Apple’s Independent iPhone Repair Program Adds More U.S. Locations and Expands to Canada and Europe

Apple today announced that over 140 more repair businesses are now participating in its Independent Repair Provider Program in the United States. The program, launched in August 2019, is also being expanded to Canada and Europe.


The program allows independent repair shops like uBreakiFix to offer certified out-of-warranty service for iPhones, such as display and battery replacements. Participating businesses receive access to the same Apple genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Independent repair shops need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs to qualify for the program. Apply here.

“When a customer needs a repair, we want them to have a range of options that not only suits their needs but also guarantees safety and quality so their iPhone can be used for as long as possible,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

To verify that a company participates in the program, visit this page.

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Apple Card Deferred Payment Program Extended Once Again Through July

Apple has once again extended its Apple Card COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program by a month, allowing cardholders who enroll in the program to defer their July payment without incurring any interest charges.


To enroll in the program, open the Wallet app on an iPhone or iPad, tap on the ‌Apple Card‌, tap on the black circle with three dots, tap on the message bubble, and send a message along the lines of “I want to enroll in the Customer Assistance Program.” Confirmation of your enrollment will be sent to the email address associated with your Apple ID.

Your outstanding balance of ‌Apple Card‌ purchases will still need to be paid off eventually, but the balance will not accrue interest while you are participating in the program. Customers who previously enrolled in the program for other months will need to enroll again for July.

Apple has a support document with more details, although it does not reflect the July extension yet.

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Apple Launches ‘Path to Apple Card’ Program to Help Declined Applicants Get Approved

Apple today launched a new Apple Card program and website that are designed to help people who have their ‌Apple Card‌ applications declined improve their credit to qualify, reports TechCrunch.


Starting today, declined ‌Apple Card‌ applicants will begin seeing emails that offer the Path to ‌Apple Card‌ program, which is opt-in and can run for four months. It uses the information from the initial ‌Apple Card‌ credit application to provide people with details on why they were declined as well as suggestions on how to improve financial markers that could help them get approved next time.


Examples of suggestions include resolving past due balances, making payments to secured and unsecured debt accounts on time, and lowering credit card and personal loan debt. Apple will send out a once-a-month update on progress toward improvement.

When a customer has completed the program, Apple invites them to reapply for the ‌Apple Card‌. Apple has also launched a website that has specific details on how the Goldman Sachs approval process works and how people can boost their chances of approval before applying.

As TechCrunch points out, the suggestions that Apple offers are obvious to those with knowledge of how credit works, but there are many people who do not have a strong grasp on the factors that can impact credit worthiness, and Apple’s program could help these people.

When it comes to privacy, Apple knows whether a person has chosen to participate in the program, but it does not store personally identifiable information or know details about participants’ financial situation. Goldman Sachs does not share the information with third parties for advertising or marketing purposes.

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Apple’s $500 Developer Program Includes Tools and Resources for Transitioning to Apple Silicon, Plus a Loaner A12Z-Based Mac Mini

To help developers prepare for the Mac transition from Intel processors to Apple Silicon, Apple has launched a Universal App Quick Start Program, which “includes all the tools, resources, and support you need to build, test, and optimize your next-generation Universal apps for macOS Big Sur.”


The program requires a brief application, with limited availability and priority for developers with an existing macOS application. The program costs $500 and includes access to beta software, developer labs, private discussion forum, technical support, and other resources.

On the hardware side, participants will receive exclusive access to a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), which resembles a Mac mini but uses Apple’s A12Z Bionic chip from the latest iPad Pro as its brains. In addition to the A12Z Bionic, the DTK includes 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a pair of 10 Gbps USB-C ports, a pair of 5 Gbps USB-A ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port. Thunderbolt 3 support is not included.

On the communications side, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Gigabit Ethernet are also supported. An FCC filing for the DTK reveals that it carries an Apple model number of A2330, which was the lone new Mac model number that appeared in the Eurasian Economic Commission’s database earlier this month.

Notably, the DTK remains the property of Apple and must be returned at the conclusion of the program. Participants must also agree to a number of restrictions against tearing the machine down, using it for work other than development related to the program, or renting or leasing it out.

The Universal App Quick Start Program is similar to one Apple launched for the transition from PowerPC chips to Intel processors back in 2005. In that case, the program cost was $999 and participants were provided with loaner machines based on the Power Mac G5. As with the new DTK machines, those Macs also had to be returned at the end of the program, although Apple did provide participants with a free first-generation Intel iMac upon returning the developer kit as bonus.

Apple has made no promise of a similar bonus this time, so it remains to be seen whether program participants will get any hardware to keep.

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Apple Launches In-Store Mac Trade-In Program in the U.S. and Canada

Linksys Launches Affordable Max-Stream AX1800 Mesh WiFi 6 Router

Linksys today announced the launch of a new WiFi 6 router, adding the Max-Stream AX1800 Mesh WiFi 6 Router (MR7350) to its router lineup.
Priced at $149.99, the Max-Stream AX1800 router is Linksys’ most affordable WiFi 6 option. WiFi 6, otherwise known as 802.11ax, is the newest generation of WiFi, offering faster speeds and better coverage for homes with many connected devices.
Many…

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Apple to Launch In-Store Mac Trade-In Program in the U.S. and Canada Next Week

Apple is planning to launch a Mac trade-in program at its retail stores in the United States and Canada next week, reports Bloomberg.


The new program, which kicks off on June 15 in the United States and June 18 in Canada, will allow customers to exchange a Mac for credit that can be put on a gift card or used to cut the cost of a new computer.

Apple has long allowed Mac trade-ins on its website, but has not accepted Mac trade-ins in its retail store locations. The new Mac trade-in option will join in-store trade-in programs for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

According to Bloomberg, Apple may be introducing the program as a way to boost Mac sales by providing customers with an easier way to get a credit for an old machine. With the new trade-in program, customers will no longer need to hassle with doing a trade-in by mail, and can get an immediate credit when making an in-store purchase.

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Google Brings Up Nest for Advanced Protection Program, Will Provide Protection for High-Profile Targets like Politicians and Journalists – Disposable mail news


Due to a recent increase in device hacks, Google has decided to strengthen up its Nest security protections. The Nest smart home devices will provide account protection to the users that are always a high potential target. These can be journalists and politicians.

The Advanced Protection Program was launched in 2017. When signing up for Google services, the program offered additional account protection features. The features were- restricting third-party access, providing malware protection, and offering security keys to prevent cyberattacks.

According to Google, the Nest has been launched because of top requests from the users.

Smart home devices have become an easy target for hackers; it is because they are connected through the internet but lack basic safety protections. It has compelled the Government and the states to aid developers of these devices in increasing the security. If the hackers attack a smart home device and have access to it, they can control the camera, or infect the device using Botnet, which can turn off websites through junk traffick. However, Nest devices are considered to be the safest of all, but even they are vulnerable to hacking attacks.

After a series of cyberattacks against the nest devices were reported earlier this year, Google mandated Nest users to use the two-factor authentication. According to Google, the user accounts were not breached but said that the hackers could be using stolen passwords to target other Nest users in different breaches.

We know that two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to the users, but according to Google, the new security improvements will be even better and more reliable.

According to the Washington Post, “tech companies have been aware of the threat of credential stuffing for years, but the way they think about it has evolved as it has become a bigger problem. There was once a sense that users should take responsibility for their security by refraining from using the same password on multiple websites. But as gigantic dumps of passwords have gotten more frequent, technology companies have found that it is not just a few inattentive customers who reuse the same passwords for different accounts — it’s the majority of people online.”


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Google adds Nest devices to Advanced Protection Program – 10 minute mail

You can now shore up your smart home security by leveraging Google’s top security offering

Google has announced that its Advanced Protection Program (APP) is now available for Nest smart home devices. People could previously use their Google account with either APP or Nest devices, but not both at the same time.

The update has been high on the wish list of Google’s userbase, Shuvo Chatterjee, APP product manager, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

“Since we launched, one of our goals has been to bring Advanced Protection’s features to other Google products. Over the years, we’ve incorporated many of them into GSuite, Google Cloud Platform, Chrome, and most recently, Android,” said Chatterjee, adding that Google wanted as many people as possible to benefit from the extra security provided by the program.

The addition of APP is the latest in a slew of security features that have been rolled out to the popular line of connected devices following reports of hijackings of multiple Nest devices and vulnerabilities in Nest security cameras.

Two-factor authentication has become mandatory for Nest owners who haven’t turned on this option or migrated to a Google account. Meanwhile, reCAPTCHA Enterprise was added to lower the likelihood of automated attacks, and login notifications were rolled out to the platform back in December.

RELATED READING: Privacy by Design: Can you create a safe smart home?

Launched in 2017, APP is mainly aimed at people who are at a high risk of targeted attacks due to the nature of their work – journalists, activists, business leaders, and political campaign teams. However, you don’t have to be a member of any of those groups to beef up your Google account security. Anyone interested in added protection against phishing, malware and fraudulent access to their data can sign up.

To enroll in the program, you have two options: either use two physical security keys, including one as a backup, or a smartphone. The phone needs to run Android 7.0 or higher or iOS 10.0 or above. While Android phones have the security key built in, iPhone users have to install the “Google Smart Lock” app. Even so, Google recommends that you should add a hardware token, such as its own Titan Security Key, as a backup in case your phone goes missing.



Amer Owaida


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Apple Card Deferred Payment Program Extended to June

Apple Card’s COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program has been extended by another month, allowing cardholders who enroll in the program to defer their June payment without incurring any interest charges, as noted by 9to5Mac.


To enroll in the program, open the Wallet app on an iPhone or iPad, tap on the Apple Card, tap on the black circle with three dots, tap on the message bubble, and send a message along the lines of “I want to enroll in the Customer Assistance Program.” Confirmation of your enrollment will be sent to the email address associated with your Apple ID.

Of course, any purchases made with the Apple Card throughout June will still need to be paid off eventually as part of your outstanding balance. Apple has a support document with more details, although it does not reflect the June extension yet.

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Irish Regulators ‘in Contact’ With Apple Over Siri Quality Control Program

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) is “in contact” with Apple after a former Apple contractor asked the DPC to investigate Apple’s practice of allowing employees to listen to Siri recordings, reports Reuters.


The contractor, Thomas Le Bonniec, requested the assistance of the DPC in May and called for greater protection under the EU’s privacy laws.

DPC Deputy Commissioner Graham Doyle said that the DPC “engaged with Apple” when the ‌Siri‌ issue first arose last year, and Apple “made some changes,” but now the DPC has additional questions.

“However, we have followed up again with Apple following the release of this public statement and await responses,” he said, in reference to the letter. “In addition, it should be noted that the European Data Protection Board is working on the production of guidance in the area of voice assistant technologies.”

Last July, contractors working on ‌Siri‌ quality control told The Guardian that they were listening to Siri audio recordings for Apple and regularly heard sensitive information that Apple device owners might not want shared, even with the data anonymized.

Apple came under fire for concealing the quality control practice and not making it clear to customers that some ‌Siri‌ recordings are listened to by employees for quality control purposes.

Apple in August 2019 ultimately suspended its Siri quality control program to overhaul how it works. Later in August, Apple ended all transcription and voice grading work done through contracting companies.

In October, with the release of iOS 13.2, Apple added a toggle that allows users to opt out of sharing voice recordings to improve ‌Siri‌ and Dictation, and it provided a way to delete all ‌Siri‌ and Dictation history.

Apple resumed ‌Siri‌ quality control practices in the fall with the release of the opt-out option. ‌Siri‌ quality control is no longer handled by third-party contractors and is done in-house, and Apple has made changes to minimize the amount of data that reviewers have access to.

Along with further scrutiny from Irish regulators, Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit for allowing contractors to listen to and grade the anonymized ‌Siri‌ conversations for quality control purposes.

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