O'Grady's PowerPage » iPad

Apple working on fixes for posted iOS security holes

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011, 10:25
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, security

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This probably won’t make you feel safer about the security on your iOS device…

Per Macworld,

Apple said on Thursday that it is developing a fix for vulnerabilities that affect its iPhone, iPad and some iPod touch models, a problem that the German government warned could be used to steal confidential data.

The vulnerabilities became publicized with a new release on Wednesday of JailbreakMe 3.0, a framework that allows unauthorized applications to be installed in devices such as the iPhone.

Apple prohibits the installation of applications that have not been approved for distribution in its App Store. But hackers have used vulnerabilities in the iOS operating system that allow the phones to be “jailbroken,” allowing applications not vetted by Apple to be used that are obtained through alternative application markets such as Cydia.

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security, known as BSI, issued an alert on Wednesday about the vulnerabilities, which it said could be exploited if a user opened a specially crafted PDF document. The issue involves how the iOS parses fronts within the mobile version of the Safari browser.

There is also a second vulnerability that circumvents ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), a security feature which mixes up how programs are loaded into memory and makes it more difficult for an attacker.

BSI noted that it would be possible for an attacker using the flaws to steal passwords, banking data and e-mails as well as have access to built-in cameras, intercept telephone calls and obtain the GPS coordinates of a user.

Apple rarely comments on security issues. But on Thursday, Alan Hely senior director for corporate communications in London, said in a statement that “Apple takes security very seriously, we’re aware of this reported issue and developing a fix that will be available to customers in an upcoming software update.”

The BSI wrote that the devices affected are the iPhone 3G and devices running iOS versions up to 4.3.3. Also affected are both iPad models and iPod Touch models running iOS versions up to 4.3.3.

One of the hackers behind JailbreakMe, Comex, published a fix for the vulnerability called PDF Patcher 2, which is now in the Cydia app store. It will only work if people install JailbreakMe, which Apple discourages.

“Until Apple releases an update, jailbreaking will ironically be the best way to remain secure,” according to a note on the JailbreakMe website.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Review: Adonit Writer2

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, 10:28
Category: Accessory, Hardware, iPad, Review

By Pierce Case

For over a year now, iPad users have wanted an alternative to their virtual keyboard.

Now there is because Adonit just announced the release of the new Writer 2 for the iPad 2. The Adonit, an idea brought to reality by two guys who were from Apple and Microsoft, was presented to the venture capital gurus at Kickstarter.com, who provided the funds to make this idea a reality.

Now all those people who have wanted such a option (and do a lot of writing for blogs) can breathe a sigh of relief — the Writer2 for the iPad 2 is now available.

The only difference between Adonit’s Writer and the Writer 2 is in its size. Still, I’ve been testing for the last three days and there are some great things about it. The keyboard is amazing to type on and the device is easy enough to set up (users must configure their iPad 2 to use the wireless Bluetooth). Simply throw in three triple AAA batteries (you need to insert them in the top right hand side by unscrewing the special bolt, tighten it up with a penny or nickel, press the top left hand round button and you’re ready to go.

During the testing period I got to really admire the time these guys put into designing this. There is a custom lever to raise the keyboard up and down so your typing needs can be met. I brought the Writer2 out to a restaurant to test it out and people were just blown away with it. You basically now have the ability to really get some serious work done with the Writer 2.

A slew of keyboard shortcuts allow you to get what you want out of your apps. A square button on the top left of the keyboard allows you to use the virtual keyboard if you want. I was also impressed with the comfort and design of this Writer 2 which also wins brownie points for being made out of environmentally responsible material.

The Writer 2 retails for US$99.00 and from my firsthand experiences, has turned out to be an amazing product that many iPad2 users out there will enjoy.

Its time has come.

In fact, this review was done on the Adonit Writer2. Now that is what I
call amazing.

Pros:
- Keyboard can be adjusted to the way you type. This translates to a
better experience for each person.

- Smart pad cover built into it protects the front screen.

- Goes to sleep automatically if you close it completely.

- Keyboard shortcuts allow you to get in and out of your apps.

- Well made enough to feel comfortable carrying it around, despite its light weight.

Cons:
- Runs on AAA batteries but lasted for three days of testing given off-and-on use.

- Ran into problems with locking the battery port, but eventually got the hang of
it.

- If you don’t completely cover the case the screen will stay on.

Analyst notes possible “iPhone 4S” in September, iPad 3 prototype for early 2012

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 28th, 2011, 04:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

In non-software-update-esque news, a second investment research firm on Monday cited sources in Taiwan as indicating that Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone will hit the market early in the third quarter and also did its part to downplay rumors of an iPad 3 launch prior to next year and a low-cost iPhone in 2011.

Per AppleInsider, pointing to “recent Apple supply chain checks,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger said production of the company’s fifth-generation iPhone has come into view for component suppliers “like Broadcom, Qualcomm, and Omnivision,” each of which are indicating “a late September or early October” manufacturing ramp for the handset.

In a note to clients on the matter, Berger identified the new iPhone as going by the code name “N94″ and indicated that his sources have referred to the device under the presumed marketing name “iPhone 4S,” which would suggest the handset will arrive as an evolutionary upgrade to the existing iPhone 4 rather than a radical redesign like the ones that took place during the transition from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G and from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4.

Berger, added that his sources “see no near-term plans for a low-end iPhone for emerging markets, or a new iPhone in a transparent case.”

Additionally, the analyst pointed to conversations with the same supply chain contacts in reporting that Apple has been “evaluating various touchscreen displays” for its third-generation iPad.

Thought he acknowledged conjecture and speculation over the possibility that such a device could launch later this year, he said his intelligence suggests that the company’s progress with display manufacturers indicates a prototype of the next iPad won’t be ready until early 2012, implying an announcement would again likely come in the spring.

“This should squarely put to rest any debate about a 2011 launch of the iPad 3 — after all, Apple is severely supply constrained on the iPad 2, and it is by far the best-performing and functioning tablet in the world,” the analyst wrote.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPhone 5 with 8MP camera due in September, Hi-Res iPad 3 en route

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011, 04:02
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

You may be wanting the iPhone 5 now, but you might have to wait until September while Apple tests the new handset and some other cool stuff.

Per Bloomberg, two sources familiar with Apple’s plans have stated that Apple is working on a higher resolution iPad and dropped details regarding Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone 5 handset. Apple’s next iPhone “will include the A5 processor, the more powerful chip that Apple added to the iPad 2 earlier this year, along with an 8-megapixel camera, up from the 5-megapixel model in the iPhone 4,” said the publication’s sources.

As is to be expected, the new device would come with iOS 5, which is due out this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. Sources also said the new iPhone would closely resemble the iPhone 4.

The report’s insiders also rekindled a rumor that Apple is working on a cheaper version of the iPhone for emerging markets using “chips and displays of similar quality to today’s iPhone 4.” Rumors of a low-cost iPhone emerged this spring, though there is some disagreement regarding the details of the project.

“Apple is also testing a new version of the iPad that has a higher resolution screen, similar to the one now used in the iPhone 4,” the Bloomberg report cited sources as saying. The iPhone 4 currently features a Retina Display with a resolution of 960 x 640 and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. The resolution of the next-generation iPad would be about “one-third higher” than the iPad 2′s display and will feature a more responsive touchscreen, people said.

Various reports have suggested the iPad could see a display upgrade that would double the tablet’s linear resolution to 2048 x 1536. Last week, double-resolution iPad images in the iOS 5 beta sparked renewed speculation that Apple is planning the improved display.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Changes Promo Code Terms In App Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 15:06
Category: App Store, Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Review, Software

This isn’t exactly new information. It was reported as far back as May 3rd by Mac Rumors, but somehow I missed it until now. Apple has changed the functionality of the iOS App Store (unconfirmed whether this affects the Mac App Store) so that if you use a developer promo code to download an app, you will not be able to submit a review for the app; you will be “locked out”. Here is a blurb copied from an exchange with iTunes Store Customer Support:

Thanks for writing back and letting me know your concern. I understand that you are still not able to write a review. I know how disappointing it can be when things don’t work out the way they should. I am sorry to inform that it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer’s promotional code.

The crackdown is apparently in response to complaints that reviews were being skewed as a result of developers giving codes in exchange for favorable reviews. I’m not sure how widespread this issue is, and I’m sure the ones perpetrating the review stacking will find another way to do it, but for the most part it seems like a good idea. No worries about that here; regardless of how I get ahold of an app, if it’s crap I’ll tell you.

Rumor: iPad-native Facebook client close to release

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 07:01
Category: iPad, Rumor, Software

You love Facebook.

And you love your iOS devices.

And you wish there was a native Facebook client for your iPad.

Your wish might be about to come true.

According to the New York Times, sources close to the story have indicated that Facebook will release an app optimized for the iPad in “coming weeks,” while continuing work on an iPad-specific version of its website.

The New York Times reported Thursday that, according to people briefed on Facebook’s plans, the social network’s iPad app is in the “final stages of testing.” The app has been in production for almost a year and should be available within weeks.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been “heavily invested” in the process and has overseen design decisions and the app’s unique features. Sources who have seen the application said it has a “slick design” specifically tailored for the iPad and its multi-touch interface. In particular, the company’s developers have focused on overhauling the Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups features.

iPad 2 users will also be able to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the built-in cameras. “The photo and video experience is amazing, offering full resolution and full-screen images,” said a person who has seen the app.

Facebook declined to comment on the rumored app, though it did reiterate that it maintains “a great relationship” with Apple, as exemplified by the iPhone application, which launched alongside Apple’s App Store in 2008.

According to the company, 250 million of Facebook’s 700 million worldwide users access the service on a mobile device. Meanwhile, Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads since its initial release last year. Apple plans to help Facebook promote the forthcoming iPad app by “featuring it prominently” in the App Store, said a person familiar with plans for the app.

Sources also confirmed that Facebook is working on an improved iPad version of its website, but specific timing of the update remained unclear. The tipster did, however, emphasize that an upgraded website was meant to supplement the iPad and iPhone app experiences, rather than competing with them.

Rumors swirled on Wednesday that Facebook is hard at work on an HTML5 platform meant to “break the stranglehold” that Apple has on mobile app distribution. The company has reportedly lined up 80 developers on a secretive project that would help Facebook to retain control while still reaching the more than 200 million iOS devices Apple has sold.

The two companies have differed at times; for example, Apple was unable to agree to Facebook’s terms for integration of Apple’s Ping social music discovery service with its own social network. But, last year Apple CEO Steve Jobs was reported to have invited Zuckerberg over for dinner to discuss the issue.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Wacom Releases iPad Notebook App

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 18:59
Category: Announcement, Apps, iPad, Software

Today, graphics tablet maker Wacom announced their first product to be available in the Apple App Store. Bamboo Paper is an iPad-exclusive notepad and sketching app, taking a stab at a category already populated by a plethora of other notepad apps. Here is some copy from their release:

Dear Friends,

Today we have launched Bamboo Paper, our first iPad app!

Bamboo Paper is a digital notebook for your iPad, letting you share ideas visually with handwritten notes, sketches and doodles. In combination with our Bamboo Stylus, it turns your iPad into a visual communication tool. You can download the app for free from any iTunes store around the world. But be quick while it is for free, because starting July 1, the app will cost €1.59 ($1.99).

You can help us by rating & commenting this app in the App store and telling your friends and family about it.

Here is the direct link to the App store:
For US: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bamboo-paper-wacom-notes-for/id443131313?mt=8&uo=4

Important to note is that the app is FREE until the end of June, as well as the mention of the Bamboo Stylus which is sold separately by Wacom. Although it isn’t required, Wacom intends the Paper app to be used in conjunction with the Stylus to get the most out of it. I was lucky enough to get a stylus for review, but I’ve been waiting for the release of the app to complete my review. I found that the app definitely benefits from using a pen-type device such as the aforementioned Bamboo Stylus or a Pogo Stylus. Watch for my complete review coming soon.

Imagination Technologies begins licensing process for future iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

Whatever you’re expecting from the next-gen iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, improved graphics should be on the way.

Per AppleInsider, Apple component provider Imagination Technologies is now licensing its PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture, the next generation of the hardware found in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, to six key partners — three of which remain secret.

The new processor, code-named “Rogue,” was revealed to have been licensed by ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments and MediaTek. The remaining three partners are “yet to be announced,” but given the fact that Apple is a major shareholder of the company, its involvement could be considered likely.

Apple purchased a 3% stake in Imagination Technologies back in 2008, and in 2009 the iPhone maker increased its share to 9.5%.

Imagination said this week that its PowerVR Series6 GPU family offers best-in-class “GFLOPS per mm2 and per mW for all APIs.” The company also touted that it has “one of the largest teams of graphics engineers in the world,” and that its chips have powered hundreds of thousands of applications created by “an extensive ecosystem of third party developers.”

“The growing commitment of the primary players to our roadmap shows that, having evaluated the options, the overall mobile and embedded market is increasingly committing to PowerVR as the de facto graphics standard,” said Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie.

More specifically, the graphics processor in the iPad 2 is the PowerVR SGX543MP2, which Apple has claimed helps to boost graphics in the A5 processor by as much as nine times. Benchmarks of just the SGX543GPU have found it to be much faster than its peers powering devices like the Motorola Xoom, or even 2010′s first-generation iPad.

With the A5 chip already in mass production for the iPad 2 and the same architecture expected to be utilized in the anticipated fifth-generation iPhone, it’s unlikely that Imagination’s new “Rogue” graphics processor could appear until at least a so-called “A6″ custom Apple processor were to become a reality. The new PowerVR Series6 GPUs are said to be “fully compatible” with Imagination’s previous Series5 and Series5XT PowerVR SGX GPUs, which the company said will ensure “a smooth migration path for developers upgrading applications.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple continues initial next-gen MacBook Air production run, begins certifying components for iPad 3

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 07:05
Category: iPad, MacBook Air, Rumor

A new report corroborates earlier indications that Apple will begin production of revamped MacBook Air notebooks this month, while also adding an unverified tip on a high-resolution iPad 3 reportedly coming later this year.

Per Reuters, Apple will begin selling the new MacBook Air in late June with an initial shipment of 380,000 units.

According to the Economic Daily, when shipments of the new MacBook Airs are combined with shipments of the existing model, 460,000 units are expected to be produced this month.

Over the weekend, one tipster claimed that revitalized MacBook Airs would arrive this week, but eventually revised his story to suggest that Apple would actually begin carrying unlocked iPhone 4s at Apple Stores in the U.S.

The report also claimed that Apple will launch the iPad 3 in the fourth quarter with “image resolution 5-6 times higher than iPad 2.” But, it should be noted that the rumor appears highly unlikely and is reported here for the sake of completeness.

While numerous reports of an upgraded iPad 3 with a doubled resolution of 2048 x 1536 already exist, the resulting display would have four times the amount of pixels. Various sources have also hinted that the iPad 3 will not arrive until 2012.

Apple has reportedly begun certifying components for the iPad 3, but component makers expect the device to come out next year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to recall small number of Verizon iPad 2 units with duplicate electronic serial numbers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 13th, 2011, 08:09
Category: iPad, News

Ok, this is a bit embarrassing.

Per AllThingsD, Apple has confirmed that an “extremely small number” of iPad 2 units for Verizon have been recalled because they were accidentally shipped with identical electronic serial numbers.

After reports emerged on Friday that a limited recall was taking place, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issue.

“Duplicate [Mobile Equipment Identifier] numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the Verizon 3G network,” an Apple representative said on Friday. Most of the devices had yet to reach the market, though a few had already been sold to customers. Apple declined to give more detailed information on the number of iPads recalled.

Apple announced this week that iPad sales had reached the 25 million unit milestone, which should result in roughly 8 million iPads shipped in the June quarter. That number would exceed analysts expectations, many of whom predict Apple will sell around 7 million units.

The iPad 2 has been wildly successful, with Apple selling the device as fast as it can make it. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in April that the company faces “the mother of all backlogs” due to “staggering” demand for the iPad 2.

However, in spite of the sell-out iPad 2 launch, Wall Street was disappointed by iPad sales in the March quarter, which came to just 4.69 million as Apple drew down the original iPad and ramped up production of the second-generation tablet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.