Archive for Apple

An Update To Apple’s Lack Of A Security Patch To Solve Two Serious iOS Security Issues

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 7, 2020 by itnerd

You might recall that I’ve recently written about a pair of security issues that exist in iOS, and that came to light in the last couple of weeks. Here’s a quick recap:

Once these security issues were made public, Apple promised that an emergency patch would be released last week to address the Messages bug at the very least. But that didn’t happen. And there was no comment from Apple in regards to that. Not that I am shocked by that as Apple isn’t the type of company that displays transparency.

But I do have an update on this that may partially explain this situation. YouTube tech content creator Aaron Zollo posted a video yesterday commenting on the new features of iOS 13.5 Beta 4. The interesting part of the video is 3:00 into the video below where it is confirmed via an email to one of Zollo’s followers from Craig Federighi who is the SVP of Software Engineering at Apple that the Messages bug is fixed.

That’s nice. but there’s no word on if the Apple Mail exploit is fixed. But at least something will eventually be released to fix the Messages issue.

Here’s the problem with this. The optics of this suck. It makes Apple look like it doesn’t take security of its users seriously. And that leaves their users wide open to bad stuff potentially happening to them. As well as leaving a bad taste in their users mouths. Take this person who left a comment on this blog post:

And the fact that this is the same company that makes a $1000 USD monitor stand, or wheels for a computer that cost $700 USD doesn’t help matters. The fact is that Apple isn’t doing itself any favors by not being open and upfront about these issues. They as a company need to be far more transparent when it comes to stuff like this, otherwise they’ll have lots of frustrated customers like the one above who will decide not to buy their products. And if that happens en masse, I would not want to be Tim Cook trying to explain that to Apple shareholders.

A Quick Buyers Guide For The New 13″ MacBook Pro

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 5, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday Apple released via press release the new 13″ MacBook Pro. It’s the latest MacBook to get the new “magic” keyboard which replaces the horribly unreliable butterfly keyboard.

RIP butterfly keyboard. It is about time you met your maker.

The key points to this new 13″ MacBook Pro are:

  • It has the new 10th-generation quad-core Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.1GHz. These new processors are more power efficient and have more horsepower.
  • The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics deliver up to 80 percent faster performance over the previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro. Or so Apple says.
  • The new graphics also enable users to connect to Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution…. If you feel like dropping a insane amount of cash on a monitor to connect to this MacBook Pro.
  • Base storage has been doubled to a minimum of 256GB.
  • Did I mention that the horrible butterfly keyboard is replaced by the “magic” keyboard?

In terms of #fails, here are the two #fails that are present in the new 13″ MacBook Pro:

  • It has 802.11ac WiFi. This is a fail because the 10th generation chips support 802.11ax/WiFi 6. Plus the optic of having iPhones that support 802.11ax/WiFi 6 and MacBook Pros that don’t is really lame.
  • It has a 720p Webcam. Um, Apple, 2010 called. They want their webcam back. Seriously, when iPhones have front facing cams that are insanely great, it seems really pathetic that in 2020 Apple’s latest notebooks come with 720p webcams.

The question is, what should you get in terms of a 13″ MacBook Pro? Let me help you with that:

  1. Skip both the base model and the next model up: The reason why I say this is that Apple made the base model which starts at $1699 CDN and the next model up which starts at $1949 CDN are using 8th generation Intel processors. The ones you actually want come with the latest 10th generation Intel processors which start at $2399 CDN. Not only that, you get 4 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports unlike the two models that I suggest that you avoid which come with 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. If that wasn’t enough, you get faster LPDDR4X RAM that you can upgrade up to 32GB. The two low end models max out at 16GB. Finally, you get much better graphics as part of the deal.
  2. 16GB is plenty of RAM for most people: You may be tempted to go to 32GB of RAM. But don’t. 16GB is plenty for most people unless you really need the extra RAM. For example you run Final Cut, or you have a lot of Chrome tabs open.
  3. 1TB of storage is plenty for most people: Though you can configure the new 13″ MacBook Pro with up to 4TB, 1TB is all you need. Everything else is overkill as there are very few use cases that require that amount of space.
  4. Consider skipping the i7 2.3GHz processor upgrade: The speed difference between the i7 2.3GHz processor and the i5 2.0 GHz is only going to be noticed if you push this machine using something like Final Cut where you are editing 4K video. If that’s you, then maybe the upgrade is worth it. For everyone else, this is a must skip.

Now all of that is great. But let me cover the other side of the coin. Which is why you shouldn’t get the new 13″ MacBook Pro:

  • If your needs are very basic, meaning that you surf the net, listen to music, and maybe do something in Microsoft Word, then the new MacBook Air might be a better choice. It is the same screen size in a lighter package that costs less. And it comes with variants of the new 10th generation Intel processors. Stick with the i5 processor version and you should be fine.
  • If you are a power user, which means that you run Final Cut X for example, you would likely be better off getting the 16″ MacBook Pro. It comes with discrete graphics and is a portable powerhouse. Though I will say that they use the 8th generation Intel processors which means that it is due for a refresh. Having said that, you do get an i9 processor version if you need all the power that your credit card can handle.

The new 13″ MacBook Pro is available now for ordering online at Apple’s website. They should be in resellers later this week. Hopefully this helps you to decide whether to get one or not.

May Apple’s Butterfly Keyboard Rest In Peace

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 4, 2020 by itnerd

Today marks a significant day in the history of Apple. By announcing the 13″ MacBook Pro this morning, The butterfly keyboard was originally intended to help make Apple’s notebooks thinner. But the design of the keyboard was insanely problematic. A single spec of dust could kill the keyboard. And in some cases I have had clients go through four or five butterfly keyboards in a short amount of time. Clearly they were unreliable. And several redesign attempts by Apple couldn’t address these issues. Plus there were numerous lawsuits filed over this keyboard design and the problems that they caused users. So the combination of those items along with the general bad press likely forced Apple to switch to the tried, tested and reliable scissor switch keyboard which Apple dubs “the magic keyboard.”

So, rest in peace butterfly keyboard. And for those of you who were holding off buying a MacBook because of the butterfly keyboard, and I am one of those people, you now have a MacBook lineup that doesn’t have the that horrible keyboard.

Apple Does Not Deliver On Its Promise To Release A Emergency Patch To Fix The Messages Bug

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 1, 2020 by itnerd

Earlier this week Apple promised that an emergency patch would be released this week to address a Messages bug that can cause your iDevice to crash, or even worse force you to restore from a backup. And possible it was also going to fix a zero day iOS Mail exploit that is allegedly being exploited. Well, as I type this it is Friday at 2:21 PM EST and no patch has been released. While I will admit that Apple has been known to occasionally release updates on Fridays, or even Saturdays, or even late in the day beyond the 1PM EST that they tend to release updates, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the patch isn’t coming today.

For a company that claims to take this sort of stuff seriously, and seeing that at present users are unprotected at present, this really isn’t good optics for Apple. They could at least release some sort of statement saying that the patch isn’t being released today and when users can expect to see it. But I am not holding my breath. Apple hasn’t been the sort of company to be completely transparent and I don’t expect them to start now. Which is a shame as these two exploits require a better response from them.

Apple To Release Emergency Patch To Fix Messages Bug…. Maybe The Mail Exploit Too

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 29, 2020 by itnerd

Earlier this week I spoke of two major issues that iOS users were being exposed to. One was a Messages bug where a specific combination of characters would cause iOS devices to crash. The other was a zero day exploit in Mail that is likely being exploited as you read this. This likely has created a lot of bad press for Apple as people like yours truly have reported on these issues, and have called on Apple to fix them sooner rather than later.

Well, that appears to be happening. Forbes is reporting that an emergency patch is coming sometime this week to fix the Messages bug. Now it is possible that this patch will also fix the Mail exploit as well. I say that because the beta of iOS 13.4.5 has a fix for that exploit. So it shouldn’t be hard for Apple to bring that fix to another version of iOS.

Stay tuned to this post and to my Twitter account for updates on this.

#PSA: iPhone SE Does NOT Support Haptic Feedback In Notifications By Design

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 28, 2020 by itnerd

If you’re about to, or perhaps have sprung for the new iPhone SE, you should know that Unlike the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone SE is unable to expand notifications through Haptic Touch. That sounds like a bit of an edge case on first blush. But if you are coming from an iPhone that supported this functionality via Haptic Touch or the now seemingly dead 3D touch, this is going to tick you off. As it has ticked off many on this sub-Reddit.

Apparently this was done by design by Apple as confirmed by TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino.

But Benjamin Mayo who is a well respected iOS developer sums it up this way:

I really don’t understand why Apple made this decision. It seems like they are creating one of their famous “gates” when they don’t need to. But there is a workaround of sorts. It’s possible to slide to the left on a notification and tap on the “View” option as a workaround for the missing ‌Haptic Touch‌ feature. Still. This seems like a major unforced error by Apple.

And Now Apple Has A Exploit In iOS Messages That Can Crash Your iDevice

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 27, 2020 by itnerd

Apple has a lot of issues right now. On top of this issue with a zero day exploit with iOS mail, Apple now has a bug with with iOS Messages where a combination of characters sent to you via Messages can cause your iOS device to crash. Here’s an example:

If you get hit with this, you need to hard reboot your phone, or in some cases you may have to restore your phone from a backup.

In other words, this is a nasty bug.

It’s been a while since Apple has been hit with a Messages bug that caused your iOS device to crash. This seemed to be a common thing all the way up to iOS 11. And there have been a couple of cases where Apple has pushed out a software update to fix this sort of issue within hours of the issue being discovered. So I fully expect to see a software update as early as Tuesday to fix this and perhaps also fix the Mail bug as well seeing as that is likely being exploited in the wild.

Tune in tomorrow to find out if I am right.