Nearly a month ago, we noted that Apple was apparently working on iOS 7.1.2, as revealed in our web logs by the appearance of visits from devices running the operating system version on Apple’s networks.
At the time, we had no information on what the update would include, but suggested it was likely to include fixes for an email attachment encryption issue and problems for users leaving iOS for a different platform trying to disassociate their phone numbers from iMessage. In both cases, Apple acknowledged that it was working on fixes for the issues that would be included in a future software update, and iOS 7.1.2 will be the first public update released since those statements.
MacRumors has now learned that Apple is indeed nearing a public release of iOS 7.1.2 and has begun seeding carrier partners with a version of it, termed build 11D257. Apple has apparently asked carriers to sign off on the update by Friday, June 27, indicating that a public release could occur the following week.
According to sources, the build of iOS 7.1.2 does indeed address the email attachment encryption issue, as well as a bug in downloading emails. Also included in the update is a fix for a lock screen vulnerability that could allow access to “limited apps”. While we can’t say for certain, Apple may be referring to the “missed call” lock screen bug publicized earlier this month.
Finally, iOS 7.1.2 is said to include both improvements to iBeacon connectivity and a bug fix related to data transfer with third-party accessories such as bar code scanners. There is no explicit mention of any fixes for iMessage, but they may still be quietly included in the release.
Visits to MacRumors.com from devices running iOS 7.1.2
Since the first appearance of iOS 7.1.2 in our web logs back in mid-May, traffic from devices running the upcoming operating system has increased fairly gradually with the exception of a spike on the day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.
Apple today released a new support document, detailing the issue behind the recent problems some iOS 6 users have been experiencing with FaceTime. According to Apple, a bug resulting from an expired device certificate has rendered FaceTime unusable on older versions of iOS and the only solution to the problem is to update to the latest version of the operating system.
Devices capable of running iOS 7 must be upgraded to iOS 7.0.4 or later, while devices unable to run iOS 7, such as the fourth-generation iPod touch, must upgrade to iOS 6.1.6.
If you started to have issues making or receiving FaceTime calls after April 16, 2014, your device or your friend’s device may have encountered a bug resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date. Updating both devices to the latest software will resolve this issue.
If you’re using iOS 7.0.4 or later or iOS 6.1.6, this issue doesn’t affect you.
If you’re using these versions of OS X or FaceTime for Mac, this issue doesn’t affect you:
– OS X Mavericks v10.9.2 or later
– OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 with the latest security updates
– OS X Lion v10.7 with the latest security updates
– FaceTime for Mac version 1.0.5 or later for Mac OS X v10.6
While FaceTime does work with iOS 6.1.6, that particular update is not available to recent devices that are able to run iOS 7, which means iOS 6 users with newer devices who wish to access FaceTime must upgrade to iOS 7.
There’s a sizable contingent of iOS users who opted to stick with iOS 6 over iOS 7 due to the drastic visual changes introduced with the operating system update, so Apple’s upgrade suggestion is likely to be unpopular with those users.
Apple’s FaceTime issues first began on April 16, with many iOS 6 users reporting an inability to use the service. At that time, it was unclear whether Apple would implement a fix, but customer service representatives have been presenting iOS 7 updates as a solution since the problem was first uncovered, and it appears that Apple does not plan to offer another solution. The company did, however, release a FaceTime update for OS X users to fix the issue earlier this week.
Soon you might be able to simply ask your Apple TV to start playing ‘House of Cards’ rather than fumbling through a series menus. Code found in iOS 7.1′s software development kit indicates that Siri is one its way to a new device, likely Apple’s set-top box. In the operating system’s documentation, the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are represented by “1″ and “2.” The most recent files also include a new device indicated by a “3.” For our non-developer friends following along at home, that means the digital assistant is headed to a different product. While the 3 could potentially represent something entirely new (like the fabled iWatch), Apple has previously used the number to represent its TV product in code. It’s also currently being used in several iOS-based Apple TV apps.
- UNiCORN (@bp_unicorn) April 19, 2014
We first heard about a Siri-enabled television several years ago in Walter Isaacson’s biography of ‘ Steve Jobs. In the book, the Apple cofounder says he’s “finally cracked” the television by creating a voice-controlled remote — a dream that as of yet hasn’t become a reality. Apple’s current TV product (which is rumored to be getting an upgrade soon) doesn’t have a built-in microphone. If Siri is coming, she’ll have to bring a new box with her, or at the very least, a new remote with voice input à la Amazon’s new Fire TV. We suspect all mysteries will be revealed in early June at Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC. Until then, we’ll keep yelling commands at our TV and hope it gets the idea.
Internet calling and messaging service Viber does a solid job of constantly bringing new features to its apps, regardless of the platform. Now, some seven months after iOS 7 was released, Viber is finally changing the looks of its iPhone app to match that flat, minimalist appearance of Apple’s OS. Aside from overhauling the UI, the Viber application now also lets you create a list of numbers you’d like to block and send longer video messages to people. The company’s CEO, Talmon Marco, tells us this update isn’t just about iOS 7, however. “This is the first time we are introducing a new look and feel for Viber. Our goal was to create a simple and friendly interface but at the same time establish a solid foundation for future updates,” Marco stated. In other words, don’t be surprised when you see some of these design cues make their way to other Viber apps, like those on Windows Phone 8 and Android.
Source: App Store
A security researcher claims changes Apple made to tighten its kernel security system in iOS 7 instead weakened the system, making it less secure than its iOS 6 counterpart. (Via CNET and ThreatPost) Azimuth Security researcher Tarjei Mandt discovered the flaw and presented his findings last week at CanSecWest.
The security flaw involves the random number generator Apple uses to secure its kernel. In iOS 6, the number generator that encrypted the kernel derived its values in part from the CPU clock counter. Because it was based on time, the encryption was only marginally secure as the output values were predictable, especially when examining successive numbers.
Apple was aware of the limitations in iOS 6 and attempted to tighten security in iOS 7 by changing the random number generator to a linear congruential generator, which is more susceptible to brute force attacks.
The problem with the new generator in iOS 7 is that it uses a linear recursion algorithm, Mandt said, which has “more correlation” between the values it generates. That makes them easier to extrapolate and guess, he said.
This flaw potentially allows a malicious hacker to gain kernel-level access to an iOS device via an unpatched vulnerability. The kernel is the base part of the iOS operating system and controls low-level functions such as security and resource allocation.
Apple approached Mandt about his findings and asked for his CanSecWest slide presentation.
Along with several visual tweaks, CarPlay support, and Touch ID enhancements, iOS 7.1 also brought some changes to the way in-app purchases work. When making an in-app purchase for the first time after updating, users are notified via a pop-up window that additional in-app purchases can be made for 15 minutes without reentering a password.
The message also points to an existing option in the Settings menu that allows users to require a password with every in-app purchase.
First uncovered by AppleInsider, the new message is likely the result of an agreement between Apple and the Federal Trade Commission, which required the company to implement measures to obtain express consent from consumers before billing them for an in-app purchase.
According to the consent decree that was initially signed in January, Apple had until March 31 to make the necessary changes, which may or may not be completed with the inclusion of the new message that requires users to acknowledge the possibility of additional in-app purchases.
While the pop-up is new, Apple has always had a 15-minute purchase window allowing additional in-app purchases to be made without reentering a password, a policy that landed the company in hot water in 2011 after parental complaints about children over-spending in apps sparked the FTC’s interest.
Apple made some changes to in-app purchases following the complaints, requiring a separate password entry specifically for in-app purchases, but the company was still forced by the FTC to to provide full refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items.
In addition to implementing the required changes to the App Store, Apple will refund approximately $32 million to parents.
Apple has credited the evad3rs jailbreak team with discovering several security issues, according to a new Knowledge Base article that details security issues fixed in iOS 7.1 today. The company also credits a number of individual researchers — including one named Roboboi99 — as well as corporate security specialists from Google and FireEye, among other companies.
As is common at many tech companies, Apple credits security researchers who discover vulnerabilities in its products after it fixes them, though the company does not offer a bounty program to financially reward researchers like many other companies do.
In iOS 7.1, Apple fixed security issues with Backup, the Certificate Trust Policy, Configuration Profiles, CoreCapture, Crash Reporting, dyld, FaceTime, ImageIO, IOKit HID Event, iTunes Store, Kernel, Office Viewer, Photos Backend, Profiles, Safari, Settings, SpringBoard, SpringBoard Lock Screen, the TelephonyUI Framework, USB Host, Video Driver, and WebKit.
Of course, with Apple fixing the security issues that the jailbreak team discovered, it has also closed the loopholes that allowed a jailbreak in the first place. For now, the last version of iOS that can be jailbroken is iOS 7.0.6.
Following a lengthy beta testing period, Apple today released iOS 7.1 to the public, marking the first major update to iOS 7 since its September release. The update includes much-needed improvements to the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system built-in to the iPhone 5s, an update for a home screen crashing issue, and it brings CarPlay support, which was first unveiled by Apple last week.
Apple has launched a new website page that shows off some of the additions to iOS 7.1.
The update also includes multiple visual tweaks, such as revamped shift and caps locks keys on the keyboard, refined icons for the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages apps, and a redesign for several aspects of the Phone dialer and shutdown screen.
Accessibility has been improved with a new “Button Shapes” option that indicates where tappable areas are located, a “Darken Colors” option, and an enhancement to Contrast allowing users to reduce iOS 7’s white point.
A multitude of minor improvements to enhance the performance of the operating system have also been bundled into the update, such as new bounce animations in Control Center, more prominent buttons in the Music app, and a new event list view within the Calendar app. Full release notes are as follows:
– iOS experience designed for the car
– Simply connect your iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle
– Supports Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps
– Control with Siri and the car’s touchscreen, knobs, and buttons
– Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when you stop talking
– New, more natural sounding male and female voices for Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
– Search field above Featured Stations to easily create stations based on your favorite artist or song
– Buy albums with the tap of a button from Now Playing
– Subscribe to iTunes Match on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to enjoy iTunes Radio ad-free
– Option to display events in month view
– Country specific holidays automatically added for many countries
– Bold font option now includes the keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs
– Reduce Motion option now includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations
– New options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point
– New Camera setting to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s
– iCloud Keychain support in additional countries
– FaceTime call notifications are automatically cleared when you answer a call on another device
– Fixes a bug that could occasionally cause a home screen crash
– Improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition
– Improved performance for iPhone 4
– Fixes display of Mail unread badge for numbers greater than 10,000
– Continued user interface refinements
The update officially disables the evasi0n iOS 7 jailbreak, patching key kernel exploits.
iOS 7.1 can be downloaded via the software update tool in the settings menu on iOS devices. Users on devices upgrading from iOS 7.0.6 are seeing file sizes of approximately 268 MB, while those upgrading from a beta are seeing larger downloads of 1.3-1.4 GB.
Apple has also launched a new update for the Apple TV.
Apple today updated its iTunes Festival app to version 5.0, ahead of next week’s SXSW iTunes Festival, which kicks off on Tuesday, March 11. The iTunes Festival app [App Store Link] shows up in the iTunes Store with a revamped icon and is listed as having a “refreshed design” and support for SXSW, but the app isn’t available for download in the U.S. just yet.
Clicking on the download link results in an error message that asks users to try again later, but it will presumably be downloadable shortly. Users in other countries have been able to download the app with iOS 7.0.6, suggesting SXSW streaming does not require iOS 7.1 as was reported earlier this week.
Apple’s SXSW iTunes Festival is the first it has hosted in the United States, with previous iTunes Festivals occurring annually in London. The festival will offer five free nights of music, beginning on March 11 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Featured artists include Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, Pitbull, Keith Urban, and more.
All of Apple’s iTunes Festival concerts are presented for free, with tickets available via a lottery system. Live and on-demand streams of the shows will be available through the revamped iTunes Festival app and via the Apple TV.
In what has become a yearly tradition for late February, Major League Baseball today updated its MLB At Bat app for the 2014 baseball season. The app, perennially one of the most popular — and highest grossing — on the App Store, received a top-to-bottom redesign to match iOS 7 and to improve the user experience.
Photos and video are more prevalent in At Bat, running edge-to-edge and inline with other content. For example, video embedded in a news article displays within the article itself, with users able to tap a full-screen button if they wish. The redesign emphasizes MLB’s aim to improve the fan experience and help technology augment the game and otherwise get out of the way.
Showing how the design team has embraced subtlety, text and selection highlights in the app change depending on which team a user selects as their “favorite”. For example, a Red Sox fan will see red highlights throughout the app, while a Yankees fan would see navy blue. A MLB spokesperson told MacRumors that the app is the mobile focus point for millions of baseball fans and the design teams strive to make the app seem like home, no matter which team they’re a fan of.
Long hailed as the standard bearer for introducing features that matter to fans, At Bat this year will report for live Spring Training games with a full app re-design for iOS 7 on iPhone and iPad, among other new enhancements. Fans again will have access to the core functionality At Bat has pioneered over its first five years, including: personalized team experiences to deliver a linear feed of content for a designated favorite team; searchable libraries of tens of thousands of video-on-demand highlight clips; and customizable original news reporting and fantasy baseball analysis from MLB.com club beat reporters and national columnists.
Like last year, there are two main subscription packages for the iPhone and iPad — a $130/season MLB.tv Premium offering that includes live home-and-away television broadcasts for out-of-market games, as well as live home-and-away radio broadcasts. It also includes the ability to watch on any device regardless of how the viewer purchases the package — users can buy MLB.tv Premium via a $130 in-app purchase can watch live games within the app, as well as on the Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation or any number of other connected devices.
The cheaper At Bat 2014 product, available as a $20/season in-app purchase, offers home-and-away radio broadcasts with no blackout restrictions. Both the Premium and At Bat services are also available as month-to-month subscriptions, though the whole-season package is quite a bit cheaper than buying month-to-month.
MLB Advanced Media told MacRumors that the company is aware that customers would very much like to stream local games without blackout restrictions, but that the content deals to allow that are extremely complex and difficult to negotiate. It also is well into its iBeacon rollout and expects to have twenty ballparks outfitted with the devices by Opening Day. The At The Ballpark app will see an update before then to support the new iBeacons.