Apple releases gold master versions of iOS 7, upcoming version of Xcode to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, 12:50
Category: News, Software

ios7logo

iOS 7 just went gold master along with the upcoming version of Xcode.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released its gold master versions of iOS 7 and Xcode.

The two builds are available to download from Apple’s Developer Center web site. There is no OTA update for iOS 7, so for the time being you must download the IPSW from Apple’s website and do a manual install.

If you’ve had a chance to get your hands on either of these and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple announces iPhone 5s, 5c handsets, sets release date for September 20th

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, 12:15
Category: iPhone, News

iphone_5s_all-100053376-large

The iPhone you’ve been hankering for has arrived.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

During the presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller pointed out that the iPhone’s A7 chip uses desktop-class architecture, with a modern instruction set and over a billion transistors—and it’s the same size as the A6.

“iOS 7 already supports a native 64-bit kernel,” Schiller said. “All the built-in apps from Apple already have been reengineered for 64-bit, and it will be easy for third-party developers to compile their apps for the iPhone 5s as well.”

“The benefits are huge,” Schiller said. The A7 is up to twice as fast at CPU and graphics tasks, he said. The iPhone 5s offers 40 times the performance of the original iPhone—with half of that improvement just coming since the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5s and Touch ID:
The iPhone 5s also comes with a nifty new security feature: A fingerprint scanner built right into the Home button. That sensor can read fingerprints with incredible detail, and even supports multiple fingers. Support for that scanner in iOS 7 means you may never need to tap in your passcode again.

Touch ID uses your fingerprint to gain access to your phone. It does this by reading the fingerprint at an incredibly detailed level using the Touch ID sensor. Touch ID scans sub-epidermal skin layers with 360 degrees of readability—meaning you can hold your finger in any orientation.

“The sensor lives beneath the Home button on the iPhone 5s. That button is still tactile, but includes a stainless steel detection ring and the Touch ID sensor, with a laser-cut sapphire crystal on top. Touch ID is built deep into iOS 7,” Schiller said.

You can simply touch the Home button to unlock your iPhone. You can use the Touch ID to authenticate anywhere you’d otherwise need to provide your Apple ID password, too.

Touch ID also supports multiple fingerprints. So, you can unlock your iPhone with multiple fingers, or theoretically let a family member add their fingerprint to unlock your device, too.

The iPhone 5s camera:
Schiller said that the camera on the iPhone 5s is dramatically improved over its predecessor. He cited what he called “huge advancements”: There’s a new five-element, Apple-designed lens, with a larger 2.2 aperture, and a 15 percent larger active sensor area.

“The pixels on the sensor are 1.5 microns,” Schiller said, and he said that bigger pixels lead to better pictures. The camera also includes a new True Tone Flash.

The iPhone 5s camera also adds automatic image stabilization. It combines multiple photos taken simultaneously in real-time to stabilize and sharpen images. The camera includes a burst mode, too.

There’s a new video camera option, too: a Slo-Mo camera, which shoots 120 frames per second in high definition.

Other features:
There’s another completely new part in the iPhone 5s called M7: a motion co-processor. It continually measures motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, without waking the A7, which Schiller said would enable new fitness accessories and apps.

In conjunction with a new CoreMotion API, Schiller said that developers could create apps to measure and track fitness in ways that weren’t possible before.

The iPhone 5s’s battery life is equal to or greater than the iPhone 5′s, Schiller said, with 10 hours of 3G talk time or LTE browsing.

The iPhone 5s is available in 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299, or 64GB for US$399. Apple is also offering six leather cases for the iPhone 5s at US$39 each. Orders for the iPhone 5s start on September 20. The unlocked prices for the 5s are US$649 for the 16GB model, US$749 for the 32GB model, and US$849 for the 64GB model.

Though the iPhone 5 will be retired, Apple will continue to offer the iPhone 4S in a free 8GB model.

The iPhone 5c:
“The iPhone 5c is made with all the incredible technology customers have loved with the iPhone 5,” Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said.

The iPhone 5C is available in a variety of colors: blue, green, white, pink, and yellow. The fronts of the phones are black, while all the rest of the body uses the new color, including the buttons and switches.


iphone_5c_all-100053377-large

When you turn on the iPhone 5c, the default wallpaper is color-matched to the phone’s body. There’s also a new line of custom cases, made of a soft-feel silicon rubber with microfiber internals, and cutout patterns of circles on the bottom two-thirds of the case. “You get this amazing combination of color between the iPhone 5c and its case.”

The iPhone 5c is made of a hard-coated polycarbonate, with a steel-reinforced structure for added rigidity — doing double duty as an antenna. The phone uses the iPhone 5′s 4-inch Retina display. It’s powered by an A6 chip, and offers higher-capacity battery performance, with a larger battery than the original iPhone 5. It also offers an 8MP iSight camera.

On the front, the iPhone 5c sports a new FaceTime HD camera that Schiller said is improved from prior iterations. And the phone supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, Schiller said.

The iPhone 5c costs US$99 for the 16GB model, or US$199 for the 32GB model, with a two-year contract. The cases are also available in the same six colors; they’re available for US$29 each. You may pre-order the iPhone 5c starting on September 13. The unlocked prices for this model are US$549 for the 16GB version and US$649 for the 32GB version.

Please let us know what you make of the new iPhones in the comments and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft launches Xbox Music streaming service for iOS, Android devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 9th, 2013, 09:05
Category: iOS, News, Software

microsoftlogo

If you’re hankering for additional streaming music on your iOS device, Microsoft has its own offerings prior to Apple’s release of its iTunes Radio streaming service.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft has released Xbox Music app for iPhone. Xbox Music was first unveiled last October and allows users to listen to ad-supported or ad-free music (depending on whether they have a paying subscription or not) on their Microsoft devices, such as Windows Phone, Xbox 360 and Windows PCs.

With today’s launch on iOS and Android devices, Microsoft appears to acknowledge that it thinks Apple’s iTunes Radio could become a big player on the streaming-music front — something it hopes to stave off with the expansion of Xbox Music.

Today’s release of the app offers users the following:
- Stream ad-free music from a catalog of tens of millions of songs.

- Add songs, albums and playlists to your Xbox Music collection and access them from other devices.

- Create playlists that sync across your phone, Xbox 360, PC, tablet and the web.

- Listen to music while using your iPhone.

- Listen to artist-based radio stations.

- Enjoy a rich visual experience for searching, viewing and playing back music.

- The company also says it will be releasing an update soon that will allow users to download music for offline listening.

Though Xbox Music is a free download, mobile users will be required to have an Xbox Music Pass to listen to the service on their iPhone. Xbox Music Passes are available for a free 30-day trial, but retail for US$9.99 a month after that.

Xbox Music requires iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.

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

Cocktail updated to 6.7.1

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:46
Category: News, Software

10909

On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.7.1 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Improvements on the “Clear CrashReporter logs” and the “Clear Apple System logs and diagnostic messages” procedures.

- Crash reports are created by OS X when either an application or the operating system encounters an error and must close. In addition to the local reports iTunes will also synchronise logs from Apple’s iOS devices in case they have crashed. Crash reports are used to debug problems and improve the overall stability of the system and are stored in both the user’s and system’s directories. Choosing to clear the logs with the everyone option includes the current user’s log files.

- In addition to this Cocktail can also clear the Apple System logs which contains general and diagnostic system messages produced by OS X. These files can occasionally contain useful information for debugging problems with the operating system, however a new log file is created daily so the system logs can take up considerable disk space if they are not cleared regularly.

Log files locations:
CrashReporter logs (.asl, .crash, .diag, .hang, .log, .panic, .ping, .shutdownStall, .spin files).
/Library/Logs/CrashReporter
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter

Apple mobile devices CrashReporter logs (.crash, .log, .submitted files).
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Baseband
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Retired
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Baseband
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Retired

Apple System logs and diagnostic messages (.asl, .crash, .diag, .hang, .log, .panic, .ping, .shutdownStall, .spin files).
/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
/private/var/log/asl
/private/var/log/DiagnosticMessages
/private/var/log/performance

- Improvements on the “Rotate log files” procedure. Install, System, and Wi-Fi logs are now archived using bz2 compression.

- Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 6.7.1 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple confirms September 10th media event, hints at next-gen iPhone handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 06:12
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

applelogo_silver

It went official yesterday.

On Tuesday, Apple sent out invitations for a media event next Tuesday, Sept. 10, at which the company is expected to show off its next-generation iPhone models that will come in a new range of colors.

Per The Loop, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, according to The Loop. It will be held at Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Though the invitation itself makes no mention of the iPhone, it does say that the announcement “should brighten everyone’s day” — a likely reference to the fact that Apple is expected to offer its next iPhones in an array of new colors. Specifically, leaked parts have suggested “iPhone 5S” will be available in a new “champagne” shade, while a low-cost plastic “iPhone 5C” will potentially be available in white, green, red, blue, pink, and possibly more.


invite-130903

Colors featured in the invitation include yellow, green, orange, white, red, pink, and shades of dark and light blue. Apple’s forthcoming iOS 7 update is also a more vibrant and colorful update to the company’s mobile operating system.

The company may have some surprises in store for fans and observers when Chief Executive Tim Cook presumably takes the stage next Tuesday, but the event is widely expected to center on the company’s largest revenue generator: the iPhone. It will likely see the unveiling of the successor to the iPhone 5, currently thought to be named the “iPhone 5S.”

The company’s next-generation premium smartphone is expected to include a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Last year, Apple purchased AuthenTec, a biometric security firm, potentially setting the stage for the defining feature of this year’s iPhone.

Integrating a fingerprint sensor — a move that would largely negate the need for passwords and lock-screen codes — could give Apple an edge that its competition could not likely soon address.

Apple’s “S” series iPhones have typically been refinements of the models immediately preceding them, and most of the rumors surrounding the “5S” have been in that vein. Leaked cases for the device have shown that it will retain the same form factor as the iPhone 5, though it may be available in a “champagne” color option, as well as the existing black and white models.

Analysts expect a 31 percent faster “A7″ chip that could be 20 percent more power efficient than the A6 seen in the iPhone 5. It may also feature a dedicated motion-tracking chip to enable a new range of user interactions.

Apple is also rumored to offer a model of the device with 128 gigabytes of storage, while the camera is expected to be upgraded with a dual-LED flash component for better low-light pictures. It’s likely that the camera itself will also see improvements.

Perhaps the most widely leaked device, though, has been the expected lower-cost plastic iPhone. That model is believed to be called the “iPhone 5C,” and recent leaks of an apparent user manual seem to confirm that name.

Observers believe that Apple will largely repackage the internals of the existing iPhone 5 into a polycarbonate shell to lower manufacturing costs. To differentiate the device, the “5C” would be available in a range of colors.

The move back to polycarbonate for the chassis would allow Apple to offer the “iPhone 5C” at a much lower price point than the premium-built iPhone 5 or anticipated “iPhone 5S.” That lower price could give Apple a better chance of picking up mid-range smartphone customers, who often choose Android phones when upgrading from feature phones simply due to price.

Most importantly, though, a lower-cost iPhone would give Apple a much better chance of competing in the world’s largest smartphone market: China. Investment firm UBS opined in August that an affordable iPhone would move more than 11 million units on China Mobile alone.

The Sept. 10 event will also mark the announcement of a release date for Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 7. The new platform, revealed at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, features an almost complete visual overhaul, with many of the features of previous iOS versions giving way to a “flatter” aesthetic spun out of the leadership of Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief.

Aside from the new look, iOS 7 will also feature iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service that will take on Pandora, Spotify, and other services. It will also come with improvements to Siri, allowing Apple’s digital assistant to display more information and control phone settings, and tweaks to the Camera app, giving users access to more editing options.

The media event is likely to offer final – and long-anticipated – release dates for the next-gen iPhone handsets as well as iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked internal memo shows Apple blocking AppleCare employees’ vacation time between Sept. 15 – 28, next-gen iPhone, iOS 7 launches cited

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 06:18
Category: iPhone, News, retail

When a company blacks out employee vacation days, they’re up to something.

Per AppleInsider, AppleCare employees have been restricted from taking time off for a two-week period, from Sept. 15 through 28 — a span during which Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone lineup, as well as the revamped iOS 7 mobile operating system.

An internal company document purportedly shows time off available for AppleCare employees for the latter half of September. As can be seen in the calendar, available time off drops off significantly starting Sunday, Sept. 15, and continues through Saturday, Sept. 28.

The image provided shows the calendar being accessed via virtual private network from an internal Apple employee domain. Potentially identifying portions of the picture have been cropped out.

Apple is generally expected to make its new iPhone models available for sale on Friday, Sept. 20, just over a week after the company is gearing up to hold a media event to introduce the new devices. Based on prior years’ release schedules, it’s likely that iOS 7 a few days prior, perhaps on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Between the debut of new iPhones and the launch of a different-looking operating system in iOS 7, AppleCare telephone support will likely have their hands full. As such, Apple has restricted employee time off for a two-week span covering not only the expected launch, but a full week after.

Developers have had their hands on iOS 7 since the new platform was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The platform has a cleaner and more colorful look than its predecessor, with simpler icons and graphics, but it also packs in new features and functionality, such as a revamped Notification Center and quick-access Control Center.

Built-in apps and functions such as Photos, Camera, Weather, Safari, multitasking and Siri also sport new designs that may initially confuse new users once they are prompted to update to iOS 7.

As for hardware, Apple is set to hold an event on Sept. 10 that will focus on the company’s new iPhones. Specifically, Apple is expected to introduce a new high-end “iPhone 5S” with an integrated fingerprint sensor under the home button, as well as a more affordable “iPhone 5C” with a plastic back available in a range of colors.

The iPhone is Apple’s most popular product, and 2013 is expected to be the first time the company launches two new models at the same time, which sets the stage for the company’s biggest product debut ever.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Access debuts, brings Parallels features to iPad

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 28th, 2013, 06:28
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

21252

You can’t knock a company that also goes in a subscription-based direction.

Per AppleInsider, Parallels, the company known for its virtualization software, rolled out a new iPad app and subscription service on Tuesday called Parallels Access that promises to run both Mac and PC programs on Apple’s tablet with near-native performance.

With Parallels Access, the company has built a completely new way to naturally interact with desktop applications on an iPad. A number of developers have fielded similar apps that promise full remote control functionality from Apple’s tablet, but many resort to clunky interfaces that draw users out of the “iPad experience.”

Unlike other apps, Access offers the full gamut of iPad gestures, with taps, swipes and pinches all supported by almost any desktop program. To bridge the gap between computer and tablet, the system translates mouse clicks and movement into iPad-friendly gestures.

Parallels claims its new product can handle a variety of tasks, including business programs, streaming video and even games. Internet speeds are supposedly a non-factor, though degradation may be expected when connecting over cellular networks.

The system is actually split into two parts: the iOS app and a Mac or PC client that runs on the host computer. Access authenticates via a Parallels account and links the two devices with a 256-bit AES secured SSL connection.

At the heart of Access is the App Launcher, which is basically a Springboard-like layout of compatible desktop applications. Programs can be added or deleted from this view in much the same way as iOS.

The App Switcher seamlessly moves users between programs, a necessary tool since Access only works in “full screen” mode. Parallels calls this method “applifying.”

Navigating within running programs is an intuitive experience thanks to the combination of SmartTap and the iOS magnifying glass. SmartTap is a contextual cursor control that, in tandem with magnifying glass, allows users to perform advanced mouse actions like drag and drop.

One difficult maneuver that many VNC and other remote desktop apps have trouble with is scrolling. Access’ gesture translation engine doesn’t appear to suffer from the same problems, making in-window navigation less of a chore.

The app’s keyboard is also tweaked from the standard iOS version, offering users dedicated keys for functions, arrows, and even the “Windows” button.

Those interested can try Parallels Access for free for 14 days on a Mac and 90 days on a Windows machine. Subscription pricing is set at US$79.99 per year for each computer running a registered client. The iPad app and Mac or PC clients can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Parallels’ webpage, respectively.

Leaked Nuance e-mail to developer community points to September 10th release date for iOS 7

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 27th, 2013, 07:20
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software

ios7logo

September 10th seems to be the day for iOS 7′s release.

Per Owened and The Verge, an email sent to developers from speech recognition software company Nuance (in this case, those using its SpeechKit 1.4.5 speech services) on Monday suggests iOS 7 could be available to the public on Sept. 10, the same day Apple is widely expected to announce its next-generation iPhone.

Technology from Nuance was recently confirmed to be part of the Siri voice-recognizing assistant, meaning the company works closely with Apple and could be privy to upcoming launch information.

There is, however, some confusion over the email’s use of iOS 7 “GA,” which means general availability, a term often confused with “GM,” or golden master. Traditionally, Apple has released GM versions of iOS to developers alongside a new iPhone’s release, with the GA rolling out a week later.

Apple is expected to announce both a next-generation “iPhone 5S” and a lower-cost “iPhone 5C” at a special event on Sept. 10.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iBooks 3.1.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 21st, 2013, 09:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t kvetch about this kind of update.

Late Tuesday, Apple released version 3.1.1 of its iBooks update for its iOS reader program.

The new version, a 41 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This version of iBooks improves compatibility with iOS and iCloud.

iBooks 3.1.1 requires a compatible iOS device and iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

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

Review: Colin McRae Rally for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 21st, 2013, 09:37
Category: iOS, Review, Software, Software

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 9.14.41 AM

Review: Colin McRae Rally iOS
By Mr. S

Rally racing is a mystery to most. A marginalized sport that has a hard time in certain countries finding mass appeal. Like other european sports, it has had an especially hard time in the United States where the name “Colin McRae” is about as well known as canadian metal band Anvil.

Take a trip to Finland, Scotland or Darkur and you will see the exact opposite. Rally is king, and its master drivers are lauded as superhuman for their ability to drive with total precision through some of the most technically challenging road courses known to man. These are not well-groomed good ol’ boys taking left turns as fast as possible. These were chip-toothed men of true grit risking their lives for the sake of perfection. For those who understand rally racing, it’s the drivers who receive the most admiration, because it takes a special kind of man to take a 90 degree corner at 70 mph on a dirt road the width of a Mini Cooper surrounded by trees that could turn your car into scrap metal the moment you slip up. That’s the kind of legend Colin McRae was. He was the Flying Scot, and until his untimely death in 2007 he was one of the most exciting drivers since Ari Vatanen.


Pay in Championship, Single Stage or Rally modes.

Play in Championship, Single Stage or Rally modes.


Getting to know rally and the men who participate in it is imperative to understanding why Codemasters was smart to take extreme care in making the Colin McRae series of racing games. The equivalent would be something like putting Michael Jordan on the cover of your NBA game; players are going to be expecting perfection and anything less will be bollocks. Not even the king of simulation, Gran Tourismo, with its amazing rally mode can match what Codemasters has done with this amazing series. Racing legend Hans Stuck famously drove his cars with only a small piece of cloth on his seat. He says “Its important I have a physical connection with my vehicle, I need to feel the sliding.” It’s that same attention to “feel” that makes Colin McRae exceptional, and it’s why this iOS port is amazing. Even though it’s just a quick port of a thirteen-year-old game for the original Playstation and PC.

And this game does not try to hide its age. Tree textures pop in and out, levels are basically ugly skinny corridors with hyper-flat surfaces, and objects that you should be able to crush or roll over stop you dead. The once-fun animated menu system with a funky 90’s soundtrack cool enough to warrant its own YouTube OST video was taken out to save space. All we’re left with is a Fisher Price style main menu with a whopping three icons and one lonesome techno track looping.

All of this is forgiven, though, because they didn’t label it as a port or “HD” remake. They simply named it “Colin McRae Rally”, but more importantly they left in everything that makes the Colin McRae Rally experience fun.


Colin McRae Rally may not be the prettiest thing out there, but it still delivers terrific gameplay.

Colin McRae Rally may not be the prettiest thing out there, but it still delivers terrific gameplay.


Codemasters made sure every little detail is pitch-perfect from how gravel sounds in a wheel well to how your wheels screech and pick up grip when sliding sideways onto a paved road. They even included the oft-overlooked and distinctive sound of a handbrake being used. While the audio is well-designed, it’s the physics that really steal the show. Rally cars have an insane amount of power, and this game does a really good job of putting that power in the hands of the player. You can see your suspension working when you slam on the breaks or take a corner hard, you can feel the difference in handling when you change gear ratios. It all works together to solidify that you are indeed flying down a european backroad at speeds that would make most men weep.

It’s the love for rally that really shines through in the Colin McRae series, and thankfully this iOS port brings that love of the sport and the attention to detail that comes with it to the App Store. For racing fans burned out on Real Racing, it’s an absolute must.

Colin McRae Rally retails for US$2.99 on the App Store and requires iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.