Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.
Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?
Since a cache of nude photos of celebrities appeared online, Apple has remained fairly tight-lipped about what may or may not have happened. Right from the start rumors were flying around that Apple's iCloud service may have been comprised or that Find My iPhone may have been to blame. The company said that it was "actively investigating" the suggestions but then things went quiet again. The FBI became involved, but it has been a frustrating 48 hours for anyone trying to find out what happened. Now Apple has issued a statement making it clear that a security attack did indeed take place.
Entitled Update to Celebrity Photo Investigation the statement reads:
A week ago I wrote about my feelings of ennui towards the iPhone 6, asserting that there was just nothing to get excited about. Some people agreed, but many didn't -- it was to be expected really. What was particularly interesting was not just the discussion that started here in the comments on BetaNews but also that the article spread further afield. It was picked up by Macworld whose resident columnist The Macalope, er, disagreed with what I had to say. You'll notice that I've provided a link to the Macworld article which, despite quoting 46 percent of my post, The Macalope failed to do initially.
If you take the time to read the Macworld article you'd be forgiven for thinking that I was hurt at having my work pulled apart. Not a bit of it. No, I'm not concerned about being criticized. I've been writing for approaching 15 years now, and I know I'm going to piss people off from time to time. That's not to say that this is necessarily my intention -- in addition to news, I like to share my opinion and there will, of course, be some collateral damage that follows. Despite The Macalope's suggestions to the contrary, this was not designed to be a "link-baity" piece. Like Joe Wilcox, I've written about the importance of writing for the reader rather than writing for Google, and this is an ideology I firmly subscribe to.
It may have been something of an unknown quantity for years now. Just why was a particular app denied entry to the App Store? Now Apple -- the company so famed for its secrecy -- has finally laid its cards on the table and revealed the most common reasons apps are rejected. Taking a snapshot from the last week of August, the new Common App Rejections page on Apple's Developer site details the top ten problems that prevent apps from making their way to the App Store. Accounting for more than a quarter of rejections (14 and 8 percent respectively) are apps that do not have enough information and those that exhibit bugs.
Six percent of rejected apps fell foul of terms in the Developer Program License Agreement -- although no further breakdown is given -- and the same percentage of titles were given the thumbs down for not meeting Apple's exacting standards. "Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected". Apps that are either misleading or similar to other apps, and those with inappropriate names and artwork were also stopped in their tracks, each accounting for 5 percent of vetoed apps.
Let's cut to the chase. No, they shouldn't. The iPhone used to be exciting and interesting. It used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives. This is not to say that the popularity of the device in itself makes it less appealing, but it certainly seems to have made Apple lazy. Innovation has gone out of the window. We've had the same design for the handset for what seems like an eternity. It looks as though there might be something of a change in style this time around, but is this really enough to make the iPhone exciting -- or even interesting -- once again?
By far the biggest problem with the iPhone is the lack of choice. While Android users (and even Windows Phone fans) have a huge number of handsets to choose from, the same cannot be said of those sucking on Apple's teat. Things did improve slightly when the 2013 iPhones were released, but you're still stuck, essentially, with two phones to choose from -- the really expensive over-hyped one, or the pale imitation wannabe version. Some choice. To be clear… I've been an iPhone owner. It's a functional phone, but Christ it's dull.
In California, a bill has been passed that will require smartphone manufacturers to include a kill switch in their handsets. The bill states that "any smartphone, as defined, that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, include a technological solution at the time of sale, which may consist of software, hardware, or both software and hardware, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render inoperable the essential features, as defined, of the smartphone to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user". It's a lengthy description, but it means the kill switch that many people have been asking for for so long is becoming a reality in another state.
This is not the first time a kill switch bill has been passed -- Minnesota did something similar back in May. The SB 926, Leno Smartphones bill in California is rather more far-reaching and comes partly in response to the statistic that between 30 and 40 percent of robberies in major US cities are smartphone robberies. Once activated, the kill switch will prevent a phone from being registered on a wireless network, and cannot be bypassed even with a hard reset. In the event of theft, a user will also be able to remotely wipe their device to protect any private information they may have stored on it.
Think about wearable tech and your mind probably jumps to watches first. V.BTTN is a little different. It's a programmable button that links smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth and it can then be used to trigger all manner of events. Looking for a remote shutter trigger for your smartphone? V.BTTN can do that for you. Need a remote control to start and stop recording? Got that covered too. The device comes from VSN Mobil and is available now for $59.99. It's one of those pieces of hardware billed as having virtually limitless possibilities, but this is one instance where the claim is justified.
What the button does depends entirely on the app you decide to link it to. It's slightly more advanced than just "hit the button" -- there are short and long press options, as well as gesture support thanks to a built-in accelerometer. As standard, V.BTTN is just a button. You can stick it in your pocket or bag and carry it around with you if you like, but there are also a number of accessories.
OneDrive and Dropbox users with access to an iPhone or iPad rejoice: both iOS apps were just updated with major improvements with the release of Microsoft OneDrive 4.4 and Dropbox 3.3.
Both apps gain new features -- the ability to search within Word and PowerPoint documents in Dropbox, a brand new Photos view in OneDrive -- as well as a number of improvements and stability fixes.
There are hundreds of fitness apps available for iOS and Android and, I suspect, like fitness equipment, many people buy them with the best of intentions, but then never use them. I’m a prime example. Although I use running apps like Zombies, Run! and Runtastic on a regular basis, most of the workout apps I own see far less action (the one exception being Runtastic PushUps which I use daily).
However, Six to Start -- the creator of story-driven apps like Zombies, Run! and The Walk -- has come up with a workout app that people will actually want to use. Superhero Workout uses camera-based motion tracking to record the reps as you exercise, and marries it with a thrilling sci-fi story. Punches become plasma blasts, abdominal crunches charge your AEGIS One battlesuit’s reactor, and you can brace yourself from incoming debris with a wall sit...
Researchers from the University of California Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have identified a weakness in Android which allows personal data to be obtained from apps.
Tested against seven popular apps the method was between 82 and 92 percent successful on six of them, only Amazon with a 48 percent success rate proved more difficult to crack. Most vulnerable were Gmail and H&R Block at 92 percent, followed by Newegg (86 percent), WebMD (85 percent), CHASE Bank (83 percent) and Hotels.com (83 percent).
The NFL season is about to get underway, though pre-season games are already in full swing. The Score wants to bring you all of the action with its latest "mobile-first" update, that includes lots of enhancements for fantasy team owners, as well.
The app is multi-sport, so don't worry if you’re a fan of baseball or basketball instead. This update announcement, though, focuses on the season at hand. The new version promises to "provide the most detailed, comprehensive, in-depth football data found on a multi-sport mobile app".
Despite the rise of other forms of communication, email remains one of the most popular options, particularly for business. No surprise then that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to mail apps for your mobile device.
According to data from app analytics company Distimo, the myMail app has passed other options to become the most popular alternative mail app for both Android and iOS, behind only Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
When people hear the word BitTorrent, they tend to leap to conclusions, some of which are inevitably wrong. The fact is, the technology is used to distribute all sorts of content, including Linux distros and music and movies that artists and directors make available.
However, it is largely one of those keywords that sets off alarm bells with Apple, which keeps a tight rein on the content that appears within its iTunes app store. That's why it was a bit shocking when Blue Downloader made its debut.
The NFL pre-season in now underway, with the Hall of Fame game behind us, and several games apiece awaiting every team. But the NFL is also about videos -- both highlights and interviews, even fans can get in on some of the action.
That is arriving on multiple platforms beginning now -- as in NFL Now. The league today rolls out the new app and it took the smart path of making it available on many different platforms. Regardless if you are on a PC, Roku or Amazon Fire TV, you can get in on the action.
Version 2.1 now allows users to sign in using their Google+ accounts, plus promises slicker drag-and-drop performance when using the Lock’N’Go magnifying glass among other improvements and the usual stability fixes.