Privacy

Nvidia Blames Apple For Bug That Exposes Browsing In Chrome's Incognito (venturebeat.com) 165

An anonymous reader points out this story at VentureBeat about a bug in Chrome's incognito mode that might be a cause for concern for some Apple users. From the story: "If you use Google Chrome's incognito mode to hide what you browse (ahem, porn), this might pique your interest. University of Toronto engineering student Evan Andersen discovered a bug that affects Nvidia graphics cards, exposing content that you thought would be for your eyes only. And because this only happens on Macs, Nvidia is pointing the finger at Apple."
Businesses

Apple Purchases Software Company To Read Users' Expressions (thestack.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's first disclosed acquisition of 2016 is software company Emotient, which specializes in reading users' expressions while they operate computers. Emotient uses AI software to break down micro-emotions shown on each face in a video frame and quantify it into three indicators: is the subject paying attention to the advertising, are they emotionally engaged, and are they showing a positive or negative emotion? The faces are pixelated to provide user anonymity without sacrificing the expression.
Education

K12CS.org: Microsoft, Google, Apple Identifying What 1st Graders Should Know 145

theodp writes: On Sunday, The Simpsons declared computer coding class the nation's latest educational fad (script). Proving Principal Skinner's point, K12CS.org on Thursday announced a New Framework to Define K-12 Computer Science Education, the collaboration of participants from a number of states (MD, CA, IN, IA, AR, UT, ID, NE, GA, WA), large school districts (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco), technology companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple), organizations (Code.org, ACM, CSTA, ISTE, MassCAN, CSNYC), and individuals (higher ed faculty, researchers, K-12 teachers, and administrators). "A steering committee initially comprised of the Computer Science Teachers Association, the Association for Computing Machinery, and [tech bankrolled and led] Code.org will oversee this project," explained a CSTA blog post. "Funding for the project will be provided by Code.org and the ACM. The framework will identify key K-12 computer science concepts and practices we expect students exiting grades 2, 5, 8, and 12 to know."

In a FAQ, K12CS.org envisions a Programming and Algorithms standard for 1st Graders that calls for the 5-year-olds to "Work collaboratively in clear roles (e.g., pair programming) to construct a problem solution of a sequence of block-based programming commands." A day before the announcement, Politico reported that K-12 CS education is expected to get a State of the Union mention this year, and that the White House and U.S. Dept. of Education have been trolling for CS success stories in conjunction with the announcement of a broad set of new commitments to CS Education in early 2016.
Programming

The Swift Programming Language's Most Commonly Rejected Changes (github.com) 339

An anonymous reader writes: When Apple made its Swift programming language open source in early December, it opened the floodgates for suggestions and requests from developers. But the project's maintainers have their own ideas about how the language should evolve, so some suggestions are rejected. Now a list has been compiled of some commonly rejected proposals — it's an interesting window into the development of a language. Swift's developers don't want to replace Brace Syntax with Python-style indentation. They don't want to change boolean operators from && and || to 'and' and 'or'. They don't want to rewrite the Swift compiler in Swift. They don't want to change certain keywords like 'continue' from their C precedents. And they have no interest in removing semicolons.
Software

Windows, OS X, and iOS Top 2015's List of Software With the Most Vulnerabilities (venturebeat.com) 111

An anonymous reader writes: Which software had the most publicly disclosed vulnerabilities in 2015? According to a site called CVE Details, which organizes data provided by the National Vulnerability Database, Apple's Mac OS X was near the top, with 384 vulnerabilities. iOS followed closely, with 375 vulnerabilities. The list splits out Windows into its separate versions, so it's hard to get an accurate count — simply adding them all together yields a total of over 1,000, but there are likely many duplicates. Other top spots went to Adobe's Flash Player, with 314 vulnerabilities; Adobe's AIR SDK, with 246 vulnerabilities; and Adobe AIR itself, also with 246 vulnerabilities. The four major web browsers also ranked quite highly.
IOS

Apple Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Allegedly Slowing the iPhone 4S With iOS 9 (mashable.com) 344

An anonymous reader writes: A $5 million lawsuit filed in New York federal court alleges that Apple's iOS 9 mobile operating software significantly slows down the iPhone 4S. According to the complaint: "The update significantly slowed down their iPhones and interfered with the normal usage of the device, leaving Plaintiff with a difficult choice: use a slow and buggy device that disrupts everyday life or spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone. Apple explicitly represented to the public that iOS 9 is compatible with and supports the iPhone 4S. And Apple failed to warn iPhone 4S owners that the update may or will interfere with the device's performance."
Microsoft

Microsoft Makes a Selfie App For the iPhone (theverge.com) 50

New submitter Nanmillerp sends word about Microsoft Garage's newest app which aims to take the best selfies possible. The Verge reports: "Microsoft's newest app for iOS isn't a piece of productivity software. No, it's a selfie app. Unambiguously called Microsoft Selfie, the product is designed to improve photo qualities like color balance, skin tone, and lighting for the most shareable shot possible. It's a more subtle version of Lumia Selfie, Microsoft's previous self-portrait app designed for Windows phones. On a deeper level, Microsoft Selfie appears to be just one of the many ways the company is using machine learning in everyday situations, similar to the software Microsoft released back April that would guess your age based on a photo. Microsoft Selfie's app description says it takes 'age, gender, skin tone, lighting, and many other variables into account' to help alter your self-portraits with 'intelligent enhancements.'"
Businesses

Apple Settles a $348M Fine With Italian Authorities For Tax Evasion (reuters.com) 87

jaromil writes: Apple Italy, a subsidiary of Apple Sales International based in Ireland, has for years managed the company's sales on the Italian Peninsula. As Italian tax authorities noticed the company did not file any income tax declarations between 2008 and 2013, they opened a court case for an estimated debt of €880M. Apple Italy has now settled for a fine of €318M ($348M), while three managers involved in the tax fraud still need to face court. "The settlement comes amid a European Commission investigation into the tax arrangements of numerous multinational companies accused of using cross-border structures to reduce their tax bills, sometimes with the help of secret and potentially illegal 'sweetheart' deals."
Businesses

Apple To Pay Ericsson Patent Royalties On iPhones and iPads (cio.com) 75

itwbennett writes: In settlement of a long-standing dispute over patents that Ericsson considers essential to the implementation of a number of mobile communications standards, including GSM, the 3G standard UMTS and LTE, Apple has agreed to pay Ericsson royalties on sales of iPhones and iPads. While the companies would not disclose further details of their agreement, Ericsson gave a hint about its value. For the full year 2015, Ericsson predicts its intellectual property rights revenue will amount to between 13 billion and 14 billion Swedish krona ($1.64 billion). In comparison, it reported IPR revenue of 10.6 billion krona for the full year 2014, including a 4.2 billion krona lump sum in settlement of a similar global dispute with Samsung Electronics.
Government

Tim Cook Calls Apple's Tax Questions 'Political Crap' (cbsnews.com) 456

nerdyalien writes: Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed as "total political crap" the notion that the tech giant was avoiding taxes. Cook's remarks, made on CBS' 60 Minutes show, come amid a debate in the United States over corporations avoiding taxes through techniques such as so-called inversion deals, where a company redomiciles its tax base to another country. Apple holds $181.1 billion in offshore profits, more than any other U.S. company, and would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the U.S., a recent study based on SEC filings showed. The current tax code was made for the industrial age, and not the "digital age," Cook said.
Businesses

Report: Apple To Suspend Effort To Develop Live TV Service (bloomberg.com) 71

schwit1 sends word that Apple has reportedly suspended plans to offer a live internet-based television service and will focus on being a platform for media companies to sell directly to customers through its App Store instead. Bloomberg reports: "Apple Inc. has suspended plans to offer a live Internet-based television service and is instead focusing on being a platform for media companies to sell directly to customers through its App Store, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. While Apple isn't giving up entirely on releasing a live-TV service, its plan to sell a package of 14 or so channels for $30 to $40 a month has run into resistance from media companies that want more money for their programming, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing a prospective product."
Mozilla

Mozilla Launches Focus By Firefox, a Content Blocker For iOS 9 (mozilla.org) 30

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched an iOS content blocker called Focus by Firefox. It's a "content blocker" because although Focus is capable of blocking some ads, this latest project from the non-profit is aimed at stopping trackers. The free app is made possible thanks to iOS 9's content-blocking feature, which requires some setting up. Like with any content blocker, after you download Focus, you'll have to activate Focus' content-blocking features within your system-wide iOS settings (launching the app will provide a guide to finish configuration). It's worth noting that Focus only works with Safari. Mozilla says, "This was not our choice—Apple has chosen to make content blocking unavailable to third party browsers on iOS." Here is the Focus GitHub repo and its feedback tool.
Businesses

Apple's Legal Fight With Samsung Revealed a Gold Mine of Top-Secret Information (bgr.com) 109

An anonymous reader writes with this story about how the Apple vs. Samsung battle brought to light the inner workings of Apple product development. BGR reports: "Following a contentious patent battle that raged on for nearly five years, Samsung last week finally agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages for infringing upon a number of iPhone and iPad patents. While Samsung may still be holding out hope that it may someday recover those millions, it seems that we can finally start closing the book on the most widely publicized patent dispute in recent memory, one which saw Apple and Samsung battle it out in courtrooms across all corners of the globe.

One of the more interesting aspects of Apple's legal battle with Samsung is that it gave us an unprecedented look behind the veil of secrecy that typically shrouds all aspects of Apple's product development and day-to-day operations. Over the course of discovery, innumerable court filings, and a fascinating trial, the inner workings of Apple were brought to the forefront for the fist time in history. From photographs of iPhone prototypes to how Apple conducts market research, Apple's legal battles with Samsung provided tech enthusiasts with a treasure trove of previously top-secret information.

With Samsung now agreeing to pony up for damages, we thought it'd be a good time to take a step back, reminisce, and take a look at some of the more interesting nuggets of information the hard-fought patent dispute brought to light."
Microsoft

Report Claims Microsoft Beat Apple in Online Tablet Sales for October (winbeta.org) 239

Eloking writes: Apple's iPad tablet ushered in the modern tablet era when it was introduced in 2010, and it's dominated tablet sales ever since. iPad sales have stagnated recently, but nevertheless Apple has maintained its lead in overall tablet market share. WinBeta received an early version of an upcoming report, '1010data Facts for Ecom Insights, January 2014 – October 2015' by the 101data Ecom Insights Panel, however, that indicates all of that might be changing as Microsoft assumes the mantle of best-selling tablet maker in terms of online sales in October.
Patents

Samsung Agrees To Pay Apple $548 Million Over Smartphone Patents (theverge.com) 64

An anonymous reader writes: After years of legal wrangling over smartphone patents, Apple and Samsung appear to have reached an agreement. The two companies released a joint statement (PDF) saying Samsung will pay Apple $548 million before December 14th. Apple must send them an invoice before they'll pay. It's not a complete stand-down; even their agreement contains disagreement. "The statement notes that Samsung 'continues to reserve all rights to obtain reimbursement from Apple,' although in the same document, Apple disputes these rights. ... Not only does the joint statement reserve Samsung's right to take some of this money back in any future cases, but this summer, the South Korean company announced it would be requesting a U.S. Supreme Court review of its legal case." At the very least, it's a big step toward resolving the mountain of patent issues between the companies.
Programming

Apple Releases Swift As an Open-Source Project (swift.org) 195

jcr writes with the news that Apple's Swift has gone open source: From Apple's press release: "We are excited by this new chapter in the story of Swift. After Apple unveiled the Swift programming language, it quickly became one of the fastest growing languages in history. Swift makes it easy to write software that is incredibly fast and safe by design. Now that Swift is open source, you can help make the best general purpose programming language available everywhere." It's listed at Apple's GitHub repository, too. (Hat tip to Jono Bacon.)
Iphone

Pursuit of Slenderness May Mean No More Headphone Jack In iPhone 7 (pcmag.com) 412

An intriguing rumor reported by PC Mag (and initially reported in this Japanese blog) holds that Apple may drop the standard headphone jack from the next revision of the iPhone, in favor of Bluetooth and Lightning connectors. From PC Mag's article: The big question is just how such a move might affect all the other headphones one can buy, as well as the other devices Apple makes. While we can envision some manufacturers making iPhone-exclusive variants of their headphones, we doubt that Apple's potential decision to chop out the headphone jack is going to suddenly make for a market full of Lightning-only headphones and earbuds. There are, after all, plenty of non-iPhone devices that still use the 3.5mm connection. And, of course, you could just pair any ol' pair of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds with the iPhone 7.
Iphone

Apple Looks To Introduce OLED Displays In iPhone Models From 2018 (thestack.com) 225

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is expected to integrate organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology in its iPhone handsets from 2018. The Cupertino-based giant will jump from liquid crystal display (LCD), which has been used in iPhones since 2007, to OLED – turning to suppliers like LG Displays, according to Japanese reports. The switch follows the steps of other smartphone makers such as Samsung and LG, which have both already integrated OLED technology in their mobile device ranges.
Cellphones

On iFixit and the Right To Repair (vice.com) 250

Jason Koebler writes: Motherboard sent a reporter to the Electronics Reuse Convention in New Orleans to investigate the important but threatened world of smartphone and electronics repair. As manufacturers start using proprietary screws, offer phone lease programs and use copyright law to threaten repair professionals, the right-to-repair is under more threat than ever. "That Apple and other electronics manufacturers don't sell repair parts to consumers or write service manuals for them isn't just annoying, it's an environmental disaster, [iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens] says. Recent shifts to proprietary screws, the ever-present threat of legal action under a trainwreck of a copyright law, and an antagonistic relationship with third-party repair shops shows that the anti-repair culture at major manufacturers isn't based on negligence or naiveté, it's malicious."
GUI

How Apple Is Giving Design a Bad Name (theverge.com) 462

ColdWetDog writes: Co.Design has an article by two early Apple designers on how the company has lost its way, and quite frankly, lost its marbles when it comes to user interface design. In the search for a minimalist, clean design, it has forgotten time honored UI principles and made it harder for people to use Apple products. As someone who has followed computer UI evolution since the command line and who has used various Apple products for a number of years, the designers' concerns really hit home for me.

Of course, Apple isn't the only company out there who makes UI mistakes. And it is notable that the article has totally annoying, unstoppable GIFs that do nothing to improve understanding. User Interfaces are hard, but it would be nice to have everybody take a few steps back from the precipice.

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