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Comment: Apple is taking its in-store iPhone push too far by promoting upgrades instead of repairs 2019-02-11 16:36:54

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:

As anyone who visits an Apple store knows, you’re first greeted by a friendly person with an iPad at the store’s entrance. I told the greeter that I had a Genius Bar appointment for my iPhone XS Max, and she asked for a brief description of my problem.

I explained that my device was randomly shutting down and wouldn’t come back on for several hours. As soon as I finished the explanation, the greeter said, “Have you considered upgrading to a new iPhone recently?”

I was holding my iPhone XS Max in my hand.

And:

A source tells 9to5Mac that this is a new policy at all Apple retail locations. Employees are being instructed to push for an upgrade instead of repairing an existing device. In some stores, the source says, an employee is tasked with pitching iPhone upgrades to Genius Bar customers as they wait for appointments. Other stores have the Geniuses themselves to pitch an upgrade.

This slide into upselling seems new. I’ve always found the Apple Store to be chill, there to help or give me the opportunity to learn about new product. I certainly hope this isn’t the new Apple Store. And I can’t help but wonder if this policy, if it is indeed the new policy, has anything to do with the change at the top.

From this post by Benjamin Mayo:

The Apple Store has never been defined by the hard sell. In fact, it boldly fought against it. Apple retail employees have never earned commission because the goal was to give shoppers the right advice, and match person to product based on need and wants, not which one gives the biggest kickback.

These new initiatives to juice iPhone XS and iPhone XR fly in the face of the principled stance Apple has established in the past. Staff advice is distorted by upper management marketing pressure, rather than monetary incentives, but the result is the same for the customer. The advice is currently biased towards hitting Apple’s targets, not what the person walking in the shop really wants.

Perfectly put. This is not the Apple I know. And love.

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How hackers and scammers break into iCloud-locked iPhones 2019-02-11 16:26:40

Motherboard:

In 2013, Apple introduced a security feature designed to make iPhones less valuable targets to would-be thieves. An iPhone can only be associated to one iCloud account, meaning that, in order to sell it to someone else (or in order for a stolen phone to be used by someone new) that account needs to be removed from the phone altogether. A stolen iPhone which is still attached to the original owner’s iCloud account is worthless for personal use or reselling purposes (unless you strip it for parts).

And:

The iCloud security feature has likely cut down on the number of iPhones that have been stolen, but enterprising criminals have found ways to remove iCloud in order to resell devices. To do this, they phish the phone’s original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. Thieves, coders, and hackers participate in an underground industry designed to remove a user’s iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold.

This is a fascinating deep dive into the sophisticated black market that evolved for the sole purpose of defeating iCloud security locks.

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Netflix launches ‘smart downloads’ on iOS 2019-02-11 16:18:34

Netflix blog:

Since we launched the Download feature in 2016, one thing has been clear — members love downloading and enjoying Netflix on the go. Whether they are commuting, traveling or just in a place with pricey or spotty internet access, the download feature makes it possible for our members to take their stories with them wherever they go.

Today, we are excited to introduce Smart Downloads. Now, when you finish watching a downloaded episode, Smart Downloads will delete it, and then automatically download the next episode. You watch, we do the work.

This definitely eliminates a pain point with managing offline content. If you have a Netflix account, take the time to read about this.

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∞ Apple posts three pre-Grammy Memoji videos 2019-02-11 16:12:37

[VIDEO] Apple shared these three Memoji videos (embedded in the main Loop post) as a lead up to the Grammy Awards, starring Florida Georgia Line, Khalid, and Ariana Grande.

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The official Grammy winner list 2019-02-11 16:01:50

The list of winners (and nominees) is posted in lots of places, but this is the official list, published by the Recording Academy, the people behind the Grammy Awards.

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YouTube’s copyright strikes have become a tool for extortion 2019-02-11 15:57:22

Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge:

An anonymous blackmailer has caught at least two YouTube creators in a scheme involving cash ransoms and esoteric copyright laws.

Last week, both creators shared stories of how their channels were being threatened with a third copyright strike — and the possible termination of their channels — from an anonymous extortionist. The scammer offered to reverse the strikes in return for payment to a bitcoin wallet.

It’s a balance issue. Copyright strikes let copyright holders protect their content, but open the doors to this sort of extortion.

Those who are able to appeal the strikes don’t have it much easier. The process, when successful, can take at least a month — and during that time, “you can’t upload at all,” according to Pierce Riola, a voice actor whose YouTube channel been hit by similar extortion scams in the past.

Interesting read. Reminds me of the issue in the iOS App Store, where copycats copy successful apps, down to the pixel, and the original creators are stuck between the hard rock of legally pursuing the copiers, or pressing Apple for a takedown, which can take time, if successful at all.

In the YouTube channel example, should this be YouTube’s responsibility to fix? In the case of the App Store, does Apple have a responsibility to prevent or repair the app copying scourge?

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