Fantastical, Clear, Duet, GoodNotes and others significantly discounted
On Thursday, Apple gathered 19 leading productivity apps and put them under a banner sale called "Get Productive" for iOS, with a mostly-different set of 20 apps for Mac users, each at their respective App Stores. Among the better-known offerings are the popular calendar program Fantastical 2 for iPhone now $2 (normally $5) and Fantastical for Mac (half off its normal $20 price), to-do app Clear for both platforms ($2 versus $5 for iOS, $5 versus $10 for Mac) and Duet Display, a new app that allows users to connect their iPad to a Mac and use the former as a second display (normally $15, now on sale for $8).
US, Japan, South Korea generate most app revenue
Google Play is vastly outpacing the iOS App Store in terms of downloads, but the latter is generating more revenue, according to analytics company App Annie. Google saw about 60 percent more downloads than Apple during 2014, but the App Store produced 70 percent more revenue. This includes both initial and in-app purchases.
Service now temporarily down
[Updated with possibly-related Testflight issues] A variety of developers have reported being logged into the wrong account after signing into iTunes Connect. Earlier today, signing into the service would display apps belonging to different developers; one person, for example, says they encountered an account belonging to someone at BlackBerry, showing apps such as BBM and BES12 Client. Anyone engaging in further actions would trigger an "unable to process request" message, and a redirect to the right account. In some instances, people had trouble logging in at all.
Apple credits TaiG team in release notes
Yesterday's iOS 8.1.3 update sabotages the TaiG jailbreak tool, users say. The hack was functional through iOS 8.1.2, outdoing Pangu, which stopped working as of v8.1.1. Although the TaiG team itself hasn't confirmed the problem, Apple's notes for v8.1.3 actually credit the group with finding four security vulnerabilities.
Adaptive Bitrate support in HTML5 cited as factor in the switch from Flash
YouTube began testing simultaneous support for both Flash and HTML5 video delivery back in 2010, but Flash has continued to be the default in most cases unless users opted into an HTML5 only beta -- until now. YouTube announced today on their developer blog it will now default to utilizing the HTML5 video tag on certain web browsers.
DOS emulator lets you play abandonware titles on iPhone/iPad
DOS was the operating system that people born prior to 1983 ended up cutting their teeth on, and for many people the obsolete OS still holds some nostalgic value, particularly for games. Thanks to programs like DOSBox, millions of gamers are returning to the days of Duke Nukem and Commander Keen on their Macs or PCs. However, Power DOS by Power App GmbH, allows you to take all the fun of the 1980s and 1990s with you on your favorite iDevice.
iTunes Connect-based service now only option
The standalone version of TestFlight -- located at TestFlightApp.com -- will be shutting down on February 26, according to an email sent to developers. Apple last year bought out Burstly, the creator of TestFlight, and began migrating the beta-testing service over to iTunes Connect and an iOS app. The company warns developers that apps won't automatically leap from one platform to the other, and must be set up anew in iTunes Connect.
Update should also fix Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail security problems
[Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix] Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.
Third exploit may have already been patched
OS X 10.10.2, still in beta, fixes a pair of zero-day exploits uncovered by Google's Project Zero, reports say. The Project Zero team has newly-published data relating to three OS X vulnerabilities, in accordance with a 90-day disclosure policy; Apple was informed of them in October. One is believed to have already been fixed in OS X Yosemite as of January 8, but in theory the remaining two could be used to attack v10.10.1 users.
Wide compatibility with third-party equipment; no Wi-Fi bridging
Apple on Thursday clarified its guidelines on its HomeKit home automation platform and its ability to "play well with others" in terms of third-party automation products and their own connectivity platforms. The iPhone maker will allow HomeKit products to be compatible with some competing protocols such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, but there are limits to the compatibility allowed. In addition to requiring an Apple TV for outside-the-local-network remote appliance control through Siri, the unit can act as a bridge to third-party devices.
Bluetooth drops from testing focus
Apple is now seeding a sixth beta of OS X 10.10.2,, listed as build 14C106a. It follows just less than a week after the fifth release, 14C99d. As before, testing efforts are being directed toward Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, though Bluetooth has apparently been dropped from the list. A version of the latest beta has also been made available to public testers who previously signed up for the Yosemite beta.
Focus Eduction forced to drop unproven boast to improve childrens' concentration
A posting by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today describes a settlement between it and Texas software developer, Focus Education. The complaint, filed by the FTC, was over statements made by Focus on its website and infomercials regarding the benefits of playing its iFocus System "brain training" games.
All new iOS 8 software must be 64-bit compatible by February 1
A new reminder email has gone out from Apple to all registered iOS developers reminding them that, beginning February 1, all app new submissions to the App Store must support 64-bit architecture. For existing programs, updates must support 64-bit no later than June 1. The move will not prohibit apps from running in 32-bit mode, but must contain support for 64-bit operation, which may "prune" some apps that are no longer being developed.
Part of sanctions imposed by US, Europe against Russian aggression
The tiny region of Crimea, recently annexed by Russia, has fallen victim to sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and European Union -- one aspect of which has been Apple's new notification to developers in the region that they are now suspended from the developer program and no longer allowed to sell programs in the App Store. The developer agreement have been terminated, effective immediately, in compliance with a US executive order, though there is a potential workaround.
Google Maps for Android updated with route-sharing option
Google has made some changes to Google Maps for Android, with some new features mirroring similar additions in the iOS update. Version 9.3 for Android introduces filtering restaurants by cuisine, as well as permanently dismissing the location settings pop-up. More importantly, Android Police notes the app has a Share Directions option, allowing the user to send an email to a contact containing instructions for following a specific route.
Pre-installing app in iOS and Yosemite triggered wave of growth, says company
At the Digital Book World conference in New York City on Thursday, Apple's iBooks chief Keith Moerer revealed that since the release of iOS 8 and Yosemite -- both of which came with the iBooks app pre-installed -- the user base is growing by about one million customers to the iBookstore per week. Moerer added that the introduction of larger-screen iPhones may also have played a role in the growth, and he spoke about the way Apple runs its iBooks business.
OnePlus still developing its own custom Lollipop-based ROM
Late last month, smartphone maker OnePlus asked their users for feedback on naming the custom ROM for the OnePlus One. An alpha release of the ROM, based on Android v5.0 "Lollipop," has been available at the OnePlus forums since just before the New Year. Today, an interview with Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik confirmed that Cyanogen plans to ship its own Lollipop/CyanogenMod 12 for the OnePlus One next month.
'Remarkable' rise nearly 10 times normal, approaches top 20
Apple's Swift language, introduced just last June at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, as risen from 68th place to 22nd in the last six months on a ranking of the most widely-used programming languages. Enterprise developer liason firm RedMonk said it had never seen a growth rate so "meteoric" in the history of its rankings, which first appeared in 2010. When "ties" are discounted, the streamlined language has entered the top 20 just seven months after its debut.
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.
Spiral 2 Project Ara prototype has Marbell, Nvidia processor options
Project Ara, Google's attempt to create a modular smartphone, will be initially released in Puerto Rico this year, the company has revealed. News of the project's initial launch details come at the same time as the search company revealed its second prototype device, an upgraded collection of modules and endoskeleton which it calls Spiral 2.
Users can lose ability to ask for refunds if requested too often
A new policy implemented at the very end of 2014 that allows European Union app buyers a 14-day window to request a refund has been clarified by Apple with some anti-abuse measures. While users do not have to give a reason when requesting a refund on an app they purchased, those who too frequently request refunds will received warnings that by buying, they are now waiving their return rights.
Google-supplied domain registration service includes Blogger integration
Google has expanded its beta domain registration service to the entire United States. Launched for private testing in the summer, Google Domains is the search engine's own domain registrar that allows users to purchase and manage their own domain names, something that appears to be a natural fit when combined with its other services, such as Google Apps for Business and Blogger.
Security analysts warn of security problems for 60 percent of current users
There comes a time in any piece of software or hardware's life when the company that produced it decides that it's no longer worth providing updates or support for it. That time has apparently come for the version of WebView used by Android Jelly Bean and earlier, which is still installed in roughly 60 percent of Android devices: Google has made the surprising announcement that it will no longer update the default browser technology, opening older devices up to vastly increased security issues.
Public release may run parallel with Apple Watch availability
Apple is now seeding a fourth beta of iOS 8.2 via the company's developer portal, and as an over-the-air update for existing beta users. The build is listed as 12D5461b, and follows a little less than a month after beta 3, which was issued December 18. That build was 12D5452a. Accompanying the beta is a new version of WatchKit, the SDK and framework needed to build Apple Watch support into iOS apps.
Should trigger alerts via companies' iOS apps
Marsh Supermarkets and inMarket have announced a new iBeacon platform, the first to emphasize the Apple Watch. The plan is to use iBeacons at Marsh's 75 locations to push ads, shopping lists, and other content to both Watches and iPhones. Initially, the platform will support the official Marsh app and inMarket's List Ease, but other apps should follow as long as they support inMarket's Proximity SDK. All apps will have to update with Watch support, but the platform itself is Watch-ready.
Service set to automatically load email images despite Mail settings
OS X Yosemite's incarnation of Spotlight is potentially sharing personal data with spammers and possible malicious parties, reports say. An option in Mail lets users turn off the loading of remote content in emails, something security experts recommend in order to avoid letting third parties track behavior. The new Spotlight can search through Mail messages alongside other sources, but in doing so will automatically load remote images, regardless of whether Mail is set to do so or not.
Web annotations, OneDrive integration, other new features planned
Last month, it was revealed that Windows 10 would include a new web browser code named "Spartan." Internet Explorer (IE) will still be included in the new operating system for legacy reasons, but it's expected that will begin offering Spartan as the default browser. New details are emerging regarding how the browser will work, with several major new features planned.
Apple blames shifting currency values
(Updated with detailed price increases) Apple has sent an email to developers, notifying them of App Store price hikes in Canada, Norway, and the European Union, according to the Vancouver Sun. The company blames the change on foreign exchange rates. It has not, however, said by how much prices will go up. While a detriment to the people buying apps, higher prices should benefit many developers.
Claims New Year's Day was best day ever for App Store sales
Apple has released some updated statistics for the App Store, revealing that billings rose 50 percent in 2014, generating over $10 billion in revenue for developers. The store has produced roughly $25 billion for developers since its inception in 2008, which points to the tremendous growth in the stores over the last two years. Apple adds that the first week of January set a new record for billings, totaling almost $500 million in combined app and in-app purchase numbers; New Year's Day, in particular, is said to have been Apple's best day ever for app sales.
Cites ongoing problems with Apple's developer agreement
Internet advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a new app today, allowing Android users an easy way to access its action center and get involved. As part of the announcement, the organization explained there would not be a similar app for iOS, citing issues with the Apple developer agreement. Some elements of the disputed agreement have been around since 2010.
Early buggy releases quickly corrected, adoption rates now back to normal growth
Apple updated its developer portal on Wednesday with new statistics on its current mobile operating system, iOS 8. Adoption for the system is up to 68 percent across both iPhones and iPads, up eight percent from approximately six weeks ago. As would be expected, older versions thus continue a decline in popularity, with iOS 7 losing six percentage points and dropping to 29 percent, while iOS 6 and all earlier versions are essentially down to just devices that can not be upgraded beyond that point, holding around four percent share (a drop of one percent from the last report).
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.
New tiny development module is the size of a shirt button
Last year at CES, Intel began its courtship with the wearables crowd, with the introduction of the SD card-sized Edison. Not long after, it purchased fitness tracker producer Basis Science. Today, at the company's CES Keynote, CEO Brian Krzanich revealed plans for the Intel Curie. The new dime-sized module utilizes the new Quark SE SoC, and is "purpose-built" for wearable devices.
Wall-plugged controller allows non-smart devices to be controlled through apps
Internet of Things (IoT) developer iDevices has debuted Switch, the company's first Apple HomeKit-enabled device at CES in Las Vegas. The device is a hubless home automation solution which plugs into a power outlet and gives the user control of anything plugged into it using an iOS app -- extending "smart home" capabilities to non-smart devices.
Costs go up at Norwegian, Turkish online stores
Apple has increased the costs for developers and products in a range of countries across Europe, reports say. German developers note that the cost of an annual Developer Program membership has jumped from €80 ($96) to €99 ($119). The change is presumably affecting all European Union countries, since Apple rarely makes changes in one Euro market to the exclusion of others. In the UK, developer registration fees have been hiked from from £60 ($92) to £79 ($121).
Final call for apps on sale during the shutdown, some deals extended
Yesterday, Apple re-opened it's iTunes Connect developer portal to allow app creators access to sales reports, analytics of app downloads and use, and the ability to submit, delete, and change prices on apps. The service was shut down between December 22 and December 29, which also contributed to the late addition to iTunes of the movie The Interview. Some bargains on apps and other items that are set to expire at midnight, or sales that have been extended, are explored below.
'Floppy Cloud' likely to get pulled, junior reviewer fired for missing illegal content
Once again, a rogue developer has attempted -- and succeeded, albeit temporarily -- in sneaking an app onto the iOS App Store that actually contains an emulator for a classic game system, forbidden under App Store rules. This time, it is Floppy Cloud ($2), which has taken the novel approach of pretending to be a file management app rather than the more-obvious Flappy Bird copycat. The app works exactly as described, but if users add a NES or SNES ROM file to the cloud-based management, the file will play in a full emulator.
Apps now almost double 2013 prices
Apple is increasing the prices of both apps and in-app purchases at the Russian App Store, according to a new memo issued to developers. An app that would normally be $1 in the US, for example, is now 62 rubles. That indicates that apps have almost doubled in cost in Russia during 2014, though the increase is largely due to recent currency pressures.
New Xcode 6.2 beta also available
Apple has begun seeding a third beta of iOS 8.2 to developers. Significantly, the code restores blood glucose tracking in the Health app, which was temporarily disabled earlier this year due to confusion caused by the app displaying data in mg/dL (the US standard) but accepting data from devices using mmol/L (used in most of the rest of the world) as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.
Could raise costs in some regions
Apple has sent an email to iOS developers, notifying them of a change to the way it handles VAT (value-added taxes) at European App Stores. Currently the company charges a single VAT rate across the European Union; soon, though, it plans to charge on a per-country basis. The change is due to take effect on January 1.
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.
AutoFill, HTML5 video, notifications among testing areas
Apple is distributing three new Safari betas to OS X developers. Yosemite users are getting v8.0.3; v7.1.3 is available for Mavericks, while v6.2.3 is the equivalent for Mountain Lion. Some testing focus areas include AutoFill, web notifications, website and extension compatibility, HTML5 video playback on "popular video sites," and debugging sites via Web Inspector. Apple is also concerned with bookmark editing, and the read/unread state of Reading List items.
Updates to existing apps must switch by June
Apple has issued a new notice to developers, reminding them of two important deadlines concerning 64-bit support in iOS apps. As was previously announced, those submitting new titles to the App Store must implement 64-bit support -- and use the iOS 8 SDK -- by February 1. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1.
Google Glass-style Sony headset clips onto existing eyewear, sunglasses
Sony has unveiled its own take on the Google Glass wearable concept, with a similar heads-up display. The Single-Lens Display Module is a two-section unit which can be temporarily attached to a normal pair of glasses or sunglasses, providing a small Glass-style OLED screen to one side of the user's field of view which can be used to show various kinds of data useful to the wearer at that moment.
Project gains Bluetooth LE beacon stickers, competes with iBeacon
Google's attempt to take on Apple's iBeacon platform has taken its first major step since its announcement in October, with the release of hardware compatible with the framework. Blesh, a Turkish company who already works with iBeacon hardware, is offering a bundle of Bluetooth beacons for use with the "Physical Web" project.
Baidu agrees to use Here maps for location services outside of China
Here, Nokia's mapping service, is going to provide content for the Android and iOS Baidu Maps app, as well as desktop maps. The agreement will allow Baidu to offer its Chinese travelers access to maps for areas outside of China for the first time, with Taiwan set to be the first country covered and others set to follow. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Apple Store app, Hotel Tonight, Merchbar and others now supporting mobile pay tech
In addition to banks and credit unions adding support for Apple Pay to their debit and credit cards, app developers are also taking advantage of the service's other side -- using Touch ID to secure online payments, which may in fact outpace mainstream point-of-sale acceptance as online shopping continues to grow. Priceline announced earlier this week that it will support Apple Pay for "Express Deal" hotel reservations, and MLB Ballpark (formerly "At the Ballpark") now lets users pay for tickets from select teams.
Company says rejection was misunderstanding
The newly-launched iPad version of Papers, Please has briefly been censored by Apple, reports note. Players assume the role of a passport control agent in the fictional Eastern Bloc country of Arstotzka. Later into the game players have access to a full-body scanner; in the original PC title, players could toggle whether this presented characters in full (but cartoonish and low-resolution) nudity or simply in their underwear. A version with both options was initially rejected from the App Store, forcing developer Lucas Pope to remove the nudity.
Timeline for final update up in the air
Apple has issued a third beta of OS X 10.10.2 to developers. The code is listed as build 14C81f, and follows 14C78c, released on the 4th. One significant change is that Mail and VoiceOver have been added as new areas for testing focus, suggesting an expanded scope for Apple's bugfixes.