The Right To Repair Movement Is Forcing Apple To Change

The executive director of Repair.org says Apple has “decided to be nicer to consumers in order to stop them from demanding their right to repair,” according to Motherboard. Slashdot reader Jason Koebler shared this article:

It’s increasingly looking like Apple can no longer ignore the repair insurgency that’s been brewing: The right to repair movement is winning, and Apple’s behavior is changing. In the last few months, Apple has made political, design, and customer service decisions that suggest the right to repair movement is having a real impact on the company’s operations…

Apple has repeatedly made small concessions to its customers on the issues that Repair.org and the larger repair community have decided to highlight. The question is whether these concessions are going to be enough to satiate customers who want their devices to be easily repairable and upgradable, and whether the right to repair movement can convince those people to continue demanding fair treatment.
The article notes that at least 12 U.S. states are still considering “fair repair” laws, which would force Apple to sell replacement parts to both independent repair shops and the general public.

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China Arrests Apple Distributors Who Made Millions on iPhone Data

An anonymous reader shares a report: Police in China’s Zhejiang province have arrested 22 (apparently third-party) Apple distributors for allegedly selling iPhone user data. Officials say the workers searched an internal Apple database for sensitive info, such as Apple IDs and phone numbers, and peddled it on the black market for between 10 to 180 yuan with each sale ($ 1.50 to $ 26). All told, the distributors reportedly raked in more than 50 million yuan, about $ 7.36 million, before authorities stepped in.

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Apple Taken To Court For Refusing To Fix Devices

Australia’s consumer watchdog has begun legal action against Apple over claims it refused to repair iPads and iPhones previously serviced by third parties. From a report on BBC: It alleges that Apple made “false, misleading, or deceptive representations” about consumers’ rights under Australian law. The case follows complaints that users were “routinely refused” repairs after an error disabled their devices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began an investigation after users complained about Apple’s so-called “error 53”, which disabled some users’ devices after they downloaded an update to their operating system.

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At Apple, Mac Is Getting Far Less Attention – How It Handled the New MacBook Pro Is a Living Proof

Apple CEO Tim Cook may have assured employees that the company is committed to Mac computers, but people working in the Mac team say the company now pays far less attention to the computer lineup, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has been right just about every time with Apple scoops. From his report: Interviews with people familiar with Apple’s inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company’s software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers. While the Mac generates about 10 percent of Apple sales, the company can’t afford to alienate professional designers and other business customers. After all, they helped fuel Apple’s revival in the late 1990s. In a stinging critique, Peter Kirn, founder of a website for music and video creators, wrote: “This is a company with no real vision for what its most creative users actually do with their most advanced machines.” If more Mac users switch, the Apple ecosystem will become less sticky — opening the door to people abandoning higher-value products like the iPhone and iPad. The report also sheds light on battery issues in the new MacBook Pro lineup that many have complained about. From the report: In the run-up to the MacBook Pro’s planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design. The change required roping in engineers from other teams to finish the job, meaning work on other Macs languished, the person said. The new laptop didn’t represent a game-changing leap in battery performance, and a software bug misrepresented hours of power remaining. Apple has since removed the meter from the top right-hand corner of the screen.

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Why Apple Just Invested in Wind Turbines In China

An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money:
Apple’s latest deal in China doesn’t have anything to do with smartphones. The tech giant is investing in the Chinese wind power industry, turning to the world’s most populous country to help it achieve its goal of getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources. The iPhone maker struck a deal this week to buy a 30% stake in three subsidiaries of Goldwind, China’s biggest wind-turbine manufacturer… it’s Apple’s largest clean energy project to date and the first of its kind in the wind power sector, Lisa Jackson, vice president of Apple’s environment initiatives, told state-run newspaper China Daily…

Environmental group Greenpeace has warned that electronics manufacturing uses a lot of energy in China, drawing on the country’s high number of polluting coal power stations. Apple’s moves into renewable energy are an attempt to compensate for this… The new wind project will add 285 megawatts of clean energy to China’s grid, which Apple says will offset some of the other sources used by its operations and those of its immediate suppliers Foxconn, Lens, Catcher and Solvay.

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Apple Releases $300 Book Containing 450 Photos of Apple Products

Apple has a reputation for releasing “revolutionary” products that carry higher price tags than competing products. Today, the company hasn’t made that reputation any better as it has released a “$ 299 coffee table book” that contains 450 photographs of Apple products. The Verge reports: It’s a hardcover edition, bound in linen, and is available in two sizes: $ 199 for a smaller 10.20″ x 12.75″ version, and $ 299 for a larger 13″ x 16.25″ edition. The book is simply titled Designed by Apple in California — a name that somehow manages to be both humble and incredibly pretentious at the same time. The photos inside are all new images shot by Andrew Zuckerman, and will show off 20 years of Apple design “in a deliberately spare style.” In a press statement, chief designer Jony Ive described the book as “a gentle gathering of many of the products the team has designed over the years,” and hoped that it would serve as a “resource for students of all design disciplines.” The book is published by Apple itself, and is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. It is, undeniably, an act of corporate vanity publishing on an impressive scale, but it’s one Apple deserves to get away with more than pretty much any other tech company. No one denies that when it comes to industrial design, Apple earns the praise it gets. That aside, though, the book’s publication does show a certain amount of self-interest, navel-gazing, and even arrogance from Apple — themes that were also present in September’s unveiling of the new MacBook Pros. It’s all very well to feel proud of the successes of the past, but we’ll be interested to see if the company can justify releasing another such book 20 years from now.

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Apple Releases iOS 10.1 With New Portrait Mode For iPhone 7 Plus

Apple has released iOS 10.1 to the public today for all iOS 10 users, and with it comes several new features, a long list of bug fixes, and various other under-the-hood improvements. One of the biggest new features introduced is a new “Portrait” mode, which uses the dual cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus to create shallow depth of field portrait photos with plenty of background bokeh. MacRumors reports: To achieve the blurred look, the image signal processor in the device uses the wide-angle camera to create a depth map while the telephoto captures an image, dissecting the different layers of the photo to decide what to blur with an artful “bokeh” effect. It works on people, pets, and objects, but it does require good lighting to achieve the proper results. The update also […] brings Transit directions to Japan for the first time. There have been some tweets to the Messages app. It’s now possible to play Bubble and Screen effects in Messages with Reduce Motion enabled, something that wasn’t previously possible. There’s also a new option to replay Bubble and Screen effects. It’s important to the note that the “Portrait” mode is still in beta, and will not work flawlessly. Mac Rumors has a full list of the changes made to iOS 10.1 embedded in their report, which you can view here.

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