PayPal users can now use their voice to send cash via Siri

PayPal users can now send money to friends and family using just their voice, after the payment service announced it was to integrate into Apple’s Siri.

Siri is the voice-based virtual assistant embedded into the iPhone, and can be used to set reminders, answer questions and help with tasks.

From Thursday, PayPal said users running iOS 10 on their iPhone will be able to use commands such as “Hey Siri, send John STG25 using PayPal” to transfer money as an alternative to using the official app.

Apple’s software uses voice recognition so only the known owner of the device can use the voice commands.

PayPal’s Meron Colbeci said consumers in 30 countries would be able to use the new service.

“Sending and receiving money from friends and family has long been one of the most popular activities on PayPal. In fact, last year we did $US41 billion in peer-to-peer (P2P) volume across PayPal, Venmo and Xoom,” he said.

“And, with the holidays around the corner, PayPal predicts more than 17 million P2P transactions in the month of December alone.

“With so many P2P transactions happening during such a busy season, we’re excited to give our users an early holiday present: starting November 10, Siri will be integrated with PayPal. For iPhone and iPad users running iOS 10, making a payment has never been easier – PayPal users can now send and request money via a voice command with Siri.”

The use of voice-based assistants is a growing trend in technology, with both Amazon and Google having recently launched speaker hubs which use voice commands to control other smart, connected appliances around the home, while Microsoft also has its own assistant, called Cortana, built into Windows 10.

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iPhone Users Warned Fake Retail Apps Are Surging Before Christmas

“It’s important that brands monitor how their name is being used,” he said.

Apple removed hundreds of fake apps on Thursday night after The New York Times inquired about the specific app vendors that created many of them. Other apps were removed after a New York Post article last week drew attention to some of the counterfeits.

‘We promptly investigate’

“We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously,” said an Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr. “We’ve set up ways for customers and developers to flag fraudulent or suspicious apps, which we promptly investigate to ensure the App Store is safe and secure. We’ve removed these offending apps and will continue to be vigilant about looking for apps that might put our users at risk.”

In September, Apple also embarked on a campaign to review all 2 million apps in the App Store and remove “apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines or are outdated”. The company says a significant number of apps have been removed and that the review is continuing.

Despite Apple’s efforts, new fake apps appear every day. In some cases, developers change the content of an app after it has been approved by Apple’s monitors. In other instances, the counterfeiters change their names and credentials, and resubmit similar apps after one round of fakes is discovered.

“It’s a game of Whack-a-Mole,” Mr Mason of Branding Brand said.

On Friday, for example, an entity calling itself Overstock Inc — an apparent attempt to confuse shoppers looking for the online retailer — was peddling Ugg boots and apparel through a fake app that was nearly identical to one banished by Apple on Thursday.

The same Chinese app developer, Cloaker Apps, created both fake Ugg apps on behalf of Chinese clients.

China by far the biggest source

Jack Lin, who identified himself as the head of Cloaker, said in a phone interview in China that his company provides the back-end technology for thousands of apps but does not investigate its clients.

“We hope that our clients are all official sellers,” he said. “If they are using these brands, we need some kind of authorisation, then we will provide services.”

Mr Lin said Cloaker charged about 20,000 renminbi — about $3820 — for an app written in English.

But like so many of the apps his company produces, Cloaker is not what it purports to be. Its website is filled with dubious claims, such as the location of its headquarters, which it says is at an address smack in the middle of Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California.

In the interview, Mr Lin at first said he had offices only in China and Japan. When asked about the California office, he then claimed to have “tens of employees” at the Facebook address.

China is by far the biggest source of fake apps, according to security experts.

Many of the fake retail apps have red flags signalling that they are not real, such as nonsensical menus written in butchered English, no reviews and no history of previous versions. In one fake New Balance app, for example, the tab for phone support did not list a phone number and said, “Our angents are available over the hone Monday-Firday.”

Data from Apptopia show that some of the fake apps have been downloaded thousands of times, although it is unclear how many people have actually used them. Reviews posted on some of the apps indicated that at least some people tried them and became frustrated.

“Would give zero stars if possible,” wrote one reviewer of the fake Dollar Tree app. “Constantly gets stuck in menus and closes what you were doing and makes you start over.”

Mr Mason says consumers want to shop online and they search for apps from their favourite stores and brands.

“The retailers who are most exposed are the ones with no app at all,” he said. Dollar Tree and Dillard’s, for example, have no official iPhone apps, which made it easier to lure their customers to the fake apps.

But the counterfeiters have also mimicked companies that do have an official presence in the App Store, hoping to capitalise on consumer confusion about which ones are real.

Shoe retailer Foot Locker, for example, has three iPhone apps. But that did not stop an entity calling itself Footlocke Sports Co, Ltd from offering 16 shoe and clothing apps in the App Store — including one purporting to be from a Foot Locker rival, Famous Footwear.

Similarly, the supermarket chain Kroger Company has 20 iPhone apps, reflecting the various retail chains in its empire. An entity calling itself The Kroger Inc had 19 apps, purporting to sell things as diverse as an $US80 ($104) pair of Asics sneakers and a $US688 bottle of Dior perfume.

Some of the fake apps have even used Apple’s new paid search ads to propel them to the top of the results screen when customers search for specific brands in the App Store.

Jon Clay, director of global threat communications for Trend Micro, an internet security firm, said Apple’s tight control over the iPhone had historically kept malicious apps out of its App Store. Fake apps appeared more often on Google’s Android platform or on third-party app stores, he said.

But that is beginning to change. Shortly after the Pokémon Go game was released in the US in July, for example, a spate of fake iPhone apps related to the game appeared, especially in countries where the game was not yet available.

“The criminals are going to take advantage of whatever is hot,” Mr Clay said.

Emily Feng contributed reporting from Beijing. The New York Times

By: Vindu Goel

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Apple’s Mac no longer bucking PC industry’s sales slide

After defying industry trends in recent years, Apple is feeling the slowdown in global purchases of laptop and desktop computers.

Apple shipped 4 to 8 per cent fewer Mac computers during the second quarter of 2016, compared with a year earlier, according to new estimates from two research firms — even while some of its bigger rivals managed to find growth in the PC business.

Apple enjoyed steady increases in Mac sales for most of 2014 and 2015, while the rest of the PC market was in a slump. Although the leading PC-makers sell more units, Apple’s Macs tend to command both higher prices and consumer loyalty.

But Apple has been reporting a dip in Mac unit sales since the end of last year, and estimates released on Tuesday suggest that trend is continuing.

Analysts estimate Apple shipped 4.4 million to 4.6 million Macs in the quarter ending June 30.

PC sales overall have been declining for the last four years, as more consumers and businesses turn to smartphones and other gadgets.

Global PC shipments fell to 62.4 million in the last quarter, down 4.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to researchers at International Data. Analysts at a second firm, Gartner, estimated that drop at 5.2 per cent.

Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC-maker, saw shipments fall more than 2 per cent around the world, to 13.2 million, despite a strong showing in the United States.

But HP, Dell and ASUS all increased their shipments during the last quarter, according to both research firms.

Analysts said those companies benefited from a healthy US market, consumer interest in new laptops running Google’s Chrome software, and seasonal purchases by public agencies.

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 software hasn’t given PC sales much of a boost.

Analysts say that could change in coming months, as the end of a promotional offer means consumers will no longer be able to upgrade older Windows machines for free.

Some Apple fans say an update for the popular MacBook Pro laptop is overdue, while the company has been promoting its iPad Pro tablet, which works with a detachable keyboard.

Apple enjoyed eight consecutive quarters of year-on-year Mac sales increases before posting a 4 per cent drop in units sold during the last three months of 2015. That was followed by a 12 per cent drop in the first quarter of this year.

Macs are a small part of Apple’s overall business, however, since the company makes most of its money from iPhones. Apple will report second-quarter sales on July 26.

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Bluetooth 5 launched 16 June: doubled range, quadrupled speed

No more is there a “v” or dot point, the latest Bluetooth is simply Bluetooth 5, and it will help with beacons, IoT, location, speed, range and more.

The organisers behind the Bluetooth SIG scooped themselves by announcing in advance that the successor to the Bluetooth v4.x version would arrive on 16 June as Bluetooth 5.

It’s been a long time since Bluetooth ticked over a full version number, with Bluetooth v4.0 launched in 2011, the same year as the iPhone 4S, which also came with Bluetooth v4.0 support. That, of course, leads to speculation that this year’s iPhone 7 will support Bluetooth 5.

So, let’s get back to Bluetooth 5. The executive director of the Bluetooth SIG is Mark Powell, who explained that the “new naming approach is focused on simplifying our marketing, communicating user benefits more effectively and making it easier to signal significant technology updates to the market”.

What does Bluetooth 5 have to offer on the technical side?

As noted in the headline, and as the Bluetooth SIG had already previously announced, it will “double the range and quadruple the speed of low energy Bluetooth transmissions”.

But of course, there’s more.

Powell states that “Bluetooth 5 will also provide significant new functionality for connectionless services like location-relevant information and navigation.

“By adding significantly more capacity to advertising transmissions, Bluetooth 5 will further propel the adoption and deployment of beacons and location-based services to users around the world.”

The Bluetooth SIG group is also hosting Bluetooth World in London on 16 June, which is where Bluetooth 5 will be unveiled unto the world.

We are told that “if you want to see the future of the Internet of Things (IoT), you should attend Bluetooth World”.

Naturally, the world will get all the details and more on 16 June, and we’ll present it all to you when the information launches!

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt
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Samsung Pay now live in Australia

Samsung’s mobile payment solution, Samsung Pay, has launched in Australia with American Express and Citibank.

If you’re a Amex or Citibank customer, or want to become one, you can now use those institutions’ cards with compatible Samsung smartphones and its new mobile payments system.

That system is called Samsung Pay, and is clearly being billed as offering Australia consumers and businesses “a secure, fast, and simple way to pay” – while sounding very similar to the name a different fruit-flavoured phone company has called its payments system.

Samsung Pay works “almost anywhere” using a participating credit or debit card from the aforementioned institutions and presumably all the banks and organisations that follow, including for loyalty cards.

The “almost anywhere” claim has the caveat that “availability almost anywhere is based on compatibility of Samsung Pay on MST and/or NFC payment terminals, with some supported for use only after software upgrades”.

Samsung also advises that “Samsung Pay will be available soon for Galaxy S6 and S6 edge on the Telstra network”, with the service “exclusive to selected Samsung Galaxy smartphones only, and available across all participating payment networks, banks, and merchants”.

Those standard caveats aside, “Samsung Pay will be available starting today on compatible Samsung smartphones including the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, with specific availability varying by local operator”.’

Prasad Gokhale, vice-president, mobile division, Samsung Australia, said: “Today’s launch of Samsung Pay offers more than a secure and convenient way for Samsung smartphone owners to pay. It’s the next development for Australians who use their smartphone as the central device to live, organise and enjoy their lives.

“Australia is a market of early technology adopters and by providing a platform open to all partners, ranging from government to financial institutions and retailers, while upholding the highest standards of security and data privacy, Samsung is fuelling the transition to a truly digital wallet,” continued Gokhale.

Samsung proudly boasts that the arrival of Samsung Pay in Australia “follows successful launches in South Korea, the United States, China and Spain”.

Elle Kim, global vice-president, Samsung Pay, Mobile Communications Business, said: “In the first six months of launching in (South) Korea and the US, Samsung Pay has surpassed more than five million registered users and today has processed more than US$1billion of transactions in South Korea alone.

“This success indicates a tremendous opportunity in Australia, a market where contactless payments are already in strong demand.”

‘Strong partnerships’ to benefit consumers and businesses

At the launch, Samsung Pay partners in Australia will be American Express and Citibank.

Citibank credit card cardholders as well as American Express Issued Card Members will be able to use Samsung Pay, with a compatible Samsung smartphone, at participating retailers.

Vice-president payment consulting group, American Express JAPA, Nick Alexander, said: “Samsung Pay provides our American Express Issued Card Members another way to pay using the latest in smartphone payment technology, and speeds up the payment process for merchants.

“American Express is not only striving to be where our customers are, but also looking for more ways to integrate rewards and loyalty into the payment experience, so that when our customers use their phones to pay, they are earning rewards as well.”

Amex advises that “the addition of Samsung Pay to the American Express digital payment portfolio means that about 90% of its card members who already use their smartphones with us can now make mobile payments”.

Amex also has an “exclusive launch offer”, which is that “American Express card members who use Samsung Pay three times on any purchase over $5 will receive a one-off $15 statement credit, available until 14 September”.

In addition, Amex states “card members are not the only beneficiaries, with thousands of store-based merchants Australia-wide adding Samsung Pay to their variety of payment options for customers.”

Citi Global Consumer Bank, Australia, managing director of cards and consumer lending, Alan Machet said: “The strong partnership between Citibank and Samsung Pay will see both parties collaborate to bring services to our globally-minded customers.

“Citi credit card customers can now simply and securely use Samsung mobile phones to tap and pay for purchases in Australia and overseas.”

Samsung’s Elle Kim added that: “Samsung Pay is strategically expanding its partnership ecosystem to provide greater flexibility, access and choice for our customers.

“Samsung Pay adopts an open engagement model, designed to support payment and non-payment cards from multiple providers. By doing this, Samsung can operate seamlessly with a wide range of partners, systems and payment channels,” Kim added.

More than money

Outside payments, Samsung says its pay service “has the potential to be integrated with an array of partners, ranging from major retailers to government departments and ticketing companies”.

Partner integration is even simpler with Samsung Pay because the technology utilises Near Field Communication (NFC) and Samsung’s proprietary technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), making it the only payment solution with wider acceptance – which means it works with older payment terminals, which are common in countries like the US where wireless NFC tap-and-go systems are still only slowly being rolled out.

Kim added: “The MST technology enables Samsung Pay to support partners that use a traditional magnetic stripe, commonly found on loyalty cards, gift cards and transit cards, both in Australia and across the globe.

“It’s our goal to one day replace wallets, by making every card accessible on Samsung smartphones. In countries like Australia, where customers are already using their smartphones to make payments, our customers will certainly value the benefits of having all their cards in one place and Samsung Pay will provide that convenience to them,” Kim concluded.

Safe and secure

Samsung Pay includes three levels of security to help enable secure payments – fingerprint authentication, tokenisation and Samsung KNOX.

Each transaction uses an encrypted digital token to replace a user’s personal payment information and payments can only be authorised with an approved fingerprint or PIN. Samsung’s industry-leading KNOX security platform also monitors malicious software and activities on a user’s device for added security and protection.

Easy-to-use application

To make a payment on Samsung Pay, simply swipe up, choose the desired payment card, authenticate the transaction with the fingerprint sensor and tap the device on the point of sale terminal.

Samsung Pay can be used in an offline mode, should customers be located in areas without Internet connectivity.

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt
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Instagram is giving brands more insight with business profiles and tools

Social media platform Instagram has introduced further changes which strengthen its position as a marketing platform for businesses, by introducing business profiles, insights and promotion tools.

The over 200,000 advertisers now on Instagram will have the new ability to generate:

Business profiles

Business profiles allow businesses to quickly signal to people on Instagram that it is a business, and enables customers to use a ‘contact’ button to connect with them on Instagram. Businesses will also have the power to choose how potential customers contact them after engaging with their ad content – call, text or email with a tap of the ‘contact button.’


This mobile tool will enable businesses to see if what they’re doing on Instagram is working. Insights packages actionable information about people connected with a business in a visual format.


Promote lets businesses drive objectives using creative that resonates with the Instagram community, promote well performing posts as ads to reach new customers using Facebook’s targeting and measurement.

This is the third major change undertaken by Instagram this year, after it changed from its popular chronological format in March, and introduced a new brand logo, in April.


The three key needs – profiles, insight and promote – were chosen as most important to businesses by Instagram after interviewing hundreds of businesses.

Australian, US and New Zealand businesses will be the first to have access to the tools, which will rollout to all global regions by the end of the year.

By Ben Ice
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Microsoft using ‘nasty trick’ to force Windows 10 upgrade

Once again, Microsoft has been caught out putting the security of its users at risk, by employing what has been described as a “nasty trick” to force an upgrade to Windows 10.

A BBC report said that the company had now changed the functionality of the pop-up that was used to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 10.

The red X at the right-hand top corner is normally used to close the pop-up, but the BBC said now clicking there activated the upgrade, rather than closing the pop-up.

One can only avoid the upgrade when another pop-up appears at the time scheduled on the first pop-up. The instructions provided by Microsoft are not exactly simple and will take up a fair amount of time.

Note that the instructions blithely say: “When you close this pop up, your PC will upgrade at the scheduled time,” as though closing a pop-up normally results in the activity specified therein running to conclusion!

The BBC said Brad Chacos, a senior editor at PC World, had described this latest Microsoft move as a “nasty trick.”

The only way to avoid an upgrade to Windows 10 appears to be by setting one’s PC which runs Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, to use manual updates, as iTWire has outlined.

And this means one has to be vigilant about checking manually for updates every now and then in order to avoid being caught out when a serious vulnerability is patched.

By: Sam Varghese
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Bye bye secretaries, hello Siri: Apple’s plan for the virtual PA

A peppy crowd poured into the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on September 9. They had turned up at the venue, which usually hosts rock concerts, to watch a show by Apple, a firm with a cult following of its own. Executives took the stage to unveil updates to the Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad, as well as a new television set-top box, which makes it easier to find TV shows and play games.

The real star of the show, however, was Siri, Apple’s personal-assistant technology. Siri, which is already available on iPhones, responds to voice commands and will be embedded in Apple’s new TV remote controls, so users will not have to lift a finger to change channel or find new shows. If users want to know the weather or the results of a sporting event they can ask Siri, and be met with a rapid reply.

Siri’s migration to television exemplifies the rise of virtual-assistant software that mimics some skills of human secretaries: creating reminders for appointments, looking up information and completing other tasks. Apple, which bought Siri in 2010 for an estimated $200 million, has been a leader in this area, but many tech firms have been working on rival products.

Google and Microsoft offer digital assistants on smartphones, called Google Now and Cortana, respectively, which have deep knowledge of their users’ habits and schedules. Amazon sells a stand-alone device that, among other things, plays music, reads books aloud and can help buy items through Amazon. On September 8 Baidu, a Chinese internet giant, announced its own digital agent, Duer. And recently Facebook announced that a concierge service, called M, would be available through its messaging app.

The rise of Siri et al signals two important trends that will shape the future of the consumer internet: the evolution of “search”, away from typed search-engine queries towards a more personalised, interactive service, and a gradual shift from individual apps to an ecosystem of services that is mediated by a powerful software assistant.


According to research firm Gartner, about 38 per cent of American consumers have used virtual-assistant services on their smartphones recently; by the end of 2016 an estimated two-thirds of consumers in developed markets will use them daily. Software robots are getting better at predicting what users need based on past behaviour and current location.

The virtual secretaries offered by a variety of tech giants form part of their wider efforts to master artificial intelligence and, in particular, “machine learning” – teaching computers to crunch vast amounts of data, recognise patterns and get better at what they do. Firms are spending billions of dollars buying start-ups in this area, and are rushing to hire specialists in artificial intelligence. Apple alone is reportedly looking to hire about 90 experts, and Facebook has hired a star artificial-intelligence academic, Yann LeCun, to head its research centre on the subject.

Voice recognition is quickly improving, although it remains imperfect. Two years ago Google Now used to misinterpret around 25 per cent of words spoken, but today it only misses 8 per cent, according to Aparna Chennapragada, who oversees the product. Firms’ big focus has become how to use the information consumers store on their devices to make proactive recommendations instead of just responding to requests.

Google is especially good/creepy at this. For example, it goes through users’ emails to prompt them about when to leave for appointments or flights. Microsoft’s Cortana does this too but until recently it has been limited to Windows devices. Global-positioning technology, already a standard feature on smartphones, is helping virtual assistants to do their job better. If a consumer wants to be reminded to buy milk when he next goes to the supermarket, an alert will flash when the phone detects that he has arrived.

Technology is also making it possible to automate the headache of arranging meetings. A few start-ups, including Clara Labs and, offer virtual scheduling assistants that employ a combination of algorithms and humans to help set up appointments. Subscribers copy in the software robot on e-mails; it scans their calendars and chooses a convenient slot on their behalf. On average it takes humans around seven e-mails to set up a meeting, so virtual assistants can save lots of time.


Most real-life personal assistants do not need to worry about their jobs being threatened by technology – at least not yet. Digital assistants struggle to complete actions that require more complex steps, such as booking flights. Your correspondent spent several days “employing” a variety of available digital assistants. Although they can find nearby restaurants and make a booking through OpenTable, they do not yet know her well enough or have the judgment to tell her which is the “best” Italian food. Echo, Amazon’s product, had no idea how to respond when your correspondent asked whether Echo was her personal assistant.

To please their masters, virtual assistants will need to do better at connecting to outside services to fulfil requests. Cortana links to Uber, for example, to help its users book cars, and recently started to show them relevant coupons when they go to shops or browse online.

The rise of virtual assistants poses several challenges. One is privacy. The best services will have access to troves of data, but how consumers’ information will be shared with outside firms that fulfil requests has yet to be ironed out. Unlike human secretaries who work for one person or firm, virtual assistants have divided loyalties. For example, Google Now and Facebook M may work on behalf of consumers, but their parent companies make money by selling targeted ads and mining consumer data. Apple, in contrast, has made privacy one of its main selling-points.

A similar dilemma is raised when it comes to commerce. As virtual assistants help purchase more things online, they will have the power to boost certain firms and deprive others of business. When asked to book a ticket from San Francisco to London, will a virtual assistant select the cheapest fare, or a ticket on an airline that has a promotional relationship with the company that invented the assistant? As virtual secretaries become more powerful, the question of who works for whom will become more pressing.

by Economist

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Why the iPad Pro could be good for Microsoft

Apple’s new iPad – though not expected to sell like crazy – could lift the entire market for large, touchscreen tablets, boosting the fortunes of Microsoft, Dell and several other hardware makers.

Going on sale in November, the iPad Pro comes with features and accessories designed to make it more suitable as a work machine than the first nine iPad models. Its screen size is just a centimetre less than the MacBook Pro’s 13-inch display, and it weighs half as much as the laptop. It supports running multiple apps at once and works well with speedy Internet connections.

In fact, in introducing the iPad Pro at an event in San Francisco on Thursday, Apple stated that the processor and display on the iPad Pro were superior to many popular laptops. Most demos focused on using the iPad Pro to create, edit and calculate, a stark leap from five years ago when then-Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the iPad as a thing to read, watch and listen.

Hardware analysts say the new capabilities along with a stylus and keyboards sold separately should instantly make the iPad Pro attractive to workers in health care, construction and other industries. They could find the new device more tenable to work on than a big-screened smartphone and less clunky to lug around than small laptops.

But because many companies remain tethered to programs that work only on Microsoft Windows, corporate equipment purchasers aren’t likely to jump for the $US799 iPad Pro let alone the $US1079 high-end option with a cellular chip.

Apple is closing that gap by having vendors such as IBM, Cisco, Adobe and even Microsoft make their technology work well with iPhones, iPads and Macs. The recently announced deal with Cisco, for instance, means iPhone users will enjoy higher-quality video chats than Android users when in offices powered by Cisco networking equipment.

The deals are significant, but not enough for the iPad Pro to become the device of choice inside businesses, said J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at consulting firm Forrester Research.

“Companies have invested lots of money into legacy software not available or not effective in iOS,” he said, referring to the iPad’s operating system. “That’s going to make it very challenging to move your workforce to the new device.”

What the new iPad does do is give credibility to more laptop-like tablets, said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for tablets at IDC.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of big tablets, first unveiled three years ago, only recently started to catch on. Now, as people buzz about the iPad Pro and possibly buy one and bring it to work, more corporate technology managers could be forced to give the Surface or newly announced competitors from Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo a second look, analysts said.

Dell’s decision this week to sell and provide technical support for the Surface Pro 3 to businesses “will further turbocharge the energy” around the iPad Pro’s Windows-based rivals, Gownder said.

That momentum is why IDC estimates shipments for larger, so-called two-in-one tablets will expand by 80 percent in the U.S. next year, while purchasing of traditional, smaller tablets drops 11 percent.

The iPad Pro is “a refresh for my old iPad and a refresh for my laptop,” Bouchard said. “It might be a way to not get both.”


By: Paresh Dave
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Android ransomware increasing in Australia: Bitdefender


Security vendor Bitdefender has warned of an upswing in the incidence of Android ransomware in Australia.

Bitdefender says there has been a sudden spike in the incidence of Android ransomware in Australia, and suggests this shows “an increased interest among cybercriminals in targeting Australia to generate revenue.”

The above graph shows the incidence of ransomware as a percentage of total Android malware reports.

Early samples of Android malware were quite basic and easily removed, the company says, but more recent examples are more persistent and can only be removed after restarting the device in Safe Mode.

So far, Android ransomware does not encrypt data on the affected phone or tablet, it just pretends that it has done so and relies on scaring the user.

This is in contrast to the Windows situation, where ransomware such as Cryptolocker really does encrypt the data. In that case, the choice is between paying the ransom (and hoping you receive the decryption key in return), and losing the files unless you can restore them from backups.

Dell SecureWorks recently noted that Australia was ranked third in the world for Cryptolocker incidents.

Bitdefender offers the usual advice: only download apps from Google Play, and install a mobile security product. Obviously they’d like you to use Bitdefender Mobile Security, but there are others such as Norton Mobile Security, which has a handy feature to warn you of known risks with apps from Google Play before you tap the Download button.

By: Stephen Withers

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