Bug fixes and updates in preparation for fall's launch of iOS 9
While attention and development focus continue on the upcoming iOS 9 major upgrade expected to be delivered in September or early October, Apple on Thursday also updated its ongoing iOS 8-based improvement set of updates with a second beta of iOS 8.4.1, now available through an update directly on iPhones associated with developer accounts or through the iOS Developer Resource Center.
MIB-II infotainment system also supporting Android Auto, VW app suite
As promised roughly a year after CarPlay was unveiled, German car maker Volkswagen is now shipping automobiles that include a next-generation infotainment system called MIB-II that includes support for both CarPlay and Android Auto along with its own proprietary suite of Car-Net apps, the latter of which requires a subscription. The company says that all but its entry-level models will feature the new MIB-II system.
Three pay-what-you-want development course bundles from MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the highlights within our own MacNN Deals store. Today's items are all Pay-What-You-Want bundles that can help you become a top-notch programmer, including web development, app creation, and producing your own games for others to play, while also raising funds for Creative Commons.
Finally you won't be forced to have one
If you have signed up for YouTube, if you've got yourself a Gmail account, or if you have sneezed within 17 miles of a Wi-Fi hotspot, you've been given Google+. We'd say whether you wanted it or not, but did anyone actually want it? Now the service continues -- sans Google+ Photos -- but it's no longer going to be rammed in the direction of your throat. You can safely sign up for Google's more useful and popular services, and not automatically get this plastic toy in the bottom of the box.
Release presages likely update to iOS 9, watchOS 2 betas
A day earlier than expected, Apple on Monday issued a fifth developer beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan to registered developer accounts. At present, there is no further public beta release apart from the second tester release, issued last Wednesday. The new beta 5 has the same focus areas as the previous beta.
Apple well aware of issues, blending of Apple Music and iTunes Match at issue
We reported last week on fellow Mac journalist Jim Dalrymple's particularly bad issues with iTunes 12.2 and later on the Mac, centered around the arrival of Apple Music and Apple's attempts to blend the paid service's ability to store songs for later streaming or offline use with some customers' existing or previous iTunes Match libraries, which appears to cause much confusion, ranging from mislabelled entries in the iTunes library to missing songs in some cases.
Apple increasing efforts in India with search for government affairs specialist
Apple is seeking a senior manager for its New Delhi-based offices that has experience with India's government procurement system, indicating a new pitch to improve sales of the iPhone to the government as well as find someone who can represent the company's position on policy issues that come before the government and "within trade associations," according to the hiring notice.
Phantom adverts affecting data caps, defrauding advertisers
Over 5,000 fraudulent apps currently available for iOS and Android are displaying ads users cannot see, but which are causing problems, using up cellular data, and costing advertisers around $850 million per year, says online fraud research company Forensiq in a new report. The ads are not visible on screen, yet the volume of them contributes to an overal slowing down of iPhone or Android devices while stealing data from often-limited cellular data plans.
Releases follow latest developer betas, still have plenty of issues
As predicted yesterday, Apple has created public beta versions from the latest developer betas of OS X 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9 for testing with registered testers. The betas are the second public incarnation, but are actually based on the fourth developer betas. Both upgrades, available to the public for free this fall, are still in early stages, and still have a long list of problem areas and issues. Testers are strongly cautioned to heed Apple's warnings about beta software.
Coding course could help launch your app development career
Occasionally, MacNN discovers a deal that is a bit too important to go into the normal Daily Deals post, so it gets highlighted on its own instead. The deal this time is one from MacNN Deals, a new iOS 9 Swift Coding Course that can help you develop apps for the incoming mobile operating system, and potentially make your money back through app sales or advertising.
New pop-up notice warns iOS 9 beta users they cannot add App Store reviews
In a move likely to please app developers, users of the beta for iOS 9 are no longer able to add their reviews to the App Store. The latest build of the mobile operating system removed the ability to post the reviews, with a new pop-up window appearing on beta versions stating "This feature isn't available. You can't write reviews while using a prerelease version of iOS" whenever a user attempts it from a device with iOS 9 installed.
Second public beta of OS X 10.11 now includes Apple retail employees
Apple on Tuesday released new betas for all three of its in-development updates for OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2. The OS X and iOS betas will likely also be available as "public" betas to those who have signed up for the AppleSeed pubic beta program, currently limited to roughly one million users. WatchOS 2 is not available as a public beta, and users are cautioned that only Apple can downgrade the Apple Watch if users install a pirated copy of the earlier (and buggy) beta.
Learn web development, design apps, and keep productive with MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's collection of three offers could help you kickstart your career in design, including free design assets, a web development bundle, and a subscription to a service that will help you become more productive in your work.
Update is said to 'improve stability, compatibility, and security'
Two days after issuing a developer beta of the next minor update to OS X, Apple has taken the release public to pre-registered testers. Version 10.10.5 continues the series of bug-fix and tweaking to Yosemite, and is distinct and separate from the public beta for the upcoming major update, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, that was released exactly a week ago. The new public beta of 10.10.5 is identical to the first developer beta.
Tighter security, hardware authentication may be hampering products
A new report makes the claim that third-party products utilizing Apple's HomeKit technology are slow in coming to market because of the iPhone maker's changes to improve the security of the devices, including a certification requirement to use hardware-based authentication chips that makes product upgrading difficult, and products more expensive. The report also makes more questionable claims of "capricious" changes.
Bluetooth LE beacons using Eddystone will work with iOS, Android devices
Google is going after Apple's iBeacon by revealing a new standard for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. Eddystone is claimed to be an open BLE beacon format that will be platform agnostic, allowing it to work with Android, iOS, and other operating systems, with Google supplying APIs and resources for developers and hardware manufacturers to create new apps and beacons using the format, as well as to make existing beacons compatible with a firmware update.
No new changes listed at present, bug fixes and tweaks continue
Apple on Tuesday released new betas for the next updates to the present iOS and OS X versions, even as it concurrently tests its next major upgrades to both. The updates, iOS 8.4.1 and OS X 10.10.5, are likely to arrive before the major grades OS X 10.11 and iOS 9, which are anticipated for the fall. The new betas, intended only for developers, do not list any new changes, but the seed notes for 10.10.5 suggest it "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac."
Revision corrects issues, crashing with 32-bit applications
One day after releasing the first public beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has issued a supplemental update to fix a problem that caused crashes and instability with 32-bit apps. For most users, the instability issues introduced in older apps by the public beta was among the worst problem encountered in initial use. Apple has promised to quickly fix the flaw yesterday.
High-quality cellular music streams, automatic screenshot albums among changes
The latest beta given out to developers (and now the public) for Apple's iOS 9, expected early this fall, has revealed a handful of minor changes and features, along with a significant change in how the company is going to handle two-factor authentication in iOS and OS X going forward. When enabled, two-factor authentication allows users to add and verify new devices (such as iPhones) to be allowed to access a user's established cloud services and syncing. In addition to a previously-announced change to six-digit codes for verification, Apple will be removing the 14-digit Recovery Key option.
Public beta begins despite long list of issues, problems
Apple has made available public betas for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, according to reports. The new software, based on the issue-laden third developer beta released yesterday, is available to users previously registered with the company's Beta Software Program. While the company normally waits until there is a fairly stable developer beta existing before issuing the first public beta, today's releases are fraught with issues and missing functionality.
Stolen computer prompts Dominican rapper to seek help from Apple Store
A struggling artist with a run of bad luck turned to the SoHo Apple Store in Manhattan to complete, in a piecemeal fashion, a full-length album on the store's Macs -- with some help from some employees. Following a computer that broke down and another that was stolen, Dominican immigrant and rapper Prince Harvey told his story to some sympathetic Apple Store employees, who assisted the young artist in completing his album.
Updated release notes detail numerous issues remaining in each
On Wednesday, Apple released new betas for developer of the company's coming fall OS updates for the Mac, iOS devices, and the Apple Watch. The developer-only betas still have a long list of issues, and do not include any new features compared to the second beta, issued just over two weeks ag. All three betas offer some fixes for issues seen in the earlier betas, but continue to have problems and non-functional areas.
Mantle no longer being actively improved by AMD
AMD is no longer going to be working on Mantle, its API launched in 2013 that allows developers to work with its Graphics Core Next GPUs at a low level, according to a report. The chip manufacturer isn't directly ending support for the API, but has apparently confirmed that it will no longer be producing any new optimizations for Mantle, with AMD instead seemingly concentrating on making their future cards and drivers work better with DirectX 12 and Vulkan.
Three bundles provide help for creating apps, responsive web designs
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's trio of deals revolve around design, including both apps and web design, as well as a free course to help start you off in iOS game development.
Up to $100,000, two HoloLens units offered to five research projects
Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."
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.