Mix: Disabling ‘bad’ apps, Apple patent, Aug. 22 iPhone country list finished [updated]

A configuration file discovered during a forensic examination of the iPhone 3G suggests that Apple may have the ability to disable unauthorized or malicious iPhone applications already installed on the device. Jonathan Zdziarski, member of the unofficial iPhone Dev Team and author of at least two iPhone books, found the file, along with a remote URL that Apple is using to keep a list of unauthorized apps. Zdziarski says, “This suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off. At the moment, no apps have been blacklisted, but by all appearances, this has been added to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down. I discovered this doing a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G. It appears to be tucked away in a configuration file deep inside CoreLocation.” Currently no applications are listed in the file; it remains unclear whether Apple will use this list for remote deactivation of truly malicious apps, or for a more broad range of apps it deems unfit for use/sale.

Update: Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggests that given the file is hidden in CoreLocation, this is most likely a blacklist for “preventing any listed apps from accessing Core Location,” as opposed to a list for complete disabling of apps.

A new Apple patent application suggests that the company may be working on a way to allow iPhone owners to access their iTunes libraries remotely. Titled “Remote access of media items,” the patent describes a system of loading metadata for “virtual media items” onto a portable media device — such as the iPhone or iPod touch — which can then access the virtual media items, the data of which remains stored in iTunes, over the air through a LAN, WLAN, Wi-Fi, or cellular data connection. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

The rest of the countries receiving the iPhone 3G on August 22 have been announced. SetteB.IT reports (Translated link) that in addition to already-announced arrivals in Romania, India, the Philippines, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, four additional countries will see launches. Latvia and Lithuania will see the device launched on TeliaSonera’s LMT and Omnitel services, respectively, while T-Mobile and Orange will launch the iPhone in Slovakia, and SingTel will begin offering the device in Singapore. These latest additions bring that number to 21, and bring the total number of countries in which the iPhone will be available to 43 as of August 22.

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