Apple prefers to stop its Walkie-Talkie feature

Apple has taken a new decision regarding the security of its Apple Watch: the walkie-talkie feature has been disabled due to a vulnerability allowing spying of the owner.

Following the discovery of a vulnerability, the Cupertino company was forced to make a radical decision, namely the temporary deactivation of the walkie-talkie mode on the Apple Watch. A security breach has indeed been discovered and allows spying of users. This Walkie-Talkie function exists on the Apple Watch since watchOS 5.

Walkie talkie disabled due to vulnerabilities

The Cupertino company said: “We have just been made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie Talkie application on the Apple Watch and we have disabled the function by quickly correcting the problem. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and we are committed to restoring functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and that specific conditions and sequences of events are necessary to exploit it, we take the security and confidentiality of our customers extremely seriously.”

The company also said, “We concluded that disabling the app was the right thing to do, because this bug could allow someone to listen to another customer’s iPhone without their consent. We apologize again for this problem and for the inconvenience it causes you.”

For the moment, the application is disconnected, but Apple promises to restore it as soon as possible. Apple does not wish to reproduce its error, which was first discovered when a teenager had discovered a flaw on FaceTime.

The loyalty of iPhone users is at its lowest

Among smartphone users, there are mostly just two worlds: the Apple world and the Android world.  Apple users are known to be particularly loyal to the brand. This is largely due to the fact that the Cupertino company knows how to keep its customers in its ecosystem. After years of buying apps and using Apple brand services, it’s hard to stop them suddenly.

Loyalty to the Apple iPhone is at its lowest

That said, in recent times, it seems that this loyalty to the iPhone is down. According to BankMyCell data, the iPhone’s retention has dropped by 15.2% compared to March 2018. The report announces that 18% of iPhone arrivals have been “exchanged” by Samsung. Overall, this loyalty to the iPhone is 73% against 92% in 2017.

Difficult to know the precise causes of this fall

These figures only take into account the occasions of smartphones, so they may not represent all iPhone users but they are still a trend indicator. It is difficult to understand the cause of these results. It is possible that the high prices of these devices make customers prefer not to stay at Apple, and instead opt for an Android device which is often less expensive.

It is also possible that the lack of innovation at Apple lately has its role to play.

This year’s iPhone will ship a brand new haptic engine

The new iPhone is expected to be released shortly, and rumors are increasing. Today, there is talk of a new haptic engine.

If the rumors are proven, Apple should abandon 3D Touch for its new iPhone. The system would be replaced by Haptic Touch, a feature introduced with the iPhone XR from last year. According to a 9to5Mac report, the next iPhone would be equipped with a brand new haptic engine.

A new haptic engine in the next iPhone?

The engine in question was used by Apple with the codename “leap haptics.” Few details are currently known about this new component, but there is little doubt that it will be used to improve the Haptic Touch feature. Without 3D Touch, it makes perfect sense that Apple will focus on Haptic Touch and its improvement.

To further improve Haptic Touch

While the concepts of 3D Touch and the detection of the pressure level are quite understandable, 3D Touch suffered from a certain defect, its lack of intuitiveness. The developers were free to implement it in their applications, which some did but not others.

In these conditions, it is difficult for users to know when the said function was present and therefore to be able to use it. It will be necessary to wait for the official presentation to discover what this new haptic engine has to bring to the user. Let’s hope that this is for the better.

Apple warns iPhone users of third-party battery repair risks

Apple protects its iPhone to the max: we all know that. This includes locking the device during any repairs. While some retailers still do repair work on the smartphone, the Cupertino company advises against battery repairs by third parties.

Apple does not want you to replace the battery of your iPhone on your own. The Cupertino company has deployed a new version of its software to detect whether the battery was installed without an official authentication key and then displays a warning in the section dedicated to the health of the battery. This concerns the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max under iOS 12, as well as the beta versions of iOS 13. If you replace the battery of the iPhone or it is replaced by an unapproved repairer, a message now tells you that the battery is not optimized: “Important message about the Battery / Can not check if this iPhone has an official battery. Health status is not available for this battery.”

Now, this message is visible even if the battery is new and it works perfectly, but it has been replaced by someone not from Apple. It seems that the Cupertino company is trying to scare iPhone users to dissuade them from making their own battery replacement elsewhere than from an authorized repairer. On the other hand, these same authorized repairers guarantee the use of official components.

One more way to force users to go through Apple

Apple is continuing to strengthen its campaign against third-party battery replacements. A few months ago, the Apple brand had revised its policy of repairing the iPhone with unauthorized replacement batteries. The company has already introduced similar software limitations in the past to prevent users from repairing other products such as MacBook Pro.

Huawei formalizes HarmonyOS

The operating system formerly known as HongMeng is designed to work on a multitude of devices, from smart TVs to connected speakers to computers and other smartphones. However, it is not a competitor to Android.

Huawei, out of the turmoil in which the US administration had entangled it, has continued to work on its HongMeng firmware. The firm could not rely on American equipment to develop its smartphones and relaunch its production lines of computers. It claimed, however, not to be dependent on Google or anyy other American company for the operating system of its smartphones. The OS baptized HongMeng would have even been “60% faster than Android.” It’s only recently that Huawei has denied these rumors. Even at a round table in Brussels, HongMeng OS was actually for industrial use and IoT. Behind this, however, hid the announcement made by the firm today.

A firmware against the iOS and Android

Huawei continues to grow, recently announcing 23% growth for the first two quarters of 2019 compared to the same period last year. Thus, it presents today a firmware that is based neither on UNIX nor on Linux and presents itself truly as an alternative to the duality of the software ecosystems of Apple and Google. Developed in open source, it will benefit from the contributions of the developers and great transparency. Its main strength however lies in its flexibility: adaptable to both cars and electronic devices, HarmonyOS tends to a unique solution to manage different devices.

Compatible with Android apps

A curiosity of the firmware: it is compatible with the Android applications, but would not however support the Google Play Store application store. This large software gap chosen by developers should allow Huawei the flexibility to deploy HarmonyOS on the manufacturer’s smartphones without affecting the installed content. To date, Huawei has still not officially confirmed the existence of a smartphone capable of supporting the OS.