Apps now almost double 2013 prices
Apple is increasing the prices of both apps and in-app purchases at the Russian App Store, according to a new memo issued to developers. An app that would normally be $1 in the US, for example, is now 62 rubles. That indicates that apps have almost doubled in cost in Russia during 2014, though the increase is largely due to recent currency pressures.
New Xcode 6.2 beta also available
Apple has begun seeding a third beta of iOS 8.2 to developers. Significantly the code restores blood glucose tracking in the Health app, which was temporarily disabled earlier this year due to confusion caused by the app displaying data in mg/dL but accepting data from devices using mmol/L as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.
Entertainer involved in advertising for iPhone 6
On Wednesday's episode of the Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon gave away an iPad Air 2 to every member of the studio audience. The segment (below) was part of a week-long series of giveaways. It wasn't identified which models people were getting, although NBC may have opted to give people 16GB Wi-Fi versions, given the costs involved. Even at that bottom tier, the tablet costs $499.
Fleksy adds variety of keyboard extensions, requires iOS 8
Customizable iOS keyboard app Fleksy has received a major update introducing new themes and extensions, as well as improvements to existing features. Fleksy allows users to find and send GIFs, and provides autocorrect while typing, and intuitive gestures offer greater typing speed. Version 5.0 of Fleksy offers more themes to choose from, including branded ones. New keyboard extensions can be dragged and dropped as cards to add and remove features. Five extensions are available at the time of launching, including a GIF keyboard, Numbers Row, One-Handed Mode, Cursor Control, and Rainbow Pops. A new emoji scroll mode allows emoji to be searched for faster, and long-pressing the period key brings up quick access of punctuation and symbols. In VoiceOver mode, single-character input is now easier, and Arabic secondary characters can be accessed by tapping the Shift key.
Updates to existing apps must switch by June
Apple has issued a new notice to developers, reminding them of two important deadlines concerning 64-bit support in iOS apps. As was previously announced, those submitting new titles to the App Store must implement 64-bit support -- and use the iOS 8 SDK -- by February 1st. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1st.
Christmas, like winter, is coming. Be prepared!
It's not too late, but its getting close. In fact its so close, that any helping hand might be welcome to help pick presents for the Apple-centric device lover in your life. Good news! We see every conceivable gadget all year -- use our knowledge to benefit you! This week, Electronista and MacNN have suggestions for the best gift options for the Apple fan in your life.
Touchscreen interaction in the dead of winter, without freezing hands
It shouldn't be a secret that normal, cheap knit gloves actually don't contain enough fabric to prevent a persons finger from interacting with a capacitive screen. This means that, yes, normal knit gloves are technically touchscreen gloves but normal cheap knit gloves also don't contain enough fabric to keep a persons hands warm in most cold weather. That's where Refined Touchscreen Gloves by Mujjo come in - promising to let us interact with all our touchscreen devices while keeping our hands toasty.
Mac app gets demanded pinch-to-zoom option
Pixelmator Team has released updated Mac and iPad versions of its namesake image editor. The Mac update, v3.3.1, now supports pinch-to-zoom gestures on trackpads, fulfilling a popular demand. Resizing and scrolling options have been added to the Shapes, Gradients, and Styles palettes.
May not reach public until January
Although it recently released iOS 8.1.2, and is well into development on iOS 8.2, Apple is also working on an interim v8.1.3 update, web traffic shows. The first hits from v8.1.3 devices appear to have come around December 8th, a day before v8.1.2 went live. Since then the number has increased, but just a "few dozen" have reportedly come from Apple's networks.
Foursquare launches revamped iPad app
Foursquare, a search and discovery app, has released an update to include iPad support. Its new iPad version aligns itself with the latest overall redesign, so that users can plan a trip by selecting a city, and then can receive a personalized list of places to visit. Top picks in in the user's area are now included, generated by using all of Foursquare's data to suggest locations that are newly popular, or local favorites. Free to download, Foursquare requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Book Browser iPad-only for now
Amazon has issued a major update to the Kindle app for iOS, v4.6. Central to the update is the Book Browser, a feature that lets people search through text and audiobooks hosted on Kindle Unlimited. Tapping on a book's cover provides information, such as a description and customer reviews. People subscribed to Unlimited can download a title immediately; the Browser is, however, restricted to the iPad.
Pushes iPads, MacBooks, Apple ecosystem
Apple has launched a new Christmas-themed TV ad, "The Song" (below). Much like last year's "Misunderstood," the spot focuses on lifestyle branding rather than directly promoting Apple products. Its story has a girl discovering a record given from her grandmother to her grandfather in 1952, featuring the grandmother singing "Love is Here to Stay." The girl then uses a MacBook to help her learn and record a duet over the old recording; she leaves an iPad mini with a note attached for her grandmother to find.
Company says rejection was misunderstanding
The newly-launched iPad version of Papers, Please has briefly been censored by Apple, reports note. Players assume the role of a passport control agent in the fictional Eastern Bloc country of Arstotzka. Later into the game players have access to a full-body scanner; in the original PC title, players could toggle whether this presented characters in full (but cartoonish and low-resolution) nudity or simply in their underwear. A version with both options was initially rejected from the App Store, forcing developer Lucas Pope to remove the nudity.
Could open up iCloud Drive-related functions in apps
Apple has quickly reversed course on a policy that broke "Send To" commands in the FTP app Transmit for iOS, app developer Panic now says. The company writes that it got a "nice call from Apple" on Wednesday, and it has resubmitted Transmit to the App Store with Send To restored. This includes the "Send to iCloud Drive" command that formed the basis of Apple's complaint.
Some Maps content directly integrated
Google has released a major update of its eponymous iOS app, v5.0.0. The software has been "completely rebuilt," according to Google, and now sports the "Material Design" central to Android Lollipop and a growing collection of other apps. Users can access a Recents list to return to previously-visited pages, and start a new search anywhere in the app by tapping the Google logo.
Health & Fitness syncs with HealthKit
Microsoft has launched a collection of new MSN apps for iOS, including News, Money, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, and Sports. A sixth, Weather, is due to go live sometime in the near future. News gathers feeds from websites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Money tracks financial information, and provides some basic tools to go with it.
Cheapest option starts at $727
Cellular-equipped editions of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 are now on sale in China, Apple has announced. Wi-Fi models have been available for some time. Notably, the tablets support unique local 3G and 4G standards -- including TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, and TD-SCDMA -- along with common variants used elsewhere. Most orders from Apple's online store are listed as shipping in one day, although Minis with TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE support are cited as shipping in three to five. Minis with conventional 3G/4G are still shipping in a day.
Device will serve several purposes
United Airlines has signed a deal with Apple that will see it equip over 23,000 flight attendants with the iPhone 6 Plus in 2015, according to an announcement. The phones will initially let attendants process onboard credit-card transactions, as well as access United email, the airline's intranet, and internal safety, service, and policy information. Distribution of the phones is expected to begin in the second quarter.
No significant changes noticed so far
Apple has begun seeding a second beta of iOS 8.2 to developers, build 12D445d. The first beta, build 12D436, was released on November 18. As of this writing, there don't appear to be any feature changes, suggesting the new beta is mostly intended to eliminate bugs.
Options cover finance, retail, telecoms, other sectors
Apple and IBM have unveiled the first iOS apps produced through their partnership announced in July. Available under the "MobileFirst for iOS" banner, the apps target clients in air travel, retail, insurance, banking/finance, government, and telecommunications. Some initial clients include Citi, Air Canada, Sprint, and Banorte.
My gripes with Safari
This week in the MacNN Forums, members discuss gripes with Safari, iPad battery drainage issues, and more. One long-time forum-goer, "l008com," took to the forums this week to voice their complaints about Safari, and some users agreed with his criticisms. Yesterday, Mac Enthusiast "TribeLeader" took to the forums to bump a thread he had started last week about his wife's iPad battery draining while it is in sleep mode, and a solution has yet to be found.
Users directed to URL to restore missing files
Apple has released iOS 8.1.2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners. The firmware is a minor update, dealing mainly with a glitch which removed ringtones bought through the iTunes Store. People wanting to get those files back are being pointed to a special URL, which in turn redirects visitors to a new page at the Store.
'The iPad has been the gold standard in tablets since it was unveiled'
A top Android fan site, Android Police, has published its annual gift guide, with staff members recommending (and sometimes dissing) various top-flight models of Android phones and phablets. For straight-up tablets, however, the site picked the iPad Air 2 as its top pick over the expected Nexus 9 or Nvidia's Shield tablet. The surprise choice, said Senior Editor David Ruddock, was because "the Air 2 is reliable, predictable, and very fast," adding that the iPad "has been the gold standard in tablets since it was unveiled."
'Send to iCloud Drive' option at root of dispute
The latest version of FTP program Transmit for iOS has lost all share sheet-based uploads because of an Apple policy regarding iCloud Drive, says developer Panic. Until now, the FTP app has exploited iOS 8's Extensions function to let people upload files to several storage services, such as iCloud Drive or Dropbox. Panic explains that it was informed that Apple rules dictate that an app can't upload content to iCloud Drive unless a file was created within the app itself; the developer insists that there is nothing about this restriction on iCloud Drive in Apple's iOS Data Storage Guidelines.
Dodges legal issues that blocked first add-on
The creators of the Typo keyboard case have returned with a new model, the Typo2. The accessory has been redesigned not only to accommodate the iPhone 6, but to avoid the legal troubles the company has encountered with BlackBerry. Although a lawsuit is still pending, BlackBerry won a sales injunction against the first-generation case.
Pushes apps like AutoCAD, Molecules, OBD Fusion
Apple has begun airing a new TV ad (below) for the iPad Air 2, dubbed "Change." The spot showcases numerous different uses for the tablet, some relatively conventional but others more creative or exotic. Accompanying the ad is a new microsite featuring the song in the ad -- "Who Needs You" by The Orwells -- along with the apps depicted in each shot.
Top iPad apps previously promoted by Apple
Apple has introduced its annual "Best of 2014" list at the iTunes Store, promoting content in different media categories. The top iPad app, for instance, is Pixelmator, the image editing app Apple also highlighted during its recent press event for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The top iPad game is Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award winner from WWDC.
Keypad uses Bluetooth to bring Apple-matching style to numeric entry
Most of the OS X machines Apple sells these days are laptops with the built-in keyboard that includes no number pad. The vast majority of the remainder are iMacs -- also most with an abbreviated keyboard. Despite Apple's minimalist design, users sometimes could use a dedicated numeric keypad. Accessory manufacturer Newertech has a wireless solution -- a Bluetooth Wireless Aluminum Keypad. MacNN has lived with one for a while.
Australia, France, Germany among new countries with movies
Apple has added a collection of new locations to its Flyover feature in Maps, and new countries to the list that can access movie listings through Siri. In the former category are Avignon, Biarritz, and Perpignan in France; the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater in Arizona; Devil's Tower in Wyoming, Dunedin in New Zealand, Royal Gorge in Arkansas, and finally Visby in Sweden. Apple has been slowly updating the number of areas with Flyover support since iOS 6 was released in 2012.
Target date may be December 18th
The US division of TD Bank is aiming at a mid-December launch of Apple Pay support, a source says. The company is reportedly training workers on both Apple Pay and tokenized Visa transactions. That training is scheduled to end late next week, in time for a launch currently targeted around December 18. To verify cards, the company is expected to use a system similar to that of institutions like Bank of America, which have people call their bank after adding a card through Passbook.
32GB iPad mini 2 for $479
Right now at Walmart.com, get the iPad mini 2 with LTE+Wi-Fi for $479. That's a savings of $120 off the original price of $599, but only matches Apple's current price for this model. This iPad features 32GB of storage, A7 chip with M7 motion coprocessor, 7.9-inch Retina display, built-in Wi-Fi, 5MP iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera and a built-in battery that lasts for up to 10 hours on a single charge. It is available in space gray or silver. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Starbucks mobile payments limited to Portland until next year
Two companies, Square and Starbucks, have launched new iOS options for food orders. Square has introduced a free app for Caviar, the delivery service it bought out in August. Caviar users can have food delivered from partner restaurants in select areas. So far the list of regions includes San Francisco and the Bay Area, plus Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington DC.
Administrators still working out how to best use tablets
The board for Pennsylvania's Steel Valley School District has voted to use a $291,791 donation from Apple CEO Tim Cook to buy iPads for district students, and train teachers on the technology, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The donation was announced in September in honor of Bill Campbell, a former member of Apple's board of directors. The cash was only accepted this week, however, and the iPads won't be formally deployed until the 2015-2016 school year.
Marks reversal in policy towards browser engines
An iOS version of Firefox is in progress, according to comments by two Mozilla managers. On Tuesday, a Firefox project manager, Lukas Blakk, wrote on Twitter that "we need to be where our users are, so we're going to get Firefox on iOS;" it's believed that he was quoting Firefox VP Jonathan Nightingale at an internal Mozilla event in Portland. The company's manager of data science, Matthew Ruttley, later tweeted a photo from the event showing a slide with an iPhone 6, captioned by Ruttley with "Firefox for iOS!! Let's do this!!!"
Targeted emails outpace Google ads or search for merchant results
A new study that monitored US holiday shopping from mobile devices between Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday showed results exactly in line with similar surveys from last summer, noting that Apple iOS devices accounted for about 78 percent of orders, with Android accounting for only 21.6 percent of online sales from mobile devices. Analytics firm Custora noted the consistency between holiday and non-holiday buying patterns, with iOS and Android showing the same respective percentages last summer as well.
FBI leaves with 20 boxes of documents, school district officially terminates contract
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) visited the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on Monday in relation to an investigation of the latter's botched iPad program. The Common Core Technology Project attempted to bring iPads to each student in the 47 schools in the district, but drew scrutiny based on the way the district handled the implementation under former Superintendent John Deasy.
Security concern based on apparently false newspaper article
A member of the center-left Fair Russia party and State Duma lawmaker is proposing a bill that would recommend that all Russian parliament members stop using iPhones and iPads to protect themselves from foreign eavesdropping, based primarily on what appears to be a false report that the Russian military has done the same. The Defense Ministry has since denied the report from the newspaper Izvestia, but the bill has again opened the question of whether foreign-made smartphones and tablets are secure.
Jobs testimony calls Real 'hackers' in 2004, surprised that Real existed in 2011
In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.
Real seeking $350 million in damages, declaration by Apple about decade-old issue
The Apple versus Real anti-trust trial centering around Apple's use of FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent piracy (or block other music stores, as Real claims) has begun, as expected. Lawyers for the complainants continue to claim that changes in iTunes blocking other companies' music stores from functioning on the iPod allowed Apple to raise prices. Real's attorneys seek $350 million in damages in the long-postponed suit that dates back nearly a decade. The trial, expected to last three weeks, is being held in the Oakland, California federal courts.
iPad mini for $250, 4K monitor for $700, more
At Staples.com, get the Space Gray iPad mini with Wi-Fi on sale for $199. That's a savings of $50 off the regular price of $250, and the best price we have seen on this configuration by more than $20. This iPad features a 7.9-inch LED-backlit display, A5 chip, 5MP iSight camera, built-in Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. Included is Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
refurbished Macs from $769 and iPads from $309
Today at Apple's online store, save on refurbished Macs as low as $769 and iPads from $309. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid state storage is available for $769 after a $130 discount. Priced at $309, after a $70 discount, is the refurbished iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular for AT&T and 16GB of storage.
Apple's Black Friday 2014 event
It is now officially Black Friday, and we wanted to get things started off on the right foot -- so we have rounded up a selection of items from Apple's Black Friday sale. This year, Apple has combined their Black Friday promotion with the World AIDS day promo announced earlier this week. With qualified purchases, customers will receive Product (RED) gift cards on everything from iPhones and iPads to iPods and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Walmart deals on electronics available now
Black Friday sales have gone live at Walmart.com; however, if you plan on getting a head start on the deals at your local store, keep in mind it will be opening its doors tonight at 6PM. The company is offering three different door-buster events, which are outlined below. If you don't want to wait for the door-busters, or would just prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of your own home, we have highlighted a selection of deals that are available now.
The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote!
While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is only now upon us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.
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).
Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
When looking for an external keyboard to use with something like the iPad, you are generally limited to two streams of products: Bluetooth keyboards designed for desktop use, and keyboard cases. While wireless desktop keyboards offer a superior typing experience when compared to keyboard cases, they suffer from a design not intended for extensive portability. Meanwhile, keyboard cases are easy to tout around, but force users to add bulk directly to their so-called "portable" device. Enter Logitech's Keys-To-Go, a small Bluetooth keyboard that offers no means of attaching itself to a mobile device, yet has been designed to throw in a bag and carry around.
Band Bleachers shown using Apple Pay at variety of small businesses
Megabank Chase has aired a new TV commercial featuring the band Bleachers using a Chase Freedom credit account to purchase a variety of items and services ahead of a rooftop gig in Los Angeles -- with the difference being that the band members used their iPhones and Apple Pay instead of their credit cards. A representative from Chase told AdAge that representatives from Apple were involved in the creation of the ad, but asked mainly that the Apple Pay be shown in realistic situations.
Bank limits support to MasterCard for time being
Another financial institution, Commerce Bank, has implemented support for Apple Pay mobile payments. The bank operates chiefly in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It hasn't made an formal announcement, but is now listed in an official Apple Pay support document. Commerce customers who want to use Apple Pay are currently limited to personal MasterCards, even though the bank also offers Visa.
Many more merchants, banks planning to add support in coming weeks, months
In addition to today's announcement by Square that it will bring support for Apple Pay to its app and systems early next year, a number of other merchants have also unveiled Apple Pay support or are planning to soon. Venues that utilize Tickets.com as their online ticket provider, for example, have now adopted support for Apple's iPhone 6-centric payment method, and some apps will soon be offering an Apple Pay option for online purchases.