Apple last week shared a new support document that's designed to help App Store and iTunes users avoid phishing emails that mimic legitimate emails from Apple.
In the document, Apple outlines techniques to identify an actual App Store or iTunes email, which the company says will always include a current billing address, something scammers are unlikely to have access to.
An example of a well-crafted phishing email
Apple also says that emails from the App Store, iBooks Store, iTunes Store, or Apple Music will never ask customers to provide details like a Social Security Number, mother's maiden name, a credit card number, or a credit card CCV code.
Apple recommends that customers who receive emails asking them to update their account or payment information do so directly in the Settings app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, in iTunes or the App Store on a Mac, or in iTunes on a PC rather than through any kind of web interface.
Customers who receive a suspicious email can forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and any customer who may have entered personal information on a scam website should update their Apple ID password immediately.
Scam and phishing emails like those Apple describes in this support document are not new, but at the current time, there's a new wave of legitimate-looking emails going around that look much like Apple emails that can easily fool customers who don't know what to look for.
In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.
Wednesday, February 28
iOS 11 jailbreak released with Cydia, which turns 10 today: Cydia was released by Jay Freeman, better known as saurik, on February 28, 2008. The unofficial App Store is the gateway to installing apps, tweaks, themes, and other files on jailbroken iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, outside of Apple's control.
Just yesterday, a new jailbreak called Electra was released for iOS 11 through iOS 11.1.2. It is the first iOS 11 jailbreak to include Cydia, although it is a modified version that may cause issues, so proceed at your own risk.
To celebrate the milestone, Waymo shared a 360-degree video today that reveals how its self-driving vehicles view their surroundings, recognize objects like cars and pedestrians, and predict what those things will do. The video combines footage and real-time data from a trip around Phoenix, Arizona.
In related news, Google's new mobile UI framework Flutter entered beta yesterday. Flutter aims to help developers more quickly craft high-quality native interfaces for both iOS and Android, with support for both iOS 11 and the iPhone X on the Apple side. Beginners can read Flutter's Getting Started guide.
Commentary: Sketch and Flutter can help developers to more quickly design iPhone and iPad apps that are consistent with iOS 11's design language.
Commentary: There has certainly been a trend of some developers discontinuing their Apple Watch apps in recent months, including notable brands like Amazon, eBay, Google Maps, and Slack. Apple providing developers with expanded watchOS resources could encourage those companies to reconsider.
Over on our YouTube channel, we're continuing on with our new monthly series that highlights new, interesting, and useful apps that we think are worth checking out.
Because there are so many apps available on the iOS App Store, it can be hard to find new content, and it's also easy to overlook great older apps. Our app lists are designed to include apps -- both new and old -- that we personally recommend and have used over the course of the month.
Hooked (Free) - Hooked is actually a book app that offers up short stories in a unique format -- chat messages. Hooked stories are all presented as text message conversations, so it's a little bit like you're reading someone else's chat history. With Hooked, you can read little bits at a time in moments when you have a free minute or two, and the stories are always engaging. Hooked is free to download with a free trial period, but unlimited access costs $14.99 per month.
App in the Air (Free) - Whether you're a frequent or infrequent traveler, App in the Air is a useful app that serves up details like real time flight status, airport maps, security wait times, walk time to your gate, airline point tracking, and more. It works with more than 1,000 airlines around the world, and key information like gate changes and updates to flight status are delivered via SMS. The app is free, but there are premium features like real-time flight status updates that require a subscription, which is priced at $34.99 per year.
Timepage (Free) - Timepage is a calendar app from Moleskine, the company that makes those handy notebooks. Timepage combines data like events, maps, contacts, weather and more into a simple interface that's easy to parse at a glance. There are monthly, weekly, and daily views, along with a heat map that lets you know when you're busiest. Timepage is a free download, but only on a trial basis. A monthly subscription is priced at $1.99, or you can pay $11.99 for the year.
Confide (Free) - Confide is a private and secure messaging app that's a great way to communicate with people when you want to keep your messages entirely private. Messages sent through Confide use end-to-end encryption and disappear after a set period of time, plus there's screenshot protection so no one can snap an image of what you've written. Confide is a free download, but access to features like unlimited attachments and themes requires Confide Plus, priced at $29.99 for three months or $59.99 for a year.
Alto's Odyssey ($4.99) - Alto's Odyssey is the highly-anticipated sequel to popular 2015 game Alto's Adventure. Like the original, Alto's Odyssey is an endless runner with gorgeous graphics, but this time it takes place in the sand instead of the snow.
If you're looking for great Mac apps that are worth downloading, make sure to check out our February list of essential apps for the Mac. And if you have favorite iOS apps, make sure to share them with us -- we'll be highlighting interesting, useful iOS apps on a monthly basis.
In iOS 11, Apple Maps gained a new lane guidance feature, which is designed to let Maps users know which lane they should be in to avoid missing a sudden turn or an exit.
The feature was initially limited to the United States and China, but since the release of iOS 11, Apple has been working to expand it. As of this week, Apple has made lane guidance features available in Austria, South Africa, and Switzerland.
With the addition of these three countries, lane guidance features are available in a total of 14 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the United States.
Other iOS 11 Maps features, such as the addition of speed limit information, remain limited to the United States and the UK.
Spotify today filed to go public and plans to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the name SPOT, reports CNBC. Shares of the company have privately traded as high as $132.50, giving the company a valuation of ~$23 billion based on ordinary shares traded in private transactions.
According to Spotify's filing with the SEC, the streaming music service boasts 159 million monthly active users and 71 million premium subscribers as of December 31, 2017, which Spotify claims is "nearly double the scale" of its closest competitor, Apple Music.
Spotify says its number of premium subscribers has grown 46 percent year over year, and its monthly active users has grown 29 percent year over year. The company earned $2.37 billion in 2015, $3.6 billion in 2016, and $4.99 billion in 2017, but posted a loss of $1.5 billion in 2017.
Spotify also says it is able to draw consumers because it provides "unique data" for a differentiated and personalized experience.
Many music services have large catalogs, but we believe Spotify is differentiated from other services because we provide Users with a more personalized experience, driven by powerful music search and discovery engines. We have a large and growing base of Users that are highly engaged on Spotify, which enables us to continuously learn about their listening behaviors throughout the day.
We use this information to create a more personalized and engaging experience for each incremental visit to our platform. We believe this personalized experience is a key competitive advantage as Users are more likely to engage with a platform that reflects their real-time moods and activities and captures a unique understanding of moments in their lives.
Going forward, Spotify plans to grow its business by heavily investing in research and development, further penetrating into existing markets, entering new geographies, continuing to invest in its advertising business, and expanding non-music content.
Spotify is going public through a direct listing, which means the company did not hire an underwriter and thus there is no set opening price for Spotify shares.
Apple's newest flagship device, the iPhone X, has the best smartphone camera currently available according to new rankings published this week by Consumer Reports.
Furthermore, Apple devices took up most of the spots on Consumer Reports' list of top 10 smartphone cameras, with the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus following the iPhone X. The iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and 6 Plus also earned top 10 spots.
Apple iPhone X
Apple iPhone 8
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Apple iPhone 7
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy Note8
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
Introduced in November, the iPhone X has two 12-megapixel rear lenses arranged in a vertical orientation, one that's an f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens and an f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens. These lenses are combined with features unique to Apple like an Apple-designed image signal processor with advanced pixel processing, improved color filters, a better sensor, faster autofocus, and optical image stabilization for both the telephoto and the wide-angle lenses, a first for an iPhone.
The iPhone X's rear camera is combined with the front-facing TrueDepth camera system that enables neat features like a selfie Portrait Mode, which blurs the background of a selfie image and sets it apart from the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple has also done a lot of work on software to complement the camera offerings on the iPhone X, introducing features like Portrait Lighting for adding studio-quality lighting effects to your images. The result of all of these features is the best camera that's been introduced in an iPhone to date, and it's been highly praised in reviews and evaluations.
Photographer Austin Mann, for example, said the iPhone X camera was the "most exciting" upgrade he'd seen since he switched from a Blackberry 7230 to the original iPhone back in 2007. Photography site DxO gave the iPhone X's camera a score of 97, higher than any other iPhone, while DPReview, another noted photography review site said it is capable of "extremely impressive" results.
Apple smartphones have long been some of the most widely used and popular cameras available, topping the list of Flickr's most popular camera for multiple years running. The iPhone's popularity as a photography device has spurred Apple to make continuous improvements to photo quality with each new iteration, and iPhone image quality is now at the point where it comes close to offering the kind of effects you can get with a DSLR camera.
Consumer Reports' current list does not include the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+, and it will be interesting to see how Samsung's newest devices measure up to the iPhone X. Both of Samsung's latest smartphones feature Dual Aperture 12-megapixel lenses with f/1.5 and f/2.4 modes, with the lenses able to switch between these two apertures depending on the lighting conditions.
This kind of Dual Aperture functionality is useful for finding a balance between light and image quality. The f/1.5 lens is useful in low lighting conditions because it lets in more light, but with a wider aperture comes a compromise in image sharpness in certain areas of the photo. Therefore, in conditions where the lighting is better, the f/2.4 lens that's also included will provide a crisper, higher-quality image.
Twitter today announced the official launch of a new Bookmarks feature, which is designed to allow Twitter users to save tweets for later access.
All tweets now feature an updated "share" icon that's used for both bookmarking and sharing tweets, and Twitter says the share icon is meant to make it easier to save and share privately or publicly.
Bookmarking a tweet to save it for later can be done by tapping the share icon under a tweet and then choosing the "Add Tweet to Bookmarks" option. All saved tweets are located under the "Bookmarks" option that can be accessed from a person's profile icon menu.
Found something historic? Don’t want to forget a joke? Article that you want to read later?
Apple today on the iOS App Store shared a new interview with the founders of MoviePass, touching on the service's origins and its integral ties to the iPhone and modern smartphone app development. MoviePass debuted in 2011, but grew in popularity last August when the company dropped its subscription price to $9.95/month, which lets customers see one standard 2D film every day in the theater
In Apple's new interview with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt -- the pair of entrepreneurs who founded MoviePass seven years ago -- the conversation eventually focuses on where the idea for MoviePass emerged. According to Spikes, the kernel of the idea that would become MoviePass originated from art-house theaters in New York City that let customers see unlimited movies for a flat donation fee.
He tried to install a similar model for his own Urbanworld Film Festival in the late 1990s, but admitted it was "too early," and that iPhones, apps, and the advances in development that emerged from this technology were all needed to address the technical roadblocks of such a service.
"The idea was almost too early," says Spikes. "We didn't have iPhones and apps to figure out payment and interfacing. If it weren't for that development, MoviePass would never have happened."
MoviePass works through the use of both the iPhone app and a paired debit card that is sent to subscribers through the mail after they sign up. If you want to see a movie, you travel to your local theater (MoviePass is supported at over 90 percent of theaters nationwide), select a 2D showtime, "check in," and at that time MoviePass transfers the exact cost of the showing to your MoviePass card. Then you can buy a ticket at the box office or a kiosk like any normal ticket purchase.
Although the service is growing, many reports in the months following its August price drop have questioned how long the company can keep up the $9.95/month subscription fee (currently $7.95/month paid annually), as well as its public conflict with theater chain AMC. What MoviePass lacks in profit it hopes to make up for in accrued user data, selling a majority stake of itself to data company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which sees "big potential in the type of information it can glean from MoviePass members," with "no plans to sell user data to outside parties."
As of January 2018, MoviePass had 1.5 million subscribers. According to CEO Mitch Lowe, MoviePass will hit three million subscribers by the end of April, and turn a profit once four million subscribers sign up for the service.
MoviePass updated its iOS app [Direct Link] to support the iPhone X this month, providing a revamped user interface with more emphasis on images from popular films, better navigation, and an updated screen for the check in process. If you want to read the full interview with the creators of MoviePass, you can find the discussion with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt at the top of the Today tab on the iOS 11 App Store on iPhone or iPad.
Apple Maps has been updated with transit data in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville, enabling navigation and directions with public transportation in South Carolina's three largest metropolitan areas.
When the Apple Maps transit feature launched in 2015, it was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and around 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has expanded the feature to dozens of additional cities around the world.
Google Maps has also supported navigation via public transportation for several years now, including in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville. One advantage of Apple Maps is that it lists departure times for bus routes in each city, whereas Google Maps doesn't have timetables available in every location.
In related news, Apple Maps lane guidance on iPhone and CarPlay recently expanded to Austria, South Africa, and Switzerland, in addition to existing support in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Apple made the transfer to comply with the latest laws enacted in China regarding regulations on cloud services, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. At the time of the original announcement, Apple said, "While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful."
Still, Apple remains adamant about its users' privacy:
"Apple has not created nor were we requested to create any backdoors and Apple will continue to retain control over the encryption keys to iCloud data," the Apple spokesman said.
"As with other countries, we will respond to legal requests for data that we have in our possession for individual users, never bulk data," he added.
The company decided to obey the new law in China, instead of outright discontinuing iCloud services in the country and causing a "bad user experience and less data security and privacy" for its Chinese customers. Now, starting today, any iCloud accounts on a device with location settings set to China will have their accounts switched to host GCBD, which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.
Because of the move, the Chinese government will be able use its own legal system to ask Apple for its users' iCloud data, whereas before the government had to go through the U.S. legal system. This has been the focus of controversy regarding the move, with human rights and digital security advocates questioning whether Apple will be able to maintain and protect its customers' privacy under the new Chinese laws.
"The changes being made to iCloud are the latest indication that China's repressive legal environment is making it difficult for Apple to uphold its commitments to user privacy and security," Amnesty International warned in a statement Tuesday.
Speaking to CNN, Ronald Deibert, an expert on human rights and global digital security from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, said that Apple customers in China will need to take "extra and possibly inconvenient precautions not to store sensitive data on Apple's iCloud." Apple has noted that users can terminate their iCloud account if they don't want their data stored by GCBD, but a company spokesperson said that "more than 99.9 percent" of iCloud users in China have decided to continue using the service.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.