Curses. It's on the iPhone now. How will we get any work done?
Bad news for fellow addicts of the iPad game Sue Doku: it's been updated, and is now a universal app. You do hear that term a lot, and it often isn't explained, so let us clear that up now: a universal app means Sue Doku is now available on both your iPad and iPhone. Translation: distraction. It's just a sudoku app, we can stop playing any time, but it is a particularly well done one on the iPad, and enough so that we sidled back to our desk to quietly pick up our phones and download it immediately.
Not all users affected, but caused kernel panics, startup issues in some machines
On Thursday, Apple released a rare supplemental update to OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 that resolves a bug in a video driver that was causing some Mac owners to report startup issues or even full-blown kernel panics "when running certain apps that capture video," said the company. Users were reported longer-than-normal startup times or crashes. Not fixed by the new update are scattered reports of problems opening large JPEG files using Preview of QuickLook, but this is again not a universal issue.
'Sneak peek' offers better iTunes Radio experience; Xcode 6.4 beta updated also
On Monday, Apple released the first iOS 8.4 beta to developers, which among other feature includes what the company calls a "sneak peek" at a revamped Music app that now offers a new Miniplayer, global search, a better iTunes Radio experience and improved "Now Playing" screen that allows custom art from users, along with a Recently Added automatic playlist. In addition, Apple updated its Xcode 6.4 beta with new SDKs for iOS 8.4, and compatibility updates for OS X Mavericks (10.9) and Yosemite (10.10).
New 12.1.12 version of iTunes adds support for OS X Photos, iOS 8.3 syncing, more
Apple has updated its iTunes music software for OS X separately of its 10.10.3 release yesterday. The new version, 12.1.2, adds support for the OS X Photos application that was included in 10.10.3, though it also still supports iPhoto. The update brings sync support for Photos to sync to iOS devices. It has also added support for syncing with iOS 8.3, and made general "refinements" to the Get Info display in iTunes, as well as improving overall stability.
Reviews generally positive, with caveats on some teething issues
Reviews are starting to come in on the Apple Watch, but the overall consensus is what might have been predicted: that it is, by far, the best smartwatch in the world; that it redefines the bar for smartwatches in the same way that the iPhone did for mobile smartphones in 2007; that it makes nearly all other smartwatches look like toys. However -- much like the initial iPad reviews -- there is a lingering question of how much need there is for it.
Update adds support for latest OS releases, Force Touch trackpad, updated compiler
Alongside the big OS updates yesterday, Apple also released a final version of Xcode 6.3, which has been in beta for some time. The update includes a modified SDK supporting Apple's Force Touch trackpad, as found on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and forthcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook. It also includes the latest SDKs for iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3, along with Swift 1.2 for iOS 8.3, and a new version of Apple's LLVM compiler.
Vast library of current and previous HBO programming available for $15 per month
The standalone service HBO Now has launched on Apple TV in a new update, offering owners of Apple's set-top box the option of subscribing to HBO without an existing cable or satellite subscription as a requirement. Included in the deal, which includes a "first month free" trial offer, is all current HBO programming including movies, and access to all previous original HBO programming, including series such as Veep.
Small number, big, big update
We put this on our To Do list three months ago: "Write combined Hands On about both OmniFocus and OmniOutliner's new iPhone versions". The company said they were coming, they were quite clear about what would be new about them, we were quite sure it was an important update but also that it wasn't worth a complete re-review of them. We've covered both apps before, we've liked both of them a lot, they haven't changed. Except, in use the one big new feature in OmniFocus is bigger than we thought -- and much more has changed too.
Updated version is second this week, hinting at problem fixes
Developers and public testers of the forthcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 release have unexpectedly been notified of a second release this week, this time with build number 14D130a. Normally spaced a week apart, the last update came on Monday with 14D127a -- suggesting that the company is zeroing in on fixes for certain known issues, and perhaps planning a public release in the near future. Testers are cautioned to keep backups current while testing the new beta.
Simple, sturdy app for tracking your work time
You could use this app as a kind of time pedometer, seeing how long you spend on various tasks, and then being shocked at yourself. However, it's built for freelancers, or anyone whose clients pay them by the time they spend on the job. The newly-updated TimeTag 4.0.0 for iOS and 2.000 for OS X mean you can tap a button to start logging, and get on with your work.
Point and scan feature makes this app quick and convenient
From the makers of PDFpen for Mac and iOS comes the newly-updated PDFpen Scan+ which is a way to quickly photograph documents and turn the text into something you can then copy out, email, or reuse anywhere else. The new version now automatically crops photographs, so you don't end up with hundreds of shots of the edge of your desk. It also increases the speed of scanning thanks to new automated features.
Get things done with this concentration app
Most of the time, the secret to getting things done is getting on with them, and doing things. The Pomodoro technique is a trick to get yourself going, and keep yourself going, which has been around since the 1980s and is perfect for being turned into an app. Consequently there are many such apps, but the newly-updated Pomodoro Time Pro is a solid, capable and versatile one.
Public beta updated also; screen sharing, Wi-Fi, languages need focus
On Monday, Apple issued a sixth beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to developers, and an identical third beta to registered public testers. The new build, numbered 14D127a, is said to be mostly a security, compatibility, and stability bugfix release, though the company has added a request that testers focus on screen-sharing features as well as Hebrew and Arabic localizations, on top of the ongoing focus on Wi-Fi "captive portal" networks (such as hotels or coffeeshops).
Users of new 13-inch MBP, forthcoming MacBook can take advantage of pressure sensitivity
The first third-party drawing app designed for the new Force Touch trackpad, found on the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and the forthcoming MacBook, has arrived alongside an iMovie update from Apple that adds compatibility with the new technology as well. Inklet and Autograph from Ten One Design have been updated to support the pressure-sensitivity features, while iMovie has gained haptic feedback for certain commands.
Notification Centre app launcher returns
When is an app not an app? When it's really there primarily to make a Notification Center widget work. Also, when is an update not really an update? When there are bug fixes, but the only true update is that the app is back in the App Store after a long gap. That's what has happened with Launcher, a widget that gives you quick app-launching direct from the Notification Center on your iOS devices. It's a simple and smart app that should never have been at the center of controversy, and it's good that you can finally get it again.
Fantastical 2 for Mac arriving March 25, only hint is revised Yosemite look
The well-regarded calendaring program, Fantastical for Mac, is about to receive a major upgrade. Version 2.0 will be launched on March 25, and will feature a revised look more in line with the Yosemite aesthetic. The company isn't saying anything about what, if any, new features the update will include, but has indicated that while there will be no upgrade pricing for existing users, a limited-time launch sale price will act to fill that role.
Apple releases new Safari betas for OS X 10.9 and 10.8
On Wednesday, Apple updated the developer versions of Safari with two new betas aimed at users of older OS X versions, specifically 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks). The new versions follow a slight update to the current Safari versions for OS X 10.8 and later that contains several WebKit fixes for security issues. Version 7.15 is for Mavericks, while Mountain Lion owners will see only version 6.2.5.
Company adds 14 new merchants now supporting iPhone-based mobile payments system
After mentioning the addition of more merchants now supporting Apple Pay on Monday, Apple has updated its web page that keeps track of merchant partners with another 14 new vendors, ranging from Coca-Cola vending machines (specifically mentioned during the presentation) to Regal Cinemas and many other well-known brand names. Cook noted that Coca-Cola currently has 40,000 of the vending machines that accept Apple Pay active, with plans for 100,000 by the end of the year.
Apple's official IDE gets updates following release of iOS 8.2, WatchKit
Among the many other releases on Monday, Apple also quietly brought forth a final version of Xcode 6.2 for developers. The integrated development environment has been updated with the latest SDKs for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, and also includes features designed to help developers write apps for iOS 8.2 and now, the Apple Watch by including WatchKit. The update requires a 64-bit (Core2Duo or later) Intel Mac running OS X 10.9.4 or later. The update is available to all registered ADC members.
Security update 2015-002 fixes problem is OS X, iOS 8.2 patches iOS version
On Monday, Apple issued a security update for OS X 10.8 or higher that resolves a recently-discovered vulnerability in the SSL/TLS protocol that could have allowed supposedly secure communications -- such as bank transactions -- to be decrypted and intercepted. The flaw, known as FREAK (meaning "Factoring RSA Export Keys") forced the security back to a weaker "fallback" standard that had since been cracked. The new update, 2015-002, fixes the flaw in OS X, while today's iOS 8.2 release patches the issue for iOS devices.
Command line tools also updated for 10.10.3 beta testers
Alongside a recent update by Apple to its Digital Camera RAW Compatibility plug-in, the company on Monday updated iMovie for OS X to version 10.0.7. The latter update, along with a minor update for command-line tools, allows iMovie to work with Photos for OS X, which is unreleased but available to testers in the current 10.10.3 beta update, and adds support for Sony's XAVC-S format. The RAW update brings compatibility for a number of cameras to Apple's current three photo programs.
Improved processor, upgraded graphics appear to be sole changes in latest edition
A Chinese site has posted images not of the forthcoming refreshed MacBook Air itself, but of its specifications gleaned from the "About this Mac" dialog. The images are said to be from a soon-to-be-released low-end MacBook Air produced by Foxconn, according to Feng.com, and reveal that the 13-inch unit will sport an Intel Broadwell Core i5-5250U dual-core processor set at 1.6GHz (with turboboost when required) and an Intel HD Graphics 6000 video chipset, along with 4GB of RAM.
Download and keep YouTube videos with this simple app
The newly-updated Airy - YouTube Downloader for Mac does what almost every word in its title says. It downloads YouTube videos, it runs on a Mac. Run this, grab a YouTube video, and save it to your Mac to watch later. It's so simple, you'll be surprised YouTube itself doesn't come with this functionality.
VLC returns to iOS App Store after long hiatus with new version
Video playing and translation app VLC has received a major new update today, including a return to an iOS version of the app. The latter has actually been available for a while now, but was only offered to those who had originally "purchased" the official iOS app. The new version today is a minor bump from the "buyers only" v2.4.0, now at 2.4.1 for iOS and available to all. The desktop version for various platforms is 2.2.0, with a v1.1.0 final for Android and a beta of the same version for Android TV also being released.
Developers told to switch to ARC memory management by May 1
On Friday, Apple began notifying developers of a mandatory change in how apps manage memory when in use, instituting a newer form of "retain and release" where old code in RAM is periodically flushed out, in Apple's preferred Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) feature. As of May 1, all new and updated apps submitted to the Mac App Store must make use of ARC.
Wide variety of app updates bring instant hotel rooms, streaming video, bug fixes, more
A number of apps for both iOS and OS X have received notable updates lately, ranging from the official NBC app gaining live streaking to Kayak adding a service that allows same-day discounted hotel rooms. Apple has updated iTunes 12.1 specifically for Windows users, while Snapchat now lets users play music while snapchatting. Yelp has added translations of reviews to its own app, and The Sims 4 has debuted on the Mac.
May hint at imminent 8.2 release; 'noteworthy' changes in Swift force migration tool
On Monday, Apple released a first beta of iOS 8.3, even before iOS 8.2 has been released to the public. It has also unveiled a new version of its programming language Swift, with changes the company calls "noteworthy" -- to the point that a new beta of Xcode 6.3 has also been issued to developers, with a "Swift Migrator" function allowing programmers to move code from Swift 1.1 to version 1.2. The changes may hint that iOS 8.2's public debut is imminent.
Security issue was being exploited in the wild, affects all platforms and previous versions
Adobe has again had to update it's Flash software for OS X, Windows, and Linux in light of a critical security flaw that allowed remote attackers to take over and control un-updated Macs or PCs, just 10 days after the previous critical fix was issued. The software is now updated to version 184.108.40.2065, up from version 220.127.116.117. The update fixes CVE-2015-0313, a zero-day flaw that can be triggered simply by visiting infected websites with Flash turned on.
Photos includes iCloud Photo Library beta, will replace iPhoto, Aperture
Apple on Thursday seeded a new, first-release beta of OS X 10.10.3 to developers and testers. Most notably, the update includes the first full Photos application for OS X, the program that will eventually supersede both iPhoto and Aperture in an effort to give iOS and Mac users a consistent photo-management experience across both platforms. While the current programs will continue to work for the foreseeable future, Photos will offer new new features.
Mobile payment technology now supported by 70 financial institutions
According to an update on Apple's page listing its Apple Pay partners, another 14 financial institutions have gain support for Apple Pay and the adding of their credit and debit cards into Passbook, bringing the total number of banks and CUs to 70. Among the institutions joining the bandwagon are Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank, which boasts six million customers in multiple states, and INOVA Federal Credit Union, with two million members.
New security and convenience features in this updated password manager
Admit it: if you've already got 1Password, then you use it for creating superbly strong passwords for any site you use -- but the password you use to unlock the app itself is rubbish. That's partly because you've used this password since the dawn of time, and it's ingrained in you, but it's also because changing it across your Mac, iPhone and iPad is a pain. Not anymore. The new update is to the iOS version, but now if you change you password on your Mac, it will automatically change on your iOS devices.
Now cards pull info from apps at user's convenience
In a post on Friday in the Google Inside Search blog, Director of Product Management Apama Chennapragada announced the company's predictive-search app, Google Now, would be rolling out integration with third party apps to help users keep abreast of important information on their devices.
All previous versions vulnerable, attacks on un-updated machines seen in wild
Adobe has again had to issue an update to the browser plug-in version of Flash due a critical flaw in the program that allows remote attackers to take over un-updated Macs or PCs, the latter running either Windows or Linux. The company urges users to update to the latest version, first issued on Friday, that patches the problem -- however, all previous versions should be considered at risk, and there are not yet any Chrome browser or standalone updaters available.
Mail Drop, Air Drop supported in latest update; many features improved
On Wednesday, Apple released a major update to its flagship digital audio workstation program, Logic Pro X. Not unlike the fictional band Spinal Tap, the main focus in the new version 10.1 is a significant change in Drummers, bringing 10 new options covering more styles, particularly for dance and electronic music. In addition to the extra styles, the sound quality has been upgraded, controls have been re-worked, and the Drum Machine Designer plug-in has been revamped.
Larger-capacity drives do well, 4TB Seagates a good value; 7200rpm drives problematic
In late 2013, cloud service provider Backblaze released information about hard drive failure rates used in their facilities collected over a three-year period. The study was one of the first real-world, comprehensive examinations on server-level claims of hard drive reliability, and drew a great deal of attention. An update with new information from between the end of the last study and December 31, 2014 was posted today.
Returns to weekly update cycle, increments build
Apparently now returning to a weekly update cycle following the holidays, Apple late on Wednesday issued a fifth developer beta of the next update for OS X, 10.10.2. The new build, 14C99d, comes exactly one week after the previous version, 14C94b. Focus areas in the new beta remain the same, asking developers to test Wi-Fi connectivity in particular and Mail, VoiceOver, and Bluetooth as well. Wi-Fi and Mail have been continued to be problem areas for some Yosemite users.
Skype updates its iPhone app, features improved dialer, new chat picker
Communication platform Skype has released an update for its iPhone app today, bringing the latest version to 5.9. Featuring user interface improvements, the app's revised dial pad now suggests contacts with matching numbers as a number is entered. The newly-added "chat picker" aims to make starting conversations easier; once a contact is chosen, users can tap the phone or video icon at the top to start a call.
Likely includes better compatibility with recent iOS 8, OS X 10.10 changes
On Thursday, Apple updated its productivity apps for OS X and iOS -- previous sold together under the banner "iWorks" -- with no specified improvements or features other than the usual "bug fixes and stability improvements tag." Keynote for OS X has been update to version 6.5.2, with Pages at v5.5.2, and Numbers at version 3.5.2. The three corresponding iOS apps are all updated to v2.5.2. The update may also reflect some changes made in recent updates of Yosemite and iOS 8, or hint at some security fixes.
Wi-Fi, VoiceOver, Mail, general system compatibility are focus areas
On Wednesday, Apple released a new build of the forthcoming 10.10.2 maintenance update to developers and testers. The new version, 14C94b, indicates few new binaries since the previous developer build (14C81f) issued nearly a month ago, and could hint that the patch update is nearing release. Testers are again asked to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, the latter two areas of which were added in the last developer build. Apple has also released the build for previously-signed up public beta testers.
Fully updated for latest OS X and iOS 8 point releases, update adds features
Apple has updated OS X server for Yosemite to version 4.0.3, adding a number of new features and minor improvements to the $20 add-on that provides enterprise-level tools to administer OS X and iOS devices running the latest respective OS releases. The update requires OS X 10.10.1 to run, and iOS 8 on remote iOS devices. The new version promotes SMB3 as the default protocol for sharing files, and updates Profile Manager to support the new features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, such as Handoff.
Overall carbon footprint down 27 percent over last eight years
On Monday, Apple updated its previously-released 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and its Environmental Initiatives website with new figures covering both fiscal 2013 and some revised figures from fiscal 2012. Due to a recalculation of energy use in 2012, the company now says it reduced carbon emissions for that year by three percent -- and that while energy use overall has increased 44 percent since fiscal 2011, the carbon footprint has been offset dramatically by the use of renewable resources.
Version 5.1 expected to be available by February, sources say
The latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, has been experiencing a bit of a rocky road since its release, with version 5.0.1 already having been pushed out to address some of the issues. Rumors are surfacing that Lollipop 5.1 will be released in early 2015 -- however, some users may not be able to update until July, if ever.
Thirty percent of tech preview testers are 'highly active,' says company
Back in October, Microsoft launched the "Windows 10 Insider program, "where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops." As of December 17, 1.5 million users have joined the program, Microsoft has announced. In the December update for the forthcoming OS version, Microsoft's Gabe Aul said roughly 30 percent of Insiders, or 450,000 users, are "highly active" in the program.
Foursquare launches revamped iPad app
Foursquare, a search and discovery app, has released an update to include iPad support. Its new iPad version aligns itself with the latest overall redesign, so that users can plan a trip by selecting a city, and then can receive a personalized list of places to visit. Top picks in in the user's area are now included, generated by using all of Foursquare's data to suggest locations that are newly popular, or local favorites. Free to download, Foursquare requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Can be run from Recovery Partition, offers partition table repair, more
A once-essential utility for Mac owners has returned after several years of only minor updates with a major new version that offers significant changes and improvements. DiskWarrior 5.0 by Alsoft is something of a one-trick pony, in that it primarily repairs and optimizes OS X directories -- but this can often be used to save data from failing hard drives, prevent failures in the first place, or rescue data from flash drives where directory corruption is a common problem, among other instances. The new 5.0 version supports Apple Fusion and CoreStorage homebrew "Fusion" drives, repairs partition table damage (especially vital for multi-system boot users) and much more.
Developers asked to focus on Wi-Fi speeds and related issues
On Thursday - exactly two weeks after the first OS X 10.10.2 beta - Apple updated developers with a second beta, build 14C78c. The primary focus from the previous beta, Wi-Fi stability and connectivity, continues to be the requested center of testing. Specifically, Apple is asking developers to test recent changes made to Wi-Fi interaction. While the first update, 10.10.1, fixed a number of issues users were having with Wi-Fi and Mail issues, some users continue to report problems with Wi-Fi stability.
Update adds new security provisions, larger Bluetooth Smart packets for transfers
This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that it adopted a new version of the Bluetooth core specification. The newest Bluetooth 4.2 update comes a year after 4.1 was adopted, which laid the groundwork for better Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, less LTE interference, improved data transfers and device reconnection. However, Bluetooth 4.2 adds more user-friendly features, such as increased speed, privacy and Internet connectivity.
Bugfix updates add Firefox import, improves WebGL on Retina displays
On Wednesday, Apple released minor updates to Safari for the current and two most recent OS X versions. Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.5) users will see an update to Safari v6.2.1, Mavericks (10.9.x) users will see Safari 7.1.1 available for update, and Yosemite users (10.10) will get Safari 8.0.1. The releases share a variety of bug and security fixes, and add the ability to import usernames and passwords from Firefox.
Photo shows continuing progress, structures taking shape; schedule unchanged
A new photo of the construction site of Apple Campus 2 has been posted to the City of Cupertino's official website for the project. Multiple structures can now be seen taking shape -- mostly support buildings, while infrastructure and progress on the "moat"-like tunnel system around or under the main building continues. There has been no update to the overall schedule for the project of late, suggesting that things are moving along on the revised schedule that will see the main building ready for use sometime late in 2016.
New tactic addresses complaints of silent disabling of outdated versions
Apple is trying a different tack in the struggle to keep Macs secure by encouraging users to either disable the Flash browser plug-in outright, or to keep up-to-date with the latest version, which routinely fixes serious security issues found in the multi-platform media player. The latest maneuver by the iPhone maker, which debuted today, is a direct pop-up prompt to update to the latest version when users visit a page that requires Flash Player. The dialogue box takes users directly to Adobe's own page for updating Flash.