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This question originally appeared on Quora.

Why do employers rarely offer explanations to rejected candidates?

Answer below by Quora user Gayle Laakmann McDowell.

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Turns out, Google’s promise to unveil a wearable to “blow your socks off” was just that: Wearable clothes.

On Friday, the second day of Google I/O, Google’s futuristic research lab announced a micro-sensor that reads hand movements and can be woven into textiles, turning any garment or piece of furniture into a connected device. In short, it makes a smart socks, smart pants, smart everything.

Ivan Poupyrev, the technical project lead of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects group (ATAP), introduced the new technologies. “Today, we have our first gesture radar that is small enough to fit into any fabric,” he said. “A radar in your hand.”

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Mysterious vans owned by Apple have been popping up in cities across the US, and now we may finally know why. 9to5Mac reports that Apple is using the vans to collect mapping data for a much-needed overhaul to Apple Maps. The project is apparently meant to give Apple three things: high-quality mapping data, photos of storefronts, and 3D imagery for its own take on Street View. There appears to be no connection between this project and Apple's supposed self-driving car initiative.

Apple wants to start using its own mapping data

Recording its own mapping data may be the biggest element of this project for Apple. Right now, Apple Maps is based on mapping data from a collection of outside sources, the combination of which, according to 9to5Mac, leads to the service's infamous mistakes. If Apple can use these vans to record thorough and up-to-date mapping data, it could go a long way toward getting its service closer to the quality of rivals like Google Maps. Of course, Apple's rivals have years of experience on it, so it's not clear how robust this data might be when it finally gets put to use. The report states that Apple wants to shift over to it beginning in 2017, but it already looks like that date could be pushed back.

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Posted by on in Wired

If you want to understand a key piece of Google’s vision for the future of the fashion, furniture, and automotive industries, look no further than Lady Gaga. Specifically, at a dress she wore to a 2013 iTunes Festival in London. Her ensemble, made by design firm Studio XO, included a 3D-printed mechanism that blew bubbles as she walked. There was so much machinery inside the dress that she needed two assistants to help her stay upright.

When Ivan Poupyrev sees Gaga’s insane dress, he has an odd reaction. He thinks man, it would be great if tech like this could be built into more stuff. Poupyrev is a technical program lead inside Google’s ATAP division, the top-secret lab run by former DARPA director Regina Dugan that is responsible for some of Google’s most insane and ambitious ideas. One of the most ambitious ideas to date: smart pants.

Ivan Poupyrev, ATAP Technical Project Lead.Ivan Poupyrev, ATAP Technical Project Lead. Peter McCollough for WIREDOK, technically Poupyrev’s idea is called Project Jacquard. (The name comes from a classic style of intricate machine weaving.) It aims to bring conductive yarns to every garment and fabric on earth, and then to integrate touch sensors, haptic feedback, and more right into your jeans, car seats, curtains, everything. “If you can weave the sensor into the textile, as a material,” Poupyrev says, “you’re moving away from the electronics. You’re making the basic materials of the world around us interactive.” Conductive fabric is nothing new, but conductive fabric at scale is. And the Jacquard team created a way to produce this conductive yarn with the same looms and machinery the textiles industry already uses. They also figured out how to integrate tiny electronics into textiles, which Poupyrev hopes will soon live inside every item of clothing you buy. Google is working on an ecosystem of apps and services that will let you interact with your phone and other gadgets just by grabbing, tapping, swiping, and touching your clothes. Frankly, Poupyrev says, it’s ridiculous that our clothes don’t already talk to our tech. “Any time you put your phone into your pocket,” he says, “you have a smart jacket… the only problem is they don’t talk to each other. There’s no connection between them. So this work, we can actually kind of close the circuit.” He starts imagining what that means out loud: What if your phone knew you were getting dressed up, and called an Uber as soon as you finished knotting your bowtie? What if it could automatically track your exercise as soon as you put on your running shoes? What if you could talk to your phone with a single, discreet swipe on your arm? What if it could talk back? Learning to Weave When he joined ATAP in January of 2014, Poupyrev knew little about the fashion industry. His real fascination is with the ways we interact with the world around us. Before joining Google, he was the principal research scientist in the Imagineering division at Disney. One of his projects turned materials like water and flowers into touch surfaces; another, called Revel, added haptic feedback to things like chairs and umbrellas. He even built a system called Aireal, which literally made objects out of thin air. Google Fabrics Peter McCollough for WIREDNearly everything he’d worked on was a prototype: half academic exercise, half futuristic concept. Even at Sony, where he worked in a research lab, he struggled to turn turn ideas into products. ATAP doesn’t work that way, though. When you start a project, you finish it. You’re expected to turn it into a money-maker or move on to something else.
Any time you put your phone into your pocket, you have a smart jacket… the only problem is they don't talk to each other. Ivan Poupyrev
Fortunately, Poupyrev had long been thinking about textiles—sort of. The structure of touchscreens, with their big grids of electrodes, detecting currents formed and broken as our fingers move, have always reminded him of textiles. It occurred to him that, unlike placing a lot of electrodes on glass surfaces, making textiles—fabric, cloth, yarns, whatever—is kind of easy. If he could replace just a few of those yarns with something conductive, he could make a touch sensor that could go absolutely anywhere. “It’s a complete shift from making electronics and attaching them to things,” he says, “to actually creating materials which are interactive by their definition. And I thought that was really powerful.” As he explains the origins of Jacquard, inside the Levis’ Eureka Innovation Lab in San Francisco, it’s clear the fashion industry has rubbed off. He’s wearing a white dress shirt underneath a dark suit jacket that has a huge pair of white scissors embroidered on the front, along with the word CUT. (His boss, Dugan, finds this jacket hilarious.) He’s wearing an Omega Speedmaster, the model of watch that Neil Armstrong wore to the moon. His hair is in a messy sweep off to the right of his face, bouncing around his forehead as he moves. Which is constantly. He can hardly stay seated for more than a few minutes; his hands fly around while he talks about tailoring and weaving. Google Fabrics Peter McCollough for WIRED“As technologists, we don’t really notice—we buy ready-made clothes, and we figure it was always like this,” he says. “You can see the incredible amount of craft being used to create all these pieces,” he says, over a video of a tailor and his apprentice carefully measuring and cutting the sleeves of a jacket he made with Saville Row. He can hardly contain his amazement at the human craft that goes into making it. He’s got that same jacket on a table in front of him, and he can’t stop touching it as he talks, swiping up and down on its left forearm. There’s an invisible touch sensor inside, connected to tiny electronics hidden just underneath the right lapel. It’s programmed to initiate a phone call. Old Dogs, New Tricks The remarkable thing about Project Jacquard isn’t its conductive fabrics. That’s been done. It’s not even difficult, really. What Poupyrev and his team have really been working on is how to bring this to a global manufacturing process that hasn’t changed much in the last two centuries. Jacquard will only work if it can integrate into the looms, the materials, and the processes used by the thousands of retailers, designers, and factories around the world. “We wanted to do something that could scale to all of them,” Poupyrev says. Google Fabrics Peter McCollough for WIREDThat meant hitting production floors. “Basically I was told, you have two places to go: Italy or Japan,” he says. “Nothing else.” He picked Japan, where he’d lived for 15 years previously. He spent time learning how yarns are made, trying to figure out how to work conductive materials into the brutal manufacturing and testing processes. “They burn them on the open fire to get rid of excessive yarn filaments sticking out,” he says, shaking his head at the brutality of it. “I wasn’t aware that these things were happening, and that was just one of them. The stretching, the pulling, the putting in the water, on the hot press, the pressing. On some textiles they have the metal claws pulling them apart! It’s kind of destructive for electronics.” Working with one of Japan’s many boutique textile manufacturers, Poupyrev and the Jacquard team designed yarns based on a metallic alloy whose precise makeup he won’t share. Just about anything can be woven around that conductive core, using a super-strong braiding process. The same process can make everything from denim to silk to polyester to wool, all equally conductive. The yarn comes in thousands of colors, and looks and feels exactly the same as any other.
Poupyrev is a self-effacing technologist, poking fun at T-shirt-wearing Silicon Valley engineers, but he still thinks like a Googler
Next came the hard part: learning how to integrate these textiles into existing garments and processes. They discovered that by tightly weaving the conductive thread into other fabrics, they were having a hard time connecting the electronics necessary to power and capture data from the yarn. So after a few revisions, they created a two-layer system that allows you to embed electronics in the middle, like the meat in a sandwich. That makes it easy to connect electronics to the connective threads themselves, without getting in the way of what the designers want to do. “We’re going to take over the fashion industry, but from the back,” Poupyrev says. Literally and figuratively. Levi's protoype factory Peter McCollough for WIREDGoogle’s not interested in getting into the garment business, Poupyrev says over and over. “You need to provide your solution to hundreds of brands at some point,” he says. “I don’t want to become a textile mogul. I don’t want to own factories everywhere. There are enough factories already. We just want to use those capacities right there.” Poupyrev doesn’t want Google to make clothes, or the tiny electronics inside, but he does want to make the software that controls them. He’s planning to offer apps and APIs so that developers and customers can pick their clothes’ functionality the same way they pick cut and color. It’s an entire rethinking of “wearables.” Touchy Feely Everything For the record, it’s impossible to make a textile-based touch sensor as precise as your phone. “When they’re making a capacitive touch panel in the factory,” Poupyrev says, “they’re usually using magnetrons. Something like that, crazy stuff.” The goal, then, was to make Jacquard’s yarn good enough to recognize certain gestures. That way, he says, “we can infer intention from the signal” and still reliably do what you want.
People don't want to glow like a Christmas tree
“In the future—or maybe not in the future—wearables should not be thought of as another consumer device,” Poupyrev says. “We already have clothes, we already have garments.” Why do you need a wristband to measure your steps or heartbeat, when your shoes or shirt could do it more accurately? Why do you need a watch to deliver haptic feedback, when a slight buzz on your shirt cuff would be even more discreet? “Everything other wearables do,” Poupyrev says, “we’ll do it. It’s not difficult. But it’s going to be much more than that.” Paul Dillinger, VP of Innovation at Levi's.Paul Dillinger, VP of Innovation at Levi’s. Peter McCollough for WIREDAt least on a prototype level, it works. Poupyrev showed me more than a dozen different kinds of fabric—silk, polyester, denim. In each, he pointed out the touch-sensitive areas. Some were large and visible, some were small and perfectly integrated into the garment. Poupyrev is a self-effacing technologist, poking fun at T-shirt-wearing Silicon Valley engineers, but he still thinks like a Googler. He’s a conqueror, a man who looks at an extremely mature 200-year-old industry and sees huge neon signs that say “RIPE FOR DISRUPTION.” But the fashion industry is huge, massively powerful economically, and extremely diffuse—there is no equivalent to Apple or Google, no single company that can drag the industry into new eras by sheer force of economic and social will. The fate of Project Jacquard will rest on Google’s ability to convince not one partner, but many. ATAP’s first partner in the project is Levi’s, maker of all-American jeans and trucker jackets. Poupyrev worked closely with Levi’s VP of Innovation Paul Dillinger, a designer by trade who says even now he’s nervous about getting this right. But he sees in Google a willing partner, not a would-be overlord; he mentioned a couple of times how impressed he was that Google was willing to shape its processes to the particular needs of Levi’s denim. Poupyrev, in turn, has learned to deflect all questions of fashion and design over to Dillinger. Poupyrev laughs at his own desires to put full-size LCDs on his sleeves, before wistfully talking about working with someone who’s interested in helping him do exactly that. But he catches himself. “If you’re serious about it, you know people don’t want to glow like a Christmas tree,” he says. “This is not a technology problem. Adding a full wearable LCD thing on your wrist, that’s easy. It’s really a design problem. Design, and cultural understanding.” Ivan Poupyrev, ATAP Technical Project Lead.Ivan Poupyrev, ATAP Technical Project Lead. Peter McCollough for WIREDEven the first partnership was a tenuous one. After the Levi’s team first met with the Jacquard crew in Mountain View, they spent two hours sitting in traffic on the way back to San Francisco coming up with all the reasons it wouldn’t work. The supply chain is too complicated, too diffuse; there are too many tests and processes for the materials; it might just suck for consumers. “On spec,” Dillinger says, “I’m hugely skeptical of wearables.” Even now, he says, Levi’s is still trying to figure out the right application for the tech. Dillinger loves the potential, though. “We realized that even though we live in the physical world, we’re becoming ever more reliant on the digital world. And that reliance is creating this situation of like, phone to face.” As he says this, he lifts his hand up, covering his bearded face and gray beanie. He likens it to the steering wheel in the car, how great it was when manufacturers moved things like music playback and volume control off the dashboard and right under your fingers. Safer, easier, just better. Jeans are just the beginning of Project Jacquard. The plan—to turn everything from your clothes to your chairs into interactive devices—is as much a moonshot as self-driving cars and diabetes-managing contact lenses. But if Google can integrate itself as a partner in the fashion industry, not a competitor or tech company that wants to slap touchscreens on a coat, Jacquard could be the core of a new kind of connected clothing. One that doesn’t have weird pockets for sensors, that looks exactly like a great pair of jeans always has. You’d wear those, right? Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
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APPLE HAS BEATEN Windows PC makers to be crowned best for technical support for the ninth year running.

That's according to the latest figures from Consumer Reports, which ranks Apple top among PC manufacturers for post-purchase technical support.

The report is put together from survey results gathered from 3,200 American PC buyers, and shows that Apple's online and phone technical support solved customers' problems 80 percent of the time.

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MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED plans to clean up the Windows Store by clamping down on apps that are too expensive or inappropriately designed. 

Microsoft is clearly looking to clean up its app store ahead of Windows 10's release, and is looking to get rid of applications that don't look nice, are largely useless and that don't offer good value for money, in a move that could force developers to lower the cost of Windows apps.

Bernardo Zamora, product manager for Microsoft's Windows Apps and Store team, said: "The price of an app must reflect its value. Customers need to know that, when they purchase apps from Windows Store, they are paying a fair price.

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Is this what you think of when you hear "scientist"? If so, you may be an exception.

A new international study published by researchers at Northwestern University and University of California-Berkeley found that even in nations with high gender equity, gender-based stereotypes continue to dominate science and technology fields, where scientists are still expected to be male.

For the last half-century, the percentage of women with careers in science has increased unevenly across countries. This allowed the researchers to perform a country-by-country examination of the relationship between gender stereotypes and the presence of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The question the researchers asked was simple: if subjects were to think of a scientist, are they more likely to put a man or a woman inside the lab coat?

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This Tiny Self-Folding Robot Will Destroy Itself When Its Job Is Done

Not content with creating a robot cheetah that can run and jump over obstacles at astonishing speeds, researchers at MIT have also developed this incredibly tiny origami robot that can not only fold itself, it can also walk, swim, and then destroy itself when it’s no longer needed.

The tiny robot, made from a magnet and pieces of PVC sandwiched between layers of polystyrene or paper, can go through its entire circle of life without the need for cable tethers or wires of any kind.

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Loot Drop promo items

This week’s Loot Drop delves into the strange and, generally, unobtainable: promotional media items. I’ve covered gaming for several publications over the years, and in that time I’ve gotten some pretty weird swag promoting upcoming games. You can’t find them in stores (at least, not easily), because publishers simply handed them out to publications at events, or sent them before game releases, or just gave them away.

The biggest and strangest item is the Precursor Orb from Jak and Daxter, because I honestly don’t remember where I got it. I didn’t receive it directly from Naughty Dog; I think a coworker gave it to me years ago. The base says “Jak and Daxter 10th Anniversary 2001-2011,” but I could swear I got it in 2009 or 2010. It’s a huge resin orb on a base, and it looks like something from the game.

The Bulletstorm nutcracker is one of the outright weirdest items I’ve received, and it only makes sense if you remember that Bulletstorm focused on trick shots for points — and that you could shoot enemies in the junk. It’s a nutcracker. So, there’s a connection.

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Broadcasting live video from your smartphone has quickly become all the rage. The most popular enablers of this craze are Meerkat and Periscope, both of which aim to create a global community of streamers and voyeurs that find each other's feeds through open social networks. New player Skeegle, however, wants to do things a little differently, by making mobile live-streaming a more private affair. The premise is simple: you choose exactly who you want to broadcast to. Once you've downloaded the app, logged in with a Facebook account and associated your phone number with it (WhatsApp-style), you can start building groups from your phone's contact list (think "friends," "family," etcetera). When you stumble upon something worth streaming, you simply select the groups you'd like to be notified of your activity, start broadcasting, and that's it.

Those who you've decided to share that moment with will be alerted you're on air (by SMS or Skeegle notification), and can either watch the stream through the app, or in a browser window if they're not signed up. All broadcasts are also archived in the cloud so you and select chums can revisit them at a later date. Anyone that's able to receive an SMS can watch a stream, but for now, broadcasting is reserved only for those with a UK mobile number.

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The Europas Conference & Awards for European Tech Startups, is on on June 16 in London, and TechCrunch is the exclusive Media Partner. Think ‘a summertime Crunchies, with a daytime unconference attached, by a sunny River Thames’. The agenda for the event has just been released. You can find it here and the roster of international speakers is here.

Attendees will automatically receive deep discounts on Disrupt Europe tickets among other perks. Tickets to the daytime conference are limited, but you can grab the last ones here, or here for the evening awards only.

The Europas celebrate some of the most forward-thinking and innovative European tech companies across some 20-plus categories. Over the last few weeks startups have been able to either apply for an award or be nominated by a third party. A judging panel then selected a shortlist of nominees, which was submitted to public voting. Finally those results were combined. Previous Europas winners have included Supercell, Layar, Podio, BlaBlaCar, SoundCloud, Seedcamp, Socialbakers, Mind Candy and King.com. The voting has now taken place, the feedback collated, the shortlist is out, and the winners will be announced at the end of the conference in a fun awards ceremony. Prior to the finale, The Europas “unconference” of invited guests, features relaxed networking and small group discussion sessions.

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The Europas Conference & Awards for European Tech Startups is on on June 16 in London, and TechCrunch is the exclusive Media Partner. Think ‘a summertime Crunchies, with a daytime unconference attached, by a sunny River Thames’. The agenda for the event has just been released. You can find it here and the roster of international speakers is here.

Attendees will automatically receive deep discounts on Disrupt Europe tickets among other perks. Tickets to the daytime conference are limited, but you can grab the last ones here, or here for the evening awards only.

The Europas celebrate some of the most forward-thinking and innovative European tech companies across some 20-plus categories. Over the last few weeks startups have been able to either apply for an award or be nominated by a third party. A judging panel then selected a shortlist of nominees, which was submitted to public voting. Finally those results were combined. Previous Europas winners have included Supercell, Layar, Podio, BlaBlaCar, SoundCloud, Seedcamp, Socialbakers, Mind Candy and King.com. The voting has now taken place, the feedback collated, the shortlist is out, and the winners will be announced at the end of the conference in a fun awards ceremony. Prior to the finale, The Europas “unconference” of invited guests, features relaxed networking and small group discussion sessions.

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Swatch said this week it’s making final preparations to enter the smartwatch market, with CEO Nick Hayek revealing the device will launch in August.

Speaking to shareholders at the company’s annual gathering, Hayek said the watch would be released first in Switzerland and “one big country.”

Yes, that does all sound rather mysterious, doesn’t it – we’re guessing that means either the U.S. or China, but who knows? Australia was pretty big the last time we looked.

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For years, the West -- particularly the US -- has been complaining about China's "lack of respect" for patents. And for years, Techdirt has been pointing out that China is actually a big fan of patents: its companies have been building up their own patent hoards at a rapid pace, and starting to deploy them against Western competitors. A report on Bloomberg Business explores how the Chinese government is also seeking to neutralize the threat of patents being used against its own manufacturers through the introduction of new antitrust rules: The clampdown on patents has the potential to alter the balance of power in the global mobile-phone industry, which generated $412 billion last year, according to IDC. These new rules may weaken the ability of Apple, Microsoft Corp. and Qualcomm -- typically among the top 15 U.S. patent recipients each year -- to compete in China, the world's largest mobile-phone market, and other countries that follow. There are two main elements to China's new policy, both of which will make it harder for Western companies to use key patents against Chinese competitors: One involves patent values for technology included in industry standards, such as Wi-Fi. The other may require unique features -- like Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature, or Microsoft software that synchronizes calendars -- to be licensed by others if considered "dominant" or “essential.” As the Bloomberg Business article rightly points out: The Chinese ... are just formalizing what 100 years of legal precedent has done in the U.S. and Europe, and a lot will depend on how the governments implement the rules, antitrust lawyers said. In other words, China will soon be "respecting" patents just as much as its Western counterparts -- and doubtless deploying them just as aggressively for competitive advantage.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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More Windows devices with Intel’s Atom chips code-named Cherry Trail were announced this week, giving the Microsoft OS an early lead over Android, which is not yet in any tablet based on the new chips.

Acer said Friday it would launch a new Switch tablet-laptop hybrid with a 10-inch detachable screen later this year. Earlier this week, Lenovo announced the new ThinkPad 10 with Cherry Trail chips.

Intel officially announced Cherry Trail earlier this year, and the chips are designed to work with Windows and Android tablets. Microsoft’s Surface 3, which started shipping earlier this month, is the only tablet available with Cherry Trail. More Cherry Trail tablets are expected to be shown by little-known tablet makers at the Computex trade show next week.

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As pointed out on a news website (which I can't remember where for the moment), the whole thing appears staged, and they 'police' are probably acting (or actors).

It is not illegal in Russia to sell the western goods, it's just illegal to import them, under the current self-imposed Russian sanctions. There is no reason why the shop can't advertise the food, and there is no law that the police can use to stop the food from being sold.

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Posted by on in CNET

spidersilk1.jpgSpider web.Fir0002, CC

For something that seems so delicate, spider silk is an extraordinary substance. At a sixth of the density of steel, the tensile strength of spider silk is comparable to that of high-grade steel alloy, and its ability to absorb energy without fracturing is greater than that of Kevlar.

This combination of low density and light weight, toughness and tensile strength makes it a material of much interest. But it's only really a viable material if spiders can be removed from the equation.

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Chameleon2Chameleons, such as F. pardalis, have long projectile tongues, independently movable eyes and two toes that point forward and two that point backward, according to the researchers of a new study.

Image: Michel Milinkovitch

The color-changing panther chameleon has long fascinated scientists, but there's more to the reptile than meets the eye: What was once considered to be one species is actually 11 distinct species of chameleon, a new study finds.

The colorful finding is the result of a long road trip around the island of Madagascar, in which researchers searched for panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) to include in the study.

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Earlier this week, iPhone users discovered that receiving a small string of text characters over Apple's iMessage service could crash their phone's Messages app, effectively blocking them from reading incoming texts. Now, in a support document published on Apple's site, the company has detailed an official workaround for the problem. The company says iPhone owners who've been targeted with the string will need to complete the following steps, using Siri to unlock their Messages app:

Ask Siri to "read unread messages." Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you'll be able to open Messages again In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.

Apple's official workaround is similar to fixes already suggested by iPhone owners, who have used Siri to reply to the original sender, used the Messages app on a Mac to add another message to the conversation. Apple said it was aware of the issue on Wednesday and was working on a fix, but has yet to release an update to Messages that'll stop it locking up when it receives the code word.

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