Apple Inc.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple announces virtual WWDC 2021 event for June
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off online beginning June 7, 2021.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off online beginning June 7, 2021. Credit: Apple

Apple has announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Tuesday. The event will take place from June 7 to June 11 and will be in "an all-online format".

“We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Handwritten job application by Steve Jobs auctioned for 162,000 euros
Handwritten job application by Steve Jobs auctioned for 162,000 euros
Credit: Courtesy of Charterfields

British auction house Charterfields on Wednesday auctioned off a handwritten job application by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs from 1973, a single sheet of paper on which Jobs highlights his experience with "computers and calculators" - and which has now sold for a whopping 162,000 pounds.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Credit: unsplash.com / Adam Birkett

The Brazilian regulator for consumer protection, Procon-SP, has fined Apple the equivalent of two million US dollars. The reason is the company's practice of shipping the iPhone 12 and other new iPhones without an accompanying charger.

The penalty is justified by "misleading advertising and selling the device on unfair terms." Among other things, the regulator also criticizes Apple for not answering the question of whether they would also lower the selling price of the device given the lack of a charger.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google Play halves fees for many app providers if they turn over less than a million dollars a year in the Play Store
Google Play halves fees for many app providers if they turn over less than a million dollars a year in the Play Store
Credit: unsplash.com / Obi Onyeador

Following Apple's lead, Google is now also lowering the levy for app developers who earn less than a million dollars a year through the internet company's software marketplace. Instead of the usual 30 per cent, they are to cede 15 per cent from 1 July, as the company announced on Tuesday. After reaching the million mark, 30 per cent of sales via the Play Store will be due again.

According to the company, this step will halve the charges. However, one should also bear in mind that the majority of sales in the app stores for Android and iOS are made by the most popular programmes. Nothing will change for their developers. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of apps whose creators will benefit from the regulation are likely to generate little or no significant revenue anyway due to a lack of visibility and demand.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple Event rumored to be on March 23
Apple Event rumored to be on March 23
Credit: Apple

According to reputable Chinese leaker DuanRui, Apple's spring event will be held on March 23. The company is expected to announce product updates for iPads and AirPods as well as introduce smart tracking devices called AirTags.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro
Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro
Credit: Apple

The iMac Pro – Apple's $4,999 all-in-one desktop computer – is being discontinued. Build-to-order configurations of the iMac Pro have been removed from the website and the Apple Store will only continue selling it "while supplies last."

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple iCloud bug locks user with last name "True"
Apple iCloud bug locks user with last name "True"
Credit: Apple

Actress Rachel True has been unable to access her Apple iCloud account for over six months due to her last name being interpreted as a boolean flag. "Type error: cannot set value ‘true’ to property ‘lastName‘," the error message reads. True said that she has been in contact with Apple support and should expect to hear from them early this week.

"Can get your coders to free my last name from icloud jail? Been locked out for 6+ months because of an uncapitalized t in TRUE, my surname but also a computer command," True wrote on Twitter.

Technology • Internet & Web
UK watchdog launches antitrust probe into Apple's App Store
UK watchdog launches antitrust probe into Apple's App Store
Credit: Apple

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it has launched an investigation into Apple's App Store after app developers complained of being forced to use the company's own payment systems and distribute their apps exclusively via the App Store to users.

"Complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps – warrant careful scrutiny," CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.

Apple said in a statement: "The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place — applied fairly and equally to all developers — to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent."

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Thousands of Macs infected with new Silver Sparrow malware
Thousands of Macs infected with new Silver Sparrow malware
Credit: Erik Mclean

A piece of malware found on almost 30,000 Macs worldwide was discovered by security researchers from Red Canary and analyzed together with researchers from Malwarebytes and VMWare Carbon Black.

Named Silver Sparrow details how the malware was distributed and infected users are still scarce. It's unclear if it was hidden inside malicious ads, pirated apps, or fake Flash updaters —the classic distribution vector for most Mac malware strains. Furthermore, this malware's purpose is also unclear, and researchers don't know what its final goal is.

"Though we haven’t observed Silver Sparrow delivering additional malicious payloads yet, its forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggest Silver Sparrow is a reasonably serious threat, uniquely positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload at a moment’s notice," Red Canary researchers wrote in a blog post published on Friday.

Business • Markets
Bitcoin surpasses $50k for the first time
Bitcoin surpasses $50k for the first time
Credit: unsplash.com / Bermix Studio

Bitcoin has surpassed the $50,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday, after Tesla, BNY Mellon and Mastercard showed support for the cryptocurrency and "the city of Miami’s recent moves to adopt bitcoin, and rumors of Uber and Apple jumping aboard."

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple AirTags & iPad Pro rumoured to be launched in March
Apple AirTags & iPad Pro rumoured to be launched in March
Credit: unsplash/Laurenz Heymann

Apple's AirTags are said to be launching sometime in March, alongside a new iPad Pro. The launch of the AirTags, which function as a tracking device, has been rumoured for over a year and, according to prolific leaker Jon Prosser, they should finally be released in the first quarter of 2021.

Technology • Internet & Web
Social media platform Parler back online on 'independent technology' and with a new CEO
Parler.com screenshot
Parler.com screenshot Credit: Parler

The alternative social network Parler has reopened after a month offline. In a press release, the company announced that the site is now accessible for users with existing accounts and will accept new signups starting next week.

Parler also said it had appointed Mark Meckler as its interim Chief Executive, replacing John Matze who was fired by the board this month.

The social network had gone dark after being cut off by Amazon, Google, and Apple, with the companies accusing the app of failing to police violent content related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Parler said its new technology cut its reliance on "so-called Big Tech" for its operations.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Original "Apple I" computer on sale for $1,5 million on Ebay
Original "Apple I" computer on sale for $1,5 million on Ebay
Credit: Courtesy of Ebay / krishmiti

According to the product description the product "is a verified fully operational original Apple-1 computer system in excellent condition in its original Byte Shop KOA wood case, with original power supply and Datanetics Version D keyboard. This Apple-1 is an unmodified NTI board in almost perfect condition on both front and back of the main board where you can see there have been no modifications or repairs. This system was verified as original byApple-1 expert Corey Cohen as recently as August 2019 at the Vintage Computer Festival West where it was one of two continually operated units during the show with over 6 hours each day of full operation."

In recent years, there have been repeated auctions of the historic computers, but so far the maximum proceeds have been $905,000 (€755,000).

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook to prompt users to accept tracking for personalized ads
Facebook to prompt users to accept tracking for personalized ads
Credit: Facebook

Facebook announced on Monday it will begin rolling out a notification for iPhone users globally about how data is used for personalized ads, in an attempt to get ahead of upcoming Apple privacy changes that Facebook claims will hurt its advertising business.

A prompt will tell users that providing access to their activity will give them personalized ads and will support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers.

The social media giant has been waging a public fight against Apple's plan to ask iPhone users whether to allow apps to track them across other websites and apps, warning that Apple's notification "suggest there is a tradeoff between personalized advertising and privacy," and will harm small businesses that rely on Facebook ads. Apple said its pop-up privacy notifications would start appearing on most iPhones in the next few months.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple urges security upgrade to iPhones, iPads
iPhone
iPhone Credit: Devon Janse van Rensburg (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Apple made iOS software upgrades available Tuesday, adding a rare note suggesting it was a serious threat. The company urges iPhone and iPad users to update their devices to fix security flaws that might have been "actively exploited" by hackers.

The company credited anonymous researchers for pointing out the vulnerability but provided little details about the threat's nature.

Business • Economy
Apple reports record revenue of $111.4 billion
Apple reports record revenue of $111.4 billion
Credit: unsplash.com / Michał Kubalczyk

Apple has reported a 21% increase in revenue year over year counting a record revenue of $111.4 billion.

Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO, has stated that "Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,"

Business
Ranking: Apple becomes "most valuable brand" globally
Ranking: Apple becomes "most valuable brand" globally
Credit: unsplash.com/Michał Kubalczyk

The US company Apple is the most valuable brand in the world with a valuation of $263,375 billion, according to the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking. Amazon and Google, which are also based in the USA, follow in the second and third place.

Technology • Internet & Web
Parler website is back online
Parler.com screenshot
Parler.com screenshot Credit: Parler

After Amazon, Google, and Apple forced Parler offline, the social network managed to make an online comeback on Sunday, even if not fully operational.

Parler's CEO John Matze wrote a post on the platform saying: "Our return is inevitable due to hard work, and persistence against all odds."

The social networking site went dark when Amazon stopped providing it cloud hosting services after it was revealed the platform was used to help organize the Capitol Hill attack on Jan. 6, which left five people dead.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Credit: unsplash.com / Tobias Lystad

Apple is planning a major MacBook redesign for Q3 of 2021. The most significant changes include removing the OLED Touch Bar favouring physical keys, replacing the USB-C charging port for a proprietary MagSafe connector, a wider range of ports and squared off sides to match their iPad Pro and iPhone 12. These changes are coming to the 14 inch and 16 inch MacBook Pro models. These will contain Apple's own Arm processors, with no Intel options.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Intel: 9.4 Million Chromebooks Sold in Q3 2020
Chromebook logo
Chromebook logo Credit: Google

Intel revealed today that hardware makers sold at least 9.4 million Chromebooks in Q3 2020, good for 122 percent growth year-over-year. By comparison, Apple, the fourth-biggest maker of computers, sold just 6.2 million Macs that quarter. So Chromebooks outsold the Mac by over one-third, and achieved 12.86 percent market share. That 9.4 million figure, which presumably only counts Intel-based Chromebooks, would not include Chromebooks based on other processors, such as those produced by AMD and Mediatek.