Apple alters Chinese iPhone Wi-Fi protocol to adopt government standard

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple fought for years to break the iPhone into the Chinese marketplace and appears to be doing what it takes to stay there.

Per Macworld UK, the company appears to have tweaked its iPhone to support a Chinese security protocol for wireless networks. This follows suit as companies increasingly adopt Chinese government-backed technologies and standards to stay on the nation’s store shelves.

The move suggests Apple may soon launch a new version of the iPhone in China with Wi-Fi, a feature that regulations previously barred.

Chinese regulators last month approved the frequency ranges used by a new Apple mobile phone with 3G and wireless LAN support, as noted by China’s State Radio Monitoring Center. The device appears to be an iPhone and uses GSM and the 3G standard WCDMA, just like iPhones currently offered in China by local carrier China Unicom.

Apple removed Wi-Fi on the iPhones now sold in China because regulators there began approving mobile phones with WLAN support only last year. These units are only supported if they use a homegrown Chinese security protocol called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure).

The new Apple phone does support WAPI, according to the Chinese regulatory site. If an iPhone with WAPI goes on sale, Apple would be one of the highest-profile companies to offer a device using the protocol.

The new Apple phone may also support standard Wi-Fi. The Chinese security protocol is an alternative for just part of Wi-Fi, and devices can support both it and the technology it is meant to replace.

China has promoted the protocol, along with other homegrown technologies like the 3G standard TD-SCDMA, as part of a vision to produce more of its own technology and have it adopted by international companies.

Earlier this year, China Unicom chairman and CEO said the company was in talks with Apple about offering a version of the iPhone with Wi-Fi.

The new Apple device, like all mobile phones, still must obtain a network access license from regulators if its maker wants to sell it in China.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Fourth-Gen iPhone prototype locator uncovered

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 30th, 2010, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

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The individual who found the lost fourth-generationan iPhone prototype, then reportedly held onto it for weeks and sold it for US$5,000 has been identified as Brian Hogan, a 21 year old resident of Redwood City, California.

Per Wired’s Threat Level blog, Hogan attorney Jeffrey Bornstein told Wired that Gizmodo has “emphasized” to his client that “there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press,” a restatement of events apparently intended to downplay the fact that the tech blog publicly paid Hogan for receipt of a device that clearly did not belong to him.

The blog posting stated that Hogan was only able to access Facebook on the prototype phone before it was shut down. Gizmodo reported the phone owner’s identity via that Facebook page, making it clear that Hogan had detailed knowledge of who the phone belonged to, despite Hogan’s decision to hold onto it for weeks before selling it to Gizmodo along with the identity of the engineer who had lost it.

A report by CNET noted that Hogan “had help in finding a buyer for the phone.” It identified “Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old University of California at Berkeley student” as an associate of Hogan.

CNET said Wallower acted as a middleman, along with at least one other unnamed individual, who “contacted technology sites about what is believed to be Apple’s next-generation iPhone.” The report noted that Wallower “previously worked as a computer security officer at the publicly traded Securitas corporation and that he possesses ‘top-secret clearance,’” according to his LinkedIn profile.

The report also noted discovery of an Amazon suggestion list created for Wallower by a friend which included “a book co-authored by ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick titled, ‘The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers.’”

Wired’s latest blog posting sympathetically characterizes Hogan as working in a church-run community center and serving as a volunteer benefiting Chinese orphans as well as orphans in Kenya who need medical care. A previous Threat Level blog entry on the iPhone prototype story debuted the idea that “news accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a ‘sale’ are incorrect,” setting the stage for later identifying Hogan as a hero to orphans worldwide, who simply ‘made a mistake involving sharing,’ rather than being a thief who sold stolen merchandise for thousands of dollars instead of returning it to its known owner.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple settles on LG Innotek components for 5.0 megapixel camera sensors

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2010, 11:43
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you were curious about the exact components to go into the fourth-generation iPhone, a report from The Chosun reported Wednesday that Korean electronics giant LG Innotek will supply 5-megapixel camera sensors for the upcoming handset.

Per the article, LG Innotek began “producing the sophisticated cameras at its plant in Gumi this month and will mass produce them starting in the second half of this year.”

The report contradicts a rumor issued this past December, in which it said that OmniVision, the supplier of CMOS image sensors for the current iPhone, expected to see demand for its sensors in iPhones grow as high as 45 million after it secured a deal to supply a 5-megapixel camera for the next-generation iPhone.

In addition to the camera upgrade from 3.2 megapixels to 5.0 megapixels, the fourth-generation iPhone model is also expect to gain a camera flash. Sources close to the story stated that Apple had been shopping around for LED camera flash components and may have settled on Philips’ LUXEON LED camera flash technology.

Since then, there has been substantial supporting evidence supporting those claims, such as the presence of camera flash functions in Apple’s pre-release builds of iPhone Software 4.0.

The fourth-generation iPhone, is also expected to ship with a front-facing video camera that will work with a mobile version of Apple’s iChat video conferencing software set to debut at the same time.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.4 build to wider developer base for testing

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Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2010, 04:40
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Wednesday released a widespread developer beta version of its Mac OS X 10.6.4, the fourth maintenance and security update for its Snow Leopard operating system. Until now, the future OS had been under development internally for several weeks.

According to AppleInsider, the beta, labeled Mac OS X 10.6.4 build 10F37, made its way to Apple Developer Connection (ADC) members just one day after a more elite set of testers belonging to Apple’s Apple Seed program were able to test the beta.

According to sources familiar with Wednesday distribution, Apple has asked developers to test four key areas of the system, including graphics drivers, Windows file sharing, USB devices and Voice Over.

Although the build released to ADC members on Wednesday is identical to the one issued to Apple Seed members on Tuesday, an emphasis on evaluating Time Machine backups noted in the Apple Seed distribution was not extended to the ADC version.

It’s unclear what specific issues Mac OS X 10.6.4 will target upon its release, as Apple reportedly stopped short of including a list of enhancements with either of the aforementioned distributions.

That said, the updated build could arrive sooner than later given that the Mac maker went through 36 builds internally before tapping its developer community to put its weight on the software.

Apple listed only one known issue in documentation accompanying Wednesday’s build: that iChat will require a password each time it’s launched.

AT&T holds back on data tethering for iPhone, cites potential traffic spikes

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2010, 04:59
Category: iPhone, News

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You’ve wanted data tethering on your iPhone for years now.

And AT&T may one day provide this.

Per MacRumors, Engadget received a comment from AT&T stating that installing data tethering could create high traffic usage that could hamper network performance:

“iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature –over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing – before we will offer the feature.”

Tethering is the process of using your iPhone as a wireless internet modem for your other devices such as your laptop.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in on this one.

Legality of Chen/iPhone raid called into question

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 09:13
Category: iPhone, News

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Following the police raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen (the editor who wrote about the now-infamous fourth-generation iPhone prototype), the examination of Chen’s seized computers has been put on hold.

Gizmodo had paid US$5,000 for an iPhone prototype that had been accidentally left behind at a Silicon Valley bar and written extensively about the device.

Per BBC News, Chen’s lawyers have argued that Chen is protected by California’s shield law and State lawyers are considering whether the raids in Fremont were legal.

The shield law states that journalists have the right to protect their unpublished material from examination.

In the meantime, San Mateo county chief deputy district attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he was considering the matter and expected to issue a legal memo later this week.

Wagstaffe cited that the computers would not be examined until then and that the laptops, hard-drive and USB memory sticks that belong to Mr Chen are currently being held by the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (React), the state’s high-tech crime taskforce that conducted the raid.

They ordered the search after Apple reported the phone stolen.

Earlier, Wagstaffe had defended the raid, saying prosecutors had considered whether reporter shield laws applied to the case but decided to proceed.

He also said that police knew the identity of the person who took the phone and that they had talked to him.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 9.1.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 03:35
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.1.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 93.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Addresses several stability issues with VoiceOver.
- Addresses a usability issue with VoiceOver and Genius Mixes.
- Addresses issues with converting songs to 128 kbps AAC while syncing.
- Addresses other issues that improve stability and performance.

iTunes 9.1.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Developer submits App Store application for program that allows wireless iTunes syncing

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, this could be cool if Apple approves it.

Per Engadget, developer Greg Hughes has submitted an application that allows the iPhone and iPod touch to sync wirelessly with iTunes over Wi-Fi, and plans to submit the software to the App Store later this week.

The software, dubbed “Wi-Fi Sync,” requires a separate desktop application on either a Mac OS X or Windows machine that allows the sync to occur over a wireless network. Hughes, released the following video that shows the syncing process with the application, which must first be approved by Apple before it could be released for the App Store:



The first sync includes a pairing process that must only be done once to verify that the iPhone is to be synced with the computer. Once a handset has been paired with a computer by accepting prompts on both devices, iTunes is then launched on the computer and begins syncing with the mobile device.

It’s unknown as to whether Apple will approve the application or if it violates the company’s development rules on any level.

Gizmodo editor’s home raided by police, equipment seized

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPhone, News

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It might be fair to say that Apple isn’t happy with Gizmodo about that iPhone story.

Per AppleInsider, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home last week and seized four computers and two servers in its felony investigation of an obtained prototype iPhone.

Gizmodo revealed the information, along with a copy of the warrant issued by a judge of the superior court in San Mateo County, Calif. In response, the website’s post argued that it believes the warrant was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.

The warrant states that there was probable cause that Chen’s computers were “used as the means of committing a felony.” The REACT authorities entered Chen’s home without him present, according to Gizmodo.

A full inventory of the seized material includes a MacBook, MacBook Pro, 32GB iPad, 16GB iPhone, an AirPort Extreme, IBM ThinkPad, a Dell desktop, external hard drives, and many more. The items were removed from numerous rooms in his home.

An account of the events by Chen was also filed. The Gizmodo editor said he and his wife came back home from dinner around 9:45 p.m. when they noticed their garage door was half-open. When he tried to open the door, officers searched him and informed him that his property was under their control.

Chen’s front door was reportedly broken open so the authorities could enter, and those on the scene informed him that he could be reimbursed for the damage. Chen was provided with a copy of the warrant, and declined to comment to the authorities. He was not arrested.

Last week it was revealed that police are investigating the Gizmodo purchase of a prototype iPhone from Apple. The publication’s parent company, Gawker Media, has openly admitted it paid US$5,000 to obtain the device from a man who claimed he found it at a California bar.

The prototype was allegedly left at the Redwood City establishment by an Apple engineer. The employee frantically searched for the device, calling the bar multiple times to see if it had been returned, but the owner of the bar said no one ever contacted him to say they had found an iPhone. Gizmodo claimed that the person who found the phone attempted to call Apple and did not receive a response.

Gizmodo returned the iPhone to Apple after the company requested it be given back, but not before the publication wrote numerous stories about the device and revealed the name of the engineer who allegedly lost the device. The website also disassembled the hardware to confirm it was manufactured by Apple.

Apple opens up video decoding APIs to Adobe, other developers

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a well-publicized conflict between two large companies can actually lead to something good. Per Macworld, Apple has released information on how third-party developers can take advantage of hardware acceleration for graphics, a previously unavailable feature that’s been blamed for Flash’s poor performance on the Mac platform.

Traditionally, Flash hasn’t performed nearly as well on Mac OS X as it has on Windows, especially when it comes to video playback despite the fact that these days both platforms run on comparably-powerful hardware. Adobe has been adamant thatany performance issues in Flash are the result of Apple not making the necessary video decoding application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers, thus preventing them from taking advantage of hardware acceleration on Macs that support it.

However, a recently released Apple Technical Note for Mac OS X 10.6.3 details a new Video Decode Acceleration Framework that may help developers. The framework seems to be a relatively simple and straightforward set of APIs to do precisely what Adobe wants: use hardware acceleration to decode raw H.264 video.

“We will be enabling support for hardware accelerated video decoding for Flash Player on Mac,” said Adobe spokesperson Matt Rozen. “Now that the required APIs are available, we are working on an additional Flash Player release to follow shortly after Flash Player 10.1 to include this functionality for the hardware configurations supported by the new APIs.”

Until now, the only way to take advantage of hardware acceleration when decoding video was to use Apple’s QuickTime APIs, which only work with video that is stored in a “traditional” H.264 container, such as an MP4 file. By letting developers use the raw hardware-decoding capabilities of the graphics processors available in many Macs, Apple allows decoding video that is stored in any format, even if it’s not considered “standard.” By communicating directly with the hardware, an application can now decode video regardless of where or how it’s stored.

Unfortunately, the Video Decode Acceleration Framework has its limitations in that it can only take advantage of hardware video decoding with those GPUs that support that functionality. These GPUs include NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M graphics chipsets and, because they require Mac OS X 10.6.3, the new APIs are only available on Intel-based Macs.

Even with these limitations, Apple may be lending Adobe and other developers the access they need to help improve Flash on Mac OS X or even bring it to the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad somewhere down the line…