Telstra launches outbound voice calling on Google Nest devices, iPhone eSIM support


Telstra says it is the first mobile carrier in the world to support voice-activated outbound calls on Google Nest and Home devices.

The telco said that its mobile customers could link up to six mobile services to a compatible Google Assistant device and synchronise contacts. A Google Mini, Home, Home Max or Hub can be used to dial by contact or business name, or call a particular number.

Google Assistant can be trained to recognise up to six individuals’ voices using its Voice Match feature.

Telstra will begin to roll out the service to customers from today.

“Voice technology is growing rapidly in Australia with smart speakers in over 1.35M Australian households, and two-thirds of Australian owners admitting to using their smart speaker daily,” said Telstra connected devices and accessories principal, Steve Dance.




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Apple reveals triple-camera iPhone – Computerworld


Apple caught up with hardware rivals on Tuesday by revealing a triple-camera iPhone, and it rolled out a streaming TV service priced at US$5 a month, undercutting Disney and Netflix.

The announcements came at the company’s biggest marketing event, where it unveils its top products for the year ahead, and showcased an aggressive Apple ready to battle on price.

The long-awaited Apple TV+ streaming television service will be available in over 100 countries, starting in November.

Buyers of an iPhone, iPad or Mac will get a free year of streaming TV, potentially drawing hundreds of millions of viewers to the service. That catapults the new service into a rarified group of companies.

“I think the pricing on the Apple TV service was definitely a positive surprise,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “That’s why you’re seeing the hammering in some of the other video service-related names like Netflix, Amazon and Roku. Clearly, that was a positive that people were happy to hear.”




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Here’s how much the iPhone 11 costs in Australia


The iPhone 11 picks up where the iPhone XR left off – but how much does it cost to buy in Australia?

If you’ve been anxious to see what Apple could come out with after last year’s iPhone XS (review here), iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, now’s the time to get excited. Earlier today, the company has announced the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. 

While the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are pitched at those who want the best iPhone experience available, the mainline iPhone 11 is likely to resonate with an audience of its own. In many ways, it’s a successor to last year’s iPhone XR. 

Even if the iPhone XR is still available, this is the new iPhone for those who don’t want to spend that much on a new iPhone.

Here’s how much the iPhone 11 will cost in Australia outright or on a plan. 

Outright




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Apple says Uighurs targeted in iPhone attack but disputes Google findings


Apple on Friday confirmed that China’s Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group considered a security threat by Beijing, had been the target of attacks due to iPhone security flaws, but disputed rival Google’s description of the effort to track users of the smartphone in real time.

Google Project Zero researchers said that five security flaws led to a “sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.”

The researchers did not specify the communities, but CNN, TechCrunch and other news organizations reported that the attacks had been aimed at monitoring Uighurs. Reuters recently reported that China hacked Asian telecommunications companies to spy on Uighur travelers.

Apple said on Friday the attack “was narrowly focused” and affected “fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community” rather than the “en masse” hack of iPhone users described by Google researchers. Apple also said it fixed the issue in February, within 10 days of being notified by Google.

Apple said evidence suggested that the website attacks lasted only two months, rather than the two years that Google researchers had suggested.




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Apple says Uighurs targeted in iPhone attack – Security


Apple has confirmed that China’s Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group considered a security threat by Beijing, had been the target of attacks due to iPhone security flaws, but disputed rival Google’s description of the effort to track users of the smartphone in real time.

Google Project Zero researchers said last week that five security flaws led to a “sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.”

The researchers did not specify the communities, but CNN, TechCrunch and other news organisations reported that the attacks had been aimed at monitoring Uighurs.

Reuters recently reported that China hacked Asian telecommunications companies to spy on Uighur travellers.

Apple said on Friday the attack “was narrowly focused” and affected “fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community” rather than the “en masse” hack of iPhone users described by Google researchers.

Apple also said it fixed the issue in February, within 10 days of being notified by Google.

Apple said evidence suggested that the website attacks lasted only two months, rather than the two years that Google researchers had suggested.

“Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of “mass exploitation” to “monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,” stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised,” Apple said in a newsroom post.

“This was never the case.”

In a statement, Google said it stood by its findings and would continue to work with Apple and other companies to find and fix flaws.

“Project Zero posts technical research that is designed to advance the understanding of security vulnerabilities, which leads to better defensive strategies,” Google said in statement.

“We stand by our in-depth research which was written to focus on the technical aspects of these vulnerabilities.”

Google and Apple are rivals in the smartphone market, where their iOS and Android operating systems vie for users. But Google’s Project Zero team of researchers is focused on finding serious security flaws from a wide range of software and hardware firms, not solely Apple.

Last year the group played a key part in finding security flaws in chips made by Intel.


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Apple might release a sub-$400 iPhone SE-style phone next year



Apple’s set to release its new crop of iPhones in less than a week. If the last two years are indicators of anything, the company might not sell as many units as it used to do prior to the iPhone X’s release in 2017. However, a report from Nikkei Asian Review suggests, it’s preparing to launch a sub-$400 phone next year to revive sales of its most beloved product.

The report notes the device will be a successor to the iPhone SE, which was released in 2016. The phone will expectedly feature a 4.7-inch LCD display – just like the iPhone 8. It’ll also reportedly share some components with this year’s iPhones, such as the A13 chip.

Reports of Apple releasing an iPhone SE 2 are not new, though. In 2017, plenty of stories indicated the company will release the much-awaited successor in 2018. But as you probably know if you’ve been following Apple, the company did nothing of the sort.

Poor iPhone sales in recent quarters have hurt Apple a bit, but it’s trying to make it up by ramping up its services portfolio. It even stopped disclosing the number of phones it sold every quarter since last year.

Amongst this sales decline, the arrival of a low-cost phone people have been yearning for can certainly boost Apple’s numbers. The company can also get its market share up in price-sensitive countries like India.

At the moment, it’s too early to tell if the Cupertino-based company will release an iPhone SE successor. But we can certainly cross our fingers.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
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Published September 5, 2019 — 06:11 UTC




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All the leaked iPhone 11 specs we’ve seen so far


We’re less than 10 days away from Apple’s next iPhone reveal, but over the weekend, all three phones’ specs were leaked. Chiese tech news outlet MyDrivers got hold of the spec sheet including prices and names.

The report suggests this year’s iPhones will be named the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. All of them will be powered by Apple’s latest A13 chip, and support Face ID, Wi-Fi 6, and bilateral wireless charging.

The iPhone 11 Pro and the Phone 11 Pro Max have 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED screens respectively. Both phones support the Apple Pencil, sport a 12-megapixel front camera, and a have a 12-megapixel triple camera setup on the rear. The smaller iPhone 11 Pro has a 3,190 mAh battery and a starting price of $999. The iPhone Pro Max, on the other hand, gets a 3,500 mAh battery and a starting price of $1,099.

On the lower end of the price spectrum, the iPhone 11 – the iPhone XR’s successor – has a 6.1-inch LCD screen, 4GB RAM, and a 3,110 mAh battery. It’ll have a dual-camera setup on the rear, bumping up from a single cam from its predecessor. However, it won’t work with the Apple Pencil. This model will start at $749.

Earlier reports have suggested presence of triple camera setup in the Pro and the Pro Max models along with a 12-megapixel TrueDepth selfie camera. Plus, a report by Citi Research published in August also hinted towards the Apple pencil support in the top two models.

While the spec sheet looks quite convincing, we’ll have to wait for just a few more days until Apple reveals its new phones in all their glory.

Make sure you tune in to Plugged on September 10 for all our Apple coverage next week.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
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Flipboard.

Published September 2, 2019 — 06:16 UTC




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iPhone spyware campaign reportedly targeted Uyghur Muslims for 2 years



The data-stealing iPhone exploits detailed by Google last week may been used for state-sponsored campaigns targeting the Uyghur Muslim minority in China‘s autonomous region of Xinjiang.

“The websites were part of a campaign to target the religious group by infecting an iPhone with malicious code simply by visiting a booby-trapped web page,” TechCrunch revealed, citing sources familiar with the matter.

“In gaining unfettered access to the iPhone’s software, an attacker could read a victim’s messages, passwords, and track their location in near-real time,” the report said.

What’s more, it appears the same websites also targeted Android and Microsoft Windows PCs in a similar campaign, according to Forbes. “The attacks were updated over time for different operating systems as the tech usage of the Uyghur community changed,” the source told Forbes.

TechCrunch added that the websites also infected non-Uygurs who mistakenly accessed these websites because they showed up in Google search results. This apparently led the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ask the company to de-index the sites and reduce the number of infections.

The search giant’s Project Zero security team disclosed a group of malicious websites that were used as a watering hole to attract and infect iPhone users by penetrating iOS‘s digital protections.

The unpatched zero-days were exploited by hackers to install spyware that stole photos, chat messages, emails, and log-in credentials from iPhones and iPads. The websites had “thousands of visitors” per week for at least since 2017, Google said.

The exploit chains affected iOS versions spanning from iOS 10.0.1 released in September 2016 to 12.1.2 issued last December. Apple fixed the vulnerabilities in iOS 12.1.4 in February, within a week after Google privately notified the iPhone maker of the flaws.

But the deep-dive analysis by Project Zero researcher Ian Beer stopped short of revealing the names of the websites and the threat actors behind the attacks.

The move, if true, marks the Chinese government’s continued efforts to repress all forms of political or religious dissent in Xinjiang.

China has long considered the province a breeding ground for “separatists, terrorists and religious extremists,” with the residents of the region — ethnically Turkic Muslims — the subject of persecution and heightened surveillance.

Aside from deploying flocks of drones disguised as birds to surveil the Uyghur community, their WeChat conversations have been monitored. They have also had their DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, voice samples, and blood types collected.

As of last year, more than two million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities have been thrown into concentration camps, made to memorize Communist Party propaganda, and renounce Islam, prompting over 20 countries to call on China to halt its mass detention efforts.

The flaws are also bound to puncture a hole in Apple’s pro-privacy and security stance, what with the company coming under the scanner for a number of security snafus just this year. The fact that the attackers could continuously exploit the vulnerabilities over two years shows that Cupertino still has work to do in safeguarding its devices and services.


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Google researchers reveal data-stealing, web-based iPhone exploit that was active for years


Researchers from Google have uncovered what appears to be a concentrated malware campaign targeting iPhones for at least two years. Thankfully this may be over now, although they warn it’s possible there are others that are yet to be seen.

Project Zero, the search giant’s security team tasked with finding zero-day vulnerabilities in software, said they discovered a small collection of malicious websites that could be used to hack the devices, using previously undisclosed five different exploit chains.

The chains leveraged 14 different vulnerabilies that covered every version from iOS 10 all the way through iOS 12. Apple issued a patch in its iOS 12.1.4 update back in February after the team privately disclosed the flaws, and gave the iPhone maker just a week to fix them.

Project Zero normally adheres to a strict 90-day disclosure period, but the reduced deadline is indicative of the seriousness of the vulnerabilities involved.

Credit: Project Zero