Apple releases iOS 11.2.1 with HomeKit vulnerability fix

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

It’s time to update your iOS devices, again. Apple on Wednesday released iOS 11.2.1.

The update fixes an issue with Apple’s HomeKit home automation service that could allow unauthorized remote access to HomeKit devices such as a smart lock on the front door, lights, or a thermostat.

The issue was first reported by 9to5Mac, prompting Apple to temporarily fix the issue by blocking remote access for shared HomeKit users. Apple promised that a software update would be made available this week to further correct the issue.

Wednesday’s update reinstates remote access and fixes the vulnerability, according to an Apple security…

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Google Project Zero 'tpf0' exploit whets appetite for iOS 11 jailbreak

Google’s Project Zero iOS bug hunter Ian Beer has released details about an iOS 11 exploit that could offer up a jailbreak for iOS 11.1.2.

Beer last week teased that he had an exploit called ‘tfp0’, which is short for the kernel task port in iOS, and has today followed with an exploit using two recently patched flaws that may offer the rare prospect of a possible jailbreak on iOS.

It appears what he has released isn’t a full jailbreak but enough to allow security researchers to to bypass software restrictions imposed by Apple and test a newish version of iOS. It may also help create a jailbreak for those interested in testing iOS 11.1.2 or below.

Beer published details of an ‘async_wake’ exploit and…

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Google launches three experimental photo apps for Android, iOS

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CNET/CBS Interactive

Google on Monday launched three experimental photography apps for iOS and Android to test experimental technology like object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding, and decoding technologies.

Google is calling the three apps, Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies, part of “appsperiments” inspired by Google’s Motion Stills app.

The first app Storyboard for Android transforms videos into single-page comic layouts. The app allows users to shoot video, and then it will automatically select what it believes are interesting frames, lays them out, and applies visual effects….

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Best cheap smartphones: $300 (and much less) can buy mobile satisfaction

The Apple iPhone X starts at $1,000, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at $950, and the Google Pixel 2 XL at $849. These manufacturers and wireless carriers tend to offer monthly payment plans to help people accept these high prices, but no matter how you slice it the price of flagships is still huge.

Thankfully, there are some outstanding low cost alternatives and these alternatives have significantly improved over the past few years. Various manufacturers, including many from China and Korea, have compelling products and these products are finding their way into the mainstream market. Amazon has its Prime Exclusive Phone program that even offers lower prices through lockscreen offers and ads, which is a fair…

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Windows is gaining on iOS in the education market

Microsoft Windows is making gains in the K-12 education market in both the US and the rest of the world according to new numbers from Futuresource Consulting.

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Credit: Futuresource

In the US, Microsoft’s gains are coming mainly at Apple’s expense, not Google’s. According to Futuresource’s data for Q3 2017, shipments of Windows mobile devices (notebook, Chromebook, tablet) in the K-12 space was 22.3 percent of the total market, up from 18.4 percent in Q2 2017.

Futuresource’s data includes K-12 institutional purchases only, not “bring your own” devices. And the firm measures shipments, not installed base.

During that same period,…

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Apple to iPhone, Mac users: Here's why our data gathering doesn't invade your privacy

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The results of Apple’s massive data collection allow it to see, for example, differences across keyboard locales.


Apple

Apple has added a new post to its Machine Learning Journal that explains how it’s using differential privacy to protect users, even when collecting very sensitive data such as keystrokes and the sites users visit.

This type of data collection occurs when users opt in to share usage analytics from macOS or iOS, allowing Apple to collect “privatized records”.

Apple introduced differential privacy in iOS 10 in support of new data collection aimed at improving QuickType, emoji suggestions, Spotlight suggestions, and media playback features in…

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​iOS 11: Here's how many iPhones and iPads are running it now

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iOS 11 is now running on 59 percent of iPhones and iPads according to Apple, which has updated its developer support page with the new data.

Apple also said that, as of 4 December, another 33 percent of devices were running on iOS 10, and eight percent were running earlier versions of the operating system.

The latest version of iOS became available in late September, and in November Apple said it was running on just over half (52%) of devices, while 38 percent were still on iOS 10 (which arrived in September last year) and 10 percent on earlier versions.

Now that the iPhone is ten years old there has been a certain amount of fragmentation — iPhones older than the iPhone 5s can’t run the latest operating system, for example. This is probably a…

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Something is rotten at Apple

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CNET

Last week was a really bad week for Apple, with both iOS and macOS falling victim to high profile bugs.

Must read: The Apple products you shouldn’t buy for the holidays

I won’t bore you with the details, but the TL:DR of the headaches that Apple — and more importantly, Apple’s customers — encountered was as follows:

Stuff happens, I get it.

And even having billions of dollars in the bank doesn’t insulate a company from problems. But such a series of problems affecting both iOS and macOS — bugs that potentially affect more than a billion active devices — suggests that Apple might be being stretched thin by the demands that the aggressive iOS and macOS update schedule is placing on the company.

But it’s…

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