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Apple’s original HomePod has been jailbroken with checkra1n

When most people think of a jailbreak tool like checkra1n, among the first things that come to mind are iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, and Apple TVs. Interestingly enough, the checkra1n team has shown time and time again that the checkm8 bootrom exploit that powers this particular jailbreak is commanding enough to hack even some of the most arbitrary of things, including Apple’s T2 chip, which resides in a variety of Macs.

On Thursday, we learned that even Apple’s HomePod Smart Speaker devices are susceptible to the checkra1n jailbreak. The news, first shared this afternoon by Twitter user @_L1ngL1ng_, took many avid jailbreakers by surprise:

In the Tweet, we can clearly see a screenshot of a macOS Terminal window in which the command line text suggests successful root access to the HomePod in question via a secure shell (SSH) connection. Notably, the command line text also indicates that this is a first-generation HomePod (identified as AudioAccessory1,1,) and not Apple’s new HomePod mini (which would be identified as AudioAccessory5,1).

Additionally, @_L1ngL1ng_ is seen crediting checkra1n team member @DanyL931 in the Tweet for his help in making this achievement possible.

Impressive indeed, but the novel feat certainly raises a lot of questions about what would be possible with a jailbroken HomePod device. In an /r/jailbreak thread regarding the news, commenters threw around some ideas that included, but weren’t limited to:

  • Permitting the HomePod to be used as an actual Bluetooth speaker without having to use AirPlay
  • Enabling the presentation of custom display colors
  • Empowering users with the choice to use Google Assistant instead of Siri
  • And more…

For what it’s worth, the aforementioned bullet points are just ideas and aren’t representative of what might actually be possible with a jailbroken HomePod. For all we know at this time, most (if not all) of the above may not even be possible, but it can be nice to dream…

It remains to be seen whether the checkra1n team will integrate this functionality into its jailbreak in another upcoming update, but given that they’ve already added support for the Mac’s T2 chip despite how few users actually take advantage of this feature, it doesn’t seem too far out of the question.

Would you rush to jailbreak your HomePod, or are you like me and haven’t even bothered to pick one up? Let us know in the comments section below.

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ZecOps releases tfp0 exploit for iOS 13.5.1-13.7


As promised, following security researcher 08Tcw3BB’s much anticipated presentation at HITB CyberWeek 2020, affiliated software security firm ZecOps has officially released an exploit for iOS & iPadOS 13.5.1-13.7.

The announcement, shared this Thursday afternoon via the ZecOps Twitter account, links to a blog post on the firm’s own website that discusses the exploit, how it works via a proof of concept, and how an attacker could use it:

In the blog post, we find a Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) proof of concept that can be compiled with Xcode and side-loaded onto your iPhone or iPad. This, of course, requires a Mac.

This is particularly good news for the jailbreak community, as the exploit is capable of achieving tfp0 – otherwise known as a kernel task port – which enables arbitrary reads and writes to the handset’s kernel memory. As you might come to expect, this is just the sort of thing that a jailbreak developer would need to make a jailbreak function on a specific version of iOS or iPadOS.

As we know from previous comments made by 08Tc3wBB, the exploit will be shared with unc0ver lead developer Pwn20wnd such that the jailbreak tool can be updated to support the targeted versions of iOS and iPadOS. But now that the exploit has been released to the general public, it’s worth noting that other jailbreak teams have also taken note.

One such team is the Odyssey Team, with Odyssey jailbreak lead developer CoolStar announcing via the official Discord channel this afternoon that the jailbreak would be updated to support up to iOS & iPadOS “shortly:”

As it would seem, both the major public jailbreak tools may soon add official support for iOS & iPadOS 13.5.1-13.7, which means it doesn’t really matter which tool you prefer. As an additional option, FreeTheSandbox is currently working to release its own jailbreak tool with support for iOS & iPadOS 13.5.1-13.7, and hopes to maintain it as exploits for later versions of iOS and iPadOS materialize going forward.

Are you excited that iOS &iPadOS 13.5.1-13.7 will soon be publicly jailbreakable on all available devices outside of the scope of checkra1n, or have you already updated to iOS or iPadOS 14? Let us know by dropping a comment down below.

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Psychological thriller ‘Losing Alice’ set to premiere January 22 on Apple TV+

After hearing about the limited series way back in June of this year, we now have a premiere date for Losing Alice.

Apple today announced that the Israeli thriller will premiere on January 22, 2021, on Apple TV+. Apple purchased the series earlier this year, the company’s second Israeli-based TV production for its streaming service.

The series, which is expected to feature eight episodes in total, is centered around a character named Alice, played by Ayelet Zurer. The character is 48 years old, a film director, and is struggling to find relevance after raising a family. To reach that point, and regain her own power and, ultimately, success, she obsesses over Sophie, played by Lihi Kornowski. Sophie is a 24-year-old screenwriter and becomes the focal point of Sophie’s obsession and drive.

We don’t have a trailer quite yet, but with a premiere date slated for January, that should change soon enough.

This is actually the second Israeli-based TV co-production that Apple TV+ has landed. Earlier this month we reported that Apple TV+ landed the espionage thriller called Tehran. And then there is the upcoming series Suspicion, which will star Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) and is based on the Israeli series False Flag.

Are you looking forward to this one?

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Daily Deals: DJI Osmo Mobile 3 $98, new M1 Mac mini for just $670, and more

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you’ll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and much more. But you better hurry, these prices won’t be around forever!

Featured deals

  • DJI Osmo Mobile 3 handheld stabilizer – whether you are an aspiring Vlogger or moviemaker, or just a parent looking for some sharp home videos, this is a must have. $20 off. Buy for $98
  • iRobot Roomba 614 robot vacuum – I know these things are starting to all blend together but the Roomba is one of the better models available and is a steal at this price. Buy for $199
  • Save up to 50% on select Sony home audio products – whether you’re looking for a receiver and home theater speakers, or a sound bar system, this sale is worth checking out. Shop the sale
  • Mac mini (latest version with M1 chip) 256 SSD – Amazon has the new Mac mini with the M1 chip for $30 off right now. Not a huge discount but solid given this thing just launched. Buy for $670
  • AUKEY XXL Gaming Mouse Pad – this thing is huge! measures in at 35.4×15.75×0.15in . Also non-slip and spill resistant. Use promo code YYLEW8EZ at checkout. Buy for $12
  • Gift idea! – HP Sprocket Select portable printer – imagine going from taking a photo on your smartphone to a crisp, beautiful photos in an instant. Works with both iOS and Android. $30 off. Buy for $70
  • Gift idea! – DEWALT Flat Top Tool Box – here is a great price on this highly rated Dewalt toolbox. Buy for $18
  • Gift idea! – Leatherman Skeletool combo knife/multitool – these pliers offer 7 tools in 1, including a knife blade, and is made by the coveted brand Leatherman. $20 off. Buy for $48
  • Gift idea! – Blackstone 20-piece griddle accessory kit – even if you don’t own a griddle this is a great deal on some handy cooking utilities. Buy for $34
  • Gift idea! – LEGO Speed Champions Ferrari F40 Kit – I’m telling you, if you have anyone in your life that likes building projects and/or cars, get this. Super cheap, super easy to build, great desk/shelf ornament. Buy for $12
  • Nomad Outlet Sale – our favorite accessory maker is offering up to 70% off cases, Apple Watch bands and other accessories. Shop the sale
  • Fitbit Charge 4 fitness and activity tracker – built-in GPS, heart rate, sleep and swim tracking. Perfect gift idea with the holidays coming up. $40 off. Buy for $100
  • Kasa smart multicolored LED light bulbs – no hub required and compatible with Alexa and Google home. Great price right now. Buy for $17
  • Philips Sonicare HX 4100 electric toothbrush – no joke, I was just at the dentist and she recommended this exact toothbrush to me. Holiday gift? Great price. Buy for $35
  • KEF Q150 Bookshelf Speakers (pair) – for a limited time, get these gorgeous, highly-rated bookshelf speakers for some $80 off. Buy for $300
  • Sony PS Plus 1- year membership – get instant access not only to online multiplayer gaming, but free games as well. These retail for $60, and average discount price is typically around $40-$45. Buy for $30
  • Beats Solo Pro wireless noise canceling headphones – features Apple’s H1 chip, active noise canceling, Hey Siri support and up to 40 hours of battery life. All-time low price. Buy for $180
  • Speck Presidio Pro iPhone 11 case – these are some of my favorite cases and at a great deal if you have an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro. Buy for $9
  • Twelve South PlugBug global travel charger – Amazon also has a great deal on Twelve South’s PlugBug travel charger. 50% off from its usual price. Buy for $15
  • iTunes movie sale – $10 Pixar movies, $15 5-movie bundles, a ton of hit films on sale for $5, and more. Shop the sale

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Verizon and Apple announce ‘Global Enterprise 5G Fleet Swap’ for the iPhone 12 lineup

Earlier this month, Verizon announced it was hosting an event with Apple all about 5G, business customers, and the iPhone 12 lineup.

That day has arrived, and Verizon has officially unveiled what all the hoopla was about. It was indeed focused on the enterprise, unveiling the new “Global Enterprise 5G Fleet Swap”. This will allow business customers to swap an entire workforce’s fleet of phones for a new iPhone 12 replacement. There aren’t any up-front costs, either.

What’s more, Verizon says there won’t be any costs for the business if the phone is the iPhone 12 mini. If the fleet switches to an iPhone 12 or more expensive iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, there will only be a low monthly cost associated with the handsets.

Today, Apple and Verizon are also excited to introduce Verizon 5G Fleet Swap, a first-of-its-kind program that allows customers to trade in their entire fleet of smartphones, from Verizon or any carrier, and upgrade to any model in the iPhone 12 lineup for zero upfront cost, with zero to low cost per month.

This is meant to make it easier for businesses to make the leap from 4G LTE to 5G, which Verizon is definitely leaning into like the other major wireless carriers in the United States. What’s more, business customers can trade in their current handsets whether it’s from Verizon or from another carrier towards a new iPhone 12 in the lineup.

Related to 5G, Verizon’s announcement today also confirmed that both Honeywell and General Motors will rollout 5G ultra wideband (UW) coverage at their facilities across the U.S.

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Apple reiterates belief privacy is a ‘fundamental human right’ in letter regarding delayed iOS 14 advertising privacy feature

Before Apple launched iOS 14 to the public, it was confirmed (after an initial rumor) that Apple was delaying an important privacy feature.

Now, months later, Apple has finally shared a bit more information on the matter. But first, the feature. At its most basic level, its transparency for app tracking. It would simply allow users to determine if they want to be tracked across websites and apps. Many publishers, Facebook included, believed that iOS users would opt out of tracking across apps and websites if given the opportunity. As a result, they decried the upcoming feature.

Unfortunately, Apple’s decision to withhold that feature didn’t go over well with a group of civil and human rights organizations. They penned an open letter to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, letting him know they were unhappy with Apple’s decision to delay the feature.

Now, Apple has responded to that letter (via 9to5Mac) and echoes the sentiments regarding privacy it has made in the past. Jane Horvath, Senior Director of Global Privacy, said in the letter to the Ranking Digital Rights organization that Apple considers privacy a “fundamental human right”. That’s a statement the company has made in the past, and continues to lean into it.

According to Horvath, Apple was not bending to Facebook’s and other publisher’s will regarding the app transparency feature. Instead, Apple simply wanted to give developers (and publishers) more time to prepare for the changes. Which, yes, makes sense, because these are sweeping changes that will indeed have an impact moving forward.

Horvath confirms that the feature is still set to arrive sometime in early 2021. However, no official release date is revealed. Per the letter:

We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers.

And Apple isn’t doing away with advertising in its entirety. Instead, Apple appears to want to make advertising evolve. Horvath says that Apple wants advertising to respect a user’s privacy moving forward, and that’s the point behind this new feature.

Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets. Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.

This is more of the same from Apple, which is not surprising at all. The fact the company delayed the feature to begin with was a bit disheartening at the time. However, giving those who will be most impacted by it more time to (hopefully) evolve isn’t a bad thing.

What do you think?

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Apple releases iOS 14.2.1 with fix for iPhone 12 mini Lock Screen issue, MMS bug, and more

On Thursday, Apple released a minor update for iOS 14.2, bringing the version number to iOS 14.2.1.

With the latest update, Apple is aiming to fix some lingering issues for iPhone owners. The primary fix is for the iPhone 12 mini, with the software meant to fix a bug that could cause the Lock Screen to become unresponsive. With this software update installed, this should no longer be an issue for iPhone 12 mini owners.

In addition, iOS 14.2.1 also fixes an issue where some MMS messages may not have been received. And finally, the software addresses an issue where some Made for iPhone hearing devices could have sound quality issues when listening to audio from an iPhone.

To update, simply open Settings –> General –> Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions. If you have Automatic Updates turned on, your supported devices (this update is only available for the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max) will automatically download and install the latest update overnight, while the device is charging.

The new software is available for free.

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Google details iOS 14 widgets for Drive, Calendar, and other apps

Google is apparently ready to embrace the new widgets experience in iOS 14. The company already has some options out there, with even more app support coming soon.

Today, via a blog post, Google detailed the new iOS 14 widgets for a handful of its apps. To start, the Gmail app now supports a widget in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, which we reported yesterday. That widget makes it possible to get a quick glance at your unread count, start a search within Gmail, and compose a new email.

What’s available now

It appears that Google has already updated a couple of other apps to support widgets in Apple’s latest version of iOS.

Google Drive

Google Drive, for instance, now supports a widget as long as you’ve got the app updated to the latest version. With the widget you’ll be able to search within your Drive, and see your latest pair of opened documents as well.

Google Fit

For the folks out there that rely on Google’s fitness app, the Fit widget will help you keep track of your Heart Points. It will also make it easy to keep track of your steps as well.

More in the works

But wait, Google’s not done yet.

Google Calendar

First up is a widget for Google Calendar, one of Google’s most popular apps. The company says it will launch in the coming weeks, but no specific launch date has been revealed quite yet. With this widget, users will have quick access to the full app, but also get to see their upcoming appointments at a glance.

Google Chrome

And then, sometime in the early stages of next year, Google will launch a widget for its Chrome web browser. With this widget, users will be able to quickly type in a URL to launch a site, or even start a search. It will let users open an Incognito tab, start a voice search, and scan a QR code. Google also says, “the smaller widget comes with a little prehistoric surprise”.

Tutorial: How to find, add, and remove Home Screen widgets on iPhone

So, that’s great support for Apple’s more robust widgets. Are you using widgets on your iOS 14 Home Screen?

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Google Stadia game streaming service is coming to iOS devices via Safari

Apple has not been a fan of game streaming services being available in the App Store for years. And while the company did make some changes to technically make it a possibility, the workaround isn’t great for companies actually trying to make it happen.

The workaround? Safari. Amazon launched its own game streaming service, Luna, via Safari back in October. And just today NVIDIA launched access to GeForce NOW, its own game streaming service, via a web app. It’s not as pristine an experience as a standard iOS app, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

And now Google’s next up. Today, Google announced that, in the coming weeks, it’s going to start testing it’s Stadia game streaming service via Safari. This test will actually be public testing, so folks who want to jump on the Stadia bandwagon for iOS can do so soon.

This is good news for folks who have already decided to use Stadia as their go-to gaming option. Of course, Microsoft is waiting in the wings. The company is planning to bring its xCloud game streaming service to iOS devices via the web sometime in 2021.

As mentioned above, Apple tweaked its App Store rules in September, so much so that it can say it now allows services like Google’s Stadia, GeForce NOW, or Microsoft’s xCloud for iOS devices. However, the steps necessary for Microsoft and Google to bring those services to the App Store are tedious at best. So the likelihood that xCloud and Stadia and other cloud game streaming services would arrive on iOS was still bleak, despite the rule changes. For its part, Microsoft wasn’t impressed with Apple’s olive branch for cloud game streaming services.

What do you think? Are you going to check out Google Stadia on iOS when it launches?

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This unique 2-in-1 phone/tablet holder doubles as a dual wireless charger

Meet the KIKR S1, a wireless charger stand that lets you charge your iPhone and AirPods simultaneously that also doubles as a collapsible phone/tablet holder with adjustable height, angle and a whole lot of other cool features.

It was created by KIKR (HK) E-Commerce Co., a small startup focusing on lifestyle and various home office products that are relevant now more than ever in the age of the coronavirus. The S1 certainly matches the home office theme. With its one-piece integrated design, you can just fold this thing and literally carry it in your pocket everywhere, it’s that compact.

Whether you’re commuting to work every day or working from home, you’ll appreciate the S1’s thin and foldable design. When used to hold your phone or tablet in an upright position, you can easily adjust the angle to meet your different needs such as conducting FaceTime calls on your iPhone or using your iPad as an extended display for your Mac.

Not only is the angle adjustable, but the height as well.

One wireless charger is built into the base of the S1, allowing you to simply rest your AirPods in order to top up juice in the charging case. The phone/tablet holder doubles as a second Qi wireless charger. The solution allows you to charge your iPhone and AirPods simultaneously while the phone is resting in the holder so you can use it while it’s being recharged.

Both chargers support 10W, 7.5W and 5W charging modes that are compatible with all iPhones from the iPhone 8 onward, as well as with various Android smartphones, your AirPods and other devices that are compatible with the ubiquitous Qi wireless charging standard.

Don’t let the accessory’s small footprint fool you: They’re using high-quality metal parts for structural rigidness. As a result, the S1 can even hold your iPad Pro stably. I’ve been playing with this accessory for a month now and can honestly tell you that it has other cool features. And as a work-from-home gadget, it’s tremendously useful.

Watch this space as we’ll be publishing our full review of the S1 next week. In the meantime, the S1 officially launched on Kickstarter today so feel free to place an order if you’re interested in this cool product. If you’re among the first 200 backers, you’ll get the accessory for just $36, or 38 percent off its future retail price of $58 when it launches in February 2021.

You can also visit their official website at kikrteam.com to learn more about the S1.