| Cult of Mac

Apple tops tech support rankings for third year in a row

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The Genius Bar is one of the best things about buying a Mac.
The Genius Bar is one of the best things about buying a Mac.
Photo: Apple

If you want to get the absolute best tech support for your laptop, pay the Apple tax and get a Mac.

In the latest annual Tech Support Showdown rankings, Laptop Magazine has awarded Apple the number one spot for the third straight year. Apple beat out nine other companies, but it’s starting to get some serious competition from companies like Acer that are focusing more on online service.

Apple’s WWDC scholarships now include a free place to stay

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A lot is changing at WWDC.
A lot is changing at WWDC.
Photo: Apple

The rules for winning a coveted scholarship to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference are changing this year.

Apple revealed today that it will begin accepting applications for WWDC 2017 scholarships on March 27. Getting one of the spots means you don’t have to pay the $1,599 ticket price. And for the first time ever, Apple is going to hook up student winners with a free place to stay.

Some popular Mac apps fail as developer certificates expire

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Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 9.26.30 PM
1Password is one of the apps that stopped working this weekend.
Photo: AgileBits

Several popular Mac apps began crashing over the weekend after their developer certificates expired.

The apps suddenly refused to open due to a change Apple made to its signing policy last year. Apple now requires that all apps from the Mac App Store have a valid provisioning profile that must be updated periodically.

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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Are you ready for Apple to make Macs
Are you ready for Apple to make Macs "pro" again?
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.

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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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
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.