Climate Change Could Lead to Greater Reliance on iPhones, Says Apple

A U.K.-based non-profit organization, CDP, recently asked major companies to provide reports on their environmental impact with details on the risks and opportunities that climate change might present.

Apple was one of the respondents, and as outlined by Bloomberg, the company believes future climate-related disasters could increase peoples’ dependence on the iPhone.



According to Apple’s report, of which only a portion of a statement was shared, the iPhone can work as a flashlight or a siren, provide first aid instructions, or serve as a radio. The device can be charged via hand cranks or car batteries, allowing it to work even when power is out.

“As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones,” the company wrote. Its mobile devices “can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio; and they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks.”

Apple declined to comment on the information provided in the report, and we only have a small glimpse at the data that was included. Apple undoubtedly had additional thoughts to share on climate change, much like the other companies that participated.

Disney, for example, said it’s worried about rising temperatures affecting park attendance, while Coke said potential water shortages could limit water availability for the bottling of Coke. Intel said that droughts in areas of its operation could increase operational costs, while AT&T said that frequent hurricanes and wildfires could lead to more spending on damage repair for its network.

Based on the reports submitted by each company, CDP (which used to be called the Carbon Disclosure Project) provided letter grades measuring metrics like “how aware they are about [climate change],” “how they’re progressing towards targets,” and “how they’re managing it.”

Thirty total companies in the United States received overall “A” grades when it came to environmental performance, including Apple. Apple was scored on metrics like the infrastructure in place to address climate change issues within the company, risks and opportunities related to climate change, financial planning for these risks and opportunities, emissions targets and progress made towards those targets, and more.

Apple works hard to limit its carbon footprint, and all of its facilities worldwide operate using 100 percent renewable energy. Apple is now focusing on recycling, with the aim of a closed-loop supply chain that puts an end to its need to mine the earth for rare minerals.

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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‘Flexgate’: 2016 and Newer MacBook Pro Users Report Display Issues Due to Fragile Flex Cables

An increasing number of users have experienced backlight issues on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, particularly those with the Touch Bar, often resulting in a so-called “stage light effect” along the bottom of the display.

Image via MacRumors forum member SourceSunTom


According to the repair website iFixit, which highlighted the issue today, the underlying cause is Apple’s use of thin, fragile flex cables that connect the display with the display controller board on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, as opposed to the more durable wire cables used in previous generations.

iFixit’s Taylor Dixon explains:

When it first debuted, the design seemed fine. But as always, the devil is in the details. Apple opted for thin, fragile flex cables as opposed to the beefier wire cables used in previous designs that could be routed through the hinge instead of wrapped around it, helping mitigate the stress of repeated openings and closings.

In a nutshell, the normal, repeated opening and closing of the display lid can result in the thin flex cables becoming fragile and breaking over time. And since the issue takes time to manifest, the affected MacBook Pro models are often outside of Apple’s one-year warranty period when they start exhibiting symptoms.



Many examples of the issue have been documented on the website Flexgate, in the Apple Support Communities, and in the MacRumors discussion forums. It’s unclear how many users are affected, but the number continues to increase.

The problem gets worse when affected customers take their MacBook Pro to Apple for repair, as iFixit claims that the flex cables are integrated into the display and cannot be replaced individually. Instead, the entire display assembly needs to be replaced, turning a cheap repair into a costly $600-plus one.



While some customers without AppleCare+ have managed to get a free or reduced-cost repair, it appears many have been required to pay in full.

Apple has not launched a public-facing repair program for this issue, and we’re not aware of any internal one either. A petition urging Apple to launch such a program has amassed over 2,200 signatures. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but we’ll update this article if we hear back.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 12.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the third update and a month after releasing the tvOS 12 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.1 beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that’s installed using Xcode. Subsequent betas can be downloaded over-the-air.



We’re not yet sure what fixes and changes the tvOS 12.1 update might bring, but it’s likely to focus on bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 12. No new features were discovered in the first three tvOS 12.1 betas.

Apple’s tvOS updates have historically been minor in scale, and Apple does not often provide us with detailed notes outlining what’s new, but we’ll update this post should any changes be found in the fourth beta.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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Apple Stops Signing iOS 11.4.1 Following iOS 12 Launch, Downgrading No Longer Possible

Following the release of iOS 12 on September 17, Apple has stopped signing iOS 11.41, the previous version of iOS that was available to consumers.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners who have upgraded to iOS 12 will no longer be able to downgrade to the iOS 11 operating system.

Apple routinely stops signing older versions of software updates after new releases come out in order to encourage customers to keep their operating systems up to date.

iOS 12 and today’s iOS 12.0.1 release are the only versions of iOS that can be installed on iPhones and iPads by the general public. Developers and public beta testers can download iOS 12.1, an iOS 12 update that’s being beta tested.
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Elgato Shifting to Focus ‘Exclusively’ on Line of Eve HomeKit Devices

Elgato Systems today announced that it will shift its focus “exclusively” to its line of HomeKit-connected Eve devices, in the process rebranding itself to “Eve Systems.” At the same time, it confirmed plans to sell its streaming accessory division Elgato Gaming to peripheral company Corsair to continue life as a separate brand.



Under its new name, the company said that Eve Systems will offer a “constantly expanding ecosystem” of accessories that are designed exclusively for HomeKit. It also told users to look out for the next line of product announcements coming to IFA Berlin in a few months, running from August 31 through September 5.

In the announcement, Elgato founder and CEO of Eve Systems Markus Fest explained that the Eve product line will benefit from a “focused team and a dedicated organization” thanks to the gaming division’s sale.

“Today, the Gaming space is more dynamic and exciting than ever, and we sought a larger partner to help us capitalize on the phenomenal opportunities ahead” said Markus Fest, Elgato’s founder and now CEO of Eve Systems.

“Our gaming business has been wildly successful, and that success is inextricably linked to the Elgato brand. The brand has been with us for almost twenty years and we are obviously a little sad to see it go, but Corsair is a fantastic company and will be a great new home for Elgato. At the same time our Eve product line will benefit from a focused team and a dedicated organization. This move will further strengthen both product families.”

For products that don’t fall under the Eve or Gaming categories — like Elgato’s thunderbolt docks — the company confirmed that anything that is not an Eve device will also be joining Elgato Gaming under Corsair.

The most recent HomeKit product announcements from the company came with the Eve Aqua and Eve Flare. Eve Aqua connects to your outdoor water system so you can control your sprinklers or other irrigation system through the Home app or Siri. For European users, the Eve Flare lamp is a portable LED lamp that offers six hours of illumination on one charge.

Otheriwse, the company sells numerous Eve devices on Apple.com, including the Elgato Eve Degree Connected Weather Station, Light Switch, Wireless Motion Sensor, Room Sensor, Energy Smart Plug, Button, and more.

Tag: Elgato

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Contact Management App ‘Cardhop’ Gains Support for Smart Groups, Printing Options and More Languages

Cardhop, the popular contacts management app from Flexibits, makers of Fantastical, today received its first major update to introduce new features and new functionality.

For those unfamiliar with Cardhop, it’s designed to turn the standard Apple Contacts app on the Mac into an interactive communications hub, providing you with tools to email, message, tweet, and interface with all of your contacts from one central location.



Today’s 1.1 update to Cardhop introduces Smart Groups, a feature that lets you create a group of contacts based on specific search criteria that updates automatically from details like company, location, link domains, and more.

So, for example, if you add several contacts from the same company, you can have them all grouped up in one easy to access spot.

With printing support, you can print customized envelopes, labels, and lists of contacts, and there’s now an option to include a timestamp when you use Cardhop’s “Notes” feature to add details about a contact.

There are new template preferences for customizing fields and labels for contacts, and when you type into a name field, you’ll now see suggestions for other names in your contacts list.

Finally, today’s update introduces full support for French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese, plus it includes a range of bug fixes and performance improvements.

“We’re very excited to present our first major update for Cardhop,” said Michael Simmons, Co-founder of Flexibits. “With 5 new languages, printing, smart groups, and much more, Cardhop is even more so the contacts app you’ll actually want to use.”

Cardhop for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $19.99. [Direct Link] It’s also available from the Flexibits website, where you can get a free 21 day trial to test it out.
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Deals: Best Buy Discounts HomePod to $330, HiRise Duet Code Expiring, and More

As part of its ongoing spring sale event, Best Buy today has discounted Apple’s HomePod by $20, bringing the cost of the smart speaker to $329.99, down from $349.99. The speaker is available in both White and Space Gray. While not a massive discount, this is one of the first straight price drops on HomePod since its launch earlier this year, outside of sitewide promo codes on eBay.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Best Buy is also discounting a collection of refurbished Apple Watch devices today only. The 20 percent off Deal of the Day savings include limited stock of the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) for $287.20 and the 38mm version for $263.20, as well as some GPS + Cellular options. The Geek Squad certified refurbished Apple Watch models are restored to a like-new state, verified to work properly, and include all parts and accessories. Best Buy also upholds its regular return and exchange policies for refurbished devices.

As a reminder, our exclusive discount code for Twelve South’s HiRise Duet stand expires tomorrow, April 28. If you’re interested and haven’t used the code yet, head over to Amazon, add the HiRise Duet to your cart, then enter the code 30DUET at checkout to get $30 off the accessory, marking it down to $89.99 from $119.99. Twelve South’s HiRise Duet provides a dual-charging solution for iPhone and Apple Watch, with a Lightning connector and Apple Watch charging puck embedded in the device.



Additionally, DirecTV Now is still offering a 32GB Apple TV 4K at no cost when pre-paying for three months of the streaming TV service. With the deal, you can get a brand new Apple TV for $105, and cancel DirecTV Now before the three months ends if you don’t wish to keep paying for the service. For those looking at new internet plans, AT&T also has an online only deal that nets you a $50 Visa reward card when you purchase AT&T Internet at $40/month for 12 months of service, or up to a $250 reward card when bundling DirecTV and AT&T Internet.

To check out more of the latest sales and offers happening this week, be sure to visit our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Hands-On With the New (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X Leather Folio

Apple early this week introduced new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models, which officially launched today. As of this morning, the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone devices are available for purchase in Apple retail stores, and the first (PRODUCT)RED orders have been delivered to customers.

We got our hands on one of the new candy Apple-colored devices to check out how the new bright red shade looks with a glass body, and, as is no surprise, it’s gorgeous.

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Apple in 2017 introduced (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, but those devices paired an aluminum shell with a white front plate. 2018’s (PRODUCT)RED options are arguably more attractive with a glossy red glass backplate, a red aluminum shell, and a black faceplate for the first time.

The red and black combo is undeniably attractive, and the iPhone 8’s glass body looks fantastic with such a bright red shade. Other than the new color, though, the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are identical to existing iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models introduced back in September.

Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are priced the same as other iPhone 8 models, with Apple charging $699 for the 64GB iPhone 8, $849 for the 256GB iPhone 8, $799 for the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, and $949 for the 256GB iPhone 8 Plus.

Ahead of the unveiling of the 2018 (PRODUCT)RED devices, there were rumors suggesting Apple might also debut a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone X, but no red iPhone X materialized. Instead, Apple introduced a new (PRODUCT)RED Leather Folio for the iPhone X, which is nice looking but somewhat of a disappointment compared to the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Given how nice a bright, colorful red shade looks when paired with a glass body, we’re hoping Apple plans to expand to other colors in the iPhone lineup in the future. What do you think of the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and 8 Plus? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

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Instagram Launches New ‘Focus’ Feature for Portrait Mode-Style Photos

Instagram today announced the launch of a new “Focus” mode, which is designed to allow Instagram users to take portrait images with a softly blurred background.

The feature is available as a new option next to “Superzoom” when you open up the camera. It can be used with the front or rear-facing cameras, and Instagram says as soon as someone is in the shot, the person will stay in focus while the background becomes blurred. Focus mode only works with a person in the frame.



Focus mode can be used with either photos or videos, and it’s designed to be similar to the Portrait Mode feature available on Apple’s newer dual-lens devices. While Portrait Mode is a hardware-based feature available on the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, Instagram’s Focus mode is software based, making it available on a wider range of devices.

Instagram says Focus works on the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and “select Android devices.”

In addition to Focus, Instagram is also adding a new @mention sticker on iOS devices so you can use a sticker to tag your friends using the stories camera.

Both Focus and the new Mention sticker are available in the latest version of Instagram, which can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]

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Apple’s Fleet of Self-Driving Vehicles Has Almost Doubled Since January

Apple’s fleet of self-driving vehicles has almost doubled over the past two months, according to the Financial Times, as the iPhone maker continues to accelerate its research and development of autonomous technologies.



The report claims Apple now has permits for 45 autonomous vehicles, up from 27 in January, based on figures provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Apple has been expanding its fleet rapidly since receiving permits to test just three autonomous vehicles in California last April.



Apple’s testing fleet is now the second largest in California, behind only General Motors subsidiary Cruise Automation and its 110 cars, according to the report. Google-owned Waymo is testing 24 cars in the state, down from more than 100 last June, while Tesla has 39 permits, the report adds.

As noted by Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw, Waymo and other companies appear to be shifting their testing to Arizona and other states, so Apple’s larger-sized fleet in California doesn’t necessarily make it the de facto leader.

Uber has permits to test 29 driverless vehicles in California, but the company has suspended all of its self-driving tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of its autonomous vehicles, with a human safety driver behind the wheel, on Sunday. It was the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

While the incident could result in more regulations for all companies testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that “it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.”

California has required companies testing autonomous vehicles to have a human in the driver’s seat to take over in the event of an emergency, but the state will be lifting that rule starting April 2, 2018.

Apple is one of more than 50 companies testing self-driving vehicle technologies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For nearly a year now, the company has been deploying its autonomous software in a series of 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can often be seen on streets surrounding its Cupertino headquarters.

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a June 2017 interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.”

Related Roundup: Apple Car

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