Twitter sharing disappears in latest iOS beta, may indicate upcoming app-based extension

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A small change to the latest beta version of iOS may indicate a big change coming to the official Twitter application. In the pre-release version of the software that was provided to testers and developers last week, it seems the option to share content to Twitter has been removed entirely.

Not only is the Twitter icon now missing from the share sheet in first-party apps like Photos and Safari, but from all third-party apps that use the native sharing option introduced in iOS 8. The change could just be a glitch, but it more likely suggests that Apple may be removing its in-house Twitter sheet in favor of something new…

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Millions of British Safari users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

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UK Safari users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

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NYT: Trent Reznor ‘point man’ in designing iOS 8.4 Music app with Beats-based streaming service

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Apple’s Spotify-like subscription music service based on its $3 billion Beats acquisition last year is fully underway, The New York Times reports in a new article heavily corroborating our own reporting on the upcoming music service from the past several months. A few interesting details in the report describe two projects being largely led by music industry veterans rather than engineers… Read more

Review: Filters, a new photo editor for iPhone with over 800 image effects and a stunning design

Mike Rundle, an independent designer and developer, is today releasing Filters for iPhone ($0.99), a visual effects photo editor. Rundle’s integrated development workflow, both writing the code and designing the interface, shows through in his work. This is how Filters describes itself.

You don’t take photos with Filters. You transform them. Filters has over 800 ways to transform your photographs including fully adjustable authentic vintage film recreations, hand-painted textures, vibrant colored gel overlays, special multi-effect adjustments (Shine, Luna, Color Boost, Intimidate and Smart Fade) as well as standard image adjustment tools like brightness, contrast, color temperature, exposure and more. All features are included with nothing extra to purchase.
The app features over 800 different image effects presented with some of the best UI design I’ve seen. However there’s no getting away from the fact Filters enters a crowded market with stiff competition. It’s interesting to see how Rundle has tried to differentiate his app from the rest. Read on for our full review of the iPhone’s newest image app.

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Apple seeds second public build of iOS 8.3 beta, fourth beta for developers

iOS 8.3 beta 4 (developers)

Apple has just seeded the latest beta of iOS 8.3 to its public beta users. The first beta was sent out just under two weeks ago. The build is also available over-the-air to developers, making it the fourth beta for those users. It’s also available on the iOS developer center.

Along with the new iOS beta comes a new Xcode beta. The Xcode 6.3 beta comes with a build number of 6D554n and includes support for Swift 1.2. A beta update for the third-generation Apple TV has also been pushed out.

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Pioneer’s second-gen CarPlay NEX head units are now available

Pioneer NEX 8100 CarPlay

Pioneer’s second generation NEX series of in-dash receivers with CarPlay support are now available through authorized retail channels, the company announced today. Apple’s CarPlay feature made its aftermarket debut last fall through a firmware update to several models of Pioneer’s first-gen NEX head units, and the improved models are the first from Pioneer to be designed with CarPlay support (and Android Auto) from day one. Read more

Read an exclusive free sample of Becoming Steve Jobs in iBooks

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Becoming Steve Jobs, a new book by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli about Jobs’ life, comes out on March 24th and is available to download both in digital and print. As part of a strong marketing push by Apple in the run up to the book’s release, iBooks is offering an exclusive free sample of the prologue and first chapter that you can download right now. (Update: It’s unclear what countries the sample is being offered in — readers are reporting it showing it for some but not universally.)

Apple has been heavily promoting the book in the last few days, on its iBooks Twitter account as well as through iTunes marketing emails. iBooks describes it as the ‘only book about Steve recommended by the people who knew him best’. For comparison, in one of the chapters, Tim Cook describes the Isaacson biography as a tremendous disservice.

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iOS 8.3 includes settings to download free apps and iTunes content without requiring a password

A reader has spotted that iOS 8.3 includes some new configuration options for password entry in the iTunes and App Store. Labelled as ‘Password Settings’, the new view allows users to configure how frequently Apple should ask for the user’s iTunes Store password for purchases. This includes allowing users to choose to allow free apps to be downloaded, no password necessary.

The first option allows users to require passwords immediately or expire after fifteen minutes. This option has existed in previous versions of iOS, under the Restrictions settings. However, the toggle below — ‘Require Password’ for free downloads is an altogether new option. It allows users to download free apps (and other iTunes content) with no need to type a password. Paid content still requires authentication based on the options above.

The setting is currently disabled on iOS 8.3 devices we tested, although presumably it will activate by the time iOS 8.3 is released to the public.

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‘Hey Siri’ in iOS 8.3 allows for automatic speakerphone calls

Apple has made a small, but helpful, change in the way that iOS 8.3 can make phone calls via Siri. With the launch of iOS 8.0 last fall, Apple added a feature to Siri that allows users to activate the service hands-free by saying the phrase “Hey Siri” if the phone is plugged into power. However, if a user asked Siri to make a phone call via the “Hey Siri” hands-free command, the call would strangely not automatically transfer to speakerphone. Based on our tests, this will change in iOS 8.3. As can be seen in the screenshots above, if a user asks Siri to make a phone call through speakerphone, the call will actually be made on speaker phone…

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The best iPhone/iPad USB flash drives with Lightning connectors

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There are now several companies selling USB thumb drives for iPhone and iPad since the first ones with built-in Lightning connectors debuted late last year. By connecting a small and lightweight thumb drive directly to your iOS device, you can avoid limitations of onboard storage and cloud services and instead store and stream media like music, video, and photos using the drive’s additional storage.

A few things to consider when searching for the right Lightning drive: some have a battery that requires charging, companion apps for managing and streaming content from an iOS device vary in quality, and I found some have designs that make using the drives and your iOS device at the same time easier than others. Lastly, pricing varies quite a bit based on the the options below with drives ranging from 8GB to 256GB and other options offering bring-your-own storage using a micro SD card slot. Read more