O'Grady's PowerPage » iPhone

Spire hack allows Siri to operate on jailbroken iPhones, requires proxy server

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:38
Category: Hack, iPhone

One day, Siri will run on everything (the toaster included).

Per The Mac Observer, pre-iPhone 4S owners that like to jailbreak can add Siri to their combo smartphone and iPod thanks to a new tool called Spire from chpwn. The hack apparently works around copyright concerns by letting users install the Siri files from Apple’s own servers instead of copying them from an iPhone 4S.

While Spire may side step some copyright issues, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to keep Siri running on your jailbroken iPhone.

“Spire is not a complete solution. Apple still requires authorization to use Siri, so information from an iPhone 4S is still required,” chpwn said on his blog. “To insert this information, Spire allows you to enter your own proxy server address.”

The trick to keeping Siri running on a jailbroken iPhone is to set up a proxy server, and then to connect an iPhone 4S to it on a regular basis since the needed authentication keys change often.

Spire isn’t a perfect solution for hackers wanting to try Siri on an older iPhone, but it tends to be easier than previous methods. For now, however, this looks like an option for more tech savvy iPhone owners.

Spire is available as a free download through the Cydia app only on jailbroken iPhones.

If you’ve tried the Spire hack and have any feedback about the process or its results, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

iPhone 4S to arrive in mainland China come January

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:52
Category: iPhone, News

The iPhone 4S is en route to the easy…just wait about a month.

Per Chinese web site People’s Daily, Apple has met all of the requirements for the iPhone 4S to launch in mainland China, and the handset will reportedly debut before the Chinese New Year in late January.

The web site reported this week that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. That means Apple has met all of the requirements necessary to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China.

The report said the handset will debut “at the beginning of January 2012,” and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

Filings with the Chinese government show a WCDMA phone manufactured by Apple was granted approval. Though it does not specifically reveal that the device is the iPhone 4S, it is listed as model number A1431, which is the same number Apple used to obtain a network entry permit for the iPhone 4S.

The approval process and anticipated release of the iPhone 4S has dragged out in China as Apple has quickly launched its latest smartphone in other major markets around the world. It’s been the fastest rollout ever for a new iPhone model.

The iPhone 4S did debut in Hong Kong in the first week of November, and sold out within minutes. Some regional branches of China Unicom in mainland China have been taking advance bookings for the iPhone 4S for weeks in anticipation of the device’s launch as it goes through China’s approval process.

One of the major selling points of the iPhone 4S is Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant application. Rumors have suggested that Siri will gain support for Mandarin, the most popular form of the Chinese language, by March of 2012.

If you have two cents to hurl in on this, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Apple may be paving way for Siri to be used by other devices, says hacker

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 16th, 2011, 05:59
Category: News, Software

This is kind of interesting.

Following yesterday’s update to iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone 4S handset and its apparent lack of specific changes, Cult Of Mac and well-known jailbreak hacker MuscleNerd revealed on Thursday that the update allowed a user to collect the files needed for a Siri port without having to break Apple’s copyright, the report noted.

“It’s the first public 4S ipsw where the main filesystem keys are obtainable (due to non-encrypted ramdisks),” said MuscleNerd.

But, given that Siri requires communication with Apple’s servers to function, it’s not immediately clear whether a port of the virtual voice assistant would fit within all applicable terms of service and license agreements for the device in question.

A number of members of the jailbreak community have been hard at work trying to port Siri to other devices. In late October, two hackers claimed to have gotten a limited functionality version of Siri working on a jailbroken iPhone 4 and iPod touch. Doing so, however, required custom information from an iPhone 4S device. Also, Apple has warned that jailbreaking an iOS device may void its warranty.

Apple released Siri as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 4S after acquiring the app last April. The Siri team has since grown to become one of the largest development teams at the company.

Full Siri functionality may also require minor hardware modifications. A teardown of the iPhone 4S revealed that the proximity sensor on the handset has a new infrared component built to work with Siri’s raise-to-speak feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Apple TV 4.4.4, iOS 5.0.1 update for iPhone 4S model

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 15th, 2011, 12:57
Category: Apple TV, iPhone, News, Software

Firmware: It’s nifty and it makes a difference.

Per MacNN, Apple has released two minor firmware updates for iOS devices. The first is v4.4.4 for the Apple TV, which implements what Apple terms as “general performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue that displayed an error when playing some video content.” The update can be installed automatically via an Apple TV’s normal update functions, or manually by technically savvy users with access to the IPSW file.

Unusually, Apple has also published a slightly different version of iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone 4S. The new build is listed as 9A406. Why Apple would push out such an update is unknown, although any changes are likely to be extremely small given the same version number, and the need for compatibility with apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen any changes in your device(s) after installing the updates, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft releases SkyDrive app for iPhone, offers free cloud storage in process

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 14th, 2011, 06:43
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s surprising but it could be useful.

Per the cool cats at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft has just released an iPhone app for access to the free Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage service. SkyDrive for iPhone should make Windows users who have documents stored in the cloud happy.

Users can upload videos or photos created on the iPhone to SkyDrive using the app, which takes up about 4.4 MB on the device. SkyDrive users can access all of their content, including files that someone has shared with them. Likewise, any file can be shared by sending a link via email.

The app also provides a way to create and delete folders from the iPhone. Users of Hotmail, Microsoft Messenger, and Xbox LIVE already have SkyDrive accounts and anyone else who’d like to give it a try can sign up for a new account at SkyDrive.com.

The SkyDrive app is available for free and requires iOS 4.0 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple to purchase Israeli flash memory company Anobit

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 13th, 2011, 06:49
Category: Finance, Rumor


When Apple ponders buying something, it’s worth paying attention to.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is planning to spend between US$400 million and US$500 million to buy Anobit, an Israel-based flash memory company, according to a new report.

Citing a Hebrew-language report, TechCrunch relayed on Tuesday that Apple plans to acquire the 200-employee Israeli fabless semiconductor company that specializes in flash storage. If the deal comes to pass, it’s believed to be the first acquisition for Apple with Tim Cook at the helm as CEO.

“Anobit provides flash storage solutions for enterprise and mobile markets, based on its proprietary MSP (which stands for ‘Memory Signal Processing’) technology,” the report said. “Its solutions are designed to improve the speed, endurance and performance of flash systems while driving down the cost. Anobit’s technology is comprised of signal processing algorithms that compensate for physical limitations of NAND flash, the company claims.”

Apple is believed to already rely on Anobit’s solutions for its flash-based products, including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. Of the most interest to Apple is said to be Anobit’s MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for mobile devices.

Apple has used its massive cash hoard to strategically invest in components and acquire companies that will give it a leg up on the competition. In 2005, Apple inked a major flash memory deal with Samsung, allowing Apple to build products with NAND flash including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

The company made a similar deal earlier this year, when Cook revealed that Apple had committed US$3.9 billion to secret, long-term component contracts. Cook said the deals were a “fantastic” use of the company’s cash reserves, but declined to say what components Apple had secured, citing competitive reasons.

If Tuesday’s report is accurate, it would be a rare hardware-based acquisition for Apple. The company’s last major buyout of a hardware company came in 2008, when Apple bought P.A. Semi for US$278 million, paving the way for it to build custom ARM-based chips for the iPhone and iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Tekkeon introduces MP1580 battery pack, allows external charging of iOS, other USB-charging devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:39
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

This could be useful.

Per iLounge, Tekkeon has introduced its new TekCharge MP1580 battery pack for the iPod, iPhone, and other USB-charging devices. The MP1580 offers the ability to charge devices using between two and four AA batteries, and serves as a charging station for rechargeable NiMH or lithium cells. Other features include an inline voltage regulator to ensure safe charging, a built-in USB slot for connecting charging cables, and an external charge indicator.

The TekCharge MP1580 is available now and retails for US$25.

Apple receives final clearance to sell iPhone 4S in China, handsets expected to arrive this month

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:29
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re traveling to the far east and need to snag an iPhone 4S, things just got a bit easier.

Per MIC Gadget, Chinese regulators have issued the final permit required for Apple to launch the iPhone 4S in the country, with wireless operator China Unicom hoping to begin selling the device by the Christmas and New Year holidays.

A new report claims that the MIIT network permit may actually be for the 8GB iPhone 4, as noted by Penn Olson. Insiders from China Unicom have allegedly stated that the iPhone 4S is still awaiting approval.

According to the report, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the necessary network access permit for the iPhone 4S earlier this week. The certificate remains valid for three years and The permit was believed to have been the last obstacle for Apple.

In response to the news, China Unicom said it expects to launch the device by the end of the month. The carrier reportedly estimates the 16GB iPhone 4S will cost 4,999 yuan (US$786) off contract.

The company revealed in late November that it had already finished preparations for the iPhone 4S and was simply awaiting the final permit from the government.

Financial analysts have indicated that their estimates of 28 million iPhone units shipped in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 will see a strong upside if Apple manages to launch the iPhone 4S in the world’s most populous country by the end of the quarter. According to Apple, there are already 7,000 points of sale for its smartphone in the country.

As for Greater China, the iPhone 4S arrived in Hong Kong to frenzied crowds in November. The handset is set to launch in Taiwan on Dec. 16. Apple has been on a tear in the region as of late. The company saw record sales of US$4.5 billion there last quarter, making it the company’s second-largest market in terms of revenue.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Rumor: Third-generation iPad to be slightly thicker, retain same screen size

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:47
Category: iPad, Rumor

There’s a bit of truth to every rumor.

Per Macotakara, Apple’s third-generation iPad will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2, but will have the same 9.7-inch screen size, and will continue to support the magnetic Smart Cover.

Citing an Asian supplier who is allegedly crafting components for Apple’s next iPad, Japanese blog Macotakara reported on Wednesday that the next iPad may be thicker for an “unknown reason.” That means third-party cases that cover the back side of the device will not be compatible with the next iPad.

However, Apple’s first-party magnetic Smart Covers will remain compatible with the third-generation iPad, the source reportedly said. That’s because the new iPad, despite being slightly thicker, will have the same rounded side as the iPad 2.

In addition, two back covers (1, 2) claimed to be from prototype iPad hardware are available for sale on the global commerce site Alibaba.com. The plain aluminum backs do not show an Apple logo.

One reason for a thicker frame on the third-generation iPad could be the components necessary to include a high-resolution Retina Display. Numerous rumors have pointed toward Apple increasing the screen resolution of its iPad with a new model anticipated in 2012.

Apple introduced the Retina Display branding with the iPhone 4 starting in 2010. By packing more pixels onto the same screen size, Apple has boasted that the individual pixels are so small that they cannot be distinguished by the human eye.

In order to include a Retina Display, Apple may adopt entirely new display technology. One report in November suggested Apple would use IGZO displays from Sharp to reach a 330 dots-per-inch screen resolution. But that report claimed the IGZO display would also allow for a future iPad to be thinner, not thicker.

Other reports, however, claimed that Apple would utilize a dual-LED light bar system to illuminate the Retina Display of a third-generation iPad. Apple’s apparent difficulties with the higher resolution displays and new LED backlight designs were said to have already affected the launch schedule of the next iPad.

Some of the confusion surrounding the next iPad coming from Apple’s supply chain could be explained by a report from early November, which alleged that Apple has tasked its suppliers with the development of two tablet projects, code-named “J1” and “J2.” Both of the new models were said to have different sizes, specifications and technologies from the current-generation iPad 2.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

U.S. Cellular to hold off on iPhone until 4G LTE functionality arrives

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 09:35
Category: iPhone, News

Sprint may have jumped at the chance to carry the iPhone, but other carriers may have a few requirements. Per Fierce Wireless, carrier U.S. Cellular is not interested in the iPhone, at least not until it has LTE.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Ted Carlson, CEO of U.S. Cellular’s parent company TDS, said, “The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we’re going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it.”

Like other wireless carriers, regional carrier U.S. Cellular is updating its 3G network to 4G LTE. Because its network is small, the carrier will blanket 25 percent of its subscribers in 4G by the end of this year and another 25 percent by the end of 2012. It hopes to cover all its subscribers across 26 states within three years.

U.S. Cellular will sell its first 4G handset and tablet in early 2012 and may pick up the iPhone if it shipped with LTE.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.