Apple’s Limited Time iPhone XS and iPhone XR Trade-Up Promotion Ends March 4 in Australia

Australians looking to take advantage of Apple's limited time iPhone XS and iPhone XR trade-up promotion should act fast, as the offer ends Monday, March 4 in Australia, according to an update to Apple's website.


As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. The iPhone XR starts at $1,229 in Australia, for example, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus until next week.


The promotion began in the United States in late November and expanded to Apple Stores internationally in late December.

Apple has been heavily promoting iPhone XR and iPhone XS trade-ins with a prominent banner on the homepage of its website, store signage, App Store editorials, emails to older iPhone users, and more since the smartphones launched last year.

In a letter to shareholders last month, Apple said it saw fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated last quarter, primarily due to greater-than-expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple said making smartphone trade-ins at its stores easier is one step it would take to improve results.

No end date has been specified for the U.S. promotion as of yet.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

This article, "Apple's Limited Time iPhone XS and iPhone XR Trade-Up Promotion Ends March 4 in Australia" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Now Supports Apple Pay

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) today implemented support for Apple Pay, making it the second of Australia's "Big Four" banks to offer the payments service. CBA is the biggest retail bank in Australia and was a notable Apple Pay holdout.

Multiple MacRumors readers in Australia have reported being able to add their Commonwealth Bank cards to Apple Pay, and Commonwealth Bank is listed as a partner on Apple's Apple Pay site in Australia.


Commonwealth Bank first announced plans to support Apple Pay last month, giving in to consumer demand after a years-long dispute with Apple over fees and access to the NFC chips in iPhones.

When announcing Apple Pay support, Commonwealth Bank Group Executive of Retail Banking services Angus Sullivan said that the bank had heard many requests from customers asking for Apple Pay, leading to its implementation.
"We are committed to making changes that benefit our customers and simplify our business. We will continue to look for more opportunities to innovate and listen, to ensure our customers get the best experience when they bank with us. Responding to customer demand for Apple Pay underscores our commitment to becoming a better, simpler bank.
Commonwealth Bank, along with NAB and Westpac, tried to collectively bargain with Apple to attempt to force Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets, like those offered by the banks themselves.

Apple said that this would be harmful to consumers and would stifle innovation, a position that Australian regulators agreed with when denying the banks authorization for collective bargaining.


ANZ was the only one of the four major banks in Australia to support Apple Pay when it launched in the country in April 2016. Other smaller banks later implemented support, but Commonwealth, NAB, and Westpac continued to hold out amid negotiations.

It's not clear if NAB and Westpac will implement support now that Commonwealth Bank has done so.

Bankwest in Australia is also now supporting Apple Pay, along with ASB Bank Limited in New Zealand and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Canada. Multiple smaller banks in the U.S. have implemented Apple Pay support as well, with a full list available on Apple's website.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

This article, "Australia's Commonwealth Bank Now Supports Apple Pay" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Extends iPhone XR and iPhone XS Trade-In Promotion to UK, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, and Elsewhere

Apple today extended its limited-time promotion offering extra trade-in credit towards an iPhone XR or iPhone XS to additional countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. The promotion first launched in the United States in late November.


The promotion has also gone live in the China region, as spotted by 9to5Mac, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao.

As in the United States, Apple is offering higher trade-in values for select older iPhone models towards the purchase of a new iPhone XR or iPhone XS. In Australia, for example, the iPhone XR starts at $1,229, but customers can purchase the device for as low as $849 when trading in an iPhone 7 Plus for a limited time.

In certain countries, the promotion is only available at Apple Stores, but it is also available on Apple.com in some regions. Apple says the offer ends January 31, 2019 in China and Japan, but it has yet to specify a deadline in other countries.

Many analysts have expressed concerns about weakening iPhone sales, and Apple's aggressive marketing of the iPhone XR in particular and its decision to stop disclosing iPhone unit sales starting next quarter fit that narrative. Apple's stock price is down nearly 30 percent since the day of its last earnings report.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR

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Australia Passes Controversial Encryption Bill Despite Opposition From Apple and Other Tech Companies

The Australian parliament on Thursday passed controversial encryption legislation that could result in tech companies being forced to give law enforcement access to encrypted customer messages.

As we reported in October, Apple opposed the legislation in a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, calling the encryption bill "dangerously ambiguous" and wide open to potential abuse by authorities.


Advocates of the bill, officially titled "Assistance and Access Bill 2018," argue it is essential to national security because encrypted communications are used by terrorist groups and criminals to avoid detection.

CNET provided a breakdown on the Australian bill and the three tiers of law enforcement and state agency assistance it covers:
  • Technical assistance request: A notice to provide "voluntary assistance" to law enforcement for "safeguarding of national security and the enforcement of the law."

  • Technical assistance notice: A notice requiring tech companies to offer decryption "they are already capable of providing that is reasonable, proportionate, practicable and technically feasible" where the company already has the "existing means" to decrypt communications (e.g. where messages aren't end-to-end encrypted).

  • Technical capability notice: A notice issued by the attorney general, requiring tech companies to "build a new capability" to decrypt communications for law enforcement. The bill stipulates this can't include capabilities that "remove electronic protection, such as encryption."
The Australian government insists that the laws don't provide a backdoor into encrypted communications, however Apple says says the language in the bill permits the government to order companies who make smart home speakers to "install persistent eavesdropping capabilities" or require device makers to create a tool to unlock devices.

Likewise, the joint industry lobby group DIGI, which includes Amazon, Facebook, Google, Oath, and Twitter, said they were willing to work with the government to promote public safety, but the laws could "potentially jeopardize the security of the apps and systems that millions of Australians use every day."

Apple has fought against anti-encryption legislation and attempts to weaken device encryption for years, and its most public battle was against the U.S. government in 2016 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple ultimately held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the device, but Apple has continually had to deal with further law enforcement efforts to combat encryption.

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.


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Apple’s Black Friday Event Begins in Australia: Up to $280 Apple Store Gift Card With Select Products

Apple's four-day Black Friday shopping event is now live in Australia and New Zealand, offering customers free Apple Store gift cards worth up to A$280 or NZ$320 with the purchase of select new Apple products.


Apple offers up to a $70 gift card in Australia and up to an $80 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select older iPhone models, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. As usual, the deal does not extend to the latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR.

Apple offers up to a $140 gift card in Australia and up to a $160 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select iPad models, including the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad, and iPad mini 4. Likewise, the deal does not extend to the latest 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.

Apple offers up to a $280 gift card in Australia and up to a $320 gift card in New Zealand with the purchase of select Macs, including the latest MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro models. The deal extends to the MacBook Air, but only the previous-generation model without a Retina display.

Apple Store gift cards are also being offered with the purchase of select Apple Watch, HomePod, Apple TV, and Beats models.

The deals are available via Apple.com in each country and at Apple Stores in Australia through November 26, which is Cyber Monday, an increasingly popular online-focused shopping holiday that follows Black Friday.

Apple will extend its Black Friday shopping event to the United States, Canada, and many European countries as the clock turns to Friday around the world. Last year, Apple offered gift cards worth up to $150 in the United States, but it could be up to $200 this year based on the Australian dollar amounts.

More details to follow…

Related Roundup: Apple Black Friday

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Apple Criticizes Proposed Anti-Encryption Legislation in Australia

The Australian government is considering a bill that would require tech companies like Apple to provide "critical assistance" to government agencies who are investigating crimes.

According to the Australian government, encryption is problematic because encrypted communications "are increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption."


As noted by TechCrunch, Apple today penned a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament criticizing the proposed legislation.

In the letter, Apple calls the bill "dangerously ambiguous" and explains the importance of encryption in "protecting national security and citizens' lives" from criminal attackers who are finding more serious and sophisticated ways to infiltrate iOS devices.
In the face of these threats, this is no time to weaken encryption. There is profound risk of making criminals' jobs easier, not harder. Increasingly stronger -- not weaker -- encryption is the best way to protect against these threats.
Apple says that it "challenges the idea" that weaker encryption is necessary to aid law enforcement investigations as it has processed more than 26,000 requests for data to help solve crimes in Australia over the course of the last five years.

According to Apple, the language in the bill is broad and vague, with "ill-defined restrictions." As an example, Apple says the language in the bill would permit the government to order companies who make smart home speakers to "install persistent eavesdropping capabilities" or require device makers to create a tool to unlock devices.

Apple says additional work needs to be done on the bill to include a "firm mandate" that "prohibits the weakening of encryption or security protections," with the company going on to outline a wide range of specific concerns that it hopes the Australian parliament will address. The list of flaws Apple has found with the bill can be found in the full letter.

Apple has been fighting against anti-encryption legislation and attempts to weaken device encryption for years, and its most public battle was against the U.S. government in 2016 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple ultimately held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the device, but Apple has continually had to deal with further law enforcement efforts to combat encryption.

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.


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Australian Teen Who Hacked into Apple’s Servers Multiple Times Escapes Conviction

A Melbourne schoolboy who hacked into Apple's corporate servers on multiple occasions over two years has avoided conviction, reports The Age.

The 19-year-old student, who can't be named for legal reasons as his case is being heard in an Australian Children's Court, earlier pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple's internal systems several times in 2015 and 2016.

The boy's hacking is said to have begun at the age of 16, and involved downloading 90 gigabytes of secure files and accessing customer accounts. His lawyer later told police that the teen "dreamed of" working for Apple.

The magistrate dealing with the case reportedly handed down an eight-month probation order, and said that no conviction would be recorded. The court also heard how the private school boy has since been accepted into university to study criminology and cyber safety.

That international investigation began when Apple detected the unauthorized access and blocked the source of the intrusions. The company notified the FBI, which passed on the information to the Australian Federal Police, resulting in a warrant being executed at the family home last year.

Prosecutors said the raid turned up a "litany of hacking files" in a folder on the boy's computer named "hacky hack hack," as well as devices with IP addresses that matched the source of the intrusions.

Following reports of the case, Apple released a statement to assure customers that at no point during the incident was personal data compromised.


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Proposed Apple Store Location in Australia Gets Temporary Heritage Protection

Apple's plans for its first flagship store in Australia have been dealt another blow, with The Age reporting that the proposed location in Melbourne has won Heritage Protection status until late 2018.

The Victorian branch of Australia's National Trust is said to have nominated Federation Square for protection earlier this month, shortly after Apple submitted revised blueprints for the planned store on July 19.

Apple's revised Federation Square design

The Heritage Protection status means no work on the square can take place until December 21, 2018 without explicit permission from the National Trust. With Apple not hoping to start construction until next year, the date on its own isn't a problem, but the move by Heritage Victoria suggests that permanent protection is the final goal.

The construction of the new store would require the demolition of the well-known Yarra building, which has infuriated Melbourne residents and led to major protests suggesting the public space should not be given over to a corporation.

In February, Melbourne's City Council backed a motion to lobby for a new store design, and Apple's revised plan was positively received by the Federation Square leadership, but it looks as if public community groups have yet to be convinced.
"The interim protection order allows us to take stock and think about what makes Fed Square truly special," said Citizens for Melbourne president Tania Davidge, speaking to The Age. "Hopefully, after eight months of discussion behind closed doors, Victorians will now have the opportunity to have a say about the future of their public, cultural and civic square."

Another view of the new design

The city of Melbourne's Heritage portfolio chair Rohan Leppert said the public backlash to the proposed Apple store proved that Federation Square "is a site of state significance", and said he was glad that Heritage Victoria was taking the proposal to permanently protect Federation Square seriously.

"Heritage Victoria's decision to apply an IPO formalises these public heritage values and is very welcome, as is the exceptional leadership of the National Trust," he said.

Despite the square being granted temporary protection status, the state government is still siding with Apple on the issue. Responding to the news, tourism and major events minister John Eren said it would be "unprecedented" to heritage list a site that is only 16 years old.

"To do so could lead to significant implications for future projects," Eren told The Age. "This will not stop us delivering the Metro Tunnel and other vital projects that are good for Melbourne and good for jobs."


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Melbourne Teen Pleads Guilty to Hacking Apple Servers and Accessing Customer Accounts

A Melbourne schoolboy has pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple's secure network after the company notified authorities of the intrusion (via The Age).

The teen, who can't be named for legal reasons, appeared at an Australian Children's Court on Thursday facing allegations of hacking into Apple's servers on multiple occasions.

Details of the case are still sketchy, but the boy's hacking is said to have begun at the age of 16, and included downloading tens of gigabytes of secure files and accessing "authorized keys" that grant login access to users.

The boy is said to have attempted to hide his identity using a number of methods including "computerized tunnels", a system which had "worked flawlessly" until the teen was caught.

That chain of events began when Apple apparently detected the unauthorized access and blocked the source of the intrusions. It subsequently notified the FBI, which passed on the information to the Australian Federal Police, resulting in a warrant being executed at the family home last year.

Prosecutors said the raid turned up a "litany of hacking files" on a computer laptop and hard drive, as well as a mobile phone with an IP address that matched the source of the intrusions.

The boy's lawyer said the teen was a fan of the company and had "dreamed of" working for Apple. His lawyer also asked the magistrate's court not to disclose some of the details of the case because the boy is well-known in the hacking community and it could put him at risk.

The magistrate's court acknowledged the guilty plea, and the case has been adjourned until next month for sentencing.


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Apple Fined $9 Million for Misleading Some Australian Customers Over ‘Error 53’ Device Repairs

The Australian government today fined Apple $9 million for misleading some customers into believing they could not have their iOS devices fixed by Apple if they had been previously repaired by a third-party repair shop, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Today's ruling comes after the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation into Apple after the ACCC received complaints over "error 53," issues.


Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.

When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent "malicious" third-party components from potentially compromising a user's iPhone, but after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.

Amid error 53 investigations led by the ACCC, Apple admitted that between February 2015 and February 2016, at least 275 Australian customers had been told in store or over the phone that they could not have their iPad or iPhone fixed if it had been repaired by a third party, such as in the error 53 situation.

Apple's refusal to provide repairs to Australian customers who had previous repairs done by third-party shops violates Australian Consumer Law, according to an Australian Federal Court.

When it learned of the ACCC's investigation, Apple launched an outreach program that has compensated approximately 5,000 consumers who were affected by error 53. Apple's Australian arm is also improving staff training to make sure its stores comply fully with Australian Consumer Law, and Apple will now provide new devices as replacements instead of refurbished devices if a customer requests one.

In the United States, Apple was hit with a lawsuit over error 53, but it was dismissed after the company restored full iPhone functionality through a software update and reimbursed customers who had paid for out-of-warranty device replacements.


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