Apple App Store's Harmful Dominance

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, December 20, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Apple App Store
Six years after Apple App Store was launched on 10 July 2008, more than 60 billion apps were downloaded through the platform, making it one of the largest stores in history. But, is it really worth our attention to even consider having it dominate our lives?

According to Nielsen, 89 percent of our time on media is spent via the use of apps. While apps occupy an enormous part of our digital lives, people still remain indifferent to the fact that such an integral part of our online experience is entirely controlled by two companies: Apple and Google. Two companies decide what everyone do online, where they will spend their time and who will be able to provide with sought-after content.

In their guidelines Apple states that the company “will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, ‘I’ll know it when I see it’. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”

Where exactly is this line and which behaviors, according to Apple, are relegated to a place across it? Where will the line be in five years? As it currently seems, Apple has claimed a seat on the Supreme Court of our digital lives.

Both the Apple and the Google app stores control the flow of information. With every passing day, they tighten their grip over the content and delivery of our information. While this reality might seem harmless to many at the moment, in a few years time this could become a real threat over our freedom of speech and our freedom to create.

And it is already happening: Consider the example of a company named Tawkon which created an app that tells you when your phone is emitting high radiation so users can stay safe. Apple rejected this app. When Tawkon founders asked Steve Jobs for an explanation, he simply replied “no interest.” Why would Apple block something that is good for us? I have a gut feeling that with the low cellular coverage in the US 4–5 years ago, Steve didn’t want his customers to stop using the phone because technically it is always emitting high radiation! This app could potentially harm the carriers that have lucrative partnerships with Apple.

Another interesting example is the blocking of bitcoin wallet apps, a policy which was only recently changed. Too late for bitcoin. The average user would much prefer using ApplePay. Blocking bitcoin wallets halts the spread of usage while Apple is building their ApplePay strategy, allowing them an unfair advantage. The ecosystem survives and we are trapped.

Again and again, Apple rejects apps not on the basis of malicious activity, but on the basis of pure capital gain.

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Touc ID Update for Apple Devices?

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, December 19, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Touch ID Update
It has always been the practice of competitive companies to seek out more information about a product in government licensing and patent office. It is because regulating agencies are charge of processing patent applications, which exposes some of the closely guarded company secrets and Apple, Inc. is no exception.

A new patent application from the famously secretive Cupertino company has shed light on a potentially exciting upgrade coming to the Touch ID home button used on iPhones and iPads.

Discovered by AppleInsider, patent application 13/918221 reveals work on a Touch ID button which would not only be able to read fingerprints but also interpret finger gestures.

The application’s verbose title is 'Electronic Device Switchable to a User-Interface Unlocked Mode Based Upon a Pattern of Input Motions and Related Methods' and in it diagrams illustrate unlocks with twists, swipes and patterns. Interestingly the application was made by Dale R. Setlak who is the co-founder of AuthenTec, the company Apple acquired which led to the development of the original Touch ID fingerprint sensors.

Obviously at this stage it is impossible to know if or when such an enhanced Touch ID button could come to market. That said it does show Apple is not happy to sit on a technology which is currently both a competitive differentiator and key driver of new services like Apple Pay.

In addition security experts have often called for biometrics to be used in conjunction with passwords rather than as a substitute. This notion of biometric 'IDs' and separate passwords greatly enhances security, but has long been seen as too cumbersome for users to adopt. Apple’s approach in this patent could solve it.

Touch ID was first unveiled with the iPhone 5S in 2013 and Apple has shown it to be far more than the gimmick some critics suggested. Touch ID has since been added to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPads range with its importance emphasized by the fact it was the only change made from the iPad mini 2 to the new iPad Mini 3. But it seems Apple is only just getting started.

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Untethered Jailbreak of iOS 8.1.1 and its Tweaks

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, December 18, 2014 | | 0 comments »

iOS 8.1.1 Jailbreak
A few days ago, the TaiG team released a new update, v1.1.0, to their untether jailbreak for iOS8-iOS 8.1.1. The TaiG 8.0-8.1.1 Untether package is also available on Cydia for those who have already jailbroken their iOS 8 devices using TaiG.

The update adds some fixes such as the sandbox issues noticed in the previous version of TaiG jailbreak utility.

With the latest version of jailbreak now available, the jailbreak community will be in search of new Cydia tweaks and apps for their iOS devices. iDownloadblog brings a list of new jailbreak tweaks. There are some 31 new tweaks, most of them free, while some are paid.

The following list should provide some interesting comment from our readers:

Acapella (US$ 2): It is an elegant take on music controls in iOS and the successor to Gesture Music Controls. It cleans up the cluttered music controls, replacing it with a simple to use and gesture based alternative.

AirPlay Enabler (Free): The tweaks let Control Center always show AirPlay button. It has been tested on iOS 8.1.1 with iPhone 6 Plus.

Battery Passcode (Free)
: It is a new tweak that allows you to set your passcode to the current battery percentage. When the battery is at 65%, you should use 6500. Ensure to type in the original password first to configure and check battery percentage is on.

Brevity 2 (US$ 0.99): Allows you to respond to text messages quickly and easily. Set your desired shortcut and when nothing is typed, it takes the place of the microphone button in iMessage, and the greyed-out send button in Text Messages. With just one touch, your shortcut is sent. In case you want to send a voice message, just hold on the brevity icon.

CarPlay iOS (Free): Lets you to experiment with some CarPlayfeatures, on your iPhone.

Clex2 (US$ 1.99): It is a revolutionary way to interact with Music. It brings your phone a new view that looks works like Control Center.

ColorY0urBoard8 (US$ 1.99): It can make your keyboard colourful. You can select the colour you want from the app and press save button and then turn it on.

Contacts Photo Sync (US$ 1): Import contact photos from WhatsApp.

Curtains (US$ 0.99): It allows you to use WhatsApp privately. You can hide read receipts, hide online status and hide typing indicator from anyone you chat with.

DateText (Free): Allows you to change the date on your lockscreen by small text that is chosen. Just go to the settings to select your text.

Dim (Free): Lets you to artificially darken your display below the iOS minimum brightness. While Dim's settings can be changed from settings app, you can also enable or disable it and even change its brightness using Activator or Flipswitch.

FaceBOpenIN (Free): Lets you share facebook images with other apps.

FBCopyTXT (Free): Lets you copy Facebook posts texts with longpress gesture.

FileBroswer (Free): Advanced file manager running under root.

InstaCopyTXT (Free): Lets you copy most texts you see in Instagram app with double tap.

InstaOpenIN (Free): Share Instagram photos and videos in other apps.

KillBackground8 (Free): It kills all background apps and adds special buttons to the AppSwitcher view.

LockSmoother (Free): Allows customising lockscreen with some sleek effect. You can edit everything through the settings panel.

NoAudiaoRecorder (Free): Removes the recording button from Messages app.

Non-Stop Music 8 (US$ 0.99): Allows Music to continue after respring. It is compatible with the stock Music app, the Spotify app and the Podcasts app, and has semi support for rdio.

NoUpdateHistory (Free): Deletes the history of your App Store app updates.

NoVolumeHUD (Free): NoVolumeHUD disallows displaying the Volume HUD when changing your Volume by tapping on the side volume buttons.

Power Informer (Free): Provides you with battery level alerts at starting levels and increments that you designate.

Predix (US$ 1.49): Shows a countdown of how much more tome your battery will last, or how much time it will take to reach 100% while charging.

Preference Tag2 (US$ 1.99): Allows you to enhance your Preferences app.

Prettier Banners (US$ 0.99): When receiving a text message banner notification, the contact's profile photos will be shown instead of the Messages app icon. In case of group message notification, all the participants' name will be shown.

Simpler Photos (US$ 0.99): Customises photo-related functions throughout iOS.

Support Unsupported Accessories8 (Free): Support Unsupported chargers and cables. It is tested on iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8.1.1.

Transference (Free): Allows you to reorder the preferences app's cells.

UnderFace (US$ 1): This tool gives the ability to take control of your privacy by providing a free and autonomous navigation of each individual within the social network. It provides several functions to the security and protection of that privacy.

WatchScreen (US$ 1.29): A tweak that brings Apple Watch UI to iOS.

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A9 Chip: From Samsung to Apple

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Apple Watch
The next Apple A9 chip will be made from America by the American courtesy of the Koreans. The first batch of these chips is rolling off Samsung’s fabrication lines in Austin and they will be used in the next-generation iPhone smartphones from Apple, potentially exploiting Samsung’s 14nm technology.

It won’t be long now before somebody from the IT department will be showing everyone online that the A9 is faster, more efficient, and uses less battery power than “any other chip ever designed.”

Questions remain over which device the A9 chip will power and when it will be launched. Many industry watchers are still considering the idea of two iPhone releases next year, one to coincide with the launch of the Apple Watch in early part of the second quarter and a second in the traditional September slot.

Releasing an A9-powered smartphone after the A8-powered iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been on sale for just over half a year feels like a bad move that will affect customer goodwill. The initial adopters (and all of those who have picked up a new iPhone at Christmas or as part of the Chinese New Year) will be left with ‘last year’s model’ after a far shorter release window than normal. Apple has moved this quickly to refresh a product line once before (in the move from the iPad 3 to the fourth generation iPad) in what was widely seen as a mis-step of marketing.

It’s unlikely that Tim Cook’s Apple would make the same mistake again.

The launch of the Apple Watch is likely to see a spec bump in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus range. Raising the lower storage option from 16 GB to 32 GB would mirror storage jumps and mid-season bumps seen during 2014 for the iPad, iMac, and iPod portfolios.

The A9 chip will need to go into mass production at some point to allow Apple to build up significant inventory for a presumably late-September release of the iPhone 7. The current production is likely to be for a smaller ‘custom’ order that will be used in the prototype/beta builds of the iPhone 7.

The new handset’s technology will need to go through extensive testing on the Apple Campus and out in the real world (even if the final chassis and case design will need to be disguised).

The impact of the A9 manufacturing is less on Apple (because this is an expected part of Apple’s yearly iPhone cycle), but will be felt more positively by rivals Samsung.

Samsung noted in October that its semiconductor business would be receiving significant orders during 2015. Apple switching back from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (which took on the majority of the A8 orders, roughly sixty to seventy percent according to Apple Insider) to the South Korean company will be a significant part of that order book.

Samsung also allows Apple to bring more work back to the United States through the use of Samsung’s Austin plant.

Kim Ki-nam, President of Samsung’s semiconductor business told reporters in October that the company’s profits ”will improve positively” once the company begins to supply Apple with the latest technology chips (reports ZDNet and others).

While Samsung’s smartphone business may be looking at a tricky 2015, Apple’s return to Samsung’s semiconductors for the bulk of its orders will provide the South Korean company with significant revenues as JK Shin looks to re-establish Samsung’s Android dominance.

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Why Nothing New From Apple TV?

Posted by Kirhat | Sunday, December 14, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Apple TV
Every other month or week, Apple has rolled various kinds of updates to all their products, except one. Most of these updates did not really deliver massive design changes to Apple products, but mainly built upon the foundation left behind by the previous update by adding new features, enhancements and fixes for problems.

So, why was no major fixes to those lingering issues encountered by Apple TV?

Unlike the iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Apple does not upgrade Apple TV on an annual basis. In fact, the device has not been updated since March 2012.

This is not really entirely unusual for the tech giant – there was a three-year gap between the first – and second-generation Apple TV units. However, several set-top boxes and HDMI sticks have now been released. Some of them are faster, more powerful and contain features not found in Apple TV.

"The whole battle for rights and the role of the TV and the connected home and that sort of thing is still being defined," Dan Miller, senior analyst and founder of Opus Research, told Benzinga. "What goes on in the home is going to be content-driven. There's no need to upgrade the hardware at this point unless things sort out."

Apple has sold more than 20 million Apple TV units, but it lost market share to a couple of newcomers in 2014. Roku, for instance, is still the leader with 29 percent of the U.S. streaming device market, followed by Chromecast with 20 percent. Apple fell to third place, but still managed to command 17 percent of the market.

Fire TV, the first set-top box from Amazon.com, Inc., earned 10 percent of the market during the first three quarters of 2014. Amazon achieved this status even though Fire TV was not available during the March quarter.

"Companies have hits and misses," tech industry expert and analyst Jeff Kagan told Benzinga. “We've been talking about Apple TV for years. We thought it would have taken over the landscape for years. But it didn't."

Kagan wonders why Apple has continued down the same path for its set-top box.

"It's lost my attention," he added. "I don't really pay attention to it anymore. I don't think the customer does either. It's not a typical Apple success story."

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To Update to iOS 8.1.2 or Not?

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, December 13, 2014 | | 0 comments »

iOS 8.1.2 Update
Back in September, Apple rolled out its iOS 8.0 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update replaced the iOS 7 update from last year though unlike the iOS 7 update, it did not deliver massive design changes to Apple’s mobile products. Instead, the iOS 8 update built upon the foundation left behind by the iOS 7 update adding new features, enhancements and fixes for iOS 7 problems.

Apple’s iOS 8 update also delivered iOS 8 problems to iPhone and iPad users and over the past couple of months, Apple’s worked to fix those lingering issues. First, the company pushed out iOS 8.0.1. Then, Apple rolled out iOS 8.0.2.

After a stint in the beta program, Apple pushed out its iOS 8.1 update that was chock full of fixes and introduced Apple Pay to iPhone 6 users. A few weeks ago, Apple released iOS 8.1.1 to tackle some of the ongoing issues and today, Apple replaced iOS 8.1.1 with its iOS 8.1.2 release.

Thanks to these fixes, there’s reason to be excited about the iOS 8.1.2 release. However, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to hold off on installing the iOS 8.1.2 update today. Here, we take a look at some reasons why you iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users might want to think about waiting to install the iOS 8.1.2 update.

If You’re Moving from iOS 7 and You’re Still Not Familiar with iOS 8

A vast majority of you are already on iOS 8. We realize this. However, what you must realize is that there is still a large percentage (40 percent or so) of people still on iOS 7. Maybe it’s because you’re scared or maybe it’s because you simply didn’t want to deal with all of the initial bugs that seem to emerge after every single major iOS release. Whatever the case, if you’re still on iOS 7, you should take your time.

Those of you that haven’t done any research on iOS 8 and its benefits should hold off until you’ve taken a look at all of the features that come with Apple’s new operating system. We highly recommend taking a deep dive into the iOS 8 update and the iOS 8.1.2 update before installing. Make sure you’re happy with what the updates are going to bring to your iPad and iPhone. iOS 8 may not look like a major update on the surface but there are some massive changes for key Apple applications and services that you’ll want to be aware of before you make the move.

We recommend taking a look at our iOS 8 review. It’s a great starting point for those of you that are still not caught up with all of the latest iOS 8 details and it should help sway you to one side of the fence or the other. We recommend reading other iOS 8 literature before deciding which way to go but our review should certainly help.

Those of you still on iOS 7 that have already become familiar with iOS 8, you’re probably good to go.

If You’re Unprepared

If you didn’t do any preparation for the iOS 8.1.2 release date, and many of you probably didn’t given the surprise release, do not install the iOS 8.1.2 update today, simple as that. If you haven’t had time to back up your data, clean up your device, get iTunes upgraded, or research iOS 8 itself, you will want to think about holding off until all of that is done.

Take your time, make sure you’re prepared, and your transition from iOS 8.1.1 or below will be so much smoother. You don’t need to follow every step but a little preparation will go a long way.

If You’re Traveling

If you’re traveling, do not install the iOS 8.1.2 update today because there could be issues that affect files and on board performance. This is going to be particularly troublesome for travelers who haven’t backed up their data. If something were to go wrong, not having easy access to a personal computer could make things extremely difficult. It’s also not smart if you’re taking valuable photos and video on your trip. You would not want those to get lost in the installation process.

If you’re not at home, and near your home computer, we highly recommend waiting until you’re back. iOS 8.1.2 isn’t going anywhere and it will be waiting for you when you get back. In fact, depending on how long you’re gone for, you might actually encounter Apple’s upcoming iOS 8.2 update instead of the iOS 8.1.2 update itself.

You Don’t Want to Deal with Bugs

iOS 8.1.2 is yet another bug fixer for iOS 8 problems. It fixes at least one major ringtone issue and it has the potential to fix several other lingering iOS 8 problems on board iPhones and iPads. These incremental bug fix updates almost always tackle some issues but they almost always deliver some problems of their own. Just look at the iOS 8.0.1 update that broke Touch ID and cellular data for many iPhone users.

We haven’t discovered any iOS 8.1.2 bugs yet but that takes time. We’ve only been able to spend a few minutes with the software so far so there’s a chance that we, or someone else, will find something in the hours, days and weeks ahead.

Some of the more common iOS problems include abnormal battery drain, Wi-Fi issues and broken Bluetooth. These always seem to pop up after Apple’s big, and small, iOS upgrades.

So, if you are experiencing relative stability on iOS 8.1.1 or below, it might be worth holding out on day one so that you can get the lay of the land. Apple doesn’t force you to install on day one so there’s no reason to rush into it. Take a day or two to survey iOS 8.1.2’s performance and you’ll probably come out better on the other side.

If You’re Jailbroken

Do not update to the iOS 8.1.2 update today if you are jailbroken. If you’re using the iOS 8.1.1 jailbreak or another iOS 8 jailbreak, there’s a good chance that iOS 8.1.2 will break it. We haven’t confirmed that yet but Apple typically patches up these exploits after they’re burned so we expect iOS 8.1.2 to patch up the iOS 8.1.1 jailbreak.

While iOS 8.1.2 brings some enticing bug fixes to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, there are still some great reasons to remain jailbroken for the time being. Access to Cydia applications, full on customization, you name it. If you update, you’ll probably lose access to that. If Apple is still signing off on iOS 8.1.1, and it might be, now is a great time to move to it.

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