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Tim Cook: Apple Won't Create 'Converged' MacBook and iPad ( 337

LichtSpektren writes: In an interview with, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple is currently not looking to create an iPad that runs Mac OS X. "We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad, because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways." Cook also commented that he does not travel with a Mac anymore, only his iPad Pro and iPhone.

FCC Clarifies: It's Legal To Hack Your Router ( 85

Mark Wilson writes with an update to an earlier report that the wording of new FCC regulations could mean that it would be illegal to modfiy the software running on wireless routers by installing alternative firmwares. Instead, The commission has now acknowledged that there was more than a little confusion from people who believed that manufacturers would be encouraged to prevent router modifications. The FCC wants to make it clear that most router hacking is fine and will remain fine. With a few exceptions, that is. In a blog post entitled Clearing the Air on Wi-Fi Software Updates, Julius Knapp from the FCC tries to clear up any misunderstandings that may exist.

Huawei Battery Upgrade Means Dramatically Faster Charging For Mobile Devices 75

Computerworld reports a welcome development for everyone with battery powered portable electronics, which might just have applications further afield, too (like electric cars): Huawei has developed a battery based on conventional lithium-ion chemistry but tweaked with the addition of graphite atoms bonded to the anode. From the article: That change means faster charging but not at the expense of usage life or a sacrifice in the amount of energy that can be stored in each battery, [the company] said. It was developed by Huawei research and development subsidiary Watt Lab and the company showed off two prototypes in videos posted online. One of the two batteries has a capacity of 3,000mAh (milliampere hours) -- about equivalent to the batteries in modern smartphones -- and can be charged to 48 percent of capacity in five minutes. The second has a much smaller capacity of 600mAh but reaches 68 percent of capacity in just two minutes.
Wireless Networking

An Algorithm To Facilitate Uber-Style Dynamic Phone Tariffs ( 75

An anonymous reader writes: A new paper proposes an algorithm to help network providers furnish 'surge' pricing for mobile data and other network communications, citing a 50% shortfall between demand and capacity over the next five years as an indicator that consumers may have to be shepherded out of the congested times and areas in order for normal service to continue to be maintained. Just don't tell any of the people in charge of airport wireless networks.

Chrome V8 JavaScript Exploit Leaves All Android Devices Ripe For Attack ( 107

MojoKid writes: If you're an Android user that makes heavy use of Google's Chrome web browser (and what Android user doesn't?), you'll want to pay close attention to a new exploit that has the capability of taking your smartphone hostage. The exploit was demonstrated at MobilePwn2Own, which was held at a Tokyo-based PacSec conference. Quihoo 360 security researcher Guang Gong first uncovered the vulnerability, and thankfully, he hasn't publicly revealed detailed specifics on its inner workings. As soon as a phone accessed the website, the JavaScript v8 vulnerability in Chrome was used to install an arbitrary application (in this case a game) without any user interaction, to demonstrate complete control of the phone. Google reportedly has been made well aware of the exploit and will likely act quickly to resolve it.

Ad Networks Using Inaudible Sound To Link Phones, Tablets and Other Devices ( 223

ourlovecanlastforeve writes with a link to Ars Technica's report of a new way for ads to narrow in on their target: high-pitched sounds that can make ad tracking cross devices and contexts. From the article: The ultrasonic pitches are embedded into TV commercials or are played when a user encounters an ad displayed in a computer browser. While the sound can't be heard by the human ear, nearby tablets and smartphones can detect it. When they do, browser cookies can now pair a single user to multiple devices and keep track of what TV commercials the person sees, how long the person watches the ads, and whether the person acts on the ads by doing a Web search or buying a product.
The Almighty Buck

Apple Apparently Planning Mobile Peer-To-Peer Payment Service ( 69

An anonymous reader writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning peer-to-peer services (paywalled) as an adjunct to its Apple Pay system. The company is said to be in talks with major banks including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo to develop a new framework that could be in place as early as 2016, and which would facilitate payment transfers directly between Apple devices such as the iPhone and the Apple Watch.

With Respect To Gaming, Android Still Lags Behind iOS ( 166

An anonymous reader writes: No matter what you think about the Android/iOS divide from either a hardware or software perspective, there's simply no getting around the fact that many developers still take an iOS-first approach with respect to app development. With games, where development costs are already sky-high, the dynamic is even more pronounced. For instance, one of the most addictive, successful, and highly rated apps currently available on the App Store is a great snowboarding game called Alto's Adventure. It was originally released this past February for the iPhone and iPad (and now the Apple TV). Still today, nine months after its initial release, an Android version of the app remains non-existent. Now if you're an Android user who happens to enjoy mobile gaming, it's easy to see how this dynamic playing out over and over again can quickly become an endless source of frustration.

Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 820 With Adreno 530 Graphics For Mobile Devices ( 34

MojoKid writes: Qualcomm held an event in New York City today to demonstrate for the first time its highly anticipated Snapdragon 820 System-on-Chip (SoC). More than just a speed bump and refresh of the Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm says it designed the Snapdragon 820 "from the ground up to be unlike anything else." Behind that marketing spin is indeed an SoC with a custom 64-bit quad-core Kyro processor clocked at up to 2.2GHz. Qualcomm says it delivers up to twice the performance and twice the power efficiency of its predecessor, which is in fact an 8-core chip. Qualcomm officials have quoted 2x the performance of their previous gen Snapdragon 810 in single threaded throughput alone, which is a sizable gain. Efficiency is also being touted here, and according to Qualcomm, the improvements it made to the underlying architecture translate into nearly a third (30 percent) less power consumption. That should help the Snapdragon 820 steer clear of overheating concerns, which is something the 810 wasn't able to do.
The Internet

No Such Thing As 'Unlimited' Data ( 622

An anonymous reader writes: According to an article at Wired, the era of 'unlimited' data services is coming to an end. Carriers don't give them out anymore unless they're hobbled, and they're even increasing the prices of grandfathered plans. Comcast's data caps are spreading, and Time Warner has been testing them for years as well. It's not even just about internet access — Microsoft recently decided to eliminate its unlimited cloud storage plan. The big question now is: were these companies cynical, or just naive? We have no way of evaluating their claims that a small number of users who abused the system caused it to be unprofitable for them. (A recent leaked memo from Comcast suggests it's about extracting more money, rather than network congestion.) But it's certainly true that limited plans make costs and revenue much easier to predict. Another question: were we, as consumers, naive in expecting these plans to last? As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unlimited data plans clearly won't work too well if everybody uses huge amounts. So did we let ourselves get suckered by clever marketing?

How a Mobile App Firm Found the XcodeGhost In the Machine ( 69

SpacemanukBEJY.53u writes: A Denver-based mobile app development company, Possible Mobile, had a tough time figuring out why Apple recently rejected its app from the App Store. After a lot of head scratching, it eventually found the XcodeGhost malware hidden in an unlikely place — a third-party framework that it had wrapped into its own app. Their experience shows that the efforts of malware writers can have far-ranging effects on the mobile app component supply chain.

Report: Google Wants To Design Its Own Smartphone Chips ( 90

An anonymous reader writes: Google has been stepping up its efforts to build higher quality Android phones, and one thing holding it back is Qualcomm's SoC technology. According to two reports in The Information (paywalled: [1], [2]) Google is now looking for other partners, and may even jump into chip design itself. The company has already done some design work, hoping to co-develop it with a manufacturer. "The new chips are reportedly needed for future Android features that Google hopes to release 'in the next few years.' By designing its own chips, Google can make sure the right amount of horsepower gets assigned to all the right places and remove bottlenecks that would slow down these new features. The report specifically calls out 'virtual and augmented reality' as use cases for the new chips."

Another big area Google wants better hardware for is video processing tech. The article notes, "Qualcomm has a near monopoly on Android SoCs, but it is more marketing driven than performance driven and has been doing a disservice to the mobile space lately. It rushed to get 64-bit support out the door when it was beaten to the punch by Apple, which resulted in the very hot Snapdragon 810 SoC."

Wireless Networking

LA's Smart LED Street Lights Boost Wireless Connectivity ( 75

An anonymous reader writes: Los Angeles will introduce a smart street lighting system, featuring connected LEDs and fully-integrated 4G LTE wireless technology. In a collaboration between Dutch tech firm Philips and Swedish telco Ericsson, the SmartPole project aims to deliver LA citizens public lighting which is energy efficient and improves network performance in urban areas. By the close of this week, a total of 24 SmartPoles will be installed across the Hollywood area. The city plans to place 100 poles over the coming year, with a further 500 to follow.

Google Engineer Warns Against Perils of Buying Cheap, Third-Party USB-C Cables ( 206

MojoKid writes: A USB-C cable is just a cable. Or is it? Google engineer Benson Leung noted today that it's definitely not the case. Leung and his teammates at Google work inside of the Chromebook ecosystem, and as such, they've had lots of hands-on experience with USB-C cables. The Chromebook Pixel remains one of the very few notebooks on the market that directly supports USB-C. Nonetheless, in his experience, not all cables are built alike, and in some cases, cheap out-of-spec cables could potentially cause damage to your device. It's such a big problem, in fact, that Leung began buying cables off of Amazon and leaving his feedback on each one. Ultimately, what the problem boils down to is that some of the specifications in a cable may be not well controlled. He notes that in some bad cables, resistor values are incorrect, throwing off power specs wildly — 3A vs 2A in one example.