Apple Software

mmhmm videochat software is now available to all for Mac

mmhmm, the presentation software developed by Evernote founder Phil Libin, is today coming out of beta. The mmhmm app is now officially available for Mac.

The software allows folks to spice up their video calls with the ability to add different backgrounds, play videos, add images and use filters, among other cool effects. The app has been invite-only since its inception, but today it becomes available to all.

Alongside the launch of the free app, mmhmm is also introducing Premium Tools.

This includes customizable rooms, presenter controls and extra add-ons like laser pointers. Users can get a free seven-day trial of the Premium Tools, and after the trial will have access to these tools for one hour per day. The Premium Tools will cost $99/year or $9.99/month, but free users will still be able to video chat, record, collaborate and use the basic present with a default background and simple presenter mode.

Another important note: mmhmm has decided to make its Premium Tools free to students and educators for one year.

The public launch also brings a handful of new features, including Big Hand Mode (which lets folks in the video call visually react), improvements to the appearance of mmhmm’s virtual green screen and mmhmm Creative Services.

Image Credits: mmhmm

Big Hand Mode is only available on Apple’s new M1-powered Macs.

Creative Services represent another revenue channel for the company, which will now offer white-glove bespoke services to folks running large events or experiences.

For now, mmhmm is only available on MacOS, but the company is working on a Windows beta as we speak.


Apple will pay $113 million to settle a ‘batterygate’ investigation into its practice of intentionally slowing down old iPhones

Tim Cook wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Tim Cook in Cupertino in September 2019. Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Tim Cook in Cupertino in September 2019. Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • Apple will pay $113 million in a settlement for an investigation into its past practice of intentionally slowing down people’s iPhones.
  • The payout is the latest Apple has made in regard to the matter — the company paid $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in May.
  • Apple admitted to slowing phones down in 2017 and said it was to prevent old batteries from randomly shutting devices off, not to force customers to buy newer smartphone models, as some believed.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple will pay a $113 million settlement in an investigation into the company’s practice of intentionally slowing old iPhones down, a move that some customers perceived as a tactic to force them into purchasing new, more expensive models. The Washington Post first reported the news.


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Apple declined Business Insider’s request for comment and pointed to a part of the filing that stated Apple’s settlement does not imply admittance of wrongdoing.

The so-called “batterygate” scandal dates back to 2017 when customers began noticing that their devices were slowing down after downloading new versions of Apple’s software. Apple at the time did admit that the updates indeed slowed down the phones to prevent their aging batteries from causing the devices to randomly shut down. Some customers and critics questioned if the move was instead designed to prompt more sales of new iPhone models, which Apple pushed back on.

This new investigation was launched by more than 30 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, and Indiana, according to a press release. The investigators alleged that Apple was aware that its updates were slowing devices down but failed to inform customers of the practice. In addition to the fine, Apple also legally committed to greater transparency.

“Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in the press release. “I’m committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal…


Apple reaches $113 million settlement over claims it slowed iPhones

Apple has reached a $113 million settlement agreement with 34 states and Washington, D.C., over allegations that the company misled consumers about iPhone software updates that purposely slowed iPhones to extend battery life, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday.

a close up of a hand holding a cell phone: Apple-Event

© Mark Lennihan / AP

“Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update,” Becerra said in a statement. “This type of behavior hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases.”


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The complaint alleges that Apple used batteries in iPhone 6 and 7 devices that were “particularly susceptible” to performance loss over time. Because the phones are designed to shut down when the battery can’t supply enough voltage to support the phone’s processing needs, this triggered a higher than usual amount of shut downs as the batteries aged, according to the complaint. 

To fix this, the complaint alleges that Apple created software updates that it said would “improve power management,” but instead throttled, or slowed, the phone’s processing ability. That led to issues including longer app launch times, reduced screen brightness, and lower speaker volume, according to the complaint. The complaint cited multiple instances in which Apple allegedly misled consumers about the true purpose of software updates. 

“Rather than being candid or forthright with its customers, Apple chose to misrepresent both the nature of the [shut down] problem, and the throttling solution, to its customers. Apple did not reverse course on this internal decision until it was publicly called out for its deception by the press in late December 2017,” the complaint noted.

“Ultimately, the value of these consumers’ iPhones was lower relative to what it would have been had Apple equipped these customers with the information and agency to make informed choices about their devices,” the complaint added. 

As part of the settlement, Apple agreed to provide “clear and easily visible information” on its website that explains how the company is handling battery performance issues, and to offer “a clear and…


Apple responds to privacy concerns over Mac software security process

Last week, a number of Mac users had trouble opening apps — a problem that seemed to be caused by an Apple security protocol responsible for checking that software comes from trusted sources. The slow-down prompted some to criticize Apple for collecting too much information about users’ activities; criticism which the company has now responded to with promises that it will change how these security protocols work in future.

Apple announced the changes via its support pages, adding a new “Privacy protections” section to a page entitled “Safely open apps on your Mac” (as spotted by iPhone in Canada). Apple says a service known as Gatekeeper “performs online checks to verify if an app contains known malware and whether the developer’s signing certificate is revoked.” It goes on to clarify how Apple currently uses the data, and outlines new safeguards that are being introduced over the next year.

Complaints about this verification process focused on a protocol known as the online certificate status protocol service, or OCSP. This security feature checks that an app’s developer certificate hasn’t been revoked before it’s allowed to launch. The outage lead to scrutiny of Apple’s practices, most notably by security researcher Jeffrey Paul.

In a blog post titled “Your Computer Isn’t Yours,” Paul claimed that this security process means Apple collects a hash of every program a Mac user runs, along with their IP address, over an unencrypted connection. The end result, wrote Paul, is that anyone use a modern version of macOS can’t do so without “a log of [their] activity being transmitted and stored.”

However, not everybody agreed with Paul’s analysis. One blog post by cybersecurity student Jacopo Jannone notes that the data sent to Apple’s OCSP server contains information that could identify an app’s developer but not the app itself. However, Paul argues that since many developers only publish a single app it wouldn’t be hard to infer which app someone is using from information about its developer.

In its updated support…


Apple’s New MacBook Pro Fights Three Crucial Issues

Tim Cook and the team at Apple are rightly proud of the M1 processor’s specifications. Announced to the world last week alongside a new Mac Mini and two new MacBooks, the geekerati are looking forward to confirming Apple’s almost fantastical claims

But consumers looking to purchase a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro should take note that these laptops are at the cutting edge of new technology. They come with a number of serious risks, including the new hardware design, the introduction of a vital emulation layer in software, and the lack of innovation.

First up is the simple fact the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops are based on not only the new M1 ARM-based processor, but also a redesign of all the internals on the machine to accommodate this change. Laying out laptop components is as much an art as it is a science. I doubt there will be any issues with the design of the circuitry, but it would not be a first for Apple if there were to be issues; I offer the iPhone 6’s bendgate as an example.

If you are looking to pick up one of the new models no matter what, I would suggest waiting a few weeks to let the eager beavers find out if there are any showstoppers in the design.

Then you have the M1 processor. No matter the rigours that Apple will have put this chip though, it will not be as large and as extensive as the moment the machines arrive in public hands. The design does need to be validated in the field, although the lineage of the M1 stretching back through Apple’s Axx series of chips in the iPhone and iPad families gives me the confidence that the chip will work.

It’s the software that needs to be put through the wringer. Apple has promised that the legacy applications originally coded for the Intel Macs will all ‘just work’ on the M1 Macs. Given Apple pulled 32-bit support from MacOS Catalina last year that as reduced the number of apps that it has to support, but fine words from Apple and less than a paragraph in the final presentation does nothing to back up the emulation claims.

If your key application does not run on the M1 Macs, or runs under emulation in such a way as…