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Briefly: Russian gov't drops iPads; Clear, Fantastical upgrades coming

updated 12:27 am EDT, Thu March 27, 2014

Government of Russia swaps iPads for customized, secure Samsung tablets

Russian government officials have opted to stop using iPads in official capacities, possible due to concerns about alleged "backdoors" that allowed for NSA monitoring (which Apple has denied). Instead the government has arranged a deal with Samsung that will see politicos using customized, secured tablets specifically designed to handle confidential information as legislators often need to have available. There was no detail on prices or the cost of dropping the iPads, and the move could be seen as part of an effort to stop supporting American companies, given the US opposition to Russia's policies in the Ukraine and Crimea. Russian officials have denied any such motivation, reports Business Insider.

Flexibits dangles fuzzy image of Fantastical for iPad, asks for emails

The popular Mac and iPhone alternative interface for Calendar, Fantastical, is coming soon to the iPad -- and developer Flexibits is asking potential users to sign up for email notification when it arrives. The iPad version will be a separate app when released, the company told its followers in a tweet yesterday, but did not announce pricing or a specific date. The program uses natural language syntax and convenient menubar (for Mac) or app functionality to allow users to write something like "lunch with Bob at Governor's BBQ at 12:30 next Thursday," whereupon the program will properly parse and then format that input into a regular calendar entry with no further interaction by the user other than confirmation. The iPhone version costs $5, while the Mac version is $20.

Realmac promises to-app Clear to gain reminders next month

The to-do list app Clear, now a $5 universal iOS application with periodic "free" sales to allow previous iPhone-only users to upgrade to the universal version, is planning on unveiling its long-awaited reminders functionality next month. The company says it still fine-tuning the experience, but has been promising the feature since late last year. The update will also include custom sound packs, available as in-app purchases for the iOS version and free for Mac users (the Mac version of Clear costs $10 from the Mac App Store). Previous owners of the now-discontinued Clear+ will receive the sound packs at no cost.

by MacNN Staff



  1. aardman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-18-09

    The Russians deem Samsung to be more trustworthy than Apple. To paraphrase Angela Merkel, they truly are living in a fantasy world.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    It just makes it easier for Russia to hack their own government tablets, something Apple wouldn't let them do.

    Hack the planet, hack the planet!!

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    What's next? Reviving and resuming nuclear project in Russia?

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-27-09

    This statement: " ... possible (sic) due to concerns about alleged "backdoors" that allowed for NSA monitoring ..." seems to be wild speculation at best, and actually, unsupportable.

    It seems far more likely to me, that in a society like Russia where surveillance is routine and corruption rampant, that iPads are a poor choice simply because they *do* allow you to keep secrets.

    Anyone in government or any kind of senior bureaucratic position for instance, is monitored 24/7 in Russia. Their phones are tapped, their houses are bugged, etc. Why allow them to use an iPad, which can actually be set up so that those in charge can't see what you are doing or saying?

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09


    You fail to understand the distinction. In Russia, monitoring BY THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT is routine. They're not so wild about the U.S. doing it — particularly given that most of them remember the, oh, 50 years or so during which they had to spend all their money on military crap because the U.S. had nuclear weapons and was constantly talking about how survivable nuclear war would be. (All the way through the Reagan/Bush years!)

    Seriously, the Russian military was practically exhausted at the end of WWII. If we had said "okay, enough fighting, let's just take it easy for a while" it would have been better for everyone. Instead, we said "we've got this huge military, we need a new enemy... oh, hey, COMMIES COMMIES COMMIES! Everyone be afraid of the Commies! They're coming to get you! So keep paying for a vast military we don't really need and forgive us when we start stupid, unnecessary quagmire wars like Vietnam, because COMMIES!" All the Russian militarism since 1950 was basically a reaction to U.S. posturing. So, yeah, if we're actively spying on them, using an agency which has been demonstrated to sabotage things and commit industrial espionage as well, it is A Big Deal.

  1. xomniron

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-17-13

    Yeah, those Russians -- Soviets, actually -- they were the the good guys. Stalin and Lenin? They only murdered a few million of their own people. And the aggressive expansion of Communism was a myth created by imperialist America.

    Let's also remember that after WW2, it was the French who wanted Vietnam -- all of southeast Asia, actually -- back as colonies. It is true the U.S. was suckered into that war, then the French left us there to fight alone. If we'd pulled out then perhaps the Viet Cong wouldn't have killed so many. And let's also remember the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

    The Communists ...they're the good guys for sure.

  1. b9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-22-08

    Yea that OPEN Android OS is more secure with its malware, viruses, spyware, and DNS attacks. No back doors here. NOT!!!!!!

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