With a little puck, you won’t miss 3.5mm jack on iPhone

Your next iPhone probably won’t have a headphone jack, and Sean Nelson is telling you to get over it. But he says so gently by offering iPhone fans a glimpse of what a jackless future might look like. The industrial design student has drawn up one way Apple or any other third-party company might bridge […]

(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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Apple Seeds Third OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming OS X 10.11.4 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second OS X 10.11.4 beta and three weeks after releasing OS X 10.11.3. OS X 10.11.4 has been in testing since January 11.

The third OS X 10.11.4 beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or via the Software Update Mechanism in the Mac App Store.

OS X 10.11.4 offers a couple of new features, such as the ability to support password protected notes in the Notes app, but like the recent OS X 10.11.3 update, it appears to focus primarily on under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements with few noticeable outward-facing changes. Almost all of Apple’s OS X updates to date have been smaller updates that improve performance rather than introduce new features.

We’ll update this post with any features or significant changes that are discovered in the third beta of OS X 10.11.4.

Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan
Tag: OS X 10.11.4
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Apple Planning to Open Third Retail Store in Turkey in 2016

Apple is preparing to open a third retail store in Turkey, reports MacReports, citing a source familiar with the company’s plans. Set to open in Istanbul, the store will launch later in 2016.

Apple is said to be in the process of hiring for retail positions at the store and has posted advertisements on job sites in Turkey. The store will reportedly be located at the Emaar Square Mall in Istanbul. Still under constriction, the Emaar Square Mall will feature 491 stores and restaurants, a hotel, and apartment space for residents.

Emaar Square rendering, via MacReports

When it launches, the Emaar Square Apple Store will be the third Apple retail location in Istanbul, joining retail stores at Zorlu Mall and Akasya Mall, both of which opened in 2014. Turkey’s Zorlu store opened with quite a fanfare as it featured a unique design with an all glass exterior.

Tags: Turkey, Emaar Square
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Siri’s crazy math skills make for a killer bass beat in epic video rap

Okay, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen Siri do: multiply one trillion to the tenth power to lay down a hypnotic background beat for a bunch of cool kids to rap to. The original video was uploaded by Robin Babu, who asked his iPhone’s digital assistant to do some math that resulted in […]

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


Now we know exactly which cars have CarPlay

Apple’s finally getting specific about how well adoption of its CarPlay protocol is going. A list appeared on the company’s website today confirming that over half of the manufacturers it has partnered with have announced specific models of vehicles that will receive the functionality. If you’re wondering which cars have CarPlay, you have over a […]

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


Bluetooth speakers that light up your ears and party space

If music is one of the lights of your life, then shouldn’t your speakers shine, too? Acoustic Research introduced a new line of wireless speakers that offer quality sound, a design attractive indoors and out and a customizable, multi-color LED light to fit the mood of your music and social scene. Acoustic Research debuted the […]

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


AT&T to Stop Offering Two-Year Phone Contracts Starting January 8

Starting on January 8, 2016, AT&T plans to introduce a „pricing simplification effort“ that will see the end of device subsidies and two-year contracts. According to an internal training document shared by Engadget, new and existing AT&T customers will only be able to purchase a smartphone at full price or with an AT&T Next payment plan going forward.

As outlined in the document, the new rules apply to all of the phones that AT&T sells, including smartphones and more basic devices, which will be paid for using new installment plans. More information on how AT&T will handle corporate accounts and non-smartphone devices like tablets and wearables will become available after an official announcement from AT&T, but it appears certain corporate users will be able to continue making two-year contract purchases.

The shift away from two-year contracts and iPhone subsidies began with T-Mobile in 2013, when the company introduced its Un-carrier payment plans uncoupling device costs from plan costs. Verizon followed suit in August of 2015, debuting new smartphone rate plans and eliminating its subsidized two-year contract option for new users.

Existing Verizon customers can still renew their two-year contracts, but AT&T’s no-contract implementation is more extreme and will not offer existing customers the option to keep their contracts once they expire.

AT&T has already been working on shifting away from two-year contracts by pushing its Next plans. In June of 2015, AT&T forced Apple and other third-party retailers to remove the option to purchase AT&T phones with a two-year contract, leaving customers with AT&T Next or a full-priced smartphone as their only third-party purchase options.

Update: AT&T has confirmed its plans to stop offering two-year contracts in a statement given to Re/code.

„With $0 down for well-qualified customers, the ability to upgrade early and down-payment options available with even lower monthly installments, our customers are overwhelmingly choosing AT&T Next,“ AT&T told Re/code. „Starting January 8, AT&T Next will be the primary way to get a new smartphone at AT&T.“

Tag: AT&T
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Required Windows Live Mail 2012 update cripples the app for some users

The new and required update for Windows Live Mail 2012 seems to have more effects than just fixing synchronisation for Outlook/Hotmail, as it can crash Windows Live Mail. Read more…

Apple Expands iTunes Carrier Billing Initiative to Russia

Apple has implemented a carrier billing feature that lets Russian customers purchase iTunes content like apps, movies, music, and books using a phone number, reports CNBC. Purchases made with a phone number linked to an iTunes account are then added to a user’s monthly cellular telephone bill without the need for a credit card, debit card, or iTunes gift card.

For its new mobile payment initiative, Apple has teamed up with Beeline, the third largest wireless operator in Russia. Beeline’s Russian site says the mobile billing feature is now available to Beeline customers in the country, with the payments powered by San Francisco-based company Boku.

Apple’s partnership with Beeline comes a month after it established a similar partnership with German carrier O2. As of late October, O2 customers are also able to link a phone number to their iTunes accounts to purchase iTunes content that’s added to a monthly cellular phone bill.

According to CNBC, Apple has started expanding into carrier billing due to lower carrier rates. While carriers have charged as much as 10 to 30 percent to handle transactions in the past, Apple has secured a deal with better rates „in the single digits.“

Apple’s carrier billing partner Boku has partnered with dozens of carriers around the globe, so it’s likely Apple will continue to expand its carrier billing initiative to more countries in the future. Boku works with all of the major carriers in the United States and has established partnerships in countries like Germany, France, Korea, the UK, and more.

Tags: iTunes Store, iTunes, carrier billing, Boku, Beeline
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