Samsung's Never-Ending Battle With Apple Over 'Slide to Unlock' May be Headed to Supreme Court

A longstanding lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over "Slide to Unlock" may be headed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Samsung has until March 29 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari, aka a request for Supreme Court review, per FOSS Patents.

If it accepts the case, the Supreme Court will review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's decision to reinstate Apple's $119.6 million award last October.

Apple successfully argued that Samsung copied its patents related to slide to unlock, autocorrect, and phone number detection.

The lawsuit is so old that Apple does not even use "Slide to Unlock" anymore. Unlocking an iPhone on iOS 10 requires using Touch ID or pressing down on the Home button, which first brings up the passcode screen if you have one enabled. Swiping to the right now brings up a collection of Lock screen widgets.

This case is not to be confused with another 2011 lawsuit in which Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone's design with its own Galaxy-branded smartphones. That larger case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and is now headed back to the same San Jose district court where it began for a possible damages retrial.

Cellebrite Says it Now Supports 'Lawful Unlocking' of iPhone 6 and Older Models

Cellebrite director of forensic research Shahar Tal recently tweeted out that the company's Advanced Investigative Service can now unlock and extract the full file system for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (via CyberScoop). To date, CAIS "supports lawful unlocking and evidence extraction" from the following iPhone generations: 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus. No mention has been made whether or not the developer has attempted to unlock newer-generation iPhones, including the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus.


The company reportedly charges $1,500 to unlock an individual phone and $250,000 for a yearly subscription to the data extracting service. In addition to the basic system and user data it can get, the hack also targets various apps within the iPhone, including personal data stored in Uber, Facebook, Chrome, and some dating apps.

At the same time this week, Cellebrite announced the next generation of its "Content Transfer" tool, which will allow retailers and operators to fully duplicate a customer's existing iPhone onto a brand new iPhone at an average content transfer speed of 1GB per minute. The developer said this should reduce wait times in stores while also pleasing anxious customers worried about losing data when upgrading to a new iPhone generation.

Cellebrite said the most important settings get transferred in the process, including wallpaper, alarm settings, weather, photos, videos, contacts, and apps. Not included are account passwords, Wi-Fi settings, health data, and website history. The company plans to hold a demonstration of the Full Transfer service for iPhones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs next week from February 27 – March 2.
“With content transfer speeds averaging 1 GB per minute, this new service is a complete game changer.” said Yehuda Holtzman, CEO of Cellebrite Mobile Lifecycle. “With Full Transfer, the average iPhone customer with 10GB of personal data can walk out of the store with a mirror-image of their old iPhone in just 10 minutes, offering customer experience that’s far superior to anything else available today.”
Although the developer has been most recognizably in the public eye for its relation to the Apple-FBI drama and its smartphone-cracking expertise, Cellebrite also offers a collection of services for retailers and businesses. Cellebrite Touch2 and Cellebrite Desktop power in-store smartphones and desktop computers, respectively, with software that the company claims offers flexibility by operating through a store's existing IT infrastructure to "deliver a fast, consistent service."


Earlier in February, Cellebrite found itself at the hands of a hacker when someone stole and publicly released a cache of Cellebrite's most sensitive data, including tools it uses to get into older iPhones. The hacker shared the data on Pastebin, intending to highlight the importance of the inevitability that any brute force tools aimed at bypassing encryption software "will make it out" into the public -- a prime fear of Apple CEO Tim Cook when the FBI originally demanded the company create a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c last year.

Apple Investigating iPhone 7 Plus Caught Melting on Video

Apple is investigating a melting iPhone 7 Plus that's the subject of a viral video on Twitter, reports Mashable. The owner of the phone, Brianna Olivas, says her phone exploded and started smoking Wednesday morning. Her boyfriend grabbed his phone and started recording the video, which has garnered 21,340 retweets on Twitter.


Olivas tells Mashable her phone wouldn't turn on Tuesday, so she took it to the Apple Store. After a couple of tests, employees told her the iPhone was fine and it soon began working normally again. She charged the phone near her as she slept that night, and the next morning her boyfriend moved the phone to the dresser. As he went to the bathroom he saw the phone smoking and heard it squealing. It soon caught fire and he "quickly grabbed it and threw it into the restroom," where it blew up.

Olivas has since turned the phone over to Apple for further testing, with the Cupertino company saying it'll know more within a week. An Apple spokesperson said the company is in touch with Olivas and is "looking into" the matter.

Photos via Brianna Olivas
Exploding smartphones have garnered increased attention since Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was plagued with widespread reports of exploding devices, prompting an "unprecedented" recall of the popular device. Lithium-ion batteries are more prone to malfunctioning and exploding when manufacturers and suppliers don't take proper care in preparing the batteries for use. For example, Samsung blames the Note 7's battery problems on a flaw that caused two incompatible parts of the battery came together.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

Apple Cut Ties With Supplier Super Micro Computer Over Server Security Concerns

Apple cut ties with server supplier Super Micro Computer in 2016 after unearthing a potential security vulnerability in at least one of its data center servers, reports The Information.

The vulnerability in the server, which was part of Apple's technical infrastructure powering its web-based services, was discovered in the early months of 2016. According to Super Micro senior vice president of technology Tau Leng, Apple ended its business relationship with Super Micro Computer shortly after uncovering the security issue.


Leng's account of the incident makes it sound like Apple received bad firmware from an FTP site hosted by Super Micro that may have been infiltrated, which may have compromised the server.

According to Leng, when Apple was asked to provide the version number of the firmware it had downloaded after experiencing issues, Apple provided an invalid number. After that, Apple refused to provide more information to Super Micro.
Mr. Leng said Super Micro regularly provides firmware updates that data center customers like Apple can download from a private "FTP" site, hosted by Super Micro. He said the firmware updates come from outside chip manufacturers--in this case, a networking chip maker that he declined to name.
Sources who spoke to The Information said servers that handled Siri requests and App Store search functionality may have been compromised, but an Apple spokesperson said Apple did not receive bad firmware nor was any customer data stolen.

"Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy and security of our customers and the data we store," the spokesperson told The Information. "We are constantly monitoring for any attacks on our systems, working closely with vendors and regularly checking equipment for malware."

It's not quite clear what caused the vulnerability that led to the end of the agreement between Super Micro and Apple, but Apple has since moved on to other server suppliers, increasing orders from ZT and purchasing servers from Inspur.

Alphabet's Waymo Accuses Uber of Stealing Self-Driving LiDAR System

Google parent company Alphabet's self-driving Waymo car division today filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Uber, accusing the company of stealing its self-driving intellectual property.

In blog post shared this afternoon, Waymo explains that employees of Otto, a self-driving trucking startup recently acquired by Uber, allegedly stole technical information from Google's autonomous car project, something it equates to "stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company."


Specifically, former Google employee Anthony Levandowski, who co-founded Otto, is accused of stealing 14,000 confidential files that included data on the laser-based radar system used in Waymo vehicles. Waymo conducted a forensic investigation of Levandowski's former computer after accidentally receiving an email of Otto's LiDAR circuit board, which closely resembled Waymo's design.
We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo's various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo's LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo's design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop.

Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo's highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.
According to Waymo, its LiDAR system is "one of the most powerful parts" of its self-driving technology. Waymo's LiDAR system works by bouncing millions of laser beams off of surrounding objects to create a 3D picture of the world for detecting and avoiding objects.

Alongside Levandowski, Waymo says other former employees who now work for Otto and Uber downloaded other confidential files ranging from supplier lists to manufacturing details.

Waymo is asking for an injunction against Otto and Uber to stop the misappropriation of its designs, and it is asking for the return of all trade secret information and for Otto to cease infringing on Waymo patents.

As Google and Uber fight over self-driving car patents in an increasingly competitive market, Apple is rumored to be quietly developing its own autonomous driving system for use in third-party vehicles.

Apple was originally said to be working on its own full-fledged vehicle, but later scaled back its plans and refocused on autonomous driving software after internal staff restructuring. Apple has reportedly given its car team until 2017 to "prove the feasibility" of a self-driving car system.

Apple to Open First Argentinian Apple Store in Buenos Aires in 2018

Apple is planning to open an Apple Store in Buenos Aires in 2018, according to Gizmodo en Español. The store will be Apple's first official retail location in Argentina, but it is not yet clear where it will be located in the city.

As Apple plans to open its first store in Argentina, several third-party retailers will also start selling Apple products. Starting in 2017, electronics chain Frávega will open 15 store-within-a-store locations that offer a range of Apple products. It is not known, however, if the Frávega locations will be offering the iPhone.

Apple Morumbi in São Paulo Brazil

At the current point in time, Apple products are exorbitantly expensive in Argentina due to taxes, tariffs, and inflation. Products sell for up to three times as much in Argentina as they do in the United States. The entry-level iPad Pro, for example, sells for $1,418 (22,149 pesos) compared to $599 in the U.S.

Argentina just announced plans to remove a 35 percent import tariff on computers, laptops, and tablets, which, along with a local Apple Store, could lower prices for Argentinian Apple customers.

Apple retail stores have been slow to roll out in Latin America. Apple has two stores in Brazil and just recently opened its first Apple Store in Mexico City. Apple is rumored to be planning to open additional stores in Mexico in Guadalajara and Monterrey, along with locations in Chile and Peru.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: Argentina

Apple Updates iTunes Remote App With Two-Factor Authentication for Home Sharing

Apple today updated its iTunes Remote app, which is designed to allow users to control their iTunes libraries from anywhere in the home.

The new update adds support for Apple's Two-Factor Authentication system, adding an extra layer of security when signing in for Home Sharing purposes. Using Home Sharing will now require a verified device or a verified phone number that can receive a Two-Factor Authentication code, preventing an unauthorized user from accessing a home library with just a password.

For those unfamiliar with Two-Factor Authentication, it is an opt-in system that's designed to increase the security of Apple ID accounts. It asks users to provide a verified code when signing in to new devices, when using iCloud, and when using services like iMessage and FaceTime.

Apple's iTunes Remote app was last updated in September of 2016, adding iOS 10 compatibility and minor performance and stability improvements. The app lets users browse their iTunes libraries and send music to AirPlay speakers.

The iTunes Remote app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Samsung Plans Small Scale Relaunch of Refurbished Note7 Phones Later This Year [Updated]

Samsung plans on selling modified versions of the troublesome Galaxy Note7 device in emerging markets later in 2017, according to Hankyung [Google Translate]. Samsung's reported intention is to minimize as much monetary loss as possible by "transforming" the returned products, refurbishing them, and reselling them in the Indian and Vietnamese markets.

The new Galaxy Note7 devices will include a low-capacity battery to get around the explosive troubles of the original devices, and could show up as soon as June 2017. The new battery capacity is said to be around 3000 to 3200 mAh, instead of the 3500 mAh of the first set of defective Note7 smartphones. In January, Samsung's official investigation concluded that the battery was the source of the Note7 fires.


Samsung claims to have recovered 98 percent of the 3.16 million Note7 units that were previously sold, and of those devices it got back, 200,000 were reportedly used in experiments that led to the identification of the battery as the source of the company's woes. Now Samsung has about 2.5 million Note7 devices left on its hands, leading to the smartphone maker's decision to modify, fix, and resell as many as possible.

Although the company hopes to further prevent loss following the Note7 recall, it has been estimated that the smartphone's recall cost Samsung $2.3 billion. To further make up for that disaster, the company has begun looking to the future and new reports suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8, and perhaps a larger-screened Galaxy S8+, will officially be unveiled on March 29 at an event in New York City (via Ars Technica).

After that unveiling, the smartphone will go on sale on April 21. The Galaxy S8 will include a number of feature additions that are also rumored for the iPhone 8, like a bezel-free display and no home button. Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the new Samsung smartphone will lack a headphone jack as well.

Update: Samsung has spoken to Gadgets 360 claiming that the report of a refurbished Galaxy Note7 relaunch in India is false: "The report on Samsung planning to sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in India is incorrect." The company specifically mentions only India in its statement, so it's unclear whether or not the modified Note7 devices might appear in other markets.

Tag: Samsung

Moov Fitness Coaching Tracker App Receives Major Update

Wearable activity tracking company Moov has issued a major update to its fitness coaching and tracking app, introducing high-intensity workouts and a design overhaul to make tracking data simpler to parse.

Version 4 of the Moov Coaching Tracker brings six new heart-rate based HIT circuit workouts that rely on body weight exercises, and two new high intensity running workouts. The workouts also introduce a new program overview screen that lets users preview the exercises involved before they commence interval training.


In addition, the new live workout screens have been redesigned to present a clearer picture of how users are performing during their workout, with more targeted advice on what they need to do to get the most benefit from the exercises.

New post-workout report cards also feature in the update, with greater granular data, clearer performance measures, and improved highlights.

The Moov Coach app is designed to work with the Moov Now fitness tracker, which senses both motion and 3D form in order to analyze the wearer's movement, and gives tips to improve physical activities and workouts. It uses 9-axis sensors, including accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to evaluate form.


Version 4 of the Moov Coach app also anticipates next week's release of the company's HR heart rate-tracking headband, Moov HR Sweat, which combined with the Moov Coaching features, guides wearers through their workouts move by move to keep them in their optimal heart rate zone.

Move Coaching Tracker is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Gboard Update Brings Google Doodle, Voice Typing, iOS 10 Emoji, and Additional Language Support

Google has announced a significant update for Gboard, bringing new emoji, Google Doodles, voice typing, and additional language support to the iOS keyboard app.

Gboard integrates the company's search capabilities into an iPhone or iPad's keyboard. Using the Google button in Gboard, users can search for information, send what they find, discover GIFs, emojis, and more, without having to exit a messenger app to visit Safari or Chrome.


The update means Gboard now supports all of the latest emoji from iOS 10. Additionally, Google has added subtle alerts about Google Doodles, which frequently animate the Google logo to honor holidays, anniversaries and notable people. Whenever a new Google Doodle goes live, the "G" button animates, prompting users to find out more about it.

Elsewhere, today's update adds voice typing, which allows users to dictate messages directly to Gboard. To start a new text, users can now long-press the mic button on the space bar and talk.

The update also brings 15 additional languages to Gboard, including Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Catalan, Hungarian, Malay, Russian, Latin American Spanish and Turkish.

Gboard is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google

Apple SIM Partner AlwaysOnline Wireless Drops Data Prices for UK Users

AlwaysOnline Wireless, one of the data providers for the Apple SIM built into newer iPads, today announced new, more affordable pricing for its LTE data plans in the United Kingdom, which can be used by both domestic UK residents and travelers who visit the UK.

The company offers a range of short-term data plans for iPads equipped with an Apple SIM, providing plans by the day, hour, or megabyte. AlwaysOnline Wireless offers connectivity in 74 countries, but today's price drop is limited to the UK. Pricing in other countries varies.


An hour of connectivity with 100MB of data is now priced at $0.11 in the United Kingdom, a significant price drop from the original cost of $0.49. A daily plan, with 500MB, now costs $2.99 (down from $5.99), and 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB plans with a 30 day limit are available for $5.99, $9.49, and $14.99, respectively. Previous pricing was at $10.99, $18.99, and $29.99.

"More travellers are increasingly turning to iPad as their preferred device while travelling or on-the-go," says Emir Aboulhosn, CEO and Founder of AOW parent company, Otono Networks. "Now iPad users around the world can benefit from the most aggressive cellular data pricing in the UK and stay connected for less than the price of a cup of tea."
The Apple SIM, introduced in 2014, works with cellular models of the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It is designed to support wireless service across multiple carriers, making it easy for customers to switch cellular providers, something that's especially useful for travelers.

Apple SIM is supported by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, along with EE in the UK, au and SoftBank in Japan, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, and Three in Hong Kong. GigSky and AlwaysOnline Wireless, two companies that offer coverage around the world, also support Apple SIM.

Apple SIM connectivity is available in more than 140 countries, primarily through Apple's partnerships with GigSky and AlwaysOnline Wireless.

New Instagram Update Lets You Share Up to Ten Photos and Videos in One Post

Instagram today announced that users will now be able to share multiple photos and videos within one post thanks to a carousel-like feature that allows up to ten pictures and videos to be uploaded simultaneously.

After the series is shared, followers will be able to swipe through in the order they were uploaded, creating a natural series of moments that can cover a friend's birthday party or even a full how-to series on food recipes, according to Instagram.

Blue dots under a post provide a hint for users to swipe for more content

To upload multiple pieces of content at once, users will see a new icon in the photo upload area, and from there they can tap and hold to change the order, apply a filter at once to everything or go one by one to customize each picture or video.

Instagram said that these types of posts are still designated to a single caption and only support the square-style size "for now." A similar carousel feature has been available to brands for advertising purposes within Instagram for the past few years.

Instagram is available to download on the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link]. The update will begin rolling out to users throughout the day.

Tag: Instagram