WWDC to see back-to-school promotion?


The brushed aluminum back of the iPad Wi-Fi

Image via Wikipedia

As the time for Apple’s WWDC draws ever closer the rumours about what it may herald grow with each passing day. Of course, most folk expect to see announcements about iOS and the iPhone, along with Lion. However, folk are always looking for a great deal and even though we are all used to paying premium prices for our love of all things Apple, from time to time Apple offers some great deals.

One deal that everyone looks forward to (parents and students alike at least) is the back-to school promotion. Each year Apple offers deals whereby if you buy new Apple kit (usually a new iMac or Macbook) you get a free or heavily discounted iPod. Rumour is that Apple will be offering either a free iPod Touch or $229 towards the purchase of another model of iPod. Question is, with the ever growing popularity of the iPad, will Apple make it possible to use this towards the cost of an iPad? It would certainly be a popular offer and I reckon that many folk would prefer an iPad to any iPod.

I guess we will have to wait and see. At least we haven’t got long to wait. Shame that whatever it will be, its only for educational purchasers.

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Safari Gets Security Update, along with iOS and Mac


Apple Safari icon

Image via Wikipedia

Apple has released an update for Safari on both the Mac and Windows platforms. At the same time it has released updates for iOS and the Mac. These are security updates to close an exploit recently demonstrated at the PWN2OWN security challenge. It was Charlie Miller, a security researcher, who  successfully exploited iOS earlier this year by successfully hacking into an iPhone. Apple’s iOS also uses the WebKit rendering engine, which was exploited by VUPEN security in their 5 second attack on Mac OS X.

Here is what Apple says about the Safari update:

Products Affected

Safari 5 (Windows), Safari 5 (Mac OS X 10.6), Safari 5 (Mac OS X 10.5), Product Security

Safari 5.0.5

  • WebKitAvailable for: Mac OS X v10.5.8, Mac OS X Server v10.5.8, Mac OS X v10.6.5 or later, Mac OS X Server v10.6.5 or later, Windows 7, Vista, XP SP2 or later

    Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

    Description: An integer overflow issue existed in the handling of nodesets. Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

    CVE-ID

    CVE-2011-1290 : Vincenzo Iozzo, Willem Pinckaers, and Ralf-Philipp Weinmann working with TippingPoint‘s Zero Day Initiative

  • WebKitAvailable for: Mac OS X v10.5.8, Mac OS X Server v10.5.8, Mac OS X v10.6.5 or later, Mac OS X Server v10.6.5 or later, Windows 7, Vista, XP SP2 or later

    Impact: Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

    Description: A use after free issue existed in the handling of text nodes. Visiting a maliciously crafted website may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

    CVE-ID

    CVE-2011-1344 : Vupen Security working with TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative, and Martin Barbella

Note:

Certificates Trust Policy

Several fraudulent SSL certificates were issued by a Comodo affiliate registration authority. This may allow a man-in-the-middle attacker to redirect connections and intercept user credentials or other sensitive information. Safari relies on the certificate store of the host operating system to determine if an SSL server certificate is trustworthy. For Mac OS X systems, this issue is addressed with Security Update 2011-002. For iOS, this issue is addressed with iOS 4.3.2 and iOS 4.2.7. For Windows systems, applying the update described in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2524375 will cause Safari to regard these certificates as untrusted. The article is available athttp://support.microsoft.com/kb/2524375

Here is what it has to say about the Security Update for Mac:

This document describes Security Update 2011-002, which can be downloaded and installed via Software Updatepreferences, or from Apple Downloads.

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available. To learn more about Apple Product Security, see the Apple Product Security website.

For information about the Apple Product Security PGP Key, see “How to use the Apple Product Security PGP Key.”

Where possible, CVE IDs are used to reference the vulnerabilities for further information.

To learn about other Security Updates, see “Apple Security Updates“.

Products Affected

Mac OS X 10.6, Product Security

Security Update 2011-002

  • Certificate Trust PolicyAvailable for: Mac OS X v10.5.8, Mac OS X Server v10.5.8, Mac OS X v10.6.7, Mac OS X Server v10.6.7

    Impact: An attacker with a privileged network position may intercept user credentials or other sensitive information

    Description: Several fraudulent SSL certificates were issued by a Comodo affiliate registration authority. This may allow a man-in-the-middle attacker to redirect connections and intercept user credentials or other sensitive information. This issue is addressed by blacklisting the fraudulent certificates.

    Note: For iOS, this issue is addressed with iOS 4.3.2 and iOS 4.2.7. For Windows systems, Safari relies on the certificate store of the host operating system to determine if an SSL server certificate is trustworthy. Applying the update described in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2524375 will cause Safari to regard these certificates as untrusted. The article is available at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2524375

    For mre info on all the recent updates visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

What era are you living in?


So, according to Apple we are now in a post-pc era, with Apple, of course, taking all the credit for ushering in this utopian age of iPods, iPhones and iPads!

So my question to you is, which era are you living in? I guess if you are reading this blog then you probably have at least one of the holy trinity of devices, possibly all three. In that case then you most likely agree with Apple that we are now in a post-pc era. However, what of you don’t actually own any of these three miracles of technology… like me for instance. Does that mean we are not living in the post-pc era, that we are in fact living in the past, technologically speaking?

Well, Steve Jobs may disagree with me but even though I don’t own an iPod, iPhone or iPad I do see us living in a truly post-pc era. Not that the demise of the pc has finally come, far from it. But, the landscape has changed forever and Apple truly can take the credit for that.

I have owned several Macs and am writing this blog on my second Intel-based MacBook Pro (my daughter uses my old Core 2 model). I even have the iMac with the swivel screen sitting on my desk and it still gets used on occasion, as well as a G4 in the shed, alongside my old PowerMac desktop. Both my son and daughter have iPod Touches and my son still has his old 1st generation iPod shuffle.

I use Mac App Store on my MacBook Pro and although my son has a PC and I use one at work (alongside my laptop) I see the Mac OS becoming more like iOS as times goes by. The influence of iOS can only grow over time and as processors etc get smaller and more powerful we are bound to see the desktop become less important. Just look at how the size and power of desktop pcs and laptops has reduced over recent years, alongside ever more powerful smartphones.

So, I guess we are all living in the post-pc era, whether we are Mac users or not.

Future developments from Apple….


Log of AMD

Image via Wikipedia

I am one of those folk who like to occasionally speculate about the future and what it might bring. Of course, as regards Apple products this is not something that gets just my brain cells stimulated. It’s almost an industry in itself and the rumour mill is pretty busy at the moment as regards the release date and specification of the upcoming iPad 2.

Well, all this talk of the iPad 2 has made me look into the metaphorical ‘crystal ball’ and wonder what might be coming in the year or so ahead from Apple.

Others may think about the iPhone 5 but my mind turns to the Mac. After all, it was what started the whole Apple thing off in the very beginning. How far we have come too. Back in 1992, I was working with a Mac Classic and a Laserwriter mono laser producing publicity for a charity I worked for. We later acquired some Mac LC II versions. When we got a Quadra 700 we thought we were so cutting edge!

It’s easy now to take for granted the amount of processing power we now have so readily available and it’s somewhat sobering to realise how much we managed to achieve with the little we had in those early days. We have indeed come a long way. So, bearing this in mind and the venerable Moore’s Law, what can we expect to see as regards the Mac in the year or so ahead?

Well, despite it’s current hiccups, Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPU will probably find it’s way into the next update to the Mac platform. However, if the problems with the new CPU architecture prove to be more serious this may offer an opening for AMD to get a foot in the door. Apple showed with it’s switch from Motorola to Intel that it is prepared to jump ship if it feels there is a danger it’s going to lose ground in a significant way. However, until we see what AMD’s Fusion platform is really ‘made of’ it’s probably safe to say that the next generation of the Mac platform will be based upon the Intel architecture.

If so, we can certainly expect to see performance make a significant leap. When we think of the Mac Pro, we could see Apple regain some of the high ground as regards the desktop. Currently, Intel and to a lesser extent, AMD have definitely got the edge in terms of powerful desktops, if only because they offer a better price to performance ratio than the Mac Pro. It would be great to see Apple bring out some powerful multi-CPU Mac Pro desktops soon and even better if they were more competitive on the price side of things.

What about Apple monitors? Currently Apple sells it’s 27-inch LED Cinema Display. Will we see any additional models or an upgrade even to the 27-inch? Unlikely some would say. Personally, I think we will see an upgrade to the current model at the very least and possibly a larger model joining it, perhaps a 32-inch version. Certainly, I can see such a model being popular with graphic professionals, who are the ones most likely to be able to justify the price of such a monitor. When you consider that the likes of Samsung and LG are selling large computer monitors up to and beyond 32-inch so there is no reason why Apple couldn’t manage this too, if it so desired.

So, apart from the iPad 2, iPhone 5, new Macs and possibly additions to its Cinema Display range, what else can we expect to see from Apple? My guess is that we will see further developments in the multi-touch arena and this may even include touch-screens on the iMac range as Apple moves it’s desktop OS closer to iOS as found on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. However, I see this as coming in late 2012 or even 2013.

As for the software side, other than the OS, will we see developments in the applications Apple sells? There was a time when Apple seemed to be innovating on a regular basis with the likes of Shake, Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio. Recently, it seems almost like Apple has lost interest in the software side of it’s business, with some parts of its portfolio seemingly neglected. Apart from iPhoto and Aperture, its almost like not much is happening in that arena. Could we see something new from Apple in the near future on the applications side of things… I truly hope so but have my doubts, at least in the short-term. Maybe once the iPad 2, iPhone 5 and Lion are out of the doors Apple may have the inclination to surprise us all like the old days.

Now that they seem to have fallen out with Adobe over Flash in particular, could we see Apple enter the professional DTP market and compete with Adobe and Quark? After all, it is rich enough to almost not care what the likes of Adobe think and its got no reason to fear Microsoft or Quark for that matter either. That would be my suggestion for the least expected announcement from Apple in 2012. You heard it here first!

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iOS 4.3 Beta 3 and SDK available


The iOS home screen.

Image via Wikipedia

 

Apple has released the iOS 4.3 beta and SDK beta 3. Both are available through the iOS Dev Center.

This means that there has been no let-up in Apple’s progress towards a full release, with this being the third beta update in as many weeks.

So, what can we look forward to when we finally get there?

Already there have been several posts on what keen-eyed developers have spotted:

• personal hotspot capabilities for GSM devices

• AirPlay support for third-party native apps

iAd full screen banner ads on iPad

• Video effects (possibly) for video capture and FaceTime calls

It’s likely too that we will see more gems discovered before the final release. What is looking more likely too is that the iOS 4.3 will not support the iPhone 3G and the second generation iPod Touch.

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Mac App Store due next week?


Mac App StoreRumours are that the Mac App Store is due to arrive next week. Announced as part of the preview of the next iteration of OS X (Lion), the Mac App Store is touted as the next great thing on the Mac platform. Designed to work just like the App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, it will simplify the finding and downloading of software for your Mac.

Apple claims it will revolutionise the way we install applications on our computers and will use the same account details you already have registered in iTunes. Claiming that in seconds the application will be installed in your Dock and ready to go, it sounds like it will be the bees knees.

Another feature is that you will be able to install the apps on every Mac you own, as well as re-download them in the future if need be. The Mac App Store will also simplify keeping your apps up to date, keeping track of which ones you have installed and notifying you of updates.

This could prove to be the most significant change in the way we use our Macs and promises to make life simpler, especially for novices who are used to the way apps on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad works.

HTML5 sounds the death knell for mobile Flash


Image representing MeFeedia as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

It seems that Steve Jobs was right – Flash is dying and nowhere is this more clearer than with mobile video. MEFEEDiA has released a report showing the rapid rise in the adoption of HTML5 video, especially on mobile devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Here is what they found:

  • 54% of web video is now available for playback in HTML5. This is a doubling in just 5 months.
  • Flash remains the dominant player within desktop environments.
  • Mobile is driving HTML5 video adoption. HTML5 compatible (H.264 mostly) video is the most common format for mobiles (inc. iPhone, iPad and Android).
  • Publishers & platforms now offer iframe embeds, allowing them to switch players dynamically, depending on the access device.

HTML5 Video on riseRelated articles

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