Tuesday Morning News

A Motherboard report on the iPhone-unlocking capabilities of law enforcement in the US says both police forces and federal agencies now have, or will soon have, the ability to crack locked iPhones. The iPhone-unlocking capability comes thanks to the proliferation of readily-available tools such as the GrayKey iPhone unlocking box, which can bypass normal iPhone passcode restrictions and unlock devices. While local police forces have jumped in and purchased the technology, federal agencies have a little more red tape to deal with when it comes to purchasing equipment for official use.

A tweet from a professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute and cryptographer Matthew Green estimated that cracking a 4-digit iOS passcode takes 6.5 minutes on average, while a 6-digit passcode increases the average cracking time to 11.1 hours. An 8-digit passcode gets a 46-day average, while 10-digits takes the impractical cake at 4629 days, with all of these numbers assuming that the built-in iOS passcode-guessing restrictions can be disabled. For this reason of easily-guessable passcodes, security experts recommend using an alphanumeric passcode for your iOS device — now that Touch ID and Face ID are so reliable, you’ll rarely have to enter it anyway.

AppleInsider has a wish-list for the next Apple Watch hardware revision. It seems likely that we’ll see the Series 4 released sometime this year, and although some of their wishes aren’t possible right now thanks to current technology limitations, is it too much to ask for a Watch that doesn’t need charging over the weekend? Or more detailed fitness tracking, for those that really enjoy that aspect of the device?

Apple has released the second beta of iOS 11.4, watchOS 4.3.1, and tvOS 11.4 to developers. There aren’t many changes this time around, but it still seems Apple are intent on releasing Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 before previews of iOS 12 start coming out at WWDC in June.

Of all the Apple products in recent years, AirPower has seen the lengthiest delay between announcement and release. 9to5Mac says although AirPower shouldn’t be a hard sell for households with multiple Apple devices, you have to wonder what they’re doing announcing the product back in September if it still isn’t ready by now. “Next year” means sometime in 2018, and it’s only April, but that’s still a long time to wait for a wireless charging mat.

Analysts claim Apple may never recover the high-end Chinese market due to over-saturation of smartphones. Longer customer upgrade cycles means people aren’t buying new devices every year, and seeing as that’s how it works in China too, it puts a dampener on Apple’s prospects for China being the region to provide a boost in iPhone sales or overall marketshare.

Vimeo’s official macOS app gives Final Cut Pro X users more control over file formats and video codecs. Vimeo’s Mac app integrates with FCP X to allow direct uploads to your Vimeo account, including the ability to upload multiple files at once, and other notifications and alerts on uploaded video activity.

Daniel Kennett explains App Store subscriptions to developers. Subscriptions for regular apps that aren’t content-related subscriptions like Apple Music, Spotify, or Netflix are still a relatively new part of the App Store, as evidenced by multiple rejections for subscription-related details, or the enforcement of those details. If you’re thinking of offering subscriptions in your app, there are a bunch of things you should clearly do to prevent getting your submission rejected.

Macworld’s list of Apple innovations you can’t live without include Apple Pay, AirDrop, and Lightning, but they’re missing plenty of things that could also be on that list. FaceTime is push-button video calling, iOS and Mac Continuity is great when it works, and the hockey-puck mouse spawned an entire generation’s worth of single-button mouse jokes, despite it being the best mouse of all time.

Jean-Louis Gassée comments on the possible switch to ARM Macs says it’s the third architecture transition in the Mac’s lifetime, but the one that could turn out to be more interesting than the previous two. Apple switched to PowerPC because the 68K was going nowhere fast, Intel became the choice because PowerPC didn’t offer the kind of performance the Mac needed, and now we’ll see an ARM transition for mostly the same reasons as the last one.

Speaking of PowerPC Macs, MacStories tells us the tale of the Power Macintosh G3 all-in-one. It wasn’t the prettiest Mac ever, but it did sport a beige colour scheme which — I’m told — was the standard for its time. And having both a ZIP and floppy drive, now that was true Apple innovation.

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