O'Grady's PowerPage » iOS

Apple sets up web site, offers refunds and credits for claimants in iTunes Store class action lawsuit

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Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:42
Category: Legal, News, retail, Software

It’s hard to argue with the results of a class action lawsuit.

Still, it might be a refund coming your way thanks to your children purchasing items via the iTunes Store.

Per AppleInsider, Apple appears to have finalized the details of its settlement agreement for a class action suit over in-app purchases on iPhones and iPads, with the Cupertino company offering millions of dollars in refunds and iTunes credits.

A home page for the settlement program went live recently, laying out the options available for claimants in the class action suit over Apple’s in-app purchase policies. That suit, filed in 2011, alleged that Apple’s structure for processing in-app purchases was insufficient to stop minors from charging tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars to their parents’ accounts without permission.

Under the settlement agreement, Apple will provide a single US$5 iTunes Store credit to claimants in the suit or a credit “equal to the total amount of Game Currency that a minor charged to your iTunes account without your knowledge or permission within a single forty-five day period.” For claimants that no longer have an active iTunes account, a cash refund is available, as is the case for those whose claims exceed US$30 in total.

All United States residents are eligible for an award from the settlement, provided that, prior to May 2, 2013, they paid for an in-app purchase in a qualified app. The purchase must have been charged to their iTunes account by a minor without their knowledge or permission. The deadline to submit a claim is January 13, 2014, and the deadline to object to or opt out of the settlement is August 30, 2013.

In-app purchases stepped into the spotlight over the last few years as developers looked for a way to further monetize their apps. As the option became more popular, complaints arose that it was too easy for children to rack up sizable charges on their parents’ accounts.

Apple already had some protections in place to stop minors from abusing in-app purchases, but the company was forced by the attention from several cases to modify its iTunes Store listings in order to warn users which apps featured additional paid content. The company has since stepped up its educational efforts in order to bring parents up to speed on what they can do to head off unwanted expenditures.

If you feel you meet the criteria for a claim, head over to the web site and let us know how your experience panned out in the comments.

AT&T updates carrier settings, pushes Wireless Emergency Alerts

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 07:39
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software, wireless

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This was a weird thing that popped up, but it’s hard to argue with the Emergency Alert System.

Per The Mac Observer, wireless carrier AT&T began pushing an update to iPhone users over the weekend that adds support for Wireless Emergency Alerts. The WEA system sends text messages to smartphone owners alerting them to physical threats like earthquakes and tornados, man-made disasters, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential alerts.


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The update is being pushed to the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and doesn’t require any action on the user’s part since it’s delivered over the air. Once installed, alerts will appear as special text messages and are delivered based on your location. For example, if an AMBER alert is issued for a missing child and you’re in the same city, you’ll see the notification.

The update is free, and since it’s a carrier-supplied update, it won’t appear in iOS 6’s built-in Software Update feature.

Microsoft releases long-awaited Office Mobile 365 for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ve been hankering for a native version of Microsoft Office for iOS for some time now.

And it’s arrived.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

With Microsoft’s Office Mobile, users can view documents stored in Microsoft’s SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as read and edit Office docs sent as email attachments. Additionally, owners of Windows machines can remotely access documents that were recently viewed on a desktop client.

Another PC-only feature is “Resume Reading,” which allows Word documents opened from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro to automatically jump to where users left off on their Windows computer or tablet.

Microsoft says documents are optimized before being viewed on the iPhone, while support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes comes built-in. Also available is an in-app Slide Navigator in PowerPoint and a function to help with presentation practice.

The application offers the following features:
– Edit – You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

– Documents Remain Intact – Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.

– Edit While Offline – Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.

– Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.

– Comments – You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.

– Share – When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Office Mobile comes in at 58MB and is available from the App Store as a free companion app for existing Office 365 subscribers. The app requires an iOS device running iOS 6.1 or later to install and run. Microsoft Office 2013 for PC is required for recent document and resume reading.

If you’ve tried Office Mobile 365 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 7 user interface still under development, could see major changes from version presented at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You know that new, flatter look demoed for iOS 7 at WWDC?

It’s probably not the final version.

Per The Next Web, sources familiar with Apple’s latest mobile operating system said the iOS 7 beta, as well as the preview shown at the WWDC keynote on Monday, is a “mid-stride” snapshot of the work being done behind closed doors.

The pace is so quick that some of the builds used to present the OS on stage two days ago were later versions of what was seeded to developers in the iOS 7 beta. It can’t be confirmed which feature sets are more advanced, though the beta version is slightly inconsistent with the OS demoed on Monday by software engineering head Craig Federighi.

The fact that iOS 7 will change before it is released seems obvious in that the software currently in the hands of developers are beta versions meant for testing. However, while backend and UI tweaks are expected to change for early build software, the radically different new design language of iOS 7 is also reportedly largely under construction.

Interestingly, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design Jony Ive, who is now also the head of the company’s Human Interaction section, called on in-house marketing design teams to flesh out the much-ballyhooed first party app icons.

The sources said both print and web design personnel laid down a framework of color palettes and a general “look,” which Ive’s app designers used as guidelines to produce what was seen in the iOS 7 preview. As with operational facets of the OS, these are also works in progress.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and from a design perspective that rings true. Ive and his team have managed to dismantle almost every theme and nuance that the OS has amassed over the preceding six years and six generations. From skeuomorphic iconography to UI and UX, the new iOS 7 tears down almost everything, replacing it with a clean, if not controversial, design. Apple has managed, at least in these early builds, to achieve a feel that is at once completely new and wholly familiar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Siri to see new features, improvements under iOS 7, will exclude Google searches

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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.

iTunes Radio announced, will arrive in the fall

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 13:06
Category: News, Software

You knew it was coming.

It just took an epic amount of contract work and negotiation to bring everyone on board.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has now officially unveiled its iTunes Radio service and provided some details on exactly how it will work during its keynote presentation this morning at Moscone West in San Francisco.


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The new iTunes Radio app is built into the iOS radio app, and works on the Mac and Apple TV as well. As rumored, iTunes Radio will be free, supported by ads. In a twist, however, iTunes Radio will be completely free (free of ads) if you’re a subscriber to iTunes Match and will feature over 200 stations.

The service’s underlining technology is based on Apple’s iTunes Genius feature with iTunes Radio tailoring the experience to your iTunes usage. Apple says there will be Siri integration, and also aims to offer users “access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists.

The service will roll out initially in the US only with iOS 7 this Fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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 to stream WWDC keynote to web site, iOS, Apple TV beginning at 10 AM PST

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 06:40
Category: News, Software

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We’re about two hours from the WWDC kickoff and its accompanying keynote address.

And it will, of course, be streamed.

Per 9to5Mac, like as it has done for some events in the past, Apple has pushed a WWDC app to Apple TV units overnight in order to access a live stream for today’s keynote, which is slated to start at 10 AM Pacific standard time.

Apple is expected to announce iOS 7, OS X 10.9, and a streaming music service at this event.

The keynote can be seen live at www.apple.com/apple-events/june-2013/.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Security researchers to demo 30-pin dock connector hack/malware injection at Black Hat next month

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 7th, 2013, 07:57
Category: Hack, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, security, Software

dockconnector

You’re not going to like this.

Per Senor O’Grady over on the Apple Core, a group of researchers from Georgia Tech have discovered a way to hack into an iPhone or iPad in less than a minute using a “malicious charger.” The group plans to present its findings at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on July 27, 2013.

Billy Lau, Yeongjin Jang and Chengyu Song are presenting a session is called “Mactans: Injecting Malware Into iOS Devices Via Malicious Chargers” at the popular security conference next month. The name “Mactans” comes from Latrodectus Mactans, the highly venomous (and deadly) black widow spider.

According to the synopsis on the Black Hat website, the Mactans session will describe how USB capabilities can be leveraged to bypass Apple’s defense mechanisms built into the iPhone.

Jason’s got the full details, so head on over, take a gander and get ready to never completely trust your iOS device’s 30-pin dock connector again…

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.