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Facebook Confirms Millions of Instagram Passwords Were Stored in Plain Text

Back in March, Facebook announced that millions of Facebook passwords were stored on its servers in plain text with no encryption. At the time, Facebook also said that "tens of thousands" of Instagram passwords were also stored in the same unencrypted format, but as it turns out, the actual number was much, much higher.

In an update to its original blog post, Facebook now says that millions of Instagram passwords were stored on its servers in a readable format.

Update on April 18, 2019 at 7AM PT: Since this post was published, we discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users. We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.
These unencrypted, plain text passwords were accessible to thousands of Facebook employees, and while Facebook says that there's no "evidence to date" that anyone within Facebook abused or improperly accessed the passwords, it's highly concerning.

Instagram user names, unlike Facebook usernames, can be highly appealing to thieves. Short names can sell for quite a lot of money, which makes Instagram passwords rather valuable.

Facebook was not forthcoming about the discovery of additional impacted Instagram accounts, burying it in a month-old blog post and, as Recode points out, releasing the update just before the Mueller report came out and media sites were distracted.

Facebook will be notifying Instagram users whose passwords were improperly stored, and Instagram users who are concerned about their accounts should change their passwords and make sure two-factor authentication is enabled.

Facebook's latest security leak comes just a day after news spread that Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million Facebook users without their consent and used the data to build a web of social connections.

Earlier this week, a scathing report also outlined how Facebook leveraged user data to punish its rivals and reward companies who paid heavily into Facebook advertising and shared data of their own.

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Apple Paid an Estimated $5-$6 Billion to Settle Qualcomm Dispute, Plus $8-$9 Per iPhone in Royalty Fees

Apple likely paid somewhere around $5 to $6 billion to settle its ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm, according to estimates shared today by UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri (via CNBC).

The $5 to $6 billion payment would have been for royalty fees that Apple had stopped paying over the course of its two year legal fight with Qualcomm.


Qualcomm may also be receiving between $8 and $9 per iPhone from Apple in ongoing patent royalties, a figure calculated based on guidance numbers that Qualcomm provided following the settlement. Qualcomm said that it expects its earnings per share to increase by $2.

Apple previously paid $7.50 in royalties, so at $8 to $9 per iPhone, Apple would be shelling out more cash than it did before.

Apple appears to have had no alternative but to settle with Qualcomm, as it had no other way to source 5G chips for its 2020 iPhone lineup. Apple initially planned to use Intel chips, but rumors suggested Intel wasn't meeting development goals, leading to tension between Apple and Intel.

Just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced a settlement deal, Intel said that it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business and would not be making 5G smartphone chips at all.

It's not entirely clear if Apple settled with Qualcomm because it knew of Intel's plan to abandon 5G chip development or if Intel made the decision after learning of Apple's settlement plans, but either way, it leaves Apple with no choice but to re-adopt Qualcomm chips for future iPhones.

Smartphone makers like Samsung will have 5G smartphones available starting this year, so Apple could not afford to delay the rollout of its 5G iPhones. Launching in 2020 already puts Apple somewhat behind, but 5G networks from U.S. carriers are still very much in development.

Following news of the settlement, Qualcomm's stock has gone up over 38 percent, marking a big win for the San Diego company. The agreement includes a six-year licensing deal along with a "multiyear chipset supply agreement."

It sounds like Apple will need to rely on Qualcomm for the foreseeable future, but Apple is working on its own modem chip technology, which may eventually allow it to drop Qualcomm as a modem chip supplier.

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Kuo: 2019 iPhones to Feature 12MP Front Cameras, Special Black Coating to Hide Lenses, and More

All three 2019 iPhones will feature 12-megapixel single-lens front cameras, up from 7-megapixels on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, according to the latest research note from well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


The note, obtained by MacRumors, adds that the next iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays respectively will also feature triple-lens rear cameras, including a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 12-megapixel super-wide-angle lens supplied by Sony:
We forecast the camera upgrade will be one of the new 2H19 iPhone's major selling points. Critical spec upgrades are as follows. (1) Rear cameras of 6.5-inch OLED, 5.8-inch OLED, and 6.1-inch LCD will likely upgrade to triple-camera and dual-camera, respectively. A super-wide camera will be newly adopted by the triple-camera system, which is equipped with the 12MP/1um CIS provided exclusively by Sony. (2) The front camera of all three new iPhone models will likely upgrade to 12MP CIS+5P lens (vs. current 7MP CIS+4P lens).
Kuo believes the next iPhone XR with a 6.1-inch LCD display will sport a dual-lens rear camera, as the WSJ previously reported, although he did not provide megapixels or any other camera specifications for that model. The rear camera on the current iPhone XR is a single 12-megapixel wide-angle lens.

Kuo says the rear super-wide-angle lens and front camera lens on the next iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will adopt "black lens-coating technologies," which will make the lenses look "inconspicuous," as hinted at previously.

The rumored triple-lens camera design for the next iPhones has proved quite controversial, but the special coating should help the far-right lens blend into the black bezels for a more aesthetically pleasing look.

The triple-lens camera design was first leaked by OnLeaks:


A chart from the research note:


Kuo says the new iPhones will be introduced in the second half of 2019. This is no surprise, as Apple has unveiled new iPhones in September every year since 2012. Last year, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max became available to order on September 14, followed by the iPhone XR on October 19.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones
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Apple Opens Material Recovery Lab in Austin to Improve Recycling Efforts

Apple has opened a new lab that will study how it can expand upon its current recycling processes through machine learning and robotics. The company announced the news today, along with other environmentally-focused updates, including that it will quadruple the number of locations where United States customers can send their iPhone to be disassembled by its recycling robot Daisy in a major expansion of its recycling programs.


In regards to its new lab, Apple is calling it the "Material Recovery Lab" and says that it will be dedicated to looking for innovative solutions that will improve on traditional methods of recycling. The lab will work with Apple engineering teams and members of academia to address and propose solutions to current recycling challenges. The 9,000 square foot lab is located in Austin, Texas.

The recycling expansion also includes select iPhones returned to Best Buy stores throughout the United States and KPN retailers in the Netherlands. With the Apple Trade In program, those interested can also turn in their eligible devices to be recycled at any Apple Store or on Apple.com.

Apple says that Daisy can now disassemble 15 different iPhone models at the rate of 200 per hour, and after materials are recovered from the robot they are recycled back into the manufacturing process. Apple has received nearly 1 million devices through its recycling programs and each Daisy robot can disassemble 1.2 million devices each year.
In 2018, the company refurbished more than 7.8 million Apple devices and helped divert more than 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills.

“Advanced recycling must become an important part of the electronics supply chain, and Apple is pioneering a new path to help push our industry forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We work hard to design products that our customers can rely on for a long time. When it comes time to recycle them, we hope that the convenience and benefit of our programs will encourage everyone to bring in their old devices.”
Lastly, the company has released its 2019 Environment report with more information on its climate change solutions. These include Apple's recent announcement that 44 of its suppliers -- like Foxconn and Wistron -- have committed to 100 percent renewable energy for their production of Apple products.


To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Apple will have environmentally themed Today at Apple sessions at all Apple Stores, feature original stories and app collections on the App Store, and run an Earth Day Apple Watch challenge. The company will also support the efforts of non-profit organizations like Conservation International, SEE Foundation, and The Recycling Partnership, which are all focused on protecting and preserving the environment.

The front page of Apple.com has been updated as well, prompting visitors to learn more about Apple and its environmental efforts.

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Multiple Reviewers Facing Broken Galaxy Fold Devices After Just Days of Use

Samsung this week provided reviewers with Galaxy Fold devices for some hands-on time, and it appears the folding smartphone may be suffering from some serious flaws. Three of the reviewers who received a Galaxy Fold have already experienced failures, all of which focus on the display.

The Verge's Dieter Bohn says that his Galaxy Fold device broke after a random bulge appeared on the display, perhaps from a piece of debris that had gotten into the hinge. The debris, or whatever the bulge was, pressed into the display hard enough to break it.

Broken Galaxy Fold OLED display via The Verge

Bohn says that he did not mistreat the phone, doing "normal phone stuff" like putting it in a pocket and opening and closing the hinge.
It's a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.
Similarly, CNBC's Steve Kovach shared a video of his review unit displaying a flickering, failing screen after just a single day of use.


Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also ran into a catastrophic display failure. His Galaxy Fold is broken and unusable, appearing to feature some of the same screen failures as Kovach's unit.


In Gurman's case, he says that there was a protective layer on the screen that is not supposed to be removed, but this was not communicated to him. He took it off, which may have contributed to the problem. Well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee says that he did the same thing because there was no warning in the box.


Not all of the reviewers with broken units removed the plastic film, however, so there are clearly multiple issues impacting the Galaxy Fold. Three broken review units that failed within a day or two does not bode well for the device at all. It's not known if reviewers received a bad batch of the device or if units going out to customers will experience the same issues, but anyone considering a purchase should be aware of these failures.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold costs a whopping $1,980, which is a sensationally high price even for a device that works. Right now, Samsung is accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold on carrier sites, and the first retail units are expected to be available to customers on April 26.

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Apple Hit With Securities Fraud Lawsuit for Hiding iPhone Sales Drop

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit accusing the company of securities fraud for making false statements and failing to disclose adverse information regarding its business prospects. These actions allegedly led to an artificially inflated stock price.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Apple was not initially forthcoming about a drop in demand for the iPhone due to poor sales in China and the 2018 battery replacement program, both of which contributed to lower than expected iPhone sales in the first fiscal quarter of 2019.


Apple is also accused of hiding the fact that production orders from suppliers had been slashed and prices had been cut, Apple's decision not to provide unit sales for iPhones and other hardware is also cited as a method Apple used to cause stock prices to rise to $209 per share.

When Apple did reveal the dip in iPhone sales and announced that it would not make its quarterly revenue forecast, Apple's stock fell $15 per share from $157.92 on January 2 to $142.19 per share on January 3. According to the lawsuit, Apple knew its iPhone sales weren't on track months before the information was shared.

The lawsuit, filed by the City of Roseville employees' retirement fund, is aiming to recover damages on behalf of people who purchased Apple stock between November 2, 2018 and January 2, 2019. Tim Cook and Luca Maestri are both named as defendants.

Update: A second law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, which is essentially identical to the first lawsuit. It also accuses Apple of securities fraud for concealing the iPhone's decline in sales.

Tag: lawsuit
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Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf Shares Thoughts on Apple Deal but Declines to Give Specific Details

Following yesterday's surprise announcement of a settlement between Qualcomm and Apple, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf sat down with CNBC to share a few more details about the new agreement between the two companies.

According to Mollenkopf, after "a lot of talking" both between teams and with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple and Qualcomm came to an agreement that "both companies like." Qualcomm and Apple are now focusing on getting new products out, such as the 5G iPhone coming in 2020 that Qualcomm will supply chips for.

And really, if you look at the focus of that energy now, it's very much on, 'Let's get these products out.' You know, it really clears the way for, I think, a much more natural relationship between the two companies. One that we certainly enjoy working on products together. And that's what we're doing now.
Apple and Qualcomm have established a "very broad deal" across all of Qualcomm's technologies, which Mollenkopf says is the first direct license that Qualcomm has had with Apple rather than contract manufacturers.

Each side "found something that was useful" in the deal, and according to Mollenkopf, Apple and Qualcomm "want to work together on products," as evidenced by the multiyear product deal the two signed as part of the settlement.

Part of the agreement between the two companies included a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, but Mollenkopf declined to provide further details on the size of the payment. He also refused to reveal how much Apple is paying Qualcomm per phone.

On the topic of 5G chips for future iPhones, Mollenkopf said that Qualcomm is "excited" and has the "entire team" working to support Apple. Unsurprisingly, no details were given on Apple's product plans or launch timelines for 5G connectivity.

While Apple settled with Qualcomm, Qualcomm continues to face an FTC inquiry into anticompetitive business tactics, which Mollenkopf says is still a risk to Qualcomm. He doesn't believe the Apple decision will impact what the FTC decides.
I don't think so. I think when we look at this deal, we're just happy to be able to do it. The environment with which we were able to put the deal together is obviously right in the middle of a trial. But, you know, the court is going to make its decision.
Mollenkopf's full interview, which includes additional details about Qualcomm's relationship with Apple and Qualcomm's goals moving forward, can be watched on CNBC's website.

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Apple Reportedly Working on Tile-Like Item Tracker Plus Merged 'Find My iPhone' and 'Find My Friends' App

Apple is developing a new app that combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single package, according to 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo. The report cites sources familiar with ongoing testing of the app.


In addition to existing Find My iPhone features like Lost Mode and the ability to remotely erase a device, the report claims the new unified app includes a new "find network" feature that allows Apple devices to be tracked even when they are not connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

The app would also incorporate existing Find My Friends features, including location sharing and location-based notifications from friends and family.

The report claims the app will be available on both iOS and macOS as part of Apple's so-called "Marzipan" cross-platform initiative. The app could presumably debut in iOS 13, which will be previewed at WWDC in June, but no timeframe is provided. It is allegedly codenamed "GreenTorch" internally.

Tile-like product tracker


Rambo also reports that Apple is working on a new hardware product in the form of a "tag" that can be attached to any item, similar to Tile. The tag would be paired to a user's iCloud account and rely on proximity to an iPhone.

Like the Tile, users would be able to receive notifications when their device gets too far away from the tag. To avoid false triggers, it would be possible to set a list of common locations to be ignored like a work office so that the item can be left at those locations without the user being notified.

The report adds that users will also be able to store their contact information in the tag and receive a notification when it is found. Apple may leverage its hundreds of millions of active devices to create a crowdsourced network that helps its users find any lost item in tandem with this product.

No release timeframe was provided for Apple's product tracker, but perhaps it will show up alongside new iPhones in September.

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Apple Reportedly Seeking LiDAR Sensors With 'Revolutionary Design' for Self-Driving Vehicles

Apple has held talks with at least four potential suppliers of LiDAR sensors for self-driving vehicles, providing fresh evidence of the company's renewed ambitions to enter the autonomous vehicle space, according to Reuters.

Apple has been using Lexus SUVs with LiDAR equipment to test autonomous technologies

The report claims Apple is seeking LiDAR units that are "smaller, cheaper and more easily mass produced" than current systems, which can cost over $100,000 and are considered "too bulky and prone to failure" for use in mass-produced vehicles. Apple is said to be "setting a high bar" with demands for a "revolutionary design."

While it remains unclear whether the goal of Apple's so-called "Project Titan" is to build its own vehicle or supply self-driving hardware and software to other automakers, the report says Apple wants to control the "perception stack" of sensors and software for autonomous vehicles, regardless of who makes it.

In addition to evaluating potential outside suppliers, Apple is believed to have its own LiDAR sensor technology under development, the report adds.

The report claims the next-generation LiDAR sensor designs that Apple is seeking could potentially be made with semiconductor manufacturing techniques, potentially significantly lowering costs, but the sources cited say Apple has not been happy with most of what it has seen so far.

Last year, Apple rehired its former VP of Mac hardware engineering Doug Field to work on Project Titan after a five-year stint as Tesla's engineering chief. Apple has a team of about 1,200 employees working on the project, according to court documents, but recent restructuring led to 190 layoffs.

Apple has been testing and developing autonomous driving software out on the streets of Cupertino, California, using Lexus SUVs, since early 2017. It's still unclear if we'll ever see a so-called Apple Car, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes a release wouldn't be until 2023 to 2025 either way.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
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Apple Shares New 'Shot on iPhone XS' Video Featuring Images of Nature From Around the World

Apple this morning shared a new video in its ongoing "Shot on iPhone XS" series, this time focusing on awe-inspiring natural scenes caught on Apple's smartphone camera by artist group Camp4 Collective.


Titled "Don't Mess With Mother," the one-minute video features various stark images of nature in action, captured from around the world, synced to the song "Last Rites" by Megadeth.

Shots in the clip include galloping zebra, scurrying desert insects, ice-capped mountain vistas, charging antelopes, mingling elephants, swimming lizards, snow avalanches, lava-spewing volcanoes, and more.

Apple has shared many "Shot on iPhone" videos and photos over the course of the last several years, including one posted last week that focused on the Maldives Shark Research Programme, a charity focused on whale shark research and community-focused conservation efforts.

Update: Apple has also shared a new behind-the-scenes look at the making of the "Don't Mess With Mother" video.



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Apple Reportedly Plans to Launch Revised 4.7-inch iPhone 8 in March 2020 to Boost Share of Mid-Tier Smartphone Market

Apple will launch a new version of the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 early next year with updated internals in a bid to boost its share of the mid-tier smartphone market, according to a report out today by the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) [Google Translate].


Citing sources from Taiwan-based Fubon Securities Investment Trust, EDN claims Apple's revised iPhone 8, launching in March 2020, will retain its 4.7-inch LCD display but will include a new PCB design featuring an A13 processor, a single-lens rear camera, and 128GB of base storage.

Production units are expected to reach 20 million, with all orders going to manufacturer Pegatron. EDN believes the new 4.7-inch iPhone 8 will have an aggressive price tag of around $649, as Apple attempts to boost its share of the mid-tier market, where it has lost out to Chinese rivals like Oppo and Vivo.

Apple's flagship iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR devices dominate its marketing, but the company continues to offer the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, originally launched in 2017, as lower cost options alongside the even cheaper iPhone 7 series.

Current prices for the existing iPhone 8 series, which include a Home button and thick top and bottom bezels, start at $599 for a 64GB iPhone 8 or $699 for an iPhone 8 Plus. Both older iPhones are more affordable than the $749 iPhone XR, the $999 iPhone XS, and the $1099 iPhone XS Max.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
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Intel Exiting 5G Smartphone Modem Business, Won't Make 5G iPhone Chips at All

Intel this afternoon announced plans to exit the 5G smartphone modem business to instead focus on opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices, and other data-centric devices.

The announcement comes just hours after Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and agreed to drop all litigation against one another. Intel said that it will continue current customer commitments for existing 4G smartphone modems, but it will not launch 5G modems in the smartphone space.

Intel 5G Modem
In a statement, Intel CEO Bob Swan said that there is "no clear path to profitability and positive returns" in the smartphone modem business.
"We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the 'cloudification' of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns," said Intel CEO Bob Swan. "5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world."
Rumors earlier today suggested Apple would use Qualcomm's 5G chips in its 2020 iPhones, and now it's apparent that the Cupertino company has no choice with Intel opting to pull out of the chip business all together.

Following Apple's legal battle with Qualcomm, Intel was the sole supplier of modem chips for the 2018 iPhone lineup and planned to provide 5G chips for Apple in 2020.

Intel had been working on the XMM 8160 5G chip, which was going to be used in the 2020 iPhone lineup. Rumors earlier this month indicated the relationship between Apple and Intel had grown tense as Intel began missing developmental deadlines on the 5G chip, leading Apple to lose confidence in Intel's ability to provide the chips in time for a 2020 5G iPhone launch.

Apple appears to have been left with no choice but to settle with Qualcomm in order to be able to roll out a 5G iPhone in 2020 as planned. Apple's settlement with Qualcomm included a six-year licensing agreement and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Apple is said to be sticking with Intel chips in 2019 because it's too late for the company to adopt Qualcomm's chips, but in 2020, Qualcomm may be Apple's only chip supplier once again.

To reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, Apple is working on its own chip technology, but Apple's own modem chips aren't expected to be ready until 2021.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones
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