Apple

Amazon, Facebook and Apple thriving in lockdown

Amazon sales soared 40% in the three months ending June, while Apple saw a surge in purchases of its iPhones and other hardware.

At Facebook, the number of people on its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, jumped by 15%.

The gains come as the firms face scrutiny over their size and power.

At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, lawmakers grilled the companies about whether they were abusing their dominance to quash rivals, noting the sharp contrast between their fortunes and many other firms.

Apple is overhauling the iPhone homescreen and upgrading AirPods

The updates, announced at Apple (AAPL)'s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, highlight the company's continued effort to insert itself into seemingly every corner of our lives, from our cars and living rooms to our personal health, while also confronting the potential for app fatigue more than a decade after the App Store launched.

Apple claims 'half a trillion dollars' App Store economy

The firm said more than 85% of that figure occurred via transactions from which it did not take a commission.

The announcement comes at a time Apple and other US tech giants are facing increased anti-competition scrutiny.

A leading developer has also called on the iPhone-maker to lower the fees it charges, ahead of its annual developers' conference next week.

An Apple representative told the BBC that it was proud of the commerce that it had enabled and welcomed scrutiny of its App Store.

Apple tracks changes in travel behavior

The Mobility Trends Report produces three daily percentage figures, showing how many fewer people are driving, walking and using public transport compared with on 13 January, before the coronavirus lockdowns came into effect.

It covers major cities and national figures for 63 countries. Hong Kong is included but not mainland China.

It follows a similar effort by Google.

Apple and Google team up to contact trace Covid-19

They hope to initially help third-party contact-tracing apps run efficiently.

But ultimately, they aim to do away with the need to download dedicated apps, to encourage the practice.

The two companies believe their approach - designed to keep users, whose participation would be voluntary, anonymous - addresses privacy concerns.

Their contact-tracing method would work by using a smartphone's Bluetooth signals to determine to whom the owner had recently been in proximity for long enough to have established contagion a risk.

Apple cancels The Banker film premiere over 'concerns'

The Banker is based on the true story of two black businessmen who overcame racial prejudice by enlisting a white man to front their bank in 1960s Texas.

Apple did not give details about the nature of the concerns.

But Hollywood media reported they related to complaints from the children of one of the men, Bernard Garrett.

The red carpet premiere was due to take place on the closing night of the American Film Institute [AFI] Festival in Los Angeles on Thursday. The film is due to have a cinema release on 6 December before being available on Apple TV+ in January.

Microsoft beats Apple for biggest market value

The software giant ended Friday with a market value of more than $851bn (£668bn) compared with Apple's $847bn.

The two firms have been vying for top place all week, with Apple remaining ahead at the end of each trading day.

But the iPhone maker, which has seen its share price plunge in recent weeks, finally lost its lead.

On Friday, Microsoft shares gained more than 0.6% to close at $110.89, while Apple shares finished at $178.60, down about 0.5%.

Apple jams Facebook's web-tracking tools

"We're shutting that down," declared Apple's software chief Craig Federighi, at the firm's developers conference.

He added that the web browser Safari would ask owners' permission before allowing the social network to monitor their activity.

The move is likely to add to tensions between the two companies.

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook had previously described Facebook's practices as being an "invasion of privacy" - an opinion Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg subsequently denounced as being "glib".

Apple 'to buy Shazam for $400m'

Shazam, a UK company founded in 1999, allows people to use their smartphone or computer to identify and buy music through a snippet of sound.

Shazam, which says it has more than 100 million monthly users, makes most of its revenue from commissions paid on referrals to Apple's iTunes Store.

Neither Apple nor Shazam have commented on the reports on the TechCrunch site.

If the deal is confirmed, Shazam will become the latest in a string of UK technology firms to be bought up by larger businesses.

Apple rushes to fix major password bug

The flaw in MacOS High Sierra - the most recent version - makes it possible to gain entry to the machine without a password, and also have access to powerful administrator rights.

“We are working on a software update to address this issue,” Apple said in a statement.

The bug was discovered by Turkish developer Lemi Ergin.

He found that by entering the username "root", leaving the password field blank, and hitting "enter" a few times, he would be granted unrestricted access to the target machine.