Apple Issues Statement on Celebrity iCloud Hacking

Apple, via press release:

We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.

I can't recall ever hearing Apple being "outraged."

This isn't just a 'weak password' issue. Account security (especially for cloud services) needs to be stepped up. Is two-factor authentication a solution anymore?

☆ Predictions on Touch ID

As we draw near Apple's September 9th conference, it's time for me to make some predictions on what I think will be announced.

In Part 2 of my multi-part prediction, I will focus on the changes coming to Touch ID. 

Disclaimer: while I have evidence to prove some of my predictions, these are in no way guarantees and should not be treated as such.

Touch ID Soars

If my predictions for the upcoming iPhones are correct, Touch ID will be included on all new models. This will be important when Touch ID functionality expands with iOS 8.

3rd-Party Support

I'll start with what we know for sure: Touch ID is gaining 3rd-party support. Apps like Evernote, 1Password and more will be able to take advantage of the Touch ID sensor for security. I expect Apple will place a huge emphasis on Touch ID and discuss new changes to great detail during the keynote.

Mobile Payments

Rumours have been swirling for years that Apple is adding NFC technology to iPhone and this is the year it may actually happen (I predict it will). 

With the addition of NFC, Apple will introduce a mobile payment system which will allow customers to pair their credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, American Express) to an iTunes account and use their iPhone to make purchases at certain brick-and-mortar retail stores. For added security, Touch ID verification will be necessary to make purchases.

I expect there to be a purchase limit (under $50 per transaction) and for it initially to be available in the US only.

Now for the biggest prediction of them all: which devices will support this payment system? I suspect Apple will limit this payment system to the iPhone 6 and 6L (at least initially). They will use this as a selling feature for people looking to upgrade their current devices. In the future however, they will spread this to all iPhones (just like I suspect they will do with Touch ID).

It isn't hard to see that Touch ID is a key part of Apple's mobile strategy, especially when Tim Cook said this:

"The mobile payments area in general is one that we've been intrigued with. It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID."

If my predictions are true - and a mobile payment system is announced at WWDC - I wouldn't be surprised if it is also a key feature of the upcoming wearable device (more on that later).


Check back later in the week when I predict changes coming to iOS 8, Mavericks and my thoughts on Apple's upcoming wearable device.

☆ Predictions on New iPhones

As we draw near Apple's September 9th conference, it's time for me to make some predictions on what I think will be announced.

In Part 1 of my multi-part prediction, I will focus on the changes coming to the iPhone lineup. 

Disclaimer: while I have evidence to prove some of my predictions, these are in no way guarantees and should not be treated as such.

New iPhones

I expect Apple to introduce three new iPhones: 

iPhone 6c

The first will be an update to the 5c which will see the addition of a Touch ID sensor and an updated camera (same one found in the current 5s). I expect the 'iPhone 6c' will slide in at the price of the current 5c. This will give Apple a fluid line-up with Touch ID sensors on all iPhones.

iPhone 6

Replacing the iPhone 5s will be the iPhone 6. While some have speculated that Apple will stray away from the numeric system for identifying iPhones (such as: iPhone Air, iPhone Mini), I think the consumer draw is too strong for them not to call it iPhone 6.

By far the biggest debate over the new iPhones is the screen size, which I expect to be 4.7 inches. At this point, there has been too much evidence to support the theory of a 4.7 inch display to think any different. Resolution is another tricky prediction, but based on research alone, I think Gruber's prediction of a 1334 × 750, 326 PPI display is spot-on.

Unless Apple has been faking us out for months, the design of the iPhone 6 is evident. I do expect some complaining over the 'seams' in the metal shell, but I think they will be less noticeable than in the leaked parts. As has been the case in previous years, the iPhone will be close to the current iPod Touch in size/feel (which will feel extraordinary).

Apple will also stress improvements in camera technology, specifically upgrades to the image sensor and flash.

When it comes to the processor, I can't see Apple resting on their laurels (and the A8 chip) for another year. I expect to see a A9 chip with improvements to graphic processing and power efficiency (to support the larger displays).

iPhone 6L

Rounding out the iPhone lineup for 2014 will be the iPhone 6L. Despite having zero evidence to support my theory of the 6L name, I could see Apple using the 'L' moniker as a way of emphasizing the larger display.

Speaking of the larger display, I believe it will be 5.5 inches (which will seem massive, because, it is massive). Apple will emphasize the ability to do 'work' on the larger display with previews of new versions of their iWork applications and a segment from a third-party developer. Apple will introduce new UI traits which will allow developers to create apps that seamlessly work on both the iPhone 6L and iPads.

The resolution is hard to put a finger on, but I believe it will be a significantly higher resolution than the iPhone 6 (others have estimated a 3x scale, and I tend to agree).

Besides the display, I expect both new phones to be similar in every other way.

Pricing

The iPhone 6 will come in at the same price as the iPhone 5s and the 6L will carry a $100 premium.

Storage

I expect Apple will *finally* introduce a 128GB tier for the iPhone 6 and 6L, but keep the 16GB model to die another day.

Availability

The iPhone 6 will be available for purchase on Friday, September 19th. However, customers wanting the 6L will have to wait until October. 


Check back later in the week when I predict changes coming to iOS 8, Mavericks, Touch ID and my thoughts on Apple's upcoming wearable device.

 

1Password App Extension for iOS 8

The 1Password app extension will allow you to:

  1. Access their 1Password Logins to automatically fill your login page.
  2. Use the Strong Password Generator to create unique passwords during registration, and save the new Login within 1Password.
  3. Quickly fill 1Password Logins directly into web views.

I personally can't wait to see what the other developers come up with in iOS 8.

Conjecture Regarding Larger iPhone Displays

Solid research from Gruber:

At this point, there’s too much smoke around the “two new iPhones, one at 4.7 inches and the other 5.5 inches” narrative for there not to be a fire. I think that’s what Apple is planning to announce next month — not because anyone “familiar with the plans” has told me so, but simply because so many parts have leaked corroborating these two sizes.

The question is: if the 5.5 inch version comes significantly later than the 4.7 inch version, how many people will be willing to wait?

Apple Announces iPhone 5 Battery Program

Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range.

If your iPhone 5 is experiencing these symptoms and meets the eligibility requirements noted below, Apple will replace your iPhone 5 battery, free of charge.

Unfortunately mine failed (thank goodness for Mophie).

Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft Board

Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off. The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately.

In short: good luck, have fun.

 

Robin Williams, Comedic Genius, Dies at 63

A genius gone too soon.

Robin Williams, the comedian who evolved into the surprisingly nuanced, Academy Award-winning actor, imbuing his performances with wild inventiveness and a kind of manic energy, died on Monday at his home in Tiburon, Calif., north of San Francisco. He was 63.

Report: YouTube Buying Twitch for $1 Billion

Based upon their own projections, Twitch can't maintain this rate of growth. 

Sources with Variety report that YouTube is nearing a deal to buy Twitch, the popular game streaming startup, for $1 billion. The deal is said to be an all-cash offer and will close "imminently," according to Variety; The Wall Street Journal, however, has followed up with a report claiming that discussions are "early" and that "a deal isn't imminent." The move, if it succeeds, would effectively put one of the web's most highly trafficked sites firmly in Google's hands.

Presumably, this is why they are entertaining the idea of being bought out.