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All four major U.S. carriers experiencing outages in the...

Today, 09:37 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

If you live in parts of the South Eastern U.S., chances are your cell service is down. All four major carriers are currently experiencing outages across parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. According to Down Detector, AT&T appears to be suffering from the most widespread outage. However, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are also reported to be down in large areas across the Southeast as well, with reports of outages peaking around 3 pm.

Chances are that the outage is due to a problem with the backend of the network. Carriers often share towers, leasing the technology powering their networks from a small pool of companies.

Are you located in any of the previously mentioned states and experiencing an outage? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Down Detector (1, 2, 3, 4); Via: Timesfreepress.com



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Apple's music deals reportedly allow for more Beats l...

Today, 09:02 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Apple's deals with record labels may allow it to expand their live radio ambitions beyond Beats 1. A new report sheds more light on Apple's deals, and opens up for the possibility of more Beats stations. The company has also reportedly registered a number of domains across the world that point to a potential expansion of Beats radio.

From The Verge:

As part of the deal it struck with the major labels for Apple Music Radio, Apple has licenses for up to five additional stations like Beats 1, without having to renegotiate with the labels. That means Apple could launch a Beats 2 station headquartered in Australia or Asia, allowing it to provide live radio around the clock (Beats 1 is only live 12 hours a day). Or Apple could take a more targeted approach and produce holiday stations.

Currently, Beats 1 offers 12 hours of original live content, then playing a repeat broadcast for the other half of the day. An expanded Beats station lineup could offer more live content throughout the day, with more anchor centers around the world, rather than just those in London, LA, and New York.

The report also notes that labels are fairly pleased with the progress of Apple Music so far, with a "substantial" number of users gained in the first five weeks of the service. However, they remain cautious, taking a wait-and-see approach while the first wave of users are still using their trial.

Sources: The Verge, MacRumors



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New on iTunes: Learn more about LEGO, pre-order Mission:...

Today, 07:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Every week, the iTunes Store adds new movies and TV to its catalog. This week, you can pre-order the latest Mission: Impossible film, get deals on romantic movies, and more.

New in movies this week, we have A LEGO Brickumentary, a deep dive into the world of LEGO. Less than a week after it was released in theaters, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is available for pre-order. Apple has assembled a collection of romantic films such as The Longest Ride, While We're Young, and About Time, which are all avaialble for $9.99 each. The Movie of the Week is Every Secret Thing, starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Banks, and Diane Lane.

In TV, Comedy Central is offering a special season pass for The Daily Show for Jon Stewart's final week at the anchor desk. From now through Thursday, August 6, you can get the entire first season of animated spy comedy Archer for $14.99. The entire first season of Cinemax's The Knick is now available for purchase as well. Apple is offering a number of crime drama premiere seasons for under $12.

Check in next week for more in movies and TV from the iTunes Store.



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Apple Music becomes a Billboard streaming partner as ads...

Today, 06:43 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

Apple Music ads have started showing up on billboards and signs around the world as part of a new advertising campaign. So far, we've seen reports of ads popping up in Japan, Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Toronto, though there are most likely more. Each ad looks to feature a washed out picture of different popular artists featured on Apple Music.

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This advertising push for the service is reminiscent of Apple ad campaigns in the past, most recently the World Gallery campaign that saw giant banners promoting the iPhone 6 pop up around the globe.

Apple Music isn't only hitting physical billboards around the world either. Billboard has announced that Apple Music has been added as a streaming partner for both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 lists, along with other streaming-only and hybrid charts. Apple Music joins other streaming services, such as Spotify and Rdio, along with physical and digital sales, in molding the popular songs that make up each chart every week.

Sources: Billboard, Instagram (1 2); Via: MacRumors



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OS X El Capitan Public Beta 4 now available for testers

Today, 05:06 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Hot on the heels of the latest developer beta, Apple has released a new version of the OS X El Capitan Public Beta as well. Members of the Apple Beta Software Program can download the new release through the Updates section on the Mac App Store.

Remember that though this is a public beta, it isn't completely open. If you're interested in participating, you'll have to sign up at the Apple Beta Software Program website to get started. The public version of OS X 10.11 El Capitan is expected to this fall with improvements to Safari, Spotlight search, and the debut of Apple's Metal graphics framework on the Mac platform.

If you're interested in the OS X El Capitan public beta, hit up the link below for everything you need to know.

OS X public beta: The ultimate guide



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Apple Pay signs up 43 new U.S. banks and credit unions, b...

Today, 04:45 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Apple Pay keeps rolling along, and has gained support for 43 more banks and credit unions in the United States. This brings the total number of U.S. financial institutions supporting the system up to 421. Apple Pay allows owners of the iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch to pay for items with their devices.

Check out the complete list of new banks and credit unions below.

  • 1st United Services Credit Union
  • Align Credit Union
  • Atlantic Regional FCU
  • Bank of Marin
  • Bank of Oklahoma
  • Central Pacific Bank
  • Community and Southern Bank
  • Countryside Bank
  • Dominion Credit Union
  • DuPage Credit Union
  • Dutch Point Credit Union
  • First Bank of Dalton
  • First Clover Bank
  • First Collinsville Bank
  • First County Bank
  • First Midwest Bank
  • First National Bank of McGregor
  • First State Bank Nebraska
  • Greater Iowa Credit Union
  • Gulf Coast Educators FCU
  • Harborone Bank
  • Horizon Bank
  • Illinois National Bank
  • Jax Federal Credit Union
  • LGE Community Credit Union
  • Meadows Credit Union
  • Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union
  • Metro Health Services FCU
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • Premier Bank
  • SAC FCU
  • The Bank of Commerce
  • The Cooperative Bank
  • The Paducah Bank and Trust
  • Thomaston Savings Bank
  • TTCU The Credit Union
  • UniBank for Savings
  • United Bank
  • US Community Credit Union
  • USE Credit Union
  • USF Federal Credit Union
  • West Alabama Bank & Trust
  • Westerra Credit Union1st United Services Credit Union

Apple Pay recently expanded overseas for the first time, launching in the U.K. last month. Reports have also indicated that it could move into Canada by the end of the year.

Source: Apple



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Taylor Swift reveals how her letter to Apple came about

Today, 04:26 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Taylor Swift has revealed a little more about how her letter to Apple came about, and the company's reaction to it. In the September cover story for Vanity Fair, Swift talks about how nervous writing the letter made her, how she wrote it in the middle of the night, and what how she shared it with only one person before publishing: her mother.

Swift said she was surprised by Apple's reaction, almost immediately changing course on its terms for compensation during Apple Music's free trial:

From Vanity Fair:

Apple surprised Swift by almost immediately changing its plan not to compensate artists during the trial period of its new streaming service. Says Swift, "Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about," she says. "And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine."

The now-famous letter was written in regards to Apple's original plan not to compensate artists for their music during the free trial of Apple Music. Following the company's reversal of that policy, Swift announced that her entire catalog, including her latest album, 1989, would stream on Apple Music.

You can read the full interview with Swift at the link below.

Source: Vanity Fair



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Apple hangs up on rumors of a virtual network service

Today, 04:03 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Apple has explicitly refuted a recent report that it would create its own virtual network cellular service, or MVNO. The company was said to be in negotiations with carriers in the U.S. and Europe, but it now appears that this was not the case.

From CNBC:

BREAKING: Apple says it has not discussed & is not planning MVNO cellular service following reports saying it was planning on doing that.

— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) August 4, 2015

An MVNO service leases cellular bandwidth from carriers like AT&T and Verizon to create a virtual network, often offering less expensive service to the MVNO's customers. According to the report from Business Insider, Apple's service would have featured a SIM that seamlessly switched between networks, which is how Google's Project Fi works.

Source: CNBC (Twitter)



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Thunderstrike 2: What you need to know

Today, 04:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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There's not much new to Thunderstrike 2, but you should still stay informed about it.

Thunderstrike 2 is the latest in a line of Mac security vulnerabilities that, due to sensationalized reporting, are often a greater risk to customer stress levels than they are actual physical hardware. Still, as reported by Wired, Thunderstrike 2 is absolutely something every Mac owner should be aware of and informed about. So let's do that.

What's a firmware worm?

A firmware worm is a type of attack that targets the part of a computer responsible for booting it up and launching the operating system. On Windows machines, that can include BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). On the Mac, EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface).

Bugs in BIOS or EFI code create vulnerabilities in the system that, if not otherwise defended against, can be exploited by malicious programs like firmware worms.

Because firmware exists outside the operating system, it's typically not scanned for or otherwise detected and isn't erased or removed by a re-installation. That makes it much harder to find and harder to remove. In most cases, you'd need to re-flash the firmware chips to eradicate it.

So Thunderstrike 2 is a firmware worm targeting the Mac?

Yes. The story here is that some researchers decided to test whether or not previously discovered vulnerabilities in BIOS and EFI existed on the Mac as well and, if they did, whether or not they could be exploited.

Because booting up a computer is a similar process across platforms, most firmware shares a common reference. That means there's a chance or even a likelihood that discovering an exploit for one type of computer means discovering an exploit for many or even most of them.

In this case, an exploit affecting a majority of Windows computers also affects the Mac, and researchers were able to use it to create Thunderstrike 2 as a proof-of-concept. And, in addition to being downloadable, to show that it can also spread by using the Option ROM—the accessory firmware called by the computer firmware—on peripherals like a Thunderbolt adapter.

That means it can spread without the Internet?

It's more accurate to say it can spread over the internet and via "sneakernet"—people walking around and plugging an infected accessory into one or multiple machines. What makes that important is that it removes "air gapping"—the practice of keeping computers disconnected from each other and the internet—as a defense.

Has Apple fixed Thunderstrike 2 yet?

Of the six vulnerabilities the researchers tested 5 were found to affect the Mac. The same researchers said that Apple has already patched one of those vulnerabilities and partially patched another. There's also some indication that OS X 10.10.4 may not be (as) vulnerable. Whether OS 10.10.5 proves to be even more effective at preventing this type of attack remains to be seen.

Is there anything that could be done to make firmware safer in general?

Cryptographically signing both the firmware and any firmware updates could help. That way nothing would be installed that didn't have Apple's signature and the chances of fraudulent and malicious code infecting EFI would be reduced.

How worried should I be?

Attacks against EFI aren't new and using peripherals as attack vectors aren't new. Thunderbolt 2 circumvents protections put in place to prevent the original Thunderstrike and combines both internet and sneakernet attack vectors.

That said, some of the exploits have already been patched, more are being patched, and the Thunderstrike 2 proof-of-concept may not work against the latest and upcoming versions of OS X. (We'll need to find out more to know for sure.)

In the meantime, the usual advice applies: If you believe you're at risk, don't click on links, download files, or plug in accessories that you don't absolutely trust.

Nick Arnott contributed to this article



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Comic: Hey Now, You're a One-Star

Today, 02:59 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

Ed: Welcome to this week's edition of The Pixel Project: a weekly comic from Diesel Sweeties' Rich Stevens on Apple, technology, and everything in-between. Today: Hey Now, You're a One-Star

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Read more comics from The Pixel Project.



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