Apple Slices: Upgrades and Updates

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The last week has brought us a critical iOS 10.3 update, and rumors of an upgrade to the iPhone SE. Of course, we also have the obligatory iPhone 8 rumors du jour, and more tidbits about Apple and Qualcomm’s legal wrangling. Let’s get right to the news.

This Week’s iOS 10.3.3 Update May Be the Last for iOS 10, But It Was Critical

This week’s iOS 10.3.3 update patched a major vulnerability in the Broadcom WiFi chip, referred to as “Broadpwn,” that could allow a hacker to take over a device and execute code on it. This is obviously a big problem, so if you haven’t already updated your devices running iOS 10, you need to do so immediately. This issue was discovered by security researcher Nitay Artenstein of Exodus Intelligence, who let Apple know about it. He is scheduled to give a talk on the flaw at the Black Hat Security Conference, which runs from July 22-27. At that point the knowledge will be freely available, and any unpatched device will be particularly at risk.

Apple is Allowing Their AI Researchers A Little More Freedom

One of the issues facing Apple’s AI programs that has been brought up many times recently is the company’s lack of transparency to this point. AI research is typically done out in the open, with researchers and developers able to freely publish their work. Workers at Apple were not able to do this at all until the last year, but Apple took another small step toward more openness last week with the addition of a new website called Apple Machine Learning Journal. This site will allow Apple’s AI researchers to talks about portions of their work openly, which is a solid step in the right direction.

The iPhone 8’s Touch ID Sensor Could be Located on the Power Button

Forbes believes they have confirmed the final design of the iPhone 8, which is certainly up for debate. However, it is notable that, while there has been conjecture that Apple could relocate Touch ID to the Power Button, there haven’t been many “confirmed” rumors to that effect before now. This would certainly be a much more ascetically and ergonomically pleasing location for it than the back of the phone, but I’m sure it will still be a disappointment to some who really wanted Apple to pull off embedding it under the screen.

63% of All iPhones Produced in the Past 10 Years Are Still in Use

According to Digitimes report on Newzoo research data, 728 million iPhones out of the 1.163 billion created over the last ten years are still in use as of April. This certainly speaks volumes about the design and build quality of the iPhone, as well as the loyalty people have to the platform.

The Nintendo Switch Online App for iOS is Now Available in the App Store

Nintendo is leveraging iOS and Android and the smartphones and tablets that are so common today to handle voice chat and friends lists for their Nintendo Online service. They are just getting this new service off the ground, and the newly-released Splatoon 2 is currently the only compatible game. The service is currently free for all Switch users to try until the 2018, after which Nintendo will charge $19.99 per year. Some individual games will charge fees or subscriptions for online and updated content, as well. This price is very reasonable, and the concept of subscriptions for individual games is unfortunately nothing new on the current gen of consoles. Nintendo has always struggled and been behind when it comes to online play and services, so here’s hoping they get it right this time.

I actually JUST got my hands on a Nintendo Switch, and will be posting a review of it after I’ve had a chance to get more familiar with it. I know it isn’t an Apple product, but this device will have an inevitable effect on mobile gaming, an area which Apple at one time had an almost accidental stranglehold. I think that makes it relevant.

Qualcomm CEO Expects an Out of Court Settlement to their Dispute with Apple

Speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference on 7/17, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf struck a very conciliatory tone in talking about their legal troubles with Apple. While he was clear in saying that there was nothing specific to report, he also said that this dispute was no different than others in the past that were all settled out of court. He believes that these legal wrangling will have the same end, and I tend to agree. Tim Cook’s Apple has been quicker to settle and move on from other disputes recently, rather than see them all the way through trial in court.

Apple Joined by Partner Manufacturers in Their Legal Fight Against Qualcomm

In other Qualcomm news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has been joined by their Taiwanese contract manufacturers Foxconn, Compal, Pegatron, and Wistron in their legal battle with Qualcomm. Apple is covering their legal fees, and is seeking to combine their separate motion that Qualcomm charges excessive patent fees and violates anti-trust laws with their own case.

French Site iGeneration Claims That An Apple Event is Coming Next Month

French website iGeneration claims to have knowledge of an Apple event coming sometime next month, when the company will unveil a new update to the iPhone SE. The SE, which was released a little over a year ago, has the internals of an iPhone 6S in the exact body of an iPhone 5/5S. This report isn’t clear on whether there will be any major hardware changes, but it does indicate that the price will drop. This may mean that this will just be a price drop, but if that’s the case, why would Apple have an event? Stay tuned.

Apple is Setting Up its First Chinese Data Center

According to Reuters, Apple is working on setting up a data center in Guizhou province. This move is in response to China’s tougher cyber-security laws that were introduced last month. These new laws require that foreign companies partner with local Chinese companies to handle management of their cloud-based services and data storage located within China. Apple has partnered with GCBD, the Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co to handle the storage and management of data in China.

The 4th Gen Click Wheel iPod Turned 14 Years Old Last Week

On July 14, 2009, Steve Jobs announced a new iPod that brought the Click Wheel of the iPod Mini to the main lineup. While this wasn’t a particularly revolutionary announcement for Apple, as the color and video models of the iPod still had yet to arrive, this was actually the first Apple device that I ever owned. I have always used Windows computers, the iPhone was still four year away, and I didn’t have tons of disposable income, so I had never really considered Apple gear.. However, I have always loved music and was very frustrated with the experience of using Window Media Player on my Pocket PC (blech), so I cut back elsewhere so I could afford a slightly used 4th Gen iPod. I absolutely loved it, as I continue to love Apple’s mobile devices today. It may not have been a big deal for Apple in the long run, but this device was definitely a big deal for me.

Stay tuned for more fresh Apple news next week.


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