Posts tagged Touch

Apple’s New Finger-Friendly iPad Air 2, Mini 3 Now Feature Touch ID

As expected, Apple has refreshed its iPad line with a new iPad Air 2, the company’s thinnest and fastest tablet to date. 

The super-skinny iPad Air 2 measures 6.1 mm thick and offers, among other things, TouchID. The new hardware component will help secure certain apps and the tablet itself with fingerprint recognition security. It also makes the iPad ripe for Apple Pay, which will also come to the tablet.

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

In addition, Apple executive Phil Schiller emphasized that the new tablet will offer extremely low reflectivity to kill typical touchscreen glare. Then he boasted about a few more things. The iPad Air 2 features a new A8X, next-generation processor designed specifically for the tablet. Schiller claims the new iPad and its 64-bit architecture offers the fastest performance yet. 

Other additions: Motion co-processor, new barometer, 802.11 ac/MiMo support for faster WiFi, new HD selfie camera with larger 2.2 aperture, and 8MP iSight camera, 1080p HD capture, with burst-mode, time-lapse, and slow motion—just like the new iPhones can do. 

Pricing starts at $499 for 16GB; cellular versions cost $130 more. 

Schiller slipped in an iPad mini announcement: The new generation of the company’s compact tablet will also get TouchID. The iPad mini 3 will sell for a starting price of $399 (up to $599, depending on storage capacity). Budget shoppers will love that the company’s hanging onto the older tablet models, but cutting those prices by $100, to offer cheaper options. Last year’s iPad mini will start at just $299. 

See also: Apple Unveils A New “Retina” Display iMac

All tablets will be available silver, space grey and a new gold color. Pre-orders begin tomorrow, with shipping starting at the end of next week. 

Many people suspected many of these announcements were coming. And if they didn’t, Apple’s accidental leak of its own iPad product info yesterday basically sealed the deal. 

iPad sales have been slowing quite a bit recently, though you wouldn’t know that from Apple’s event. According to CEO Tim Cook, Apple sold more iPads in the first four years than any other product in its history. It sold “225 million iPads around the world,” and 675,000 apps designed especially for it now exist. 

Photo by Apple

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Apple’s New iPad Mini 3 = iPad Mini 2 + Touch ID + $100

If Apple’s pricing for its 7.9-inch iPad minis is anything to go by, it apparently figures you will gladly pay an extra $100 for its Touch ID fingerprint scanner. 

The company’s new iPad mini 3 offers exactly the same specs as last year’s model, excepting only the addition of Touch ID. Yet it will set you back another full 100 clams: 

  • iPad mini 3: 16GB $399, iPad mini 2: 16GB $299
  • iPad mini 3: 32GB none, iPad mini 2: 32GB $349
  • iPad mini 3: 64GB $499, iPad mini 2: none
  • iPad mini 3: 128GB $599, iPad mini 2: none

The very first 2012 iPad mini now costs even less, at $249 for 16GB of storage—but that price differential seems justified, considering it was slower and didn’t come with a high-res “retina” display. 

The new iPad mini 3 is exactly the same size and weight as the iPad mini 2, and boasts exactly the same A7 processor, cameras, screen size and resolution. Meanwhile its bigger sibling, the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, shaved off 1.4 mm (0.05 inches) and lost 34 grams (0.07 pounds) relative to its predecessor.

It’s also worth pointing out that the new version of the large tablet is the only iPad to come with the new A8X processor—the one Phil Schiller couldn’t stop gushing about today

But back to the iPad mini: The only other differences that we can spot between this year’s and last year’s versions are a new gold color option and a reshuffling of its storage capacity options (as you can see in the list above). Apple has officially ditched the 32GB option in the new model—presumably to shuffle people into larger, pricier tiers. 

Maybe Apple’s paying less attention to the iPad mini now that it has the gargantuan iPhone 6 Plus and its 5.5-inch display. More likely, though, is the possibility that Apple’s big plans to generate iPad excitement relied on the new iPad Air and an even bigger 12.9-inch version, which supposedly got delayed until next year

Either way, if you already have an iPad mini 2 and are wondering if you should upgrade, the decision is pretty simple: Ask yourself if having a fingerprint scanner is worth plunking down more money.

Photo of Touch ID on the iPhone 5S by Kārlis Dambrāns

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Apple’s Touch ID Fingerprint Scanner Is Still Hackable, But Don’t Panic

For the second time in two iPhone releases, mobile-security firm Lookout has tested and bested the security of Touch ID.

Touch ID lets users unlock the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus just by putting their fingerprint over a sensor on the home button. By requiring a fingerprint to unlock the device and make purchases within the App Store, with Apple Pay, or through third-party developers, Apple is trying to make your data and information more secure.

So what happens if it’s hacked?

Lookout’s principal security researcher Marc Rogers hacked Touch ID on the 5S last year, and now he’s done it again. Through a CSI-like process, he was able to unlock an iPhone 6 using a fake fingerprint made of glue.

With such a fingerprint facsimile in hand, an attacker could theoretically take over someone’s iPhone to make purchases or steal the owner’s photographs, email, texts or other personal information. It sounds like a plot from a prime-time crime drama—and so it’s probably only a matter of time until iPhone fingerprint hacks hit the big screen.

While the thought of someone accessing your phone with a copied fingerprint might make you uncomfortable, don’t worry. Accessing a device the way Rogers did takes significant skill, time and effort. And, as we reported last year, a malicious attacker can’t use a finger that’s, well, detached from your body.

Rogers says consumers shouldn’t worry too much about the potential for duping the system.

“I don’t see this to be a risk to consumers in any way because I don’t think criminals are sophisticated enough,” Rogers said in an email interview. “It is difficult to make these fingerprints—think of Touch ID as being the equivalent of a door lock. It’s there to stop the average criminal from getting access, or in the case of Touch ID, claiming they are you.”

Not only does a potential hacker need a clear print from their target that can be lifted by using super glue fumes and fingerprint powder, they will also have to get access to lab equipment to photograph, print, and then cast the fingerprint using chemicals and smearing it with glue. Unless you have access to a crime laboratory, the equipment is prohibitively expensive.

Through the experiment, Rogers discovered that there’s virtually no measurable improvement in the fingerprint sensors between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6, except that he got fewer “false negatives,” on the iPhone 6, meaning the reading was clearer.

Even though Rogers is impressed with the technology, he says Apple could do more to keep devices secure. Some improvements, he says, could include limits on the number of unlocking attempts a device will allow, a fallback to a passcode when the device hasn’t been used for a specific amount of time, and “best practices” suggested by Apple which may include using different fingers for different authentication.

“I was hoping to see improvements in the Touch ID sensor that show Apple is working to come up with a solution that cannot be fooled as easily,” he said. “However, while I can’t say Apple isn’t working on this, I don’t see any significant signs of improvement in this version despite the fact that it is now going to be used for payments.”

Lead photo by Selena Larson for ReadWrite; iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S image courtesy of Lookout

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Bing Image Search Updates Include Touch Friendly Result Pages That Adapt To Screen Size & Resolution

Over the next few weeks, Bing is rolling out new updates to its image search experience that include touch-friendly search result pages that have been designed to adapt to a user’s screen size and resolution. According to the announcement, image results will soon expand to the full width of a…



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