iOS 6 ▪ September 14, 2013

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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iOS 6 ▪ August 30, 2013

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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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iOS 6 ▪ August 7, 2013

An online poll conducted by Polar compares key user-interface elements from iOS 7 to the iOS 6 counterparts. Despite the outpour of criticism from some of iOS 7, these results show that an overwhelming amount of poll responders prefer the design of iOS 7 to iOS 6 and other previous iOS versions…

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iOS 6 ▪ July 8, 2013

iOS 6 ▪ June 6, 2013

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.  expand full story

iOS 6 ▪ May 17, 2013

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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