Activation Lock has reduced iPhone theft by 25% in NY, 40% in SF, 50% in London

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Officials in three major cities have reported dramatic reductions in iPhone thefts since Apple introduced Activation Lock as part of iOS 7, preventing devices being re-activated without the original owner’s iCloud login. Reuters reports that the number of reported iPhone thefts has fallen year-on-year by 25% in New York, 40% in San Francisco and 50% in London …  Read more

Apple’s new Photos app means big future changes for free photo storage

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Apple yesterday released a preview of its upcoming all-new Photos app for Mac, which replaces iPhoto and Aperture with a simpler all-in-one photo editor and library manager. Most of the discussion of Photos focused on the huge number of changes from iPhoto and Aperture, burying one very important detail: Apple is changing the way it handles cloud-based photo storage.

Before Photos, Apple offered free storage of photos with limitations in a feature called Photo Stream, which didn’t count against iCloud storage. But the new Photos app uses Apple’s beta iCloud Photo Library feature, which was recently added in iOS 8.1. iCloud Photo Library promises to let you synchronize your entire photo collection including edits and albums across all of your devices… but you have to share your iCloud storage with photos, and album syncing and edits don’t apply to the free 1,000 – 25,000 image storage of Photo Stream.

As most long-time iOS users know, the free 5GB of iCloud storage Apple offers is often not enough to store much more than a single device backup, and for many that will mean no spare room for a photo collection. Consequently, Apple is suggesting that users should buy additional iCloud storage, paying monthly fees to store and sync their photos. As the Photos app is rolling out, Apple is allowing users to stick with the old Photo Stream feature and continue using the new Photos app without turning on the iCloud Photo Library. But it remains to be seen if that will be an option long-term once Photos is released publicly and how users will respond when they find out their free 5GB iCloud storage isn’t cutting it for their photo collection…

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Apple invests $2b in failed GTAT sapphire plant to create global command center

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Following the October surprise bankruptcy filed by GT Advanced Technologies—a key sapphire supplier for the iPhone—Apple today announced plans to invest $2 billion over the next 30 years in the failed plant. The Mesa, Arizona-located plant will become the central command center for its various data centers around the globe.

“We’re proud to continue investing in the U.S. with a new data center in Arizona, which will serve as a command center for our global networks,” Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, wrote in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “This multibillion-dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made.”

Shortly after the bankruptcy announcement from GT Advanced Technologies, Apple described the decision as surprising while adding that the company would focus on job preservation. Read more

1Password for iOS adds one-time password tool for two factor auth, new login creator, more

The popular secure password management app 1Password is out with a big update today adding new features on both iOS and Mac. Arriving in version 5.2 of 1Password for iOS is a new login creator tool, a one-time password tool for use with two factor auth, new entry fields for pro users, and more. On the Mac side, 1Password version 5.1 was released adding a number of improvements to sync. This includes the ability to sync secondary vaults to iOS over WiFi. More on the major new features below:

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Tim Cook agreed to allow Chinese government to conduct security audits on Apple devices – local media

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Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  Read more

Logic Pro X 10.1 arrives w/ tons of new sounds, AirDrop sharing, redesigned plug-ins, & editing improvements

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Apple today released a new version of Logic Pro X, its professional audio editing software, bringing the current version to 10.1 and adding a long list of new features. Among the new additions to Logic Pro X in version 10.1 includes 10 new Drummers, the intelligent beat profile feature, focused on hip hop and electronic styles. OS X Yosemite users will appreciate the ability to share projects from Logic Pro X to other users using both Mail Drop, which lets you send large files over email using iCloud storage, and AirDrop, which lets you share files wirelessly between nearby Macs.

In addition to updating Logic Pro X, Apple released version 1.2 of its Logic Remote iPad app with a new plug-in view for remotely controlling parameters and adding or rearranging plug-ins. The new version also allows you to adjust mic and input settings with compatible audio interfaces from the app. Apple’s MainStage 3 Mac app ($29.99) updated to version 3.1 as well. You can read our full review of Logic Pro X here, and see the full change log of new features below:

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Five Apple logins remain unprotected by two-factor authentication when using an unknown device

More than four months after Tim Cook promised emailed login alerts and the reintroduction of two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile celebrity iCloud hacks, five Apple logins remain unprotected by the system. Hackers of NY founder Dani Grant used videos to demonstrate each of the vulnerabilities in a blog post.

Grant showed that two-factor authentication isn’t needed when using an unknown Mac to login to iMessage, iTunes, FaceTime, the App Store or Apple’s website. According to Grant, only one of the five services sent an email notification advising that an unknown device was used to log in …  Read more

New password-hacking tool for iCloud claims to evade Apple’s brute-force protections

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Update: We are now receiving reports that the vulnerability has been patched. People trying to use the tool are apparently now being correctly locked out from repeated password attempts.

A new tool submitted to GitHub claims to be able to perform password dictionary attacks on any iCloud account, seemingly able to evade detection from Apple’s rate-limiting security that is supposed to prevent such dictionary attacks from happening. In September, Apple reported it had closed one such hole that allowed brute-force attacks to occur.

The sourcecode for the tool has been released onto GitHub. Upon inspection, the tool is really rather crude in its complexity. It simply tries every possible word in its 500-long word-list as the password for a given iCloud account email. This means whilst it will succeed “100%” at trying 500 times over, the tool is by no means guaranteed to succeed at cracking your password.

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Algoriddim releases djay Pro for Mac w/ Spotify integration, 4 deck support, iCloud syncing, more

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Algoriddim is ending the year with a bang with the launch of djay Pro for Mac — its most powerful version of the popular music mixing app.  Spotify integration added access to over 20 million songs for djay users in May, and Algoriddim released djay for Android for the first time this part October. With the release of the professional version of djay for the desktop, Algoriddim is adding access to your Spotify library for mixing right in the DJ app and highlighting ‘pro’ features and capabilities with this brand new version. Read more

Did Apple drop Google Maps for good? Apple Maps now rolling out on iCloud.com

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Apple appears to have finally dropped Google Maps from iCloud.com, replacing it with its own in-house maps almost two years after removing Google Maps from iOS and most of its other products. Apple started slowly rolling out the feature to its iCloud beta site for select users earlier this year before pulling it, but it now seems to have replaced Google for all users of iCloud.com’s Find My iPhone feature (pictured above). Read more

Hyper’s Black Friday: $50 off the world’s only external MacBook battery, $10 battery packs (Reg. $50), $2 iPad cases (Reg. $30), much more

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Hyper, the brand behind a number of popular Mac and iOS products we’ve reviewed in the past, is today offering its best deals ever for Black Friday. The sale includes big deals on external battery packs and other iOS accessories including the world’s only external MacBook battery.

Some of the notables: A $10 3600 mAh battery pack (Reg. $49), a $20 7200mAh battery pack (Reg. $70), and up to $50 off the company’s external battery for MacBooks. Head below for the full list of deals.  Read more