New Apple TV beta brings refreshed look with iOS-like icons and thinner text (Gallery)

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In addition to issuing updates to the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite betas, Apple has released a new beta version of the Apple TV software. While earlier Apple TV betas did not bring more than new Family Sharing and iCloud Photos support, today’s update brings a refined look to the Apple TV Home screen. Taking cues from iOS and OS X, the new update brings completely redesigned icons to the Apple set-top-box and a new thinner font first introduced last year with iOS 7. A couple more images of the new interface are below:

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Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 to developers with Health enhancements, UI tweaks

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As expected, Apple has released iOS 8 beta 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to developers this morning. This update, like the past betas, includes various performance and bug fixes. The previous beta brought various minor user-interface touch-ups and a new Tips app to iOS 8. We’ll be updating this post as new discoveries are made in iOS 8 beta, and you can send us what you find to tips@9to5mac.com. You can find what’s new in beta 5, below:

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iCloud Mail experiencing issues with slower than normal responses

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iCloud Mail is currently experiencing service issues. The conflict has been impacting users for more than an hour and is currently ongoing according to Apple’s system status page. “Users may experience slower than normal response when using iCloud mail,” Apple’s description of the service disruption says.

It appears Apple’s App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store also experienced down time with customers not being able to make purchases, but Apple’s system status page says that outage was resolved after just over an hour. The iCloud Mail issue, however, is ongoing. (Update: Resolved as expected.)

Nope, it’s not just you, John Hodgman, but we do miss your ads.

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Apple to again wipe all CloudKit data tomorrow, July 22nd

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Apple’s release notes for OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4 reveal that the company will be wiping CloudKit data tomorrow.

This data has to do with the new iCloud storage APIs in iOS 8 and Yosemite as well as with the upcoming iCloud Drive online storage feature. It’s best to safely store anything of importance before tomorrow’s wipe:

CloudKit Note: All public CloudKit databases are scheduled to be emptied on Tuesday, July 22nd.

Apple previously wiped CloudKit data ahead of iOS 8 beta 3 and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 3. Thanks, Genady!

Update: Apple has emailed developers about the wipe, noting that iCloud Drive, Photos, and other iCloud-related products besides CloudKit storage will not be wiped:

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iOS 8 beta 4 includes new Tips app with quick feature tutorials (Gallery)

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iOS 8 beta 4 brings a new app to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch called Tips. The application, as the name implies, provides quick tips and tutorials about iOS features. The app will be updated on a regular basis with new ways to use iOS device features. Apple has also launched a Tips website (in beta) so these tutorials can be accessed from a Mac web browser. You can find a full gallery of the current implementation of Tips, below:

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Apple ID two-step verification feature rolls out to dozens of new countries

Apple this week has greatly expanded the availability of its Apple ID two-step verification, bringing the feature from 11 countries to 59 countries. Two-step verification for Apple IDs uses either iOS’s Find my iPhone application or SMS to provide login verification in addition to a password. The feature first rolled out for both Apple ID and iCloud IDs in early 2013 and it expanded to a few more countries later that year. Here are all the countries that support two-step verification (both the original countries and the new ones):

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Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers

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Last month Apple confirmed that it would soon beef up encryption for iCloud email following a report detailing security flaws in major email services. While Apple previously encrypted emails sent between its own iCloud customers, now the company has enabled encryption for emails in transit between iCloud and third-party services for me.com and mac.com email addresses. 

The change is documented on Google’s transparency website that shows the percentage of emails encrypted in transit for both inbound and outbound email exchanges (pictured below): Read more

Apple seeking ‘photography enthusiast’ retail employees to test OS X Photos app

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Apple is seeking employees from its own retail stores who have shown an enthusiasm for photography to test the upcoming OS X Photos application and iCloud Photos feature. Apple, last week, reached out to retail employees offering such a “career experience,” and here is the message to retail staff as provided by multiple retail employees:

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Apple China denies location tracking claims: we’re ‘deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers’

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This past week, Chinese State TV called the iPhone a “national security concern” because of its location tracking capabilities. The iPhone’s operating system utilizes location for several applications, including Maps and Weather. iOS 7 also introduced a new feature that utilizes a customer’s location in order to provide improved traffic and route information. Now, Apple has quickly responded via a concrete and comprehensive message on its website for China. The message is advertised on the homepage, and is a direct response to the allegations from China State TV.

Apple denies the claims by stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.

Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers: “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.” Apple goes on to list specific work it does for individual services in order to protect customer privacy.

On Maps:

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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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iOS 8 beta 3 indicates iCloud Drive will also be accessible from iCloud.com

 

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iCloud Drive was first announced at WWDC. This feature is Apple’s new approach to iCloud file syncing, replacing Documents and Data. The new interface acts more like Dropbox, with one central folder containing all iCloud documents in one place. This gives more flexibility over the model used by iOS 7 and Mavericks, where iCloud documents are siloed within their own app’s containers.

At WWDC, Apple announced that iCloud Drive could be accessed from Mac, iOS devices or even PC’s (as shown by the iCloud Drive preview page). However, a new setup screen present in iOS 8 beta 3, released earlier today, shows that Apple is also planning to expose iCloud Drive on the web. Although people were surprised by native PC support, bringing iCloud Drive to the web enables even more flexibility, bridging any OS with a modern web browser.

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Apple to wipe all CloudKit data on July 7th, including iCloud Photos, Drive & Mail Drop for iOS 8 and Yosemite

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Apple has just informed developers that it will be wiping all CloudKit-based data stores on July 7th. This includes iCloud Photo Library, Mail Drop and iCloud Drive. Apple warned developers that this might happen with the release of the first iOS beta and it is not uncommon for wipes to happen several times during iOS and OS X beta cycles.

Dear Developer,

We will be performing a server-side data wipe on all CloudKit public and private databases for iOS 8 beta and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview users on July 7, 2014. The following iCloud features will be affected: iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and Mail Drop.

Photos and videos stored in iCloud Photo Library will remain on their original iOS 8 devices and will upload to iCloud Photo Library again automatically. iCloud Drive can be re-enabled from Set up Assistant after upgrade. If you choose to store your documents in iCloud Drive, your Documents & Data will automatically be copied to iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive will not update across earlier seeds or operating systems. Attachments sent through Mail Drop will expire and need to be resent after you upgrade.

If you have any questions, visit the Apple Developer Forums.

Best regards,
Apple Developer Technical Support

Affected files for Mail Drop and iCloud Drive will not transfer across automatically on the release of the next beta seed. Photos and videos will automatically restore, however, as they are not deleted from local storage. It is likely that new seeds of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will follow this data wipe, as new seeds of these operating systems are already due.

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