Apple improving cross-platform integration between iOS and OS X, cross-platform AirDrop, Handoff, instant hotspot and more

Screenshot 2014-06-02 13.37.54

Apple wants users to be able to smoothly move between their Macs and iOS devices. AirDrop now interoperates between Mac and iOS devices. However, it goes further. Handoff allows you to send a document from your Mac to your iOS device, just by being in close proximity to each other.

The Mac also notices when an iOS device is nearby for Personal Hotspot. The phone appears in the WiFi menu, shown above, and with one-click the phone connects to the Mac and the devices start tethering.

Read more

WWDC 2014 Roundup: Enhanced iOS 8, redesigned OS X 10.10, new hardware (plus fresh details)

1401455765.077158.29

Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing that Apple would introduce new products “across 2014,” so far this year the company has simply released a cheaper version of the iPhone 5c in select markets, marginally faster MacBook Airs, and the 2012 fourth-generation iPad at a lower price.

But on Monday, June 2nd, Apple will make major announcements that will indicate the immediate future of its two major platforms: iOS and OS X. The Cupertino company will share details behind the changes in iOS 8, a redesigned Mac operating system, and perhaps even new hardware.

Over the past several months, we have exclusively reported the majority of the news to expect next week and you can find our extensive roundup (along with new details) below:

Read more

Apple discussing iPhone payments service with high-profile retail brands

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 4.21.27 PM

Apple wants to replace yet another daily tool with your iPhone: your wallet.

Executives from the Cupertino-based technology company have begun discussions with directors from retail store chains about a mobile payments service, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks. Previous reports indicated that Apple is exploring new payments services through discussions with executives from existing payments companies. These latest mobile payments-related discussions, which have occurred with retail store brands such as those that sell luxury clothing and premium goods, have taken place over the past couple of months, according to the source. The source declined to be named and requested that the identities of the companies talking to Apple not be published.

The Apple mobile payments service would be integrated into iOS Devices such as the iPhone and would be a comprehensive solution that would allow an iPhone user to leverage their device as a form of payment in retail stores. Based on information from various people briefed on the matter, the service would tie directly to iTunes accounts. Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue noted last night that Apple has 800 million iTunes accounts with credit cards, and that this arsenal opens up the door for many future products and services. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously hinted that the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor could someday be leveraged for mobile payment purposes beyond the existing iTunes and App Stores…

Read more

Apple extends education pricing to iPad, offering discounts of $20-30

edu

If you’re eligible for education pricing, iGeneration noticed that the discounts available on Macs through the Apple Store for Education have now been extended to iPads. The discounts are modest, ranging from $20 to $30, but it all helps.

Education pricing is available to pretty much everyone working or studying in higher education: students, faculty, staff – even parents of students – as well as employees of K-12 schools.

Discounted iPad prices for the base spec 16GB wifi models are:

  • iPad mini: $279 ($20 off)
  • iPad mini with Retina display: $379 ($20 off)
  • iPad Retina display (4th Gen): $379 ($20 off)
  • iPad Air: $469 ($30 off)

The discounts appear to be rolling out internationally, already available in some countries but not yet all.

If your college belongs to the Apple on Campus program, the same modest discounts on iPads appear to be available, in contrast to the significantly better discounts offered on Macs.

As always, we recommend tuning into 9to5Toys to find the absolute best prices on iPads and all other Apple gear. For example, we recently featured a 16GB iPad Air for $400 ($100 off), 16GB Retina iPad mini with LTE for $355 ($174 off), and a 64GB iPad mini (1st gen) for $349 (orig. $599).

 

Apple announces NTT DoCoMo version of iPad coming to Japan June 10th

tab_hero_ipadair

An Apple press release published today announced the impending availability of the iPad on Japan’s NTT DoCoMo carrier. According to the release, both the iPad Air and iPad mini will be available on the largest Japanese carrier on June 10th. The carrier has supported the iPhone since late 2013.

Both tablets will work with the DoCoMo LTE network. The company’s iPad LTE plans are already listed on its website, though you won’t actually be able to buy the device just yet. Both models will be available for pre-purchase on June 2nd, the same day Apple will be kicking off its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s Smart Home concept bring home automation to the masses?

main

It’s the 21st Century: weren’t we all supposed to be living in automated homes by now? Where we walk in the door after a long day to have our home playing some soothing music, informing us that it’s run us a bath and that dinner will be ready in 45 minutes? Where a robot has done the cleaning, changed the flowers, accepted a parcel that arrived while we were at work and fed the cat?

That dream seems to be a long time coming. I’m a reasonably techy guy who loves the idea of home automation, yet even I only have three examples in my home (which I’ll mention along the way). Most mass-market consumers haven’t even noticed that the products exist, and the few who have tend to view it all as too complicated or fiddly.

If anyone can change that perception, it’s Apple. Which is why the Financial Times report yesterday that Apple is working on a new approach to home automation that may be unveiled at WWDC next week caught my attention …  Read more

Australian Mac and iOS users find devices remotely locked, held for ransom (and how to keep yours safe)

1401164873077

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that several Australian Mac, iPhone, and iPad users are finding that their devices have been locked remotely through Apple’s Find My iPhone service by someone using the name “Oleg Pliss.” The hacker (or hackers) then demand payments of around $50 to $100 to an anonymous PayPal account in order to restore the devices to their owners.

An active thread on Apple’s support forum was started yesterday as users started to discover that they had been targeted by the attack. According to that discussion, users are finding all of their devices locked at once rather than a single device per user. Based on that report and the fact that Find My iPhone is being used to hold the devices hostage, it seems likely that the perpetrator has gained access to these users’ iCloud accounts—possibly through password reuse by those users—rather than some device-specific malware or hack.

Read more

Apple expands cheaper 8GB iPhone 5c availability to India

iphone-5c

After introducing the iPhone 5c last fall in 16GB and 32GB variants at launch, Apple later added a cheaper and admittedly space-constrained version in a number of non-US markets around the globe. Apple’s position on the device’s purpose was that it offers a more attractive price while still offering LTE (unlike the iPhone 4s) in markets where the faster network is well desired.

A few weeks ago, The Times of India reported that Apple was poised to introduce the 8GB variant of the iPhone 5c to iPhone buyers in India, and today The Times is reporting that Apple has indeed introduced that cheaper version of the colorful iPhone as was rumored and expected.

While the phone’s MRP is Rs 37,500, Apple is offering a cash discount of Rs 4,000. This brings down the phone’s price to Rs 33,500.

Apple is also giving a case worth Rs 2,000 with the phone. However, Apple informs that it’s a limited period offer.

Read more

Apple formally acknowledges iMessage issue, says bug fix coming in a ‘future software update’

Messages

In a statement to Re/code, Apple has acknowledged the iMessage issue which affects customers who switch away from the iPhone, without disabling iMessage. This means that texts to these users are never delivered, as iPhone devices continue to use the iMessage protocol on the phone number that is no longer associated with an iPhone. Aside from a second-hand report by an AppleCare representative, this is Apple’s first official response to the recent criticism.

Read more

Verizon rolling out VoLTE in ‘coming months’, could bolster iOS 8 FaceTime

iphonevolte

Verizon Wireless is officially joining in on this year’s major new cellular network technology: Voice over LTE, or “VoLTE.” VoLTE allows voice calls on compatible smartphones to be made over the previously-data only LTE network technology. This allows for higher-quality, better sounding (“HD Voice”) phone calls to be placed. The rollout will occur “later this year”, or “in the coming months” depending on which part of the press release you believe:

Read more

Samsung’s lawyers calling Apple a “Jihadist” and the trial “Apple’s Vietnam” not helping settlement talks …

both

While FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller may be confident of Apple and Samsung reaching an early settlement on their patent disputes, a court-mandated update on the talks seems to tell a different story, with each side explaining why talks were not going well, reports The Verge.

For Apple, that includes statements made by Samsung’s lead attorney John Quinn, who referred to Apple as a “jihadist” and called the protracted trial “Apple’s Vietnam” in a pair of interviews …

Read more