Apple Removes iCloud Activation Lock Status Page for Reasons Unknown

In a new development, Apple has shut down its iCloud Activation Lock status page on iCloud.com. This service was used by used iPhone buyers to check the authenticity of the seller, before making the purchase online. The URL iCloud.com/activationlock now shows a 404 error, and its references on the Apple support page have also been removed.

Apple Removes iCloud Activation Lock Status Page for Reasons Unknown

This link was very useful for those who bought used iPhone devices online. Since iOS 8, Apple has kept ‘Activation Lock’ turned on by default. This prevents anyone from activating a device without providing valid Apple ID credentials of the owner. When users sells their iPhone legitimately, they are asked to switch off Activation Lock for it to be transferred to its new owner. During refurbished sale online, this iCloud Activation Lock status page used to help buyers verify if the Activation Lock has been turned off or not. If not, then the online device could potentially be a stolen unit, warning the buyer to not purchase it.

A used iPhone, whose Activation Lock is not turned off, is practically useless for the new owner, as they won’t be able to enter in without the previous owner’s credentials. This feature was a much-needed security and preventive measure for the benefit of both the buyer and the original owner, and no alternative method has been listed as of yet.

9to5mac was the first to spot the shutting down of the Activation Lock status page, and it even mentioned that all references of it from Apple’s support documentation has been removed. As we mentioned, Apple’s Activation Lock is enabled by default on all new iPhone devices. We wonder what Apple has up its sleeve, and knowing the company, an alternative should be in the offing. If you wish, you can disable Activation Lock through the Find My iPhone app.

Apple Apologises For iCloud Calendar Spam, Says It’s Working to Address the Issue

Apple Apologises For iCloud Calendar Spam, Says It's Working to Address the IssueAfter many iCloud account holders started reporting of an influx of spam calendar invitations, Apple has now acknowledged the issue and responded to the same. The Cupertino giant has apologised for the spam invites, and has said that it is working to address the issue by blocking suspicious senders and spam.

Apple responded to iMore with an apology. “We are sorry that some of our users are receiving spam calendar invitations. We are actively working to address this issue by identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites being sent,” the statement read.

The spam invites have cropped up recently because macOS and iOS operating systems automatically scan the Inbox for calendar invites. These are then shown to users in the form of calendar invite prompts, and the email is deleted to avoid congestion. While it’s a great feature for remembering events and reducing clutter in email, the increasing number of spam invites (blame it on the holiday season!) from brands and companies has made many users annoyed.
While it has confirmed that it will actively block these spam invites, it’s impossible for Apple to weed out all unwanted notifications. You can stop these invites altogether by following these steps. Head to iCloud.com in Safari or any other Web browser. Log in using the credentials that you use on your iPhone. Click on Calendar > Settings icon > Preferences > Advanced > Invitations. Under Invitations tab set the option for ‘Receive event notifications as’ to ‘Email to’ rather than an ‘In-app notification’.

Apple Teases One-Day Black Friday Shopping Event

Apple Teases One-Day Black Friday Shopping EventBlack Friday, celebrated on the day following Thanksgiving Day in the US, is usually accompanied by great deals from various store retailers across the country as well as online. Even though Apple Inc. might not have a reputation of offering large discounts on its products for Black Friday, the Cupertino-based company does offer gift cards to celebrate the occasion. However, an early teaser seems to indicate that Apple might have something extra in store for this year.

A new dedicated webpage on the company’s site teases a one-day shopping event on Friday this week. Even though the company doesn’t reveal too much about the sale on its webpage, it does suggest various gift options such as iPhone 7, iPhone 7 cases, Apple Watch, iPad Pro and other products from the company for the holiday season.

Even if the company does provide discounts on its products for the Black Friday, it will be interesting to see if it will be able to match the deals offered by local retailers, who are known to offer heavy discounts across products for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Considering that the teaser has an image of Apple Watch, the product is most likely to be offered at a discounted price. However, as these are mere speculations, we will have to wait till Friday to find out if it will offer any discounts on its products or not.

Apple Reportedly Abandons Development of Wireless Routers

Apple Reportedly Abandons Development of Wireless RoutersIn a bid to put all its focus on its bulk revenue generating products, Apple has reportedly abandoned development of its wireless Wi-Fi routers. Employees in the Wi-Fi router team are now being shifted to divisions focused on the iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV.

Bloomberg reports that this move is due to the insignificant revenue generation from the AirPort router lineup, and the company’s strategic push to focus on its money-making products only. The Wi-Fi routers along with different products, which create Apple’s ‘Others’ product category, have constituted for only 5 percent of total sales in the 2016 fiscal.

The report cites unnamed people familiar with the matter to claim that the team focused on routers has been spread across other departments over the course of this year. It’s worth noting that Apple has not refreshed its routers since 2013, hinting further that it has no plans of supporting the lineup any further.

Currently, Apple sells three wireless routers – the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. The cost of these routers is Rs. 7,900 ($99 in US), Rs. 15,900 ($199 in US), and Rs. 24,500 ($299 in US) respectively. The AirPort Time Capsule is the most expensive as it doubles as a backup storage hard drive as well for Mac computers. It comes in two storage variants – 2TB for Rs. 24,500 and 3TB for Rs. 32,500. These routers are still listed on the company’s official website, and there is no confirmation from Apple regarding its abandoning plans.

Apple has been discontinuing other its small products, such as its standalone monitors. In June, Apple issued a statement saying the current Thunderbolt Display will only be available till stock lasts, but it won’t replenish stocks. The company was expected to launch a refreshed 5K display lineup this October, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Apple introduced a new partnership with LG for selling new high-resolution 5K screens.

Apple May Be on Hook for $8 Billion in Taxes in Europe Probe

Apple May Be on Hook for $8 Billion in Taxes in Europe Probe

Apple Inc. may be facing a hefty tax bill in Europe.

The world’s largest company could owe more than $8 billion (roughly Rs. 54,232 crores) in back taxes as a result of a European Commission investigation into its tax policies, according to an analysis by Matt Larson of Bloomberg Intelligence. Apple, which has said it will appeal an adverse ruling, is being scrutinized by regulators who have accused the iPhone maker of using subsidiaries in Ireland to avoid paying taxes on revenue generated outside the US

The probe dates back to 2014 and a decision could come as soon as March.

The European Commission contends that Apple’s corporate arrangement in Ireland allows it to calculate profits using more favorable accounting methods. Apple calculates its tax bill using low operating costs, a move that dramatically decreases what the company pays to the Irish government. While Apple generates about 55 percent of its revenue outside the United States, its foreign tax rate is about 1.8 percent. If the Commission decides to enforce a tougher accounting standard, Apple may owe taxes at a 12.5 percent rate, on $64.1 billion (roughly Rs. 4,34,539 crores) in profit generated from 2004 to 2012, according to Larson, a litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

Apple is perhaps the highest-profile case of US companies facing scrutiny from officials in Europe. Starbucks, Amazon.com and McDonalds also have had its tax policies questioned.

In October, Apple listed scrutiny of its taxes as a risk factor to investors. In addition to European regulators, the US Internal Revenue Service has also examined the company’s tax returns, Apple said. Were the tax rates to change, Apple’s “financial condition, operating results and cash flows could be adversely affected,” the company said in its financial statement for fiscal 2015.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has denied that the company uses tricks to avoid paying taxes. In a recent interview on CBS Corp.’s “60 Minutes,” he called the criticism the company has faced from US lawmakers “political crap.” He said the tax system is outdated and needs to be updated for a digital economy.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn’t return a call seeking comment. Ricardo Cardoso, a European Commission spokesman, declined to comment.

Apple Admits It Doesn’t Know How Many People Read Its News App

Apple Admits It Doesn't Know How Many People Read Its News App

Apple doesn’t know how many people are reading its News app. The Cupertino company has admitted that it has been miscounting the page views. This has left both Apple and the publishers unaware of exactly how many people are actually reading on the service. News, the company-built news reading app, was released to the public with iOS 9 in September last year.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services told the Wall Street Journal that a software glitch in News reading app has altered the number, showing numbers lowers than reality.

The company statement comes weeks after many Apple News publication partners complained the traffic they were receiving from Apple News was “underwhelming.” Many also said the data Apple was providing them was essentially “non-existent.”

Cue said that the company overlooked the glitch when building the app as it was more focused on other aspects. He added that the company is working on fixing the glitch. “We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,” he said. “We don’t know what the right number is.”

He told the publication that 40 million people have used News app since its release. Exactly how frequently, and how many of them visit the app, and how long they stay are among the things that no-one has much clue about. Cue said the company is happy with Apple News thus far, and that it has received positive feedback, adding that usage has “scaled very fast…but it doesn’t mean we don’t all want more.”.

Released with iOS 9 on September 16, 2015, News not only curates articles from select sources, it also provides publishers a platform to publish content directly on its service. The company is offering publishers a 100 percent cut on the money the ads on their stories generate. The company offers a 70 percent cut on the ads it sells to publishers. It can be likened to Facebook’s Instant Articles, for which Google is building its own Accelerated Mobile Pages in answer.

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How Apple Could Make Its Next iPhone Totally Waterproof

When the iPhone 6S first came out, a few folks who like to live on the edge just threw it in some water. You know, just for fun. As it turns out, the iPhone 6S is actually pretty water-resistant, and this might be how Apple finishes the job and makes its next phone completely waterproof.

As you’ll find out if you tear one apart, the iPhone 6S gets its waterproof superpowers thanks to some silicone sealant and rubber gaskets that guard its more important inner bits. The problem is that the ports are still wide open and just asking to be flooded if you drop your phone in a fishtank.

 A new patent filed by Apple today, however, offers a solution to that problem. Basically, Apple would plug up its ports with a “self-healing elastomer,” a small, sort of rubbery, gummy plug. When you plug something in, the male end would actually cut through this plug and meet with the female port underneath. Then, after you take it out, the rubbery plug would heal itself up.

This sort of material already exists. Over the past couple of years, scientists have come up with all kinds of self-healing polymers that can be sliced apart and rejoin with just a little time.

And by using a material like this inside a port, Apple could fix the most annoying thing about many waterproof phones that already exist: those annoying rubber caps you have to jam into the ports when you aren’t using them.

Of course the standard patent warnings apply; tech companies patent stuff that they never really plan to use and they do it all the time, so there’s no guarentee this tech is coming soon or at all. That said, Apple is clearly making strides to waterproof its phones and just hasn’t mentioned it because the process isn’t complete yet. These little plugs look like they could be the missing piece, so it only makes sense that they’ll get put to use if Apple can find the right material to use and can manufacture it in large enough quantities. Here’s to hoping, because every phone should be waterproof.

Apple iOS 9.2 update boosts Music, News, Mail, iBooks, and connecting digital cameras

iOS 9.2 Apple

Apple released iOS 9.0 on September 16, 2015. Less than three months later, they released its second major point update. Here’s a summary of what’s new and what’s fixed:

The Music app now lets you create a playlist when adding the first song. More useful, however, is that the most recently changed playlist is listed at the top when adding new songs to a playlist. This lets you create new playlists a lot faster. Albums and playlists can be downloaded from your iCloud Music Library. But custom playlists created on your device requires Apple’s paid iTunes Match service to let you upload a playlist to the iCloud Music Library. If you download a song from your library, a tiny checkbox now appears in between the song title and the song time length. And if you enjoy classical music, you can finally see works, composers, and performers while browsing that genre in the Apple Music catalog.

iPhone 6s

Apple’s News app, which was introduced with iOS 9.0, gained a Top Stories section (at least if you are in the US, UK, or Australia). The News app will ask you if you want to add Top Stories to your Favorites when you launch the app after updating to iOS 9.2. If you have a lot of categories in your Favorites, you will have to scroll down until you find “News Top Stories.” If Apple considers this a destination section, it should have bubbled it up to the top of the list.

Mail Drop is a feature that was reportedly available during beta testing of iOS 9, but pulled out before the final 9.0 release. Now it’s back, and lets you send large file attachments by storing the large file in iCloud instead of directly attaching it to the mail message. The file does not count against your iCloud storage quota. The attachment stored in iCloud expires after 30 days (Ref: Apple Support HT203093 Mail Drop limits).

iPadPro

If you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, iBooks now lets you use 3D Touch to peek and pop out pages from the table of contents. The iBook app also lets you listen to an audiobook while performing other activities within the app, such as browsing your library, looking through the store for a new book, or even reading a book.

iOS 9.2 lets you connect Apple’s $29 Lightning to USB Camera Adapter directly to your digital camera to import photos. If you look at the comments section for this product in Apple’s Store, you’ll find some people have also been using this adapter to connect USB microphones and MIDI keyboards.

The iOS 9.2 update also includes a large number of improvements and bug fixes related to Safari, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirDrop, and more. One fix is particularly interesting to me. It is described as “Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing.” Although backing up to iCloud works from my iPhone 6 Plus, my aging-but-still-useful iPad 2 has not been able to backup to iCloud since upgrading to iOS 9.0. We will see if this update fixes this specific problem.

Time’s up: Apple Watch 2 `coming in March’

Old school … the Apple Watch which was released in April could soon be outdated.

Rod ChesterNews Corp Australia Network
Mark Gurman, of 9To5Mac, has reported Apple is planning a March event to launch two new Apple products: a second-generation Apple Watch 2 and a smaller iPhone 6C which will go back to the 4-inch (10cm) display.

Gurman is considered the most reliable reporter of Apple leaks, which means this is not just another one of those daily Apple rumours.

The second generation Apple Watch is likely to have some key features many were expecting to see in the first edition, including extra health sensors which will probably work through a smart band.

Other features could include a camera for video calls, sleep tracking and more features for using the Apple Watch when not paired to an iPhone.

While an annual life cycle for an Apple product would not be surprising, it’s perhaps not the news people want to hear if they’re planning to buy an Apple Watch as a gift for Christmas.

The March event seems to be the most likely date for the release of a smaller, cheaper iPhone 6C — a phone targeted at those who don’t like the extra size of the iPhone 6/6S or even bigger iPhone 6/6S Plus.

When it released the iPhone 5C, Apple proved it would not make a cheap iPhone — just a slightly cheaper one.

Again, if an iPhone 6C becomes a reality, it will come with a lower price tag than the bigger iPhones and a few lesser specs, including most likely a 8-megapixel camera.