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Apple Actively Working to ‘Double Down’ on iCloud Encryption

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Apple is working to further harden iCloud security so that even it won’t be able to access user information stored on its data servers, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

According to yesterday’s report, which cites “people familiar with the matter”, Apple executives are actively considering how to bolster iCloud encryption without inconveniencing users.

Currently, encrypted data kept on the cloud service is accessible by Apple using a key, which is used for restoring account information if, for example, a user forgets their password. Apple’s access also allows the company to provide relevant information it has to law enforcement agencies that approach it with proper, legal requests.

However, Apple appears to be concerned that keeping a copy of the key means it could be compromised by hackers or that the company could be legally compelled to turn it over to governments.

The news contrasts with a report earlier this month suggesting that Apple viewed privacy and security issues differently between physical devices that can be lost and its iCloud service.

However, according to The Wall Street Journal, an Apple spokesperson pointed to comments made by senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi in reference to the company’s fresh concerns. “Security is an endless race—one that you can lead but never decisively win,” he wrote in a March 6 opinion piece in The Washington Post. “Yesterday’s best defenses cannot fend off the attacks of today or tomorrow.”  Read More

Apple says San Bernardino iPhone case is ‘unprecedented,’ cannot be decided in a vacuum

Apple’s crack legal team, led by Theodore Boutrous, Jr. and Ted Olson, in today’s response (via Christina Warren) reassert many of the same arguments posed in an initial response to the California court order, specifically limitations to the All Writs Act and potential infringement of Apple’s First Amendment rights. The case, Apple says, is not about “one iPhone,” but rather precedent for compelling private companies to hand over customer data at the behest of law enforcement officials.

“It has become crystal clear that this case is not about a ‘modest’ order and a ‘single iPhone,’ as the FBI director himself admitted when testifying before Congress two weeks ago,” the filing reads. “Instead, this case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create.”

Apple references a recent congressional hearing on encryption attended by FBI Director James Comey, Apple’s lead counsel Bruce Sewell and other associated parties. Comey at the hearing said he would “of course” leverage any precedent set in the California case to unlock iPhones in other   Read More

Apple’s new iMac 5K Retina display sets the trend in image quality – hard to match

 iMac 5K Retina

For one it introduced some of the most leapfrogging technology in the digital world. And if a Mac outdoes itself, then it’s really upping the ante which other computer companies could only hope to rival.

The 5K LED-backlit Retina iMac

This Apple product boasts of 5K display and brighter display with its 5120 x 2880 resolution. The product offers displays at 218 pixels per inch which is a total of 14.7 million pixels for the whole screen.

According to Wallstreet OTC, the 5K display-iMac has 67 percent more pixels as compared to the 4K television screen, and is four times better than the pixels offered by the previous 27-inch iMac.

This translates to superb image quality and details.

Apple’s marketing executive Philip Schiller said during the keynote event that the 5K Mac is the world’s highest-resolution display.

Reports from Wallstreet OTC said that the display of Apple’s new iMac retains its five millimeters original thinness, while it consumes 30 percent less energy compared to its previous models. This is possible through the use of new timing controller chip which allows for the LED display to be more energy efficient.  Read More

Sales of 2 New iPhone 6 Devices Top 10 Million in First Weekend

Apple’s investors obsess over early iPhone sales like Hollywood producers tracking opening ticket sales for a blockbuster movie.

A big weekend is usually a healthy predictor of consumer demand for the holiday season — not just for Apple, but for the entire consumer electronics industry.

Those Apple watchers can rest easy because the company’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are no bust. Apple said on Monday that it had sold 10 million units of its new and bigger iPhones over the weekend, up from thenine million iPhones it sold last year in the first weekend of sales for the previous generation of iPhones.

The iPhone is still Apple’s biggest cash cow, accounting for about 70 percent of its profit. So early sales can help predict quarterly or even annual results for the company, based in Cupertino, Calif.  Read More

Samsung overtakes Apple as world’s most profitable mobile phone maker

Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5

Apple has lost its status as the world’s most profitable maker of mobile phones, with strong demand for Samsung’s Galaxy handsets pushing the South Korean multinational into the financial lead for the first time.

The California company made an estimated $3.2bn (£2.1bn) profit from iPhone sales in the second quarter of the year, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, a marked drop from $4.6bn a year ago and less than Samsung’s estimated $5.2bn haul from both its basic models and smartphones in the same period.

While the high-priced iPhone was the engine that propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, its customers are no longer bent on owning the latest model.

Healthy demand for the three-year-old iPhone 4, which is cheaper than the latest iPhone 5, has reduced the average selling price of its blockbuster device.

As smartphone ownership trickles down the income brackets in both western and emerging markets, Apple’s margins have taken a hit. The company’s latest financial results showed that the average selling price of an iPhone has fallen to $581, down from $613 in the first quarter.

The same trend has squeezed Samsung’s handset profits, which are down from an estimated $5.6bn in the second quarter of 2012, but the strong performance of its flagship Galaxy S4 has, at least for now, put an end to Apple’s four-year reign as the world’s most profitable phone-maker.  Read More

Penguin appeases EU regulators by ditching e-book deal with Apple

iBooks

The European Union’s legislative arm officially approved the conditions it and Penguin reached in April, the commission announced in a press release. Per the terms of those conditions, Penguin will not make any agreements that would allow it, and not a retailer, to set prices on titles.

The agreement brings to an end the so-called “most favored nation” pricing agreement Penguin had with Apple, which allowed the publisher to set content pricing as long as it didn’t sell said content to another retailer for less.

Major book publishers and Apple had agreed to an “agency model” of pricing when the iPad with iBooks debuted. That was a change from the “wholesale model” they had before with book sellers like Amazon, which were allowed to resell e-books at or below cost.

Apple’s e-books deals found the company under fire on both sides of the Atlantic. Apple and the accused publishers outside of Penguin reached a settlement in Europe in December, but Apple fought an antitrust suit from the U.S. Department of Justice in its home country.  Read More

Microsoft better than Facebook, Twitter; Android cooler than Apple, according to TECH survey.

Microsoft Inc. has a reason to smile. A Reuters/Ipsos poll has just revealed that under half of 853 respondents age (18- 29) thought that Microsoft is much better now than it was 1 or 2 years ago. Microsoft garnered 50 Percent votes. Only 42% of the youth thought that Facebook is better than it was in the past. On the same criteria Twitter scored 47%.  Microsoft has recently focused on its marketing and product images. Its Windows interface in Surface tablets has found its share of admirers. Most of the users were happy with the consumer oriented push of Microsoft.

Most of the users also reaffirmed the view that if Microsoft will continue to move up with the same pace, then it will challenge the hegemony of Apple. Microsoft Still dominates the personal Computing Industry but has lagged behind in almost all the other technological races with its rivals. If we exclude Xbox and Kinect then it has failed in other tech competitions. Windows smartphones now have 3%of the world market share but it still lags behind Android (70%) and Apple (21%).  Read More

Apple Shifts iPhone Chip Suppliers

By JUNG-AH LEE

SEOUL—Apple Inc. AAPL +0.62%has recently shifted some memory-chip orders for its coming iPhone from Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +4.52%to other Asian chip makers, people familiar with the matter said Friday, suggesting that the U.S. company is diversifying its component suppliers as patent disputes between the two technology giants escalate.

As patent disputes continue, Apple shifts its chip orders for the new iPhone from Samsung to other companies. The WSJ’s Yun-Hee Kim explains the future of their rocky relationship.

A person familiar with the situation said Apple AAPL +0.62%has been ordering more memory chips used to store data in its smartphones from South Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. 000660.SE +7.66%However, Samsung will still be supplying the main processors used to power the new iPhone, another person familiar with the situation said.

“Orders to SK Hynix for both mobile DRAM and NAND flash memory chips from Apple have risen in recent months,” said one of the people, who declined to be named.

Spokesmen for SK Hynix and Samsung declined to comment. A spokesman for Apple in Korea also declined to comment.

imageBloomberg NewsAn Apple Inc. iPhone 4S smartphone.

Samsung, which competes with Apple in the smartphone market, is also one of Apple’s biggest component suppliers. In addition to memory chips and processors, it also supplies the displays used in Apple’s iPads. However, the new iPhone is expected to be equipped with displays from Japan’s Sharp Corp., 6753.TO +3.00%Korea’s LG Display Co., 034220.SE +2.04%and Japan Display Inc., according to other people familiar with the situation, as it uses a different panel manufacturing technology that Samsung doesn’t use. Apple is also likely diversifying its supply chain for chips in anticipation of strong demand for its product.

Analysts said that the ongoing high-profile litigation between the two companies may have accelerated Apple’s move to reduce its dependence on Samsung.  Read More

Apple Seeks U.S. Sales Ban on Eight Samsung Devices

By JOHN LETZING And JESSICA E. VASCELLARO

Days after winning a $1.05 billion jury verdict against Samsung Electronics Co.,005930.SE -7.45% Apple Inc. AAPL +1.88% moved to block the sale of Samsung devices found to infringe its patents.

In a filing Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said it is seeking a preliminary injunction against eight Samsung products, including versions of its Galaxy and Droid smartphones.

Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., said it reserves the rights to pursue permanent injunctions banning the sale of all 28 devices that the jury on Friday found to violate Apple’s intellectual property. But Apple offered, in response to an order by Judge Lucy Koh, what it called a “tailored” list of Samsung products “to address a portion of the immediate, ongoing irreparable harm that Apple is suffering,” according to the filing.

While the devices aren’t Samsung’s latest products, many are still available through wireless carriers and online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.74%

Samsung officials have already begun to talk to wireless carriers about removing or modifying infringing features to keep products on the market if the injunctions are granted, according to a person familiar with the matter. One of the most important devices in the scenario planning is the Galaxy S II smartphone, which was found to infringe patents related to the design of the phone and some involving software features.

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