Virtually every tech company is bending over backwards to comply with Europe’s impending GDPR rules, and Apple is no exception to the rule. It just opened a Data and Privacy site that lets people with accounts in the European Union (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) download everything the company knows about them. While it is only available for European users right now, Apple will make it available globally in the future. This mostly revolves around your Apple ID account and device info as well as data you’ve synced through iCloud, although it also includes your activity on services like Apple Music and the App Store, your AppleCare support history and your online shopping habits.
Source: Apple Data and Privacy
China has been giving Apple grief over more than VPN apps, it seems. The 9to5Mac team has obtained messages telling iOS developers to remove CallKit (a framework that uses an Apple-made calling interface for other apps) from their apps if they want to continue offering those apps in China. The move reportedly followed “newly enforced regulation” from the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, although the message isn’t specific about the law. We’ve asked Apple for more details.
Today, May 17th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, but in fact, this entire month has been an eventful one people with disabilities. Two weeks ago, Google and Microsoft pledged to commit $20 and $25 million to the cause, respectively, to accessibility tech. Today, Microsoft revealed the Xbox Adaptive Controller, while Apple unveiled a coding curriculum that can also be used by students who are deaf and/or blind. Meanwhile, Oath, Engadget’s parent company which also owns Yahoo, rang in the day by holding an open house at its accessibility lab, where, among other things, it works to make sites like ours easier for everyone to use.
And that includes sites and services outside of Oath too: The accessibility-tech community is a small one, with researchers at Oath, Apple, Microsoft, Google and other tech companies regularly collaborating with each other. (Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer Jennie-Lay Flurrie made the same Continue reading “How Engadget’s parent company is making sites like ours easier to use”
North Carolina, one of the states the Transportation Department authorized to conduct drone testing beyond FAA limits, is apparently working with Apple. Cupertino has revealed that it’s using drones in the state to improve its Maps application, effectively confirming a Bloomberg report from way back in 2016 that said the company was putting a team together to capture mapping data with the use of UAVs. A spokesperson said in a statement that Apple collects “both aerial and ground images around the world to improve Apple Maps,” and it will soon “begin to capture additional aerial images in select areas using drones.”
Source: Financial Times, Reuters
There are few individual computer models that have left a lasting mark on the industry, but you can definitely put the iMac on that list. Apple introduced its signature all-in-one desktop at a special event on May 6th, 1998, and it’s safe to say the system has had a lasting impact on technology at large. At the same time, the iMac has also been a symbol of the cultural zeitgeist, including for Apple itself — it shows how the company evolved from an underdog in a Windows world to a behemoth focused more on phones than PCs. The iMac has had a long journey, but it’s worth following to see just how much the industry has changed in the past 20 years.
When the Apple TV 4K arrived, there was one glaring omission in its movie catalog: Disney. No matter how much you wanted, you couldn’t (officially) see the latest Marvel or Pixar flick in its full glory. If you live in the US, though, you now have a viable alternative. An update to Vudu’s Apple TV app has enabled 4K HDR support, opening the door to watching Disney’s movies at maximum quality if you live in the US. You’re not going to get Dolby Atmos audio (the Apple TV just doesn’t support it), but that’s fine if you don’t need to be fully immersed while watching The Last Jedi.
Via: Reddit, 9to5Mac
Source: Vudu Forum
Apple isn’t kidding about its intentions to turn its News app into more than just an aggregator. BuzzFeed has confirmed to Digiday that Apple reached a deal to premiere the documentary series Future History: 1968 through News a week before it reached social networks, YouTube and even BuzzFeed‘s own mobile app. Apple had first crack at the initial three episodes and gave BuzzFeed a cut of the pre-roll ad revenue in addition to featuring the show prominently. It not only highlighted the documentary in its featured video galleries, it sent a notification to people who follow BuzzFeed News.
Google’s Advanced Protection Program can be extremely valuable if you’re a high-profile hacking target who’s willing to trade a ton of convenience for some extra peace of mind. However, you’ve had to use Google’s apps to get that protection — and that’s a pain on iOS, where you have to download Google’s apps. Or rather, you did. As of now, people enrolled in the program can use iOS’ native calendar, contact and email apps rather than having to shake up their smartphone habits. If you log in to your Google account with any of those apps, you’ll get special instructions for completing the sign-in process.
Europe is introducing new rules for Google, Apple, Amazon and other large platforms forcing them to handle customer complaints better and be more transparent about rankings. The proposed regulations, released by the EU Commission, affect search engines, app stores, e-commerce sites and hotel booking apps. Platforms would have to explain why they de-listed or lowered a site’s ranking and how they treat their own competing products, and customers would gain the right to sue them.
Source: European Commission
Google is updating its gun emoji to replace the image of a handgun with that of an orange and yellow water pistol. The change is, according to Emojipedia, rolling out to Android users in an update, and will help to make the squirt gun the de-facto symbol. It’s a big step towards eliminating images of handguns from the language, which was started by Apple in 2016.
The war between Apple Music and Spotify is clearly heating up. Variety has discovered that Spotify recently poached Carl Chery, Apple Music’s Head of Artist Curation for hip-hop and R&B programming. It’s not certain when he’s leaving or what he’ll do next (we’ve asked both Apple and Spotify for comment). However, it could be a big coup — Chery has been influential not just at Apple, but in the music industry at large.
Apple has added yet another TV series to its ever growing lineup. The latest addition, Deadline reports, is an ambitious project headed by David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) and Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Avatar 2) that will adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. While adaptations of Foundation have been attempted for both TV and the big screen, they’ve been abandoned due to the complexity of the novels’ storylines. Fox, Warner Bros, Sony and HBO all have scrapped Foundation projects to their name.
Last week, details from Tim Cook’s interview with MSNBC and Recode‘s Kara Swisher emerged ahead of its airing, and boy, did he have some choice words for Facebook. When asked about the social network’s mess with Cambridge Analytica, the Apple CEO said: “We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist.” The cable news network will broadcast the full talk tonight at 8PM ET.
Apple has regularly been accused of lagging behind Google in AI development, but it just scored a major victory that could help it turn things around. The iPhone maker has hired Google’s just-departed AI and search chief, John Giannandrea, to head up its “machine learning and AI strategy.” He’ll report directly to Tim Cook. It’s not certain if Apple has specific plans for the new exec, but Cook observed in a message to staff (obtained by the New York Times) that Giannandrea shared “our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach.” In other words, don’t expect him to widen Apple’s data collection just because of his Google history.
Source: New York Times
It won’t shock you to hear that Siri is lagging behind rivals like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant — the HomePod struggles to handle non-music tasks as well as competing smart speakers, for instance. And Apple appears to be aware of this shortfall. Thinknum has noticed that Apple has been on a Siri-related hiring spree in recent months, with 161 positions listed as of the end of March. There’s been an uptick ever since summer 2016, but there was a distinct surge in February of this year.
Source: Thinknum, Apple
The BBC has released its second annual report since its new charter was established and the broadcaster paints a rather bleak picture for itself. It highlights the fact that the media landscape has changed quite rapidly in recent years and will most certainly continue to do so, and it says that the industry is “more and more dominated by a small number of US-based media giants with extraordinary creative and financial firepower.” The BCC added, “Their business models and huge budgets mean we are increasingly being squeezed out of an ever more competitive environment. British creativity and British content are now under real threat.”
Via: The Verge
In a conversation with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook and the way it manages its users’ data, Recode reports. During the interview — which will air on MSNBC next month — Cook commented on Facebook’s data privacy standards as well as the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal. “We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist,” he said, adding that these sort of profiles “can be abused against our democracy. It can be abused by advertisers as well.”
Source: Recode, The Verge
Apple has long positioned itself as a privacy advocate, but it’s ramping up that stance in light of Facebook’s data sharing with Cambridge Analytica. In a discussion at the China Development Forum, Tim Cook said that tougher, “well-crafted” regulation of personal data is likely “necessary” in the wake of Facebook’s crisis. The ability to learn “every intimate detail of your life” through your internet history and contacts “shouldn’t exist,” Cook said.
The House of Representatives’ investigation into Russia’s election interference may have ended, but Democrats are still discussing what they’d like to do if and when they regain a House majority — and it could have significant repercussions for the tech industry. Their recently published memo in the aftermath of the investigation calls on the House Intelligence Committee to subpoena Apple, Twitter and WhatsApp for info regarding encrypted chat apps and private messages. The Democrats want to know which apps key actors in the 2016 US election used, and what they said.
Via: Intercept, 9to5Mac
Source: House of Representatives (PDF)
Calendar 2, the Mac App that rolled out an update bundled with a crypto-miner that went berserk, was removed from iTunes shortly after news of its controversial new feature came out. Now, its developer has provided more details about what happened, giving us an idea of how Apple will deal with apps loaded with cryptocurrency miners in the future. Gregory Magarshak, founder of Calendar 2’s developer Qbix, told us that his company didn’t pull the app. Apple was the one that yanked it around an hour after the developer announced that it’s removing the miner altogether, making its stance on apps with crypto-miners a bit clearer than before.
Source: Calendar 2 (iTunes)