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Apple Loop: New iPhone 12 Leaks, iPad Pro Update Confirmed, Goodbye MacBook Pro



August 31 update: Apple confirms the termination of Epic Games’ App Store account, more details on the new iPads have leaked; post originally published August 28.

Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest iPhone 12 leaks, new iPhone display problems, saying goodbye to the MacBook Pro, more speed for the largest macOS laptop, new iPads and Apple Watches confirmed, Fortnite’s latest move, and Apple’s potential search engine.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

iPhone 12 Display Problems

Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max has been widely expected to ship with a fast refresh on the screen with the 120 Hz Pro Motion seen in the iPad. Supply chain issues, due in part to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, may mean that iPhone misses out on the new screen technology this year. UNfortunatly, the design of the screen has some big problems compared to the competition, as I reported earlier this week:

“While it will come with smaller bezels compared to previous models, put them side by side with some of the latest Android flagships such as the Galaxy S20 Ultra and you’ll see that Apple’s bezels are nowhere close to the current vision of a premium screen. If your only point of reference is the iPhone 11, then yes, it’s a great upgrade, but there’s more to the smartphone market than Apple.

“And that’s not going to be the most noticeable problem. The notch is still ridiculously wide.”

Read more here on Forbes.

iPhone 12 Camera Surprise

What does look like an improvement in the high-end iPhone 12 models is the camera. Apple was already expected to use the LiDAR sensor already seen in the iPad, but brought to the smartphone. The latest leak shows not only the LiDAR sensor, but also improvements over the iPad equivalent. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

“Apple was widely tipped to add the LiDAR sensor by shifting the iPhone 11’s triangular camera setup into a square design of four equal sized lenses (three cameras, one LiDAR sensor). Instead, the case shows Apple has kept the same layout and managed to shrink the LiDAR sensor down significantly from the large module first seen in the iPad Pro in March. The result is a sensor which is as small as the LED flash and can nestle into the bottom right corner of the camera hump.”


Goodbye To The MacBook Pro As We Know It

It’s time to say goodbye to the MacBook Pro as we know it. With the introduction of ARM processors for the Mac platform, the next flagship laptop from Apple will have new chips, a new board design, new screens, innovative hardware updates, and more. It will still be called a MacBook Pro, but it will be leaving countless users behind. How will Apple manage the current MacBook base while pushing forward with something radically different? It’s a question I posed earlier this week:”

“The historical move from PowerPC to Intel saw Apple support the older architecture for four years. Is four years of support for an Intel machine purchased in 2020 enough? Given macOS Catalina supports Mac machines from 2013, I think the answer is no.

“Consumers who have put their trust in Apple by purchasing a new Intel MacBook this year will not want to be short-changed by Apple’s tendency to push forward to the future by breaking older technology.”

Read more here on Forbes.

A Little Bit More Speed For Your 16 Incher

Of course right now the only MacBooks in town are Intel-powered MacBooks. Apple is planning a small update to its largest laptop. Whether the move from Intel’s ninth-generation chipset to the tenth-generation (brining it in line with the 2020 updates for the 13-inch Pro and the Air) is enough to bring more users to a platform arguably near the end of its lie remains to be seen. Darren Allan reports:

So, if this speculation is right – exercise caution as ever around anything from the rumor mill – we are likely looking at 10th-gen Intel processors and beefier GPUs for the MacBook Pro 16-inch, with the FaceTime camera being upgraded from 720p to Full HD resolution.

A Treasure Trove Of iPads And Apple Watches

Thanks to the certifications listed on the website of the Eurasian Economic Commission, a number of new Apple Watches and iPads have been effectively confirmed. William Gallagher reports:

“As previously rumored, the “Apple Watch Series 6” and new iPads are now expected to be soon released by Apple, following a listing on the Eurasian Economic Commission’s regulatory database. A total of seven new iPad SKUs — so one or more models with multiple configurations — and eight Apple Watches are listed.

“The new filings with the EEC found by Consomac show the iPads as running iPadOS 14. Similarly, the Watches are all shown as running watchOS 7.”


August 31 update: More details on the new iPads have leaked out, and the non-Pro iPads are growing in stature and power. Not only is it expected to sport USB-C connectivity, but also picking up biometric security with FaceID. David Nield reports for TechRadar:

“While a 10.8-inch iPad has been tipped for a 2020 launch in the past – by well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo no less – it would seem strange for the cheapest iPad to include Face ID while the more expensive iPad Air sticks with Touch ID (albeit on the power button).

“It is of course possible that one or both of these leaks aren’t accurate or authentic, or that they don’t refer to the iPad models that they think they do. That said, it does seem the right time for Apple to bring more uniformity to the design of its iPad range, across all the different models and price points.”

Epic, Apple, Fortnite, Unreal, and the Courts

The battles between Epic Games and Apple continued this week. Following Apple’s notification that it would be removing Epic Games access to Apple’s developer ecosystem – which would directly impact the Unreal engine used by countless developers – on top of the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, the companies have been in court as Epic sought a temporary restraining order on Apple. Manish Singh reports:

“A district court denied Epic Games’ motion to temporarily restore the Fortnite game to the iOS App Store, but also ordered Apple to not block the gaming giant’s ability to provide and distribute Unreal Engine on the iPhone-maker’s ecosystem in a mixed-ruling delivered Monday evening.

“U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple can’t retaliate against Epic Games by blocking the gaming firm’s developer accounts or restrict developers on Apple platforms from accessing the widely used Unreal Engine tools.”

More at TechCrunch. meanwhile Epic Games is continuing the PR fight inside Fortnite, but it’s all starting to look a bit undignified to Paul Tassi:

“Meanwhile, this public-facing anti-Apple campaign is doing…what, exactly? The idea seems to be that a bunch of kids try to log on to Fortnite on their iPhones at season 4 start and they can’t get the new battle pass so they…complain to their parents? Their parents…call Apple? Complain online? I really don’t understand the call to action here, and all Epic seems to be doing is highlighting the futility of their fight, however correct they may be in pointing out Apple’s monopolistic position.”


Action Taken On Epic Games’ Account

August 30 update: As expected, Apple revoked Epic Games’ App Store account that was tied to Fortnite (and other Epic titles, including the Infinity Blade series). Heading to the App Store through direct links to the apps will show “this app is currently not available in your country or region”. Following the early legal ruling, the separate account for the Unreal gaming engine remains active. Filipe Espósito reports:

“It’s worth mentioning that Epic Games has an alternative Apple account to manage its Unreal Engine, which according to a judge cannot be blocked by Apple in retaliation for the Fortnite situation. The account that was blocked today was only used to offer Fortnite and some other apps from Epic, which consequently will now prevent the company from offering any updates to its game on Apple platforms.”

Apple has confirmed the move with an official statement:

“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”

And Finally…

Is Apple preparing to launch a Search Engine? It’s a curious question The potential of having a search engine deeming embedded into iOS, and one that does not rely on external advertising to finance it feels very Apple especially when you consider its possession of other parts of the ecosystem. Fanciful? Perhaps. Yet AppleBot s acting more like GoogleBot since the July update. Jon Henshaw has thoughts:

“Apple is investing heavily in search, as shown in their job postings for search engineers. The job listings reveal they incorporate AI, ML, NLP, and more into all of their services and apps.

“It’s not clear if Apple uses Bing anymore, as results are labeled only as Siri Suggestions. It is clear that Apple has started to return search results within Spotlight Search and is completely bypassing Google altogether.”

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.


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Ring’s Traffic Stop feature is about bringing more accountability to policing – The Verge



On Thursday, Ring, the home security subsidiary of Amazon, released a new dashcam embedded with a novel feature called “Traffic Stop” that could help bring more accountability to policing. That could be a powerful thing, especially as tens of millions of people have poured onto the streets in cities across the country to demonstrate against systemic racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. It could also be a privacy nightmare.

The Ring Car Cam, which will cost $199, has two cameras: one pointed out the front windshield and one that points toward the car’s interior. The camera can send alerts whenever an event such as a break-in, towing, or accident is detected, and owners can tap into the cameras’ feeds to see what’s happening. The Car Cam relies on either Wi-Fi or LTE for connectivity.

But the most interesting feature is Traffic Stop. All a driver needs to do is say “Alexa, I’m being pulled over” to trigger the cameras to start recording and save their footage to the cloud. At the same time, a notification will be sent to a list of emergency contacts specified by the user during initial setup, informing them of the traffic stop.

Essentially, what Ring has created is a tool for “traffic stop counter-surveillance,” said Elizabeth Joh, a professor of law at UC-Davis and an expert on policing, technology, and surveillance.

“In policing, technology is all about power,” Joh told The Verge. “Redistributing that power can be an important means of police accountability.”

There’s nothing particularly new about using dashcams as a means of recording traffic stops, but the novelty of Ring’s Traffic Stop feature is that it automates the process, Joh said.

“We’ve always been able to pull out our phones… and try to record it,” she said. “But by embedding it in the landscape of our cars, by simply just saying ‘I’ve been pulled over,’ makes that recording much more likely.”

That’s especially meaningful when you consider that police body cameras can be unreliable, hard to obtain, or subjective in what they capture. “Easily recording a traffic stop from a driver’s perspective is going to be able, in theory, to give us an important part of what’s happening in these encounters that sometimes go badly wrong,” Joh added.

And if people are willing to share the footage from their traffic stop with academic researchers, that can be incredibly useful for better understanding excessive force and police violence during traffic stops.

But there are also privacy implications. After all, it’s a camera that sits on your dashboard and sends video, audio, and perhaps GPS information to the cloud. Passengers in vehicles equipped with the Ring Car Cam may not be able to consent to being filmed before the device starts recording. And Ring as a company has been criticized for sharing data with police departments without informing their customers.

“What if the prompt is used for bad purposes?” Joh asks. “Say you’re not actually being pulled over or someone just wants to record you. And if the traffic stop video has embarrassing information, it’s in the cloud.”

She added, “There are good questions about who has access to that information. And I’m not just talking about the police, but somebody who works at Ring. Do they just get to watch it?” (A spokesperson for the company did not respond to a request for comment.)

Ring has said the most important thing about the Car Cam is access to the footage. While many dashcams include a removable SD card, Ring’s camera automatically uploads the footage to the cloud, giving customers more immediate access to what was recorded.

“The most important thing in these situations is to make sure that you have the video and so we’ll be streaming the video from the Car Cam to the cloud in real time,” Ring’s head of mobile products, Nathan Ackerman, told CNET.

As for who else should have access to that footage, Ring is still working through those questions. “We’re working through some of the ins and outs of exactly when the [emergency contacts] get notified, whether they can jump in and view the live stream or if it’ll be available after the fact,” Ackerman said.

These will be important questions for Ring to answer, especially if it hopes to win over people who are aware of the company’s controversial partnerships with police departments.

“I think for privacy-minded and civil liberties-minded consumers, they’re going to be really skeptical about whether or not Ring has some other purpose or agenda in mind in making this video capturing really easy,” Joh said. “But maybe that’s beside the point, because if Ring doesn’t do it, I think it was inevitable that another technology company was going to do it.”

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The 4 reasons Ring thinks you’ll trust its flying camera



At first glance, it’s a tough ask: allow Amazon-owned Ring to fly a mini drone carrying a camera around your house, all in the name of security. Ring Always Home Cam was undoubtedly the weirdest of the announcements at yesterday’s big Amazon Fall hardware event, but while it may seem like an Onion gag the security firm insists it’s headed to your living room in 2021.

Reactions were, as you could probably expect, mixed. Some people instantly loved the idea of a camera that wasn’t limited to the traditional pan, tilt, and zoom we’re familiar with from existing security systems, instead being able to move the lens to where it’s actually needed.

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Others, though, weren’t so convinced. After all, the prospect of an extension of Amazon’s AI taking flight around your home requires a fair degree of trust, and there are plenty of people who aren’t all that comfortable at the thought of cohabiting with a fixed connected camera. Ask Ring, though, and there are four good reasons why you shouldn’t’ be worried about Ring Always Home Cam.

You tell Ring Always Home Cam where to fly

Although we’ve seen drones get increasingly smart, and develop autopilot systems, Ring’s flying camera errs on the dumber side – and that’s by design. Although it has features like obstacle avoidance, to stop it from colliding with unexpected objects, the actual flight plan is all preset. Indeed, you set that up when you first take the Ring Always Home Cam out of the box.

Each flight path is established from day one. So, if you don’t want the camera to go into your bathroom or bedroom, you can make sure they’re off-limits.

You’ll always hear Ring Always Home Cam coming

If you do find yourself in a room where the flying camera can roam, you shouldn’t ever be surprised by it. “We even designed Always Home Cam to hum at a certain volume,” Ring explains, “so it’s clear the camera is in motion and is recording. This is privacy you can hear.”

Drones generally aren’t quiet things when in operation: after all, having multiple rotors, even little ones, make some noise. If anything, the flying camera is undoubtedly more easily spotted when it’s in action compared to a traditional, fixed camera. They usually only have an LED to show they’re active.

Ring Always Home Cam can’t be piloted manually

Should the flying camera spot something while you’re not home, you’ll be notified in the Ring app. What you can’t do, however, is log in remotely and pilot the Ring Always Home Cam using manual controls. Unlike a traditional remote-control drone, there’s no way to manually operate it.

Again, that’s by design. “It cannot be manually controlled,” Ring points out, “ensuring that it will only record and see what is important to you.” Of course, that also means that you’ll want to think carefully about where you do set up the preset flight paths, since the camera won’t be able to stray from those areas.

When Ring Always Home Cam lands, it’s blind

Adding to the “you’ll always know when it’s recording” reassurance is the nature of the drone camera’s dock. When the Ring Always Home Cam lands, the camera isn’t just switched off, it’s fully enclosed. “The device rests in the base and the camera is physically blocked when docked,” Ring explains. “The camera will only start recording when the device leaves the base and starts flying via one of the preset paths.”

Even if someone could hack it to turn on while it was landed, all they’d be able to see would be the dark insides of the docking station itself. To change that, it would have to take off, and then you’d hear it. Plus, Ring is delivering end-to-end encryption later this year to further minimize the potential for unwanted app intruders.

Clearly, there’s still some way to go before the idea of a $250 flying security camera is palatable to everyone. As ideas go, however, Ring’s design is a little less creepy than it might first sound. Whether that will translate to actual sales when the Ring Always Home Cam takes flight next year remains to be seen.

Source:- SlashGear

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Ring’s Flying In-Home Camera Drone Escalates Privacy Worries



Privacy fears are blasting off after Amazon’s Ring division unveiled the new Always Home Cam, a smart home security camera drone.

Ring’s newly announced robot drone – a connected device that flies around homes taking security footage – is causing privacy experts’ concerns to take off.

Amazon on Thursday unveiled the Always Home Cam as part of its Ring division, which will cost $249.99 and starts shipping next year. The autonomous indoor security camera can fly around in the home on paths that are pre-approved by users, allowing them to check to see if they left a window open or forgot to turn the stove off – or to check to make sure robbers aren’t breaking in.

However, the new device has also sparked a firestorm of privacy concerns on Twitter about how Ring – whose connected doorbells have already created plenty of privacy controversies – will collect, use and share the collected data.

“For privacy advocates, the concept of an untethered IoT [Internet of Things] device surveilling the house is disturbing,” Rick Holland, CISO and vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows, told Theatpost. “Coupled with Ring’s controversial privacy practices, the adoption of the drone could be low. However, those that have already embraced the concept of in-house security cameras are likely to be excited. The prospect of having a single drone monitor your house instead of multiple individual cameras could be alluring.”

Privacy Concerns

Ring for its part said that it has built privacy features into the physical design of the Always Home Cam. When the drone is docked in its charging base, the camera is physically blocked. The device has also been designed to hum at a certain volume, so it’s clear that the camera is in motion and recording, said Ring.

But Emma Bickerstaffe, senior research analyst at the Information Security Forum, told Threatpost that Ring needs to better address how it’s securing and using the sensitive personal data that’s being collected. If sold to advertisers, for instance, this type of data could allow companies to track individuals’ daily life, habits and preferences, and use this information for commercial gain, she said.

“Smart home devices, such as Ring, collect an inordinate amount of sensitive personal data in real time – this is typically transmitted to a cloud service for processing,” she said. “A critical question is, who has access to the data collected by the device, and whether it is processed and stored in a lawful manner that protects personal data from unauthorized use.”

For users who do opt for the security drone, the proper configuration will be critical to minimize security and privacy risks as much as possible, Holland urged.

“Consumers must enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) and automatic software updates to ensure that any vulnerabilities are quickly resolved,” he said.

Ring Privacy Efforts

During its Thursday product launch, Ring highlighted several privacy and security steps it is taking. For one, it said it aims to make end-to-end encryption easier for connected-home device users to control, saying that later this year, users will be able turn on end-to-end encryption for video from their Control Center.

“Privacy, security and user control are foundational to us at Ring,” said the company in a press statement. “Launching today in the Control Center, Video Encryption Controls let you learn more about how we currently encrypt and protect your videos.”

The changes come after media reports shed light on serious security holes in the Ring connected doorbells. For instance, Ring owners aren’t notified of suspicious login alerts when devices are accessed on various IP addresses — and there are seemingly no limitations for incorrect login attempts. Ring has addressed these issues by mandating two-factor authentication (2FA) security measures.

Ring is also allowing doorbell users to completely disable its “Neighbors” service, a controversial feature that allows Ring owners to share video footage captured from their cameras with law enforcement. The app has raised worries about racial bias, surveillance and privacy.

Smart-Home Privacy Problems

IoT devices – many of which have security measures described as a “ticking time bomb” by researchers – are dramatically increasing in homes, which could potentially open the literal door to private and sensitive user data.

Researchers have previously discovered several deep-rooted issues that exist around connected devices: Earlier in 2020, researchers found that at the most basic level, 98 percent of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted, exposing personal and confidential data on the network.

Several smart home devices have been found to have specific security holes. In August, researchers disclosed vulnerabilities in Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant platform that could have allowed attackers to access users’ personal information, like home addresses – simply by persuading them to click on a malicious link. Also in August, researchers urged connected-device manufacturers to ensure they have applied patches addressing a flaw in a module used by millions of IoT devices.

These security fears are exacerbated now that much of the world is working from home due to the pandemic, Bickerstaffe said. Cybercriminals are looking to smart home devices as a way to access and compromise valuable business information on the same network.

With this in mind, “close attention should be paid to the security controls adopted by Ring,” Bickerstaffe told Threatpost. “Cybercriminals are already maximizing the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in smart home devices as a stepping stone to target the network on which these devices are installed.”

Source:- Threatpost

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