Tim Hardwick

Tim is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. He has been covering technology for almost a decade, but will write about anything that interests him, from philosophy of mind to his own personal brand of bad fiction. Originally from Liverpool, England, Tim is currently between homes but can sometimes be found accessing a personal wi-fi hotspot from a ferry somewhere on the Mersey.



Chinese Court Overturns iPhone 6 Patent Ruling in Apple's Favor

A Beijing court has overturned a 2016 ruling that Apple's iPhone 6 violated a Chinese manufacturer's patent, which saw intellectual property regulators attempt to bar sale of the phone in the country (via South China Morning Post). Last June we reported that ailing company Shenzhen Baili filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the iPhone 6 violated the patent of its 100c smartphone. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that the iPhone did infringe on Shenzhen's patent rights, accusing Apple of having "copied" the exterior design of the 100c phone. The Cupertino company was ordered to halt sales in Beijing completely, but an appeal at a regional patent tribunal was granted that allowed both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to remain on sale. Today's news finally appears to have put an end to the legal dispute. The court "quashes the decision of the bureau" and "recognises that Apple ... has not infringed the design patent filed by the company Shenzhen Baili", according to the verdict reported by the People’s Court Daily.The Beijing court ruled that the features of the iPhone 6 "completely change[d] the effect of the entire product" and made both phones "easily distinguishable in the eyes of consumers". The decision is likely to be another nail in the coffin for Baili, which was reported to "barely exist" even at the time of its original victory in the intellectual property office. The company, along with its parent Digione, is no longer a competitor in the Chinese smartphone market and has since collapsed, blighted by

Casetify Debuts Red iPhone 7 Case Collection

Casetify, a site that specializes in custom designed iPhone and iPad cases, today debuted a collection of shine-through design cases especially curated for Apple's special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which also debuts on Friday. In total, 60 different designs make up the collection, which includes repeating pattern designs, favorite quotes, and vector graphics, among other illustrations. Individual cases cost $40 each for both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handset sizes. The cases are made in a soft polycarbonate (TPU) Classic Grip, which safeguards the phone from any accidental drops. The matte, soft-touch frame enables a soft grip, while the semi-transparent back exposes the anodized aluminum red finish of Apple's new iPhone colorway. Using the site's design feature, or the company's mobile app, users also have the ability to create their own see-through designs, by adding photos from their computers, Instagram, or Facebook to personalize their case.

Small Sample of iCloud Credentials Provided By Hackers Are Valid, But Questions Remain

On Wednesday we reported that Apple had become the target of a ransom threat, with hackers claiming to have access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts. A group known as the "Turkish Crime Family" said they would reset and wipe the accounts unless Apple paid them $150,000 in Bitcoin by April 7. Apple responded to the threat by stating that there had not been any breach of its systems, and that if hackers did have access to iCloud accounts then it could only be because of compromised third-party services. Yesterday, ZDNet said it had received a set of 54 account credentials from the hacker group for "verification" and subsequently reported that all of the accounts were valid, based on a check using Apple's online password reset function. The accounts include @icloud.com addresses dating back to 2011, as well as legacy @me.com and @mac.com domains from as early as 2000. The list of credentials is said to contain email addresses and plain-text passwords separated by a colon. According to Troy Hunt, data breach expert and owner of notification site Have I Been Pwned, this would suggest the data could have been aggregated from various sources. ZDNet worked to contact each account holder via iMessage to confirm their password, and found that many of the accounts are no longer registered with Apple's messaging platform. However, of those that could be contacted, 10 people – all based in the U.K. – confirmed that the passwords were accurate, and they have changed them as a result. When pressed about the original source of the data, the hackers claimed

Apple Store Down in Advance of (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and New 9.7-inch iPad Launch at 8:01 a.m. Pacific Time

Apple took down its online store early this morning as the company prepares to launch its special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in more than 40 countries and regions around the world. Internet users attempting to access the store section of the U.S. site are being met with the familiar "We've got something special in store for you" placeholder, accompanied by a relaunch time of 8:01 a.m. Pacific Time, which is when Apple previously said it would officially be launching the new red colorway iPhone. Today Apple is also launching a new lower priced 9.7-inch iPad to replace the iPad Air 2, as well as new storage tier options for the iPhone SE and the iPad mini 4. The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 7 will be available in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for the same $749/$849 and $869/$969 prices as the equivalent iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models in standard colors. The anodized aluminum's vibrant red finish has a white Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple's new tablet, which it is simply calling "iPad", is Apple's new entry-level model at the 9.7-inch size, starting at $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB. The device will be available in more than 20 countries and regions. The new 32GB and 128GB storage capacities for the iPhone SE will cost $399 and $499 respectively, replacing the original 16GB ($399) and 64GB ($449) storage capacities. All other specs for the smaller profile handset remain the same. The new 128GB model iPad mini 4 with Wi-Fi will start at $399, which was previously the price for the 32GB model with Wi-Fi, which has been

Tim Cook Hails China Investment, Says Apple 'Here to Stay'

Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an interview with Chinese media outlet Caixin on Tuesday, in which he emphasized Apple's ambitions in China and its long-term commitment to investment there. Despite Apple's need to see off competition in the country from the likes of Chinese mobile makers Oppo and Huawei, Cook took pains to explain that Apple isn't simply in China to grab a piece of the market, but that it is actively working to create jobs and improve people's standard of living in the country. Tim Cook poses for a photo during his visit to Ofo "We're not just someone who's here to access the market," Cook told Caixin. "We've created almost 5 million jobs in China. I'm not sure there are too many companies, domestic or foreign, who can say that. … There's deep roots here. I think very highly of the country and the people in it. We're here to stay."As reported earlier this week, Cook has spent the last few days in China to celebrate the company's announcement that it is building several research and development facilities in the region. On Wednesday he stopped in at Beijing-based bicycle sharing startup Ofo, which counts ride hailing company Didi Chuxing as one of its investors. Apple surprised analysts last year when it bought a $1 billion stake in Didi, earning it a place on the company's board. Speaking to Caixin, Cook said the investment in Didi was an exceptional case and not a general direction for Apple. "We've never invested in a developer before, and yet we met Didi, and Didi was so impressive. One, we thought their management was so great, we thought

Google Photos and Duo App Updates Coming For Users in Low Connectivity Areas

Google announced a couple of notable updates for its Duo and Photos apps yesterday at the company's São Paulo event, where it pitched the features as ideal solutions for users in Brazil who live in low connectivity areas. Google Photos received two new features to make photo backup and sharing easier when using the app in locations with poor network coverage. Photos now backs up images in a lightweight preview quality that Google says "still looks great on a smartphone" and can be easily shared over poor connections. When a good Wi-Fi connection does become available, the backed up photos are automatically replaced with high quality versions. We’re also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you're at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They'll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.Video calling app Duo gained an audio-only calling feature that users can switch to when an internet connection is poor. The features for both apps are available in Brazil from today, and Google says it will be rolling them out to users around the world in the coming days. Yesterday, Google also announced a new feature for Maps that lets users share their real-time locations with friends and

Tim Cook Confirms Apple Will Make Global Fund Donations From Sales of Red iPhone 7 in China

With the news earlier today that Apple has ditched the PRODUCT(RED) branding for the red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in China, MacRumors reached out to CEO Tim Cook to find out if any of the proceeds on sales in the country would still be donated to charity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. MacRumors' question: We noticed the (PRODUCT)RED branding is missing from the new red iPhone 7 on the China Apple website. Will you be donating any of the proceeds from the phone's China sales to the HIV/AIDs cause anyway? Tim Cook's response: We donate to the Global Fund on every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus we sell in every country in the world. Since the omission of the branding came to light, there's been some speculation that recent changes in Chinese law prevent not-for-profit organizations from being involved in commercial advertising. Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears Apple will be upholding its (PRODUCT)RED charitable donations commitment with or without said branding. Apple's special edition red iPhone 7 models, due to be launched on Friday in more than 40 countries, are the first iPhones to join Apple's (PRODUCT)RED line-up. Apple said the new handset color was in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and the charity (RED), offering customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund and "bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation". In the same press release, (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the fund, having contributed more than $130 million to the charity, which seeks to provide

Apple Drops iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Branding in China

Yesterday, Apple announced a special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, to go with its current (PRODUCT)RED line-up that Apple promotes as a way for customers to support HIV/AIDS charity (RED). The red handset, which launches on Friday, is the first time Apple has included its flagship phone in the promotional line-up, but the PRODUCT(RED) iPhone branding does not apply across all regions. Apple's Taiwan website As noted by TechCrunch, internet users have spotted that the (PRODUCT)RED branding is missing on the regional China website, but all other details including launch date and time remain identical, indicating that Apple is promoting the red iPhone in the country simply as an additional colorway. Apple's China website Sex remains a controversial issue in China, where traditional values frequently clash with more liberal Western attitudes as the country's economic boom increasingly opens it to outside influence. In the past, AIDS and HIV have been characterized in China as a consequence of contact with the West, but recent legislation has been more progressive and a lot more successful in treating the AIDS/HIV problem in the country. Despite the gradual change in attitudes, it's likely Apple took the decision to drop the (PRODUCT)RED affiliation in order to avoid possible tension with the Chinese government, following recent incidents in which the company has fallen foul of China's restrictive internet policies. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics,

Amazon Brings 'Send to Kindle' Read-it-Later Feature to Safari iOS

Amazon has added a long-awaited Pocket-style read-it-later feature to its Kindle iOS app that allows users browsing the web to send articles to their Kindle device for offline reading. Amazon has offered desktop Chrome and Firefox browser extensions to feed into its Send to Kindle feature for some time, but the company had not offered a Safari-compatible iOS solution until now. The new feature works as a Send to Kindle extension in Safari's Share Sheet. After updating the Kindle app, users can add the extension by scrolling to the end of the first row of icons in Share Sheet, tapping the More button, and enabling it in the app list. Users can find saved articles at the top of their library in the Kindle app as well as any Kindle devices associated with their Amazon account. Articles are saved in Kindle format, meaning users can adjust their look in the usual way via the text, font, page color, and line spacing options. The articles are also compatible with Kindle features like dictionary lookup, translations, Wikipedia search, bookmarking, text highlighting, and annotations. The read-it-later feature is included in the latest version of Kindle for iOS, which is a free download on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Bear Notes 1.1 Update Adds Infinite Nested Tags, Note Merging, 3D Touch, New Code Syntax Support, and More

Flexible writing platform Bear Notes received its first major update on Tuesday, bringing a number of highly requested features to the popular Mac/iOS app. Perhaps top of the list is the new ability to infinitely nest tags. Previously, users could organize their notes by structuring tags in simple hierarchies, so a parent tag could have one child tag. Now, nested tags can go infinitely deep, allowing for more nuanced note organization. A handful of other general updates include the ability to bulk delete and rename tags, change the note list font, a new way to exclude search terms, additional support to import from other apps such as Day One, code syntax highlighting in exported documents, and better Word exports. There's also a new High Contrast theme ideal for visually impaired users, three additional font choices, new shortcuts, expanded support for programming language syntax highlighting, and the ability to undo completed tasks. Meanwhile, a raft of Mac and iOS specific enhancements have also been made to the writing platform. On the Mac side, Bear introduces Touch Bar support, tag drag and drop, multiple note merging, Quadro app support, QuickLook preview support, and a new Firefox extension. For iOS users comes the ability to Peek and Pop notes in the notes list via 3D Touch, enhanced formatting options for importing web pages via the Bear Notes extension, haptic feedback options for multiple actions, and the ability to ask Siri to read Bear notes. The full list of updates and enhancements can be found on the Bear Notes blog. The core

Apple Launches New Silicone and Leather iPhone 7 Case Colors

Apple this morning made its iPhone 7 silicone and leather cases available in a handful of new colors. The colors of the new silicone cases (above, left to right) are described as Azure, Camellia, and Pebble, priced at $35 for iPhone 7 models and $39 for iPhone 7 Plus. Elsewhere, the leather case options have expanded to include shades of Sapphire, Taupe, and Berry, costing $45 for iPhone 7 and $49 for iPhone 7 Plus. In addition to the iPhone 7 cases, a new iPhone SE leather case in Saddle Brown is available for $39. All of the cases can be ordered on Apple's online store as of this

Apple Doubles iPhone SE Storage to 32GB and 128GB

Apple has announced that it will soon offer the iPhone SE in 32GB and 128GB storage capacities for $399 and $499 respectively. iPhone SE was previously available in 16GB and 64GB storage capacities for $399 and $449 respectively. The 64GB model was initially $499, but it received a price cut following the iPhone 7 launch. The 4-inch smartphone will remain available in four colors: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. Apple said the new iPhone SE models, which have the same tech specs, will be available online and in stores on Friday, March

Apple Unveils Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Apple today announced it is launching a special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on Friday, March 24. PRODUCT(RED) models will be available in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for the same $749/$849 and $869/$969 prices as the equivalent iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models in standard colors. The anodized aluminum's vibrant red finish is complemented by a white Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple says the model is in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which it says gives customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund and "bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation."“Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products, from the original iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition all the way to today's lineup of Beats products and accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers' hands."The special edition iPhone joins the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available to purchase year-round, including the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone will be available to order on

Chinese Mobile Dealer Teases Possible 'Red' Color Option for iPhone 7

Chinese phone dealer and ecommerce site Taobao has posted a teasing picture to a Weibo account that suggests a red color option could be appearing imminently for the iPhone 7 and/or iPhone 7 Plus. As spotted by French tech blog igen.fr, the image very clearly plays on the possibility, with red dots like marching ants outlining a blank handset among a throng of iPhone 7 Plus devices and the word "Ready?" underneath with the letters r, e, and d highlighted in red. Japanese blog Mac Otakara has claimed Apple will host a March event to debut its new iPad Pro lineup, an iPhone SE with 128GB storage, new Apple Watch bands, and a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While an event now looks unlikely, it's possible the red color could appear alongside other new products when Apple's online store comes back up within the next couple of hours. (Thanks, Anna!)

U.S. Bans Tablets and Laptops on Flights From Eight Middle Eastern Countries [Update: U.K. Plans Similar Ban]

The Department of Homeland of Security today announced new carry-on restrictions that prevent U.S.-bound passengers from eight Middle Eastern countries from carrying personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone in the passenger cabin. The TSA order, which does not have a stated end date, covers laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and handheld gaming devices larger than a smartphone. According to the "emergency amendment", such forbidden devices must be stowed in checked baggage. The list of Muslim-majority countries includes Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The nine airlines impacted by the order are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiad Airways. If the airlines fail to implement the changes within 96 hours, the Federal Aviation Authority could revoke their clearance certificates, which would ban them from flying into U.S. airspace. No U.S. airline is affected by the ban because none currently operates direct flights to and from the above destinations. U.S. Administration aides declined to comment on any new or specific threats, but said the government had made the decision based on evaluated intelligence suggesting some terrorist organizations have considered using consumer electronics as a way to hide explosives and smuggle them onto passenger planes. It's not yet clear if or how this ruling relates to the Trump administration's revised travel ban, which is currently being challenged by U.S.

New Apple Product Expectations See AAPL and Supplier Shares Surge to Record Highs

Shares in Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) hit an all-time high on Tuesday, coming on the back of record spikes in Apple's share price over the last few trading days. TSMC share price rose to 195 New Taiwan Dollars, up NT$3.5 or 1.83 percent on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, breaking a previous record set in October 2016. Shares in other Apple parts suppliers in Asia also rallied on Tuesday, reported Nikkei Asian Review. Shares in optical lens manufacturer Largan Precision hit an all-time high and contract electronics maker Pegatron reached the highest level since last year. At one point, Foxconn reached NT$91.80, its highest level since 2016. The rallies came as Apple's own share price hit another all-time high on Monday, reaching $141.46 at the end of trading, following indications that the company could make new product announcements on Tuesday. Rumors suggest Apple is planning updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, a 128GB iPhone SE, a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and new Apple Watch bands. The gains have also been fed by speculation surrounding Apple's "iPhone 8", which is expected to launch in the fall, but could conceivably appear earlier. Several financial analysts have raised their price targets for Apple's stock to between $150 and $185, according to research notes obtained by MacRumors. TSMC is also thought to be considering moving some of its chip manufacturing into the United States, according to sources, with a decision said to be coming specifically in the "first half of 2018", with upwards of $16 billion

Tim Cook Visits Beijing-Based Bike Sharing Startup, Ofo

Tim Cook visited Beijing-based bike-sharing company ofo on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The Apple CEO has been in China since at least Saturday, when he gave a wide-ranging talk at the China Development Forum. During his ofo stop, Cook met with founding members including CEO Dai Wei, and posed for pictures of him riding a yellow ofo bike. "Thanks for welcoming me today, ofo team! Great energy behind your mission to make commuting greener, more efficient and fun!" Cook said in his official Sina Weibo post, along with pictures of him riding an ofo bike.The rivalry between China's bike sharing startups has been compared to the battle between Uber and local competitor Didi Chuxing. Last year, Apple poured a $1 billion investment into Didi Chuxing, earning it a seat on the company's board. At the time, Cook described the investment as "a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market". Ofo, which counts Didi Chuxing as an investor, confirmed that Cook made the company visit on Tuesday but said no discussions regarding collaboration or investment took place. The company has already raised $450 million this month, which saw its valuation pass the $1 billion mark for the first time. Founded in 2014, ofo developed the world's first "non-docking" bike sharing platform operated by a mobile application, according to its site. Ofo and main rival Mobike are among a number of rapidly emerging bike-sharing services that allow users to find, unlock, and pay to rent trackable bicycles through smartphone apps, allowing younger consumers to get around

Review: Lofree's Mechanical Bluetooth Keyboard Is a Beautiful, Frustrating Typewriter for Your Mac

Redesigning an input device is a risky business. When Apple introduced its latest MacBooks, some users complained that the new butterfly mechanism in the keys was a turnoff. They criticized the keyboard for its lack of travel, and said the experience of typing was not much different to tapping on a touch screen. Other users felt okay with the change. Whichever side people fell on the debate, everyone could agree that how a keyboard actually feels beneath the fingers matters a great deal. With the lofree Bluetooth keyboard, the designers have tried to re-imagine the typing process in a more radical way, by recreating the experience of operating a traditional typewriter, but in an elegant retro-modern design. The desirability of such a product is in no doubt – lofree's Indiegogo campaign set out to raise $10,000 over 30 days, but has already garnered $364,443 from over 4,000 backers, with several weeks to spare. We got a hold of a finished unit to see if the lofree keyboard can live up to expectations.

Galaxy S8 Retail Price to Significantly Undercut Premium 'iPhone 8'

Fresh leaks of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 have revealed that the de facto "iPhone 8" rival will come in three colors and cost upwards of 799 euros ($859) when it goes on sale next month in Europe. Serial mobile leaker Evan Blass revealed the news in a Sunday tweet, which included an official press image of Samsung's new flagship phone in colors described as Black Sky, Orchid Grey, and Arctic Silver. Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus (top to bottom) in black sky, orchid grey and arctic silver (left to right) pic.twitter.com/ISo7W10sYV— Evan Blass (@evleaks) 19 March 2017 A second tweet offered the pricing details, with the 5.8-inch S8 starting at 799 euros and the 6.2-inch S8 Plus going for 899 euros ($967). Blass also revealed the prices of a handful of accessories set to launch with the phone, including a DeX docking station (150 euros/$161), a new GearVR headset (129 euros/$138), and a Gear 360 camera (229 euros/$246). While direct currency conversions are no guarantee of actual prices outside of Europe, the phones still look likely to undercut Apple's upcoming 5.8-inch OLED iPhone by some margin. Tentatively dubbed "iPhone 8" by media outlets, the tenth anniversary edition model could cost upwards of $1,000, according to one report claiming knowledge of Apple's plans. The premium tier device is expected to feature a radical redesign with a flat edge-to-edge OLED screen supplied by Samsung, a virtual home button and some form of wireless charging, launching alongside more typical "S" cycle iPhone models to succeed the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Samsung's S8

Apple CEO Tim Cook Touts Benefits of Globalization in China Speech

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a talk on Saturday to attendees of the China Development Forum 2017, where he offered commentary on a range of issues including globalization, economics, and data privacy. The annual forum is a high-profile conference in which senior Chinese government officials, global corporation leaders, institutions, and scholars gather to discuss major issues including Chinese economic reform and the country's relationship with the wider world. Other tech CEOs at this year's event included IBM's Ginni Rometty and Siemens' Joe Kaeser. Image: VCG/VCG via Getty Images According to The Wall Street Journal, Cook chose to focus on the perceived merits of globalization during his speech, calling its impact on the world "great" in general, while noting the currently uneven distribution of its economic and cultural gains. Despite shortcomings – and amid calls from the Trump administration to direct investment inwardly – Cook encouraged China and other countries to bet on a future of more balanced development by opening themselves further to foreign investment. "I think the worst thing would be to — because it didn't help everyone — is to say it's bad and do less of that," said Cook. "I think the reality is you can see that countries in the world... that isolate themselves, it's not good for their people."In general, Cook's comments largely avoided sensitive Chinese political issues. On the subject of data privacy and cybersecurity, for example, Cook reiterated previous statements made about the importance of encryption to protect user information from state