Text-string bug causes iOS, Android & Windows Skype apps to crash repeatedly

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Following last week’s discovery that receiving an obscure text string could cause the iOS Messages app to crash, a similar bug has been discovered in the Skype app on iOS, Android and Windows devices. On all these devices, chat history is loaded when the app re-opens, causing it to immediately crash again.

The text string in this case is less obscure: http://: – in other words, the first part of an URL, on its own …  Read more

How-To: Build a $150-$300 iTunes video + music server for your home

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In May 2005, iTunes evolved from a music player into a video library manager, paving the way for video iPods (October 2005), Apple TV (March 2007), and AirPlay video streaming (September 2010). Since then, iTunes libraries have become bigger and more central in homes, as users now stream content stored in iTunes — sometimes called a media “server” — to “clients” including Apple TVs, iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. Unless you stream all of your content from the iTunes Store, you probably have some space-consuming videos sitting in your computer’s iTunes library, where they can be accessed by client devices so long as both the server computer and iTunes are turned on.

Apple has resisted calls to release a standalone, inexpensive iTunes home media server for years: 2008’s release of Time Capsule came tantalizingly close, but couldn’t act as a standalone streamer. So when my video library became too large to keep on my iMac, I bit the bullet and bought a used Mac mini to serve as an iTunes server. It works well, and consumes a lot less power than keeping my iMac on all the time, but it’s still a full-fledged $700 computer — overkill for streaming videos to the Apple devices in my home.

Today, I’m going to help you build a small, inexpensive, and ultra energy-efficient iTunes media server. Depending on the size of your iTunes library, it could cost as little as $150, or as much as $300, in either case much less expensive than a Mac mini. The key component is Intel’s new Compute Stick, a tiny basic Windows PC that can plug directly into an HDTV, run iTunes, and stream videos across your network. For around $130, you can now get an iView-branded Compute Stick with a CPU similar to the 12″ Retina MacBook, bundled with a wireless keyboard and trackpad. Although there are some important caveats you should understand up front, the Compute Stick can become a ~3-Watt video server using a $20+ microSD card, radically reducing the energy required to stream iTunes content in your home. If you need more storage and power, you can easily add a near-silent $90+ hard drive with 2TB-5TB of capacity

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Apple expands Shot on iPhone campaign to highlight video capturing features

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Apple launched its Shot on iPhone 6 ad campaign earlier this year and has since expanded the campaign to buildings and skyscrapers around the world. The purpose of the campaign is to showcase the photography capabilities of the iPhone 6, notably excluding video content. Apple this evening, however, has further expanded its Shot on iPhone 6 campaign and launched a new microsite titled “World Gallery films” with 7 short videos shot with the iPhone 6. They are all embedded below:

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Apple Music WWDC launch roundup: iOS/Android/Mac apps, DJs, social, pricing & availability

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Apple is ready to show the first fruits of its Beats acquisition next week. As we first reported in early March, Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited Beats-based streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8th. Blending Apple interface design and features from the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine-created Beats Music app, Apple’s service, known internally as “Apple Music,” is built to take on Spotify and Pandora with several new features and a subscription model. Additionally, Apple is working on overhauling its widely panned iTunes Radio service by striking deals with popular artists and DJs. Below, we detail Apple’s plans for both Apple Music and the new iTunes Radio in an extensive roundup.

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Apple Stores drop AT&T iPhone subsidies this month as Verizon changes coming

Apple Inc Starts To Sell New iPhone 5S And iPhone 5C

Apple today has informed employees of significant changes to how iPhones are sold via AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to sources. As we reported last month, Apple has indicated that iPhones sold via AT&T at both physical Apple Retail Stores and on the Apple Online Store will move exclusively to Next financing plans this month, in June. This means that a customer who wants to buy a new iPhone on AT&T will no longer be able to do so on a subsidy…

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Opinion: Google’s new Photos may just have won my library away from Apple

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Google Photos

My relationship with Apple’s hardware is simple: I’m happily locked in, and not changing platforms any time soon. But my relationship with Apple’s software is complex: I want to love it, but every time Apple decides to “throw everything away” and “start over” with an app, it’s disruptive — and for many users, unnecessary. From my perspective, users weren’t complaining that Apple’s popular photo apps iPhoto or Aperture were hopelessly broken or even deficient in major ways, yet Apple discontinued both of them last month to release Photos, a bare-bones alternative no one seems to love. On the relationship scale, I didn’t abandon Aperture; Aperture abandoned me (and a lot of other people).

So yesterday’s announcement of the free cross-platform photo and video storage app Google Photos couldn’t have come at a better time. Apple has struggled to explain why it now offers two separate photo syncing services, neither with the virtually unlimited photo and video storage Google is now giving users — notably all users, including Mac and iOS users. Moreover, Apple has offered no sign that it’s going to drop the steep fees it’s charging for iCloud photo storage. With WWDC just around the corner, Apple has a big opportunity to match Google’s photo and video initiative, thrilling its customers in the process. If that doesn’t happen, I’m moving my collection into Google Photos, and not looking back…

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Readdle debuts Spark, a highly customizable email app for iPhone & Apple Watch

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Readdle today released a new addition to its giant collection of productivity apps for iOS with the debut of Spark. Spark is described in short as “fast and smart email for your iPhone” while its core features include tons of customization options and intelligent notification and filtering options that help take the stress out of email. Though Spark is only the latest third party email app to land on the iPhone, it is the first solid email client I’ve used on the Apple Watch so far. How does it compare to Apple’s own Mail app in this case? Read more

Apple posts official support doc with temporary workarounds for Messages bug

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Earlier this week a bug was discovered that centered around a string of text that when received via a message would cause your iPhone Springboard to crash and the Messages app to crash continuously. At the time, Apple said it was aware of the bug and working to push an update to fix it. In the meantime however, the company tonight has published an official support document with a few suggestions on how to temporarily work around the issue.

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Reading Roundup: Everything to know (so far) about iOS 9 and OS X 10.11

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve published several articles detailing the future of iOS (the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch’s operating system), OS X (the Mac’s operating system), and Watch OS (the software that runs on the Apple Watch). Here’s a list of links to the stories we’ve written thus far about the new operating systems, and we’ll keep updating this page as we publish new and relevant details.

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Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API

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After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”…

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Pixelmator for the iPhone launching tomorrow, we go hands on (update: now available!)

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Update: Pixelmator for iPhone is now available. Download it here.

Pixelmator is releasing an update to its iOS app tomorrow, making the app available on the iPhone for the first time ($4.99). The universal app means you can buy once and download Pixelmator on both iPad and iPhone. Existing iOS users of the app naturally get the iPhone version for free as an update. The new version also brings the Distort tools, like warp brushes, to the iOS app for the first time.

Pixelmator for iPhone works very similarly to the iPad version but scaled down for the smaller canvas. You can read our full review of the iPad app from last year. Rather than popover panels, selecting an action opens full-width menus encapsulating options. This is a necessary concession for the size of the display.

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How to fix the iOS text message bug causing iPhone crashing/reboot (U: Apple statement, watches too)

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Update: The Guardian notes that the bug also crashes the Apple Watch when you try to reply to a message.

Today news is flying around regarding an iOS bug that causes the Messages app to crash and iPhones to reboot when a certain string of text is received. There isn’t an official fix from Apple yet, but there are a few workarounds and fixes that you can do in the meantime before Apple patches the bug.

Here are a few fixes that users have discovered and sent in: Read more