Apple making iOS 8 Notification Center a bit less useful by banning calculator widgets

Pcalc-today-widgetDeveloper James Thomson of popular calculator app PCalc announced today via his Twitter account that Apple is forcing him to remove the app’s Today Widget due to a restriction that iOS widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Apple’s new Today Widgets feature in iOS 8, which allows developers to build functions into the system-wide Notification Center, does have some limitations that Apple outlines in developer documentation. For example, Apple encourages developers not to use Today Widgets for multistep tasks: If you want to create an app extension that enables a multistep task or helps users perform a lengthy task, such as uploading or downloading content, the Today extension point is not the right choice.” There doesn’t, however, appear to be specific references to apps that perform calculations in Apple’s developer guidelines. Read more

Phone 2 Go app brings Time Warner Cable home phone service to mobile devices for no additional cost

Time Warner Cable today announced a new smartphone app that will let its customers use their home phone service on mobile devices for no additional fees. That means that users with a Time Warner Cable home phone service, which starts at $10/month, can now text and call through the new Phone 2 Go app on smartphones and tablets. The service requires a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and will also work for international calling and texting: Read more

Apple shortens iBooks review times, allows more promo codes for authors

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Apple today emailed out registered authors for iBooks to announce some interesting changes and enhancements to the program. Some notable enhancements, via Apple’s email:

  • To help you get your book to readers quickly, we review 95 percent of all book submissions within one business day. Note that you do not need an ISBN to deliver a book to iBooks.
  • You can now request up to 250 promo codes per book. Promo codes allow you to provide free copies of your book to reviewers, bloggers, or others to build momentum for your book.
  • Screenshots can now be delivered or updated after a book is available for sale on iBooks.

The email to authors also tells developers about recent updates to both the iTunes Connect app on iOS and the iBooks Author application on the Mac. Like it usually does for App Store app developers, Apple tells authors how to prepare for the upcoming break for book reviewers. “To account for an anticipated increase in book deliveries during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday week, books scheduled to go live between November 24, 2014 and December 1, 2014, should be delivered by Friday, November 14, 2014,” the notice reads.

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Developer says Apple sent them pornographic image when rejecting app

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Apple’s developer guidelines on explicit content

An iOS developer said Apple demonstrated that their app could be used to surf for porn by sending them a screenshot containing a pornographic image. Carl Smith shared the story of the rejection of Wave, an app for browsing Instagram and public images, in a blog post.

It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning [...]

They sent us a picture of a guy masturbating.

The explicit image was attached to an email rejecting the app on the basis that the process for flagging inappropriate content was inadequate …  Read more

Apple to require iOS apps and updates to use iOS 8 SDK and include 64-bit support from February 2015

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Apple has today notified developers about some upcoming rules regarding App Store submission, via its developer news portal. From 1st February 2015, newly-submitted apps and updates must be built against Apple’s iOS 8 SDK. This is not particularly surprising: Apple required similar adoption of the iOS 7 SDK last year.

In addition however, Apple will also require that all apps and updates include 64-bit support from that date too. Currently, developers can choose whether to submit only 32-bit apps or universal binaries. This will no longer be an option from February. Moving all apps to 64-bit will bring big performance and memory gains for newer devices (which include A7 or A8 SoC’s) as running the 32-bit apps necessitates loading a lot of additional resources into system memory.

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As promised, Angry Birds Transformers hits USA and rest of the world today

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Rovio’s latest game in the Angry Birds series, Angry Birds Transformers, has rolled out worldwide today after its earlier soft-launch last month in New Zealand, Finland, Canada and Australia.

Angry Birds and Transformers collide in this action-packed, 3D shoot ‘em up adventure! The EggSpark has transformed the eggs into crazed robots who are destroying Piggy Island, but who can stop them?! Autobirds, roll out! 

Gamers have been waiting for quite some time as the Transformers mash-up game was first announced back in June …

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Apple begins rollout of redesigned iTunes Store ahead of OS X Yosemite launch

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Apple has started rolling out a redesigned version of the iTunes Store for users running iTunes 12 less than a week ahead of what’s expected to be the launch of OS X Yosemite. The new storefront takes design cues from the iTunes and App Store home pages on iOS devices, featuring a flattened, side-scrolling carousel at the top of the page in place of the old “card”-style header. This new header can be scrolled horizontally using two fingers or even dragged around with a mouse.

Individual pages for albums, TV shows, and iOS apps have also been redesigned and now feature more iOS-like controls throughout. Download buttons have been reduced to simple outlines. Shadows and textures have been removed throughout the store, putting the content directly on a stark white or dark gray background.

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According to Apple, people have all but stopped upgrading to iOS 8

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Apple’s iOS share numbers as tabulated by App Store visits are out for the first week of October and they are a “head scratcher”. iOS 8 gained only 1 point from 46% to 47%  since September 21st which should have well exceeded 1% gain by the millions of new iPhone 6/Plus shipments alone – even if not one person had updated their iPhone 5/s/c. Even more confusing is that the “Earlier” category of iOS 6 and before devices actually grew in percentage from 5% to 6% over the previous two week period.

It is possible some people downgraded to iOS 7 (which was an option until just after 8.0.2 was released) while others have stayed put on their current iOS version because of a succession of errors in rolling out iOS 8. Combined with the large amount of space required to do an over the air update, it appears that iOS users have all but stopped upgrading iOS –a marked departure from years past. Read more

Some users experiencing App Store outages, unable to download apps on iOS and Mac

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Starting about half an hour ago, the App Store is currently experiencing errors where apps do not finish downloading (or updating). Some users are reporting obtuse error messages, like the one above, whereas others are simply left with paused downloads on their iOS and Mac devices.

Availability likely varies by App Store region, but Twitter reports of App Store issues started around 6.30 Pacific Time. The problems are sporadic and do not necessarily arise on every device, but have been seen to occur across operating system versions: it is not limited to iOS 8 and Yosemite (which is still in beta).

Apple is yet to update its system service status page to acknowledge any issues.

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Apple Watch to be managed by a dedicated iPhone app, Watch apps are installed from the phone

Apple Pay iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus Apple Watch

As part of an extensive hands-on by Ariel Adams, the piece shines some light on how the Apple Watch is controlled and managed. At the media event, Apple showed a wide variety of watch apps … but did not mention how they get onto the watch itself.

Adams’ post says that users download Apple Watch apps through a central hub app on the iPhone. Rather than having an App Store UI on a tiny watch screen, users install content on the device from their phone. This is similar to how iPods are managed via the iTunes app on a Mac or PC.

Apple Watch users will install an Apple Watch app on their iPhone, which will be used to download apps onto the watch as well as likely manage Apple Watch settings. A user’s iPhone is also used to help with computational demands. Apple cleverly pushes a lot of processor needs to the phone in order to preserve Apple Watch battery life.

Apparently, the phone will also dedicate some of its processing power to handle complicated or computationally-intensive tasks. This means that the Apple Watch battery can be drained as little as possible. For instance, the iPhone may do the deep analysis of incoming health data sending only the results to the Watch, for display. Apple has vaguely suggested that the Apple Watch will have about one day of battery life.

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European Commision to accuse Ireland of giving illegal state aid to Apple, fines could be €Billions

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It looks like this week’s Apple “xxx-gate” is a big one with the Financial Times reporting that the European Commision is about to come down hard on Apple for its long held tax avoidance strategies in Ireland.

Typically the EU has used its state aid powers to address broader competition issues. But in the past year Brussels has attempted to target the tax affairs of companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Amazon. It is a novel application of the law with far-reaching implications, not just for the companies, or EU countries, but for EU-US relations in general.

This week the European Commission will publish the first findings in the Apple case. The details – including evidence from bygone tax negotiations – are likely to be explosive.

The US is no happier with Apple’s use of specially created Irish tax loopholes which allow it to avoid paying taxes it would otherwise be due. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other execs faced Senate Subcommittee questioning in May in which focused on Apple’s tax avoidance schemes.

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Did Apple apply pressure to Irish authorities in 1991 and again in 2007 when negotiating tax deals and if so were these illegal competitive measures that gave Apple advantages over competitors? Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, of course denies any wrongdoing… Read more

Apple removes Launcher app from App Store for ‘misuse’ of iOS 8’s widget capability

An iOS 8 app that allowed users to create custom shortcuts and access them from a Notification Center widget has been removed from the App Store by Apple for what it calls “misuse of widgets,” the developers said in a notice posted on the app’s website.

The app, called Launcher, worked by letting users enter a URL or select an application to be launched when a shortcut was tapped. The shortcuts would then be displayed in Notification Center, allowing quick access to a variety of tasks such as starting a phone or FaceTime call, creating a new text message, email, or iMessage, opening an application, or more.

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