In what's being described as AT&T's worst security breach in recent history, the wireless company went and left sensitive information on 114,067 owners of the iPad 3G exposed on the Web. The subscriber data was obtained by a group calling itself Goatse Security, who then published the personal email addresses of the victims, including military officials, CEOs, prominent politicians, and celebrities.
AT&T, which has confirmed the breach, insists that only email addresses were lifted, and that more sensitive data like credit cards and home addresses were not compromised.
"AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential exposure of their iPad ICC IDS," AT&T said in a statement. "The only information that can be derived from the ICC IDS is the e-mail address attached to that device. This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses. The person or group who discovered this gap did not contact AT&T. We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose e-mail addresses and ICC IDS may have been obtained. We take customer privacy very seriously and while we have fixed this problem, we apologize to our customers who were impacted."
While this one falls on AT&T's shoulders, the breach doesn't look good for Apple, either. This latest incident comes just weeks after an Apple employee left an iPhone prototype in a bar.
Even if you reject the iPad on an intestinal level—you know, because you don’t want to be associated with mock turtlenecks and man bags—then you should still view Apple’s device as a referendum on the looming wave of tablet computers. The bottom line is that the iPad is damn useful. The referendum has passed.
The LED-backlit display clocks 1024x768 pixels across 9.7 diagonal inches. Those are netbook-like specs in a physical formfactor that’s more attractive (both aesthetically and functionally) than any netbook. The best part about the screen is that it defines the iPad in toto—without the baggage of a hinged physical keyboard, track pad, or pointing stick, the iPad thrives when typing, web-surfing, or doing similarly simple tasks while lying on your back.
Citing un-named sources "with knowledge on the matter," Reuters is reporting that Hulu is busy developing a subscription service that it plans to roll out on several devices in the next month or two.
At least one of those devices will be Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console, which already features Netflix streaming, while one of the other sources said you can expect Hulu to release a version for Apple's iPad. Naturally, none of the companies supposedly involved had any comment.
While nothing has been confirmed, a move like this would hardly be surprising. It has been speculated for some time that Hulu would look to a subscription based model of some sort, though it remains to be seen how well something like this will be received.
"Many consumers already pay $100 or more monthly for TV, telephony, and high-speed Internet access and are unlikely to welcome an incremental fee merely to watch from the Internet some of the programs they already get," said Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media.
Not everyone share's Leigh's opinion, however.
"Many viewers are not going home to watch TV anymore. They've already been trained to believe TV is coming to them and demand is growing for this content in different forms and different business models," said Mike Vorhaus of media consultancy Frank N. Magid.
Would you pay for Hulu if it was integrated seamlessly into your Xbox 360, iPad, or other Internet-connected device?
Though Apple's iPad is really the only viable tablet currently on the market, there has been plenty of concern about the security of business apps on the device, and that includes email. That doesn't have to be the case, says IBM, which is offering a free download that lets Lotus Notes customers have secure access to email, calendar, and other other tools on the iPad.
"The iPad is a lot like the iPhone," says Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of messaging and collaboration at IBM. "I think this is a recognition that at least some folks are looking at using the iPad as a convenient business device. Personally, I'm traveling with an iPad and have been using the [Lotus Notes] software as I travel around. It's been working incredibly well."
Called IBM Lotus Notes Traveler, the apps is available now and enables the viewing of encrypted email both the iPad and iPhone. For those interested, you can download the app from here.
Bookseller Barnes and Noble is starting to hand out free coffee to encourage the use of their e-book software. For the duration of the limited time promotion, customers need only show a cafe server an open e-book running the Barnes and Noble software. This will net the user one free tall coffee. Devices qualifying for the promotion are iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Blackberry phones, the HTC HD2, Windows/Mac computers, and of course the Nook.
Barnes and Noble is in a race to catch up to the Kindle's lead in the e-book space, but the iPad may have them both beaten. If the tide turns against the monochrome eInk screens, these multiplatform apps are the bookseller's best hope.
Barnes and Noble has also been offering access to special content on the Nook that can be downloaded while in the store. They also allow Nook owners to read selected books for free, one hour per day, while in the store. Do these sorts of promotions make you want to live in the Barnes and Noble e-book ecosystem?
Steve Ballmer is known for being a bit, how should we say it, "outspoken", but he was forced to carefully choose his words while defending the PC at the All Things Digital Conference last week. Ballmer was responding specifically to comments made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs where he insinuated that PC's are going to fade into obscurity. According to Ballmer "general purpose PCs will continue to thrive because specialized devices like the iPad may be redundant and not necessarily affordable". Some might question the wisdom of calling a $499 device "not affordable", but he backs up his claims by pointing out that the function of tablets is mostly redundant. "I don't think the whole world is going to be able to afford five devices per person."
Ballmer seemed willing to admit that tablet devices might still find a place, particularly in entertainment-oriented scenarios, but that the things people do on a PC today aren't becoming any less important as a result of the iPad. "I think PCs are going to continue to shift in form factor. PCs will look different. Next year. The year after that. The underlying semiconductor infrastructure that Windows runs on. The world's moving to system-on-a-chip," he said.
Does Ballmer's have a point here? Or is he ignoring the real threat that tablets pose to traditional PC sales from consumers who only use the Internet to "consume" content rather than create?
I have a confession to make: I'm just not that into you. You seemed sorta cool at first, with your shiny multi-touch screen capabilities and slick Apple marketing capturing the attention of geeks and fanbois, but really you’re less like the One Tablet To Rule Them All and more like an iPhone suffering from gigantism. You don’t play nice with Flash, you can’t multitask, you’ve only got 64Gb, you’re lacking an HDMI port and you require a Micro SIM. Plus, you’re expensive. Like rent in San Francisco expensive. And although you’ve reportedly sold over 2 million units, I don’t really see you carried around much. With ASUS officially announcing its Eee Pad this week, and tablet announcements from Motorola, Sony, MSI, NVIDIA and VIA, I think you might want to watch your back.
The current state of the mobile market, contrary to what some tech commenters might be opining, is anything but ponies and roses. It's a lot like coming home from a hard day of work and finding out that your toilet is leaking--leaking all over your floor, that is. You don't really have the tools to fix it, but you do have a healthy amount of duct tape sitting around.
AT&T's announcement that it's eliminating the unlimited data plans for iPhone and iPad owners is but the black, sticky tape covering up a greater disaster underneath. But that's not what the various Internet commenters would have you believe. To them, the charitable AT&T has graciously swooped down to lower everyone's monthly data fees since so very, very few people will ever push past its first-tier pricing scheme of $25 per month for two gigabytes of data.
This is not some charitable reduction that saves 98 percent of AT&T's user base an extra $5 a month. If you believe that, then by all means, let the carrier come marching right up to your front door with a new contract and a shiny golden ticket to Wonka's candy factory. Because that, sir or ma'am, is just the level of delusion we're talking about.
In this week's edition of "Steve Jobs Said What!?," the CEO Maximum PC readers love to loathe told The Wall Street Journal PCs aren't long for this world, while devices like tablets are the wave of the future.
"The transformation of the PC to new form factors like the tablet is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways," Jobs said in response to a question by The Wall Street Journal's Steve Mossberg. "The PC is brilliant ... and we like to talk about the post-PC era, but it's uncomfortable."
Jobs went on to say that "PCs are like trucks," making a reference to a time when trucks used by farmers were more common than cars. Does he have a point?
"He's certainly being provocative," said Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. "It's a bit too early to tell whether tablets will displace PCs for most users."
As it stands, you can't purchase a service plan for any product through Verizon, no matter how many subscribers wish they could. But according to Boy Genius Report and one of their "highly placed sources," Verizon Wireless is at least testing out an Apple product.
"We have been told that the model they are testing is a CDMA-compatible device, and while our source mentioned LTE in some capacity (possibly another model), we haven’t been able to independently confirm that part of it," Boy Genius Reports writes in a blog post.
As many have done recently, BGR goes on to speculate that we might soon see an Apple product offered through Verizon, but will we really? On the record, Verizon maintains that it has no plans to support any Apple devices in the "immediate future," and as far as anyone knows, Apple's exclusivity agreement with AT&T is valid and runs for another 2 years. Even if Verizon is testing the iPad on its network, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, as companies often test devices.
Still, this will only fan the speculatory flames that are already running hot, and at a time when AT&T just announced new data plans, including one for the iPad.