Roundup: Apple: We had no role in NSA's alleged iPhone hack; home price gains slow in October from September; more
By From Wire Reports
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Apple denies involvement in NSA's alleged iPhone hack
Apple Inc. says it played no role in the National Security Agency's alleged efforts to hack the iPhone, explaining that it was unaware of a recently revealed program apparently aimed at turning the best-selling smartphone into an improvised listening device. The Cupertino, Calif.-based, company said on Tuesday it had never worked with the NSA to deliberately weaken its products, promising that it would “defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who's behind them.” Apple's statement follows the disclosure by privacy advocate Jacob Appelbaum of a leaked document describing an NSA-designed “software implant” intended to turn an iPhone into a pocket-sized informer, secretly recording audio, stealing files and harvesting contact information. The revelation was one of series of disclosures that have rattled the NSA in the past six months.
Home price gains slow in October
Home prices rose in October from the previous year at the fastest pace in almost eight years. But price gains slowed in most cities from September to October, suggesting the increases are leveling off. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2 percent from September to October, down from a 0.7 percent increase from August to September. Monthly price gains slowed in 18 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. And prices declined in nine cities, including Chicago, Denver, and Washington. For the year, prices are still strong, reflecting big gains in earlier months. They have risen 13.6 percent during the past year, the fastest since February 2006. The Case-Shiller index covers half of U.S. homes.
Self-driving cars to be 9% of sales in 2035
Sales of vehicles able to drive themselves will account for about 9 percent of global auto sales in about two decades, according to a forecast published on Tuesday by auto industry consultant IHS Automotive. The study focused on autonomous cars, which can drive with “no attention needed by the driver,” IHS analyst Egil Juliussen said. Such cars are not currently available for sale, but IHS predicts they will be available around 2025. IHS expects global sales of self-driving cars in 2025 to be 230,000 — less than 1 percent of the 115 million cars expected to be sold that year. But by 2035, sales of self-driving cars will reach 11.8 million, or 9 percent of the 129 million global auto sales expected that year, Juliussen said.
HP confirms higher layoffs expected
Personal computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co. has confirmed that it expects layoffs at the upper end of a range that it outlined earlier this year, with 5,000 more workers than originally planned expected to lose jobs by October. The company said in a securities filing on Monday that “continued market and business pressures” were behind the move. The additional cuts, on top of the 29,000 positions it planned to cut in a May 2012 restructuring plan, will likely boost the accumulated restructuring charges to $4.1 billion from $3.6 billion, it said.
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