First solid glimpse at new iOS
Apple has posted several videos on its website in the wake of today's WWDC keynote. These include the keynote itself, designer Jonathan Ive's introduction to iOS 7, and the "Designed by Apple" corporate branding ad narrated by Ben Affleck. The keynote video is roughly two hours long.
Will support Office documents
Apple has announced that its iWork app suite -- Pages, Keynote, and Numbers -- will be coming to iCloud.com sometime later this year. In web form, the apps will support a variety of editing functions such as font selection, adding, cropping, and rotating images, or animating Keynote transitions. Users will be able to gain access via compatible OS X and Windows browsers; Office documents will be included in format support.
Option will appear automatically in account details
Apple is extending its two-step verification option for Apple IDs to a wider range of countries, users say. When the feature first launched in late March, it was restricted to the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. Now though people in Canada, Argentina, and Pakistan are reporting getting the feature, and other countries may be following suit.
Targeted sites narrowed down to Houston IP address
The people responsible for a new Apple ID phishing scam have compromised 110 websites, says security firm Trend Micro. All of the sites are hosted on a specific IP address, 18.104.22.168, which is registered with an ISP based in Houston, Texas. "Almost all of these sites have not been cleaned," Trend Micro remarks.
Tips to stop juggling gigabytes and start using the cloud
We live in a world positively soaked in data nowadays. Fortunately, the capacity to store that data has gotten bigger in volume, smaller in physical size, and cheaper per gigabyte as time progresses. Gone are the days where you'd have to lug a Zip disk around (remember those?) or stick your iPod into disk mode. At worst, you're carrying a USB drive with you -- though really, you should be relying on the cloud for by now. The issue is figuring out just what you're going to be keeping up there.
Apple online services continue string of difficulties
Apple's online services are again suffering outages, their official system status page indicates. Between 7:20 and 9:32AM Eastern, some people may have been unable to access the iTunes Store or make purchases there. Still ongoing however are problems preventing people from creating Apple IDs or signing into Game Center, as well as authentication errors when trying to use iCloud. The latter may also prevent people from setting up a new iCloud account.
All issues now cleared, but service interruptions a hassle for many
Apple has reported some brief but widespread slowdowns and unavailability of Game Center -- starting in the wee hours of Thursday and again later that morning -- coupled with a prolonged mail issue that only affected a fraction of one percent of users on iCloud.com for half a day over Thursday and Friday. The disruption comes on the heels of scattered reports of brief iTunes Store outages and a more serious iMessage and FaceTime problem ten days ago, the latter of which lasted over five hours. All services are back to normal operation now.
May mean facility close to booting up
Apple is escalating its search for people to work at its under-construction Prineville, Oregon datacenter, notes AppleInsider. The company recently posted a job listing for an operations planner, as well as a site services technician. In late March, the company started looking for a chief engineer.
The good, bad, and pricey among cloud solutions
In fashion, trends come and go like breezes: quick, occasionally refreshing, and usually leaving little trace that they were there in the first place. It's the same in the world of computing, where we've gone in the space of a few years from desktops and iPods to ultrabooks and smartphones. One thing has remained constant amidst the ever-changing standards of computer form factors, though: you need a place to hold your stuff. Thus, among the fleeting fads there's one computing trend that looks like it might have staying power: cloud storage.
Two-step verification only current defense
(Updated with Apple disabling the iForgot password retrieval page) A new exploit lets people hijack an Apple ID account using only an email address and someone's date of birth, says The Verge. The process involves pasting in a modified URL while answering the date of birth question on Apple's password retrieval page. Doing this lets someone reset an Apple ID's password, locking out the original owner unless they can get Apple's help.
Around 55 percent of those surveyed said they don't use cloud services
Marketing and analysis firm Strategy Analytics has released the results of a new study into the use of cloud media storage services, noting that Apple's iCloud and iTunes Match have captured the majority share at 27 percent (combined) US marketshare and revealing a tighter-than-expected horse race between Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Drive for second most-popular cloud media service.
Sends codes to Findy My iPhone, SMS numbers
A two-step verification process is now an option for Apple ID accounts, reports say. The option can be accessed on Apple's website, and once enabled requires entering a PIN before making an account change or a purchase on iTunes or the App Store. Codes are sent via Find My iPhone or a text message.
Emails with key phrase were being inexplicably deleted
A bizarre glitch has revealed the existence of "pre-filtering" spam deletion algorithms being used by Apple for its iCloud email. The company acknowledged the issue and has since fixed it, but when an iCloud user would attempt to send an email with the phrase "barely legal teens" in the subject, body or title of some kinds of attachments to another iCloud user, the email would not be delivered. Replies to emails with the phrase, or messages sent to non-iCloud users with the phrase, were successfully sent. Unusually, offending messages were deleted rather than simply flagged as spam.
Glitches ongoing since early Thursday
(Updated with service restoration info) Several iCloud services are being affected by "problems," Apple's system status page confirms. The errors began around 4AM Eastern time on Thursday, and have persisted since then. Photo Stream, backup, and Documents in the Cloud are being affected; Apple isn't saying what the exact problems are, but does claim that less than 3 percent of users have been impacted.
Services back online, but hit iTunes, app stores
Apple suffered multiple online service outages earlier on Thursday, the company's system status page now confirms. Between 9:40AM and 11:50AM Eastern time, purchases at the iTunes Store and the Mac and iOS App Stores may not have gone through. The company also confirms some Wednesday problems in which people couldn't access iCloud calendars.
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.
Though problem was modest, may have affected wide range of users
Though Apple's new System Status page for iCloud provides users with at-a-glance notification of problems (and offers a timeline showing exactly how long any service interruption occurred), a brief outage on Monday -- that affected all of the iCloud services apart from iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match -- shows that the revamped page does not always specify what percentage of users are affected in a given incident. Apple's report on todays incident, which lasted just over an hour, simply says that "some" users were affected.
Allows more precise notifications
Apple has introduced a new version of its system status page for online services. Whereas the old one often lumped multiple problems together into a single update, the new page has individual lights for each aspect of Apple's services, ranging from Maps, Siri, and FaceTime through to the App Stores and various iCloud functions like Mail, Calendar, Back to My Mac, and iTunes Match.
iTunes Match still broken for some users
Apple's iTunes Match storage and streaming service is currently down for at least some users, says AppleInsider. Trying to play content hosted on Match only results in tracks sticking at the "0:00" mark. The trouble notably follows outages of iMessage and FaceTime, which hit users of Macs and iOS devices on Sunday.
Improvements geared for typical readers, students
Apple has introduced a major update to its iBooks app for iOS devices (free, App Store). Previewed alongside the new iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, iBooks 3.0 adds a number of new features, including quote sharing via Facebook and Twitter, deeper iCloud integration and automatic scrolling.
Appliation running in data centers served to iPads with VMware
According to reports and sources familiar with the matter, Apple is readying an iOS version of iWork hosted in the cloud. Joining them in the effort is virtualization expert VMware. The Pages, Keynote, and Numbers implementation would integrate with VMware's Horizon Mobile's partitioning scheme to isolate personal and business usage of employee-owned devices.
Surprise move gives users 25GB storage for another year
In a surprise move earlier on Friday, Apple's iCloud team has opted to extend the time period for a free allotment of 25GB of storage given to former members of Mobile Me. The bonus storage, which was set to expire on September 30 and for which the company had sent emails to users warning them of the change, will now continue until September 30, 2013. The move could be due to feedback from iCloud members that didn't feel they had sufficient time or warning of the change, though the extra storage came with clear caveats.
Interviews with ex-staff suggest failures start at top
After the negative reaction to Maps in iOS 6, the spotlight has once again shone on some of Apple's other large-scale service-based failures. Interviews with former employees, carried out by the New York Times, suggest that a set of repeated failures in Internet services stems from the top.
38-year renewal date likely human error
A glitch in iCloud shows ex-MobileMe accounts as having a renewal date set for the year 2050. Twitter user MGLeet noticed the accounts, previously set at 25GB due to MobileMe users receiving a 20GB iCloud boost as an incentive to change systems, currently show a future renewal date of the end of September 2050, instead of the expected downgrade to 5GB for free accounts.
Better security comes at a cost for forgetful customers
With the release of the iPhone 5, a number of previous and new customers are encountering first-hand the new reality of Apple's increased emphasis on better security: it is now much more difficult to reset one's iCloud or Apple ID password than it used to be. While this is overall better for consumers in terms of making it harder for identity thieves to gain control of an account, it is also more difficult for customers who may not be able to jump through the newly-required hoops set up to ensure their identify before a reset can occur.
Audio output now supports AirPlay-ready speakers
(Updated with details of the security measures included with the firmware) Apple has released a major firmware update for second- and third-generation Apple TVs. The v5.1 upgrade implements several new features, most notably the ability to save several iTunes accounts on the same unit and switch between them. App icons can now be reordered by holding down the select button, and new advanced network options can be set via configuration profiles. People with AirPlay-compatible speakers, AirPort Express routers, and/or other Apple TVs can use AirPlay to stream audio to them.
20GB accounts may be shrunk without paid subscriptions
Apple is starting to notify some ex-MobileMe users of impending downgrades to their iCloud accounts. When Apple began pushing people to transition away from MobileMe, they were given temporary 20GB iCloud accounts as an incentive. The new email memos state that unless people pay for higher-end iCloud subscriptions, their accounts will be downgraded to the free 5GB tier on September 30th. Apple had originally set a June 30th deadline, but moved the date in May.
Mail accounts may see misdated, mislabeled messages
An extended iCloud Mail outage finally came to an end late last night. Apple's system status page indicates that services returned to normal at about 11:13PM Pacific time on Thursday; problems originally began at 2:16AM on September 11th. Affected people were either unable to access email, or saw slow delivery of messages.
Reminders, Notes available, new 'lost mode' for iPhones
One day after announcing a revamped "Find My Phone" app that now features a "lost mode" to streamline security and recovery options if the iPhone is lost or stolen, Apple has taken the last items on iCloud.com out of beta and the full site is now available to members and new signups. Features on the site now reflect changes that are part of iOS 6 (to be released on September 19) such as VIP lists for Mail.
Greater number of users now affected
Yesterday's iCloud problems are still ongoing, users are complaining. Apple's system status page indicates that access to Mail is still "slow or unavailable," and specifically that people may encounter delays with incoming email. Although Apple is promising that service will be restored as soon as possible, the number of affected users has actually expanded from 0.17 percent to 1.1 percent.
Outage hit in early morning
Some iCloud users have encountered a lengthy downtime for the service's Mail functions, according to complaints and Apple's status monitor. The monitor shows that problems began at about 2:16AM Pacific time, but as of 9:25, troubles are still ongoing. Apple estimates that about 0.17 percent of iCloud users can't reach Mail.
Cloud Mate unifies iCloud storage
In September, GameAgent will be launching an update to its online hub for Mac gaming. The updated system will include information on more than 150 Mac games, as well as a number of new features that will optimize the game discovery process. Mac Match is GameAgent's new tool for simplifying system requirements. The tool will compare a systems profile against a game's requirements and provide feedback on what games will or will not work on their Mac. A price comparison feature that searches for the best price across multiple online stores, including Amazon.com and the Mac App Store, is also in the works. GameAgent 2.0 is expected to launch as an open beta in the second week of September, and additional information can be found on the company's blog.
'Internal policies were not followed'
Apple has issued an official response to reports about Wired writer Mat Honan having his iCloud account broken into via AppleCare. "Apple takes customer privacy seriously and requires multiple forms of verification before resetting an Apple ID password," the company tells Wired. "In this particular case, the customerís data was compromised by a person who had acquired personal information about the customer. In addition, we found that our own internal policies were not followed completely. We are reviewing all of our processes for resetting account passwords to ensure our customersí data is protected."
Mistake wipes out Wired writer's digital footprint
A writer for Wired, Mat Honan, says he has confirmed with both Apple and the hacker that victimized him that his iCloud account was recently compromised by a "social engineering" trick with AppleCare. The hacker managed to get an AppleCare support staffer to skip security questions, and then reset Honan's password, giving the hacker complete access to anything tied to Honan's iCloud account or email address. This included not only personal and Gizmodo Twitter accounts, but also Honan's Gmail account, which was completely wiped out. Making matters even more severe, the hacker used Find My iPhone to perform remote wipes of Honan's Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Images include 'tactical' center, solar farm, possible biogas site
New aerial photos obtained by Wired reveal some of Apple's recent progress on expanding its North Carolina datacenter. Immediately next to the main facility -- which handles iCloud and iTunes traffic -- is Apple's so-called "tactical" datacenter, which provides some unknown support functions. Across the road is a 100-acre solar farm, still under construction, which should eventually generate 20MW of power. Also seen in photos is a power substation, and small plot which may be where Apple intends to put its 4.8MW biogas facility.
Time running out to backup data stored in galleries, iDisk
More than a year after the announcement of iCloud, Apple is starting to shut down MobileMe-related servers. Reports have started to surface of Apple support personnel telling customers that accounts that have not been migrated will be deleted, possibly as soon as the end of business today. MacNN received conflicting information from Apple support representatives regarding the exact day of the shutdown, ranging from a confirmation of the end of day report, to "sometime later in the year." Regardless of support-provided information, the MobileMe service has been officially closed since June 30, and any data still on the service is at risk of loss, and should be retrieved immediately.
Accounts restored, old messages go missing
Some iCloud users are encountering serious problems with their email accounts, a thread on Apple's support forums indicates. Starting yesterday, some people have been seeing all of their old messages disappear from their iCloud accounts, including folder structures. Notes and aliases have also gone missing, and while affected people can now use iCloud email properly, the old data continues to be missing.
Graphics main focus of 10.7.5 testing
Apple is seeding three updated betas to developers. The main one is a new build of OS X 10.7.5, 11G30. Although few details have been reported, Apple states that the build has no known issues, and is asking developers to concentrate on testing graphics quality and performance. Matching the main v10.7.5 release is a beta of v10.7.5 server, which has the same build number.
Last major studio joins fold
This week's expanded iTunes in the Cloud movie services are also including Fox titles for the first time, users note. While Fox movies have been on sale through iTunes for some time, the option to redownload them via iCloud has been conspicuously absent. Fox was the last major studio holdout, following Universal's arrival in April; extended rights negotiations are likely to blame.
All new iCloud accounts getting only icloud.com addresses
Another important change in iOS 6 beta 3 is the addition of shared Photo Streams and VIP Mail filters to the iPhone 3GS, notes MacRumors. The features have been discovered by 3GS owners using the beta, and quietly confirmed by Apple via its website. The company has removed warnings on the iOS 6 preview page that previously said the features would require at least an iPhone 4 or an iPad 2.
icloud.com email addresses appear
Some of the changes in iOS 6 beta 3 have been discovered by developers. MacRumors notes that users can now have icloud.com email addresses, instead of just ones from me.com. The latter are a holdover from iCloud's failed predecessor, MobileMe.
Activist group still wants Apple to drop coal power
Environmentalist group Greenpeace says that Apple's clean energy policies have improved, but the company still has a long way to go. In a new report, Greenpeace analyzes Apple's efforts to reduce its dependency on coal-power, finding that the iPad maker has yet to lay out a realistic plan to power its iCloud offerings with cleaner energy alternatives. Greenpeace's "Clean Energy Road Map" gave Apple a score of 22.6 percent, up from 15.3 percent in April.
Should affect only 0.5 percent of users' email
Apple has posted on its iCloud status update page that it will have a brief period of planned maintenance to its free iCloud service between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday (Pacific time, 1-3 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time). The company says that only one-half of one percent of users should be affected by the outage, which will cause some users to be unable to retrieve email.
Will bring parity with upcoming Mac, iOS upgrades
Apple has begun seeding an iCloud Control Panel 2.0 beta to developers, reports note. The release adds important features to the Control Panel, which is essential for iCloud support on Windows; the finished release should ensure that Windows users are on par with Mac and iOS users. One key change is support for shared Photo Streams; v2.0 also introduces built-in calendar notifications, and the ability to create or respond to shared invitations through Outlook.
Joins Calendar, Find My iPhone as being 'in beta'
Apple developers working on the iCloud beta version saw two new apps added to the array of iCloud services today, with online versions of the iOS apps Reminders and Notes going live with a "beta" tag on them. Also featured as being "in beta" are updated Calendar and Find My iPhone, both brought over from the Mobile Me service that was recently closed. Reminders, as with iOS, now has its own app separate from the Calendar program.
Troubled service makes way for iCloud
On Sunday, Apple carried forward with promises and officially shut down Mobile Me. Me.com now displays a swinging "closed" sign, as well as links to help users migrate to iCloud, or download files from a Mobile Me Gallery page or iDisk. One limited function provided by the site is finding missing iOS devices tied to me.com email addresses. Apple notes that people only have a "limited time" to migrate or download content from Mobile Me, but isn't any more specific.
Council gives Apple a 79 percent tax break over 10 years
Updating our earlier story, the Reno City Council voted unanimously earlier today to award Apple a significant tax break (PDF file) over the course of 10 years if the company goes through with building two large facilities near the city. The first will house additional servers for iCloud, while the second will be a smaller administrative center in the downtown area. The city's approval was one of the lasts step, following state and county sign-offs on the incentives.
Affected users may be totally cut off
(Updated with resolution) iCloud services are currently being seriously disrupted for some users. On Apple's official status page, the company simply states that as of 10:45 Pacific time, "Users may be unable to access iCloud services." One MacNN reader explains that he has been unable to access the likes of email, Calendar, or even iMessage during the downtime.
New Macs to ship with Lion, get free upgrade
As expected, Apple has formally detailed the next major Mac OS X release, referred to as Mountain Lion, which is scheduled to arrive in July. Version 10.8 is claimed to offer more than 200 new features, including "Documents in the Cloud," native voice dictation, and deeper iCloud integration that will automatically sync Messages, Reminders and Notes content.
Users must download and move materials
Apple wants MobileMe users to know that they have just 30 days left to download a copy of their iPhoto Gallery pictures, iWeb websites and iDisk stored files before the service is shuttered permanently. To that end, the company has emailed a large yellow countdown sign reading "30 days left" to users as a blatant reminder. Though the free iCloud takes on some of the features of MobileMe, these three areas have not been carried over and will disappear at the end of this month.