Tag Archives: Apple

The Apocalypticon ~ China bans N, Apple, right smell, measles, thawing, net neutrality, Democrat rebuttal, aliens and flowers

Chia bans ‘n’ [see my little joke there? I meant’t ChiNa’ … LOLs or what?]. It is the 14th letter in the English alphabet, but for the Communist party of China it is also a subversive and intolerable character that was this week banished from the internet as Chinese censors battled to silence criticism of Xi Jinping’s bid to set himself up as ruler for life [from now on, shouldn’t he be known as ‘Xi Ji_pi_g’?]. The contravening consonant was perhaps the most unusual victim of a crackdown targeting words, phrases and even solitary letters censors feared might be used to attack Beijing’s controversial decision to abolish constitutional term limits for China’s president. And before you can say ‘1984‘ (by that master of prescience George Orwell), that and Animal Farm have been banned too. [All I can exclaim is ‘You Nnnnnnitwits!]
In other worrisome Oriental moves, Apple has moved its Chinese encryption keys to China, worrying privacy advocates. [Coz, you know, authoritarianism, privacy and all that].
But hey, Apple is also doing shit things in the West! A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it’s relying on Google’s public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services. You know, Apple the Great Protector of Privacy is housing its data with supposed ‘enemy’ Google – which makes most of its money from selling people’s private information.

Dictators stink. Really. A new study published in Royal Society Open Science suggests that one seemingly unrelated behavioural quirk might have played a small role in people voting for authoritarian figures like Trump, or ‘voting’ for Xi Jipig, for that matter: an abject hatred of body odour. [Conversely, now you can presumably smell a right-winger coming: they’l be liberally soused in deodorant.] The more disgusted you feel about things, the more likely you tend to be conservative [Trump uses the word ‘disgusted’ really really often, although not as often as he uses the word ‘really’]. This adds in to the fear-response research that predicts voting patterns.

North Korea didn’t do it, Russia did — Russian military spies hacked several hundred computers used by authorities at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea according to US intelligence. They did so while trying to make it appear as though the intrusion was conducted by North Korea, what is known as a ‘false-flag’ operation [or, as I prefer, an ‘evil conniving move’].

Aussie takes measles to New York City — Measles has just visited the Big Apple, and public health officials are warning the city’s small unvaccinated population to be on guard. An Australian tourist was confirmed to be carrying the viral disease days into their trip. [I made up a new word for this but didn’t use it. I was going to write ‘Aussie Measelates New York’. Yeah, don’t thank me, it’s cool.]

Thee-thaw — Camp Century, under the thick ice of Greenland, was always an audacious scheme. Just 1287 kms (800 miles) from the North Pole, the US military built a hidden base of ice tunnels, imagined as an extensive network of railway tracks, stretching over 4000 kms (2500 miles), that would keep 600 nuclear missiles buried under the ice. Construction began in 1959, under cover of a scientific research project, and soon a small installation, powered by a nuclear reactor, nested in the ice sheet. Except the ice is thawing … the now-melting ice sheet threatens to mobilize the dangerous pollutants left behind.
And Norway is spending millions to keep its ‘ice vault’ cool. Even though it’s located in the Arctic Circle, Svalbard’s temperature is expected to increase from an average -5.9C to 3.3C, and rainfall is expected to increase by 40%, by the year 2100. Ironically, the facility designed to safeguard seeds in the event of climate change is being threatened … by climate change.

Net neutrality — I don’t really get it, not because I’ve tried, unfortunately, but because I haven’t. Anyway, now there’s a guide for simpletons like me. And while we’re at it, those of you [like me] who follow America under Trump like a slo-motion train wreck you can’t take your eyes away from, there’s also an article about what to take away from the Democrats’ rebuttal memo.

And the good news … if aliens come, try offering them a bunch of flowers. Awww. 


The Apocalypticon ~ Ideal population size, radiation, hacking, slacking, cryptojacking, Polygamy, Apple and fighting climate change

Earth might be looking a little worse for wear, after the last four-hundred years of reckless wide-scale resource extraction, but to its credit it hasn’t collapsed entirely. Despite our best efforts, it continues to gamely welcome our rapidly expanding population, barring the occasional earthquake. Whether the planet might be a little better off with fewer of us is a different question, a freighted one: what would the planet’s population size would be in an ideal world?
If the French lifestyle as the benchmark, we would need to reduce the world population to about 3 billion people (4.6 billion less than today’s population). If the USA, the world population would need to be reduced to 1.9 billion. Oh, darn. 

Flying irradiates you — Many flyers don’t know that soaring miles above Earth also takes us out of a vital protective cocoon and a little closer to a place where our cells can be pummeled by radiation from colliding stars, black holes and more. You can’t see these high-energy charged particles, but at any given moment, tens of thousands of them are soaring through space and slamming into Earth’s atmosphere from all directions. These rays don’t pose much of a risk to humans on Earth’s surface, since the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field shield us from most of the threat. But if you fly a lot

Bot finds Nazi accounts: Twitter banned the bot and kept the Nazi accounts — After a week of testing, Impostor Buster was born. Using a crowdsourced database of impersonator accounts, carefully curated to avoid any false positives, the bot patrolled Twitter and interjected whenever impostors tried to insinuate themselves into a discussion. Within days, this golem for the digital age had become a runaway success, garnering thousands of followers and numerous press write-ups. The developers received countless thank-yous from alerted would-be victims.
So Twitter sided with the Nazis: in April, the service suspended Impostor Buster without explanation and reinstated it only after being contacted by the ADL’s cyber-hate team. This month, Twitter suspended the bot again [link is paywalled NY Times], and this time refused to revive it.

Cryptojacking, which exploded in popularity this fall, has an ostensibly worthy goal: use an untapped resource to create an alternative revenue stream for games or media sites, and reduce reliance on ads. It works by embedding a JavaScript component in a website that can leverage a visiting device’s processing power to mine a cryptocurrency (usually Monero). Each visitor might only do a tiny bit of mining while they’re there, but every user lending some hash power over time can generate real money. And users might not even notice what’s happening. In theory, it can be a win-win.
Talking about Cryptocurrency, where did Wikileak’s Bitcoin go? The transparency organization may be sitting on a stockpile of bitcoin valued at around US$25 million, and has likely exchanged several other large cryptocurrency caches for fiat cash, according to two sources who independently analysed WikiLeaks’s bitcoin transactions. So where is the ‘transparency organization’ spending the fortune that the public blockchain indicates it has?

Fighting ‘wrongful views’ in Vietnam — Vietnam is deploying a 10,000-member military cyber warfare unit to combat what the government sees as a growing threat of “wrongful views” proliferating on the internet,. Force 47 has worked pro-actively against distorted information, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing Nguyen Trong Nghia, deputy head of the general politics department under the Vietnam People’s Military. The disclosure of the unit comes as the Communist government pressures YouTube and Facebook to remove videos and accounts seen damaging the reputations of leaders or promoting anti-party views like this one: Hey Vietnam, totalitarianism sucks! All it does is conceal the corruption of the ruling class. 

Russia taking US biometric data — Biometric data belonging to millions of Americans may or may not be at risk – but it is frankly unclear – based on a BuzzFeed report. At least two experts are concerned, though, the report says.

But now Russia is accusing the US of (LOL!) meddling in its elections! Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused the US of a “direct interference in our electoral process and internal affairs” following the State Department’s criticism of Russia’s decision to bar opposition leader Alexey Navalny from running in the upcoming presidential election against Vladimir Putin.
In a statement shared with Business Insider last Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson expressed concern over the Russian government’s “ongoing crackdown against independent voices, from journalists to civil society activists and opposition politicians.” “These actions indicate the Russian government has failed to protect space in Russia for the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement said. “More broadly, we urge the government of Russia to hold genuine elections that are transparent, fair, and free and that guarantee the free expression of the will of the people, consistent with its international human rights obligations.”
Zakharova pushed back. “And these people expressed outrage over alleged Russian ‘interference’ in their electoral process for an entire year?!” she said.

Is there a link between polygamy and war? Men in South Sudan typically marry as often as their wealth – often measured in cattle – will allow. Perhaps 40% of marriages are polygamous. If you ask them the reason for the violence, locals will blame tribalism, greedy politicians, weak institutions and perhaps the oil wealth which gives warlords something to fight over. All true, but not the whole story. Wherever it is widely practised, polygamy (specifically polygyny, the taking of multiple wives) destabilises society, largely because it is a form of inequality which creates an urgent distress in the hearts, and loins, of young men.
‘Gosh, I like your big new cow.’

Apple caved, finally recognising it will have to do more to calm customers’ ire after admitting to, and then apologizing for slowing down their old iPhones. Apple wrote: “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologise.” To that end, the company has slashed the price of battery replacements for iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 devices from $US80 to $US30.
Cook showed his heartfelt contrition by accepting a huge pay rise. Yes, that is what ‘cynical’ means. 

Oh, so where does all this malaise leaves us? Planning to survive a future we have profoundly tainted by what we do, how we buy and who we vote, or don’t vote, for.

No more MagBytes, no more Apple news

Hi there and goodbye-ish — as I explained in MagBytes 93 that I released yesterday, I have no more time for monthly MagBytes (at least 8 hours work) and for daily Apple news updates and for weekly Friday tips. My working life has taken over, and since Apple no longer shows me products, I no longer feel qualified to talk about them.

It’s been a fun and rewarding pastime; thank you for your attention and support over the last ten years.

Here are some of the reactions (senders’ names withheld):

Like a lot of people I for one am very sorry to see it go. I totally understand your decision and I bet it took a lot of thought before you came to this end.
Always looked forward to all your communications, even had an alert in my calendar to remind me to check if needed. I could never understand how in the world you kept it all up, as some of your replies came very late at night. So although I am sorry to not get Magbytes any more, I say go for it.
One door closes, another one opens is a saying that does seem to happen.
I hope we can stay friends and when I have said thank you in the past, I really meant it, for  I felt you must have been up against it sometimes.
All the best.

The whole world is ‘changing’ it seems… so you are no exception to the avant-garde.  
Thank you for the excellent information received over the years since we met. I have all your Magbytes on file for easy access to the Apple world when, like you, time permits, for my limited knowledge to decipher.
Just a thought.. for the moments of your creative imagination… many of us in the Apple world need someone like you to set up an Apple training school on line. ‘We’… the Apple lovers of the older generation… have the toys, but do not have the school or the skill of the teenagers. But we’ll pay to learn. Could you put your Apple training school online… you’d only need to update when something really new comes out. So please consider…PLEASE!
Wishing you all the best at MOTAT… Christmas… 2018… and…the new online adventure!

Hi Mark,
As one of the many people who have benefited from your expertise over the years I’d like to thank you.
Every time I’ve asked you for advice or information I’ve had a quick and useful reply.
Not being that tech savvy, but having owned a Mac since about 1992, in the past few years I’ve come to rely on MagBytes to keep me up to date with current advice and information.
It seems to me a real shame you cannot continue use your talents as a Mac ambassador.
My retirement field is photography and we visit MOTAT as a source of interesting subjects. Hopefully next time I can say hello.
Once again thanks for making such a valuable contribution to my technical life and good luck for the future.
If you ever start up again please let me know.
Best wishes.

Hi Mark,
Well a sad day today with the news you are stopping your daily Mac info etc.
I for one have appreciated all the work you  have done here and for the advice you have given me in times of trouble or needed some help.
I do see why you are doing this and I wish you all the very best in your job, which I must say I would also fined very interesting.
I think I can say that there will be  a lot of sad people who use Macs out there with this news.
As far as my keyboard is concerned my space bar is intermittent and can drive you up the wall if you do not keep an eye on the spaces between words.
I followed advice found by searching, it’s a common problem too, but if the bluetooth is connected and battery levels are good then Apple say that’s it, a new keyboard in required. (Wireless 2015 or later here).
At the moment it is working but if it fails again I am off the the store.
Thank you for all you have done and I imagine it is sad for you too. You are right in that there is very little Mac support available here where one can get some answers to problems etc without taking it to places like the iStore.
Good luck.

Thanks, Mark, for everything you have done for fellow Apple users over many years – always interesting and informative.
Your daily news and MagBytes will be very much missed here.
All the best.

Thanks Mark. That has been a long involvement. I was a subscriber to MacGuide and have really appreciated all your advice, reviews and everything over the years on paper and online. Have a restful Xmas and New Year. Kind regards.

So sorry to see this. I have enjoyed this news very much but understand that life can take over sometimes! Cheers.

Thank you and all the best for the future.

And thank you to all for these kind words! M

MagBytes 93 is here … and it’s the last one.

Here is MagBytes 93, the final issue. I am sorry everyone who enjoys this effort of mine, but I no longer have time to do this, and I will also be cutting my Apple news updates dramatically, and no more Friday tips, as I explain in MagBytes 93 on Page 9. I thank you for your support over the last ten years but I simply cannot sustain this any longer.

I will continue to write commentary on Apple when it’s relevant and I have the time on Mac NZ, I will continue to write reviews. I will continue with Futurology and The Apocalypticon (on weekends) as they support my other interests.

Please download MagBytes 93 from this link —>> Issue93November17

Fusion Guitar, iPhone X quitting, iCloud Drive files, Apple TV 4K

Fusion Guitar is a new iPhone/iPad integrated electric guitar — Fusion Guitar is a new iPhone/iPod-integrated, portable, wireless electric guitar with built-in amp, battery and speakers. It’s available at a special holiday price of US$899 through December 24 with promo code:  ROCK-N-ROLL-SANTA-FG.
Designed by guitarists for guitarists, the Fusion Guitar gives the ability to practice and play on the go, around the campfire, impromptu creative sessions, on the streets or at the next big show, says Dave McAuld, Fusion Guitar founder and designer.
Fusion Guitar eliminates the need for multiple hardware devices: amplifier, speakers, foot pedals, power supply, multiple cables, a computer and computer-guitar interface. It’s compatible with a range of guitar digital effect and recording apps like JamUp or AmpliTube. Fusion Guitar supports the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, iPhone 5 and 5s, iPod touch (5th and 6th generations) but it’s currently only shipping in the US.

How to make app quitting more like the iPhone 7 and 8 on iPhone X — There’s more than one way to quit apps on the iPhone X once you know the right gesture. It isn’t quite as smooth as quitting apps on an iPhone 7 or 8, which is kind of weird because it could be just as simple. Check out TMO’s video showing how app quitting works on the iPhone X.

How to recover (or remove) recently deleted files from iCloud Drive —If you’re using iCloud’s Desktop and Documents syncing feature, then you should know that anything you delete from those locations is recoverable for up to 30 days on either iCloud.com or within the Files app on iOS. Here’s how to view those files– or delete them forever.

Most everything to know about Apple TV 4K — The Apple TV 4K (5th generation) shipped on September 22, 2017. The 32 GB model is widely available online at Apple, Apple retail stores and Best Buy – to name a few. Physically, it is very similar to the 4th generation model. The difference is that it has ventilation slots on the bottom. In terms of the connectors on the back, they are exactly the same …

Root vulnerability, Pixelmator Pro, Photoshop tease, Similar Pic Finder, iTunes Connect downtime, Docking Station

Pixelmator Pro for Mac is now available

Apple issues macOS High Sierra update to fix password-less root vulnerability — Apple has released a special security update for macOS High Sierra, solving a recently uncovered flaw which would let people gain root access without entering a password.
The patch, Security Update 2017-001, should be available through the Updates tab in the Mac App Store. After installation, the build number of High Sierra will be 17B1002.
Apple notes that if people require a root user account on their Mac, they can create one and assign a password through System Preferences.
Apple also issued a statement to The Loop on the misstep.

Pixelmator Pro debuts with powerful image editing tools, machine learning tech — The developers behind popular image editing app Pixelmator on Tuesday released Pixelmator Pro for Mac, a new title that takes advantage of Apple APIs like Metal 2 and Core Image to deliver GPU-powered tools, machine learning features and more.
Codenamed ‘Whirlwind,’ Pixelmator Pro was first announced in September as a next-generation Mac image editor with hooks into Apple’s latest graphics platforms, as well as advanced in-house technology designed to turbocharge editing workflows.
Pixelmator Pro version 1.0 requires macOS High Sierra and a Metal-compatible graphics card. The app is available now from the Mac App Store for NZ$89.99/US$59.99 (the consumer version of Pixelmator is NZ$21.99). [Since it has Layer support, I can buy this and drop my damn Adobe subscription …]

Adobe demonstrates future Photoshop tool that uses machine learning to select image subjects — Adobe has teased one of the AI-based features coming to Photoshop in the future, with the ‘Select Subject’ function simplifying the selection of an object, person, or animal in a scene, using machine learning to determine what is likely to be the main focus of an image. [See above … Pixelmator Pro already has Machine Learning, and doesn’t need a subscription. Note that I wouldn’t be so down on Adobe if it didn’t put it’s bloody subscription prices up every six months.]

B-Eng debuts Similar Pic Finder 1.0 for macOS — B-Eng has introduced Similar Pic Finder 1.0, a duplicate image discovery utility for macOS. It tracks down duplicates and copies of pictures. Similar Pic Finder requires macOS 10.10 or later. It costs NZ$2.99/US$1.99 and is available at the Mac App Store.

Apple schedules downtime for iTunes Connect — Apple has scheduled downtime for iTunes Connect from December 23rd-27th, so its employees can celebrate the holidays. iTunes Connect is a suite of web-based tools for managing content sold on iTunes, the iBooks Store, and the various app stores.

IOGEAR Compact USB-C Docking Station with PD Pass-Thru a great accessory — If you have a 12-inch MacBook and find it frustrating that it only packs one USB-C port, consider the US$99.95 IOGEAR Compact USB-C Docking Station with PD Pass-Thru [currently that’s about NZ$145, but check if the power supply works in NZ].
It’s also useful for expanding the connectivity options on the latest MacBook Pros as well. Through a single USB-C connection, it lets you connect monitors, a full-sized keyboard and mouse, external hard drives, printers, webcams and more. Easy to set up, the all-in-one dock serves up a total of 10 ports. The docking station is equipped with memory card readers for SD/MicroSD memory cards for quick access to your data. With two USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports, you can connect an array of USB Type-A peripherals.

Apple’s media plans, Safari mutes, sales continue

(Image from The Outline)

Analyst reckons Apple will spend $4.2 billion annually on original video content by 2022 — Apple will spend $4.2 billion per year on original video content by 2022, according to a report by Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster [in whom I have title confidence, please note]. If he’s right, that will be a major increase on the $1 billion that the tech giant will purportedly spend in 2018, although the amount is still smaller than Netflix and Amazon’s video budgets.

How to mute and unmute audio in Safari tabs in macOS High Sierra — macOS High Sierra’s Safari lets you mute audio in any open tabs. You can do this right from the Smart Search field, so there’s no need to click through all your tabs to locate the one you want to silence. If you’re viewing a tab that’s not playing audio, the Audio button in the Smart Search field is white with a blue outline. If the tab is playing audio, the Audio button is solid blue.

Sales continue all week at OWC — One of the worlds premium brands for Mac equipment, Other World Computing, is continuing its MacSales.com Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales all week. OWC ships to New Zealand.

New Store for Brooklyn — Apple has announced it will open a new retail store in Downtown Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Apple Store will be located in the 300 Ashland building in the Fort Greene neighbourhood. This is Apple’s second retail store in Brooklyn, the first one being in Williamsburg that opened in July 2016. [A sure sign of gentrification.]

YouTube support channel, IT workaround, Pokémon GO accidents

Apple launches Apple Support YouTube Channel — The video site is home to videos that cover assorted iOS and watchOS tips and tricks (no macOS items yet). Topics include Add a Photo Filter in Camera, Use the Doc on Your iPad, Send a Message With the Echo Effect, Share Activity with the Apple Watch and more. The channel, called Apple Support, currently consists of ten brief videos explaining how to perform basic functions within iOS 11.
[Perfect timing for me – see MagBytes 93, due this week.]

Apple offers temporary workaround for iOS 11 bug autocorrecting ‘it’ to ‘I.T.’ — Apple is currently coping with hundreds of complaints about an autocorrect bug in iOS 11, causing the word “it” to be autocorrected to “I.T.”
While only some people are being affected, those that are are finding themselves having to manually select “it” as a QuickType suggestion, or else backspace to retype. In some cases, complaints appear to stretch back to September.
Apple is said to be recommending that people reset their keyboard dictionaries by going into the iOS Settings app, then tapping General, Reset, and “Reset Keyboard Dictionary.” After a reboot the glitch may disappear, but not everyone has had success with this method.
The next best solution likely involves turning off autocorrection, but that can be problematic for people typing on an iPhone, particularly smaller models like the 8 or SE.
Apple is presumably planning to patch the bug in a forthcoming update. Earlier this month the company released iOS 11.1.1 to fix another autocorrect bug, which was causing the letter “i” to be changed into an “A” and a question mark. The issue was widespread enough that it was briefly spoofed in pop culture.

Researchers say Pokémon GO has caused 145,000 traffic accidents — Two professors from Purdue University have published a study that suggests Pokémon GO has caused as many as 145,000 traffic accidents. The study titled Death by Pokémon GO was based on statistics from one county in Indiana between March 1st, 2015, and November 30th, 2016. Pokémon GO was released in July of 2016, earning some 100 million downloads in its first month alone.

X lens, YouTube solves drain, ABBYY deal, Grid Autosport, Foosball apps

Apple supplier smooths out lens production for iPhone X cameras — Apple supplier Genius Electronic Optical is reportedly improving its production yields for lens modules on the iPhone X, which may help to explain the rapid reduction in the product’s shipping times.
Genius has refined its yields for both the phone’s regular 7-megapixel front-facing camera and the TrueDepth 3D-sensing system, DigiTimes sources claimed on Monday. The firm’s earnings per share hit their highest monthly level in five years during October.

YouTube hammers out battery drain problem with iPhone app in latest update — The iOS YouTube app update issued on Monday rectifies the dramatic battery drain that manifested not only when the app was actively being used to watch videos, but when it was idle in the background as well.

ABBYY has a deal — 3 apps together for just $9.99. ABBYY specialises in OCR apps.

Grid Autosport — Feral Interactive’s car racing game for iOS has just arrived for iPhone and iPad.

Five foosball game apps for iOS — Every fooser has to have a foosball application on his phone. I want to offer you the list of five foosball games made for Apple (available at the Apple App Store) so there are no excuses why haven’t you already installed the most amazing game of foosball on your phone. Each and every one of those games will offer you great gaming experience, reckons Apple World Today, you just have to pick one.

Mac games uptick, Scrivener 3, Photos Tagger, Cyber Monday

Mac games rise and you can find bargains — Have you noticed that more and more Mac gaming torrent sites are popping up? Clearly, the demand for Mac games is growing. However, piracy is wrong. Plus, torrent sites are dangerous for you and your Mac, especially when there are better alternatives out there. So forget about Mac games torrents, and check out this advice instead.

Hands On: Scrivener 3.0 further refines the writing, research process on the Mac — AppleInsider gets a published author to take a look at the Scrivener update, with new highlights including a much called-for rewrite of the app’s Compile feature, and an interface modernisation.

Brattoo Propaganda Software debuts Photos Tagger for macOS — Brattoo Propaganda Software has introduced Photos Tagger, a new addition to their applications suite.
Photos Tagger extracts the meta data from the Photos software database, and applies it to your photos as keywords. The app is designed to make it easier to find and organize your pictures.
Photos Tagger requires macOS 10.9 or later and Photos 2.x or higher. It costs US$7.95. A demo is available for download.

Cyber Monday deals — Being New Zealand, these have come through on our Tuesday. TechTool Pro is on special, MacProVideo has deals on subscriptions (US$75 a year) and instructional downloads, and Italian V-Moda headphones have 40% off the Crossfade Wireless version.

Apple’s iMac Pro – what to expect

Everything you need to know about Apple’s iMac Pro in under 6 minutes — AppleInsider goes through every new detail, feature and rumoured specification related to Apple’s upcoming iMac Pro in a video.
Apple has already confirmed a major refresh of the Mac Pro coming in 2018, but little is known about the next-generation desktop, which will likely require users to buy a display separately. If you want one as good as the recent 5K iMacs, it’s going to cost upwards of $1,300 just for the screen alone.
Now comes Apple’s brand new iMac Pro, due to release in December.

[It’s pretty quiet in Apple news today as it has been Thanksgiving weekend in the US.]

Holiday ad, X shipment times, ringtone sources, South Korean raid, Foxconn ‘halts’ illegal work

Apple celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas with Sway ad featuring iPhone X, AirPods — Apple has started its holiday advertising blitz with a new music-centric video featuring the AirPods, and the iPhone X and an enraptured couple dancing in the snow. [Saw a guy the other day on a plane with AirPods in, and at first glance I thought he’d put cigarettes in his ears as sound suppressors, lol!]

iPhone X shipment times improve to 1-2 weeks ahead of holidays — Just in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, Apple has updated iPhone X ship-by times to one to two weeks, a one-week improvement over previous delivery estimates offered earlier this month.

Where to find iPhone ringtones for iOS 11 besides iTunes — There are plenty of places to get iPhone ringtones apart from iTunes. Apps like Zedge have been popular for years, and there are other apps as well. The Mac Observer has found three apps that have cool ringtones and alert tones.

Six must-have iPhone apps for holiday travel — Holiday travel can be pretty hectic, but it’s possible to cut out at least a little of the stress. Check out these iPhone apps that can make your travels easier and your trip experience more fun.

Apple’s South Korean offices raided by authorities ahead of regional iPhone X launch — South Korean authorities have reportedly conducted a raid of Apple’s offices in the country earlier this week, with investigators said to have questioned the company about its business affairs just days before the launch of the iPhone X in the country, which could raise questions concerning the government’s animosity for competitors of local manufacturers, such as main rival Samsung.

Foxconn puts halt to illegal overtime at iPhone X plant — Apple supplier Foxconn in a statement on Thursday said it has stopped high school interns from working overtime at an iPhone plant in China, a practice that violates the country’s labour laws. [Apple’s use of this company is another moral indictment against it.]

Black Friday Apple, more deals, tax crackdown, self-driver paper

Apple offers gift cards with iPhone, Mac purchases in New Zealand (and Australia) for Black Friday — Apple has commenced its Black Friday shopping deals in New Zealand and Australia, providing customers with gift cards if they purchase Apple products through the online and retail Apple Stores during November 24, with similar deals likely to be offered in a number of other regions when each country reaches midnight.
Described on the Australian and New Zealand Apple websites as a ‘One-day shopping event‘, visitors are advised they can receive a gift card worth up to NZ$210 ($144) or A$210 ($160) with the purchase of “selected Apple gifts” (some iPhones, iPads and Apple Watch series 1, plus five models of Mac). Customers are limited to a maximum of two gift cards under the promotion, making the maximum combined value of gift cards attainable in the offer NZ$420 ($289) or A$420 ($320) for each respective region.

Here are some more deals for you — It’s Friday here already, so … MacPhun’s Aurora photo software is normally NZ$138; it’s on sale for NZ$122, and comes with 40 HDR presets, a Trey Ratcliffe video and an imagery eBook. Apple Insider has a key to getting the best deals, although many will not be relevant to Antipodeans, and there are early Black Friday deals from Smile (30% off on both PDFpen and TextExpander), and from Pad & Quill cases (15% off) plus MacPhun’s Luminar 2018 is just US$69, and this price includes US$130 worth of bonuses for free. There are also some good deals on HomeSpot USB-C hubs, but you’ll have to factor in shipping.

UK government to initiate tax crackdown on tech firms holding earnings offshore — The UK Treasury has said it will begin cracking down on large corporations that shift British earnings overseas in a bid to avoid the country’s high taxes, a move that follows a wider European Union strategy seeking much the same. Along with big-name corporations like McDonalds, the initiative targets tech companies like Apple and Google, which use complex accounting strategies to skirt high taxes.

Apple posts research paper about self-driving cars — Apple has posted research on how self-driving cars can better spot objects while using fewer sensors. It appears to be the company’s first publicly disclosed paper on autonomous vehicles.