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Study indicates Apple Watch among best at heart rate measuring
We evaluated the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2. Participants wore devices while being simultaneously assessed with continuous telemetry and indirect calorimetry while sitting, walking, running, and cycling. Sixty volunteers (29 male, 31 female, age 38 � 11 years) of diverse age, height, weight, skin tone, and fitness level were selected.

Across all testing, the Apple Watch saw the lowest error in monitoring. The range was 1.2-percent - 2.8-percent error.

Interestingly, when it comes to measuring calories, no device performed particularly well. The devices seemed to measure best with running and walking and worst when calculating sitting.

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Study indicates Apple Watch among best at heart rate measuring
We evaluated the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2. Participants wore devices while being simultaneously assessed with continuous telemetry and indirect calorimetry while sitting, walking, running, and cycling. Sixty volunteers (29 male, 31 female, age 38 � 11 years) of diverse age, height, weight, skin tone, and fitness level were selected.

Across all testing, the Apple Watch saw the lowest error in monitoring. The range was 1.2-percent - 2.8-percent error.

Interestingly, when it comes to measuring calories, no device performed particularly well. The devices seemed to measure best with running and walking and worst when calculating sitting.

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Apple announce Swift course for high schools, community colleges
Apple announced a new app development curriculum to instruct students in building apps in its Swift programming language. The curriculum is intended to help support high school and community college students in their learning.

App Development with Swift is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world's most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.


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1Password introduces new Travel Mode feature
1Password implemented a new feature to help secure data while traveling across borders. The idea is to keep your information secure from inspection or other intrusive investigation by border agents.

As described by 1Password:
Before Travel Mode, I would have had to sign out of all my 1Password accounts on all my devices. If I needed certain passwords with me, I had to create a temporary travel account. It was a lot of work and not worth it for most people.

Now all I have to do is make sure any of the items I need for travel are in a single vault. I then sign in to my account on 1Password.com, mark that vault as "safe for travel," and turn on Travel Mode in my profile. I unlock 1Password on my devices so the vaults are removed, and I'm now ready for my trip. Off I go from sunny Winnipeg to hopefully-sunnier San Jose, ready to cross the border knowing that my iPhone and my Mac no longer contain the vast majority of my sensitive information.

After I arrive at my destination, I can sign in again and turn off Travel Mode. The vaults immediately show up on my devices, and I'm back in business


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Apple reports on requests for customer information
Apple:
Apple is very seriously committed to protecting your data and we work hard to deliver the most secure hardware, software and services available. We believe our customers have a right to understand how their personal data is managed and protected. This report provides information regarding requests Apple received from government agencies and private parties from July 1 through December 31, 2016.

Worldwide there were 30,184 requests during the period and 4,254 were from the U.S.. Apple provided data on 21,737 of those requests worldwide and 3,348 from the US..

Those data requests involved 151,105 devices worldwide and 20,013 were from the U.S.. Lastly, Apple reported that 72-percent of the time it was able to provide data on worldwide requests and 78-percent on U.S. requests.



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Nokia, Apple settle legal conflicts
Apple and Nokia:
Under a business collaboration agreement, Nokia will be providing certain network infrastructure product and services to Apple. Apple will resume carrying Nokia digital health products (formerly under the Withings brand) in Apple retail and online stores, and Apple and Nokia are exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives. Regular summits between top Nokia and Apple executives will ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers.

The deal involves an up-front cash payment and on-going revenues.

It kind of interesting that CEOs are not quoted in the release. Apple's COO Jeff Williams is representing Apple wile Nokia's Chief Legal Officer has its main quote.

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New Apple Watch bands match line of Nike shoes
Nike and Apple announced new Nike Sports Bands for the Apple Watch. The bands match Nike's Day to Night theme collection of sneakers.

Nike:
In April of this year, Apple and NikeLab launched the limited edition Apple Watch NikeLab. Today, Apple and Nike take their partnership a stride further, with four new Nike Sport Bands for Apple Watch Nike+ in colorways inspired by the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit "Day to Night" collection.

The "Day to Night" collection celebrates runners whenever they choose to run - at twilight, sunset and everything in between. Each of the colors is inspired by a shade of the sky, from dawn to dusk, and allows runners to - for the first time - make a statement by matching their Apple Watch Nike+ bands to their footwear.

The bands will retail for $49 and are expected to be available June from Nike and shortly after from Apple.

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WannaCry is another case against backdoors
USA Today reporting on speculation the WannaCry ransomware leaked out of the NSA's inventory of exploits.

The fact that they appear to have been stolen from a U.S. government-linked group and are now in the public domain has bolstered tech companies' contention that security backdoors would do more harm than good -- simply because these work-arounds risk ending up in criminal hands.

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem," Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal counsel, said in a blog post.

Basically if companies agree to install backdoors for government agents, there's not a good track record of government keeping such things secure for only legal use.

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Google Assistant comes to iOS
Google released a stand-alone app of its AI assistant for iOS. The release gives iOS users a new interface for Google's services and an alternative to Siri for quirky interactions. Siri, however, should still have one advantage as the Google Assistant is restricted to its app, so it can function as seamlessly as Siri.

Some things your Assistant can help with:
- Make quick phone calls (e.g. "Call Mom.")
- Send text messages (e.g. "Text my bestie.")
- Send emails (e.g. "Email your boss the latest TPS report.")
- Set reminders (e.g. "Remind me to buy a birthday gift for Sarah.")
- Set calendar events (e.g. "Set a calendar event for dinner with Charlie tomorrow from 7-9.")
- Play music (e.g. "Play Jazz music on Youtube.")
- Navigate to places (e.g. "Get me directions home.")
- Ask it anything (e.g. "Will I need an umbrella today?")


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Apple touts product accessibility in series of videos
Apple has a a series of videos its calling Designed for everyone the highlights accessibility features of its products. Similar to its other product demonstrations, The Designed for everyone series shows actual people using its products. The are 7 videos in all.

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Steven Levy gets a tour of Apple Park
A nice feature in Wired as Apple's new headquarters Apple Park.
Wired:
For the next two hours, Ive and Whisenhunt walk me through other parts of the building and the grounds. They describe the level of attention devoted to every detail, the willingness to search the earth for the right materials, and the obstacles overcome to achieve perfection, all of which would make sense for an actual Apple consumer product, where production expenses could be amortized over millions of units. But the Ring is a 2.8-million-square-foot one-off, eight years in the making and with a customer base of 12,000. How can anyone justify this spectacular effort?

"It's frustrating to talk about this building in terms of absurd, large numbers," Ive says. "It makes for an impressive statistic, but you don't live in an impressive statistic. While it is a technical marvel to make glass at this scale, that's not the achievement. The achievement is to make a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk." The value, he argues, is not what went into the building. It's what will come out.


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Report: Apple to update laptops at WWDC
Bloomberg:
Apple is planning three new laptops, according to people familiar with the matter. The MacBook Pro will get a faster Kaby Lake processor from Intel Corp., said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. Apple is also working on a new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip. The company has also considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor as sales of the laptop, Apple's cheapest, remain surprisingly strong, one of the people said.

Two points here.. The MacBook Pro with Touchbar really turned higher end users off with its limited RAM. Other things bugged them like exclusive USB-C ports that require more dongles, but the memory situation seem to really make people unhappy. A primary reason for this was the Intel processor Apple chose for the slim, power sipping laptop. An upcoming Intel CPU promised to allow for once again memory capacities pros preferred. So, I'm guessing Apple is rushing this update to market to satisfy those customers.

Second, is how customers may be still resisting moving away from the MacBook Air. I love my 11-inch MacBook Air and have been using it for years because what I really want is an 11-inch Retina MacBook Air. Apple never gave us that, in fact, they killed the 11-inch model. I'll guess that cost-wise a Retina MacBook Air doesn't make sense against a Retina MacBook, so that's probably why it never happened. But for me, and I suspect many, the new MacBooks with lower-powered Intel Core M processors have yet to resonate for those wanting a slim laptop.

It's worth noting, however, when the MacBook Air came out it was panned. While it looked cool, I recall many ridiculing its lightweight specs and disproportionate price tag. People loved the design, just not the specs and price. The MacBooks seem in similar territory, but it would be nice to still have solid old school offerings to bridge the gap.

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Report: iPad mini may be going away
BGR:
Not one to ever be shy about disrupting the company's own lineup, our source beats the Apple drum and states that there's "fierce cannibalism of our own products" and that the iPad mini has just been "sized out of its own category." We're also told that the numbers are "very clear" as far as sales are concerned, which is most likely the biggest reason the company plans to eliminate the littlest iPad.

Basically the iPhone Plus has made the iPad mini not very attractive. That's pretty easy conclusion since I basically stopped using an iPad since upgrading to the larger iPhone. I still like laptops, and of rme, a larger iPhone simply eliminates the gap between mobile and computer.


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Apps using iCloud to require app-specific passwords
Apple:
Beginning on 15 June, app-specific passwords will be required to access your iCloud data using third-party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or other mail, contacts and calendar services not provided by Apple.

If you are already signed in to a third-party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again.

This is kind of a pain in the butt, but good account management. The app-specific password sets up authenticated access to connected devices using a unique password. If one system is compromised, the rest of your access, including your iCloud account itself, should be secure. Furthermore, it makes it easy to control access by revoking access to apps.

So it's a pain to setup, and a pain again when you change your password, but it helps keeps your accounts locked down.

Article Link

Barbers spot promotes iPhone 7 Plus's portrait photo mode
The iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode uses both of the iPhone's camera to create a composite photo with depth of field. The main camera shows the forefront image in focus and the second camera shows the background with a bokeh.



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Apple announces investment in Corning manufacturing
Earlier this month, Apple announced it was investing $1 billion in advanced manufacturing in the United States. Late last week the company announced the first installment of that investment in Corning. The $200 million investment aims to advance glass production, which the company uses in its mobile devices. Corning is the maker of the widely used Gorilla Glass.

Apple:
The investment will support Corning's R&D, capital equipment needs and state-of-the-art glass processing. Corning's 65-year-old Harrodsburg facility has been integral to the 10-year collaboration between these two innovative companies and will be the focus of Apple's investment.

Apple has made investments in partners in the past. In fact, it may be almost normal for Apple to purchase capital to support its needs. Apple here seems to be leveraging these practices for some good PR as it recently has come under scrutiny over its overseas manufacturing and tax schemes.

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Apple launches iPhone 7 camera tutorial/promo site
Apple has a new resource page that functions as some customer outreach and marketing. Called "How to shoot on iPhone 7," the site offers 16 short vignettes offering tips on common photography situations. For example, how to shoot a close up, with and without a flash, using a timer, using various natural light, and of course how to do a selfie.

The site is designed to be best viewed on a smartphone using responsive design techniques and portrait videos.

Article Link

Apple acquired Beddit sleep tracking system
CNBC:
Apple has picked up a sleep-tracking app called Beddit Apple has picked up a sleep-tracking app called Beddit
11 Hours Ago | 00:34
Apple has acquired an app and sleep monitoring device called Beddit.

Beddit has updated the privacy policy on its website to state that it has been acquired, although the terms of the deal are not yet clear.

The speculation is that this may work its way into the Apple Watch for improved built-in sleep tracking capabilities. What's interesting though is Beddit an app accessory with specialized hardware. Perhaps the software and the Beddit team is what Apple is after.

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Report: Apple employees testing Echo-like device
Buried in a Bloomberg piece about Amazon's latest Echo device is a tidbit that Apple has been testing a similar assistant device for months. It's been rumored that Apple is working on such a device to complement Siri on iOS and macOS devices, but reportedly Apple employees have been field testing an Apple device in their homes:

In a recent research note, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple may debut an Echo rival next month at the company's annual developer's conference. Apple employees have been testing a device at home for several months, according to people familiar with the matter.

Recently Apple hasn't release new hardware at its developer conference. That may not be likely, but if a new device was pending and there was a ask for developer support, Apple's upcoming WWDC would be an opportunity to announce such a device.

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Apple tweaks affiliate rate cut
Last month Apple announced a steep reduction in fees it pays as commissions to affiliate links. Essentially if you drive a sale to Apple, you'll get a cut of that sale. Apple has reportedly adjusted the fee structure again to limit the cut to in-app sales.

The Verge:
Apple has changed its mind on commission rates for iTunes affiliates. It was previously reported that all rates (for Mac and iOS app purchases, and for in-app purchases on both operating systems) would be cut from 7 percent to 2.5 percent. But the iPhone-maker now says only in-app iOS purchases will have their commission rate reduced to 2.5 percent.




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John Oliver's latest take on net neutrality
John Oliver's weekly show on HBO turned its attention again to the FCC and net neutrality.



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Trojan horse compromises Handbrake software
The popular video transcoding app Handbrake experienced a hack last week. Someone had gained access to its download distribution mirror and swapping out the legit application with one containing a trojan horse. The compromised software was available for download between May 2, 2017 and May 6, 2017.

Patrick Wardle has a good analysis of what the trojan horse does:

As with KeRanger and Keydnap, hackers targeted an official distribution website of legitimate macOS software. With access to HandBrake's mirror, they trojaned the legitimate application, meaning any user who downloaded the application would inadvertently infect themselves!

Luckily the trojaned disk image was only online for a few days. However as is often (always!?) the case, no anti-virus products flagged the malware :( So if you recently download HandBrake, unless you were running something like BlockBlock you'd likely have been infected.


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Report: Amazon Video may be coming Apple TV
Recode:
The tech giants, who are increasingly competing for customers' time, eyeballs and money, are close to an agreement to bring an Amazon video app to Apple's Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the two companies.

Amazon employees expect the app to show up on Apple's hardware in the third quarter of the year.

What's interesting is the duality of both Apple and Amazon. Content traditionally seems secondary their conventional business. Music, TV, movies, apps, etc drive Apple hardware sales and similarly, media and media players drive Amazon Prime membership, which then drives retail sales.

Recently Apple has been focusing more on services as it has grown considerably while its iPhone and iPad sales have leveled out. Recently, it seems with Apple Music Apple is taking a page from Amazon in developing its own content to boost its own subscription media service in Apple Music.

It seems to me Amazon would be keen on getting Prime Video on all Apple screens, but clearly there's some tensions as their businesses increasingly overlap. I'd guess each company likely has a different view of what value they add to shared customers and how much they should be compensated for transactions.



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Apple pledges $1 billion towards U.S. manufacturing jobs
Wednesday evening on CNBC's Mad Money show announced a the creation of a fund to develop domestic manufacturing jobs.

The Associated Press:
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the fund during a Wednesday interview on CNBC's "Mad Money." Cook didn't provide additional details, such as how the company will direct that money.

He did say the fund will make its first investment by the end of this month.


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Hulu adds live TV package
Beginning today, viewers who subscribe to the Hulu with Live TV (Beta) plan can enjoy live and on demand programming from more than 50 popular sports, news, entertainment and kids' channels -- plus Hulu's deep existing premium streaming library -- all for $39.99 per month, with no setup costs or hidden fees. This includes 50 hours of recording storage, up to six individual profiles and two simultaneous streams per account, with options to upgrade to an enhanced Cloud DVR and unlimited in-home screens.

The service includes the regular Hulu streaming service and the typical slate of basic cable channels. The Cloud DVR and unlimited screens each cost an additional $15/mo or $20 as together. Showtime is also available for $9/mo.

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