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Book Excerpt Explores Apple's 'Soul Sucking' Information Systems & Technology Team

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Apple has a team called Information Systems & Technology (IS&T), that builds its internal technology tools, including servers and data infrastructure. The IS&T group, according to an excerpt from an upcoming book shared by BuzzFeed News "operates in a state of tumult."


Made up largely of contractors hired by rival consulting companies, Apple's IS&T team has been likened to a "Game of Thrones nightmare" with turmoil, infighting, and disagreements that hinder work.
"There's a Cold War going on every single day," Archana Sabapathy, a former IS&T contractor who did two stints in the division, told me. Sabapathy's first stint at IS&T lasted more than three years, the second only a day. Inside the division, she said, contracting companies such as Wipro, Infosys, and Accenture are constantly fighting to fill roles and win projects, which are handed out largely on the basis of how cheaply they can staff up to Apple's needs.
Companies involved in providing contractors for available roles don't care about the work, the talent, or the effort that's put in. People come and go with no notice, and Apple employees have been forced to rewrite code created by IS&T on multiple occasions.

Experiences shared on Quora have said that working on the IS&T team is "worse than sweatshops in India" and a "soul sucking" place to be.

Apple also has unrealistic expectations for the IS&T team, paying consulting companies as much as $150 an hour while contractors make much less, up to $55 per hour, leaving Apple with "lesser contractors" to fill the "same high demands."

The excerpt suggests that Apple should make an effort to fix its "broken" IS&T division as it would be the right thing to do from a moral standpoint and could also help Apple's business.

The full excerpt can be read over on BuzzFeed's website, and it comes from the book "Always Day One" by BuzzFeed writer Alex Kantrowitz. "Always Day One" takes a look at the inner workings of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
This article, "Book Excerpt Explores Apple's 'Soul Sucking' Information Systems & Technology Team" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug

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Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1, minor updates that come two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, major updates that introduced iCloud Folder Sharing, a new Mail toolbar, trackpad support for the iPad, and more.


The iOS and ‌‌iPadOS‌‌ 13.4.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

The update addresses an issue that prevented devices running iOS 13.4 from participating in FaceTime calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier. It also fixes a bug in the settings app that could cause choosing Bluetooth from the quick actions menu on the Home screen to fail.

Discovered shortly after the release of iOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4, the ‌FaceTime‌ issue prevented iPhones, iPads, and Macs running these updates from making or receiving ‌FaceTime‌ calls from older devices that aren't able to upgrade, such as the ‌iPad‌ 2, third-generation ‌iPad‌, iPhone 4S, the first-generation ‌iPad‌ mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

It wasn't clear if the problem was caused by a bug or was intentional, but the fix included in today's update clarifies that Apple did not mean to remove the option for devices running iOS 13.4 to communicate with older devices. Full release notes for the iOS 13.4.1 update are below:
iOS 13.4.1 includes bug fixes for your ‌iPhone‌.

- Fixes an issue where devices running iOS 13.4 could not participate in ‌FaceTime‌ calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier.
- Addresses a bug with the Settings app where choosing a Bluetooth from the quick actions menu on the Home screen would fail.
The ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4.1 update fixes the same two issues, but also addresses a third bug that could cause the flashlight not to turn on on the new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models after the Flashlight button in Control Center or the Lock screen is tapped.

iOS 13.4.1 could be one of the last updates to the iOS 13 operating system as Apple prepares to transition work to iOS 14. There will be at least one additional update, though, as Apple is already beta testing iOS 13.4.5.
Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

This article, "Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Google Fit iOS App Update Switches Focus to Step Goals

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Google's fitness tracking app Google Fit is getting a redesign this week that puts the user's step count front and center.


The app launched on iOS in April 2019 with an interface oriented around Move Minutes and Heart Points, based on American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommendations for weekly physical activity.

These activity data points were visualized with two rings that tracked progress throughout the day. After this week's update is installed, the Move Minutes goal is replaced with your steps goal, and Heart Points get a more prominent visualization under the rings.

There are new celebrations when a daily goal is met, while the update also introduces a bolder and brighter design overall, which should make it more enjoyable to use, whether or not you have a Wear OS smartwatch.

The fitness tracking app can track workout sessions completed with both an Apple Watch or a Wear OS smartwatch, and it also integrates movement data from apps connected to Apple Health, such as Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club, and Headspace.

The Google Fit app for iPhone is free to download from the App Store. [Direct Link]
This article, "Google Fit iOS App Update Switches Focus to Step Goals" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Roku's Free Ad-Supported Channel Launches in the UK

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Streaming device maker Roku has launched its free ad-supported Roku Channel in the UK, offering access to over 10,000 movies, TV shows, and documentaries at a time when stay-at-home entertainment is in high demand.


The Roku Channel can be accessed on Roku devices and – thanks to exclusive UK partnerships – Now TV sticks and Sky Q set-top boxes via the dedicated Roku app.

If you're fine with watching content interspersed with ads, there's plenty of British fare to get stuck into, including the likes of Fifth Gear, Skins, Get Carter, and The Wicker Man. There isn't any sign-in requirement or profiles to set up when you launch the app, so getting started is pretty painless.
"With The Roku Channel we are making it easy for consumers to find great free entertainment and provide additional value to Roku users, Now TV device holders and Sky Q customers," said Roku vice president of programming, Rob Holmes.

"Ad-supported viewing is one of the fastest growing categories on our platform and we are excited to meet the consumer demand for free TV."
Since it launched in the US in 2017, the Roku Channel has added a browser-based web player, live news, a dedicated kids and family section, and an option to subscribe to premium content providers like Showtime and HBO.

Out of those, only the kids and family section is available in the UK at present. However, the British-version of the Roku Channel features over 40 content partners, including Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Television, and more publishers are expected to be added in the future.
This article, "Roku's Free Ad-Supported Channel Launches in the UK" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets

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Two images shared on social media this morning are currently stoking speculation about possible hardware redesigns coming to the iPhone 12 and the potential introduction of Home screen widgets in iOS 14.


Shared by Twitter user Fudge (choco_bit), the images depict a front and rear graphical representation of a smartphone with interface elements on the screen, suggesting it came out of a tutorial or support documentation.

Two focuses of interest are the size of the device's notch, which appears to be about a third smaller than the one currently found on iPhones with Face ID, and a new camera setup on the rear of the device showing a revised lens array.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that at least one new iPhone in 2020 will feature a smaller front camera lens for an improved screen to bezel ratio, ultimately resulting in a smaller notch at the front.

Meanwhile, the redesigned camera array is generating online chat about rumors of a new 3D camera coming to the ‌iPhone 12‌, similar in design to the LiDAR scanner on the new 2020 iPad Pro.


Elsewhere, on the device's main display are what look like widgets in amongst icons on the Home screen. As part of a new feature set coming in ‌iOS 14‌, Apple is also thought to be working on bringing widgets to the ‌iPhone‌ Home screen for the first time.

We're bringing these images to the attention of readers mainly for the purposes of discussion, since the source is not an established leaker and there's no way to verify the legitimacy of the pictures.
This article, "'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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