Pebble Time is not a serious Apple Watch competitor

Apple World Today reported on why Pebble Time is not a serious Apple Watch competitor.

A much nicer display: Pebble says the new Time will have a “…1.25-inch color e-paper display”. No word on the resolution of that display. Apple Watch will have a Retina display (meaning 300 pixels or more per inch).

A Force Touch interface: Pebble is all about the side buttons. Watch has a button and the digital crown, but the innovative Force Touch display is a primary interface element.

Support: AppleCare Pro and local Apple Stores should provide both live technical support and the ability to take the Watch directly into stores for replacement or repair. Pebble offers a one-year warranty and a good website, but dropping your ailing Pebble Time into a shipping box is no substitute for being able to actually talk to a real live person or hand a broken Watch to someone at a store near you.

Integration: Apple Watch apps are being created by a number of iOS developers, which means that it’s very likely that many of the top iOS apps will feature tighter integration with Watch than they’d ever be able to achieve with Pebble. Want to send an email, Message, or voice reply on your Watch? No problem. Try to do the same with Pebble and you’re limited to providing a voice reply to Google notifications.

HealthKit: Yes, Pebble Time has “step tracking for Misfit and Jawbone”, a RunTracker companion app. Apple Watch will have integration with the entire HealthKit framework through the iPhone, a heart rate sensor to measure the intensity of your activity, the ability to watch just how much you’re moving (or not), an Activity app (with iPhone counterpart in the Watch app), and probably integration with most major fitness apps within a short time of launch.

HomeKit: Expect your Apple Watch to have deep integration with the HomeKit home automation framework as well. Tap the Watch to lock or unlock a door, turn off lights? Sure – it’s not here yet, but soon.

A real app store: The Pebble Smartwatch App provides a way to browse and discover apps for the Pebble. Most of those appear to be watch faces. While I assume that watch faces will be a fun item on the Watch as well, we’ll see vetted apps with a tried and true delivery and update system.

Enough said.

Macs not vulnerable to BadUSB attack

TidBITS reported on the BadUSB vulnerability.

“The new MacBook’s single port comes with a major security risk,” proclaims The Verge. Gizmodo took The Verge’s story a step further with, “The NSA Is Going to Love These USB-C Charging Cables.” So what’s the big deal, and is there any fire behind all this hot air?

These articles are pure clickbait. The main exploit in question, called BadUSB, was discovered 8 months ago. In theory, it could be used to attack most USB devices, including Macs, iPads, Windows PCs, and more. But making it seem like the new 12-inch MacBook, and to a lesser degree, the new ChromeBook Pixel, has some sort of new vulnerability because of using USB-C is disingenuous at best.

Gizmodo seems to believe the 12-inch MacBook is vulnerable to this direct attack, even going so far as to suggest that the NSA will distribute hacked USB-C power adapters designed to take over your notebook. But unlike Thunderstrike on vulnerable Macs (see “Thunderstrike Proof-of-Concept Attack Serious, but Limited,” 9 January 2015), the USB port uses Intel’s xHCI (eXtensible Host Controller Interface), which can’t be placed into a DFU (device firmware upgrade) mode to overwrite the MacBook’s firmware. Thus the MacBook itself can’t be infected with BadUSB, so plugging in an unknown power adapter can’t give someone control of your MacBook.

Anything to pull eyeballs to their sites.

Apple Pay security

Jim Dalrymple wrote on Fortune about the effect of Apple Pay on the App Store.

The fact that none of these guys brought up or seemed at all concerned about cybertheft may tell you more than any headline that contains the words Apple, Pay and Fraud.

“There’s no downside,” says Spring’s Alan Tisch. “Anything in commerce that makes it easier for customers to pay, you focus on. This has been a bigger success than we anticipated.

Click baiting headlines might bring in some views, but is it worth it to do so at the expense of your brand’s reputation?

The inside story of how Apple’s new medical research platform was born

Fusion reported on how Apple’s new medical research platform was born.

“No one wants to entrust their health data to a company that’s going to sell them to the highest bidder, and the highest bidders usually include the worst privacy abusers. Apple has taken a very principled stance,” Munos added. “It’s the kind of reassurance people need.”

Apple’s privacy record is far from spotless, but its approach is different from that of Google or Facebook, both of which make money by selling access to their users to advertisers. Apple is a hardware manufacturer—it sells gadgets, not targeted ads—and that hardware focus is at the heart of why Friend, who’s been trying to build something like ResearchKit for years, chose to work with Apple rather than a competitor.

Companies like Google and Facebook “make their power by selling data…They get people information about other people,” Friend told me. “Apple has said, ‘We will not look at this data.’ Could you imagine Google saying that?”

It is a leverage that Google and Facebook can never have.

Why Swiss smartwatches have no chance against the Apple Watch

Quartz reported on Swiss smartwatches chances against the Apple Watch.

It is possible, we suppose, that Tag Heuer could somehow teach itself to become the world’s foremost wrist-computer company—and leapfrog Apple—by next year. But that seems extremely unlikely. Apple didn’t just take a heritage watch case, add a screen, and shove in a microchip and a bunch of sensors. And as Biver is about to discover, trying to integrate one company’s microchip with another’s operating system and app ecosystem, then reconciling that combination with your company’s century-old design ideals is going to require some major compromises.

Just look at Microsoft and Google’s attempts at making phones on their own.

You should use DuckDuckGo

Casey Liss wrote about why you should use DuckDuckGo.

Like Casey, I switched to DuckDuckGo when I upgraded to iOS 8. DuckDuckGo promises not to track you and that is a huge deciding factor for me. So when Apple added it as one of the built-in search options, it became my default search engine.

Of course, there are some situations where it loses out to Google. It uses a different algorithm and gives you the best results, whereas Google gives you the most popular one. And if you are signs into Google, it actually takes your browsing history into consideration and ranks sites that you frequent higher.

Google Images is still superior, and I find myself going back to it when I need to find images.

With DuckDuckGo’s !bang operators, you can easily fallback on Google search with !g and Google Images with !i.

Apple Retina MacBook draws laughs from PC makers

BGR reported on PC makers mocking Apple’s Retina MacBook.

The Asus is 6.1% thinner and the Lenovo is 2.3% thinner. Of course, it is hard for Asus or Lenovo to impress us with the minute difference in thinnest, so they need to shamelessly resort to misleading graphics.

And as John Gruber pointed out, none of the PC makers mentioned anything about the trackpad. PC track pads have never reached the precision of Apple’s old trackpad. And now Apple has raised the bar further with the Force Touch trackpad.

The truth behind The Guardian’s negative Apple Watch story

Jim Dalrymple wrote on The Loop about The Guardian’s negative article on Apple Watch.

I saw an article today on The Guardian written by Martin McNulty, who they say at the bottom of the article, “is chief executive of Forward3D and Locaria,” which are basically marketing agencies. Seems innocuous, right?

It is until you take a look at some of McNulty’s clients, which include Kering, the owner of Boucheron; Dodo; Girard-Perregaux; Gucci; Jean Richard; and Ulysse Nardin. All of these companies offer high-end luxury watches.

They only added the disclosure after they were called out for not doing so. Shameful.

Oracle extends its adware bundling to include Java for Macs

ZDNet reported on Oracle bundling adware in Java for Mac.

For several years, Oracle has been bundling the Ask toolbar with its Java software for Windows PCs, often using deceptive methods to convince customers to install the unwanted add-on.

With the latest release of Java for the Mac, Oracle has begun bundling the Ask adware with default installations as well, changing homepages in the process.

I have stopped using Java on my Mac for the past few years and haven’t missed it at all.

The approach to designing the Apple Watch

Financial Times interview Jony Ive.

“One of the things that struck me,” says Ive, “was how often I’d look at my watch and have to look again quite soon afterwards, because I hadn’t actually comprehended what the time was. If I had looked at something on my phone, because of the investment involved in taking it out of my pocket or my bag, I would certainly pay attention. I quite like this sense of almost being careless and just glancing. I think for certain things the wrist is the perfect place for this technology.”

However, it was not without some trepidation that he embarked on the watch. “It was different with the phone – all of us working on the first iPhone were driven by an absolute disdain for the cellphones we were using at the time. That’s not the case here. We’re a group of people who love our watches. So we’re working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists.”