As if USB 3.0 and 3.1 were not confusing enough the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has just decided to muddy the waters even further.
They will “rebrand” USB 3.0 and 3.1 under the new name USB 3.2 and add a 3rd “new” flavor that is the “real” new USB
USB 3.1 Gen 1, which WAS USB 3.0 (5Gb/s) will now be USB 3.2 Gen 1
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s) will become USB 3.2 Gen 2
The “actual” USB 3.2 will be technically know as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gb/s)
Just to clarify things further each flavor will also have it’s own marketing term.
SuperSpeed USB (3.0), SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (3.1), and SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps (USB 3.2)
Luckily the connector isn’t changing for USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. It’s only possible over USB Type-C.
Security researchers at the Network and Distributed Systems Security Symposium revealed a Thunderbolt 3 security exploit called “Thunderclap”
By misusing how Thunderbolt functions, a malicious device has the capability to access system memory without any oversight from operating systems
The issue is Thunderbolt peripherals and accessories are effectively considered to be trusted components
There is one defense Input-Output Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) that Cason help. It force devices to only access memory required for a task and block off everything else. MacOS is the only operating system to use IOMMU out of the box.
But it does not mean Macs are immune. Still the exploit does require physical access and the best defense is to avoid avoid plugging in random and untrusted peripherals or cables.
Upgraders likely to pick iPhone
We’ve talked about the slowing upgrade cycle for smartphones.
It’s been a bit gloomy for Apple, but there’s a bright spot in a recent survey.
More folks then before seem to be looking to upgrade in the next two months and those who will upgrade are more likely to pick up an iPhone.
The data is from a survey by Robert W. Baird of 1500 US shoppers found 15 percent of respondents plan to buy a new smartphone in the coming months
Not only that, buy 67 percent of then said they plan to purchase an iPhone and a majority of them said their current device is more then two years old.
The survey wasn’t as positive on Apple’s prospects for a video subscription service
Only 18 percent said they’d be interested in subscribing.
Apple Music on Google Home devices?
This showed up after a recent update to the app
Google confirmed to Bloomberg the appearance of Apple Music in the Google Home app was a bug
Google Assistant and Google Home apps share various settings for music services
Google opened up the Apple Music setting in the Home app by accident
Report confirms Apple Car layoffs
Last year there were reports that Apple had dismissed over 200 employees from the self driving car project
The San Francisco Chronicle confirmed those layoffs by reviewing a filing with the California Employment Development Department
It looks like Apple will actually let go about 190 employees on April 16th according to the filing.
In all Apple is dismissing 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers, and 22 software engineers.
Back in January CNBC had reported that some groups were being reassigned to projects in other parts of Apple.
Software engineering positions have outnumbered hardware engineering positions in Apple job listings for the first time since at least the first quarter of 2016, says Thinknum
This would seem to line up with Apple’s shift in focus to more services based parts of their business
Don’t need to panic about hardware
At Apple’s annual investor’s meeting Tim Cook said Apple has a “long, great roadmap” and will be coming out with new products that will “blow you away”.
Also used phrases like “rolling the dice” which seems to imply them taking some bigger risks?
Could be referring to their AR and autonomous systems projects
He also mentioned Apple having a goal of trying to reduce the price of the 2018 Retina MacBook Air.
Said Apple is on target to reach it’s goal of doubling Services revenue by 2020 from it’s 2016 level of $25 billion
New iPads indicated in India filing
MySmartPrice notice two new iPad model numbers in an Indian database that match numbers seen in the Eurasian Economic Commission database last month
Typically a sign that Apple is getting ready to announce new models.
We’re expecting spec bumps to the iPad mini 4 and the 9.7-inch iPad
It’s also believed Apple might update the 9.7-inch iPad with a new 10.2-inch display, but that may happen later in the year.
Hints at Apple’s thoughts on “foldables”
This poses an issue for new “foldable” smartphone designs as the displays can become brittle in cold weather.
In an Apple patent application Apple describes using sensors and micro-heaters to keep a foldable display warm to prevent damage.
The application also notes issues for display adhesive in cold temperatures as well.
In addition to using heating elements near the bend areas they also describe using a “screensaver” to warm the area via brighter illumination.
Also warning messages and a locking mechanism to prevent folding before it is safe to do so.
Woz expressed concerns that Apple could fall behind in foldables
Mostly because he wants them
Reports that Samsung has supplied foldable display tech to both Apple and Google (presumably for prototyping) as they look to expand their foldable OLED business.
Apple power glove?
Another patent aimed at providing a more tactile experience for typing on an on-screen keyboard
Describes “Systems for modifying finger sensations during finger press input events”
Fingertip overs to “soften” the impact of your fingers on the screen.
Squeezes in on the side of the finger widening the pad.
The idea is to make it easier to type for longer periods of time.
Sleep monitoring coming to future Apple Watch
From Mark Gurman over at Bloomberg
Apple is testing a sleep monitoring feature for Apple Watch that could be coming by 2020
Says Apple has been using the sleep-tracking feature for several months with testers at secret sites around its headquarters
They system may employ a special overnight low-power mode that would allow sleep tracking without too much drain on the battery.
Then a quick “top up” charge in the morning could get you through the day.
Adding this ability would bring Apple Watch more inline with sleep monitoring features on other fitness trackers.
Global smartwatch shipments are expected to increase by 40 percent in 2019 according to Gartner.
Apple already offers a non-watch sleep tracking product under the Beddit brand which they acquired in 2017.
It’s an iPhone connected sensor strip that goes on your bed.
Streaming helps US music revenues
The Recording Industry Association of America says U.S. record industry revenues grew 12 percent to $9.8 billion during 2018
The growth was driven by the popularity of paid music subscriptions which were up 32 percent and now account for more then half of all music revenues at $5.4 billion
Overall when you count “limited tier” and “free” streaming options streaming as a whole now accounts for 75 percent of music revenue.
Music Downloads only account for 11 percent of revenue actually falling under physical sales like vinyl, CDs, and cassettes which represented 12 percent.
Apple Music continues to grow subscribers and was as 50 million paid users as of January.
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So what can’t they decrypt? Stuff transferred with end-to-end encryption
Health data (requires iOS 12 or later)
iCloud Keychain (includes all of your saved accounts and passwords)
Quicktype Keyboard learned vocabulary (requires iOS 11 or later)
Messages in iCloud
Messages in iCloud is a bit of an exception because if you use iCloud Backup the encryption key is stored in your iCloud Backups which Apple can decrypt and access
This means you (Apple) can recover your Messages if you lose access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices
When you turn off iCloud Backup, a new key is generated on your device to protect future messages and isn't stored by Apple.
The rest is what Apple can currently decrypt
Backups, bookmarks, calendars,contacts, find my friends, find my iPhone, iCloud Drive, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Siri Shortcuts, Voice Memos, Mail
What can you do for backups if you want more protection?
Backup using iTunes and turn on backup encryption.
These backups are stored locally on your Mac with encryption and then you can back them up elsewhere.
Use whole disk encryption and don’t sync to iCloud (might not be convenient, but is more secure)
Data protection "air gaps"
Dan is trying to help some family members move their data protection a little more into the modern age without compromising their security
At the moment their method is to keep sensitive data on ancient technology that is not connected to the Internet
Sort of like an "air gap". You keep secure computers on networks completely separate from others to protect them
In this case they have an old Mac SE with no internet access what so ever
He has provided them with a newer mac Mini, but worries about data protection
Dan uses VeraCrypt, but worries about the ease of use with that type of solution.
Convinced them to possibly use password protected Excel files, but that limits the data protection to just those files.
Use Apple encrypted disk images, but confused on how these work. Specifically when mounted and open any files can be placed and opened without requesting a password. Seems unsecured.
Also says he doesn't think they want to do full disk encryption.
We've covered this before, but it's worth repeating because many folks are confused about whole disk encryption.
File Vault 2 is great and does a really good job.
The trouble for a lot of folks is that it's almost "too seamless".
We expect something like you see in the movies were you see "encrypted" versions of the data until you enter a password and then it magically decrypts.
When you're using your computer (on and logged in) the system has access to the keys so it can open and use encrypted data at will. You "unlock" access to those keys when you log in. Your data is still encrypted. When you log out or shutdown access to those keys are removed until the next time you log in.
Set the require password after sleep or screen saver to a short time for more protection. Lock you machine if you step away from it.
The same thing goes for those encrypted disk images. Once logged out or unmounted they are protected. Same for external drives.
The "air gap" method is great protection against external hacks and malware, but doesn't do much to protect against physical access.
What happens if you have a break-in and the Mac is stolen? Honestly loss and theft are more likely the remove targeted hacking via the Internet.
I mean attacks against personal local data, not stuff in servers in the cloud.
Unsecured NAS drives, printers, wi-fi cameras, IoT devices, etc are a different story.
Encrypted external devices, including USB sticks, are possibly a good option.
another one folks often forget about is enabling Apple's built in firewall, especially when using unsecured wi-fi networks.
Settings > Security & Privacy > Firewall.
Clean install iOS
Play question from Keith
I almost never do a "clean" install on iOS, especially since I started using iCloud backups.
Make sure when you create a local iTunes backup you check on the encryption options to save Health and network data.
Generally do a backup and restore as new only when there is a big issue.
More often the "fix" for iCloud data not syncing tends to be turning iCloud off and back on again.
Make sure you do backups first.
You can choose Delete from My [device]. If not, choose Keep on My [device]. Depends on my confidence with the data that is in iCloud and which device is not syncing
Also make sure you're logging into iCloud all from the same Apple ID
Log into icloud.com, go to Settings and check the email address.
Fully quit the apps and restart it. Restart the device.
Reset the Network Settings
Open Settings app → General → Reset → Reset Network Settings.
Also resort, erase and set up s\as new.
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