Notable computer security researcher Kristin Paget, who worked on Apple's security team before leaving for Tesla in early 2014, has taken to her blog (via Ars Technica) to criticize Apple for fixing more than a dozen security flaws in iOS weeks after patching them in OS X.
iOS 7.1.1, released yesterday, patched multiple WebKit vulnerabilities that were initially fixed in OS X with the release of Safari 7.0.3 on April 1. The delay between fixes, says Paget, alerted hackers to serious flaws potentially exploitable on Apple's mobile operating system and then gave hackers ample time to exploit the vulnerabilities.
Is this how you do business? Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for weeks afterwards? You really don't see anything wrong with this?
Someone tell me I'm not crazy here. Apple preaches the virtues of having the same kernel (and a bunch of other operating system goop) shared between two platforms – but then only patches those platforms one at a time, leaving the entire userbase of the other platform exposed to known security vulnerabilities for weeks at a time?
Addressing Apple, Paget goes on to write that Apple needs to sit in front of a chalkboard and write out "I will not use iOS to drop 0day on OSX, nor use OSX to drop 0day on iOS."
In addition to the WebKit vulnerabilities that were patched out of sync, Apple also recently exposed a major OS X flaw when patching the same flaw in iOS. Back in February, with the release of iOS 7.0.6, a major SSL connection verification vulnerability came to light. Known as the "goto fail" bug, it left iOS and OS X users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks where hackers could pose as a trusted website to intercept communications or acquire sensitive information.
Apple launched iOS 7.0.6 on a Friday, fixing the vulnerability on iOS but leaving OS X users vulnerable to attack until the following Tuesday, when it released OS X 10.9.2 to patch the security flaw.
J.D. Power, which previously awarded the iPhone highest in consumer satisfaction for smartphones eight years in a row, today released a report that puts Apple on top for customer satisfaction by carrier. While measure four key metrics— performance, physical design, features, and ease of operation— across the four major carriers, J.D. Power found Apple and the iPhone’s overall score ranked #1 for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. However, in most cases, it’s only beating Samsung by a small margin.
The report also shared some stats on overall satisfaction for carriers and the most requested features for new devices from consumers:
Overall satisfaction with smartphone devices is highest among AT&T customers (844), followed by Sprint (839); T-Mobile (835); and Verizon Wireless (829) customers. Overall satisfaction among smartphone owners is 837.
While smartphone owners continue to cite “features” as the primary reason for selecting their device (35%), the rate has declined significantly from the 2011 Vol. 2 study (57%)… Reasons for purchase have an impact on customer satisfaction and future loyalty. Selecting a smartphone device based on price generates significantly lower levels of satisfaction (808 on a 1,000-point scale) and repurchase rates (18%) than selections based on product-specific reasons such as operating system (860 and 35%, respectively). -
In addition, J.D. Power’s study included some stats on the most requested features that consumers want in new devices and surprisingly the upcoming iPhone’s rumored larger display didn’t make the list: smartphone owners most often cite seamless voice control (36%); built-in sensors that can gauge temperature, lighting, noise and moods to customize settings to the environment (35%); and facial recognition and biometric security (28%).
The study was done between September 2013 and February of 2014 and included “13,237 smartphone customers who have owned their current smartphone device less than one year and who are customers of the four Tier 1 carriers.”
Apple has several times used studies from J.D. Power in iPhone and iPad advertising on its website and in other marketing materials (pictured above). J.D. Power has ranked Apple highest in consumer satisfaction for smartphones eight years straight since the introduction of the first iPhone, but its process was questioned recently when it ranked Samsung on top for tablet customer satisfaction despite Apple ranking in higher in most categories other than pricing.
A pair of documents unearthed on Thursday detail Apple's ambitions to make the iPhone — or rumored iWatch — a one-stop-shop for gathering all kinds of data, including information about a user's surrounding environment.
In two patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes environmental sensor suites that can be embedded into portable electronics like an iPhone, iPad and "wrist-watch" devices. With the so-called "iWatch" rumored to be on the horizon, Apple could conceivably incorporate one or more of the following inventions into the smartwatch to gather humidity, pressure and temperature data.
Apple's "Electronic devices with environmental sensors" filing covers a component that sports multiple sensors. Attached to an electrical interface like a flexible printed circuit, the environmental sensor could include separate sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity and sound.
The printed circuit is mounted within a device chassis in such a way that the component is at least partially enclosed save for an opening that allows sound, air and other environmental materials to interact with system sensors.
While somewhat open to the elements, the sensor package is protected from damage through use of an integrated rigid support structure. As noted in the filing, adding these extra sensing packages to a mobile device would normally require more ports, which could lead to the collection of unwanted debris or harmful material. To solve this problem, Apple suggests the sensor array include a microphone or speaker so that it can be installed into an existing audio port.
As for data, the information gathered by the proposed sensor package can be processed by the device's on-board CPU and displayed onscreen for user consumption.
In a second patent filing entitled "Electronic devices with temperature sensors," Apple describes a separate type of sensor that can be incorporated into a device button.
The invention calls for a thermal sensor to be mounted operatively onto a button component that moves within a device's chassis. For example, the current iPhone 5s volume control actuator would be a good candidate for installation. Switches, slides and other operable parts are also mentioned as possible placement locations.
Apple notes that a thermally conductive metal or other material can be used in... [Read More]
Apple's existing designs for the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air will allegedly see a refresh next week, likely with newer and faster Intel processors, according to a new report.
The MacBook Air was last updated in June of 2013 at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. But new models may be in the works for next week, potentially dropping on Tuesday, according to MacGeneration.
The French site suggested that Apple will issue a speed bump with the new models, and could also offer new storage options. Given the latest chips available from Intel, it's likely that the refresh will amount to a small speed bump compared to current offerings, with new CPUs clocked at between 1.4 gigahertz and 1.5 gigahertz.
Those CPUs would remain with Intel's "Haswell" architecture, as chips featuring the company's next-generation "Broadwell" design are not scheduled to arrive until the second half of 2014.
As further potential evidence of an impending refresh, a number of MacBook Air resellers are currently out of stock of a number of models. Stock-outs through third-party channels are usually an early indicator of new models.
Apparently not on tap for next week, however. is the completely redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display, said to remain in Apple's pipeline. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects that product to debut later this year.
Also on tap for 2014, according to Kuo, is a new iMac refresh, potentially with a lower-priced model that could help Apple compete with other all-in-one desktop models from HP and Lenovo. Kuo also believes that a new MacBook Pro with Retina display will arrive later this year.
Last June, the MacBook Air lineup gained all-day battery life thanks to Intel's ultra-low-voltage Haswell chips, providing up to 9 hours of uptime on the 11-inch model, and a whopping 12 hours on the 13-inch variety. Apple also added faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi to its redesigned 2013 models.
Giant Mirage 3D hologram device uses parabolic mirrors to create illusion of floating three-dimensional objects
A document discovered on Thursday describes an interactive three-dimensional display system that allows users to "touch" objects in mid-air, presenting the illusion of an advanced hologram.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application for an "Interactive three-dimensional display system," which details a method of presenting users with what appears to be a 3D image that can be manipulated with touches, swipes and other gestures.
In practice, Apple's invention uses a variety of known display techniques, along with a bevy of sensors, to present the pseudo-hologram. The basis of the technology can be found in the popular UFO-shaped mirror boxes that "project" a 360-degree 3D image of an object placed inside. To the user, a strawberry, stone or other solid entity seemingly floats just above an opening in the middle of the box.
While the generic mirror box relies solely on optical illusions to function, Apple's solution is a bit more complex.
The technique is comprised of three parts: a display system that creates a primary 3D image, an optical system that translates the first image into a secondary 3D image in mid-air and a sensor assembly to log user input. Support structures include a processing unit and control circuitry to facilitate feedback.
First, the image being projected is digital and not a reflection of a physical object. Apple describes a system in which infrared lasers, or other light emitting devices, project an image into a medium such as a non-linear crystal.
The medium itself may serve as an optical frequency up-converter for light passing through. When configured correctly, the medium can mix and up-convert infrared laser light to the visible spectrum, thus creating a primary 3D image.
According to the document, the non-linear medium is located between two parabolic mirrors, like the aforementioned mirror box. The primary image is reflected off the upper mirror to the lower mirror and ultimately out of a hole in the top mirror. As a consequence of this internal reflection, a secondary hologram-like image appears just above the upper mirror.
Next, a 3D input detection system collects and translates user motion data. To detect movement in 3D space, an infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray or other laser is coupled to a beam expander positioned in the bottom mirror assembly. The laser emits a beam that exits the top mirror and strikes a user's hand, finger or other control object.... [Read More]
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