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

DOD-iPad-US

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.

Tweetbot for Mac, Turnplay, Batman: Arkham City, Kayak Passbook support, 25% off ANY Aspyr title, more

Turnplay: Based on the classic Technics SL1200 turntable, which sold more than three million units worldwide, Turnplay is a new app aiming to bring a realistic turnable experienced to iPad. The app features pitch control, full realistic record control, and 33/45 buttons. The app is on sale for 50% off (99 cents) to celebrate its introduction.

The world’s most popular vinyl turntable which sold over 3.000.000 copies worldwide is now available on iPad!

Tweetbot for Twitter 1.1 (for Mac): The Tweetbot for Twitter Mac App Store app gets a big update today that brings new global hot keys for new tweets and “show/hide”, an “All Tweets” option for notifications on 10.8, keyboard shortcuts for Email, Tweet, and Read Later, and much more. Tapbots are also listing a ton of fixes in version 1.1 on the app’s iTunes page.

- New global hot keys for show/hide and new tweets available in preferences
– New “All Tweets” notification preference available (10.8 only)
– If you pin timeline to top in preferences it will now also pin other non-streaming columns to the top (searches, lists, etc)
– Added support for visual sync marker
– Keyboard shortcuts for Read Later and Email Tweet
– Trends now autorefresh if used in a column
– Clicking menu bar item rows will now open main window if needed. Will also go to correct space if main window is on a different space/desktop
– Moom and Tweetbot are now better friends

Kayak for iOSKayak version 24.0.0: Following an update to the pro version last night, Kayak’s free iOS app now games the same features including Passbook and Reminders support, a new itinerary management tool, the ability to book car rentals, as well as updated sharing options and hotel booking screens:

Edit events in Trips, our itinerary management tool.
View trips that have been shared with you.
Simpler, prettier, faster, better hotel booking screens.
Passbook support for trip events (iOS 6 required).
New ways to share travel info: Twitter, Facebook
Save searches in iOS Reminders (iOS 6 required).
Book rental cars directly with KAYAK.
Performance improvements and bug fixes.

Avengers Initiative version 1.05: Read more

Analyst: Apple could purchase partner TomTom to accelerate improvements to Maps app

TomTom iOS 6TomTom, one of Apple’s main partners providing data in its new Maps app, could be acquired by Apple, according to report from Netherlands-based Rabobank analyst Hans Slob. Bloomberg covered the analyst’s research report released early today, noting that Slob said there is a 30 percent chance Apple seeks to takeover TomTom in trying to make quicker improvements to its controversial new Maps app:

TomTom NV (TOM2), the Dutch supplier of navigation applications for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 5, rose the most in almost eight weeks after an analyst at Rabobank International said the U.S. company may make a takeover bid.

“TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom,” said Slob, who estimated Apple would pay a price of as much as 10 euros per share for the supplier. A takeover is also a “royal way out” for the Dutch company’s founders, said Slob, who has a buy recommendation on TomTom and raised his share-price estimate by 38 percent to 5 euros.

TomTom climbed 7.2-percent, an eight-week high, to 4.12 euros today, and it currently sits at a value of approximately 906 million euros ($1.18 billion USD).  Read more