Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.
While Siri voice search is a core feature of the new Apple TV, right now it’s limited to only eight countries: UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Japan. In other regions, the Siri Remote is simply called the Apple TV Remote (not to be confused with the old Apple TV Remote) and pressing the mic button just opens the Search app.
This is despite the fact Siri on iPhone is actually available in 30 countries, so it wasn’t clear why Apple had pinpointed only a subset of those. It turns out, according to a chat with Apple by MacPrime, that there are some clever optimizations Apple makes with Apple TV Siri to improve speech recognition.
The official Plex app for Apple TV is now available in the App Store. Plex is a media server for video, TV shows, music and photos. The app is fully featured, with quick access to search, playlists and more from the top bar. It also tracks your currently playing items so you can quickly pick up with a show or film from where you left off. The app incorporates channel streaming of content like TED, Revision3 and more as well as video queues from YouTube and Vimeo. expand full story
The Apple TV is an advancement in many ways over the third-generation model (faster processor, App Store, Siri) but there are also a couple of regressions, features that existed before that are missing and/or removed. One such example is Podcasts. The third-gen Apple TV featured a pre-installed Apple Podcasts app, which would sync with your iTunes subscriptions on the desktop and iOS devices. However, it is nowhere to be seen on the new fourth-generation Apple TV yet …
The new Apple TV has been available for three days now, with response to the product generally strong with seemingly good sales, based off some talks with Apple Store employees. A big part of the appeal of Apple TV is the tvOS App Store. What you see above is Apple’s press image for the store: in reality the Top Charts and Categories are currently unaccessible. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has worked around this by accessing the web chart data directly, by spoofing the Apple TV headers when making the request. He has posted the Apple TV US Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing charts as of yesterday. There’s some interesting trends in the data ….
Earlier in the year, we released a major redesign for all of the 9to5 sites and we continue to roll out improvements to this design. However, we’ve also been working on something else for 9to5Mac … today we are releasing the 9to5Mac app for iPhone and iPad. As a complement to the website, you can now read our latest stories directly from your Home screen.
Download the app from the App Store for free right now. The app runs on iPhone and iPad with custom layouts for the respective screen sizes. It’s the essence of our website, the news stories, reflowed into a format that’s optimized for iOS.
We love the website, but the app allows us to offer you many additional features to further the 9to5Mac experience for our readers. You can subscribe to breaking news notifications, jump into Dark Mode for late night reading and add our latest headlines to the Today view with the included widget. More details after the break …
On its earnings call, Apple has announced a further expansion of Apple Pay in partnership with American Express, to Australia and Canada in 2015 as well as Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong next year in 2016. Exact details are still murky — Tim Cook very specifically said ‘eligible American Express customers in these regions’ so it isn’t going to be as big as a rollout for Apple Pay as we saw for the US or UK.
The Apple TV is now available to buy but customers won’t be receiving their new hardware until Friday at the earliest, according to Apple shipping estimates. Although the dev kits currently lack an App Store to download software, plenty of developers are announcing their titles for the new Apple TV, ahead of schedule. We’ll be bringing you full coverage of the Apple TV later in the week but here’s a taste of the software already announced for the Apple TV’s debut …
The Apple TV is now available to order from Apple’s online store, $149 for the 32 GB model and $199 for the 64 GB model. The first Apple TV orders will ship later this week, from October 30th.
The new fourth-generation Apple TV is first launching in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and many more … with a total of 80 launch countries. Not all countries get all the features however — only 12 of those regions are able to use voice search on the Siri Remote.
Alongside the box itself, Apple is selling a couple of accessories. You can buy a replacement Apple TV Siri Remote for $79 as well as a Remote Loop, the wrist strap, for $12.99. Bundled with the Apple TV itself is a Lightning cable to charge the remote, but you still have to buy your own HDMI cable as that is not included.
Facebook has taken to, shocker, Facebook to explain some of the issues causing significant iPhone battery drain when using its app. The app has received a lot of criticism in the community in recent weeks with users reporting incredibly high levels of background activity time for disproportionally low time with the app actually in use. This included when iPhone users had explicitly turned off Background App Refresh in Settings. Facebook says it has started to fix battery drains issues with the latest version of the app in the App Store, version 42.0.
Apple has once again updated its App Store data chart with the latest statistics on iOS 9 adoption. iOS 9 came out of the gate with a ridiculously-high >50% adoption rate just a few days after it launched. This pace has definitely slowed following the initial rush of users upgrading, but achieving 61% penetration of iOS devices is still a strong result. This appears to be keeping up with Phil Schiller’s prediction that iOS 9 will be “downloaded by more users than any other software release in Apple’s history.” Remember, iOS 9 can be installed on any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch that runs iOS 8.
A couple of hours ago, Apple sent out emails asking registered Apple developers to submit their tvOS apps for the Apple TV, using the GM seeds of tvOS and Xcode 7.1.
Although several thousand developer kits are out in the wild, the App Store app is yet to appear for these users. It may come online over-the-air and just ‘appear’ like Apple TV channels do, or there may be a small software update in the next few days to add the application.
Following a slew of updates for iOS, OS X, tvOS and watchOS, Apple has also given its web portal iCloud.com some love too. Last week, Apple took iWork for iCloud out of beta. Today, Apple has added the Find My Friends web app to the site.
Mirroring the app for iOS, the web app shows a map of friends who have opted in to sharing your location with them; pins for each person are displayed on an Apple Maps map.
Alongside updates to iOS and OS X, Apple has released watchOS 2.0.1 with a whole host of changes and bug fixes. As well as including the new emoji character set like Apple’s other operating systems, watchOS 2.0.1 includes bug fixes for poor battery life, stalling software updates, Calendar event syncing and much more.
It has also seeded developers with the Gold Master release of tvOS for Apple TV. We’ll update with any changes …
Code analytics platform SourceDNA has found hundreds of apps on the App Store that used private APIs to collect private user data, like email addresses and device identifiers, slipping under Apple’s radar in the approval process. The code got into these apps through the inclusion of a mischievous third-party advertising SDK, which secretly stored this data and sent it off to its own servers.
Apple has now verified the SourceDNA report and is removing all of the apps that included the advertising SDK from the store, as using private API calls is a breach of App Review Guidelines. Apple has also patched its approval processes to prevent any more apps that use this technique to make it onto the App Store.
Earlier in the year, a small-but-not-insignificant number of Apple customers complained about screen issues with their new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros, specifically cases where the anti-reflective display coating leaves marks and stains on the screen, ranging from small corner blobs to large patches.
Several months later, Apple seems to have acknowledged the issue and launched a Quality Program to replace affected users’ hardware. The Staingate Facebook page now includes many reports of people successfully sending their MacBooks in for repair at Apple Stores. The existence of the program was first reported by MacRumors.
Apple has today announced an expansion of ResearchKit into studies for autism, epilepsy and melanoma. ResearchKit enables people to conduct distributed scientific research studies from an iPhone app, enabling higher participation rates than traditional medical research can provide. The new studies are being run by researchers in Duke University, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health and Science University.
ResearchKit is open-source. In the same statement, Apple says that over 50 researchers have already contributed to the project.
Following the corresponding update to Pixelmator for iOS 9, the company has released the latest version of Pixelmator for the Mac ($29.99) with full support for El Capitan. This includes compatibility with changes to the OS as well as an overhaul in the Pixelmator user interface to feature San Fransisco, Apple’s new system font. The update, version 3.4, also includes official full-screen Split View support on El Capitan, so users can dock Pixelmator next to any other app on the system filling the display.
Perhaps most interestingly, the app now includes a Photos.app editing extension …