Apple quietly removes jailbreak API detection code in iOS 4.2

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This is a bit weird but maybe it makes sense in the long run.

Per Network World, less than six months after introducing it, Apple has quietly disabled its jailbreak detection API (Application Programming Interface) through the iOS 4.2 software update, according to a new report.

The publication reported that the API, which was released in June as part of a mobile device management (MDM) bundle for iOS 4.0, has been disabled in iOS 4.2, leaving perplexed vendors to question why. The API had previously allowed third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria, to check for unauthorized modifications to the system files, author John Cox wrote.

Third-party MDM vendors had created their own utilities to check for jailbreaks, but Apple’s jailbreak detection API granted MDM applications direct access to iOS system information.

“We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”

Though jailbreaking an Apple device voids its warranty, the U.S. government recently legalized the process through a handful of exemptions to preexisting laws forbidding it.

Since the release of iOS, Apple has gone back and forth with the jailbreaking community, both sides working to one up each other with each new update. As vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited by the hacking community, Apple rushes to patch the issues, while hackers secretly move on to the next flaw.

In August, hackers released a high publicity browser-based jailbreak for the iPhone 4 that drew attention to a glaring security flaw that could have exposed users to malicious software just by visiting website.

As hackers became aware of the jailbreak detection API, they may have begun circumventing it, adding another layer to the tug-of-war between jailbreakers and Apple.

“Whatever [Apple] adds [in the OS] to detect the jailbreak, if it is to be queried from the iOS kernel, it must be accessible and have the ability to be changed,” security consultant Jeremy Allen told Cox. “Meaning, if it is going to be a useful detection method it can also be circumvented. It is a fairly intractable problem to solve 100%.”

The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers. Also at stake is Apple’s relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks. In the U.S., for instance, the iPhone is only available through AT&T, though Verizon is expected to begin selling the iPhone early next year. Users looking to use their locked iPhones on other carriers often jailbreak and unlock their handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

HP adds AirPrint functionality to six printers via firmware updates

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Date: Friday, December 10th, 2010, 13:59
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The AirPrint feature has been released with iOS 4.2.

Now it’s time to find a printer that actually supports this.

Per AppleInsider, HP this week updated the firmware of six of its printers, enabling compatibility with Apple’s AirPrint, which allows printing directly from iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

The company added the functionality to six of its Officejet line of printers with firmware updates released on Thursday, the new models consisting of the following:
- Officejet 6500A e-AiO

- Officejet 6500A Plus e-AiO

- Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-AiO

- Officejet Pro 8500A e-AiO

- Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-AiO

- Officejet Pro 8500A Premium e-AiO

The addition of six new printers makes a total of 18 printers from HP that are now compatible with AirPrint. Five existing printers offer AirPrint functionality out of the box, while another seven had previously released firmware updates that added the ability to print from iOS 4.2.

AirPrint was originally intended to work from any printer shared through a Mac or PC. In early builds of iOS 4.2, iTunes 10.1 and Mac OS X 10.6.5 issued to developers, printers could be shared over a local network to iOS 4.2 devices.

That functionality was eventually removed, and now only HP printers with support for direct wireless printing without sharing through a Mac or PC work with AirPrint. However, a number of fixes and workarounds have been released that allow users to share a printer once again.

There were rumors that a legal dispute led Apple to remove the printer sharing feature from Mac OS X 10.6.5, iTunes 10.1 and iOS 4.2 at the last minute. Apple’s own website now only promises that AirPrint allows users to “print mail, photos, web pages, and more directly to a printer on a wireless network.”

If you have one of these printers, try the firmware update and let us know how this process goes.

Analyst: Verizon may accept more of Apple’s terms for access to iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 08:35
Category: iPhone, News

verizonlogo.jpg

Verizon may be willing to accept Apple’s terms regarding the iPhone according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Per The Mac Observer, a deal between the two companies is “closer to reality,” and Verizon may be more willing to pay what Apple wants under Apple’s terms as Android “starts losing some of its luster (at least at Verizon).”

The change would mark a shift in the rumored negotiations between the two companies, as Verizon previously hadn’t wanted to pay the same high subsidies AT&T pays for each iPhone signed up on its network. The telecom has also been unhappy with the notion of leaving Apple in charge of the customer experience, as it is with almost all of its carrier partners.

“Times have changed,” wrote Mr. Wu in a research note to his firm’s clients clients. “Apple is back in the driver’s seat with a record 14.1 million iPhone shipments in the September quarter helping AT&T gain share against VZ over the last two quarters as Android starts to lose some of its luster (at least at VZ). In addition, our sources indicate that VZ does not believe the pending launch of BlackBerry 6 on its network is likely to have a material impact.”

Another factor playing into the negotiations, according to industry and supply chain checks conducted by Kaufman Bros., is that Verizon may be willing to pay more than (i.e. what AT&T pays) to keep the device exclusive to AT&T and Verizon in the U.S., and off of Sprint and T-Mobile.

The iPhone has been the single biggest drive in customer growth for AT&T, helping Ma Bell to close much of the distance between itself and Big Red. AT&T has enjoyed an exclusive five year deal on the iPhone, but that five year contract will be up as soon sometime-in-2011, according to a variety of reported leaks and informed speculation (the smart money is on the summer of 2011).

While Verizon wants to end AT&T’s exclusivity on the device, the company doesn’t necessarily want every other carrier to get it, too, according to the reasoning laid out by Mr. Wu.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: white iPhone 4 spotted in public, Apple working out tech issues though handset due in spring

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Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been hankering for it and it’s almost here.

Though it could need some tweaking.

Per the Seattle Times, a white iPhone 4 was spotted in public, though another handset constructed using leaked alleged official parts demonstrates issues with the camera flash.

Last week, a news producer in Seattle reportedly saw a white iPhone 4 at a Whole Foods store. The owner, an Italian man, reportedly claimed he was testing the device for Apple, and that it would go on sale in Europe in February.

The person claimed that the handset was modified so the iPhone 4 antenna issue which caused headlines earlier this year, no longer exists. According to The Seattle Times, the man also said that Apple was having problems keeping the edges of the device from yellowing.

Apple has repeatedly delayed the white iPhone 4, citing production issues. Rumors have suggested the color of the device has been a problem, though Apple has not clarified.

The news producer also snapped the following photo of the device spotted in the wild:

In other news, German web site MacNotes.de obtained what it says are official parts for Apple’s white iPhone 4. The site took a regular, black iPhone 4 and had the white external glass placed on it.

Though obviously not an official white iPhone 4, the site found that the camera flash had issues with the white glass, causing overexposed photos.

Finally, some Apple retail stores around the country began advertising over the weekend that the white iPhone 4 is set to debut in Spring 2011, according to The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Taking the season literally, that would mean the handset could debut at any point between March 20 and June 21.

Apple formally announced in October that the white iPhone 4 was delayed until Spring 2011. Apple also stopped advertising the hardware on its site after numerous delays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Nokia Siemens: iOS 4.2 update feature helps reduce wireless network congestion

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Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 06:08
Category: iPhone, News

Electronics outfit Nokia Siemens Networks revealed Tuesday that the company had conducted tests confirming that the iOS 4.2 update for iPhone supports its Network Controlled Fast Dormancy technology, which minimizes network congestion and improves battery life.

Network Controlled Fast Dormancy (NCFD), which was developed by Nokia Siemens Networks, reduces network congestion by keeping smartphones in an “intermediate state” instead of alternating between idle and always active on the network.

From this intermediate state, smartphones can “wake up” more quickly while conserving battery life when not in use. NCFD also reduces the number of signals needed to start a data connection between a smartphone and a network.

The post did not explain what kinds of tests Nokia Siemens Networks ran to confirm the iPhone’s support of the technology, but did state that the iPhone will take advantage of NCFD on networks that support it. Nokia implemented NCFD into its own smartphones earlier this year, the post noted.

Per an unnamed Middle Eastern operator, smartphones on a Nokia Siemens Networks network had 11 hours of battery life compared to 6 hours on a competing network. Testing in North America found that Nokia Siemens Networks’ “smart networks” generate “up to 50% less smartphone signaling.”

It is unclear to what extent NCFD has been implemented on the AT&T network, but the new technology could serve to lighten the load for the sole carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., which has been criticized for poor coverage in major cities such as New York and San Francisco.

If any of you have seen improvements on this end with your iPhone since the iOS 4.2.1 update last week, please let us know.

Random FaceTime calls reported, iOS 4.2.1 bug suspected

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Date: Monday, November 29th, 2010, 14:50
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

As cool as the idea of FaceTime and videoconferencing can be, you really don’t want to be receiving these calls without expecting them.

Per iPodNN, some of Apple’s various FaceTime-compatible devices made a series of random calls to each other overnight between the 27th and the 28th, according to reports and complaints on Apple’s support forums. While the iPhone 4 was predominantly affected, the issue is also said to have hit the fourth-generation iPod touch, and even the Mac beta client. The calls are often described as showing mutual requests, even though no one actually dialed, and in some cases one of the devices was off.



The incidents are moreover said to have occurred at about the same time: approximately 6:30PM Pacific, 9:30PM Eastern and 3:30AM in central Europe. The exact cause is unclear, but could involve a problem on Apple servers handling the FaceTime system. Because of the involvement of Macs, the glitch is unlikely to be related to iOS 4.2.1, which was made public just last Monday.

Me, I’m of the opinion that this is a preemptive (and lame) initial attack by a SkyNet-esque computer that simply wants to terrify you by having to conduct a FaceTime call with relatives this close after Thanksgiving…

Rumor: iOS 4.3 to be released in December, include app subscription features

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Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 15:56
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

Because rumors make technology interesting.

Per MacStories, a new rumor claims that Apple is planning to release iOS 4.3 in December, with recurring app subscriptions.

Citing an anonymous source, the site reported that Apple plans to release iOS 4.3 in mid-December. The update will reportedly allow users to subscribe to content, like News Corp’s purported tablet-only newspaper The Daily.

The latest report corroborates previous rumors that Apple is planning to hold a special media event on Dec. 9 to announce its subscription plans, as well as partnerships with content providers for newspapers and magazines. It cautioned, however, that the release of iOS 4.3 could be delayed due to unexpected issues that forced the delay of iOS 4.2.

The report said Apple hopes to release iOS 4.3 on Dec. 13, after its planned event. In addition to app subscriptions, the software update may also address initial issues with AirPlay.

The report also suggested that Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina, the purpose of which remains unknown, could play a part in the release of iOS 4.3. It noted that Monday’s release of iOS 4.2 strained Apple’s systems, and the company could flip the switch on the server farm to help services like iTunes, MobileMe, activations and more.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases long-awaited iOS 4.2.1 update for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad devices

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 11:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

At long last, Apple has finally released its iOS 4.2.1 update for the following devices:

- iPad

- iPod touch (second generation and up)

- iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4

The update, which tops out at several hundred megabytes and is available via iTunes (as usual, just plug the device in, click the device window in iTunes, then click “Update”), adds the following fixes and changes:

- AirPrint

- AirPlay

- FaceTime Improvements

- Find text on the Web page in Safari

- New fonts settings available for Notes

- New SMS/MMS text tones and the ability to set custom tones per contact

- Additional restrictions (parental controls)

- Import .ics files to Calendar

- Bug fixes

- Multitasking on iPad: iOS 4.2 brings multitasking from iPhone and iPod touch to iPad. So you can be more productive as you work, have more fun as you play, or do a little of both. Everything happens smoothly and efficiently — without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

- Folders on iPad: Now your iPad has more room for more apps. Move apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity to declutter your Home screens and keep your apps organized for fast access to your favorites.

- Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — the MobileMe feature that helps you locate your missing device and protect its data — is now free on any iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.2.3 Once you set it up, you can find your lost device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock, and initiate a remote wipe to delete your data. And if you eventually find your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can restore everything from your last backup.

Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

Honestly, this was a long time coming and after two golden master development releases, it’s time to see how it pans out. Please let us know how the updates worked for you and, positive or negative, feel free to comment on it!

Apple responds to carriers’ demands, drops embedded SIM technology from iPhones

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:44
Category: iPhone, News

This sort of proves that neither side can really have their cake and eat it to.

According to The Telegraph, assorted carriers threatened to stop offering subsidies for the iPhone, reportedly pushing Apple to abandon its plans to create an embedded SIM card that would allow users to choose and switch carriers more easily.

Per one source, Apple was “sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs.”

While Apple has reportedly abandoned its plans for embedded SIM cards in the iPhone, it will allegedly push ahead with that technology for the iPad. The publication claimed that Apple could offer a new iPad with an integrated SIM card before Christmas, or early next year.

However, the report also incorrectly stated that a “new version” of the iPad will be released within a few weeks, and will turn the orientation lock switch on the right side of the device into a mute switch. This change will not be done with a “new” device, but rather the forthcoming iOS 4.2 software update for existing first-generation iPads.

In October, it was reported that Apple was developing an open SIM card that would allow users to shop for mobile carriers directly from the Apple Store. The integrated card would allegedly allow iPhone buyers to activate their service without having to call or visit a mobile carrier.

In addition to allowing users to select a carrier right from their phone, a programmable integrated SIM would also enable users to travel the globe and initiate service without having to obtain a unique SIM card for each carrier in a different country.

Last week reports surfaced that European carriers were threatening Apple that they would cut subsidies if a new iPhone with an embedded SIM card were released. Carriers accused Apple of trying to gain control of customers, essentially marginalizing the role carriers play with iPhone users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.2.1 golden master to developer community

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 15:10
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Um, good things are worth waiting a fairly long time for?

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday issued yet another iOS golden master to developers, this time dubbed iOS 4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Sources familiar with the latest software update said it is known as Build 8C148. Software that has reached the golden master status is typically final code that will be released to the public.

However, two golden masters of iOS 4.2 were issued to developers: the first one for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on November 1st, and a second specifically for the iPad less than two weeks later.

Previous reports indicated that the release of iOS 4.2 was held up by issues with Wi-Fi connectivity in the first golden master. The release of numerous golden masters to developers would suggest that an issue with the software was spotted before it could be released to the public.

Some users who connected their iPhone or iPad to iTunes on Thursday were given error messages that the software update server could not be contacted. That led to some anticipation that iOS 4.2 might finally be released, though it never came to be.

The update will mark the debut of iOS 4 on the iPad and is expected bring features like folders and multitasking.