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Apple Preparing iOS 7.1.2 Update, Likely Addressing Email Encryption and iMessage Issues

With just eleven days to go until the expected public unveiling of iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple also appears to be working on an upcoming iOS 7.1.2 update, as has also been hinted at by recent statements from the company. Devices identifying themselves as running iOS 7.1.2 and coming from Apple's networks have been showing up in our web logs since last Friday.

Activity is still low, but that is typical for the early stages of update testing, particularly minor ones that may not require widespread internal or external testing. As a minor update, iOS 7.1.2 is likely to focus on bug fixes and other tweaks rather than major feature additions, and it likely will not even be put through a developer testing period before release.

Visits to MacRumors.com from devices running iOS 7.1.2
Details on changes included in the update are currently unknown, but there are two issues likely to be addressed. One is a fix for an email attachment encryption issue disclosed several weeks ago. At the time the issue gained widespread publicity, Apple issued a statement indicating it was aware of the issue and that a fix would be included in a "future software update."

The second is a long-standing iMessage issue that has recently gained new attention. The issue, which results in lost messages for those switching away from the iPhone to another device and not having their phone numbers disassociated from iMessage, has been worsened recently by server problems. Just today, Apple reported those server problems have been fixed and that it will be including "an

Djay Adds Full Spotify Integration and Auto-Matching of Currently Playing Songs

Algoriddim, makers of the popular DJing software Djay, have solved one of the app's biggest problems with a new update out today. Thanks to a new partnership with Spotify, the subscription music service, Djay now offers direct access to Spotify's full music library of more than twenty million songs.

Previously, users could only mix and play songs that were stored locally on their iPhone or iPad, which was fine for professional DJ's using the software, but a significant limitation to users looking to play around at a backyard barbecue.

With twenty million songs at their fingertips, users may feel overwhelmed by the choices at hand -- but Djay and Spotify have a solution to that problem too. Earlier this year, Spotify acquired The Echo Nest, a "music intelligence company" that analyzes songs to recommend songs that would go well together.

As a result, Djay will analyze a currently playing track and make recommendations based on BPM, key, musical style, and how well a song mixes with the current track. There is also an Automix Radio feature that will automatically pick and play songs that go well together, beatmatching them for DJ-style transitions.

The Spotify integration, a relative rarity for standalone apps, shows what Apple could be looking for with its rumored Beats music service acquisition. A subscription music service API built-in to iOS could unleash a whole new category of apps to give the iPhone and iPad a unique differentiator from Android, especially if Apple were to bundle the service into the cost of the device itself.
“Having more than 20

Apple's iMessage Delivery Problems Worsened by Server Glitch

iPhone owners switching from their iPhone to another device often encounter an issue with lost messages that are incorrectly delivered to their inactive iPhone, instead of their new phone. This issue is a long-standing problem that was recently made worse by a server glitch, claims Apple in a statement provided to Re/code.

Apple's iMessage service allows iPhone owners to exchange messages using Apple's iMessage servers, instead of the carrier's text messaging network. The system relies on the accurate identification of the originating and recipient devices as iPhones. When this identification fails, the message delivery system falls apart.

The lost messages problem arises when an iPhone owner switches to another smartphone, such as an Android device, and keeps their existing number. In select cases, Apple's iMessage service continues to recognize the phone number as being attached to an iPhone, instead of the new Android device. This recognition mistake causes a problem with messaging as Apple's iMessaging servers will route the message as an iMessage instead of converting it to a standard text message.

Apple advises iPhone owners to turn off iMessage on their phone and uncheck the number in other iMessage-compatible devices attached their iCloud account before switching devices. This method doesn't always remove the phone number from Apple's iMessage server, forcing former iPhone owners to contact Apple to remove them from the iMessage system manually. A recent server glitch has disabled this manual removal, leaving Apple support representatives temporarily

Apple Planning Expansion to Seven-Building Sunnyvale Campus

Apple has agreed to lease a new seven-building campus in Sunnyvale, CA, where it could move up to 1,450 employees, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Image via San Jose Mercury News
In the most recent expansion, Apple intends to occupy a 290,000-square-foot office complex known as Sunnyvale Crossing that is near the corner of Central Expressway and North Wolfe Road. Menlo Park-based Lane Partners bought the complex and then proceeded with a renovation to transform the decades-old buildings into a state-of-the-art office center.
According to city records, Apple is currently only listed as a tenant in one of the buildings, but plans to occupy the six other buildings as well. Additionally, building permit applications have been filed for all seven of the buildings for "interior improvements", though those must be approved by Sunnyvale's city planning commission.

The new Sunnyvale campus is yet another part of Apple's plan for expansion, alongside a new two-building Santa Clara campus that would hold 1,200 employees and Apple's already iconic Spaceship Campus, which will hold around 14,000 employees and is currently under construction.

Apple Renews Rights to Liquidmetal Technologies' Alloys for Consumer Products

Apple has renewed exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal Technologies' metal alloys in consumer electronics items, according to a filing with the SEC.

The rights were originally purchased back in 2010, to run through February 2014. The new renewal extends the agreement through February of 2015.
On May 19, 2014, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) entered into an second amendment (the “Second Amendment”) to the Master Transaction Agreement that was originally entered into on August 5, 2010 (the “MTA”) and amended on June 15, 2012 (the “First Amendment”). Under the MTA and the First Amendment, the Company was obligated to contribute to Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a special purpose subsidiary of the Company, all intellectual property acquired or developed by the Company from August 5, 2010 through February 5, 2014, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC was exclusively licensed on a perpetual basis to Apple for the field of use of consumer electronic products under the MTA. Under the Second Amendment, the parties agreed to amend the MTA and the First Amendment to extend the February 5, 2014 date to February 5, 2015.
According to a report from earlier this year, Apple is interested in using Liquidmetal's alloys for home buttons, touch sensors and tamper-resistant screws. The alloys possess a number of unique properties including high strength and corrosion resistance while remaining relatively light and able to cast into a variety of

Apple Pulls Top Free iOS App 'Weed Firm' from App Store

Released earlier this month, somewhat controversial iOS game Weed Firm quickly shot to the top of the App Store charts for free apps. The game centers around a marijuana business, with the player controlling a character responsible for all aspects of growing and selling the product.

Just as quickly as it arrived, Weed Firm has disappeared from the App Store, with the game's developer, Manitoba Games, tweeting yesterday that the game would be removed for "a few days" to address "a few maintenance things". That may not be the complete story, however, as Manitoba Games has posted a note on its website (via CNET) noting that the removal "was entirely Apple's decision, not ours."

The developers don't share Apple's specific justification for the removal, claiming that while there may have been some objections to "illegal activities", Apple must have simply thought it was "too good" of a game as there are a number of other marijuana-themed apps available in the App Store.
We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called 'illegal activities' such as shooting people, crashing cars and throwing birds at buildings.
The Android version of Weed Firm has also been removed from Google Play, but the developer claims that this is due to an issue with the app's publisher rather than any action by Google.

Manitoba Games promises that Weed Firm will be returning to the App Store shortly, although some of the more

Hacker Team Claims Compromise of Apple's iCloud and Activation Lock, Possibly via SSL Bug [Updated]

A pair of hackers from the Netherlands and Morocco, identifying themselves as AquaXetine and MerrukTechnolog, claim to have compromised the security of Apple's iCloud system for locking iOS devices.

The hack will unlock stolen iPhones by bypassing Activation Lock, making it possible for thieves to resell the phones easily on the black market, reports Dutch publication De Telegraaf [Google Translate]. It also may provide hackers with access to Apple ID passwords and other personal information stored in Apple's iCloud service.

The hackers reportedly worked on the vulnerability for five months, studying the transmission of data between iPhone handsets and Apple's iCloud services. The pair claim to be able to unlock a locked iPhone by placing a computer between the iPhone and Apple's servers. In this configuration, the iPhone mistakenly identifies the hacker's computer as one of Apple's servers and follows instructions provided by the nefarious computer to reverse activation lock on the handset.

While the hackers did not reveal precise information on how their intercepting computer can spoof Apple's iCloud activation servers, it appears that they may be taking advantage of an SSL bug that is present in iTunes for Windows, as noted by iPhone in Canada, who spoke to security researcher Mark Loman about the issue. The previously disclosed issue was fixed in iOS 7.0.6 and OS X 10.9.2, but it appears that iTunes for Windows is still affected.
After looking into some claims of the jailbreak community, Mark Loman decided to do some investigating of his own and made a

Apple Updates WWDC App for 2014 with iOS 7 Design and New Orange Theme

Apple has updated its WWDC app for this year's developer conference in San Francisco, with the app confirming that WWDC will kick off with the usual keynote address scheduled from 10 AM to noon Pacific Time on Monday, June 2.

Unlike last year's update that brought new features such as video integration, today's update appears to include no significant feature additions, although it does include a new orange theme and a new look more consistent with Apple's iOS 7 design language. As is generally true ahead of the event, the conference schedule includes many developer sessions for which topics have yet to be announced, but this year Apple has used a number of clever placeholder names until after details are released at the conference keynote.

WWDC 2014 will kick off on June 2, and CEO Tim Cook is expected to lead the keynote with other executives pitching in to help share the latest news on Apple's hardware and software. Apple's WWDC app is available free of charge from the App Store. [Direct Link]

U.S. Customers Unsurprisingly Delaying New iPhone Purchases as iPhone 6 Launch Nears

A study from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster unsurprisingly shows that interest in the iPhone is waning as the current lineup ages and users are increasingly looking toward an expected fall launch for the iPhone 6. The survey asked 1,016 U.S. consumers about their plans to buy a new smartphone in the next three months.

According to Munster, only 34 percent of surveyed consumers plan to buy an iPhone in the coming months, down from the 50 percent reported shortly after the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launch in September of last year. While interest in the iPhone wanes, consumer attention towards Android has increased as the balance shifts toward the newest handsets. Leading Android vendor Samsung introduced its latest flagship Galaxy S5 handset in February ahead of a launch last month.

This declining interest in the iPhone is not surprising, given the cyclic nature of product launches. With the iPhone midway in its product cycle, consumers may be delaying their purchase of a new iPhone due to rumors that suggest Apple's iPhone 6 is likely to arrive this fall. The effect of rumors on a consumer's purchasing decision is nothing new -- Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer blamed rumors for declining iPhone sales in the months preceding the launch of the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 6 also appears set to bring a larger than normal upgrade spike as the device moves to a significantly larger display.

Even with U.S. customers delaying their purchases, Piper Jaffray still sees reason for optimism with continued strong international sales and even U.S. planned purchase rates remaining as

iWork for iCloud Updated With Interactive Charts, Improved Collaborative Capabilities

iWork for iCloud received an update today, adding a range of new features to Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, further boosting the real-time collaboration capabilities of the apps. It is now possible to collaborate with up to 100 people (previous limit was 50) on a single document and users are also able to create 2D and interactive charts in all three apps.

Larger documents, up to 1GB in size, can be edited, and larger images up to 10MB in size can be added to documents. Chart formatting is now available in all three apps, and there are new color options.

Keynote has also gained the ability to show and hide slide numbers, while Numbers now supports alternating row colors in tables and the ability to export to CSV. Pages supports exporting to ePub, object layering, and inserting and editing inline tables.

The iWork for iCloud software is available to all users for free, and it can be accessed through Apple's iCloud.com website.

Apple Forging Deals with ISPs to Bolster Delivery of iTunes, Apps, and iCloud Content to Users

Apple is moving forward on plans to develop its own content delivery network (CDN), reports well-known CDN and Internet Services analyst Dan Rayburn (via Ars Technica). The Cupertino company is reportedly negotiating deals with Internet Service Providers in order to ensure the efficient delivery of content to its customers.

Apple may control the media for iTunes and iCloud customers, but it currently outsources the delivery of this media to third-party companies like Akamai, ceding control over the quality of service to these other companies. Apple reportedly has been working for five years on its own CDN that would bring content delivery in house, ensuring its customers can access data reliably and quickly regardless of ISP or geographic location.

Apple has been deploying the necessary network hardware and recently started forging interconnection deals with Internet Service Providers as it prepares to shift content to its own CDN soon, claims Rayburn.
Apple has been very busy with their build out deploying a lot of boxes running Apache Traffic Server and buying a ton of transit, co-location, wavelengths and other infrastructure services. Their CDN is quickly growing, and it won’t be long before we start seeing a portion of their content getting delivered from their new CDN.

As part of their build out, Apple is currently negotiating paid interconnection deals with some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. I’m not going to disclose which ISPs they are talking to and what deals they have already done, but it’s interesting to note that with all the talk lately of

Microsoft Introduces Thinner Surface Pro 3 with 12" Display Starting at $799

Microsoft today hosted a media event in New York City to introduce the Surface Pro 3, the company's next-generation tablet device. Billing the Surface Pro 3 as the culmination of a three-year effort to create a "tablet that can replace your laptop", Microsoft's Panos Panay highlighted a number of improvements over the previous generation, including a larger 12-inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio, thinner design, an improved stylus, and a full friction kickstand that gives users greater flexibility for adjusting viewing angles.

Pricing begins at $799 with pre-orders starting tomorrow and availability of select models coming on June 20 in the U.S. and Canada. Availability will expand with additional models and countries in August.

Based on Intel's Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, Surface Pro 3 measures 9.1 mm thick and weighs 800 grams, making it thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air, with Panay placing the two devices on a scientific balance scale to highlight the difference in weight.

The Surface Pro 3 also comes with a new Surface Pen stylus offering 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. During the presentation, Panay highlighted how the very thin optical stack of the Surface Pro 3 brings the content close to the surface of the tablet, allowing for greater precision with the stylus and which makes it appear as if ink is flowing directly from the pen tip. Integration with OneNote makes it easy to jot down notes on the Surface and have those notes uploaded to other devices, and the Surface Pen's button can be used to wake the tablet to take notes and then upload to

Apple Predicted to Adopt NFC in iPhone 6 as Core Technology for Mobile Payments System

Rumors of Apple incorporating near field communication (NFC) technology into the iPhone have become a yearly ritual, but Morgan Stanley analysts believe that Apple may finally be poised to adopt the technology as part of a push to break open the mobile payments industry. In a recent note to investors, analyst Craig Hettenbach points to possible licensing deals, company financial disclosures and patent filings as the basis for this claim.

Morgan Stanley believes NFC is ready to take off, and Apple could be the force that drives its widespread commercial adoption. Though Apple has been publicly silent on NFC and has in fact pursued alternative technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for short-range communication features like AirDrop and iBeacons, there is little doubt the company is exploring this short-range wireless technology. A recent patent application describes a secure, NFC-based wallet that allows customers to make purchases wirelessly through their phone, and Apple is in the process of updating its in-store point-of-sale system with one that supports NFC.

According to Morgan Stanley, Apple is choosing NFC as the key technology for its mobile payments system, with semiconductor company NXP likely providing the necessary wireless hardware. NXP has an existing relationship with Apple, supplying the M7 motion-sensing chip found in the iPhone 5s.
NXP is well positioned to participate in Apple’s mobile payments ecosystem. The company signed a licensing agreement with a customer in Q4’13, who we believe is Apple, related to its emerging ID business. A recent

Apple Researching Integration of Solar Panels in Flexible Touchscreen Displays

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted a new Apple patent describing the integration of a solar panel into a mobile touchscreen device with a flexible display, reports AppleInsider.

The newly granted patent is a variation on patent No. 8,730,179, which primarily applies to display-less, touch-capable devices, limiting its functionality in contemporary mobile devices. Both patent applications were filed on September 30, 2008, but the expanded version granted today has taken more time to work its way through the approval process.

Today's patent describes a method of stacking solar cells between touch sensor layers within a display matrix to create a compact solar charging system that stores energy in the device's battery. It applies to both glass-covered and flexible plastic displays.
Integrated touch sensor and solar panel stack-up configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone are disclosed. The solar cell stack-up configurations may include one or more touch sensor layers and one or more solar cell layers. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved.
Given the limited power made available through solar charging and the power consumption requirements of mobile devices, this technology likely won't be the main source of power in a device. It could, however, serve as a backup power source or may pave the way for advancements that could increase the efficiency of the system as mobile

Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson Suggests Key TV Content Role for Beats' Jimmy Iovine

Apple is rumored to be purchasing Beats Electronics, with an announcement of the acquisition coming at any moment. The deal is said to include the company's headphone business, its Beats Music subscription service, and two key executives -- Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, aka Andre Young.

Several reports have suggested that Apple's major motivation behind the purchase might be the acquihire of Jimmy Iovine, who has strong ties to the music industry thanks to his role as chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M and founder of Interscope Records.

Walter Isaacson, the man behind the famous Steve Jobs biography, is also speculating that Iovine is one of the main reasons Apple has decided to purchase Beats. In a discussion with Billboard, Isaacson suggested Cook is aiming to have Iovine head up the company's content business, securing music and TV deals that will help Apple launch its much-rumored television product.
Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video. He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple's content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years. The product has been held up because Apple can't get all the content owners on board.
Iovine has a long history of working with Apple to help the company sign key deals. In 2002, he helped Steve Jobs secure deals with music labels for the iTunes Store and in 2004, he helped persuade U2 to sign a deal with Apple to create the popular U2 special edition iPod.

Looking back at notes he took when

Apple Retail Under Angela Ahrendts: Focus on Mobile Payments, Customer Experience, and China

Angela Ahrendts officially joined Apple just under three weeks ago, but the new retail chief already has a solid plan in mind for improving both the online and retail Apple Store experience for customers. In a detailed report on Ahrendts, 9to5Mac suggests the retail leader will focus on three separate areas in her efforts to revamp Apple retail: China, mobile payments, and a redesign of the "end-to-end Apple Store sales experience."

Growth in China is highly important to Ahrendts as it represents a major market where Apple hasn't managed to gain a strong foothold. As of February, Apple only had seven percent of total smartphone market share in the country, but the company has worked to secure deals with all of China's major carriers over the course of 2013, leaving it ripe for expansion. Ahrendts has plans to bolster Apple's retail presence in the country, reaching 30 stores by 2016, up from the current 10 stores.

Along with expanding Apple's footprint in China, Ahrendts is also said to be aiming for an overhaul of the end-to-end Apple Store sales experience, reimagining product discovery, customer interactions with employees, and mobile payment options, another tenet of Ahrendts' three point plan. Over-the-phone service, Personal Setup, and the company's trade-in programs may also see improvements under Ahrendts.
Ahrendts and new online stores VP Kupbens are seeking to improve mobile payments in Apple's retail stores and mobile apps for both the online and in-person purchases. Ahrendts is said to be eyeing a major focus on blurring the lines between Apple's online

Apple In-Store iPad Trade-In Program Now Available in UK, Germany, Spain and France

Apple today is expanding its iPad trade-in program to retail stores in several European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. As spotted by Apfelpage.de and iPhoneAddict.fr, the program allows customers to recycle older iPad models at their local Apple retail stores and provides them with credits they can use towards the purchase of new devices.

Apple launched the iPad program last month in the U.S. and Canada on Earth Day as part of a larger green initiative to help consumers recycle old iOS devices. Customers can visit Apple retail stores and trade in their iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad mini for store credit. The newer iPad Air and Retina iPad mini are not yet eligible for redemption.

The company has not revealed how much it will pay for these recycled devices in its international stores, but the pricing likely mirrors the existing trade-in program available in the U.S., with reduced prices for older devices and those in poor physical condition. Though not confirmed, Apple also may accept broken and non-working devices for free, providing a way for customers to responsibly recycle these devices.

The iPad program is similar to an existing in-store iPhone recycling program that debuted in the U.S. last August before expanding to the UK a few months later and several more European countries and Canada last

Apple and Samsung Negotiating Agreement to Settle Patent Disputes Out of Court

Apple and Samsung may be close to reaching an agreement that would settle all patent infringement lawsuits out of court, claims Kim Yoo-chul of The Korea Times (Via Fortune). This account follows a previous report from late last week that Apple and Google/Motorola have reached an agreement to drop all ongoing litigation between the two companies.

Samsung and Apple are reportedly in the early stages of negotiation with some key details on royalty payments still under negotiation.
"Samsung has recently resumed working-level discussions with Apple and the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits," one source said, declining to be named.

[...]

"Some more time will be needed to fix terms of details such as royalty payments in return for using patents owned by each before reaching a full agreement."
Apple and Samsung recently faced off in a California court as part of the second US patent infringement lawsuit between the two companies. In the case that concluded earlier this month, the jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on three of the five Apple patents involved in the lawsuit and ordered the Korean company to pay Apple a sum of $119.6 million. Apple also was found guilty of infringing on one of Samsung's patents with damages totaling

Intel CEO 'Guarantees' Broadwell Chips by This Holiday Season

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has stated that Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors will launch during this holiday season, reports Reuters (via MacG).
"I can guarantee for holiday, and not at the last second of holiday," Krzanich said in an interview. "Back to school - that's a tight one. Back to school you have to really have it on-shelf in July, August. That's going to be tough."
Originally expected to launch in Q3 2014, Krzanich noted that new manufacturing technologies are responsible for the delays surrounding Broadwell, but maintained that Intel is now on schedule to ship its new chips to manufacturers later this year. The statement comes after a leaked Intel roadmap surfaced this past February, which appeared to show an uncertain timetable for Apple's 2014 Mac updates.

A leaked Intel roadmap for 28-watt chips appropriate for 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
With Intel's Broadwell chips launching near the end of this year however, it is possible that Apple could either choose to wait until next year to integrate Broadwell chips into the Retina MacBook Pro or launch updated models with slightly faster Haswell chips. Apple updated its standard models of the MacBook Air last month with a faster 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor while cutting the price by $100.

It is also possible that Intel's new Broadwell chips could be used in the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air, which may coexist alongside or replace the current MacBook Air line. However, it is uncertain which specific chips Apple would use for the new notebook, as prior reports have pointed to the

Apple Releases 11.2.1 iTunes Update to Fix Hidden '/Users' Folder Bug

After Apple released OS X 10.9.3 yesterday, some users started experiencing a bug that hid their /Users folder. It appears that Apple has released a small iTunes update, numbered 11.2.1, to combat the bug. MacRumors forum member IzzyJG99 notes:

An update just popped up for me. iTunes 11.2.1 in the App Store. When it was done installing it had a little pop up about iPhoto Library. Now the User folder is showing up again.
Users can update to iTunes 11.2.1 via the updates tab in the Mac App Store or through OS X's "Software Update" drop-down