Apple shortens iBooks review times, allows more promo codes for authors

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Apple today emailed out registered authors for iBooks to announce some interesting changes and enhancements to the program. Some notable enhancements, via Apple’s email:

  • To help you get your book to readers quickly, we review 95 percent of all book submissions within one business day. Note that you do not need an ISBN to deliver a book to iBooks.
  • You can now request up to 250 promo codes per book. Promo codes allow you to provide free copies of your book to reviewers, bloggers, or others to build momentum for your book.
  • Screenshots can now be delivered or updated after a book is available for sale on iBooks.

The email to authors also tells developers about recent updates to both the iTunes Connect app on iOS and the iBooks Author application on the Mac. Like it usually does for App Store app developers, Apple tells authors how to prepare for the upcoming break for book reviewers. “To account for an anticipated increase in book deliveries during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday week, books scheduled to go live between November 24, 2014 and December 1, 2014, should be delivered by Friday, November 14, 2014,” the notice reads.

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Apple dropping support for SSL 3.0 on push notification servers, requiring TLS by October 29th

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Apple has announced to developers that it will be dropping support for SSL 3.0 on its push notification service on October 29th in order to mitigate a vulnerability discovered in the software recently.

Developers who currently support both TLS and SSL 3.0 on their push servers will not be impacted by the change, but those using SSL 3.0 exclusively will need to switch to TLS before next Wednesday to ensure there is no disruption in their service. Apple has provided a way for developers to test compatibility with the updated system:

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Inbox for Gmail: hands-on and first impressions

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Google this afternoon announced Inbox for Gmail, its all-new emailing solution that is intended to coexist with the regular Gmail platform (Think Paper for Facebook?). Inbox for Gmail is available on an invite only basis for Android, iOS and Chrome. I am fortunate enough to have received an invite to Inbox for Gmail, and I have been giving the iPhone app a rundown to see how it works. For the most part, Inbox is everything that you know and love about Gmail in a sleeker package.

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Modernizing the home screen: How iOS could take cues from the design of the Apple Watch

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At Apple’s special press event this past September, we witnessed the introduction of several new user interface paradigms, in the form of Apple Watch. Perhaps one of the most interesting was Apple Watch’s entirely new home screen. This is the first departure from the same basic concept of the home screen that Apple demoed in January of 2007 when it debuted the iPhone OS.

Apple clearly thinks that Apple Watch is the future of the company, but is the Apple Watch home screen the future of the iOS home screen? Let’s take a look at how we arrived at where we are today.

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AAPL out-performs most bullish analyst predictions with its record numbers

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Apple not only announced record profits for Q4 results and smashed through its own revenue guidance, but out-performed even the most bullish of analyst estimates with earnings of $42.123B. The highest analyst estimate in yesterday’s Fortune roundup was for $41.8B.

The consensus analyst expectation for earnings per share was $1.32, against the actual 20% climb to $1.42, aided by Apple’s stock buyback program, which now totals $68B of the $90B target announced by Apple …  Read more

Apple to require iOS apps and updates to use iOS 8 SDK and include 64-bit support from February 2015

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Apple has today notified developers about some upcoming rules regarding App Store submission, via its developer news portal. From 1st February 2015, newly-submitted apps and updates must be built against Apple’s iOS 8 SDK. This is not particularly surprising: Apple required similar adoption of the iOS 7 SDK last year.

In addition however, Apple will also require that all apps and updates include 64-bit support from that date too. Currently, developers can choose whether to submit only 32-bit apps or universal binaries. This will no longer be an option from February. Moving all apps to 64-bit will bring big performance and memory gains for newer devices (which include A7 or A8 SoC’s) as running the 32-bit apps necessitates loading a lot of additional resources into system memory.

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Chinese government apparently phishing iCloud account info with man-in-the-middle attack (Update: Apple confirms)

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Update: Apple is aware of the attack, via CNBC. As expected, Apple’s own servers were not compromised.

Although unconfirmed, GreatFire is reporting that Apple is now the subject of Chinese government hacking attempts. According to the report, the government is using the institutional firewall to redirect traffic directed at iCloud.com to a fake page that resembles the iCloud.com interface almost perfectly.

Like other phishing attacks, this page is pretending to be Apple’s portal but instead intercepts entered usernames and passwords for other means. Although some browsers in China are set up to warn users about these kind of man-in-the-middle attacks, many don’t and (assumedly) many citizens disregard the warnings as the site appears quite genuine otherwise.

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Dropbox app updated with iPhone 6 optimizations, Touch ID unlocking

Popular file-sharing / file-syncing app Dropbox has updated its iOS app to version 3.5 today, with some nice improvements. The app now takes advantage of all available resolution on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, rather than in a scaled iPhone 5s form. Dropbox doesn’t do anything novel with the additional space, but there is benefits to being able to see more items in a folder list at a time. The quality of file previews are also noticeably improved because of the additional screen size, with photo viewing mostly affected.

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iCloud Photos on the web goes live leading up to iOS 8.1 release

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While iOS 8.1 isn’t officially going to be released to the public until Monday, several reports across the internet are saying that Apple’s Photos app within the web-based iCloud website has now gone live for those using the iOS 8.1 beta. The interface looks a lot like that of the Photos app on iOS, letting you view your library as organized by either Moments or Albums.

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Early Yosemite adoption 67% faster than Mavericks, according to analytics

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The numbers are small as yet, but early indications are that Mac users are keen to get their hands on the new Yosemite features. Social sharing tool AddThis, which collects analytics data from 13 million websites, is reporting that Yosemite adoption is already running at 2%, versus 1.2% for Mavericks in the same timeframe …  Read more

Apple announces 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display starting at $2499, 5120×2880 screen resolution

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Apple has just announced a brand-new Retina 27-inch iMac. Apple is spreading Retina displays across the lineup, with the iMac leading that charge. This is the highest resolution screen in the world, according to Apple, with 14.7 million pixels. This is a 5K display — more than seven times the pixels of a HDTV. The screen builds on the technology Apple built on the iPhone and iPad, but to a whole new scale.

The iMac is just 5mm at its thinnest point, maintaining the same thinness as the previous generation, despite the massive leap in pixel density.

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iOS 8.1 will include Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library in public beta, more improvements

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During today’s Apple event, Apple SVP of Software Craig Federighi mentioned iOS 8.1 as well as a few changes coming with the software update to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With iOS 8.1, Apple will introduce Apple Pay for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The update will also include the public beta of iCloud Photo Library for every user; currently, the feature has been available to limited users since iOS 8’s public launch. Finally, Apple says iOS 8.1 will bring back the Camera Roll for users following customer feedback. Read more