March 15, 2012

Ouch!

 ..it was a violation of Apple’s rules. An engineer in Singapore revealed the transgression on his blog in February, and Path co-founder Dave Morin got hauled into Apple’s headquarters to be grilled by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and other executives, according to people familiar with the meeting but not authorized by Apple to discuss it.

Unfortunately for Apple, it was not just Path; and, unfortunately for iOS users, it is not just contacts. expand full story

March 8, 2012

Path’s iOS app was just updated in the App Store to introduce a number of new features, including Nike+ GPS Running Stories, Music Match for identifying and sharing currently playing songs, and camera improvements with “Focus & Exposure” and “Pow!” comic book effects.

Perhaps the biggest part of the update is the Nike+ integration. Path has a website up showcasing a demo of the new GPS Running Stories feature. Now in Nike+, there is an option within Share Settings to share on Path. The demo explained, “When you start a run, Path will let your friends know. If they add an emotion or comment on your run, you’ll hear a cheer!” Path will also display when your friends “cheered you on” and when you hit your best pace. Today’s update does not address the privacy issues over address book data that came up last month, but apparently there is an update for that on the way…
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February 15, 2012

The Path debacle just took another turn for the worse with House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman and Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chair G.K. Butterfield issuing a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook (via The Next Web). In it, the legislators seek to find out whether Apple is doing enough to protect personal data on users’ iPhones, including their contacts. Specifically, the letter asserts there have been claims that the practice of collecting address book data without users’ consent is “common and accepted among iOS app developers.”

As a consequence, the legislators argue, “This raises questions of whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices adequately protect consumer privacy.” They want Apple to respond to questions by Feb. 29. Apple is asked to detail its App Store review practices in respect to protecting users’ information. Whichever way you look at it, it is hard to escape the notion that everything on your iPhone is waiting to be uploaded.

As you know, with the exception of location services, iOS does not prompt users when apps tap APIs to access personal data stored in an iPhone’s address book, camera roll, music library and other places. This also includes little things such as geolocation information embedded in image files taken on the device. This is bothering the legislators and now they want to know why Apple has not implemented a simple toggle that lets users control access to their data other than location.

You have built into your devices the ability to turn off in one place the transmission of location information entirely or on an app-by-app basis. Please explain why you have not done the same for address book information.

We included the letter in its entirety below the fold.

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February 8, 2012

The web exploded yesterday after blogger Arun Thampi discovered the app Path sends every contact in a user’s address book to Path’s servers via a. plist upon registering for the service. The .plist includes full names, phone numbers, and e-mails. Path did not ask users to accept the feature, and it went ahead and saved contact information without telling them. Obviously, people have the right to be worried.

Path’s CEO Dave Morin issued an apology today after yesterday’s data scare and tried to reassure users about Path’s stance on protecting privacy.

We made a mistake. Over the last couple of days users brought to light an issue concerning how we handle your personal information on Path, specifically the transmission and storage of your phone contacts.

As our mission is to build the world’s first personal network, a trusted place for you to journal and share life with close friends and family, we take the storage and transmission of your personal information very, very seriously.

Path released a new update to the iTunes App Store (version 2.0.6) to help remedy the situation that let’s users opt in or out from Path storing address books on its server. If you opt in at first, and then later realize you would like to opt out—you can email Path and it will remove the address book from its servers.

Path also deleted the data it stored.

We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder than words. So, as a clear signal of our commitment to your privacy, we’ve deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from our servers. Your trust matters to us and we want you to feel completely in control of your information on Path.

Path users (that have not bailed on the service) might want to visit the App Store for an update.

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February 7, 2012

 

Blogger Arun Thampi discovered something that may or may not sit right about the free social media app Path while packet sniffing the app last night. Upon first installing the app and registering for an account, Path sends each one of your contacts in your address book to their server via a. plist. The .plist includes full names, phone numbers, and e-mails.

Path makes the call “https://api.path.com/3/contacts/add” when you first create an account, and it uploads all your contacts to its server. In most people’s mind, this obviously makes them feel a little uncomfortable. Thampi details the technical aspects of this, and how you can recreate it yourself, in his blog post.

Path’s Cofounder and CEO Dave Morin commented on the situation and said iPhone users will soon be able to opt-out of the setting in an update that will roll out to the App Store shortly. Nevertheless, does that really change anything? He did not really explain why Path is doing this, and your entire address book is still on their servers. You can read Morin’s comment after the break:

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January 28, 2011

December 7, 2009

While everyone talks about the iPhone, the mobile device’s non-telephone sibling the iPod touch continues to grow its market share at a clamorous rate, leading mobile analytics firm, Flurry, to call it Apple’s “weapon of mass consumption”.

Flurry estimates that of 58 million iPhones and iPod touches sold by Apple up to September, 24 million are iPod touches.

“The iPod touch is quietly building a loyal base among the next generation of iPhone users, positioning Apple to corner the smartphone market not only today, but also tomorrow,”

November 14, 2009

August 20

AAPL: 112.65

-2.36
Stock Chart

Smart plugs aren’t exactly new. Belkin has its WeMo platform of connected home devices including its Wi-Fi-enabled ‘Insight Switch’, an iPhone app-controlled outlet, and others have similar competing products. But iHome’s new SmartPlug is one of the first arriving for Apple’s recently launched Siri-controlled HomeKit platform. I’ve been testing out the product in recent weeks to see exactly what HomeKit adds to the experience and to get a real world taste of Apple’s home automation platform in general for the first time with an actual product. Now that it’s officially available for purchase, here’s what you need to know… expand full story

August 12

AAPL: 115.24

1.75
Stock Chart

Flight tracking apps have been popular on iOS for as long as the platform had the App Store, and this fall Apple is baking a key function of those apps right into the operating system. A little known feature called ‘flights data detector’ is included in both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan but was not highlighted on stage during Apple’s WWDC keynote. As one Reddit user highlighted, the feature lets iOS automatically detect when text is referencing a flight and allows users to actually check on the flight’s status and progress with an attractive interface. Here’s how it works on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac… expand full story

July 24

Apple Music ecosystem

It’s been almost a month since Apple Music first launched, and reception seems to be largely critical despite the music streaming service being completely free to use for the first three months after signing up.

Parts of the service suffered the far-too-common multi-hour outage earlier this week while professional Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple condemned the “nightmare” service after losing purchased music and experiencing complicated UI/UX issues. 9to5Mac’s Jeremy Horwitz wrote a day after the launch that Apple Music’s execution shows the opportunity for Apple to focus on creating intuitive experiences again, and Apple Music listeners haven’t avoided the technical hiccups during the few weeks of use.

With Apple Maps-level horror stories materializing after spending some time with Apple Music, should Apple have simply labeled the service as a beta until the initial three-month trial expired and the service hopefully shapes up? expand full story

July 9

ipod-future

The tech sector does love its hype. Every new product is revolutionary. All new apps are ground-breaking. Everything anyone ever launched is going to change the way we do X. Almost without exception, it isn’t, they aren’t and it doesn’t.

But the iPod in 2001 definitely qualified. That simple, clever marketing slogan – “a thousand songs in your pocket” – beautifully summarised something that really was revolutionary. For the first time ever, we could carry close to a hundred albums in a device that slipped into our pocket and could go everywhere with us. Most of us listened to a lot more music in a lot more places.

It also propelled Apple along a new path. It’s no exaggeration to say that without the iPod, there would likely never have been an iPhone. The iPod revolutionized music and also transformed Apple.

But there have been a couple of recent signs that Apple no longer views the iPod as an important product …  expand full story

June 27

Up until recently, Thunderbolt 2 docks could mostly be described as “seen one, seen them all.” I’ve continued to like the idea of docks that fuse Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, and other peripherals together in a single Thunderbolt-to-Mac connection, but the docks I’ve seen from Belkin, Elgato, and Kanex are so similar in looks and features that they’d be hard to tell apart in a lineup. CalDigit’s dock looked very different from the rest, but functioned almost exactly the same. No Thunderbolt 2 dock has been small enough to consider “portable,” and CalDigit’s design is downright bag-defiant in shape.

That’s why it’s great to see Akitio take a different path with the $279 Thunder2 Dock (available through Amazon for $230), a Thunderbolt 2 dock with a smaller form factor and focus. Roughly as thin as a MacBook Pro and made from a nearly-matching aluminum, Thunder2 Dock manages to include seven high-speed data ports even though it’s roughly the size of a portable hard drive. Since it requires wall power, it’s not completely portable, and just like its rivals, you give up certain features to gain others. But it’s definitely the first Thunderbolt dock I’d carry around if I needed multi-device support in the field…

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June 8

OS-X-el-capitan-wwdc-2015

Apple is showing off its latest version of OS X for Macs, dubbed ‘El Capitan’, at its WWDC kickoff keynote today, but there are many features coming in the update that it didn’t take time to show off on stage. Some of those include a new system font, as we’ve reported leading up to today’s event, as well as a redesigned disk utility app, a resizable Spotlight window, Photos edition extensions and Share Links extensions, new AirPlay video features, and much much more.

Head below for the full list of OS X El Capitan features that Apple didn’t show off on stage: expand full story

June 2

timcook

While speaking at the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) Champions of Freedom Awards Dinner yesterday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a speech during which he addressed the ongoing issues that surround privacy in the technology space. Cook, who was not physically in Washington D.C. for the event but rather spoke remotely, commented on both the steps Apple takes at ensuring customer privacy and how other companies are failing at the same task (via TechCrunch).

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May 24

The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

Teenage Engineering, best known for its flagship synthesizer/sequencer the OP-1, recently unleashed a new line of tiny music makers on the world known as the Pocket Operators. The PO-12 Rhythm is a drum machine, the PO-14 Sub is a bass module and the PO-16 Factory is dedicated to melodies and lead lines. The appearance of the units may have some writing them off as toys, and considering they were partially inspired by pocket calculators and the Nintendo Game & Watch products, that may not be totally off base. But creativity and musical inspiration come from unexpected places sometimes.

Having gone hands on with the PO-16 model for over a week now, I have found it to be quite a playable little instrument, with its own interesting quirks, creative limitations, and boutique sound. Most examples of the little device in action appear to be freestyle techno jams, song re-creations or somewhat avant guard pieces that don’t seem to offer much in the way of real-life production applications. So I decided to run the new Factory model through its paces, putting it alongside some bigger name virtual/hardware instruments in the space to see how it would hold-up in a more typical Logic or GarageBand production.

Read on for more details on the PO-16, how to sync this bad boy up with your other hardware and to hear how it sits inside a mix with some big name software/hardware… expand full story

May 18

May 11

gamification

Social sharing of exercise data, using services like Strava and RunKeeper, has been one of the bigger trends in recent years. Thanks to fitness bands, smartwatches and GPS-based cycle computers, it’s easy to capture your exercise data and have it automatically uploaded, allowing friends and strangers alike to take part in virtual competitions. It’s effectively gamification of our bodies.

While some take it extremely seriously – so much so that Strava has had to allow users to mark stretches of road or path as dangerous, to stop overly-competitive cyclists mowing down pedestrians in their quest to gain a coveted King of the Mountain award – for most it’s just a fun way to get a bit more exercise and tease their friends.

Any fitness band enables you to compare things like total steps and total calories expended, of course, but the Apple Watch makes it particularly easy to create informal competitions, with yourself or others, to maximize the exercise you get in your everyday life …  expand full story

May 1

At the height of my Apple fandom, I purchased one of the company’s most iconic and quixotic designs: a used Power Mac G4 Cube, the beautiful floating computer Apple initially described as “revolutionary” before putting it on ice — Apple’s words — less than a year later. Like many other people, I had fallen in love with the Cube’s design the first time I saw it, but wouldn’t spend $1,800-$2,300 to own one. So I waited until the price fell significantly and bought it used on eBay.

Back then, I wondered why Apple had discontinued its “revolutionary” computer so quickly. And why it hadn’t opted to “reintroduce an upgraded model of the unique computer in the future,” as its discontinuation press release had suggested was possible. After rebuilding my Cube inside and out, I completely understood the answer: Apple and technology had both moved on. Old replacement parts were still available, but new parts were smaller, faster, and more reliable. Apple had effectively redesigned the Cube to become the more reasonably priced Mac mini, unsympathetically abandoning the original form factor because it had fundamental problems.

Just like every major new Apple product released over the past decade, the Apple Watch’s first-generation design will give way to a better second-generation design in the not-too-distant future. Recall that Apple discarded the first iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV enclosures after only a single generation, in each case making major design changes to address early concerns. So although some people have suggested otherwise, this means that there won’t be an “upgrade” program to swap the S1 core of the Apple Watch when the S2 is introduced. Instead, there will be a whole new watch designed to entice new customers, and remedy early adopters’ complaints…

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April 30

Apple has started offering registered developers the chance to sign-up and test its upcoming App Analytics feature first announced last year at WWDC. Developers have been awaiting the service since it was announced following Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight (and FlightPath), a service which offered its own analytics features. expand full story

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