Category: iOS Blog


Following the December release of the evasi0n jailbreak for iOS 7 devices, several new jailbreak tweaks for the iPhone 5s are in the works, including a newly updated version of AppLocker that is designed to take advantage of the Touch ID sensor of the iPhone 5s.

AppLocker is a tweak that has existed for some time, allowing users to lock individual apps with a password. With iOS 7 and an iPhone 5s, AppLocker is able to lock and unlock apps using Touch ID’s fingerprint recognition capabilities. iDownloadBlog has a detailed video of the tweak in use:

AppLocker is only able to access fingerprints that have been entered into the iPhone 5s via the Touch ID menu in the Settings app, and different fingerprints are not distinguished by the system, so there is little setup needed to install the tweak. As demonstrated in the video, app unlocking works as seamlessly as standard device unlocking with Touch ID.

At the current point in time, Touch ID on non-jailbroken devices is limited to unlocking the phone and making purchases in the App Store. It is likely that Apple will expand the use of Touch ID in the future, but it remains unknown whether Apple has plans to release a Touch ID API that would allow the functionality to be built into individual apps as in the AppLocker jailbreak tweak.

The security implications of the Touch ID-supported AppLocker tweak are unknown, as Apple has said that all Touch ID data (in the form of a mathematical representation of a fingerprint) is stored in a “Secure Enclave” inside the A7 processor that is walled off from the rest of iOS and unavailable to iOS or other apps.

According to the developer of the tweak, who spoke to Cult of Mac, AppLocker is not accessing Touch ID data, but rather confirming that a finger is authenticated. “All I am doing is asking iOS, ‘Hey, is this finger authenticated?’ and I get either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No,'” he said.

The Touch ID functionality in AppLocker 2.2 is currently available for download on jailbroken devices via the ModMyi repo. The update is free for current AppLocker users and $0.99 for new purchasers.

According to a report from Daily News Thailand [Google Translate] (via South China Morning Post), a man in Thailand was pronounced dead after being electrocuted by his iPhone 4s, which he was using while it was charging. The man appeared to be using an unauthorized third-party charger to charge his device, which often do not meet Apple’s safety standards.

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Local police found that the smartphone was still connected to a charger in a nearby power outlet, indicating that the victim had likely been talking on the phone while charging it at the same time.

Photographs taken of the charger show a blue model different from the standard white ones that Apple includes with every iPhone, suggesting that it was a cheaply made fake.

This is not the first time this year that an iPhone was accused of being a safety hazard, as a woman in China suffered eye injuries from her iPhone 5 after it exploded while she was on the phone this past August. Additionally, a Chinese man was left in a coma after receiving an electric shock while charging his iPhone 4 in July, which followed the death of a Chinese woman under similar circumstances.

The latter two incidents also reportedly involved the use of unauthorized third-party adapters, with Apple responding to the events by establishing an international third-party USB charger “Takeback Program” offering official replacement chargers for $10 to anyone who turns in a suspect adapter.

At CES last month, LaCie announced its “Fuel” wireless hard drive for iOS and Mac devices, allowing users to easily expand storage for their devices. With the Fuel now available for purchase, LaCie has given MacRumors some hands-on time with the Fuel, showing that the device does indeed live up to its billing for those willing to carry around an extra device as needed.

Similar to the Wireless Plus from parent company Seagate, LaCie’s Fuel offers a 1 TB drive to provide ample storage for media, with iOS device users able to access content through the Seagate Media app.

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With Fuel connecting wirelessly to iOS devices, the device also supports Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, allowing it to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network and passing that connectivity through to devices connected wirelessly to Fuel. Macs can connect to Fuel either wirelessly or via USB 3.0, as Fuel features a micro USB 3.0 port and an adapter cable to connect to standard USB ports on other devices. The cable can also be used to charge Fuel through an included AC adapter. Users looking for fast file transfer from their Mac should obviously opt for a wired USB 3.0 connection over the Wi-Fi option.

Fuel’s ability to create its own Wi-Fi network allows up to five devices to connect to it simultaneously, with HD video streams being served to up to three devices at the same time. That feature is what creates an almost seamless experience for users while connected to the device, giving them the ability to wirelessly stream content straight from Fuel while still accessing the Internet from their devices.

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Seagate Media app’s main screen (left) and file view (right)
LaCie Fuel also includes Dropbox support, allowing it to automatically sync a user’s Dropbox folder when turned on within range of a Wi-Fi network, ensuring that media and other files can be easily pushed to Fuel.

The Seagate Media app automatically categorizes media into five groups: Videos, Photos, Music, Documents, and Recent. Videos, photos, and music can be played right from the app, although not all file formats are supported. Documents generally require third-party apps to open, but tapping on them brings up the standard iOS sharing screen with quick access to compatible apps.

Aside from the “Media View” organized by file type, Seagate Media also offers a “Folder View” to allow users to browse the complete folder hierarchy without relying on the automatic groupings used in Media View. Files and folders can be sorted by name, size, date, or type, or filtered by type, and the interface also allows users to rename, delete, copy, and move files.

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Seagate Media app’s audio player interface (left) and power preferences (right)
Battery life on Fuel is rated at ten hours, although streaming high-quality video will drastically reduce that time. To help users maximize battery life, the Seagate Media app displays the charge remaining while offering several options such as an “ECO mode” to help turn off certain functions and conserve battery life.

Fuel is available now from Lacie’s store and other vendors at a suggested retail price of $199.99.

Withings, the company behind the Smart Activity Tracker and the Smart Body Analyzer is showing off its newest health monitoring device, the Aura Smart Sleep System. Aura, which consists of a bedside device with an ambient light, a sleep sensor, and an app, is designed to monitor and improve the sleeping experience.

The system’s bedside device records information like noise pollution, room temperature, and light level, while the sleep sensor, which goes under a mattress, monitors sleep patterns, breathing cycles, and heart rate. The sensor is able to pick up the tiniest of movements, even under thick mattresses.

withingsaura

Withings Aura is comprised of a soft and discreet sleep sensor that slips under your mattress and works in synchronization with the sensitively designed bedside device. Together, the two units record and monitor an array of factors to offer you a deep understanding of your sleeping experience. The sleep sensor focuses on personal patterns (body movements, breathing cycles and heart rate) and the bedside device screens your bedroom environment (noise pollution, room temperature and light levels).

In addition to recording information, the bedside device is able to offer customized light and sound to improve sleep, along with alarm clock functionality and personalized wake-up and fall-asleep programs.

For example, the multi-color LED in the bedside device is able to regulate melatonin, and sound programs are able to replicate the frequency and pattern of the circadian rhythm to stimulate users upon waking and relax them when sleeping.

The accompanying app allows users to visualize and compare their sleep cycles from night to night, monitoring triggers that cause poor sleep, and it also allows user to program their individual sleep programs.

Withings’ Aura sleep system will be available in the spring of 2014 for $299.

Google is now showing ads in the Android and iOS versions of its Google Maps app. Google is calling them “relevant ads” and they will appear at the bottom of the screen following a search.

As The Next Web notes, Google believes the new ads will be “more attractive for users and more effective for advertisers”.

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Relevant ads on the Google Maps app can now appear at the bottom of the screen after a user performs a search. They include a title, ad text, and a link to get directions. Users can tap or swipe upward to see more information – this is a new click type known as “Get location details” and results in a standard CPC charge.

When users click on an ad to get location details, they’ll see additional information such as the business’s address, phone number, photos, reviews and more. From here, there are a number of paid and free click actions they can take. Free actions include saving business information for later, sharing a business with a friend, or starting navigation. Aggregated reporting for these free clicks is available in your account.

Google Maps is a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Rdio today announced a new and improved Station function, offering radio stations that include a number of personalization features. For example, users are able to listen to stations that have been created based on personal and friend preference, and the whole system is designed to facilitate better music discovery.

With the update to Stations, Rdio has also included You FM, which uses Taste Profiling technology from The Echo Nest to create a personal station based on listening history, track voting, Facebook likes, Twitter follows, and more.

stations

- New and Improved Stations. Lean back and listen to an endless variety of stations (based on an artist, song, genre, and more), each drawing from a catalog of 20 million songs.

– Redesigned Stations Player. Vote on individual tracks and pivot stations based on favorite songs in a redesigned UI that showcases album art front and center.

– You FM. Listen to your personalized station, playing a mix of favorites and related tracks.

– Various UI improvements and minor bug fixes.

Rdio is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Business Insider reports that LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has gifted every LinkedIn employee with an iPad mini.

Here’s what a spokesperson had to say about the gesture, which was first tweeted by Darain Faraz, a LinkedIn communications manager:

We wanted to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of all of our employees in 2012. During today’s biweekly All Hands meeting, we surprised our employees with iPad Minis as a small gesture of the company’s gratitude for their contributions.

linkedinminis

The iPad minis were handed out an an all-hands meeting to each of LinkedIn’s 3,500 employees, presumably as a small reward for LinkedIn’s record Q4 earnings of $303.6 million. 3,500 iPad minis carry a total retail price of just over $1.2 million, tax included.

Twitter today updated its iPhone and Android apps and its mobile website, introducing a redesigned Discover tab and a streamlined search experience.

The Discover tab now houses a single stream of Tweets, Trends, and Activities, rather than segregated sections. A dedicated search button has been added to the top of the app next to the tweet button, allowing for easier searches, and the Connect tab has been improved.

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Here’s a full list of the changes:

-Instantly access great content with improvements to search and Discover on iPhone.
-Discover delivers a single stream of Tweets, Trends, Activity and accounts to follow.
-Pull to refresh or keep scrolling to see more content.
-Search now shows the most relevant mix of people, Tweets and photos.
-It’s also easier to use search with one button at the top of the app.
-You can see your five most recent searches and tap them to redo the search, or you can clear your recent search history.
-Links instantly open web pages when you tap URLs in your stream.
-Performance improvements make launch times faster, especially for older iOS devices.
-Connect shows interactions like new followers, retweets and mentions by default. You can switch to “view mentions only” in settings.
-Improved right-to-left language support for Arabic and Hebrew.
-Bug fixes and other improvements.

The newly updated Twitter app is currently available for download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Judge Lucy Koh ruled in a court filing (via The Verge) tonight that Samsung did not willfully infringe Apple patents. This decision denies any additional damages to the $1.05 billion awarded to Apple last August.

As this is the sum total of Apple’s arguments and evidence that Samsung’s infringement was willful, the Court cannot conclude that Apple has met its burden to show willfulness by clear and convincing evidence.

Samsung argued that they had reason to believe that Apple’s patents were invalid and therefore did not willfully infringe Apple patents – Samsung basically didn’t believe they did anything wrong. Judge Koh believed that Samsung’s argument was reasonable enough to rule out willful infringement but not strong enough to overturn the validity of Apple’s patents.

Judge Koh also denied Samsung’s bid for a new trial, saying that “the trial was fairly conducted, with uniform time limits and rules of evidence applied on both sides.” She went on to write that “a new trial would be contrary to the interests of justice.”

If Samsung had been found to be willfully infringing Apple patents their penalty might have ballooned well over $1.05 billion that they must pay Apple. In December, Judge Koh had denied another Samsung retrial request based on juror misconduct. The decision is yet another milestone in the long saga that is Samsung v. Apple.

Google yesterday overhauled its news aggregation app Currents for iOS, revamping the design and adding features to make navigation more sleek and simple.

What’s New in Version 2.0
– Edition sidebar – quickly access your editions within categories such as business, sports, etc.
– Fast scan – Vertical swipe to scan an edition, horizontal swipe advances to next edition
– Breaking stories – ranked by Google News. Links to full length content.
– Saved stories – star for future reference
– New catalog design

The new design for the Flipboard-like app is just one of many redesigns that Google has done with its iOS apps, including Google Maps, Gmail 2.0 and YouTube. The update and app are free and available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

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