iPhone, iOS5, Security and Trust

June 28th, 2011 No Comments »

iOS 5 Beta 2 is out and I played around with it a little bit this weekend. Some very cool new features coming our way, including Reminders, which will replace every to-do list I’ve ever paid for. I mean, come on, being able to set a reminder based on your geographical location? Awesome. I can see myself passing by the grocery store on the way home reminding me to stop and buy milk. The future is truly here. The new notification center is greatness as well, with one interface for Twitter, Email, Calendar and SMS notifications. Not that us cool iPhone users will have to use carrier plans any more because Apple is essentially removing the need to use SMS with iMessage. (If you can get all your friends to buy iPhones, that is).

Another new feature is coming our way, iCloud backup. Basically, all your iPhone data will be backed up to the Apple iCloud. Pretty cool eh? All your music, email, documents and app settings such as the stocks you follow, your to-do list, user names, passwords…oh wait.

Do you *really* want to back all this personal data to a cloud provider (i.e. Apple) that just two months ago admitted to storing your entire location history on your local machine? Just go and do a Google Search on “iPhone storing location data” to see how upset we all were. And by “we”, I mean Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Guardian, and pretty much every news outlet and blogger on the planet.

I believe we might be suffering from short term memory loss here, people. This isn’t an exciting feature, it’s scary as hell. We haven’t heard yet from the Apple Spaceship how this data is stored. Is it encrypted? If so, who has the keys? (Hello Dropbox). I quickly looked through the iOS 5 developer release notes and couldn’t find any mention of encryption. Please prove me wrong. Please.

Trust is important. When it comes to data, trust no one.


How to install iOS5 beta legally using Windows

June 11th, 2011 No Comments »

Some people asked, so here are the instructions.

What you’ll need:

-Apple Developer Account ($99/year).
-An iDevice (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch)
-A Windows Machine

If you happen to be a close friend who’s reading this, I might be able to help you with step 1 above. Ask nicely.

How to do it:

First you’ll need to install a copy of iTunes 10.5 for windows. You’d think this would be available on the main download page from Apple like the Mac software, but it’s not. Instead, head over to the iCloud section and find it at https://developer.apple.com/icloud/downloads/ under Windows downloads. While you’re there, grab the iCloud control panel too.

Install iTunes 10.5, connect your device and grab your Device ID. You’ll need it to provision your device in the iOS Provisioning portal on the Apple developer site. Once you have it, go ahead and add your device at http://developer.apple.com/ios/manage/devices/index.action.

Sync your device.

Next, download the beta code from http://developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/index.action#betadownloads

Once downloaded, on windows, you’ll need to extract it. The way to do this on Windows is to get TransMac. (15 day trial). Simply open the downloaded file, click on it within TransMac and drag it to your desktop. Once extracted, it’ll take a few minutes, head back over to iTunes and click on the summary page for your device.

Hold shift down and click “Restore”. This will open up a prompt for the file you just extracted. Select the file and press submit.

Then walk away and cross your fingers (or hold your thumb) while waiting for your device to restore to iOS5. Once done, sync your music, etc and you’re done.

If you’d like to sync your Photo Stream to your Pictures folder on your Windows box, go ahead and install the iCloud app that you downloaded earlier. It’ll sync all photos you take to a folder on your box and also allows you to sync misc items with Outlook. Barf.

A few notes on the beta:

-It’s a beta. A few things aren’t working. The most annoying one I’ve found so far is Qrank not working.
-I have not tested any actual phone functionality. Heh.
-The new notification center rocks. You’ll never want to go back to iOS4 after trying it.
-Tabbed browsing on the iPad is glorious
-Photo Stream works, but you can’t delete any photos from your stream yet. Workaround: Don’t take bad pictures.
-Reminders. Buh-bye every to-do list app I’ve ever tried. Being able to set reminders based on location and time will change the way you work. It also syncs across all your iDevices with the same Apple ID.
-Music in the cloud. Buy a song with your iPhone, if set up correctly, it’ll download on your iPad, iTunes libraries and any other device that’s connected to your Apple ID. This is magic. MAGIC.