Apple Inc Stories March 14

AAPL: 102.52

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The title of the world’s largest Apple Store has moved around the world a few times, but the location Apple announced four years ago as its biggest flagship store opens on Saturday in Dalian, China. The store is in the spectacular-looking Olympia 66 shopping mall at 66 Wusi Lu in the Xigang District of the popular tourist city.

You can see more photos of the mall below …

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Complaints that Apple’s App Store algorithms are broken, often returning nonsensical results for highlighted categories like ‘New’ and ‘Hot,’ have finally caught the company’s attention. Phil Schiller yesterday responded to tweeted complaints by Mozilla’s Lisa Brewster and Screenshot++ developer Wesley Dyson.

Both drew attention to the fact that highlighted app categories in Canada and other countries (though seemingly not the U.S.) were filled with a whole range of similarly-named apps, and that apps whose names put them at the top of alphanumeric sorting remain in the ‘New’ category forever …

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Apple Inc Stories March 11

AAPL: 102.26

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ACLU principal technologist and Yale Law School visiting fellow Christopher Soghoian drew attention to a rather dramatic raising of the stakes in the DOJ’s latest filing in the San Bernardino iPhone case. It contains an implicit threat that if Apple isn’t willing to create the special version of iOS needed to break the passcode protection, the government could force the company to hand over both the source code and signature so that its own coders could do it instead.

For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.

It then goes on to cite a case it believes provides a precedent for this …

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Apple Inc Stories March 9

AAPL: 101.12

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The European Union warned us this week not to expect a speedy conclusion to the long-running investigation into the legality of Apple’s tax arrangements in Europe. The delay follows a decision back in December to expand the scope of the investigation.

But while the wheels of EU tax investigations may grind exceedingly slowly, I’d be willing to wager quite large sums of money on the final outcome. It looks to me increasingly clear that Apple’s tax arrangements with the Irish government are going to be declared illegal, and that Apple is going to be faced with a significant bill for unpaid tax …

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We said yesterday that the war of words on the Apple/FBI dispute were hotting up, and Edward Snowden has now taken things a step further, suggesting that the FBI’s claims that they need Apple to access the iPhone are … not true. His comments were reported by The Intercept, which posted video of the discussion at a civil liberties conference.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’” to unlock the phone, Snowden said during a discussion at Common Cause’s Blueprint for Democracy conference.

“Respectfully, that’s bullsh*t,” he said, over a video link from Moscow.

Snowden had earlier described how the FBI could physically extract the passcode from the iPhone chip, and has now linked to an explanation of how the agency could bypass the auto-erase feature …

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