Weekly News Roundup 15/2/2016

iOS bug could turn your expensive device into a brick, ACCC to investigate Apples Error #53 for possible consumer law breach and RAC WA to bring a driverless bus to Perth in April.

Bug prevents time-travellers from ever taking an iPhone with them back to the days of disco.

bug-ios-la-date-au-1-janvier-1970-bloque-les-appareils-64-bits-a7-a9xIt has been discovered that setting the date to January 1, 1970 on your iOS powered device will permanently “brick” your iPhone, iPad or iPod. The oddly-specific date will render the device useless as it will refuse to boot once being turned off after setting the date.
Even trying recovery mode while plugged into iTunes, affected devices were non-responsive. This has led to speculation that malicious people could set up public wifi hotspots that included a NTP server. This is effectively a time-keeping server that updates clocks to the local time through a well established and long standing protocol used to keep large amounts of connected systems on the same time.
If the NTP server was to set the time of the connecting Apple product to 1/1/1970 then that product will be bricked on restarting.

The fault affects all iOS powered devices from version 8.0 to 9.3 beta and the only resolution at this time is to have a technician disconnect and reconnect the battery.

Original reddit thread here.

ACCC has launched an investigation to see if Apple’s #53 error is in breach of consumer laws.

touch-idStemming from reports last week, the ACCC has Apple under investigation for monopolising the market of iPhone repairs. The now infamous error #53 is a security measure employed to prevent the phones finger-print sensor from being bypassed by replacing it with another fingerprint sensor that contains different user authentication data.
it is reasonable to assume that this countermeasure is in place to protect not only the data on the phone but other services associated with the device such as ApplePay and other payment technologies.
Angry users that have been impacted since the recent upgrade to iOS 9.3 have complained that their right to choose a repairer other than Apple has been taken away as the repairers are unable to replace the fingerprint reader if needed. The resolution is to seek out-of-warranty repairs with Apple.

Needless to say, this may have a significant impact on Apple’s future approach to security or opening up the repair channel to other third parties.

Original Gizmodo story here.

RAC WA to test a fully electric driverless bus in Perth.

AVTIn what I call a truly exciting event the Royal Automobile Club of WA will be receiving a fully electric and autonomous bus capable of travelling up to 45km/h with as many as 15 passengers.
The French built NAVYA Bus will be destined for testing starting in 2016 in a staged series of trails as local communities, government bodies and businesses will consider the impact this technology will have as we see more and more autonomous and electric vehicles expected to reach the market by 2017.

The key role for the bus will be to cover distances that are too far to walk and uneconomical to drive a private vehicle. This move puts Perth on the same technical innovation footing as some of the most advanced parts of the world and spells some great opportunity this attention will bring to the startup and tech sectors in Perth.

Full RAC WA blog post here.