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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Apple offers solutions as users report Apple Watch charging issues, iPhone battery drain

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A small number of early Apple Watch users are reporting problems charging the device, as well as excessive drain of the paired iPhone’s battery, according to posts on Apple’s discussion forums and Twitter. According to training documents received by 9to5Mac, Apple is already aware of the issues, and offering solutions that may help affected users.

Users with charging problems have explained that the Apple Watch will physically connect to its charger and say that it’s charging properly, “but in reality the power diminishes as if no charger was plugged in.” In some cases, the issue appears to be in software, where one of two several-step tricks may enable the Watch to recharge:

  1. Turn off and reset the Watch, first holding the side button, swiping to power off, then holding the Digital Crown and side button at the same time until the Apple logo appears. This alone may solve the problem.
  2. If that doesn’t work, restart the connected iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, then Erase All Content and Settings using General > Reset. Set up the Watch again and see if charging works.

Some users have noted that their issues appear to be hardware defects, which are being resolved by AppleCare using either replacement Watches or charging cables. However, one user noted that what appeared to be a hardware problem may have been caused by not removing protective plastic on the Watch’s rear charging surface, and was resolved by restarting the Watch. These types of problems, as well as “super quick” iPhone battery drain issues are in the process of being addressed by Apple, as explained below…

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AAPL’s numbers today are going to be huge, analysts predict: double-digit growth in all but iPads

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With Apple set to reveal its fiscal Q2 earnings after market close today, analysts are expecting double-digit year-over-year growth in all categories except iPads. Fortune‘s roundup says that analysts predict revenue of $56.84B, up a massive 24.5% year-over-year, and above the top end of Apple’s $52-55M guidance. Earnings per share is predicted to be $2.21, up a third on the previous year, with gross margin just shy of Apple’s top-end guidance at 39.4%.

Double-digit growth is expected in both iPhones and Macs. For iPhones, the prediction includes sales just under 56M, 32.6% higher than the same quarter last year, while Mac sales are forecasted to hit 4.7M, 13.6% up on last year …  Read more

Best Apple analyst posts AAPL Q1-Q2 estimates: Macs shine, iPads disappoint, iPhone has peaked, 3.8M Watches

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KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the few analysts we feel credible, has his Apple numbers ready for Q1 2015. The analyst projects iPhone, iPad, and Mac shipments to be 58.2 million, 10.1 million, and 4.5 million respectively. He also estimates that Apple Watch shipments are currently at 631,000 units.

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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

One Drop for iPhone & Apple Watch is a dashboard & community for managing diabetes

The iPhone has become a mature platform for health and fitness software in recent years, especially since iOS 8 introduced HealthKit and the dedicated Health app followed by ResearchKit and a new set of medical apps. Today a new app called One Drop is launching with an ambitious goal: to help people with diabetes live a happier and healthier life. Read more

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

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

Review: Aircharge Qi wireless charging case for iPhone 6 (and 5/5s)

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As a founding member of the Wires Are Evil club, I’ve been waiting impatiently for wide-area wireless charging, where any device on a desk or within a certain area of a room is wirelessly charged. That still seems a way off yet.

A good halfway house would be inductive charging powerful enough to work through the thickness of a desk, so your charging pads sit out of sight on the underside of the desk and your devices charge as soon as you put them down on the right place on the desk. Sadly today’s wireless charging standards are too weedy to work through even the thinnest of desks.

If you want wireless charging today, then, you’re going to have to have a visible wire to a charging pad, and place your device on that. Apple has so far limited wireless charging to the Apple Watch, but if you want it for your iPhone, you can buy a wireless charging case that allows you to use any compatible wireless charging pad. We’ve reviewed a number of these over the years, and I thought it was about time to try one for the iPhone 6

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