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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YouTube Launches New YouTube Music Service and iOS App

YouTube today unveiled YouTube Music, a streaming music service and app designed to compete with existing streaming music offerings like Apple Music and Spotify. YouTube Music is part of YouTube Red, the ad-free subscription service YouTube announced last month.

The new YouTube Music app is available for both iOS and Android devices, bringing the YouTube Music service to a wide range of smartphones and tablets. YouTube Music, which offers both songs and accompanying music videos, includes both an ad-supported free tier and a paid ad-free version that’s tied to a user’s YouTube Red subscription. YouTube Red costs $9.99 per month (or $12.99 in the iOS app to account for Apple’s 30 percent cut), but users can sign up for a free14-day YouTube Music trial when downloading the app.

Paying for YouTube Music via YouTube Red allows listeners to and stream songs on-demand, create playlists, and listen without ads. Music can also be saved and listened to offline. Without a subscription, users can still listen to songs and watch videos, but the service will include ads.

Like other streaming music services, YouTube Music lets users search for content, but it also includes curated lists of the top songs of the week and a section on music that’s trending. It also has dedicated artist pages with additional album recommendations as a way to discover content, and it offers a music library that includes classic videos, concert footage, live recordings, and other content that’s not available on other services.

The YouTube Music app for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Access to Past Beats 1 Radio Shows Now Limited to Apple Music Subscribers

Access to Apple Music’s Beats 1: Replay feature, which allows users to listen to previously broadcast Beats 1 radio shows, is now limited only to Apple Music subscribers. MacRumors readers and users on reddit have both noticed a recent change that no longer allows those without an Apple Music subscription to access Beats 1 radio segments they’ve missed.

According to the reddit thread, past Beats 1 radio shows became inaccessible to non-subscribers approximately two weeks ago. The Apple Music Help Twitter account has confirmed that Beats 1 Replays now require an active Apple Music subscription.

The Beats 1: Replay feature was first introduced in early August when all Apple Music users were still under the free three-month trial period. It offers full show replays with guests, commentary, and music. Without access to Beats 1: Replay, those who do not subscribe to Apple Music will only be able to listen to missed Beats 1 radio content by catching it on the second playthrough, 12 hours after the first airing.

Attempting to access a past Beats 1 radio show via an artist’s page now brings up an Apple Music login screen for non-subscribers, while subscribers are still able to access the content. Playlists are also inaccessible, but content uploaded to a Beats 1 radio DJ’s connect page, such as select interviews, can be listened to without a subscription.

Access to past Beats 1 shows is not the only feature limited to Apple Music subscribers. Asking Siri questions about music charts, such as „What was the top song in March of last year?“ is off limits to non-subscribers. Siri tells non-subscribers that an Apple Music subscription is required, likely because these music chart questions cause the song in question to begin playing.

Apple’s decision to limit past Beats 1 shows to Apple Music subscribers has undoubtedly been done in an effort to encourage Beats 1 radio fans to purchase a subscription, which is priced at $9.99 per month for individuals and $14.99 for families. In a recent interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Music had 6.5 million paying customers along with 8.5 million still on the free trial.

(Thanks, Adam!)

Tag: Apple Music
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Nomad Review: The Pod is an Apple Watch Stand Made for Off-the-Grid Travel With its Built-In Battery

The Nomad Pod, with its built-in battery, is one of a small selection of Apple Watch stands able to offer functionality beyond simply holding the Apple Watch charger in a more accessible position. Priced at $60, the Pod is a compact, modern-looking Apple Watch stand that’s small enough to fit in a backpack or bag and able to keep the Apple Watch’s battery full when traveling away from the grid for a few days.

I’ve been testing the Pod for several weeks now to see how it stacks up against other Apple Watch docking options on the market, both as a travel companion and as a stand at home on my desk.

Setup and Design

The circular Pod is made up of two pieces: a plastic and aluminum base that holds the Apple Watch charger and cord in place, and an aluminum faceplate that snaps on over the base to hide the cord from view. The Pod is made from brushed aluminum in Silver or Space Gray that matches Apple’s MacBook, iPhone, and iPad lineups, and its minimal design will let it fit into almost any decor.

Size wise, the Pod fits into the palm of a hand and is quite similar to a hockey puck both in diameter and thickness. It can potentially fit in a generously sized pants pocket or a jacket pocket, but its thickness and round shape makes that less than comfortable. At one side, there’s a micro-USB port to charge the Pod itself, a button that activates the Pod’s charging function, and a 4-LED indicator for displaying battery life. It also ships with a Nomad-branded micro-USB cable.

The Pod’s setup instructions are overly simple, but setting up the Pod isn’t difficult. You can start by placing the Apple Watch charger in the cutout in the Pod, or by plugging the USB end into the Pod’s USB port. I recommend starting from the back, plugging the USB side in first. It’s a little tricky to get it lined up right, but it didn’t take me more than a few seconds to get it plugged in.

Once the USB side of the Apple Watch charging cable is in place, the next step is to wrap the cord around the outside of the Pod until there’s little enough cord left that the Apple Watch charger can be put in place through one of nine grooves. The Pod ships with a foam insert, which needs to be used with the stainless steel Apple Watch charger because it’s slightly thinner than the plastic charger the Apple Watch Sport ships with. That will make sure the Apple Watch charger sits flush with the Pod when the aluminum cover is in place.

With a 1m Apple Watch charger, winding up the cable around the base is no problem, but things are tricker with the longer 2m cord. With the longer cord, it needs to be wound very tightly or the aluminum cover won’t fit properly. For that reason, I’d recommend using this with a 1m Apple Watch charger. With either variety, 1m or 2m, setting up the Pod is a lot easier than the other battery-equipped Apple Watch dock I reviewed, the Boostcase Bloc. Since set up is relatively easy, it’s also not that much of a hassle to take the Apple Watch charger out when necessary.

Once the cord is wound up, the aluminum top piece of the Pod fits over the bottom part, hiding the cord from view for a neat, clean look. The cover snaps into place magnetically with two magnets, so it’s not going to come apart in a backpack, and at the bottom, there’s a rubber pad to hold it in place on a desk.

Due to the shape of the Pod, it’s only going to work well with open-loop bands like the Apple Watch Sport. It’s possible to use it with closed-loop bands like the Milanese Loop, but why spend the money on a stand that’s going to require it to be opened flat when there are so many others on the market? For most users, the hassle of having to fully open a closed-loop band to use with the Pod isn’t going to be worth it.

The Pod is not compatible with Nightstand Mode in iOS 9 because the Apple Watch needs to be flat to charge. That’s going to be a deal breaker for some users, but not everyone is going to want to use Nightstand Mode.

For charging, the Apple Watch sits atop the Pod, with the bottom lined up with the embedded Apple Watch charger. It’s simple to put the Apple Watch in the right position, and with the foam insert, my stainless steel Apple Watch had no problems charging on the Pod.

Battery Life

The Pod has an 1,800 mAh battery built in, which Nomad advertises as long enough to „get through a long weekend.“ That seemed about right in my testing. With the 38mm Apple Watch with a 205mAh battery, I got just over three full charges both times that I tested the Pod with a fully-charged Pod and an Apple Watch that had its battery drained.

The 42mm Apple Watch has a larger battery so the Pod may not give that device a full three charges, but most of us probably aren’t draining our Apple Watches entirely on a day-by-day basis.

With passthrough charging, both the Pod dock and the Apple Watch can be charged simultaneously using the aforementioned mini Nomad micro-USB dongle. The micro-USB dongle is somewhat useful when traveling to charge through a MacBook, but for home use, a longer micro-USB cable would have been preferable.

Without a longer micro-USB cable, there’s no way to charge the Pod while it’s placed on a desk or a nightstand. It needs to be removed from the desktop and charged via MacBook or a USB charger plugged into an outlet, a task that I found to be a hassle. I used a self-supplied micro-USB cable so it could sit on my desk and I unplugged it and moved it around as necessary for charging on the go.

The Pod’s wind-up design is nice because it hides the Apple Watch cable, but you’re still going to have to deal with a micro-USB cord or fuss with charging it through the included micro-USB dongle.

When charging an Apple Watch with the Pod when it isn’t plugged in, it’s important to make sure to press the button on the side of the Pod to activate it. Without the button press, it’s not going to charge the Apple Watch, something that I discovered after waking up to a dead device.

Bottom Line

The ultimate portable travel charger for the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch charging cable all on its own. It’s light, takes up little space, and when most of us travel, we have access to something to plug it into. That said, for someone who often goes camping or takes short trips where there is no access to power, the Nomad Pod’s built-in battery will keep the Apple Watch at full power.

For a lot of users, the Nomad Pod is not going to be a better solution than the Apple Watch charger paired with a higher-capacity standalone battery pack, because such a setup is a lot more versatile since it can be used to charge other devices. But for someone who wants portability, a built-in battery, and doesn’t want to hassle with a loose 1m or 2m cable, the Pod is a good solution.

Having the Apple Watch cord out of sight is a plus, but the Pod itself still needs to be charged, so you’re just exchanging one cable for another. The Pod’s micro-USB dongle is arguably less convenient to use than the Apple Watch cord plugged directly into a wall, but someone who likes the look of a cordless desktop might not mind charging the Pod every couple of days.

I would not recommend the Pod for Apple Watch owners who use it primarily with a closed-loop band like the Milanese Loop, because having to open up the band each night and close it again in the morning is an extra, unnecessary step when there are other stands and other portable charging options available. I would also not recommend it to anyone looking to use Apple’s Nightstand Mode, because it’s incompatible.

Pros:

Built-in battery
Clean, cordless look
Solid construction
Simple set up
Portable

Cons:

Micro-USB dongle is too short
Micro-USB dongle is easy to lose
No Nightstand Mode
Not easily compatible with closed-loop bands
1,800 mAh battery only works for 3 charges

How to Buy

The Pod can be purchased from the Nomad website for $59.95. It’s also available in Best Buy retail stores, but it’s better to buy from Nomad directly as the Pod is priced at $70 from Best Buy.



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Video Review: The SVALT D’s Built-In Fan Sets it Apart From Other MacBook Docks

The Svalt D is a MacBook dock with a unique feature – a built in cooling fan that’s designed to keep a MacBook’s temperature down when used in clamshell mode with an external monitor. Keeping the MacBook cool helps prevent processor throttling due to the high temperatures a MacBook is subjected to when in clamshell mode.

We went hands-on with the Svalt D to test the claims that it reduces temperature and speeds up performance, and we were impressed with how it worked.

Made up of a two-pound block of aluminum, the Svalt D is an attractive, sturdy stand that matches well with Apple’s line of MacBooks. The Svalt D houses a small stand that moves air through a MacBook, and thanks to an adjustable rubber foot, it’s compatible with all of Apple’s notebooks.

To test the Svalt D, we exported two different videos from a MacBook, with and without the dock. Without using the dock, exporting a video took 15 minutes and caused the temperature of the MacBook to rise to 121 degrees Fahrenheit. With the stand, our video exported in 14 minutes and the stand kept the MacBook at 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a 16 degree difference.

Our one complaint about the Svalt D concerned the two modes of the fan. There’s a normal mode and a silent mode, but switching between them requires using a special standalone cable, which is a bit of a hassle and an extra expense. Luckily, both modes are relatively quiet and don’t make as much noise as a MacBook fan, but the silent mode is definitely a better choice for users who want the quietest possible performance.

In our opinion, the Svalt D is a solid dock that lives up to its claims, keeping your MacBook cool when it’s used with an external monitor. The Svalt D is available in Silver and Black and can be purchased from the Svalt D website for $149.95. The Silence Adapter is available for $8.95.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.



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This iOS puzzle game is a steampunk Flappy Bird with a twist

Anyone who enjoyed last year’s smash hit Flappy Bird should take a minute to check out the excellently (if ironically) titled new iOS puzzler, Red Game Without A Great Name. Putting you in control of a mechanical bird manoeuvring its way through 60 levels of steampunk-inspired obstacles, the game takes a page from the Flappy Bird playbook, […]

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AppleCare for Mac Now Covers Batteries Retaining Less Than 80% Capacity

Just a few days after updating the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch to cover batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity within the extended warranty period, Apple has extended the same policy to the AppleCare Protection Plan for the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro.

Apple previously only replaced defective batteries under the old terms of the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac, although a support page updated today now outlines that the company will replace a notebook’s battery at no charge if it retains less than 80% of its original capacity. If the Mac is not covered by AppleCare, replacing the battery requires paying an out-of-warranty service charge ranging between $129 and $199.

The new battery terms of the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac:

„Your Apple One Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. If you purchased an AppleCare Protection Plan for your Mac notebook with a non-removable battery, Apple will replace the notebook battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity. If you don’t have coverage, you can have the battery replaced for a fee.“

Mac notebooks with built-in batteries:

MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) and later
All MacBook Airs
All MacBook Pros with Retina display
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) and later; MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) and later

AppleCare for Mac extends the computer’s warranty coverage and telephone technical support to three years from the original date of purchase. Without an AppleCare Protection Plan, Mac customers are covered by a limited one-year warranty and 90 days of complimentary phone support. AppleCare for Mac costs between $99 and $349 depending on the model of desktop computer or notebook.

Apple retail staff have been informed of the new policy which is effective immediately.



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AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Now Covers Batteries That Retain Less Than 80% of Original Capacity

Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for Apple Watch to cover batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity within the extended warranty period, whereas it previously covered battery depletion of 50% or more from original capacity. The change applies to all models of the Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition where sold.

Apple will replace Apple Watch batteries that do not live up to the 80% specification free of charge as long as the device is within its AppleCare+ coverage period. Otherwise, the iPhone maker charges $79 for out-of-warranty battery service for all Apple Watch batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity per Apple’s diagnostic testing, plus a $6.95 shipping charge if required.

The new battery terms of AppleCare+ for Apple Watch in the United States and Canada:

„If during the Plan Term, you submit a valid claim by notifying Apple that (i) a defect in materials and workmanship has arisen in the Covered Equipment, or (ii) the capacity of the Covered Equipment’s battery to hold an electrical charge is less than eighty percent (80%) of its original specifications, Apple will either (a) repair the defect at no charge, using new parts or parts that are equivalent to new in performance and reliability, or (b) exchange the Covered Equipment, with a replacement product that is new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability.“

Apple has designed the Apple Watch battery to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 1000 complete charge cycles, which gives the watch’s battery a lifespan of about two-and-a-half to three years based on fully charging the wrist-worn device once per day. Apple Watch has all-day battery life of 18 hours on a single charge based on mixed usage, and lasts up to 72 hours in Power Reserve mode.

AppleCare+ extends an Apple Watch’s warranty coverage to two years from the date of purchase for the Sport and Watch, and three years for Edition, and provides accidental damage coverage for up to two incidents. Without AppleCare+, purchases of the Apple Watch Sport and the stainless steel Apple Watch are covered by a limited one-year warranty and 90 days of complimentary phone support.

AppleCare+ costs $49, $59 and $1,500 for the Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition models respectively, while accidental damage coverage is subject to an additional service charge of $69 for Sport, $79 for Watch and $1,000 for Edition. Apple also sells AppleCare+ combo plans for Apple Watch and iPhone for $149 (Sport and iPhone), $169 (Watch and iPhone) and $1,600 (Edition and iPhone).





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