Apple credits TaiG team in release notes
Yesterday's iOS 8.1.3 update sabotages the TaiG jailbreak tool, users say. The hack was functional through iOS 8.1.2, outdoing Pangu, which stopped working as of v8.1.1. Although the TaiG team itself hasn't confirmed the problem, Apple's notes for v8.1.3 actually credit the group with finding four security vulnerabilities.
Cites high customer satisfaction, enterprise opportunities among reasons
Apple's iPad tablet is continuing to see growing declines in sales, as noted in the most recent quarterly results. As expected, the iPad dropped 18 percent year-over-year in sales, though new models and the holiday season provided a substantial boost from the previous quarter. Although Apple only sold 21.4 million iPads this holiday season compared to 26 million last year, sales were up strongly from the previous quarter, leaping from September's 12.3 million iPads.
Giant otherwise shows strong financial performance
Beyond its official press release, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal first quarter. The document is the only one to mention iPad sales, and reveals that shipments dropped 18 percent year-over-year to 21.42 million. Revenues for the tablet fell 22 percent to $9 billion.
Company mum on iPad results in official press release
Apple has posted the results of its first fiscal quarter for 2015, which actually ended on December 27. The company says it achieved record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion, and similarly record-setting net profits of $18 billion, or $3.06 per share. The figures compare against $57.6 billion, $13.1 billion, and $2.07 in Q1 2014; gross margins increased from 37.9 percent to 39.9 percent. Apple notes that international sales made up 65 percent of the recent quarter's revenues.
Major additions include Hamburg, Liverpool
Apple has added 12 new towns and cities to the list of Apple Maps locations with Flyover coverage. Of these only one is in the US -- that being Amarillo, Texas. The others include three places in France -- Beziers, Clermont, and Saint-Tropez -- along with Aguadilla and Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Brno in the Czech Republic, Cittadella in Italy, Hamburg in Germany, Helsingborg in Sweden, Liverpool in England, and Odense in Denmark.
Generally directed at bugfixes
Apple has released iOS 8.1.3 via iTunes and as an over-the-air download. Though primarily a maintenance update, it does make one important change: reducing the amount of storage that will be needed for future over-the-air upgrades. The amount of space iOS 8 required for an OTA update was a common complaint by users; on 16GB iPhones and iPads, there is frequently too little room left, forcing people to use iTunes instead. Apple hasn't said how much storage will be needed in the future.
Allows viewing, dismissing iOS notifications, sharing files and links
Pushbullet has introduced a native Mac client for its namesake notification and file/link sharing service. When used in tandem with the company's updated iOS app, the software can not only display iPhone and iPad notifications on a Mac, but be used to dismiss them without picking up the mobile device. More significantly, users can copy and paste between platforms, push links, or download and open exchanged files.
STM announces Dux rugged cases for iPad, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
STM Bags has announced the release of its new Dux case for iPad, along with versions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Described as offering "rugged" protection from drops and general wear and tear, the Dux case consists of a rubberized bracket and polycarbonate exterior. Its clear back allows for customizing the appearance of the device, or letting the back of the iPhone or iPad remain visible. The Dux for iPad (priced at $50) features sizes designed for iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 2 through 4, iPad mini, as well as mini 2 and 3, and is available in blue, red, and black. Dux for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (priced at $30) are available in black and red.
Mac Pro update in 2015, iPad tips and more
The updated Mac Pro has now been available for purchase for a little over a year, and one Fresh-Faced Recruit started a discussion this week in the MacNN forums, asking when we might expect an update, as he is considering buying one. Today, the conversation continues in the thread titled "signs your iMac is on its last legs".
Smaller unit still longer than 11-inch MBA; no info on alleged new port
A set of photos purporting to show the assembled display of the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air has emerged from a Chinese enthusiast site. The pictures are claimed to be a 12-inch Retina display assembly, but feature an iOS-device like metal Apple logo rather than the usual translucent plastic lighted Apple logo, potentially undermining the credibility of the images. The display is seen to be thinner than a typical MacBook Pro, albeit thicker than an iPad Air.
Ways to save power can return you to 'all-day' battery life
You've got to hand it to Apple. We were in an Apple Store, trying to decide between an iPhone 6 and a 6 Plus, as you do, and naturally a salesman came over. We mentioned that one thing that's really drawing us to the Plus is the battery life -- and you know what would have then happened in any other store selling any other phone. Of course the salesman would have immediately evangelized that feature. He'd somehow make it sound magical, how long you can go without charging the phone and yet, simultaneously, sold us some extra battery pack. Except this was Apple, and the guy didn't do any of that. Instead he asked us how long we were able to go without recharging our current iPhone, he tested our battery, and then he talked us through how to make it last longer.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
Mirrors website content
The Khan Academy iOS app has been given a newly redesigned iPad interface, and access to the same range of course content as the service's website. This includes not just videos -- which were previously available -- but all 150,000-plus learning exercises. Product director Matt Wahl notes that this is "where the majority of people spend their time" with Khan.
iPad mini 3 for $353
At Amazon this week, get the iPad mini 3 with 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi in space gray, on sale for $353 with free shipping. That's $46 off the list price of $399, and around $35 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. The iPad mini offers a 7.9-inch Retina display, A7 processor chip with 64-bit architecture, Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. Included is Apple's one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Browser layout updated for Material Design, new iPhones
Google has updated the iOS version of Chrome with several major improvements. The most important may be overdue support for the higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In parallel, though, the look of the browser has been revised to match Google's Material Design philosophy, which includes touches like "flatter" surfaces and more animation.
Contains more even mix of traditional banks, credit unions
Apple has updated the official roster of financial institutions supporting Apple Pay to include 16 more companies. Unlike an expansion earlier this month, the new one contains a more even mix of traditional banks and credit unions. The full list of additions includes: A+ Federal Credit Union, Amegy Bank of Texas, America First Credit Union, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, California Bank & Trust, Connex Credit Union, Goldenwest FCU, Huntington Bank, KeyPoint Credit Union, Meijer Credit Union, National Bank of Arizona, Nevada State Bank, TCF National Bank, Bank of Greene County, Vectra Bank, and Zions First National Bank.
Nexus 9 struggles to deliver a knockout blow against iPad Air 2
Ever since the day that I scored a world exclusive for Electronista by spotting the original Samsung Galaxy Tab in the wild ahead of its release, I have taken a keen interest in watching Android tablets continue to take on the iPad and fail. Google's success with Android has been largely dominated by smartphones, with no single Android tablet competitor getting anywhere near the sales numbers of Apple's iPad. With the continued rise of "phablets," which effectively do double duty as a smartphone and a tablet, it seems that the chance for Android tablets to truly challenge the success of the iPad may have passed. Despite this, Google is persisting with Android tablets of its own, with the Nexus 9 its latest hope. Does the Nexus 9 stand a chance against the undisputed champion of tablets, the Apple iPad Air 2?
Portable MIDI keyboard with a twist
Thanks to software like GarageBand, creating personalized music has never been easier. The included bank of loops provides a great starting ground for putting together ideas -- however, this can only take a budding musician so far. In order to get the full potential out of any software with a large library of sound samples, some form of external input device is necessary. While options in this field vary greatly, the best place to start is usually with a basic MIDI keyboard. Keith McMillen Instruments' latest product, the K-Board, is a budget-friendly option that looks to introduce a number of features not generally found on keyboards. Is the device simple enough for anyone to use? We have spent the last couple of weeks banging away on the supposedly "unbreakable" keyboard to find out.
Handles essential security, deployment tasks
JAMF has announced the general release of Bushel, a cloud-based mobile device management platform aimed at Apple devices. Unlike some MDM products, Bushel is aimed at small- to medium-sized organizations. It's in fact free to use for up to three devices, and costs $2 per device per month for every unit beyond that threshold.
Insists patents are non-essential and not infringed
Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sweden's Ericsson, claiming that the latter is asking for excessive royalties for certain LTE patents, Reuters reports. The iPhone maker says that it hasn't infringed on any of the patents, and hence doesn't owe royalties for them - but the company says, nevertheless, that the patents aren't essential to cellular standards. Further, Apple claims that any royalties should be based on the value of the chip that includes the technology, rather than as a percentage of a device's total cost. If the court should find that the Ericsson patents are, in fact, standards-essential and have been infringed, Apple asks that the court assign a reasonable FRAND royalty rate.
Pushes video to numerous media streaming platforms
A new port of AllCast, a popular Android app, has just been released for iOS. The title lets users stream personal photo, video, and music libraries to a variety of platforms, not just the Apple TV -- the only format natively supported by Apple. Some compatible targets include Chrome, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, WDTV, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and various platforms compatible with DLNA.
Problems included finances, heavy dependence on Apple ecosystem
The Los Angeles Unified School District's failed iPad deployment was botched early on, according to a review by the US Education Department. The federal agency says that the LAUSD put too hard an emphasis on using Apple hardware and software, ignoring cheaper options that could have saved money for the district and taxpayers. In July the LAUSD said it was shifting to a strategy involving Chromebooks and Windows devices, such as the Microsoft Surface.
Camera phones, despite limitations, replacing point-and-shoot
Flickr has updated statistics for 2014 in its "Most Popular Camera" and "Most Popular Mobile Camera" categories, with the combined models of iPhone taking second place in the general "camera" category -- beating out DSLR maker Nikon and popular point-and-shoot maker Sony for second place. While Canon remains the most popular overall camera, the built-in cameras on smartphones from Apple and Samsung have -- despite inherent limitations -- steadily risen in popularity.
Visual trickery designed to catch attention, increase interest in iPads
A good magic trick, even in the 21st century, will still get people to stop and watch and try to figure out how it is done. Over the weekend, Apple retail stores around the US debuted a new window display showcasing the company's iPad line and Smart Cover accessory on a thin tabletop that features a line of the products, with the Smart Cover opening and closing itself to demonstrate the magnetic latch feature that wakes or sleeps the machine automatically.
Public release may run parallel with Apple Watch availability
Apple is now seeding a fourth beta of iOS 8.2 via the company's developer portal, and as an over-the-air update for existing beta users. The build is listed as 12D5461b, and follows a little less than a month after beta 3, which was issued December 18. That build was 12D5452a. Accompanying the beta is a new version of WatchKit, the SDK and framework needed to build Apple Watch support into iOS apps.
Tracking data points to spike in Apple testing
Apple's upcoming iOS 8.1.3 update should arrive next week, reports suggest. Sources say that some sort of iOS 8 update, whether beta or public, will go live on Tuesday or Wednesday. Web tracking data at MacRumors, however, shows a sudden spike this week in iOS 8.1.3 devices visiting from Apple's internal networks.
Partner talks, promotional planning in progress
Apple Pay could arrive in Canada in early 2015, possibly as soon as March, sources claim. The people say that Apple is currently in negotiations with partners, and that those partners are already planning marketing and advertising material for March, presumably hinting at a launch target. Some of the sources indicate that Apple is indeed aiming for that month as well.
iOS 8 autocorrect has gone mad
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the latest changes to auto-correct in iOS 8 after Clinically Insane member "subego" pointed out that it just doesn't "feel coherent like all the previous iterations," going on to say that it has the feeling of different algorithms competing with each other. Forum Regular "Harvey" has some questions about playing music from the cloud.
Make transferring files from Mac to iPhone as easy as you thought it was
Editor's note: welcome to the first installment of Pointers, a new weekly column that offers tips and tricks for getting more out of your Mac or iOS device -- or, in this case, both. Check back each Thursday for a new useful technique designed to demystify, declutter or de-stress you -- and hopefully add some delight as well.
When you know what's happening, AirDrop is as convenient and simple as Apple made you think it would be. You can transfer anything from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac (or vice versa), without emailing or messaging, without any concern for how many items you can send, without any concern about the size of those files. The first time you try flinging a document from iOS to OS X, though, it is Cotton-Eyed Joe: where did you come from, where did you go? We'll fix that with this handy tip.
Offers keyboard, extra battery life
Accessory maker Kensington has announced a new case for the iPad Air 2, the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus. While including a Bluetooth keyboard, its most notable feature may actually be a built-in 4500mAh battery. Through USB, this lets users fully charge an iPhone two or three times, or an iPad up to 50 percent of a full charge. A free iOS app tracks how much battery power is left.
Tech requires no built-in batteries
Philips has announced a new set of Lightning headphones, the Fidelio NC1Ls. As with the company's previous Lightning hardware, the NC1Ls include their own 24-bit digital-to-analog converter. New to the product, though, is active noise cancellation -- based on inverting the input from four integrated microphones. Unlike most noise-cancelling headphones, the NC1Ls run on the power of the device they're connected to, eliminating the need for built-in or replaceable batteries (but also introducing additional battery drain on mobile devices).
Brings service to two key credit unions
Via its official list, Apple has confirmed this week's addition of eight new banks to Apple Pay. The new institutions include Security Service Federal Credit Union, Customers Bank, Consumers Credit Union, Virginia Credit Union, Cyprus Federal Credit Union, Fairwinds Credit Union, Mountain America Credit Union, and Partners Federal Credit Union. Of those, the most important may be SSFCU, Partners, and Customers.
Early buggy releases quickly corrected, adoption rates now back to normal growth
Apple updated its developer portal on Wednesday with new statistics on its current mobile operating system, iOS 8. Adoption for the system is up to 68 percent across both iPhones and iPads, up eight percent from approximately six weeks ago. As would be expected, older versions thus continue a decline in popularity, with iOS 7 losing six percentage points and dropping to 29 percent, while iOS 6 and all earlier versions are essentially down to just devices that can not be upgraded beyond that point, holding around four percent share (a drop of one percent from the last report).
Unusual indie game makes smooth transition to touch
Some games are defined by their medium, and Papers, Please ($8) may actually be one of the best examples. It was obviously built with a mouse and keyboard in mind -- and there's no possible way you could port it to consoles (except maybe the Wii U), since playing it with a conventional gamepad would be a nightmarish ordeal. It does, however, turn out to work surprisingly well with the iPad's touchscreen, which could even be the preferable platform, depending on your tastes.
Stop the screen-stick with the Shortee Stylus
When a person thinks of a stylus, largely they all think of the same thing: a lightweight, short, stubby plastic tube with a rubberized tip. There generally isn't much difference between a $3 stylus and a $30 stylus for the most part, and their faults are many. They're too lightweight, they're not comfortable to hold, and their rubber tip sticks easily to the screen of tablets and smartphones. There is one contender, though, a stylus that we feel actually breaks the mold: Shortee, by Expert Shield.
Tech requires AT&T Mobile Share plan
AT&T has announced the Modio, a case that adds LTE support to otherwise Wi-Fi-only iPad models. Initially, the only version will be available for the iPad mini (all generations), but an edition for the iPad Air and Air 2 is promised down the road. AT&T has yet to set prices or launch dates for either option, however.
Tablet could upgrade to stereo
Leaked schematics suggest that Apple's rumored "iPad Pro" will have a more powerful set of speakers than the iPad Air or iPad mini. A captured 3D rendering, said to come from a Foxconn factory worker, depicts the Pro as having a speaker grille next to its power button. If authentic, the image (below) indicates either that Apple is relocating the speaker, or that the Pro will have both top- and bottom-facing units -- making it the first iPad with true stereo sound. The iPad Air 2 has twin grilles, but these are both on the bottom, and connected to the same speaker.
China-manufactured device echoes Apple design clues, brings Bay Trail
Knockoffs of popular products aren't uncommon in overseas markets, but its not often that a knockoff has altered functionality in a way that looks good, at least on paper. Chinese company Onda has released the V919 3G Air -- a clear iPad Air design clone, but one that runs both Android and full Windows 8.1 on a single device rather than iOS -- an ability that was promised at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show by many Android or Windows tablet manufacturers, but which never materialized.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 2, 2015
[Updated with more deals on Saturday] Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment of 2015 (alternately known as the "Santa didn't get me everything I wanted" edition) of the money-saving post where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend.
IK Multimedia's new portable groove controller
When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, the company has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products -- its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings musicians a full-featured 16-pad MIDI groove controller. Is the iRig Pads worthy of the space in your bag for creating a mobile loop workstation? We put the hardware through its paces in our full review.
Company trying to push iCloud subscriptions, plaintiffs suggest
A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action.
battery swapping, problems with Notes and more
Today in the MacNN Forums, Fresh-Faced Recruit "Ryan700" was asking if it was possible to move a battery from one 13-inch MBP to another 13-inch MBP, after the battery in his wife's computer needed to be replaced. A frustrated "jeff k" has turned to the forums hoping someone will be able to help him figure out why it is that the Notes app on his new iPhone keeps deleting notes at the end of the day.
App currently in TestFlight
VLC -- a popular multi-platform video player -- should be returning to the App Store early next year, says the lead developer on the iOS project, Felix Paul Kuehne. The title disappeared from the store nearly four months ago, shortly after the release of iOS 8. At the time, it was only said that the development team was "working with Apple on a solution" to bring the app back. In December, however a semi-public v2.4.0 beta was released via TestFlight, and indeed a second beta is now available.
Top activated device was iPhone 6; rivals far behind, many not even a factor
Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind.
Light-emitting e-readers, tablets pitted against e-ink e-readers, printed books
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America has published a study entitled Evening use of light-emitting e-readers negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The study compared e-readers with screens that project light, versus those that don't, as well as printed books read under reflected light.
Cash and gift cards still top want; Beats, iPhone, iPad, MacBooks top their categories
A new survey of college students contains lots of good news for Apple, with the company clearly the most-desired brand for holiday gifts in all the categories Apple competes in. Cash and gift cards are still king, followed by clothing, but electronics was the third most-popular category of gift, reaching second most-popular among males. The overall second-place finish of clothing was due to a strong preference compared to electronics by women rather than men. Apple and its new Beats brand, however, did well with everyone.
songs won't erase, trackpad troubles and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members are plagued with songs that won't erase from their iPods, trackpad problems and more. "I can't erase songs from my iPod touch" says one frustrated Mac Elite, who is also baffled as to why there are random U2 songs on there that he never downloaded. After doing an update on an iPad 2, one Mac Enthusiast found that the unit is stuck on "searching" for cellular service.
Create trendy images in minutes
Everyone's familiar with current trends in photos that keep popping up across the Internet. One part indie-rock and one part Photoshop, their soft colors and multiple filters have become the new cool thing. Originally these images took time, effort, and at least a basic understanding of Photoshop. Now, however, something like Calista by ThinkSuit gives users the ability to make these straight from the comfort of a handheld device.
Procreate for iPad creators debut Pocket version for iPhone
Savage Interactive has released an iPhone version of its illustration app Procreate Pocket, a scaled-down version of its iPad app Procreate. Intended for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Procreate Pocket is powered by a 64-bit Silica engine, offering a variety of drawing tools and 250 levels of "Undo." Among its features, its 18 layers of Blend Modes allow for versatile composition, and 1080p video recording option can document all stages of the drawing process without interruption. Priced at $3, Procreate Pocket requires iOS 8.1 or later.
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.