iOS 7 build shows new Accessibility option to control devices via head movements

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Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2013, 09:30
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Ok, this could be interesting.

Per MacRumors, a new feature has been pointed out for Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 operating system that, via an Accessibility menu, allows iPhone users to control their devices using head movements.

The option can be found in the Switch Control area of the Accessibility menu, which is designed for users who need assistance with physical and motor movements.

Switch Control allows you to use your iPhone by sequentially highlighting items on the screen that can be activated through an adaptive accessory.

With the feature activated, specific movements can be used to correspond with actions. For example, the setting can be programmed to allow a left head movement to activate a tap, while a right head movement can be programmed to perform to another function.

Users can also make the left or right head movement act as a home button, start Siri, open Notification Center, open the App Switcher, decrease volume, increase volume, or simply tap.

It is important to note that Switch Control head movements are a beta function and should be used with caution, as the setting disables touch input.

Apple has always had a heavy focus on accessibility, and over the years has worked to provide accessibility options for vision, hearing, motor skills, and learning, turning the iPad and the iPhone into fully featured assistive devices. iOS 7 promises to bring even more accessibility options, further increasing the utility of Apple’s devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Skype for iOS updated to 4.9, adds free video messaging, other improvements

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Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2013, 08:28
Category: iOS, News, Software

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It’s one of those days for marquee iOS app updates.

Per iMore, Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad have been updated to version 4.9. The new version, a 29.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Video messaging is now free and unlimited.

- Audio and video call stability improvements.

- Share photos more readily.

- Improved accessibility for video messaging.

- General fixes and improvements.

Video clips can be up to three minutes long, and the fact that all users can now send as many as they like has lots of positive implications for continued use of the service. A call is not always convienient, but there’s something a lot more personal about seeing someone as they’re speaking to you. Like they really, actually do want to talk to you.

Skype 4.9 requires and iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions of Skype for iOS and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Earth updated to 7.1.1 for iOS, Android

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Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2013, 06:33
Category: iOS, News, Software

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This could come in handy.

Per Google Lat Long, Google has just released version 7.1.1 of Google Earth for Android and iOS.

The new version, a 29 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Google Street View.

- Improved directions and search.

- Improved user interface.

Google Earth 7.1.1 requires an iOS device running iOS 4.3 or later to install and run and can be snagged via the iTunes Store.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.