Apple releases iOS 7 beta 3, adds extensive changes across the board

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 9th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, News, Software

ios7logo

The third iOS 7 beta is out, complete with a fairly massive list of updates and changes.

Per AppleInsider, Apple Apple on Monday released the third beta build of iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to its development community for testing, addressing pre-release bugs related to a range of issues, including Messages, iCloud and AirPlay.

Those with authorized Apple developer accounts can update their devices directly through the Software Update section of the built-in Settings application. Monday’s launch confirms an earlier rumor that Apple planned to follow a two-week release schedule.

The third beta includes the following fixes and changes:
The third beta is said to address a number of issues that previously existed when using Apple’s iCloud services. Specifically, users familiar with the accompanying release notes said a number of problems associated with the new iCloud Keychain feature have been fixed in beta 3. Issues that also existed with Find My iPhone and Bookmarks toggles have reportedly been addressed.

Apple also indicated to developers that it has fixed an issue in the Messages application that would present an empty message list on a clean install of iOS 7. Another issue that would cause Messages to crash when viewing attachments on two separate threads has also been addressed.Fixes in iOS 7 beta 3 are wide ranging, covering issues with push notifications, iCloud Keychain, Messages, and Newsstand.

Developers testing iOS 7 beta 3 will also no longer be prompted with authorization alerts when Newsstand background downloads using HTTP basic or digest authentication are initiated.

The latest beta also squashes a bug that would not save per-app settings in the Background App Refresh option in Settings. In addition, an issue that would not respect custom Passcode Lock and Auto-Lock settings has been fixed.

Apple has also reportedly addressed a common issue where some apps may receive either duplicate push notifications, or no push notification at all. The app switcher has also been updated to show all suspended apps, Apple told developers.

Finally, a bug that would not allow Reminders to work with VoiceOver functionality is said to have been addressed.

As before, Apple has warned users that the second beta “should only be deployed on devices dedicated for iOS 7 beta software development.” The prerelease software is not intended for use among the general public.

As such, a number of known issues are said to remain in iOS 7 beta 3 in a range of applications, including Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Safari, Passbook and more.

The second iOS 7 beta was provided to developers two Mondays ago, on June 24. It added new voice options for Apple’s Siri personal assistant software.

Apple gave developers the first beta of iOS 7 a month ago at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. That was also the first time the world, outside of Apple’s team, got to see a major design overhaul for the platform.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new iOS 7 beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple offers popular apps at deep discounts, for free as App Store nears fifth anniversary on July 10th

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 8th, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

appstorelogo

With the fifth anniversary of the iOS App Store approaching, a number of high-ranking apps will become free for a period of time.

According to The Verge, an unknown number of iOS apps are now free to download for both the iPhone and iPad, with titles spanning across genres and price ranges.

Games like Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings, and Where’s My Water? are all complimentary, while other apps include Barefoot World Atlas, Day One, Over, and Traktor DJ for iPad. With the price slashing, users can save anywhere from US$0.99 to US$19.99.

While Apple has yet to make an official announcement regarding the free app selection, or collect them into a dedicated App Store section, it is thought that the move is in celebration of the digital storefront’s upcoming fifth anniversary on July 10.

The company sent out a poster last week detailing a timeline of major App Store milestones, including explosive growth that saw 1 billion downloads in 2009, 10 billion in 2011, and 50 billion this past May. Apple also noted that the store has generated more than US$10 billion for app developers to date.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve noticed a cool iOS app that’s free or discounted on the iOS App Store, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Fifth-gen iPad could arrive in September, second-gen iPad mini not long after

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 8th, 2013, 06:22
Category: Hardware, iPad mini, Rumor

The next-gen iPad you’re hoping for could hit in September, the mini version not long after.

Per DigiTimes, a new 9.7-inch iPad is planned to debut in September with a slimmer bezel, as has been rumored.

In addition, the report said the number of LED tubes to backlight the Retina display has been reduced from two to one, and battery life of the device has also been improved.

Pilot production of the device is allegedly already able to satisfy demand for the initial launch. As such, suppliers reportedly indicated they expect Apple to give shipment estimates as soon as the end of this month.

While the full-size iPad is rumored to see a refresh in September, the iPad mini may have to wait a little longer for its second-generation model to launch. Sources have stated that Apple is “still considering whether to adopt a Retina display for the device.”

If Apple does opt for a high-resolution display in its 7.9-inch tablet, the release of the product could be delayed until the fourth quarter of calendar 2013, the report said. It also added that Apple is pushing component suppliers to further shrink the iPad mini bezel, and that the company is pushing for a largely bezel-less design.

Apple launched both the first iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad at the same event last October. The updated full-size iPad was a moderate surprise, as the third-generation model with Retina display had debuted only six months prior.

The fifth-generation iPad is expected to adopt a design similar to that of the iPad mini, including more rounded edges and a thinner bezel. Leaked schematics have suggested the new iPad will also be thinner than its predecessor, while well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has said the device will be 25 percent lighter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.5 build 12F17 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 5th, 2013, 07:28
Category: News, Software

Mavericks is further down the line, but the OS X 10.8.5 update is in progress.

Per 9to5Mac, one week after the second beta seed of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5, Apple has issued OS X 10.8.5 build 12F17 to registered developers. The new update, again, includes no known issues and is available for developers via the Mac Developer Center and the Mac App Store Software Update function.

Apple has asked testers to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics, Wake from Sleep, PDF viewing and Accessibility, and Mobile Device Management during their testing. Apple has also been providing 10.8.5 beta updates to its retail staff for testing.

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

Apple patent application cites research into earbud headphones with noise cancelation features

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 5th, 2013, 07:33
Category: News

applelogo_silver

This could come in handy.

Per The United States Patent and Trademark Office and AppleInsider, an Apple patent application discovered on Thursday describes a set of earbud type headphones that automatically adjust audio output based on seal quality, with necessary impedance data gathered by built-in microphones or electrical current measurements.

The patent application, entitled “Electronic device and headset with speaker seal evaluation capabilities” details a new type of self-calibrating earbud that can deliver enhanced audio reproduction over a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes. Also alluded to in the patent are noise canceling headphones which rely heavily on good earbud-to-ear seals to operate.

Apple’s invention is primarily aimed at earbud headphones, which are designed to create a seal in a user’s ear that helps reduce ambient noise while retaining a compact form factor. When an earbud does not create a proper seal, however, these properties are negatively impacted.

From the filing’s description:
“The quality of the seals that are formed between earbuds and a user’s ears affects performance. For example, satisfactory noise cancellation can become difficult when is high-quality seal is not present. Poor earbud-to-ear seals can also affect audio quality in other ways. For example, left-right balance (volume) and equalization can be affected by seal quality.”

To evaluate this seal, the invention proposes measuring the impedance of the speakers by taking current measurements, acoustic measurements with a microphone, or both.

As earbud impedance may vary as a function of signal frequency, impedance-versus-frequency curves can also be mapped and compared against to reveal poor seals. In addition, these curves can be used to adjust speaker output to compensate for inadequate performance.

The filing details a number of techniques to measure impedance levels, including current sensing circuitry. Test tones can also be used in conjunction with microphones to assess disparity in output and input amplitudes. In the case of noise-canceling headphones, microphones are disposed near the ear to measure ambient noise, and the amount of required noise cancellation can be used to judge whether a seal is good.

When a poor seal is detected, actions can take the form of warnings displayed on a user’s device. Alternatively, self-adjustment steps can include balance, equalization, and noise cancellation circuitry adjustments.

Apple’s self-evaluating, self-adjusting earbud patent application was first filed for in February 2013 and credits Victor Tiscareno, Jeffrey J. Terlizzi, Wendell B. Sander and Christopher Todd Beauchamp as its inventors.

Stay tuned for additional details about this patent application as they become available.

Apple, Time Warner close in on Apple TV content deal

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013, 10:32
Category: Apple TV, News

time-warner

It never fails to have good content available for your customers.

Per Bloomberg, Apple and U.S. cable company Time Warner are closing in on a deal that will give subscribers access to cable channels via Apple TV, which also claims the Cupertino company has taken on Hulu media marketing chief Pete Distad to help secure content, according to one report.

Citing sources close to the story, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple and Time Warner plan to announce the agreement in the coming months once a deal has been solidified. It is unknown what channels will be offered if and when a deal is finally struck, but access will likely be for existing cable subscribers only.

While a Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the company has “no agreement with [Apple],” it has similar content deals in place for Roku’s set-top box, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox game console. The company already allows subscribers to watch certain channels on iOS devices with its TWC TV app, which is also available for Android.

In addition to the Time Warner arrangement, the publication claims Apple has hired Hulu’s now former vice president of marketing and distribution Pete Distad to help executives with upcoming negotiations with media and cable companies.

No further details were divulged regarding the executive’s hire, but Distad’s bio on Hulu’s website says he is in charge of “subscriber acquisition and retention, paid, on-channel, and brand marketing, distribution and promotional partnerships, and content marketing.”

Apple has become more aggressive in acquiring content for its Apple TV “hobby,” most recently adding channels HBO GO, WatchESPN, and more to the small streaming device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Security Update 2013-003 for Mountain Lion users

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013, 06:38
Category: News, security, Software

You might want to snag this.

Per the Mac Observer, Apple released Security Update 2013-003 for Mountain Lion on Tuesday.

The update’s specific security changes can be found here.

Security Update 2013-003 showed up earlier in the day on Tuesday, but quickly disappeared from Apple’s site. It reappeared late in the afternoon with a “1.0” appended to the update’s name in Software Update on the Mac App Store, where it’s available now and is also available as a 20.84 megabyte download and requires OS X 10.8.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple launches Back to School promotion, throws in $50 and $100 iTunes gift cards

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, 07:49
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, retail

Never look a back to school promotion in the mouth.

Per the Mac Observer, Apple kicked off its annual Back to School deals on Tuesday for educational buyers and includes iTunes Store, App Store and iBookstore gift cards worth up to US$100 with new Mac, iPhone and iPad purchases. The special deals are available now and run through September 6, 2013.


Apple-2013-Back-to-School

The offer reads as follows:
“Buy a Mac for college and get a $100 gift card to spend on apps and more — and also save with education pricing. Or buy an iPad or iPhone and get a $50 card.
Qualifying products include Macs other than the Mac mini, plus the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the iPad 2, fourth generation iPad, and iPad mini.”

Not a bad thing and where a US$50 or US$100 iTunes gift card are concerned, it’s hard to go wrong there.

Apple files for “iWatch” trademark in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey and Columbia

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, 07:09
Category: Legal, News

applelogo_silver

The “iWatch” international patent/trademark tour continues.

Per 9to5Mac, in addition to filing a trademark for the name “iWatch” in Russia and Japan, Apple has requested a trademark for “iWatch” with Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property. The Mexico-based filing was made public in recent days, but the request was originally filed on June 3rd. Apple filed the iWatch trademark under two categories relating to the hardware and software of mobile devices, according to the submitted documents.

The “iWatch” trademark request in Mexico is tied to Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop address in Cupertino, California, and Apple Inc. is noted as the company behind the filing. According to the documents, the person who submitted the request for Apple is named Maria Teresa Eljure Tellez. This person is the Head of the Trademark department at Mexico-based law firm Arochi, Marroquín, & Linder, S.C. This firm also appears on other Apple trademarks in Mexico such as for the iPad and other recently launched products.

The fact that Apple seems to be on a world tour of applying for the “iWatch” name trademark adds even more weight to the possibility of Apple launching a wearable-computing device in the near future.

Reports are currently split between Apple launching the device either later this year or later in 2014. The product will likely include sensors to gain data about the user in addition to functionality, such as mapping, messaging, and phone apps, that could interact with iOS Devices such as the iPad or iPhone.

Other than the “iWatch” trademark, the rest of the filing, like the ones from Japan and Russia, is fairly vague other than the aforementioned categories of the filing requests. Notably, the three thus-far discovered requests from Apple were filed within the same week of each other.

Apple is expected to debut new versions of the iPhone and iPad later this year, and it is yet to be seen if the watch-like device is ready to join Apple’s plans for this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to hold Q3 earnings conference call on Tuesday, July 23rd

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, 06:21
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

The numbers tell the truth.

Per MacNN, Apple will hold its next quarterly earnings call with investors on Tuesday, July 23, where it will discuss its fiscal third-quarter results. According to its own estimates, it expects to report between US$33.5 billion and US$35.5 billion, a drop from the previous quarter but a realistic figure in light of no refreshed iPad or iPhone, the two primary drivers of Apple’s income. While the latest MacBook Air revision has garnered significant praise for its various improvements, it emerged at the very tail end of the quarter and thus didn’t influence sales.

Possibly affecting sales of other Apple products is the expected drop in sales that comes ahead of new iOS device models. Apple has already said that new products will be coming this fall, which is taken to mean the latest iPhone, iPad and possibly some entirely new devices — including a long-rumored Apple television or smartwatch. Another keenly-anticipated release is the acceptance of the new iOS 7, not to mention the long-overdue Mac Pro overhaul, which will test how professional users will adapt to the re-designed machine. Primarily, however, investors will be watching to see if Apple can continue its remarkable iOS platform US sales growth in the face of competition and a lack of any new product in the quarter.

In the previous quarter, Apple saw both good news and bad: revenues were up, as were iPad and iPhone sales (above analysts’ predictions), but Mac sales were basically flat and net profit was down slightly for the first time in a decade, a trend that is expected to have continued over the past three months. Analysts have reported that Apple has ordered fewer iPhones for the upcoming quarter, signalling that it expects further erosion of iPhone sales ahead of its eventual announcement of the next model.

Margins are expected to be around 36 percent, with operating expenses bubbling just under US$4 billion. The conference call is schedule to take place at 2PM Pacific/5PM Eastern on July 23.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.