jds91md writes "Today's NY Times delivers a great story of the development of the iPhone by Apple. It focuses on the events during the leadup to Steve Jobs taking the stage with shockingly buggy prototypes and pulling off the show that is now history. 'Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs. The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.' One of the big problems was the phone's connectivity. The man in charge of the iPhone's radios, Andy Grignon, had to deal with Jobs's anger when rehearsals didn't go well. Grignon said, 'Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, "You are [expletive] up my company," or, "If we fail, it will be because of you." He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Chinese web users are criticizing Apple after the company pulled a free iPhone app called OpenDoor, which enables users to bypass firewalls and access restricted internet sites. The developers of OpenDoor — who wish to remain anonymous — told Radio Netherlands that Apple removed the app because it 'includes content that is illegal in China.' 'It is unclear to us how a simple browser app could include illegal contents, since it's the user's own choosing of what websites to view,' say the developers. 'Using the same definition, wouldn't all browser apps, including Apple's own Safari and Google's Chrome, include illegal contents?' Chinese internet users were disappointed by the move by Apple. Zhou Shuguang, a prominent Chinese blogger and citizen journalist, told U.S.-based Radio Free Asia that Apple had taken away one of the tools which internet users in China relied on to circumvent the country's great firewall. 'Apple is determined to have a share of the huge cake which is the Chinese internet market. Without strict self-censorship, it cannot enter the Chinese market,' says one Chinese user disappointed by the move by Apple."
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. courts have strict rules in place governing the treatment of confidential business information. The most sensitive information is labeled 'highly confidential — attorneys' eyes only', meaning that only a company's outside lawyers are allowed to see it. The Apple-Nokia patent settlement contract and deals Apple struck with others (Ericsson, Sharp, Philips) were such highly confidential business information. But a Samsung executive allegedly boasted in a patent licensing negotiation with Nokia a few months ago about knowing all the terms of the Apple-Nokia deal because the Korean company's lawyers had provided it to their client, against the rules. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California now wants to find out more before deciding on sanctions against Samsung and its law firm, Quinn Emanuel."
cagraham writes "According to consultancy firm Interbrand's latest 'Best Global Brands' report, Apple is now the world's most valuable brand, with an estimated worth of $98.4 billion. Since Interbrand began issuing the report in 2001, Coca-Cola has previously always claimed the top spot, but fell to third place this year, behind both Apple and Google. Tech companies now make up six of the top ten brands, but only 12 of the top 200. The report comes a week after Apple reported record sales numbers, moving 9 million iPhone 5s and 5Cs during their opening weekend."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. Now Sam Sanders reports at NPR that less than a week after getting their iPads, high school students have found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use. The students are getting around software that lets school district officials know where the iPads are, what the students are doing with them at all times and lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook. 'They were bound to fail,' says Renee Hobbs, who's been a skeptic of the iPad program from the start. 'There is a huge history in American education of being attracted to the new, shiny, hugely promising bauble and then watching the idea fizzle because teachers weren't properly trained to use it and it just ended up in the closet.' The rollout of the iPads might have to be delayed as officials reassess access policies. Right now, the program is still in Phase 1, with fewer than 15,000 iPads distributed. 'I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,' says Steven Zipperman. 'I want to prevent a "runaway train" scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.' The incident has prompted questions about overall preparations for the $1-billion tablet initiative."
dryriver sends this story from The Guardian: "The introduction of fake zooms, parallax, sliding and other changes in Apple's new iPhone and iPad software has a very real effect on people with vestibular disorders. ... It makes frequent use of zoom and slide animations; the home screen boasts parallax, with icons apparently floating above subtly animating wallpaper. And it's making people sick. Triggers and symptoms vary, but TidePool mobile app developer Jenni Leder's experience is not uncommon. A self-professed power-user, she frequently switches apps; but on iOS 7, this has caused headaches and feelings associated with motion sickness. 'I now have to close my eyes or cover the screen during transitions, which is ridiculous,' she told The Guardian, adding that there's nowhere to hide: 'It's not apps that affect me, but accessing them. Tap a folder and the view zooms in. Tap an app and it's like flying through the icon and landing in that app's micro world — and I'm getting dizzy on the journey there.' Reactions to screen-based systems — especially those utilizing 3D effects — aren't new. Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Vestibular Disorders Association, says 3D effects can cause 'intense nausea, dizziness and vertigo,' sometimes from general vision problems, but also from visual-vestibular conflict. She added symptoms 'manifest more severely if a viewer already has a disorder of the vestibular system.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Federal Patent Court of Germany shot down an Apple photo gallery bounce-back patent over which Cupertino was/is suing Samsung and Motorola. A panel of five judges found the patent invalid because the relevant patent application was filed only in June 2007 but Steve Jobs already demoed the feature in January 2007 (video). While this wouldn't matter in the U.S., it's a reason for a patent to be invalidated in Europe. For different reasons someone thought the iPhone presentation was a mistake. It now turns out that when Steve Jobs said "Boy have we patented it!" his company forgot that public disclosure, even by an inventor, must not take place before a European patent application is filed. But Apple can still sue companies over the Android photo gallery: in addition to this patent it owns a utility model, a special German intellectual property right that has a shorter term (10 years) and a six-month grace period, which is just enough to make sure that history-making Steve Jobs video won't count as prior art."
solareagle writes "The BBC reports that an Alaskan airport says it has had to place barricades across one of its taxiways after an Apple Maps flaw resulted in iPhone users driving across a runway. The airport said it had complained to the phone-maker through the local attorney general's office. 'We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,' Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the airport, told the Alaska Dispatch newspaper. The airport said it had been told the problem would be fixed by Wednesday. However the BBC still experienced the issue when it tested the app, asking for directions to the site from a property to the east of the airport. By contrast the Google Maps app provided a different, longer route which takes drivers to the property's car park."
An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, a man sued Apple after finding out that the $22.99 he paid for a season pass of Breaking Bad was only good for the final season's first 8 episodes. ... In light the mix-up, Apple late on Monday began informing folks who purchased a season pass for the 5th season of Breaking Bad that they are entitled to a refund in full in the form of a $22.99 iTunes credit." "Mix-up" seems an entirely charitable description.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple managed to sell nine million iPhones over the weekend, with the company claiming its initial supply of high-end iPhone 5S units completely sold out. Apple didn't sell out of the new iPhone 5C, its plastic-cased (and cheaper) alternative to the iPhone 5S; models are still available for shipment within 24 hours from Apple's online store. And the iPhone 5S selling out is no surprise: in the weeks ahead of the new iPhones' launch, rumors persisted that the initial production run of the device was relatively small in scope, which would make it far easier for Apple to sell out of its first batch. But how many iPhone 5C units did Apple actually manage to sell? In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple would produce just over 5 million iPhone 5S units ahead of the device's launch weekend; if that number's accurate, and Apple sold every single one, it would mean Apple sold roughly 4 million iPhone 5C units in order to reach that 9-million-sold figure for both models. That's an impressive figure for any smartphone, of course, and it could quiet some of the naysayers who have spent the past several months suggesting that Apple's best years are behind it."
hypnosec writes with word that the Chaos Computer Club claims to have "managed to break Apple's TouchID using everyday material and methods available on the web. Explaining their method on their website, the CCC hackers have claimed that all they did was photograph a fingerprint from a glass surface, ramped up the resolution of the photographed fingerprint, inverted and printed it using thick toner settings, smeared pink latex milk or white woodglue onto the pattern, lifted the latex sheet, moistened it a little and then placed it on the iPhone 5S's fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone." Update: 09/22 21:32 GMT by T :Reader mask.of.sanity adds a link to a video of the hack.
New submitter PopHollywood writes "Is iOS 7 slower than version 6? After upgrading, myself and a few others notice slow, choppy experience when scrolling, changing apps, etc. Is this common?" For those using iOS in general, what's been your experience with the new upgrade?
beltsbear writes "Your formerly working clone Lightning cable could stop working with the latest iOS update. Previously the beta version allowed these cables to charge with a warning message but the final release actually stops many cables from working. Apples Lightning connector system is locked with authentication chips that can verify if a cable is authorized by Apple. Many users with clone cables are now without the ability to charge their iPhones."
MojoKid writes "News of a proven security vulnerability involving Apple iOS 7 has started making the rounds. The exploit specifically involves the lockscreen, the most common piece of security that stops an unauthorized individual from gaining access to anything important on your phone. The 'hack,' if you want to call it that, is simple: Swipe up on the lock screen to enter the control center, and then open the alarm clock. From there, hold the phone's sleep button to bring up a prompt that will ask you if you wish to shut down, but instead of doing that, hit the cancel option, and then tap the home button to access the phone's multi-tasking screen. With access to this multi-tasking screen, anyone could try opening up what you've already had open on your phone. If you had Twitter open, for example, this person might be able to pick up where you left off and post on your behalf. Or, they could access the camera — and of course, every single photo stored on the phone." The new iPhone models were released today; iFixit has a teardown of the iPhone 5s, giving it a repairability score of 6/10.
judgecorp writes "There's more than $13,000 pledged for a crowdfunded bounty for bypassing an iPhone 5S's fingerprint reader. The bounty, set up by a security expert and an exploit reseller, requires entrants to lift prints 'like from a beer mug.' It has a website — IsTouchIDHackedYet — and payments are pledged by tweets using #IsTouchIDHackedYet. One drawback: the scheme appears to rely on trust that sponsors will actually pay up." Other prizes include whiskey, books, and a bottle of wine.
Ars Technica has posted a pretty thorough review of iOS 7, which brings a few radical changes to at least the visual design of the system. From the article: "In one sense, iOS 7 changes nearly everything about iOS. A couple of wallpapers have made the jump, but otherwise you'd be hard-pressed to find anything in iOS 7 that looks quite like it did in iOS 6. In another sense, iOS 7 is the latest in a string of incremental updates. It adds a few new features and changes some existing ones, but this doesn't radically alter the way that you use the OS from day to day." Breaking with the design trajectory of the last few releases of most of Apple's software, the oft maligned skeumorphism of the interface has been considerably toned down.
Nerval's Lobster writes "As noted by CNET, Apple hasn't released data on the number of iPhone 5C units it presold in the device's first 24 hours of availability—a first for the iPhone since 2009. Why is that? Reporter Josh Lowensohn speculates that iPhone 5C sales 'may not be as impressive when stacked up against tallies from previous years,' with one outside analyst suggesting that Apple racked up 1 million iPhone 5C preorders last Friday, or roughly half the 2 million presales scored by the iPhone 5 on its first day of ordering availability last year. However well the iPhone 5C ends up performing on the open market, Apple's decision to launch two iPhones this year—rather than a single 'hero' device—could result in self-cannibalism, as users who would've bought the iPhone 5S instead gravitate toward the cheaper option. Cannibalism is a topic that Apple knows well, as it's been dealing with the iPhone cannibalizing the iPod for the past several years; but a new iPhone eating away at another new iPhone is fresh territory for the company. During earnings calls, Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to argue that cannibalization—whether iPhones feeding off the iPod, or the iPad taking the place of MacBooks—is a good thing, so long as it's Apple products eating other Apple products. But it's far more questionable whether he would welcome the iPhone 5C—almost certainly a low-margin device, despite its current-generation components and plastic body—taking a bite out of the more expensive, and presumably higher-margin iPhone 5S. Margin erosion remains a prime concern of investors and Apple watchers; anything that contributes to that erosion is bound to be viewed unfavorably."
dryriver writes "Translated from Der Spiegel: Hamburg Data-Protection Specialist Johannes Caspar warns against using iPhone 5S's new Fingerprint ID function. 'The biometric features of your body, like your fingerprints, cannot be erased or deleted. They stay with you until the end of your life and stay constant — they cannot be changed. One should thus avoid using biometric ID technologies for non-vital or casual everyday uses like turning on a smartphone. This is especially true if a biometric ID, like your fingerprint, is stored in a data file on the electronic device you are using.' Caspar finds Apple's argument that 'your fingerprint is only stored on the iPhone, never transmitted over the network' weak and misleading. 'The average iPhone user is not capable of checking, on a technical level, what happens to his or her fingerprint once it is on the iPhone. He or she cannot tell with any certainty or ease what kind of private data applications downloaded onto the iPhone can or cannot access. The recent disclosure of spying programs like Prism makes it riskier than ever before to share important personal data with electronic devices.' Caspar adds: 'As a matter of principle, one should never hand over any biometric data when it isn't strictly needed. Handing over a non-changeable biometric feature like a fingerprint for no better reason than that it provides 'some convenience' in everyday use, is ill advised and foolish. One must always be extremely cautious where and for what reasons one hands over biometric features.'"
cagraham writes "Pandora has been the standard for internet radio since it launched in 2000, and just announced the appointment of new CEO Brian McAndrews. They claim they're not worried about Apple, but iTunes' massive user base (575 million), content deals, and cheaper pricing options should give them legitimate reason for concern. Can Pandora survive iTunes Radio? Do a-la-carte options like Spotify make any internet radio service irrelevant?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says it's not just because Apple likes bragging about being first and because a 64-bit processor sounds cooler than 32-bits that Apple used the 64-bit A7 chip in the new iPhone 5s. A shift from a 32-bit processor to a 64-bit part paves the way for iPhones to be fitted out with 4GB+ of RAM down the line, but more importantly the move brings iOS and OS X apps much closer. The architecture for 64-bit apps on iOS will be almost identical to the architecture for OS X apps, making it easy to create a common code base that runs in both operating systems. 'Apple has slowly been bringing iOS-like features to Mac OS for years now: think of Launchpad and Gatekeeper,' writes Sascha Segan. 'The ultimate prize, of course, would be to bring the million-plus iOS apps to Macs. Apple could do that with an ARM-compatible virtual machine on Mac hardware, but it would want the VM, the OS and the associated apps to play nicely in the much larger memory space available on Macs. That means moving the whole system over to 64 bit.' By unifying iOS and Mac OS with Xcode developer tools in a 64-bit space, Apple could once again leap ahead of Microsoft and Google, says Segan. Microsoft hasn't yet been able to leverage its desktop strengths to achieve success as a mobile OS. The 64-bit chips for Android devices aren't ready, and neither is Android itself."
Ron Miller (not a relative) wrote a piece titled Apple has a lot in common with The Rolling Stones, based on the song It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It). In the article, Ron writes: "Much like the Rolling Stones, Apple has to get up on stage again and again and figure out a way to blow the audience away – and it’s not always easy." In fact, Apple's latest iPhone announcement seems to have been greeted with a massive "ho hum" instead of the frenzied interest some of their earlier product announcements have created. In today's video, Ron tells us why he thinks this is, and ruminates briefly about the future of Apple and what kinds of products might help people get excited about Apple again.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's iPhone 5S features a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button. Of course, fingerprint-scanning technology isn't new: Bloomberg Terminals feature a built-in fingerprint reader to authenticate users, for example, and various manufacturers have experimented with laptops and smartphones that require a thumb to login. But the technology has thus far failed to become ubiquitous in the consumer realm, and it remains to be seen whether the new iPhone — which is all but guaranteed to sell millions of units — can popularize something that consumers don't seem to want. Security experts seem to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude with regard to Apple's newest trick. 'I'd caution right away, let's see how it tests and what people come up with to break it,' Brent Kennedy, an analyst with the U.S. Computer Emergency and Readiness Team, told Forbes. 'I wouldn't rely on it solely, just as I wouldn't with any new technology right off the bat.' And over at Wired, technologist Bruce Schneier is suggesting that biometric authentication could be hacked like anything else. 'I'm sure that someone with a good enough copy of your fingerprint and some rudimentary materials engineering capability — or maybe just a good enough printer — can authenticate his way into your iPhone,' he wrote. 'But, honestly, if some bad guy has your iPhone and your fingerprint, you've probably got bigger problems to worry about.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple unveiled the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S today, which will replace the company's current iPhone 5. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives took to a stage in California to introduce both devices. The cheaper iPhone 5C features a plastic casing available in a variety of colors (green, blue, reddish-pink, yellow, white); Apple seems to have done its best to make the device look high quality, with the backing and sides molded of a single piece of plastic; on the hardware side of things, the iPhone 5C comes with a 4-inch Retina display, A6 processor, and 8-megapixel camera. The other new Apple design, the iPhone 5S, is the company's next-generation 'hero' device. While the iPhone 5 was a radical new design, the 5S is an iterative upgrade; on the outside, it looks pretty much the same as its predecessor (the new iPhone features a new color, gold, in addition to the 'traditional' black or white aluminum body). The iPhone 5S has an A7 chip built on 64-bit architecture (capable of running 32-bit and 64-bit apps), which is pretty speedy, to put it mildly. There's also the M7 'motion co-processor' which boosts the actions of the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope—in theory, opening the door to more refined motion-related apps, such as ones devoted to exercise." The iPhone 5S also has a sensor built into the home button that will allow you to unlock the device with your fingerprint. Both new phone will be available for purchase on Friday, Sept. 20th. Apple announced that iOS 7 will be rolling out on Wednesday, Sept. 18th.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The iPhone 5S line has already begun, despite Apple not even having made its announcement yet. From the looks of the invite to the unveiling in San Francisco on Sept. 10 (and another event the following day in Beijing, where iPhones are all the rage), the company will not only be announcing a next generation iPhone, the 5S, but also the lower-priced 5C model, in a variety of cheaper-looking colors."
An anonymous reader writes "Last night's episode of Breaking Bad was one of the most intense in series history, but for those who haven't seen it yet, don't worry, I won't be putting out any spoilers. You see, today's Breaking Bad news has nothing to do with Walter White's slow transformation into Scarface, but rather with a legal suit filed against Apple by a Breaking Bad fan. In a lawsuit that many saw coming, an Ohio man named Noam Lazebnik recently filed a class action suit against Apple upon finding out that the $22.99 he forked over for a 'Season Pass' of Breaking Bad was only good for the first 8 episodes of the show's final season."
Dave Girard has written a lengthy description of how to design the best possible operating system for creative pursuits (video editing, photo manipulation, and sound editing, in particular) — at least the the best possible one he can imagine by selecting from the best tools and behaviors that he finds in Mac OS X, Windows, and (mostly Ubuntu) Linux. He makes a compelling case for the OS (or at least a GUI on top of it) having baked-in support for a wide range of image formats and codecs, and makes some pointed jabs along the way at what each of these three big players do wrong.
An anonymous reader writes with a report from Spiegel Online that the U.S. government "has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, [and] devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. The United States' National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. ... The documents state that it is possible for the NSA to tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been." As a bonus, the same reader points out a Washington Post report according to which "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases ... In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
theodp writes "Throwing some cold water on the buzz surrounding the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch launch, The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan questions how smart a watch can really be. Calling offerings like the Galaxy Gear useful but not the stuff of dreams and revolutions, Buchanan writes, 'So there remains a strange undercurrent of hope that somebody-Apple-will figure out, soon, some grander vision for wearable technology, transforming it from something that people have vaguely imagined into something people intensely desire. It did it for smartphones, once, and again, for tablets. The question that Apple has been charged with, since nobody has definitively answered it yet, is whether the lack of an invention that truly carries us beyond the last five hundred years of wrist-mounted technology is the result of a failure of imagination or simply a fact of nature-that a watch will always just be a watch, no matter how smart it might think it is.' So, will you be an early adopter and drink Samsung's or Sony's smartwatch Kool-Aid, wait to see what Apple comes up with, or hold out for a Windows Forearm Pad 8?"
Calibax writes "Parallels recently released version 9 of Parallels Desktop, their popular hypervisor application for Mac. They also released a new product named Parallels Access that offers access to Windows applications from an iPad for $80 per year. Access has received less than stellar reviews. When a user upgrades Parallels Desktop, he is asked if he wants a free six-month subscription to Parallels Access. Even if he says no, the product is installed on his system and the application is started each time the system is rebooted. It is installed with ancillary files scattered around several directories in the system and Parallels has not supplied an uninstaller or listed the steps to fully uninstall the application, despite a number of requests. In other words, Parallels has decided it's a good idea to silently install a difficult to remove daemon application on the system, even if the user has explicitly stated they do not want it. They have not provided an uninstaller or a list of files installed or instructions on how to remove the application files. These are scattered to at least four Mac OS X OS system level directories."
itwbennett writes "The federal judge presiding over the U.S. electronic books case against Apple has barred the company from striking deals that would ensure that it could undercut prices of other retailers in the e-book market and also prohibited Apple from letting any one publisher know what deals the company is striking up with other publishers. For its part, Apple said it plans to appeal the ruling (PDF), denying that it conspired to fix ebook pricing. Meanwhile, Amazon is alerting customers of their potential payout, which could be as much as $3.82 for every eligible Kindle book."
An anonymous reader writes "The former chief designer of Nokia explains how the company's success and its corporate culture stopped it from taking risks and left it open to being beaten by Apple. He now sees the same warning signs emerging at Apple. Quoting: 'I look back and I think Nokia was just a very big company that started to maintain its position more than innovate for new opportunities. All of the opportunities were in front of them and Nokia was working on them, but the key word is a sense of urgency. While things were in play there was a real sense of saying "we will get to that eventually."' He worries Apple is now in a similar place: 'Nokia became more of a maintainer, more of an iterator, whereas innovation only comes in re-invention and Nokia waited too long to make the next big bold move ... that is now Apple’s challenge. Apple has arrived at a very safe place, it is responsible for something everybody loves, so it feels it has to keep it going.'" Oddly enough, this comes alongside news that a different former insider, Thomas Zilliacus (who was Nokia’s former Asia-Pacific CEO), has founded a company called "Newkia" in the wake of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia. His goal is to take on former Nokia engineers and set them to building phones again — this time, running Android.
wabrandsma writes, quoting Apple Insider "The technology, detailed in a patent awarded to Apple on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, deals with so-called 'access inputs' that determine what apps, device services, and functions can be accessed by a user. Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,528,072 for a 'Method, apparatus and system for access mode control of a device,' describes a system that creates user access modes guarded by predetermined gesture inputs." Reading the patent, it appears Apple managed to patent allowing access to some programs without a passcode from the lock screen of a device while protecting others, so e.g. you can quickly swipe to make a phone call or control your music, but have to enter a code to read your email or access your word processor documents.
ciaran_o_riordan writes "A rare glimpse at the human harm of a software patent lawsuit: company receives 500,000 calls complaining about video quality after a video call system was forced to change to avoid a patent. That's a lot of people having a bad day. We don't usually hear these details because the court documents get ordered sealed and the lawyers only say what the companys' communication strategists allow. However, for VirnetX v. Apple, Jeff Lease decided to go the hearings, take notes, and give them to a journalist. While most coverage is focussing on the fines involved, doubling or halving Apple's fine would have a much smaller impact on your day than the removal of a feature from some software you like. Instead of letting the software patents debate be reduced to calls for sympathy for big companies getting fined, what other evidence is out there, like this story, for harm caused directly to software users?"
Em Adespoton writes "Before the VirnetX case, nearly all FaceTime calls were done through a system of direct communication. Essentially, Apple would verify that both parties had valid FaceTime accounts and then allow their two devices to speak directly to each other over the Internet, without any intermediary or 'relay' servers. However, a small number of calls—5 to 10 percent, according to an Apple engineer who testified at trial—were routed through 'relay servers.' At the August 15 hearing, a VirnetX lawyer stated that Apple had logged 'over half a million calls' complaining about the quality of FaceTime [since disabling direct connections]."
An anonymous reader writes "Today Apple announced the launch of a trade-in program for iPhones. Users will be able to send in their older devices and get credit toward new ones. The announcement precedes an event on Sept. 10th at which Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone model. The trade-in program is being managed by a company named Brightstar, with whom trade-in value maxes out at $336 for a 16GB iPhone 5. The 16GB iPhone 4S, 4, and 3GS max out at $221, $151, and $52, respectively. (The value drops depending on the device's condition, of course.) 'With its new program, Apple steps into a crowded field of competing programs offered by companies such as Gazelle, Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon and others, all of whom accept older iPhones for money. The broader market for used smartphones has been estimated to bring in as much as $5 billion in sales by 2015. With Apple participating as well, more smartphone users may opt for the trade-in option, and could potentially send that estimate even higher. Running its own program would give Apple a way to drive more iPhone sales within its own stores rather than seeing sales from carrier partners, and drive more traffic through its retail stores as well.'"
The launch of the new SimCity back in March made headlines for the problems caused by the game's always-online DRM. EA Maxis even decided that people who bought the game early deserved a free game for their trouble. They also decided to postpone the launch of the Mac version of the game. Well, the delay is over; SimCity has arrived for Macs, and players are now facing a whole new set of installation and launch problems. "Those issues include a 'mutexAlert' error, which can be resolved by switching the OS to English. Another simply doesn't allow a player to install the game once downloaded. The suggested solution for that is to re-install Origin and opt in to the new Beta version. The game also apparently doesn't currently support Mac OS X 10.7.4 nor the upcoming 10.9 beta release." There are also reports that the game won't function on high-resolution display settings.
rjmarvin writes "Apple's era of naming OSs after big cats is over. The Mavericks wave is rolling in, and the first four developer previews have given an inside look at the cutting-edge OS. Users and developers have almost entirely positive things to say about Mavericks, from faster speed and improved stability to new features like iBooks and iCloud keychains. While some installation concerns and errors have arisen, developer preview have improved version by version, and Mavericks is looking good."
redkemper writes with this news from BGR.com (based on a report at Hacker News), excerpting: "Android might be targeted by hackers and malware far more often than Apple's iOS platform, but that doesn't mean devices like the iPhone and iPad are immune to threats. A post on a Russian website draws attention to a fairly serious vulnerability that allows nefarious users to remotely crash apps on iOS 6, or even render them unusable. The vulnerability is seemingly due to a bug in Apple's CoreText font rendering framework, and OS X Mountain Lion is affected as well."
Joe Marine of No Film School has a short interview with two of the creators of the Black Betty, a deceptively old-school looking digital cinema camera. The Black Betty gets around one issue with the massive data processing and storage needs inherent to high-capacity, high-resolution video cameras by attacking it head-on. Rather than use the camera "merely" as a collection device, the creators have jammed into the machined aluminum case the guts of a Mac Mini, which means the camera not only has a powerful processing brain, but a built-in SSD drive, and can (in a pinch, or even by preference in the field) be used to edit and transmit the footage collected with the actual imaging system, which is based around the SI-2K Mini sensor, which shoots 1080p video at up to 30fps.
Dave_Minsky writes "About 600 students will enter Lynn University's freshman class this year, the largest since 2007, and they will all be using iPad Minis instead of textbooks. The iPads will cost $475, saving students up to 50% of what a semester's worth of textbooks would cost, estimates Lynn. Students will be able to access core curriculum classes on their iPads that are 'enhanced with custom multimedia content,' and will come with 'at least 30 education, productivity, social and news-related iOS apps — some free and some paid for by the university.' This seems to be the beginning of a new era for American colleges. The Boca Raton university is not the first to give iPads to students instead of textbooks. Back in 2010, New Jersey-based Seton Hill University announced it would give students the tablets rather than books."
An anonymous reader writes "A malware test app sneaked through Apple's review process disguised as a harmless app, and then re-assembled itself into an aggressive attacker even while running inside the iOS 'sandbox' designed to isolate apps and data from each other. The app, dubbed Jekyll, was helped by Apple's review process. The malware designers, a research team from Georgia Institute of Technology's Information Security Center, were able to monitor their app during the review: they discovered Apple ran the app for only a few seconds, before ultimately approving it. That wasn't anywhere near long enough to discover Jekyll's deceitful nature."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Daniel Kottke and Bill Fernandez had front-row seats to the birth of the personal computing industry, as well as the most valuable technology company in the world. Both served as employees of Apple Computer in its earliest days: Kottke working with the hardware, Fernandez developing the user interfaces. Both have some strong opinions about the new feature film Jobs, which dramatizes the personal and professional escapades of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his more technically inclined partner, Steve Wozniak. Kottke consulted on early versions of the script, attended the movie's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in February, and is currently planning to see it again shortly after its release on August 16. Fernandez, on the other hand, hasn't seen it and doesn't intend to, because he considers it a work of fiction and thinks it will upset him. In this lengthy interview with Slashdot, both attempted to distinguish the facts and longstanding geek legends from the instances of pure creative license exercised by the filmmakers."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Oracle CEO Larry Ellison thinks that Apple will collapse without Steve Jobs at the helm. In a televised interview with CBS News, scheduled to air August 13, Ellison called the deceased Jobs 'brilliant' and compared him to iconic creators such as Thomas Edison and Pablo Picasso. When asked about Apple's future now that Jobs is dead, Ellison didn't hold back: 'We already know, we saw — we conducted the experiment, it's been done.' Raising his hand above his head, presumably to indicate the rise of Apple's fortunes during Jobs' initial reign, Ellison said: 'We saw Apple with Steve Jobs.' Then he lowered his hand: "We saw Apple without Steve Jobs." In other words, the period following Jobs' ouster, when the company's revenues declined and it launched whole portfolios of consumer products that failed. 'We saw Apple with Steve Jobs,' Ellison continued, raising his hand above his head again — this time, to suggest that incandescent period following Jobs' return to the company, when it released the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and a variety of bestselling PCs. 'And now, we're going to see Apple without Steve Jobs,' he finished, and his hand fell."
An anonymous reader writes "In a fascinating post from Kelly Jacklin, the long time Apple software engineer details how he helped create the default text alert sound on the iPhone — a sound otherwise known as 'Tri-tone.' The history of the the pleasant text alert sound that we've all come to know and love stretches all the way back to 1998, nearly 10 years before the iPhone ever hit store shelves." Here's Jacklin's post.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that certain models of Samsung phone violate Apple patents, and are likely to be blocked from import to the U.S. From the article: "The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touch screen and user interface and U.S. Patent No. 7,912,501 which deals with detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC said Samsung didn’t infringe on the other two patents. In a statement on the matter, the ITC said the decision is final and the investigation has been closed. ... As was the case with the previous ruling that saw Apple devices banned, the ban on Samsung devices won’t go into effect until 60 days but can be blocked by a favorable ruling following a presidential review. That seems unlikely as such a block has only been issued once since 1987 – last’s week’s ruling in favor of Apple."
EliSowash writes "In response to recent reports of safety concerns around third-party chargers for iDevices, Apple announced today that beginning August 16, 2013, you can trade in your third-party adapter and purchase an official Apple charger at a 'special price' — $10 USD. From their website: 'To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation. The special pricing on Apple USB power adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad, and iPod you own and is valid until October 18, 2013.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "In a new Gizmodo column, Andreas Goeldi calls it the 'frosted glass' effect: when a prominent tech company's latest upgrade to its flagship operating system features frosted-glass highlights as its primary innovation, you know that company is facing a period of severe stagnation. That's what happened to Microsoft around the time of Windows Vista, Goeldi wrote, and Apple's going down the same road with iOS 7. In light of what he views as Apple's sclerosis, it wasn't difficult for him to abandon his iPhone in favor of a Google Android ecosystem. But is Apple really becoming the next Microsoft? In short: no. Apple seems to recognize everything that seemed to elude Microsoft's corporate thinking six years ago: namely, that even the most successful companies need to keep breaking into new categories, and keep innovating, if they want to stay ahead of hungry rivals. Rumors have persisted for quite some time that Apple is prepping big pushes into wearable electronics and televisions, both of which could prove lucrative strategies if executed correctly. Goeldi faults iOS 7 for its frosted-glass effects, which he compares to those of Vista; but similar graphical elements aside, it's unlikely that iOS 7 will run into the same complaints over hardware requirements, compatibility, security, and so much more that greeted Vista upon its release. In fact, iOS 7 isn't even finished."
Back in June, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an import ban on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G due to patent violations. Now, the White House has exercised its privilege to overrule the ban. In his letter to the ITC (PDF), Ambassador Michael Froman said 'he was not making a decision about the merits of Samsung's case, or its right to seek compensation. Rather, he emphasized that because the patent in question was now a widely held technology standard, banning the products in question would be too disruptive to consumers and the economy.' This is the first time an ITC decision has been overruled since 1987.
bsk_cw writes "This article takes a long look at four major consumer tech ecosystems — Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — and examine how well (or badly) they're serving up their media. The authors talk about how each company approaches gaming, music, video, books, etc., and how each integrates all its parts into some kind of whole. The conclusion? That none of the four can be said to be the best in all things, but they're certainly trying."
DavidGilbert99 writes "Apple's iOs has been known as a bastion of security for many years, but three researchers have now shown iPhones and iPads can be hacked in just under 60 seconds using nothing more than a charger. OK, so it's not just a charger — but the Mactans charger does delete an official app (say Facebook) replacing it with an official-looking one which is actually malware which could access your contacts, messages, emails, phone calls and even capture your passwords. Apple says it will fix the flaw, but not until the release of iOS 7, the date of which hasn't been confirmed yet. So watch out for chargers left lying around ..." (For less in the way of auto-playing video ads with sound, check out the Mac Observer's take, which concludes "[I]t's nifty that Apple is addressing the issue in iOS 7. We'd also like to see it fixed in iOS 6. Apple has historically seen iPhone users upgrade to the newest version iOS in staggeringly high numbers, but eliminating this problem across the board seems the wiser choice.")