Tag Archives: apple

Apple and Google ban GPS tracking in contact-tracing apps

Apple and Alphabet’s Google announced that they would ban any coronavirus tracing apps that use location tracking, which will make things difficult for several governments which want these apps to feature location tracking.

An example of how the Apple/Google might look like.

No external data

Contact tracing apps are the next big hurdle in our fight against COVID-19 — not that we’ve already solved everything else, but in general terms, we know what needs to be done in terms of social distancing and increasing hospital capacity (though whether or not that will actually get done is a different question). Contact tracing apps are essentially a way of notifying people when they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, and most experts consider this a crucial tool in returning society to a quasi-normal state amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

But there’s a catch. Aside from technological hurdles (which are not trivial), there are big privacy concerns. Most authorities want these types of apps to also track user location. It makes a lot of sense epidemiologically — it’s worth knowing where the infection hotspots are and who the potential superspreaders may be. But both Apple and Google have announced that that’s a big no-no.

The companies have stressed that privacy is a major concern, and any apps sold on their platforms will prevent governments from using the system to compile data on citizens.

In other words, they won’t allow any centralized contact tracing apps — nothing that can send data to an external, central server. But that’s not the only thing the tech giants want.

The Apple and Google Rules

The two fierce competitors have teamed up to produce their own contact tracing app. While they will also allow other contact tracing apps on the market, these apps need to follow a set of rules, Apple and Google announced. These guidelines include:

  • only health authorities can create contact tracing apps;
  • all apps must get user consent before sending notification;
  • a second consent will be required before sharing positive test results and diagnosis with health authorities;
  • all data collection must be minimized and used only for health purposes — it cannot be used for advertising or policing.

It’s like Bizarro world. Just a few months ago, we were riled up in the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and many were hoping that governments would introduce legislation to protect user data from big tech companies. Now, the tables have turned, and in this case, it’s the companies that want to limit the surveillance data that governments have access to as much as possible.

Of course, it’s a completely different scenario, and there are justified reasons why health organizations and government would want as much data as possible — but there’s little to guarantee how this data will be used.

Already, there have been some clashes between governments and tech giants, as several US officials have expressed displeasure at Apple and Google’s approach to disallowing location tracking. Germany initially wanted to develop its own such app but caved in the face of mounting public pressure demanding stricter privacy settings, and the country will now work with Google’s solution. In the UK, a separate national app is being developed, amid intense criticism for both its usefulness and legality.

While several national apps are in development or already developed, the Apple-Google one will likely be the largest and most significant globally. The two companies cover 99% of the smartphone market, and the app could work internationally without any problems — whereas national apps can’t really communicate with one another when you’re abroad. It will likely be the make-or-break for contact tracing apps.

It might also be the make-or-break of our future smartphone privacy.

The wild apples in the Tien Shan Mountains represent the main ancestral population for our modern apple. Credit: Dr. Martin R. Stuchtey.

How megafauna and humans shaped the apple’s domestication

The wild apples in the Tien Shan Mountains represent the main ancestral population for our modern apple. Credit: Dr. Martin R. Stuchtey.

The wild apples in the Tien Shan Mountains represent the main ancestral population for our modern apple. Credit: Dr. Martin R. Stuchtey.

Apples are perhaps the most familiar fruit in the world but have you ever stopped to wonder how these delicious treats appeared? The path apples had to take from their humble wild origins, thousands of years ago, to farmer’s markets around the world was quite complicated — but also very interesting. Unlike other crops that humans have domesticated, today’s sweet apples are owed to extinct megafauna, as well as Silk Road traders, scientists write in a new study.

Big mammals and human traders

Apples have occupied an important role in humans’ diets since ancient times. We know from art depictions that humans had domesticated the fruits in southern Europe from at least 2,000 years ago. What’s more, ancient seeds found at archaeological sites suggest that humans had been foraging wild apples in Europe and West Asia for more than 10,000 years.

Previously, scientists performed genetic studies establishing that the modern apple is a hybrid of at least four wild apple populations. But how did these different types of apples interact in the first place? According to archaeological evidence, in the form of apple seeds discovered at various sites across Eurasia, apples, as well as other fruit and nut trees, were among the commodities that moved on the Silk Road. To support this hypothesis, much of the modern apple’s genetic material can be traced back to the Tien Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan, an important node in the ancient trade route.

But even long before the Silk Road was founded, the course of apple breeding and evolution was shaped by another major selective force — and it wasn’t humans. Writing in a new study, researchers led by Robert Spengler of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, documented the processes that set the stage for the modern apple’s domestication.

“Seeing that fruits are evolutionary adaptations for seed dispersal, the key to understanding fruit evolution rests in understanding what animals were eating the fruits in the past,” Spengler explains.

Other fruiting plants in the same family as the apple, known as Rosaceae, generally have small fruit (cherries, roses, raspberries etc). These small fruits are advantageous because they can be easily swallowed and dispersed by birds. However, apples, as well as pears, quince, and peaches, evolved large fruits that were too large for birds to disperse their seeds. According to Spengler, the role of apple seed disperser fell onto large animals, particularly European megafauna such as wild horses or large deer who were attracted by the fruit.

A menagerie of megafauna that inhabited Australia some 45,000 years ago. Credit: Peter Trusler, Monash University.

A menagerie of megafauna that inhabited Australia some 45,000 years ago. Credit: Peter Trusler, Monash University.

Spengler and colleagues back their claims with evidence of weak dispersal of wild apple seeds during the past 10,000 years — a period when megafauna became extinct. What’s more, wild apple populations have moved very little over glacial zones of the Ice Age, suggesting that the plants had been moving over long distances in the absence of seed-spreaders.

[panel style=”panel-success” title=”What is megafauna and what happened to it? ” footer=”Credit: American Museum of Natural History”]You’ve probably heard of woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths—but what about a gorilla-sized lemur and 500-pound birds? Ross MacPhee uses colorful illustrations to take us on a journey back in time to the world of the now extinct “megafauna,” and explains what scientists think may have happened to them.

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Without megafauna to move them, wild apple tree populations stayed isolated after the last Ice Age. But then humans started foraging the fruit, moving them across Eurasia along the Silk Road. The traders brought various lineages into contact, causing hybridization. These hybrids produced large fruits — a common trait of hybridization — and humans started to fixate this trait in place through grafting and selecting cuttings of the most favored trees.

Silk road. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Silk road. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Both of these major forces — hungry megafauna and exploring human traders — shaped the modern apple that we all know and hold dear. The most intriguing part of the study, however, lies in the fact that it shows that domestication isn’t a clear-cut process. Rather than employing a long and tedious selection and propagation process, modern apples appeared quickly thanks to hybridization.

“The domestication process is not the same for all plants, and we still do not know much about the process in long-generation trees,” notes Spengler. “It is important that we look past annual grasses, such as wheat and rice, when we study plant domestication. There are hundreds of other domesticated plants on the planet, many of which took different pathways toward domestication.”

The findings appeared in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. 

Credit: Pixabay.

Apple donates 1,000 watches for study to monitor binge eating

Credit: Pixabay.

Credit: Pixabay.

In the following months, researchers at the University of Carolina are getting ready to start one of the biggest scientific initiatives to understand binge eating. The BEGIN project (standing for Binge Eating Genetics Initiative), will employ 1,000 participants aged 18 and over, who have a history with binge eating or bulimia nervosa.

Apple partnered with researchers and will offer a free watch for each of the 1,000 participants, so that they can track their heart rate before and after binge eating episodes. According to doctors, episodes of binging and purging could be associated with a change in heart rate and observing this change could help researchers what exactly goes inside the bodies of those suffering from this eating disorder.

This isn’t the first time Apple watches are being used to further investigate and track health conditions. Earlier this year, Apple launched a new ResearchKit API that could monitor tremor and dyskinesia, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The device was also used to better understand postpartum depression. In November 2017, Apple partnered with Stanford Medicine and created the Apple Heart Study App to identify irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation. These features were eventually introduced on the Apple Watch Series 4, for which Apple was given clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration.

After enrollment, participants will receive a free Apple watch and all they have to do is wear it daily for a month. The data collected by the watch before and after binging and purging episodes will be sent to the researchers, so that they can analyze the biological changes going inside the body. To further understand the extent to which these episodes affect patients, the study will also put at participants’ disposal a free app called Recovery Record, where they can log their thoughts and share that information with their doctor. Because binge eating has a strong psychological component, understand the feelings and mood swings associated with episodes is crucial to developing the right treatment.

Participants will also receive free tests for genetic factors and bodily bacteria in the form of home testing kits, courtesy of start-up UBiome. The goal here is to determine whether changes in the gut bacteria could maintain eating disorder behavior or signal recovery or signs of relapse.

The data collected in this study will be then forwarded to researchers from the University of Utah, who will create a statistical model.

Jenna Tregarthen, CEO of Recovery Record, said: “We’re interested to find out what happens in the time period leading up to the binge and the purge, and we hope we can anticipate and ultimately change the course of that episode”

Binge eating – one of the fastest growing eating disorders in the U.S.

The Binge Eating Genetics Initiative aims to gain more insight into one of most dangerous, yet also least understood and understudied eating disorders plaguing Americans. The latest data from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders shows that at least 2.8% of Americans suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) in their lifetime and what’s worrying is that millions of cases go undiagnosed, the disorder taking its toll on people’s physical and mental health.

Every 60 minutes, someone dies in the U.S. because of an eating disorder. Analyzing the complex biological markers leading up to binging episodes could help researchers prevent and treat it.

Research becomes all the more important considering that binge eating is associated with comorbid mood and anxiety disorders, as well as substance abuse, usually alcohol. The connection between addition and binge eating has been made before, which is why modern rehab centers adopt a holistic approach. Combining the data received from Apple watches with the data received from Recovery Record could thus provide researchers with a comprehensive perspective on what happens before, during and after binge eating episodes.

A recent study released in July by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior offered more insight into the similarities between binge eating and addiction. A small group of brain cells called “orexin” neurons control symptoms such as the sense of losing control, which also occurs in drug addiction. Targeting these brain cells with orexin blockers could be the next step in reducing the amount of food consumed during the binge eating episodes and offer patients a chance to take control of their lives and diets.

The BEGIN project is just one in a series of recent initiatives that aim to change the current state of events in the United States, where pharmacological treatments are currently limited for patients with eating disorders. Combined with the breakthrough therapies that are already being used in rehab centers, new medication could press pause on one of the most dangerous eating conditions in the United States.

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Popular voice assistants like Siri or Alexa easily hacked with ultrasonic commands

The world’s biggest tech companies have devoted huge resources to voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa. Yet despite a user base numbering in the millions, these apps have serious flaws as researchers at Zhejiang University, China, recently showed. They found a gaping vulnerability that can be easily exploited by hackers who only need to send ultrasound commands to the voice assistant to gain access to personal information.

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Credit: Pixabay.

This is a very sneaky exploit since a hacker can take command of your handheld device standing right next to you. You’ll never notice since the voice commands are ‘whispered’ in ultrasounds, whose frequencies are above the human audible range (20Hz to 20kHz).

Although we can’t hear this mosquito squeal, the software’s voice command software is perfectly capable of picking the ultrasound frequencies which it decodes as instructions for the device.

The Zhejiang researchers showed that this exploit aptly called DolphinAttack can be used to send commands to popular devices from Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Huawei. They transmitted the attack using a common smartphone with $3-woth of additional hardware — a microphone and an amplifier.

Mark Wilson, writing for Fast Company, described what happened next:

The researchers didn’t just activate basic commands like “Hey Siri” or “Okay Google,” though. They could also tell an iPhone to “call 1234567890” or tell an iPad to FaceTime the number. They could force a Macbook or a Nexus 7 to open a malicious website. They could order an Amazon Echo to “open the backdoor.” Even an Audi Q3 could have its navigation system redirected to a new location.

“Inaudible voice commands question the common design assumption that adversaries may at most try to manipulate a [voice assistant] vocally and can be detected by an alert user,” the research team writes in a paper just accepted to the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.

The transmitter had to be as close as only a couple inches to some devices for the exploit to work, it has to be said, though others like the Apple Watch were vulnerable within several feet. Even so, a hacker would simply need to stand right next to a vulnerable device in a crowd or public transit to get it to open malware.

At this point, some readers might be wondering why manufacturers don’t simply stick to the audible range. The problem is that that would come at the cost of sacrificing performance and user experience, due to filtering algorithms which use harmonic content outside the human range of hearing. Moreover, manufacturers use different microphones, most of which are designed to transduce pressure waves in electricity. This means it’s mechanically impossible to block ultrasounds from the hardware.

It’s all up to Google, Amazon, Apple, and the likes to decide how they’ll address this vulnerability.

Meanwhile, the best thing you can do to keep your device safe is to turn off ‘always-on’ listening, which is typically turned on by default. Otherwise, a hacker might just be able to send commands via DolphinAttack even when the device is locked.

fingerprint authentication.

Fingerprint authentication for smartphones isn’t secure at all. Some of the enrolled prints are like ‘1234’ PIN codes

fingerprint authentication.

Credit: NYU Tandon School of Engineering

No two fingerprints are the same, which is why a lot of people feel very confident that their high-end smartphones can’t be unlocked without their touch of approval. But that’s just wishful thinking since the technology manufacturers use creates vulnerabilities that a hacker can exploit in order to ‘guess’ the fingerprint similarly to PIN code brute force attack.

Meet the MasterPrint

The fingerprint-based authentication systems you find in smartphones use very small sensors that only partially record and verify a person’s fingerprint. The smaller the area or resolution, the greater the likelihood that some of the patterns match features from another person’s fingerprint. Researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan State University College of Engineering claim these similarities could be enough for a hacker to create a ‘MasterPrint’ that has a chance to unlock devices given a large enough sample pool.

Nasir Memon is a professor of computer science at NYU Tandon and the study’s team lead. He says a MasterPrint is akin to the ‘1234’ PIN code password because both have a ‘4 percent’ match. Some 4 percent of PIN codes have the password ‘1234’ which is why hackers try this value first when attempting to guess the password. A MasterPrint matched at least 4 percent of other prints in a randomly selected batch.

It's true that no two fingerprints are the same but smartphone fingerprint sensors only partially record the area. Multiple partial fingerprints are captured for the same finger during enrollment by the smartphone. Credit: NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

It’s true that no two fingerprints are the same but smartphone fingerprint sensors only partially record the area. Multiple partial fingerprints are captured for the same finger during enrollment by the smartphone. Credit: NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Memon and colleagues analyzed some 8,200 partial fingerprints with a commercially available fingerprint verification software and found 92 potential MasterPrints for every randomly selected sample bath of 800 partial prints. However, there was only one full-fingerprint MasterPrint in a sample of 800 prints, the researchers reported in IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics & Security. 

“Not surprisingly, there’s a much greater chance of falsely matching a partial print than a full one, and most devices rely only on partials for identification,” said Memon.

After this first round, the researchers then designed an algorithm that can create synthetic partial MasterPrints. Remarkably, these had an even wider matching potential with experiments findings a successful matching between 26 and 65 percent of users. The matching varied wildly based on the number of partial fingerprint impressions stored for each use, all assuming a maximum of five authentication attempts. Specifically, the more partial fingerprints a smartphone stores, the more vulnerable it is to an attack.

fingerprint sensor hack

Credit: NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Although the synthetic MasterPrints were simulated, the researchers emphasize that it’s not difficult for an attacker to transfer the print to physical artifacts to spoof a device. Moreover, the techniques involved in creating synthetic fingerprints can be refined for better results.

Sample fingerprints vs MasterPrints. The solid lines indicate a match.

Sample fingerprints vs MasterPrints. The solid lines indicate a match.

Manufacturers should take note, Memon and colleagues say, especially considering the fingerprint sensors are becoming increasingly smaller.

 “If resolution is not improved, the distinctiveness of a user’s fingerprint will be inevitably compromised. The empirical analysis conducted in this research clearly substantiates this, said Michigan State University Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Arun Ross.

Previously, fingerprint authentification came under a lot of fire after the iPhone’s TouchID fingerprint authentication was hacked using lifted fingerprints. According to the study’s results, 40 to 50 percent of iPhone TouchIDs could be unlocked within the 5 tries if an attacker somehow wore a ‘glove’ with a MasterPrint on each finger. Apple, on the other hand, told the New York Times that “the chance of a false match in the iPhone’s fingerprint system was 1 in 50,000 with one fingerprint enrolled.” But since their fingerprint technology and records are secrets, there’s no way to verify this claim.

Besides adding a larger fingerprint sensor, the researchers recommend newer biometric security options, such as the iris scanner in Samsung’s new Galaxy S8. As for users, they recommend people disable fingerprint authentication for their most sensitive apps, such as mobile payments.

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Do chimps have accents? New research casts doubt on it

A study published by British researchers caused a storm among biologists; the question on everyone’s lips – do chimps have accents?

Sophie Pearson / University of York

Initially, a group of eight researchers studied a group of chimps moved from a Dutch safari to a Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, concluding that the primates can replace the vocal sounds their native group used for objects, in this case apples, with those of their new group. In other words, they are able of vocal learning and adaptation and can develop their own accent. But not everyone is convinced.

“There are a number of problems with the original study,” said Dr James Higham, from New York University. “Some of these relate to the methods used, while others are fundamentally a misrepresentation of what the data actually show.”

Dutch chimps used a high-pitch to denote apples, but after three years in Edinburgh, they switched to the lower pitch that the Edinburgh chimps use. This seems logical, but the data set is very limited. Another team re-analyzed the results, and came up with a different, more conservative conclusion.

“This was a pretty drastic example of exaggerated claims based on a thin data set,” Fischer said. “Some people are more happy to accept a wild explanation. Others aren’t.”

Dr Simon Townsend from the University of Warwick, who co-wrote the original study with colleagues in York and St Andrews said that it’s normal for this type of things to happen – it’s how science works – but he refuted the new claims.

“We think that we’ve addressed the points that they bring up. It’s an interesting critique of our research – and this is exactly how science works.”

It will take quite a while before the dust settles and the scale weighs in one way or another – or it may never do, at least not in the near future. But it does highlight a very important aspect: if you want to make bold claims, you need serious evidence to back it up. The initial study may be right, but its conclusions are still debatable – and there’s nothing wrong with it; if anything, it’s the mark of healthy science.

 

siri hack phone

Hackers find a way to hijack Siri and control your phone from a distance

Combining machine learning and data analytics, Siri – the personal assistant for millions of Apple users – is a very powerful tool. Simply by voicing commands, Siri listens and obeys, whether you want to know how many calories are in your soda can or how many planes are flying above your head this very instant. But what if someone commanded Siri without your permission? A group of ethical French hackers recently showed it’s possible to hijack Siri from up to 16 feet away using hardware that can fit in a backpack and satisfy any whim.

siri hack phone

Image: Next Web

The experiment was made by researchers at ANSSI, a French gov branch specialized in information security. The security breach was found when an Apple user plugs in headphones equipped with a mic. Using a laptop running GNU Radio, equipped with an antenna and amplifier, the French hackers demonstrated how it was possible to send electromagnetic waves that get picked up by the headphones. The EM waves then turn into an electrical signal, get digitized and code instructions for Siri or Google Now, for Android handsets. The commands are pre-programmed, so the hackers didn’t even have to whisper a request to Siri.

“The possibility of inducing parasitic signals on the audio front-end of voice-command-capable devices could raise critical security impacts,” the two French researchers, José Lopes Esteves and Chaouki Kasmi, write in a paper published by the IEEE.

“The sky is the limit here. Everything you can do through the voice interface you can do remotely and discreetly through electromagnetic waves.”

Kasmi and Esteves say that a hacker could walk inside an airport or some other busy public space with the hardware turned on, listening and sending signals to any Apple device with Siri enabled, and headphones plugged in. The phone can then be instructed to open a malware site, which can install further malicious code, or send SMS to paid numbers that make cash for the hackers. The researchers told Wired that they’ve contacted Apple and Google about the issue and recommend manufacturers devise headphone chords with better shielding. I can’t help think, however, that all these ethical hacks meant to showcase breaches in security are actually giving hackers fain ideas. We can only hope companies stay one step ahead of the wave, for our own sake.

Users concerned about such hacks should disable access to Siri from the lockscreen. This can be accomplished by opening the iOS Settings application, selecting Touch ID & Passcode, and then scrolling down to uncheck Siri under Allow Access When Locked.

gm_arctic_Apples

Genetically modified apples don’t turn brown when sliced or bruised

The US government approved a genetically modified apple that doesn’t turn brown when bruised or sliced. While most genetic alterations of plants involve making these more resilient to pests or yield more, the non-browning apples were made out of cosmetic considerations. Of course, the apples will still  rot and eventually get brown, but in time and not so easily when stressed (cell rupture). But despite the government approval, voices run rampant against the genetically modified fruit from behalf of anti-GMO groups, as well as rivaling food companies.

These apples keep their colour

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Left, a normal sliced apple left to oxidize; right, genetically modified Arctic apples. Image: Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a rather small Canadian company, is behind the new product. An oddity in itself considering the GM space is dominated by giants like Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer. Their intention is to address both consumer and food companies who might benefit from apples that don’t turn brown, which hardly sell in super markets. During harvest and shipping, tons and tons of apples get bruised, turn brown and end up in the gutter. As reported earlier, so-called ugly fruit and veggies get thrown away at a massive scale just because they don’t appeal to the market’s aesthetic standards – between 20 and 40 percent of all fresh food is thus thrown away by farmers. Companies that process apples, like sliced apples, may also greatly benefit. It’s believed that 30% of the cost for sliced apples goes into tainting these with anti-oxidants so they don’t go brown, so consumers will get to buy these 30% cheaper.

When you cut an apple in half – or a banana or potato for that matter – you’ll notice it starts getting brown within a couple of minutes. This is caused by the reaction between an enzyme found in the apples, as well as in other foods, called  polyphenol oxidase or tyrosinase with oxygen and  iron-containing phenols. The fruit starts to oxidize, when electrons are lost to another molecule (in this case the air), and the food turns brown. Basically, an edible rusty crust is formed on your food. You see the browning when the fruit is cut or bruised because these actions damage the cells in the fruit, allowing oxygen in the air to react with the enzyme and other chemicals. To keep your sliced apples as fresh as possible, you need to reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to react with the tyrosinase. Putting the apples under water or vacuum packing are just a few effective ways to do this, but you can also try adding lemon juice (acidic) to reduce the pH of the exposed surface. Or, you can buy Okanagan’s apples and be done with it.

To fix the oxidation problem, the Okanagan researchers engineered their apples – called Arctic apples – so these make less of the polyphenol oxidase. What’s interesting though is that rather than snipping out the genetic code responsible for producing the enzyme, the researchers actually added more copies of the enzyme’s gene, causing the fruit to switch off the whole lot.

Neal Carter, the president of Okanagan, said the apple had “a lot of silent supporters” and would be popular with the food service business.

“I can’t believe how many requests we’ve had just this morning to our website from people who want to buy trees,” he said.

Already, one grower is allegedly planting  20,000 trees this spring, which should yield 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of apples by the fall of 2016, that’s if nothing happens in the meantime. A lot of people are critical of the Arctic apples, which come in two varieties, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.

“This G.M.O. apple is simply unnecessary,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement, using the initials for “genetically modified organism.” “Apple browning is a small cosmetic issue that consumers and the industry have dealt with successfully for generations.”

Carter argues, however, that his apples aren’t technically genetically modified organisms, not in the traditional sense at least. In the lab, plants are typically altered by adding a gene from some foreign organism, but Carter’s apples were made by internal tweaking of its genes – there’s nothing “alien” inside. But consumer groups say shutting off the browning mechanism could have unintended effects. The Agriculture Department, however, said the Arctic apples seemed to be nutritionally equivalent to other apples. In November, the Agriculture Department approved a genetically engineered potato developed by the J.R. Simplot Company that uses a similar technique to prevent browning.

 

What chemical elements are inside your new iPhone

It’s only been recently that Apple released its new iPhone 6, and like every year zealots are lining up in front of Apple stores. In fact, the company reports that some 4 million iPhone 6 preorders were placed within the first 24 hours, yet again showing how powerful a cult brand can be. Aside from being a nifty gadget, the iPhone, and other high-end smartphones for that matter, is an extremely complex piece of technology. The fact that most people use a device with computing power equivalent to the all the computers used to put man on the moon during the late ’60s to view pics of funny cats on the internet is another thing. Seriously, though, you’d be surprised how much energy is invested in building the iPhone and in the latest installment of the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series – an online show that explores chemicals from every day – you’ll find out more about one piece of the Apple technology chain: chemical elements.

Gold, silver and a slew of other precious metals and rare earth minerals are employed in the iPhone’s manufacturing, especially the touchscreen and battery. It’s estimated some 1.7 billion smartphones are currently in use all over the world, which is set to become quite a problem in only a couple of years when people will decide to throw away their phones. At this scale, tones and tones of precious metals are being wasted, but even more worrisome is that extremely toxic elements might leach into the ground if smartphones aren’t disposed of correctly – this is the case in most places in the world.

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Essential Security Apps for Your iPhone 5

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If you’re determined to hang on for dear life to your iPhone 5 rather than switching with the masses to the 5c or 5s, check out your options, pat yourself on the back for your patience, and dig your heels in to the ground as you wait it out for the next smaller, better, and even more beautiful and secure generation of iPhones. The wait will be worth it. In the meantime, however, you might as well take advantage of your companion iPhone 5 and ensure that its security has nothing left to be desired, as malware balloons into the Apple world, phones are constantly lost and stolen, and your device is a precious and pricey piece of metal. There are a few apps that you can get – and many at no cost – that will double bar the doors of your phone so that none may enter, making your handset that much more safe until your next upgrade comes along.

Now in version 2.0.3, Find My iPhone is perhaps at its most handy. The free Apple-engineered app helps iPhones (and iPads, and Mac laptops) to never go missing. If you happen to misplace your device or if your iPhone knowingly gets stolen, you can simply download and run the app from another iOS device, log in with your Apple ID and then do one of a few things. If you suspect your missing device is near, you can play a loud sound for two full minutes in order to find it. If it’s been lost at a further range, you can lock your device and display a Help message to whoever might find it. In the case of a stolen iPhone, you have the option to erase all of your data remotely from the app, lock the phone, and track its exact GPS location as well as where it has been, so that you can get busy finding it fast. This clever programme will even give you driving directions to the location of the missing iPhone, and can give a contact number to whoever finds the phone when lost so that your chances of getting it back are quite good. This is an essential app to have on your iPhone 5, as it is optimized for that model, and may end up saving your phone from tragedy in the end.

While not quite as fundamentally important as the above, Norton Snap can be just as important to the security of your iPhone 5 if you are one of the many users of QR codes, the scannable two-toned barcode images that are showing up everywhere these days. When you scan a QR code into your smartphone, it brings you to a website location that the creators programmed into the image – usually, it’s an innocent event page or mundane URL giving you more information about whatever it originated from. For instance, you might scan a QR code from a festival flyer, and it would lead you to the festival’s main website or ticket purchase area. But with hackers now caught falsifying QR codes to lead to unsecure and dangerous websites, you need Norton Snap QR code reader to separate the real from the scam. The programme assesses the safety of each website you try to visit, and blocks those who seem to want to steal your data or hack through your information. The black interface is clean and simple, and your random browsing is made 100% safe with the Norton Verified seal of safety approval.

Other security apps you may want to consider are WiseId and HotSpot Shield VPN which protect your private data and keep you encrypted even in public, but remember that just by virtue of having an iPhone 5, you are at far less risk of getting a bug or hiccup than many other phones, but much more at risk of getting the device stolen. Keep Find My iPhone on your handset at all times to never lose track of your favorite pocket computer.

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Apple Thinks Samsung Is Not As Cool As They Are

Apple-vs-Samsung-lawsuit

If you have had access to the internet for the past year, you are probably aware of the feud between Apple and Samsung over the latter’s supposed theft of features from the iPad and iPhone. Apple won the lawsuit in the United States, meriting a 1 billion dollar fine from Samsung but now, Apple lost its appeal at the U.K. High Court. This required Apple to publish a notice on their U.K. website’s homepage that stated the court’s finding that Samsung did not borrow its patents. Apple used it as a clever way to slam the competitor. Originally, it was ruled that Apple must have that notice up on its U.K. website, as well as some printed publications in the United Kingdom for one month. Apple complied by adding a small link at the bottom the page that said “Samsung/Apple UK judgment” to verify that Samsung did not break any laws in the U.K.

The statement was written to appear like a sort of advertisement for Apple. Here are some excerpts from the message Apple posted:

Samsung / Apple UK judgment

“On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001.

…In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:

“The informed user’s overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.”

They were ordered to remove the statement and Apple has since updated and edited its apology to Samsung after a U.K. Court of Appeal found it to be “untrue” and “incorrect”. Robin Jacob, the U.K. appeals court judge said that he was “…at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” also adding that Apple had breached their order by saying what they did on their U.K. website.

Here is the revised statement on Apple’s U.K. website:

On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html. That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

apple macbook

5 Great Add-Ons for Your Mac Device

apple macbook

Apple products are notoriously expensive.  Fortunately, Mac fans have options that would let them maximize their Mac devices more without the need to break the bank. Here are some must-have add-ons for your Mac that are worth every cent.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III

If you’re looking for the best combination of design and sound performance, then this is the Mac peripheral for you. The Harman Kardon Soundsticks II speaker and subwoofer system made history when it permanently became a part of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  Improving on the pop-culture appeal and impressive performance of the previous version, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is the best sound system for music, movies, and games aficionados.  Fill your own entertainment center with detailed quality sound with the Soundstick’s 40 watts of amplification, 20-watt woofer for a deep bass experience, and eight full-range transducers. The Soundsticks III also has touch volume and mute controls, subwoofer volume control, and angle-adjustable satellites.  Its 3.5mm stereo audio connection makes it compatible with your other devices. With great sound and cutting-edge industrial design, this is one of the best speakers for your Mac.

Logitech USB Laptop Speaker Z305

Great for almost any type of laptop and netbook, this compact Logitech speaker clips easily onto your Mac.  It’s a lightweight speaker suited for the business traveller, especially if you want clear and crisp sound on your VoIP service calls.  For comparatively small speakers, you’ll be surprised with its excellent sound quality and volume. Since it’s plugged via USB cable, you don’t need to worry about toting along batteries or needing an extra electrical outlet. Thoughtfully designed, it also comes with a softly padded travel case and built-in cable storage. With its simplicity, minimalism, and mobility, it’s definitely a great complement to your Macbook.

Ruckus ZoneFlex 7363 Wireless Access Point

Whether you’re in a hotel, a restaurant, or in the office, the ZoneFlex 7363 is one of the best 802.11n mid-range performance access points available. It automatically prioritizes VoIP and video traffic, has up to four times extended coverage and range, and can deliver 20 concurrent voice calls with 100 simultaneous data users per radio. Reliable on your OS X device and aesthetically pleasing, the ZoneFlex 7363 is ideal to take with you on your business trips or any type of travel.

Memory Upgrade Kit from Other World Computing

Recognized by Mac enthusiasts around the world, Other World Computing (OWC) is the Reader’s Choice for best Mac Peripheral Reseller. You can go to their site at macsales.com to browse through an amazing collection of products for your Mac.  A recommended purchase is OWC’s RAM modules, which significantly cost less than extra RAM in Apple stores. If you feel that you don’t have sufficient RAM in your MAC, call OWC’s customer service hotline to be advised of the most compatible and cost-effective RAM purchase.

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive for Mac

Just recently announced is Seagate’s portable drive designed specifically for Mac. This latest addition to the Backup Plus line of external drives makes sharing and storing your digital life easier. It lets you automatically save photos from your online communities and share videos and photos to your social networks. You can also increase transfer speeds if you decide to upgrade to Thunderbolt technology. Since it is Mac ready, Seagate Backup Plus only needs to be plugged into your Mac device. If you need a hard drive that can be interchanged between a Mac and a PC, try the Seagate Backup Plus.

What are the other add-ons you use on your Mac?  Share the Apple love in your comments.

 

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Smart Reader: Inspecting the Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

The Kindle Fire line has been considerably successful thanks to the very attractive price points and its robust feature sets, considering they’re mainly e-readers in tablet form. The recently released Kindle Fire HD 8.9 offers the same things, albeit on a larger form factor. That said, it’s time to take a closer look at this new offering from Amazon.

Design

Many have been praising the Kindle Fire HD 8.9’s design since it came out, and for good reason. The device is simply delightful to hold in the hand. It’s not as cumbersome as the larger 10.1-inch tablets, and there’s really not much bulk or weight added compared to the smaller 7-inch tablets. It’s bigger than an iPad Mini, but it would seem that the Kindle Fire HD is quite easier to hold. It’s considerably thin and not blocky at all, which contributes to the refined handling of the device.

As far as looks are concerned, the Kindle Fire HD is none too shabby. It’s quite a generic bezel-laden face and doesn’t stand out much, but the understated aesthetic gives way to the utility of the device. When you go to the tactile aspect of the device, you will likely be surprised at how well-built it feels. The matte finish no doubt helps contribute to this feeling. It might not be enough to shake people who swear by Apple’s reputed industrial design, but it should at least reassure you that your investment will last.

Performance

If you’ve used the initial 7-inch Kindle Fire, you might have been a bit bothered by the sometimes-sluggish performance. It’s a good thing that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 isn’t only bigger, but it also packs a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz—and it’s a pretty recent TI OMAP 4470 at that. As expected, videos will run smooth and HD games will play well enough.

However, there are some issues with the tablet’s basic functions that leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. For example, you might still experience some lag when switching between apps or even flicking through the pages of your ebooks. You just have to scratch your head and wonder why, although one of our suspects is the Kindle OS (a skinned version of Android) and how it just isn’t all that optimized just yet. It’s a bit sad considering how well the rest of the device has been made, only to find that there’s something amiss at its core.

When you go to the display, it’s clear that Amazon has a winning device.  The 254 ppi display isn’t Retina-level just yet, but there’s very little difference in terms of the contrast and sharpness offered by the Kindle Fire HD 8.9’s screen. The 1920×1200 screen helps make text crisp and makes all manner of content look clean. Viewing angles are stellar, and the colors pop out on the display. These are all great for watching video content.

Ecosystem

If this is your first foray into an Amazon tablet, you should know that you won’t have access to the same app store that other Android users get. The ecosystem just isn’t the same when it’s closed to Amazon. It’s great for shopping, definitely, thanks to Amazon Prime that gives you access to practically anything and everything. If you’re not really much of an app person and you really just want a multifaceted e-reader, there shouldn’t be any problem on this front.

 

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is available in WiFi and LTE-equipped variants. If you want to enjoy mobile data and services like RingCentral VoIP phone service while away from hotspots, you might want to go for the version that comes with 4G LTE connectivity. Of course, if you’re only planning to use this tablet as a reader most of the time, then you won’t have any problems with the Wi-Fi-only model. Starting at $299, it’s hard not to consider the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 as your next holiday gadget purchase.

Apple obsession

There are Weirder Things to Apple Than You Think

Apple obsessionApple’s products have received much praise and acclaim; and there are living testaments to these feats. But aside from the conventional stories that discuss how the company’s products have changed and improved lives, there’s a quirkier side to this Cupertino, CA-based corporation started by Steve Jobs. Take a look at these interesting stories and find out what kind of impact this powerful brand have had on people.

Teen sells kidney to buy Apple products

Reports from Xinhua News Agency cite that a Chinese teenager named Wang Shangkun has sold his kidney for $3,500 to buy an iPad and an iPhone with the money in April 2011. Wang’s mother became suspicious after her son returned home with the costly new gadgets, and the 17-year-old boy immediately confessed when asked about the matter. Xinhua further reported that the teen is now suffering from renal insufficiency and that the five people involved in the harvesting of the organ are now facing charges of illegal organ trading. Wang reportedly made contact with these people through internet chat rooms; the dealer allegedly walked away with $35,000 and Wang received the 10% compensation.

iPhone glitch ruins couple’s chances at making a baby

On January 1 and 2 of 2011, tons of people overslept due to an iPhone glitch that made alarms stop functioning properly. It was especially disastrous for a couple who missed a fertility treatment deadline due to the error with the alarm. For those unaware, fertility treatments require different drugs to be injected for several weeks at prescribed days and times; missing an injection can curtail or complicate a pregnancy. Each treatment costs thousands of dollars, and for the couple involved, this single glitch put everything they worked on into waste. A lot of people suggested that they should have set multiple alarms, downloaded a third-party alarm app or have someone send a message on their voicemail number (i.e RingCentral) exactly on the time they should’ve woken up so they’ll receive a push notification; but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Danish erotica site awards iPhone for smallest private part

For a country as small and as less populous as Denmark, size really matters. AFP says Morten Fabricius, owner of a Danish website called Singlesex.dk, held a competition inviting participants to send in photos of their private parts to determine the man with the smallest organ. The rules involved having a measuring tape next to the “member” in the photo. Fabricius said he hopes the competition would enable people to poke fun on the sensitive subject of measuring one’s manhood. An iPhone is up for grabs for the contest winner, while the second and third placers will each win an iPad 3.

Chinese dude makes own iPhone 5

A Chinese dude posted one of his projects on popular site Sina Weibo. It features him crafting an iPhone 5 step-by-step using a piece of steel. The poster even joked that he did the handcrafted phone because he can’t afford a real iPhone 5 and at the same time never had the courage to sell his kidney. He created the steel grey look of the iPhone using “chemical water” and got it smoothened by using a polishing machine. He drew the Apple logo and other inscriptions using a pencil while he printed a copy of the menu interface to replicate the screen. If this is an example of what great lengths the Chinese would go to just to create knockoffs, then I’m throwing my hands up.

Oprah promotes Surface via iPad

In an attempt to draw more customers to the new Microsoft Surface, Oprah gives a shout out to the product on Twitter using the hashtag, “#FavoriteThings.” However, the said tweet revealed that she (or her social media intern) was using an iPad – an interesting yet foolish mistake on her part. Social media has gone haywire after the boo-boo, bringing in various queries like “Who makes tech purchase decisions based on Oprah’s preferences?” or “When is a dedicated Twitter app coming out on the Windows Store (so that Oprah would stop tweeting from her iPad)?” Nice work, Oprah (or her social media team)!

apple innovation

Apple Just Isn’t Innovating Anymore, Apologists Notwithstanding

apple innovation

For me, the iPad Mini is the final straw in Apple’s ongoing struggles to market itself as the innovator. Fanboys will no doubt be quick to launch into a tirade about how this just isn’t true, but the rest of us can see it—Apple just isn’t innovating anymore.

How many people do you know have held off on buying an iPad Mini? Comments from my Apple-loving friends range from “I’ll just wait for the Retina version” to “It’s the same old [expletive deleted] where Apple tries to make quick cash off a new product.” Yes, Apple, the iPad Mini is downright crappy, from the size you decided on to the previous-gen hardware you equipped it with. Not exactly pushing any envelopes on that front, eh?

No Excuses

Fanboys have not been hesitant to defend their beloved Apple against this barrage of allegations. There’s the omnipresent excuse of unparalleled design and superb build quality. True enough, Apple really does make a crop of well-designed devices, no matter if they all look alike. It’s a tried and tested visual formula with some tweaks here and there depending on the device, and this approach really works for a wide range of people.

Design, however, is overrated—especially when it’s old and tired as the designs Apple has been releasing and rereleasing these past several years. There’s nothing wrong with that—Macbooks, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, iPods all look great—but when you have millions of devices literally looking the same, it just gets old fast. It doesn’t matter if the handset is a personal device or a RingCentral business phone; you need to differentiate design one way or another—and no, elongating an existing design doesn’t cut it. It should be the same thing with how comic-book lovers hate Same Face Syndrome on the illustrated characters.

Always Late to the Tech Game

Here’s the thing: Can’t Apple simply provide its patrons the best technology has to offer? Must there always be a compromise between design/build quality and specs/power/tech? Why can’t Apple supplement its supposedly unparalleled design with unparalleled technical capabilities as well?

At this point, I believe there is no reason why Apple can’t come out with the best it can offer. Oh, sure, people will say that there’s a reason iOS is always so polished—that it takes time to test and tweak and troubleshoot stuff in and around the OS, especially where it pertains to the hardware side of things. That’s just a load of crap. With all the money Apple makes, there’s no way it can’t get the resources to make the development and testing phases more real-time with the evolution of technology. Plus, if it really does need all that time to get everything as polished as they make it out to be, why have we still witnessed such things as Antennagate and that Maps fiasco on iOS 6?

But it seems the manufacturer is only interested in making money—regardless of what its execs might say—which is why Apple is always late to the game. It was late to bring a bigger screen (and even then, the 4-incher on the iPhone 5 is just as big as the midrange Android phone screens of the past year), it was late to LTE. It will always be late to many of the technologies users in other ecosystems are enjoying, even though we know that the company is capable of doing so much more. But it has to hold itself back, to foster incremental updates and product refreshes so that they can haul in more cash.

Five Unique Ways to Use the iPad

People are starting to find unique and creative ways to maximize the iPad to its full potential. This article lists down five of them.

 

While most people buy and use the iPad for basic functions like web browsing, reading, playing games, watching videos, and listening to music, people are starting to find unique and creative ways to maximize the Apple manufactured device to its full potential. Take a look at five of them and hit the comments below to share what you think about them.

As a teleprompter

Millions of people in the broadcast industry will be forever thankful to Steve Jobs because of this wonder tablet he helped bring into the world. It has provided broadcasters with an electronic, scrolling display of lines, scripts, or spiels on a monitor to assist them whenever they go on camera. With the release of the iPad, the teleprompter instantly became a thing of the past. And even if you don’t belong in the media industry, you can benefit from such a function: you can practice speeches and presentations and do podcasts as well. Some of the apps you can use include Teleprompt+, Prompster Pro, and Best Prompter Pro. No need to invest for expensive teleprompter equipment!

As a digital photo frame

A random feature of the iPad that’s gaining widespread acceptance is its capability to serve as a digital photo frame. To do this, you need to transfer photos on your device or set up existing ones in a playable slideshow within the iPad’s Picture Frame option. It’s that little picture icon appearing alongside the “slide to unlock” prompt whenever you turn your device on. Tap it and then presto – a nice photo frame you can rest on a stand or dock and then placed on your desk at work for a slideshow of your Pomeranian or your boyfriend.

As a musical instrument

Did your band break up? It’s okay, because you still have your iPad to form your one-man band. You can play virtually anything on the iPad – you don’t have to worry about “musical differences” and such. All you have to do is to download or buy the right apps to play with. Different music apps available for the iPad include 3D Drum Kit, Guitar Toolkit, Pianist Pro, Six Strings, Pro Keys, and FunkBox, among others.

Check out the video below which features a performance of the classic song “I’m a Believer” to see how multiple iPads can be used as a full suite of musical instruments: Video.

Amazing, isn’t it?

As a VoIP device

There’s so much stuff nowadays VoIP service providers can do that you can finally give your phone carrier a run for its money. With apps from providers like Skype, RingCentral, and of course, Apple’s native Facetime, all the essential features for communication via WiFi is now merely a touch or swipe away on the iPad. Albeit quality issues with regard to audio and call quality, expect that various services (and ultimately, Apple) will be able to overcome the technological hurdles in a matter of time.

As a GPS navigator

Because of the impressive performance of the iPad’s GPS chip, a lot of people are using their iPads as an in-car navigation system. Advanced features like turn-by-turn voice driven directions, extensive POI (point of interest) files, and high-quality maps can now be enjoyed without having to shell out huge sums of money for an extra device. Apps like the MotionX GPS Drive HD, Co-Pilot Live, Waze, and TomTom Navigator are just some of the excellent car navigation apps available for the iPad.

 

Why a mini iPAD wouldn’t be a good idea

We’ve been recently bombarded with rumours about a new, mini iPAD. Apple has neither confirmed nor denied these news, which means it’s almost certainly true, but it leaked, despite their wishes. So let me sure if I get this right: iPADs were made because iPhones were too small for a tablet use, and now they want to make mini tables and make them small again? Makes perfect sense!

This being said, I think I understand what they’re going after; the iPAD has it good, being by far the best selling tablet device in the world, the 3rd generation sold even better than previous ones, and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them. But what they want to do is access the masses – those who just don’t want to spend $500 USD for a device which they might break when they fall asleep on the couch.

But there are issues with this thinking. The main problem is that no matter how you spin it, it’s still going to be expensive. Sure, it won’t be as expensive, but it will still cost some serious bucks, so you’ll only get those people who want to spend say $300, but not $500 – that just takes out a big chunk of your market, from the start. The only thing you can really do here is tap into the school market – if it’s cheap enough the door might open for the school universe, but Android is pretty solid in the spear-heading position, and schools don’t really care about your brand like that cool hipster from Starbucks does.

Then again, there’s the big problem with Apple: free data; one of the big reasons why people don’t buy Apple products is that some tablets “free” 3G internet connectivity, that connectivity subsidized by advertisements – and Apple would never do that, of course, mini or no mini. So, what do you think, does a mini iPAD have any chance of making it big?

Mountain Lion os is apparently really popular, despite battery life problem

It was obvious from the start Mountain OS was going to be popular in the Apple fan crowd, but few people expected it to be this popular. With stricter system requirements, working only on models newer than mid 2007 which had 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space, it was going to be really interesting to see how it goes – and it went just great.

Apple announced Mountain Lion has been downloaded over three million times in the four days since it was launched, making it the most successful MAC OS launched so far. Apple believes the operating system owes its success to the massive amount of new features that Mountain Lion features; as you may or may not know, it has over 200 new features, most of which were created to make it much more suitable for social networking, with built-in integration of Facebook joining the already built-in integration of Twitter. This kind of move was definitely expected, and as we’ve already gotten used to, you can rely on Apple to make the first move in the social direction.

However, Apple staff was quick to point out that the success is also owed to the Mac App Store – many users upgrading because they wanted to take advantage of the new features as well as the ones that are added all the time. As more people buy the new MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs, it will be interesting to see how well Mountain Lion performs over the next few months; you can probably expect the number to go at several tens of millions of downloads by the end of the year, especially as a big part of the market is still a fan of Apple – and Apple fans die hard, despite the fact that many Mac users are reporting that installing OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) is causing a major drop in battery life on MacBook Pros and Airs

iPhone 5 photos surface – September 12 release, new report reads

According to a latest report released by the blog iMore, it seems Apple‘s flagship product and the world’s most recognizable smartphone, the iPhone, will have a new member officially added to the family this fall, on Sep 12 to be more precise. We also have some new iPhone 5 photos to show.

Actually, “this fall” has been used in phrases quite often in the past few weeks when Apple officials were persuaded by the media to unravel their tongues for a minute and throw us a bone or two about the new iPhone, which will most likely be called the iPhone 5. On the same date of Sep. 12, the new iPod Nano will also be unveiled. There’s a possibility that the new iPad Mini will also be presented to the general audience at the same date.

Apple’s last iPhone release was the iPhone 4S on Oct. 4. Check out alleged iPhone 5 photos below, courtesy of iMore.

 

iphone 5 manufacturing

iPhone 5 enters production in Shanghai

iphone 5 manufacturing

More and more rumors of the impeding entry in production of the highly anticipated iPhone 5 have been circulating on the web and media outlets these past few days. Most recently, a Taipei-based report has Pegatron, a Taiwan manufacturing company, as one of the companies which will start production work on the latest version of Apple’s flagship product, at its factory in Shanghai.

This recent rumor, report, call it whatever, follows in the footstep of an another report, from just one week earlier, which basically claimed the same thing. No manufacturer was specifically named during that time, though.

“Pegatron is expected to see ODM shipments of notebooks decrease sequentially in third-quarter 2012, and orders for the new version iPhone are enough to make up for decreased revenues from the notebook segment, the sources indicated.

Pegatron also has reportedly become the second OEM maker of a new version of iPad, with shipments in the third quarter expected to reach a few million units, the sources indicated,” reads the report.

Like always, the new iPhone is shrowded in secrecy until its release date gets closer. What we know thus far as a significant improvement from the past models is that the new iPhone 5’s back has both glass and aluminum. By comparison, the iPhone 4S sports glass coverings on the front and back. This would make it a lot sturdy than it already is. This isn’t its greatest new feature though; marketing couldn’t see anything based solely on this.

What the new iPhone 5 boosts though is a larger 4-inch class Retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Previous iPhones have had a 3.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio.