4 biggest surprises from Apple’s totally unsurprising update

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Will we get more than the iPhone 7 next week?
None of today's announcements were keynote-worthy.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s “surprise” announcement of new products and software wasn’t all that surprising if you’ve been keeping up with the latest rumors.

Today’s updates were practically announced yesterday when the company said its store would be down in the morning for “maintenance.” Despite all the rumors of new iPads and RED iPhones that have been out for weeks, Apple still managed to sneak in a few surprises that were both good and bad.

We’re eagerly awaiting Apple’s rumored April keynote, but here’s the biggest, most surprising news from today’s teaser.

Developers lose interest in iMessage apps

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Messages iOS 10
iMessage got some huge upgrades in iOS 10.
Photo: Apple

The popularity of iMessage apps is already starting to diminish, less than a year after their debut.

iMessage apps have been the hottest new feature on iPhones since iOS 10 introduced them last year. But new data from analytics firm Sensor Tower shows that excitement for the new apps is already starting to fade among developers.

iOS 11 concept imagines an all-new lockscreen

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The iPhone's lockscreen could use some changes.
The iPhone's lockscreen could use some changes.
Photo: Matt Birchler

Apple is set to unveil big changes for the iPhone at WWDC 2017 and one feature that could definitely use some improvements is the lockscreen.

In a new concept design that imagines some potential lockscreen upgrades, Matt Birchler shows how a few very simple changes could make the lockscreen feel totally new.

Apple starts a sticker fight in wacky new iPhone 7 ad

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How strong is your sticker game?
How strong is your sticker game?
Photo: Apple

Apple is in love with stickers in its latest ad for the iPhone 7 that touts the popularity of the new iMessage feature.

The wacky minute-long ad called “Sticker Fight” follows a group of teenagers as they attack older folks with a barrage of animated stickers in the real-world. Eventually an all-out war breaks out in a restaurant as diners pelt each other with colorful cartoons and other images.

Check it out:

Apple to build 200-megawatt solar farm in Nevada

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One of Apple's many solar farms.
One of Apple's many solar farms.
Photo: Apple

Apple is taking another big step to make sure it can utilize 100 percent renewable energy for its operations by expanding the solar farm it uses in Nevada.

The company revealed today that it has reached an agreement with NV Energy to add infrastructure that will generate 200 megawatts of additional solar energy by 2019. Energy created by the project will go to power Apple’s Reno data center, but some of the power will also be available to residents.

Simple text message crashes almost any iPhone

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iPhone-text-glitch
Three characters is all it takes to freeze your iPhone.
Photo: EverythingApplePro

Apple makes iOS more secure with almost every update it rolls out, but there’s always a glitch somewhere that slips through the net.

The latest is a bug in iMessage that allows any iPhone running iOS 10 to iOS 10.1.1 to be crashed with a simple text message.

New iMessage hack lets you crash friends’ iPhones via text message

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Random iPhone shutdowns are still happening.
It's really easy to crash other people's iPhones.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A new nefarious text message has been discovered that has the power to completely crash iPhones, even those running the latest version of iOS 10.

Instead of using infected links or weird text like previous iMessage hacks, this new one allows attackers to disable a person’s Messages app by simply sending a large contact file. When iPhone users tap on the file, it’s so big and complicated that it overloads the CPU and crashes the app.

Watch the hack in action:

Europe rules U.K. ‘snooper’s charter’ is illegal

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iPhone hack
It seems that European courts agree with Apple about government spying.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The European Union’s highest court has ruled that the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act, aka the “snooper’s charter,” is illegal.

The EU objects to the government’s “general and indiscriminate” retention of emails and other electronic communications. While the EU acknowledges that this information can be helpful, they argue that it should only be gathered in specific targeted instances to stop terrorism or serious crime.

Apple’s Irish data center is getting fast-tracked

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A mock up of Apple's proposed data center in Ireland.
A mock up of Apple's proposed data center in Ireland.
Photo: Apple

The fate of Apple’s proposed data center in Ireland is finally on the fast-track.

After facing an 18-month delay due to an appeal from two Irish residents, Ireland’s High Court agreed to Apple’s request to speed up the legal process. Now instead of waiting until 2018, the court has to resolve the case within six months.