Opinion: Apple’s App Store needs to join the Confederate flag boycott

App Store Confederate Flag

Apple’s App Store should join Amazon, eBay, Walmart and others in boycotting the Confederate Flag

[Update 6/25/15: Apple has begun removing apps that “use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways” without removing apps with “educational or historical uses”.]

Apple’s Tim Cook added his voice to the chorus of CEOs speaking against displaying the Confederate Flag on Sunday, indirectly referencing it as a symbol for racism. In a tweet, Cook called to honor the lives of the victims in last week’s tragic South Carolina shooting by “eradicating racism & removing the symbols & words that feed it.” An Alabama native like myself, Cook has been a strong proponent for equality during his tenure as CEO, often speaking out against the South’s tarnished history and the changes we still need to address.

With major physical and online retailers including Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy now publicly supporting the boycott against the Confederate flag by removing merchandise that displays it, I believe it’s time for Tim Cook’s Apple to join the campaign by removing digital goods that display the Confederate flag on the App Store. Read more

iOS 9 allows users to temporarily delete apps to free up space for software updates

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A new iOS 9 feature added in beta 1 was only discovered when users attempted to update to beta 2 earlier today. This new feature will allow the operating system to intelligently delete applications if you don’t have enough free space to perform a software update. Once the update is complete, the apps will automatically be reinstalled and your data will remain intact.

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Apple releases OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta 2 to developers

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In addition to new seeds for its mobile platforms, Apple has released the second Developer Preview of the upcoming OS X El Capitan for Macs. The update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. Similarly to iOS 9, El Capitan brings many under-the-hood enhancements in addition to new features like a split-screen mode for core applications, a new Notes app, and an enhanced Mission Control view. New changes and fixes in the second preview have already been discovered and are included in updates below. El Capitan will ship to all users in the fall following a public beta release in July.

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Apple releases iOS 9 beta 2 to developers for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

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Two weeks following the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference and release of the first iOS 9 beta, Apple has seeded iOS 9 beta 2 for compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to developers. The update is available over-the-air via Software Update in Settings, and it will also become available via Apple’s developer portal on the web.

iOS 9, due to be released to all in the fall following a public beta in July, brings several under-the-hood enhancements to iOS as well as new features. The upgrade brings a new Proactive menu on the left side of the first Home screen, new features for the Maps app, an upgraded Notes application, and a redesigned app-switching interface.

Apple has also released Xcode 7 beta 2 alongside the new OS seeds. Some users of the first beta have complained about poor battery life and unsurprising system-wide bugs, and we’ll be tracking all fixes and changes in beta 2 below. Read more

Apple releases second beta of WatchOS 2 to developers

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Apple has released the second beta of WatchOS 2.0 to developers. First announced at WWDC earlier this month, the new version of WatchOS brings both new features to the Apple Watch and support for native applications. This new beta will allow developers to continue testing apps that run directly on the Apple Watch hardware with access to local sensors, the Digital Crown, and the device’s own processor.

For consumers, new WatchOS 2 software features include a new Nightstand Mode for seeing the time and alerts in a larger font, three new watch faces, access to third-party watch face complications, a new Time Travel mode for seeing past and future calendar events and weather data on clock faces, and a more feature-rich Music app. The update is available over-the-air via Software Update in the iOS 9 Apple Watch Companion app.

Some developers have complained about battery drain and sluggishness with beta 1, an we’ll be live updating this post with changes in beta 2 as they are discovered.

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Google Play Music adds free, ad-supported radio feature ahead of Apple Music launch

Google announced today that it is adding a free tier to its Google Play Music service. The new feature provides non-subscribers with what Google is describing as an ad-supported radio option with curated stations. Google Play Music’s radio option will be available for users in the United States at launch with availability on the web starting today and support on iOS and Android following soon. Similar to Apple’s approach with Apple Music, Google says it has “music experts” creating these “curated” playlists: Read more

CarPlay coming to Buick and GMC as CarPlay-equipped Corvette hits the road

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A day after the first CarPlay-equipped Corvette headed out to dealers and buyers in the form of the 650HP Z06, General Motors announced that it will be available later this year in two Buick and three GMC models. This adds to the 14 Chevrolet models scheduled to see some CarPlay love this year.

CarPlay will be available in an 8-inch display on the 2016 model Buick LaCrosse and Regal, together with the 2016 GMC Canyon, Yukon and Sierra. As usual with car year conventions, all five cars will go on sale later this year. All models will eventually offer the Android Auto platform as well, but only the GMC Sierra will support Google’s system at launch.

While there are many CarPlay-equipped cars on the way, only two have so far gone on sale …  Read more

Changing the conversation: How Apple could modernize iMessage to be more powerful and easy to use

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At this year’s WWDC, Apple devoted a lot of onstage attention to a revamp of the Notes app in both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. One of my favorite additions is inline web link previews. Just paste a URL, and Notes will turn the link into a preview bubble with a thumbnail for the page, as well as a title and description.

This got me thinking about the possibility of applying the same functionality to other apps. The most obvious place to start, in my opinion, is Messages. I’m constantly sending and receiving links through iMessage throughout the day, whether it’s to a web page, an image, or even just a tweet. Having to flip back and forth between Safari and Messages just to see what the link I’ve been sent is removes me from the conversation and slows down my workflow.

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Long-time iTunes holdouts Metallica “feel very safe” with Apple Music from “the coolest company in the world”

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Metallica haven’t always been the greatest fans of Apple’s music, criticizing iTunes’ track-based sales model as “contributing to the demise of the album format” and only allowing the band’s music to be sold on the service in 2006 – some three years after its launch. iTunes sales outside the U.S. didn’t happen until 2008.

But while Taylor SwiftAnton Newcombe and others have been attacking Apple Music (something which may or may not now be resolved), Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has been singing the praises of the new service, reports the NY Post.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, drummer Ulrich said he and his Metallica bandmates were excited about the launch of Apple Music’s streaming service. “I think that Apple is just about the coolest company in the world. I am a huge supporter of Apple and all their products, and I have been fortunate enough to meet most of the people there, a lot of the people who make key decisions, and I feel very safe with them,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich said that the band had good relationships with the Apple team, including Tim Cook and Jimmy Iovine …  Read more

Apple becomes Promoter Member of Bluetooth Special Interest Group, gaining more influence over the technology

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Earlier in the year, the Bluetooth SIG appointed an Apple employee as secretary of the board. The two institutions are developing their relationship further today with the announcement that Apple is now a Promoter Member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This is the highest level with the organization and gives Apple voting rights.

Promoter members get voting rights on Bluetooth corporate matters and a guaranteed seat on the board of directors. Current promoter members Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nokia and Toshiba ‘unanimously welcomed’ Apple to the position.

This means that Apple will now have significant influence over the technological roadmap for Bluetooth in cooperation with these other companies.

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TaiG jailbreak now available for iOS 8.3 – but Substrate and MS tweaks not yet working

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TaiG has released an untethered jailbreak for iOS 8.3 – but Cydia Substrate isn’t yet working, meaning that many third-party add-ons won’t run. MS Tweaks likewise don’t work at present.

The release notes suggest that the jailbreak installation may take several attempts.

If jailbreak failed, turn off WIFI and try again. If failed again, please use TaiG Pro to restore and try to jailbreak again.

If you’re not yet running iOS 8.3, TaiG Pro allows you to perform the upgrade as part of the data backup process …  Read more