Apple releases iOS 8.1.3 software update w/ stability improvements, reduces space required to update

iOS 8.1.3

Apple released the iOS 8.1.3 software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users today. The update is available over-the-air through the Software Update section of the Settings app. The update includes the usual bug fixes and performances improvements, and notably claims to reduce the amount of free storage required to perform the update. Read more

Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

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Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. Read more

Apple details HomeKit compatibility with competing home automation platforms, rules out rival Wi-Fi gear

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Apple will allow its upcoming Siri-controlled HomeKit platform to work with certain existing, non-HomeKit home automation products, including ones using competing protocols such as ZigBee or Z-Wave, but there are many limitations. According to sources briefed on the new specs, the latest Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing program specifications detail the types of home automation products other than HomeKit that Apple will permit to interact with its platform.

During the 2014 WWDC, Apple briefly mentioned the possibility of connecting rival home automation products to HomeKit using a hardware “bridge,” but only in recent weeks has clarified the types of accessories that will and will not be allowed. Read more

Apple grabs 33% smartphone marketshare in South Korea, a historic record for foreign manufacturers in Samsung’s home turf

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Apple’s marketshare in South Korea has skyrocketed in the last quarter, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to data by Counterpoint. Apple increased its share of sales from 15% to 33%, more than doubling its market power in one quarter.

Historically, Samsung has dominated South Korea, largely due to geographic advantages, but Apple’s gains now threaten the #1 spot. Apple is the first foreign smartphone company ever to surpass 20% marketshare in the region, taking the number 2 spot. Samsung’s marketshare fell from 60% in November to 46% and (now third-place) South Korean LG Electronics fell to 14%.

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Apple commemorates Martin Luther King on its homepage, encouraging employees to volunteer through gift matching

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.12.24Apple has updated its homepage today in commemoration of Martin Luther King, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has often noted as an inspiration for his work. Cook says he has pictures of Martin Luther King on his desk. However, this is the first time Apple has recognised Martin Luther King day (which happens on the third Monday of every January) so openly on its website. Read more

KGI: Apple likely to sell stylus accessory alongside 12-inch ‘iPad Pro’

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According to a new report by KGI, Apple will soon introduce a stylus accessory for its iPad products, targeted at the expected (but still officially unconfirmed) larger-screened ~12 inch iPad Pro. Both products are quoted for release sometime this year, with KGI most recently quoting a Q2 launch window. The stylus would apparently charge using a Lightning cable.

Although KGI reports tend to be based off of supply-chain sources, which have proven very reliable in the past, Ming-Chi Kuo does not allude to any such indicators for the stylus prediction report. Instead, he highlights a number of patent filings in recent years by Apple on tablet styli and a need to differentiate the upcoming more premium iPad aside from screen size.

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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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Apple Watch iPhone ‘Companion’ app revealed w/ new Watch features, monograms

Yesterday, we reported that the latest iOS 8.2 beta reveals that an Apple Watch application for the iPhone is in the works. Now, we have some more details. Within Apple, the application is currently called the Apple Watch “Companion” app for iPhone. This application manages settings for Apple Watch applications, as well as settings for iPhone/Watch interactivity. The Companion app’s settings reveal some novel new functions that are coming to the Apple Watch. Below, we highlight some of the most interesting new features and settings.

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Apple defends against EU 14-day refund abuse with App Store alert for customers with excessive refunds on file

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Last week, we reported on a flaw with the EU’s new no-questions-asked 14-day refund policy that meant customers could effectively get paid apps for free, as refunding the app does not delete it from customers’ devices.

In response, Apple has adjusted its App Store purchases slightly for customers who have an excessive number of refunds on file. This means people with a track record of refunding purchase effectively lose the right to refund their purchase.

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Text strings hint at Siri gaining support for Polish, Czech, and Slovak languages soon

A series of text strings discovered within iOS 8.1.2, and included on software versions dating back to at least iOS 8.1, suggest that Siri could soon receive expanded language support on iPhone and iPad. The localized strings provide translated references to how Siri would display things like settings toggles, restaurants and reservations, and sports information in Czech, Slovak, and Polish. Read more