About Ben Reid





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ben [dot] reid [at] redmondpie [dot] com

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Ben has blogged 5438 post(s).

Posts by Ben Reid:

When Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor, first emerged on the scene with last year’s launch of the iPhone 5s, it was dispelled by many as a gimmick. It quickly emerged that it was anything but – rather a very refined measure that enhanced security and promoted seamlessness. With iOS 8, Apple has further expanded Touch ID’s reach, adding third-party support allowing banking, password management and other such apps to reap the fruits of the implementation. It’s still not without its fair share of limitations, though, and among them, the fact that it doesn’t immediately allow a user to log in right after a reboot. It has now emerged that this isn’t an arbitrary decision imparted by Apple, but actually, is due to the secure infrastructure upon which Touch ID is based.

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Apple broke the habit of a lifetime earlier this year in its move to snap up the well-known, high-profile Beats Electronics for $3 billion, and since then, the company has wasted little time in improving and updating its new subsidiary’s range of products and services. As well as the few new pair of headphones that have manifested since the takeover, the Beats Music subscription service has been a major topic of conversation, and with Apple looking to use its vast iTunes catalog as leverage in the battle of the modern digital music portals, it looks like the Beats Music app will become a part of the stock repertoire early next year.

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iOS 8.1.1 untethered jailbreak has been demoed on video by iH8sn0w, opening up possibilities for a future jailbreak release. More details can be found right here.

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The smartwatch industry has continued to evolve and expand over the past couple of years, and with the Pebble start-up campaign having been credited with forging this new-found product group for wrist-worn tech, many of the biggest names in the mobile arena have since joined the party. From Samsung to LG, Motorola to Sony, a host of powerful companies have already rolled out wearables, and most of them run Google’s Android Wear. But as is the case in the smartphone and tablet industries, Apple will soon offer a fierce rival to the Google-made platform, and if you’re looking to build apps for Apple Watch, the video tutorial embedded below will help you get off the ground.

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As years go, Samsung has struggled through 2014, with the likes of the Galaxy Note 4 seemingly overwhelmed by rampant iPhone 6 sales towards the latter stages. It stands to reason, then, that the Korean outfit should need a new battle plan as we saunter on into 2015, and apparently, at least one line of bendable / foldable devices will be hitting the market next year.

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Facebook has continued to dissect the various attributes of its social networking experience, with the Messenger app being the most obvious and widely used spin-off to the main official utility. But it’s not the only aspect of Facebook that could use its own little quite space through which to operate, and with a large chunk of the 1 billion+ user base engaged in groups, Mark Zuckerberg and his software development team have obliged with a separate Groups app for iOS and Android. Details, as ever, can be seen below.

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Sony has just débuted a new image sensor for mobile devices that incorporates a “stacked” design, which offers a more compact form factor while still improving dramatically on overall performance. Given that Apple tends to subscribe to this ethos of scaling everything down with each new hardware release, allied to the fact that Sony is a manufacturing partner of the Cupertino’s, and it’s reasonable to speculate that the next-gen iPhone (and iPad) devices could reap the benefits of the 21-megapixel Exmor RS IMX230.

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In order to achieve an iOS jailbreak of any kind, holes in the software must be found and exploited, and for the most part, there’s a requirement of several exploits working in tandem. The Pangu8 jailbreak for iOS 8 / 8.1 utilized a multitude of security lapses in allowing us to reach the holy grail of Cydia once more, but while Apple just recently plugged three gaps in iOS 8.1.1 that had made Pangu8 possible, the Chinese hackers behind it have been given their due credits for discovering the flaws.

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If you’ve been jailbreaking for a fair amount of time, then you’ll be more than familiar with Substrate Safe Mode. It’s designed to help your device remain usable when conflicts arise, allowing you to resolve the issue and remove the problematic package(s) or extensions with as little incident as possible. It’s not the most welcome of situations, since it only arises when there’s a crash of some description, but it is a necessity in helping your device to recover, and with Substrate Safe Mode having just been updated in Cydia, this is one package you’ll want to download and install at the soonest opportunity.

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Apple has just released iOS 8.1.1 download links, which are now ready to be installed by iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in ownership of the recent devices capable of running the latest software.

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Thanksgiving is almost here, but while many will be indulging in copious amounts of food and drinks next week, tech fans will be looking to score some deals on what is known as Black Friday. Sure, it’s not just retailers of consumer electronics that come through with some delicious offers, but with the follow-up of Cyber Monday, next week is sure to bring massive savings on everything from iPhone apps to PlayStations. Whether you’ve decided to treat yourself or wish to get your holiday gifts in early, there are plenty of offers to go around, and below, we’ll point you in the right direction.

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Having 4G LTE connectivity on a mobile device is great and all, but when its signal begins to weaken, iOS takes it upon itself to switch to 3G. This is perfectly reasonable, of course, since it conserves battery and makes practical sense to run only 3G where LTE coverage is not necessarily firing to its maximum capacity, but if you don’t want to be mollycoddled by Apple in this regard, then there’s no actual way to halt the auto-switch to 3G. As with so many limitations within the iOS software, though, there’s a remedial tweak out to resolve the issue, and a new entry over at the BigBoss repository will lock your cellular data signal to 4G LTE even when it begins to fade out.

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A couple of days back, we reported on the so-called Masque Attack afflicting iOS, with threatening apps posing as legitimate ones in order to steal login credentials and generally wreak havoc. The fact that the United States government has issued a bulletin as something of a warning to iOS users is a testament to the severity of the problem, and with Apple concerned about the security of its platform as it well should be, the Cupertino company’s support pages have been updated to offer advice to those worried about Masque.

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Android’s latest mobile software, dubbed Lollipop, is, if you’ll excuse the terrible pun, the word on everybody’s lips right now, but despite the numerous features having been refined and deemed ready for prime time, the typically cumbersome roll-out has since ensued. If you’re an Android user, it’s very likely that you’ll be waiting a while before you can indulge in this new version 5.0, but if you happen to be in ownership of a Nexus, then you won’t be left hanging for quite as long. Indeed, along with the earlier release of factory images for a spate of Nexus smartphones and tablets, the system image for the Nexus 4 is now in the wild, and if you’re still in possession of this antiquated handset, then you can now… wait for it… get flashing!

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Beats Electronics has risen to great prominence in a short space of time, combining fashion, popular culture and music into one very recognizable product line-up. Given that Apple has always had an eye for style, the Cupertino’s acquisition of the Dr. Dre-founded company earlier this year wasn’t particularly surprising, and since then, Dre and co-founder Jimmy Iovine have been working with Apple to move the brand into its next chapter. The Solo2 wireless headphones are next on the agenda, and whilst they’re not yet available to order, one YouTuber has gotten hold of a pair early, and considerately, has shared a few photos and impressions as the world gets its first proper glimpse at this new bit of kit.

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We regularly feature some great deals on apps here, and today’s pickings make for particularly happy reading if you happen to be running Google’s Android mobile operating system. For a very limited time, you can pluck a total of seventeen paid apps for no charge whatsoever, and if your home screen is feeling a little bereft of fresh content, here’s a prime opportunity for you to rectify the situation.

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Microsoft has just introduced a new beta version of Skype that operates seamlessly through the Web, enabling users to communicate from the comfort of their browsers. It’s not quite ready for the masses yet, with only a few hand picked users new and existing being pulled into the beta program, but all going well, it should be available to the wider audience in a matter of a few months.

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A couple of days ago, we reported on the Masque Attack vulnerability that replaced legitimate iOS apps with those able to cause harm. Worryingly, the issue affects both jailbroken and non jailbroken devices, and as a mark of its seriousness, the United States government has issued an official warning to those running Apple’s mobile software.

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Apple Watch may have been announced some two months ago alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but it’s going to be a great deal longer before the Cupertino’s new smartwatch line-up is available to the mass market. A lot of preparation is currently being undertaken to ensure that consumers enjoy the very best experiences, and the closest we’ve gotten so far to actually using the elusive gadget is by means of a jailbreak tweak replicating its interface on iOS, but the whole experience was rather shoddy. One developer, having picked up the source code from the earlier endeavors, has come through with a very exciting new jailbreak tweak that not only allows users to launch apps via the circular, animated home screen UI, but also, enjoy the kind of buttery smoothness that we’ll be expecting of the real product when it finally does emerge from the ether.

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It’s Call of Duty Season as far as fans of the seminal first-person shooter are concerned, and with Advanced Warfare having recently dropped for the main consoles, Activision has come through with Call of Duty: Heroes for iOS. Presumably, an Android version will also be in the offing at some point, but at present, it’s only available for iPhone and iPad users, so if you’re rocking one of these devices, we’ve the details and download link right here.

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