Following earlier beta releases of iOS 8.1, Apple today formally announced the release of the first point update to September’s iOS 8.0. iOS 8.1 adds support for Apple Pay, the NFC-dependent wireless transaction technology introduced in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as bringing back user-requested features, including the Camera Roll. Apple is also using iOS 8.1 to debut the iCloud Photo Library tied in with the public beta of Photos, the new OS X Yosemite photo management and editing app designed to replace iPhoto and Aperture.
During his introduction of iOS 8.1, Apple’s Craig Federighi also noted that 48% of the installed base are on iOS 8.0 after roughly a month, which sounds low, but is nearly twice as high as the last release of Android after nearly a year. iOS 8.1 will be available on October 20.
Apple Pay, the NFC-dependent wireless transaction technology introduced in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, has been confirmed for an October 20, 2014 launch in the United States. A collection of previously-announced retailers will be the first to have Apple Pay in their stores.
Five hundred additional banks have signed up to support Apple Pay since it was announced, including all of the major networks and a number of major retailers signing on to support by year’s end. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted today that Apple Pay payments can also be made online, not just at retail stores.
Later in the event, Apple also introduced Apple Pay for the iPad Air 2, however, it explicitly omitted any reference to NFC capabilities for in-store purchasing using iPads. The suggestion was that Apple Pay can only be used for iPad online purchases.
Apple announced that it will release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 36 more countries and territories by the end of the month. The new iPhones will be available in a total of 69 countries by October’s end, and Apple claims more than 115 countries will have the new iPhones by the end of 2014 — the fastest iPhone rollout ever. Starting on Friday, October 17, the phones will launch in India, Monaco, and China, while rolling out to more countries over the next few weeks. Chinese site Tencent claims more than 20 million preorders for the new iPhones have already been processed in China.
Many users are having issues with Bluetooth connectivity following the update to iOS 8 earlier this month, as noted in a recent report from MacRumors. Reports from numerous users on the Apple Support forums and MacRumors forums indicate problems with connecting not only to car audio systems but also headphones, speakers, headsets, and more. Some have reported that Apple support is aware of the incompatibility issue with “some car/navigation Bluetooth” systems, pertaining at least to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and has said it is working on a fix. The problem with car audio systems appears to affect a wide variety of models, including Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Ford, and more. iLounge’s editors have experienced problems with the iPhone 6 Plus but not older iPhone models, although there are reports that other users of older devices are in fact experiencing similar problems. There have also been developer reports that Apple may have already addressed this issue in the iOS 8.1 beta released earlier this week.
Pioneer has announced that a new firmware update enables Apple CarPlay in five of its NEX in-dash multimedia receivers, as it becomes the first company to make an aftermarket CarPlay system available. While the company initially said CarPlay compatibility would be available in “early summer” this year, Pioneer has still beaten nearly everyone else to CarPlay inclusion, including Apple’s automotive partners — Apple quietly changed its CarPlay page recently to withdraw promises to 2014 availability. Pioneer’s NEX receivers range in price from $700 to $1400, and CarPlay will also be compatible with the company’s new $600 AppRadio 4. The firmware update is available for free on Pioneer’s firmware downloads page.
A serious bug has been reported with the “Reset All Settings” option in iOS 8 that may result in at least some iCloud Drive based documents being deleted. According to several MacRumors readers, using the option found under Settings, General, Reset has caused documents to be permanently removed from iCloud Drive across all other iOS devices. The “Reset All Settings” option has been around since the early versions of iOS, and as the name implies is designed to reset all user-configurable settings on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch back to their factory defaults, without actually deleting any data from the device or the cloud. While it is unclear what iCloud Drive data is being impacted by this bug, it appears that at least Apple’s own Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps are impacted.
Apple has released the first beta of iOS 8.1 to registered developers. The latest version features a build number of 12B401 and appears to contain mostly minor tweaks and fixes, including the ability to disable Dictation independently from Siri, and a renaming of “Recently Added” photos back to “Camera Roll.” A report from MacRumors also notes that the beta includes hidden settings for Apple Pay as well as underlying code for iPad Touch ID support.
Apple has announced that its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in China starting on Friday, Oct. 17. Pre-orders start a week earlier, on Oct. 10. The two new iPhones have been released in a number of countries since the initial launch on Sept. 19, but the Chinese release was delayed for regulatory reasons, making it unclear when the phones would be available. According to Reuters, Apple received approval for selling the devices after addressing a number of security concerns raised by the Chinese government.
“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”
Apple is currently working on iOS 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 at the same time, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that such a move away from Apple’s normal development cycle might show that the company won’t tie annual major iOS releases to typical fall hardware releases. Otherwise, Apple may be accelerating its iOS point release development while keeping iOS 9 for release next fall. It’s possible that the upcoming releases of 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 will introduce major new features, such as Apple Pay, split-screen iPad apps, or an update to make iPhones compatible with the Apple Watch.
A new report in the Washington Post reveals that new features in iOS 8 intended to limit tracking of iPhones may be more limited than users might expect. According to Apple’s Privacy Page, iOS 8 will protect user’s privacy by “randomizing your device’s MAC address when the device is passively scanning for Wi-Fi networks,” thereby preventing persistent tracking of a device based on the normally-fixed hardware addresses that are common to all Wi-Fi devices.
However, a new post from a principal systems engineer of the WiFi analytics firm AirTight Networks, Bhupinder Misra, reveals that the feature may not be as useful as Apple’s description implies. Misra specifically notes that the privacy feature is limited to the iPhone 5c/5s and likely newer models, and in fact is only operational when the iPhone is in sleep mode and location services are disabled. For example, Misra explains, the device’s actual Wi-Fi hardware address is broadcast whenever a user wakes up their iPhone for just about any reason, such as sending a text message—even if they’re not connecting to a Wi-Fi network but simply relying on their carrier’s cellular data connection.
Although a publicly available iOS Security White Paper from Apple explains some of these limitations, it makes no mention of the requirement that location services be disabled, making it unclear whether this is intentional behaviour or a bug in the feature’s implementation. It is also worth noting, however, that the Wi-Fi hardware address only reveals the identity of a specific device; no personal information about the user of the device is accessible in this manner. In other words, a store could track how often a specific customer had visited their store based on their device’s Wi-Fi address, but would be unable to identify the specific customer with this method unless they connected to the store’s Wi-Fi network and specifically provided personal information in some way, such as signing onto a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Our video review of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus gives viewers a look at some of the ground covered in our comprehensive site review of both devices. We hope this gives consumers even more background and information on the new iPhones as you see them up close and in action. Please read our full review for many more details.
Apple’s quickly-pulled iOS 8.0.1 update was overseen by the same manager in charge of catching problems with Apple Maps before that program was released, according to Bloomberg. The report claims mid-level manager Josh Williams oversees quality assurance for iOS, and Williams was also in charge of quality control for Apple’s much-maligned Maps release in 2012. A source said Williams was removed from the Maps team “after the software gave users unreliable directions and mislabeled landmarks,” but he remained in charge of iOS testing. Williams has reportedly been working on quality control for iPhone software “since early iterations of the product,” and he leads a team of more than 100 people worldwide.
Former employees said the company relies on people to find bugs more than it uses automation-testing. The report also notes that engineers in charge of testing new software “often don’t get their hands on the latest iPhones until the same time that they arrive with customers, resulting in updates that may not get tested as much on the latest handsets.” Only senior managers can use unreleased iPhones without special permission, sources said.
Apple has released iOS 8.0.2 tonight, just one day after releasing and pulling iOS 8.0.1, which was immediately received with complaints of cellular and Touch ID issues from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. iOS 8.0.2 resolves those problems, and also allows HealthKit apps to be available on the App Store, among other fixes.
Update: Some Australian users are still experiencing cellular and Touch ID problems after installing iOS 8.0.2, according to MacRumors.
Apple has issued an official response to the controversy surrounding alleged problems with iPhone 6 units bending during normal use, stating that it has received complains from only nine customers, and that the iPhones “feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations.”
ALERT: Apple says only 9 customers have complained to the company about bent iPhones. (via @jonfortt)— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) September 25, 2014
Apple: New iPhones feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations and use the strongest glass in the industry. (via @jonfortt)— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) September 25, 2014
The company also told the Wall Street Journal that cases of the iPhone 6 bending through normal use are “extremely rare,” and that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have undergone “a series of tests meant to check the products’ strength and durability to withstand every day, real-life use.” [via 9to5Mac]
Following reports earlier this week that iPhone 6 Plus users were experiencing problems with iPhones bending in their pockets, Apple Support has responded to an inquiry from The Next Web indicating that bent iPhones could be replaced under warranty if they pass a “Visual Mechanical Inspection” test, but that it is ultimately up to the Genius at any given Apple Store as to whether the device would qualify for a replacement or not. The Apple Support representative also noted that they are “looking into this with an insane amount of detail” although no official warranty policy has yet been confirmed by Apple.
Apple has released a new support document that instructs users on how to downgrade from iOS 8.0.1 back to iOS 8. The document is called “Loss of cellular service or ability to use Touch ID after updating to iOS 8.0.1 on iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.” iOS 8.0.1 was pulled only hours after it was released on Wednesday, after many users reported losing cellular service and the ability to use Touch ID on the the company’s newest iPhones. Apple also notes in the document that 8.0.2 will fix the issue and be released “as soon as it’s ready in the next few days.” It’s also noted that the Health app won’t work for users who reinstall iOS 8 after downgrading — that issue will also be fixed in iOS 8.0.2.
Apple has already released a maintenance update only a week following the company’s release of iOS 8. Listed as “containing improvements and bug fixes,” iOS 8.0.1 notably addresses the issue that affected use of HealthKit by third-party apps revealed last week. Other improvements and fixes include issues with third-party keyboards, apps accessing the Photo Library, reliability of the Reachability feature on the iPhone 6, fixes for unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages, and more. The update is now available in Settings, General, Software Update.
Update: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users have reported a complete loss of cellular connectivity and Touch ID functionality following the 8.0.1 update. iPhone 5s and other iPhone users appear to be unaffected, but we would advise users to hold off on this update for the time being.
Update 2: Apple has pulled the iOS 8.0.1 update following widespread reports of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus problems.
Apple appears to be quietly pulling back on its promise of 2014 availability for CarPlay technology, with an update to its CarPlay page now removing any indications of 2014 availability for specific models. Apple originally announced earlier this year that CarPlay would be “available in select cars shipping in 2014”, and several other manufacturers including Audi, Hyundai, and Volvo had originally indicated that they would be delivering CarPlay in at least some 2015 models due to hit the market this year. However, Mercedes and Volvo have since both announced last month that they are now delaying CarPlay support until 2015. The specific reasons for the delay are unclear at this time. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has posted two new ads for the iPhone 6, featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The new ads, Huge (above), and Cameras, began airing last night and highlight the larger screens of the new models and the enhanced camera capabilities. [via 9to5Mac]
Several research and analytics firms have reported that iOS 8 adoption has reached 30% following the first weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, based on in-app analytics reported by Fiksu, Mixpanel, Appsee, and Chitika. While this number is up from the estimated 15% adoption following the initial iOS 8 public release last week, it still falls short of the almost 50% of users that had updated to iOS 7 by this time last year. The higher adoption rates of course include the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which come with iOS 8 preinstalled, which would account for at least some of the increase. Stats from Appsee also notably indicate that 2% of users are still on iOS 6.0. Apple has not yet released any official numbers for iOS 8 adoption. [via 9to5Mac]