CES 2015: iHome debuts HomeKit SmartPlugs, SoundFlask speakers, wearables, Kineta pop-out battery speakers, more

iHome HomeKit SmartPlug

Every year, top-ranked Apple speaker maker iHome comes to CES with an impressive array of new products — including something to show off Apple’s latest technology — and it isn’t disappointing at the 2015 CES. In an advance briefing before the show officially opened, iHome revealed its first Apple HomeKit product, SmartPlug ($40), as well as some daring new speaker and headphone designs…

IMG_7251

…like the first speaker we’ve seen hidden inside a beautiful drinking flask. It’s called SoundFlask, and comes in coat pocket- ($50) and home bar-sized ($100) versions. Even the smaller version sounds really good given its size, and the flask cap twists to adjust the volume. All that’s missing is the ability to actually hold fluids. Read on for more.

Read more

New password-hacking tool for iCloud claims to evade Apple’s brute-force protections

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 14.13.12

 

Update: We are now receiving reports that the vulnerability has been patched. People trying to use the tool are apparently now being correctly locked out from repeated password attempts.

A new tool submitted to GitHub claims to be able to perform password dictionary attacks on any iCloud account, seemingly able to evade detection from Apple’s rate-limiting security that is supposed to prevent such dictionary attacks from happening. In September, Apple reported it had closed one such hole that allowed brute-force attacks to occur.

The sourcecode for the tool has been released onto GitHub. Upon inspection, the tool is really rather crude in its complexity. It simply tries every possible word in its 500-long word-list as the password for a given iCloud account email. This means whilst it will succeed “100%” at trying 500 times over, the tool is by no means guaranteed to succeed at cracking your password.

Read more

Apple expands its social presence with new iTunes Tumblr blog

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 15.31.34

In an interesting move, Apple has today launched a Tumblr blog for iTunes. The ‘blog’ runs a highly customized theme that more closely reflects Apple’s own website than a typical Tumblr page. The page features music, movies, TV and books content, with individual posts consisting of images, videos and animated GIFs of artists. Tumblr users can reblog these images on their own feeds, for social sharing. On a related note, iTunes also opened an official Instagram account earlier this month.

Read more

T-Mobile announces new $100 unlimited 2-line data plan, $100 10 GB 4-line plan

T-Mobile-infographic-1

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon need to watch out. The “uncarrier” has announced yet another couple of reasons they hope will get you to ditch your current cellular provider for T-Mobile. Today, CEO John Legere and his cohorts have come out to announce that T-Mobile is now offering a 2-line family plan that comes with unlimited talk, text, and 4G data, for $100 a month.

Read more

Universal eyes Jeff Daniels to play former Apple CEO John Sculley in Steve Jobs movie

John Sculley Jeff Daniels

The Wrap reports that Universal Pictures is eyeing The Newsroom (and Dumb & Dumber) star Jeff Daniels to perform as former Apple CEO John Sculley in the upcoming Steve Jobs movie by Aaron Sorkin. Daniels would be reunited with Sorkin and Scott Rudin, executive producers of The Newsroom, starring alongside Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs and Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak. Read more

Natalie Portman latest star expected to join Steve Jobs biopic

Lisa Brennan-Jobs & Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman is the latest name to be thrown in the mix of potential stars in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin. The information comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that Portman is “in talks to join” the project in a leading role although the specific character is unknown. It’s possible Natalie Portman is being considered to portray Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Read more

DIYers! Belkin WeMo ‘Maker’ brings smartphone remote and IFTTT functionality to nearly any device

belkin-wemo-possibilites

At this point, we are all familiar with the Belkin WeMo line of products. They’ve been empowering consumers with smartphone-connected home automation products for some time now, from light switches to its newly released coffee maker.

While the WeMo line performs a number of simple tasks, it has not necessarily provided the level of open source capabilities that some consumers long for. Today, Belkin has taken a step in that direction with its new WeMo Maker.

This new product empowers DIYers to create their own custom WeMo setup, the possibilities truly seem endless.

Read more

Passcode vs. Touch ID: A Legal Analysis

US_Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrest

[Ed. note: Jason Stern is a Criminal Defense Attorney in private practice in New York City]

8:34 am. A college professor receives a text message threatening to blow up the history building. The professor immediately contacts law enforcement, who trace the origin of the call to a student who lives off-campus.

When FBI agents arrive at the student’s residence, they arrest the student and seize his smartphone. In an attempt to search the device to recover evidence of the crime (and perhaps stop other related crimes), they find the smartphone is protected by fingerprint security measures.

With the suspect in handcuffs, the agent swipes the student’s finger across the phone to access his call history and messages. Once the FBI swipes the suspect’s finger and bypasses the biometric security, the phone asks for the student’s passcode. The FBI agent asks for his password but the student refuses to speak. How can the FBI agent access the phone? Whereas a fictional Federal Agent like Jack Bauer would simply pull out his gun, jam it in the suspect’s mouth and scream, “WHERE IS THE BOMB?”, in our example, the FBI agent would hit the proverbial brick wall.

Yes, the phone could be brought back to the lab for analysis and hacking by forensics personnel, but the suspect in this case could not be forced to disclose the password on the phone… Read more

Report: Christian Bale drops Steve Jobs role in upcoming biopic

Steve Jobs Christian Bale

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Christian Bale will not star at Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic:

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor has fallen off the Jobs biopic that is being directed by Danny Boyle. […]

Sources say Bale, after much deliberation and conflicting feelings, came to the conclusion he was not right for the part and decided to withdraw.

Just last month, the film’s writer Aaron Sorkin had stated that Bale would star as the Apple co-founder in the movie as Bale was “best actor on the board in a certain age range.” Read more

Sam’s Club’s Black Friday deal has iPhone 6 for $99 on-contract starting Nov. 15

Sam's Club Black Friday iPhone 6

A leaked sales flyer for Sam’s Club reveals that the wholesale retailer will begin selling the iPhone 6 for as low as $99 with a new two-year service agreement starting November 15th. The upcoming Black Friday promotion will see each iPhone 6 model on sale for $100 off their standard on-contract prices: 16GB ($99), 64GB ($199) and 128GB ($299). Read more

Report: Seth Rogen will play Steve Wozniak in upcoming Steve Jobs film

Variety reports that actor Seth Rogen has been cast to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic from Sony:

Seth Rogen has been set to star as Steve Wozniak opposite Christian Bale in Sony’s Steve Jobs biopic.

We learned earlier this month that Christian Bale, who starred in the recent Batman trilogy, will portray Steve Jobs in the Aaron Sorkin directed film. Sorkin later confirmed the report adding that Christian Bale didn’t have to audition for the role in the film.

Read more