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APPLE’S APP STORE BANS ON-DEVICE CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING ON IOS AND MACOS

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Apple has explicitly banned apps that mine cryptocurrency on its devices, according to newly updated Review Guidelines for the App Store. The new ban extends to all Apple platforms.

In March, Apple removed Calendar 2 from the Mac App Store after the app began mining cryptocurrency on people’s devices in exchange for premium features. It was Apple’s first move against cryptocurrency mining apps. Previously, the company had never done anything about them. At the time, Calendar 2’s developer said Apple removed the app because it violated an App Store guideline: “Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources.”

Now, Apple has finally come out with an entire section on cryptocurrency in its guidelines that apply to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps. It sets forth five rules:

  1. Apple will allow virtual currency wallet apps, as long as they’re offered by developers who are enrolled as organizations.
  2. The only cryptocurrency mining apps allowed are those that mine outside of the device, like cloud-based mining.
  3. Apps can help users make pay, trade, or receive cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, but the apps must be from the exchanges themselves.
  4. Similarly, apps involved in initial coin offerings, bitcoin futures trading, or other cryptocurrency securities trading need to be from the banks, firms, or other approved financial institutions. And they must be lawful.
  5. Cryptocurrency apps can’t offer users virtual coin for tasks like downloading other apps, getting other users to download the app, or boosting social media activity.

The new rules should change the Apple cryptocurrency app landscape quite drastically, given how third-party apps for initial coin offerings or sending and receiving cryptocurrency are essentially banned. It will also be interesting to see how many apps get removed for having secret miners that might have been added through hacks by cybercriminals.

Although Apple’s rules apply to all apps within the App Store, Macs and jailbroken iPhones will still be able to mine cryptocurrency outside of Apple’s walled garden. Without a solid GPU, however, mining on Apple devices is surely not cost-efficient to begin with, so it usually only benefits those who are stealing the resources from other people’s devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:  The Verge

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Mobile Phones

EVERYTHING NEW IN IOS 12 BETA 2 FOR IPHONE AND IPAD

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Apple with the second beta release of iOS 12 further tuned its upcoming operating system with a number of system-wide tweaks and refinements. AppleInsider details everything new in our hands-on video.

Apple seeded beta 2 just two weeks after iOS 12 debuted onstage at WWDC 2018. This major update for iPhone and iPad has new Memoji characters, digital health features, Group FaceTime, redesigned notifications and a whole lot more. So far, AppleInsider has been able to track down a total of 150 new features.

As far as what has changed since the original beta, the list is considerably smaller; AppleInsider managed to dig up over 30 changes in beta 2. Watch our quick video to see the updates for yourself.

Notable changes

  • Battery stats have been redesigned
  • In the Home app, cameras have been removed from “Notifications” section
  • In Home app, Locks has become “Doors and Locks” in Notifications section
  • In Home app,Locks (now Doors and Locks) has new icon in Notifications section
  • In Home app, Blinds has new icon in Notifications section
  • Screen Time automatically turned off in beta 2, needs re-enabled
  • New splash screen for Screen Time
  • Removed toggle for clearing Screen Time data
  • Interface for adding time limits to apps from the main Screen Time screen has been tweaked
  • Tapping on an app displays more info on the app in Screen Time
  • Toggle off Siri Suggestions for individual apps in Settings
  • New iCloud Keychain modal
  • New location icon in status bar
  • iPad gets pull down handle for Control Center on Lock Screen
  • In Spotlight, new arrows for shortcuts to apps
  • Podcasts app shows Now Playing indicator on current chapter
  • iMessages preview animation on Lock Screen (and other preview animations) looks great
  • New SIM pin unlock screen
  • Time Travel removed from Watch app
  • Smaller text in App Store search
  • In Photos, Albums and media type names are larger
  • Face ID animations are quicker
  • Spotlight now listed in Browse section of News app
  • AM and PM show on iPad status bar clock
  • AirPlay icon is now blue when connected in Music Lock Screen widget
  • Suggestion animation in Spotlight is much smoother
  • Carrier info back in Settings
  • When signing in with Face ID, now says “Scanning with Face ID”
  • New splash screen for Voice Memos app
  • New splash screen for Shortcuts in Spotlight
  • iPhone apps running on iPad now use larger iPhone 6 version

 

 

 

Source: Apple Insider

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Mobile Phones

APPLE SLAPPED WITH $6.6M FINE IN AUSTRALIA OVER BRICKED DEVICES

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Apple has been fined AUS$9M (~$6.6M) by a court in Australia following a legal challenge by a consumer rights group related to the company’s response after iOS updates bricked devices that had been repaired by third parties.

The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) invested a series of complaints relating to an error (‘error 53’) which disabled some iPhones and iPads after owners downloaded an update to Apple’s iOS operating system.

The ACCC says Apple admitted that, between February 2015 and February 2016 — via the Apple US’ website, Apple Australia’s staff in-store and customer service phone calls — it had informed at least 275 Australian customers affected by error 53 that they were no longer eligible for a remedy if their device had been repaired by a third party.

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The court judged Apple’s action to have breached the Australian consumer law.

“If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund. Apple’s representations led customers to believe they’d be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third party repairer,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court in a statement.

“The Court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished.”

The ACCC notes that after it notified Apple about its investigation, the company implemented an outreach program to compensate individual consumers whose devices were made inoperable by error 53. It says this outreach program was extended to approximately 5,000 consumers.

It also says Apple Australia offered a court enforceable undertaking to improve staff training, audit information about warranties and Australian Consumer Law on its website, and improve its systems and procedures to ensure future compliance with the law.

The ACCC further notes that a concern addressed by the undertaking is that Apple was allegedly providing refurbished goods as replacements, after supplying a good which suffered a major failure — saying Apple has committed to provide new replacements in those circumstances if the consumer requests one.

“If people buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple and it suffers a major failure, they are entitled to a refund. If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available,” said Court.

The court also held the Apple parent company, Apple US, responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary. “Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action,” added Court.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the court decision and will update this post with any response.

A company spokeswoman told Reuters it had had “very productive conversations with the ACCC about this” but declined to comment further on the court finding.

More recently, Apple found itself in hot water with consumer groups around the world over its use of a power management feature that throttled performance on older iPhones to avoid unexpected battery shutdowns.

The company apologized in December for not being more transparent about the feature, and later said it would add a control allowing consumers to turn it off if they did not want their device’s performance to be impacted.

 

 

 

 

Source: Techcrunch

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Industry

GOOGLE LAUNCHES A PODCAST APP FOR ANDROID WITH PERSONALIZED RECOMMENDATIONS

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Google today is introducing a new standalone podcast app for Android. The app, called simply Google Podcasts, will use Google’s recommendation algorithms in an effort to connect people with shows they might enjoy based on their listening habits. While podcasts have previously been available on Android through Google Play Music and third-party apps, Google says the company expects Podcasts to bring the form to hundreds of millions of new listeners around the world. (Google Listen, an early effort to build what was then called a “podcatcher” for Android, was killed off in 2012.)

“There’s still tons of room for growth when it comes to podcast listening,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, product manager on the app. Creating a native first-party Android app for podcasts “could as much as double worldwide listenership of podcasts overall,” he said.

Google Podcasts will look familiar to anyone who has used a podcast app before. It lets you search for new podcasts, download them, and play them at your convenience. More than 2 million podcasts will be available on the app on launch day, Google says, including “all of the ones you’ve heard of.”

Open the app, and a section called “For you” shows you new episodes of shows you’ve subscribed to, episodes you’ve been listening to but haven’t finished, and a list of your downloaded episodes. Scroll down, and you’ll see top and trending podcasts, both in general and by category. The podcast player has fewer fine-grained controls than you might be used to from apps like Overcast. You can’t customize the skip buttons or create playlists of podcasts to listen to, for example.

The Podcasts app is integrated with Google Assistant, meaning you can search for and play podcasts wherever you have Assistant enabled. The company will sync your place in a podcast across all Google products, so if you listen to half a podcast on your way home from work, you can resume it on your Google Home once you’re back at the house.

In the coming months, Google plans to add a suite of features to Podcasts that are powered by artificial intelligence. One feature will add closed captions to your podcast, so you can read along as you listen. It’s a feature that could be useful to people who are hard of hearing or for anyone who is listening in a noisy environment. (I usually miss a few minutes of the podcasts I listen to every day, thanks to a noisy subway ride.)

Closed captions also mean that you’ll be able to skip ahead to see what’s coming up later in a show. Eventually, you’ll be able to read real-time live transcriptions in the language of your choice, letting you “listen” to a podcast even if you don’t speak the same tongue as the host.

Google also wants to expand the number of people making podcasts. The company’s research showed that only one-quarter of podcast hosts are female, and even fewer are people of color. In an effort to diversify the field, Google formed an independent advisory board that will consider ways to promote podcast production outside of the handful of major metropolitan areas in the United States that currently dominate the field.

Google will not pay any creators to make podcasts directly, the company said, but it will likely explore ways of giving podcasts from underrepresented creators extra promotion. It’s also examining ways to make recording equipment more accessible to people who can’t afford it.

If you already listen to podcasts on Google Play Music, nothing will change today. But the company made it clear that it plans to focus its future efforts around podcasting in the standalone app.

The Android app can be downloaded here. There are currently no plans for an iOS app.

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