I clienti di iPhone sono più fedeli al loro dispositivo rispetto a coloro che possiedono un telefono con sistema operativo Android.

i love apple-200x200_cloud_in_touchQuesto quanto emerge dallo studio del Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Considerando il periodo giugno 2012-giugno 2013, si nota come l’81% di coloro che utilizzavano un iPhone hanno continuato a farlo anche quando è stato il momento di acquistare un nuovo dispositivo. La percentuale di fedeltà degli utenti Android scende, invece, al 67%. Tuttavia è interessante notare come siano decisamente più numerosi coloro che abbandonano Android per iPhone piuttosto che il contrario (27% contro 14%). Se poi si guarda all’ex re del mercato BlackBerry si scopre che il 48% dei suoi vecchi clienti ha acquistato un iPhone e il 34% un telefono Android.

Sono dati interessanti, che tuttavia non sorprendono, soprattutto se si considera l’impegno che Apple ha sempre profuso per ottenere la reale e duratura “fedeltà” dei propri clienti. Una Customer Loyalty che – nonostante il passare del tempo – continua a restare alta e che va oltre la semplice “fidelizzazione”. Senza dubbio il legame tra Mela Morsicata e consumatori poggia su elementi tangibili e solidi come: a) la qualità dei prodotti venduti e b) la puntualità  nel venire incontro alle esigenze della clientela. Ma non solo. Esiste anche una sfera di “percepito non tangibile” sviluppatasi nel corso degli anni. L’abilità degli strateghi di Cupertino è stata – ed è tuttora – quella di immaginare oltre il semplice e singolo consumatore per dare origine, invece, a una comunità di persone legate da un senso di appartenenza molto forte. Insomma, la certezza di  far parte di una minoranza “non conforme al resto del mondo” che sceglie e usa prodotti “belli e giusti”. Chi usa Apple lo vuole far sapere, lo rivendica. Con la conseguente soddisfazione psicologica che deriva dall’essere convinti  di possedere qualcosa di esclusivo, non massificato (e non importa se intorno a noi milioni persone hanno un iPad o un iPhone…).

Ma osserviamo questi dati pensando al mondo delle applicazioni mobile. Questa maggiore fedeltà dei consumatori Apple comporta anche una maggiore frequentazione degli stessi dell’AppStore (rispetto a quanto i possessori di Android fanno con il Google Play)?

Io ritengo di sì. La più decisa customer loyalty degli Apple user è evidente anche osservando la maggiore frequentazione e la più profonda familiarità di utilizzo delle applicazioni mobile presenti sull’AppStore. Ciò è confortato anche da recenti dati che mostrano come il negozio Apple 1) sia 4 volte più redditizio rispetto a quello di Google Play e 2) sia di gran lunga preferito da chi investe in advertising nel settore mobile.

Un altro paio di riflessioni prima di chiudere.

Apple, iPhone ed il sistema operativo iOS sono legati in maniera indissolubile. Se sei fedele a uno lo sei anche agli altri. Diverso per il frammentassimo universo Android, fatto di aziende, marchi e dispositivi differenti. È possibile che – almeno in parte – questa parcellizzazione influisca negativamente sulla customer loyalty. Così com’è possibile che il consumatore Android si limiti a passare da un brand all’altro (da Samsung a Motorola, per esempio), acquistando dispositivi con il medesimo sistema operativo.

Infine, non bisogna dimenticarsi il fattore prezzo. È più facile che un consumatore che abbia sborsato una cifra consistente per un Samsung Galaxy S4 passi a un iPhone. Mentre è più difficile che lo faccia un consumatore che ha comprato uno dei tanti telefoni con sistema Android di fascia medio-bassa.

Tutto ciò, rimanendo in attesa del probabile iPhone low-cost, futuro 5C.

Con l’avvicinarsi della data del 10 settembre – indicata da molti come quella del prossimo keynote speech – aumentano i rumors sulle possibili novità dei telefoni Apple e, in particolare, intorno al cosiddetto iPhone 5C.

Sono mesi che si ventila l’ipotesi di uno smartphone low-cost in grado di rilanciare le vendite (specialmente fra i più giovani) e di occupare un segmento di mercato ora dominato dai dispositivi made in Asia (Samsung in testa).

iphone5c_cloud_in_touchIl minor prezzo rispetto a quello della versione attualmente in commercio dovrebbe derivare dall’uso di materiali meno nobili. L’alluminio e il vetro della scocca propri dell’iPhone 5 sarebbero sostituiti dalla plastica. I sobri ed eleganti black or white tra cui il consumatore oggi può decidere, verrebbero rimpiazzati da una più ampia scelta cromatica.

Le voci parlano di una plastica decisamente più resistente a quelle che di norma viene usata per gli altri smartphone e sulla quale sono stati condotti numerosi e positivi test per saggiarne la resistenza ai graffi.

Insomma, dopo anni di estrema severità ed essenzialità nell’uso di materiali e colori, ecco il ritorno a un prodotto meno impegnativo e più giocoso. Benché la plastica si era già vista nel iPhone 3G e 3GS, la scelta dei colori sgargianti fa ritornare in mente gli iMac, primi computer desktop a non essere solo grigi….

Insomma, ipotizzando che l’iPhone low-cost sia qualcosa di reale e non la solita ben architettata leggenda metropolitana fiorita intorno al mondo di Cupertino, la sfida è di quelle toste.

Gli strateghi della Mela morsicata dovranno essere abili nel tenere insieme, in maniera armonica, vari elementi quali:

- il mantenimento di uno standard qualitativo alto anche nella versione low-cost (da Apple ci si aspetta sempre il meglio)

- il rispetto del “posizionamento alto” dell’altro iPhone, quello high-cost (chi l’ha acquistato, sborsando cifre importanti o sottoscrivendo abbonamenti in media più onerosi, vuole che il suo sacrificio economico sia ricompensato da un prodotto riconoscibile come “esclusivo”)

- il rispetto del consumatore low-cost, che pur sapendo di aver pagato un prezzo inferiore, non dovrà sentirsi possessore di un prodotto di serie B

- il cambio di look, che deve essere importante ma senza stravolgere ciò che iPhone è stato fino ad oggi.

Intanto, i rumors contagiano anche la versione high-cost 5S. Sembra che al nero e al bianco, ora gli utenti potranno scegliere anche una versione color oro/champagne…

Ciò che si può fare è avere un po’ di pazienza e aspettare poco più di 15 giorni per verificare quanto di vero si è detto e scritto fino ad ora.

 

Per qualche informazione in più si vedano anche:

- Apple : une coque en plastique résistante aux rayures pour l’iPhone 5C ? da Generation-nt.com

Leaked photos show Apple’s rumored gold iPhone 5S da TheVerge.com

Sicurezza e inviolabilità. Da sempre due dei punti di forza di Apple e dei suoi sistemi operativi installati tanto sui computer desktop che su iPhone e iPad. Ora alcune applicazioni presenti sull’AppStore potrebbero nascondere intenzioni poco nobili, divenendo una minaccia per i nostri dispositivi. Si tratta delle cosiddette Jekyll Apps, ovvero applicazioni che sembrano del tutto normali in quanto hanno regolarmente passato le fasi di valutazione/approvazione necessarie per essere pubblicate sullo Store, ma la cui normalità è, tuttavia, solo di facciata. Come il protagonista del famoso romanzo di Robert Louis Stevenson, queste app passano dall’essere innocue dottor Jekyll pronte al download a malvagie e pericolose Mr. Hyde.

dr-jekyll_and_mr-hyde_applicazioni_malvagie

Siamo comunque di fronte a un fenomeno molto marginale che rende l’epidemia di malware nel negozio di Apple qualcosa di davvero improbabile. Inoltre, molte delle “armi” in mano alle Jekyll app non produrrebbero alcun effetto sul nuovo sistema iOS7. A Cupertino tengono ugualmente gli occhi ben aperti per evitare che ciò si trasformi in un problema reale.

Ce ne parla in modo approfondito Nick Arnott in un suo articolo per iMore.com

 

Jekyll apps: How they attack iOS security and what you need to know about them

Today researchers Tielei Wang, Kangjie Lu, Long Lu, Simon Chung, and Wenke Lee from Georgia Tech gave a talk at the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium and revealed the details of how they got a so-called “Jekyll app” through the App Store approval process and into a position where it could perform malicious tasks. Their methods highlight several challenges to the effectiveness of the Apple’s App Store review process as well as security in iOS. The researchers immediately pulled their app from the App Store after downloading it to their test devices, but demonstrated techniques that could be used by others to also sneak malware past Apple’s reviewers.

The details of Apple’s app review process are not publicly known, but aside from a few notable exceptions it has been largely successful in keeping malware away from iOS devices. The basic premise of a Jekyll app is to submit a seemingly harmless app to Apple for approval that, once published to the App Store, can be exploited to exhibit malicious behavior. The concept is fairly straightforward, but let’s dig in to the details.

The App Store review process

When a developer submits their app to Apple for review the app is already compiled, meaning that Apple does not have the ability to view the actual source code. It is believed that two primary components of Apple’s review process are a hands-on review of the app and static analysis of the application binary. The hands-on review consists of Apple actually putting the app on a device and using it to make sure that it meets the App Review Guidelines and does not violate any of Apple’s policies. The static analysis portion is likely an automated process which looks for any indications of linking to private frameworks of use of private APIs in the compiled code. Apple has a number of private frameworks and APIs that are necessary for the functionality of iOS and are used for system apps and functions, but for one reason or another are not permitted for use by developers. If an app links to a private framework or calls a private API, the static analysis will usually detect this and the app will be rejected from the App Store.

A Jekyll app begins like any normal app that you can find in the App Store. In this particular case, the researchers used an open source Hacker News app as their starting point. Under normal conditions, this app connects to a remote server, downloads news articles, and displays them to the user. This is exactly the functionality that Apple would see during the review process. Apple would see a functioning app that meets their guidelines, static analysis would reveal no use of private frameworks or APIs and the app would likely be approved for the App Store. Once a Jekyll app has been approved and released into the App Store, that’s when things take a devious turn.

Inside of the Jekyll app, the researchers planted vulnerabilities in their code, providing an intentional backdoor. After the app had made it on to the App Store and they were able to download it to their test devices, the researchers placed specially crafted data on their news server for the apps to download, which would exploit the vulnerabilities that they had planted in the app. By exploiting a buffer overflow vulnerability in the app, the researchers are able to alter the execution of the apps logic. One of the ways the researchers utilize this is by loading numerous “gadgets” that are spread throughout their code. Each gadget is just a small piece of code that does something. With the ability to alter the execution of the code, the researchers can chain together multiple gadgets which will cause the app to perform tasks that it could not perform originally. But in order to locate these gadgets and call the desired pieces of codes the researchers need to know be able to reliably call the memory location of these pieces of code. In order to do this they would need to be able to determine the layout of their apps memory on a given device.

iOS employs two notable security methods for hampering buffer overflow attacks: Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Data Execution Prevention (DEP). ASLR works by randomizing the allocation of memory for processes and their various components. By randomizing where these components are loaded into memory, it makes it very difficult for an attacker to reliably predict the memory addresses that will be used for any various piece of code that they might want to call. DEP strengthens the protection against buffer overflow attacks by ensuring that pieces of memory that can be written to and pieces of memory that can be executed remain separate. This means that if an attacker is able to write to a piece of memory, for instance to insert a maliciuos piece of their own code, they should never be able to execute it. And if they were able to execute what was in a particular piece of memory, that piece of memory would be one that they are not permitted to write to.

The researchers noted a weakness in the iOS implementation of ASLR. iOS only enforces module level randomization. This means that each executable file, the app, a library, etc., is assigned a random location in memory in which to operate. However, within each of these modules, the memory layout will remain the same, making it predictable. As a result, if you can get the memory address of a single piece of code, you can then infer the memory layout for the entire module, allowing you to call to any other piece of code within that module. To acquire a memory address for this, the researchers plant information disclosure vulnerabilities into their app which leak memory information about modules in their app. This information is then sent back to the server which is able to determine the memory layout of the entire app, allowing it to determine the memory address of any pieces of code it is interested in running and arbitrarily execute them.

As for DEP, this is generally intended to prevent an attacker from exploiting a buffer overflow in an app that they have limited control over. A Jekyll app is a much different scenario in that the attacker is also the developer of the app being exploited. In this situation, they don’t need to control writing to memory andexecuting it. Any sort of payload or malicious code that an attacker would normally need to write to memory as part of their buffer overflow exploit, a Jekyll app developer can just include in the code of their original app. They can then use the buffer overflow to alter the execution of memory in order to load the gadgets that they want. DEP on other systems has been demonstrated to be susceptible to what is called return-oriented programming. The idea is that an attacker can bypass DEP by reusing code that already exists in memory. In a Jekyll app, the developer can plant whatever code that will later need, and effectively bypass DEP by reusing their own code that they’ve put in place.

At this point, the researchers have an app in which they have embedded a number of code gadgets which they can now call and chain together at will, and they are able to alter the flow of the app’s logic without any user knowledge. They could use this to perform behavior that would normally get an app rejected from the App Store, such as uploading a user’s address book to their server (after first convincing the user to grant access to their contacts). But iOS restricts apps to their own sandbox and Apple won’t allow apps that use private APIs so the impact of a Jekyll app is still fairly limited, right?

Private parts

As mentioned previously, Apple will generally reject any apps that link to private frameworks or call private APIs. Due to the lack of transparency we can only guess at how exactly Apple goes about detecting these, but the most likely answer is Apple uses static analysis tools to detect any private frameworks that have been linked to or any private methods that have explicitly been used in the code. But with a Jekyll app, we’ve seen that the researchers have the ability to dynamically alter code, so how does that affect private APIs?

There are two private APIs of particular interest here: dlopen() and dlsym(). dlopen() allows you to load and link a dynamic library by just its filename. It just so happens that private frameworks always reside in the same location on a device, so that’s easy enough to figure out. dlsym() allows you to look up the memory address of a specified method for a framework loaded by dlopen(), which is exactly what you would need to to call a private method in a Jekyll app. So if the researchers can manage to locate dlopen() and dlsym(), they can use those private methods to easily load any other private APIs on the device.

Fortunately for the researchers, these two APIs are commonly used in public frameworks. Public frameworks use these APIs through what are called trampoline functions. Through the use of a debugger, the researchers were able to identify the offsets of these trampoline functions relative to the beginning of some public frameworks. Using the information disclosure vulnerabilities discussed above that allow the researchers to leak information about the memory layout of any given module, the researchers can use these known offsets to point to the trampoline functions for dlopen() and dlsym() with their app. Pointing to those functions, the researchers can now dynamically load any private framework and call any private API in their app. And remember, none of this is happening when Apple is reviewing the app. This only gets triggered after the app has been approved.

The attack

Now that we see how the researchers can alter the flow of their app and call private APIs, let’s see what that amounts to in terms of malicious behavior in a Jekyll app.

The researchers noted a number of different attack possibilities (though it should not be taken as a complete list of possible attacks) for both iOS 5 and 6. In iOS 5 they are able to send SMS and email without any user interaction or notification. By using private APIs to send SMS and emails directly to the iOS processes responsible for actually sending these messages from the device, the Jekyll app was able to send these out without showing anything to the user. Fortunately, the way these operations work has since changed and these attacks do not work as of iOS 6.

In iOS 5 and 6, the researchers have been able to access private APIs for posting tweets, accessing the camera, dialing phone numbers, manipulating Bluetooth and stealing device information, all without user intervention. While posting unauthorized tweets may not be the end of the world, the others are cause for a little more concern. Access to your camera would mean an attacker could covertly take photos and send them back to their server. Dialing phone numbers without user knowledge could be used to make toll calls, or even to set up call forwarding to have all of a victim’s incoming phone calls forwarded on to another number. Clearly when an app can access private methods, things can get creepy and it’s apparent why Apple restricts access to these functions.

Addressing the problem

Unfortunately, Apple’s current review process isn’t set up to detect this type of behavior. Apple only reviews the app’s behavior as it is at the time of review. If its behavior is altered once it is live in the App Store, Apple is not at all equipped to detect these changes and monitor the real-time behavior of apps after they have gone live. Apple could require developers to submit their source code as well, but it would be infeasible for Apple to go through and inspect the source code of every application submitted to the App Store. Even if they could inspect every line of code either manually (not even close to possible) or with automated tools, bugs are often times not easy to visually spot in code, especially if you have a malicious developer determined to hide bugs intentionally. The researchers did say that Apple responded to their findings with appreciation, but the researchers do not know what, if anything, Apple plans to do about the issues. It’s also worth noting that these challenges are not unique to Apple.

There also isn’t much that users can do for themselves in this case. While you could proxy your device’s traffic to try and see what it’s doing, a developer intent on hiding what they’re up to could easily encrypt the app’s traffic. They could also use certificate pinning to ensure that nobody is able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack to decrypt the traffic. If a user had a jailbroken device, it’s possible that they could perform real-time debugging while the app is running to determine what it’s doing, but this is well beyond the capabilities of most users. A Jekyll app could also be set up to only attack certain users, so even if a person knowledgable enough to perform such debugging installed the app on their device, there would still be no guarantee that they could easily get it to exhibit the malicious behavior.

iOS 7 and what is there left to do?

One piece of information the researchers were able to share with iMore is that many of the attacks they placed in their Jekyll app did not work on iOS 7. While we don’t know specifically which ones still worked and which didn’t, it’s possible that Apple mitigated some of the threats in a similar fashion to how they broke the ability to send SMS and email without user interaction in iOS 6. While this doesn’t directly address underlying issues in iOS that allow for dynamic code execution, it’s not entirely clear if that’s something Apple could, or even should do.

Altering the behavior of an app based on responses from a server is nothing new, it’s just usually not employed with malicious intent. Many perfectly legitimate apps in the App Store make use of remote configuration files to determine how they should behave. As an example, a TV network might make an app that behaves differently during the slow Summer than it would in the Fall when everybody’s favorite shows are starting back up. It would be reasonable and perfectly legitimate for the app to periodically check with the server to find out if it should be in summer or fall mode so that it knows how to display what content.

There are also legitimate reasons for apps to obfuscate and discretely hide pieces of code in their app. A developer of a news app might embed authentication credentials in the app to allow it to authenticate with their server, but might obfuscate that information in the app to make it difficult for somebody to retrieve them through analyzing their app.

The bottom line

The team at Georgia Tech has provided some very interesting research. In evaluating Apple’s security mechanisms in iOS and practices in their App Store review process, they were able to uncover weaknesses that could be exploited to get malicious apps onto users’ devices. However, the same result can be accomplished through simpler means.

A malicious developer could obfuscate calls to private APIs by breaking them up across multiple variables that would later be combined together into a single string of text that could call the API. The developer could use a value in a simple configuration hosted on their server to tell the app whether or not to run that code. With the flag disabled during the review process, the malicious behavior would go undetected by Apple and once approved, the attacker could change the flag on the server and the app could begin its assault.

These types of attacks are definitely possible on iOS and have been for some time. So why don’t we see them exploited in the wild more often? There’s likely a multitude of reasons:

  • Even legitimate developers with great apps struggle to get noticed. - With over 900,000 apps in the App Store, it’s easy to have your apps go unnoticed by users. Legitimate developers who put their heart and soul into developer apps that believe will be truly delightful to use often struggle with getting any significant number of people to download their app. A Jekyll app could used to target particular individuals that you might be able to convince to install the app, but getting any significant portion of Apple’s user base to install or even notice your app is no small undertaking.
  • There’s much lower hanging fruit out there. - The Google Play store has struggled with keeping malware out since its debut as the Android Market in 2008. You also have unofficial app stores used by jailbreakers as well as pirates that don’t have the same review process as Apple, where it would be much easier to get a malicious app hosted. The bottom line is, there are many places other than the App Store to spread malware that could do far more damage while requiring much less effort. To keep your house safe from burglars it doesn’t need to be completely secure, it just has to be more secure than your neighbor’s house.
  • Apple can easily pull apps from the App Store at any time and revoke developer accounts. - As we’ve seen on numerous occasions, if an app manages to sneak through Apple’s gates that doesn’t conform to their guidelines, it quickly gets removed from the App Store once Apple realizes their mistake. Additionally, for larger offenses, Apple can and has terminated developer accounts. A developer could sign up for another developer account with different information, but they would have to pay another $99 each time.
  • Once malware makes it past the gate, it’s still playing in a sandbox. - Apple has employed multiple layers of security in iOS. There is no single point of failure in iOS that renders all other security mechanisms broken. One of the security measures that iOS employes is sandboxing. Sandboxing restricts all apps to their own area on the system. Even an app run amok is very constrained in how it can interact with others apps and their data. Some apps allow for other apps to interact with them through use of customer URL schemes, but this communication is very limited and many apps do not have them. With each app restricted to its own sandbox, its ability to carry out malicious tasks is quite limited.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but shows some of the reasons that, while its technically possible to distribute malicious iOS apps, we don’t see a more rampant problem with malware on iOS. This is not to say that Apple should shrug and do nothing of course. As mentioned earlier, Apple is ware of the research that has been done here and is likely looking at their options for mitigating the threat. In the meantime, users should try not to worry too much. It is extremely unlikely that this research will lead to an outbreak of malware for iOS.

(Immagine copyright Paramount)

Probabilmente la maggioranza di noi pensava che il sorpasso numerico – oltre che tecnologico – fosse già avvenuto da tempo. Invece, è da questo secondo trimestre (Q2) che gli “intelligenti” smartphone hanno sorpassato per unità vendute nel mondo gli “ottusi” dumbphone, così come sono chiamati i vecchi cellulari. Quelli che solo qualche anno fa ci vantavamo di possedere, per i quali sborsavamo cifre assurde e che ora rinneghiamo quasi di conoscere.

Oltre al sorpasso degli smartphone, i dati forniti dalla società di analisi Gartner confermano la maggiore diffusione del sistema operativo Android (79%) favorito anche dalla presenza di tanti modelli, di prezzi più contenuti rispetto agli iPhone e a marche spesso forti in mercati quali Asia, Est Europa e America Latina (in Cina si sono venduti, per esempio, 10 milioni di telefoni targati Lenovo nel Q2). Al secondo posto si conferma iOS-iPhone con il 18%, mentre gli altri sistemi operativi si spartiscono la restante – piccola – fetta di torta di mercato.

Le aree dove è maggiormente cresciuta la diffusione di smartphone tra la popolazione sono: Asia-Pacifico, Europa dell’Est e America Latina, con un aumento rispettivamente del 74,1%, 31,6% e 55,7% rispetto allo stesso periodo del 2012.

A questo punto cosa farà Apple? Lancerà davvero il suo iPhoneC low-cost?

Per maggiori dettagli si veda l’articolo di Natasha Lomas per TechCrunch.com

 

Smartphones Finally Overtook Dumbphone Sales Globally In Q2, Android Now At 79%, Says Gartner

Analyst Gartner has put out its latest smartphone market report, and the Q2 2013 numbers show the inevitable finally occurred: smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time. Android has been strangling the life out of dumbphones for years, but it looks like the market tipping point is being reached.

In Q2, Gartner says  worldwide smartphones sales rose 46.5% from the year earlier quarter to hit 225 million units shipped, while sales of feature phones declined 21% year-on-year to 210 million units. Smartphone shipments grew most in Asia Pacific, Latin American and Eastern Europe, with growth rates of 74.1%, 55.7% and 31.6% respectively, but the analyst said sales grew in all regions. IDC‘s recent market figures put Android on approaching 80% worldwide marketshare for Q2. Google’s mobile OS is clearly expanding its share by picking up former feature phone users.

The rising tide of global smartphone ownership is raising all boats, but Samsung continues to dominate the smartphone landscape. Gartner said Samsung grew its share to approaching a third (31.7%), up 29.7% on Q2 2012. Apple also grew shipments of its iPhone but its marketshare declined — highlighting the case for Cupertino to make a low cost iPhone to capture growth at the budget end of the market. Apple took a 14.2% share in Q2, 2013, vs 18.8% in the year ago quarter. It still shipped 10.2% more iPhones vs Q2 2012 but is being outpaced by higher smartphone market growth rates.

After Samsung and Apple, it’s a tale of all Asian smartphone makers battling for third place: LG grabbed third place in Q2 (with a 5.1% share); followed by Lenovo (4.7%) whose Lephone has been a popular seller in China; and ZTE (4.3%).

table 1

Gartner said Apple saw a significant drop in the average selling price (ASP) of its devices in Q2, with its ASP declining to the lowest figure registered by Apple since the iPhone’s launch in 2007. This is down to strong sales of the iPhone 4 — again underlining the case (from a volume perspective) for Apple to launch a cheaper iPhone. However doing so would clearly accelerate that decrease in its ASP, even if market growth is now being powered by budget devices — providing the impetus for Apple to expand the iPhone to cheaper price-points still.

“While Apple’s [declining] ASP demonstrates the need for a new flagship model, it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too,” commented Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta in a statement. ”Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4 at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalisation will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4. Despite being seen as the less expensive sibling of the flagship product, it would represent a new device with the hype of the marketing associated with it.”

Also noteworthy in Q2, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform pushed past BlackBerry’s OS for the first time to take third place. When Windows Phone launched, back in 2010, Steve Ballmer and Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop talked of their ambition to create a third ecosystem in the smartphone space. They’re still trying to stock the fires of an ecosystem but are at least in third place from a sales perspective.

Windows Phone took a 3.3% global market share in Q2 vs just 2.7% for the struggling BlackBerry OS. Gupta, noted: “While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users.”

Taken together, Android and iOS took a 93.2% global marketshare in the quarter — underlining why developers opt to support these two platform first and foremost, and generally require incentives to expend effort elsewhere. Android’s global marketshare in Q2 was a staggering 79% according to Gartner, up from 64.2% in the year ago quarter — buoyed by feature phone switchers.

table 1

The drop off in feature phone sales is bad news for Nokia, which still leans heavily on its feature phone business (being as its smartphone business is tied to the Windows Phone underdog). Nokia shipped just 61 million feature phones in Q2, down from 83 million in the year ago quarter. But the Finnish mobile maker is at least seeing some decent growth in smartphones, thanks to having a broader portfolio of devices to offer at different price points. Nokia’s Windows Phone-powered Lumia sales grew 112.7% in Q2 2013, according to Gartner.

 

 

 

Immagini in HD anche quando parliamo con Skype. Sembra possibile grazie agli update pensati per i dispositivi Apple (iPhone 5 e iPad 4). Sarà forse la fine (connessioni veloci e illuminazione degli ambienti permettendo) di quelle immagini livide e di quelle facce itteriche e smunte?

Ce ne parla Richard Devine in un articolo apparso su iMore.com

 

Skype update brings HD video calls to the iPhone 5 and iPad 4

Skype has pushed an update out into the App Store specifically focused at the iPhone 5 and iPad 4. Both updates add support for HD video calling, which is only possible on the latest iPhone and iPad due to hardware restrictions. It’s a welcome update too, or at least it’ll be a welcome update for your friends and family who will now be able to see your happy smiling face in much higher quality than before.

Otherwise it’s all about a bunch of general fixes and improvements. Both updates are live in the App Store now, and if you’ve taken it for a spin, let us know how you’re finding the extra quality.

Download gratis Skype per iPhone

Download gratis Skype per iPad

È il caso di dire: sincronizzate i vostri iCal sparsi per i diversi device (per i radical chic va bene anche la Moleskine…) e segnatevi questa data: 10 settembre 2013.

Secondo voci accreditate sarà quella la data di presentazione del “nuovo” iPhone. Apple deve rispondere sia alle mosse di competitor sempre più agguerriti (e attrezzati) sia alle richieste di consumatori e investitori, entrambi d’accordo sulla necessità di accelerare il ritmo delle innovazioni (e delle novità) da immettere sul mercato.

Lo spiega Ina Fried nel suo articolo per AllThingsD.com

 

Circle September 10 on Your Calendar for Apple’s Big iPhone Event

Apple is expected to unveil its next iPhone at a special event on Sept. 10, sources toldAllThingsD.

The launch comes at an important time for Apple, which continues to make a lot of money from the iPhone but has seen its global market share dip amid a growing wave of lower-cost Android devices as well as an intense battle with archrival Samsung.

One of the key questions is whether Apple adopts a new tactic to address the mid-range of the smartphone market. Historically, Apple has gone after those customers by offering its year-old and two-year-old models for $100 and $200 less than a new iPhone. However, there has been a great deal of talk that the company will debut a new lower-cost iPhone alongside whatever update it has in store for the current iPhone 5.

Much of the speculation there has centered on the usual kinds of camera and processor enhancements, as well as the likelihood of a fingerprint sensor. That has been expected ever since Apple acquired Authentec last year.

Naturally, any new phones will be running iOS 7, which has been in testing since its announcement at Apple’s developer conference in June. The new software includes aradical redesign of the overall look of the iPhone’s menus and icons, but the other new features are largely incremental updates, such as improved notifications, better photo-organizing abilities and additional capabilities for developers.

This has become something of a pattern for Apple, which typically debuts its software update at its June developer conference, tests it for a couple months, then shows the new hardware a couple weeks ahead of the new phone’s availability. The iOS update is also available for older models. Apple has already said that iOS 7 will work on many recent iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices.

Apple is also expected to formally launch the next version of Mac OS X, known as Mavericks, in the coming weeks, though that is not expected at the Sept. 10 event.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the timing of any upcoming events.

Consumers, investors (and reportedly board members as well) have been pressing Apple for a more rapid pace of innovation.

The company has long been rumored to also be working on television and watch projects, though there is no indication either of those are close to debuting.

La sicurezza è sempre stato ed è tuttora uno dei punti di forza di Apple. E il nuovo sistema iOS7 non vuole certamente andare contro questa tradizione, anzi. Qualsiasi apparecchio o caricatore collegato al proprio dispositivo (iPhone o iPad) non riconosciuto dal sistema verrà segnalato all’utente mediante un pop-up. La domanda visualizzata è di quelle che fanno riflettere per quello che non dicono, ma lasciano intravedere: “Ti fidi davvero dell’apparecchio che hai collegato?”

Per saperne di più leggete l’articolo di Mathieu M. per Génération Nouvelle Tecnologies

 

iOS 7 : Apple intègre une sécurité pour limiter l’usage des faux chargeurs et accessoires malicieux

Le mois dernier, des chercheurs de Georgia Tech faisaient la démonstration d’un chargeur Apple permettant de pirater automatiquement des dispositifs. Aujourd’hui Apple s’engage à sécuriser ses appareils depuis une protection sous iOS 7.

C’est lors de la conférence Black Hat que le hack a été démontré en direct par des chercheurs de Georgia Tech. Leur ” Mactans”, un chargeur Apple modifié avec un ordinateur Open source de type BeagleBoard est capable d’installer un malware totalement invisible sur un appareil utilisant la dernière version d’iOS 6, simplement lorsqu’il est connecté.

Une faille qu’Apple ne souhaite pas voir exploitée et qui a ainsi fait l’objet d’une correction dans iOS 7.

Dans la dernière version bêta d’iOS 7, on peut ainsi remarquer qu’un popup s’affichera désormais lorsqu’un appareil non officiellement reconnu par Apple sera connecté.

Un message demandera à l’utilisateur s’il souhaite réellement faire confiance au chargeur ou à l’accessoire connecté, tout en précisant des risques potentiels.

On peut penser qu’Apple proposera de créer une liste d’accessoires personnels, référencés dans la base de données d’iOS 7 pour éviter aux utilisateurs de se faire berner par des accessoires malicieux.

En outre, le système pourrait également être instauré pour limiter l’usage des chargeurs secteurs contrefaits présentant des risques et dont certains ont récemment amené l’hospitalisation et le décèsde plusieurs personnes en chine.

Bella invenzione di un team texano: un termometro da cucina da collegare all’iPhone. Anche se Natale è lontano, questo gadget è un utile regalo per chef tecnologici…

Lo descrive dettagliatamente l’articolo di Vignesh Ramachandran per Mashable.com

 

Smart Kitchen Thermometer Plugs Into iPhone

You don’t have to be a cooking connoisseur to master recipes in your kitchen — especially not when technology is your sous-chef.

A team of Austin, Texas-based designer-engineers have recently developed a smart kitchen thermometer that plugs directly into your iPhone. As explained in the video, above, you can clip or stick the Range thermometer to a pot or oven rack, and connect the heat-resistant silicone cable to the headphone jack on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Then, with the companion Range app (currently for iOS only), you can measure your food’s temperature at a detailed, quantified level.

A graph of your food’s temperature shows readings over time, and shaded bands indicate the ideal temperature range for whatever you’re cooking. The system lets you set up alerts for when temperatures go above or below optimal levels, and those can be pushed to other iOS devices with the Range app.

While developer Supermechanical says this is useful for keeping tabs on a baking turkey while running errands, we don’t endorse leaving your oven or stove unattended.

Range was designed in two variations: The Aqua has a six-inch, rounded thermometer tip and three-foot cord for general use, while the Ember has a two-inch, pointed probe and four-foot cord designed specifically for meat. Supermechanical claims Range can withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now that Supermechanical has developed functioning prototypes, the team is trying to raise $90,000 on Kickstarter to help buy molds and parts, and to finish the app. With 28 days left in the campaign, backers had already pledged more than $71,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

Supermechanical is also the company behind Twine, a Wi-Fi-connected box that can tweet or notify you when various sensors (e.g. temperature, moisture, vibration) are triggered in your house.

The company says the tool can help household chefs “take the guesswork out of cooking and perfect your kitchen craft.” For wannabe chefs who stubbornly don’t follow recipe instructions, it might help avoid another burnt banana-bread loaf.

The networked thermometer concept isn’t new. Competitors such as the iGrilland iCelsius BBQ also plug into your smartphone or tablet. But neither have, well, the range of Range’s functionality — such as the ability to graph out your temperatures over time.

Kickstarter backers can get their own Range for a $49 pledge, while initial supplies last.

Motorola, dopo qualche anno di appannamento e con Google alle spalle, vorrebbe ritornare a dire la sua nel settore dei dispositivi mobile. A due anni dall’acquisizione da parte del colosso di Mountain View, l’azienda americana di elettronica torna sul mercato in modo serio, con un prodotto che – almeno – può provare a competere con quelli di marchi top quali Samsung e soprattutto Apple. Per ora, il nuovo Moto X sarà disponibile solo negli Stati Uniti.

Solamente i prossimi mesi ci diranno se è riuscita a colmare il gap con gli altri competitor. Per una comparazione si veda l’articolo di AJ Dellinger per Digitaltrends.com

 

How does Moto X compare to iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4?

Motorola showed off an entire line of new Droid phones last week, but it was nothing but a tease for non-Verizon customers as that was the only service provider those handsets are available on. A flagship phone has to transcend those network lines to reach as many hands as possible. That job appears like it belongs to Moto X, the newest handset from Motorola that will be available on every major carrier. Does Moto X have enough power to push itself up the ranks and be the signature phone of Motorola? How does it compare to the other handsets at the top of their class? We find out by pitting the Moto X against the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 in a spec showdown.
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Going just by the specs, it may seem as though the Moto X is fighting an uphill battle against the likes of heavy hitters like Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Apple’s iPhone 5. However, the strength of the Moto X appears to be in it’s computing power and customization (read our Moto X hands-on impressions). Housing the X8 chipset beneath it’s exterior – an exterior that can be customized with 17 back colors and various other color/material combinations of your choice – the Moto X should get the job done. Apple devices seem to work in a similar way: even with a lower number on the spec sheet, they manage to run smoothly.

The display of the Moto X may also appear as a turn off, as it’s smaller in size at 4.7 inches and maxes out at 1280 x 720 pixels. It does produce a comparable pixels-per-inch count to the iPhone 5, so we’ve no doubt the picture will be just fine. But both are overshadowed by the impressive display on the Galaxy S4. Similarly, the Galaxy S4 has a considerable advantage when it comes to the megapixel count on its camera, but Moto X sports a ClearPixel that promises great results of its own. A lot of the differences between these phones are going to show up clearly when you take the time to play around with them. User interface is as important as anything, and Moto X may appeal to you more with its Touchless Control and an Active Display feature that displays information when you turn the phone over from face down rather than making you turn the phone on and off.

 

Come far entrare più clienti in un negozio? Una strada sempre valida è quella di regalare quello che prima costava già poco nella prospettiva che il cliente: a) compri dell’altro attirato da ciò che vede sugli scaffali e b) torni più spesso a fare visita allo Store. Ciò accade anche per le applicazioni nel negozio virtuale di Apple, come ci spiega Dante D’Orazio nel suo articolo per TheVerge.com

 

Apple offers free downloads to get you to use its retail store app

Apple hopes it can incentivize iPhone users to download the company’s mobile shopping app. The Apple Store app, which lets users shop for products online as well as set up in-store pickups, now features free promotional downloads. The first promotion is for a puzzle game called Color Zen, which typically costs 99 cents.

To get the free download, you have to navigate to a specific retail store page, but you can redeem the promo even if you’re not at an Apple Store. Apple has yet to detail the new program, but 9to5Macspeculates that new content (such as apps, songs, and iBooks) will be offered each week. The current promotion runs through August 27th. The offer is reminiscent of the one Starbucks has long included with its mobile app, which provides free songs each week to users, as well as the Amazon Appstore’s free app of the day. By offering free content, Apple can ensure that customers check back into the Store app frequently — and see all of the company’s new products.