Apple joins Confederate flag boycott, removes apps that use flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways [U: Statement]

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[Update: Apple has confirmed the policy with us. Statement below.]

[Update #2: Reports are now surfacing that Apple is now reinstating some apps with the Confederate flag to the App Store. The company is working with developers who use the Confederate flag, but not in a mean-spirited manner.]

[Update #3: TouchArcade specifies that affected games are able to change their app icons and App Store screenshots to avoid removal.]

A couple of days after Zac Hall called for Apple to join large retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay in withdrawing from selling items featuring the Confederate flag, Apple appears to be working on doing just that.

Touch Arcade noticed that many Civil War games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and the Hunted Cow series have all disappeared. An App Store search for ‘Confederate’ on Tuesday found plenty of games featuring the flag, while the same search today appears to show only apps dealing with the history (such as the reference work shown) above. All of the games shown in Tuesday’s search (below) have been removed from the App Store …  Read more

Bethesda brings Fallout to iOS for the first time with freemium Fallout Shelter game

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Fans of Bethesda’s Fallout games on Xbox, PlayStation and PC got the news yesterday that Fallout 4 will be launched in November – and the company also threw in a surprise bonus in the form of an iOS game. Fallout Shelter is a kind of blend of SimCity, XCOM and FTL in which you create your own fallout shelter and try to keep its residents alive and happy.

Fallout Shelter puts you in control of a state-of-the-art underground Vault from Vault-Tec. Build the perfect Vault, keep your Dwellers happy, and protect them from the dangers of the Wasteland.

Select from a variety of modern-day rooms to turn an excavation beneath 2,000 feet of bedrock into the very picture of Vault Life. Get to know your Dwellers and lead them to happiness. Find their ideal jobs and watch them flourish. Provide them with outfits, weapons, and training to improve their abilities.

As Overseer, you get to design the shelter and take care of its residents, but you can also send them out into the Wasteland to find additional armor, weapons and other handy loot …  Read more

The three iOS 9 features that let you keep more of your storage capacity

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Apple gave a small mention in yesterday’s keynote to something that may make a big difference to those iPhone and iPad owners who find themselves running short of storage space: App Thinning. The idea is that your iOS 9 device only downloads the code it actually needs, making apps significantly smaller than they are today.

What Apple listed as one feature is actually three separate mechanisms, each playing its own part in reducing app size, and ArsTechnica has provided an interesting look at how it all works …  Read more

Roundtable: What we want to see at Apple’s WWDC conference next week

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We’ve already run down much of what can be expected from iOS 9, OS X 10.11 and Apple Music at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference, and now it’s time to run down what 9to5Mac’s editors want to see at the conference. You can find our hopes below, and stay tuned for our comprehensive roundup of what to expect at WWDC.

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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 TV gains new content in UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, & Scandinavia

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Apple has pushed out several new content channels across many countries to the Apple TV, as noted by several readers. Here’s the breakdown of the new channels across the world:

  • Viaplay has been added to the Apple TV in Scandinavia (which is comprised of Denmark, Sweden, Norway) and Finland. Viaplay is comprised of local sports content, films, and TV shows.
  • Stan has been added in Australia, and it contains localized TV shows, films, and content for kids.
  • The WWE Wrestling Network has been added to Apple TVs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network first launched in several countries, including the United States in Canada, for the Apple TV in February.
  • Bandai, a localized, subscription-based digital network, has been added to the Apple TV in Japan.

Last week, Apple rolled out CBS Sports and USA Now channels in the United States. Apple is expected to announce new Apple TV hardware in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, complete with an App Store and redesigned Remote.

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Fitbit warns against highly competitive factors like Apple Watch in IPO filing

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Earlier today, fitness tracker hardware and software company Fitbit filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the regulatory filing went public, observers have been scouring the paperwork for information on Fitbit’s financials, sales numbers, and notes about the competition. The Financial Times‘s Tim Bradshaw noticed that that Fitbit cites Apple and the recently-launched Apple Watch as the top billed competitor in the IPO Risk Factors section:

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Apple will soon let you shop the Apple Store from your Apple Watch

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Amazon and Target won’t be the only major retailers on your wrist for long: sources say that Apple is finishing up work on a version of its Apple Store application for the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app will come “soon” as part of an update to the Apple Store iPhone and iPad application, and will likely enable customers to make certain types of Apple Store purchases from their wrists, as well as receiving Apple Store-related notifications. As the Apple Watch does not have a keyboard, more involved orders will require the user to move over to the iPhone app. Apple will ask employees to push Apple Store app installations for the Apple Watch to customers this summer, when the Watch goes on sale in Apple’s own stores. Until then, retail employees will be encouraged to show off the Apple Store app on demo Apple Watches.

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Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers with revamped Music app

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A couple of weeks following the first beta, Apple today released iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 8.4 beta 2 is available via Software Update for those running the first beta, and it should be available for download soon via the Apple Developer Website. Apple has also released the iOS 8.4 Public Beta 1, which corresponds to this second developer seed, and Xcode 6.4 beta 2.

As we first reported, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music app to iOS with a new design, a Mini-Player feature, improved search, and a larger focus on album artwork. At WWDC, Apple will announce the new Music app and its integration with a new Beats-based streaming music service. We’ll update this post live as new features in the second beta are discovered.

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First screenshots of top Apple Watch apps revealed by new tool [Gallery]

While hundreds of apps for the Apple Watch have been announced and detailed, screenshots of most of the major applications have yet to be revealed, until now. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith has created a tool to view screenshots of Apple Watch applications by pasting in the link to the existing iPhone application. Below, we’ve put together several galleries of several notable Apple Watch applications, including Twitter, Instagram, Uber, Starbucks, and Apple’s own Keynote presentation remote. We’ll be updating this post live as more application screenshots are discovered. WatchAware is also showcasing more interactive previews of over 2000 Apple Watch apps.

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First look: Clear, the iOS app that vets your social media history for indiscretions

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Going for a sensitive job, or just friended your new romantic interest on Facebook, and want to make sure your drunken post from six months ago isn’t going to come back to bite you? That’s the experience Hipster co-founder Ethan Czahor had when he was hired as Jeb Bush’s chief technology officer. Journalists went digging and found some extremely embarrassing posts that led to his resignation.

He’s now put that experience to good use, though, beta-launching Clear, an app which aims to vet your social media history for offensive or insulting posts and offer you the ability to delete them (not to be confused with the to-do list app of the same name). I decided to take it for a quick spin …  Read more