OS X Yosemite v10.10.5 Brings Stability, Compatibility, and Security Fixes

In addition to rolling out an update dubbed iOS 8.4.1 to its mobile operating system, Apple also released the OS X Yosemite v10.10.5 update for its desktop operating system. The new update brings with it a number of bug fixes and other improvements, and more importantly a set of security fixes to patch several vulnerabilities including the infamous DYLD glitch.

The OS X 10.10.5 update offers squashing of bugs in the Mail, Photos, and QuickTime Player applications. These are essentially the same improvements that the company had released to developers and public beta testers a few days ago. It can be downloaded from the App Store application on your Mac, under the Updates tab. We recommend backing up your computer via Time Machine or other backup software before installing the update.

Apple has also detailed the security content of OS X 10.10.5 and its accompanying Security Update 2015-006 available for OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5, OS X Mavericks v10.9.5, OS X Yosemite v10.10 – v10.10.4. Chief among the new additions is a fix that patches the notable DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE vulnerability which was reported by security firms and researchers on August 3. The zero-day vulnerability, which affected OS X 10.10 Yosemite computers, allowed an attacker to gain root access to the system.

OS X v10.10.5 includes updates for its Safari Web browser. The update brings with it several security fixes that among other things fixes the user interface spoofing while visiting a malicious website. The update is available for Safari 8.0.8, Safari 7.1.8, and Safari 6.2.8 versions. You can download it by visiting the App Store.

Apple has also updated iTunes, bumping its version number to 12.2.2 to add improvements to the widely noted glitches in Apple Music. Below you can read the detailed changelog to see all the new additions in these updates. You can download the latest version of iTunes from Apple’s iTunes page or from the App Store on your computer.

OS X Yosemite 10.10.5The OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 update improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, and is recommended for all users. This update:

  • Improves compatibility with certain email servers when using Mail
  • Fixes an issue in Photos that prevented importing videos from GoPro cameras
  • Fixes an issue in QuickTime Player that prevented playback of Windows Media files

iTunes 12.2.2

  • Click on the Beats 1 banner to see what’s currently on, or view a complete broadcast schedule so you never miss a show.
  • You can now view a list of the artists you’re following on Apple Music.
  • Resolved an issue where iTunes loses its place when you go back to a previous page in Apple Music.
  • Addressed a problem where artists may be sorted incorrectly in My Music.
  • Fixed a problem where playlists deployed in the action menu may not match the playlists in your library.
  • Artists can now show thoughts, photos, music and videos to Connect, right from iTunes.

Running Windows 10? Microsoft Can Disable Your Pirated Games

It hasn’t even been a month since the release of Windows 10 and Microsoft’s newest desktop operating system has been stirring up one privacy related controversy after another. The latest addition is company’s rather bold decision to change the license agreement, giving it the power to disable counterfeit games and unathorised hardware on computers running Windows 10.

The Redmond-based software mammoth has updated its European License Agreement ToC (first spotted by PC Authority) to note that it will not tolerate counterfeit games or hardware on any Windows 10-powered machine.

(Also see: Windows 10: Users, Experts Raise Privacy Concerns)

The company “may automatically check your version of the software and download software update or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorised hardware peripheral devices,” the 7(b) clause of the revised EULA reads.

(Also see: How Microsoft Reworked Its Activation Rules to Block Windows 10 Pirates)

While the specifics are largely unclear, the statement suggests that Microsoft is taking a big stand against the usage of illegally obtained games, an ill practice that is significantly reducing the revenue of PC game developers alike. Whether this also extends to non-games applications, well the license explictly says games (for now), so probably not. Why Microsoft is differentiating between illegally obtained games and other apps is anyone’s guess.

When contacted for details, a Microsoft spokesperson offered nothing more than a boilerplate statement. “We take claims of intellectual property infringement seriously and review them in accordance with our standard procedures. We also continue to review the content of our Windows Store periodically as described in this blog post, as we work to deliver a great customer experience and provide fair and transparent developer policies and enforcement.”

(Also see: ‘Even With Privacy Protection Enabled, Windows 10 Continues to Spill User Information’)

It is unclear how exactly the company detects “counterfeit games” on a Windows 10 machine.

Within days of release, Windows 10 was criticised for its stand on privacy, with features like Wi-Fi sense and Cortana, amongst others, taking the blame. Since then the OS has been embrioled in one privacy related controversy after another.

OnePlus 2 Teardown Suggests Easy Repairability

OnePlus 2, the handset that earlier this week launched in India, is relatively easy to repair as per a report by repair and teardown site iFixit. This means that users, who have ordered the device or already own one, would find it relatively easy to repair the smartphone if they attempt it by themselves. Of course, doing this would violate the smartphone’s warranty regulations, but is still indicative of overall effort and expense required to repair the smartphone.

According to the iFixit team, one of the reasons why OnePlus 2 is rated as easy and inexpensive to repair (with a 7 out of 10 repairability score) is due to the inclusion of a single non-proprietary screw head instead of an adhesive. The device, which includes individual parts that can be replaced. In addition, the USB Type-C port is based on the flex cable instead of an assembly, making it easier to replace.

The display on the other hand can give a tough time to users as it is fused with the digitiser. So if one of the components stops working for some reason, users would have to replace both. iFixit reported the display works on Synaptics S3320A touch controller.

camera_removable_teardown_oneplus_2_ifixit.jpgOn further teardown, the report revealed users can actually remove and replace the battery. However, the battery is said to be placed under the mid frame cover, which users can access on removing the screws of the back panel. As per the publication, OnePlus 2’s rear camera features an Omnivision OV13860 PureCel-S image sensor, while the front-facing camera works on OmniVision OV5648 sensor. The team was even able to take out the motherboard of the smartphone.

The components of the motherboard and other step-by-step details can be seen on the iFixit website. To put things in perspective, the OnePlus One had received a repairability score of 5 out 10 from the same site, winning plus points for its lack of proprietary screws, “fairly modular” components, but lost out points due to the slight adhesive on the battery and cables, a difficult to reach battery connector, and fused LCD display and digitiser glass.

OnePlus 2

OnePlus 2

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

1.8GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

4GB

OS

OxygenOS 2.0

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

3300mAh

Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ 128GB Storage Variants Confirmed

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event on Thursday saw the company unveiling its latest Note-series smartphone, the Galaxy Note 5 alongside the Galaxy S6 Edge+ sporting dual-edge displays.
(Also see: Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: 10 Things to Know)

The South Korean company at the launch keynote however somehow missed to detail that the two smartphones will be available in three storage variants – 16GB, 32GB, and 128GB, much like the premium Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones. Moreover, the company only revealed prices for its 32GB and 64GB models of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+.

samsung_us_website_galaxy_note_5_128gb_screenshot.jpgThe 128GB inbuilt storage variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are now listed on the Samsung US site, and the page confirms that the models will be available across all four major US carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. While there is no pricing for the 128GB models, we can expect the company or carriers to announce it ahead of the release on August 21.

(Also see: Samsung Pay Gets Korea and US Launch Date; Coming to UK, Spain, and China Later)

One of the possibilities however is that Samsung may not intend to launch the 128GB model of the Galaxy Note 5 at all explaining why the company left the storage variant from its keynote presentation. Adding further, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ 128GB is also listed on the US site; though the model was also not mentioned at the event. While these are just assumptions, we will have to wait till August 21 to see whether the 128GB model of the Galaxy Note 5 will make it to the market.

Notably, Samsung India in late-July removed the 128GB variants of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge from both its online store and website, possibly due to low demand of the highest-priced variants.

(Also see: Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Note Edge+ ‘BlackBerry-Like’ Keyboard Covers Launched)

Samsung at the launch confirmed that the Galaxy Note 5 will be made available in select markets, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will feature wider availability. The smartphones will be available for pre-orders for in the US from Thursday, and the smartphones will be made available from August 21. In the US, the Galaxy Note 5 will be available via AT&T (with a no commitment contract) at $739.99 (roughly Rs. 48,400) for the 32GB variant, and $839.99 (roughly Rs. 54,800) for the 64GB variant, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be priced at $814.99 (roughly Rs. 53,300) and $914.99 (roughly Rs. 59,800) for the 32GB and 64GB variants respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

1.5GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

4GB

OS

Android 5.1

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

16-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh

Samsung Announces 16TB SSD, ‘World’s Largest’ Storage Device for Data Centres

Samsung has announced a new solid-state drive powered by its new 3D vertical-NAND flash memory chips, which it says is the world’s highest capacity computer storage device. The PM1663a drive, which has an actual formatted capacity of 15.36TB, will be targeted exclusively at data centres and other enterprise-grade markets with massive speed and capacity requirements.

The drive has a standard 2.5-inch enclosure but is twice as thick as the 2.5-inch drives commonly used in consumer products such as laptops. Samsung has employed 480 of its recently unveiled 256Gb third-generation V-NAND flash chips, each of which has 48 layers of NAND cells, to achieve this data capacity.

The announcement was made at the annual Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California. No price or availability was announced, though Ars Technica estimates that it will not cost less than GBP 5,000 (approximately Rs. 5,08,346).

Samsung claims to be the leader in terms of storage density and the number of layers possible on a V-NAND chip. Its third-generation chips are stated to be up to 2.2x faster and up to 63 percent more power efficient than their second-generation predecessors.

Up to 48 such 2.5-inch drives can fit into a standard 2U server chassis, for up to 768TB of storage. Enterprise-grade magnetic hard drives, by comparison, have reached capacities of up to 10TB but still have an advantage in terms of cost per unit of storage.

Samsung’s highest-capacity consumer-grade SSD are the recently launched 2TB 850 Pro and 850 Evo models.

Apple More Than Doubles Hiring of Women and Minorities

Apple says it more than doubled the numbers of women, blacks and Hispanics hired in the last year, although that barely moved the needle in terms of improving the diversity of its total workforce.

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been under public pressure to increase the number of women and minorities in a workforce that is overwhelmingly male and white or Asian. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has been joined by members of Congress and other critics calling for Silicon Valley firms to make their employees more representative of the population as a whole.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement Thursday that he’s proud of his company’s efforts, but acknowledged, “We know there is a lot more work to be done.”

The maker if iPhones, iPads and Mac computers issued a report Thursday that follows similar reports from Google, Facebook, Intel and other large tech companies. Most of those companies only began disclosing their hiring numbers after Jackson began pressing them to do so last year. One exception is Intel, which has been releasing diversity statistics for more than a decade.

Apple Inc. said 35 percent of its new hires worldwide last year were women, while 24 percent of U.S. hires were black or Hispanic.

As a result, Apple’s global workforce of 110,000 is now 31 percent women, up from 30 percent last year. Its U.S. workforce is 19 percent black or Hispanic, up from 18 percent. That includes employees in non-technical jobs, such as retail positions in Apple stores. By comparison, about 26 percent of U.S. workers across all industries are black or Hispanic.

Critics are especially concerned about low diversity rates among technical workers, such as computer software developers or hardware engineers, which are usually the highest-paid jobs at most Silicon Valley companies, outside top management. The number of black and Hispanic workers in Apple’s U.S.-based technical jobs increased from 13 percent last year to 15 percent this year.

The number of white and Asian technical workers at Apple also increased from 77 percent last year to 78 percent this year. The increases appeared to be matched by slight declines in the number of employees who identify as multi-racial or didn’t declare their ethnicity.

In another key category, Apple said the number of whites in U.S.-based leadership positions dropped to 63 percent from 64 percent, but the numbers of Asians, Hispanics and blacks stayed the same at 21 percent, 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Cook said in a statement that he’s committed to hiring more women and minorities. He said Apple is also contributing funds to historically black colleges and programs that provide technology and skills-training to students in disadvantaged communities.

“Diversity is critical to innovation and it is essential to Apple’s future,” Cook said. “We aspire to do more than just make our company as diverse as the talent available to hire.”

In response, Jackson praised Apple for making “solid, measurable progress.” In a statement, he also applauded the company for releasing a copy of the detailed workforce statistics that major employers must report each year to the federal government. Apple and other tech companies have previously refused to make those reports public.

But Jackson said he wants Apple and other tech companies to go beyond the federal report and provide more “comprehensive” data on hiring as well as purchasing and contracting with companies owned by women and minorities. He said that would provide “a much clearer picture of what companies are actually doing.”

While Silicon Valley companies have been reluctant to disclose such information, they are publicly embracing the notion of improving diversity. Intel issued its own report this week, showing that more than 43 percent of its U.S. hires this year were women or minorities, slightly better than the 40 percent goal the company had set for itself.

Jackson also cited Hewlett-Packard for taking steps that address concerns about corporate boards in Silicon Valley, which tend to have few women and minority members. HP, which is splitting into two companies, announced that the board of each spinoff will include two black directors and four women

Samsung Ramps Up Apple Challenge With Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung staked its claim to the high end of the smartphone market Thursday, unveiling two large-screen handsets and its new mobile payment system as part of its challenge to Apple.

The moves are aimed at keeping the South Korean giant atop the global smartphone market and countering its US rival Apple, which has made gains with its large-screen iPhone 6 (Review | Pictures) and iPhone 6 Plus (Review | Pictures) and its tap-to-pay feature.

At a New York media event, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 Edge+, the latest update for its flagship handset, and Galaxy Note 5, its main device in the “phablet” market.

“Today the journey continues in the large-screen category that Samsung created,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of IT and mobile communications.

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 each have a 5.7-inch display, but the S6 has smaller overall dimensions and a curved “dual edge” screen that sets aside a portion of the display for contacts or other content.

Launching Samsung Pay
The company also announced that its Samsung Pay service would roll out in South Korea on August 20 and in the United States on September 28, and that it would launch in Britain, Spain and China with partners to be named in each market.

Shin said he expects wide adoption because Samsung Pay “doesn’t cause small business to upgrade their terminals and will be accepted almost everywhere on day one.”

Samsung said its mobile service can be used with magnetic stripe terminals as well as those using updated NFC or “near field communication” contactless payments employed by Apple Pay.

InJong Rhee, Samsung Electronics vice president, said that “NFC is fine technology but most stores don’t have it.”

He added that Samsung Pay will be secured by its Knox software, which creates a one-time code without transmitting credit card numbers.

Samsung has remained atop the global smartphone market even though its sales have been slipping in the past year.

samsung_pay_with_galaxy_s6_edge_plus_ap.jpgWith the new devices, Samsung expands from its 5.1 inch display on the existing Galaxy S6, and leapfrogs Apple’s handsets at 4.7 and 5.5 inches.

The new handsets, which have Samsung Pay and wireless charging options integrated, will go on sale in the US and Canada on August 21, said Samsung, which did not announce specific launch dates for other markets.

The Galaxy Note 5 is the upgraded version of the phablet which Samsung is generally credited with popularizing. The new device has a new pop-out pen stylus and shares its upgraded 16-megapixel camera with the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

Kantar Worldpanel analyst Carolina Milanesi said Samsung trailed Apple in the phablet market devices with screens at 5.5 inches and above in the second quarter.

Stealing a march on Apple
Ramon Llamas, analyst at IDC, said the launch appears aimed at getting ahead of Apple, which is widely expected to announce its own upgrades later this year.

“This is a calculated move to avoid the marketing onslaught of Apple in September and October,” Llamas told AFP.

Llamas said that with these devices, “Samsung is establishing itself at the high end and attacking its biggest and closest competitor, Apple.”

Daniel Gleeson at IHS Technology agreed, saying Samsung “is hoping to steal a march on Apple’s new iPhone announcement which will likely happen in early September.”

Gleeson said the Galaxy Note 5 appears aimed at professionals and business users due to its stylus and keyboard attachment, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ “is a much more fashion-forward device and is likely to appeal to a younger, hipper market.”

According to IDC, Samsung led the smartphone market in the second quarter with a 21.7 percent market share, even though sales dipped from a year earlier and its market share was below 24.8 percent in the same period a year ago.

Apple, which briefly took the lead in the fourth quarter of 2014 with its new iPhones, saw its market share rise more than two points from a year earlier to 14.1 percent, IDC said.

Gleeson said Samsung Pay faces challenges because of the head start by Apple and Google’s Android Pay.

“Unlike Apple which has accumulated 800 million payment card accounts associated with iTunes, Samsung lacks this critical element for its payment service to quickly gain traction,” he said in a note to clients.

“Samsung Pay’s co-existence with Android Pay is likely to create frictions in the Android ecosystem as consumers could be confused by the two payment options.”

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

1.5GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

4GB

OS

Android 5.1

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

16-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh

Dell’s New Chromebook 13 Launched for ‘Google for Work’ Programme

Google’s latest Chromebook laptop will be specially designed for corporate customers in an effort to get more workers off machines powered by Microsoft’s dominant Windows software.

The Chromebook unveiled Thursday will be made by Dell and will go on sale Sept. 17. Prices will range from $400 to $900 (roughly Rs. 26,000 to Rs. 58,500), a step up from a line of bare-bones Chromebooks that have been selling for as low as $150 (roughly Rs. 9,750) since Google teamed up with Hisense and Haier to make those devices.

The cheap Chromebooks have helped make the laptops popular in classrooms, but they haven’t made many inroads in offices.

Google Inc. is trying to win over corporate customers with the Dell Chromebook 13, which offers more flexibility to run a variety of apps that haven’t been easily accessible on previous Chromebooks. The laptops also offer more controls for corporate administrators to limit access and set rules for how workers can use them.

Apple also has been trying to boost corporate sales of its iPad tablet in a year-old partnership with business technology specialist IBM Corp. and a wide variety of office app makers. Microsoft, meanwhile, is pinning its hopes on Windows 10, a recently released version of the operating system designed to run smoothly on personal computers, tablets and smartphones.

Various PC manufacturers that building Windows machines for decades have been working with Google to design lightweight laptops running on the Chrome operating system since 2011. The new machine from Dell joins Google’s line-up of other high-end, business-focused devices that include the Asus Chromebook Flip and Chromebook Pixel.

The Chromebooks will remain a part of Google later this year after the company splinters under an umbrella organization called Alphabet Inc. that will oversee a hodgepodge of businesses and experimental projects delving into medical research, city management, drone delivery and driverless cars.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Note Edge+ ‘BlackBerry-Like’ Keyboard Covers Launched

Samsung on Thursday at its Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event launched the new Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ smartphones. The company alongside the new products also launched several accessories for both the handsets including Clear View Cover, wireless charger, Level headphones, Battery packs, and the new Keyboard Covers.

The all new BlackBerry-like Keyboard Cover will be available next month and will come at $80 (approximately Rs. 5,200). The move to launch a physical keyboard as an accessory for its new premium phones is an attempt by Samsung to tap consumers who still prefer physical Qwerty keyboards over touchscreens.

The new Keyboard Cover will be compatible with both the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ smartphones. It will be available in Black, Gold, and Silver colours. The Keyboard Cover attaches to the handsets at the lower half and offers physical keyboards just below the screen. Once attached, the smartphone detects the Keyboard Cover automatically and adapts to the accessory.

One of the concerns with the usage of Keyboard Cover is it marginally elongates the size of the device, which already boasts a 5.7-inch screen. Notably, the new Keyboard Cover use capacitive technology and doesn’t require Bluetooth or battery power.

(Also see: Samsung Pay Gets Korea and US Launch Date; Coming to UK, Spain, and China Later)

Samsung at the launch confirmed that the Galaxy Note 5 will be made available in select markets, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will feature wider availability. The smartphones will be available for pre-orders for in the US from Thursday, and the smartphones will be made available from August 21. In the US, the Galaxy Note 5 will be available via AT&T (with a no commitment contract) at $739.99 (roughly Rs. 48,400) for the 32GB variant, and $839.99 (roughly Rs. 54,800) for the 64GB variant, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be priced at $814.99 (roughly Rs. 53,300) and $914.99 (roughly Rs. 59,800) for the 32GB and 64GB variants respectively.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

1.5GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

4GB

OS

Android 5.1

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

16-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh

iOS 8.4.1 Now Available for Download; Fixes Several Apple Music Bugs

Apple on Friday released iOS 8.4.1, a minor update for the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This update primarily fixes bugs in Apple Music, the company’s music streaming service that was launched in June along with iOS 8.4.

Apart from fixing several Apple Music bugs, the iOS 8.4.1 update fixes an issue that could prevent some users from turning on iCloud Music Library. This is probably the last update for iOS 8 as Apple prepares to unveil iOS 9 next month, alongside its new iPhone models – expected to be called the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Like always, the update is available via the Settings app on iOS 8. This can be downloaded over-the-air or by connecting your iOS device to iTunes. We recommend taking a full backup of your iOS device before updating.

Full iOS 8.4.1 changes:

This release includes improvements and fixes to Apple Music.

Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library

Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only

Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren’t any playlists to choose from

Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices

Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect

Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn’t work as expected while listening to Beats 1