Jun 022014
 

Apple takes on Snapchat with a text self-destruct button: Latest software destroys messages

  • Apple unveiled the latest software at its developer conference in California
  • This includes the ‘flatter’ Mac OS software called Yosemite, as well as iOS 8
  • Yosemite lets users search Wikipedia and the web from the home screen
  • It also comes with a new online storage service called iCloud Drive
  • iOS 8 features interactive notifications and a new QuickType keyboard
  • It has added a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for video messages
  • Apple’s new Health app connects fitness tracking bands with doctors
  • It is now easier for parents to track what their children are up to online
  • Elsewhere, Apple launched HomeKit that lets users control smart appliances with their iOS device

 

The Daily Mail / UK
by Mark Prigg In San Francisco
2 June 2014

The latest iOS 8 software has interactive notifications, a keyboard that predicts what users will type, and a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for messages. Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering also revealed the much-rumoured Health app (pictured) that syncs with fitness trackers

The latest iOS 8 software has interactive notifications, a keyboard that predicts what users will type, and a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for messages. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering also revealed the much-rumoured Health app (pictured) that syncs with fitness trackers

 

Apple has unveiled a radical overhaul of its Mac software alongside a brand new iOS 8.

The latest iOS software now has interactive notifications, a keyboard that predicts what users will type, and a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for video and audio messages.

Meanwhile, the new Mac software design has taken many of the concepts seen on last year’s ‘flat’ iOS 7, and added key features such as being able to search Wikipedia and the web directly from the home screen.

Apple boss Tim Cook said the firm’s software had been completely redesigned to work ‘seamlessly’ together.

iOS 8′s new notification system means people can respond without having to open and switch apps.

There is also a new video messaging system allowing people to easily send video and audio messages.

This allows messages to be set to self destruct, rather like Snapchat.

The iPhone’s keyboard has been overhauled with a new QuickType system that can predict words the user is likely to use, and learns how a user types over time.

Spotlight has also been improved to allow better searching.

According to Cook, Messages is the most frequently used app, and this has been updated it to make it easier to set up and take part in group chats.

The much-rumoured Health app was also revealed, following weeks of leaks. It brings together data from fitness tracking bands and other systems.

‘Developers have created a vast array of healthcare devices,’ said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. ‘But until now, the information lives in silos.’

 

On Yosemite (pictured left), Federighi said users can now search Wikipedia and the web directly from the home screen. The iOS 8 software (pictured right) now has a new notification system, meaning people can respond without having to switch apps. There is also a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for video messages

On Yosemite (pictured left), Federighi said users can now search Wikipedia and the web directly from the home screen. The iOS 8 software (pictured right) now has a new notification system, meaning people can respond without having to switch apps. There is also a Snapchat-style self-destruct button for video messages

 

Apple iOS 8

Apple iOS 8

 

During the Mac OS announcement, Federighi (pictured) joked that OS X Weed was one of the names considered. The software has been redesigned (pictured) to look 'flat' and resemble the latest version of the iOS software seen on iPhones and iPads - in a project overseen by chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive

During the Mac OS announcement, Federighi (pictured) joked that OS X Weed was one of the names considered. The software has been redesigned (pictured) to look ‘flat’ and resemble the latest version of the iOS software seen on iPhones and iPads – in a project overseen by chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive

 

 

*** WHAT’S NEW IN IOS 8?

iOS 8 now has a new notification system, meaning people can respond without having to open and switch apps.

A new video messaging system lets people easily send video and audio messages, and these messages can be set to self destruct, rather like Snapchat.

The iPhone’s keyboard has been overhauled with a new QuickType system that can predict words the user is likely to use, and learns how a user types over time.

Spotlight has been improved to allow better searching.

Messages has been updated it to make it easier to set up and take part in group chats.

The much-rumoured Health app brings together data from fitness tracking bands and other systems. 

The family sharing app allows families to easily share calenders, pictures and even find phones.

Parents can see what their children have bought online, and download apps, music and films on the same account.

The system will automatically message parents if their child tries to buy content online.

 

Apple is working with the Mayo Clinic to allow data to be shared with doctors automatically, and notify them if a reading is too high, for example.

Apple’s iOS 8 additionally now has a family sharing app allowing families to easily share calenders, pictures and even find phones.

Parents can see what their children have bought online, and download apps, music and films on the same account.

The system will automatically message parents if their child tries to buy content online, too.

Elsehwere, the firm added HomeKit, a system to allow users to control home appliances and turn their iPhone into a remote control.

It allows the iPhone to open doors, control lights and even carry out commands like ‘get ready for bed’ which could dim lights and lock all doors.

During the Mac OS announcement, Federighi joked that OS X Weed was one of the names considered, before revealing the latest version of the software will be called Yosemite.

The software has been redesigned to look ‘flat’- to resemble the latest version of the iOS software seen on iPhones and iPads – in a project overseen by chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive.

It also has a new mode that lets users easily change the colour scheme, and comes with a new online storage service called iCloud Drive.

This lets users automatically synchronise files across multiple Macs, iPhones, iPads and even Windows PCs.

‘It’s got an all new interface,’ Federighiboasted. ‘It’s gorgeous and more usable.’

The software update will improve battery life, according to Federighi, and it has added a new ‘markup’ option to let users easily annotate pictures they are emailing.

The firm has also improved the way Macs, iPads and iPhone work together.

 

*** WHAT’S NEW IN MAC OS X YOSEMITE?

The software has been redesigned to look ‘flat’- to resemble the latest version of the iOS software seen on iPhones and iPads – in a project overseen by chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive.

It also has a new mode that lets users easily change the colour scheme, and comes with a new online storage service called iCloud Drive, allowing users to automatically synchronise files across multiple Macs, iPhones, iPads and even Windows PCs.

The software update will improve battery life, according to Federighi, and it has added a new ‘markup’ option to let users easily annotate pictures they are emailing.

The firm has also improved the way Macs, iPads and iPhone work together.

For example, a new feature called Continuity lets people drop files onto their phone from a Mac, while Handoff lets people swap between devices and automatically pick up where the user left off – even if an email is half written.

Elsewhere, Yosemite now has SMS and phone call support to Macs, meaning people can send texts from their Mac, and even use it as a speakerphone. 

 

Federighi (pictured) also unveiled a radical overhaul of Apple's Mac software, called Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The update will improve battery life on Macs, according to Federighi, and it has added a new 'markup' option to let users easily annotate pictures they are emailing

Federighi (pictured) also unveiled a radical overhaul of Apple’s Mac software, called Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The update will improve battery life on Macs, according to Federighi, and it has added a new ‘markup’ option to let users easily annotate pictures they are emailing

 

For example, a feature called Continuity lets people drop files onto their phone from a Mac, while Handoff lets people swap between devices and automatically pick up where the user left off – even if an email is half written.

Elsewhere, Yosemite now has SMS and phone call support to Macs, meaning people can send texts from their Mac, and even use it as a speakerphone.

Users can dial their iPhone from their Mac, a feature that was demonstrated by calling Dr Dre, Apple’s latest employee. ‘What time should I get into work? I can’t wait to start,’ he said.

 

The firm has also improved the way Macs, iPads and iPhone work together. For example, a new feature called Continuity lets people drop files onto their phone from a Mac. Elsewhere, Yosemite has SMS and phone call support (pictured), meaning people can send texts from their Mac, and even use it as a speakerphone

The firm has also improved the way Macs, iPads and iPhone work together. For example, a new feature called Continuity lets people drop files onto their phone from a Mac. Elsewhere, Yosemite has SMS and phone call support (pictured), meaning people can send texts from their Mac, and even use it as a speakerphone

 

The new Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite software will be available in the Autumn, and will be free.

The Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is an annual event in which the company reveals a series of new products and software to developers.

Recently, the event has focused predominantly on Apple software, including iOS on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and OS X for its range of Macs.

Major hardware releases are reserved until Apple’s annual event in September.

Speaking to 5,000 developers at the California’s Moscone centre, Cook said: ‘We’re here to celebrate the developer community, and the number of lives they have enriched.

‘Our youngest developer is 13, and we’ll be seeing apps from him for a long time.

‘We’re gathered to talk about Mac OS and iOS. While the industry declined by 5 per cent, Macs grew by 12 per cent.’

Cook also took aim at Microsoft’s poorly received Windows 8 software.

‘Over 50 per cent of our users are on the latest release. Windows 8 shipped a year before Mavericks, and it’s at 14 per cent.

Earlier this year, Cook announced Apple is gearing up to ‘enter new product categories’.

While the recent $3billion acquisition of Beats Audio from rapper Dr Dre suggests the company is potentially exploring new territories.

 

Apple is working with the Mayo Clinic to allow its fitness data (pictured) to be shared with doctors automatically, and notify them if a reading is too high

Apple is working with the Mayo Clinic to allow its fitness data (pictured) to be shared with doctors automatically, and notify them if a reading is too high

 

The Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) (pictured) is an annual event in which the company reveals a series of new products and software to developers. Recently, the event has focused predominantly on Apple software, with major hardware releases reserved for Apple's event in September

The Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) (pictured) is an annual event in which the company reveals a series of new products and software to developers. Recently, the event has focused predominantly on Apple software, with major hardware releases reserved for Apple’s event in September

 

At last year’s event, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi unveiled iOS 7 – which was seen as a major step away from previous versions of the mobile software.

It was the first major change to the operating system since senior vice president of design at Apple, Sir Jonathan Ive, was put in charge of software in October 2013.

It was a complete redesign, and many critics said it was too similar to Google’s rival Android system. 

Elsewhere, Apple is said to be looking to launch a Smart Home platform that would let iOS devices control connected household appliances.

Google has also made inroads into the smart home with the Nest Labs purchase, and this could be the next key battleground the two companies will be fighting over.

 

 

Direct Link:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2646338/Apple-gears-launch-iOS-8-turn-iPhone-remote-control.html

Oct 172012
 

The BlackBerry as Black Sheep

Quick Hide the BlackBerry, It’s Too Uncool

 

The New York Times
by Nicole Perlroth
October 15, 2012

 

BlackBerry vs iPhone

 

Rachel Crosby speaks about her BlackBerry phone the way someone might speak of an embarrassing relative.

“I’m ashamed of it,” said Ms. Crosby, a Los Angeles sales representative who said she had stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences. In meetings, she says she hides her BlackBerry beneath her iPad for fear clients will see it and judge her.

 

“I want to take a bat to it,” Rachel Crosby, of Los Angeles, says of her creaky BlackBerry. “You can’t do anything with it.” J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

 

The BlackBerry was once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, but those who still hold one today say the device has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones. Research in Motion may still be successful selling BlackBerrys in countries like India and Indonesia, but in the United States the company is clinging to less than 5 percent of the smartphone market — down from a dominating 50 percent just three years ago. The company’s future all depends on a much-delayed new phone coming next year; meanwhile RIM recorded a net loss of $753 million in the first half of the year compared with a profit of more than $1 billion a year earlier.

Among the latest signs of the loss of cachet: One of the first steps Marissa Mayer took as Yahoo’s newly appointed chief executive to remake the company’s stodgy image was to trade in employees’ BlackBerrys for iPhones and Androids. BlackBerrys may still linger in Washington, Wall Street and the legal profession, but in Silicon Valley they are as rare as a necktie.

As the list shrinks of friends who once regularly communicated using BlackBerry’s private messaging service, called BBM, many a BlackBerry owner will not mince words about how they feel about their phone.

“I want to take a bat to it,” Ms. Crosby said, after waiting for her phone’s browser to load for the third minute, only to watch the battery die. “You can’t do anything with it. You’re supposed to, but it’s all a big lie.”

The cultural divide between BlackBerry loyalists and everyone else has only grown more extreme over the last year as companies that previously issued employees BlackBerrys — and only BlackBerrys — have started surrendering to employee demands for iPhones and Android-powered smartphones.

Goldman Sachs recently gave its employees the option to use an iPhone. Covington & Burling, a major law firm, did the same at the urging of associates. Even the White House, which used the BlackBerry for security reasons, recently started supporting the iPhone. (Some staff members suspect that decision was influenced by President Obama, who now prefers his iPad for national security briefings. A spokesman for the White House declined to comment.)

Out in the world, the insults continue. Victoria Gossage, a 28-year-old hedge fund marketer, said she recently attended a work retreat at Piping Rock Club, an upscale country club in Locust Valley, N.Y., and asked the concierge for a phone charger. “First he said, ‘Sure.’ Then he saw my phone and — in this disgusted tone — said, ‘Oh no, no, not for that.’ ”

“You get used to that kind of rejection,” she said.

“BlackBerry users are like Myspace users,” sneers Craig Robert Smith, a Los Angeles musician. “They probably still chat on AOL Instant Messenger.” 

BlackBerry outcasts say that, increasingly, they suffer from shame and public humiliation as they watch their counterparts mingle on social networking apps that are not available to them, take higher-resolution photos, and effortlessly navigate streets — and the Internet — with better GPS and faster browsing. More indignity comes in having to outsource tasks like getting directions, booking travel, making restaurant reservations and looking up sports scores to their exasperated iPhone and Android-carting partners, friends and colleagues.

“I feel absolutely helpless,” said Ms. Gossage. “You’re constantly watching people do all these things on their phones and all I have going for me is my family’s group BBM chats.”

Ryan Hutto, a director at a San Francisco health information company, said he frequently depended on others, often his wife, for music playlists, navigation and sports scores. “After two or three questions, people start to get irritated,” Mr. Hutto said.

 

His wife, Shannon Hutto, says with a sigh: “Anytime we go anywhere, I always have to pull up the map. If we’re searching for a restaurant, I pull up the Yelp app. If we need a reservation, I pull up OpenTable. I kind of feel like his personal assistant.”

 

Still, a few BlackBerry users say they’re sticking with the device, mainly because of the BlackBerry’s efficient, physical keyboard. “I use my BlackBerry by choice,” said Lance Fenton, a 32-year-old investor who frequently travels and needs to send e-mails from the road. “I can’t type e-mails on touch-screen phones.”

Mr. Fenton said he could not wrap his head around iPhone fever. “I constantly ask people, ‘What is so great about it?’ and they have these nonsensical answers,” he said. “Someone told me I’m missing out on some app that maps their ski runs. I ski four days a year. On the road, I don’t need a ski app.”

RIM’s most recent efforts to hold on to loyal customers, as well as software developers building apps for its next generation of phones scheduled to be available next year, have elicited universal cringes. In a recent promotional video, Alec Saunders, RIM’s vice president for developer relations, is shown belting out a rock song titled “Devs, BlackBerry Is Going to Keep on Loving You,” a riff on the 1981 power ballad by REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You.”

“This is the sign of a desperate company,” said Nick Mindel, a 26-year-old investment analyst. “Come on, BlackBerry, I always had some faith, but you just lost a customer. Frankly, I don’t think they can afford to lose many more.”

After eight years with a BlackBerry, Mr. Mindel said he just joined the wait list for the iPhone 5. When it arrives, he said, “I’m considering removing my BlackBerry battery, pouring in cement, and using the BlackBerry as an actual paperweight.”

 

Direct Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/technology/blackberry-becomes-a-source-of-shame-for-users.html?_r=0

Sep 272012
 

To Unlock A Full Price AT&T iPhone 5, Just Restore It In iTunes

GIZMODO
by Romain Dillet
September 26, 2012

 

If you have bought an AT&T iPhone 5 without a contract over the past few days, chances are that you want to unlock it to use it on another carrier. The traditional process involves filling out an online form on AT&T’s website, sending a fax (yes, a fax) to AT&T, waiting 5 to 7 days and restoring your phone. It turns out that it is much easier than that: just restore the phone in iTunes and it will be unlocked.

We have confirmed the process with AT&T’s technical support and successfully tried it with a T-Mobile SIM card. After restoring the device in iTunes, the user is prompted with the usual unlocking message: “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked.”

This message wasn’t enough for me though. I need more proof that I could use the iPhone on every carrier and abroad.

After receiving the notification my new iPhone was unlocked, I cut a micro-SIM card into the shape of a nano-SIM by using the AT&T SIM card that was already in the iPhone 5 as a guide. The most difficult part was to make it narrower so that you can close the tiny nano-SIM tray, though some have reported that this step may be optional.

In a couple of seconds, the iPhone was able to pick up the T-Mobile network, and calls and EDGE data connectvity worked as expected. Some reports, including on AT&T forum, confirm this.

When you buy an iPhone, the device is added to Apple’s big iPhone database thanks to the IMEI, which is used as a unique identifier. Full price and subsidized iPhone 5 models apparently don’t have the same status in the database as it is flagged as “ready to be unlocked” when purchased without a contract.

The iPhone 5 we tested was bought in an Apple retail store, but we couldn’t confirm this with another, pre-ordered iPhone 5 — even though the device was purchased at full price, it was tied to an existing AT&T account during the pre-order process. The carrier clearly states on its website that you have to be either a former customer or a customer without contract obligations to be eligible to go through the entire process, fax included. It could be problematic as well if you bought your iPhone 5 directly from AT&T.

Chris Velazco contributed reporting.

 

Direct Link: http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/26/to-unlock-a-full-price-att-iphone-5-just-restore-it-in-itunes/

Aug 232012
 

Don’t trust that text: How the iPhone SMS spoof works

Digital Trends
by Daniel McKlienfeld
August 19, 2012

A hacker claims to have found an SMS trick to which iPhones are particularly vulnerable, but how does it work, and why can’t Apple stop it?

 

Late Friday, a blog focused on iOS security research claimed to have found a severe security flaw in iOS. It’s not a way to install malware or otherwise run destructive code, but it is an effective way to create fraudulent text messages that could be used in phishing schemes. While any phone that uses SMS text messaging is vulnerable, UI aspects of the iPhone make it a particularly tempting target. Since then, Apple has claimed the vulnerability lies in SMS technology, not iOS, and that it has no way of fixing it. So how does such a gaping hole in SMS security work?

As pod2g’s security blog explains, the vulnerability originates in the Protocol Description Unit system that’s used to transmit text messages. When you create an SMS message on your phone and hit the Send button, your phone translates the message into PDU terms, tosses it across the network to its recipient, and the phone at the other end catches the bundle of PDU code and translates it into whatever display format the recipient phone uses. But if you’re handy with raw code, you can bypass all the technology that UI designers have worked so hard to make nice and instead create a message in raw PDU text format.

That’s where shenanigans can begin. Just by typing a few words into a text string, a nasty spammer can change the User Data Header in the PDU code, and make it appear to the recipient that the text is coming from their beloved “Mother,” “The FBI,” “Messengers From Space,” or any other recipient they choose to specify. So you could get a message from “Mom” asking you to “Please log into this bank site so we can pay for your Uncle’s kidney surgery” or some other piece of  phishing trickery. Even more maliciously, someone who knew the name of your trusted contacts could send, for example, a message that appears to be from your buddy Dave claiming to have had an affair with your house-pet, driving you into a jealous frenzy for nothing but their own amusement. More seriously, courts have used SMS messages as evidence, so this scam could be used to falsely prove that someone violated a restraining order, or is engaged in criminal conspiracy.

The iPhone is especially vulnerable because of its SMS user interface. In a typically Jobsian pursuit of cleanliness, the iPhone doesn’t display the phone number of whoever sent you a message, only the name of the sender. So if “Uncle Jed” is texting you from a phone number in Kazakhistan, there’s no way to tell that you’re getting messages from a suspicious number. Obviously, the iPhone isn’t the only phone to keep those ugly integers tucked away in the pursuit of elegance, but it’s by far the most prominent, and therefore the one with the most to lose if its interface gets regarded as a security risk.

Apple has dealt with phishing vulnerabilities on the iPhone before, as well as phishing scams built around the Apple ID. Unfortunately, this vulnerability is inherent to the SMS protocol, making it much harder for Apple to unilaterally fix it. Seth Bromberger, a security consultant at NCI Security, suggests that the iPhone should display an originating number but it’s hard to imagine Apple cluttering up its clean lines with the kind of numeral strings that we all stopped remembering the day we got a built-in contacts list. For now, Apple has issued a statement telling users to be careful, and mentioning that hey, by the way, if you and all your friends just used iPhones exclusively then you would automatically be texting with the iMessage system, where these problems can’t happen. So perhaps the solution to this iPhone vulnerability is to buy an iPhone for all the people who might text you. Everybody wins. 

 

Direct Link:  http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/sms-spoof-could-hit-iphone-users/