About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

@bzamayo

Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. Benjamin blogs about Apple news and rumors, and posts insightful product and app reviews. Read his work on 9to5Mac and his personal blog.

Benjamin Mayo also creates apps for iOS as a professional indie developer and contractor; more details here. Email to discuss making your iOS project a reality.

Benjamin Mayo's Favorite Gear

May 18

Apple News is featuring a special ‘Royal Wedding’ tab ahead of the big event tomorrow. Interestingly, the News app has actually changed the name of the second Spotlight tab to highlight the time-sensitive event.

Despite international attention, this tab appears to be showing for UK users only at the moment. Devices set to the US region are still seeing the normal Spotlight news items.

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In agreement with legal process, Apple has now paid the first tranche of the $15bn total sum that the EU demands Apple pay Ireland. Whilst Ireland and Apple will object to the ruling in court, the EU believes Apple took advantage of an illegal low tax rate deal.

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May 17

Apple Pay has today expanded to the Ukraine; customers who bank with PrivatBank can now register their cards on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and Macs. The Ukrainian Finance Minster announced the news on Facebook.

Apple Pay support has also rolled out for Monzo, a UK ‘bank of the future’ which is an internet-only bank that lets customers access its services only through its iOS and Android apps. Despite its innovative brand, it has taken a long time for the bank to support Apple’s contactless mobile payments offering. Better late than never, naturally.

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May 16

It looks like Apple will finally be adding a faster power brick in the box with the upcoming 2018 iPhones (iPhone X successor, a 6.5-inch ‘iPhone X Plus’, and a 6.1-inch LCD model). Backing up a report from earlier this month, ChargerLab has published renders of what it believes the new iPhone charger will look like.

Most notably, it features a USB-C port. This presumably means Apple will include a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box for the first time too.

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Apple launched a new version of the $329 iPad in March, with a faster processor and Apple Pencil stylus support. The $329 iPad has helped prop up iPad sales significantly since it was introduced last year. Apple has said that the 9.7-inch tablet is its most popular iPad.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is looking to compete in this price range with some new Surface tablets that hit $400 price points. The products are expected to debut later this year.

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May 15

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook will appear on Bloomberg’s David Rubenstein interview show next month. The publication previewed the talking points in an article today.

Cook says he discussed the new Chinese tariffs with US President Donald Trump, explaining why he believed it ‘was not the right approach’. There is also an update on Apple Music, Apple’s foray into original content and more.

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May 14

Spigen has launched a series of new cases on Indiegogo for the iPhone X. As a celebration of Spigen’s tenth birthday, these cases are inspired by the design cues of the original iMac with its translucent windows as well as a throwback to the original iPhone’s aluminium metal and plastic design.

Only for iPhone X, the iMac variants come in five different color choices including the traditional bondi blue, red, grey, silver and green. The backs of the cases include raised outline of the iPhone X’s internals. They also have some cute references to the iconic ‘hello’ message on the insides.

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Ahead of WWDC, this is my top software wish-list, addressing the number one feature addition I’d like to see for each of Apple’s platforms; iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

These are just my personal picks, choosing just one thing per OS that I think I would appreciate the most for the iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12 cycles.

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Researchers have found flaws in the HTML rendering of Apple Mail on Mac and iOS, as well as Mozilla Thunderbird, that allows attackers to extract decrypted plain text from encrypted mail messages.

Whilst most email is sent unencrypted, many businesses and people rely on S/MIME and PGP encrypted email communications to talk in private. These newly published security holes undermine the security of supposedly private email conversations.

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May 10

We’ve received some interesting photos from iPhone case maker Olixar of what they believe the iPhone SE 2 to look like. They are already advertising screen protectors for sale and shared schematics from ‘Chinese factory sources’ with us. They believe the new iPhone SE will resemble an iPhone X with slim bezels and a notch cutout.

This is a hard claim to take seriously, given the SE’s traditional lower price point, but Olixar definitely seem convinced. This is also not the first report that the SE will have a notch screen design. More photos and schematics info after the jump …

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For the first time, AltConf is expanding beyond the US. The organizers of the free conference that runs alongside WWDC every year, are now experimenting with some international events. This year, AltConf is hosting an evening keynote viewing event on June 4th, the first day of WWDC 2018.

There will be a drinks reception, a big screen to show the keynote stream, followed by a panel discussion once the show ends. If you are in London on the 4th, you can grab a ticket for free here. There are about 400 seats, and they expect to sell out.

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Apple has given up waiting for the go-ahead on its plans for a data center in Ireland, which the company first applied for in 2015. The project hit multiple setbacks over disputes with local groups on environmental concerns. A ‘final decision’ was ruled in Apple’s favor at the end of 2017, so the fate of the project was looking positive.

However, a fresh appeal overrode the judgement and sent the parties back to court. Specifically, the Irish court said it may have to refer to the European Court of Justice on some matters. Referrals to Europe can take many years and it seems that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused Apple to withdraw its proposal.

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May 9

A new Unicode text bug is being spread around today, popularised by a video by EverythingApplePro. It’s being called the ‘black dot’ bug because of its origins on Android as a bug relating to WhatsApp: it was being spread with the following emoji: <⚫> 👈🏻. The iOS version of this bug is a bit different in its mechanics, but neither variants actually rely on the visible black dot character to cause the freezes and crashes.

The secret is that the strings contain thousands of hidden invisible Unicode characters, which churns through CPU cycles as the system attempts to process them. If this specially crafted text is sent through Messages, it will result in repeated crashes when the recipient tries to read it.

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May 8

Netgear releases special firmware to address HomeKit issues with Orbi mesh routers

Netgear says it is tracking issues related to using HomeKit accessories with its Orbi mesh routers. Apparently, a recent firmware updated was intended to fix an issue with Google Home integration but accidentally broke the Apple HomeKit protocol in the process. The company is releasing special firmware updates, downloadable here, as an interim fix.

May 7

Warren Buffett would ‘love to own 100%’ of AAPL as stock price set to hit new all-time high at market open

Apple shook off bearish analysts last week with solid earnings, guidance, and a new capital return program, with AAPL stock soaring after the results. It hit a new all-time high on news that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought 75 million shares in the first quarter. In an interview with CNBC today, Buffet heaped even more positivity onto Apple, and the stock market is looking to propel AAPL even higher at the open.

May 4

Spanish People magazine publishes ’50 most beautiful people of 2018′, all photos shot with iPhone X

The Spanish version of People magazine is this month featuring the ’50 most beautiful people’ of 2018, featuring celebrities including Demo Lovato, J.Balvin, Amara La Negraand other figures. Each person gets a bio and a portrait. For the first time, all the photos were shot — including the cover photo — with an iPhone X.

Apple’s interest in exclusive video programming is stretching beyond its original content TV show efforts. Digiday reports that Apple paid Buzzfeed to show the first three episodes of its ‘Future History’ video series on Apple News, a week ahead of Buzzfeed’s other distribution platforms.

Apple gave Buzzfeed a cut of the ads shown on the videos, in addition to upfront payment. Apple has highlighted video stories more prominently in Apple News since iOS 11.3 with several video-focused features.

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May 3

About eight hours ago, a strange support document was posted by Apple. It listed the HomePod’s available audio sources (copy and pasted verbatim from the tech specs page) and not much else.

Interestingly, though, clicking the Supported Languages link reveals the following message: ‘English, 日本語,Français,Deutsch,English’. This suggests that HomePod is launching soon in France, Germany and Japan. However, we have dug into this story and it’s not quite as clear-cut.

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May 2

Due to local regulatory rules, FaceTime is blocked on iPhone and iPad devices sold in UAE countries including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This has been the case for many years. Obviously, the appeal of Apple’s ecosystem is stunted when features like FaceTime are unavailable.

There are promising signs that, soon, the ban will be lifted. Apple is in active negotiations with the United Arab Emirates federal government to permit the use of internet video-chat services on its devices, enabling FaceTime to be unlocked for Apple customers.

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May 1

As part of its earnings report, Apple has announced an extension of its capital return program. Apple will buy $100 billion worth of its own stock. It will also increase the dividend by 16%.

With the new tax legislation in place, Apple has said that it aims to hold zero net cash. It currently holds about $270 billion in cash. It will spend its excess cash through returns to investors in the form of dividends and share repurchase, as well as investment into expansion and product development.

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