It’s a tale as old as time (and, perhaps, a song as old as rhyme): Apple releases a new version of iOS, hackers immediately get busy finding security vulnerabilities to exploit, eventually claw together a jailbreak, only for Apple to then find out about the flaws and fix them for the new iOS version.
Rinse and repeat.
Having released iOS 7.1, Apple has also released a list crediting the individual researchers and companies who helped spot security issues with the previous version of iOS — including jailbreak specialists Evad3rs, the team behind the iOS 6 and 7 jailbreaks.
Apple is one of many tech companies who do this, although unlike some it doesn’t hand out any rewards (not even a t-shirt) to those who spot security issues.
The irony, of course, is that while Apple thanking Evad3rs is all well and good, it does mean the company is now closing the loopholes that let them jailbreak in the first place. It also demonstrates, however, the value of constructive jailbreakers — since without their efforts, Apple may not become aware of these security flaws at all.
Apple, however, is clear that it is not offering a ringing endorsement of the hackers.
“Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation,” the newly-launched webpage reads. “Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites.”
And so the cycle begins again.
In a world in which the iPhone camera is good enough to be most people’s primary camera, the days of low-grade cellphones pics are a thing of the past (for Apple users at least.)
But it’s not simply a matter of megapixels, but about the other “value added” touches that truly make the iPhone a camera worth hanging up your SLR for.
One of those touches is Apple’s neat “tap to focus” functionality, which arrived with the iPhone 3GS in June 2009.
Referred to as “Image capturing device with touch screen for adjusting camera settings,” the patent for this functionality was published Tuesday — describing several methods for operating the in-built camera of a portable, handheld device such as the iPhone or iPad by tapping its touch sensitive screen to change exposure and focus parameters.
In the event that a scene changes, the camera then reverts to its default automatic focus mode.
The diagram below gives a high-level overview of how the technology works.
Apple’s “Image capturing device with touch screen for adjusting camera settings” patent was filed on July 17, 2012.
It names Jeremy Jones, Nikhil Boghal, and Ralph Brunner as its inventors.
Apple has made some changes to its Customer Loyalty Program, adding new items and increasing the discount offered on existing ones.
The discounts — which quietly went into effect last week — are on offer to people who spend upwards of $5,000 on Apple products in a 12-month period, making this a loyalty program targeted predominately at companies and education customers.
There are three tiers to the discount program, with the $5K customers known as the red tier; rising to a $35K green tier; and finally a $200K blue tier.
With its recent changes, Apple has improved discounts by a couple of percentage points on items across all tiers. For example, Macs have moved from 5 to 6% in the lower tier, and to as much as 8% in the higher tier.
Select third-party accessory discounts have also gone from 5 to 10% on lower tiers, and higher on upper tiers.
iPads are discounted at around 2 to 4% based on model and quantity, while the company is additionally offering a “special iPad campaign” offering even bigger discounts for customers who bulk buy the device.
Apple has also started offering reductions on unlocked iPhones and Apple TV devices for the first time.
Apple recently made a change to its loyalty program for organizations that spend upwards of $5,000 per year on its products, offering better discounts on Macs, iPads, accessories and, for the first time, unlocked iPhones and Apple TVs.
According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple last week improved discounts on Macs, iPads, accessories and more by one to three percent. In addition, the iPhone is now part of the loyalty program, the first time Apple has brought its hot-selling handset into the fold.
Apple's program is broken into three tiers depending on how much money users or organizations spend per year. The first "red" tier starts at $5,000, followed by the $35,000 "green" tier, topped by the $200,000-and-up "blue" tier.
The company metes out discounts depending on the tier in which an institution falls and the recent program changes have brought enhanced savings to nearly all product categories. For example, the publication notes Mac discounts for red tier customers have been bumped from 5 percent to 6 percent, while higher tiers net savings of around 8 percent.
The iPad is seeing discounts between 2 percent and 4 percent based on model and quantity purchased, while savings on third-party accessories have jumped from 5 percent to 10 percent for the lowest red tier.
Of special interest to educational institutions, Apple is now applying discounts to the Apple TV. With Apple's iPad in Education initiative, schools have been using the set-top device to stream class materials to larger screens via AirPlay.
Apple's loyalty program changes come on the heels of substantial changes to iOS mass deployment and management services. Along with changes at the system level now active in iOS 7.1 that allow for granular security and device settings management, Apple rolled out a new "Deployment Programs" webpage to streamline verification and enrollment processes for IT teams.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent describing a method of monitoring the aging of a device's electronics, comparing the data with a global average and modifying operating parameters to maximize performance, battery efficiency and user experience over the product's advertised lifetime.
Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,671,170 for "Modifying operating parameters of a device based on aging information" details a system that uses aging detection circuits to monitor electronic components in a portable device such as an iPhone.
By comparing the data with a predefined aging scale, or alternatively the average aging of a given device model collected from other users, operating parameters can be modified to help the product meet its life expectancy, allow greater performance and increase battery life.
Illustration of aging detection system
A number of metrics are considered when monitoring for device aging, including degradation of transistor performance due to heat and other operating factors. Depending on how a device is used, certain components may age more quickly than the universal average. For example, a product used mainly for gaming may see more stress on graphics and processing circuitry.
To collect the necessary information, the patented technology employs aging detection circuits, which can be ring oscillator or counter type components. For example, aging may be determined by monitoring variations in a ring oscillator's frequency. Thresholds for various device functions, like watching videos and playing games, may be assigned to an aging register.
Graphic of an aging detection circuit over time
In some embodiments, the device's power control unit is instructed to adjust supply voltage to a given IC based on information from the aging register. Granular control can be achieved by checking ADC output for certain operating modes, such as Web browsing or reading an e-book. ... [Read More]
In addition to ADC readings, environmental considerations are taken into account when monitoring device aging. Information regarding location, time of day, operating frequency, operating intensity, temperature and shaking (in the case of gaming) can all be incorporated into the aging calculation.
The patent also
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