Next version of Safari, coming in 10.11, will offer new features
Among a storm of major updates, Apple has also issues updated versions of Safari for the three versions of OS X currently supported: Mountain Lion (10.8), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). In addition to the updated Safari versions (6.2.7, 7.1.7, and 8.0.7 respectively), the company also issued the first developer beta of the forthcoming Safari 9.0, which will accompany the release of OS X 10.11 this fall, and a pair of EFI updates.
The downward spiral of the music business, a 5K iMac giveaway, and more
Episode 21 of The MacNN Podcast is now available! Join us for a very speedy hour as we talk about a great new contest where you can win a 5K Retina 27-inch iMac, the licensing kerfuffle with Apple Music that features a happy ending, more troubles for MacKeeper, the plaudits and perils of e-publishing, the trauma of having to send in a Mac for repair, and our picks for App(s) of the Week! Show notes after the jump.
Alexa APIs allow developers access to Amazon voice recognition service
Amazon is allowing third-party developers and companies access to Alexa, the digital assistant included in the retailer's Echo network-connected speaker. As well as a collection of tools and APIs, Amazon is helping accelerate the push to make Alexa as useful as Siri and Google Voice Search by launching the Alexa Fund, a scheme where it will offer up to $100 million in investments to support developers and start-ups making use of the software and the technology.
Apple now labelling ground-truth vans, promoting Apple Maps
Having initially triggered a way of often-silly speculation about driverless, solar-powered cars when its vans first appeared, Apple is now clearly labelling its ground-truth GPS data collection vans as being for use with Apple Maps, and promoting the service with a sign seen on vans now patrolling Seattle. The company recently confirmed that the vans were collecting real-world location data that will be "used to improve Apple Maps."
Wearable's system-on-chip nearly fast enough to match 1996-era Macs
Developer Nick Lee has figured out a way, with the help of the experimental Mini vMac emulator, to put the 20-year-old System 7.5.5 onto an Apple Watch, thanks to the beta of watchOS 2.0, which allows native third-party apps. Remarkably, the low-power S1 system-on-chip that Apple uses for the Watch is powerful enough to run the emulator and 1996-era system at a slow but usable speed, showing off the improvements in technology.
Second betas feature tweaks, but still have numerous bugs, issues
[Updated with new info on watchOS 2 beta, hidden feature in iOS 9 beta] Apple on Tuesday launched the second betas of its next major OS upgrades, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2.0. The developer-only betas still have a long list of issues, and do not include any new features compared to the first beta, issued two weeks ago during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. All three betas offer some fixes for issues seen in the first betas, but continue to have problem and non-functional areas.
Buick, GMC brands will also join 14 Chevy models in GM push to adopt technology
CarPlay has been a long time coming to cars consumers can actually buy, but the infotainment and mobile app technology has finally started arriving to consumer showrooms. Though it has been promoted in forthcoming vehicles for well over a year, currently the Ferrari FF is the only vehicle at dealers now with Apple's technology baked in. This month, however, that changes -- as General Motors is now producing the Corvette Z06 and the 2016 Cruz.
Apple recalls, in-depth E3 game announcement coverage, more
As you might expect from a podcast with our title, most episode tend to lean heavily on the Apple-related news of the week, though we generally make sure to spend at least a little time on other big tech stories outside Apple's sphere. To celebrate our 20th episode, and because the big event was this week, we spend the majority of our time on the E3 gaming conference and its many announcements. Fear not, regular listeners, there's still Apple news a-plenty!
Announces new Chinese educational programs to be offered in schools
In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option -- first introduced with 2013's iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line -- as reflecting in part "the popularity of that color among Chinese users."
Range of discovered vulnerabilities made it possible to intercept data between apps
Apple announced on Friday that it had implemented a server-side partial security update earlier this week to help protect Mac and iOS users against a "series of high-impact security weaknesses" discovered by researchers now collectively known as XARA vulnerabilities, that could potentially be used to obtain data being passed between sandboxed applications, such as passwords. No known cases of the exploits have been seen "in the wild," and Apple says it is working with researchers on a longer-term fix.
Number of paying users, crash data, ratio tool now among tracking tools
Apple's latest developer app-performance tool, App Analytics, was taken out of beta on Thursday night and unveiled with several new features, including tracking app crashes in a more granular report as well as counting users based on (anonymous) Apple ID rather than by device. The service, available through iTunes Connect, allows developers to gauge real-world app performance.
Apps collectively downloaded over 200M times insecurely transmit account credentials
A number of popular Android apps have been discovered to leak the passwords of users, due to the use of insecure authentication systems. Researchers have found the issue in Google Play Store apps run by many major companies, where a flawed implementation of HTTPS or a complete lack of HTTPS encryption at all during the login process leaves the user's credentials exposed and viewable by anyone monitoring network traffic.
American Foundation for the Blind honors 'game-changing' software
On Thursday night, the American Federation for the Blind (AFB) honored Apple with the Helen Keller Achievement Award for its various technologies that enable blind or low-sighted people to use iOS devices on par with what sighted people can achieve. Specifically, the AFB singled out VoiceOver, Apple's narrative software that describes the on-screen display as users pass over it, as "world-changing" and "transformative" for people with visual disabilities.
Genre-based stations remain, but non-functional outside US
Following the addition of a Music service sign-up sheet (non-functional) in Apple's latest iOS betas, on Thursday the Music app for iOS 8.4 and iOS 9 also gained a teaser trailer for Apple's forthcoming Beats 1 radio station and a new "Radio" tab that offers a number of revamped "genre" stations inherited from iTunes Radio. Like Beats 1 itself, the radio stations will be free to listen to for all users, alongside their own music libraries.
Sixth developer beta comes less than a week following previous release
On Tuesday, Apple made available for registered OS X public beta testers the same sixth beta of 10.10.4 released on Monday to developers. The build, 14E36b, came less than a week after the fifth beta, which debuted at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) -- suggesting that the update could be nearing release.
Move follows lawsuit that originated prior to Apple acquisition
According to a lawyer for Monster, currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Beats Electronics that started due to Apple's takeover of the headphone and accessories maker, Apple has suspended Monster's ability to make "Made For i" (MFi) accessories -- a move that will affect nearly a quarter of Monster's 4,000 products. Monster counsel David Tognotti said that Apple's chief litigation lawyer said that Monster's lawsuit had "destroyed the working relationship" between the two companies.
Not just the betas, but what's going on behind them, plus Oculus Rift VR
WWDC has come and gone for another year, and with it a plethora of new announcements and betas. Despite our fairly abysmal "wild guess" record, we did come up 90 percent right on our list of things we "knew" would happen (Tim Cook skipped his usual run-through of how great Apple is doing just to spite us). This time, we look at what actually happened at WWDC, in the larger tech industry, Apple Music, and what it all might mean.
System font for iOS9, Watch OS 2, and OS X El Capitan available to developers
Today, Apple made a new system font available to developers that, in an unusual move, will unify the default system font on all three of the company's platforms -- OS X, iOS, and watchOS. It's called San Francisco, and it will formally arrive with the public release of the next upgrade to each of the thee platforms. The typeface is a sans-serif style with spacing and line heights that adapt to the font size, a useful feature for a font that will appear on everything from an Apple Watch to a 5K monitor.
Changes intended to allow more developers access to app building without fees
The just-released Xcode 7 beta makes a change to permissions needed to build and run apps on local devices in an effort to reduce the financial burden on first-time or open-source developers -- but Apple may have inadvertently opened a door to allowing code to be compiled and installed on any iOS device, bypassing the App Store. That ability, known as "side-loading," could create issues and headaches for the company, depending on how its handled.
Improvements to HealthKit, potential new FaceTime cameras, much more
Despite non-disclosure agreements signed by developers at WWDC, pirates and leakers are starting to make and reveal discoveries found in the first beta for iOS 9, which is expected to launch this fall to accompany the next round of iPhone and iPad hardware. Among the changes and improvements revealed in the code for the beta are hints of new higher-resolution FaceTime (front-facing) cameras, cellular-only Handoff, and notable women's health additions to HealthKit and the Health app.
Proof-of-concept code posted to Github after Apple fails to close hole
As part of a slew of recent security flaws found in Apple's two operating systems (most of which, it should be noted, are either not serious or are remarkably unlikely to become common), a security researcher has turned up an issue in the iOS Mail app that has the potential to become a widespread problem. As a result, users should be wary of any ">pop-up dialogue boxes in iOS Mail that ask for the user to re-login to a given email service.
Apple quietly announces ResearchKit 1.1 on developer list, adds iPad support
Late on Tuesday, an Apple representative on the Apple ResearchKit developer mailing list announced the availability of ResearchKit 1.1, which adds multiple new tasks and other enhancements, including iPad support and improved slider support. Following an internal review for accessibility and localization in all OS X-supported languages, new audiometry and reaction-time active tasks have been added, along with a navigable ordered task option.
Awarded apps span range of categories, from productivity to games
On Tuesday, Apple unveiled the winners of the 2015 Apple Design Awards, given to outstanding apps made by OS X and iOS developers. In addition, two student awards were given out to apps from across the 350 student developers who won a WWDC scholarship to attend this year. Well-known names like Fantastical 2 alongside recent entries like Metamorphabet in the annual list of winners.
Releases now set for before launch of Apple Music service on June 30
On Tuesday, Apple released the fourth developer betas of iOS 8.4 and OS X 10.10.4, the next updates for the current versions of iOS and OS X. As with previous releases, the new betas focus on bug fixes and other enhancements for each of the two platforms, while the iOS beta continues to feature the preliminary Apple Music application, which will replace the current Music app but continue its functions with a revamped UI that also includes an optional subscription component. In addition, the company has released its first beta of Xcode 7.
Apple posts keynote presentation on web site, iTunes; 'Apps' movie on YouTube
Apple's mammoth 2.5-hour WWDC 2015 keynote address was made available for on-demand viewing late Monday, and is now available on both the company's website and through its iTunes "Apple Events" podcasts at various resolutions. The six-minute film "The App Effect," seen during the keynote and demonstrating how apps can go beyond entertainment to give developers and users life-changing possibilities, is also available on Apple's YouTube channel, alongside other short films seen during the presentation.
Three tuition bundles teach how to create apps, impressive imagery
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available over on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's collection consists of three packages, each of which aims to improve your computer skills by teaching you how to edit images, create content, and to develop apps. Think of it as a selection of essential skills you need to make the next great game or mobile app.
MacNN staff break it down into chunks, see if they can put it back together again
As we typically do after major Apple events, MacNN has gathered some of its senior staff to consider the implications, long-term effects, and potential fallout of the announcements and decisions made by Apple via what it brought to the table. The Worldwide Developers Conference keynote is a signpost for the direction of the next year or so, and was unusually full and meaty. Here's what we thought of today's presentation.
Apple to update iOS, iTunes ahead of Apple Music launch, iOS 9 release
Because Apple Music, the company's just-announced subscription music service, will be out on June 30, Apple has noted that it will deliver an update to both iTunes on the Mac and iOS 8.4 (which contains the new Music app) sometime before that date so that early adopters will be able to try the three-month free trial or sign up as desired. The Music app will also function as it currently does without using the subscription options, but with a new UI that's more minimalistic.
Offers developers much more direct access, more independence from iPhone
Apple Watch leader Kevin Lynch on Monday unveiled a new 2.0 version of watchOS, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch -- just six weeks after the Watch originally debuted. In a feature-packed demo, Lynch ran through a number of new features for users and developers, ranging from further customization of the Watch's face and features like "nightstand mode" to changes aimed at developers to put native apps directly on the device.
Update will focus on experience, performance gains
As part of the announcements made during the WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple has unveiled both the name and focus of the next OS X version, 10.11, now known as "El Capitan." As previously reported, the focus with the next update, scheduled for release this fall, will focus on improvements to the user experience as well as honing performance from the current 10.10, Yosemite. Although improvements are the focus, a few new features are also included.
Educated guesses, wishful thinking, inaccurate reporting, likely stories
Today, many of our readers will be trying to watch the live stream from Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, or following our coverage of the main announcements. As our reviewer Michelle noted, some people will be happy, and others will be disappointed (hint: don't invest emotionally in rumors). If you need a good laugh after the keynote, give a listen to Episode 18 of The MacNN Podcast, where we made our previously-recorded predictions.
US Politiwoops crippled into non-existence by Twitter's new privacy definition
The Sunlight Foundation defines itself as "a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all." To this end, in 2012, the foundation launched a website called Politiwoops, a place where the Twitter feed of any US politician can be looked up and checked for posts that have been deleted -- including timestamps for when it was posted, and when it was deleted. Three weeks ago, after operating for three years with Twitter's approval, the site's API access was revoked. Yesterday, the Sunlight Foundation was informed of the revocation of their access, and why.
Natural language processing of Hound allows for complex queries to be asked
SoundHound, a developer better known for its music recognition app, is taking on a market dominated by Google Voice Search, Siri, and Cortana. Hound is a voice-based search system that aims to differentiate itself from other similar services by focusing on improved speech recognition and language processing, taking into account the context and details of what is being asked instead of relying on spoken keywords.
Deals teach iOS app development with Swift, provides design templates for business assets
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we're looking at a collection of items that could help you start up your own startup, with training packages for designing business assets and creating software accompanied by an important tool for keeping concentration high: earphones.
Apple Events re-added for live stream of the WWDC keynote June 8
Apple on Tuesday re-activated its Apple Events channel for Apple TV owners ahead of the just-confirmed live stream of the Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, scheduled for 10AM PT on Monday, June 8. In addition, the company added a new channels from National Geographic, combining content from both the NatGeo channel as well as the NatGeo Wild channel that includes full shows, documentaries, and more.
Apple not yet acknowledging connection issues with iCloud.com for some users
[Updated with new information] Although the system status page for Apple's services continues to report no issues, some users are experiencing issues with iCloud.com, the App Store and other aspects of the service. General syncing seems to be working, but developers are also reporting issues with CloudKit Dashboard. Some users, including MacNN staffers, have reported problems with app updates and iCloud mail accounts as well.
Only projects that opt in will have third-party offers, claims SourceForge
SourceForge is changing its practices regarding adding third-party offers to the installer of seemingly-unmaintained software projects, following complaints from users and recent reports. The company is no longer adding the extra offers, which includes antivirus software and back-up services which generate SourceForge revenue, and will instead only add the extra items to projects that have chosen to include them in the installer.
New Summer Project, MacKeeper lawsuit, Google I/O make for busy week
It's been a big week here at MacNN, covering all the announcements from Google's I/O conference. You might think this wouldn't have much of interest to Apple users, but luckily, episode 17 of the MacNN Podcast is here to sort it all out. Google brought many of its announcements to platforms other than its own, capped off with a new web- and iOS-based Photos program to rival the recently-released one for Mac and iOS from Apple itself, which we talk about and compare.
GeForce GTX 980 Ti has 6GB memory, 2,816 CUDA cores
Nvidia has launched its latest non-Titan flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, as well as commencing sales for its new set-top box. Part of a raft of announcements made recently, the new card is an upgrade from the GTX 980 that is claimed to easily play games at a 4K resolution, as well as meeting Oculus' virtual reality content requirements of providing images at a resolution of 2160x1200 at 90 frames per second.
First HomeKit accessories said to ship just prior to Worldwide Developers Conference
Just ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, which kicks off June 8, a number of manufacturers are set to announce the first HomeKit-compatible products arriving at retail, according to sources. The home-automation technology allows common household products such as lighting systems, environment systems, alarms, doors, and other items to be controlled through iOS app and Siri.
Embedded computer adds extra security to memory cards
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) has come up with a way to protect a user's data more securely with hardware that works with existing smartphones and tablets. Project Vault takes the form of a microSD card, and though any device will be able to recognize it as a standard memory card, it will in fact hold a computer dedicated to protecting any data stored within it from any potential users of the device who aren't the owner of the card.
Chromecast APIs aim to improve second-screen gaming
Google is giving developers even more ways to create content that works with Google Cast and the Chromecast streaming dongle. A new set of Remote Display APIs released in beta for Android and iOS will allow for developers to set up a better second screen experience than currently available, such as displaying the controls and some important information for a game on a smartphone or tablet while the main game is displayed on a connected television.
Google VR efforts include multi-camera rig, Jump Assembler, YouTube hosting
Google spent some time during its Google I/O keynote talking about its virtual reality efforts. Google Cardboard has received an update, with the budget VR headset now able to work with iOS devices, while its other video-related efforts involve a new design of camera system that has the support of camera producer GoPro, and the incoming addition of true stereoscopic VR video to YouTube.
May be part of rumored Maps revamp, offer AR options to street-level views
Apple has bought out the assets and technology of Volkswagen-created augmented reality (AR) firm Metaio, which developed AR-enhanced business and product-oriented interactive software for websites and companies. The acquisition is not the first of Apple's buyouts of AR firms, which use live video from cameras and overlay graphics or information to supplement what can be seen -- from instantly translating a sign into one's native language to noting the business hours and ratings of a business.
Brillo is stripped-down fork of Android with networking, voice support
Google has unveiled its attempt to help development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, by launching Project Brillo. Based on core components of Android, the IoT operating system is designed to run on low-powered devices, and includes native support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, and other Android functions in order to make communications between devices as simple as possible.
Android Pay, fingerprint recognition support arriving in Android M
Google has introduced a number of changes it is introducing to the next version of Android at Google I/O today. The developer preview of Android M this time is said to be focused on "improving the core user experience," taking some of the functions introduced by device manufacturers into their smartphones and incorporating them into the stock operating system, as well as making other usability changes.
Claims open source project was abandoned, SourceForge took control to keep it current
A code repository is allegedly taking control of accounts of some open source projects, changing the installers to offer adware to users. Some projects offered through SourceForge have apparently been taken over by a SourceForge-owned account, with the installer altered to include unwanted software and advertisements, with GIMP for Windowssaid to be one of the more major software packages affected.
New tool intended to take the load off of developers; provide analytics, activation
MacPaw has officially released a new platform for app development and distribution called DevMate. The new package is a two-fold platform that helps developers with app distribution, collection of data, and analysis. The SDK, DevMateKit, simplifies integrated activations, updates delivery, collects feedback, and collates crash reports. The Dashboard displays application data that gives developers a quick overview of how the app is performing in the App Store.
Expected Android unveiling at Google developer conference may include biometric security API
The next version of Android could ship with native fingerprint authentication, bringing it in line with iOS devices, according to reports. Android M, the next version of Android expected to be announced at next week's Google I/O developer conference, could include an API that allows developers access to the functionality from within their apps, potentially making it easier for device producers to add a fingerprint reader to their devices using a common interface.
Brillo software for the Internet of Things may launch at Google developer conference
Google is planning to make its mark on the Internet of Things, by reportedly offering its own operating system. The search company is said to be working on "Brillo," software The Information reports would be capable of running on smart devices, such as refrigerators and light bulbs, with extremely low power and RAM requirements, potentially as low as 64MB or 32MB of memory in some cases.