Apple has posted a new job listing on its website seeking an “iPhone OS Platform Security Manager,” suggesting the company is looking to further secure its mobile operating system. The job description says the company is ” looking for a talented and inspired manager to lead a team focused on the platform security of iPhone OS. The team is responsible for secure booting and installation of the OS, partitioning and hardening of security domains within the OS, cryptographic services, and risk analysis of security threats.” Responsibilities of the position will include “setting the roadmap for the iPhone OS platform security with an emphasis on hardware support and trusted computing methods,” “creating and promoting a development environment that encourages innovation and sets high standards for quality and productivity,” and “driving a methodology for proactively finding security vulnerabilities.”
While the iPhone OS has yet to be the target of a widespread virus or other malicious attack, hackers have been able to consistently jailbreak each new release, allowing for the installation of unsupported applications and modifications, potentially making the devices more vulnerable to attacks, as seen in a harmless extortion scheme earlier this week. In addition, other potential vulnerabilities have been found and demonstrated at hacking conferences, although Apple has normally adressed these with subsequent software updates. It is unclear whether this position, whether it be a new job or an attempt to fill a now-vacated position, would be charged with blocking jailbreakers or simply focusing on other security concerns. [via The Industry Standard]
Intel has issued a comment concerning the iPhone sync issues some users are experiencing with certain PCs containing a specific Intel chipset. “Our leading theory is a BIOS or system configuration issue, but we are still investigating,” Intel said. The basic input/output system (BIOS) is the boot firmware run by a PC on startup, which identifies, tests, and initializes core system devices such as the graphics card, hard disk, and other hardware. As we reported earlier this week, the syncing issue appears to linked to Intel’s P55 Express chipset and its USB controller, which leaves the afflicted machines able to recognize the iPhone but unable to sync. The problem has been most prevalent among PCs running 64-bit Windows 7, but the issue has also been reported on machines running both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of both Windows 7 and Vista.
Sony Creative Software has released 1,000 Ringtones, a new DVD containing a collection of ringtones grouped into music, sound effects, and spoken word categories. Developed with iPhone users in mind, all 1,000 ringtones included on the DVD are in .m4r and .mp3 formats, and are ready for use without any additional fees, downloads, or editing. Users can simply browse the ‘tones directly from the DVD and drag any selected tones into iTunes for synchronization. 1,000 Ringtones is available now as either a DVD shipment or direct .zip archive download and sells for $20.
AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Verizon Wireless over its recent TV advertisement campaign comparing the two leading carriers’ 3G network coverage map. As we reported early last month, the ads ape Apple’s “there’s an app for that” iPhone slogan by repeating “there’s a map for that” while showing various usage scenarios in which Verizon’s 3G coverage might better that of AT&T’s. The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T is claiming that Verizon is misleading consumers with the ads, by using maps with large amounts of blank space which AT&T says indicate a complete lack of coverage, not just a lack of 3G. “By communicating that AT&T customers have no coverage in large parts of the country, Verizon is misleading the public about an essential component of the services AT&T offers,” the suit reads. Verizon is claiming the lawsuit is without merit. “Our ads clearly explain that non-3G coverage is available elsewhere,” Verizon spokesman Jim Gerace told the WSJ. “I think it’s interesting that AT&T’s chose to focus on the white areas and not the blues area of their map. We think it calls into question their own fastest 3G claim as the map clearly shows where 3G doesn’t exist.”
A Dutch hacker has used an exploit commonly left open when jailbreaking an iPhone or iPod touch to try and extort €5 from a number of T-Mobile Netherlands users. Ars Technica reports that the hacker used port scanning to identify jailbroken iPhones on the network that had SSH running. As many users who had activated SSH had not changed the default root password, the hacker was able to hack into the devices and send an alert that appeared on the screen like an incoming SMS message. The false alert read, “Your iPhone’s been hacked because it’s really insecure! Please visit doiop.com/iHacked and secure your iPhone right now! Right now, I can access all your files. This message won’t disappear until your iPhone’s secure.”
A visit to the website mentioned in the alert prompts the user to send €5 to a PayPal account, after which time the hacker will send the user an email with instructions to remove the hack. Ars notes that the hacker doesn’t appear to have malicious intent, as he/she states on the page mentioned in the alert that,” If you don’t pay, it’s fine by me. But remember, the way I got access to your iPhone can be used by thousands of others—they can send text messages from your number (like I did), use it to call or record your calls, and actually whatever they want, even use it for their hacking activities! I can assure you, I have no intention of harming you or whatever, but, some hackers do! It’s just my advice to secure your phone.” Apple has often mentioned security issues as a reason why it is opposed to users jailbreaking their devices.
China Unicom has announced that it has signed up only 5,000 new iPhone subscribers in the first five days the device has been on sale, but adding it was satisfied with the results. Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing said that the company is “satisfied with iPhone sales so far,” and added that the launch would help boost revenue in the fourth quarter, without providing any additional details. Reuters reports that analysts expect Unicom may be forced to offer more subsidies on the iPhone to bring down its price and boost sales. China Unicom became the first carrier to offer the iPhone in mainland China when it launched the device October 30.
A combination of a certain Intel chipset and Windows 7 is leaving some iPhone users unable to sync their phones to their computers. According to a group of intrepid iPhone users on Apple’s Support forums, the problem appears to be caused by Intel’s P55 Express chipset and its USB controller, which leaves the Windows 7 machines able to recognize the iPhones but unable to sync. Users instead are greeted with the unknown error 0xE8000065. Notably, the problem appears to exist across both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows; no workaround is currently known short of purchasing a new PCI USB card. [via Engadget | The Register]
The iPhone has officially launched in China, with reports of lines in the hundreds. Fortune reports that the first sale was made at 6:30 p.m. Beijing time on Friday, following a ceremony held at China Unicom’s flagship store, known as “The Place.” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing, was on hand at the event, calling it “an extraordinary day,” while China Unicom officials revealed they now have more than 1 million iPhone 3G subscribers, most likely through its amnesty program that allowed owners of imported, gray-market iPhones to sign up for its services. According to reports, as many as 300 customers were in line to buy the handset at Unicom’s store in Beijing, while a strong crowd was also found outside Apple’s retail store in the city.
In its 2009 10-K form (PDF Link), filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple said it plans to fight Nokia in the complaint the Finnish communications giant filed against Apple last week. In the complaint, Nokia claims that Apple’s iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN standards, or, more specifically, those covering wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. In its filing, Apple said that it “intends to defend the case vigorously.” Overall, Apple said it is defending more than 47 patent infringement cases, of which 27 were filed during the company’s fiscal 2009.
Data from the latest ChangeWave consumer survey indicates that the iPhone continues to gain market share in the smart phone category, bringing Apple within striking distance of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion for the first time. Overall, 39% of consumers said they currently own a smart phone, up two percent from June. Apple’s market share has jumped five percent among those respondents—from 25% to 30%—in the same time period, leaving it 10% behind market leader RIM, which dropped one point to 40%. Palm remains at 7%. Among consumers planning to purchase a smart phone in the next 90 days, Apple’s share dropped from 44% in June to 36% in September, but it remains 9% ahead of RIM in this metric. Finally, Apple continues to lead in customer satisfaction, with 74% of owners saying they are very satisfied with their iPhone. ChangeWave’s latest survey of was performed from September 14-21 with 4,255 consumer respondents.
Telus announced today that it will begin selling the iPhone in Canada on Thursday, November 5th. Although specific iPhone plans have not yet been announced, Telus will be selling the three current iPhone 3G and 3GS models at the same subsidized three-year contract pricing as Rogers Wireless. Until now Rogers and Fido have been the exclusive iPhone carriers in Canada by virtue of having the only 3G network rather than any exclusive agreement with Apple. Telus and Bell Canada have recently upgraded their carrier networks to provide 3G capabilities, and Bell Canada is also expected to begin offering the iPhone sometime in November, although no specific dates or prices have yet been announced by that company.
The Guardian reports that Orange UK will launch the iPhone on November 10th in the UK, the day after the end of O2’s two-year exclusive contract with Apple. The iPhone will be sold through the Orange’s own stores as well as Phones4U. Carphone Warehouse is also expected to sell the iPhone on behalf of Orange. This announcement makes Orange the second carrier in the UK to offer the iPhone. Two other carriers, Vodafone and 3, are also expected to begin offering the iPhone on their networks in the UK in 2010.
Apple announced this week that they will be hosting a series of iPhone Tech Talk World Tour events in select cities around the world from October 29 through to December 15, 2009.
Open to members of the iPhone Developer Program, the event will provide expert advice from Apple technology evangelists to assist developers with tips on how to get the most out of their iPhone applications, with topics ranging from adding In App Purchase features to mastering OpenGL ES.
The event is being held in San Jose, Seattle, New York, Toronto, Paris, London, Hamburg, Beijing and Tokyo, and is free to all members of the iPhone Developer Program, although space is limited and several cities have already filled up.
Verizon has launched a new TV ad campaign and matching website for its upcoming “Droid” Android phone, directly attacking the iPhone using a list of features that are unavailable on Apple’s handset but which will be available on Verizon’s upcoming device. The ad uses an Apple-like presentation of text on a plain white background with upbeat music playing in the background, beginning each statement with “iDon’t.” Examples used in the commercial include “iDon’t have a real keyboard,” “iDon’t run simultaneous apps,” “iDon’t allow open development,” and “iDon’t have interchangeable batteries.” The commercial ends with the slogan “Droid Does,” and notably does not feature the Verizon logo. The commercial can be viewed in embedded form below.
GTA TeleGuam has announced that it has reached an agreement with Apple to begin selling the iPhone in Guam later this year. GTA, which will be the first carrier to offer the iPhone in the island territory, will offer both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS; pricing and exact release information have yet to be revealed.
In response to a report that incorrectly quoted AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega as having promised tethering support for the iPhone by the end of this year, a company spokesperson has cast doubt onto the prospect of tethering in 2009. 9to5Mac, citing Cnet—the source of the disputed quote—wrote in a story that AT&T had promised tethering support by the end of 2009. It soon received an email from an AT&T spokesperson requesting a correction, and saying, “[j]ust reading again – where did anyone promise tethering by EOY? Where did you see that? We promised MMS by end of summer and ended up being a few days late for that.” As iLounge reported last week, an AT&T spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that “additional fine tuning” to its networks would be required to ensure “the best possible customer experience” for iPhone tethering.
Apple has begun to ship new iPhone 3GS units with an updated boot ROM, breaking the exploit commonly used to jailbreak the device. iClarified reports that the new ROM—iBoot-359.3.2—is not vulnerable to the “24kpwn” exploit, and began shipping last week. According to a Twitter post from “MuscleNerd,” this is the first time in the history of the iPhone and iPod touch that hackers have seen Apple update the boot ROM in the middle of a product cycle. Apple has in the past attempted to block jailbreaking through software updates, but this strategy has been less and less effective as the platform has matured, with most recent software updates being jailbroken either hours after, or in some cases, prior to, their official release.
Update: A member of the iPhone Dev-Team, a group that publishes tools to jailbreak the iPhone and iPod touch, has clarified that the new boot ROM does not in fact prevent jailbreaking, but instead makes it more difficult to reboot a jailbroken iPhone 3GS once it’s been turned on. According to Wired, without the 24kpwn exploit, jailbreaking will still be possible, but all jailbroken units with the new boot ROM will need to be tethered to a computer in order to turn on if turned off or if they run out of battery life.
Global marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of its 2009 Wireless Consumer Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study—Volume 2, with Apple and the iPhone getting top marks in smartphone customer satisfaction. Among manufacturers of smartphones used primarily for personal reasons, Apple ranked the highest with a score of 811, performing particularly well on ease of operation, operating system, features, and physical design. It was followed in the category by LG with 776 points and BlackBerry maker RIM with 759 points. Perhaps more surprising is Apple’s top ranking among customers who use their smartphones primarily for business, besting RIM by a score of 803 to 724. The consumer study was based on 3,221 smartphone owners who have used their current mobile phone for less than two years, while the business study collected the experiences of 1,148 smartphone owners who use their smartphone for primarily business purposes; both studies were held between January and June 2009.
Following Apple’s release of iPhone OS 3.1.2, AT&T has released a carrier settings update for its U.S. iPhone customers. Listed as AT&T 5.6, it is unclear what improvements the new settings file may offer; the last carrier settings update activated MMS service for U.S. iPhone customers. AT&T announced earlier this week that it will now allow VoIP iPhone applications to operate over its 3G network, but it is unknown whether this new update is in any way related to that announcement.
Apple has released iPhone OS 3.1.2, its first major update to the iPhone’s and iPod touch’s software since the launch of version 3.1 and 3.1.1, respectively, on September 9. According to Apple’s release notes, the update “[r]esolves [a] sporadic issue that may cause iPhone (or iPod touch) to not wake from sleep,” as well as an “intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart.” It also fixes a bug that could cause occasional crashes during video streaming. iPhone OS 3.1.2 is available now for both iPhone and iPod touch users through the update feature in iTunes.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal regarding the possibility of AT&T’s recent VoIP announcement being a precursor to the launch of tethering support for the iPhone, a comapny spokesperson said that more work was required before the feature could be enabled. “Whenever we offer new features, we want to offer the best possible customer experience. For tethering, we need to do some additional fine tuning to our systems and networks so that we do deliver a great experience,” the spokesman said. Earlier this week, AT&T announced that it would now allow iPhone VoIP applications to use its 3G network. Apple responded by saying it was “very happy” with the announcement, adding that it would be amending its development agreement in order “to get VoIP apps on the App Store and in customers’ hands as soon as possible.” Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T’s Mobility arm, said in November 2008 that tethering support would be coming “soon;” Apple added built-in support for the feature in iPhone OS 3.0, which was released in June, but AT&T has yet to announce an official launch date.