Category Archives: Apple

The Pixel 3 has 2018’s best smartphone camera

Let's be honest. We're a generation obsessed with taking and sharing photos. In recent years, our phone cameras have become so capable they've essentially killed point-and-shoots. This year, Huawei released a phone with four cameras on its rear, forc…

macOS Mojave’s dark mode is coming to Google Chrome

Google Chrome in macOS Mojave.

Enlarge / Google Chrome in macOS Mojave. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple added dark mode to macOS with its Mojave software update in September. Since then, third-party apps have been adding dark themes to go along with it, but there have been a handful of notable outliers, like Slack and Google Chrome. We’ve now learned that the latter of those will get a formal dark mode in an upcoming release, likely Chrome 73.

As noted on Reddit and reported by MacRumors, a code change was submitted to Chromium on December 5 that lays the groundwork for the future public release. Here are the notes on the change from the Chromium issue page:

Mac: Change dark mode optout logic and respond to system changes

This change hooks up the “DarkMode” feature, allowing for three states
in Mojave:
- –force-dark-mode for dark appearance unconditionally
- –enable-feature=DarkMode to track system dark mode status
- No flags/default state is light appearance unconditionally

Since we build with an SDK < 10.14, we still need the Info.plist
key, but it now must be false.

Some related changes:
- Make Omnibox tint respond to OnNativeThemeChanged
- React immediately to changes in high-contrast mode setting

Chromium is the first stop for changes to Chrome, with more steps along the way like the beta release, before the changes finally make it to the public release. Even in Chromium, the feature requires digging into code to activate, so this is early along. But dark mode is clearly on the way.

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Audit: No Chinese surveillance implants in Supermicro boards found

A letter posted by Supermicro executives today announcing that an audit had found no evidence of claims of espionage implants in the company's servers, part of a campaign by the company to counter a report by Bloomberg in October.

Enlarge / A letter posted by Supermicro executives today announcing that an audit had found no evidence of claims of espionage implants in the company’s servers, part of a campaign by the company to counter a report by Bloomberg in October.

In a letter to customers issued December 11, Supermicro President and CEO Charles Liang and other top executives announced that an audit conducted by an outside investigating team had found no evidence of any malicious hardware incorporated into motherboards currently or previously manufactured by the company. The letter is the latest rebuttal to Bloomberg reports in October that claimed tiny chips that provided a backdoor for China’s intelligence agencies had been integrated into boards provided to major Internet and cloud providers—a report also refuted by the companies the report claimed were targeted.

“After a thorough examination and a range of functional tests, the investigative firm found absolutely no evidence of malicious hardware on our motherboards,” the letter signed by Liang, Supermicro Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer David Weigland, and Senior VP and Chief Product Officer Raju Penumatcha stated. “These findings were no surprise to us… We appreciate the industry support regarding this matter from many of our customers, like Apple and AWS. We are also grateful for numerous senior government officials, including representatives of the Department of Homeland Security, the director of National Intelligence, and the director of the FBI, who early on appropriately questioned the truth of the media reports.”

Reuters’ Joseph Menn reported that the audit was apparently undertaken by Nardello & Co, a global investigative firm founded by former US federal prosecutor Daniel Nardello. According to Reuters’ source, the firm examined sample motherboards that Supermicro had sold to Apple and Amazon, as well as software and design files for products. No malicious hardware was found in the audit, and no beacons or other network transmissions that would be indicative of a backdoor were detected in testing.

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Epic pulls its ‘Infinity Blade’ mobile games from the App Store

Ever since being introduced as Project Sword alongside iOS 4.1 back in 2010, the Infinity Blade games have shown the kind of graphics and action that are possible on Apple's mobile devices — until now. At the same time owner Epic Games is launching…

Qualcomm says a Chinese court has banned iPhone sales nationwide

A young woman is impressed by something on her smartphone.

Enlarge / A Chinese woman reacts while setting up the facial recognition feature on her iPhone X inside an Apple showroom in Beijing in 2017. Qualcomm says a Chinese court has banned iPhone X sales in China. (credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Qualcomm says it has scored an important victory in its long-running global patent battle with Apple over patent rights. According to Qualcomm, a Chinese court ruled that several recent iPhone models infringe multiple Qualcomm software patents and has ordered a ban on iPhone sales. Apple says it has already appealed the ruling.

The ruling occurred on November 30, but Qualcomm announced the ruling today.

Apple has downplayed the ruling’s significance, telling media outlets that the ban has not yet taken effect and that it only applies to older versions of iOS software, not to the current version, iOS 12. The ruling also only applies to older iPhone models—including the iPhone 8 and iPhone X—but not to the iPhone XS and XR.

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After Math: Hope for the Holidays

While Christmas decorations have already been festooned throughout big box retailers since the start of November, the holiday season is finally in full swing now that Thanksgiving is over. As such, industry and government both are gearing up to celeb…

Apple releases its first Beddit sleep monitoring device

Apple hasn't ditched, killed or forgotten Beddit. The tech giant has finally released the first Beddit sleep monitoring device since it purchased the company in early 2017, and it's now available for purchase from its website. Just like the company's…

Australia passes new law to thwart strong encryption

Large room full of well-dressed men and women.

Enlarge / The Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek speaks as the Labor party stay for the end of parliament in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on December 06, 2018, in Canberra, Australia. (credit: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the Australian parliament approved a measure that critics say will weaken encryption in favor of law enforcement and the demands of government.

The new law, which has been pushed for since at least 2017, requires that companies provide a way to get at encrypted communications and data via a warrant process. It also imposes fines of up to A$10 million for companies that do not comply and A$50,000 for individuals who do not comply. In short, the law thwarts (or at least tries to thwart) strong encryption.

Companies who receive one of these warrants have the option of either complying with the government or waiting for a court order. However, by default, the orders are secret, so companies would not be able to tell the public that they had received one.

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Apple’s anticipated ECG app rolls out today in watchOS 5.1.2

The Apple Watch Series 4 on a wooden table.

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

The newest update for Apple Watches is out now, bringing a highly anticipated feature to Series 4 devices. Apple pushed out watchOS 5.1.2 today, which includes its ECG app for monitoring irregular heartbeats.

Apple Watch Series 4 devices all have built-in electrodes that can measure electrocardiograms, or ECGs. At the time of the Watch’s debut in September, Apple’s native app with which the electrodes communicate wasn’t ready for consumer use. Now, it’s rolling out as part of the watchOS 5.1.2 update.

The ECG app is for the Watch itself, while ECG data gets stored in Apple’s Health app on iOS devices. To take an ECG reading, users must place their finger on the flat side of the Digital Crown on their Series 4 Watch. The electrode on the Digital Crown communicates with the other electrode on the Watch, which sits near the heart rate monitor, to take a complete ECG measurement.

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AT&T is the first major US carrier to support eSIM on iPhone

eSIMs are finally getting a foot in the door in the US. Alongside the news that Apple has officially released iOS 12.1.1 to the public, which includes eSIM support, AT&amp;T has become the first major US carrier to support eSIM for iPhone.