Apple has released its new Find My Friends app. Announced last week during the company’s iPhone event, Find My Friends expands iCloud’s “Find My iPhone” option into a social app that allows users to easily share their location with a circle of friends. To use the application, users simply sign in with their iCloud Apple ID and can then send requests to friends to see their location which can be accepted using the Find My Friends app on the other device. Users can also choose to share their location with a group of friends for a limited period of time. Friends’ locations are presented within the app as either a list, ordered by proximity or on an integrated map view. The application also provides simple privacy controls and the ability to set parental restrictions. Find My Friends is a universal app requiring iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download. Users can also find the app by visiting iCloud.com from Safari on their iOS device.
Apple has updated its iCloud.com website, and removed the “beta” tag from the initial login screen. Launching later today alongside iOS 5, iCloud is a free online service for iOS and OS X users providing support for mail, calendar, contacts, photos, documents and more. iCloud.com will specifically provide access to the service’s email, contacts, calendar, Find My iPhone, and iWork document storage services. Notably, the website does not provide any way for users to sign up for a new iCloud account; it appears Apple expects users to do so on their iOS devices.
Apple has released an iOS version of its Airport Utility for configuring and managing Airport and Time Capsule wireless devices. The free universal app provides similar functionality to the Mac version, allowing users to manage Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Users can see a graphical overview of the Wi-Fi network and devices, get more information about a connected Wi-Fi device and view and change base station and network settings, including restarting devices and updating firmware versions and configuring passwords, DNS and router addresses and DHCP reservations and port mappings. AirPort Utility requires iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
On the heels of the public release of iTunes 10.5, Apple has seeded its registered iOS developers with a beta version of iTunes 10.5.1. According to Apple’s release notes, “iTunes 10.5.1 beta 1 includes several performance enhancements and bug fixes, and is a required update for all subscribers to iTunes Match beta. iTunes Match is not included in the iTunes 10.5 GM release.” iTunes 10.5.1 beta is available now to registered iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Following this week’s announcement that the iPhone 4S will be including the Siri Assistant feature, Apple appears to have removed the standalone Siri app from the App Store. Existing Siri app users are also now seeing a note in the Siri app indicating that an “even smarter and better-looking” version is on the iPhone 4S, and suggesting that standalone app will stop working on October 15th—the day after the release of the iPhone 4S. The new built-in Siri Assistant demonstrated by Apple this week will be exclusive to iPhone 4S users, however as the prior app works fine even on the older iPhone 3GS, it remains unclear what changes have been made to the new implementation of Siri that require the new iPhone 4S hardware.
As word of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death spread last evening and early this morning, a number of his former colleagues, contemporaries, and competitors weighed in with kind words for the man who did so much to shape the fields of technology, entertainment, and the world itself. A collection of these reflections appears below.
Former Apple CEO and Chairman Steve Jobs has died at age 56. Apple’s main web page has become an understated memorial to its visionary leader, who has widely been credited with having created the personal computer industry during his first years at Apple, then reshaping the music, telephone, and computer industries in his second stretch.
Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Jobs’ family, and all the employees of Apple who—like us—are already feeling the pain of his loss. The impact of his life cannot be overstated.
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple,” reads a passage posted to the company’s website. In a separate statement published by the Wall Street Journal, Jobs’ family said he “died peacefully today surrounded by his family…We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”
Apple plans to open pre-orders for the iPhone 4S at 12:01 am Pacific Time/3:01 am Eastern Time this Friday, October 7, according to a new report. Citing information given to customers by Apple support representatives, Mac Rumors reports that Apple Retail Stores will be opening at 8:00 am local time for sales of the iPhone 4S, which goes on sale October 14. The iPhone 4S will also launch in Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan on October 14, with distribution expanding to 22 additional countries October 28.
Apple has posted a streaming video feed of today’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event. At the event, which lasted upwards of 90 minutes, Apple highlighted its upcoming iOS 5 operating system and iCloud, announced modest updates to the iPod nano and iPod touch, unveiled its new Cards and Find My Friends apps, and debuted the iPhone 4S. The stream is available for viewing now from Apple’s website.
An internal Apple document has revealed that the company plans to bring all the new features of the 2011 iPod nano to 2010 models in a software update. The “Then and Now” document, published online by 9to5Mac, states that iPod software update version 1.2 will include the larger home screen icons, walk and run fitness features with spoken feedback, and new clock faces to the 2010 models via free download from iTunes. Notably, no release date is given for the update; however, as the 2011 models are available now, it is likely that Apple will release the update for 2010 models in the near future.
Update: iPod nano software update version 1.2 for the 2010 iPod nano is available now as a free download via iTunes’ update feature.
Among the few changes in Apple’s iPod nano software update version 1.2—which ships on the 2011 iPod nano—is the addition of 16 clock faces to the two originally available on the 2010 model, an apparent acknowledgment from Apple of the popularity of watch accessories for the diminutive touchscreen music player. The new assortment includes a wide variety of faces, including a Nixie tube clock-inspired face, and Disney-licensed character faces featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Kermit the Frog, and Animal. All eighteen are pictured below.
Apple has rolled out its new iPhone Micro USB Adapter in Europe, upholding its end of a European Commission agreement aimed at standardizing all smartphone chargers. Along with Apple, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, RIM, Samsung, and Texas Instruments signed the agreement which was finalized in 2010 and allowed for just such an adapter. It does not appear that Apple will be including the adapter in iPhone packages in Europe; the iPhone Micro USB Adapter is available for order now and sells for £8, or €9.
Apple has released its Gold Master seed of iOS 5 to registered developers. Listed as build 9a334, the GM build is likely the last to be seeded prior to the software’s official launch on October 12, and as such can be used to submit iOS 5 applications to the App Store for review. Notably, the iOS 5 GM seed is not available as an over-the-air software update, as has been the case with past iOS 5 beta releases. iOS 5 GM seed, and the accompanying SDK, is available for download now from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has introduced its new AppleCare+ for iPhone coverage. According to the service’s description, AppleCare+ “extends repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling, each subject to a $49 service fee.” It also offers phone- or retail store-based troubleshooting, including questions about iOS, built-in iPhone apps, and connectivity issues. AppleCare+ for iPhone must be purchased together with new covered equipment, and is listed as delivering on October 14.
As part of its iPhone 4S unveiling, Apple today revealed that the iPhone 4S will launch in 22 additional countries on October 28. The nations receiving the phone on that date include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The device will launch in 70 countries overall by the end of the year, with over 100 carriers offering the device.
Apple today officially announced the iPhone 4S, the fifth iteration of its trend-setting handset. As expected, the iPhone 4S retains the external design of the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, save for the microSIM slot which is now found on the side opposite the volume buttons. The handset offers dual-mode CDMA + GSM compatibility, and uses a unique antenna system that lets it intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive for improved call quality and faster data speeds—up to 14.4Mbps down. Another standout feature of the phone is the built-in Siri intelligent assistant, which “helps [users] get things done just by asking.” By holding down the Home button, users will be able to ask Siri questions and tell it to complete tasks without needing to manually enter any information. Examples include asking for weather information, directions, setting calendar appointments, composing and replying to text messages, setting reminders, and retrieving information, such as stock quotes or a list of nearby restaurants. The same technology also powers a new dictation feature, which is built into the standard keyboard.
Other new improvements include an all-new eight-megapixel, backlit sensor camera with 33 percent faster capture times, a hybrid IR filter, a five element, f/2.4 lens, and an Apple-designed Image Signal Processor for features like face detection and auto-white balance, 1080p video recording with real-time video image stabilization and real-time temporal noise reduction, a dual-core A5 processor, eight hours of battery life, and support for AirPlay Mirroring. The iPhone 4S will be available in black and white, in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities for $199, $299, and $399 on a two-year contract. The iPhone 4 will now be available in a 8GB capacity, in both black and white, for $99, while the 8GB iPhone 3GS will now be available for free on-contract. Pre-orders will begin on October 7th, with the phone to launch in the U.S.—on Sprint, as well as AT&T and Verizon—Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan on October 14.
Apple today updated its iPod touch lineup with a white model while dropping the price on the low end unit. Described by Apple executive Phil schiller as the most popular portable game player in the world, the updated unit comes with iOS 5, and thus iCloud, pre-installed, and is priced at $199 for 8GB models—down from $229—$299 for 32GB units, and $399 for 64GB models. The updated fourth-generation iPod touch will be available October 12.
During today’s iPhone event, Apple also announced the coming general release of its iTunes Match service. Briefly touched on in the spring, iTunes Match is an extension of the company’s iCloud offerings that will allow subscribers to effectively place their entire iTunes music library “in the cloud” by matching content in their iTunes library with those songs already available on the iTunes Store, uploading those songs that don’t match. On iOS 5 devices, iTunes Match will effectively replace the synced music library with the online library, providing users with access to their entire music collection from anywhere a data connection is available.
The service will provide immediate music streaming to iOS 5 devices with the ability to download specific tracks, albums or playlists. Playlists and other iTunes metadata such as rating and play counts will also sync via the iTunes Match service. iTunes Match will initially be available in the U.S. only for $25 per year.
Apple today announced what it described as the “new” iPod nano, a refined version of the touch-screened sixth-generation model. The new iPod nano offers a refined user interface with bigger icons and a variety of clock faces for users who want to use it as a watch. It also features an updated Fitness feature to track walks and runs, suggesting that Nike+ functionality will be offered without any external devices. The new iPod nano is available immediately in seven colors and sells for $129 for the 8GB model and $149 for the 16GB model.
Updated: This article has been updated from the original version, which followed Apple’s claim that the device was “new.” Subsequently released information suggests that all of the new features noted above will be brought to the sixth-generation (2010) iPod nano model as a free version 1.2 software update through iTunes, suggesting that no hardware changes have been made to the “new” device. Spoken feedback previously available during Nike+ runs is now available without the use of Nike+ hardware.
During today’s iPhone event Apple unveiled Find My Friends a new application that allows users to locate friends and family who are using iOS devices. The application displays either a list of friends and family who have opted in for location sharing along with approximate distance from the users’ current location or a map showing specific locations. Users will be able to choose when they wish to share their location and set schedules to stop location sharing at specific times. Find My Friends is expected to be available from the App Store on October 12th as a free download.