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.
AirBnB revamps look of app for iOS 7, adds 'Discover' feature
Short-term housing and accommodations app Airbnb (free) has been redecorating its entire public-facing image, from redesigning its website and sporting a new logo to bringing the flatter and larger design language of iOS 7 to its latest update. The new version of the app offers larger images and fonts, but retains the main features that both hosts and would-be renters use to connect. A new "Discover" feature lets users find places to stay through less conventional means, such as by theme, as well as the traditional methods of where and when.
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.
One of the last automaker holdouts now planning to add CarPlay to 2016 models
One of the few remaining major carmakers yet to embrace Apple's CarPlay technology is said to be getting on board, holding talks with Apple on embedding the iOS-based technology into its 2016 models, according to an unnamed source with "knowledge of the discussions." The Beetle maker was an early adopter of iPod compatibility with its vehicles, but has done little with Apple since then. The two companies are expected to announce an agreement later this year.
Song identifier app integrates subscription Rdio streaming
Song-indentifying app Shazam (free) has introduced a new update that incorporates streaming music service Rdio into the app, allowing subscribers to Rdio to hear the full version of songs identified using Shazam. Previously, Shazam would have to switch over to a third-party app if users wanted to hear a full copy of a song they identified in the app, but now those with Rdio installed won't have to fire up the previously-installed Rdio app to hear the full track. Shazam also offers iTunes buying of tracks, and in iOS 8 will integrate with Siri so that users can simply ask what song is playing at any time.
New version offers integrated, synced one-stop PIM shop
Some users need a lot more than just what Apple's built-in Calendar, Notes and Reminders can offer in terms of organizing their life, and for them the term PIM (Personal Information Manager) becomes a familiar one. We've had a chance to work with the recent 4.0 major update of long-time PIM Pocket Informant, and have really appreciated the changes and the versatility of the app. Users looking for a one-stop app that syncs with popular calendar and related services, this just might be your Nirvana.
Claims data could be used to glean state secrets
State-run China Central Television has called iOS 7's Frequent Locations function a "national security concern" in a noon broadcast, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report quoted researchers as saying that people with access to the underlying data could get a glimpse of the broader Chinese situation, or "even state secrets." Electronic security has become a sensitive topic for the Chinese government in the wake of leaks from Edward Snowden, revealing that the NSA is spying on Chinese leaders, and that American businesses have willingly or unwillingly provided the NSA with access to demanded data.
iOS users will have to wait for iOS 8
Apple has released iTunes 11.3 for Mac and Windows users. The main addition is support for iTunes Extras associated with HD movies, granting access to things like galleries, commentaries, behind-the-scenes clips, and short films. Not every movie has Extras, since these require special formatting on the part of content creators, but even previously-purchased titles can get Extras for free if they're added later.
Appeal already in works
Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court has upheld a 2006 Zhizhen patent challenged by Apple, says China's official Xinhua news agency. Zhizhen filed suit against Apple in 2012, accusing it of violating a patent used for its "Little I Robot" voice-controlled assistant with Siri, the voice command system used in iOS. Apple though sued Zihizhen and China's Patent Review Committee late last year, with the hope that the court would render Zhizhen's patent invalid.
Credited with helping to develop original iOS Maps app
A senior Maps engineering manager at Apple, Chris Blumenberg, has left the company to work at ridesharing service Uber, according to reports. Blumenberg was with Apple for over 14 years, and is credited with helping to develop the original iOS (then iPhone OS) Maps app, as well that platform's version of Safari. Uber, notably, has been rising in popularity, and is closely associated with Google.
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.
July 7 purge will affect testers of iOS 8, Yosemite beta builds
Apple has notified developers testing the latest iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite betas that it will have to erase the content of all CloudKit databases on July 7, both public and private. While the move will not affect most users, anyone testing the iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library or Mail Drop attachment features of either iOS 8 or OS X 10.10 Yosemite will see any data store there wiped. Photos and videos stored on iOS 8-running devices will be preserved, and re-uploaded after the server-side erasure.
Android dominant but stagnant, no growth despite arrival of Galaxy S5
According to the latest statistics from ComScore MobilLens and Mobile Metrix, Android remains the most widely-used mobile OS in the US -- but has stagnated in terms of growth, while Apple iOS devices slowly climb. As of the end of May, iOS accounted for 41.9 percent share of US smartphone users, a gain of 0.6 points from the month before. Android overall remained steady at 52.1 percent marketshare, but Apple continued to be the top individual manufacturer.
Fuels speculation of voice messaging on iWatch
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently advocated voice messaging in a private talk, according to a new memo by UBS analyst Steven Milunovich. "When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages," the note reads . "Porting this capability to the [i]watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go."
Descriptions talk 'big plans'
Apple is hiring senior software engineers to work on "big plans" for its Maps API, notes AppleInsider. "We've got big plans for our API - we're looking for leaders that can design and build clean, scalable, and performance APIs, as well as design and build systems to trace, monitor, and debug requests once they enter our distributed backend systems with their complex dependencies," the company writes in job listings. "We're overhauling things front-to-back and want engineers that live and (breathe) distributed systems and services."
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.
Adds clarity to 'Best New Games' section, showcases recently-refreshed titles
Readers have reported that Apple is continuing to tweak the app-discovery experience in the iOS App Store, and on Thursday added a new "Best New Updates" section for iOS games, drawing user attention to recently-refreshed titles separate of the existing "Best New Games" section, which would sometimes contain updated rather than genuinely new titles. The move should benefit games that fall into both categories by clarifying updated versus all-new titles.
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.
Weather Channel supplying more tech, data than Yahoo
The shift from Yahoo to the Weather Channel for iOS 8's Weather app is the result of a "very crafty deal" by Weather Channel CEO and former Yahoo board member David Kenny, says Re/Code. Yahoo has long been Apple's partner for iOS weather, even though all it's been doing is repackaging the Weather Channel's raw information. To entice Apple to cut out the middle partner, the Weather Channel is said to have offered things it wasn't offering Yahoo, including a nine-day forecast, a conditions summary, and more "weather specificity" related to a user's location.
Some regions could get 24/7 phone support
During a town hall meeting earlier this week, Apple's VP for AppleCare -- Tara Bunch -- revealed several plans in the works for the company's technical support, sources say. Many of these revolve around AppleCare+, which extends the warranty coverage for devices and shrinks the costs for two incidents of accidental damage. Bunch noted that the company is planning to bring AppleCare+ to more countries, despite different insurance and legal structures making this complicated.
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.
Existing services to continue functioning for foreseeable future
As hinted at through the introduction of the iCloud-based Family Sharing feature, the latest beta of iOS for Apple TV (along with the corresponding Beta 2 of iOS 8) doesn't support second-generation Apple TV units, which were the first model to sport the small-black-box look of the current (third) generation devices. The second-generation models can be distinguished from the later version by not having support for 1080p output, and by having an Apple A4 SoC -- the same model that powers the iPhone 4, which is also no longer supported as of iOS 8.
Shared feature between OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 makes family media sharing simpler
A new feature discussed at the Worldwide Developer's Conference has appeared in the first beta of the iOS 8 version of Apple TV softwre, released on Tuesday. The new feature is the iCloud-based Family Sharing function, which allows up to six family members to access purchased iTunes content from any of the registered devices in the household running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or iOS 8, both of which will be released this fall. The change allows a household to access everyone's media purchases without changing accounts.
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.
Feature additions yet to be discovered
Apple has begun distributing second betas of OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, Xcode 6, and updated Apple TV firmware to developers. Relatively few details are available so far. The Yosemite beta is listed simply as build 14A261i, and in release notes for the iOS 8 code, Apple states only that it "contains bug fixes and improvements."
Stats confirm decline of older OS versions, rapid adoption pattern
A new survey by ad network and statistics aggregator Chitika has established that the United Kingdom as the region with the strongest and most rapid adoption of iOS 7, beating both North America and Australia. The company analyzed web traffic and ad response generated by devices in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. It found that the UK tied with North America in terms of iPhone iOS 7 adoption, but greater use of iOS 7 among iPad owners allowed the UK to take the crown.
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.
Facebook Messenger for iOS adds video messages, 'Big Likes'
Facebook Messenger for iOS has received an update, offering new instant video sending and a "Big Likes" feature. Facebook Messenger allows users to access their Facebook messages without opening Facebook, and have conversations with friends that include stickers, private photo sending, group conversations and more.
Photo service adds sharing to social networks, admin invites, editing tags, more
Cloud photo-sharing and storage service Flickr has updated its iOS app (free) to version 3.1, which brings the ability to share whole albums of photos to social networks, email, or chat systems like SMS or iMessage. The update also brings the ability to add or edit a photo's tags and descriptions, and offers some additional enhancements to group support, alongside the usual performance enhancements and bug fixes.
Feature's arrival time still up for debate
Code in the iOS 8 beta suggests that Apple's planned iOS multitasking will support multiple window sizes, according to developer Steven Troughton-Smith. The firmware's internal SpringBoard is said to make reference to 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 ratios. Despite the different sizes it's expected that an iPad will still only be able to run two apps simultaneously, unlike tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, which can run up to four.
Apple, FDA met on multiple occasions during 2013
Apple feels it has a "moral obligation" to help people learn more about themselves through medical apps, according to the US Federal Drug Administration. Prior to announcing iOS 8's HealthKit platform last week, records show that Apple executives met with the FDA several times to talk about "mobile medical applications." The last meeting took place in December.
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.
PopClip for Mac available for $1 as an AppyFriday promotion
Text selection toolkit app PopClip is currently available at the Mac App Store for 80 percent off its regular price. PopClip is a utility app that gives the copy and paste function on a user's Mac extra abilities, much as the copy and paste function does on iOS. Once text is selected, PopClip automatically appears and provides instant access actions like search, spelling, dictionary and over 100 other extensions. The $1 promotion is available via AppyFridays.com, with sale pricing remaining until this Sunday.
Apple allegedly planning 3-5 million units per month
The iWatch will ship in October with a curved OLED touchscreen and a modified version of iOS 8, sources tell Japanese business publication Nikkei. The people say that Apple is finalizing the device's specifications, and back claims that the watch will use an array of biometric sensors to track factors like sleep, calorie consumption, and even blood oxygen and glucose levels. One parts manufacturer says that Apple is planning to manufacture somewhere between 3 and 5 million iWatches per month, which could make it the most prolific watch in the world.
Seidio's Innocell Plus for iPhone 5 and 5s now available
Mobile accessories producer Seidio has announced the release of its new Innocell Plus battery case for iPhone 5 and 5s. The protective case -- available in black -- features a 2000mAh internal battery, and is accompanied by a micro USB cable that allows users to sync and charge their device without removing the case. Priced at $70 for the standalone case, the Innocell Plus with an accompanying holster is available for $80.
After-market CarPlay solution also shown in customized 1965 Ford Mustang
While most of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference focuses on forthcoming software, there is also some hardware to be found at WWDC -- three vehicles parked inside the conference hall feature sneak previews of Apple's CarPlay iOS technology incorporated into forthcoming vehicle models from Chevy and Ferrari. In addition, an after-market CarPlay solution kit from Pioneer was featured in a customized 1965 Ford Mustang. Apple gave USA Today a demo of the Chevy Spark EV implementation.
Execs tout centralization as benefit
Four health and fitness technology companies -- RunKeeper, Withings, Strava, and iHealth -- have confirmed plans to support Apple's HealthKit platform. RunKeeper's CEO, Jason Jacobs, comments that bringing "some of the other key players in the ecosystem (doctors, EMRs, etc) into the discussion" is "where things need to be heading." Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings says his company is in favor of the shared API approach, since it already produces an API of its own.
May improve odds with lost and stolen devices
The iOS 8 incarnation of Find My iPhone includes a new "Send Last Location" option, notes AppleInsider. A description explains that toggling it on will send the last location of a device to Apple once the battery drains "to a critical level." It's not known how this information will be shared with device owners, or how long it will persist.
Developer already accepting beta signups
Third-party developer Fleksy has announced plans to be one of the first companies to offer an alternative software keyboard for iOS 8. Apple revealed plans to allow third-party keyboards at its WWDC keynote on Monday. Fleksy hasn't said much about what its iOS 8 implementation will involve, but it is taking signups for a beta program, and is aiming to be ready for iOS 8's fall release.
Name may have been chosen last-minute
Apple's choice of HealthKit as the name for its health tracking platform is stepping on the name of an Australian startup that also deals with health-related services, according to complaints by the latter company. The company has already made multiple Twitter posts on the matter, including one directed at Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Feeling annoyed #Apple is using our #HealthKit name for their new health product! @tim_cook r u aware of this?" it reads.
Pulls data directly from Weather Channel
As of iOS 8, Apple has stopped using Yahoo as the data source for the iOS Weather app, users note. The app now lists The Weather Channel as a source instead. Yahoo was already pulling its own data from TWC, but Apple appears to have cut out Yahoo for business and/or technical reasons.
Allows quick launching of location-related apps
One unexpected feature of iOS 8 is the presence of quick-launch app icons on lockscreens, accounts say. If a person brings an iPhone to a place like Starbucks or an Apple Store, iOS 8 will display those locations' official apps in the lower-left corner, making it possible to jump directly into them. The function is similar to the quick Camera access already built into iOS.
Function meant for recording app previews
The combination of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite allows for easier screencapture of iOS devices, according to a new Apple document. In order to support the App Store's future App Previews, Apple has tweaked Yosemite to treat an iOS device as a camera input, meaning that any video recording software can be used to capture onscreen activity. Currently recording is described as "extremely laggy," but it will presumably improve as both iOS 8 and Yosemite get updated betas.