Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Apple using patents to delay adoption of WWW open standards again

  An initiative to standardize the way touch enabled devices interact with web content has had a wrench thrown into the works, at least temporarily, by Apple.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Events Working Group was created last year and tasked with standardizing the way touch devices, from smartphones and tablets to drawing pads and spatial sensors, interact with web applications. One of the specifications they have been working on is called 'Touch Events.'
  As part of the standard development process, the working group sent out multiple requests for patent exclusions. In layman's terms, these are requests for disclosure of any existing or pending patents which might be required to implement a standard.
  Responding to the third of three calls for exclusions this year, Apple provided the group with a list of four patents, one of which has already been approved, two which are pending approval, and a fourth which is in the early stage of application, which they say are related to the Touch Events specification.

  A developer for the Opera browser who blogs under the name Haavard is crying foul on Apple's move, and says they are simply trying to impede the creation of the Touch Events spec. He points to similar occurences in 2009 and 2010, when Apple made exclusion claims with respect to the W3C Widgets specification.
  Of the three patents listed in those claims, two were found to be nonessential, while the third was deemed both nonessential and invalid due to prior art.
  When a patent exclusion claim is made to a W3C working group, the organization must appoint a team to examine the patents in question to determine whether they are, in fact, necessary to the spec in its current state. This means delaying finalization until the determination is reached.
  Perhaps the key technology which Apple has used as a cornerstone for their multitude of patent lawsuits against handset and tablet makers around the world are is the touch screen. Simply put, Apple wants to use patents to restrict other companies' touch implementations.
  Of course that's despite the fact their touch screen technology isn't necessarily as revolutionary or original as their patents suggest. In some cases they cover technology which was in production by other companies before the Apple patent application was even filed.

Apple tries to reboot it's lost lawsuits

  In keeping with its strategy for world domination in consumer electronics, Apple has inconspicuously transferred a dozen patents that it previously "owned" to a non-existent corporate entity called Cliff Island LLC.
 Tech crunch have done a little digging and it appears that Cliff Island is a shell company, sharing a physical address with Altitude Capital, the main investor behind patent trolling company Digitude Innovations (ironic name, n'est pas?).

  Cliff Island then "transferred" those same patents to Digitude who have now filed a suit with the ITC (International Trade Commission) in the US against basically all the smartphone and tablet makers selling in America (RIM, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon, and Nokia (note that Apple is not on this list). How mysterious.

  Digitude was founded in 2010 and raised $50 million from Altitude Capital Partners, with aims to “acquire, aggregate, and license key technology areas within the consumer electronics and related technology fields in a patent consortium” — in other words, it buys up patents and then sues other companies until they settle and agree to pay licensing fees, because it’s generally less expensive than actually going to court.
  So what we're seeing here is Apple suing its competitors out of the market, yet again, for patent law suites it already lost, but this time by proxy. And it's interesting that the patent transfers have taken place under some sneaky back-room sleight of hand. For new readers this might seem unethical even for Apple - what we know, is only the tip of the ice berg, unfortunately.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Burning iPhone endangers Australian flight, hundreds of passengers

   Australian airline reports case of burning iPhone on flight. Regional Express, Australia's largest independent regional airline, issued a press release on an incident shortly after a flight landed late last week. Flight ZL319 had just landed when a passenger's mobile phone started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, and started glowing red.
   A flight attendant extinguished the burning phone immediately and no passengers or crew were harmed. Regional Express reported the incident to the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
   The mobile phone in question is identified as an Apple iPhone, which shows a significant amount of damage to the rear of the phone. Reports online indicate that the iPhone shows evidence that the burning came from the battery, which would explain the red glow and the release of smoke.

iOS fragmentation - Is it worse than Android's?

How do we define fragmentation?

This is what fragmentation (frgmn-tshn) actually means:
The scattering of parts of a computer file across different regions of a disk. Fragmentation occurs when the operating system breaks up the file and stores it in locations left vacant by previously deleted files. The more fragmented the file, the slower it is to retrieve, since each piece of the file must be identified and located on the disk.

Below we will try to explain the FUD term propagated by Steve Jobs and spread by Apple fans that also have a very vague idea of it's meaning.

  • the inability to update the OS because of the manufacturer?
  • the user's choice not to update?
  • the coexistence of multiple app stores?
  • exclusive apps?
  • different hardware configurations?

So let's start with updates

    If we are to consider updates as the sole factor in fragmentation, we would certainly be wrong. Both Android and iOS can run the same Apps. Forcing partial updates like iOS 4 on iPhone 3G and 3GS has lowered the device performance considerably while still not bringing the same features iPhone 4 had. Apple might have reduced fragmentation in statistics, but it has decreased user experience by making 3G and 3GS laggy devices.

So how are iPhone updates doing in 2011?
According to statistics, not too well. So far iOS 5 is only on 38% of all iPhones:

"According to Chitika Insights, one month after release, the new OS is on 38 percent of iPhones, 30 percent of iPads and 12 percent of iPod Touch.
iOS5 distribution in 2011
 The firm uses mobile ad network impressions to analyze traffic."

In comparison, Android's latest major distribution for Phones 2.x.x is spread across 95% of the devices, and the latest subversion, Gingerbread or 2.3.x is spread across 38.2% of the devices.

We should also mention that Android has a market share or 52.5% while Apple has a market of ~15%. Given the fact that there are 443 unique Android devices released and only 7 iPhones, I'd say Apple's closed eco-system idea is doing a lot worse in the real world than it did on paper.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

iPhone 4S packs Bluetooth 4.0 - no, you still can't beam anything over

   After a selective benchmark that only displayed the results where iPhone 4S excelled, Apple now tries to claim the title for "the first Bluetooth 4.0" phone. The FUD spread by Apple pretty much consists of obscure features such as collecting data from various sensors or connecting headsets, features that are available for everybody since bluetooth 1.0. Of course as with any bluetooth iteration there's lower power consumption and higher transfer rates - of course useful for phones that can actually beam data; so far the best bet is a jailbroken phone. It's unknown if Apple may allow sending files via iMessages to iOS only devices so Bluetooth is actually in the same status quo it's always been in on iOS.
   Unfortunately for Apple, the file transfer and the remote SIM access protocols are parts of the Bluetooth standard and with those missing it simply "ain't got no standard", just the same way iPhone doesn't really have USB but that is another story.

Kudos Apple for making the news and deceiving your fans all over again!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Apple Siri-ous about copying Android, innovation nowhere to be found

  Samsung                      HTC                           iOS5         
  After succesfully replicating the Android notification system, Apple has made the next step to the voice control feature.
    The next "real hip" thing on every mobile gadgetry website you'll find will be Apple's "Siri", a voice recognition app that can make calls, record messages, play music, launch another application or google something up for you, nothing more than Vilingo could do since 2010 when it was released. I say nothing more because nothing less certainly doesn't apply. But as the process of copying the iPhone 2G from Samsung didn't really go too well, Siri too has a few shortcomings:
  • The voice quality on Siri is not quite there yet
  • It's harder to activate than the the double tap on Galaxy S2
  • It still seems to lack voice activation compared to Samsung's Galaxy series
  • It's only available in English and it can't recognize accents
You can check the ripoff after the break:

[iPhone jokes] Apple innovates again, are you SIRI-ous?

iPhone 4S benchmarks out: mixed results for the A5 CPU

   So the iPhone 4S benchmarks are out and it would seem they are nothing less than amazing. Unfortunately the graphics benchmark that was released by Anandtech earlier today is as synthetic as it gets; the tests used were "offscreen", in other words no image was rendered during the test. Offscreen means that the would-be-rendered image is HD but unfortunately none of the tests used an actual 720p output and monitor to verify the results.
   Should you want to play games on an external monitor iPhone 4S is expected to perform better thanks to the fact that the image is mirrored as the iPhone real HDMI output does not consist of a real HD 720p image as Apple kindly informs us:
Apple Digital AV Adapter mirrors exactly what you see on iPad 2 or iPhone 4S so that everyone in the room can enjoy it on your widescreen TV[...]
   Mirrored means that the screen image is actually cloned and scaled to 720p instead of having to be rendered as a second HD output. In this case most android devices suffer a larger performance drop while displaying a better quality output.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sprint confirms our woes, won't take chances for iPhone 4S cheap plastic

Not even a bumper makes it 100% safe
    Sprint is voting thumbs-down on having its Total Equipment Protection plans available to the iPhone 4S, probably following the bad experience with iPhone 4. According to SprintFeed, the only choice is to purchase the AppleCare+ Protection Plan or go through a third party to have any protection from accidental damage. Hopefully this setup isn’t permanent, but we’re not going to hold our breath. Just as a reminder, that $99 AppleCare+ can only be added at the time of purchase. But ask yourself, what’s worse? Paying $99 (the price of an iPhone 4) upfront, or paying an extra $649.99 for a new 16GB iPhone 4S after dropping your phone?
   Meanwhile you could go for a device with gorilla glass, it's incredibly hard to scratch, almost impossible to break, it doesn't shatter like cheap plastic, it doesn't bend like aluminum. Wouldn't it be awesome if the most beautiful and important part on your phone would also be the most resistant one?

iPhone 4S: Antennagate, check! Brain damage, check!

iFixed nothing
    Apple claims that the iPhone 4S features a new antenna design, intended to prevent any risk of 'Antennagate' reoccurring. But did they really fix or innovate anything? Let's start with fixing things. In the mockup on the right you can see that by "not holding it right" you are shorting 3 of iPhone 4S's antennas and you will be jamming the forth one once the phone touches your ear.
   The 4S's new dual antennas can automatically switch when sending and receiving information, a trick Apple claims is "a first" for a mobile phone.
    We won't go into explaining the dangers of SAR and why most manufacturers place the antenna on the bottom of the phone, away from your brain. You should know though that at any given time the best working antenna on iPhone 4S will be the one on top since it's the only one not shorted, it's the one the device will choose for best signal. It's right there next to your gray matter where most of the SAR radiation will dissipate.

   Frølund Pedersen, professor at Aalborg University's Institute for Electronic Systems in Denmark and one of the big names involved in the events of Antennagate last time around, feels that Apple's latest iPhone might be treading on toes stems from patents he and his associates apparently sold to Samsung some years earlier.

At the iPhone 4S launch, CEO Tim C(r)ook and co were quoted as saying,
“Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive.

Pedersen disagrees, primarily with the fact that Apple dubbed this an 'innovation',

"When Apple says that it is new, it’s not true. It has been in use for very long. For example in the DECT cordless phones. Both in these and in some other phones“

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Two iOS security breaches and how the hackers got those pictures of you

    Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security discovered a serious security vulnerability in Apple's iOS platform. The security hole allows a malicious user access to the root files of the phone, where they could see personal user information like passwords, call logs, messages, and and your location date if he hasn't done so already. Apple has acknowledged the problem and promises to issue a fix.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Apple spokesperson Bethan Lloyd said Apple is "aware of this reported issue and developing a fix that will be available to customers in an upcoming software update." She did not provide a date as to when the fix would be available.
     In other news, multiple frustrated iPhone 4 owners have complained this week that their device's front-side camera is taking pictures of them when it is supposed to be inactive.
Those photos then show up on the iPhone screen when the user tries to start a FaceTime video call. One angry owner said her FaceTime picture showed her in her office, despite never using the app while at work.

Friday, 23 September 2011

[iPhone jokes] Exclusive Steve Ballmer iPad Review

iPhone 5 and 4S spot defective displays, Apple regrets giving up on Samsung

    The iPhone 4 launch fiasco is about to repeat itself. A defect has presented in some iPhone 5 touch panels produced by Wintek which may affect the ability to meet initial shipment targets for the launch which is expected in October, according to iPhone supply chain makers.
In response, Wintek simply indicated that all of its products are being delivered on schedule.
   Wintek, is the company where n-hexane poisoning took place this time last year. N-hexane, a poisonous chemical was used to quicker manufacture iPhone4 screens. Wintek still accounts for 20-25% (while Taiwan TPK Holding accounts for the rest) as Apple has no problem in putting their worker's health behind profits.
   "The defect, "delayed bubble", is difficult to avoid during panel production, particularly when the defect is not detected during the process of laminating touch panels, and only later found during assembly, the sources said."
    More advanced smartphones use AMOLED or SuperAMOLED screens that are thinner, use less power and to not require the old "lamination" procedure as the display and the touch screen are one and the same panel.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New link for iPhone Fever feeds!

     Hello and welcome! You might have noticed the recent changes around TheiPhoneFever. We have tried to make the blog a lot lighter and more user friendly, be that user an Android, Symbian, Windows or even an iPhone user. And with all the new stuff around, the Feeds link is also changing:
Make sure to visit it soon for the latest news Apple doesn't want you to hear!

iOS vulnerability leaves Skype users open to address book theft

    If you are using Skype for iPhone or iPod Touch, the Address Book on your device can easily be stolen via a simple chat message.

    How does it work?: Javascript commands are entered into the user names Skype account, a chat message is sent to the user who is using the newest version of Skype for iPhone, and a program is loaded onto a web server to receive the Address Book content.

    The report claims there is two oversights that are allowing this to happen so easily:

  • iOS allows address book contents accessible to every app installed
  • Failure by Skype to sanitize potentially dangerous JavaScript commands from the text that gets sent in chat messages
Of course it will be Skype's responsibility to patch the hole as iOS security is currently a complete mess as apple still tries to figure out the hole that made them lose the US Army defense contract.
    Meanwhile any skilled hacker/developer can collect your and your friend's addresses with the simplest app or game imaginable.
Detailed instructions of the hack after the break.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Apple's iPad, iPhone design, "borrowed" from Samsung, LG

    Today we're starting a new trend, the one of pamphlets. It's unjust that Apple steals the credit of so many brilliant people - because it's people, not companies who made them - and claims it "invented" the modern smarphone or the tablet, be it Newton or iPad.
There's solid proof for those willing to hear it on how Apple infringed other's designs; others like Samsung and LG that didn't think for a second that a touch screen phone with one button, a thin white bezel or simply put, the wheel, are things that someone would actually patent.
So head over to the new design section of our blog, "Other designs", and check it out for yourself!

 Don't forget to Share 'em and spread 'em!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

OS X Lion disappoints again - it's just like having no password at all

    OS X from apple has not seen a great deal of interest during development (if any) and one million downloads on launch day, reported by Apple, so you can expect that number was rounded. For an $30 OS this is certainly a disappointment.
Not only has one of the sites endorsed by Apple, Gizmodo, called it a failure but the cuts in manufacturing quality at Foxconn and security holes haven't certainly brought more popularity:
     Security blog Defense in Depth has found a glaring security flaw in OS X Lion that enables hackers to change the password of any user on a machine running Lion. “[While] non-root users are unable to access the shadow files directly, Lion actually provides non-root users the ability to still view password hash data,” Patrick Dunstan from Defense in Depth explained in a recent blog post. The result is that anyone could use a simple Python script, created by Dunstan himself, to discover a user’s password. It gets worse. Reportedly, OS X Lion does not require its users to enter a password to change the login credentials of the current user. That means typing the command: “dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/Roger” will actually prompt you to set a new password for Roger. Hackers could easily take advantage of the known bug if they have local access to the computer and Directory Service access. Disabling automatic log-in, enabling sleep and screensaver passwords and disabling guest accounts are as efficient to keeping your Mac secure as duck-taping the lid. We recommend upgrading to a Linux based OS or Windows.

Apple's iPhone before the leaked Samsung F700

    Many smartphone blogs and websites have taken the Apple version of the F700, that one that the F700 was showcased one month after the first iPhone. Even if that was true, Samsung engineers must have been freaking geniuses or robots (androids if you will) to build a working phone within less than 30 days.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

[iPhone jokes] Think outside the bumper

Saturday, 10 September 2011

‘Other designs are possible’

    Apple and Samsung are at odds over patents. In numerous courts, in numerous states, in numerous countries on numerous continents, the pair continue to file complaint after complaint. Apple says Samsung builds copycat devices that steal design elements from its iPad tablet and iPhone smartphone. Samsung says Apple’s mobile devices violate multiple Samsung patents covering communications standards. And round and round we go.
    In the most recent development of note, a German judge on Friday upheld a ruling that will block Samsung’s local unit from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany. In her decision, Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman stated, “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible.” Other designs are possible. The judge continued, “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks [like the iPad].”

Well that’s just a tough break for Samsung.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Apple continues to contribute to world wide pollution, causes discord within Greenpeace

   In a report released on Wednesday, five Chinese non-governmental organisations said the US technology company was using suppliers with public records of environmental violations and taking “advantage of the loopholes in developing countries’ environmental management systems”.
The accusations escalate a standoff between Apple and Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a co-author of the report, which is threatening to damage Apple’s image. The groups have sought to persuade 29 big electronics brands over the past year to work with them on containing pollution in their supply chain, but singled out Apple as unresponsive.
      Hours before the report was even published, Mr Ma was invited to start a dialogue on his allegations. Mr Ma said Apple told him some of the factories on his list were not the US company’s suppliers but gave him no details.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

What was first, the tree or the apples? -LG

Friday, 22 July 2011

MAC: Security so bad, even your battery can get hacked

There's your problem, it's a virus!
   Charlie Miller's managed yet again to render several Macbooks, Macbook Pros and Airs useless after gaining total access to their battery's micro-controllers' firmware via a security hole. Evidently, the Li-ion packs for the line of laptops are accessible with passwords he dug up from an 2009 software update. He mentions that someone could "use them to do something really bad," including faulting charge-levels and thermal read-outs to possibly even making them explode. He also thinks hard-to-spot malware could be installed directly within the battery, repeatedly infecting a computer unless removed.
“You could put a whole hard drive in, reinstall the software, flash the BIOS, and every time it would reattack and screw you over. There would be no way to eradicate or detect it other than removing the battery.”

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

[iPhone jokes] Oldies but goodies: Make calls, just hold it right

Tutorials for Blogger

    If you visited The iPhone Fever, you might have noticed a bunch of somewhat unique customizations such as the changing subtitles. the scrolling adsense ad that is following you down the page, the modified tabs that display tags, making them look like secondary blogs or the newly installed search in tabs. As a fellow blogger you might want to add these yourself.
    So brace yourselves for the Blogger tutorial shorts, coming soon in a tab near you*!

 *Actually near the Jokes tab

What was first, the tree or the apples? -Samsung

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The CrApple Store

    Unless you've been living under a rock, you know most Apple and non-Apple sites forums and blogs twitted this week about the blog of a former Apple employee. Unfortunately for legal reasons and the danger of putting the jobs of those who have no choice of still working there at risk, our fellow blogger has shut down the site, it is not certain who the current owner is and there's yet no activity.
    But, no need to worry, The iPhone Fever indexed all the funny, sad, vulgar posts and hillarious videos and has restored them to their former "glory"! (btw, did you know Apple forbids the word "the"?).

    So check this tab out for old and new (that's right, I said new!) stories about The CrApple Store and see how the employees at Foxconn in China aren't the only ones suffering. If you plan to work for Apple, or know somebody that might, share these posts with them before it's too late.

The story of the original CrAppleStore.blogspot.com blogger:

   "Chances are you've found your way here because you've googled something like 'working in Apple retail is fucking shit'. I hope so anyway. For those about to leave their soul at home and start work in an Apple Store, read this blog before seriously considering staying more than a month. For those already trapped, enjoy.
   It began with a list of reasons why working for Apple Retail is fucking shit, and just spiraled out of control. I couldn't keep it inside anymore, and so have decided to share the hate with the rest of the world."

There are 3 categories of posts:
  • Standard posts - day-to-day with Apple, rants
  • NetPromoaner - real stories of other employees
  • Apple Retail Stories - a little about jerk customers

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Apple Time Capsule, KIRF

         KIRF, or keepin' it real fake, perfectly describes Apple's own new Time Capsule backup device.
     A teardown of last week's refreshed Time Capsule has revealed a regular, cheap-ass, non-enterprise drive lurking within. Curious, as Cupertino's website lists a "Serial ATA server-grade hard disk" as standard equipment on the device's official spec sheet. It's generally assumed that for a drive model to be qualified as "enterprise," it must sustain a mean time between failure-  MTBF for short - in excess of one million hours. So what's the MTBF for the Western Digital's WD20EARS (Caviar Green) in Apple's Time Capsule? Conveniently, the hard drive maker wouldn't say. 
    Of course, we guess the definition here is up for interpretation, but given past experiences with the wireless backup gizmo, we'd certainly hope this improved revision fares better; the last generation of Time Capsules had a  random working time of ~1 year before "just dying".

   Below is the hrdware you can expect in the next generation of Time Capsules. This is acutally a fake ebay HDD, but it comes close to what you get when you pay premium for "premium" Apple hardware:

Monday, 20 June 2011

What was first, the tree or the apples? -Nokia

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Apple loses US Army contract, Russian govermnent wants to ban iProducts due to security concerns

    Apple has lost the U.S. Army defense contract in favor of Android for upcoming Army-approved smartphones and tablets, as well as  for apps that will be necessary for missions.
  There have been concerns about security for Android as compared to other mobile OS but most officials deemed Android the most secure, as the Army will be able to use the open source software as they choose, likely beefing up security even more. In terms of stability and connectivity, the OS is leaps and bounds above the competition.
    During combat, the devices will likely have to have satellite  phone-capabilities, meaning round-the-clock data and voice with no lapses. The Army wants every soldier to have one of the future Android devices, to ensure they are connected during missions. A prototype dubbed the Joint Battle Command-Platform is already being tested. Apps will include "critical messaging" for exchanging medevac requests and other emergencies, and A Blue Force Tracker program to make sure soldiers know where friendlies are. Finally, the phones will be able to withstand extreme wear-and-tear  and will likely be similar to the rugged "ToughBooks" created by Panasonic.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

[iPhone jokes] and tornadoes

Monday, 2 May 2011

Apple embareses itself at Computex 2011 without even showing up

    There are two reasons why Apple is always missing at world wide conventions and technology expositions; first, Foxconn makes all Apple products and apple doesn't want a Foxconn booth and second, Apple software is always behind, behind schedule, behind the competition and behind in all benchmarks that aren't ordered by Apple.
    During Computex 2011 Tweakers.net did some benchmarks on a prototype Android Honeycomb tablet, which ran on Intel x86-based version of the OS and compared the results with the current generation of ARM tablets.
    The tablet was made by Compal Electronics with Intel's new prototype and Oak Trail platform on board. The used CPU has two cores, both at 1.5 GHz do their work, assisted by 1GB of RAM. The Intel GMA600 GPU is based on the PowerVR SGX535.
Lower is better
    The benchmarks show the combination of ARM hardware versus the Intel's Oak Trail x86 platform.

   Using the SunSpider benchmark the speed of the Safari iOS JavaScript engine clearly scores last even though it has roughly the same processing power as the Tegra 2 and is based on ARM Cortex A8 just as the Playbook CPU.
    Finally Linpack benchmark, Quadrant and CaffeineMark 3 were run. The results of both benchmarks are less significant as iOS didn't even qualify for further tests, in spite of the ARM CPU.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Why does it take an hour to put an album on an iPhone?

    Why does Apple force users into an experience that almost inevitably ends in sadness, if not outright disaster? There's a straight answer to that question and it's what pushed me away from my iPhone 3G and onto a Nexus One in the summer of 2010. 
    The whole point of selling an iPhone/iPod touch isn't to sell a piece of hardware, it's to loop an end-user into a system that continually drains their credit card.
     But here's the thing: what if you don't want to go all-in with that ecosystem? What if you enjoy casually using an app here or there on the iPhone, and what if you just want to throw a record on your device five minutes prior to heading out on a ten-day road trip? What if you want to make quick and subtle changes to your iPod, iPad or iPhone, without iTunes selfishly consuming what's left of your day? That, friends, is apparently an impossible task, especially if you've got a handful of devices or - gasp! - more than one computer that your device talks to.

Monday, 11 April 2011

iPhone manufacturer reports $218 million full-year net loss

    Foxconn, the mega-manufacturer behind all Apple products (more than 1/3 of Foxconn is dedicated to Apple products), posted a $218.3 million net loss for 2010. While the company had previously predicted lower earnings amid suicide-related wage increases and welfare costs, the reported figure is still worse than analysts' estimation of around $202 million, which also far outweighs the prior year's $38.6 million profit. Foxconn puts the blame on higher consolidated income tax and increased competition, as well as "cost streamlining actions" -- a reference to the ongoing relocation and expansion plans, which are also the outcome of the Chinese suicides -- that took longer than expected and led to increased spending along with higher manufacturing overhead. As for 2011, Foxconn said it'll "take decisive actions to conclude our capacity relocation, optimize our cost structure and return to profitability." Of course, further losses could accelerate plans to increase prices, which could ultimately put everyone in a lose-lose situation if Foxconn can't compete. 
     Foxconn plans to develop a robotized product line and mechanize the workforce to slowly replace the slave-like labor in hope to compete with giants like Nokia, Samsung or HTC.
    Of course Apple hasn't done anything regarding worker well-fare, nor have the manufacturing costs increased. Have you ever wondered how come Apple icon products aren't made in good ol' America?

Via: Foxconn International Holdings (PDF)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Why the iPhone 4S is coming out

    Well the white iPhone is finally out and it seems it's nothing like the original iPhone. You still get the antennagate signal strength drop, but the meter has been rigged to show full bars and with an added rubber condom you might even get enough signal to call 911 after an avalanche, or you know, when your private jet crashes on a remote island.
But leaving signal aside because "people don't buy iPhones to make calls" (fanboy quote over) the iPhone 4 white does have a few aces up it's sleeve:
  • It's thicker so it doesn't crack as easy as the cheap plastic on the original iPhone 4
  • A more recessed camera lens, to get rid of those nasty flash leaks
  • A better end improved proximity sensor, see release hardware flaws

"New" MacBook air with fixed display isues at cost of SSD performance

     It appears today that no two Apple products are the same. You know the sayng, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Apple is moving away from Toshiba's X-Gale SSDs to faster Samsung models for MacBook Air.
    Over the last month, Air models have been shipping with two different SSD, the "SM128C" and Toshiba's "TS128C." The SM implies Samsung is the manufacturer, says MSNBC.
    The Samsung drive, when benchmarked, shows off 260MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds compared to the Toshiba which has 210MB/s read and 185MB/s write.
     The speed difference is minor and it's best to wait for the new new MacBook Air that will come mid 2011 to fix the hardware flaws introduced with the new MacBook Air series.

Via: 9to5 Mac, macotakara.jp, MSNBC

Friday, 8 April 2011

[iPhone jokes] The only friend you will ever have

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Apple/iOS user tracking & privacy breaking roundup

    You’ve probably heard by now about the detailed log your iOS device keeps of your movements, but it's about time a roundup o the whole story was made. Now there’s a tool to prevent that plus some more clarity on the issue, which like all freedom on Apple products, requires jailbreaking.
    Apple's location services pinpoint your location using GPS, Cell-ID and Wi-Fi hotspots. Early devices used Google and Skyhook databases to do that, but since iOS 3.2 Apple has been building up their own database - you become their Guinea Pig (read: lab rat).
     A file kept unencrypted on your iProduct holds a record of all your movements from about an year ago and that file is copied to any computer you’ve synced it to and any backups you might have made.
As usual with Apple software, there's no security between anyone and your private data (called consolidated.db), either by copying it from a computer that contains a copy of the file or simply stealing the device itself, can easily extract a log of your whereabouts over the last year.(red more about Steve Jobs's opinion and Android below)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Midnight repairs

Here's probably what the Specialists are up to...
    For a start, someone needs to tell some dickhead at Apple that 'same day' repairs and 'within 24 hours' ARE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING. If you dropped your computer off at lunchtime on a Thursday to be told it will be ready and repaired on the same day, too fucking right you're gonna expect it to be ready on Thursday evening. If Apple can get it ready for you Friday morning, they consider that 'same day'!! It's fucking laughable! What fucking planet are they on. Friday is not Thursday, thus not SAME DAY. Stupid. Cunts.

In order to get these topcases switched over by the next morning, you may find that as a Genius, you need to be repairing until midnight. After a long day of swapping phones, I can say they last thing I wanted to do was start repairing computers. I'd probably spend 2 hours replacing a screen on a unibody white MacBook and give the manager some bullshit story about how "the DFI ribbon-micro cable is really difficult to fit on this model", whist thinking "I'm secretly lolling in your face right now"

Seriously though, who wants to spend their life repairing shit computers until midnight? You're not gonna get in until 1, asleep 'til 2, and if you're on a clopen, then you're fucked mate.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

iOS and MACos destroyed (again) at Pwn2Own security conference

    The Pwn2Own event, held at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, allows companies to challenge hackers to exploit their software, i.e. operating systems or web browsers.

    Charlie Miller and Dion Blazakis have managed to yet again hack iOS thanks to a security hole in the mobile version of Safari. They managed to access the contacts and inbox of an iPhone 4 (iOS 4.2.1) by simply loading a web page.
    The vulnerability isn't patched in iOS 4.3 and it looks like ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) won't be able to protect you from this one.

    This year French pen-testing firm VUPEN has hacked Apple’s Safari web browser using a zero-day flaw to win the coveted Pwn2Own hacker challenge.
    The exploited computer was a fully patched MacBook running Mac OS X (64-bit). Co-founder of VUPEN, Chaouki Beckar, lured the Mac to a fake website and managed to bypass the ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention) execution procedures that were built into the OS. He then launched a calculator app successfully and wrote files to the machine.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

2011 MacBook Pros can't stop freezing and crashing

     Just when we were about to think MACos is on the right track - since it's the last OS to finally get TRIM support to properly use SSD drives - it looks like the shabby build quality(1)(2) and software issues, just won't give it a break!
     Starting with the launch of Apple's new flagship MacBook Pros in late February, there have been hundred of reports of "hard freezes", the device locking up when users are running multiple programs - yes, don't be afraid to lol, multitasking seems to be quite an intense issue for Apple. Despite Apple's attempt to cure the problem with an update to OS X 10.6.7, users are reporting the issue still occurring.

    The issue is stemming from the 15 and 17-inch models, each of which feature Sandy Bridge Core i7 quad-core CPUs and AMD Radeo HD graphics processors.
    A thread entitled "MacBook Pro 2011 17" hard freeze" on the Apple discussion forum is nearing 70 pages, with most users complaining about the crashes whenever using multiple apps, especially video intensive ones like iMovie or gaming.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Net Promoaner Part 18

Check out how dread this one is:

"3 years ago, I had been late twice within a 90 day period - which you know means if you're late or call off FOR ANY REASON within the 90 day period for two more times, you're fired. No considerations. I had a miscarriage, and guess what? It counted against me. Even with me bringing in the paperwork. It was humiliating to deal with management and HR not caring, while dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a child. A week later, I was fired as Genius Admin, and given a job as "Phone Concierge." The Admin position was given to a strapping young lad who, obviously, wasn't planning on getting pregnant any time soon.

3 months later, I became pregnant again, and was very ill during my first trimester. Some mornings, I could not get out of bed. They began counting this against me, and had me do FMLA through Matrix, so they legally couldn't fire me. I continued to get comments from the managers about me "dealing with it" and "not letting it get to me." The managers even denied my maternity leave for my last month of pregnancy - until I called HR on them.

Luckily, I was smart enough to let them pay my maternity leave for 5 months after I had my daughter, and I quit and never looked back. Coming from pre-iPhone Apple Retail, I am incredibly disappointed on where the company has gone. Thank you for your blog."

Thanks Jill, and thanks for sharing.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

iPhone: the worst browsing experience out there

    How does the tasteless, Flashless iPhone browsing compare to a full web experience? Well, after 45,000 page loads the answer was clear, Android wins by a huge margin even with Flash support.

    For the tests the company Blaze used iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3 and Google Nexus S running Android 2.3 Gingerbread along with custom apps that automatically load pages and measure the speed.

     The chosen websites were the thousand homepages of the Fortune 1000 companies. Each page was loaded multiple times on different days. Tests were run over Wi-Fi.

The two charts below summarize the results:
Android’s browser managed to load 84% of the websites faster than Safari, with whopping 52% faster load times on average.

Lower load times represent faster performance

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Core Training

As if you'd get that much literature nowdays
    The lies start at Core Training. I should have known when strangers cheered and whooped me as I walked in. They'll tell you things that you will find to be not true, and they'll also miss out things that will quickly rear their prospective ugly heads. Let's start with what you'll be told:

Apple is an amazing place to work.

There are tremendous growth opportunities.

You will be first to touch the products.

Here's some things that they won't say:

     In order to make the job permanent, you will need to hit 2 out of 3 attaches. Otherwise you can fuck off. We don't want people that won't help me get my fat bonus.

If you are here wanting to be a Family Room Specialist, you will be a bitch and do all the jobs instore, including being shouted out and called a liar on the Genius Bar, and also teach people who paid to learn from a trainer on subjects you know nothing about.

We will treat you like shit.