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03.23.17 | 6:21 am

Apple acquires iPhone and iPad automation app Workflow

The app allows users to combine functions and commands within and between apps to automate tasks. TechCrunch confirmed the deal, and shortly later the app makers released the statement:

"We are thrilled to be joining Apple. We've worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can't wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world."

Workflow has apparently been on Apple's radar for a while, winning an Apple Design Award in 2015 for its accessibility features. The Workflow app is now available as a free download.

03.23.17 | 6:13 am

Apple says it has not been hacked

Yesterday a report from Motherboard made the rounds saying Turkish hackers had infiltrated Apple's systems and obtained the user details of up to 627 million iCloud, Mobile Me, and dotmac email users. The hackers reportedly told Apple they would remotely wipe the iOS devices of those users unless Apple paid them $150,000.

Today Apple has told Fortune that "there have not been any breaches in any of Apple's systems including iCloud and Apple ID." The company went on to suggest that if the hackers actually did have the Apple ID user details they claim, "the alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services." Fortune speculates the hackers could have gotten the Apple ID email addresses from a previous LinkedIn breach.

03.22.17 | 6:28 am

In China, Apple isn’t advertising the red iPhone 7 is supporting an HIV/AIDS charity

The company has dropped the (Product)Red branding from its marketing and web pages in the country, reports TechCrunch. In the screenshot you can see even Apple's Chinese homepage doesn't mention the charity or that a portion of the funds the limited edition red iPhone 7 generates will be donated to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs. As TechCrunch notes, AIDS is a tricky subject both politically and socially in China, with the disease on the rise among gay men in the country despite the government's efforts to curb it.

Image: Apple

03.21.17 | 9:01 am

Apple wants you to “jazz up” your videos with its new Clips editing software for iOS

Anyone who's ever been forced to sit through random clips of their friends' pets knew this was a problem that needed solving. Apple is trying to make short-form video editing a bit easier and more aesthetically pleasing with its new Clips app for iOS. Announced today, the app lets people sift through clips, photos, and music to piece together edited videos on thier iPhones or iPads. Even more interesting is that Apple has done the very un-Apple-like thing of making the videos easily sharable on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks, basically acknowledging that shareable video is one area where life exists outside of the all-powerful Apple ecosystem (something a lot of us already knew). Read more about Apple Clips here.

Photo: Apple

03.21.17 | 6:59 am

Apple is probably just hours away from unveiling new iPads

The company has taken its online store offline, replacing it with the pun-laden message "We've got something special in store for you." That "something special" is most likely new iPads, including a new 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro and an all-new 10.5-inch bezel-less iPad.

Image: Apple

03.20.17 | 7:24 am

Apple is reportedly working on tons of AR features for the iPhone

A new report out from Bloomberg sheds more light on Apple's interest in augmented reality, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans. The sources say Apple sees augmented reality as its next major market, which could even be set to replace the iPhone.

The report states that Apple has hundreds of engineers and experts in the fields of AR hardware, 3D gaming, and virtual reality software including veterans from Dolby Laboratories, Oculus, and Microsoft's HoloLens product leading the AR charge at the company. While wearable AR glasses are on Apple's product roadmap, the first AR offerings from Apple are likely to be added to the iPhone's camera:

One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person's head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works.

03.17.17 | 6:18 am

Apple is building two more R&D centers in China

The company announced on its Chinese website that it will build the additional R&D centers in Shanghai and Suzhou. The new R&D centers will join its existing ones already in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park and Shenzhen, reports MacRumors. The move is part practical and part charm offensive. Apple needs talented Chinese experts to work with its regional supply chain in the country, and it also needs to cozy up more with the government in China, which in the past few years has ordered the closure of its iBooks and iTunes stores.

03.16.17 | 11:48 am

No Echo required: Alexa is coming to Amazon’s iPhone app

Amazon is about to let anyone with an iPhone talk to its Alexa virtual assistant. By pressing the microphone button in Amazon's shopping app, users will be able to purchase items, play music, check the weather, ask trivia questions, and control smart home devices by voice. (Some of those skills will require setup in the separate Alexa app or website.) The update should roll out over the next week.

While we've seen some third-party apps try to offer Alexa in the past, they've had limited capabilities and slower response times than the Amazon Echo speaker. Amazon's own app promises the full Alexa experience—except that you'll have to unlock your phone, open an app, and press a button before barking out a command. Smartphones with slicker Alexa integration are on the way, but it's safe to assume the iPhone won't be among them.

Photo: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns

03.15.17 | 7:52 am

Apple found guilty of price-fixing in Russia

The country's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said the iPhone maker instructed retailers to maintain the suggested retail price of the iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus. Failure to do so could have led to Apple terminating the retailers' contracts, the BBC reports. The head of the FAS said that "Apple actively co-operated" with the investigation and already "adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law." It is unclear whether Apple will be fined for the violations.

03.09.17 | 6:14 am

Conan skewers Republicans with a fake ad for Apple Healthcare

The fake ad comes after House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), regarding the GOP's Obamacare replacement plan, told CNN: "You know what, Americans have choices. And they've got to make a choice. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care."

03.08.17 | 5:58 am

The iPhone 8 might be called the “iPhone Edition”

The "Edition" moniker could signal Apple's next flagship will cost much more than the average iPhone (Hmm, perhaps $1,000 more?), reports MacRumors. The rumored name takes its title from the Apple Watch Edition, which offers better hardware and specs, but costs more than the normal Apple Watch.

Image: Courtesy of Apple

03.01.17 | 9:56 am

Siri is a little confused about Mother’s Day this year

Don't panic, Americans. You didn't forget Mother's Day. But if you ask Siri for a reminder, you may be led astray. Thanks to an apparent glitch, some Apple iPhone users are reporting that Siri is giving them the wrong date for Mother's Day. Some are being told it was Sunday, February 12, while others are being told it's Sunday, February 11, 2018. In reality, it's Sunday, May 14—in the United States, anyway. For the record, February 12 was Mother's Day in Norway.

Here's a nice video demonstration.

I reached out to Apple to ask about the glitch and what may be causing it. I'll report back if I hear back. In the meantime, the best part about this whole thing is how Hallmark has immediately capitalized on it with a direct link to Mother's Day greeting cards. Relax—you have plenty of time.