Apple’s Lottery for 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference Tickets Kicks Off

Developers hoping to attend Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California can now apply for a chance to purchase a ticket, with Apple’s lottery having kicked off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Tickets are priced at $1,599.

Tickets will be doled out using a random selection process, implemented because in past years, tickets sold out within a matter of minutes. Approximately 5,000 attendees are expected at the conference, which will also be attended by Apple executives and more than 1,000 Apple engineers.



The 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference will start on Monday, June 5, and will last through Friday, June 9. Apple announced the conference in mid-February this year, as it is the first that will be held outside of San Francisco in many years. In 2017, WWDC will take place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, which should be a welcome change for many developers as it is less expensive to secure accommodations.

Apple says that it is working with the city of San Jose and local businesses to plan “very special experiences” around San Jose during the week of the conference, so this year’s event promises to be unique.

Along with the ticket lottery, Apple is now accepting WWDC scholarship applications for students and STEM organization members who don’t have the funds to attend the conference. Scholarship applicants, who must be at least 13 years old, have a chance to earn both tickets and accommodations for the 2017 event.

Apple is asking prospective scholarship attendees to share a visually interactive scene created in Swift Playgrounds that can be experienced in three minutes. Swift Playgrounds for iPad or Xcode on macOS must be used, and Apple will judge applications on technical accomplishment, creativity of ideas, and the content of written responses.

Apple’s ticket lottery will end on Friday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, while Apple will take scholarship applications until Sunday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Developers and students who are not selected to purchase a ticket will be able to watch both the keynote event and sessions with engineers through the Apple Developer website and through the WWDC app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017

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Apple Releases tvOS 10.2 With Improved Scrolling

Apple today released tvOS 10.2, marking the second major update to the tvOS operating system that was released in September of 2016. tvOS 10.2 has been in testing since January 24, with Apple having seeded six betas to developers before releasing the software to the public.

The tvOS 10.2 update can be downloaded on the fourth-generation Apple TV using the Settings app. Go to System –> Software Update to install. For those who have automatic software updates turned on, the Apple TV will be upgraded to tvOS 10.2 automatically.



According to Apple’s beta release notes, tvOS 10.2 introduces improved scrolling behavior, allowing tvOS users to scroll through large lists of information more quickly. A longer swipe on the Siri remote activates the new scrolling mode, and a swipe on the right side of the remote allows users to navigate specific indexes.

While Apple’s release information only focused on the new scrolling mode, the update also likely includes other small feature tweaks under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)

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Facebook Launches Location Sharing Feature Within Messenger Called ‘Live Location’

Following in the footsteps of Google Maps and Find My Friends, Facebook today announced that users will be able to track their friends and family within Facebook Messenger using a new feature it calls “Live Location.”

The hour-long location sharing feature is beginning to roll out globally today, and Facebook said it should help friends coordinate with one another when making plans, help notify a significant other when you’re on your way home, and more. The plan-making focus falls in line with Facebook Messenger’s recent Snapchat-like addition “Messenger Day.”



Facebook gave users a step-by-step guide to the process of location sharing within Messenger, which they can follow using the steps below:

  • To share your Live Location in a message on iOS, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • With today’s update, you’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location.
  • If you choose to share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes.
  • You’ll be able to see an estimate of how long it would take to get to others’ locations by car. (The ETA is seen by the person with whom the location is shared.)
  • You can stop sharing your Live Location at any time; just tap Stop Sharing.
  • A small clock in the lower right hand corner of the map will also let you know how much longer you’re sharing your location for.

The social media company also mentioned that today’s location sharing update is “completely optional” and that users “are always in control.” Facebook has been beefing up Facebook Messenger over the past few months, previously adding Reactions, Messenger Day, group video chat, and more into the split-off messaging app.

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Apple’s 2017 Supplier Responsibility Report Highlights Cobalt Supplier Audits, 98% Work Hour Compliance

Apple today released its 2017 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, outlining progress that the company has made in its supply chain by highlighting its “highest ever” work hour compliance, advocating the success of Apple’s Supplier Education Program, and celebrating more than 2.4 million workers who were trained on their rights last year. Apple releases such progress reports each year as a transparent move to show the strides it takes to improve the work lives of its device manufacturing employees, who work to create products including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more.

The company said that over the past year it audited 705 total suppliers and discovered that compliance with its 60-hour maximum work week mandate has reached 98 percent, increasing from 97 percent last year. Throughout the year, Apple tripled the number of suppliers taking part in its Energy Efficiency program, leading to the reduction of over 150,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, “the equivalent of taking 31,000 cars off the road for a year.”



Apple also said that its successes in supplier responsibility included waste reduction, Clean Water initiatives, and more “responsible sourcing efforts” to expand beyond so-called “conflict minerals” to include cobalt for the first time.

Apple’s responsible sourcing efforts expanded beyond conflict minerals to include cobalt for the first time. For the second year in a row, 100% of Apple’s tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold (3TG) smelters and refiners are participating in independent third-party audits. Apple has also partnered with numerous NGOs to drive positive change on the ground, including Pact who are working to provide essential health and safety training to artisanal mining, and are building programs to help children stay in school.

An article by BuzzFeed today highlights Apple’s expansion beyond conflict minerals, which are referred to in that way due to their source within war-torn countries that mine the minerals — tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold — with little to no respect for workers’ rights. Apple’s transparency on the subject comes at a time when the Trump administration is said to be considering suspending legislation that previously required companies to disclose whether or not their products contained conflict minerals.

According to Apple’s senior director of supply chain social responsibility, Paula Pyers, the company removed three total suppliers (of the 705 audited) for failing to meet its various labor and human rights, environmental standards, and health and safety codes. Conflict mineral suppliers were more harshly cracked down upon, with 22 total suppliers tied to the controversial practice removed from Apple’s supply chain over the past year.

“We’ve been really clear with our suppliers that, notwithstanding any changes to regulations — or deregulation, if you will — we’ll continue to run the same program we’ve been running for the last six years,” Pyers said. “We will continue to drive third-party audit programs. We’ll continue to dig really deep, and stand up accountability and our incident report system. Candidly, we don’t plan any change in that which we are doing.”

The company’s transparency in 2017 has stretched to include cobalt mining for the first time, including a list of every cobalt supplier in its supply chain, all of which are facing third-party audits. Cobalt is not officially considered a conflict mineral, but recent investigations into the cobalt supply chain potentially violating child labor laws has led to tech companies joining up to form the Responsible Cobalt Initiative to fight the human rights abuses.

Pyers told BuzzFeed that, even in the face of lax legislation potentially passed by the White House, Apple will “continue to do what we’re doing” in regards to its annual Supplier Responsibility reports and audits. “We’ll continue to call for collective action because we truly believe, whether it’s regulated or self-regulated, this is the way business should be run, and the way we’ll continue to run our business.”

Read more about Apple’s Supplier Responsibility initiatives here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Wells Fargo Will Debut ATM Apple Pay Transactions ‘Later This Year’

Wells Fargo today has deployed card-free access to all 13,000 of its ATMs in the United States, while also announcing that transactions through NFC-enabled mobile wallets — including Apple Pay — will launch later this year. Customers will be able to make NFC withdrawals with Apple Pay, Wells Fargo Wallet, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay through a simple NFC-enabled tap and PIN authentication when the feature launches sometime in 2017.



Launching today, however, is Wells Fargo’s new One-Time Access Code feature, which lets customers authenticate at an ATM by entering an 8-digit code along with their debit or ATM card PIN, all without needing their physical card. To do so customers will log into the Wells Fargo app and choose “Card-Free ATM access” within Account Services to receive their 8-digit access code. After entering the code and their PIN, the company said that the ATM transaction process is the same as when using a physical card.

“At Wells Fargo, we believe the future is cardless, and the launch of One-Time Access Code provides our 20 million mobile banking customers another convenient way to manage money,” said Brett Pitts, head of digital for Virtual Channels. “This new ATM feature exemplifies Wells Fargo’s commitment to innovation.”

In addition to One-Time Access Code, later this year customers will be able to initiate a cardless ATM transaction with the “tap and pay” technology in an NFC-enabled smartphone. When this feature is live, a customer will be able to initiate a transaction by signing into a leading mobile wallet (Wells Fargo Wallet, Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay), and holding the phone near an NFC-enabled ATM terminal. Once authenticated, the customer will input their debit or ATM card PIN and complete their transaction.

Apple Pay support at Wells Fargo and Bank of America ATMs has been reported on for well over a year, with Bank of America adding in NFC Apple Pay withdrawals to around 2,400 of its ATMs last summer. Wells Fargo today didn’t mention a specific launch date for the debut of Apple Pay at its ATMs, but it did hint that the feature could launch on more than 5,000 of its machines in the U.S., which represent the number of its ATMs that are already NFC-enabled.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: Wells Fargo, ATMs

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T-Mobile’s JUMP! Upgrade Program Now Includes AppleCare+

T-Mobile customers who purchase a smartphone or tablet on an Equipment Installment Plan, which divides the cost into monthly payments, can enroll in JUMP! for $12 per month and upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet once half the cost of their current device is paid off. T-Mobile covers the remaining payments.



Now, the carrier has added a perk for iPhone and iPad owners that makes JUMP! more competitive with Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.

T-Mobile today announced that JUMP! now includes “AppleCare Services” for no additional charge. These services include typical AppleCare+ perks such as 24/7 priority access to AppleCare technical support via chat or phone and accidental damage coverage, including the same $29 fee for iPhone screen damage.

– 24/7 priority access to AppleCare technical support via chat or phone

– Low service fees such as $29 for iPhone screen damage

– $0 for battery service

– Apple-certified repair or replacement at Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers

– Hardware service with genuine Apple parts

– Software support for iOS, iCloud, and Apple-branded iOS apps

– Hardware repairs and service backed by Apple

By comparison, Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program spreads out the full cost of an iPhone into monthly payments over two years with zero percent interest, with the option to upgrade to a new iPhone after 12 payments. AppleCare+ is included at no additional charge. Monthly payments start at $32.41/month.

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TSMC to Begin Production of ‘iPhone 8’ and ‘iPhone 7s’ A11 Chip in April

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will begin volume production on Apple’s A11 chip in April, with a production capacity of 50 million units of the chip aimed to be completed before July. The A11 chip is slated to power the new iPhone lineup launching later in 2017, including what is believed to be iterative “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” updates, along with the specced-out “iPhone 8.”

The A11 chips will be built on a 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process and are packed with a “wafer-level integrated fan-out” technology, according to a report by the Economic Daily News (via DigiTimes). For the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, TSMC currently manufactures the A10 chip on a 16nm FinFET process. The jump to 10nm is tipped to yield chips that are more power efficient, and subsequently provide end user experiences that are snappier.



Before the end of 2017, TSMC is expected to “maintain a capacity” for producing a total of 100 million of Apple’s A11 chips.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will begin volume production of Apple’s A11 chips in April and will prepare a capacity for production of 50 million units of the chip before July, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

The A11 chips, which will power the upcoming iPhone series slated for launch in September 2017, will be built on a 10 nm FinFET process and packed with a wafer-level integrated fan-out (InFO) packaging technology, said the report.

Last summer it was confirmed that TSMC would become the sole supplier of the A11 chip, with the design of the chip reportedly being completed around that time as well. The supplier was also the sole maker of the A10 chip in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which ultimately helped lead TSMC to revenue growth towards the end of last year.

TSMC company spokesperson Michael Kramer earlier this month said that an official decision regarding the creation of a major production plant in the United States would now be held off until 2018. Kramer said the company would lose much of its “flexibility” if it moved production stateside, but if it does end up building a U.S. plant for the production of Apple chips it could become an investment worth upwards of $16 billion.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: TSMC, A11 chip

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UK Government Seeking Access to Encrypted Messaging Apps in Wake of London Attack

Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom’s home secretary, recently mentioned that it is “completely unacceptable” that the government could not gain access to messages stored on mobile applications protected by end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp. Rudd is calling for the UK police and other intelligence agencies to be given access to such apps to thwart any future terrorist plots, coming in the wake of the attack in London last week (via The Guardian).

Rudd’s next step is summoning leaders of various technology companies to a meeting with the UK government on March 30 “to discuss what to do.” The home secretary mentioned that the government would be willing to pass completely new legislation focusing on encrypted messaging and mobile apps if the talks this Thursday don’t go her way. Rudd referred to WhatsApp, and similar apps, as potential “secret places” for terrorists to hide.

But she stressed it was her desire to persuade internet and social media companies to cooperate voluntarily with the government on this and also the posting of extremist material online.

Rudd added: “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.

“We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”

Rudd’s focus on WhatsApp is spurned by information that Khalid Masood — the individual behind the London attacks outside Parliament — used the Facebook-owned messaging app just minutes before the attack. While police believe Masood worked alone, they are seeking as much information about him as possible, including what or who he might have messaged through WhatsApp. While the police know Masood opened WhatsApp before the attacks, it is unknown whether or not he sent or received any messages.

In a statement, WhatsApp itself said that it was “horrified” by the events in London and would be “cooperating with law enforcement” as events proceed. The situation in the United Kingdom has already drawn parallels to the Apple-FBI dispute that lasted a few months last year, with Rudd directly mentioning Apple CEO Tim Cook at one point in an interview with the BBC.

Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple which also uses end-to-end encryption, has previously said it would be “wrong” for governments to force Apple to “build a back door” into products. But Ms Rudd said: “I would ask Tim Cook to think again about other ways of helping us work out how we can get into the situations like WhatsApp on the Apple phone.”

Apple, and those that side with the company, argued last year that it would be a slippery slope to place a backdoor into iOS for the sole purpose of assisting the government in its anti-terrorism measures. The company said that a “master key” would be able to get information from any iPad and iPhone, despite the FBI saying that all it wanted was key information from the iPhone 5c at the center of the debate.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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