Apple advises iOS developers on temporary fix for in-app purchase hack

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Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:02
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Apple on Friday issued a note to developers outlining a fix for an in-app purchasing exploit that allowed for the free download of for-pay content, and also announced that the loophole will be plugged when iOS 6 is released this fall.

Per CNET, in its support document for iOS app developers, Apple recommends that apps featuring in-app purchases follow a set of guidelines that includes confirming orders with the company’s new receipt system.

The receipt validation protocol, which Apple unveiled on Wednesday, attaches a “unique identifier” to in-app purchase receipts. This tactic effectively thwarts the recently-discovered workaround that validated dubious “purchases” by routing them to a specialized DNS server and spoofing digital receipts. Previous to the discovery, Apple sent generic receipts containing no unique user data.

“We recommend developers follow best practices at developer.apple.com to help ensure they are not vulnerable to fraudulent In-App purchases,” said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. “This will also be addressed with iOS 6.”

Friday’s document includes instructions on how to setup and use Apple’s new validation system as well as how to validate transactions that have already gone through.

From the document:
“A vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 5.1 and earlier related to validating in-app purchase receipts by connecting to the App Store server directly from an iOS device. An attacker can alter the DNS table to redirect these requests to a server controlled by the attacker. Using a certificate authority controlled by the attacker and installed on the device by the user, the attacker can issue a SSL certificate that fraudulently identifies the attacker’s server as an App Store server. When this fraudulent server is asked to validate an invalid receipt, it responds as if the receipt were valid.”

As part of the damage control measures, Apple allowed apps to access certain non-public APIs pertaining to verification and security services.

Along with the support document Apple sent out an email to developers noting the exploit will be patched in iOS 6 when the mobile operating system is released alongside an expected next-generation iPhone sometime this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft to release Windows 8 on October 26th

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 05:05
Category: News, Software

You can pick up Windows 8, then begin working on a Halloween costume this year.

Per Electronista, it was revealed during Microsot’s annual sales meeting that the company’s next-generation operating system will hit shelves on Oct. 26 meaning new hardware will shortly follow including the Surface tablet.

Microsoft’s Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky made good on a promise from Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller who said Windows 8 would see release sometime in October. A subsequent post on the company’s dedicated Windows blog detailed the meeting, describing upgrade tiers and purchasing options.

Windows 8 will debut in 231 markets covering 109 languages on launch day and existing users of the ubiquitous OS can upgrade to the revamped software online for US$40. According to Microsoft’s website, all PCs running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 qualify for the US$39.99 upgrade with the option to add on Windows Media Center for free though the operating system’s “add features” option.

Wednesday’s announcement also portends the imminent release of tablets, PCs and Ultrabooks running the one-OS-for-all software when Microsoft announced as much during the Surface unveiling in June.

Microsoft’s Surface will likely be one of the first Windows 8 examples on offer when the OS debuts as the device marks the Redmond-based company’s first foray into the tablet hardware market. Initially, a stripped-down ARM-based iteration called Surface for Windows RT will roll out before a more full-featured Intel version dubbed Surface for Windows 8 Pro hits stores later this year.

It is unclear what features are missing from Windows RT but Microsoft is claiming the new OS is meant to reflect a “PC+” era where all devices run identical operating systems. This is counter to Apple’s “post-PC” era which describes multiple devices running software tailor-made for specific tasks, an example being OS X for laptops and iOS for iDevices. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner claimed that the iPhone maker’s view future computing is incorrect and instead believes in a “ond-OS-fits-all” approach to OS coding. Interestingly it appears that Windows RT skews toward the “post-PC” model.

Apple is looking to release its own next-generation operating system with OS X 10.8 later in July, and while no specific date has been set a launch should be imminent as the company seeded the Mountain Lion gold master last week.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6 beta 3 to developer community

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2012, 12:26
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t have a final version without a few betas…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday supplied developers with the third beta of iOS 6, arriving three weeks after the previous beta build, adding new features like expanded settings for the Maps application..

Developers can now download iOS 6 beta 3 from Software Update on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. In addition, full downloads are also available from Apple’s developer portal.

Sources familiar with the latest build indicated that there are new options in the Settings application for Apple’s new Maps software. Specifically, the third beta now allows developers to customize certain aspects like the volume of turn-by-turn navigation, and whether to measure distances in miles or kilometers.

The last update, which arrived in late June, included a pair of fixes related to touchscreen keyboard performance. iOS 6 beta 3 is compatible with the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch. The final software will be released to the public this fall.

iOS 6 was formally announced last month at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Developers were also provided with the first beta after its unveiling, allowing them to test their applications before the formal public launch this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Happy Fourth of July from O’Grady’s PowerPage!!!

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Date: Wednesday, July 4th, 2012, 06:13
Category: Announcement

Ladies and gentlemen, in honor of the Fourth of July, the staff of O’Grady’s PowerPage will be taking the day off and spending it with friends and family and will return with all the Mac and iOS mobile news you can shake a petrified gopher at.

That being said, take the day, get outside, hit up a barbecue, see your friends and detach yourself from technology for a day. Trust me, it’ll still be here when you get back.



As for my own plans, I’m hitting up a picnic and am determined to destroy any and all opponents in the potato sack race (even if they turn out to be small children). Nearly three weeks has been spent training for said potato sack race (as recorded in this stunning montage video) and I’m determined to make this happen.

Happy Fourth, everybody!!!

Navigon iOS app updates to 2.1, goes on sale, now incorporates Google Street View feature

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Date: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, 11:05
Category: iOS, News, Software

Some of you are going to miss the Google Street View feature when it’s gone.

Navigon seems to be aware of this.

Per Engadget, Navigon has updated its iOS navigation app to version 2.1 and added Google Street View, which will be dropped from Apple’s Maps app in its forthcoming iOS 6 release. To celebrate the update, the Navigon app can be had for savings as much as US$20 off its normal US$50 price depending on the version chosen. In-app purchases including FreshMaps USA can be had for as low as US$15, a saving of US$25 off the normal asking price.

Google Street View allows users to navigate to a destination and then load the street view within the app, so that users can find an address or location much more easily when they have arrived at the approximate destination. The street view offers users the full 360-degree view.

Navigon has also added a new manual route blocking function to the app. By blocking out certain sections of a route by simply tapping on that part of a generated route, the app will know to quickly search for an alternative route. It can be accessed from the route-planning mode and during navigation for easy route changes on the fly.

The company has added a new Cockpit function as an in-app purchase, currently on special for US$4 (normally US$7). The displayed information includes a vehicles g-force (current and maximum value), speed, horizontal and vertical position, as well as an adjustable speed and altitude graph. The information can be used to give a driver a snapshot of their driving habits, while off-road users will also benefit from a dedicated off-road screen with compass and altitude information.

Navigon 2.1 requires iOS 4.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version of Navigon and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple to shut down iWork.com on July 31st, advises users to be ready

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Date: Monday, July 2nd, 2012, 09:57
Category: News, Software

With MobileMe now shuttered, it’s time to move on to the other technologies due for retirement.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s next online service set to go dark is iWork.com, and the company sent out an e-mail on Monday reminding customers to download their documents by July 31.

Come August, users will no longer be able to access documents stored on the iWork.com website. Those who participated in the iWork.com public beta must back up their documents by July 31 if they wish to keep them.

Instructions are available on Apple’s website informing users how they can save a copy of their documents on their computer before the deadline passes. Users are also encouraged to migrate to Apple’s new iCloud service, which allows remote storage of documents and data in the cloud.

iWork.com users were first notified in early March that Apple will shutter the website on July 31. The iWork.com service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office.

Since then, the iWork suite of applications has also become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

The iWork suite and iOS 5 now offer integration with the iCloud service, which launched last October. At the iCloud.com website, users can access their up-to-date iWork documents, synced through iCloud’s Documents & Data service.

The full e-mail text sent out to iWork.com users on Monday is included below:

“Dear iWork.com user,

Remember, as of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at Apple.com.

Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Learn more about iCloud.

Sincerely,
The iWork team”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe to discontinue new Flash Player installs on August 15th

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Date: Friday, June 29th, 2012, 05:08
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a Web technology just has to ride off into the sunset.

According to The Verge, Adobe’s mobile Flash days are now numbered, as the company has announced that it will no longer accept new Flash Player installations through the Google Play application store after August 15 and will not support the upcoming 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Android.

Following up on the announcement last November that it was discontinuing development of Flash for mobile browsers, Adobe published a blog post on Thursday detailing deprecated support for the player on Android.

“Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed,” the post read.

Adobe also said that there will not be any Flash-certified Android 4.1 devices. Though in the past unsupported devices were sometimes able to get Flash Player working, the company said that this is “no longer going to be the case” because it has not developed or tested the player for the upcoming version of Android and its browsers.

Android users who want to keep running Flash as legacy software will need to download and install Flash before the August 15th deadline. Adobe also recommends that they stay on Android 4.0, as Flash Player on 4.1 Jelly Bean could exhibit “unpredictable behavior.”

“We recommend uninstalling Flash Player on devices which have been upgraded to Android 4.1,” the company wrote.

Last year, an Adobe manager put part of the blame on Apple for the demise of mobile Flash. Mike Chambers acknowledged that the software would never reach “anywhere near the ubiquity” of its install base on desktops because Apple would not allow Flash Player in the iOS browser.

“No matter what we did, the Flash Player was not going to be available on Apple’s iOS anytime in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs set off an intense debate about the merits of Flash in 2010 with his open letter criticizing the format as outdated and needlessly proprietary.

Android makers decided early on to advertise Flash as a differentiating feature of their devices as compared to Apple’s own. The move ultimately backfired on companies like Motorola, as Flash support ended up being postponed due to technical issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google releases Google Chrome, Google Drive for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 14:05
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

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It had to happen sometime.

Per Mac|Life, on Thursday, Google announced the release of both its Google Chrome and Google Drive apps for iOS on Thursday. Announced during the company’s day two keynote at Google I/O, the pair of free universal apps have been long awaited from iOS users.

Google Drive version 1.0.1 is already available from the App Store, offering quick and easy access to documents, photos and videos stored in your 5GB of free cloud storage. Users can make files available offline for access when an internet connection isn’t available, and Drive offers easy file sharing as well.

The app also allows searching within any kind of file synced across your desktop and other devices, and files stored on Drive can be opened from other iOS apps with just a tap.

Google’s Chrome web browser is also making the leap to iOS on Thursday, allowing Mac, PC, Chrome OS and Android users to now sync their bookmarks, tabs and other data seamlessly to iOS devices as well.

Google Drive and Google Chrome require an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new apps and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Facebook revamping iOS app for July, aiming for significant speed/performance boosts

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, Rumor, Software

You might not be proud to admit how much you use it, but it could prove useful.

Per the New York Times, Facebook is working on a new application for iOS that has been completely rebuilt to address its current, “painfully slow” performance.

Two unnamed engineers working on the project shared the details of the updated application with Nick Bilton of The New York Times. He reported on Wednesday that the rebuilt application will focus on speed and performance.

“One of the Facebook engineers said the new application has been built primarily using Objective-C, the programming language used to build applications for iOS,” Bilton wrote. “Many of the components of the current version of the Facebook app are built using HTML5, a Web-based programming language.”

Bilton tested the unreleased iPhone application and said it delivers “blazing fast” performance. He said the application is being tested by developers and should be released this summer, indicating that it is expected to launch “next month.”

Though it will be rewritten, the application “looks exactly like the old one,” he said. All of the changes have been made behind the scenes to improve performance.

The Facebook application has been available on iPhone for years, but the social networking site released its official iPad application last fall. The iOS software is universal, meaning it has built-in support for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Facebook will also play a major role in the release of iOS 6 this fall. With iOS 6, Apple will add system-wide Facebook integration, allowing users to log in to their account in the iOS Settings application in order to quickly post to their Facebook account and share music, applications and photos with their friends.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6 beta 2 to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 06:38
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, News, Software

It’s not the most amazing update in the world, but it moves things a bit closer to iOS 6′s release date.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday issued its second beta of iOS 6 for developer testing, including a pair of fixes related to touchscreen keyboard performance.

Developers began receiving word that an update was available from “AppleInternal” on Monday afternoon. The “operating system 6.0″ update is a 322-megabyte download for iPhone 4S users.

People familiar with iOS 6 beta 2 said it is identified as build “10A5338d.” When updating to the new software version in the Settings application, the icon with gears is animated and actually moves.

The release notes that accompany the update reportedly indicate that Apple fixed an issue where key clicking sounds could be skipped during fast typing. Apple also indicated it addressed an issue in which the keyboard would be wrongly positioned when switching from landscape to portrait orientation.

Apple also reportedly fixed an issue where the iOS SpringBoard may crash during a phone call if the screen would fade to black when using a speakerphone or headphones. It also addressed a crash that would occur if a new iCloud account was created during initial setup of the iOS device.

The latest iOS 6 beta also adds the podcasts section back into the iTunes application. That was missing from the first beta, and there have been rumors that Apple plans to introduce a standalone podcast application when iOS 6 officially launches this fall.

iOS 6 beta 2 is compatible with the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Also released on Monday were Xcode 4.5 Developer Preview 2, as well as a second beta of the next software update for the Apple TV set-top box.

iOS 6 was formally announced earlier this month at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Developers were also provided with the first beta after its unveiling, allowing them to test their applications before the formal public launch this fall.

If you’ve gotten a chance to tinker with the new beta, please let us know what you think in the comments.