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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

by:  Apple


Apple Upgrades iMessage Encryption for Quantum Threat

Feb 21, 2024, 11:48 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple announced that it is upgrading the end-to-end encryption in iMessage to guard against the threat that future quantum computers may be able to easily defeat today's traditional encryption. Although no such quantum computer is known to exist today, it is possible that today's encrypted messages could be intercepted, stored, and decrypted by a future quantum computer; hence the need to move to post-quantum cryptography (PQC) today. Apple's new "PQ3" messaging protocol does this, along with several other security enhancements. The protocol includes periodic "rekeying", to ensure that even if a one key is compromised, only part of a conversation could be decrypted. It also utilizes a hybrid approach that combines PQC and a more traditional ECC algorithm, so that if flaws are found in the new PQC algorithm, content is still protected by proven ECC encryption. Support for PQ3 is included in iOS 17.4. PQ3 will fully replace the existing protocol within all supported conversations this year.


Apple Launches its own Free Sports App

Feb 21, 2024, 11:19 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple today launched Apple Sports, a free iPhone app for tracking sports scores and related info. Users can customize their scoreboards by following their favorite teams, info that is synced with the Apple TV app and Apple News. Besides scores the app also shows upcoming games, play-by-play information, team stats, lineup details, and live betting odds. For in-progress games, tap to watch the game live, via Apple TV and "connected streaming apps". It currently includes MLS, NBA, NCAA basketball, NHL, Premier League, and more. It will also support MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NWSL, and WNBA as those leagues start their upcoming seasons. The app is available today for the US, Canada, and UK.


Apple Changes Position, Will Allow Streaming Games in App Store

Jan 25, 2024, 1:42 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple is changing its App Store rules to allow game-streaming services as well as "mini-apps, mini-games, chatbots, and plug-ins" in iOS apps. "Developers can now submit a single app with the capability to stream all of the games offered in their catalog." Apple previously prohibited this type of app, requiring a whole separate app to be submitted for each game. Apple will still apply all of its other App Store rules to all experiences available from within the app. Such apps will need to carry the age rating of the highest age-rated content available within that app, so a single game rated 17+/Mature available could cause a whole game platform to be rated 17+, for example. The changes will also permit scenarios such as one app that offers individual chatbot subscriptions via Apple's in-app purchase mechanism. Apple also promises to "provide enhanced discovery opportunities" for these new experiences within apps.


Apple vs. Epic Battle Over App Store Comes to an End

Jan 16, 2024, 12:34 PM   by Rich Brome

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the case of Epic Games vs. Apple, leaving in place the most recent rulings of lower courts and effectively ending the years-long legal battle over Apple's App Store rules in the U.S. The end result is that Apple will not be forced to open iPhones to competing app stores and payment systems within iOS. However Apple is being forced to allow app developers to direct their customers to alternative subscription and payment options outside its ecosystem, such as on the web. Central to the issue is the 30% commission that Apple collects on in-app purchases in iOS apps.


New Case Adds Keyboard to iPhone Pro

Jan 5, 2024, 2:39 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 5, 2024, 3:19 PM

Clicks is a new case accessory for recent iPhone Pro models that adds a full physical QWERTY keyboard to the bottom of the phone. By disabling the software keyboard when in use, it frees up the lower half of the display for content while typing. It also provides faster access to shortcuts, including Home and Search. The keyboard is backlit and the device provides pass-through Lightning or USB-C connections for easy phone charging. The wired connection also offers a reliable link between the keyboard and the phone, and doesn't require a separate battery for the keyboard. Clicks is a creation of Michael Fisher (known as MrMobile), and Kevin Michaluk (known as CrackBerry Kevin), "together with a team with mobile experience from companies including Apple, BlackBerry, and Google." Clicks is available for order starting today two colors: yellow and gray. Three models are available: Clicks for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro sell for $139 and ship on Feb. 1 and mid-March, respectively. A model for the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max ships in early spring for $159.


Beeper Mini's Newest (Cumbersome) Workaround Will be its Last

Dec 21, 2023, 1:29 PM   by Rich Brome

Beeper Mini has a new solution for using iMessage on an Android phone, but it requires a jailbroken iPhone left plugged in and turned on, as well as a Mac or Linux computer. Apple has found ways to shut down previous versions of Beeper Mini that did not require this extra hardware. Beeper says of its new solution: "we believe we’ve created something that Apple can tolerate existing." However, if Apple does shut down the new version of the service, Beeper says it will abandon the project.


Apple and Google Launch Phone Diagnostic Tools

Dec 15, 2023, 12:45 PM   by Rich Brome

Within days of each other, Apple and Google have both announced new diagnostic software that allow users to troubleshoot common issues with their own iPhones or Pixel phones. The new Apple Diagnostics for Self Service Repair tool starts with a web site where users enter their device's serial number. On Google Pixel phones, a Pixel Diagnostic App can be accessed by entering a special code (*#*#7287#*#*) in the Phone app. The tool is already available on all Pixel phones, but Google now seems to be supporting consumer use of a tool previously intended only for qualified technicians. Both Apple and Google have relatively new programs that enable technical-minded consumers to order parts and tools, and repair their own phones. These new software tools should help users diagnose issues, identify the correct parts to order, and verify repairs.


Google Making Maps Location History Private, Even from Police

Dec 15, 2023, 11:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is changing how Maps stores your location history, moving it on-device by default and encrypting it when saved to the cloud. This change means even Google can't access that data, which also means Google will no longer be able to respond to "geo-fence" warrants from police wanting to know who was in a given area at a given time. Other companies — notably, mobile network operators — may still have customer location data that can be compelled by police, but Google Maps will no longer be a source of this information. Maps already offers a variety of options giving users control over their location data in its Timeline feature. Users can delete all history and set an auto-delete time period. Timeline is off by default, and when activated, now defaults to keeping only three months of data instead of 18. A new feature will let users delete data for specific locations. Users will be able to manually upload an encrypted copy of their location history to the cloud to preserve that data when switching devices; but otherwise it will stay on-device. The changes will apply to both Android and iOS versions of Maps. Users will see a notice in the app when the change reaches their account.


iPhone Gaining Protections Against Phone Thieves That Know Your Passcode

Dec 12, 2023, 2:50 PM   by Rich Brome

The new beta version of iOS rolling out today includes a new feature called Stolen Device Protection, designed specifically to help iPhone owners retain control of their online accounts after their phone is stolen, even in cases where the thief knows the phone's passcode. Because a passcode can serve a fallback when biometric unlocking fails, thieves can use it to unlock a stolen phone and change the Apple ID password, prevent password resets, block Find My features, and access saved passwords for third-party apps, including some banking and financial apps. The new feature — which is optional and turned off by default — requires two successful biometric scans one hour apart to make those critical changes, and does not accept the passcode as a fallback. The extra protections apply only when the phone is away from known locations like "home" or "work". The new feature should help prevent thieves from causing financial damage beyond the stolen phone, but also make this particular type of phone theft less attractive as more people enable this feature.


iOS 17.2 is Available Now

Dec 11, 2023, 4:10 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple's latest update for iOS — version 17.2 — brings support for Spatial Video capture on iPhone 15 Pro models. It also adds Qi2 wireless charging support for certain older models.


Governments Demand, Receive Push Notification Data from Apple, Google

Dec 6, 2023, 11:38 AM   by Rich Brome

A US Senator has written a public letter bringing to light the practice of governments demanding smartphones' push notification records from Apple and Google, and receiving that information. The US government has prevented Apple and Google from disclosing this practice, but Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is asking the Department of Justice to allow Apple and Google to disclose information about this to their customers. Already, in response to the letter, Apple has acknowledged the practice and pledged to include information about it in its next transparency report. On both iPhones and Android phones, app push notifications are routed via Apple or Google servers.


Apple Bringing Qi2 Support to iPhone 13, 14

Dec 6, 2023, 11:24 AM   by Rich Brome

iOS 17.2 adds support for the new Qi2 wireless charging standard to the previous two generations of iPhones. Qi2 is based on Apple's proprietary MagSafe, which itself is based on the older Qi standard. MagSafe and Qi2 both feature magnets to ensure proper alignment, as well as faster charging speeds compared to Qi. The iPhone 15 series already supports Qi2. iOS 17.2 also includes a fix for wireless charging issues that some iPhone 15 owners have experienced in certain models of cars.


Sunbird Pulls its iMessage App for Android

Nov 21, 2023, 12:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Sunbird has pulled its app from the Google Play Store, and Nothing has pulled its version of the app, following significant privacy issues. Sunbird offered a way for Android users to communicate with iPhone users via Apple's proprietary iMessage platform. However several researchers and journalists discovered that the app wasn't encrypted in ways Sunbird promised, and other people's private messages could be accessed with relative ease. Services like Sunbird will become less necessary in a year, when Apple adds support in iOS for the RCS rich messaging standard already used by most Android phones.


Apple Caves on Messaging, Will Support RCS Industry Standard

Nov 16, 2023, 1:26 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Nov 17, 2023, 10:45 AM

Apple has issued a statement announcing that it will support RCS — the industry standard for enhanced messaging — in late 2024, which likely means in iOS 18. This will enable features like read receipts, typing indicators, and high-quality media with users of other platforms, including Android. Android already supports RCS as its default enhanced messaging platform. Green bubbles on iPhones won't be going away, though. Apple confirmed that blue bubbles will continue to be exclusive to iMessage messages. Google and some governments have been pressuring Apple to provide this kind interoperability in recent months. The full statement from Apple, provided to 9to5Mac, reads: "Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users."


Apple Won't Charge for Satellite SOS Service Before 2025

Nov 15, 2023, 11:46 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Nov 15, 2023, 12:11 PM

iPhone 14 owners who activated their phone prior to today will receive three free years of Emergency SOS via Satellite service instead of the usual two. Other iPhone 14 and 15 owners will continue to receive two free years of service. The move implies that Apple's plans to start charging for the service in late 2024 have been delayed. Apple's Emergency SOS via Satellite service lets users reach emergency services when out of cellular range. It can also be used to share the user's location with friends and/or family while off the grid.


iOS 17 Officially Available

Sep 18, 2023, 12:12 PM   by Rich Brome

The final version of iOS 17 is now available to download. iPhone users with an iPhone Xr/Xs or newer (including the iPhone 11 series, 12 series, etc.) can now go to Software Update in Settings to upgrade to the new OS. iOS 17 was announced in June and has a number of new features, including: Contact Posters, StandBy, Check In, NameDrop, Live Voicemail, offline maps, smarter auto-correct, and the ability to respond to just "Siri" instead of "Hey Siri". It also has new protections against unwanted nude images. Beta versions have been available since July.


iPhone 15 Series Goes All-In on USB-C and Dynamic Island

Sep 12, 2023, 2:19 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has revealed the iPhone 15 series, which moves to a USB-C connector and brings several key features from last year's Pro models to the more-affordable standard models. These include the pill-shaped sensor cutout in the display that Apple calls Dynamic Island, a brighter display that can reach 2000 nits, a 48 megapixel main camera, and the A16 Bionic processor chip. The Pro models move to a titanium outer frame and a new A17 Pro chip that uses a cutting-edge 3nm manufacturing process. The A17 Pro has faster graphics with ray-tracing as well as a 2x faster Neural Engine for on-device machine learning. As with last year, both standard and Pro models come in two sizes: a 6.1-inch display and a 6.7-inch display. The larger models also include a larger battery. The larger iPhone 15 Pro Max also steps up from a 3x tele camera to a 5x. That camera features 3D sensor-shift OIS, a first in a phone. The titanium frame on the Pro models is stronger and lighter, granting them lighter weight and a slightly smaller physical size due to thinner bezels around the display. All models feature durable ceramic shield display glass and a frame with slightly rounded edges for a more comfortable feel in hand. The industry-standard USB-C connector replaces Apple's proprietary Lightning connector. On the iPhone 15 series, it supports charging, data, audio, and video (up to 4K). Apple is launching new wired earbuds and AirPods Pro for the new connector. On the Pro models, the connector supports USB 3 for data rates up to 10 Gbps. The Pro models can even record ProRes video directly to external storage. The 48 megapixel main cameras that are now standard across the lineup have a new default mode that captures both a 48 megapixel image and a higher-quality 12 megapixel image using pixing binning, then combines them to output a 24 megapixel photo with a better balance of quality and resolution. The standard models do not include a dedicated telephoto camera (like the Pros), but still offer 2x tele mode thanks to the higher-resolution main sensor. Video mode supports smooth zooming while filming. In standard Photo mode, the camera app now automatically detects a portrait situation (including of a pet) and captures a depth map. This lets you turn the photo into a portrait with bokeh (blurred background) after the fact, and even choose which part is in focus. Apple has also added a new nano-coating to the camera lenses to reduce lens flare in photos, a common complaint with recent iPhone models. A new, 2nd-generation UWB chip has longer range and enables a precision finding feature for other people you know with iPhones. A new "Voice Isolation" feature powered by machine learning eliminates background noise coming from your side while on a phone call. The emergency satellite features have been expanded to include roadside assistance from AAA; that service is now included with a AAA membership. The Pro models have a few other tweaks, such as a customizable action button replacing the silent switch, and rear glass that's easier to remove for better repairability. The Pro models can also capture 3D "Spacial Video" for Apple's new Vision Pro AR headset, plus log encoding for professional video capture and color grading. Finally, the Pro models support Wi-Fi 6E and Thread. The iPhone 15 starts at $799 while the larger Plus starts at $899, both with 128 GB of storage. The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999 (128 GB) while the 15 Pro Max starts at $1199 (256 GB). The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus come in black or one of four pastel colors: blue, green, yellow, or pink. The Pro models come in black, white, blue or "natural titanium". Pre-orders start this Friday, with full availability a week later on Sept. 22.

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Apple Issues Urgent iOS Patch for Major Security Vulnerability

Sep 8, 2023, 7:37 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 8, 2023, 7:43 AM

Apple has released iOS 16.6.1 for iPhones, which fixes an "actively exploited zero-click vulnerability". All iPhone and iPad owners should update their OS software immediately, as this is one of the most severe types of security issues. The vulnerability can be exploited with zero interaction from the victim; the attacker merely needs to send an iMessage with a maliciously crafted image. The Citizen Lab discovered the vulnerability — which they have dubbed "Blastpass" — being actively exploited in the wild and used to install NSO Group's Pegasus "mercenary spyware", which gives the attacker nearly complete access to the target device. Citizen Lab notes that iPhones in Lockdown Mode would not have been vulnerable to this exploit. Lockdown Mode is an existing feature of iOS that cuts off likely attack vectors. It's designed for people likely to be targeted for who they are or what they do. This particular exploit involves "a validation issue" with the PassKit API in Wallet, in combination with a buffer overflow issue in Apple's image-processing framework. Buffer overflows are a common cause of security vulnerabilities across most OSes.


iOS 17 Public Beta Now Available

Jul 12, 2023, 1:28 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has released the first public beta test version of iOS 17 for iPhones. The software was announced a month ago and the final version is due this fall. The update brings a long list of small new features, including StandBy, Live Voicemail, Check In, Offline Maps, better auto-correct, and new protections against unwanted nude images. As usual, beta software tends to have bugs and should not be installed on a device you depend on. People wishing to try out the software can head to the Apple Beta Software Program web site to sign up and enroll a specific device to receive the iOS 17 beta.


Motorola Defy Satellite Link Now on Sale

Jun 29, 2023, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 29, 2023, 2:11 PM

The motorola defy satellite link from Bullitt is now available in the US for $150. In North America, the price includes a free trial of the Premium messaging plan (300 non-emergency messages per month) until October 1st, and one year of the Essential plan (30 non-emergency messages per month) for free. The unique device adds satellite connectivity to any Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows that smartphone to send and receive text messages as well as provide location updates in places there is no cellular coverage. Messaging happens in the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app. Message recipients without that app receive a message as a simple SMS to their existing phone, and are invited to download the associated Android or iOS app to respond. Once the free trial(s) expire, there are various annual messaging plans available, starting at $5/month for 30 messages/month. All plans includes SOS Assist, with 24/7 access to emergency response centers. Retailers include AT&T, REI, Bass Pro.com, B&H Photo, Nomadic Supply, BlackOvis.com, and GoHunt.com.


Venmo Lets Businesses Accept NFC Payments Using Just a Smartphone

Jun 28, 2023, 3:38 PM   by Rich Brome

Venmo is rolling out support for accepting payments with Tap to Pay for business users on both iOS and Android. The feature uses the NFC function built into many smartphones and requires no extra hardware. "Small business owners can onboard in just a few simple steps and start accepting contactless cards and digital wallets through their Venmo business profile. Tap to Pay on Android will be available for all Venmo business profile users in the coming months.... Tap to Pay on Android is also now available for all PayPal Zettle users in the U.S. ... In addition, Tap to Pay on iPhone is now available to select Venmo business profile and PayPal Zettle users, with plans to make it available to all Venmo business profile and PayPal Zettle users in the U.S. soon."


OnePlus' New Mid-Range Phone Has a 108 Megapixel Camera

Jun 15, 2023, 11:35 AM   by Rich Brome

OnePlus has launched the OnePlus Nord N30 5G in the US, offering well-rounded mid-range specs but two unusual features: a 108 megapixel main camera and 50-watt fast charging. It's available from T-Mobile, Metro, and unlocked. The Samsung main camera sensor operates in 9-pixel-binning mode by default, outputting high-quality 12 megapixel images even in low light. Or it can use the extra pixels to offer up to 6x zoom. The two other rear cameras are a 2 megapixel macro camera and 2 megapixel depth camera. The front camera is 16 megapixel. The 6.72-inch LCD display offers FHD+ resolution and 120 Hz refresh. It's powered by a Snapdragon 695 chip paired with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (expandable by up to 1 TB). Other features include NFC, a headset jack, and stereo speakers. OnePlus promises one OS upgrade and three years of bi-monthly security updates. T-Mobile is selling the phone for $264, Metro is selling it for $280, and OnePlus is selling it directly for $300. It is approved for use with AT&T and has basic support for AT&T's 4G/5G network. For a limited time, OnePlus is throwing in a free pair of OnePlus Nord Buds 2 Bluetooth earbuds (worth $59), a free year of Google One, and 20% off a case. The Nord N30 is available starting today. The same phone is available in other markets as the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G.


iOS 17 Brings Comprehensive Protection Against Unwanted Nude Images

Jun 7, 2023, 9:53 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple's forthcoming iOS 17 will include a suite of new options to protect both children and adults from inappropriate and/or unwanted sexual content. The features are a significant expansion of the technology already available via Communication Safety. Currently, parents can enable Communication Safety for their kids, which intervenes when it detects nudity in photos in the Messages app, either sending or receiving. In iOS 17, this protection expands to video content, AirDrop, FaceTime video messages, Contact Posters in the Phone app, and the Photos picker. In addition, a new API lets developers add Communication Safety to third-party apps. For adults, this same technology has been repackaged as a separate feature called Sensitive Content Warning. It only applies to receiving images and videos in Messages, AirDrop, a FaceTime video message, and the Phone app when receiving a Contact Poster. It's an optional feature that can be turned on in Privacy & Security settings. When enabled, sensitive photos are blurred by default, but can still be viewed with an extra step. Both Communication Safety and Sensitive Content Warning use on-device processing, so no content is uploaded to Apple nor any other party.


iPhones Gain News Powers Paired with TVs

Jun 5, 2023, 1:19 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 5, 2023, 2:06 PM

Apple today announced two distinct new features that will let iPhones do more with full-size TVs. FaceTime on tvOS lets you make FaceTime calls on your TV with Apple TV. Continuity Camera lets your iPhone or iPad provide the camera for the call. The feature supports Center Stage, which automatically adjusts the framing to keep you centered. Separately, AirPlay for Hotels will make it easier to watch your own media on the full-size TV in select hotels. Simply scanning a QR code displayed on the TV will automatically connect your iPhone to the hotel Wi-Fi and pair the phone with the TV for displaying content. The feature will roll out starting later this year.


iOS 17 Adds StandBy, Live Voicemail, Check In

Jun 5, 2023, 12:44 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 5, 2023, 1:59 PM

Apple has announced iOS 17, due in the fall. It includes a long list of new features. StandBy is a new interface mode that activates when you turn the iPhone 90º while idle. It acts like a home smart display, offering a clock, widgets, photos, music, and a special interface for Siri. The Phone app adds contact Posters, which let you customize a full-screen photo with text for each contact, displayed during incoming calls and across the OS. Live Voicemail displays a live transcript as someone leaves you a voicemail message. FaceTime now includes video voicemail. Autocorrect now uses more intelligent machine learning, considers sentence context, and adds sentence auto-complete and personalized learning. Apple also promises fewer "ducking" mistakes. Check In lets someone receive automatic updates on your trip to a safe destination. It provides interactive prompts if you're running late. If you're late and not responding, (and therefore potentially in trouble,) it automatically lets your trusted contact know, along with location and battery level. Messages lets you refine searches, and "catch up" jumps to the last unread message for you. AirDrop now includes NameDrop for sharing contact info, and AirDrop can now be triggered by simply bringing two iPhones very close together. Journal is a new app for journaling. It includes machine-learning-powered Suggestions based on your activity to inspire a new journal entry. Apple has also improved Siri to respond to just "Siri", instead of "Hey Siri". Finally, the Maps app now supports Offline Maps. The first developer beta of iOS 17 is available today.


ChatGPT Now available as an iPhone App

May 18, 2023, 3:18 PM   by Rich Brome

The conversational AI app is available now, for free, in the US. ChatGPT Plus subscribers get additional features. It will come to Android and other countries soon.


Apple Previews Major New Accessibility Features for iOS

May 17, 2023, 9:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple today previewed several new accessibility features that are coming to iPhone and iPad later this year. The major new features address those with speech, cognitive, and vision disabilities. Live Speech lets users type to speak out loud. The feature works during phone or FaceTime calls, or on its own for in-person conversations. It includes bookmarks for quick access to frequently-used phrases. Personal Voice is an enhancement to Live Speech that lets users create a voice that sounds like them. This is for users at risk of losing their ability to speak, such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS. Assistive Access replaces most of iOS with a dramatically simplified interface for those with cognitive disabilities. It presents large tiles for Music, Calls, Messages, Photos, and Camera, and a simplified interface within each of those apps. A trusted supporter can customize the experience. "For example, for users who prefer communicating visually, Messages includes an emoji-only keyboard and the option to record a video message". Point and Speak will read aloud any text that your finger points to when using Detection Mode in the Magnifier app. "For example, while using a household appliance — such as a microwave — Point and Speak [will] announce the text on each button as users move their finger across the keypad." Detection Mode already announces and describes whatever is in front of the camera, and is a feature of the existing Magnifier app, which helps those with low vision navigate their physical environment. Other improvements include phonetic suggestions for similar-sounding words in Voice Control, and adjustable speech rate for Siri (0.8x – 2x) in VoiceOver.


Apple and Google Collaborate on Anti-Stalker Tech

May 2, 2023, 11:56 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple and Google have announced a new industry standard that will enable cross-platform alerts when people are potentially being tracked without their consent using any popular Bluetooth location-tracking device, regardless of manufacturer. For example, this would allow someone to receive an alert on their Android phone when an unknown Apple AirTag seems to be following them, or the same for an Apple iPhone and a Samsung SmartTag. Current anti-stalker features are either siloed in one company's ecosystem or require the manual download and use of a special app. This new standard will eventually come baked right into both iOS and Android. Besides Apple and Google, "Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they choose to build these capabilities into their products." Today marks the start of a three-month comment period on the draft standard. The companies plan to finalize the standard by the end of 2023 and implement it "in future versions" of iOS and Android.


Google Adds National Park Trails to Maps App

Apr 12, 2023, 11:18 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is updating its Maps app on iOS and Android to add better navigation within US national parks, particularly for hiking trails. Instead of just showing trailheads with pins, the entire path of a trail will now be shown. The app will also now "surface helpful details from the Maps community like what type of trail it is, its difficulty, and whether it's better for running, walking, or cycling." Google will also make it easier to download offline maps for specific parks, since cell service can be spotty within many. Other improvements include a visual overview of top attractions, and better directions to trails, including cycling directions. The updates are rolling out this month for the US, and Google will expand these features "around the world in the coming months."


iOS Update Brings New Emoji, HomeKit Fixes

Mar 27, 2023, 4:07 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has released iOS 16.4, an update to its smartphone software that brings bug fixes as well as new emoji. Shaking face and pushing hand (left and right) have been added, as well as wireless (Wi-Fi), and the Khanda, the symbol of the Sikhism. Other new symbols include Donkey, Moose, Goose, Wing, Jellyfish, Hyacinth, Pea Pod, Ginger, Folding Hand Fan, Hair Pick, Flute, and Maracas. Finally, the heart emoji also now comes in pink, light blue, and grey. The update also promises to fix issues upgrading to the new version of the HomeKit system that brings compatibility with the new Matter industry standard for smart homes.


iPhone 14 Now Comes in Yellow

Mar 7, 2023, 12:18 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has introduced a new yellow color option for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. It "will be available to pre-order this Friday, March 10, with availability starting Tuesday, March 14."


Bullitt Announces First Phones with Satellite Messaging

Feb 27, 2023, 2:21 PM   by Rich Brome

Bullitt has announced the first Android phones that will include two-way satellite messaging capability. The Motorola defy 2 and CAT S75 are both designed to connect to Bullitt's new Satellite Connect platform. The platform enables two-way messaging via satellite, for both emergency and non-emergency use. The two phone models appear to be essentially the same phone, sporting nearly identical specs and features. Those include sub-6 5G, a 5,000 mAh battery, 15W wireless charging, 6.58-inch FHD+ display with 120 Hz refresh protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, 50 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and underwater photo capture. Both phones are powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 930 chipset, paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage (expandable with memory cards). The phones are rated IP68 and IP69K for water and dirt. They're also military rated for vibration, humidity, salt mist, and thermal shock. The phones come with Android 12 and a promise of three years of quarterly software updates (including two full OS upgrades), and two additional years of "emergency" security updates. The CAT S75 is launching initially in Europe, while the Motorola defy 2 is coming to "selected operators" in North America before the middle of the year. The defy 2 is priced at $599, which includes one year of SOS Assist via satellite. For additional satellite service, "plans start from as little as $4.99/ month". Bullitt also announced the "motorola defy satellite link", a small Bluetooth device that can add the same satellite connectivity to any iOS or Android phone.


New Bluetooth Dongle Lets Any Phone Message via Satellite

Feb 27, 2023, 2:17 PM   by Rich Brome

Bullitt and Motorola has unveiled the "motorola defy satellite link", a small Bluetooth device that acts as a gateway for two-way satellite messaging, adding that capability to any iOS or Android phone. Using Bullitt's Satellite Messenger service, a connected phone can both send and receive text messages where cellular service isn't available. While it includes an SOS mode, the service is also available for non-emergency use. The device has a rugged, waterproof design and multi-day battery life. It can function independently of a phone with two buttons: an SOS button and a "check in" button that sends your location to a predefined contact. The Motorola defy satellite link will be available globally in April for $99. Service is extra, starting at $4.99/month. Or, for $149, a bundle will be available that in includes the device and one year of service, including SOS Assist and up to 30 non-emergency messages per month.


Google Expands Access to Magic Eraser

Feb 24, 2023, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is bringing its Magic Eraser feature of Google Photos to more users, including all Pixel phone owners and everyone that subscribed to Google One, even on iOS. Magic Eraser lets you "erase" unwanted people or objects in any photo, using AI to fill in the erased area.


Microsoft Brings its AI Chatbot to Mobile

Feb 24, 2023, 10:54 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft has added its (in)famous new AI-powered Bing chatbot to several of its mobile apps. The service, previously only available on the web and desktop apps, acts like an intelligent search engine that you can have a complete conversation with. The Bing service is based on ChatGPT from OpenAI. On mobile, Microsoft's Bing app, Edge browser app, and the Skype app now include access to the chatbot in both Android and iOS versions. In Skype, the chatbot can even be added to a group conversation.


iOS 16.3.1 Fixes Important Security Issues

Feb 14, 2023, 1:30 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has released security patches for most of its devices and OSes, including iOS, that users should install immediately. They fix several issues, including one where "processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution."


Android and Google Devices Now Support Matter

Dec 15, 2022, 11:47 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Dec 15, 2022, 11:48 AM

Google has updated its Google Home app and Google Home / Nest devices to fully support Matter, the new industry standard for smart home control. Existing Google home hardware can serve as a Matter hub, including the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi Pro. Matter-enabled smart home devices can connect to your home's Matter network via Wi-Fi or Thread (a low-power standard). Thread devices require a Thread border router; the Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Hub Max and the Nest Hub (2nd gen) can act as a Thread border router. Matter is designed for "Multi-Admin", meaning you can use multiple devices and ecosystems simultaneously to control your home, including both the Google Home and Samsung SmartThings apps. Android's Fast Pair feature also now works for Matter devices, making it faster and easier to set up new smart home devices. Next year, Google will bring Google Home with Matter to iOS. A handful of Matter-enabled devices are already available, "with many more coming in early 2023".


FCC May Mandate Security Updates for Phones

Dec 15, 2022, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington is calling for the FCC to mandate that device manufacturers "explicitly commit to supporting their wireless devices with security updates for a defined period." Phones and other wireless devices that are in active use but no longer receiving security patches represent a national security risk, according to Simington. Some manufacturers have committed to providing security updates for up to five years for their high-end devices, while other companies make no specific promises. New security vulnerabilities are regularly discovered in both new and old versions of Android, iOS, and other OSes. Left unpatched, older devices become susceptible to more and more of these issues over time, providing an open door for malware, spyware, ransomware, and more.


Apple Will Offer End-to-End Encryption for Cloud Data, Including Backups

Dec 9, 2022, 12:45 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple is introducing several new security-focused features this week. The optional features give users new ways to secure their accounts and protect their data. A feature Apple calls Advanced Data Protection for iCloud will let users end-to-end (E2E) encrypt nine additional types of cloud data, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. This is beyond the 14 categories already E2E encrypted by default. E2E ensures that personal data stays encrypted in transit to/from the cloud, and while stored in the cloud, in such a way that not even Apple can decrypt it. Data would also be protected in the event Apple suffers a cloud security breach. This could present a challenge for law enforcement, which sometimes subpoenas Apple for iCloud data of suspects, including iPhone backups. Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is in beta now, and will be available to US users by the end of the year. Apple will also now support hardware security keys for two-factor login using Apple ID. Hardware security keys provide a much higher level of security compared to other types of two-factor authentication. This feature "will be available globally in early 2023." iMessage Contact Key Verification is intended for "users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and members of government". The feature helps users "verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend". A unique Contact Verification Code confirms user identity and can be confirmed via other channels, including in person. Users with the feature enabled will also "receive automatic alerts if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop". This feature will be available "globally in 2023."


Car Key Sharing Coming to Android

Dec 1, 2022, 12:41 PM   by Rich Brome

Google Pixel phones now have the ability to share digital car keys via messaging, including with iPhones. Select other phones with Android 12 or later will also get the feature soon.


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