News/Rumors

FBI remains mum about if San Bernardino iPhone is useful for investigation

After involving Apple in a high-profile court battle to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter Syed Farook, FBI lawyer refuses to say whether data extracted from the device is ‘useful’.

According to the statement FBI general counsel James Baker, it is “too early” to say whether anything useful would be found.

We’re now doing an analysis of that data, as we would in any other type of criminal terrorism investigation,’’ Mr. Baker said, adding: “That means we would follow logical leads.” But because the agency has only had access to the data for a short period of time, he said “it’s simply too early’’ to say whether anything found on the phone has been valuable to investigators.”

While the FBI has not shared how it was able to unlock the iPhone, it also won’t reveal what was found until that examination is complete.

FBI lawyer refuses to say whether data extracted from San Bernardino iPhone is 'useful'

It is still unclear if the method for hacking the iPhone can be used only for the iPhone 5c owned by Farook, but according to the report by The Wall Street Journal, the FBI is testing to find out if it can be used to unlock other versions of the device. 

According to rumors pointing to Israeli firm Cellebrite,  an unnamed third party helped the agency crack, bypass or otherwise thwart Farook’s passcode and extract the phone’s data.

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Siri can now answer more questions about the sport

Apple updated Siri, which allowed the voice-activated personal assistant to answer a wider range of questions about the sport.

Siri now covers 28 leagues, not just Major League Baseball.

According to the company, Siri now features some more baseball smarts: it can answer questions about more detailed statistics, including historical stats going back to the beginning of baseball records. The voice assistant can also provide information on career statistics, and specific information for leagues, including the Minors.

Siri first received an ability to answer sports questions with iOS 6 release.

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The news comes days after the announcement that iPbone maker and MLB have signed a deal for coaches to use 12.9 inch iPad Pros in the dugout during real games. This deal allows coaches and managers in the MLB to use iPad Pros, which works with a custom app for statistics, but usage of the devices is not mandatory.

Apple is continually working to improve Siri’s knowledge and often brings quiet updates. The personal assistant was also given some additional enhancements to its contextual awareness with the release of iOS 9.

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FBI agrees to help Arkansas prosecutor unlock iPhone, iPod involved in homicide case

The FBI has agreed to help unlock another iPhone and an iPod relating to a homicide case in Arkansas.

The news came days after the FBI announced that it had successfully unlocked the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino gunmen last December without Apple’s help.

“We always appreciate their cooperation and willingness to help their local law enforcement partners,” Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said. Patrick Benca, Drexler’s attorney, said he was notified the FBI agreed to help and that he was “not concerned about anything on that phone.”

According to the report, a judge agreed to postpone the trial so prosecutors could seek help unlocking the iOS devices. The both boys have pleaded not guilty to the murder.iPhone_6

There are no specific details at this point in the Arkansas case. It is also unclear if the FBI will use the same exploit in the Arkansas case. The target device is two generations removed from Farook’s iPhone 5c, which mean it not only contain stock with iOS 8, but also features hardware protection in a secure element embedded into the A8 processor.

In addition, the other teenager in the case reportedly used the iPod to discuss plans relating to the homicide.

“The iPod had just come into our possession a couple of weeks ago,” Hiland said. “Obviously when we heard that [the FBI] had been able to crack that phone we wanted to at least ask and see if they wanted to help.”

Prosecutors in the Arkansas case have possessed the device in question since July of last year, but have not received access. On Tuesday they asked trial proceedings be delayed as they sought FBI assistance.

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iPad Pro comes to the MLB dugouts this season

Apple and Major League Baseball have signed a multi-year deal that will see the sports league’s coaching staffs use iPad Pros in dugouts to make better use of data during games.

Sport managers and coaches have traditionally used notebooks, or just paper to monitor data. The new deal means, that MLB will provide 12.9 inch iPad Pros to every team in the league to keep track of player statistics, stat breakdowns, interactive data and more. 

Teams will be able sift through performance stats from current and past seasons, weigh potential pitcher-hitter matchups, look at “spray charts” showing where a player is likely to hit a ball, even cue up videos of plays from previous games.”

“We’re not just replacing binders with tablets, we’re actually helping them do things that weren’t possible before,” said Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. 

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The iPads will be equipped with a custom app titled ‘MLB Dugout’, created by MLB’s media division with help from Apple. The Dugout app will allow each team to view only their own data rather than league-wide data well. The app will be preloaded before each match, but the MLB plans to update the app so that data could be provided in real time. Pllayers will now have access to videos of pitchers during the game rather than having to retreat to the locker room.

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Such deal became possible because of a recent change to the rules which worked on the ban on smartphones, tablets and laptops in the dugouts. 

iPad is expected to help speed up the pace of matches, making baseball more interesting to a younger generation drawn to fast action sports.

Apple isn’t the first company to offer such deal. Microsoft has agreed to a similar deal with the NFL, to feature Surface tablets prominently during games.

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New Apple TV ad features Siri Remote

Apple has released a brand new television advertisement to promote its fourth-generation Apple TV.

This time, the commercial highlights the functionality of the Siri Remote, which comes with the new set-top box.

In the 60-second video titled ‘The Kiss,’ Alison Brie and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are attempting to replicate an on-screen kiss, using Siri to rewind a specific movie scene. The actors use the Siri remote on the Apple TV 4 for voice actions like “What did she say?” or “Rewind 10 seconds,” at which point the Apple TV 4 automatically replays a certain scene in the movie.

Another scene has the actor asking Siri to “Show me Game of Thrones”. Frustrated that they couldn’t agree on any specific movie scene to replicate a kiss from, Coster-Waldau asks Siri to play a song by artist Jeremiah through Apple Music.

The Siri Remote is one of the key addition to the fourth-generation Apple TV, which was released in late October. It features touch-optimized remote featuring swipe functionality and has support for Siri, enabling voice commands for controlling playback, finding content across services, opening specific apps, and playing songs from Apple Music.

This ad is one of several in a series with the tagline “The Future of Television.”

News/Rumors

Google building keyboard with search functions for iOS

Google is reportedly working on its own third-party keyboard for iOS with gesture-based input and built-in Web search functionality.

There are no details on when or if the keyboard will be released, but the report from The Verge notes that the keyboard project has been in development for months and is currently being used or tested by a select group of Google employees.

The company’s keyboard is expected to be gesture-based, must like SwiftKey and Swipe, allowing users to slide their fingers across the keyboard to enter letters. Tap the Google logo and you can access traditional web search. It also likely to feature distinct buttons for pictures and GIF searches, both presumably powered by Google image search.  In addition, the keyboard will reportedly come with word prediction, much like the built-in iOS keyboard.

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Google Keyboard for Android

The keyboard is designed to increase the number of Google searches on iOS. Using publicly available numbers, journalist Charles Arthur argued in October that half of smartphone users perform zero searches per day.

Apple first opened access to third-parties with iOS 8 in 2014.

News of Google’s iOS keyboard appeared just a few months after images surfaced of a Word Flow Windows Phone-style keyboard Microsoft is developing for iOS devices.

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Apple announced iPhone SE

The long-awaited iPhone SE was officially revealed alongside a new iPad by boss Tim Cook at Apple’s exclusive event tonight

The company’s CEO started by introducing two new initiatives around sustainability and health.

Tim Cook reinforced a commitment to make Apple’s production and products renewable and expanded HealthKit to include CareKit – a new way for patients to track their treatments.

The new iPhone SE retains the design of the iPhone 5s and has the innards of an iPhone 6s. The device still features Apple’s latest-generation A9 processor and 12-megapixel camera, capable of recording 4K video. The device also received a voice assistant Siri. In comparison with an iPhone 6s, the only thing missing from the iPhone SE is pressure sensing 3D Touch.

The new device comes with the recognizable anodized aluminum finish and is available in the same four colors offered across most of Apple’s newer product lineups: Gold, Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold.

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As expected, the iPhone SE will be available 16GB and 64B capacities with pricing starting at $399 and $499 respectively, which Apple notes is its most affordable iPhone yet. The smartphone will also be available for free on the usual two-year agreement with carriers or $17/month on installment plans.

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The device will first come to such countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States.

The iPhone SE will be available to order from March 24 and begin shipping on March 31. 

In addition to the new iPhone SE, Apple announced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with all of the features of the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support. The company also released new Apple Watch updates, iOS 9.3 with Night Shift, new quick actions, app improvements and ‘1970’ bug fix.

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Apple Store offline ahead of ‘Let Us Loop You In’ event

Ahead of Apple’s upcoming “Let Us Loop You In” media event, the company’s online storefront has been taken offline.

The event is set to be held at Cupertino campus, where Tim Cook’s executive team will unveil a number of new products related to iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch

Apple’s special event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific with a live stream available on Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV. 

As the stream uses Apple’s HLS streaming technology, you’ll need a web browser that meets the requirements for HLS, and the company notes these devices and software combinations will allow to watch the live-streamed event:

  • Any iOS 7.0 or later iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and viewed with the Safari web browser
  • Any Mac running OS X 10.8.5 or later and viewed with the Safari 6.0.5 or later web browser
  • Any PC running Windows 10 and viewed with the Microsoft Edge web browser
  • Any Apple TV running software 6.2 or later, or the Apple TV 4 with any version of tvOS

Apple-Store-Down-March-2016The slogan “Let us loop you in” is believed to be related to Apple Watches and more specifically, the Milanese Loop, while the colors in the event background suggest new colors are coming to the loops. Other products to be announced may be the long-rumored 4-inch iPhone 5SE, and perhaps even a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. IOS 9.3 is also rumored to be released after the media event.

Apple didn’t reveal a lot about its plans for the future, but the company will probably hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June, where it will provide both iOS 10 and OS X 10.12.

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Ford launching 2017 Escape with CarPlay support in May

Car maker Ford announced, it will launch the 2017 Escape with support for CarPlay and Android Auto through its SYNC 3 Connect platform in May in Canada and the U.S.

The new Escape model will become its first vehicle with CarPlay and Android Auto integration. 

CarPlay will bring Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a set of third-party apps, including Spotify, to the 2017 Escape’s in-dash multimedia system. 

CarPlay allows drivers to control some iOS apps while driving without having to pick up their phone. The technology is currently supported by over 100 2016- and 2017-model vehicles from a number of major car brands, including Acura, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford and others.

In addition to Apple’s own, the only compatible apps include iHeartRadio, MLB At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio, Overcast, Audiobooks.com, Audible, Pandora, Slacker, VOX, and NPR One.

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CarPlay and Android Auto will also be available in 2016 Ford vehicles with SYNC 3 as an upgrade later this year. 

In addition to CarPlay and Android Auto, the new Escape also comes with a capable driver-assist technology and all-new Sync Connect that supports features like remote start and door locking through the new FordPass platform.

Ford said, “Escape will also be first to offer SYNC 3 featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.”

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Apple shares new ‘Timer’ iPhone 6s ad featuring Cookie Monster

Apple revealed a humorous new iPhone 6s ad that features well-known celebrity guest: the Cookie Monster.

In the video, Sesame Street character bakes cookies and uses hands-free Siri on his iPhone 6s to time the baking of his cookies.

Both iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus include the A9 processor and M9 motion coprocessor, which allows Siri to continuously listen for the “Hey Siri” command without needing to be plugged into power. The older models of devices, “Hey Siri” is available, but only while an iOS device is charging.

Meantime, while Cookie Monster is waiting for the cookies to be ready, he is using “Hey Siri” to play Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle,” and continues to pace around the kitchen.

The new ad demonstrates how perfect Siri understands the Cookie’s monster unusual accent, plays music playlists, sets timers and more.

The iPhone 6s “Timer” commercial featuring Cookie Monster is an addition to a number of iPhone 6s ads starring well-known celebrities, but it is the first one to star a character. Previous videos focusing on iPhone 6s included Jamie Foxx, Bill Hader, Jon Favreau, and Stephen Curry.

Watch the new ad below: