Monday, March 10, 2014, 06:28 am PT (09:28 am ET)
Contrary to recent rumors, Samsung has won the contract to produce Apple’s next-generation A-series processor and will do so at the same Texas facility that churns out the 64-bit A7 at the heart of the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, according to a new report from South Korea.
Samsung’s Austin, Texas semiconductor plant
An unnamed Samsung official told ZDNet Korea that a manufacturing agreement has already been signed and that engineers from both companies are working together to ramp up production. Shipments of the so-called “A8″ will reportedly begin this fall, around the same time that many expect Apple to unveil new models of its mobile devices.
Apple’s relationship with Samsung has been strained in recent years as the two companies are increasingly at each other’s throat both in stores and in the courtroom. Samsung’s position as the contract foundry for Apple’s closely-guarded A-series processors, arguably the most important component in the company’s top-selling iOS devices, is believed to be especially tenuous.
Taipei, Taiwan-based foundry TSMC — which already makes other, less high-profile chips for Apple — has been repeatedly tabbed as Samsung’s successor for A-series chip production. As recently as last week, reports suggested that TSMC had taken over “most” of the orders for the A8, leaving Samsung as a secondary supplier.
This would not be the first time TSMC has been linked to Apple’s flagship silicon, only to have Samsung retain the contract. Rumors pointed in TSMC’s direction for both the A6X and A7 processors, and each of those chips eventually rolled off of Samsung’s Austin, Texas production line.
Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/3800227b/sc/21/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C0A30C10A0Capple0Eto0Estick0Ewith0Esamsung0Efor0Ea80Echip0Efinal0Emanufacturing0Eprep0Eunderway0E0E0Ereport/story01.htm
Sunday, March 09, 2014, 02:19 pm PT (05:19 pm ET)
With just days remaining until London Grammar takes the stage to open the first iTunes Festival ever held in the U.S., Apple has added a new iTunes Festival channel to Apple TV with a performance lineup and information on every act.
The new channel sports the same stenciled aesthetic as the festival’s accompanying iOS app, which launched earlier this week. As with the app, users can check performance times and drill down to view biographical information and iTunes Store links for every band at the five-day festival.
In addition, the channel features a history of the iTunes Festival, information about this year’s venue, and details on the various ways to watch. Once the festival starts, the channel will also play host to live, high-definition streams of each performance.
Apple announced last month that it would bring the iTunes Festival, traditionally held in London, to the U.S. for the first time at the upcoming South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. The festival’s American debut will be significantly shorter than its European predecessors, which generally run for 30 days.
The shows will go on at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits. Tickets are available for free to conference attendees, but anyone can watch live on the web or through the iOS app and new Apple TV channel.
Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/37f9a615/sc/5/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C0A30C0A90Capple0Eadds0Eitunes0Efestival0Echannel0Eto0Eapple0Etv0Ein0Eadvance0Eof0Etuesday0Ekickoff/story01.htm
Saturday, March 08, 2014, 04:29 pm PT (07:29 pm ET)
The wireless carrier price wars continue this weekend as ATT and T-Mobile respectively announced price cuts and new data incentives for subscribers.
T-Mobile on Friday announced Simple Choice customers will soon have 1GB of 4G LTE data per month added to their account for free, effectively doubling the amount data previously allotted to the entry-level price tier. More data is available in 2GB chunks for an additional $10 per month.
Simple Choice customers will also get unlimited global texting from the U.S. and while abroad from 122 countries and destinations.
Along with the bonus data, the telecom quietly raised the price of its unlimited 4G LTE data option to $30, up from $20 per month. Terms still include 5GB of tethered data use.
T-Mobile’s new pricing scheme is scheduled to take effect on Mar. 23, while the unlimited texting feature is set for activation in April.
As for ATT, the nation’s second-largest wireless telecom announced plans to cut pricing for single- and two-line no-contract accounts.
Starting Sunday, single-line Mobile Share Value plans will drop $15 to start at $65 for 2GB of data, unlimited talk and text, unlimited international messaging and 50GB of cloud storage. Two-line accounts start at $90 for the same services.
To go along with the new deal, ATT is offering a $100 bill credit for activating a new line of postpaid service, including smartphones, tablets, mobile hotspots and feature phones.
Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/37f3d3df/sc/15/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C0A30C0A80Catt0Edrops0Eprice0Eof0E2gb0Eno0Econtract0Eplan0Eby0E150Et0Emobile0Edoubles0Edown0Eon0Esimple0Echoice/story01.htm
Friday, March 07, 2014, 03:51 pm PT (06:51 pm ET)
An easy to use new “Remote Administration Tool” malware package for Android offers to infect users, steal their photos and text messages, secretly capture audio or video, record their calls, download their web browser history and steal their email, Facebook and VPN account information.
The practice of selling such a malware package targeting Android is so common it has a pet name among security researchers: an “Android RAT,” for Remote Administration Tool.
However, the latest RAT is raising eyebrows in the security community because of its low cost (just $300 for unlimited use, paid for via untraceable currencies such as Bitcoin) and its ability to sneak past Google’s automated malware scanner in the Google Play app market, where legitimate appearing, RAT-infected apps can hide out undetected.
Dendroid infects Google Play, gnaws at user data
Known as Dendroid, the new Android RAT package is being sold as an “APK Binder,” which can take any original or stolen Android app and incorporate its own malware as a Trojan payload. After distributing the infected app, Dendroid’s RAT customers can monitor the spread of their infection via web based tools.
RAT infected Android devices can be remotely zombified by the perpetrator, allowing virtually unlimited access to photos, data and messages on the device. The Dendroid RAT provides full access to infected devices’ camera and microphone, and can place calls or listen in on a user’s phone conversations or text messages.
Distributing Dendroid is easy because, as a report by security firm Lookout stated, “it looks as if Dendroid was designed with evading Play Store security in mind.”
The firm noted that, “Amongst its numerous features, Dendroid features some relatively simple — yet unusual — anti-emulation detection code that helps it evade detection by Bouncer, Google’s anti-malware screening system for the play store.”
Google’s Bouncer scans for malware by emulating submitted apps to review their functionality for telltale, illegal behaviors. Dendroid-infected Android apps are designed to be smart enough to avoid executing their malware code while being run in emulation by Google’s Bouncer scanning process.
Malware is Android’s primary exclusive app
Most malware is incentivized by commercial activity, often by presenting ads or spreading spyware that can harvest valuable marketing data. In addition to these, Dendroid also offers to earn its keep as a tool for generating massive Denial of Service attacks across the population of its infected devices.
A report by Lucian Constantin for IT World cited Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst at Bitdefender as saying that “Dendroid is a much improved remote access tool that is definitely aimed for commercial purposes,” adding that “Although it roughly does the same as Androrat [an older Android RAT], it appears to be much more stable and allows cybercriminal groups to better manage the pool of mobile bots.”
Android malware has pretty much followed in the footsteps of Windows malware
Constantin noted that “Android malware has pretty much followed in the footsteps of Windows malware,” again citing Botezatu as stating that “Cybercrime is all about making easy money with minimum of effort. Creating a piece of malware that is stable, tested and does not crash the host device requires a lot of work and skill.”
How to avoid Dendroid
Android users can adopt the same protections that Windows PC users did during the malware crisis that plagued Microsoft’s platform ten years ago. That includes not installing apps from untrusted sources and installing third party malware scanner tools.
Over the past ten years however, a significant portion of Windows users have simply switched from the wide open, malware saturated Windows platform to Apple’s Macs and iOS devices. Macs never became a significant malware target, an advantage Apple advertised and worked to preserve.
When it introduced iOS in 2007, Apple incorporated a new security model that attempted to destroy the low hanging fruit supporting the malware market on previous mobile devices.
Apple stated that it “designed the iOS platform with security at its core,” detailing that, “when we set out to create the best possible mobile OS, we drew from decades of experience to build an entirely new architecture. We thought about the security hazards of the desktop environment, and established a new approach to security in the design of iOS. We developed and incorporated innovative features that tighten mobile security and protect the entire system by default. As a result, iOS is a major leap forward in OS security.”
Apple has since brought many of these protections to its desktop Mac platform, from signed apps to a secure app market and regular free software updates that target and solve vulnerabilities faster than malware authors can build a business around them.
In stark contrast, Google simply recreated Microsoft’s malware-harboring platform among mobile devices via Android, allowing third party developers to release “open” apps that can obtain inappropriate access to user content and data.
Google maintains no accountability for the devices that ship with Android, and most devices ship with outdated versions with known security vulnerabilities. Most of these will never receive security updates.
Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/37ece3fd/sc/15/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C0A30C0A70Cnew0Eandroid0Erat0Einfects0Egoogle0Eplay0Eapps0Eturning0Ephones0Einto0Espyware0Ezombies/story01.htm
Friday, March 07, 2014, 04:20 pm PT (07:20 pm ET)
Russia’s second largest carrier Megafon said its iPhone agreement with Apple requires it to sell 750,000 iPhones over three years and spend $28 million on marketing and promotion through 2016.
The terms of the agreement were spelled out in the carrier’s 2013 financial report, which was released this week and reported by Reuters.
The details illuminate the type of agreements Apple makes with carriers. By specifying aggressive minimum sales and incorporating co-marketing budgets, Apple aligns carrier’s goals with its own.
Reuters cited Sergei Libin, an analyst at Raiffeisen Research, as describing Megafon’s minimum iPhone sales volume as “reasonable,” adding that “I would not say it could sell much more than this.”
Megafon stopped carrying Apple’s iPhone in 2009 over a dispute regarding sales guarantees, but after four years it decided to return in January. Third place Russian carrier Vimpelcom similarly signed a deal with Apple last fall.
Apple’s iPhone currently holds a 9 percent unit share of the overall smartphone market in Russia, but commands 20 percent of the industry’s $5 billion in annual revenues, Reuters noted.
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Friday, March 07, 2014, 05:08 pm PT (08:08 pm ET)
According to the latest statistics from analytics firm Mixpanel, Apple’s iPhone 5s is about to breach the 20 percent mark in overall iPhone marketshare and will soon overtake the venerable iPhone 4S, while the counterpart 5c model languishes at about 6 percent.
As seen above, Apple’s flagship iPhone 5s accounted for 19.31 percent of all active iPhones during the week of Mar. 3, and is on an upward trend to overtake the iPhone 4S. In fact, the crossover may have already occurred as Mixpanel updates its trends page for the full week every Monday.
The most current statistics place the iPhone 5 at the top spot with users accounting for 32.65 percent of the whole, followed by the iPhone 4S, which takes up 23.94 percent. The three-year-old iPhone 4 is on the decline at 16.43 percent, while the new iPhone 5c rounds out the top five with 6.34 percent.
Unlike past product cycles, Apple did not keep the last-generation iPhone 5 as a carry-over model when it introduced the iPhone 5s and 5c in 2013. Instead, the company opted to discontinue production altogether, shoehorning in the plastic-chassis 5c. The iPhone 4S, however, remains on sale as an entry-level model and starter phone for developing markets.
Looking at the graph, it appears the iPhone 5s is exhibiting the most growth, rising an average 0.5 percent each week since Dec. 30. The cheaper iPhone 5c is tracking upwards, but at a far slower pace of .14 percent per week. Echoing the Mixpanel results, a recent poll conducted by Piper Jaffray found the iPhone 5s to be the “smartphone of choice for consumers planning to make a buy within the next few months.
As can be expected, the usage share of older models, like the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, are all trending down at a nearly identical rate as Apple’s newer handsets take over.
Mixpanel is a web and mobile analytics firm that handles 17 billion user actions per month. The above statistics were compiled from over 194.3 billion events recorded from Sep. 9, 2013 to Mar. 3, 2014.
Article source: http://appleinsider.com.feedsportal.com/c/33975/f/616168/s/37ed9a64/sc/5/l/0Lappleinsider0N0Carticles0C140C0A30C0A70Creport0Eiphone0E5s0Esoon0Eto0Eaccount0Efor0E10Ein0E50Eiphones0E5c0Egrowth0Estagnant/story01.htm