Tag - Firmware
On Monday, Apple issued a firmware update for its USB-C Multiport Adapter, version 1.0, that according to the company "improves the compatibility and reliability of your Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, or Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter," a pair of peripheral adapters that currently work only with the USB-C compatible 2015 MacBook. The update requires the MacBook be running OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan, the latest released version, and that the adapter be plugged in at the time.
Even as it pushes Apple to weaken the security on its iPhones, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning car makers and owners that attackers have demonstrated more interest in finding ways to attack the computers that largely run current and older vehicles, and urging automakers to upgrade car firmware and otherwise tighten up security in vehicles. The warning came after exploits became public showing examples of how accelerators could be disabled, engines turned off, and various options like windshield speed and air conditioning adjusted remotely up to 10 miles away.
It has been discovered that Apple acquired the two security researchers behind LegbaCore, Corey Kallenberg, and Xeno Kovah -- the developers of the firmware worm for Macs known as Thunderstrike 2. The hiring was revealed by fellow security researcher Trammell Hudson at a security conference in December, with Apple having brought the pair on board the previous month. LegbaCore had developed a method to infect Macs with a difficult-to-remove firmware hack that could be delivered via altered Thunderbolt connectors.
Pebble is shipping the circular-faced version of its smartwatch on the 8th of November, starting with those who preordered the wearable device when it was first announced in September. On the same day as shipments begin, the Pebble Time Round will be available at retail in the United States, with the smartwatch appearing in Target and BestBuy stores from Sunday onwards, priced at $250.
A new exploit has been developed that could threaten Mac security by leveraging vulnerabilities in firmware rather than software, making the worm nearly impossible to remove. While sounding more ominous than any threat since the original firmware-based Thunderstrike (which was limited to a proof-of-concept with no reported attacks), leading security experts say this new threat is also very low-risk.
Apple on Wednesday issued a firmware update for the recently-released "mid-2015" MacBook Pro Retina 13- and 15-inch models. The update, aimed at only the MacBook Pro models with the Force Touch trackpad as a distinguishing feature, fixes a problem with flash storage that could, in rare cases, cause data corruption, according to Apple. The 1.9MB file is available directly from Apple and the Mac App Store's update section.
Apple has released a firmware update today for the late-2012 Mac mini, the model just before the current models. The 4.4MB EFI Firmware Update (version 1.8) will automatically appear in the Software Update portion of the Mac App Store for users with affected machines, and fixes "an issue that may prevent a USB keyboard from being recognized after the system wakes from sleep."
A new vulnerability -- albeit one that is extremely unlikely to happen "in the wild" -- has been discovered by security researcher Pedro Vilaca, where a flaw in pre-2014 Macs could conceivably allow an attacker access to a portion of OS X that has access to the Mac's Open Firmware and EFI (what PC users might call the BIOS of the machine) and possibly exploit other vulnerabilities to perhaps overwrite it with malicious firmware.
Cloud home monitoring start-up Spotcam has announced a new motion-masking feature for its Wi-Fi home monitoring camera system. A feature available in professional security camera systems, Spotcam's motion masking can be acquired by users through updating to the latest firmware. The camera can then be configured to only monitor motions for a specified area, and ignore other locations within its field of view. Notifications of movement can be received via email or the mobile app, and motion detection alerts are triggered for unmasked zones only.
On Thursday, Apple issued a number of new builds of Safari for the last three versions of OS X, a new firmware update for the current Thunderbolt Display, an update to Camera RAW, and updates for printer drivers for Epson printers. The Thunderbolt Display firmware update covers a "rare" issue that can cause some displays to go dark, according to the company. The update, to version 1.2, also brings "improved reliability when connecting external displays to the display."
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE