A special guest, then back to two old guys complaining about things
Well, no less than 36 episodes in and someone finally agreed to come talk to us! But seriously we were delighted to welcome Macphun's Kevin LaRue, who told us about the company's photo-effects products and their exciting new abilities with Apple's Photos, becoming one of the first programs to work as "Extensions" that add abilities to Photos. Really kicks the program up a notch, and that's after the notch it got kicked up in El Capitan. We also do the usual roundup of tech news for the week, and more.
Changes to Cardboard SDK brings Metal rendering to iOS Unity VR apps
Google is adding more features to its Cardboard virtual reality headset and software development kit, to celebrate the search company's expansion of the Cardboard app into over 100 countries for both iOS and Android. As part of an update to the Cardboard SDK, developers will now see improvements to the way it works on iOS, courtesy of changes to how it works with Unity, a popular multi-platform game engine.
New beta is broken out with slightly different build for iPhone 6s line
On Monday, Apple seeded a new fifth beta of the forthcoming iOS 9.1 to both developers and beta testers, but with a small twist: the build number for the version for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is slightly different (13B5139) than the build for other devices (13B5137). The new update comes one week after the last one, and two weeks after the public release of iOS 9.0.2. It's not yet known if the new beta fixes issues many users with POP email accounts have been reporting about attachment downloading.
No change in model numbers suggests hidden capability now activated
While the addition of the latest Bluetooth specification, v4.2, was no surprise with the latest just-announced iPhones and iPads, Apple has taken the rare step of retroactively adding Bluetooth 4.2 capability to the iPad Air 2, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models -- which previously boasted only Bluetooth 4.0 specifications. It is unclear whether a change in the Bluetooth stack in iOS 9 "activated" this capability in these models' existing BT chips, or if these models now being sold have had a part change-out internally.
Offending apps use own root certificates, pose security risk
Apple has removed a small number of content blockers from the App Store, with the blockers said to pose a security risk to its user base. The removed apps, which blocked online advertising from being shown on iOS devices, have been found to install their own root certificates, potentially allowing for malicious developers and other parties to steal user data by reading web traffic before it is encrypted by the browser.
New iOS 9.1 beta released to both developers and public simultaneously
Cutting out the usual one-day wait between developer and public-tester releases, Apple on Tuesday issued a fourth beta of iOS 9.1 for both groups. While changes and updates are not yet known, there have been a series of small tweaks and polishes in recent betas, including new wallpaper options, the ability to disable contact photos in Messages, and other minor revisions alongside the usual bug fixes. In addition, the company released a new third betas of tvOS and Xcode 7.1 to developers.
HoloLens Development Edition to cost $3,000, available for pre-order
Microsoft is preparing to ship developer kits for the HoloLens, its attempt at an augmented reality headset, the software company revealed during today's Windows 10 devices event today. The HoloLens Development Edition will be made available to purchase in the first quarter of next year, priced at $3,000 per kit, with Microsoft starting to accept applications for the headset's development kit from later today.
App slicing issue with iCloud backups resolved
Apple has fixed an issue that prevented developers from taking advantage of "App Thinning" in iOS 9. Introduced in the latest version of the mobile operating system, the feature now allows for developers to produce apps for Apple's mobile devices that are custom for each hardware version, with applications downloading only the resources it requires and therefore using only a minimal amount of storage on the host device.
Reasons to embrace or avoid upgrading, hacks and scams, and all for science
It's now October, and all the big Apple gifts we're going to get for Xmas this year are (probably) behind us. There's just one more to open: OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Should you jump to the latest and greatest? There are reasons to do so, and there are reasons to wait, depending on your situation. MacNN Editor Charles Martin and Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele discuss the pros and cons, talk about the real differences between the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, argue whether 16GB can work on an iOS device for storage without much pain, and more.
Search will delineate which is free content, be opened to more apps
With an "end of October" release date for the new Apple TV rapidly approaching, Apple is giving developers a bit of a helping hand. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that while initially, universal search will be limited to HBO, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, and Showtime, it will be opened up to coders soon. Additionally, the company has very recently shipped another wave of early Apple TV units to developers, giving more companies the ability to be ready when the device ships to the public.
MacNN's Friday freebie column for October 2, 2015
Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where the MacNN staff find stuff you can make use of, without spending a penny. In this edition, there's courses for developers on how to use the Git version control system, an app that could help you get a better job, two free game offers, and the chance to listen to a little bit of Frank Sinatra over the weekend.
Smart home device producers can communicate directly with Nest products
Nest is making it easier for manufacturers to connect their products to other smart home devices, by giving third-party developers access to the Nest Weave communications protocol and direct communications with Nest products. Part of a number of announcements expanding the company's Works with Nest program, a competitor to Apple's HomeKit, the thermostat manufacturer also revealed a smart lock from Yale will be one of the first products on the market to take advantage of the Weave platform.
Public releases on mostly-stable El Capitan closely following dev versions
Early Thursday, Apple updated its pre-release "public" beta of OS X 10.11.1 for pre-registered testers, following on the heels of Tuesday's second beta for developers. A public release of 10.11.0, the upgrade for OS X called El Capitan, was issued on Wednesday. As with previous releases, the second public beta (build 15B22c, identical to the developer version) has no notes on known issues or what has been changed from the last beta release, or the public version of El Capitan. Release notes state only that the 10.11.1 update generally will focus on "stability, compatibility, and security."
Start developing your own apps and games with courses from MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals, we are showcasing some of the offers available on our own MacNN Deals store. Today's four highlights are all aimed at leveling up your coding ability, with the bundles teaching you about working with HTML 5, CSS3, Python, and Swift, as well as showing you how to produce games for iOS 9 devices and the web.
Investigation finds commonality between bundles not paying developers
Updated with return of MacSprout's from domain suspension Bundles for software distribution have nearly always been a driving force of independent developer's software distribution. It can be even be argued that something like Microsoft Works was a bundle, back in the day. When broadband reached critical mass in the early part of this century, downloadable bundles of software really took off. There have periodically been bad actors in the group, and it has come to MacNN's attention that there may be another that has been running bundles for some time under the BundleCult and MacBundler names, amongst others. The accused had a bundle active recently, which has been shuttered early.
Company violated terms, Apple closed developer account
Teardown and repair site iFixit, best known for their examinations of Apple hardware and repair guides, has seen its developer account closed and its app pulled from the App Store because it tore down a developer-only pre-release Apple TV, in direct violation of the terms and conditions of the developer agreement. The site took responsibility for the error, and apologized to app users for "any inconvenience."
Apple already working on patch, potential mischief would be limited in scope
A security researcher planning a presentation at the Virus Bulletin Conference in Prague on Thursday has revealed that he has discovered a relatively simple way to bypass OS X's Gatekeeper security feature, potentially allowing a malicious file buried within a trusted application free reign to run unobstructed. The exploit could be used to steal passwords by modifying a legitimate app that already has Gatekeeper approval, for example. Apple is already aware of the issue and working on a fix.
Apple deducting eight percent from Japanese sales, prior to 30 percent cut
Apple has informed developers of new tax application on sold apps in China and Japan. The iTunes connect briefing warns of "transactional taxes in China" as well as new tax laws in Japan "with respect to foreign businesses that provide electronic commerce to residents of the country." The taxes applied are in addition to any of those owed already, due to state or country of residence, and a discussion has begun between developers on whether to abandon the localities entirely.
No new details or changes listed in latest update, public release possible
Apple on Tuesday posted a second beta of OS X El Capitan (10.11.1) on the eve of the release of the 10.11 version to consumers. The new beta is currently developer-only, but may be followed up with a public beta version for pre-registered public testers. Those with developer accounts can get the new beta through Software Update or the Apple Developer Center, but no new features, changes, or specific bugs fixed from the previous beta have been listed yet. The new beta comes 11 days after the first one.
Learn to develop for the web, iOS 9, Raspberry Pi with MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's highlights are all bundles to help you improve your coding ability, including how to create apps for iOS 9, how to code websites in HTML5 and CSS3, learn how to program in Python, and how to embark on electronics projects with the Raspberry Pi.
A look at where Apple, OS X, iOS, and even the Apple Watch are going
Episode 34 of the MacNN Podcast features both the bigger, broader, weightier discussions you've come to expect from the experienced editorial staff of MacNN, and gushing over comic books. That's how we roll with this week's big and little stories of note, ranging from the future of Apple's A-series line of ARM-based processors (will they someday run proper Macs?) to the crazy "phone wars" that have broken out over trade-ins, and installment plans, and whether they are "phone-y" savings. Ba-doom.
New process will customize downloads for target device, slim apps
Having only just warned developers on Thursday that a marquee developer feature, "app thinning," would be suspended due to iCloud version bugs, the company on Monday revealed an update that should fix the issues. The new version of Xcode, now at 7.0.1, will allow the feature to go forward, and should prove to be a great benefit to space-strapped iOS device users, as the feature allows app downloads to consist of only the assets the app needs to run on that particular device rather than any iOS device, significantly reducing downloading time and app size.
MacNN's Friday freebie column for September 25, 2015
Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where MacNN's writers find stuff you can make use of, without spending a penny. This time, pick up a collection of five handy Mac apps, learn how to make games for the new iPhones, and listen to a classic Pink Floyd album.
New feature would reduce size of download depending on target device
Apple has revealed to developers that one of iOS 9's marquee developer features has been delayed due to an issue within iOS 9. The feature, "App Thinning," would have allowed for faster downloads of apps because they would be smaller in size, and more customized for the target device. Developers would be able to mark assets (such as Retina-quality graphics) in such a way that non-Retina devices would only receive the normal graphics, as an example, saving space and download time.
Early recipients of Apple's latest iPhones now get yesterday's 9.0.1 update
On Thursday, Apple made yesterday's iOS 9.0.1 update available to the lucky few who already have their iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus units, and also updated public beta testers with a second public beta of the forthcoming iOS 9.1 beta, again based on a developer release from yesterday. The 9.0.1 version notably resolves the "stuck at swipe to unlock" issue some users encountered in trying to update to iOS 9.
Second betas for iOS 9.1, tvOS, Xcode 7.1 issued to developer accounts
One week after it unveiled the public release of iOS 9, Apple on Wednesday issued version 9.0.1, which addresses a few security and bugfix issues. The update fixes issues where alarms and timers might not play and where some users could not complete the setup assistant after updating, among other issues. In addition, the company issued new second developer betas of iOS 9.1, tvOS, and Xcode 7.1 for testing.
VPN access, private phone numbers, security courses offered by MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are highlighting some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's collection of four deals aim to help you protect yourself online, with the quartet including a pair of VPN services, a private secondary phone number, and a cyber security developer course bundle.
Updated for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, both updates address notable bugs
Yesterday, Apple released its delayed watchOS 2 update -- but more quietly updated two of its workhorse programs to address some significant flaws. The company issued OS X Server 5.0.4, which addressed a serious flaw in 5.0.3 that broke most web-related services, while iAd Producer 5.1 fixes an issue where part of an ad could be displayed in the opposite orientation to what was intended. Both programs have recently seen major 5.0 versions, with Monday's updates addressing issues discovered since then.
Chinese malware was not malicious, but points out new vector of attack
Apple has now responded publicly to the XcodeGhost malware scare, explaining in a page on its Chinese website addressed to customers that even if they used apps affected by the issue, no personally-identifiable information was gathered. The company removed any affected apps, and explained the cause (iOS programs were built using compromised Chinese versions of Xcode downloaded from other sources), while offering developers a method of ensuring that their own installations of Xcode were valid.
Course bundles, design assets to help your web development prospects
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available in our own MacNN Deals store. Today's four chosen highlights will help budding web developers become more professional, with a series of bundles teaching you how to design for online use, how best to use Amazon Web Services, and how to optimize a site to place it highly in search results, as well as a collection of assets to quickly design essential business documents and items.
Peace developer claims Apple performing refunds for all customers
Apple has taken the highly unusual decision to refund all purchasers of the Peace ad-blocking browser, the developer has confirmed. After voluntarily taking the app out of the App Store after being listed for a few days, and providing refunds to customers requesting their money back, developer Marco Arment advises that Apple is now "proactively refunding all purchases" of the $3 app to its users.
Final public version of 10.11 expected to arrive on September 30
In a confusing move, Apple has released the first public beta version of OS X 10.11.1 El Capitan to pre-registered developer and public beta testers -- nine days ahead of the expected public release of OS X 10.11. The public beta follows the first developer version by less than a week, and includes a revamped Mission Control, support for Split View, new emoji characters (including a much-requested "middle finger" icon), a vastly-improved Notes application, and other features.
Upgrade must be installed through companion app on iPhone
On Monday, Apple released the slightly-delayed watchOS 2 for Apple Watch, following the discovery and fixing of a "critical" bug that prevented its release alongside iOS 9 last Wednesday as originally planned. The new upgrade has a new build number to reflect changes made to fix the undisclosed error in the "golden master," and is now available for download through the Apple Watch companion app on iOS devices.
Figures shows growth over same period in iOS 7, iOS 8 cycle
Well ahead of the first 72 hours of release, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system iOS 9 has cracked the 25 percent mark of all active iOS users, according to live data from analystics firm Mixpanel. This compares favorably to similar percentages for iOS 7, which reached 26 percent after four days of release, but is a little behind figures for iOS 8's earliest days. As others have pointed out, iOS 9's 25.74 percent (as of 10PM PT on Friday) is a significantly higher percentage than the percentage of users running the latest major Android release, Lollipop (5.x).
Says uniform blocking of all ads hurts websites, creators
Developer Marco Arment has, after just two days of availability, pulled his iOS 9 ad-blocking browser Peace from the App Store, and will offer refunds for those who purchased it. The app will continue to work for those who obtained it during its brief period of availability, but will not be updated. The program relied upon a database used by OS X ad tracker, Ghostery, and blocked all ads without exceptions -- which ultimately led to Arment's decision to pull it.
Update beta appears ahead of official launch of next OS X upgrade
On Thursday, amidst a number of other releases, Apple launched its first beta for the first update of its yet-to-be-released OS X 10.11 El Capitan upgrade. Known as 10.11.1 and with a build number of 15B17c, the beta is for registered developers only and focuses on improving the "stability, compatibility, and security" of the Mac. A "golden master" (final) candidate of OS X 10.11 was issued last week, well ahead of the official September 30 launch date.
Tool helps users move data to iOS devices securely, wirelessly
In a gracious move, the Google Play store has added a new Android app from Apple -- only the second such application the iPhone maker has offered for the rival platform -- that helps users who wish to transition from Android to iOS (or use both but transfer data) to do so. Called simply "Move to iOS," even the program's description reads as a pitch for users currently on Android devices to consider switching -- with the application promising to move contacts, message histories, photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars over seamlessly.
From 'so what?' to 'oh wow' in 20 minutes
Should you wait a day or two before you upgrade to iOS 9? We advise it, but only because that's sensible whenever something big rolls out to so many people at once. Sometimes, it's hard to wait for the greatest from Cupertino, and that's partly why your first reaction to iOS 9 is going to be quizzical. You'll go through what is hopefully a quick upgrade process and, picking up the iPhone or iPad, may even turn it around looking for any signs of something different.
Must be playable with Apple TV remote, secondary controller optional
Game developers working on apps for the new Apple TV may have to contend with another restriction when using the hardware. The App Programming Guide for tvOS advises that games "must support the Apple TV remote," an issue which will force developers to take the remote into account when working on the game's control scheme, a decision by Apple that may create some problems for those working on more complicated releases.
Touch ID, Apple Watch support added to Bank of America mobile banking app
Among its many other uses, Touch ID is great for signing-in to apps that require a secure login, such as banking apps. To that end, Bank of America has updated its mobile banking app to version 6.4.0, supporting both Touch ID login as well as an Apple Watch subset of the app that lets users check recent transactions and balances, and receive alerts on the Watch.
Tool allows for cross-platform, cross-API performance measurement
Cross-platform benchmarking company Basemark debuted today Basemark Metal, an app that measures the graphics performance of the latest iOS devices supporting Metal graphics API, and allows for a comparison to OpenGL ES. The test workload in Basemark Metal is identical to the workload found in Basemark ES 3.1, an app that runs on the latest Android OpenGL ES 3.1 powered devices.
Developer kit for refreshed Apple TV shipping in coming days
Developers keen to start work on porting their apps or creating new software for the refreshed Apple TV are being informed if they have won a lottery to buy the set-top box itself. Apple has started to tell successful developers they can order their Apple TV Developer Kit directly from Apple itself, in order to allow them to create their apps ahead of the final release of the device to consumers in 80 countries in late October.
Kickstart your development career with tuition, assets, tools from MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available through our own MacNN Deals page. Today's four offers will benefit those wanting to get into development and design, including tuition on a range of topics, software to manage your time more effectively, and a vast collection of digital assets to make your apps and websites stand out.
Quick Provenance port suggests converting iOS apps to tvOS relatively easy
A developer may have become the first to create an emulator for the upcoming refreshed Apple TV. James Addyman, developer of the multiplatform-capable Provenance emulator, claims to have ported his software to Apple TV, getting it running within the Apple TV simulator within Xcode in around three hours, strongly suggesting existing iOS app developers will have little trouble with porting their mobile apps to Apple TV and tvOS.
Pack intended for use in Unreal Engine game development
Following Apple's event, game and Unreal Engine creator Epic Games in conjunction with coders ChAIR Entertainment released the Infinity Blade Collection of assets for developers. The collection, which Epic calls "a $3 million investment in art and sound design" is free of charge for use within the Unreal Engine.
Gaming news summary for September 11, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Pokemon Go is revealed as a mobile game coming out next year, Dota 2 switches to the Source 2 engine, and Microsoft starts the shuttering process for its Xbox 360 independent developer programs.
First beta version of iOS 9.1 also distributed to developers
Following its media event in San Francisco, Apple also released a slew of final betas for its three leading operating systems: iOS 9, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and watchOS 2. The iOS 9 "golden master," which will be identical to the released code unless major bugs are found, also includes the first developer beta of iOS 9.1. In addition, Apple has notified developers that they may obtain the revamped Apple TV units in advance of the general public for testing the new tvOS and features of the device.
Apple limiting app space to 200MB, with limited downloadable asset caching
Apple is imposing requirements on how developers may use the storage in a new Apple TV. According to developer guidelines for the device, applications may not exceed 200MB, and anything required in excess of that 200MB must be downloaded on demand, and cannot be permanent requirements, as they are only stored on the device for a short period of time. Furthermore, developers have no access to app-specific local storage, meaning that saved games and other similar files must be stored in the iCloud user space.
Courses for iOS, Android, web development on offer from MacNN Deals
San Francisco facility outfitted with Apple logos, flags, banners
In preparation for the September 9 "Hey Siri" event, workers have spent the weekend preparing the 7,000-seat Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for Apple's big iPhone and other announcements event, including a large "Apple Store" type company logo over the main entrance, new banners, flags, posters, and other signage for the event. The flags, with a white Apple logo on a dark blue background reminiscent of the latest Apple Store retail shirts, is a previously-unseen touch.