Apple alerts developers that existing app updates will need to be 64-bit by June 1

Dec 18, 2014 - 2:27 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple on Wednesday alerted members of its development community that existing applications on the App Store will need to include 64-bit support for any updates submitted after June 1 of next year.

The clarification from Apple comes after developers expressed confusion regarding the company's 64-bit app update policies. With Wednesday's announcement, developers now have more than six months to prepare for the switch.

All newly submitted apps will require 64-bit support beginning on Feb. 1, 2015. They must also be built with the iOS 8 software development kit as of that deadline.

But developers will have longer to prepare their existing applications, as app updates will be allowed to remain 32-bit-only through the end of May.

Apple has advised developers that they can enable 64-bit in their project by using the default Xcode build setting of "Standard architectures." This will build a single binary with both 32- and 64-bit code.

Apple began alerting developers to the 64-bit requirement for new applications in October, which caused confusion about existing app updates. Apple was first to bring 64-bit portable computing to the mainstream with the launch of the iPhone 5s in 2013.



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Apple Pay job listing hints at upcoming international rollout in EMEIA

Dec 18, 2014 - 2:21 PM - by sparkyscott21

According to an Apple corporate job listing discovered on Wednesday, the tech giant is seeking an intern to assist in Apple Pay's EMEIA rollout, suggesting an expansion of the mobile payments solution is coming soon.

As seen in Apple's listing for an "Apple Pay Intern," first spotted by iClarified, the company plans to launch Apple Pay across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa out of its London offices.

It appears Apple has already set up a core Apple Pay team for EMEIA operations and is now looking for support with more routine legal aspects of the venture. The advertisement notes "specifically to support execution of multiple NDAs and contracts with third party partners."

Whoever snags the job will work with internal and external Apple Pay partners, including issuing banks, international payment networks and European merchants, the listing reads.

Apple has not released official numbers regarding Apple Pay's performance since it launched in the U.S. in October, but circumstantial evidence suggests the fledgling payments service is off to a good start. Last month, for example, participating retailers like Whole Foods, McDonalds and Walgreens all saw significant consumer interest and a pointed increase in touchless transactions.

In addition, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently announced more than one million credit and debit cards were registered with Apple Pay within the service's first 72 hours of operation. That number is more than the combined total of cards registered with competing solutions like Google Wallet.



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Future iPhones could enhance security with combination of Touch ID & fingertip motion

Dec 18, 2014 - 2:17 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple has shown interest in combining the use of its Touch ID fingerprint sensor with rotating or moving a user's fingertip in specific ways, offering even more advanced security on future iPhones and iPads.

The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application credited to Dale R. Setlak, co-founder of AuthenTec, the company acquired by Apple to power its Touch ID fingerprint sensors. Entitled "Electronic Device Switchable to a User-Interface Unlocked Mode Based Upon a Pattern of Input Motions and Related Methods," the newly published filing describes how the Touch ID sensor could interact with a user interface to allow users to unlock their device.

In one example, a user is shown rotating their finger to move a corresponding digital combination lock displayed on the iPhone screen. In the filing, Apple reveals that its virtual combination lock would be responsible to a pattern of input motions that must be completed by the user to securely unlock the device.

In another example, a traditional "swipe pattern" is displayed on the screen. But instead of interacting with the display, a user drags their finger across the Touch ID home button to securely unlock the device.

The filing only serves to spotlight the fact that the Touch ID home button found on the latest iPhones and iPads can be used for much more than just sensing a user's fingerprint. The technology acquired by Apple allows for the button to sense movement and motion of a user's finger, which could allow unique input methods in the future.

This has already been achieved in a subtle way with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which boast a new feature called "Reachability," allowing the user to tap but not press the home button twice to bring the top portion of the screen down so that it can be reached with one hand.

Because the Touch ID button is always "sensing" in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, touching it alone can keep an iPhone display from going into idle mode and locking — something that doesn't occur with the smaller iPhone 5s, which lacks Reachability.

The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is powered by the "Smart Sensor" technology that Apple acquired from AuthenTec. The Touch ID predecessor could be used to provide touch-based navigation, offering precise cursor control when editing text, optical joystick emulation, a fast scrolling feature, and more.

Touch ID's ability to identify different fingerprints could also be utilized to enable users to quickly initiate different tasks, such as launching specific apps or calling a particular contact, by using different fingers.

Setlak's proposed input motion unlock invention was made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It was first filed with the office in June of 2013.

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Apple avoids threat of legal action with modified GT Advanced bankruptcy settlement

Dec 16, 2014 - 2:50 PM - by sparkyscott21

A lawyer representing sapphire maker GT Advanced Technologies on Monday said the company has agreed to a new set of terms in its settlement with Apple, with the redrafted arrangement assuaging concerns from jilted creditors seeking to derail proceedings by threatening legal action against Apple.

A New Hampshire bankruptcy court judge signed off on an amended settlement from GT Advanced and Apple meant to stave off creditors that wanted to turn GT's bankruptcy into a litigious free-for-all, reports The Wall Street Journal.

As noted in various court filings, both creditors and Apple are walking away from potential lawsuits stemming from GT's surprise Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing from October. GT, Apple and creditors all claim being the victim.

Creditors, which helped finance part of GT's $900 million sapphire gamble, argued Apple could face numerous suits in relation to its actions when in partnership with GT, which failed to provide quality sapphire on a timeline stipulated by a stringent contract. Apple said it was cast in a poor light after privileged documents came to light as part of GT's bankruptcy proceedings, while GT itself previously called Apple's demands "oppressive and burdensome."

As for the new deal, GT Advanced still plans to sell off some 2,000 sapphire furnaces installed at Apple's Mesa, Ariz. facility in a bid to exit bankruptcy protection, but will take more cash per transaction. Along with a higher take of asset sales, GT will also get rights to store outgoing furnaces at Mesa for an additional three months, rent free.

According to in-court reports from Reuters, GT Advanced lawyer Luc Despins said he anticipated furnaces would sell for at least $500,000 each, with Apple getting a $169,000 cut for the first 500 sold. Under the firms' previous agreement, Apple was expecting $200,000 for each of first 500 furnaces sold.

Apple inked a $578 million deal with GT in 2013, hoping to secure a steady supply of sapphire material for use in future products. A solid manufacturer of furnaces and other equipment related to sapphire production, GT had no experience in operating its own machinery, court filings have shown. Instead of outsourcing the job, GT chose to hire its own workforce to run Mesa, though it appears the firm bit off more than it could chew as errors in management, poor yields and other issues quickly led to ballooning production costs.

In September, GT informed Apple of its financial problems and asked for further assistance. Apple offered to pay $100 million of a prescheduled $139 million payment, as well as delay repayment due dates, even though GT had not met contractual production goals. At that point in the relationship, Apple had already paid out over $439 million to GT, not including an additional $700 million spent on infrastructure.


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Apple backs Microsoft in data privacy fight against U.S. government

Dec 16, 2014 - 2:48 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple was one of more than 50 private companies and trade associations to sign amicus briefs in support of Microsoft on Monday as the Redmond, Wash., company continues an ongoing court battle with the U.S. government over customer data privacy protections.

Microsoft announced 28 technology and media companies, 23 trade and advocacy groups and 35 computer scientists signed ten briefs in support of its fight to keep customer emails stored on international servers protected from U.S. government agency warrants.

Alongside Apple, prominent tech companies on the list of signatories (PDF link)include Amazon, AT&T, Cisco, eBay, HP, Rackspace and Verizon, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Microsoft is arguing against a U.S. government request to release emails currently stored on servers outside the country. According to court filings, Microsoft was issued a search warrant relating to a drug investigation last year, compelling the company hand over customer data from an Outlook email account located in Ireland.

Instead of complying, Microsoft appealed to keep the data private as it resides only on a server in Dublin. As such, U.S. government agencies do not have jurisdiction and should be required to go through international channels, the company argues.

At issue is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which allows federal and local law enforcement agencies to demand digital records, such as email correspondence, with appropriately served warrants. Microsoft argues Congress did not include stipulations in ECPA that would allow seizures outside the U.S.

If ECPA is interpreted to allow for extraterritorial jurisdiction, it may hurt cloud-based businesses located within the U.S., as international customers would be unwilling to sign up for such services. Further, such a distinction could lead to identical requests from foreign agencies for data owned by U.S. citizens. A lower court previously ruled against Microsoft, rejecting the warrant as illegal. The company has since taken the argument to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Digital privacy has become a hot topic in tech as Apple and other industry giants look to increase transparency over government data requests. Most recently, Apple has been in the crosshairs of law enforcement agencies for implementing aggressive customer security in iOS 8 that makes it impossible to extract data from locked iPhones and iPads.



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Bose may take on Apple's Beats Music, iTunes Radio with new streaming music platform

Dec 16, 2014 - 2:47 PM - by sparkyscott21

A reported Bose job listing for a "cloud music services" UX designer suggests the company is working on a next-generation streaming platform to rival Beats Music, iTunes Radio and other services in what is becoming an increasingly crowded field.

According to a posting on job marketing website ZipRecruiter, spotted by HypeBeast, Bose is looking to hire a senior user experience designer to join its Algorithms & Cloud Experiences team create a new "music streaming platform."

We are seeking an expert Experience Designer to lead design and prototyping of our next generation streaming music platform and ecosystem of products. We will move quickly and have an immediate and lasting impact on Bose's streaming music products.

A section regarding previous experience reveals Bose is looking for candidates who worked for major streaming services like Pandora, Songza and Rhapsody. Of note, Apple and Beats Music are also called out by name.

If Bose is indeed planning to launch a streaming music service in competition with Apple's existing services, it will be the latest volley in what has become an aggressive rivalry between the audio stalwart and upstart Beats.

In July, shortly after Apple announced its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, Bose sued the headphone maker's hardware arm for infringing five noise-cancelling technology patents. Following an out of court settlement in in October, Apple quietly removed all Bose products from the Apple Store only to bring them back two months later in time for holiday shopping.

Recent reports claim Apple is looking to rebrand or repackage Beats Music into an integrated iTunes solution next year. The change is reportedly in response to shifting market winds responsible for a 13 percent drop in iTunes music sales as of October.



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