Apple will replace your iPhone battery even if it passes tests

Apple now has $ 29 iPhone battery replacements available as an apology for its approach to handset slowdowns. But do you need to wait until your iPhone actually slows down before paying for a fresh power pack? Apparently not. MacRumors has confirmed an iGeneration report that Apple will replace the batteries on iPhone 6 or newer models whether or not they pass the usual diagnostic test (which recommends a replacement if the battery falls below 80 percent of its original capacity). In other words, you can go ahead if your phone just isn’t lasting as long as it used to.

Some iPhone owners who jumped on the replacement program during its initial weekend had been denied fresh batteries, since their power packs were otherwise healthy. They shouldn’t have a problem throughout the rest of the discount period, which ends in December.

The no-strings-attached gesture is clearly part of Apple’s mea culpa: you can get a fresh power pack if you’re even slightly worried. At the same time, it’s also helpful if you know you tend to thrash batteries, or if you just want to wring out as much use as possible before you consider an upgrade.

Source: iGeneration (translated), MacRumors

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AccuWeather’s iPhone app may track you even if you opt out (update)

AccuWeather on iOS might be deceiving users and violating Apple’s developer terms of service, security expert Will Strafach has discovered. If you deny it access to location info, the popular app reportedly still sends WiFi data, namely your router name and BSSID, to a third-party ad firm called Reveal Mobile. Furthermore, the app can even track you when it’s not open by using Bluetooth beacon data.

Strafach, well known for his early iOS jailbreak hacks, notes that he was actually researching a separate security problem on Accuweather’s iOS app. However, during testing he discovered that the app sent data 16 times to Reveal Mobile, installed as a third-party SDK on AccuWeather. According to the company’s own PR, it works as a way “to help app publishers and media companies extract the maximum value from their location data.” That can generate a lot of money both for Reveal Mobile and AccuWeather, he notes.

Furthermore, Reveal Mobile’s SDK may also collect user location data via Bluetooth beacons, Strafach believes. According to Reveal Mobile’s own product description, when you’re near one, it can figure out your location and turn the info into data it can sell. “While traditional lat/long audiences require the app to be open and running, detecting or ‘bumping’ beacons can occur when apps are not in use,” the company writes. “This allows Reveal Mobile to build larger, and more accurate, location-based audiences.”

Obviously, the company can generate more revenue if an app collects data even when users opt out. However, that “violate[s] user trust,” Strafach notes, and seemingly Apple’s developer agreement as well.

You may not track an end-user’s WiFi network usage to determine their location if they have disabled location services for your application. –Apple developer agreement.

Though tracking WiFi BSSID names may seem innocuous, the FTC is investigating a company called InMobi about that same thing, he adds. “By collecting the BSSID (i.e., a unique identifier) of the WiFi networks that a consumer’s device connected to or was in-range of, and feeding this information into its geocoder database, InMobi could then infer the consumer’s location,” the FTC says, adding that InMobi also did this when users opted out of geolocalization.

On Twitter, Strafach replied to users who say that app tracking is expected nowadays. “Most app analytics are usually quite tame … this case goes further than what most apps do.” Tracking such information doesn’t appear to be possible on Android, as Google has been aware of the potential for WiFi tracking abuse for a while now. Since version 6.0 (Marshmallow), applications must obtain user permission before they can access a network’s BSSID. We’ve reached out to Apple and AccuWeather for more information.

Update: Reveal has provided an emailed statement to Engadget and said that it “honors all operating system level ‘limit ad tracking’ and ‘do not track’ permissions.” At the same time, it said that “in looking at our current SDK’s behavior, we see how that can be misconstrued.” Its full statement to Engadget is below, and they expanded on it in a blog post. On Twitter, Strafach noted the statement and said “I do not personally agree with their logic, but feel free to read and decide.”

We don’t attempt to reverse engineer a device’s location if someone opts out of location services, regardless of the data signal it comes from. In looking at our current SDK’s behavior, we see how that can be misconstrued. In response to that, we’re releasing a new version of our SDK today which will no longer send any data points which could be used to infer location when someone opts out of location sharing.

Via: 9 to 5 Mac

Source: Will Strafach (Medium)

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Even breastfeeding is getting quantified thanks to Momsense

The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-known, yet for various reasons, many new mothers quit after a few months. Maybe they don’t have the time, they find it uncomfortable or they believe that the baby just isn’t getting enough milk. A new product called Momsense is taking aim at this last problem with a product and app that can keep track of how much a baby is actually drinking, hopefully putting mom’s worries at ease.

We live in an age of smart baby cribs, scales and onesies so it seems only natural that something like breastfeeding would be next. Newborns can nurse eight to twelve times a day, meaning there’s a lot of data for moms to keep track of. So why not delegate it to an app? And, rather than ask moms to guess how much the baby drank (which is what traditional pen-and-paper methods demand), the Momsense’s small sensor handles that task.

The Momsense attaches to the baby, not the mom: It’s a small circle that the mother places under the child’s ear, along their jawline. The Momsense functions similar to a stethoscope, listening to the sound of the baby’s swallows to determine how much the baby is drinking. It’s also smart enough to tell the difference between a real swallow and random gurgles or half gulps. Mom can also listen in thanks to the attached headphones, so she’s not ceding all responsibility to the app — she can still take action if something’s wrong, or she may just feel reassured having all that sensory data available.

I don’t have children, so the sounds in the demo I checked out were a little too visceral for me, but I can see how they might benefit a new mom. By making breastfeeding more immersive, the Momsense monitor might help mothers bond with their offspring even more.

What lifts the Momsense beyond just an ordinary stethoscope is the app that keeps track of all this data being generated. Unlike most health-tracking apps, Momsense isn’t built around a particular goal. Even though it keeps track of feeding time and quantity, it doesn’t say “your baby needs this much milk” or “your baby should feed for this long.” Every baby is different, and adding any kind of metric just puts unnecessary pressure on the mother.

To that point, the app doesn’t present its data like a fitness app would. Fitness apps tend to focus on bar or line graphs a lot, which lets a person easily compare progress over a given period of time. Momsense eschews comparisons by displaying each day as a circle with each feeding as a small bubble that sort of “orbits” around it like a moon around a planet. The larger the bubble, the more consumed during each feeding, and you can click on it to see more details like time spent and a breakdown by individual breast.

The Momsense connects to phones via a traditional headphone jack (sorry iPhone 7 users), so it’s easy enough to just get started and never have to worry about the signal dropping out. When a mom starts a session the Momsense app displays a weird design of interlocking circles that pulses in time with the baby’s swallows. The design feels reminiscent of mammary glands and I personally found it a bit unsettling, but mothers using it will probably be more focused on their babies anyway.


Right now the app can only handle one baby at a time, so mothers taking care of multiple children will have to rely on workarounds like using alternate mobile devices for different babies or reserving their left or right breast for a particular child. Regardless of how many children they have, they’ll only need one Momsense, which can work with any Android or iOS device. Momsense is available at the company’s website for $ 89, or via stores like Target, Babies”R”Us and Bed, Bath and Beyond, which happen to have baby registries — great for expectant mothers who’d like to give this “quantified parenting” thing a try.

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Even Windows 10 tablets get an Instagram app before the iPad

Instagram brought its filter-driven social network to Windows 10 mobile back in the spring and now it’s doing the same for PCs and tablets running Microsoft’s OS. The photo and video app is now available for desktops and slates, meaning its now an option across all Windows 10 devices and a true universal app. Just like the versions for other operating systems, Direct, Explore and Stories are all tools here for viewing photos and videos alongside capture and editing features.

There is one caveat with the Windows 10 version of Instagram. You’ll need a PC or tablet with a touchscreen in order to upload your images or videos. Yes, it sounds strange, but at least Microsoft’s Surface line will give you full functionality. “Keep in mind that other devices running Windows 10 may not support certain features, like the ability to capture and upload photos and videos,” the app’s page in the Window’s Store explains.

While Windows 10 users are able to use the app across all of their devices, iPad owners are still dealing with the iPhone version for Instagram on Apple’s slates. Further proof we can’t always get what we want, I suppose.

Via: The Verge

Source: Windows Store, Instagram

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