Apple joins Confederate flag boycott, removes apps that use flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways [U: Statement]

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[Update: Apple has confirmed the policy with us. Statement below.]

[Update #2: Reports are now surfacing that Apple is now reinstating some apps with the Confederate flag to the App Store. The company is working with developers who use the Confederate flag, but not in a mean-spirited manner.]

[Update #3: TouchArcade specifies that affected games are able to change their app icons and App Store screenshots to avoid removal.]

A couple of days after Zac Hall called for Apple to join large retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay in withdrawing from selling items featuring the Confederate flag, Apple appears to be working on doing just that.

Touch Arcade noticed that many Civil War games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and the Hunted Cow series have all disappeared. An App Store search for ‘Confederate’ on Tuesday found plenty of games featuring the flag, while the same search today appears to show only apps dealing with the history (such as the reference work shown) above. All of the games shown in Tuesday’s search (below) have been removed from the App Store …  Read more

Opinion: Apple’s App Store needs to join the Confederate flag boycott

App Store Confederate Flag

Apple’s App Store should join Amazon, eBay, Walmart and others in boycotting the Confederate Flag

[Update 6/25/15: Apple has begun removing apps that “use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways” without removing apps with “educational or historical uses”.]

Apple’s Tim Cook added his voice to the chorus of CEOs speaking against displaying the Confederate Flag on Sunday, indirectly referencing it as a symbol for racism. In a tweet, Cook called to honor the lives of the victims in last week’s tragic South Carolina shooting by “eradicating racism & removing the symbols & words that feed it.” An Alabama native like myself, Cook has been a strong proponent for equality during his tenure as CEO, often speaking out against the South’s tarnished history and the changes we still need to address.

With major physical and online retailers including Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy now publicly supporting the boycott against the Confederate flag by removing merchandise that displays it, I believe it’s time for Tim Cook’s Apple to join the campaign by removing digital goods that display the Confederate flag on the App Store. Read more

Changing the conversation: How Apple could modernize iMessage to be more powerful and easy to use

Previews

At this year’s WWDC, Apple devoted a lot of onstage attention to a revamp of the Notes app in both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. One of my favorite additions is inline web link previews. Just paste a URL, and Notes will turn the link into a preview bubble with a thumbnail for the page, as well as a title and description.

This got me thinking about the possibility of applying the same functionality to other apps. The most obvious place to start, in my opinion, is Messages. I’m constantly sending and receiving links through iMessage throughout the day, whether it’s to a web page, an image, or even just a tweet. Having to flip back and forth between Safari and Messages just to see what the link I’ve been sent is removes me from the conversation and slows down my workflow.

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Mini review: Home Radio, the Mac app that could plug the gaps in Apple Music radio (free today only)

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While we’re all expecting good things from the radio side of Apple Music, it’s going to be a curated experience, meaning we’ll get the radio stations Apple chooses to offer. If it doesn’t cover all of our favorite stations, we’re going to need another radio app to plug the gap.

For listening on the move, the free SwipeRadio iOS app is a delightfully minimalist way to do it. Developer Dataphase has now taken the same approach on the Mac, with Home Radio. The philosophy is the same: no bells, no whistles, just the radio stations you want to listen to in an extremely lightweight app.

I’ve been trying it out, and if you want to do the same, developer Noam Gordon is kindly making it free for today only (22 June) especially for 9to5Mac readers …  Read more

Twitter is preparing to curate news in its iPhone app with Project Lightning

Buzzfeed render of upcoming Lightning feature

Buzzfeed render of upcoming Lightning feature

Just as Apple is preparing to enter the news curation space with its News app in iOS 9 and Facebook has launched native news content with Instant Articles, Twitter appears to be working on its own news product for its mobile app. Buzzfeed’s Mat Honan reports that Twitter is currently developing a news-focused feature for its app under the name Project Lightning (no, not Apple’s connector) that will make it possible to follow events in your timeline rather than only following Twitter users sharing about the event. A staff of human editors, not unlike Apple’s approach with News, will collect tweets with videos, photos, and relevant information to create these Lightning stories… Read more

Developers currently unable to submit Watch apps due to App Store approval bug (update: fixed!)

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Update: The problem should now be resolved. Watch apps should upload as normal once again.

Developers are flocking to Apple’s developer forums today as the iTunes Connect submissions process is currently experiencing a glitch which makes it impossible for developers to submit apps that include Apple Watch extensions.

Rather than continuing submission process as normal, the system is incorrectly flagging up misuse of an Apple private framework called SockPuppetGizmo. Naturally, this is causing frustration in the developer community at the moment because it prevents apps from being submitted to the App Store.

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Adobe integrates stock image purchases into Creative Cloud as it updates its 15 CC apps

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Alongside the updates to its mobile apps yesterday, Adobe has also updated its entire suite of Creative Cloud desktop apps and launched a new Adobe Stock images service integrated within those apps – something the company says “radically simplifies” the process of buying and using stock images.

“Adobe Stock extends Creative Cloud’s value as a vibrant global marketplace,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Digital Media, Adobe. “Eighty-five percent of customers who purchase stock images use Adobe creative tools. The deep integration with our latest Creative Cloud desktop apps, including Photoshop and InDesign, makes buying and using stock photos incredibly easy. At the same time, our customers – the best photographers and designers on the planet – will have the opportunity to contribute millions of new photos and images to Adobe Stock. This is really going to raise the bar in the world of stock content.”

Single images cost $9.99 for existing Creative Cloud subscribers, but Adobe offers two volume subscriptions offering significantly better deals …  Read more

Bethesda brings Fallout to iOS for the first time with freemium Fallout Shelter game

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Fans of Bethesda’s Fallout games on Xbox, PlayStation and PC got the news yesterday that Fallout 4 will be launched in November – and the company also threw in a surprise bonus in the form of an iOS game. Fallout Shelter is a kind of blend of SimCity, XCOM and FTL in which you create your own fallout shelter and try to keep its residents alive and happy.

Fallout Shelter puts you in control of a state-of-the-art underground Vault from Vault-Tec. Build the perfect Vault, keep your Dwellers happy, and protect them from the dangers of the Wasteland.

Select from a variety of modern-day rooms to turn an excavation beneath 2,000 feet of bedrock into the very picture of Vault Life. Get to know your Dwellers and lead them to happiness. Find their ideal jobs and watch them flourish. Provide them with outfits, weapons, and training to improve their abilities.

As Overseer, you get to design the shelter and take care of its residents, but you can also send them out into the Wasteland to find additional armor, weapons and other handy loot …  Read more

Popular podcast app Instacast now discontinued as parent company Vemedio runs out of money

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Popular podcasting app Instacast for iOS and Mac is shutting down as the founders can no longer fund it or any of Vemedio’s other projects.

In an email sent to paid members, Martin Hering says that all of Vemedio’s products will be ‘discontinued’, with Instacast being the most well known app affected by this. The company says they will keep the servers up for as long as possible so current users will not be left with non-functional apps immediately.

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