Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said that the dimple at the back of the Nexus 6 was originally intended to play host to a fingerprint sensor. After all it had all the technology – it was a pioneer in bringing fingerprint recognition to its Atrix 4G smartphone.
At the time Motorola used Authentec which was purchased by Apple a year later for a price of $356 million.
Authentec was the best supplier around, “the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry, and they weren’t there yet”.
Apple’s buy out effectively meant that the Nexus 6 was left without biometric authentication and the world was given the impression that Apple was the first to put the technology on a mainstream phone.
It looks like Motorola made the right move. The HTC One max had the slow and buggy experience that puts users off trying to use the feature.
While the legal battle raised over such crucial matters as whether or not Steve Jobs invented the rounded rectangle, Apple moved away from Samsung as its main producer of chips. In fact analysts believed that in the long term Samsung would lose any Apple production completely.
According to the Maeil Business Newspaper it seems that Apple has changed its mind and Samsung is back to being the main supplier of processors powering Apple iPhones.
It looks like Samsung will be responsible for around 75 percent of the chip production for the next iPhone, the South Korean newspaper said.
The newspaper did not say how much the contract is worth and what other company will be supplying Apple. Samsung will make the chips from its factory in Austin, Texas, according to the report.
What appears to have happened is that not only has the row between Samsung and Apple cooled, Jobs’ Mob discovered that Samsung’s rivals, such as TSMC were not up to snuff or had capacity problems.
Luca Caviglione of the National Research Council of Italy and Wojciech Mazurczy of the Warsaw University of Technology warn that “malicious actors” could use Siri for stealthy data exfiltration by using a method that’s based on steganography, the practice of hiding information.
Clearly the malicious actors are hacked off that people have been stealing their pictures from the iCloud and posting them online and have taken Siri hostage.
iOS malware is also increasingly common, as the popularity of the iPhone is matched by the company’s misplaced belief in its own security vulnerability.
Mazurczy and Caviglione have demonstrated that iOS malware could become difficult to detect.
When users talk to Siri, their voice is processed with the Speex Codec, and the data is transmitted to Apple’s servers where the voice input is translated to text.
Using an attack method called iStegSiri, the “shape” of this traffic embeds sensitive data from the device. This covert channel could be used to send credit card numbers, Apple IDs, passwords, and other sensitive information from the phone to the criminals.
First, a secret message is converted into an audio sequence based on voice and silence alternation. Then, the sound pattern is provided to Siri as input through the internal microphone. Finally, the recipient of the secret message inspects the traffic going to Apple’s servers and extracts the information based on a decoding scheme..
In their experiments, Mazurczy and Caviglione managed to use this method to exfiltrate data at a rate of 0.5 bytes per second. At this speed, it would take roughly 2 minutes to send a 16-digit payment card number to the attacker.
It only works on jail broken devices and attackers somehow need to be able to intercept the modified Siri traffic. However, the researchers highlighted that the purpose of iStegSiri is to help the security community with the detection of malware on the iOS platform.
The researchers told IEEE Spectrum that they have not made specific details on iStegSiri public to prevent cybercriminals from using their work. We guess that Apple have not modified anything in the iOS to stop it happening if someone works it out.
The move would link Google with the largest US wireless carriers to battle Apple and its much hyped but mostly ignored Apple Pay service.
The deal may be valued below $100 million, the report said citing sources.
Softcard is jointly owned by AT&T, Verizon Communication, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US.
So far it is seen as rumour and speculation and no one is commenting on the record about it. However, if Google does buy the outfit it will give it significant clout in the payment markets. However, at the moment most of the focus is on the bigger retailers coming up with payment systems of their own.
The fear with Google or Apple getting their paws on transaction data is that you can be bothered by advertising based on your buying history, which could be embarrassing if you went to a stripper club once.
TSMC earned about $3 billion in net profit in October-December which doubles the results posted at the same time last year and slightly more than the last quarter.
Demand for increasingly feature-rich gadgets has led to a burst in growth for companies such as TSMC and local peer United Microelectronics, whose chips power features from fingerprint sensors to fourth-generation (4G) LTE receivers.
In the fourth quarter, TSMC’s profit margin decreased to 35.9 percent from 40.4 percent in the third quarter in October-December revenue.
However, things are not looking that good for TSMC’s future. Analysts are divided about whether Apple will select TSMC to produce chips for its next-generation smartphones. There are questions as to whether it can create the next generation chips Apple wants .
Samsung, which is TSMC’s main competitor for Apple custom, has previously said it is seeing increased demand for chips made with 14 nanometre technology, the likes of which could power the successor to the iPhone 6.
Now that the war between Apple and Samsung is cooling, it appears that Jobs’ Mob might return to its old chipmaker ally and leave TSMC high and dry.
The US PTO granted Apple a patent which is so wide you can drive a bus through it sideways. Patent number 8,933,876 covers a “three dimensional user interface session control.”
When Apple bought PrimeSense last year to get its foot in the door of the gesture-control space. Since then, all of PrimeSense’s patents have been reassigned to Apple.
But before it was bought by Apple, PrimeSense developed the Kinect for Microsoft, which made it a central part of its Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. While the technology is good, it failed to make much impact. There was never a killer app for the Kinect.
The thought is that Apple could do the same thing with the technology that it did with the Tablet – waive it in front of its fanboys and claim it invented it.
But what is worrying is that not only has the PTO given Apple a patent for technology it did not invent, it is far too broad. The patent can be read so any gesture that can be detected by an optical or infrared controller that does anything to an interface is now owned by Apple. It is just as well that Apple is not the sort of company to stifle innovation by patent trolling its rivals…
Apple said that Ericsson’s LTE wireless technology patents are not essential to industry mobile standards and that it is demanding excessive royalties for them.
Jobs’ Mob insists that it has not infringed on the patents and does not owe Ericsson a cent for them.
Ericcson wants cash for the LTE technology calculated as a percentage of the price of the entire smartphone or tablet. However, Apple said that the royalties should be based on the value of the processor chip that includes the technology.
If Ericsson’s patents are deemed essential and the court rules Apple has infringed on them, Apple said it wants the court to assign a reasonable royalty rate.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said that Apple was always willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in its products. However Apple can’t agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents so, as a last resort, we are asking the courts for help.
Apple and Ericsson currently have a license agreement that covers many of Ericsson’s allegedly standard-essential patents. The agreement was signed in 2008 soon after Apple launched the iPhone, according to the court filing.
Lawyers from Apple are celebrating after they managed to convince a judge to throw out a case which accused it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained “logic boards” it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.
US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made “affirmative misrepresentations,” despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops “state of the art” or the “most advanced” on the market.
“Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple’s logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality,” Alsup wrote. “Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively.”
However, Alsup did not chuck out the case completely. He gave the plaintiffs until January 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status. It is not clear how they are going to proceed next.
The plaintiffs claimed that Apple’s sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing.
A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. Still you get what you pay for.