Polls: What are your first impressions of iOS 8 and Yosemite?

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Now you’ve had a chance to catch up on our coverage of the main new features of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and seen our hands-on videos (iOS 8 overview, OS X Yosemite overviewiOS 8 Spotlight and iOS 8 interactive notifications), we’d like to hear your first impressions of each.

Whether you’re blown away by all the new features, disappointed by things you wanted but didn’t get, or just a bit underwhelmed, here’s your chance to let us know.

We’ve summarized the features Apple has chosen to highlight, and there are separate polls for each platform …  Read more

Hands-on with the new Notification Center and Spotlight in OS X Yosemite (Video)

Two of the great updated features in OS X Yosemite are improved versions of both Notification Center and Spotlight, both of which have become staples on OS X. Both of these features have received substantial updates, dropping their old user interfaces entirely, and gaining quite a few new features.

In this video, we’ll take you on a little tour of the new interfaces and their features.

Gallery: First look at iOS 8 with Health app, Notification Center widgets, and more

Earlier today Apple announced the next version of its iOS software, iOS 8, during the WWDC keynote today. Below you’ll find a gallery of all the new bells and whistles in the latest operating system. If you’ve got some screenshots you’d like to send us, you can send them to tips@9to5mac.com.

The new software includes features like iOS-to-Mac continuity, quick-reply for first- and third-party apps, a new predictive text keyboard, changes to the Mail appHealthKit framework and Health app, Family Sharing features, new Photos cloud storage, an updated iCloud pricing scheme, new commands for Siri, App Store changes including beta distribution, a Touch ID API, third-party keyboards, new iCloud management and development features, a home automation framework, and even support for a brand new programming language.

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Opinion: When will iOS evolve beyond the static grid homescreen?

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Now that we’ve had our first look at at least an early take on iOS 8, what stands out most to me is how little the basic appearance of the iOS homescreen has changed over the years. On the left is iOS 1, on the right the recently-leaked iOS 8 homescreen.

Seven years apart, yet still essentially identical in form: a grid of static icons. Looked at in one way, that’s incredibly impressive: that a user-interface that worked in 2007 still works today. But it does make me wonder at what point the iOS homescreen will move beyond this format?  Read more

iOS 8: Apple considers Notification Center + Messages tweaks, removing Game Center app

iOS 8 App Tweaks

Besides adding new Maps, Healthbook, and iTunes Radio applications, Apple plans to enhance and refine the functionality of some of its current pre-bundled applications and features for iOS 8. Here is a list, provided by sources, of some of the refinements Apple is considering for select applications and system functions in iOS 8:

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How to change OS X banner notification duration using Terminal

Notification Banner

I’ve recently found myself wishing there was a space between banners and alerts with OS X’s notification system. Alert style notifications that require manually dismissing can be rather annoying, but quick banner notifications often fly by before I’ve had time to glance at the information. It turns out despite not having a toggle in the system preferences, a little Terminal code shared by OS X Daily allows you to toggle the duration down to the second…

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Apple seems to have acquired Cue personal assistant app, would fit well with Siri, Notification Center

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Apple seems to have acquired Cue, a former personal assistant application for the iPhone. TechCrunch says that the purchase price was in the realm of $40 million, and AppleInsider initially reported the rumor this morning. Cue’s service shut down yesterday, leading to the acquisition chatter. The company gave its “sincerest thanks” to users, but did not provide detail behind the closure…

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A fresh look at iOS 7 on the iPad [Gallery]

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Control Center iPad iOS 7, Game Center and Notification Center below

It appears that some developers have been posting iOS 7 on iPad (emulator) usage shots on the web. Aside from Apple’s somewhat hidden official images, there aren’t any other official images of the iPad running iOS 7 that are public. We’d heard even before the keynote that Apple was behind in releasing iOS 7 for iPad and as such initial iOS 7 betas are only for iPhones and iPod touches.

You’ll note the flashlight option on the Control Center which is probably just a leftover since the iPad doesn’t yet have a Flash.

Reader Phillip describes how to get iOS 7 iPad emulator running in Xcode 5: Read more

Apple unlocks full Notification Center access & much more for Bluetooth LE devices in iOS 7

Apple-Bluetooth-01Something new in iOS 7 that hasn’t been getting much coverage is the improvements Apple is making to Core Bluetooth for better integration with Bluetooth LE accessories. Apple is making a lot of changes to its Bluetooth APIs in iOS 7 that will not only allow your iOS devices to work with more Bluetooth LE devices, it will also introduce new features for everything from time to notifications, keyboards, and stereo sound.

Enhance your apps with support for new types of accessories. Location beacons are a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence. Location beacons will provide apps a whole new level of location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores. Other new features include the ability to setup and configure Wi-Fi accessories, such as AirPlay speakers, directly from iOS.

On top of the new location beacons, we already know about a few new Bluetooth improvements in iOS 7 including the new framework for hardware game controllers, and the AirDrop file sharing feature. However, there are also some big improvements to APIs coming that will make your Bluetooth devices work seamlessly with iOS 7… Read more

iOS 7 incorporates Google Now-type functionality into the Notification Center

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Apple has added Google Now style functionality into the Notification Center in iOS7 with a feature called Today, using information from your calendar appointments and knowledge of your frequently-visited locations to proactively offer you information and advice that it thinks will be relevant.

The Google Now app first launched on Android was made available on iOS back in April as an update to Google’s existing search app. Apple  has been gradually distancing itself from Google, most notably by replacing Google Maps with Apple Maps – hopefully with those lessons now firmly learned …  Read more