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'United Kingdom' Articles

O2 and Ericsson Apologize After 4G Service Outage Affects Millions of Smartphones

Cellular network operator O2 on Friday said its data networks had been restored after millions of smartphones across the UK and Japan were taken offline yesterday (via BBC). A statement on its website said the 4G network was finally working again, after having been affected from about 05:30 GMT on Thursday. Earlier, mobile network equipment supplier Ericsson said that an expired certificate was the reason behind the outage, which also created problems in several other countries. Ericsson UK boss Marielle Lindgren said the "faulty software" that had caused the issues was being decommissioned. Both O2 and Ericsson issued a joint apology to millions of customers hit by the disruption. "I want to let our customers know how sorry I am for the impact our network data issue has had on them, and reassure them that our teams, together with Ericsson, are doing everything we can," said O2 boss Mark Evans. "We fully appreciate it's been a poor experience and we are really sorry." O2 is owned by Spain's Telefonica and has the UK's second-largest mobile network after British Telecom subsidiary EE. The company said voice calls were not affected by the problem, but some O2 customers said they could not make calls or send texts, despite having cellular reception. The outage also had knock-on effects for other services that use the O2 network, such as Transport for London's electronic timetable service at bus stops, which stopped working for most of

U.K. Court Blocks Mass Legal Action Over Google's Alleged Tracking of Safari Users

London's High Court on Monday blocked attempts to bring a collective lawsuit against Google over alleged historical snooping of millions of iPhone users in the United Kingdom (via Reuters). The lawsuit's claimants alleged that Google illegally gathered the personal data of over 4 million iPhone users in the U.K. between 2011 and 2012 by bypassing the default privacy settings on Apple's smartphones which allowed it to track the online behavior of users browsing in Safari. Original explanation of the "Safari Workaround" in 2012 WSJ article Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd, who led the collective 20,000-strong lawsuit, had claimed that Google's "Safari Workaround" breached the U.K. Data Protection Act by taking personal information without permission, and wanted the tech giant to pay out several hundred dollars in damages to each person affected. As a ballpark figure, a claim by 5.4 million people for £500 each would result in a £2.7 billion ($3.63 billion) payout for Google. When the case was first brought in November 2017, it was the first time a collective action has been brought in the U.K. against a leading tech company over alleged misuse of data. "Collective action" is where one person represents a group with a shared grievance, similar to a class action lawsuit in the U.S. However, Google said it was "not new" and vowed to defend itself, having defended similar cases before. "We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it," said the tech giant at the time. On Monday, the court ruled in Google's favor. "Today's judgment is

British Airways Website and Mobile App Suffer Huge Customer Data Breach

British Airways says it is investigating the theft of customer data from its website and mobile app over a two-week period, during which 380,000 payment cards were exposed (via The Guardian). "From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on our website and app were compromised," the airline revealed in a statement on its website.According to BA, travel and passport information was not accessed during the data breach, but concerned customers are being advised to get in touch with their card issuers in the first instance. The company said all customers affected by the breach had been contacted on Thursday night. "British Airways is communicating with affected customers and we advise any customers who believe they may have been affected by this incident to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice."The airline said it was informed of the hacking by a third party, which is why it was able to continue undetected for two weeks, but the company insists that the breach has been resolved and its website and mobile app are now working

NHS Unveils Mobile App to Let Patients Book GP Visits Online

The British government has announced plans to launch a new NHS mobile app that will let patients in England make appointments with their doctor. The app will also allow users to order repeat prescriptions, manage their long-term healthcare, see their medical records, and quickly access 111 for urgent queries. In addition, users will have access to patient preferences related to data sharing, organ donation, and end-of-life care. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the app as a "birthday present from the NHS to the British people", 70 years after the service was founded. The NHS app is a world-first which will put patients firmly in the driving seat and revolutionize the way we access health services. I want this innovation to mark the death-knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients. Technology has transformed everyday life when it comes to banking, travel and shopping. Health matters much more to all of us, and the prize of that same digital revolution in healthcare isn't just convenience but lives improved, extended and saved. As the NHS turns 70 and we draw up a long-term plan for the NHS on the back of our £394 million a week funding boost, it's time to catch up and unleash the power of technology to transform everyday life for patients."The new app will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England but it is just one step on the journey," said Matthew Swindells, NHS England National Director of Operations and Information. "We are also developing an NHS Apps Library and putting free NHS Wi-Fi in GP

Amazon Prime Secures Rights to Show 20 Premier League Football Matches a Season in the U.K. From 2019-2022

Amazon Prime Video has secured the rights to stream live Premier League football matches for three years from 2019, at no extra cost to Prime members who live in the U.K. The exclusive deal, announced on Thursday, means that from next year Amazon Prime will show every game from the first round of midweek matches in December and all 10 games on Boxing Day, with weekly highlights of all Premier League matches throughout the season. The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, and from the 2019/20 season UK Prime members will have exclusive access to watch 20 matches per season, comprising two full fixture rounds – the first December midweek round and the festive Bank Holiday round - featuring live coverage of every Premier League team.The deal marks the first time a full round of matches will be shown live in the U.K., and while it leaves out the more lucrative weekend games, it shows a big statement from the company, which already broadcasts tennis events like the U.S. Open and ATP World Tour, and NFL games on Amazon Prime Video. Previously, Sky and BT Sport have shared the rights to the EPL, following an auction in 2015 that saw the broadcasters splash £5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) between them for three seasons. Earlier this year, the Premier League announced that it had sold five out of seven of its U.K. TV packages. BT Sport bought one bundle amounting to 32 games and Sky acquired four bundles, securing 128 matches. BT Sport also secured the last other 20-game TV package, the Premier League confirmed today. The Premier League remains

Apple Reintroduces Financing Options in the United Kingdom

Apple has resumed offering financing options in the United Kingdom after eliminating the option earlier this year. Apple has a new financing page on its UK website, outlining its Barclays financing plan. While the financing page specifically focuses on the Barclays financing options, when checking out, customers can choose installment payments through Barclays or PayPal Credit. To use the Barclays financing option, customers in the UK must make a purchase over £399. There is no interest for the first 12 months, with purchases split into reasonable monthly payments. PayPal Credit is available for purchases over £99, but there is no interest free option. It is not clear why Apple temporarily stopped offering financing in the United Kingdom, but full financing is now available once again. The company made the same change to financing in Canada in June of 2017, but has not yet reimplemented the financing options in that

Apple Discontinues Financing Options in the United Kingdom

Apple has stopped offering financing options to customers in the United Kingdom, as indicated by the elimination of its UK financing page, which was removed from the UK Apple site this afternoon. Apple previously allowed customers in the UK to sign up for financing on Apple products through PayPal Credit or Barclays when checking out from the online Apple Store. PayPal Credit could be used on purchases with a £99 minimum, while Barclays was available for purchases over £399. When making a purchase through the Apple site in the UK, there are now no financing options to select at checkout, and the finance pages that were previously available now redirect to the main UK site. Apple previously eliminated financing options in Canada back in June of 2017, but in the United States, Apple still offers financing through the Barclaycard Visa that includes Apple Rewards points. Apple also continues to offer financing options for educational institutions in the UK, and financing on iPhones continues to be available through the UK iPhone Upgrade Program in partnership with

First HomePod Orders Start Shipping Out to Customers in the U.K.

Apple customers in the United Kingdom who pre-ordered HomePod have started receiving shipping despatch notifications this morning. Those who ordered before initial supplies began dwindling earlier this week can expect deliveries to arrive sometime on Friday, which is Apple's official launch day for HomePod. Images via @ryancarter_94 As expected, it looks as if Apple is relying on DPD to courier the majority of HomePods to homes across the U.K. Using their tracking information provided by Apple, customers can use the DPD website or download and install the DPD iPhone app and request a time slot for delivery, which are subject to availability. Earlier today, customers in Australia who ordered a HomePod for February 9 began receiving shipment notifications. It's Thursday evening on February 8 in Australia, so the first HomePod deliveries will begin in the country in just a matter of hours. Customers expecting launch day delivery in the United States may be able to locate their HomePod's shipping information by going to the UPS website, selecting the track by reference number option, and entering the phone number associated with a HomePod order. Apple is no longer offering the HomePod for February 9 delivery or in-store pickup, but John Lewis, Argos, EE, and Currys PC World may have stock available for U.K. customers, while Apple will likely have a supply of HomePods available for walk-in purchase in retail stores in the U.S., UK, and Australia on launch day. (Thanks, Ryan!)

Amazon Starts Taking Pre-Orders from U.K. Customers for Echo Spot

Amazon began taking pre-orders from U.K. customers for its Alexa-powered Echo Spot speaker on Tuesday. Announced along with all-new Echo models in September 2017, the compact display-and-speaker unit has only been available in the U.S. before now. The Spot is capable of standard Amazon Echo functions like controlling smart home devices and streaming music, but can also show users additional information like song lyrics, weather forecasts, and the time on its 2.5-inch display. The circular unit can also play content from Amazon Video and YouTube, just like its bigger brother, the Echo Show. The Echo Spot costs £120, although Amazon is currently offering a discount of £20 per unit when two are bought together (£200). Pre-orders are expected to ship on January 24, which means the entire Echo family will be available to U.K. customers from then on. The Echo dot was the top-selling Amazon device over the 2017 holiday season, as well as "the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon," according to the e-commerce company. As Amazon's Alexa devices continue to dominate the smart speaker market, Apple has plans to release its own music-focused smart speaker device, called HomePod, early this year. HomePod will be controlled mainly through the user's voice using Siri, and include access to Apple Music and other expected smart speaker functionalities, like asking about the weather, traffic, setting reminders, timers, and more. Note: MacRumors may benefit from affiliate links clicked in this article

Amazon Readies Bid for English Premier League Soccer Streaming Rights

Amazon could be preparing to bid next month for the rights to stream English Premier League football (soccer) matches, if a report by Bloomberg this morning is anything to go by. According to a source familiar with the matter, the digital giant sees the English Premier League as a huge opportunity to draw more people to its Prime membership service in the U.K. and convert occasional customers into more loyal shoppers. Amazon has already bought video streaming rights for live sport including tennis and the National Football League, but the Premier League remains Europe's most prized live sports broadcast asset and with a growing audience in the U.S., fits in perfectly with Amazon's broader strategy to bring more sports content to its global customers. The e-commerce giant recently tied up a deal to produce a documentary series with Manchester City, the current Premier League leaders, which previously increased speculation that it might next pursue live soccer rights. Currently Sky and BT Sport share the rights to the EPL, following an auction in 2015 that saw the broadcasters splash £5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) between them for three seasons. The next auction in February will see seven packages being offered by the Premier League, varying from 32 matches to 20 matches each. Amazon could bid for one of the smaller packages for broadcasting in the U.K., according to Bloomberg. Auctions for streaming rights in other markets are usually held separately. Both Amazon and the Premier League declined to comment. Back in September, Apple revealed its own

U.K. Smart Home Firm Hive Announces View Smart Camera With Detachable Camera Cube

Hive, the U.K. smart connected home company backed by British Gas, today announced the Hive View, a smart indoor camera with an emphasis on style and high definition livestream security. The 130-degree wide angle lens camera is capable of 1080p live-streaming, automatic 16ft night vision, and includes Bluetooth 4.1 to simplify setup. Meanwhile, the design, by industrial designer Yves Béhar, features a separatable magnetic camera cube and a magnetic ball-and-socket base, together allowing for a multitude of viewing angles. The magnetic base and rotatable head enables the camera to be mounted on walls and ceilings, but the more unique feature lies in the way the camera cube can be detached and temporarily relocated away from the mount, thanks to a built-in 2100mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery providing up to 90 minutes of power. The Hive View is available in two color options – White & Champagne Gold and Black & Brushed Copper – and costs £189 for a single camera or £319 for a two-pack. A rolling 30-day camera history for up to two cameras, and a host of other member-exclusive benefits, can be included for £4.99 per month. Otherwise, the Hive comes with a standard 24-hour camera history. It's worth noting that getting the cameras to work does not require a Hive Hub – all that's required is an Android or iOS device for the Hive app, although there's currently no HomeKit support. Hive also offers a Close to Home plan that offers a saving of up to £130 on the full range of Hive smart home products, including Hive Active Lights, Hive Window or Door

Apple Now Selling Refurbished 2017 27-inch iMac Models in Europe

Apple quietly updated several of its European online stores for refurbished products over the last couple of days, and has added its latest 27-inch 5K iMac models to the discounted listings for the first time. The iMacs were first released in June of 2017 and feature Kaby Lake processors, faster SSDs, and AMD discrete graphics. Online stores in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Spain have all been updated with the new stock, although the largest range of configurations currently appears in the United Kingdom. In the U.K., for example, an entry-level model with 8GB RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, a 3.4GHz i5 processor, and a Radeon Pro 570 is priced at £1,489, which is a £260 discount off the standard price. This is the first time the machines have been available in refurbished stores around Europe since their introduction at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple first began selling the refurb models in the U.S. and Canada back in August. In addition, Apple has boosted its European stock of refurbished 21.5-inch 4K iMacs, also released in June of this year. Apple has added a range of configurations, from low-end to top-of-the-line. As with all refurbished products, stock will fluctuate regularly based on the machines Apple is getting in for repair. All of Apple's refurbished products go through a rigorous refurbishment process before being offered for sale, which includes inspection, repairs, cleaning, and repackaging. Refurbished Macs come with a one-year warranty that can be extended with an AppleCare+ purchase. For more tips on purchasing a

Google Facing UK Lawsuit Over Alleged Tracking of Safari Users Between 2011-12

Google is facing a collective lawsuit in the United Kingdom over its alleged snooping of iPhone users, according to a new report in the Financial Times. According to the lawsuit, led by a former director of the consumer group Which?, Google illegally gathered the personal data of millions of iPhone users in the U.K. between 2011 and 2012. Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd alleges the search giant bypassed the default privacy settings on Apple's smartphones which allowed it to track the online behavior of users browsing in Safari. Google then allegedly used the data in its DoubleClick business, which lets advertisers target content based on user browsing habits. Original explanation of the "Safari Workaround" in 2012 WSJ article The lawsuit, filed in London's High Court, claims Google's "Safari Workaround" breached the U.K. Data Protection Act by taking personal information without permission. "In all my years speaking up for consumers, I've rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own," said Mr Lloyd, who has set up a group called Google You Owe Us. Google said: "This is not new – we have defended similar cases before. We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it."The case Google refers to occurred in the U.S. in 2012, after it and several other advertising agencies were discovered to be circumventing privacy protections in Safari for iOS in order to track users through ads on numerous popular websites. At the time, Safari blocked several types of tracking, but made an

U.K. Government Targets Tech Giants Like Apple and Amazon Over Tax Payments

The U.K. government announced in Wednesday's annual budget that it plans to clamp down on tax avoidance by increasing the tax it collects from online giants such as Apple and Amazon. In his Treasury speech to the Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond said income tax would be charged on royalties relating to U.K. sales, even when they are paid to a low-tax jurisdiction and would not normally be taxed in the UK under current rules. The new rules are due to come into effect from April next year, and estimates suggest they will raise approximately 800 million pounds ($1.07 billion) in extra tax over the next five years. However, Hammond admitted they would only go some way to balancing out the taxation treatment of digital firms, and that more would have to be done to tackle tax avoidance. Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to jurisdictions where they are not taxed and some of those relate to UK sales. This does not solve the problem, but it does send a signal of our determination and we will continue work in the international arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes the digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace.Apple recently came in for criticism when the so-called Paradise Papers revealed that the company sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax structure by moving the majority of its offshore cash holdings to the small island of Jersey, a self-governed territory with loose ties to the United Kingdom. The papers showed that Apple's two key Irish subsidiaries were

U.K. Mobile Banking Apps Begin Offering Face ID Authentication Support

Two U.K. banks today updated their mobile apps to support Face ID, the facial authentication feature exclusive to iPhone X, which officially launches on Friday, November 3. Nationwide and Bank of Scotland became the first mobile banking apps in the U.K. to provide compatibility with Apple's new facial recognition technology, which is set to replace Touch ID fingerprint authentication on all future iPhones and iPads, according to respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The two banking apps already provide a Touch ID option to authenticate customers when they attempt to log in to their accounts, so the fact that Face ID is being offered as an alternative option shows that the financial sector has full trust in Apple's new security technology, despite tests showing that it can be fooled by identical twins. Apple has admitted that Face ID may not be able to distinguish between identical twins and in such cases recommends users protect sensitive data with a passcode instead. Otherwise, Apple says the chance that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it with their face is about one in a million (compared to one in 50,000 for Touch ID). Face ID has proved to be reliable in early iPhone X reviews and first impressions, and it's also considered easy to set up and use, but Apple likely still has some work to do to convince the general public that facial authentication is the future. According to a research conducted by Top10VPN.com in October, over half (60 percent) of British consumers remain unconvinced by facial recognition.

Apple CarPlay Support Comes to BBC iPlayer Radio App

The BBC today updated its Radio iPlayer app to support Apple CarPlay, allowing vehicle drivers with the feature to listen to BBC radio more safely when behind the wheel. A simplified touch interface has been adopted for the new in-car version, designed to be easy to fast-forward in a show or skip through entire episodes. Apart from CarPlay and Android Auto support, the update also brings additional features to help make radio listening a more personalized in-car experience. The new app interface is split into four sections titled Following, Listen Later, Downloads, and Stations. The Following section gathers favorited shows for easy access from within CarPlay, Listen Later lists shows tagged by users for future listening, while the Downloads section keeps shows ready for listening offline in areas with poor signal. The BBC iPlayer Radio app is a free download for U.K. listeners available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Netflix Prices Set to Increase for U.K. Subscribers From November

Following yesterday's announcement of price hikes in the U.S., Netflix has now confirmed that some U.K. subscribers can also expect to pay more for the video streaming service going forward. Those on the Basic tier, costing £6 a month, won't see a price increase. However, that's where the good news ends, because anyone on the Standard tier, which includes shows in HD and the ability to watch on two screens simultaneously, will see their monthly bill rise from £7.50 per month to £8. Meanwhile, users who pay for 4K HDR privileges and the ability to watch on four screens at once are set to pay £10, up from £9. The cost increases will come into effect beginning November. Netflix said it will inform existing subscribers of the price hikes on October 19. Germany and France are among the other European countries where prices will rise, while subscriptions were tweaked in Canada, Latin America and some Nordic countries earlier this year. Netflix is set to debut the second series of its hit original series Stranger Things on October 27. This week, the company also released an official Stranger Things mobile game, which iPhone and iPad users can download from the App Store for free. (Via What Hi-Fi.)

UK Network EE Will Offer £5 a Month Cellular Tariff for LTE-Capable Apple Watch Series 3

EE will be the exclusive mobile network in the U.K. to offer a tariff for the new LTE-capable Apple Watch Series 3 when it begins shipping later this month. Announced at Apple's media event on Tuesday, the latest version of the smartwatch contains an eSIM that can connect to a 4G LTE network so users can make and receive calls on their wrist, while watchOS apps can make use of the mobile data connection while untethered from an iPhone. According to the BBC's Dave Lee, the EE tariff for the Apple Watch Series 3 will be £5 per month for existing EE iPhone contract holders, with the calling function on the watch using the same number as the owner's phone. EE customers will be able to sign up for the new tariff when the Series 3 Apple Watch becomes available for pre-order on September 15, costing £399 with cellular connectivity and £329 without. Orders for the new watch are expected to arrive on September 22, which is the official launch date of the device. EE boss @MarcAllera says the tariff for the cellular apple watch will be £5 a month— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeBBC) September 12, 2017 Apple only mentioned EE as a U.K. carrier for the Apple Watch Series 3 during its media event yesterday, but it's likely that other U.K. networks will offer their own tariffs as the market for the LTE smartwatch matures. Update: MacRumors reader Matt Graham contacted O2 support, who confirmed to him that the O2 network will also be supporting 4G LTE on Apple Watch Series 3, although no firm date was

LightwaveRF Unveils New HomeKit-Enabled Accessories With UK Compatibility

U.K. smart home solutions provider LightwaveRF announced on Monday that its forthcoming product range, which includes a light dimmer and smart socket, will be fully compatible with Apple's HomeKit platform. On October 3, LightwaveRF will launch its new Generation 2 Link Plus smart hub, Smart Dimmers, Smart Sockets, and a Smart Radiator Valve. The Link Plus connects to a Wi-Fi router and controls the LightwaveRF smart home system for lighting, heating, power and security. "This is a further exciting development for LightwaveRF," said chief executive officer Andrew Pearson. "We look forward to working with Apple as a HomeKit technical partner and a supplier to its retail outlets. The exposure and awareness from this partnership should enhance our market visibility and greatly benefit our customers via easier management of their smart home solutions. We look forward to expanding our relationship with Apple as we launch further HomeKit compatible devices for both the UK and international markets."The new LightwaveRF range is said to be the result of a two-year research and development program, with new features of the system including built-in energy monitoring, color-changing LEDs to indicate status, and wire-free two-way switching. The new range will be sold in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates through Apple retail stores, online via Apple.com, and other chosen retail outlets.

Apple's Tiny WestQuay Store Getting Much-Needed Expansion This Weekend

One of Apple's tiniest retail stores, at the WestQuay shopping center in Southampton, UK, is getting a much-needed expansion this weekend. Apple's tiny WestQuay retail store opened in February 2007 The current store, which recently turned 10 years old, will close on Friday evening for the final time, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. On Saturday, a larger store will open down the hall, taking over two units previously occupied by British retailers Sports Direct and Monsoon, the people said. Lending credence to our report is a WestQuay floor plan with two vacant units—SU41 and MSU2—just steps away from Apple's current location in the shopping center. In addition, when we searched for Today at Apple events in the Southampton area, the WestQuay store had no workshops scheduled until Saturday. Apple and WestQuay shopping center management did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple retail stores have seen a significant increase in foot traffic since the WestQuay location opened in February 2007, prior to the original iPhone launch. The larger store will be a welcomed change for both Apple retail employees and customers, and it should benefit from an updated appearance as well. Apple's financial chief Luca Maestri recently said Apple collectively welcomed over 300 million visitors to its retail stores last quarter. "It was a very busy quarter for our online and retail stores, which collectively welcomed over 300 million visitors," he said. "In addition to our spectacular new store at the Dubai Mall, we opened our first