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Print 62 comment(s) - last by MechanicalTech.. on Apr 28 at 11:26 PM


  (Source: icanhascheezburger)
The distortion field is failing Capt'n! She can't take much more of it!

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) released a lengthy press statement in the wake of the revelation that iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) were storing details about their users' locations thousands of times daily.  The release follows international investigations into Apple by the U.S. government and several other nations.

In the release Apple amazingly admits it was wrong.  It says that it did not intend for the phones to plots users' position when Location Services were disabled.  It writes:

7. When I turn off Location Services, why does my iPhone sometimes continue updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple’s crowd-sourced database?

It shouldn’t. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below).

Apple claims its intentions were pure in implementing the database -- to improve signal capturing.  And while it says the database can pinpoint a user's location within a small radius, it's maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers at your current location.  

The company writes:

3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?

The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.

4. Is this crowd-sourced database stored on the iPhone?

The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).

In short, based on what Apple is telling the public, it was only trying to help customers, not track them.  The news follows a similar announcement by Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, who recently wrote a customer telling them that Apple was not collecting the information its devices were storing.

However, it is baffling how Apple would not notice that the software switch to turn off Location Services wasn't working.  This bug represents a privacy risk and led to Apple inadvertently misinforming customers for almost a year.

Apple says it plans to issue an update "[s]ometime in the next few weeks", which will disable the copying of a backup of the database to your computer, will reduce the database's size, and will properly delete it when you turn off locations services. 

The company is facing a class action lawsuit on behalf of customers who want refunds and punitive damages after discovering about the violation of privacy.



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RE: Oh give me a break.
By messele on 4/27/2011 3:21:15 PM , Rating: 1
Market share is a representation of what is happening in this instant in time. You could have a crappy market share but a huge existing user base or vice versa so really market share is of little consequence to the end user.

Turnover for vanity / profit for sanity. Your point is exactly the same as the one I am trying to make. Nobody cares that Android is installed on every cheap piece of shit or not, what everybody is talking about is the premium end, the cutting edge and this so called "market share" measure does nothing but flatter something that in reality is not making many people a great deal of money. Installed user base could be 99% low end phones, could be 99% high end but nobody seems to be talking about that but only headcounts, well of course Android is going to have a vast growing user base if it's being given away for free!

Everybody knows that Google makes a great deal of money via Android eventually but we are talking about the "point of sale" for a handset. At that point in time Google has physically sold nothing of any tangible value so this talk of market share is even more nonsensical. The hardware partners are obviously making a tidy profit but nobody talks about them.


RE: Oh give me a break.
By Alexstarfire on 4/28/2011 3:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
How can you have crap marketshare but huge userbase? They represent the same thing.


RE: Oh give me a break.
By messele on 4/28/2011 1:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
I did explain in my post but let's recap as I already knew many do not understand the difference and the point has just been raised. I'm not going to be mocking about it either, the difference is very important.

The iPhone had a head start on Android. By the time Android was launched lets agree for the purpose of this explanation that iPhone already had lots of owners (that's the userbase) and was still selling lots of phones at that point in time (that's the market share).

Android comes along. It has a rubbish userbase as it's brand new but it's market share is ok as people like it so it sells well from the start.

Apple continues to sell lots of phones, but the market share has already shrunk a little as Android is now on the scene (market share is your sales at a given point in time or a period, such as a month. This is a percentage term usually). Apple has an even bigger user base but Android is getting steadily bigger.

Fast forward to present - Android are on way more handsets being sold every day (market share) but because it's only recent that they have overtaken Apple and Apple have been doing it longer, they still have a much bigger userbase.

So the two terms have different meanings and are not interchangeable.

Market share is what you are doing now (i.e. sales).
Userbase is what you have already done.


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