Apple has updated the Apple Store iPhone app introducing a new Express Checkout feature. The Apple Store app allows iPhone users to lookup and purchase products from the online Apple Store or reserve products at any U.S. Apple Store for local pickup. Users can also use the app to request help and make Genius Bar and One to One reservations and users in the U.S. and the Netherlands can take advantage of EasyPay to make self-serve purchases in an Apple Retail Store using an iPhone 4/4S to scan the product barcode and complete the purchase transaction directly within the app. Apple Store 2.2 now allows users to save their account information for online purchase to expedite the checkout process and iPhone 4S users in the U.S. can now let Apple Store Specialists know when they’re approaching the Apple Store for a pickup so products can be ready by the time the user arrives. Apple Store requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple will discontinue its Ping social network for music in the next major release of iTunes, according to a new report. Citing sources close to the company, AllThingsD reports that Ping will be gone in iTunes’ next major release, which is likely scheduled for this fall. The report claims that at that point, Apple’s social networking features will rely entirely on Twitter and Facebook. Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at Ping’s demise in a recent interview, stating, “We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said ‘This isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into’”. Ping launched in September 2010.
Apple has released an update to its AirPort Utility for iOS devices adding support for the new Apple AirPort Express (Mid 2012) released yesterday. AirPort Utility allows users to manage Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, presented as a graphical overview of the user’s Wi-Fi network and devices. Users can display information about connected Wi-Fi devices, view and change base station and network settings, restart devices and update firmware and passwords. With the latest update users can now configure IPv6 settings on AirPort base stations as well. AirPort Utility requires iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
TomTom has announced that it has signed a global agreement with Apple to provide maps and related information. It is unclear what specific data the company is providing, but as the company’s name appears prominently in Apple’s new iOS 6 Maps application, it appears that it plays a major part in Apple’s new mapping service. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, news of the deal have sent TomTom shares higher, but the deal also poses a threat as the turn-by-turn directions baked into the new Maps app may cause an increased decline in sales of both standalone GPS units and TomTom’s own GPS apps, which sell for between $50 and $120 each.
Apple has posted a streaming video of its keynote address from its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. During the event, Apple unveiled a revamped notebook lineup, provided further details of OS X Mountain Lion, and announced iOS 6, offering over 200 new features. The video clocks in at over 110 minutes and is available for viewing now.
Apple today released iTunes 10.6.3, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to the release notes, version 10.6.3 includes support for OS X Mountain Lion and addresses a number of issues, including a problem where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing a first-generation iPad that contains an iBooks textbook, an issue where photos synced to a device appear in an unexpected order, a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly delete playlists created on a device, a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly delete apps on a device; it also improves overall performance and reliability, and is required for the newly released iOS 6 beta. iTunes 10.6.3 is available now as a free download from apple.com/itunes or via Apple’s Software Update utility.
Apple’s just-posted iOS 6 Preview page has revealed that the on-device iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstores will receive substantial makeovers in the new OS. According to the page, the redesigned stores will feature “the best of what’s new in music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books at the top of each store’s home page”, and will allow users to browse those listings with swipe gestures and tap to learn more. The new stores will also offer a History button for reviewing media you’ve previewed, and will sync History across devices via iPad. Finally, the text on the page states that “now you can buy your favorite music, apps, and more without leaving the app you’re in”, suggesting iOS 6 will support In-App Purchasing of content from Apple’s various stores.
During today’s WWDC 2012 Keynote, Apple took the wraps off a new Maps app and service integrated with iOS 6 and completely rebuilt by Apple from the ground up. Described as a “world-wide effort” the new Maps service includes Apple’s own local search with over 100 million business listings already included providing local business information and direct integration with third-party services such as Yelp. Maps are presented as vector graphics with a transition to a 3D representation when zooming in more closely. A fly-over is also available allowing users to view a three-dimensional satellite view presentation of buildings and landmarks.
The new Maps app also builds in turn-by-turn navigation with a visual 3D presentation and Siri integration for features such getting directions, receiving ETA updates and finding points of interest en route. Apple has also announced the integration of its own traffic service based on “anonymous, realtime” information crowd-sourced from iOS users, providing a graphic representation of busy traffic areas and integration into its new built-in turn-by-turn navigation, with real-time ETA updates and prompts for re-routing based on heavy traffic.
Apple today announced that iOS 6 will include a new accessibility feature called Guided Access. This new feature is aimed at children with autism and allows a parent or other adult to select specific portions of apps—such as navigation controls—to disable, and also provides the option to enable or disable the hardware buttons, touch controls, or motion controls independently.
Apple today announced iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, second- and third-generation iPad, and fourth-generation iPod touch. It will contain over 200 new user features and will ship to consumers this fall; a developer preview is available today. Apple highlighted several of the new features during its WWDC Keynote Address; you can find more information on those select features by following the links below:
iOS 6: Siri comes to iPad, gains new features
iOS 6: Facebook integration coming to iOS, iTunes + App Stores
iOS 6: Enhancements to Phone, Do Not Disturb
iOS 6: FaceTime over cellular, Apple ID unification
iOS 6: Safari gains offline Reading List, image uploads
iOS 6: introduces Passbook
iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams, Mail improvements
iOS 6: Guided Access improves app experience for children
iOS 6: New Maps with traffic & turn-by-turn navigation
Among the new features of iOS 6 announced by Apple today are enhancements to its Photo Stream service and Mail app. The Shared Photo Streams feature will allow iCloud users to select photos and friends with whom they’d like to share the photos. Those friends will receive a notification alerting them to the stream, and those photos will appear in an album on their device, with the ability for friends to comment on photos. In Mail, users will be able to select certain users to designate as VIPs, which will elevate their alert status and cause the app to file all emails from that person in a dedicated mailbox, which will sit alongside a new Flagged mailbox. The new version of Mail will also allow users to insert photos and videos right from the compose window, open password-protected documents, and pull to refresh their messages.
During its presentation on iOS 6 today, Apple unveiled Passbook, a new integrated app designed to serve as a digital storage for information such as boarding passes, tickets and store cards. Initially integrated with companies such as United Airlines, Amtrack, Starbucks and Fandango, Passbook allows users to store digital copies of items for quick and easy retrieval on demand or based on geo-location; for example users can have the app automatically pull up their Starbucks card directly on the lock screen when near their favourite Starbucks location. Information such as boarding passes can also be updated as departure times and gate changes occur and push notifications provide users with near real-time updates as updates are received.
Apart from the already revealed iCloud Tabs feature, Apple has announced that Safari in iOS 6 will receive a number of other enhancements. The Reading List feature, introduced in iOS 5, will gain a new offline mode so users can read when away from an Internet connection, and the updated app will allow for image uploads directly from the browser. Apple is also adding fullscreen support in landscape, and a new feature called Smart app banners that will let services sync between web activity and app activity, and will allow users to easily jump into or download the app.
As part of its unveiling of iOS 6, Apple has announced that the new OS will support FaceTime calls over cellular connections. As part of this feature rollout, the company will also be unifying users’ phone number and Apple ID, so that if a FaceTime call comes to a phone number, that user could answer the call on a Mac or iPad. This same unification will be used for iMessage, hopefully allowing for more streamlined interoperability between various iOS devices and Macs.
As part of iOS 6, Apple will be rolling out several enhancements to the iPhone’s Phone application and offering a new notification setting called Do Not Disturb, The Phone application will now offer users the option of replying with a message or reminding them later should they choose not to answer a call. Both features have a number of built-in options, with preset text messages available for the first and reminder options based on time or location for the latter. In addition, iOS 6 will add a new feature called Do Not Disturb to the Settings app near notifications. The feature will allow users to set scheduled Do Not Disturb times, with fine-grained control over what calls should be allowed.
Apple this morning announced that iOS 6 will offer integration with Facebook. As shown during the company’s Keynote Address, Facebook will be given its own space in the Settings app—similar to iOS’ current Twitter integration—and posting to the service will be handled in a very similar fashion. Apple will also be adding Facebook sharing options to the iTunes and App Stores, and will be integrating contacts and events into the appropriate apps on both iOS and OS X. Finally, new Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons have been added to Notification Center just below the top widgets area.
As part of its announcement of iOS 6 today, Apple showed off a number of new features it is adding to Siri. In iOS 6, Siri will be able to launch apps, get sports scores and information, retrieve more information about restaurants and book reservations, tweet, and get movie listings. Under iOS 6, Siri will support a number of new countries and languages, and will support a new feature called Eyes Free, in which Apple has partnered with a number of auto manufacturers—including BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda—to include a steering wheel-mounted button that activates Siri without so much as lighting up the iPhone’s screen. Finally, Siri will also be available to users of the third-generation iPad under iOS 6.
As part of its WWDC Keynote Address this morning, Apple gave an update on the state of iOS. Through the end of March, Apple had sold 365 million iOS devices, 80% of which are running iOS 5. Push Notifications has seen widespread adoption, with 84 of the top 100 social apps using the service. 7 billion notifications are now sent per day, and over 1.5 trillion have been sent thus far. Game Center has also been adopted by many, with over 130 million Game Center accounts registered, 5 billion scores being posted every week, and adoption in 67 of the top 100 games. Finally, the Twitter integration in iOS 5 has led to 10 billion tweets sent from iOS 5 devices; iOS 5 devices now account for 47% of all images uploaded to the service.
Apple today announced iCloud Tabs, a new feature of iCloud that will enable automatic syncing of Safari tabs between Macs running OS X Mountain Lion and iOS devices. The feature was unveiled during a demonstration of Mountain Lion, which also discussed the arrival of Notes, Reminders, and Notification Center on the Mac, as well as Dictation, Airplay Mirroring, and Game Center, all of which were unveiled in February. Apple will release OS X Mountain Lion exclusively through the Mac App Store next month for $20.
During the company’s WWDC Keynote Address, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the crowd an update on the state of the App Store. Most notably, Cook said that there are now 400 million accounts on the App Store, with over 650,000 apps available—225,000 of which are coded specifically for the iPad. Overall, the App Store has now seen over 30 billion downloads, with over $5 billion paid out to developers. The App Store now operates in over 120 countries, and Apple is opening the store in 32 additional countries later this month, for a total of over 155 markets.