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Inside Apple (Jul 19th, 2019)

$AAPL (2:16 PM EDT July 19): $204.21 (-0.70%) // More info

I’m troubled by the news that a military-grade security firm can now crack iCloud encryption. Even though companies like that always claim to only sell tools to “responsible” governments, such exploits always manage to find their way to bad actors. We can hope Apple already has their hands on the tool and is swiftly figuring out how to foil it.

— Jon

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1. Israeli security firm NSO Group claims it has developed a tool that can break into the iCloud account of a targeted iPhone. The tool can access Google, Amazon, and Microsoft cloud services as well. It works by copying the local encryption keys on a targeted device, which means it doesn’t prompt the user for a two-factor authentication code. NSO Group sells expensive kits for breaking into the latest phones, and it claims to only sell them to “responsible” governments. This is the first version reportedly capable of accessing cloud data as well. — FINANCIAL TIMES (paywalled)

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2. Analyst firm Raymond James upgraded Apple shares to “outperform” with a $250 price target due to “increased conviction in the impact of a 5G iPhone.” The report also cited Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm as a significant development making a 5G iPhone in 2020 more viable and profitable. — CNBC

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3. #FollowFriday: @bryanstearns

Bryan Stearns is a former Apple engineer (employee #2536, starting in January 1985). In his last role at Apple, from 1992 to 1996, he worked on the software for Apple’s PDA, the fondly remembered but ill-fated Newton.

This week, Stearns told a great Twitter tale about how his work on the Newton led him down a rabbit hole into the world of experimental aircraft, and there’s a surprise ending I don’t want to spoil. Let’s just say it’s a good news hook for the week of July 20.

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4. iPhones held the top three spots in U.S. smartphone sales in Q2 and gained market share in urban China, according to Kantar. iPhone XR was the most popular model in the U.S., followed by iPhone 8 and iPhone XS Max. The No. 4 and No. 5 spots were held by the Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S10 respectively. — PATENTLY APPLE

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5. A few American cities already nominally have 5G coverage, and while it’s amazingly fast when it works, it’s extremely unreliable. In the Wall Street Journal’s testing using the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the device couldn’t even maintain 5G connectivity on hot day due to device overheating. Going inside of buildings was also a good way to lose signal. The one good thing that can be said for 5G right now is that even the slowest network in the test — Sprint in Chicago — was nearly 10 times faster than the average 4G network, and the fastest was 37 times faster. — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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6. Huawei now says its homegrown Hongmeng operating system is not for smartphones, and it will continue shipping phones with Android. This is either a surprising pivot or a media misunderstanding, because it has been previously reported that Huawei is building an OS from scratch to protect itself from the U.S./China trade war and its restrictions on Google’s software. Huawei board member and SVP Catherine Chen says Hongmeng is for industrial use and has been in development since before the trade war heated up. — XINHUA

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7. The iOS game “Sky: Children of the Light” is finally out, and it’s a novel type of cooperative game that’s worth checking out. Our new Inside Video Games Twitter account has a thread full of links and GIFs that will give you a sense of it. — @VIDEOGAMES

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8. Apple will open an office in a glitzy new development in Vancouver, Canada. It will take up “about two floors” in the 24-story 400 West Georgia building. The tech industry is booming in Vancouver, and Apple is a good get. — BLOOMBERG

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9. Apple Music has renamed its popular “A-List: Hip Hop” playlist to “Rap Life” and is making other changes to its hip-hop content. It will feature mostly North American artists, but it will also highlight some some from around the world. Rap Life will also get a live show on Beats 1. — BILLBOARD

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10. Preferable Peripherals: On the third Friday of each month, I’ll highlight some great reviews of gear that enhances the Apple lifestyle. What do you think of this month’s Preferable Peripherals? Got some gear you’d like featured here? Reply and let me know!

Satechi Dual Smart Outlet

Handy for making dumb devices smart, this plug turns one wall outlet into two outlets that can be turned on and off via Apple HomeKit. — 9TO5MAC

LG 49Wl95C 49-inch 5K display

Despite the hideous name, this is one gorgeous, enormous curved computer display. — MACRUMORS

Legrand Home Smart Lighting

This kit includes three-way and dimmable switches and dimmable plug-in wall sockets to enable smart lights via HomeKit, and it requires no hub device. — CULTOFMAC

Elago W6 Stand for Apple Watch

This charming charging stand for Apple Watch makes it look like a classic click-wheel iPod. — @DANFRAKES

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Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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