Apple Store app on iOS updated w/ support for Touch ID & two-step verification

After being updated with support for Apple Watch last month, the Apple Store app on iOS has been updated today with a pair of highly requested features. With today’s update, which bumps the app to version 3.3, users can now use Touch ID to view orders, access EasyPay receipts, and make reservations at retail locations.

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Apple readies Transit subway, train + bus guides for iOS 9 Maps, deploys robots for indoor mapping

Maps Transit

Having originally planned to add a new transit directions feature to Maps last year, only to pull the feature before WWDC 2014, Apple now hopes to launch its Transit service with iOS 9, according to sources. Apple currently plans to debut bus, subway, and train route navigation as the central upgrade to the Maps app in iOS 9 at WWDC, using a user interface similar to the one intended for last fall’s launch, as depicted in the screenshots above…

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Pixelmator for Mac adds Force Touch pressure-sensitive painting, even better Repair Tool, more

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.28.02 PM

The developers behind Pixelmator have just released another free update to the Mac app, available in the Mac App Store ($29.99). Despite the bug-fix identifier, Version 3.3.2 packs some cool enhancements to support Apple’s latest technologies and hardware.

For one, as demoed in the screenshot above, Pixelmator brushes now support Force Touch so you can draw with multiple levels of pressure by pressing harder on the touchpad of your new Retina MacBook (or early 2015 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro). This is useful for quick adjustments although serious painters will still want to use dedicated drawing tablets. The update also adds support for the Photos app and a revamped Repair Tool …

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Things task management app coming to Apple Watch with focus on Today View

We’ve known for a while now that the popular Things to-do list management app is coming to the Apple Watch, and we even posted a few screenshots of the application this morning. But now, Cultured Code, the developers behind Things, have provided an in-depth look at how their application sets itself apart from the other task management Apple Watch applications. While the Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions of Things separate tasks into Today, Next, Scheduled, and Someday tasks, the Apple Watch app focuses in on the Today View.

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Microsoft OneNote will now take dictation from Apple Watch, Calcbot will make it a 1985 Casio

As we near the April 24th launch for the Apple Watch, a pair of notable apps have received support for the device this evening. First off, Microsoft’s OneNote app has been updated to version 2.11.7 with support for the Apple Watch. A variety of features will be available from the Watch, including the ability to dictate new notes.

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iOS-controlled toy Sphero made Star Wars’ BB-8 possible, now make your own at home

bb8sphero

Best known for its app-controlled robotic toys, iOS developer Sphero was responsible for creating the real version of the ball-shaped droid BB-8 featured in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to Time. Having released the original iOS-controlled Sphero and much-improved Sphero 2.0 balls in 2012 and 2013, the company was accepted into a Disney accelerator program in 2014, receiving personal mentoring from Disney CEO Bob Iger — a close friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “When the tech-savvy CEO saw Sphero’s technology in action,” Time reports, “he realized the potential application for BB-8 and connected the startup with the masterminds of the Star Wars characters.”

Along with the disclosure of Sphero’s involvement in the robot’s creation, Time noted that an BB-8 toy was planned for release. Although Gizmodo suggested that an official BB-8 toy by Sphero had appeared on retailer Fat Brain Toys’ site, the image has since been pulled, and Sphero subsequently said that it is not a “legitimate” image. Separately, designer Christian Poulsen has demonstrated how to make a homemade BB-8 droid by cutting open a Sphero ball, inserting a neodymium magnet inside, and placing another magnet inside a handmade foam head, painting the head and ball to match BB-8. Poulsen described making the toy as a quick one-day project, and has a collection of videos showing the modified Sphero moving around much as BB-8 does in the upcoming movie. Sphero 2.0 currently sells for $130. The official Sphero-designed toy will likely be released closer to the film, which is due out on December 18, 2015.

Updated April 22, 2015: In addition to noting that the BB-8 image run by Fat Brain Toys is not its actual product, Sphero has confirmed its involvement in BB-8, providing clarification and an official link to follow progress on the toy.

“What an incredible honor it is to work with the team at Disney on one of the most interesting new characters in the Star Wars franchise,” said Paul Berberian, CEO. “Opportunities this significant are rare. If anyone can execute and deliver on an exceptional BB-8 experience, it’s our Sphero team in Boulder.”

“This is the beginning of a whole new category of consumer products. You can own a piece of the movie, have it in your home, and relive an experience that is authentic to the entertainment on the screen.” said Rob Maigret, Chief Creative Officer. “Our hardware and software technology advancements make it possible to build the toys of the future now. We are deepening the user connection in ways that, until today, have only been portrayed in science fiction.”

Ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall became Snapchat advisor in Jan. 2014, Sony leak reveals

Jobs and Forstall (Image via Getty)

Jobs and Forstall (Image via Getty)

According to a leaked email from the Sony Pictures hack, Snapchat has given former Apple executive Scott Forstall a 0.11 percent stake of its company for being an advisor. According to the email, Forstall was given his stake in early 2014 with his advisory occurring in January of that year.

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Wikipedia for iOS updated w/ design tweaks, ability to share facts as images, more

Wikipedia today has announced a major update to its app on iOS. The update adds a handful of new features to both the iPhone and iPad Wikipedia apps. First off, the update makes a few design tweaks to the appearance of articles. At the top of every article now is a large header image. Previously in Wikipedia on iOS, header images would appear smaller and below the first paragraph of text.

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Workflow bringing over 200 automated actions to your Apple Watch

Workflow for iOS was initially released back in December with a plethora of capabilities thanks to iOS 8. Now, the app has been updated to version 1.2 with support for Apple Watch. Workflow, similar to Automator on OS X, allows users to create more than 200 automated actions with a mix and match interface on the iPad and iPhone. With Apple Watch, users will be able to view and download workflows designed for Apple Watch instantly from their wrist.

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