Could Donald Trump really get Apple to ‘build a big plant’ in the US?

Donald Trump says he promised Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘incentives’ such as tax breaks to get the company to bring its manufacturing home.
Donald Trump says he promised Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘incentives’ such as tax breaks to get the company to bring its manufacturing home. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Donald Trump told Apple CEO Tim Cook that he is going to “get” the company to start manufacturing its products in the United States, the president-elect told the New York Times on Tuesday.

Trump revealed that he had received a post-election phone call from Cook during which he said, “Tim, you know one of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States.”

According to Trump’s account, Cook responded, “I understand that,” and Trump went on to promise incentives through tax breaks and reduced regulations.

“I think we’ll create the incentives for you, and I think you’re going to do it,” Trump said he said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of Trump’s characterization of the call, nor did it respond to a request for comment on the content of Trump’s remarks.

Though Apple markets its high-end products as being “designed by Apple in California”, the electronics are assembled at factories in China from components produced primarily in China, Japan and Taiwan, according to the MIT Technology Review. The company says that its suppliers employ more than 1.6 million people.

Forcing American companies to bring jobs back to the US was one of the key themes of Trump’s presidential campaign, despite his own business’s decision to manufacture apparel in China or Bangladesh.

“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” the then-candidate told supporters in Virginia on 18 January.

Trump later called for a boycott of the company’s products unless it acceded to the FBI’s demand that it unlock one of the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhones, a request Apple had strenuously resisted.

Apple markets its products as ‘designed in California’ but assembles them in Chinese factories from components produced in China, Japan and Taiwan.


Pokémon Go: amorphous blob Ditto makes its debut

A Ditto in the very first Pokemon game.
A Ditto in the very first Pokemon game. Photograph: Nintendo


Pokémon Go has finally given players a big reason to come back to the game: the introduction of the first new Pokemon since it launched back in July.

Pokémon trainers can now catch Ditto, an amorphous blob that can transform into any other Pokemon using its signature move “mimic”. But there’s a catch.

You won’t see Ditto on the world map, the overview screen where players see which Pokémon are around them. That’s because it’s hiding in plain sight, disguised as other Pokémon. In other words, that Ratatta or Pidgey you wouldn’t normally bother with? If you catch it, it might be a Ditto.

Ditto was caught?!
Ditto was caught?! Photograph: Niantic Labs

If someone else nearby you has caught the Ditto in the area already, it will show up marked in its true form.

Once you’ve caught Ditto, it acts largely like you’d expect. You can take it to a Pokémon gym, where it will transform itself into a copy of the first Pokémon you fight, stealing its moves. Unless it’s another Ditto, in which case both blobs will sit there, uselessly blobbing at each other with a basic attack.

As if that isn’t a good enough reason to pop back to Pokémon Go, the game is also offering double XP and stardust for the next week, to “say thank you” to the community. It’s almost as though Niantic Labs knows it’s Thanksgiving in the US and wants to make the most of the fact that people might have more time to play the game.


School for teenage codebreakers to open in Bletchley Park

Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch as Bletchley Park codebreakers Joan Clarke and Alan Turing in the 2014 film The Imitation Game. Photograph: Allstar/Black Bear Pictures

Its first operatives famously cracked coded messages encrypted by the Nazis, hastening the end of the second world war.

Now Bletchley Park is planning a new school for the next generation of codebreakers in order to plug a huge skills gap in what is fast emerging as the biggest security threat to 21st-century Britain.

The College of National Security, a first for the UK, is scheduled to open in 2018 in a specially adapted premises on the Bletchley Park site.

The sixth-form boarding school will be free to the 500-odd applicants, with a mix of venture capital, corporate sponsorship and very possibly state funding underwriting the multimillion-pound costs.

The school will teach cyber skills to some of the UK’s most gifted 16- to 19-year-olds. It will select on talent alone, looking in particular for exceptional problem solvers and logic fiends, regardless of wealth or family background, according to Alastair MacWillson, a driving force behind the initiative.

“The cyber threat is the real threat facing the UK, and the problem it’s causing the UK government and companies is growing exponentially,” said MacWillson, chair of Qufaro, a not-for-profit organisation created by a consortium of cybersecurity experts for the purposes of education.

Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, which is to be the site of the UK’s first cybersecurity sixth-form college
Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, which is to be the site of the UK’s first cybersecurity sixth-form college. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

“There is a shortfall in terms of the professional resources to combat this right now and it will get so much worse unless there is a programme to get to grips with it,” MacWillson said, adding that a shortage of about 700,000 cybersecurity experts in Europe has meant that companies are struggling to get the right people.

The college will offer a curriculum that balances cybersecurity tuition – approximately 40% – with related subjects including maths, physics, and computer science over a three-year study period.

Beyond the boarding school option, there will be a selection of virtual short courses. Staffing and a detailed curriculum are still being thrashed out. Qufaro is discussing with the Department for Education whether state funding will apply. If it does not, the backup plan is to rely wholly on corporate sponsorship and money earned from other Qufaro initiatives.

Bletchley Park buildings that are being renovated
Bletchley Park buildings that are being renovated. Photograph: Qufaro

The college will be boarding partly to ensure attendance by those who do not live in the south-east, but also, according to MacWillson, so individuals attending the college see themselves as a collective “inspired by their surroundings, and linked by a common goal”. One in 10 places will be offered to day students.

“It will be open to anybody providing that they can demonstrate the key talent – people who have natural ability to solve logic problems,” MacWillson said.

Cybercrime is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, spear-phishing campaigns targeting corporate and private data via seemingly innocuous emails have increased by 55% over the past year. The report also found that 75% of all legitimate websites have serious security flaws.