Saturday, January 22, 2011

Qualcomm Baseband Clues Found in iTunes Source

Evidence of Qualcomm baseband software has been found inside the source code of the current version of iTunes, confirming that Apple has ended its sole reliance on Infineon as the supplier of baseband chips for iOS devices. A decompile of the iTunes source done by an Italian coder uncovered two files that are telltales of Qualcomm baseband, though there's no hard evidence of which device they might be used for. Possibilities include the upcoming Verizon iPhone or a potential "dual-mode" GSM/CDMA iPhone 5 or iPad 2.

Piergiorgio "Zibri" Zambrini decompiled the iTunes 10.1.1 source code, finding references to two files - "partition.mbn" and "amss.mbn" – which would be used for flashing a Qualcomm baseband chip, fusing it to a particular iOS device and carrier-locking it. The file "partition.mbn" is the flash partition table while "amss.mbn" is the baseband OS. Other files found in the decompile point to an Infineon baseband, either for backward compatibility of as an indication that Apple will use multiple suppliers on future devices. While there's no clear evidence either way, the inclusion of these files might indicate GSM/CDMA devices that could be used on virtually any carrier's network anywhere in the world.

Zambrini is well-known in the community, developing the ZiPhone one-click jailbreak/unlock tool for iPhone OS, which used an unsigned ramdisk to boot the exploit. He's since worked on jailbreaks for other devices like the Huawei E585 and E5830 portable MiFi 3G hotspots.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Universal iPhone bumper found in Apple Store, mute button gets more space

We were wondering how Apple was going to handle two different button configurations for its AT&T and Verizon iPhones, and well, the solution couldn't be simpler. One reader visiting the Apple Store stumbled upon a bumper with a slightly different packaging. Thankfully, this intrigued him enough to pick one up and do a side-by-side comparison between this new "universal case" and the old first-party solution. The only change, since volume buttons are mapped identically between the two, is a slot for the mute button that's decidedly less mute. Definitely works with his AT&T model and should theoretically fit Verizon's model, too. Tough luck if you're making a move to Big Red and trying to bring an old case, but let's be honest... you'd be paying a pretty penny for the new device anyway, so what's a few more dollars for physical protection? Video comparison after the break.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Playboy App Not Changing Apple's Strict Content Policy

Jay "saurik" Freeman has been hard at work on what he calls a "full package index:" a centralized database of Cydia packages. One of the first features based on this fundamental restructuring is now live on Cydia's homepage: the new "Manage Account" option. Finally, there's a simple way to determine what you've purchased on the Cydia Store, giving you a quick and easy way to re-install your apps, tweaks, and themes after a restore.

There are some caveats to be aware of. First off, if you had originally purchased your package through RockYourPhone, it may or may not show up in your "Installable Purchases" list unless you've explicitly linked the two accounts. As saurik says, he "tried very hard to automatically connect together accounts 'as if by magic' sometimes you will need to manually associate your Rock account." There's buttons on all apps that were on Rock enabling this, but if you haven't taken the opportunity to do so yet, you can use the Transfer Rock Licenses page on Cydia to link your accounts.

Also, if you're one of the many humans in the 21st century who has both a Facebook and a Google account, be aware that you may have used one or the other - or both - to log into Cydia in the past. Remember that Cydia only uses Amazon and PayPal accounts for payment authorization, not login. And furthermore, any item that uses its own payment system outside of Cydia won't show up on the list, even though it may be marked "Package Already Purchased" on its product page.

This is all part of a revamping of Cydia that will be ongoing. With the proliferation of packages, the default repositories have inevitably gotten a lot of corrupt or damaged package files. One positive side effect of the new index is that those files have gotten weeded out. Jay's continuing his efforts to make a Cydia that works for everybody, and if you appreciate what he's done, you might consider making a donation on PayPal.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Apple Planning on Merging iTunes and Safari?

Apple may be preparing a massive move that will propel Safari from niche browser to market leader. The move to merge Safari and iTunes into one software solution appears long in the works, which may arrive this fall at Apple's usual iPod special event.
Apple acquired the streaming music services company, lala, for $80 million in December 2009. The purported purposes for such an acquisition was for Apple to spearhead the way towards taking iTunes towards an online service, accessible via any browser, and away from a desktop software solution. That may no longer be the case.

iTunes now appears to be staying put as a desktop application. Despite Amazon's (and others) best online efforts to derail iTunes, the software and its sales continue to outpace the competition as a media content platform. As long as iOS devices continue to proliferate so to will iTunes.
In April 2003 Apple launched the iTunes Store within iTunes software. The integration of the iTunes Store transformed iTunes into a WebKit browser that organized and stored media files. Currently, this browsing experience is strictly tied to Apple's secure iTunes content, however, Apple integrating the iTunes software into the Safari browser changes the entire landscape.

While iTunes has been continuing its march, Safari's growth has been minimal. Safari claimed just 4.46% of browser market share in December 2010, yet Google's Chrome browser eclipsed Safari in December and has seen rapid growth since its launch. Safari's weak market position allows for Google to make bold moves, as evidenced by their recent discontinuation of h.264 support within their Chrome browser in favor of its WebM video codec. While this isn't a direct affront to iTunes or Safari, it is an attempt to further alienate the iOS platform, which also damages Safari.

It is believed that Safari will be the only browser able to access iTunes, as iTunes is built into the browser itself. "Moving iTunes organizational side-bar into Safari isn't a monumental task" claimed a source, adding "Safari would skyrocket in use as a result of integrating the software titles together."