In pictures: 30 years of the Apple Mac

Apple's iconic Macintosh - or Mac - celebrates its 30th birthday today. The first ever Mac began a revolution in personal computing.

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Apple aims to make walking while texting much safer

US technology giant Apple has filed a patent that aims to make texting while walking safer by replacing the text background with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the smartphone user.

(File Image) A man crosses the street while looking at his phone. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Apples 'Transparent Texting' patent says: "The camera can be a rear-facing camera on the device".

It said video images will be displayed behind the text messaging session, with the user "less likely to collide with or stumble over an object."

99p music downloads threatened by VAT crackdown

George Osborne's budget announcement seeks to tackle a VAT loophole that has been losing the UK an estimated £1.5 billion a year. Credit: Terry Scott/NEWZULU/PA Images

The future of the 99p music download looks bleak because of a change in VAT rules as the Treasury bids to reclaim more than £300 million in tax from tech giants like Apple and Amazon.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in last week's budget that multinational firms will have to pay the UK's standard 20% levy on all digital sales to British customers from next year.

Both Apple and Amazon currently benefit from a lower VAT rate on music downloads from their online stores like iTunes and Google Play by operating out of Luxembourg.

The changes are expected to see the 99p rate for a single download rise when the new rules take effect in January to end the loophole.

Read: Football chant shoots Human League back into download charts


Ministers attacked over £640k Apple products spending

Government ministers have been criticised for spending taxpayers' money on "expensive gadgets" after it was revealed they had paid over half a million pounds for Apple products.

Since the general election in 2010, Whitehall departments have splashed out on 464 iPads, 314 iPhones, 160 Mac computers and two iPod touches, costing an estimated £640,000.

The Home Office spent over £48,000 in 2013 on 100 iPads, three iPhones and six Macbooks. Credit: Reuters

The figures, gained through Freedom of Information requests, also showed that the Home Office had spent over £48,000 in 2013 on 100 iPads, three iPhones and six Macbooks.

Five departments including the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Education and the Foreign Office refused to reveal how much they had spent.

A Labour source said: "Hard-pressed families will think this looks like huge indulgence during these tough times"

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "Hard-working people expect us to get best value for their money so we won't apologise for using modern technology which saves money and helps civil servants do their jobs, providing the services on which we all rely."

Apple posts record revenue figures but shares slump

Apple posted record revenue figures during the last quarter with the help of a raft of new products but shares dropped shortly after market open in the US.

It was the first period fully taking into account sales of the highly anticipated iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, as well as marking the launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini.

Apple's revenues hit $57.6 billion (£34.8 billion) for the last three months of 2013, a new quarterly record for the company.

The iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.
The iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. Credit: REUTERS/George Frey

The firm also posted profits of $13.1 billion (£7.9 billion) were also made - equal with the record profits set 12 months previously.

Apple sold 51 million iPhones - a new high for the company, though short of forecasts peaking at 60 million - while iPad sales also set a new record of 26 million.

However, Apple's shares slumped by as much as 7.5% in the 30 minutes after trading in the US following the disappointing sales figures for the new iPhones.

Apple to refund US parents over 'pay to play' games

Apple will refund at least $32.5 million (£19.8 million) to US consumers whose children made in-app purchases without their consent, the US Federal Trade Commission announced.

Under the terms of the settlement, Apple will also be required to change its billing practices to make sure it has obtained "express, informed consent from consumers" before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.

The Apple logo on a store.
Apple will refund at least $32.5 million (£19.8 million) to US consumers following the complaint Credit: PA Wire

FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the complaint alleges that Apple did not inform account holders that entering their password would open a 15-minute window during which unlimited charges could be made with no further action by the account holder.

In-app purchases also face criticism in the UK from consumers who say their children have run up huge bills without their knowledge.

Read our guide on how to turn off in-app purchases on your iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Android devices


Apple and Google remove plastic surgery games

Two plastic surgery games that were aimed at children and asked the user to make a character "slim and beautiful" have been removed by Apple and Google after outrage on Twitter.

The character that features in "Plastic Surgery for Barbie".

Read: Google Play plastic surgery app aimed at girls criticised

Google Play advertised a game called "Plastic Surgery" that asked users to "return cute Barbara's looks", while the app on iTunes featured a character who "had so much extra weight that no diet can help her."

The games were criticised by many tweeters, who said the apps were "gross", "disgusting" and a "disgrace."

"Plastic Surgery for Barbie", which was available to download on iTunes, was a free game that encouraged children aged nine or over to perform liposuction.

Read: Twitter outrage over plastic surgery iTunes app

Google Play plastic surgery app aimed at girls criticised

A Google Play plastic surgery game that asks users to help with an operation on a character to "return cute Barbara's looks" has been criticised online amid outrage over a similar app on iTunes.

The plastic surgery game is on Google Play. Credit: Google Play

The description of the game, which is aimed at those aged seven or over, says: "Barbara likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and...she found out that she looks ugly."

"Today [the] plastic surgeon is going to make operation [sic] on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara's look. She is afraid of all of this, but I know you will check that everything is over normally," it adds.

One reviewer said the game was "horrible" and a "disgrace", while Alice Evans tweeted: "Friends of my daughters are already worrying about weight at 5. They don't need this."

A Google spokesperson said: "We don't comment on individual apps but we will remove those that breach our guidelines."

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