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

WePay Now Supports Apple Pay on Web

WePay, an online payment service provider, today announced that its customers can now accept Apple Pay and Android Pay on the web.


WePay's biggest customers include popular crowdfunding website GoFundMe, cloud productivity software company Zoho, and cloud-based accounting software service FreshBooks. Some of its other clients include Constant Contact, Meetup, Chargebee, Infusionsoft, Invoice Ninja, and RallyBound.

Apple Pay on the web launched in Safari on iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, expanding upon in-store and in-app payments. The feature started rolling out in September 2016 on websites such as Indiegogo, StubHub, and Wayfair, with other committed partners including Airbnb, Fandango, Target, Ticketmaster, and more.

Apple Pay on the web works with iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later. iOS 10 or later is required. On Macs, Apple Pay on the web requires an iPhone with Touch ID and Apple Pay support or an Apple Watch, as payments are authenticated through the smartphone or watch.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Apple Not Listed on New Legal Brief Opposing Trump's Second Travel Ban

Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more than 60 other companies have either decided not to sign, or have yet to sign, a new legal brief filed in federal court in Hawaii this week, constituting the makings of a lawsuit looking to block the second version of President Donald Trump's travel ban (via Reuters). Trump referred to the new order as a "watered-down version" of the original, but a federal judge in Hawaii nevertheless blocked the revised order.

Over a month ago, Apple joined 100 U.S. companies in support of a legal brief that opposed the first immigration ban. That order banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States, blocked citizens of seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the U.S. for 90 days, and suspended entry of all refugees entering the U.S. for 120 days. The new ban removed Iraq from the list, exempted green card and visa holders, and toned down "contentious language referring to religious minorities."


On Tuesday, a new legal brief was filed in a Hawaiian court on behalf of 58 total Silicon Valley companies voicing support for the state's blocking of Trump's order, down from 127 companies on the first brief. A few companies mentioned on the new opposition brief include Kickstarter, Airbnb, and Dropbox. Although the current list is small, hope for the lawsuit to succeed is growing, and New York lawyer Robert Atkins -- who co-authored the new brief -- said "we do expect the group to expand."
Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc are among more than 60 technology companies that appear to have backed away from the legal fight against U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, deciding not to put their weight behind a lawsuit seeking to block the second version of his executive order.

A legal brief filed in federal court in Hawaii on Tuesday on behalf of Silicon Valley companies listed the support of 58 companies, less than half the 127 signatories to a similar brief filed in an appeals court last month after Trump's first executive order banning travel from a number of countries the administration said posed a security risk.

It was not immediately clear why fewer of them signed on to the "friend-of-the-court" brief this time around.
Apple was a large part of the opposition to the travel ban last month, helping pen an open letter to Trump explaining that the U.S. is a "nation made stronger by immigrants," while Apple CEO Tim Cook said that it "is not a policy we support." Trump himself said he plans to appeal against the federal judge's halting of his revised order and take the case "as far as it needs to go," including the Supreme Court.

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.

Researchers Uncover macOS and Safari Exploits at Pwn2Own 2017

The seventeenth annual CanSecWest security conference is underway in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, where researchers are competing in the 10th anniversary Pwn2Own computer hacking contest for over $1 million in prizes.

Day one results have already been published over at the Zero Day Initiative website, with a couple of successful Mac-related exploits already appearing in the list of achievements. Independent hackers Samuel Groß and Niklas Baumstark landed a partial success and earned $28,000 after targeting Safari with an escalation to root on macOS, which allowed them to scroll a message on a MacBook Pro Touch Bar.


In a partial win, Samuel Groß (@5aelo) and Niklas Baumstark (@_niklasb) earn some style points by leaving a special message on the touch bar of the Mac. They used a use-after-free (UAF) in Safari combined with three logic bugs and a null pointer dereference to exploit Safari and elevate to root in macOS. They still managed to earn $28,000 USD and 9 Master of Pwn points.
Later in the day, Chaitin Security Research Lab also targeted Safari with an escalation to root on macOS, finding success using a total of six bugs in their exploit chain, including "an info disclosure in Safari, four type confusion bugs in the browser, and a UAF in WindowServer". The combined efforts earned the team $35,000.

The participating teams earned a total of $233,000 in prizes on day one, including a leading $105,000 earned by Tencent Security, according to published details. Other software successfully targeted by contestants include Adobe Reader, Ubuntu Desktop, and Microsoft Edge on Windows.

Apple representatives have attended the Pwn2Own contest in the past, and affected parties are made aware of all security vulnerabilities discovered during the contest in order to patch them. Pwn2Own day two begins today at 8:30 a.m. Pacific and will involve additional exploit attempts against macOS and Safari.

Chrome 57 Reduces Desktop Power Consumption By Throttling Background Tabs

Version 57 of the desktop Chrome web browser includes a new CPU throttling feature that Google says will lead to 25 percent fewer busy background tabs and help reduce overall power consumption.

Charges that Chrome is a battery hog have long dogged Google's browser, leading the company to make efficient power usage a key pillar in its long-term development strategy for the software. Throttling background tabs by limiting Javascript timers is the latest attempt by Google to improve the browser's reputation.


Javascript timers are often used by news sites and social media networks to update web page content in tabs, which uses up valuable CPU cycles. From version 57 of the browser, Chrome will delay timers in individual background tabs if their power usage oversteps the mark. Tabs that play audio or use real-time connections won't be affected, however.
Chrome has focused on improving the user experience by throttling tab performance for many years. Like many browsers, Chrome has limited timers in the background to only run once per second. Via the new throttling policy, Chrome 57 will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background. Tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC won’t be affected.
According to Google, the new throttling mechanism leads to fewer busy background tabs, which typically consume a third of Chrome's power usage on desktop computers. In the long term, Google aims to fully suspend timers in background tabs and instead rely on new APIs to do the work instead.

Chrome 57 is available to download for Mac users now. Existing users can update by selecting Chrome -> Preferences via the menu bar and clicking the About section. Users downloading Chrome for the first time will automatically receive the updated version from the Chrome download page. An update for the iOS browser app has also been released with a new Read Later option.

Tags: Google, Chrome

Apple Joins Group of Companies Supporting Google in Foreign Email Privacy Case

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Cisco have filed an amicus brief supporting Google in an ongoing case dealing with security and privacy, topics that Apple has been known to advocate in the past (via Business Insider). Most recently, Google's case has led to a court in Pennsylvania requesting the company to comply to an FBI warrant asking for emails residing on foreign servers.

Although it's unclear what resides within the emails in question, in a report last month (via The Register) it was said that a Pennsylvania district court submitted two domestic search warrants -- issued under the Stored Communications Act -- targeted at the suspects in the case and their emails stored overseas. Google was given two orders previously, which it refused to comply with, before the judge in the case ruled that as an American corporation it must abide by the rulings of an American court, no matter where the data in question is being held.


The coalition of companies supporting Google now argue that the scope of the SCA doesn't reach into foreign territories, and could lead to Google being forced to violate foreign data privacy laws. The amicus brief cites a case where Microsoft was asked to hand over emails stored on cloud servers in Ireland.

Microsoft eventually won that case when it argued that the SCA does not cover data stored on servers in foreign countries and that the Act itself is "a statute enacted when the internet was still in its infancy" (it dates back to 1986) and subsequently should not be the touchstone of modern, technology-driven privacy cases.
The U.S. Government frequently serves some Amici with warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA). When the data sought is stored in a U.S. data center, Amici regularly comply with such warrants. The Government, however, also has attempted to use such warrants to force some Amici, without consent of the customer or the foreign country, to seize private emails stored in a foreign country and to turn them over to the Government. But the SCA does not authorize warrants that reach into other countries, and forcing those Amici to execute such searches on the Government’s behalf would place those Amici in the position of being compelled to risk violating foreign data privacy laws
The brief also argues that if Google is forced to hand over the emails, a reverse situation could occur that opens the floodgates for foreign countries to request emails from U.S. citizens that are stored on U.S. servers. At the most extreme, the brief argues that foreign nations could see the data extraction as "an affront to their sovereignty in much the same way that physically conducting law enforcement activity on foreign soil would violate their sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Other than the filing of the amicus brief, Google's case hasn't moved forward in any way since February. When the Pennsylvanian court filed the search warrant forcing Google to hand over the emails, a spokesperson for the company said that Google plans to continue to appeal and "we will continue to push back on over-broad warrants."

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.

Puzzle Game 'The Witness' Launches on Mac App Store, iOS Version Still Coming Soon

Jonathan Blow's console and PC puzzle game The Witness has launched on the Mac App Store a little over a year after first debuting on PS4 and Windows PCs. Like other platforms, the game costs $39.99 [Direct Link] and tasks players with deciphering hundreds of puzzles set on a mysterious island.

Since its release early last year the game has received critical acclaim for its puzzle design, graphics, and secrets-filled backstory. The macOS version ports the same game and experience over to Apple computers running macOS 10.11.6 or later with 4GB of RAM and 5GB available storage space. The game also requires Apple's new Metal graphics technology to run.

You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.

You don't remember who you are, and you don't remember how you got here, but there's one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home.

The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There's no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. So, this is a game full of ideas.
An iOS port of the game has long been in development, and a few developers at Thekla -- the game's creators -- mentioned in passing recently that the game is still being worked on for iOS, but a launch date is unspecified. Since The Witness is so graphically intensive, the iOS port will require a longer gestation to pare down the visuals in order to run properly on Apple's smartphones and tablets.


The Witness is available today for $39.99 on the Mac App Store [Direct Link]. A Mac version of the game on Steam is also said to be coming in the next few weeks.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra
Tags: Mac App Store, The Witness

Apple's New Jacksonville Store Opens March 11 as Grand Rapids Location Set to Expand

Apple has announced that its relocated St. Johns Town Center store in Jacksonville, Florida opens Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The next-generation store will be located at 4835 River City Drive, just down the street from its current store at 4712 River City Drive in the open-air shopping complex.

Apple's existing St. Johns Town Center store opened in March 2005

Apple's new 9,100-square-foot store is situated between Tesla and Tory Burch stores near the southeast end of the Town Center. The space, which was vacated by Forever 21 last year, is over twice as large as its current store, which opened in March 2005. The older location will likely close by Saturday.

Elsewhere, Apple plans to double the size of its Woodland Mall store in Grand Rapids, Michigan to 8,000 square feet, according to MLive. And in China, a store with a beautiful staircase is set to open at Jinmao Place in Nanjing in the near future. Apple has yet to announce an official grand opening date.

(Thanks, Larry!)

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Readdle's PDF Expert for Mac Gains Improved Search, New Toolbar Layout

Readdle today updated its popular PDF Expert app for the Mac to version 2.2, overhauling the app and adding new features to make editing and annotating PDFs even easier than before.

New editing tools automatically detect the font, size, and opacity of the original text in a PDF document, so PDFs can be edited more like regular text documents for a much quicker editing experience.


Readdle has also introduced a new toolbar layout that's specialized for tasks like going over a contract or reading an article, with options for viewing several pages of a single document, comparing two documents, and more.

To make searching faster, version 2.2 of PDF Editor includes search indexing, plus the ability to search all opened files and save history has been added.


PDF Expert for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $59.99. [Direct Link] A non Mac App Store version is also available from the PDF Expert website.

Tag: Readdle

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 25 With Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements

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 25 includes fixes and improvements for Resource Timing, User Timing, WebCrypto, Web API, Web Inspector, CSS, Rendering, and Media. Today's update enables Resource Timing by default.

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.

Apple UK Online Store Promoting Limited Time 0% Interest Offer, Minimum Spend £399

Apple is promoting a limited time financing offer on its UK online store that allows customers to buy an Apple product and pay it back over 12 months without being charged any interest.

A minimum spend of £399 (or £99 via PayPal Credit) is required to qualify for the deal, which covers most products including MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones, although some Apple Watch 2 models are not eligible.


As an example, customers can pick up a new 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar and pay back the cost at £120.75 per month, while a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus can be had for £59.92 per month.

Customers must choose "Financing" at the online checkout, where 0% finance options are limited to PayPal Credit and Barclays, although the offer is subject to status and is not guaranteed to be accepted. The offer ends on March 14, 2017.

Apple's Australian online store is offering a similar 0% finance deal on purchases between AU$150 and AU$299 (paid over 6 months) or over AU$300 (12 months), made before March 31.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals