New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Expiring Developer Certificates Causing Some Mac Apps to Refuse to Launch

A number of Mac apps failed to launch for users over the weekend because of a change to the way Apple certifies apps that have not been bought directly from the Mac App Store.

Several users of apps including Soulver and PDFPen who had downloaded the apps from the developers' websites all reported immediate crashes on launch. Developers of the apps quickly apologized and said that the issue was down to the apps' code signing certificates reaching their expiration date.

Apple issues developer signing certificates to assure users that an app they have downloaded outside of the Mac App Store is legitimate, comes from a known source, and hasn't been modified since it was last signed. In the past, the expiration of a code signing certificate had no effect on already shipped software, but that changed last year, when Apple began requiring apps to carry something called a provisioning profile.


A provisioning profile tells macOS that the app has been checked by Apple against an online database and is allowed to perform certain system actions or "entitlements". However, the profile is also signed using the developer's code signing certificate, and when the certificate expires, the provisioning profile becomes invalid.

Victims of expired provisioning profiles over the weekend included users of 1Password for Mac who had bought the app from the developer's website. AgileBits explained on Sunday that affected users would need to manually update to the latest version (6.5.5), noting that those who downloaded 1Password from the Mac App Store were unaffected. The developers' surprise was explained in a blog post:
We knew our developer certificate was going to expire on Saturday, but thought nothing of it because we believed those were only necessary when publishing a new version. Apparently that's not the case. In reality it had the unexpected side effect of causing macOS to refuse to launch 1Password properly.
Currently, the common factor among affected apps appears to be those that were issued iCloud entitlements as part of their provisioning profile. Smile, developers of PDFpen and PDFpenPro, told TidBITS that users would need to manually download the latest updates to the apps to fix the problem.

Acqualia, developers of number-crunching app Soulver, also apologized for the problem and asked affected users to download an update to fix the issue.

As the above suggests, the immediate solution for developers with potentially affected apps is to renew their code signing certificates before they expire. AgileBits said the incident had given them "a new understanding of the importance of expiring provisioning profiles and certificates" and would be renewing its current certificate, due to expire in 2022, "far before then".

Apple Acquires Israeli Firm RealFace Specializing in Facial Recognition

Apple has bought Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology.

The Times of Israel reported on Sunday that the Tel Aviv-based company, founded in 2014, was snapped up by Apple for an estimated $2 million, while Hebrew-language Calcalist said the deal was worth "several million dollars".


RealFace's website is currently offline, but according to promotional material, the startup had developed a unique facial recognition technology that integrates artificial intelligence and "brings back human perception to digital processes". RealFace's software is said to use proprietary IP in the field of "frictionless face recognition" that allows for rapid learning from facial features.

The Israeli startup also developed a now-defunct app called Pickeez, which selected and collated a user's best photos across various platforms using the RealFace recognition software.

Demo of RealFace's face recognition software

According to iPhone 8 rumors, Apple may ditch Touch ID along with the physical home button, in favor of a facial recognition-capable front-facing 3D laser scanner, although with the RealFace acquisition coming at such a late time, it's unlikely that the any of the startup's technology will feature.

RealFace is the fourth Israel-based firm Apple is known to have acquired. In 2011 it bought flash memory maker Anobit for a reported $400 million, then in November 2013 it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense for an estimated $345 million. Most recently in 2015, Apple bought LinX for around $20 million.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)

Apple Loses Fourth Place to Xiaomi in Booming China Smartphone Market

Apple has fallen to fifth place in China's booming smartphone market, where combined sales reached 131.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, accounting for nearly a third of worldwide shipments. The Q4 figure confirmed the highest ever annual amount of smartphones sold in China, according to market research firm Canalys, with shipments for the year reaching 476.5 million units, rising 11.4 percent from 2015 levels.

Huawei shipments of 76.2 million units took the top spot in China's smartphone market in 2016, followed by Oppo with 73.2 million units and Vivo with 63.2 million. Apple meanwhile shipped 43.8 million units, down 18.2 percent year on year, influencing the company's 7 percent decline in global shipments compared to 2015. Apple also lost fourth place to Xiaomi, despite the Chinese maker also experiencing declines in the country.


Xiaomi became number four in the China smartphone market, while Apple fell to fifth place. Xiaomi shipped a total of 51.4 million units of smartphones with a 21 percent year-on-year decline, while its market share decreased from 15.2 percent in 2015 to 10.7 percent in 2016, the lowest since 2013. Apple shipped 43.8 million units of iPhones throughout the year, a year-on-year decrease of 18.2 percent.
Huawei's success in China continued apace on the strength of its flagship products, said Canalys research analyst Jessie Ding. "While Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi are all in the process of adjusting their strategies in China, Huawei took the opportunity to consolidate its position in the tier-1 and -2 cities." The lull also allowed Huawei to attack Oppo and Vivo's backyard "in tier-three and tier-four cities," Ding noted.

Last year Apple experienced its first ever year-over-year decline in the Chinese smartphone market, with the company's phones continuing to be outpaced by cheaper alternatives and the iPhone 7 failing to kick up a frenzy among consumers compared to previous launches, according to analysts.

Apple faced a similar story at the beginning of the current year. Despite recording record results, Apple's Q1 2017 earnings call revealed revenue was down 8 percent in China, but CEO Tim Cook claimed half of that decline was down to currency devaluation. Cook said that while China was "not without challenges", he remained "encouraged by improvements" going into the second quarter.

Analysts have previously suggested that Apple's decline in China has been compounded by loyal users taking a year off upgrading in 2016 in anticipation of 2017's "iPhone 8". If so, Apple's success there depends on whether the upcoming phone can live up to the hype.

"China and Hong Kong are still the hardest-hit areas in Apple's global top ten market," according to Ding. "The outlook remains bleak for Apple to get its China performance back to its heyday of 2015. As with consumers in other developed markets, China's consumers are awaiting the 10th anniversary of the iPhone with very high expectations."

Tag: China

Future iPhone May Use Customized Wireless Charging System Made in Partnership with Broadcom

A future version of the iPhone could use a customized wireless charging system created in partnership with Broadcom, according to JPMorgan analyst Harlan Sur (via CNBC).

While Apple and Broadcom have reportedly been working together on a wireless charging solution for approximately two years, Sur is not sure whether the feature will be included in the 2017 iPhone due to "caution around the battery-related recall" of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Despite Harlan's caution, the upcoming 2017 "iPhone 8" is widely rumored to include some kind of wireless charging solution, but details on how it is being implemented and whether or not Apple is working with a partner like Broadcom remain unknown at this time.

iPhone 8 concept image via Thadeu Brandão

Past rumors have suggested wireless charging partnerships and supplier deals with Lite-On Semiconductor, MediaTek, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Luxshare, making it difficult to suss out Apple's wireless charging plans.

Harlan's research note also echoes previous rumors pointing towards a glass body for future iPhones, which many analysts believe is being implemented to facilitate wireless charging.
"We believe the glass back cover is conducive to wireless charging as it reduces signal interference versus a metal casing," Sur wrote. "It is possible for Apple to add proprietary features such as fast charging or extended charging to differentiate itself from the pack and enhance the value of its own hardware ecosystem."
Early wireless charging rumors suggested Apple would use a long-range wireless charging solution, but more recent speculation suggests the company may instead opt for an Apple Watch-style inductive charging solution. A glass body, as is rumored, would be necessary for an inductive charging option, and Apple also recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group committed to the open development of the Qi wireless charging standard used in devices like the Samsung Galaxy.

Along with wireless charging, Apple's 2017 iPhone is rumored to include a radical redesign, featuring the aforementioned glass body and an edge-to-edge ~5-inch OLED display that eliminates the device's Home button. Rumors suggest this device will be positioned as a high-end "premium" model that could cost upwards of $1,000, and most sources believe it will be sold alongside two more affordable 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices that resemble the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.

Rumors disagree on exactly what material the two regular-sized devices will be made from, and whether or not they will include wireless charging as well.

For full details on what to expect from the flagship OLED iPhone 8 and its two companion devices, make sure to check out our dedicated iPhone 8 roundup, which is updated regularly with new rumors.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: Broadcom, JPMorgan

Sprint and T-Mobile Merger Back on the Table as SoftBank Agrees to Cede Control of Sprint

Sprint parent company SoftBank is prepared to sell Sprint to T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom, reviving a potential merger between the two companies, reports Reuters.

According to unnamed sources that spoke to the site, SoftBank is reportedly frustrated with Sprint's growth in the United States and is ready to surrender control of the company and take a minority stake in T-Mobile.

Back in 2013, before T-Mobile soared in popularity, the situation was reversed. Sprint was prepared to purchase T-Mobile in a deal said to be worth more than $20 billion, but Sprint abandoned its plans in 2014 amid regulatory scrutiny, deciding that it would be too difficult to win approval from regulators.


At the time, U.S. antitrust officials reportedly told Sprint that having four national carriers in the United States was important to maintaining a competitive market. AT&T also once attempted to purchase T-Mobile, but that deal fell through too after being blocked by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

Given T-Mobile's recent success, Deutsche Telekom is no longer interested in selling the company, leaving SoftBank to pursue another merger strategy.

Sprint and T-Mobile will likely face the same regulatory scrutiny if a potential purchase deal is reached between the two.
Investors have said a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, ranked third and fourth respectively, would still face antitrust challenges, but made strategic sense as the industry moves to fifth-generation wireless technology. Carriers will need to spend billions of dollars to upgrade to 5G networks that promise to be 10 times to 100 times faster than current speeds.

While SoftBank is still open to discussing other options, it is now willing to surrender control of Sprint and retain a minority stake in a merger with T-Mobile, the sources said. They asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
The two companies have not yet started to discuss a deal because of strict anti-collusion rules that are in place during an ongoing spectrum auction. The auction, which is being overseen by the FCC, ends on March 30, and negotiations are expected to begin at that time.

Apple Launches New Twitter-Based Ad Series Promoting iPad Pro

Apple today shared four new iPad Pro ads on its YouTube channel, which are focused on highlighting the features of the tablet and pointing out its benefits over a computer.

Each of the four ads is 16 seconds in length and starts out with a tweet a user has shared, either about the iPad Pro itself or a situation where an iPad Pro would be useful.

The first video opens with a person holding up a printed tweet that reads "An iPad Pro is not even close to being a computer." Apple's voiceover explains the benefits of the iPad Pro, pointing out LTE, the touchscreen that supports the Apple Pencil, and its speed.

Well, iPad Pro isn't a computer. It's actually faster than most laptops, has LTE like your phone, and a touchscreen you can write on. So you're kind of right.
The second video also focuses on the iPad Pro's LTE functionality, allowing users to get cellular service anywhere, while the third video points out that Microsoft Word is available on the device.



Apple's final video focuses on viruses, starting out with the tweet "My laptop has the nastiest virus and I'm terrified" and going on to explain that the iPad Pro doesn't get viruses.

Yeah, that is scary. You know an iPad Pro doesn't get PC viruses. So relax. There's nothing to be afraid of. EXCEPT GHOSTS!
All four of the videos use real tweets from real people, but Apple uses actors in the videos to hold up the signs and do the voiceovers. This is a new iPad Pro ad campaign for Apple, but it is similar to past iPad Pro ads the company has shared, which have also highlighted features like the touchscreen, Apple Pencil, multitasking, Smart Keyboard, and more.

Today's ads come as Apple is rumored to be preparing to launch an updated iPad Pro. Rumors suggest the device will have an upgraded processor and a new design with an edge-to-edge display. The refreshed tablet is rumored to be coming as soon as March, but it's not yet quite clear exactly when we'll see it.

Tag: Apple ads

Here's the 'Stealth' Case Apple Uses to Conceal iPhone Prototypes During Transport

Long before Apple takes the wraps off a new iPhone, the smartphone goes through months of design work, testing, and production between Apple's headquarters in Cupertino and its manufacturing partners in China.

It is during this time that iPhone parts usually begin to leak, despite Apple's best efforts to double down on secrecy. Nevertheless, noted leaker Sonny Dickson has provided MacRumors with a closer look at a few known measures the company takes to hide iPhone prototypes and prevent potential leaks.


Foremost, Dickson said an iPhone prototype travels across the world in a "stealth" case designed to prevent onlookers from seeing how it looks. The case conceals most of the iPhone, while it has yellow "security" tape along the sides that would show any tampering by somebody trying to get it open.

The prototype is accompanied by a "passport" at all times for quality assurance/control testing, according to Dickson.


"Each component or product that is tested they document in the page," said Dickson. "The person writes their initials next to it and any notes about it passing or failing or any other comments. It makes its way through each test/person. It then is finally sent with its 'passport' from China to Apple."

As known, the prototype itself, such as the iPhone 6 Plus pictured below, is engraved with a QR code for Apple to keep track of the product.


As mentioned, these efforts have not entirely prevented iPhone prototypes from leaking. A mostly accurate picture of the iPhone 7 Plus with a dual-lens camera leaked in March 2016, six months before Apple unveiled the device, while an Apple engineer infamously left a disguised iPhone 4 at a bar near Cupertino in 2010.

Apple will reportedly begin production of a trio of new iPhones, including a 5.8-inch model with an edge-to-edge OLED display, as early as next quarter, so part leaks should begin to surface around that time if history repeats itself. Read our iPhone 8 roundup to keep track of the latest rumors in the meantime.

Samsung Chief Arrested on Bribery Charges in Corruption Scandal

Samsung chief Jay Y Lee has been arrested over his alleged role in an influence-peddling scandal that reaches to the highest levels of the South Korean government, it was reported on Friday.

Reuters said the 48-year-old vice-chairman and heir-apparent of Samsung was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Center on Friday morning, after waiting there overnight for the decision.

Image via Reuters

South Korea's special prosecutor's office accuses Lee of bribing a close friend of President Park Geun-hye – who is currently facing impeachment over the scandal – in order to win favors related to leadership succession at Samsung Group. Lee now faces charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, and perjury. Both Geun-hye and Lee have denied wrongdoing in the case.

Prosecutors have up to 10 days to indict Lee, but they can seek an extension. After indictment, a court must then make its first ruling within three months. Currently there's no word on whether lawyers representing Lee will contest the arrest or seek bail.

Shares in Samsung ended Friday down 0.42 percent, in line with a flat wider market. Ratings agencies say they don't expect any impact on the company's credit ratings, claiming Lee's arrest will accelerate improvements in corporate transparency and governance.

Meanwhile, Lee's arrest is not expected to hamper day-to-day operations at Samsung's divisions, which are run by professional managers. That said, the conglomerate is currently going through a restructuring to clear a succession path for Lee to assume control after his father suffered a heart attack in 2014, suggesting strategic decision-making on the issue could be affected.

Lee's detention comes as Samsung tries to resuscitate its Galaxy brand following last year's Note7 debacle, in which the handsets were prone to setting on fire whilst charging. The company is hoping that its Galaxy S8, expected to launch in April, will bring the brand back on course in a crucial year when Apple is expected to announce a "tenth anniversary" iPhone 8, for which Samsung will also provide 160 million OLED display panels.

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.

Tag: Samsung

AT&T to Launch New Unlimited Data Plan

Following in the footsteps of T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T today announced plans to debut a new unlimited data plan that's available to all of its postpaid customers. The unlimited plan will be available starting tomorrow.

AT&T previously offered an unlimited data plan, but it was limited to customers who were also DirecTV or U-Verse customers.

According to AT&T, the new plan will provide unlimited talk, text, and data on four lines for $180, which is more expensive than T-Mobile's ONE data plan for four customers and on par with Verizon's pricing, also at $180 for four lines. A single line is priced at $100.


AT&T is including unlimited calls from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico and unlimited texts to more than 120 countries around the world. Customers are also able to talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges.
"We're offering unlimited entertainment on the nation's best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love," said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group.
AT&T's $180 price point is after a $40 credit for the fourth smartphone line, which will start after two billing periods. Prior to then, customers will need to pay $220 per month for the plan.

The company's fine print says that AT&T "may slow speeds" during periods of network congestion for customers who consume more than 22GB of data, which is not a surprise as T-Mobile and Verizon's plans contain similar caveats. The unlimited plan also includes the Stream Saver feature, which downgrades video to 480p. Stream Saver is enabled by default, but can be turned off online.

With AT&T now offering an unlimited plan for all of its customers, all of the major carriers in the United States have unlimited data plans available, which is impressive because for the last several years, carriers like AT&T and Verizon have been heavily focused on eliminating their unlimited customers.

Sprint and T-Mobile have offered unlimited data plans since August, and T-Mobile's growing popularity and regular feature additions at an affordable price appears to have inspired AT&T and Verizon to re-adopt unlimited plans.

Verizon announced its unlimited plan earlier this week with inclusions like 10GB of tethering data and HD video streaming, spurring T-Mobile to implement similar changes. With T-Mobile's new tethering offerings and higher-quality video streaming, it continues to offer the best value at $70 per month for a single subscriber (Verizon's plan is $80). Sprint's plan is priced at $55 per month, but its coverage can't compete with T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, and AT&T's plan is the most expensive of the four at $100 for a single line.

Tag: AT&T

iPhone 8 Expected to Have 3D Facial Recognition Instead of Touch ID

Apple's widely expected 5.8-inch iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display will feature a front-facing 3D laser scanner for facial recognition, corroborating previous rumors, according to JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall.


Hall said the scanner will replace Touch ID on the so-called iPhone 8, as Apple plans to remove the Home button to allow for the edge-to-edge display. His research note claims the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus could also have a 3D laser scanner based on increased volume of the module within Apple's supply chain.

The scanner is said to add $10 to $15 per module to the iPhone 8's bill of materials, which coupled with the OLED display, glass casing, and other increased production costs, could make its retail price up to $100 more expensive than it would be without those features, if Apple looks to maintain a similar profit margin.

The increased costs are in line with a recent report claiming the iPhone 8 could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States.

Hall believes the switch to facial recognition will help alleviate consumer frustration when Touch ID does not work under wet conditions. He added that facial recognition will potentially be more secure than Touch ID, which could increase Apple Pay adoption among banks and merchants.

The research note said the 3D laser scanner could eventually be used for other purposes, such as augmented reality, but likely not until 2018 at the earliest.
One obvious and potentially most compelling use would be AR/VR experiences in which the user’s hands and other real world objects are being scanned and integrated into a field of view provided by the iPhone mounted into a Google Daydream-like headset. This would open up many interesting entertainment and gaming experiences not available today and might give Apple something extra in an AR/VR accessory compared to Google and others.
He also believes that Apple is likely to eventually open up a 3D scanning API to developers, who could use it to do "everything from determining your shoe size for online orders to helping make sure you are properly fitted on your bike."

Hall expects a strong iPhone 8 replacement cycle later this year, and he said an announcement about the product is possible as early as WWDC 2017, which kicks off June 5. Apple has not made any iPhone hardware announcements at WWDC since 2010, so treat this claim with a proverbial grain of salt for now.

Earlier this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said while it is "still early to examine hardware support for Apple Pay," he believes the new 5.8-inch iPhone will feature "other biometric technologies that replace the current fingerprint recognition technology," lending credence to Touch ID's removal.

Kuo had previously said that iris or facial recognition could initially complement Touch ID if Apple faced technological barriers, while Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri noted that facial recognition could either replace Touch ID or augment its functionality to create a two-factor verification system.

Other rumors have suggested that Apple will embed Touch ID underneath the display as technologically possible.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tag: JPMorgan

Apple Continues Promoting iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode With Two New Videos

Apple today shared two new videos on its YouTube channel, again designed to promote the Portrait Mode feature that's unique to the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus.

Both videos are 15 seconds in length and show the Portrait Mode in action, with an explanation on how it blurs out the background for better portrait shots of people.




Portrait Mode, introduced in iOS 10.1, uses a shallow depth-of-field effect to make portrait photos "pop," mimicking the results that can normally only be obtained with a high-end DSLR and a telephoto lens. Portrait Mode uses the 56mm lens included in the iPhone 7 Plus, with Apple's image signal processor working to scan a scene to recognize people and other objects to separate the foreground from the background for the blurring effect.

Today's ads follow two similar ads that were released earlier this week, also designed to show off Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Apple ads

FCC Chairman Encourages Activation of the FM Radio Receiver Built Into Your iPhone

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has advocated for the activation of FM radio receivers built into nearly every smartphone, as part of opening remarks he made at the Future of Radio and Audio Symposium in Washington D.C. yesterday.


Many smartphones sold today, including iPhones, have an FM receiver built into the LTE modem that would allow people to listen to FM radio over the air; however, many carriers and phone makers have not enabled the functionality, forcing users to use an app to stream FM radio over Wi-Fi or cellular data.

Pai cited a NAB study that found only 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States had activated FM receivers as of last year. The vast majority—94%—of the non-activated smartphones are iPhones, according to the study.


"We could be doing a lot better," said Pai, who was appointed as FCC chairman last month. "It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman."

The activation of FM receivers in iPhones would have several benefits, including battery life savings, less data usage, and most importantly, the ability to receive emergency alerts over radio without service.

"You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone," added Pai. "The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal. The FCC has an expert advisory panel on public safety issues that has also advocated enabling FM radio chips on smartphones."

Pai said that while he will keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM receivers in smartphones, he is a believer in free markets and the rule of law, and he thereby cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips, nor does he believe the FCC has the power to issue said mandate.

In 2015, an online campaign was launched to "free radio" on smartphones. It calls for U.S. carriers to activate the FM radio receivers in smartphones. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile now support the functionality, or will soon, on all or select Android-based smartphones. The campaign extends to Canada.

Apple's stance on the activation of FM receivers in iPhones is uncertain. An additional antenna would likely be required for proper FM signal reception. The latest iPod nano, meanwhile, requires connecting headphones to listen to FM radio, as the device uses the headphone cord as an antenna to receive a signal.

Tag: FCC