A pair of programmers has discovered that iOS 4 devices are regularly recording their positions to hidden files, which reside on the devices and are transferred to any computer the devices are synced with during backup. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden report for O’Reilly that while working on data visualization projects, they discovered a file “consolidated.db” that contains latitude-longitude coordinates along with a timestamp, and while the coordinates aren’t always accurate, they are rather detailed. According to the report, it appears that the location collection started with iOS 4, and thus the file could potentially contain tens of thousands of data points, or an entire year’s worth of movements. The pair note that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and have contacted Apple’s Product Security team, but have yet to hear back.
As noted in our forums, Apple appears to have moved away from Skyhook and to an internal location database/detection service as of iOS 4. Given that users of Wi-Fi-only iPads and iPod touches have reported an ability to fairly accurately determine their location in situations that would prove challenging for an actual Skyhook-based system—such as in a moving car, with no Internet access available—it appears likely that iOS 4 devices are relying on this internal database to provide users with approximate location data even when no such data would normally be available. For those interested in seeing their own data, Allan and Warden have created a free Mac OS X application called iPhoneTracker that will automatically search the computer for any location files and display them on a timeline-enhanced map.
Update: The authors of the report have added a new section entitled “Who has access to this data?,” in which they state, “there’s no immediate harm that would seem to come from the availability of this data. Nor is there evidence to suggest this data is leaving your custody. But why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it — or not — are important questions that need to be explored.”
Update 2: One week after the release of this report, Apple posted a Q&A on Location Data, explaining that while some iOS devices are in fact storing location information indefinitely, the data refers to locations of nearby cell towers rather than the particular GPS coordinates of the user, and is primarily being used for quickly providing mapping information. Our followup article explains how the company will change the collection of this data going forward.
Firemint has released an update to Real Racing 2 HD for the iPad adding support for 1080p HD TV output on the iPad 2. With this latest update Real Racing 2 HD users can connect their iPad to a television set or monitor via HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adapter in order to play the game on a larger screen. When connected to an external monitor, the game displays real-time racing telemetry on the iPad screen while displaying the actual race on the HDTV. The update also provides enhanced visuals for the Alkeisha Island and San Arcana tracks for iPad 2 users and various other minor improvements and fixes. Real Racing 2 HD requires an iPad running iOS 3.2 or later; the new TV output feature requires an iPad 2, Apple Digital AV Adapter and HDMI connection. Real Racing 2 HD is available from the App Store for $10.
Crackle has released an iOS application allowing users to stream movies and TV shows from its online service to an iOS device. A division of Sony Picture Entertainment, the Crackle service was started back in 2007 to allow users to watch popular full-length movies and TV shows online, beginning with a web-based streaming player and later expanding to a wide variety of third-party hardware and mobile platforms. The release of the universal Crackle app for iOS devices now provides iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users with the ability to stream Hollywood movies and mainstream TV series directly to their device. The app provides unlimited, on-demand viewing of video content streamed over either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, optimized for both the iPhone/iPod touch or iPad. Users can browse through movies, TV shows by genre or search by keyword and build a viewing queue for use within the app of online at Crackle.com. The library includes movies and TV series from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics and more; users can view a list of available content at the web site or directly within the app. Crackle requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Crackle is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia; not all content is available outside of the U.S.
iOS as a whole is outpacing Android among U.S. mobile subscribers, according to the latest data from comScore. The research firm reports that iOS enjoys an installed base of 37.9 million users among U.S. mobile subscribers age 13 and up, good for a 16.2 percent share, compared to a base of 23.8 million users for Android, good for a 10.2 percent share. Among the iOS users, the installed base of iPhones slightly exceeded that of iPod touches, both of which were roughly twice as high as the number of iPads; only four million iOS users—10.5 percent—used more than one iOS device. Indeed, the percentage of iPad users who also use an iPhone is only slightly higher—27.3 percent—than the percentage of smartphone users who use an iPhone (25.2 percent); 17.5 percent of iPad users were found to use a RIM BlackBerry as a smartphone, while 14.2 percent of iPad owners use Android phones.
Apple is planning to add a new combined multitasking and search view to a future version of iOS, according to a new report. Vietnamese-language Tinhte.vn has posted video of an iPhone running what appears to be a post 4.x version of iOS, complete with a redesigned multitasking interface. Instead of the row of app icons that currently slides up from the bottom of the screen when double-pressing the Home button, the version of iOS depicted in the video instead brings up a new view with nine thumbnails showing the current state of open applications; the app thumbnails can be pressed and held to bring up small black “x” buttons for closing the app, similar to what is seen when doing the same maneuver on the Home screen. In addition, the view has a “Search iPhone” box at the top that appears to function in the same way as the current Spotlight search, while the version of iOS depicted doesn’t appear to have a separate Spotlight search area to the left of the first Home screen. Tinhte.vn has provided correct reports of future Apple products in the past, however, it remains unknown whether the “test version” of the software seen in the video is legitimate, or if it will be included in any public iOS release. The video is available for viewing in embedded form below. [via Engadget]
Update: Tinhte has posted a second video showing the same interface running on a different iPhone. The phone in the second video carries an “XXGB” marking on the back, but in fact has 64GB of internal storage, and is seen running a version of iOS 4.0, suggesting that the thumbnail multitasking interface has been in development since before the release of iOS 4; it is still possible that Apple might move to a thumbnail-style interface in future versions.
PBS has released an update to its iPad app adding support for AirPlay video streaming on iOS 4.3 devices. Originally released last fall, the PBS app allows users to view current programs and content from the PBS archives streamed to their iPad on-demand, with access to classic PBS shows and new content created specifically for the iPad. Version 1.2 adds the ability to stream video to an Apple TV using AirPlay and now supports multitasking allowing users to quickly resume where they left off in a program after switching between apps. The update also fixes issues with audio playback when using the Mute switch on the iPad and adds several performance enhancements and network-related improvements. PBS for iPad is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Apple has sued Samsung over the latter’s Galaxy series of phones and tablets, claiming that the products infringe on Apple’s intellectual property. The Wall Street Journal reports that the suit names products such as the Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Nexus S, and Galaxy Tab as copying the look and feel of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. “Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products,” the lawsuit said. Notably, Apple purchases flash memory and other components from Samsung, and the South Korean company is the manufacturer of the A4 chip found in the iPhone 4, as well as the new A5 chip that powers the iPad 2.
Good.iWare has released an update to GoodReader for iPad adding support for encrypting files stored within the app using the Data Protection features in iOS 4. With the latest version, users can now easily designate which files and folders they wish to have secured and the underlying operating system will automatically encrypt those files whenever the device is locked with a passcode. By integrating with the iOS Data Protection features, GoodReader is able to leverage hardware level encryption built into modern iOS devices making the process fast and transparent for end users while ensuring that sensitive files are protected in the event a device is lost or stolen. The update also adds support for “flattening” PDF annotations, embedding them in the main PDF body for reading in PDF viewers that do not provide annotation support and protecting them from further modification. Additional new features include symbolic PDF page label support, AirPlay video playback and several improvements related to connecting and synchronizing with remote servers. GoodReader for iPad 3.6 is available from the App Store for $5.
Update (04/19/2011): An update to GoodReader for iPhone is also now available adding the Data Protection and other new features to the iPhone version. Data Protection requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4 or later.
Dropbox has released an update to its popular iOS application adding several improvements related to file uploading and making some small UI changes. Dropbox 1.4 returns to the former tab-based navigation interface and adds a new dedicated Uploads section for tracking current and recent file uploads. The new version also adds support for bulk uploading of photos and videos from directly within the app and uploading files from other apps such as Mail and Safari using the iOS 4 “Open In” feature; the latter feature now allows users to upload any file type to their Dropbox directly from other supported apps. The update also adds Spanish, French German and Japanese language support and numerous bug fixes. Dropbox 1.4 is available from the App Store as a free download.
- April 18, 2011
Toys ‘R’ Us is now selling the iPad 2 at select stores. According to 9 to 5 Mac, the children’s retailer is offering 16GB Wi-Fi models in both black and white, as well as 32GB Wi-Fi units in black only. It is also carrying pink, blue, and green polyurethane Smart Covers at most stores, while its Times Square location in New York City will also offer leather Smart Covers in black and tan. For a full list of Toys ‘R’ Us locations carrying the iPad 2, see the company’s online store list.
Software developer Panic, known for award-winning Mac apps such as Transmit and Coda, has made its debut on the iOS App Store with Prompt, a new SSH client for the iPhone and iPad. Designed to be clean and easy to use, Prompt is targeted at system administrators, web developers and other technical users who regularly need to connect to SSH-based servers and other devices. The application provides full support for Bluetooth keyboards, including special command keys and customizable keys and shortcuts and full VT100 compatibility. Frequently used commands are automatically saved for autocompletion and each connected server is automatically saved as a favorite. The application also includes support for SSH public/private key pairs for secure password-free login, can handle multiple active connections and automatically discover local SSH servers via Bonjour. Prompt is available from the App Store for $5.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has released an iOS application based on its Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll exhibit. The app features a multimedia showcase of over 600 songs from the 1920s through to 2006 selected by the museum’s curatorial staff and a number of rock critics and historians as influential in the evolution of rock and roll. Users can swipe through the app to experience the music from each era. Individual songs in each decade are presented using an album cover slideshow and users can listen to an audio preview of the song and read about the history of it and an explanation of why it made the celebrated list. Users can build a custom playlist of songs within the app or tap a link to purchase a song from the iTunes Store. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $2.
Apple has released iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM), iPad, iPad 2, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update “fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call,” “fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on iPad Wi-Fi + 3G,” and “contains the latest security updates.” Notably, the notes make no mention of the problems domestic iPad 2 CDMA users had connecting to Verizon Wireless’ network, as had been previously speculated. In addition, Apple has released iOS 4.2.7 for the CDMA iPhone 4. Both updates are available now via the Update feature in iTunes.
Update: Apple has posted a support article documenting the security changes in iOS 4.3.2.
Speaking in an interview with Now Gamer, id Software co-founder John Carmack made several statements on the development of games for iPhone vs. Android. When asked, “With Rage HD on iOS do you see yourself ever working on Android?,” Carmack responded, “Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android, and decide if it was time to start really looking at it.” He continued, “At the last Quakecon I took a show of hands poll, and it was interesting to see how almost as many people there had an Android device as an iOS device. But when I asked how many people had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there was a big difference. You’re just not making money in the Android space as you are in the iOS space.”
He added, “We made more money than people may expect on the Doom RPG stuff. It’s just fun to develop on iOS. We’d show people what we were working on and they’d go ‘Oh, when are you going to ship that? And I’d say “next month” and they’d go ‘Aww, I wanna work on an iPhone title.’ It’s hard to make a rational business decision to say I want to take resources from something else and put them on this. We did actually hire a person to be our Android guy, but it looks like he’s going to get stuck on iOS development!” Id has released several games for iOS devices, including ports of its classic titles Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM, as well as the aforementioned Rage HD.
Navigon has released an update to its MobileNavigator series of turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps for the iPhone and iPad updating to the latest NAVTEQ maps and introducing new augmented reality, safety camera and traffic features. MobileNavigator 1.8 users can now take advantage of Reality Scanner, a new augmented reality feature that displays points of interest overlaid onto a live camera view, designed to help pedestrians easily locate POIs while on foot. The update also includes a new $5 optional add-on feature that provides drivers with alerts on upcoming static speed and red light cameras along their route by using data from leading safety camera detection company RoadTraps. The regularly updated RoadTraps database provides access to over 3,900 speed and red light cameras in the U.S. A new Traffic Check feature is now also included in the latest version at no additional cost, so even users who have not purchased the add-on Traffic Live feature can still get a quick at-a-glance view of current traffic conditions along their selected route; more detailed traffic information is available as before with the purchase of the Traffic Live add-on. In conjunction with this latest update, Navigon has reduced the prices on all of its MobileNavigator apps and in-app purchases until April 28. MobileNavigator North America is currently available from the App Store for $45; separate versions are available for other geographic areas with similar discounts from the company’s App Store page. Safety Cameras, Traffic Live, ZAGAT Survey Ratings & Reviews and Panorama View 3D are available separately via in-app purchase.
- April 12, 2011
Speaking with reporters, Aloizio Mercadente, Brazil’s science and technology minister, said that Foxconn plans to start assembling iPads in its plants in the country by mid-November. Reuters reports that Mercadente’s comments come as Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has said that Foxconn was considering making an investment of $12 billion to assemble monitors in the country. “You’ve got an ample range of investments [from other tech companies] that go from $300 to $400 million to $12 billion over 5 to 6 years in the case of Foxconn,” Rousseff said during a recent trip to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.. “They’re proposing a partnership. They came to us and said we want to invest in Brazil.”
Developer James Laird has reverse engineered Apple’s private AirPlay key, opening the door to third-party AirPlay-enabled AirPort Express emulators. In a blog post announcing the release of ShairPort, an open-source AirPort Express emulator, Laird explains that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme in the AirPort Express, hiding a private key inside. Laird ended up opening the AirPort Express, dumping the ROM, and reverse engineering the keys out of it to achieve his goal. As noted by Mac Rumors, third-party apps allowing users to stream audio to an AirPort Express or other AirPlay devices have previously been available, but none were able to accept incoming audio streams. In addition, it seems unlikely that hardware manufacturers would want to use the key, as it is possible to become an officially licensed AirPlay partner instead.
- April 12, 2011
A group of French researchers has created a proof-of-concept app and video that demonstrates the iPad 2’s ability to create glasses-free 3D effects. Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay of the Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble, EHCI Research Group discovered that by using the device’s front-facing camera to track the head of the user—and therefore determine the angle from which the user is looking at the device—they could create a spatially-aware display. Notably, the effect does not use the device’s accelerometer, and instead relies solely on the front camera. The video is available for viewing on YouTube via the above link or below in embedded form. [via TUAW]
Bloomberg has released an iPad app and digital subscription for Businessweek magazine. The app provides access to all of the content from the print edition of the magazine plus extra exclusive content and interactive features. Weekly issues provide behind-the-scenes video features, audio interviews, direct access to the latest market information from any article and an interactive table of contents and index of companies. The app also provides an integrated search feature that works across multiple issues, support for portrait and landscape orientation, the ability to create a personal archive of content that can be accessed from any issue, and sharing of articles via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. Bloomberg Businessweek+ requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download and includes a free issue of the magazine. Print edition subscribers receive a free subscription to the digital edition upon validating their print subscription; non-subscribers can purchase a digital-only subscription via in-app purchase for $2.99/month.
Adobe has announced a new software development kit aimed at providing developers with tools for creating mobile and tablet apps for its Photoshop CS5 desktop application. The Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit along with a new scripting engine in Photoshop CS5 will support the Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS platforms, allowing apps to interact with Photoshop CS5 using a touchscreen device.
In conjunction with the SDK release, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for the iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. These apps will provide a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Touch SDK, enabling users to create custom color swatches, paint from the iPad screen and access popular Photoshop tools. Color Lava will allow users to mix colors and create custom color swatches and themes on the iPad which can be transferred back into Photoshop. Eazel will allow digital artists to create sophisticated paintings on the iPad that can be transferred directly to Photoshop for further development. Adobe Nav turns the iPad into an input surface for Photoshop CS5, allowing users to select and control Photoshop tools.
The Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK is available as a free download from the Adobe Photoshop Developer Center. An update to CS5 to add the necessary scripting support will be available from Adobe on May 3, 2011 with the iPad apps expected for release on the App Store sometime in early May.