Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Apple’s Web Tool to Deregister Phone Number from Apple’s iMessage System

Deregister iMessage
Latest Apple’s release is a new tool that helps to switch between iOS and other smartphones with ease wherein the new web tool enables to deregister instantly the phone number from Apple’s iMessage system.The website helps to simply edit a phone number and Apple sends you a code through text message which can be entered into a field on the same site to confirm your consent to remove the number from iMessage.

The site first identified by a poster on Reddit, could help to resolve the problem of disappearing text messages. Several former users of iPhone had reported that they had not been receiving text messages from their friends where the problem had cropped up by Apple continuing to route messages through iMessage inspite of users moving on to other devices and since iMessage is proprietary to Apple’s platform those who had switched from iOS and had not disabled iMessage, could not view messages sent from friend with Apple devices.

Several of the users, who experienced this problem, had one option that they had to entirely deregister the old device from their Apple accounts.

Helpful – Switched Platform

This system could now help users who had switched platforms to Android devices making sure that their phone number was not registered to iMessage and that could solve the problems of users who moved away with their iPhones missing messages and still made their way to iMessage though they did not end up on any targeted device.

Many people have been facing this problem who has switched over to Android without completely deactivating iMessage, which was often reported to Apple and also ended in a lawsuit from users facing these issues.

Apple, it is said, has promised software to fix it back in May. The new website of Apple provides instructions for deregistering the phone number prior to divesting yourself of the iPhone which involves going to Setting > Messages and then toggling iMessage to the off position and the new web based tool could be a big help for those who have migrated already and could be facing problems on loss of missing messages.

Two Steps Procedure to Deregister

It could also be helpful for user who would switch between platforms for instance while travelling, or developing and testing mobile software. Should the user face a situation of not having an iPhone but need to remove the number from the iMessage server, then the following two steps procedure could be followed to resolve the issue:

1. The Phone number to deregister from iMessage should be provided and a confirmation code will be sent to the user.

2. On receiving the confirmation code, enter the 6 digit number and submit the same.

If the devices are not switched often, the updated tool may tend to be insignificant though for those users who may swap SIM cards often in different device for the purpose of work, it could make the transition easier. The company had to face a lot of problems earlier this year, due to the disappearing iMessages wherein some users had even gone to the extent of filing a lawsuit against them.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Apple Malware Affects Chinese Users

New Type of Malware - WireLurker

A new type of malware has been discovered by Palo Alto Networks which can infect Apple desktop and mobile operating systems, highlighting the increasing attacks on iPhones as well as Mac computers.

The malware tends to target Mac computers through a third party store before it can copy itself to iOS devices and researchers warn that the malware steals information and is capable of installing other damaging apps.

`WireLurker’ as it is called, is unlike anything that is seen with regards to Apple iOS and OS X malware, according to Ryan Olson, Intelligence director of Palo Alto Network and `the technique in use suggest that bad actors are getting more sophisticated when it comes to exploiting some of the world’s best known desktop and mobile platforms’.

 It also has the potential to transfer from an Apple Mac computer to mobile devices with the use of a USB cord on regular, non-jail broken iOS devices and hop from infected Macs to iPhone.

Attackers – Chinese

Recent statement from Palo Alto Networks report that it has seen indication that the attackers were Chinese and the malware originated from Chinese third party apps store and seemed to affect users in the country.

As per the security firm, the malware can steal a variety of information from mobile devices, it infects and regularly request updates from the attacker’s control server. The company states that it is under active development and its creator’s final goal is not known.

It was first noticed by Palo Alto Networks in June when a developer Tencent a Chinese firm, realised that there were suspicious files and processes occurring on his Mac and iPhone and on further inquiries it was revealed that a total of 467 Mac programs listed on the Maiyadi App Store had been compromised to be included in the malware where they were downloaded 356,104 times till 16th October.

The software that was infected was popular games inclusive of Angry Birds, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, The Sims 3 and Battlefield – Bad Company 2.

Communicates with Command & Control Server

The malware spreads via infected apps that are uploaded to the apps store which in turn were downloaded on Mac computers. Once the malware gets on the Mac, it communicates with a command and control server to check if there is a need to update its code, waiting till an iPhone, iPad or iPod is connected.

If an iOS device is connected, the malware checks it was jail-broken which is a process utilized by some in order to remove some of Apple’s restrictions and if jai-broken, WireLurker then backs up the device’s apps to the Mac, and repackages them with malware, installing the infected versions back on the iOS machine.

If it is not jail-broken, in the case of most of the iOS devices, WireLurker takes advantage of the technique which has been created by Apple to enable businesses to install special software on their employee’s tablets and handsets.

 To reduce the risk of attack, Palo Alto Network have suggested the following: not to download Mac app from third party stores, not to jailbreak iOS devices, not to accept request for new `enterprise provisioning profile’, unless it comes from an authorised party for instance the employer’s IT department, not to connect the iOS device to unreliable computers and accessories to either copy information or charge the machines.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple HomeKit-Enabled Chips

Apple HomeKit
Apple HomeKit Firmware

Apple had announced its program at the developers’ conference for hooking smart home devices in iOS with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth though in order to get the device makers on board, they would need the Apple certification wherein one part of the certification process would be to buy their Bluetooth as well as the Wi-fi chips from Apple approved chipmakers.

Chipmakers, Broadcom and Texas Instruments have already begun shipping out Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip that have been installed with Apple HomeKit firmware to manufacturers and the HomeKit enables devices would be hitting the market very soon.

Though Apple has not yet made an official launch of the HomeKit, device makers could start putting together their gadgets since they now have the wireless chip which has been equipped with the HomeKit firmware. Senior director of embedded wireless in mobile and wireless group at Broadcom states that `everyone is getting ready and expecting to see the new product launch in the next cycle of product releases’.

 The HomeKit protocol ascertains how the devices are identified in iOS depending on defined device categories as well what type of action could be taken for instance, `turn on or turn off a light’. The will enable the interactions between devices to be more consistent and reliable than with the earlier wireless interaction in a home automation technology.

Communicate & Control Products in Connect Home Ecosystem

HomeKit, within iOS 8 framework enables iPhone and iPad owners to communicate as well as control products in a connected home ecosystem. Manufacturers and developers could build in support for task macros or groups of action and invoke functions in the device utilising the Siri virtual assistant.

According to Bedrosian, he states that `one thing HomeKit provides is the bridging protocols for various devices to connect simply by Wi-Fi to the cloud. Broadcom, so far has been shipping its Bluetooth Wi-Fi combo chip loaded with HomeKit firmware to several device makers which also includes makers of connected climate controls, security cameras, lighting and door locks.

Broadcom has been doing great business in selling its wireless chips to Apple and its silicon is found in the iPhone as well as its upcoming Apple Watch and its focus now is on smart home business.

Better Consumer Experience – Controlling Home Devices 

Since Apple is still in the process of finalizing the protocol, there is a possibility that the firmware on the chips that would come out would probably be updated. The firmware is in the beta versions of HomeKit according Broadcom’s Bedrosian though device manufacturers would be capable of updating the firmware remotely as HomeKit software develops gradually.

Device makers who tend to manage to get certified, Apple’s entrance could be a great achievement for them since by marketing and labelling a connected thermostat or light bulb as Apple friendly, companies could promise easier installation process as well as more interoperability between the devices.

Bedrosian informed that Apple has been widening access to their ecosystem and more products would be seen. He further states that `the goal is to create better consumer experience for iOS ecosystem to provide simple and unified approach in controlling home devices and this is the first wave of several products’.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Apple Erasing Samsung’s mobile Profitability

After its years long legal battles over patent infringement, Apple has rapidly erased Samsung’s mobile division profitability, making it very much unprofitable since every other Android or Windows licensee has reduced its margins in the phone, tablet and PC market.

According to MacDailyNews, an iPhone having a larger screen option could hurt Samsung immeasurably more than myriad, unending traipses through the legal morass. According to Daniel Eran Dilger, he reports that while Apple’s critics have been giving the credits to Xiaomi for Samsung’s unprofitability, the South Korean giant’s plummeting profitability is not due to the drop in its low priced, high volume tablets and phones but an implosion of Samsung’s profitable, high end Galaxy S and Note models which directly have been competing with iPhones’.

Samsung had made an announcement of its 73.9% drop in its mobile division profits for the Q3 and analysts have been keeping tab through 2013 on the company’s increasing competitive pressure from Apple on the high end as well as from high volume sales of lower end models being increasingly produced by Chinese companies especially Xiaomi.

Tough Battle for Samsung

Samsung is going through a tough battle on both fronts though based on the numbers which the company has reported, the drop in profits that Samsung has suffered in the Q3 has been the outcome of the thermonuclear assault by Apple focusing on its core revenue and profit generators.

Moreover Apple’s damage to Samsung will tend to get worse for the company as it remains are ravaged by the other Android licensees. Though Samsung’s profit has collapsed, IDC has reported in its smartphone market estimates that Samsung continues to lead the world in shipments as well as market share by a huge margin by shipping 78.1 million units, a YoY decline of around 8.2 percent.

Samsung had also reported that there was a slight growth in shipment in its earnings release though the earnings declined QoQ since ASP decreased due to weak smartphones product mix with the sales decrease adding pressure on the cost structure.

Samsung Yet to Pay Apple for Patent Infringement

The profits reduced due to average selling prices going down since it was selling less profitable phones and it was getting expensive to build its most expensive phones due to reduction in economies of scales.

Samsung stated that in the quarter, its phone shipments were driven by mid to low end products. As a result Samsung missed out on high end sales and while it was estimated that its total sales went down by 8.2 percent, analyst Ben Benjarin reported that its premium phones went down by almost fifty percent in the third quarter.

It is said that Samsung has still not paid Apple the almost $1 billion judgement which they were ordered to pay back in the year 2012 for patent infringement though it was reported of a much larger $4.7 billion YoY drop in quarterly profits within its IT & Mobile Communication group which is a rough comparison to Apple’s operation and the outcome of this decline in profits is not a mystery.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Apple SIM – Switch Carriers

Apple SIM – Switch Carriers
Apple SIM – subscriber identity module had promised the possibility of switching carriers with a few taps on the tablet rather than to physically switch out SIM cards but in several instances, the Apple SIM is not available in the new iPad Air and iPad Mini or it is locked to specific carriers.

The new Apple SIM card in the updated iPad models was to make it simpler to bounce around various wireless carriers which did not seem to last long. It was confirmed recently by a spokesman that it would lock down the SIM cards found in the updated tablet. A source familiar with the carrier’s plan states that, a new iPad purchased at a T-Mobile store would be having a SIM pre-set to the carrier.

According to Apple the tablet purchased at a Sprint store would not have the Apple SIM at all though it will be fitted with a Sprint based SIM. In any of these cases, if the user needs to switch, they would have to physically change the SIM card like the earlier iPad models. Apple wants to make the process of choosing and purchasing an iPad as well as the carrier partner, an easy option though carriers are keen on maintaining some control over the consumers.

T-Mobile/Sprint/AT&T- Part of Apple SIM Program

The back and forth on Apple SIM points out the differing priorities between the carrier and Apple. iPad purchased at an Apple store or any other third party store like Best Buy on T-Mobile’s network will remain open with users having the option to switch to another carrier on the fly. Sprint too has similar policy while an AT&T, iPad purchased at an Apple store would not remain open. T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T have been listed as part of the Apple SIM program, which is considered to be a single SIM that can manage all three carriers.

At the Apple store, the buyer and the seller has the option of choosing between the three carriers. Verizon Wireless on the other hand is not a participant in the program and utilises its own SIM cards. While AT&T seems to lock down the SIM, the carrier debates that it remains easy to change services. According to Mark Siegel, AT&T spokesman, he states that users have always been switching but the issue lies in how you switch.

iPad – Unlocked Device, on Multiple Carriers

He further stated that the iPad is an unlocked device which has been running on multiple carriers for long. The Apple SIM cards in the cellular model of the latest iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are different from the older iPad wherein the buyers needs to choose their carriers while purchasing and physically swap the SIM cards if intending to switch to a different carrier.

Apple SIM card could be of some help in saving users money in providing them with some convenient way on the option of buying a new SIM card and physically swapping it in the tablet for the purpose of changing services though it does not seem to be in this case.