As Siri gets more powers in iOS 8, we ask: Do you use it to its fullest or is it still a party trick?

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When Siri lost its beta tag almost a year ago, I suggested it might be a good time for those who’d been frustrated with its early performance to give it another chance. What I discovered through your comments was that Siri seems to be one of those things that polarizes views: people either loving it and using it every day, or dismissing it as a useless gimmick. Not too many people seem to fall between the two.

But Apple has continued to work hard on improving the service, adding new capabilities as well as refining its ability to handle existing ones. It might not yet be as sophisticated as its creators envisage for the future, but a year on seemed a good point to revisit the topic and find just how many of its capabilities people are using …  Read more

Continuity Keypad adds a dialer to OS X Yosemite for iPhone Handoff calls

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Anyone testing iPhone Handoff calling on OS X Yosemite, Apple’s latest Mac operating system, have probably noticed one major detail missing: a dialer. Student developers Eytan Schulman and Harrison Weinerman have created a very useful utility called Continuity Keypad that solves that problem.

Essentially what the app does is bridge a gap created by Handoff and FaceTime when making calls on your Mac using your iPhone. It creates a dialer similar to the one found on your iPhone allowing you to easily call numbers using your iPhone from your Mac, and it uses transparency to fit in with the new look of OS X. Read more

Apple bolsters iOS 8 Health app with on-device steps, distance tracking & caffeine monitoring

Apple has made significant enhancements to its upcoming Health application for iOS 8 in the latest beta of the new iPhone operating system. Most notably, the Health application can now utilize the iPhone’s own M7 motion tracking hardware for data sourcing.

The Health app’s Steps counter tab can now report steps without connecting to any third party applications or hardware devices. Because this feature likely uses the M7 processor, an iPhone 5s is required to get the steps data directly from the device…

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More pictures of the iPhone 6’s front and back appear online as Apple ramps production

On Weibo, user dreamerJimmy has posted more shots of the supposed iPhone 6 design, which has shown up in photos time and time again in recent weeks. The new images are of reasonable quality, though and indicate how the larger phone would compare physically with the current iPhone 5s. The user has a good reputation for leaks, posting accurate images of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c months before their unveiling.

In the first image, the much thinner bezels of the supposed new device can be clearly seen, to maximise the screen space on the front side. The distance between the Home Button and the display has also been shortened.

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Verizon rolling out VoLTE in ‘coming months’, could bolster iOS 8 FaceTime

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Verizon Wireless is officially joining in on this year’s major new cellular network technology: Voice over LTE, or “VoLTE.” VoLTE allows voice calls on compatible smartphones to be made over the previously-data only LTE network technology. This allows for higher-quality, better sounding (“HD Voice”) phone calls to be placed. The rollout will occur “later this year”, or “in the coming months” depending on which part of the press release you believe:

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Apple publishes new legal process guidelines for law enforcement information requests

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Earlier this month Apple announced its decision to notify customers of law enforcement requests for user information. Today the company also published a new set of guidelines for law enforcement officials regarding how it will handle such requests, what types of information can be obtained, and more.

Most of the document contains information regular customers won’t ever need to know, but for those interested in Apple’s participation in the legal process will find a wealth of information here. The document also confirms once again that Apple will notify users in most cases where law enforcement requests their personal information:

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Samsung bought two patents specifically for use in Apple trial, say attorneys

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In the ongoing patent trial where Apple is claiming Samsung infringed five of its patents, and Samsung is claiming Apple did the same to two of its patents, it has been suggested that Samsung bought the two patents concerned specifically to sue Apple. The allegation was made by Apple’s attorneys, reports The Verge.

The original inventors on the video patent, for instance, originated in Oklahoma, and the gallery patent originally belonged to Hitachi. In the case of the video patent, Samsung disclosed that it paid $2.39 million to acquire it in 2010, the same year FaceTime debuted alongside the iPhone 4. Apple hopes that will stand in stark contrast with its five patents, two of which were filed the day the company introduced the iPhone, and all developed within the company …

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Developers overwhelmingly liked the iOS 7.1 changes – how about you? [Poll]

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Back in January, when Apple released the third beta of iOS 7.1 to developers, we asked them what they thought of a whole bunch of specific changes, and whether they preferred the iOS 7 or 7.1 versions. Developers overwhelmingly favored the changes.

You can see below how developers voted on the specific elements. We’re asking you just to give an overall thumbs-up or down to the revamped user-interface …  Read more

Mavericks How-to: Block contacts in FaceTime and iMessage on OS X

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With the highly anticipated update to Mavericks 10.9.2, users gained the ability to block contacts in FaceTime and iMessage. This has been a long-awaited addition, since iOS 7 received this feature five months ago. If you previously blocked people in iOS 7, the block list syncs over from your iOS devices to your Mac through iCloud. Make sure Documents and Data is turned on in order for that to occur.

Now with Mavericks, you are able to block certain phone numbers from iMessaging or FaceTiming you without needing to get up and grab your iOS device…

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Reasons for delay in SSL fix to OS X unclear as a single line of code found responsible

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Update: Apple issued OS X 10.9.2 the following day, which included a fix for the SSL bug.

After Apple fixed the SSL bug in iOS, it’s unclear why three days have passed without an OS X fix after it was revealed by Reuters that the vulnerability was created by an error in a single line of code.

The problem lies in the way the software recognizes the digital certificates used by banking sites, Google’s Gmail service, Facebook and others to establish encrypted connections. A single line in the program and an omitted bracket meant that those certificates were not authenticated at all, so that hackers can impersonate the website being sought and capture all the electronic traffic before passing it along to the real site.

As the bug is in Apple’s SSL authentication code, it leaves a whole range of apps vulnerable, not just Safari …  Read more

Sony expands camera operations to likely supply Apple with front-facing iPhone cameras

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Sony is positioned to dramatically increase its sales of CMOS cameras to Apple for use in an unreleased iPhone, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Sony already supplies most of the rear-facing iSight cameras shipping on iPhones today, and as the report suggests, negotiations between Sony and Apple to double the amount of CMOS sensors supplied points to Sony also providing the sensor for the front-facing iPhone camera… Read more

Apple details how it handles customer data, discloses government information request stats

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In light of the recent reporting in regards to the NSA and governments across the world and their connection to the data that technology companies hold on their customers, Apple has published a lengthy document detailing its customer privacy policies.

We believe that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available. Apple has prepared this report on the requests we receive from governments seeking information about individual users or devices in the interest of transparency for our customers around the world. This report provides statistics on requests related to customer accounts as well as those related to specific devices. We have reported all the information we are legally allowed to share, and Apple will continue to advocate for greater transparency about the requests we receive.

Additionally, the company has published charts that detail how many customer data requests it has received Between the beginning of January and end of June this year from governments.

Breakdown of important details:

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