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Patents

Apple Patents Bank Account Balance Snooping Tech 133

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's latest patent filings shows that the company is looking into displaying advertising based on your available bank balance. If Apple moves forward with this type of technology it would be a complete 360 on its previous direction to not monetize everything they know about customers. Tim Cook has even said multiple times that companies are targeting consumers on multiple fronts and that he's completely against using customer information in this manner and it's not the kind of company he wants Apple to be.
Businesses

Silicon Valley Still Wrestling With Diversity Issues 398

An anonymous reader writes: As major tech companies come under increased scrutiny over the diversity of their workforces, many of them are focusing solely on the "pipeline" of workers educated in a computer-related field. They're pouring resources into getting kids to code, setting up internships, and even establishing mentoring programs for underrepresented groups. But experts say they're still failing to root out their own internal biases when making hiring decisions. "That bias shows up in recruiting, with companies drawing from the same top universities, where black and Hispanic graduates are still lagging behind other groups. ... The problem is particularly acute at start-ups, where black founders are just 1 percent of venture-invested firms, according to a 2011 survey by CB Insights." The tech companies are under mounting pressure to solve this problem, and the solutions they're pursuing won't show results quickly.
United Kingdom

Man Arrested After Charging iPhone On London Overground Train 674

An anonymous reader writes: 45-year-old Robin Lee was arrested after he used a socket on a London Overground train to charge up his iPhone. He was handcuffed and arrested for "abstracting electricity". Robin was then charged with "unacceptable behaviour" after "becoming aggressive" when objecting to his first arrest. The Guardian reports: "Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lee said he had been confronted by a police community support officer on the overground train from Hackney Wick to Camden Road on 10 July. The Overground is part of Transport For London’s wider network that also includes London Underground and the buses. 'She said I’m abstracting electricity. She kept saying it’s a crime. We were just coming into the station and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform. She called to them and said: ‘This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested’.”
Businesses

FTC Officials Looking Into Apple's Streaming Business Model, Say Sources 53

Apple may have a bigger business problem than displeasing Taylor Swift with its new Apple Music service; According to Reuters, U.S. regulators are said (by anonymous sources) to be looking into Apple's treatment of music-streaming rivals, now that the company has gone from selling only downloadable music to competing directly with alternatives like Spotify and Pandora. A slice: While $9.99 has emerged as the going monthly rate for music subscriptions, including Apple's, some streaming companies complain that Apple's cut forces them to either charge more in the App Store than they do on other platforms or erode their profit margins. The Federal Trade Commission is looking at the issue but has not begun a formal investigation, said the three industry sources, who requested anonymity. The agency has had meetings with multiple concerned parties, one source said. The agency meets with companies routinely, and a formal investigation may not materialize.
Twitter

Hacker Group That Hit Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft Intensifies Attacks 40

itwbennett writes: The hacker group, which security researchers from Kaspersky Lab and Symantec call Wild Neutron or Morpho, has broken into the networks of over 45 large companies since 2012. After the 2013 attacks against Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft were highly publicized, the group went underground and temporarily halted its activity. However, its attacks resumed in 2014 and have since intensified, according to separate reports released Wednesday by Kaspersky Lab and Symantec.
IOS

Apple Drops Recovery Key From Two-Factor Authentication In New OS Versions 64

eggboard writes: If you've ever turned on what's now called "two-step verification" for an Apple ID, you had to create a Recovery Key. Lose this 14-digit code and have your password reset (because of hacking attempts against you), and you might lose access forever to purchases and data, as Owen Williams almost did. Apple confirmed today that starting with its public betas of OS X 10.11 and iOS 9, two-factor authentication won't have a Recovery Key. Instead, if you have to reset a password or lose access to devices, you'll have to go through an account verification process with human beings.
The Courts

Judge Tosses Jury's $533M Patent Verdict Against Apple, Orders New Trial 55

An anonymous reader writes: US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has thrown out a $532.9 million damages award against Apple after a jury found that its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by a Texas company. Gilstrap ruled (pdf) that the damages verdict must be thrown out because of faulty jury instructions and has ordered a new trial to be held solely on the issue of damages.
Cloud

How Apple Music Can Disrupt Users' iTunes Libraries 360

An anonymous reader writes: Early adopters of Apple Music are warning others they could get more than they bargained for if they intend to download tracks for offline listening. Since Apple Music is primarily a streaming service, this functionality necessitates turning on iCloud Music for syncing purposes. The way Apple syncs files is to scan your library for known music files, and if it finds one, the service gives your account access to Apple's canonical copy. Unfortunately, this wipes out any custom edits you made to the file's metadata. For those who have put a lot of time into customizing their library, this can do a lot of damage to their organizational system. Apple's efforts to simplify and streamline the process have once again left advanced users with a difficult decision to make.
Graphics

Square Enix Pulls, Apologizes For Mac Version of Final Fantasy XIV 94

_xeno_ writes: Just over a week after Warner Bros. pulled the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight due to bugs, Square Enix is now being forced to do the same thing with the Mac OS X version of Final Fantasy XIV (which was released at the same time as Batman: Arkham Knight). The rather long note explaining the decision apologizes for releasing the port before it was ready and blames OS X and OpenGL for the discrepancy between the game's performance on identical Mac hardware running Windows. It's unclear when (or even if) Square Enix will resume selling an OS X version — the note indicates that the development team is hopeful that "[w]ith the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac, and the replacement of OpenGL with a new graphics API in Apple's next OS, the fundamental gap in current performance issues may soon be eliminated." (I'm not sure what "the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac" refers to. OS X gaining DirectX 11 support is news to me — and, I suspect, Microsoft.) Given that the game supports the aging PS3 console, you'd think the developers would be able to find a way to get the same graphics as the PS3 version on more powerful Mac OS X hardware.
Government

Can New Chicago Taxes On Netflix, Apple, Spotify Withstand Legal Challenges? 188

Mr D from 63 writes: Today, a new "cloud tax" takes effect in the city of Chicago, targeting online databases and streaming entertainment services. Residents who stream movies and music from companies like Netflix and Spotify will now need to pay an additional 9% tax. This also applies to Chicago businesses that pay to use databases online. Chicago expects to collect $12 million a year as a result of the new tax ruling. From the 24/7 Wall St. story: "Also worth noting is that the city’s tax ruling in both cases avoids the issue of whether there is a close-enough connection (nexus, in legalese) to require providers like Netflix or others to collect either tax. International law firm ReedSmith weighs in on this point as well: '[O]nce the Department begins to audit and assess customers located within the city, many of those customers are likely to demand that providers collect the tax going forward. As a result, many providers will likely feel the need to register to collect the taxes, despite lacking nexus, and despite having strong arguments against the Department’s expansive interpretation of its taxing ordinances.'"
Movies

"Jobs" vs. "Steve Jobs": Hollywood Takes Another Stab At Telling the Steve Jobs Story 266

theodp writes: Didn't like Jobs, the 2013 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher? Maybe you'll prefer Steve Jobs, the 2015 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender. "Steve Jobs is a tech visionary, total dick," writes Esquire's Matt Patches in his mini-review of the just-released Steve Jobs trailer. So, is inspiring kids to become the "Next Steve Jobs" a good or bad thing?
Safari

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 311

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
The Courts

Apple Loses Ebook Price Fixing Appeal, Must Pay $450 Million 97

An anonymous reader writes: A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 today that Apple indeed conspired with publishers to increase ebook prices. The ruling puts Apple on the hook for the $450 million settlement reached in 2014 with lawyers and attorneys general from 33 states. The Justice Dept. contended that the price-fixing conspiracy raised the price of some e-books from the $10 standard set by Amazon to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because Amazon held 90% of the market at the time. Apple is unhappy with the ruling, but they haven't announced plans to take the case further. They said, "While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps."
Cellphones

iPhone 6S New Feature: Force Touch 191

New submitter WarJolt writes: Apple is adding Force Touch to their iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. I'm not sure if Force Touch enough to convince an Android user like myself to switch, but there are definitely some interesting possibilities for app developers. A challenge for App developers will be to make apps compatible with both Force Touch iPhones and non-force touch iPhones. (Here's the Bloomberg report Forbes draws from.)
Apple

AppleCare+ Now Covers Batteries That Drop To 80% 152

Mark Wilson writes with news that Apple's AppleCare+ plan has been updated to address one of the biggest worries that people have about products with non-removeable batteries, and that become very expensive paperweights when the juice runs out. From BetaNews: "Previously, the extended warranty only covered batteries that would hold 50 percent charge or less. Now this has been updated so that you can request a free replacement within the coverage period if your device's battery is only able to hold 80 percent of full charge. The new terms to no apply to everyone — it all depends on when you bought your Apple device. If you bought your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch before April 10, 2015, you're stuck with the old terms. I wish this change applied to my MacBook Air, with which I'm lucky to get 90 minutes of battery power.
United States

Google, Apple, and Others Remove Content Related To the Confederate Flag 818

davek writes with news that Google is removing results related to the Confederate Flag from Google Shopping, the company's online marketplace. They're also blocking advertisements involving the flag. They say, "We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our Ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group." At the same time, Apple is removing from the App Store any games or other software featuring the Confederate Flag. This, of course, follows the recent shooting in South Carolina, which triggered a nationwide debate over whether the flag should be flown at government buildings (or anywhere). Major online merchant websites like eBay and Amazon have already taken the step of banning merchandise relating to the flag.
Music

Apple To Pay Musicians For Free Streams, After All 134

vivaoporto writes: As reported on Re/code, Apple media boss Eddy Cue appears to have capitulated and Apple Music will be paying music owners for streaming even during customers's free trial period. He says Taylor Swift's letter, coupled with complaints from indie labels and artists, did indeed prompt the change.

Cue says Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. He explains that it can't be at the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenues once subscribers start paying. Instead, he says, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis.

No word from Swift or her camp about whether Apple's move is enough to get her to put "1989," her newest album, on Apple Music. On Twitter, she says, "I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us."
Music

Taylor Swift: Apple's Disdain For Royalties Is 'Shocking, Disappointing' 368

Mark Wilson writes to note that Apple Music, yet unlaunched, already faces resistance on several fronts. From the BetaNews article: It's not just smaller, independent labels that are complaining about Apple's refusal to pay artists any royalties during the initial three month free trial period. Taylor Swift has added her voice to the growing number of complainants, writing an open letter to Apple in which she says she will withhold her new album "1989" from the service. In the letter, entitled "To Apple, Love Taylor," the singer says that the company's decision not to make royalty payments is "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Swift is an artist who could afford to shoulder the cost of three months of not being paid by Apple, but she has chosen to make a stand and stick up for those who are less fortunate.
Privacy

DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World 112

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine, has been around for over six years. But when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in 2013, DuckDuckGo started a period of strong growth that hasn't slowed yet. The search engine has seen a 600% increase in traffic over the past two years, and they're now serving 3 billion searches a year. This shouldn't be a surprise — last month, a Pew survey found that 40% of American adults didn't want their search engine to retain information about them. But members of the general public are notoriously slow to change their privacy-related behavior. DuckDuckGo's growing popularity has led them to double their employee count since early 2014, now totaling 28 people. Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple's name being tossed around as a potential buyer.
Music

The Problems Apple Music Needs To Fix Before Launch 110

journovampire writes: In less than two weeks, Apple Music arrives for consumers, but it still has some serious problems. Many in the industry are predicting the biggest digital music launch in history, but Apple hasn't even achieved its primary stated goal of de-fragmenting the music market. To illustrate, the article points out that Apple Music catalog is currently missing the current most popular artist (Adele), the most popular artist of the past decade (Taylor Swift), and the most popular artist of all time (The Beatles). The company is also promising a three-month free trial period. Great for customers, but not great for musicians, who won't see a dime from that trial, regardless of how much their music is being played. Apple has likely made you-scratch-my-back deals with the major publishers, but indies have no bargaining power. They've been hesitant to jump on board, and that only decreases the selection. Add to that the complications by DRM, Apple Connect, and the new service flat out not working on some music devices (competitors to Apple, now that they own Beats), and you have a recipe for yet another troubled streaming site.