Security researcher demonstrates Thunderbolt firmware hack proof of concept at Chaos Computer Congress

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Date: Monday, January 5th, 2015, 10:15
Category: Hack, Hardware, News, security, Thunderbolt


As great as Thunderbolt is, there are vulnerabilities to consider.

Per 9to5Mac, a security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac’s firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM. Known as Thunderstrike, the proof of concept presented by Trammel Hudson infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims cannot be detected, nor removed by reinstalling OS X.

Since the boot ROM is independent of the operating system, reinstallation of OS X will not remove it. Nor does it depend on anything stored on the disk, so replacing the hard drive has no effect. A hardware in-system-programming device is the only way to restore the stock firmware.


Alpine to showcase iLX-007, the first in-dash system centered around CarPlay, at CES 2015

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Date: Friday, January 2nd, 2015, 16:30
Category: Hardware, iOS, News


Alpine always did have some nifty stuff in its product line.

In a recent development, Alpine has announced that it will be debuting its 2015 product lineup at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The lineup will also feature the iLX-007, the first in-dash product dedicated to Apple’s CarPlay technology, which was introduced in October.


Rumor: Samsung fanless notebook hints at upcoming fanless 12-inch Retina Display MacBook Air

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Date: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014, 11:38
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, Rumor


The 12-inch Retina Display MacBook Air may be fanless thanks to Samsung.

Per 9to5Mac and The Verge, Samsung has pre-announced the Ativ Book 9 ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show. Interestingly, this notebook features many of the technical specifications that have been rumored for the future 12-inch Retina MacBook Air. The announcement of the Ativ Book 9 validates that a fanless high-resolution ultrabook is indeed possible in the short term.

The Book 9 laptop features a 12.2 inch screen with a 2600×1600 resolution, implying a 250 PPI. At normal viewing distances, Apple could easily describe the display as ‘Retina’. For comparison, the ‘Retina’ 15 inch MacBook Pro has 216 pixels-per-inch. The Book 9 is powered by a next-generation Broadwell CPU, which has drastically lower power consumption and heat dissipation enabling the product to be fanless.


iFixit programmer drills 60 small holes in MacBook Pro to help resolve overheating issues

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Date: Tuesday, December 30th, 2014, 11:35
Category: Hack, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News


This is somewhat psychotic.

And it just might work.

Per 9to5Mac, a programmer over at iFixit was able to resolve an overheating problem with a MacBook Pro notebook by drilling a ring of holes under each of its fans.

With a 1/16” bit, the group drilled holes in the bottom case, under the fans (they figured out where the blades of the fan were exposed based on the dust pattern stuck to the inside of the bottom case). The speed holes worked: The boot chime rang. The screen glowed. The fans blew.


Rumor: Apple could return to smaller, 4-inch form factor with iPhone 6s mini in 2015

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Date: Friday, December 26th, 2014, 06:08
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor


If you’re a fan of the pre-iPhone 6 form factor, you might be in luck.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company issued a note to investors this week claiming that Apple has been working on a new 4-inch iPhone model that could debut in 2015.

According to Arcuri, it’s “possible” that Apple could launch three new versions of the iPhone next year, with a so-called “iPhone 6s mini” at 4 inches joining the current-generation screen sizes.

The analyst said his sources suggest the specifications of the 4-inch model could be similar to last year’s iPhone 5s. But the device may feature a new design with curved screen edges, much like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.


Google announces first prototype of self-driving car

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Date: Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014, 09:12
Category: Hardware, News, Uncategorized


It’s hard to say when this will actually be on the roads, but it’s the first step towards that.

On Monday, Google unveiled what it terms as “the first real build” of its self-driving car prototype.

The company had previously unveiled an early mockup in May that lacked features such as real headlights. Since then, the vehicle has gone through different builds with typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors being added on. The company has finally assembled a fully functional prototype for fully autonomous driving.


Rumor: Apple to begin mass-production of 12-inch Retina Display MacBook Air in Q1 of 2015

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Date: Monday, December 22nd, 2014, 13:24
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, Rumor


The long-rumored 12-inch MacBook Air, complete with a Retina Display, could enter mass-production as early as the first quarter of 2015.

Per 9to5Mac and DigiTimes, the notebook could enter mass-production in the first quarter of 2015 “following a pilot production at the end of 2014.”

It should be noted this is the same source that predicted the machine would be launched in October, claiming at the time that shipments had already begun. Digitimes bases its latest claim on “upstream supply chain” sources – in other words, suppliers to suppliers to Apple. This does not aid its credibility …


Apple CEO Tim Cook “deeply offended” by allegations raised by BBC undercover report of Chinese factories

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Date: Monday, December 22nd, 2014, 09:07
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Legal, News


This is going to take some dealing with.

Following the BBC’s story in which the news association sent undercover reporters to capture hidden camera footage of poor working conditions and mistreated employees in Apple’s Chinese factories where its iPhone and iPads are assembled, Apple CEO Tim Cook state that he was “deeply offended” by the allegations at hand.

According to, in an email to around 5,000 staff across the UK, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said both himself and the chief executive were “deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way”.

“Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions,” he continued. “Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.”


iPhone 6 optical image stabilization, NFC systems may be vulnerable to interference from strong magnets

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:37
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News


A powerful magnet can still screw up your day.

Or your iPhone 6’s camera stabilization and NFC systems.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have noticed issues with the iPhone 6 Plus camera and NFC on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the cause of the problem — interference from magnets and metal components in accessories — isn’t well documented.

The cause of the issue has been noticed by a small number of users online, and Apple does briefly warn users to avoid accessories that use magnets or metal components in a support document that was quietly updated in the months following the launch of the new iPhones. But it’s not something most users are aware of when purchasing accessories that might end up causing problems for their new iPhone.


Gift Guide 2014: AudioEngine B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:19
Category: Accessory, Bluetooth, Hardware, music, Review

AudioEngine B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker

If you’re looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker I recommend the AudioEngine B2 ($299). The B2 sounds great and has better range than other speakers I’ve tested because of its antenna and specially tuned transmitter. In a two-story, mostly stucco and brick house my iPhone 6 easily reached the B2 speaker on the second floor when I was on the first.

The B2 includes the aptX audio decoder and a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for a beautiful, warm sound. The hand-built walnut cabinet is luxurious and dual front slots really pump the bass. I just wish that it had a battery so that I could toss it in a bag and drag it to the beach.

You can purchase the B2 Bluetooth Speaker in walnut (pictured), zebrawood or black ash from the AudioEngine website.

[Despite my aforementioned problems with Apple’s Bluetooth stack, I was still able to keep a reliable connection to the B2 speaker for over an hour. And to be clear, I think that that’s Apple’s problem and not AudioEngine’s.]

A picture of the backplane after the jump.