Showing posts with label Apple technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple technology. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Apple iPhone 8 To Have All Glass Front and Back, Stainless Steel Frame?

iPhone 8
After being snubbed by the fans and critics with lackluster launch of the iPhone 7 which offered a minor upgrade over the iPhone 6s. Apple has decided to do away with ‘S’ model release this year and it is gearing up to launch iPhone 8 during the third quarter of 2017. Rumors mills are working overtime to come up with new insights into the iPhone 8 and this time it points towards a steel frame centre with all glass based rear and front for upcoming device. This means that Apple will do away with the aluminum frame which was seen on its last range of iPhones.

Going with ‘Steel’

This isn’t the first time Apple is going to use steel in the iPhone and it was last seen in the Apple iPhone 4S models. Since then Apple has opted for the aluminum finish for its iPhone range. In another rumor it was confirmed that one of the Apple’s manufacturing partner named Jabil is secretly working on the device body which will have two reinforced glass panels. The steel frame will be utilized to hold the two pieces of glass panels together.

Apple is also being criticized for not offering enough innovation on the table when compared to its rivals after the demise of Jobs. Though Apple has brought Airpods which is a wireless earphones but it doesn’t ranks high in terms of innovation. The subsequent release of the iPhone models are also not so great in terms of innovation when Sony, Samsung and some of the Chinese rivals are bring new hype worthy devices from their stable. Apple is decisively looking for ways of cutting through the competition and brings innovation back in the play by throwing everything in the development of the iPhone 8.

Next generation iPhone 8 to be bold

The new iPhone 8 is expected to sport a new bold design language along with a bezel less OLED display. Samsung will be providing the OLED display panels for this new phone which will render extremely stunning, crisp and beautiful resolution to the users. Apple generates a major portion of its revenue from the sales of iPhone devices. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S were highly successful device from Apple in recent years in terms of number of shipments. iPhone 7 failed to generate enthusiasm and with its slow sales Apple has decided to completely overhaul the design for iPhone 8.

Some of media reports suggests that Apple will be bringing a larger device this time around apart from its usual offering in 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch Plus models. Since the size will be larger so would be the price for the device. With iPhone 7 Apple ditched the 3.5 mm headphone jack and compensated it with Airpods- awireless earphone- which has to be bought separately. Secondly Apple is still fine tuning the performance of the Airpods resulting in missing the Christmas and New Year sales season. Rumors also suggests a sleeker design with invisible home button and wireless charging capability.

Monday, December 19, 2016

How to get rid of Apple Calendar spam

Calendar spam
Apple devices and operating system isn’t full proof against spams which is usually believed by millions of people worldwide. Like Android its products and software doesn’t get huge amount of spam or being plagued by it to a great extent but when some spam makes its way into the Apple ecosystem it leaves users baffled. In similar fashion a number of iCloud users were left baffled by the surge of spam in Calendar application. These spam emails offered users cheap Ray-Bans Ugg Boots or Pandora Bracelets which were laced in the calendar invitation which makes them more irritating.

Apple’s operating system for Macbook series and iPhone and iPads are different yet alike. iOS and Mac Os works in the similar fashion as they scan the email inbox to check out the calendar invitation in order to make it easier for users to find it. When such mails are forwarded to the users then it pops up as a notification right on the phone or tablet.

Apple has seen a sudden spike in spam calendar notification in the recent past. It might be linked with the Black Friday or other recent data breaches wherein users have been able to steal millionsof email addresses. Therefore it has become a necessity to get rid of spam calendar at the earliest.

Smart way to get rid of Calendar spam

The major issue with iCloud invitation is that it can sent by anyone from loved one, colleagues to spammer with that particular email address. It does possess some good spam filters but it doesn’t result in complete control. If you wish do away with the notions then it has to be turned off or you can indulge in sifting through it in your leisure time.

There is a smart way of marking calendar invitations as spam in the iCloud using these steps.

  •  Log in to iCloud. 
  •  Give a double click on a spam invitation 
  •  Then select ‘report junk’ option. 

In order to shut the notifications in iCloud follow these steps.

  •  Go to 
  •  Log in and go to the calendar 
  •  Press upon the cog button present at the bottom left corner of the screen and then move to the ‘Advanced’. 
  •  Now change ‘Invitations’ from In-app notifications to receiving email 
  •  This will allow you to receive the calendar invites as emails. 

If you wish to delete the current invitations without declining then follow these steps:

  •  Go to the calendar app and create a new calendar.
  •  Go to the Edit option right at the top left corner and click on Add Calendar. Name it junk or spam as per your likeness. 
  •  Now select the spam event and move it right to the new calendar. 
  •  Simply delete the new calendar and you will get rid of the spam at once. 

In order to stop others from sending you spam sharing notification simply go to the Settings followed by Photos and turn off the iCloud Photo Sharing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Apple’s Voiceover Guides Visually Impaired to Create Software

Apple’s Voiceover Guides Visually Impaired to Create Software
VoiceOver is an approachability option that offers the iPad and iPhone less demanding to work for the visually impaired and sight weakened. These things may incorporate imperceptible data, unmistakable data, and extra data requires exploring the screen. With it, anybody with an optical weakness can possess their iPad or iPhone's screen present to them, covering links, symbols, catches, and different interface components, and utilize signals to explore and choose their choices.

Since it is incorporated into Apple's UIKit system for designers, any application utilizing default keys receive VoiceOver bolster fabricated right in. Despite the fact that Apple's VoiceOver has been a part of the OS X working framework since 2005 and iOS since 2009, at first it wasn't that viable. Apple has enhanced VoiceOver radically from that point forward.

A key a portion of making everything open is VoiceOver, a screen-perusing innovation that talks portrayals out loud to clients. For instance, it assumes a key part in Swift Playgrounds, Apple's iPad application that shows children and grown-ups how to code.

Play areas give essential programming directions for making energized characters do things like gather gems, and it depends on the Swift programming dialect intended to make it less demanding for anybody to manufacture applications for the iPhone or iPad. Alongside describing Swift Playgrounds, VoiceOver likewise gives dazzle individuals a chance to take photographs or explore a city's open transportation framework all alone.

Apple incorporated VoiceOver with its iOS versatile programming in 2009 and from that point forward has joined other free elements that individuals already needed to buy. Individuals with visual debilitation once needed to spend a large number of dollars for innovation that amplified their PC screens, talked route bearings, distinguished their cash or perceived the shade of their garments. Hudson needed to work with human perusers when he was coding in school and how they'd some of the time nods off at work.

How to handle it-VoiceOver converts the motions in iOS keeping in mind the end goal to present it less demanding for outwardly impeded people to comprehend what they're touching before they really choose it. Some suggestions are given below to utilizingVoiceOver:

-Just tap anyplace on the surface and your iPad or iPhone will talk so anyone might hear the thing that you're hitting on.

-Twofold tap on a thing to choose it.

-To look over a page, utilize three-pointer. With VoiceOver with you ordinarily employ just a single pointer to scroll, however in VoiceOver you'll have to use three so that your iPad or iPhone doesn't misread a touch as a parchment.

-Twofold tap with three-pointers to flip voice summon the Lock Screen.

-A two-pointer twofold tap while playing out an activity will begin or end that activity. For instance, in case you're proceeding a telephone call, twofold touching the screen with two pointers will end the call. In case you're in the Camera application, twofold tap with two pointers to click any photograph.

-In VoiceOver choices you can modify and tweak choices, for example, regardless of whether you'd like the gadget to talk warnings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why You Should Care About Four Apps from Apple That You Can’t Download Yet


Apple’s Four Apps Which Possibly Can’t be Downloaded Yet

Apple had recently released four apps which possibly cannot be downloaded yet and which are the first signal of a big shift in the core messaging product of the company. The apps are said to be four sticker packsfor iMessage from Apple which tends to feature various smiley, hands, hearts and some throwback Mac iconography which may bring joy to Mac fans especially children of the 1990s.

While the apps are available at the store presently, they are supported only for iOS 10 and greater and if one is aware, the iOS 10 is not out yet to anyone but Apple developers.This month, a public beta period is anticipated but has not yet begun, which means that Apple has released four apps which cannot be utilised yet by anyone.

This seems an odd decision but one could take it as an indication that the public beta is pending. The crazy sticker packs tend to represent a part of greater ambitions for messaging by Apple as a part of the tech world which is getting progressively competitive. Since Apple in the past has been clung for not jumping properly on the social networking trend, the wheel has turned in making a most important social force.

Apple – Developing Software for Latest Products

But beta operating system could be insecure, crash abruptly, act unpredictably and also probably reduce the phone as useless. However if one tends to have an older phone or laptop there are greater chances of something going wrong since Apple intends starting developing software for its latest products first and will be working back from there.

 Even if there are no bugs in the operating system of Apple, one could find that not all of the apps are compatible with iOS 10 still, since several developers seem to be working on the upgrading of their apps before the full launch this coming fall. Sam Williams of Quartz who had co-developed the iOS app has held back from downloading the latest operating system stating that `most developers are not installing it yet on their personal phones and if they are not willing to risk it, best if everyone else holds back’.

If one is willing to take a chance, they will have to register with Apple first as a public beta tester and the company would be sending instructions on how to install the software. The user would otherwise have to wait a couple of more months till the software seems to be ready.

Apple Keeping Pace with Other Innovators

Messaging is now something that Apple has done impeccably in its modest form. However it seems to need a little more style in competing with the other messaging apps and is unwilling to open Messages up to other apps and developers to be there. The sticker packs coming from Apple though are the first of several add-ons which can be made by any other developers. That changed the benefits of Apple as it tends to keep pace with the other innovators in the field like WeChat.

At its June developers’ conference, Apple had already announced that it would add a multitude of features to Messages inclusive of the ability to hand-write notes, to obscure parts of messages as well as to automatically erase them a la Snapchat. These in-house features tend to enhance Messages though the stickers together with the other app which tap into iMessage to take it from a product to a platform.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Apple Releases new Rose Gold MacBook with Longer Battery Life


Apple MacBook – Faster Process Option, Rose Gold Finish Option

A year after its first release, Apple had updated its MacBook product line with faster process options, longer battery life and a rose gold finish option to go along with silver, grey and gold options that were earlier available. The 12-inch Retina display laptop now comes with an extra hour of battery life, improved graphic performance and new Intel processor, after the product line presented a comeback last March. Before last year’s announcement, Apple had not restored the MacBook range since 2010, concentrating on the thinner MacBook Air and the more powerful MacBook Pro.

The weight of the new model is two pounds, measuring 13.1mm thick, making it the thinnest, lightest laptop of Apple till date. It comprises of sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors, ranging from 1.1GHz to 1.3GHz based on configuration, 8GB of memory with around 10 hours of wireless internet browsing, according to the company. Apple has also stated that it has upgraded the MacBook’s memory to a faster 1766 MHz module from the 1600MHz version in last year’s computer and the integrated graphics are bounded to Intel’s more powerful 515 module with a potential of 25% improved performance.

Likely to Feature Integrated Version of Digital Assistant Siri

Last Apple had initially introduced rose gold as a colour option with the release of the luxury Edition Apple Watch last April, prior to extending the shade to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus last September as well as Apple Watch Sport, before recently adding it to its 9.7 inch iPad. Though the latest MacBooks are shipped with OS X El Capitan, Apple will probably reveal its new version of Mac software during the annual developer’s conference WWDC which is said to begin on Monday June 13.

For the first time, after testing it for four years, OS X 10.12 is likely to feature an integrated version of digital assistant Siri. The latest software would comprise of a Siri microphone icon on the Menu bar which, when it is clicked would launch a dark background with coloured waves just the way it tends to appear across iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch.

Implanting Siri in Mac’s infrastructure tends to be reasonable, Apple has been very clear regarding how it foresees its numerous devices working together cross-platforms. Announced at WWDC 2014, its Continuity umbrella comprises of a range of latest features which were designed as a first push towards seamless assimilated in the middle of the systems.

Remarkable Difference in the New Model

While the name of OS X 10.12 tends to be a mystery, there is a possibility of it being inspired by a Californian landmark or a location according to the most recent releases of Apple – El Capitan, Yosemite and Mavericks. It is very likely to be showcased along with iOS 10, the latest operating system for iPhone and iPad in June. Updates on watchOS for Apple Watch as well as tvOS for Apple TV are also anticipated. The new processors together with faster memory, is expected to make a remarkable difference in the new model.

 The pricing will begin at £1,049 for a 1.1 GHz dual core Intel Core m3 processor with Turbo Boost speeds to around 2.2 GHz, 8 GB memory together with 256GB of flash storage. It would increase to £1,299 for 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor with Turbo Boost speed to 2.7 GHz, 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage.

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's confirmed - Your iPhone has a limited lifespan, says Apple


Apple – iPhone has Limited Lifespan of Three Years

It has been revealed by Apple that the iPhone has a limited lifespan of only three years. According to the Cupertino giant, the Apple Watch and iPhone is said to last for three years while Mac computers and the Apple TV would be lasting for four years. Apple had published on its site, recently in a new question and answer section which outlines the company’s environmental push, and released the life expectancy for different devices, together with the amount of greenhouse gases they expect to contribute in that time.

Apple considers the greenhouse gas life cycle for products by observing the hardware components, size and weight, shipping methods, daily usage patterns and disposal practices.Apple centres its lifespan expectancy on modelled use and the exact use of data. The Cupertino California Company groups its products by operating system to make lifespan projections, irrespective of other product specifications. Apple had mentioned in the report that `years of use that are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices. In all cases, Apple is assessing first owner device lifespans.

Apple Revamped App Store – To Support Preservation

Hence if one purchases a used Apple device, the countdown has already started. An operative iPhone 5 for instance, which was launched in September 2012, could be considered as a living dead phone. Schemes whether Apple tends to build its products to die within a few years have been circulating around for years. Laura Trucco, then a PhD economics student had analysed the number of Google search for `iPhone slow’ all over the world for the last seven years and found that the search term spiked whenever a new model had been released.

In an effort to prove the theory, users of iPhone carried out test concerning phones running older software and updated forms to prove that Apple self-disrupts its out-of-date hardware, probably to inspire users in upgrading as early as possible. Apple revamped the app store recently with a range of Apps for Earth, created in business with the World Wild Fund for Nature –WWF in order to raise funds and support for preservation, as part of its new environmental awareness push.

Built Custom Content for 27 Apps

Apple had helped in building custom content for 27 apps which tend to promote the mission of WWF, that comprise of conservation of wildlife, forests, fresh water and oceans and would be donating 100% of the profit to the charities they are connected with from April 14 to 24. Likewise to Apple’s Campaign for RED in 2014, Apps for Earth includes updates to popular apps like Kendal & Kylie, Enlight and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes.

The fact regarding the life cycles came about in answer to question regarding Apple’s Product Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment. Apple had broken down its environmental impact measurements in five segments, part by part measurements, power use scenarios, transportation cost, material composition as well as emissions data. The lifespan details had come from the power use scenario estimates.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New iOS App Airmail Gives You Hardcore Control over Email


Airmail – New Email App

Apps are progressively being dominant in their design. Airmail of iOS which is a new email app is the perfect opposite. The amazing beauty of Airmail is that the user is in charge of the colours, the icons, the way one reads and responds to messages, what tends to occur when you swipe a little or when one swipe a lot, which order of conversations display, what one can do to an email.

 It seems like each individual Airmail user, gets to go back in time and be with the company’s designer in the creation of the precise email client they want to use. It comes at a cost of $4.99. The app, by default is a bit messy and complicated, the same way several email apps are.

It tends to feel as it is that way knowingly, so that one would look for means of turning off that red stripe near every single message in Gmail and discover the wealth trove of choices in store for the user. Airmail tends to act like it is aware that email is messy as well as complicated and its job is to support in various ways as possible.

Inbox is Limitless Filterable

The inbox is limitlessly filterable and one can see unread messages only or those with attachments or only emails, all with a single tap. While composing, an email has adequate formatting choices to choose from. User can connect Airmail to the other apps on the phone with the ability of moving stuff around.

Airmail for iOS has great number of options and it enables you to do anything one could imagine doing with email, it has snoozes, filters as well as third party app combinations and other things one may not have thought of , from setting per inbox notification sound to bouncing emails as well as change Gmail folder mapping.

Most of the things in Airmail could be changed according to one’s choice wherein you can change what tends to happen when you swipe an email, you could enable or disable the look of actions such as starring and sharing and can even reorder various core menus.

Airmail Has No Agenda

Leonardo Chiantini together with partner Giovanni Simonicca who developed the app state that the comprehensive options of Airmail tends to come by design. He had commented that `people seem to have different needs and they think that with emails, everyone takes a very different approach.

Airmail is to address the needs of professionals who tend to work regularly in their inbox. Presently it functions on the iPhone and Apple Watch and Chiantini informs that an iPad version would be coming later. Airmail is not an app which everyone should be using.

 It is big, dense and rarely rough around the edges. Airmail could be the precise option if one tends to have a lot of email to go through,causing a hindrance with the prevailing app of choices that may not let you function as one may desire. Airmail for iOS is amazing since it has no agenda. It is like a scrapyard for email to deal whichever way one intend to. For any query, a live chat option on the official site of the app is available for those interested.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Apple recalls power adapters for iOS and Mac products in several countries after shock risk

Apple Recall of Power Adapters – iOS/Mac

Apple, the tech giant, has delivered a recall of power adapters for Mac computers and some of the iOS devices which had been sold 12 years have been found to cause risk of electrical shock. The recall does not seems to touch UK power adapters though the two prong version that were sold in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Brazil and Argentina were all subject to it together with the World Travel Adapter Kit of the company that had been sold in the UK.

It was observed by the tech company that in very rare cases, the adapter tend to break and create an electrical shock risk. The company stated that they were aware of 12 incidents where the same had occurred. Those which were not affected were the ones sold in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, UK and US. To know if an adapter can be returned, one needs to check the back and read the series of characters on the interior slot.

Affected two prong plug adapter would tend to have four or five characters or no characters on the inner side of the slot where it attaches to the main Apple power adapter. According to Apple, if it is a four or five character number, it should be returned. However if it tends to bear regional letters like `EUR’ then it is considered ok.

Verify Serial Number – Part of Exchange Procedure

User would have to verify their Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad serial number as a part of the exchange procedure and this can be obtained by syncing the device with iTunes. On the other hand users could use a Mac and get the serial number from `About This Mac menu’.

Users using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or iPod could get the number in Settings, General and About, on an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iPod. The company has requested customers to stop utilising affected plug adapters and to visit the support site for information on how to exchange the adapters that were affected for new, redesigned ones.

The support page of Apple for the incident has stated that users could return their adapters for redesigned ones, by contacting customer support or at an Apple Store. Apple has mentioned that the `customer safety is Apple’s top priority and that they have voluntarily decided to exchange affected wall plug adapters with a new, redesigned adapter at no charge’.

Visit Apple Site for Replacement

Apple had offered to replace some of the adapters for their iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S in Europe in 2014, after it was found to be overheated. Though the recall does not seem to directly affect the Indian consumers, several of the Indians could have purchased the products of Apple with affected adapters from the affected countries during 2003 and 2015.

As a means of precaution, it is advised to visit the Apple site in order to get a replacement. This could affect the company’s stock and its image and this year has not been very good for Apple with the slowdown in the sales and revenues of iPhone and a recall has been a little unwelcome

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hunter debuts first HomeKit-connected ceiling fans


Hunter’s Ceiling Fan Models with Smartphone Connectivity Support

With the CES announcement on the success of Apple’s product ecosystem, which includes Apple’s internet of things HomeKit procedure, Hunter Fan Company revealed two Wi-Fi enabled ceiling fans with smartphone connectivity support. Hunter intends to introduce two fan models in the Symphony and Signal which would be featuring Wi-Fi technology together with HomeKit support for smart home mechanizations as well as voice control through Apple’s Siri virtual assistant.

Besides the app based remote control abilities, the connected fans could be activated by utilising the geolocation functions of HomeKit or included as part of a larger scene macro. For instance, users could set a geolocation trigger to turn off fan light, lock the doors and draw the blinds when they intend leaving their house.

Moreover, the fans assimilate with the prevailing smart phone products such as connected thermostats as well as the other HomeKit enabled devices in providing complete automation features. The fan’s dimmable LED light, for instance could be triggered to illuminate when a HomeKit smoke detector tends to go off. The Symphony and the Signal presently are the only ceiling fans which tend to support Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform and they are also the first connected home products of Hunter Fan Company.

Symphony & Signal – Scenes & Triggers

The Symphony and Signal ceiling fans besides being connected to a home’s Wi-Fi network are controlled with Siri voice commands with the capabilities to interface with other HomeKit products such as light and thermostats for a full connected home experience with the use of Scenes and Triggers.

For instance, with a Scene, a home owner having several HomeKit products can at the same time lock door, turn on the lights as well as turn the fan off. With a Trigger, the fan could be set to come on in certain situations like when a HomeKit connected fire alarm tends to detect smoke. John Alexander, Hunter Fan CEO has commented that `their ceaseless innovation is why Hunter Fan is the industry leader and these new Wi-Fi enabled fans together with the support for Apple HomeKit are a testament to the heritage of progress and originality.

 They are beautiful, affordable, high quality pieces of décor which tends to bring state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology where it may not be expected – the ceiling fan. As we celebrate 130 years, we have several exciting developments to share with the customers and are proud to kick off 2016 at CES with Symphony and Signal’.

Dimmable Integrated Lighting/WhisperWind Functions

The fans tend to measure around 54 inches and are provided with dimmable integrated lighting together with WhisperWind functions for the purpose of powerful air movement with quiet operation. While the Symphony fan has a modern design with white blades, the Signal has wood finished blades with satin nickel housing.

Symphony will be priced at $329 and Signal will be offered at $379. The HomeKit connected fans of Hunter Fan Company would be made available for purchase towards the beginning of spring of 2016 from the company’s website as well as from Amazon, Lowe, HomeDepot and many others.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Apple Patent Application Ups the Ante on Noise-Cancelling Headphones


Apple’s Patent Application on Bone Conduction for Voice Communications

According to US Patent and Trademark Office revealed on Thursday, Apple had applied for patent for technology on bone conduction for voice communications. Apple's patent application which was filed in February 2014, though not published till recently defines a method of improving voice quality in wireless headset using freed earbuds of a mobile device.

As defined by Apple Insider, it terms a system, where the voice input is accepted by one of the two earbuds and depending on the perceived quality, it is then passed on to a mobile device. Inertial sensor which tends to monitor the vibrations in a user’s bone structure as well as the range of other sensors helps in informing which signal to use.

Bone conduction tends to transmit sound via subtle vibrations instead of through speakers generally with an increase in clarity. The patent tends to follow the design model which Apple had attempted in bringing about to most of its devices and accessories – simplicity. It could also propose a natural progression with the company’s 2014 acquisition of headphones maker Beats, while enhancing the earbuds contributions.

Earbuds Accountable for Noise/Wind level

According to research manager of wearable and mobile phones for IDC, Ramon Llamas, has mentioned in an email that `this is something like Apple taking a hint from what the other vendors have done earlier and which has been Apple’s mode of operation in the past – to see who does it well and then attempt to do it better than the others.

We have seen this with smartphones and are now seeing it with watches and if the product reaches market, Apple will be doing the same to the Bluetooth headset industry’. Apple had noted in the patent application that its earbuds would be accountable for noise and wind level identified by internal earbud microphones.

Moreover, the earbuds could combine the information with accelerometer output battery level as well as earbud position data as per the application. Apple has mentioned in its patent application that `the invention usually relates to improving the voice sound quality in a wireless headset with untethered earbuds of electronic devices by determining which of the earbuds should transmit the acoustic signal and the inertial sensor output to the mobile device’.

Environmental Noise – User’s Speech Incomprehensible

Using the acoustic signal as well as the inertial sensor output received from one of the earbuds, user’s voice activity could be detected to perform noise reduction and generate a pitch estimate in improving the speech quality of the final output signal’.

As per the application, a shared complain with hands free devices is that speech caught by the microphone port or the handset comprises of environmental noise like the secondary speakers in the background or it could be other background sounds.

 Environmental noise tends to make the user’ speech incomprehensible and hence tends to degrade the quality of the voice communication, which is a problem that Apple intends to solve. Apple had declined from commenting on the patent application.

The present patent shows on-going work in bone conduction technology as Apple had filed a similar application for accelerometer assisted noise cancellation last September and the company is yet to bring in such a device to the market. Its most innovative earphone designs tend to rely on cables, excluding devices that are developed by Beats.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Apple Eyes Remote Control Personalized Via Fingerprint, Retinal Scan


Apple’s Remote Control – Fingerprint/Retina sensor

As proposed by Apple/USPTP, future remote controls can now sport a fingerprint sensor and the company intends a TV remote which could access personal profile as well as setting based on fingerprint or retina. Patent application, known as `Device Configuration for Multiple Users Using Remote User Biometrics’ was published recently by the US Patent and Trademark Office, lays out the technology for personalizing remote controls.

The notion behind it is to enable individuals in a household to access a personal profile on a TV, set-top box or any other device created on biometric information like the fingerprint, and picked up by the remote control. As per Apple’s application, this type of a device could provide a `personalized experience without the need and or bothering others.

Such a type of a technology could spare the disturbance of choosing certain, single profile for the device, on the contrary a touch of your finger or scan of the eye could recall customized setting or those for each household member. Besides, it could also enable parents in restricting certain content for their children.

Technology Extended to Media Centres/Desktop/Tablets ……

Though Apples uses TV as an apparent example one could access several other kinds of devices with a remote control which can scan fingerprint or eye and the technology could go further to media centres, laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, smart watches as well as other wearbles, including kitchen appliances, cars, gaming consoles, air conditioner, lighting systems and much more.
An example given by Apple is where both a husband and wife may tend to use a particular electronic device like a TV, computer or gaming console and both may have their own respective settings. These could be volume level, screen saver, screen layout, brightness and contrast levels. On scanning of the fingerprint or retina of the husband, the remote control could activate his settings and doing the same for his wife would provide her customized settings.

Another example would be that the TV, media player or any other electronic device could recommend particular content like TV shows, music, movies and video games established on the biometric scan while the third example is a TV with a remote control for a general user could reconfigure itself with specific content as well as setting that is already connected with the person on a different TV, when the person has been acknowledged through a fingerprint or retinal scan.

Biometric Technology Adaptable/Universal

Existing devices already enable the user in creating individual profiles and identify them through certain forms of recognition, for instance, the Xbox Kinect of Microsoft is capable of identifying a person through a body scan.

However, presuming that Apple’s remote control creation would make headway, this kind of biometric technology could be more adaptable and universal in recognizing or identifying quickly. As in the case with all Apple patent applications, it is unknown if the company intends to ship biometric capable remote or something else.

Apple has planned to launch an all new remote with built-in touchpad along with an expected Apple TV hardware update, an important time to introduce Touch ID to the set-top streamer according to recent rumours. It is widely debated as to when exactly that revision is due though some reports have indicated that it could probably be this fall.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Apple Removing Some Apps That Contain Confederate Flag Imagery

Apple to Pull out Apps with Images of Confederate Flag

It has been reported that Apple has recently put some Civil war games in the iTunes App Store and the company has informed game developers that the app would be pulled since it contained images of the Confederate flag used in an offensive and mean spirited manner, as per Andrew Mulholland of HexWar Games.

The company will be removing mobile apps from the App Store which portray the Confederate flag and several of those apps tend to be Civil War-themed strategy games such as Ultimate General, Gettysburg and Civil War – 1863 which tend to display the flag in a historical setting just like the representation of Nazi imagery in video games related to World War II.

 Nick Thomadis of Game-Labs, developer of Ultimate General has commented that `Apple has removed the game from App Store due to usage of the Confederate Flag’, while Gettysburg has mentioned in a blog that `we accept Apple’s decision and understand that this is a sensitive issue for the American Nation’. The confederate flag, represents the eleven Southern states which separated from the Union at the time of American Civil War is at the centre of a nationwide argument after a white chauvinist alleged last week had killed nine black churchgoers.

Appeals to Remove Flag from Statehouses/License Plates 

The ones killed had been attending bible study class at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Several of them associate the flag with slavery and consider it as a racist symbol. No comments have come forth from Apple in this regard, but all the same have informed TechCrunch that it is `not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses’.

Appeals to do away with the flag from statehouses and license plates have been coming from across the political field which includes the former Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Besides retailers which include eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Sears have banned the sales of the flag and related merchandise like shirts, hats and belt buckles. Google has also removed the Confederate flags from its Google Shopping online retail network and the product listing advertisements which have been displayed on search engine results.

Contemporary Symbol of Divisiveness/Racism 

The company has confirmed in a statement that their policy tends to extend to apps in its Google Play app store though against those app whose main function lies in promoting the Confederate flag. eBay spokesman, Johnna Hoff has recently said in a statement that ` we are of the belief that it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism and this decision is consistent with the long standing policy which prohibits items that remote or glorify hatred, violence and racial intolerance’.

Apple too seems to be following suit. The company has had a long history of inspecting software for its iOS mobile operating system which would comprise of gun violence, nudity, political undertone or references to public figures that may force developers in altering promotional material or the game as well. Besides these, other game developers are also making attempts in finding ways around the Confederate flag ban and the team at HexWar Games, the makers of the strategy games of Civil War series intends to replace users of the famous 1862 version of the Confederate flag according to TouchArcade, with initial lesser known renderings.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Apple is Going to Kill the Home Screen

Revealed - Home Screen – Centre of iPhone to Move on

The home screen is the centre of the iPhone experience and it has been revealed by Apple at WWDC that they are moving on. From birth, the home screen has been the iPhone’s face to the world and it was the first thing which popped up when on stage,in 2007, Steve Jobs had swiped his finger across the iPhone's screen when locked.

 With the iOS 9, most of the interaction will take place everywhere, spread among quick notification panels, powerful search tools as well as context specific recommendations which could put relevant apps a flick away. However, the reliable home screen will continue to exist though for the first time, it would be secondary. Presently, the home screen has more real estate with less gloss and beside that the two seems to be identical.

The home screen in its initial stage was vital to the iPhone’s appeal and for a gadget which seemed like several gadgets in one – a phone, an iPod and an internet communicator besides a map, a camera and much more. For users from the PC world, the home screen seems to be the desktop and Start button all in one and it was essential that it obtained its own dedicated button, irrespective of what the user does on the phone, if they tend to press the thumb sized disc beneath the screen, they are transported home.

New Options Provided to Move On 

Since we have gone familiar with smartphones, we tend to care less about the comforts of the home screen and Apple has gradually provided us with new options to move around. The multitasking choice offers a quick shortcut from moving between apps instead of returning to the central point of the home screen each time. Spotlight has become a quick way in finding the desired one, as iPhone users accumulated pages of apps.

Interaction shift to the lock screen has been envisaged recently wherein interactive notifications enable iPhone users to bypass the home screen and can go straight to the relevant app. An example is the shortcut for camera enabling them to access the lens by just swiping up on the lock screen. These alterations indicate one basic fact which is that mobile life is quite fast to be routed through the home screen.

The iOS next version portrays this reality and the tent-pole feature is Proactive Assistant. iOS 9, following Google’s Now lead would be trying to expectwhat the user need when the need arises. When the user tend to fire up NYT Now every morning on waking up, iOS 9 tends to attempt to make note of the habit, making the app available in the morning as a shortcut on the locked screen and when plugged in headphones, the new OS will also play up music based on the location without the need of finding the music app.

Features Accommodated on Lock Screen

All these features are accommodated on the lock screen’s present offering in evading the home screen grid. -The swipe-up control centre and swipe-down today window. Besides these shortcuts, the iOS 9 will also be offering new interactive hub like personalized search panel.

Towards the left of the home screen one will find shortcuts for apps and contacts which are filtered by context. It is like the Home Screen 2.0 rather than a dumb grid. It is worth observing that the Apple Watch tends to work in the similar way where on the wrist, notifications as well as messaging shortcut take priority over the home screen of apps.

While using the phone it could be most informative and search in iOS 9 could provide information as well as functions out of the apps itself, dropping it right into the results. For instance, a search for sports score could provide a live card with the score just the way Google does on the web.

API – Third Party Making Own Content Available

Due to the new API, third party apps have the capabilities of making their own content available for the user. In the meanwhile, Siri could achieve new powers such as the ability to deep link reminders as well as messages to certain packets of content within other apps. Information, answers and functions which existed early as icons on home screen will soon be baked in search through text and voice through Siri.

Should one need to look up a movie review, they could open the Rotten Tomatoes app or to open a favourite conversion app if needed to convert cups to quarts. Search could be the easiest option to do all these functions not by just accessing these apps but in fact to use them. When the purpose of checking a sport score or reading movie review is incorporated into search, one would be not just talking about the end of home screen but the end of apps themselves.

Presently the enduring home screen seems to be around right at the heart of the iPhone though there are chances of seeing less in future.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Apple Buys LinX

Apple Acquired Camera Technology Company - LinX

According to CNBC, Apple has acquired camera technology company LinX that develops camera sensors using multi-aperture imaging together with image processing tech to enhance the general performance in cameras inclusive of low light capture, colour fidelity and much more.

Apple has not confirmed the acquisition but has given its usual vague statement that it `buys smaller technology companies from time to time’, though the Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple has spent roughly $20bn at LinX that creates camera technology for smartphone, Ultrabook and tablet devices. The Israeli start-up’s hardware was focused at tablets as well as smartphones and could not provide the kinds of background defocus which is popular on low opening lenses paired with DSLRs though it could achieve improved low-light performance which is appropriate in taking pictures indoors or at night without the use of a flash.

The company’s plan could also comprise in putting the tech in use in its notebook and change the camera modules with improved performing parts while adhering to size constraints which could be very convenient in building devices like the MacBook for instance while at the same time, retain the picture quality. This could possibly push image quality and help trim down camera design.

LinX Cameras Revolutionize Mobile Photography

LinX states that `the image quality of mobile camera has reached a dead end. Device makers are striving to differentiate using imaging capabilities but the pixel size race has ended and next generation cameras do not reveal any dramatic improvements. LinX cameras revolutionize mobile photography and broaden the usability span and user experience, allowing us to leave our SLRs at home’.

LinX had launched in 2014, tiny multi-aperture cameras that were only half as tall as the average mobile camera though capable of snapping `striking colour images and high accuracy depth maps’ which means DSLR quality photos can now be taken on a small and lightweight device.

According to the company’s communication, one of LinX’s big specified hardware features is achieving selective focus post-capture and this is a popular choice in modern devices and one which Apple would find beneficial in its future devices.

However, the big gains of the multi aperture design for the iPhone maker would possibly be in producing best results with regards to low light HDR besides colour fidelity with general everyday picture shoots.

LinX to Build Up Apple’s Hold in Israel 

Apple hadunfailingly kept the camera at the forefront of mobile camera technology in the iPhone, taking pride in the images which looked much better than most of the other mobile devices prevailing in the market. LinX claims that their camera systems also tend to create better images in low light conditions as well as fast exposure time in standard indoor light.

Apple could utilise the same in its upcoming notebooks in providing better low light and general photography replacing the prevailing camera modules. Besides this, the company could now assist Apple in manufacturing thin cameras with the capabilities of taking improved pictures for the forthcoming iPhones. Till date, the company has been using Sony camera sensors for its smartphones.

Acquisition could strengthen Apple in Israel and the purchase of LinX could build up Apple’s hold in Israel, which according to the company CEO‘s visit in February is a main source of research and development for Apple beside the U.S.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Airlines Embrace Apple Watch with Upcoming Apps

Apple Watch with Upcoming Apps

Apple had highlighted several apps which would be available on the Apple Watch including the app from American Airlines at its Apple Watch event recently, which would enable users to receive flight information, check in for their flight and much more. American Airlines, an Apple partner at the Watch’s launch is the focus of attention for building a Watch app which will be helpful at the airport, according to Sullivan. He states that there are other Watch apps from other airlines too. Several others have also announced the upcoming apps for the Apple Watch with a hint at some for the ways in which the Apple Watch would be used in making life easy.

 For instance, British Airways announced a British Airways app for the Apple Watch that would be available by April 24. With the help of a glance option, that can be accessed on swiping right on the watch face, the British Airways app would be displaying a summary of the customer’s next flight with details like flight number, the flight status, the countdown to departure time as well as the weather at the destination. These details would be made available at a single glance reducing the need to check the emails and open app to access the flight details.

Supports Wrist Check-Ins for Flights

Moreover, the app also supports on wrist check-ins for flights as well as convey notifications to direct users to their appropriate entries and at specific airport terminals, like Heathrow’s Terminal5, users would also be receiving welcome messages which are powered by iBeacon. VentureBeat had asked several airlines on their plans for Apple Watch apps, earlier this week which provided information on two upcoming apps from United and Delta.

The Delta app which is in the development stage will be delivering notification on flights to the user well in advance of their flights which would give them access to the boarding pass stored on their iPhones. Besides this, it would also offer flight numbers, flight time, gate number as well as other information and if the flight tends to get changed, user would also receive notification on their Apple Watch. They would also be receiving notification whenever a flight approaches a destination city together with information with regards to luggage pickup. Though United Airlines has not shared app screenshots of its upcoming Apple Watch app, it has divulged some details regarding the same.

At-A-Glance Information 

The app would be offering at-a-glance information on its upcoming flights, which comprises of gate number with status, as well as enable users to view their flight reservations within the United Airline Apple Watch app. It will also be capable of alerting users if the flight time or gate numbers tend to change and also pull a traveller’s boarding pass from the Passbook app. VentureBeat has been informed by Southwest and Virgin America that presently, they have not been working on Apple Watch app, though the two airlines together with the others are likely in creating apps as competition developing apps for the device. It is said that the Apple Watch would be made available on April 24 when pre order starts by April 19. Developers have been working hard on the finishing touches of the apps prior to its launch with several even undertaking flights to Cupertino for guidance from Apple for third party apps availability to consumers from the launch day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Apple's Stylus Receiver Concept Would Improve the Precision

Apple Stylus to Improve Larger iPad Model 

Recent reports reveal that Apple would be offering a simple stylus to improve a larger iPad model wherein the latest patent applications indicate a kind of improved pen based input technology which the company had been working on for some time.

In a recent filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, discovered by AppleInsider, disclosure of Apple’s investigation into stylus support for touchscreen devices was revealed. Entitled, `Superheterodyne Pen Stimulus Signal Receiver’, this proposed invention, indicates a device which could have unique frequency for stylus based input, which would be less than a traditional fingertip touch signal. Apple has noted in the filing, that several conventional styluses tend to have bulky tip which are made of material with a potential of interacting with touch sensitive devices where these devices are meant to match a user’s finger for compatibility with the modern touch screen.

 These are meant to be controlled with fingertips. However, Apple states that these conventional styluses, lack the precision as well as control of traditional writing instruments like a pen and paper, based on their nature. The method of Apple’s `superheterodyne receiver’ could be used which is capable of taking an input signal and converting it into another frequency.

Convert Stylus Touch Input Signals – Intermediate Frequency Signals

The technology in reality dates back to the origins of radio transmission which was developed during World War I by a U.S. soldier. All modern radio receivers, virtually utilise `superhet’ technology for the purpose of superior selectivity as well as sensitivity though in Apple’s more modern use, hardware demodulator in the device such as an iPad could convert stylus touch input signals in an intermediate frequency signal, which would be less than a traditional fingertip touch signal.

Apple would be featuring a touch sensor with potential of detecting the difference between a fingertip touch and a stylus touch thus offering more precise input. The latest patent application following a recent rumour, indicate that Apple would be launching a simple stylus together with an anticipated 12.9 inch `iPad Pro’, later this year. According to Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, he indicates that a stylus could be more precise than a person’s fingertip0s wherein it could be a more convenient method of input than a keyboard as well as a mouse in some cases.

Featuring Basic Technology 

He further states that Apple would probably launch the stylus accessory as an optional add-on instead of including it along with the larger iPad and believes that the stylus would feature basic technology in its first execution, wherein future models could contribute more advanced features such as 3D handwriting. Apple though had publicly panned pen based input for some time, the company’s interest in stylus based input, is nothing new and the filing is just the latest of stylus concepts which the company has been manipulating behind the scenes.

The superhet stylus signal receiver concept of Apple which was published recently was first filed in October 2013, with USPTO by Apple and the credits of the proposed invention goes to Shahrooz Shahparnia who is a touch ASIC as well as a sensor architect at Apple.

Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Move iPhoto Library to External Hard Drive

With the latest digital cameras and advanced smartphones such as iPhone 6, users have the opportunities of getting amazing photos and moving a part or your entire photo library to an external hard drive is one effective way of providing free space on the device.

At the start, it is essential to make an up to date Time Machine Backup of the computer to an external hard drive or Time Capsule.

Users should ensure that the external hard drive which is used to perform the backup is a separate unit from the one which will move the iPhoto Library to, should any problem arise. If the use has an account with cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud Drive, one could also upload the iPhoto Library for extra redundancy to these services.

To move the library, users could open iPhoto, click File in the Menu Bar and use the option `Switch to Library’. A new window then appears listing any and all the iPhoto Libraries detected on the computer. If the location of the iPhoto Library file is unknown, one could check at the (Default) listing which can be seen at the file path with the list underneath it and this must be located in the Picture folders of the Home directory.

Guidance and Instructions

Then the user can quit iPhoto by going to Quit iPhoto in iPhoto Menu or by using the Cmd+Q and connect to the external hard drive which had be used to copy the iPhoto Library and see it appear on the desktop. A new Finder window could be opened and clicked on Pictures towards the left sidebar and drag the iPhoto Library file onto the external hard drive icon on the desktop.

Based on the size of the library as well as the connection speed of the external drive, it could take several minutes or even longer in completing the process of copying. When the process is completed, holding on to the Option key on the keyboard, open iPhoto from the Dock or the Application folder where a new window would pop up with the prompting of Creating a New Library.

On opting on the Selected Library or Other Library, the user could click on Other Library. With the browser window that appears, the user can navigate to the external hard drive and click the iPhoto Library file that is copied and could choose `Click’.

Procedure to Accommodate Space

The iPhoto then appears till the external hard drive remains connected and refers the library on the external drive instead of the computer’s drive. Users can quite iPhoto again and eject the external hard drive without the new iPhoto Library and open a new Finder window navigating to the Pictures folder in the left sidebar once again.

With a right click or Ctrl+click on the iPhoto file, one could move it to the Trash folder. In order to accommodate space on the internal hard drive, open the Trash from the Finder window or Dock; click Empty Trash on the upper right corner area. This will remove the iPhoto Library from the internal drive and then you could reconnect the external hard drive used to copy the iPhoto library and open iPhone, using it as normal

Apple’s `Be My Eyes’ App for the Blind

According to the National Federation of the Blind, Apple has done more for accessibility than any company has done and with the aid of a new app, iPad and iPhone users could go still further. `Be my Eyes’, is an app which enables blind people to seek remote help from sighted person whenever the need arises.

The latest app helps the blind to get instant help from sighted people on using the iPhone’s video call feature and in the first few days of its launch, the app has around 54,000 sighted volunteers. Sighted people who are ready to contribute help, can then install the app and receive alerts whenever help is required. Be My Eyes is a new crowd sourcing app which can connect the blind with the sighted person through the iPhone’s video call feature wherein it will enable users to lend their eyes to the blind.

The app has the potential in guiding the blind in difficult and challenging situations with over 4,000 people who have come forward to help the blind on more than 8,500 occasions according to the app’s website.

Live Audio-Video Connection 

When a first sighted user accepts a request to help a blind user, a live audio-video connection is set between the two and the sighted user could inform the blind person on what is seen whenever the blind person focuses his phone at something with the use of the rear facing camera.

Should the user be busy in extending help at that point of time, the request is automatically rotated through other sighted user till one of them accepts the request. The app has already assisted several people on almost 12,000 occasions. Tim Cook had commented eloquently on the priority he renders to equality and accessibility and went further informing a lobbying group of investors to `get out of this stock’, if it considers environmental concerns and making Apple devices accessible to disabled users, to be a waste of money’.

This new app connects the blind person with the volunteer sighted user across the world through the video chat when the app is activated and the blind person can then focus the phone’s camera to the problem faced while the help can verbally guide them.

App Invented – Hans Jorgen Wiberg

Seems to be quite amazing for the blind person seeking help since the sighted volunteer could then direct the blind person and inform them if they are walking in the right direction or if they are purchasing the appropriate product from the grocery store or even informing about expiry dates if any on any of the products to be purchased.

Hans Jorgen Wiberg invented the app who himself, was visually impaired in April 2012 and first presented the idea at a start-up convention in Denmark and the making of the app then took around two years to be created. Moreover, the app also offers sighted volunteers `a level up’ type of a system wherein they acquire points for daily acts of kindness though it is uncertain whether the volunteer obtains rewards on reaching certain levels. The app is available only for iPhones though the developers are working out on expanding the services to Android and Windows phones as well.

Monday, January 26, 2015

3 Ways Apple Could Push Maps Forward With iOS 9 in 2015

Revamped Maps App – 2015

Three years after Apple evicted Google Maps from iOS, the company’s own mapping and navigation offering seems to have some critical weaknesses and the company is focusing on what lays ahead for the next twelve months for Apple Maps.

A revamped Maps apps is presumed to be one of the iOS 8’s tentpole feature with updated data for the much awaited edition of public transit direction, though the most interesting modification ended being the introduction of nine new cities for a three dimensional flyover feature. Apple has tapped in ten new sources for business listing and the additions of DAC Group, Location3 Media, Placeable, Marquette Group, PositionTech, SIM Partners, SinglePlatform, UBL, Yext and Yodle to the initial trio of Factual, Neustar/Localeze and Yelp enhanced the number of firms with point of interest data to a baker’s dozen.

The company also began another data related move in a comprehensive data scrubbing program which included the launch of a self-serve Maps Connect portal enabling local businesses to add directly or modify listings as well as personal calls to business owners from Maps team members to manage conflicting data and changes can now be rolled out daily instead of once a week.

Moreover, Apple Maps has also obtained its web debut last year, which has powered the iCloud version of `Find my iPhone’, though has not yet propagated it to all of Apple’s web properties and the retail store driving directions of the company are still powered by Google. Apple is always known in making process in every performance and is in the midst of overhauling things front to back.

Public transit: The company will integrate the basic door to door path finding technology which is needed by purchasing transit companies like HopStop and Embark with a likely HopStop’s future trip planning that would enable users, pre plan journeys such as, comparing cross town rush hour routes during lunch times and Embarks’ heads up notifications providing users with route advisories and closures. Apple has provides some details with regards to its plans with a pair of patent applications which were revealed last month wherein the documents provide information of a dynamic routing system functioning as a sort of person commuting assistant collecting routing date, timetables together with information on amenities like Wi-Fi availability in one place.

Crowdsourcing:It is rumoured that Apple in 2013 had offered around $500 million in order to acquire traffic app Waze who is believed to have asked for more and eventually it was Google who snapped up the Israeli company for almost $1 billion. Apple still tends to leverage Waze as one of the various sources for real-time traffic data though the company seems focused on in-house crowdsourcing headway.An iOS developer working on mapping application informed AppleInsider that crowdsourced traffic date is envisaged as a `serious target for Apple’s Maps team.

Since Waze’s success proved active, user reporting with regards to traffic conditions tend to have significant advantage over traditional passive device location monitoring that is presently the main method where companies compile traffic date. This is borne out by patent application of Apple which details a system similar to Waze and this approach of Apple would enable users to report accidents or any other hurdles and slowdowns that could then be directed to other drivers approaching that area.

Indoor location:Identifying a user’s location accurately is very important as the services and software tend to provide useful contextual information which is relatively an easy task when the user is outdoors or in the range of a signal from GLONASS or GPS satellites. It could be different situation when walls and a ceiling tend to be in the way.

Apple has taken two different though complimentary approaches to this issue, the first being the iBeacon system that depends on Bluetooth transmitters the size of a palm, placed around a certain space. When an iOS device recognizes an iBeacon, it analyses the signal in determining the approximate distance from the beacon. With the use of multiple iBeacons with known locations, the developers can navigate the position of the user. This could not be of much help since due to the absence of central database of iBeacon locations and such data, by and large could only be used by the owner of the beacons.

To handle the larger problem, Apple has acquired small indoor mapping firm, WiFiSLAM earlier in 2013. The technology of WiFiSLAM connects data from on-device sensors with Wi-Fi signal trilateration to plot user’s path and the signals provide the relative position while the on-board sensors record the movement. With the combination of all the data, over a period of time, could bring about detailed patterns for instance, if an obstacle is three feet from point A, it can be avoided by moving two feet to the left. Extending data can capture and pattern recognition to users of iPhone that visit a shopping mall on a particular day. This enables the development of detailed as well as highly accurate map without the need of dedicated data gathering initiatives or overhead satellites.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Apple Laptops Vulnerable To Virus That 'Can’t Be Removed

Thunderstrike – Malicious Code in Boot ROM 

Security researcher has discovered a way to install malicious code on a small chip built in Apple laptop which would resist any attempt in removal of it and even replacing the entire hard disk will not be capable of deleting it.

 The attack named, `Thunderstrike’ installs the malicious code in the Boot ROM of the system through the Thunderbolt port. Thunderstrike is undetectable and would need an attacker to get access to a machine for a few moments and since it is new, no security software would be on the lookout for it. Trammel Hudson working for New York hedge fund Two Sigma Investments noted the discovery when his employer asked him to check into the security regarding Apple laptops.

He wrote a comment in an annotated version of a talk given at the 31C3 conference stating that they were considering deploying MacBook and was asked to use his reverse engineering experience to look into the reports of rootkits on the Mac. The first step he took was in dismantling one of the laptops in order to gain access to the boot ROM which is a small chip containing the code that enables the computer to operate when switched on, before the main operating system is loaded.

Bootkit – Difficult to Delete

The malicious code could be hidden in this ROM and unlike other normal virus residing on the hard disk, this particular one cannot be deleted which is known as bootkit. The code could be used to do anything, an attacker would desire, from covertly probing the user to leaking sensitive data that is available on the machine.

 Researchers, though earlier have observed that modifying the contents of the ROM in Apple laptops causes the computer being completely unusable and as security measures, one should look for any changes and shut down if they come across anything. Hudson was of the opinion that these security measures could always seem to be `doomed to fail’ or `futile’ since anyone getting access to the contents of the ROM could also get access to the code which checks the ROM for changes.

On the contrary, he states that there should be some unchangeable hardware chip which could perform these checks. It was also observed that the attack could be done without the need of physically taking the machine apart in order to get the chip, which can be done by using the Thunderbolt port and theoretically any device, a monitor, printer or hard disk could be utilised in stalling malicious code by plugging it in some simple steps.

Partial Fix - By Apple

Hudson informed that Apple is planning a `partial fix’, as a firmware update would stop the ROM from being overwritten with malicious code in certain situations, though not all, like when a machine is being rebooted with a malicious Thunderbolt device plugged in. He had approached the company regarding the flaw in 2013.

His suggestion to prevent the attack is to overwrite the ROM with their own code which would disable any remote attacks through the Thunderbolt port and then paint over the screws on the laptop with nail varnish to detect any unauthorised physical access to the ROM. This measure however is time consuming since it is out of reach to all but only to the most advanced security experts.