Apple Opens Cryptographic Libraries to Third-Party Developers to Encourage Security

Apple announced yesterday that the company has opened up its cryptographic libraries so that third-party developers can build more „advanced security features“ into their apps (via VentureBeat). The cryptographic libraries being opened to developers are the same ones Apple uses to protect iOS and OS X, as Apple notes on its updated site.

Developers will have access to two of the company’s advanced security features, including Security Framework and Common Crypto. Security Framework gives developers tools for organizing certificates, public and private keys, and trust policies, ensuring that all sensitive information is stored privately in a „secure repository for sensitive user data.“ Common Crypto library provides additional support for symmetric encryption, hash-based message authentication codes, and digests.

Both Security Framework and Common Crypto rely on the corecrypto library to provide implementations of low level cryptographic primitives. This is also the library submitted for validation of compliance with U.S. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level 1. Although corecrypto does not directly provide programming interfaces for developers and should not be used by iOS or OS X apps, the source code is available to allow for verification of its security characteristics and correct functioning.

Check out Apple’s official website for reference sheets, service guides, and links to the open source releases for Security Framework and Common Crypto libraries.
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Apple’s spaceship campus was designed to promote collaboration

Steve Jobs was a big believer in great ideas coming from serendipitous interactions. So it’s no surprise that this concept was a central part of the design brief for Apple’s forthcoming “Spaceship” campus — one of the last projects Steve was actively involved with at Apple. In a new (rare) interview with Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Announces New ResearchKit Studies for Autism, Epilepsy and Melanoma

Apple today announced that researchers from Duke University, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health & Science University are launching three new ResearchKit studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma.

“We’re honored to work with world-class medical institutions and provide them with tools to better understand diseases and ultimately help people lead healthier lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “In just six months, ResearchKit apps studying everything from asthma and diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, are already providing insights to scientists around the world and more than 100,000 participants are choosing to contribute their data to advance science and medical research.”

ResearchKit is an open source framework, launched in early 2014, that enables developers to create their own iPhone apps for research purposes, with studies available for asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and more. More than 50 developers and researchers have already contributed new research modules to the open source framework.

ResearchKit apps can access data from the Health app with permission, and use iPhone sensors such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and GPS to track a user’s activity levels, motor impairments, memory and more. The research apps, available on the App Store in the United States, are compatible with the iPhone 5 or later and fifth-generation iPod touch or later.



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Review: Schuttenworks’ Ripple is the Perfect Apple Watch Dock for Nightstand Mode

With watchOS 2, Apple introduced a new feature called Nightstand mode, which lets the Apple Watch be used as a nighttime clock and morning alarm when it’s attached to the charger. Nightstand mode only works while the Apple Watch is placed in landscape mode on its side, rendering a lot of early Apple Watch docks and stands less useful.

Going forward, accessory makers will likely focus on making products that work with the new Nightstand feature, but small Apple Watch dock maker Schuttenworks has already developed a simple, high-quality watchOS 2-compatible Apple Watch charging stand called the Ripple.

I’ve been using the Ripple on my night table for several weeks now, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It’s an attractive, low-profile stand that works with all Apple Watch models and all bands, both closed and open-loop, and at $54, it’s not a bad value.

Like its predecessor the Wave, which we reviewed earlier this year, the Ripple uses a clever split design and magnet system to lock the Apple Watch charger in place and keep the cord out of sight.

The Ripple comes in two pieces, which snap together using two wooden pegs and two sets of magnets. Setup consists of pulling the two pieces apart, fitting the charger in the cutout at the top, routing the cable through the cable cutout, and snapping the two pieces back together again.

The two halves of the Ripple are perfectly machined and fit together flush with a nearly invisible seam, so it looks like a single piece of wood that’s been designed around the Apple Watch charging cable. The Apple Watch charger also stays firmly in place, thanks to micro suction tape that rests in the wooden cutout of the Ripple.

Many Apple Watch stands on the market have a large base for stability, but the Ripple does not. Instead, it uses the same micro suction tape that holds the charger in place to keep it firmly adhered to a desk or other flat surface. I have a painted desk that I kept it on, and during the testing process, the micro tape did no damage to my desk, and with the micro tape, the Ripple didn’t shift around at all. It’s a very sturdy setup and I appreciated the small amount of space this stand takes up on my night table.

The Ripple comes in two varieties, one for the Apple Watch Sport and one for the stainless steel Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. The reason for this is because the different watches ship with different-sized chargers. An Apple Watch Sport stand can also work with a stainless steel Apple Watch with an extra piece of the micro suction tape, and the version I had let my stainless steel Apple Watch charger sit at just the right height to work with my Apple Watch.

When assembled, the Apple Watch sits lengthwise on the small ledge of the Ripple and is held in place by the magnet in the Apple Watch charger. The Ripple looks nicest with a band that’s closed, but it also works with an open band like an unlooped Apple Watch Sport band. Because the Apple Watch just rests on the ledge of the stand, the Ripple is compatible with all Apple Watch bands, from the heavy closed-loop Link Bracelet to the open loop Apple Watch Sport band.

Since the Apple Watch sits in landscape mode on the Ripple, watchOS 2’s Nightstand mode is fully functional. With the Ripple drawing little attention to the Apple Watch, it lets the alarm clock function of the device shine. It looks great on a night table and it’s easy to read, but the Ripple is a short stand. Some people might prefer something a little taller, but for me, it was right at eye level and simple to see and access in the night.

All of the Schuttenworks stands are manufactured in small batches in Portland, Oregon, and polishing and sanding is done by hand. I’ve had hands-on time with two Schuttenworks stands, and both have been well-made with no flaws to be seen.

Bottom Line

The Ripple’s small footprint, simple design, and compatibility with all watchOS 2 features make it one of the best Apple Watch stands I’ve used. Its wood design may not appeal to users who prefer stands made of aluminum or another material, but for users seeking a dock with a classic, unobtrusive look, the Ripple is a fantastic choice.

I’ve found the Ripple to be an ideal Apple Watch stand for travel. It’s compact and light enough that it doesn’t take up much room in a bag or suitcase, and it’s a nicer solution than using the Apple Watch charger alone when away from home.

At $54, it’s more expensive than some of the cheaper Apple Watch stands on the market, but it is comparable in price to the higher-quality stands from companies like Twelve South and Mophie, and its build quality makes it well worth the premium cost.

I had few complaints about the Ripple and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who finds the aesthetic appealing.

Pros:

Simple but attractive design
Compatible with Nightstand mode
Small footprint
Clever cable-hiding construction

Cons:

On the expensive side
Wood might not appeal to all tastes

How to Buy

The Ripple can be purchased from the Schuttenworks website for $54. It’s compatible with both the stainless steel Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Sport, and it comes in Cherry, Mahogany, and Walnut woods.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.



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