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Apple In the News ...

Sun, 07 Aug 2022 16:36:29 GMT

Apple asks suppliers in Taiwan to label products as made in China – report
Posted on Sunday August 07, 2022

Nikkei says firm wants components bound for mainland to now comply with longstanding Beijing rule

Apple has reportedly asked Taiwan-based suppliers to label their products as being produced in China, in an effort to avoid disruption from strict Chinese customs inspections resulting from the visit of the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei.

According to Nikkei, the company has asked manufacturers on the island to label components bound for mainland China as made in “Chinese Taipei” or “Taiwan, China”. The labels are required in order to comply with a longstanding but previously unenforced rule that requires imported goods to suggest the island is part of the People’s Republic of China.

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Sat, 06 Aug 2022 15:00:17 GMT

Have the tech giants finally had their bubble burst? I’d hate to speculate | John Naughton
Posted on Saturday August 06, 2022

For the first time in the technology industry’s history, combined real revenue growth is negative rather than positive and some corporations may yet be facing an existential decline

A speculative bubble, wrote Nobel laureate Robert Shiller in Irrational Exuberance, his landmark book on human foolishness, is “a situation in which news of price increases spurs investor enthusiasm, which spreads by psychological contagion from person to person, in the process amplifying stories that might justify the price increases and bringing in a larger and larger class of investors, who, despite doubts about the real value of an investment, are drawn to it partly through envy of others’ successes and partly through a gambler’s excitement”.

Observers of the tech industry are wearily familiar with this kind of irrationality. Throughout 2020 and 2021, as Covid-19 wreaked economic havoc on countries throughout the western world, the tech industry remained strangely untouched by what was happening on the ground. While the rest of us cowered in lockdown, the pandemic made tech bosses and owners insanely richer. Their companies grew faster and became even more profitable while other industries languished. Apple had so much extra cash that it spent $90bn (£74bn) – nearly the gross domestic product of Kenya – buying its own shares. Amazon laid out $50bn in 2021 on warehouses, hiring tens of thousands of employees, ordering fleets of electric vehicles and building cloud computing centres. And so on.

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Sun, 31 Jul 2022 13:00:04 GMT

Apple should scan iPhones for child abuse images, says scanning technology inventor
Posted on Sunday July 31, 2022

Prof Hany Farid says all online services should adopt idea backed by GCHQ and National Cybersecurity Centre

Apple should take heed of warnings from the UK’s security services and revive its controversial plans to scan iPhones for child abuse imagery, the inventor of the scanning technology has argued.

Prof Hany Farid, an expert in image analysis at University of California, Berkeley, is the inventor of PhotoDNA, an “image hashing” technique used by companies across the web to identify and remove illegal images. He said that, following an intervention from the technical leads of GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre backing an extension of the technology on to individual phones, Apple should be emboldened to revive its shelved plans to do just that.

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Sat, 30 Jul 2022 15:00:28 GMT

Will ‘connected cars’ persuade drivers to pay for a high-spec ride?
Posted on Saturday July 30, 2022

Manufacturers have spied a handy revenue stream by delivering upgrades ‘over the air’, but are car owners prepared to fork out?

When a customer said they had driven across three US states, from Texas to North Carolina, to get their car fixed, Tesla servicer Jason Hughes knew something must be up. It turned out to be an unusual problem: the Model S had lost a third of its battery range in an instant, while it was parked on a driveway.

One of the US electric carmaker’s big selling points is that it is constantly connected to its vehicles via mobile networks, offering software updates and entertainment downloads “over the air”, or OTA. That remote connection could be revolutionary for the industry, opening the door for self-driving features to be downloaded and TV shows to be livestreamed in high definition. But the connected car is having teething problems.

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Sat, 30 Jul 2022 11:00:23 GMT

‘Brexit to blame’: UK shoppers pay up to 50% more than those in EU
Posted on Saturday July 30, 2022

From Zara to Ikea and Decathlon, stores charge more for same items, Guardian Money research finds

Zara is charging British shoppers as much as 50% more than in Spain, while Decathlon partly blames Brexit for markups on e-bikes that can be up to £250 pricier in the UK than in France.

The figures come from a snapshot survey by Guardian Money that examined prices of popular items at pan-European retailers including Ikea, Apple, JD Sports, and H&M, as well as Zara and Decathlon. It compared prices in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

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Thu, 28 Jul 2022 21:26:16 GMT

Apple surpasses expectations as tech companies struggle in slow economy
Posted on Thursday July 28, 2022

The tech firm reported sales and profit of $83bn, in a positive sign for the company which lost its most valuable status earlier

Apple reported higher-than-expected profit and sales as demand for iPhones holds steady even amid inflation and the challenges of an economic slowdown.

Sales and profit for the quarter were $83bn and $1.20 a share, according to Apple, surpassing Wall Street expectations. The report is a positive sign for the company, which earlier this year lost its status as the most valuable company in the world to the oil giant Saudi Aramco. The company’s shares rose by 2.6% after hours in response to the news.

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Thu, 28 Jul 2022 20:32:40 GMT

Trader Joe’s store in Massachusetts becomes first to unionize
Posted on Thursday July 28, 2022

The supermarket chain is the latest major company where workers, who passed the vote 45-31, have unionized

Employees at a Trader Joe’s supermarket in Massachusetts on Thursday became the latest workers at a large company to approve a labor union.

The store in Hadley, about 80miles (129km) west of Boston, is the first Trader Joe’s with an employees union, although workers at two other company locations have initiated unionization efforts.

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Tue, 26 Jul 2022 15:25:48 GMT

What’s really behind the failure of green capitalism? | Adrienne Buller
Posted on Tuesday July 26, 2022

The UK is witnessing extreme temperatures, prompting public outcry. Yet new proposals to counter this are coming up short

Last week, temperatures crested at 40C (104F) in England, bringing the climate crisis to the fore and spurring a fresh wave of dismay. How is it, despite a steady drumbeat of extreme weather events, a rising tide of public outcry, and growing consensus across the political spectrum, that the world remains so profoundly far from the outer limits of the climate targets considered “safe”?

The answer is increasingly located not in climate denial, but in a proliferation of non-solutions advocated by policymakers and business interests with varying degrees of earnestness and good intention, under the umbrella of “green capitalism”. These are proposals sold as urgent, pragmatic tools for cutting emissions or reversing ecosystem loss, but which in fact deliver neither.

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Wed, 20 Jul 2022 10:40:23 GMT

TechScape: suspicious of TikTok? You’re not alone
Posted on Wednesday July 20, 2022

The Chinese app is known for its aggressive data collection – but it is a fool’s errand to prove that it is a threat to the west

What’s the problem with TikTok? It’s a harder question to answer than it seems. The social video app, which has joined Facebook/Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in the list of societally important social networks, is frequently spoken about with an air of suspicion, and it’s not hard to guess why: the app’s Chinese roots loom large in the conversation. (ByteDance, which owns TikTok, insists that it is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, one of the only instances I’ve seen of a company deciding that loudly proclaiming its paper HQ is located in a tax haven is preferable to the alternative). But sometimes, it can feel like the cart leading the horse. The app has Chinese roots, therefore it must be suspicious – right?

So I was interested to read a report that attempts to look at the general suspicion of the service. Published on Monday by the Australian-US cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0, it is based on a teardown of TikTok’s Android and iOS apps. The report’s author, Thomas Perkins, writes:

In our analysis, the TikTok mobile application does not prioritise privacy. Permissions and device information collection are overly intrusive and not necessary for the application to function.

Also of note is that TikTok IOS 25.1.1 has a server connection to mainland China which is run by a top 100 Chinese cyber security and data company Guizhou Baishan Cloud Technology Co Ltd.

For the TikTok application to function properly, most of the access and device data collection is not required. This leads us to believe that the only reason this information has been gathered is for data harvesting. It is also notable that the device only needs to ask the user for permission to perform each of these actions once and then follow the user’s preferences. The application however has a culture of persistent access or continuously asking for a decision reversal by the user. The hourly checking of location is also unnecessary. Finally, device mapping, external storage access, contacts and third-party applications data collection allows TikTok the ability to reimage the phone in the likeness of the original device.

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Tue, 19 Jul 2022 16:35:53 GMT

Apple reportedly will curb hiring next year in response to rocky economy
Posted on Tuesday July 19, 2022

The company joins other tech firms in slowing hiring as fears grow that inflation will lower consumer demand

Apple is reportedly planning to slow hiring and spending growth next year to cope with an economic downturn, which would place it in the company of American tech companies including Facebook, Amazon and Google in enacting similar measures.

The changes, first reported by Bloomberg, would not affect all teams, and Apple is reportedly still planning a major product launch scheduled for next year that includes a mixed-reality headset, its first significant new category since the Apple Watch in 2015.

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Sun, 17 Jul 2022 05:00:29 GMT

Tech company earnings reports expected to bring a flush of bad news
Posted on Sunday July 17, 2022

Some US firms have announced hiring slowdowns and layoffs in recent weeks amid fears of recession

As top tech companies prepare to release their quarterly earnings reports starting next week, investors are bracing for bad news.

Several US tech companies have announced hiring slowdowns and layoffs in recent weeks, and the difficulties are expected to continue. “It’s not a great time for tech in general,” said Paul Verna, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, a market analysis firm. “There is no question that companies are going to be spending less, cutting back budgets, and maybe implementing hiring freezes. None of that is good news for the next quarter.”

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Tue, 12 Jul 2022 17:47:21 GMT

Klarna’s road ahead looks a little harder this year
Posted on Tuesday July 12, 2022

With Apple set to enter the market and shrinking appetite for tech stocks the future looks less rosy for buy now, pay later firm

They’re clearly a sensitive bunch at Klarna, the Swedish “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) firm. The privately owned company’s value, as measured by the price at which it raises fresh capital, has just crashed by 85% from $45.6bn (£38.3bn) a year ago to $6.7bn today, but management would like you to think a veritable triumph has occurred.

It was a testament to Klarna’s strength, said chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski, that $800m of cash arrived from investors this week “during the steepest drop in global stock markets in over 50 years” – a questionable statistic, incidentally, given what happened in 1973-74, 2001-03 or even 2008.

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Wed, 06 Jul 2022 17:17:43 GMT

Apple to launch ‘lockdown mode’ to protect against Pegasus-style hacks
Posted on Wednesday July 06, 2022

Firm says function is intended for users who face ‘grave, targeted threats to their digital security’

Apple is launching a “lockdown mode” for its devices to protect people – including journalists and human rights activists – targeted by hacking attacks like those launched by government clients of NSO Group using its Pegasus spyware.

Apple will roll out the setting in the autumn and believes it would have prevented previously known spyware attacks by closing down technical avenues for digital espionage. It said the lockdown mode was intended for users who face “grave, targeted threats to their digital security”.

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Tue, 05 Jul 2022 23:01:12 GMT

UK could force messaging apps to adopt new technology to tackle abuse images
Posted on Tuesday July 05, 2022

Amendment to online safety bill would require tech firms to make their ‘best endeavours’ to deploy new technology

Heavily encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp could be required to adopt cutting-edge technology to spot child sexual abuse material or face the threat of significant fines, under changes to UK digital safety legislation.

The amendment to the online safety bill would require tech firms to make their “best endeavours” to deploy new technology that identifies and removes child sexual abuse and exploitation content (CSAE).

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Tue, 05 Jul 2022 06:00:17 GMT

My mum is locked out of her Apple iPad and can’t get her photos
Posted on Tuesday July 05, 2022

A reader writes that their 79-year-old relative can’t access her tablet or iCloud account

My 79-year-old mother has found herself locked out of her Apple iCloud account and denied access to many years’ worth of family photos saved on her original iPad.

She has had long periods in hospital and her iPad is very precious. The device concerned is a old model and she neglected to update the software.

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Thu, 23 Jun 2022 21:53:25 GMT

Apple and Android phones hacked by Italian spyware, says Google
Posted on Thursday June 23, 2022

Report claims Milan-based RCS Lab developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of targeted devices

An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Alphabet Inc’s Google said in a new report.

Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices, the report said.

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Tue, 21 Jun 2022 09:47:52 GMT

I am not a robot: iOS verification update marks end of ‘captchas’
Posted on Tuesday June 21, 2022

Tests where you are asked to spot traffic lights or type out wobbly letters may be a thing of the past

An annoyance, an important security feature, an uncomfortable existential request: however you feel about being asked to prove you are not a robot, it has become a daily occurrence for most of us, but perhaps not one we would miss.

A new feature in the upcoming versions of iOS and macOS, Apple’s operating systems for iPhones and computers, promises to give the boot to “captchas” once and for all. Called “automatic verification”, the technology will allow sites to verify you are not a robot without you having to do anything at all.

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Sun, 19 Jun 2022 13:24:45 GMT

Apple workers in Maryland vote to join union, a first for the tech giant in US
Posted on Sunday June 19, 2022

Move comes as unionization efforts gain momentum across country, including at Amazon and Starbucks

Apple Store workers in Maryland have voted to join a union, becoming the tech giant’s first retail employees to join a labour-force movement as part of a wider trend across US retail, service and tech industries.

Workers voted to unionise on a nearly two-to-one margin and the result, announced on Saturday by the National Labor Relations Board, provides a foothold for a budding movement among Apple retail employees who want a greater voice over wages and policies pertaining to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

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Wed, 15 Jun 2022 23:01:43 GMT

Claim for £750m against Apple launched over alleging battery ‘throttling’
Posted on Wednesday June 15, 2022

Consumer champion Justin Gutmann alleges older iPhones made slower to cope with software updates

Apple is facing a multimillion-pound legal claim that could reimburse millions of iPhone owners over a secret decision to slow down older phones in 2017.

An undocumented battery management system, released in a software update in January that year, slowed down the performance of older iPhones in order to stop them shutting down without warning. But Apple didn’t give users the option to disable the setting, and did not warn them that their phones were being “throttled” deliberately.

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Mon, 13 Jun 2022 06:00:11 GMT

Best running gear: top gadgets to keep you motivated
Posted on Monday June 13, 2022

From music on the go to GPS watches and apps such as Strava, tech to help you clock up the miles

Running is a great way to keep fit this summer and needs little more than some trainers and a pavement or a park. But even the most enthusiastic of us need some way to keep motivated for regular exercise when the couch, TV or sun lounger looks inviting.

These gadgets can help: from music on the go to the social power of Strava, they make pounding the streets a little more interesting.

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