Elcomsoft, a Russian forensics company claims that iOS 10 allows for easier password cracking on iTunes backups. If you back up your device to a computer and utilize the encrypted back-up option, basically this situations would make it easier for someone to crack that password. Via Forbes:
"We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups. We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older," Elcomsoft's Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post today.
Apple said it is aware of the issue and will be release a fix:
"We're aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update. This does not affect iCloud backups," a spokesperson said. "We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption."
Basically, if you're utilizing FileVault on your Mac, which you should, the backup image that has weaker encryption will be itself encrypted by FileVault, so you should be fine there until the situations remedied.
Report: Apple testing an Amazon Echo-like device
Apple Inc. is pressing ahead with the development of an Echo-like smart-home device based on the Siri voice assistant, according to people familiar with the matter.
Started more than two years ago, the project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced Apple projects. Like Amazon Inc.'s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, the people said.
All of this, of course, is rumor, and even assuming the report is accurate, that doesn't mean such a product will come to market. If Apple does launch a new device, based on previous product testing the report speculates something could come to market in the next 6-12 months.
Alternatively, Apple could maybe reach similar functionality using existing hardware across its product line. Rather than a dedicated device, it might be neat if various productions could work in concert. For example, Macs, Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch, could coordinate services throughout the house. Like the report says, however, Apple may be looking for new products to expand revenues, which would mean new hardware.
Inside Apple And IBM's App Making Machine
Fast Company has an great read on the Apple-IBM partnership. The partnership merges Apple's hardware and user design expertise with IBM's back-end system and business client relationships.
There are a lot of things worth highlighting, but here's a look at how a client's app is developed in a workshop.
During one workshop, one of the end users explained: "When I need to do that, I just write it on my hand," Sylvia-Miller recalls. "And the manager was like, 'you what?!'" It's exactly this kind of nitty-gritty day-to-day work reality that gets exposed during the three-day workshops--things a middle manager might never know about.
The first day of the workshop is spent mainly talking to end users about their workday and about how the app might best be integrated into the work. After that, the Apple and IBM designers begin to develop actual app screens that carefully reflect the users' workflows.
By the end of the three-day workshop, the participants will have created the first few screens of a new app.
Are Technica's macOS Sierra review
It has been a long time since the Mac was Apple's favorite child, and there are places in Sierra (like the Messages app) where it clearly feels like Mac users are getting a second-tier experience compared to people on iOS. Add in the Mac's stale, aging hardware lineup and Apple's total lack of communication about it, and there seems to be real problems for the Mac as a platform.
But for all the Mac users already out there, Sierra happily trundles along in the operating system's quiet and reliable groove. The name has changed, but otherwise it's business as usual for Mac OS Mac OS X OS X macOS.
i've been running the beta for the past few weeks and it seems solid upgrade. Unlocking a Mac with the Apple Watch might be my favorite single feature.
I'm also giving iCloud a fresh look. Especially with more intelligent storage to better manage limited drive space on SSD drives. That solves a problem I have with Dropbox.
I haven't really got into Siri much. Talking to my computer doesn't really appeal to me, especially when it can be hit and miss. I'll probably figure out a couple key tasks that are otherwise a pain, but otherwise, the reason I like Siri on iOS is i don't have the efficiency of a dedicated keyboard and mouse.
Apple Lightening EarPods, headphone adapter dismantled
Via MacRumors, a video shows how much stuff is crammed in Apple's new Lightning EarPods and Lightning headphone jack adapter. As assumed, each contain a tiny digital-to-analog converter to go from a digital signal to analog audio. Likely due to size and cost, the DACs used will be minimal quality compared to what may be possible for audiophiles.
iPhone 7/7 Plus Thoughts
New Home Button
The iPhone 7 has a new home button that doesn't click. Instead, the haptic motor gives a thump to simulate a click. This is similar to what Apple did with newer laptops, which honestly, I probably would think was still a mechanical click if it wasn't a highlighted feature.
The iPhone 7 is a little different, less natural feel, but I like it. It took a bit to get used to the feel and rewire my brain for the physical response. It doesn't really change usability, but for me it changes the experience in a good way. It's sort of drive-by-wire fun that makes the device just feel more advanced. You can also set the intensity for the tap between three levels for your liking. As a bonus, generally the home button gets a lot of miles and tends to wear out or break, so this should be a nice change for durability.
The New Black and the Other New Black
The footnote for the new Jet Black warns that it will scratch and if you're concerned with that you should use a case. It seems kind of silly to heavily promote a new color only to recommend covering it, but whatever. I played it safe and went with the regular matte black.
The matte black I think looks great and reminds me of the iPhone 5, which I really liked. Hopefully, however, this treatment won't scratch off like we saw with the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 7 Plus has two camera, one that offers a 2x optical zoom. You can toggle between cameras by touching the 1x/2x indicator in the Camera App. Additional digital zoom is available, although things can get a little grainy as you'd expect. This works well, although it seems the iPhone 7 doesn't always utilize the telephoto lens if lighting conditions aren't good enough. It seems this results in a digital zoom using the regular lens, but there's no indication of what's going on.
Which brings us to the iPhone's image signal processor. Apple says it performs 100 billion operations for your photo to make it the best possible. You can't really argue a mobile phone will ever match a DSLR, but Apple is working hard to do everything possible with the available optics and sensors. As always, the best camera is the one you've got with you, and iPhone 7, particularly the 7 Plus, makes the best argument yet for leaving the DSLR home.
The iPhone 7 sports a four LED dual tone flash. Meaning it's brighter and capable of adjusting light temperature for your scene. It is certainly brighter. Not only for pictures, but the old flashlight hack is much brighter and offers a better spotlight.
It's hard for me to really evaluate the LCD. New phones to me aways seem brighter and more brilliant just due to age. After using a device extensively for a year and flipping on a new phone, the fresh LCD and glass always looks better. All I can say is it looks great. 25% better? Sure.
I was very interested the iPhone 7 adding a second speaker, but I don't think it really works how I'd hope. I often set my phone down and just listen to something. I'm not holding it, or even looking at the screen. Here, the added speaker doesn't do much for me. I don't find it significantly louder. While holding the iPhone 7, however, it is louder and the quality seems better. it also offers stereo sound, but not sure there's really enough separation between speakers to make that much of a difference. Basically it's louder and clearer when viewing the screen.
Snappier? Yes. The iPhone 7 feels notably more responsive compared to the iPhone 6s. iOS 10 has some nice animations that I think make it feel faster, and perhaps it is actually faster. After using the beta most of the summer, it seems the iPhone 7 adds on to that for a nice improvements across the board.
The iPhone 7 offers up to two hours and 7 Plus up to one hour over the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Comparing the plus models, I'm not sure it's that big of a deal, but I do seem to end the day with a little extra battery life. Of course, things are still new and initial battery life tends to take a hit as it's fun to test and tinker with a new phone.
Water and Dust Resistance
To me, this is a piece of mind thing. I don't see myself regularly getting the phone wet or dirty, but it's nice to know it's there. Eventually there will be days when I'll let it get wet or dirty when normally I would baby it.
This is a pretty tired topic. For me though, the biggest issue will probably be driving when I want to charge the phone while plugging it into the stereo's aux input. Other than that, I'm fine with Bluetooth headphones and keeping a few adapters around.
The best way to get an iPhone 7 at Apple retail stores
At night, likely around midnight, Apple retail stores will make their inventories of iPhones available for reservation on Apple.com. These are phones that are in the local store's inventory, but not pre-sold. So, if you're looking for an iPhone 7, don't bother waiting in line. Just jump online tonight and see what's available. You won't find any Jet Black models, and it's very unlikely you'll find an iPhone 7 Plus in any color or configuration.
After Friday, the same process works for new store inventories. Check at night to see what's available and you can reserve your phone to be picked up during a time window the next day.
iPhone 7 supplies very limited for walk-in sales
Via Tech Crunch:
We couldn't be happier with the initial response to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and we are looking forward to beginning sales through our retail stores and partners around the world.
Beginning Friday, limited quantities of iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, and black will be available for walk-in customers at Apple retail stores. During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers. Availability at partner locations for all finishes may vary and we recommend checking directly with them.
So, basically if you don't have an iPhone pre-ordered, it seems changes slim for the iPhone 7 or not happening for the iPhone 7 Plus. And Jet Black is firmly a forget about it.
Apple's trade-in program seems kind of a mess
9 to 5 Mac:
Following complaints regarding iPhone 7 availability through Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple has started informing customers that it's making more reservations times available to pick-up the device at Apple Stores this Friday. Additionally, 9to5Mac has learned that most Apple Stores will have limited or no stock of iPhone 7 units for walk-in customers on launch day.
Apple's trade-in program offers a path to get a new iPhone every year, but in its second year, it doesn't seem for people who want to easily get the new iPhone anywhere near its launch date. The program offers interest-free financing with the option to trade in your device to cover the financed balance after 12 months of payments have been made.
Great idea, except it requires you to go into an Apple Store to make it happen. That alone is a big disadvantage to just having the latest iPhone delivered to your door. This year being the first year of offering an upgrade on the program, stocks of in-store phones were either very low to non-existent less than 5 minutes after going on sale. This means there was no option to trade in your device other than to wait until the dust settles on or after launch day. Your best bet is probably to get in line and roll the dice on getting the phone of your choosing (other than the highly promoted Jet Black, apparently, which is another whole mess).
Now, there are worse things in life than not getting an iPhone on launch weekend. If, however, Apple wants to boost lagging iPhones sales, it should have a process that makes it easy for its best customers to get a phone every year.
It seems to me, it doesn't need to be this complicated. When you're ready to trade in your phone, you should simply have the option to order it online and purchase it on your existing installment loan. If you have decent credit, the line of credit on a trade-in installment loan should be set high enough to allow for this. This would be preferred anyway to opening a new line of credit every year.
Then when you check out, you should have the option to have Apple ship you a box to return your old phone with a pre-paid label. If you don't send in your old device, you're simply obligated to continue making payments or pay the balance if you choose to sell it on your own. If there is damage on the device, it's already covered under Apple Care, so you would only be on the hook for the Apple Care repair fee. The repair fee could come off of the credit card you have on file with Apple or just off the credit to your trade-in loan.
Apple's new iPhone 7 ad is... weird
I feel like some creepy little girl is going to crawl out of a well and kill me in seven days.