The Apple Pips

Inside All Apple Products

Author: macrumors (Page 1 of 807)

Fleksy Keyboard Development Taken Over by Developer Thingthing as iOS App Improvements Planned

When Pinterest acquired keyboard app maker Fleksy last summer, development was paused on the company’s well-known iOS and Android keyboard apps as the team was integrated into Pinterest’s projects. The companies said that Fleksy would continue to exist with minimal updates, but otherwise not much news has come out about the keyboard app, until today.

Now, Barcelona-based keyboard startup Thingthing [iOS App Store Direct Link] announced in a blog post this morning that it will take over development of the Fleksy keyboard, while the original Fleksy team continues to work at Pinterest (via TechCrunch). Thingthing said that thanks to the deal, the company is “closer than ever to our goal of bringing you the world’s first Keyboard as a Platform (KaaP).”



The company highlighted improvements coming to Fleksy + Gif Keyboard on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] and Android devices over the coming months, including: “A new brand, more themes and extensions, continued focus on data privacy, awesome auto-correction, new services thanks to our open keyboard as a platform, [and] ongoing support to all of you!”

For now, the company updated Fleksy with a few basic bug fixes today, while a “very, very big” product launch is expected sometime this fall.

Thingthing users are used to being productive, using the keyboard’s interface to improve their typing experience and reducing time to realise day-to-day activities, which are performed naturally in Thingthing.

Still, a lot of you have requested more languages, more services, more customization, a better auto-correct, etc. This is exactly what we’re bringing to you: what you asked for.

Thingthing’s chief technical officer mentioned that the developer intends to “vastly improve” upon the current Fleksy keyboard with these updates, building the keyboard up into a platform of its own with extensions for apps like Spotify, YouTube, and more. The upcoming brand refresh will be centered on changing the design and feel of the app and its logo, while the Fleksy name will remain in place.

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Malware Discovered That Can Control a Mac’s Webcam and Keyboard, But It’s Old and Possibly Abandoned

Earlier this year, researchers from security firm Malwarebytes discovered a piece of Mac malware called Fruitfly that reportedly spied on computers in medical research centers for years before being detected. Apple has since updated macOS to automatically detect the malware, safeguarding users.



However, a new variant of the Fruitfly malware has recently been discovered by Patrick Wardle, a researcher with security firm Synack. Wardle said the malware has been targeting Macs for at least five years, with the number of infected Macs totaling nearly 400 and possibly much higher, reports Ars Technica.

The malware can supposedly capture screenshots, keystrokes, webcam images, and other info about each infected Mac. The Fruitfly variant also collects information about devices connected to the same network, according to the report.

Wardle said the method of infection remains unknown, but he suspects it involves tricking users into clicking on malicious links, as opposed to exploiting vulnerabilities in apps or in macOS. He added that the primary command-and-control server used by the malware’s creators has since been shut down.

Many of the affected Macs have never been disinfected, however, allowing Wardle to create his own custom command-and-control server for the malware and witness the close to 400 infected machines connect to it.

After analyzing the new variant, Wardle was able to decrypt several backup domains that were hardcoded into the malware. To his surprise, the domains remained available. Within two days of registering one of the addresses, close to 400 infected Macs connected to the server, mostly from homes located in the United States. Although Wardle did nothing more than observe the IP address and user names of Macs that connected to his server, he had the ability to use the malware to spy on the users who were unwittingly infected.

Wardle will provide a briefing about his custom command-and-control server tactics on Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

Since the method of infection is unknown, there aren’t many specific steps users can take to ensure they’re protected. But, given all domains known to be associated with the malware are no longer available, and the limited number of Macs infected beforehand, most users shouldn’t be too worried about this malware.

One option Mac users have is to install OverSight, a free software tool that monitors a Mac’s microphone and webcam, alerting the user when the internal microphone is activated, or whenever a process accesses the webcam.

Wardle has reported all of his findings to law enforcement officials, and the threat is likely neutralized, according to the report.

Tag: malware

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Apple Watch Series 3 Expected to Debut in Fall 2017, Boosting Manufacturing Partner Quanta’s Revenue

Apple has sourced Quanta Computer as the primary manufacturer of the Apple Watch since the original wearable device began a production ramp-up in late 2014/early 2015 for its official launch in the spring of 2015.

The supplier was again the sole source of Apple Watch manufacturing for the Series 2 models in 2016, and a new article out today by Chinese-language site Economic Daily News has echoed previous reports that stated Apple will yet again keep Quanta as its main Apple Watch supplier for the so-called “Apple Watch Series 3.” The move is expected to lead Quanta into a “strong” second half of 2017, further cementing the next-generation Apple Watch’s debut this upcoming fall (via DigiTimes).



Additionally, Quanta’s income towards the end of the year is poised to rise thanks to the manufacturer’s supply of notebooks and servers, but the Apple Watch Series 3 is described as one of the company’s biggest assets. Secondary to Quanta, EDN‘s report today cited market watchers who believe Compal will also be sourced as an Apple Watch supplier this year, but with a focus on older-generation models and not including Series 3.

Quanta Computer is expected to enjoy a strong second-half 2017 thanks to rising demand for notebooks, growing server sales and the release of the next-generation Apple Watch, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

Apple is reportedly planning to launch its third-generation Apple Watch in 2017 and the wearable is likely to help Quanta’s Apple Watch product line turn profitable. Although Compal Electronics reportedly has joined the supply chain of the Apple Watch, the market watchers believe Apple is likely to let Compal mainly handle older-generation models, the paper added.

While rumors leading into the fall of 2017 have largely focused on the iPhone 8, it is believed that Apple will launch an all-new Apple Watch device this year, perhaps at the same iPhone debut event expected in September. The company used that strategy last fall when it announced and launched the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2 within the same September timeframe.

Besides the expected new-generation bumps to processing speeds and a longer battery life, Apple Watch Series 3 has been rumored to include cellular connectivity so users could make phone calls, send iMessages, and stream Apple Music without needing to be tethered to their iPhone, with the caveat of an added data plan likely. The Series 3 device is also said to not include any major visual overhauls to the Apple Watch design, keeping the same case and band form factor that Apple has used since 2015.

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Adobe Accidentally Leaks Cloud-Native Editing Software ‘Project Nimbus’ Ahead of Beta

Last November, Adobe previewed its next-generation photo editor, Project Nimbus, which boasts a focus on cloud storage and simplified editing controls, telling users to expect a beta sometime in 2017. Although that beta has yet to arrive, some users of Adobe’s Creative Cloud recently had access to an “internal only” download of Project Nimbus on both Mac and Windows devices.

Since a few Creative Cloud users were able to download Project Nimbus, Adobe quickly fixed the leak and confirmed it as an accident: “That morning, we shared Project Nimbus by mistake with a small group of Creative Cloud customers.” French site MacGeneration [Google Translate] had a chance to browse Project Nimbus, and shared its thoughts earlier today.

Image via DPReview forums member trenzterra


The site described Project Nimbus as a complement to Lightroom, not a replacement, and ultimately said that the interface is “actually much closer to Lightroom for iPad than Lightroom for Mac / Windows.” Thanks to half a dozen simplified and “general” editing tools and the ability to transfer edits in the cloud, MacGeneration also compared Project Nimbus closely with Apple’s iCloud photo library.

Compared to Lightroom, which Nimbus does not replace but complete, the interface is less loaded and there is no segmentation in modules (library, development, printing …). The editing tools are not all stacked in the right column, there is a palette of tools to the Photoshop which includes half a dozen general tools: Basic tools (light, color, effects, details, optics, geometry); Refraction; Correct; Brush; Linear gradient; Radial gradient; and Options (copy / paste settings, view original, return to original, display histogram, single panel mode, edit in Photoshop).

In the end, Project Nimbus is not a substitute for Lightroom, which should continue to evolve on its own, but an iCloud photo library in Adobe sauce. It remains to be seen whether this new service will be adopted by the usual users of Lightroom and whether it will attract new customers.

The leak provided information on cloud storage included with Project Nimbus, which will give users 1TB of storage in the cloud to facilitate the software’s goal of cross-platform editing. During the announcement, Adobe specifically described Project Nimbus as “cloud-native,” with non-destructive image edits that are saved across all platforms that the software is available on and that users are signed into.

Last week, Adobe updated Lightroom for iOS, bringing a new selective brush, a details tab, a refreshed interface for the iPad, and enhanced support for features like the Apple Pencil and 3D Touch.

Tag: Adobe

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LG Display Plans $13 Billion OLED Investment Over Next Three Years

Earlier in July, a report by The Korea Herald suggested that Apple and supplier LG Display were working on a deal that would see Apple investing $1.75-2.62 billion into LG Display’s OLED manufacturing, specifically a plant that would be exclusively devoted to Apple orders. Today, Reuters has provided a few more details on LG Display’s plans to enter the OLED display market for smartphones, which rival Samsung Display currently dominates.

In total, LG Display plans to invest $13.5 billion into boosting its output of OLED screens over the next three years, covering TV screens and specifically hoping to “make inroads against rival Samsung in smartphone displays.” LG Display is already the OLED leader in large-screen television displays, but now the supplier is said to be seeking a strong foothold in the OLED screen market for smartphones, coming in the wake of OLED-backed iPhone 8 rumors and Apple’s reported plans to go OLED-only on iPhones beginning in 2019, and perhaps even 2018.



LG Display will invest around $4.5 billion for a new production line that will create flexible OLED panels to help bolster its position in the auto display and smartphone market, and another $2.5 billion will be saved for another line of “large-size OLED screens.” In regards to lines dedicated to small and mid-sized OLED displays, it’s said that Apple will help out with getting the lines up and running, continuing the investment rumors began earlier this month.

Around 5 trillion won is earmarked for a new line for flexible OLED aimed at bolstering its position in auto displays and smartphones while 2.8 trillion won will go toward a separate new line for large-size OLED screens. Both production lines will be located in Paju, northwest of Seoul. Its planned 15 trillion won investment over three years implies an average of 5 trillion won in capital spending per year, above its usual 4 trillion won, but analysts said it will probably not be enough.

“For small and mid-sized OLED, it is expected to receive additional investment from somewhere else, perhaps Apple,” said Lee Min-hee, analyst at Heungkuk Securities. “One production line for small and mid-sized OLED can require nearly 10 trillion won in investment. LG doesn’t have the firepower to single-handedly build a lot of OLED production lines.”

Apple’s current OLED deal with Samsung will see the manufacturer supply 92 million OLED panels over the next two years. In The Korea Herald‘s report from early July, it was rumored that LG Display’s OLED output for Apple would gear up in 2019, aligning with the end of Apple’s contract with Samsung. A rumor this week has also pointed towards Apple’s plans to develop its own OLED technology to reduce its reliance on suppliers like Samsung Display.

Apple’s launch of the first-ever OLED iPhone is widely expected to be coming later this fall, in the majorly redesigned “iPhone 8,” while more iterative updates in the “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” will receive traditional LCD screens.

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