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Apple Seeds Third Beta of macOS Mojave 10.14.4 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS Mojave 10.14.4 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta and almost a month after releasing macOS Mojave 10.14.3.

The new macOS Mojave 10.14.4 beta can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after the proper profile has been installed from Apple's Developer Center.


macOS Mojave 10.14.4 brings Apple News to Canada for the first time, allowing Canadian Mac users to access news stories in French, English, or both.

The update also includes support for Safari AutoFill using Touch ID and automatic dark mode themes in Safari. That means if you have Dark Mode enabled, when you visit a website that has an option for a dark theme, it will be activated automatically. You can see a demo of the feature here.

macOS Mojave 10.14.4 will likely be in beta testing for the next several weeks as Apple refines features and works out bugs. After that, it will see a release alongside iOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, and tvOS 12.2.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave
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Apple's Recent Leadership Changes Suggest Transition From iPhone Reliance to Focus on Services

A new report out today by The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the recent shake ups to Apple leadership, and how the changes could be an indicator that the company is transitioning from relying on iPhone sales to prioritizing its services business and other divisions.

Newly appointed executive John Giannandrea also heads Siri development

Specifically, the report claims that recent hires, departures, promotions, and restructurings have led to several projects being put on hold while the new managers reassess priorities. This has left many existing Apple employees "rattled" as they have become unaccustomed to such frequent changes in leadership prior to the shake up at the company.
The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies.
These changes include the promotion of John Giannandrea to senior vice president, from a machine learning and AI role. After his promotion, Giannandrea decided to move Bill Stasior, head of Siri, to a lower role at the company. In terms of high-profile departures, retail chief Angela Ahrendts recently left Apple after spending five years with the company. These three major changes happened within the past two-and-a-half months.

Along with the staffing updates, Apple has trimmed around 200 employees from its autonomous vehicle project, and continues to redirect much of its engineering resources into its streaming TV service ahead of the planned 2019 launch.
“This is a sign the company is trying to get the formula right for the next decade,” said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “Technology is evolving, and they need to continue to tweak their structure to be sure they’re on the right curve.”
Now, Apple is focusing on building its services catalog and enhancing artificial intelligence features, which should in turn encourage more hardware sales. Replacing Stasior as the head of Siri, Giannandrea is said to be "looking to improve Siri's accuracy and performance."

iPhone sales dipped over the 2018 holiday season, leading to many reports about Apple's new plans to combat stagnating smartphone sales. The company is said to have cut back on new hires, and in January Apple lowered its revenue guidance for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year by up to $9 billion due to fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated.


At the same time, Apple's services business hit an all-time high in Q1 2019, up 19 percent year-on-year. During the first fiscal quarter of 2019, Apple's services business brought in $10.9 billion in revenue, including platforms like iTunes, the App Store, the Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and AppleCare. Thanks to their success in the wake of flagging iPhone sales, these services are expected to be a growing focus for the company over the next few years.

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Huawei's Efforts to Steal Apple Trade Secrets Include Employee Bonus Program and Other Dubious Tactics

Last month, the United States Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for stealing trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud, and obstructing justice. Today, The Information has shed light on Huawei's tactics of stealing trade secrets, some of which were aimed at Apple.


According to today's report, a Huawei engineer in charge of the company's smartwatch project tracked down a supplier that makes the heart rate sensor for the Apple Watch. The Huawei engineer arranged a meeting, suggesting he was offering the supplier a lucrative manufacturing contract, but during the meeting his main intent was questioning the supplier about the Apple Watch.
The Huawei engineer attended the supplier meeting with four Huawei researchers in tow. The Huawei team spent the next hour and a half pressing the supplier for details about the Apple Watch, the executive said.

“They were trying their luck, but we wouldn’t tell them anything,” the executive said. After that, Huawei went silent.
This event reportedly reflects "a pattern of dubious tactics" performed by Huawei to obtain technology from rivals, particularly Apple's China-based suppliers. According to a Huawei spokesperson the company has not been in the wrong: "In conducting research and development, Huawei employees must search and use publicly available information and respect third-party intellectual property per our business-conduct guidelines."

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Huawei is said to have a formal program that rewards employees for stealing information, including bonuses that increase based on the confidential value of the information gathered. While the theft of trade secrets is nothing new among technology companies, the new allegations against Huawei represent "a more brazen and elaborate system of seeking out secret information," The Information reports.

Huawei's information gathering program led to incidents like the Huawei engineer probing a supplier for Apple Watch details, as well as Huawei copying a component of the MacBook Pro. Specifically, the company built a connector for its MateBook Pro that was just like the one used in Apple's MacBook Pro from 2016, allowing the computer's hinge to be thinner while still attaching the display to the logic board.

Huawei reportedly approached numerous suppliers and provided them with schematics just like Apple's, but most recognized the part and refused to make it for Huawei. The company told The Information that it requires suppliers to uphold a high standard of ethics and that it doesn't seek or have access to its competitor's confidential information. Eventually, Huawei found a willing supplier and the connector was built into the MateBook Pro.

The Information's report includes numerous other examples of Huawei's attempts at stealing information from Apple. One former Apple employee interviewed for a job at Huawei immediately after leaving Apple, and in the interview, Huawei executives repeatedly asked questions about Apple's upcoming products. "It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were in hiring me," the former employee said.

Huawei's indictments extend far beyond Apple, including an accusation of bank and wire fraud against chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, lying to the government, destroying documents, and attempting to move key Huawei employees back to China to impede the U.S. Justice Department investigation. Another indictment accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets, wire fraud, and obstructing justice for stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile U.S. for testing smartphone durability.

Tags: Huawei, DOJ
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Streaming TV Service Revenue Will Be a 'Drop in the Bucket' for Apple, Even If It Rivals Netflix

Analyst Tim O'Shea recently published a new research report looking at the impact of Apple's upcoming streaming TV service on the company's overall financial earnings (via Business Insider). According to O'Shea, even if Apple priced the service at $15/month (and took a 30 percent cut, while the rest went to video production partners), the resulting revenue would just be "a drop in the bucket."


O'Shea predicted that if Apple could get to 250 million subscribers by 2023, it would earn the company $13.5 billion in revenue and account for about 5 percent of the company's revenue that year. Not only that, but 250 million subscribers in four years is a generous prediction, given it took Netflix 12 years to reach its 139 million subscribers as of January 2019.
"It's going take a long time for this type of service to really move the needle," O'Shea told Business Insider. To figure out the potential of the video service, which Apple is widely expected to launch next month, O'Shea estimated that Apple would charge customers $15 a month and take a 30% cut, giving the rest to video production partners

If the service is extremely successful and attracts 250 million subscribers, it would yield $13.5 billion in revenue for Apple. That's nothing to sneeze at. After all, Netflix's total sales last year were $15.8 billion. But in the context of Apple, such a figure would be just a drop in the bucket.

In fiscal 2018, the company posted revenue of $265 billion. Though O'Shea and other analysts expect Apple's sales to drop sharply this year before slowly recovering in coming ones, $13.5 billion would still represent only a small fraction of the company's revenue.
To be clear, O'Shea isn't predicting that Apple will price its streaming TV service at this level, but the analyst is simply providing a "what if" scenario for the launch of the service. CNBC previously reported that Apple will offer its original TV shows for free to Apple device owners, and new reports have suggested that users will be able to add more premium channels onto the service at a cost.

As part of these recent rumors, it's also been suggested all users will have to pay a monthly subscription to gain access to Apple's original TV shows. In regards to these rumors, a price has not yet been put forward. More clarity should be given to Apple's streaming service on March 25, when the company is expected to host a major event debuting the service and outlining its big features.

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Apple Working With Non-Profit Dream Corps to Develop New Educational Coding Initiative

Apple today announced that it will partner with the Oakland-based non-profit organization Dream Corps in an effort to bring educational and workforce development opportunities to young adults. The program's goal is to help these individuals find success and career placement in the tech sector.

Vien Truong, CEO of Dream Corps

The program is part of Apple's Community Education Initiative, and stems from Dream Corps' existing #YesWeCode Initiative, which aims "to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector." To date, #YesWeCode has graduated around 100 people and placed 60 percent in new tech jobs.

As part of the new initiative, Apple will work with Vien Truong, CEO of Dream Corps, to bring coding and workforce development programs to local youth in Oakland, California.
“We are thrilled about launching this new initiative in Oakland,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “Our hope is that by bringing expertise, stakeholders and resources together, we’ll be able to magnify the already impressive impact that Dream Corps is having in the Bay Area and across the nation and help a new generation of young people realize their potential.”
For its part, Apple will provide technology, professional support, curriculum guidance, and advocacy to those in middle and high school, college, and beyond. Apple's Swift coding language will be a major focus of the program, which is set to launch later this year in the Bay Area, and then expand nationwide at a later date.

To highlight the success of #YesWeCode, Apple today also shared the story of Gerald Ingraham, a U.S. Marine who found the coding program and completed it while working full-time in various administration and construction jobs. He was determined to find a fulfilling career, and looking for more stable work to help pay hospital bills for his son, who was diagnosed with brain cancer.


In 2018, one year after completing the program, Ingraham landed a job as a software developer at a video game company. "I'm finally doing something I chose," said Ingraham, "not something I just fell into because that was the only skill I had. I feel better about myself — and my oldest son told me how I've inspired him."

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Group FaceTime Still Partly Broken After Security Update, Apple Aware

A few weeks ago, Apple's Group FaceTime was discovered to have a major security flaw which potentially allowed users to listen in on others without their permission. The flaw was quickly publicized forcing Apple to shut down FaceTime servers temporarily while a patch was being created. A week later, Apple released iOS 12.1.4 which addressed the security issue and re-enabled Group FaceTime for those users.


Unfortunately, Group FaceTime even under iOS 12.1.4 hasn't quite been restored to its former functionality. A MacRumors forum thread started the day after 12.1.4's release revealed users who found themselves unable to add more users to a FaceTime call. As it turns out, it appears that users are no longer able to add a person to a one-on-one FaceTime call. The "Add Person" button remains greyed out and inactive in this situation. The only way to add another person to a Group FaceTime call at this time is to start the call with at least two other people. This slight distinction appears to be the source of confusion for many users.

MacRumors forum user Bob-K persisted in his support calls with Apple, and was finally told that the "Add Person" button not working in that situation was a known issue and that they didn't know when it would be fixed.

Apple Support on Twitter also appears to be aware of this restriction:

We were able to reproduce this issue, but it appears this workaround isn't entirely reliable as one user reported being unable to consistently add people even during a group call. A search of Twitter shows a number of users who believe that Group FaceTime remains disabled, though some users may simply be unaware of the iOS 12.1.4 update, or may be confused by the greyed "Add Person" button issue.

Apple is actively working on iOS 12.2 Beta which has not yet seen the addition of the patch for Group FaceTime, but we'd expect them to address the ongoing bugs in a later 12.2 beta release.

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AirPower and New AirPods Said to Ship in First Half of 2019, New iPod Touch With Faster Processor Also Expected

Apple's long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat and a new version of AirPods with wireless charging support and upgraded Bluetooth connectivity will start shipping in the first half of 2019, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Kuo also expects a new iPod touch with a faster processor to launch in 2019.

While there's been a flurry of recent rumors about the AirPower and 2nd generation AirPods, there have also been conflicting reports on the possible launch dates for the two products. One recent report specifically placed the launch of the new AirPods in the fall of 2019. We were skeptical about that report at the time, and now Kuo gives another reason to believe that the new AirPods and AirPower will be shipping in the first half of this year.

Related Roundups: iPod touch, AirPods 2
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Two New iPad Pro Models, 10.2-Inch iPad, and iPad Mini 5 Said to Launch in 2019

In a thorough research note outlining Apple's plans for 2019, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo describes his outlook for the next iPad lineup. According to Kuo, Apple plans to release two new iPad Pro models, a 10.2-inch iPad, and a refreshed iPad mini, each equipped with an upgraded processor, later this year.


Rumors of a refreshed iPad mini ("iPad mini 5") have been consistent over the past few months. Apple in January registered seven new iPad models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, and at least some of these are believed to be the iPad mini. The others may be a new version of the low-cost 9.7-inch iPad.

According to Kuo, the 9.7-inch iPad will be bumped up to 10.2 inches in 2019. No other details on the "two new iPad Pros" are given, but a release would likely be later in 2019 given their relatively recent updates.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad Pro, iPad
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Kuo: 2019 iPhones Can Wirelessly Charge Other Devices, Feature Frosted Glass and Larger Batteries, and More

In a thorough research note outlining Apple's plans for 2019, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo describes his outlook for the next iPhone lineup. According to Kuo, the 2019 iPhone lineup will mirror that of the current lineup, including 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch OLED models as well as a 6.1-inch LCD model.


As for changes to expect in 2019, Kuo says the iPhone XR successor may be upgraded to 4GB of RAM, while all models will include frosted glass casing, larger batteries, the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, and new technology for indoor positioning and navigation.
The new 5.8" OLED may support DSDS, and the new 6.1" LCD may be upgraded to 4GB. All of part of the new models’ main upgrades include Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) for indoor positioning and navigation, frosted glass casing, bilateral wireless charging for charging other devices, upgraded Face ID (with a higher power flood illumination), larger batteries, and triple camera feature (wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lens).
Kuo also says all three models will include Lightning connectors rather than USB-C and have the same notch area as current models, contradicting other rumors of smaller notches.



Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones
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Apple Said to Release 31.6-Inch 6K Display With Mini LED-Like Backlight Design in 2019

Apple will release a 31.6-inch 6K display with a Mini LED-like backlight design in 2019, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who detailed his expectations for Apple's 2019 roadmap in a research note obtained by MacRumors.



Apple left the display market back in 2016 with the discontinuation of the outdated Thunderbolt Display. Apple did, however, say they were working on a new screen alongside the new Mac Pro. Apple's Phil Schiller said in 2017:
With regards to the Mac Pro, we are in the process of what we call "completely rethinking the Mac Pro." We’re working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.
Kuo describes the new monitor as a "6k3k" display.

Related Roundups: Mac Pro, Apple Display 6K
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)
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16-Inch MacBook Pro With All-New Design Expected in 2019, 13-Inch Model May Gain 32GB RAM

Apple will release a new MacBook Pro with a 16-inch to 16.5-inch display and an all-new design in 2019, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Tonight, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note looking at Apple's releases in 2019. MacRumors has obtained a copy of the report and perhaps the most exciting prediction for Mac users is the revelation that Apple is working on a 16"-16.5" MacBook Pro. Unfortunately the report provides few details beyond that it is an "all-new" design, suggesting Apple is revamping their current MacBook Pro design.

A 16"-16.5" screen would be the largest screen Apple has provided on a MacBook Pro since the discontinuation of the 17" MacBook Pro in 2012. Close followers of Apple's MacBook Pro refresh cycle have been expecting Apple to continue with the current design until at least 2020. The MacBook Pro last saw a redesign only two and half years ago.

Kuo also says Apple may add a 32GB RAM option to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, without providing further details.

More Predictions from Kuo:

- AirPower and New AirPods Said to Ship in First Half of 2019, New iPod Touch With Faster Processor Also Expected
- Two New iPad Pro Models, 10.2-Inch iPad, and iPad Mini 5 Said to Launch in 2019
- 2019 iPhones Can Wirelessly Charge Other Devices, Feature Frosted Glass and Larger Batteries, and More
- Apple Said to Release 31.6-Inch 6K Display With Mini LED-Like Backlight Design in 2019

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)
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Apple Hires Ex-Microsoft Exec to Revamp Smart Home Business

CNBC reports that Apple has hired ex-Microsoft exec and former CEO of a smart lock company to revamp Apple's home initiatives.
Hiring Jadallah is the latest signal that Apple plans to get serious about its own efforts in the home. Recently, the company acquired a start-up called Pullstring, a start-up that specializes in voice-enabled toys. That purchase could help the smartphone maker become the center of a connected living room.
Apple has been making movement into the home space for years, with the introduction of HomeKit as well as the HomePod which is powered by Siri. HomePod, however, has lagged behind its competitors despite making steady improvements. Apple's latest hire as well as recent acquisition of a voice technology company seems to indicate that they are refocusing their efforts.


Sam Jadallah's Linkedin page

Jadallah was most recently CEO of failed smart lock company Otto. Otto was described as a "luxury smart lock":
With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios packed inside the surprisingly compact design, Otto promises to let you or anyone you choose inside with just a touch whenever it senses an authorized phone within range.
That company ultimately failed, but it appears that Jadallah will be applying that knowledge forward at Apple.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)
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