GE announces Siri-controlled, color-changing LED lighting with support for HomeKit

GE announced today that it’s introducing HomeKit enabled LED lighting products offering Siri-controlled solutions for both the home and enterprise. With support for Apple’s new HomeKit framework, users will be able to control the lights from their iOS device using Siri.

The company noted that the new line of GE HomeKit lighting will also include its GE Align technology that “tunes the light spectrum to help promote the body’s natural sleep cycle by controlling the blue concentration of light output.” Read more

Apple previews revamped Music app with iOS 8.4 beta ahead of WWDC streaming service launch

Apple has just released the first iOS 8.4 beta, which includes Apple’s upcoming revamped Music app. The seed for developers is available via the Apple Developer Center website.

As we reported earlier this year, iOS 8.4 includes an all new Music application. The new software design is present in this beta, while Apple is expected to announce the streaming service component in June at WWDC.

Here are the release notes from Apple for the new app:

– All-New Design. Music app has a beautiful new design that makes exploring your music collection easier and more fun. Personalize playlists by adding your own image and description. Enjoy stunning pictures of your favorite artists in the Artists view. Start playing an album right from the album list. The music you love is never more than a tap away.

– Recently Added. Albums and playlists you’ve recently added are now at the top of your library, making it effortless to find something new to play. Simply tap play on the artwork to listen.

– Streamlined iTunes Radio. Discovering music with iTunes Radio is easier than ever. You can now quickly return to your favorite stations in Recently Played. Choose from a selection of hand-curated stations in Featured Stations, or start a new one from your favorite artist or song.

– New MiniPlayer. With the new MiniPlayer, you can see what’s playing and control playback while browsing your music collection. To open Now Playing, just tap on the MiniPlayer.

– Improved Now Playing. Now Playing has a stunning new design that showcases your album artwork the way it was meant to be. In addition, you can begin wirelessly streaming your music using AirPlay without leaving Now Playing.

– Up Next. It’s now simple to find out which songs from your library will play next — just tap the Up Next icon in Now Playing. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

– Global Search. You can now search from anywhere in the Music app — just tap the magnifying glass. Search results are conveniently organized to help you quickly find that perfect song. You can even start an iTunes Radio station right from Search.

iOS 8.4’s Music application includes revamped search, the UpNext and MiniPlayer features from iTunes on the desktop, improved iTunes Radio functionality, a new Recently Added page, and more on top of the new design. On the iPad, there’s a new split-screen interface on the iPad, as seen in the screenshots below. On the iPhone, the landscape interface has been removed entirely. The icon for the app remains the same, however. We have a hands-on gallery of several more screenshots below:

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IBM announces new partnership w/ Apple for HealthKit & ResearchKit data

Apple CEO Tim Cook with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Apple CEO Tim Cook with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

IBM this evening has announced a new dedicated health unit that will deepen its relationship with Apple. The service, called Watson Health, will use the data collected with Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit services to provide information to various other companies including Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. From there, those companies can integrate the data into services they offer to healthcare companies. Apple will work to integrate Watson-based apps into HealthKit and ResearchKit for these purposes (via Forbes).

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Apple’s iOS 8.3 update blocks access to apps from desktop file managers like iExplorer

iexplorer

Apple has seemingly moved to block desktop apps that allow users to manage files on their iOS devices in its recent iOS 8.3 update, as noted by MacRumors. Many popular file transfer apps, such as iFunBox, iTools, iExplorer, iBackupBot and PhoneView, have experienced the issue that prevents users from accessing file directories for apps on iOS devices. The apps were previously a popular way for users to install software on iOS devices that Apple does not allow in the App Store, like game emulators. Read more

How-To: Upload your photos into iCloud Photo Library from your iOS device and iCloud.com

Photos preview at WWDC 2014

Apple announced Photos last year during the WWDC. The Photos app along with iCloud Photo Library will allow you to store all of your photos in the cloud with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, provided you upgrade your iCloud storage space to accommodate your iCloud Photo Library. Photos will end up replacing Aperture and iPhoto. You can upload your pictures to iCloud Photo Library via iCloud.com. Currently this feature is in a public beta and this how-to article will discuss how to get a head start and upload your pictures to iCloud Photo Library before Photos becomes available for the Mac to the public.

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Apple execs talk developing ResearchKit: ‘there’s a strong personal connection’

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Apple SVP Jeff Williams announcing ResearchKit

Following the introduction of ResearchKit at this month’s Apple event, Apple executives Jeff Williams and Bud Tribble held a question and answer session with Apple employees regarding the new initiative, according to a source who provided a transcript of the conversation. Williams, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Operations, is the top executive in charge of Apple’s health engineering initiatives, including the Apple Watch, HealthKit, ResearchKit, and fitness software. Tribble is a Software Engineering Vice President with a medical background as a doctor, and he organized many of the partnerships for both HealthKit and ResearchKit…

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Unscrupulous website adverts again redirecting some users to App Store from Safari

Update: Some of the websites shown in the video cannot be explained by the hypothesis posted below about adverts redirecting to the App Store. The large amount of corroboration by readers about this happening to them suggests there is a mechanism, somewhere along the line, causing a real problem.

Website advertisement companies have found a way to circumvent the protections introduced in iOS 8 to stop users from being kicked to the App Store because of certain cleverly-coded JavaScript advertisements.

I am now experiencing this myself, and it makes browsing on the iPhone unusable. Browsing to websites such as Reddit and Reuters and others now automatically open the App Store. In many cases, there is no way for me to read the actual content on the pages. You can see this happen in the video above.

This flared up as a serious issue last year, when users found they were being taken to random App Store pages without granting any kind of permission…

In iOS 8 beta 2, Apple supposedly had remedied the issue: “Safari now blocks ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction.”. However, it seems that ad companies have now managed to work around these safeguards. Read more

Launcher returning to the App Store after controversial Today widget rejection last year

Launcher is coming back to the App Store, after a fracas with Apple late last year over the rules regarding widgets in the Today view of Notification Center. According to the developer, Greg Gardner, Apple has changed its mind on how widgets in Notification can function—something we’ve seen before. Launcher will be back in the App Store tomorrow.

It’s worth noting that the app was originally pulled because Apple said apps were not allowed to have widgets that launched other applications. Apple has seemingly had a change of heart, because the application is returning with the exact same features as six months ago. Read on for the full rundown on what happened.

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iOS 8 adoption gradually climbs to 77% ahead of Apple Watch launch next month (Updated 2x)

iOS 8 adoption 77%

Update 3/31: Apple’s latest data reflects 78% as measured on the App Store on March 30th.

Update 4/14: Two weeks and one iOS 8.3 update later, the App Store now reports 79% iOS 8 adoption.

Apple now says that 77% of active iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches are now running some version of iOS 8. The remainder of active devices running older software than what was released last September include one out of five devices still running iOS 7, and a small 3% running iOS 6 or earlier. The data comes from Apple’s App Store Distribution dashboard, which captured the adoption rate earlier this week.

While the information does show the steady climb of active devices upgrading to iOS 8 at a steady, gradual rate, it does not reveal how many users are running the very latest version, iOS 8.2, which is required for iPhone users to pair with the upcoming Apple Watch, which will be released on April 24th… Read more

iOS 8 How-to: Set up and Use Find My iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone was first released in June 2010 initially for the iPhone. Now, Find My iPhone allows you to track the location of your device, be it an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, in case it gets lost or stolen. This is a great benefit because when you locate your device using Find My iPhone, the device makes noise until it is found and will show you were it is located using Apple Maps. Recently, the police used Find My iPhone to track and save a woman’s life. However, Find My iPhone did require the device to be turned on and connected to the internet in order for it to work completely. New with iOS 8, you have the option to automatically send the location of the device to Apple when the battery is critically low. In this how-to I will discuss how to set up Find My iPhone, and how to use Find My iPhone.

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