Courtesy Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch
Microsoft wants to take your Apple product off your hands, today expanding its trade-in programs to allow owners of dated iPhone hardware to cash in their now-passé electronics.
If you own an iPhone 4S or 5 that is “gently used” and not much worse, Microsoft will offer you no less than $200 for it. The kicker? The funds come in the form of Microsoft Store credit, so you are trading in your Apple hardware for the chance to buy Microsoft goods.
What does Microsoft want? That you drop that iPhone off with them and wander out with a Surface 2 pre-order or a Lumia Windows Phone handset. Microsoft has cash and wants market share; this is a natural outgrowth of those two facts.
Microsoft also has in place a deal that will grant store credit for iPads. In short, if you have an Apple device that Microsoft competes with – recall that Microsoft doesn’t build PCs that are not tablet-based, through its Surface line – it wants to buy it from you and get you onto its own hardware.
In a way the move is ballsy: Microsoft is betting its own money that you will be content with its wares after a long stint on Apple silicon. And it is paying to make the wager. Precisely what Microsoft intends to do with all its accumulated Apple hardware remains opaque.
Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Nokia’s handset business, and recently announced new Surface hardware that replaces its first-generation attempts at OEM supremacy. Expect more moves like this to support Microsoft’s yet-nascent devices business.
Courtesy Jacqui Cheng, Ars Technica
Apple probably still has this query of mine from 2011 saved somewhere in the cloud.
Remember that time when you asked Siri about the nearest place to find hookers? Or perhaps the time you wanted to know where to find the best burritos at 3am? Whatever you’ve been asking Siri since its launch in late 2011 is likely still on record with Apple, as revealed by a report by our friends at Wired on Friday. Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Wired that Apple stores Siri queries on its servers for "up to two years," though the company says it makes efforts to anonymize the data.
"Apple may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years," Muller said. "Our customers’ privacy is very important to us."
Why does Apple have your Siri queries on record in the first place? Remember, Siri doesn’t just operate locally on your iPhone or iPad—when you ask it a question, your voice query is sent to Apple’s servers for processing before the answer—a Google search, an answer from Wolfram alpha, a Yelp result, etc.—is sent back. That’s why an Internet connection is required in order to use Siri; if you have no Wi-Fi or cellular signal, you can’t use Siri to perform any actions.
According to Wired, Apple generates "random numbers to represent the user and it associates the voice files with that number" when your Siri data is sent to the server. This string of numbers isn’t associated with your Apple ID or e-mail, but it does represent your device when Apple is processing the query. "Once the voice recording is six months old, Apple ‘disassociates’ your user number from the clip, deleting the number from the voice file. But it keeps these disassociated files for up to 18 more months for testing and product improvement purposes," Wired wrote.
Many have been aware of this since Siri first came out thanks to the Internet connection requirement, but Apple’s acknowledgment that it keeps the data is a new reminder about the potential privacy risks. After all, our last poll on whether Ars readers would use Siri on OS X showed that 52 percent would at least give it a shot—people tend to conduct even more sensitive business on their computers than their mobile devices, so the data retention aspect is an important one to keep in mind.
Muller pointed out, however, that the identifiers are deleted immediately—"along with any associated data"—when a user turns Siri off on his or her device. (You can do this by going to Settings > General > Siri on a supported iOS device.)
by Dara Kerr, CNET
Apple’s iPhone 5.
(Credit: CBS Interactive)
As Apple continues to work on kinks and bugs in iOS 6, rumors are already flying about a possible iOS 7. The latest chatter suggests that Apple is running behind schedule in its development of iOS 7, but it will have a whole new display.
According to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, development for the possible operating system is so delayed that Apple has pulled engineers from the Mac OS X 10.9 team to work on it. This rumor suggests that Apple may be readying it for the Worldwide Developer Conference, which is in the beginning of June and is typically where the company releases developer versions of its software.
Besides delay of the possible new iOS, Gruber also got his hands on some news about the design of this rumored operating system. Apple’s vice president of industrial design Jony Ive leads device interface development for the company and is apparently making some changes to iOS.
"Word on the street is that iOS engineers with carry privileges all have some sort of polarizing filter on their iPhone displays, such that it greatly decreases viewing angles, thus making it difficult for observers to see the apparently rather significant system-wide UI overhaul," Gruber wrote today.
Gruber also said that he heard the same information as iMore’s Rene Ritchie who wrote in a Branch forum, "Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad."
Rumors of an iOS 7 have been floating around since January when software for the operating system apparently turned up in developer logs. However, it’s still unclear if and when a new iOS might launch.
An App Store app called iTether got a lot of attention a few months ago for allowing free 3G tethering from any iPhone. Despite the fact that carriers don’t officially support such activity apart from their exorbitant data plans, Apple originally approved iTether. The app shot to the top of the charts before it was pulled less than a day later. If you didn’t get your hands on it then, you were out of luck.
The creators of iTether are announcing something big today. Tether is launching a new HTML5 web app for the iPhone that lets you tether your 3G-enabled iPhone or iPad to any wireless-enabled device. No monthly fee. No jailbreak required.
“It was clear from our initial application iTether, there was enormous demand within the iPhone ecosystem,” says Tim Burke, CEO of Tether. “It was unfortunate that Apple decided to remove our application, only 20 hours after we launched. However, this caused us to innovate. Our underlying patent-pending technology behind Tether for iPhone is unlike anything on the market.
Unlike any other tethering solution (unsupported or otherwise) out there, Tether’s new app is entirely web-based. You don’t need to buy the app in the App Store or the jailbreak Cydia store. It creates a wireless connection over AdHoc that any device can connect to.