The Morning After Weekend Edition: Happy Halloween!


Letter from the Editor

Change is life. It’s what keeps things interesting. It’s also what keeps the cauldron of commerce at a full boil. And in the technology industry, change is constant. This week, Apple and Microsoft revealed new computers that’ll tempt many — particularly folks working in the creative arts — even if they come with eye-watering price tags.

Change can also be cause for consternation. Apple decided to eliminate the headphone jack from its phones a month ago, and yesterday it banished everything without a USB-C or Thunderbolt connector from its laptops. This is the pain of progress. Given enough time, the benefits received will, we hope, be a good bargain. It often is.

In other instances, change comes slowly. Jess Conditt wrote about how powerful video games have become as a medium for cultural and social commentary. Yet respect and investment for such projects trail more “traditional” arts, despite games’ arguably wider potential impact. And finally, Edgar Alvarez explained Amazon’s difficulties in becoming a purveyor of luxury fashion items. It seems that scale and quality can’t mix — at least in the minds of those running haute couture.


Hey, artists use Windows too!They’re used to paying Apple prices, right?

Microsoft wants to be the company for creative types. Like in the worst way possible. The company’s big Surface event this week was all about creating, building and drawing. There was even a little 3D printing thrown in for good measure. Of course, the biggest news was the launch of the Surface Studio all-in-one PC, but we’d be lying if we said MS Paint 3D didn’t kinda steal the show.


Apple wants your fingers to caress its new laptopAll in the name of stimulating your artistic sensibilities

Apple couldn’t let Microsoft hog the spotlight, though. The Cupertino crew held their own big event this week, and the focus was all on the MacBook Pro. The most exciting news was the addition of the Touch Bar on the high-end models — an OLED touchscreen strip in place of those anachronistic function keys. The less exciting news was that Apple ditched basically all the ports except for USB-C. At least they didn’t ax the headphone jack.


Shhh … you hear something?That’s the sound of sick video game sound effects, y’all

Microsoft went all out for the sound on “Gears of War 4.” Most games treat the audio like a second-class citizen, but developer the Coalition fired up some elaborate software that simulates how sound reacts in different environments and how it interacts with different materials to make “Gears 4” seem ultra-realistic. Or as realistic as a game set in the future on an alien world can seem.


R.I.P. VineWe (most of us) hardly knew ye

Twitter announced that it was going to be laying off more than 350 people, and now, it seems, we know where at least some of those cuts are coming from. Vine is coming to an end, and with it the art of six-second video loops. Some Engadget editors will miss it more than others.


What are pro designers saying about Microsoft’s Surface Dial?No thanks, mostly.

We talked to a host of illustrators, designers and other creative types to see what they think of Microsoft’s newest devices. The Surface Studio seems to have piqued their interest. The Dial, on the other hand…


Please don’t do this. Seriously.11 super-sexy Hallow-meme costumes

Look, sexy nurse and policeman are passé. If you’re really looking to leave an impression, you need to blend your love of popular internet culture with your normal raw sexual energy.


Bokeh everywhereiOS 10.1 brings a new photo feature to the iPhone 7 Plus

If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, you don’t need beta software to try out its new “portrait mode” shots. Environments where the background is a similar color to your subject can confuse the camera, but in most situations it did the job of making phone pictures look like they came from a high-end SLR camera.

But wait, there’s more…

  • The FBI isn’t done with Hillary’s emails yet?
  • I have the power! … of two first-gen Tesla battery packs
  • Sony is working on new PS4 controllers for pro gamers (just don’t call them Elite)

Engadget RSS Feed

The FBI wants to crack another iPhone after Minnesota stabbings

The FBI and Apple might be headed for another fight over the case of a locked phone. Last night, FBI special agent Rich Thorton confirmed that the agency is trying to crack an iPhone belonging to Dahir Adan, a 20-year-old Somali immigrant who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month. Per Wired, Thorton said the bureau was already sifting through some “780 gigabytes of data from multiple computers and other electronic devices,” but unlocking Adan’s phone could shed valuable light on why he did what he did and help figure out who (if anyone) helped him on his path.

But cracking the phone isn’t a matter of course — the FBI’s currently weighing its “legal and technical” options to get inside the unspecified device. A lot of the FBI’s work here depends on what kind of iPhone they recovered, too — the introduction of iOS 8 two years ago meant not even Apple could decrypt the contents of a locked device running that software.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” the company wrote in 2014, referring to photos, messages, contacts and more. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

Still, that didn’t stop the FBI cracking from iPhone 5c owned by Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in late 2015. The road to that crack was a winding one — the FBI originally pushed Apple for support to unlock the iOS 9-powered device, and got court orders compelling the company to assist. Apple resisted, but the FBI ultimately found a way to crack Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance, a move that apparently cost the bureau a tidy sum. At the time, FBI director James Comey said he hadn’t decided if the bureau would reveal that crucial backdoor to Apple out of concerns it would be closed.

While the FBI might still have that particular ace up its sleeve, the process of sifting through Adan’s data might be way more difficult. Farook’s iPhone 5c lacked the secure enclave that was baked into newer models with the A7 chipset and beyond. It’s unclear at this point how much progress the FBI has made — only time will tell if it’ll try to force Apple to help somehow, or how Apple will response if the government comes knocking.

Source: Wired

Engadget RSS Feed

After Math: Tinder profile make-overs and one-terabyte SD cards

Is your new iPhone hissing? Is your replacement Galaxy Note not exploding? Regardless, we shall begin. This week we saw plenty of new (and old-school) cameras at Photokina, one editor tried to improve his odds on dating apps by outsourcing the task, and one of Japan’s pro-league basketball courts got covered in LED screens. We also had our collective minds blown by the mere notion of a 1TB SD card. Arguably, our minds are easily blown. Let’s After Math.

Engadget RSS Feed

Apple patches three zero-day exploits after activist is hacked

Apple has rolled out a patch for three previously unknown zero-day exploits that were used to hack into the iPhone 6 of Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights activist based in the United Arab Emirates. Security company Lookout and internet watchdog group Citizen Lab investigated the attack on Mansoor’s iPhone and found it to be the product of NSO Group, a “cyber war” organization based in Israel that’s responsible for distributing a powerful, government-exclusive spyware product called Pegasus.

The hack took advantage of three zero-day exploits that allowed the attackers to jailbreak Mansoor’s iPhone and install spyware to track his movements, record his WhatsApp and Viber calls, log his messages and access his microphone and camera. Given the high cost of iPhone zero-days and the use of a government-specific spyware product, Citizen Lab believes the UAE is behind the hack. The UAE has previously targeted Mansoor.

“We are not aware of any previous instance of an iPhone remote jailbreak used in the wild as part of a targeted attack campaign, making this a rare find,” Citizen Lab writes.

Once Citizen Lab discovered the zero-days, it contacted Apple and says the company responded promptly. Apple released a software update today, iOS 9.3.5, that addresses the three flaws.

Source: Citizen Lab, Apple, Lookout

Engadget RSS Feed