Archive for April, 2020

In an unusual investor call, Apple reports flat quarterly earnings amid COVID-19

April 30th, 2020
A serious man in a business suit.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Despite disruptions to both supply and demand caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Apple posted $58.3 billion in revenue in its second quarter, eking out 1 percent growth over last year's second quarter.

This beat some recent expectations by investors, but it falls well behind the $63-67 billion guidance for the quarter the company initial gave before the coronavirus' effects were fully felt. Apple's retail stores have been closed around much of the world, and for a period of time earlier this year, its ability to assemble iPhones and other products was hampered as the virus first spread in China.

CEO Tim Cook spoke optimistically about the company's long-term prospects on a call with investors today, but in a break with common practice, Apple did not provide guidance for the next quarter, citing the inability to predict the pandemic's future impact. "We have great confidence in the long-term of our business," Cook said. "In the short-term, it's hard to see out the windshield to know what the next 60 days look like, and so we're not giving guidance because of that lack of visibility and uncertainty."

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Posted in apple, coronavirus, COVID-19, earnings, Stock Market, Tech, Tim Cook | Comments (0)

The ADL Calls Out Steam for Giving Extremists a Pass

April 30th, 2020
The nonprofit has identified hundreds of profiles that espouse hate, with little attempt from the gaming platform to stop them.

Posted in security, Security / Security News | Comments (0)

Microsoft’s Records Management Tool Aims to Simplify Data Governance

April 30th, 2020
Records Management is intended to help businesses manage security and data governance as more struggle to handle increased amounts of data and regulatory requirements.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Which States Are Reopening, Which Remain on Lockdown, and Why

April 30th, 2020
There's not a national plan to restart US businesses. That's led to inconsistencies among governors' orders, and some confusion among residents.

Posted in Business, Business / National Affairs | Comments (0)

Researchers Find Baby Banking Trojan, Watch It Grow

April 30th, 2020
EventBot is an Android information stealer on its way to becoming a very capable piece of malware.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Face ID doesn’t work when you’re wearing a mask—Apple’s about to fix that

April 30th, 2020
The iPhone 11

Enlarge / The TrueDepth sensor array on the iPhone. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple's Face ID method for authenticating on recent iPhones offers a number of security benefits, and it's a neat trick to boot. But in a pandemic-stricken world where many people either opt to or are even required to wear protective masks, users have discovered that Face ID doesn't usually work when they need it to. Those masks interfere with the iPhone's ability to read your face, and at the moment, there's no easy solution.

That might change with the next release of iOS. This week, Apple released the third beta of iOS 13.5, the next major feature release for its mobile operating system. Among other things, the beta introduces new Face ID behavior when users are wearing protective masks. Apple hasn't come up with some magical way to make the phone read your face through the mask, of course. Rather, the update fast-tracks you to passcode entry.

Right now, raising the iPhone to use it results in a quick scan with the front-facing TrueDepth sensor array to allow you to access your files, messages, and apps. If your face is obscured, the lock indicator shakes and the phone vibrates, indicating there's a problem. After Face ID times out, you're then prompted to swipe up to get to the screen where you can enter your passcode instead.

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Posted in apple, beta, coronavirus, COVID-19, Face ID, iOS, iOS 13, iOS 13.5, iphone, pandemic, Tech | Comments (0)

Fairphone and /e/ team up to build open source, sustainable smartphone

April 30th, 2020

Fairphone and e Foundation are teaming up and taking the rare step of selling a non-Google Android phone to the public. The Fairphone 3, a midrange smartphone originally released in September 2019, can now come pre-loaded with the /e/ OS, a fork of Android that replaces the usual suite of Google apps and services with open source options and /e/'s cloud services. The goal of the two companies is to produce a "privacy conscious and sustainable phone." (It's "/e/ OS" but, for some reason, only "e Foundation.")

The Fairphone 3 was originally released in August 2019 for €450 ($493). If you buy the pre-loaded /e/ version from /e/'s website, the phone is 480 ($525). The Fairphone 3 build of /e/ is freely available no matter where you buy the phone, but if you buy it from /e/, you're presumably financially supporting your phone's OS development.

Fairphone was founded in 2013 with the goal of building sustainable smartphones that are environmentally friendly and fair to the people who make them. The phone is designed to be repairable by favoring screws instead of glue and having major components broken out into modules that are easily replaceable. The Fairphone 2 and 3 are the only devices with a 10-out-of-10 repairability score from iFixit. Fairphone even sells spare parts directly on its website: a new screen is €90 euros, a new battery is €30, and a replacement USB-C port is €20. The company also advocates for worker's welfare in the smartphone supply chain, with a focus on sourcing non-conflict minerals and a paying workers a living wage. The Fairphone 3 is still made in China, but it's assembled by Arima, which is working with Fairphone to improve workers' conditions.

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Posted in Tech | Comments (0)

Healthcare Targeted By More Attacks But Less Sophistication

April 30th, 2020
An increase in attacks targeting healthcare organizations suggests that perhaps new cybercriminals are getting into the game.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Amazon locks down internal employee communications amid organizing efforts

April 30th, 2020
Multistory glass building with Amazon logo.

Enlarge / Amazon's headquarters on a sunny day in 2018. (credit: Andrei Stanescu | Getty Images)

Amazon is reportedly (and suddenly) enforcing rules limiting employees' internal communication as workers, critical of the company's behavior, become increasingly outspoken and organized.

Internal listservs with more than 500 participants are now required to move to a moderated model where a manager must approve any content before its distribution, according to emails obtained by Recode.

Amazon had almost 800,000 total employees worldwide as of the end of 2019, a number that does not include the recent addition of another 175,000 temporary warehouse and delivery workers the company just hired to handle increased demand due to COVID-19. Of those 800,000, more than 500,000 are in the United States, and at least 275,000 of those are full-time employees.

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Posted in amazon, labor, organized labor, Policy | Comments (0)

Bose’s latest noise-cancelling headphones are down to their lowest price yet

April 30th, 2020
Bose’s latest noise-cancelling headphones are down to their lowest price yet

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a deal on Bose's Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which are currently down to $299 at various retailers. That's $100 off Bose's list price and about $75 off the average price we see them go for online. The catch is that this deal only applies to the white (or "Soapstone") model, but if you like that look, this is the lowest price we've seen from reputable retailers to date. (We previously highlighted a deal that brought the pair down to $280, but that only applied to officially refurbished models.)

The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are Bose's newest pair of wireless active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, having launched last May. While we don't have a formal review for them on Ars, we have tested them for various gift guides over the past year. They sport a more premium-feeling design than the company's older QuietComfort 35 II, with a slick metallic finish on the headband and lusher earpads. Their active noise-cancellation is virtually identical, too, which is to say it's just about best-in-class and plenty strong enough to mute out noisy kids or the rumbling of the subway.

Their sound is more bass-forward than the more laidback profile of the QuietComfort; there's less treble detail as a result, and as is usually the case with wireless ANC headphones, you can get better pure sound out of a wired non-ANC pair at the same price. But if you prefer a more "fun" sound, they should be perfectly enjoyable. Beyond all that, their 20-hour battery life is solid, and their integrated mics provide great clarity over calls.

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Posted in dealmaster, Staff | Comments (0)