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Apple's Snow Leopard to include location, multi-touch tools

post #1 of 45
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Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system will include tools borrowed from the iPhone that let developers determine the geographical location of Macs, as well as extend additional support for multi-touch to their apps, AppleInsider has learned.

People familiar with the latest pre-release distributions of the next-gen OS say the software now includes the CoreLocation framework previously available via the iPhone SDK, which will allow Mac applications to identify the current latitude and longitude of the Macs on which they're running.

Since Macs don't include GPS technology like the iPhone 3G, CoreLocation will utilize a Mac's existing networking hardware to triangulate the system's location in a manner similar to the way the original iPhone was able to use the technology to emulate a true global positioning signal.

Meanwhile, those same people say that developers writing applications for Snow Leopard will also gain access to a new set of Cocoa-based programing interfaces for leveraging the multi-touch features of the latest MacBooks and MacBook Pros within their applications.

AppleInsider first revealed plans for the new multi-touch framework in a an article from last June titled "Five undisclosed features of Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard."

The report noted that the framework would "consist of code libraries and functions that ordinary developers can use to enhance their applications with the same multi-touch capabilities currently available in Apple-born apps like Safari and iPhoto, and do so with ease."

Word of the new location tools in Snow Leopard comes on the heels of an announcement by Google that it will soon deliver its own software that will let iPhones and Macs broadcast their location information over the Internet.
post #2 of 45
But not quite the same tools as Apple will use for the cocoa touch UI on Mac touch. That SDK will come later.
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post #3 of 45
Interesting to see this feature in Mac OS X. Location would be better utilized in portables.
post #4 of 45
I'm not too sure I like the idea of an app knowing where I'm physically located. What's to stop developers from sending that information back to them?
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system will include tools borrowed from the iPhone that let developers determine the geographical location of Macs ...

This is cool stuff, but I hope they allow us to simply set our location manually as well.

I have always found this to be a big of a bug or error on the iPhone. If you are inside a building (and most desktop Macs will be even if they get or are attached to GPS hardware), the iPhone can't determine your exact location. This screws up all the GPS related software to a degree when you are sitting in your own living room.

I can't for the life of me think why there is not a facility to look up your exact co-ordinates and set them as "home" for your computer or at least your Airport. I hate having all that advanced tech in the iPhone only to have every application believe that I actually live in a garage three houses down the street from where I am.
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post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGizmo View Post

I'm not too sure I like the idea of an app knowing where I'm physically located. What's to stop developers from sending that information back to them?

Ditto.

This sounds eerily Big Brother-ish...
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGizmo View Post

I'm not too sure I like the idea of an app knowing where I'm physically located. What's to stop developers from sending that information back to them?

I'm sure, just as with the iPhone, the application will have to get user confirmation before being allowed access to that information.
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post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGizmo View Post

I'm not too sure I like the idea of an app knowing where I'm physically located. What's to stop developers from sending that information back to them?

I am guessing there thought process is for use in laptop's.

With the adoption rate of laptops it would make since to put it in now and fine tune the architecture.

This in no way surprises me, I have held the believe that the smart phones were the jump point to what will come on our PC's.

I do think however we are getting to a point where privacy is losing ground at an exponentially rate to tech.

I know the argument that if your not doing anything wrong then what is the problem.

The problem, at least how I see it, is once you begin to track and store data of a population, you allow said population to have rights remove for the good of group.
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post #9 of 45
I think this is a great idea. It will make searching for things nearby much easier, and there's a whole lot you could do with the technology. Clearly, it's more useful on a laptop, but even having this information on a desktop would be nice.

I'm sure there's going to be some setting to let you turn it off if you are paranoid.
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post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by infobhan View Post

I think this is a great idea. It will make searching for things nearby much easier, and there's a whole lot you could do with the technology. Clearly, it's more useful on a laptop, but even having this information on a desktop would be nice.

I'm sure there's going to be some setting to let you turn it off if you are paranoid.

That's not paranoia in this day and age, just a reasonable precaution. I already know where my Mac Pro is.
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post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by infobhan View Post

I think this is a great idea. It will make searching for things nearby much easier, and there's a whole lot you could do with the technology. Clearly, it's more useful on a laptop, but even having this information on a desktop would be nice.

I'm sure there's going to be some setting to let you turn it off if you are paranoid.

I'm hoping someone will post a broadly practical use for this feature. On the iPhone it makes perfect sense on many levels. We have Lo Jack for tracking thefts if needed. This seems seems on the surface to be an extraneous and intrusive feature/capability. This would push me to Linux I think.

"I know the argument that if your not doing anything wrong then what is the problem."
Yes it is, and that is the most foolish capitulations to the potential of tyranny and loss of freedom one can make.
post #12 of 45
I'm sure they'll be a global preference in the System Preference Pane to shut off location services system-wide like there is on the iPhone.
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post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

I'm sure they'll be a global preference in the System Preference Pane to shut off location services system-wide like there is on the iPhone.

I hope you can upload the details upon getting a network connection to a service.

If your Mac gets nicked, just wait for that service to update and let the police know the vicinity of the target so they know where to start looking, and more important can just see which known thieves live in that area.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

I'm sure they'll be a global preference in the System Preference Pane to shut off location services system-wide like there is on the iPhone.

Forgive me Kaspar, but do you trust that?

At the risk of appearing paranoid, which I'm not generally, if the capability is there it tends to be exploited. Occam's razor of governments/capitalists lets call it.

I can now be tracked by GPS in my camera, cell phone, and car as it is and have my picture taken at unprecedented rates each day. The data mining and analysis of the society has grown too prevalent.

Again, to all, what are the broad practical applications of this for us? I'm sure there must be some.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

I'm hoping someone will post a broadly practical use for this feature. On the iPhone it makes perfect sense on many levels. We have Lo Jack for tracking thefts if needed. This seems seems on the surface to be an extraneous and intrusive feature/capability. This would push me to Linux I think.

"I know the argument that if your not doing anything wrong then what is the problem."
Yes it is, and that is the most foolish capitulations to the potential of tyranny and loss of freedom one can make.

Or you could just turn the Location Services off, just like you can on the iPhone.

How is it that Location Services is viable on the iPhone for anti-theft uses, but not in your Mac. Are you not concerned about your Mac being pinched?

It's exactly the same argument in both directions, exactly the same technology, and it's exactly as ignorable in both cases if you so wish.

If this seriously makes anyone run to Linux then Linux will become a hot bed of silly mindedness.

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post #16 of 45
I probably WOULD use it for the novelty sometimes, like if my family was on vacation or a ten hour drive. I know my father-in-law would love to track our progress across interstates and airports.

In general I'd have a pretty short list of people I'd ever open this up to.
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post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Or you could just turn the Location Services off, just like you can on the iPhone.

How is it that Location Services is viable on the iPhone for anti-theft uses, but not in your Mac. Are you not concerned about your Mac being pinched?

It's exactly the same argument in both directions, exactly the same technology, and it's exactly as ignorable in both cases if you so wish.

If this seriously makes anyone run to Linux then Linux will become a hot bed of silly mindedness.

I said 'pushed' to Linux, not run to it. I would hold on to OSX like a mother bear to its cub, i.e. ferociously.

Maybe no matter. Won't it be embedded in all our HW eventually?

Just trying to appreciate some reasonable broad scope application of this feature besides someone able to make money advertising/marketing.
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

Forgive me Kaspar, but do you trust that?

At the risk of appearing paranoid, which I'm not generally, if the capability is there it tends to be exploited. Occam's razor of governments/capitalists lets call it.

I can now be tracked by GPS in my camera, cell phone, and car as it is and have my picture taken at unprecedented rates each day. The data mining and analysis of the society has grown too prevalent.

Again, to all, what are the broad practical applications of this for us? I'm sure there must be some.

Guys you can already be tracked RIGHT NOW. The geolocalisation of IP adresses has a very fine degree of granurality....
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I'm sure, just as with the iPhone, the application will have to get user confirmation before being allowed access to that information.

Just this side of paranoia...have you ever wondered if that's just a way of pacifying you into thinking you're controlling things when in fact someone somewhere knows whatever it is they want to? Not necessarily Apple or the gov.... programmer are required to stay inside the 'sandbox' when writing code, but....
post #20 of 45
It's nice that notebook users get all the goodness of multi-touch, but it sucks for desktop users, since Apple's desktops don't come with trackpads.

Is there any way Apple will be implementing this for desktops? Will there be a new keyboard or mouse that allows this? The Mighty Mouse hasn't been updated forever, and it's plain white is jarring against the grey keyboard, iMac and Cinema Cisplay.
post #21 of 45
I think you guys are missing what this signifies. I think this adds credibility to the claim that Apple is trying to have 3G built in to new MacBooks.

Also, for the privacy concerns...
Without 3G its pretty hard to figure out your location any more accurately that you can find out based on your IP address.

There's a reason you see ads for singles in "your city", its based on your IP. Big Brother ALREADY knows where your general location without Core Location. And unless CL has 3G or GPS to use it won't figure our a more accurate location than based on your IP and possibly known WiFi networks.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

If this seriously makes anyone run to Linux then Linux will become a hot bed of silly mindedness.

Oh, it's much to late for that. That happened long long ago.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

Forgive me Kaspar, but do you trust that?

At the risk of appearing paranoid, which I'm not generally, if the capability is there it tends to be exploited. Occam's razor of governments/capitalists lets call it.

I can now be tracked by GPS in my camera, cell phone, and car as it is and have my picture taken at unprecedented rates each day. The data mining and analysis of the society has grown too prevalent.

Again, to all, what are the broad practical applications of this for us? I'm sure there must be some.

Unlike phones, you can install stuff like Little Snitch, etc, and completely determine what is being sent over the network. If Apple is sending data discreetly, it will be known very quickly.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

Forgive me Kaspar, but do you trust that?

At the risk of appearing paranoid, which I'm not generally, if the capability is there it tends to be exploited. Occam's razor of governments/capitalists lets call it.

I can now be tracked by GPS in my camera, cell phone, and car as it is and have my picture taken at unprecedented rates each day. The data mining and analysis of the society has grown too prevalent.

Again, to all, what are the broad practical applications of this for us? I'm sure there must be some.

Well, it's Apple's job to make sure we can trust it. I generally don't like the idea of being tracked everywhere I go, either...

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K
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post #25 of 45
Outside of the discussion of Macs and iPhones, this could also be ground work for any future Mac tablet, which would be more portable than today's Macs and thus have a greater practical use for location services. I'm assuming such devices would be more closely related to a Mac than an iPhone, so getting the location framework into OS X would be a necessary first step as would adding more support for developers using multi-touch so they could create more robust tablet appilcations than is currently possible on the iPhone.
post #26 of 45
Presumably this would not work if you are connected to Ethernet with Airport disabled.

I'm perfectly fine with my general location being broadcast but my exact location makes me a little uneasy.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

Forgive me Kaspar, but do you trust that?

At the risk of appearing paranoid, which I'm not generally, if the capability is there it tends to be exploited. Occam's razor of governments/capitalists lets call it.

Agreed. And that means that even if this feature were to be canceled, or never announced at all--you STILL couldn't trust that it wasn't hiding in there somewhere.

Whether or not you can TRULY trust the preference control doesn't really matter at all. The same evildoers at Apple who would violate the preference would put the service in secretly anyway.

The only real answer answer is to give up computing and live in a cave!

But they are cold, you see, and often damp.
post #28 of 45
This is a huge, huge security issue. I'm a software developer and I can already think of several abusive ways to use these APIs to track people.

Malware writers I'm sure can too. Adds a whole new meaning to the "pedofile/sexual predator" expression.

People who think they can just turn it off by using some setting in the preferences are really naive.

And yes, I can write malware today that will send me your IP address, and I could locate the city you are in and your ISP, but I still can't quite pin point where your house is.

This is just taking it a step further. I hope Apple know that the direction they are taking is scary.

Perhaps it really is a good time to be looking into switching to Linux for all computing before it becomes illegal to own one.

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post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

Unlike phones, you can install stuff like Little Snitch, etc, and completely determine what is being sent over the network. If Apple is sending data discreetly, it will be known very quickly.

Generally, that's not true. You can not track what is being sent from your computer, from your computer.

You need to be inspecting packets on a trusted device or machine elsewhere like your router, or another machine running trusted OS, through which all traffic is routed (e.g. linux etc).

Little snitch won't be able to tell something is going on at all if I modify your kernel (with an extension or directly) since Little snitch and everything else relies on the kernel to do its job.

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post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I'm sure, just as with the iPhone, the application will have to get user confirmation before being allowed access to that information.

and torture you with persistent pop ups asking "this app wants to use your position allow or deny" like on some of the iPhone apps, it doesn't take long til you come to a sad realisation. it makes them unusable IMO.

if I can turn the "feature" off on my desktop, then fine.. but only just!
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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

Unlike phones, you can install stuff like Little Snitch, etc, and completely determine what is being sent over the network. If Apple is sending data discreetly, it will be known very quickly.

Unfortunately, there are apps out there--including Adobe's CS series--that bypass Little Snitch. I'm sure Adobe does this to try to get around pirates who use Little Snitch to prevent CS from activating.

OTOH, how long do you think it will take Adobe to require your geo location as part of activation? Heck, I can see Microsoft jumping on that bandwagon, too.

"If you move your computer more than three feet, you must reactivate it with Adobe..."
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorre View Post

Ditto.

This sounds eerily Big Brother-ish...

I love how people get scared about this tech, as if they couldn't be tracked already.

Your cell phone is constantly beaming signals back and forth to towers. There are video cameras all over the place. Believe me, if Big Brother wants to find you, he won't have any trouble.

I rely on the old standby that anyone who wants to track me has too much time on his hands. I don't consider myself that important.

I, for one, am happy to see this technology getting into the hands of ordinary people and programmers, where it might do some good, rather than just in the hands of government officials, who have been abusing it for several years. Where was everyone's outrage when it became apparent that the CIA was snooping on ordinary citizens for no particular reason?
post #33 of 45
It is reasonable considering talks with studios and record companies that Apple could then offer a backdoor to piracy control.

At the very least, its own efforts to track torrent use if it wanted to target abusers.

Just speculating as to possible ways that this could be abused/use as per the Adobe example given. Final Cut Pro? Aperture?

It is a slow inexorable path toward control. Baby steps until it is ubiquitous.

I have yet to see someone post some mainstream practical uses for this.
Is location really necessary? For 1%, ?
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

I'm hoping someone will post a broadly practical use for this feature. On the iPhone it makes perfect sense on many levels. We have Lo Jack for tracking thefts if needed. This seems seems on the surface to be an extraneous and intrusive feature/capability. This would push me to Linux I think.

"I know the argument that if your not doing anything wrong then what is the problem."
Yes it is, and that is the most foolish capitulations to the potential of tyranny and loss of freedom one can make.

Well I needed to find a branch of my bank in a town I did not know, so with my iPod Touch and together with the apps "Vicinity" and "WiFinder" I was able to connect to a free open wifi zone and locate a branch. It also gives you a map with a pin location, street name and all the information you need, including telephone numbers.

You could do this from home in advance if you were going to be visiting any other town or location. There are a couple of other similar apps for the IPT and iPhone and I find them extremely useful.

So yes, personally I think it's a good idea.
post #35 of 45
This is an early call, we don't even fully understand how it works yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

This is a huge, huge security issue. I'm a software developer and I can already think of several abusive ways to use these APIs to track people.
post #36 of 45
The iPhone is in the same situation.

Is Apple using location services to find jailbroken phones running unapproved software or unlocked phones running on unapproved networks?

Are media companies using location services to find torrent media running on iPhone/ iTouch?

Their isn't much basis to jump to such paranoia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post

It is reasonable considering talks with studios and record companies that Apple could then offer a backdoor to piracy control.

At the very least, its own efforts to track torrent use if it wanted to target abusers.

Just speculating as to possible ways that this could be abused/use as per the Adobe example given. Final Cut Pro? Aperture?

It is a slow inexorable path toward control. Baby steps until it is ubiquitous.

I have yet to see someone post some mainstream practical uses for this.
Is location really necessary? For 1%, ?
post #37 of 45
As far as privacy or any other social values are concerned the technology is neither good or bad, it is always neutral. It is up to us how we use it.

I agree that in some aspects things are getting worse: your boss can always call you, you can not get one more day pretending that the fax was not readable and you could not respond, you can not tell you did not receive those letter yet...

But there are lot's of advantages as well - you can call your partner when you are going to be late for an appointment, you can call your kids any time... and your employee can not tell you that the email is late or unreadable.

Please remember that Apple is making the whole package. They may have specific hardware in mind. When I look at the bestsellers at Amazon the top of the electronics is usually GPS devices. Mini-tablet with navigator functionality anyone?

With the current hardware you can not get good location anyway. Those WiFi hotspots just don't work for the most of the world. Let's wait and see when and how Apple is going to use it.
post #38 of 45
I'm curious if the Address Book application will be updated to include Lat/Long fields. It's actually part of the vCard spec, but isn't implemented by Apple:

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2426.txt

(see section: 3.4.2 GEO Type Definition)

That would allow better integration with Google Earth, if they referenced each other.


(While we're at it, also including a field for PGP keys would be nice, and better integrated with the Keychain app, but that's a different topic.)
post #39 of 45
To me, the "SO WHAT" is that Apple seems to be getting very disciplined about saying "these are our core technologies, these are the unfair advantages that we can leverage, these are the frameworks that we can standardize around and this is the ecosystem that we have to unleash an army" and they are appearing to standardize across Mac, Mobile, Media Player and other form factors like storage, media center, etc.

This is what made Microsoft MICROSOFT in their heyday, and no one else even seems to be in the same league wrt that particular integrated, leveraged approach.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

This is a huge, huge security issue. I'm a software developer and I can already think of several abusive ways to use these APIs to track people.

Malware writers I'm sure can too. Adds a whole new meaning to the "pedofile/sexual predator" expression.

People who think they can just turn it off by using some setting in the preferences are really naive.

And yes, I can write malware today that will send me your IP address, and I could locate the city you are in and your ISP, but I still can't quite pin point where your house is.

This is just taking it a step further. I hope Apple know that the direction they are taking is scary.

Perhaps it really is a good time to be looking into switching to Linux for all computing before it becomes illegal to own one.

I think you are diving off the deep end here along with a lot of other people on this thread. Especially with this paedophile stuff. That's just paranoid.

If the APIs include a 'turn off switch" (and of course they will) Apple is legally obligated to make that work and to not allow any workarounds except in the cases of unavoidable bugs which they are then obligated to fix.

As the critic of little snitch pointed out, it's still *possible* to modify the kernel to get around these things, but if Apple did that they would be breaking the law, and if anyone else did that, it would have to be done by a virus attack (unlikely) or a malware installation that again, breaks the law.

These kinds of technologies already exist and there is no way to stop them anyway. The major weakness (at least in the case of the USA), and the thing people should be worried about is the legal protections. As long as there are laws about what's right and wrong in these cases, there is no real danger.

The real need here is for some kind of privacy and data protection laws so the consumer can be sure that they are not being spied on or that the spies can be prosecuted if found.
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