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Siri Won't Answer Some Questions If You're Not Subscribed To Apple Music 144

AmiMoJo writes: A tweet from Tom Conrad has highlighted an issue with Apple's Siri digital assistant. When asked certain questions about music, Siri refuses to answer unless you subscribe to Apple Music. Instead of falling back to a web search for the information, Siri tells the user that it cannot respond due to the lack of a subscription. Apple Music has been the source of music related data for Siri since it launched, but until now did not require a subscription to answer questions.

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS Wi-Fi Assist ( 212

An anonymous reader writes: A class-action suit has been filed against Apple in U.S. District Court over Wi-Fi Assist being turned on by default in iOS 9. Wi-Fi Assist is designed to switch to cellular data when a user is trying to perform an action over the internet on a poor Wi-Fi signal. This has the natural side effect of using cellular data. Since iOS 9 turned it on for many users, they weren't necessarily expecting that extra use, causing some of them to exceed their data caps. A former Apple employee who was in a leadership position for Mac OS X Wi-Fi software has commented on the issue, saying that the Wi-Fi Assist mess was unavoidable given how Apple's management treats that part of the business.

Quoting :"[O]ne particular directorial edict which I pushed back against at the end of my tenure sticks out as not just particularly telling, but deeply misguided: 'Make it self-healing.' Self healing in this context meaning that the networking system, Wi-Fi in particular, should try to correct problems that caused the network to fail, which, if you have spent any time trying to diagnose networking issues is a clear misunderstanding of the issues involved. ... Asking the devices which connect to this vast complex network of networks to detect, and then transparently fix problems in the infrastructure without the permission of the administrators is, well, it's absolutely the pinnacle of buzzword driven product management. Real pointy-haired boss territory."


Apple Tells US Judge It's 'Impossible' To Break Through Locks On New iPhones ( 225

An anonymous reader writes: Apple told a U.S. judge that accessing data stored on a locked iPhone would be "impossible" with devices using its latest operating system, but the company has the "technical ability" to help law enforcement unlock older phones. Apple's position was laid out in a brief filed late Monday, after a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York, sought its input as he weighed a U.S. Justice Department request to force the company to help authorities access a seized iPhone during an investigation. In court papers, Apple said that for the 90 percent of its devices running iOS 8 or higher, granting the Justice Department's request "would be impossible to perform" after it strengthened encryption methods.

Deja Vu: Microsoft's 2015 Surface Book Ad and Apple's 2014 'Your Verse' iPad Ad 71

theodp writes: With its sweeping vistas and narration by the late Robin Williams, Apple's 2014 'Your Verse' ad dramatically showcased the many ways iPads might help people create, from making movies to calibrating wind turbines. So it's interesting that Microsoft's first ad for its new Surface Book (YouTube) bears a striking resemblance to the earlier Apple ad (YouTubeDoubler comparison). Which is probably only fair, since Apple's soon-to-be-released iPad Pro bears more than a passing resemblance to the Microsoft Surface. Hey, good artists copy, great artists steal, right? By the way, between the release of Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, Apple's iPad Pro, and Google's Pixel C, is the keyboard+touch interface poised to be a four-decade "overnight success"?

Apple Loses Patent Suit To University of Wisconsin, Faces Huge Damages ( 312

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has frequently been in the news for various patent battles, but it's usually against one of their competitors. This time, Apple is on the losing end, and they're losing to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A jury found that the university's patent on improving processor efficiency (5,781,752) was valid, and Apple's A7, A8, and A8X chips infringed upon it. Those chips are found within recent iPhone and iPad models, which generated huge amounts of money. Because of the ruling, Apple could be liable for up to $826.4 million in damages, to be determined by later phases of the trial.

Objective-C Use Falls Hard, Apple's Swift On the Rise ( 161

Nerval's Lobster writes: When Apple rolled out Swift last summer, it expected its new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, which developers have used for years to build iOS and Mac OS X apps. Thanks to Apple's huge developer ecosystem (and equally massive footprint in the world of consumer devices), Swift quickly became one of the most buzzed-about programming languages, as cited by sites such as Stack Overflow. And now, according to new data from TIOBE Software, which keeps a regularly updated index of popular programming languages, Swift might be seriously cannibalizing Objective-C. On TIOBE's latest index, Objective-C is ranked fourteenth among programming languages, a considerable drop from its third-place spot in October 2014. Swift managed to climb from nineteenth to fifteenth during the same period. "Soon after Apple announced to switch from Objective-C to Swift, Objective-C went into free fall," read TIOBE's text accompanying the data. "This month Objective-C dropped out of the TIOBE index top 10." How soon until Swift eclipses Objective-C entirely?

Australians Set To Pay 50% More For Apps After Apple Price Spike ( 117

SlappingOysters writes: Within 36-hours the price of Apple apps is set to increase in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia. It will bring the price of buying an app out of alignment with the value of the Australian dollar, and leave the country's Apple fans paying 50% more for their iOS software than their American counterparts. It's unfortunate timing, with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and the upcoming fourth generation of Apple TV.

Apple Reportedly Disables Its News App In China ( 64

An anonymous reader writes: When Apple launched iOS 9, it replaced its Newsstand app with Apple News. The software has only been available to users in the U.S., but those who registered their phones in the U.S. had no problem using the app while overseas. Now, the NY Times reports that Apple is specifically disabling the app for users located in China. "Those in China who look at the top of the Apple News feed, which would normally display a list of selected articles based on a user's preferred media, instead see an error message: 'Can't refresh right now. News isn't supported in your current region.' ... Beijing generally insists that companies are responsible for censoring sensitive content inside China. In Apple's case, that would mean it would probably have to develop a censorship system — most Chinese companies use a combination of automated software and employees — to eliminate sensitive articles from feeds."

Apple Approves, Then Removes In-App Ad Blocker ( 85

Mickeycaskill writes: Apple has pulled a number of applications from the App Store, most notably the "Been Choice" ad blocker, because of concerns the methods they employ to rid adverts could compromise sensitive user data. iOS 9 allows for the installation of applications that block adverts in Safari, but other apps like Been Choice go one step further and let users remove adverts from applications – including Apple News. Been Choice routes traffic through a VPN to filter out adverts in some applications, but it this technique has attracted the attention of Apple, which is concerned user data could be exposed. Apple says it is working with developers to get their apps back up and Been is refining its application for resubmission. In any case, Been says users must opt-in for in-app ad blocking and that no data is stored on its servers.

Not All iPhone 6s Processors Are Created Equal ( 262

itwbennett writes: Apple is splitting the manufacture of the A9 processor for its iPhone 6s between TSMC (~60%) and rival Samsung (~40%) — "and they are not created equal," writes Andy Patrizio. For starters, Chipworks noted that Samsung uses 14nm while TSMC uses 16nm. A Reddit user posted tests of a pair of 6s Plus phones and found the TSMC chip had eight hours of battery life vs. six hours for the Samsung. Meanwhile, benchmark tests from the folks at MyDriver (if Mr. Patrizio's efforts with Google Translate got it right) also found that the Samsung chip is a bigger drain on the phone's battery, while the TSMC chip is slightly faster and runs a bit cooler. So how do you know which chip you got? There's an app for that.

Porsche Chooses Apple Over Google Because Google Wants Too Much Data 423

countach44 writes: As reported in number 5 of this list from Motor Trend, Porsche went with Apple over Google for the infotainment system in its new 911. Apparently, Android Auto wants vehicle data (throttle position, speed, coolant temp, etc.) whereas Apple Play only needs to know if the car is in motion. Naturally, people are curious what Google, as a company building its own car, wants that data for.

Advertising Malware Affects Non-Jailbroken iOS Devices 69

An anonymous reader writes: Malware called YiSpecter is infecting iOS devices belonging to Chinese and Taiwanese users, and is the first piece of malware that successfully targets both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices, Palo Alto Networks researchers warn. What's more, the techniques it uses for hiding are making it difficult to squash the infection. YiSpecter's malicious apps were signed with three iOS enterprise certificates issued by Apple so that they can be installed as enterprise apps on non-jailbroken iOS devices via in-house distribution. Through this kind of distribution, an iOS app can bypass Apple's strict code review procedures and can invoke iOS private APIs to perform sensitive operations.

Some Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Smartphones Mysteriously Powering Down 59

MojoKid writes: Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were two of the most highly anticipated smartphones to launch so far this year. The excitement surrounding Apple's new refresh cycle flagships was so great that Apple reported record first weekend sales, with 13 million devices finding their way to customers. However, it appears that some of those customers are having a puzzling issue with their brand new iPhones. Owners are reporting that their phones are turning off randomly when left alone — even when the smartphones have sufficient battery remaining. "New Phone 6s 128GB turned off for no reason the last two nights," wrote Joachim Frey in an Apple discussion thread. "In the morning you then have to push the power-on button for a long time to get it started."

How Steve Jobs Outsmarted Carly Fiorina 328 writes: Carly Fiorina likes to boast about her friendship with Apple founder Steve Jobs but Fortune Magazine reports that it turns out Carly may have outfoxed of by Apple's late leader. In January 2004, Steve Jobs and Carly Fiorina cut a deal where HP could slap its name on Apple's wildly successful iPod and sell it through HP retail channels but HP still managed to botch things up. The MP3 player worked just like a regular iPod, but it had HP's logo on the back and in return HP agreed to continue pre-loading iTunes onto its PCs. According to Steven Levy soon after the deal with HP was inked, Apple upgraded the iPod, making HP's version outdated and because of Fiorina's deal HP was banned from selling its own music player until August 2006. "This was a highly strategic move to block HP/Compaq from installing Windows Media Store on their PCs," says one Apple source. "We wanted iTunes Music store to be a definitive winner. Steve only did this deal because of that."

In short, Fiorina's "good friend" Steve Jobs blithely mugged her and HP's shareholders. By getting Fiorina to adopt the iPod as HP's music player, Jobs had effectively gotten his software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and gotten a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was a superior inventor.

Office 2016 Proving Unstable With Apple's El Capitan 138

An anonymous reader writes: Users of Microsoft Office on the Mac are reporting widespread instabilities and conflicts after upgrading to the latest version of the Apple desktop operating system, El Capitan. The first indications that El Capitan and Office 2016 were not working well together came in a now epic thread at Microsoft Community. Many users have surmised that new restrictions in file permissions in El Capitan caused the problems initially, though nearly all agree that Office's Outlook email client is the critical point of failure in the current round of application crashes and loss of functionality.

Amazon To Cease Sale of Apple TV and Chromecast 223

Mark Wilson writes: As of 29 October, shoppers will no longer be able to buy Apple TV or Chromecast devices from Amazon. Citing compatibility issues with Prime Video, Amazon emailed marketplace sellers to inform them it is not accepting new listings for the two media devices, and any existing listings will be removed at the end of October. The move indicates not only the importance Amazon places on its streaming Prime Video service, but also that it views Apple and Google as serious rivals. The two companies have yet to respond to the news, but it is unlikely to be well-received.
Hardware Hacking

Apple Bans iFixit Repair App From App Store After Apple TV Teardown 366

alphadogg writes: iFixit, the fix-it-yourself advocate for users of Apple, Google and other gear, has had its repair manual app banned from Apple's App Store after it conducted an unauthorized teardown of Apple TV and Siri remote. iFixit blogged "we're a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA -- and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway." iFixit does still have Windows and Android apps, and has no immediate plans to rewrite its Apple app to attempt being reinstated.

Reports: Telstra Customers Suffering Crippling Speeds To Any Apple Service 50

An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.

New Attack Bypasses Mac OS X Gatekeeper 66

msm1267 writes: Mac OS X's Gatekeeper security service is supposed to protect Apple computers from executing code that's not signed by Apple or downloaded from its App Store. A researcher, however, has built an exploit that uses a signed binary to execute malicious code. Patrick Wardle, a longtime Apple hacker, said Gatekeeper performs only an initial check on an application to determine whether it came from an untrusted source and should not be executed. Using a signed binary that passes the initial check and then loads a malicious library or app from the same or relative directory, however, will get an advanced attacker onto an OS X machine. Wardle disclosed his research and proof of concept to Apple, which said it is working on a patch, and may push out a short-term mitigation in the meantime.

Apple, Microsoft Tout Their Privacy Policies To Get Positive PR 103

jfruh writes: Apple hasn't changed its privacy policy in more than a year — but that didn't stop the company from putting up a glossy website explaining it in layman's terms. Microsoft too has been touting its respect for its users's privacy. This doesn't represent any high-minded altruism on those companies' parts, of course; it's part of their battle against Google, their archrival that offers almost all of its services for free and makes its money mining user data.