Samsung reclaims top smartphone maker title from Apple

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Strategy Analytics has a new report out that estimates that Samsung has once again become the number one smartphone manufacturer by units shipped. Although Samsung doesn’t officially report unit numbers, the analytics firm is estimating 83 million smartphones sold worldwide for the company. IDC is also reporting similar numbers.

Apple, which does report the number of iPhones it shipped, sold 61 million iPhones in the last quarter. This is a new record for Apple (which became the #1 manufacturer during the previous quarter with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) but is clearly outstripped by Samsung’s (estimated) number by about 20 million units.

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Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers with revamped Music app

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A couple of weeks following the first beta, Apple today released iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 8.4 beta 2 is available via Software Update for those running the first beta, and it should be available for download soon via the Apple Developer Website. Apple has also released the iOS 8.4 Public Beta 1, which corresponds to this second developer seed, and Xcode 6.4 beta 2.

As we first reported, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music app to iOS with a new design, a Mini-Player feature, improved search, and a larger focus on album artwork. At WWDC, Apple will announce the new Music app and its integration with a new Beats-based streaming music service. We’ll update this post live as new features in the second beta are discovered.

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Major LA hospital integrating HealthKit data into patient records, but unclear if they can opt out

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LA’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is now integrating HealthKit data into patient records to provide doctors with a more comprehensive picture of the health of the patients they are treating, reports Bloomberg.

The hospital updated its online medical records system this weekend, turning on access to HealthKit for more than 80,000 patients, Darren Dworkin, chief information officer at Cedars-Sinai, said in an interview.

“This is just another set of data that we’re confident our physicians will take into account as they make clinical and medical judgments,” Dworkin said.

Tim Cook said back in February that he thought this type of use of HealthKit would be “profound” …  Read more

First screenshots of top Apple Watch apps revealed by new tool [Gallery]

While hundreds of apps for the Apple Watch have been announced and detailed, screenshots of most of the major applications have yet to be revealed, until now. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith has created a tool to view screenshots of Apple Watch applications by pasting in the link to the existing iPhone application. Below, we’ve put together several galleries of several notable Apple Watch applications, including Twitter, Instagram, Uber, Starbucks, and Apple’s own Keynote presentation remote. We’ll be updating this post live as more application screenshots are discovered. WatchAware is also showcasing more interactive previews of over 2000 Apple Watch apps.

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Security flaw allows attackers to crash carrier iOS devices within range of a fake WiFi hotspot

Security researchers yesterday demonstrated a method of creating a ‘No iOS zone,’ inside of which all carrier iPhones and iPads on iOS 8 are rendered impossible to use, reports Skycure. Most apps that connect to the Internet crash on opening (shown above), and it’s even possible to put iOS devices into a constant boot loop (shown below).

The approach exploits an SSL bug in iOS, causing an app to crash when it attempts to establish a secure connection to a server. Although the exploit requires the iPhone or iPad to connect to a fake WiFi hotspot, the researchers were able to force devices to do so …  Read more

Apple offering developers expedited Apple Watch deliveries by random selection

 

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Apple is sending out invites to random registered developers, giving them the chance to buy an Apple Watch with guaranteed delivery by the end of the month. Developer get the opportunity to buy a 42 mm Apple Watch Sport with shipment by the 28th of April. Apple is emailing selected developers, who are offered to apply here.

The process is by application only. Developers find out whether they are eligible to actually go through with the purchase on the 23rd of April, this Thursday.

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HTTPS bug leaves 1,500 iOS apps vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, finds analytics company

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

A bug in the way that 1,500 iOS apps establish secure connections to servers leaves them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, according to analytics company SourceDNA (via arsTechnica). The bug means anyone intercepting data from an iPhone or iPad could access logins and other sensitive information sent using the HTTPS protocol.

A man-in-the-middle attack allows a fake WiFi hotspot to intercept data from devices connecting to it. Usually, this wouldn’t work with secure connections, as the fake hotspot wouldn’t have the correct security certificate. However, the bug discovered by SourceDNA means that the vulnerable apps fail to check the certificate …  Read more

iOS-controlled toy Sphero made Star Wars’ BB-8 possible, now make your own at home

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Best known for its app-controlled robotic toys, iOS developer Sphero was responsible for creating the real version of the ball-shaped droid BB-8 featured in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to Time. Having released the original iOS-controlled Sphero and much-improved Sphero 2.0 balls in 2012 and 2013, the company was accepted into a Disney accelerator program in 2014, receiving personal mentoring from Disney CEO Bob Iger — a close friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “When the tech-savvy CEO saw Sphero’s technology in action,” Time reports, “he realized the potential application for BB-8 and connected the startup with the masterminds of the Star Wars characters.”

Along with the disclosure of Sphero’s involvement in the robot’s creation, Time noted that an BB-8 toy was planned for release. Although Gizmodo suggested that an official BB-8 toy by Sphero had appeared on retailer Fat Brain Toys’ site, the image has since been pulled, and Sphero subsequently said that it is not a “legitimate” image. Separately, designer Christian Poulsen has demonstrated how to make a homemade BB-8 droid by cutting open a Sphero ball, inserting a neodymium magnet inside, and placing another magnet inside a handmade foam head, painting the head and ball to match BB-8. Poulsen described making the toy as a quick one-day project, and has a collection of videos showing the modified Sphero moving around much as BB-8 does in the upcoming movie. Sphero 2.0 currently sells for $130. The official Sphero-designed toy will likely be released closer to the film, which is due out on December 18, 2015.

Updated April 22, 2015: In addition to noting that the BB-8 image run by Fat Brain Toys is not its actual product, Sphero has confirmed its involvement in BB-8, providing clarification and an official link to follow progress on the toy.

“What an incredible honor it is to work with the team at Disney on one of the most interesting new characters in the Star Wars franchise,” said Paul Berberian, CEO. “Opportunities this significant are rare. If anyone can execute and deliver on an exceptional BB-8 experience, it’s our Sphero team in Boulder.”

“This is the beginning of a whole new category of consumer products. You can own a piece of the movie, have it in your home, and relive an experience that is authentic to the entertainment on the screen.” said Rob Maigret, Chief Creative Officer. “Our hardware and software technology advancements make it possible to build the toys of the future now. We are deepening the user connection in ways that, until today, have only been portrayed in science fiction.”

Ex-Apple SVP Scott Forstall is now a producer on a Broadway musical

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Less than 24 hours after a report surfaced revealing Scott Forstall began serving as an advisor to Snapchat last year, the former iOS chief has announced via his Twitter account an unrelated project: a Broadway musical.

I’m thrilled to be co-producing the Broadway musical Fun Home opening this Sunday. Bravo to the phenomenal team!

The announcement is especially notable as it marks the first time the former Apple executive has surfaced in public since his ousting at Apple under current CEO Tim Cook in late 2012. Read more

Apple Maps partner Yelp announces Apple Watch app with local listings and reviews

Yelp today has joined the long list of companies that have debuted apps for Apple Watch. In a blog post this evening, the popular ratings and reviews app shared the first screenshots of its Apple Watch app. The Yelp app for Apple Watch provides the majority of the information you’re used to seeing in the company’s other iOS apps, just on your wrist.

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