Security Hole Found in iPhone SMS Code

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 3rd, 2009, 02:17
Category: iPhone, News

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Over at the SyScan conference in Singapore, security researcher Charlie Miller cited his discovery of a new significant exploit in the iPhone’s SMS system. The flaw may “allow an attacker to remotely install and run unsigned software code with root access to the phone.”

“The SMS vulnerability allows an attacker to run software code on the phone that is sent by SMS over a mobile operator’s network. The malicious code could include commands to monitor the location of the phone using GPS, turn on the phone’s microphone to eavesdrop on conversations, or make the phone join a distributed denial of service attack or a botnet.”

According to HotHardware, it’s unlikely that there could be any risk of a wide-spread attack on iPhones, though the high number of iPhone handsets out there make it an issue. Miller has agreed with Apple to wait until Black Hat USA expo in Las Vegas later this year to release the details of the exploit, giving Apple a window of time to patch the exploit.

Apple Issues Overheating Warning for iPhone, iPhone 3GS Handsets

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, 04:18
Category: iPhone

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Whether reports of iPhones overheating are entirely true or not, Apple seems to be taking the situation seriously enough to reveal the presence of a temperature warning screen for the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

According to Gearlog, an unknown but probably very small number of iPhones have been affected by overheating, to the point that some white iPhone 3GSes have allegedly turned pink.

Apple, has issued what some might call a “common sense” warning: a support document that warns users not to keep the iPhone in an environment where temperatures can exceed 113 degrees Fahrenheit, including parked cars.

The company has also warned that CPU-intensive applications, such playing music or using the GPS while in direct sunlight may also overheat the iPhone.

In that case, actually using the iPhone in temperatures over 95 degrees can also trigger the temperature warning. “Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly,” Apple warns.

Obviously, summer temperatures in many locations top 95 degrees.Las Vegas, for example, has forecasts topping 100 degrees for the next 10 days; Phoenix routinely climbs above 103.

Apple also says that the iPhone 3G and 3GS should not be stored where the temperature can fall under -4 degrees Fahrenheit, or used in less in temperatures under 0 degrees F.

If the phone exceeds those temperatures, Apple says, the iPhone may stop charging, its display might dim, a weak cellular signal may be experienced, and the temperature warning screen on the left may also appear. Apple’s support document implies that there’s a temperature sensor of some sort built in to the iPhone 3G or 3G S

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if you’ve seen this on your end.

Some iPhone 3GS Owners Reporting Overheating, Problem May Link to iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, 03:11
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Software

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Despite the iPhone 3GS being out and nifty, a number of handset owners have reported problems wherein some units overheat and become too hot to touch. According to French web site Le Journal du Geek and the Apple Core, the handsets are apparently becoming so warm that their white plastic cases are discoloring to a brownish pink tone.

iPhone 3G models in the same color aren’t affected by the same problem, nor do black iPhone 3GS models appear to suffer the issue at this stage — though these last owners aren’t completely exempt from the root causes. A number of reports have surfaced that some phones are getting particularly hot under certain circumstances, such as using the handset while it’s connected to a power source.

Over on The Inquirer, the current report is that the overheating may be due to faulty battery cells whereas Aaron Vronko of Rapid Repair has stated that “overheating is likely an issue due to faulty battery cells” and could result in “massive recalls of iPhone 3G S units.”

Finally, Wired’s Charlie Sorrell has chimed in that the problem may not be limited to the iPhone 3GS hardware itself but could be applicable to Apple’s recently-released iPhone OS 3.0 firmware update for the iPhone and iPod touch handsets.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

Several Original iPhone Owners Report Difficulty Maintaining Wireless Connections Under iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, a number of original iPhone owner have reported that their handsets are having difficulty remaining connected to wireless networks.

According to MacFixIt, complaints similar to the following description have been left over on the site’s discussion board:

MacFixIt reader Mark M. reports:
“I’ve been having persistent problems getting my iPhone to remember Wi-Fi networks after the upgrade to 3.0. I’ve been following the Apple User Group discussions (iphone, network) and have followed the suggestions there (restore the phone; forget network settings) to no avail. I have a 1st gen iPhone and currently I have to go to settings, general, reset, reset network settings several times a day to maintain a Wi-Fi connection to my home airport. From the User Group discussions it appears this is a fairly common problem.”

The issue currently appears to be bigger than single cases and has also been reported with many iPhones running iPhone OS 2.2.1 as well as units with the iPhone OS 3.0 update installed.

Over on the Apple Discussions Board, user “GoHawks” reported the following:

“A lot of us, myself included, are all of a sudden having this issue. Mine started a few weeks ago as well, when I was running 2.2.1, and continued on into 3.0. Every once in a while it will work, but it’s a rare occurrence. Unfortunately all the tips and tricks don’t appear to work for me either, things I’ve tried include:
1. Reset Network settings
2. Reset All Settings
3. Restore (done about 12 of them over the last couple of weeks)
4. Deleting various apps to see if that makes a difference
5. Reboots
6. Airplane Mode on/off
7. Toggle WiFi
8. Turn of Bluetooth
9. Resetting the phone by holding the top button and home until it reboots
I’ve done all of this many times and every once in a while one of them will seem to work, but within an hour I’ve lost it again. Even when I have it I’m constantly having to put in my password information for the networks I connect to with encryption.”

Currently there does not appear to be a permanent fix for this issue. Most users report that a combination of any of the above attempts for a solution will temporarily provide relief and decent wireless performance.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the new, revamped and nifty comments section!

Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 Released, Adds Support for iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 25th, 2009, 05:18
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Mac, Software

synciconSoftware developer Mark/Space announced the released of Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 on Wednesday. The Mac client of the application allows you to synchronize notes, documents, and tasks and archive text messages and call history from your iPhone onto your Mac (and vice-versa wherever it applies).

Version 2.0.2, a 13.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Added support for iPhone OS 3.0.
  • Improved stability with importing Apple Notes, SMS and Call Log information.
  • Fixed a problem that prevented the Check for Updates feature from installing the downloaded update.
  • Fixed an issue where importing Apple notes could cause duplicate notes.
  • Fixed an issue on Tiger (Mac OS X v10.4.x) where the client id we generated for Sync Services was too long (> 63 chars).
  • Fixed a problem that could cause a crash when syncing Notes with Entourage.
  • Added an “Import Apple Voice Memos” checkbox to the Notes plugin settings sheet that’s enabled only when syncing to Notebook. If checked, any recordings the user has made with the “Voice Memos” app are placed into a “Voice Memos” category in Notebook.
  • Added an “Import Voicemails” checkbox to the Notes plugin settings sheet that’s enabled only when syncing to Notebook. If checked, any voicemails the user has on his iPhone are placed into a “Voicemail” category in Notebook.
  • iTunes 2.8 has the option to encrypt backup files. If the option to encrypt backup files is enabled in iTunes, The Missing Sync cannot read call log, sms messages, voice memos, voicemail, or import Apple iPhone notes.

Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 retails for US$40 for a single user license and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Changes Newest iPhone Model Name to “iPhone 3GS”

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:01
Category: iPhone, News

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In a move that may seem both a little odd but actually makes sense, Apple has quietly changed the way it is spelling the new iPhone 3GS, which now appears without a space all of Apple’s press materials.

According the Macworld UK, Apple’s website is still using the “iPhone 3G S” term. The general understanding is that it is officially “iPhone 3GS” from now on and that the main website will be updated shortly.

When the iPhone 3GS first launched, there was much consternation amongst the press as to the correct spelling of the new product, compounded by the logo – which places the “S” inside a small square.

Apple helped clarify matters by issuing press releases with the term “iPhone 3G S”. But just four days into the launch it has changed the spelling to iPhone 3GS, and reworked all of its press materials to mark the new change.

One that is that the revised name offers more clarity for Google, and other web search engines, helping avoid confusion between searches for the new and old model of iPhone.

On the other hand, there may be a legal reason behind the move. It may be that Apple’s legal department pointed out that 3G is a generic term, and that S is a generic term and that “3G S” would be difficult to copyright; whereas “3GS” would be more easy to protect.

Or there may be another, unknown reason. An Apple spokesman allegedly commented to media that “we just feel it looks better with the 3GS all together.”

Your Take on iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 19th, 2009, 18:20
Category: iPhone, Opinion

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We asked for your comments yesterday and several of you stepped up to the plate and offered what you thought about the newly-released iPhone OS 3.0.

So, without further ado, here we go:

In general its great!

No one has reported this to my knowledge, but if you have more than one iPhone connected to your MobilMe account and properly enabled, the Where is my iPhone feature shows all of them — a great family feature.

One omission — I can’t find a way to use Where is my iPhone from my iPhone! .. for example, if Dad loses his iPhone during vacation with Mom and the kids; they ought to be able to use their iPhones to log into MobileMe and activate Where is My iPhone to help locate it. However, on Safari if you go to me.com you are not allowed to login, they assume every feature is already available via an app.

Bill Elkus

Dear PowerPage-

Here are my thoughts on iPhone OS 3.0

Love:
Spotlight Search. It’s fast and was my top missing feature in iPhone 1 & 2.

CalDAV server support. Now I can have a joint google calendar for my family that I don’t need elaborate software on the mac with multiple user accounts running to accomplish.

Subscribed Calendars. Now I can have my wife’s iCal calendar visible.

Calendar sync through iTunes: In addition to my MobileMe push calendars I can view US Holidays or Birthdays without having to do any real workarounds (just check a box).

Improved Recents & Voicemail Display: The added line of telephone type or call origin is great (you used to have to tap the arrow to get this info.

Improved Call Log: Tap the arrow on a recent call and you get a list of time & duration (I’m curious how many calls it will keep track of though)

Podcast Chapters. (I don’t think this was there in 2.x, but not every podcast I like uses chapters.) Finally I can jump over the parts I’m not interested in without scrubbing.

Copy and Paste. Works great, is even available in old apps.

Push: I hope to love it but none of my apps are updated for it yet (NetNewsWire I am thinking of you).

Hate:
Search does not include mail body text. I know it would be difficult to include this because they want the ability to search the server past the 25 or 50 messages on my phone, but come on. At least include body text of messages stored on the phone.

CalDAV server setup. Why is this buried in Mail account setup? Once I found it it worked well for the main google calendar, but I really wanted all of my secondary calendars (kids, school, etc.) and that is a royal pain (thank god for copy and paste). I don’t know if it is Google’s setup or that CalDAV is only meant for single calendar support, but this is not for the feint of heart to attempt.

No universal inbox: It’s on my mac, why not an option on the phone.

Can’t manage mail folders. It’s still not a full mail app if I can’t create, edit or delete mail folders.

Can’t fully edit calendar events. Why can’t I change the calendar to which an event is associated? It’s easy on the mac.

Still no Podcast description field access. Please Apple, hardly any podcast puts info in the title, but almost everyone includes a nice description of the contents. Can I please have a way to see this?

Would like to see:
Spotlight third party search ability. It sounds like this is not an open API yet, it would be great if apps could add a spotlight ability, similar to the mac.

Spotlight search of music lyrics. Which song is that again? You know the one, it goes…

Spotlight search of video info. This one is a little strange, when i use the spotlight search screen to look for “pixar” I get nothing, when I search in the iPod, it finds all of the Pixar short films on the iPod as well as two playlists.

Sincerely,
Alex. Thompson
alexwt@mac.com

Click the jump for the full story…

iPhone OS 3.0 to Hit Today

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 08:14
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

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Per CNET, current iPhone owners will be able to download the software from iTunes for free while iPod touch users will have to pay a US$9.95 fee for it.

Though its exact release time is currently unknown, iPhone OS 3.0 will offer features such as multimedia messaging (to be supported by AT&T later this summer), voice recording, buying and renting movies and TV shows over the air, full system search, tethering and push notifications.

The update will be available through iTunes and users are advised to hook their handhelds to their Mac or PC later today, mount the device in iTunes and click the “Check for Update” button to download and install iPhone OS 3.0.

Apple has also bundled in some extras, like landscape virtual keyboard for certain apps, more extensive parental controls, in-app purchasing, and a feature for MobileMe customers called Find My Phone.

There will also be stereo Bluetooth available, as well as the capability to create applications specifically for interfacing with third-party hardware.

The new iPhone 3G S is scheduled to hit stores such as the Apple Store retail locations, Best Buy and the AT&T stores Friday morning.

AT&T States Data Pricing to Hold Steady, Faces More Competitive Marketplace

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 18:05
Category: iPhone

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Data pricing plans look to hold steady for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S handsets in the near future per an article in the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve been very happy with our pricing,” said AT&T spokesman Mark Segal, who went on to mention the average monthly bill for an iPhone user was within US$90 to US$100. The article went on to suggest that AT&T could charge an additional US$10 to US$40 per month for MMS and tethering featured on the new iPhone 3G S. AT&T is currently facing pressure to offer lower priced data plans by both consumers facing the financial crunch and competitors setting aggressive data pricing.

Last month, AT&T’s wireless chief Ralph de la Vega stated that the company was considering a lower tier of pricing plans. These packages would include limits over the amount of time spent on the Internet or the number of applications that could be wirelessly downloaded.

Sprint Nextel has said its Palm Pre data plans cost US$600 less per year than AT&T, while Verizon wireless offers an unlimited data plan for US$70 per month. AT&T offers a similar plan, charging an additional US$5 for text messages.

AT&T could lose money if it does decrease its data plan pricing, as users commonly purchase unlimited data plans which AT&T then must pay to transfer across the network. The company must also must pay hundreds of dollars in subsidies to Apple in order to maintain iPhone exclusivity. In addition, current upgrades being installed to double the network speed for the iPhone 3G S have raised costs even further for AT&T.

Best Buy to Offer iPhone 3G S Accident Insurance Plan

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 17:34
Category: iPhone

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For those of you planning to snag a new iPhone 3G S unit from Best Buy, you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase the chain’s rare (and somewhat pricey) accident insurance plan. According to AppleInsider, Best Buy stores nationwide on Friday will begin selling the next-generation Apple handset on launch day, albeit at the big-box retailer’s usual 10 a.m. opening time instead of the early hours both Apple and AT&T promise.

In contrast to these more direct channels, however, Best Buy plans to continue offering Geek Squad’s Black Tie Protection service with the new iPhone, people familiar with the plans say.

While Apple has never offered more than a standard two-year extended AppleCare warranty and AT&T has specifically exempted the iPhone from its insurance offerings, the Black Tie plan covers regular technical problems as well as drops, spills and other failures that would normally require a costly repair service or the purchase of an entirely new device.

Under Best Buy’s offering, any instance in which the phone can’t be fixed or replaced on the spot will see those customers offered a temporary phone until the repair or replacement is ready within three days or less. Battery replacements aren’t as likely due to Apple’s sealed-up design, but the company vows anti-lemon protection for devices that have to be brought in four times due defects.

Opting for Black Tie will reportedly still be expensive. For other cellphones, the program costs between US$7 and US$10 per month depending on the model, but the iPhone’s rate rises to US$15 per month, leaving iPhone owners paying about US$180 per year.

Sources close to the story say the added cost of iPhone protection comes from the heavy subsidies attached to Apple’s products. Since the actual, retail price of a phone without a contract is between US$599 and US$699, it becomes prohibitively expensive to offer Black Tie when customers may use it more than once.