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Apple CEO Tim Cook in Davos for World Economic Forum, Does Education-Related Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, meeting with world leaders, mingling with other CEOs of major companies, attending dinners, and doing interviews.


According to reports on Twitter, Cook met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and attended a dinner with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and more.


Cook also sat down for an education-focused interview with German site Bild, and while the original interview appears to be unavailable, Apple Must shared some details on what was discussed.

Cook's interview came on the day that Apple announced the translation of its Everyone Can Create curriculum to German, French, Spanish, and Italian on Apple Books, expanding its availability to additional countries.

According to Cook, Apple believes that "creativity is something everybody is born with," and "education is a great equalizer."
"People are not born with the same resources but many are born with incredible opportunities to learn and to move up and do incredible things in live." [..]

"I was born in a very rural lower middle class environment. I loved it and it's great for me but the thing that enabled me to do other things and to be at Apple today is education."
Cook says Apple's education-focused content like Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create is "for the people." "If it has an indirect effect on our business, that's fine," he said. "But frankly, this is from the heart."

Apple, Cook said, has created 1.5 million jobs across Europe with its iOS app economy, with the number of available app-related jobs growing each year. Cook believes that Apple's apps offer an "outstanding" educational opportunity, offering tools that can help kids learn faster when paired with great teachers.

Additional details about Cook's trip to Switzerland may come out over the course of the rest of the week, but thus far, it's not clear what else the CEO has done while in the country. The World Economic Forum lasts through Friday, January 25.

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 Extends iPod Touch Trademark to Include Gaming Devices

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month approved for publication a trademark application from Apple for the term "iPod touch" that would extend protection to cover "Hand-held units for playing electronic games; Handheld game consoles" under International Class 28 (games, toys, and sporting goods).

Apple has held a trademark for the iPod touch name since 2008 under International Class 9 (audiovisual and information technology equipment) with the following description:
Portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files; computer software for use in organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files on portable and handheld digital electronic devices.


As part of its justification for the new trademark application under gaming consoles, Apple submitted a screenshot of its iPod touch overview page scrolled to the "Gaming" section, with red arrows calling out the product name and the "Buy" button.

The iPod touch has of course been a handheld gaming console since its launch over a decade ago, so it's unclear why Apple has waited until now to extend its trademark coverage to include the area. It could be a purely defensive move to protect against competitors or other challenges, but given rumors last week of Apple working on a seventh-generation iPod touch some three and half years after the last update, there's naturally some speculation that there could be more to this.

We haven't heard any specific rumors about what to expect in a seventh-generation iPod touch, but we expect Apple to keep spec upgrades fairly minimal in order to maintain a low price point to appeal to customers who can't or don't want to step up to an iPhone.

Apple's new application will be published for opposition on February 19, and unless viable third-party opposition to Apple's claim appears, the company will be granted the trademark later this year.

Related Roundup: iPod touch
Buyer's Guide: iPod Touch (Caution)

Huawei Launches New 'Honor View 20' Smartphone With 'Hole-Punch' Camera Cutout

Honor, a smartphone brand owned by Huawei, today unveiled its newest device, the Honor View 20. The device launched at an event in Paris, and several tech publications were able to go hands-on with it.

A mid-range device, the Honor View 20 is the first Honor-branded smartphone that features a hole-punch notch in the display, maximizing view area with a single cutout just for the camera. This isn't the first device under the Huawei umbrella to have a hole-punch cutout - the Nova 4 also has a similar design.


The Honor View 20 is a 6.4-inch LCD display with rounded corners, the aforementioned camera cutout (which houses a 25-megapixel camera), a small bezel at the bottom of the device, and a speaker grille at the top of the casing. There's a rear-facing fingerprint sensor, a 48-megapixel rear camera paired with a second camera sensor for detecting objects in 3D, a 4,000mAh battery, and a Kirin 980 system-on-a-chip.


TechCrunch's Romain Dillet said the hole-punch cutout "definitely feels different" from an iPhone notch, but it looks weird located on the left side of the device. Still, it "looks great" when viewing photos and videos, and after just a few minutes, "you barely notice it."

"I hope more companies are going to follow this trend," writes Dillet.


CNET's Jessica Dolcourt was also able to give the new smartphone a try, calling it "visually mesmerizing." The display, according to Dolcourt, "feels as close to an edge-to-edge screen as we're likely to get right now."
You might have opinions about the hole-punch camera, just as you might have strong feelings about the notch. But it never got in my way. It either fits into an unoccupied corner of whichever app you open, or falls into the navigation bar of that app. It all depends on how the app maker laid everything out in the first place.
The Honor View 20 launches in Europe and Asia and is priced starting at 569 euros or 499 pounds for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Huawei's devices are banned in the U.S. and so the new smartphone will be difficult to obtain in countries like the United States, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.


While hole-punch camera cutouts are a growing trend, with even Samsung set to use the technology, it's not clear if it's something Apple is aiming for. Most front-facing camera setups are not as complicated as the TrueDepth camera system, which, in addition to a standard camera, incorporates a dot projector and infrared camera for facial scans.


Rumors have suggested Apple will cut down on the size of the notch in 2019, and Apple's ultimate goal is said to be an uninterrupted edge-to-edge display with no compromises like a notch, but it's not known if and when the company will reach that goal.

Tag: Huawei

Climate Change Could Lead to Greater Reliance on iPhones, Says Apple

A U.K.-based non-profit organization, CDP, recently asked major companies to provide reports on their environmental impact with details on the risks and opportunities that climate change might present.

Apple was one of the respondents, and as outlined by Bloomberg, the company believes future climate-related disasters could increase peoples' dependence on the iPhone.


According to Apple's report, of which only a portion of a statement was shared, the iPhone can work as a flashlight or a siren, provide first aid instructions, or serve as a radio. The device can be charged via hand cranks or car batteries, allowing it to work even when power is out.
"As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones,'' the company wrote. Its mobile devices "can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio; and they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks.''
Apple declined to comment on the information provided in the report, and we only have a small glimpse at the data that was included. Apple undoubtedly had additional thoughts to share on climate change, much like the other companies that participated.

Disney, for example, said it's worried about rising temperatures affecting park attendance, while Coke said potential water shortages could limit water availability for the bottling of Coke. Intel said that droughts in areas of its operation could increase operational costs, while AT&T said that frequent hurricanes and wildfires could lead to more spending on damage repair for its network.

Based on the reports submitted by each company, CDP (which used to be called the Carbon Disclosure Project) provided letter grades measuring metrics like "how aware they are about [climate change]," "how they're progressing towards targets," and "how they're managing it."

Thirty total companies in the United States received overall "A" grades when it came to environmental performance, including Apple. Apple was scored on metrics like the infrastructure in place to address climate change issues within the company, risks and opportunities related to climate change, financial planning for these risks and opportunities, emissions targets and progress made towards those targets, and more.

Apple works hard to limit its carbon footprint, and all of its facilities worldwide operate using 100 percent renewable energy. Apple is now focusing on recycling, with the aim of a closed-loop supply chain that puts an end to its need to mine the earth for rare minerals.

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 Asks Users to Submit Their Best 'Shot on iPhone' Photos for New Challenge

Apple is hosting a "Shot on iPhone" photography challenge, and is asking iPhone users to submit outstanding photographs that were captured on an iPhone.

Entries are being collected starting today, with users able to submit a photo on Instagram or Twitter using the "#ShotOniPhone" hash tag or submitting a high-resolution photo to shotoniphone@apple.com with the file format "firstname_lastname_iphonemodel."

A "Shot on iPhone" image captured by an iPhone user

Winning images will be featured on billboards in select cities, Apple retail stores, and online on Apple Newsroom and Apple's social media accounts. Apple will select a total of 10 winners.

Apple says photos can be captured straight from the camera, edited through Apple's editing tools in the Photos app, or edited with third-party photo editing software.

Apple will be accepting submissions through February 7, and participants must be over 18. Apple employees, including retail employees, along with their families, are not eligible to participate.

Apple has a panel of well-known photographers serving as judges for the contest, including former White House photographer Pete Souza, travel photographer Austin Mann, travel photographer Annet de Graaf, Brazilian photographer Luísa Dörr, and fashion photographer Chen Man.

Several Apple employees will also be judging entries, including Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, senior director in Worldwide Product Marketing Kaiann Drance, photographer Brooks Kraft, software developer Sebastian Marineu-Mes, camera software team leader Jon McCormack, and director of photography Arem Duplessis.

Apple Releasing iOS 12.1.3 With Bug Fixes for HomePod, iPad Pro, CarPlay, Messages and More Today

Apple will today release iOS 12.1.3, the fifth update to the iOS 12 operating system since its September launch. iOS 12.1.3 is a minor update that follows iOS 12.1.2 (iPhone only), released back in December, and iOS 12.1.1, also released in December.

The iOS 12.1.3 update will be available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings > General > Software Update. As with all iOS updates, iOS 12.1.3 will be free to download. iPhone owners will be upgrading to iOS 12.1.3 from iOS 12.1.2, while iPad owners will be updating from iOS 12.1.1.


iOS 12.1.3 is a minor update, and during the beta testing period, we found no major new features. According to Apple's release notes, iOS 12.1.3 includes fixes for multiple bugs affecting iPad Pro, HomePod, CarPlay, and more.

On HomePod, the update fixes bugs that could cause restarts or that could cause Siri to stop listening. On the iPad Pro, iOS 12.1.3 fixes an issue that could cause audio distortion when using external input devices, and for CarPlay, issues that could cause disconnects from the 2019 iPhones have been addressed. Apple's full release notes:
This update:

- Fixes an issue in Messages that could impact scrolling through photos in the Details view
- Addresses an issue where photos could have striped artifacts after being sent from the Share Sheet
- Fixes an issue that may cause audio distortion when using external audio input devices on iPad Pro (2018)
- Resolves an issue that could cause certain CarPlay systems to disconnect from iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max

This release also includes bug fixes for HomePod. This update:

- Fixes an issue that could cause HomePod to restart
- Addresses an issue that could cause Siri to stop listening
The prior update, iOS 12.1.2, included a fix for eSIM activation issues and tweaked some iPhone functionality in China to remove features that infringed on Qualcomm patents so Apple could bypass a sales ban on older iPhones.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

iPhone XS Max Ranks 'Among the Best' in DxOMark’s Selfie Camera Test, but Loses Points for Low-Light Performance

DxOMark today published the results of its "Selfie scores" test, which gauged the performance of the front-facing cameras for 12 modern smartphones. Apple's iPhone XS Max sits at fourth place on the overall selfie rankings with a score of 82, beaten out by Google Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 9, and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3.


According to DxOMark, the iPhone XS Max produces "some of the best" still images and video quality when it's placed in brightly lit situations, but it lost points because of poor performance in dim lighting. The only other Apple smartphone on the list is the iPhone X, with a score of 71 in 10th place.

DxOMark also broke down its results by providing a specific "selfie photo score" and "selfie video score." The iPhone XS Max received a score of 81 and 82, respectively in each category, again staying in fourth place in both instances.

The company said that Portrait Mode selfies are a major strength of the iPhone XS Max, with very good depth estimation and accurate subject masking. Overall, DxOMark said the iPhone XS Max was "among the best results we've observed for front cameras" thanks to features like HDR and Portrait Mode's bokeh effect.

iPhone XS Max bokeh effect

Google Pixel 2 bokeh effect

Overall, DxOMark pointed out that one of the XS Max's big weak spots on its front-facing camera is noise, noting that luminance noise is visible on faces in many of the outdoor images taken during the testing process. The company noted that results remained "acceptable," but things only got worse in low lighting conditions, and even explained that these results are slightly poorer than those found on the iPhone X's front-facing camera.
Achieving a DxOMark front camera score of 82, the Apple iPhone XS Max puts in a solid performance for both still and moving images during our tests, and is a nice improvement over its predecessor, the iPhone X. For still photos, the device boasts some great strengths for selfie shooters, including excellent HDR, bokeh shots, and detail at close range, which are among the best results we’ve observed for front cameras.

There are some areas in which Apple can continue to improve for stills, however, with noise visible in all lighting conditions; and white balance and skin rendering issues, especially in indoor images and occasionally outdoors, too, where color casts and low-contrast faces can look unnatural.
The full ratings breakdown for the iPhone XS Max's front-facing selfie camera can be seen below:


The two phones topping the list -- Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9 -- tied for first with a score of 92. DxOMark said that the Pixel 3 edges out the Note 9 in terms of its focus system, but the Note 9 achieves better results for exposure and color in selfie photos. "Images captured with the Google device show slightly stronger contrast and a cooler white balance," DxOMark's Lars Rehm mentioned. "The Samsung is a little better at exposing for faces and applies a little less contrast to faces, making for a slightly more natural look."

You can check out the full iPhone XS Max front camera review by DxOMark right here.

Tag: DxOMark

'Flexgate': 2016 and Newer MacBook Pro Users Report Display Issues Due to Fragile Flex Cables

An increasing number of users have experienced backlight issues on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, particularly those with the Touch Bar, often resulting in a so-called "stage light effect" along the bottom of the display.

Image via MacRumors forum member SourceSunTom

According to the repair website iFixit, which highlighted the issue today, the underlying cause is Apple's use of thin, fragile flex cables that connect the display with the display controller board on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, as opposed to the more durable wire cables used in previous generations.

iFixit's Taylor Dixon explains:
When it first debuted, the design seemed fine. But as always, the devil is in the details. Apple opted for thin, fragile flex cables as opposed to the beefier wire cables used in previous designs that could be routed through the hinge instead of wrapped around it, helping mitigate the stress of repeated openings and closings.
In a nutshell, the normal, repeated opening and closing of the display lid can result in the thin flex cables becoming fragile and breaking over time. And since the issue takes time to manifest, the affected MacBook Pro models are often outside of Apple's one-year warranty period when they start exhibiting symptoms.


Many examples of the issue have been documented on the website Flexgate, in the Apple Support Communities, and in the MacRumors discussion forums. It's unclear how many users are affected, but the number continues to increase.

The problem gets worse when affected customers take their MacBook Pro to Apple for repair, as iFixit claims that the flex cables are integrated into the display and cannot be replaced individually. Instead, the entire display assembly needs to be replaced, turning a cheap repair into a costly $600-plus one.


While some customers without AppleCare+ have managed to get a free or reduced-cost repair, it appears many have been required to pay in full.

Apple has not launched a public-facing repair program for this issue, and we're not aware of any internal one either. A petition urging Apple to launch such a program has amassed over 2,200 signatures. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but we'll update this article if we hear back.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)

Apple Pay Rolling Out at Target, Taco Bell, and Jack in the Box Across the U.S. in Coming Weeks

Apple today announced that Apple Pay is in the process of rolling out in Target stores across the United States and will be available at all of the retailer's 1,850 locations nationwide in the coming weeks.


While it has accepted Apple Pay in its app for quite some time, Target was one of the biggest Apple Pay holdouts in terms of its stores.

Apple Pay is also rolling out to more than 7,000 Taco Bell and 2,200 Jack in the Box locations in the United States in the next few months, and recently became available at more than 245 Hy-Vee grocery stores in the Midwest as well as approximately 3,000 Speedway locations across the country, according to Apple.

With the addition of these national retailers, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the United States and 65 percent of all retail locations across the country support or will soon support Apple Pay, according to Apple. This includes last year's major additions of Costco, CVS, and 7-Eleven.

Update: REDcards cannot be added to Apple Pay at this time, according to Target's customer service account on Twitter. We've confirmed with Target's media relations team that this information is accurate.



Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Target

Apple Named 'World's Most Admired Company' for 12th Year in a Row

Despite its recent financial stumble, Apple has topped Fortune's annual ranking of the World's Most Admired Companies for the 12th consecutive year.


Apple finished ahead of Amazon, the runner-up for a third consecutive year, while Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway, The Walt Disney Company, and coffee chain Starbucks rounded off the top five. Apple rivals Microsoft, Google, and Samsung ranked 6th, 7th, and 50th respectively.

Apple topped the list in every category, such as innovation, quality of management, social responsibility, use of corporate assets, financial soundness, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.

The rankings were determined by "some 3,750 executives, analysts, directors, and experts" who selected the 10 companies they admired most:
As we have in the past, Fortune collaborated with our partner Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputations. […]

To select our 50 All-Stars, Korn Ferry asked 3,750 executives, directors, and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the 10 companies they admired most. They chose from a list made up of the companies that ranked in the top 25% in last year’s surveys, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry.
Fortune also asked its respondents to weigh in on the reputations of the executives who lead these top companies, with 79 respondents calling Apple CEO Tim Cook "underrated" and 183 calling him "overrated."

Apple Settles Lawsuit With Biometric Sensor Company Valencell That Accused it of Stealing Technology for Apple Watch

Biometric sensor company Valencell has reportedly settled a three-year-old lawsuit against Apple that accused the tech giant of stealing its technology for Apple Watch.


Valencell filed the patent infringement lawsuit against Apple back in January 2016 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The lawsuit accused the Cupertino-based company of infringing on four of its patents, all related to heart rate sensing technology, as well as deceptive trade practices and breach of contract, following dealings Apple had with Valencell before the launch of the Apple Watch.

However, citing a Valencell source, well-connected endurance tech blog the5krunner reports that "Valencell's case against Apple has now been settled and neither is able to further comment."

Valencell originally claimed Apple solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement for its PerformTek technology, despite having no real intention of actually licensing it.

The biometric company also accused Apple of deciding it was more financially beneficial to risk infringing on Valencell's patents than to license them, claiming that the practice was "consistent with the statement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Apple has 'always been shameless about stealing great ideas.'"

Valencell had requested a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing future acts of infringement, as well as damages and an ongoing royalty rate for licensing purposes should a permanent injunction not be granted.

Valencell provides the optical heart rate monitoring and other biometric sensors in many third party devices. The company filed a similar lawsuit against Fitbit in January 2016, but that case is said to be still ongoing.

(Thanks, Neil!)

Update: MacRumors has confirmed the lawsuit was settled in September 2018. A copy of the dismissal is embedded below.

Valencell vs. Apple dismissal by MacRumors on Scribd on Scribd



Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Apple Expected to Switch to All-OLED iPhone Line-up by 2020

Apple could drop LCD displays for its 2020 iPhones in favor of an all-OLED line-up, a new report today claims. From the Wall Street Journal (paywall):

Apple is likely to drop LCD displays altogether in its 2020 iPhone lineup in favor of organic light-emitting diode displays that allow for more flexible handset design, people familiar with the production plans have said.
This isn't the first time we've heard that Apple is considering dropping LCD models from its line-up in order to make a complete shift to OLED displays in 2020.

WSJ suggested the possibility earlier this month, but today's report gives the rumor more clout by claiming that Apple LCD panel supplier Japan Display is seeking investor help that will put it on firmer ground before the switch to OLED-only iPhones takes place.
Japan Display Inc. is in advanced talks with Taiwan's TPK Holdings Co. and Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund about an investment that would include a stake of about 30% with the possibility of greater control later, people familiar with the matter said.
The bailout is also said to be partly in response to less-than-stellar sales of iPhone XR, which uses the liquid-crystal displays that Japan Display specializes in. More than half of Japan Display's revenue in the year ended March 2018 came from Apple, so the supplier is acutely sensitive to sales that fall short of the tech giant's expectations.

Multiple reports claim Apple has recently asked its partners to cut down on all iPhone production. Apple has also dropped the price of iPhone XR in China to try and spur additional sales.

The price drops and the production cut follow a recent Q1 2019 guidance downgrade, with Apple expecting revenue of $84 billion during the quarter. That's a year-over-year decline and a drop from the $89 to $93 billion revenue guidance Apple provided in November.

A report in May 2018 claimed Apple's transition to a full OLED iPhone line-up would be complete in 2019, but a group of analysts quickly responded to the report and argued that the 2019 timeframe was likely inaccurate.

Apple has been working to bolster its OLED display supply chain for diversification purposes and to cut down its reliance on Samsung, the company that has supplied displays for the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

Apple has reportedly pushed LG Display to build out its OLED display production facilities, and has even purchased equipment to build an OLED panel research and development site in Taiwan.

Rumors point to a similar iPhone lineup in 2019 as last year, perhaps with a continuation of both the iPhone XS and XR devices, with rumors suggesting we'll see 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones along with a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

Related Roundups: iPhone XR, 2019 iPhones
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)