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Larry David sends up App Store review process in unaired WWDC14 video


Apple tapped actor, comedian and writer Larry David for what appears to be a promotional video created for a past Worldwide Developers Conference, though the short was never used.

Shared by Sam Henri-Ghoul in a tweet on Monday, the clip was reportedly set to air as Apple’s introduction to WWDC in 2014. The company typically pre-tapes a brief welcome video that is shown to conference participants, with the tradition morphing into a complete keynote experience as the conference transitioned online during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the entire video is not available, Henri-Ghoul posted a clip from the short film in which David plays the role of an “App Approval” specialist. His desk holds an iMac, a statue of the Empire State Building, and what looks to be green and red stamps for approving or denying apps.

David is seen talking to the developer of “Upset Pigeons,” chastising them for creating a “flagrant ripoff” of what is almost certainly “Angry Birds.” The comedian goes on a short rant about upset avians in apps.

Screenshots posted alongside the video reveal David starred in the short alongside JB Smoove, who appeared on David’s hit show “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel.

Henri-Ghoul previously collected classic Apple advertisements, unseen videos and other miscellany in an online repository called the Unofficial Apple Archive. The website was shut down last year after Apple filed a series of DMCA takedown notices.

Apple has come under fire for its App Store practices in the intervening years since David’s intro film was shot. Among antitrust complaints and grousing from developers over App Store commissions, the company’s online app storefront is under scrutiny for issues related to the review process. Of note, developer Kosta Eleftheriou has over the past months identified a number of scam apps that slipped past App Store reviewers.

Keep up with everything Apple in the weekly AppleInsider Podcast — and get a fast news update from AppleInsider Daily. Just say, “Hey, Siri,” to your HomePod mini and ask for these podcasts, and our latest HomeKit Insider episode too.

If you want an ad-free main AppleInsider Podcast experience, you can support the AppleInsider podcast by subscribing for $5 per month through Apple’s Podcasts app, or via Patreon if you prefer any other podcast player.





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Hardware

No hardware debuts during WWDC 2021 keynote, says leaker


Apple may not use its WWDC 2021 keynote to make any hardware announcements, with a prominent leaker hinting that there won’t be any physical product launches.

While WWDC is known to be a software-centric event, concerned primarily with Apple’s operating systems and software changes, rumors always circulate about new hardware being revealed during the event. In the opinion of one well-known leaker, it seems that WWDC 2021 will be a software-only year.

Responding to a query on Twitter on whether there will be any hardware products shown at WWDC 2021 on Monday, leaker “@L0vetodream” responded in Chinese with the translated phrase “I feel no.”

While the Twitter account has amassed a following for high-accuracy leaks for Apple products, there is always a chance that the account is incorrect and Apple does show hardware. In a later tweet, they said “I was just talking about playing, I’m not reliable at all,” which immediately casts doubt on the initial “I feel no” tweet.

Apple has used the WWDC event to highlight hardware, but certainly not every event. On three occasions, for the “coke can” Mac Pro, the iMac Pro, and the 2019 Mac Pro, Apple teased the hardware, and shipped a profoundly limited quantity of the devices before the end of the year.

Rumors claimed that Apple could launch a 16-inch MacBook Pro refresh during the event, as well as the possibility of pushing forward with its Apple Silicon transition with a new chip. However, this is also during a time when the world is dealing with a chip shortage, which could cause problems for the production of new hardware.

Follow all the details of WWDC 2021 with the comprehensive AppleInsider coverage of the whole week-long event from June 7 through June 11, including details of all the new launches and updates.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, “Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider,” and you’ll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for “AppleInsider Daily” instead and you’ll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you’re interested in Apple-centric home automation, say “Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider,” and you’ll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.





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How to Use Every New Feature in iOS 14.6


Apple’s iOS 14.6 and iPadOS 14.6 launched this week, adding several new features to iPhones and iPad devices including new voice controls, expanded tracking functions for AirTags, Family Sharing options for Apple card payments, and, of course, tons of bug fixes.

Here’s a round-up of all the new features in iOS/iPadOS 14.6 and how to use them—and don’t forget you can install the software update under Settings > General > Software Update. 

Unlock your screen with your voice

Users can unlock their iPhone’s screen with a voice command after restarting the device. The new accessibility feature is available for all users with voice commands enabled. To turn on voice controls:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control.
  2. Tap “Set up Voice Control.” iOS will download the necessary files in the background. When it’s done, you’ll see a mic icon on the screen indicating voice controls are turned on.
  3. You can also view voice commands and modify or create your own under Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control > Customize Commands.

Apple Card Family Group spending features

An Apple Card can now be shared with up to five other accounts in your Family Sharing group. Users must be 13 years or older to use Apple Card payments. Along with the family sharing option, users can track expenses and set spending limits and other restrictions.

You’ll find all the options in Settings > [username] > Family Sharing.

New AirTag tracking functions

Apple’s recently released AirTags have a couple of new features included in iOS/iPadOS 14.6, including:

  • Tapping an AirTag with an NFC-capable device (like your iPhone or iPad) shows a partial phone number of the AirTag’s owner.
  • “Lost mode” in the Find My app now lets you add an email instead of a phone number.

Other new features in iOS/iPadOS 14.6

  • Apple Music Losses Audio prep: Apple Music’s new Lossless Audio quality option won’t hit the app until sometime next month, but iOS 14.6 preemptively adds support for the audio format to all applicable iOS and iPadOS devices.
  • Paid content support for Apple Podcasts: Podcasts creators can now add optional paid content and subscriptions for their shows in the Apple Podcast app. This doesn’t affect free content.
  • Several security updates and bug fixes.

[iDrop News]



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Fortnite’s Mastermind Goes to Battle With Apple


The billionaire behind one of the most successful videogames of all time came to view

Apple Inc.


AAPL 1.80%

as an existential threat to his dream of the future. So

Tim Sweeney

decided to fight. He gave his dispute with the world’s biggest company a code name: Project Liberty.

The clash was a bold gambit from a man who built an empire around “Fortnite,” the online multiplayer shooter game filled with cartoonish characters that became a phenomenon beloved by teenagers around the world. The ambition of Epic Games Inc.’s chief executive was that Fortnite’s legions of devoted young fans could turn it into a thriving social network, and help realize his vision of the “metaverse,” a shared virtual world where people might one day live, work and hang out.

Mr. Sweeney saw Apple as a central roadblock to that vision, according to people familiar with his thinking and documents unveiled in a recent court proceeding, because of the iPhone maker’s tight control over how people access “Fortnite” and any other mobile apps from Epic. Apple’s App Store takes a 30% cut of Epic’s revenue from those users.

Epic circumvented Apple’s fees and rules last August by introducing its own system for processing user purchases into mobile versions of “Fortnite.” It also prepared for a larger legal and public-relations campaign, complete with a video mocking a legendary Apple ad and the social-media hashtag #FreeFortnite.

“You’ll enjoy the upcoming fireworks show,” Mr. Sweeney said in an email to an ally at

Microsoft Corp.

on the eve of the plan’s launch. Apple made that email public in a court filing, along with other emails and witness testimony cited in this story.

Epic hoped to draw the company into a larger conflict, the court documents show. Once Apple and

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google booted “Fortnite” from their app stores, Epic responded by suing both companies.

The fate of Epic’s fight has widespread implications for the entire technology world. It could help determine everything from how much revenue app developers are able to keep to how exposed Apple could be to potential antitrust violations. Apple has rejected claims it has monopoly power, saying that Epic broke the terms of a contract and engaged in a smear campaign.

A resolution could be drawing near. Starting May 3, the dispute goes to trial before federal Judge

Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

in Oakland, Calif. The judge must decide whether Apple is misusing its power to quash competition or if Epic is merely trying to break its contract with the iPhone maker to boost its bottom line.

Save the world

The man at the center of this clash is a 50-year-old programmer who prefers an office uniform of cargo pants and T-shirts. He eschewed the clubby confines of Silicon Valley to locate Epic’s headquarters just outside of Raleigh, N.C. Mr. Sweeney’s previous dealings with other technology companies showcase his instincts for big and prolonged fights, as well as an eye for strategy. The Maryland native is worth more than $9 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

The man who is taking on Apple prefers an office uniform of cargo pants and t-shirts. Here he is pictured in Epic’s offices in 2019.



Photo:

Jeremy M. Lange for The Wall Sweet Journal

He launched Epic from his parents’ basement at age 20 in 1991 and evolved his company from solely building games for PCs to include those for videogame consoles and smartphones. In 2012, he sold a 40% stake of his company to

Tencent Holdings Ltd.

, in part to tap the Chinese tech giant’s expertise in mobile gaming and wringing money from users through small purchases known as microtransactions. (Mr. Sweeney remains Epic’s largest shareholder.) Epic also owns the video-chat app Houseparty and makes the Unreal Engine, a suite of software tools for developing games and producing special effects for television shows, movies and other types of digital content.

Epic’s biggest hit started with the 2017 launch of “Fortnite: Save the World,” then a $40 game for up to four players to fight zombies and build forts. A few months later, after disappointing results, Epic offered up a new, free-to-play mode called “Battle Royale,” in which 100 players duke it out until only one combatant or squad remains. It later sold virtual currency that players could use to acquire in-game perks such as an outfit to make their avatars appear as a Marvel Comics superhero.

To build the community, since only a small percentage of players make such purchases, Epic pushed console makers to allow users of one machine to play “Fortnite” with users of another machine, in what would be an industry first for all three major videogame systems. That meant a PlayStation player could join a match with a friend on Microsoft’s Xbox or

Nintendo Co.

’s Switch.

Microsoft and Nintendo had shown a willingness for such cross-platform play.

Sony Group Corp.

balked.

In the fall of 2017, Epic updated its software that briefly allowed a Sony PlayStation “Fortnite” player to compete against someone on Microsoft’s Xbox. It pulled that function back, saying it was a mistake, after online chat boards lighted up with excitement. Seeing what was possible, gamers demanded more. Players cast Sony as the villain on social media with hashtags such as #blamesony and #notfortheplayers, a harbinger for the Apple dispute.

As Sony internally debated its position, executives were worried about exposure of its consumer-behavior data and competitors taking an unfair share of their business, according to people familiar with the talks. They felt Epic had backed them into a corner and worried that finicky gamers would turn on them, the people said.

Following months of negotiations, Sony relented. Asked about it afterward, Mr. Sweeney described it simply as “an effort in international diplomacy.” Since then, the Tokyo-based company has twice invested in Epic, having most recently contributed around $200 million in a funding round that valued Epic at $28.7 billion. A spokesman for Sony declined to comment.

Mr. Sweeney’s hardball tactics with Sony helped him usher in cross-play across videogame consoles, personal computers and Apple and Android devices.

All hands on deck

The relationship with Apple was cordial for its first decade. In March 2018, “Fortnite” was launched on Apple’s App Store. A year later, Mr. Sweeney was at the annual Game Developers Conference celebrating how cross-play had helped the game grow to almost 250 million players world-wide – a smashing success. Apple’s managers were happy to help promote the new hit, offering technical and marketing assistance to Epic.

Mike Schmid, head of Apple’s games business development for the App Store, helped oversee the “Fortnite” rollout and several updates. In a court statement, he described an “all-hands-on-deck treatment to address Epic’s non-stop asks, which frequently involved middle-of-the-night calls and texts demanding short-turnaround.”

To manage the work, he assigned someone in Australia so Apple could provide 24-hour coverage.

Mr. Sweeney located Epic’s headquarters far from Silicon Valley, to a spot outside Raleigh, N.C. The offices are pictured here in 2019.



Photo:

Jeremy M. Lange for The Wall Sweet Journal

The relationship described by Apple in court papers differs greatly from the experiences detailed by other developers on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Smaller software makers have complained about what they perceive as Apple’s seemingly arbitrary rules and mercurial ways.

With Epic, Apple appeared to go out of its way to help the gamemaker establish itself on the platform. Mr. Schmid said Epic employees had told him Apple represented just 7% of its revenue. He couldn’t be reached for comment through Apple.

“On a variety of occasions, Epic personnel have told me that if Apple did not comply with its demands, Epic would simply terminate its relationship with Apple and remove its games off the iOS platform,” Mr. Schmid said in court records. A core part of Apple’s antitrust defense is that Epic’s games are available on a variety of tech companies’ platforms, not just Apple’s.

By early 2020, “Fortnite” was showing signs of aging, although popularity for online games can sometimes ebb and flow due to new seasons or features. The privately held company doesn’t disclose financial records but app-analytics firm Sensor Tower Inc. estimates global consumer spending within “Fortnite” on Apple devices had fallen in the first quarter of last year to $70 million from a peak of almost $180 million in the third quarter of 2018. Epic Chief Financial Officer Joe Babcock, who departed the company in early 2020, said it expected the trend to continue, according to a deposition he gave cited by Apple. Mr. Babock couldn’t be reached for comment.

Epic disputes the notion that “Fortnite” was waning in popularity, as the company in May 2020 said it had reached 350 million registered accounts.

Epic said in May 2020 it had reached 350 million registered ‘Fortnite’ accounts, up from 250 million a year earlier.



Photo:

cristobal herrera-ulashkevich/EPA/Shutterstock

Epic hatched a plan, according to court records citing a board presentation, to revive interest in “Fortnite” beyond its seasonal updates and occasional music performances and movie screenings that people experience together in a virtual setting. Epic would turn to third-party developers to create new content for “Fortnite,” essentially turning it into an open platform unto itself.

But for this new plan to work, the company needed to find a way it could afford to compensate its would-be partners. Apple’s 30% share, the presentation concluded, was an “existential issue” for its plan and needed to be cut so Epic could share a majority of the profit with creators.

The battle begins

Last spring Epic began sharpening its plan to wrest itself from Apple’s fees and control. Its team investigated ways to surreptitiously add an alternative payment system to the versions of “Fortnite” on Apple and Google’s app stores, according to court records. By May Epic decided it would deploy the new system through a so-called hotfix, an important software update usually reserved for security bugs, records show, and do so just before the debut of the game’s new season.

Epic executives initially considered targeting Google alone, according to court records citing internal emails. But later they decided to include Apple, which in time would become the focus of the effort.

From an early stage, the plan depended on Epic’s payment system being rejected, read an email between Epic executives disclosed in court records. At that point: “The battle begins. It’s going to be fun!”

Epic co-founder

Mark Rein

predicted there was a greater than 50% chance Apple would immediately remove “Fortnite” from its platforms, according to an Epic employee deposition cited in court records. “They may also sue us to make an example.” Mr. Rein declined to comment.

While it worked on the technical attack, Epic also planned to cut prices on certain items in the console and PC versions of “Fortnite” by 20%— essentially creating a reason for players to eschew the mobile alternative offered by Apple.

But first, Epic would go to the front door and ask a favor of Apple and Google: The company wanted permission to run its own competing store and payment system.

In a late June email to Apple CEO

Tim Cook,

according to court records, Mr. Sweeney sought an exemption from App Store rules. Most important, he wanted to stop paying Apple’s 30% fee.

Apple rejected the request in a July 10 letter, laying out many of the same arguments it would make in defending itself against the eventual Epic lawsuit. Epic had other ways to sell its game, Apple’s lawyer added, as well as noting Epic collects royalties from games built on its software.

“Yet somehow, you believe Apple has no right to do the same, and want all the benefits Apple and the App Store provide without having to pay a penny,” the letter concluded. “Apple cannot bow to that unreasonable demand.”

‘Fortnite’ became a phenomenon beloved by teenagers around the world. Here fans cheer during the 2019 ‘Fortnite’ World Cup inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.



Photo:

johannes eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Mr. Sweeney on July 17 responded with another email to Mr. Cook and others calling the response a “self-righteous and self-serving screed.” He promised to “continue to pursue this, as we have done in the past to address other injustices in our industry.”

Behind the scenes, Epic’s Project Liberty team met regularly and devised a way to present their plan to a judge and the public. The team included as many as 200 Epic staffers, outside lawyers and public-relations advisers. It developed an argument that Apple violated antitrust laws with its requirements that all apps offered on its iPhones and iPads go through its App Store and that all purchases of digital content go through the tech giant’s in-app purchase system.

It wasn’t a unique gripe. Other app makers, including

Netflix Inc.

and Spotify Technology SA, have also butted heads with Apple on its slice of fees and control. Apple says the walled mobile-software garden it built in 2008 is now responsible for more than a half-trillion dollars in commerce.

Epic’s team worried it wouldn’t be a sympathetic character in a public fight and that gamers would blame the company if Apple and Google ultimately decided to yank “Fortnite.” So it strategized on how to bring in additional companies, including smaller, sympathetic developers, to advocate for its cause, records say. It also studied past Apple responses to major public fights, focusing on its battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over demands to create a backdoor into the iPhone of a shooter in a 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. The controversy subsided when the government found an alternative way into the device.

The Epic team concluded that Apple could be thin skinned when it came to its public image. “Nothing moves Apple to change other than notable consumer pressure,” an Epic memo noted.

Share your Thoughts

Do you think Apple is misusing its power to quash competition? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

As August approached, Epic’s board of directors was briefed on the project’s final pieces in a presentation dubbed “battle plan.” By this point, the board was told, Epic had spent time helping form the Coalition for App Fairness, an advocacy group, to support its crusade and it tested the payment system that would eventually be uploaded to Apple’s and Google’s app stores.

Mr. Sweeney sent emails to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo alerting them to the upcoming price changes in “Fortnite,” a prelude to the “fireworks show.”

On Aug. 13, he lighted the fuse. “Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Mr. Sweeney wrote at about 2 a.m. in an email to Apple. Hours later, Epic flipped the switch on the new payment system and a public-relations campaign to rally gamers to its fight.

Project Liberty was in play.

Apple and Google both booted the game by day’s end, springing the second part of Epic’s plan: a legal battle.

A trial date hasn’t been set in Epic’s lawsuit against Google, though the situation is distinct. Devices that run Google’s Android operating system can download software from other app marketplaces in addition to the Google Play store. Google has said that Epic violated its app store’s policies as well, which are designed to keep it safe for users.

In the months after its lawsuit, Epic pursued complaints with regulators around the world and supported lobbying efforts among statehouses and Congress for changes that would crimp Apple’s power. It also released an online video that echoed Apple’s famous 1984 ad, a nod to George Orwell’s dystopian novel, that framed the computer maker as the underdog against the then-mighty

IBM.

This time around, the image of a televised Big Brother was replaced by one of a talking Apple wearing glasses similar to those of Mr. Cook. The call to action at the end read: “Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984.’ ”

Write to Tim Higgins at [email protected] and Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Apple set to release long-awaited iOS update to restrict tracking by advertisers


Apple is about to give millions of iPhone users a choice: Allow Facebook and other apps running on Apple’s iOS platform to track your activity on your phone and online, or stop tracking altogether.

What will you choose?

Among the new features in Apple’s new iPhone software, iOS 14.5, is a major privacy update called App Tracking Transparency, which requires apps to request permission before gathering user or device data. Specifically, the update changes the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a unique, random number assigned to each iPhone that allows advertisers and developers to track user behavior, including app usage and web browsing behavior. The IDFA is often used to personalize advertisements.

Apple is also releasing software updates for its other devices, including the iPad, Apple Watch, Mac computers and Apple TV. Apple is hosting an event on Tuesday where the company will announce product updates, and the software is expected to be available this week.

A spokesperson for Apple said the new privacy features were developed to “provide transparency and give users a choice if their data is tracked.” Apple requires all developers to adhere to the new policies, but will not require software makers to make the update immediately. 

Why Facebook objects

Facebook, Google and other big tech firms are unhappy with the changes.

In December, Facebook placed a full-page ad in the New York Times that claimed the user-tracking changes in iOS 14.5 would adversely affect small businesses. “[T]he average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” the Facebook ad stated.

A spokesman for Facebook was unable to verify the claim of a 60% loss to small business, but shared a Facebook blog post and video that asserts the Apple update will force developers to enable in-app purchases to make up for lost revenue. 

“It will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app payments for revenue, meaning Apple will profit and many free services will have to start charging or exit the market,” the blog post said. Facebook has previously warned advertisers that its ad network could become “ineffective” on Apple’s products.

Google does not plan to make similar changes to its Android operating system. The mobile OS has a similar device identification advertising feature called GPS ADID that allows advertisers on Android to personalize ads. The current version of Android also asks for one-time user permissions that enables app access to a phone’s location, camera and microphone.

A spokesperson for the company, which is owned by Alphabet, told CBS News, “We’re always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem.”

A boon for privacy

The Google Chrome web browser will start limiting or removing data shared with third-party tracking cookies by early 2022, according to a company spokesperson. Instead of tracking individuals, Google plans to allow targeted ads to groups of users with similar interests, a move that it says is less invasive but which privacy advocates have criticized.

Apple’s update is “the most significant improvement in digital privacy in the history of the internet. And it will kneecap Facebook,” Jason Kint, a privacy advocate and CEO of the advertising trade association Digital Content Next, said in a tweet.

AdWeek, a trade publication for the advertising industry, recently surveyed a number of small business advertisers and reported that “nobody really knows” what to expect from the iOS changes. 

Other experts are more positive. Apple’s policy is fair for both advertisers and consumers, said tech analyst Rene Ritchie. “It’s good for consumers. It’s not bad for advertisers. If we think of it in a consumer-centric way, [advertisers] have just had unfettered access to our data forever and it’s built up almost an entitlement to ownership of who we are and what we do online,” he told CBS News.

Ritchie said consumers have the right to keep private or to share mobile phone and browsing data. “This is our data. And it’s so valuable to [advertisers] that they’re willing to spend all this money, accumulating it and analyzing it, but we still own it,” he said.





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Gadgets

Jamf provides user-friendly device management for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV devices


Whether you have a small business or need large-scale enterprise management, Jamf provides comprehensive tools for Apple devices.

As businesses increase the number of Apple devices across their teams and enact bring-your-own-device policies, using a scalable management solution that works seamlessly with iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV is an invaluable tool. Jamf offers multiple products that can help streamline the IT process for companies with just a few Apple devices, or those running hundreds of Apple devices across multiple locations.

For teams just entering the device management world or companies with no dedicated IT department, Jamf can make potentially frustrating tasks like connecting new employee devices to their email account a one-click process. Once a device is enrolled in Jamf management, administrators can add Wi-Fi networks, VPNs, security protocols, and push enterprise applications to employees without ever touching their device.

Manage iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV with Jamf

I have been personally using Jamf Now for five years and have managed over 100 Apple devices from a single account.

Administrators and IT professionals alike can utilize zero-touch deployment with any Apple device. This allows any business to ship a new Apple product to an employee and the moment it powers on, the device is enrolled in Jamf and the set-up process begins automatically. Users will have access to all the business tools they need right away, and any needed applications will install on first start-up.

Companies can also utilize Jamf’s open enrollment feature that allows anyone in the company to enroll their device into management just by visiting a URL and inputting a password.

Once a device has been added to the Jamf platform, administrators can view information about that iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV such as the operating system that device is running, its serial number, storage capacity, whether or not a passcode has been set, and even push changes to that device remotely.

Administrators using Jamf Now can create Blueprints that save all the applications, security provisions, restrictions, and even wallpaper settings and then apply that Blueprint to any new device that’s added to the management platform.

Settings can be as granular as requiring an alphanumeric passcode, how many failed passcode attempts result in erasing the device, and a maximum auto-lock time. Jamf also gives businesses access to restrict Siri usage, iCloud services, or delay OS updates for a specific amount of time.

Even with these powerful management features, the end-user experience of all Jamf products remains fast and fluid. I have never had complaints from any user with a device being managed by Jamf.

Companies looking for increased security and workflow options should consider Jamf’s Apple Enterprise Management solution which combines their Jamf Connect, Jamf Pro and Jamf Protect products. These advanced solutions when used together automate the entire lifecycle of Apple in the enterprise including the ability to sign on with one set of cloud-identity credentials, device deployment and management, compliance monitoring, security from threats, and much more.

Jamf for education is also available

For small schools to large districts, Jamf also has solutions for education with the Jamf School platform. Unique features for parents and teachers allow management of devices in a classroom or home setting, including advanced iPadOS and tvOS management, and can be used in 1-to-1 iPad initiatives, or complete Mac labs.

To learn more about all of Jamf’s management solutions, click here.



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Gazelle Decides Not to End Device Trade-In Program After All


Gazelle, a company that buys old iPhones, iPads, and Macs, has reinstated its device trade-in program after initially ending it in February.


Back in December, Gazelle announced plans to end its trade-in program in 2021, and said that it would shut down trade-in options on February 1, 2021. Gazelle stopped taking trade-ins at that time, but has since reversed course on the decision.

As of April 5, Gazelle is once again accepting online trade-ins for smartphones and tablets. In an email to customers that was also shared with The Verge, Gazelle said that trade-ins were reinstated after feedback from consumers.

Earlier this year, we announced that we will no longer be offering our trade-in option on Gazelle. After careful consideration, including feedback from customers like you, we have decided to keep Gazelle Trade-In going. Today, we are happy to say, ‘We’re back, baby!’ Gazelle Trade-In is a pioneer of the electronics trade-in space and we are happy to continue building on our legacy by offering a simple process and immediate payouts for those unwanted devices.

When initially announcing that its online trade-in program was ending, Gazelle said that it would instead focus on its in-store ecoATM kiosks, which are designed to offer instant cash for devices.

Gazelle operates more than 4,000 ecoATM units across the United States and has collected more than 25 million devices.



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Hardware

Supposed next-gen Apple TV remote turns out to be third-party hardware


Recent reports claimed Apple is developing a new Apple TV remote dubbed “B519,” though that particular device appears to be third-party hardware designed for use by cable companies.

Earlier this week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple is working on a new Apple TV remote expected to launch with a next-generation set-top box later this year. A follow-up on Wednesday, however, reveals the device is in fact a remote designed by Universal Electronics.

Announced in November, the Apple TV accessory was developed and designed to serve cable, satellite, and MVPD companies offering Apple TV 4K as an alternative to the traditional cable box.

Eschewing the Siri Remote’s — controversially — minimalist design, the Universal Electronics hardware is a typical candy bar style remote with a multitude of buttons that flank a central control “wheel.” Dedicated buttons invoke Siri voice control and a programming guide.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple had a hand in designing the remote, though the tech giant’s participation was left unmentioned in a Universal Electronics press release announcing the device last year. The remote is reportedly referred to internally at Apple as “B519,” though that information is also in question.

Reliable reports from Bloomberg have indicated that Apple is indeed preparing a new remote control for a so-called “Apple TV 6” and code discovered in recent tvOS beta version backs up those claims. Last week, for example, code strings in the fourth tvOS 14.5 beta release replaced “Siri Remote” with “Apple TV Remote,” while a fifth beta today points to a remote that includes a center button.

Previous rumblings suggest the new remote will feature fresh capabilities like a device location system similar to Find My on iOS.



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Future

Stocks Turn Higher After Fed Holds Steady


U.S. stocks rose Wednesday after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep its easy-money policies in place until the U.S. economy further recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The S&P 500 added 0.3%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4%, reversing losses earlier in the session.

All three indexes turned higher at the release of the central bank’s 2 p.m. ET statement. Investors are focused on any sign the monetary stimulus that has supported markets during the pandemic could begin to subside.

With unemployment still elevated, Fed officials are taking a cautious approach that supports the economy, said

George Catrambone,

head of Americas trading at asset manager DWS Group,

“Investors are taking some solace in that,” he said. “We’re going to make sure it’s there, that the recovery is sustainable and inflation is sustainable, before we really think about raising rates.”

The Fed also highlighted the brightening outlook for growth. Investors in recent weeks have trimmed bets on the technology stocks that soared earlier in the pandemic while adding shares of economically sensitive companies that should do well as the vaccine rollout progresses and more fiscal stimulus enters the financial system.

Shares of

Apple

and

Amazon.com

are down 5.6% and 3.1% this year, respectively, while the energy and financial sectors are leading the S&P 500.

“Tech is the funding source for reallocation,” said

Jamie Cox,

managing partner for Harris Financial Group. “You’re restoring the allocations that you had pre-pandemic.”

Money managers have started pricing in a rise in inflation, leading to a selloff in government bonds, and are betting that interest rates will start climbing by the end of next year. They have started exiting stocks that look to be too richly valued after last year’s rally.

“Markets across the board are expensive today, and that is pinned on central-bank support,” said

Hugh Gimber,

a strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “So this whole market is very, very sensitive to changes in central-bank policy.”

After the Fed’s reassurance that interest rates will stay low, shares of rapidly growing companies rebounded from earlier losses. The Russell 1000 Growth Index was recently up 0.3%, trailing a 0.4% gain by the Russell 1000 Value Index. Value stocks—which trade at low multiples of their book value, or net worth—have outperformed growth stocks in recent weeks.

“The resurgence of value investing has been the big story of the year,” said

Mace McCain,

chief investment officer at Frost Investment Advisors, noting that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines should help the economic recovery. “We expect tremendous growth this next year.”

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.641%, from 1.622% Tuesday. Yields rise as the price falls. The yield has climbed sharply from this year’s low of 0.915% on Jan. 4.

Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.



Photo:

Colin Ziemer/Associated Press

Among individual stocks,

NRG Energy

fell 17%. The company said it is withdrawing its 2021 financial guidance after the recent winter storm hit its results. Shares of

Plug Power

dropped 8% after the hydrogen and fuel-cell technology company said it would restate financial statements.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, fell 0.6% to $68.00 a barrel.

In overseas markets, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged 0.4% lower. Most major indexes in Asia were little changed. South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite, Hang Seng and Nikkei 225 indexes all ended the day nearly flat.

Write to Karen Langley at [email protected] and Will Horner at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Gadgets

Apple updates MagSafe support with medical device warning


Apple has updated a support document warning iPhone users that MagSafe could potentially interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators, and other medical implants that could be affected by magnets.

The magnets within the iPhone 12 series and MagSafe accessories are meant to align the wireless charging coils, as well as to keep accessories affixed to the back of the iPhone itself. While the magnets may not be strong to cause noticeable issues for regular users, people with medical conditions requiring specialized equipment may encounter problems if their iPhone gets too close.

In an update to a support page about the magnets used for MagSafe, Apple added language that warns medical devices including implanted pacemakers and defibrillators “might contain sensors that respond to magnets and radios when in close contact.” Apple doesn’t explain what could happen in such cases, but the worst circumstance could be the deactivation of a medical device and a user’s potential death.

“To avoid any potential interactions with these devices, keep your iPhone and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away from your device,” Apple suggests. The suggested distances are more than 6 inches normally, increased to more than 12 inches when performing wireless charging.

The text, spotted by MacRumors, further advises consulting with a physician and the device manufacturer for “specific guidelines” in relation to MagSafe. If users suspect an iPhone or MagSafe accessory is interfering with their medical device, Apple tells users to stop using the iPhone or accessory immediately.

The update follows after an article in the Heart Rhythm Journal from three doctors in Michigan who tested MagSafe’s effects on a patient’s implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. When the iPhone was brought near to the patient’s chest, the implant immediately ceased working normally.

There is no indication that the doctors’ findings influenced Apple into making the change to the support page.



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