Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to Use Nightstand Mode on Apple Watch


Nightstand Mode – A Feature to Replace Bedside Alarm Clock

Some of Apple Watch UI elements seem to be in place like the Home Screen with a network of unlabelled circular icons, while there are other parts of watchOS which have been changed for improvement. For instance, the watchOS 2 has a Nightstand mode which enables the Apple Watch to stay in service as a timepiece while charging.

Nightstand mode is a feature which could replace the bedside alarm clock providing that one prefers turning the Apple Watch into landscape mode to utilise it. Nightstand mode presently has zero configurability and it could either be on or off, where a single switch is adjustable in iOS 9 of Apple Watch setting on a watchOS 2 equipped Apple Watch. To turn on Nightstand mode, you could
  • Place the Apple Watch on its side
  • Connect the Apple Watch to its charger
  • When it starts charging, your Apple Watch will automatically be in Nightstand mode

Chime through Watch’s Integrated Speaker

When the Apple Watch is in Nightstand mode and not in use, the display tends to go off. To view the display again, one could tap it and press the Digital Crown or the side button or lightly push the Apple Watch. Tapping or pushing the table could also work.

When it is on, a battery indicator towards the upper right area is displayed along with a large digital clock having a pulsing colon with the day of week together with the day of month. If the alarm is set, one will see an alarm icon in the upper left area and an additional line of text towards the bottom of the screen indicating that an alarm has been set for a certain time. The screen tends to change when the alarm goes off and a chime is heard through the Watch’s integrated speaker.

Alarm on Apple Watch Different from iPhone

If the `Snooze’ button is pressed, the user tends to return to the Nightstand clock face where the alarm line of text reads `Snoozing’ with a countdown timer of 9 minutes. Presently force touching the screen in Nightstand mode doesnot enable the user to change its appearance or functions, it tends to bounce back to recognize the Force Touch without the need of doing anything. The alarm on Apple Watch seems different from the alarm on the iPhone and one needs to set or adjust the alarm for Nightstand mode from Apple Watch. This can be done by:

  • Opening the Alarms app on the Apple Watch
  • Pressing firmly the display and tap Add Alarm
  • Tap the screen or rotate the Digital Crown to regulate the alarm
Users could take the help of Siri in setting an alarm which can be done by holding the Digital Crown till Siri appears and say `Set an alarm for 6 am’ or `Wake me up at 4 am’. Prior to the start of the alarm in Nightstand mode, the display turns brighter while the text turns yellow.

When the alarm begins, the apple Watch makes a sound and to turn off the alarm, the side button could be pressed. WatchOS 2 is in its development stage with 6 or 7 consequent betas to go prior to becoming final in the fall and there seems to be adequate time left for improvement of Nightstand before its release.

Over a billion Android Devices Vulnerable to Latest Stagefright Bug


Billion plus Android Devices at Risk – Stagefright

According to security experts, over one billion Android devices are considered to be at risk from new vulnerability known as Stagefright 2.0.This vulnerability had been discovered by a team of researcher at Zimperium, which is a mobile security firm and is considered to affect almost all Android devices from the first version in 2008.

 The new bug had been discovered in Google’s mobile operating system that enables attackers to insert malicious code in deviceto retrieve information when a use accesses a particularly crafted MP3 or MP4.The attack is on the vulnerability in MP3 and MP4 video files which once opened tend to remotely execute code. This could comprise of installing malware, get hold of data for identity fraud or to access photos as well as messages.

 Due to the nature of the vulnerability, it would be difficult to tell if a device has been affected. First Stagefright bug is said to leave device susceptible to exploitation with the video sent through MMS that are utilised as an avenue of attack. Since several messaging apps tend to process the videos automatically, there are possibilities of being targeted without being aware of it.

Stagefright 2.0 - Dangerous

Speculations are on that Stagefright 2.0 could also be quitedangerous. Stagefright 2.0 tends to utilise similar avenues in exploiting the weakness, by using MP3 audio of MP4 video files which when opened, the malicious files tends to activate a remote code execution – RCE, providing scope for hackers with the capabilities of remotely executing activities on the device.

This could comprise of media player or messengers besides mining data for identity fraud, installing malware and much more. There are various ways by which a user could be attacked. At first a hacker would try convincing a user to visit a malicious webpage and view music or a video file which would provide the hacker with an opportunity of hacking a user.

 Moreover they could also intercept unencrypted traffic from the device and another server which is known as a man-in-middle attack for the purpose of inserting the malicious code in the file which is to get transferred.

Susceptibility is in Processing of Metadata in Files

According to Zimperium in a blog post recently has mentioned that `the susceptibility is in the processing of metadata in the files and hence only viewing a song or a video would help to activate the issue’. Zimperium had also notified the Android Security Team of the problem. Google had mentioned in Nexus Security Bulletin that `vulnerability in media-server would enable an attacker during media file and data processing of a specially crafted file to cause memory corruption and probably remote code execution as the media server process.

The issue is considered as Critical severity due to the possibility of remote code execution as the privileged media-server service. The media-server service has access to audio and video streams together with access to privileges which are normally not accessible to third party apps. Attackers at this point of time are still assumed and users are not yet subjected to the bug.

Google has informed that the vulnerability handled in its monthly security and a fix is likely to be issued in its monthly security update for Android in October with patches for other phones in the pipeline. Besides this Google has also made provision for patches to LG, HTC, Huawei, Samsung and Sony wherein the companies would probably roll out over the next month.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple Pulls iFixit's App After it Tears Down the New Apple TV


Apple Banned iFixit Developer Account

After the announcement of Apple TV recently, Apple had provided developers with Apple TV Developers Kits for use in the creation of tvOS apps for the device. Teardown site iFixit had taken apart one of Apple TV units which was meant for the developers and had faced some consequence in doing so. The team at iFixit is learning a lesson on the importance of abiding developers’ agreements.

Apple it is said had banned iFixit developer account the repair-it-yourself outfit in violating a re-release Apple TV sent out to the developers and its terms and conditions.According to a post on the iFixit blog, the teardown that had unveiled the internal components of the new Apple TV had violated the terms and conditions of Apple resulting in iFixit’s developers account being banned resulting in the removal of the iFixit app from the App Store.

With the new Apple TV, iFixit revealed a few interesting changes, like the USB-C port towards the back, an Apple A8 processor and 2GB of Hynix RAM and 32GB on integrated storage. The power supply was changed from 1.75A at 3.4V to .917A at 12V. However the amazing part is that iFixit is of the belief that the current drawn is transmitted to the logic board through its screw terminals, eliminating a small tangle of wire.

iFixit Ignored Fine Print

Moreover, they also engaged in the 4th generation Apple TV’s new remote. The iFixit’s Apple TV unit had been sent from Apple directly with similar restrictions that were applicable to Apple TV units sent to the other developers.

However, iFixit choose to ignore the fine print. The blog post read, `we weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder and tore down the Apple TV anyway. Some days later we had received an email from Apple informing that we had violated their terms and conditions and the offending developers account was said to be banned.

 However, the app of iFixit was linked to the same account and hence Apple pulled the app also. Their reasoning was that we had taken action which could have stalled the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program or the Program’.

iFixit app being removed from the Apple Store is instead planning to restore its mobile website with no plans to rewrite the app. The decision to aim on the iFixit mobile site came up prior to the app being pulled by Apple and hence not a big loss to iFixit. iFixit’s Chad Wien does not seem to be upset about the app being pulled.

He stated that it was out-dated and the company would be more focused on developing their mobile website. However he seemed to be upset or confused with Apple’s reason of sending a new Apple TV to iFixit if they had no intention of tearing it down.

They presumed it to be a part of some plan marked in Cupertino or someone needed Wiens and his crew to tear down the device to get it banned. The site has informed that the app seemed to be out-dated and damaged with bugs due to iOS 9.

After the release of Apple TV Developers Kits, several other developers shared featured titbits, photos etc. regarding the device. It is not known if Apple had got in touch with the developers regarding the non-disclosure violations.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apple Imagines Animated 3D Maps with Rippling Water, Realtime Reflections


Apple’s Patent – 3D Animated Maps

If Apple intends to opt in integrating newly patented animation technology, which could add interactive animation to water, foliage as well as other dynamic objects based on touch, motion and sound, Apple Maps would seem to be more convincing.

Apple Maps may then extent to a new level of immersion. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 9,146,286, details techniques in enhancing three dimensional photorealist maps, like Apple Maps’ Flyover features, by allocating animation assets to specific map element.

Apple has patented a new option wherein it could use 3D touch in the near future to bring about animated maps to life. The patent explains how the Maps service would display moving water, shorelines, foliage and much more.

The patent titled `Non-static 3D map views’, describes various ways wherein a variety of elements of 3D mapping imagery can be animated. Apple describes how it could animate bodies of water, reflection on building etc. in some embodiments.

Map Element React to Sound Captured by Microphone

Apple also explains how the animations can present differently depending on different kinds of device inputs like touch, gestures, motion and audio. For example, one could be viewing a map with water which seems still but on tapping the side of the device could cause it to ripple.

 Moreover blowing into the microphone could result in rolling waves. A blow or a motion could cause the wind to move foliage and trees. To improve the illusion, water with other map assets could be animated based on motion, with waves forming whenever a user tends to shift the position, orientation or tilt the iPhone. Apple has defined a system wherein map element tend to react to sound captured by an on-board microphone.

Moreover, on treating bodies of water as light source, the building as well as the surrounding static surfaces could come alive with real time reflections. Apple has also offered foliage as a second element rime for animation together with swaying trees and leaves which are activated by gestures, motion or any other input by the user.

Functional Add-Ons – Latest Transit Navigation in iOS 9

The manuscript provides details on technical consideration and the potential rollout scenarios utilising the prevailing hardware system. Apple’s plans in implementing a comprehensive Flyover animation engine, is not clear, a process which had been partly started with moving landmarks such as London’s Big Ben clock tower together with the nearby London Eye Ferris Wheel.

Presently it seems that the Maps development team seem to be focusing on functional add-ons, which is the latest transit navigation in iOS 9.Apple had patented a new system wherein it could use 3D Touch in the future and though it has not mentioned 3D Touch specifically, it is clear how the latest technology would enable this without doing away with the traditional single tap that would prevail in being used for other things.

Apple’s animated 3D maps patents were originally filed in March 2013 and credits Patrick S. Piemonte, Erik Anders Mikaeol Adlers and Christopher Blumenberg as its inventors. Just as the other patents, it should not be considered as a guarantee of things to come. But it seems like this would be an excessive enhancement to 3D Flyover and would be great with 3D Touch.

The Apple Car cometh


Apple’s Project Titan’

Apple has been the topic of many rumours that have been circulating for most of 2015 which has been ranging from advanced high tech interior systems to Apple Car. Now six months from the several rumours with regards to Apple upcoming `Project Titan’, it looks like it is surfacing though majority of these rumours tend to be unconfirmed.

 It is said that Apple’s Titan team has numbered around 600 individuals which is sizable by most standards and if the recent rumours are to be believed, is set to triple very soon. This would be putting a lot of stress on Silicon Valley automotive engineer employment pool.

 Those availing the facilities within a short drive from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters are Ford and many others.The manufacturing plant of Tesla Motors is around 30 minutes from the Highway 880 and has been the most exposed hiring source for Apple with the founder and CEO Elon Musk.

It is said that Apple would be offering $250,000 signing bonuses to entice employees, but it’s Mercedes-Benz that offers the highest profile new hire – Johann Jungwirth. Jungwirth had earlier been the boss at Mercedes Benz Research & Development in North America researching on how to make the car find out where one intends to go, without being told.

Apple – Out-dated Human Piloted Machines

Steve Zadesky of Apple, former Ford engineer who had joined Apple in1999 is the leader of the entire Titan strength and had a big role in the launch of the original iPod and till recently had supervised the iPhone design also. Earlier rumours and reports have fixed the Apple Car as being an autonomous thing but different from Google’s self-driving machines.

With reports regarding Apple meeting with California DMV related to securing autonomous registration for a vehicle, clearly indicates the autonomous competences for the vehicle. But the recent report show that Apple would be coming up with a more out-dated human piloted machines.

The same reports fixed 2019 as the probable date for a presumed Apple Car which will be four years from now and presuming that Apple has been working on it for about a year it would fall in-line with the usual five year vehicle cycle of production.

Volvo Partially Selling autonomous Cars - 2017

It is the cycle period which is usually perceived when a developer tends to release a new version of the prevailing vehicle. For instances the new version of Porsche 911 which had been unveiled recently in Frankfurt was in development for around five years and in the grand scheme of things, it was a comparatively trivial update with new engines, new suspension tunings in addition to Apple’s CarPlay.

But the things tend to change and the Ford CTs design cycle took around 14 months, from ideation to Detroit debut. It would then be another two years thereafter before the car would be made available in the market if Apple intends to unveil the car in 2019 which is said to be greatly optimistic for a fully autonomous machine to hit the streets of America. This would aim on the need of a driver for the Apple Car though not 100% of the time. Volvo would be partially selling autonomous cars by 2017.