With Apple’s new Wallet app in iOS 9, a revamped version of the old Passbook app with a name that better reflects Apple Pay integration, Apple will let marketers send out dynamic offers triggered by location or a user’s interests through iAd. Apple noted the feature on its blog for advertisers explaining that “marketers can reach loyal customers with specific messages that reflect the customers’ interests, or convert a new customer by presenting a reason to try something new.” Read more
The first time I picked up Spigen’s overly-bulky Tough Armor case for the iPhone 6 Plus, I knew there was going to be a major new consideration when reviewing iPhone 6 Plus cases: the quantity and shape of case materials added to the already large device’s back and sides. Apple’s designers succeeded in crafting a really big iPhone that somehow still felt thin, smooth and comfortable enough in large hands — when bare — but Tough Armor’s hard edges and chunky frame made the 6 Plus feel awkward in even a large adult male’s hands and pockets.
Slimmer solutions were needed for the iPhone 6 Plus, and today, we’re looking at three of them: Griffin’s Reveal ($20, available here for $13), STM’s Dux ($30, available for $30), and Verus’s Damda Slide ($40, available here for $24). Reveal and Dux are highly similar to one another, differing mostly in texturing and corner protection, while Damda Slide is like Tough Armor, only more thoughtfully constructed and useful. It’s somewhat rare in that it offers “playthrough” or full-time access to the iPhone’s screen and side controls, while also including a wallet that can store three cards behind the iPhone. Most iPhone wallets require a large front flap that adds thickness and makes instant screen access inconvenient.
China UnionPay is the largest bank card provider in the region, but the App Store has not supported the payment method up to now. Apple has announced that this inconvenience has now been resolved with customers in China now able to link their Apple ID with debit or credit cards from UnionPay.
The addition should help expand the reach of the App Store to even more customers, allowing Apple to bolster its number credit cards on file ahead of an Apple Pay launch in the country. Code references have already been found that show the iPhone 6 NFC element is ready to support China UnionPay purchases.
Blockchain, the most popular Bitcoin wallet app, has become the latest casualty of Apple’s apparent crackdown on Bitcoin apps. The app was removed from the App Store yesterday without explanation.
Apple had previously removed BitPak and Coinbase, leaving Blockchain the only remaining Bitcoin wallet app. Blockchain had been in the store since April 2012, and has around 120,000 users, and developer Nicolas Cary is accusing Apple of having an ulterior motive for its removal … Read more
Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome on the desktop. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.
Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.
Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.
The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.
The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.
Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today:
We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.
Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.
Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:
-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.
-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.
-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.
-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.
Google’s full press release below: Read more
We have already brought you roundups of the best Lightning products and iPad mini accessories we could find, but there are still a lot of iPhone 5 specific accessories, mods, and attachements that didn’t make our past gift guides. We didn’t want to include any products that you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on before Christmas, so we’re only including products promising to ship in December. Below you’ll find our roundup of the best mods, cases, cables & docks available now and specifically designed for the iPhone 5: Read more
With Apple’s $356 million purchase of mobile security firm AuthenTec, for its nearly 200 patents covering fingerprint and sensor technologies, there has been a lot of talk about how Apple might integrate the technology into future devices. Adding to the rumors are recent reports that Apple signed a deal with Sydney, Australia-based Microlatch to develop NFC apps using its fingerprint authentication tech. Today, we get a look at some possible areas Apple might be exploring with the technology thanks to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by Patently Apple.
As highlighted in the image above, Apple’s patent covers a hidden color-matched or transparent “window”—next to the iPhone’s home button in this case—that could reveal “components by causing the electronic window to change opacity, allowing the components to suddenly appear as from out of nowhere.” In other words, Apple could build a biometric sensor or camera into a device’s bezel but have it remain invisible to the user—at least when not in use. One embodiment of the invention described using fingerprint tech during the unlocking process (pictured right):
In Apple’s patent FIGS. 12 and 13 shown below we see a biometric sensor in context with a fingerprint reader which is initially concealed behind a closed window on an iPhone. Upon the iPhone’s activation in a locked state, a lock screen 160 may be displayed requesting a user to slide a finger across the display to unlock the device. The electronic device may request user authentication to access the handheld device. The device may then display an instruction screen requesting that a user provide biometric data via their fingerprint which will be read by the fingerprint reader.
The patent also covers similar methods using face recognition and eye recognition rather than fingerprint sensors; the invention would also not be limited to unlocking devices. The patent continued by describing e-commerce and wallet applications, which would line up with the earlier reports regarding Microlatch: Read more
In a recent story about growing concerns among app developers who want better ways to promote their apps in the App Store, The Wall Street Journal published quotes from an interview with Apple’s Vice President for Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller about the “tremendous amount” of work Apple does to help new apps get discovered. Schiller also talked about how things will improve with the redesigned App Store, Facebook integration, and new user tracking tools for developers in iOS 6: