Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
Fittingly enough for a racing game, let's get this out front: AG Drive ($4) is a Wipeout clone. That isn't a strike against it – the developer admits it, the Wipeout series has plenty of fans, and many worthy titles have followed the same template. But a game can hew close to that template or build a unique identity, and execution, ultimately, is everything.
win 1 of 5 copies of Workflow 1.1
What is Workflow 1.1? Is it really an "essential" tool to add to your tool kit? What's new in version 1.1? Last week MacNN explored these questions in a complete Hands On review. We discussed who this software title would be good for, and who it might not be so good for. We also secured five promo codes to give away copies of this software to our readers.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
Prediction based on likely development time, Apple Watch timing
Speculators are now predicting, based on the usual development cycle and other factors, that Apple will release the currently-in-testing iOS 8.2 upgrade next month. Conventional wisdom has the release as likely in the second week, approximately a month prior to the Apple Watch rollout, which is estimated for April. In related news, Apple has updated its gauge for iOS 8 adoption, now at 72 percent of users.
monitors, Macs, iPods and iPads
Apple's online store currently has a vast selection of refurbished products, from iPods and iPads to Mac Pros and accessories. Save $200 on the refurbished 27-inch Apple Cinema display with 2560x1440 resolution. It was $999, but is now $799. That monitor would pair nicely with the six-core Mac Pro which has a 3.5GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a price tag of $3,399.
Releases enter later testing phase
Apple has released fifth betas of iOS 8.2 and Xcode 6.2 to developers. Both are available through the Dev Center; iOS 8.2 is also accessible as an over-the-air update for people already using beta firmware. Exact changes have yet to be discovered, but Xcode has been updated to include the latest set of WatchKit tools for Apple Watch developers.
wireless docking is the future
This week, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with talk of everything from wireless docking to favorite apps. Yesterday, Moderator "P" shared an article about Broadwell vPro processors and wireless docking, then goes on to explain how he thinks Apple will use this technology. Yesterday, "jeff k" was trying to figure out a problem he was having with Sophos security software and Time Machine, so far a solution hasn't been found.
Strips out recording options, potentially offensive material
Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos "appropriate for a young audience," and further removes the core client's ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.
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.
Defunct Mini model briefly returns to online Apple store
Apple's official online shipping times for the iPod shuffle have improved in the UK, France, Germany, and several other European countries, reports say. Earlier this month, shipping times deteriorated to between seven to 10 days worldwide, prompting fears that Apple might be discontinuing the product. Sources claimed that Apple was just going through component supplier changes, however, and this may be borne out by the European Apple online stores, which is now seeing the media player ship in five to seven days. Delays have yet to improve in the US or Canada, but may follow suit in the near future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Apple not dropping product, sources say
In spite of fears to the contrary, Apple is not killing off the iPod shuffle, according to sources. Stocks of the player have dwindled considerably, leading to speculation that it might be going the same route as the iPod classic. The sources say that instead, Apple is simply going through component supplier changes that have temporarily interrupted Shuffle production.
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).
Could hint at possible discontinuation
Stock of Apple's original "wearable" device, the iPod shuffle, is drying up at both Apple's online store and its retail outlets, sources say - reports that are backed up by checks. The company is reportedly warning retail workers that Shuffle supplies will be low for an unspecified amount of time, so much so that shoppers looking to buy the product should be redirected to the online store. Even then, the US site is listing Shuffles as shipping in seven to 10 days, well beyond the 24-hour window quoted for the iPod touch or nano.
Upgraded thermal imaging for mobile devices
FLIR has introduced a new thermal-imaging accessory for mobile devices, as reported earlier. The new FLIR One attaches via Apple's Lightning port or to an Android device's Micro USB port, rather than integrating the thermal camera into a custom iPhone 5 case. Electronista checked out the upgraded model at CES to see how it stacks up against its predecessor.
2TB encrypted local backup over local network
The IDrive online backup service company today revealed a local network backup peripheral. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, the IDrive Wi-Fi local backup drive allows users to backup and restore up to 2TB of their data between devices over a local connection, with data protected by encryption.
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.
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.
Sleek camera app helps fine-tune pictures
We often get a photo with sub-par quality when we use a cellphone or tablet as our go-to camera. One of the main reasons for this, of course, is because users have minimal control over individual camera functions like focus, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. The iPhone's camera is far more akin to a point-and-shoot than a professional model, and frequently the automatic settings can leave a picture feeling a bit lacking. There is, however, still hope -- something like Manual Photo Camera, by Rego Korosi, allows a person to take maximum control over shooting.
Increases user attachments to Messenger
Facebook has released Stickered for Messenger, an app that lets users add virtual "stickers" to photos shot on an iPhone or iPod touch. The stickers can be added after or even before a photo is taken, as well as to pre-existing images in the Camera Roll. As necessary, stickers can be dragged, resized, and rotated. As the name of the app implies, created images are shared via Facebook's Messenger service.
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 (the US standard) but accepting data from devices using mmol/L (used in most of the rest of the world) as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.
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 1. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1.
Decision reached in less than 24 hours
The jury for the iPod/iTunes DRM lawsuit has ruled that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws by blocking music from rival storefronts in iTunes software updates, Reuters reports. The verdict was rendered in less than a day, following closing arguments on Monday. Had the jury swung in favor of the plaintiffs, the company could have owed some $350 million in penalties.
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 8, 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.
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.
Apple versus Real trial testimony concludes, jury deliberations begin next week
[Updated with additional context for Schultz' testimony] The Real versus Apple anti-trust trial continued on Friday, with an Apple engineer testifying that he worked on a project in 2006 that was "intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients," though he later clarified that such actions were taken in the name of user security and OS stability. Former Apple engineer Rod Schultz was summoned by Real's attorneys unwillingly, and discussed his work on a project with the codename "Candy" which would "keep out third party players" who exploited flaws in the iPod's operating system.
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.
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.
Former ice dancer bought an iPod nano in 2006, making her eligible
A 10-year-old lawsuit between audio software maker Real and Apple, that was nearly derailed when both plaintiffs were found to have been mistaken about when and how they bought their iPods, is back on track following the discovery of an eligible person -- a 65-year-old ice dancer who bought an iPod nano in 2006. The case, which could have been dismissed if a qualified plaintiff wasn't found quickly, told the court that she had used iPods to help her practice ice-skating maneuvers. The judge, however, still noted that Apple now has "an appealable issue" should it lose the case.
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.
Attorneys search for new lead plaintiff in class action
As anticipated, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has disqualified the final plaintiff in the iPod DRM lawsuit, Marianna Rosen. The Associated Press writes that Rogers sided with Apple, which pointed out that iPods bought by Rosen were either from outside the eligible time window or on a credit card associated with her husband's business. The judge says she is "troubled" by "the failure of plaintiffs' counsel themselves to investigate sufficiently," but notes that the case will continue if another lead plaintiff can be found, since she has a duty to the "millions of absent class members."
Real hunts for new plaintiffs in 10-year-old case
Judge Gonzales Rogers has ruled against an Apple request to dismiss the 10-year-long lawsuit by audio software maker Real, but has not denied that the case may soon be without a valid plaintiff. Following the dropout of the first of two women named in the original case, more evidence was presented in court today that the remaining plaintiff, Marianna Rosen, is also not qualified by virtue of not having directly bought an iPod in the relevant time window with her own funds.
'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.
Sentencing takes place over three years after guilty plea
Former Apple supply manager Paul Devine has been sentenced to a year in prison -- and repaying $4.5 million -- for accepting kickbacks, says the Associated Press. Devine actually pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in 2011, but wasn't handed a sentence by a San Jose federal court until last week. No explanation for the delay has been given.
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.
Purchase dates may still put whole case at risk
Following the revelation that the two plaintiffs in the ongoing iPod DRM lawsuit may have bought their iPods too late or too early, one of them has withdrawn, reports the New York Times. Melanie Tucker bought one iPod in 2005, and an iPod touch in 2010. The suit only addresses iPods bought between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009.
Plaintiffs discovered to have bought iPods after DRM software removed
A 10-year-long lawsuit between Apple and Real in which the latter accuses the iPhone maker of deliberately altering its software solely to block Real's hack of Apple's FairPlay DRM software might be terminated over a previously-undiscovered legal issue found by Apple attorneys. Apple has informed the court that neither of the two women who represent the class of affected plaintiffs were, in fact, affected by the accused software change -- as they bought their iPods either before or after the software in question was in force.
Explains why DRM was formerly required by record companies, more
Day three of the Real vs. Apple trial over allegations that Apple deliberately blocked rival stores' DRM music files on the iPod (a potential antitrust violation) continued today with testimony from Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet software and services and the executive in charge of the iTunes Store. Cue was on the stand for hours, going through an explanation of why the original iTunes Store had to have digital rights management in the first place, how Apple developed its FairPlay wrapper, and why it chose not to license FairPlay to others.
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!!!"
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.