Apple has announced an event for October 30, with all the rumours claiming there will be updated iPad Pros, new MacBooks, with an edge chance for something completely crazy like Mac minis. New iPad Pros are expected to come with an edge-to-edge display, Face ID, and even USB-C, while on the Mac side of the fence, we’ll probably end up seeing a refreshed 12-inch MacBook lineup, or a new low-cost laptop with Retina display to replace the MacBook Air. Either way, the most fun thing about the event is the set of really cool Apple logos that you can see both on the Apple website and on the invites that were given to the press; clearly there’s some kind of creative angle to their event that they want to highlight.
Apple has updated its privacy mini-site, telling us about all the ways Apple products are designed to protect your privacy. That increasingly means safeguarding all of the personal information that lives on your device, all the way through to allowing you to control what you choose to share. I especially like the part where Apple says it has proven time and time again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of your privacy and security, which seems like a minor poke at some other companies.
Apple has apologised for having a small number of Apple IDs in China compromised due to a phishing scam, which led to a number of fraudulent transactions. While no specifics have been offered regarding the number of compromised accounts or the total amount stolen, one source says Apple will be refunding customers the stolen amount, which seems like a nice move. For the rest of us, it’s a reminder to enable two-factor authentication on your Apple ID, if you haven’t already.
A number of outlets reported Apple’s involvement with music analytics startup Asaii yesterday, but none received Apple’s usual confirmation that it acquires smaller companies from time to time in line with its overall strategy. Instead, TechCrunch reports that it instead hired the three founders to work at Apple Music, with Asaii announcing back in September that it would shut down on October 14.
Apple’s letter to the Australian government on the topic of providing the government and law enforcement agencies with easier access to devices says a lot of things, but places particular emphasis on how stronger encryption — not weaker, as the Assistance and Access Bill proposes — is the best way to protect against threats that begin by targeting an individual’s personal device or smartphone. Apple calls out the “dangerously ambiguous” language used by the proposed legislation, requests firm mandates prohibiting the weakening of encryption or security protocols, and wants further clarification on some of the powers the bill would grant the government and law enforcement.
Apple has semi-acquired Dialog Semiconductor, with a total of $600 million going to the UK-based chipmaker that’s been working with Apple since the early days of the iPhone. As part of the deal, $300 million will go towards the acquisition of 300 employees (who were already working closely with Apple engineers, will now work for Apple), as well as Apple licensing power-management technologies and other assets owned by Dialog, with the remaining $300 million to be paid in advance for products produced by Dialog within the next three years. While more efficient power management is likely to have some impact on real-world battery life, it’s also said that the acquisition will improve Apple’s operating efficiencies in this area.
9to5Mac claims to have details on this year’s iPad Pro refresh. Narrow bezels, no Home button, and perhaps most importantly, no screen notch will all be highlighted features, but there’s plenty more where that came from. No Home button means Face ID, and this year’s iPad Pro is said to support Face ID in landscape, a USB-C port will support 4K HDR external displays, and a new Apple Pencil capable of being paired by proximity, like AirPods. Oh, and there will be a new magnetic connector on the back for connecting a potential smart keyboard and other accessories.
Apple has released the first bug-fix update for iOS 12, with iOS 12.0.1 available right now. The update mostly fixes minor issues to do with the iPhone XS and XS Max, including the one where some devices did not immediately charge when plugged in, the one where they would disconnect from 5GHz Wi-Fi networks and reconnect to 2.4GHz ones instead, as well as restoring the original position of the .?123 button on the iPad keyboard.
A statement from the US Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary continues to refute Bloomberg’s story from last week regarding compromised components in servers used by the likes of Apple and Amazon. The DHS says they have no reason to doubt the statements from either company refuting Bloomberg’s story. Apple’s Vice President of Information Security has also written a letter to US Congress saying the company repeatedly investigated and found no evidence of any of the malicious hardware or network activity described in Bloomberg’s original story.
Bloomberg’s making headlines this morning for their story of The Big Hack, where Chinese spies compromised many US technology companies via the supply chains of Supermicro, a well-known hardware vendor for the servers used in many datacentres worldwide, including those owned by Apple and Amazon. The story goes that somewhere in Supermicro’s supply chain, Chinese spies planted a chip no bigger than a grain of rice which compromised the entire board, and while all of this seems theoretically possible, the lack of any hard evidence makes it all very hard to believe, as incredible as the story is.