Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results

This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include without limitation those about the Company’s estimated revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, other income/(expense), tax rate, and plans for return of capital. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation: the effect of global and regional economic conditions on the Company’s business, including effects on purchasing decisions by consumers and businesses; the ability of the Company to compete in markets that are highly competitive and subject to rapid technological change; the ability of the Company to manage frequent introductions and transitions of products and services, including delivering to the marketplace, and stimulating customer demand for, new products, services and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that shifts in the mix of products and services and in the geographic, currency or channel mix, component cost increases, increases in the cost of acquiring and delivering content for the Company’s services, price competition, or the introduction of new products or services, including new products or services with higher cost structures, could have on the Company’s gross margin; the dependency of the Company on the performance of distributors of the Company’s products, including cellular network carriers and other resellers; the risk of write-downs on the value of inventory and other assets and purchase commitment cancellation risk; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components, services and new technologies essential to the Company’s business, including components and technologies that may only be available from single or limited sources; the dependency of the Company on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties, many of which are located outside of the US and which may affect the quality, quantity or cost of products manufactured or services rendered to the Company; the effect of product and services design and manufacturing defects on the Company’s financial performance and reputation; the dependency of the Company on third-party intellectual property and digital content, which may not be available to the Company on commercially reasonable terms or at all; the dependency of the Company on support from third-party software developers to develop and maintain software applications and services for the Company’s products; the impact of unfavorable legal proceedings, such as a potential finding that the Company has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the impact of complex and changing laws and regulations worldwide, which expose the Company to potential liabilities, increased costs and other adverse effects on the Company’s business; the ability of the Company to manage risks associated with the Company’s retail stores; the ability of the Company to manage risks associated with the Company’s investments in new business strategies and acquisitions; the impact on the Company’s business and reputation from information technology system failures, network disruptions or losses or unauthorized access to, or release of, confidential information; the ability of the Company to comply with laws and regulations regarding data protection; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; political events, international trade disputes, war, terrorism, natural disasters, public health issues, and other business interruptions that could disrupt supply or delivery of, or demand for, the Company’s products; financial risks, including risks relating to currency fluctuations, credit risks and fluctuations in the market value of the Company’s investment portfolio; and changes in tax rates and exposure to additional tax liabilities. More information on these risks and other potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s most recently filed periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and subsequent filings. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

The count of managed service providers getting hit with ransomware mounts

Scrabble letters sitting atop laptop computer spell Ransomware.
Enlarge / When MSPs get owned by ransomware, their customers can lose more than just access to an application.

Getty Images

When more than 20 local governments in Texas were hit this summer by ransomware in one day. The attack was apparently tracked back to one thing the organizations had in common: a managed service provider. With limited IT resources of their own, local governments have increasingly turned to MSPs to operate significant portions of their networks and applications, as have other organizations and businesses—often placing critical parts of their business operations in the MSPs’ hands. And that has made MSPs a very attractive target to ransomware operators.

Threat researchers at the global cloud security provider Armor have been tracking publicly-reported incidents in which MSP and cloud service providers have been hit with ransomware. Thus far, they have documented 13 such incidents this year—with 6 of them reported in the past few months.

The most recent publicly exposed victim is Billtrust, which as security journalist Brian Krebs reported, was hit by what BleepingComputer reported was BitPaymer ransomware (a report that has not been confirmed). BillTrust is an online invoicing and billing provider based in New Jersey that also provides credit decision services. Billtrust executives sent an email to customers on October 22, informing them of the attack, stating:

Our standard security and back-up procedures have been and remain instrumental in our ability to execute the ongoing restoration of services… Out of an abundance of caution, we cannot disclose the precise ransomware strains but will do so as soon as prudently possible.

Other victims include:

  • SchoolinSites, a cloud-based service provider for school districts that offered websites and parental access to student information, was taken down in an attack in September as reported by WKRG in Mobile, Alabama. The company’s email was affected as well as other communications; SchoolinSites had to use Facebook to provide updates during the outage, which began on September 23.
  • TrialWorks, a Florida-based case management software provider, was hit by a ransomware attack the week of October 14. The company, which serves about 2,500 law firms, acknowledged the ransomware attack and said that, while it did not impact their software, about 5% of the company’s customers could not access their accounts.
  • California-based MetroList, a real estate multiple listing and application services firm with about 20,000 real estate broker customers, was hit by ransomware in June, taking the company’s services offline for two days. MetroList reportedly paid the ransom, which included a $10,000 insurance deductible.
  • Also on October 14, Magnolia Pediatrics of Prairieville, Louisiana, was reportedly hit by ransomware via the practice’s managed IT services provider. Magnolia reported the ransomware to law enforcement.
  • In July, CorVel, a managed service provider for insurance companies handling workers compensation, auto, health, and disability claims, got hit by Ryuk ransomware. As the company responded, systems used to process claims, email and phone systems, and healthcare provider databases were taken offline.

Organizations using full-service IT-managed service providers, such as Magnolia Pediatrics, are particularly at risk because the security of all of their systems is dependent on that of the MSP. As was the case in Texas, this meant that all their data was put at risk. In Magnolia’s case, all patient data was encrypted, but it could just as easily have been stolen by attackers—and since that data includes personal identifying data for children, it could have significant long-term consequences. A clinic spokesperson said that “out of an abundance of caution,” Magnolia advised patients’ families to monitor credit card statements and credit bureau reports.

These issues are why having a conversation (and a contract) with a service provider that includes security is so important.

New ‘AirTag’ screenshots reveal tweaked Find My app layout


Apple appears to be continuing work on Find My integration of its rumored “AirTag” trackers, according to a pair of newly leaked screenshots, suggesting the Tile-like device is nearing an official launch.

Image Credit: MacRumors

Image Credit: MacRumors

Apple has been working on a Tile-like wireless tracking, which we now believe to be named named AirTags based off of a file in the iOS 13.2 AssetData folder.

Rumors of an Apple-produced tracker that works with the refreshed Find My app suggested Apple would move from just tracking lost Apple hardware, and into other items. “Tag” hardware references found in June first alluded to AirTags’ existence, and hinted at adding Tile-like functionality to the app.

A MacRumors reader has discovered additional screenshots that show an updated AirTags section in Find My.

The screenshots show an updated Find My app with a bottom bar with “People,” “Devices,” “Items,” and “Me.” In the screenshots, the AirTags are still referred to by their codename, “B389.”

Other screenshots show the AirTags setup process, which will consist of pulling the tab on the AirTag and bringing it within range of an iPhone.

These leaks suggest that AirTags could be coming soon, but it is not proof that they will. Back in September, the usually reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believed they would be released imminently.

Indians Downloaded The Most Apps This Quarter: Report

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and TikTok were the most downloaded apps

Indians download more apps through Google Play than App Store

Being the fastest growing internet market, global tech giants looking to India’s untapped potential

With more than 608 Mn internet users and a population which is readily adopting technology, India is now one of the most attractive markets for tech companies, a report by Sensor Tower, a market intelligence firm showed.

The report called ‘Q3 Store Intelligence Data Digest’ noted that Indians downloaded 5 Bn mobile applications, out of the total of 29.6 Bn downloads around the world,  between July to September this year. The report also highlights that India majorly relies on Google Play to download mobile apps, as most mobile phones sold in India run on Google’s Android OS.

While India is the largest market for mobile apps. no home made made it to the Top 20 list of most downloaded apps. The Top 20 list was majorly dominated by American, Chinese and Russian applications. Chinese ecommerce company Club Factory was the 20th most downloaded app, helped by its festive season sale.

In the last two years, WhatsApp was the most downloaded application, followed by Facebook’s Messenger, TikTok and Facebook.

Gaming applications were the most downloaded apps in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Apple users favoured photo and video, entertainment, utility and shopping applications. Whereas for Android users, tools, entertainment, social and communication applications topped the list.

In terms of app downloads by countries, India was followed by US and Brazil with 3.1 Bn and 2.1 Bn app downloads, respectively. Interestingly, China, which has the most number of internet users, did not make it to the Top 10.

Is India The Fastest Growing Internet Market?

Last year, App Annie referred to India as the fastest growing mobile applications market in terms of downloads. This growth can be attributed to Reliance Jio’s launch in 2016, which not only provided cheap data and calling rates, but also forced other telecom services to match its rates.

Looking at the rise of meaningful users in the Indian digital space, global giants across segments — ecommerce, tech, education, gaming, OTT— have sharpened their focus in India. Companies like Spotify, YouTube Music, Netflix and Apple, among others have been expanding their services in India by launching new products and optimising their subscription plans to woo the Indian audience.

Both Spotify and Netflix, which were reluctant to change their pricing strategy, have launched cheaper subscription packages in India. Netflix charges INR 500 ($6.90) for a basic plan, INR 650 ($9) for a standard plan and INR 800 ($11) for the premium plan, which are cheaper than what it charges in the US. In addition, it also launched a mobile-only subscription plan for INR 199 per month.

Spotify’s charges range from INR 13 ($ 0.18) per day to INR 1,189 ($16.80) per year. The monthly plan costs INR 119 ($1.68). And the Sweden-based company charges around $9.99 per month for a basic plan and $4.99 per month for a student plan in the US.

Apple reveals new AirPods Pro, available October 30

AirPods Pro join the existing AirPods line in delivering an unparalleled wireless audio experience. Each model uses advanced technology to reinvent how people listen to music, make phone calls, enjoy TV shows and movies, play games and interact with Siri. The magical setup experience customers love with today’s AirPods extends to AirPods Pro. By opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a simple tap, AirPods Pro are immediately paired to all the devices signed into a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch.

All-New Design

AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design, and now AirPods Pro take it even further with a new class of lightweight, in-ear headphones engineered for comfort and fit. Each earbud comes with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing both a comfortable fit and a superior seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. To further maximize comfort, AirPods Pro use an innovative vent system to equalize pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs. AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant, making them perfect for active lifestyles.1

5 amazing things about the Panasonic Lumix S1

Panasonic’s first full-frame mirrorless has caught the attention of professional stills and video shooters, thanks to its culmination of class-leading features. The Lumix G-series has been a firm favourite across a wide range of users since its launch in 2008, and so the expectations on the Lumix S1 were great. The S1 builds on this solid foundation and adds the benefits of a much larger digital sensor and a brand-new lens mount, created in partnership with two of the biggest names in optics. But the Panasonic S1 is more than just an upscaled mirrorless camera. Here are five reasons we think this camera is really special.

It shoots 4K video without cropping in

The Panasonic S1 in video mode offers a choice of HD (1920x1080p) resolution at 24fps, 25fps, 50fps or 60fps, or 4K (3840x2160p) at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, 50fps or 60fps. Most digital cameras that offer a 4K resolution video crop the image in to do so, which leads to a narrower view. Though the S1 can shoot in this cropped-in APS-C format, it can also shoot in an oversampled mode in 4K at up to 30fps, which uses the full sensor and therefore, the full wide view of the lens. There is also a high-speed mode, which shoots at 180fps in HD to give a slow-motion effect.  Those wanting even more from their video can pay for an firmware upgrade, which adds 10-bit capture, Log gamma, waveform displays and the ability to upload look-up tables. 

Loan an S1 Panasonic has launched a new scheme to allow photographers to borrow its Lumix S series full frame cameras and lenses to try out for free. Professional and serious amateurs can trial Lumix S equipment for a two week period to cover a specific5 Amazing Things About The Panasonic Lumix S1 image 3

It can capture 96-million-pixel images

The S1 features a 24-million-pixel sensor, which alone can create highly detailed images good enough to hang on your wall or in a gallery. But put the camera into its special high-resolution mode and it will output a 96MP image. It does this by taking a series of shots and combining them in-camera, using its sensor shift technology. This is designed for landscape and still life subjects, where you won’t have movement in the scene, and must be taken on a tripod to reduce camera movement. It offers toggleable motion correction to fine tune any alignment. 


It has in camera stabilisation

Like the Lumix G-series, the S1 has a 5-axis in-body dual sensor stabilisation system. This provides active stabilisation to combat camera shake to an equivalent of around 5.5 stops, using non-stabilised lenses. The system can also be paired with the new OIS lenses to create the Dual IS 2 system. This, together, provides up to six stops of image stabilisation, enabling you to shoot crisp images even in really low light conditions. If you want to see just how hard the system is working, the Image Stabiliser Status Scope displays your movement on the screen over the very still image.   

It has the highest resolution viewfinder

Electronic viewfinders have come a long way over the years but the S1 takes it to a new level. With 5.76 million dots and a 120 frames-per-second refresh rate, this is the highest resolution electronic viewfinder on the market. The result is the most lifelike of image views, with the added advantage of an accurate preview of the final image and all the overlaid shooting information. The viewfinder also features an eye sensor to allow the camera to enter a sleep mode when taken away from your eye, and a large round rubberised eye cup for a comfortable fit. 

Images can also be previewed and reviewed using the large 3.2-inch 2.1-million-dot rear LCD screen. This is mounted on a tri-axel bracket, allowing it to tilt both vertically and horizontally for easy viewing in both portrait and landscape orientations. 

Loan an S1 Panasonic has launched a new scheme to allow photographers to borrow its Lumix S series full frame cameras and lenses to try out for free. Professional and serious amateurs can trial Lumix S equipment for a two week period to cover a specific5 Amazing Things About The Panasonic Lumix S1 image 2

It has a dedicated new lens mount

To get the very best performance from the new full frame sensor of the S1, Panasonic has developed a brand-new lens mount in collaboration with Leica and Sigma. There are currently four Panasonic L mount lens, including the S Pro 50mm f/1.4 prime lens, the S 24-105mm f/4 all-purpose standard zoom, the S Pro 70-200mm f/4 telephoto, and the S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom. There is also a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto and a 16-35mm f/4 wide angle due later in 2019, but this is just the beginning. Panasonic plan to have a more than 11 L mount lenses by the end of 2020, and there another 18 compatible Leica lenses, and 17 Sigma lenses due to be available soon.

Loan an S1

Panasonic has launched a new scheme to allow photographers to borrow its Lumix S series full frame cameras and lenses to try out for free. Professional and serious amateurs can trial Lumix S equipment for a two week period to cover a specific project or just to enjoy a chance to see what they can do.

Videoproc VideoProc is a complete video processing toolbox for both Windows and Mac that can easily edit, resize, convert, enhance, stabilize & adjust any (4K) videos easily videos from GoPro, DJI, iPhone and any devices at fully GPU accelerated speed. Especially skilled at processing 4K videos with 30fps / 60 fps /120 fps /240 fps, large-sized videos and high speed videos shot with 120fps/240fps and slow-mo videos. Free Download of VideoProc by visiting “GoPro Studio”.

50 years ago today, the Internet was born. Sort of.

Basic sketch of first computer network.
Enlarge / The early ARPANET, the predecessor of the modern Internet, was born on this day in 1969.

On October 29, 1969, at 10:30pm Pacific Time, the first two letters were transmitted over ARPANET. And then it crashed. About an hour later, after some debugging, the first actual remote connection between two computers was established over what would someday evolve into the modern Internet.

Funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (the predecessor of DARPA), ARPANET was built to explore technologies related to building a military command and control network that could survive a nuclear attack. But as Charles Herzfeld, the ARPA Director who would oversee most of the initial work to build ARPANET put it:

The ARPANET was not started to create a Command and Control System that would survive a nuclear attack, as many now claim. To build such a system was, clearly, a major military need, but it was not ARPA’s mission to do this; in fact, we would have been severely criticized had we tried. Rather, the ARPANET came out of our frustration that there were only a limited number of large, powerful research computers in the country, and that many research investigators, who should have access to them, were geographically separated from them.

In its infancy, ARPANET had but four “nodes”:

  • The University of California-Los Angeles’ Network Measurement Center, with its SDS Sigma 7 computer;
  • Stanford Research Institute’s Network Information Center, with its SDS 940 computer running NLS (an early hypertext system and precursor to the World Wide Web);
  • The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics Center, with its IBM 360/75 running OS/MVT; and
  • The University of Utah School of Computing, with its Digital Equipment Corp PDP-10 running the TENEX operating system.

Rather than being directly connected, the computers were connected via Interface Message Processors (IMPs), which were the first network routers. This would allow additional systems to be added as nodes to the network at each site as it evolved and grew. This idea came from physicist Wesley Clark, who is also credited with designing the LINC, the world’s first personal computer.

The first letters transmitted, sent from UCLA to Stanford by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline, were “l” and “o.” On the second attempt, the full message text, login, went through from the Sigma 7 to the 940. So, the first three characters ever transmitted over the precursor to the Internet were L, O, and L.

By the time I was first exposed to ARPANET, it had grown significantly, but it was still primarily a connection between researchers and military organizations. ARPANET was operated by the military until 1990, and until then, using the network for anything other than government-related business and research was illegal. By that time, ARPANET was largely being supplanted by the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet). Even though the Defense Department had split off its own networks as MILNET in the mid 1980s, parts of the military still referred to its network connections as ARPANET in many internal documents into the early 1990s, as I found when I was working as a network engineering contractor at Army Test Lab at Aberdeen in 1992.

A map of ARPANET, circa 1980.
Enlarge / A map of ARPANET, circa 1980.

When it was shut down, Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the modern Internet, wrote a poem in ARPANET’s honor:

It was the first, and being first, was best,
but now we lay it down to ever rest.
Now pause with me a moment, shed some tears.
For auld lang syne, for love, for years and years
of faithful service, duty done, I weep.
Lay down thy packet, now, O friend, and sleep.

Without ARPANET, there would have been no Internet. So pour one out for the original tonight if you happen to be basking in the Internet’s glow.

Apple rumored to introduce MacBook with scissor switch keyboard in mid 2020


Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a research note released on Tuesday presented a more definitive timeline of the company’s MacBook plans, saying a new laptop model featuring a traditional scissor switch keyboard will debut in the middle of 2020.

MacBook Pro

Without citing sources, Kuo says Apple manufacturing partner Wistron has been tapped as the primary supplier of parts for MacBook’s scissor switch keyboards in 2020, reports MacRumors.

An unidentified MacBook with scissor mechanism technology is set to arrive late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2020. The report fails to specify MacBook variant or screen size, but Kuo is likely referencing updated MacBook Air or MacBook Pro models. Alternatively, Apple could be plotting a return of the affordable 12-inch MacBook which was axed from its laptop range this summer.

Apple last updated its MacBook offerings in July with a cheaper Retina display-toting MacBook Air and speed-bumped 13-inch MacBook Pro. The July refresh also nixed function key MacBook Pros in favor of Touch Bar-equipped versions with Touch ID.

Kuo first relayed predictions of Apple’s expected move away from the four-year-old butterfly switch to more robust scissor switch keyboards in late July, saying a new 16-inch MacBook Pro would be the first to benefit from the transition. That report noted all MacBook Pros — 13-, 15- and 16-inch models — and the 13-inch MacBook Air would eventually adopt scissor switch keys in 2020, a design to be carried forward into 2021.

Subsequent rumors pegged an October release for the 16-inch device, with some analysts guessing Apple will ultimately phase out the current 15-inch variant in favor of a larger-screened option. A report in October claimed mass production of the 16-inch laptop had commenced at manufacturing partner Quanta.

Kuo’s note does not appear to suggest a delay in Apple’s launch plans for the hotly anticipated top-tier MacBook Pro, as the analyst previously reported manufacturer Sunrex — not Wistron — would supply scissor switch mechanisms for the rumored machine. Still, with the end of month just a day away, the chances of an October launch are becoming increasingly slim.

Here’s why Facebook is suing the NSO Group over the WhatsApp hack

  • Facebook has filed a lawsuit in a US federal court against the Israeli hacker collective, the NSO Group.
  • The social networking giant claims that the group used Pegasus, their flagship malware, to bug 1,400 users.
  • NSO has not admitted to the act and plans to fight ‘vigorously’.

Facebook is not going to let bygones be bygones. It’s suing the Israeli hacker collective, the NSO Group, for
breaking past WhatsApp’s encryption to target at least 1,400 users with spyware.

Everything sent on WhatsApp is meant to be encrypted. That means messages are only visible to users that are participating in the conversation and no one in between, including WhatsApp itself.

But in May this year, the
NSO Group was able to get through. It didn’t target the encryption directly. Instead, it used a bug within WhatsApp’s software to plant malware — all it had to do was drop a missed call using WhatsApp’s voice call function.

So there was no user interaction and the only way that users could have protected themselves from the malware was by not having WhatsApp on their phones in the first place.

The malware allowed hackers to control phones remotely. They allegedly took advantage of the device’s microphones and cameras to collect data about the individual.

Facebook’s allegations

The social networking giant is claiming that the NSO Group — and its parent company Q Cyber Technology — violated the US Computer Fraud and Abuse act by using its flagship malware,
Pegasus, on 1,400 WhatsApp users.

“It targeted at least 100 human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society across the world,” Will Cathart, the head of WhatsApp, wrote in
The Washington Post.

In the past, the
NSO Group claimed no knowledge of the attack. After becoming aware of the case filed against them they issued a statement, in which they do not claim responsibility, but do vow to ‘vigorously’ fight them.

“Our technology is not designed or licensed for use against human rights activists and journalists. It has helped to save thousands of lives over recent years,” said the company.

Facebook is looking to keep NSO from having further access to its platform and is seeking unspecified damages.

The lawsuit alleges that the malicious code was sent over WhatsApp servers between April 29 to May 10.

WhatsApp is using this case as an argument against weakening end-to-end encryption for government access. According to Cathart, the fact negative actors are looking to exploit the system in such a way is all the more reason to not have any ‘backdoors’ or security openings.

See also:

WhatsApp was hacked and attackers installed spyware on people’s phones

The Israeli firm behind software used to hack WhatsApp boasted that it can scrape data from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft cloud servers

Meet The Shadowy Security Firm From Israel Whose Technology Is At The Heart Of The Massive WhatsApp Hack

Apple celebrates “The Morning Show,” coming to Apple TV+ November 1

Apple TV+, the first all-original video subscription service and home for today’s most imaginative storytellers, will launch November 1 in over 100 countries and regions. The service will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, as well as select Samsung smart TVs, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices and online at, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. Customers who purchase any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch starting September 10, 2019, can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free.1 Beginning November 1, customers can initiate the one-year free offer in the Apple TV app on the device running the latest software.