Tag - WatchOS
TestFlight, Apple's platform for developers to try out their apps in a group beta test, has been updated to support the operating system changes announced by the company earlier this week at WWDC. Following after the release of the developer beta of the company's operating systems, Apple has upgraded TestFlight to work with apps created for the iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3 betas, including new features announced during the developer conference.
Developers and other testers have gotten their hands on the preview releases of the next major versions of each of Apple's four platforms -- the newly-renamed macOS Sierra (formerly OS X 10.12), iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10. Beyond the announced feature set seen during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, there have been a number of discoveries of unannounced changes, additional (minor) features, and other small tweaks and surprises. While they may change (or even be withdrawn) before the final release, here are some that caught our attention.
As it does every year, Apple has announced the winners of the 2016 Apple Design Awards for student and professional apps made for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS -- the first year that all four platforms offered awards. An emphasis this year was on apps that were compatible with multiple languages as well as being accessibility-friendly. One student-made app, Dividr, was already available on the iOS App Store, and offers a twist on the rapid-runner scenario by allowing the character to be split into two that can be controlled independently to help pass more blocks and gather more coins. Among the other honorees were creative writing tool Ulysses for Mac (and now iOS), video collaboration app Frame.io for iOS, and music creation app djay Pro for iPad.
The chief of the Apple Watch, Kevin Lynch, unveiled a first look at watchOS 3.0, which introduced a number of new features -- chief among them is dramatically faster app launches through the used of background updates and favorites apps remaining in memory. Also new is a dock-like setup, and a swipe up to bring up an iOS-like Control Center. Apple has made general speed improvements throughout, and included some new watch faces -- including an "activity face" that shows both the activity rings and the clock face.
With just one week to go before its major Worldwide Developers Conference that is -- among other things -- expected to show off the next major upgrades to OS X, iOS, and various other software (and potentially hardware) items, Apple has released second betas of OS X 10.11.6, iOS 9.3.3, and tvOS 9.2.2, along with a first beta of watchOS 2.2.2 for developers, with public-tester versions of the OS X and iOS betas expected to arrive tomorrow. While no user-facing changes have yet been revealed, each beta brings with it small tweaks and changes to improve stability, performance, and security.
Having missed its usual beta cycle last week, Apple on Monday updated all of its OS platforms alongside a potential bug-fix release of iTunes, which also incorporates some design tweaks to the venerable media-management program. Updated today is OS X (to version 10.11.5), iOS (to 9.3.2), tvOS (9.2.1), watchOS (2.2.1), and iTunes for OS X has been bumped to version 12.4, which addresses a potential risk of accidental music deletion for a small number of users.
On Wednesday, Apple issued the public-tester version of yesterday's iOS 9.3.2 developer beta, and also updated developer accounts with the third betas for OS X 10.11.5, and tvOS 9.2.2. In addition, Apple updated its Safari Technology Preview browser to a third beta, which is now available for public testing alongside the current stable release of Safari. The Safari TP version is meant to showcase features and speed improvements coming with the next release of OS X. It's unclear if a developer-only third beta of watchOS 2.2.1 will be issued soon.
Apple has advised developers of an upcoming requirement for apps created for the Apple Watch they must adhere to when producing software for the wearable device, via a brief announcement on the company's developer website. The single sentence announcement says "Starting June 1, 2016, all new watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later," followed by a link for more information about developing for watchOS.
[Update: added detail to iOS 9.3.2 beta] On Wednesday, Apple issued the second developer beta for OS X 10.11.5, iOS 9.3.2, watchOS 2.2.1, and tvOS 9.2.1, all coming two weeks after the previous betas. The updates are all bereft of any immediately-obvious changes, though some notable tweaks may be discovered later by testers. As with this entire update cycle, the focus with the releases has been on bug fixes and performance and stability improvements. One significant improvement in the iOS 9.3.2 is a possible fix for a long-standing Game Center bug that sometimes results in a blank screen, preventing users from playing the games involved.
A change in watchOS 2 has disabled a "secret" repair port that is located inside the band attachment slot in the Apple Watch, which has also killed off the business model of Reserve Strap, which offered a "battery pack" watch strap that could extend the battery life of the Watch by taking advantage of the port. The company has suspended shipments of the strap to customers who have upgraded, but is urging fans to encourage Apple to license such uses that take advantage of the port in a future MFi Apple Watch program.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE