Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple's proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who's in the iMessage system and who's not.
Reportedly Apple regularly stores this metadata for 30 days, and could extend that if requested. This information would be subject to warrant requests from law enforcement. It's also important to know that the actual messages are encrypted using end-to-end encryption. This involves details around who you're contacting only while using Messages.
It's understandable what's going here since there needs to be a lookup to make Messages work. The sender device needs to know whether to send a message to Messages or SMS, and likely too gather keys to make the encryption to work.
The odd part is that Apple retains this information for a extended length of time. I'd guess, given the huge volume of Messages, Apple is caching this information to ease the load on their lookup servers. You can see this in action as messages to known contacts are instantly identified as a Messages user, while first time contacts take a bit to resolve to Messages.
Aetna, Apple partner on iOS, Apple Watch wellness
With support from Apple, Aetna is planning several iOS-exclusive health initiatives, starting with deeply integrated health apps for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch that will significantly improve the ability of consumers to manage their health and increase healthy outcomes. The initial solutions under development are among the first health apps designed for multi-device use.
Aetna will also offer its 50,000 employees an Apple Watch at no charge if they choose to participate in the company wellness initiative. In addition, Aetna subscribers can receive a subsidized Apple Watch.
Apple's new algorithms for Apple Music
If you gave high ratings to a song or album in your old iTunes library, or just played it a lot more than others, you'll find that behavior reflected in your My Favorites Mix. Meanwhile, the My New Music Mix algorithm serves recently released songs -- as well as songs that Apple Music knows you haven't played before -- that the service's music experts have flagged as similar to others in your taste profile. Apple Music executives suggested even more personalized playlists will follow in the series; but only after prototypes have been vetted, with all possible outcomes -- intentional and otherwise -- given careful consideration.
I didn't realize Apple Music dug into your iTunes library. I figured it was just using Apple Music activity. A lot of the recommended playlists seems to work well for me. Often playlists are mostly full of songs I like, and Apple music promotes those playlists to me. Newer music is a little tougher since it may take a few plays for me to decide if I like it.
Sonos wireless speakers coming to Apple retail
We're very excited to announce today that we're making it easier than ever by expanding our collaboration with Apple and bringing Sonos into Apple's physical and online retail stores. Two of our most popular speakers -- the PLAY:1 and PLAY:5 -- will be available later today at Apple.com in the USA, at 468 Apple Stores around the world starting October 5, and Apple.com in the coming weeks in most markets outside of the USA.
Apple and Sonos recently partnered to bring Apple Music to its wireless speakers. So a retail partnership isn't that big of a deal, but the timing is noteworthy. As Apple just ships the iPhone 7, it's driving the market towards wireless audio.
The PLAY: 1 retails for $199.95 and the PLAY:5 retails for $499.95. Through the end of the year, Sonos and Apple are running a promotion that includes a three month Apple Music Gift card with purchase.
Report: Apple working on advancing HealthKit
The ultimate goal of Apple's medical technology team is to turn HealthKit into a tool that improves diagnoses, the people said. The system could chip away at two problems that plague the industry and have stumped other specialist firms in the field: interoperability -- allowing data to be transferred from hospital to hospital across different databases; and analysis -- making it quick and easy for physicians to extrapolate salient information from mountains of data.
Apple is also thought to be working on new apps in addition to it seems a hub for health data. HealthKit basically is a hub for data collected from various apps and devices, but Apple may be going beyond that by interfacing with other data collections.
Change in iOS reportedly makes iTunes backups easier to crack
Elcomsoft, a Russian forensics company claims that iOS 10 allows for easier password cracking on iTunes backups. If you back up your device to a computer and utilize the encrypted back-up option, basically this situations would make it easier for someone to crack that password. Via Forbes:
"We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups. We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older," Elcomsoft's Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post today.
Apple said it is aware of the issue and will be release a fix:
"We're aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update. This does not affect iCloud backups," a spokesperson said. "We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption."
Basically, if you're utilizing FileVault on your Mac, which you should, the backup image that has weaker encryption will be itself encrypted by FileVault, so you should be fine there until the situations remedied.
Report: Apple testing an Amazon Echo-like device
Apple Inc. is pressing ahead with the development of an Echo-like smart-home device based on the Siri voice assistant, according to people familiar with the matter.
Started more than two years ago, the project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced Apple projects. Like Amazon Inc.'s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, the people said.
All of this, of course, is rumor, and even assuming the report is accurate, that doesn't mean such a product will come to market. If Apple does launch a new device, based on previous product testing the report speculates something could come to market in the next 6-12 months.
Alternatively, Apple could maybe reach similar functionality using existing hardware across its product line. Rather than a dedicated device, it might be neat if various productions could work in concert. For example, Macs, Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch, could coordinate services throughout the house. Like the report says, however, Apple may be looking for new products to expand revenues, which would mean new hardware.
Inside Apple And IBM's App Making Machine
Fast Company has an great read on the Apple-IBM partnership. The partnership merges Apple's hardware and user design expertise with IBM's back-end system and business client relationships.
There are a lot of things worth highlighting, but here's a look at how a client's app is developed in a workshop.
During one workshop, one of the end users explained: "When I need to do that, I just write it on my hand," Sylvia-Miller recalls. "And the manager was like, 'you what?!'" It's exactly this kind of nitty-gritty day-to-day work reality that gets exposed during the three-day workshops--things a middle manager might never know about.
The first day of the workshop is spent mainly talking to end users about their workday and about how the app might best be integrated into the work. After that, the Apple and IBM designers begin to develop actual app screens that carefully reflect the users' workflows.
By the end of the three-day workshop, the participants will have created the first few screens of a new app.
Are Technica's macOS Sierra review
It has been a long time since the Mac was Apple's favorite child, and there are places in Sierra (like the Messages app) where it clearly feels like Mac users are getting a second-tier experience compared to people on iOS. Add in the Mac's stale, aging hardware lineup and Apple's total lack of communication about it, and there seems to be real problems for the Mac as a platform.
But for all the Mac users already out there, Sierra happily trundles along in the operating system's quiet and reliable groove. The name has changed, but otherwise it's business as usual for Mac OS Mac OS X OS X macOS.
i've been running the beta for the past few weeks and it seems solid upgrade. Unlocking a Mac with the Apple Watch might be my favorite single feature.
I'm also giving iCloud a fresh look. Especially with more intelligent storage to better manage limited drive space on SSD drives. That solves a problem I have with Dropbox.
I haven't really got into Siri much. Talking to my computer doesn't really appeal to me, especially when it can be hit and miss. I'll probably figure out a couple key tasks that are otherwise a pain, but otherwise, the reason I like Siri on iOS is i don't have the efficiency of a dedicated keyboard and mouse.
Apple Lightening EarPods, headphone adapter dismantled
Via MacRumors, a video shows how much stuff is crammed in Apple's new Lightning EarPods and Lightning headphone jack adapter. As assumed, each contain a tiny digital-to-analog converter to go from a digital signal to analog audio. Likely due to size and cost, the DACs used will be minimal quality compared to what may be possible for audiophiles.