Archive for the ‘iOS’ Category

New automation features are coming to macOS in Shortcuts—but not for every app

April 19th, 2019
A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12.

Enlarge / A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12. (credit: Apple)

According to a report at 9to5mac citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, several iOS features will come to the Mac in macOS 10.15.

First and foremost among these is Shortcuts, the automation application that Apple built out of its acquisition of Workflow. The app, support for which was introduced in iOS 12, allows iPhone and iPad users to define steps for their devices to perform when they deliver certain user-definable Siri voice commands, tap user-created home screen icons, and so on.

Shortcuts is tightly integrated with Siri, and it was positioned by Apple as a way to make Siri much more powerful than it has been previously. Third-party app developers could develop their own Shortcuts and accompanying Siri commands that could be accessed across the operating system.

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Posted in apple, Automator, iOS, MacOS, screen time, shortcuts, Siri, Tech, WWDC, WWDC 2019 | Comments (0)

Two reports describe major new iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 features

April 16th, 2019
The front of the 2019 iPad Air

Enlarge / The front of the 2019 iPad Air. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Two reports by Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac citing "people familiar with the development" of both macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 may have revealed some notable new features in Apple's operating systems for Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

In the first report, published yesterday, Rambo describes new additions in iOS 13, which has long been expected to be a major release after iOS 12 was focused on improving performance and reliability.

The report says that iPads running iOS 13 will support multiple windows: "Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely." Users will be able to stack the cards or dismiss them with a gesture.

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Posted in iOS, iOS 13, ipad, iphone, Mac, MacOS, macOS 10.15, Tech | Comments (0)

Dealmaster: The iPhone SE is back (again) at Apple, starting at $249

April 12th, 2019
Dealmaster: The iPhone SE is back (again) at Apple, starting at $249

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

The iPhone SE is available for purchase again as Apple brought the small handset back to the clearance section of its online store. While supplies last, you can get a 32GB iPhone SE for $249 and a few select 128GB models for $299. Those prices represent up to $150 off of the iPhone SE's listing price of $349 to $449.

This isn't the first time in recent memory that the iPhone SE has popped up discounted on Apple's website. A few weeks ago, Apple listed a small number of the handsets, but they sold out within hours. It's unclear how long these deals will last, but we expect this batch of clearance iPhone SEs to disappear just as quickly as the last.

The relatively tiny iPhone first debuted back in March 2016 and has gleaned a passionate following among those who prefer smaller handsets. It has a 4-inch IPS Retina display (with bezels that would make the current family of iPhones shudder), a physical Home button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, among other features. It runs on Apple's A9 chipset and, while it doesn't have the newest technology for FaceID or AR capabilities, it does have TouchID.

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Posted in apple, dealmaster, deals, iOS, iphone, iphone SE, Tech | Comments (0)

Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices

April 8th, 2019
Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices

Enlarge (credit: Maurizio Pesce Follow)

Researchers recently discovered a well-funded mobile phone surveillance operation that was capable of surreptitiously stealing a variety of data from phones running both the iOS and Android operating systems. Researchers believe the malware is so-called "lawful intercept" software sold to law-enforcement and governments.

Exodus, as the malware for Android phones has been dubbed, was under development for at least five years. It was spread in apps disguised as service applications from Italian mobile operators. Exodus was hidden inside apps available on phishing websites and nearly 25 apps available in Google Play. In a report published two weeks ago, researchers at Security without Borders said Exodus infected phones estimated to be in the "several hundreds if not a thousand or more."

Exodus consisted of three distinct stages. The first was a small dropper that collected basic identifying information about the device, such as IMEI and phone number and sent it to a command-and-control server. A second stage was installed almost immediately after the researchers’ test phone was infected with the first stage and also reported to a control server. That led researchers to believe all phones infected with stage one are indiscriminately infected with later stages.

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Posted in Android, Biz & IT, iOS, malware, surveillance | Comments (0)

Apple releases iOS 12.2 with support for News+ service, new AirPods

March 25th, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Apple quietly pushed out a lengthy iOS software update today. While the day was largely dominated by Apple's "It's Show Time" event in which the iPhone maker announced news, gaming, and TV subscription services, it just released updates that will help users get settled with some of the new announcements.

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ won't be available until the fall, so iOS 12.2's biggest updates revolve around Apple News+. The company's new, $10-per-month news and magazine subscription service requires an update to the existing News app, which brings the UI for top articles and magazine issues chosen by Apple editors. The updated News app will also allow subscribers to read content offline and receive personalized recommendations based on topics that are most interesting to them.

iOS 12.2 also adds support for Apple's newest AirPods, which carry the new H1 chip that lets wearers call upon Siri without touching the AirPods first. The update also lets users summon Siri from iPhones or iPads to play any video, show, movie, sports game, or channel on their Apple TVs, essentially extending Siri's role on mobile devices as a virtual remote for the Apple TV.

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Posted in animoji, apple, Apple Arcade, Apple News, Apple TV, iOS, MacOS, Siri, software update, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple News+: A newsstand of 300 glossy magazines for $9.99/month

March 25th, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

CUPERTINO, Calif.—As expected, Apple has announced a magazine subscription service built on top of its acquisition last year of Texture. Called Apple News+, it will offer fully browsable, digital versions of over 300 print magazines and newspapers like Wired, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. The service also includes a number of digital-only publications.The service builds on top of Apple's free news content, which aggregates content from online publications like Forbes and The Atlantic.

As presented on stage, the service closely resembles what Texture looked like before. There is a heavy emphasis on human curation, with reading lists of articles across publications on certain themes and the like.  As a bonus, magazines can offer live covers, turning their splashy photos into miniature videos.

Texture was previously owned jointly by several publishers, but Apple acquired the company, its staff, and its technology for an undisclosed amount in March of 2018. According to reports publishers make their content available on the platform and share 50 percent of the revenue with Apple. Some publishers have balked at these terms, and some are reportedly grandfathered in from their deal with Texture, meaning that their continued participation in the service is not assured.

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Posted in Apple News, Apple News Magazines, iOS, ipad, Tech, Texture | Comments (0)

Call of Duty Mobile announced for iOS, Android, made by China’s Tencent

March 19th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—Activision has taken the wraps off its first major Call of Duty video game for smartphones. The title is simple enough: Call of Duty Mobile. The online, multiplayer-only game will arrive later this year, but neither Activision nor any of its Western CoD-focused studios will lead the game's development.

Instead, dev duties will be handled by Tencent, one of China's leading mobile-game publishing houses. (Activision did not clarify any particular studio taking the lead within Tencent on this game.)

Call of Duty Mobile was unveiled at today's Unity keynote presentation as part of the 2019 Game Developer Conference, because it has been built in the Unity Engine. An Activision representative at the Unity event said that players can expect "beloved maps, competitive game modes, and signature combat mechanics from [Call of Duty entries like] Black Ops and Modern Warfare." Teased maps coming to the series' first-ever mobile version include Nuketown, Hijacked, and Crash, and fans can expect traditional CoD multiplayer systems like kill streaks.

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Posted in Android, Call of Duty, Gaming & Culture, GDC, gdc 2019, iOS | Comments (0)

Apple updates $499 iPad Air, $399 iPad mini ahead of services event next week

March 18th, 2019
Apple updates $499 iPad Air, $399 iPad mini ahead of services event next week

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

We're one week out from Apple's services-focused event in Cupertino, and the company just announced a pair of devices we've been expecting for quite some time. Apple debuted a new, $499 10.5-inch iPad Air and a new, $399 7.9-inch iPad mini today. Both have familiar designs but also have the company's new A12 Bionic chip.

The new iPad Air looks like previous models, with thicker bezels on the top and bottom of the advanced Retina display (now with True Tone technology) to house the camera array and the physical Home button. While both new iPads have updated cameras that can better handle low-light situations and immersive AR experiences, they appear to omit FaceID entirely.

Inside the iPad Air is the new A12 Bionic chip with Apple's neural engine, and the company claims it will make the new Air 70 percent faster than previous versions with twice the graphics power. The updated display now supports the Apple Pencil as well, giving more users the opportunity to draw, sketch, and take notes on an iPad.

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Posted in apple, iOS, ipad, iPad Air, iPad mini, tablet, Tech | Comments (0)

Spotify’s EU antitrust complaint could be a serious threat to Apple

March 14th, 2019
The Apple logo takes corporeal form outside an Apple store.

Enlarge (credit: Andrew / Flickr)

Apple is abusing its control over the iOS App Store to give its own music streaming service an unfair advantage over competitors, Spotify argued in a Wednesday filing with the European Commission.

"Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience," writes Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek. "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition."

For years, Apple has pressured Spotify to use Apple's In-App Purchase service to collect subscription fees. Spotify has resisted, largely because Apple takes a whopping 30-percent commission. Over time, Spotify says, Apple has tightened up its app store rules to make it more and more difficult for app makers to direct users to payment methods outside the Apple ecosystem.

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Posted in antitrust, App Store, apple, competition policy, European Commission, iOS, Policy, spotify | Comments (0)

You can now play PlayStation 4 games on your iPhone

March 7th, 2019

Today, Sony released its 6.50 firmware for PlayStation 4 systems. The tentpole feature of the update is support for remote play to iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. The release coincided with the release of a "PS4 Remote Play" app on the Apple App Store.

Remote Play has been around as a feature for years in one form or another—since the PlayStation 3, even. It allows you to stream games from your PS4 to your PlayStation Vita, Windows or Mac laptop, or other supported device, and it lets you control the game remotely, too. The recently deceased Vita had a custom control layout for playing PS4 games, while Windows and Mac users could connect the PlayStation's DualShock 4 controllers to their computers.

Unfortunately, you can't sync a DualShock 4 controller with an iPhone at present. You can use a MFi controller, but its layout is generally not optimal—for example, an MFi controller may not allow you to press down on the control sticks as buttons, which is labeled L3 and R3 on the PS4 and frequently used in games. In Apex Legends, L3 is sprint by default, and R3 is for the melee attack—kind of critical.

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Posted in apple, Gaming & Culture, iOS, iphone, Playstation 4, playstation 4 pro, ps4, PS4 Pro, Remote play, Sony, streaming, Tech | Comments (0)