Changing the conversation: How Apple could modernize iMessage to be more powerful and easy to use

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At this year’s WWDC, Apple devoted a lot of onstage attention to a revamp of the Notes app in both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. One of my favorite additions is inline web link previews. Just paste a URL, and Notes will turn the link into a preview bubble with a thumbnail for the page, as well as a title and description.

This got me thinking about the possibility of applying the same functionality to other apps. The most obvious place to start, in my opinion, is Messages. I’m constantly sending and receiving links through iMessage throughout the day, whether it’s to a web page, an image, or even just a tweet. Having to flip back and forth between Safari and Messages just to see what the link I’ve been sent is removes me from the conversation and slows down my workflow.

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Readdle debuts Spark, a highly customizable email app for iPhone & Apple Watch

Spark

Readdle today released a new addition to its giant collection of productivity apps for iOS with the debut of Spark. Spark is described in short as “fast and smart email for your iPhone” while its core features include tons of customization options and intelligent notification and filtering options that help take the stress out of email. Though Spark is only the latest third party email app to land on the iPhone, it is the first solid email client I’ve used on the Apple Watch so far. How does it compare to Apple’s own Mail app in this case? Read more

Apple posts official support doc with temporary workarounds for Messages bug

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Earlier this week a bug was discovered that centered around a string of text that when received via a message would cause your iPhone Springboard to crash and the Messages app to crash continuously. At the time, Apple said it was aware of the bug and working to push an update to fix it. In the meantime however, the company tonight has published an official support document with a few suggestions on how to temporarily work around the issue.

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How to fix the iOS text message bug causing iPhone crashing/reboot (U: Apple statement, watches too)

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Update: The Guardian notes that the bug also crashes the Apple Watch when you try to reply to a message.

Today news is flying around regarding an iOS bug that causes the Messages app to crash and iPhones to reboot when a certain string of text is received. There isn’t an official fix from Apple yet, but there are a few workarounds and fixes that you can do in the meantime before Apple patches the bug.

Here are a few fixes that users have discovered and sent in: Read more

iOS bug causes Messages to crash, iPhone to reboot when a certain text is received

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Update: Apple has issued a statement to us on the matter

A newly found bug surrounding iOS and Messages has emerged that causes the app to continuously crash when a certain text is received. If the text is received while the phone is on the lock screen, it also causes your iPhone to reboot without any notice or explanation. This is obviously a very big problem for iPhone users, especially those with mischievous friends and enemies.

How to fix the iOS text message bug causing iPhone crash/reboot

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iMessage “being taken over by spammers,” accounts for almost a third of mobile spam

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Security company Cloudmark claims that almost a third of mobile spam messages are now being sent via iMessage thanks to the ease with which they can be sent from a Mac, reports Wired.

Thanks to one particularly aggressive campaign from a junk mailer, [iMessage spam] accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages […]

“It’s almost like a spammer’s dream,” says Cloudmark’s Tom Landesman. “With four lines of code, using Applescripts, you can tell your Mac to send message to whoever they want.”

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Apple releases Yosemite Developer Preview 4 with redesigned iTunes 12

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As expected, Apple has released OS X 10.10 Yosemite Developer Preview 4. It is available via the Mac App Store Software Update tab for developers running earlier versions of Yosemite. Apple has also released a revamped iTunes 12 to developers (full gallery here). Previous updates previously brought various design tweaks and feature enhancements, and Preview 4 is likely to do the same thing. Yosemite launches this fall with updated Mail, Messages, and Calendar apps, in addition to a system-wide redesign and improved integration with iOS Devices. We’ll be updating this post as new changes are discovered, and you can let us know what you find at tips@9to5mac.com.

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iOS 8 builds in the technologies Apple needs for an iWatch

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iOS 8 adds several important enhancements to the iPhone and iPad, such as improved notifications, health-tracking, and a more advanced camera application, but the new operating system’s most significant feature may be the groundwork technologies for a future Apple wearable device that integrates deeply with the iPhone.

No matter if it is called the “iWatch,” “iBand,” “iPod,” or something else entirely, a wrist-worn Apple wearable device will likely be announced in October, and the software it will run will set the scope of its capabilities. Besides the new functionality for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 8 includes many new wireless protocols, applications, and features that open the door to several capabilities for a wearable device.

Let’s take a look at how each major iOS 8 feature plays directly into Apple’s ambitions for a wearable computer, below.

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Apple reportedly acknowledges hijacked text message problem

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Adam Pash, former lead editor of Lifehacker, reports that Apple has acknowledged a problem we’ve heard reported before: text messages continue to be converted to iMessages and forwarded to an Apple ID even when that ID is no longer in use. This means that any text messages sent from an iPhone are reported as delivered while actually disappearing into the ether.

[The AppleCare rep] explained:

  1. This is a problem a lot of people are facing.
  2. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it.
  3. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat …

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Digitimes: iWatch circuit board samples being delivered to Apple in preparation for September reveal

Concept: jivaldi.com

Concept: jivaldi.com

On Tuesday we reported that Apple was planning to reveal its entry into the wearable market in August or September. Now a new Digitimes report corroborates that timeframe. According to the new report, three different firms have supplied Apple with samples of flexible circuit boards that will be integrated into the iWatch for a fall release.

The companies involved are Flexium Interconnect, Career Technology, and Zhen Ding Technology Holding, according to Digitimes. Zhen Ding Technology Holding is currently Apple’s largest supplier of such parts and is reportedly planning to increase production in order to meet increased demand for iPhone and iPad circuitry.

As with all Digitimes reports, it’s probably best to take this with a grain of salt given their less-than-stellar track record. Read more

Mavericks How-to: Block contacts in FaceTime and iMessage on OS X

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With the highly anticipated update to Mavericks 10.9.2, users gained the ability to block contacts in FaceTime and iMessage. This has been a long-awaited addition, since iOS 7 received this feature five months ago. If you previously blocked people in iOS 7, the block list syncs over from your iOS devices to your Mac through iCloud. Make sure Documents and Data is turned on in order for that to occur.

Now with Mavericks, you are able to block certain phone numbers from iMessaging or FaceTiming you without needing to get up and grab your iOS device…

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Apple promoting its own stock iOS apps for popular App Store search queries

Apple appears to have recently started promoting some of its own stock iOS apps on the App Store for search terms that would have previously displayed results from third-party developers first. As noted by MacStories, when searching for terms such as “browser”, “web”, “SMS”, “Movies”, “cloud, “Siri”, “internet”, and others on the App Store, Apple is now promoting some of its own apps and services such as Safari, iTunes, Messages, iCloud, and Siri as the first results.

The result for Apple’s apps aren’t typical App Store listings but instead provide users with a brief description and link to either “Learn more” or open the app. Clicking Learn More takes users to Apple’s website in Safari for more information on the app, while some listings, such as iTunes, allow users to tap “Visit iTunes Store” and automatically launch the iOS iTunes app. Read more