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New Page on Apple’s Website Details Their Commitment to Privacy

Apple today published a new page on their website dedicated to explaining Apple's commitment to preserving the privacy of their customers. The webpage includes a fairly lengthy letter from CEO Tim Cook which aims to reassure customers about their privacy when using Apple products, why Apple is dedicated to preserving privacy and how their business model differs to others (a not so subtle swipe at Google). In the letter Tim Cook promises updates to the page at least every year or whenever there are significant changes to their policies.

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay. And we continue to make improvements. Two-step verification, which we encourage all our customers to use, in addition to protecting your Apple ID account information, now also protects all of the data you store and keep up to date with iCloud.

The page also includes sections on how Apple's various products have "privacy built in", how users can manage their privacy settings to alter how much they share with other people and companies, and finally a section relating to government information requests.

Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.

There's no doubt that this website is in part a response to the recent celebrity iCloud privacy breaches, and whilst it is reassuring to see Apple publicly reaffirm their stance of protecting privacy, a more important measure will be how Apple continues to improve the security mechanisms of their products so that what happened a few weeks ago doesn't happen again. In this respect, it should be noted that Apple did enable two-factor authentication for iCloud yesterday.


Apple Highlights “Great Apps and Games for iOS 8″

Following today's launch of iOS 8, Apple has launched a new App Store section highlighting popular new apps and updates released today.

The section, aptly called "Great Apps and Games for iOS 8" is organized in seven sub-categories for games, share extensions, custom actions, Notification Center widgets, Touch ID-enabled apps, photo editing extensions, and custom keyboards. Highlighted apps include 1Password 5, Day One, SwiftKey and TextExpander, Evernote, Day One, OmniFocus 2, and several other apps that were updated earlier today to take advantage of new iOS 8 features.

You can find Apple's "Great Apps and Games for iOS 8" section here. You can read our in-depth coverage of iOS 8 and iOS 8 apps here.


VARIDESK Adjustable Standing Desk [Sponsor]

It’s no longer a question, it’s a fact: sitting all day is bad for your health. The VARIDESK is a height adjustable standing desk that sits on top of your existing furniture, and allows you to raise from a seated to standing position in just 3 seconds.

It ships fully assembled, and is ready to use right out of the box. There are 4 models to choose from for single and dual monitors starting at just $275; VARIDESK has no fixed installation, there's a risk free 30-day guarantee, and there's even a desktop app to set the times you wish to sit and stand during the day.

You can learn more at VARIDESK.com.

Our thanks to VARIDESK for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple TV Update Now Available: New Design, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay & Family Sharing

The Apple TV has today received an update which brings a fresh new design that removes skeuomorphic flourishes, adds more vibrant colors and more closely matches the style of iOS 7/8 and OS X Yosemite. Besides the visual refresh, the update also adds support for peer-to-peer AirPlay and the new Family Sharing features in iOS 8.

Supported Apple TV Models

Today's update is unfortunately only available for the 3rd generation of Apple TVs, which is the 1080p model currently on sale. If you're not sure which model you have, have a look on the bottom of your Apple TV and if it says Model A1427 or A1469, then you have 3rd generation Apple TV which is eligible. Apple TVs with model number A1378 are unfortunately the 2nd generation models with the older A4 processor and aren't eligible for the update.

Apple TV (3rd generation) users should be prompted to update their Apple TV when they next turn it on, but you can also manually update by going to Settings > General > Software Updates > Update Software.

Read more



Apple Pay on Apple Watch Secured By Skin Contact

Apple Pay, the new mobile payments system that Apple has developed, is secured on the iPhone 6 through the use of Touch ID, but many wondered how Apple was bringing the system to the Apple Watch, which doesn't have Touch ID.

As noted by Rene Ritchie of iMore and Cult of Mac, Apple Pay on the Apple Watch is secured by requiring a passcode to be entered initially, but once entered Apple Pay would work until the watch is taken off a user's wrist, then requiring the passcode to be re-entered.

The Apple Watch can detect when it is in contact with skin thanks to the sensors located on the rear of the watch, which are also used to detect the user's heart beat. It is also backed up by a comment made by Ed McLaughlin of MasterCard who told Re/code that it would use the sensors for security, although he didn't go into the detail provided by Ritchie and Cult of Mac.

[Cult of Mac via MacRumors]


Paid iCloud Customers Getting Partial Refunds After Apple Reduced Prices

Earlier this week Apple adjusted the pricing of their iCloud plans to be more competitive, and as part of those price reductions, Apple has also been ensuring that existing paid iCloud customers can take advantage of the discounts. As noted by MacRumors and others, Apple has begun emailing those customers, informing them that they will be given a refund based on the price reduction and the number of months remaining on their subscription.

As noted earlier this week, the new plans start at 20GB for $0.99 per month and range up to a 1TB plan for $19.99 per month. A big reason for the new iCloud pricing is the imminent introduction of iCloud Drive which allows users to store any kind of file and access it from any device.

[via MacRumors]



Apple Discontinues iPod classic

Click image to view a full resolution version

Click image to view a full resolution version

The iPod classic is no longer on sale after Apple quietly discontinued the product yesterday. It shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone given that the product hasn't been refreshed since September 2009 - five years ago, but as the direct descendant of the original iPod, it signals the end of an era to a certain degree. The iPod shuffle, nano and touch remain on sale, at least for now.

We've charted the key product milestones of the iPod classic line above (view the full resolution version), with thanks to the thorough Wikipedia entry on it. If you're after a bit more of a visual history of some of the major changes to iPod classic, head over to The Verge.