'Sneak peek' offers better iTunes Radio experience; Xcode 6.4 beta updated also
On Monday, Apple released the first iOS 8.4 beta to developers, which among other feature includes what the company calls a "sneak peek" at a revamped Music app that now offers a new Miniplayer, global search, a better iTunes Radio experience and improved "Now Playing" screen that allows custom art from users, along with a Recently Added automatic playlist. In addition, Apple updated its Xcode 6.4 beta with new SDKs for iOS 8.4, and compatibility updates for OS X Mavericks (10.9) and Yosemite (10.10).
Updated version is second this week, hinting at problem fixes
Developers and public testers of the forthcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 release have unexpectedly been notified of a second release this week, this time with build number 14D130a. Normally spaced a week apart, the last update came on Monday with 14D127a -- suggesting that the company is zeroing in on fixes for certain known issues, and perhaps planning a public release in the near future. Testers are cautioned to keep backups current while testing the new beta.
Public beta updated also; screen sharing, Wi-Fi, languages need focus
On Monday, Apple issued a sixth beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to developers, and an identical third beta to registered public testers. The new build, numbered 14D127a, is said to be mostly a security, compatibility, and stability bugfix release, though the company has added a request that testers focus on screen-sharing features as well as Hebrew and Arabic localizations, on top of the ongoing focus on Wi-Fi "captive portal" networks (such as hotels or coffeeshops).
Fourth iOS 8.3 beta shows no progress on known issues, likely arriving next month
Apple issued a fourth developer beta of iOS 8.3 on Tuesday, one day after an updated OS X 10.10.3 beta emerged. In addition, the company released the second version of a "public" 8.3 beta to registered public Appleseed testers, which is identical to the developer beta. Also included was a new, fourth beta of Xcode 6.3, which includes Apple's Swift coding language, version 1.2.
Version is identical to new update for Appleseed testers
On Monday, Apple issued the fifth beta version of OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite to developers. The latest version, which comes on the heels of the previous fourth release that was aimed solely at new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro users, is also being released to registered public beta users as the second such version. The forthcoming Photos app has been updated (though it still has some known issues), as well as Yosemite's recovery tools.
Company unifies different beta programs into single 'Apple Beta Software Program'
On Thursday, Apple released a flood of new betas for various versions of its two main operating systems, including the first semi-public beta of iOS 8.3, and third developer betas for iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3, Xcode 6.3 with Swift 1.2, and OS X Server 4.1 Developer Preview. The company has also decided to unify its various beta programs under a single tent now known simply as the "Apple Beta Software Program."
The behemoth of office data processing returns -- and it is very good
We're not going to judge Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 in the detail or the depth that we will when it finally ships as a finished product. However, Microsoft has made it available in preview beta form, and it is irresistible. It's also very good, and if you have even a modicum of interest in Microsoft Office, you should try it now - though there are one or two caveats you'll want to keep in mind.
Building iPad version assisted in Mac rebuild and rethink of programs, company says
Microsoft on Thursday released a public preview beta of the programs that make up the forthcoming Office 2016 for Mac. The new versions, which inherit many of the features from the last Windows release, offer a Yosemite-inspired look that support Retina displays, full-screen mode, and other modern Mac and OS X features. The preview versions are completely free to download and use, but are intended to give customers a sneak peek and to gather feedback from users ahead of the final release.
First public release of Photos does not replace iPhoto, Aperture
A little over a week after the second developer beta of OS X 10.10.3, which includes the first public peek at the forthcoming Photos app, Apple has made a new version public for pre-registered beta testers. Build 14D87p is the first public beta of 10.10.3, and includes the Photos app for public testing for the first time (developers had been able to to use the application in the previous two betas). The public version appears to be identical to the second developer beta, numbered 14D87h.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Camera RAW, Thunderbolt Display firmware, Safari, Epson printers
On Thursday, Apple issued a number of new builds of Safari for the last three versions of OS X, a new firmware update for the current Thunderbolt Display, an update to Camera RAW, and updates for printer drivers for Epson printers. The Thunderbolt Display firmware update covers a "rare" issue that can cause some displays to go dark, according to the company. The update, to version 1.2, also brings "improved reliability when connecting external displays to the display."
Audio boosting app Boom 2 Beta released, built for Yosemite
Global Delight has released a beta version of its re-engineered audio boosting app, Boom (readers can check out our review of Boom from last month). Boom 2 introduces an ability to adapt and adjust to accommodate the type of Mac being used, attempting to intuit a suitable volume output, depending on the device. Support for 64-bit architecture is included, and users can switch between 10-band and advanced equalizer controls. Depending on the audio file, Boom 2 can recommend the type of 'boosting' to apply for best optimization. Those interested in trying out the Boom 2's beta version can subscribe online.
Testers are to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail and Notification Center fixes
On Monday, Apple released the first beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.1, the forthcoming first update to Yosemite. This first beta is the first to arrive after the release of OS X Yosemite on October 16. The new build, 14B17, can be obtained by registered developers through Apple's Software Update. Apple is asking developers to focus on Wi-Fi, Exchange accounts in Mail, and Notification Center. No release notes have yet been published detailing any changes or fixes present in 10.10.1.
Second GM candidate doesn't list changes, final version likely coming soon
On the heels of its update of the latest iOS 8.1 beta for developers, Apple has also seeded second GM candidates for OS X 10.10 Yosemite and Xcode 6.1 to registered developers for testing, also issued as "Beta 5" for public testers of Yosemite. The build on the new Yosemite candidate is updated, from 14A378a to 14a386a, but otherwise changes and fixes aren't noted. As the new version was released exactly a week after the last GM candidate, this appears to have been a scheduled second GM build rather than a fix for issues discovered in the first candidate.
Holdup revealed to be privacy concerns by regulators, October 10 still rumored debut
[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may or may not be included in the forthcoming iOS 8.1 beta, and received the clearance to use Chinese LTE and 3G networks.
Minor cosmetic tweaks a-plenty, but no new major features
Following its update of the iOS 8 beta to Golden Master status, Apple on Wednesday also updated iTunes 12, being tested as part of the OS X 10.10 Yosemite public and developer betas. The new version, which still carries the same v12.0 moniker, does not list any significant changes but testers have reported minor tweaks, ranging from a new transparency in the sidebar to a variety of tiny cosmetic changes.
Stats double literally overnight to 0.57 percent of all Mac web traffic
Though the increase is insignificant in the larger picture of overall global Mac web traffic, new numbers from GoSquared suggest that the release yesterday of the Yosemite (OS X 10.10) public beta, limited to a pool of one million Apple ID holders already running Mavericks, doubled the number of people using the forthcoming new update on the web literally overnight. According to GoSquared's live analytics page, use of Yosemite jumped from 0.26 percent on Thursday to 0.57 percent on Friday.
Apple pushes iTunes 12 beta as optional update for OS X Yosemite beta
Apple is pushing OS X Yosemite public beta users access to the new iTunes 12 beta. Developers were granted access to the iTunes 12 beta earlier in this week, and similarly OS X Yosemite public beta users will receive a notification via the Mac App Store software update function to install the optional update. iTunes 12 comes with a redesigned interface along with new features. Like the OS X Yosemite beta, the software is not finalized for release and may not alway work as expected, but gives Mac users an opportunity to provide Apple with feedback ahead of its official introduction.
Will delete photos, videos stored in iCloud Photo Library, email attachments, more
Apple has informed developers testing both of the forthcoming Apple platform releases, iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, that it will again delete content stored on the CloudKit database serving both platforms tomorrow, July 22. Although details were not listed this time, the effect is expected to be the same as the previous "wipe" of the database, which took place on July 7. Anyone testing the iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library or Mail Drop attachment features will see their cloud-stored data destroyed.
Apple on Thursday seeded new betas of Safari for OS X Mavericks (10.9.x) and OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x), number as versions 7.1 and 6.2 respectively, that feature a new build of WebKit with a number of improved and new features. The betas, once released to the public, will help bring the Safari used with those versions closer to the expected updated Safari that will ship with OS X 10.10 Yosemite in the fall. Among the improvements are Web-GL powered 3D rendering, support for IndexedDB for web applications and more.
Beta test ahead of official launch, some features like Voice to be added later on
Users of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) are going to able to use the service on a new mobile platform. Today, BlackBerry announced that the messaging service has made its way to Windows Phones, starting off with a limited run in beta. The company wants to focus on providing an introduction to the program with its first release.
Overwhelming response from fans looking to grab one of 500 beta units
Those vying for a chance to beta test Razer's Nabu smartband might be facing some stiff competition. Razer reported today that more than 250,000 applications were submitted for a chance at getting one of the first 500 devices. The company also announced that it extended the deadline for applications until July 9 because of the high demand.
Bungie to release Destiny beta for Xbox July 23
Bungie's first-person shooter game, Destiny, will be available in beta for Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamers starting July 23. Announced last month for PS4 as an alpha preview (beginning July 17), the online, multiplayer beta will run until July 28. Two deluxe versions of the game are available for pre-order: a $150 Ghost edition and a $100 limited edition in several collectable versions. The official full launch of Destiny is scheduled for September 9.
Build 13E19 also available to members of public Beta Seed Program
On Thursday, Apple offered a new weekly beta of the upcoming OS X 10.9.4 update for Mavericks, once again fixing minor bugs and offering small tweaks as the release shapes up. The new build, 13E19, follows eight days after the previous version, 13E16. Both ask testers to focus on any issues with graphics drivers, Safari, Bluetooth, the App Store, Finder and audio drivers. The new beta is available both to registered developers and members of the public Beta Seed Program.
Shared feature between OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 makes family media sharing simpler
A new feature discussed at the Worldwide Developer's Conference has appeared in the first beta of the iOS 8 version of Apple TV softwre, released on Tuesday. The new feature is the iCloud-based Family Sharing function, which allows up to six family members to access purchased iTunes content from any of the registered devices in the household running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or iOS 8, both of which will be released this fall. The change allows a household to access everyone's media purchases without changing accounts.
Fans can apply for a chance to test the device, purchase Nabu for one dollar
Razer is moving into its next phase of testing with the Nabu smartband, offering fans a chance to test the device before it goes on sale. The company posted on its website this week that it would be moving into a limited beta program starting in July. The test is setup to be extremely small in number, as well as the company being selective as to who it will allow to participate.
New platform for avoiding name mispronounciation launches
Namez, a new platform for creating and accessing audio clips of names being pronounced as they are meant to be heard, has emerged out of beta today. Aiming to reduce mispronunciation and its ensuing embarrassments, Namez has started to accept user-submitted recordings to add to a database that already has a variety of politicians, bands, historical figures, animals and more. Namez also offers a widget that allows users to record their own name and insert the Namez play button in their own site, mail, CV and other places. The company has said that they plan to open up an API for the platform in the future.
Restores Contacts and Calendar local syncing to iTunes
Following the release of internal betas distributed to Apple and AppleCare employees on Tuesday, the company has now made its latest betas for OS X Mavericks and iTunes available to developers. As noted previously, the update to iTunes restores local management of Contacts and Calendar data for users who prefer not to use iCloud syncing. The latest Mavericks beta features improved support for 4K high-definition displays.
Hands-free voice search could hit public Chrome release in near future
Google has updated the beta version of the Chrome browser to add hands-free voice search, among other updates. Version 34 of the beta adds the same voice search functionality the company added to the Chromium browser last month, and allows users to search for items using the "OK Google" command, without needing to install an extension beforehand.
No final release date, no significant changes from previous beta
Developers can now download the fifth version of OS X Mavericks 10.9.2, an upcoming maintenance release, from Software Update through their registered developer accounts, or from the Apple developer portal. The latest update has no significant changes in the release notes, but again asks developers to focus on networking, Mail, Messages, VoiceOver, VPN and graphics drivers. The new build, 13C53, comes one week after the previous release.
VPN Unlimited service for Mac released as beta
VPN Unlimited has announced the availability of its Mac client, launched under a open beta program. Subscribing to a VPN server can allow for access to blocked websites, Wi-Fi connection privacy, and the ability to bypass ISP restrictions. VPN Unlimited's servers are located in the US, UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Including unlimited bandwidth and connection speed, users can utilize their VPN access with up to five devices, and up to three VPN Unlimited accounts can be used on same device or computer. The client apps for both iOS and OS X offer automatic VPN setup.
Requires Mavericks 10.9.2 beta, fixes Profile Manager issue
Just days after its latest update to the forthcoming Mavericks 10.9.2 beta, Apple has also released an updated OS X Server v3.1 for developer testing. The new build, 13S4076F, is said to address a problem with the Profile Manager in which syntax errors appear in migration SQL. The new version can only run on the current beta of 10.9.2, which is also developer-only.
Social relationships-focused contacts app debuts its Early Access Program
Humin, a new social contact organizing app, has launched its Early Access Program for beta users today. The app aims to provide users with a more organic method of organizing contact information from one's standard address book and various social media accounts. Humin uses natural language for users to search for contacts by way of relationship to the user -- where they met, what job they hold, and more. Contacts appear on the app's main screen as "Recent and Suggested," and a search box lets the user find whomever they wish to get in touch with.
Devs also begin Xcode 5.1 beta 4 testing
Apple has released the fourth betas for iOS 7.1 and Xcode 5.1, enabling developers to continue testing the software ahead of a public release. The iOS beta is said to fix a bug related to outgoing messages, however other issues from earlier betas have yet to be resolved, according to an AppleInsider report.
Public release expected soon
(Updated with additional details) Apple has seeded the second iOS 7.1 beta to developers, nearly a month after the first beta was released for testing. The company has yet to publicly detail any changes to the second release, which was spotted by 9To5Mac, though the first beta was primarily centered around bug fixes and performance enhancements.
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.
Safari betas, new Aperture update both focus on bug fixes
Apple has issued an update to its pro-level photo management app Aperture, bringing it up to version 3.5.1 in a free update that corrects several flaws, most notably fixing Temperature & Tint White Balance so that it works correctly. For developers, Apple is now seeding two new Safari betas - one for Lion and Mountain Lion (10.7 and 10.8 respectively) and one for OS X Mavericks (10.9). The Safari betas, which are not yet officially released, focus on viewing and annotating PDF files, along with password autofill troubleshooting.
Name change may hint at imminent release, changes currently unknown
Apple on Thursday released an updated beta of OS X Mavericks, the forthcoming major system upgrade for OS X users. The new version, the ninth, drops the "Developer Preview" part of the name and simply refers to it as "OS X Mavericks," suggesting that pre-release work on it is drawing to a close. Mavericks (otherwise known as OS X 10.9) is widely expected to be released sometime later this month, though Apple hasn't set a formal date as of yet.
Continuing updates reinforce commitment to fall deadlines
In addition to the iOS 7, Apple TV and iTunes 11.1 betas issued earlier today, Apple has also updated the forthcoming Xcode 5, OS X Server and Remote Desktop betas for developers. The Xcode update (Developer Preview 4) fixes a number of crashing bugs and polishes up the interface, with OS X Server update (also at Developer Preview 4) offering much the same in the way of changes. Apple Remote Desktop 3.7 was also updated, but with no reported changes apart from a lack of any known major issues.
Lots of tweaks, small and big, as refinements and polish continue
Beyond the discovery earlier today of biometric and fingerprint-sensor data buried inside the latest beta of iOS 7, researchers examining the new update have found lots of other tweaks and refinements -- everything from the return of Apple TV iTunes music buying to a subtle shift in gradient on the Mail icon, and much more. The evolution of iOS 7 reinforces early comments from veteran developers that every design element in the first beta that was publicly demonstrated at the Worldwide Developer's Conference wasn't set in stone, and that the update would evolve.
Currently limited download options due to Dev Center downtime
Right on schedule and one week after the previous build, Apple has again made available a new beta of the forthcoming OS X 10.8.5 for developers to test. Also like last week, the new version (12F26) is just three build numbers higher than the previous one, suggesting that the company is nearing the end of testing.
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.
Latest update continues focus on bug fixes, performance
Late on Monday -- and like the iOS 7 beta released earlier in the day, arriving two weeks after the last one -- Apple has posted OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 3. While it is too soon to notice any significant changes or improvements, the beta is focused on compatibility and performance issues, as well as integrating the forthcoming "iCloud Keychain" feature. The update is still dealing with a raft of known issues, including some that render it incompatible with even the last Mavericks and iOS 7 betas. Installation on production machines remains strongly discouraged.
Company maintains strict weekly schedule for updates
If it's Wednesday, there must be a new beta of the forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5 for developers to test. Apple has issued build 12F17 -- once again only four builds higher than the previous release -- for testing by program developers and, most recently, Apple retail store workers. As has been the case with the previous betas, no known issues are listed and testers are asked to focus on Wi-Fi (including new 802.11ac testing) and the "wake From sleep" function, both of which have seen issues for some in Mountain Lion.
App makers appear keen to redress apps to match iOS 7's 'look'
Mobile web advertising and optimizing company Onswipe is reporting that interest in the iOS 7 beta is growing at a furious pace, with three quarters of a percent of the iPhone user base already running the software in beta. The figures represents at a minimum more than two million iPhones, far higher than those running the iOS 6 beta at the same point in its development cycle. While some of that figure may be users who have pirated the (notoriously unstable and buggy) beta, most is believed to be developers who need to match their apps to iOS 7's new look.
Weekly updates of Mountain Lion continue, focus on improvements
The weekly updates of the next minor update to OS X Mountain Lion continue, with the second beta of OS X 10.8.5 being distributed to developers and Apple retail staff through the Mac Developer Center and the Mac App Store for those with developer or employee accounts. The release again focuses on bug fixes rather than new features, though there is some speculation that the forthcoming release could be the last for Mountain Lion as the company focuses on OS X Mavericks (10.9), the second Developer Preview of which was sent out on Tuesday.