Thurrott Daily: February 9

Thurrott Daily: February 9
Emperor Tim Cook initiates Order 66, er ah, Error 53.

Another day, another snow storm. And some more tidbits from around the web.

2/9/2016 10:34:41 AM

BLU Windows phones will be on sale this Saturday

Got a heads-up from BLU that its Win HD LTE and Win HD Jr LTE handsets will be on sale this Saturday on Amazon. So if you’re looking for a bargain on an unlocked Windows phone, these are worth considering.

Of Apple and Error 53

I’m not sure if you folks have heard about Apple’s latest controversy, but it goes something like this: Because of a poorly-implemented security feature in its latest iPhones, Apple has stranded a number of users with non-working devices that cough up something called “Error 53.” And if this Guardian story is any indication, Error 53 looks like the bastard child of the Blue Screens and TPM chipsets that were supposed to sink Windows years ago.

The issue appears to affect handsets where the home button, which has touch ID fingerprint recognition built-in, has been repaired by a “non-official” company or individual. It has also reportedly affected customers whose phone has been damaged but who have been able to carry on using it without the need for a repair.

But the problem only comes to light when the latest version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 9, is installed. Indeed, the phone may have been working perfectly for weeks or months since a repair or being damaged.

After installation a growing number of people have watched in horror as their phone, which may well have cost them $600-plus, is rendered useless. Any photos or other data held on the handset is lost – and irretrievable.

Apple’s response?

This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.

But as Ewan Spence notes, that’s not good enough.

Apple’s statement relies on spin to divert the issue. Apple says that the breach of security that lies behind Error 53 is irreversible, but I can’t help thinking that there must be a way to re-establish the relationship. After all, Apple can replace the TouchID sensor on an iPhone and the unit will be eligible for updates. Should Apple be the only company that can reset the secure elements of an iPhone?

That’s what this is really about.

Apple TV and Chromecast have trouble streaming the Super Bowl

A report in The New York Times claims that some devices had problems live streaming the Super Bowl. (No big loss there, as it was the worst Super Bowl, by far, of the past 20 years.)

Watching the Super Bowl over the weekend turned out to be a not-so-superb experience for some owners of streaming devices like the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast.

Some Apple TV and Chromecast users said all their apps worked except for the CBS Sports app on Sunday.

I notice Xbox One wasn’t mentioned. This tells me that Xbox One had no issues. Or that no one used Xbox One to watch the Super Bowl.

A future without passwords

Only the Wall Street Journal could discuss the end of passwords at length and only mention the word “Microsoft” just once in passing. Despite, cough, that it has been innovating in this space for years. Apple? Mentioned 9 times. Google? 13.

Technologists aiming to strike a balance between security and ease of use are converging on the smartphone. The latest developments from Google parent Alphabet Inc. and from Apple Inc. go beyond using special programs designed to manage all of your passwords, or entering a code sent via text message. Instead, they treat a handset as a replacement for passwords and other identification.

Thank God for Apple and Google, I guess.

“Facebook Ordered To Stop Tracking Non-Users In France”

Just track users, please.

“iPhone 7: concept sketch suggests ‘liquidmetal’ handset could be waterproof”

Two things. 1) Hey, you never know. And 2) A “concept sketch” is just a fairy tale, right?

“Has Apple hit ‘peak iPhone’? Not yet, says Tim Cook.”

Hey, he was right about the iPad. And Apple Watch. Cough.


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