Seagate and LaCie debut fashionable/wireless hard drives for iOS and Mac ahead of 2015 CES

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Seagate and its LaCie subsidiary have announced five new hard drives just ahead of this week’s 2015 CES, including two new iOS-compatible wireless models and three new Mac-only disks. All except one will be available in January from the company’s web sites.

For iOS, the 500GB Seagate Wireless ($130) is an economical and portable, battery-powered hard disk designed to compete with G-Technology’s G-Connect and Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless. Just under 4″ on each side and less than an inch thick, Seagate’s version is designed to look fun, with your choice of green, blue, gray, red, or white matte housings, and uses integrated Wi-Fi to connect with iOS devices and Macs for media playback as well as Android/Windows/Chrome. It runs for nine hours between charges and can connect to 3 devices simultaneously.

Seagate Seven ($100) is a Mac-only alternative that promises to be the world’s thinnest portable hard drive. Made from 100% stainless steel, the enclosure is only 7mm thick and includes a USB 3.0 cable for connecting to a computer, giving up wireless in order to achieve its small size. In a break from traditionally boxy or rounded hard drives, Seven is actually slim enough to let you see the contours of the traditional hard disk mechanism inside. Three additional drives are discussed below…

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Apple’s unreleased iBeacon hardware exposed in user manual published by FCC

Way back in July, Apple registered FCC certification for a new piece of iBeacon Bluetooth hardware. Naturally, 9to5Mac covered the release of wireless certification documents for the hardware. It was unclear by those filings the nature of the product, whether it was targeted at use in Apple Stores, some form of developer testing equipment or something else entirely. The product was never made publicly available for purchase, for unknown reasons.

However, time has elapsed such that the rest of Apple’s submitted documents are now available to the public. Vitally, this includes a user manual which immediately signals that this iBeacon hardware was meant for developers, presumably to test iBeacon integration in their own apps. It’s unclear, though, if this is meant to be used ‘in the wild’. Read on for an exposition on the workings of this mysterious device.

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

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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.

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iPhone 6 owners reporting that cards cannot be added back into Apple Pay after a restore [Update: resolved]

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Update: Users in the thread are now reporting that the problem has been resolved.

Multiple iPhone 6 owners are reporting in an Apple Support Communities thread that they are unable to add cards back into Apple Pay after their phone has been restored – whether as a new phone or from a backup. According to reports there, Apple has been able to resolve the issue only by replacing the phone.

I just left the Apple Store. They couldn’t diagnose the issue and we did a restore there in store and the problem persisted. The solution was to swap the hardware […]

I ended up going to the Apple Store and going to the genius bar. They proceeded to do all the thing I already tried. After they did a restore and set up as a new phone and saw they it didn’t work they went in the back and brought out a new phone. I fired up the phone and went thru steps to add my cards to Apple pay and everything worked. So getting a new phone fixed the issue.

The symptoms seem to suggest that the secure enclave is not being completely cleared, despite notifications from banks that cards have been removed at the point when the phone was restored …  Read more

GoodReader app forced to remove some iCloud Drive features to comply with App Store policies (update: reversed!)

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UpdateGoodReader 4.8.1 has now been released and the iCloud functionality has returned without explanation. It is unclear what prompted the reversal, although it is likely that Apple has once again backtracked on a public App Store decision.

Continuing the string of controversy regarding App Store approval in recent weeks, an update pushed through by GoodReader ($4.99, iPhone and iPad) earlier today shows that the company has been forced to remove some significant iCloud Drive features, in order to comply with iCloud Drive usage guidelines and remain in the App Store.

Specifically, the GoodReader update removes the ability to add folders, remove folders or move files around the iCloud Drive storage location. The update notes reference a ‘usage policy’, although it is unclear what document the company is referring to.

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Apple dominates holiday giving, iPhones & iPads making up more than half of mobile device activations

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Data from Yahoo-owned analytics company Flurry shows that iPhones and iPads comprised more than half of all mobile device activations between 19th and 25th December, at 51.3% – almost three times as many as second-placed Samsung.

Apple accounted for 51% of the new device activations worldwide Flurry recognized in the week leading up to and including Christmas Day (December 19th – 25th). Samsung held the #2 position with 18% of new device activations, and Microsoft (Nokia) rounded out the top three with 5.8% share for mostly Lumia devices. After the top three manufacturers, the device market becomes increasingly fragmented with only Sony and LG commanding more than one percent share of new activations on Christmas Day.

The company notes that while Chinese companies Xiaomi, Huawei and HTC didn’t reach 1%, this reflects the fact that Christmas is not celebrated in their home market …  Read more

Review: Belkin’s QODE Ultimate + Ultimate Pro Keyboard Cases add metal keyboards to the iPad Air 2

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The average iPad keyboard case sells for $100 or less, and there are now hundreds of options, mostly from companies based in China. But several developers have been selling deluxe iPad keyboard cases, using upscale metal housings and premium features to command $130-$180 asking prices. To that end, Belkin has debuted very early iPad Air 2 options called the QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 ($130, available now) and QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 ($150, currently available for pre-order).

As their “Ultimate” branding suggests, these are supposed to be Belkin’s best iPad keyboard cases, though only the Pro version really succeeds at justifying its price this time out. Below, we’ll explain why.

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Touch ID hackers attempt to take things to next level, no need for physical fingerprint

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The hacker who successfully used a fingerprint captured from an iPhone to fool Touch ID now believes it may be possible to perform the same hack without needing access to a physical fingerprint. Speaking at this year’s Chaos Computer Club convention, Jan Krissler – who uses the alias Starbug – demonstrated how a fingerprint can be generated from a series of ordinary photographs of someone’s finger …  Read more

9to5 Guide: Hello, new iPad owner! Here are the best accessories to buy right away

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It’s Christmas Day, and if you were especially nice this year, you may have just found a new iPad under your tree. Apple’s tablets are able to do incredible things right out of the box, but they’re also easily damaged, and there are accessories that really help to expand their capabilities. If you want to make sure your iPad performs at its full potential, it’s a good idea to protect it and accessorize right away.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help new iPad owners choose the best accessories across a variety of different categories. Our top picks range from stands and cases to speakers, keyboards, game controllers, and much more. We also explain what’s near-mandatory, what’s optional, and what you can safely skip. Read on!

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9to5 Guide: Hello, new iPhone / iPod owner! Here are the best accessories to buy right away

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There are few things better than finding a new iPhone or iPod under your tree on Christmas Day. If you received an iPod, you’ll find enough in Apple’s box to start enjoying music, videos, and/or apps right away. iPhone users get all of those great features plus cellular telephone and Internet access. But these devices suffer from the same weaknesses: they’re fragile — the reason roughly 80% of iPhone owners use cases — and they depend upon external accessories for quite a few things. If you want to make the most of your Apple device, you’ll want to accessorize (and app-cessorize) it right away.

Our best iPhone accessory recommendations are similar across all current models. But they vary considerably from small to medium to big iPods. Read on for all of our top picks!

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Hands-on with Vesel’s Wood Series bumper for iPhone 6 (Video)

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It might seem a bit crazy to pair fine wood with aluminum for an iPhone 6 accessory, but that’s definitely not true in this case. Vessel’s Wood Series for iPhone 6 is a very interesting approach to a bumper, or case if you’d like to call it that. I’m usually a case-less kind of guy, but there’s something about the Wood Series that seems to be a happy medium…

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Microsoft continues to target the MacBook Air w/ new Surface Pro 3 ‘Switch’ site

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Microsoft has never been shy about trying to convert MacBook Air users into Surface Pro 3 users. Despite being in a room filled with MacBooks, Microsoft targeted Apple’s laptop head-on at its initial Surface Pro 3 announcement event.

Now Microsoft is further highlighting the differences between the MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3 with a new online campaign (via ZDNet) intended to encourage Mac users to feel comfortable trying out Microsoft’s latest tablet.

Whether you’re considering Surface Pro 3 or have recently purchased one, we want to say thank you! We designed Surface Pro 3 to make you more productive in every aspect of your digital work and life. We’re truly humbled you’re here, and we’re excited to see what you do with your new Surface.

The recently launched microsite is the latest in a campaign largely led by ad spots (the latest holiday spot is almost pleasant) mocking the MacBook Air’s lack of touch screen, stylus, and more compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. Read more