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Posts tagged ‘iPhone’


Electro-Harmonix brings ’80s synth sounds to your iPad

The likes of Korg and Moog have their own synthesizer apps for iOS devices, and now there’s a new option for loading up a virtual instrument on those mobile devices. Electro-Harmonix has released a version of its Mini-Synthesizer EH-1600 for iPad and iPhone that delivers a digital re-creation of the ’80s analog gear. The original had pretty basic controls, but it was responsible for some fairly iconic synthesizer sounds like you’ve heard from Rush, Van Halen and more.

The app comes with 22 presets and offers users the ability to store any custom settings as well. While the original Mini-Synthesizer was a monophonic instrument, this digital version is a polyphonic synth, meaning that you can play four notes at the same time rather than just one. There’s a switch to toggle between modes though, so you can still get the classic tones alongside the new functionality. The company also expanded the keyboard to a full 88 keys, too. In total, there are 12 sliders and 9 switches for tweaking pitch, filters, delay, reverb and more inside the app that has a look that closely resembles the physical instrument. And yes, you can use the mobile software with connected MIDI devices.

If you’re looking to give it a shot, the app will set you back $2.99 for the iPhone version and $4.99 if you’re looking to use in on an iPad. Don’t worry Android users, the synth will arrive for Google’s OS in late September. For now, you can hear what the app is capable of in the video below.

Via: Fact Magazine

Source: App Store


Apple’s iPhone sales are still down, but Wall Street is happy anyway

After seeing Apple struggle through 2016, Wall Street set its sights pretty low for the company’s Q3 earnings report. Those financial results just dropped, and while they’re still not amazing for the folks in Cupertino, Apple did well enough to allay some nagging fears and get its flagging stock price up a bit in after-hours trading.

First, the biggest surprise: Apple shipped 40.4 million iPhones this past quarter, down from 51.2 million over the three months prior and from the 47.5 million shipped this time last year. Some outlets expected this to be the single worst quarter of iPhone sales growth since the iPhone first hit the scene in 2007, but that wasn’t meant to be — though another consecutive down quarter certainly isn’t fun to deal with. We’ve got the iPhone SE to thank for that, at least partially. This was the first full quarter of SE sales on the books, and Apple CEO Tim Cook said the device was popular in both “developing and emerging markets.” I’m not surprised: it’s a damned good little phone.

Since iPhones make up a big slice of Apple’s overall financial pie, it’s perhaps not surprising to see the company bring in more money than expected, too. Apple raked in a total of $42.4 billion in Q3, down from $49.6 billion this time last year. That’s a yearly dip of 15 percent. Again, not a terribly great turn, but it was still enough to appease investors, bolster stock prices and bring some value back to Cupertino. At time of publication, Apple’s share price is up nearly 7 percent.

While revenue and iPhone sales were down for a second straight quarter, there were other bright spots to be found in Apple’s documents. The company sold just shy of 10 million iPads — better than some had hoped — which help offset disappointing Mac sales. App Store revenue hit an all-time high, too, and Apple’s Services business as a whole surged 20 percent over last year. Those successes aside, it’s pretty clear Apple isn’t the juggernaut of growth it once was. You can’t keep up that kind of momentum forever.

Things would’ve looked a little better if Apple still had one of it major strongholds to lean on. For a long time there, Apple could consistently count on strong iPhone performance in China to help boost the bottom line. Faith in that seemingly sure thing was shaken last April, though, as sales in the greater China region (that’s China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) dipped nearly 26 percent. That accounted for more than half of the company’s overall revenue dip last quarter, and things aren’t much better this time around — we’re looking at a revenue drop of 33 percent since last year. Apple’s going to have to look elsewhere (like India) for another major growth engine. Cook said he sees “huge potential in that vibrant country,” but we’ll see how devices like the iPhone SE fare against low-cost competitors that currently dominate the market.

Professional pundits and armchair analysts say Apple’s best days are in the past, and if this were a normal year, that would sound a little premature. After all, the launch of the iPhone 6 in 2014 carried the company to new financial heights. Right now, though, leaks and rumors suggest the new iPhones that’ll be unveiled in September won’t be dramatically redesigned — we’re sure to get the usual performance bumps, a better camera and we might lose that decades-old headphone jack, but overall the hype train has been much quieter than usual. Throw in persistent reports that Apple is switching to a three-year product cycle, and you’ve got to wonder if the company’s financial course will ever swing back into insanely great territory.


Zagat’s new iPhone app is like the best of Yelp and Foursquare

After buying the restaurant review company Zagat back in 2011, Google helped to modernize it with a new website, mobile apps and integration within Google Maps. Today, Zagat is getting its biggest upgrade yet on the iPhone, and it’s good enough to make it your primary solution for discovering new places to eat. The app is now smart enough to recommend restaurants based on your location, as well as the time of day. That location awareness is a big part of what makes Foursquare’s recommendations useful, and it’s nice to see it finally show up in Zagat (albeit surprisingly late).

The Zagat iPhone app has also been redesigned with a cleaner, magazine-like look. When I launched it at the Engadget office, it immediately popped up with lunch recommendations, coffee spots and places to get “quick bites” nearby. It also features a neighborhood map in NYC, which is useful if you’re not familiar with the layout of the city. There’s also much a better search experience than before.

What’s most striking about the redesigned app is that it’s simply a nice experience. It combines Zagat’s editorial reviews (which are based on opinions from regular diners) and local coverage with the location features we’ve grown to expect from Foursquare and Yelp. If you’re tired of browsing through uninformed user reviews and you want more than an algorithm pointing you to food spots, it’s worth giving the Zagat app a shot.

Source: Zagat, iTunes


Google Maps Gets Cleaner Look and Orange ‘Areas of Interest’ Hotspots

Google Maps developers yesterday introduced some visual changes and subtle navigation aids for both desktop and iOS that aim to make it easier for users to explore the world around them.

The most immediately obvious visual changes include the removal of road outlines to make traffic and transit routes easier to delineate, as well as clearer typography for street names, points of interest, transit stations, and so on, making them more distinguishable.

Another, less obvious but significant change is the way Google Maps represents high density areas of interest – restaurants, bars, shops, and so on – which now appear as orange shaded hotspots on the map. As the video above demonstrates, zooming into an orange area brings more details into focus, allowing users to tap them for more information.

Google Maps color schemeThe new Maps also gains a more subtle and balanced color scheme to help users differentiate between man-made and natural topographic features, as well as identify places like hospitals, schools and highways more easily.

Google Maps is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]
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Review: AyeGear’s J25 Jacket Holds a MacBook, Two iPhones, Two iPads, and More

One of the realities of living in Toronto, Canada, about a two-hour drive from the nearest American city when traffic cooperates, is experiencing a distinctly four-season climate. Winter lives up to the stereotype of being bitterly cold, before giving way to a mild and rainy spring, and eventually a hot and humid summer. The warmth lasts for no more than three to four months, however, before the leaves turn orange in October and Starbucks brings out the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

For the past three months, I have been testing the AyeGear J25 Jacket to see how it holds up to those Canadian extremes, starting with a below-freezing, snowy day in early April to a comparatively sweltering 90º day in mid July. In addition to wearing the jacket around Toronto, I brought it with me on a recent trip to San Francisco, allowing me to test its convenience going through airport security and away from home in general. Ahead, find out if the jacket lived up to the task.

Fashion and Functionality

The jacket has over 25 separate compartments for storing portable devices, valuables, travel essentials, and general items, including six credit card and ID holders, two hand pockets, two chest pockets, two sleeve pockets, two smartphone pockets, two tablet pockets, two pen holders, two coin holders, two memory stick holders, two SD card holders, one back laptop pocket, and one passport holder.

There is also a Velcro-based earphone routing system along the neck of the jacket, an elastic strap that can hold a drink bottle, and an in-pocket retractable reel for securing your keys — or anything with a carabiner clip.

On my trip to San Francisco, I packed a tableful of items into the jacket with ease, including a 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, two iPhones, two SD cards, EarPods, Lightning-to-USB cable, wall charger, pack of chewing gum, car keys, sunglasses, passport, boarding pass, charging case, portable battery pack, wallet, and loose change. In addition to all of that, the jacket could hold two iPads.

My immediate reaction after putting on the jacket was that, perhaps as to be expected, it was rather heavy. It almost feels like wearing a lead apron at a dentist office during teeth X-rays. Walking around with all of your electronics and personal belongings strapped to your body obviously hunkers you down somewhat, and wearing this jacket for an extended period of time can become rather uncomfortable.

The weight might be a worthy tradeoff for frequent flyers, however, as the jacket makes airport security a much less frustrating experience. Anyone that has stood in line at the TSA checkpoint knows it can be a tedious, albeit important, process: take your shoes off, take your laptop out of its bag, and place all of your individual belongings in the bins before proceeding through the metal detector.

When wearing the jacket, however, all you have to do is quickly take it off with your shoes, much to the delight of those waiting behind you.

AyeGear’s J25 Jacket is built to last in all weather conditions. It is made from a mixture of cotton (67 percent) and nylon (33 percent) that proved to be waterproof — water drops bead off — and wrinkle free. The jacket also has an adjustable rollaway zipped hood, a breathable lining, and removable sleeves to turn the jacket into a vest, making it useful for hiking trips or similar activities in warmer weather.

In terms of fashion, the AyeGear J25 is not an incredibly stylish jacket — but it’s not ugly either. As a 20-something who typically wears skinny jeans and a slim v-neck crew shirt, I found the jacket to be baggier than ones I normally wear. To be fair, however, the jacket serves a specific purpose that inherently prevents it from being more of a formfitting jacket that I might purchase from a fashion retailer like H&M.

It also looks much nicer as a vest, in my opinion, so give it a go without the sleeves and hood when possible or consider the cheaper V26 Vest instead.


One knock against the AyeGear J25 is its price: £149.99​​, which is $198.75​ in the U.S. or around $260 in Canada and Australia based on current exchange rates — and that’s after the British pound’s recent post-Brexit vote decline. The jacket is certainly convenient, but whether it is worth dropping two bills on is debatable.

As is often the case, a better deal can be found on Amazon, where the jacket sells for between $149.99 and $190. Prices vary depending on the size selected.

Bottom Line

AyeGear’s J25 Jacket is a convenient, multipurpose jacket that fills a niche, particularly for the outdoorsman or frequent flyers, but its drawbacks of being somewhat heavy and expensive should be duly considered. For most people, it may be wiser to save your money and stick with a traditional jacket and backpack combo.

How to Buy

The J25 Jacket can be purchased on AyeGear’s website (~$198) or Amazon ($149.99-$190) in small, medium, large, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, or 5XL. Free delivery is offered within the U.K., while worldwide shipping is available.

Note: AyeGear provided the J5 Jacket to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

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Police Ask 3D Print Lab to Replicate Dead Man’s Finger to Unlock Phone

Police in Michigan are reportedly attempting to use a 3D model of a fingerprint to unlock a murder victim’s phone and reveal clues that could help solve an open case.

Fusion reports that the investigation is still ongoing, therefore details remain murky, but essentially instead of requesting that the phone manufacturer unlocks the murder victim’s handset, officers have asked computer scientists at Michigan State University to create a 3D printed replica of the victim’s fingers so they can do it themselves.

The victim’s body was apparently too decayed for a fingerprint to be directly applied to the phone, but the police already had a scan of the victim’s prints from when the man was arrested in a previous case.

Most fingerprint readers like Apple’s Touch ID are capacitive, meaning they use electric circuits that close when human skin comes into contact with them, which generates the image of the print.

However, a 3D printed finger doesn’t possess the conductivity that human skin does. So, to circumvent the problem, engineers coated the printed fingers in a thin layer of metallic particles so that the fingerprint scanner can read them.

Currently it’s unclear whether the method works, as the designers haven’t yet delivered the printed fingers to the police to attempt to unlock the victim’s phone.

Another potential stumbling block is that if the phone in question is an iPhone, then police may come up against a passcode screen, since newer Apple handsets request a passcode if the fingerprint unlock hasn’t been used within eight hours and the code hasn’t been entered in six days.

But if the technology is a success, then theoretically the authorities could use it on cases involving living suspects by applying for a court order.

Fusion notes that the courts draw a distinction between a fingerprint password and a memorized one. “Courts generally draw a line between the ‘contents of the mind’ (which is protected) and ‘tangible’ bodily evidence like blood, DNA, and fingerprints (which is not),” said Bryan Choi, a security, law and technology researcher.

So while a memorized password might be protected by the Fifth Amendment which protects against self-incrimination, a fingerprint isn’t. Indeed, in 2014, a court in Virginia ruled that a suspect can be required to unlock their phone using their fingerprint.

Therefore if a suspect is at large but the police have their phone in hand and their fingerprints on record, there’s nothing to say that the method could be used to unlock the device in the owner’s absence.

Choi argues that in this day and age, phones should be considered extensions of the mind and therefore protected under the Fifth Amendment and not just the Fourth Amendment (protection against illegal search and seizure).

“We offload so many of our personal thoughts, moments, tics, and habits to our cellphones,” Choi told Fusion. “Having those contents aired in court feels like having your innermost thoughts extracted and spilled unwillingly in public.”
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Edward Snowden Designed an iPhone Case to Guard Against Radio Snitching

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has helped to design an iPhone 6 case that detects if a handset is transmitting data when it’s in airplane mode.

The project was announced yesterday by design collaborator and American hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, the founder of Bunnie Studios and best known for being the first person to hack the Xbox and for legally challenging the DCMA act.

Mockup of Edward Snowden and Andrew Huang’s iPhone case (Image: Huang & Snowden)
The concept for the case is described in a paper titled Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance, which explains that the design is to protect journalists, activists, and rights workers from being tracked by governments.

The case features probe wires that access the phone’s antennae through the SIM slot to monitor signal transmission, while audible alarms and a display on the outside of the case inform users of their phone’s status.

Snowden and Huang write that using Airplane mode is “no defense” against radio transmission, which makes such a case necessary:

For example, on iPhones since iOS 8.2, GPS is active in airplane mode. Furthermore, airplane mode is a “soft switch” – the graphics on the screen have no essential correlation with the hardware state. Malware packages, peddled by hackers at a price accessible by private individuals, can activate radios without any indication from the user interface; trusting a phone that has been hacked to go into airplane mode is like trusting a drunk person to judge if they are sober enough to drive.

introspection-engine-concept-rendering-2Concept design for the iPhone case (Image: Huang & Snowden)
The paper cites the case of American reporter Marie Colvin, who is reputed to have been tracked by the Assad regime in Syria and killed for covering stories about civilian casualties.

According to a lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family this year, the Sunday Times journalist’s location was discovered in part through the use of intercept devices that monitored satellite-dish and cellphone communications.

You can find out more about the project by reading the white paper at Pubpub.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Edward Snowden designed an iPhone case to prevent wireless snooping

Edward Snowden is still trying to combat smartphone radio surveillance three years after spilling the NSA’s secrets. With help from hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, Snowden presented on Thursday designs at the MIT Media Lab for a case-like add-on device that monitors electrical signals sent to an iPhone’s internal antennas.

It looks like an external battery case with a small mono-color screen and is being described as an “introspection engine.” The device’s tiny probe wires have to attach to test points on the iPhone’s circuit board, which are accessible through the SIM card slot. The phone has two antennas that give off electrical signals and they’re used by its radios, including GPS and Bluetooth.

The probe wires read the radio’s electric signals, and by doing so the modified phone warns you when these signals transmit information when they’re meant to be off. You’ll instantly receive alert messages or even an audible alarm, and the phone can even shut off automatically. The intention here is to allow reporters to carry their phones into hostile foreign countries without revealing their locations to government-funded adversaries. They’ll still be able to record video and audio while their iPhone’s radio signals are disabled.

However, the device is still nothing more than a design for now. Snowden and Huang are hoping to build a prototype over the next year, and eventually start offering these modified iPhones to journalists.

Via: Wired


Apple Helped FBI Identify Alleged Owner of World’s Largest Torrent Site

U.S. authorities have arrested the alleged owner of the world’s largest torrent site after Apple shared personal details linked to an iTunes transaction that enabled federal investigators to locate their suspect.

According to TorrentFreak, Ukranian-born Artem Vaulin was arrested yesterday in Poland on suspicion of running KickassTorrents (KAT), which recently surpassed The Pirate Bay as the go-to site for unofficial copies of movies, TV shows, and music.

The U.S. Justice Department has requested 30-year-old Vaulin’s extradition on charges of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. The key piece of evidence that led authorities to Vaulin appeared to come when Apple handed over his personal details after investigators matched an IP address used to log in to the KAT Facebook page with one linked to an iTunes purchase.

Filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago, the criminal complaint reads: “Records provided by Apple showed that conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook.”

According to the complaint, KAT operates in 28 languages and offered movies still in cinemas, as well as other content, earning significant revenue from advertising throughout the site. Investigators also reportedly posed as an advertiser to the site, which revealed a bank account associated with it.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates KAT’s value to be over $54 million, with annual advertising revenue in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million. KAT reportedly helped distribute over $1 billion in pirated files, according to assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell, who commented on the case.

“In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits,” said Caldwell. “His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”

In addition to Vaulin’s extradition, the criminal complaint has also ordered the seizure of a bank account associated with the site, as well as the seizure of several KAT domain names. TorrentFreak reports that while the main KAT domain appears to be down, various proxies still lead to working versions of the site.
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iOS 10 warns when your Lightning port gets wet

Many mobile devices are water-resistant (some more than others), but they’ll rarely tell you when there’s a less-than-obvious danger. You might not find out that you’ve soaked something important until a gadget doesn’t work. Apple appears to have a solution, though: recent betas for iOS 10 will serve a warning when there’s liquid detected in your device’s Lightning port. Ideally, this gives you time to pull an accessory (and dry out your gear) before there’s any real damage.

So far, the feature is only known to work with newer iPhones like the 6s, 6s Plus and SE. We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation of the feature and will let you know if it has something to say. With that said, it’s not at all shocking that Apple would go this route. It’s helpful to both the company and customers: you might rescue your device when there’s a close call, while Apple spends less time and money on repairs.

[Thanks, Kristy]

Source: Reddit (1), (2), EverythingApplePro (YouTube)


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