Aborted 8.0.1 update made users gun-shy; 8.1 picks up pace
Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate has returned to normal levels following a brief stagnation in the wake of the botched 8.0.1 update that was only very briefly available but caused havoc for the thousands who downloaded it, and temporarily made users hesitant to upgrade. In an update on iOS 8 distribution posted to its developer website, Apple said 60 percent of users registered with the iOS App Store are now running some version iOS 8 (up four percent from two weeks ago), with 35 percent running iOS 7 (down five percent from the same period).
iPhone buyers likely grabbing 'vital' apps
App Store downloads surged to a record 7.8 million per day average for the top 200 free iOS apps in October, says mobile marketing firm Fiksu. That represented a 42 percent increase from September, and a 39 percent jump year-over-year. The firm says it expects the trend to continue into the holiday season. It appears to have been kickstarted by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which first launched on September 19, but which has been been gradually rolling out to more and more countries.
New tactic addresses complaints of silent disabling of outdated versions
Apple is trying a different tack in the struggle to keep Macs secure by encouraging users to either disable the Flash browser plug-in outright, or to keep up-to-date with the latest version, which routinely fixes serious security issues found in the multi-platform media player. The latest maneuver by the iPhone maker, which debuted today, is a direct pop-up prompt to update to the latest version when users visit a page that requires Flash Player. The dialogue box takes users directly to Adobe's own page for updating Flash.
First beta comes with known problem, but no focus areas for testing
Just days after issuing the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update that has reportedly fixed a raft of Wi-Fi and Mail issues (but not all of them), the company has seeded the first beta of 10.10.2 for developer. The new build, 14C68k, is now available through the Yosemite Software Update mechanism or Apple's developer portal. The release notes for the beta curiously do not mention any focus areas, but do warn testers of a known flaw in opening documents from iCloud Drive.
Store access granted to developers despite lack of Google Play Store in China
Google is now accepting apps created by developers based in China on the Google Play Store. While the change now allows for developers in the country to sign up as merchants for Google's Android app marketplace, distributing the apps to users in more than 130 countries, the apps themselves will not be available in China itself, as Google Play does not currently operate there.
Release breaks all 32-bit extensions, offers faster startup and memory management
Originally announced in August, Google has now released Chrome 39 for OS X, the first version of the browser that is fully 64-bit. In addition to some 42 security fixes and new APIs, the new version now requires all extension developers update their extensions to 64-bit, as 32-bit extensions are no longer supported. The change will result in a lot of existing Chrome extensions "breaking" for most users, at least temporarily.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Shenzhen conference gathered HomeKit, iOS accessory manufacturers
On the heels of reports that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips that feature Apple's HomeKit API already embedded in them are now arriving to accessory makers, Apple announced during its "Made For i" (MFi) developer conference in China that manufacturers can now submit product plans for HomeKit-based products to the iPhone maker for approval, making it possible that the first group of such devices could arrive before the end of the holiday buying season. Apple's MFi certification would be the last step for devices before hitting the market.
Fixes Swift, Interface Builder, other components
Apple is now seeding a gold master version of Xcode 6.1.1 to developers, listed as build 6A2006. The update is a relatively minor one, dealing with bugfixes for Xcode Server, Interface Builder, and handling of Apple's Swift programming language. It can be downloaded through the official OS X developer portal.
Depth-sensing Project Tango listed as unavailable to purchase
Google's Project Tango has appeared on the Google Play Store, strongly suggesting the search company is making it available to purchase shortly. The development kit is shown with a complete specifications list and a collection of promotional images, including one which displays the multi-sensor back cover for depth sensing and motion tracking.
Camera RAW, Thunderbolt Display firmware, Safari, Epson printers
On Thursday, Apple issued a number of new builds of Safari for the last three versions of OS X, a new firmware update for the current Thunderbolt Display, an update to Camera RAW, and updates for printer drivers for Epson printers. The Thunderbolt Display firmware update covers a "rare" issue that can cause some displays to go dark, according to the company. The update, to version 1.2, also brings "improved reliability when connecting external displays to the display."
Calls on Congress to make general 'data brokering' more transparent
Microsoft takes .Net open source and cross-platform, adds new development capabilities with Visual S
Microsoft has open-sourced the full server-side of its .Net stack, a platform for running and developing applications, prioritizing cross-platform expansion for running on Linux and Mac operating systems. Microsoft also released Visual Studio Community 2013, a new free edition of Visual Studio that features access to its core toolset. Microsoft is providing the full .Net server stack in open source, including Asp.Net, the .Net compiler, the .Net Core Runtime, Framework and Libraries, thus enabling cross-platform building. The announcements come alongside the release of Visual Studio 2015 Preview and .Net 2015 Preview, which are built to support iOS, Android, and Windows.
Google makes data-erasing full restore images available for download
Google is now offering a number of methods by which users of four selected Nexus devices can upgrade to Android 5.0 "Lollipop." The primary method, an "Over The Air (OTA) update" is rolling out in phases to users of Google's mobile devices now, and is expected to be available to all owners of the four devices in the next month. Additionally, the company has posted full-restore factory images to its website, should a user want to completely erase a device, and start from scratch (otherwise known as a "clean install").
Flow shares notifications, app data between collection of networked devices
Samsung used its Developer Conference to reveal a system for allowing notifications and data to be shared between a collection of different devices. Similar to Apple's Continuity, Samsung Flow will allow users to move relevant information between smartphones, tablets, computers, smart televisions, and other network-connected devices with displays.
Error in 'wrapping' of update caused cellular, Touch ID issues, he says
An interview of Apple's VP of iPhone, iPod and iOS Produce Marketing Greg Jozwiak conducted last month at a Re/code conference has been posted online. In the 34-minute session, "Joz" defended the company's quality-control procedures even in the face of some recent minor -- and one major -- software snafus for the mobile platform. The talk also covered many of Joz's responsibilities, including Apple Pay, the new Apple SIM, iOS and more.
Audio boosting app Boom 2 Beta released, built for Yosemite
Global Delight has released a beta version of its re-engineered audio boosting app, Boom (readers can check out our review of Boom from last month). Boom 2 introduces an ability to adapt and adjust to accommodate the type of Mac being used, attempting to intuit a suitable volume output, depending on the device. Support for 64-bit architecture is included, and users can switch between 10-band and advanced equalizer controls. Depending on the audio file, Boom 2 can recommend the type of 'boosting' to apply for best optimization. Those interested in trying out the Boom 2's beta version can subscribe online.
New build doesn't list any new areas of focus; still testing Wi-Fi, Exchange mail, Notification Cent
A week after offering developers and public beta testers a first release of OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite, the company has issued a smaller second beta with the same focus areas as the previous version. The new build, 14B23, again asks testers to focus on Wi-Fi, Exchange email accounts and tracking down bugs in Notification Center, just as with the first beta. Those who signed up for pre-release builds for the Yosemite public beta will also receive the 10.10.1 betas.
Developer edition of Firefox set to launch soon
Mozilla is increasing the privacy options available in the Firefox browser, with a few new additions. A "Forget" button has been added for the first time, alongside the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo as a default search engine option, with Mozilla also introducing a new version of the browser for developer use, one which should make creating add-ons for the browser much easier.
New Raspberry Pi model has smaller footprint, microSD storage
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched a smaller version of its Raspberry Pi Model A micro computer, four months after doing the same for its popular Model B board. The Model A+ also manages to fit in a few improvements on top of the original version, on top of shrinking the overall size from 85mm (3.35 inches) in length to 65mm (2.55 inches).
LG G Watch R available to purchase on Google Play for $299
LG's G Watch R is now available to purchase from Google Play, just as the smartwatch is about to appear in stores in the United States. The Android Wear smartwatch, complete with a 1.3-inch round P-OLED display and a heart rate monitor, finally joins the original G Watch on the Google online store, though it is priced at a rather expensive $299.
Pages, Numbers, Keynote for iOS, Pages for Mac, iTunes Connect, iMovie and more updated
Apple on Thursday issued a rash of minor updates to various programs, at least some of which have been updated to add or increase compatibility with iCloud Photo Library. Apple has updated all three of the iWork for iOS suite and has updated Pages for Mac (and will likely issue matching updates for Numbers and Keynote for Mac), saying only that the update "includes minor stability and performance enhancements." Developers and testers have seen photo uploading added to iCloud.com's iCloud Library.
Simple website indexing bot suggest Apple increasing its bypassing of search engines
NASA, Department of Defense among first to access Lytro developer kit
Lytro, the producers of the light-field cameras of the same name and the Illum, is giving interested parties access to its technology. The company is releasing the Lytro Platform and its first Lytro Development Kit for enterprise users to try using the technology in other ways, with the first customers including NASA and the US Department of Defense.
Concentrates on bugfixes, speed boosts
In tandem with the OS X 10.10.1 beta, Apple has simultaneously released an initial iOS 8.1.1 beta to developers. The code is listed as build 12B432. So far, the update appears concentrated around bugfixes and performance increases, rather than adding new features, as in iOS 8.1.
Broadcom, TI and Marvell shipping chips needed for 'smart home' accessories
A new report says that at least two of the three Apple-approved vendors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips that feature Apple's HomeKit embedded in the processors are now shipping the components to home appliance manufacturers. The news, confirmed by Forbes, suggests that products taking advantage of HomeKit technology should be appearing more commonly in the market over the course of the next few months. Though several HomeKit-centric products are already out, a forthcoming conference should vastly increase that number.
Testers are to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail and Notification Center fixes
On Monday, Apple released the first beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.1, the forthcoming first update to Yosemite. This first beta is the first to arrive after the release of OS X Yosemite on October 16. The new build, 14B17, can be obtained by registered developers through Apple's Software Update. Apple is asking developers to focus on Wi-Fi, Exchange accounts in Mail, and Notification Center. No release notes have yet been published detailing any changes or fixes present in 10.10.1.
Feature coming in 'the coming weeks,' features similar to Nearby, Bump
A new method of communications between Android and iOS devices might be available soon, as a sources indicate that the two device types could share photos, files, messages, directions and other content through Google's Copresence service. The service appeared in the latest version of the Google Play Services Android application package (APK), allowing some clues to be collected on how a service could tie the two operating systems together.
Company hadn't anticipated possibility
In another sudden turnaround, Apple has reversed a decision to block apps with calculator widgets from the App Store. An Apple spokesperson says that PCalc and other similar apps will be permitted in the store without changes. It's suggested that the company simply hadn't anticipated the possibility of widgets serving as calculators, hence reviewers being confused as to whether they can give the greenlight.
Change marks sudden policy reversal
Apple has forced the developer of PCalc, James Thomson, to remove an iOS 8 Notification Center widget that let people do calculations without opening the app. The decision is an apparently sudden reversal, given that the app was previously approved with the widget intact. PCalc has been featured in several sections of the App Store, such as "Great Apps and Games for iOS 8," and even "Extend Your Apps," which focuses on software with unusual widgets.
Conference for modular smartphone will reveal initial launch details
The second set of developer conferences for the Project Ara modular smartphone will be taking place in January, Google has declared. Called DevCon2, Google's ATAP team hopes to use the time to show off developers the latest iteration of the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK), as well as early plans for a market pilot, due to take place in 2015.
Company working on improving appeal of service to clients
The iAd network is now available in another 70 countries, bringing the total up to 95, according to an Apple announcement to developers. The company hasn't identified which regions are new except for Australia, but says the remainder are spread across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The change should increase the potential reach of existing iAd campaigns and enable new ones.
Milestone comes far slower than it did for iOS 7 due to early-release glitches
As of October 27, iOS 8 was installed on 52 percent of eligible devices, Apple has announced in a posting on its developer website. While far slower than the take-up rate of iOS 7 last year, the milestone was achieved in a little less than six weeks' time -- still far faster than comparative figures for other mobile and desktop platforms. Early delivery and quality glitches in iOS 8 -- most notoriously the short-lived 8.0.1 bugfix release -- may have made the public more gun-shy about trusting later updates.
WatchMe project aims to help developers add live YouTube streaming to apps
Android app developers may take advantage of live YouTube streaming, thanks to a new open source project released by the video service. The YouTube WatchMe for Android project, hosted on GitHub, uses a combination of existing APIs to make it easier for developers to add live streaming capabilities to their apps in the future.
Google Fit collects data from smartphone sensors, fitness apps
Google has released its fitness app, Google Fit. The Android competitor to Apple's HealthKit which was launched at Google I/O in June, Google Fit acts as a central health platform for fitness apps and wearable devices, gathering all related together to give the user a supposed clearer picture about their health and activities.
Dodocase releases Flat Vernacular Classic cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
Tech accessories producer Dodocase has released two case series for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Its Flat Vernacular series features unique hand-drawn patterns from Brooklyn-based design company of the same name, and its Classic cases are available in black with different options for the inner cover. Both case series include a book-bound spine, an impact-resistant bamboo tray and folding back cover, either offering multi-angle folding options or the original cover.
Software no longer on Mac App Store
Bare Bones has upgraded its popular text and code editor, BBEdit, to version 11. The Mac software has a long list of new features, fixes, and minor improvements. Some changes include better syntax highlighting, a revised Find Differences interface, and a new text extraction function. The Clipping system, meanwhile, has been upgraded to support snippets that can be used in one or many languages.
Testing pool limited to 1,000 users per developer
Following a soft rollout to internal testers a few weeks ago, Apple has fully opened its TestFlight beta-testing service. "You can now invite up to 1,000 testers to beta test your iOS apps by simply sending them an email invitation through iTunes Connect," the company says on its developer portal. "Once they accept your invitation, testers can install your beta app on their iOS devices, get updated builds, and provide feedback, all within the TestFlight app."
Will use transport layer security for push notifications starting October 29
In a note to developers, Apple has announced that due to a serious security flaw in SSL version 3.0, the company will be dropping support for the protocol beginning Wednesday, October 29 for all of its push notifications, which are delivered through Apple's own servers. The company will switch to Transport Layer Security (TLS) for the service, and notes that developers will need to build in support for TLS in their apps to ensure uninterrupted push notification compatibility if they haven't already.
Digits offered in Twitter's Fabric development kit, uses only a phone number
Twitter has started putting the pieces into place to distance users from password requirements with the announcement of Digits. The company unveiled the new platform at its first mobile developer conference in San Francisco today, as a part of its Fabric suite of development tools. Rather than relying on a username and password for every app, Digits uses a telephone number and text messages to confirm identities instead.
Fast and Slow update tiers selectable for quicker updates
Microsoft is deploying the first update to the Windows 10 preview under the Windows Insider program. Build number 9860 is headed to users overnight through Windows Update, or users can opt to immediately install it. The update weighs in at between 2GB and 2.74GB, depending on architecture, and contains some improvements and bug fixes to the pre-release operating system.
Microsoft releases digital TV tuner for Xbox One in Europe
A digital TV tuner for the Xbox One has gone on sale in Europe through the Microsoft Store. Priced at £25 ($40) in the UK and 30 euros ($38) in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, the tuner will allow owners of the Microsoft game console to view free-to-air HD television through the device, complete with Snap Mode video, pausing and rewinding of live TV, and OneGuide program listings.
Shows example apps made using Swift, notes colleges adding the language
Continuing its effort to promote its own streamlined object-oriented programming code Swift, Apple has followed up from its Swift blog with a full-blown mini-site on Apple.com. The new site takes a similar approach to Apple's dedicated mini-sites for education and business, highlighting some of the many apps now built using swift and featuring case studies, profiles and links to tutorials and free resources. The new promotional mini-site is in addition to the regular Swift developer site.
MLB was early adopter of Passbook app, iBeacons; MLB app will gain Touch ID functionality
Major League Baseball, which has taken the role of unabashed cheerleader for several of Apple's financial and retail technology initiatives including Passbook and iBeacons, has announced another embrace -- this time, Apple Pay. Both of the two MLB stadiums involved in this year's World Series will be accepting Apple Pay for concessions starting with the event, which begins on Tuesday. San Francisco's AT&T Park and Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium will both have the hardware on hand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users.
Should improve performance on more recent devices
As of February 1, all new or updating iOS apps must not only be based on the iOS 8 SDK, but contain 64-bit code, Apple is informing developers. At the moment, developers are still being allowed to submit 32-bit-only apps or universal binaries. The problem is that more recent iOS devices -- namely those based on 64-bit A7, A8, and A8X processors -- have to load extra resources into memory to handle 32-bit code, taking a toll on performance.
WatchKit SDK to help development of apps for Apple Watch
Apple is going to help developers create apps for the Apple Watch before its release early next year, by making available a software development kit for the device. WatchKit, being made available to download in November, will allow developers to work on and test their smartwatch apps without having the Apple Watch hardware to hand.
Analytics portal to be taken offline for maintenance for six hours next Sunday
According to a brief notification sent to developers, Apple is planning to take iTunes Connect offline for approximately six hours starting at 6AM Pacific on Sunday, October 26. The portal is used by developers to submit, take down, update, adjust pricing and study analytics of apps submitted to the Mac and iOS App Stores. The modest maintenance downtime is unusual in light of Apple annual and longer downtime that usually happens in December.
Less-obvious buttons, more white space, flatter icons fall in line with iOS 7 aesthetic
The flatter, more minimalist look sported by both iOS 7 and 8 as well as the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite has reached iTunes, or at least the version currently being beta-tested for imminent release. With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 expected to be unveiled next week at Apple's press event, the music management and storefront application that ties into most users' iOS devices for media access has gained a whiter, flatter interface that does away with shadows and 3D effects in favor of clean lines and subtle buttons.
Updates coming more quickly, signaling that testing phase is winding down
Apple has again updated its "Golden Master" candidate of OS X 10.10 Yosemite in a developer-only release, the third such build. Apple had already seeded a second GM candidate just two days ago, with the first one coming exactly a week before that. The new version, build 14A388a, is exactly two nightly builds up from the previous version. There were no new release notes to indicate what was changed, suggesting that the new GM candidate contains a fix for a recently-discovered issue.
Google, Microsoft, Amazon have all reportedly tendered offers for Unity
According to sources familiar with the matter, cross-platform game development tool Unity's developers are having continuing discussions with possible buyers for the company. The biggest name attached to the development company's discussions is allegedly Google, with Microsoft and Amazon having made offers as early as 2013.