Siri fails and iOS 8.1.1 comments
This week in the MacNN forums, members share amusing tales of times that Siri has failed them, providing examples of how Siri doesn't always understand what is really going on. Comments are piling up faster than the snow in Buffalo about the latest update to iOS 8, with some saying it made things better while others aren't so sure it has helped much at all.
May be response to complaints about free-to-play apps
Apple has today made a small change at the App Store, renaming the "Free" button for zero-cost downloads, particularly those that feature in-app purchases to "Get." Paid apps continue to show the purchase price. It's not clear why Apple decided to make the change, but it may be a response to ongoing complaints about marketing of free-to-play/"freemium" apps.
Service likely to be rebranded under iTunes name
Apple is planning to bundle Beats Music as a native iOS app early next year, sources tell the Financial Times. The shift is expected to happen in the form of a firmware update, that could debut as soon as March. The Times has little other information, but argues that it's likely Apple will rebrand the service under the iTunes moniker, as other reports have suggested.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
iPad mini rants, Siri fails and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Grizzled Veteran "chasg" needed to rant about how he is beginning to hate his iPad mini for a variety of reasons, and a few others have chimed in with some advice on how to reconcile the relationship, and make things right again. Forum-goers continue to discuss which of the new iPhones are best in the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?"
Defenses relatively simply, agency says
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a formal alert warning people about the Masque Attack security hole discovered in iOS. Although mostly reiterating claims by research firm FireEye, DHS describes the hole as allowing malware "under a limited set of circumstances," and sets forth three basic steps for dodging problems. These including avoiding apps from outside the iOS App Store or a person's own organization, not clicking "Install" on third-party webpage pop-ups, and tapping "Don't Trust" if launching an iOS app spawns an "Untrusted App Developer" warning.
New iPad Air 2 sees $100 discount, Macs get up to $200 off
The "doorbuster" deals for Best Buy's Black Friday event have been published, and reveal that the chain will offer discounts on various Apple products, among other items. Of particular interest is a $100 discount on all models of the new iPad Air 2, reducing the entry-level model's price to just $400 but also applying to all other capacities, including the Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Macs, iPods, iTunes gift cards and even Beats headphones will also see discounts.
Rare hole in iOS security
A serious vulnerability in iOS, dubbed "Masque Attack," could result in malicious apps being installed, says security research firm FireEye. The flaw is said to have been discovered in July, and stems from iOS not enforcing matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier. This means that a person could theoretically be lured into installing an app that replaces and/or mimics an original -- even borrowing that app's local data -- and accidentally give up personal information, or even root access privileges.
Supports all recent iOS devices
Pangu's iOS 8.x/8.1 jailbreak tool has been successfully ported to the Mac, its creators have announced. As with the original Windows edition of the jailbreak, it supports all iOS 8-capable devices, including even the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. The Pangu team cautions that people should backup a device before beginning, and also restore if they've downloaded any over-the-air firmware updates.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Updates arriving in 'the coming weeks'
Microsoft has announced a partnership with Dropbox that will bring the latter's cloud service into Office apps for iOS and Android. Integration is promised with updates in "the coming weeks" that will let people browse, edit, and share Dropbox files from within Office apps. Inside of Dropbox's proprietary app, people browsing Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files will see an option to edit them in the appropriate software.
Concentrates on bugfixes, speed boosts
In tandem with the OS X 10.10.1 beta, Apple has simultaneously released an initial iOS 8.1.1 beta to developers. The code is listed as build 12B432. So far, the update appears concentrated around bugfixes and performance increases, rather than adding new features, as in iOS 8.1.
Trick or Treat! Win a Kaebo Lightning to USB cable!
Tomorrow is Halloween, and as such MacNN and have a bag of treats to give away to our readers. We are going to be handing out prizes to lucky little ghosts and ghouls who participate. Keep an eye out for the selection of treats that we have to offer for the rest of today and tomorrow. Beware, some of the items we list will be tricks! First up, we have three JunoPower Kaebo Lightning cable connectors to give away. Read on to learn more.
Tool begins to reach masses
The Pangu iOS 8.1 jailbreak tool is now being bundled with Cydia, and will get an English translation within 24 hours, its developers say. Cydia is commonly used to simplify jailbreaking, partly by offering an easy way to install unapproved apps. When the Pangu code was released earlier this month, it was only in Chinese and in a rudimentary form intended for developers.
Company hadn't anticipated possibility
In another sudden turnaround, Apple has reversed a decision to block apps with calculator widgets from the App Store. An Apple spokesperson says that PCalc and other similar apps will be permitted in the store without changes. It's suggested that the company simply hadn't anticipated the possibility of widgets serving as calculators, hence reviewers being confused as to whether they can give the greenlight.
Change marks sudden policy reversal
Apple has forced the developer of PCalc, James Thomson, to remove an iOS 8 Notification Center widget that let people do calculations without opening the app. The decision is an apparently sudden reversal, given that the app was previously approved with the widget intact. PCalc has been featured in several sections of the App Store, such as "Great Apps and Games for iOS 8," and even "Extend Your Apps," which focuses on software with unusual widgets.
2011 Core i7 iMac vs Retina i5 iMac
After having some display backlight and logic board issues with an older iMac, Mac Enthusiast "Boochie" has decided now would be a good time to start thinking about a new iMac. A post they made in the MacNN forums sparked a debate about what would be a better choice, a 2011 iMac with a Core i7 processor, or a new Retina iMac with an i5 processor. Yesterday, one Forum Regular was trying to determine the best cable to use to connect a Mac mini to a Dell UltraSharp monitor, and asked fellow forum members for their thoughts.
Engineering effort to re-make low demand device would be 'massive'
Without much fanfare, Apple discontinued the hard drive-based iPod classic in September of this year. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a simple explanation for fans of the high capacity device -- lack of parts availability led to the demise of the last non-flash iPod.
Yosemite is a big win (or fail depending on who you ask)
With just a little over one week on the Mac App Store under its belt, OS X 10.10 Yosemite has been one of the hottest topics in the MacNN forums, with discussion topics ranging from claimed "unfixed bugs" and battery life issues to beefs with Dark Mode and tips for those who are just upgrading for the first time. Today, one Dedicated MacNNer was looking for help determining the cause of what appears to be USB power failure.
Testing pool limited to 1,000 users per developer
Following a soft rollout to internal testers a few weeks ago, Apple has fully opened its TestFlight beta-testing service. "You can now invite up to 1,000 testers to beta test your iOS apps by simply sending them an email invitation through iTunes Connect," the company says on its developer portal. "Once they accept your invitation, testers can install your beta app on their iOS devices, get updated builds, and provide feedback, all within the TestFlight app."
Said to support latest iPhones, iPads
The Pangu jailbreak team has developed a new hack for iOS 8 and 8.1 devices, reports and the team's website note. The initial release is said to be intended strictly for app developers, since it doesn't install Cydia or other services designed to make jailbreaking simple and practical. The public version is in fact waiting on those services being brought up to speed for iOS 8.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis, the company did well in most cases, for example increasing Americas revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced one percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up five percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping three percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
Should improve performance on more recent devices
As of February 1, all new or updating iOS apps must not only be based on the iOS 8 SDK, but contain 64-bit code, Apple is informing developers. At the moment, developers are still being allowed to submit 32-bit-only apps or universal binaries. The problem is that more recent iOS devices -- namely those based on 64-bit A7, A8, and A8X processors -- have to load extra resources into memory to handle 32-bit code, taking a toll on performance.
Relative handful of third-party apps currently showing support
The official Apple Store app has been updated to v3.1, enabling support for online Apple Pay transactions. Shoppers can now also make NFC-based payments at the company's retail outlets, but this doesn't require an app update; in either scenario, users must have a compatible device running iOS 8.1, which was released earlier today. Online payments are supported by the iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. Only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can be used at retail.
Includes delayed SMS Relay tech, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fixes
As planned, Apple has released iOS 8.1 to the public. The main addition is support for Apple Pay, but a number of other important features are present. These include beta support for iCloud Photo Library, and the return of the Camera Roll to the Photos app. SMS Relay enables SMS/MMS messaging via a nearby Mac or iPad, and people can now force a device to use 2G, 3G, or 4G for data, instead of it selecting networks automatically. A minor photo-related improvement generates alerts whenever there's too little storage to start a timelapse video.
New iPads for sure, but invitation may hints at a surprise or two
Many sites, pundits and people think they have a sure grip on what's going to be announced later today at Apple's press event, which begins at 10AM Pacific time (1PM Eastern time) and is being held in Apple's own community town hall theatre at the company's headquarters. This generally means a smaller affair and a strictly press-only audience, and on tap for the event is the expected announcement of new iPad models. But what else is likely to happen? We weigh up the rumors and make a few wild guesses.
Paper, mobile phone industries in Finland damaged by iPhone, iPad, leader claims
Apple may be partially responsible for the economic troubles of two major industries in Finland, the country's Prime Minister has claimed. Alexander Stubb suggests Apple's products have impacted its mobile device and paper industries to such a level that it caused an economic downturn, and also caused the Nordic country to endure a sovereign debt rating downgrade.
MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iPod touch
Amazon has slashed the price on the previous generation 13.3-inch MacBook Air from $1,099 down to $908 with $7 for shipping, for a savings of $191 off the list price. Even with the shipping charge, that is about $130 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This MBA configuration features a 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Could enable Apple Pay testing
Apple is seeding a second beta of iOS 8.1 to developers, users note. The contents of the code are unknown, but it likely builds out upcoming Apple Pay support, references to which were found in the first beta. If recent rumors are true the new beta may enable Apple Pay testing, and prefigure a public launch of v8.1 on or around October 20th.
Figure just 1 percent higher than post-iPhone 6 launch data
Adoption of iOS 8 has slowed dramatically, having only gained a single percentage point between September 21 and October 5, according to new App Store tracking data from Apple. The company's iOS 8 and iOS 7 are now in equal use. In fact, use of pre-iOS 7 firmware has somehow increased from five to six percent, even though Apple no longer supports it on any substantial level.
Clip marks first attempt at iOS-based video editing
Adobe has updated its suite of iOS apps, launching several new ones in the process. The most significant of these may be Premiere Clip, the company's first effort at mobile video editing. The title can be used independently, or in tandem with Premiere Pro CC; projects started on iOS can be automatically synced with Premiere Pro by way of Creative Cloud.
iOS and 'free-to-play' game blamed
A 15-year-old from Antwerp, Belgium has managed to accumulate over 37,000 euro ($46,000) in iTunes charges on a credit card through in-app purchases, according to local publication Nieuwsblad. The teenager was reportedly playing a free-to-play iOS game called Game of War: Fire Age; several months in, his mother asked him to buy some e-books using her credit card. The boy then discovered he could buy virtual gold in-game using real money, greatly accelerating his progress. The title even has a casino minigame.
Users can enter IMEI to learn more; technology is on by default in iOS 8
Users who are unsure if their iOS device has the anti-theft feature Activation Lock turned on can now easily check through a new page based on Apple's iCloud site. While the page is currently not linked to the main menu on iCloud.com -- suggesting it may still be undergoing testing -- it offers users a chance to input the devices serial number or IMEI identifier, and returns information on whether the device is protected.
Apparently tied to iOS 8
A bug involving the iOS App Store is causing it to display inappropriate apps under the various Kids categories, according to complaints. Browsing those categories' Top Charts sections, users can currently spot many apps that would normally fall under the All Categories umbrella. This includes obvious mistakes, such as gambling and dating apps.
Apple may have unjustly denied repairs for older iPhones, iPods
Participants in a class action lawsuit regarding liquid damage indicators for the iPhone and iPod touch are beginning to receive settlement checks, accounts say. In April 2013, Apple agreed to pay $53 million to compensate people who may have been denied warranty coverage because of the indicators. Their maker, 3M, admitted that they could be tripped simply by humidity. Apple later adjusted its policies to require additional checks before blocking repairs, but the lawsuit continued.
Judge rules 'battle between the economists' needs a jury
The new judge on the Apple versus Real anti-trust case has declared that there is enough evidence to go to trial, after nine years of litigation and a judge's retirement during the process. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ordered a trial, after an earlier pre-trial conference finding that Real attorneys have presented enough evidence to show that Apple created a monopoly with its FairPlay DRM, which then allowed the Cupertino manufacturer to overcharge customers.
May signify more intense update schedule
[Updated: iOS 8.1, Xcode 6.1 beta 3, Apple TV beta made available to developers] Apple is already testing iOS 8.1, 8.2, and even 8.3, sources say. The information has also reportedly been verified through website analytics, showing visits by devices with the firmware. Hits from v8.1 devices are said to have registered before 8.0 launched on September 17, but 8.2 and 8.3 traffic only began escalating post-launch.
Allowed users to create app, task shortcuts
Apple has removed an app called Launcher from the App Store, citing "misuse" of iOS 8 Notification Center widgets, says developer Cromulent Labs. The app lets users create create shortcuts for various tasks, such as calling a specific person via phone or FaceTime, navigating to a location, or simply opening an app. These shortcuts then appear in a widget.
Firmware still available for download by iPhone 4
Apple has officially stopping signing iOS 7.1.2, reports say. The move means that people who already have iOS 8 installed won't be able to downgrade. The v7.1.2 firmware can still be downloaded by iPhone 4 owners, however, since their devices are incompatible with iOS 8.
Solves glitches with Photo Library, Reachability, more
(Updated with warnings about potential iPhone problems, a fix for those who updated, and news of withdrawal of the delta update) Just a week after having released iOS 8.0, Apple has begun seeding iOS 8.0.1 via iTunes and as an over-the-air update. The most prominent change is a solution to a HealthKit bug that led Apple to pull apps using the platform from the App Store. Those apps are now cleared to return.
May also fix Wi-Fi, battery problems
As predicted, iOS 8.0.1 is now in the hands of carrier partners for testing, a source says. The person notes that the update fixes a variety of bugs left in the OS for its debut last week. For example, it copes with glitches in the Phone app, which can affect call forwarding, and cause freezes when accessing Visual Voicemail.
Figure significantly higher than unofficial tracking
New data from Apple -- based on Sunday traffic at the App Store -- indicates that iOS 8 adoption is actually up to 46 percent of iOS devices, despite lower numbers tracked by third-party firms. Apple's figures put iOS 7 at 49 percent, and iOS 6 or earlier at 5 percent. iOS 8 became available for compatible devices on September 17th, and is pre-installed on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which launched Friday.
Apple knew streaming would eventually replace product in 2003
In a new interview for the magazine Fast Company, former Apple executive and head of the original iPod project Tony Fadell, now CEO of Nest at Google, mentions his sense of loss that the last large-capacity iPod, the iPod classic, has been discontinued by Apple. While lamenting the passing of the unit that modelled most closely the design of the original iPod, Fadell notes that Apple began thinking about what would kill the product within two years of it emerging.
iTunes U gets ability to add deadlines to Calendar
In tandem with the release of iOS 8, Apple has also begun updating its optional first-party apps with fresh support. These include Podcasts, iTunes U, Remote, and Find My iPhone. Other apps should be updated shortly.
Over-the-air updates may be impossible for some users
As planned, Apple has released iOS 8 via iTunes and as an over-the-air update. The latter may be difficult or impossible for some users, as it requires roughly 5.7GB of free space on an iPhone, and 6.9GB on an iPad. In any event, users must have at least an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, or fifth-generation iPod touch.
Institutions aim to improve speed, accuracy
In the next few weeks, two major US hospitals -- linked with Stanford University and Duke University, respectively -- are embarking on medical trials using Apple's HealthKit platform, according to Reuters. Doctors at Stanford say they're working with Apple on tracking blood sugar for children with diabetes. Duke, meanwhile, is planning a pilot to track blood pressure, weight, and other statistics for patients with cancer or heart diseases.
Features relegated to October
Two key iOS 8 features -- SMS Continuity and iCloud Photo Library -- have been pushed to October. The delay was quietly mentioned in a press release from earlier this week. Even when Photo Library does appear, it will only be in beta form. The feature has meanwhile been removed from Apple's iCloud marketing page, and it can't be found in the iOS 8 gold master.
iPads from $249 and iPods from $99
Apple's Online Store currently has a wide selection of refurbished iPads and iPods on sale for bargain prices. Save 37 percent on the refurbished iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage space for $249, which is a savings of $150 off the original price. Get special limited-time pricing on the refurbished iPad mini with Wi-Fi and Cellular for AT&T; it was $429, but has been cut by $110 to $319.
May require iOS 8, hardware upgrade in order to play true 24-bit audio files
Audio and video equipment maker Philips has debuted a new headphone set for iOS devices that offers a pair of distinct differences: it features 24-bit digital-to-analog conversion and amplification built right within the headphones, and it uses a Lightning connector rather than a standard 3.5mm connector. The Fidelio M2L headphones are said to the first to use the Lightning connector.