March Game Developers Conference Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns

The annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) that was set to take place from March 16 to March 20 in San Francisco, has been postponed until "later in the summer," event organizers announced today.

After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we've made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March.

Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time .

We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.
GDC is the latest event to be canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the announcement comes after many major companies had dropped out of the event. Sony, EA, Microsoft, Blizzard, Unity, and Epic had all said they would not attend.

GDC is one of the biggest gaming conferences in the world, last year attracting approximately 27,000 attendees. The event takes place every spring at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.

All paid registrants who signed up to attend GDC will receive a full refund within four to six weeks. Presentations from conference speakers and awards recipients that would have been given at GDC will be made available for free online. Some of the GDC 2020 talks, the Independent Games Festival, and the Game Developers Choice Awards will be streamed on Twitch on March 16 to March 20.

The postponement of GDC comes just a day after Facebook announced that its F8 developer conference has been canceled. F8, which was set to take place on May 5 and 6, was going to be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, which is the same venue Apple uses for WWDC.

WWDC typically takes place in June, with this year's dates likely to be right around June 8 to June 12. Given that Facebook has canceled its May event, it's possible that Apple is considering a similar move. Other major upcoming events in California that are still happening as of this time include E3 in June and Google's I/O conference, set to take place in May.

Earlier this year, Mobile World Congress, a major trade show that takes place in Spain, was canceled, and multiple other events have been shuttered due to coronavirus concerns. The Geneva International Auto Show was canceled today, as were Baselworld and the Geneva watch show, both of which focus on watches.

Several Disney parks, including Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland Tokyo Disneyland, and Tokyo DisneySea are also closed.

GDC's postponement announcement was released just after health officials in California confirmed a second case of community spread COVID-19 in the United States caught by a 65-year-old woman who had not traveled and who had not come in close contact with anyone who had the virus.

The second instance of community spread COVID-19 was found in Santa Clara County, which is where Apple's campuses in Cupertino, California are located. The first case of unknown origin, announced earlier this week, was found in Solano County in Northern California.

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U.S. Carriers Facing $200M in Fines for Selling Customer Location Data

As expected, the United States Federal Communications Commission today proposed fines against the four major wireless carriers in the United States for improperly sharing and selling real-time customer location information without taking "reasonable measures" to protect against unauthorized access to the data.


In a statement [PDF] released today, the FCC says that T-Mobile should pay the most, while Sprint should pay the least. T-Mobile faces a proposed fine of more than $91 million, while the FCC wants AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to pay over $51 million, $48 million, and $12 million in fines, respectively.

The fines vary based on the length of time that each carrier sold access to its customer location information without safeguards and the number of entities to which each carrier sold access.

Along with the proposed fines, the statement from the FCC admonishes the four carriers for disclosing customer location data without authorization to third-party entities.
"American consumers take their wireless phones with them wherever they go. And information about a wireless customer's location is highly personal and sensitive. The FCC has long had clear rules on the books requiring all phone companies to protect their customers' personal information. And since 2007, these companies have been on notice that they must take reasonable precautions to safeguard this data and that the FCC will take strong enforcement action if they don't. Today, we do just that," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "This FCC will not tolerate phone companies putting Americans' privacy at risk."
All four of the major U.S. carriers sold customer geolocation information to data aggregators like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies then reselling the data to third-party location-based service providers. The data was ultimately provided to law enforcement officials, bounty hunters, bail bondsman, and more.

The FCC says that though exact practices varied, each carrier relied heavily on contract-based assurances that the location-based services providers they worked with would get consent from the customer before accessing the customer's location information, which did not happen.

Carriers had "several commonsense options to impose reasonable safeguards," but ultimately "failed to take the reasonable steps needed to protect customers from unreasonable risk of unauthorized disclosure."

The fines proposed by the FCC today are not final and each carrier will be provided with an opportunity to respond and provide evidence and legal arguments before final fines are imposed.

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Disney World Returns Fully Working iPhone 11 to Family Weeks After Device Sank to Bottom of Seven Seas Lagoon

A family from Montana has both Apple and Disney to thank for ensuring their recent vacation ended magically after all.

In early October, parents Lisa and Jacob Troyer took their daughter Sophie on a weeklong trip to Disney World to "fulfill a little girl's dream." While there, they took in the Florida sun, went on rides, met Halloween-themed Disney characters, and had all of the fun that one could possibly imagine.

From left to right: Jacob, Sophie, and Lisa Troyer

One not so fun moment came on the final evening of the trip. After attending Mickey Mouse's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom and waiting for a ferryboat to depart the park, Lisa's brand new iPhone 11 fell out of her bag and landed right into the Seven Seas Lagoon, a small body of water in front of Magic Kingdom where Disney operates water-based transportation.

With the iPhone sinking to the bottom of the lake and it being late at night, Lisa believed the chances of getting the device back would be slim.

"I was upset to have lost my phone, and the pictures I had taken that evening of Disney's Halloween party, which had been the main event for our trip," said Lisa. "Our six-year-old daughter was particularly devastated, as pictures of her and Jack Skellington would never materialize; instead, they sat at the bottom of a lagoon."

Seven Seas Lagoon

The next day, Lisa provided her contact information to a Disney World employee, who informed her that the resort had a team of scuba divers that retrieved lost goods every so often. Lisa's hopes remained low, and upon returning to Montana, she purchased a new phone and her family moved on with life as usual.

Almost two months later, Lisa received some missed calls from the Orlando area. Figuring it was a telemarketer, she ignored them. Then came a call from her father-in-law, who let her know that Disney had found her iPhone.

Lisa says the Disney employee mailed the phone to her and, despite being submerged for quite some time, she found the device to be completely functional. "I was able to retrieve all of the pictures from our Disney Halloween night, and besides some sand in my case and a little algae on the cover, the phone seems no worse for the wear," she said, noting that the device was only protected by a thin silicone case.

Lisa's recovered iPhone 11

Impressed with the iPhone 11's water resistance, Lisa wrote about her experience in an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who thanked her for sharing the story. Her husband Jacob then relayed the story to MacRumors.

Lisa says her husband has always been "a very devoted Apple product user," revealing that one of the very first gifts he bought for her was the original iPad. She had purchased an iPhone 11 just a few days before traveling to Disney World, and thanks to its water resistance, her family now has photos that will last a lifetime.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11
Tag: Disney
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 11 (Neutral)
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Apple Disables Clearview AI's Developer Account After Violating Enterprise Certificate Rules

Apple has disabled the developer account of New York City-based facial recognition startup Clearview AI and provided the company with 14 days to respond for violating the rules of its enterprise program, according to BuzzFeed News.

As part of the program, Apple issues enterprise certificates to large organizations to deploy select apps to their employees for internal use only, but the report claims that Clearview AI was distributing its facial recognition app to more than 2,200 public and private entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Macy's, Walmart, and the NBA. This scheme allowed customers to download the app outside of the App Store by installing the certificate on their device.


Clearview AI's website says that it "searches the open web" for "publicly available images," helping law enforcement agencies to "identify perpetrators and victims of crimes" and to "exonerate the innocent."

Earlier this week, Clearview AI revealed that an intruder "gained unauthorized access" to its list of clients, according to The Daily Beast. The New York Times profiled the controversial company last month, claiming it has "a database of more than three billion images" scraped from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Apple took similar action against Facebook and Google last year after each company was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute consumer-facing apps, but the certificates were later restored, presumably after Facebook and Google agreed to use them strictly for internal-use apps only as required.

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Hands-On With Cases Designed for 2020 iPad Pro Models

Apple is working on updated 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models that are set to be released in the first half of 2020, perhaps as soon as March if rumors of a March 31 event are accurate.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Prior to the release of new devices, case makers often scramble to be the first to have cases ready, and there are already ‌iPad Pro‌ cases designed for new models available from Amazon. We picked up a couple of the cases and thought we'd check them out to see what they reveal about the upcoming ‌iPad Pro‌ refresh.


The cases are from Amazon seller Dux Ducis, with options available for both the 11-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, both of which are expected to be refreshed this year.

Size wise, these cases fit the current 11 and 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models, because we're not expecting any changes to the general design of the ‌iPad Pro‌. Dimensions and thickness are expected to remain the same with the new models.

There is, however, a square-shaped camera cutout that is meant to accommodate the triple-lens camera that's rumored for the updated ‌iPad Pro‌ models. Triple-lens cameras were first introduced in the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, and are also rumored for Apple's refreshed ‌iPad Pro‌ lineup.


Most people aren't using their iPads for serious photography so we have seen questions about why a tablet would need a triple-lens camera system, but rumors suggest this is a 3D time-of-flight camera system that uses a laser to capture depth information about the world around you.

A time-of-flight camera system measures the time it takes for a laser to get from the camera to the subject in each point of an image, creating a 3D map of the surrounding area. This has interesting implications for augmented reality capabilities, and in a past note, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested the ‌iPad Pro‌ would be able to capture 3D models that could then be edited with the Apple Pencil for an "all-new productivity experience."


This technology is also expected to be introduced in the 2020 iPhones, and it's interesting that rumors indicate new camera functionality is coming to the iPad ahead of when it comes to the iPhone.

Aside from the square-shaped camera cutout, the ‌iPad Pro‌ cases are pretty much identical to cases you can get for current ‌iPad Pro‌ models. A dummy model of the new ‌iPad Pro‌ that we got last year does fit into the new case perfectly.


Along with these cases from Amazon, major manufacturers like Pad & Quill have also started offering cases for the 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, which is a hint that a device launch is likely coming quite soon.

Other than the new camera system, updated ‌iPad Pro‌ models are also expected to feature upgraded processors, and later this year, additional high-end models could come out with features like a mini-LED display and 5G connectivity.

Current rumors suggest that Apple is planning to hold an event on March 31, but it is unclear if coronavirus concerns might impact Apple's plans as there are rumors of production delays and potential issues with large gatherings as many companies have been canceling events in recent weeks.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Long-Term Coronavirus Impact in New Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Birmingham, Alabama yesterday, and while there, he did an interview with Fox Business. Portions of the interview where Cook discussed the coronavirus were shared yesterday, but now the entire 10 minute interview has been released.


Expanding on his comments about the coronavirus, Cook says that things are progressing as expected in terms of "bringing things back," but it will take some time. "By and large, I think this is a temporary condition, not a long-term kind of thing. Apple is fundamentally strong, and that's how I see it," Cook said.

Cook said that he's not sure whether the coronavirus will continue to have an impact on Apple's sales beyond the March quarter. "We're still in February and there's reason for optimism, but we'll see," he said. Focus has shifted from China to South Korea and Italy, and Cook said he believes it's important to see "what happens there and whether something new comes out of that."

On the topic of stock fluctuations due to the coronavirus, Cook had this to say:
I don't really focus on the short term in relation to the market. I think for me, and the way we run the company, we work towards the long-term and I see no long-term difference between what was happening four weeks ago versus what's happening today.

The market takes time to recognize that and so forth. It's going to do what it's going to do, and I'm the last person to be able to predict it. For me, yeah, I look through that. Look through the noise and concentrate on the future. And the future looks very bright.

Cook was asked whether Apple is working to move more of its supply chain outside of China, and Cook said, as he often does, that Apple devices have components from around the world. In China specifically, Cook said Apple focuses on the resilience of the supply chain, not the disaster itself.
The question for us after we get on the other side will be 'Was the resilience there or not, and do we need to make some changes?' My perspective sitting here today is that if there are changes, you're talking about adjusting some knobs, not some kind of wholesale fundamental change.
Cook also talked about how he manages his relationship with Donald Trump and whether his efforts to engage with the Trump campaign have caused employee backlash.
I try to do what I say and say what I do. My perspective is engagement is always best because just standing on the sideline and yelling doesn't accomplish anything but polarization.

I want to suit up and play a role, and if I disagree on something I want to try and influence it. If I agree on something, I want to try to amplify and figure out some way I can be a great citizen of the country. That is my perspective on things and the way we try to lead the company.
Cook touched on a few other topics of discussion, such as Apple's plans to open retail stores in India and Apple's focus on policy. The full interview can be watched over on Fox Business.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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.

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Apple's Stock Price Experiencing Major Fluctuations Amid COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

Apple's stock has been on a rollercoaster ride today since opening at $257.26, with shares rising as high as $278.41 within a span of a few hours before quickly plummeting as low as the $260s. At times, the price has swung by as much as $10 in both directions in a matter of minutes in what has been a volatile trading session.

Apple's stock is still down significantly from its all-time high closing price of $327.20 on February 16, just over two weeks ago.


Apple's performance is in line with a broader selloff of Dow Jones stocks that analysts believe stems from concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The virus has infected at least 80,000 people worldwide, resulting in at least 2,800 deaths, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The coronavirus outbreak prompted many of Apple's suppliers to suspend production at their factories in China last month, while Apple also temporarily closed its retail stores across the country out of an abundance of caution, leading the company to issue a rare revenue warning for the March quarter early last week.

While many of those factories and stores have since reopened, with measures in place such as limited production and reduced hours, there remains a lot of uncertainty over the COVID-19 situation and that appears to be impacting major stocks, ranging from Apple to Coca-Cola to Disney.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday said he feels that "China is getting the coronavirus under control," adding that the number of reported infections in the region is "coming down day by day by day."

Tags: AAPL, COVID-19
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Apple Japan Shares Anime-Themed 'Behind the Mac' Video

Apple on its YouTube channel in Japan has shared a new animated "Behind the Mac" video that features various anime characters using Macs set to music from Japanese artist Yoshiho Nakamura.

Behind the Mac, new stories are born one after another. A story that is not yet in this world. Come on, you too.
Featured characters are shown from animated movies and shows that include "Weathering With You," "The Wonderland," "Gridman," "Your Name," "Yama No Susume," and more.

Apple has shared several other "Behind the Mac" ads that focus on creators who use the Mac to make art, to code, to make music, and more.

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MI5 Argues for 'Exceptional Access' to Encrypted Messages

The director general of Britain's Security Service is arguing for "exceptional access" to encrypted messages, in the ongoing battle between authorities and technology companies, reports The Guardian.

MI5 head Andrew Parker
MI5's director general has called on technology companies to find a way to allow spy agencies "exceptional access" to encrypted messages, amid fears they cannot otherwise access such communications.

Sir Andrew Parker is understood to be particularly concerned about Facebook, which announced plans to introduce powerful end-to-end encryption last March across all the social media firm's services.

In an ITV interview to be broadcast on Thursday, Sir Andrew Parker says he has found it "increasingly mystifying" that intelligence agencies like his are not able to easily read secret messages of terror suspects they are monitoring.
Parker goes on to say that cyberspace has become an unregulated "Wild West" that is largely inaccessible to authorities, and calls on tech firms to answer the question: "Can you provide end-to-end encryption but on an exceptional basis – exceptional basis – where there is a legal warrant and a compelling case to do it, provide access to stop the most serious forms of harm happening?"

The U.K. government has long argued that encrypted online channels such as WhatsApp and Telegram provide a "safe haven" for terrorists because governments and even the companies that host the services cannot read them.

Tech companies have pushed back against various attempts by authorities to weaken encryption methods, such as the FBI's request that Apple help it hack into the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple famously refused to comply with the request, and has since consistently argued against laws that would require tech companies to build so-called "back doors" into their software, claiming that such a move would weaken security for everyone and simply make terrorists and criminals turn to open-source encryption methods for their digital communications.

On the opposing side of the debate, Britain's cybersecurity agency has proposed that if tech companies sent a copy of encrypted messages and the encryption keys to unscramble them when requested following a warrant, this would allow them to prevent terrorists and criminals from operating out of sight without compromising encryption methods.

However, given that encrypted communication services like WhatsApp and Signal do not have access to private keys that would enable them to decrypt messages, a back door would seem the only alternative.

A spokesperson for Privacy International, a technology human rights group, told The Guardian that strong encryption kept communications safe from criminals and hostile governments.

"The reality is that these big tech platforms are international companies: providing access to UK police would mean establishing a precedent that police around the world could use to compel the platforms to monitor activists and opposition, from Hong Kong to Honduras," the spokesperson added.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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.

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Lady Gaga's New 'Stupid Love' Music Video Shot Entirely on iPhone 11 Pro

Lady Gaga this evening released her latest single, "Stupid Love," with a music video to go along with it. The video was shot entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro.


Prior to the video's release, Lady Gaga shared a series of teaser trailers featuring the new song, and Apple has also highlighted the video on its own YouTube channel in a shorter one minute clip.


There have been other high-profile Shot on iPhone music videos, including the video for Selena Gomez's "Lose You to Love Me" single, also shot on an ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌.

Lady Gaga's new single, which is available on Apple Music, is the first new song she's released since creating songs for "A Star is Born." Apple previously partnered with Lady Gaga when she performed at Apple Park in May 2019 for the formal opening of Apple's new campus.

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'Crossy Road Castle' Now Available on Apple Arcade

Apple regularly adds new games to Apple Arcade, and this week's addition is Crossy Road Castle, made by Hipster Whale, the developer behind the popular Crossy Road game.


Crossy Road is an endless Frogger-style game where the goal is to get various animals and characters across the road, but Crossy Road Castle, which was announced back in October, is a cross between an endless runner and a platformer.

Crossy Road Castle uses a similar art style as Crossy Road, with players guiding characters through a castle that's rife with enemies and obstacles to overcome. The goal of the game is to climb as high into the castle as possible.

Crossy Road Castle can be played solo, but there's also a cooperative mode that allows multiple players to brave the castle using several game controllers or multiple iOS devices.


As with Crossy Road, gameplay will unlock new characters to play. Hipster Whale says that new towers and characters will be introduced regularly.

‌Apple Arcade‌ subscribers can download Crossy Road Castle from the App Store as of today. ‌Apple Arcade‌ is priced at $4.99 per month and provides users with access to more than 100 games with no additional fees or in-app purchases. Crossy Road Castle can be played on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.

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FCC to Propose Fining AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile $200M for Sharing Customer Location Data

The United States Federal Communication Commission is expected to propose fining AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint $200 million in total for improperly disclosing real-time customer location data, reports Reuters.


Proposed fines for the four major carriers in the United States could be announced as soon as tomorrow, and the carriers would have the chance to challenge the fines before they become final. The precise amount each company is fined could change, and could possibly increase.

The FCC in January confirmed that several wireless carriers in the U.S. violated federal law by failing to protect sensitive customer data that included real-time location information.

Carrier location selling practices were uncovered last year when Motherboard reported that Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile had been selling subscriber geolocation data to third-party companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies passing the data along to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and more.

The FCC launched an investigation into the practices after the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce in November 2019 accused the FCC of "failing in its duty to to enforce the laws Congress passed to protect consumers' privacy."

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