You can now unlock Google Docs, Slides and Sheets for iOS with Touch ID

Google is on a roll this week with updating its iOS apps. Yesterday we saw Chrome for iPhone and iPad pick up a big update bringing Material Design to the browser and adopting Handoff support with OS X Yosemite. Following Chrome’s release, Google today shared new versions of its Docs, Slides, and Sheets apps for iPhone and iPad taking advantage of another Apple technology: Touch ID.

Beginning with Docs version 1.2.6448, Slides version 1.0.5754, and Sheets version 1.1.7297, iPhone and iPad users can now lock and unlock each app using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner as an alternative to the passcode lock screen. Read more

Be My Eyes iPhone app allows sighted people to lend a helping hand to blind people

The National Federation of the Blind said last year that Apple has “done more for accessibility than any other company,” and with the help of a new app, iPhone and iPad owners can take things even further. Be My Eyes is an app that allows blind people to request remote help from a sighted person when needed.

Requests for help might range from checking the expiry date on a container of milk to looking at an airport departure board for a gate number …  Read more

Dropbox will no longer support OS X 10.5 or older starting May 18th

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Dropbox has announced through an email to users on older versions of OS X that it will soon be discontinuing support for computers running Leopard or other older versions of the operating system. Users still running anything older than OS X 10.6 will need to upgrade in order to continue using future versions of the Dropbox app.

Users who don’t upgrade will still be able to use the web-based Dropbox manager, but will be automatically signed out of the Mac app. From that point forward, they will not be able to login back into the Mac client until they are on a newer version of OS X.

The changes will go into effect on May 18th, so users still have plenty of time to upgrade their software (or hardware, if necessary). The full email is included below:

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LastPass password manager debuts on Mac w/ offline support, security check feature, more

LastPass Mac

Smart password and security techniques are becoming increasingly important in our digital lives as new hacks seem to appear all the time, and having a unique and secure password (unlike these) helps ensure that your online identity is safe in the event of such a compromise.

LastPass, a cross platform secure digital vault app, is helping Mac users tackle the password management problem with the debut of its new Mac app. Previously only available for Mac as a browser extension and web portal, the new LastPass for Mac app brings new features to the desktop including quick search, security check, and more. Read more

iOS developers share their earnings, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way

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If you write iOS apps and wonder how your earnings compare against those of other developers – or you have an idea for an app, and are wondering whether it’s worth pursuing – it can be tough to find any hard information. We hear occasional stories about hugely successful apps like Flappy Bird making hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, and we know there are some apps with literally zero downloads to their name, but what about the middle ground?

Jared Sinclair, developer of the RSS reader Unread, decided last year to share both his earnings from the app, and the lessons he’d learned along the way. It’s taken six months, but several other developers started the new year by following his example, with numbers and lessons shared for podcast player Overcast, graphical game Monument Valley and developer aid Dash …  Read more

Kickstarter iOS app updated w/ new design and iPad support

Almost a year after shipping its iPhone app, Kickstarter has released version 2.0 which includes full iPad support for the crowdfunding service’s app as well as a new design using a card interface for projects. As with the iPhone version, Kickstarter says its iPad app helps users find new projects to back and keep up with updates on projects you follow, now only bigger with the tablet… Read more

Touching the dial: How iTunes Radio could be tuned for a better user experience

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iTunes Radio, Apple’s first real foray into streaming music, made its public debut back in June 2013, where it was announced alongside iOS 7. Over a year since its release, the service hasn’t exactly taken over the world, quite literally. It’s still only available in the United States and Australia. If you compared iTunes Radio today with iTunes Radio as it existed the day it was first available to use, you’ll notice that not much has really changed.

Of course, just last May, Apple announced its acquisition of Beats Electronics, which brought along with it Beats Music, a robust and almost entirely different approach to streaming music. While Apple may seek to integrate Beats Music more tightly with iTunes in the future, at this time it hasn’t.

So in the meantime, what could Apple do to make iTunes Radio more appealing to customers? Some might say the music selection is limited, or that streaming doesn’t always work correctly. However, focusing on the service strictly from a feature standpoint, there are many small changes and additions Apple could implement that would have a huge impact on the usefulness and utility of iTunes Radio. Let’s take a look.

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Opinion: Could there be method in Apple’s apparent madness in removing freebies?

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I was extremely surprised when Apple made the decision to drop its Single of the Week, after doing the same thing with its 12 Days of Christmas promo. As I wrote then, the free single seemed a win-win-win: consumers got free music, lesser-known artists got exposure, Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.

But thinking more about it, perhaps there is method in Apple’s madness after all. Let’s start with the obvious point: the company is about to launch an Apple-branded Beats Music service, and it would then make sense to say that this, not iTunes freebies, is the way to discover new music.

But it’s not just music: 12 Days of Christmas was content of all types, apps included, so I think there could be a bigger picture here. Bear with me while I make that case in a slightly roundabout fashion …

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Skype for iPhone updated with UI improvements, limited pre-release program now available

Microsoft is rolling out a new version of Skype for iPhone today, version 5.9, which brings enhancements to the user interface making communicating faster and easier. The latest version adds contact suggestions to the dial pad when entering a number making the process of finding the right person to dial quicker. The update also adds shortcuts for starting video or audio calls from Skype’s chat picker window.

In addition to introducing the latest Skype for iPhone user interface improvements, Microsoft announced a limited pre-release program for testing early versions of Skype in exchange for sharing feedback and ideas… Read more