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.

BBC planning subscription-only iPlayer app for iPad in 2011

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Date: Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, 10:05
Category: iPad, News, Software

BBC-logo

You love the BBC.

And the BBC loves your iPad.

Per paidContent:UKthe BBC has announced that it plans to begin the international launch of its lauded iPlayer catch-up service by first rolling out a paid subscription service for iPad users.

While iPlayer itself is free, it’s included as part of the annual license fee that U.K. residents pay to support the ad-free, non-profit BBC (the fee currently works out to around US$20 per month). Because of that, the service is not currently available to users outside the U.K.

BBC.com’s managing director Luke Bradley-Jones says that iPlayer’s global rollout will only be available via a paid subscription at launch, though the organization is talking with advertisers about supporting free areas of the service, as well as examining additional models such as pay-per-view and download-to-own. Prices for the service have not yet been revealed.

The iPlayer application is currently available in the U.K. only via Web browser; while an iPlayer iOS app has been developed, it has yet to be released. Still, the service proven popular, registering 139 million requests in the month of October, compared to Hulu’s 260 million.

The app, in turn, could bring UK-only shows (including the mighty “Dr. Who”) to international viewers, the BBC taking a chance in the pay-for-streaming-video marketplace.

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

Users report HDMI handshaking, connectivity issues with second-gen Apple TV

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Date: Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, 05:32
Category: Apple TV, News

It’s a nifty thing, but perhaps a bug fix is in order.

Per AppleInsider, some early adopters of Apple’s second-generation Apple TV are reporting issues with streaming HD rentals and problems completing “HDMI handshakes” between the new Apple TV and their HD TVs.

Several discussion threads on Apple’s support forums related to issues with HD rentals not loading and HDMI connectivity problems have reached hundreds of posts in length as increasing numbers of Apple TV owners report having trouble with the device.

Users reported that Apple TV displays HD rental wait times of hundreds of minutes, while other video, such as trailers, HD Netflix movies, and YouTube begin playing after just a few minutes. “At one point, the HD movie was going to take over 3,000 minutes to load,” wrote one user.

Though a portion of the users have resolved the issue by upgrading to higher bandwidth Internet, others report the problem occurring even with high-speed connections capable of handling HD video.

Another Apple support thread details potential compatibility issues between Apple TV and a number of HD TV sets. Users report frequent “HDMI handshakes” between the TV and Apple TV, with the picture returning with inverted colors. A user-compiled list of TVs affected includes models by Philips and Sony.

The Apple TV 4.1 firmware update, which was released last week alongside iOS 4.2, does not appear to resolve either issue.

Apple unveiled the revamped US$99 Apple TV in September with a focus on ‘the cloud’ and streaming media. With just 8GB of onboard storage, Apple’s new set top box serves as a hub for content streamed from the Internet, computers, or iOS devices.

If you’ve seen these issues on your end or discovered a fix or workaround of your own, please let us know.

Apple explains iOS 4.2 security fixes

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Date: Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, 08:41
Category: News, security, Software

Following Apple’s Monday release of iOS 4.2 for iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, the company outlined its security fixes in a Knowledge Base entry posted online.

Per Macworld, many of the patches protect against malicious attackers running code on your device, which could in theory be used for all sorts of malicious purposes. Vulnerabilities were corrected for WebKit, Configuration Profiles, CoreGraphics, FreeType (in PDF rendering), and more to prevent against this type of attack.

iOS 4.2 also includes a fix for iAd content display, to prevent attackers in what Apple calls “a privileged network position” to force phone calls from your device without your permission. A separate fix for Mail corrects an issue where carefully-crafted HTML emails could track whether you viewed a message, even if you had turned off remote image loading in Settings.

The update also addresses a situation where your MobileMe password could become visible to an outside user in a privileged network position when using the Photos app to send images to the service. iOS 4.2 also corrects a race condition that could force the Reset Safari option to take a full 30 seconds to remove your saved Web passwords–during which time a speedy user with access to your device could still log in to those sites.

So, there you have it. And if you’ve noticed any major changes in iOS that you’d like to comment on, let us know.

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 updates iWork suite for iPad, adds new features for iOS 4.2

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Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

Amid yesterday’s update-o-rama, Apple also released updates for its three iWork apps for the iPad: Pages, Numbers and Keynote to add support for iOS 4.2. The updates add wireless printing via AirPrint and support for iOS 4.2 multitasking and Numbers also adds a print preview feature to allow users to adjust how a sheet will print across multiple pages. The PDF export from Numbers will also respect any pagination settings created in the print preview.

According to iLounge, Numbers users can also now enter formulas using a keyboard and the predictive function selector. Keynote 1.3 adds an enhanced presenter display that now allows users to see the current slide, the next slide or their notes when connected to an external display. Keynote users can also now import and add presenter notes to slides from within the app. The update also improves reliability when importing and exporting iWork for Mac and Microsoft Office documents, fixes issues related to WebDAV and adds additional localizations for Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish and Traditional Chinese. Pages, Numbers and Keynote are sold individually from the App Store for US$10 each.

If you’ve played with the new version of the iWorks suite on the iPad, please let us know what you made of it.

Apple posts Apple TV 4.1 update, adds AirPlay, VoiceOver, other features

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Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 03:33
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

In addition to Apple’s release of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices, Apple on Monday also released an update for its Apple TV set top box today, bringing AirPlay support for wireless streaming.

Although the company made no mention of the Apple TV update when announcing the forthcoming launch of iOS 4.2, the software arrived at the same time, around 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday. Per AppleInsider, the Apple TV software update can be initiated through the device’s settings menu, and is done directly over a wireless or wired Internet connection.

In addition to AirPlay, which will allow streaming of video and audio from iOS devices to the Apple TV, the 4.1 update also brings VoiceOver functionality. The new feature can be turned on through the accessibility menu of the Apple TV.

VoiceOver reads menus and metadata, including episode descriptions for TV shows. In the settings, users can also set the speed of voice playback.

The Apple TV 4.1 software update automatically enables AirPlay without password protection. If users choose, they can turn AirPlay off entirely through the settings menu, or can add a password to limit access.

AirPlay is built in to iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It allows users to stream video or audio content directly to the Apple TV over a Wi-Fi network. Users can also directly stream music to an AirPort Express.

If you’ve downloaded the new Apple TV update and have any feedback, please let us know.

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 to launch iPad to several European countries in near-term, iOS 4.2 beta error messages hint at free MobileMe accounts

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:18
Category: iPad, News, Software

This is going to be an interesting week as Apple plans to release the iPad in several northern European countries soon while a slew of error messages in the most recent iOS 4.2 golden master suggest the possibility of free MobileMe accounts for iOS users.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is set to continue the global rollout of its highly successful tablet device in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Alongside the launch, several Nordic telecom operators will soon offer 3G data packages for the iPad, the Journal reports. European carriers Tre, TeliaSonera AB and Tele2 AB all announced Friday that they will provide data subscriptions for iPad users, though they declined to give details on when exactly the plans will launch and prices for the subscriptions.

TeliaSonera did confirm, however, that it will not sell the iPad. “As things look right now, we will only offer subscription packages for the iPad,” said Bengt Olsson, TeliaSonera’s head of communications. “The iPad launch is imminent and we plan to release our subscription offer in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark simultaneously,” he said.

Early demand for the iPad after its initial U.S. release in April surprised Apple, forcing the company to delay the international launch of the tablet until May.

During Apple’s second fiscal quarter 2010 conference call, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that sales “far exceeded” Apple’s expectations. “It has shocked us, the level of demand, at least initially,” Cook said.

Earlier in November, Apple released a golden master of iOS 4.2. Within the beta, it was discovered that the MobileMe settings now asked for Apple ID account info, rather than MobileMe account info. Apple has since released two more golden masters of iOS 4.2, including one build labeled iOS 4.2.1.

On Friday, MacRumors uncovered in the latest iOS 4.2 betas a “new private framework” with error messages referencing free MobileMe accounts. The errors include: “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone” and “This iPad is not qualified for free MobileMe service.” Though Apple currently offers a 60-day free trial of its US$99 a year MobileMe service, it remains unclear how an iOS device would “qualify” for the rumored free service.

Analysts have speculated that MobileMe will play a pivotal role in Apple’s continued expansion into cloud-based services, pointing to the company’s US$1 billion data center in Maiden, N. C. as potential evidence. MobileMe currently offers calendar, email and contact syncing, as well as file sharing and a “Find My iPhone” remote tracking feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.