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CPU flaw also affects Apple devices

As they investigate further into the whole "meltdown" CPU flaw it has been confirmed by Apple that nearly all of their devices are affected as ARM-based CPUs are also vulnerable to the same flaw.

At this point, only the Apple Smartwatch is not vulnerable and Apple is working on fixes to patch these issues. They've also said that these said fixes won't affect performance.

Basically most devices are going to be affected by the "meltdown" issue and everyone is scrambling to get these issues patched. 

Bloomberg has the full story.

Apple Inc. said all Mac computers and iOS devices, like iPhones and iPads, are affected by chip security flaws unearthed this week, but the company stressed there are no known exploits impacting users.

The Cupertino, California-based company said recent software updates for iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Mac desktops and laptops, and the Apple TV set-top-box mitigate one of the vulnerabilities known as Meltdown. The Apple Watch, which runs a derivative of the iPhone’s operating system is not affected, according to the company. 

Intel + AMD

During a week of not so good Intel news, there were some new information leaked about an upcoming Intel CPU that features AMD graphics. Even typing that combo seems weird, but it's true and will be dubbed the Intel Core i7-8809G and will have AMD Radeon Vega graphics packed inside. It will be very interesting to see the general publics reception to this partnership and might just be the beginning of CPU/GPU projects the companies collaborate on. The details are still a bit vague, however, we should be seeing an official release in the next month or so. Until then, PCWorld breaks down what we know so far.

Intel India kicked off the new year by (accidentally?) posting finer details about the hotly anticipated Intel CPU with AMD Radeon graphics launching later this quarter, officially dubbed the Intel Core i7-8809G. Those details seemingly confirm one rumor about the processor—and dispel another.

Most notable: The chip will use AMD’s high-end Radeon Vega graphics cores, rather than the Polaris GPU found in mainstream graphics cards such as the Radeon RX 580. That’s no surprise considering the processor’s use of HBM2 memory like the Vega GPUs, but rampant internet rumors suggested the Intel chip would instead pack Polaris cores. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, people.

Intel CPU flaw is a big deal

This week it was revealed that Intel has a bit of a security flaw in their CPUs which could allow malware or other programs intercept or steal data on the system. The really bad part of the whole story though is that pretty much every CPU made in the last 20 years could be vulnerable. At this point the fix is going to obviously be a software one, however, early indications are that fixing the problem could come with a cost of performance of potentially 10-30% of CPU performance.

AMD is denying that their CPUs are affected, which is good, however, there is fear that in a rush to fix the flaw, software manufacturers could just slow down all CPUs regardless of brand and/or model.

This is going to be a story that will be ongoing for a while, we'll keep you updated in the coming weeks and months.

For more on this story, The Verge has additional coverage.

All week, the tech world has been piecing through rumors of a potentially catastrophic flaw in an entire generation of processors — but with all developers subject to a non-disclosure agreement, there were few hard facts to go on.

Now, new details have emerged on how severe and far reaching the vulnerability truly is. ZDNet and the New York Times are reporting that two critical vulnerabilities — dubbed “Meltdown” and “Spectre” — affect nearly every device made in the past 20 years. The vulnerabilities allow an attacker to compromise the privileged memory of a processor by exploiting the way processes run in parallel. The result, one researcher told ZDNet, is that "an attacker might be able to steal any data on the system.”

PCWorld also has come more coverage.

 

Weekly Tech Update #418 - Apple Isn't Sorry Enough

We have just posted up Episode #418 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we'll be discussing Apple deliberately slows down older phones, Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola and everyone else doesn’t, as well as some of the best and worst from 2017. We have those stories and more at the links below...

WTU

Download Episode #418
Show Notes
Subscribe to the feed.
Subscribe in iTunes!
Get it on Google Play! --New--

Intel Leaks More Details on Core i7 Chip with Radeon Graphics

Intel and AMD have teamed up on a CPU that has integrated Radeon graphics - much like the AMD Ryzen CPU. It's odd that AMD agreed to join in on the deal, but I guess Intel knows that they can't compete and are wishing they'd be making the money that NVIDIA makes with discreet GPUs on laptops and portable devices. The graphics chips are touted as Radeon RX Vega M GH and it looks like it could be a good year for both Intel on the CPU front and AMD on the GPU front.

As far as the technical specs, ExtremeTech speculates that the new chip will offer 204GB/s memory bandwidth, which put it on par with an RX 470 GPU. It also said the suspected 1,536 GPU cores would put it at slightly below $200+ mid-range GPUs, and when coupled with the Kaby Lake CPU and support for DDR4-2400 memory, the combo chip should be able to handle most gaming workloads, especially if the chip is able to be overclocked to 4.1GHz as rumored.

Source: Neowin

Some Android Games are Recording Your TV Habits

If you ever wondered why I always suggest you read application permissions when installing any app, this is yet ANOTHER reason why. Lately, some games have been usng the microphone on your phone to record what you are watching on TV. That's right, the microphone is activated and records ambient noise, identifying TV shows and then reporting that information to whatever entity has set it up. That's bad news for users and their personal privacy. Alway, always read app permissions and don't install it if it doesn't make sense.

The Times says that it identified more than 250 games on the Google Play Store that include just one specific type of software for monitoring users’ TV habits. It’s from a company known as Alphonso, and the apps that include it - the ones that disclose it, at least - often don’t make what they’re doing particularly clear. Most apps seem to hide their disclosure in their description, beneath a “read more” button.

Source: TheVerge

Amazon Shipped over 5 Billion Items with Prime in 2017

Amazon had a good year last year and Prime did pretty well for them, although it cost them a pile in free shipping through Amazon Prime. Prime shipments totalled over 5 billion items. That's a lot of shipping, and is absolutely incredible when you think about it. A huge chunk of those shipments were Amazon's own products such as the Fire TV stick and the Echo Dot as well. They topped the list in the USA. Incredible stuff and that just shows why Jeff is doing okay.

Amazon spent 2017 building out Prime's non-shipping features, too, like reserving early film screenings for members. It also added more content to its video service, which has at least won some critical notice, snagging three Golden Globe nominations at this weekend's awards ceremony. But shipping products will always be Amazon's bread and butter; Hence the company's move in October to let college kids subscribe to Prime on a month-to-month basis.

Source: Engadget

Apple's Apology for Batterygate Didn't Go Far Enough

Apple openly admitted last week that they have been screwing with their customers for years by throttling devices with "older" batteries. Apple claimed that this was to make the device have a similar run-time as with a new battery, but the fact was, the device performance seems to get shorter every time a new device is released. It seems a bit odd that it happens like clockwork every single time. Apple in turn said that they'd sell you a new battery for your old device for only $29. By and large, this is a decent deal, but it isn't the answer I'd be looking for if a company was screwing me in order to push me to buy their latest product. Free batteries for all. Minimum.

One major difference between our proposed apology and Apple's: We suggested Apple say they were sorry and offer free battery upgrades for any consumer who wanted one. Apple saw it differently. It offered an apology but not a free battery. Instead, it is offering a new (normally priced $79.99) battery at a discount: $29.99, $50 less than usual cost. The deal is available starting in late January and running through the end of 2018 and only on iPhone 6 and 6S.

Source: USAToday

Blockbusters and Blunders in Tech from 2017

Apple had more than a few blunders in 2017 - with the latest of these being Batterygate, but they had a bit of a solid device with the Apple Watch 3. Google botched several major things with their Pixel line, but also had a bit of a winner or two as well. Alexa came into it's own this year and Facebook sucked like a fish when it comes to their VR. Overall, there are some big wins and some big losses as well.

It had to grapple with claims of poor Surface reliability and questionable design decisions, such as underpowered chargers. The Xbox One X's high price didn't do it any favors and gave the PS4 Pro another advantage. Windows 10 S was meant to offer an alternative to Chromebooks with similar security and more flexibility, but the dearth of hardware didn't exactly put Google on notice.

Source: Engadget

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