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Opt Out of Cookies for Appleโ€™s iAds in iOS4

Cookie picture, by amagill -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/34754258/

The iAds feature in Apple’s iOS 4 has caused its fair share of controversy, and Apple’s privacy policy has just been updated to reflect the changes that iAds bring to the platform.

Notably, it is possible to opt out of iAds ‘cookies’, which means that the ads you see might be less relevant, but you are able to opt out from targeted advertising, which some people may be uncomfortable with (especially considering this functionality is built in across the OS and, presumably, the analytical data Apple gather from iAds would be shared across different apps).

Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests. You may still see ads related to the content on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information. This opt-out applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect interest-based advertising from other advertising networks.

I would encourage anyone upgrading to iOS 4 or purchasing a new iOS device to consider opting out of the iAd cookies, if they feel more comfortable knowing that the advertising is ‘dumb’ and not being targeted directly at them.

As the quote from the privacy policy says, all you have to do to opt out is visit http://oo.apple.com on each iOS 4 device where you want to opt out.

Cookie image is &#8216C is for Cookie’ by amagill on Flickr. Licensed under CC-BY.

iPad

Over the last few years I haven’t really found myself liking the names of major new products from Apple. MacBook Air, iPhone 3GS and even the original iPhone name I didn’t like (drop the ‘i’ prefix already!)

And now we have iPad.

Apple iPad

The name aside, though, this looks like a cool device. It feels to me to be a scaled-up iPod touch in many ways, but with software and an interface that are really capable of taking full advantage of the extra screen space and form factor. I don’t think the iPad is going to be as revolutionary as the iPhone was for the ‘smartphone’ market and I think it might take a bit of time for it really to find the right market (beyond early adopters); people need to work out how to fit it into their computing workflow. But it will force all the other companies doing tablet computers to rethink their approach.

Will I be getting one? I answered this question on the roundtable episode of The Stealth Mac podcast that I just participated in (podcast download not yet available). I’ll wait and see. I think like many people, I need to work out how it would fit into my workflow and how I’d justify my need for it. I will certainly be interested to hear how well it works for what you can do with it in a real-world setting.

Keeping Things in Perspective — the iPhone ‘Worm’

The first worm to infect the Apple iPhone has been discovered spreading ‘in the wild’ in Australia.
The self-propagating program changes the phone’s wallpaper to a picture of 80s singer Rick Astley with the message ‘ikee is never going to give you up’.
The worm, known as ikee, only affects ‘jail-broken’ phones, where a user has removed Apple’s protection mechanisms to allow the phone to run any software.

The news of this worm is likely to attract the attention of some anti-Apple and anti-iPhone crowds and used as an argument as to why the iPhone isn’t secure, and Apple people should no longer feel safe and so on and so on.

To those who would seek to lose a sense of perspective on this story:

This worm works only on jailbroken iPhones (an unsupported procedure), where the user did not change the default root password and left the remote login SSH service running.

This attack says nothing about the security of the iPhone software — it exploits little more than very poor configuration on the user’s part. If you choose to jailbreak your device, you have a responsibility to understand the implications that has. Which means, change the damn root password to something other than ‘alpine’. While you’re at it, also change the password for the user mobile too.

Despite having defended the iPhone thus far, I’m not in the business of assuming Apple get every aspect of security right all the time and I’m not in the business of declaring the Mac or the iPhone to be ιsecure’, or more secure than anything else. As hope I made clear in my previous post, a simplistic black-and-white approach to looking at computer security doesn’t make any sense or do anyone any favours.

I’m not complacent about security because I use a Mac*. I am confident because I feel I have grasped a good understanding of the risks and of trust.

* or Linux, or anything that I perceive as being more secure.

Tweetie 2 for iPhone OS

Tweetie logo

I just wrote a review of Tweetie 2 for iPhone OS on the App Store. I republish it here; I’m extremely impressed with the new release.

Tweetie 2 has an impressive feature set, including retweeting, image and video (3GS only) uploading and almost every built-in Twitter feature that is exposed by the API.

The real star of the show here, however, is the interface. It feels iPhone-native and intuitive while also introducing some innovative features such as the flick-to-reload mechanism. The app’s simplicity isn’t hampered by the sheer volume of functions and features — things are kept out of the way until and unless you want access to them.

I’m not a fan of the somewhat bland icon, but otherwise I can’t fault this beautiful little app.

You may be reluctant to pay for a Twitter app, even at £1.79 — but if you appreciate great UI, you really should consider it.

» Read the rest of this post…

Write in Helvetica in iPhone OS Notes

UPDATE: As of iOS 4.2, you can now change the font via Settings > Notes. No hacks required!

If you don’t like Marker Felt, the default font used when writing notes in the Notes application in iPhone OS, you can actually write in a different font. It’s not a feature that is exposed via the user interface — in fact it seems to be something that is an unintended side effect rather than a feature.

First, you need to enable the Japanese QWERTY keyboard. From the home screen, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards. Now scroll to Japanese, tap it and switch on the QWERTY keyboard.

Japanese QWERTY

Now fire up Notes and make a new note, or edit an existing one. Press the globe button at the bottom left of the keyboard to switch over to the Japanese keyboard.

Toggle keyboards

Then type a character — doesn’t really matter which one — and immediately press the globe again to switch back to your default keyboard. The rest of this note will be beautifully typeset in Helvetica.

Very Brief WWDC Thoughts

Summing my thoughts up and dumping them as quickly as possible:

  • Snow Leopard. Why do I always hate Apple’s product names, then warm to them eventually? It’ll have to grow on me. Looks relatively boring. Apple ran out of ideas – lack of innovation.
  • iPhone 3G – nice.
  • iPhone 2.0 software – looks solid. Nothing earth-shattering that wasn’t really expected. $9.99 + UK VAT + mild extortion will be leaving my bank account soon.
  • Mobile Me – reserve judgement. I’d like to give it a try. Not sure I need yet another email address. Probably too expensive.

Any other thoughts? Accepted in brain-dump format or more eloquent versions. ๐Ÿ™‚

iPhone in the O2 Store

I finally had time to walk into an O2 store today and have a brief play with the iPhone.

And I’m pretty impressed. On a sidenote – I’ve decided to go for an iPod Touch, which is actually scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but since it’s a part Christmas present, it won’t be getting any usage for 42 days from today.

I was a little concerned about the iPhone keyboard, but even in about 10 minutes, I picked up how to use it and became pretty good and considerably quick for a small keyboard. Which is a good sign, as I’ll be getting used to it more on the Touch.

The applications all worked really well – the multi-touch interface is very well done and it feels very intuitive to just pick up and use. I mean, I would say that, as I tend to pick things up quickly anyway, but it did seem genuinely intuitive.

My only complaints from what I’ve seen about the device itself are the fingermarks on the screen (the demo iPhones there had seen a lot of fingers) and Safari occasionally rendering a little slowly on some pages. I can confirm, however, that my site looks just as it does in Safari on OS X on the iPhone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, my major complaint is the contract lock-in, which is why I’m getting the Touch and not the iPhone itself. It’s a shame, as Mail, SMS, Google Maps and the Phone functionality on the iPhone do look very nice.

Quick tip if you do walk into O2 or the Apple Store and play around – if you do log in to anything in Safari. and then just idly tap the Home button thinking you quit Safari, beware. Anyone who goes back on Safari will arrive at the page you were last – logged in and all. I’d recommend you log out explicitly from whatever sites you visit, close all pages with the bottom right icon in Safari and then clear History, Cache and Cookies in Settings from the home screen. Or, don’t log in to anything. ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m now going to have to resist the temptation to walk back into O2 during lunch breaks just to have another play! ๐Ÿ˜‰