Scheme aims to teach 5 million students the basics of programming
The start of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15) sees both the Democrat and Republican sides of the US government, as well as a number of celebrities and tech giants, endorsing the "Hour of Code." The initiative hopes for approximately five million students in 33,000 schools in 166 countries to spend time learning how to code, as it attempts to make programming more accessible.
Brightest Flashlight app shared location data with advertisers
An app developer has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that it had shared user data without permission. GoldenShores Technologies, creators of the free Brightest Flashlight app, "deceived consumers" by collecting and sharing geolocation data and unique device identifiers to advertising networks and third parties.
Three months in, almost all users on iOS 7 or iOS 6
A new report posted by Apple itself on its iOS developer portal says that, less than three months after its debut, iOS 7 is now on 74 percent of all the company's mobile devices -- an astonishing adoption rate unrivalled in the industry. Users still on iOS 6 make up about 22 percent of the base, meaning 96 percent of iOS users are running OS versions no more than a year old. By comparison, only around half of Android users are on a 4.x version (first released in mid-2012), with only 1.1 percent on the latest iteration.
More fixes for GMail integration in Mail, Smart Folders, VoiceOver
Just less than two weeks after the second OS X 10.9.1 beta was released, Apple has made a third available, this time with build number 13B40. The new release offers further advances on GMail integration in Mail and Smart Folders, both mentioned as areas of improvement in the second developer beta. Developers are still asked to focus on Mail, along with Safari, graphics drivers for various video cards and chipsets, and VoiceOver -- the same areas of attention as the previous beta.
New technology allows for screen casting, better multiple device development
Google has released an update to its Chrome 32 beta browser today, adding significant improvements to its development tools for mobile. The new update allows developers to construct mobile apps that will run in the Chrome browser, loading content on mobile without leaving the development environment. The improvement facilitates viewing the app on multiple devices, insuring proper usability cross-platform.
Virtual-machine service completes beta testing
Google has finally completed invite-only beta trials of its Compute Engine service, bringing lower prices and new features for the wider rollout. As part of the Google Cloud Platform, which competes with Windows Azure and Amazon EC2 offerings, the service provides access to virtual machines that can be scaled to suit a wide range of applications.
Allows scaling for different phone, tablet szies
RunRev has released v6.5 of LiveCode, its simplified app development tool for iOS and Android apps. The update primarily adds resolution independence -- meaning that the same app can quickly be rescaled for any screen size, whether on a phone or a tablet. This includes accommodation for displays with high pixel densities, such as the iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
Real-world use makes Apple the more valuable mobile platform
Various studies from a variety of analytics firms which measure real-world interaction with devices (rather than the nebulous "shipments" number) have once again determined that Apple's iOS platform far outweighs Android in two key areas: rewarding developers and user interaction. A study by Adfonic found that ad impressions on iOS outpaced Android (which supposedly has about a 6x larger base) by two to one. A Business Insider report found that developers for iOS make five times what they do on Android.
Fix also deals with spacing issues
Apple has made changes to the App Store search engine in recent weeks that have improved its ability to cope with typos, sources note. Typically this means that using one or two wrong letters will still turn up the proper app. The store is now also able to ignore spaces, for example successfully finding QuizUp if someone searches for "Quiz Up" instead.
Explorer Program continues to expand
Following reports of a boost in Google Glass production, the search company has begun inviting more developers to participate in the pilot program. An invitation e-mail posted by Ubergizmo suggests the expanded availability is still limited to approved invitees and retains the current $1500 price tag, though it is viewed as another small step toward the anticipated public launch.
Multiple fixes made; more sought for Mail, Safari, VoiceOver
[Updated with info on Safari beta] On Thursday, Apple released its second beta for the forthcoming OS X 10.9.1 release, build 13B35, noting some improvements from the first beta release and asking for further testing on areas such as Mail, Safari, graphics drivers and VoiceOver. In addition, the updated beta improves compatibility with VPN servers in OS X Server (addressing a standing but web hosts have had to work around) and now periodically updates Shared Links in Safari, improving that service.
Tool redesigned for more simplicity
Quark has released a new version of App Studio, a tool for converting InDesign and QuarkXPress layouts into web and mobile apps, including digital newspapers and magazines. The latest release has been redesigned with iOS 7 in mind, for instance incorporating a theming feature that controls colors throughout an app. It also integrates with iOS 7's native sharing functions for Facebook, Twitter, and email.
Tablet, smartphone makers must license browser or make their own
Smartphone and tablet manufacturers hoping to use the latest version of Android in their product will not receive a browser as part of the mobile operating system. Instead, mobile device producers will be forced to either license Chrome from Google or build their own browser for customers to use straight from the box.
Long-delayed new HQ should open in 2016, permits now beginning to flow
[Updated with details of city tax agreement] In a ceremonial final meeting on the matter, Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney gave the final OK for permit issuing and other clearances that will allow Apple to finally break ground on its long-planned Campus 2, the new facility not far from its original campus where the company's "spaceship" facility and other supporting buildings will be built. The project, which has seen environmental delays and some cost overruns already, is expected to cost $5 billion and open sometime in 2016.
Marker opacity and minimum-maximum zoom, improved Core Animation support
Google has updated its Software Development Kit for iOS to version 1.6, bringing 64-bit support so that developers who are creating apps aimed at the A7 chip used in the latest iPads and iPhones can incorporate Google's Map service into the app if they wish. The update also includes enhanced marker opacity, and min/max zoom settings, some changes to CGFloat as appropriate, added opacity on GMSTileLayer and GMSMarker, and other improvements - along with fixing a handful of bugs.
New camera API for Android not included in KitKat release
Google could be working on a way for Android devices to handle RAW image files, alongside the current JPEG images created by the current camera. The public source code for the mobile operating system shows a camera API for Android that was not added to KitKat before its release, due to a comment claiming it was "not ready yet" for inclusion.
Release notes only hint at bugfixes, performance boosts
Apple has begun seeding the first beta of iOS 7.1 to registered developers. Release notes suggest that the update will mainly focus on bugfixes and performance improvements. There are some minor cosmetic differences, such as new text after clearing entries in the Notification Center, and the inclusion of an updated Yahoo logo that first appeared in iOS 7.0.4's Settings app.
Holiday closure will run from December 21 to 28
As is normal this time of year, Apple has sent out a notification to registered developers reminding them that iTunes Connect, the developer portal for apps on the App Store that lets them update, manage, add and view statistics on their apps, will be closed for the holidays. This year, the closure is one day shorter than it the scheduled shutdown last year, and will run from December 21 through 27. During that time, developers will be unable to submit new apps, update Newsstand publications, debut apps or submit new In-App Purchases.
Mail, graphics problems among focus areas
Apple has seeded the first OS X 10.9.1 beta to developers, reports say. In release notes, the company asks developers to concentrate testing on Mail, graphics drivers, and VoiceOver accessibility. The code is listed as build 13B27.
Cloud-based service to provide intelligent backbone to customer queries
IBM is working on a cloud service based of Watson, its natural language processing and information retrieval system, for use by other developers. The service will allow developers to pay for time on the supercomputer, allowing for apps and services to use its "cognitive computing" technology for commercial purposes, such as answering queries within smartphone apps.
Lets developers create their own banners, offers more targets and stats
Apple's iAd Workbench, which debuted this past June, allows developers a simple way to promote their own apps through iAd with campaigns starting at just $50, and giving them tools to better target potential buyers and find out how effective the advertising is. The program, part of the developer portal iTunes Connect, has now been expanded to countries outside the US. The tool is now available in nine additional countries.
New exhibit shows historical documents between fledgling Apple, engineers
The Computer History Museum announced today that it has -- in collaboration with the Digibarn Computer Museum and with permission from Apple -- posted the historic original 1978 source code for version 3.1 of the Apple II DOS Disk Operating System." Also included with the source code are several historical documents laying out the course for the OS, as well as some minutes of a post-delivery meeting discussing the release and future of the product.
Could increase exposure, giveways
Apple has doubled the number of promotional codes it allows developers from 50 to 100 for each version of an app, accounts say. The codes are typically used to distribute an app to reviewers, friends, and family, as well as in the occasional giveaway. Apple notes that once a bundle of promo codes is requested, they will automatically expire four weeks later.
Addresses flaw that caused debugging crash with iOS 6 devices
After sending a "Golden Master" version to developers last week, Apple has updated Xcode to version 5.0.2, which adds support for iOS 7.0.3 (the current version of iOS). It is also largely a bug-fix release from the 5.0.1 version, which was released alongside OS X Mavericks on October 22. The new update fixes problems that caused occasional hangs in the iOS simulator during app install or when debugging, as well as during debugging iOS 6 devices.
Developer improvements use advances in Heterogeneous System Architecture
AMD today announced it is enabling its accelerated processing units (APU) for next-generation servers through advancements in software tools developed by AMD and in collaboration with technology partners and the open source community. In his keynote address at APU13, AMD Corporate Fellow Phil Rogers highlighted the progress AMD has made in both developing software internally and assisting other developers to take advantage of the capabilities of AMD APU technology, which combines the AMD Radeon graphics processing engines with x86 computational processing on a single chip.
Call recording, Skype-specific hardware to continue working through API
Microsoft has altered its plan of ending support for its Skype Desktop API, following feedback from users. Compatibility with Skype-enabled hardware and call recording apps will continue to be offered in the communications tool, though the same reprieve will not be extended to chat via third-party applications, which will end in December as originally planned.
Mail, iBooks patches also on the way, 10.10 also continues testing
Apple is said to be working on two concurrent Mavericks updates, 10.9.1 and 10.9.2, according to reports. The first of the updates will likely see release later this month to address bugs found in the first Mavericks release. In addition, the company plans updates for some individual apps, including iBooks and Mail, both of which have seen reports of performance problems for some but not all users. Apple is meanwhile continuing to test the next major OS X release, 10.10.
BitTorrent Sync 1.2 includes native iPad support, API for developers
BitTorrent has announced an update to its beta software, BitTorrent Sync. A free syncing tool, BitTorrent Sync does not rely on servers, making it more secure and private than cloud-based services. Sync is currently available for Mac and iPhone, and will soon be available as a native app for iPad. Now available as an API for developers, BitTorrent Sync can be used to build secure social and enterprise apps. BitTorrent Sync is available for download online.
No other changes listed, currently for developers only
On Tuesday, Apple seeded a "Golden Master" release of Xcode 5.0.2 (build 5A2005) to developers that adds support for iOS 7.0.3, the current version of iOS. The GM comes with the full IDE, tools, frameworks and iOS Simulator, but no other changes were listed in the release notes. It also includes the SDKs for both iOS and OS X Mavericks. The final version is likely to be released soon, and may also address compatibility with iCloud Keychain, which arrived with 7.0.3.
Third-party apps, accessories will stop working with Skype in December
Third party applications, add-ons and accessories will soon cease to function with Skype, according to a new dialog box warning appearing when the app starts up. The change, which will take place in December, could end up rendering a large number of Skype-specific hardware either partly or entirely non-functional to users.
New anomalies, bugs apparently slipped through testing
AppleSeed developers are being contacted by Apple by email asking for help in testing an updated Mail application for OS X Mavericks. Some users have reported issues with the program including messages not correctly being marked "read" or "unread," odd GMail folder behavior and undoing operations, among other issues. The problems don't appear to affect all users of Mavericks, but bug reports have apparently been persistent enough to warrant urgent correction.
Company exercising tight controls on visual marketing
Apple is curiously deterring app developers from using images of the gold iPhone 5s in product marketing, reports note. "Feature only the most current Apple products in the following finishes or colors: iPhone 5s in silver or space gray, iPhone 5c in white or blue, iPad Air in silver or space gray, and iPad mini in silver or space gray," the company writes in a new addition to its marketing guidelines. Accordingly, official image templates -- into which people can insert screenshots -- exclude the gold 5s.
IN1's new multi-tool utility smartphone case TSA compliant
IN1, a phone case manufacturer, has released a smartphone case that contains space for its accompanying set of eight tools. Its toolset includes blue and red pens, phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, nail-file, tweezers, scissors, toothpick, and a kickstand for to prop the phone. Made of high grade polycarbonate, the IN1 multi-tool utility case is TSA compliant. The IN1 is currently available for iPhone 5/5S, with models for Samsung GALAXY S4 and iPhone 5 coming soon. Color options are available for both the case itself as well as the tools, with the case offered in white, black, and clear, and the tools offered in white, black, pink, green, blue and orange. Priced at $45, the IN1 multi-tool case can be purchased online.
New positions hint at further new features for future updates
Two new job listings at Apple have confirmed that the company is actively working to add public transit routing data to its Maps program, a feature long called-for and expected since the Apple Maps rollout in 2012. The company is hiring a "Maps Public Transit Engineering Manager" as well as a team of "Maps C++ Software Engineers - Public Transit," according to the postings. The manager will be responsible for both leading and building the Public Transit team.
Improves integrity of game rankings
Apple has updated Game Center in order to cope with cheaters, according to a notice issued to developers. "You can now view and manage the top 100 scores and usernames for all of your Game Center leaderboards," the company writes. "Protect your legitimate players by signing in to iTunes Connect to delete fake scores or block players that post fake scores. You can also restore scores and players within the same time period," the memo continues.
Promotional offer meant to encourage use of app-building 'bots'
Apple is offering free copies of OS X Server for 10.9 Mavericks to iOS developers in the hopes of encouraging the use of Xcode bots, which take advantage of the new "continuous integration" in the latest version of Xcode to automate some of the app-building process, specifically testing apps on a remote machine. The use of bots allows developers to see the test reports on their development machines running Xcode rather than split their time between testing and correcting issues.
MacFamilyTree 7.1 released offering new web export
Synium's MacFamilyTree 7 software has received a major update, released today. Version 7.1 of the family tree creation software is optimized for OS X Mavericks, and features improved performance as well as support for Mavericks' AppNap. MacFamilyTree has also gained the ability to export websites directly from the program, which can be shared with whomever the user chooses. Chart backdrops have also been included, allowing users to add a family crest or any other image desired for their family tree chart. Based on the new Apple Maps component of OS X Mavericks, MacFamilyTree 7.1 features statistical maps that display ancestors' demographics and life data on a map visualization. Other noteworthy new inclusions are improved privacy settings, search workflow, UI and more.
More timely than some past disclosures
Apple has officially released the updated open-source components found in OS X Mavericks. Under the terms of licensing agreements, Apple is obligated to share any modified open-source code with the public. The company does this with both OS X and iOS.
Apple may have difficulty closing loophole quickly
Due to an error in the way the Mac App Store treats official (though in some cases, years-old) trial software of some iWork and pro apps, some users are finding that their long-expired iWork or Aperture trials still on their hard drive have turned into their ticket to get a copy of the latest versions of the full software for free. Apple on Tuesday released the latest iWork and iLife apps for free to new iOS or Mac buyers, or those who previously owned the software and upgraded to Mavericks or iOS 7 respectively.
Could impact number of developers
The AppleScript dictionary included with the latest version of the iWork suite has been so stripped down as to be virtually absent, a developer observes. AppleScript lets both developers and individuals automate actions that would otherwise require many repetitive steps. "What I suspect Apple doesn't realize is how much small business and small shops workflow depends upon AppleScript," comments the developer, Clark Goble. "Casual use is fine. But a lot of people do more. It wouldn't be so bad were there an alternative."
Latest Evernote includes home screen customization, map notes
The latest update of Evernote's mobile app for iOS and Android has been released, offering new features and improvements. Evernote is a productivity organizer that lets users sync notes, to-do lists and photos across devices, as well as share notes through social media tools. Version 7.1 on iOS features the addition of displaying notes on map, as well as the ability to now customize the home screen layout.
Aperture 3.5 update adds iCloud photo sharing, SmugMug, more
In a notable change, Tuesday's release of Aperture 3.5 lists among many of its changes a switch to Apple Maps for its "Places" feature, dumping Google Maps. The change is just one of a lengthy list of mostly minor changes, but which include support for iCloud photo sharing, multi-contributor Photo Streams, and adding videos to shared streams. In addition, a minor v2.1 update was made to iBooks Author, mostly to make it compatible with the new iBooks for Mac.
Should allow older Macs to remain useful
Apple is bringing a "previous versions" feature to the Mac App Store, according to an official memo. Developers are being informed that unless they specify otherwise through iTunes Connect, Apple will now be allowing Mac App Store shoppers to download the latest version of an app that remains compatible with their version of OS X. The Mac App Store is accessible through Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.
App Store offers over 1 million apps
During today's keynote, Apple started by detailing some of the company's recent successes. Cook reiterated how the company was able to achieve its biggest iPhone launch ever, by selling 9 million iPhone devices in the first weekend that the iPhone 5s and 5c were made available. Following this, Cook moved into numbers regarding the recently released iTunes Radio. Since launching in the US on September 18 more than 20 million listeners have tuned into the service, and over 1 billion songs have been played in the US alone. Finally, it was announced that the App Store now offers over 1 million unique apps, which have been downloaded over 60 billion times, resulting in more than $13 billion dollars being paid out to developers in total.
TV and movie streaming app adds Google Chromecast extension for iPhone users
Hulu, a subscription-based movie and TV streaming service, has added a Google Chromecast extension to its Hulu Plus app for iOS. Already included for iPad devices, version 3.1.1 of Hulu Plus for iPhone and iPod touch includes access to Google's digital media streaming adapter for those running iOS 6 or later. The addition of Google Chromecast support offers users more ways to stream Hulu Plus content to their high-definition television. Hulu Plus can be downloaded for free on iTunes, and its subscription service is priced at $8 per month.
Cloud-based DVR accesses free over-the-air TV channels via supported devices
Aereo, a cloud-based DVR company, has announced the upcoming availability of its television services in the Detroit metropolitan area, beginning October 28, 2013. Using web browsers, iOS devices, Android devices, and more, Aereo allows users to access 'over-the-air' television channels via an internet connection, that could once be attained with 'bunny ear' antenna over top of one's TV. Aereo's antenna are located in data centres for serviceable areas, which also include a remote DVR. Users control both with an Internet-connected device, and can view, record, pause, fast-forward and rewind as one would with a cable or satellite DVR.
Further evidence to suggest Mavericks release alongside new iPads
Following the release two weeks ago of the OS X Mavericks (10.9) "Golden Master" to developers, Apple has now issued the GM for the server version of Mavericks to developers. This generally signals the end of first-release development, with resources now being applied to the inevitable future Mavericks 10.9.1 update. Friday's build number for the server version is 13S440.
Developers allowed to submit lucrative apps in new market
App developers can now submit games for sale at Apple's South African App Store, reports say. Correspondingly, a "Games" banner has appeared at the storefront, advertising the initial selection. By default, though, any game cleared for sale in the country will automatically go live there, meaning that most developers won't have to take any action to pull in the extra revenue.
Developers warned about impending changes
Prices at the Japanese App Store are going up as of October 17th, Apple is warning developers in a new email. The adjustment is being made to accommodate fluctuations in the value of the yen. Both Mac and iOS apps will be affected by the hikes, the company says.
Supplier switch leaves phone with offset bias
The problems with motion sensing in the iPhone 5s are indeed connected to hardware, suggests RealityCap CEO Eagle Jones. Jones notes that whereas previous iPhones were based on STMicroelectronics accelerometers, the 5s uses a Bosch Sensortech part. Both sensors have similar variance, but the Bosch part has higher bias, noted to be consistent with the inaccuracies people are seeing in iPhone apps. Jones estimates an offset of +/-5 degrees, versus just +/-1 degree for the STM accelerometer.