Citing ‘overwhelming demand’, Apple has expanded the number of Apple TV Developer Kits available for registered developers who applied for a chance to receive the pre-release hardware last month. A number of developers (but not all) who previously missed out on the initial wave of test units have been notified by Apple Developer Relations that more dev kits have been made available for $1 and will be available for ordering through next Friday at 5 pm local on October 9th.
Apple TV 4 launches “toward the end” of this month as Tim Cook mentioned earlier this week and will include deep Siri integration and App Store for the first time. Apple first began notifying developers entering the dev kit lottery of their status in mid-September. With third-party apps and games being a major new feature of the new Apple TV experience, Apple clearly wants to give more developers the chance to create software for the new hardware before its release in a few weeks.
Macphun, maker of elegantly powerful photo editing tools including Tonality, Noiseless, and FX Photo Studio, has announced the impending release of Creative Kit 2016 — a bundle of 6 of the company’s Pro apps with 4 bonus items, collectively available at a pre-order price of $89.99. Creative Kit 2016 includes:
Noiseless CK (reviewed here) and Tonality CK (reviewed here), separately capable of eliminating various types of noise from images, and converting color images into beautiful black and white versions — both highly impressive, as our reviews discuss;
FX Photo Studio CK, a filter, frame, and brush-based photo editing tool that lets you convert simple photos into pieces of art; and
Snapheal CK, Focus CK, and Intensify CK, apps to erase unwanted items from photos, add lens effects such as blurs, or enhance subtle details in your images, respectively…
In an effort to strengthen Siri’s natural language conversation abilities, Apple has acquired a UK-based firm called VocalIQ. Business Weekly was first to report the acquisition today and Apple confirmed the purchase to The Financial Times with the usual boilerplate statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” expand full story
AT&T has called out two of its competitors, Sprint and T-Mobile, over their decision to offer Wi-Fi calling support on smartphones without first getting proper authorization from the Federal Communications Commission in a letter to that organization’s chairman.
According to AT&T, the FCC has been too slow in issuing a waiver that would allow the company to bypass certain requirements for hard-of-hearing users—a move that’s necessary for Wi-Fi calling to work.
Whenever someone asks what I think of my Apple Watch, I explain that I like but don’t love it, and wouldn’t recommend it to everyone… yet. “In two or three years,” I say, “they’re going to be common, but right now, they don’t feel necessary.” Nice, yes. Necessary, no.
Last week, my life changed. Shortly after our kids went to school, my wife stopped breathing in our home. I was able to get her breathing again, and thanks to 911 and outstanding EMTs, she survived to be diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome, a rare heart condition that typically goes undetected before a massive, fatal attack. Once Brugada was suspected, doctors looked for records of her heartbeat, but couldn’t find much on file. Between ER and ICU visits, I remembered that her iPhone’s Health app contained three months of heart rate data, because her Apple Watch had been passively recording it. But would that data actually be useful?
A report earlier this year said Apple has wavered on adding irregular heart rate reporting and other health functionality to the Apple Watch, fearing additional governmental regulation and/or liability for potentially inaccurate results. Given what my wife just went through, I have a newfound appreciation for the Apple Watch’s existing heart rate sensor, and a strong request for Apple: be bold on expanding Apple Watch’s health features, as well as its ability to be continuously worn. It’s nice for a watch to estimate calories burned after a workout, but merely having advance notice of her irregular heart rate could have prevented my wife’s near-death experience, and who knows how many other lives better sensors could save…