Monday, April 11, 2016

BlackBerry to Focus Entirely on Android Devices


In a piece out today from TheNational, BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, admitted that the other fruit themed company will solely focus its efforts on Android devices.

"Mr. Chen said that while BlackBerry would continue to release updates for [BlackBerry 10 OS], there were no plans to launch new devices running the operating system."

This would mean that the current BlackBerry 10 OS devices, the Classic, Passport, and the Leap will presumably be the last devices running the OS.

Further complicating the handset problem BlackBerry faces, Mr. Chen also told the paper that the price of the first ever BlackBerry running a version of Android, the Priv, was too expensive at the $700 price point.

“A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone but $700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a $400 device’."

I really liked BlackBerry and had used a few of their devices, most notably, the BlackBerry Curve and Storm.  (Yes, I was one of the few people who liked the 'unique' touchscreen on the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2.)  It is sad to watch a market leader essentially transition from a hardware/software company to a services company.  (IBM sans their PCs anyone?)  With only 600,000 devices having been sold last quarter, according to TheNational, it is hard to see a strategy that will make the handset unit of the company profitable over the long-haul.

The BlackBerry April 2016 earnings report can be downloaded from the BlackBerry website (Direct PDF download link).

[Via TheNational...]

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thoughts on Apple Watch 2 Rumors


I have an Apple Watch Sport.   No surprise there.  I also have to say that I'm pretty happy with it.  Also, no surprise.  Aside from Microsoft's Wanderlust to-do list app, I don't use many third-party apps.  (Checking my grocery list in the store without having to pull out my iPhone is pretty amazing.  But I digress.)  I find myself using Apple Watch for notifications, Siri dictation for hands free iMessages and, yes, even channelling my inner Dick Tracy to take calls when my iPhone is in the other room.  Before my Apple Watch, I used a Nike+ FuelBand and a Jawbone Up after that.  (The Bluetooth Jawbones are better, by the way.)

On Friday, MacRumors.com ran an article revolving around predictions that Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White made while in China touring new technologies.

In the MacRumors article, in part, reads:
"Finally, we walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch."
Mr. White's report has got me thinking about my plans for Apple Watch 2.

I find the idea of a thinner Watch body would be a great upgrade and is something that would get me to buy a new Apple Watch Sport.  The one thing that I am worried about is whether or not Apple Watch Sport 2will be compatible with the current crop of Watch bands.  Apple never made any guarantees that the bands that we buy today will be compatible in the future.  If today's Watch bands aren't compatible with a new Apple Watch body, I feel that it will dampen the enthusiasm for accessory band sales.  If one thing about Apple Watch is clear, the bands are what helps drive the feeling of uniqueness and individuality.  Both of those things are key parts of the Apple Watch. story.

I would like to see new sensors that will extend the functionality of Apple Watch.  For example, I liked and miss having an actigraph sensor that can track my sleep patterns.  My Jawbone Up tracker had one and I thought the collected information was interesting.  I'm not all that excited about the rumor that talks about the possible inclusion of a FaceTime camera.

If Apple makes Watch 2 thinner, and is compatible with the current crop of Watch bands, than I think I will get one on launch day.  If there are new sensors in Watch 2, that would make it an even more compelling upgrade.  However, if the current bands are not compatible, then I think I will stay on the sidelines and wait for Apple Watch 3.

Friday, April 8, 2016

iOS 9.3.2 Public Beta 1 Has Been Released


Apple rolled out the first public beta of iOS 9.3.2 last night.  iOS 9.3.2 is largely expected to be a maintenance release and not expected to include any new tentpole features such as Night Shift.

If your iOS device is already enrolled in the iOS 9 Public Beta program, you can download the over 1GB installer oner the air using the Software Update feature.

iOS 9.3.2 Public Beta 1 comes on the heals of iOS 9.3.1, which was released on March 31, and iOS 9.3, which was released on March 21.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Curious Case of the iOS 9.3.1 "Hey, Siri" Contacts, Photos Vulnerability


Late last night, my father of all people, tipped me off to a story making the rounds on the Internet about a security vulnerability with an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus running iOS 9.3.1.  The reported vulnerability allowed a malicious user to by-pass the iPhone's lock screen using the hands free "Hey, Siri" command.  When successfully executed, an attacker would be able to see all of the contacts and photos on the device.

Quartz has an article up on their site that starts off with:
"You might want to wait before downloading the latest version of Apple’s operating system for iPhones.

If you own an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus and have upgraded to iOS 9.3.1, other people can access your contacts and photos without entering a passcode to unlock the phone. It’s an elaborate and finicky but nonetheless startling loophole."
With my iPhone 6s Plus unlocked and running iOS 9.3.1, the "finicky" exploit worked.  However, if I repeated the process with my iPhone locked, the attack was stopped dead in it's tracks.

This morning I tried to reproduce the attack, I received a notice from Siri that I needed to unlock my iPhone first.  I made this short video that was posted to YouTube this afternoon.



Oddly, the security settings that AppleInsider.com reported as needing to be turned off to prevent the attack were still enabled on my iPhone.  Curious.

So what happened?

This afternoon, Fortune.com has an article up that the Siri-related problem was corrected by Apple from Apple HQ.
"While initial reports and claims from the bug’s discoverers said that the issue was an iOS 9 glitch, it turns out it was a Siri problem. On Tuesday morning, after seeing the rash of reports on the issue, Apple issued an update to Siri fixing the problem. Therefore, users who were previously subject to the issue are now safe and do not require a software update to get the fix."
Security and privacy conscious iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users can go back to their day without further worry.

Friday, April 1, 2016

PSA: Don't Forget to Re-enable iCloud Music Library Playlist Support on Your iPhone


So, as you might have noticed,  I finally upgraded to a new iMac 27-inch with 5K Retina display recently.

While cleaning up my data for the move from my 2009 17-inch MacBook Pro, I decided to switch the email assigned to my iCloud account.  No big, right?  Well, I haven't had any of my iTunes playlists on my iPhone since I logged out of iTunes and back in.  Try as I might to figure out why my playlists wouldn't sync, I was getting stuck.

Until I decided to search the Apple support knowledge base for an answer.  (Article HT204406 fixed my problem.) Turns out that the problem had nothing to do with iCloud, wonky Wi-Fi connections or an alternate iCloud email address.


No, the answer was 100% user error.  The fix, a simple one, was to just turnoff the "iCloud Music Library" sync option.  D'uh!

Problem solved!

Apple 29 W USB-C Power Adapter and USB-C to Lightening Cable

For Apple's 40th anniversary today, I decided to get myself a gift.  (Yes, I did just buy a new iMac 27-inch 5K Retina, but I get carried away!)

Below are some unboxing photos from the Apple 29 W Power Adapter, that can be used with the new, super slim, MacBook...and as it turns out...with iPad Pros to charge there large batteries much faster than the older 10 W and 12 W adapters can.


It's pretty quite at the Trumbull Apple Store during lunch hour.

Buying new accessories with Apple Pay on April Fool's Day!

 



  
 

Original Mac Dev Team's Pirate Flag Flown for 40th Apple Anniversary

Michael Jurewitz has posted a picture to his Twitter account showing the original Mac development team's pirate flag flying at the Apple campus today!

The Pirate flag was hoisted up last night in preparation of today's anniversary of the founding of Apple Computer, Inc.  Below is the iconic picture of the full Macintosh development team from 1984.