Apple Concerned Ex-Employees Accused of Theft of Trade Secrets Will Flee to China

Apple today asked a federal court to continue monitoring two Chinese-born former employees accused of stealing trade secrets, citing "deep concerns" that the two could attempt to flee the country before their trials.

According to Reuters, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should have their locations monitored because they are flight risks.


Zhang was charged with theft of trade secrets back in July 2018 after he attempted to steal data on the car project that Apple has in the works. Prior to when he was caught, Zhang worked on Apple's compute team, designing and testing circuit boards to analyze sensor data in autonomous vehicles.

Zhang had "broad access to secure and confidential internal databases," and after announcing his plans to leave Apple for China-based XMotors, an investigation was launched due to suspicious behavior. Just ahead of leaving, Zhang accessed sensitive content that included prototypes, power requirements, low voltage requirements, battery systems, and more. Zhang was ultimately arrested at the airport in July 2018 attempting to leave for China.

In a separate incident, Apple caught Jizhong Chen, another Apple employee, taking photographs "in a sensitive workspace." After launching an investigation, Apple security officials found that Chen's personal computer contained "thousands" of Apple Car-related files, including manuals, schematics, photographs, and diagrams.

Chen had recently applied for a position with a China-based autonomous vehicle company and was arrested for theft of trade secrets one day before he was set to fly to China. Recently, it was also discovered that Chen had classified files from the Patriot missile program that belonged to Raytheon, his ex-employer.

Both men have been monitored electronically after being released on bail ahead of their trials, and they are now seeking to have that monitoring end. The lawyer for the men has said that they have not shown signs of violating pre-trial conditions thus far and did not actually share Apple's intellectual property with a third party.

The lawyer has also argued that each man was going to China to visit relatives, not to escape prosecution, and that both have strong ties to the United States. Chen and Zhang are both facing multi-year prison terms and hefty fines if convicted.

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Apple Privacy Director Jane Horvath to Speak at CES in Consumer Privacy Roundtable

Apple will have a presence at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's set to take place in January, but the company won't be showing off new products.

Apple will instead be discussing consumer privacy, as Bloomberg points out. Jane Horvath, Apple's senior director of privacy, will be attending a "Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable" alongside privacy executives from Facebook, Procter & Gamble, and the FTC.


The roundtable will focus on "what consumers want" when it comes to privacy. It will be held on Tuesday, January 7 at 1:00 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall, room N257. Attendance is included with CES registration.
Privacy is now a strategic imperative for all consumer businesses. "The future is private" (Facebook); "Privacy is a human right" (Apple); and "a more private web" (Google). How do companies build privacy at scale? Will regulation be a fragmented patchwork? Most importantly, what do consumers want?
Apple stopped attending CES in the 90s, and Apple's last official appearance took place in 1992 at the Chicago show, where then CEO John Sculley introduced the Apple Newton.


While Apple doesn't officially attend CES, it does send its employees to the show for meetings and to check out emerging technology. Last year, Apple also touted its privacy policies through a huge privacy-focused billboard right near the Las Vegas Convention Center that read "What Happens on your iPhone, stays on your ‌iPhone‌."

Tag: CES
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IDC: Apple's Wearables Shipments Surged Last Quarter on Popularity of Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats

Apple's wearables shipments nearly tripled in the third quarter of 2019 due to the growing popularity of the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, according to research firm IDC.


IDC estimates that Apple shipped 29.5 million wearables last quarter, up from 10 million in the third quarter of 2018. Apple remained the world's largest wearables vendor, and the launch of the AirPods Pro and discounts on Apple Watch Series 3 models should keep the company in the lead, the research firm said.

Apple does not disclose wearables sales on a product or unit basis, so emphasis should be placed on IDC's figures being estimates, but all signs do point towards the Apple Watch and AirPods selling very well.


Apple's "Wearables, Home and Accessories" revenue was a record-setting $6.5 billion in the third quarter of 2019, up 54 percent from $4.2 billion in the year-ago quarter. In addition to the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats, the category includes the HomePod, Apple TV, iPod touch, and both Apple-branded and third-party accessories.

AirPods Pro are currently estimated for delivery in January for orders placed on Apple.com, demonstrating how popular the new earphones are, although they remain available at select resellers.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, AirPods 2
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Apple TV+ Series 'The Morning Show' Receives Multiple Golden Globe Award Nominations [Updated]

Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show" has received a Golden Globe Award nomination for best drama series, while stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are nominated for best actress in a drama series, according to Variety.


"The Morning Show" is up against HBO's "Big Little Lies" and "Succession," BBC America's "Killing Eve," and Netflix's "The Crown."

The 77th Golden Globe Awards will honor the best in film and television of 2019, as determined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The ceremony will air live on NBC on January 5, 2020.

Update: Apple has highlighted its Golden Globe nominations in a press release.

"Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for today's historic nominations," said Zack Van Amburg, Apple's head of Worldwide Video. "After the debut of Apple TV+ just last month, today's nominations are a true testament to the powerful storytelling that went into 'The Morning Show,' as well as all of our Apple Originals."

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Tim Cook Visits Japan to Meet With Developers and Employees

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been touring Tokyo, Japan over the last few days, meeting with local employees, developers, healthcare experts, and others. Cook has been documenting the trip on his Twitter account.


Cook has traveled to several countries for meets and greets during his eight-year tenure as Apple CEO, including France and Germany in September. He has also visited Canada, China, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.








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2020 iPhones Could Have Larger Batteries Due to Tweaked Circuitry

2020 iPhones may have a custom battery protection module that is nearly 50 percent smaller and thinner than the battery protection circuit in previous iPhones, according to industry sources cited by Korean website The Elec.

The smaller module could free up some internal space in iPhone 12 models, potentially paving the way for a slight increase in battery capacity.


The report claims the smaller module would be supplied by Korea's ITM Semiconductor.

A battery protection circuit helps to prevent over-charging and over-discharging. The new module from ITM Semiconductor combines the protection circuit with a MOSFET and PCB, eliminating the need for a holder case.

Source: ITM Semiconductor

In a separate report, The Elec claimed that ITM Semiconductor has already supplied the new modules to Samsung for the Galaxy S11.

Apple is expected to release four high-end iPhones in 2020, including one 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model. All four devices are expected to have OLED displays, 5G support, a new iPhone 4-like metal frame, up to 6GB of RAM, up to triple-lens rear cameras with 3D sensing, and more.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has the largest battery life of any iPhone ever, lasting up to five hours longer than the iPhone XS Max per charge.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
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Apple to Release Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR on December 10

Apple plans to release the new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR on Tuesday, December 10, according to "Save the Date" emails that Apple began sending out to some customers this afternoon.


Apple in November confirmed that the ‌Mac Pro‌ and Pro Display XDR would come in December, but until now, the company had not provided a specific date. Apple's emails say orders will begin on December 10, so presumably shipments will begin soon after orders open up.

The new modular ‌Mac Pro‌ was first introduced in June at the WorldWide developers Conference, with the machine aimed at Apple's pro user base.

The ‌Mac Pro‌ was designed with a heavy focus on upgradeability and expansion, and it features a traditional PC shape with an Apple-esque stainless steel frame with a lattice pattern that maximizes airflow.

Internal specs include workstation-class Xeon processors with up to 28 cores, up to 1.5TB of high-performance memory, up to two Radeon Pro II Duo GPUs, and eight PCIe expansion slots, along with an Apple Afterburner accelerator card.

Pricing on the ‌Mac Pro‌ will start at $6,000, and will go up based on configuration. The base ‌Mac Pro‌ features an 8-core Xeon W chip.

Apple plans to sell the ‌Mac Pro‌ alongside the Pro Display XDR, a 6K display with a resolution of 6016 x 3384 and more than 20 million pixels. Pricing on the Pro Display XDR starts at $5,000, with an add-on stand priced at $999.

(Thanks, Ryan!)

Related Roundups: Mac Pro, Apple Pro Display XDR
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy)
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Apple Investigating 16-Inch MacBook Pro Popping Sound Issue, Fix Planned in Future Software Updates

Apple is investigating a popping sound issue with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro and plans to make a fix available in future software updates, the company has indicated in an internal document obtained by MacRumors.


The memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers reads as follows:
If a customer hears a popping sound when playback is stopped on their MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

When using Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, QuickTime Player, Music, Movies, or other applications to play audio, users may hear a pop come from the speakers after playback has ended. Apple is investigating the issue. A fix is planned in future software updates. Do not set up service, or replace the user's computer, as this is a software-related issue.
Shortly following the launch of the 16-inch MacBook Pro last month, some customers began to voice concerns about the popping sound issue across the MacRumors forums, Apple Support Communities, Reddit, and elsewhere. The exact cause is unclear, but Apple confirms it is a software issue, not a hardware issue.


Apple seeded the fourth beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.2 to developers for testing today. It is unclear when the fix will be implemented.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, macOS Catalina
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
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Apple's Most Devoted Fans Once Again Take Center Stage in a New Edition of 'The Cult of Mac'

Back in 2004, then-Wired editor Leander Kahney published The Cult of Mac, a photo-filled book containing an array of anecdotes about fans, collectors, and others with special connections to Apple and the Mac. While Kahney took the opportunity to add a chapter on the iPod when the book was published as a paperback edition a couple of years later, the book remains an interesting look at a time when Apple had only recently surfaced from its near-death experience of the 1990s.

As outlined by Kahney in The Cult of Mac, Apple may even have been saved by those devotees to the Mac, some of whom became an army of essentially unpaid evangelists seeking to convert over to Mac anyone and everyone who would listen. Some even went as far as to stake out CompUSA stores to educate or counteract clueless salespeople who only wanted to sell Windows machines and were uninterested in directing customers to the Mac section of the stores, while others shared their love for the Mac with the world through tattoos, stickers, vanity license plates, and more.

"The Cult of Mac" first edition (left) and new second edition (right)

Much has changed for Apple in the fifteen years since the original release of The Cult of Mac, with the iPhone launching Apple to its current position as a consumer electronics and lifestyle behemoth. No longer the underdog, Apple has attracted millions upon millions of loyal customers into its ever-expanding ecosystem of devices and services.

So now with 2020 right around the corner, Kahney has teamed up with David Pierini, a writer for Kahney's independent Cult of Mac site, to release a second edition of The Cult of Mac, another photo-heavy book that would fit right in on any Apple fan's coffee table. Rather than a revision or update of the original, the second edition of The Cult of Mac is more of a companion book, revisiting some of the same themes but introducing some new ones and sharing new anecdotes about some of Apple's biggest fans.

The coffee table nature of the second edition of The Cult of Mac is evident before you even open the cover, as the book itself is cleverly designed to resemble one of Apple's iconic MacBooks, wrapped in a silver plastic jacket with an Apple-shaped title logo on the "lid" of the book. There are even four black "feet" on the rear of the book to match those used on Apple's notebooks.


Opening the front cover of the book continues the theme, as it reveals a MacBook Pro keyboard and top case with the inside cover serving as a mock display, complete with an overlaid "macOS" app window on the transparent plastic jacket sharing an introductory description of the book. The next several pages of the book including the Table of Contents gradually shift orientation, encouraging the reader to reorient the book from the landscape mock computer into a traditional portrait orientation. It's all cleverly done and a fun way to dive into the book.


The book itself is an easy read, broken up into short chapters and sections with lots of photos and artistic design elements. The book is about 200 pages and I read it cover to cover in just a couple of hours thanks to the emphasis on visuals over text, but the layout makes it easy to just pick up the book and read a few pages here and there.


Following a brief introduction, the second edition of The Cult of Mac tackles "The Line Sitters," those who camped out for days ahead of a major product launch, sometimes in an effort to be first to get their hands on Apple's latest devices and other times just for publicity. Subsequent chapters look at the way Apple fans have paid tribute to Steve Jobs, collectors and museums dedicated to Apple's products, those in music and photography who have found inspiration from and utility in Apple's devices, and those who repurpose old Macs for products such as jewelry, aquariums, and more.

The book wraps up with a look at those dedicated Apple fans whose obsessions date back even further than the Mac to the Apple II family, as well as a quick trip around the world to look at fandom in several different countries, including an iPad magician in Germany, the Russian and Ukrainian luxury ‌iPhone‌ markets, and users in the Middle East who use special cases to carry multiple iPhones for work and personal use.


Overall, the second edition of The Cult of Mac is an enjoyable read which, like the original, treads some different ground compared to the many Apple-related biographies and histories that regularly hit the bookshelves, including Kahney's own biographies of Jony Ive and Tim Cook. It's also a contrasting type of coffee table book compared to product-focused ones like Apple's own "Designed in California."

The Cult of Mac, Second Edition debuts December 17, and it's available for pre-order now at Amazon in hardcover for $39.95, or if you don't have a need for the physical book you can pre-order the Kindle edition or Apple Books edition for $23.99.

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Law Firm Sues Apple and Samsung, Claiming Phones Exceed Radiofrequency Radiation Safety Levels

Chicago-based law firm Fegan Scott has levied a lawsuit against both Apple and Samsung, claiming that independent testing suggests the radiofrequency radiation levels in recent smartphones "far exceeded the federal limits" when used "as marketed by the manufacturers."

The basis for this lawsuit dates back to August, when The Chicago Tribune launched an investigation into the radiofrequency radiation levels output by popular smartphones.

RF Radiation Testing Results from a Chicago Times Investigation in August

The paper hired an accredited lab to test several smartphones according to federal guidelines, and found that some of Apple's iPhones are allegedly emitting radiofrequency radiation that exceeds safety limits.

Apple disputed the results and in a statement, said that the testing was inaccurate "due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the ‌iPhone‌ models."
"All ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models, including ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where ‌‌iPhone‌‌ is sold," the statement said. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable ... exposure guidelines and limits."
At the time, the FCC said that it would launch its own investigation into the results, and a day after The Chicago Tribune published its findings, the Fegan Scott law firm pledged to launch its own investigation into the claims.

Fegan Scott enlisted an FCC-accredited laboratory to do its own testing of six smartphone models at distances ranging from zero to 10 millimeters to measure the radiofrequency radiation emitted when touching or in close proximity to the body.

The lab that did the testing claims that at two millimeters, the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 were "more than twice the federal exposure limit" and at zero millimeters, the ‌iPhone 8‌ was "five times more than the federal exposure limit."

After receiving the results, Fegan Scott has decided to launch an official lawsuit against both Apple and Samsung covering the ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus, the ‌iPhone 8‌, the iPhone XR, the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S9, and the Galaxy S10. From attorney Beth Fegan:
"Apple and Samsung smartphones have changed the way we live. Adults, teenagers and children wake up to check their email or play games and do work or school exercises on their smartphones. They carry these devices in their pockets throughout the day and literally fall asleep with them in their beds."

"The manufacturers told consumers this was safe, so we knew it was important to test the RF radiation exposure and see if this was true. It is not true. The independent results confirm that RF radiation levels are well over the federal exposure limit, sometimes exceeding it by 500 percent, when phones are used in the way Apple and Samsung encourage us to. Consumers deserve to know the truth."
According to Fegan Scott, the testing conducted by the lab reflects "actual use conditions" rather than the "conditions set by manufacturers," which means the testing was likely not done in the same way that Apple does its own internal testing. Apple, for example, tests at 5mm, not 0mm and 2mm.

The Chicago Tribune's original testing was done in a manner to simulate the worst possible scenario, with the phone operating in low signal and full power to create the maximum radiofrequency radiation level. It's not clear how the law firm's testing was carried out.

There is no evidence that radiofrequency radiation levels above the federal limits have the potential to cause harm, so consumers should not be alarmed at this time. The FCC is doing its own independent testing and those results should provide more insight into the safety of smartphones.

Apple tells its customers worried about radiofrequency radiation exposure to use a hands-free option, and some past ‌iPhone‌ models have included recommended carrying distances. With the ‌iPhone‌ 4 and 4s, for example, Apple said the smartphones should be held at least 10mm away from the body, and there was a similar suggestion made for the ‌iPhone‌ 7.

The lawsuit is seeking damages from Apple as well as funds to pay for medical monitoring.

Tag: lawsuit
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Apple Holding Apple Park Open House for Cupertino Residents, Collecting Toys for Kids

Apple on December 14 is holding an open house event at Apple Park for Cupertino residents who live near the campus, and has been sending out invites via email to those who are eligible to attend.

The open house takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and requires attendees to RSVP by December 11. Apple says that it is supporting Toys for Tots, and asks those interested in participating to bring along a toy.

Image via Eddie Kuo

Potential attendees need to fill out a registration form and attendance is confirmed on a first come, first serve basis until capacity is reached.

Each household that receives an invitation can register up to four people in total, and households will be assigned a specific arrival time. Apple says that light snacks and beverages will be served, and the company recommends comfortable outdoor shoes.

Attendees will be able to take photos of exterior spaces at ‌Apple Park‌, but not interior spaces or inside buildings.

Apple has previously invited nearby Cupertino residents to visit its ‌Apple Park‌ campus when the ‌Apple Park‌ Visitor Center opened up in November 2017.

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iPhone SE 2 Might Actually Be Called the iPhone 9

The widely rumored "iPhone SE 2" might actually be named the iPhone 9, according to an "informed source" cited by Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The report reiterates that the device will have a similar form factor as the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display with bezels and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 Bionic chip. 3GB of RAM is also expected. Like the original iPhone SE, the device is not expected to support 3D Touch.


iPhone 9 would certainly be a more fitting name for the device given it sounds like more of an iPhone 8 successor than an iPhone SE successor. With a 4.7-inch display, the new device would be larger than the original iPhone SE with a 4-inch display, disappointing those who prefer a smaller phone.

The lower-cost iPhone, whatever it ends up being named, will likely start around $399 with 64GB of storage, and come in Space Gray, Silver, and Red, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Multiple reports have indicated the device will be released by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

The original iPhone SE was introduced at an Apple event in March 2016, so a March 2020 release is certainly possible for this next device.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2
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