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

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

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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.

First look at OS X Mavericks developer preview goes live

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Date: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 07:05
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

The mighty Jim Dalrymple got his hands on a developer version of Apple’s upcoming OS X Mavericks operating system and had a few things to say about it.


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Over on The Loop, Dalrymple threw together a comprehensive first look at Apple’s upcoming operating system. The piece delves into the new Finder layout, new iCloud elements, updated Calendar, Maps and Notifications elements and how the developer preview behaved on a 13-inch MacBook Pro for his day to day work.

It’s a good read, take a gander and the Beard does not fail!

iOS 7 developer beta incorporates password disable feature

Posted by:
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 announces OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”, details feature list

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 13:54
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.9 has a name: “Mavericks”.

Granted, it’s a little unfortunate that it hooks into a word Sarah Palin frequently describes herself as, but you’ve gotta let some things slide…

Per The Mac Observer, Apple gave users their first glimpse into OS X 10.9 on Monday during a keynote event at the company’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The next version of OS X does away with the cat naming scheme in favor of California locations — starting with Mavericks. OS X 10.9 Mavericks will also include Finder Tabs, system-wide file tagging, and enhanced multiple display support.

Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi took the stage during the keynote event to show off some of the new features in OS X Mavericks.


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Tabbed Finder Windows:
Mavericks lets users group Finder windows in tabs, much like Web browsers. Mr. Federighi said each tab can have its own location and view mode, and it makes Finder windows fit well into full screen mode.

Finder Tagging:
OS X Mavericks includes a new Tag option in Finder window sidebars that let users add extra bits of information to their documents for easier organization. Mr. Federighi said, “As I go to save a document, I can give it a name. And in addition to its location, I can also give it a tag.”

Users can apply multiple tags to documents, search and sort based on those tags, and tags are color-coded, too.

Tags extend beyond the Finder and can be used in applications, as well. In apps, tags appear in the Save dialog, and they’re also available for organizing documents saved to iCloud.

iCloud Keychain:
Apple will be beefing up password management in Mavericks with iCloud Keychain. The new version of Keychain offers system-wide password management and also syncs between Macs running Mavericks so all of your passwords are up to date on all of your computers and iOS 7 devices.

Notifications:
Notifications will be more interactive in Mavericks thanks to direct support for responding to messages and FaceTime calls, and delete email messages without jumping to the Mail app. It also supports website subscriptions for news and other alert notifications even when Safari isn’t running.

When you’re away from your Mac, Notifications continues to keep track of your alerts and displays a summary when you’re back in front of your screen.

Maps:
Mavericks will include an iOS-like Maps feature that lets users find locations, display addresses and phone numbers, get point-to-point directions you can push to your iPhone, display Yelp reviews, and more. It also appears as a built-in feature for Calendar, Contacts, and Mail.

Calendar and Contacts:
Calendar and Contacts do away with the skeuomorphic stitched leather design from Mountain Lion (which only your really weird uncle liked), and go beyond that to add new features, too. The Calendar app, for example, can display weather information along with travel time to your appointments, and will even block out that time so you don’t enter contradicting dates/appointments.

iBooks:
iBooks won’t be limited to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when Mavericks ships this fall. Books already purchased through the iBookstore will automatically appear on your Mac, you can keep multiple books open, and it can auto-add citations when you copy quotes from books.

Bookmarks, highlights and notes, and your current page all sync between your devices via iCloud, plus notes appear in a column along side book pages, too.

Safari:
Mr. Federighi said Safari will get a boost in Mavericks, too. The new version of the Web browser app offers better performance compared to the current Safari version, pages render faster, shared links appear in a sidebar, and pages are displayed more intelligently so there’s less of a hit on battery life for notebook users.

Multiple Displays:
While OS X has always supported multiple displays, Apple ramped up what the feature can handle in Mavericks. Full-screen mode now supports multiple displays, users can access menu bars and the Dock from every connected display, full-screen apps can be moved between displays, and different apps can be displayed in full-screen mode on different displays.

Mission Control:
Mission Control will show an overview for each connected display, and lets users drag-and-drop apps and documents between virtual desktops, just as it currently does in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Mavericks also supports using AirPlay with multiple monitors with an Apple TV, but instead of simply mirroring your main display, it lets you use AirPlay to add a television to your display setup as extended desktop space. Simply select the Apple TV you want to use as an extra display and Mavericks automatically adds it to your multi-monitor setup. Apple touted this as a great way to show a presentation on an HDTV while taking notes on your Mac

Performance:
Mavericks also includes plenty of under-the-hood improvements to boost overall performance. That better performance, however, doesn’t take a hit on battery life. According to Mr. Federighi, OS X 10.9 offers accelerated scrolling, App Nap, Timer Coalescing, OpenGL 4, and Idle hygiene — a feature that improves performance by reducing how often your Mac drops into an idle mode.

The new OS uses compressed memory to improve performance, as well. Instead of requiring memory swapping through relatively slower hard drives, it swaps data in RAM. Mavericks handles recovery from sleep and standby mode about 1.5 times faster compared to Mountain Lion.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks will be available this fall, although Apple hasn’t offered a specific price point release date yet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.


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Apple unveils iOS 7 at WWDC

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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.

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.

Google Drive space upgraded to 15 GB for all accounts, transition to take place over next few weeks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:25
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You can’t knock healthy competition.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Google announced that it will be upgrading its complimentary Google Drive storage space from 5 GB to 15 GB.

Google says the changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks to all customers. All that space is shared, so if you are just using Google Drive Photo (for example), that 15 GB is shared with any other Google services that require storage.

With this move, Google has unified its storage system, a similar concept to the Apple pool of iCloud storage, although at this point Apple does not count image storage in Photo Stream against your 5 GB allotment. Google has a free iOS app so you can access this storage space, and it can also be managed through a web browser on any computer.

Take a gander at Google Drive as the upgrade occurs and if you love it or hate it, please let us know in the comments, as always.

Apple apparently unwilling to release Windows 8 version of iTunes

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Well, this is kind of a new one.

Per Mac|Life and CNN Money, Microsoft has apparently been pushing Apple for a Windows 8-native edition of iTunes, which currently only runs in traditional Desktop mode on the company’s Metro-style software — and not at all on the tablet-centric Windows RT.

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” laments Windows Division CFO Tami Reller. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

While Apple has grudgingly carried over iTunes, Safari, QuickTime and even iCloud to the Windows platform, the company has largely ignored Windows 8, which debuted six months ago and claims to have sold 10 million licenses during that time.

Thus far, the sole exception is a recent OS X Mountain Lion update which added Windows 8 compatibility to Boot Camp — but that’s for running Microsoft’s OS on Apple’s hardware, not for Apple software on Windows computers.

Windows RT owners are the ones suffering most from Apple’s neglect — they can’t install iTunes at all since it requires Intel hardware, which means a traditional desktop or laptop computer or more expensive Windows Pro tablet.

However, even that is a less than ideal experience, since iTunes doesn’t currently take advantage of the native Windows 8 experience, instead running as a window inside the classic Desktop view.

While the words “bargaining chip” come to mind, we’ll have to wait and see if an accord can be reached between Apple and Microsoft as to what to do with iTunes when it comes to the Windows 8 universe…

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.7

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 2nd, 2013, 06:42
Category: News, Software

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No one ever slighted a useful update.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.7. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Improved compatibility with pre-release versions of Mac OS X.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- SpamSieve no longer links against AppleScriptKit. This removes some GUI scripting functionality (which is now largely available by other means) but works around an OS bug that could prevent SpamSieve from launching.

- Worked around a bug in Apple Mail’s iCloud rule syncing.

- SpamSieve is better at moving trained messages when Outlook has lost track of the special Junk E-mail folder.

- Fixed a problem where Apple Mail couldn’t communicate with SpamSieve when the file permissions were incorrect.

- Fixed a bug where SpamSieve couldn’t load any addresses from Outlook if it reported an error while getting the e-mail address of a contact.

- Fixed a bug editing counts in the Corpus window (due to suspected 64-bit OS bug).

- Added more checks that the folders SpamSieve relies upon have the proper permissions.

- Improved error reporting for Apple Mail, Growl, and more.

- Improved handling of file permissions errors.

- The Apple Mail drone script now sets the junk status.

- Wrote a script that allows SpamSieve to filter messages (in Apple Mail) that have been organized by SaneBox.

- Improved the Japanese localization.

- SpamSieve now requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple announces June 10 – 14 dates for 2013 WWDC event, tickets available starting April 25th

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Date: Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, 06:33
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a spiffy developer event.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple on Wednesday officially announced that its 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will take place at Moscone West in San Francisco from Monday, June 10 until Friday, June 14th.

Tickets for the conference will go on sale at 10 AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern time tomorrow, April 25th.

The conference typically includes several sessions for iOS and OS X developers to work on their code and new projects alongside Apple engineers. Additionally, Apple engineers will make presentations about new developer-focused features in iOS and OS X.

Apple says that the conference will include details about the next iOS and OS X releases:

“We look forward to gathering at WWDC 2013 with the incredible community of iOS and OS X developers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Our developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever, and we’re excited to show them the latest advances in software technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative new apps. We can’t wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC.”

Anticipation and speculation regarding Apple’s announcements at WWDC is high because the software-focused conference will follow a recent shakeup at the top of Apple’s software division. Scott Forstall, the former iOS chief, has been replaced with Craig Federighi, the former head of OS X.

Forstall has reportedly been a proponent of skeuopmorphic design while other Apple executives, such as Jonathan Ive, are fans of “flat” design characteristics for software. Ive was given control over interface design amidst Forstall’s leave from Apple, so many Apple followers are interested in what Ive has designed for the new Mac and iOS device operating systems.

iOS 7 has already been rumored to see notable design changes, and we have heard that OS X 10.9 will bring over more features from iOS.

WWDC 2012 focused on iOS 6, OS X Mountain Lion, and hardware such as significant updates to Apple’s Mac notebook computer lines. The previous year’s WWDC focused solely on major software enhancements with major upgrades to iOS, OS X, and the introduction of iCloud.

While new iOS device hardware has been announced at WWDC in some past years, Apple’s next iOS device updates are rumored for introduction later in the year: multiple claims have pointed to a new iPhone launching around August and new iPads in the September-October timeframe.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.