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Apple Invests $45 Million In Gorilla-Glass Maker For Future Products

Apple announced this week that they will be investing an additional $45 million in US-based Corning Incorporated, the maker of Gorilla Glass. 

Apple posted a news release regarding the investment claiming it will help “expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product-life.  

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The investment will be pulled from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund which is valued at about $5 billion. The fund was initially established back in 2017 so that Apple could invest in new manufacturing jobs, as well as infrastructure in the United States.

Up until this point Corning had already received $450 million from that fund, and that initial investment worked to develop Apple’s newest ceramic shield screen technology which is found in the new iPhone 12 lineup. This new technology was created to make these iPhone’s even more drop resistant than previous iPhones which are already equipped with strong Gorilla Glass. 

Apple released a statement about the new ceramic shield technology and how it specifically works:

“The new material was enabled by a high-temperature crystallization step which forms nano-crystals within the glass matrix. Those specialized crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent. The resulting material makes up the revolutionary Ceramic Shield.”

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Apple initially used the Ceramic Shield “to fashion the new front cover featured on the iPhone in the iPhone 12 lineup. Prior to Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals have traditionally affected the material’s transparency, a crucial factor for the front cover of the iPhone because so many features, including the display, the camera, and sensors for Face ID, need optical clarity to function.”

Corning and Apple have been in business together since the original iPhone hit the market. Initially, Apple wasn’t even going to use Gorilla Glass technology in their phones, and instead were going to go with a scratch-prone plastic screen. However, when the invention of Gorilla Glass first emerged from Corning, the company made a last minute switch, and Gorilla Glass has been the staple of all iPhones ever since. 

Gorilla Glass itself has since been refined multiple times to become even more durable than it was 10 years ago. Beyond Apple the glass is found in many other popular mobile products from companies like Samsung, LG, and more. 

Apple hasn;t announced yet how exactly Corning will be using this new investment, however, the Gorilla Glass inventors have been working on new forms of bendable glass that could potentially work for a future foldable iPhone. 

While we may not know the specifics of the investment, it’s an exciting step for Apple and their future product line ups.

Apple Software

New iOS Update From Apple Includes App Tracking ‘Transparency’ Feature 

iPhone users will now be able to prevent advertisers from tracking them and their search activity across all the apps on their phone thanks to a new software update from Apple. Despite protests from advertisers and Facebook, the company introduces the new feature as a part of its iOS 14.5 update. 

The setting is listed in your phone as “app tracking transparency,” which will require all applications to ask for a user’s consent before they’re able to track their activity across all other apps and websites on their device. 

If a user decides to decline, the applications won’t be able to access the digital footprint that they normally can automatically, which allows them to track you from app to app. The prompt reads: “Allow [insert app name here] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” The prompt will appear with any app that requests access to that digital footprint. 

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Apple initially announced that app tracking transparency would be implemented in all iPhones last summer, and was originally projected to be implemented in fall 2020, however, the company decided to delay the release of the update six months to give advertisers and other industry leaders time to prepare. 

Dan Levy, Facebook’s head of advertisements and business products, spoke out greatly with Facebook this past winter about Apple’s new policy. “The app transparency setting is about control of the entire internet. This is about a long-term view that is anti-personalized advertising and we think is trying to take the world back 10 to 20 years.” 

Facebook even went as far as to launch an advertising campaign arguing that “the real victim of the changes are your neighborhood coffee brewery, your friend who owns their own retail business, your cousin who started an event planning service and the game developers who build the apps you use for free. Those small businesses would lose out if they were no longer able to target customers with personalized adverts.”

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Facebook’s not alone either, digital publishing house Axel Springer has filed a complaint on behalf of Germany’s biggest tech, media, and advertising companies, to the German competition regulator in which they argue that the new rules could lead to a 60% fall in advertising revenues for app developers. 

In France, consumer group Noyb argued the complete opposite, claiming that Apple should not only roll out the privacy tools as soon as possible, but also remove the ability for advertisers to see what you’re doing on your phone all together. “With our complaints we want to enforce a simple principle: trackers are illegal, unless a user freely consents,” said Stefano Rossetti, a privacy lawyer at Noyb.

Apple’s director of global privacy, Jane Horvath, wrote a letter to a slew of privacy and advertising groups to address these criticisms.

“We developed [app tracking transparency] for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers. Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads.”

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Apple Announces New East Coast Research Hub That Will Create 3,000 Jobs ‘At Least’ 

Apple has unveiled plans to invest $1 billion in a new campus and engineering hub within the Research Triangle of North Carolina. The tech company claims that the project should create at least 3,000 new jobs in the area as well. 

Apple made the announcement this Monday, adding that the hub will establish the company’s first major east coast location, as well as its first entirely new US campus in more than two decades. Apple previously chose to expand its Austin, Texas campus instead of starting construction on the North Carolina campus back in 2018. A representative of the company claimed that “this project will be much more transformational than the expansion we would have gotten in 2018.”

Apple claimed that the hub will bring in plenty of jobs once its fully operational, including occupations in machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering, and “other new cutting edge fields.” 

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The investment overall is predicted to generate more than $1.5 billion in annual economic benefits for North Carolina. Jeff Williams is Apple’s Chief Operating Officer who spoke about how exciting it was to be a North Carolina native and seeing this project come into fruition. 

“As a North Carolina native, I’m thrilled Apple is expanding and creating new long-term job opportunities in the community I grew up in. We’re proud that this new investment will also be supporting education and critical infrastructure projects across the state. Apple has been a part of North Carolina for nearly two decades, and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow and a bright future ahead.”

An Apple spokesperson claimed that hiring for the new campus is expected to “begin immediately.” Until construction on the 1,000,000 square foot campus is complete, Apple will be accommodating new workers in leased out local office buildings, and some workers will obviously be able to work remotely until the opening. 

“Even in a pandemic, North Carolina has been on a run with 10 companies and thousands of new jobs in both rural and urban North Carolina announced within just the last two months. Well it’s about to be 11 and this may be the biggest of them all,” Governor Roy Cooper said.

“The average salary for the new jobs Apple will create in North Carolina will be $185,000 per year. North Carolina is a place where cutting-edge ideas are born and everyone can find a place to succeed,” Cooper said.

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President of the North Carolina Senate Phil Berger said: “there’s no question North Carolina is the best state in the country to live, work and do business. There’s a reason this transformative project isn’t happening somewhere else. We’re delighted that Apple chose Wake County as the site for its newest research and development campus. An investment of this magnitude is transformational for our community, bringing great jobs and long-term economic benefits.”

“It also proves that we have the right combination of talent and innovation to attract industry-leading companies who want an exceptional quality of life for their employees.”

“At this moment of recovery and rebuilding, Apple is doubling down on our commitment to US innovation and manufacturing with a generational investment reaching communities across all 50 states. We’re creating jobs in cutting-edge fields – from 5G to silicon engineering to artificial intelligence – investing in the next generation of innovative new businesses, and in all our work, building toward a greener and more equitable future,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, wrote in a statement. 

The announcement comes after Apple revealed that they plan to invest more than $430 billion and create 20,000 new jobs across America in the next five years. Additionally, the company will be establishing a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives in the Raleigh-Durham area, and other areas throughout North Carolina.

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Apple Maps Is Now Displaying Covid-19 Vaccine Locations 

Apple users can now ask Siri or search within Apple Maps to find nearby Covid-19 vaccination providers throughout the US, the app will also display important information such as operation hours, links, phone numbers to call for assistance, and more!

The company announced this week that it updated the Apple Maps app to include Covid-19 vaccination locations provided by VaccineFinder, one of the biggest resources currently being used by Americans to find a proper vaccine provider. VaccineFinder was initially developed by the Boston Children’s Hospital as a free service that provides the latest vaccine availability for those eligible at certain pharmacies or other providers. 

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Now, users of Apple Maps can use the search bar within the application to find these locations by simply clicking the “Covid-19 Vaccines” button under the “Find Nearby” menu, which typically provides the locations of nearby restaurants, gas stations, and other useful locations. iPhone users can also now ask Siri “where can I get a Covid vaccine” to see the information as well. 

“The Apple Maps place card for each vaccine site will include the operating hours, address, phone numbers, and a link to the provider’s website, where Maps users can learn more about available vaccines and book appointments. The initial rollout includes more than 20,000 locations, with Apple adding more sites in the coming weeks,” according to Apple.

Besides just using data from VaccineFinder, Apple is using information that’s been collected from healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses that provide essential information regarding the pandemic. These establishments can also submit their information themselves through the Apple Business Register page; most businesses use this page when they’re first established so that customers can find them on their phones. 

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One Apple validates an establishment’s essential information about testing or vaccination locations, it then uploads it directly onto the Maps app so users can see them displayed immediately. Additionally, “Apple Maps now displays COVID-19 modules on the business place cards for more than 4,400 locations, allowing retailers to communicate COVID-19-related information to their customers, like special shopping hours,” the company announced this week.

Siri can also be used to find nearby testing and vaccination locations. The digital assistant can also help identify outdoor dining establishments and places offering takeout. Siri can also provide guidance and essential resources provided by the CDC if she’s asked “How do I know if I have Covid-19?” 

Apple also recently announced the release of “a mobility data trends tool to support the impactful work happening worldwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This mobility data may provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities, and may also be used as a foundation for new public policies by showing the change in volume of people driving, walking, or taking public transit in their communities. To learn more about COVID-19 mobility trends, visit apple.com/covid19/mobility.”

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The Most Rumored Features Tech Experts Think Will Be In iPhone 13 

Even though iPhone 12 was released just a few short months ago, tech experts are already scrambling to compile their lists of what they believe are the official specs for iPhone 13. While all of these features are just rumors, top tech analysts who have certain connections to Apple and their production have been able to successfully predict future tech innovations for the company before, and this will likely be no different. 

The biggest, and likely most accurate rumor, is that the iPhone 13 will have four separate models all at varying prices. This isn’t that crazy of a rumor considering the fact that Apple has released multiple models of the same phone in the past to accommodate consumers who want to spend less, or don’t need all the specs that are in the most expensive of the models. 

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The device will likely cost the same as iPhone 12, which has a base starting price of $799. Apple may also consider lowering the price of their next iPhone model to better compete with cheaper smartphone brands like Android. 

Most of Apple’s current phones refresh at a rate of 60 frames per second, while certain Android devices can refresh at up to 120 frames per second. The higher the refresh rate, the faster and smoother the phone runs when scrolling and switching between applications. 

Every upgrade to the iPhone essentially guarantees an upgrade to the already immaculate camera quality that these phones possess. “The iPhone 12 camera array currently includes regular, ultra-wide and selfie cameras, night mode photos on all cameras, improved HDR mode, a telephoto lens (on the Pro and Pro Max models) and 2.5x zoom (on the Pro Max only),” according to CNET.

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It’s likely that iPhone 13 will have an added periscope camera to improve zoom, and an improvement on night mode photography as well; as these have been the biggest complaints regarding the iPhone 12 camera quality. 

The iPhone 13 is also rumored to bring back touch ID for logging into the device. Touch ID hasn’t been on a smartphone model for Apple since iPhone 8 after Apple removed the home button all together from its devices. Now, it’s rumored that along with the standard Face ID unlocking that all later iPhone models possess, a touch ID feature will be implemented into the volume or power buttons. 

The next generation iPhone will likely not have a headphone jack, but unlike the current models will potentially remove another port from the device. The lightning port where one inserts the charging cable could be removed in iPhone 13. Instead the phone will take advantage of Apple’s MagSafe technology and rely strictly on wireless charging. Some experts believe that this would be foolish on Apple’s part, especially for individuals who are on the go and don’t have room to carry around a chunky wireless charger. 

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Apple Is Creating A Magnetic Battery Pack Attachment For iPhones

Apple has announced that they are currently working on a magnetically attached battery pack for its newest line of iPhone models. This wireless accessory would charge the phone the same way a chargeable case would. 

Apple has been working on developing this attachment for at least a year, and was initially hoping to release it in the months following the iPhone 12 launch. iPhone 12 models were released back in October 2020, so it’s likely that the company will be releasing the product relatively soon, or by the end of the year. 

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The battery pack would use the iPhone 12’s MagSafe system to attach to the device. The MagSafe systems are implemented into the newer iPhone models as a means of charging and pairing other accessories to your phone. One source claims that these battery packs will have a white rubber exterior, and would differ from Apple’s previous battery add-ons because it’s main role is charging the device itself. 

In internal testing, the magnetic attachment system proved to be strong enough to charge a device and stay attached to the phone itself. The accessories development, however, has overall been delayed due to internal issues that cause the product and phone to overheat when it’s in use. Apple is also apparently working on making sure the attachment can work over a phone case as well. 

Sources for Apple claim there’s a chance this attachment will be scrapped altogether due to these software issues, however, the company itself has denied to make any official comment. Accessories and wearable technology has been a major source of revenue for Apple in the past few years, equating to about $13 billion in sales last quarter alone. 

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“The wireless charging device could be a popular accessory for Apple’s new MagSafe ecosystem. Last year, Apple released cases with MagSafe compatibility, leather wallets and a pair of chargers,” said tech expert Mark Gurman

Gurman went on to explain that if these wireless battery attachments are released, they would rival “similar offerings released by small makers in recent months. The company has also discussed other MagSafe accessories internally, including the potential for an in-car attachment, though that product hasn’t made its way into formal development.

Apple has also supposedly been working on letting its mobile devices charge each other in the future. This means that Apple device owners could potentially use battery life from their phone to charge their Apple Watch, AirPods, or other iPhones. This technology will likely not be revealed for quite some time, however, because of the company’s need to perfect how the technology actually works. 

Apple’s MagSafe technology is likely going to be around for a while, and is expected to be incorporated into even more devices in the future. This will lead to the advancement in wireless charging capabilities and synchronicity among Apple’s many smart devices.

iPhone 12

Apple Warns That iPhone’s Should Be Kept 6 Inches Away From Pacemaker’s

Apple is currently warning customers that its smartphones could potentially interfere with certain medical devices, including pacemakers. In a notice published on Apple’s support page, the company expanded upon previously issued safety warnings against holding your iPhone close to pacemakers or defibrillators due to the fact that the phones contain magnets and radios that emit electromagnetic fields that could “interfere” with the medical devices. 

The notice specifically warns users about “the magnets inside all four iPhone 12 models, as well as MagSafe accessories. iPhone 12 versions contain more magnets than prior iPhone models, but they don’t pose a greater risk of magnetic interference with medical devices than earlier models.”

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In the update Apple explained that medical devices such as pacemakers contain sensors that could react to magnet or radio waves that come in extremely close proximity to it. The company recommends keeping iPhone’s and MagSafe chargers at a “safe distance away from medical devices, which would be at more than 6 inches apart, or 15 inches apart when wirelessly charging.”

When Apple initially announced the iPhone 12 last fall, they also unveiled the return of MagSafe charging for the iPhone and wireless charging docks that would allow users to charge their devices more easily. Other magnetic accessories such as cases and wallets were also released and meant to attach to the back of the phones. 

Apple didn’t respond to questions over why it was specifically expanding upon their safety guidelines now, however, many believe it’s due to the fact that the Heart Rhythm Journal released a report earlier this month that claimed the magnets in the iPhone 12 that make it compatible with MagSafe accessories could interfere with an implanted defibrillator. 

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These warnings, however, aren’t that new within the medical community. Health experts have always cautioned patients with implanted medical devices not to hold cell phones too close to where the implantation is; this was in response to a slew of individuals who held their smartphones in their front shirt pocket.  

Apple warned in the notice that users should “consult your physician and medical device manufacturer for information specific to your medical device and whether you need to maintain a safe distance of separation between your medical device and iPhone or any MagSafe accessories. Manufacturers often provide recommendations on the safe use of their devices around wireless or magnetic products to prevent possible interference.”

Apple also said if a user feels like any of their devices are interfering with their medical implantation’s then they should immediately stop using their phone or MagSafe accessory and speak with a physician. Another warning issued by the company claimed that iPhone 12 users specifically should avoid placing credit cards, security badges, or passports between your phone and MagSafe charger, as the magnets could damage the magnetic strips and readers on those items.

Parler Sues Amazon For Removing App From Cloud Services Following Capitol Riot

Amazon Web Services removed the Parler app from its cloud services this past Monday after the company claimed that the network wasn’t able to monitor the content on its platform, especially content that promoted or incited violence.

Facebook And Apple Feuding Over Privacy Changes That Threaten Targeted Advertisements 

Facebook has spent its week pushing public relations efforts meant to attack Apple due to the fact that the company is planning on making iOS data privacy changes that would make it harder for advertisers to track users search history and therefore deliver extremely specific targeted ads on platforms like Facebook

Critics of Facebook were quick to point out that it’s interesting they care so much about targeted advertisements, and believe they’re just showing how integral that is to their actual core business. 

Facebook has put out advertisements in several national newspapers, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, in which the platform slams Apple’s upcoming privacy changes. Facebook has claimed in the ads that the changes would be “devastating” to millions of smaller businesses that use Facebook to get their companies name out there more. 

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Facebook has been pushing their new small business initiative, SpeakUpForSmall, recently in which the platform encourages local businesses to “speak their mind” and share what personalized advertisements have meant to the success of their business. However, many were quick to point out that Facebook is likely more upset about these changes due to the fact that the platform makes a majority of its annual revenue from advertising on the site. 

Apple announced these changes at their Worldwide Developer Conference back in June, but they won’t be implemented until early 2021. During the event Apple discussed how users would now be shown a prompt on their devices that would ask for their permission to allow tracking from advertisers, and a bold warning that their information would be used specifically for targeted advertisements. 

Apple has defended this move multiple times by claiming that “online privacy is a fundamental human right,” a right that Facebook has definitely been criticized on throughout the past decade. Now, Facebook is attempting to position themselves as a large supporter of small businesses with these new advertisements, which claim that the platform is “standing up for small businesses everywhere.” 

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The advertisements continue: “Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software updates, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively. … These changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.”

Apple released a statement this week in response to the advertisements and the small businesses throughout the nation who are actually concerned that this new policy could hinder how well they’re able to advertise: “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”

Apple and Facebook have clashed in the past over privacy-related concerns as well. Just last week WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, criticized Apple over these privacy concerns and warnings, to which Apple replied that peoples privacies should always be top priority, and they would continue to fight for that.

Best Black Friday Tech Deals For Students Of All Ages 

Regardless of if you’re heading into middle school, high school, or college, Black Friday is the perfect time to start looking for new devices and technology that will not only help you in school, but in your personal life as well. Many brands have already begun their Black Friday deals online as a means of making up for the lack of foot traffic they’ll likely experience this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some of the most highly anticipated and popular tech devices going on sale this week:

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Tablets: Tablets are great for kids all ages, and now that there’s a multitude of child-friendly tablet devices on the market, there’s never been more options for you this year. Amazon’s Fire HD 7 Kids Edition tablet is going on sale for $60, which is $40 off its original price, and this deal will be active until December 1st. Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is now $80 as well, $60 off its original price. This deal is also active until December 1st. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is $279.99 at Walmart, $70 off its original price and the deal also includes 64GB of storage and an S Pen.

Laptops: For older kids entering into their college years, Black Friday is the perfect time to purchase a new personal computer for themselves. One of the most popular laptops used among college student’s is the HP Envy due to its high quality performance, and touchscreen capabilities. The laptop is going on sale for $750, which is $250 off its original price. 

Speakers: While speakers may not necessarily be as helpful in your schooling as a laptop, creating a comfortable environment where one is able to play their calming music as they study for the big exam is helpful in itself. Some of the most popular speakers on the market that are going on sale this year include the Sonos Move speaker which is available for $300 on Amazon and Best Buy, $100 off its original pricing. Amazon’s third generation Echo Dot is also now just $19, and the Echo Studio is $40 off as well for $160. 

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Smartphones: Cell phones in general are always a great product to buy on Black Friday because pretty much all kinds of smartphones go on sale. Apple’s iPhone SE is projected to be $200 at Best Buy when one trades in their iPhone 7 or newer. Samsung’s Galaxy A51 is now on sale for $275 as Best Buy as well, $125 off its original pricing. Motorola’s Moto G Stylus is 50% off at Best Buy for $150.

Headphone Deals: Headphones are a universally great gift for anyone, and this year some of the most popular wireless ones are going on sale. The Bose 700 noise-canceling headphones are currently $340 at Amazon, $40 off their original price. This deal will be active until January 4th. Some alternative colors are also on sale for as low as $299 at Best Buy. Apple’s AirPods Pro are $200 also at Best Buy, $50 off their original price. Sony’s WH-1000XM4 are $280 at Best Buy, $72off their original price.

Smart Home Devices: The Philips Hue White Color Ambiance 3-pack will transform any room into a multi-colored paradise. LED lights are extremely trendy and popular right now, so take it a step further and add some sophistication to your room by picking up these lightbulbs at Best Buy on Black Friday for $100, $35 off its original pricing!