US government renews jailbreak exemption, adds iPad and other devices

By Cody Lee on Oct 27, 2015

The US Library of Congress on Tuesday issued a set of exemptions to the notorious circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The provision makes it illegal for users to circumvent restrictions put in place by manufacturers, but every three years, the Copyright Office has the ability to grant exemptions to products and practices.

This year’s exemptions are far-reaching, granting permission to tinker with everything from smart TVs to vehicles, but the part we’re most interested in has to do with jailbreaking. The US government not only renewed the ability to jailbreak smartphones, but it added tablets into the mix. So for all intents and purposes, it’s now legal to jailbreak your iPad. Read More


DOJ reportedly using fake aircraft-mounted cell towers to spy on mobile phones

By Cody Lee on Nov 14, 2014

The US Department of Justice is installing equipment on airplanes that masquerades as a cell phone tower in order to gather mobile phone data, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The program’s goal is to identify criminals, but each plane is capable of collecting data from thousands of phones in a single flight.

The Journal says these spy devices are called “dirtboxes,” and have a surface area of two feet by two feet. They’re being installed on fixed-wing aircraft by the US Marshals Service’s Technical Operations group, and purport to be strong-signaled cell towers. This tricks cellphones into giving them their IMSI info, making them totally trackable. Read More


Apple launches iTunes Pass in the US and other countries

By Cody Lee on Jul 17, 2014

On Tuesday, Apple launched a new service in Japan called ‘iTunes Pass.’ The service allows customers to purchase iTunes Store credit from an Apple retail store using Passbook, eliminating the need for physical gift cards and redemption codes.

At the time of launch, it was unclear if Apple intended to roll out iTunes Pass to other countries, or if it was merely just testing the waters for a bigger project. After 24 hours, that question was answered tonight when the service popped up in the US… Read More


Apple joins ‘SupplierPay’ initiative to speed up payments to small businesses

By Cody Lee on Jul 12, 2014

Apple has joined Coca-Cola, IBM and other major companies as an early adopter in the new White House ‘SupplierPay’ program. The initiative is aimed at accelerating payments from these larger firms to smaller businesses in their supply chain.

The program is a private-sector extension of QuickPay, another federal initiative designed to ensure small contractors are paid within 15 days of submitting an invoice. This helps them avoid borrowing money, increasing their chances to succeed… Read More


Apple cuts maximum iPhone trade-in value to $225

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 2, 2014

Less than 24 hours after extending its in-store and online iPhone trade-in program to Italy (and coming to Australia later this week), word on the street reaches us that Apple Stores have now slashed the maximum trade-in value of eligible iPhone models, as part of its Reuse and Recycle program, to a new low of $225 for good condition iPhone 5 units… Read More


T-Mobile announces new ‘Music Freedom’ and ‘Unradio’ initiatives

By Cody Lee on Jun 18, 2014

During T-Mobile’s event in Seattle tonight, the carrier announced a handful of new ‘uncarrier’ initiatives. There’s Test Drive, which we’ve already talked about here, and two new programs for music lovers: ‘Unradio’ and ‘Music Freedom.’

Unradio is an interesting new streaming music service from T-Mobile and Rhapsody that addresses “major pain points” of other services, and Music Freedom allows users to stream music without it hitting their monthly data allowance.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of both programs… Read More


Foxconn looking to open large display manufacturing plant in US

By Cody Lee on Jan 27, 2014

Foxconn is looking to beef up its presence in the US according to some recent comments made by Terry Gou. During an event marking the company’s 40th anniversary, the chairman said they were exploring the possibly of opening a large display plant in the country.

The manufacturing giant already has a handful of factories scattered across the US, but this particular facility would be capable of producing TV-sized display panels over 60-inches. And the move could save Foxconn’s American clients millions of dollars in shipping costs… Read More


Foxconn looking to invest $40 million in new US plant

By Cody Lee on Nov 22, 2013

As part of its ongoing efforts to expand its North American operations, Foxconn is looking to invest over $40 million over the next two years building a high-tech manufacturing facility in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bloomberg is reporting this week that the company, which counts Apple as its largest client, will spend $30 million on the new plant and $10 million in research and development at Carnegie Mellon University… Read More


Remarkable sophistication of Mac Pro manufacture

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 23, 2013

Not that long ago, these three words – ‘Made in USA’ – stood out for American quality, craftsmanship and reliability. What a difference a few decades make! As everyone’s been building virtually everything in China, small wonder even Apple’s boss Tim Cook, like his predecessor Steve Jobs, suspects those manufacturing jobs won’t be coming back anytime soon. What might is (some) assembly work.

It was only recently that the nation’s tech brands began experimenting with doing final assembly domestically. Motorola, for example, is putting the final pieces of the Moto X in place at a Texas plant, previously a Nokia facility.

Apple, in the meantime, has always designed its products in California and tapped its vast network of suppliers and contract manufacturers in Taiwan and China to build its gizmos. That’s starting to change now as Apple’s next-generation Mac Pro marks the company’s return to the US in a limited manufacturing capacity.

The upcoming dream desktop is being assembled in a $100 million U.S. plant. And like Motorola’s, Apple’s facility is located in Texas. So, how does Apple build such a sophisticated and radically rethought desktop computer? Industrial designer Greg Koenig took a closer look at an eye-candy Mac Pro assembly video Apple played at yesterday’s keynote, here’s what he gleaned from it…

Read More


New iPhones pushed Apple to top US smartphone seller in September

By Cody Lee on Oct 22, 2013

According to data from market research firm Counterpoint Research, Apple was the top US smartphone seller in September. The company overtook the spot from Samsung, who had been #1 in the country since May.

And it’s not hard to guess where the boost came from, Apple released not one but two new handsets last month. The iPhone 5s was the overall top selling smartphone in September, and the iPhone 5c came in third place… Read More


Apple applauds Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

By Cody Lee on Jun 26, 2013

Normally, the words ‘Apple applauds’ and ‘Supreme Court’ don’t go together. The Cupertino company isn’t on the greatest terms with the US government at the moment, what with the whole tax evasion thing and the ongoing e-book trial.

But today is a different story. In a pair of 5-4 decisions this morning, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex couples in two major cases, effectively allowing federal benefits for gay couples. And Apple says it applauds the ruling… Read More


New bill introduced that legalizes cellphone unlocking and more

By Cody Lee on May 10, 2013

Back in January, the mobile homebrew community suffered a major blow when several DMCA exemptions expired. Among them was a rule that made unlocking cellphones legal, effectively making the practice illegal here in the United States.

But it may not be that way for long. A new bill just landed in the House of Representatives called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, which, among other things, would make the process of unlocking your cellphone unequivocally legal… Read More


Apple says its iOS app economy created 80,000 US jobs last year

By Cody Lee on Apr 3, 2013

Apple has come under heavy fire in recent years by critics for outsourcing its manufacturing jobs to Asia. Folks don’t like the fact that while the US struggles with unemployment, it pays Chinese factory workers to build its products just to save a few dollars.

In response to the criticism, Apple posted a new page on its website last year touting the more than 500,000 jobs it’s either created or supported in the US with its business. In fact, according to its records, its app economy alone created 80,000 jobs last year… Read More


NPD: iPhone 5 was top selling smartphone in the US last quarter

By Cody Lee on Feb 1, 2013

Strategy Analytics reported earlier today that Apple passed Samsung as the top US mobile phone vendor for the first time ever last quarter. The move was attributed to the company’s big holiday push and strong iPhone 5 sales.

How strong? Well according to the NPD Group, Apple’s latest handset was the top selling smartphone in the final quarter of last year. It accounted for 43% of all iPhone sales, and nearly 2/3 of all post-paid smartphones above $199… Read More


Apple lists California-based Quanta Computer plant as Mac assembler

By Cody Lee on Jan 25, 2013

Back in November, some folks started seeing “Assembled in the USA” etched into the backs of their iMacs. This obviously led to the conclusion that Apple has been quietly moving some of its assembly operations from China to the United States.

Today we learn where, at least some of, those Macs are being put together. In a recent update to its Supplier Responsibility page, Apple has named Quanta Computer Inc., in its Fremont, California plant, as a final assembler for its Mac computers… Read More


Apple’s ‘Made in USA’ Mac could be the next-gen Mac Pro

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2012

The industry was taken aback a little when Tim Cook on Friday told NBC’s Brian Williams in his first TV interview since becoming the CEO that Apple plans to bring some of the manufacturing jobs back home from China. He even went on to confirm that the company pledged to spend a hundred million bucks to make it happen, but stopped short of specifying which Macs would be assembled in the United States.

By all accounts, Apple’s flagship desktop machine aimed at pros – the Mac Pro – is at the center of the company’s renewed interest to bring some Mac production back to the country. First and foremost, the Mac Pro is way overdue for a hardware upgrade, having been last refreshed 427 days ago, or nearly a year and half ago… Read More


Analyst guesstimates the Galaxy S III outsold the iPhone 4S in the US

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 4, 2012

Citing “channel checks”, one analyst estimated that Samsung’s three-month-old Galaxy S III smartphone has manage to outsell Apple’s iPhone 4S in the United States during the month of August. Take it with a grain of salt as Apple doesn’t break down iPhone numbers by model and Samsung stopped reporting phone and tablet sales for competitive reasons a year ago.

If true, this isn’t terribly surprising given that the iPhone 4S is now almost a year old and especially knowing folks have been withholding their purchases in anticipation of the next iPhone… Read More


No sales ban on Samsung and Motorola tablets in US and Germany

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2012

A judge in California this morning decided to hold off on a ruling related to Apple’s case against Samsung, meaning Cupertino won’t be able to impose a sales ban on Galaxy Tab tablet sales in the United States. Apple’s also been dealt another blow in Germany as a court said it’s unlikely to grant them the same victory against Motorola’s tablet as it’d done with last year’s sales ban of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet… Read More