Katie's Week In Review: March 20, 2016

I traveled to Chicago this week for the ABA Techshow and had an opportunity to meet up with several Mac Power Users listeners. We all had a great time. As such, I may be a bit light on my week in review coverage this week. Nevertheless, here are the links of note for the week ending March 20, 2016:

  • The first of two big Apple events next week is the special announcement scheduled for Monday, March 21st. It is highly anticipated Apple will announce a new 9.7“ iPad Pro starting at $599 as well as a 4-inch iPhone SE, new watch accessories and possibly updates to the MacBook and MacBook Pro. I’m particularly interested in this event as I’m looking at a new 13” MacBook Pro. As usual, Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac gives us the most comprehensive roundup.
  • Why are we all so mesmerized every time Apple announces one of these special events? Jason Snell, in his latest column for iMore, discusses the art of the Apple event and discusses how Steve Jobs turned Apple product launches into the spectacle they’ve become.
  • The other major Apple Event next week is their hearing in Federal Court on March 22nd over the dispute of whether the FBI can force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. Greg Kumparak and Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch have posted a copy of Apple’s final reply and summary of the pleadings.
  • Tim Cook was featured on the cover of the US Edition of Time Magazine this week on Apple’s fight with the FBI and why he won’t back down. The article by Lev Grossman gives a nice summary of the events to date and Apple’s response. Interestingly, FBI Director James Comey declined Time’s request for an interview. A full transcript of the interview is also available.
  • Thomas Reed reports on the Malwarebytes blog of a new iCloud scam where a hacker gains access to the user’s iCloud account and then remotely locks the the users’s devices and demands payment or the devices will be wiped. Your iCloud account is one of your most important and securing it with a strong unique password, and preferably also using two factor authentication is critical.
  • Speaking of iCloud scammers, Husain Sumra of MacRumors reports that a 36-year-old Pennsylvania man plead guilty to hacking the iCloud accounts of several celebrities in 2014. He apparently gained access through a phishing scheme sending the victims emails that appeared to be from Apple and Google to provide their usernames and passwords. Once he obtained access, he used them to extract private information, some of which included nude photos and videos.
  • Be careful what you type in your web browser. both Mac and Windows users are becoming victim of “.om” domain “typo-squatting” that is leading to malicious URLs. Jared Newman for Macworld reports that victims are then downloading software, commonly fake copies of Adobe Flash, from these fraudulent sites leading to Malware infections.
  • In more positive news, Marco Arment has released a significant upgrade to his popular podcast app, Overcast. Version 2.5 features improvements to battery life, voice boost when used with iPhone speakers as well as bonus features for patrons including a dark theme and the ability to upload personal files to play within the App. I personally am using Overcast to play my own audiobooks and continuing education courses which allows me to take advantage of the smart speed and speed adjustment features.
  • Finally, I grew up on Sesame Street. Cookie Monster was one of my favorites. Now, he’s the star of Apple’s new iPhone commercial featuring the “Hey, Siri” feature. I love it, and I think I may make some chocolate chip cookies today.