macOS 10.12.2 is out with new emoji and wallpapers

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macOS Sierra logo
New goodies have arrived for Mac users.
Photo: Apple

Mac owners can now take advantage of all the new emoji iPhone users got earlier this week, thanks to today’s release of macOS 10.12.2.

Apple launched the macOS update this morning, bringing a host of performance enhancements to users, as well as couple new features and small tweaks.

Why a secret Apple project may be delaying new Macs, this week on The CultCast

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We got new MacBook Pros, but what's the holdup on other new Macs?
We got new MacBook Pros, but what's the holdup on other new Macs?
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week on The CultCast: Is a secret Apple project stalling Mac updates? It wouldn’t be the first time. Plus: Apple teases Black Friday deals; AirPort routers are walking dead, and the Mac Pro might be next; the future of Time Machine; why iPad should be an iOS/OS X hybrid; and Jony Ive’s new role designing Apple itself.

Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown

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nextstep
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov25November 25, 1996: Garrett L. Rice, a mid-level manager at NeXT, contacts Apple chief technology officer Ellen Hancock about the possibility of Apple licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

It’s the first formal step in a process that ultimately ends in Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: OS X Panther claws its way onto Macs

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macosx103-1-1
Do you remember OS X Panther?
Photo: Gudebookgallery/Apple

Oct25October 25, 2003: OS X Panther, the fourth major OS X update released by Apple, arrives on Macs.

Mac OS X Panther 10.3 brings a number of useful new features: Exposé lets users instantly view all open windows at once, and iChat AV allows users to talk with audio and video as well as text. The new Mac OS also makes Safari Apple’s default web browser for the first time.

Ex-NSA staffer reveals way to hack Mac’s camera and mic

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Mac App Store
You might want to put tape over your webcam.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Security researchers discovered a new way to hack the Mac’s built-in webcam this week, and the method is undetectable by users.

Apple built a green LED light into every Mac with firmware-level protection that turns on anytime the sensor is tripped by unauthorized access. The security feature has become increasingly difficult for hackers to beat, but former NSA staffer Patrick Wardle found a way to piggyback on outgoing feeds and record them.

Apple exec reveals how your iPhone data is used to improve Maps

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Hair Force One wants everyone to become a coder.
Craig Federighi oversees the development of both iOS and macOS.
Photo: Apple

In a new wide ranging interview, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, revealed how the company fixed a lot of mistakes it made with the launch of Apple Maps in 2012 by utilizing data from the hundreds of millions of iPhones around the globe.

Cue and Apple software chief Craig Federighi sat down to talk about the troubles with Apple Maps, the difference between working for Tim Cook and Steve Jobs, Apple’s competition with Facebook and Amazon and learning from failure.

Apple boosts AI efforts by acquiring machine learning startup

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Siri popularized digital assistants, but it's quickly falling behind.
Turi could make Siri smarter than ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition could play a big role in the iPhone maker’s future artificial intelligence products.

Turi, a Seattle-based startup specializing in machine learning and AI, was reportedly acquired by Apple for around $200 million. The startup creates software that gives developers the ability to add AI capabilities that scale automatically, which could certainly be an attractive addition to Apple’s platforms.

Apple is ready to pay hackers a big bounty for bugs

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iOS 10
Apple needs help squashing bugs.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s head of security and engineering architecture, Ivan Kritic, revealed yesterday that the iPhone maker is finally creating a bug bounty program that will offer rewards of up to $200,000 to security researchers who find vulnerabilities on the company’s various software platforms.

The news came during a keynote at the annual Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas where Kritic also gave attendees a behind-the-scenes look at iOS 10 security as part of Apple’s effort to become more open about its architecture in hopes of improving it.