AWT News Update: March 7, 2017

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We have some fascinating Apple news bits for you today, including our very own rumor about the next Apple event!

  • Apple released the fifth developer beta of macOS 10.12.4 today, so expect to see the final version released in the relatively near future
  • Some rumors swirling around forced us to create our own rumor - that the iPad event we're expecting will be held on April 4, 2017
  • WikiLeaks dumps a new bunch of files, this time stating that the CIA has a team that's dedicated to iPhone penetration and that they've "lost control" of the tools they have

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for March 7th, 2017.

Apple today seeded a fifth developer beta of macOS 10.12.4, which means things might be getting close to release. If you’re a developer and already running the beta on your favorite test machine, you’ll see that it’s on the Mac App Store updates tab ready for installation. We’re not sure exactly what the changes are in the latest beta release, but 10.12.4 will bring Night Shift to the Mac - that’s the feature currently in iOS 10 that warms color temperatures on the screen to reduce blue light exposure after the sun goes down and can help you get to sleep more easily if you work on your Mac prior to bedtime. 10.12.4 will also provide such awesome things as dictation support for more languages, better support or shall we say repaired support for PDFKit, and — this one is important, folks — enables cricket scores in Siri.

Today’s rumor is brought to you buy a Spanish peripheral distributor, who allegedly received details about a case from an unknown manufacturer with info for an Apple 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The information was tweeted by Marc Alonso, with document titles showing a 10.5 inch iPad Pro. Some of the current iPad rumors suggest that the new device may come without side bezels, allowing a much larger display to squeeze into a device with outside dimensions similar to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Many rumors have been sliding around saying that there may be an Apple event as early as this month where a new second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the new 10.5-inch model, a new 9.7-inch device that’s expected to replace the iPad Air 2, and even an new 7.9-inch iPad mini. The 12.9-inch model is currently out of stock for Apple and its resellers, so the rumored event could be coming soon. In fact, when searching for availability of a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the date given for most Apple Stores is April 4, 2017, so expect a new device in stores that day. That’s our rumor, and we’re sticking with it!

A new batch of WikiLeaks files alleges that the US Central Intelligence Agency — the good ol’ CIA — has a team that is dedicated to iPhone penetration, has tools to hack into iOS 4 through iOS 9.2, and has also lost control of those tools. The document dump from WikiLeaks says that the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) has over 5,000 people at work, having targeted over 10,000 individuals worldwide who use iOS, Windows and Android devices. The CIA didn’t develop its own hacks, instead buying them on the open market or obtaining them through information trades with the FBI, NSA and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). WikiLeaks says that the CIA lost control of its code archive, which is how they found out about it. Other information provided by WikiLeaks claims that the CCI Engineering Development Group has produced over a thousand hacking systems and “weaponized malware” on its own, with a codebase that exceeds Facebook’s in size. Fortunately, WikiLeaks has decided not to distribute information on the “armed” cyberweapons, saying they’ll hold off until “a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should be analyzed, disarmed and published.”

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.