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Apple Daily: Force Touch May Only Come to iPhone 6s Plus; Autism Apps on iTunes

In today’s Apple Daily, a rumor pops up claiming that Apple’s new Force Touch technology may only come to the so-called iPhone 6s Plus and not to its smaller sibling. In other news, Apple has assembled a useful and educational assortment of apps in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.

Rumor: Force Touch May Only Come to iPhone 6s Plus

If you’re hoping to use Apple’s new Force Touch technology with the upcoming iPhone, a new report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (via MacRumors) claims you’d be best off pinning your hopes on the larger “iPhone 6s Plus.” Still, it’s all a matter of speculation, as it’s merely based on the fact that the relevant sources refer only to the iPhone 6s Plus and not the smaller iPhone 6s.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced Force Touch at Apple’s “Spring Forward” media event last month as a feature of the upcoming 12-inch MacBook with Retina. In that case, it augumented the typically mouse-like behavior of the MacBook’s trackpad with a “depth” component that allows you to interact in different ways depending on how hard you press or swipe on the trackpad. Given that the iPhone is touch-based, the tech seems like it’d be a natural inclusion.

Rumors going as far back as January from TechNews Taiwan claimed that both of this year’s iterations of the iPhone would support the tech along with 2GB of RAM, with The Wall Street Journal chiming in to bolster the claim with additional alleged insider information. As MacRumors notes, the claim of the iPhone 6s Plus’s exclusivity for Force Touch isn’t without precedent, as Apple brought image stabilization to only the larger of its two phones last year.

Apple Highlights Apps for World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, and in the spirit of the day, Apple has created a new section for its App Store that’s designed to give something to all autistic individuals. The new section, which is found under the “Education” heading, includes 16 apps that vary in price from free (or, you know, “Get“) to 9.

Some are for all ages, such as the Keeble accessible keyboard, which lets “users with fine motor-challenges, switch users, and users with vision impairments type in any app.” Many of the rest are aimed at kids, such as the free FlummoxVision, which features “live-action comedy that works to help kids navigate the social and emotional world.”

In addition to the sampling of apps, 9to5Mac notes, Apple also has a extensive selection of podcasts by nonprofit Autism Empowerment available for listening.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Spring Forward Event: Apple Details First Round of WatchKit Apps

Apple Watch Uber app

Ready to see Apple Watch in action? Apple’s Kevin Lynch took the stage in San Francisco on Monday to show some of the upcoming ways we’ll be using the company’s wrist-worn smartwatch.

Apple CEO Tim Cook followed up an on-stage appearance by former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns by reminding the audience Apple Watch is capable of displaying any notification from the iPhone on your wrist.

This is done with glances, which can be invoked via Siri by using only your voice, or by touching the crown on the right edge of Apple Watch. Lynch showed off the power of WatchKit with updates from MLB.com, Salesforce, and WeChat, which can be used to respond to messages — complete with stickers — right from the Watch itself.

Of course, Apple Pay is also baked right into Apple Watch, which Lynch demonstrated with a simulated point-of-sale terminal from Whole Foods. Next, Lynch received a call from his vets at Bow Wow Meow, reminding him to pick up his pet on the way home.

Lynch also demonstrated how easily an Uber can be summoned without ever taking the iPhone out of your pocket. Speaking of travel, airline boarding passes can also be called up from the Passbook app, allowing travelers to breeze through security just by waving their wrist at a barcode scanner.

Hotel chains like SPG will also allow Apple Watch owners to pull up reservations and even unlock the door to their room, completely bypassing traditional checkout lines. Lynch also demonstrated the Shazam app working to identify a song playing over the loudspeakers, and even pull up the lyrics to help sing along.

Messages are a particularly interesting aspect of Apple Watch, allowing users to reply to incoming missives using Siri to record a voice message or transcribe the outgoing reply as text. Lynch also showed how Apple Watch can be used to remotely open a garage door, complete with a live stream from a camera located inside the house.

Apple Watch Sport is priced at 9 for the 38mm model, with a premium for the 42mm version. The mid-tier Apple Watch collection starts at 9 for 38mm, and goes up to ,049 depending upon choice of band; the 42mm remains more. Last but not least, from the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” category comes the Apple Watch Edition series, which starts at ,000 and available in limited quantities in select stores only.

All models will preorder from Apple starting April 10, the same date the company will begin demonstrating Apple Watch in retail stores; you’ll actually be able to walk in and actually buy one starting April 24.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Apple, IBM Release First 10 Apps from Enterprise Partnership

Last July Apple made a surprise leap into enterprise when it partnered with IBM to combine the best aspects of Apple’s hardware and software with IBM’s extensive knowledge of working with enterprise data. Today the first fruits of that collaboration appeared in the form of 10 apps for iOS aimed at enterprise customers.

Noting in a press release that the apps mark a “big step,” Apple exec Phil Schiller noted that “Apple and IBM are bringing together the world’s best technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses redefine how work gets done.”

The apps, all part of an IBM program called “Mobile First for iOS,” cover a wide range of specializations. Plan Flight and Passenger+ serve the travel industry, Expert Tech deals with communications, Advise & Grow and Trusted Advice help the banking industry, Incident Aware and Case Advise help law enforcement and government officials, and Pick & Pack and Sales Assist pertain to retail services. You can read more about the apps on Apple’s sit here.

That’s just the beginning. In time, more than 100 apps will be released for the suite, and the partnership between Apple and IBM offers other perks as well, such as an enterprise-specific version of AppleCare, access to IBM cloud services for iOS devices, and specialized activation and management options from IBM.

It’s a big move for both companies, and IBM clients Citi, Air Canada, Sprint, and Banorte have already expressed their support for the program.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Dangerous ‘Masque Attack’ Vulnerability Lets Malware Hide as Legit iOS Apps

WireLurker was only the beginning; there’s now a new iOS vulnerability in town for hackers seeking access to your iOS files. It’s called the “Masque Attack,” according to the FireEye security team, and as with WireLurker, it focuses on getting users away from Apple’s carefully curated App Store in the hopes that they’ll download the latest malicious dish of the day. And just like WireLurker, it works with both secure iPhones and jailbroken devices.

Judging from the description written by FireEye, however, it’s probably better termed the “Invasion of the App Snatchers.” Masque Attack uses iOS enterprise provision files to take over the legitimate apps on your phone and replace them with bogus ones. The new apps look like the originals, but allow certain unscrupulous individuals to watch everything you put into them and use that data for their own purposes. Provision files are used by developers to test apps or to let users download apps without using Apple’s App Store as a go-between.

It’s particularly nasty since it’s hard for iOS to detect the files. It can’t replace core files like Safari and the Mail app, but as it uses the same bundle identifiers as legit apps, it’s possible for them to get through undetected. In the example shown in the video, a user clicks on a link to download the “new Flappy Bird” from an e-mail, but it’s not Flappy Bird they’re getting — it’s a malicious impersonation of Gmail that’s then used to install a malware version over the normal Gmail app.

And it’s potentially much worse than WireLurker. FireEye discovered that the Masque Attack vulnerability works on iO 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, and the 8.1.1 beta, and it’s unaffected by distinctions between jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Unlike WireLurker, it can affect your device regardless of whether your computer’s on Wi-Fi or connected to a desktop computer via USB.

Apple hasn’t provided a statement yet, which is troubling since FireEye reports that they contacted the Cupertino company way back on July 26. On the other hand, you can avoid it rather easily: all you have to do is download apps only from Apple’s own App Store (which you should always do anyway). It’s almost never worth the risk. I mean, c’mon, even if you think Flappy Bird is good, it’s not *that* good.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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FaceTime, Other Video Chat Apps Available to All AT&T Users By Year’s End

In a stunning shift from their previous stances on mobile video chat, AT&T announced to The Verge today that it plans to extend cellular use of Apple’s FaceTime to all users in the coming weeks, particularly those who aren’t covered by the new tiered plans it introduced last year. By the end of the year, AT&T plans to allow video chat apps over its network for all customers with LTE devices regardless of the platform.

In AT&T’s own words, “For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.”

Apparently AT&T’s already at work extending the services to users with data plans that predate its new tiered plans. 9to5 Mac recently reported that users with older plans from all over Twitter are reporting that FaceTime was now enabled on their phones.

This marks a significant departure from AT&T’s previous decision that we reported on back in August, which stated that only users with a MobileShare plan could use FaceTime without a WiFi connection ready. To put it lightly, AT&T’s plan was met with hostility. Angry users threatened to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission out of the conviction that AT&T’s plan violated net neutrality, and the FCC announced its plans to take any such allegations seriously. By January, AT&T had backed down and allowed video chat for free to anyone under the new tiered plans.

Not a fan of FaceTime? Don’t worry; based on AT&T’s wording, it looks as though you’ll be able to use alternatives such as Google’s Hangouts app as well.

UPDATE: Shortly after press time, we were able to confirm that FaceTime over LTE worked with an AT&T iPhone 5 using an older plan.

Follow this article’s author, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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