New information found on Apple’s page on iOS 8 Continuity suggests that the company may be delaying the activation of the iOS 8 SMS Continuity feature until some time in October, possibly to coincide with the expected release of OS X Yosemite. Originally announced and demonstrated at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, SMS Continuity will allow users with an iPhone and other iOS or OS X device to send and receive traditional SMS text messages from their iPad or Mac. While the feature seems to have worked reasonably well with earlier iOS 8 and Yosemite betas, iLounge readers and editors have noted that the feature no longer seems to function in the iOS 8 GM, and Apple’s iOS 8 Preview Page now shows it as “Coming in October”; a discussion thread at Macrumors reveals several other users having similar problems, with suggestions that the feature may in fact have been disabled on Apple’s servers sometime in the past couple of days.
Apple has introduced three new features for iOS Developers allowing them to more easily distribute, test, and promote their apps on the App Store. App Store Bundles will allow developers to bundle up to 10 of their apps into a single-priced bundle that users can purchase together at a reduced price. App Bundles can be purchased with a single tap, and all of the apps will appear individually on the customer’s device. A “Complete My Bundle” feature will also be available that will credit customers for any apps they’ve already purchased, allowing them to purchase the bundle and pay only the price for the remaining apps.
With the introduction of App Previews, developers can now include a video preview to demonstrate the features and user interface of the app that users can watch right on the App Store page. Previews can be between 15 and 30 seconds long and will be displayed as the first image on the product page, followed by the standard app screenshots. Developers will also be able to capture real-time app footage directly from their iOS device using iOS 8 and Yosemite.
Following Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight earlier this year, the company has now incorporated TestFlight Beta Testing into its own tools for iOS developers, and will allow up to 25 internal testers to access beta builds on up to 10 devices each. External beta tester access is said to be coming soon which will allow up to 1,000 users to be invited to beta test an app using only their e-mail addresses.
Apple has also posted a set of developer documents covering building apps for the new iPhone models and iOS 8 features, including programming guides for Touch ID, PhotoKit, HealthKit, HomeKit, CloudKit, Handoff, and more.
Apple has released its Gold Master seed of iOS 8 to registered developers. Listed as build 12A365, the GM build is normally the last to be seeded prior to the software’s official launch, expected on September 17, and as such can be used to submit iOS 8 applications to the App Store for review. It is unclear whether the iOS 8 GM seed will be made available as an over-the-air software update, as has been the case with past iOS beta releases, however Registered Developers can download the iOS 8 GM seed and the accompanying SDK from the iOS Dev Center now.
During today’s event, Apple announced the official release date for iOS 8, the next generation of the company’s mobile operating system. Originally unveiled at WWDC in June, iOS 8 adds several significant enhancements such as new Health and Home Automation frameworks, an iCloud-based Photo Library, Family Sharing, and more.
iOS 8 is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later, fifth-generation iPod, iPad 2 and later models, and all iPad mini models. It will be available for download as a free update via iTunes and OTA update on September 17th.
Apple may be adding support for a “triple-resolution” Retina Display into iOS 8 according to a new discovery by iOS Developer James Thomson. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Thomson indicated that he had discovered a bug in iOS 8 beta 5 that loads a 3X asset instead of a 2X asset, and further explained that this only happens specifically with 3X assets and not other resolutions like 4X, suggesting this indicates a deliberate decision in the iOS 8 code, rather than a matter of simply selecting the highest-resolution asset available.
Basically, it looks like UIImage has had support for @3x retina images added to it in iOS 8, and/or there is a bug in image loading.— James Thomson (@jamesthomson) August 29, 2014
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac originally reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 screen resolution for the iPhone 6 that would be achieved by tripling each pixel from a “base resolution” of 568 x 320. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber added his speculation earlier this week suggesting different screen resolutions may be used and that the higher resolution would only apply to the larger 5.5” iPhone 6 in order to maintain a proper Retina Display pixel density. It still remains unclear what hardware Apple may ultimately intend to use this on, since although the iPhone 6 is scheduled for release next month, it is expected that new iPad models will also be appearing during the iOS 8 lifecycle, including a rumoured 12.9” iPad which may also require a higher pixel density for the larger display.
Apple suppliers are getting ready to manufacture a new iPad with a 12.9-inch screen by the first quarter of 2015, Bloomberg reports. Such a device has already been rumored for some time — previous reports claimed Apple was testing a larger iPad, with one late 2013 report claiming the company was testing five different 12.9-inch iPad prototypes for a release of two possible versions of such a device. Talk about the device has been quiet for some time until now, as the larger iPad was originally expected to see release sometime this year. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller declined comment on the new report.
L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has suspended the school system’s highly-publicized contract with Apple to provide iPads to students, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract would have provided all students in the country’s second-largest school system with iPads, but recent accusations claim that Deasy and deputy superintendent Jaime Aquino had “especially close ties” to Apple executives. “Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.,” Deasy wrote in a memo to the Board of Education. “Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the (project).”
A district technology committee found numerous problems with the bidding process, including that Aquino appeared to conspire with executives from Pearson — the company that was to provide curriculum on the devices — within an email. “I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one,” he wrote. Aquino was formerly an executive with a Pearson affiliate before joining the L.A. school system. Despite the new controversy, Deasy reportedly believes Apple and Pearson will still participate as bidders in the new process for the school’s technology contract.
Apple has released the sixth beta of iOS 8 to its testing partners, including cellular wireless providers, according to BGR. This beta has not gone out to the standard broad array of developers, reportedly since the sixth beta has arrived too close to iOS 8’s anticipated Gold Master release in September. The report also claims this carrier build has already been rejected as a potentially final version due to an issue with using YouTube in Safari. A number of fixes can be seen in the beta’s release notes, for resolving issues with Continuity, Mail, Messages, Photos, Push Notifications, and more.
Apple has banned the use of two chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in final assembly of its iPhones and iPads, the Associated Press reports. The company has drawn criticism in the past for using both potentially hazardous chemicals — workers reported n-hexane-related sicknesses in 2010, and by 2011, workers at an Apple manufacturing partner wrote a letter regarding their concerns and health issues due to n-hexane exposure. Though Apple claims an investigation at 22 factories revealed no evidence that either chemical endangered workers, the company is requiring all factories to test substances for the two chemicals on top of the general ban. “This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.” Apple also released a new message from Jackson on the company’s decision to ban the two controversial chemicals.
Activision has announced the Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack for iPad ($75). The newest video game in the popular Skylanders series features a special tablet edition that includes a wireless portal and wireless game controller, in addition to game figurines. For those unaware of the Skylanders series, the game uses real-life figurines that can be controlled within gameplay by use of an NFC-enabled portal; the iPad edition will use a Bluetooth LE portal and Bluetooth LE controller. Third-party controllers are said to work as a secondary controller in multiplayer mode. The pack will be released on October 5. [via FamilyGamerTV]
Apple’s suppliers have started manufacturing new iPads, Bloomberg reports. Mass production of an iPad with a 9.7” screen — likely the second-generation iPad Air — has already begun, with a source claiming the display will come with a new anti-reflection coating which makes the screen easier to read. A new iPad mini is also starting production and “will probably be available by the end of the year,” though it’s unclear if the display will come with the same anti-reflective coating. The report offers no further information on other rumored changes to the new iPads, such as the inclusion of Touch ID, A8 processors, or improved cameras.
Apple products including iPads and MacBooks have not actually been banned from any Chinese government procurement lists, the country’s chief procurement center has said. This new report, from Reuters, refutes a recent Bloomberg report that claimed 10 Apple products could not be purchased with public money for security reasons. Apparently, the confusion may have stemmed from a list involving energy-saving products, on which Apple could not be found — the report notes that Apple has never been on that list.
China’s government has excluded iPads and MacBooks from a list of products that can be purchased with public money, Bloomberg reports. Citing security concerns as the reason for the omissions, government officials have left ten Apple products off the official procurement list, including both the iPad and iPad mini — the list does not include smartphones. Apple declined comment.
This is yet another challenge for Apple in developing its growing relationship with China. Last month, state-run Chinese media criticized the iPhone’s location tracking, calling it a “national security concern.” Apple responded with a gracious note that explained how the company uses location data.
The latest iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite betas have revealed what appears to be a new file format for transferring non-destructive photo adjustments between different apps and Apple devices. When using Yosemite’s built-in photo transfer app Image Capture, iOS 8 JPEG photos transferred to the Mac now include an additional “AAE” file in an XML format, containing keys with names such as “adjustmentData,” “adjustmentBaseVersion,” and “adjustmentFormatIdentifier.” The AAE files are typically less than 1KB each for lightly edited files.
Although it is unclear why Apple would introduce a new way to store photo adjustments, the additional file could enable third-party apps to see the same version of a photo edited with Apple’s upcoming Photos app, or potentially export edits made with prior Apple photo apps such as Aperture and iPhoto. With the recent announcement that Apple will be ceasing development of Aperture and iPhoto—a change that has necessitated export workarounds for replacement pro photo apps such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom—it’s possible that the AAE files could provide a smoother migration path for users.
Apple has released iOS 8 beta 5 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to registered developers. As expected, the release comes two weeks after the previous beta. We’ll update later on if there are any notable changes.
Update: Among other changes, users can now opt to store full-resolution photos in iCloud while keeping device-optimized versions of those photos on an iPhone. iOS users will also now be prompted to allow other devices to use phone numbers for SMS relay. Spirometry data types have also been added to HealthKit.
Images of an alleged rear shell for Apple’s second-generation iPad Air were posted on Weibo this weekend. The images show redesigned speaker holes containing one row of large openings instead of two rows of small ones, as well as recessed volume controls. Also, the microphone has been moved away from the top center of the device to near the camera lens. Though the changes are certainly possible, it’s worth noting that they would necessitate changing most iPad Air cases, including Apple’s own iPad Smart Case. [via Nowhereelse.fr]
Apple and AT&T have started sending out $40 checks to U.S. customers who bought or ordered a first-generation iPad with 3G capabilities before June 7, 2010. A ruling was made in September in a class action lawsuit stemming from AT&T’s elimination of an advertised unlimited data plan about a month after it was introduced. The checks have started to arrive in customers’ mailboxes, as per 9to5Mac. AT&T is also offering a $20/month discount on its 5GB monthly data plan for consumers who didn’t sign up for any other AT&T data plan.
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.
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]