Apple Compensates Victim of iMessage Bug for Breach of Privacy

In December, an apparent bug appeared in Apple’s iMessage service that allowed iMessages to be sent to a stolen iPhone. The messages can, apparently, continue to be sent and received from the stolen phone after a remote wipe and a SIM card deactivation. This is obviously an unintended action, and though Apple explains the solution to be “toggle iMessage on and off” in the Settings app, that is an impossible act to perform remotely on a stolen phone.

The Next Web today reports of the case of an anonymous Apple customer who had her iPhone stolen and the lengthy discussions she had with Apple afterwards.

After her iPhone was stolen, Customer K had her SIM card deactivated. However, her friends told her that iMessages they sent continued to be delivered to the stolen iPhone because she hadn’t invoked Find My iPhone’s Remote Wipe feature. Apple’s technical support personnel suggested a wide variety of solutions to prevent her messages from being sent to the other iPhone.

Suggestions to reset her Apple ID password, insert her SIM card into another iOS device, among others, made sense. One request, that she contact her friends and tell them to stop sending her iMessages, Customer K thought was completely unreasonable – not to mention impractical.

Eventually, nearly 6 weeks after her phone was initially stolen, Apple did finally figure out a unique solution:

Apple was finally able to remotely push ‘code’ out to the stolen iPhone in order to make the problem stop. This was a result of an Apple Engineering Team weighing in on how to solve the issue.

After the problem was finally solved, the customer continued to push Apple on the issue of compensation and was directed to Apple’s legal department. She informed Apple Legal that she was troubled by the length of time that it took to prevent the iMessages from going to the stolen phone and wanted compensation for the extensive breach of privacy.

Eventually, after a phone discussion with Apple legal, K was offered an iPod Touch as compensation for her trouble. Apple claimed it would give her a device with which to receive iMessages.

Apple has still not commented on the matter, but one theory is that the iMessage servers permanently link the UDID number of a particular handset to an Apple ID, so it knows what handset to deliver iMessages to. Messages continue to be sent to a stolen iPhone until iMessage is manually toggled on and off – a task that is impossible to perform on a stolen phone.

Source

Apple knocks IBM off top of Davis brands list

Apple emerged as the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list put together by marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital.

The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard.

“(Apple’s) rise in this year’s rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value,” Davis said in a press release.

So how does the company come up with these rankings?

“The annual 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking evaluates companies’ abilities to manage and balance the five key intangible categories that comprise brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact,” the group said.

All told, technology companies made up about a third of Davis’ list, and the majority of its Top 10. Below is the full rundown of companies and their stock symbols:

2011 Davis Brand Capital 25

1. Apple (AAPL)
2. IBM (IBM)
3. Microsoft (MSFT)
4. Google (GOOG)
5. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)
6. General Electric (GE)
7. Procter & Gamble (PG)
8. Intel (INTC)
9. Coca-Cola (KO)
10. Cisco Systems (CSCO)
11. BMW (BMW-DE)
12. PepsiCo (PEP)
13. Walt Disney Company (DIS)
14. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
15. Daimler (DAI-DE)
16. Citigroup (C)
17. Exxon Mobil (XOM)
18. Goldman Sachs (GS)
19. Nestle (NESM-DE)
20.Toyota Motor Corporation (TM)
21. Volkswagen (VOW-DE)
22. AT&T (T)
23. Samsung Electronics (005930-KSE)
24. Wal-Mart (WMT)
25. Wells Fargo (WFC)

According to Davis, one of the biggest movers on the list was Google, which hopped from No. 11 on the list in 2009 to fourth place this year. Meanwhile, Samsung and Wal-Mart both dropped, with Samsung going from no. 8 in 2010 to No. 23 this year, and Wal-Mart sliding to 24 in this year’s list, compared to fifth place last year.

Source

Twitter’s Mobile Apps Begin to Look a Bit More Like Instagram

Twitter_Instagram

Continuing its trudge toward becoming a more media-centric service, Twitter on Tuesday announced a new version of its iOS and Android mobile applications, giving more prominence to photos and video in the stream.

Instead of needing to click through to see an attached photo in your Twitter timeline, now users will see previews of pictures and videos captured with Vine within the stream as they thumb through it.

It’s a simple yet logical move for the microblogging service, which until now has primarily been relied upon for text-based updates in real-time. With the rise of Instagram over the past few years, users have flocked to more visual platforms, preferring to thumb through images and videos.

The move comes as Twitter aims to broaden its appeal to users, only weeks before the company makes its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange. While practically ingrained into the mainstream media consciousness, Twitter’s user growth rate has slowed year over year; the company is home to around 230 million monthly active users, far short of Facebook’s billion-plus member network.

Not to mention the obvious appeal to advertisers, which will receive more prominent billing in the Twitter feed when including pictures and Vine videos within their tweets. (Digiday’s take on this is good.)

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram did not help matters for Twitter. The microblogging network was in fierce competition with Facebook to acquire Instagram just a few years ago, but lost out to a last-minute billion-dollar offer directly from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

As a result, Instagram later rescinded the ability to preview its photos from within the Twitter stream, requiring users to click an extra link in order to reach the Instagram shots. Not only was it annoying for users, it was a blow to Twitter, which lost a great deal of rich visual content.

Shortly after Twitter received the heads-up late last year that Instagram would cut off its integration, the company scrambled to figure out a solution to bringing filters into the Twitter app itself, according to sources familiar with the matter. To do that, Twitter contracted the services of Aviary, an outside company responsible for much of Twitter’s photo filter product.

Twitter certainly learned from the whole situation. What you won’t see are previews of photos uploaded from nonTwitter products; only photos uploaded via Twitter’s apps and services will show up in preview form. Same goes for Vine videos (but not for YouTube videos). No word on whether that will change in the future.

Expect the download to roll out for Android and iPhones on Tuesday.

iPhone 5c Was Always Planned as Mid-Tier, Not Low-End, Says Cook

iPhone5c-trio

Is the price of Apple’s new iPhone 5c too high for the market for which it was intended?

Not according to CEO Tim Cook, who said the device isn’t intended for the unsubsidized prepaid customers that many observers thought it might be. During a Monday earnings call, Cook said the 5c isn’t the long-rumored “budget iPhone,” nor was it conceived as that.

“If you look at what we’ve done with our iPhone line, we’re selling the iPhone 4s as our entry-level offer,” Cook said. “We’re selling the iPhone 5c as sort of a mid-tier offer and then we have the iPhone 5s. Our goal is to have overall growth for the total iPhone [line], but also growth within each of those categories. … I realize that some people were reading rumors that the entry phone would be the 5c, but that was never our intent. Our entry iPhone is the iPhone 4s.”

In other words, Apple’s plan all along was to use a legacy device as its entry-level iPhone, just as it has done for years. And, as I’ve written before, the 5c was a move to establish a new mainstream price band between the smartphone market’s high end and its low end: “Historically, Apple has done quite well for itself using mid-tier products with lots of aspirational appeal to draw budget-conscious consumers into a higher price range. It did it with the iPod nano, and again with the iPad mini.”

Ion Air Pro 3 Adds New Image Sensor, Swims Deeper

Since launching nearly a year and a half ago, action-camera maker Ion has been pumping out a new model about every six months, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Today, the company announced its third-generation camera, the Ion Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi. It will be available in early November for $350.

Air Pro 3 (2) EMBARGOED 10 30 2013

New to the camera is a 12-megapixel sensor that allows you to capture 1080p video at 60 frames per second; the previous model could only shoot 1080p video at 30fps. The Air Pro 3 also utilizes a new fog-free lens with improved light transmission and 160-degree viewing angles.

In terms of design, the camera looks largely the same as the Air Pro 2, but the casing is now waterproof in up to 49 feet of water (up from 30 feet) and features a metal tripod screw mount instead of a plastic one.

One of the advantages of Ion’s cameras is that you don’t need a separate case to bring it with you in the water, and its unique pod system allows you to add different functionality to the camera without any cumbersome accessories.

Ion faces stiff competition from market leader GoPro, which just released its latest Hero 3+ camera in September. Sony, JVC and Garmin all have action cameras, as well.

Ion CEO Giovanni Tomaselli said the company has about 3.5 percent of the market share right now, but it’s not all about numbers for them.

“All we’re looking for is for people to just appreciate what we’re creating,” said Tomaselli in an interview. “Here’s something that’s best in class, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. We do that, and we can get that recognition, the rest will come.”

Going forward, Tomaselli said the company will focus on improving optics, connectivity and mounting systems. Ion is also working to make its cameras available through larger retailers, like Best Buy.

Air Freshener: What They’re Saying About Apple’s Latest iPad

performance_gallery

With Apple’s new iPad Air headed to market on Friday, the first reviews of the device began publishing last night, and they are positive to a one, with more than a few extolling the device as not just the best iPad ever, but the best tablet on the market. Here’s a quick rundown of reviews:

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD:
This new iPad isn’t a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it’s a major improvement on a successful product. It is the best tablet I’ve ever reviewed. … The battery performance of the iPad Air simply blew me away.

Damon Darlin, the New York Times:
The iPad Air is noticeably lighter than its predecessors. If you are the least bit interested in the new tablet computer from Apple, you probably already know that. The company’s engineers shaved just short of a third off the weight of the earlier version; the 9.7-inch Air weighs only a pound. What you may not know is this: Those 6.4 ounces make all the difference when, as you recline while reading or watching a movie, you conk out and the iPad falls forward to bonk you on the nose. The Air won’t hurt you the way the old iPad did.

Rich Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg:
I’ve been using the iPad Air, which goes on sale Nov. 1, for a week now, and it’s hands-down the best tablet on the market. Apple has recrafted the hardware and packed in new software and services that make it more useful for creating content, not just consuming it. … Not that long ago, the iPad so dominated the tablet market that it would have been unthinkable to buy something else. With the rise of quality tablets from Google, Amazon and others, it’s no longer the only choice. But it’s still the best choice.

Anand Lal Shimpi, AnandTech:
This is the iPad that Apple likely wanted to launch on day 1, it just took a bit over three years to get here. … The iPad Air is the most significant upgrade to the 9.7-inch iPad in its history. It’s lighter, more portable, more usable and faster than any previous iPad. It doesn’t fundamentally change what you can do with a tablet, but if you’re in the market for one the iPad Air really is the best iPad to date. Competition is definitely more stiff among the smaller tablets thanks to the Nexus 7, but in the nearly 10-inch tablet space it seems like Apple is going to continue to enjoy a great position there.

Charles Arthur, The Guardian:
It’s only when you get hold of an iPad Air that you realise how well Apple has crafted this device. It’s lighter and the internals are faster. Add in the free software, and it has raised the bar on what you can do out of the box with a tablet. The iPad now isn’t just something to do a few functions around and about. It’s a device to replace your computer for almost everything.

Ed Baig, USA Today:
… This latest full-size Apple tablet is the most tempting iPad yet, better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I’ve tested. Apple dominates the tablet apps ecosystem. Its tablet remains the easiest to use.

Tim Stevens, CNET:
Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year’s model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:
To me, the comparison that is most interesting is to that of my MacBook Air. In exactly three years, Apple has produced an iPad that outperforms a then-brand-new MacBook. Three years is a decent chunk of time in this industry, and the MacBook Air has made great strides since then, but this (a brand-new iPad Air versus a late 2010 MacBook Air) is a credible comparison. In many ways the iPad Air is not just the superior device, but clearly so – it has a retina display, the MacBook Air does not; it gets 10 hours of battery life, the MacBook Air was advertised at just 5 hours back then (and as an old and much-used device, my personal MacBook Air gets significantly less than 5 hours of battery life today).

Brad Molen, Engadget:
Surprise: The iPad Air is the best iPad we’ve reviewed. In addition, though, it’s also the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we’ve ever tested. Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it. Factor in a sizable boost in performance and battery life, and the Air is even more compelling. The last two iPads served up relatively few improvements, but the Air provides people with more of a reason to upgrade or even buy a tablet for the first time.

Vincent Nguyen, SlashGear:
The iPad Air is the no-compromise tablet. Beautiful display, crisp design, premium build quality: It’s the gold-standard by which tablets are judged, and rightly so. If Apple’s full-sized slates had fallen into the shadow of their mini brethren over the past twelve months, the iPad Air brings the larger tablet right back into the spotlight.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch:
The iPad Air is a huge improvement over the iPad 4th-gen, or the iPad 2. … Its form factor is the best currently available for a 10-inch tablet, and it provides a great blend of portability and usability that leans towards the media device end of the spectrum.

Ben Bajarin, Techpinions:
With the iPad Air, Apple has created the world’s thinest and lightest full size tablet. And by adding their 64-bit A7 processor they have made it extremely powerful as well. After using the iPad Air for the past week I’m convinced that the iPad Air is the perfect personal computer for the masses.

David Pogue, A note from Pogue:
At $500, an iPad probably doesn’t need replacing every year or even every other year; if you have a 2012 or 2013 model, stick with what you’ve got. On the other hand, you’ll find the Air a fantastic leap into the future if you’re upgrading from an original iPad, or if you’ve never owned a tablet before.

Lockerz, Though Not Quite Dead, Raises $9 Million to Shift Focus to New Shopping Site Ador

Ador Lockerz

In the spring, reports surfaced that social commerce and photo-sharing service Lockerz was behind a new shoppable digital magazine called Ador.

Now, a new filing with the SEC published online today sheds more light.

Lockerz has rebranded its corporate name to Ador, and has raised $9 million of a possible $25 million round, the filing said.

Despite the document’s wording, Lockerz.com is still operational. In an interview, Q Shay, who identified himself as Ador’s chief operating officer, said that the company had considered shutting Lockerz.com completely, but that it currently has enough repeat visitors to justify keeping it up and running.

At the same time, the vast majority of spending will be invested into Ador.com going forward, not Lockerz, he said. Shay described the funding as a rights offering to its existing shareholders, which have included Kleiner Perkins and DAG Ventures.

The Ador site pulls in images of celebrities and models from fashion blogs and then surfaces either the exact clothes and accessories worn in the photos or ones similar to them. Ador users can then click through to the site where the product is sold to purchase the item, with Ador getting a cut through affiliate networks.

The service joins a crowded field of startups focused on creating a browsable shopping experience for the digital age.

“In our case, we are taking a far different approach and really focusing on a specific audience … those primarily interested in fashion,” said product chief Max Ciccotosto.

Shay acknowledged that there were layoffs earlier this year, but said the company has been hiring recently as it readied for Ador’s public launch earlier this month. He declined to disclose the current size of the staff.

At one time, Lockerz was one of Seattle’s biggest startup names, having raised more than $40 million for a service that gave users rewards points for taking actions such as uploading photos or watching videos. They could then use those points for discounts on clothing.

The startup also operated a photo-sharing service that drove significant traffic to Lockerz.com, but it shut down its API earlier this year, citing Twitter policy changes.

Lockerz’s founder and former CEO Kathy Savitt left the Seattle-based startup last year to become Yahoo’s chief marketing officer.