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Apple Officially Discontinues AirPort Wireless Router Lineup

Apple has officially ended development on its AirPort line of products, which includes the AirPort Express ($99), the AirPort Extreme ($199), and the AirPort Time Capsule ($299).

"We're discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products. They will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last," an Apple spokesperson told iMore.


Apple has not updated its AirPort products since 2012 (Express) and 2013 (Extreme and Time Capsule), and in late 2016, Bloomberg said that Apple had stopped development on the AirPort lineup with the AirPort engineers reassigned to other products.

Apple reportedly began shutting down its AirPort unit in early 2016, in an effort to "sharpen" its focus on the "consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue."

Following news that Apple had shuttered the AirPort unit, the company began selling third-party routers in January of 2018 when it offered the Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System.

Apple's AirPort base stations provided unique benefits that are not available through third-party options like built-in Time Machine backup support in the Time Capsule and AirPlay functionality for the AirPort Express.

While the AirPort line is being discontinued, Apple will be providing service and parts for current generation AirPort Base Stations for the next five years. iMore says Apple also plans to share some knowledge-base articles in the coming weeks to assist customers who are transitioning away from the AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule.

Apple plans to continue to sell the three AirPort products online and in its retail stores until available supplies are exhausted. No price drops have been implemented at this time.

Related Roundup: AirPort

Kuo Again Predicts No 3D Touch for 2018 6.1-Inch LCD iPhone

Apple's upcoming 6.1-inch LCD iPhone may not feature 3D Touch due to cost constraints, according to a new note shared yesterday by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and published by Chinese site Feng.

Kuo says that the 6.1-inch iPhone will use what he calls "Cover Glass Sensor" (CGS) technology, relocating the iPhone's touch module from the display panel (in-cell technology) to the surface glass. The CGS method reportedly results in a display that's lighter and more shock resistant.


With this display technology, Apple will add a thin-film sensor to the touch film sensor included in the CGS, but the purpose of the new layer is unknown. It will, however, result in a 15 percent increase in the cost of the touch panel, resulting in a higher purchase price of $23 to $26.

To offset the cost of the new display it plans to use, Kuo believes Apple will remove the 3D Touch functionality on the 6.1-inch iPhone, which would be a curious move as 3D Touch is well-integrated throughout the operating system that runs on the iPhone at this point.

The other two iPhone models Apple is expected to release in 2018, the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X successor and the 6.5-inch OLED device that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus," will continue to offer 3D Touch functionality.

Because Apple plans to incorporate the CGS display technology into future iPhones, including OLED models starting in 2019, 3D Touch could potentially be removed from all future iPhones.

It's not clear what the mystery thin-film sensor mentioned in Kuo's note will do, but it could be some kind of 3D Touch replacement system. Apple is said to be planning to release iPhones with touchless gesture controls in the next few years, and this could be the first step towards that goal. A gesture-based system is around two years away, however, so it the film could be some other new input method to replace 3D Touch.

Kuo believes the 6.1-inch iPhone will make up 65 to 75 percent of iPhone shipments during the year, given its lower price point and its feature parity with the two OLED devices Apple plans to introduce.

While the 6.1-inch iPhone will not feature OLED technology, it is said to have an edge-to-edge screen design and support for Face ID, like the OLED phones in the 2018 iPhone lineup.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

Sketchy Video Shows Possible iPhone SE 2 With Glass Back and Headphone Jack

A video shared on Chinese social media website Sina Weibo this week has possibly revealed a second-generation iPhone SE, but the device could easily be a knockoff, so treat this rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The short clip, which we've reuploaded to YouTube, shows what appears to be an unreleased iPhone SE with a glass back, a design change that would enable support for wireless charging. The rear shell on the current iPhone SE is largely aluminum, with small glass panels along the top and bottom.

Sina Weibo via Letem světem Applem

Otherwise, the device looks virtually the same as the current iPhone SE, retaining an iPhone 5s-like design with a four-inch display sandwiched between top and bottom bezels housing Touch ID, an earpiece, and a front camera.

The device also retains a 3.5mm headphone jack, despite a report last week claiming it will be removed. It would make sense for Apple to keep it if the new iPhone SE continues to have virtually the same design and thickness, as rumored, but removing it could perhaps lead to improved water resistance.

One other minor difference on the device in the video is the absence of all regulatory labels and text on the rear shell, beyond a single "iPhone" word mark, in line with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

iPhone knockoffs are common in China, and the source of the video is unclear, so we stress that the footage's authenticity is unconfirmed. One possibility is that the device is an accurate dummy model based on supply chain information, but it's also very possible that this device isn't the real deal.

Japanese blog Mac Otakara, citing accessory makers, recently claimed a new iPhone SE could be released in May. DigiTimes also expects a new iPhone SE in May or June, suggesting the device could be announced via press release next month, or be unveiled during WWDC 2018's opening keynote on June 4.

Last week, Apple filed several unreleased iPhone models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, as legally required, and this action has often foreshadowed product launches. Apple submitted a new tablet to the database in February, for example, and a new 9.7-inch iPad debuted in March.

If history repeats itself, the regulatory filings in April do lend credence to a new iPhone SE debuting next month. However, it's worth noting that Apple has only debuted new products in May twice in the past five years, including the fifth-generation iPod touch in 2013 and a refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2015.

iPhone SE rumors have been all over the map in recent months, but there is increasing consensus that the device will be powered by an A10 Fusion chip, up to 40 percent faster than the A9 chip in the current iPhone SE.

If there is a new iPhone SE whatsoever, a rumor that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is skeptical about, Apple is likely most focused on making under-the-hood improvements to the device, as it is now outdated by a few years. At $349, the device is unlikely to adopt an iPhone X-like design or Face ID.

Apple hasn't fully refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched in March 2016, but it did double its available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. It also dropped the device's starting price to $349 last September.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)

72% of Enterprise Employees Choose Macs Over PCs, 75% Pick iOS Devices Over Android

Among enterprise organizations that allow employees to choose their equipment of choice, Apple is becoming an increasingly popular choice, according to new survey information shared this morning by Apple IT management platform Jamf.

52 percent of enterprise organizations let employees choose their computers, while 49 percent let employees choose their mobile devices.


Of those organizations, 72 percent of employees included in Jamf's survey chose Mac, while 28 percent chose PC. As for mobile devices, 75 percent of respondents chose an iPhone or an iPad, while just 25 percent opted for an Android device.


According to employees, the ability to choose their operating systems and devices of choice makes them more productive. 68 percent said choice improves productivity, and 77 percent said they're more likely to stay with a company that offers device choice.
"When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent in the enterprise, the job landscape is more competitive than ever," said Dean Hager, CEO, Jamf. "And, with the highest global talent shortage in 10 years, it's no wonder that a major priority for enterprise organizations is to create the ultimate employee experience. When employers combine the freedom of technology choice with Apple, the results are stronger employee retention, productivity and job satisfaction."
Jamf's survey was conducted in March of 2018 and includes responses from 580 executives, managers, and IT professionals from organizations around the world.

Intel to Supply Apple With 70% of LTE Chips Needed for 2018 iPhones

Intel is planning to supply Apple with 70 percent of the modem chips that will be used in the 2018 iPhone lineup, according an unnamed source that spoke to Fast Company. Qualcomm will allegedly provide the rest.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously suggested Intel might be Apple's sole supplier for LTE modems in 2018 given Apple's ongoing and increasingly tense legal battle with Qualcomm, while The Wall Street Journal said Apple might use Mediatek and Intel chips to avoid working with Qualcomm, but Fast Company says that's not the case.


Intel will supply the lion's share of the chips, but because 2018 is the first year that Intel is fabricating its own chips using its 14-nanometer process, Fast Company's source says Apple plans to continue to use Qualcomm chips in 2018.
Given that technological transition, Apple is apparently waiting to see how well Intel fulfills this year's order. If Intel underdelivers, Qualcomm will make up the balance on top of the 30% it's already planning to provide. There's also a chance that if Intel can produce enough chips on time and on budget it could get more than the planned 70%, our source says.
Intel is reportedly not hitting its expected modem chip yield rates at the current time, with just over half of chips produced coming out in an acceptable quality. Intel engineers are, however, confident that yield rates can be pushed up before production ramps up in the summer months.

While Intel may not be Apple's sole supplier for modem chips in 2018, if its chip production speeds up and kinks are worked out, Apple will transition solely to Intel for its 2019 iPhone lineup, effectively cutting ties with Qualcomm.

Apple first adopted Intel chips in the iPhone 7, released in 2016, moving away from Qualcomm as its sole supplier. Since early 2017, Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle, which has led to Apple's efforts to cease using Qualcomm chips all together.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

iOS 11 Now Installed on 76% of iOS Devices, While Android 8 is Installed on 4.6% of Android Devices

The iOS 11 operating system is installed on 76 percent of devices as of April 22, according to statistics Apple shared today on its App Store support page for developers.

That's up 11 percentage points since January 18, when iOS 11 was installed on 65 percent of devices, and 24 percentage points since November 6, when iOS 11 was installed on 52 percent of devices.


19 percent of devices continue to use iOS 10, while 5 percent of devices use earlier versions of iOS, such as iOS 9. Many of these devices are likely older and unable to be updated to the newest version of iOS.

iOS 11 adoption rates have been growing steadily, but adoption has been markedly slower than iOS 10. In February of 2017, for example, iOS 10 was installed on nearly 80 percent of active devices.

iOS 11 has been plagued by high-profile bugs and issues like the HomeKit bug, the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and most notably, the iPhone slowdown controversy that saw Apple throttling the performance of older iPhones. Though not directly related to iOS 11, it's likely people shied away from updating after reading about the issue.

The 11 percent uptick in iOS 11 adoption from January to April can be attributed to the launch of iOS 11.2 in December and iOS 11.3 in March, both of which were major updates introducing key new features.

iOS 11.2 brought Apple Pay Cash and faster 7.5W wireless charging for Apple's newest devices, while iOS 11.3 included a new battery health tool, ARKit 1.5, a Health Records feature, and many other smaller changes.

iOS 11.4, which is in the works, is another update that could spur adoption, as it will introduce Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2 if the features currently in testing make it into the release.

Customers may be wary of iOS 11, leading to somewhat slower adoption rates, but Apple's iOS 11 install base is beyond impressive compared to Google's adoption numbers for its latest operating system update.


As of April 16, just 0.5 percent of Android devices are running the newest version of Android Oreo, and only 4.6 percent of devices total have Oreo installed. The majority of Android users continue to run Android Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat, operating systems that came out in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: Android

Apple CEO Tim Cook Attends State Dinner at White House and Will Meet With Trump on Wednesday

Apple CEO Tim Cook is attending the first state dinner of the Trump administration, which is honoring French president Emmanuel Macron, according to CNN. Cook is accompanied by Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson.

Guests at the dinner, which is taking place in the White House State Dining Room, will dine on a goat cheese gateau with tomato jam and buttermilk biscuit crumbles, a rack of spring lamb with Carolina Gold rice jambalaya and a burnt cipollini onion soubise, and a nectarine tart with crème fraîche ice cream.

Image via Paul Bedard

Other state dinner attendees, aside from President Donald Trump and Melania Trump along with President Macron and his wife, include Vice President Mike Pence, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, Olympic curler John Shuster, hockey player Meghan Duggan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Approximately 150 guests are attending.

Cook has met with Trump several times in the past, attending a December 2016 tech summit and a meeting of the American Technology Council put together by Trump. Most recently, Cook was in Washington D.C. to meet with Senators Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).

Update: Cook will have a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, according to a copy of his schedule obtained by Bloomberg and other media outlets.

Update 2: Trump has now confirmed the meeting and says the discussion will be focused on trade agreements between the United States and other countries.


Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Maker of 'GrayKey' iPhone Unlocking Box Suffers 'Brief' Data Breach, Receives Money Demands

Grayshift, the company that makes the GrayKey iPhone unlocking boxes that have been sold to multiple law enforcement agencies across the United States, recently suffered a data breach that allowed hackers to access a small portion of the GrayKey code, reports VICE's Motherboard.

GrayKey box, via MalwareBytes

Last week, unknown hackers leaked portions of the GrayKey code and demanded two bitcoin from Grayshift with the threat of additional data being leaked. According to Motherboard, the code in question "does not appear to be particularly sensitive," but Grayshift did confirm that a "brief" data leak had occurred.
Indeed, Grayshift told Motherboard in a statement "Due [to] a network misconfiguration at a customer site, a GrayKey unit's UI was exposed to the internet for a brief period of time earlier this month."

"During this time, someone accessed the HTML/Javascript that makes up our UI. No sensitive IP or data was exposed, as the GrayKey was being validation tested at the time. We have since implemented changes to help our customers prevent unauthorized access," the statement added.
Grayshift says that no sensitive IP or data was exposed, and Motherboard confirms that the leaked code appears to be related to the user interface that displays messages on the GrayKey, but it's clear that Grayshift security is not airtight, raising questions about what kind of data might be accessible to hackers.

The GrayKey is a small, portable gray box equipped with dual Lightning cables. An iPhone is plugged into one of the cables to install proprietary software that's able to guess the passcode to an iPhone in as little as a few hours to a few days, based on the strength of the passcode.

GrayKey, which is priced starting at $15,000, can crack the latest iPhones running modern versions of iOS, including iOS 11. While the box is designed to provide law enforcement officials with easy access to locked iPhones for criminal investigations, there have been fears that the GrayKey technology could fall into the wrong hands.

The box has been sold to multiple law enforcement agencies across the country, and the data breach that Grayshift suffered, however inconsequential, is not at all reassuring for those who are worried about the security of the GrayKey boxes. The underlying functionality that allows the GrayKey to crack iPhones could be discovered and replicated, and the GrayKey boxes themselves are said to download data from cracked iPhones, which could also be at risk in a data breach.

According to Motherboard, Grayshift has not paid the extortionists their two bitcoin fee, as the Bitcoin addresses provided have received no funds. An additional Bitcoin address promising to provide interested parties with GrayKey information has also not received funds.

Grayshift says that "changes" have been made to help customers prevent unauthorized access to GrayKey boxes in the future, but Motherboard discovered another exposed GrayKey device broadcasting similar code.
Using the computer search engine Shodan, Motherboard found a seemingly exposed GrayKey device, broadcasting similar chunks of code to the open internet.

"To brute force a complex alphanumeric passcode, upload a custom password dictionary. If a dictionary is not uploaded, GrayKey will not attempt to brute force custom alphanumeric passcodes," one section of the apparent device's code reads.
The technology used for the GrayKey will likely be outdated at some point through updates to the iOS operating system, but as far as we know now, it's still functional for even the latest versions of iOS and the newest iOS devices, including the iPhone X.

Those worried about GrayKey and similar technologies can implement stronger and more secure passcodes and passwords that are more difficult to guess through brute forcing to prevent these kinds of tools from working. A 6-digit numeric passcode, Apple's default, can be guessed in as little as 11 hours, but an 8-digit numeric code can take over a month, while a 10-digit numeric code can take years.

Security experts recommend alphanumeric passcodes that are at least seven characters long with numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols included. The longer the password, the more secure it is from GrayKey-style guessing methods. For more information on Grayshift's data breach, check out Motherboard's full report.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple Watch Boosts Verizon Activations Amid Phone and Tablet Subscriber Loss

Verizon, the largest carrier in the United States by subscriber count, saw a monthly subscriber increase of 260,000 during the first quarter of 2018, reports Bloomberg, largely due to an increased number of smart watch activations.

The company actually lost phone and tablet subscribers last quarter, but the dip in subscribers did not hurt its bottom line because of smart watches, wearables, and other connected devices like vehicles.

Image via Bloomberg

Verizon says it added a total of 359,000 subscribers who are using smart watches and other devices during the quarter, making up for the loss of 24,000 phone customers and 75,000 tablet customers.

There was no breakdown in the number of activations by specific device, but Verizon's jump in smart watch subscribers comes following the September release of the Apple Watch Series 3, the first Apple Watch with LTE connectivity.

The Apple Watch Series 3 allows customers to use the Apple Watch sans iPhone for the first time, as it has its own cellular connection. Verizon and other carriers charge customers $10 per month to add a smart watch to an existing smartphone plan.

Verizon shared the numbers during its first quarter 2018 earnings results, released this morning. Verizon stock has since surged as much as 3.6 percent.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Tag: Verizon
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Apple Releases iOS 11.3.1 Update With Fix for Third-Party Display Repair Issue

Apple today released iOS 11.3.1, the thirteenth official update to the iOS 11 operating system. iOS 11.3.1 comes nearly one month after the launch of iOS 11.3, an update that introduced a Battery Health feature for keeping tabs on your iPhone's battery status, Business Chat for Messages, new Animoji for iPhone X, and more.

The iOS 11.3.1 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software Update.


iOS 11.3.1 introduces performance improvements and bug fixes for issues that have been discovered since the launch of iOS 11.3. The update includes a fix for a bug that caused third-party repairs done on iPhone 8 models using aftermarket parts to disable the touch functionality of the screen. From Apple's release notes:
iOS 11.3.1 improves the security of your iPhone or iPad and addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 8 devices because they were serviced with non-genuine replacement displays.

Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus repair issue was discovered following the release of iOS 11.3. After updating, some iPhone users that had sought display repairs from non-Apple service providers saw the touch screen functionality of their devices disabled, resulting in serious headaches for repair shops.

At issue was a small microchip in the display, which disabled touch functionality after the update. At the time, it was not clear if the non-functional displays were a bug or a deliberate move by Apple, but it appears it was a bug. While Apple is fixing the display problem via the iOS 11.3.1 update, the company's release notes encourage customers to seek out authorized providers and genuine parts.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

Apple Releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Security Update

Apple today released a new security update for macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, which comes nearly one month after the first version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 was released to the public.


The new macOS High Sierra security update can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store or through the Software Update function in the Mac App Store on all compatible Macs that are already running macOS High Sierra.

According to Apple's release notes, Security Update 2018-001 is recommended for all users and is meant to improve the security of macOS. The update addresses two security vulnerabilities related to Crash Reporter and LinkPresentation, both of which could be used maliciously to gain access to a Mac. A Safari 11.1 update is also included, with fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities.

Additional information on what's included in the security update can be found in the accompanying support document.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

Apple Will Start Paying Back Taxes to Irish Government Next Month Amid Legal Battle With European Regulators

Apple will start paying 13 billion euros in back taxes to the Irish government from May, according to the Financial Times, nearly two years after the European Commission ruled that the company received illegal aid from the country that saw its tax bill significantly reduced over the past few decades.


As expected, the report states that Apple and the Irish government have reached an agreement to set up an escrow account to hold the money while both sides appeal the August 2016 ruling in Europe's highest court. Once the amount has been received in full, additional interest payments will be calculated.

Ireland's finance minister Paschal Donohoe today said the appeal process is likely to begin in the fall, according to Reuters.

Ireland is required to hold the funds in escrow until the legal process is completed, according to the report. Apple previously said the amount will be reported as restricted cash on its balance sheet once it begins making payments.

For background, the European Commission said the Irish government gave Apple unfair advantage between 1991 and 2007 by allowing the company to move income from the European market through two "non-resident" head office subsidiaries based in Ireland, but Apple says there are "fundamental errors" in the findings.

Apple CEO Tim Cook previously called the decision "total political crap" and said Apple pays all of the taxes it owes based on the laws of each country in which it operates. Likewise, the Irish government said it did not give favorable tax treatment to Apple and added that it "does not do deals with taxpayers."

Apple expects its appeal with the European Union's highest courts to take several years, but it is confident the European Commission's decision will be overturned, in which case the 13 billion euros would be returned to the company.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.