"Skype for iPad is beautifully designed and optimized for the iPad. It offers the best of both worlds for users who want a larger Skype experience, on-the-go," Skype said in a blog post. "The large iPad screen is perfect for bringing Skype video calls to life, in either landscape or portrait view, and because it is on the iPad, Skype video calls can be made at the beach, in a car or even lying on a couch."
Skype promised several iPad-optimized features, including two-way video calling for those with an iPad 2. Connect with other Skype users on PCs, Macs, or iPhones and Android phones with front-facing cameras.
Today Apple released a Q&A about the location data that's stored on the iPhone. In the statement, the company says broadly that it does not track the iPhone's location, and that the data, which is currently stored in an unprotected file, will be encrypted in the next major update of iOS.
In the statement, Apple admits that iPhones send location data to Apple to maintain a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell phone towers, as many have suspected. However, the company says the locations recorded can be up to 100 miles away from the where the phone actually is, and that the data is sent anonymously.
Apple further explains that it's creating the database to provide better location services on the phone. By using the crowd-sourced locations of cell towers and hotspots, the phone can more quickly locate the user than if it were using GPS satellite data alone. Putting the entire database on every user's phone would be untenable, though, so an iPhone requesting location services accesses a subset, or cache, of the database. It's this data, not necessarily data specifically generated by the user, that's stored in the unencrypted file, "consolidated.db."
At the same time, though, the company effectively admits that retaining such a lengthy and comprehensive location record on the phone—ever since the user upgraded to iOS 4, or about a year for most users—is unnecessary to maintain such a database. Also, backing the file up to a user's computer is clearly not needed either. Apple says it plans to do four things in the next major update of iOS:
Coverage of the iPhone tracking "feature" has ranged from concern to outrage. "I don't know about you, but the fact that this feature exists on an iPhone is a deal-killer," wrote PCMag Columnist John Dvorak, shortly after news broke. Editor Dan Costa drew a softer line, writing, "Apple may not be actively tracking you, but it did turn your phone into a tracking device without telling you."
I'm not about to give Apple a pass on disclosure or execution. Who combs through an Apple privacy statement when the latest iOS software awaits? And, to "collect" and "share" user data is one thing; to retain it in an unprotected file is quite another.
However, I think it's important that, with a few days' hindsight, we move beyond the bombast, pin down the facts, and see what's actually there. To do this, I've taken a close look at what's at risk and, in empirical spirit, borrowed fellow PCMag software analyst Jeff Wilson's iPhone 3GS to see what I could learn of the man and the travels using Pete Warden's iPhoneTracker app.
Did you know that Apple is tracking your every move with your iPhone and iPad? A blog post published today on O'Reilly Radar claims that devices running iOS 4 are gathering location and storing it in an unencrypted manner.
"What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device. It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands. Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released," wrote Pete Warden, founder of the Data Science Toolkit, and Alasdair Allan, a senior research fellow at the University of Exeter.
The data is being stored to a file known as "consolidated.db," which includes latitude-longitude coordinates and a timestamp.
Of course, this shouldn't surprise anyone who read the entire 45-page EULA, as it clearly states the following clause when going into detail on the type of “non-personal information” that Apple can “collect, use, transfer, and disclose … for any purpose.”
We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising.
When the iPhone was launched in 2007, I met with Phil Schiller, SVP of World Wide marketing for Apple, and Greg Joswiak, the Apple VP in charge of marketing the iPods and iPhones. During the meeting they showed me the iPhone's many features and shared their goals for the device, which has now become a major business for Apple.
During that meeting, they made a comment that I believe is really the heart of Apple's secret sauce and the cornerstone of how it continues to outsmart its competitors. They laid the iPhone on the table, with it turned off, and asked me what I saw. I told them I saw a 3.5 inch blank screen. They said that from Apples point of view, the "magic" of the iPhone is strictly in the software. And, they de-emphasized the hardware.
Yes, the iPhone was a slick smartphone with a great screen and, at the time, it broke new ground in smartphone design, and Apple was very proud of that. However, with the iPhone turned off, it had very little value. But once it was turned on, the iPhone's OS and apps turned it into a completely different device. While it was a phone, the software made it much more—it became a vehicle for applications. It also had another component that really made it sing and dance; it was also an iPod and was tied directly to iTunes. Now it morphed into a much broader multi-purpose device. It was a phone, a vehicle for apps, and an iPod, which made it a great personal mobile entertainment system.
If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.1 and you’ve been itching to get that jailbreak goodness back, it looks like you’ll have your wish in under three days. The Chronic Dev Team has just confirmed that their SHAtter-based GreenPois0n jailbreak tool, which is compatible with all iOS devices, will be released to the world on October 10, 2010 at 10:10:10AM GMT—see, that’s 10/10/10 10:10:10.
GreenPois0n is based on a low-level exploit which can be used to jailbreak all currently available iOS devices permanently. In order for Apple to block GreenPois0n, they’d only be able to do it on new, revised hardware.
Data acquired by Nielsen in this graph shows the past 8 months of Android‘s steady rise to the top as the most popular OS. While iOS took a major dive around June, and BlackBerry OS continuing to swerve in both directions like a drunk behind the wheel. This puts Android at 32% of new phone purchases, with Apple and BlackBerry closely tailing each other at 25% and 26% respectively. Though, RIM still remains in the overall lead, boasting the most users of their OS in the US market.
Read More | Nielsen
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If you’re tired of your iPad and the way it performs under the first iOS 4.2 beta, you’ll be glad to hear that beta 2 has just arrived. Build 8C5101c is now available for download to iOS developers for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Want an early peek at iOS 4.2 on the iPad? We’ve got it for you right here, bringing you a look at the long-awaited software update for the Apple tablet. We give you a look at folders (and how they’re different on the iPad compared to the iPhone,) multitasking, AirPlay, Game Center (and the iPad UI tweaks that accompany it,) and a few of the other subtle changes found in iOS 4.2 for the iPad. It’ll be released to the general public this November, but we’ve got the beta running on our unit to bring you the goodness today.
Hey, so you know that iOS 4.2 software update that’ll bring multitasking, folders, printing, and a bunch more 4.0 features to the iPad? Well, if you’re a developer, you can download the iOS 4.2 beta right this second. You can install it on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Just know that printing currently requires a specific HP printer, or a pre-release version of Mac OS X 10.6.5…but we’re sure you don’t care about all that, and you just wanna get your hands on the update. If you aren’t in the iPhone Developer program, you better find a friend who is!