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.
NBA Game Time adds classic games, videos
The NBA Game Time app for iOS has received an update this week, offering a new Classic Games section. Featuring a selection of historical content, the Classic Games component consists of video and descriptive accounts of notable NBA games throughout the league's existence. The latest version is available for download through iTunes for both iPhone and iPad.
Site gathers together previously disparate content
Apple is hosting a new webpage at its developer center, highlighting resources for designers looking to tailor their apps for the look and feel of iOS 7 and OS X. Although most of the page's content -- which includes videos and text documents -- was already available, it was previously scattered across pages devoted to different subjects.
Original developer plans to introduce new titles to App Store
Despite efforts by Apple to prevent some of the more brazen clones of the popular-but-pulled iOS game Flappy Bird, a recent sampling of new iOS games released in a 24-hour period has revealed that one-third of them are either direct clones with different artwork and names, or at least use the same gameplay mechanic to the point that they are obviously borrowing the concept.
Apple changes and adds to mobile device management programs
Ahead of the release of iOS 7.1, expected in the middle of next month, Apple has proceeded with an overhaul of its existing Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms for educational, enterprise and institutional clients. It launched a new Volume Services web site earlier this month, and has now activated a number of features on that site, kicking off a big push for large-scale iOS deployments.
Critical SSL security fix will be on majority of devices by next week
[Updated with more recent statistics from Chitika] One of Apple's biggest advantages over other mobile platforms is its ability to update its OS quickly, and more crucially -- particularly in the case of the rare security issue -- to deploy the update across all compatible devices rapidly, rather than have to wait weeks or months for carriers and partners to incorporate their own apps and other processes and "skins" into the fix. Updted stats from mobile ad analysts Chitika show that more than 25.9 percent of all North American iDevices were already running the latest version within four days of its release.
Lets users check connection speed, aggregate national averages
The US Federal Communications Commission has refreshed a broadband speed-checking tool for iOS that was originally created in 2010, and updated it for iOS 7 and other modern technologies. The free FCC Speed Test is part of the Measuring Broadband America initiative, and is part of an FCC initiative to get a better "performance map" of US broadband. Users can view historical test data and current performance using the program.
Even patched versions of iOS 6, 7 are exposed, firm says
A vulnerability in iOS could allow remote hackers to log every keyboard and button press a person makes, says security firm FireEye. The exploit is only theoretical -- and would require a compromised app to somehow make it through the App Store review process -- but is said to have been tested and could potentially expose both software and hardware interactions. This includes Touch ID unlocks, although not the actual fingerprint data involved.
OS X said be vulnerable to same style of attack, patch to come
On February 21, Apple released a patch for iOS bringing iOS 7 and 6 to versions 7.06 and 6.16 (respectively), with little fanfare as to why the patch was issued. However, it now appears to have had more to it than a simple fix to SSL connections. The release notes mentioned a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) vulnerability for "an attacker with a privileged network," meaning that a flaw in the SSL implementation could conceivably allow for a "man-in-the-middle" attack as uncovered by ZDNet.
Role unspecified, but had reverse-engineered iOS, OS X for porting
A well-known hacker of OS X and iOS, who single-handedly rewrote the core of both operating systems to allow them to be ported to other devices and contributed to various jailbreak apps for iPhones, has announced that he will be joining Apple as an intern or employee later this year. The coder, known as "winocm," is 17 years old but already an expert reverse-engineer who says he has been doing "insane things" with the cores of iOS and OS X.
iOS 7 update deals with SSL connection problems
Apple has released a pair of new iOS updates, iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6. Release notes indicate that the former deals with a problem in "SSL connection verification." 6.1.6, meanwhile, eliminates several bugs experienced by iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch users.
iOS' first wide-release third-party keyboard
Developer Fleksy has released the completed SDK for its iOS keyboard, following up on an original announcement in December. Although it can't replace iOS' own system-wide keyboard, owing to limitations from Apple, the Fleksy code can be integrated into third-party apps, and offers advanced options like prediction, gesture commands, and different color themes. Adding the app to a keyboard requires minimal work on the part of developers, but users must have the Fleksy app installed, which carries over settings and dictionaries between apps.
128GB iPad 4 for only $650
For the next six days, Groupon has the 128GB iPad 4 with Retina Display on sale for $650. That's 30 percent off the list price of $929, and it is $79 less than the price Apple charges for a refurbished model. It features a 9.7-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048x1536, dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics, 5MP iSight camera, and it has a built-in battery that lasts for up to 10 hours on a single charge. It comes with iOS 6 pre-installed, but is eligible for the iOS 7 upgrade. Included is a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Changes won't affect most of the public
iOS 7.1 should ship "around March 15," and incorporate an overhaul of Apple's existing mobile device management (MDM) platform, a source tells AppleInsider. The company is said to be working with several MDM vendors and institutional clients on the overhaul. It has already launched a new Volume Services website, which is reportedly still in testing but includes options like "Automate MDM Enrollment" and "Buy Apps and Books in Volume." The new tools are expected to go live around the same time as iOS 7.1.
Free voice calls between BBM users reaches non-BlackBerry OS devices
BlackBerry is rolling out a number of changes to its BlackBerry Messenger app for iOS and Android, as the app reaches version 2.0. BBM Voice and BBM Channels, two features already in use by BlackBerry device owners, are included in the update along with Dropbox integration, and a collection of smaller updates to the app.
Glitch devastating some developers
iOS 7.1 beta 5 appears to solve a problem that can kill all location tracking on a device, according to VentureBeat. In iOS 7.0.x, force-quitting an app that uses location services can also disable all location-aware functions, which were previously able to run in the background. This is said to be crippling some developers of location-based apps, such as Life360, which in the switch to iOS 7 saw drops in its userbase ranging from 30 to 50 percent.
Code buried in iOS 7 since firmware's September launch
The AirPlay configuration file in iOS 7 already contains a reference to a fourth-generation Apple TV, reports note. The device is formally listed as the "AppleTV4,1;" the most recent model is the "AppleTV3,2," a slight revision of the third-gen set-top that brought 1080p to the platform. The 4,1 mention appears to have been present since the first version of iOS 7 debuted in September, but the code went unnoticed until today.
Reasons behind removal of popular free-to-play game are unclear
The developer of a wildly-successful game has pulled the app from both the iOS App Store and Google Play. Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird and sole employee of .Gears, made the decision to remove the game from availability, posting about its imminent shutdown on Twitter 22 hours beforehand, though it is still unclear exactly why Nguyen has taken this course of action.
Use of security tokens allows Snapchat denial of service attack
Snapchat, the picture based messaging platform, appears to have more problems on its hands after its recent account breach. It has been discovered that the program can be used in denial-of-service attacks against iOS and Android based phones to disable or crash the devices through sending thousands of messages to the device in a matter of seconds.
Calendar, general interface tweaks only visible changes
As rumored earlier, iOS 7.1 will indeed not reach the public until March, new sources say. The people add that the update will also lack any "secret features," meaning items which Apple sometimes conceals from betas so it can make a splash when the software is finished. Instead the update is expected to concentrate only on the sort of things that have been seen so far, such as improved Phone and Calendar apps, speed boosts, and bugfixes.
Exploit blocked in iOS 7.1
A newly-discovered hack lets people disable Find My iPhone without first entering a password. Shown in a YouTube video (below), the exploit requires only making a few simple changes to a device's iCloud account. It's confirmed to work on iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.0.4, although it appears to be blocked in iOS 7.1, which is still in beta.
Repeating trend has Samsung gaining at rivals' expense
The three-month average figures for the final months of 2013 have been reported by ComScore's MobiLens and Mobile Matrix, and show a continuing trend with US smartphone subscribers over the age of 13: iOS increased its platform percentage by 1.2 percent to command 41.8 percent of the market, while Android dipped 0.3 percent. While still the dominant platform overall at 51.5 percent, Android has been gently falling in the US since last spring.
Continues minor interface tweaks
(Updated with evasi0n hack break, samples of new voices) Apple is now seeding a fifth beta of iOS 7.1 to developers. Changes appear relatively minor, but release notes mention "new natural-sounding Siri voices" for Japanese, the UK and Australian English dialects, and Mandarin Chinese. Apple also appears to be continuing visual tweaks to the OS, for instance by adding new Shift and Caps Lock buttons (below).
TellTale release second episode of The Wolf Among Us across devices this week
TellTale Games' The Wolf Among Us is releasing its second instalment, an episodic adventure game for iOS, PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360. Based on the comic book series Fables, players take on the role of Bigby Wolf and affect the storyline of the game by their choices throughout the adventure. PC and Mac versions of The Wolf Among Us, Episode 2 will be released Tuesday, with the PS3 and Xbox versions available Wednesday (in the UK) and the iOS version is set for debut on Friday.
App store allows up to 8 apps on Pebble smart watch at a time
Pebble will be launching its app store on Febrary 3rd, allowing developers to sell apps and watchfaces for the crowd-funded smart watch, the company has revealed. The iOS version of the companion app will be updated with the store on Monday, with a beta version of the store launching on Android shortly afterward, with the first apps set to go on sale from 10am PST, 1pm EST.
Also gaining ground on Samsung in US; BlackBerry falls to zero percent
The latest report from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) panel shows Apple retook its lead in US smartphone marketshare against the combined forces of Android competitors following the release of new iPhone models in October. The figures, which cover the last quarter of 2013, show that iOS outsold Android by 48 percent to 46 percent, Apple outsold rival Samsung 48 to 31 percent, and that BlackBerry has officially fallen to zero percent marketshare.
Fixes problems with Chinese cellular networks
Apple is now seeding a rare iPhone-only iOS update, v7.0.5. The release is intended exclusively for the iPhone 5s and 5c, and deals with unspecified "network provisioning" problems on some Chinese models. For people who already have iOS 7.0.4 installed, the download is just 35.4MB when fetched via Software Update.
Depicts voice, location-beaming features
New video from developer Steven Troughton-Smith shows iOS in the Car in action, running in iOS Simulator. The clip (below) shows Troughton-Smith going through some basic functions, including beaming a location from an iPhone to a virtual in-dash display. The dash also brings up a Siri prompt, asking people to speak a search term such as "1 Infinite Loop," "ice cream," or "San Francisco."
Continues to be world's most popular mobile operating system
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed on Monday during a conference call with analysts that iOS 7, the latest version of Apple's mobile platform, is now running on 80 percent of compatible devices. The milestone represents a two percent uptick since December, and prompted Oppenheimer to mistakenly proclaim it "the most popular operating system in the world," unintentionally dropping the qualifier "mobile."
Ember for Mac and iOS update to be released January 28
RealMac Software has announced the upcoming release of its major update for Ember, for both Mac and iOS. The imaging organizer debuted for iOS the past December, and since then RealMac has been developing two new features for Version 1.1, including annotations and auto-importing. Smart Drawing and Text annotation functions that already exist for Mac will be added, as well as two new tools, Blur and Pixelate. Annotation tools will be available through a single In-App Purchase, priced at $5. Screen-shot auto-import ($1 IAP) will detect screenshots on the user's Camera Roll, and add them to the library, followed by syncing them via iCloud to other devices.
Finds iPhone 5s owners use 20 percent more than even iPhone 5 owners
A study that compared how much more cellular data is being consumed by smartphone buyers than back when the first of the "modern" 3G smartphones -- the iPhone 3G -- came out in 2008 has found that use has gone up an average of around 600 percent in developed markets, and around 10-fold in developing markets. The report, by network tech firm JDSU, concluded that Apple's iOS devices lead the charge on downloading, taking six of the top 10 "hungriest" positions.
Combined Android generates slightly more traffic, not as effective
In a new study of global mobile advertising, Opera Mediaworks has found that Apple's iOS continues to maintain its lead over Android both in terms of effectiveness and revenue earned. Despite having only three currently-available models against well over 400 Android smartphones and tablets, the study found that iOS accounts for more traffic overall, and more importantly had a significant lead in revenue as well.
Apple's Phil Schiller tweets link to report without additional comment
Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, tweeted on Tuesday a link to Cisco's 2014 Annual Security Report without further comment. The study, which looked at both the chances of mobile users "encountering" malware or social-engineering attacks as well as the nature of mobile-specific malware, found that Android users were both the most likely to encounter malware, and that 99 percent of device-targeted malware is aimed at Android.
Timeline for feature's launch still vague
iOS in the Car has changed significantly since it was first demonstrated at WWDC 2013, the current state of pre-release code shows. Apple has for instance rearranged the status bar into a vertical position, and altered the look and placement of buttons. This includes completely revamping the app screen to use a more standard icon placement, instead of displaying an unlabeled bar.
Pandora adds station recommendations to iOS, Android app
Pandora has updated its iOS and Android apps to offer its users recommendations for new stations based on artists the user listens to. The Personalized Station Recommendations will show up to six suggestions based on current listening preferences and previous likes and dislikes, claims the Pandora blog, with future station suggestions to be further improved the more music the user listens to. Users can find the recommendations when they create a new station, or if they scroll to the bottom of their station list.
3D scenery gradually becoming more universal
Apple has added two new cities to the areas covered by Maps' Flyover feature, users note. These include Helsinki, Finland and Cape Town, South Africa. The official list of cities with Flyover support has yet to be updated, but Apple hasn't made any changes to it in some time, despite constant service improvements during 2013.
Horizon prevents 'portrait video' shooting, offers alternative resolutions
A new app, currently on sale for $1, promises to fix one of the plagues of modern life -- "portrait" videos. Horizon, an alternative video camera app, forces the video camera to capture in landscape mode regardless of which way the iPhone is positioned. The on-screen preview allows users to focus on the horizontal crop of what they are shooting when holding the iPhone in portrait, and offers web-quality VGA, 720p or 1080p quality along with square, 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.
iPhone tech could change interface for runners and walkers
Apple has won a pair of new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first deals with processing and editing 3D video, and suggests a means of importing and editing two clips simultaneously. Apple editing software -- presumably Final Cut -- would be able to identify and link clips from left-eye and right-eye cameras, mainly using SMPTE timecodes. For convenience, edits applied to one camera would be automatically reflected in the other, and adding one clip to the primary track would put the paired one in a secondary track. If necessary, linked clips could still be edited separately.
'Traditional' PCs outsell Macs 19 to 1, but used to outsell them 56 to 1
Mostly on the back of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been predicted to outsell the combined Windows empire sometime this year, according to statistician and analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco. To reach this conclusion, he combined sales of all of Apple's OS X and iOS products together and compared them to combined Windows sales (including the tablet-based Window RT and Pro, not that it materially affects the results) to arrive at his estimate.