Apple CEO Tim Cook Again Urges Congress to Take Action on DACA

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch today teamed up to write an opinion piece in The Washington Post urging Congress to create a legislative solution to protect those affected by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA, for those unfamiliar, gives illegal immigrants who entered the United States at age 16 or younger work permits and protection from deportation by two-year deferral. Many of those protected by DACA have been in the United States for most of their lives.


Cook and Koch say they often disagree on political issues, but are "firmly aligned" on DACA. "This extraordinary set of circumstances has brought the two of us together as co-authors," reads the letter.

In the missive, Cook and Koch point out that there are 690,000 "dreamers" aka children of immigrants who may not be able to enjoy another holiday season in the United States as a result of DACA. The two urge Congress to "show the courage to embrace diversity and to do what is right."
We have no illusions about how difficult it can be to get things done in Washington, and we know that people of good faith disagree about aspects of immigration policy. If ever there were an occasion to come together to help people improve their lives, this is it. By acting now to ensure that dreamers can realize their potential by continuing to contribute to our country, Congress can reaffirm this essential American ideal.
Cook and Koch ask Congress to work quickly to come up with a solution before the end of the year to "bring certainty and security to the lives of dreamers."
No society can truly flourish when a significant portion of its people feel threatened or unable to fulfill their potential. Nor can it prosper by excluding those who want to make positive contributions. This isn't just a noble principle; it's a basic fact, borne out through our national history.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been advocating for new DACA legislation since United States President Donald Trump announced plans to phase out DACA back in September. At that time, he promised Apple would work with members of Congress to come up with a legislative solution that will continue to protect the children of immigrants.

Apple is also working with impacted Apple employees to provide support, including access to immigration experts. Apple employs 250 "dreamers" or children of illegal immigrants who came to the United States at a young age and have lived in the country since then.

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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Apple Now Offering Free Next-Day Delivery of Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

Apple's online store is now offering free next-day delivery for all in-stock items ordered by 3 p.m. local time on December 22 in the United States.


Apple normally offers free two-day delivery for most products, but it expands free next-day delivery to all in-stock items towards the end of every holiday shopping season to help customers purchase last-minute gifts in time for Christmas.

Most products and accessories purchased from an Apple retail store and/or received from Apple's online store between November 15 and December 25 of this year are eligible for return until January 8, 2018 in the United States.

Apple shared its 2017 gift guide in November, with ideas ranging from the Apple Watch and iPhone X to Sphero's R2-D2 and BB-9E drones.

Other gifts under $200 that an Apple fan is likely to appreciate include the Apple TV 4K, AirPods, BeatsX, an official Apple-branded iPhone case, Apple Watch bands, or simply an Apple Store or Apple Music gift card.
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Episodic Game ‘Life is Strange’ Available for Pre-Order on iOS Ahead December 14 Launch

Life is Strange, a popular episodic narrative-style game that was first released in 2015, is finally coming to iOS devices on December 14.

Life is Strange follows the story of Max Caulfield, a photography student who discovers she can rewind time. Players help Caulfield investigate the disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber, using Max's time-rewinding abilities to look for clues and make choices to progress through the storyline. Based on the choices made in game, there are multiple endings to discover.


On iOS devices, the game includes exclusive Life is Strange iMessage stickers and a new photo mode for taking pictures while playing. Unique social features are also included, such as the ability to share progress on social media and compare story choices with friends.

There are a total of five Life is Strange episodes, with the first priced at $2.99. Episodes 2 and 3 are available as in-app purchases, with Square Enix planning to release episodes 4 and 5 in 2018. Customers can save 10 percent on episodes 2 to 5 by purchasing the Season Pass bundle.

Life is Strange works on the iPhone 6 and later, the iPad Air 2 and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later.

While Life is Strange will not be released until tomorrow, it is currently available for pre-order from the App Store using the newly released pre-order feature. [Direct Link]
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Things 3.3 Update Brings New ‘Mail to Things’ Feature to the To-Do App

Popular to-do app Things was updated today, bringing a new feature that enables users to add to-dos to the app from non-Apple devices.

Previously, Things offered four ways to add to-dos: Quick Entry, Siri, 3D Touch, and the Add to Things extension. However, these methods are only available from within the Apple ecosystem. For this reason, version 3.3 introduces Mail to Things – a feature that allows users to send an email to the Things Cloud, where it will be automatically converted into a to-do for them.


The Mail to Things feature basically means users can get access to "Quick Entry" from other platforms, such as their Windows PC at work, or an Android phone. It also gives them the option of giving their @things.email address to a partner or colleague for delegating to-dos to them.

To enable the new feature on the Things mobile app, users need to open Settings, located at the bottom of the interface, and toggle on the Mail to Things option, after which a private @things.email address will be allocated for them to use. The same option can be found on macOS within the Things app preferences.

Emails sent to the address are converted into to-dos and placed into the user's Inbox. The main thing to remember when sending messages to Things Cloud is that the email's subject becomes the to-do's title, and the rest goes into the notes. (At present, there's no way to set tags or any other metadata via email.)

A few other things are worth noting. If an email is longer than 2,000 characters, it will be truncated by Things. Also, the app only supports plain text, so any formatting in emails will be lost. Lastly, file attachments are not supported and will be ignored.

Mail to Things also creates new opportunities for workflows that send emails. With apps and services such as Workflow, IFTTT, and Zapier, users can build workflows that create to-dos automatically. A few examples using Workflow include sending to-dos to Things, copying the clipboard to Things, and dictating to Things.

Things 3 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99 and from the iOS App Store. The iPad version is priced at $19.99 [Direct Link] while the iPhone version (which includes Apple watch support) is priced at $9.99. [Direct Link] A 15-day trial of Things for Mac is available on the Cultured Code website.
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Feral Releases ‘Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’ for macOS

Feral today released the Mac version of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sixth installment in the hit series of action stealth games.

Mixing a first-person perspective with a third-person cover system, Deus Ex combines elements of classic FPS shooters with a role-playing upgrade system and dialogue interaction.

The year is 2029, and mechanically augmented humans are now outcasts, completely segregated from the rest of society.

Now an experienced covert operative, Adam Jensen is forced to operate in a world that has grown to despise his kind. Armed with a new arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons and augmentations, he must choose the right approach, and who to trust, in order to unravel a vast worldwide conspiracy.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is available from the Feral Store and Steam for $59.99. The Desperate Measures in-game mission and the Covert Agent pack, which includes various weapons and items, are available for free.

The Digital Deluxe Edition is available from the Feral Store and Steam for $89.99. The Deluxe Edition includes two new story-based DLCs, System Rift and A Criminal Past, as well as the Assault and Tactical packs, which include various weapons and items. On top of that, players get the Desperate Measures in-game mission and the Covert Agent pack, four Praxis kits, 5,000 credits, 1,000 weapon parts, five booster packs, and 20 Chipsets for Breach, a standalone online game mode.

To get the games to run, users will need a Mac running OS X 10.13.1 and at least an Intel Core i5 3GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB video card, and 67GB of disk space. Feral says the game is officially supported on the following Macs: All 15-inch MacBook Pros released since late 2016, all 21.5-inch Retina 4K iMacs released since 2017, all 27-inch Retina 5K iMacs released since late 2014, and all Mac Pros released since late 2013.

The only caveat seems to be the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro released in mid 2015 with an AMD Radeon R9 M370X, which Feral says is "capable of running the game but does not consistently meet the standards required for official support".
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Google Security Researcher Shares Details on ‘tfp0’ iOS 11.1.2 Exploit That Could Lead to Future Jailbreak

Google security researcher Ian Beer, who works for the Project Zero team, last week highlighted an iOS 11.1.2 exploit called "tfp0," which he believes could be the basis for a future iOS 11.1.2 jailbreak.

Today, Beer released the exploit to the public. He says it should work on all iOS devices running iOS 11.1.2 or below, though he only personally tested iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, and a sixth-generation iPod touch.

What Beer released is not a full iOS 11 jailbreak as some had hoped, but what he's shared could potentially be used to create a jailbreak in the future.


iOS 11.1.2 is no longer the current version of iOS as Apple released iOS 11.2 on December 2, but Apple is still signing iOS 11.1.2 at this time. Apple will likely stop signing the older update in the near future, and its end could come sooner now that further information on the tfp0 exploit has been released.

Jailbreaking iOS devices has dwindled in popularity in recent years, which has led two major Cydia repositories to close. Both ModMy and ZodTTD/MacCiti, which provided apps, themes, tweaks, and more for jailbroken iOS devices, shut down in November. For the time being, iOS 11 continues to be the only major version of iOS that has not been jailbroken.
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Apple to Donate $1 Million Towards Southern California Wildfire Recovery Efforts

Apple has announced that it will be donating $1 million to aid recovery and rebuilding efforts in Southern California following a series of devastating forest fires that have caused billions of dollars in damage.


"Our thoughts are with all those affected by the fires in Southern California, including our colleagues, friends and their families," an Apple spokesperson said, in a statement provided to KTLA reporter Rich DeMuro.

Apple also usually facilitates Red Cross donations from the public through iTunes in these situations, but it has yet to do so.
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Apple Shares ‘Turi Create’ Machine Learning Framework on Github

Apple this week shared a new machine learning framework called Turi Create on Github. According to Apple, Turi Create is designed to simplify the development of custom machine learning models.


Apple says Turi Create is easy to use, has a visual focus, is fast and scalable, and is flexible. Turi Create is designed to export models to Core ML for use in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps. From the Turi Create Github repository:

  • Easy-to-use: Focus on tasks instead of algorithms

  • Visual: Built-in, streaming visualizations to explore your data

  • Flexible: Supports text, images, audio, video and sensor data

  • Fast and Scalable: Work with large datasets on a single machine

  • Ready To Deploy: Export models to Core ML for use in iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps


With Turi Create, for example, developers can quickly build a feature that allows their app to recognize specific objects in images. Doing so takes just a few lines of code.

Turi Create covers several common scenarios including recommender systems, image classification, image similarity, object detection, activity classifier, and text classifier.

Apple purchased this technology back in August of 2016 when it acquired machine learning and AI startup Turi.
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Apple’s Phil Schiller: Facial Recognition Techniques in Competing Smartphones ‘All Stink’

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller recently sat down with Dutch website Bright.nl, where he covered topics like Face ID and augmented reality, which he's discussed several times in interviews over the past few months.

According to Schiller, one of Apple's goals with Face ID is to make security easy enough "that we all want to do it." Apple believes its implementation of Face ID is superior to the facial recognition techniques available in Android phones, which Schiller says "all stink."

"They don't work in all the ways we need Face ID to work. We're very aware that through the years the simple thing, this Home button, that started as the way you click to get to the Home screen, grew into doing so many things for us. We added Touch ID, it took you to the multitasking screen, paged Siri, activated Apple Pay. All through this one mechanical button.

So for Face ID we needed the best way we know of to enable us to easily unlock our device with our face, in a protected way with the Secure Enclave, and support all these other things. We had to solve all of that. Other things that people have tried with face haven't been anything like that. Face ID is a very unique implementation."
Schiller reiterated Apple's Face ID privacy policies, pointing out that developers have no third-party access to Face ID data. As with Touch ID, the facial scan and data points used to unlock your iPhone are stored in the Secure Enclave on the iPhone X. Developers do have access to facial map data through the TrueDepth camera for AR effects, but Schiller says "that's different than Face ID."

According to Schiller, Apple spent a lot of time studying augmented and virtual reality and the ultimate benefit to users. Schiller, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, says VR is a "great solution for specific use cases" while AR has "incredible broad mainstream applications."

Schiller also had a little bit to say about the HomePod delay. HomePod was originally set to launch in December, but in November, Apple said it would be delayed until 2018. "We feel bad we aren't able to deliver HomePod for the holidays," said Schiller. "We're going to take the time to do it right and make sure it's great when it comes out."

Bright.nl asked Schiller if Apple's "Think Different" motto still applies to Apple today, and Schiller took the opportunity to highlight the AirPods, which are a product that have been lauded as one of Apple's best.
They're really two separate computers that you put in your ear. That's quintessential Apple. We tapped into an eternal truth for Apple. It's about as core to the DNA of Apple as you can get. Think Different should stay very close to true for a long time."
Phil Schiller's interview, which goes into more detail on Face ID and HomePod and delves deeper into Apple's core philosophies, can be read in its entirety over at Bright.nl.
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Hilton Debuting ‘Connected Rooms’ Controlled via Smartphone Next Year

Hilton today announced the upcoming debut of the "Connected Room," a high-tech guest room that will enable hotel guests to control the temperature, lighting, TV, window coverings, and more from their smartphones using the Hilton Honors app.

Guests will also be able to personalize their rooms using technology that loads popular streaming media and other accounts to their in-room TVs. Eventually, guests will also be able to use voice commands to access content and upload artwork and photos to display in their rooms.


Hilton already allows guests to use the Hilton Honors app to check into their rooms and open their room doors using their smartphones, but with the Connected Room expansion, additional in-room controls will be available.
"At Hilton, almost all digital products are born out of necessity and shortcomings in the marketplace - and Connected Room is no exception," said Joshua Sloser, senior vice president of Digital Product, Hilton. "The technology we put in hotel rooms has to be intuitive, simple and quick to pick up because guests typically spend a limited amount of time in their rooms and we want them to spend that time enjoying the experience instead of adapting to new technology."
The Connected Room is live in one Hilton hotel and will deploy "in the coming weeks" to several more before rolling out on a wider scale in 2018.
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