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

Chevy Spark featuring built-in CarPlay shown off at WWDC ahead of announcement from Chevrolet

Chevy Volt CarPlay

Earlier this week we pointed out that several cars were spotted on display in Moscone Center during the morning of Apple’s WWDC keynote. While Apple’s CarPlay technology did not get a mention during the information-dense two hour keynote on Monday, it turns out those cars were used to give CarPlay demoes to press and attendees at the conference.

We already noted Ferrari’s FF model, which has had CarPlay support since the official announcement, and USA Today mentions that a 1965 Ford Mustang was featured as well (with an aftermarket solution offered by Pioneer). However, Apple gave USA Today a CarPlay demo in a Chevy Spark as seen in the video below. Interestingly, Chevrolet is noted as a “committed partner” on Apple’s CarPlay microsite but not included among automakers shipping CarPlay-equipped vehicles in 2014… Read more

ActiveBoard jailbreak tweak is a beautiful way to stay on top of missed notifications and running apps (video)

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ActiveBoard is a new tweak for iOS 7 that adds a couple of useful features to the home screen. Using a pulsating glow behind app icons, ActiveBoard will let you know if an app has a notification or is running in the background. A red glow and bouncing animation will indicate a missed or unread notification, while a white glow informs you of the app’s background status.

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iPhone 6 with larger, sharper 1704 x 960 resolution screen in testing

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Apple is preparing to release a new iPhone with a larger screen later this year, and while multiple reports have indicated that the screen will be larger, the exact dimensions of the screen and its resolution have so far been guesswork.

Some industry watchers have speculated that Apple could stretch the iPhone software’s interface and retain the iPhone 5s’s screen resolution of 1136 x 640. This approach would allow all iOS software and App Store apps to function normally on the iPhone 6 without work from developers. The downside of this approach would be that the iPhone 6’s display would fall below Steve Jobs’ somewhat arbitrary 300 pixels per inch definition of ‘Retina’ for a phone.

Just like with the transition to the iPhone 4’s Retina display in 2010 and the transition to the iPhone 5’s taller screen in 2012, Apple is preparing major resolution changes for the iPhone 6 that will require software changes by both Apple and developers, according to people briefed on the specifications of the new device…

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Researcher claims iOS 7 (including current 7.1.1) does not encrypt email attachments, Apple aware of issue

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Security researcher Andreas Kurtz has discovered that versions of iOS 7, including iOS 7.1.1 (the current release), iOS 7.1, and iOS 7.0.4 do not encrypt email attachments in the bundled Mail application. This is an issue itself, but more worrisome as iOS, according to Apple, is supposed to encrypt email attachments. Here’s a page from Apple’s website indicating that:

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1Password for iOS updated with all-new design, support for multiple vaults, and more

1Password 4 launched last year to much fanfare as a major redesign of the most powerful password management software available. Today the app has been updated to version 4.5, which brings the biggest update to the app’s design since the 4.0 release.

With this update, the entire app has once again been redesigned completely, this time for compliance with iOS 7’s new look. You’ll still find the layout familiar, though some tweaks have been made to a few areas.

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Are you seeing the reported hit in battery-life since upgrading to iOS 7.1? [Poll]

iOS 7 battery charging dead

We know you like iOS 7.1, but with a lot of chatter about reduced battery-life, and the only test so far based on a small sample and having results falling within the margin of error, we thought it would be useful to get a sense of how prevalent the issue might be.

We recognize, of course, that there are a huge number of variables involved in battery-life. Even if your phone usage is reasonably consistent, a single extra phone call or a bit longer spent browsing the web can account for the relatively small differences most are reporting. A poll is not going to amount to a scientific study, but a decent sample size should at least give a reasonable indication as to the scale of any issue …  Read more

Paper by FiftyThree app gets complete redesign for iOS 7 w/ new features

Paper by FiftyThree, the popular iPad app for creating illustrations, is today finally getting its iOS 7 overhaul with version 1.6 introducing a complete redesign of the app. The company tells us the newly updated Paper app hitting the App Store today is “a blend of metaphor and flat aesthetics that required the team to update every visual asset in the app.”

While the app maintains much of the look and feel of the previous version, you will notice that everything has been given a fresh coat of paint. That includes “faster menus, simplified icons, lighter colors, journal covers that pop, custom typefaces, and overall improved readability.”

There are also new features including a new and improved zoom tool as well as improvements to the dot size for the Draw and Erase tools. Here’s a run down on the new features from FiftyThree: Read more

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

iOS 7.1 hits nearly 6% adoption in North America during first 24 hours after release

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Following Apple’s launch of iOS 7.1, the first major update to the OS that featured CarPlay, iBeacon imrpovements, and more, mobile analytics firm Chitika has released some numbers regarding the software’s adoption rate. According to the company’s detailed report, the update saw a 5.9% installation rate during its first 24 hours of availability.

The numbers are a little bit BS because obviously a non-zero percentage of users were developers and Apple employees using the 7.1betas. Here are 9to5mac’s numbers for instance.

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The data was collected from “tens of millions” of users in the United States and Canada, though the study doesn’t state the exact sample size. The full version of the report notes that the company typically employs a sample size of around 300 million devices.

That may seem low compared to the ridiculously fast adoption of iOS 7 last year, but Chitika reported similiar numbers for the previous update, iOS 7.0.6, which contained a critical SSL bug fix. Meanwhile, the entire set of 7.x updates has seen slowing growth in recent months, according to Apple…

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