Should AT&T-iPad 3G security breach worry you?

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

If you were an early adopter of the 3G-embedded version of the iPad — as in, you bought it on Day One — there’s a chance that your e-mail address and your iPad’s ICC-ID number were exposed by a group of hackers who exploited a weakness on AT&T’s website. How bad is the breach, and should you be worried?
First, a little background. Gawker broke the news late Wednesday that a group of hackers going by the name of Goatse Security managed to grab the information of more than 114,000 iPad 3G owners — including, as it turns out, such high-profile early adopters as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and maybe even White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — by exploiting a wonky script on the AT&T website.
Basically, by hitting the script with an ICC-ID number (the unique identifier of an iPad 3G’s SIM card), the hackers were able to harvest the e-mail address associated with the account, according to Gawker. By methodically firing off one ICC-ID after another, the Goatse Security hackers managed to dredge up the e-mail addresses of one early iPad 3G adopter after another, including the CEOs of the New York Times, Time magazine and Dow Jones, as well as staffers at NASA and the Department of Defense.
Not good, right? Lucky for us, the hackers at Goatse Security seem more interested in revealing security holes than in exploiting them, and the group shopped around its findings to a variety of news organizations Sunday, according to Forbes, and Gawker bit. (Gawker, by the way is owned by Gawker Media, the same company that owns Gizmodo and paid for Gizmodo’s iPhone leak. Gawker says it didn’t pay for the iPad security breach story.)
In a statement to Gawker, AT&T said it learned of the security hole Monday (from a “business customer,” not Goatse Security) and had plugged it by Tuesday (a day before Gawker published its post). “We take customer privacy very seriously, and while we have fixed this problem, we apologize to our customers who were impacted,” AT&T said, adding that it would be contacting any and all customers whose e-mail and ICC-ID numbers were exposed. Apple has yet to issue a statement.
So, how did the e-mail addresses and ICC-ID numbers of iPad 3G owners end up on a publicly accessible website? As Matt Buchanan at Gizmodo explains, the problem was a “tiny convenience feature” on the iPad 3G that fills (or filled, as of Tuesday) in your e-mail address automatically when you’re checking your AT&T account from the iPad’s Settings menu. Now that AT&T has plugged the security hole, you’ll have to tap in your e-mail address every time you want to check the status of your 3G account.
So if your iPad 3G info was exposed, how worried should you be? According to Gawker, the only data that were scooped up by the hackers were e-mail addresses at the ICC-ID numbers associated with them — no phone numbers, street addresses, credit card numbers or any other personal information.
The New York Times also checked with some security experts, who note that there’s only so much someone could do with your e-mail address — hit you with a phishing attack (you know, a fake message from, say, PayPal, asking for your username and password), or flood your inbox with junk mail.
That said, “in the right hands,” your iPad 3G’s ICC-ID number could be used to track your iPad’s location, one expert told the Times, although another downplayed the threat, noting that an attacker would need “access to very secure databases that are not generally connected to the public Internet.”
Still, even if the damage to actual iPad 3G users is relatively limited (we hope), the breach is acutely embarrassing for Apple and especially AT&T, which managed to leave personal information about its customers vulnerable on a public website.
The snafu also raises the question: What other AT&T security holes are still out there, waiting to be exposed — or exploited?

AT&T Gives Up on the iPad 3G Unlimited Data Plan

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: iPad

AT&T announced new data plans for mobile Internet and smartphone tethering. While the company claims the new plans will make “mobile Internet more affordable to more people,” there’s also a glaring downside to the new pricing — no unlimited data plan for iPad customers.
AT&T now offers two mobile data plans: DataPlus, which provides 200 MB of data for $15 per month (additional 200 MB chunks of data also cost $15), and DataPro, which provides 2 GB of data for $25 per month, with every additional GB costing $10. Furthermore, smartphone customers can enable tethering for an additional $20 per month, but only if they use the DataPro plan.
Existing iPad customers, who already have the $29.99 unlimited monthly plan can choose to keep it, or switch to the DataPro plan.
New pricing is good news for smartphone customers, who won’t go bankrupt if they exceed their monthly data limit. But from the iPad user’s perspective, AT&T’s new pricing is a big letdown compared to the previous unlimited data plan. Even the most active iPhone users won’t burn through more than a couple of gigabytes every month, but the iPad is a far more demanding device data-wise, and activities such as Netflix streaming will quickly exceed the limit of AT&T’s DataPro plan. Two gigabytes per month is just not enough data for a device such as the iPad, and we sense that many users will feel let down by AT&T’s new data plans.

Apple’s New Direction: Will the Tablet Replace the PC?

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

Yesterday at the D8 conference in Los Angeles, Steve Jobs laid out his vision of what’s to come. While Apple’s CEO went in-depth on a plethora of interesting subjects (e.g. Adobe Flash, the lost iPhone, iAds), he spent much of the stage time talking about the future of computing, specifically the PC.
Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD asked Jobs whether the tablet is going to replace the laptop. Jobs’s response was an analogy:
“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy.”
That short exchange says a lot about the direction Apple could take computing over the next decade. Apple still sells the Mac and the Macbook, and while the term “PC” is now synonymous with Windows machines, the meaning of PC — personal computer — can also apply to the Mac and Macbook.
Was Apple’s CEO referring to not only Windows PCs, but Macs as well? It’s tough to say for certain, but I think it’s very likely. Jobs clearly thinks PCs are on the way out, in favor of the more portable, less complex tablet and mobile form factors. His iPad has already validated the market for tablets, and we expect many more tablets to enter the market over the next few years.
Apple lost the PC market to Microsoft years ago. If Jobs has his way though, that won’t matter — the market will shift towards mobile computing devices like the iPhone and the iPad, both of which Apple has complete control over. The tech titan doesn’t have full control over the Mac OS or its desktop, which must be frustrating to a man who relishes control.
Will the tablet replace the PC? Not in the next decade, at least. Hell, the Windows XP operating system is still the world’s most popular OS. It takes time for disruptive technologies to take hold.
For now, the tablet will be a complementary device to the PC. The PC has had far more time to be fleshed out and performs countless tasks faster and better than the iPad or any other tablet device on the market. In a decade though, we may be singing a different tune.

iPad Sales Show Little Sign of Slowing

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

Sales of Apple’s tablet are on pace to surpass even the most optimistic predictions put out before its launch.
Even the most die-hard Apple fans need to admit the company’s sales of the iPad are somewhat surprising. It took the company four weeks to sell one million units, and another four weeks to sell an additional million.
This torrid pace would put it on par to possibly surpass even the rosiest predictions put out by analysts before the device’s launch in April of this year. It now puts into doubt whether Apple will really need to make adjustments to the price of the device, which it had said it would be willing to do in order to ensure the device meets its sales goals.
If it’s selling well now and hard to keep in stock, why make less of a profit now? May not be great for us consumers, but it is surely good for Apple’s investors.
Apple’s iPad successes make the current tiff between Microsoft and Google somewhat amusing. For those that missed it, Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer told the Wall Street Journal that manufacturer’s current apparent preference for Android on tablets was nothing more than a red herring, and that the company would lead the market overall in due time.
Kind of funny for two companies squabbling over products which for the most part haven’t even shipped yet, no? On top of that, I’d argue that Microsoft should be worrying about surpassing Apple in the space, not Google.
I am definitely interested to see how Apple does once Microsoft and Google have their own tablet devices on the market and in front of the customer. I believe that the iPad’s success has a lot to do with the popularity of the iPhone-a “halo effect” of a different kind if you will-and the device really does not have any competition at this point.
With alternatives on the market, and quite possibly at a lower price, will Apple’s name be enough to carry the day? I guess we’ll be finding out.

Survey Says: iPad Is Killing Netbooks

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad, Technology

A new survey shows consumers are “overwhelmingly leaning” toward the iPad instead of netbooks, and cheap laptops are also taking a toll on netbook sales. The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, was commissioned by consumer electronics site Retrevo.
Apple’s iPad has proven popular with shoppers, as more than one million devices have already been sold. That popularity is hurting netbook sales, says the survey, as the iPad offers many of the same advantages that netbooks offer over a traditional laptop, such as higher portability and longer battery life.
The Retrevo survey asked consumers whether they are planning on buying an iPad or a netbook: 78 percent said they would be choosing an iPad, while only 22 percent would choose a netbook.
Respondents were asked whether they held off on buying a netbook after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January. 30 percent answered that they did, and consequently bought an iPad, while 40 percent did hold back but eventually bought a netbook instead. 30 percent of respondents said they did not hold back and just bought a netbook.
Regular laptops are still popular with U.S. consumers, the survey shows, especially the cheap lower-end models. 65 percent said they would go for a laptop instead of a netbook when faced with the choice this year.
Those who preferred netbooks over laptops or iPads said that the main feature that attracted them to a netbook was the smaller footprint of the machines (55 percent), while 20 percent considered price, and 19 percent considered battery life as the main trait.
Analysts say however, that the iPad won’t cripple sales of netbooks, at least not this year, mainly because the $200 or so gap in pricing between the two types of devices. Jeff Orr, an analyst with ABI Research, reportedly said earlier this month that just one percent of potential netbook buyers would be impacted by tablets, like the iPad.

iPad 3G to Ship By May 7th

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, iPad

Apple has updated their online store to reveal that the 3G version of the iPad will begin shipping by May 7th. Apple launched the Wi-Fi version of the iPad on April 3th in the U.S. The company has reported that they have sold over 500,000 iPads since that time and have subsequently delayed the international iPad launch until the end of May.
The May 7th date appears to be for new iPad 3G orders as those who have pre-ordered the 3G model were promised delivery by late April. Several readers who pre-ordered the 3G iPads note that their order statuses still indicate a “late April” delivery.
Update: Apple has also sent out emails to those who pre-ordered 3G models, reassuring them that their orders will ship in late April.
Thank you for your recent order of the magical and revolutionary iPad 3G.
We would like to confirm that your order will be shipped in late April as communicated at the time you placed your order. You will receive a confirmation notice when your order has shipped.
You can get up-to-date information about your order, including shipping status and tracking number, at http://www.apple.com/orderstatus

Universities Banning iPads Left, Right and Center Due to Bandwidth Overload

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

You’d think iPads might be banned by schools because they distract students, but George Washington University and Princeton University have both put the kibosh on them because their Wi-Fi networks are way overloaded since the launch.
Bandwidth overload is a problem we’ve all encountered, but you’ve got to really feel sorry for those students trying to access internet—for proper school reasons—from their laptops, but are booted off because all their peers have now got ‘Pads.
Princeton University has blocked around 20 per cent of iPads from being able to access the network, and George Washington doesn’t support any Apple products, apparently. Cornell University’s information-technology director Steve Schuster said they had similar problems when the iPhone launched, but is “working to ensure the iPad does not have devastating consequences to our network.”
This comes after an entire country banned the iPad: Israel has found that the iPad’s Wi-Fi broadcasting works at higher levels than is normally accepted in Israel.
Commenter Cintax has pointed us towards this Princeton report, which explains the problem they have with iPads on campus (22 of the 41 iPads, to be precise) are related to DHCP client malfunctions, which causes interference with other devices.

Israel bans imports of Apple iPad

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

JERUSALEM – Israel has banned imports of Apple Inc.’s hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful gadget’s wireless signals could disrupt other devices.
Customs officials said Thursday they have already confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone — even tourists — from bringing iPads into Israel until officials certify that they comply with local transmitter standards.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission allows devices with Wi-Fi capability to broadcast at higher power levels than are allowed in Europe and Israel — meaning that the iPad’s stronger signal could throw off others’ wireless connections, Schubert said.
“If you operate equipment in a frequency band which is different from the others that operate on that frequency band, then there will be interference,” said Nati Schubert, a senior deputy director for the Communications Ministry. “We don’t care where people buy their equipment. … But without regulation, you would have chaos.”
Some Israelis successfully got the popular devices into Israel before the ban.
Amnon, a software developer who legally brought an iPad into Israel but asked that his last name be withheld to avoid potential government repercussions, said he and other high-tech businessmen need the iPad to develop new applications for the device.
“There are several hundred people in Israel who make their livelihood developing apps … and there are going to be companies that suffer, because they can’t deliver the services they’re supposed to be delivering,” he said.
The iPad combines the features of a notebook computer with the touch-pad functions of the iPod. It went on sale in the U.S. on April 3. Apple this week delayed its international launch until May 10, citing heavy sales in the U.S.
Israeli officials said the ban has nothing to do with trade and is simply a precaution to assure that the iPad doesn’t affect wireless devices already in use in Israel.
Although Israeli standards are similar to those in many European nations, Israel is the only country so far to officially ban imports.
Schubert said he expects the problem to be resolved as Apple moves closer to the international release.
In the meantime, confiscated iPads will be held by customs — for a daily storage fee — until their owners depart the country or ship the gadgets back to the U.S. at their own expense.
Apple’s chief distributor in Israel, iDigital, declined to comment on the Communications Ministry’s decision, and messages left at Apple’s headquarters in California were not immediately returned.

ABC iPad App Launch Seen as Successful Entry for Television Streaming

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, Applications, Developer, iPad, Technology

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at ABC’s application for the iPad ten days after the device’s launch, revealing that users have streamed at least part of 650,000 television episodes in what the network deems a very successful launch.
The network said that in the 10 days since the iPad’s debut, its TV-show watching app has been downloaded 205,000 times, giving the Walt Disney Co. unit a presence on nearly half the 450,000 devices that Apple says it has sold. Moreover, users have watched at least part of 650,000 television episodes using the app, generating “several million” ad impressions, according to an ABC spokesman, although the precise number is still being calculated.
The report notes that ABC has been offering on the iPad the same traditional 30-second ads from a host of advertisers that are seen by television audiences. By fall, however, ABC plans to roll out special interactive ads for users of its iPad application. Additional plans involve allowing local affiliates to offer targeted advertising to users based on their location.
Also provided in the report is an interesting look at the development of ABC’s iPad application, which was undertaken by a team of twelve ABC engineers. Development is reported as having occurred “in the five weeks between the Jan. 27 announcement of the iPad and its commercial release on Saturday” despite that fact that that time interval was over nine weeks in length. And somewhat surprisingly given Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ position as the largest individual shareholder of ABC parent company Disney, ABC’s engineers were not provided with a pre-release iPad for development purposes and had to rely on the simulator included in Apple’s development tools for the platform in order to build the application.
Application developers have been able to ride along with strong sales of the iPad, with Apple today announcing that strong U.S. sales of over 500,000 already have forced the company to push back international launch by one month to late May as it struggles to keep up with demand.

‘Surprisingly strong’ demand delays iPad abroad

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, iPad

Bad news for overseas techies dying to get their hands on Apple’s “magical” new tablet: looks like you’ll have to wait an extra month for your iPad.
Apple released a statement early Wednesday citing “surprisingly strong U.S. demand” as the reason for the delay, which will push the iPad’s international debut back until the “end of May.” Apple says it’ll start taking international iPad pre-orders and reveal pricing details May 10.
In its announcement Wednesday, Apple claims it’s “delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week” of U.S. sales and that “demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks.” Apple also notes that it’s already received “a large number of pre-orders” for the 3G-embedded version of the iPad, still due by “late April.”
Now, it’s not clear what Apple means by “delivered” — it could mean sold or merely shipped — but Steve Jobs did say at Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 event last Thursday that 450,000 iPads had already been sold up to that point, so 500,000 iPads sold in its first week sounds plausible.
But not everyone is taking Apple’s excuse for the delay at face value. Larry Dignan at ZDNet sees “a few missing elements” in Apple’s statement Wednesday, including the fact that “Apple’s store isn’t out of stock” (it’s currently showing a shipping time of five to seven days) “and iPads appear available.” Are we talking “a conscious decision by Apple to make sure it can satisfy U.S. demand first,” Dignan wonders, or “a case of manufactured shortage?”
And Gizmodo asks, “Is a pile of 500,000 iPads really more than Apple expected to sell by this point?”
Well, whether it’s a conspiracy or not, the fact remains that international gadget hounds will have to wait a few weeks longer for their iPads.
Full release follows:
Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad™. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.
Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10. We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far.

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