Archives For Apple

Is Mailbox App Secure?

Dave Zatz —  February 16, 2013 — 6 Comments

mailbox-app

The new Mailbox app arrived to great fanfare, with promises to revolutionize the iPhone email experience by most efficiently managing messages and maintaing Inbox zero. However, unlike a typical email app, Mailbox is something more than a client that resides on your phone. Which is both a strength and a weakness.

On one hand, it allows the company Orchestra to do a variety of clever things on their server backend – such as redelivering messages one chooses to deal with at a later date (as pictured above). However, that effectively puts a startup between you and Gmail (which is the initial service they support). Now I don’t doubt their intentions and strategy to maintain user privacy, but security is hard. Real hard. And much larger companies with security teams or departments regularly fall victim to attack and compromise. And, as security expert Brian Krebs suggests, Mailbox becomes “another potential layer for failure” by entrusting them with with our data.

I’m not certain most folks recognize Mailbox is effectively a man-in-the-middle. So consider this a PSA worth contemplation as you wait in line for access. Also a consideration for Gmail power users is the app’s inability to handle tags. As for me, my golden ticket arrived a day or so ago and, while I don’t have state secrets flowing through my Gmail and don’t effectively use tags, I’ve held off and will keep my faith solely in Google’s two-step authentication and servers. For now. What about you?

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UPDATE: The TiVo 3.0 iOS app is now live.

The second screen invasion is upon us. And TiVo continues to iterate on their very fine companion app. Next up is a reformulation of content discovery. While both the TiVo Premiere and current iPad app provide curated Collections, TiVo tells me the engagement hasn’t been as significant as hoped. Yet they still see great value in providing this sort of intel to subscribers and intends to move suggestions front and center this spring. The 6 “What To Watch” columns will appear when opening the app and consist of both linear and over-the-top content, as you can see from the two included screengrabs. And, like Verizon’s “What’s Hot” app feature for those seeking inspiration, the TiVo app update presents trending live programming culled from subscribers.

From the press release:

TiVo users are immediately presented with the programming they would most enjoy without surfing channels or browsing a guide. “What to Watch Now” combines the viewer’s preferences based on viewing history and assesses live programs airing within the next 30 minutes against real-time, regional viewing trends and user-defined preferences, to offer tailored entertainment recommendations categorized by genre, in an easy to use format.

It’s probably safe to assume “What To Watch” will hit iPad and iPhone mobiles ahead of Android. But TiVo did indicate Android support will be arriving for TiVo Stream this year. And the hold up may have partially been related to effectively securing content on that platform, with TiVo now in a better place given current levels Android 4.0+ penetration.

Content remains king, with television programming and mobile device interaction converging at a rapid pace. So-called “second screen” apps were everywhere at CES, integrating all sorts of functionality. And companies are clearly pumped. Heck, Cisco & Cox invited Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman in to witness the unveiling of their upcoming iPad app.

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In conjunction with CES festivities, I was invited to the 2nd Screen Summit“a deep-dive into the latest business opportunities, creative case studies and technology innovations related to the creation of supplementary, synchronized and social TV content featuring speakers from Hollywood, Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley.” Given a tight schedule, I was only able to attend the keynote and a discussion of content discovery via the second screen… which quite frequently wandered well beyond the confines of a tablet device, once again reinforcing content consumption interconnectedness. And, with my somewhat irreverent style, I fired off several “second screen” tweets of my own from the sessions (reproduced below). Continue Reading…

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The “second screen” onslaught continues as DISH unveils a brand spanking new Explorer companion app to kick off their CES festivities. Available to Hopper owners tomorrow, the iPad app opens to “What’s Hot” as a launching point to social television discovery and DVR control. Of course, the requisite Twitter and Facebook interactivity is present. Interestingly, DISH has also licensed a variety of real time sports-related data to incorporate into the experience. Continue Reading…

While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences. What follows are her thoughts on swapping the iPad 3 for an iPad Mini.

Living with a tech expert I’ve come to appreciate (and depend on) the latest gadgets. Dave understands what we all might like or need. And when the iPad Mini was introduced, he knew that the smaller size was going to be more comfortable for me (yes, size does matter!). While I enjoy taking my tablet to Starbucks or Panera, I also love lounging on the couch with it. My iPad 3 was incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to hold in this position and I frequently found myself putting it down – reaching for my iPhone instead.

So Dave took me to see the iPad Mini, thinking Apple’s newest product addressed my need for a smaller device. Dave was confident I would walk away with a new toy (and maybe secretly hoped I would want one so he too could play around with it while he decided what gadget changes to make). While I was impressed with the Mini’s form and size, I was disappointed in the quality of the screen. I recall removing my sunglasses thinking that maybe they were dirty, causing the screen to appear blurry! Unfortunately, my specs were not to blame. And I walked around the display table comparing units hoping that first one was defective. The Mini’s screen resolution is just weak compared to my iPhone and iPad 3, fuzzy-looking and not sharp or gorgeous like a retina display. We walked out of the store empty handed. Continue Reading…

Add Gift Card To Starbucks App

Dave Zatz —  December 25, 2012 — 22 Comments

starbucks-gift-card

Like many this season, I’ve received a Starbucks gift card. Three to be exact. And instead of bothering with the Starbucks website, I figured there must be some way to add the balance to my existing virtual card/account via the Starbucks iPhone app. Indeed there is…

  • From within the Starbucks app, bring up your current card(s) by tapping “Pay” in the upper right
  • Swipe your screen to the right to reveal the hidden New Card screen on the left

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  • Enter the new Starbucks giftcard number and 8 digit pin, which you may have to scratch off
  • Click “Add” in the upper right and “Cancel” the Passbook prompt

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  • Once presented with the gift card, click “Transfer Balance”
  • Click on the card you’d like to move the funds to
  • Click “Transfer” then confirm the transaction and amount

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Optional cleanup…

  • Swipe over to the zero balance card and click “Manage”
  • Click on the small “x” located on the upper left of the card picture
  • Click “Remove Card”

lifeproof-fre-backAfter much anticipation, the Lifeproof frē ($80) arrived at Best Buy last week. Like its predecessor, this iPhone 5 case is designed to protect your smartphone from dirt, water, and drops… in a much more svelte form factor than the fairly well known ruggedized Otterbox line. Yet, while Lifeproof’s marketing materials are compelling, I don’t have much confidence in the reality.

My case survived the recommended one hour water test, sans phone, and I expect it would have done fine job protecting from splashes at the kitchen sink or in the rain. But there’s no way I’d be comfortable fully submerging the iPhone 5 — given the case’s construction, including an issue with the bottom corner that didn’t have a flush seal (below right) despite realigning the O ring. Also, speaking of construction, while the frē is certified to survive 6′ drops it’s less rugged feeling and thinner than the competition — so they’ve presumably achieved this feat via superior engineering, Continue Reading…