Rumor: Apple to debut cheaper iPhone with plastic casing, no Retina display come June/July

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Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 06:22
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

There’s gotta be a nugget of truth in here somewhere…

Per AppleInsider, analyst Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets issued a note to investors on Friday in which he said he’s received word that Apple plans to launch “multiple new phones” in the June-July timeframe this year. Specifically, he expects Apple to launch a next-generation flagship handset, a so-called “iPhone 5S,” as well as a more affordable handset.

“The low-end iPhone will have the same 4-inch form factor as the iPhone 5, but will have a plastic casing and no Retina display,” he said. “With a lower price point, AAPL will be able to target a growing and important part of the smartphone market (sub-US$400 price band).”

Daryanani believes Apple’s rumored low-end iPhone will carry lower gross margins than the iPhone 5 or an iPhone 5S. But he also expects that such a product would contribute another US$22 billion in revenue and more than US$5 in earnings per share in calendar year 2014, which he believes would add US$50 of value to Apple’s stock price.

In his projections, the low-end smartphone market has a total addressable size of about 500 million units in calendar 2014. He believes Apple could capture more than 15 percent of that market in the medium term, leading to what he said is a “conservative” estimate of 70 million units.

Daryanani also expects Apple to launch a new iPad mini and full-size iPad this year, while he said a full-fledged Apple television and so-called “iWatch” smart watch are “likely,” but the timing of their debut is “unclear.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone could feature improved camera, faster processor, could ship in June or July

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Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2013, 07:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make technology interesting.

Per DigiTimes, the next-generation iPhone components will begin shipping at the end of May, and the Apple’s new smartphone could show up sometime in the third quarter, matching with other reports that an iPhone 5S would be released in June or July.

Components for the next-generation iPhone will start shipping at the end of May with the new smartphone to have a chance of showing up in the third quarter, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The new iPhone will not receive a major upgrade and may just be a slightly enhanced version of iPhone 5 (iPhone 5S), the sources said citing their latest specification data.

The’ sources claim the iPhone 5S would have a higher-end processor and a higher-megapixel camera, which match with other rumors about the phone.

Other recent reports say Foxconn is currently preparing to ramp production on the iPhone 5S and that it may come equipped with a fingerprint sensor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

New iOS passcode bypass bug discovered one day after iOS 6.1.3 release

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Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2013, 07:32
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security

Well, this is sort of awkward…

Remember how you JUST installed iOS 6.1.3 to get rid of a passcode bypass bug that would allow an unauthorized person to access the Phone app on a locked iPhone? Per iMore and The Next Web, a new bypass bug has been discovered.

The passcode bypass in the previous versions of iOS 6 required a series of well-timed taps and button presses. The result was full access to the Phone app on a locked device without entering the passcode. This new bug (not quite new, it seems to have existed prior to iOS 6.1.3) requires a sequence that’s a little easier to execute as can be seen in this video. For some reason, this bypass seems to to be more difficult to accomplish on newer, Siri-capable devices.



The bypass can be achieved using the iPhone’s Voice Dial feature. By holding the Home button on a device for a few seconds, the Voice Dial feature will come up. Issue a dial command such as “Dial 303-555-1212”, then as the call is being initiated, eject the SIM card. The iPhone detects the SIM has been removed, cancels the call, and displays an alert saying there is no SIM. Behind the alert you will see the Phone app and after dismissing the alert, you will have full access to the Phone app. As before this means you can access contact information as well as all photos on the device.

Initially thought to only be possible on non-Siri phones, reports are now coming in of this bypass being performed on the iPhone 4S and 5 as well, though it doesn’t seem to be as easily reproducible on these devices. Performing the bypass on these devices devices would also require Siri to be disabled and Voice Dial to be enabled.

Unlike the previous bug, this bypass can also easily be prevented by disabling Voice Dial. This can be done in the iPhone’s Settings app, under General > Passcode Lock, by turning the Voice Dial switch to off. With the way Apple has been handling these so far, it would not be surprising to see this fixed in a 6.1.4 update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 12:59
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

I’ll say this for Apple: it’s getting speedier on its iOS updates.

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 6.1.3, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its supported iOS devices:

– Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the passcode and access the Phone app.

– Improvements to Maps in Japan.

iOS 6.1.3 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

Rumor: ABC working on subscriber-based streaming app to bring network’s live programming to iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 07:26
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

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You can’t knock additional streaming options if they’re offered to you…

The Walt Disney Company, while sorting out the future of the online video Web site Hulu, has an app in the works that may render Hulu passé for some people.

Per the New York Times, the app will live stream ABC programming to the phones and tablets of cable and satellite subscribers. The app could become available to some subscribers this year, according to people briefed on the project, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it publicly.

With the app, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, will become the first of the American broadcasters to provide a live Internet stream of national and local programming to people who pay for cable or satellite. The subscriber-only arrangement, sometimes called “TV Everywhere” in industry circles, preserves the cable business model that is crucial to the bottom lines of broadcasters, while giving subscribers more of what they seem to want — mobile access to TV shows. The arrangement could extend the reach of ads that appear on ABC as well.

Disney already distributes similar live streaming and on-demand apps, known as “Watch” apps, for ESPN and the Disney Channel. Special hurdles exist, however, for the ABC app, in part because of contracts between the network and the companies that produce some of its shows that were written before mobile phone video streaming was even possible. Other complexities involve ABC’s local stations, which might — if not courted properly — feel threatened by an app.

But ABC, seeing shifts in consumer behavior, is pressing forward. The network has started to talk with stations about how to include them in the live streaming app. Illustrating the difficult contractual issues, ABC offhandedly first mentioned a forthcoming Watch ABC app in a news release nine months ago, when it signed a deal with Comcast to make several Watch Disney apps available to Comcast subscribers.

But the network live streaming ability is inching closer to fruition, the people briefed on the project said. A spokesman for ABC declined to comment.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple’s next-gen “budget” iPhone to feature same 4-inch display as current iPhone 5

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Date: Friday, March 15th, 2013, 07:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Just because you’re buying the economy model doesn’t mean you have to settle for a smaller screen.

Per AppleInsider, contrary to some rumors suggesting Apple’s low-cost iPhone will have a larger 4.5-inch display, the company’s new entry-level handset will have a 4-inch display, matching the size of the iPhone 5.

The details on Apple’s so-called “budget” iPhone were revealed on Friday by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a reliable track record in predicting Apple’s future product plans. According to Kuo, the specs for Apple’s low-cost iPhone were decided in 2011, and the company is “unlikely to abruptly change” due to a market shift toward larger screens in the 5-inch range.

The new, less expensive iPhone model is said to have a “super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber.” The material will make it stronger, thinner and lighter than typical smartphone plastic casings, Kuo said.

He expects the thickness to be between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters, which is thinner than the average plastic casing at between 0.7 and 1 millimeter.

The phone will also reportedly come in a range of colors, much like Apple’s iPod lineup. According to Kuo, there will be between four and six options, expanding from the black and white choices currently available on existing iPhone models.

Apple is said to have contracted with Foxconn as well as Green Point of the Jabil group for its strong and thin iPhone plastic casings. Hon Hai will both build casings and assemble the phones, while Jabil is expected to provide its casings to Pegatron, which will assemble the remaining iPhones. The analyst reported earlier this week that Apple was likely to diversify manufacturers for both its low-cost and legacy iPhones.

Kuo’s latest report issued on Friday was specifically issued to dispel claims made in the rumor mill that claimed Foxconn would be losing orders for Apple’s low-cost iPhone. The report erroneously indicated that the device would have a larger display than 4 inches.

The latest information from Kuo corroborates other rumored details present within the tech industry. That report claimed the “budget” iPhone will feature a 5-inch display like the iPhone 5, but will also borrow some design elements from the latest iPod touch and even the legacy iPod classic, with a flat back made of plastic.

In addition to a low-cost iPhone based on the design of the iPhone 5, Kuo also expects Apple to release an updated premium “iPhone 5S” later this year. He has previously revealed that the next high-end iPhone is expected to include a fingerprint sensor under the home button that will eliminate the need to enter passwords and potentially add new functionality such as secure e-wallet transactions through Passbook.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Security firm Skycure illustrates possible hacking attacks through iOS’ use of Provisioning Profiles

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Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, 07:41
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

In the words of assorted security analysts, Apple may be setting itself up for a malware fall thanks to its Provisioning Profiles.

Per The Next Web, while iOS users have been relatively safe from malware on their devices, researchers from security company Skycure say they’re concerned about a feature of iOS that could be used by malicious actors to read information, passwords and even encrypted data from devices without customers knowledge. They’ve detailed the new vulnerability in a presentation at the Herzliya Conference and a company blog post.

It’s worth noting at the beginning that Skycure’s product, still in development, is a mobile firewall with a cloud component designed to secure devices against attacks just like these. This isn’t all that unusual, though, as many security firms like Sophos and Intego produce research reports along with consulting and security products.

Provisioning Profiles (mobileconfigs) are small files installed with a single tap on iOS devices. They essentially function as instruction lists which can alter many settings, including network configurations and they’re used by thousands of companies around the world including app developers, corporations with IT departments and more.

Their use is officially approved by Apple and there is nothing innately malicious about any given profile. But, if put to the right uses, they do open up the ability to read usernames and passwords right off of a screen, transmit data that would normally be secure (over HTTPS) to a malicious server where it can be read and a lot more.

In a demonstration, Skycure’s CTO Yair Amit and CEO Adi Sharabani sent the author to a website where a link was offered. A provisioning profile was presented, installed and led to a screen that looked a lot like a phishing attempt, which requires an action on the part of a user in order to infect or grant access to a hacker.

After the profile was installed, Sharabani demonstrated that he could not only read exactly which websites the author had visited, but also scrape keystrokes, searches and login data from apps like Facebook and LinkedIn. To be perfectly clear, this is not a vulnerability within iOS, instead it uses standardized frameworks to deliver a profile that has malicious intent.

iOS has typically been far more secure than other platforms because of its heavy use of curation on the App Store, but also because it has been built from the ground up to use sandboxing. This means that apps are cordoned off, unable to reach outside of their data box or to affect any other apps that have not given them explicit permission to do so.

Provisioning Profiles step outside of that protection and can do things like route all of a victim’s traffic through a third-party server, install root certificates allowing for interception and decryption of secure HTTPS traffic and more.

Sharabani provides a couple of scenarios by which people could be convinced to install what seems like a harmless provisioning profile, only to be a victim of a traffic re-routing attack:

– Victims browse to an attacker-controlled website, which promises them free access to popular movies and TV shows. In order to get the free access, “all they have to do” is to install an iOS profile that will “configure” their devices accordingly.

– Victims receive a mail that promises them a “better battery performance” or just “something cool to watch” upon installation.

The attacks, Sharabani stated, can be configured to use a VPN, APN proxy or a wireless proxy (WiFi), so just because you’re not on a WiFi network doesn’t mean that the profile can’t send your traffic to a third-party. This also means that (unlike a VPN, where there is an indicator in your status bar), you could also be affected by the hack without your knowledge. Of course, you would still have had to install a profile in the first place.

For the third attack scenario, Skycure came up with a list of cellular carriers that ask clients to install a special profile that configures their device to work with that network’s data servers. Of course, those sites could end up being compromised to deliver corrupted profiles, but it’s bound to be harder to do if it’s the carrier’s own servers doing the distribution.

As of now, no evidence has been found of a Provisioning Profile attack in the wild. And, to be extremely blunt once again, you are not at risk at all if you don’t install any profiles to your device, period. And if you have to, make sure that those profiles are from a trusted source and are verified. You should also only download and install profiles from ‘secure’ HTTPS links.

The disclosure of the issue, Sharabani says, is really about raising awareness, rather than starting a panic. While the attacks can be powerful and harmful, the Provisioning Profile attack, much like phishing, relies on user ignorance. Just as you wouldn’t type your password into a page provided as a random link, don’t install profiles from websites that you don’t know and avoid them completely if at all possible.

Because of the deep integration of Provisioning Profiles into the workflows of IT departments and other companies, it’s unlikely that they’ll be going away any time soon. So the best defense for now is knowledge and care.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Lawmakers drafting bipartisan bill that would allow for cell phone unlocking after contract terms have been met

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Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, 07:30
Category: iPhone, Legal, News

Well, maybe SOME aspects of the government sort of work.

Per AppleInsider, U.S. Senator Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow users to legally unlock their smartphone once their contract subsidy has concluded.

The Democrat from Minnesota announced on Tuesday that the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” would restore an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and allow users to unlock their cell phone once their contract expires.

Joining Franken were Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The senators defined the bill as a “narrow and common sense proposal” that they believe will promote competition and improve consumer choice.

The bill was prompted by a Library of Congress ruling made in late 2012 that determined cell phone unlocking would be removed as a legal exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As of Jan. 26, 2013, unauthorized unlocking of all newly purchased phones became illegal. “This bipartisan legislation will quickly allow consumers to unlock their current phones instead of having to purchase a new one.” — Sen. Al Franken

“Right now, folks who decide to change cellphone carriers are frequently forced to buy a new phone or risk the possibility of criminal penalties, and that’s just not fair for consumers,” Franken said. “This bipartisan legislation will quickly allow consumers to unlock their current phones instead of having to purchase a new one. I support this commonsense solution to save consumers money.”

Last week, President Barack Obama’s administration also came out in support of legalizing the unlocking of cell phones and tablets. Their endorsement was given in response to a White House petition created by Sina Khanifar, which to date has received nearly 115,000 signatures.

Khanifar said he frequently travels from Europe to San Francisco, Calif. Those international trips have made cell phone locking not only a nuisance, but also a financial burden.

“Anyone who travels internationally, and most people do at some point, you won’t be able to take your cell phone with you,” he said. “Trying to use it with the existing roaming fees that carriers charge is almost impossible because they’re so exorbitant.”

The proposed Senate bill would alleviate those issues for consumers like Khanifar. A similar bipartisan bill is also expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives this week.

“It just makes sense that cell phone users should be able to do what they want with their phones after satisfying their initial service contract,” Hatch said. “This bill reinstates that ability, while also ensuring that copyrights are not violated.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Early iPhone prototype photo gallery posted

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Date: Monday, March 11th, 2013, 07:27
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Pictures

It may not be an exclusive picture of the next-gen iPhone, but it’s interesting to know where the iOS devices you love come from.

Per Ars Technica, a photo gallery has been released of a prototype of the original 2007 iPhone, complete with a 5″x7″ display and a variety of tacked-on ports that were used in testing.


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It’s sort of a Frankenstein mish mash of ports and parts, but it became the device that’s most likely sitting in your pocket right now.

And honestly pretty cool stuff to boot.

AT&T cites support for unlocking handsets provided conditions are met

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Date: Friday, March 8th, 2013, 13:17
Category: iPhone, News

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This might make things easier.

Per TechHive and AT&T’s company blog, in the wake of efforts being made by consumers, politicians and the the top librarian at the Library of Congress to permit unlocking your own mobile phone is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), AT&T has gone on the record to state that the company won’t impede these efforts and will assist where possible.

“I want to be completely clear that AT&T’s policy is to unlock our customers’ devices if they’ve met the terms of their service agreements and we have the unlock code,” vice president Joan Marsh wrote in a company blog posted Friday entitled “Bottom Line: We Unlock Our Customers’ Devices.”

“It’s a straightforward policy, and we aim to make the unlocking process as easy as possible,” she added.

Marsh explained that the company will unlock a customer’s phone as long as the carrier can obtain the unlock code for the device and the phone’s owner has had an active account with AT&T for at least 60 days, the account is in good standing, and there’s no unpaid balance on it.

“If the conditions are met, we will unlock up to five devices per account per year,” Marsh wrote.

AT&T will not unlock devices that have been reported stolen, though.

The carrier’s unlock policy is consistent with the one aired by the White House in a response to an electronic petition criticizing last year’s ruling that phone unlocking was illegal. That petition garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

“The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties,” wrote R. David Edelmen, White House senior advisor for Internet, innovation and privacy, wrote in the Obama administration’s official response to the petition.

“[I]f you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network,” he added.

“It’s common sense,” he continued, “crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.