Quick update may have connection to earlier Airport OpenSSL patch
Among other updates issued on Tuesday, Apple has further updated the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- formerly known collectively as iWork apps -- to version 2.2.1, just three weeks after its last update. The previous version introduced new features and restored old ones, but today's update lists only unnamed "stability and bug fixes," which might hint that the change is related somehow to an OpenSSL patch for 2013 Airport Extremes and Time Capsules issued earlier today.
iOS 6 users still dealing with FaceTime woes
Apple appears to have fixed a problem that prevented owners of the first-generation Apple TV from accessing iTunes, according to comments on the product's support forums. The outage began over the weekend, but was resolved just earlier today. It's not clear what caused the issue, or why it would only affect first-gen Apple TVs.
Minor maintenance update
As anticipated, Apple has released iOS 7.1.1 via iTunes and iOS' over-the-air update mechanism. The code is simply a maintenance release, primarily fixing keyboard responsiveness, as well as glitches when using Bluetooth keyboards while VoiceOver is on. For iPhone 5s owners, the patch improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition.
Beats Music app update adds in-software subscription
Beats Music's streaming service app for iOS has received an update. Users can now subscribe to the streaming service from within the app, meaning that once the trial period is over, the transition to paid service is that much easier. Also included is the ability to find Facebook friends who use Beats, improved social network linking, and new tracks in the Sentence playlist generator. The Beat Music app can be downloaded from the iTunes Store.
Flickr offers new user interface, live filters, video support, more
Yahoo has updated the iOS client app for its Flickr photo-sharing service, giving it a more iOS 7-compatible "flat" look and navigation system that offers a noticeably more "Instagram-like" experience, where moving through photos is more free-form. The update now allows users to post up to 30 seconds' worth of HD video to the service, with live filters and adjustment tools available for both video and photos. Version 3.0 now sports certain kinds of object recognition beyond just faces, among other changes.
MLB.TV viewable on Google Chromecast with subscription
The Google Chromecast is now supported by the MLB.com At Bat for iOS and Android. The update allows subscribers of MLB.TV's Premium Subscription to stream live, out-of-market games and on-demand events, with a choice of home or away broadcasts also available. The MLB.TV subscription is $25 per month or $130 for the entire year, with access to the MLB.com At Bat app's features included in the price.
Content of v7.1.1 update unknown
Apple is preparing an immediate follow-up to iOS 7.1 in the form of v7.1.1, according to web traffic data from 9to5Mac. The site says that it has received "numerous" hits from v7.1.1 devices operating in areas around Apple's Cupertino campus. It's not clear when the update will go live, or what it will contain, but the version number suggests that it should arrive relatively soon and mostly contain bugfixes.
Song-identification technology may be enlisted for Siri, iTunes Radio
Citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the product," Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may enter into a partnership with song-identifying app Shazam to bring the music-matching feature to iOS 8. Users could, for example, ask Siri "what song is playing?" as they listen to iTunes Radio or other streaming music services, with the voice assistant enlisting Shazam's services to return an answer after a short identifying pause. This in turn would produce a link to the song on iTunes.
Reason tech works a mystery
The Windows Phone 8.1 preview version of Microsoft Wallet actually supports Passbook files from iOS, reports say. iMore notes that Microsoft has developed a method of extracting information from a Passbook file. The individual passes are said to be composed of generic data, and simply rendered by the container app, much like a browser renders a webpage.
BlackBerry will update iOS, Android BBM apps over Heartbleed security flaw
BlackBerry has added itself to the list of companies working to fix issues caused by the 'Heartbleed' OpenSSL security flaw. Senior vice president Scott Totzke told Reuters that, though the majority of BlackBerry products are unaffected, by not using OpenSSL, it will still need to issue updates to Secure Work Space corporate e-mail and the BlackBerry Messenger clients for iOS and Android.
iOS home screen improvements
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss ways that Apple could change the home screen in iOS after "Hawykeye_a" noted that there hasn't been any real changes in the way that iOS works and provided some suggestions of things he thought could be modified. Today, one Fresh-Faced Recruit was looking for a way to edit icons on their Mac, and turned to the forums for advice.
Multiple sources confirm retirement was announced internally weeks ago
Earlier reports that senior iOS engineer and leader of Apple's Human Interface Group Greg Christie was leaving the company over tension with software and hardware design chief Sir Jonathan Ive appear to have been half-correct. Multiple sources have come forward to note that Christie is retiring, but had announced the move weeks ago internally.
Could have significant impact on iOS 9 and beyond
Apple's Human Interface VP, Greg Christie, will soon leave the company following a conflict with design lead Jonathan Ive, sources say. Ive assumed control of both hardware and software interface design after iOS head Scott Forstall was forced out. Until this week, however, Christie was more directly responsible for Apple software design, and is credited not only with helping to invent the iOS interface -- including patented concepts like slide-to-unlock -- but influencing the direction of app design via his WWDC presentations.
NBC app for iOS adds AirPlay mirroring feature
Television network NBC has released an update for its iOS app. Offering free streaming of NBC show content on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, NBC for iOS allows users to designate preferred shows as a Favorite, and share what one is viewing via Facebook, Twitter or email, and follow one's favorite series on Twitter through the app. Version 2.5.1 now includes AirPlay streaming, meaning the content can now be mirrored to a TV through Apple TV. Additionally, the app now features trending clips, where users can watch previews and highlight from NBC's late-night shows, including The Tonight Show. Free to download, NBC for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Rapid adoption means iOS more secure, easier to develop for
On Monday, Apple updated its iOS adoption statistics for developers to show that 87 percent of active iOS devices are now running iOS 7, with only 11 percent still on iOS 6 and a mere two percent (presumably devices that cannot upgrade, such as the original iPad) stuck on earlier versions. The figure was achieved less than seven months after the original release of the upgrade in mid-September. By comparison, only about 5.3 percent of Android users have or have been allowed to upgrade to last year's KitKat , which was announced around the same time as iOS 7 and debuted a month later.
Opportunity to 'try before you buy,' earn rewards through ads seen as selling points
A new study from Wild Tangent and IHS Technology has found that iOS gamers overwhelmingly prefer free games with ads -- so called "freemium" games -- over paid but ad-free game apps. A total of 86 percent of the 500 respondents sampled in the survey said they preferred free games with ads over paid games, with 70 percent preferring advertising-support games, while the other 16 percent preferred ad-supported games that offered in-app purchases (IAPs) to buy equipment, levels and other items.
Exhibit helps Westerners understand the fear of living in area with land mines
To help promote awareness of land mines and international efforts to clear them from former battlefields around the world, a museum in New York City will be hosting an exhibit utilizing Apple's iBeacon technology, headphones and an iOS or Android app to create a "virtual minefield." The idea, part of the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action being held on April 4, is to allow users to experience the fear of land mines.
Crackle adds Chromecast, iOS 7 optimization
Movie and TV show streaming app, Crackle, has received an update today. Central to the app's update is its new support for Google Chromecast, allowing Crackle users to stream content from its service through to one's Chromecast device ($35), and view content on one's HDTV. Crackle features a wide variety of video media for free, including original content such as Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Available for iOS and Android devices, Crackle is free to download.
Nested folders still not officially supported in iOS
A bug in iOS 7.1 lets people place folders within folders, or even hide icons, users note. To pull off the folder trick, a person has to first completely fill an iOS homescreen with apps -- including both the regular grid and the dock, which in the case of an iPad can fit up to six apps. A user must then create a new folder by dragging one app on top of another. As the folder animation starts, though, a person has to quickly drag the folder they want nested into the new one.
Current character set limited by Unicode standard, Apple says
Apple is working with the Unicode Consortium on expanding the racial diversity of emoji characters in iOS, and by extension other platforms, according to a statement provided to MTV. "Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms," Apple says. "There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard."
Adds further support for in-app Rotten Tomatoes review snippets
On Tuesday, Apple updated its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS devices, bringing updated notifications when new releases hit local cinemas or the iTunes Store. Version 1.4 also adds actual review excerpts from the Rotten Tomatoes review website, rather than just scores, and adds sharing courtesy of the AirDrop feature, allowing users to share links to movie trailers featured in the app.
Apple briefly caught testing 'related' suggestions on App Store searches
On Monday, various users reported seeing a new feature during their visits to the iOS App Store -- a "related" keywords feature not previously present, seen when searching for apps. The test only appeared on devices running iOS 7, possibly limited to iOS 7.1 and OS X only, and quickly reverted to normal. The company already offers "related" suggestions, but only with a specific "app card," rather than while a search is still in progress. The feature is thought to be another example of Chomp integration, a company Apple bought in 2012.
AnyFront 1.1 released, adds simplified font management
Font app AnyFont for iOS has released an update, v 1.1, offering users greater flexibility with font management. AnyFont allows users to install any additional font in TrueTypeFont (.ttf) or OpenTypeFont (.oft) format on one's iPhone or iPad. In v1.1.0, users can now install multiple fonts or multiple shapes of a font at once, add or delete multiple fonts to AnyFont as a ZIP archive in one step, and preview fonts in AnyFont's storage. Additionally included are bug fixes, including a remedy to a localization issue. Available for $2, AnyFont can be downloaded through iTunes.
Current technique limited by processor
A hacker going by the alias "winocm" has demonstrated what appears to be the first untethered jailbreak of iOS 7.1. The hack currently works only with the iPhone 4 however, since it's the only iOS 7-capable device with an A4 processor. winocm and well-known jailbreaker iH8sn0w are said to be working on a jailbreak for A5-based devices, like the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and first-generation iPad mini. That could mean it will be some time before modern A7-based devices are cracked.
Media attention succeeds where developer reports failed
Thanks to media attention, Apple has now pulled an adware- and malware-laced fake "Tor browser" app from the App Store, months after it was first reported to be a fraud. The Tor project team has repeatedly complained about the fake app since December, as it was neither submitted by the team nor in any way official, but only when iOS news sites like this one picked up on the story did Apple take action.
V-Ray 3.0 for Maya released in beta today
Chaos Group has released a beta of the latest version of V-Ray, its rendering software used for 3D animation and film. V-Ray 3.0 for Maya introduces a new path-tracing engine, a Progressive Image Sampler, and other features that provide artists with instant feedback during the development process. Hair rendering and Ray-Traced Subsurface Scattering (SSS) have improved, and its newly-optimized core raises speed levels when adjusting lighting, shading and rendering. V-Ray 3.0 adds support for common open source formats like OpenSubdiv, Alembic 1.5, Deep Images, OpenEXR 2.0 OpenColorIO, and, in the near future, programmable shaders with Open Shading Language (OSL). The public beta is available for use for all existing V-Ray for Maya users.
Apple forces users to pick carriers with official deals
iOS 7.1 appears engineered to block people from using the iPhone's Personal Hotspot (tethering) feature on carriers without official support, complaints on Apple's support forums indicate. Previously it was possible to manually edit APN settings to connect to any carrier. Since that editing is gone, though, tethering has been limited to the smaller number of carriers that officially offer Personal Hotspot.
Play Movies and TV reaches 39 more countries on Android, 32 on iOS
Google has expanded the reach of two of its Google Play services, allowing more users access to its content. Google Play Music and Music All Access has been enabled in four more countries, while the Google Play Movies and TV apps gain increased language support and a service expansion into up to 39 new markets on Android, 32 new countries on iOS.
A platform puzzler which encourages the use and disposal of the undead
If ever there has been a desire for gamers to control a small undead army across platforms, spike pits and saw blades, now is the time that those wishes have been addressed. Deadlings, a mobile game on iOS, Android and Windows Phone from Artifex Mundi, tasks gamers with navigating the undead through Death's lab -- which is littered with traps laid out by the master reaper for his "Deadling Project." Will the game offer a resurrecting experience for players? Or will it shamble to the end of an unnatural existence?
Eclipse TD-M1 wireless speaker system features compact size, Airplay compatibility
Eclipse TD has announced the upcoming availability of its wireless speaker system, the Eclipse TD-M1. The M1 aims to reproduce the sound of music played live, incorporating a non-oversampling DA converter (NOS-DAC) for clear listening. Its egg-shaped form is designed to suppress internal standing waves, as well as minimize the diffraction effect that occurs from the front baffle angle. Featuring wireless music playback, the M1 is AirPlay compatible for high-resolution sound from any recent Apple computer or device. Touch sensors and LED indicators provide intuitive use and reduce clutter of its design, removing the need for buttons. The Eclipse TD-M1 has a dedicated iOS app available for remote control functionality, offering power on or off, volume adjustment and input switching functionality. Available for purchase beginning March 31, the Eclipse TD-M1 speaker system is priced at $1,300.
Politics over Surface causing lost revenue; alternatives being adopted
Tired of waiting for Microsoft's flagship suite, Office, to be ported to iOS devices like the iPad, companies have turned to alternative means to create, revise and distribute documents in increasingly-mobile enterprise, institutional, small-business and collaborative workflows -- costing the Windows maker an estimated $2.5 billion annually in potential revenue. Sources say iPad and iPhone versions exist and are ready to go -- simply awaiting a release date complicated by politics.
Adoption rate on par with recent releases, features bug fixes and features
The take-up of Apple's latest iOS point upgrade, 7.1, reached 17.9 percent of all iOS web traffic in North America just 72 hours after its initial launch, according to a follow-up study from mobile analyst Chitika. The firm studied tens of millions of ad impressions to draw its figures, which are in line with recent point releases from Apple. The company says that iOS 7.1 is on track to surpass the recent 7.0.6 update within a few days.
Predictable and observable random number generator present in iOS 7
All mobile operating systems require what is called an Early Random Pseudorandom Number Generator (PRNG) to give the operating system some security from kernel exploits. Researchers have warned that the new one implemented in iOS 7 is potentially vulnerable to brute force attacks, and can be relatively easy to predict -- making security exploits somewhat easier to develop, if left unpatched.
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."
iCloud storage tools might not ship
[Updated with alleged icons] If the ports are finished in time, iOS 8 may include versions of OS X's Preview and TextEdit apps, according to claims by questionable sources say. Unlike their Mac counterparts, the iOS apps reportedly won't be able to actually edit images, PDFs, or text documents. They are, however expected to support viewing OS X documents stored in iCloud; for management and editing, people will be directed toward existing apps like iBooks and Pages, says the rumor.
Only works with iOS 7.1 at present, Mavericks support likely ahead
The recently-released Apple TV 6.1 update that arrived on Monday has an undocumented new feature that allows AirPlay sessions to be initiated using Bluetooth rather than Bonjour, a change that should make third-generation (1080p-capable) Apple TV units friendlier to complex networks such as those found in institutional and enterprise environments. The system can still scan using Bonjour as well, but will work with Bluetooth if the initiating devices are running iOS 7.1.
Change presumably meant to comply with FTC mandate
iOS 7.1 includes a warning about the 15-minute, password-free window after an initial in-app purchase in iOS, notes AppleInsider. The pop-up appears the first time a user tries to make an in-app purchase after installing v7.1, and points people to Settings if they want to undo the window. Under Restrictions, iOS can be set to require a password for every purchase, or block all in-app transactions.
Would be attempt at boosting usage
Apple is testing the idea of moving iTunes Radio into a dedicated app for iOS 8, sources say. At the moment, iTunes Radio is just another option in iOS 7's Music app. This may be hurting its adoption, since third-party rivals like Pandora and Spotify are separate apps and hence more visible. As a distinct entity, iTunes Radio would likely still come pre-installed with iOS 8.
AccuWeather launches MinuteCast on web version, iPhone and iPod touch app
Weather prediction and reporting app AccuWeather has launched its new MinuteCast feature. Now available for its web version as well as its iOS 7-optimized app for iPhone and iPod touch, MinuteCast gives users a continually updated forecast, ideal for making decisions based on weather. MinuteCast predicts start and end times for precipitation on a by-the-minute basis for the next two hours, specific to a user's exact street address. Precipitation is tracked at approximately a half square mile, and refreshed every five minutes to provide users with the most relevant and accurate forecast available.
Rapid take-up rate matches that of 7.0.6 security fix, adds speed, more
One day after Apple released its latest update to iOS, the latest version is now running on more than six percent of active iOS devices in North America, an analysis from mobile ad aggregator Chitika finds. While iOS 7.1 also contained security fixes, its major focus was adding a few new or enhanced features and squashing bugs, whereas the rapid adoption of the previous update -- 7.0.6 -- was credited to a major security patch.
May make iBeacons more practical
Yesterday's iOS 7.1 update also made changes to the way iBeacons work, reports say. Previously, an iPhone could only pick up notifications from an iBeacon if it had a supporting app open or running in the background; now those messages will appear even if the app has been completely closed (assuming the user has granted permission for push notifications). Alerts are also said to be more responsive, for instance reacting instantly on leaving an iBeacon's broadcast area by ceasing any notifications.
May better compete with Google Maps
Apple is working on a number of major improvements to Maps for iOS 8, sources say. These include using assets picked up through acquisitions of companies like BroadMap, Embark, and HopStop to make data more reliable. Apple is in fact said to be planning to insert more points of interest, and new labels, making it easier to find places like airports, parks, bus stops, and highways. The look of maps has reportedly been cleaned up in general, making streets easier to spot.
Highlights main features of new version, showcases CarPlay
Apple's release earlier on Monday of iOS 7.1 is considered significant enough to prompt the company to create a dedicated page for it, showing off some of the new features and improvements made in the release. The page covers the major "marquee" features of iOS 7.1, including support for CarPlay (in supported automobiles), automatic HDR selection, better control of Siri, changes to the Calendar and phone icons, and a bevy of bugfixes, along with improved performance for iPhone 4 users and other more subtle and optional tweaks.
Units may just be subtle revisions
Separate builds of iOS 7.1, available from Apple's website, appear to reveal the existence of two unreleased iPads. The files are for devices identified as "iPad4,3" (link) and "iPad4,6" (link) respectively. iPad4,1 and 4,2 are known to be variants of the iPad Air, while iPad4,4 and 4,5 are Retina iPad minis.
M2 Bluetooth-enabled 2.1 speaker system offers room-filling sound, wirelessly
Kinivo has announced the availability of its M2 wireless speaker system, available for purchase online. The Bluetooth-enabled 2.1 speaker system is intended for home or office use, and includes two compact speakers with an active subwoofer. Its design features a black finish with copper accents on its volume controls. Able to connect to one's home entertainment system or workspace equipment, the speaker system can stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device, as well as any device that can connected through its auxiliary input. The M2 2.1 speaker system is priced at $70.
Available for all iOS 7-compatible devices
After a lengthy development and testing period, Apple has released the finished version of iOS 7.1 to the public. The code makes a number of improvements to iOS 7, for instance enabling CarPlay support in yet-to-be-launched vehicles. Siri will now let users hold down the Home button to decide how long a device should listen, instead of having to wait for the system to decide no one is talking. More naturalistic voices have been supplied for Japanese, British and Australian English, and Mandarin Chinese.
Squad based strategy comes to mobile and desktop worlds
Trying to mash tactics and strategy into a game that spans computers and mobile devices is no easy task. Not only do the controls need to be precise enough to use with a mouse and touchscreen, but the game must offer a consistent experience. Best known for Battlecruiser 3000AD in the late 90s, 3000AD has offered gamers a tactical, squad based strategy game in Line of Defense Tactics across multiple platforms -- OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. The game focuses on strategic thinking and resource management to get a squad of four through their missions in one piece. Does the game hit all the right marks considering its ambitious reach? Or will Line of Defense Tactics end up a frustrating game because of it?
App will allegedly require iOS update
A public release of iOS 7.1 may be imminent, says John Gruber. The tech commentator says he's learned that the app Apple will use to stream iTunes Festival SXSW will require v7.1. Since the festival starts next week, that means that v7.1 would have to be ready in a matter of days.
Job posting hints at lightweight Xbox Live framework for mobile developers
Microsoft is planning to push for Xbox Live to be more cross-platform than it already is, by making it easier for developers to include in their apps, according to a rumor. The company is preparing to extend the Live platform to more games, with a recent job posting hinting that it will compete directly with Google Play Games and Apple's Game Center on mobile devices.
Apple rolls out CarPlay, brings iPhones to cars with official interface
Apple has announced CarPlay, its automotive interface for iPhones running iOS 7 or later. "CarPlay" is the new official product name for its previously-announced 'iOS in the Car' initiative. Apple is touting CarPlay as a "smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car." CarPlay will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show this week, with debuts from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.