iPhone Patch Released


On August 1, 2009

I guess the media still has a lot of power, because Apple released a patch to the iPhone SMS hack with 24 hours of the massive media coverage it received.

Initially the researchers who found the bug notified Apple of the problem over a month before they presented it at Black Hat, but it seems a lot of media coverage is what it really takes Apple to react this quickly.  Apple’s official comment was, “This morning, less than 24 hours after a demonstration of this exploit, we’ve issued a free software update that eliminates the vulnerability from the iPhone,”

Apple also reassured everyone that no attacks had actually happened and that users simply need to waste no time plugging in their iPhone and downloading the 3.0.1 update now available.

FCC investigates iPhone/AT&T app policies



 Washington is getting involved in the day-to-day the operations and applications of the iPhone with a letter from the Federal Communications Commission to Catherine A. Novelli, the vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple.

Exploring the growing issue of rejections such as the Google Voice app, the FCC ask Apple to comment on why Google Voice and other third-party apps had been approved and then rejected from the App Store. The FCC then asked for a full rundown of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that have been approved for the iPhone and if they were permitted to operate on the AT&T 3G network.

The agency also questioned the role of AT&T in the approval process for apps as well as the general approval process for apps and whether consumers at the App Store are informed about the approval process.

We’ll see on Friday, August 21, how Apple will respond…or not.

According to the letter, "If Apple requests that any information or documents responsive to this letter be treated in a confidential manner, it shall submit, along with all responsive information and documents, a statement in accordance with section 0.459 of the Commission’s rules."

So, is this another dent in the armor of the AT&T stronghold on iPhone exclusives?  Do you think this is really going to make AT&T or Apple change or clarify their process for approval and disapproval?  Only time will tell.


Another possible use for the new Apple Tablet


On July 31, 2009

As we all know, the Apple Tablet is being released in the fall.  The question is, why should you care?

You already own a MacBook Pro and an iPhone.  You have all the functionality there that the Tablet will likely possess.  Or do you?

The Tablet can run apps and play music, but it’s too large and awkward to be regularly used as an iPod or iPhone substitute.  It would be a better tool for watching video with its larger screen.  However, the Tablet has other unique properties.

The Tablet can take on at least two markets in its own right.  First, there is the e-book market that is epitomized by Amazon’s Kindle device.  The Tablet can be used to read books just like the Kindle or any other sort of e-book reader (and in color too).  But there is one other market that nobody seems to have mentioned.

The Tablet has a touch screen.  With that, the Tablet suddenly becomes a drawing tool for use in the artist’s market just like Wacom or any other number of drawing tablet brands.  Apple already dominates the artists’ market in terms of hardware when used with the Adobe suite.  If there are any graphic designers that use non-Mac tools, they are a very small percentage.

With other drawing tablets its tough to coordinate hand movements with the finished product because the art is on another screen.  With the Tablet, that is not an issue.  Drawing surface and finished product are the same place.

In short, if I were Wacom or any other electronic drawing tablet provider, I’d be very worried right now.

iPhone Hacker Attacks – How To Stop It



By now you’ve probably heard about the iPhones new vulnerability… hackers can take over your iPhone by exploiting a bug in the SMS system of the phone.  It seems that an iPhone virus could allow hackers to control your phone by simply sending you a single SMS.

A presentation at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas got the medias attention, as I’m sure you noticed everyone and their cousins writing about this new found hole.

So what does the attack look like you might ask?  How do you know if your under attack?  And how do you protect yourself?

After a little research we’ve broken it down to a few simple things…

Apple Tablet Coming In September…


On July 28, 2009

This time a pretty credible source, The Financial Times, is reporting on the rumored Apple tablet device.  The change being that the report is now closely rumoring the device to come out with new music and video content deals.

The cost for the 10 inch diagonal device is said to be between $600 and $1,000, and according to Oppenheimer & Co analyst Yair Reiner,

Augmented Reality Apps Are Almost Here!


On July 27, 2009

3.1 of iPhone OS will allow Augmented Reality Apps to become available, and this is just one example of the combined use of the GPS, compass, and camera to develop some very cool and useful applications. Imagine the possibilities! What type of app would you create with this new 3.1 ability?

Spotify Coming to iPhone?



Streaming music service Spotify, released a video of the iPhone app which they’ve just submitted to Apple.

The service gives you the ability to stream music to the iPhone like a jukebox, just pick the songs you want to play and Spotify fetches them from the Spotify server to play them.  But the most unique feature it seems which is available is that Spotify will allow you to cache the songs locally if you dont have a wi-fi connection.  Getting on a plane or traveling somewhere without network access wont affect your ability to play music that your decided to cache into the phone, and that it seems is a pretty close similarity to the iTunes store!

Even though the business model for Spotify is different than iTunes (Spotify is a monthly subscription based service), will Apple allow this service to launch?  If I can get access to a huge library of music and play the music without being connected to the network, is that competition to Apples iTunes?

It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to this App…

A tale of two devices…


On July 26, 2009

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview designer Michael Kors about his eyewear collection, luxury, and the joys of Internet shopping for my day job. Chances like that don’t come up every day, and I was nervous about testing my shorthand speed in that situation.

Instead, I ran out to Staples and picked up the latest in digital recorders, tested it out, and prepared my questions. The night before, I was playing with my iPhone and its Voice Memo recorder. Tried a couple of brief interviews with the pets (very non-responsive) and recorded the TV for about 20 minutes at various distances. Being the paranoid former Girl Scout that I am, the iPhone seemed like a good backup.

Although he was a little surprised to see two recorders, Kors did say it was a good decision because he was a fast talker. The interview went very well. What initially was supposed to be a 30-minute sitdown stretched to almost an hour and Mr. Kors was happy to share his thoughts on Project Runway, his latest collection, and this darn economy in speedy, savvy, New Yorker’s voice that would have tilted out my speedwriting skills.

The next morning, it was time to work on the story. Press play on the digital recorder…nothing. Go through its files. No observations. No pithy insights. No Michael Kors.


Thank goodness for the iPhone. The Voice Memo function worked like a charm for over 55 minutes and the interview in its entirety is stored safely on the phone. Guess which of the recording devices will be returned to the store tomorrow?

One disappointment on the iPhone: the file was too large to email to my computer. There’s an option to send a portion of the memo, but am nervous about doing any editing since it’s now my only version of the interview.  So now all I need to do is figure out how to get the file over to my Mac!

Any thoughts on downloading a huge memo to a MacBook Pro from the iPhone?

More than an Apple a day


On July 24, 2009

 As a lifetime Apple user—I’ve literally never owned or worked on a PC—a guest on “The Charlie Rose Show” on Thursday night / Friday morning made me scratch my head and wonder about how much of a good this really is.

In his interview with Rose, blogger Michael Arrington from Techcrunch said that one of the major points of resistance for him jumping on the iPhone bandwagon was having too many pots on the Apple stove. He pointed to the Pre as a strong option that could run many apps and had a preferable keyboard—the iPhone’s optional keyboard was cited as uncomfortable anyplace that wasn’t a flat surface such as a desk or table. The other point in Pre’s favor was that it was a non-Apple product. Is that really an advantage?

In the end, he went with an iPhone for its multitude of strengths. But he did raise a question: How much Apple is too much?

For me, Apple just plain makes sense; it’s my native tongue. Much like Ford trucks and Robot Chicken, there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to Apple.

My current count is five Apples—a nano, an iPod, a MacBook Pro, a Power Book, and my shiny new iPhone.

What’s your tally?

And what’s your limit?

I’ve seen the Future of Comic Books



This weekend is the San Diego Comic Con, arguably the biggest comics and entertainment event of the year.  It even has its own iPhone app.  It got me thinking: books and comic books have been available on iTunes for a while now, but they’re not distributed as books.  Instead, they’ve been available as apps in the App Store.

There are several very good reasons for this.  First, it’s an existing, popular and cheap distribution method.  Secondly, it’s less likely that someone can illegally copy an executable program than a set of text for a reader (even if the reader has built-in copy protection all its own).  It wouldn’t even surprise me if all of these comics (or regular books) used the same core software.

Recently, BOOM! Studios offered a free preview of their Farscape comic book as an iPhone app and it looked pretty good.  Using your finger, you scroll from panel to panel, showing only one panel at a time on the frame.  The size of the comic readjusted for the screen space of my iPod Touch depending on the size of that particular panel which I was reading.

While it doesn’t duplicate the experience of reading a paper comic (there’s nothing like the smell of printed paper), reading a comic book on the iPod Touch was actually pretty cool.  I hope more comic book companies in the future offer similar digital previews.

I have seen the future of the printing industry and it is on the iPhone or iPod Touch (or possibly the Mac tablet, whenever that is coming out).