Apple releases details about Swift Playgrounds 1.5, points to hardware that will be controllable via the update

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Date: Friday, June 2nd, 2017, 05:41
Category: Developer, iOS, iPad, News, Software, Swift, WWDC

This could lead to something pretty neat.

Apple released an update on Thursday in which it provided a detailed update as to Swift Playgrounds 1.5 will let students control robots, drone, and musical instruments.

The announcement reads as follows:

Apple® today announced that Swift Playgrounds™, its educational coding app for iPad®, will offer an exciting new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments. Swift Playgrounds is perfect for students and beginners learning to code with Swift™, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language for building world-class apps.

Apple says Swift Playgrounds 1.5 will let students control Bluetooth-connected bots including “LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more.”

In the announcement, Craig Federighi says Swift Playgrounds already has over 1 million users around the world. Apple specifically details compatibility between Swift Playgrounds 1.5 and these products:

— LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 are incredibly popular in schools around the world and give students the power to explore coding through real-life problem solving as they create and command their own robotic LEGO creatures, vehicles, machines and inventions. With Swift Playgrounds kids can code and interact with their creations’ motors and sensors.

— Sphero SPRK+, a popular robotic ball, rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colors. Sensors provide feedback when Sphero hits an obstacle, and all of it can be controlled with Swift code.

— Parrot’s Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones can take off, land, turn and perform aerial figures like flips, all under the control of code users create.

— UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit lets kids program their buildable robot to walk, wave and dance.

— Dash by Wonder Workshop is an exciting, hands-on learning robot for students, designed to teach the fundamentals of coding, creative problem solving and computational thinking.

— Skoog is a tactile cube that enables children of all abilities to have fun exploring, creating and playing music with Swift code.

Cool stuff, albeit this begs the question: Where was anything this nifty when I was a kid?

Apple says the new version of Swift Playgrounds will be available starting Monday, June 5. Swift Playgrounds is available for free for the iPad and requires iOS 10.0 or later to install and run.

Via 9to5Mac and the App Store

Apple Pay expected to arrive in Ukraine come Q2 of 2018

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Date: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, 05:48
Category: Apple Pay, Finance, News, retail, Software

It looks like Apple Pay is en route to the Ukraine come next year.

An Alfa-Bank executive stated that Apple Pay should arrive in the Ukraine in the second quarter of 2018.

The head of Alfa-Bank Ukraine’s e-business, Maxim Patrin, cited an anonymous source from one of the payment systems operating in the country. Alfa-Bank is based primarily in Russia, and may be better known to U.S. readers for alleged ties to U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Intel announces X-Series processors, including 18-core, 36-thread model

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Date: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, 05:58
Category: Hardware, iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, News, Processors

If you’re hankering for an insane next-gen processor that might one day find its way into the Mac, it’s about here.

Intel today has announced its new family of Intel Core processors. Titled as Intel Core X-Series, the new high-end desktop processors are the next step in Intel’s processor family. The units range from $242 – $1,999, the X-Series looks to cover the gamut of next generation desktop processing power.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the X-Series i9-7908XE boasts both 18-cores and 36-threads.

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New elements of Apple Park campus begin to surface in Maps

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2017, 05:06
Category: Apple, News

This is kind of neat.

In a recent update to Apple Maps’ data, Apple has included enhanced coverage of the Apple Park campus, the app now displaying 3D building models, walkways and other points of interest across the sprawling grounds.

The new data includes a comprehensive “Map” video with highly detailed 3D building models, guides to the roads running in and out of the campus, traffic directions, pedestrian walkways and more. The new maps also display a small manmade pond that sits on the grounds.

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Continuation patent points to Apple’s renewed interest in virtual keyboard technology for upcoming products

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Date: Friday, May 26th, 2017, 05:44
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News, Patents, Touch Bar

It looks like Apple is continuing its development work regarding a virtual keyboard technology.

The company, which has filed for patents for virtual keyboards on MacBook notebooks as far back as 2009, has recently had a continuation patent application published today shows that the company is still exploring the idea.

The virtual keyboard made headlines when it launched on the iPhone in 2007 and became a notable feature in the late-2016 MacBook Pro via the Touch Bar.

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Apple posts directions for watching the WWDC 2017 keynote, conference sessions

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Date: Friday, May 26th, 2017, 05:10
Category: Developer, iOS, macOS, News, Software, TvOS, watchOS

Apple won’t be televising its WWDC, albeit you can live-stream it to your heart’s content.

The company has confirmed that users will be able to live-stream the keynote for the Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple’s first event of the year is scheduled to kick off with a keynote on Monday, June 5 at 10 a.m. PT.

The Worldwide Developers Conference will take place from June 5th to the 9th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple will also be uploading videos of several conference sessions so you can watch them online.

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Stanford study hails the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitoring function, points out shortcomings in calorie counting feature

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Date: Thursday, May 25th, 2017, 05:34
Category: Apple Watch, Hardware, News, Wearables

The good news is that the current Apple Watch features one of the most accurate heart rate monitors on the market.

The bad news is that its calorie counting feature could use some work.

A new medical study from Stanford University published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine on Wednesday sought to determine the validity of readings from commonly worn fitness trackers. The growing number of consumers buying and wearing devices with biometric capabilities presents a unique opportunity for preventative cardiovascular medicine, but error rates of these commercial products are largely unknown, the study says.

“People are basing life decisions on the data provided by these devices,” Euan Ashley, DPhil, FRCP, professor of cardiovascular medicine, of genetics and of biomedical data science at Stanford said in a statement. Ashley also stated that consumer devices are not bound by the same regulations as medical-grade equipment, making it difficult for doctors to quantify or otherwise apply generated data to diagnoses.

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Apple launches Swift development curriculum aimed at high school, college students

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Date: Thursday, May 25th, 2017, 05:06
Category: Developer, iOS, News, Software, Swift

If you or anyone you know is looking to get into Swift coding, this might be your thing.

Apple has just launched a new app development curriculum, available on the company’s iBooks e-reader app, that aims to let anyone in high school or community college learn to code in Swift and create apps for iPhone and iPad.

In 2016, Apple launched Swift Playgrounds at its WWDC event. The project’s goal was to get children of all ages to become familiar with the basic concepts of code. This represents the next step and several community colleges have simultaneously announced support for the new curriculum, including the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College, and San Mateo Community College District, with more colleges and high schools on the way.

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1Password receives update, now offers “Travel Mode” feature

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Date: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 05:34
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

This could come in handy.

Following an update pushed out last week, 1Password now includes a new feature that lets users selectively erase local data for maximum protection while traveling.

The new “Travel Mode” feature erases all vaults/user profiles with the exception of those marked “safe for travel” from devices connected to a 1Password account. Users can later restore their full list of vaults with another click once they arrive.

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Apple experimenting with 5G Millimeter Wave technology, receives license from the FCC

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Date: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 05:54
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, wireless

Apple looks to be edging closer to 5G.

Per Business Insider, the company is testing next-gen 5G data speeds via a wireless technology called “millimeter wave” which could ultimately improve cellular performance for iPhones and other connected devices.

Apple has apparently been granted an application by the FCC for an experimental license to test the new 5G wireless technology.

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