Monday, July 30, 2012

iPhone 5 and iPad Mini launch set for Sept 12th, report says

  • Published July 30, 2012


    Have you put off buying a new handset in order to wait for the looming iPhone 5? You may not need to wait for long if a couple of new reports are true.
    This morning, the iLovers over at iMore reported that they've heard that Apple plans to announce the iPhone 5 -- along with the iPad mini, the new iPod nano and the final build of iOS 6 -- on September 12, followed by the actual launch of Siri's latest vessel on September 21st.
    Giving credence to iMore's claim that the iPhone 5 will launch a month earlier than expected is a set of photos by the reported in English by 9to5Mac) that purport to show a fully assembled iPhone 5 body, made from components that have found their way into repair shops.
    The photos match up with a lot of the rumors we've been hearing about the iPhone 5: the black iPhone appears to have a smaller dock connector, a bigger screen, a centered FaceTime camera and a metallic backing plate. Both websites have several more pictures of what are supposed to be iPhone 5 components, including several internal assembly shots.
    Of course, in these days of 3D printed guns and mixtape-mimicking MP3 players, anyone with a MakerBot and too much free time could whip up a realistic-looking iPhone 5 assembly based on the latest and greatest rumors. Is this one real? We'll just have to wait and find out -- possibly on September 12th.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What We Know About the iPhone 5

By Chris Ciaccia | – Wed, Jul 25, 2012 11:58 AM EDT
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple AAPL reported disappointing third-quarter earnings, but investor attention is shifting to the company's most important product, the iPhone 5.
Apple sold 35.1 million and 26 million smartphones, respectively, in its recent fiscal second and third-quarters, and many are predicting this release will be the biggest product launch Apple has ever had. CEO Tim Cook alluded to the coming "fall product transition," suggesting the iPhone 5 will be announced then.
The iPhone 5 will have a slew of new features, said Channing Smith, portfolio manager at Capital Advisors Growth Fund.
"We expect it to have Near Field Communications (NFC), a larger screen, and a better camera -- we expect it will be done without conceding battery life," he said in a recent phone interview. "Apple needs to continue to improve the competitive advantages it already has -- the way Apple has built its ecosystem is brilliant. They've locked so many users into their ecosystem -- I think that gives them an enormous advantage." Apple is Smith's largest holding in the fund.

There are tons of rumors about what the new iPhone will look like and what it will be called. Half of the fun of an Apple product launch is speculating what will go into the product as the rumor mill churns out report after report about the latest and greatest gadget from Cupertino, Calif.
It's not clear, though, what Apple will even call its new iPhone. The gadget maker has typically numbered its latest offerings, but ditched this nomenclature for the new iPad.
Nonetheless, here's a list of features that might be in the phone, which could be called the iPhone 5, and is expected to be released later this year.
What It Will Look Like
Apple's past two releases, the iPhone 4S and the new iPad, were more evolutionary than revolutionary. This could be Apple's big opportunity to push the envelope in terms of innovation.
Apple has kept the iPhone's design fairly stable, with a 3.5-inch screen size, tweaking it slightly, as it refines the five-year old product. Many now believe the next iPhone will have a 4-inch screen, as it competes with offerings like the Samsung S III Galaxy and other 4-inch phones.
The iPhone's screen size has not changed since inception, so this is a slight strategy change for Apple, perhaps a direct result of Tim Cook running the company now.

The next iPhone may also be slightly thinner than its predecessors, as Apple utilizes in-cell technology. This technology will allow Apple to integrate touch sensors into the LCD, eliminating one layer of the phone. It could also help cut costs and simplify Apple's supply chain even further, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The casing of Apple's next smartphone could be aluminum, as Apple looks to abandon the glass backing of the current form-factor. There have been problems with the glass backing scratching, so Apple may look to alleviate that.AAPL ChartAAPL data by YCharts
It's almost a certainty at this point that the next iPhone will run on Long Term Evolution (LTE), or 4G high-speed networks from AT&T T and Verizon VZ . This will allow the next-gen phone to consume data at a faster speed and make the browsing and data consumption experience all that more enjoyable.
Usage of LTE has shown battery life to decrease. Apple acknowledged that in its new iPad, when it said the battery would last nine hours on LTE, as opposed to 10 otherwise. Apple could improve the battery life in the new iPhone, as Capital Advisors' Smith suggested.
Given Apple's long-standing relationship with Qualcomm QCOM , there is a strong possibility that a Qualcomm chip could be powering the 4G capabilities of the phone. Qualcomm chips feature predominantly throughout the previous versions of iPhones and iPads.
Another major feature which Apple could introduce is Near-Field Communications. Apple started to open up the possibility and potential for the iPhone becoming a "digital wallet" when itannounced Passbook, as part of iOS 6, its new mobile operating system.
Passbook is a location-aware app that lets users put their discount cards, gift cards, movie tickets and boarding passes into one app. Apple was recently awarded a patent for Passbook that could expand its uses, and move Apple towards the digital wallet.
Apple's mobile operating system will have more than 200 new features, including Passbook, enhanced support for Siri, as well as Apple Maps, as it removes Google GOOG Maps from the phone. There will also be heavy integration with Facebook FB , which the company announced at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple may bring FaceTime, its video chat software, to wireless networks. Currently, FaceTime on iPhones can only be done on Wi-Fi networks, but with LTE networks the capability for increased use of FaceTime has expanded. Apple announced this as part of iOS 6 for the iPad, and it's a safe bet that the same will happen for the new iPhone.
Many are wondering whether Apple will introduce a new processor with the latest iPhone. Apple announced the A5X chip when it unveiled the iPad, and given its propensity to release the chip, which is designed from ARM Holdings ARMH property, in the iPad first, this is an uncertainty.
There is no doubt that the new iPhone will have some of these features, and others that we haven't thought of. There's always "one more thing" to shock, surprise and amaze the Apple audience. We'll find out soon enough.
Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
Check out our new tech blog, Tech Trends. Follow TheStreet Tech on your wireless devices.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Can Skype 'wiretap' video calls?

John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) -- The video calling service Skype recently made a change to how it routes calls.
Yawn, right? But here's where it get a little juicier: Hackers and bloggers are saying the changes, which push some of the video calling process onto Skype's own computers instead of onto random machines on the Internet, could help the app spy on users' calls, presumably at the request of a court or government.
"Reportedly, Microsoft is re-engineering these supernodes to make it easier for law enforcement to monitor calls by allowing the supernodes to not only make the introduction but to actually route the voice data of the calls as well," Tim Verry, from the website ExtremeTech, wrote last week. (Supernodes are third-party computers that act as a sort of directory service for routing calls.)
"In this way, the actual voice data would pass through the monitored servers and the call is no longer secure. It is essentially a man-in-the-middle attack, and it is made all the easier because Microsoft -- who owns Skype and knows the keys used for the service's encryption -- is helping."
Other news outlets, including Forbes and Slate, picked up on the discussion. Forbes says there is "tremendous buzz" in the hacker community on this topic.
The problem? It's unclear what exactly changed, and a Skype spokesman contacted by CNN for clarification would not release more than a pre-written statement.
Chaim Haas, the spokesman, would not say, for instance, if the update actually enabled the company to tap into and record Skype calls. He also would not answer questions about when the update took place or whether wiretapping was a motive.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to continually improve the Skype user experience, we developed supernodes, which can be located on dedicated servers within secure datacenters," the statement from Skype says. "This has not changed the underlying nature of Skype's peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, in which supernodes simply allow users to find one another (calls do not pass through supernodes).
"We believe this approach has immediate performance, scalability and availability benefits for the hundreds of millions of users that make up the Skype community."
Skype, which grew out of the peer-to-peer downloading network Kazaa and how has 254 million "connected" users per month, has a long reputation for guarding the privacy of its callers. Skype calls usually are routed from one caller to another, rather than through a middleman.
"Historically, Skype has been a major barrier to law enforcement agencies," writes Ryan Gallagher at Slate. "Using strong encryption and complex peer-to-peer network connections, Skype was considered by most to be virtually impossible to intercept."
For technical reasons, this meant that Skype actually could not comply with an order to wiretap a particular Skype user's conversations, a spokeswoman told the tech news site CNET in 2008. "We have not received any subpoenas or court orders asking us to perform a live interception or wiretap of Skype-to-Skype communications," the spokeswoman said. "In any event, because of Skype's peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques, Skype would not be able to comply with such a request."
But after the recent change, some insiders are speculating that such digital eavesdropping may indeed be possible.
The difference involves the third-party "supernode" computers. Until recently, those supernodes were other Skype users who had fast Internet connections and could handle the work.
Now, according to Skype's statement, those supernodes have moved onto computers owned by Skype, which is owned by Microsoft. That has some people concerned.
Haas, Skype's spokesman, wrote that "it is also important to note that Skype calls DO NOT (emphasis his) pass through supernodes -- they act in a directory function only."
He added: "As was true before the Microsoft acquisition, Skype cooperates with law enforcement agencies as is legally required and technically feasible."
This seems to mean that Skype can't intercept calls just because it owns the supernodes now. The spokesman, however, declined to answer follow-up questions on this point.
Others are unsure what it means.
"I'm a little bit surprised and slightly skeptical about that statement" about how calls "do not pass through supernodes," said Peter Eckersley, technology projects director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Maybe in most cases calls would not actually pass through a supernode in a way that they could be tracked, Eckersley said, but, for technical reasons, some types of computer connections may require a call to route though a supernode.
If you are really truly geek fluent, Eckersley's question for Skype may interest you:
"If two Skype users are firewalled so that they can only make outbound TCP connections and cannot make UDP connections, how do you route a call between those two users?"
Eckersley said he can't think of an answer, aside from pushing a call through a supernode, which now would be on a Skype- or Microsoft-owned computer.
In any event, Eckersley said, this update may not be all that significant in the big picture. His group already does not recommend that people who live in authoritarian regimes use Skype, because of the relative likelihood that communications could be tapped.
In dangerous places like Iran and Syria, using a service like Gmail is safer, he said.
"As of 2012 we don't believe the Skype architecture is secure," he said. "There are a lot of people out there, a lot of governments out there, that have the means to break Skype, and this remains true regardless of whatever Microsoft just changed."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Facebook working on 'want' button?

 @CNNMoneyTech July 24, 2012: 2:47 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Facebook's famous "like" button may be getting a new friend: a "want" button.
Reports indicate that Facebook (FB) may be in the works of developing a "want" button as a way for users to share coveted items with their friends.
In a report released Tuesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster notes that a "want" button "could be Facebook's first true product to directly impact commerce on the site."
"Offering a 'want' button and enabling users to tell friends and Facebook what products they want would give Facebook data closer to what Google (GOOGFortune 500) has when users type an explicit commerce related search query," Munster wrote.
The speculation started last month when Web developer Tom Waddington discovered the code for a disabled version of the button and published a mockup of it on his blog. Waddington wrote that Facebook clearly has "big plans for social commerce."
He added that it appears the purchases and wants a user submits will appear in a similar manner as other content on Facebook.
Facebook would not specifically discuss the chatter about a "want" button. "We're always testing new platform features. However, we have nothing new to announce," a company spokesperson said.
With Facebook's eagerly anticipated second-quarter earnings report Thursday, a segue into social commerce may help the company after itsbotched IPO. Investors are hoping for more details about how Facebook can diversify.
The "want" button would essentially function as a wish list, so Facebook could collect data and learn more about the types of products its users would like to purchase.
Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co., said she was surprised by the rumor, but thinks that it's a good idea for the company. Martin says investors are curious to hear how the social network giant can generate more revenue from its 900 million users, and pointed out that commerce would be an important area to focus on.
Ken Sena, an analyst with Evercore Partners, also said the addition of a "want" button could "make a lot of sense" for Facebook since it would allow Facebook to show advertisers what its users actually intend to purchase.
But if Facebook were to make an announcement about this or any other new features, Munster says it would likely happen at the company's next developer's conference.
The company has yet to announce a date for its next conference but it is expected to take place sometime this fall Last year's F8 conference was held in September. At last year's conference, the company revealed a redesigned news feed and the Timeline feature for profile pages. To top of page

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

25 Awesome iPhone tips and tricks

By Marc Saltzman | Digital Crave – Wed, Apr 11, 2012 1:56 PM EDT
Whether you're a seasoned user or brand new to the iPhone world, chances are you're probably not using your smartphone to its fullest.
Don't worry, you're not alone, as these pocket-sized computers boast many hundreds of features buried in the operating system.
And so here we share a number of our favoriteiPhone tips and tricks, some of which you may know already. Hopefully there's a good number of ones you aren't aware of yet. Most of these following 25 suggestions will work with all versions of the iPhone, but be sure to have the latest software installed (iOS 5.1).
OK, here we go:
Take a photo with your headphone cord: Now that you can use the volume up or down buttons to snap a photo, steady your hand while framing up the photo and when you're ready to take the picture, press the button on the cord so it won't shake the iPhone. Voila!
Dry out a wet iPhone: You're not the first one to drop an iPhone in a toilet or sink. If this happens, don't turn it on as you can damage the smartphone by short-circuiting it. Lightly towel dry the phone. Don't use a hairdryer on the phone as it can further push moisture into areas that aren't wet. Submerge the iPhone in a bowl or Ziploc bag of uncooked white rice and leave it overnight. If you have it, try using a desiccant packet you might find with a new pair of shoes or leather purse.
Dismiss suggested words: If you're typing an email or note and the virtual keyboard is suggesting the correct spelling of the word — and you don't want to accept it — you don't need to tap the tiny "X" at the end of the word in question. Simply tap anywhere on the screen to close the suggestion box.
Take photos faster: Even if your iPhone is locked you can double-tap on the Home button and you'll see a camera icon you can tap to open the camera immediately. Now you can use the volume up button to snap the photo, too. You can also use the volume up on the headphone cord to take a photo (if you want to) and pinch the screen to zoom instead of using the slider bar.
Use location-based reminders: You probably know Siri can be used to set a reminder, like saying "Siri, remind me to call mom at 4pm today." But did you know you can set location-based reminders on your iPhone 4S? Say "Remind me to call mom when I leave here" or "Remind me to call mom when I get home" and you'll be notified accordingly.
Get word definitions: Apple has recently added a built-in dictionary and you can access it in most apps that let you select a word. Simply press and hold on a word — such as in an email, reminder, iBooks, and so on — and you'll see a pop-up option for "Define."
Revive a frozen iPhone: If your smartphone freezes on you and pressing the Sleep/Wake button on top of the device doesn't do anything, don't panic. Instead, press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time. You'll be prompted to swipe the "Slide to Power Off" tab. This so-called "hard reset" resuscitates the frozen iPhone. You'll first need to wait through a full shut down and restart.
Get more done in less time: You can create shortcuts to words and phrases you use a lot, such as Northern California Association for Employment in Education. In Settings, go to General, then Keyboard, and select Add New Shortcut. Now you can add new words or phrases and assign shortcuts to them (such as "NCAEE," in the above example, and it'll type out the full word each time.
See a 6-day weather forecast: If you're one of the many weather junkies out there, you probably know you can swipe down the iOS device's screen and you'll see the Notifications center. Weather will be at the top, but did you know you can swipe to the left or right and you'll toggle between current conditions and a 6-day forecast? Plus, jump to the Weather app by tapping anywhere on the weather bar inside Notifications screen.
Select URL domains faster: When typing a website address in Safari, you don't have to type the ".com." For example, you can type "yahoo" in the URL box to get to On a related note, you can press and hold down the .com button and you'll see a list of alternatives to choose, such as .net, .org and .edu.
Make your own ringtone: Don't settle with the ringtones provided by Apple and you need not pay your carrier for more of them. As the name suggests, the free Ringtone Maker app lets you take a clip from your favorite songs and make ringtones out of them in seconds.
Feel and see when people call: Apple has added a number of accessibility features to iOS 5, specifically designed to assist those with hearing, vision, mobility and other disabilities. For example, those who are hearing impaired might opt to have the LED flash when a call comes in. If you're seeing impaired, you could set a unique vibration pattern for different people in your Contacts, so you know who's calling.
Find your lost iPhone: As long as you sign up in advance, the free Find My iPhone app will help you locate your device on a map (on your computer or other iOS device). You can display a message or initiate a loud ring (in case it's under the cushions), or remotely lock or wipe its data.
Save photos in Safari: You're surfing the web in Safari and stumble upon a photo you'd like to save. Simply press and hold on a photo when on a website and you'll be prompted with a menu asked if you'd like to "Save Image." Once the photo is saved, you can view it offline, email it or set it as wallpaper.
Take an iPhone screen grab: On a related note, if you want to take a screenshot of a website or application, press down on the Home button and tap the Sleep button. You'll hear the camera click, see a white flash and the screenshot will be saved to your Camera Roll.
Get new sounds: It's been a long time coming, but Apple has added the ability to select custom tones for incoming text messages, new emails, voicemails, tweets, calendar alerts, reminders and more. You can select something you like from within the Sounds menu. You'll also notice you can scroll to the top of this list of sounds and you'll see a "Buy More Tones" option, which takes you to iTunes.
Zip to the top of the page: In Mail, Safari, Contacts and other apps, simply tap the status bar at the top of the screen — the area that displays time, battery and cell bars — to jump back to the top quickly.
Prolong your battery: Speaking of the battery, here's how to squeeze more life out of your iPhonebetween charges. Turn down the brightness of your screen, turn off wireless radios you don't use (such as GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) and reduce the number of apps with info you have "pushed" to your phone. Also, make sure you lock it before putting in your pocket, purse or backpack or else it could turn on and drain the battery.
Spread out the keyboard for easier typing: Here's a tip for iPad users: If you like typing while holding the tablet, rather than stretch your fingers or thumbs for those middle letters like G, H, Y or B, you can drag the keyboard to each side of the screen to separate it into two, allowing you to easily type while holding it.
Learn some gestures: Close any app ridiculously fast by putting your four fingers and thumb stretched on the screen and pinch inwards. Sweet! You can also magnify what's on your iPhone screen with a three-finger tap. You'll first need to go to Settings, General, Accessibility, and select the various gestures options here.
Create an "app" out of a website you visit often: To add a website to your Home screen, just visit the webpage in Safari and at the top of the screen, tap the Go To icon and select "Add to Home Screen."
Create a music playlist on the fly: You no longer need a computer to create a playlist. In the Music app, tap Playlists, then select Add Playlist and give it a name ("Marc's Workout Mix"). Now, tap any song (or video) to add it to the playlist. You can add individual songs, entire albums, or all songs by a particular artist.
Don't waste your day deleting messages individually: You can delete unwanted emails en masse rather than deleting one at a time. In your Inbox, simply click the Edit button and check off the emails you want to delete with your finger and then choose Delete.
Keep track of your texting limits: If you don't have the best texting plan and don't want to unnecessarily pay to send more texts than you need, here's a tip to turn on the character count in the Messages app. Enable this in the Settings>Message option to keep an eye on your word count. Usually, your one text becomes two after 160 characters.
Mirror your iPhone with your TV: If you own an Apple TV, you can instantly and wirelessly share exactly what's on your iPhone 4S or second- and third-generation iPad with your HDTV, connected to an Apple TV — such as games, apps or videos. Simply double-tap the Home button, swipe all the way to the right and select AirPlay Mirroring.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Malware may put Internet offline to thousands this Monday - how to make sure ‘DNS Changer’ doesn’t harm you

 To do a quick check on the health of your computer, visit If you see a red background, your machine has been infected. If you see green, that's good - though the site notes there's still a chance your computer is infected.


To do a quick check on the health of your computer, visit If you see a red background, your machine has been infected. If you see green, that's good - though the site notes there's still a chance your computer is infected.

Tens of thousands of Americans whose computers are infected with malware will lose Internet service Monday. Here's a quick explanation of what led to this impending Internet blackout and how you can avoid being left in the dark.
Over a year ago, hackers used an online ad scam to infect more than 570,000 computers around the world with malware called DNS Changer that could make the devices carry out tasks without their owners' knowledge. The FBI wanted to shut down the servers that the hackers were using to control the infected computers, but they realized that the victims of the hack would suddenly lose Internet service if they did so.
The feds set up a transitional system that allowed them to take down the hackers’ servers while still allowing computers affected with the malware to get online.
But they’re set to pull the plug on that system at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 9 - after that, anyone with an affected machine will be kicked off the Internet until they rid their computer of the malware.
So how can you avoid being among those who lose Internet?
First, it's important to note that if your computer is infected with DNS Changer, your antivirus software won't help. And if you use a Mac, don't think you're immune - Comcast reports that they've already spotted the malware on several Apple computers.
To do a quick check on the health of your computer, visit If you see a red background, your machine has been infected. If you see green, that's good - though the site notes there's still a chance your computer is infected.
To make sure that your computer is malware free, go to, the website of the DNS Changer Working Group, a collection of experts the FBI recruited to deal with this hack attack.
Click on the word "Detect" and scroll down to the section labelled "Manually Checking if your DNS server have been Changed." Click on the option for your operating system and follow the illustrated step-by-step guide.
Your Internet service provider (ISP) might also be able to help you if you think your computer's been hit. Scroll down to the very bottom of to see a list of ISPs and the pages they've set up for customers who may have been harmed by DNS Changer.
Next, if your computer has been infected, follow the steps listed at The working group recommends backing up all of your important files to an external hard drive, and enlisting the help of a professional if you don't feel comfortable using one of the "self-help" malware cleanup guides they provide.
With News Wire Services