Microsoft latest to mimic Snapchat with new Skype Qik ephemeral video messaging app

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

Differentiating itself from some of the other players, the Skype-based solution is video-focused, and Skype is positioning it as a communication tool for in between full-scale Skype video chats. Notably, the whole service is connected to your phone number and existing contacts list, so it doesn’t require signing up with a standard Skype account. If you send a message via Qik to a user without the Qik app, the other person will be sent an SMS text message with instructions for downloading the Qik app to view the video message. This app is based on the technology from startup Qik, which Skype acquired a few years ago.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the iPhone app in action below:

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Missing one-handed typing on your iPhone 6/Plus? One Handed Keyboard brings it back

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If you love your new iPhone 6/Plus but find yourself missing the convenience of one-handed typing, One Handed Keyboard may be the third-party keyboard for you. It’s a system-wide keyboard exactly the same size as the one on the older and smaller iPhones so everything will feel familiar. The “sliding over” keyboard method is what Samsung and LG have been using on their Phablets for years.

The keyboard can be switched between left- and right-handed use, and when you want to return to two-handed typing, just hold down the spacebar to expand it to full width …  Read more

Google launches Primer mobile app to help startups with their marketing needs

Primer

Today, Google launched a new mobile app for startups called Primer, an interactive tool that helps companies with their marketing needs. Available now on iOS, the software cranks out five minute lesson plans for subjects like Content Marketing, PR & Media and Search Advertising. A simplified experience, Primer is packed with case studies, insider tips and quizzes designed to make marketing easier.

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Skype launches redesigned Mac app ahead of OS X Yosemite

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Skype today has begun rolling out a redesigned version of its Mac client, bringing an enhanced look that better fits the upcoming design aesthetic of OS X Yosemite. The new design also brings the Mac app more in line with the recently redesigned iPhone and iPod touch version of Skype. The new look’s most significant new feature fixes a common #FirstWorldProblem: having to figure out how to send someone an instant message during a voice or video call. Now, the new Skype 7.0 update brings the split-screen view shown above. Improved multi-person video calls, easier sharing, and chat syncing across devices rounds out the update. Skype 7.0 for Mac is a free download from the Skype website. Some more screenshots are below:

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Apple releases iOS 8.1 beta 2 to developers

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Apple today released iOS 8.1 beta 2 to developers via an OTA update as well as through its developer center. The second beta version of iOS 8.1 follows just over a week after the release of iOS 8.1 beta 1 to developers which brought minimal changes. We’ll update with any noticeable changes from the previous beta, and email tips@9to5Mac.com if you spot anything. What’s new: Read more

Ex-Microsoft exec Ray Ozzie creates messaging iPhone app to ‘revolutionize’ voice calling

Ray Ozzie, who used to be Microsoft’s Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect, has come out with a new app for the iPhone. In an extensive profile, Steven Levy explains the premise behind the app, dubbed Talko. You can read the full overview on Medium. The app has been in development for more than two years.

A new take on phone calls, the app shows if your recipient is currently walking or driving — giving a hint at attentiveness of the speaker before the conversation even begins. It’s a nice use of the Apple M7 and M8 coprocessors. Any voice communication is archived into the growing thread … to organize a conversation like any other modern chat app really. Talko seems best as an app for modern meetings, like a conference call replacement, although Ozzie insists it can be used beyond business.

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Sketchy rumor suggests Apple will converge a refrigerator and a toaster, 12.9 inch iPad will run both iOS and OS X

 

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A new rumor from Digitimes makes the bold claim that Apple is working on an ‘iPad’ (tablet device) that runs both Mac OS X and iOS. This is sourced as ‘according to rumors in the upstream supply chain’, so read with skepticism. Supply chain analysis can often be incorrect about Apple’s future software plans.

The report says that two versions of a 12.9 inch iPad are in development. One of which is the more typical larger iPad that has been rumored for a while now, but the other is a multifunction device that can run both OS X and iOS. Digitimes notes that it does not know whether both devices will actually enter mass production for public release. It indicates the larger iPad is currently headed for an early 2015 debut. Frankly, a 2-in-1 device seems unlikely.

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According to Apple, people have all but stopped upgrading to iOS 8

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Apple’s iOS share numbers as tabulated by App Store visits are out for the first week of October and they are a “head scratcher”. iOS 8 gained only 1 point from 46% to 47%  since September 21st which should have well exceeded 1% gain by the millions of new iPhone 6/Plus shipments alone – even if not one person had updated their iPhone 5/s/c. Even more confusing is that the “Earlier” category of iOS 6 and before devices actually grew in percentage from 5% to 6% over the previous two week period.

It is possible some people downgraded to iOS 7 (which was an option until just after 8.0.2 was released) while others have stayed put on their current iOS version because of a succession of errors in rolling out iOS 8. Combined with the large amount of space required to do an over the air update, it appears that iOS users have all but stopped upgrading iOS –a marked departure from years past. Read more

Apple sapphire crystal supplier GT Advanced files for bankruptcy

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Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Tech has today released a statement announcing that it is filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. Filing for Chapter 11 means the company will be able to continue normal operations until it can resolve issues with creditors. As of September 28th, GTAT had $85 million in cash.

What implications this has on Apple’s upcoming Watch wearable, which uses a sapphire screen cover for both Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition models, is currently unclear. Apple also uses sapphire from GTAT in its iPhone lineup, for the camera cover and the Touch ID sensor.

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Adobe launches cloud-connected Capture & new Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and Premiere iOS apps

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Ahead of its annual MAX Conference kicking off today, Adobe has launched an entirely new suite of apps that are now available on the iPhone and iPad App Store. This year, Adobe is focusing on simplifying its mobile software lineup into four categories that sync with desktop counterparts: Illustration, Imaging, Video, and a new platform called Creative Cloud Capture Apps. Each of the apps within the four categories are either brand new or have been enhanced.

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iOS 8 adoption lagging significantly behind iOS 7, but iPhone 6 uptake is about double its predecessors

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.26.31Within the first twenty-four hours, iOS 8 update appeared to be slower than its predecessors.  A few weeks in, this continues to be the case says analytics firm Fiksu.

After twelve days, both iOS 6 and iOS 7 had comfortably crossed the 50% mark for iOS usage. By contrast, iOS 8 is yet to hit the 40% mark according to Fiksu’s measurements. An independent study from Mixpanel says iOS 8 is closer to 50%, but it is still far behind iOS 7’s rate of uptake.

At least, iOS 8 is ahead of iOS 5 in terms of usage, which should be expected given that iOS 4 users wanting to upgrade to iOS 5 had to plug in to iTunes to update. Since that change, both iOS 6 and iOS 7’s upgrade rates were almost double that of iOS 5. For reasons not fully known, iOS 8 currently sits about halfway between these two.

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Majority of Apple Campus 2 foundation laid according to latest drone video

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Apple’s Campus 2 project continues to make strides with the latest drone video (below) showing the majority of the foundation completed on the massive structure, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the ‘Greenest in the World’.  You can see the front 2/3rds of the structure is now cemented in with the rear third still dirt and subterranean walls also built along the sides.

The controversial structure which will house 12,000 staff in 2.8M square feet on 176 acres and is estimated to be completed in 2016. Interestingly, even though Apple is covering the construction site with a high green wall, it is updating the 3D flyover of the location in Apple Maps somewhat frequently. The latest looks like it was taken earlier this summer.

You can follow the progress in our Campus 2 story line here.

Thanks Tony! Read more