Apple offers a $50 credit for some out-of-warranty iPhone battery purchases

If you bought a battery replacement for an out-of-warranty iPhone last year, you may be eligible for a $50 credit from Apple. The company issued a new support page post this week, announcing the rebate policy, which applies to purchases made at authorized locations.

The move is part of on-going restitution in the wake of an admission that the company was throttling processing speeds on older model phones, in order to save on battery life. Late last year, Apple apologized for not informing users about the issue, promising to be more transparent in the future.

Soon after, the company began offering $29 battery replacements — a $50 discount on out-of-warranty battery replacements. This credit covers those who purchased a battery out-of-warranty any point in 2017, leading up to that new offer.

The company has promised to send an email to all eligible users with instructions on how to get the credit

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For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education

Following Apple’s education event in Chicago in March, I wrote about what the company’s announcements might mean for accessibility. After sitting in the audience covering the event, the big takeaway I had was Apple could “make serious inroads in furthering special education as well.” As I wrote, despite how well-designed the Classroom and Schoolwork apps seemingly are, Apple should do more to tailor their new tools to better serve students and educators in special education settings. After all, accessibility and special education are inextricably tied. It turns out, Apple has, unsurprisingly, considered this. “In many ways, education and accessibility beautifully overlap,” Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s Senior Director of Global
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The many twists and turns of hardware

Note: This is the final article in a three-part series on valuation thoughts for common sectors of venture-capital investment. The first article, which attempts to make sense of the SaaS revenue multiple, can be found here; the second, on public marketplaces can be found here.

Over the past year, the VC-backed hardware category got a big boost — Roku was the best-performing tech IPO of 2017 and Ring was acquired by Amazon for a price rumored to exceed $1 billion. In addition to selling into large, strategic markets, both companies have excellent business models. Ring sells a high-margin subscription across a high percentage of its customer base and Roku successfully monetizes its 19 million users through ads and licensing fees.

In the context of these splashy exits, it is interesting to consider the key factors that have made for valuable hardware companies against a backdrop of an investment sector that has

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Verizon stealthily launched a startup offering $40-per-month unlimited data, messaging and minutes

Earlier this year, Verizon quietly launched a new startup called Visible, offering unlimited data, minutes, and messaging services for the low, low price of $40. To subscribe for the service, users simply download the Visible app (currently available only on iOS) and register. Right now, subscriptions are invitation only and would-be subscribers have to get an invitation from someone who’s already a current Visible member. Once registration is complete, Visible will send a sim card the next day, and, once installed, a user can access Verizon’s 4G LTE network to stream videos, send texts, and make calls as much as their heart desires. Visible says there’s no throttling at the end of the month and subscribers can pay using internet-based payment services like PayPal and Venmo (which is owned by PayPal). The service is only available on unlocked devices — and right now, pretty much only to iPhone users.
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iOS will soon disable USB connection if left locked for a week

In a move seemingly designed specifically to frustrate law enforcement, Apple is adding a security feature to iOS that totally disables data being sent over USB if the device isn’t unlocked for a period of 7 days. This spoils many methods for exploiting that connection to coax information out of the device without the user’s consent. The feature, called USB Restricted Mode, was first noticed by Elcomsoft researchers looking through the iOS 11.4 code. It disables USB data (it will still charge) if the phone is left locked for a week, re-enabling it if it’s unlocked normally. Normally when an iPhone is plugged into another device, whether it’s the owner’s computer or another, there is an interchange of data where the phone and computer figure out if they recognize each other, if they’re authorized to send or back up data, and so on. This connection can be taken advantage
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Ran Krauss and Yariv Bash, leaders at two of Israel’s hottest drone startups, are joining us in Tel Aviv

Yariv Bash, the chief executive of drone delivery startup Flytrex, wants to make drone delivery “as easy as using your iPhone“.

Flytrex chief executive Yariv Bash

Meanwhile, Ran Krauss, the CEO of Airobotics, has helped his startup raise over $70 million for its mission to  bring the autonomous revolution to the drone industry. Both men are leading two Israeli companies at the forefront of innovation in drone technologies and both will be onstage with us in Tel Aviv for our inaugural event in “startup nation”. Bash’s Flytrex claims that it was the first in the world to deploy a fully operational, regulatory approved drone delivery service. Before he began working on the drone business, he led the non-profit Lunar X-Prize entrant SpaceIL.

Airobotics chief executive Ran Krauss

Since leaving Ben Gurion University, Krauss has founded four companies including Airobotics. Bladeworx was a provider of aerial photography, imaging
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Tony Fadell is worried about smartphone addiction

This weekend, former Apple engineer and consumer gadget legend Tony Fadell penned an op-ed for Wired. In it, he argued that smartphone manufacturers need to do a better job of educating users about how often they use their mobile phones, and the resulting dangers that overuse might bring about.
Take healthy eating as an analogy: we have advice from scientists and nutritionists on how much protein and carbohydrate we should include in our diet; we have standardised scales to measure our weight against; and we have norms for how much we should exercise. But when it comes to digital “nourishment”, we don’t know what a “vegetable”, a “protein” or a “fat” is. What is “overweight” or “underweight”? What does a healthy, moderate digital life look like? I think that manufacturers and app developers need to take on this responsibility, before government regulators decide to step in – as with nutritional
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Apple releases a red iPhone 8

Apple is doing it again. The company just unveiled a new version of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It has a bright red enclosure and a black front. A portion of Apple’s proceeds will fund HIV/AIDS grants from the Global Fund. Other than that, it’s an iPhone 8. You’ll get the exact same features and components as in other iPhone 8 models. The iPhone 8 is also available in gold, silver and (“space”) gray. Alas, there’s still no rose gold option. When Apple unveiled the red version of the iPhone 7, many people didn’t understand why Apple put white bezels at the front of the device. Red and black seem like a good match. That’s why some people even bought screen protectors with black borders to fix this. This year, Apple is switching to black. It’s interesting to see that Apple waits around 6 months before launching red
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iOS could detect when you hover your finger over the screen

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple could be working on new gestures for its iPhones. In addition to normal touch gestures, iOS could detect when you hover your finger over the screen to trigger some actions. When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, he spent quite a bit of time demonstrating the multitouch interface. You could touch the screen with your finger without applying any pressure, which was already something new back then. You could also swipe your finger on the screen, use multiple fingers in order to pinch to zoom or rotate a photo. Starting with the iPhone 6S, Apple also introduced another gesture with 3D Touch. By applying some pressure on the screen, you can preview a photo or an email, open a shortcut menu and more. The iPhone detects multiple levels of pressure so that you can first preview and then open a document.
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Mobile gaming is having a moment, and Apple has the reins

It’s moved beyond tradition and into the realm of meme that Apple manages to dominate the news cycle around major industry events all while not actually participating in said events. CES rolls around and every story is about HomeKit or its competitors, another tech giant has a conference and the news is that Apple updated some random subsystem of its ever-larger ecosystem of devices and software .

This is, undoubtedly planned by Apple in many instances. And why not? Why shouldn’t it own the cycle when it can, it’s only strategically sound.

This week, the 2018 Game Developer’s Conference is going on and there’s a bunch of news coverage about various aspects of the show. There are all of the pre-written embargo bits about big titles and high-profile indies, there are the trend pieces and, of course, there’s the traditional ennui-laden ‘who is this event even for’ post that accompanies any

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Insta360 One gets a massive upgrade with FlowState stabilization

One of the better 360-degree cameras out there just got a lot better: The Insta360 One, a standalone 4K 360 camera with a built-in iPhone or Android hardware connector now supports FlowState onboard stabilization. This provides much better automatic stabilization than the Insta360 One supported at launch, and enables a bunch of new editing and formatting features that really improve the value proposition of the $299 gadget. As you can see above, FlowState allows you to do a lot more with your footage after the fact, including creating smooth pans across footage for exporting to more standard vertical and wide-angle formats (since it’s very rare that people actually watch all that much true 360-degree footage). The changes make Insta360’s device a lot more like the Rylo camera in use, and more suitable for action sports and other adventure-friendly uses. Users can now add transition points in the mobile
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Android beats iOS in smartphone loyalty, study finds

 Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 may not quite live up to the iPhone X when it comes to Samsung’s implementation of a Face ID-style system or its odd take on AR emoji. But that’s not going to matter much to Samsung device owners — not only because the S9 is a good smartphone overall, but because Android users just aren’t switching to iPhone anymore. Read More

The day that changed your phone forever

 Whether you’re a developer who’s working on mobile apps, or just someone enjoying the millions of apps available for your phone, today is a very special day. It’s the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone SDK. Read More

Apple devices are butt dialing 911 from its refurbishing facility – 20 times per day

 Since October, emergency responders in Elk Grove and Sacramento County, California have received over 1,600 false alarm 911 calls coming from an Apple repair and refurbishing site in the area. It’s not clear if the calls are coming from Apple’s iPhones or Watches but each time a call originates out of the Elk Grove facility, there’s no one on the other end of the line and… Read More

Apple said to debut voice-activated Siri AirPods in 2018, water-resistant model in 2019

 Apple is preparing a couple of updating models of AirPods, according to Bloomberg. The popular fully wireless earbud-style headphones that Apple introduced last year are currently on track for a refresh in 2018 with the addition of a new version of the “W” line of chips that Apple created specifically to manage and improve Bluetooth-based connections between gadgets. The 2018… Read More

Nike ramps up membership benefits with Apple Music, ClassPass and Headspace unlocks for app users

 The top line is that Nike is rolling out some membership related updates to its app for iPhone and Android today. The updates will come in the form of new unlocks with partnerships like ClassPass, Apple and Headspace. There will also be a bunch of new unlocks coming for exclusive shoes and clothing. NikePlus Unlocks, the official name for these cards that appear in the Nike+ app Members… Read More

iPhone sales numbers dipped slightly, but revenue is up courtesy of the iPhone X

 As far as sales figures go, this last quarter wasn’t entirely rosy for Apple. During today’s earnings report, the company posted sales of 77.3 million iPhones, down just under a million from this time last year. Of course, that 78.2 million figure from 2017 represented a new record for the company. But Wall Street still expected another increase, up to 80.2 million phones for… Read More

Apple reportedly under investigation by SEC and DOJ for phone slowdown

 The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are jointly investigating Apple’s communications about the software update that slowed down older models of the iPhone, Bloomberg is reporting. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the government has reportedly requested details on the company’s communications about the software update. The Bloomberg… Read More