iOS 8 lets apps access Safari AutoFill credentials for quick & easy login

In iOS 8, Apple is making the process of logging into apps a much smoother experience by allowing native iOS apps to access usernames and passwords stored in Safari. The new feature, which works by letting iOS apps tap into Safari’s AutoFill & Passwords feature, will allow users to login to apps with a simple tap rather than having to type login info. Imagine your username and password are stored in Safari’s AutoFill for Facebook, for example. When launching the native Facebook iOS app, the feature will let users select from passwords stored in Safari to quickly login (as pictured above with Apple’s demo “Shiny” app). Read more

Apple’s App Store editorial team now curating seven additional categories in Europe

(Before and after screenshots via The Guardian)

Just over a week ago at WWDC, Apple announced several changes and improvements coming to the App Store this fall with the public release of iOS 8 including new ways to navigate through the App Store as well as explore new apps. As The Guardian points out (via MacStories), App Store customers across Europe will notice improvements in the following categories: health, lifestyle, music, photo and video, productivity, and sports. Prior to the editorial expansion, every App Store category aside from education, games, food, kids, and Newsstand were populated solely by use of an algorithm of new and popular apps… Read more

Launch Center Pro 2.3 for iOS adds IFTTT, geolocation, and iBeacon support

Contrast today is releasing a major update to Launch Center Pro for iPhone and iPad adding support for If This Then That and location-based actions. The update includes support for sharing GIF images from within the app using Giphy search integration (fun, right?) as well as support for scanning barcodes and QR codes from Launch Center Pro.

While there’s certainly a lot of potential with connecting web services to native apps using LCP and the IFTTT automation service, the location-based actions using geofencing and iBeacons unlock some really cool use cases for me personally… Read more

Apple launches new ‘Soccer Fever’ App Store section prior to FIFA World Cup

soccer fever

Apple has launched a new “Soccer Fever” section on the App Store, fittingly with June 12th marking the first day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The page has four app sections, including one for “Soccer Apps” (such as the official FIFA app itself), one for featured soccer-related games, a variety of typical social apps labeled as “Share the Fever,” and a plethora of apps for exploring the country of Brazil. Read more

Ringly introduces new iPhone-connected smart ring

Ringly Pink-Sapphire

New startup Ringly seeks to help solve a problem that many busy women have: missing important phone calls, texts or notifications because they cannot hear their phone go off in their purse, or find the phone quickly enough to get to it. Personally, I’ve run into this problem several times.

Ringly’s solution looks like an ordinary fashionable ring, but is actually a high-tech smart ring that can notify users of incoming messages, notifications, phone calls, and more.

Read more

Facebook’s Snapchat competitor arrives on the App Store, then appropriately disappears

Screenshots via Engadget

Screenshots via Engadget

As we noted a few weeks ago, Facebook is currently in the process of developing a new Snapchat-like chat service separate from its main Messenger/Facebook inbox offering, even though it just recently removed its Poke app from the App Store.

Today Facebook “accidentally” published an early version of the upcoming software, called Slingshot, to the iOS App Store in a few countries. The app allows users to share a photo (or video) with friends, but those friends are unable to view the photo until they respond with a photo of their own. A “react” button allows recipients to quickly snap their reaction to an incoming message and send it back as a response.

Read more

More on why public transit directions got lost in iOS 8 Apple Maps

Maps Transit

TechCrunch is out with a story today with details on why some of the mapping features originally scheduled for iOS 8 didn’t make the cut at Apple’s WWDC keynote last week. The report quotes a few sources close to the mapping teams that say most of the improvements originally planned for iOS 8 weren’t finished on time due to talent departures and internal politics:

Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”… It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.

We reported leading up to WWDC that the transit directions in iOS 8 might be pushed back to instead focus on other priorities.

While the TechCrunch report doesn’t mention any names, we do know that the mapping team has lost a few key people recently. Back in March, reports popped up that Cathy Edwards, who happened to be in charge of Maps Quality after joining Apple through the company’s acquisition of Chomp, was leaving the company. The reason behind Cathy’s departure was unknown at the time, but we’ve learned from sources that disagreements with employees on the Maps team working under Edwards and an opposition to her management style lead to problems on the Maps team and ultimately her leaving in April. Apple also lost key Maps team member Jared Waldman from Placebase who worked as Head of Geo at Apple Maps until late last year. In addition, we’ve heard from former employees of the mapping team that recently left the company due to issues with Edwards and management of the Maps team.  Read more

HealthKit supports some Bluetooth products natively, lets accessory makers skip app development

Withings-Wireless-Blood-Pressure-Monitor

Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

Apple’s new HealthKit platform and Health app for iOS 8 acts as a central location for users to store and share health data from third-party apps, but Apple is also supporting some Bluetooth accessories natively in the Health app. That means that some accessory manufacturers will be able to skip the process of developing a companion app for their product and instead allow HealthKit to automatically connect to and control the device itself.  Read more

PayPal reportedly planning to integrate iOS 8’s Touch ID API in mobile payment app

Screenshot 2014-06-02 14.34.56

When Apple unveiled the Touch ID API during its WWDC keynote earlier this week, users and developers alike immediately started considering possible uses. It seems PayPal was also quite interested in putting the fingerprint technology to work in its mobile app.

According to Business Insider, several PayPal developers attended a WWDC session on the new API and the company is actively considering its implementation. The idea here is likely to get a head-start on Apple, which is currently said to be working on its own mobile payment service in conjunction with several major payment processors.

Read more