Uninstall tracking exploits a core element of Apple Inc.’s and Google’s mobile operating systems: push notifications. Developers have always been able to use so-called silent push notifications to ping installed apps at regular intervals without alerting the user—to refresh an inbox or social media feed while the app is running in the background, for example. But if the app doesn’t ping the developer back, the app is logged as uninstalled, and the uninstall tracking tools add those changes to the file associated with the given mobile device’s unique advertising ID, details that make it easy to identify just who’s holding the phone and advertise the app to them wherever they go.

The tools violate Apple and Google policies against using silent push notifications to build advertising audiences, says Alex Austin, CEO of Branch Metrics Inc., which makes software for developers but chose not to create an uninstall tracker. “It’s just generally sketchy to track people around the internet after they’ve opted out of using your product,” he says, adding that he expects Apple and Google to crack down on the practice soon. Apple and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A new study has shown that Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung has actually helped spike sales for the South Korean firm.

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The report argues that the press coverage not only helped Samsung become a recognisable name but the constant comparisons between the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S III suggested that the devices were rather similar thus making them a decent option for consumers to consider. A key point to be remembered is that after the verdict in early September, the Galaxy S III outsold the iPhone 4S for the first time ever in the US.

The unique IDs that Apple bakes into iOS mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, have long been the subject of criticism by privacy experts. In contrast to the cookies used to track consumers on the web, which can be deleted (at least by those consumers tech-savvy enough to navigate to obscure browser settings), UDIDs cannot be deleted or removed. As long as the consumer uses a particular iPhone, the UDID will stay the same. Unsurprisingly, advertising companies embraced the UDID as a way to effectively track and target users of mobile Apps.

Security researchers presenting at the Where 2.0 conference have revealed a hidden, secret iOS file that keeps a record of everywhere you've been. The record is synched to your PC and subsequently resynched to your other mobile devices. The file is not transmitted to Apple, but constitutes a substantial privacy breach if your PC or mobile device are lost or seized. The researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, have released a free/open application called "iPhone Tracker" that allows you to retrieve the location data on your iOS device and examine it. They did not discover a comparable file on Android devices.

If you want to remove the outer casing on your iPhone 4 to replace the battery or a broken screen, it won't be easy anymore. In the past, you could use a Phillip screwdriver to remove two tiny screws at the base of the phone and then simply slide off the back cover.

But Apple is replacing the outer screw with a mysterious tamper-resistant screw across its most popular product lines, reports iFixit, a Web site that provides free repair manuals and advice forums mostly aimed at Apple products. Apple calls them "Pentalobular" screws.

New MacBook Pros, iPhone 4s and MacBook Airs will have the Pentalobular screw, making it harder for do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. What about existing products in the field? Pentalobular screws might find their way into them, too.

In addition to Google's own app marketplace, Amazon, Horizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android. So there will be at least four app stores on Android, which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will need to work with to distribute their apps and get paid. This is going to be a mess for both users and developers. Contrast this with Apple's integrated App Store, which offers users the easiest-to-use largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.

Not to argue with The Steve or anything, but if a single app store, controlled by a single corporate entity, is better than many, then I guess we also need only one web site, and only one newspaper, and only one political party. Apple's classical "1984" commercial is getting more and more ironic.

The development of the typical app cost $35,000 and the median paid app earns $682 dollars per year after Apple took its cut. You see where this is going.. We get to break even on our App Development costs in... 51 years. I'd say the iPhone battery will need replacing before then, and perhaps our grand kids have grown tired with that oldfashioned antique toy by then. But maybe - just maybe - without any updates to our app, we can sustain 51 years of continuous sales and recover our initial investment. Yeah, and this is obviously without covering any of our marketing costs, and gives us no profit yet, etc...

Just to break even.

If you take that absolute lowest end of the two estimates, $15,000 and do our app 'dirt cheap' - even then, it will take 22 years to recover our costs.

In an updated version of its privacy policy, the company added a paragraph noting that once users agree, Apple and unspecified "partners and licensees" may collect and store user location data.

When users attempt to download apps or media from the iTunes store, they are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions. Until they agree, they cannot download anything through the store.

The company says the data is anonymous and does not personally identify users. Analysts have shown, however, that large, specific data sets can be used to identify people based on behavior patterns.

Steve Jobs' and Apple's great, amazing, fantastic modesty should be a phenomenal, terrific, awesome example to us all. Beautiful!

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