Apple, calling on affected customers to get in contact. PVCA is planning to represent customers for free and has outlined the issue on its website, suggesting Apple is violating consumer laws by forcing customers to use Apple-sanctioned repair services.

We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops. Where you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for $50-80, Apple charges $129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.

Apple may be planning to proactively head off lawsuits and assuage customer outrage. MacRumors has heard from a retail source that certain Apple Stores have received the go ahead from Apple to replace third-party screens and other third-party components to resolve the error 53 issue. The standard out-of-warranty fee is charged for the repairs and the replacement of non-genuine parts with Apple parts is limited to those affected by the error.

It is not yet clear if all Apple Stores have been authorized to repair error 53 iPhones as Apple’s only official statement is that it’s a security measure required to prevent fraudulent Touch ID sensors from being installed.

Tag: Error 53
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Pebble Update Introduces Custom Messages, Health Improvements

Pebble today announced multiple updates for its line of Pebble smart watches, introducing new messaging options and new health features for Pebble owners.

Pebble owners who use iOS devices are now able to reply to incoming text messages with custom messages instead of the standard canned responses. Custom text replies are available to all iOS users who have text replies enabled from a compatible carrier.

Pebble Health, the fitness tracking app Pebble introduced in December for Pebble Time watches, has a new API that lets Pebble Health stats be added to apps and watch faces. The health tracking feature is also more accurate and is able to show distance in kilometers or miles.

New Pebble Time Firmware 3.9 introduces incoming MMS messages with descriptive icons and text, and it introduces speed improvements for Pebble Time and Time Steel. There’s also an improved Watch-Only mode, which introduces better power saving options when the watch battery is critically low.

The update is available through the Pebble Time iOS app, available from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Super-exclusive dating app Hanky is soaking up some outrage

A dating app has what sounds like a noble and magnanimous purpose, but some members of the LGBTQ community aren’t seeing it that way. Hanky is for gay men who want to avoid “creeps, time­wasters, and fake profiles.” And to that end, it’s really tough to get in. You either need an invite code or […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Doom gets a new level by co-creator John Romero, 22 years after original release

If you’ve been hankering for a new Doom level, you’re in luck, as co-creator of the original title John Romero, has released a new level for free for the 22 year old title. Read more…

Shockingly advanced travel mug will protect you from lukewarm coffee

Travel mug by Zojirushi There’s unquestionable power in an object that does one thing and does it well. Consider the lowly travel mug — it’s a common commodity among the world’s coffee-swilling commuters, and yet the standard design lets us down repeatedly. How does it fail us? It doesn’t keep our coffee hot for long. […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


With the release of Windows Server 2016, licensing to move from socket to core

Perhaps in a bid to combat lost revenue for the striking amount of cores per processor now available on the market, Microsoft is now moving from ‘socket’ to ‘core’ with it’s new licensing. Read more…

Someone made a playable version of XCOM in Microsoft Excel

A programmer has created a playable version of XCOM in Microsoft Excel using Visual Basic for Applications. The game includes specialist classes, perks, destructible terrain and even a level editor. Read more…

Xbox Store Black Friday sales are now live

The first wave of Black Friday discounts on Xbox One and Xbox 360 are now live, offering price drops on over 150 Xbox titles. Gold memberships are also reduced over the forthcoming ten day period. Read more…

Mozilla makes Firefox OS 2.5 Developer Preview available for Android devices

Alongside the global launch of the Firefox OS 2.5, Mozilla has released the Developer Preview version of the OS as an app for Android devices which can be used in building or testing apps. Read more…