Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Iphone

One Billion iPhones Have Been Sold, Apple Says (apple.com) 126

Apple announced on Wednesday that it has sold its one billionth iPhone handset. The milestone comes nine years after the iPhone was first introduced. The phone has unarguably shaped the smartphone industry and bolstered the apps market. In a statement, Tim Cook said: iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day. Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.
Google

Google Play Rolls Out Family Sharing (usatoday.com) 41

Google on Wednesday announced a new Google Play feature dubbed Family Library that allows up to 6 people to share apps, movies, books purchases. It will roll out to people in the next 48 hours in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., and the United States) and requires people to sign up and add family members (you can add your friends as family member). The announcement is mostly in line with a CNET report from earlier this month. USA Today reports: The feature will allow users to share apps, games, movies, TV shows or books from Google Play on Android devices. Movies, TV shows and books can be shared on iOS platforms and the Web. After a user signs up for the Family Library, the person adds up to five family members and decides on the credit card that will be used for the families purchases. Eunice Kim, head of families for Google Play said a unique feature of Google Play compared to other family sharing initiatives is that family members can also choose to pay with their personal credit card or with gift cards. The same user who organized the family can control who below the age of 18 needs permission to purchase content.The feature is strikingly similar to an option in Apple's App Store that does the same thing.
Television

Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps' (venturebeat.com) 62

theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.
IOS

Apple Slams Spotify For Asking For 'Preferential Treatment' (buzzfeed.com) 181

On Thursday, Spotify made major accusations against Apple of playing unfair to its music service. The Swedish-based music company said that Apple didn't approve a new version of Spotify's iOS app because "it didn't want competition for Apple Music." The Cupertino-based company has responded to the accusations. In a letter sent to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez on Friday, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell rebutted the streaming music service's allegations, adding "we find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service," Sewell wrote. BuzzFeed News reports:"Our guidelines apply equally to all app developers, whether they are game developers, e-book sellers, video-streaming services or digital music distributors; and regardless of whether or not they compete against Apple. We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor," Sewell explains. "Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple." And as for Spotify's suggestion that Apple is treading on dangerous, anticompetitive ground, well, Sewell doesn't seem too concerned. "There is nothing in Apple's conduct that 'amounts to a violation of applicable antitrust laws.' Far from it," Sewell, writes after wryly observing that not only has Apple's platform generated "hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental revenue to Spotify"; but that the Spotify App currently in the App Store is still in violation of Apple's guidelines. "I would be happy to facilitate an expeditious review and approval of your app as soon as you provide us with something that is compliant with the App Store's rules," he quips.Apple commentator John Gruber, writing for DaringFireball:Cry me a river. Spotify has long charged $12.99 via in-app subscriptions to get around the 30 percent "App Store tax". And Apple has now cut the long-term subscription split from 70-30 to 85-15. And Spotify is the streaming service most at war with artists over their abysmal royalty rates. Read between the lines and the real message here is that Apple Music is kicking Spotify's ass.
Facebook

Facebook To Shred 'Paper' News-Reading App On July 29th (theverge.com) 23

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Facebook's Paper app for iOS is scheduled to shut down on July 29th. While the app impressed critics, it failed to impress the general public. The Verge reports: "The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. When it was introduced in January 2014, Paper signaled the beginning of a design renaissance at Facebook. The look and feel of the app were orchestrated by Mike Matas, whose design firm Push Pop Press was acquired by Facebook in 2011. Paper was notable for the novel animations it used to guide you through the app -- tap on a link and it would unfold like a letter; pull down on the story and it would fold back up, returning you to the feed. But despite the enormous growth of Facebook, which surged to 1.09 billion daily users this year, Paper has not been among the 1,500 most-downloaded apps since December 2014, according to research firm App Annie. It never came to Android, and the iOS version was last updated in March 2015. Facebook says that ideas from Paper have made their way into other Facebook apps, most notably Instant Articles, the fast-loading story format that the company introduced last year. Instant Articles borrowed several design elements from Paper, including full-bleed images and custom designs for individual publishers' articles."
Data Storage

SanDisk Made an iPhone Case With Built-In Storage (theverge.com) 48

An anonymous reader writes: SanDisk has made its iXpand Memory Case to alleviate the problem that Apple creates when they release an iPhone in 2016 with only 16GB of on-board storage. The iXpand Memory Case is an iPhone case with flash storage built directly into the case itself that connects/charges via the Lightning port. You won't need a new phone and you won't need to carry around an extra charging dongle, which is the case for many other third-party cases and accessories. Since Apple doesn't make expanding your storage with third-party devices easy, you will need to download/install the companion SanDisk iXpand Memory Case app on your iPhone, which will automatically back-up your camera roll and password-protect your photos and files. If you need some extra juice, you can spend an extra $40 to receive a 1900mAh battery pack that attaches to the case. The iXpand Memory Case is only available with the iPhone 6 and 6s and is available with 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of extra flash storage for $59, $99, and $129, respectively. Oh, and of course there are varying color options: Red, Grey, Sky and Mint. Maybe your phone battery is running low (God-forbid it is dead) and you just so happen to be nearby a KFC in Delhi or Mumbai, KFC has you covered. They have introduced a meal box that doubles as a smartphone charger.
Debian

Fedora QA Lead Pans Canonical 'Propaganda' On Snap Apps (happyassassin.net) 170

Long-time Slashdot reader JImbob0i0 shares a scathing article by Red Hat's Fedora QA "community monkey"/senior QA engineer on Canonical's announcement about their application delivery mechanism "snap"... ...and how it's going to unite all distributions and kill apt and rpm! This is, to put it diplomatically, a heaping pile of steaming bullshit... The press release and the stories together give you the strong impression that this thing called Snappy is going to be the cross-distribution future of application delivery, and it's all ready for use today and lots of major distributions are buying into it... The stories have headlines like "Adios apt and yum? Ubuntu's snap apps are coming to distros everywhere" and "Snap Packages Become Universal Binary Format for All GNU/Linux Distributions"...

Now, does Snappy actually have the cross-distribution buy-in that the press release claims (but never outright states) that it has? No... The sum total of communication between Canonical and Fedora before the release of this press release was that they mailed us asking about the process of packaging snappy for Fedora, and we told them about the main packaging process and COPR. They certainly did not in any way inform Fedora that they were going to send out a press release strongly implying that Fedora, along with every other distro in the world, was now a happy traveler on the Snappy bandwagon... They just decided to send out a wildly misleading press release and actively encourage the specialist press to report that Snappy was all set to take over the world and everyone was super happy with that.

Debian

Adios Apt and Yum? Ubuntu's Snap Apps Are Coming To Distros Everywhere (arstechnica.com) 274

An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: Ubuntu's "snappy" new way of packaging applications is no longer exclusive to Ubuntu. Canonical today is announcing that snapd, the tool that allows snap packages to be installed on Ubuntu, has been ported to other Linux distributions including Debian, Arch, Fedora, and Gentoo among others. To install snap packages on non-Ubuntu distributions, Linux desktop and server users will have to first install the newly cross-platform snapd. This daemon verifies the integrity of snap packages, confines them into their own restricted space, and acts as a launcher. Instructions for creating snaps and installing snapd on a variety of distributions are available at this website. Snaps can exist on the same system as either deb or RPM packages. Snaps aren't the only new package manager for Linux distributions that aims to simplify installation of applications. There's also AppImage and OrbitalApps.
Programming

Developer Accuses Apple Of Stealing His Breathe App (www.bgr.in) 170

On Monday at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple announced a new app called Breathe as one of the new headline features for watchOS 3, the latest version of its operating system for Apple Watch. The health-centric app reminds users to take a moment and breathe. But was it company's own idea? App developer Ben Erez is accusing Apple of stealing features from his app. What's worse, he adds that the company even used the same name for its app. Erez tells BGR India in a statement: We've had the same concept, same spelling, same functionality in the App store for phone and watch for over a year. We built the app because the existing mindfulness apps were insufficient in that they all focus on intense sessions of 5-20 minutes, once per day. We wanted a mindfulness experience that was felt throughout the day in smaller bits.
Programming

Slashdot Asks: Is the App Boom Over? 278

Quartz did a story in 2014 in which, citing comScore's data, it noted that most smartphones users download zero apps per month. Two years later, the data from Nomura reveals that the top 15 app publishers saw downloads drop an average of 20% in the United States. While there are exceptions -- Uber and Snapchat continue to attract new users worldwide -- it appears that developers are finding it increasingly difficult to get new people to download and try their apps. Recode reports: But now even the very biggest app publishers are seeing their growth slow down or stop altogether. Most people have all the apps they want and/or need. They're not looking for new ones.What's your take on this?
IOS

Apple To Offer iOS Developers 85-15 Revenue Split; Debut Paid App Store Search Ads (theverge.com) 84

Apple says it will now take a smaller cut of commission from app developers provided they have customers who stick with their subscription model for longer than a year. Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, told The Verge in an interview that the company will revise the 70-30 split for such developers to 85-15. In addition, the company will also begin showing search ads for apps in its iOS App Store search results. Also, the company says it is speeding up app review times "to the point where 50 percent of submitted apps are now reviewed in 24 hours, and 90 percent are reviewed within 48 hours." From the report: If the new subscription model becomes widely adopted, it will represent a fundamental shift in the economics of the App Store. Developers will be incentivized to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost. It could change the way consumers pay for certain apps, but it also presents a massive opportunity for developers, many of whom feel the app economy has been become moribund in recent years. And as iPhone sales growth slows, a move to app subscriptions is another way for Apple wring more profits from its existing user base.Apple columnist John Gruber has more details.
Networking

Report: People Are Spending Much Less Time On Social Media (cnbc.com) 151

An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNBC: According to a new study from marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb, people are spending less time on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The company analyzed Android users' daily time spent on these social networks from January to March 2016 with the same period in 2015, which included data from the U.S., UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, South Africa, Brazil and Spain. Instagram usage was down 23.7 percent this year, Twitter usage was down 23.4 percent, Snapchat usage was down 15.7 percent, and Facebook usage was down 8 percent. Daily usage was down even more in the U.S. for most of the apps. In the U.S., Instagram usage was down 36.2 percent, Twitter was down 27.9 percent, Snapchat was down 19.2 percent but Facebook only fell 6.7 percent. Current installs for the four big social networks were down nine percent year over year. Meanwhile, Facebook's messaging apps, WhatsApp and Messenger increased their installs by 15 percent and 2 percent respectively.
IOS

Apple Considering Google-Like 'Paid Search' On App Store (bloomberg.com) 49

Apple is considering big changes to the App Store, according to a Bloomberg report. The publication claims that the iPhone maker has a team working on "paid searches" -- something similar to Google's model. Under this, the company will charge its developers for showing their apps among top search results. Apple critic John Gruber writes: This sounds like a terrible idea. The one and only thing Apple should do with App Store search is make it more accurate. They don't need to squeeze any more money from it. More accurate, reliable App Store search would help users and help good developers. It's downright embarrassing that App Store search is still so bad. Google web search is better for searching Apple's App Store than the App Store's built-in search. That's the problem Apple needs to address.
Desktops (Apple)

Sorry, Indie Devs -- Pop Apps Are the Future of App Store (imore.com) 103

An anonymous reader points us to an opinion piece by Apple blogger Rene Ritchie on the dim prospects for indie app developers, in the face of mass-market, big-name competition. From his piece: Big apps get all the attention these days, just like big movie, music, or book releases and indies get what little is left, when there's even a little left. The App Store is big business, and that's how big business works. [...] Apple could use its considerable power and influence to help shape the App Store economy into one more hospitable to indie developers. After all, those are the apps I love and the ones that dominate my home screens. But the truth is, even if Apple gave indie developers everything they wanted, it wouldn't matter much over the long term. It may help a few for a while, and a very few for a while longer, but the app economy and apps themselves are evolving. Brent Simmons has offered his opinion on the matter. He writes, The Mac has for a long time been overlooked -- first because Windows was so huge, and then web apps, and now iOS. For my entire career people have said that the Mac is a bad bet, that it's dumb to write Mac apps. [...] There was never a golden age for indie iOS developers. It was easier earlier on, but it was never golden. (Yes, some people made money, and some are today. I don't mean that there were zero successes.) And there's a good chance that many of the people you currently think of as thriving iOS indie developers are making money in other ways: contracting, podcast ads, Mac apps, etc.
Medicine

Hopkins Study Finds Popular Blood Pressure App Wildly Inaccurate (jamanetwork.com) 50

An anonymous reader writes to point out a software review of the kind you can't generally find in an app store. A group from Johns Hopkins checked the accuracy of the Instant Blood Pressure app, which has sold more than 148,000 copies, and purports to measure blood pressure with just an iPhone -- no cuff required -- and found it wanting, to put it mildly. In the researcher's study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the app missed elevated blood pressures four out of five times.
Advertising

Porn-Clicker Android Malware Hits Google Play Hard 47

An anonymous reader writes: In a little over seven months, cybercriminals using click-jacking mobile malware to earn affiliate income have managed to push over 340 instances of the malware into Google Play. The "Porn Clicker," as ESET researchers have dubbed the threat, does not steal user information or download additional malware – it simply clicks on ads generated by the attackers' servers and shown on pornographic websites. The user is none the wiser, as the malicious app does so covertly.
IOS

Pirated App Store Client For iOS Found On Apple's App Store (helpnetsecurity.com) 55

An anonymous reader writes: An app called "Happy Daily English", which has been offered for download via Apple's official App Store, has been revealed to be a fully functional third party App Store client for iOS, offering users in mainland China a way to install modified versions of iOS apps on non-jailbroken devices. Its discovery shows that there are new techniques that can be used to fool Apple reviewers into allowing potentially malicious apps into the App Store, that enterprise certificates can be easily abused, and that there are ways for bypassing Apple's prohibition of apps dynamically loading new code.
Advertising

Adblock Fast Returns To Google Play a Week After Being Pulled 53

An anonymous reader writes: A week ago, Google suddenly removed Adblock Fast from its Android app store. Today, the ad blocker has been reinstated, enabling Samsung users to download it once again from Google Play. Late last month, the browser preinstalled on Samsung's Android phones gained support for content-blocking plugins, and the first plugin to support the functionality was a free and open-source solution called Adblock Fast. Rocketship Apps, the maker of Adblock Fast, uploaded the Android plugin on January 29, but Google rejected an app update on February 1. The app hit Google Play's top spot for free, new productivity apps on February 2, and was pulled by Google on the same day.
Advertising

Samsung's AdBlock Fast Removed From the Play Store (androidheadlines.com) 167

New submitter Alexander Maxham writes with the news reported at Android Headlines that Samsung's ad-blocking Android app called AdBlock Fast "was apparently ousted from the Play Store for violating section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement, stating that an app cannot disrupt or interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services. (Also noted by Engadget.)
Android

With Respect To Gaming, Android Still Lags Behind iOS (bgr.com) 166

An anonymous reader writes: No matter what you think about the Android/iOS divide from either a hardware or software perspective, there's simply no getting around the fact that many developers still take an iOS-first approach with respect to app development. With games, where development costs are already sky-high, the dynamic is even more pronounced. For instance, one of the most addictive, successful, and highly rated apps currently available on the App Store is a great snowboarding game called Alto's Adventure. It was originally released this past February for the iPhone and iPad (and now the Apple TV). Still today, nine months after its initial release, an Android version of the app remains non-existent. Now if you're an Android user who happens to enjoy mobile gaming, it's easy to see how this dynamic playing out over and over again can quickly become an endless source of frustration.

Slashdot Top Deals