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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of iOS 11.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth beta and more than a month after releasing iOS 11.3, a major update that introduced several new features.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.4 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.

The iOS 11.4 update introduces a new ClassKit framework for educational institutions, which supports new features announced at Apple's March 27 education-focused event.

For regular users, the iOS 11.4 update adds features that were originally present in the iOS 11.3 beta but removed ahead of release.

It includes support for Messages on iCloud, designed to store your iMessages in iCloud rather than on each individual device, allowing for improved syncing capabilities. Currently, incoming iMessages are sent to all devices where you're signed in to your Apple ID, but there is no true cross-device syncing.

Messages on iCloud will allow you to download all of your iMessages on new devices, and a message deleted on one device will remove it on all devices. Older messages and attachments are also stored in iCloud rather than on-device, saving valuable storage space.

The iOS 11.4 update also includes AirPlay 2 features, with the Apple TV once again available in the Home app. With AirPlay 2, the same audio content can be played in multiple rooms on devices that support AirPlay 2. AirPlay 2 includes a feature that lets you ask Siri on one device to play content on

Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth beta and more than a month after releasing the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 beta can be downloaded through Apple Developer Center or the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 introduces support for Messages on iCloud, a feature that was previously present in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 betas before being pulled ahead of the release of the update. Messages on iCloud is also available in iOS 11.4.

The Messages on iCloud feature is designed to store your iMessages in iCloud for improved syncing. Right now, incoming iMessages are sent to all devices where you're signed into your Apple ID, but it's not true cloud-based syncing because your old messages don't show up on new devices nor does deleting a message remove it from all of your devices, both features enabled through Messages on iCloud.

Messages on iCloud also allows your older iMessages and attachments to be stored in iCloud rather than on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, saving valuable storage space.

The update also likely includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, but as Apple does not provide detailed release notes for macOS High Sierra beta updates, we may not know exactly what's included until the new software is provided to the public.

No other major outward-facing changes were found in the first

iPhone SE 2 Rumors Remain Conflicted Over Design and Release Date

iPhone SE 2 rumors are running rampant, but there is little consensus about what to expect should the device be real.

The latest word comes from Japanese blog Mac Otakara, citing Chinese accessory makers who claim production has yet to begin for the second-generation iPhone SE. In fact, Apple is apparently still considering a final design for the device among the several different prototypes it is said to have tested.

The report claims that at least one of those prototypes has an iPhone X-esque design, including a nearly full screen display with no home button and a notch, while other prototypes are believed to have a similar design as the current iPhone SE, except with a glass back, presumably to allow wireless charging.

Ben Geskin recently shared photos of what appears to be iPhone display glass with a shallow cutout resembling the TrueDepth sensor housing on iPhone X, but in a follow-up tweet, he said his "main source" says that the new iPhone SE will have the same design and display as the current model, but with a glass back.


Meanwhile, MacRumors obtained renders from case maker Olixar last week that depicted a new iPhone SE with an iPhone X-esque display, but still with an aluminum, flat-edged frame like the current model and iPhone 5s. Olixar said its

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Defective' Keyboards in Recent MacBook, MacBook Pro Models

Apple has been hit with a class action lawsuit over "defective" keyboards in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

The lawsuit, filed in Northern California district court, alleges that the low-profile, butterfly-switch keyboards in 2015-and-later MacBook and 2016-and-later MacBook Pro models are "prone to fail," resulting in "non-responsive keys" and other issues, according to court documents obtained by MacRumors.

The lawsuit was filed by law firm Girard Gibbs LLP on behalf of MacBook Pro owners Zixuan Rao and Kyle Barbaro, residents of San Diego, California and Melrose, Massachusetts respectively.

The proposed class:
All persons within the United States who purchased, other than for resale, a model year 2015 or later Apple MacBook, or a model year 2016 or later MacBook Pro laptop, equipped with a "butterfly" keyboard.
The complaint notes that keys can become unresponsive when small amounts of dust or debris accumulate under or around them:
Apple's butterfly keyboard and MacBook are produced and assembled in such a way that when minimal amounts of dust or debris accumulate under or around a key, keystrokes fail to register. […] As a result of the defect, consumers who purchased a MacBook face a constant threat of non-responsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure. When one or more of the keys on the keyboard fail, the MacBook can no longer serve its core function: typing.
The lawsuit alleges that "thousands of consumers have experienced this defect," and highlights over 20 complaints shared by users on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, and

Researchers Discover Vulnerabilities in PGP/GPG Email Encryption Plugins, Users Advised to Avoid for Now

A warning has been issued by European security researchers about critical vulnerabilities discovered in PGP/GPG and S/MIME email encryption software that could reveal the plaintext of encrypted emails, including encrypted messages sent in the past.

The alert was put out late on Sunday night by professor of computer security Sebastian Schinzel. A joint research paper, due to be published tomorrow at 07:00 a.m. UTC (3:00 a.m. Eastern Time, 12:00 am Pacific) promises to offer a thorough explanation of the vulnerabilities, for which there are currently no reliable fixes.


Details remain vague about the so-called "Efail" exploit, but it appears to involve an attack vector on the encryption implementation in the client software as it processes HTML, rather than a vulnerability in the encryption method itself. A blog post published late Sunday night by the Electronic Frontier Foundation said:
"EFF has been in communication with the research team, and can confirm that these vulnerabilities pose an immediate risk to those using these tools for email communication, including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages."
In the meantime, users of PGP/GPG and S/MIME are being advised to immediately disable and/or uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted

Tim Cook Challenges Graduates to 'Think Different' in Duke University Commencement Address

Apple CEO Tim Cook today delivered the 2018 commencement address at his alma mater Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Cook challenged students to "think different" rather than accept the status quo, and to leave the world better than they found it, by following in the footsteps of leaders like Steve Jobs, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.

He also reflected on Apple's commitment to the environment, privacy, immigration, and gun control, supporting the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and students involved in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.


An excerpt from his speech:
The pace at which progress is possible has accelerated dramatically. Aided by technology, every individual has the tools, potential, and reach to build a better world. That makes this the best time in history to be alive. Whatever you choose to do with your life, wherever your passion takes you, I urge you to take the power you have been given and use it for good. Aspire to leave this world better than you found it.

I didn't always see life as clearly as I do today. But I've learned that the greatest challenge of life is knowing when to break with conventional wisdom. Don't just accept the world you inherit today. Don't just accept the status quo. No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different.

I was lucky to learn from someone who believed this deeply—someone who knew that changing the world starts with following a vision, not a path. He

76-Year-Old Gaston D'Aquino Latest to Say Apple Watch Saved His Life

Gaston D'Aquino says the Apple Watch saved his life. By sharing his story, he hopes it can help save the lives of others too.

Photo Credit: South China Morning Post
According to the South China Morning Post, the 76-year-old was sitting at church when his Apple Watch alerted him to his elevated heart rate. Having read similar stories before, he went directly to a local hospital.

"I told the doctor I don't know why I'm here, but my watch tells me I have an elevated heart rate," said D'Aquino. "He says, 'Are you feeling anything?' I said no, I feel fine, I'm feeling all right, nothing's wrong."

After an electrocardiograph machine indicated something was wrong, doctors conducted tests and discovered that two out of his three main coronary arteries were completely blocked, with the third 90 percent blocked. Of course, that means he was at risk of suffering a potentially fatal heart attack.

D'Aquino said he had visited a cardiologist before, who had prescribed him daily medication for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, but there was never any indication that there were any deeper issues.

After the doctors shared the test results with him, D'Aquino quickly agreed to have an angioplasty, a procedure to restore blood flow to the heart by implanting tiny stents in clogged or blocked arteries. He was sent home the following day and said "it went well and I'm feeling much, much better."

"Having a new lease of life is a good thing," he said. "You wake up the next morning and you look around you, everything looks more beautiful. It's a great

Apple Paves Way Towards Carbon-Free Aluminum Smelting Process as Latest Environmental Pledge

The aluminum used in Apple products ranging from iPhones to MacBooks could be more sustainably manufactured in as early as six years.

The first aluminum manufactured with the new process
Apple today announced it has helped facilitate a collaboration between two of the world's largest aluminum producers, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, on a new carbon-free aluminum smelting process. Together, the companies have formed a joint venture called Elysis, which will work to develop the patented technology further.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto aim to achieve larger-scale production and commercialization of the process, with plans to license the technologies beginning in 2024. If fully developed and implemented, it will eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional aluminum smelting process developed over 130 years ago.

Instead of carbon dioxide, the new process releases oxygen, per Apple's press release:
Aluminum has been mass produced the same way since 1886, when it was pioneered by Alcoa's founder, Charles Hall. The process involves applying a strong electrical current to alumina, which removes oxygen. Both Hall's original experiments and today’s largest smelters use a carbon material that burns during the process, producing greenhouse gases. […]

Alcoa has designed a completely new process that replaces that carbon with an advanced conductive material, and instead of carbon dioxide, it releases oxygen.
Alcoa said it has been producing aluminum at its facility near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the new process, to varying degrees, since 2009. The process resulted from

Researchers Demonstrate Subliminal Smart Device Commands That Have Potential for Malicious Attacks

Researchers in the United States and China have been performing tests in an effort to demonstrate that "hidden" commands, or those undetectable to human ears, can reach AI assistants like Siri and force them to perform actions their owners never intended. The research was highlighted in a piece today by The New York Times, suggesting that these subliminal commands can dial phone numbers, open websites, and more potentially malicious actions if placed in the wrong hands.

A group of students from the University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University published a research paper this month, stating that they could embed commands into music recordings or spoken text. When played near an Amazon Echo or Apple iPhone, a person would just hear the song or someone speaking, while Siri and Alexa "might hear an instruction to add something to your shopping list." Or, more dangerous, unlock doors, wire money from your bank, and purchase items online.

The method by which the students were able to accomplish the hidden commands shouldn't be a concern for the public at large, but one of the paper's authors, Nicholas Carlini, believes malicious parties could already be making inroads with similar technology.
“We wanted to see if we could make it even more stealthy,” said Nicholas Carlini, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in computer security at U.C. Berkeley and one of the paper’s authors.

Mr. Carlini added that while there was no evidence that these techniques have left the lab, it may only be a matter of time before someone starts exploiting them. “My assumption

Case Maker Olixar Expects iPhone SE 2 to Have a Notch, But Apparent Lack of Home Button and Face ID Cast Doubts

Apple's second-generation iPhone SE could feature an iPhone X-esque design with a notch, if a sketchy rumor is to be believed, but Face ID is unlikely.

MacRumors has obtained renders and alleged dimensions of the new iPhone SE from case maker Olixar, via online accessories store Mobile Fun, that suggest the device's notch will be approximately half as wide as the one on the iPhone X, almost certainly making it too slim to house facial recognition sensors.

Olixar's render of new iPhone SE with its screen protector
It's hard to imagine that Apple would include Face ID on the iPhone SE in the first place, without significantly raising the price. Including the feature on an iPhone that starts at just $349 would reduce Apple's gross margins and almost certainly cannibalize sales of the iPhone X at $999 and up.

Olixar's renders, which we're told were "obtained from a reliable source" in China, also suggest the new iPhone SE will feature an iPhone X-esque display that stretches nearly edge to edge, surrounded by an aluminum shell with flat sides and chamfered edges, akin to the current model and iPhone 5s.

With an alleged length of 4.7 inches and width of 2.1 inches, the new iPhone SE would be slightly smaller than the current model, remaining suitable for one-handed usage but with a larger display thanks to the fuller-screen design.

Olixar's technical drawing of new iPhone SE with alleged dimensions
The renders do not depict the bottom or back of the device, so it's unclear if there will be a headphone jack or a glass rear shell for wireless charging. As

Apple Teaming Up With Goldman Sachs for Apple Pay-Branded Credit Card

Apple is teaming up with investment bank Goldman Sachs for the launch of a new joint credit card that would be placed under the Apple Pay branding. The card could launch as soon as early 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal.

At the same time, Apple would end its partnership with Barclays, which offered customers an Apple rewards program and financing deals through a Barclaycard Apple Rewards Visa. For the new Goldman partnership, which will replace the Barclaycard, the bank is set to offer in-store loans to Apple customers buying iPhones and other Apple products.

Other specifics of the deal are still being decided upon, people familiar with the matter said, mainly including the terms and benefits of the planned credit card, "including the perks for customers." The Barclays/Apple card currently offers interest-free financing on Apple devices and points toward Apple gift cards.
Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said.
Apple is believed to be adding more focus onto its growing services business, which Apple Pay is part of, and the Goldman Sachs partnership could be a way for the company to spread even more awareness of the digital wallet. In a report on Apple Pay adoption by Loup Ventures earlier this year, 16 percent of global iPhone owners were said to

FCC Sets End Date for Net Neutrality on June 11 as Democrats Lead Vote to Block Repeal

The Federal Communications Commission gave a notice today that states Net Neutrality rules will officially end in the United States on June 11, 2018 (via Reuters). The FCC voted 3-2 in favor of repealing the rules last December, a repeal that was then made official with an entry into the Federal Register in February.

Multi-state lawsuits soon popped up in efforts to block the rollback of Net Neutrality, and now more than a dozen Democratic senators have moved to force a vote on a proposal that would reinstate Net Neutrality protections. According to CNN, the vote is expected to pass the Senate, but will face an "uphill battle" in the Republican-majority House of Representatives, and "would likely be vetoed" by President Trump if it got that far.

Still, Democratic senator Ed Markey cited building momentum for the proposal, with the Senate's vote expected to happen in the middle of next week.
"Our intent is to have it pass in the Senate, the momentum is building," he said. "We expect there to be some considerable momentum coming out of the Senate and 160 will quickly grow towards the 218 that we need to have a vote over there as well."

"When we pass this in the Senate, when we pass it in the House of Representatives, when it's clear the electorate is at 86% favorable for this issue, that we would have a political firestorm throughout this country if President Trump announced that he was going to veto that said protections, replacing it with exactly nothing," he said.
The repeal of Net Neutrality rules will allow internet service providers to block or slow down