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Apple announces Controller Forwarding feature

Apple announced a new Controller Forwarding feature in a closed presentation Monday at WWDC, 9to5Mac reports. The feature would allow MFi iPhone controllers to act as controllers for iPads and Macs. Additionally, the iPhone’s touchscreen and motion control could also be used as a controller for those devices. These features may also open up the possibility for using iOS devices as game controllers for Apple TV.

Xcode 6 contains resizable iPad, iPhone simulators

Apple’s Xcode 6 contains a new feature that lets developers test interfaces for “resizable iPhones” and “resizable iPads.” Allowing for adjustments for both devices alludes to possible new resolutions for both iPhone and iPad devices. While 4.7” and 5.5” iPhone models are expected at this point, allowing developers to adjust to new iPad resolutions may add some fuel to rumors of a 12” iPad, which we’ve referred to as the “iPad Pro.” [via 9to5Mac]

Apps: Google+ 4.7, Instagram 6.0, Toca Town, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Google has updated its Google+ (free) iOS app to version 4.7.0. The updated app introduces Google+ Stories, which combine photos, videos, and places into trip summaries. A new photo editor featuring filters and other creative tools has also been added. Users can now check out total content views within profiles, and support is now offered for reporting abusive communities.

Instagram (free) has upgraded its app to version 6.0.0. The app now has 10 new photo-editing tools, including tools to enrich colors, adjust lighting, sharpen, and perfect a composition. It’s also now possible to adjust the filter strength just by double tapping. Uploading and sharing videos has also become an easier process with the update.

Razer introduces Junglecat iPhone game controller

Razer has introduced Junglecat ($100), a game controller for iPhone 5/5s. The Junglecat is a sliding keyboard built into an iPhone case — it slides out from under the case with a d-pad, pause button, four action buttons and two bumper buttons. A Junglecat companion app lets users remap the buttons, adjust button pressure sensitivity, and store personalized profiles.

The case includes front ports for audio, as well as open access to the iPhone’s ports and buttons, though the camera is blocked when the controller tray isn’t out. Razer Junglecat comes in black and white and is available now.

T-Mobile announces support for iOS 8 Wi-Fi Calling

T-Mobile announced it will support Wi-Fi Calling on the iPhone with iOS 8, which was quietly introduced by Apple on Monday. This feature will allow T-Mobile customers to place calls and send messages even in areas of poor cellular service, as long as there’s a Wi-Fi network. T-Mobile has supported Wi-Fi Calling on various other smartphones since 2007. To use T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling, users must only connect to a Wi-Fi network while the feature is turned on. This comes after a recent announcement that T-Mobile has launched voice-over-LTE on its network in Seattle, though the iPhone is not supported as of yet.

Apple updates app guidelines to allow ‘approved’ virtual currencies

Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines to allow transmission of certain approved virtual currencies, Reuters reports. Section 11.17 in the guidelines states: “Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.” It’s unclear which virtual currencies would be allowed under the updated guidelines; Apple provided no further details and didn’t issue a response to the report.

Apple previously pulled Blockchain, a popular Bitcoin wallet, from the App Store in February. Blockchain CEO Nic Cary told Bitcoin news service newsBTC that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the recent change, and plans on resubmitting the Blockchain iOS app for approval.

iOS 8: More New Features, Revealed

Every time Apple introduces a new operating system, there are always features that either only get mentioned in a giant list on a slide behind the presenter, or go completely unspoken and are only discovered once people begin playing around with it. iOS 8 is no different; in addition to all new features Apple made a big deal out of, there are plenty more worth noting. Here are some of the biggest ones.

  • Weather Channel Providing Information To Weather App
  • DuckDuckGo Support
  • iBooks Preinstalled
  • Wi-Fi Calling
  • Time-Lapse Videos
  • FaceTime Call Waiting
  • Panaromic Photos on iPad
  • Battery Usage By App
  • Tips App
  • Time Limits And Countdown Timer For Guided Access
  • Camera Timer
  • Rich Text In Notes

If you find additional iOS 8 features that may be of interest, feel free to add them to the comments section at the bottom of this article!

Apple debuts Swift, new development language

Today at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple took the wraps off Swift, an entirely new development language for iOS, effectively replacing the requirement for developers to use Objective-C. Swift provides developers with a simpler and higher-performance development language to build apps in, eliminating many of the common errors that can be encountered with Objective-C while improving development time. Swift will be integrated into XCode and uses the same Objective-C runtime environment, allowing developers to seamlessly mix Swift and native C code into the same projects.

Apple debuts HomeKit as home automation solution

Apple has debuted HomeKit, a common network protocol with secure pairing that will let an iPhone control locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, and switches. A recent report noted Apple would be debuting a home automation platform at WWDC, and this system ties together offerings across a number of different third-party companies.

Apple debuts HealthKit, iOS app named Health

Apple has introduced HealthKit during the company’s introduction of iOS 8. HealthKit is a one-stop feature in iOS 8 for health apps to integrate in one place; Apple also introduced a new Health app. The previously rumored feature has been referred to as Healthbook in the past.

Apple unveils iOS 8

Apple CEO Tim Cook officially introduced iOS 8, the company’s newest operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, at WWDC today. “iOS 8 is a giant release,” Cook said.

After the introduction, Apple’s Craig Federighi took the stage to cover iOS 8. New interactive notifications in iOS 8 let users respond to notifications without leaving current apps. Double tapping the Home button can now allow users to quickly access recently used contacts, in addition to apps. Spotlight now shows results in the App Store, news, iTunes, movies and more.

QuickType now supports predictive typing suggestions when typing. The feature is context-sensitive and personalized, with promises of privacy and increased language support. Federighi also showed the continuity features linking iOS to Mac, as seen in the Mac presentation.

Tweaks to messages in iOS 8 allow users to name threads, add and remove people from a thread, use Do Not Disturb to mute notifications in a threat, or choose when to leave a thread. Locations can also be shared, and an enhanced view lets users show attachments shared within a thread. A tap-to-talk feature lets users insert voice and video messages within a thread.

The new Device Enrollment Program will automatically configure iOS devices for enterprise users straight out of the box. Federighi then introduced HealthKit.

Family Sharing in iOS 8 allows family members to auto-share photos, calendars, reminders, and more. It allows up to six family members who share the same credit card to access all of the family’s purchases. A child wishing to make an app purchase will send a request prompt to their parents’ iOS devices.

Within Photos, iCloud will now allow users to search for any photos taken on any device. Photo search lets users search for specific photos using location, time, and other options. Smart Editing controls now lets users have immediate photo editing options. After 5GB of free storage, iCloud storage will now be offered at $1 a month for 20GB, and $4 a month for 200GB.

Siri now lets users access the feature by voice. It will now support Shazam, iTunes purchases, streaming voice recognition and 22 new languages. Maps have also been improved, with China gaining vector-based maps.

App Store search has been improved. Developers can now show app previews, and can offer app bundles — a number of apps at a discounted price. Free beta testing is now available through TestFlight. All the features will be available in the fall, Cook said.

In iOS 8, third-party apps can interact with each other. Third-party apps can also have widgets which will be accessible from Notification Center. Third-party keyboards can now be used across iOS 8 as a new extension. Touch ID is also being opened up to developers.

HomeKit was also introduced — a common network protocol for home automation.

Also introduced was Metal, a new graphics system that allows for advanced rendering and improved performance, and SceneKit a 3D renderer for more casual games. SpriteKit also received an update. Apple also introduced a new programming language, Swift.

iOS 8 will be available in the fall, and it’s available in beta as of today.

WWDC 2014: All The News You Want To See

The 2014 keynote event at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins today at 1PM Eastern / 10AM Pacific Time, and a live video stream of the event will be available at this link and via the Apple Events channel on Apple TVs. A number of announcements are expected today for iOS 8, notably including the health-tracking feature Healthbook, an iOS-centric home automation feature and certification program, as well as further developments of the location-based iBeacons notification service. iOS 8 is anticipated to look largely like iOS 7, but feature a number of under-the-hood performance improvements and feature boosts.

Additionally, the new version of OS X for Macs will be shown, featuring a significant visual redesign akin to iOS 7’s. Well-sourced rumors suggest that Apple will also show new hardware, potentially including new Mac 4K displays, while previously-rumored “in development” products such as a 12” iPad could make appearances as well. Here’s what was actually announced, each with its own full article.

iOS 8
HealthKit and Health App for iOS 8
HomeKit for iOS 8 Home Automation
OS X Yosemite (10.10)
Apple Photos for OS X
Swift, A New Development Language for OS X and iOS

No new hardware was introduced during the WWDC 2014 keynote. iLounge’s editors have released a multi-editorial on WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and more for an opinionated look at today’s announcements.

iLounge App Spotlight: Disney Karaoke: Frozen

Ever since Frozen hit theaters in November 2013 - at the beginning of what turned out to be a historically long winter - the buzz over Disney’s remake of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen hasn’t stopped. Families flocked to theaters to make it the highest-grossing animated film in history, with well over $1 Billion in box office revenue, and fans of all ages have been singing along with its soundtrack at home, on YouTube, and elsewhere. Today’s release of Disney Karaoke: Frozen ($8) is the company’s attempt to capture some of that interest and monetize it.

For the asking price, iPad users — not iPhone or iPod users — get an app with nine Frozen songs: Frozen Heart, Do You Want To Build A Snowman?, two versions of For the First Time In Forever, Love Is An Open Door, Let It Go, Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People, In Summer, and Fixer Upper. Each song is effectively a music video taken directly from movie footage, albeit with the music segmented into an ever-playing instrumental portion and an optional vocal track.

WSJ: Apple paying $2.5B for Beats Electronics, $500M for Beats Music

Apple’s recently announced $3 billion acquisition of Beats breaks down to about $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics hardware and a little less than $500 million for the Beats Music streaming service, the Wall Street Journal reports. The report notes the breakdown “was largely an accounting issue, because the two Beats units are backed by different investors.” However, it does give some insight into the total valuation of Beats. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in multiple interviews the deal was also about the talent involved, including Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

iPhone 6 rear shell leaked?

An photo of the alleged 4.7” iPhone 6 rear shell has been posted on Australian site MacFixIt. The design seems to match rumors and what we’ve seen before, including the lack of a dual camera flash. We believe this is likely to be a legitimate part, for a number of reasons, including the proper camera and flash holes.

Also, the piece appears to have color consistent integration of the D-shaped end pieces, with a difference in texture — it’s possible that antenna compartments are built right into a unibody case. Those end parts may be made of LiquidMetal, though we can’t say for sure. We believe this is a gold iPhone under the green plastic wrapper.

Apple removes link to iPod classic in refurbished stores

Apple has completely removed the link to buy a refurbished iPod classic from its US and Canadian stores, as noted by MacRumors. The page for refurbished iPod classic units still exists, however, it only contains the text, “Sorry there are no products available, please check back later.” At the very least, Apple is currently not offering refurbished iPod classic units, though customers can still buy new versions of the device. That being the case, it’s hard to imagine fresh iPod classic stock popping up in the refurbished store again, and this may be a hint that Apple will finally be looking to retire the device soon. First introduced in 2007, the iPod classic received a capacity bump in 2009 but has not been updated since, making it the oldest device still being sold by Apple.

Apps: Bank of America, Dragon Quest VIII, Pocket 5.5 + TED 2.3

Bank of America has updated its free apps for both iPhone and iPad to versions 5.0.1629 and 5.0.2, respectively. The iPhone app has been redesigned with a number of new features, including requesting replacement debit or credit cards, viewing available credit on credit cards, adding transfer recipients from personal contacts, modifying scheduled bill payments, ordering copies of posted checks, and more. On iPad, there are also new features, though the list is shorter and matches features seen within the iPhone app.

Square Enix’s Dragon Quest VIII, originally released for Playstation 2 in 2004, has come to iOS for the first time. It doesn’t come cheap — Dragon Quest VIII is the rare $20 iOS game —but to some fans it won’t matter, as the classic RPG is available in full with no in-app purchases. As one might expect, the port has a new control system designed to work with touchscreens. Gamers can switch between one-handed and two-handed play, and the combat system now allows for one-tap battles if desired. Although iPhone 4s, iPad 2 and the first iPad mini are included on the compatible device list, Square Enix says some instability may occur on these devices, allowing for freezing or crashing. We’d recommend using one of Apple’s current devices to play the game.

Samsonite acquires Speck Products for $85 million

Luggage company Samsonite International S.A. has announced its acquisition of leading case manufacturer Speck Products for $85 million. Speck is the maker of a number of well-reviewed iOS cases, most notably its often-imitated CandyShell. The acquisition is Samsonite’s “first foray outside of what is considered the ‘traditional’ luggage space, into a different, yet complementary, product segment,” Samsonite CEO Tim Parker said in a statement. By all indications, it appears the Speck brand will remain intact.

Beats introduces new Solo2 headphones

Following Apple’s official acquisition announcement Wednesday, Beats has introduced its new Solo2 ($200) headphones. The headphones are a redesign of the previous Solo model. Beats claims Solo2 “offers a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity.”

The headphones come in pink, black, blue, white, gray, and as an official (RED) product. Available for preorder now, Solo2 will be widely available June 1.

Notes from Apple’s Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine at Code Conference

Apple’s Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine took the stage at last night’s Re/Code Code Conference after Apple officially announced the Beats acquisition, the largest in its company history. Among highlights from the Re/Code interview: when asked if Apple was buying cool, Cue said “I don’t think you buy cool. But Beats is really cool. We make great products, and we’re going to make great products together. I don’t know what being cool means.” Iovine also said that Beats Music has 250,000 subscribers.

Iovine said there was a “culture clash” in the now extinct Beats-HTC partnership, and the company’s ongoing branding deal with HP will be ending soon. He said Apple has “good sound,” but also said, “Our dream is that everyone who buys a phone around the world, upgrades to good headphones. They have earbuds.” Of Apple’s EarPods, Iovine said they’re made “to see if the sound works.”

Regarding TV, Cue said that while Apple TV is improving and will continue to evolve and add content, overall, “the TV experience sucks.” He noted that solving the issues with TV is complicated, due to the many players involved. Near the end of the interview, Cue typically hyped Apple’s upcoming products without revealing anything: “Later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple,” he said.

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