Archive for the ‘Apple/Mac’ Category
Straight from Gizmodo: “The new iMacs have the super fast Thunderbolt port and Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge Core processors which makes them, well, pretty awesome. What’s not awesome? Apple has made upgrading the hard drive on the new iMacs damn near impossible.
Other World Computing is reporting that “the Apple-branded main hard drive cannot be moved, removed or replaced.” They say it’s because Apple has altered the SATA power connector from a standard 4-pin configuration to a 7-pin configuration. And since hard drive temperature control is regulated with this cable and Apple’s proprietary firmware, messing with that drive messes with everything. OWC says:
From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test.
They tried every workaround they could think of but couldn’t use a hard drive that wasn’t ordained by Apple. In short, it looks like if you want to upgrade your hard drive, your only option is to go through Apple (or alternatively, use the second drive bay). Not cool. Read the full report at OWC.
Update: Possible logic for this move: iMacs aren’t meant to be user serviceable, so Apple’s looking to economize the design by reducing the number of parts—removing the separate external sensor/cable monitoring the HDD’s temp in favor of an integrated sensor. (Mildly analogous: Soldering flash storage chips directly onto the logic board of the MacBook Airs. Less complexity, but the trade-off is it’s not user replaceable. SOP for Apple, really.)”
I’m with Jesse Jackson Jr. on this one, BOYCOTT APPLE!
Straight from CNN Money: “Apple twisted facts and used an erroneous quotation to try to convince crowds that all other tablets had no shot at de-throning the iPad in 2011.
In what seems like a ritual at this point, I watched Apple’s iPad 2 keynote in disbelief, noting the factual errors that kept coming up minute after minute. See previous:
- How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip
- Google responds to Steve Jobs’ activation counting accusations
- Why does Android have Steve Jobs rattled?
So, let’s get started: As part of the opening iPad bullet points, Apple included this gem:
Of course, the Motorola (MMI) XOOM also has this same dual core processor and is certainly shipping in volume as well. In fact, I’ve been using an Android phone (the Atrix) with a dual core chip for weeks and it wasn’t the first to ship in volume. As for Apple (AAPL), they haven’t shipped one iPad 2 yet — iPad 2′s hit shelves on March 11.
Perhaps this has to do with Jobs’ subjective view of ‘Volume’ which may start at whatever numbers iPads are currently selling? And ‘ship’? Well, I don’t know.
Some people only hear what they want to hear, but that quote should have ended with ”quite smooth.” That translation was officially corrected a long time ago. Here’s the recording. Shame on Apple Keynote fact-checkers, if such a role even exists.
That leads us to:
“>90% market share”. OMG Math.
Both Apple and Samsung measure sales the same way — into the channel. Apple has just as many points of sale for the iPad as Samsung has for the Tab and likely many more. So Samsung sold 2 million (in the last quarter) in 2010. Apple sold 14.8 million (in three quarters). That seems like a pretty fair comparison.
Apple would have needed to sell 3.2 million more to reach 90% of 2010′s tablet market share against just Samsung alone (in triple the time). That’s not including all of the Android-powered Nooks out there, those cheap $100 Androids you can buy at Walgreens or Amazon and even Windows-powered Tablet PCs (which are mentioned two bullet points above!). If you choose to include the Kindle, Apple may not have even reached 50% of the market.
Perhaps Jobs meant market share of tablets that start with the letter “I.”
And finally, pricing:
As for pricing, Jobs compared the most expensive Android tablet — the XOOM –against the iPad. While specs don’t matter to the typical consumer, components do largely affect the price of a device. The XOOM’s are simply better. It has (expandable) 32GB of storage built in and 3G built in (upgradable through a painful mail-in process to 4G). So, on that alone, it compares with the $729 iPad.
But then consider that the XOOM has a much better, bigger 720P+ screen compared to the iPad’s 1024×768 job (it has less Retina™). Then, add far superior cameras (w/flash), stereo speakers (iPad 2 has one), 4G and a micro-USB/SD Card reader. Apple won’t say how much RAM the iPad has, but I’m willing to bet it is about half of the XOOM’s 1GB.
You see, Apple loves to talk about specs when it is in its best interest (speeds and feeds). There are plenty of specs on size and weight that were repeated over and over:”8.8mm thin”, “1.3 lbs”. Tech Specs? Lots: “Retina display has 326PPI”, “1GHz Dual Core Processor”, “64GB of storage”, “Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating”, “Back camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still camera with 5x digital zoom”, etc. etc. But ask them how much RAM the iPad has and they’ll tell you it doesn’t matter.
Perhaps Jobs could have also compared the iPad 2 to other Android tablets’ prices? Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Dell’s Streak both now start at $499 and have better cameras, 3G radios and GPS, which seem to compete well with Apple’s $499 Wifi-only offering. Reality distorted.
I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs and Apple’s products. It’s just a shame that all the truth-bending destroys the keynotes.
Here’s the whole video (play distortion bingo with a double shot of Kool-Aid?):
Straight from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “It looks like Apple, Inc., is exploring a new business opportunity: spyware and what we’re calling “traitorware.” While users were celebrating the new jailbreaking and unlocking exemptions, Apple was quietly preparing to apply for a patent on technology that, among other things, would allow Apple to identify and punish users who take advantage of those exemptions or otherwise tinker with their devices. This patent application does nothing short of providing a roadmap for how Apple can — and presumably will — spy on its customers and control the way its customers use Apple products. As Sony-BMG learned, spying on your customers is bad for business. And the kind of spying enabled here is especially creepy — it’s not just spyware, it’s “traitorware,” since it is designed to allow Apple to retaliate against you if you do something Apple doesn’t like.
Essentially, Apple’s patent provides for a device to investigate a user’s identity, ostensibly to determine if and when that user is “unauthorized,” or, in other words, stolen. More specifically, the technology would allow Apple to record the voice of the device’s user, take a photo of the device’s user’s current location or even detect and record the heartbeat of the device’s user. Once an unauthorized user is identified, Apple could wipe the device and remotely store the user’s “sensitive data.” Apple’s patent application suggests it may use the technology not just to limit “unauthorized” uses of its phones but also shut down the phone if and when it has been stolen.
However, Apple’s new technology would do much more. This patented device enables Apple to secretly collect, store and potentially use sensitive biometric information about you. This is dangerous in two ways: First, it is far more than what is needed just to protect you against a lost or stolen phone. It’s extremely privacy-invasive and it puts you at great risk if Apple’s data on you are compromised. But it’s not only the biometric data that are a concern. Second, Apple’s technology includes various types of usage monitoring — also very privacy-invasive. This patented process could be used to retaliate against you if you jailbreak or tinker with your device in ways that Apple views as “unauthorized” even if it is perfectly legal under copyright law.
Here’s a sample of the kinds of information Apple plans to collect:
- The system can take a picture of the user’s face, “without a flash, any noise, or any indication that a picture is being taken to prevent the current user from knowing he is being photographed”;
- The system can record the user’s voice, whether or not a phone call is even being made;
- The system can determine the user’s unique individual heartbeat “signature”;
- To determine if the device has been hacked, the device can watch for “a sudden increase in memory usage of the electronic device”;
- The user’s “Internet activity can be monitored or any communication packets that are served to the electronic device can be recorded”; and
- The device can take a photograph of the surrounding location to determine where it is being used.
In other words, Apple will know who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and saying and even how fast your heart is beating. In some embodiments of Apple’s “invention,” this information “can be gathered every time the electronic device is turned on, unlocked, or used.” When an “unauthorized use” is detected, Apple can contact a “responsible party.” A “responsible party” may be the device’s owner, it may also be “proper authorities or the police.”
Apple does not explain what it will do with all of this collected information on its users, how long it will maintain this information, how it will use this information, or if it will share this information with other third parties. We know based on long experience that if Apple collects this information, law enforcement will come for it, and may even order Apple to turn it on for reasons other than simply returning a lost phone to its owner.
This patent is downright creepy and invasive — certainly far more than would be needed to respond to the possible loss of a phone. Spyware, and its new cousin traitorware, will hurt customers and companies alike — Apple should shelve this idea before it backfires on both it and its customers.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “Apple’s corporate headquarters, PR megamachine and primary customer base are in the US. Their products, on the other hand, come directly from Chinese hardware manufacturers. Like Apple, they’re good at keeping secrets. Unlike Apple, they’re sometimes violent about it.
In writing an exposé on Apple’s supply chain, Reuters’ reporters fleshed out what we already know: There’s an immense pressure on companies under contract with Apple not to leak any information about forthcoming products; said companies have shady labor histories; working for one of these companies frankly sounds terrifying.
We touched on these problems when Foxconn was accused of driving an employee to suicide over an iPhone prototype leak last year, but at the time, our picture of Foxconn was patched together from a pile of second and third-hand reports, conflicting local news stories, and PR spin. To date, there hasn’t been a better illustration of the problem than this
Tipped by a worker outside the Longhua complex that a nearby Foxconn plant was manufacturing parts for Apple too, our correspondent hopped in a taxi for a visit to the facility in Guanlan, which makes products for a range of companies.
As he stood on the public road taking photos of the front gate and security checkpoint, a guard shouted. The reporter continued snapping photos before jumping into a waiting taxi. The guard blocked the vehicle and ordered the driver to stop, threatening to strip him of his taxi license.
The correspondent got out and insisted he was within his rights as he was on the main road. The guard grabbed his arm. A second guard ran over, and with a crowd of Foxconn workers watching, they tried dragging him into the factory.
The reporter asked to be let go. When that didn’t happen, he jerked himself free and started walking off. The older guard kicked him in the leg, while the second threatened to hit him again if he moved. A few minutes later, a Foxconn security car came along but the reporter refused to board it. He called the police instead.
After the authorities arrived and mediated, the guards apologized and the matter was settled. The reporter left without filing a complaint, though the police gave him the option of doing so.
“You’re free to do what you want,” the policeman explained, “But this is Foxconn and they have a special status here. Please understand.”
So, let’s get this straight: If you, a reporter, take pictures of the outside of a Foxconn factory, you can dragged, kicked, threatened, and reminded of how ominously “special” Foxconn’s relationship with Apple makes them. (PS: Omigod, have you heard about the new iPad!?)
For Apple, this could mean two things: That they long ago entered into business with a company that’s predisposed to violent enforcement of security policy; or that their extreme demands for secrecy, and extreme value to Foxconn, have driven the company to become this way.
In neither situation can you call Apple the culprit. In both, though, they’re at the very least silently complicit.”
Straight from Slashdot: “Blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wags his finger at Apple for indiscriminately pushing the iPhone Configuration Utility 2.1 update out to Windows users, since it is a tool for business system administrators to set up and administer corporate iPhones — the blogger himself (and practically every other iPhone user) not being of the corporate iPhone user persuasion. But more than just unnecessary, the update actually puts him and millions of other iPhone owners/Windows PC users at increased risk by installing ‘not just a configuration program, but the Apache Web server as well,’ says Vaughan-Nichols. ‘A Web server like the one Apple [is] adding to your PC… [is] a gateway just asking to be hammered on by an attacker. Managed properly Apache is as safe a Web server as you’ll ever find, but ordinary PC users shouldn’t try to manage it, and even an expert can’t do anything with it if they don’t know it’s there.’
Straight from TechCrunch: “We reported yesterday about Apple’s alleged delay in payments to iPhone app developers, but there is more alarming news from iPhone developers about Apple’s refund policies. Apparently, if iPhone users decide that they want a refund for an app (users can get a refund within 90 days, according to Apple policy), Apple requires that developers give back the money they received from the sale. But here’s the kicker—Apple will refund the full amount to the user and says that it has the right to keep its commission. So the developer not only has to return the money for the sale, but also has to reimburse Apple for its commission. Apple charges a 30% commission on all paid apps sold through the App Store. So basically, developers get 70% of a given sale but if the end-user wants a refund, the developer has to pay Apple 100% of the sale.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “Rob Galbraith checks out the screens on the three hottest notebooks in their respective classes from a pro photographer’s standpoint—new MacBook Pro, Dell Mini 9 and Lenovo W700—and how they stack up will surprise you
His reference monitor is a Eizo ColorEdge CE240W and he throws a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 into the mix for good measure, since its in-plane switching LCD panel produces good color reproduction and even screen brightness.
That Lenovo’s ThinkPad W700—which is geared toward pro photographers and has a built-in Pantone calibrator—tops the list for color accuracy and “could just about replace a desktop display” for pro work is probably not so shocking. What is crazy, however, is that the Dell Inspiron Mini 9—a $300 netbook—has display with better “overall hue accuracy” than the $1999 MacBook Pro, which is “one or two steps below a good desktop display.” BTW, Rob loves the Mini 9 so much he calls it “a workflow-altering experience.”"
Straight from Ars Technica: “High Definition Content Protection (HDCP)—you can’t live with it, but you practically can’t buy an HD-capable device anymore without it. While HDCP is typically used in devices like Blu-ray players, HDTVs, HDMI-enabled notebooks, and even the Apple TV in order to keep DRMed content encrypted between points A and B, it appears that Apple’s new aluminum MacBook (and presumably the MacBook Pro) are using it to protect iTunes Store media as well.
When my friend John, a high school teacher, attempted to play Hellboy 2 on his classroom’s projector with a new aluminum MacBook over lunch, he was denied by the error you see above. John’s using a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, plugged into a Sanyo projector that is part of his room’s Promethean system. Strangely, only some iTunes Store movies appear to be HDCP-aware, as other purchased media like Stargate: Continuum and Heroes season 2 play through the projector just fine. Attempts to play Hellboy 2 or other HDCPed films through the projector via QuickTime also get denied. Other movies that don’t work include newer films like Iron Man, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Love Guru, but older films like Shawshank Redemption are restricted as well.
The technology in Apple’s MacBooks that prevents a seemingly arbitrary collection of iTunes Store files from being played on HDCP non-compliant devices is perhaps more accurately called DPCP, or DisplayPort Content Protection. As we’ve covered in the past, DisplayPort was designed as an open, extensible standard for computers that offers lower power consumption over DVI (especially in the Mini DisplayPort format that Apple uses on the new MacBooks). But more importantly, DisplayPort also beats DVI in the studios’ books by offering the option of 128-bit AES encrypted copy protection.
All of the tested files are wrapped in the same iTunes Store FairPlay Version 3 DRM, save for Stargate: Continuum, which John says has version 2. While Apple’s own Apple TV has used HDCP to protect video files playing from its HDMI port, this is the first time we’ve heard of Apple bringing HDCP DPCP to its hardware. (It has, however, been brought to our attention that other users have been complaining about this in Apple’s discussion forums for a couple of weeks.)”
Straight from Slashdot: “Do you use iTunes on Windows? If so you may be getting the gift of Safari from Apple whether you want it or not, and Mozilla CEO John Lilly is not happy about it. After his daughter was offered Safari as a ‘bonus update’ with a recent update to her iTunes software, Mr. Lilly says on his blog, ‘What Apple is doing now with their Apple Software Update on Windows is wrong. It undermines the trust relationship great companies have with their customers, and that’s bad — not just for Apple, but for the security of the whole Web.’ He also pointed out the check box is already clicked when you go to update meaning you have to opt out, not in and that it lists Safari as getting an update even if you don’t have it installed.”
Straight from Engadget: “Linus Torvalds may have dabbled in Apple territory in the past, but he’s definitely not mincing any words about competing operating systems now. In a recent interview, Linus says that OS X is a “much better system” than Windows Vista overall, but that “in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for.” Apparently these problems are rooted firmly in OS X’s file system (HFS and HFS+), which he describes as “complete and utter crap,” and even “scary.” Of course, Torvalds also took the opportunity to tout the many virtues of Linux, which he says is an “obvious choice for anything from full-blown PCs to phones or video players.” Damn straight it is.”
Straight from TorrentFreak: “The Flashbulb, aka Benn Jordan, became so outraged when he discovered that iTunes was effectively pirating his music, that he uploaded copies of his latest album to BitTorrent. TorrentFreak caught up with Benn to learn more about the decision to stop distributors and ‘coked-up label reps’ from getting all the cash.
Luckily, my record contracts were always negotiated well. Once things started moving with small labels I was approached by some larger ones, but there was always some seedy stipulation that prevented me from ever signing.
Still, with a 50/50 contract, I’d be selling 2,000 albums and would get $250 for it somehow. Many people that i’d meet at my shows would say that they bought my music on iTunes, yet I’ve never signed any sort of agreement allowing iTunes to host my music, and I’ve certainly never seen a dime of money for my albums hosted there.
So I started investigating the numbers from the label, which led me to some shocking revelations about how little the artist and label was getting in comparison to the retailers. When I got around to asking about iTunes, the owner of Sublight Records pleaded with me to “leave it be”. Everyone else made an extraordinary effort to ignore my calls and emails.
When I finally got a hold of the digital distributor (I must note that “digital distributor” is the most pathetic job title I’ve ever heard), I was told that once the files are in the iTunes system, it literally couldn’t be removed or taken down for a year. So, either Apple has created a self-aware doomsday machine that cannot be stopped or reasoned with, or everyone involved is just enjoying the gravy train of ripping off artists like myself and using Apple’s backbone of attorneys as an intimidation factor.
Even after having a lawyer working for me on this matter, this is the one and only response we’ve EVER been able to get from Apple:
I understand that you are writing to the iTunes Store because you are upset about finding your own album “The Flashlight” and some of your other album as well on the iTunes Store, and that you feel that you are owned royalties for this music that his being purchased. I am sorry that you have to found this upsetting. My name is Wendy, and I would be happy to link you to right people to talk to about this issue.
So, who’s the pirate I should go after? A kid who downloads my album because it isn’t available in non-DRM format and costs $30 on Amazon? Or a huge multi-billion dollar corporation that has been selling thousands of dollars worth of my music and not even acknowledging it?
I’m not disillusioned, I’m outraged, and anyone who ever spent a dime on buying music through these distribution methods should be outraged too. Here we are pleading with people to not steal music, and then we hand them dog shit when they go out of their way to buy it.”
Straight from Slashdot: “Multiple news organisations are reporting on an in-the-wild Mac OS X malware attack that uses porn lures to plant phishing Trojans on Mac machines. The attack site attempts to trick users into download a disk image (.dmg) file disguised as a codec that’s required for viewing the video. If the Mac machine’s browser is set to to open ‘Safe’ files after downloading, the .dmg gets mounted and the Installer is launched. The target must click through a series of screens to become infected but once the Trojan is installed, it has full control of the machine.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “We’ve already covered a couple of Leopard’s uh-ohs and their fixes, but researchers have kicked up the dirt to reveal a few security-related flaws. First, according to Jürgen Schmidt, editor in chief at Heise Security, if you enable Leopard’s firewall (it’s disabled by default) and set it to “block all incoming connections,” some internal system services are still allowed access from the internet, making it a mite porous. And according to Thomas Ptacek from Matasano Security, two of its security features—sandboxing and library randomization—are half-baked in execution.The problem with its implementation of sandboxing—where an app is placed in a “sandbox” so it can’t get rough with the rest of the OS if it’s hacked—is that a lot of the most commonly hacked apps like the browser, mail client and IM app aren’t run in a sandbox. To top it off, the sandbox walls aren’t as thorough as they should be, mostly applying to network access. Library randomization has similar problems—it wasn’t implemented everywhere it should have been, like the Dynamic Link Library, according to Ptacek.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “For Mac fans, there is good news and bad news coming out today from analyst Gene Munster of investment bank Piper Jaffray. The most remarkable aspect of Apple’s skyrocketing popularity is the fact that the company shipped 2.16 million Macs in the third quarter of this year. The part of the analyst’s report that might give some Mac fanboys a bit of perspective is that even with that tremendous surge in sales, Apple’s market share constitutes a mere 3.2% of the worldwide PC market. The remarkable news is that Apple’s share of the worldwide computer market was 2.5% six months ago, so there was a 28 percent increase in market share in half a year. But something’s fishy about these figures.
According to IDC, Apple’s market share is considerably higher, reaching 6.3% at the end of the third quarter of 2007. That’s compared with a 5.7% market share at the end of the same quarter last year, a 15.9% gain. Still, that’s a tiny sliver of Dell’s 28% market share and HP’s market share of 24.3%. Either way you slice it, even though in the echo chamber of the blogosphere it seems like Apple is dominating, Macs are still a relatively minor player when it comes to market share.”
Straight from the Apple sucks department of Ars Technica: “A few days ago, WinAmp iPod plugin developer Will Fisher wrote a blog entry about the changes Apple made to the iPod music database format that break compatibility with third-party software. Although the iPod has never officially supported open music management, the database format used by the device was previously relatively straightforward. The new database format uses a checksum value that locks the database to a specific device and prevents third-party database modification. If the device’s internal database is modified by a third-party program in any way, it will refuse to play any of the content and report that the device contains 0 songs, even if the database is still completely intact in every other respect.
Fortunately, community members have alerted us that a GtkPod developer has cracked the checksum and successfully tested the new database format support on two devices. Those who are already locked into Apple’s ecosystem will now be able to continue using the software of their choice with their iPods.
Why did Apple do this in the first place? It appears to be a lock-in strategy intended to force consumers to use iTunes. It is relatively clear that this change was made to block third-party software and isn’t just a new feature that was added to the database format for other reasons. Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing weighs in on the debate and provides a pretty good rebuttal to claims that the changes were made for data integrity verification:
“Checksumming is NOT just being used to verify data integrity—if that were all, then the iPod wouldn’t report zero tracks if the checksums failed to match. The sum could be calculated using an easily-derived salt. In this case, the checksum is being calculated using a secret shared between the device and iTunes, in order to prevent clients that don’t share that secret from loading music onto the iPod.”
Lennart Poettering, an open-source software developer who helped create a Linux implementation of Apple’s ZeroConf protocol, also comments on the situation in an insightful blog entry and explains that Apple has similarly used cryptographic keys to lock out third-party support for features in DAAP and ROAP, network audio streaming protocols used by iTunes and AirPort.”
Straight from Engadget: “Oh no they didn’t! By now you already know it’s on, and the latest round in the iPhone v. iPhone dance-off comes from Apple spokesman Steve Dowling, who was quoted as saying the Cisco lawsuit is “silly” and that several companies are already using the term iPhone for VoIP products. He called Cisco’s trademark “tenuous at best” and noted his company was the first to ever use the name for a cellphone. He goes on to boast that Cisco is gonna totally get served: “if Cisco wants to challenge us on it, we’re very confident we’ll prevail.” Oh yeah — Apple to Cisco: let’s see you dance, sucka!”