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.
Twitter account of Nintendo engineer hints at possible tablet
Nintendo could be working on its own Android tablet, according to a report. The game console producer is said to be in the process of making a tablet specifically for educational games, something which will be a marked departure from Nintendo's existing hand-held devices, such as the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, and the gamepad used on the Wii U console.
Apps adopt look similar to Newsstand redesign
Following long after its iLife and iWork refreshes, Apple has updated the mobile iBooks and iTunes U apps to suit the look of iOS 7. Both apps have jettisoned the skeuomorphism of previous versions in favor of designs similar to the iOS 7 Newsstand. This includes elements like "flat" shelves, although iBooks continues to sport page-turning animations.
Google begins greater push for educational segment
Google on Wednesday launched a new, education-focused segment of its Play Store Android app repository. The new feature will allow Google to spotlight the teaching- and learning-oriented apps on its popular mobile operating system, and perhaps to carve out some space in the educational market for tablets. That segment is currently dominated by Apple's iPad.
Dramatically faster troubleshooting, resolution achieved with visuals
In a quiet update today, Apple is now giving users who have a problem the option of initiating a screen-sharing session directly with AppleCare representatives. While screen-sharing has been a tool available for the reps for some time to help customers, it usually comes only after many other areas of discussion and testing of a problem have already been tried. The practice can be a great help in quickly troubleshooting or identifying the cause of a problem.
Latest in a series of independent fixes to fine-tune updated Mavericks apps
Another standalone fix issued by Apple on Thursday patches iBooks for Mac that addresses a number of bugs in the first release. Earlier today, Apple issued updates for the late 2013 MacBook Pro as well as a Mail patch that fixes one of the bigger complaints about the latter program, namely its handling of GMail accounts. Users had complained that iBooks for Mac would sometimes mishandle and mis-display the available book library when imported from iTunes.
New distribution option lets organizations control individual app use
Apple has made two new improvements to its Volume Purchase Program for business and education. The first is a concept called Managed Distribution, allowing organizations to assign or revoke app licenses for individual users, instead of operating through redemption codes. A school, for instance, can assign apps and books to select groups of students, or one student at a time. The function supports iOS 7 and Mavericks clients, and can be controlled through OS X Server's Profile Manager or updated third-party device managers.
Only one in four US elementary schools using tablets, 94 percent iPad
Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts on Monday that Apple already had 94 percent of the market of tablets used in education, a figure he called "unheard of" and something he'd never seen before in his career -- but a new survey indicates that Apple's success is just the tip of the iceberg in the segment, with plenty of room to grow. A new survey has found that only about 25 percent of the US elementary school market has or is in the process of deploying iPads or other tablets.
iPad said to control overwhelming number of educational tablet sales
During its fiscal fourth quarter, Apple's educational sales topped $1 billion in revenue, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The executive made the comments during the company's official results call. He also claimed that the iPad represents 94 percent of all educational tablet sales, though the source of that data was unmentioned.
School district has yet to meet order threshold for promised discount
The Los Angeles Unified School District is running well over budget in its plan to equip 47 schools with iPads, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program was originally budgeted for $50 million, but this was based on an early iPad pricing estimate putting each tablet at $650; in all $20.3 million was budgeted for iPads, the rest going to needed training and infrastructure. When the program was formally announced this summer iPad pricing had already crept up to $678, and budget disclosures now reveal that the District is actually paying about $770 per device, adding another $4 million to the program's cost.
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.
All now 64-bit, free for iOS 7 and Mavericks upgraders
Apple has launched updated versions of the apps formerly known as the "iLife" and "iWork" suites for OS X and iOS 7. On the Mac, iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband get makeovers, with major changes seen in Garageband to bring it much more in line with Apple's existing "Pro" audio app, Logic Pro. For iOS, the three programs have been updated for the iOS 7 look, with iPhoto for iOS gaining the ability to make photo books. The iWork apps have received new templates and design overhauls, but are otherwise only lightly changed.
Deepens ties with China
Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the advisory board of Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management, according to the university's website. A mission statement indicates that the board holds annual meetings to "offer advice on the development of Tsinghua's SEM." Other high-profile members of the board include Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa, Walmart CEO Michael Duke, and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
Starts with the most basic items, lets users get detailed instructions
Apple has devised a clever "carousel" mechanism on its revamped iPhone tutorial pages that lets users and those interested in buying an iPhone for the first time learn more about the operating system and basic functions (such as calling or turning on or off certain functions) in a style that's reminiscent of and friendly to touch access, even when viewed on a Mac. Each basic topic can branch off into more specific related tips, with images showing the procedures step-by-step.
Adoption of iOS 7 hits 67 percent after only two weeks
Ongoing tracking by analytics company Mixpanel has revealed that iOS 7 has been adopted by fully two-thirds of the entire active iOS userbase, just two weeks after its initial release. The overhauled revamp for Apple's mobile devices, having delivered a fresh new look and substantive under-the-hood improvements and changes, become the most widely-used OS version within three days its debut.
Apple promises fix later in October
Upgrading iPads to iOS 7 has inadvertently wiped out supervision profiles, a number of schools are complaining. The profiles are meant to restrict what students can access online, and give IT administrators remote management privileges. Without them in effect, students can access anything while away from a schools's Wi-Fi network, including content schools and parents might deem offensive or inappropriate.
Move follows restriction of device use to school grounds following 'hack'
As fallout from the "hack" enabling unrestricted use of school iPads, two Los Angeles high schools are pulling back the devices from the student body. Students at Westchester and Roosevelt high schools, and possibly other schools in the district, are being forced to return the devices acquired in the billion-dollar deal to school administrators, with use prohibited until further notice. According to reports, about 70 percent of the 2,100 devices have been returned by the students.
Google has expanded its unique Street View imagery with new content from inside the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratories and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). A team used a bike-mounted camera system, known as the "Street View Trike," to explore large parts of the LHC tunnel and the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments.
Each city to see separate app, game development talks
Originally teased earlier this year, Apple has today formally announced its 2013 series of Tech Talks, themed around iOS 7. The events start in San Francisco on October 8th, and will come to a close in London on December 18th. Other destination cities in the interim will include New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Berlin.
Content divided by age group
As expected, Apple has added a 'Kids' category to the App Store. Users can view content geared for specific age groups, such as "Best for Ages 5 & Under," with a primary focus on educational apps. The listings also include popular games for kids, along with rankings for top paid apps, top free apps and top-grossing titles.
'Massive open online course' site accepting proposals, launching in early 2014
Google is hoping to improve the online education landscape by helping create a central location for learning online. Working with MIT and Harvard educational initiative edX, Google has launched MOOC.org for 'massive open online courses,' a site that will play host to a number of online courses built upon the Open edX platform.
Follows wording change suggesting all iOS devices now supporting textbooks
Shortly after changing the wording regarding iOS device compatibility on its iBooks Textbooks pages, a new dedicated page for the educational e-books has been spotted in the Education section of the iOS 7 App Store for iPhone -- confirming that the wording change was heralding new compatibility for iBooks Textbooks and iPhones (and by extension, iPod touch devices). While the section (which is currently only available to developers and testers running iOS 7) is not yet fully functional or stocked with many selections, the category artwork does appear to be optimized for the 4-inch iPhone display.
Tablets range from low end to high, e-reader derivative from earlier limited edition
E-reader vendor Kobo today announced its new lineup of eReading devices, featuring the new Kobo Aura six-inch E Ink eReader, the Google-certified Kobo Arc 10HD and two Kobo Arc 7 tablets. Designed specifically for readers, the new lineup is built on Kobo’s unique user experience "Reading Life" enabling the collection, curation and discovery of content.
Move saves students 50 percent over books, iPad retained by purchaser
A central Florida university is now requiring all of its incoming Freshmen to own an iPad or iPad mini. The previous host of the third 2012 Presidential debate, Lynn University, is disposing of all of its textbooks for the new class, and all of the iPads will come pre-loaded with the student's summer reading and core textbooks, generated by the Lynn faculty. The student iPad package is $475, and costs half as much as students were paying for textbooks alone.
Meant to reduce 'one-size-fits all lecture formats and rote instruction'
Ames High School, located in Iowa, has announced plans to give each student in grades 9 through 12 an 11-inch MacBook Air for use during the 2013 school year. The deal with Apple covers 1,425 computers, and is estimated to be worth about $1.4 million. The Ames community school board offered program approval back in May; superintendent Tim Taylor says that the Airs will let teachers personalize instruction, cutting back on "one-size-fits all lecture formats and rote instruction."
New schools completely replace textbooks, traditional curriculum with iPads
The Netherlands, which ranks ahead of the United States in education, has opened the first seven of 11 planned "Steve JobsSchools" in the country on Wednesday. The schools -- which eschew traditional curriculum and textbooks in favor of an iPad-centric, facilitated individual learning path that generally "thinks different" from traditional western schooling -- are located in the towns of Amsterdam, Breda, Almere, Heenvliet, and Emmen, with the "master" school located in Sneek. In both Breda and Sneek, the iPad will be used at all grade levels.
Effort allows users to generate Bing Rewards points for Surface RT devices
Microsoft today has launched its Bing for Schools program. The modified version of the Microsoft Search Engine eliminates adult content, filters ads, and provides "enhanced privacy protection" to users. The service will be available to students and teachers connected to the school network. Additionally, with the program comes the ability for multiple users to band together and earn credits towards getting a school a free Surface RT tablet over time.
New, separate Kids section designed to aid parents, provide more app info
Apple has sent out emails to developers letting them know that any apps they have that are aimed primarily at children (age 11 and under) will need to be rated under one of three new ranges in order to go into the new Kids category of the iOS App Store, which is coming with the arrival of iOS 7 this fall. Developers can choose from "5 & Under," "Ages 6-8" and "Ages 9-11," for their app, but can only pick from one of the three options. Existing apps not already in the Kids subcategory now will need to submit a new version for review.
Telefonica Digital and Evernote announce global partnership with kick-off in Brazil
Launching in Brazil today, Telefonica Digital's Vivo brand is offering customers one year's access to top-tier features with Evernote Premium. Evernote helps users improve their productivity on Android and iOS devices, by creating written notes and to-do lists as well as photo capture, and sync this media across personal devices. The partnership is giving Vivo customers access to a 1GB upload limit and the ability to read notes offline, as well as benefitting from higher security features. It is yet to be determined whether this offer is exclusive to new customers.
iOS app update rolls out textbooks
As per Google's announcement in July regarding its plan to release textbooks to Google Play Books, listings are now available via an update to the iOS app.The textbooks are currently available to purchase outright, though some titles will be offering a six month lower-cost "rental" option. Free samples of textbooks are provided. Presently only available to US customers, the Google Play Books app is available for Android, iOS, and on the web.
Jawbone's Big Jambox, Bose QuietComfort, Beats by Dre tipped for sales
Apple Stores have begun a significant sale on audio accessories during August, with two offers already underway and a third one coming later. Currently, the stores are offering 10 percent off on select Beats by Dre headphones and speakers, along with a $50 discount on the price of the Jawbone Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker, the latter offering being matched by Jawbone through its own site and resellers. A reader has alerted Electronista that the stores will also be offering two Bose QuietComfort headphones for 10 percent off beginning on Sunday.
Children under 13 can have accounts only through recognized schools
In an effort to further promote and support the iPad for students, the company is bending a rule that children under 13 can't have Apple ID accounts and allowing schools and "approved educational institutions" to create accounts for students under the age limit. Children between 13 and 18 are now requested to review the terms and conditions with parents or guardians when creating an account. In order for schools to implement Apple IDs for kids under 13, the institution must obtain the students' parent's consent.
Can affect Messages app thanks to group MMS, SMS use
While under normal circumstances most users would never see an unwanted or "spam" message in the OS X and iOS program Messages, Apple has now set up abuse reporting mechanism to help deal with those who have the issue. Using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, users can send a screenshot of the unwanted message, phone number or email address of the spammer or harrasser, and time/date info on the message. Unwanted or spam SMS and MMS messages should still be reported to users' cellular providers rather than Apple.
Apple contract will kick off with 31,000 iPads, covers all K-12 students
A total of more than a half-million iPads will be given out by the Los Angeles Unified School District, covering 1,124 schools by the end of 2014 in a deal worth "hundreds of millions" to Apple -- far larger than the $30 million contract initially reported. That contract covers only the first deployment of iPads, covering 49 schools and an estimated 31,000 students that will be given out by the end of the year. As reported earlier, Apple will be the sole vendor for the ambitious project, resulting in costs of nearly $415 million over the first two years for the iPads alone.
Brown, Stanford, Cornell, Berkeley among professors' backgrounds
Apple has set up an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program, according to a press release from Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. Chairing the volunteer group is the Institute's director, Prof. Richard Locke. The board is in fact said to have been working for six months so far, and have seven other members. These include Chair Mark Cullen (Stanford University), Eli Friedman (Cornell University), Mary Gallagher (University of Michigan), Margaret Levi, (University of Washington), Dara O'Rourke (University of California Berkeley), Charles Sabel (Columbia University), and Annelee Saxenian (UC Berkeley).
Web version brings iWork to PC, may be free of charge
MacNN readers and staffers have reported receiving invitations from Apple to try out the iWork for iCloud beta, and may expand the program to all those with an iCloud account. The online version of the three iWork apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- is not believed to be intended to replace the local Mac and iOS versions, but instead complement them with a way to use the programs from any online device -- including, for the first time, Windows computers. Our reviews of the apps found them to be superb implementations of the latest web technologies.
New ruggedized tablet sports educationally oriented home screen
The fuseproject-designed XO Learning Tablet has launched, and arrives in Walmart stores across the country this week. Developed in collaboration with the One Laptop Per Child Association, the Android-powered seven-inch tablet harnesses the power of a touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn. The XO Tablet has a new user interface and protective cover that delivers the continuity of the design language of the original Yves Behar-designed One Laptop Per Child concept.
Child buys herself her own sweet 16 birthday present
While many parents let their children play with their smartphone or other mobile device for temporary amusement, a story out of Oregon may make some think twice about the practice. According to reports, a 14-month toddler named Sorella Stoute managed to bid on and win an auction on eBay for a 1962 Austin Healy Sprite, buying the junked vehicle (with the name "FrankenSprite" printed on its door) for $225 using her father's logged-in account with the eBay app. While the parents could have nullified the sale, they ultimately decided to keep the car -- and the father, Paul Stoute, plans on restoring it and presenting to Sorella on her 16th birthday. The parents learned of the purchase through an email from eBay after the auction.
Schools will also use freeform structures
Starting in August, 11 so-called "Steve Jobs schools" will start running in the Netherlands, says German publication Der Spiegel. The schools will be primarily iPad-based, substituting the tablet for things like textbooks and blackboards. Students will also be free of strict schedules, homeroom teachers, and even grades, choosing what they want to learn about and completing projects at their own pace.
Includes iPhone purchases for first time
Apple has inaugurated its 2013 Back to School promotion in the US. New this year is the ability to get a $50 iTunes/App Store/iBookstore gift card alongside an iPhone purchase; previously, that card amount was limited to people buying iPads. New Mac buyers are still eligible for a $100 gift card.
Apple asserts 92 percent dominance in Maine school orders
When Maine schools were given the choice for the first time under the next school year's Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) between Windows-based laptops, the Apple iPad, and the Apple MacBook Air, the schools overwhelmingly chose Apple products. Of 69,059 hardware orders placed, 92 percent of the purchases will come from Apple.
Every student to have access to an iPad
Apple has won a $30 million contract to provide iPads to every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the LA Times reports. The Board of Education voted 6-0 in favor after hearing senior staff claim that the iPad was both the best and least expensive option for meeting the District's specifications. The tablet "received the highest scoring by the students and the teachers," according to Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino. The vote authorizes deployment at 47 campuses; since Apple is the only authorized vendor though, the District will end up paying hundreds of millions to Apple over the course of two years.
Nvidia to remain supplier for some versions of Surface
Microsoft is working on a version of its Surface RT slate computer that uses a Qualcomm processor, according to a report. The change in chip comes at the same time as Microsoft drops the price of the tablet for educational users, in what appears to be a clear-out of current Surface RT stock ahead of a device refresh.
Subscribers can opt to receive AMBER and emergency push notices
An FCC mandate for a Wireless Emergency Alert system implemented on mobile devices is now being delivered to iPhones by AT&T, the country's second-largest carrier. The government-issued messages will appear in a manner similar to text messages, reports AppleInsider, but are actually delivered by a different and faster system (at no charge to the user). They will include mandatory Presidential alerts (issued by the White House), and the option to receive Imminent Threat alerts and AMBER alerts.
Life-changing, empowering, enriching uses for mobile devices highlighted
Apple has made a 10-minute promotional film that was released today on its YouTube channel highlighting a number of real-world uses for its iOS technologies and apps that are making a difference in the lives of people around the globe. The video itself is titled Making a difference. One app at a time and shows iPad and iPhone users and developers showing and talking about the way an app has changed their life. The video reflects remarks from CEO Tim Cook that the company's marketing efforts would focus more on the effect of its work rather than touting products.
Charges of widespread monitoring follow discovery of Verizon NSA data collection
Just a day after respected UK newspaper The Guardian reported that a leaked secret US court order showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was harvesting millions of phone records and "telephony metadata" from Verizon customers, a new report from The Guardian and the Washington Post has charged that the NSA is further using a secret program called PRISM to harvest usage data from the internal servers of most of America's major tech companies -- including Apple, Google, Microsoft and many others.
Technicians will no longer need annual recertification
Apple has updated its Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) program for people aiming to service products under AppleCare warranties. Under the new terms, beginning on June 23rd, Apple says it should easier to both get and maintain certification. Technicians will no longer need to be recertified every year, and all exams will be available online, instead of forcing people to go to testing centers. When a test is done at a center, exam proctors will no longer be required.
Models break $1,000 barrier
Apple has lowered the prices on 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pros at its US educational store. The 2.5GHz and 2.9GHz systems have each dipped by $100, down to $999 and $1,299, respectively. Those costs are $200 less than what Apple charges the general public.
Country seeks bids on 10.6 million tablets for students
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been touring Silicon Valley companies this week, on the heels of a similar tour by Turkish President Abdullah Gül last month. Both men received VIP tours of facilities at Microsoft and Google, and met privately with officials from Apple. All three companies are hoping to land a contract to supply the country with at least 10.6 million tablets for the country's students.
Vine now supports front-facing cameras
Vine, the six-second video sharing service from Twitter, has undergone its first major upgrade and now offers support for the iPhone's front-facing camera and Twitter mentions in posts and comments. Vine's launch in January was tainted by a major security glitch that resulted in some users being logged into the wrong account. However, after a few patches the issues where sorted out and quickly grew in popularity. While currently limited to iOS devices, an Android version is in the works and is said to include the ability to tag friends to a clip.