Apple releases iOS 7.0.2 update, fixes Lock Screen vulnerability

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Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013, 12:43
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

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It got some negative attention and now it’s got a fix.

On Thursday, Apple released iOS 7.0.2, an updated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Fixes bugs that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode.

– Reintroduces a Greek keyboard option for passcode entry.

iOS 7.0.2 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

iPhone 5s, 5c to come to additional U.S. regional carriers on October 1st

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Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013, 07:04
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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The iPhone’s regional support and overall availability in the U.S. is about to become a bit more robust.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s and mid-range iPhone 5c will become available on eight regional wireless carriers in U.S. beginning Oct. 1, including C Spire, Cellcom, and Bluegrass.

The new iPhones may get slightly easier to find as they make their way to regional wireless carriers next month. Apple moved more than nine million iPhone 5s and 5c units in their first weekend of availability, and larger national carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint quickly sold out of their supply.

Carriers launching Apple’s new phones on Oct. 1 include:

– Cellcom – Michigan and Wisconsin

– C Spire Wireless – Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia

– Nex-Tech Wireless – Kansas and Colorado

– MTA – Alaska

– GCI – Alaska

– Bluegrass Cellular – Kentucky

– Appalachian Wireless – Kentucky and Virginia

– Ntelos – Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina

Some of the smaller carriers have chosen to offer the devices at a discount — for instance, consumers can get an on-contract iPhone 5s from Ntelos for US$149.99, a US$50 discount from the the phone’s normal price.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iMac EFI Firmware Update 2.1 for late-2013 iMacs

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Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 13:24
Category: iMac, News, Software

Never doubt a firmware update.

On Wednesday, Apple released version iMac EFI Firmware Update 2.1 for its just-released late 2013 iMacs. The update, an 8.7 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– This update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a late-2013 iMac running OS X 10.8.4 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update with your new iMac and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

AppleCare+ policies to change, will allow for hardware repairs in any country where AppleCare+ is offered

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Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 07:48
Category: Apple TV, AppleCare, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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If you travel with an AppleCare-covered device, you might like this.

Per AppleInsider and TechCrunch, it was revealed on Tuesday that Apple has changed the terms and conditions tied to AppleCare+ and will be lifting geographic limitations on support, meaning travelers can get their device serviced outside of their home country.

As noted, the recent policy change allows owners to take in products for repair in any country where AppleCare+ is offered, lifting previous restrictions that limited service to the country in which the plan was purchased. Devices include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Apple displays and Mac models.

It should be noted that replacements and repairs may not be offered in all countries. The publication offers the CDMA version of the iPhone 5 as an example, pointing out the handset can’t be serviced or replaced in countries where it is not sold, like Brazil.

The changes are likely part of Apple’s continued effort to overhaul its post-sales service. When the iPhone 5s and 5c were unveiled on Sept. 10, it was announced that the AppleCare+ for iPhone per-incident deductible would be raised to US$79, up from US$49 previously.

Currently, AppleCare+ for iPhone, iPad and iPod is offered in Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iSuppli runs numbers, finds $199, $183 build costs for iPhone 5s, 5c handsets

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Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 07:47
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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If you’re wondering how much Apple’s new iPhone handsets cost to manufacture, they’ve got a number.

Per AllThingsD, a forthcoming IHS iSuppli report posits that Apple spends at least US$191 on components to build a 16GB model of the iPhone 5s and between US$167 and US$176 for a low-end iPhone 5c. Those prices are just a few dollars lower than what Apple spent in order to build the iPhone 5 according to iSuppli’s year-ago report on that device. The firm adds another US$8 in assembly costs for the iPhone 5s, while iPhone 5c assembly tacks on another US$7 to assemble, giving full construction estimates of US$199 for the 5s and between US$173 and US$183 for the 5c.

The iPhone 5, released in 2012, cost Apple about US$205 to produce and sold for between US$649 and US$849 off-contract. Apple saves about US$13 to produce the new high-end iPhone, even considering its beefed up processor and biometric sensor, and Apple sells it for the same price point.

Memory capacity plays a part in the price of an iPhone, with the jump from a 16GB module to a 64GB module adding US$19 to the component cost, plus another US$8 in assembly.

The display components are among the biggest cost contributors for the device, though, amounting to US$41 out of the component cost. IHS believes that Apple’s displays came from a number of vendors, including Sharp, Japan Display Inc., and LG Display.

The use of a polycarbonate shell for the iPhone 5c helps Apple drop the component cost of what is essentially an iPhone 5 even further. Whereas the iPhone 5 was machined from a single piece of aluminum in a costly process, Apple spends only US$173 to build a 16GB iPhone 5 model and US$183 to build the 64GB model.

IHS’ look at the new iPhones seems to agree with some observers’ opinion that the iPhone 5s, despite the addition of a number of technologies, is more of an incremental progression over its predecessor.

“I would say that they’re almost the same phone,” said IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler, “except for that the 5s has the fingerprint sensor, the A7 processor and some newer memory chips that consume less power. Beyond that, they’re basically the same.”

The lower production cost per unit could work in Apple’s favor going forward. The Cupertino company recently revised its guidance for the September quarter after selling more than nine million new iPhone units in the launch weekend. Part of that guidance revision was to orient investors to look toward the upper range of its previous estimate, possibly due to the improved margins on its hot-selling new devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple removes iPhone 5s retail store pick-up option from web site, change may be due to low inventory levels

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Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:32
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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The iPhone 5s is proving popular.

Well…to the point that Apple sold nine million units over the weekend and has now removed its in-store pickup feature for the handset after just one day.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s website now says that the iPhone 5s is not eligible for pickup and that all purchases must be made in the store.

It’s unknown as to why the change took place, but it’s possible that the reservation system went online earlier than planned. Apple typically has sold new iPhones in the store on a first-come, first-serve basis for the first few weeks after launch. Once demand and supply start to even out, the company then enables in-store pickup on its website. It’s also possible Apple will turn on the option and turn it off as inventory ebbs and flows.

If you are still on the hunt for an iPhone 5s, your best bet is to keep checking back with Apple, your wireless carrier and retailers like Best Buy, Radio Shack and Walmart. It’ll take time, but your persistence will pay off eventually.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated iMacs, incorporates Haswell processors, PCIe architecture, 802.11ac Wi-Fi into new models

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Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:40
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

It’s not a huge change for the iMacs, but it’s the bump you’ve been waiting for.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued an update for its all-in-one iMac desktop, bringing Intel’s latest-generation Haswell processors, speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Nvidia’s new GeForce 700 series graphics.

The new iMac also sports faster PCIe flash storage options to boost performance. It comes in the same thin design debuted by the company last year.

The entry-level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and new Iris Pro integrated graphics. It starts at US$1,299.

The high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch models feature quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4 gigahertz and Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphics with twice the video memory and up to 40 percent faster performance than the previous generation.

Apple’s new top-of-the-line iMac is a quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5 GHz and Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4 gigabytes of video memory. It starts at US$1,999.

The updated iMac also supports next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi. When connected to an 802.11ac base station, iMac delivers wireless connectivity up to three times faster than the previous generation 802.11n.

Apple’s new iMac also features support for PCIe-based flash storage that makes Fusion Drive and all-flash storage options up to 50 percent faster than the previous generation. Fusion Drive option combines the large storage capacity of a hard drive with the high performance of flash to deliver shorter boot times and faster access to apps and files. Customers can configure their iMac with a 1-terabyte or 3-terabyte Fusion Drive, and all-flash storage options are now available in configurations up to 1 terabyte.

iMac comes standard with 8 gigabytes of memory and a 1-terabyte hard drive, and customers can choose to configure their iMac with up to 32 gigabytes of memory and up to a 3-terabyte hard drive. iMac also comes with two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports for connecting to external storage and other high performance peripherals.

iMac also meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves an EPEAT Gold rating. The desktop features LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iMac includes PVC-free components and cables, contains no brominated flame retardants, and uses highly recyclable materials and material-efficient packaging designs.

iMac ships with OS X Mountain Lion, bringing Messages, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, AirPlay Mirroring, Dictation, Game Center and Gatekeeper security.

The new iMac is available today through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The 21.5-inch iMac is available with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2 GHz and Intel Iris Pro for a suggested retail price of US$1,299; and with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M for a suggested retail price of US$1,499.

The 27-inch iMac is available with a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 755M for a suggested retail price of US$1,799; and with a 3.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.8 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M for a suggested retail price of US$1,999.

If you pick up a new iMac within the new couple of days and have any feedback to offer about your experience, please let us know in the comments.

Opinion: A New Personal Computing Paradigm

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Opinion

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By Robert Snow

How soon before most personal computing can be done with a phone? With a 64-bit iPhone, perhaps quite soon. Imagine the phone as your take everywhere computer:

“Never”, you say, the screen’s too small, even a phablet. When you need a better display, just pull out your touchscreen. It would look like an iPad or iPad Mini only thinner, lighter and cheaper. No CPU or storage. It would connect to your phone via Wi-fi and act as a display and touchscreen input device with a camera, microphone and speaker. It would be indistinguishable from an iPad, so long as your phone is nearby and turned on. Apple is almost there with AirPlay.

Let’s say you do a lot of writing, then you would have a screen with hinged keyboard and trackpad. It would look like a MacBook Air only thinner, lighter and cheaper. Again, no CPU or storage. iOS would recognize the device and work more like OS X. This would require some additional code for iOS. Call it “iOS X”. This would require 64 bits, no question.

Go to work where they have BYOD. On your desk, you would have a display, keyboard and mouse that looked just like an iMac. Again, iOS would need to recognize the larger display, keyboard and mouse and scale up. Imagine an iPhone 6s sporting a processor that is truly “Desktop Class”.

A future iPhone and iOS working this way could dominate the enterprise. Security would be awesome. Your desktop computer would cease to be a computer once you leave work with your phone. Laptop or tablet stolen, no security issues. Of course, the phone is secured by Touch ID and a new phone could be issued and restored from an online backup in no time. Only one computing and communications device per employee. Personal computing could not be more personal. No synchronizing devices. Minimal IT support. Lower cost.

Cloud storage and larger onboard memory would be key to this working.No more costs associated with deploying Microsoft Office or maintaining complicated desktop and laptop operating systems.There would still be a market for powerful desktop and laptop computers, but most employees would simply need a phone as their computer and some specialized input/output device mimicking a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The phone would of course remain an expensive high-end phone. The upgrade cycle would be brilliant, keep your old IO devices and get a new desktop or laptop computer every two years by simply standing in line for the latest and greatest iPhone, subsidized by your carrier. Apple does make most of its profit on phones and this will sell more of them.

Sure, it would cannibalize iPad and Mac sales by growing a market for these IO devices and not just for the enterprise. Kids, grandparents and folks who just don’t need serious computing power could simplify their life by augmenting their colorful consumer phone with one of these devices. Consumer versions that are even cheaper and clad in plastic. If you need a phone right now, get a smart phone and you no longer need a camera, music player or GPS device. Get an iPhone in a year or two and you will no longer need a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer. Wearable computing, no problem. Dumb down iOS for a tiny screen and just a few buttons.

A post-PC world on steroids.

One more thing: Home entertainment and in-car entertainment.

Same paradigm and one more reason to buy an iPhone.

iPhone 5s’ 64-bit A7 processor shows possible road map for Apple’s future

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 23rd, 2013, 14:55
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, Software

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If nothing else, the iPhone 5s and 5c launches – and the processors within – offer a glimpse of things to come down the line.

More to the point, they show a future without Intel.

Per Jason Perlow’s excellent column over on ZDNet and pointed out the us by reader Robert Snow, the piece brings up the notion that no one really expected to see a 64-bit System on a Chip this soon and that the term “Desktop Class”, which was being thrown around, seems appropriate and not just hype.

The article also points out that the biometric authentication that Apple is incorporating with its new Touch ID system requires a significant amount of CPU horsepower to pull off without being sluggish, as would strong end-to-end VPN encryption, both of which are likely necessary for the iPhone to continue to attract corporate attention. This, also with increased image-processing power that can push gaming console-quality graphics similar to those found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 show that 64-bit mobile architectures are ready for the prime time.

The piece also makes the strong argument that this is where Apple wants to be with its processors and that perhaps Intel – and its mobile offerings – may be left behind, as ARM’s offerings show a more mature platform that various development environments can converge towards.

Take a gander at the article, see what you make of it and, as always, please let us know what you think in the comments.

German group breaks through iPhone 5s Touch ID fingerprint authentication, releases video of hack

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Date: Monday, September 23rd, 2013, 11:48
Category: Hack, iPhone, News, security

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It only took three days to hack the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID authentication system.

Per The Mac Observer, the gChaos Computer Club has claimed to have hacked Apple’s newest security feature. The group started by scanning the fingerprint associated with an iPhone at high resolution, and then printing it out for transfer to another material such as latex. Once the material holding the print, complete with ridges and grooves, has finished setting up, the group placed it over someone else’s finger and used it to successfully unlock the iPhone.

The Chaos Computer Club said, “In reality, Apple’s sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake.”

They added that it’s a simple process to lift fingerprints and then convert those into fakes that can be used to bypass security systems. “You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints,” they said.

While the process CCC showed was fairly straight forward, it isn’t exactly a simple process for the average person. It involves successfully collecting a quality fingerprint, scanning it at 2400 DPI or higher, and cleaning up the scanned image and then printing it to an acetate sheet on a laser printer before applying the material that will ultimately hold the fake print.

The group released the following video demonstrating the hack:



Assuming someone steals your iPhone with the intent of hacking around Touch ID it’s actually much easier to simply make you unlock your iPhone instead of duplicating your finger or thumb’s unique patterns. Find My iPhone can also be used to remotely wipe the device and keep anyone from hacking into your personal information.

The bigger problem in this case is that someone else has physical control over your iPhone. When that happens it’s much easier to find ways to hack in — especially since at that point the potential hackers have time on their hands.

Even still, the CCC’s Touch ID demonstration does show that Apple’s Touch ID technology may not be quite as secure as the company implied.

Working around fingerprint security systems is something that people have been doing for years, and Apple doesn’t force iPhone 5s owners to use Touch ID. It’s a convenient alternative to using a four-digit passcode, and is still more difficult to work around.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.