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Apple Fixes Potential Security Hole with iOS 4.3.5

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 25th, 2011

Apple released iOS 4.3.5 today, purportedly to fix a potential security hole in the just released iOS 4.3.4. Called the man-in-the-middle bug by security site, threatpost, the exploit might have allowed attackers to intercept SSL information - that's the system for encrypting users' confidential and identifying information.

The Apple advisory note about the latest update has the following to say:

"Description: A certificate chain validation issue existed in the handling of X.509 certificates. An attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS. Other attacks involving X.509 certificate validation may also be possible. This issue is addressed through improved validation of X.509 certificate chains."

Notice the wording, "privileged network position." This means that any potential hacker would need to already be in a position to interact with network traffic and data, further narrowing the potential for actual attack. Still, it's nice to see Apple responding to such discoveries as they come to light, and that they take the security of our devices seriously, even this close to the planned release of iOS 5.

This Week at 148Apps: March 13-20

Posted by Kyle Flanigan on March 20th, 2011

This week, March 13-20, 148Apps awarded the Editor's Choice badge (along with 4.5 stars a piece) to two music apps: IK Multimedia's Amplitube Fender and Apple's Garageband. Editor Rob LeFebvre, who reviewed the Amplitube Fender application along with its hardware counterpart - the iRig - commented: "it's so easy to configure and use that I'm planning on using it on stage in the near future." Rob's been playing guitar for over twenty years.

Garageband was the other application to rock the boat, setting the bar for portable music creation. "Ever since the iPad’s introduction people have wondered why GarageBand (or any of the other iLife software for that matter) wasn’t available," writes Timothy Smith in his in-depth review, noting the third-party counterparts that have attempted to fill the gap - but not like the way Garageband has finally done. "Apple did a great job making their portable version of GarageBand accessible for beginners, but feature rich enough for real musicians. It isn’t going to replace a real studio set-up, but it’s definitely more than a novelty. Their price point is really competitive too."

In other news, a subtle update found in iOS 4.3 reveals a change in the way Apple handles in-app purchases. Bonnie Eisenman reports: "One complaint that has been consistently leveled against in-app purchases is that it’s easy to accidentally make a purchase in real-world money by accident ... In response to such complaints, Apple has changed its handling of in-app purchases in iOS version 4.3. Now, a password will also be required to make an in-app purchase, though for fifteen minutes after entering your password that time you’ll be able to make multiple purchases." For the most part, this should stop any unexpected in-app purchases by your friends or relatives.

On the hardware front, iFixit stripped the iPad 2, revealing a number of interesting points along the way that may lead you to rethink how careful you are with your new device. "Once the team were able to remove the glass, it was noted that both the LCD and glass thickness were smaller in comparison to iPad 1" writes Kyle Flanigan. "Whilst this does provide a number of advantages, notably the reduced thickness and weight of the device, it may reduce its overall durability." On the plus side, the team were able to confirm that the iPad 2 does indeed contain 512MB RAM - double that of its little brother, iPad 1.

Finally, Chanelle Joy Duxbury commented earlier this week on a report that allows for iMovie, which received a universal update, to be installed on the original iPad. I tested the method personally - and it works flawlessly. Now even the first generation iPad adopters can enjoy its big brother's applications!

And, in case you missed it: Episode 76 of The Portable Podcast, in which Carter does his magic mojo with a developer or gamer or both!

That's all for this week - check back the same time next for a round-up of all the latest happenings. Don't be afraid to check out our Price Drop List or our Top 148Apps List, as well - they are CHOCK full of vital info!

iOS 4.3 Changes In-App Purchases to Require Password

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on March 15th, 2011

One complaint that has been consistently leveled against in-app purchases is that it's easy to accidentally make a purchase in real-world money by accident. In-app purchases, which can include anything from extra level packs to extra play time or ad removal, can often generate more revenue than the initial app purchase. With previous iOS versions, in the first fifteen minute period after downloading an app, in-app purchases can be made without having to re-enter you password. The Washington Post writes that parents had complained that, "in the 15-minute period after an app was downloaded, children were buying sometimes hundreds of dollars of purchases on games such as Smurfs’ Village and Tap Zoo — popular iTunes games that are also among the highest-grossing programs for in-app purchases." In the Smurfs app, for example, a barrel of "snowflakes" or "Smurfberries" can run as high as $99. Besides, "fat finger syndrome" can also lead to unintended in-app purchases.

In response to such complaints, Apple has changed its handling of in-app purchases in iOS version 4.3. Now, a password will also be required to make an in-app purchase, though for fifteen minutes after entering your password that time you'll be able to make multiple purchases. So, it's a small hassle but if you're making lots of purchases at once it shouldn't be too bad.

Of course, you can also just switch of in-app purchases in the "Restrictions" section of the Settings app if you're really concerned about your kid spending too much money of Smurfberries. At the price of a small inconvenience, this new setting should prevent some parents from getting too irate, but I do wish that Apple had made it an optional (albeit default) setting that we could tweak personally.

If you're anxiously awaiting a means of preventing accidental in-app purchases, updating to iOS 4.3 should solve your problems.

iOS 4.3 is Live, Bringing Faster Safari, iPhone 4 Personal Hot Spot, More

Posted by Phillip Levin on March 9th, 2011

Today, Apple launched its iOS 4.3 update, which brings a number of new features to the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Below we've outlined what's new in iOS 4.3.

AirPlay Enhancements
Apple's media-sharing AirPlay already allows you to share your music, photos and movies by wirelessly streaming them from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to your HDTV. But now the application is getting a much needed feature: the ability to stream videos from your Photos app. So, now you can shoot video with your device and then easily show it off on your HDTV.

Safari Performance Increase
iOS 4.3 uses the Nitro JavaScript engine to increase browsing speeds on iOS devices. Apple claims that its latest version of its iOS runs JavaScript twice as fast as version 4.2. Browsing speed, overall, while using Safari will be faster as well.

iTunes Home Sharing Enhancements
You can now share content between your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac or PC using Wi-Fi. You can wirelessly stream your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and whatever else you like from one device to another. For instance, if you've got music in your iTunes collection that you haven't synced yet, you can still listen to it using your iPod, iPod Touch or iPad by streaming it wirelessly from your desktop to the device of your choice.

iPad Side Switch
This one's exclusively for iPad, but still interesting. You can now customize the small switch on the side of your iPad to either lock the screen rotation to either horizontal or vertical, or toggle between muting the volume and turning it back on.

Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4
You can use your iPhone 4's 3G connection to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for other wireless devices you own. By enabling this feature, you create a hotspot to connect to with your laptop, iPad or any other device using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. You're able to share your iPhone 4's 3G connection with up to five other devices or three devices using Wi-Fi. And all connections are password-protected. The catch? You'll have to pay for AT&T's DataPro 4GB/$45 tethering data plan to use the feature. (Verizon's iPhone already has this feature.)

iOS 4.3 is supported by iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 GSM Model, iPod Touch (3rd gen, 4th gen), iPad and iPad 2. To download the iOS update, sync your iOS device, then click the Check for Updates button in iTunes.

This Week at 148Apps: February 27 - March 6

Posted by Kyle Flanigan on March 6th, 2011

Light was shined on the darkness surrounding iPad 2 this week, with Apple formally launching the new device on March 2, shipping nine days later on the 11th of the month. In addition to a new, thinner and lighter design, engineers have packed in two cameras (720p HD for the back), a CPU upgrade in the form of an all-new A5 dual core processor and a gyroscope as found as in the iPhone 4. All the while, battery life and price remain the same as in the previous generation. Interestingly, and to the disappointment of many, the screen is the same 1024x768, 132ppi 9.7" model found in iPad 1 - no match for the iPhone 4, which packs in 326ppi all within its 3.5" display.

On the software front, iOS 4.3 will be available to download on March 11 also, featuring two new applications built for a selection of iOS devices: Facetime and Photobooth. These two applications, already available for Mac, will come pre-installed with iOS 4.3, meaning there's no downloading necessary. with regards to iMovie for iPhone, Apple are upgrading the application to a universal build - meaning iPhone 3GS/4 owners will be able to reap the benefits of the on-the-go movie creator on their iPad. Garageband is coming to iPad also, sporting the same $4.99 price tag as iMovie.

This week, 148Apps awarded the Editor's Choice badge to Guitar World Lick of the Day, created by Agile Partners, for its consistent re-use / replay value, as well as a beautiful user interface. "This app is pure guitar gold," writes Jason Fanguy. "Regardless of your playing-level, Guitar World Lick of the Day evens your playing field, providing access to quality tools and resources that would normally cost hundreds of dollars, at a minimum, in instructor fees." The application itself is free to download, with a number of different in-app purchases to choose from, ranging from 11 months of licks ($4.99) to 33 months of licks ($12.99). As the name suggests, a new lick is available to download each and every day.

In other news, two weeks ago Carter Dotson commented on physical gaming solutions for the iPad. This week, Carter took one of the solutions - namely JOYSTICK-IT - for a test drive. "Games with fixed firing joysticks work wonderfully with the JOYSTICK-IT. Games like Gun Bros., Etolis Arena, and Infinity Field feel remarkably natural with the the joystick, and you will notice an accuracy improvement while playing the game" he writes, but goes on to warn: "There’s just too many ifs, ands, and buts to properly recommend the JOYSTICK-IT, because of its design limiting the number of games it works with."

Favorite 4 takes a turn to productivity this week, with Chris Hall focusing on four note taking applications. Simplenote, Evernote, NotePad Pro and PhatPad all made the list this week, each with different strengths and syncing options. And on a final note, Episode 74 of The Portable Podcast is now available to download, with guests Defek Laufman from Halfbot and the developers of Haypi Kingdom.

That's all for this week - and remember, 148Apps has specially built feeds to bring you all of the latest news, top applications and price drops right to your RSS feed, Twitter and Facebook accounts. So really, why go elsewhere?