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Home / US Business / Apple is accused of tearing into Russia and violating user privacy

Apple is accused of tearing into Russia and violating user privacy



Apple usually doesn't make much news the week after Thanksgiving. But this year is different – and not necessarily in a good way.

The week started with Apple responding to criticism of revising its digital map to show that Crimea, recognized by most of the world as in Ukraine, is now part of Russia. Many industry observers said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose army invaded Crimea five years ago, had "played" Apple and that the company had bowed to political pressure. Apple said it would take a "deeper look" at the matter.

But that was not the only controversy. A security researcher this week found that Apple tracks the location of an iPhone, even when the user had turned off the device. The company said it would add a new feature that gives users more control over that tracking, but privacy advocates were unsure if it was enough to safeguard users' privacy.

Meanwhile, several news reports were alleged to be posting Apple's product plans, including for 2020 Another detail about how Samsung plans to take the fight to the iPhone next year.

Read on for more about what's happening this week:

Where's Crimea?

Apple last week decided to redraw Apple Maps that users in Russia see to include Crimea . For users outside Russia, the map shows that Crimea is still part of Ukraine. Following criticism that it had bowed to the Russian government's pressure, Apple said this week that it is committed to "taking a deeper look" at how it will address border disputes in its maps. Apple added that it made the change in response to a Russian law requiring Crimea to appear as part of Russia.

Apple's location tracking efforts

Apple has touted the control users have over how apps track their locations in iOS. But this week, security researcher KrebsOnSecurity found that Apple's mobile operating system still regularly collects information about the user's location, even after users turn off location tracking. Apple said in a statement to the TechCrunch news site this week that it tracks location due to governmental requirements that prohibit the use of certain technologies in unidentified government-elected sites. Apple needs to know where a phone is to decide whether to turn off these technologies. In the future, however, Apple promised to add a switch to a future iOS update that would allow users to turn off all location tracking.

Many new iPhones in the works

Apple will release four new iPhones next year TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a research note this week. He said all four models will have the same organic light emitting diode (OLED) display technology that Apple already uses in the iPhone 1

1 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. OLED displays offer lighter colors and more accurate levels of black. They are also thinner than liquid crystal display options, allowing Apple to create slimmer devices. Perhaps most surprisingly, Kuo, which has one of the better tracks predicting Apple's plans, said Apple would eliminate all ports in at least one iPhone model scheduled for 2021 – making it the first non-port iPhone. In that case, users will need to go wireless – from charging to connecting headphones to the device.

What is it that bounces sound?

Some 16-inch MacBook Pro owners report a strange bounce sound coming from the speakers to the laptop, according to an AppleInsider report. The Apple tracking site found a growing number of people in Apple Support forums who said MacBook Pro speakers occasionally make a "popping" noise during use. Some of these users brought their devices to the Apple Store for repairs, but staff did not know how to do it. Apple has yet to comment on the pop sound, and it's unclear how widespread the problem is. Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro was sold last month.

Best Apple Apps of the Year

Apple released the list of the best apps of the year across its many operating systems, including iOS, macOS and tvOS. Apple chose Specter Camera, an application that uses artificial intelligence to automatically enhance images, as the best iPhone app of the year. The top iPad app went to sketch design application Moleskine, while the best Mac app was the book publishing tool Affinity Publisher. The Explorers, an app aimed at taking pictures and videos of the natural world, was chosen as the best Apple TV app. Apple's list was determined by its App Store editors and is not based on the number of downloads, although popularity plays into the final decision.

Apple Music Awards honors Billie Eilish

This week, Apple first announced its Apple Music Awards honoring artists in five categories, including Artist of the Year, Article of the Year, and Album of the Year. 17-year-old singer-songwriter Billie Eilish dominated this year's awards, earning Artist of the Year, as well as Album of the Year. Singer, songwriter and rapper Lizzo was named Breakout Artist of the Year. For a full list of winners, click here.

One more thing …

Samsung wants to take the camera fight to Apple next year Bloomberg reported this week. Samsung is planning a Galaxy S11 smartphone for early 2020 that uses four rear cameras, including one with a 108-megapixel sensor. The report states that Samsung believes it is following Apple's camera-quality iPhone and wants to record it by 2020.

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Get hold of Datasheet Fortune's daily digestion in the tech business.


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