Apple Files Patent for iPhone Theft Prevention Technology

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone 3GS, Patents, security

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A recently published patent application filed this week by Apple suggests the company is looking to use the device’s accelerometer to detect possible theft of the hardware. Per AppleInsider, in a application entitled “Acceleration-Based Theft Detection System for Portable Electronic Devices,” Apple describes a system that would analyze movement via a device’s accelerometer to determine whether a theft is present. If the system were to interpret fast movement as a theft, it would initiate an alarm.

“The drive toward miniaturization of electronics has resulted in computer-based systems that are becoming much more portable,” the application reads. “Current portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, hand-held devices such as cellular telephones and personal media devices, such as the iPod from Apple Computer, Inc., and even devices such as compact disc players, are sufficiently compact and lightweight as to make them easily movable. Unfortunately, such ease of transport also implies ease of theft. While the rightful owner of a portable electronic device may conveniently transport it almost anywhere, so can a thief. ”

The patent application goes on to state that traditional theft-prevention methods like mechanical locks are bulky and tether the device, eliminating portability and convenience. In the proposed system, the accelerometer would be used to determine whether the device is currently in a likely theft condition.

“Typically, theft or other large-scale movement of the device results in an acceleration signal having characteristics different from other events such as shock, impact, nearby machinery, etc,” the application reads. “The detected acceleration as a function of time is thus analyzed to determine whether it corresponds to such large-scale movement of the device, rather than an innocuous event such as the impact of a book dropped nearby. If so, an alarm is produced in order to alert others to the theft.”

The described system would have methods to prevent false alarms through “signal conditioning,” which could filter out events such as shock or impact associated with an iPhone being dropped. The system would also allow the phone owner to display a “visual warning” for potential would-be thieves. Such a warning would warn potential thieves that the device “has an active theft detection system protecting it.”

The patent was filed by Apple on May 20th, 2009 and is credited to Paul J. Wehrenberg of Palo Alto, Calif.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009-005 for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 Operating Systems

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Apple released Security Update 2009-005, its consolidated security update containing the four previous security fixes for the Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) and Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) operating systems.

Full details as to fixes and changes within the update can be found here.

The updates are also available as regular downloads for the following operating systems:
- Tiger PPC
- Tiger Intel
- Leopard
- Tiger Server PPC
- Tiger Server Universal
- Leopard Server

As usual, the update can also be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software update feature.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:23
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its first maintenance update to its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system. Mac OS X 10.6.1, a 71.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Compatibility with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems.
- An issue that might cause DVD playback to stop unexpectedly.
- Some printer compatibility drivers not appearing properly in the add printer browser.
- An issue that might make it difficult to remove an item from the Dock.
- Instances where automatic account setup in Mail might not work.
- An issue where pressing cmd-opt-t in Mail brings up the special characters menu instead of moving a message. – Motion 4 becoming unresponsive.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6 to install and run and can also be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.