iDrop News Apple News, How Tos and Culture. 2017-10-18T00:07:02Z WordPress Troy Thompson <![CDATA[Google Maps Kills Controversial ‘Cupcake Calorie Counter’ Amid Outcry]]> 2017-10-18T00:07:02Z 2017-10-18T00:07:02Z Google on Tuesday said it will axe an experimental feature that’s been in testing via its proprietary Maps app for iOS, which was designed to give users a rough estimate of how many calories they’d burn by walking, rather than driving, their selected route.

It sounds like a useful tool, to be sure, and we can even see how it might encourage people to walk more often. However, while it may offer a unique opportunity to count calories and stay fit, Google’s feature also displays precisely how many “mini cupcakes” those calories equate to.

For its part, the search-giant waged a fairly reasonable case for why it implemented the cupcake counter, citing how “the average person burns 90 calories by walking 1 mile,” and to help put that into perspective “we’ve estimated how many desserts your walk would burn” — however the explanation has not bode well with users, and Google has faced a tremendous amount of criticism over the feature so far.

So much so, in fact, that the cupcake counter will officially be removed from the Google Maps app for iOS tonight, a representative told TechCrunch, citing that the decision was “based on strong user feedback.”

While some may have welcomed the cupcake counter — or, at the very least, not really cared either which way — others were annoyed for a myriad of reasons. Some users, for example, were peeved by the mere fact that Google was sending them “unsolicited health advice,” with no explanation of where it came from or how to make it go away.

Others, meanwhile, voiced their concerns that the feature exuded to an “excessive preoccupation with calorie tracking,” which is symptomatic of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and the cupcake counter could be a trigger for them.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Here’s Why Apple Didn’t Get an ‘A’ in Latest Greenpeace Rating]]> 2017-10-17T21:52:50Z 2017-10-17T21:52:50Z Apple is well-known as one of the most environmentally friendly tech companies in the world. So why did it only get a B- rating from Greenpeace in a recent evaluation?

The environmental advocacy organization published its Guide to Greener Electronics on Monday, a resource that allows consumers some insight into the environmental practices of 17 tech companies. Greenpeace evaluated the firms for various criteria such as energy use and resource consumption. And Apple, for all of its eco-friendly initiatives, was awarded a B- by the NGO.

To be fair, the only company ranked higher than Apple is a little-known — and by comparison, tiny — manufacturer called Fairphone, a “social enterprise” company that specifically develops ethical devices with minimal environmental impact.

Apple was the only firm that was graded a B-, Fairphone got a B. For comparison, Google was awarded a C-, Apple competitor Samsung got a D-, and Amazon got a straight F.

The Good

Greenpeace lauded Apple for its commitment to using renewable energy, its efforts in reducing supply chain carbon emissions, and its transparency about the chemicals and materials that it uses in its products. The organization also commended Cupertino for its plans to shift its supply chain to renewable energy. According to Greenpeace, Apple is the only company to have set such a goal.

Apple also boasts using renewable energy at its own facilities (like its data centers, or its new Apple Park HQ) and is actively working toward a closed-loop supply chain. While the company’s overall grade was a B-, Apple received an A- for its environmental initiatives, a B for chemicals use, and a C for resource use.

The Bad

On that last note, Greenpeace largely attributed the poorer grade to a lack of third-party repairability for its devices and its use of proprietary components. Greenpeace also hit Apple for its efforts to limit access to repair resources and its active lobbying against “right to repair” legislation. A previous Greenpeace campaign targeted Apple, alleging that the company’s hard-to-repair devices shortens device lifespan and leads to more waste.

Despite its B- grade, Greenpeace has been ranked Apple as the most environmentally friendly tech company in the world for three consecutive years.

Troy Thompson <![CDATA[Police Search for Woman Who Let a Boy Steal an iPhone 8 from AT&T]]> 2017-10-17T21:07:52Z 2017-10-17T21:07:52Z We’ve covered a plethora of iPhone-related theft stories over the years — instances in which nefarious actors, with or without an accomplice, schemed to steal Apple’s prized device. While the details surrounding each case have understandably been varied, today’s bizarre tale of ‘Grand Theft iPhone’ has authorities in a small, suburban New Jersey town on watch.

According to a developing report published by, police in Delran Township, New Jersey are actively searching for a woman who they claim stood idle as a child stole an iPhone from an AT&T store in broad daylight.

Police say they observed surveillance camera footage from the AT&T store, which was captured on October 8, 2017.

The video footage clearly shows the minor fumbling with a Gold iPhone 8 that’s tethered to the display case — all the while, as a woman directly beside him watches with an unmistakeable look of intrigue in her eyes.

Ultimately, police say, the boy managed to break the iPhone free and slipped it into his pocket — completely under the radar. And, of course, since the woman clearly saw him do it while failing to say anything, authorities are trying to find her.

That said, anyone with information on this case is being encouraged to contact the Delran Township Police Department, either via email ( or via phone (856-461-4498).

This wouldn’t be the first instance of someone stealing an iPhone (or thousands of them, for that matter) we’ve ever reported. In fact, instances of iPhone theft are fairly prevalent in our society today, especially as those nefarious enough continue to increase in cleverness, finding bold and audacious new ways to execute their plans.

Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first case of iPhone theft where authorities sought the public’s help identifying those responsible, either. Sadly, this may however be the first of such brazen iPhone thefts to be carried out by a young child — at least in our database.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Apple Ordered to Pay Patent Troll $440m, But the Battle Isn’t Over]]> 2017-10-17T19:54:45Z 2017-10-17T19:54:45Z A federal judge has ordered Apple to pay nearly $440 million to patent-holding company VirnetX, an unsealed order recently revealed. But despite the court decision, the patent troll still can’t claim victory just yet.

The long-running patent battle began in 2012 when VirnetX alleged that Apple was infringing on four of its patents with FaceTime and other VoIP protocols.

But in September, a U.S. District Court in Texas denied Apple’s motions to end the case or have a retrial. Not only that, but the judge tacked on an additional $41.3 million in damages and $96 million in costs, fees and interest for the $302 million jury verdict that VirnetX won last year.

The judge presiding over the case found Apple guilty of “will infringement,” The Verge reported. As such, it has been ordered to bump the payment amount from $1.20 per infringing device to $1.80. And “infringing device” spans the range of iPhones, iPads and Macs. That amount is “very reasonable,” VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen said in a press release.

Though this is the third trial that VirnetX has won against Apple in this particular suit, the tireless battle isn’t over. Apple told TechCrunch that it plans to appeal the court’s verdict. Additionally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently invalidated all four of VirnetX’s patents — though this won’t halt outright stop the legal warfare between the two companies.

To be clear, $440 million is a relative drop in the bucket for the massive Cupertino tech giant. But it’s the principle at stake here. VirnetX is just one of many “patent troll” companies that don’t produce any of their own products or services. Instead, these “patent assertion entities” license patents and sue other corporations for money. “Our portfolio of intellectual property is the foundation of our business model,” the company’s SEC filing reads.

Indeed, other tech giants have lost cases to VirnetX, too. Microsoft ultimately paid $200 million to the patent troll. And VirnetX is currently in a standstill with HTC as they negotiate patent deals related to LTE technologies. Apple was ordered to pay $368 million to VirnetX in 2012 for a separate suit filed two years earlier.

The pace of patent troll lawsuits levied at tech giants has only increased in recent years. The outcome of this particular legal battle will likely set a precedent for VirnetX and other patent holding companies going forward — and it’s likely that their patent licensing agreements and infringement suits will only become more ubiquitous.

Interestingly, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has become a popular spot for patent cases filed by holding companies. That’s because of a quick litigation timetable, which tends to give the patent holders an edge in court. That advantage might end in Texas, however, due to a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The USPTO’s invalidation becomes legally binding once all appeals have been exhausted — of course, VirnetX can appeal that decision, too. But if Apple does better in court going forward, it’ll mean that the patent troll won’t be able to use those four patents in future lawsuits.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Microsoft’s Powerful Surface Book 2 Costs More Than a MacBook Pro]]> 2017-10-17T19:28:13Z 2017-10-17T19:28:13Z Microsoft introduced its new Surface Book 2 on Tuesday, and the company wasted no time comparing it to its biggest competitor: Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup.

The PC maker said that the Surface Book 2’s specs make it around five times faster than its predecessor — and twice as powerful as the newest MacBook Pro (though Microsoft didn’t specify which configuration it was comparing to).

The company also said that it has up to 70 percent more battery life than the latest Apple notebooks — 17 hours, compared to the MacBook’s estimated 10 hours — and higher pixel density.

In most aspects, the two flagship laptops are neck-in-neck as far as specs and performance. But there are areas in which the Surface Book 2 edges ahead.

  • The Surface Book 2’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card is far more powerful than the Radeon Pro 560 outfitted in the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
  • The Surface Book 2 sports 8th-generation Intel processors, compared to the MacBook Pro’s 7th-gen processors.

The Surface Book 2 is available in either 13.5-inch or 15-inch display configurations. The display is also detachable, meaning users can take it off for use as a dedicated tablet. The 15-inch model has a resolution of 3240×2160 pixels, while the 13.5-inch model has 3000×2000.

Port-wise, the Surface Book 2 comes with two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C port, and an SD card slot. That is a wider variety of ports than the MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt 3 ports — though it’s worth noting that Thunderbolt 3 is a faster port.

Both laptops retain a 3.5mm headphone jack. As far as portability, the Surface Book 2 is thicker and heavier.

How Much Is It?

No doubt, Microsoft’s latest and greatest is a stunning notebook. But, of course, you’re going to be paying extra for that bit of snappiness. The basic 13-inch iteration of the Surface Book 2 costs about $200 more than its closest MacBook competitor. Which is interesting, considering Apple’s reputation for producing devices with a high price tag.

The Surface Book 2 becomes available for pre-order on Nov. 9, and it’ll ship out to customers and hit store shelves on Nov. 16. The 13.5-inch model starts at $1,499 for the most basic configuration, while the 15-inch model starts at $2,499.

Ali Mahdi <![CDATA[9 Tips to Enhance Safari Browsing Privacy in iOS 11]]> 2017-10-17T19:12:06Z 2017-10-17T19:06:36Z With so much of your private information being exposed to the web, it is important that you take extra precautions to ensure that you’re browsing privately. Safari provides a number of privacy options so that you can search the web more securely without exposing much of your private information. Press the right arrow to learn 9 Tips to Enhance Safari Browsing Privacy in iOS 11.

Troy Thompson <![CDATA[How the ‘Coach of Silicon Valley’ Determined Steve Jobs Was a Leader]]> 2017-10-17T00:17:21Z 2017-10-17T00:17:21Z How do you determine if someone is a good leader? Is it measured by their ability to drive a team in synchrony towards achieving an ultimate goal? Is it a reflection of one’s personality, their attributes, and how they treat those in positions below them? Or is it merely a measurement of “just how far” they’ve come in life — a broader reflection of their title, status, wealth, or other accolades?

Of course, while the textbook definition of “leadership” is as broad as the qualities that best exemplify it, according to one of Silicon Valley’s most highly-regarded leaders of the last century, it’s actually “the opinions of those you’re supposed to be leading” which best define whether or not you’re a true leader.

Now, that might seem like an unconventional method of discerning leadership as a quality; however it was nevertheless a litmus test, of sorts, used by the late Bill Campbell in his discernment of who in Silicon Valley is a true leader.

Who Is Bill Campbell?

William ‘Bill’ Campbell, a Columbia University graduate, served as Apple’s Vice President of marketing in the 1990s prior to Steve Jobs returning to the helm. From there, he went on to establish a reputation  as “the coach” of Silicon Valley, according to Business Insider. And prior to his unfortunate passing in April, 2016, Campbell was most notably a mentor to some of the most prominent names in tech, including Steve Jobs, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, as well as Google co-founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.

Leadership Is Earned

In an even more recent interview with Business Insider, Apple’s former CEO John Sculley (who served as the company’s top boss during Steve Jobs’ absence in the 1990s) reflected on the best advice Campbell ever gave him, saying the mogul once told him that “Your title makes you a manager. Your people will decide if you’re a leader. And it’s up to you to live up to that.”

“The reality is that you have to earn leadership from the people that you’re working with and who are working for you,” Campbell told his former boss, citing that he’d come to said realization of what leadership means based on his work with Steve Jobs. “The title doesn’t mean much unless you can earn their respect as a leader.”

Campbell’s other, more notable accomplishments include his founding and sale of GO Corporation, which was acquired by AT&T in 1993, as well as being elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Columbia University in 2005. He also served as the CEO of Intuit, creators of the popular QuickBooks personal and business finance software, from 1994 to 1998.

Weighing in on Campbell’s impact, Intuit’s current CEO, Brad Smith, echoed Sculley’s sentiments with regards to the mogul’s game-changing advice on what defines leadership, indicating that it was “some of the best career advice” he’d ever received from anyone.

“Basically, how you make that happen is if you believe that leadership is not about putting greatness into people, leadership is about recognizing that there’s a greatness in everyone and your job is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge,” Smith said, while adding “That’s our definition of leadership. We don’t think leadership is the same as people management.”

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Eddie Cue Vehemently Disagrees Apple’s Innovation Has Slowed]]> 2017-10-16T23:54:58Z 2017-10-16T23:54:58Z Some critics believe that Apple is no longer innovative, or that its pace of innovation has slowed. Eddy Cue is not one of those people.

The Apple services chief said that he disagrees “vehemently” with that opinion in a recent interview with Indian publication Livemint. Cue added that he believes Apple has been “incredibly innovative.” Specifically, Cue was responding to a question about the perception that Apple’s pace of innovation has slowed since the release of the first iPhone and the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

“No way!” Cue responded, later adding “When you think of the products that we’ve built over time, you own a lot of them. And you just assume that every year was a new product. But it wasn’t. You can’t do revolutionary new products, every two months or six months or whatever. They take time.”

While the tidbit was an interesting piece of the interview, most of the conversation focused on Apple’s plans for India — a burgeoning new market for the tech industry, and a “very long-term opportunity” for Apple, according to Cue.

The services chief said that Apple is primarily focused on the App Store, Apple Maps and other services such as iCloud and Apple Music in India. He also said that Cupertino tech giant is working to bring Apple Pay to the country of over 1 billion.

“Apple Pay is something that we definitely want in India,” Cue said. “The challenge with payment mechanisms is that there isn’t really a lot of global scale. You deal with individual markets at a time … but India is one of those markets where we hope to bring Apple Pay to.” Despite that, Cue added that Apple Pay in India is not a “100 percent” certainty at this time and there’s no exact word on when the payments platform will be released.

India will likely turn out to be a key battleground for Apple: it’s a rapidly growing market — one that will overtake the U.S. as the largest in the world behind China — and one that Apple is far from dominant in. But Cupertino is making various moves beyond services to edge its way into the country’s mobile market.

Early this year, Apple announced that it would begin manufacturing iPhones at its Bengaluru, India plant sometime this year. It is also allowing Indian retailers to slash prices on older iPhones in order to gain traction. The company has also expressed interest in bringing its Apple retail outlets to the country, despite certain restrictions currently preventing it from doing so.

The rest of the interview focused on various topics, including the differing leadership styles of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, and Apple’s push to create its own original content. On that last note, Cue added that Apple isn’t necessarily planning on “disrupting” the content industry — just bringing an innovative slant to content on their ecosystem and platform.

Troy Thompson <![CDATA[Huawei Steps Closer to Overtaking Apple’s iPhone]]> 2017-10-16T23:07:45Z 2017-10-16T23:02:21Z Though one recent report suggested that iOS is gaining in popularity among Android converts in key markets around the world, data from analysts at International Data Corp. (IDC), paints a much more cautious — if not outright threatening — picture of Apple’s current status as the world’s No. 2 smartphone shipper by volume.

Specifically, according to IDC’s most recent data, it’s the up-and-coming, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei who’s overwhelming growth and popularity has skyrocketed in recent years — to the point, says IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo, that the company could easily knock Apple from its position within the next year.

“They will probably overtake Apple in the smartphone business, either this year or next year,” Jeronimo, IDC’s European-based director of mobile devices, recently told CNBC News. “This is a huge challenge for Samsung because Huawei aims to become number one.”

Samsung is currently the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor by volume, with Apple following closely in second place, and Huawei at No. 3.

  • Jeronimo points to the most recent sales data from the second-quarter of this year. Apple’s market share rose to 12%, based on total shipments of 41 million iPhones.
  • Huawei’s market share, though only 11.3%, actually rose year-over-year by a whopping 20%. The Chinese smartphone-maker shipped 38 million handsets in Q2, according to Business Insider.


Since its founding in 1987, Huawei has made a name for itself in mainland China for creating an arsenal of high-quality devices offered at affordable price points. Recent years, however, have seen the burgeoning smartphone-maker create a slew of more high-end devices like the generously-equipped Honor 8, which was clearly designed to go head-to-head with similar high-end offerings like the iPhone and Galaxy Note.

While it remains to be seen if Huawei’s attempt at overtaking Apple is ultimately successful, it’s definitely worth pointing out that “marketshare,” or rather the monopolization thereof, is not and never really was a driving force up in Cupertino. Certainly, Apple would like to sell as many iPhones as it possibly can, however, far more integral to the tech-giant’s sustained success is not the iPhone itself, but the sale of everything else that goes along with it — whether that be apps, digital content like movies and music, accessories, or otherwise.

And besides, even if Huawei ends up selling more smartphones than Apple next year (which it feasibly could), that’s certainly not to suggest the Honor-maker will bank anywhere near what Cupertino stands to. In fact, according to the latest data collected by market research firm Strategy Analytics, between just the two of them, Samsung and Apple took home an unprecedented 94% of the smartphone industry’s overall profits last year.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Nearly All Wi-Fi Networks Are Vulnerable to New KRACK Exploit]]> 2017-10-16T21:48:41Z 2017-10-16T21:48:41Z A serious vulnerability in basically every Wi-Fi network has been discovered. The security flaw could leave millions of networks and devices prone to attacks.

The weakness exists within the WPA2 security protocol that protects and encrypts Wi-Fi networks and their data. The vulnerability could allow attackers to access passwords, e-mails and other data that were once presumed to be secure. In some cases, hackers can inject malicious code or ransomware into a website that a user is visiting.

“This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on,” researcher Mathy Vanhoef wrote. “The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.”

The exploit was discovered by security researchers weeks ago, but its revelation was kept a secret until this morning’s scheduled disclosure. A website detailing the vulnerability — and the researcher’s proof-of-concept exploit called KRACK — is now online. According to the site, the researcher’s exploit can be used to steal a plethora of sensitive data.

Vanhoef also uploaded a video showing off the KRACK proof-of-concept exploit attacking a Google Android device. It works by forcing the device to reinstall an all-zero encryption key, rather than the actual key provided by the WPA2 protocol.

In addition to Vanhoef’s public disclosure, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team has already distributed an advisory to about 100 organizations.

The WPA2 flaw allows attackers to target both Wi-Fi access points, as well as smartphones, computers and other devices connected to vulnerable networks. iOS and Windows are less susceptible to the most severe attacks, but Linux and Android are especially prone to them.

Additionally, Vanhoef said that, while using websites protected by HTTPS can offer another layer of security, these encrypted sites can be improperly configured. This can allow attackers to force the sites to drop back to transmitting standard HTTP data. HTTPS has previously been bypassed in iOS, macOS, Android and even when browsing using a VPN.

Luckily, Vanhoef added, the flaw doesn’t necessarily signal the need for a rollout of a WPA3 standard. The researcher said that WPA2 can be patched via backwards-compatible methods. Due to this, it’s recommended that users update all of their devices and Wi-Fi access points when security updates become available.

As of Monday morning, Apple told iMore’s Rene Ritchie that the vulnerability has been patched in the newest beta versions of iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS. Presumably, the official new versions of Apple’s operating systems will contain the patch when they roll out.

How to Protect Your Devices

Currently, it’s recommended that all users update to the latest available software versions, as they’ll render KRACK and similar exploits less effective. While developers and public beta testers will be able to download the newest Apple beta versions, regular users should keep an eye out for upcoming emergency updates. Additionally, here are a few assorted tips to help keep your data safe.

  • Update all of your devices that can connect to Wi-Fi as soon as possible.
  • Find out if your Wi-Fi router has been patched. If it has, download and install its firmware update.
  • Use the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • Forego Wi-Fi networks in favor of ethernet connections when possible.
  • Consider turning off Wi-Fi on your smartphone. Instead, rely on cellular data which is not prone to the KRACK exploit.
  • Don’t rely solely on a VPN. While they can be great for security, KRACK and related exploits can bypass them in certain circumstances.
Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Brooklyn Man Says Apple Watch Detected Abnormal Heart Rate, Saved His Life]]> 2017-10-16T21:02:21Z 2017-10-16T21:02:21Z A mass-market wearable might not seem like the likeliest of heroes, but one man said that his Apple Watch saved his life.

Podcaster James Greene of Brooklyn, New York tweeted about the incident on Oct. 13. Reportedly, the device alerted him of a spike in his heart rate, which prompted him to call his doctor. At the time, he said didn’t know that the notification sent by his “stupid lil wrist computer” he had bought two years prior would save his life.

It turns out, Greene said, that he had a pulmonary embolism — a potentially life-threatening condition caused by blocked arteries in the lungs. The risk of death, however, is greatly reduced by prompt treatments to break up those clots, according to Mayo Clinic.

In a separate tweet, Greene specifically thanked the makers of Heart Watch, a third party app that sends a notification to users when it detects heart rate abnormalities using the Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate monitor. By default, the app can notify users if their heart rate spikes above 120bmp when they’re at rest.

Greene said that he was later discharged from the hospital and sent home after the incident. And although he added that he will be on blood thinners “for life,” he hopes that this is the last time that it happens.

According to one study conducted by Stanford University and the Swedish School of Sport and Health Services, the Apple Watch has the most accurate heart rate monitor of any fitness tracker. Another study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco showed that the Apple Watch can detect heart issues with around a 97 percent accuracy.

Apple has placed increasing focus on the Apple Watch’s health and wellness uses. Earlier this year, Apple announced that it was working with clinicians at Stanford University and experts at American Well to determine if the wearable’s heart rate monitors could detect abnormal heart rhythms, or cardiac arrhythmias, CNBC reported in May.

It isn’t the first time an Apple Watch owner has said that the wearable helped save their life. In 2015, a teen said that the Apple Watch’s heart monitor alerted him of a dangerously elevated heart rate. And earlier this year, a man involved in a car accident said that his Apple Watch helped him contact first responders in the wake of the crash.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Apple Releases Third Betas of iOS 11.1, watchOS 4.1 and tvOS11.1]]> 2017-10-16T20:40:44Z 2017-10-16T20:40:44Z Apple on Monday released the third beta versions of iOS 11.1, watchOS 4.1 and tvOS 11.1 to registered developers, just one week after releasing the last batch of beta testing software.

iOS 11.1

iOS 11.1 beta 3 presumably includes a number of bug fixes, under-the-hood changes and performance improvements to the operating system. No major outward-facing features have been discovered in the latest beta version, but the update includes significant new features added in iOS 11.1 beta 2.

  • iOS 11.1 adds a slew of new emoji in the new Unicode 10 standard. With 56 new options in all, Unicode 10 adds various emoji such as new animals, dinosaurs, mythical creatures in male and female genders, several gender-neutral faces, and food and clothing options.
  • In addition, iOS 11.1 beta 3 includes the long-awaited reintroduction of the popular 3D Touch App Switcher gesture. Intentionally removed in iOS 11 due to technical issues, the gesture was added back into Apple’s operating system in last week’s iOS 11.1 beta 2.
  • Currently, it doesn’t look like Apple has added AirPlay 2 or Apple Pay Cash with iOS 11.1 beta 3, but those features might be added to the OS before the official release of iOS 11.1 — which is expected later this fall.

iOS 11.1 beta 3 is now available to registered developers via an over-the-air update, provided that the proper configuration profile is installed. It’s also available through the developer’s portal. It’s also likely Apple will release the public beta version this week.

watchOS 4.1 and tvOS 11.1

Apple also issued third beta versions of watchOS 4.1 and tvOS 11.1. Like iOS 11.1 beta 3, these two updates focus on under-the-hood changes and bug fixes, as no major outward facing changes have been discovered.

  • watchOS 4.1 will bring support for Apple Music content streaming via LTE to the Apple Watch Series 3.
  • It will also include the 56 new Unicode 10 emoji, and a new Radio app with access to Beats 1 and other Apple Music stations.

watchOS 4.1 beta 3 can be downloaded via the dedicated Apple Watch app on a connected iPhone.

tvOS 11.1 is more of an incremental update with the addition of bug fixes and performance improvements to the set-top box operating system. tvOS 11.1 beta 3 can be downloaded via a profile installed with Xcode on a Mac.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[10 Confusing iOS Symbols and What They Actually Mean]]> 2017-10-16T20:29:17Z 2017-10-16T20:29:17Z Using an iPhone is typically a pretty straightforward task. But, occasionally, there can be aspects of the iOS operating system that are confusing or vague. iOS uses a large variety of status icons and indicators – some of which are obscure, with little to no context clues describing their purpose. Press the right arrow to learn about 10 confusing iOS symbols and what they actually mean.

Troy Thompson <![CDATA[Foxconn Ships 46,500 iPhone X Devices, Supply Concerns Persist]]> 2017-10-16T19:42:03Z 2017-10-16T19:42:03Z With the highly-anticipated iPhone X just a few weeks away from going up for pre-order, it’d be reasonable to assume that Apple’s assembly partners are churning them out like butter by now. A new report, however, is claiming this morning that Foxconn has only just recently shipped its first batch of iPhone X devices, totaling a paltry 46,500 units.

Furthermore, the inaugural shipment was allegedly split with some of the devices traveling from Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou and Shanghai provinces, respectively, to The Netherlands and to the United Arab Emirates, according to a Chinese supply chain source quoted by DigiTimes. Both of those countries are among the over 50 markets in which Apple will launch the iPhone X on November 3.

“Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai) has started shipping iPhone X devices, with the first batch of 46,500 units already being shipped out from Zhengzhou and Shanghai to the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates,” the report said, while cautioning that “The first-batch shipments of the iPhone X units were much lower than the previous iPhone models, which apparently will make the iPhone X one of the most difficult-to-find smartphone these days.”

Supply and Demand

Of course, we’ve known for quite some time that iPhone X availability would be limited at launch; however this morning’s report gives us a pretty good idea of what we can truly expect moving into the holiday season and beyond. Though the report cites that Foxconn has quadrupled its iPhone X production yields from 100,000 to 400,000 units per day, this otherwise substantial sum is actually a spit in the bucket so far as iPhone X supply will ultimately relate to demand.

Thus far, multiple reports have suggested that the main obstacle hindering iPhone X production is the device’s all-new TrueDepth camera system, which has proved much more of a challenge to produce than Apple expected. The TrueDepth camera on iPhone X will facilitate 3D image processing, advanced augmented reality applications, and the company’s next-generation of biometric security dubbed Face ID.

At this point, it would seem that iPhone X availability is going to be far, far more restrained at launch than even the analysts expected. The historically accurate Ming-Chi Kuo, for instance, recently predicted that Apple will ship as many as 35 million iPhone X devices by the end of 2017; however, it’ll be interesting to see how the company is able to reach this goal at its current production rate.

Of course, while your best chance of scoring an iPhone X on launch day (Friday, October 27th) remains waking up and logging on at 12:01 am to pre-order,  just be forewarned that shipping estimates and availability will likely extend weeks, or even months, into the future shortly thereafter.

Jonathan Lee <![CDATA[Qualcomm Sues Apple to Stop iPhone Production and Sales in China]]> 2017-10-16T17:44:41Z 2017-10-16T17:44:41Z Qualcomm has filed a series of patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in China, seeking to halt iPhone sales and manufacturing in the world’s largest smartphone market, according to Bloomberg. If successful, Qualcomm could cripple Apple, whose iPhones are mostly produced in China and constitute its primary source of revenue.

The latest lawsuits were filed by Qualcomm in September 29 in Beijing’s intellectual property court, alleging that the current iPhones infringe on three patents covering power management and Force Touch technology.

“Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” a Qualcomm spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Apple has denied the claims, and argues that the patent suits are meritless. “Apple believes deeply in the value of innovation, and we have always been willing to pay fair and reasonable rates for patents we use. In our many years of ongoing negotiations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed and in fact were only granted in the last few months,” an Apple spokesperson said.

It’s just the latest salvo in a bitter legal battle that began earlier this year when Apple ordered its manufacturing partners and subsidiaries to halt royalty payments to the smartphone chip manufacturer. The iPhone manufacturer accused Qualcomm of charging an exorbitant amount for use of patents necessary to make the iPhone. Qualcomm promptly launched a series of patent countersuits in a legal dispute that stretches from South Korea to the US, where it is also seeking to halt iPhone sales.

Qualcomm has also been dealt massive fines by government regulators in various countries for anti-competitive practices. Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission handed Qualcomm a $773 million fine for monopolistic behavior. Earlier this month, a South Korean court upheld a $912 million fine for antitrust violations.

However, it’s not likely that Apple will allow the lawsuits to disrupt iPhone production. The chipmaker’s true aim is to draw Apple back into negotiations and force it to restart royalty payments.

Ali Mahdi <![CDATA[How to Hard Reset iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus]]> 2017-10-11T17:34:58Z 2017-10-14T17:00:43Z Ali Mahdi <![CDATA[How to Turn off an iPhone without the Power Button]]> 2017-10-17T16:41:34Z 2017-10-14T15:00:40Z Mike Peterson <![CDATA[3 Possible Reasons Why Apple Discontinued Its Sleep Monitor]]> 2017-10-13T23:23:17Z 2017-10-13T23:23:17Z Apple seems to have quietly discontinued the Beddit Sleep Monitor that it sold in its online store this month — and it brings up some interesting possibilities.

What Is Beddit?

Beddit was a company that developed and produced sleep- and health-related devices. In May, Apple acquired Beddit — but, in an unusual fashion, it continued to sell the Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor exclusively on That is, until earlier this month. The device is now listed as “Sold Out” on Apple’s online store. Typically, when an Apple product is listed as “Sold Out,” it means that it won’t be restocked.

The Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor is — or, was — a thin sensor that fit underneath a user’s sheets or blankets. Among other things, the $149 device tracked a variety of data, such as sleep time and quality, heart rate, snoring, movement, and room temperature and humidity. And similar to the Apple Watch’s sensor suite, it used a BCG sensor to non-invasively monitor heart, lung and body function.

Now that it’s seemingly gone, it opens up a wealth of possibilities for what Apple could do with the technology and the data it provided.

3 They’ve Collected Enough Sleep Data

The company is positioning itself to be a leader in the future of health technology. Its top secret fitness lab should be an indication of that. The fact that it’s collected more fitness data than any other organization in modern history is a hint, too.

Apple could use the data that it’s collected to create more sophisticated and accurate sleep and health monitoring systems for their other products. Even today, Apple is probably still collecting information on user sleep quality from the existing Beddit 3 monitors already in the hands of customers. It could continue to do so, even if it doesn’t sell any more Beddit 3 devices.

These upgraded health and sleep monitoring systems could be then rolled into future versions of the Apple Watch. Of course, since current Apple Watch devices typically needs to be charged overnight, Apple would have to rethink the device’s battery life or charging system.

2 Apple Branded Sleep Monitor

Alternatively, Apple could debut its own version of the Beddit 3 — an Apple-branded, dedicated sleep monitoring device that could fit in nicely with the larger HomeKit ecosystem. With the HomePod, Apple seems to be taking a first tentative step into first-party smart home platforms. It’s not too far-fetched of an idea to think that it has other plans in that realm, too.

1 An Entirely Different Device

On the other hand, the technology could be used in an entirely new device or form factor. While this option is probably years off, it’s a possibility made even more exciting when one considers Apple’s previous patents on smart fabric and flexible displays.

Here’s the Caveat

Of course, this is all speculation — and it assumes that the Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor is indeed being discontinued. But if it’s true, it hints at Apple’s greater ambitions and plans in the health tech field.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[New Data Shows Apple Is Stealing Android Users in Eight Regions]]> 2017-10-13T22:24:57Z 2017-10-13T22:24:57Z iOS’s share of the mobile operating system market is steadily increasing, as the Apple ecosystem saw gains in eight territories over the summer, according to new data published by Kantar Worldpanel.

In the three month period between June and August 2017, Apple’s mobile OS saw growth in Spain, China, the U.S., Germany, France, the EU, Australia and Italy compared to the same time period last year.

In the United States, iOS’s share of the mobile ecosystem jumped from 31.3 percent to 35 percent over the last year.

Although Android still dominates the U.S. market with 63.2 percent, its lead has dropped by several percentage points over the same time period.

“Apple maintained strong momentum in the US one month before the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar’s Global Business Unit Director. He added that iOS will likely continue to see positive growth into the holiday period.

iOS Marketshare Gain (in Percent)

  • Spain +4.4
  • China +4.3
  • U.S. +3.7
  • Germany + 2.3
  • France +1.7
  • EU +1.2
  • Australia +0.9
  • Italy +0.4

It’s a slightly different story in Great Britain, however. According to Kantar’s data, iOS’s share dropped in the UK by 2 points as Android’s share increased from 58.9 percent in 2016 to 65.3 percent in the three-month period ending in August 2017.

Kantar did note that iOS’s share would probably see a bump once new iPhones are accounted for. Apple also saw a market share decrease in Japan, although arguably a negligible one: between 2016 and 2017, its share dipped 0.1 percentage points.

However, with the iPhone X’s launch looming on the horizon, things are looking up for Apple and iOS. Anticipation for the premium OLED handset is strong, and many analysts believe Apple fans and prospective buyers are holding out until it launches — citing fairly low first-weekend sales for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Mike Peterson <![CDATA[Don’t Miss This Giant Robot Battle Scheduled for Oct. 17]]> 2017-10-13T21:28:23Z 2017-10-13T21:28:23Z If you needed proof that we’re living in the future, how about this: there’s a giant robot battle scheduled for later this month.

Yes, you read that right. The MegaBots vs. Suidobashi duel (which is being hailed as the world’s first giant robot fight) is officially scheduled for Oct. 17. It’s been a long-time coming, too. The project has been in the works for about two years, since MegaBots first challenged Suidobashi to a duel in 2015. There’s been a number of false starts along the way: the battle almost happened in August, but was canceled last minute due to “logistical issues.”

Robot battles are nothing new, but this one is different. When they say giant, they really mean giant.

Just look at this promotional image of the MegaBots robot, with its engineering team thrown in for scale. These are big robots on the scale of what we’ve only seen in movies.

The duel will see the Eagle Prime robot (pictured below), built by Bay Area engineering company MegaBots, face off against Kuratas, a robot built by Japan-based Suidobashi Heavy Industries. For size reference, Eagle Prime is 16 feet tall and weighs 12 tons, Kuratas is only a bit smaller at 13 feet tall and clocking in at 6.5 tons.

The American MegaBots has long envisioned a televised giant robot battle league, but its dream has been slow to come to fruition. Building enough giant robots to warrant an entire league is no small feat. But the engineering team has been steadily moving toward that goal, documenting its progress with a web series and making an appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this year.

How to Stream MegaBots vs. Suidobashi Duel

  • MegaBots vs. Suidobashi will take place at 7 p.m. Pacific Time (10 p.m. Eastern) on Tuesday, Oct. 17. You can stream it live, worldwide, via Twitch.
  • If you can’t watch it then, the duel will be viewable on YouTube and Facebook immediately after it wraps up.