• Tuesday Morning News

    This morning the news covers Apple’s health platform rumours, the company’s stock price and email encryption issues. Let’s begin with the issues in iOS 7.1.1.

    Encrypted, it is not
    The most recent of iOS releases, including the latest iOS 7.1.1 update feature a bug that does not properly encrypt emails saved on an iOS device. Apple is aware of the flaw after security researcher Andreas Kurtz alerted the Cupertino giant of the issue last month, but is yet to release a fix.

    According to Kurtz’s blog post:

    “I verified this issue by restoring an iPhone 4 (GSM) device to the most recent iOS versions (7.1 and 7.1.1) and setting up an IMAP email account1, which provided me with some test emails and attachments. Afterwards, I shut down the device and accessed the file system using well-known techniques (DFU mode, custom ramdisk, SSH over usbmuxd).

    “Finally, I mounted the iOS data partition and navigated to the actual email folder. Within this folder, I found all attachments accessible without any encryption/restriction.”

    A lack of a fix is sure to worry corporate or governmental iPhone and iPad users, and Apple will be in a hurry to get a fix out. One little reassurance is that the device needs to be placed in DFU mode, which would require the hacker to have physical access to the device. So, if you have any saved emails on an iPhone or iPad, don’t lose it at the moment.

    Apple’s health ecosystem
    Apple may be looking long term in the health field, according to a Reuters report. The report focuses upon the claims of a health technology expert, Ted Driscoll, who believes, “There's no doubt that Apple is sniffing around this area.”

    What is the area he is talking about? It’s a new platform, similar to the iOS App Store, which would allow other companies to develop software and hardware applications for the iWatch and future iOS devices. This would likely include Nike, which has scaled down its hardware arm.

    “One mobile health executive, who asked not to be named, told Reuters he recently sat down with an Apple executive from the iWatch team. He said the company has aspirations beyond wearable devices, and is considering a full health and fitness services platform modelled on its apps store,” the Reuters report states.

    Apple has been on a health-focused hiring binge over the past year. It has hired a number of prominent biomedicine experts and researchers, many of whom have a background in health monitoring.

    A Healthbook app has been rumoured for a while now, and Apple’s recent acquisitions of staff make it seem very plausible that Apple is making this a part of the future plans.

    WWDC in June may offer a new insight, if Apple does show off iOS 8.

    Stock up
    And a good news piece to finish this morning, with Apple’s stock price rising above the US$600 mark for the first time in 18 months. The stock price has been a major point of alarm for all doomsayers, reaching a low point of US$388 in June last year, despite the company’s sales and revenue success.

    One thing is for certain: it will drop on 2 June, as the analysts announce their disappointment at Apple’s lack of innovation at WWDC.

    That's all folks.

    By Jonathan
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