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IOS

WWDC 2015 Roundup 415

Here's an overview of the main announcements and new products unveiled at WWDC today.
  • The latest OS X will be named OS X El Capitan. Features include: Natural language searches and auto-arrange windows. You can make the cursor bigger by shaking the mouse and pin sites in Safari now. 1.4x faster than Yosemite. Available to developers today, public beta in July, out for free in the fall.
  • Metal, the graphics API is coming to Mac. "Metal combines the compute power of OpenCL and the graphics power of OpenGL in a high-performance API that does both." Up to 40% greater rendering efficiency.
  • iOS 9: New Siri UI. There’s an API for search. Siri and Spotlight are getting more integrated. Siri getting better at prediction with a far lower word error rate. You can make checklists, draw and sketch inside of Notes. Maps gets some love. New app called News "We think this offers the best mobile reading experience ever." Like Flipboard it pulls in news articles from your favorite sites. HomeKit now supports window shades, motion sensors, security systems, and remote access via iCloud. Public Beta for iOS 9.
  • Apple Pay: All four major credit card companies and over 1 million locations supporting Apple Pay as of next month. Apple Pay reader developed by Square, for peer-to-peer transactions. Apple Pay coming to the UK next month support in 250,000 locations including the London transportation system. Passbook is being renamed "Wallet."
  • iPad: Shortcuts for app-switching, split-screen multitasking and QuickType. Put two fingers down on the keyboard and it becomes a trackpad. Side by side apps. Picture in picture available on iPad Air and up, Mini 2 and up.
  • CarPlay: Now works wirelessly and supports apps by the automaker.
  • Swift 2,the latest version of Apple’s programing language . Swift will be open source.
  • The App Store: Over 100 billion app downloads, and $30 billion paid to developers.
  • Apple Watch: watchOS 2 with new watch faces. Developers can build their own "complications" (widgets with a terrible name that show updates and gauges on the watch face). A new feature called Time Travel lets you rotate the digital crown to zoom into the future and see what’s coming up. More new features: reply to email, bedside alarm clock, send scribbled messages in multiple colors. You can now play video on the watch. Developer beta of watchOS 2 available today, wide release in the fall for free.
  • Apple Music: “The next chapter in music. It will change the way you experience music forever,” says Cook. Live DJs broadcasting and hosting live radio streams you can listen to in 150 countries. Handpicked suggestions. 24/7 live global radio. Beats Connect lets unsigned artists connect with fans. Beats Music has all of iTunes’ music, to buy or stream. With curated recommendations. Launching June 30th in 100 countries with Android this fall, with Windows and Android versions. First three months free, $9.99 a month or $14.99 a month for family plan for up to six.
Music

Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL Speakers As Fire Risk 104

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has released a voluntary recall announcement for the Beats Pill XL range of speakers, advising customers that the rechargeable device is a fire risk, and advising them to stop using the devices immediately. Apple bought the manufacturers out in 2014 after the successful release of the XL speaker range in November 2013. The announcement reads in part: "Because customer safety is the company’s top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers. Customers who purchased a Beats Pill XL speaker should visit www.apple.com/support/beats-pillxl-recall for details about how to return their product to Apple, and how to receive an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $325."
Iphone

A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot 248

DavidGilbert99 writes with news that a bug in iOS has made it so anyone can crash an iPhone by simply sending it a text message containing certain characters. "When the text message is displayed by a banner alert or notification on the lockscreen, the system attempts to abbreviate the text with an ellipsis. If the ellipsis is placed in the middle of a set of non-Latin script characters, including Arabic, Marathi and Chinese, it causes the system to crash and the phone to reboot." The text string is specific enough that it's unlikely to happen by accident, and users can disable text notification banners to protect themselves from being affected. However, if a user receives the crash-inducing text, they won't be able to access the Messages app without causing another crash. A similar bug crashed applications in OS X a few years ago.
Bug

Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors 403

An anonymous reader writes: A number of early Apple Watch adopters have complained that their tattoos cause interference with many of the new product's key features. According to multiple tattooed sources, inked wrists and hands can disrupt communication with the wearable's sensors installed in the underside of the device leading to malfunction. Owners of Apple Watch have taken to social media to voice their frustration using the hashtag #tattoogate and sharing their disappointment over the newly discovered Apple flaw. One user reported that the Watch's lock system did not disable as it should when the device was placed on a decorated area of skin – forcing those affected to constantly enter their security pins. A further source suggested that notification alerts would fail to 'ping' as they are supposed to, and that heart rate monitoring differed significantly between tattooed and non-tattooed wrist readings.
Apple

Apple Watch Launches 174

An anonymous reader writes: The Apple Watch's release date has arrived: retailers around the world have quietly begun putting them on their shelves, and customers are beginning to receive their shipments. Reviews have been out for a while, including thoughtful ones from John Gruber and Nilay Patel. Apple has published a full user guide for the software, and iFixit has put up a full teardown to take a look at the hardware. They give it a repairability score of 5 out of 10, saying that the screen and battery are easily replaced, but not much else is. Though Apple designated the watch "water-resistant" rather than "waterproof", early tests show it's able to withstand a shower and a swim in the pool without failing. Ars has an article about the difficulty of making games for the Apple Watch, and Wired has a piece detailing its creation.
Bug

iOS WiFi Bug Allows Remote Reboot of All Devices In Area 117

New submitter BronsCon writes: A recently disclosed flaw in iOS 8 dubbed "No iOS Zone" allows an attacker to create a WiFi hot spot that will cause iOS devices to become unstable, crash, and reboot, even when in offline mode. Adi Sharabani and Yair Amit of Skycure are working with Apple for a fix; but, for now, the only workaround is to simply not be in range of such a malicious network.
Apple

Apple Offers Expedited Apple Watch Order Lottery To Developers 74

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is sending out invites to random registered developers, giving them the chance to buy an Apple Watch with guaranteed delivery by the end of the month. "Special Opportunity for an Expedited Apple Watch Order," the invite email states. "We want to help give Apple developers the opportunity to test their WatchKit apps on Apple Watch as soon as it is available. You have the chance to purchase one (1) Apple Watch Sport with 42mm Silver Aluminum Case and Blue Sport Band that's guaranteed to ship by April 28, 2015."
Bug

Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps 73

mrflash818 writes: A new report from analytics service SourceDNA found that roughly 1,500 iOS apps (with about 2 million total installs) contain a vulnerability that cripples HTTPS and makes man-in-the-middle attacks against those apps easy to pull off. "The weakness is the result of a bug in an older version of the AFNetworking, an open-source code library that allows developers to drop networking capabilities into their apps. Although AFNetworking maintainers fixed the flaw three weeks ago with the release of version 2.5.2, at least 1,500 iOS apps remain vulnerable because they still use version 2.5.1. That version became available in January and introduced the HTTPS-crippling flaw."
Businesses

Report: Apple Watch Preorders Almost 1 Million On First Day In the US 290

An anonymous reader writes The launch of the Apple Watch has got off to a good start, with an estimated 1 million pre-orders in the U.S. on Friday. "According to Slice's Sunday report, which is based on e-receipt data obtained directly from consumers, 957,000 people preordered the Watch on Friday, with 62% purchasing the cheapest variant, the Apple Watch Sport. On average, each buyer ordered 1.3 watches and spent $503.83 per watch."
Apple

Apple Posts Guided Tours of the Features and Functions of the Apple Watch 94

MojoKid writes Wondering if Apple Watch is going to be worth the money? Well, that depends on several factors, including price, features, and how eager you are to jump into the smartwatch category at this point. To help tackle the latter two, Apple has posted a handful of videos that demonstrate what an Apple Watch can do. They play out like tutorial videos and are labeled "Guided Tour," followed by what specifically the video is showcasing. Currently, there are four Guided Tour videos available, one of which is a general introduction to Apple Watch labeled "Guided Tour: Welcome." It's the longest video of the bunch at 4 minutes and 45 seconds.
IOS

5 Alternatives For Developing Native iOS Apps 54

Nerval's Lobster writes "]The simplest way to join the ranks of iOS developers is to learn Objective-C and/or Swift (the latter, while not quite ready for prime-time upon release, has gotten a lot better with its recent v1.2 update). But for everybody who doesn't want to go down that route, there are other ways to create native iOS apps. Over at Dice, David Bolton went through five alternatives: Xamarin, Codename One, Embarcadero C++ Builder/Delphi XE/AppMethod, RemObjects C#/Oxygene, and DragonFireSDK. (Three of the systems, excepting Rem Objects C# and DragonFireSDK, are cross-platform, as well.) His conclusion? "There's no shortage of systems for developing native apps for iOS and other platforms, but cost will most likely determine your choice. Other than the annual Apple developer fee, creating in Swift and Objective-C; with regard to [these alternative] platforms, Embarcadero is the most expensive."
Medicine

Video Is the Apple Watch a Useful Medical Device? (Video) 47

Let's kill the suspense right away by answering the title question, 'Probably not.' For one thing, according to interviewee Alfred Poor, the Apple Watch is in no way linked to the Apple Research Kit. Dr. Poor is editor of the Health Tech Insider website, so he follows this kind of thing more carefully than most people. And the Apple watch is not the only device mentioned in this video (or transcript, if you prefer reading to listening). If you want to ruminate about the possibility of direct mind control, for instance, you need to know about the Thync, whose vendor calls it 'A groundbreaking wearable device that enables you to shift your state of mind in minutes.' They say it 'induces on-demand shifts in energy, calm, or focus.' It even has a 'pleasure' setting. Crank that to 11 and you might happily spend your days prone, being fed by a drip and emptied by a catheter, moving only when an attendant turns you over to keep bedsores from developing -- not that you'll care if they do -- as you spend the rest of your life in an artificially-induced joyful stupor.
Google

Google Quietly Launches Data Saver Extension For Chrome 39

An anonymous reader writes Google has quietly released a Data Saver extension for Chrome, bringing the company's data compression feature to the desktop for the first time. You can download the extension, currently in beta, from the Chrome Web Store. We say "quietly" because there doesn't seem to be an announcement from Google. The extension was published on March 23 and appears to work exactly as advertised on the tin, based on what we've seen in our early tests.
Portables (Apple)

Apple Doubles MacBook Pro R/W Performance 204

Lucas123 writes Benchmark tests performed on the 2015 MacBook Pro revealed it does have twice the read/write performance as the mid-2014 model. Tests performed with the Blackmagic benchmark tool revealed read/write speeds of more than 1,300MBps/1,400MBps, respectively. So what's changed? The new MacBook Pro does have a faster Intel dual-core i7 2.9GHz processor and 1866MHz LPDDR3) RAM, but the real performance gain is in the latest PCIe M.2 flash module. The 2014 model used a PCIe 2.0 x2 card and the 2015 model uses a PCIe 3.0 x4 (four I/O lanes) card. Twice the lanes, twice the speed. While Apple uses a proprietary flash card made by Samsung, Intel, Micron and SanDisk are all working on similar technology, so it's likely to soon wind up in high-end PCs.
Businesses

UK Chancellor Confirms Introduction of 'Google Tax' 342

mrspoonsi sends this report from the BBC: Companies that move their profits overseas to avoid tax will be subject to a "diverted profits tax" from April, the chancellor has said. In his final Budget before the election, George Osborne said firms that aid tax evasion will also face new penalties and criminal prosecutions. The so-called "Google Tax" is designed to discourage large companies diverting profits out of the the UK to avoid tax. "Let the message go out: this country's tolerance for those who will not pay their fair share of taxes has come to an end," Mr. Osborne said. In 2012 it emerged that internet giant Google avoided tax on £10bn UK revenue in 2011 by doubling the amount of money put into a shell company in Bermuda. Doing so helped it avoid £1bn in corporation tax. Under the new tax regime, companies with an annual turnover of £10m will have to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if they think their company structure could make them liable for diverted profit tax. Once HMRC has assessed the structures, and decided how much profit has been artificially diverted from the UK, multinationals will have only 30 days to object to the 25% tax.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly

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