A car key embedded in your watch

Dave mark wrote on The Loop about the possibility of a car key embedded in your watch.

Imagine if a standard emerged that allowed Apple to embed your specific car key in your iPhone and Apple Watch. Approach your car with your iPhone in your pocket and the car automatically unlocks.

Want to open the trunk, or perform a more specific function? Tap a button on your Apple Watch auto app.

Intriguing thought.

How Amazon tricks you into thinking it has the lowest prices

Re/code reported on [How Amazon Tricks You Into Thinking It Always Has the Lowest Prices Re/code](http://recode.net/2015/01/13/how-amazon-tricks-you-into-thinking-it-always-has-the-lowest-prices/).

In one example, Boomerang observed Amazon testing price reductions on a $350 Samsung TV — one of the most popular TVs on Amazon — over the six months leading up to Black Friday. Then, on Black Friday, it dropped the price to $250, coming in well below competitors’ prices.

But when it comes to the HD cables that customers often buy with a new TV, Amazon actually pushed up the price by 33 percent ahead of the holidays. One reason is that the cables weren’t among the most popular in their category, meaning that they have little impact on price perception among shoppers. Secondly, Amazon most likely figures (or knows) it can make a profit on these cables because customers won’t price-compare on them as carefully as they would on more expensive products.

In another example, Amazon priced one of the most popular routers on its site about 20 percent below Walmart’s price. But when it came to a much less popular router, Amazon priced it almost 30 percent higher than Walmart did. Again, Amazon knows which products will drive price perception among shoppers.

A good reminder to shop around before you decide to buy from Amazon.

Analyst predicts doom for Apple

Cult of Mac reported on analyst Abhey Lamba’s prediction of doom for Apple.

In a note published Thursday, Lamba argued that AAPL shares could fall by 20 percent this year as iPhone sales slow down, and the Apple Watch isn’t enough to offset this decline.

While F1Q15 results will likely be extremely solid and March guidance could indicate continued momentum, we believe iPhone sales will decelerate more than normal later in the year,” said the guidance note to clients. “Additionally, our checks indicate that Apple Watch sales could be disappointing and other categories are unlikely to offset the slowdown in iPhone sales creating pressure on out-year estimates.”

That makes a lot of sense when you consider this:

With the company coming off its most profitable iPhone launch ever, exciting new devices on the horizon and a stock price that recently hit an all-time high, what else is there for the self-respecting analyst to do but predict that doom is right around the corner?

Official BlackBerry Twitter account sends out tweet from an iPhone

TUAW reported on BlacBerry’s official Twitter account tweeting from an iPhone.

They were probably using the iPhone to take photos and post on Instagram.

Bill Gates heaps praise on Apple Pay

CNET reported on Bill Gates heaping praise on Apple Pay.

Gates, though, said that Apple’s true role was in creating the market: “All the platforms, whether it’s Apple’s or Google’s or Microsoft, you’ll see this payment capability get built in. That’s built on industry standard protocols, NFC. And these companies have all participated in getting those going. Apple will help make sure it gets to critical mass for all the devices.”

Competitors realize that once Apple gets involved in a certain idea, there’s more of a chance for everyone.

Apple has two advantages. It has a vast number of high-worth individuals in its ecosystem. It also has a talent for making its devices simple to use.

He had the idea years ago but was unable to push it through. Kudos to Gates for having the humility to recognise Apple’s accomplishments in rolling out Apple Pay.

Malicious software said to spread on Android phones

NYTimes reported on the malicious software spreading on Android phones.

A particularly nasty mobile malware campaign targeting Android users has hit between four million and 4.5 million Americans since January of 2013, according to an estimate by Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security company that has been tracking the malware for about two years.

How Android phones get infected:

Criminals infect smartphones primarily by infecting legitimate websites with malicious code. When victims visit the site from their mobile phone, they inadvertently download the code, in what is known as a “drive-by download.”

In other cases, the attackers sent spam from hijacked email accounts to their victims. That technique, Lookout’s researchers say, successfully caused more than 20,000 infections a day. More recently, researchers say, attackers have been tricking their victims into installing the malicious code by disguising it as a “security patch” in an email attachment. In others, spam emails advertised weight loss solutions with a link that served up malware to Android users.

Goals of the malware:

The attackers goal, researchers say, is to infect as many smartphones as possible and turn them into a so-called botnet, a network of infected devices that can be used by attackers for various malicious purposes. Lookout’s researchers say there is evidence that Not Compatible’s authors are renting out control of infected mobile devices to people who have used them to simply send out more spam or buy up event tickets in bulk from Ticketmaster, Live Nation, EventShopper and Craigslist. Some have used infected devices to try to crack WordPress accounts.

If you suspect your phone might have been infected, download the malware detection app and do a scan.

Apple and eras of flux

John Gruber wrote about Apple’s eras of flux.

It’s a hard balance to strike. When Mac OS X releases were roughly biannual, we complained that Apple was neglecting it. Now that the releases are annual, we’re complaining that they’re going too fast.

If you ask me between getting shiny new features that have some issues and having to wait for these features to be well polished when they launch, I would rather get those features early and live with the bugs.

How many people who complain about the bugs actually report the issues? Many people dismiss sending feedback and that doesn’t help with improving the softwares.

I also believe that we are seeing a lot of issues because Mac has gone mainstream. The number of Mac users have grown tremendously in the past years. With more machines out in the wild, it is inevitable that more problems crop up.

Compare this with Windows:

Every company’s downfall is different. Microsoft didn’t have a major update to 2001’s Windows XP until 2006’s Windows Vista, which was rejected by its customers. The “fix”, Windows 7, didn’t ship until 2009.

Would you prefer an OS that is constantly updated and evolving, or would you have one that stagnates for years like Windows have.

So far the only issues I had with OS X Yosemite has been due to apps not being updated for the new OS. But once the developers caught up and released Yosemite compatible versions of their apps, the issues disappeared.

My hope is that the reliability issues we are seeing in iOS and Mac OS X in recent releases are largely the inevitable result of Apple going through numerous transitions simultaneously. Extensions, XPC, iCloud Drive, Continuity — these things require coordination between all three of Apple’s platforms (mobile, desktop, cloud). That what we’ve been seeing the last few years is this decade’s equivalent of the first few years of Mac OS X — rapid development and flux that precedes an era of relative stability and a slower pace of change. Let iPhone, iPad, and Mac settle in — and let the rapid change and flux flow through Apple Watch, CarPlay, a new Apple TV, and whatever else comes next.

OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 has been a big shift towards a seamless ecosystem on desktop and mobile. If it is a step backwards that we have to take to move forward in a better path, it is one that I would gladly take.

Facebook wants you to use it at Work

TechCrunch reported on Facebook’s new Work apps and web service.

Employers can create separate log-ins for employees to use with their Work accounts, or users can link these up with their other profiles to access everything in one place.

The product puts Facebook head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack, Convo, Socialcast, and a huge number of others who are trying to tackle the “enterprise social network” space. Even LinkedIn conveniently let drop last night that it too was looking at building a product for coworkers to communicate and share content.

Matt and I love Slack. It’d be interesting to see what Facebook can offer better.

To beat the iPhone, you have to beat the iPhone’s camera

The Verge wrote about iPhone’s camera.

For a show overrun with various visions of smart drones and smarter homes for the future, the present of CES was remarkably uniform. I saw more iPhones in the hands of CES attendees than I did Android phones across the countless exhibitor booths. From the biggest keynote event to the smallest stall on the show floor, everything was being documented with Apple’s latest smartphone, and it all looked so irritatingly easy. I don’t want an iPhone, but dammit, I want the effortlessness of the iPhone’s camera.

I often tell my friends that the iPhone is a better camera, even though other phones have superior cameras, because it is a complete package. It is not just about the megapixels or the size of the sensor. The software and hardware are designed to work superbly together, giving you the best quality photos from the best performance Apple squeezes out of the phone. It is hard for competitorsto get such performance when the phone manufacturing and OS are developed separately.

To top it off, the massive selection of camera and photo-processing apps makes the iPhone an attractive camera.

The iPhone’s lead as the smartphone to beat has rarely been defined by just one thing. At one point, the biggest advantage was the simplicity and speed of its interface; at another, it was down to the diversity and quality of available apps; and most recently, the iPhone has distinguished itself with the quality of its 8-megapixel camera. Today, the combination of all these things — simple and fast operation, strong optics and image processing, and a wide app ecosystem — is helping people create the best possible images with the least possible hassle.

During my recent trip overseas, I ended using the iPhone a lot more than my DSLR and rangefinder. In fact, I preferred to shoot with the iPhone for most shots that didn’t require a telephoto lens or a shallow depth of field.

In all the years of Android’s existence, in spite of huge investments of time and money, there’s never been a standout Android cameraphone. Some have cameras that are better in low light than the iPhone’s, many have higher resolution, and a number claim to be faster at focusing — but none pull it all together into the same comprehensive package that the iPhone can offer. Samsung and LG give you a pared-down “just shoot” experience, but they lack software polish and speed; Motorola’s camera launches and shoots quickly, but the quality is mediocre; and Sony manages to combine an excellent image sensor with terrible autofocus. Microsoft’s PureView cameras fare better, but the Windows Phone camera app is comparatively slow and unintuitive, and there’s a reason why former Lumia chief Ari Partinen is now tagging his photos with #iPhone6Plus instead of #Lumia1520.

All this just boils down to Apple’s philosophy of “it just works”.

WhatsApp and iMessage could be banned in the UK under new surveillance plans

The Independent reported on UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to ban encrypted messaging.

David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

The Prime Minister said today that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant. But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp.

Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime also encrypt their data, and could fall under the ban along with other encrypted chat apps like Telegram.

A display of ignorance. If the data is accessible, it can fall into the hands of people who will misuse it. The safest place to store your data is where there are no doors at all.