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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.

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.

Apple announces exchange program for some European 5W power adapters

Apple has announced an exchange program for its 5W European USB power adapters that “may overheat and pose a safety risk.” The affected adapters came with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S models shipped from October 2009 to September 2012 in a number of European countries — the full list is included within the announcement. Though the adapters only pose a risk “in rare cases,” the company is voluntarily offering a free, new, redesigned power adapter for each affected adapter exchanged. Affected models are marked “Model A1300” with the letters “CE” in solid gray.

Apple recommends users with these adapters discontinue use and exchange the adapter. In the meantime, users can charge their iPhones by connecting the USB cable to a computer. Users must bring their affected adapters to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider to make the exchange for a new adapter.

Starbucks, Duracell announce wireless Powermat in-store charging

Starbucks has announced it will roll out wireless charging in its stores by use of Duracell’s Powermat charging system. The rollout will begin in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston before expanding nationally into other Starbucks stores and Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bars. Locations can be tracked online. Stores will feature “Powermat Spots” — designated areas where compatible devices can be charged.

Powermat Spots use the PMA standard for wireless charging. At this point, iLounge has reviewed two cases that would work with the Powermat Spots — the Duracell PowerSnap Kit for iPhone 5 and Duracell PowerCase for iPhone 5/5s — in addition to a line of compatible GoPower Universal Batteries. Considering the few compatible cases for iPhone users, the appeal of the widespread Powermat Spots may be limited to relatively few Starbucks customers, although the alliance behind the standard does boast more than 70 members, including AT&T, Samsung, and other notable players.

New iPhone 6 4.7” leaks surface

Another set of photos of Apple’s alleged 4.7” iPhone 6 have surfaced, this time on the Weibo account of dreamerjimmy. Photos of both the front and back of the device are seen, shot next to an iPhone 5s for comparison.

The back of the device appears to match previous rear shell leaks, including a leak from a few days ago. It appears the front of the device is very close to matching a front panel leak, as well, although the camera hole seems to be a bit larger in this newest photo. [via 9to5Mac]

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]

New photos of alleged iPhone 6 rear shell surface

New photos of the alleged 4.7” iPhone 6 rear shell have surfaced on Xiaolongchakan.com. The new photos match another photo of the alleged shell in late May, albeit without a sticker on the shell.

It now appears as if the majority of the end pieces are made from the same metal as the middle piece, though it’s still unclear what material forms the D-shaped outlines. The new photos also include side views of the shell, which show the sleep/wake/power button moved to the side of the device, as anticipated. An interior structure image appears to be consistent with Apple parts.

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.

Apple to intro in-store prepaid and month-to-month iPhone plans

Apple is readying prepaid and month-to-month plans for iPhones in its retail stores, 9to5Mac reports. A source claims the move is being made to boost iPhone sales. Customers will soon be able to purchase a full-price iPhone, and then connect it to prepaid or month-to-month calling and data plans while in the store. It’s noted that Apple will partner with AT&T and T-Mobile for the new initiative.

Apple will use AT&T GoPhone activation kits and SIM cards, and existing T-Mobile SIM cards. Training will commence soon, and it’s expected these plans will be offered by the last week of June. Retail employees will reportedly be pushing AT&T’s $60 per month prepaid plan, and two T-Mobile plans costing $50 or $70 per month. Notably, it’s also claimed that the devices must be activated in store and cannot be returned for a refund.

PayPal looking to integrate Touch ID into mobile payments

PayPal is “moving quickly” to integrate the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID into its mobile payment apps, Business Insider reports. PayPal developers recently attended a session on Touch ID at WWDC. “It seems to be a fairly easy API to use, but we’re still kicking the tires,” a source from PayPal said. Currently, Touch ID can only be used to unlock the phone or authorize iTunes Store purchases, but Apple announced at WWDC the feature would be opened up to developers.

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]

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]

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.

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 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.

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