10 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Announced the iPhone

The world looked very different a decade ago. George W. Bush was president; the final Harry Potter book hadn’t been released yet; and while smartphones existed, they weren’t mainstream. But as The Verge reports, that last part began to change on January 9, 2007, when Steve Jobs announced a "revolutionary product"—the first-generation iPhone—in a keynote speech at the Macworld 2007 expo in San Francisco.

The iPhone was sold as a mobile device, but as Jobs described, its potential wasn’t restricted to phone calls. As he described it, the gadget was "a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device." People could use it to communicate, and also to listen to/watch entertainment, store photos, and surf the internet.

"An iPod, a phone...are you getting it?" Jobs added. "These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone."

Not everyone was enamored with the iPhone. Some people said it was too expensive; others complained that it was only available on Cingular (later AT&T Wireless), or only came with 2G telephone technology. Plus, some people still loved their flip phones (remember the Motorola Razr?).

Still, the iPhone's popularity began to soar, slowly and steadily, after its official release on June 29, 2007. That year, as market intelligence agency Mintel points out, standard mobile phone sales declined for the first time, and smartphone sales exploded to more than $12 billion. And in the past 10 years alone, Apple claims, the company has sold over one billion iPhone units.

By now, the iPhone has been redesigned many times—it's come a long, long way from the first-generation product that Jobs initially presented 10 years ago. But today, we can take a few minutes to remember the clunky gadget that changed technology (and our lives) by watching the video below.

[h/t The Verge]

Voice-Activated Assistants Can Hear Messages Hidden in Songs and Commercials

The voice-activated assistant boom has inspired fears of tech companies playing Big Brother and eavesdropping on consumers' most intimate conversations. New research reported by The New York Times suggests that a bigger threat may be third parties sending messages to Alexa and Siri that their owners can't hear.

In 2016, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University demonstrated that hijacking someone else's smart device to activate airplane mode or open a webpage without their knowledge was as easy as hiding the command in white noise. Some of those same researchers from Berkeley further explored this vulnerability in a new study. They found that voice assistants can hear commands concealed in regular recorded audio. Many voice assistants can be programmed to make online purchases, unlock doors, and make digital payments—all commands that hackers could potentially use for their own gain.

Even with all their privacy concerns, voice-activated assistants continue to gain popularity. Over 20 million homes use devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home to do things like make calls, search the web, and control appliances hands-free. But without the proper security measures in place, features that are convenient in one moment can quickly turn disastrous. One way to protect yourself is by password-protecting sensitive commands like online shopping, or disabling them all together. And remember that connecting your whole life to Alexa, including your accounts, passwords, and contacts, leaves you vulnerable to a single attack.

You can set up every privacy protection imaginable, but in the end there's not much you can do to hide your information from the corporation that owns your home assistant. As long as it's on, it's always listening and recording every noise it hears. Remember to delete your saved recordings on a regular basis. You can also switch off the microphone whenever you want your personal conversations to stay private and to delete your recordings regularly.

[h/t The New York Times]

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The Easy Trick That Will Help You Organize Your iPhone Apps Faster

With millions of apps to choose from, your smartphone’s home screen might get a little cluttered from time to time. Holding and dragging apps one by one to organize them can seem like more of a chore than it’s worth, but fortunately, there’s an easier way to do it.

As spotted by Finer Tech, iOS 11 lets you lump multiple apps together to move at the same time. With one hand, tap and hold an app until it enters “jiggle mode” and move it away from its current location. With your other hand (or other finger, if you're particularly coordinated), tap the apps you’d like to move with it, and they’ll instantly be grouped together.

If you're hoping to trick yourself into using your social media apps less by moving them all to page three (as some experts recommend), this hack will save you a few minutes of dragging and dropping.

This video provides a handy demonstration of how it’s done:

While you’re at it, you might as well uninstall any apps you haven’t touched since you downloaded them, as they can be a drain on both memory and battery.

[h/t Lifehacker]


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