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In 10 Years, Your iPhone Won’t Be a Phone Anymore

Siri will be the conductor of a suite of devices, all tracking your interactions and anticipating your next moves.

Apple Inc. will still sell an iPhone, but expect the device to morph into a suite of apps and services, enhanced with AI and AR, part of a ‘body area network’ of devices, batteries and sensors.

writes: It’s 2027, and you’re walking down the street, confident you’ll arrive at your destination even though you don’t know where it is. You may not even remember why your device is telling you to go there.

There’s a voice in your ear giving you turn-by-turn directions and, in between, prepping you for this meeting. Oh, right, you’re supposed to be interviewing a dog whisperer for your pet-psychiatry business. You arrive at the coffee shop, look around quizzically, and a woman you don’t recognize approaches. A display only you can see highlights her face and prints her name next to it in crisp block lettering, Terminator-style. Afterward, you’ll get an automatically generated transcript of everything the two of you said.

As the iPhone this week marks the 10th anniversary of its first sale, it remains one of the most successful consumer products in history. But by the time it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the “phone” concept will be entirely uprooted: That dog-whisperer scenario will be brought to you even if you don’t have an iPhone in your pocket.

Sure, Apple AAPL 0.45% may still sell a glossy rectangle. (At that point, iPhones may also be thin and foldable, or roll up into scrolls like ancient papyri.) But the suite of apps and services that is today centered around the physical iPhone will have migrated to other, more convenient and equally capable devices—a “body area network” of computers, batteries and sensors residing on our wrists, in our ears, on our faces and who knows where else. We’ll find ourselves leaving the iPhone behind more and more often.

Trying to predict where technology will be in a decade may be a fool’s errand, but how often do we get to tie up so many emerging trends in a neat package?

Apple is busy putting ever more powerful microprocessors, and more wireless radios, in every one of its devices. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the CIA Allegedly Turns Everyday Devices into High-Tech Spy Weapons

Some of the computer programs target the iOS software that runs Apple iPhones as well as Google’s Android operating system, which does the same for phones built by Samsung, HTC and Sony, WikiLeaks said.

The “weaponized” software also reportedly provides techniques to defeat the encryption abilities of popular apps including WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and Wiebo, which claim to supply users with secure and private communications.

One program, known as “Weeping Angel,” can even be used to infect Samsung “smart” TVs and covertly activate their built-in microphones to record conversations and then transmit them over the internet, WikiLeaks said.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

The documents also reveal that the CIA as of 2014 was “looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks,” WikiLeaks said.

“The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” WikiLeaks suggested.

Although it posted online nearly 9,000 documents and files related to the Orwellian tools — a cache it called “Year Zero — WikiLeaks said it had decided to hold off on releasing the actual software.

“WikiLeaks has carefully reviewed the ‘Year Zero’ disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should be analyzed, disarmed and published,” the hack clearinghouse said in a press release.

There is nothing in the WikiLeaks documents to suggest that the CIA — which is charged with obtaining foreign intelligence for national security purposes — uses any of these devices to spy on American citizens.

The CIA refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the WikiLeaks information, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t comment, saying it “has not been fully evaluated.”

A retired CIA operative told The Post that the WikiLeaks disclosure could cripple the agency’s high-tech surveillance capabilities.

“This essentially gives our enemies a playbook on how we go about our clandestine cyber-operations,” the former agent said.

“This will be bad for the agency. They will have to re-examine its procedures for doing this type of work.”

Cybersecurity experts said the material appeared genuine.

Jake Williams of Rendition InfoSec, who has experience dealing with government hackers, noted the files’ repeated references to operation security.

“I can’t fathom anyone fabricated that amount of operational security concern,” he said. “It rings true to me.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] New Features in MacOS Sierra  

Basics

  • Sierra wallpaper
  • Storage Recommendations (System Information)
  • Optimize Mac Storage (iCloud → iCloud Drive options)
  • Remove items from the Trash after 30 days
  • Desktop and Documents folder live on iCloud Drive
  • Keep folders on top when sorting by name
  • Notification Center updated design
  • Choose output from sound button in menu bar
  • Move any menu bar item
  • Prefer tabs when opening documents
  • Tabs in maps
  • Double space enters a period
  • Safari and iTunes Picture in Picture
  • Updated Console app
  • Dwell Control
  • Auto Unlock
  • APFS Apple File System
  • Universal Clipboard

Photos app

  • Memories
  • Intelligent Search
  • Places
  • People

iMessage

  • Large emoji
  • Tapback
  • Inline video playback
  • Inline links

iTunes

Read the rest of this entry »


Justice Department to Apple: ‘Never Mind’

Tim Cook

The Justice Department is expected to withdraw from its legal action against Apple, as soon as today, as an outside method to bypass the locking function of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone has proved successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.

AP-San-Bernardino-Attack

[Read the full story here, at USAToday]

The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the method brought to the FBI earlier this month by an unidentified entity allows investigators to crack the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone used by Syed Farook, who with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the December mass shooting that left 14 dead.

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Monday’s withdrawal would culminate six weeks of building tensions.

The foes were poised to exchange legal body blows in a court room in Riverside, Calif., last week before the Justice Department belatedly asked for — and was granted — a postponement.

“It’s not about one phone. It’s very much about the future. You have a guy in Manhattan saying I’ve got a hundred and seventy-five phones that I want to take through this process. You’ve got other cases springing up all over the place where they want phones taken through the process. So it’s not about one phone, and they know it’s not about one phone.”

— Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with Time last week.

Since a federal magistrate in California in mid-February ordered the company to assist the FBI in gaining access to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s seized iPhone, the legal filings and rhetoric between the world’s most valuable technology company and one of the largest crime-fighting organizations in the world had sharpened into verbal vitriol.

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This month, Apple said the “Founding Fathers would be appalled” because the government’s order to unlock the iPhone was based on non-existent authority asserted by the DOJ. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI San Bernardino iPhone Case: Apple Officially Responds to Court Order to Comply

Apple has officially filed its mandatory response to the court following an order to comply with the FBI and unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter from December. Unsurprisingly, Apple has filed a motion to vacate the order which would force it to comply, telling the court that it shouldn’t have to unlock the iPhone using a modified and insecure software version.

[Also see: Report: Google & Facebook to file court motions officially supporting Apple in FBI fight]

In the response, Apple has referred to the version of iOS that it would need to create to allow the FBI to unlock the iPhone in question using brute force as a Government Operating System, specifically GovtOS.

[Read the full story here, at 9to5Mac]

In the document, Apple maintains its position that the request to unlock this specific iPhone isn’t actually about just one iPhone and would set a dangerous precedent that could be used by governments around the world.

fbi_getty

Apple’s position has also been to explain that creating this insecure version of iOS to be used in this case would be all customers at risk assuming the operating system fell into the wrong hands and was passed off as the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple to Judge: Drop Dead! 

Where would you draw the line between liberty and security?

Stephen Green writes: Here’s the setup.

San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook owned an iPhone 5c, which may have been used — probably was used — in planning and perhaps even executing the holiday party terror attack with his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

That iPhone 5c, just like any other up-to-do-date iOS or Android smartphone, has disc-level encryption baked into the OS for users who want that level of privacy, for good or for ill.

Yesterday,U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to bypass the phone’s security functions, and furthermore “to provide related technical assistance and to build special software that would essentially act as a skeleton key capable of unlocking the phone.”

[Read the full story here, at PJ Media]

Here’s what happened next:

Hours later, in a statement by its chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, Apple announced its refusal to comply. The move sets up a legal showdown between the company, which says it is eager to protect the privacy of its customers, and the law enforcement authorities, who assert that new encryption technologies hamper their ability to prevent and solve crime.In his statement, Mr. Cook called the court order an “unprecedented step” by the federal government. “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” he wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond publicly to Apple’s resistance.

The F.B.I. said its experts had been unable to access data on the iPhone 5c and that only Apple could bypass its security features. F.B.I. experts have said they risk losing the data permanently after 10 failed attempts to enter the password because of the phone’s security features.

The Justice Department had secured a search warrant for the phone, owned by Mr. Farook’s former employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, which consented to the search.

Because Apple declined to voluntarily provide, in essence, the “keys” to its encryption technology, federal prosecutors said they saw little choice but to get a judge to compel Apple’s assistance.

Mr. Cook said the order amounted to creating a “back door” to bypass Apple’s strong encryption standards — “something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”

Security hawks are on solid ground when they worry (as I do) that Farook’s encrypted iPhone might contain data valuable to government efforts to stop future terror attacks on U.S. soil, or to aid intel efforts to locate, track, and kill Farook’s ISIS contacts overseas.

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But that’s not the only worry, as Doug Mataconis explains:

From Apple’s point of view, there seem to be a myriad of issues motivating the decision to take what has the potential to be an unpopular decision given the circumstances of this case. First of all, there is the fact that ever since the company made the decision to strengthen security on its phones in a manner that essentially allows customers to encrypt data in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to access without the appropriate pass code, the concerns about data security have only become more prominent and that providing a backdoor that does not exist right now would only serve to make the data itself less secure overall. Second, as the Post article notes the use of the All Writs Act in this manner appears to be unprecedented and, if upheld, would essentially allow the government to do almost anything in the name of law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Finally, and perhaps most strongly, it’s important to note that law enforcement isn’t asking Apple to provide information that it already has, which is what an ordinary search warrant does. It is essentially asking a Federal Court to compel Apple to do something, in this case create a backdoor that does not exist. This arguably falls well outside the scope of the Fourth Amendment and, if upheld, would give law enforcement authority to compel technology companies to do almost anything conceivable in the name of a purported investigation or surveillance of a target. That seems to go well beyond what the Constitution and existing law permits law enforcement to do.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Mac Mothership: Apple’s Earliest Ads

The Mac Mothership – Here’s how Apple first started advertising its products in the late 1970s….(more)

Source: vintage everyday

 


‘Sorry, My Bad’: Chinese Ad Company Who Snooped Apple User Data Apologizes

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Source: WSJ


Apple Removes Drone Tracking App 

WASHINGTON – Apple is known for keeping a pretty tight leash on apps, often blocking or refusing to sell programs it deems too offensive or too sexually suggestive.

The creator of an app that tracks published reports of American drone strikes around the world probably figured his program was in no danger of running afoul of Apple’s strict rules.

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But this week, Metadata+ was removed from the App Store for having “excessively rude or objectionable content,” reports CNet.

The app was designed by Josh Begley, one of the editors of The Intercept, to publish data on…(read more)

Source: CBS DC


You Call That an iPad? That’s Not an iPad. THIS is an iPad

rtscoy

Apple Announces iPad Pro With New Larger Screen

 reports: Apple announced a new big-screen iPad at an event in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday. The new iPad, the iPad Pro, will have a 12.9-inch screen with a 2732 X 2048 resolution.

The long-rumored tablet will be the most powerful iOS device ever released, Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller said at the event. The iPad Pro’s A9X chip will be 1.8 times faster than the A8X in the iPad Air 2. The device will also have a 10-hour battery life and a four-speaker audio system for improved sound performance. The iPad Pro is 6.9 mm thick, just a bit thicker than the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm, and also features an 8 megapixel camera.

The cheapest model the iPad Pro will cost $799 and have 32 GB of storage. A 128GB version will cost $949, and a 128GB version with LTE capability will cost $1,079. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple TV 4 Hardware Revealed: A8 Chip, Black remote, 8/16GB Storage, Same Ports, no 4K 

flat-screen-television

Priced at $149, will include universal search for finding content across providers.

Mark Gurman reports: The fourth-generation Apple TV, set to be unveiled at an event on September 9thand released in October, will feature a mix of new and familiar hardware, according to reliable sources. While the new device will sport a much faster processor than the current Apple TV, a color-matched remote control, and a somewhat larger body, it will lack support for 4K video streaming and have the same basic ports as the third-generation model…

[Next-gen Apple TV priced at $149, will include universal search for finding content across providers – AppleInsider]

[Also see – Apple TV Rumor Roundup: Everything We Think We Know – Gizmodo]

The current Apple TV design, first released in late 2010, has 8GB of internal storage for caching media, and the fourth-generation boxes in testing surprisingly range from 8GB to 16GB of storage. We are told that Apple has considered two pricing strategies: the simultaneous release of a $149 base model with 8GB of storage alongside a $199 16GB model, or the release of the 16GB Apple TV alone at $149. In either case, Apple will offer a $149 Apple TV.

Apple TV HBO

While the new Apple TV will include an App Store for deep support for gaming, sources say that the limited storage offered by 8GB and 16GB flash memory is appropriate for the new model, as all content outside of applications will be streamed directly from the Internet. Additionally, the new Apple TV runs an iOS 9 core, and iOS 9 includes several new features for reducing the file size of App Store apps, including the ability to load games in level-sized chunks and stream rather than store videos within app binaries.

[New Apple TV Will Feature Universal Search, Start At $149 – BuzzFeed]

[Also see – The next-gen Apple TV could be the most exciting product Apple has released in years – BGR.com]

Sources indicate that the new Apple TV will be powered by the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, coming in behind the A9-based iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. In iPhones, the A8 is notably less powerful than the A8X chip found in the iPad Air 2, which includes an additional processing core and improved graphics. Read the rest of this entry »


The Rise of Phone Reading

Kagan-McLeod

It’s not the e-reader that will be driving future books sales, it’s the phone; How publishers are rethinking books for the small screen.

Jennifer Maloney writes: Last fall, Andrew Vestal found himself rocking his baby daughter, Ada, back to sleep every morning between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Cradling Ada in the crook of his arm, he discovered he could read his dimly-lit phone with one hand. That’s how he read David Mitchell’s 624-page science-fiction saga “The Bone Clocks.”

“The future of digital reading is on the phone. It’s going to be on the phone and it’s going to be on paper.”

—  Judith Curr, publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books

Mr. Vestal’s iPhone has offered him a way to squeeze in time for reading that he otherwise might have given up. He reads on lunch breaks. He even reads between meetings as he walks across Microsoft’s Seattle campus, where he works as a program manager.

Before he tried it, he wondered whether reading in snippets might be dissatisfying. But to his surprise, he found he could quickly re-immerse himself in the book he was reading. “I want reading to be part of my life,” said Mr. Vestal, age 35. “If I waited for the kind of time I used to have—sitting down for five hours—I wouldn’t read at all.”

Ever since the first hand-held e-readers were introduced in the 1990s, the digital-reading revolution has turned the publishing world upside down. But contrary to early predictions, it’s not the e-reader that will be driving future book sales, but the phone.

Illustration-Kagan-McLeod

“How do I serve something up to somebody who perhaps wasn’t thinking about a book two minutes ago? The read-anywhere option is amazing. It’s an obligation for us as publishers to find those people.”

— Liz Perl, the chief marketing officer at Simon & Schuster

“The future of digital reading is on the phone,” said Judith Curr, publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books. “It’s going to be on the phone and it’s going to be on paper.”

For now, tablets like the iPad and Kindle Fire remain the most popular platform to read digital books. According to Nielsen, the percentage of people who read primarily on tablets was 41% in the first quarter of 2015, compared with 30% in 2012.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

But what has captured publishers’ attention is the increase in the number of people reading their phones. In a Nielsen survey of 2,000 people this past December, about 54% of e-book buyers said they used smartphones to read their books at least some of the time. That’s up from 24% in 2012, according to a separate study commissioned by Nielsen.bone-clock

The number of people who read primarily on phones has risen to 14% in the first quarter of 2015 from 9% in 2012.

[Order the book “The Bone Clocks: A Novel” from Amazon.com]

Meanwhile, those reading mainly on e-readers, such as Kindles and Nooks, dropped over the same period to 32% from 50%. Even tablet reading has declined recently to 41% in the first quarter this year from 44% in 2014.

The rise of phone reading is pushing publishers to rethink the way books are designed, marketed and sold with smaller screens in mind. It’s also prompting concern about whether deep, concentrated thinking is possible amid the ringing, buzzing and alerts that come with phones.

One reason people are reading on phones is convenience. If you’re standing in line at the deli, waiting at the DMV or riding home on the train, you may not have a print book or an e-reader or tablet. But chances are, you are carrying a illo-Kagan-McLeodsmartphone. Some 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35% in the spring of 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Forrester Research, a research and advisory firm, projects that smartphone subscribers will number 80.8% of the U.S. population by 2019.

“The read-anywhere option is amazing. It’s an obligation for us as publishers to find those people.”

—Liz Perl, the chief marketing officer at Simon & Schuster

“The best device to read on is the one you have with you,” said Willem Van Lancker, co-founder and chief product officer of the subscription-book service Oyster. “It requires no planning. My bookshelf at home isn’t any good to me when I’m at the park.”

Another reason people are turning to phones is the size and clarity of new smartphone models, which make reading much easier. The average smartphone screen in 2014 was 5.1 inches—compared with a 3.9-inch average in 2011, according to eMarketer.

Since the release of the bigger, sharper iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, Apple has seen an increase in the number of people downloading books onto iPhones through its iBooks app. Some 45% of iBooks purchases are now downloaded onto iPhones, an Apple spokeswoman said. Before that, only 28% were downloaded onto phones, with most of the remainder downloaded onto iPads and a small percentage onto computers. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: New Apple TV to be Unveiled in September, but Without Expected TV Subscription Service

tim-cook-apple-tv

The Apple TV is also expected to gain Siri voice search support in its update this fall, as well as more on-board storage.

Chance Miller reports: According to a new report from BuzzFeed News, Apple is currently planning to unveil its refreshed Apple TV in September. The company had originally planned to unveil the device at WWDC this summer, but scrapped it from the event at the last minute. A September unveil has seemingly been expected since the announcement was pulled from WWDC.

“It was reported in the past that the device will not feature support for 4k content, as Apple feels there is not a large enough market for the feature at this time.”

The report goes on to corroborate much of what we reported earlier this year. The refreshed Apple TV is expected to be slimmer than the current-generation device and will feature Apple’s new A8 chip. Read the rest of this entry »


Robotic Sports: Ready for Prime Time

ROBOT-articleLarge

Robotic Sports Will One Day Rival the NFL

Cody Brown writes: When I was 13, I watched a season of Battle Bots on Comedy Central then attempted to build a killer robot in my parent’s basement. You might think, oh, you were probably a weird kid (and you’d be right) but I think eventually this is behavior that will become normal for people all around the world. It’s had some moments in the spotlight but a bunch of factors make it seem like robotic sports is destined for primetime ESPN in the next five years.

1.) A drone flying through the forest looks incredible at 80 mph.

A new class of bot (FPV Quadcopter) has emerged in the past few years and the footage they produce is nuts. Robots can do things we’re fascinated by but can’t generally achieve without risking our own lives. Drones the size of a dinner plate can zoom through a forest like a 3 pound insect. A bot that shoots flames can blow up a rival in a plexiglass cage.

You can make an argument that the *thrill* of these moments is lightened if a person isn’t risking their own life and limb and this is true to a certain extent. NASCAR crashes are inherently dramatic but you don’t need to burn drivers to make fans scream.

Just look at the rise of e-sports. This League of Legends team sits in an air conditioned bubble and sips Red Bull while a sold out arena screams their lungs out. They’re not in any physical danger but 31 million fans are watching online.

The thing that ultimately matters is that the sport looks incredible on video and fans have a connection to the players. And right now, the video, in raw form, is mesmerizing.

2.) Robot parts have gotten cheaper, better and easier to buy.

When I was a kid, I was limited to things available at the local Radio Shack or hardware store. Now I can go to Amazon, find parts with amazing reviews and have them delivered to my house in a day. The hobby community has had many years to develop its technology and increase quality. Brands like Fat Shark, Spektrum, and adafruit have lead the way.

3.) Top colleges fight over teenagers who win robotics competitions.

If you’re good at building a robot, chances are you have a knack for engineering, math, physics, and a litany of other skills top colleges drool over. This is exciting for anyone (at any age) but it’s especially relevant for students and parents deciding what is worth their investment.

There are already some schools that offer scholarships for e-sports. I wouldn’t be surprised if intercollegiate leagues were some of the first to pop up with traction.

Thunder-Robots

4.) The military wants to get better at making robots for the battlefield.

This one is a little f***ed but it’s worth acknowledging. Drones (of all sizes) are the primary technology changing the battlefield today. DARPA has an overwhelming interest to stay current and they’re already sponsoring multimillion dollar (more academic) robotics competitions. It’s up to the community to figure out how (or how not) to involve them. Them, meaning the giant military apparatus of the United States but also military organizations around the world who want to develop and recruit the people who will power their 21st century defense (and offense). Read the rest of this entry »


Big Moon Presents: Tales From Deep Space

Come for the luxury, stay for the adventure!

From Amazon Games, and Amazon Games & Apps, I share this item because of the talent involved in the making of the video. It’s written by Pundit Planet favorite author and good buddy Robert Ferrigno. Known for stylish crime fiction novels, nor fiction, and more recently, futurist political fiction, the Assassin series: ‘Prayers for the Assassin, Sins of the Assassin, and Heart of the Assassin, followed by ‘The Girl Who Cried Wolf’ (all available through Amazon, conveniently) Also, a friend of National Review and occasional NRO contributor (this item about author Elmore Leonard, for example) We have some Ferrigno-related news archived here, Robert was an inspiration when this site was being launched, we love having a reason to include him. Lot of other talented involved in the project, too.

Now that Robert is doing story design for games, currently at Amazon, we often don’t know what projects he’s involved in, while he’s working on them. Today, however, this video got released, and is being promoted at the Apple Store, among other outlets, so naturally want to show it here, too. Here’s a description:

E, one of the game’s two playable characters, could very well be a distant relative of Lost Winds‘ young hero Toku. A traveling salesman by trade, E gets his luggage mixed up with CASI, a combat assured secure inventory drone, on the Big Moon space station. At the same time, the station’s servile Meek population stage an uprising. E and CASI must work together to recover the lost luggage and unravel the secret behind the Meek revolt.

Dire circumstances to be sure, but Tales From Deep Space keeps the tone light, with delightful cartoon graphics and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Lost Winds was lauded for its unique visuals, and Tales carries the same excellent pedigree.

[Also see – Kindle Now Hosts Over 12,000 Marvel Comics Via Online Store]

The pair travel the station, solving puzzles, collecting collectibles and taking on the meek in simple combat as they move from task to task. Navigating the corridors and platforms of Big Moon is a matter of tracing a line from one of the characters in the desired direction — if there are jumps to be made or boxes to climb, E and Casi handle that on their own.

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Most puzzles involve splitting up the team in traditional co-op platformer fashion — one takes the high road, unlocking doors and activating elevators for the character taking the low road. Some obstacles requiring more thinking through than others, but on the whole the challenge level hovers around moderate.

Tales From Deep Space is a delightful puzzle platforming adventure that would be right at home as a downloadable console title or a quirky Steam offering. It just happens to be a Kindle Fire exclusive.

In the past I’ve been hesitant to talk about Amazon-exclusive games. Hell, I had to make a new app review icon for this article, because I’d never seriously considered the Fire serious contender to traditional Android tablets and iPads. That’s starting to change. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Comedy: Apple’s #WWDC Opener

Apple did something out of the ordinary to open WWDC this year. Before CEO Tim Cook took the stage, the company played a bizarre opening video that showed a behind the scenes look at the opening number it had planned but that never came to fruition…100 MORE WORDS


[BOOKS] ‘Losing the Signal’: The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry

blackberry-wsj

‘Losing the Signal’ examines Research In Motion’s efforts to take on Apple’s game-changing smartphone

broadcast-tower

[Read an excerpt here, at WSJ.com]

Shocked woman on telephone

[Order the book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and
Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”
 
from Amazon.com]

BN-IN985_bberry_JV_20150521163538

WSJ.com

 


Tesla Hires Head Apple Recruiter After Losing Own Recruiter to Apple Car Team

Musk with the Tesla Model S in Fremont on Oct. 1, 2011.

 writes: Tesla has taken its recruiting of Apple employees to the next level: the electric car and energy company has hired away Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting, Cindy Nicola, to become Tesla’s new Vice President of Global Recruiting. Nicola has already noted her new role and start month of May on her LinkedIn profile.

Notably, Apple actually hired away Tesla’s Lead Recruiter in 2014 for its own electric car project, as we noted in our extensive profile of Apple’s automotive related hires. Interestingly, that former Tesla recruiter Lauren Ciminera has already left Apple to work on a new “confidential” project, according to her own LinkedIn page and confirmation from a source… Read the rest of this entry »


#Periscope Piracy Sets Up Grudge Match: Hollywood vs. Twitter

mayweather-pacquiao

Dick Costolo’s triumphant tweet could come back to haunt him

 writes: Forget Mayweather-Pacquiao. There’s a more interesting fight brewing between Twitter and Hollywood.

The piracy of Saturday’s welterweight boxing championship enabled by Periscope, a livestreaming app recently acquired by Twitter, is setting up a conflict that could be just as brutal. HBO and Showtime, which partnered on what will likely be the most popular boxing pay-per-view event ever, took a one-two punch of their own Saturday. First, they watched multiple pay-TV distributors experience technical problems transmitting the fight, which probably cut into their sales total. But what made matters even worse is that countless people who did pay for the fight used their smartphones to re-transmit the fight to users of Periscope and, to a lesser extent, rival app Meerkat.

“Oddly enough, HBO itself used Periscope earlier in the evening to stream content from Manny Pacquiao’s dressing room via Twitter. There’s a double-edged sword here for sure.”

Each stream reached hundreds or thousands of non-paying fans with a picture quality that was shaky and pixilated, yet still quite adequate. If Twitter CEO Dick Costolo understood the implications of this activity, he sure didn’t show it in a tweet that declared Periscope the “winner” of the night. There’s no question the app got tremendous exposure that will build nicely off the 1 million downloads impressively achieved in just its first 10 days, a fact Costolo made sure to  mention in the company’s underwhelming first-quarter results last week.

But what Costolo needs to be asking himself is if the price of all that publicity may end up too steep if the content companies come after him for backing an app that may be piracy’s biggest facilitator since PopcornTime.

[Read the full text here, at Variety]

Any pay-TV channel that pays billions to sports leagues for exclusive rights to programming is going to be concerned about what went on Periscope during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. While piracy HBOxvia livestream is far from a new phenomenon, it may well have achieved a new level of visibility this weekend.

It would be one thing if Periscope was some rogue player like Napster. But Twitter has plenty of business with Hollywood that requires its content rights and advertising dollars, and the company does not have the leverage of bigger entities in Silicon Valley. Just as piracy via YouTube and Google’s search has impacted how Google and media conglomerates have dealt with each other over the years, Twitter is now heading in the same direction. Read the rest of this entry »


Before the Apple Watch There Was The Hewlett Packard Calculator Watch, Before That, The Seiko Watchman TV Watch

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Before the Apple Watch, there was the Hewlett Packard calculator watch. And before that, there was the Seiko Watchman TV watch. A curator from our  Museum of American History talks about the evolution of wrist tech on Smithsonian Science News

via Smithsonian


The Message is the Medium

Messaging Services Are Rapidly Growing Beyond Online Chat

“I PROPOSE, if and when found, to take him by his beastly neck, shake him till he froths, and pull him inside out and make him swallow himself.” It is not often that Silicon Valley’s denizens quote P.G. chat appsWodehouse. But this is what Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm, expects the success of messaging services could do to both mobile and corporate software.

The most striking example so far of this process came on March 25th when Facebook announced at a conference in San Francisco that it has started to turn its Messenger service into a “platform” that can carry, and be integrated with, all manner of apps created by other software firms. So Facebook Messenger, which is itself an app for smartphones that run on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, will then be competing with those operating systems’ services for buying apps and downloads. In plain language, it could become the app that ate Apple’s app store.

The prospect may surprise those who thought messaging apps were just another way for teens to share this week’s tragic news about One Direction (a pop group, apparently). But their continuing explosive growth suggests that they will be a
lasting phenomenon. According to Flurry, a market-research firm, the total number of users grew by more than 100% last year (which explains why old-style text messages seem to have peaked, see chart). Together the ten biggest messaging 20150328_WBC665apps, which include KakaoTalk, Viber and WeChat, now boast more than 3 billion users. WhatsApp, the leader of the pack, alone has 700m—a big reason why Facebook last year paid $22 billion for the firm, despite continuing to develop its own Messenger app.

As the number of users has grown, specialised versions of messaging apps have emerged. What made Snapchat popular was the ability to exchange pictures that vanish after a few seconds (and often contain nudity). Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak let users remain anonymous (including bullies, unfortunately). Telegram stands out because of its strong encryption (making intelligence services unhappy). And FireChat works without cellular service: users’ phones communicate directly, which was a popular feature during recent protests in Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »


Twitter Launches Livestreaming App ‘Periscope’ – Its Own Version of Meerkat

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Kurt Wagnerkurt-wagner1 writes: Twitter is officially pulling back the curtain on Periscope, a livestreaming video app that’s been in beta since the company acquired it back in January, reportedly for $100 million.

Periscope streams live audio and video from a user’s smartphone that other people can watch and comment on within the app — the link to the livestream can be shared on Twitter as a way to spread the word and boost the audience.

The free app, which is only available on iOS for now, provides immediate competition to Meerkat, a similar livestreaming app that took off at the Southimg_2914 by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, earlier his month.

Meerkat, which launched just two weeks before the conference, relies heavily on Twitter’s platform. It uses Twitter login and had used its social graph to help users find people to follow before Twitter cut it off.

Given the relationship between the two products, speculation that Twitter might buy Meerkat made sense, but it bought competitor Periscope instead. Things haven’t been all bad for Meerkat, though. The app has more than 400,000 users, according to CEO Ben Rubin, and it just raised $12 million in a deal that values it at $52 million.

The two apps work in a similar way, but Twitter-owned Periscope is actually more independent from Twitter than Meerkat. Unlike Meerkat, where any Likes and comments are reflected on your Twitter profile, all the engagement on Periscope is kept within the app. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s the Apple Watch Good For?

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Developers and designers debate whether the Apple Watch will find its purpose

John Pavlus  writes: When Apple unveiled the first iPad in 2010, many pundits scoffed. Among the gripes: tablet computers had been tried before without success; most people already had laptops; and wasn’t it just a giant iPod Touch?

 “A watch is a very covert object,” she says. “I could see a new kind of private language or low-level communication emerging from this kind of wearable, using pulses or squeezes.”

— Laura Seargeant Richardson, a user experience expert at Argodesign, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas

The market, as we know, reacted differently. Tablet computers are now a hit—thanks in no small part to Apple’s savvy design, which offered people something that was instantly comprehensible and easy to use, but also flexible enough to suggest thousands of new applications.+

With the upcoming release of the Apple Watch, the company seems poised to repeat the trick. Despite a raft of existing smart watches from companies including Samsung, Motorola, and Pebble, wearable technology has resisted mainstream appeal, partly because the devices don’t feel particularly useful (see “So Far, Smart Watches Are Pretty Dumb”).

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The advance marketing for the Apple Watch has done little to explain why this product will fare better, but the tools (WatchKit) and documentation (Human Interface Guidelines) released for app developers provides some clues. They suggest a simple, intuitive mode of interaction centered on streamlined alerts. If the market influence of the iPhone and iPad are any indication, the user experience patterns that Apple establishes may come to define what all smart watches are “for” in eyes of their users.

The Apple Watch might seem like a computer that resides on your wrist, but technically that isn’t the case. Apps that run on it are actually just extensions of iOS apps that run on an iPhone; they use the watch as an auxiliary display. This encourages developers to exploit the device as a kind of remote control for their existing iOS apps, and imagine the UX accordingly.

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“You’re not allowed to run code on the watch at all,” says William Van Hecke, user experience lead at the Omni Group, a productivity software vendor that’s developing apps for the Apple Watch.

Nik Fletcher, product manager at Realmac Software, says his team “carefully reduced the core essence” of the company’s to-do list app, called Clear, in order to adapt it for the Apple Watch. Whereas the full iOS app lets users reorder tasks or mark off entire lists in one stroke, and includes animations and sound effects, the new version focuses on what Fletcher terms “recall and completion.” Upcoming reminders can be viewed using the watch’s (noninteractive) Glance view, and individual items can be crossed off. New entries must be input via the iPhone or Mac version of the software. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s Titan Car Project to Challenge Tesla

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Apple Has 100s Working on Design of a Minivan Like Vehicle 

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Ramsey report: Apple Inc. has revolutionized music and phones. Now it is aiming at a much bigger target: automobiles.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. The project, code-named “Titan,” initially is working on the design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of the people said.

“There are products that we’re working on that no one knows about. That haven’t been rumored about yet.”

— Chief Executive Tim Cook, to Charlie Rose, in September

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple ultimately could decide not to proceed with a car. In addition, many technologies used in an electric car, such as advanced batteries and in-car electronics, could be useful to other Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad.

Apple often investigates technologies and potential products, going as far as building multiple prototypes for some things that it won’t ever sell. Any car would take several years to complete and obtain safety certifications.

But the size of the project team and the senior people involved indicate that the company is serious, these people said. Apple executives have flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers for high-end cars including the Magna Steyr unit of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. A Magna spokeswoman declined to comment.

Apple’s industrial design team is staffed with several people who have experience at European auto makers. Last year, Apple hired Marc Newson, a famous industrial designer and close friend of the company’s design guru, Jony Ive. In the past, Mr. Newson created a concept car for Ford Motor Co.

Apple hopes to put its stamp on the electric vehicle market in the same way it did the smartphone with its iPhone, said a person familiar with its work. Even though Apple defied expectations of slowing growth with a 30% rise in revenue in the quarter ended December, the company is under constant scrutiny of where its next breakthrough product will come from.

Last year, Apple hired Marc Newson, a well-known industrial designer and close friend of the company’s design guru, Jony Ive. In the past, Mr. Newson has created a concept car for Ford. Photo: Getty Images

Last year, Apple hired Marc Newson, a well-known industrial designer and close friend of the company’s design guru, Jony Ive. In the past, Mr. Newson has created a concept car for Ford. Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, Mr. Cook said at an investor conference that he does not believe that companies naturally start to slow as their revenue grows. He said this was “dogma” and that Apple didn’t believe in putting limits on what it was capable of.

A side benefit of the project, according to one of the people, is that it has persuaded many Apple employees who were thinking of leaving the company to stay and work on an exciting new endeavor without the pressure of churning new products every year.

Other Silicon Valley giants are looking at autos. Google Inc. has been working on a self-driving car for years. The head of Google’s autonomous vehicle project said last year that the company aims to forge a partnership with auto makers to build a self-driving car within the next few years. A self-driving car is not part of Apple’s current plan, one of the people familiar with the project said. Read the rest of this entry »


College Students Prefer Their iPhones Over Sex and Beer

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According to a super not scientific study

But those people are wrong. There is one thing college students care about more than sex, drugs, parties or anything else. And that is their iPhones. At least, according to a recent study conducted by Student Monitor. Researchers surveyed 1,200 undergrads around the U.S. to choose “what’s in on campus” from a list of 77 options, Fortune reports.

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Apple’s iPhone earned the most votes, with 66% of students selecting it. The next most popular results were coffee, texting, Facebook, iPads and Instagram. Beer was #7 on the list and “hooking up” was #12. Read the rest of this entry »


Swatch Planning Cross-Platform Smartwatch & Mobile Payments to Compete with Apple Watch, says CEO

Swatch CEO Hayek Apple Pay iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus Apple Watch


[VIDEO] Extreme Advertising: iPhone 6 Endures 101,000 Foot Drop from Near-Space

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John-Michael Bond writes: Could your iPhone 6 case survive a 101,000 foot drop from near-space, experiencing 70 MPH winds and temperatures as low as -79 degrees F? If you have Urban Armor Gear‘s iPhone 6 case, the answer is apparently yes. The company tested its latest case with a science experiment, creating a special rig to send iOS to the fringes of space.

The flight rig contained two GoPro cameras, 1 GPS locator and a backup phone with GPS and active tracking installed. The flight lasted over 3 hours and covered 12 miles across the ground. The iPhone 6 was wrapped in our composite iPhone 6 case with no screen protector installed. The iPhone was on upon takeoff but froze and shut down as the temperature dropped. When the iPhone 6 and flight rig were found, the iPhone was powered on and tested for full functionality.

 Source: TUAW

Read the rest of this entry »


How People Ignored Each Other Before Smartphones


[VIDEO] New Magnetic ‘Slate’ Lets You Digitize Pen & Paper Drawings in Real Time

editor-commen-deskA harmonious union between natural drawing and digital technology has been one of the most elusive challenges, one of the computer revolution’s great disappointments. What happened? It didn’t happen. Most efforts to make this work have been somewhat interesting, but ultimately, fall short. We expected better. Does isketchnote break the barrier? Good question. I haven’t had an opportunity to test it, but based on this early edition, it’s definitely worth closer examination. Here’s a few comments:

On her YouTube pageLatin Vixen writes:

Got my kickstarter Isketchnote device by iskn. This device digitizes your artwork on any piece of paper or sketchbook that fits in the black area of the digitizer. It digitizes the sketch and draws it on the iPad in real time. You can replay the sketch as it creates an animation or save the sketch. Handy device if you need your work digitized right away so you can later finish it on the computer. Great for digitizing notes as well…

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In an entertaining review at Rocketnews24, Scott Wilson writes:

iSketchnote started as a Kickstarter project by the French group ISKN in September 2013, and it quickly exceeded its modest $35,000 goal by hitting $350,000. Now, a little over a year later, it’s finally being released to the public as an alternative digital-drawing tablet. In fact it’s not even a tablet at all; it’s just a “slate” and a pen. You can put any kind of paper that you want on top of the slate, write away with the special pen, and watch your writing or drawing get turned into a digital version in real-time via Bluetooth or USB to your tablet or PC….(read more)

In sketchnote first testLatin Vixen continues:

At the start of start of the video you see me touching the ipad. I am adjusting the opacity of the lines that will appear on the ipad and the size. I lowered the opacity to around 40% as I go over my lines a lot so it matches my real media art style best. Read the rest of this entry »


Home Delivery of Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles: Is it Legal?

Robert Holguin reports: It seems like there’s an app for everything these days. An app called Nestdrop brings medical marijuana directly to the doorsteps of Angelenos.

“This is unprecedented. It’s never been done before. We’re only dealing with medicinal marijuana, this is medicine for patients.”

— Michael Pycher, developer

Nestdrop, which began with delivering alcohol, promises their weed deliveries will get to you in under an hour.

Michael Pycher is the developer.

“We have every intention to comply with the law. We’re not trying to skirt around anything.” 

“This is unprecedented. It’s never been done before,” Pycher said. “We’re only dealing with medicinal marijuana, this is medicine for patients.”

Pycher says Nestdrop checks to make sure the user is a legitimate medicinal marijuana patient.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Bragging About Deceiving the American People, Who He Thinks Are Stupid

Gruber: ‘Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage’

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Also see – Obamacare Architect: ‘Stupidity of the American Voter’ Made Obamacare Possible

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Daily Caller – YouTube


Joanna Stern: OS X Yosemite Review

Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal.

Macs and iPhones finally speak the same language.

I can begin replying to an email on my phone, then walk over to my laptop and finish it off there. While my phone charges on my nightstand, I can pick up calls from my mom with a mouse click at my desk. And when someone texts me a photo, it’s already on my laptop, where I can quickly jazz it up in Photoshop then tweet it.

With the Thursday release of the Mac’s free OS X Yosemite updateApple is finally getting its devices to behave like a real, happy family—a family that not only talks to each other but even looks very much alike. The Mac operating system has acquired apps and features from iOS—and vice versa—over the past few years, but this is the biggest leap toward each other yet.

The advantage is so big that if you are an iPhone or iPad owner but don’t have a Mac, Yosemite might get you to consider buying one. It makes living in Apple’s ecosystem harder to resist. But before you fall into the Apple trap, keep in mind that there are still plenty of reasons to play with Google (and even Microsoft ) on a Mac or iPhone.

An iOS-Inspired Face-Lift

With an iPhone running iOS 8.1, users can receive and send standard-carrier text messages from a computer. Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal

OS X’s icons have been revamped to look flatter and more modern.  Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal.

Late one night, Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief, threw on the “White Album,” took out a bucket of translucent primer, mixed it together with some of his rainbow-colored iOS paint and tossed it at the computer screen. At least, that’s how I imagine the Mac operating system got its new look.

There are traces of iPhone and iPad design everywhere you look. Icons have been revamped to look flatter and more modern. The edges of windows are translucent so you can see what’s behind them. The red, yellow and green window-position buttons look like a futuristic traffic light. Even the notification pane now has a “Today” view that is identical to the iPhone’s. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OS X Yosemite: Top 5 Features

Top Five Features Of OS X Yosemite

Subscribe for more iOS & OS X videos

 


Phone Apps Spy on Hong Kong Protesters

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Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China

HONG KONG (AP) — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm said.

“The Xsser mRAT represents a fundamental shift by nation-state cybercriminals from compromising traditional PC systems to targeting mobile devices.”

The applications are disguised as tools created by activists, said the firm, Lacoon Mobile Security. It said that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone’s address book, call logs and other information.

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The identities of victims and details of the servers used “lead us to believe that the Chinese government are behind the attack,” said a Lacoon statement.

China is, along with the United States and Russia, regarded as a leader in cyber warfare research. Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Despite Apple’s Privacy Pledge, Cops Can Still Pull Data Off a Locked iPhone

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A reminder to iPhone owners cheering Apple’s latest privacy win: Just because Apple will no longer help police to turn your smartphone inside out doesn’t mean it can prevent the cops from vivisecting the device on their own.

“I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage. But it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.”

—  iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski

On Wednesday evening Apple made news with a strongly-worded statement about how it protects users’ data from government requests. And the page noted at least one serious change in that privacy stance: No longer will Apple aid law enforcement or intelligence agencies in cracking its users’ passcodes to access their email, photos, or other mobile data. That’s a 180-degree flip from its previous offer to cops, which demanded only that they provide the device to Apple with a warrantto have its secrets extracted.

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In fact, Apple claims that the new scheme now makes Apple not only unwilling, but unable to open users’ locked phones for law enforcement. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [your personal] data,” reads the new policy. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

“I can do it. I’m sure the guys in suits in the governments can do it. And I’m sure that there are at least three or four commercial tools that can still do this, too.”

But as the media and privacy activists congratulated Apple on that new resistance to government snooping, iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski offered a word of caution for the millions of users clamoring to pre-order the iPhone 6 and upgrade to iOS 8. In many cases, he points out, the cops can still grab and offload sensitive data from your locked iPhone without Apple’s help, even in iOS 8. All they need, he says, is your powered-on phone and access to a computer you’ve previously used to move data onto and off of it. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple will No Longer Unlock User’s Mobile Devices for Police, Even with Search Warrants

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The Washington Post reports: Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information.

big-brother-halfThe move, announced with the publication of a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for iOS 8, it said in the new privacy policy.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web site. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

As the new operating system becomes widely deployed over the next several weeks, the number of iPhones and iPads that Apple is capable of breaking into for police will steadily dwindle to the point where only devices several years old — and incapable of running iOS 8 — can be unlocked by Apple.

Apple will still have the ability — and the legal responsibility — to turn over user data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which typically includes backups of photos, videos, e-mail communications, music collections and more. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information will have to adjust settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud. Read the rest of this entry »


Analyst: Apple plans to release cheaper iMacs, 8 GB iPhone 5s at WWDC

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For 9to5Mac reports:

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a few more predictions about what we’ll see from Apple in the near future. According to a new KGI research note, Apple could potentially release cheaper versions of the iMac and iPhone 5s during its developer conference next week to accompany its software announcements.

Earlier today new references to an unreleased iteration of the the iMac appeared in an OS X developer preview, likely indicating the impending release of a new model. It’s quite possible that this could be the cheaper iMac referred to in the report. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning to Fly Your Personal Spy Drone: DJI Phantom 2 Vision

PopMech takes the Phantom 2 to Central Park, where we get the hang of flying a drone and operating its camera at the same time

dji-phantom-2-1213-mdnDavid Dunbar writes: This recently released quadrotor isn’t designed to deliver best-selling novels or any other online-ordered cargo from the warehouse to your doorstep. But, theoretically at least, it could go looking for, say, an Amazon Prime Air delivery that’s gone MIA. That’s because the Phantom 2, which is simple to assemble and operate even for a drone rookie like me, has a Wi-Fi HD camera slung beneath its body that you can monitor and manipulate via an app on your iOS or Android smartphone. (Hey, I see the Amazon delivery drone that has my book, in a holding pattern 5 blocks east of my house.)

We recently got our hands on this commercial drone from Shenzhen-based DJI, a follow-up to the Phantom we flew as part of our guide to flying your own drone. The camera capability makes the pricier Phantom 2 an intriguing option. When a retired Coast Guard admiral watched me flying the rig over Thanksgiving at a waterside park in Greenport, Long Island, he shouted out “homeland security!” after introducing himself, adding, “It’d be great for harbor surveillance.” He even invited me to demo the Vision on a Coast Guard cutter that was scheduled to dock at Greenport the following week.

Read the rest of this entry »


Honda announces Siri Eyes free availability for select vehicles ahead of iOS in the Car unveiling next week

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As we reported late last week, Honda just announced that it’s finally rolling out the promised Siri Eyes Free update that will enable hands-free use of Siri from a connected iOS device in select Accord and Acura models. This feature isn’t to be confused with Honda’s new implementation of iOS in the Car, which sources told us was slated for a December 3 unveiling.

Read the rest of this entry »


icePhone: Because everyone wants to look like they’re talking on a popsicle

icePhone: Because everyone wants to look like they're talking on a popsicleWhen you’re a little kid, any slightly long object turns into your own personal phone. The remote control, a banana, maybe even a sausage have all served as substitute talking devices for children not quite old enough to have their own fully-functional mobile device.

When you’re a little kid, any slightly long object turns into your own personal phone. The remote control, a banana, maybe even a sausage have all served as substitute talking devices for children not quite old enough to have their own fully-functional mobile device.