Rumor: PayPal excluded from Apple Pay service providers due to relationship with Samsung

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 11:27
Category: retail, Rumor, Uncategorized

paypallogo

It’s inevitable: competition and past legal strife creates some awkward scenarios.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and BankInnovation, PayPal was conspicuously absent from Apple’s list of secured partnerships when Apple Pay was announced in September. Now comes word that PayPal was initially part of Apple’s vision of Apple Pay, but that negotiations fell apart due to Pay Pal’s relationship with Samsung.

Apple and PayPal started talking early on in Apple’s development of Apple Pay, as Apple was setting up partnerships with the card issuing banks and card networks. Since PayPal’s a payments industry leader, it would have been shortsighted for Apple to not reach out to PayPal.

But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John Donahoe. PayPal’s now-former president David Marcus was purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that it would jeopardize PayPal’s relationship with Apple. Donahoe won the day, however.

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iPhone 6 “Bendgate” scandal leads to copycat efforts

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 11:33
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Never underestimate the power of stupidity in the face of an Internet trend.

Per Daily Dot, two 15-year-old UK residents going by the names of “Kylie” and “Danny” recorded footage of themselves entering an iPhone 6 Plus and bending at least one iPhone 6 Plus handset, using the display table as leverage.

Since the iPhone 6 was released two weeks ago, it’s been plagued by claims that it’s easy to accidentally bend, something multiple people have already put to the test in videos. But not like this.

The two uploaded the following video, which was later removed, then reposted via a mirror.

Without a contract, the iPhone 6 Plus retails at US$649.
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Apple patches Shellshock vulnerability, but it’s not in Software Update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 01:24
Category: OS X, security

OS X bash Update 1.0 for OS X Mavericks released to address Shellshock bug on Macs

Apple released OS X bash Update 1.0 for OS X Mavericks to fix a vulnerability in the bash UNIX shell. “Shellshock” is believed to be much worse than the Heartbleed vulnerability that was discovered earlier this year.

PC Magazine wrote about two scenarios that can make OS X vulnerable to the Shellshock bash bug:

For example, Bash would be exposed if a user turned on the remote login capability for all users, including guests. But that is an action that “is probably not the most secure thing to do anyway,” Erwin wrote, as it would open up the computer to other possible attacks.

Another scenario in which adjusted settings could make a difference is on a Lion OS X server running Apache or PHP scripting environments, Erwin wrote. If Apache is configured to run scripts, an attacker could insert variables into a script that a Bash shell would run.

Curiously, OS X bash Update 1.0 isn’t available through the usual channel (the Updates tab in the App Store). It needs to be downloaded and installed manually. Based on the potential impacts of the bug it’s recommended that all OS X 10.9/Mavericks users install OS X bash Update 1.0 right away. 

OS X Yosemite hits Golden Master, almost ready for debut

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 18:49
Category: News, Software

OS X Yosemite is almost ready.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday released the golden master candidate of its forthcoming Mac OS to members of its AppleSeed developer program.

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The GM version of an OS is typically the final product, though the developers who’ve been beta testing Yosemite since June still have time to find a few more bugs. Apple also opened up the Yosemite beta to the public for the first time in 14 years, so a lucky million Mac users got the chance to take Yosemite for a test run.

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Initial iPhone 6 Plus benchmarks show lower FPS rate, new benchmarking tools, additional pixels taken into consideration

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 09:39
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

In spite of some nifty new hardware, the iPhone 6 Plus may in fact generate a lower frames per second rate than the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s handsets when it comes to rendering 2D and 3D graphics at its native resolution.

Per AppleInsider, a set of GFXBench 3.0 GPU benchmarks published in an initial reviews of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus showed moderate to significant GPU improvements over iPhone 5s across the board.

However, one of the benchmark’s developers, Eszter Szilva, stated that the current, public version of the app did not yet support the native resolutions of the new models’ displays. Kishonti provided a prerelease GFXBench version 3.0.2 that does. The benchmark app should be released publicly soon, but the developer shared a prerelease copy to complement benchmark scores.

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The adjusted benchmarks show that the A8 Application Processor used in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is around 24 to 46 percent faster at low level tasks, and around 50 percent faster at higher level OpenGL ES scene rendering than the A7 chip introduced in last year’s iPhone 5s, at least when rendering at the same 1080p resolution.

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Seek Thermal releases affordably priced thermal camera for iOS, Android devices

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 09:19
Category: Accessory, Hardware, iPhone, News, Pictures, Uncategorized

If you’re looking for an affordable thermal camera for your iOS device, it may be en route sooner or later.

Per VentureBeat, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company Seek Thermal launched an affordable thermal camera for for iOS and Android devices on September 25 priced at a consumer-friendly US$199. The camera attachment is now available for purchase through Seek’s website as well as Amazon.

Unlike normal cameras which use light to form images, thermal cameras have special lenses and sensors that capture heat and construct images based on the variations they pick up on. The company expects the camera to be used mostly for safety and security (it can help you spot someone hiding), home improvement (it can help you detect energy leaks), boating (it can help you spot floating debris in the dark), and for finding animals and pets in the dark. However, chief executive Robert Acker is looking forward to seeing what new uses customers discover, he said in an interview.

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Consumer Reports puts iPhone 6 handsets through bend-test paces, comes back with results

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014, 18:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The Internet has exploded with images and videos of bent iPhone 6 Plus handsets as well as a viral video of someone deforming the handset with his bare hands. And, with that, Consumer Reports sprang into scientific action to perform actual tests that seem to indicate that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets may be tougher than currently rumored.

Per Consumer Reports, the publication used what’s called a “three-point flexural test,” in which the phone is supported at two points on either end, then force is applied at a third point on the top—you can see the testing for yourself in our video. The group applied and measured the force using a high-precision Instron compression test machine. Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we tested the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8), and for those wondering about their old iPhones, they tested the iPhone 5 as well and used one sample of each phone.

The tests, ironically enough, seem to mirror a three-point flexural test used on Apple’s labs via their own Instron machinery.

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Opinion: Why the iPhone 6 camera is only 8 megapixels

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014, 18:07
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Opinion, Pictures

By Bob Snow

The iPhone 6 camera has the same 8 megapixel count as the 5s and this has spec-happy geeks bashing the phone. There are compelling reasons for going lower and I will try to lay them out.

Small sensors can suffer when they have a high pixel density. The sites that gather light become very small and they typically sacrifice low light performance. Low light performance gets traded off for higher resolution and even this becomes an issue with small sensors. No matter how high the resolution of the sensor, lens resolution comes into play much more when the sensor is small. If the sensor is small enough, the lens will not have nearly enough resolving power to take advantage of all the pixels. You need a bigger sensor for that. The image can only be as sharp as the light coming from the lens and that will most likely be the limiting factor. Think of a tiny sensor with a trillion pixels. Lens resolution will be the limiting factor.

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There is another reason the iPhone uses an 8MP sensor. Post processing. The latest iPhone 6 does a hell of a lot of post processing. According to Apple, “Auto image stabilization makes up for motion blur and hand shakiness by taking four photos with a short exposure time. Then the best parts of those photos are combined into one image with as little noise, subject motion, and hand shake as possible.” Apple is even using multiple exposures to eliminate noise in post processing. That is a lot of work, even for the powerful 64-bit A8 processor. The more pixels, the more processing that needs to happen. HDR is another feature that requires post processing. Multiple exposures are taken and then combined to create an image with greater dynamic range. Then there is burst mode. The camera takes up to ten images per second and then compares them all to select the best image. The biggest change to the camera of the iPhone 6 is the use of paired “focus pixels” which allow for phase detection auto focus. This is faster than contrast detection and provides big improvements to video and faster still shot focusing. Think about all of the post processing this phone does to the images, all without a hint of delay.

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Opinion: Flexibility Under Stress

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014, 18:37
Category: iPhone, Opinion

By Bob Snow

The new iPhone 6 Plus appears to have a problem. There have been a number of reports of the Plus deforming under a relatively normal mode of use. The phone, when placed in a front pocket for a length of time and stressed, can bend and not return to its original flat form. This is not a problem that can be simply dismissed, nor is it the end of the world. Apple knows how to benefit from the emotion and hype in the lead up to such an important introduction. The downside is that any negative publicity about the product gets similarly amplified. Take a deep breath and let’s look at the ramifications.

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Apple relies on profits from phone sales more than any other product line, and the Plus is a costly and very personal product from the perspective of the consumer. There is a lot riding on this, but it could be much worse. I don’t think the problem will effect the 4.7-inch phone, which should represent the bulk of iPhone 6 sales. Keep in mind that the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are still available. What remains to be seen is how many of the iPhone 6 Plus phones get bent and how Apple addresses the problem with customers. Phones with glass screens break all the time. I suspect many, many more of the Plus screens will break in the course of use than phones bending. Apple needs to treat customers with bent phones well. Give them a replacement phone, even credit towards a rival phone through their carrier, if the customer wants to keep a large screened phone in their pocket. For obvious reasons, this is going to be an almost exclusively male problem.

Why is this happening? The phone is made of aluminum. Aluminum, at least initially, bends elastically and springs back. Beyond that, it will deform plastically and not return to its original shape. The sides are critical to the strength of the phone in bending and they may not be strong enough, especially around the button holes. A plastic phone like the 5c remains elastic in bending to a far greater degree. It is more likely to crack or bend far enough to break the screen, before becoming permanently deformed. Plastic has a lot going for it and nothing to apologize for, but the aluminum phones feel great in your hand and there is an aesthetic to them that is very elegant.

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iOS 8′s MAC randomization requires cellular data & location services to be disabled

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, September 27th, 2014, 15:36
Category: iOS, iOS 8, iPhone, privacy

You know that we love, cherish and respect your privacy here at The PowerPage, right?

Privacy bugs will be interested in reading Apple’s new “Privacy built in” microsite, which extolls the virtues of some of the new privacy features that are baked into iOS 8. While it’s a huge step in the right directions for the consumer (so much so that the FBI is spreading FUD about it), some industry experts are taking issue with one of the new features.

At issue is what Apple calls Randomized Wi-Fi addresses. In reading that section of Privacy Built In, one could be left to believe that merchants and retailers can no longer track your movements and behavior by scanning your iPhone’s Wi-Fi MAC address. While Apple has taken steps to obscure it in iOS 8, it’s not a simple (or automatic) as Apple leads us to believe.

A new blog post from AirTight Networks’ Bhupinder Misra called “iOS8 MAC Randomization – Analyzed!” (read parts 1 and 2) takes issue with Apple’s claims that iOS 8 uses randomized and locally administrated Wi-Fi MAC addresses in the probing state. For his blog posts Misra used sophisticated packet sniffing gear to dig into the inner workings of randomized MAC addresses.

His conclusions:

On the iPhone 5s, MAC randomization happens only under the following conditions:

  1. Phone is in sleep mode (display off, not being used)
  2. Wi-Fi should be ON but not associated
  3. Location services should be OFF in privacy settings

Then after reading scandalous reports from The Washington Post and Gizmodo stating that “Apple’s new feature to curb phone tracking won’t work if you’re actually using your phone” he decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that location services should be OFF for random MAC addresses to actually show up.

It has to do with the cellular data connection setting. Basically, if the phone’s cellular data connection is ON, there is no MAC randomization! If you now turn OFF the cellular data connection (Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data OFF), random MAC addresses show up.

Rups!

iOS8 MAC RandomGate:  Who turns OFF location services AND turns OFF cellular data connection while using their iPhone?

So if both Cellular Data and Location Services have to be switched off to randomize MAC addresses, it’s not really much of a privacy feature then, is it? I think that Apple needs to clarify how this feature really works and it should probably remove it completely from the fancy new Privacy Built In page.

Misra says it best:

Bottom line, this further shrinks the population which is covered by MAC address randomization, perhaps to inconsequential levels and maybe even zero. Who turns OFF location services AND turns OFF cellular data connection while using their iPhone. That is why I now call it “iOS8 MAC RandomGate”.

Apple’s done a lot right with respect to user privacy, but this one seems a tad disingenuous to me.