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.
A very common complaint from iOS users is that unused stock apps cannot be hidden or removed from the Home screen, so ‘less useful’ apps like Tips or Stocks have to be hidden in a folder somewhere to get them off the Home screen. As noted by AppAdvice, the internal App Store JSON data source has added a couple of new interesting keys in the last few weeks, which suggests that Apple is in fact adding the ability to hide stock apps soon …
Although the battle over encryption between the FBI and Apple has currently subsided, the issue of privacy and security in technology continues. Today, WhatsApp is announcing that all messages, photos, phone calls and videos sent over its messaging app will be encrypted end-to-end. This means that no one can access any communications apart from the people in the conversation. This means if WhatsApp is subpoenaed by government for information, WhatsApp will not be able to help them as it simply cannot help them.
Over nine months since Apple Pay was introduced to the UK, Barclays bank has finally gone live and launched its support for Apple’s mobile payments service. This means that every major bank in the UK now supports Apple Pay, a big win for a country that already has wide availability of contactless merchant terminals in many stores.
If you are a Barclays customer, open Wallet on your iPhone to get started and setup Apple Pay for your account. NFC comes bundled with Apple’s recent iPhones: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and the new iPhone SE ..
Apple doesn’t normally improve the capabilities of Siri outside of a major operating system update, but it has made an exception this time around for baseball. Apple has dramatically improved the knowledge base Siri can draw from for Siri, allowing the voice-activated personal assistant to answer a wider range of questions about the sport. Via The Verge, Siri now covers 28 leagues, not just Major League Baseball, too.
Siri first started answering sports questions with iOS 6. Apple says that the upgrade to baseball, timed alongside the new MLB season, allows users to ask more detailed questions about career statistics and baseball history.
In homage to its history, Apple has hung a pirate flag at its Infinite Loop Headquarters (images via @twfarley and @mjisrawi). On April 1st, 40 years ago, Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The iconic flag, complete with rainbow Apple logo for an eye, dates back to the creation of the original Mac. The Mac team hung the flag as an act of rebellion, distinguishing their cool work, led by Jobs, from the rest of the company which was preoccupied making the Lisa.
Watch Apple’s 40 year celebration video, first shown at its event last month, after the jump …
Apple has released iOS 9.3.1 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The bug fix update to iOS 9.3, released last week, contains a crucial improvement for iOS users: it addresses the widespread issue where apps (and sometimes the whole OS) would crash or hangs when tapping links.
We’ll update the post if we spot anything else notable, although the Release Notes do not suggest anything else has changed …
Apple today announced a new browser, sort of. It’s called Safari Technology Preview and its meant for developers to be able to test and experiment with future web technologies and upcoming features. This is similar to Google Chrome Canary, which allows developers to play with in-development web technologies ahead of official releases. The app even comes complete with a new purple icon.
Apple will be updating Safari Technology Preview on a fortnightly basis, with each release signed for security. Download Apple’s new browser from the developer portal, with automatic updates through the Mac App Store.
Deja vu? The Foxconn acquisition of Sharp was almost a done deal a few weeks ago, until Sharp revealed some additional liabilities at the eleventh hour it had not previously disclosed. This meant Foxconn had to go back to the drawing board and re-assess the deal, renegotiating some parts of the contract with Sharp. The initial offer was worth $6.2 billion. Today, the companies announced Foxconn will buy Sharp in a $3.5 billion dollar deal.
Apple and Major League Baseball have agreed a deal to use iPads in the dugouts during games, showing performance stats, analyze pitcher-hitter matchups, compare pitching range and more, via the Wall Street Journal. The iPads will use a custom app called ‘MLB Dugout’, created by MLB’s media division with help from Apple.
In the new deal, Apple and MLB will provide 12.9 inch iPad Pros to every team in the league, fitted with rugged cases for protection. The deal was made possible because of a recent change to the rules which lifts the ban on smartphones, tablets and laptops in the dugouts. Whether Apple paid for the promotion or MLB paid for the products was not disclosed.
Since posting our original story, we have heard from a lot of readers that are affected by iOS 9 crashes or app hangs when tapping links, spanning multiple iOS versions (not just 9.3) and devices. In a statement, Apple has now confirmed that they are working on a fix for the problem, coming in a software update (presumably iOS 9.3.1).
“We are aware of this issue, and we will release a fix in a software update soon.”
Apple has released an updated build of iOS 9.3 for users affected by an activation bug, first reported last week. Although the version number is still 9.3, the update features a new build number, 13E5237, to signify the change. The issue prevented some iPhone and iPad owners from successfully completing the upgrade steps for iOS 9.3 if they could not recall their Apple ID info immediately, to pass Activation Lock.
[Update: Although details around the problem with iOS 9.3 links causing hangs and crashes remain sparse, it appears to be related to the third-party apps a user installed on the system. We have been able to take an unaffected iPhone 6 and iPad Pro, install the Booking.com app, and then observe Safari consistently hanging when long pressing a link. We do not recommend repeating this however to see the bug for yourself, as the problem appears to stay around. Our test devices continue to exhibit the crashing bug after uninstalling the app and rebooting. We are not sure what exactly causes the issue and thus do not know what class of apps cause the problem to arise. It is likely not limited to just one app, but we are yet to find others. Apple is yet to comment officially on the issue.]
Readers are reporting a strange bug with iOS 9.3 (and older versions apparently, exact characteristics of affected devices is unclear), primarily affecting the latest Apple devices, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The issue has also been reported on older phones and some iPad models as well. The cause is unknown, but many users are finding themselves unable to open links in Safari, Messages, Mail, Notes and other apps. Instead of visiting the target website, the app crashes, freezes or hangs. Hundreds of reports have already been posted about the iOS 9.3 problem on the Apple Support forums.
As part of Apple’s Renew program, where the company is encouraging people to recycle their old devices to help the environment, Apple has posted some exclusive environmental wallpaper to download on its website. The URL (apple.com/thanks) is given out on cards in Apple Stores to people who recycle their old device in store, as a small gesture of appreciation.
However, the URL is open to anyone to visit and download some cute, exclusive, iOS 9 wallpaper that isn’t included in the default list of iOS wallpaper …
Although the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro is superior to the 2015 12 inch iteration in some regards, including better cameras and display, it appears the raw processor is not as identical as Apple implied in its presentation. Although both models have an A9X processor, the 9.7 inch version actually has half the RAM and a slightly-lower clock speed CPU (via @panzer). Whilst the big iPad Pro has 4 GB RAM, the 9.7 inch iPad Pro has just 2 GB like the iPhone 6s.
Digitimes has a mixed track record of reliability with regard to Apple rumors, but its latest report gels with expectations. The report claims Apple is preparing new 13 inch and 15 inch MacBooks to launch in the summer, by July. Although the publication does not say this, it indicates that new MacBook Pros are on the horizon perhaps debuting at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference.
Given Intel’s CPU roadmap, Apple laptops featuring the new Skylake processors are due. Therefore, it is not that much of a stretch to believe this report. A key feature of Skylake is power efficiency, which would allow Apple to make dramatically thinner laptops.
Update: In a statement to CNBC, Apple has confirmed it is not planning to make an offer for Imagination Technologies. It did however hold some talks with the company about undisclosed topics.
ArsTechnica is reporting that Apple is in ‘advanced talks’ to acquire Imagination Technologies, makes of the PowerVR mobile GPU designs Apple licenses for its A9 and A9X SoCs. The company declined comment about any such acquisition of course. Apple began using Imagination Technologies GPUs since the Apple A4 chip. Rumors have been bubbling in recent years that Apple will eventually start designing its own mobile GPUs, in the same way it designs custom CPU silicon today. An acquisition of Imagination Technologies would be a clear signal the company is moving in that direction.
With the release of iOS 9.3 yesterday, Apple included a major new feature that may help you sleep better at night: Night Shift. Night Shift works by changing the color temperature of your screen gradually as the day changes. In Control Center, you can toggle this feature on and off manually. In Settings, you can setup iOS 9.3’s Night Shift so that it automatically shifts the blue light of your iPhone or iPad screen with a schedule. The schedule options are either preset times set by the user or an automatic schedule based on sunrise and sunset.
However, after updating to iOS 9.3, some users have complained that the automatic Sunrise/Sunset option is not available for their devices. It turns out this is not a bug, or limited to certain countries as people suggest. In fact there is a simple fix …