Friday Morning News
A new selection of documents uncovered by WikiLeaks reveals the existence of a “Sonic Screwdriver”, an Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter used to deliver a payload to bypass firmware passwords and inject an Apple-specific malware package to the target Mac. Ars Technica notes that none of this is particularly new, given that this Thunderbolt exploit was discovered around two years ago, and many similar scenarios shared by other tools used by the CIA, but the fact that the CIA is building tools based on discovered exploits should be reason enough to keep your stuff up to date.
A hacking group calling themselves the “Turkish Crime Family” claims they have access to over 500 million Apple email and iCloud accounts, and will be remotely wiping devices if Apple does not pay US $75,000 in crytocurrency or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards. Apple, for its part, has been given April 7 to comply with the demands, with Fortune reporting Apple not confirming one way or the other whether the list is legitimate, but saying that it was not obtained via any hack of Apple.
Apple’s acquisition of iOS productivity app Workflow makes a lot of sense in terms of getting apps to play nicely with each other on iOS. Workflow’s method of using inter-app communication is exactly the kind of thing you’d want to see from an integrated mobile OS, and TechCrunch writes that the app, team, and product will all be a part of the acquisition, cementing Workflow’s future for the time being.
Whatever it turns out to be, this year’s iPhone is still expected to launch around the same September period that Apple has launched iPhones in previously. That’s essentially what this new rumour from Barclays says, even though general availability isn’t expected to improve until later in the year.
And while we’ve seen a new iPad unveiling this year, it seems unlikely that we’ll see an iPad launch in the next month or so, even though the 10.5-inch iPad is still a thing that could happen. It could be argued that this iPad launch didn’t count as it was a press release, but maybe the launch of a new iPad form factor would be reason enough for the on-stage song and dance.
A comparison of the new 5th-generation iPad to the iPad Air 2 reveals there are similarities between the two models. They’re not completely the same, and there’s some parts that of the new iPad that more closely resemble the iPhone 6s, but the new iPad will probably be a good entry level option for anyone looking to get a larger-screened iPad for casual use.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple will start manufacturing iPhones in India. Both iPhone 6 and 6s models will be made locally as soon as the next few weeks, with iPhone SE production also on the cards for later this year.
Interestingly, the Chinese version of the red iPhone doesn’t carry the same Product(RED) branding as its western counterparts. Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed that all iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sales contribute to Apple’s Global Fund donations, which could be interpreted as even those that don’t carry the Product(RED) branding. Meanwhile, the jury’s out on whether the Product(RED) iPhone looks better with a white front as released, or with a black front as conceptualised.
Australia’s newest bank or credit union to join the Apple Pay club is the Firefighters Mutual Bank, while the US gets over a dozen new additions.
Dan Counsell built what he’s calling a Hackintosh Pro based on specs alone, which lets him use the same computer for productivity or for gaming. While 3TB of SSD storage contributed to the overall higher cost of the machine, there’s something about having your own setup, complete with all the LED lighting you could ever want.