Apple Maps is underrated, except when it isn't
Well, this is awkward: I'm about to enthuse at you about how and why Apple Maps is very good, but the impetus came when my wife Angela offered to pick me up from a meeting in Kings Heath, Birmingham (in England, for those not familiar with the place). I shared my location with her over Messages and was just thinking how handy this was, how straightforward and easy it was -- when she texted back "why are you in Stechford?"
Migration assistant set up; users have until March 31, or could lose purchases
Along with the death of AOL logins for use in Messages, the ability of AOL members to use AOL credentials to log into iTunes and its various stores is ending next month, Apple reports. The move, which appears to have been instigated by AOL, will mean that users who use AOL logins will need to migrate to an Apple ID in order to preserve purchase records and access to purchased items from iTunes, the iOS App Store and the iBookstore.
Official cutoff affecting more people than intended
Some people using @mac.com or @me.com email addresses as AIM logins in Messages are finding them non-functional, even after meeting Apple's requirements for a June 30 support cutoff, complaints indicate. In April, Apple stated that those logins would no longer work for versions of OS X below v10.7.2. Even people who do meet that threshold, however, are saying they can't use the logins anywhere, including the AIM web interface or third-party Mac and iOS clients such as Adium.
Bug cutting off conversations for people switching from iPhone to Android
A new lawsuit -- filed through a federal court in San Jose, California -- is targeting Apple over problems with the delivery of SMS messages via iMessage, Bloomberg reports. The plaintiff notes that she, like a number of other people, suddenly stopped receiving texts from iPhone owners after personally switching from an iPhone to Android. Class action status is being sought in the case.
Problem persisting despite long-standing complaints
Apple has acknowledged but is "clueless" about how to fix a problem with iMessages being sent to Apple IDs that are no longer in use, according to ex-Lifehacker editor Adam Pash. Pash recently switched from an iPhone to an Android device, but discovered that his phone number was still linked to the iMessage system, meaning that anyone sending him a text via an iPhone would have that message automatically forwarded to his old Apple ID. iOS' Messages app would claim the texts were delivered, but in reality he never received them.
Trouble may also be affecting iMessage
iCloud users in Australia and New Zealand have been experiencing outages for about half a day, according to complaints. Most affected people say they can't reach any iCloud functions, and some people complain that iMessage is failing as well. Apple's System Status page has made no mention of the downtime.
Many changes still up in the air, sources say
On top of new apps, Apple is also considering a number of improvements to existing apps and under-the-hood technologies, sources claim. An example of the latter is Notification Center, where Apple is allegedly interested in simplifying panels from "Today," "All," and "Missed" to just "Today" and "Notifications."
iMessage sees exponential growth
Apple is currently handling about 40 billion iMessages (including push notifications) per day, and about 15 to 20 million FaceTime calls, CEO Tim Cook disclosed earlier today during the company's annual shareholders meeting. That indicates exponential growth during 2013, since in January of that year, the company was only up to 2 billion iMessages a day. Apple just recently added audio-only FaceTime calls as an option for iOS and OS X, which could grow traffic even further.
Update expected to include FaceTime improvements, fix for SSL vulnerability
Apple has started seeding a pre-release version of OS X 10.9.2 to some of its own staff, sources tell AppleInsider. The code is listed as build 13C64, and is thought to foreshadow an imminent public release. Significantly the update is said to include a number of important changes, including the ability to block individuals in Messages, audio calls and call waiting for FaceTime, and a promised fix for SSL security.
Encrypted private messaging platform officially launches after successful beta
CoverMe - a secure private texting, document sharing and phone call app -- has officially launched. During its beta period, over 500,000 users signed up for its service, exchanging 500 million messages with military-grade encryption. CoverMe protects personal contacts, call logs, messages, documents, and more, and provides the ability to recall or remotely wipe sent messages from a device. Its private 'vault' allows users to store photos, videos, documents and communication histories so that a lost device does not lead to a privacy breach. Users are immediately notified when a recipient has read a sent message, and the app provides an option to embed messages with a 'self-destruct' option. Available on iTunes and Google Play, CoverMe is free to download (with in-app purchases available).
Not affecting all users, but restart appears to clear up the issue
After upgrading to iOS 7, some users are finding that the Messages app doesn't reliably send out texts as a fallback when an iMessage can't be sent, and in some cases doesn't reliably send or receive iMessages. While the problem was first reported when iOS went live, reports have increased as hesitant users capitulated upon the release of v7.0.2. A simple fix usually just involving rebooting the device appears to work for most, but a slightly more elaborate fix seems to cure the issue permanently.
Can affect Messages app thanks to group MMS, SMS use
While under normal circumstances most users would never see an unwanted or "spam" message in the OS X and iOS program Messages, Apple has now set up abuse reporting mechanism to help deal with those who have the issue. Using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, users can send a screenshot of the unwanted message, phone number or email address of the spammer or harrasser, and time/date info on the message. Unwanted or spam SMS and MMS messages should still be reported to users' cellular providers rather than Apple.
Half-hour outage was the first serious problem since April
The iMessage system used by millions of Apple owners to send free SMS-like messages and multimedia files was temporarily offline earlier today for about a third of users, from approximately 12:35PM to 1:11PM Pacific Time (3:35-4:11PM Eastern). The outage meant that text and files would "fall back" to being sent by traditional SMS or MMS using the carrier of the mobile device if sent to an account with a phone number associated with it, but might fail if sent to an email address only. Apple offers the free iMessage service as part of both iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion.
Solves issues with built-in OS X apps
Flexibits has released Chatology, a new Mac app for users of Messages or iChat. The app is designed to search through chat session content more efficiently than Apple's own tools allow. This includes faster search retrieval, and options to narrow searches to a specific time range. Images and links in conversations are automatically filtered into their own tabs for easier access.
iMessages sent via SMS still vulnerable, agency says
The US Drug Enforcement Administration is complaining that it can't intercept content on Apple's iMessage service, even with a warrant, according to an internal note obtained by CNet. "On February 21, 2013, the DEA San Jose Resident Office (SJRO) learned that text messages sent via iMessages between Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and iMac) are not captured by pen register, trap and trace devices, or Title III interceptions," the DEA writes. "iMessages between two Apple devices are considered encrypted communication and cannot be intercepted, regardless of the cell phone service provider."
Jailbreak devs targeted, reveals flaw in Messages app
A flaw in the Messages application used widely on iOS devices has been revealed through a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on a group of jailbreak app developers. The program is subject to simple "flood" type attacks in which an attacker automatically sends messages incredibly rapidly, effectively rendering an account useless. Grant Paul, who goes by "chpwn" on Twitter and was one of the half-dozen victims in the attacks, said that the problem is that "Apple doesn't limit how fast messages can be sent," thus filling up the inbox and requiring the user to clear notifications and text in order to use the app.
Messages system works on multiple devices, tied to Verizon number
Verizon Wireless has updated its messaging application to include integrated messaging over multiple devices. The Verizon Messages service is now cross-platform, with messages able to be sent and received through one phone number via an Internet-connected device, or through a computer using the online account manager.
First year free, then $1 per year as with other platforms
Mobile messaging service WhatsApp plans to move its iOS program (which delivers free SMS-like messages to other WhatsApp users) to an annual subscription model rather than the one-time fee the app currently charges. The subscription would be very low-cost as well -- the first year free, then just $1 per year afterwards -- but would increase revenue and move the app to the same model the company uses on all other platforms it serves. The plan may not affect current users, but will face competition.
Messages, iCloud, Game Center all on rise
Mostly overlooked in Apple's quarterly report dealing with sales and revenues is the remarkable -- in some cases, astonishing -- growth in Apple's cloud-based services, ranging from the four trillion notifications sent to iOS users through Notification Center to the record-breaking $2.1 billion profit for iTunes. Users now send over two billion iMessages per day -- bypassing the cellular carriers' biggest profit center, SMS messaging -- from over 500 million devices, and over 250 million users now have iCloud accounts.
Company preps for Mountain Lion in July
Apple has removed virtually all links and references to the Messages for Mac beta from its website, reports note. One link is still present at the bottom of Apple's Downloads page, but even this redirects to Apple's generic OS X page. The only way a person can still download the beta is through a direct URL; the file is 63.8MB.
Hints at Facebook integration in future tech
Apple would like to integrate Facebook more deeply into its products, CEO Tim Cook suggested at Apple's annual shareholders meeting today. "Facebook: friend. We do a lot with them, our users use Facebook an enormous amount...I've always thought that the two companies could do more together," Cook commented during the meeting's Q&A session. "We've integrated Twitter...It's been great for Twitter, but it's been great for our users." He also noted that iMessage traffic has been "incredible" so far.
Hidden text urges users to buy new OS
The Messages app introduced alongside OS X Mountain Lion will become exclusive to the new OS after the current beta period has finished, French site Consomac says it has learned. Buried in text strings for the app is a future alert for users of the Lion-based beta. "Thank you for participating in the Messages Beta program. With the inclusion of Messages in OS X Mountain Lion, the Messages Beta program has ended," the notice reads. "To continue using Messages, please visit the Mac App Store and purchase OS X Mountain Lion."
Messages beta hints at super-high res Macs
Apple's Messages beta may have been a further clue as to Apple's possible plans for high-resolution Mac displays. Multiple images in the app package are designated "@2x," a new designation usually seen only in recent pre-release iOS code. Even the normally small chat tab icon for a contact is 82x82.
Mac OS X Mountain Lion adds iMessage, Reminders
In a surprise step, Apple on Thursday gave developers a preview version of OS X Mountain Lion, the next significant update to the core OS. The new version is directly influenced by iOS 5 and includes Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, Game Center, and Twitter integration, with iCloud syncing where it's relevant. AirPlay Mirroring is also new to the Mac and shares exactly what's on screen through an Apple TV.