Apple introduces tool for deregistering iMessage, even if you no longer have an iPhone

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Apple has added a page to its website for deregistering and turning off iMessage for users that have switched from an iPhone to an Android device or other non-Apple smartphone. The new web-based tool arrives after Apple faced a lawsuit over Android users having undelivered text messages from other iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users still using iMessage. Read more

Retail section of Apple.com updated with new design inspired by iOS 7

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Apple quietly updated the retail section of its website today with a new look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Where the previous version of these pages used content boxes, borders, textured backgrounds, and gradients, the new page instead utilizes ample whitespace and thinner typefaces.

The change is probably best illustrated on the section’s home page, where images previously constrained by content boxes now fill the entire page. On the “Learn” page, buttons with heavy gradients have been replaced by thinly-outlined, lighter versions of the previous design. Gradient-filled headers have disappeared from every page, now replaced by unadorned text.

Oddly, the “Make a Reservation” button that allowed users to quickly create a Genius Bar appointment has been removed from the site’s navigation. Appointments can only be made by navigating to the Genius Bar page and clicking a link in the first paragraph of that page’s content. The Concierge page has not been updated to the new design yet.

You’ll find a bunch of before-and-after comparisons and take our poll on the new design below:

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Review: PopCalc, the calculator that thinks it’s a spreadsheet (with Promo)

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I love it when an app developer takes one of my minor grumbles and comes up with a simple solution. PopCalc is one of those.

There are times when I have a few sums to do, and the standard calculator app is a bit too dumb, while creating a spreadsheet in Numbers feels like overkill. What I really want is a cross between the two: the simplicity of a calculator, but some of the functionality of a spreadsheet. And that’s exactly what PopCalc aims to deliver …  Read more

Apple website mistake reveals alternative iOS 7 icons, with tweaks to Weather, Passbook, and more (Update: removed)

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UPDATE: Apple’s site has reverted to the current icons present in iOS 7 beta. 

Apple has quietly changed some of the icons on its official iOS 7 website, making notable changes to the Weather, Passbook, and Reminders apps. iOS 7′s icons, which have been subject to much scrutiny and disapproval from various designers, have been one of the largest complaints about iOS 7 so far.

The icons, which can currently only be viewed on Apple’s site using a mobile device, most notably show a completely redesigned weather app icon, ditching the clouds and sun found in the current iOS 7 beta, in favor of the live temperature, something users have been waiting for for years.

Phil Schiller previously noted on Twitter that showing live weather on the iOS home screen would “waste battery,” but this is an improvement Apple has been working on for some time.

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German court rules Apple sharing customer data violates privacy laws

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From Apple’s Privacy Policy

Bloomberg reports that the Berlin Regional Court in Germany has told Apple to change its policies for managing customer’s data on its website after ruling that Apple’s terms for data use go against German laws. According to a statement posted by a German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VSBV), the courts have ruled that Apple cannot request “global consent” for use of a customer’s data” without informing the user of where and how the data will be used. It will also no longer be able to use German users’ data to “promote location-based services and products” or deliver the data to third-parties for advertising purposes:  Read more

Kickfolio allows you to demo iOS apps in a browser

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Just launched this week, Kickfolio is a new HTML5-based platform that allows developers to test and share builds of their iOS apps in the browser. Developers simply upload a zipped version of their app (no SDKs or changing code), and the service spits out a link to a private test page displaying an interactive HTML5 and CSS version of the app controllable by mouse and keyboard in portrait or landscape. Testers will also be able to leave feedback and interact with testers in a comment section on the page. Kickfolio has an example of the Angry Bots iOS app from Unity Technologies on its website here.

A pro version of the service also includes a feature to embed apps that allows users to insert the interactive apps in press releases, websites, and elsewhere. The company has a 15-day free trial available, but is also offering pricing ranging from $50 a month for one to two apps to $300 a month for unlimited apps. You can learn more and create an account on the company’s website here.

A demo from Kickfolio of an iPhone app running inside a browser on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is below:

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New 9to5 Feature: Asides

One of the biggest problems that we, as technology writers, face is choosing exactly what to write about on the site. What specifically is worth covering, and what should we leave for other pubs/Twitter/Facebook/Google Plus, etc.? We often pass on the smaller stories or the ones that do not directly relate to our core mission, even though we find them valuable or interesting. We do not want to stray too far from our core idea.

Nevertheless, we have long been after a way to cover the smaller stories, but more importantly give a forum to discuss these general topics, especially if they are interesting. Now that we have 9to5Forums, we have come up with something we call “Asides.” The idea is to bring together a “linked list” type of format coupled with gratuitous linking and the PandoTicker or AllthingsD Voices method of spreading the best of the Web.

Here are the types of topics we will cover on Asides:

  1. Mid-minor, but still interesting, Apple/Google news, tips, rumors—especially where there is not much to add from the source.
  2. General technology news covering Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. (if it is big and relates to our readers).
  3. Sillier stuff like Joy of Tech cartoons or Reddit-type memes.
  4. Deals or new gear from 9to5Toys.com that relate to readership needs desires.
  5. Interesting posts on 9to5Forums.com that catch our eyes.
  6. Quick observations that we would normally Tweet or retweet.
  7. App promo codes or hardware giveaways.
  8. Author news like “Mark will be writing/tweeting from Poland this week.”
  9. Minor site news like outages or minor updates.
  10. Anything interesting we do not find deserving of a full story.

We think we have found a new way to present these minor stories in a manner that has not been done before. Asides will appear chronologically on the website interspersed between regular posts (and in feeds and social media).

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However, you will only see the title on the web site, and it will be smaller than a full-sized story. We are working with WordPress on a way so these can open inline, but —for now— clicking on an Aside link will open a new page.

Our expectation is to post 20 or more of these per day. We hope you like Asides and find them useful. Read more