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Apple Addresses iOS 'Backdoor' Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services

apple_security_iconEarlier this week, forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski attracted attention for his disclosures of what appeared to be "backdoors" in iOS that could allow for covert data collection of users' information from their devices. While Apple issued a statement denying that anything nefarious was involved, the company has now posted a new support document (via Cabel Sasser) offering a limited description of the three services highlighted in Zdziarski's talk.
Each of these diagnostic capabilities requires the user to have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer. Any data transmitted between the iOS device and trusted computer is encrypted with keys not shared with Apple. For users who have enabled iTunes Wi-Fi Sync on a trusted computer, these services may also be accessed wirelessly by that computer.
The three processes include:

- com.apple.mobile.pcapd: Diagnostic packet capture to a trusted computer, used for diagnosing app issues and enterprise VPN connection problems.

- com.apple.mobile.file_relay: Used on internal devices and can be accessed (with user permission) by AppleCare for diagnostic purposes on the user's device.

- com.apple.mobile.house_arrest: Used by iTunes for document transfer and by Xcode during app development and testing.

Security experts will undoubtedly have additional questions about just how these services work and whether there are better and more secure ways of accomplishing the tasks they handle. At the very least, however, today's disclosure demonstrates a willingness by Apple to share information about the legitimate need for these services and should help quell unsupported speculation that Apple has worked with security agencies to implement these tools to allow for covert surveillance.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite May Launch Separately Despite Integration Features

While iOS and Mac OS X have traditionally followed different release schedules, Apple's recently announced Continuity features suggested it was possible for Apple's two operating systems to debut at the same time. However, Apple is planning to stagger the releases of both iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, reports 9to5Mac, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans.

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iOS 8 is expected to launch in September alongside the iPhone 6 while OS X Yosemite will not launch until October. Apple used the same release schedule last year, launching iOS 7 alongside the iPhone 5s in September and OS X Mavericks one month later in October.

Continuity allows users to work seamlessly between iPhone, iPad and Mac, with the ability to start emails on one device and easily finish it on another, or using Macs and iPads to answer phone calls and "green bubble" text messages. Because iOS and OS X have never been designed to work better together than with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, many saw a dual release as a good opportunity for Apple to cross-promote both its iOS devices and Macs with a stand-out new feature like Continuity.

Apple is planning on using engineering and user interface design members from the iOS team to help complete OS X Yosemite in time for a fall release, with a public beta planned as early as later this month.

Apple Facing Class Action Lawsuit From 20,000 Employees Over Alleged Labor Code Violations

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit in California over a number of alleged Labor Code violations, with the company being accused of not providing timely meal breaks, timely rest breaks, and timely final paychecks, reports TechCrunch.
Plaintiffs bring this Class Action against Defendants to recover for, among other things, failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements, and failure to pay timely wages on the end of employment, interest, attorneys' fees, penalties, costs, and expenses on behalf of themselves, the Plaintiff Class, and the Plaintiff Subclasses.
Originally filed in December of 2011 by four former Apple retail and corporate employees in San Diego, the lawsuit was certified as class action yesterday and could affect up to 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state of California.

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According to the filing, which demands a jury trial, employee complaints cover a wide range of possible labor code violations. One complaint, for example, cites employees having to work for five hours straight without a meal break, while another complaint suggests that Apple took several weeks to send out a final check to multiple employees.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages and restitution of all monies due to affected employees from unlawful business practices, along with interest, but it does not specify a damages amount.

Along with this new class action lawsuit, Apple is embroiled in a class action lawsuit with Apple retail employees who allege that Apple's bag checking policies have resulted in lost wages, a suit that also accuses Apple of violating state labor laws.

iPad Sales Total 225 Million Units Since 2010 as Apple Claims 'Significant Innovation' Coming

During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

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Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.

Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.

In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted "significant innovation can be brought to the iPad", stating "[Apple] plans on doing that" and that the tablet category as a whole is still "in its infancy." Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor.

The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger "iPad Pro" which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple's plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.

Related roundups: iPad Air, iPad mini

Apple Acquired 29 Companies Since Beginning of Fiscal 2014, Including Five Since April

During today's third quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 29 companies over the course of the last nine months, including five new companies after the end of the March quarter. Of the 29 companies purchased, some are known but many remain unknown.

Only two of Apple's newest acquisitions have been revealed, including LuxVue Technology in early May Spotsetter in June, leaving three unknown acquisitions. The May acquisition of Beats was not counted in the 29 company total because the deal, which was Apple's most expensive purchase to date, doesn't close until this quarter. After the Beats deal closes, the total number of acquisitions will rise to 30.

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Earlier in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform.

Many of the other acquisitions were made in 2013, and those purchases focused heavily on mapping. 2013 acquisitions included mapping companies BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company.

The technology from Apple's acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates. For example, significant mapping updates are expected sometime after the launch of iOS 8, adding transit directions and improved indoor mapping techniques.

During the company's April earnings call, Tim Cook said Apple was "on the prowl" for additional companies to acquire and in today's call, Cook said that Apple is always looking at acquisition space and doesn't let "money burn a hole in our pocket."

Apple Reports Q3 2014 Results: $7.7 Billion Profit on June Quarter Record $37.4 Billion in Revenue [Call Complete]

Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the second calendar quarter and third fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $37.4 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $35.3 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 59 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an upcoming dividend payment of $0.47 per share, payable on August 14 to shareholders of record as of August 11. The company currently holds $164.5 billion in cash and marketable securities.

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Quarterly iPhone unit sales reached 35.2 million, up from 31.2 million in the year-ago quarter, and the company sold 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.4 million Macs, up from 3.8 million in the year-ago period.
“Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce.”
Apple's guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 includes expected revenue of $37-40 billion and gross margin between 37 and 38 percent.

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Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q3 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Earnings call highlights are available after the jump.

Click here to read rest of article...

Images Depict Possible iPhone 6 Lightning/Headphone Flex Cable, Rear Shell

With the 4.7-inch iPhone entering mass production this month, part leaks and rumors surrounding the device are beginning to pick up. Several different internal and external parts said to be destined for the iPhone 6 have surfaced and today, Apple.club.tw [Google Translate] has shared images depicting the flex cable for the Lightning and headphone parts along with another image of the iPhone 6 rear shell.

The flex cable said to be for the iPhone 6 includes the headphone jack on the far left, a microphone next to that, and the Lightning port located on the middle of the part. It looks very similar to the Lightning/headphone flex cable designed for the iPhone 5s, but the headphone jack has dual screw holes towards the top of the part, a variation from the iPhone 5s design.

Lightningconnectorassembly
These two holes appear to accurately line up with the dual holes in the bottom left of the rear shell of the device, suggesting the headphone jack would fit correctly into the iPhone 6 rear shell and lending credence to the authenticity of the part.

As for the rear shell, it appears very similar to previously shared images of the iPhone 6 rear shell, including a near-completed rear shell with embedded Apple logo that surfaced yesterday. Like that shell, this one features an iPad-style embedded Apple logo, clear cutouts for the camera and flash, and very prominent antenna breaks.

iphone6rearshelldiagram
Yellow circle indicates two holes that match the holes on the headphone jack of the flex cable, red circle indicates the difference in screw hole location between iPhone 5s/iPhone 6.

Some reports have speculated that the embedded Apple logo is designed to light up, but it is more likely that the embedded logo is for aesthetic and/or radio transparency purposes.

As we creep closer to the prospective September launch date of the iPhone 6, part leaks may grow even more frequent. Thus far all part leaks have centered around the 4.7-inch iPhone, and this is because it is believed to be entering mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may enter production in August or September according to rumors, which means 5.5-inch part leaks could pick up over the next month or two as well.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Questionable Claim of 30% Slimmer 'iPad Mini Air' Launching in Late 2014

According to a new report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple's third-generation iPad mini will be an "Air"-like model, featuring a design that shaves 30 percent off the thickness of the device. This thinness along with a powerful new A8 processor will be among the main selling points for the next generation iPad mini, claims the Asian sources (via GforGames).

ipad6
Mockups of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air from Apple.club.tw

While the sources of the rumor are given only as from the supply chain, the claim of a 30 percent thinner iPad mini seems to be an overly optimistic one. The original iPad mini measured 7.2 mm thick, and the device saw a slight increase to 7.5 mm with the move to a Retina display last year. The larger iPad Air moved in the opposite direction last year, slimming down from 9.4 mm in the fourth-generation iPad to match the Retina iPad mini at 7.5 mm.

A 30 percent reduction in thickness for the iPad mini would put it in the range of 5.25 mm, and how Apple would achieve such a reduction is unclear, especially given the increase in horsepower seen with the move to a Retina display last year. That move made the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini essentially identical with the exception of display size.

Apple is expected to release the updated iPad mini in the third quarter of 2014, likely following the iPhone 6 launch in September. Besides a possible thinner form factor and A8 processor, the next generation iPad mini also is expected to include a more durable Touch ID fingerprint sensor containing tin. Similar to the iPhone, the next generation iPad is expected to support iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party developers to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes.

Besides the iPad Air and iPad mini, Apple is rumored to be expanding its iPad lineup with a larger 12.9-inch iPad. Dubbed the "iPad Pro," the larger model may not be released until 2015, claims DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. This prediction echoes a earlier report from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo who also predicted a 2015 launch date for the oversized tablet device.

Related roundup: iPad mini

Apple Outlines Smart Wristband with Phone Connectivity and Gesture Control in New Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes a wrist-worn device containing sensors and wireless radios that allow it to communicate with other devices such as the iPhone, iPad or Mac (Via AppleInsider). It is a comprehensive patent that describes some of the core features of Apple's rumored iWatch device.

itime-patent
Front view of a device similar to a sixth-generation iPod nano docked into wristband

The invention details a modular device, identified in the patent as the "iTime", that features a wrist-worn, sensor-laden strap and potentially removable modules. The modules, such as a media player, can snap into a wristband, which contains add-ons like GPS and a Wi-Fi radio that increase the functionality of the device. The system is reminiscent of the sixth-generation iPod nano, which fits a wristband to become a wearable media player.
The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch. According to one embodiment, an electronic wristband can provide additional electrical circuitry or devices that can be made available for use as or with an electronic device. In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices. Advantageously, the electronic device can utilize the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment the capabilities of the electronic device. In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices.
itime_side
Side view showing wristband with docking connector (314)

Apple also describes a method of connecting the smartwatch to a mobile device that allows for the display of incoming calls, text messages and other alerts on the wrist-worn display. In another embodiment, the device can alert the user when it is out of range and thus at risk of being lost or stolen. The patent also contains provisions for movement-based controls of the wristwatch device.

Apple is rumored to be working on the iWatch, a smartwatch device that could debut later this year. Rumors suggests the wristband may include sensors to monitor activity levels, heart rate and other vital health functions. The device likely will share its data with iOS via the new Health app in iOS 8.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple Preparing Between 70 and 80 Million 4.7 and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Units to Meet High Consumer Demand

Apple is asking its suppliers to manufacture a massive number of 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones in anticipation of high consumer demand, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company is seeking between 70 and 80 million units combined of the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by December, its largest order to date and a major jump from last year, where it ordered between 50 and 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models.
Its forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C--which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.
With high iPhone 6 numbers, Apple is likely hoping to avoid the supply/demand crisis it saw last year with the iPhone 5s. After the iPhone 5s launched in September of 2013, Apple saw unexpectedly high demand for the flagship device, likely due to its new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The phone was in short supply for much of 2013, and Tim Cook later admitted that Apple had expected a more balanced demand between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

iphone_5s_6_grass
4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

Demand for the iPhone 6 will likely be extremely high, as it marks both a redesign and the introduction of a larger screen, a long-awaited feature that could cause a massive spike in upgrades from both iPhone upgraders and those switching from Android. According to analyst estimates, Apple could see a 15 to 20 percent jump in unit sales year over year.

Apple partners Foxconn and Pegatron are said to be hiring massive numbers of new employees to help assemble the iPhone 6, with main supplier Foxconn taking on an additional 100,000 employees and Pegatron adding 10,000.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is expected to enter production in July, while production on the 5.5-inch version will begin in August or September. At this time, it remains unclear if the two iPhone 6 models will launch simultaneously, as rumors have suggested production issues may push back the launch of the 5.5-inch iPhone to late 2014 or early 2015.

In-cell display technology for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been said to be causing significant problems and The Wall Street Journal suggests there may be additional complications if the larger device also uses a sapphire display. Apple is reportedly asking component makers to prepare enough parts for up to 120 million iPhone 6 models in order to compensate for high failure rates.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple Launches New 'The Notebook People Love' MacBook Air Ad

Apple has launched a new television ad for the MacBook Air, "Stickers," showing off an array of customizable decals placed over the Apple symbol on the back of the notebook.

Decals shown include various sunglasses, hats, and headphones, along with nods to Breaking Bad, Peanuts, Ice Age, Snow White, Pac Man, Chi the Cat, The Simpsons, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Tasmanian Devil, Hello Kitty, Catwoman, and Mickey Mouse.

There are also cameras, record players, trees, faces, cityscapes, planets, scuba divers, 8-bit games, a variety of abstract designs and patterns, and more, plus a Beats logo. The new spot ends with a side view of the MacBook Air and the tagline "The notebook people love." Apple has also posted a "Stickers" page on its website detailing some of the decals in the video.

A celebration of all the many ways people love the MacBook Air, featuring music from artist/producer, Hudson Mohawke.
Apple's MacBook Air, last refreshed in April of 2014, is known for its portability and ultrathin size, weighing in at 2.38 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.96 pounds for the 13-inch model. The MacBook Air is also Apple's most affordable notebook, with prices beginning at $899.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Intel Launches New Core i5, i7 Haswell Processors Possibly Slated for Retina MacBook Pro Refresh

Intel yesterday launched new Haswell processors designed for high-end notebooks, which could be slated for use in an upcoming refresh of the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models.

As detailed by CPU World, Intel has released three new Core i5 chips and three new Core i7 chips that are all successors to the chips currently used in the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. The new processors provide a modest 200 MHz speed boost over existing Haswell chips.

newhaswellchips
The Core i7-4770HQ chip at 2.2 GHz is a direct replacement for the Core i7-4750 used in the lower-end 2.0 GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, while the Core i7-4870HQ chip at 2.5 GHz is a direct replacement for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro's existing Core i7-4850 chip at 2.3 GHz. The Core i7-4980HQ chip at 2.8 GHz replaces the high-end build-to-order Core-i7 4960 processor at 2.6 GHz.

As for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, the Core-i5 4278U, the Core i5-4308U, and the Core i7-4578U all offer the same 200 MHz jump over the existing Core i5-4258, Core i5-4288, and Core i7-4558 used in the three processors available for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, bringing the low-end up to 2.6 GHz, the mid tier to 2.8 GHz, and the high-end build-to-order option to 3.0 GHz.

Earlier this year, an Intel roadmap revealed direct Haswell successors for the MacBook Air and the iMac, but at the time, there did not appear to be any chips available for a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro update. The chips in the roadmap designed for the MacBook Air were used in the April refresh as we expected, and the newly released chips are likely destined for an upcoming Retina MacBook Pro update.

As these chips only offer a small 200MHz boost over existing chips, the fall Retina MacBook Pro refresh that has been previously rumored is likely to be only a minor update. A major Retina MacBook Pro update is unlikely until Intel's Broadwell chips are ready in 2015.

Last week, a rumor suggested redesigned 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models were slated to enter production in August, but it is unclear what chips those machines might utilize as Intel has not yet released another set of Haswell chips suitable for a MacBook Air refresh.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro

Samsung Launches New 'Screen Envy' Anti-iPhone Ad

Over the past several weeks, Samsung has released three different ads pitting its Galaxy S5 and its Galaxy Tab S against Apple's iPhone and iPad. Now the company is back today with a new anti-iPhone ad that highlights the Galaxy S5 as having the "screen your friends wish they had."

The spot depicts an iPhone user sitting next to a Samsung user, with the two discussing the rumored larger screen of the upcoming iPhone 6. "iPhone might be getting a bigger screen," the iPhone owner tells his S5-toting friend. "That hasn't happened yet?" the friend replies as the two go on to compare their phones.

You know that thing you've been waiting on for like two years and how it's supposed to be awesome and how it's going to blow your mind? Well, it's been here this whole time. But maybe you just like waiting.
Immediate gratification is an advertising tactic Samsung has used before, with its new ad harkening back to its well-known 2011 commercial series that depicted iPhone owners waiting in long lines for new iPhones while enviously eyeing Samsung devices. The ad also includes Samsung's tagline "The Next Big Thing is Here," which reportedly infuriated Apple in the past.

The company's Galaxy S5, introduced in back in February, includes a 5.1-inch display, but Samsung devices have had larger-sized screens for several years running. Apple is planning to address growing consumer demand for bigger displays with the iPhone 6, introducing two new models with 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is set to launch in September, while the larger 5.5-inch version may come somewhat later in 2014 or early 2015.

iOS 8 Beta 4 Tidbits: Tips App, Control Center Redesign, New Display Options

Apple today released the fourth beta of iOS 8, which brings a number of improvements, changes, and bug fixes to the beta software that was first introduced on June 2.

iOS 8 beta 4 includes several minor interface tweaks and modifications that make the beta feel both faster and more polished. We've gathered up a comprehensive list of the enhancements that have been bundled into the release below, and to find out about all of the under-the-radar tweaks in iOS 8 so far, make sure to check out our iOS 8 Hidden Features Roundup.

Tips: The Tips app that was first hinted at during WWDC has surfaced in iOS 8 beta 4, giving users tips on how to use iOS 8 on a weekly basis. For example, there are directions on using quick notification responses, sending voice messages, using notifications for Mail responses, activating Siri hands-free, and more. The Tips app is a default iOS app and cannot be uninstalled.

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Control Center: The Control Center has seen a redesign that removes the black borders around the icons on the top and bottom and turns icons white when activated.

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Display Settings: There's a new Display & Brightness section that's been unbundled from Wallpaper, with options to adjust screen brightness, text size, and activate bold text.

HomeKit: The Privacy section of the Settings app has gained a new Home Data icon.

Messages: The Messages section of the Settings app has new options for Message storage that includes separate expiration options for Audio and Video Messages. The Talk-to-Type option in Messages now displays spoken text in real time rather than waiting for an entire message to be complete before displaying text.


Bug Reporter: The Bug Reporter app that came installed by default in previous betas has been removed.

Handoff and Suggested Apps: There are new options in the Setting app to toggle Handoff on and off, but it does not appear to be present on the iPhone 4s. There's also a new section that allows users to toggle on Suggested Apps, which offer app suggestions relevant to location. This setting can be used to show only installed apps, or both installed apps and App Store apps.

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Safari Bookmarks: The icon for Bookmarks within Safari has been tweaked slightly. In the image below, the new version is on the top and the old version is on the bottom.

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Contacts: Under the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars heading in the Settings app, there's a new option to toggle off Favorites and Recents for Contacts within the App Switcher.

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Keyboard Settings: The option to toggle on the QuickType keyboard within the Keyboard section of the Settings app is now labeled as "Predictive" instead of "QuickType."

Spotlight Search: There are new options to remove Voice Memos and Bing Web Results from Spotlight Search in the Settings app.

Mail: Swipe left and swipe right gestures in the Mail app can be assigned to different functions in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars section of the Settings app.

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Health: The Calories section of the Health app has been split into Active, Dietary, and Resting calories.

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Emoji Keyboard Icon: The icon for Emoji on the keyboard has been updated with a happier smiley face.

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iCloud Photo Library: It's now possible to select a length of time when pausing iCloud Photo Library in the iCloud section of the Settings app.

Additional features in iOS 8 beta 4 will be added here as they are discovered. Apple is likely to continue pushing regular updates to iOS 8 at two or three-week intervals to bring minor performance boosts and changes ahead of the operating system's launch. iOS 8 is expected to be released to the public in the fall. For more information on iOS 8's features, major and minor, make sure to check out our roundups.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4, Public Beta Coming Later This Month

Alongside iOS 8 beta 4, Apple today released a new version of OS X Yosemite to developers, two weeks after releasing the third Developer Preview and over a month and a half after introducing the new operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store or through the Mac Developer Center. Apple has also released iTunes 12.0, Yosemite Recovery Update 1.0, OS X Server 4.0 Developer Preview, and Apple Configurator 1.7 beta. iTunes 12 includes an "elegant new design" and introduces support for Family Sharing, a feature first announced during WWDC. The update also includes improved playlists and a redesigned Info Window.

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OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency and redesigned dock, windows, and more. It also includes a multitude of new features, such as improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity, a new "Today" view in Notification Center that offers integration with third-party apps, a retooled Spotlight search with new data sources, and several new features for apps like Mail, Safari, and Messages.

Yosemite is currently only available to developers, but Apple plans to offer a beta version of the software to Mac users at some point during the summer, possibly as early as this month. A source that spoke to 9to5Mac suggests the beta is coming in late July, though it could be pushed back until early August if Yosemite is not ready in time.

New Features:

iTunes 12 - The newest Yosemite beta includes a revamped version of iTunes with a simple, streamlined design and support for Family Sharing.

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iTunes 12 icon - The icon for iTunes has also changed with the new iTunes 12 beta.

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Calculator - The Calculator app in OS X Yosemite has been redesigned.

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Dark Mode Settings - Dark Mode settings have been tweaked slightly and there's a new checkbox to turn the feature on and off for the dock and menu bar.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Apple Releases iOS 8 Beta 4 to Developers

Apple today released the fourth beta of iOS 8 to developers, two weeks after releasing the third beta update and more than a month and a half since unveiling the new operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update, build number 12A4331d, is available through Apple's over-the-air updating system on iOS devices and can also be downloaded via the iOS Developer Center. Apple has also released Xcode 6 beta 4 and a new Apple TV beta.

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iOS 8 introduces a range of new features, including improved integration with OS X through Continuity, a Health app, Family Sharing features, interactive notifications, a new QuickType Keyboard and improvements to several apps like Safari, Mail, and Messages.

iOS 8 beta 4 includes several new features, like a redesigned Control Center and the introduction of a new Tips app. For a full list of changes in the beta, make sure to check out our iOS 8 Beta 4 Tidbits post.

iOS 8 beta 4's Monday, July 21 release date was accurately predicted by BGR earlier in July.

Currently, iOS 8 is only available to registered developers, but the operating system is expected to be released to the public this fall after several beta iterations. Based on past history, iOS 8 will likely be launched alongside new iPhones, and possibly the much-rumored iWatch.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Forensic Expert Questions Covert 'Backdoor' Services Included in iOS by Apple

iOS7-smallAs part of a recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference presentation, forensic scientist and iPhone jailbreak expert Jonathan Zdziarski detailed several backdoor security mechanisms that are secretly included in iOS by Apple. These mechanisms make covert data collection easier for Apple and governmental authorities, reports Zdziarski via ZDNet.

Zdziarski confirms that iOS is reasonably secure from attack by a malicious hacker, but notes that the mobile OS includes several forensic services and noticeable design omissions that make the OS vulnerable to snooping by forensic tools.

These services, such as "lockdownd," "pcapd" and "mobile.file_relay," can bypass encrypted backups to obtain data and can be utilized via USB, Wi-Fi and possibly cellular. They also are not documented by Apple and are not developer or carrier tools as they access personal data that would be not used for network testing or app debugging purposes.

While detailing these backdoors, Zdziarski makes it clear he is not a conspiracy theorist, but does want to know why Apple appears to be deliberately compromising the security of the iPhone and opening the door to professional, covert data access.
I am not suggesting some grand conspiracy; there are, however, some services running in iOS that shouldn’t be there, that were intentionally added by Apple as part of the firmware, and that bypass backup encryption while copying more of your personal data than ever should come off the phone for the average consumer. I think at the very least, this warrants an explanation and disclosure to the some 600 million customers out there running iOS devices. At the same time, this is NOT a zero day and NOT some widespread security emergency. My paranoia level is tweaked, but not going crazy. My hope is that Apple will correct the problem. Nothing less, nothing more. I want these services off my phone. They don’t belong there.
Zdziarski also notes that he isn't the only one aware of these backdoors. Several existing forensic software companies, such as Cellebrite and Elcomsoft, are already exploiting them as part of the forensic services they provide to law enforcement.

Consumers who want to limit access to these backdoor services are advised by Zdziarski to enable a complex passcode in iOS and use the enterprise Apple Configurator application to set Mobile Device Management (MDM) restrictions and enable Pair locking which will delete all pairing records. This solution will block third-party forensic software, but won't protect the device contents if it is sent to Apple for analysis.

Update 7:00 PM PT: Apple has released a statement to Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times, denying Zdiarski's claims.
We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers, and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues. A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.

As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell with Embedded Apple Logo Shown in New Photos

Earlier this month, we shared some high-quality photos and a video of what has been claimed to be the rear shell of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in rough form. uSwitch has now obtained a pair of photos showing the part in its completed state, revealing a polished finish and the removal of several interior physical features that had been part of the manufacturing process.

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While the part shows a much cleaner look now that it has been polished and cleaned up, the antenna breaks at the top and bottom, previously reported to be made of a non-conductive polymer, remain quite prominent.

uSwitch primarily focuses on the shell's Apple logo, which as seen in previous leaks will change to an embedded version similar to that found on iPads rather than the printed version used in previous iPhones. The report suggests the embedded logo shown in the photos is indicative of a lighted Apple logo as has been speculated ever since the first leaks showing a cutout for the logo surfaced nearly two months ago.

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We do not, however, see any significant evidence that the logo on the iPhone 6 will be lighted. It seems more likely to us that the embedded logo is for aesthetic and/or radio transparency reasons.

Unlike the in-progress shells seen earlier this month, the finished shell also shows the full set of camera holes, including the main one for the camera itself and smaller ones for the flash and rear microphone. Consistent with previous leaks, the flash hole is round, which some have considered suspect as Apple moved to a pill-shaped flash in the iPhone 5s to accommodate the new "TrueTone" dual-LED system. It is possible, however, that Apple and its partners have developed a new round version of the TrueTone flash.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple Announces 8th Annual iTunes Festival in London Scheduled for September

Apple today announced that it will hold its eighth month-long iTunes Festival in London this year, featuring 30 nights of concerts at The Roundhouse throughout September. Artists set to perform at this year's iTunes Festival include Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, Beck, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and more.

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"The iTunes Festival in London is back with another stunning line-up of world class performers and tremendous new acts,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “These live shows capture the heart and soul of iTunes and we love bringing them to our customers in the Roundhouse, as well as to the millions of people watching all over the world for free."
As with past years, free tickets for the concerts will be avaliable through iTunes in a lottery system. The iTunes Festival will also be broadcast via Apple TV, iOS app, and the iTunes desktop application.

The 8th annual iTunes Festival follows the first U.S. iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) this past March, which was held at the Moody Theater. The iTunes Festival in London last year featured performances from a number of artists including Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson, and Jessie J.

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Front Panel Subjected to More Rigorous Scratch Tests, May Not Be Sapphire

Last week, a video posted by YouTube user Marques Brownlee showed the alleged front panel of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 being put through a number of scratch tests and significant bending. Now, Brownlee has released another video putting the same display through more rigorous scratch tests, this time with two different types of sandpaper.


Brownlee cites the Mohs scale of mineral hardness in his testing, which is a scale rating mineral hardness from 1-10. The iPhone 5s' Gorilla Glass display is rated at a 6.8, while sapphire crystal, which Apple uses for the iPhone 5s Touch ID home button, is rated at 9. The two sandpapers used for the test include garnet, which is rated at a 7 on the Mohs scale, and emery, rated slightly above an 8.

Upon testing, both types of sandpapers were able to scratch the iPhone 6's front panel, but it did show better resistance than the Gorilla Glass display for the iPhone 5s. Notably, the sapphire Touch ID home button on the iPhone 5s did not display any marks after being scratched by the sandpaper. This would indicate that the alleged front panel from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is not sapphire crystal, but instead perhaps a next-generation version of Gorilla Glass. It is also possible that the panel could be a hybrid sapphire coated display, which was patented by Apple last year.

A report last month claimed that Apple would only be using a sapphire display in the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 over concerns about high cost and limited supply. Earlier rumors had indicated that Apple would have enough sapphire glass for production of both iPhone 6 models and the iWatch in 2014.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 in early September with a release coming a few weeks later. It is unclear whether the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the device will launch at the same time, with recent reports claiming that the larger iPhone 6 will be released later this year or in early 2015. In addition to a larger display, both models of the iPhone are expected to include a faster A8 processor, a thinner profile, an improved camera, and Apple's new iOS 8 mobile operating system.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6