Some performances to be available for later viewing
All of the video streaming at this week's iTunes Festival SXSW in Austin, Texas is being handled by Vevo, the online music service has announced. Live streaming starts tonight and runs through March 15th. To view a concert, people must have a Mac, an Apple TV, or an iOS device with the Vevo or iTunes Festival apps. Mac owners must visit vevo.com/itunesfestival using Safari.
iOS 7.1 is out
This week saw the introduction of iOS 7.1, and yesterday Moderator "P" took to the MacNN forums to get the conversation started, saying that they hope this fixes the issues some iPad owners have had with iOS 7 Safari. "Will Apple release a 4K Thunderbolt Cinema Display soon?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit who is wanting to replace their 10 year old Apple Cinema Display.
May better compete with Google Maps
Apple is working on a number of major improvements to Maps for iOS 8, sources say. These include using assets picked up through acquisitions of companies like BroadMap, Embark, and HopStop to make data more reliable. Apple is in fact said to be planning to insert more points of interest, and new labels, making it easier to find places like airports, parks, bus stops, and highways. The look of maps has reportedly been cleaned up in general, making streets easier to spot.
Remote gains Apple TV upgrades
(Updated with Logic Remote news) In the wake of iOS 7.1 and Apple TV 6.1, Apple has released updates to Remote, Podcasts, and GarageBand for iOS, as well as Xcode and iAd Producer for desktops. While the Podcasts and GarageBand updates merely include bugfixes, Remote can now control iTunes Radio on an Apple TV. Apple TV owners have also gained the ability to browse purchased video through the app.
Available for all iOS 7-compatible devices
After a lengthy development and testing period, Apple has released the finished version of iOS 7.1 to the public. The code makes a number of improvements to iOS 7, for instance enabling CarPlay support in yet-to-be-launched vehicles. Siri will now let users hold down the Home button to decide how long a device should listen, instead of having to wait for the system to decide no one is talking. More naturalistic voices have been supplied for Japanese, British and Australian English, and Mandarin Chinese.
App visible in US, but downloads may be broken
[Updated: US version of the app now downloading normally] Apple appears to have released an updated iTunes Festival app, v5.0, with content support for next week's SXSW concerts in Austin, Texas. So far, though, mostly people outside the US have successfully downloaded the software; Americans trying to download it via iTunes are encountering errors saying the app is "unavailable." Likewise, the title doesn't appear in US App Store searches.
Changes could be wedged into iOS 7.1
Apple is "scrambling" to make changes to the way in-app purchases work ahead of an FTC deadline, a source tells ZDNet. As a part of its $32.5 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, Apple must fix flaws in the App Store that have allowed people -- mostly children -- to inadvertently rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in iTunes charges. The deadline for those changes is just a few weeks from now, March 31st.
Breaks down another distinction of iAd
Beginning sometime this year, companies advertising via iAd will be able to use fullscreen, auto-playing interstitial video ads on the iPhone/iPod touch as well as the iPad, according to Advertising Age sources. At the moment, a person has to tap an iAd banner to get a video to play. As interstitials the videos will likely play after certain in-app actions have finished, such as reading an article or finishing a game level.
Brings CNN content into Flipboard
iOS- and Android-based news reader service Flipboard has bought its main rival Zite from CNN, the company and reports have confirmed. The deal is worth about $60 million, and beginning today has allowed Flipboard to integrate tailored CNN content into its news feeds, including not just general news but feeds from shows like Anderson Cooper 360, Crossfire, and Inside Politics. Some celebrities from the network, like Jake Tapper and Fareed Zakaria, are launching their own Flipboard magazines.
App will allegedly require iOS update
A public release of iOS 7.1 may be imminent, says John Gruber. The tech commentator says he's learned that the app Apple will use to stream iTunes Festival SXSW will require v7.1. Since the festival starts next week, that means that v7.1 would have to be ready in a matter of days.
Europe asks for safeguards to prevent accidental purchases
Apple and Google will soon be meeting with the European Commission to talk about problems with in-app purchases, according to a press release from the political body. The two companies will be asked to provide measures to protect customers, primarily parents, from accidental in-app purchases. A number of game developers publishing to the iOS App Store or Google Play have been accused of marketing "free" games that lure and/or deceive kids into buying digital items and currency; Apple and Google have sometimes been blamed as lax about putting up barriers to those purchases.
Allows streaming movies purchased elsewhere for free
Disney has launched a new iOS app, Movies Anywhere, with unusual hooks into the iTunes Store. The app lets people access Disney, Pixar, and Marvel videos from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The iTunes integration means, however, that it can stream or download videos already bought through the iTunes Store; each movie page also includes links for a preview and buying a movie via iTunes. The app can further be used to redeem digital copies included with Blu-ray and DVD versions of releases.
Companion app adjusts settings to different locations
GN ReSound has officially launched the LiNX, its promised MFI-certified hearing aid. The unit connects wirelessly to an iPhone (or other iOS device), which with a companion iOS app can serve as a remote controlling volume and EQ settings, including presets. A unique feature is geofencing, which can automatically switch presets based on location, such as home or work. A Find My Hearing Aid option can help retrieve a lost LiNX.
Cross-device access costs $10 per month
As predicted, access to the WWE Network has launched on the Apple TV, as well as other iOS devices via the WWE app. Subscription signups are handled through iTunes or the WWE website, and cost $10 per month plus tax. Buyers can purchase time in six-month blocks for $60.
Includes unusual iPhone mount
Accessory maker Mad Catz has announced the C.T.R.L.i, a new wireless gamepad for iOS devices. The controller connects via Bluetooth, and works with any device capable of running iOS 7. It comes with a spring-loaded mount, however, specially tailored to hold an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c at a convenient viewing angle.
iOS 7 update deals with SSL connection problems
Apple has released a pair of new iOS updates, iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6. Release notes indicate that the former deals with a problem in "SSL connection verification." 6.1.6, meanwhile, eliminates several bugs experienced by iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch users.
SurveyMonkey releases new app for survey tools on iOS
Online survey tool provider SurveyMonkey has launched an app for mobile creation and monitoring of surveys. Currently only available for iOS devices, the app features an intuitive user interface that facilitates the writing and designing of surveys and polls, as well as the sending of completed surveys to anyone via the Web, email or social media. Users can keep track of survey responses as they are received, and SurveryMonkey's analytics tool can organize, compare and filter data results. SurveyMonkey is a free download through iTunes, with Pro subscription options available ($24 monthly, $200 annual) that allow users to personalize the app with one's company logo, have access to more templates, and more.
Supporting regions still under a dozen
Apple has brought its two-step verification process to several more countries, the company's support pages show. Until today, only the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand were supported. Now however the list also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
iOS' first wide-release third-party keyboard
Developer Fleksy has released the completed SDK for its iOS keyboard, following up on an original announcement in December. Although it can't replace iOS' own system-wide keyboard, owing to limitations from Apple, the Fleksy code can be integrated into third-party apps, and offers advanced options like prediction, gesture commands, and different color themes. Adding the app to a keyboard requires minimal work on the part of developers, but users must have the Fleksy app installed, which carries over settings and dictionaries between apps.
Bought up 'entire three-year supply' of 4.5-inch super-tough material
Ubuntu developer Canonical has told investors and analysts in a conference call that part of the reason it had been unable to produce a planned 4.5-inch smartphone running the Linux-based OS was because (in addition to financial issues) Apple had "scooped up" the entire three-year supply" of sapphire screens the company had planned to use. While not a confirmation that Apple plans to create a 4.5-inch display in a future iPhone, the quote seems to reaffirm that Apple is planning to incorporate the practically-unscratchable material in its future products.
Changes won't affect most of the public
iOS 7.1 should ship "around March 15," and incorporate an overhaul of Apple's existing mobile device management (MDM) platform, a source tells AppleInsider. The company is said to be working with several MDM vendors and institutional clients on the overhaul. It has already launched a new Volume Services website, which is reportedly still in testing but includes options like "Automate MDM Enrollment" and "Buy Apps and Books in Volume." The new tools are expected to go live around the same time as iOS 7.1.
Company said to be suffering from low production yields
(Updated with LTE chipset claims) Apple has dropped Samsung as a manufacturer of the A8 processor in 2014, a TechNews Taiwan report claims. Samsung is said to be having trouble manufacturing the chip using its 20nm process. TSMC, though, is allegedly capable of meeting Apple demands, and is predicted to take on all A8 production this year.
Canada, UK, New Zealand rumored to be coming soon
iTunes Radio is now available to people in Australia, Apple has announced. There the service is functionally identical to its American sibling, in that it's primarily supported by advertising, but free to people who have an iTunes Match subscription. To listen, people need a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes, an Apple TV, or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Rumors suggested threat of lawsuit might be responsible
The creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, didn't pull the app because of threats from Nintendo, a spokesman for the latter suggests. Although very different in terms of gameplay, many people have commented that the pipes in Flappy Bird look similar or identical to those from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series. In a new email, spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa repeats the position that Nintendo has never made any complaints.
Calendar, general interface tweaks only visible changes
As rumored earlier, iOS 7.1 will indeed not reach the public until March, new sources say. The people add that the update will also lack any "secret features," meaning items which Apple sometimes conceals from betas so it can make a splash when the software is finished. Instead the update is expected to concentrate only on the sort of things that have been seen so far, such as improved Phone and Calendar apps, speed boosts, and bugfixes.
Could result in cheaper add-ons
In January, Apple quietly scaled back the licensing fees it charges companies wanting to make Lightning and/or Made-for-i accessories, reports say. To what extent the fees have been reduced hasn't been made public. The change could, however, potentially reduce the cost of accessories to the public and/or encourage development of more products.
Exploit blocked in iOS 7.1
A newly-discovered hack lets people disable Find My iPhone without first entering a password. Shown in a YouTube video (below), the exploit requires only making a few simple changes to a device's iCloud account. It's confirmed to work on iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.0.4, although it appears to be blocked in iOS 7.1, which is still in beta.
Tech central to A-series processors in iOS devices
Imagination Technologies has announced a multi-year extension of its licensing deal with Apple, allowing continued access to the former's PowerVR technology. While the A-series chips used in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and iPod touch are internally designed by Apple, the company relies on PowerVR to drive the graphics portion of processing. Specific terms of the deal haven't been announced, but Apple will be paying licensing fees plus royalties for each chip including Imagination IP.
Song cracked $1 million in first hour after Super Bowl ad
During Bank of America's (Product) RED promotion on iTunes, over 3 million copies of U2's newest single were downloaded, according to an announcement. Over 1 million of those went out during the first hour after an ad promoting the deal ran during the Super Bowl. As a result of the initiative, over $3 million should go towards the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Continues minor interface tweaks
(Updated with evasi0n hack break, samples of new voices) Apple is now seeding a fifth beta of iOS 7.1 to developers. Changes appear relatively minor, but release notes mention "new natural-sounding Siri voices" for Japanese, the UK and Australian English dialects, and Mandarin Chinese. Apple also appears to be continuing visual tweaks to the OS, for instance by adding new Shift and Caps Lock buttons (below).
Says chip violates university-developed patent
The University of Wisconsin's patent licensing arm -- the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation -- is suing Apple for violating a university patent through the A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini. The patent is titled Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer, and credited to several computer scientists who were at UW Madison. It describes a way of improving "the efficiency and performance of contemporary computer processors."
Free download expires later today
Bank of America will donate $1 to (Product) RED for every download of U2's free "Invisible" single on iTunes, the company announced during last night's Super Bowl. (Product) RED is an initiative which directs money from specially-branded products to the Global Fund, a charity dedicated to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. RED was co-founded by U2's lead singer Bono in 2006.
LensFX lets users capture a photo, apply Hollywood effects
Photo editor app for iOS LensFX was released this week, offering users a variety of 'Hollywood' effects. LensFX features over 130 effects to add to an image, such as explosions, aircraft, fire and dinosaurs. Each effect can be applied as individual or multiple layers, and can be moved, resized or rotated independently. Realistic color correction, filters and lens textures are also included, that render as high resolution images.
slowly deteriorating Touch ID
Complaints about Touch ID not working properly have found their way into the MacNN Forums this week, in the thread titled "slowly deteriorating Touch ID" which was started by Clinically Insane member "subego" after having to wipe stored prints and re-enter them. Today, Mac Elite "jeffk" was having trouble with sorting items in iTunes and turned the forums for some advice.
refurbished iPads and iPods
This week Apple's online store has a wide selection of refurbished iPads and iPods to choose from. The refurbished iPad mini with Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage has seen a $50 discount to $249. A $120 discount can be had on the refurbished fourth-gen iPad with Retina display, Wi-Fi, and 16GB of storage bringing the cost down to $379.
Job notices, new technologies may hint at rethinking rather than retirement
As an Apple product, the iPod -- the company's music player line that continues to be a mainstay with fitness buffs and consumers who want "an iPhone without the phone" -- has been in decline for some time. Even so, analysts were startled when CEO Tim Cook mentioned during the recent earnings discussion conference call that shipments of the iconic device line had fallen a full 50 percent from the same quarter last year. Those predicting the iPod's imminent death, however, may be premature.
iOS app soon to become unavailable
Donna developer Incredible Labs has been acquired by Yahoo, according to an official announcement. Most of the company's seven workers will be taking jobs at Yahoo. The Donna iPhone app, however, will soon be pulled from the iOS App Store.
Option comes to iOS, Android, web
The iOS, Android, and web versions of Foursquare now all support placing restaurant delivery orders from within the app itself, their developer has announced. The option is the result of a partnership with the recently merged GrubHub/Seamless. When looking at a restaurant's details in the app, users just have to spot a GrubHub or Seamless logo and tap "order delivery."
Connects with Evernote
SwiftKey has launched SwiftKey Note, its promised iOS app. While the app doesn't replace the default iOS keyboard, as SwiftKey's technology does on Android, it retains the company's auto-correction and next-word prediction technology, the latter of which evolves over time based on previous typing. Notes and prediction data can be synced with Evernote.
Adopts Flipboard-style approach to Facebook and regular news content
Facebook has unveiled Paper, the first app to come out of the social network's new Creative Labs division. The title is launching for the iPhone on February 3rd, and is mainly a Flipboard-style news reader, combining a person's News Feed with articles "from emerging voices and well-known publications," all divided into over a dozen themed categories. People will be able to customize which categories they track.
Issue was limited to iOS, mobile web, offline clients
Gmail users may have recently suffered a bug which caused deletions or spam reporting to reply to the wrong messages, Google has revealed. The bug only spanned between January 15th and the 22nd, and only affected a portion of people using the iOS app, mobile web browsers, or the offline Gmail client. Google cautions, though, that people should check their Trash and Spam folders before February 14th if they think something may have gone missing.
Features 'top Valentine's gifts' and deadlines for holiday delivery
Taking a page from its own Christmas promotions, and coming on the heels of the asian stores' Lunar New Year celebrations, the online Apple Store has "redecorated" somewhat in preparation for the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday. It has added love-themed taglines, red graphical images and a new "Top Valentine's Gifts" section. The company also updated its Apple Store app for iOS to include the "Top Valentine's Gifts" section.
Console maker struggling for marketshare
Contrary to reports out of Japan, Nintendo will not be producing mini-games for smartphones, according to an official statement. "Nikkei's article contains information previously stated by [CEO] Mr. Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo's willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products. However during such past announcements Mr. Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on smartphone devices," it reads.
Unified file browser app Octonius combines viewing of Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive content
File browsing app for iOS Octonius has released its latest version of the software, optimized for iPhone and iPod touch. Octonius synthesizes viewing of file content on Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive, allowing its users to track and organize their cloud storage. An Octonius account features several options for viewing and organizing, such as the "Flow" tab, which visualizes a stream of accessed files that are ordered chronologically. Users can add notations to a file, or add it to a particular collection.
Suggests third-party app networks may be entry point
Angry Birds developer Rovio has issued a new official statement, denying collaborating with the NSA, GCHQ, or any other government agency It emerged yesterday that the NSA and GCHQ have been using the "leaky" nature of some smartphone apps to collect data about individuals. Rovio suggests that the spy agencies may be gathering data from third-party ad networks without its consent. "If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance," the company comments.
Chrome for iOS update now available, introduces data-compression tool
Google has released its latest Chrome for iOS update, which includes several features previously unannounced. Security improvements and the addition of Google Translate are now live, as was previously reported, however the update has also introduced a new data-compression tool. Aiming to help reduce data usage while browsing, the data-compression feature can reduce browsing data usage by up to 50 percent.
iPod numbers half those shipped last year
In addition to its public announcement, Apple has also published a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its first-quarter results. Significantly, revenue from the Americas actually declined one percent year-over-year to $20.098 billion. This was compensated for by growth in other regions; Europe and Japan were up five and 11 percent (respectively), while "greater" China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) leapt ahead 29 percent to $8.844 billion. The growth was likely spurred by sales of new iPhones and iPads, since mainland China was made a first-tier launch country for the first time in 2013.
SoundHound announces dedicated page for Grammy Awards night content
Music search app SoundHound has announced its addition of Grammy Awards content, featuring real-time awards show information as well as details regarding Sunday night's performers and award nominees. During the show, users watching the broadcast live on TV can use SoundHound to obtain the names of the artists performing, as they perform. Additionally, the service will provide real-time updates of award winners, and the latest tweets from the official "#grammys" hashtag.
iPods, iPads, Apple TV
Apple's online store this week has a selection of refurbished iPods at discounted prices. The seventh-generation 16GB iPod nano is available in blue, green, slate, pink, purple or silver for the reduced price of $99, cutting $50 off the list price. An $80 discount is available on the fifth-generation refurbished iPod touch with 32GB of storage, now priced at $219. The refurbished Apple TV has been cut by $24, dropping the cost down to only $75.
Lightning-connected audio recording accessory for iPhone, iPad as well as iPod touch
Audio accessory maker Zoom has launched its iQ5 microphone for iOS devices this week, offering the ability to capture high-quality audio in 90- or 120-degree fields, adjustable by a switch on the device. Including two microphone elements in a mid-size configuration,the iQ5 records 16-bit/44.1kHz audio with an analog-type mic gain wheel. Fitted with a Lightning connector, the microphone has three auto-gain levels, built-in timing, automatic recording, and a dedicated headphone jack to avoid any latency in monitoring.