Today’s OS X update, 10.9.3, has re-added the ability to sync contacts and calendars with iOS devices via iTunes over a USB or Wi-Fi connection. Apple had quietly removed this feature in Mavericks, presumably as part of the deprecation of OS X SyncServices, directing users to iCloud instead for syncing. It has returned in this latest OS X update, possibly due to pressure from users concerned about the use of cloud-based services, although it is unclear if Apple has returned to the prior SyncServices model or simply developed a new synchronization architecture for this purpose.
Alongside updates to its iTunes software, Apple today released new versions of two of its iOS apps: Podcasts and iTunes Connect. Podcasts 2.1 sees a number of improvements to episode browsing, Siri integration, and more. A new Unplayed tab lists podcasts that haven’t yet been listened to, while the Feed tab shows episodes available to download or stream. Podcast episodes can now be set to be automatically deleted after being played.
Among other new features, Siri can now play specific podcasts and stations, CarPlay support has been added, and links can be shared using AirDrop.
iTunes Connect, a developer tool, has been completely redesigned for iOS. Additionally, it can now be used to access music, movies, and TV shows developers have made available in the iTunes Store, in addition to apps.
AT&T has announced that it’s introducing HD Voice to select markets starting May 23 on a voice-over-LTE network. HD Voice — which AT&T initially claimed would debut last year — will allow users to have enhanced audio in conversations, even while using 4G LTE data. Although Apple has previously noted that its iPhone 5 supports HD Voice, AT&T’s press release doesn’t mention the iPhone, only claiming HD Voice will work on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, with more devices to be added later. It’s notable that T-Mobile already offers HD Voice support for the iPhone on its network, along with other carriers outside the U.S..
iOS can’t currently make calls over LTE networks, though a recent report claimed VoLTE could be added as a feature in the soon-to-be-announced iOS 8, or iOS 8.1. HD Voice from AT&T will debut in “select areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and will continue to expand on a market-by-market basis.”
A physical mockup of the 5.5” iPhone created using a 3D printer has been compared to the iPhone 5s in a post on Japanese site RocketNews24. The mockup is 157 mm x 78 mm and 6.71 mm thick. Though not a visually impressive physical representation of the rumored device, it is notable for size comparison purposes.
Although it’s thinner than the 5s, the mockup’s overall size dwarfs the current iPhone. The translated post notes the size is “cumbersome” to use with one hand. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is testing an iPhone 6 with a 1704 x 960 resolution screen, 9to5Mac reports. The new resolution will be achieved by tripling the initial iPhone “base resolution” of 568 x 320. On a 4.7” screen, the pixel density would be 416 PPI; on a 5.5” screen, the density would be roughly 356 PPI. The aspect ratio will remain 16:9 — though not quite full 16:9 HD, which would be at 1920x1080 resolution, and would allow for 1:1 pixel sharing between an iPhone and an HDTV.
Though it’s expected that most UI elements of iOS will simply appear larger than before on the new screen, it’s possible the home screen and other functions could be redesigned in some way to better utilize the screen space. It should be easy for developers to make the transition to the new resolution due to a reduced reliance on raster graphics in iOS 7 — Apple is also working on a “multi-resolution” mode and developer toolset that will make it easier to scale applications to fit on multiple iOS devices with different resolutions.
An Apple tech support representative has reportedly verified that iMessages are still being sent to previously used Apple IDs in some cases, resulting in text messages never making it to their intended recipient. Former Lifehacker editor Adam Pash wrote a blog post about how he’s not receiving text messages from anyone with an iPhone, because he recently switched from iPhone to Android. The iPhone users sending the messages get a “delivered” receipt, but even after getting his phone number removed from his Apple ID, Pash hasn’t received any text messages from iPhone users. According to Pash, an Apple tech support employee explained that lots of people are having similar problems, but there’s no standard fix at this point. “No one can fix this but Apple because it’s a problem at the device level, which means people in my position have no recourse but to wait for Apple to figure out with the problem is,” Pash wrote. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is reportedly restricting its German retail employees from taking time off in September, hinting at the launch of a new product that month, iFun reports. It’s expected the 4.7” iPhone 6 will launch in September. Other stores across the world will likely follow suit with similar vacation time restrictions. Another recent rumor expected the new iPhone to launch in August, but that appears unlikely at this point.
Apple will launch the 8GB iPhone 5c in India following a brief early-2014 campaign to resuscitate the iPhone 4 there, reports The Times of India, using an old phone trade-in program to make the iPhone 5c more affordable for Indian consumers. According to the report, Apple will price the 8GB model at 35,000-37,000 rupees (approx. $588-$621), with the trade-in program reducing the price to 30,000 rupees (approx. $504)—a discount of only 2,000 rupees (approx. $34) below the 16GB version. The company has struggled to gain market share in India, selling far fewer units than rival Samsung and even regionally-known brands, but is apparently working to increase the average selling price of its devices in the value-conscious country.
Apple is preparing to increase the trade-in values for the iPhone 4 and 4S in an attempt to get more customers to upgrade to an iPhone 5s or 5c, according to internal documents obtained by iLounge. The company will now offer up to $199 for an iPhone 4S, and up to $99 for an iPhone 4 trade-in when upgrading to a new device — allowing users to upgrade to an iPhone 5s for $0 or $99 depending on which model is traded in.
Apple store workers are instructed to “speak to every eligible customer about this great opportunity with iPhone Reuse and Recycling,” the document notes. An earlier report noted that Apple was preparing for an upgrade event this week, though it’s currently unknown when these new trade-in values will go into effect, or if they will be tied to a specific event.
Apple is withdrawing its iPhone 4 from the market in India after relaunching it earlier this year, The Times of India reports. A trade partner said the phone was being pulled from all markets. Another trade partner told the Times the iPhone 4 had served its purpose by doubling the Indian iPhone consumer base in one year. It’s noted that the iPhone 4S is now Apple’s top-selling phone in India, as a recent buyback offer doubled sales of the device.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has already started to supply Apple with fingerprint sensors for its new devices, cecb2b.com reports. According to the report, TSMC started sending Apple fingerprint sensors in mid-April for the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and third-generation iPad mini. Xintec and Suzhou Jing Fang are reportedly taking care of the assembly. It’s been rumored that Apple’s Touch ID will be included in the new devices — recently, iOS 7.1 code was found to contain a reference to the iPad family within Touch ID resources.
Apple will hold an “enormous” iPhone upgrade event in stores this week to boost sales, 9to5Mac reports. The company will contact upgrade-eligible iPhone users starting on May 8, sending email offers to upgrade to an iPhone 5s or 5c. This event will reportedly “be held in multiple states.” Further details are scarce, but considering the timing of the event, more information should be revealed in the very near future. It’s also noted that Apple is working on other initiatives designed to improve in-store iPhone sales.
Security researcher Andreas Kurtz wrote a blog post in late April noting that iOS 7 does not actually encrypt email attachments from the Mail app, as Apple claims. The issue reportedly remains in the current iOS 7.1.1. Kurtz was told by Apple that the company was aware of the issue, “but did not state any date when a fix is to be expected.” It’s possible a patch will be issued in the near future, but for now, it’s advisable to send sensitive files using other, more secure means. [via 9to5Mac]
A new physical mockup of the alleged iPhone 6 design was posted to Chinese blog 86Digi. The mockup was supposedly created from real machine templates for the device. It’s impossible to determine the veracity of the mockup, but it does appear to be similar to pictures and another physical mockup seen earlier.
The three-stage design with rounded edges is still present in this mockup, and the power button is seen on the side of the device. Allegedly, the device is 6mm thick, as reported earlier. Again, the dual flash has apparently been replaced by a circular flash.
Hulu announced today that it would let viewers watch a selection of ad-supported TV shows for free on mobile devices starting this summer. Currently, Hulu only allows desktop users to stream full episodes for free, while mobile device users must have a paid Hulu Plus subscription to be able to watch anything at all. Additionally, Hulu will launch a redesigned Hulu Plus iPhone app this summer. According to The Verge, free episodes will reach Android users first before arriving on iOS.
Apple is offering to replace faulty sleep/wake buttons on qualifying iPhone 5 units. The company has set up a website for the replacement process, noting that models manufactured through March 2013 may have an issue where the sleep/wake button stops working or works intermittently. Users with faulty buttons can type in their iPhone 5 serial numbers on the site to see if they qualify for replacements. The replacement program is already available in the U.S. and Canada; it will become available in other countries on Friday, May 2.
Additionally, 9to5Mac is reporting that customers who make a Genius Bar appointment for the issue have the option of trading in their device, which could net up to $350 — $80 more than what Apple is offering for non-affected devices. It’s noted that Apple employees “have been instructed not to present this option” unless a customer specifically asks about upgrading to a new phone.
Newly leaked alleged iPhone 6 renderings posted on UkrainianiPhone.com include possible measurements for a new iPhone with a 4.7” screen. Though not the first renderings we’ve seen for the rumored phone, the new schematics claim the new iPhone will be 138 mm x 67 mm and 6 mm thick. According to our math, the numbers work out almost exactly to equal a 4.7” screen — and slightly reducing the bezels could easily hit that number right on the dot.
The renderings appear to match past images in other ways, including rounded edges, a new power button location, and the disappearance of the 5s dual flash. A size comparison chart —included below — was also posted, comparing the iPhone 5 to the alleged iPhone 6.
A new Apple support document reveals that some iOS 6 users must upgrade to iOS 7 in order to get FaceTime to work properly. Those iOS 6 users who have seen FaceTime call issues pop up after April 16, 2014 may be affected by a bug “resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date.” The only course of action to fix FaceTime is to update to iOS 7. People using iOS 7.0.4 or later or iOS 6.1.6 won’t be affected by this issue. [via MacRumors]
Prong has introduced its Prong PWR Case ($80), a new iPhone 5/5s case with an integrated wall plug and detachable backup battery. The detachable battery charges using the integrated plug, while the iPhone remains separate in its own protective bumper. As in Prong’s PocketPlug iPhone 5 Case + Charger, the plug on the Prong PWR Case retracts by folding into the case.
The Prong PWR Case also comes with a micro USB port and cable. Prong’s new case comes in four colors and is set to ship this summer. It’s currently available for preorder at a reduced price of $65.
Apple left iOS users vulnerable by not fixing security weaknesses in iOS at the same time as in OS X, former Apple employee Kristin Paget wrote in a blog post. Paget points out that an OS X fix included a number of the same issues which popped up about three weeks later in Apple’s recent iOS 7.1.1 update. “Is this how you do business?” Paget wrote. “Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for *weeks* afterwards? You really don’t see anything wrong with this?” Paget asks readers to compare previous updates of iOS and OS X to see how security patches differ over time between the two operating systems. [via Ars Technica]