Verizon stealthily launched a startup offering $40-per-month unlimited data, messaging and minutes

Earlier this year, Verizon softly launched a new startup called Visible, offering unlimited data, minutes, and messaging services for the low, low price of $40.

To subscribe for the service, users simply download the Visible app( currently available only on iOS) and register. Right now, subscriptions are invitation merely and would-be subscribers have to get an invitation from someone who’s already a current Visible member.

Once registration is complete, Visible will send a sim card the next day, and, once installed, a user can access Verizon’s 4G LTE network to creek videos, send texts, and construct calls as much as their heart desires.

Visible says there’s no throttling at the end of the month and subscribers can pay employing internet-based pay services like PayPal and Venmo( which is owned by PayPal ).

The service is only available on unlocked devices — and right now, pretty much only to iPhone users.

” This is something that’s been the seed of an idea for a year or so ,” says Minjae Ormes, head of marketing at Visible.” There’s a core group of people from the strategy side. There’s a core group of five or ten people who came up with the idea .”

The company wouldn’t tell how much Verizon gave to the business to get onto off the ground, but the leadership squad is comprised mostly of former employees, like Miguel Quiroga the company’s chief executive.

” The way I would think about it .. we are a phone service in the platform that enables everything that you do. The style we launched and the app messaging piece of it. You do everything else on your phone and a lot of hour if you ask people your phone is your life ,” told Ormes. The reasoning was,” let’s give you a phone that you can activate right from your phone and get ready to go and see how it resonates .”

It’s an interesting be removed from our corporate overlord( Verizon owns Oath, which owns TechCrunch ), which is already the top dog in wireless services, with some 150 million subscribers compared with AT& T’s 141.6 million and a soon-to-be-combined Sprint and T-Mobile subscriber base of 126. 2 million.

For Verizon, the new company is likely about holding off attrition. The company shed 24,000 postpaid phone connections in the last quarter, according to The Wall street Journal , which set some pressure on its customer base( but not really all that much ).

Mobile telecommunications remain at the core of Verizon’s business plans for the future, even as other carriers like AT& T look to dive deeper into content( while Go90 has been a flops, Verizon hasn’t given up on content schemes wholly ). The acquisition of Oath added about $1.2 billion in brand revenue (?) to Verizon for the last quarter, but it’s not anywhere near the kind of media juggernaut that AT& T would get through the TimeWarner acquisition.

Verizon seems to be looking to its other mobile services, through connected devices, industrial equipment, autonomous vehicles, and the development of its 5G network for future growth.

Every wireless carrier is pushing hard to develop 5G technologies, which should insure nationwide rollout by the end of this year. Verizon recently completed its 11 city trial-run and is banking on expansion of the network’s capabilities to drive new services.

As the Motely Fool noted, all of this goes as Verizon adds new networking capabilities for industrial and commercial applications through its Verizon Connect division — formed in part from the $2.4 billion acquisition of Fleetmatics , that Verizon bought in 2016 along with Telogis, Sensity System, and LQD Wifi to beef up its mobile device connectivity services.

Meanwhile, upstart entrants to challenge big wireless carriers are coming from all quarterss. In 2015, Google launched its own wireless service, Project Fi , to compete with traditional carriers and Business Insider just encompassedanother would-be wireless warrior, Wing.

Founded by the team that generated the media site Elite Daily, Wing uses Sprint cell-phone towers to deliver its service.

David Arabov and co-founder Jonathan Francis didn’t take long after taking a $26 million payout for their previous business before getting right back into the startup fray. Unlike Visible, Wing isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan and it’s a much more traditional MVNO. The company has a range of plans starting at $17 for a flip-phone and increasing to an limitless plan at $27 per month, according to the company’s website.

As carriers continue to face objections over service fees, locked in contracts, and terrible options, new options are bound to emerge. In this instance, it looks like Verizon is trying to make itself into one of those carriers.

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iOS will soon disable USB connection if left locked for a week

In a move seemingly specially designed to frustrate law enforcement, Apple is adding a security feature to iOS that altogether disables data being sent over USB if the device isn’t unlocked for a period of 7 days. This spoils many methods for exploiting that connection to coax datum out of the device without the user’s consent.

The feature, called USB Restricted Mode, was first noticed by Elcomsoft researchers seeming through the iOS 11.4 code. It incapacitates USB data( it will still charge) if the phone is left locked for a week, re-enabling it if it’s unlocked normally.

Normally when an iPhone is plugged into another device, whether it’s the owner’s computer or the other, there is an interchange of data where the phone and computer figure out if they recognise each other, if they’re authorized to send or back up data, and so on. This connect can be taken advantage of if the computer being connected to is attempting to break into the phone.

USB Restricted Mode is likely a response to the fact that iPhones seized by law enforcement or by malicious actors like thieves basically will sit and wait patiently for this kind of software exploit to be applied to them. If an officer collects a phone during a instance, but there are no known ways to force-out open the version of iOS it’s running , no problem: simply stick it in evidence and wait until some security contractor sells government departments a 0-day.

But what if, a week after that phone was taken, it shut down its own Lightning port’s ability to send or receive data or even recognize it’s connected to a computer? That would avoid the law from ever having the opportunity to attempt to break into the device unless they move with a quickness.

On the other hand, had its owner simply left the phone at home while on vacation, they could pick it up, put in their PIN and it’s like nothing ever happened. Like the very best safety measure, antagonists will curse its name while users may not even know it exists. Really, this is one of those security features that seems obvious in retrospect and I would not be surprised if other telephone makers copy it in short order.

Inquiry finds FBI sued Apple to unlock telephone without considering all options

Had this feature been in place a couple of years ago, it would have prevented that entire drama with the FBI. It milked its ongoing inability to access a target phone for months, reportedly concealing its own abilities all the while, likely to make it a political issue and manipulate lawmakers into obliging Apple to help. That kind of grandstanding doesn’t work so well on a seven-day deadline.

It’s not a perfect solution, of course, but there are no perfect answers in security. This may simply force all iPhone-related investigations to get high priority in courts, so that existing exploits can be applied legally within the seven-day limit( and, presumably, every few days thereafter ). All the same, it should be a powerful obstacle against the kind of eventual, potential access through undocumented exploits from third parties that seems to threaten even the latest models and OS versions.

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Apple has a new iPhone recycling robot named Daisy

Meet Daisy. Apple’s latest recycling robot was revealed , not coincidentally, a few days before Earth Day, in a press proclamation summing up the company’s recent environmental accomplishments. The new’ bot is an update to Liam, the recycling robot the company announced back in 2016.

Daisy was developed in-house by Apple technologists, utilizing some of Liam’s portions — a recycling of sorts. The industrial robot is able to disassemble nine different versions of the iPhone, sorting all of their reusable components in the process. In all, Daisy is capable of taking apart a full 200 iPhones in a devoted hour, proving a solid alternative to traditional methods that can destroy valuable components in the process. Any connect to HAL 3000, however, is surely coincidental.

Along with Daisy, Apple’s also using the occasion to announce GiveBack, an addition to its recycling program. For every device clients turn in or trade from now until April 30, the company will make a donation to Conservation International, a Virginia-based environmental nonprofit. Eligible devices will still qualify for an in-store or gift card credit.

For good measure, there’s also a new Apple Watch challenge coming after Earth Day, encouraging people to get outside on Sunday and enjoy countries around the world. The proclamations go a week after Apple announced that it had achieved its goal of powering its global facilities with 100 percentage renewable energy.

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The new Light Phone 2 keeps things basic but adds e-ink and essentials

Light is back with a new twisting on its anti-smartphone telephone. But this time, instead of doing just one thing, the Light Phone 2 does a few, and exists somewhere between the original Light and your overwrought iPhone- though still far closer to the first-generation Light phone overall.

The new design features a matte finish e-ink display, which occupies most fo the front face of the device and can show text, act as a virtual keyboard for sending messages, indicate your contacts and alarms and more. The phone uses Light’s own proprietary operating system, which is heavy on the text and limited on the total number of options and features, and “youre using” physical keys on the side of the phone to navigate through menu options.

The Light Phone 2 has 4G LTE connectivity and, since it’s not yet finalized but is instead kicking off its Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign, could add features including directions, ride-sharing specific apps, playlists, weather reports, and voice commands according to the company’s founders, on top of the basic call, messaging, contact book, alarm and auto-reply features that are definitely going in. Whether those other add-on features make the cut will vary depending in some proportion on backer feedback.

But with those potential additions, plus the larger, device-commanding active display, the Light Phone 2 is starting to sound a lot more smartphone-y and a lot less “Just a phone.” But LIght’s inventors say that it’s definitely not, under any circumstances, going to add social media, ad, email or news features to the phone.

Really, those are the things that truly turn our mobile companions into huge hour sucks and mood altering devices. Light Phone 2 is definitely more of a compromise than a purist dumbphone like the original, but it still also sounds like it fits the company’s chosen tagline of being “a phone for humans” better than your median flagship smartphone does today.

Light’s been out of stock of its present generation device for a while now, which was probably because it was looking forward to this launch. The phone’s Indiegogo campaign has $225 as the early bird price for the device, with $400 as the target retail cost, and calculated shipping is April of next year( yes, over a year away) so the company also seems to have learned a lesson or two about manufacturing and shipping hardware, and is devoting itself ample buffer for this redesign.

Nokia is relaunching its ‘Matrix’ slider phone and other high-concept simple phones like the Punkt MP0 1 are out there trying to wean people away from their smartphone habits. It’s an appealing dreaming, but it’s hard to tell if it’s just a brief hiccup due to information ennui, or a real movement in the early offing. How Light Phone 2’s campaign does overall might be another indicator as to which it ends up being.

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Apple addresses iOS source code leak, says it appears to be tied to three-year-old software

Earlier this week, iOS source code showed up on GitHub, raising concerns that hackers could find a way to comb the material for vulnerabilities. Apple has confirmed with TechCrunch that the code appears to be real, but adds that it’s tied to old software.

The material is gone now, politenes of a DMCA notice Apple sent to GitHub, but the occurrence was surely notable, given the tight grip the company traditionally has on such material. So, if the code was, indeed, what it purported to be, has the damage already been done?

Motherboard, which was among the first to note the code labeled “iBoot, ” reached out to author Jonathan Levin, who confirmed that the code surely appears real and called it “a huge deal.” While the available code appears to be fairly small, it could certainly offer some unique insight into how Apple runs its magic.

“Old source code from 3 years ago appears to have been leaked, ” the company said in a statement provided to TechCrunch, “but by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always foster customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the most recent protections.”

Much of the security concern is mitigated by the fact that it appears to be tied to iOS 9, a version of the operating system released three-and-a-half years ago. Apple’s almost certainly tweaked significant portions of the available code since then, and the company’s own numbers show that a large majority of users( 93 -percent) are running iOS 10 or afterwards. But could the commonalities offer enough insight to pose a serious potential threat to iPhone users?

Security researcher Will Strafach told TechCrunch that the code is compelling for the information it gives hackers into the inner workings of the boot loader. He added that Apple’s likely not thrilled with the leak due to intellectual property fears( consider: the DMCA request referenced above ), but this information ultimately won’t have much if any impact on iPhone owners.

“In terms of end users, this doesn’t really mean anything positive or negative, ” Strafach said in an email. “Apple does not use security through obscurity, so this does not contain anything risky, simply an easier to read format for the boot loader code. It’s all cryptographically signed on end user devices, there is no way to actually use any of the contents here maliciously or otherwise.”

In other terms, Apple’s multi-layered approach to keeping iOS secure involves a lot more precautions than what you’d see in a leak like this, however it may have constructed its route to GitHub. Of course, as Strafach correctly points out, the company’s still likely not thrilled about the optics around having had this information in the wild — if only for a short while.

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Apples $29 iPhone battery replacements are available starting today

Those $ 29 battery out-of-warranty replacings Apple promised are now available for impacted users with an iPhone 6 or afterwards. The company was initially aiming for a late-January timeframe in the Nation when it first offered up the discount, following blowback against its admission that it had slowed down older model phones to maximize performance.

“We expected to need more time to be ready, ” the company said in a statement offered up to TechCrunch this weekend, “but we are happy to offer our clients the lower pricing right away. Initial supplyings of some replacing batteries may be limited.”

In other terms, get’ em while the getting’s good. The steep $50 discount on battery replacement marked a rare public apology for the company, and many users are likely to jump on the opportunity to breathe a little extra life into their phone. The competition has certainly induced the most out of the news. Chief challengers including Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola have all employed the opportunity to note that they haven’t taken similar approaches with their handsets.

Yesterday, meanwhile, iFixit employed the apology as an excuse to discount its own iPhone battery replacement kit to $29, even as the news was already driving a spike in buys. The company quoth the health risks wait time for battery replacings as a reason to jump on its offer.

The delay as the company ramped up battery availability, coupled with the timing of scheduling a Genius Bar appointment have been a source of subsequent annoyance for users already put off by a lack of transparency around the phone slow policy. If you put in for a replacing prior today, the $50 discount would not apply to your telephone.

For now, however, the offer’s good, as least as long as renders last. Apple will be offering more details on the replacing program on its site.

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iFixit drops its iPhone battery replacement to $29, matching Apples apology price

iFixit has never been particularly fond of Apple’s repair policies. The company’s contraptions regularly rack up poor repairability scores on the site. The site’s taking another jab at the tech giant today, dropping the price of its battery replacement kits to $29 — matching the costs of out-of-warranty battery replacements being offered up as succour for its iPhone slowdown policies.

Apple, of course, get in hot water earlier this week, when it fessed up to slowing down iPhones with older batteries and apologized for not being more transparent.

“About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE, ” the company wrote in a rare open letter apology. “While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch hours for apps and other reductions in performance.”

iFixit noted in a post today that it’s watched a 3X increased number of battery replacings as the news built the rounds. The company offered Apple a conciliatory “good on them, ” in the wake of the news, but also use the opportunity to sing the praises of replacing one’s own battery.

True, utilizing iFixit’s technique isn’t any cheaper, but if you’re a bit braver and have a steady hand, it entails not having to wait in line at the Genius Bar and deal with whatever turnaround time might be involved. The bargain is probably more appealing, however, for those with older telephones. iFixit has batteries for models note covered by the aforementioned bargain, many of which are even cheaper.

Much of the rivalry, meanwhile, has used the moment to let it be known that they aren’t slowing down older model phones the route Apple has. Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG have all issued statements to that effect.

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Apple apologises for slowing down older iPhones with ageing batteries

US firm admits it introduced feature, that affects the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE, without users consent to cope with ageing batteries

Apple has apologised to clients for purposely slackening the performance of older iPhone models without users’ consent.

The US tech company also announced a $50( PS37) reduction in the cost of iPhone battery replacings, down from $79 to $29, and an iOS( operating system) software update providing updates on iPhone battery health in early 2018.

The apology comes after Apple admitted to slowing down the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE- when their batteries are either old, cold or have a low charge- to avoid abrupt shutdowns.

Apple said the problem was that ageing lithium batteries delivered power unequally, which could cause iPhones to shut down unexpectedly- endangering the delicate circuits inside.

At least eight separate class-action lawsuits have been filed in the US in relation to the admission. Plaintiffs in California, Illinois and New York all argue that Apple did not have consent to slow their devices.

A statement on Apple’s website said:” We’ve been hearing feedback from our clients about the route we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of “youre feeling” Apple has let you down.

” We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

” First and foremost, we have never- and would never- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive client upgrades.

” Our aim has always been to create products that our customers love, and inducing iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that .”

The post goes on to detail the ageing process of batteries and ways to prevent unexpected iPhone shutdowns, before announcing a $50 price cut and the battery health software update.

Speed problems with older iPhones were recently highlighted by Reddit users, who found that when they replaced the batteries in their devices, they returned to normal performance.

Analysis of performance data by the benchmarking firm Primate Labs clearly proved the artificial inhibition of the iPhone’s performance, which inspired Apple’s admission.

The company said it intentionally slackened the performance of the older iPhones because, when their batteries wear to a certain level, they can no longer sustain the required current demanded by the phones’ processors.

When the processor demands more current than the battery can supply, the phone abruptly shuts down to protect its internal components, as was the case with the iPhone 6S- for which Apple was forced to replace batteries.

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Apple apologizes for not telling customers iPhones with older batteries would slow over time

Apple has today posted a letter on its website and a technical article in its Knowledge Base apologize for not being more transparent about how it deals with performance on iPhones with older batteries. Last week, Apple issued a statement that made it clear that changes it made a year ago were indeed slowing down the maximum performance of iPhones with older batteries.

It will now also offer a battery replacing for older devices affected for a reduced $29.

“We’ve been hearing feedback from our clients about the way we are dealing with performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process, ” the letter reads. “We know that some of “youre feeling” Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.”

Apple is now apologizing for not being clearer about how the changes it made to eliminate sudden shutdowns of iPhones would affect iPhone performance. When I published my piece on this last week, even though I clearly, and forcefully , noted that Apple must be more transparent with its users on this issue, readers were incensed over the fact that a long-held conspiracy theory appeared to be confirmed. Apple was slowing down old iPhones and the reason didn’t matter. It is clear that some people will still feel that the reason Apple is giving here is not enough, which is understandable given the intense passion people have for their telephones and how much they use them.

Interestingly, Apple says that it has attributed feedback about iPhone slowness to the process of updating to a new operating system and some bugs that were obviously present in iOS 11 that caused slowdowns.

“Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were find slower performance in certain situations, ” Apple says. “Based on our experience, we initially guessed this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor glitches in the initial release which have since been fixed.”

Apple says that it now believes, in addition to these other factors, that slower older iPhones are also being negatively affected by aged batteries which trigger their power smoothing.

“We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still operating on their original batteries.”

A year’s worth of issues with no reason given from Apple on this also builds it difficult for the company to re-build trust with its users. It’s much easier to be as transparent as possible up front about complex technical fixes than it is to try to explain the adverse effects of those fixings afterward. That’s a repercussion Apple will have to live with.

Apple will reportedly unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018

Apple is said to be working on a style to allow developers to build apps that work with touchscreen input on iPhone and iPad, and with mouse and trackpad on Mac devices, to be implemented next year, according to Bloomberg. The system would unify developing surroundings for both of Apple’s main computing platforms, iOS and macOS, allowing them to target all devices with a single app instead of having to develop separately for each.

According to Bloomberg, Apple intends to roll this out as part of the iOS and macOS autumn updates( version 12 and 10.14, respectively, if numbering remains in keeping with current versions) that usually arrive for consumers alongside new iPhone hardware in the later part of the year. It could begin stimulating the tools available to developers earlier, however, per research reports, in advance of a broad consumer release. Bloomberg suggests we could hear about these plans publicly for the first time at Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference in early summer, should they remain on track.

Common apps, maybe with a single App Store, could go a long way towards helping improve the situation in the Mac App Store, which has not done nearly as well to its implementation of customer reception and library of offerings compared to its iOS equivalent. It would also be a lot easier for users new to both platforms, since they could rest assured that when they get a piece of software in once place, it’ll also work in the other without issue.

It’s including information on tendency to its implementation of the broader industry- Google attained it possible to run Android apps on its Chrome OS desktop operating system earlier this year, and Windows has had a single OS for its tablet/ hybrid and more traditional desktop devices for a while now.

Unifying the app layer of both iOS and macOS has the potential to preface a move some foresee Apple building down the road- building its own ARM-based chips for powering its notebook and desktop computer. The biggest challenge of switching processor kinds is typically making sure that all the same software users want remains available, so front-loading that challenge by combining the app platforms while macOS is still on Intel is a good workaround for that.

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