Ars Technica on iOS 10.3 in general, but particularly the new Apple File System:
Rumor sites covering the iOS 10.3 betas usually do some hand-waving here, claiming that APFS may be faster or save disk space. I can't speak to the filesystem's speed except to say that boot times on three devices I tested under iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 3 beta 7 (a late build that, bug fixes aside, should be more-or-less identical to today's release build) were the same. But iDevices with iOS 10.3 installed do consistently seem to show larger amounts of space available, as well as larger capacities, suggesting that the conversion to APFS is reducing the size needed for the OS partition.
The difference isn't huge, but does seem to free up some storage space.
iOS 10.3 makes the Apple File System jump
Last year at Apple's developer conference, the company demo'd an upcoming new file system for its platforms. Shortened to APFS, Apple File System is the first major revision to Apple's file system since the retooled HSF+. The new file system is geared towards mobile flash storage and better encryption support.
Other new features includes Find My AirPods, which as it says, helps you find missing wireless AirPods. The feature is a part of the Find my iPhone app will play a chime on the AirPods to help track one down. The app will also record last known location, but otherwise requires AirPods to be linked to a device via Bluetooth.
Theater Mode comes with watchOS 3.2
Apple released watchOS 3.2 for the Apple Watch. The headline feature is the addition of Theater Mode, which has been rumored for release with recent beta version of the watchOS.
The idea is when enabled, Theater Mode will prevent the Apple Watch screen from inadvertently lighting up. So, if you're in a movie theater for example, the screen won't illuminate when moving your arm or with alerts. The device still offers notifications with the haptic feedback and wearers can view the notification by tapping the screen or using the Digital Crown.
Apple updates macOS Sierra to 10.12.4
macOS 10.12.4 brings Night Shift mode. Similar to the iOS feature, Night Shift will transition your screen color depending on the time of day. The concept is warmer, more yellow colors are less likely to stimulate you than brighter blue-ish colors. At least for those who can't get away from a screen before bed time.
The update also offers a number of minor updates and security fixes.
WikiLeaks details more CIA hacks, includes Mac Thunderbolt vulnerability
The latest batch of files, dramatically named "DarkMatter" (after one of the tools described in the dump), consists of user manuals and other documentation for exploits targeting Apple MacBooks--including malware that leveraged a vulnerability in Apple's Thunderbolt interface uncovered by a researcher two years ago. Named "Sonic Screwdriver" after the ever-useful tool carried by the fictional Doctor of Dr. Who, the malware was stored on an ordinary Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter. It exploited the Thunderbolt interface to allow anyone with physical access to a MacBook to bypass password protection on firmware and install one of a series of Apple-specific CIA "implants."
This is an old exploit that has been addressed, so there's nothing to see here. The interesting part is that further documentation of known legitimate exploits gives further credibility to the cache of info.
Apple acquires Workflow automation app
Apple has purchased the app and team behind the popular Workflow app on iOS.
Apple in a statement to Tech Crunch:
The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision.
Workflow can trigger events between apps and services. Apple digging deeper in automation probably makes sense as the company keeps developing Siri integrations and new functionality for Home Kit.
iTunes adds rent once, watch anyway feature
Update for iTunes 10.6 for macOS:
Rent once, watch anywhere. Now you can enjoy your iTunes movie rentals across your devices with iOS 10.3 or tvOS 10.2.
It seems the feature will be supported in upcoming release of iOS and tvOS. Currently you can only go across platforms using beta releases of those operating systems.
The feature basically allow you to rent a movie on one device and continuing watching it on another device.
Anonymous Twitter attacker tied to iCloud account via SIM card
While AT&T didn't have any directly identifying data, the company's toll records showed that the SIM card had been used by an iPhone 6. That sent investigators looking for an iCloud account linked to the same number. After another search warrant to Apple, they got what they were looking for. According to the complaint, the number was linked to a five-year-old iCloud account owned by John Rivello of Salisbury, Maryland.
The individual allegedly sent a reporter a tweet intended to trigger an a seizure.
It's interesting the individual apparently went lengths to conceal their identity with an untraceable phone, but set up the SIM SIM in their iPhone. That set up process indicated the device type, which then gave info they needed to find more evidence with Apple. Presumably since iCloud accounts are tied to phone numbers, and using that SIM registered that number, there was a thread linking the individual's iCloud account and the phone used to send a malicious tweet.
Apple revamps regular 9.7-inch iPad
Tuesday Apple boosted its entry level 9.7-inch iPad and also trimmed the price. Not to be confused with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the regular iPad 9.7-inch replaces the iPad Air 2 as an entry model. Pricing starts out at $329 for a WiFi-only model with 32 GB and $459 for the cellular model also with 32 GB.
The key features between the regular iPad and iPad Pro is's the lack of Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support. Also the regular iPad lacks higher end screen technology and comes with the A9 CPU, while the iPad Pro ships with faster A9X processor.
The new iPad will be available Friday March 24th.
iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition
Apple Tuesday added an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Editions to its lineup of iPhone options. Purchases of (PRODUCT)RED products feature a striking red color and portion of the sale is contributed to AIDS charity the Global Fund.
To date, Apple has donated over $130 million to the charity, which makes it the largest corporate donor.
The new iPhone color joins jet black, black, silver, gold, and rose gold colors. The (PRODUCT)RED model goes on sale Friday March 24th.