Barclays Proposes Apple Could Lessen iPhone 8 Pricing Impact by Including Apple Music/iCloud Bundle

Leading up to Apple's September 12 media event, the exact price tag of the upcoming iPhone 8 has been one of the biggest question marks surrounding the smartphone. The latest rumors describe a premium device that will start at $999 (64GB) in the United States, then rise to $1,099 (256GB), and cap at $1,199 (512GB), although of course none of these price points or storage configurations have been confirmed.

Recently, a team of Barclays analysts including Mark Moskowitz have theorized one potential solution for the device's premium price tag: Apple could debut an iPhone 8 bundle that packs in a year's worth of Apple Music and a 200GB iCloud subscription into the cost of the smartphone (via Business Insider). In the U.S., one year of Apple Music costs around $120 at $10/month (although Apple sells gift cards that knock the annual price down to $100/year), while a 200GB monthly iCloud subscription runs at $2.99/month, equating to around $36 each year.


Taken from the cost of the alleged "cheapest" iPhone 8 at $1,000, users would actually be paying about $844 for the smartphone and $156 for the bundled services, which the Barclays analysts said would be "more palatable." Barclays' prediction is based on a survey of wireless service customers (see results chart below), which found that Apple "might" sell around 40.3 million standalone iPhone 8 devices, but with the Apple Music/iCloud bundle that statistic could jump to 64.4 million iPhone 8 units sold.
"Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz and his team think they have figured that out. Apple will offer free subscriptions to Apple Music and 200GB of iCloud storage for one year, a deal worth $156, to anyone who buys iPhone 8. That will bring the perceived cost of the phone back down to a more palatable $844.
While a bundle like this would be a logical move by Apple, locking iPhone 8 customers into the company's ever-growing services ecosystem, Barclays' report is just a prediction and has not yet been corroborated by any other sources as a potential launch plan. In the past, Barclays has gotten close at reporting the facts about unreleased products, but has missed some details. In November 2016, Barclays Research analysts predicted three new iPads would come in March 2017, including refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions and an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model.


Only a new 9.7-inch iPad launched in March of this year, while a 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro debuted at Apple's WWDC event in June. Analysts at Barclays have made a handful of predictions that can't yet be rated for accuracy since they concern the iPhone 8, including an expected "limited quantity" September launch, the inclusion of a True Tone display, a Lightning to headphone jack adapter in the box, and faster charging thanks to a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector and an integrated USB-C Power Delivery chip.

In a separate report today by DigiTimes, Taiwanese supply chain sources have corroborated many of the current rumors surrounding the iPhone 8's pre-order date and price range. Taiwan is said to be "included in the first group of markets" where the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone 7s Plus will be made available for pre-order, with customers in Taiwan reportedly able to place their pre-order on September 15, the sources said. This date makes sense when looking back at the past five years of iPhone launch history.

Like previous reports, DigiTimes cites iPhone 8 prices at $999, $1,099, and $1,199 levels, with storage capacities of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, respectively. Samsung's monopoly of the OLED supply chain has been rumored as the explanation behind these high iPhone 8 prices. As is typical with new iPhones, the iPhone 8's launch is expected to be riddled with shortages and shipping delays, and could even ship sometime after the LCD iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s models.

Fortunately, we're only four days away from Apple's September 12 event, where the company will reveal more information about the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, 4K Apple TV, Apple Watch Series 3, and more.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: Barclays, iCloud, Apple Music

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iCloud Mail Unavailable for Some Users

Apple's iCloud Mail servers seem to be experiencing some downtime, with multiple reports on Twitter suggesting the service is unavailable for a number of users.

iCloud Mail issues appear to have started just before 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, which is around when we here at MacRumors first noticed problems with our own accounts.


Affected users are seeing pop up alerts when attempting to access their iCloud Mail messages. Some alerts are blank, while others let users know there was a problem loading Mail.

At this time, Apple's System Status page is not reporting any outages. It's not clear how many people are experiencing problems with Mail, but not everyone is affected.

Tag: iCloud

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Apple’s iCloud Backup Service Experiencing Outage

According to Apple's System Status website and multiple reports sent in by MacRumors readers, Apple's iCloud Backup service is unavailable for some users. Apple's site says iCloud backup is down for "less than 1 percent of users," but those affected have been unable to restore from an iCloud backup since yesterday.

Customers impacted by the iCloud outage who attempt to restore an iOS device using a backup are seeing the process hang while in progress, with the restore failing to complete. iCloud backups can still be made from iOS devices, so data is safe, but affected users will not be able to restore from backups until Apple's servers are back up. In some cases, existing iCloud backups are also not showing up on new devices.


Apple employees have been telling customers to wait it out and set up recently purchased iPhones and iPads as new devices rather than restoring from an existing backup.

Apple's iCloud Backup service has been experiencing issues since 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning, and it is not clear when a fix will be implemented. We'll update this post when the problem is resolved.


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Apple Drops 2TB iCloud Storage Price to $9.99, Eliminates 1TB Option

Following today's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that saw the debut of new software and hardware products, Apple has updated and simplified its iCloud storage pricing tiers.

The 1TB storage option has been eliminated, while the 2TB storage option has dropped in price to $9.99 per month, which is what 1TB of storage was previously priced at. Essentially, at the highest data tiers, customers are getting more storage space for less money. Pricing for Apple's 50GB and 200GB iCloud storage plans remains unchanged.

The new pricing tiers in the United States:

- 50GB: $0.99
- 200GB: $2.99
- 2TB: $9.99

While U.S. prices are listed above, the same changes have been made in all countries where iCloud storage is available. 1TB storage options have been eliminated across the board, while 2TBs of storage is now available at the lower 1TB cost.

Many users have been hoping Apple will increase the free iCloud storage option, but following today's update, free iCloud space continues to cap out at 5GB. In iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, Apple is offering an option to share a 200GB or 2TB iCloud storage plan with family members, which is perhaps the reason behind the price drop.

The new storage plans are available immediately on all iOS devices.

(Thanks, Michael!)

Tag: iCloud

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ElcomSoft Claims It’s Able to Recover Deleted iCloud Notes Well Past Apple’s 30-Day Window

Russian software company ElcomSoft today claimed in a blog post that iCloud notes marked as deleted are being stored on Apple's servers well past the advertised 30-day period they are kept in the "Recently Deleted" folder.


ElcomSoft said it used an updated version of its Phone Breaker tool, version 6.5, to recover dozens of iCloud notes deleted more than a month ago. ElcomSoft said many of the notes were deleted a few weeks past the 30-day window, but in some cases, it was allegedly able to extract notes deleted "several months ago."

When a user deletes a note in Apple's Notes app, it's moved to the "Recently Deleted" folder, which explicitly states that "notes are permanently deleted after 30 days." Likewise, a support document on Apple's website says users can view and recover notes for up to 30 days before they're permanently deleted.

However, ElcomSoft CEO Vladimir Katalov said the oldest note it was able to retrieve was deleted around five years ago:
"We did it again," says Vladimir Katalov, ElcomSoft CEO. "After recovering deleted photos and Safari browsing history from iCloud, we now add the ability to recover deleted notes from the same source regardless of how much time has passed after the deletion. The oldest record we've been able to pull was deleted back in 2012."
In its blog post, ElcomSoft said it was able to extract 334 notes from an iPhone with only 288 notes stored on it, including those in the "Recently Deleted" folder. In other words, ElcomSoft claims it was able to recover 46 notes deleted more than 30 days ago, and that was only one example.


Nevertheless, ElcomSoft said that its ability to extract iCloud notes deleted more than 30 days ago is "not necessarily" guaranteed. "While some of our test accounts did indeed contain deleted notes going all the way back to 2015, some other accounts contained much less than that," it explained.

ElcomSoft said its Phone Breaker tool is the only software it knows of that can be used to recover iCloud notes deleted more than 30 days ago. It also said the latest version of its Phone Viewer tool is needed to view them. The tools start at $79 each and appear to be compatible with both Mac and Windows.

To extract and view deleted notes, ElcomSoft says all someone has to do is launch Phone Breaker version 6.5 or newer, click "Download Synced Data from iCloud," authenticate with an Apple ID and password or a binary authentication token, wait for the download to complete, and open the file in Phone Viewer.

ElcomSoft's Phone Viewer tool appears to show recovered iCloud notes

ElcomSoft said "there is no doubt Apple will fix the current issue," but it didn't confirm if it has been in contact with the company. MacRumors has opted not to use the Phone Breaker tool out of an abundance of caution. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

Last year, ElcomSoft generated headlines when it claimed Apple "secretly" syncs Phone and FaceTime call history logs on iCloud, even with backups turned off. In a statement, Apple said it offers call history syncing "as a convenience to our customers so that they can return calls from any of their devices."

In February, ElcomSoft also found that iCloud was allegedly storing deleted Safari browser history for a long period of time, ranging from several months to over a year. Forbes reported that Apple quietly "started purging older history records" once the news broke, but Apple never officially commented.


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Third-Party Apps Will Need App-Specific Passwords for iCloud Access From June 15

App-specific passwords are set to become a mandatory requirement for third-party apps that access iCloud user data, according to an Apple Support email sent out today.

Currently, app-specific passwords are used to allow non-native apps like email clients to sign in to iCloud accounts that are protected by two-factor authentication. The security measure ensures that users can still link up their iCloud account to apps and services not provided by Apple, while also avoiding the need to disclose their Apple ID password to third parties.

However, app-specific passwords will become a basic requirement from June 15, according to Apple. The policy change basically means that users who want to continue using third-party apps with their iCloud account will have to enable two-factor authentication and generate individual passwords for each app.
Beginning on 15 June, app-specific passwords will be required to access your iCloud data using third-party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or other mail, contacts and calendar services not provided by Apple.

If you are already signed in to a third-party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again.
Two-factor authentication ensures that you're the only person who can access your Apple account, even if someone knows your password. To turn it on from any iOS device running iOS 10.3 or later, open the Settings app, tap your name at the top, and then tap Password & Security.

If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, you can enable it from Settings -> iCloud -> Apple ID -> Password & Security. If you're on a Mac, go to System Preferences -> iCloud -> Account Details, click Security, and enable two-factor authentication from there.

To generate an app-specific password, sign into your Apple ID account page (https://appleid.apple.com), go to App-Specific Passwords under Security, and click Generate Password.


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WhatsApp Quietly Extends Encryption to iCloud Backups of Chat Logs

WhatsApp has bolstered the security of the iCloud backup feature in its messaging platform, in an attempt to protect archived chat logs from being accessed in a readable form (via TechCrunch).

WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption on its messaging service for some time, but that encryption did not previously extend to iCloud backups of messages. Given that Apple holds the encryption keys for iCloud, a subpoena of Apple or an unauthorized iCloud hack could potentially allow access to WhatsApp messages backed up there.


However, WhatsApp has moved to prevent that possibility by also pre-encrypting the backup files. "When a user backs up their chats through WhatsApp to iCloud, the backup files are sent encrypted," a WhatsApp spokesperson told Forbes, confirming the change.

WhatsApp quietly added the encryption to WhatsApp iCloud backups late last year, however the change only came to light last week when professional hackers claimed to be able to circumvent the security measure.

According to Russian-based Oxygen Forensics, third-party hacking tools are able to download the encrypted WhatsApp data backed up to iCloud and then generate an encryption key to decrypt the data using the associated SIM card. The tools could potentially be used by police with access to a phone where the WhatsApp account has been deactivated but the encrypted messages are still stored in iCloud. WhatsApp has yet to comment on the claims.

The encryption debate has been reignited in recent weeks on both sides of the Atlantic. FBI director James Comey revealed earlier this month that his agency had been unable to access the data on more than 3,000 mobile devices in the first half of the fiscal year, despite having legal authority to avail themselves of the contents.

A recent statement by U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein also appeared to confirm that the government had used $900,000 of public money to pay for the third-party tools to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist. No information of relevance was found on the device, the FBI later revealed.

Meanwhile in the U.K., government home secretary Amber Rudd recently claimed that it is "completely unacceptable" that authorities cannot gain access to messages stored on mobile applications protected by end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp. Rudd said she would be discussing the situation with technology companies in the near future.

Since that time, a draft technical paper prepared by the U.K. government has been leaked that contains proposals related to the removal of encryption from private communications. The paper reveals that companies would be required to provide the raw data "in an intelligible form" without "electronic protection" within one working day. Discussions about the feasibility of the proposals are said to be ongoing.

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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Some iCloud Storage Plans Unavailable to Purchase Today, Likely Due to Server Issues

A number of MacRumors readers received an email from Apple today stating that their 50GB iCloud storage plan subscription has been "discontinued" and will no longer automatically renew. Several users on Reddit and Twitter have also reported receiving the email, which may have been sent mistakenly.


Relatedly, some iCloud storage plans were unavailable for purchase on iOS and macOS Sierra. When we checked the "Upgrade iCloud Storage" menu on an iPhone, both the 50GB and 200GB tiers were no longer listed. Later, the 1TB tier disappeared as well. On another iPhone, the menu wouldn't load at all.

Apple has not announced any changes to its iCloud storage plans, and it has not recently updated its iCloud storage plans and pricing support document, so this was likely simply a server-related issue on Apple's backend. Apple's System Status page does not reflect any ongoing iCloud-related issues.

Apple has not indicated why the "discontinued" emails were sent, but all four of the 50GB, 200GB, 1TB, and 2TB tiers appear to be available for purchase again for most users. We'll update this article if we hear anything else, particularly if Apple does have surprise changes to its iCloud storage plans in the works.
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Apple Warns iCloud Users Some Disabled Services Were Accidentally Re-enabled in iOS 10.3

Apple today sent out emails to a small number of iCloud users, warning them that a bug in iOS 10.3 may have caused some iCloud services that had been disabled to be mistakenly re-enabled.

The email asks iCloud users to revisit their iCloud settings to make sure to turn off any service that might have been turned on through the iOS 10.3 update.

It's not entirely clear which iCloud services might have been affected, but MacRumors reader Karl, who sent us the email, said that he typically disables iCloud Mail. Following the update, he found the Mail option turned back on.
We discovered a bug in the recent iOS 10.3 software update that impacted a small number of iCloud users. This may have inadvertently reenabled some iCloud services that you had previously disabled on your device.

We suggest you go to iCloud settings on your iOS device to make sure that only the services you'd like to use are enabled.
Learn more about how to manage your iCloud settings or contact AppleCare with any questions.

The iCloud team
iOS 10.3, released on March 27, introduced a new Apple Filesystem among other major features like Find My AirPods, plus it included an overhauled iCloud storage breakdown, which may explain why some iCloud services were mistakenly turned back on.

To check which iCloud services are enabled on your iOS device, open the Settings app and scroll down to the "iCloud" section. A list of apps and services using iCloud is front and center, and anything that was enabled via iOS 10.3 can be turned off using the toggle buttons.

A wide range of first and third-party apps and services use Apple's iCloud feature, including Photos, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, Safari, News, Keychain, Find My iPhone, iCloud Backup, and more.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tag: iCloud

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Small Sample of iCloud Credentials Provided By Hackers Are Valid, But Questions Remain

On Wednesday we reported that Apple had become the target of a ransom threat, with hackers claiming to have access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts. A group known as the "Turkish Crime Family" said they would reset and wipe the accounts unless Apple paid them $150,000 in Bitcoin by April 7.

Apple responded to the threat by stating that there had not been any breach of its systems, and that if hackers did have access to iCloud accounts then it could only be because of compromised third-party services.


Yesterday, ZDNet said it had received a set of 54 account credentials from the hacker group for "verification" and subsequently reported that all of the accounts were valid, based on a check using Apple's online password reset function.

The accounts include @icloud.com addresses dating back to 2011, as well as legacy @me.com and @mac.com domains from as early as 2000. The list of credentials is said to contain email addresses and plain-text passwords separated by a colon. According to Troy Hunt, data breach expert and owner of notification site Have I Been Pwned, this would suggest the data could have been aggregated from various sources.

ZDNet worked to contact each account holder via iMessage to confirm their password, and found that many of the accounts are no longer registered with Apple's messaging platform. However, of those that could be contacted, 10 people – all based in the U.K. – confirmed that the passwords were accurate, and they have changed them as a result.

When pressed about the original source of the data, the hackers claimed that it was "handled in groups" without explaining how or why. The hackers also refused to hand over a U.S.-based sample of accounts.

All of the people with compromised accounts said that until now, they had never changed their iCloud passwords before. One person said that the password he confirmed with ZDNet was no longer in use as of about two years ago, which narrows down the possible date of a breach or multiple breaches to somewhere between 2011 and 2015.

Most of the people confirmed that they used their iCloud email address and password on other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, three people said that their iCloud email address and password were unique to iCloud, and were not used on any other site. Also, two people claimed someone had tried to reset their iCloud passwords in the past day.

It's unclear if the sample provided is representative of the wider pool of credentials the hackers claim to have, but based on its communications with the group, ZDNet suspects that its members are "naïve and inexperienced" and primarily seeking publicity.

Given that Apple has denied a breach, the account information may have been obtained from a major hacking incident, such as the one that befell Yahoo. iCloud users who have the same username and password that was used for both a hacked site and for iCloud should change their passwords immediately.

Anyone else concerned about the hacking claims should change their password and consider using two-factor authentication to secure their Apple ID credentials. Apple has said that it is "actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved".

Tag: iCloud

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