Apple has released the first beta of iOS 8.1 to registered developers. The latest version features a build number of 12B401 and appears to contain mostly minor tweaks and fixes, including the ability to disable Dictation independently from Siri, and a renaming of “Recently Added” photos back to “Camera Roll.” A report from MacRumors also notes that the beta includes hidden settings for Apple Pay as well as underlying code for iPad Touch ID support.
Apple has announced that its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in China starting on Friday, Oct. 17. Pre-orders start a week earlier, on Oct. 10. The two new iPhones have been released in a number of countries since the initial launch on Sept. 19, but the Chinese release was delayed for regulatory reasons, making it unclear when the phones would be available. According to Reuters, Apple received approval for selling the devices after addressing a number of security concerns raised by the Chinese government.
“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”
Apple is currently working on iOS 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 at the same time, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that such a move away from Apple’s normal development cycle might show that the company won’t tie annual major iOS releases to typical fall hardware releases. Otherwise, Apple may be accelerating its iOS point release development while keeping iOS 9 for release next fall. It’s possible that the upcoming releases of 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 will introduce major new features, such as Apple Pay, split-screen iPad apps, or an update to make iPhones compatible with the Apple Watch.
A new report in the Washington Post reveals that new features in iOS 8 intended to limit tracking of iPhones may be more limited than users might expect. According to Apple’s Privacy Page, iOS 8 will protect user’s privacy by “randomizing your device’s MAC address when the device is passively scanning for Wi-Fi networks,” thereby preventing persistent tracking of a device based on the normally-fixed hardware addresses that are common to all Wi-Fi devices.
However, a new post from a principal systems engineer of the WiFi analytics firm AirTight Networks, Bhupinder Misra, reveals that the feature may not be as useful as Apple’s description implies. Misra specifically notes that the privacy feature is limited to the iPhone 5c/5s and likely newer models, and in fact is only operational when the iPhone is in sleep mode and location services are disabled. For example, Misra explains, the device’s actual Wi-Fi hardware address is broadcast whenever a user wakes up their iPhone for just about any reason, such as sending a text message—even if they’re not connecting to a Wi-Fi network but simply relying on their carrier’s cellular data connection.
Although a publicly available iOS Security White Paper from Apple explains some of these limitations, it makes no mention of the requirement that location services be disabled, making it unclear whether this is intentional behaviour or a bug in the feature’s implementation. It is also worth noting, however, that the Wi-Fi hardware address only reveals the identity of a specific device; no personal information about the user of the device is accessible in this manner. In other words, a store could track how often a specific customer had visited their store based on their device’s Wi-Fi address, but would be unable to identify the specific customer with this method unless they connected to the store’s Wi-Fi network and specifically provided personal information in some way, such as signing onto a Wi-Fi hotspot.
- September 26, 2014
Our video review of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus gives viewers a look at some of the ground covered in our comprehensive site review of both devices. We hope this gives consumers even more background and information on the new iPhones as you see them up close and in action. Please read our full review for many more details.
Apple’s quickly-pulled iOS 8.0.1 update was overseen by the same manager in charge of catching problems with Apple Maps before that program was released, according to Bloomberg. The report claims mid-level manager Josh Williams oversees quality assurance for iOS, and Williams was also in charge of quality control for Apple’s much-maligned Maps release in 2012. A source said Williams was removed from the Maps team “after the software gave users unreliable directions and mislabeled landmarks,” but he remained in charge of iOS testing. Williams has reportedly been working on quality control for iPhone software “since early iterations of the product,” and he leads a team of more than 100 people worldwide.
Former employees said the company relies on people to find bugs more than it uses automation-testing. The report also notes that engineers in charge of testing new software “often don’t get their hands on the latest iPhones until the same time that they arrive with customers, resulting in updates that may not get tested as much on the latest handsets.” Only senior managers can use unreleased iPhones without special permission, sources said.
Apple has released iOS 8.0.2 tonight, just one day after releasing and pulling iOS 8.0.1, which was immediately received with complaints of cellular and Touch ID issues from iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. iOS 8.0.2 resolves those problems, and also allows HealthKit apps to be available on the App Store, among other fixes.
Update: Some Australian users are still experiencing cellular and Touch ID problems after installing iOS 8.0.2, according to MacRumors.
Apple has issued an official response to the controversy surrounding alleged problems with iPhone 6 units bending during normal use, stating that it has received complains from only nine customers, and that the iPhones “feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations.”
ALERT: Apple says only 9 customers have complained to the company about bent iPhones. (via @jonfortt)— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) September 25, 2014
Apple: New iPhones feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations and use the strongest glass in the industry. (via @jonfortt)— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) September 25, 2014
The company also told the Wall Street Journal that cases of the iPhone 6 bending through normal use are “extremely rare,” and that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have undergone “a series of tests meant to check the products’ strength and durability to withstand every day, real-life use.” [via 9to5Mac]
Following reports earlier this week that iPhone 6 Plus users were experiencing problems with iPhones bending in their pockets, Apple Support has responded to an inquiry from The Next Web indicating that bent iPhones could be replaced under warranty if they pass a “Visual Mechanical Inspection” test, but that it is ultimately up to the Genius at any given Apple Store as to whether the device would qualify for a replacement or not. The Apple Support representative also noted that they are “looking into this with an insane amount of detail” although no official warranty policy has yet been confirmed by Apple.
Apple has released a new support document that instructs users on how to downgrade from iOS 8.0.1 back to iOS 8. The document is called “Loss of cellular service or ability to use Touch ID after updating to iOS 8.0.1 on iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.” iOS 8.0.1 was pulled only hours after it was released on Wednesday, after many users reported losing cellular service and the ability to use Touch ID on the the company’s newest iPhones. Apple also notes in the document that 8.0.2 will fix the issue and be released “as soon as it’s ready in the next few days.” It’s also noted that the Health app won’t work for users who reinstall iOS 8 after downgrading — that issue will also be fixed in iOS 8.0.2.
Apple has already released a maintenance update only a week following the company’s release of iOS 8. Listed as “containing improvements and bug fixes,” iOS 8.0.1 notably addresses the issue that affected use of HealthKit by third-party apps revealed last week. Other improvements and fixes include issues with third-party keyboards, apps accessing the Photo Library, reliability of the Reachability feature on the iPhone 6, fixes for unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages, and more. The update is now available in Settings, General, Software Update.
Update: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users have reported a complete loss of cellular connectivity and Touch ID functionality following the 8.0.1 update. iPhone 5s and other iPhone users appear to be unaffected, but we would advise users to hold off on this update for the time being.
Update 2: Apple has pulled the iOS 8.0.1 update following widespread reports of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus problems.
- September 23, 2014
Apple appears to be quietly pulling back on its promise of 2014 availability for CarPlay technology, with an update to its CarPlay page now removing any indications of 2014 availability for specific models. Apple originally announced earlier this year that CarPlay would be “available in select cars shipping in 2014”, and several other manufacturers including Audi, Hyundai, and Volvo had originally indicated that they would be delivering CarPlay in at least some 2015 models due to hit the market this year. However, Mercedes and Volvo have since both announced last month that they are now delaying CarPlay support until 2015. The specific reasons for the delay are unclear at this time. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has posted two new ads for the iPhone 6, featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The new ads, Huge (above), and Cameras, began airing last night and highlight the larger screens of the new models and the enhanced camera capabilities. [via 9to5Mac]
Several research and analytics firms have reported that iOS 8 adoption has reached 30% following the first weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, based on in-app analytics reported by Fiksu, Mixpanel, Appsee, and Chitika. While this number is up from the estimated 15% adoption following the initial iOS 8 public release last week, it still falls short of the almost 50% of users that had updated to iOS 7 by this time last year. The higher adoption rates of course include the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which come with iOS 8 preinstalled, which would account for at least some of the increase. Stats from Appsee also notably indicate that 2% of users are still on iOS 6.0. Apple has not yet released any official numbers for iOS 8 adoption. [via 9to5Mac]
- September 19, 2014
Check out our new Video First Look focusing on Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. See both devices side by side as we dig into the differences between the two new, bigger iPhones. While you’re at it, take a look at our First Look article, and our unboxing gallery showing off both iPhones, as well. Our official comprehensive review of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will also be coming soon.
- September 19, 2014
Our preliminary testing of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has revealed that both devices are capable of using 2.1-Amp power under certain circumstances, despite shipping with lower-powered 1-Amp USB Power Adapters shown here.
When connected to a Mac running OS X Yosemite, both models reported drawing 1600 mA of extra power, in addition to the base 500 mA used by the USB standard, suggesting that the new models can be charged more rapidly when using a higher-current power adapter or newer Mac. With 2.1-Amp power, the iPhone 6 Plus appears to be capable of recharging to 90% in around two hours, a number that will be markedly longer with the slower included 1-Amp adapter.
- September 19, 2014
iLounge has posted an unboxing gallery for Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In a full photo gallery, we take a closer look at both devices, along with comparison photos.
The photos illustrate the comparative size differences between the two models, as well as a better look at the less-often seen rear casing, including the slightly protruding camera section at the top.
More pictures will be added as the day progresses, and be sure to check back for our full review of both new models coming soon.
- September 19, 2014
As expected, iFixit has posted its complete teardown of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, confirming some specs while revealing a few new insights. The iPhone 6 has the anticipated prominently visible 0.6mm bump along the top of the device, a compromise required by the improved optics in the new model. Both models include virtually identical camera hardware—an 8 MP ƒ/2.2 aperture rear-facing camera, with the only difference being the optical image stabilization in the 6 Plus, where the lens element is contained in a tiny metal cage with electromagnetic coils surrounding the sensor on the right. The iPhone 6 battery was identified as an 1810 mAh, 3.82 V Lithium-ion Polymer battery with a 6.91 Wh rating, although the rating on the flip side of the battery is listed as 7.01 Wh; the battery weighs in at 28 grams. By comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus packs an 11.1 Wh, 2915 MAh battery.
In terms of chip sets, both models are basically identical, containing an Apple A8 CPU with 1 GB RAM, and a collection of radio and controller chips from Qualcomm, Broadcom, RF Micro Devices, SkyWorks, NXP, and Texas Instruments. Notably, both models contain NXP 65V10 NFC chips, as reported prior to the launch, as well as an AMS chip for the NFC front-end. The iPhone 6 Plus also appears to include an extra EDGE power amplifier module, perhaps due to the need to improve reception with the larger design; two plastic antenna stripes are also featured on the outer case to help with wireless reception. The audio codec in both devices is a Cirrus Logic 338S1201, and notably the headphone jack and Lightning connector now share a single assembly, requiring the entire part to be replaced should a problem develop with one or the other. The teardown noted on the upside, however, that the connector for the Touch ID sensor is now a longer cable that has been rerouted, making it easier to disassemble the new models without breaking the link to the sensor.
Some iOS developers have reported that Apple has been removing HealthKit compatible apps from the App Store following their rollout earlier today ahead of the public iOS 8 release due to issues with the HealthKit framework. Affected apps include titles such as Carrot Fit, MyFitnessPal, and WebMD, all of which disappeared shortly after releasing updates for the new Health features in iOS 8.
Apparently Apple found a HealthKit issue on their end and have temporarily removed all HealthKit compatible apps. No ETA on fixes.— Federico Viticci (@viticci) September 17, 2014
Well that’s a relief. Just got a call from Apple, there’s nothing wrong with CARROT Fit. HealthKit is just broken and isn’t ready to launch.— Brian Mueller (@BrianMueller333) September 17, 2014
Another large health-releated app developer has also apparently delayed launching HealthKit integration in its apps due to delays from Apple. It is not known what the specific problem is or when these apps will reappear on the App Store. Apple also had a problem with iOS 8 extension support in apps released over the past few days, resulting in some updates needing to be re-issued earlier today, although it is unclear if the two issues are in any way related. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: Tim Bradshaw of Financial Times just tweeted a “full statement” received from Apple via e-mail, which states: “We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month.”
As expected, Apple has released its latest operating system for iOS devices, iOS 8. The update is now available in Settings, General, Software Update. Apple describes it as “the biggest release since the launch of the App Store, with hundreds of new features.” We published our review of iOS 8 on Tuesday. Our iOS 8 Instant Expert feature is already up, as well, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 8.