iPhone 8’s ‘revolutionary’ FaceTime camera to bring facial recognition

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iPhone 8 facial recognition
You'll be able to unlock your iPhone simply by looking at it.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This year’s iPhone 8 will offer a “revolutionary” FaceTime camera that will be capable of facial recognition and iris scanning, according to one reliable analyst.

Apple is expected to do away with the handset’s physical Home button and Touch ID in favor of a larger display and a mini Touch Bar. Facial recognition could well become the new method of unlocking your iPhone and securing your apps.

Apple accused of breaking FaceTime to force iOS 7 upgrades

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facetime
Some users say that iOS 7 made their iPhones run slowly.
Photo: Apple

A class-action lawsuit claims that Apple intentionally broke its FaceTime service on iOS 6 in order to get users to upgrade to iOS 7 — thereby making older iPhones run slowly.

The reason was allegedly driven by Apple’s desire not to have to continue paying high data costs to the company Akamai, which ran third-party servers used for handling FaceTime data.

Apple’s weirdest, wackiest and worst products, this week on The CultCast

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Let us remind you of the weird Apple products that time forgot.
Let us remind you of the weird Apple products that time forgot.
Photo: Hartmut Esslinger

This week on The CultCast: We laugh and cringe about Apple’s weirdest, wackiest and worst products of all time! Plus: How Michael Scott almost single-handedly destroyed Apple; the cool new features in the iOS and macOS betas; facial recognition is coming to iPhone; and a look at the beautiful prototypes that led to some of Apple’s most iconic products.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10 percent off any hosting plan.

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.

iOS 11 expected to bring FaceTime group calls

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FaceTime
Is FaceTime getting a big upgrade this fall?
Photo: Apple

iOS 11 will finally give users the ability to hold FaceTime group calls with multiple friends, according to a new report.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans claim the feature will support up to five participants, and that users will be able to initiate video calling from within iMessage group chats.

Apple Watch Series 3 manufacturer focuses on better battery life

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Apple Watch
Apple has already improved performance and battery life once.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has chosen its manufacturer for the next-generation Apple Watch and tasked the company with delivering better battery life, according to a new report.

Apple Watch Series 3 is also expected to bring improved performance, but its hardware is unlikely to come with any major changes.

iPad Pro may get thicker in 2017

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The iPad Pro is about to get even bigger.
The iPad Pro is about to get even bigger.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is planning to launch new iPad Pros in the first half of 2017 and according to a new rumor out of Asia, they may be a bit thicker than the previous models.

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.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: Which should you preorder?

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iPhone-7-7-Plus
It's time to choose between iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus!
Photos: Apple

Apple will start taking preorders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday, September 9. That’s tonight, people (if you’re living in the United States)!

You’re going to want to get your order in as soon as possible if you want launch-day delivery, but which model should you go for? Find out which iPhone 7 model is right for you right here!

Patent troll won’t get a penny out of Apple … yet

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The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Apple's money is safe. Until September, at least.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Due to its massive success, Apple is a frequent target of patent trolls: non-practicing enterprises which appear to make all their money by taking other companies to court.

Earlier this year, one such company called VirnetX was awarded a massive $625 million after Apple reportedly infringed on its intellectual property with both its FaceTime and iMessage tech. However, seven months later it appears that Apple may not have to pay the money after all — after the judge threw out the previous ruling and demanded a retrial.