IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Apple Rolls Out Force Touch 15" MacBook Pro and Cheaper iMac Retina

Apple Rolls Out Force Touch 15" MacBook Pro and Cheaper iMac Retina | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

You don’t always have to wait for a keynote for new Apple products, as is the case today with a sneaky rollout of some new Macbook Pro and iMac with Retina 5K configs.

The coolest new update is a 15” MacBook Pro that features Force Touch trackpad, previously only found in the 13” version and the New Macbook. It also has a new AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card, along with slightly improved battery life. That should be a boon to designers, gamers, and video editors who need as much horsepower as they can get. The new 15” MacBook Pros come in two models, priced at $2000 and $2500.

Also updated are the prices of Apple’s line of iMacs with Retina 5K displays. The cheapest model is now $2000, and the top-end model is $2300. By going for the cheaper model you are sacrificing the 1 TB hybrid Fusion drive for a traditional hard disk, as well as a slightly slower processor.

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Apple to add Retina display to MacBook Air next quarter

Apple to add Retina display to MacBook Air next quarter | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Will Apple finally unveil a long-awaited MacBook Air with a Retina display? That's what a new report claims.

Earlier this year, Apple suppliers kicked off mass production of a 12-inch MacBook Air with a higher-resolution display, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing "people familiar with the matter." The suppliers are aiming to ship "large quantities" of the new Air sometime in the second quarter, though an exact launch date is still up in the air, the sources said.

Apple already offers Retina displays on the pricier MacBook Pro, which carries a resolution of 2,560x1,600 pixels for the 13.3-inch version and 2,880x1,800 pixels for the 15-inch model. The current Air is still stuck with a resolution of 1,366x768 for the 11-inch model and 1,440x900 for the 13-inch version. Reports have floated about for some time that Apple would adopt the higher-resolution display for the Air, which was last updated almost a year ago.

Assuming the Journal's sources are on the money, what does a Retina display offer?

Apple touts its MacBook Pro with a Retina display as packing four times the number of pixels of the standard display and enabling "incredible detail." Apple has also touted Retina displays as offering higher contrast, deeper blacks, reduced glare and a wider viewing angle. All the applications included with the latest versions of Mac OS X already support the higher resolution

The company may also be trying to keep up with its competitors. More Windows PC vendors are outfitting their ultrabooks with high-resolution displays and price tags lower than that of the Air. Adding a Retina display to the MacBook Air could help Apple lure more buyers from its rivals.

A 12-inch MacBook Air would add a third product to the Air lineup. Typically Apple offers two screen sizes on its products. So if the company does introduce the 12-incher, it may eventually jettison either the 11-inch or the 13-inch model.

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Samsung Is Launching A New MacBook Air Competitor With A Sharper Screen And Super-Long Battery Life

Samsung Is Launching A New MacBook Air Competitor With A Sharper Screen And Super-Long Battery Life | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Apple's MacBook Air might have some tough competition come January.

Samsung will be launching a new super-slim laptop at the Consumer Electronics Showcase early next month that will supposedly be able to last 12 hours on a single charge.

Samsung made the announcement on its Korean-language blog Monday (via ZDNet). 

Its Series 9 2015 Edition notebook will be about half an inch thin, a bit slimmer than Apple's 0.68-inch MacBook Air.

Samsung's new notebook will be a bit lighter than Apple's laptop, too, as it weighs about 2.1 pounds versus the smaller 11-inch 2.38-pound MacBook Air.

The edge of Samsung's notebook where the ports are located sort of bulge out, however, which makes it look a bit bulky. The MacBook Air's teardrop design is much more elegant. 

Samsung says its new laptop, as with the MacBook Air, will last 12 hours on a single charge, which is pretty impressive. The Series 9 will borrow some of the battery-saving technology from Samsung's Galaxy S5 to squeeze out that much power. 

The screen on Samsung's coming laptop sounds as if it will be incredibly sharp, too. It will feature a 12.2-inch 2560 x 1600 display, which should be much sharper than the 1440 x 900 resolution screen on Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro. 

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Apple Systems Vulnerable to Bug

Apple Systems Vulnerable to Bug | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Kaspersky Lab has released information on a vulnerability, dubbed "Darwin Nuke," discovered by its security researchers in the kernel of Darwin - an open-source component of Apple's OS X and iOS operating systems. This vulnerability leaves OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 devices exposed to remotely activated denial-of-service attacks that can damage the user's device and impact any enterprise network to which it is connected.

According to Kaspersky's SecureList Blog, the vulnerability is connected with the processing of an IP packet that has a specific size and invalid IP options, enabling attackers to cause a denial of service on devices with 64-bit processors and OS X v10.10 or iOS v8 or lower versions installed.

This means that attackers can send just one incorrect network packet to the victim, and the victim's system will crash. The bug was discovered in December 2014 and shared with Apple.

Apple confirms that the vulnerability CVE 2051-1105, has been fixed in its latest software releases: OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 for Macintosh PCs; iOS v8.3 for Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPads); and the Apple TV v7.2 software update.

How it Works

The "Darwin Nuke" vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker by sending an IP packet of specific size and with invalid IP options to a device with OS X 10.10 or iOS 8. The OS on the device crashes after processing the incorrect network packet.

Kaspersky Lab's blog states that the IP packet needs to meet the following conditions to crash the system:

  • The IP header size should be 60 bytes;
  • The IP payload size should be less than or equal to 65 bytes;
  • The IP options should be incorrect (invalid option size, class, etc.)

When these conditions are met, the OS panic function is engaged and the system is shut down in emergency mode, the researchers say. "At first sight, it is very hard to exploit this bug, as the conditions attackers need to meet are not trivial ones. But persistent cybercriminals can do so, breaking down devices or even affecting the activity of corporate networks," says Anton Ivanov, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Routers and firewalls would usually drop incorrect packets with invalid option sizes, Ivanov says. But the researchers discovered several combinations of incorrect IP options that are able to pass through. Kaspersky has not released any data on such attacks being noticed in the wild. According to Apple's website, this vulnerability existed because of a "state inconsistency" in the processing of TCP headers in OS X and iOS, which has be addressed in its latest updates.


When this vulnerability is exploited, it apparently impacts the device more than the enterprise network, says a senior CISO from the Indian information security community, who asked not to be named. He believes there are no references as yet that exploited devices could act as a launch pading for attacks into the enterprise network.

Those who have mobile device management enabled should quickly enforce users to update to iOS 8.3, he says. Those who are unable to do so should campaign for an upgrade to iOS 8.3 and prepare a business case for MDM, he advises.

K. K. Mookhey, director at Mumbai-based security consultancy Network Intelligence, says that given that the vulnerability requires a number of conditions be met for it to execute successfully, and is a denial of serivce vulnerability, it does not result in a compromise of the endpoint. As a result, he says the implications for enterprise security are highly limited. "I wouldn't have sleepless nights over it, but yes updating the iOS version is mandatory whenever there is a security release."

Sridhar Govardhan, head of cyber defense at Indian IT giant Wipro, believes that with Apple products increasing in popularity, they will continue receiving more attention from attackers. Most security products are focused on the Windows platform currently, he says, and very few vendors have solutions for anti-malware protection and patch management for Apple's platforms.

Experts, including Kaspersky Lab, recommend upgrading all Apple devices to the latest versions of the respective operating systems - v10.10.3 and Security Update 2015-004 for OS X Yosemite, Apple TV 7.2 and iOS v8.3 - to remediate this flaw.

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Apple's next MacBook Air could come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor just like the iPhone

Apple's next MacBook Air could come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor just like the iPhone | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Apple may bring its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to Mac laptops and desktops in the future, according to a new rumor from Taiwanese website, as reported by 9to5Mac.

The website claims Apple might integrate the fingerprint scanner in the trackpad of its rumored 12-inch MacBook Air and next-generation MacBook Pro.

For desktop computers like the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini, Apple is likely to put Touch ID in its Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

There's also a chance we'll see new color options for the purported 12-inch MacBook Air, according to the report. This could include silver, space grey, and gold just like Apple's more recent iPhones.

It's unclear whether or not the blog's sources are legitimate. But, as 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman pointed out, did publish early photos of the iPad Air 2's Touch ID and the A8X chip that powers Apple's latest iPads in the fall.

If Apple does bring Touch ID to the Mac, it's probably part of a push to further promote Apple Pay. And as Gurman also notes, Apple will have to make sure it's just as secure as it is on the iPhone. Touch ID's functionality is based on a secure element within Apple's A-series chips that power its iPhones and iPads, which keep financial transactions safe. Apple will have to create the same experience on the Mac.

We're expecting to learn more about Apple's future additions to the Mac line later this year. The company has been rumored to be working on a 12-inch MacBook Air with a Retina display and an even thinner design than the current model. 

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