O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Developers investigate H1Siri hack, recommend avoiding it for time being

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:10
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You’d love every device in your home — toaster included — to run Siri.

That might not be the best idea.

Per Macworld UK, Jailbreakers and hackers will want to stay away from the H1siri hack that promises to bring Siri voice command functionality to the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. Several users and other developers have discovered that the hack actually contains illegal code, could break your device in several ways, and sends your personal information through questionable servers.

The new H1siri hack by a group of Chinese called CD-Dev Team popped up on Cydia yesterday. Since then, users have reported that they have only gotten it work in short bursts due to unresponsive servers, and that in some cases it even breaks their iPhones.

iDownloadBlog originally reported on H1siri with extreme skepticism because it could only be loaded into Cydia as a custom repo package, a package type that notoriously contains cracks and illegal software. Grant Paul, a prominent developer of the JailbreakMe team, confirmed this and discovered that the code contains copyrighted binaries from the iPhone 4s.

Paul also noted that by using this unofficial version of Siri, you would be sending emails, texts, calendar information, and contacts through a proxy server. Siri normally has to access a server in order to do heavy-duty voice command processing, but it’s done through Apple certified and secured servers. These servers, on the other hand, could be unsecured and recording any information you accessed using voice commands.

If you were pondering using the H1siri hack of your devices, this might not be the best idea in the world. The hack no longer works as CD-Dev Team has confirmed that the server is down and could be for weeks. There are other more reputable Siri porting hacks on the way including the one being put together by Grant Paul and Ireland-based hacker Steve Troughton-Smith. Unlike CD-Dev Team, Paul and Smith’s solution will use a third party server to only modify data sent from a unapproved Siri device to Apple’s servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve found a Siri hack you love that brings the vaunted functionality to a wider base of devices, please let us know.

Apple releases iBooks 1.5 update, adds night reading theme, other features

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:56
Category: iOS, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday issued an update to its iBooks iOS app, adding a night-time reading theme, full-screen layout, new fonts and an improved annotation palette.

iBooks 1.5 for iPhone and iPad arrived in the App Store early Wednesday. The free 20.7MB download requires iOS 4.2 or later.

The update adds the following fixes and changes:
– Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.

– Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.

– iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowa, and Seravek.

– Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.

– A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

iBooks 1.5 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve played with the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

Ivy Bridge roadmap leaked, new processors en route for April, May of 2012

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Date: Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, 10:33
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Processors

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Ivy Bridge for your Mac notebook…it’s en route.

Per a leaked roadmap over at VR-Zone, Intel’s next generation mobile processors, called Ivy Bridge, could open the door to quad-core processors in the 13-inch MacBook Pro and bring significantly faster graphics and new OpenCL capabilities to the MacBook Air. Ivy Bridge will also support ultra high resolution displays and Intel has committed to Thunderbolt support alongside USB 3.0 in the platform.



The roadmap, which offers the processors as arriving in April and May of 2012, includes a wide range of processors with Thermal Design Power (TDP) ranging from 17W to 55W. The TDP tends to be the limiting factor in the size of Apple’s notebook designs. Apple presently uses 17W processors in the MacBook Air designs and 35W-45W processors in the MacBook Pro. The new processors will include the improved Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics chipset.

The 35W-45W (MacBook Pro) processors range from Dual Core 2.6GHz to 2.9GHz with single core turbo speeds of up to 3.6GHz, while the 17W (MacBook Air) processors range from Dual Core 1.8GHz to 2.0GHz with single core turbo speeds of up to 2.8-3.2GHz.

Apple’s choice of processors may depend on how dramatically it redesigns the MacBook Pro next year. Rumors have persisted that Apple is working on ultra-thin models that may represent a complete overhaul of some of the MacBook Pro models, making them more Air-like in design. The article notes that the TDPs on these processors are programmable, so Apple may be able to reduce their TDPs at the expense of processor speed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Upcoming Apple television sets to arrive in three sizes, including 32″ and 55″

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, 05:06
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that help make life interesting.

Per Australian web blog SmartHouse, Apple’s full-fledged television set will arrive at the end of 2012 in three screen sizes, maxing out at 55 inches, a new rumor claims.

Citing sources in Japan, the web site reported this week that the new Apple television will also come in an entry-level size of 32 inches. It did not indicate exactly what screen size the third model would feature, falling somewhere between the low end with 32 inches and maximum size of 55 inches.

The report said it’s a “major Japanese company” that’s involved in manufacturing Apple’s rumored television set. Echoing previous claims, the report said that the Apple television will feature Siri integration, allowing users to control the TV set with their voice.

Powering the rumored television will be a new processor expected to debut in Apple’s third-generation iPad, which the publication said will arrive “midway through 2012.” Presumably that processor will be an “A6” custom-built ARM-based CPU.

Apple’s anticipated high-end 55-inch model is expected to compete with “smart TVs” from established television makers like Samsung and LG. Those companies’ next-generation TV sets are expected to have new features like faster processors, a “combination of OLED display,” and “Super HD” from LG, the report said.

Rumors of an Apple television set have picked up steam since the release of the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. In that book, Jobs hinted to biographer Walter Isaacson that Apple was at work on a completely new device that would feature “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

Reports have suggested that Apple’s anticipated television set could arrive as early as mid 2012, while others have seen Apple announcing it in late 2012 for an early 2013 sale date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4S battery issues remain after iOS 5.1 beta, further work might be needed

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 08:06
Category: battery, iPhone, News

The iPhone 4S battery issue…it might take a little more work.

Per ArsTechnica, Apple’s first beta of iOS 5.1 issued to developers reportedly does not address battery problems experienced by some users, as solutions to the complex problem continue to elude.

ABI Research’s Michael Morgan spoke with ArsTechnica about the problems that some have reported since the release of iOS 5. In addition to existing iPhone users who updated their handset to iOS 5, the problems have been reported by those who have bought the new iPhone 4S, which comes with iOS 5 preinstalled.

Morgan said that although Apple has apparently not yet been able to solve the battery life issues for all users, an eventual software fix is still the most likely solution. He said that software is the most likely cause of the problems seen by some, not hardware.

“We tore down the 4S and tested some of the major components, including the new A5 processor,” Morgan said. “Nothing that we tested was significantly different from the iPhone 4, and power draw was right where we expected it to be.”

Of course the version of iOS 5.1 seeded to developers on Monday is only the first beta of the pre-release software, and Apple will continue to make changes to it before its release. The final, public debut of iOS 5.1 could turn out to resolve the battery issues being reported by some iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 users.

But Apple already released iOS 5.0.1 in November, an incremental update that aimed to fix bugs affecting battery life on the iPhone. However, some users said that installing iOS 5.0.1 failed to address the battery life problems they were experiencing.

Apple quickly responded the same week iOS 5.0.1 was launched, and issued a public statement in which it admitted there may be some issues that still need to be addressed. While Apple said iOS 5.0.1 addressed “many” battery bugs, the company said it was still investigating “a few remaining issues.”

General battery-related issues, or any “undefined glitch,” are a “massive problem” for Apple, Morgan said, noting how difficult it can be to pinpoint a problem in software as complex as Apple’s iOS 5.

Morgan said what makes the battery issues so difficult for Apple to completely address is not only the complexity of the software that powers the iPhone, but also the variables involved with how users actually use their device. New features like Notification Center, automatic updates to content in Newsstand, and syncing with iCloud mean people are using their device more, which will naturally drain battery.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Keynote 5.1.1 update

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 04:00
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 5.1.1 of its Keynote document presentation application. The update, a 29.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– This update addresses issues when working with large Keynote presentations on Mac OS X 10.7.

– It also includes improvements in stability and accessibility for Keynote.

Keynote 5.1.1 retails for US$79.00 as part of the iWork ’09 suite and requires iWork ’09, an Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to install and run. The update can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature if Keynote is already installed on your Mac.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

Rumor: Apple in discussions with wireless carriers over LTE-capable iPads, iPhones

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011, 12:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

What a difference a year might make.

Per Macotakara, Apple is gearing up to release new iPad and iPhone models in 2012 that will connect to long-term evolution 4G high-speed data networks, according to a new report.

Japane’s Nikkei Business reported that carrier NTT DoCoMo is in talks to release an LTE-capable iPad in the summer of 2012. That would be followed by a new 4G LTE iPhone in the autumn, or one year after the iPhone 4S launched.

Executives with the wireless carrier were said to have visited the U.S. in mid-November to talk with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. The two parties allegedly agreed to begin “full-scale negotiations” for the sale of LTE-capable iPhones and iPads.

That runs in contrast to an earlier report this month from The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that negotiations between Apple and NTT DoCoMo came to a standstill. It was said that the two parties reached an impasse over the carrier wishing to install proprietary applications on the iPhone, something that Apple would not agree to.

NTT DoCoMo President and Chief Executive Ryuji Yamada said it was difficult for his company to offer the iPhone because of large commitment requirements and Apple’s control over the iOS platform. But the latest report claims that Yamada came to the U.S. in mid-November to discuss Apple’s apparent next-generation LTE products and a potential partnership.

Claims of a 4G LTE iPhone and iPad are not new, and rumors have persisted for years that Apple plans to build such devices. There were even scattered reports claiming that the iPhone 4S would feature LTE, though most reports prior to the device’s announcement pegged 4G as a feature more likely to appear in 2012.

Reports from earlier this year claimed that Apple had eyed building an LTE-capable iPhone in 2011, but opted to push back the launch of such a device in 2012. It was said that the implementation of LTE networks had not yet matured enough to satisfy Apple.

In a quarterly conference call earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company’s chief operating officer, said that poor battery life and other issues with current LTE technology were enough to dissuade the company from pursuing an LTE iPhone at the time.

“The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make,” Cook said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Safari 5.1.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011, 04:14
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Safari 5.1.2, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 38.7 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

– Improve stability.

– Address issues that could cause hangs and excessive memory usage.

– Address issues that could cause webpages to flash white.

– Allow PDFs to be displayed within web content.

Safari 5.1.2 is available on Mac OS X via Software Update or via direct download from Apple and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

Glowing iPhone 4 causes scare on Australian airline flight

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 08:58
Category: battery, iPhone, News

You’d probably remember seeing this if you were there.

Per PC Mag, an Australian regional airline had to extinguish a glowing red iPhone 4 that was emitting “dense smoke” on an airplane have sparked concerns over the handset’s battery safety.

Regional Express (REX), the country’s largest independent regional airline, said last Friday that a passenger’s iPhone was emitting a “red glow” and smoke on a flight from Lismore to Sydney. A flight attendant extinguished the smoking smartphone and no one was injured during the incident.



Judging by the model number of the device, the handset in question is the GSM version of the iPhone 4.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority have both been notified of the matter. Though the mishap may prompt an investigation by officials, it does appear to be a relatively isolated occurrence.

The issue does, however, come on the heels of an Apple replacement program for the first-generation iPod nano due to potential battery overheating issues. After first rolling out replacement offers in select countries, Apple initiated the program worldwide earlier this month, noting that the problem is “very rare,” though the likelihood of overheating does increase over time.

In April, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill exempting lithium batteries used in consumer electronics from proposed limitations that would classify the batteries as hazardous materials. According to an analysis commissioned by the Rechargeable Battery Association, the limitations would have cost electronics makers US$1.13 billion alone in the first year.

One of the biggest consumer electronic battery scares in recent years occurred in 2006. Sony recalled 9.6 million lithium-ion batteries that year after microscopic metal particles were detected inside the batteries. The incident affected Apple, which had to recall 1.8 million iBook and PowerBook G4 batteries. Sony had also supplied the defective batteries to Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway and Toshiba.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 SDK beta, Xcode 4.3 preview, references upcoming iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 03:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

The next major iOS update: it’s usually a pretty cool thing.

Per Electronista, Apple has released a new iOS 5.1 beta for developer testing on all iPad, iPod touch and iPhone models that support iOS 5.0. The beta contains references to next-generation iPhone and iPad models with references to a next-generation iPhone, “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2” and “iPad3,3” located via Twitter user Filippo Bigarella.

References to an apparent unreleased iPad 2 model, labeled “iPad2,4” have also been discovered in the beta release. Current second-generation iPad models range from “iPad2,1” to “iPad2,3.” It has been suggested that the unreleased version may have been developed for an additional carrier partner, such as Sprint.

The new build, designated as 9B5117b, must be downloaded from Apple as it is not yet available through over the air updates as previous developer builds have been.

The 5.1 software includes enhanced dictation support during text input “on supported devices,” something that has currently been limited to iPhone 4S, the only iOS device that supports Siri. Nothing in Apple’s notes to developers suggests that Sir will be expanded to other devices, but the phrasing leaves open the possibility that at least the speech recognition portion of Siri’s technology could be added to iPod touch, iPad and earlier iPhone models.

Adding basic speech recognition features across all iOS 5 devices would bring Apple’s offering into parity with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, both of which include basic speech recognition features, although reviewers note that Apple’s Siri performs both more accurate recognition and far more sophisticated actions based on recognized speech.

Apple warns developers that the new build, once installed on a device, cannot be rolled back to previous versions of iOS, likely due to baseband firmware changes. The company also warns that unauthorized use of the developer beta could result (for the same reasons) in an unstable device, possibly necessitating repairs that are not covered under any iOS device warranty.

The latest version of iOS requires the use of the newest Xcode 4.3 developer preview toolset for building third party apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new builds please let us know what you make of them in the comments.