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What Apple’s Disappointing iOS 14 Feature Delay Means For iPhone Privacy

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This week, Apple confirmed a new privacy blow when it delayed a major iOS 14 anti-tracking feature after pushback from Facebook and others. Here’s what that means.

When Apple confirmed this week that a much anticipated iOS 14 privacy feature was to be delayed, I have to say I was disappointed. Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Apple, and the firm’s usually laudable approach to privacy and security on the iPhone.

But the unlikely development has seen commercial interest arguably win over privacy. That’s not what people expect from Apple—although in this case it is in some ways understandable.

Apple’s major privacy push started in September last year, when iOS 13 launched with tough measures to prevent user tracking and data misuse. Companies such as Facebook and Google weren’t happy with the iPhone maker at the time, but Apple pushed on knowing that its own business model won out over those that base their revenue on advertising.

So there was no stopping Apple this year, when it announced that iOS 14 was going to push its privacy crackdown to the limit. As well as further crackdowns and increased transparency, users would now have to opt in to tracking across services—something many people don’t even know is happening in the background as they use their iPhone.

The plan was that in iOS 14, users would be notified via a pop up that they are being tracked, and then would have to actively opt in. The notification would read: “x would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. Your data will be used to deliver personalized ads to you.”

Users would choose between “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”

Apple’s iOS 14 privacy move impacted Facebook—and others

Of all the complainants to this strict new policy, Facebook’s voice was the loudest. But the move doesn’t just affect Facebook itself, it impacts its advertisers by making it nearly impossible to collect iPhone identifiers for advertisers (IDFA) so users can be targeted with ads.

Facebook had been complaining for months, but fears were growing as the launch of iOS 14—probably this month—drew near. Facebook even said it would  no longer collect the IDFA on its own apps on iOS 14 devices.

Perhaps if this iOS feature had only impacted Facebook, Apple still would have pressed ahead. But as those in the advertising industry point out, the tracking change affects multiple app developers, who were having to quickly rethink their entire business models.

It’s an incredible disappointment for user privacy though. People rely on Apple to protect on their data. After all, “what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”

If apps are easily able to track you across services in iOS 14, your data isn’t really staying on your iPhone. It’s also a shame for Apple that the news of the iOS 14 anti-tracking feature delay came on the same day it released its new ad. As part of the ad, Apple states: “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone keeps it that way” and “Privacy. That’s iPhone.”

At the same time, privacy regulation such as the EU GDPR states that transparency is key when it comes to things like user tracking. It means an active opt-in should be the norm, not a rarity.

Even so, the good news is, it is possible to turn off tracking on your iPhone. Go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and you’ll find the option to Limit Ad Tracking and Reset your Advertising Identifier.

Apple’s famous “walled garden” isn’t infallible

It’s certainly disappointing, but it’s only a delay, not a cancellation. Apple probably tried to launch this iOS 14 privacy feature too quickly, without completely understanding the ramifications. There are still a bunch of exciting privacy features launching in iOS 14; we’ll just have to wait a bit longer for this one.

But it does prove Apple’s famous “walled garden” isn’t infallible. It does to some degree rely on others for revenue, especially through its app store where it takes a cut from in-app purchases.

“This delay implies that although Apple is worth over $2 trillion, it still relies on its counterparts to make its business model work,” says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET. With so much weight on targeted advertising to fund third party apps, Moore says he’s “not confident privacy will ever win this fight.”

“Weighing up the balance of privacy versus fiscal matters is a tricky deal when investors and shareholders are usually more interested in numbers over ethics.”

It’s certainly a blow to Apple user privacy, but hopefully the feature will launch in an iOS 14 update as early as possible in 2021, when developers have managed to get their heads around it.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2020/09/05/new-apple-ios-14-privacy-blow-after-disappointing-feature-delay/#303353b75f40

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iPhone 12 leak just confirmed key specs — this is insulting

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The first iPhone 12 handsets are almost ready to ship, and we know how much storage space they’ll have.

Leaker Jon Prosser‘s latest tweet claims that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are going to be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants. We see in a follow-up tweet that the two Pro models start at the more common baseline of 128GB, but they will likely have a later release date.

Apple is one of a small number of companies that still sells premium phones with 64GB of storage, a shamefully small amount for most users’ needs.

For example, the new $699 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE comes with 128GB of storage standard. Plus, that handset offers a microSD card slot for expansion, allowing you to add up to another 1TB of storage.

The upcoming OnePlus 8T is also rumored to be shipping with 128GB of storage for the starting configuration, though the handset will apparently not have a microSD card slot.

Prosser also confirms the name of the smallest 5.4-inch iPhone 12 as the iPhone 12 Mini, with the larger 6.1-inch model being classed as the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 mini is said to be even smaller than the iPhone SE 2020 despite the former having a larger display, so it should live up to its name.

The fact that the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max aren’t mentioned in the leak points to a delayed release, which Prosser mentions in another tweet. We’ve heard several rumors about Apple potentially staggering the iPhone 12 launch, with one or two models being held back until November.

The first shipment of units will be sent to distributors on October 5. This seems to line up with the expected October 13 reveal event, giving businesses just over a week to get the phones in stock for pre-orders to begin.

While it remains only a rumor for now, we already know what to expect from these new iPhones. Other than the new sizes, all four models will use OLED displays and new A14 Bionic chipsets, as well as 5G connectivity.

For cameras, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini will come with two rear sensors: a main camera and an ultrawide camera. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have those plus a telephoto camera, with a new LiDAR depth sensor also present on at least the Pro Max.

Source: https://www.tomsguide.com/news/iphone-12-leak-just-revealed-key-specs-and-theres-bad-news

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Apple’s Stunning MacBook Design Looks Like Microsoft’s Surface Book

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Its move from Intel-based processors to ARM-based processors is one that Apple has telegraphed officially since the announcement at WWDC 2020, with the first macOS on ARM machines for the public expected to be a MacBook and a MacBook Pro. The insides are changing, but what about the outside.

For now, your new Mac is going to look remarkably like your old Mac (possibly with slightly smaller bezels around a slightly larger screen). But Apple’s latest documents have confirmed that the company is working on a radical redesign of the laptop hinge.

Although it looks like Microsoft got there first with the Surface Book’s fulcrum hinge.

The details on the new hinge come from a recently published patent. Titled “Hinges For Electronic Devices And Accessory Devices”, it details a hinge that is made up from a mix of rolling elements with fixed elements between them. This allows for a hinge that looks remarkably close to the hinge on the aforementioned Surface Book. Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple:

“The new hinge system is also shown in conjunction with a possible future MacBook-like portable device. Microsoft was first to move to a flexible hinge system for their Surface book and Apple’s next-gen flexible hinge presents a similar style of hinge though technically different using multi-roller and spacer elements.

“Apple’s possible next-gen iPad keyboard accessories are shown to include multiple sections and a new hinge system assembly that provides additional flexibility and range of motion of the section holding the iPad, thereby allowing a user to position the iPad at multiple different angles relative to the section carrying the input mechanism.”

As can be seen, the patent is not restricted to a traditional laptop-styled device. It also features in a concept image of a keyboard and stand for a tablet device, and a ‘reverse opening’ hinge to lift up a screen from a laptop chassis.

It’s also worth noting that, although the line drawings in the patent echo the Surface Book, the mechanisms inside will differed and of course any finalised form may take on other characteristics.

And as with every patent, the act of filing a patent and having it published does not mean that the design will reach any retail devices. To balance that out, Apple has already pushed the design mix of tablet accessories with the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard, so its makes sense that imultiple hinge technologies have been both tested and patented.

Once Apple has redefined what it means to be a MacBook on the inside, it certainly has the tools to do the same to the outside. First up though, it needs to successfully launch the ARM-based laptops by the end of 2020.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2020/09/26/apple-macbook-pro-ipad-pro-patent-fulcrum-hinge/#746bb7c016d6

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Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max’s AnTuTu result shows minor performance gains

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Even though Apple didn’t announce any new iPhones during its September event, the company detailed the heart of the future phones – the Apple A14 chipset. Based on Apple’s claims at the announcement we estimated it to have a 17% faster CPU and 8% better GPU than its predecessor and a newly surfaced benchmark shows these numbers are close enough.

An AnTuTu benchmark run on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, reveals 16% higher CPU score and 4% better GPU result. There’s however a more pronounced boost in memory speeds – 22%, but overall the performance gains are clearly minor.

iPhone 12 Pro Max surfaces on AnTuTu with Apple's A14 chip

The combined result of 572,333 points might seem low, considering the Snapdragon 865+ Android competition goes above the 600,000 mark, but cross-platform benchmark comparison isn’t really a level playing field because there are differences in how the tasks are executed.

iPhone 12 Pro Max surfaces on AnTuTu with Apple's A14 chip

However, the comparison to the A13 should be fully relevant and it shows that the world’s first 5nm chipset won’t bring the performance leap many were expecting of it. There are three explanations that come to mind.

For one Apple might have prioritized battery draw over outright performance making the A14 use less power, while achieving what is roughly the same performance. That’s most likely it since the A14 Bionic pioneer – the Apple iPad Air 4th generation – has the same battery life as its predecessor despite packing an 8% smaller cell.

Alternatively, the move to 5nm chipsets might not yield the gains that we all hoped. While the almost 30% smaller process should theoretically deliver great efficiency boost, it may take time until it’s fully utilized.

Finally, this could be an engineering sample and the performance of the final units can be far better. However with Apple itself claiming modest gains close to these results that seems like a very long shot.

Source: https://www.gsmarena.com/iphone_12_pro_max_surfaces_on_antutu_with_apples_a14_chip-news-45343.php

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