Developers begin seeing iOS 6 hits in App Store application usage logs

Last week, we revealed Apple’s decision to drop Google Maps in iOS 6 in exchange for its own in-house solution branded simply as “Maps.” At the time, we told you many versions of iOS 6 have been floating around Apple’s campus, which indicated Apple is likely on track for a mid-June unveiling at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference. Shortly after, references to an upcoming iOS 6 beta were found in the code strings of the iCloud.com beta website.

One app developer informed us today that it has recently noticed users running iOS 6 using its app. The developer observed the “iOS6″ string when collecting the OS version from analytics software. It has not been able to trace exactly when the iOS 6 users started appearing, but it was sometime over the past week. Other developers that we spoke to began seeing hits in late April. There is a good chance that this means Apple is amidst iOS 6 compatibility testing with higher-profile applications from the App Store. The process of next-generation versions of iOS appearing in developer usage logs occurred last year too.

Although Apple’s new Maps app and its 3D mode will likely be pushed as a major feature of iOS 6, we noted previously that anyone anticipating major home screen changes or Android-style widgets will likely be disappointed. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was preparing to unveil an upgrade to iCloud at WWDC that would include new sharing and commenting features for photos, as well as video syncing capabilities that will likely be the Video Stream feature we told you about last year.
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Apple to debut new Photo sharing social Network at WWDC, reason Schiller quit Instagram?

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is about to unveil an upgraded iCloud service at WWDC in June. Citing the usual sources “familiar with the matter,” the report also claimed the features would include new photo-sharing capabilities for sharing and commenting on sets of photos. It also mentioned the ability to sync video to iCloud, which sounds a lot like a Video Stream feature that we mentioned last year. Perhaps this is the reason Phil Schiller no longer needed Instagram?

The new features, expected to be announced at Apple’s world-wide developer conference beginning June 11, will allow iCloud users to share sets of photos with other iCloud users and to comment on them, these people said… Apple is trying to better compete in the red-hot market for photo sharing, dominated by fast-growing online services such as Facebook Inc. and mobile apps like Instagram—which Facebook has agreed to acquire for $1 billion.

We revealed last September that Apple was readying its Find My Friends network. At the time, we reported references to video streams that indicated Apple was likely considering a video syncing/stream feature similar to Photo Stream.

According to the report, Apple is “rolling out new features cautiously” as it worries about the cost of storing large amounts of data, but is also considering increasing the maximum number of photos and albums users can store: Read more

Foxconn employee manning this booth likely doesn’t know when Apple will start selling the next iPhone

A Japanese TV crew approached a booth at the Foxconn plant in the suburbs of Taiyuan in Shanxi Province and asked a woman manning the booth about the 18,000 people Foxconn is recruiting for the next iPhone (video here at 7:10 via Macotakara). She said something about “being built for June.”

That plant is hiring many workers (and facing strikes from current workers) for iPhone production, according to local reports.

While she seems to imply that Foxconn is ramping up for a June production or release (or it may not), we are not convinced this is a credible source with knowledge of Apple’s plans.

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15% off Apple iTunes Gift Cards at Best Buy

From 9to5Toys.com:

Ending this weekend, Best Buy takes 15% off all Apple iTunes Gift Cards. With free shipping, that’s the best deal we could find on these cards and the first time we’ve seen them discounted since June, when Target took 20% off in-store only. After the discount, a…

$15 gift card costs $12.75.

$50 gift card costs $42.50.

$100 gift card costs $85, among others (3 pack of $10 for $25).

They’re good for music, videos, iBooks and iOS/Mac app purchases.

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