Apple taps Steve Dowling as interim vice president of worldwide communications

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Date: Friday, October 3rd, 2014, 11:21
Category: News

It’s been a six month search, but Apple appears to have succeeded Katie Cotton with a new VP of worldwide communications. The new hire comes in the form of Steve Dowling, who, according to re/code, was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook, who has been looking to put a friendlier, more approachable face on Apple’s public relations efforts.

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Sources stated that a search outside the company proved fruitless and Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and it’s said that Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. Still, given that Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there.

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Rumor: Apple Pay to premiere with iOS 8.1 rollout later this month

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Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:32
Category: iOS, iPhone, Rumor, Software

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The rumor mill has it that iOS 8.1 will include the first incarnations of Apple’s anticipated Apple Pay feature come October 20th.

Per the coolest of cats at The Mac Observer and BankInnovation, Apple will reportedly release iOS 8.1 on October 20, and the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system update will include Apple Pay support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The company launched iOS 8 in mid-September without Apple Pay mobile payment support, but Apple promised it would be enabled as part of an October update.

News of Apple’s plans comes from unnamed sources. Those sources also said Apple may have other big improvements in store for iOS 8.1.

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Verizon backs off on controversial data throttling plan set to begin in October

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Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:27
Category: News, wireless

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A little competition’s a good thing.

According to The Verge, a statement from wireless carrier Verizon stated that the company will not be throttling 4G LTE data speeds for users grandfathered in to unlimited data plans, while at the same time announcing a buffed data plan promotion.

In July, Verizon announced plans to expand its “network optimization” initiative, which amounts to throttling data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the telco’s 4G LTE network is congested. The enhanced policy was set to go live in October.

Verizon Wireless won’t be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest U.S. carrier has just announced that it’s “decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.”

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Rumor: PayPal excluded from Apple Pay service providers due to relationship with Samsung

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Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 11:27
Category: retail, Rumor, Uncategorized

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It’s inevitable: competition and past legal strife creates some awkward scenarios.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and BankInnovation, PayPal was conspicuously absent from Apple’s list of secured partnerships when Apple Pay was announced in September. Now comes word that PayPal was initially part of Apple’s vision of Apple Pay, but that negotiations fell apart due to Pay Pal’s relationship with Samsung.

Apple and PayPal started talking early on in Apple’s development of Apple Pay, as Apple was setting up partnerships with the card issuing banks and card networks. Since PayPal’s a payments industry leader, it would have been shortsighted for Apple to not reach out to PayPal.

But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John Donahoe. PayPal’s now-former president David Marcus was purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that it would jeopardize PayPal’s relationship with Apple. Donahoe won the day, however.

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iPhone 6 “Bendgate” scandal leads to copycat efforts

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Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 11:33
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Never underestimate the power of stupidity in the face of an Internet trend.

Per Daily Dot, two 15-year-old UK residents going by the names of “Kylie” and “Danny” recorded footage of themselves entering an iPhone 6 Plus and bending at least one iPhone 6 Plus handset, using the display table as leverage.

Since the iPhone 6 was released two weeks ago, it’s been plagued by claims that it’s easy to accidentally bend, something multiple people have already put to the test in videos. But not like this.

The two uploaded the following video, which was later removed, then reposted via a mirror.

Without a contract, the iPhone 6 Plus retails at US$649.
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Apple patches Shellshock vulnerability, but it’s not in Software Update

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Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 01:24
Category: OS X, security

OS X bash Update 1.0 for OS X Mavericks released to address Shellshock bug on Macs

Apple released OS X bash Update 1.0 for OS X Mavericks to fix a vulnerability in the bash UNIX shell. “Shellshock” is believed to be much worse than the Heartbleed vulnerability that was discovered earlier this year.

PC Magazine wrote about two scenarios that can make OS X vulnerable to the Shellshock bash bug:

For example, Bash would be exposed if a user turned on the remote login capability for all users, including guests. But that is an action that “is probably not the most secure thing to do anyway,” Erwin wrote, as it would open up the computer to other possible attacks.

Another scenario in which adjusted settings could make a difference is on a Lion OS X server running Apache or PHP scripting environments, Erwin wrote. If Apache is configured to run scripts, an attacker could insert variables into a script that a Bash shell would run.

Curiously, OS X bash Update 1.0 isn’t available through the usual channel (the Updates tab in the App Store). It needs to be downloaded and installed manually. Based on the potential impacts of the bug it’s recommended that all OS X 10.9/Mavericks users install OS X bash Update 1.0 right away. 

OS X Yosemite hits Golden Master, almost ready for debut

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Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 18:49
Category: News, Software

OS X Yosemite is almost ready.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday released the golden master candidate of its forthcoming Mac OS to members of its AppleSeed developer program.

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The GM version of an OS is typically the final product, though the developers who’ve been beta testing Yosemite since June still have time to find a few more bugs. Apple also opened up the Yosemite beta to the public for the first time in 14 years, so a lucky million Mac users got the chance to take Yosemite for a test run.

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Initial iPhone 6 Plus benchmarks show lower FPS rate, new benchmarking tools, additional pixels taken into consideration

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Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 09:39
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

In spite of some nifty new hardware, the iPhone 6 Plus may in fact generate a lower frames per second rate than the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s handsets when it comes to rendering 2D and 3D graphics at its native resolution.

Per AppleInsider, a set of GFXBench 3.0 GPU benchmarks published in an initial reviews of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus showed moderate to significant GPU improvements over iPhone 5s across the board.

However, one of the benchmark’s developers, Eszter Szilva, stated that the current, public version of the app did not yet support the native resolutions of the new models’ displays. Kishonti provided a prerelease GFXBench version 3.0.2 that does. The benchmark app should be released publicly soon, but the developer shared a prerelease copy to complement benchmark scores.

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The adjusted benchmarks show that the A8 Application Processor used in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is around 24 to 46 percent faster at low level tasks, and around 50 percent faster at higher level OpenGL ES scene rendering than the A7 chip introduced in last year’s iPhone 5s, at least when rendering at the same 1080p resolution.

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Seek Thermal releases affordably priced thermal camera for iOS, Android devices

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Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 09:19
Category: Accessory, Hardware, iPhone, News, Pictures, Uncategorized

If you’re looking for an affordable thermal camera for your iOS device, it may be en route sooner or later.

Per VentureBeat, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company Seek Thermal launched an affordable thermal camera for for iOS and Android devices on September 25 priced at a consumer-friendly US$199. The camera attachment is now available for purchase through Seek’s website as well as Amazon.

Unlike normal cameras which use light to form images, thermal cameras have special lenses and sensors that capture heat and construct images based on the variations they pick up on. The company expects the camera to be used mostly for safety and security (it can help you spot someone hiding), home improvement (it can help you detect energy leaks), boating (it can help you spot floating debris in the dark), and for finding animals and pets in the dark. However, chief executive Robert Acker is looking forward to seeing what new uses customers discover, he said in an interview.

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Consumer Reports puts iPhone 6 handsets through bend-test paces, comes back with results

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Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014, 18:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The Internet has exploded with images and videos of bent iPhone 6 Plus handsets as well as a viral video of someone deforming the handset with his bare hands. And, with that, Consumer Reports sprang into scientific action to perform actual tests that seem to indicate that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets may be tougher than currently rumored.

Per Consumer Reports, the publication used what’s called a “three-point flexural test,” in which the phone is supported at two points on either end, then force is applied at a third point on the top—you can see the testing for yourself in our video. The group applied and measured the force using a high-precision Instron compression test machine. Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we tested the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8), and for those wondering about their old iPhones, they tested the iPhone 5 as well and used one sample of each phone.

The tests, ironically enough, seem to mirror a three-point flexural test used on Apple’s labs via their own Instron machinery.

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