Category Archives: News

Keyboard finger sensing apparatus patent granted to Apple

Apple Inc. was on Tuesday 13th 2015, granted a patent which was filed in 2007, by the U.S. Patent and trademark Office titled “Finger Sensing Apparatus Using Hybrid Matching and Associated Methods”.

This Apple patent details a fingerprint read integrated into a keyword, as a login method for an iMac or MacBook. This login procedure would be similar to that used by Apple iPhones, protecting data behind bio-metric encryption.

iMac Fingerprint Login on the Way?

This race to implement fingerprint technology as a login mechanism was won by Microsoft, as a week ago they unveiled products such as the Surface Pro 4 keyboard cover, which features an integrated fingerprint reader. The logon-encryption race is most likely not over, as Microsoft has already announced plans to implement retina scanning. The New Microsoft Lumias are already rumored to launch with retina scanning, according to

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft implements iris scanning and how the public accepts this new security technology. With Microsoft now giving customers the option of facial, fingerprint and retina recognition, it should pose interesting to see what Apple brings to the table. This Apple patent highlights that they have, and do, hold an active interest in alternative login security measures such as bio-metrics.


Apple Desktops and Laptops Lack Bio-Metrics

With this Apple patent being granted fans are wondering if we are soon to see any Mac based implementation of technology utilizing the design set forth by this patent. The future is unclear, as the patent uses a very old design structure, one that is not currently in use by any of Apple’s products.

The only Apple product lines that do not current feature bio-metrics are there desktops and laptops. We can only hope to see the end of passwords through intelligent implementation of bio-metrics, let’s hope that Apple brings this technology to iMacs.

Apple Input design lab discussion: Quantum Dot technology rejected

According to 9toMac, an interview with Steven Levy of Backchannel was granted by Apple, discussing details regarding their new display technology. Steven Levy discussed several future plans with Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, as well as numerous other members of Apple’s Input Design Lab.

In this discussion Apple revealed that they are focussed on improving the performance of your display, while staying green-conscious. They also make mentioned of the firm support envisioned for the iMac platform, as well as detailing new technology such as the Surface Pro 4 and Apple Surface Book.

Quantum Dot Technology Rejected

Apple has rejected Quantum Dot screen technology, which many have termed the natural success to IPS LED screens which are currently commonplace in the Apple marketplace. Quantum Dot screen technology was reject due to a cadmium, toxic element present in the technology.

Instead Apple developed an LED alternative to this toxic technology, with absolutely no detrimental impact to the environment. Bigger, crisper, greener-displays are on the draw-cards.


iMac’s Have a Bright Future

The discussion also went on to highlight that there will be no merging of operating systems, between OS X and iOS. Regardless of how similar the two operating systems become, iOS is the multi-touch experience. Apple will continue to support both operating systems, as each has a unique purpose. Apple also elaborates on their desktop-based, iMac range, committing themselves to pushing the limits of desktop based hardware.

Clearly stating that a desktop’s “job is to challenge what we think a computer can do and do things that no computer has ever done before, be more and more powerful and capable so that we need a desktop because of its capabilities. Because if all it’s doing is competing with the notebook and being thinner and lighter, then it doesn’t need to be.”

For those that wish to read the full article, detailing the entire conversation from Apple’s Input Lab, you can find it here.


New Xcode vulnerability found in iOS apps

It has been reported that many of China’s favorite, most popular applications for the Apple iOS platform are infected with malware. A study conducted by Apple revealed that roughly 36 applications on Apple’s store were found to be compromised during an uncharacteristic breach of the tech giant’s security. An Xcode vulnerability in the core development packages used by app creators was found to be the root cause.

Xcode Exploitation

The infected applications took advantage of an Xcode vulnerability, which allowed users of unauthorized versions of Apple’s developer toolkit to hijack popular applications.

In a statement on Sunday, Apple declared “To protect our customers, we’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software and we are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps”.

Compromised Development Packages

A further statement was made by Palo Alto Network Inc., a cyber-security firm in the U.S., explaining “In China, and in other places around the world, sometimes network speeds are very slow when downloading large files from Apple’s servers.

As the standard Xcode installer is nearly three gigabytes, some Chinese developers choose to download the package from other sources.” Xcode is an integral part of iOS app design, and has most likely been used by almost all iOS apps, although only the thirty six apps before mentioned were found to be hiding malicious software.


WeChat Infected

Whilst the exact details of all the infected applications is not known, it has been declared that WeChat, a transit app by Didi Kuaidi and a music application from NetEase Inc. were compromised.

An application such as WeChat has over 500 million users, one can only but wonder at the implications of such an app leaving such a vast amount of users vulnerable.

Apple have been quick to address the issue and manufacturers of infected applications are taking steps to ensure that their software is free from exploits and vulnerabilities.

Apple blocking news app in China

Even although Apple’s News App was reportedly known to be non-functional in China, Apple still will not state whether or not Apple News is being blocked by the Chinese government.

The Apple News app does not work using any Chinese network carrier, although success has been found using other foreign carriers. Apple has mentioned that they will be enforcing a privacy policy compliant with China, it is uncertain whether or not this has any effect on the current situation of Apple News.

Apple News Not Working With Chinese Carriers

The app which launched with iOS 9 is officially only supported in the United States, but can be used in other countries as well, just not China.

The Apple News app was downloaded by CNN reporters in Hong Kong and China, this made possible by switching their region to the U.S. The app downloaded without any hassles but upon launch an error message was presented, stating “Story Unavailable: News isn’t supported in your current region”.

Numerous users report Apple News China as not working, although one user managed to get Apple News working when using a Hong Kong based cellular network. This leads us to believe that the non-functioning news app is a result of it being blocked by the Chinese government.

Apple News App
Apple News App

China a Large Source of Apple Revenue

The Chinese government is well known for its censorship, having blocked large sites such as Google, Facebook, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. It is highly plausible and most likely that Apple has been censored by China. China is one of a very few countries that carry out stringent policing of the internet accessible from their locale.

Neither Apple nor China has released any statements regarding the non-functional news app. According to Value Walk, Apple generated $13 billion in revenue over the third quarter from its Chinese market. The obscurity regarding Apple News is most likely a matter of sensitivity, with Apple not wanting to upset relations from such a reliable source of income.

Apple no longer needs antitrust monitor

The United States Department of Justice has ruled that Apple Inc. have improved their compliant to their antitrust compliance program to an adequate degree. The U.S. Justice Department ruled that the monitoring term appointed by the court did not need to be filed for extension, stating that Apple Inc. met compliance.

Apple Persists Through Difficult Relationship

According to Reuters, a letter filed late on Monday 12th October 2015, in Manhattan Federal Courts states that this decision to no-longer file for a monitoring extension was “not an easy one” as it was stated that Apple “never embraced a cooperative working relationship with the monitor”.

The relationship between the assigned monitor, Michael Bromwich, was termed a “challenging relationship”. Michael Bromwich was appointed as antitrust monitor to Apple after it was discovered that Amazon was responsible for conspiring to raise e-book prices.

Apple Allegedly Involved in Fixing E-Book Prices

Apple acknowledged that their relationship was with Bromwich “rocky at times”, in a joint-letter to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, but agreed to their compliance obligations. Michael Bromwich is a former U.S. Justice Department Inspector General and began his monitoring of Apple’s antitrust compliance policies in October 2013.

Judge Cote determined that Apple had conspired with five book publishers between the years of 2009 and 2010, to attempt to slow down competitors by raising e-book prices. The publishers involved were Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan. They have thus settled allegations placed against them.

$450 Million Appeal

Judge Cote’s discovery upheld an appeal made in June 2015. The appeal made by Apple attempted to argue the fact that they had been involved in behavior purposed at fixing prices.

Apple is apparently still deciding whether to attest this decision at the U.S. Supreme Court. If the decision stands, Apple will be required to pay $450 million in settlement of related claims. Claims are made by thirty one different states, Washington D.C., numerous consumers and Puerto Rico. At least for now Apple no longer have an antitrust monitor looking over their shoulder.