HTTPS bug leaves 1,500 iOS apps vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, finds analytics company

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

A bug in the way that 1,500 iOS apps establish secure connections to servers leaves them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, according to analytics company SourceDNA (via arsTechnica). The bug means anyone intercepting data from an iPhone or iPad could access logins and other sensitive information sent using the HTTPS protocol.

A man-in-the-middle attack allows a fake WiFi hotspot to intercept data from devices connecting to it. Usually, this wouldn’t work with secure connections, as the fake hotspot wouldn’t have the correct security certificate. However, the bug discovered by SourceDNA means that the vulnerable apps fail to check the certificate …  Read more

iOS-controlled toy Sphero made Star Wars’ BB-8 possible, now make your own at home

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Best known for its app-controlled robotic toys, iOS developer Sphero was responsible for creating the real version of the ball-shaped droid BB-8 featured in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to Time. Having released the original iOS-controlled Sphero and much-improved Sphero 2.0 balls in 2012 and 2013, the company was accepted into a Disney accelerator program in 2014, receiving personal mentoring from Disney CEO Bob Iger — a close friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “When the tech-savvy CEO saw Sphero’s technology in action,” Time reports, “he realized the potential application for BB-8 and connected the startup with the masterminds of the Star Wars characters.”

Along with the disclosure of Sphero’s involvement in the robot’s creation, Time noted that an BB-8 toy was planned for release. Gizmodo noted that an official BB-8 toy by Sphero had appeared on Fat Brain Toys’ site, but has since been pulled. Separately, designer Christian Poulsen has demonstrated how to make a homemade BB-8 droid by cutting open a Sphero ball, inserting a neodymium magnet inside, and placing another magnet inside a handmade foam head, painting the head and ball to match BB-8. Poulsen described making the toy as a quick one-day project, and has a collection of videos showing the modified Sphero moving around much as BB-8 does in the upcoming movie. Sphero 2.0 currently sells for $130. The official Sphero-designed toy will likely be released closer to the film, which is due out on December 18, 2015.

Ex-Apple SVP Scott Forstall is now a producer on a Broadway musical

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Less than 24 hours after a report surfaced revealing Scott Forstall began serving as an advisor to Snapchat last year, the former iOS chief has announced via his Twitter account an unrelated project: a Broadway musical.

I’m thrilled to be co-producing the Broadway musical Fun Home opening this Sunday. Bravo to the phenomenal team!

The announcement is especially notable as it marks the first time the former Apple executive has surfaced in public since his ousting at Apple under current CEO Tim Cook in late 2012. Read more

Apple Maps partner Yelp announces Apple Watch app with local listings and reviews

Yelp today has joined the long list of companies that have debuted apps for Apple Watch. In a blog post this evening, the popular ratings and reviews app shared the first screenshots of its Apple Watch app. The Yelp app for Apple Watch provides the majority of the information you’re used to seeing in the company’s other iOS apps, just on your wrist.

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Ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall became Snapchat advisor in Jan. 2014, Sony leak reveals

Jobs and Forstall (Image via Getty)

Jobs and Forstall (Image via Getty)

According to a leaked email from the Sony Pictures hack, Snapchat has given former Apple executive Scott Forstall a 0.11 percent stake of its company for being an advisor. According to the email, Forstall was given his stake in early 2014 with his advisory occurring in January of that year.

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IFTTT’s Do Button and Do Note apps get Apple Watch, iPad support

If This Then That (IFTTT), the service that lets users automate tasks from a long list of other mobile apps and web services, is about to launch two apps for Apple Watch.

Do Button, its iOS app for controlling hardware and software connected to the service with a single tap, and Do Note, a notepad app that uses IFTTT to save and share to other services like Google Calendar, Evernote, and Twitter, will both be receiving updates for Apple Watch by tomorrow. Read more

Wikipedia for iOS updated w/ design tweaks, ability to share facts as images, more

Wikipedia today has announced a major update to its app on iOS. The update adds a handful of new features to both the iPhone and iPad Wikipedia apps. First off, the update makes a few design tweaks to the appearance of articles. At the top of every article now is a large header image. Previously in Wikipedia on iOS, header images would appear smaller and below the first paragraph of text.

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Samsung reportedly has new 200 employee team exclusively working on screens for Apple

apple-macbook-pro-me864ll-a-13-3-inch-laptop-with-retina-display-newest-version

In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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WWDC 2015 announced for June 8-12 to unveil “the future of iOS and OS X”

WWDC 2015

Apple has just officially announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference for this year. The conference will take place in San Francisco as usual in early June. WWDC will officially kick off on June 8th and run through June 12th. Developers interested in attending the conference can apply for tickets starting today with applications open through Friday at 10 am PT/1 pm ET.

Like last year, available tickets will be distributed at random to a portion of applicants due to size constraints of the venue, Moscone West, although Apple says select sessions will actually be streamed live while most sessions will be available online after each day. Apple will announce ticket availability after the random selection process on Monday, April 20th, at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET.

Apple’s WWDC opening keynote serves as the unveiling stage for the next versions of iOS and OS X. Apple’s press release for the conference (below) teases the announcement of “the future of iOS and OS X” as we would expect. Read more

Apple previews revamped Music app with iOS 8.4 beta ahead of WWDC streaming service launch

Apple has just released the first iOS 8.4 beta, which includes Apple’s upcoming revamped Music app. The seed for developers is available via the Apple Developer Center website.

As we reported earlier this year, iOS 8.4 includes an all new Music application. The new software design is present in this beta, while Apple is expected to announce the streaming service component in June at WWDC.

Here are the release notes from Apple for the new app:

– All-New Design. Music app has a beautiful new design that makes exploring your music collection easier and more fun. Personalize playlists by adding your own image and description. Enjoy stunning pictures of your favorite artists in the Artists view. Start playing an album right from the album list. The music you love is never more than a tap away.

– Recently Added. Albums and playlists you’ve recently added are now at the top of your library, making it effortless to find something new to play. Simply tap play on the artwork to listen.

– Streamlined iTunes Radio. Discovering music with iTunes Radio is easier than ever. You can now quickly return to your favorite stations in Recently Played. Choose from a selection of hand-curated stations in Featured Stations, or start a new one from your favorite artist or song.

– New MiniPlayer. With the new MiniPlayer, you can see what’s playing and control playback while browsing your music collection. To open Now Playing, just tap on the MiniPlayer.

– Improved Now Playing. Now Playing has a stunning new design that showcases your album artwork the way it was meant to be. In addition, you can begin wirelessly streaming your music using AirPlay without leaving Now Playing.

– Up Next. It’s now simple to find out which songs from your library will play next — just tap the Up Next icon in Now Playing. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

– Global Search. You can now search from anywhere in the Music app — just tap the magnifying glass. Search results are conveniently organized to help you quickly find that perfect song. You can even start an iTunes Radio station right from Search.

iOS 8.4’s Music application includes revamped search, the UpNext and MiniPlayer features from iTunes on the desktop, improved iTunes Radio functionality, a new Recently Added page, and more on top of the new design. On the iPad, there’s a new split-screen interface on the iPad, as seen in the screenshots below. On the iPhone, the landscape interface has been removed entirely. The icon for the app remains the same, however. We have a hands-on gallery of several more screenshots below:

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Review: Brookstone’s Perfect Drink 3 helps you craft cocktails with whatever’s on hand

perfectdrink-4

Craft cocktails are in the midst of a renaissance, buoyed by rediscovered classic recipes, higher-quality ingredients, and increasingly talented bartenders. Pre-made mixes and artificially-flavored spirits are declining in popularity, as freshly-assembled natural flavors are ascending. But once you’ve had a truly great cocktail at a restaurant or bar, making one by yourself at home may seem challenging. The latest version of Perfect Drink ($40), Brookstone’s (and developer Pure Imagination’s) “app-controlled smart bartending” solution for iOS users, is here to help.

Perfect Drink has been through a few hardware and software revisions, but the latest-generation accessory and just-released version 3.0 app elevate it to greatness. The core of the product is a precise digital scale — recently upgraded from the original hardware — that works in tandem with your iPad or iPhone to eliminate the need for measuring cups. You call up a recipe in the Perfect Drink app and just add liquids until the scale and app tell you to stop, dynamically adjusting the recipe if you overpour. A just-released update enables the app to store a list of all the spirits, fruit, and mixers you have on hand, helping you quickly choose from recipes you’re capable of making…

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