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Google Maps for iOS gets real-time trip and ETA sharing

Google has announced that its real-time location sharing feature is now available in the iOS version of Google Maps. Introduced into the Android version last year, the feature allows Google Maps users to share travel details, such as letting friends and family know when you’re expected to arrive somewhere. Users can easily begin sharing live location, route, and ETA with selected contacts by selecting “Share Trip Progress” from the menu, and with today’s update users on both Android and iOS will be able to share trip information via third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The feature isn’t designed to provide full “Find My Friends” style persistent location sharing, but rather only to help those close to you keep track of your progress while on a specific trip; sharing automatically ends once your journey does. The feature is supported not only for driving, but also in walking and cycling navigation modes as well.

Square announces Terminal standalone point-of-sale solution

Square has just released Square Terminal, a new all-in-one point of sale solution for the company’s payments service. Rather than relying on an accessory attached to an iPhone or iPad, Square Terminal provides full end-to-end credit card processing for traditional swipe and chip card payment methods as well as contactless payments, including support for Apple Pay. The device connects to Square via Wi-Fi, and includes a touchscreen for keying in transactions and amounts, as well as a built-in receipt printer for issuing paper receipts (although Square’s e-mail and text receipt options are also still available with the terminal as well). A built-in battery and durable construction allows the terminal to be used anywhere without needing to be tethered to a desk, meaning it can be used in environments like restaurants and also be easily set up at trade shows and other events, although merchants will need to either have a Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot available, although an offline mode allows users to keep taking payments even when no internet connection is available. Terminal is available in the U.S. only for now, and sells for $399, although Square is offering a $300 processing credit for merchants who are new to Square.

Apple announces Oct. 30 special event in Brooklyn, New York

Apple today sent out media invites for another special event on Oct. 30, this time being held in Brooklyn, New York, and therefore starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, rather than Pacific Time. It’s widely expected that Apple will announce new iPad Pro models and Mac hardware at this event, as has been the trend in the past toward keeping the company’s September event focused on the iPhone. The tagline on the invites for this event is “There’s more in the making,” and Apple’s new event page actually lists a whole collection of different stylized Apple logos, with a new one appearing each time you load the page. Event invites sent to media also featured different logos, and according to MacRumors, it appears to be several dozen, with approximately 10 shown randomly on the event page, while others were used only on the event invites. [via The Verge]

Apple hosting special Today at Apple sessions for ‘The Big Draw’

Apple is hosting special drawing-themed Today at Apple sessions in celebration of The Big Draw Festival taking place this month. A worldwide celebration of drawing, The Big Draw is the world’s largest drawing festival, and Apple is participating this year by offering 108 different sessions in eight of its flagship stores, including 22 sessions hosted in London, five of which will be in association with the Royal Academy. Other stores in Milan, Dubai, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and Singapore will also be offering the special sessions.

Apple cracking down on misleading in-app free trial subscriptions

Following an exposé earlier this week that revealed a number of apps using deceptive marketing practices to trick users into signing up for expensive in-app subscriptions, Apple now appears to be cracking down on such apps, according to a follow-up report by Forbes, who originally broke the story earlier this month. According to multiple app develops, Apple has begun “systemically combing through” subscription apps on the App Store, looking for those with potentially confusing terms of service, removing those “that look problematic.” According to one developer, Albert Renshaw, who received a rejection notice after Apple “re-evaluated” their app, it appears that Apple is automatically removing many “non-big-name” apps that are showing high in-app subscription revenues, sending out notices to developers indicating that auto-renewable subscriptions are being “marketed in a manner that may mislead of confuse users about the subscription terms of pricing,” citing section 3.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

Apple’s full Data & Privacy Portal now available in U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Apple’s full Data and Privacy Portal is now available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, MacRumors has discovered. While the data download option is being gradually rolled out, soon all Apple users in those countries will be able to download a complete copy of the data that Apple has associated with their Apple ID, including not only the standard information such as calendars, reminders, photos, and iCloud documents, but also purchase history, Game Center activity, AppleCare support history, app usage history, and more. The expanded version of the Data and Privacy Portal, which previously only allowed users to correct their data or delete their account, launched earlier this year in the European Union in order to comply with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), although Apple said at the time that it would eventually be rolling out the feature worldwide. While Apple has allowed customers to manually request this data for some time, the new portal streamlines the process considerably.

Apple announces iPhone XR pre-orders opening, iPhone XS coming to 30+ more countries Oct. 19

Apple has posted an announcement outlining the expecting opening of preorders for the iPhone XR this Friday, Oct. 19, while also adding that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be landing in over 30 new countries on the same day. As usual, Apple will open pre-orders for the iPhone XR on Friday, Oct. 19 at 12:01 a.m. PST via the Apple online store on the web and in the Apple Store app, and the iPhone XR will be available in over 50 countries and territories beginning next Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 a.m. local time, with some amount of stock in Apple Stores being reserved for walk-in customers. The iPhone XR is being sold in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB versions in black, white, blue, yellow, coral and (PRODUCT)RED, with all models expected to be available for pre-order and retail purchase on launch day, and a portion of the proceeds from iPhone XR (PRODUCT)RED purchases will go directly to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants. Apple has also announced that the iPhone XR will be coming to Israel on Nov. 1, and Armenia, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Macau, Maldives, Myanmar, Ukraine and Vietnam on Nov. 2. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will also be available for pre-order in more than 30 additional countries and territories including Chile, Colombia, Malaysia and Thailand on Oct. 19, and will be coming to South Korea and over 10 other countries and territories on Nov. 2.

The Sims FreePlay adds augmented reality with ARKit 2

Electronic Arts and Maxis have released a new “Brilliant Backyards” update for The Sims FreePlay, adding support for Apple’s ARKit 2 to allow users to not only place their Sims in real-world settings, but also share real-time co-op building experiences with a friend. Users can build their Sims’ dream homes in a real-world environment, and even tie the AR experience to a specific location so they can return to it anytime. A trailer has also been published demonstrating the new ARKit features.

Report: Apps using deceptive practices to trick users into expensive subscriptions

A new report from TechCrunch reveals that a number of developers are taking advantage of Apple’s in-app subscription model to trick users into signing up for expensive recurring plans. While the apps in question aren’t always running blatantly afoul of Apple’s App Store Guidelines, they do appear to be skirting the guidelines by internationally confusing and misleading users with promises of “free trials” that require payment after only a few days. TechCrunch notes that the worst offenders appear to be in the “Utilities” category, where apps like QR code readers, document scanners, translators, and weather apps are placing in the Top Grossing apps chart not far below legitimate leaders like Fortnite and Netflix.

Apple releases fourth set of betas of iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1

Apple has released a fourth set of developer betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1, less than a week after the release of the third betas. The release notes on this new beta cycle continue to be sparse, with no notes or known issues, suggesting Apple is likely just continuing to fix bugs and performance issues and polish the Group FaceTime and Dual-SIM Standby (DSDS) features that have been discovered in prior iOS 12.1 betas. Details on what’s new in watchOS 5.1 and tvOS 12.1 remain considerably more vague. A new public beta of iOS 12.1 will also likely be coming soon via Apple’s Beta Software Program.

Adobe officially previews Photoshop on the iPad, coming in 2019

Adobe officially announced its plans today to bring the full Photoshop CC experience to the iPad. The announcement confirms a report from the summer, which suggested that the new app would be unveiled at Adobe’s MAX conference in October, with the release scheduled for 2019, but didn’t provide too many details other than that it would be a full release of Photoshop CC, rather than the scaled down “lite” or focused single-app attempts that Adobe has previously come up with. While today’s announcement still doesn’t provide a specific release date beyond “in the future,” Adobe has provided some additional details on what the iPad experience will be like, noting that it’s “bringing real Photoshop to mobile devices with an approachable user experience and the power and precision needed for image compositing” and that it will work as a standalone app or as a companion that will sync with Photoshop on the desktop via Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform. Users will be able to open PSD files natively directly on an iPad, and use the same editing tools, optimized for the touchscreen interface, and Adobe notes that the iPad version will use “the same underlying code and algorithms” as the desktop version, providing the same results from editing on either platform, and direct round-tripping of the same PSD files between the iPad and the desktop versions of Photoshop.

Apple donating 1000 Apple Watches in support of UNC binge eating study

Apple plans to donate 1000 Apple Watches to the Binge Eating Genetics INitiative (BEGIN), a new study being conducted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine on binge-eating disorders, according to CNBC. The study is intended to provide a better understanding of compulsive overeating and compensatory behaviour such as purging or excessive exercise, known as bulimia nervosa, with the goal of developing better treatments for both conditions. According to the report, the researchers for the study, which is part of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at UNC under the auspices of the Department of Psychiatry, are hoping to recruit 1000 participants aged 18 or older who have experience with one of the subject disorders.

Apple acquires music analytics startup Asaii

Apple has acquired music analytics startup Asaii, according to a report by Axios. Citing unnamed sources, the deal was reportedly worth less than $100 million, and was presumably done as part of Apple’s attempt to bolster its content recommendations to end users as well as possibly helping Apple to identify smaller artists to work with. Asaii has been pioneering efforts to use machine learning that it claims can help discover new, up-and-coming artists weeks before they break out on the top charts, as well as viewing trends of all artists to identify areas where promotional and marketing campaigns are most successful. Asaii was founded two years ago by Sony Theakanath, Austin Chen, and Chris Zhang, who between them have previously worked at Apple, Facebook, Uber, Salesforce, and Yelp, however according to their LinkedIn profiles, all three are now part of the Apple Music team. [via MacRumors]

Pocket rolls out major app redesign for better reading and listening experience

Popular read-it-later service Pocket has just announced a major update to its Pocket app for iOS, featuring a more modern and clean design layout along with an improved listen feature for users who like to have their save articles read to them. The new user interface provides a noticeably more comfortable reading experience with better use of white space to reduce the feel of clutter in the article listing, along with new typography and an improved dark theme for better night reading. The full-screen reading experience is entirely distraction-free, hiding all controls when in scrolling mode to focus entirely on the text, and the lower toolbar has been redesigned to place commonly used tools toward the right corner, along with the more prominent placement of the “Listen” button. The voice narration also now features a new and more human-sounding voice for those who want to be able to listen to their articles when on the go or simply relaxing on the couch. Pocket continues to offer the iOS app and basic bookmarking service for free, while a $45/year “Premium” tier adds additional features such as full-text search, a permanent archive of saved articles, suggested tags, additional customizability, and an ad-free experience.

Apple plans to release a clear case for the iPhone XR

It appears Apple may be planning a new addition to its traditional lineup of silicone and leather iPhone cases with a new clear case option for the upcoming iPhone XR. An observant Twitter user in Canada discovered a reference at the bottom of Apple’s Canadian iPhone XR press release, noting that “Apple-designed accessories for iPhone XR including a clear case will be available starting at $55 (CAD)” — a note that is conspicuously missing from the main U.S. release. While the omission of any reference to the new case from the U.S. press release might suggest that Apple doesn’t plan to release the new case option in the U.S., this would be a particularly odd move on the part of Apple, which traditionally takes the opposite approach of making its products available in the U.S. in advance of international availability. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Music partners with Genius lyrics service

Apple and the Genius lyrics service has announced a partnership that will see Apple Music gain access to the latter’s comprehensive lyric database while allowing users of the Genius service to stream songs directly from Apple Music. Starting today, Genius users who are also Apple Music subscribers will be able to play any song in full right from that song’s page, simply by signing into their Apple Music account, whether in the Genius iOS app or when browsing on On the flip side, Genius’ lyrics database is now available on Apple Music, providing a new source of lyrics to “thousands of hit songs on the service” that promises to deliver more accurate and up to date lyrics, bolstered by Genius’ crowdsourced database. “Being able to read lyrics and annotations on Genius while you listen along on Apple Music is a dream Genius experience,” said ​Ben Gross, Genius’s Chief Strategy Officer​. “We’re proud to make Apple Music our official music player, and we’re doubly excited to bring Genius lyrics to their amazing platform.”

Report: Apple’s plans for original video productions to be free to Apple TV, iOS users

A new report from CNBC yesterday reveals that Apple may actually be planning to give away much of its original content for free to its customers through the Apple TV and iOS “TV” app. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report notes that the service will be found in the TV app, which comes as little surprise, but they added that the revamped app would debut early next year with Apple-owned content made available “free to Apple device owners.” Sources also noted the service would include subscription “channels” that would allow customers to sign up for online services such as those from HBO and Starz, but do so independently of those services’ own iOS and tvOS apps.

New class-action lawsuit accuses Apple of falsely advertising Season Passes

A new class action lawsuit is accusing Apple of deceptively marketing its Season Pass TV bundles by artificially inflating episode counts, according to a new report by The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit, which was filed last week in a California federal court, claims that Apple is wilfully misrepresenting the number of episode in television seasons that it sells as part of a “Season Pass” by counting all of promotional clips as if they were standard episodes. “Consumers purchase the Season Features, reasonably believing that each episode is a standard, plot-based episode and that, by purchasing the Season Features, they are receiving a significant discount over purchasing each episode individually,” states the complaint. “However, because many of the episodes in the Season Features are promotional clips, consumers are not receiving the number of episodes and the discount they expected.”

Apple to debut Season 2 of Carpool Karaoke on Oct. 12

Apple has announced that the second season of Carpool Karaoke is set to launch this Friday, Oct. 12, this time via Apple’s TV app on the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. The original first season of Apple’s hit series, which was based on a segment from “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” debuted last August as an Apple Music exclusive before being offered for free earlier this year in Apple’s TV app. Apple announced last February that a second season of the show would be coming, but was vague on specific launch details. Now, a new YouTube trailer released this week not only provides the release details, but hints at upcoming stars, including Jason Sudeikis paired with the Muppets, Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dog, Weird Al and Andy Samberg, Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, and more. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases third betas of iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1

Apple has released a third set of developer betas for iOS 12.1, tvOS 12.1, and watchOS 5.1, right on the usual two-weeks schedule. The latest set of betas once again include release notes, now in HTML instead of PDF form, although details remain vague. The third iOS 12.1 beta (build 16B5077c) simply specifies “no notes or known issues,” although other sources have already discovered support for the promised Group FaceTime feature and Dual-SIM Standby (DSDS) for the 2018 iPhone models in prior iOS 12.1 betas. Details on tvOS 12.1 beta three (build 16J5593c) are less certain, with nothing in the release notes indicating any changes, suggesting that the new tvOS update really does just focus on smaller fixes and improvements. watchOS 5.1 beta 3 (build 16R5577c) notes one issue with Color Circular faces resetting to Color Dial when updating from prior betas, indicating users will simply need to customize the face back to Color Circular after the update. A new public beta of iOS 12.1 is also now available through Apple’s Beta Software Program.

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