iOS 7 developer beta incorporates password disable feature

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Date: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 07:00
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

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As mentioned before, it’s the beta versions that point out the cool stuff on the horizon.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s latest beta build of iOS 7 makes it more difficult for thieves to get away with stealing an iOS device by requiring a user’s password to be entered when disabling the “Find My iPhone” functionality.

The new feature, found in pre-release builds of iOS 7 made available to developers, also applies to the iPad. Users can open the Settings application, choose iCloud, then “Find My iPhone,” and flipping the switch to off brings up a password prompt.

The addition addresses a potential issue that users have noticed for years, since the “Find My iPhone” functionality came to iOS 4 in 2010. With iOS 7, users who may not feel the need to utilize the passcode lock screen can still enjoy added security for the Find My iPhone feature, making it more difficult for a thief to turn it off.

Of course, someone who has stolen an iPhone or iPad could simply turn off the device, or remove a SIM card. But the new feature is just an added level of security for those who may be unfortunate enough to have their device stolen.

Still, not a bad addition.

Please let us know what you think of this in the comments.

Apple releases second iOS 7 beta to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 10:26
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

It’s the beta versions that show the cool stuff around the corner.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the second iOS 7 beta was released today, sources indicating that it contains the usual “bug fixes and improvements.” A document outlining the changes is available to developers at developer.apple.com/ios7/release-notes, although several devs reported that the page is currently offline.

Developers have also noted that the update is available for iPad now, marking the first time that iOS 7 will appear on Apple’s tablet.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new beta and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T updates carrier settings, pushes Wireless Emergency Alerts

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 07:39
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software, wireless

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This was a weird thing that popped up, but it’s hard to argue with the Emergency Alert System.

Per The Mac Observer, wireless carrier AT&T began pushing an update to iPhone users over the weekend that adds support for Wireless Emergency Alerts. The WEA system sends text messages to smartphone owners alerting them to physical threats like earthquakes and tornados, man-made disasters, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential alerts.


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The update is being pushed to the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and doesn’t require any action on the user’s part since it’s delivered over the air. Once installed, alerts will appear as special text messages and are delivered based on your location. For example, if an AMBER alert is issued for a missing child and you’re in the same city, you’ll see the notification.

The update is free, and since it’s a carrier-supplied update, it won’t appear in iOS 6′s built-in Software Update feature.

Microsoft releases long-awaited Office Mobile 365 for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ve been hankering for a native version of Microsoft Office for iOS for some time now.

And it’s arrived.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

With Microsoft’s Office Mobile, users can view documents stored in Microsoft’s SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as read and edit Office docs sent as email attachments. Additionally, owners of Windows machines can remotely access documents that were recently viewed on a desktop client.

Another PC-only feature is “Resume Reading,” which allows Word documents opened from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro to automatically jump to where users left off on their Windows computer or tablet.

Microsoft says documents are optimized before being viewed on the iPhone, while support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes comes built-in. Also available is an in-app Slide Navigator in PowerPoint and a function to help with presentation practice.

The application offers the following features:
- Edit – You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

- Documents Remain Intact – Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.

- Edit While Offline – Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.

- Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.

- Comments – You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.

- Share – When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Office Mobile comes in at 58MB and is available from the App Store as a free companion app for existing Office 365 subscribers. The app requires an iOS device running iOS 6.1 or later to install and run. Microsoft Office 2013 for PC is required for recent document and resume reading.

If you’ve tried Office Mobile 365 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 7 user interface still under development, could see major changes from version presented at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You know that new, flatter look demoed for iOS 7 at WWDC?

It’s probably not the final version.

Per The Next Web, sources familiar with Apple’s latest mobile operating system said the iOS 7 beta, as well as the preview shown at the WWDC keynote on Monday, is a “mid-stride” snapshot of the work being done behind closed doors.

The pace is so quick that some of the builds used to present the OS on stage two days ago were later versions of what was seeded to developers in the iOS 7 beta. It can’t be confirmed which feature sets are more advanced, though the beta version is slightly inconsistent with the OS demoed on Monday by software engineering head Craig Federighi.

The fact that iOS 7 will change before it is released seems obvious in that the software currently in the hands of developers are beta versions meant for testing. However, while backend and UI tweaks are expected to change for early build software, the radically different new design language of iOS 7 is also reportedly largely under construction.

Interestingly, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design Jony Ive, who is now also the head of the company’s Human Interaction section, called on in-house marketing design teams to flesh out the much-ballyhooed first party app icons.

The sources said both print and web design personnel laid down a framework of color palettes and a general “look,” which Ive’s app designers used as guidelines to produce what was seen in the iOS 7 preview. As with operational facets of the OS, these are also works in progress.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and from a design perspective that rings true. Ive and his team have managed to dismantle almost every theme and nuance that the OS has amassed over the preceding six years and six generations. From skeuomorphic iconography to UI and UX, the new iOS 7 tears down almost everything, replacing it with a clean, if not controversial, design. Apple has managed, at least in these early builds, to achieve a feel that is at once completely new and wholly familiar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to include “kill switch” feature in iOS 7, require Apple ID and password to reenable stolen devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 07:44
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

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This shouldn’t be overlooked.

According to CNN, Apple will add an Activation Lock features as part of iOS 7. The feature, which functions as a “kill switch”, will require an Apple ID and password before an iOS device’s “Find My iPhone” feature can be turned off or any data can be erased.

At a keynote address opening its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the company said the same ID and password will be needed to reactivate a device after it’s been remotely erased. The same ID and password will still be required even after the SIM card has been removed from the stolen device.

As mobile devices become more popular, stealing them has become a unique sort of crime that has law enforcement and government officials taking notice.

In New York, a special police unit has been created to deal with stolen mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google buys out Waze, leaves company as independent entity for time being

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

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It had to happen sometime.

But at least it’s under interesting circumstances.

Per The Mac Observer, Google has put an end to the rumors that it has been negotiating to buy Waze with the announcement that it has, in fact, signed a deal with the crowdsourced mapping and navigation company. Google Vice President of Geo Brian McClendon said Waze will remain an independent company for now, and its development team won’t be leaving Israel.

Mr. McClendon stated the following:

“The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.”

Waze is a popular turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone that improves accuracy and gathers realtime traffic data from its users. The deal will give Google access to the data Waze is collecting and will make it easier for the two companies to collaborate on new features.

Google is promising that even though there will be some feature sharing between its own maps product and Waze, users won’t be hit with any big surprises. The Waze team backed that up, saying, “Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same.”

The reason behind the deal, according to Waze, was because the company wasn’t interested in going public. They chose to strike a deal with Google because of the promise to be able to continue operating as an independent company.

Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Facebook and Google were both negotiating to buy Waze in deals expected to top US$1 billion. Facebook, as well as Apple, already had deals in place with Waze; Facebook for social sharing of locations, and Apple for navigation and location data for its own Maps app. Since Waze gets to continue operating as an independent company, it looks like those deals won’t be changing, although that could change some time in the future.

That being said, Waze remains a killer app available for free on the App Store, requires iOS 4.3 or later to install and run and becomes useful very quickly.

Take a gander and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

Siri to see new features, improvements under iOS 7, will exclude Google searches

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, 09:06
Category: iOS, News, Software

Come iOS 7, you’ll be seeing some changes with Siri.

Per Macworld, as part of the iOS 7 overhaul, Siri will receive a brand-new interface, voice monitoring, and a results panel that appears on the bottom of the screen. Siri’s slightly robotic diction is no more, replaced by smoother female (or male) voices. French and German will be supported at launch, with more languages coming soon.

During the WWDC keynote, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue noted that “Siri is getting a lot smarter,” with new support for listening to your voicemail, enabling and disabling services, and more intelligent searching.

Answering more questions:
Among other new features, Siri now has full Twitter integration; you can tell the service, “Tell me what Dan is saying,” and it will display a full list of Dan’s tweets.

It also appears that Siri has ditched Google as a search option. Previously, if you requested a search, it’d kick you out to Safari to perform it. Now, it appears to perform Wikipedia and Bing searches inline: Ask Siri to tell you about surfing, and you’ll be presented with the Wikipedia surfing page.

System service options:
Siri also now lets you turn system services on and off with your voice, no button-pushing necessary. If you need to turn off Bluetooth, just say, “turn off Bluetooth” and Siri will comply.

Voicemail, photos, and more:
Cue didn’t demonstrate all of Siri’s new features, but he did mention that users would be able to call up their voicemail and search their photo collections. More information on Siri will likely be available as iOS 7 inches closer to release this fall. There was no word on whether this newer, smarter Siri would be available as part of OS X.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple unveils iOS 7 at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 12:20
Category: iOS, News, Software

Make no mistake about it, iOS 7 is en route.

And it looks a whole lot different than what you’re used to.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday took the wraps off a drastically redesigned iOS 7 that marks a new direction for the company’s mobile operating system.

Virtually everything about the look and feel of iOS has changed with version 7, including a refined typography, all new icons, and a dynamic color scheme. The new operating system was spearheaded by Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive, and engineering head Craig Federighi.


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“iOS 7: The biggest change to iOS since the iPhone,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook declared.

As you move an iPhone in your hand, a new parallax feature will actually move the wallpaper in the background, allowing users to “see behind” the icons on their home screen.

All of the built-in applications have been completely rebuilt with a new look, including Messages, Calendar, and even the phone application.

In a demonstration of the new weather application, Federighi showed how dynamic weather effects are shown in the background, giving a visual representation of the current conditions.

A new gesture allows for easier one-handed use, letting users swipe from the left side of the screen to go back. Folders have also been expanded to allow multiple pages and hold more applications.

An updated Notification Center is slightly transparent, removing its previous textured appearance. Notification Center is also available from the lock screen as well, without the need to unlock the device.

In addition to an all-new look, iOS 7 is also a major feature release, he said. Among those features is Control Center, which allows quick access to settings like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, and even a built-in flashlight. Control Center is available from anywhere, including the lock screen.

Multitasking has also been enhanced “for all apps with great battery life,” Federighi said. iOS 7 notices users’ pattern of use, giving applications background cycles based on how often users access them.

Swiping between open applications is now a full-screen affair, offering users a larger preview of the application as it is currently open.

An updated Safari for iOS 7 has a new full-screen mode that allows users to focus on content. A smart search field also has one-tap access to favorite websites, along with a new tabbed interface. Users are also no longer limited to just 8 tabs.

New AirDrop functionality will allow users to quickly share content with friends nearby with peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. AirDrop will be supported on the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod touch.

“No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others,” Federighi joked.

An updated Camera application comes with built-in filters, while enhancements to the Photos application allow individual pictures to be organized into “moments.” Photos are automatically organized based on data such as where and when they were captured.

Users can even zoom out to a year-by-year view. Enhanced by the Retina display, users can “scrub” through their yearly photos to narrow down what they’re looking for. And new Shared Photo Streams also allow group sharing of photos and video via iCloud.

Additional features include the following:
- A new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased.

- Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark.

- FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network.

- Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices.

- Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you.

- Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters.

- The ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads;

- Enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

Apple has released an iOS 7 beta to its developer community (available at developer.apple.com).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Developer finds Facebook apps may be draining batteries too quickly on iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, 07:40
Category: iOS, News, Software

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If your iPhone’s battery life seems to be going the way of the dodo, the Facebook app might be to blame.

Per Cult of Mac, the iOS developer behind Home Remind has published a blog post about the Facebook apps for iPhone, iPad and Facebook Messenger. He says that according to his testing, the Facebook apps consume way more CPU time than is strictly necessary. Excessive CPU time can lead to battery drain.

The developer used Apple’s own Mac-based app, Instruments, to look at what was running on his iPhone, and found that his Facebook app was activating, doing something for ten seconds, then going back to sleep. It did this all day long during his test. He tested the Messenger app and the Facebook iPad app, and found the same pattern.

If that’s the case, the Facebook app is never truly going to sleep and then terminating like a good app. As a result, it’s using up CPU time, and a lot of your battery.

According to the blog post, Facebook is able to do this because it meets the criteria for two types of apps that Apple allows to run in the background: audio apps and voice over IP apps. Facebook apps are operating under these two backgrounding apps privileges, and, as such, are actively chewing up your battery time.

The developer doesn’t say that Facebook is doing this on purpose, and it hoping to make the company aware of the problem, so that they could possibly fix it in an update. Until then, he says, there are only two options.

You can delete the Facebook apps from your iPhone or iPad, and then just use the web version of Facebook, or you can force-quit the app when you’re not using it by double clicking the home button, tapping and holding the Facebook icon in the multitasking bar, and then tapping the little red minus icon. That way, he says, Facebook apps will well and truly be terminated.

If you’ve seen this battery drain on your end or have two cents to throw in on the issue, please let us know in the comments.