Australian teen pleads guilty to hacking Apple

An Australian teenager pleaded guilty today to charges over repeatedly hacking into Apple’s computer systems, The Age reports. He reportedly was able to access authorized keys, view customer accounts and download 90GB of secure files before being caught. Once alerted to the repeated intrusions, Apple blocked the teen and notified the FBI of the breaches. The agency in turn contacted the Australian Federal Police who raided the teenager’s home last year, seizing two Apple laptops, a mobile phone and a hard drive.

Via: Apple Insider

Source: The Age

Verizon looks to Apple and Google for live TV over 5G

Following a rumor last month that Verizon could partner with Apple or Google for TV tie-ins on its rollout of 5G wireless internet, the company announced it has deals with both. The 5G Residential Broadband service it will offer in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Indianapolis will offer promotional packages with an Apple TV 4K box, and a tie-in with the streaming YouTube TV service. While Verizon did not announce details, according to Bloomberg sources customers will either be able to choose a free box or a free subscription. The report indicates customers can also choose streaming packages from the NFL, NBA or (the Verizon-owned parent company of Engadget) Oath.

Indianapolis is a new addition to the list of cities where 5G will launch later this year, initially for fixed receivers before mobile devices begin to roll out in 2019.

Source: Verizon (1), (2)

iOS 12 won’t launch with FaceTime group chats

We hope you weren’t planning a group FaceTime chat the very moment iOS 12 and macOS Mojave reached your devices. The release notes for Apple’s latest iOS 12 and Mojave developer betas reveal that group FaceTime won’t be available in either operating system on launch, and will instead arrive in an update “later this fall.” Much like Apple Pay Cash, you could be waiting weeks or months to try the tent pole feature.

Source: 9to5Mac

Apple Music’s latest visual album is a full-length opera

Apple Music has added a new visual album, and it’s one classical music fans would love. Cupertino has teamed up with Deutsche Grammophon, one of the biggest classical music labels, to launch a curated channel that highlights the company’s best recordings. One of the portal’s first offerings is the 2008 Salzburg Festival staging of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette featuring star tenor Rolando Villazón — and, yes, the service is making the full-length performance available as a 32-track visual album. You can watch them all at once or just choose parts to play if you can only stomach specific arias. Apple Music has other visual albums you can stream, most notably, Frank Ocean’s Endless, but this is the first time the platform is offering a full-length opera in the format.

Source: Apple Music

Twitter doesn’t have the spine to ban Alex Jones

It seems like every major tech company has had enough of Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and propagandist behind the controversial far-right site InfoWars. Well, almost everyone. The obvious holdout: Twitter. On Monday, Twitter said InfoWars and its associated accounts, including Jones’, were not currently violating its rules. And last night its CEO and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, tried to explain the decision. He said Twitter is going to “hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account,” but that it isn’t “taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories.”

Apple develops series based on hit historical novel ‘Pachinko’

Apple’s ever-expanding show library may scratch the itch if you’re the literary sort. Deadline and Variety have learned that Apple has landed the rights to a series based on Min Jin Lee’s bestselling 2017 novel Pachinko. The historical epic details the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family as it makes its way from its homeland to Japan and the US. Min Jin Lee will serve as an executive producer alongside Soo Hugh (producer for The Terror and Under the Dome), who’s also writing the potential show.

Source: Deadline, Variety

Apple Pay Cash leads Consumer Reports’ first payment service test

Peer-to-peer mobile payment services are all the rage these days (eMarketer expects a 24 percent jump in US adoption in 2018), but which of them is actually the safest to use? Consumer Reports might have an idea. The publication has conducted its first head-to-head test of payment services, and it’s clear that some services are better picks than others. While all of the payment platforms were “good enough to use,” Apple Pay Cash was the victor due to its stronger-than-usual privacy and security.

Source: Consumer Reports

The internet’s slow turn against Alex Jones and InfoWars

Tech companies are finally starting to take action on Alex Jones, the man who called the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax and said the Democrats were planning a second civil war, for spreading his hateful conspiracy nonsense on the internet. It all began a couple of weeks ago when YouTube removed multiple videos from his channel for hate speech, a move that was followed by Facebook blocking him from posting on his personal page for 30 days. Since then, Spotify has taken down multiple episodes of Alex Jones’ podcast, citing violations of its rules against hate speech, while Stitcher and Apple have gone as far as completely removing InfoWars shows. And now Facebook and YouTube have outright banned him and his InfoWars pages.

Although things seem to have come to a head just recently, the battle between the InfoWars creator and tech firms has actually been brewing for months. Continue reading “The internet’s slow turn against Alex Jones and InfoWars”

Apple Pay comes to 7-Eleven and CVS later in 2018

Apple Pay is making its way to two of its fiercest opponents. As part of Apple’s financial results call, Tim Cook revealed that both 7-Eleven and CVS would introduce support for the tap-to-pay service (and, by extension, equivalents like Google Pay) later in 2018. He also confirmed that Germany would offer Apple Pay by the end of the year. There wasn’t any mention of how quickly it would roll out to the two retailers or why they’d changed their mind, but the news likely represents an admission of defeat for the two store chains.

iHeartRadio adds Spotify-like personalized playlists

iHeartRadio announced today that it’s adding a new playlist for users to stream — a weekly updated selection of tunes based on what you listen to. Your Weekly Mixtape will be refreshed every Monday and will include 30 to 75 songs chosen for you based on the stations and artists you listen to and the tracks you give a thumbs up. It sounds an awful lot like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, even down to the day it’s released. But iHeartRadio’s chief product officer, Chris Williams, told CNET that there is a difference between the two.

Source: iHeartRadio

Bipartisan bill aims to study how tech is affecting kids

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives has introduced legislation that would fund research into the effects technology and media have on infants, children and adolescents. The funding would support research into the use of mobile devices, computers, social media, apps, websites, TV, films, AI, video games, VR and AR with a focus on cognitive, physical and socio-emotional development.

“While technology educates and entertains our children every day, we need a better understanding of how it impacts their social, psychological and physical well-being,” Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) said in a statement. “This bill will enable experts to conduct critical research that will inform parents and policymakers about how best to protect American children’s bodies and minds from issues such as tech addiction, bullying and depression in the digital age.”

Source: Senator Edward Markey (1), (2)

eBay adds Apple Pay as a payment option

eBay is spreading its wings now that it has officially started transitioning to a non-PayPal payment system. This fall, it’s adding Apple Pay as one of its first options on the new payment platform, giving people a way to purchase goods through eBay’s mobile app or through its website on Safari using Cupertino’s digital wallet. The option will initially be available to a small group of Marketplace customers given the chance to participate in the first phase of Apple Pay’s rollout, so buyers won’t be encountering it at every turn yet. eBay plans to move more people to the new payment platform next year, though, and aims to finish transitioning everyone to it by 2021.

Verizon looks to Apple or Google for live TV over 5G

Verizon may be looking for some help launching its 5G home internet service with a bang. Sources talking to Bloomberg have claimed that Big Red is looking to team up with either Apple or Google to provide a streaming TV service when its fixed 5G broadband launches later in 2018. Although talks are still young and could easily go south, the insiders said it would either draw on YouTube TV or “Apple TV” (a service, not the device) to provide live programming. That last part is a head-scratcher, since Apple isn’t expected to launch a video-focused service until roughly March 2019 — Verizon might have to be patient.

Source: Bloomberg

HomePod may get phone call support and multiple timers

While Apple was quiet about HomePod updates at WWDC, that doesn’t mean it’s twiddling its thumbs — its staff are privately testing pre-release software. And now, we might now what that software entail.s French site iGeneration claims to have details of the HomePod’s iOS 12-based beta, and it could address a laundry list of feature requests for Apple’s smart speaker. Most notably, it would include native phone call support. Instead of having to start the call on your iPhone and switch audio inputs, you could both place and receive calls through the HomePod. Your smartphone would just supply the cellular connection. This wouldn’t be a new concept by a long shot, but it’d be extremely helpful if you’d rather not stay within earshot of your iPhone’s modest speakers.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: iGeneration (translated)

Apple’s new emojis will include a superhero and more hair options

Apple announced today that more than 70 new emojis are on the way, including characters with more hair options, new food items and additional animals. Emoji faces will soon have the option of having red hair, will include more gray and curly hairstyles and will also have a bald selection. As for new smiley faces, Apple will be releasing a cold face, party face, pleading face and face with hearts. New animals will include a kangaroo, parrot, lobster and peacock while new food options will include a mango, cupcake, lettuce and moon cake. Also on the docket are more sports emojis, like a softball, as well as superhero characters.

Source: Apple

Open source hasn’t made tech more open

There are two institutions dominating the top of the tech food chain today. On one side are big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, as well as China’s big three of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Alongside them are the massively funded, heavily staffed global cyberpowers — most notably the US, China and Russia — who are seeking to monitor and control information flows online in the name of national security or political control.

Both are intertwined. Sometimes intimately, as in China, where an Orwellian social credit system is taking shape, and private companies are becoming indistinguishable from the state’s apparatus. In the US, tech companies are now the biggest lobbyists and political donors in Washington, while in Russia there is a battle against the message app Telegram. Together, these forces control the vast majority of information that flows online, either through data gathering, surveillance or censorship.

Continue reading “Open source hasn’t made tech more open”

AirPlay 2 makes Sonos the best audio option for most iPhone owners

For a long time, Sonos was only capable of streaming music to its speakers through a proprietary app, but that’s changed in the last few years. After working with music services like Spotify and Pandora, users can stay in those apps and stream music straight to your Sonos setup. That hasn’t been the case if you’re an Apple Music user, until now: as of today, Sonos supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol. After spending a week or so testing out a beta version of the software, I can say that pretty much all Sonos owners who use iOS devices will get a lot out of this update.

Apple signs Jason Momoa to star in original sci-fi series ‘See’

Apple is taking on Netflix with an ambitious original series of its own. The upcoming show is called See, and it will star someone you’re most likely familiar with: Jason Momoa aka Khal Drogo aka Aquaman. Spearheaded by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, See is an epic sci-fi drama set in a future where humans have lost the sense of sight. They had to find ways to interact and hunt without the capability to see until their new way of life was thrown into chaos when a set of twins who have the sense of sight were born. Momoa will play Baba Voss, a character that resembles the Khal in that he’s also a warrior and a leader of his people.

Source: Variety, Deadline

Drake smashes single-day Apple Music and Spotify records (again)

Drake is back to breaking streaming music records, although this time he’s getting a helping hand. To start, Apple has confirmed that the man from the 6 smashed his own single-day record on its music service, with his album Scorpion resulting in over 170 million streams inside of 24 hours (More Life managed “just” 89.9 million streams). We’ve asked Spotify for its own details, but it did inform Variety that Drake did break the record. Estimates have the star racking up about 132.4 million chart-eligible streams on launch day, trouncing Post Malone’s 78.7 million streams. At one point, Spotify revealed that people were streaming Scorpion over 10 million times per hour — that’s a high rate of Champagne Papi consumption by any standard.

Source: Variety, Spotify (Twitter), The Verge