Apple Releases Revised Version of iTunes 12.6, Eliminates Strange 'Profile Page' Toggle

Apple today released a revised version of iTunes 12.6, which appears to eliminate a hidden option that may have accidentally been built into the software release.

Shortly after the original release of iTunes 12.6 on Tuesday, a reddit user discovered a "Show on Profile Page" toggle on a Playlist edit page.


The toggle didn't appear to do anything because there's currently no individual profile page feature in iTunes, and now the non-functional feature has been eliminated from the 12.6 iTunes release, suggesting it was added by mistake and could be destined for some kind of future iTunes profile addition.

It is entirely unclear what a Profile Page might entail, but reddit users speculated that it could be for a future social network or a Spotify-style searchable playlist database.

The new iTunes 12.6 update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. It includes a "Rent once, watch anywhere" feature that lets iTunes users watch iTunes movie rentals across all devices with the as-of-yet unreleased iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 updates.

Prior to the iTunes 12.6 update, iTunes movies could only be watched on a single device at a time. A movie rented on a Mac transferred to an iPhone would remove the movie from the Mac's iTunes Library, while a movie rented on an iOS device or Apple TV could not previously be transferred to other devices.

We don't yet know when the iTunes 12.6 update will become functional, as it is reliant on iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2, but those who are running the betas can use the cross-rental feature. The iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 software updates could come at any time.

Twitter Considering Paid Subscription Tier for Professional Users on TweetDeck at $20/Month

Twitter is said to be "considering" whether to implement an all-new paid subscription tier that would be introduced in a premium package for TweetDeck, Twitter's popular desktop client, and be aimed directly at professionals (via Reuters). If enacted, this would be the first time Twitter charges users for any part of its social media services, which began eleven years ago in March of 2006.

A mockup of what the premium TweetDeck subscription service could look like

Twitter is looking at providing a professional experience for people on TweetDeck that would pack in advance tools and features not found anywhere else on the service. The premium package would cost $19.99 per month, be accessible on both desktop and mobile, and include the following features:

- Exclusive news/alerts summaries personalized for you
- Content management tools like bookmarks, to-do lists, and 'save for later'
- Cross posting to other social media platforms
- Advanced custom trend analysis and alerting tools
- Exclusive content on social media best practices and strategy
- Enhanced tools for managing and creating custom audience lists (e.g., by interest, customer, or region, etc.)
- Exclusive priority customer support
- The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts
- Advanced publishing features (e.g., scheduling, collaboration, drafting, etc.)
- Advanced tools for sorting or filtering searches
- An ad-free experience
- Analysis tools for understanding topics or conversations on Twitter
- Ability to access this experience on both desktop and mobile devices
- Ability to securely manage the account across multiple team members
- Twitter customization such as color themes and layouts
- Access to pre-populated lists of users and influencers by interest topic (e.g., industry or subject experts)
- Additional account activity details (e.g., influence scores, account unfollows, or ability to see who is looking at your profile page)
- Ability to import user lists from outside sources
- Advanced analytics on my own content performance

The news was shared by The New York Times affiliated journalist Andrew Tavani, and in addition to the detailed list of features, he tweeted out an overall summary of what the service is said to encompass. With the premium additions, Twitter is aiming to help journalists, marketers, and other such professionals "get even more out of Twitter."
"Twitter is considering offering a more advanced TweetDeck experience, with more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker, to gain more insights, and see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter. Whether you use Twitter for work or just want to be more informed on the latest news, sports, entertainment, political viewpoints, and information in today's world, this more advanced TweetDeck experience will be designed to help you get even more out of Twitter.

This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting, and signaling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard.

It will be designed to make it easier than ever to keep up with multiple interests, grow your audience, and see even more great content and information in real-time. It would also offer extra features such as advanced audience insight and analytics, tools to monitor multiple timelines from multiple accounts and from multiple devices, including mobile, all in an ad-free experience.
Twitter confirmed that it is conducting a survey "to access the interest" in this premium version of the service, so no official decision has been made as of yet. It should also be pointed out that the company's wording strictly stuck to the added value proposition for "professionals," with no apparent intention to make a monthly subscription version of Twitter for its casual users.

In the past few years, Twitter has struggled to convince users to stay with the service, as well as faced difficulties in enticing new users to adopt Twitter over its competitors like Snapchat and Facebook. Changes to the service have done some good in improving certain annoyances users had with it -- like removing handles and media attachments from the character count limit and improving anti-harassment tools -- but Twitter has seen little growth from these initiatives. Twitter's total worldwide users currently sit at 319 million, compared to Facebook's 1.86 billion.

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 that it was "handled in groups" without explaining how or why. The hackers also refused to hand over a U.S.-based sample of accounts.

All of the people with compromised accounts said that until now, they had never changed their iCloud passwords before. One person said that the password he confirmed with ZDNet was no longer in use as of about two years ago, which narrows down the possible date of a breach or multiple breaches to somewhere between 2011 and 2015.

Most of the people confirmed that they used their iCloud email address and password on other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, three people said that their iCloud email address and password were unique to iCloud, and were not used on any other site. Also, two people claimed someone had tried to reset their iCloud passwords in the past day.

It's unclear if the sample provided is representative of the wider pool of credentials the hackers claim to have, but based on its communications with the group, ZDNet suspects that its members are "naïve and inexperienced" and primarily seeking publicity.

Given that Apple has denied a breach, the account information may have been obtained from a major hacking incident, such as the one that befell Yahoo. iCloud users who have the same username and password that was used for both a hacked site and for iCloud should change their passwords immediately.

Anyone else concerned about the hacking claims should change their password and consider using two-factor authentication to secure their Apple ID credentials. Apple has said that it is "actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved".

Tag: iCloud

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 their idea was great," Cook said. "And we liked the holistic view, they were doing everything from taxi to the more-traditional private-car thing. There was a strategic alignment. They needed some funds to continue to grow. We really want them to be successful and be global."
Cook kicked off his China visit with a wide-ranging talk on Saturday at the China Development Forum, where he underlined his support for globalization. When asked by Caixin about the subject, the Apple CEO said there were three groups of people he always kept in mind.
"My view on globalization is that you can think of three groups of people. There's a group of people that globalization has helped tremendously. There's a group that globalization did not help. There's a group of people that globalization hurt," Cook said. "Globalization has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But I also recognize is that it did not help everyone."
Commenting further on the recent political steps away from globalized investment, such as the protectionist policies of the Trump administration, Cook admitted it was important for policymakers to address the issues that have led to resentment by some, but said it would be a mistake to roll back the process of globalization.
"You want to keep this going because it's great. But we must fix this," Cook said. "I do think there are ways to address it. I don't think it’s an impossible task. I hope the politicians will put their attention on fixing that problem. … I'm optimistic. We must be. There are so many good things in the world. We just have to make sure we focus on the thing to fix."
Cook is likely to remain in the country until at least Friday, when Apple will launch its special edition red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus globally. Despite the missing (PRODUCT)RED branding in China, Cook told MacRumors that proceeds from sales of the red colorway iPhones will still go to help the fight against HIV/AIDS, which has been called a "looming epidemic" in the country.

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.

Tags: China, Tim Cook

How to Tell Whether Your New LG UltraFine 5K Display Has the Shielding Fix

Last week, we shared a brief video showing that LG's revisions to the shielding in the UltraFine 5K display have successfully addressed issues with the display flickering and disconnecting when in close proximity to Wi-Fi routers. Apple and LG had temporarily pulled the display from the market while LG adjusted its manufacturing processes to incorporate the fix and push the new stock into sales channels, and sales of the revised display began earlier this month.

At the time of last week's post, we noted that customers purchasing the UltraFine 5K display should check for serial numbers beginning with 702 or 703, as these indicate manufacturing dates of February or March after the fix was put into place. Several MacRumors readers subsequently reported, however, that they have recently received units shipped from Apple with serial numbers starting with 612, indicating manufacturing dates in December 2016.

These readers have been uncertain as to whether their units have the revised shielding in place, or if they should be testing their displays to see if the flickering issue can be induced. One reader noticed that the label on the box of his December UltraFine 5K included a black circular sticker at the top left, a sticker that was not present on our original UltraFine 5K display that was manufactured in November and shipped in December and which was susceptible to the interference issue.

December 2016 unit retrofitted prior to sale (left) vs. March 2017 unit properly shielded from the start (right)

Newly manufactured UltraFine 5K units include a black square printed directly on the label in the same location, and LG has confirmed to MacRumors that the presence of a circle or square does in fact indicate that the unit has the revised internal shielding and should be protected from the interference issues.

While LG did not explicitly confirm any difference between a circle and a square, it appears that the square is indicative of a unit that was originally manufactured with the proper shielding, while the circle is used on earlier units that were subsequently retrofitted with the shielding before sale. There should be no difference in the performance of the two versions.

For those users with units lacking a circle or square on the label and thus susceptible to the Wi-Fi interference, LG is conducting free repairs to install the proper shielding. Users are advised to contact LG to arrange for the repair, which can take up to 7-10 business days once the display is received by the repair facility.

Customers interested in purchasing the UltraFine 5K should remember that Apple's 25 percent discount on USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 accessories is still scheduled to end on March 31, so they have just over a week to order the display at its discounted price of $974 before it goes back up to its regular price of $1299.95. It is possible Apple could extend the discount as it has done once already, but there are no guarantees.

Related Roundup: Displays
Tag: LG

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 26 With WebGPU Prototype

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced one year ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 26 includes fixes and improvements for Web API, CSS, Rendering, Web Inspector, WebDriver, and WebCrypto. Today's update also includes a WebGPU prototype, accessible from the Experimental Features menu.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

djay Pro for Mac Gains Touch Bar Enhancements, Pioneer DJ Integration

Algoriddim's djay Pro for Mac received a major update today, introducing a range of new features for both hobbyists and professional DJs.

Through a partnership with Pioneer DJ, djay Pro is now officially certified to work with hardware like the CDJ-200NXS2 and the TOUR1, equipment widely used by professionals.

Seamless plug-and-play integration adds support for Pioneer DJ's DJ Link technology, allowing users to connect up to four CDJs with their Pioneer mixer using a single USB cable through the new LAN Link feature. It's a much simpler setup, and allows for access to full Spotify and iTunes catalogs from the CDJ screens.

"djay Pro is the most modern way to DJ on your Mac," said Karim Morsy, CEO of Algoriddim. "This new version adds a host of new features for live performance, music discovery, and preparation. It combines the best of both worlds, content discovery via Spotify and hardware access through Pioneer DJ's state-of-the-art CDJ setups."
Touch Bar integration has been improved in the new version of djay Pro, adding the ability to manipulate two decks simultaneously, manually select the active deck, and navigate the library to preview and prepare songs. Other Touch Bar features that were added in a previous update let users scratch and slice tracks, apply filters and effects in realtime, and trigger audio samples.

djay Pro has long offered Spotify integration, but with the new update, there is improved access to the Spotify Browse feature, letting DJs quickly and easily discover new music based on mood, genre, and popularity.

Today's djay Pro update is free for all customers who own a copy of the software.

djay Pro for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Apple Releases iTunes 12.6 With Cross-Device Movie Rental Access

Following a slew of new product announcements early this morning, Apple today released iTunes 12.6, the next major update for the iTunes app on Mac devices.

iTunes 12.6 introduces a "Rent once, watch anywhere" feature that lets iTunes users watch iTunes movie rentals across all devices with iOS 10.3 or tvOS 10.2.

Prior to this update, an iTunes movie was only available on a single device at a time. When a movie rented on a Mac was transferred to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod using USB, the movie became unavailable from an iTunes library until returned to the Mac.

A movie rented on an iOS device or an Apple TV was not previously watchable on other devices and could not be transferred between devices.

The wording of the release notes seems to suggest we're going to see iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 released in the very near future, as the new iTunes update pertains specifically to those releases. We could see new software as soon as tomorrow.

According to Apple's release notes, the update also includes minor app and performance improvements.

The new iTunes 12.6 update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free.

Tag: iTunes

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 congested roads and public transport.

Ofo operates 2.2 million bikes in 43 cities in China, with pilot schemes in Singapore, London, and California.

Tag: China

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.

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Tags: review, Lofree

Review: LG's $1500 38UC99 UltraWide Display Offers a Giant, Desk-Filling Workspace

We've already looked at LG's UltraFine 5K and 27UD88 displays as companions for Apple's latest notebooks, and today we're taking a look at another USB-C display option that brings something quite different: LG's 38UC99 curved "UltraWide" display.


This is a desk-filling display in the truest sense of the term: 37.5 inches on the diagonal with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a native resolution of 3840x1600. It has fewer pixels than a true 4K or Ultra HD display, but its sheer size makes up for it in some unique ways. While the UltraFine 5K and 27UD88 displays work best at Retina or scaled resolutions, the 38UC99 uses a full 3840x1600 desktop that leaves everything on screen at just the right size to be useful. No, it's not a Retina display in this mode, but until we have 8K displays this will have to do.

Even without Retina resolution, this display is impressive. The sheer size of it gives you so much flexibility in terms of your workspace. I can easily have three large windows open side-by-side with room to spare.

UltraFine 5K, 38UC99, 2016 MacBook Pro (left to right)

I've been testing this in a three-display setup with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, an UltraFine 5K, and the 38UC99. It's a ridiculous amount of desktop space that I can barely fit on my desk, and the MacBook Pro with entry-level graphics runs all of it without breaking a sweat.

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Tags: review, LG, USB-C

Apple to Build Two Additional R&D Centers in China

Apple announced today that it will set up two additional research and development centers in China, to go with the two locations in the country that it announced last year. The new R&D centers will open in Shanghai and Suzhou, the company said in a statement on its Chinese website on Friday.

Apple hopes the centers will help it to attract graduates from institutes such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Shanghai Jiaotong University, and has partnered with schools in the region to offer internship programs, in the hope of developing experts to work closely with its regional supply chain.

Shanghai, China
"We are looking forward to working with more local partners and academic institutions through the expansion of R&D centers in China," said Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple. "We are honored to have access to excellent talent and a positive entrepreneurial spirit in the region, where our developers and suppliers will be working together.
Apple's attempt to boost its presence in the country began last September with the opening of its first R&D center in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley". Another R&D center, this time in Shenzhen, was announced the following month.

Apple has pledged to invest more than 3.5 billion yuan ($508 million) in research and development in the country, in a bid to address dwindling returns on its Chinese iPhone business as consumers opt for low-cost mobile alternatives. Apple has also experienced pushback in other areas of its China plans, including the closure of iTunes and iBooks Stores.

Apple is expected to have completed construction of all its research and development centers in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Suzhou later this year.

Tag: China