Rare situation where two future iOS betas were in circulation at the same time
Ending an unusual scenario where two iOS betas were being tested by developers simultaneously, a new report suggests that iOS 8.2 is likely to be released next week, possibly as early as Monday. Apple has been testing both iOS 8.2 and the forthcoming iOS 8.3, the latter of which is now on its own second beta version. While Apple released a total of five betas for iOS 8.2, the same report claims that iOS 8.3 will only have a maximum of four betas.
Apple adds gas station location info, school data to Maps app
Apple has added GreatSchools and GasBuddy to its list of sources for data in its Maps program. The latter company is said to be supplying Apple with gas station locations, exact business names and what major gasoline producer they are affiliated with, rather than the gas pricing spot-check that the company is known for. GreatSchools is likewise likely to be providing school locations information rather than specific school information.
Pebble releases preview of SDK 3.0 with color screen support
Pebble has released a new version of its smartwatch SDK, in preview. Version 3.0 is built with the Pebble Time in mind, including support for 64 colors in apps, a new animation framework, PNG and Animated PNG support, and automatic detection of which platforms the developer wants to build for when compiling. According to the company, developers looking to make apps for the new SDK will need to make relatively few changes to the application to get it to work.
Android Pay rumor comes as Softcard pulls support for Windows Phone
Google will be launching a new payments API at its Google I/O developer conference in May, a report claims, potentially giving Apple Pay some stiff competition. Android Pay will allow developers to not only add mobile payments to their apps, but to also facilitate in-store purchases via smartphone over NFC. The news comes as Softcard reveals it is starting to pull support for its apps, following the purchase of its intellectual property by the search company.
Virtual Reality hardware set to be revealed by Valve Software
Valve Software is going to be showing off its own virtual reality headset at the Game Developer Conference 2015 next week. As well as its own SteamVR hardware, Valve will be providing developers with the chance to try out a refined version of the Steam Controller, a game pad that was announced alongside the company's high-profile Steam Machines initiative in 2013.
Cycling tile added to Microsoft band, more exercise tiles incoming
The first update for the Microsoft Band will introduce new tools for users and developers, as the company tries to improve its standing in the fitness-tracking market. A tile for monitoring cycling, improved communications between the band and mobile apps, and an on-screen keyboard are joined by Microsoft's preview release of an SDK, giving developers a hint at what they could do with the wearable device.
Improvements continue in latest pre-releases, along with feature additions
[Updated with further details] On Monday, Apple released new second betas for both OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3, along with a second Xcode 6.3 beta. While any new information on the latest betas is presently scarce, the first releases of the 10.10.3 beta brought the Mac version of Photos to the surface for the first time -- and the new beta version appears to have supplemented that release with some new features, including the return of social sharing services. Meanwhile, iOS 8.3 continues to sport Wirless CarPlay, new emojis, an enhanced Siri voice, and more.
News from the video game industry for the week of February 15
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista gather together a selection of notable news from the world of gaming into one post. In this week's Weekly Game Replay, we talk about Epic Games fostering development by providing $5 million in grants to Unreal Engine 4 projects, Twitch announcing its first convention, and the revelation Kanye West is making a game.
Developers told to switch to ARC memory management by May 1
On Friday, Apple began notifying developers of a mandatory change in how apps manage memory when in use, instituting a newer form of "retain and release" where old code in RAM is periodically flushed out, in Apple's preferred Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) feature. As of May 1, all new and updated apps submitted to the Mac App Store must make use of ARC.
SmartEyeglass headset shipping in march, costs $840
Sony is continuing where the Google Glass headset left off, by putting its own augmented reality headset on sale. The developer edition, model number SED-E1, of SmartEyeglass has become open to pre-order in the United Kingdom and Germany with sales in Japan the United States, and six other countries coming soon, with Sony expecting to ship the $840 head-mounted device in March.
Updated version 2.4.1 currently available to previous buyers only
Multi-format video player VLC for iOS has reappeared in the App Store following its pulling from the store (by its developer) last September. At present, the listing is only available for those who previously owned the software, which allows users on iOS devices to play videos in nearly any format without first converting it to the standard iTunes-supported formats. It was removed from sale due to licensing disagreements among the developers.
MacNN and Electronista deals for February 16, 2015
Welcome to today's Daily Deals, the regular post where we find the best offers and discounts for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Since it's a Monday, almost all the deals from last week have been swept away, with new deals on the list including an UltraWide 29-inch display from LG, an Asus gaming notebook, and half-price Destiny.
Publication of vulnerabilities can take place up to 14 days after 90-day window
Google is making changes to Project Zero, its vulnerability discovery and disclosure scheme intended to promote security improvements in operating systems and other programs, giving companies more leniency in terms of time to develop patches for their software. In a number of cases, vulnerability disclosures will take place later than the fixed 90-day deadline, giving companies up to 14 more days to roll out a fix to their customers.
News from the video game industry for the week of February 8
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista collect together a selection of notable items from the world of gaming into one post. In today's Weekly Game Replay, we recount the drama of Curiosity's heavily-delayed prize of being a "God of Gods," Bioware's cancellation of Shadow Realms, the dropping of a content update public beta for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the expansion of Steam's economy to other games, and the PlayStation 4's return to beating the Xbox One in US hardware sales.
Extra layer of security should stop hackers, attackers from gaining access
Almost two years after it first added the option of two-factor verification to its iTunes and iCloud accounts, Apple has activated the extra layer of security for its iMessage and FaceTime services, further protecting users from the possibility of attackers gaining access. The extra step, if enabled, requires verification on another device beyond the usual name and password authentication.
Move allows for more complete package installations from Apple
Apple has just updated the allowable size of iPad app packages submitted through iTunes Connect. Effective immediately, package size maximum is 4GB through the App Store across Wi-Fi or iTunes through Wi-Fi or Ethernet, double that of the previous allotment. Cellular network delivery size limit is unchanged, and remains at 100MB.
FDA reassesses regulations, apps, Class III medical devices
According to a 2014 study by the Center for Disease Control, 29.1 million Americans -- 9.3 percent of the national population -- have diabetes. Particularly for those with Type 1 diabetes, keeping a close eye on blood glucose levels is key for avoiding life-threatening highs and lows. DexCom, makers of blood glucose monitors that take a reading every five minutes, is said to be developing a new Apple Watch app to interface with its monitors, expected to be ready when it becomes available in April.
May hint at imminent 8.2 release; 'noteworthy' changes in Swift force migration tool
On Monday, Apple released a first beta of iOS 8.3, even before iOS 8.2 has been released to the public. It has also unveiled a new version of its programming language Swift, with changes the company calls "noteworthy" -- to the point that a new beta of Xcode 6.3 has also been issued to developers, with a "Swift Migrator" function allowing programmers to move code from Swift 1.1 to version 1.2. The changes may hint that iOS 8.2's public debut is imminent.
Related to company's push into health and fitness business through Apple Watch
New job listings from Apple suggest that the company is expanding its focus on health and fitness in the run-up to the April debut of the Apple Watch. In addition to its usual call for engineers with biometric experience and its recent hire of sleep and other medical experts, the new listing calls for a "Human Factors Anthropometry Engineer/Researcher," which deals with the study of human body measurements, posture, weight and other factors.
Fans who have app and notifications will get promos, reminders, more
Apple's iBeacon technology has been a quiet success with retail, though it is primarily considered to be still in testing. Nevertheless, it has been adopted by a number of businesses from clothiers to museums. While Major League Baseball has been an early adopter, other sports are also investigating their use. The Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, for example, can now send location-aware notices to fans who use the team's app.
New program promises delight for iPhoto users, falls short on pro features
After only the vaguest of descriptions and a single preview image, the first beta of OS X 10.10.3 has arrived, and with it comes a brand-new application from Apple. Photos is intended to be the successor to iPhoto and Aperture, but in its initial (and not yet released) first form, it can be said that it mostly borrows Aperture's looks and speed with large libraries, but not a lot else from Apple's former high-end photo manager. Fans of iPhoto, however, are likely to like this -- and there might even be a little gift for developers in Photos as well.
Health data from the 'worried well' can help identify problems early
Apple's HealthKit API and the apps that utilize it aim to take data collected from the iOS 8 Health app and others, and allow the user the option of sending it securely on to the user's healthcare provider (complying with HIPAA as required by law). Of the 23 top hospitals surveyed by Reuters, 14 of them -- or 60 percent -- responded that pilot projects involving HealthKit were either in place or being worked out.
Photos includes iCloud Photo Library beta, will replace iPhoto, Aperture
Apple on Thursday seeded a new, first-release beta of OS X 10.10.3 to developers and testers. Most notably, the update includes the first full Photos application for OS X, the program that will eventually supersede both iPhoto and Aperture in an effort to give iOS and Mac users a consistent photo-management experience across both platforms. While the current programs will continue to work for the foreseeable future, Photos will offer new new features.
Prediction based on likely development time, Apple Watch timing
Speculators are now predicting, based on the usual development cycle and other factors, that Apple will release the currently-in-testing iOS 8.2 upgrade next month. Conventional wisdom has the release as likely in the second week, approximately a month prior to the Apple Watch rollout, which is estimated for April. In related news, Apple has updated its gauge for iOS 8 adoption, now at 72 percent of users.
Releases enter later testing phase
Apple has released fifth betas of iOS 8.2 and Xcode 6.2 to developers. Both are available through the Dev Center; iOS 8.2 is also accessible as an over-the-air update for people already using beta firmware. Exact changes have yet to be discovered, but Xcode has been updated to include the latest set of WatchKit tools for Apple Watch developers.
Extra leeway added to test early apps, compatibility, battery life?
Recent reports have suggested that Apple is notifying its highest-profile developers who are known to be working on Apple Watch apps to be sure the programs are ready for launch by mid-February, about a month earlier than expected. Similarly, Apple is asking Apple Pay partners who will be creating iOS apps with Watch support to have them ready by specifically the 12th of February. Apple CEO Tim Cook has already announced that the Apple Watch will ship in April.
Android tablet with collection of rear 3D sensors leaves ATAP
Google Glass is not the only hardware "graduating" from the company's experimental teams, with Project Tango also receiving similar treatment. The 3D-tracking tablet has exited the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division and will take is place as a product within the main company itself, though its future prospects remain unknown
Companies agree to make in-app purchase systems more visible
Major app store operators Amazon, Apple, and Google -- as well as French publisher Gameloft -- have reached a deal with Italy's Antitrust and Competition Authority that will let them avoid fines for misleading people about so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps. The Wall Street Journal reports that the companies have agreed to remove the word "free" from apps that may require in-app payments to be useful. The parties have also committed to making it clearer when a person is about to make an in-app purchase. All of the changes will be applied across the European Union.
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.