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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‘Apps for Health’ section hits App Store following Apple’s release of Healthkit enabled iOS 8.0.2

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Now that Apple is 8.0.2 rolled out and we’re all relatively stable with a Healthkit-enabled OS, Apple is giving us a new section of the App Store for health-related apps. 

Experience an entirely new approach to wellness where your fitness app can talk to your calorie tracker, your doctor can be automatically notified of updates to your health data, and great apps work together for a healthier you. This handpicked collection highlights the best fitness, nutrition, and medical apps customized for iOS 8.

Red prices on pink background?  They must have moved that Maps launch and iOS 8.0.1 guy over to design.  Read more

Instagram’s Hyperlapse video shooter adds support for front camera & iPhone 6/6 Plus

Last month Instagram launched a new video shooting app for iPhone and iPad that combines effects like time-lapse and cinema stabilization called Hyperlapse. Today Instagram is introducing what they call the “selfielapse” by adding support for shooting Hyperlapse videos with the front facing camera on your device using the same features previously only available on the back camera…

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Apple: Almost 50% of the iOS devices that visited the App Store Sunday were iOS 8 (9to5Mac readers: 80%)

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Apple isn’t bragging on its iOS 8 adoption numbers like it has in years past because it appears uptake has been slightly slower. The reason? The much bigger iOS 8 download doesn’t fit on many people’s devices which are often stuffed to capacity with music, movies, photos and apps.

(Hint: Here’s how to slim some GBs off your iOS 8 device or install via iTunes on a Mac/PC which doesn’t require extra space)

9to5-image 2014-09-23 at 5.31.11 AMApple’s latest numbers are for Sunday September 21, 2014 and show that from people who visited the App Store on their iOS device, 46% were already on the new iOS 8.  On one hand this number is skewed higher because most of the early adopter nature of frequent App Store visitors but on the other hand many people visit the App Store from older devices that can’t be updated to iOS 8.

Apple’s own numbers show something else slightly troubling. App Store app submissions are being delayed slightly as of iOS 8 launch with only 74% of app updates and 53% of new apps being reviewed. Apple is usually in the high 90% range on iOS as it is with Mac.

As for 9to5Mac readers’ iOS adoption, the numbers are much much higher than the general audience as you’d probably expect. This morning, we’re close to 80% iOS 8 adoption. The pie chart from Google Analytics taken at 5:30 am ET is below:

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iOS 8 extensions in newly-updated apps not working right now, but should be fixed for tomorrow’s launch

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Update: Apple has resolved the problem overnight. Downloading apps now also loads the embedded extensions successfully, just in time for iOS 8’s public debut …

With iOS 8 set to launch tomorrow, Apple is well underway approving apps and app updates that incorporate the new features of iOS 8. Apps that require iOS 8 are currently ‘Pending An Apple Release’, but apps that support earlier versions are beginning to show up in the store. However, developers have discovered that integrated extensions, like Today widgets, are not working and failing to appear in Notification Center. Both PCalc and OmniFocus have acknowledged these issues, but it applies universally.

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60 percent of apps fail basic privacy tests, finds international cross-governmental study

 

app store hero flat modernA review of 1,211 apps carried out by a coalition of privacy officials across 19 countries found that 60 percent of them failed at least one basic privacy test, reports the WSJ.

The officials found that 60% of apps raised privacy concerns, based on three criteria: They did not disclose how they used personal information; they required that the user give up an excessive amount of personal data as a condition of downloading the app; and their privacy policies were rendered in type too small to be read on a phone’s screen …

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