Apple in Talks to Buy Key Battery Ingredient Cobalt Directly From Miners

Apple is in talks to purchase long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners to ensure a steady supply of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage, according to a report by Bloomberg today.

The companies that make batteries for Apple's iPads and iPhones depend heavily on the availability of cobalt, but Apple is said to have taken the issue into its own hands, prompted by fears that the electric vehicle boom could see supply of the raw material dwindle.

Apple is seeking contracts to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer, according to one of the people, declining to be named as the discussions are confidential. Apple's first discussions on cobalt deals with miners were over a year ago, and it may end up deciding not to go ahead with any deal, another person said.
About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones that use lithium-ion batteries, according to Bloomberg. Smartphones are said to use around eight grams of refined cobalt, but the battery for an electric car requires over 1,000 times more. That means Apple will be in fierce competition with carmakers like BMW and Volkswagen as well as battery producers like Samsung as the firms seek to secure supplies into the future.

With two thirds of all supplies sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a history of political instability and child labor, the price of cobalt has more than tripled in the past 18 months and now trades more than $80,000 a metric ton.

In recent years, Apple has responded to criticism from human rights groups for its metal supply chain, which in the past has bought cobalt from mines that use child labor. Last year the tech giant published a list of companies that supply the cobalt used in its batteries for the first time, and said it would not allow cobalt from smaller Congo mines into its supply chain unless they could prove that "appropriate protections" to safeguard against child labor were in place.
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Apple in Talks to Buy Key Battery Ingredient Cobalt Directly From Miners

Apple is in talks to purchase long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners to ensure a steady supply of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage, according to a report by Bloomberg today.

The companies that make batteries for Apple's iPads and iPhones depend heavily on the availability of cobalt, but Apple is said to have taken the issue into its own hands, prompted by fears that the electric vehicle boom could see supply of the raw material dwindle.

Apple is seeking contracts to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer, according to one of the people, declining to be named as the discussions are confidential. Apple's first discussions on cobalt deals with miners were over a year ago, and it may end up deciding not to go ahead with any deal, another person said.
About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones that use lithium-ion batteries, according to Bloomberg. Smartphones are said to use around eight grams of refined cobalt, but the battery for an electric car requires over 1,000 times more. That means Apple will be in fierce competition with carmakers like BMW and Volkswagen as well as battery producers like Samsung as the firms seek to secure supplies into the future.

With two thirds of all supplies sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a history of political instability and child labor, the price of cobalt has more than tripled in the past 18 months and now trades more than $80,000 a metric ton.

In recent years, Apple has responded to criticism from human rights groups for its metal supply chain, which in the past has bought cobalt from mines that use child labor. Last year the tech giant published a list of companies that supply the cobalt used in its batteries for the first time, and said it would not allow cobalt from smaller Congo mines into its supply chain unless they could prove that "appropriate protections" to safeguard against child labor were in place.
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Apple Shares Three New iPhone Photography Tutorials

Apple this afternoon updated its YouTube channel with three new tutorials designed to walk people through using various photography features on the iPhone.

The videos cover shooting an overhead photo on iPhone using the level feature, shooting in black and white, and adjusting slo-mo timing on iPhone to change the slow motion effect of a previously captured slo-mo video.




Each video is approximately 30 seconds in length and shows step-by-step instructions on using each feature, with the actual recording done on an iPhone's display to effectively demonstrate each action.

Apple regularly shares iPhone photography tutorials in this ongoing tutorial video series to provide users with tips and tricks on using various Photos and Camera features. Like many of Apple's tutorial videos, these new tutorials are aimed at people who aren't particularly familiar with the feature set of the iPhone.

Apple does, however, sometimes highlight features that even some seasoned users might not be aware of or remember, so these videos are often worth the 30 seconds it takes to watch them.
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Highlights of Apple’s 2018 Shareholders Meeting

Apple's annual shareholders meeting took place at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park this morning, with shareholders gathering to vote on proposals and ask questions of Apple executives.

Apple does not live stream its shareholders meetings, but several members of the press, such as CNET's Shara Tibken and Business Insider's Kif Leswing, were at the event and shared details on what was covered on Twitter.

Image via Shara Tibken

Much of the meeting was spent discussing shareholder proposals, several of which were routine proposals direct from Apple for re-electing the board of directors, compensating executives, appointing Ernst & Young LLP as Apple's public accounting firm, and approving the non-employee Director Stock Plan. All of these passed with more than 95% approval.

Two proposals from shareholders, one that asked Apple to implement more relaxed rules for letting shareholders nominate directors to the board and another asking Apple to form a human rights commission were defeated. 32 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the first, while just 5.6 percent voted in favor of the second.

During a Q&A session, and during the proposal discussion portion of the shareholders meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a few interesting comments worth highlighting, though much of what was said was a repeat of comments made during Apple's Q1 2018 earnings call earlier this month.

- iPhone X customer satisfaction is at 99%.

- Apple's wearables business, which includes AirPods, Beats, and Apple Watch, is "approaching" the size of a Fortune 300 company. Earlier this month, Cook said it was the size of a Fortune 400 company.

- Apple acquired 19 companies in 2017 (10 of those are known, nine unknown).

- Across all products, Apple holds almost a quarter of a billion subscriptions.

- On the topic of Telegram being briefly removed from the App Store earlier this month for elicit content, Cook said Apple has "always curated [Apple's] properties." Apple keeps pornography, terrorism, and other questionable content out of the App Store. "I think people are coming around to that actually being a good thing," said Cook.

- Apple has internal candidates ready to succeed Tim Cook, which is a topic that comes up at every shareholders meeting.

- Cook said mobile payments have "taken off slower than I personally would have thought." Adoption is speeding up though in key countries like China and Russia. Cook also said he hopes he'll still be alive "to see the elimination of money."

- On a question about special dividends, Cook said he's "not a fan," but Apple is committed to increasing dividends each year. Apple will provide more info on its capital return program in April.

- On the topic of retail stores, Cook said Apple doesn't believe physical stores will go away. "We believe that interaction with people still beats anything," he said.

- Apple won't open its main ring-shaped building at Apple Park for tours because "we have so much confidential stuff around." "Keeping stuff confidential is the bane of my existence now," said Cook.


Shareholders also asked a few frivolous questions, which ate into the Q&A time and limited what we heard from Apple executives. One asked about Apple's work in oral health, a topic Cook said Apple isn't focusing on, while another asked when Apple will introduce a waterproof iPhone (iPhones have been water resistant since the iPhone 7).

There was a question on Blockchain, which Cook avoided, and one investor, still using iOS 9, abstained from voting on board re-election because of Apple's "bad" software updates that have removed features. "I'm not gonna sell my stock or buy the competitor's stuff because it's even worse," he said.

Apple holds its shareholders meetings on an annual basis, with the next one scheduled to take place in early 2019. This year's meeting had limited attendance due to the size limitations of the Apple Park theater, but shareholders not able to attend were able to vote on proposals by proxy ahead of the meeting.
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How to Reset Your HomePod

If you're having trouble with HomePod and need to return it to its factory settings, there are two simple methods for resetting the device and erasing all of your content.


You can either use the Home app on the iPhone, or manually reset the HomePod on the device itself. Here's how:

Resetting HomePod with iPhone



  1. Open up the Home app.

  2. 3D Touch or long press on the HomePod icon.

  3. Choose "Details" to access your HomePod's settings.

  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the settings section and tap "Remove Accessory."

  5. Tap "Remove" again after the confirmation window comes up.

Resetting HomePod Without iPhone



  1. Unplug your HomePod.

  2. Plug your HomePod back in again.

  3. Press and hold the top of the HomePod.

  4. Continue holding until Siri tells you to let go.

When using this method, make sure to place your finger on the HomePod right after you plug it back in again and don't lift it off, or you'll need to restart the process.

During this process, you will see a red flashing light on the top of the HomePod, and you'll hear Siri say "Your HomePod is about to reset, keep pressing until you hear three beeps." Once those three beeps sound, the HomePod is reset to its original state.

Resetting the HomePod is useful if you run into an issue, but these are also steps that you will need to follow if you want to sell your HomePod or if you need to send it in for service.
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How to Reset Your HomePod

If you're having trouble with HomePod and need to return it to its factory settings, there are two simple methods for resetting the device and erasing all of your content.


You can either use the Home app on the iPhone, or manually reset the HomePod on the device itself. Here's how:

Resetting HomePod with iPhone



  1. Open up the Home app.

  2. 3D Touch or long press on the HomePod icon.

  3. Choose "Details" to access your HomePod's settings.

  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the settings section and tap "Remove Accessory."

  5. Tap "Remove" again after the confirmation window comes up.

Resetting HomePod Without iPhone



  1. Unplug your HomePod.

  2. Plug your HomePod back in again.

  3. Press and hold the top of the HomePod.

  4. Continue holding until Siri tells you to let go.

When using this method, make sure to place your finger on the HomePod right after you plug it back in again and don't lift it off, or you'll need to restart the process.

During this process, you will see a red flashing light on the top of the HomePod, and you'll hear Siri say "Your HomePod is about to reset, keep pressing until you hear three beeps." Once those three beeps sound, the HomePod is reset to its original state.

Resetting the HomePod is useful if you run into an issue, but these are also steps that you will need to follow if you want to sell your HomePod or if you need to send it in for service.
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iPhone Source Code Was Leaked by Low-Level Apple Employee

Earlier this week, source code for iBoot, a core component of the iPhone's operating system, leaked on GitHub. The code was old, for a version of iOS 9, and it was quickly pulled from GitHub after Apple issued a DMCA takedown notice, but it left many wondering how such sensitive code ended up publicly available.

To answer that question, Motherboard got in touch with unnamed sources who were involved in the leak and investigated screenshots, text messages, and more, to determine just how it happened.


As it turns out, the code originally came from a low-level Apple employee who took the code from Apple in 2016 to share with friends in the jailbreaking community. This employee wasn't unhappy with Apple and didn't steal the code with malicious intent, but instead was encouraged by friends to obtain the code to benefit the jailbreaking community.
The person took the iBoot source code--and additional code that has yet to be widely leaked--and shared it with a small group of five people.

"He pulled everything, all sorts of Apple internal tools and whatnot," a friend of the intern told me. Motherboard saw screenshots of additional source code and file names that were not included in the GitHub leak and were dated from around the time of this first leak.
The original group of five people who were provided with access to the code didn't intend to share it, but it somehow got out. From one of the original people involved:
"I personally never wanted that code to see the light of day. Not out of greed but because of fear of the legal firestorm that would ensue," they said. "The Apple internal community is really full of curious kids and teens.I knew one day that if those kids got it they'd be dumb enough to push it to GitHub."
The code began circulating more widely in 2017 and picked up in popularity late in the year before ending up on GitHub this week. Many in the jailbreaking and iPhone research communities attempted to stop sharing, but the major public leak couldn't be avoided.

According to the unnamed people who spoke to Motherboard, what leaked wasn't the "full leak." "It's not the original leak-it's a copy," said one source.

Following the leak, Apple confirmed the authenticity of the code in a statement to MacRumors and pointed out that it's for a three-year-old operating system that's been replaced by iOS 11 and is in use only on a small number of devices.
"Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections."
The iBoot code leak should not be of concern to the average user because Apple has many layers of protection in place, like the Secure Enclave, and does not rely on source code secrecy alone to keep its users safe. The leak could, however, make it easier for people to locate vulnerabilities to create new jailbreaks.
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Apple Confirms iPhone Source Code Leak is Real, But Says its Security Doesn’t Depend on Secrecy

Source code for iBoot, a core component of the iPhone's operating system leaked on GitHub yesterday, raising concerns that the hackers and security researchers could dig into the code to find iOS vulnerabilities.


In a statement issued to MacRumors this morning, Apple confirmed the authenticity of the code but emphasized that it's for iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that's been replaced with iOS 11 and is in use on only a small number of devices.
"Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn't depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections."
Based on data from Apple's App Store support page for developers, iOS 11 is installed on 65 percent of devices, iOS 10 is installed on 28 percent of devices, and earlier versions of iOS, such as iOS 9, are installed on just seven percent of devices.

In addition to acknowledging that the leak contained real source code, Apple this morning also sent a DMCA takedown notice to GitHub this morning, successfully getting the code removed from the site.

The data that was shared on GitHub was incomplete so the iBoot code was not able to be compiled, but it did include a documents directory that offered up additional information relevant to iBoot, and combined, the data leak could make it easier to locate vulnerabilities to create new jailbreaks.

Average users should not need to be concerned about the leak, however, as Apple has many layers of protection in place, like the Secure Enclave, and does not rely on source code secrecy alone as a way to keep its users safe.

Security researcher Will Strafach, who spoke to TechCrunch, echoed what Apple had to say. He believes the source code is compelling because it provides an inside look into the inner workings of the bootloader, but ultimately, "Apple does not use security through obscurity," so there is nothing risky in the code.
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iPhone Source Code From iOS 9 Leaked on Github

Source code for a core component of the iPhone's operating system recently leaked on GitHub, according to reports from Motherboard and Redmond Pie.

The code, which appears to be for iBoot, or the part of iOS that ensures a trusted boot of the operating system, was initially shared online several months ago on Reddit, but it resurfaced today on GitHub where it will presumably receive more attention. Motherboard consulted security experts who have confirmed that the code appears to be legitimate.


The iBoot code appears to be from a version of iOS 9, so it's not entirely relevant to the current iOS 11.2.5 operating system, but some of the code from iOS 9 likely still exists in iOS 11. It remains to be seen if anything will come of the leak, though, and it's also worth noting that modern iOS devices have protection in the form of the Secure Enclave.

There are files missing from the GitHub leak so the code can't be compiled, but security experts on Twitter say it could allow hackers and security researchers to find iOS vulnerabilities and create jailbreaks.


Along with the iBoot code, the leak includes a documents directory that offers up additional information relevant to iBoot, which Redmond Pie suggests could make it much easier to find a bootrom exploit for permanently jailbreaking iPhones and iPads.

Apple has open sourced portions of macOS and iOS in recent yearrs, but iBoot is something that Apple has been careful to keep private. As Motherboard points out, Apple's own bug bounty program pays out up to $200,000 for vulnerabilities discovered in secure boot firmware components.
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iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X Batteries Less Impacted by Performance Management

Apple's newest iPhones, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, use a "different performance management system" than older iPhones, which means any performance management features may be less noticeable on these devices.

Apple outlined the difference between its newer iPhones and older models in an updated support document covering the Battery Health features introduced in today's iOS 11.3 beta. Apple says iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X use a more advanced hardware and software design that's better able to estimate power needs and battery performance.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery's power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Over time, the rechargeable batteries in all iPhone models will diminish in their capacity and peak performance and will eventually need to be replaced.
Though the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X may be less impacted by performance management features in the future, Apple says that the rechargeable batteries in all iPhone models will eventually diminish in capacity and need to be replaced for the iPhone to continue running at peak performance.

While Apple previously said that the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X do not have power management features installed at the current time, today's updated support document gives us some insight into how these devices might be affected in the future.

Apple has implemented performance management features in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. As of iOS 11.3 beta 2, customers can check to see if their devices are impacted by processor slowdowns in a new "Battery Health" section of the Settings app.

Installing iOS 11.3 will turn off any current performance management features on older devices, and it will only be reimplemented if and when a device experiences an unexpected shutdown. Customers also have the option of turning off the feature even after an unexpected shutdown, but it will need to be disabled after each performance failure.

For devices that have degraded batteries that are causing performance issues, replacing the battery solves the problem. Apple is continuing to offer $29 battery replacements through the end of 2018.
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