Apple’s tough security requirements for Bluetooth LE are delaying HomeKit roll-out, say manufacturers

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If you were wondering why manufacturers seemed to be rather slow in launching HomeKit-compatible devices, it may all be down to Apple’s stringent security requirements. Forbes reports that manufacturers are finding it hard to incorporate the extremely secure encryption standards demanded by Apple in order to achieve MFi certification for their products.

Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.

While mains-powered WiFi kit is coping, the processing workload in battery-powered Bluetooth LE devices is leading to extremely slow response times, say manufacturers …  Read more

Eddy Cue: Apple ‘working’ to bring back music Home Sharing with iOS 9

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Last week, we noted that Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 release with Apple Music removes support for the long-existing Music Home Sharing feature. This function allows an iOS device user to stream music from a computer running iTunes on their own WiFi network. Today, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services noted on Twitter that Apple is “working” to restore Home Sharing functionality in iOS 9. It is likely that Home Sharing was removed in iOS 8.4 due to changes necessary with the record labels to launch the new streaming music service. Cook previously revealed details on this week’s iOS 9 beta, streaming bit rates, and more via Twitter.

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Review: Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter solves the WiFi dead zone problem for the 12-inch MacBook

Kanex USB-C to Ethernet

Adapters for adding thicker ports are nothing new for Apple’s modern line of notebooks. Even the high-end Retina MacBook Pro decidedly excludes a direct Ethernet connection, and Apple’s MacBook Air and new ultrathin 12-inch MacBook are especially too thin for a wired connection to the Internet without relying on an adapter in the middle.

While modern WiFi is fine for most everyday situations, even Apple acknowledges that a wired connection is necessary in some instances. To remedy this, it sells a $29 USB Ethernet Adapter and a faster $29 Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter. The 12-inch MacBook has neither port, however, additionally requiring Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter to work with the slower adapter.

Fortunately with USB-C being a new industry standard, accessory makers like Kanex are ready with solutions like the $29.95 USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter made for the new 12-inch MacBook and other USB-C computers… Read more

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

How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Part 2

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As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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Review: Eyefi’s new Mobi Pro brings improved durability, capacity to wireless SD cards for iOS photographers

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As a photographer, I’ve been thrilled to see iPhones become compelling replacements for standalone point-and-shoot cameras. Our world has improved in both measurable and immeasurable ways from widespread, immediate access to quality photography; the images documenting our lives are more compelling and numerous than ever before.

But professional photographers toting DSLRs now struggle to stand out from amateurs with iPhones. The Chicago Sun-Times infamously fired its entire photography department in favor of using images from iPhones and wire services, a move mocked by other newspapers but embraced by some broadcast journalists. Fixed-lens, small-sensor iPhones can’t match standalone cameras in image quality, particularly in dark settings, but they’re hard to beat in speed and convenience.

The question is how to combine the immediacy of iPhone photography with the quality offered by superior cameras. For me, the answer has been Eyefi‘s SD cards, which wirelessly transfer a standalone camera’s photos to an iPhone or iPad for rapid editing and sharing. (See my How-To on transferring, editing, and sharing DSLR/point-and-shoot photos with an iPhone or iPad for more details.)

Eyefi’s first $100 card contained 2GB of flash memory and a Wi-Fi chip; since then, every Eyefi card has improved on the same concept, so the brand-new 32GB Mobi Pro ($100) isn’t so much a surprise as the culmination of everything the company has done before. It has the highest storage capacity, broadest file support, and easiest workflow of any Eyefi card I’ve tested. Most importantly, it brings a more durable enclosure that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any potential reader, originally introduced in Eyefi’s more affordable non-Pro Mobi cards. Read on for all the details…

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Roost smart 9V battery turns your dumb smoke alarms into connected ones

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The plethora of smart home devices at CES makes it clear that home automation is an idea whose time has finally come. It seems there’s almost no household device now that can’t be controlled by, or at least communicate with, an iPhone.

The only downside is the expense of having to replace your perfectly good dumb devices with smart versions. This is the problem the Roost Smart Battery set out to solve, a WiFi-enabled 9v battery allowing your existing smoke alarm to send alerts to your iPhone when it’s triggered, so you get alerted even if the alarm is at the other end of the house or you’re away from home …  Read more

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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Grab this (Typinator, Intensify Pro, Paperless, Pixa, MacJournal, more!) Mac Bundle while it is only a buck or 2

From 9to5Toys.com:

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We’ve got a nice 9to5Toys Specials deal on this evening and the best part is that it is a name your own price with the bids starting at $1.  The earlier you get in, the less you pay. Here’s the list of apps but frankly Typinator alone is worth it. Go big and 10% of your purchase price goes to a charity of your choice and you’ll be entered to win a Gold iPad 2 & iPhone 6

(Update:6:30am ET: the price is now $3.50)

  • Typinator – $32 – The program the “types” frequently used text for you
  • Hotspot Shield VPN – 1 Year Elite Subscription
  • Starry Night Enthusiast – $80 – Turn your computer into a virtual universe
  • Intensify Pro – $60 – The image enhancer for photographers of all levels
  • Spotdox 3 – $72 – Get access to all your files, on any device, anywhere
  • Data Backup 3 – $49 – Easy, powerful, and flexible backups
  • Paperless – $50 – Fuel your paper-free lifestyle
  • MacJournal 6 – $40 – Multimedia journal for the 21st century
  • Pixa – $25 – Image management and sharing app
  • Must Have Mac App Tutorial – $100 – Learn how to maximize the 9 apps included

 

Apple seeds first beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with build number 14C68k

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Apple has pushed the first beta build of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 out to AppleSeed users and developers. The update has a build number of 14C68k and weighs in at 422 MB. Last week the company released version 10.10.1 to the general public.

Apple hasn’t provided any indications of what’s new in this beta and has not listed any particular focus areas, though it’s possible this could be a hotfix update to address any lingering Wi-Fi glitches that didn’t get fixed in the most recent patch.

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OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 build 14B23 seeded to developers

Screenshot 2014-11-10 18.02.34

Apple today seeded the second beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update to registered developers and participants in the AppleSeed program. The update is available for these users in the Software Update tab of the Mac App Store.

As with the first beta, Apple asks developers to focus their testing on WiFi-connectvitiy, Exchange accounts in the Mail app, and Notification Center. Apple has not indicated when OS X 10.10.1 will be released to the public, but the first point updates to OS X typically arrive within a month of the original version.

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Review: T-Mobile’s $25 Personal CellSpot is a no-brainer for Magenta customers and handover Wifi calling may even win some converts

In all of the hoopla over the new iPhone 6/Plus, T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK got themselves a pretty big exclusive (for now). T-Mobile has been offering Wifi calling for years but it’s recently come to the iPhone – and with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, gets even better with cell/wifi handover. (T-Mobile partnered with Gogo to enable texting and voicemails on participating airline journeys as well).

Wifi calling, for some, may be the type of feature that makes or breaks a carrier relationship. With it, you can make calls anywhere there is a wifi signal. That means basements, country homes and even foreign countries are all now open to making and receiving calls from your carrier phone number… Read more