Web traffic from Chrome’s article recommendations increased 2,100% in 2017

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Over a year ago, Google added article recommendations to the New Tab Page on Chrome for Android. Even though it cluttered up the once-clean page, it has quickly become a major source of traffic for many websites. According to NiemanLab, traffic from Chrome’s New Tab Page increased a whopping 2,100% last year.

The data comes from Chartbeat, a content intelligence company often used as an alternative to Google Analytics.

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Web traffic from Chrome’s article recommendations increased 2,100% in 2017 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Cryptojacking rates increased by 85 times in Q4 2017 as bitcoin prices spiked: report

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Instances of computers hijacked to mine cryptocurrency, a practice known as cryptojacking, rose 8500 percent in the final quarter of 2017, according to a new report by Symantec. The attacks make up 24 percent of all online attacks blocked in last December, and 16 percent of online attacks blocked in the last three months of 2017, correlating with the spikes in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ prices last year.

Symantec report tracks the rise of cryptojacking, and explains that its rise is partly due to easy-to-operate coin minings apps “with a low barrier [to] entry—only requiring a couple lines of code to operate,” which many have picked up as a way of cashing in on the cryptocurrency craze. Overall, cryptojacking rose by 34,000…

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App developer statistics show increased Apple Watch Series 3 adoption, decline in older models

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Apple’s latest Apple Watch Series 3 device has seen healthy adoption rates since its release last year, while usage rates of older Series 1 and first-generation models are on the decline, according to statistics shared by Pedometer++ developer David Smith.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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In an audit of supply chain partners, Apple found increased labor violations in 2017

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Enlarge / An iPhone assembly worker works with Apple supplier Pegatron in an image distributed by Apple. (credit: Apple)

Each year, Apple releases a report called the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report detailing its audits of the labor practices of its suppliers around the world. Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers.

The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to supply chain.

Out of 757 suppliers included in the audit across 30 countries, 197 were being audited for the first time. Apple found twice as many “core violations” in 2017 as it did in the previous year. Core violations are those that Apple “considers the most serious breaches of compliance” and for which it claims to have “zero tolerance.”

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apple – Ars Technica

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Aircel files for bankruptcy; cites intense competition, unsustainable debt and increased losses

Aircel has filed for bankruptcy protection under Section 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Mumbai, after mounting losses and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications who has 74% stake in the company decided not to infuse more funds. Aircel said that agreement could not be reached with respect to restructuring of its debt and funding after discussions with the financial lenders and shareholders. Aircel said that is is not proceeding for liquidation, and will find best possible resolution for the current situation. If NCLT accepts Aircel’s request, it will be placed under a court-appointed insolvency resolution professional, who will get 180 days that can be extended by another 90 days to work out a plan to repay lenders. If that doesn’t happen after the 270-day period, it will be declared bankrupt and sent into liquidation. Aircel users are facing network issues for the past few weeks in several areas across the country since some of the tower companies have switched off Aircel’s base stations due to pending dues. It had about 80 million subscribers as of January. Aircel already said that it is working to keep its network running and facilitate users who want to port out. Reliance Communications, Aircel merger was called off back …
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Apple’s iOS update frequency has increased 51% under Cook’s management


The Telugu “text bomb” bug sounds like an Apple user’s nightmare: you get a message containing a particular character from the Indian language of Telugu, and your iPhone’s messaging apps and WiFi functionality not only crash but “keep crashing forever” without drastic intervention. Apple issued a patch on February 19, but the Telugu bug isn’t the only software problem that’s had the company in the news in recent months. Critics of iOS 11 say the update made their phones slower, drained battery life faster, and came with a host of bugs.

These issues raise questions about Apple’s quality control in general, and a look at the data suggests that a problem may have been brewing for awhile. Since Steve Jobs left Apple’s leadership in January of 2011, the frequency of iOS updates has increased by 51 percent. What does that mean for Apple users? Lots of updates, patches, and sometimes follow-up patches. For example, current iPhone owners had to contend with 15 iOS updates during the year ending January 31, 2018. By contrast, Apple only issued six iOS updates during the 12 months prior to Jobs’ departure from the company’s top spot.

A dramatic rise in iOS update frequency

This chart, compiled from a variety of sources for updates to the iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, illustrates the rise in iOS update frequency over the decade from 2007 to 2017.

The chart shows that during the period that Jobs led Apple, the average 365-day update rate was 6.75. After his exit, the average jumped to 10.22 per year, a 51 percent increase. If we look at the same statistic before and after Jobs’ death, the increase in updates was 48 percent (not shown on the chart). The chart also shows that after Jobs stepped down in January 2011, and also after his death in October 2011, there was still a period of infrequent updates from the second quarter of 2012 to the beginning of 2013. After that, the number of updates per year stabilized around 10 each year, until the last 365 days of the study period, during which there were an astounding 15 updates.

Why are iOS updates becoming so frequent?

There are many possible explanations for the uptick in updates. One potential factor is rising complexity. Smartphones have been gaining more functionality, more apps, and more accessories that involve a growing complexity of operating system maintenance. And software updates have become more complicated, with more features required for more devices across more languages and markets than ever before. However, there’s also been a steady stream of bad news involving bugs, inattention to detail, poor performance, and security issues.

For example, Apple released the iOS 11 update in September 2017 to improve security and add features. By November, Apple had to issue an update to fix a bug that caused the lowercase letter i to autocorrect to a capital A. Users reported that iOS 11 also slowed down their phones (unless they backed up their data and did a factory reset), drew down battery power faster, gave wrong answers to math problems in its calculator, and had other problems. Indeed, the final week of November 2017 saw at least five major iOS and macOS problems, including security flaws followed by patches that introduced problems of their own. The more recent Telugu text bug, which can “crash and brick iOS devices” as well as macOS devices and Apple watches and TVs, prompted Apple to rush out a patch for the problem amid international headlines.

When reached for comment on this trend toward more frequent updates, an Apple spokesperson said the higher frequency should be seen in a larger context. He said Apple specifically works to get updates out with speed and simplicity at significant scale (it rolls out updates to all users simultaneously) and that the company believes being able to update quickly at that scale is a good thing for consumers. Apple also offers automated updates, so users don’t have to worry about actively watching for them, the spokesperson said. And he noted that 65 percent of iOS users are on the latest version, compared to less than 1 percent of Android users on the latest Android version. That final point tells us there are more eyeballs on any new iOS update than there are on Android updates — perhaps accounting for the loud outcry when new bugs are spotted.

Is quality in decline at Apple?

The level of detail-orientation and perfectionism in Jobs’ leadership style was well-known. Widely considered a product genius, Jobs led in a unique way that’s hard to replicate. And with such a marked increase in updates and patches since his departure, it’s reasonable to ask if Apple’s product quality level is in a long-term decline without that relentless drive for perfection at the company helm. But while the update numbers seem to tell one story, other metrics tell another.

Despite the widespread coverage of Apple’s recent bugs, including some scathing headlines in the tech press, investors seem unbothered. Since Jobs passed away, the value of Apple stock has increased by roughly 240 percent. Consumers seem undeterred as well. In early February, Apple announced record revenue for the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, driven by highly profitable iPhone X sales. For consumers and investors alike, the luster of the Apple brand may outweigh any concerns about software issues. If the company continues to have problems with updates and patches, that luster may fade. Only time will tell.

Bernardo Lustosa is Partner, Cofounder, and COO at fraud-management solutions provider ClearSale.

Apple – VentureBeat

New in iOS 11.3: increased pairing security for USB accessories

The upcoming iOS 11.3 software update will bring increased security when connecting third-party MFi-certified USB accessories to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch…. Read the rest of this post here


New in iOS 11.3: increased pairing security for USB accessories” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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iOS 11’s increased pairing security requires passcode for the “Trust This Computer” prompt

iOS 11 has introduced security-enhancing tweaks, including one that changes how trust is established between your computer and an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch connected to it…. Read the rest of this post here


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Apple remains second-largest semiconductor customer in 2017 behind Samsung despite increased spending

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Apple and long-time rival Samsung continue to be the top two buyers of semiconductor chips, according to a Gartner report, with both firms growing their share of the global market year-on-year by increasing the amount they spend, potentially caused in part by flash memory price increases.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Apple and Samsung massively increased chip spending in 2017

Apple ramped up its spending on semiconductors by more than a quarter in 2017, a new report from Gartner claims. In the past 12 months, Apple spent a massive $38.754 billion on chips, making it second only to Samsung in terms of semiconductor spend. In 2016, Apple spent “just” $30.39 billion — or 27.5 percent […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac