Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 to developers

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Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 3 build number 12A4318c to developers for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update is available in Software Update using the over-the-air update tool. Apple says the new beta brings various bug fixes and improvements. We’ll be updating this post as changes are found. You can send us what you find at tips@9to5Mac.com.

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Hands-on: 1Password beta highlights iOS 8’s Touch ID & Extensions APIs (video)

Besides new user features such as health tracking, user interface optimizations, and improved messaging, iOS 8 introduces several new APIs for developers that will result in improved App Store apps that tie even deeper into the system. Two of the most notable API additions in iOS 8 are Touch ID and Extensions. The Touch ID feature will allow developers to design applications that can use the iPhone 5s’s fingerprint scanner, and Extensions will allow them to integrate their own software into share sheets within other apps.

1Password, a popular password management program, is testing an updated version of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch application that taps into both of these APIs. We’ve gone hands-on with the beta version—which developer AgileBits stresses is still a pre-release build with functionality and interface elements that can and will change—and both features feel right at home in a third-party app. You can find tours of both the Touch ID and Extensions features below:

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Opinion: Why the new $50 iPod pricing tiers probably won’t make it to Apple’s lucrative iPhones and iPads

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Earlier today Apple made a significant change to the iPod touch lineup. Aside from a few small hardware improvements to the lowest-end model, the company has—for the first time—started to close the price gap between storage tiers.

When the iPod touch first launched, there was a $70 gap between the 8 GB and 16 GB models. Jumping from 16 GB to 32 GB would cost an extra $100. However, with the launch of the second-generation iPod touch, the gap between the lowest two tiers increased to $100, and it’s stayed there ever since.

Until today, that is. Now, for the first time since the debut of the first iPhone in 2007, there is a mere $50 gap between all three capacities of an iOS device. Is this a sign that Apple is ready to give in and drop the ridiculous $100 pricing tiers on future big ticket premium devices when the actual Flash storage and controllers only cost Apple a few bucks? Or will we continue to see a $100 price gap between iPhones when the next-gen model is revealed this fall?

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Apple adds cameras and colors to now $199 16GB iPod touch, drops 32/64GB to $249/$299

screen-shot-2014-06-26-at-13-33-35Apple has updated its Online Store with a new $199 iPod touch, discontinuing the frontside-only $229 iPod touch in the process. The new 16 GB iPod touch, which ships today, is now almost identical to the 32 GB and 64 GB models, including a rear camera. However, it seems that the $9 loop accessory is not bundled with the $199 model. Customers wanting the loop will have to purchase it separately. Incidentally, this means that the 16 GB SKU is now available in the same color choices as the more expensive sizes, no longer limited to only Space Gray.

The prices for the 32 GB and 64 GB model have also fallen. The 32 GB model now costs $249 (down from $299) and the 64 GB model costs $299 (from $399), a significant $100 drop.

These new price points aren’t particularly shocking or unprecedented since we have seen better prices for both models within the past couple of months. Staples ran a 1-day sale that yielded the 32GB iPod touch for $224 and the 64GB iPod touch for $299. Also, the new retail prices have prompted Apple to drop refurbished prices. The 32GB model is now $199 (down from $219) and the 64GB model is now $239 (down from $299). The 16GB model without a rear camera is now just $149 refurbished (down from $189). As always, make sure you are following 9to5Toys to keep up with the best prices for everything Apple.

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New, cheaper, iPod touch model rumored to launch next week

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Multiple sources are indicating that Apple will launch a new variant of the iPod touch next week. iGen.fr is saying that the same source who leaked information about the early 2013 16 GB 5th generation iPod touch is now saying yet another model will launch in the near future. However, their report does not go into specifics about particular changes.

MacRumors believes that the new device will be a modified version of the current 16 GB iPod touch at a lower price point. According to the site, the low-end Touch will reclaim a back-facing camera and go on sale for $199. Compared to the current 16 GB Touch, this supposed new model would both be $30 cheaper and feature two cameras.

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Apple seeds iOS 8 beta 2 to developers alongside new Apple TV OS beta

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Two weeks following the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference and the release of the first beta build of iOS 8 to developers, Apple has provided iOS 8 beta 2 to developers. The new release is available over-the-air in iOS 8’s Settings menu, and it’s available for supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

iOS 8 officially launches this fall and includes several new features for both consumers and developers alike. iOS Device users will experience a new Health app for integrating health and fitness data, improvements to Safari, enhanced Messages features, design tweaks in Mail, and significant changes to notifications, photo management, and the keyboard. Developers will now be able to create third-party keyboards, integrate the Touch ID fingerprint scanner into apps, and integrate third-party home automation products with iOS.

We’ll be updating this post (below) with new features in iOS 8 beta 2 as they are discovered, and you can share your findings with us via email at tips@9to5mac.com. 

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Photos: Purported physical mockups for new iPad Air show recessed volume rocker & Touch ID

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, photos of physical mockups (dummy units) purportedly representing the next-generation full-sized iPad Air have surfaced. This comes after several weeks of iPhone 6 dummy shots that solely differ by camera angles. These units are generally created by case makers, so they may have some inaccuracies. Nonetheless, here’s what whoever made these physical mockups is expecting based on whatever information they obtained from the Apple supply chain. As you can see in the image above, the next Air appears to be nearly identical in design to the current Air. More images below:

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Apple Store employees switching from iPod touch to iPhone 5s for EasyPay POS system

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Apple is in the process of updating the iPod touch units used by Apple Store employees as a mobile point-of-sale system to the iPhone 5s, according to sources familiar with the roll out. 

Apple first started using its iPod touch as an “EasyPay” system for employees in its retail stores back in 2009 and currently uses 4th gen iPod touch or previous models for staff. It uses a point-of-sale attachment for the iPod touch that adds a magnetic stripe reader, barcode scanning functionality, and more. It’s not clear the exact motivation behind Apple’s move to the iPhone after long using the iPod touch, but the device does provide a few advantages.  Read more

Another iPhone 6 mockup shown off in new photos, now in Space Gray

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More images of an iPhone 6 mockup have recently been published via NoWhereElse. At this point, publishing these dummy models has become somewhat of a daily ritual, but they are definitely interesting to look at.

If it means anything, these are definitely the most detailed iPhone 6 dummy models that we’ve seen to date. Like previous mockups, there’s nothing special to see here, but if these models are designed around the rumored specifications, it may give us an idea of what’s coming down the line later this year.

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