Tim Hardwick

Tim is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. He has been covering technology for almost a decade, but will write about anything that interests him, from philosophy of mind to his own personal brand of bad fiction. Originally from Liverpool, England, Tim is currently between homes but can sometimes be found accessing a personal wi-fi hotspot from a ferry somewhere on the Mersey.



No Concessions For Apple in India As State Mobile Manufacturing Policy Up For Review [Update]

The Indian government has decided not to offer special concessions to Apple as part of negotiations as the company looks to build its first manufacturing plants in the country. According a report in the India Economic Times, New Delhi will instead review its entire policy on mobile manufacturing as part of a wider effort to promote its 'Make in India' initiative. This could meet some of the demands that Apple has made as well as benefit other phone makers, said officials. India needs to support an iconic brand like Apple for the success of the Make in India campaign, officials said. "Our import duty is high," one of them said. "As long as they are getting into exports, our objective should be to give them lowest duty so as to ensure that their product is competitive. Hence we may even relook at the policy as a whole." Another official said no decision had been taken but that concessions cannot be given to just one company. "Normally, similar dispensation has to be given to others similarly placed," he said. The issue will be looked at in detail at a high-level meeting between Apple executives and state officials set to take place next week. According to Wednesday's report, representatives from revenue, industry, and IT government departments will consider Apple's requests, which include a 15-year customs duty holiday on the import of iPhone kits, new and used capital equipment, and consumables. Last year, Apple requested permission to set up its own retail outlets in India without being subject to the state's compulsory 30 percent local sourcing rule, claiming

Nest Smart Home Products Coming to Four More European Countries

Smart home brand Nest has announced it is making its products available in four more countries across Europe, with Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria being added to its official retail roster. From February 15, customers in the above regions will now be able to buy the Nest 3.0 learning thermostat (249 euros), the Protect smoke alarm (119 euros), and the company's indoor and outdoor cameras (199 euros). Nest products can be pre-ordered now from Amazon, local retailers, and select energy suppliers. Now that we're in four more countries, twice as many European homes have the chance to become Nest homes. We also plan to make our products available through even more energy, insurance and telco partners, as well as enlist the help of thousands of Nest Pro installers. So getting and installing Nest products, and connecting them to Works with Nest products, will be simple.The latest market expansion will be a boost to Nest. The company's products are used in homes in over 190 countries, but were previously only officially sold and supported in seven. The last market rollout occurred in September 2014. Nest says it will continue to expand into more countries as demand continues to

Virtual Credit Card Service 'boon' Now Available to Apple Pay Customers in France

Wirecard launched its mobile payment solution, boon, in France today, allowing iPhone owners to use prepaid virtual credit cards in their Apple Pay wallet. Launched in the U.K. in May of last year, boon is independent of any bank and offers a pre-paid account with a digital MasterCard that users can top up via wire transfer, debit or credit card. The moble payment app works at any NFC-enabled terminal where the MasterCard contactless logo appears. "By launching boon with Apple Pay in France, even more users in Europe can experience a new level of mobile payments without being a customer of a specific bank. Thanks to its ease of use and maximum security standards, boon is a state-of-the-art payment solution", said Georg von Waldenfels, Executive Vice President Consumer Solutions with Wirecard. Users who want to pay with the mobile app boon outside of France, can upgrade to the level "boon. PLUS" which has a maximum top-up limit of 5000 euros and does not include any additional costs.   Apple Pay became available in France in June of last year, with cards issued by Banque Populaire, Ticket Restaurant, Carrefour Banque, and Caisse d'Epargne available for use on eligible devices. The boon app is a free download from the App Store for iPhone and

Apple Hikes U.K. App Store Prices By At Least 25 Percent Due to Weak Pound

Apple today announced changes to its App Store pricing policy in India, Turkey, and the U.K., citing fluctuating foreign exchange rates and taxation changes as reasons behind the move. In the United Kingdom, Apple is raising the prices for apps and in-app purchases by at least 25 percent, in light of the weak pound exchange rate, which has been down against the dollar by about 19 percent since the Brexit vote. Apps on sale for $0.99 cents will now cost an equivalent £0.99, rather than £0.79. Apps at price Tier 2 will cost £1.99, up from £1.49, with similar equivalent hikes for higher tiers and in-app purchases. Subscription prices will not be affected. In India, a service tax of 14 percent as well as levies of 0.5 percent were introduced by the government from December 1, 2016. In Romania, the tax rate has decreased from 20 to 19 percent. In Russia, a value added tax (VAT) rate of 18 percent has been introduced. Apple will submit the collected revenue to authorities on developers' behalf. Apple's email notification to developers today covered the iOS and Mac App Store, but price increases are likely to come into effect across iTunes purchases like TV shows and movies. In October, Apple hiked Sterling prices across its Mac lineup for similar reasons. The App Store price increases are set to go live in the next seven days. The announcement comes on the same day U.K. inflation surged to 1.6 percent, an increase put down to rises in air fares and the price of food, as well as prices for motor

Samsung's Official Note7 Investigation Concludes Battery Was the Cause of Fires

Samsung's investigation into what caused some Galaxy Note7 smartphones to catch fire has concluded that the battery was the main reason, according to sources who spoke to Reuters on Monday. Rumors had suggested Samsung pushed suppliers to meet tighter deadlines for an earlier launch in order to beat the iPhone 7, leading to critical oversights that led to some batteries catching fire. A person familiar with the matter told the news outlet today that Samsung was able to replicate the fires during its investigation and that the cause could not be explained by hardware design or software-related matters. The source said that the official results of the investigation will be announced on January 23, one day before the company announces its Q4 earnings. Samsung is also expected to announce new measures it is taking to prevent similar problems in future devices, the person said. Samsung declined to comment. Samsung issued a Galaxy Note7 recall in September, and permanently discontinued the smartphone in October after some replacement devices also caught fire. Samsung urged customers to return their Note7's at once, and in December began seeding a software update to prevent unreturned devices from charging. The phone remains banned on all U.S. flights as a precaution. Concept for the Galaxy S8 (Image: Steel Drake/Behance) Following the debacle – said to have cost the company $5.2 billion – Samsung must now regain consumer trust, starting with the launch of its flagship Galaxy S8 in the Spring. The phone is rumored to include a 4K Super AMOLED edge-to-edge

Amazon Reveals Curated TV Subscriptions Strategy with 'Anime Strike' Prime Channel

Amazon launched Anime Strike this week, the company's first self-branded content to appear under its Channels subscriptions program for Prime members. Anime Strike offers U.S. Prime members access to over 1,000 anime TV shows and movies for an extra $4.99 per month on top of the $99 Prime subscription. Amazon says the adult-themed channel will serve up seinen classics as well as weekly anime exclusives from Japan. A seven-day free trial lets Prime members check out the channel, which features "The Great Passage", "Scum's Wish", and "Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga", as well as anime classics like "Paprika" and "Tokyo Godfathers". Amazon's existing add-on video subscription services include channels such as HBO, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Plus, and Cinemax, but Anime Strike is the company's first own-branded, curated offering. Speaking to Variety, Amazon said it plans to launch additional branded subscription VOD channels in the coming months. The move indicates intensifying competition among streaming services, with a wider range of exclusive content becoming increasingly necessary if companies are to fend off rival offerings. Back in November, sources claimed Apple was considering a price drop for Apple Music in time for the holiday period, with Amazon cited as the "biggest motivation" for the discussions over monthly pricing. However, the service's $9.99 price tag remains in place, and with reports this week that Apple is planning to create its own original TV shows for Apple Music, more content rather than lower cost appears to be the overriding strategy.

Rome: Total War – Barbarian Invasion Coming to iPad This March for $4.99

Feral Interactive has announced it is bringing ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion to iPad this March. The title is a standalone expansion pack to the critically acclaimed ROME: Total War, which was faithfully ported to iOS late last year. As with the previous Creative Assembly conversion, the iPad release of Barbarian Invasion promises a full port of the original desktop game, supplemented by intuitive touch controls, enhanced Retina graphics, and mid-battle autosaves. Barbarian Invasion is a game of epic scale, offering players a seamless integration of strategy and tactics to fight spectacular battles, while using diplomacy, subterfuge and assassination to dominate the ancient world. Featuring a campaign set in the declining years of the Roman Empire, players can either hasten its fall as a Barbarian commander or take up arms as a Roman General to extend its civilization in a glorious new epoch."We have been delighted by the reception of ROME: Total War on iPad and we are confident that Barbarian Invasion, bringing as it does a plethora of new tactical options, will be just as well-received," said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive. ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion for iPad will be available exclusively via the App Store for $4.99. The game can be played without ROME: Total War, which is available on the App Store now for $9.99

Sonnet Unveils Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe Card Expansion Systems for 2016 MacBook Pros

Sonnet Technologies yesterday launched its first Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe card expansion systems for 2016 MacBook Pros, the Echo Express SEL — Thunderbolt 3 Edition and the Echo Express SE I — Thunderbolt 3 Edition. The SEL and SE I are compact and lightweight single-slot expansion systems that differ only in size and enable users to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 3's 2,750 MB/s of PCI Express bandwidth to support high performance adapter cards. The Echo Express SE I — Thunderbolt 3 Edition weighs just 2.6 pounds and measures 5.6 inches wide by 8.6 inches deep by 3.5 inches tall, accommodating one-half length (up to 7.75 inches long), full-height, single-width PCIe 3.0 card with additional mounting space for a daughter card. With its Thunderbolt 3 interface, the SE I delivers ample bandwidth for the majority of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe cards including pro video capture, digital audio interface, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS or SATA host bus adapters, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards. The Echo Express SEL — Thunderbolt 3 Edition is the smallest and quietest Thunderbolt 3 chassis yet, measuring 4 inches wide by 8.25 inches long by 2.8 inches tall and weighing just 1.75 pounds. The SEL houses one low-profile, single-width PCIe 3.0 card, including the majority of the most popular Thunderbolt-compatible 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 40 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS and SATA host bus adapters, RAID controller cards, and even low-profile pro video capture cards like the BlueFish 444 Epoch 4K Neutron.The Echo Express

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat Update Adds HomeKit Support for Remote Sensors

Smart wireless thermostat maker Ecobee is rolling out a firmware update to Ecobee3 devices that brings individual HomeKit support to the device's remote sensors for the first time. The Ecobee3 enables owners to use additional remote sensors to keep track of ambient temperature as well as detect motion in different locations within the home. With firmware version 3.7.0.969, currently rolling out to the devices, owners can now access individual sensors directly from within the iOS HomeKit app. The official change log for the firmware is as follows: • Automatically Restore HomeKit Connection. Occasionally some ecobees could lose its connection to Homekit and have to be rebooted in order to re-establish the connection. This firmware update enables the ecobee to automatically reconnect without any user action. • Wireless sensors with homekit enhancement. The wireless sensors now show up as accessories in the iOS Home app. Because of the dual functionality (occupancy detection and temperature sensing) of the sensors, each sensor will show up as two accessories. • The usual background cleanup and stability. As always, to smooth things out for a better experience. The Ecobee3 firmware is an automatic update currently being rolled out. Owners unsure of the version of their devices who aren't seeing their sensors in HomeKit should contact Ecobee support

Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video on YouTube in Native Resolution

Reddit users have recently discovered that YouTube refuses to stream newly uploaded 4K video in its native resolution if the website is accessed through Safari web browser. The issue was first raised almost a month ago by Reddit user GezimS, who wondered why the option to view 4K videos in 2160p was no longer available. Other users soon chimed in to confirm the anomaly, noting that it only seemed to occur in recently uploaded 4K video and that accessing the same content in Chrome or Firefox still offered up the preferred 2160p resolution as a viewing option. After some digging, user themcfly recently discovered that the issue is being caused by a change to the way YouTube encodes video and serves it through its website. Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p. Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website. Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different

Google Maps Users Can Now Book and Pay for Uber Rides Without Ever Leaving the App

Google is rolling out an update to Google Maps for iOS that lets users request a ride from Uber without ever having to leave the app. Previously, users of Maps could get a ride cost estimate and start the process of hailing a ride, but would eventually be kicked into the Uber app proper for confirmation and payment. Now however, users can book and pay for an Uber directly within Google Maps, without having to have the official Uber app installed on their device, thanks to a redesigned "ride services" section. Google announced the update on Thursday in a blog post, explaining that Maps users need only to sign in to their existing Uber account (or create one) in order to book an Uber ride, track the driver on the map, and connect with the driver, all from within the Maps app. Users are also able to take a look at information about their destination while en route, with menus, hours, and other details available in-app. Though listed in the ride services section, Lyft currently doesn't appear to support the same booking process as yet. The Maps update is currently being rolled out globally and should appear on user's phones any time now. Google Maps is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Apple Set to Earn $1 Trillion in Revenue From iOS Ecosystem By Middle of 2017

Apple's iOS ecosystem is on course to generate over $1 trillion in revenues for the company by the middle of this year, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu. Dediu's prediction is based on several factors, starting with an expectation that Apple will have sold at least 1.2 billion iPhones in its first 10 years, earning it the rank of "most successful product of all time" and laying the foundations for the company's iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, and Apple Watch categories. In its first 10 years, the iPhone will have sold at least 1.2 billion units, making it the most successful product of all time. The iPhone also enabled the iOS empire which includes the iPod touch, the iPad, the Apple Watch and Apple TV whose combined total unit sales will reach 1.75 billion units over 10 years. This total is likely to top 2 billion units by the end of 2018.Dediu claims revenue from iOS device sales will total about $980 billion by the middle of this year, and adds to that estimate more than $100 billon in revenues from supporting services (including app content sales), putting the ecosystem's total worth above the $1 trillion mark. The analyst notes this excludes payouts to iOS app developers of around $60 billion, with the rate of payments now reaching $20 billion per year. Those numbers would appear to tally with comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook last August that the company has paid out more than $50 billion to developers over the lifetime of the App Store, which first launched for the iPhone in 2008. Dediu points to the locked-in nature of Apple's ecosystem

Apple Teams Up With Security Firm to Bolster Encryption Across Its CareKit Medical Platform

Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit so that developers using Apple's CareKit platform will have access to increased privacy options (via Mashable). Tresorit's security technology, ZeroKit, will bring user authentication to patients and healthcare workers, while its end-to-end encryption smarts promise "zero knowledge" sharing of health data. The ZeroKit team announced the partnership in a blog post on Apple's CareKit blog. "Apple designed the iOS platform and CareKit with security at its core. When building apps where data is shared across devices and with other services, developers want to extend this security to the cloud. This is exactly what ZeroKit does."CareKit is Apple's open-source platform aimed at making it easer for developers and health care professionals to build health apps via a number of integrations, like monitoring of medical symptoms, sending images of an injury, and keeping tabs on medication schedules. CareKit also offers two-way benefits, as it not only helps doctors monitor patients but also allows patients to observe their progress over time. While patients won't get to choose whether to apply ZeroKit's encryption tools, the back-end integration will allow Apple's platform to fall in line with state privacy rules around patient

U.S. Aviation Authority Lifts Note7 Warning as Samsung Prepares to Relaunch Galaxy Brand

U.S. airlines will no longer have to make a pre-boarding notification to passengers that the Samsung Galaxy Note7 is prohibited on aircraft, it was announced yesterday. In a statement on its website, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was dropping the requirement because public awareness that the banned Note7 was a fire risk was deemed to have reached a sufficient level, thanks in part to extensive recall efforts by Samsung and smartphone providers. The Department of Transportation removed the requirement for air carriers to specifically notify passengers about the Note7 phone immediately prior to boarding due to the high degree of public awareness of the ban since issuance of the emergency restriction/prohibition order, as well as the extensive efforts by Samsung and U.S. wireless providers to make all Note7 users aware the phone is recalled and banned from transport on U.S. aircraft.  Following the announcement, Samsung released a statement claiming that over 96 percent of Note 7 devices have been returned so far. U.S. carriers have sent out an end-of-life software update to handsets that remain in circulation, rendering the devices unable to charge. Meanwhile, Samsung has said it will release a report later this month detailing the results of its investigation into what caused some handsets to explode or catch fire while charging. Samsung appears to have weathered the storm of last year's Note7 debacle, after officially halting sales of the phone worldwide in early October and discontinuing the model. Despite Apple phones outselling Samsung phones

iFixit Looks Back on 10 Years of iPhone Teardowns

This week marked 10 years since Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone at Macworld in San Francisco. In commemoration, iFixit has published a roundup of 15 iPhone teardowns the site has completed over the past decade, offering a look at how the design's construction has evolved over time. In contrast to Apple's iMacs and MacBooks which have become progressively more difficult to repair in recent years, the iPhone's repairability score has fared a lot better after quickly improving upon its first incarnation, as noted by iFixit. iFixit's teardown of the first-generation iPhone iPhones have become taller, wider, and skinnier. But they’ve also become more repairable. The very first iPhone earned a dismal 2/10 on our repairability scale. It had a soldered battery and was almost impossible to open without breaking the case. Repairability improved radically from there — jumping to a 7/10 for the iPhone 3G. Since then, the company's flagship smartphone has remained relatively repair-friendly, earning at least 6/10 on iFixit's repairability rating with every iteration. The most recent iPhone offering, the iPhone 7, was awarded 7/10 on the scale in 2016. Check out the "10 Years of iPhone" roundup page on iFixit, which also features a neat look at the visual changes the components have undergone over 15 models.

Greenpeace Declares Apple 'Greenest Tech Company' For Third Year Running

Greenpeace has declared Apple to be the most environmentally friendly technology company in the world for the third year in a row. The conclusion was reached in the environmental organization's latest report, entitled Clicking Clean: Who is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet, which awarded Apple a final 'A' grade and a clean energy index score of 83 percent. Facebook and Google also scored 'A' grades, with clean energy index scores of 67 and 56 percent respectively. "Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Switch, we are seeing the tech industry make major strides toward powering the internet with clean energy," Gary Cook, Greenpeace's senior IT analyst, said in a statement.The report ranked companies on a range of green credentials, from energy transparency and renewable procurement to energy efficiency and mitigation. Nevada-based telecoms company Switch, which develops data centers, was the only company in its sector to be awarded grade A's across the board, with a 100 percent clean energy index. According to the report, Apple "played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple's corner of the internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy". Apple, Google, and Facebook pledged in 2012 to commit to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Apple's new Cupertino campus, which is currently under construction, will run entirely on renewable energy, thanks to an estimated 700,000 square feet of

Fitbit Acquires European Luxury Smartwatch Maker Vector Watch

Fitbit has made another acquisition in the wearables market, this time buying out European luxury smartwatch maker Vector Watch for an undisclosed price. Vector Watch only launched in March of last year offering a range of 12 smartwatch models in various fashion-conscious styles. Key features in its line-up include basic activity tracking, phone notifications, and 30-day battery life, with some third-party apps built into the interface. The London-based company announced the buyout in a statement on its website. Today, we are happy to announce that the Vector Watch team and our software platform are joining Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness market! We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit's experience and global community.Vector said its integration with Fitbit would have no impact on existing customers, whose smartwatches would continue to function as usual, while technical support and warranties would be unaffected. However, new product features (software and hardware) would not be added. The buyout comes just one month after Fitbit acquired U.S.-based Pebble for a reported $40 million, signaling the company's intention to continue to invest in software development, despite falling shares and a gloomy outlook for the overall wearables market. Global shipments in the last quarter fell by more than half compared to last year, according to recent figures by IDC. Despite the numbers,

Apple to Forge 'iPhone 8' Chassis Frame From Stainless Steel Instead of Aluminum

Apple is expected to adopt a forged stainless steel crafting process for its glass-encased "iPhone 8", rather than use traditional aluminum CNC machining. Taiwanese sources from the upstream supply chain apparently confirmed the transition on Tuesday, according to DigiTimes, with component orders expected to be shared between Foxconn and U.S.-based Jabil. Edge-to-edge iPhone concept image via ConceptsiPhone The next-generation iPhone is expected to abandon its conventional aluminum back cover design and will adopt a new design using two reinforced glass panes and a metal frame in the middle. The metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time.The stainless steel process was last used by Apple in the iPhone 4s handset, which encased a "glass sandwich" chassis in two CNC-machined steel bands. However, every succeeding iPhone iteration has used aluminum because the alloy offers heightened structural rigidity while remaining relatively lightweight. Supply chain sources said the cost of the forging process is between 30 percent and 50 percent cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable. Despite the switch, Apple is expected to continue outsourcing orders for internal structural parts to Catcher Technology and Casetek, because the stainless steel bezel will require further refinement using traditional CNC machining. Today's report supports recent rumors indicating at least one model of iPhone this year will have a redesigned

Apple Executives to Visit India to Discuss Local Manufacturing Plans

Apple executives will attend a high-profile meeting with Indian officials later this month in order to discuss the company's plans to set up a manufacturing plant in the country. Apple is said to be seeking a number of tax and other incentives at the meeting, set to take place on January 25, and could potentially ask for long-term duty exemptions. According to PTI, Indian representatives from a number of government departments will attend, including officials from commerce, industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), revenue, environment and forest, electronics, and IT. Last month it emerged that Apple was in talks with India to explore the possibility of making products locally, as well as set up a distribution center, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered his government to exempt foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to locally source 30 percent of goods solid in their stores. Apple sent a letter to India's federal government in December, outlining its manufacturing plans and asking for financial incentives, and this month's meeting would appear to be the next step in the negotiations. In September 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Prime Minister Modi to discuss various matters and Cook reportedly responded positively to Modi's invitation to open a manufacturing base in India. Foxconn was previously reported to be looking at the possibility of an expansion into India to produce iPhones and iPads, but Cook's outspoken interest in the possibility was Apple's first public interest in the expansion. Apple products are currently

Airmail for iOS Gains Workflow and Bear App Integrations With 1.5 Update

Popular cross-platform email client Airmail received an update to its iOS component today, bringing a couple of notable extra features to the app. New with version 1.5 is support for third-party automation tool Workflow, enabling users to incorporate email and inbox actions into their custom Workflow creations. The update also brings integration with cross-platform note-taking app Bear, allowing users to create a note in the writing app that contains a shortcut to a mail in Airmail, for example. In addition to fixing some minor bugs, a handful of new Custom Actions have been included too, along with an OpenURL action, a new Default Inbox, and support for Gmail authentication. Airmail 1.5 costs $4.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]