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.


ios7-130610-3

“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

facebook-app

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.

iOS 7 home screen picture leaked, begins to show talked-about design differences

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, 06:44
Category: iOS, News, Software

It’s not the greatest picture in the world, but it says something as to what iOS 7′s user interface might look like.

The mighty Apple Core, in collaboration with Sonny Dickson, has located a somewhat blurry photo of what might be the upcoming iOS 7 home screen:


ios-7-home-screen-leak-ogrady-576x805

While the photo is lacking in detail, designer Surenix reproduced the fuzzy icons and created the following mockup which provides a peek at what Apple’s new, flatter app icons could look like in iOS 7.

Head on over to the Apple Core for Jason’s full analysis and comparison of the icon between iOS 6 and iOS 7.

Who knows? The “flatter”, more uniform design could work and we’ll have to wait and see come its release.

Rumor: iOS 7 to include long-awaited AirDrop file sharing feature

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 06:57
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

Granted, no one has ANY REAL IDEA as to what iOS 7′s interface will look like, but there’s some cool new and improved features rumored to be coming down the pipe.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple is currently testing versions of iOS 7 internally that include the AirDrop WiFi-direct file sharing tool from the Mac, according to sources close to the story.

Like the rumored Flickr and Vimeo integration that’s been making the rounds, it is very simple for Apple to remove any single feature from the new operating system ahead of the mid-June unveiling.

Additionally, Apple has scrapped AirDrop late in software development from iOS before. Last year, we reported that Apple was developing an AirDrop tool to take advantage of the new WiFi hardware inside of Apple’s latest iOS devices. Because Apple has postponed the feature before, we believe it is possible that the feature could be pushed back again…

Sources say that the AirDrop functionality is currently integrated into the standard iOS share menu. AirDrop will work between two iOS devices and potentially between an iOS device and a Mac. The feature will make it easier than ever to transfer, for example, a photograph or document from one person’s iPhone to another person’s iPad.

While iCloud synchronization works well for sharing photos and documents between two iOS devices owned by the same person, the AirDrop feature will allow seamless individual file exchanges between iOS devices belonging to different people. Apple launched this functionality between Mac computers in 2011 with OS X Lion.

Notably, this potential addition will increase feature parity between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. Android has included peer-to-peer file sharing for multiple releases of the software, but the implementation can be confusing due to fragmentation. For example, Samsung has its own unique fork of peer-to-peer file sharing while Google’s stock Android builds include its own implementation. AirDrop for iOS will be seamless in that it will work the same way on all of Apple’s supported products.

Finally, rumors have also pointed towards improved in-car-integration for Maps and Siri – something I think most iOS users can appreciate.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple expands Maps application’s 3D flyover coverage, accuracy to parts of California

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 24th, 2013, 06:07
Category: iOS, News, Software

It’s a slow process, but it’s hopefully getting better and more accurate.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple’s iOS 6 Maps application apparently now offers improved support for San Bernardino, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario and Moreno Valley and other areas in California. With the additions, Maps offers nearly unbroken Flyover coverage of cities from San Bernardino to the Pacific Ocean…

As with the previous expansion of the flyover feature in Paris and surrounding areas of France, the update was a silent one, so it’s possible that other areas have been added too – please let us know if you spot any. The flyover feature is supported only in iOS 6.

Apple has been working hard on developing its Maps product after widespread disappointment in the accuracy of the launch version.

If you’ve noticed any changes in the Maps application’s accuracy in your area, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to build Vimeo, Flickr integration into iOS 7

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013, 06:11
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

This could become useful.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has been making efforts to offer deep social network integration in its mobile operating system, first offering Twitter integration in iOS 5 and then Facebook integration in iOS 6. Apparently, Apple will expand its social network integration even further with iOS 7, including support for both photo sharing site Flickr and video sharing site Vimeo.

As with Facebook and Twitter integration, Vimeo and Flickr integration will allow users to be able to sign in to the social networks in the Settings menu. Those one-time sign-in credentials will be usable across iOS, providing comprehensive sharing options and easy integration with other downloaded apps.

With Flickr integration, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch customers will have the ability to share photos stored and/or taken on their devices to Flickr with a single tap from the system-wide share menu. Flickr has been integrated into the paid iPhoto iOS App Store app and OS X Mountain Lion since 2012, but iOS 7 will represent the first time in which the photo sharing service has been integrated deeply into the entire iOS operating system.

While Apple continues to allow direct video uploads to YouTube from its camera app, Vimeo integration will give iOS 7 users an additional option for video uploads. As with Yahoo, Apple has an existing relationship with Vimeo, having offered integration with the service in OS X Mountain Lion.

As noted by an unnamed source, though Flickr and Vimeo integration is currently in the works, as with all beta software, there is a risk that it could be removed before the public release of iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google to incorporate voice search feature into iOS Chrome app

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013, 06:34
Category: iOS, News, Software

google-chrome-logo

This could turn into something pretty nifty.

Per 9to5Mac, Google announced on Wednesday via its Chrome blog that a new update will soon be rolling out to its Chrome app for iPhone and iPad that will allow users to access voice search features previously limited to the Google Search app. Using the same omnibox currently included in the app, Google will soon allow users to tap a microphone icon to search using only their voice with a UI similar to the recently redesigned voice search on Mac.

Google said the updated Chrome app should be landing on the App Store in the coming days.

Google also noted that the updated iOS app would provide faster reloading of web pages and an option for third-party apps “to open links in Chrome and then return to the app with just one tap.”

Earlier today Google began rolling out revamped voice search functionality in the Chrome app for Mac users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Yahoo! changes Flickr policies, now offers 1TB of storage space for free

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 21st, 2013, 11:45
Category: iOS, News, Software

flickr

There may be some life in Flickr (and its current owner, Yahoo) after all…

Per Mac|Life, the Flickr Blog announced Monday that the cloud photo service would be making a big change, effective immediately, combining 1TB of free storage with a beautiful new look and feel for the web app.

“At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality,” the blog post reads. “No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.”

The hefty storage bump is absolutely free for everyone, as Flickr has done away with its Flickr Pro upgrades entirely in favor of only two paid options: US$49.99 per year to remove all ads, or US$499.99 per year to double the storage space to 2TB.

Flickr now features a new look for web browsers, which places the emphasis on photos with a minimum of white space around them. The site now offers support for full 1080p HD videos up to three minutes long, and users can fill their entire 1TB of storage with them, should they choose to do so.

Finally, Flickr pushed out an overhaul to its existing Android app, which brings a similar look and feel from the web app to mobile. While the company hasn’t confirmed whether or not the iPhone will receive the same treatment, it’s a good bet that it will — and here’s hoping it will arrive alongside a native iPad app as well.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

UPS for iPad app goes live, now available in App Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 17th, 2013, 06:05
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

ups

You’ve gotta admit…a UPS app for the iPad sounds attractive.

Per 9to5Mac, UPS announced on Thursday that the company is finally rolling out its native UPS for iPad app that brings the ability to track and schedule deliveries as well as access to features of UPS My Choice® and enhanced mapping features.

The app offers the following functions without having to log in:
– Track packages and freight shipments.

– Save up to 5 tracking numbers in your tracking list.

– See the current location of your package on a map.

– Find UPS service locations via GPS.

When you log in, you can also:
– Sync your recent tracks from ups.com.

– Nickname tracked shipments.

– Enroll in UPS My Choice.

– Use UPS My Choice to take action on your incoming deliveries.

– Set your delivery preferences.

The UPS for iPad app requires an iPad running iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the app and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.