Tools intended strictly for diagnostics, file capture, company says
In another step to address concerns of possible backdoors in iOS, Apple has published a newdocument explaining what three services are intended to do. The first, com.apple.mobile.pcapd, is said to support "diagnostic packet capture from an iOS device to a trusted computer," something useful for "troubleshooting and diagnosing issues with apps on the device as well as enterprise VPN connections." Another, com.apple.mobile.file_relay, "supports limited copying of diagnostic data from a device."
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
May enable collection of private data by Apple, governments
[Updated with rebuttal from Apple] Apple's iOS platform contains several backdoors that may allow for Apple and/or governments to collect private data, according to a forensic scientist, Jonathan Zdziarski. Presenting at the recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference, Zdziarski said that that there are several conspicuous design gaps -- and some deliberately-included forensic services -- that make it possible to extract data using forensic tools. The services have names such as "lockdownd," "pcapd," and "mobile.file_relay."
OS X gets iTunes 12, iOS 8 gets new Tips app
(Updated with other beta releases, more Yosemite changes) Apple is now seeding its fourth betas of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to developers. Perhaps the most significant change is in the latter, which includes the first beta of iTunes 12. The updated media player uses a flatter, streamlined design more in keeping with Yosemite, and is the first version to support Family Sharing, something also present in iOS 8. While Yosemite is still only accessible to developers, sources claim that the first public beta could go live later this month, after Apple has put more polish on it.
iOS support comes out of unofficial stage
Google has released v1.1 of LiquidFun, its open-source 2D physics engine. The software now officially supports iOS, as well as desktop versions of Chrome, the latter via extensions. It was previously possible to make LiquidFun run on iOS, but Google didn't enable that compatibility by default.
Should allow game studios to start full-scale iOS 8 development
Epic Games has released v4.3 of the Unreal Engine, code that undergirds many desktop, console, and mobile games. Although most of the changes are of interest only to developers, the update also includes the first support for Metal, Apple's new 3D graphics API. Developers must be using the Xcode 6 beta to compile it, and it's not enabled by default. It can however be toggled on via a game's Project Settings.
Reasons for possible reversal unclear
TSMC will probably lose chip production orders from Apple and Qualcomm to Samsung in the second half of 2015, says KGI Securities analyst Michael Liu, quoted by Reuters. Liu made the comments in a memo issued after a TSMC investor conference. The Commercial Times and the Economic Daily News both suggest that Qualcomm has in fact already started working with Samsung, a claim which has hurt TSMC shares in trading.
Reduces obstacles to cord-cutting
Satellite TV provider DirecTV has announced its first digital-only subscription plans for NFL Sunday Ticket. Subscribers will have to wait until September 7th for the first games, and will only be able to watch out-of-market events, but will have access to them on phones, tablets, computers, and/or consoles without also having to have a satellite or cable package. Costs begin at $200 for a subscription covering phones, tablets, and computers. A separate console-only plan is $240; the $330 Max plan covers all devices, and further includes access to the Red Zone channel and DirecTV's new Fantasy Zone.
Gap between betas shrinks back to two weeks
Apple is currently planning to seed iOS 8 beta 4 to developers on July 21, an inside source has claimed. That date would be two weeks after Beta 3. There was a three-week gap between the second and third betas, which may have been needed to cope with flaws hampering the OS' basic performance.
Designed to save time wasted on incompatible content
Google has implemented a change to the way mobile search results are displayed, warning users if a website uses Adobe Flash. On devices running iOS or Android, results may now show a tag saying "Uses Flash. May not work on your device." Below this are links letting users "try anyway" or learn more about the problem.
Older iPhone and iPads can be traded in for credit up to A$250
Australians can now trade-in their older iOS devices for up to A$250 ($235 US) towards the purchase of a new device, Apple announced on Monday. The higher reward is available to for iPhones, while buyers can get up to $202 (A$215) in credit for iPad trade-ins at Apple Stores across the country. The new program arrives just shy of a year after the US debut, which offers up to $225. Since then, the initiative has expanded to Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
New Explore feature points out places and activities
Google has released an update of its Google Maps client for iOS, adding several significant features. When searching for places, for instance, results will now appear directly on a map. Users can switch between this view and a more standard list.
bugs Apple should fix for Yosemite
This week has been rather quiet in the MacNN forums, however members continue to discuss and debate a wide range of topics. Earlier this week, Mac Elite "And.reg" started a thread discussing bugs and weird issues that need to be fixed in Yosemite before it becomes a public release this fall. Yesterday, "chasg" was trying to determine why his iMac wasn't booting from an external disk, and turned to the forums looking for advice.
IK Multimedia launches portable Lightning/USB iRig MIDI 2
IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets -- IN, OUT and THRU -- which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.
All-Star Game gets interactive content
Major League Baseball is entering into a second phase of iBeacon deployments at stadiums. Beginning this is project for the 2014 All-Star Game, which is being hosted at Target Field in Minneapolis. People with a supporting iPhone and the latest version of At the Ballpark will get extra content, including interactive material, when visiting nine different exhibits in the stadium. iBeacons are already in use at 28 other ballparks, but mostly for check-ins and discounts.
Samsung, TSMC splitting orders
TSMC has begun shipping Apple A-series processors out for assembly, according to the Wall Street Journal. Production is said to have begun on 20nm fabrication lines in the first quarter, but shipments have only started happening more recently. Despite TSMC's involvement, the firm is expected to split orders with Samsung, which has traditionally produced every A-series chip.
Discussions let students, teachers communicate
As promised at the end of June, Apple has released a major update of iTunes U, v2.0. On the iPad, teachers can now create and manage courses entirely on their own, including assignments, outlines, and other course materials. Custom content can be added via an "Open in iTunes U" extension in other iOS apps such as Pages and Keynote; photos and video can be captured and uploaded directly. If a teacher is associated with a qualifying institution, they can publish courses to the official iTunes U catalog.
Joins other retailers in Back-to-School offer bandwagon
US retail chain Target is now offering gift cards with the purchase of any of a selected range of iOS devices, including the iPod touch, the iPad Air or Retina iPad mini, or the iPhone 5s or 5c. In addition to the gift card, Target REDcard users receive an additional five percent off the normal price. Buyers of the iPad (in any variety or capacity) will be given a $100 Target gift card, while those opting for the 32GB iPod touch will get a $30 gift card. The retailer has discounted the 16GB iPhones to $100, and buyers also get a $20 gift card.
New toggles appear for Handoff, keeping Messages media
(Updated with T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling support, more) People with access to iOS 8 beta 3 are beginning to share some of the changes in the firmware. Perhaps the most notable is the ability to upgrade from Documents in the Cloud to iCloud Drive, which will let people upload any kind of file and organize their own folders with the amount of space they have received or paid for. Accordingly, the Settings app has a new iCloud Drive section, where people can toggle the whole service on and off, or enable access on a per-app basis. The service will evidently also be available from the web.
Precise changes so far undocumented
[Updated with Yosemite changes] Apple has started seeding third previews of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 to developers. The former is listed as build 14A283o, and can be downloaded via the Mac App Store or the Mac Dev Center. Beta 3 of iOS 8 is identified as build 12A4318c, and available either as an over-the-air update or through the iOS Dev Center. To go with it, Apple is pushing out new betas of Find my iPhone and Find My Friends.
US, UK, and Russia apparently immune
Over the weekend, a number of iOS and OS X users have started reporting glitches with Apple's official Calendar app. Affected people will see holidays from other regions appearing on their personal calendar, such as UK holidays in Ireland, or Mexican, Canadian, and even Hong Kong holidays in Lithuania. Some countries appear to be immune to the bug, including the US, the UK, and Russia.
Incorporates iPhone features in larger real estate
Facebook has updated the iOS version of Messenger, adding a native iPad interface for the first time. Functionally the interface is similar to its iPhone equivalent, mostly displaying more contacts simultaneously, and providing extra screen space for images and text. Significantly though, iPad users don't have to switch between the contact view and message threads.
Was initially limited to US
The revised 16GB iPod touch is now available through Apple's online stores in Europe, Asia, and South America, checks show. While the device is only $199 in the US however, prices are differing drastically in some regions. In the UK for instance it costs 159 pounds, or about $273.
Small-scale production to take place at New York factory
Samsung and Globalfoundries are planning small-scale production of 14nm chips at a New York plant in early 2015, says Digitimes. The firms have reportedly landed deals with two major clients, Apple and Qualcomm. In particular, it's believed that Samsung is aiming to build A9 processors for Apple, but two other companies -- Intel and TSMC -- are also said to be competing for orders.
Deals with missing encryption for Mail attachments
(Updated with Apple TV news) Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to the public via iTunes and over-the-air distribution. The update is only a maintenance release, solving several bugs. Most significantly, it solves a problem with iOS 7 failing to encrypt Mail attachments.
Fixes boot loops
The team responsible for the Pangu jailbreak has released its first version in English, also the first to support OS X. The tool offers untethered breaks of iOS 7.1.x devices, but last week was released exclusively in Chinese and for Windows. It also gave people an option to install 25PP, an unofficial Chinese app store. For English-speaking users, 25PP installation is disabled by default. The update also solves a problem with iOS devices getting stuck in boot loops.
Feature's coverage still expanding
Apple has extended coverage of Maps' Flyover feature to two more locations. The most important of these is the Japanese capital of Tokyo, where people can now see 3D views of scenery like the Tokyo Tower or the Imperial Palace. In the United States, Maps users can toggle Flyover for the canyons of Utah's Zion National Park.
Overhaul Reports, FamilySearch functions
Synium has released v7.2 updates for its OS X and iOS genealogy apps, MacFamilyTree and MobileFamilyTree. Both make major changes, including scrapping and rewriting the Reports section. Users can pick from a number of different preset report types, including a new Descendancy option, and display or export them in 16 languages. Custom watermarks, borders, ornaments, and font scales can be applied, and Synium has improved aspects like printing, PDF export, and narrative reports.
Could be connected to major glitches in beta 2
The release of iOS 8 beta 3 won't happen until July 8, sources say. Beta 2 was seeded to developers on the 17th, about two and a half weeks after the first beta emerged from WWDC. A July 8 update would come a full three weeks after its predecessor.
64GB model comes down $100
Apple has done a surprise refresh of the iPod touch lineup, improving features on the 16GB model while implementing universal price cuts. The 16GB player has been given back a rear-facing iSight camera, and now has a full range of color options, as opposed to just Space Grey. Price cuts, meanwhile, have pushed the 16GB option down from $229 to $199, and its 32GB counterpart from $299 to $249. The 64GB model has received the most drastic discount, shifting from $399 to $299.
Charity thanks Cook, Jobs, Apple for long relationship, $75M contribution
Media reports have mischaracterized U2 lead singer and (Product) RED founder Bono's recent comments that appear to call Apple to task over its "modesty run amok" approach to the iPhone makers (RED)-branded offerings, the charity has protested in a new blog post. Video of the meeting at the Cannes Lion festival between Bono and Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive would appear to support the foundation's explanation that Bono's remarks represented "faux outrage" and were intended to poke fun at Apple's modesty about the partnership.
Apps still being rejected for pushing reviews, ratings, downloads
Apple is backtracking somewhat on an App Store policy that blocked apps "incentivizing" elements like video ads or social sharing, say sources in the video ad industry. Rejections have reportedly shrunk, and in some cases previously-removed apps have been allowed to return. Incentivizing ad views is now permitted again, as is asking users to post about an app on social networks.
Exhibit foreshadows opening of USPTO satellite office in Colorado capitol
A week or so ahead of the grand opening of a new US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) building in Denver, Colorado, the central library branch of the Denver Public Library is hosting a USPTO-created exhibit featuring life-size models of the some of the many inventions and patents that are jointly or solely credited to Steve Jobs, the co-founder and twice former CEO of Apple. "Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World" will run through September.
Promises messages will disappear within 24 hours
Social network Path has spun off its chat functions into a separate app for iPhone and Android users, Path Talk. One of the app's key features is security; although messages won't vanish instantly, Path is promising that they'll be deleted from servers 24 hours after delivery. Another feature is Ambient Status, which can be used to tell Path contacts when a person is nearby, traveling, or even when their device is low on battery.
Should bring iOS 8 up to par with Android, Windows Phone
Third-party photography apps should get near-total camera control with iOS 8, reports note. The firmware's new AVCaptureDevice APIs are said to let apps manually adjust focus, shutter speed, ISO levels, white balance, exposure compensation, and even several different forms of exposure bracketing. Of those, iOS 8's stock Camera app is only due to receive exposure compensation as an exclusive option.
Option does guided Flyover views
A developer, Pierre Blazquez, has successfully unlocked the "City Tours" feature Apple has promised for iOS 8 Maps. Until now the feature has been relatively unknown, since it's inactive in the current iOS 8 beta, and was only mentioned in a slide during Apple's WWDC keynote earlier this month. Blazquez explains that he turned the function on through a hidden debug screen.
Would likely focus exclusively on media
The Apple TV may gain some form of Continuity support when OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are released this fall, users of the latest Yosemite beta note. When on a Wi-Fi network where an Apple TV is connected, Yosemite is displaying a message stating that "Apple TV is now available for Continuity," so long as the Apple TV is running new beta firmware. There isn't any indication of what can be done with that support however.
SDK will enable third-party apps based on Adobe tech
Previously teased in concept form, Adobe has formally announced its first two hardware accessories, the Ink pen and Slide ruler. The former is a pressure-sensitive aluminum stylus designed around iOS 7, while the latter is a companion designed to help with more precise drawing, including straight lines and perfect circles. To provide initial software support, Adobe has released two iPad apps, Sketch and Line.
Safari sees several minor changes
The second iOS 8 beta includes some minor but still important changes, users note. Podcasts, for instance, is no longer a separate app, but supplied with the OS and impossible to remove, as with iBooks since beta 1. Apple initially spun Podcasts off of the core Music app in a previous edition of iOS.
Adds mentions, hashtags, photo-related features
Facebook has released a significant update of Paper, its story-oriented reading app for the iPhone. The focus of v1.2 is on parity with the main Facebook app and website. Users now have access to hashtags and trending content, for instance, and friend mentions can be included in posts. The privacy settings for a post can be changed after the fact, and tapping and holding on a post's text will let people copy it.
working with 4K in Final Cut Pro X
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "Doc HM" has been having trouble importing 4K footage into Final Cut Pro X, stating that footage he does manage to get into the program appears jagged, even though it looks perfect in iMovie '11. Forum members this week attempt to help Mac Elite "jeff k" determine why it is that Adobe CS5 is telling them that they have no scratch space when they know that they have 15GB of space left.
Function will require deliberate support
Apple's iOS 8 will make it simpler to log into apps by pulling usernames and passwords saved via Safari's AutoFill feature, beta users note. A given example is Facebook; if login information from the website is already saved in Safari, people will be able to simply tap on the appropriate login when loading the Facebook app. Developers will, however, have to enable the function by adding a file to their website and a new entitlement in their iOS app.
Web gets in-timeline translations
Twitter has expanded its use of Bing translations, reports note. For the first time, the function has been made available in the official Twitter iOS app, where it will display translated text underneath the original. To get the option to appear, though, a person has to select an individual tweet.
Music, Productivity among categories with recommendations
Bringing them in line with the US, Apple is now curating more categories in European localizations of the iOS App Store, according to The Guardian. Until recently only Games, Kids, Education, Food, and Newsstand were curated, highlighting app recommendations and themes. Today the Productivity, Photo & Video, Sport, Music, Lifestyle, Health and Travel categories have been given the same treatment. Previously they simply presented new and popular apps selected by algorithm.
Streamlines several tasks
Cydia, the app distribution platform for jailbroken iOS devices, has been updated to v1.1.10. The software has been given improved handling of sources and packages, namely by relocating functions that were previously buried within three different sections in the Manage tab. That tab has in fact been renamed Installed, and only contains what was in Manage's "Packages" section, along with a quick User/Expert/Recent selector at the top.
'Free' game includes in-app purchases
Rovio has launched Angry Birds Epic, a new side-branch of its popular mobile game series. Instead of a puzzler Epic is a role-playing game in which players lead a party of birds across Piggy Island. Battles are turn-based, and as players progress they can gradually level-up characters, armor, weapons, and potions. A crafting system allows the creation of new weapons.
Previous generation 13.3-inch MacBook Air cut to $900
At B&H.com this week, save $200 instantly on the 13.3-inch MacBook Air which has been cut from $1,099 down to $899. That discount makes this the lowest price we have seen on this computer by about $30. Also, buyers get a free copy of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac, or a LoJack for Laptops one-year subscription. The MacBook Air features a 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Update happening next week
Microsoft's Skype division has announced an impending redesign of its iPhone/iPod touch app, v5.0. The title should have a cleaner interface that's easier to navigate, in part through the introduction of Windows Phone-style swipe gestures that flip between tabs. Buttons at the bottom of the interface jump into the dialer or a list of open chats.
New features not finished in time
(Updated with evidence of transit development) The absence of any major Maps improvements in last week's iOS 8 announcement can be blamed on internal problems at Apple, sources say. It had been expected that Apple would restore public transit directions, and make additions like better labeling, more points of interest, and/or augmented reality functions. The sources claim, however, that these features simply weren't ready for WWDC.
Stratus XL increased in size compared to SteelSeries Stratus
SteelSeries has unveiled a full-sized console-style game controller said to be designed for iOS devices. Following on from the earlier Stratus controller, the Stratus XL is effectively a bigger version of its Bluetooth-based predecessor, increasing the size of the main controller body and some controls, while also adding extra arm grips for extra comfort.