First time accepted submitter snobody writes "Recently, an article was posted on Slashdot about the claim that law enforcement made about being frustrated by their inability to decrypt messages using Apple's iMessage. However, this article on Techdirt suggests that the DEA may be spewing out disinformation. As the Techdirt article says, if you switch to a new iDevice, you still are able to access your old iMessages, suggesting that Apple has the key somewhere in the cloud. Thus, if law enforcement goes directly to Apple, they should be able to get the key."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
New submitter anderzole writes "Germany's Federal Patent Court on Thursday invalidated all of Apple's claims for its slide-to-unlock patent. They death blow for Apple's slide to unlock patent was likely a Swedish phone called the Neonode N1m that launched well before the iPhone and featured its own slide to unlock implementation. The N1m was released in 2005 while Apple's own patent for slide to unlock wasn't filed until December of 2005."
We've mentioned a few times the "gentleman's agreements" which some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley used to reduce the risk of employee poaching. walterbyrd writes "This comes from the same judge who awarded Apple $1 billion from Samsung. 'A federal judge on Friday struck down an effort to form a class action lawsuit to go after Apple, Google and five other technology companies for allegedly forming an illegal cartel to tamp down workers' wages and prevent the loss of their best engineers during a multiyear conspiracy broken up by government regulators.'" The lawsuit itself is ongoing (thanks to a ruling last year by the same judge); it's just that the plaintiff's claims cannot be combined.
zacharye writes "Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have long been considered the future of computing and a new projection from market research firm Gartner shows just how important the mobile market has become. According to the firm's estimates for 2013, Apple devices will outsell Windows devices for the first time this year. The estimate takes into account sales of Apple's iPhones, iPads and Mac computers as well as desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones powered by Microsoft's various Windows operating systems..."
hypnosec writes "WebKit developers have already started discussing the removal of Chrome- and Chromium-specific code from the rendering engine in a bid to make the code easier to maintain. Just a couple of days back, Google announced it will go ahead with a WebKit fork to develop a new browser engine — Blink. According to Google, having multiple rendering engines — just like multiple browsers — will allow for innovation as well as contribute toward a healthy open-web ecosystem. The discussion was started by Geoffery Garen, an Apple WebKit developer. He said Google's departure is an 'opportunity to streamline' the code of WebKit, which would eventually make development 'easier and more coherent for everyone.' Garen expects that developers who will be working on WebKit in the future should help to clean up the code. However, Adam Barth and Eric Seidel — two Google WebKit developers — have already offered their help." Google plans on making the switch to Blink in the stable Chrome release in around 10 weeks. They've posted a half-hour video explaining how the transition will work.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to this "CNET story about arguably the most important technical documents in Apple's early history: the source code, contract letters, schematics and notes for the creation of the Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS). From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses, able to support killer apps like Visicalc and build the PC industry."
DavidGilbert99 writes "It was the malware which affected as many Apple computers as the Conficker worm affected Windows PCs and earned its creator up to $10,000 per day. Until now, no one know who was behind the Flashback Trojan which hit 650,000 computers last year, but security researcher Brian Krebs has managed to uncover the creator as a 30-year-old Russian cyber criminal."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday released SkyDrive 3.0 for iOS out of the blue. Last time the app was in the news, Apple was stopping Microsoft from pushing out an update in the App Store because the company doesn't pay a 30 percent cut of the subscription revenue it generates. Now we've learned how Microsoft managed to update its iOS app today. 'We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told TNW. 'The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.' Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"
An anonymous reader writes in with bad news for Apple. "It would appear that Apple has lost an attempt to trademark the 'iPad Mini.' This time it's not nefarious foreigners subverting the just order of things simply by trademarking something several years before Apple did. No, that was what happened in Brazil with the IFone. Nor is it people nefariously selling the rights to everywhere but China but Apple's lawyers didn’t notice, as happened with iPad in China. No, this time it's the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office saying that Apple simply cannot have a trademark on 'iPad Mini.' For the simple reason that the law doesn't allow them to trademark something which is just a description of the product."
An anonymous reader writes "An article at The Verge makes the case that Apple's development of its cloud services hasn't been accompanied by the necessary effort to ramp up security to match users' increasing levels of risk. As evidence, they use a recent (and very simple) security hole that allowed anyone to reset an Apple ID password with just a user's email address and birth date. Apple's initial response failed to fully stop the exploit, and then it took several days for them to fix the issue. 'A server-side attack on Apple's cloud could get customers' credit card numbers and addresses, device backups with their encryption keys — as well as contacts and Apple IDs — anonymously and in bulk. Those systems may be defended like a castle, but bandits have plenty of places to chip away at private information at the periphery: intercepting wireless location data, cracking the still-private protocols for services like FaceTime or iMessage, or imitating iTunes updates to install to take over a user's phone. There's nothing sexy about securing these systems. None of them contribute directly to Apple's bottom line. And when it came to securing a business netting it an estimated $2 billion each year, Apple locked the screen door and left the front door open, without asking anyone else to check that the house was safe.' The article also points out that many other cloud service providers have detailed privacy and security policies, and actively participate in developing best practices, whereas Apple's procedures are shrouded in the company's typical secrecy. The article comes alongside reports of a way for people to DDoS other users' iMessage box."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Forbes: "... it is an almost certainty that within the next few years, three biometric options will become standard features in every new phone: a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, facial recognition powered by high-definition cameras, and voice recognition based off a large collection of your vocal samples. ... We store an enormous amount of our most intimate and personal information on cell phones. Businesses today are already struggling with policies regarding bringing devices from home, and it’s only going to get more difficult. A study by Symantec highlighted the depth of the problem – around the world, all different types of companies consider enterprise mobile device security to be one of their largest challenges. ... Ever since Apple purchased Authentec Inc in July of last year, there has been an endless stream of news stories obsessing over whether Apple will include a fingerprint scanner in their next release. In reality, Apple is one among many players, and whether they include a biometric sensor in the 5S or wait till the 6 is largely irrelevant, the entire mobile industry has been headed this way for years now. ... There are separate questions as to whether these technologies are ready for such a wide-scale deployment."
David Greelish, Founder of the Atlanta Historical Computing Society, has taken it upon himself to "tell the story of Apple.” Greelish partnered with Lonnie Mimms, a local computer collector, with a museum-quality exhibit dubbed the "Apple Pop-Up Museum." From the article: "...Mimms wanted to focus specifically on Apple—partly because of Steve Jobs' recent passing, but also because of Apple's 'overwhelming success and stardom.' And so the two teamed together to create the Apple Pop-Up Museum, which will be part of the Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 1.0 when it opens in Atlanta on April 20 and 21, 2013. In a twist of historical fate, the show will be held in an old CompUSA store, with 6,000 feet of the CompUSA regional corporate offices being used for the Apple Pop-Up museum. '[Mimms] and his staff are literally building a museum within the separate rooms,' Greelish told Ars."
whoever57 writes "Several European phone carriers have complained to the EU about the contracts that Apple imposes on them if they want to sell the iPhone. Because the contracts stipulate a minimum purchase, and the Carrier must compensate Apple if they fail to sell through that minimum, it has the effect of forcing the carrier to promote iPhones ahead of alternative phones. The European Commission is monitoring the situation. Apple claims that its 'contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the EU.'"
There have been video editing apps available for Linux for years, from ones meant to be friendly enough to compete on the UI front with iMovie (like the moribund Kino, last released in 2009, and the actively developed PiTiVi and Kdenlive) to editors that can apparently do nearly anything, provided the user is a thick-skinned genius — I'm thinking of Broadcast 2000/Cinelerra. Then there's VJ-tool-cum-non-linear editor LiVES, which balances a dense interface with real-time effects for using video as a performance tool, and can run on various flavors of UNIX, including Mac OS X. Dallas-based developer Jonathan Thomas has been working for the last few years on a Free (GPL3 or later), open-source editor called OpenShot, which aims for a happy medium of both usability and power. OpenShot is Linux-only, though, and Thomas is now trying to kickstart (as in, using a Kickstarter project) a cross-platform release for OS X and Windows, too. I've been tempted by dozens of KickStarter projects before, but this is the first one that I've actually pledged to support, and for what may sound like a backwards reason: I like the interface, and am impressed by the feature set, but OpenShot crashes on me a lot. (To be fair, this is mostly to blame on my hardware, none of which is really high-end enough by video-editing standards, or even middle-of-the-road. One day!) So while I like the idea of having a cross-platform, open-source video editor, I have no plans to migrate to Windows; I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.
wiredmikey writes "In an effort to increase security for user accounts, Apple on Thursday introduced a two-step verification option for Apple IDs. As the 'epic hacking' of Wired journalist Mat Honan proved, an Apple ID often carries much more power than the ability to buy songs and apps through Apple's App store. An Apple ID can essentially be the keys to the Kingdom when it comes to Apple devices and user maintained data, and as Apple explains, is the key to many important things you do with Apple, such as purchasing from the iTunes and App Stores, keeping personal information up-to-date across your devices with iCloud, and locating, locking, or wiping your devices.' 'After you turn [Two-step verification] on, there will be no way for anyone to access and manage your account at My Apple ID other than by using your password, verification codes sent your trusted devices, or your Recovery Key, a support entry announcing the new service explained."
angry tapir writes "It's been a long-running joke that it's cheaper for Australians to get a plane ticket to the U.S. if they want to buy Adobe's Creative Suite instead of paying local prices. But appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into the disparity between IT prices in Australia and elsewhere, Adobe's local chief appeared to suggest just that." Other companies gave their responses to the inquiry as well. Microsoft said they'll simply charge what the market will bear. Apple tossed out a host of reasons for the price difference; its retail partners, digital content owners, exchange rates, taxes, import duties, and an apparent inability to alter the price set by its U.S. parent company.
skade88 writes "Apple now owns and runs enough renewable energy power plants that 75% of their world wide power needs come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. From the Apple Blog Post: 'Our investments are paying off. We've already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino. And for all of Apple's corporate facilities worldwide, we're at 75 percent, and we expect that number to grow as the amount of renewable energy available to us increases. We won't stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.'"
First time accepted submitter Steve Patterson writes "Thankfully, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has announced that 'Android and Chrome will remain separate.' Rumors that the products would be combined emerged last week when leadership of Android and Chrome were consolidated under Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai. Schmidt stated the obvious, but if you are a developer and you took the bait and thought the rumors might be true, you already read enough of Google Chrome or Google Android documentation before Schmidt's clarification and confirmed that consolidating the two products would be, well, stupid."
An anonymous reader writes "A new trojan specifically for Macs has been discovered that installs an adware plugin. The malware attempts to monetize its attack by injecting ads into Chrome, Firefox, and Safari (the most popular browsers on Apple's desktop platform) in the hopes that users will generate money for its creators by viewing (and maybe even clicking) them. The threat, detected as "Trojan.Yontoo.1" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, is part of a wider scheme of adware for OS X that has "been increasing in number since the beginning of 2013," according to the company."
First time accepted submitter danhuby writes "Apple have removed sweatshop-themed game Sweatshop HD by UK developers LittleLoud from their app store citing clause 16.1 — 'Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.' According to the PocketGamer article, Littleloud's head of games, Simon Parkin, told Pocket Gamer that 'Apple removed Sweatshop from the App Store last month stating that it was uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop.'"