Amazon’s Drop In basically turns Apple FaceTime bug into a feature [Opinion]

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facebook eavesdropping microphone
Smart speakers are microphones that other people can listen to.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know the Apple FaceTime bug that everyone’s going crazy about? It’s a huge screwup, for sure, but at least we know it’s just a bug. Being able to call someone and eavesdrop on their conversations without them knowing is clearly a privacy nightmare, which is why Apple disabled Group FaceTime until it can issue a proper fix.

Amazon, on the other hand, offers silent eavesdropping as a feature for its Echo speakers. It’s called Drop In, and if you’ve enabled it, you should probably turn it off.

Lawyer claims FaceTime bug was used to eavesdrop on a client

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2018 iPad Pro Animoji
Apple's FaceTime bug could land it in court.
Photo: Apple

Unsurprisingly, Apple’s recently exposed FaceTime bug — allowing other people to see or hear you before a call starts — is already landing the company in hot water.

According to a new lawsuit filed against Apple, the bug allowed an unknown individual to eavesdrop on a private conversation between a lawyer and their client.

FaceTime bug lets others see and hear you before call starts [UPDATED]

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Group FaceTime is super easy to use.
Someone’s iPhone can be added to a Group FaceTime call before they’re ready.
Photo: Apple

Apple has confirmed that it’s possible for a FaceTime caller to listen to the person on the other end of the call — and even see them — before they pick up. Making use of this newly-discovered bug requires actions someone isn’t likely to do accidentally, which is probably why It wasn’t noticed during testing.

UPDATE: Apple said this evening it will quickly fix this serious privacy flaw. In the mean time, it has also disabled its servers needed for Group FaceTime to function.

Lume Cube Air VC brings pro lighting to FaceTime calls

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Lume cube
Lume Cube Air VC packs a ton of lumens in a small package.
Photo: Lume Cube

CES 2019 bug Lume Cube, makers of some of the world’s brightest tiny lights, wants to put an end to poorly-lit FaceTime calls with its clever new lighting attachment.

The Lume Cube Air VC lighting kit made its debut at CES 2019 today, offering smartphone and laptop users a single solution to brighten up any setting where you might want to have a quick video call.

How to record podcasts on iPad part II: The apps

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The iPad has some amazing tools for recording podcasts.
The iPad has some amazing tools for recording podcasts.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In part one of this series, we saw how to record remote podcasts using only iOS. It requires using your iPhone to place the FaceTime or Skype call, but you end up with a great result. That post covered the setup. Today, we’ll see how the recording and editing parts work, using AUM and Ferrite on the iPad.

Apple found not at fault for fatal FaceTime car crash

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Ford CarPlay
It’s not Apple’s fault if you get distracted by the CarPlay infotainment system or your iPhone.
Photo: Ford

It isn’t Apple’s responsibility to prevent you from doing dangerous things with your iPhone.

That’s the decision of an appeals court in California this morning in a case related to a man who crashed while driving and apparently making a video call on his iPhone. The ruling puts it much more formally, of course.

How I record podcasts on iPad only

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The iPad is more than capable of recording podcasts.
The iPad is more than capable of recording podcasts.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad Pro is pro enough for almost anything, but one thing it still can’t manage is making a Skype (or FaceTime) call and recording it at the same time. This is actually the fault of Skype (and FaceTime), but is nonetheless a pain for anyone who travels and podcasts.

There’s a workaround, however. It requires that you use an iPhone and an iPad together. But seeing as how the alternative is carrying a MacBook, too, it’s a pretty good option. It’s also easy, once you get your head around the setup. And you don’t need to travel to use this setup. After some experimentation, this is now my default podcasting method.

iOS 12.1.1 is out with improvements for FaceTime and Face ID

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iPhone XR camera
iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to expand notifications on the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

Apple has come out with a big new update for iOS 12 today that brings a host of new features and bug fixes to the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.1.1 is available now as an over-the-air update, adding expanded eSIM support on the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max as well as some changes to FaceTime and fixes for Face ID.

2018 MacBook Air owners report poor FaceTime camera quality

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MacBook Air 2018
The new MacBook Air is simply stunning... but its FaceTime camera isn’t.
Photo: Apple

Some adopters of the 2018 MacBook Air are reporting poor camera quality during FaceTime calls.

Apple’s newest ultraportable has a 720p camera above its display, which should provide HD video capture. However, for a small few, its performance seems a lot worse than that.