Security firm finds hole in iOS 5.1 that could lead to URL spoofing

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 06:45
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, security

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Well, this is the reason they write updates.

Per AppleInsider, a newly-discovered mobile Safari web browser vulnerability allows a malicious website to display a URL that is different than the website’s actual address, and can trick users into handing over sensitive personal information.

The issue, first discovered by security firm Major Security, is an error in how Apple’s mobile Safari app in iOS 5.1 handles URLs when using javascript’s window.open() method that can be exploited by malicious sites to display custom URLs.

“This can be exploited to potentially trick users into supplying sensitive information to a malicious web site,” Major Security explains, “because information displayed in the address bar can be constructed in a certain way, which may lead users to believe that they’re visiting another web site than the displayed web site.”

The exploit was tested on an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1, and it seems that any iDevice running Apple’s latest mobile OS is affected by the vulnerability. Users can test the vulnerability themselves by visiting this web site from a mobile device. After a user clicks the “demo” button on the test page, Safari will open a new window which shows “http://www.apple.com” in the address bar, but that URL is in fact being displayed through an iframe being hosted by Major Security’s servers.

By spoofing a URL and adding some convincing images to a malicious site, users can easily be tricked into thinking they are visiting a legitimate website such as Apple’s online store.

The vulnerability was originally found in iOS 5.0 and reproduced on iOS 5.1 earlier in March. Apple was made aware of the issue on March 1 and posted an advisory regarding the matter on March 20. A patch has yet to be pushed out, though the iPhone maker is expected to do so in the near future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recently-released Apple patent discusses touch-based screen featuring haptic feedback

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 06:13
Category: News, Patents

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When in doubt, make your touchscreens better.

Per FreePatentsOnline.com, in an effort to make touchscreens less static, Apple has proposed that future iPhones and iPads could feature actuators that would provide haptic feedback to users, and also include sensors that would measure the force at which a user touches the screen.

The concept was unveiled this week in a patent application entitled “Touch-Based User Interface with Haptic Feedback.” The use of actuators underneath a touchscreen could allow users to actually feel elements on the screen, such as buttons or controls.

The timing of the application being made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is interesting because one rumor from earlier this month incorrectly suggested Apple would introduce new haptic feedback technology in its third-generation iPad. That rumor was based on technology from the company Senseg, which creates an electric field on the surface of a touchscreen, allowing users to feel complex, context-sensitive textures, such as making a surface feel smooth or rough to the touch.

The concept described in Apple’s new patent application is quite different, relying on actuators to physically provide haptic feedback on a touchscreen, rather than giving sensations through an electric field. But it demonstrates Apple’s continued pursuit of providing users with some sort of physical feedback when using a touchscreen device.

“The user can typically only feel the rigid surface of the touch screen, making it difficult to find icons, hyperlinks, textboxes, or other user-selectable elements that are being displayed,” Apple’s filing reads. “A touch-based user interface may help a user navigate content displayed on the display screen by incorporating haptic feedback.”

Rather than simply vibrating the device when a button is tapped, as some touchscreen devices do, Apple’s solution could utilize piezoelectric actuators for “localized haptic feedback.” This would allow the user to feel a virtual button on their fingertips.

Specifically named as products that could benefit from haptic feedback in the application are the iPhone and iPad, as well as the Magic Mouse and Apple’s notebook trackpads.

The application describes a touchscreen with a “haptic feedback layer” that could include piezoelectric actuators aligned in a grid pattern. These actuators could be located below an external protective layer that the user would touch to interact with the device, or the haptic layer itself could be the outermost layer.

The actuators could be used to replace the mechanical “click” of a mouse, or would allow users to “feel” selectable buttons or icons displayed on a touchscreen device.

Another element described in the application is the use of “force sensors” in a touchscreen device. With these, an iPhone or iPad could determine how much force a user is applying to the touch-based user interface, and respond to just how hard the user is tapping the screen.

To allow this, the outer screen of the device would “flex minimally,” but enough that the force sensors would be able to detect any pushing or squeezing of the device by the user.

The application, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in September of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Paul G. Puskarich and Michael Pilliod.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Roxio Toast Titanium 11.0.5 update released

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 05:50
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Roxio released version 11.0.4 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available as a 380 megabyte download here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Added video export profiles for iPad (third generation), AppleTV (third generation) and PS Vita

- Toast will now correctly growl with support for Growl 1.3.x from Mac App Store.

- Resolved issue where malformed MP4 file may cause Toast to crash.

- Resolved issue where malformed video files may cause Video Player to crash.

- Setting audio crossfades in spanned disc projects should no longer cause a crash.

- Users who enjoy scrolling up and down will once again enjoy using the AVCHD Media Browser.

- Cosmetic issue where “Pause” and “Resume” buttons did not update has been fixed.

- Resolved graphics alignment issue when authenticating to Facebook.

- Attempting to authenticate to Vimeo with an unverified account will remind you to check verify your email address.

- Open QuickTime Player option when converting audio now opens QuickTime instead of iTunes.

- Length of video is now correctly displayed in the main window when working with DVD-Video sources.

- Video_TS Folder and Compilation projects will now correctly include DVD-ROM content.

- Photos rotated using iPhoto should now be correctly rotated in Toast Media Browser
Resolves error that may occur when writing Lead-Out track on DVD+R DL media under Lion.

- Image File based projects now correctly allow you to replace the first image you added to the project with a new image.

- Audio durations will in spanned Audio CD projects will now be correctly updated in the main window.

- Resolved cosmetic issue where the volume name of an image file may not display correctly.

- Skipping forward and seeking through ASF video files should now work correctly in Video Player.

- Resolved issues with window focus when using Quick Look preview on Web Video content.

Toast Titanium 11 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

If you’ve tried the new update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Colorado woman’s iPhone 4 allegedly combusts while charging, exact causes unknown

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 07:21
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Pictures

On the down side, an Apple iPhone 4 in Colorado apparently caught fire.

Still…SOMETHING had to catch fire.

Per Mashable, a Colorado woman alleges that her iPhone 4 caught fire while charging overnight and wants Apple to warn customers of the device’s possible combustion issues.

The woman, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said she released her story in order to spread public awareness over the reported issue, claiming that Apple has been reticent to acknowledge the alleged incident.

The unnamed source claims that she awoke in the early morning during a recent trip to the east coast to find her year-old white iPhone 4 making “sizzling” and “popping” noises. After an unspecified amount of time there was “not quite an explosion, but an immense crackling,” and smoke plumed from the device creating “an awful, putrid smell, almost like you were ingesting plastic of some kind.”

Inspection of the provided pictures yields no clues as to which components were heated to the point of creating smoke, though it a bulging battery is clearly seen to have expanded enough to force apart the iPhone’s casing.

According to the report, the iPhone was connected via an Apple-branded charger to a power outlet that was later inspected and found to be working normally.

The woman goes on to say that when she asked Apple to be upgraded to a replacement iPhone 4S, the company furnished her with another iPhone 4.

“I would have liked to have seen them say they understand this might not be something that affects everyone,” the Colorado woman said. “But, because it happened here, [they should] put up a precautionary statement to make people aware that if their battery becomes too hot to be wary.”

The alleged incident is reportedly the first of its kind in the U.S., though there has been at least one similar instance in Australia involving the iPhone 4.

This is not the first time Apple has seen problems with overheating batteries as it extended a replacement program for its first-generation iPod nano in 2011 due to a defect that caused the device’s battery to overheat. The Cupertino, Calif., company first acknowledged the problem in a 2008 press release that stemmed from an investigation by the Japanese government.

There have been no reports of severe overheating issues with the iPhone 4S or any other products in Apple’s current lineup.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Photoshop 6 public beta, touts upcoming Creative Suite 6 features

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 07:41
Category: News, Software

Spiffy Photoshop-based things, they’re on the horizon.

Late Wednesday, Adobe released a public beta of its first major update to Photoshop CS6, the company posting a preview now available for download at the Adobe Labs website. The Mac OS X version of the software is a free 984MB download.

According to the company, highlights of the upcoming version of the photo editing application include a new content-aware patch, “blazingly fast performance,” a dark background user interface and “new and re-engineered design tools.” The software will be powered by a new Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine, which promises “near-instant results” from editing tools.

“Photoshop CS6 will be a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance,” Winston Hendrickson, Adobe’s vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, said in a statement.

Users should note that the beta includes features from Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended, such as 3D editing features and “quantitative imaging analysis capabilities,” that will not be included in the basic version of Photoshop CS6.

After downloading the preview, users are directed to select “Try. I want to try Adobe Photoshop CS6 for a limited time.” Users will then have seven days to activate the beta with an Adobe ID login.

Adobe has yet to announce an official release date for the software, though the press release announcing the public beta says the final release is “expected” in the first half of this year. Some reports have pointed to a May launch for Creative Suite 6.

The Adobe Photoshop 6 preview requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the preview and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Barclays report hints at components for next-gen iPhone, highlights 4G LTE elements

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 06:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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There’s always a next generation of a product.

And there’s always speculation as to what components will be used in it.

The next-generation iPhone is no different.

Per AppleInsider, investment firm Barclays reported Wednesday in a research note that among the parts Apple is expected to utilize are Qualcomm’s “MDM9615″ LTE chip, which supports both voice and data connections on high-speed 4G networks.

That chip would be a change from the new iPad, which features Qualcomm’s “MDM9600″ modem. But that hardware only offers data connections over 4G LTE, not voice.

Like the iPhone 4S, the next iPhone is expected to be a “world” device compatible with a variety of 4G LTE networks. That’s different from the new iPad, which comes in two different models compatible with Verizon and AT&T wireless networks in the U.S.

In addition to Qualcomm, companies that are said to be supplying potential components to Apple are chipmakers Skyworks Solutions, TriQuint Semiconductor, and Avago Technologies.

Barclays sees Skyworks Solutions emerging as a likely winner with Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which it expects will launch this September. For Apple, the addition of a 4G LTE radio is expected to cost between US$3 and US$10 extra versus the 3G radio in the iPhone 4S.

The timeframe presented by Barclays aligns with a report from last month which indicated that the next iPhone will arrive in September or October of this year. That would be about one year after the arrival of the iPhone 4S, which marked the change of Apple’s typical iPhone launches in June or July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 157 – The iPad 3 has landed

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 19:40
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast 2012 logoPowerPage Podcast episode 157 (“The iPad 3 has landed”) is now available for your listening pleasure:

In this episode Rob Parker and I discuss the arrival of the iPad 3 and our initial reactions to the Retina display, LTE vs. 4G, Verizon vs. AT&T, “Heatgate” and a healthy dose of our favorite apps.

Here are some of our favorite apps for the iPad 3:

Jason

  • Touchgrind BMX ($4.99, App Store) – Multi-touch BMX game with gorgeous 3D graphics, realistic physics and natural controls.
  • Barefoot World Atlas ($7.99, App Store) – Interactive 3D globe that allows kids to explore the earth and learn facts about different regions.
  • Daedalus Touch ($4.99, App Store) – Gesture-based text editor for the iPad with a beautifully minimalist UI and DropBox syncing.
  • …and the games I mentioned in my iPad games roundup (Sky Gamblers, Modern Combat 3, Real Racing 2 HD, Infinity Blade II and Flight Control Rocket)

Rob

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Music generously provided by The Tragically Hip.

CrossOver updated to 11.0.2

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:47
Category: News, Software

Sometimes it pays to take an extra day for bug testing, just to be sure.

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 11.0.2. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This is a bug-fix release which resolves an issue whereby 11.0.1 would fail to register correctly for many users. If you have experienced an issue where CrossOver registration fails despite the fact that you believe your support contract is still enabled, this version may address your problem.

CrossOver 11.0.2 retails for US$69.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Some users complaining about Wi-Fi signal strength on third-generation iPad units

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:54
Category: iPad, News

A firmware update or two may be in order for the iPad 3.

Per the Apple Support Communities forum, a number of users have reported that wireless reception with their new iPad is notably inferior than with Apple’s previous iPad models.

In a growing thread, dozens of users have posted about their troubles with Wi-Fi connectivity on the new iPad. Reports claim that areas that previously achieved strong Wi-Fi signals are now weak, or have no reception at all.

Some users have also compared the reception of their new iPad to their iPhone or MacBook Pro. While the other Apple devices might receive a strong signal in a particular location, they say the new iPad has weak or no connectivity.

“MacBook Pro as well as iPhone 4S show ‘Full Fan’ — new iPad (16GB WIFI) shows ‘one dot’ or just flat drops the wifi connection (and is often unable to search and find it),” user ‘aka_srp’ wrote in a post over the weekend.

Another user, ‘gdtobm,’ said they bought a new iPad from Best Buy on last Friday’s launch and experienced Wi-Fi connectivity issues. The iPad was returned later that day, and the new model they received did not have any problems.

Still another person who posted to Apple’s forums, ‘Andrew Mclaughlin2,’ compared the performance of the new iPad to a first-generation iPad and an iPhone 4S. The tests conducted at Speedtest.net reportedly found that the third-generation iPad has half the throughput of the other devices.

Some of those posting in Apple’s forums have attempted to resolve their issues with AppleCare representatives, while others have talked to personnel at the company’s retail stores. One user, ‘HealthClif,’ said they switched back to a previous-generation iPad 2 after experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues with multiple replacements of the new iPad.

Complaints of Wi-Fi-related issues also cropped up with the launch of the first iPad in 2010. Two years ago, some users said they experienced weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals, and difficulty connecting to a network.

Apple eventually resolved those issues with an iPad software update. The company acknowledged that a “very small number of iPad users” had experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity on the first-generation iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Additional third-generation iPad thermal testing continues with some reports indicating temperatures as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:48
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

There’s a plus side to the iPad 3: you’ll always be able to reheat your favorite foods with it.

Per AppleInsider, a new analysis has found the A5X chip in the new device runs as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the A5 chip in the iPad 2.

According to a series of tests conducted by Repair Labs, the A5X chip registered temperatures up to 36 degrees celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to A5 readings of 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F). The experiment involved opening up the tablets in order to directly measure the temperatures of the chips.

Technicians measured multiple components inside the new iPad in order to verify that the A5X was the part putting out the most heat. The report speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is “obviously metallic.”

An external test involved having the two iPads to play movies on Netflix. The third-generation iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Repair Labs said it was was unable to reproduce the 116 degree F temperatures that Consumer Reports noted earlier on Tuesday, though it did note that holding the new iPad 3 “could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use,” especially if held where the A5X is located.

Writing for Consumer Reports, Donna L. Tapellini said that the new iPad felt “very warm” when at its hottest, but not “especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.” The story was quickly picked up by other outlets, some of which dubiously claimed that Apple’s new tablet could cause burns.

Consumer Reports is no stranger to controversy with Apple’s devices. The consumer advocacy group retracted its recommendation of the iPhone 4 in 2010 because it was able to reproduce a signal-loss problem in the device. With the release of the iPhone 4S last year, the group announced that Apple had resolved the issue.”

Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing “Infinity Blade II,” the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests.

Display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate attributes the new iPad’s extra warmth to the fact that the device has approximately twice as many LEDs as its predecessor. “The LEDs give off 2.5 times as much heat as the iPad 2 and so will the battery and power electronics on the new iPad compared to the iPad 2,” he said.

An infrared test conducted earlier this week by a Dutch site found the new iPad to have reached 92.5 degrees F during a GLBenchmark test, almost 10 degrees hotter than the 83 degrees F measured on the iPad 2 during the same test.

For its part, Apple issued a statement on Tuesday that the new iPad operates “well within [its] thermal specifications” and urged customers with concerns to contact its support service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.