AWT News Update: October 26, 2017

Planning on being up at 12:01 AM PT tomorrow morning to pre-order an iPhone X? We think a lot of people will be and we give you some tips and other news in today's Apple World Today News Update podcast:

  • You might want to consider a Silver 64GB iPhone X if you want a good chance of getting one
  • Concurrent with the iPhone X release on November 3, Apple will be unveiling the revamped Century City store in Los Angeles
  • Another beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.1 (the fifth) was released today
  • A Google engineer shows a proof of concept app that can use social engineering to make it possible for a malicious developer to capture photos or videos from an iOS device camera

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Thursday, October 26th, 2017.  

Just a reminder — the iPhone X becomes available for pre-order at 12:01 AM PT tomorrow (Friday) morning, so if you want to be one of the two to three million people expected to get one at launch, you’ll want to be awake in the wee hours of the morning to attempt your order. As always, the best way to submit your order is through the Apple Store app on an iPhone, although you may want to have a laptop or iPad ready to roll as a backup. Many pre-order surveys are showing that people are excited about the Space Gray 256GB model, so you might want to make your order for the Silver version or one of the 64GB models. Apple expects each retail store to have a limited number of the phones available on November 3rd, so a pre-order with pickup at a store is probably the best idea if you wish to get the earliest possible delivery date. Good luck, and we’ll have an article tomorrow morning that describes our purchase experiences.

Speaking of the iPhone X, Apple announced today that the revamped Century City store on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles will open on November 3rd so LA-area iPhone fans can have a chance to see the new enlarged store and pick up an iPhone X as well. The new store opens at 8 AM on November 3 and will be open until 9 PM, and it’s expected that the revamped store will be much larger that the original that opened in 2005. Most new stores are also getting oversized video display walls, wooden shelving, trees and even seating for Today at Apple events. 

As we mentioned yesterday on Apple World Today, we expect macOS High Sierra 10.13.1, iOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to all ship next week. Unsurprisingly, Apple released another beta version of High Sierra to developers today, the second in less than a week. That’s par for the course when a new OS is about to be released.

What do Google engineers do when they’re not working on making Android crappier? They find exploits in iOS, and this one is a bit scary. Felix Krause created a proof of concept app called watch.user that shows that if a malicious developer wanted to, he or she could ask the user  to grant access to the app to the cameras on an iOS device. This is done all the time with apps that need to either take photos or grab photos from the Photos app. So here’s the scary part: once a user provides access to the watch.user app, the malicious developer can photograph and record from the cameras any time the app is in the foreground without informing the user that the images and video are being captured. Krause found that he could upload images and video to an app’s servers and even broadcast a live feed from the iPhone. A malicious developer could find the user’s location based on the image data, then run facial recognition on still frames to discover the user’s identity. Krause suggests that worried users could block their cameras or revoke camera access for all apps, or making it so apps only have temporary access to the camera. Even better, Krause suggests that an LED be added to the camera modules on both sides of a device to show when the camera is use — similar to what the Mac cameras do. 

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.