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Face ID in iPhone X vs. 'Face Unlock' Facial Recognition in OnePlus 5T

8 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
The iPhone X has been available for a little over a month now, which has given consumers time to adjust to the new biometric authentication method, Face ID. Face ID replaces Touch ID, unlocking the iPhone X via a face scan rather than a fingerprint.

In the video below, we decided to take a second look at Face ID after having spent some time with it to see how it measures up to Touch ID and how it compares to similar facial recognition options in devices like the OnePlus 5T.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

For the most part, Face ID works well and is at least as quick as Touch ID, but there are some undeniable pain points. When the iPhone X is held in landscape mode, like when you're in bed, Face ID often doesn't work. It can also have trouble when it's flat on a surface and can't get a good read on your face, and when you have sunglasses, a hat, or a scarf covering your face, it can be hit or miss at times.

These points of failure don't apply to some of the other smartphones that use facial recognition techniques. The OnePlus 5T, like devices with facial recognition from Samsung, uses multiple biometric systems with facial recognition paired with a fingerprint sensor.

Face ID is, however, in most ways superior to the facial recognition options used by competing devices, simply because it offers more security. Face ID is using 3D depth sensing with an infrared camera and a dot projector, while companies like OnePlus and Samsung are using 2D methods that rely solely on the front-facing device camera.

Without 3D depth mapping, the OnePlus 5T's Face Unlock feature can be faster than Face ID, but it doesn't work in low light, unlike Face ID, which can work in almost all lighting conditions. It's also more of a convenience feature than a security feature and it's not used for authenticating passwords or mobile payments.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Face ID is years ahead of similar facial recognition techniques from Android smartphone makers, and that's evident in the functionality divide between the OnePlus 5T and the iPhone X.

Still, some people are having trouble adjusting to Face ID and miss the convenience of certain Touch ID features, like being able to unlock the iPhone regardless of its position.

Love it or hate it, Face ID is here to stay. Rumors already suggest Face ID will roll out to the 2018 iPhones, and we're also hearing that Face ID will expand to additional devices like the iPad Pro in the future.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple May Acquire Music Recognition Service Shazam

8 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple may be planning to acquire music recognition service Shazam, reports TechCrunch, which would be one of the most high-profile acquisitions Apple has made since it purchased Beats in 2014.

Shazam is a well-known music service that uses machine learning techniques to identify short audio clips from songs, television shows, and more. Shazam operates a standalone app for iOS, macOS, and watchOS, but also has a close relationship with Apple.


Since iOS 8, Shazam has been integrated into Siri, and it's what powers the feature that lets Siri identify songs that are playing aloud. If, for example, there's a specific song on television and you ask Siri "What song is this?" Siri uses Shazam to identify it.

Shazam is integrated with Apple Music, and Apple Music subscribers who Shazam a song can then tap to play it directly in Apple Music and can add it to a Shazam playlist. Shazam also has an augmented reality feature that allows you to find content based on pictures captured with the Shazam app.

One of TechCrunch's sources said the deal could be worth nine figures, while another says Apple may shell out somewhere around $401 million. Both numbers are lower than the $1.02 billion valuation Shazam received during its last funding round in 2015.

Apple and Shazam could sign a deal as soon as this week, with an announcement planned for Monday.


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Apple Design Chief Jony Ive Retaking Direct Control of Design Team [Updated]

8 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is once again taking over management of the design team at Apple according to changes made to Apple's official "Apple Leadership" website.

The site was updated this morning to remove the profiles of Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, who were managing the day-to-day operations at Apple while Ive oversaw all of Apple's design projects, and Bloomberg has confirmed that Ive is once again in direct control of the team as shared by Mark Gurman.

Ive first stepped back from day-to-day management of Apple's design teams in 2015, when he took on the role of "Chief Design Officer." Alan Dye and Richard Howarth were elevated to vice president positions at that time, with Howarth responsible for industrial design and Dye responsible for user interface design.

For the last several years, Ive has been overseeing the design work at Apple Park and at Apple retail stores around the world, which have undergone a transformation under the leadership of Angela Ahrendts. With Apple Park now complete and the retail store design largely established, Ive now has the time to return to his original managerial duties.

Update: An Apple spokesperson has confirmed to Bloomberg that Jony Ive has returned to his management role following the completion of Apple Park: "With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design."


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Apple's Phil Schiller: Facial Recognition Techniques in Competing Smartphones 'All Stink'

8 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller recently sat down with Dutch website Bright.nl, where he covered topics like Face ID and augmented reality, which he's discussed several times in interviews over the past few months.

According to Schiller, one of Apple's goals with Face ID is to make security easy enough "that we all want to do it." Apple believes its implementation of Face ID is superior to the facial recognition techniques available in Android phones, which Schiller says "all stink."

"They don't work in all the ways we need Face ID to work. We're very aware that through the years the simple thing, this Home button, that started as the way you click to get to the Home screen, grew into doing so many things for us. We added Touch ID, it took you to the multitasking screen, paged Siri, activated Apple Pay. All through this one mechanical button.

So for Face ID we needed the best way we know of to enable us to easily unlock our device with our face, in a protected way with the Secure Enclave, and support all these other things. We had to solve all of that. Other things that people have tried with face haven't been anything like that. Face ID is a very unique implementation."
Schiller reiterated Apple's Face ID privacy policies, pointing out that developers have no third-party access to Face ID data. As with Touch ID, the facial scan and data points used to unlock your iPhone are stored in the Secure Enclave on the iPhone X. Developers do have access to facial map data through the TrueDepth camera for AR effects, but Schiller says "that's different than Face ID."

According to Schiller, Apple spent a lot of time studying augmented and virtual reality and the ultimate benefit to users. Schiller, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, says VR is a "great solution for specific use cases" while AR has "incredible broad mainstream applications."

Schiller also had a little bit to say about the HomePod delay. HomePod was originally set to launch in December, but in November, Apple said it would be delayed until 2018. "We feel bad we aren't able to deliver HomePod for the holidays," said Schiller. "We're going to take the time to do it right and make sure it's great when it comes out."

Bright.nl asked Schiller if Apple's "Think Different" motto still applies to Apple today, and Schiller took the opportunity to highlight the AirPods, which are a product that have been lauded as one of Apple's best.
They're really two separate computers that you put in your ear. That's quintessential Apple. We tapped into an eternal truth for Apple. It's about as core to the DNA of Apple as you can get. Think Different should stay very close to true for a long time."
Phil Schiller's interview, which goes into more detail on Face ID and HomePod and delves deeper into Apple's core philosophies, can be read in its entirety over at Bright.nl.
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Beats 1 Charity Auction Offers Behind the Scenes Studio Tour With Zane Lowe

8 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple's Beats 1 Radio division is teaming up with auction site Charitybuzz to raise money for MusiCares through an auction that offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the Beats 1 studio in Los Angeles with Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe.

Described as a one-day internship, the auction provides one winner with a full day at Beats 1, as well as access to a few members of the Beats 1 team. In addition to spending time in studio with Zane Lowe, the auction winner will also get to attend a mentoring lunch with Beats 1 Global Operations Manager and LA Chapter Grammy Governer Julie Pilat.


Several other benefits are included as well, like a free pair of Studio3 headphones and the chance to play a song on the Beats 1 radio. A full list of benefits:
- One (1) day at Apple Music's live station, Beats 1, which broadcasts to over 100 countries

- Time in studio with Zane Lowe during his flagship show, which broadcasts Mondays to Thursdays from 9-11am LA time.

- Music Business Mentoring lunch with Beats 1's Global Operations Manager & LA Chapter GRAMMY(R) Governor Julie Pilat.

- Attend a Music Meeting and discuss the Beats 1 List with the head of Beats 1's Music Team. You'll get to discover the most exciting new music in the world.

- Choose a song and play it, live on the radio, during Beats 1 Request.

- Hear your voice on Beats 1! Record a voiceover demo with their Production team.

- Go home and listen to Beats 1 with a pair of Beats Studio3 Headphones (colors may vary).
The person who wins the auction must visit Beats 1 in LA before December 20, 2018. The auction is valid for one person and the winning bidder must personally utilize the award. Transportation and accommodations are not included in the purchase price.


Proceeds from the auction, which has an estimated value of $5,000, will go to MusiCares, a foundation run by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. MusiCares provides resources for musicians in times of need, helping them out in financial, medical, and personal emergencies.

Apple has worked with Charitybuzz many times in the past, auctioning off lunches with iTunes chief Eddy Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook to raise money for charities that include the RFK Center, Autism Movement Therapy, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation.


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Apple's 'TV' App Starts Showing Up for Users in the UK, France, and Germany

8 December, by Tim Hardwick[ —]
Apple's official TV app today started showing up for some fourth- and fifth-generation Apple TV owners in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, almost a year after Apple originally announced the service in the U.S.


The TV app is billed as an easy way to watch your favorite movies and TV shows in a single place. It offers a unified experience for accessing TV shows and movies across multiple video apps, and aims to help users discover new TV and movie content by offering recommendations based on what they've previously watched. The service syncs content in the cloud so users can pick up where they left off on other devices via the accompanying iOS TV app, which has also been appearing on devices across the pond.

More than 60 services are supported by the U.S. version of the TV app, but with the expansion to new countries, Apple is adding support for additional local content, such as ITV, Channel 5, and BBC iPlayer in the U.K.


Apple's TV app has been available in the United States since December of 2016. In September, Apple released the Apple TV app in Canada and Australia, and announced that it would be bringing the app to France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the U.K. by the end of the year.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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2018 iPhone X Successor Could Feature Up to 10% More Powerful Battery With New 1-Cell Design

8 December, by Eric Slivka[ —]
Next year's version of the iPhone X could feature up to 10 percent more battery power if Apple and LG Chem are able to deploy a one-cell design for the device's L-shaped battery, as opposed to the two-cell battery used in the iPhone X, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo says the more space efficient one-cell design would allow Apple to boost battery capacity from 2716 mAh in the iPhone X to somewhere between 2900 and 3000 mAh for next year's 5.8-inch iPhone.

As he previously claimed, Kuo believes Apple will release three new iPhones with TrueDepth cameras next year: a larger 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus", a 5.8-inch OLED successor to the iPhone X, and a 6.1-inch LCD model. Today's report says that Apple is likely to use a two-cell battery design in the 6.5-inch model, but the larger size of the device will still allow it to have a capacity in the range of 3300 to 3400 mAh.


Two new 2H18 iPhone models could adopt L-shaped battery (6.5” & 5.8” OLED models), with capacity upgraded for all models. In order to extend battery life, we believe it is necessary to expand battery capacity because all three new 2H18 models will be equipped with TrueDepth Camera, which consumes more power. We think Apple (US) is developing a 1-cell L-shaped battery in collaboration with LGC (KR). If the new battery enters mass production on time, the 5.8” OLED iPhone model will come with a battery with larger capacity (2,900-3,000mAh with higher RFPCB ASP $2.1-2.4). For the 6.1” LCD model, we expect Apple to keep the rectangular battery design to keep a better cost structure, and we expect capacity could be larger than those of the iPhone 8 series.
Some observers were surprised to see a two-cell battery inside the iPhone X when it was opened up by iFixit just after its launch, but there are technical challenges involved in producing non-rectangular battery cells, challenges Apple was unable to overcome in time for the iPhone X.

iPhone X battery from iFixit's teardown

With device space at a premium and a number of power-hungry components like the TrueDepth camera, however, it's unsurprising that Apple and its supply chain partners are pushing forward to develop a one-cell design to provide more battery capacity within the same volume.


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Apple Fixed iOS 11.2 Vulnerability That Allowed Unauthorized Access to HomeKit Devices

7 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
A HomeKit vulnerability in iOS 11.2 that allowed unauthorized access to HomeKit accessories that included smart locks has been fixed by Apple, the company told 9to5Mac in a statement today.

"The issue affecting HomeKit users running iOS 11.2 has been fixed. The fix temporarily disables remote access to shared users, which will be restored in a software update early next week."
To patch the vulnerability, which was reportedly difficult to reproduce, Apple disabled remote access for shared users, something the company says will be reintroduced in a software update that's set to be released early next week.

Apple was able to address the vulnerability server side as it affected the HomeKit framework rather than individual HomeKit products. Though the vulnerability impacted all HomeKit devices, it is of particular interest to HomeKit users with smart locks and other HomeKit-enabled devices that allow access to the home, as someone able to exploit this kind of problem could gain entry to a dwelling without a physical key.

9to5Mac says that Apple was first informed about the security issue and other related HomeKit vulnerabilities in October. Some of the problems were addressed in iOS 11.2 and watchOS 4.2, while the rest were fixed server side. HomeKit setups with at least one connected iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.2 and signed into a HomeKit user's iCloud account were impacted.

Since its launch in 2014, HomeKit has seen many major improvements and its adoption has grown steadily. A wide range of manufacturers have embraced HomeKit, and there are HomeKit lights, outlets, switches, thermostats, window coverings, fans, sensors, cameras, locks, and garage door openers.

August, Friday, Koogeek, Kwikset, Schlage, and Yale all make HomeKit-enabled smart locks that can be controlled via Siri voice commands and HomeKit apps.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: HomeKit

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iPhone Remains Flickr's Most Popular Camera in 2017 Ahead of Canon and Nikon

7 December, by Mitchel Broussard[ —]
As it does every year, Flickr today shared its 2017 Year in Review statistics highlighting various aspects of the photo-sharing community with lists including the Top 25 Photos of 2017, Top Devices, and Top Brands. For the Top Brands category, Apple has once again beaten out dedicated camera makers with iPhones being used by 54 percent of photographers uploading photos to Flickr this year, followed by Canon in second place (23 percent) and Nikon in third place (18 percent).

Over the past few years, iPhones have been rising up Flickr's Year in Review rankings. In 2015 iPhones were used for 42 percent of the photos shared to Flickr, and then in 2016 Apple's smartphones retained the top spot again, with 47 percent. Apple first surpassed Nikon to become the second most popular camera brand on Flickr's 2014 rankings.


The most popular iPhones used to capture photos shared on Flickr in 2017 were slightly older models: the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 5s. In total, iPhones accounted for 9 of the Top 10 Devices of 2017, with the Canon 5D Mark III representing the only non-Apple product on the list.

The Top Device Types list has stayed the same over the years, but in 2017 smartphones have grown to account for 50 percent of photos uploaded to Flickr, up from 48 percent last year. DSLR came in second with 33 percent (up from 25 percent last year), followed by point and shoot with 12 percent (down from 21 percent), and then mirrorless at four percent (up from three percent).

Flickr has posted quite a few lists of photos recapping the past year, including the overall Top 25 Photos of 2017, Top Portrait Photography, Top Nature & Wildlife Photography, Top Landscape Photography, and much more. Flickr today also announced new partnerships for its premium Flickr Pro membership, introducing perks from Adobe, Priime, and Portfoliobox into Pro.

Those interested can read more about Flickr Pro here, and check out more of the best Flickr photos of the year here.

Tag: Flickr

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Apple's Best of the App Store in 2017: Calm, Splitter Critters, Affinity Photo and The Witness

7 December, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple today published its annual Best of 2017 charts for the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store, highlighting the top media content and trends across 2017.

Apple's App Store editors chose two standout games and two standout apps for the iPhone and the iPad as their best of 2017 picks. On the iPhone, meditation app Calm and popular game Splitter Critters won top honors, while photo editing app Affinity Photo and puzzle game The Witness took the top spots on iPad.


- iPhone App of the Year: Calm
- iPhone Game of the Year: Splitter Critters
- iPad App of the Year: Affinity Photo
- iPad Game of the Year: The Witness

Apple shared apps that are part of the top Trends of the Year, which included augmented reality apps like IKEA Place and Very Hungry Caterpillar, meditation-style apps like Calm and Joyable, multiplayer games like Art of War: Red Tides and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and modern storytelling apps like Hooked and Serial Box Publishing.

Apple has also published the top apps for 2017 across multiple App Store charts. Top free iPhone apps included Bitmoji, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, while top paid iPhone apps included Facetune, HotSchedules, Tabs & Chords, Enlight, and the 7 Minute Workout Challenge.

On iPhone, the top games included Super Mario Run, 8 Ball Pool, Ballz, Snake vs. Block, and Word Cookies. Top paid iPhone games included Heads Up!, Minecraft, Plague Inc., Bloons TD 5, and Monopoly.

YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Chrome were the top free iPad apps, while Procreate, Notability, Toca Life: Hospital, Toca Life: Salon 3, and GoodNotes 4 were the top paid iPad apps.

Super Mario Run, ROBLOX, Rolling Sky, Word Cookies, and Bowmasters were the top free iPad games, and Minecraft, Geometry Dash, Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, Bloons TD 5 HD, and the Escapists were the top paid iPad games.

The full list of top iPad and iPhone apps and games, along with additional details on the top App Store content in 2017, is available through the App Store on an iOS device.


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