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

iOS 8 adoption lagging significantly behind iOS 7, but iPhone 6 uptake is about double its predecessors

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.26.31Within the first twenty-four hours, iOS 8 update appeared to be slower than its predecessors.  A few weeks in, this continues to be the case says analytics firm Fiksu.

After twelve days, both iOS 6 and iOS 7 had comfortably crossed the 50% mark for iOS usage. By contrast, iOS 8 is yet to hit the 40% mark according to Fiksu’s measurements. An independent study from Mixpanel says iOS 8 is closer to 50%, but it is still far behind iOS 7′s rate of uptake.

At least, iOS 8 is ahead of iOS 5 in terms of usage, which should be expected given that iOS 4 users wanting to upgrade to iOS 5 had to plug in to iTunes to update. Since that change, both iOS 6 and iOS 7′s upgrade rates were almost double that of iOS 5. For reasons not fully known, iOS 8 currently sits about halfway between these two.

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Following evasi0n jailbreak release, A4 devices on iOS 6.1.5 also untethered via “p0sixspwn” Cydia package

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Yesterday the iOS jailbreaking community was caught off-guard by the sudden release of an updated evasi0n tool compatible with iOS 7. Now, users with an iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch on iOS 6.1.3 through 6.1.5—versions previously impervious to the iOS 6 jailbreak—can also get an untethered jailbreak for their devices. This is an especially welcome release for users of the fourth-gneration iPod touch and original iPad, both of which are incompatible with iOS 7.

As you can see from the directions, the actual jailbreaking part takes place in the existing redsn0w application, which has been used to jailbreak iOS 6 and other versions in the past. However, this part of the jailbreak is “tethered,” which means the user must connect to a computer and re-run the software in order to boot it or run many stock apps.

To achieve the “untethered” status and allow reboots with no need to connect to a Mac or PC, users can install a newly-released package from Cydia. The package, dubbed “p0sixspwn,” was created by iH8snowwinocm, and several other veteran jailbreak developers.

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Tweetbot 3 updated w/ text size adjusting, lists in timeline, new gesture for Twitter actions

Popular Twitter client Tweetbot 3 has received an expected 3.1 update with many enhancements. In our review of the application, we noted that it has a great new interface over Tweetbot 2, but it lacked a couple of features from the older version: the ability to adjust the text size independently of iOS’s new system-wide text size setting, lists in the central timeline view, and a right swipe gesture. All three of those features have returned in Tweetbot 3.1, and the new right-swipe gesture can be set to quickly reply to, favorite, or retweet a Tweet…

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Nearly two years after launch, Siri seems to exit ‘beta’ with iOS 7

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With the iPhone 4S launch nearly two years ago, Apple introduced the Siri voice control system to its customers. At launch, Siri was a gimmicky feature at best, being released with bugs, a highly-computerized voice, sluggish content loading, and unreliable servers. In addition, Siri of 2011 was short on user compatibility, only launching with knowledge of English, French, and German. Apple certainly did not deny the early issues with Siri: the company launched the product in “beta,” a tag that has remained on the software ever since.

Since 2011, Apple has been slowly improving the service. In early 2012, Siri gained support for Japanese, and with iOS 6 in late 2012, the service added support for several new languages and capabilities. With iOS 7, Siri has been given a redesigned user-interface, new functionality, and all-new voices. Many of the server errors and lengthy processing time issues that riddled the product in its early days have now disappeared; and it seems that Apple agrees. With the upcoming launch of iOS 7, it appears that Apple will finally be taking Siri out of “beta.”

Late this past week, Apple updated its Siri webpages to drop all references to the product being in beta. Prior to this past week, the bottom of the Siri informational page read:

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Apple inadvertently asking developers for iOS 7-optimized app icons

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Ahead of Apple’s iOS 7 launch (presumably alongside the new iPhones in September), Apple seems to be asking developers to submit larger app icons. As part of iOS 7′s dramatic interface changes, the Home screen icons have been slightly enlarged compared to the iOS 6 icons.

For example, as shown in the image above, the non-iOS 7-optimized Netflix icon has a small white border compared to Apple’s icons.

In order to avoid this interface issue, developers will need to include larger icons in their applications. iOS 6 icons on the iPhone come in at 114 x 114 pixel resolutions, while iOS 7 icons are slightly larger at 120 x 120 pixel resolutions. For the iPad, iOS 6 icons are at resolutions of 144 x 144, and on iOS 7 they come in at a resolution of 152 x 152:

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Facebook aims to declutter the iOS Contacts app by no longer syncing friends without useful contact info

Facebook-Contacts-iOS-6Over the past week a number of 9to5 readers have noticed issues with their Facebook contacts within the Contacts app on iOS 6 and up that are automatically synced when logging into Facebook through Settings. Some users have taken to the Apple support forums to discuss the problem, noting that a large portion of their contacts from Facebook no longer appear in the iOS Contacts app. Rather than a bug, we reached out to Facebook about the problem who told us it’s actually Facebook’s new effort to remove “phone book entries that were not useful.”

In other words, Facebook is trying to remove some of the spam from your iOS Contacts app by no longer syncing friends that have no useful contact information. According to a Facebook spokesperson, friends that have no contact information on their profile other than a @facebook.com email address will not be synced to the Contacts address book going forward.

The result, of course, is you might notice more than a few of your Facebook friends disappearing from Contacts. You can always add them back manually, but Facebook is thinking the majority of users will be happy with its decision to declutter its iOS sync feature.  Read more

iOS devices approved for use on U.S. military networks following Samsung and BlackBerry

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Update: Apple provided the following comment to AllThingsD on the approval:

“With iPhone and iPad being tested or deployed in almost every Fortune 500 company, Apple continues to scale across enterprise with nearly 30,000 companies globally developing and distributing iOS apps for corporate use by their employees,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “The FIPS 140-2 certification and STIG approval demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver a secure platform to our enterprise and government customers around the world who deploy iOS devices on their networks.”

Following reports earlier this month that the Defense Department was in the process of approving iOS 6 for nonclassified communications and widespread use by government agencies, Bloomberg reports today that Apple has officially been granted approval for use on U.S. military networks.

The Pentagon already approved Samsung devices powered by the company’s Knox security software and BB10 ahead of today’s approval of iOS 6.

In February the US Defense Department confirmed plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year. At that time the Pentagon said its networks had about 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple products, and 8,700 Android devices.

A number of U.S. agencies switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year, while earlier reports indicate Samsung is attempting to attract more government and corporate customers with a new team of security experts and former RIM employees as well as a water and dust proof variant of its flagship S4 dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active. Today’s security approval will increase the number of agencies allowed to deploy iPhone and iPads on government networks for nonclassified communications.

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DoD to grant Apple’s iOS 6 & Samsung Galaxy devices security approval for widespread use by US government agencies

DOD-iPad-USThe iPhone and iPad have already been cleared for use by a number of US government agencies, and in February the US Defense Department confirmed plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports the DoD is about to grant two more important security approvals that could increase the number of agencies allowed to deploy iPhone, iPads, and Samsung Galaxy devices:

The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, the agency that sanctions commercial technology for Pentagon use, is set to rule that Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones, preloaded with Samsung’s Knox security software, conforms with the Pentagon’s so-called Security Technology Implementation Guide, according to people familiar with the approval process. That would allow it to be used by some Pentagon agencies for things like sending and receiving internal emails, according to these people.

Separately, DISA is expected to rule that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, conforms to a different security-requirement guide, these people said. That would allow iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for nonclassified communications, like email and Web browsing.

The report from WSJ explained Samsung has been steadily increasing its attempt to break into corporate and government markets by hiring a new team of security experts and former RIM employees to reach out to Western governments and corporations: Read more

Apple adds option to download “Later” for movies and TV shows through iTunes in the Cloud

Download-Later-iTunes-in-the-Cloud-moviesApple has recently added a new option for iTunes purchases on both the Mac and iOS devices running iTunes 11 and iOS 6 or later. Now, when purchasing content that includes a large download, such as movies or seasons of TV shows, iTunes will allow users to complete the purchase and opt to download the file at a later time. As noted by Macworld, Apple outlined the new option, which presents users with a dialog to “Download” now or download “Later”, in a recently updated knowledge base article.

Selecting the new “Later” option will add the purchased content to your “Purchased” tab in iTunes in the Cloud, meaning the feature is only available to those in countries that support iTunes in the Cloud (full list here). According to Apple’s knowledge base article, the option applies to content including: TV seasons, season passes, movie bundles, music box sets, or individual movies and TV episodes.  Read more

iOS devs give in-depth look at advantages of Apple’s MapKit vs Google Maps SDK

FastCompany today posted an in-depth look at the differences between Apple’s MapKit and Google’s recently launched Google Maps for iOS SDK from the perspective of developers. The lengthy piece gets insight from several iOS app developers with apps that rely on the SDKs and sheds some light on a few things that Apple is doing much better than Google despite a perception from users that Google Maps are superior:

“Google doesn’t currently charge for the Places API, but they do require a valid credit card for access–which gives you a quota of 100,000 daily requests. So you have to wonder if they plan to start charging sooner or later,” McKinlay explains. “That 100,000 limit perhaps sounds reasonable, but each user session can generate many requests–particularly when using the ‘autocomplete’ feature of Tube Tamer–and some types of requests count for 10 times the quota each, so it can get used up pretty quickly.”

While noting that Google wins out with location lookup services, 3D buildings, directions, geocoding, and better hybrid satellite imagery, the developers were also quick to point out downsides of the Google Maps SDK such as quotas for the Places API, an increased app size, and limitations with markers, gradient polylines, and overlays.

Developer of transportation app Tube Tamer, Bryce McKinlay, discussed some of the benefits of using Apple’s MapKit:

“Subjectively, the current version of the [Google] SDK does not perform as well as MapKit,” McKinlay says. “GMSMapView’s frame rate is capped at 30fps, which is lower than typical for iOS and results in a slight but noticeable ‘jitter’ effect when panning and zooming the map. Drawing of labels and POIs sometimes lags behind if you pan quickly, even on a fast device like the iPhone 5.”

“The fact that annotations in MapKit are UIViews also means that animation and other effects can be applied easily using Core Animation, which isn’t currently possible with the Google Maps SDK approach,” McKinlay says. He also points out that MapKit has some other handy features that Google’s SDK currently lacks, like “Follow user location” and “Follow with heading” modes. “MapKit provides a button that automatically moves the map to follow the user’s location, and rotates the map according to the compass heading. This is very helpful for pedestrian navigation. It is possible to implement this manually in Google’s SDK, but it adds extra development time/effort.”

It looks like some developers feel Google has some work to do with their Maps SDK for iOS. While Apple isn’t free of its own issues with MapKit, developers will definitely want to read Fast Company’s entire post before deciding which solution will be best for their app. The developers ultimately end up recommending MapKit over Google’s Maps SDK for the majority of developers.