Review: Deliveries for Mac and iOS is the perfect way to track your online orders for the holidays

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With Cyber Monday coming up, a lot of us shop online, as opposed to going out to the store. It would be nice if there was an easy way to track all of your packages. Of course you could set up mail rules to filter any emails that contain the words, “the tracking number,” but all that does is put all of your emails into a folder without notifying you of any changes in the status of your package. After initially receiving the email most forget about it and never track their packages, which happens all the time to me causing me to not pick up my packages for weeks. Or you can be the type of person that can obsessively track your package by constantly pressing the refresh button hoping that there’s an update to no avail. Well there’s an app that can track your tracking numbers and keep you updated about the status of your order. Deliveries is powerful, handy and easily notifies you of your packages.

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Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 w/ bug fixes & WiFi improvements

Yosemite 10.10.1In addition to releasing iOS 8.1.1 for iPhone and iPad users, Apple has released OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 with bug fixes and performance improvements for Macs running the latest version of the desktop operating system. Mac users that have experienced WiFi performance issues running Yosemite should expect improvements with this bug fix release. The update is available for Macs running OS X Yosemite through the Updates tab of the Mac App Store.

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OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 build 14B23 seeded to developers

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Apple today seeded the second beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update to registered developers and participants in the AppleSeed program. The update is available for these users in the Software Update tab of the Mac App Store.

As with the first beta, Apple asks developers to focus their testing on WiFi-connectvitiy, Exchange accounts in the Mail app, and Notification Center. Apple has not indicated when OS X 10.10.1 will be released to the public, but the first point updates to OS X typically arrive within a month of the original version.

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Apple reportedly reverses decision on rejecting iOS 8 calculator widgets

Notification Center widgets in Today view

Update: Thompson has verified the policy change.

We learned yesterday from developer James Thompson that Apple had informed him that the calculator widget for his app PCalc, which had already been approved and even featured by the App Store, would have to remove the widget from the app to remain available for sale. The reason Apple gave, according to Thompson’s tweets, is that “widgets on iOS cannot perform any calculations” which his PCalc calculator widget obviously did, but it seems Apple has since reversed that decision, according to iMore and TechCrunch. TC reports that an Apple spokesperson has confirmed that PCalc’s widget can now remain as well as any other similar calculator widgets. Read more

Apple making iOS 8 Notification Center a bit less useful by banning calculator widgets

Pcalc-today-widgetDeveloper James Thomson of popular calculator app PCalc announced today via his Twitter account that Apple is forcing him to remove the app’s Today Widget due to a restriction that iOS widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Apple’s new Today Widgets feature in iOS 8, which allows developers to build functions into the system-wide Notification Center, does have some limitations that Apple outlines in developer documentation. For example, Apple encourages developers not to use Today Widgets for multistep tasks: If you want to create an app extension that enables a multistep task or helps users perform a lengthy task, such as uploading or downloading content, the Today extension point is not the right choice.” There doesn’t, however, appear to be specific references to apps that perform calculations in Apple’s developer guidelines. Read more

iOS 8 Roundup: The best weather widgets for Notification Center

iPhone 6 weather widgets

When Apple introduced iOS 7 with an overhauled design for the iPhone and iPad software, it replaced the weather widget showing current temperature and weekly forecast introduced with iOS 5 with a text summary of the day’s weather conditions. This weather summary includes an icon for the current weather condition as well as a text description like ‘mostly cloudy’, but it tends to give you the high and low temperatures of the day and not the current temperature like Apple’s former weather widget.

Luckily, iOS 8 allows developers to create third-party widgets including – you guessed it – weather widgets with current temperature and forecast. Since iOS 8 was released last week, I’ve been trying a variety of apps with included weather widgets, and below I’ll share with you what I’ve discovered so far.

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iOS 8 Roundup: The latest apps with Today widgets in Notification Center

Notification Center widgets in Today view

Apple introduced a new concept for developers with iOS 8 called Extensibility. This allows users to use services from apps throughout the system without actually being in the app itself, and widgets in Notification Center’s Today view are a major example of this feature in action.

Widgets from supported apps can be enabled by swiping down to the Today view in Notification Center, scrolling down to the “edit” button at the bottom, and tapping the “+” icon next to any supported apps. When you install a new app that supports a Today view widget, a badge will appear on the edit button to subtly notify you of the widget. You can also rearrange widgets as well as remove Apple’s own Notification Center widgets.

Many of these widgets present up-to-date information like the number of steps you’ve taken today, upcoming tasks or events on your third-party task management app or calendar, and much, much more. Below we’ll show you several of the latest apps offering widgets right now in Notification Center’s Today view. Read more

iPhone app Numerous previews iOS 8 Notification Center integration

We’ve already seen a few developers preview how new technologies introduced in iOS 8 make new features possible. Last month we saw 1Password’s iPhone app take advantage of the new access developers have to Touch ID and systemwide Extensions with their iOS 8 beta, and a number of health and fitness app developers have discussed their excitement for Apple’s new HealthKit tool. Today the developers of the fairly new iPhone app Numerous have previewed in a blog post their plans to include an app widget for presenting numbers from the app in the new Today view in Notification Center coming to the iPhone and iPad in iOS 8… Read more

Apple China denies location tracking claims: we’re ‘deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers’

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This past week, Chinese State TV called the iPhone a “national security concern” because of its location tracking capabilities. The iPhone’s operating system utilizes location for several applications, including Maps and Weather. iOS 7 also introduced a new feature that utilizes a customer’s location in order to provide improved traffic and route information. Now, Apple has quickly responded via a concrete and comprehensive message on its website for China. The message is advertised on the homepage, and is a direct response to the allegations from China State TV.

Apple denies the claims by stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.

Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers: “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.” Apple goes on to list specific work it does for individual services in order to protect customer privacy.

On Maps:

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Apple considered ditching iconic Apple Menu for Control Center in OS X Yosemite

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In addition to the comprehensive redesign, OS X Yosemite could have made a significant change to how the Mac operating system functioned since it originally shipped just over thirty years ago. The above image from a source shows a March build of OS X Yosemite that featured a Control Center panel. The panel did not end up shipping in the first beta of Yosemite and was not announced on the WWDC stage last week, but Apple definitely considered including it.

In fact, developers have located numerous code strings in the first Yosemite build that confirms Apple’s testing of an OS X variant of Control Center:

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Skype for iPhone gets ground-up redesign; top designer talks future iPad & iOS 8 updates

A few years ago, Skype was the rockstar of the messaging world, but now with smartphones and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, Skype’s iPhone feature-set and application have begun to stagnate. However, the Skype development team has not been standing still. The Microsoft-owned company is revealing today that it is nearing the launch of a completely revamped Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch. I met with lead Skype designer Guilherme Schneider last week for an exclusive preview and an interview regarding the new software, and the application certainly seems impressive…

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