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Tips app debuts in iOS 8 beta 4

Apple’s new Tips app has debuted within the fourth beta of iOS 8. The app shows people how to use the device with a list of tips, each consisting of around a paragraph of text plus an animated image. A list of six tips is shown initially, with the first being “Quickly respond to a notification.” Users can like/unlike tips and share tips, as well. All of the tips at this point are iOS 8-specific.

Forensic scientist notes iOS ‘back doors’

Jonathan Zdziarski, a forensic scientist and the author of five iOS-related books, has posted slides from a recent conference talk titled “Identifying Back Doors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices.” Zdziarski’s talk, which he gave at the recent HOPE/X conference in New York, reveals an overview “of a number of undocumented high-value forensic services running on every iOS device,” including “suspicious design omissions in iOS that make collection easier.” While Zdziarski characterizes iOS devices as “reasonably secure,” there are undocumented services that can bypass backup encryption, and can be accessed via USB and wirelessly — over WiFi and “maybe cellular.” He notes the “personal nature of the data” is carried in a raw format, which would make it useless for tech support.

Notably, Zdziarski claims that commercial forensic software manufacturers are taking advantage of these backdoor iOS services to develop forensic tools that law enforcement agencies can use to easily extract data from seized devices. He notes that Apple is allowing packet sniffing without permission and is “dishing out a lot of data behind our backs.” Although Zdziarski raises suspicion to the nature of these services and notes that they “shouldn’t be there,” several of the services he identifies are in fact well-known internal Apple processes for handling things such as device activation, background iCloud and iTunes backup, and iTunes synchronization—processes that by design need to function without requiring the user to first unlock their device. For more details, the slides are available here. [via ZDNet]

NFL Sunday Ticket to stream on iPad, iPhone with no satellite subscription (Update)

A DirecTV promotional page for NFLSundayTicket.TV reveals a plan in which iOS and Mac users can receive the NFL Sunday Ticket package without a satellite subscription for the 2014 NFL season. An NFLSundayTicket.TV Digital package allows users to stream live, out-of-market NFL games to a computer, tablet, or phone for $200, with a student discount available. More expensive plans allow for console streaming and additional features. Curiously, a list of compatible devices references a number of iPhones, but not iPhone 5s or 5c, and a number of iPads, but not the iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display. It seems obvious that this is an oversight, and the new devices should support this new NFL Sunday Ticket plan. [via Apple Insider]

Update: It appears that not all addresses are eligible for NFLSundayTicket.TV — a pop-up form verifies eligibility. Although it seems the service is limited to apartment dwellers, university students, and other locations which are unable to get DirecTV, we even found some apartment residences as being deemed ineligible. At this point it’s not completely clear who is eligible without filling out the form, as the site’s FAQ only claims the service is “available to people in select areas, residence types, and enrolled in select universities.”

Paul McCartney re-releases five classic albums as iPad apps

Five classic Paul McCartney albums have been re-released as standalone iPad apps by Concord Music Group. All five albums include remastered audio and extra content, including interviews, photos, and video clips. The albums are: McCartney’s first solo album, McCartney, and the follow-up Ram, which also credits Linda McCartney; two McCartney/Wings albums — Band on the Run and the live Wings over America; and McCartney’s second official solo album, 1980’s McCartney II. All of the apps are $8 — a less expensive price than all of the respective albums within the iTunes Store. [via The Guardian]

Apple, IBM partner up for giant iOS business solution push

Apple and IBM have announced a new global partnership to bring “IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad.” The partnership, which aims to “transform enterprise mobility,” will introduce more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions for iPhone and iPad, unique IBM cloud services for iOS, a new AppleCare service level focused on the enterprise, and new IBM offerings for device activation, supply, and management. The agreement, which is being called IBM MobileFirst for iOS, will see IBM selling iPhones and iPads with built-in industry-specific solutions.

A new class of business apps, IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions, will target retail, banking, healthcare, travel, transportation, telecommunications, and insurance. Those apps will be available this fall “and into 2015.” The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will give business users on-premise software solutions necessary for end-to-end enterprise capability.

In an interview with Re/code, Tim Cook said of the new partnership, “We’re good at building a simple experience and in building devices. The kind of deep industry expertise you would need to really transform the enterprise isn’t in our DNA. But it is in IBM’s.” Explaining their ability to work together today despite once fiercely competing for customers and mind share, Cook also noted that Apple and IBM “do not compete on anything. And when you do that you end up with something better than either of you could produce yourself.” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty called Apple the “gold standard for consumers.”

Report links original iPad to nickel allergies

  • July 14, 2014
  • iPad

A new report in Pediatrics investigates an increase in nickel allergies that may be linked to the iPad, the Washington Post reports. The article cites the specific case of an 11-year-old boy with a rash. His skin tested positive for nickel, which doctors traced back to a 2010-vintage iPad “he had used with increasing frequency the past six months.” After using a case, his rash “significantly improved.”

Very little has been said previously about nickel as an iPad enclosure material; research suggests that it may have been used in aluminum alloys for some Apple products, including certain MacBooks and iPads, or may have made contact with otherwise aluminum devices during the manufacturing process. Symptoms of a nickel allergy may include a rash, skin bumps, itching, redness in skin color, dry patches of skin, or blisters and draining fluid in some severe cases, according to the Mayo Clinic. Apple had no comment.

It’s unclear at this time how widespread this problem is, but we recommend using a full-coverage case on an iPad — especially on iPads used by children. See our iPad case reviews for comprehensive details about what’s on the market.

WSJ: TSMC shipping microprocessors to Apple

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has started shipping its microprocessors to Apple as of this year’s second quarter, The Wall Street Journal reports. There have long been reports of Apple using TSMC for its chips in order to decrease dependence on Samsung, which previously manufactured all the microprocessors for Apple’s smartphones and tablets. It’s unclear how many chips TSMC has shipped thus far; Apple will still use Samsung for some of its microprocessors for now. TSMC and Apple will continue working on “more advanced chips” next year, a source said. A previous report claimed TSMC would make A8 chips for this year’s new Apple devices, and would start producing A9 chips in this year’s third quarter for future iPhones and iPads.

iOS 8 beta 3 released to developers

A little less than three weeks after releasing the second beta of its upcoming iOS 8 software, Apple has released beta 3 to registered developers. We’ll update here with any notable information on what’s included in the new beta.

Update: Apple also released new betas of Apple TV Software, as well as Find My iPhone 4.0 and Find My Friends 4.0. 9to5Mac reports that enhancements in the latest beta include new toggles for Handoff, App Analytics, and upgrading from Documents in the Cloud to iCloud Drive. Some new wallpapers and a few other UI tweaks are also included.

AppleCare+ purchase window now 60 days, basic plan discontinued

Apple is extending its AppleCare+ purchase window to 60 days starting today, 9to5Mac reports. Previously only available within the first 30 days of purchase, the plan costs $99 for recent iPhone and iPad models and can be purchased in Apple stores or online. Additionally, Apple is discontinuing its AppleCare plan without protection for iPhone and iPad today in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. The company is now only offering the more expensive AppleCare+ plan for those devices.

Apple releases iOS 7.1.2

Apple has released iOS 7.1.2. The update “improves iBeacon connectivity and stability.” Other bug fixes and security updates include a data transfer bug fix, and a fixed issue with data protection class of Mail attachments – it was a known issue that iOS 7.1.1 was not encrypting email attachments within the Mail app. iOS 7.1.2 is available over-the-air or through iTunes.

Report: iPhone 6 may include barometer, air pressure sensors

Apple’s iPhone 6 could contain a barometer and air pressure sensors, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that new references within Xcode 6 and iOS 8 are dedicated to altitude tracking and will require new Apple hardware. It’s possible that altitude tracking abilities might be incorporated in the new iPads and iWatch, as well. Barometer hardware could track altitude more quickly and accurately than current altitude-measuring apps that work based on GPS and motion chips. References to ambient pressure tracking were also found within iOS 8, meaning that other air pressure sensors within new devices could alert users to changes in the weather.

Apple releases iOS 8 beta 2, Apple TV beta software to developers

Apple has released iOS 8 beta 2 to registered developers. The release is available over-the-air through Settings. 9to5Mac reports that a new Apple TV software beta has also been released. We’ll update in the near future with any pertinent information on what’s new and notable within iOS 8 beta 2.

Photos of iPad Air 2 physical mockup show Touch ID

  • June 17, 2014
  • iPad

Photos of an iPad Air 2 physical mockup including Touch ID have surfaced online. The mockup looks much like the current iPad Air, with a few changes. In addition to the Touch ID, the mockup has recessed volume controls.

There’s also a new hole on the side of the device — if accurate, it may be part of a dual-mic system working in tandem with a mic located near the rear camera. It also appears that the power button is recessed, as well. [via nowhereelse.fr]

Unicode Standard update adds new characters, 250 new emoji

The Unicode Consortium has announced version 7.0 of the Unicode Standard, which includes 2,834 new characters and approximately 250 emoji. Emojipedia has the full list of brief descriptions for the new emoji characters, including Thermometer, Hot Pepper, Derelict House Building, Waving White Flag, Man In Business Suit Levitating, Dagger Knife, Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended, and many more. Added Unicode symbols include currency symbols for the Russian ruble and Azerbaijani manat, among many others.

Apple must provide support for the Unicode update to properly represent the emoji in iOS. In March, it was reported that Apple was “working closely” with the Unicode Consortium to include more diverse characters in emoji; it’s unclear whether the Version 7.0 updates were part of that collaboration.

Report: iPad Air 2 starts production this month with 8MP camera, A8 chip

  • June 11, 2014
  • iPad

Apple will begin producing displays for the new iPad Air this month, and other components for the device next month, Korean site ET News reports. The new device will reportedly feature an 8MP rear camera — a bump up from the current 5MP camera — and an improved processor, expected to be the A8 chip. It’s noted that the newest iPad Air will feature the same screen resolution and overall design as the previous Air. There’s no mention of Touch ID in the new report, though many expect Apple’s fingerprint scanner to be included. [via 9to5Mac]

Dev: iOS 8 includes code for side-by-side apps

iOS 8’s SpringBoard includes code to run two apps side-by-side, according to a tweet from developer Steven Troughton-Smith. He notes that the code anticipates that side-by-side apps will be run at 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 size. While a previous report noted that Apple would add split-screen multitasking to iOS 8, Apple did not discuss the feature during its WWDC keynote.

Troughton-Smith noted in another tweet that side-by-side apps show up as one “screen” while switching through apps. It’s unclear if the feature will be activated upon iOS 8’s launch, or saved for a future release, such as iOS 8.1. Also uncertain is whether the feature will work on all iOS devices, just on iPads, or only on larger iPads.

iOS 8 randomizes MAC addresses when searching for Wi-Fi

As tweeted by Swiss programmer Frederic Jacobs on Sunday, iOS 8 will randomize a device’s MAC address while scanning for available Wi-Fi networks. Companies are currently able to use device-specific MAC addresses to
track the location of devices — for instance, MAC addresses allow retailers to recognize if a customer has been in the store before, though further personal information is not disclosed.

A randomized MAC address would render such data useless to retailers. While Apple would seemingly be preventing marketers from being able to track devices, the move would likely put pressure on retailers to use iBeacon, Apple’s own indoor proximity system that could provide the same data to retailers. [via Quartz]

Report: Apple Maps improvements derailed by internal politics

A new report from TechCrunch purports to explain the absence of major improvements this year to Maps, Apple’s iOS and OS X competitor to Google Maps, blaming bad “planning, project management, and internal politics” for delays of features that were expected to debut at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) last week. In March, 9to5Mac listed a collection of enhancements planned for Maps, including enhanced and more reliable point of interest data, a cleaner cartography design, and public transit directions, the latter depicted by the publication in rendered screenshots. None of these features was actually announced during WWDC; Apple instead briefly noted Maps improvements for Chinese users, and added an M7 processor-dependent indoor positioning feature.

According to two TechCrunch sources, Apple project managers improperly planned and failed to deliver the other intended improvements on time; one of the sources also suggested that “many developers left the company.” Apple has been purchasing mapping and potentially map-related companies for years, though it has rarely commented specifically on the acquisitions, and it’s unclear how many of the companies’ employees have remained at Apple thereafter. Soon after the widely-panned debut of Maps, Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue was given responsibility for fixing the app, though improvements have been mostly under-the-radar since then.

Philips reveals iOS 8 Hue widget concept

Philips, maker of the Hue smart bulb, has tweeted a concept prototype showing Hue being used within an iOS 8 widget. The concept shows the widget within Notification Center — a user could simply swipe down to change the lighting in a room set up with Hue bulbs.

Hue would work with Apple’s HomeKit, the company’s common network protocol for home automation which was introduced at WWDC. Philips’ bulb was briefly featured during the HomeKit portion of the WWDC keynote.

iOS 8 adds new MIDI and other audio enhancements

Additional information from WWDC this week reveals that Apple plans to introduce new audio enhancements in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, including new CoreAudio and CoreMIDI APIs that will include support for MIDI over Bluetooth LE and enhancements to Apple’s iOS inter-app audio feature.

While third-party accessories such as the iRig Blueboard (iLounge rating: A-) have implemented wireless MIDI support over Bluetooth in the past, Apple’s updated frameworks will provide standard APIs that third-party applications and presumably accessories will be able to take advantage of. The new CoreMIDI Bluetooth support will also allow iOS and Mac devices to communicate with each other more effectively, providing the ability for multiple devices to work together in music creation and studio applications—essentially an enhancement that lines up with Apple’s new Continuity approach in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. [via 9to5Mac]

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