September 30, 2015

ios-9-features

Following the release of iOS 9.0.2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch this morning, Apple has closed the signing window for iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9.0. This means that users can no longer downgrade from  a more recent version of the operating system to either of those older builds.

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iOS 9.0.2 fixes lockscreen privacy bug that allowed access to photos and contacts

With the release of iOS 9.0.2 this morning Apple has fixed a flaw in the lockscreen that allowed anyone to access photos and contacts without actually unlocking the phone. The bug was widely publicized on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Apple highlighted the change as the only security fix in today’s release in a support document published this evening. The patch was pushed out quickly, just one week after the last update, and included several other fixes for problems with iMessage, iCloud backups, and more.

APPLE-TV-4-IFIXIT-hero

The electronics repair site iFixit says that after it published its detailed teardown of the upcoming Apple TV hardware, Apple reached out to say that the company had violated the developer agreement and revoked the account that was used to obtain the device.

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Skype for Mac now supports Split View on OS X El Capitan

Just in time for Apple’s official release of OS X El Capitan, Microsoft is out with a new version of Skype with features only available on the new operating system. Available in Skype 7.13 for Mac, the messaging and video chatting app now supports Apple’s new Split View feature for running Skype side-by-side with another full screen app. 

MediaTek outs two new SDKs for building HomeKit accessories with its chips

MediaTek is today launching support for Apple’s new HomeKit platform for iPhone-connected home automation accessories with new SDKs for two of the company’s systems-on-a-chip (SoC) products. That means that manufacturers using the MediaTek chips can now easily support HomeKit for controlling products from iOS apps and Siri.

MediaTek, a pioneering fabless semiconductor company and a market leader in cutting-edge systems-on-chip (SoC), today announced it has released two software development kits (SDKs) that support Apple HomeKit. Apple HomeKit is a framework built into iOS that enables secure home control from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch and lets home accessories work together in smart ways.

The two new SDKs support MediaTek’s MT7688 product, a chip that manufacturers are using for high performance home accessories like webcams and wireless speakers, and the MT7687, a chip being used for lower power Wi-Fi devices like garage doors, power outlets, and thermostats.

Apple officially launched the HomeKit platform back in June with the first batch of products going up for preorder. Since then, other companies have announced incoming support for the platform including hardware bridges that will allow popular existing home automation platforms like Philips’ Hue lights connect to Apple’s framework. Yesterday, 9to5Mac exclusively reported Philips’ HomeKit bridge is planned for release early next month. 

To get a feel for HomeKit in the wild, check out our review of one of the first products to hit the market with HomeKit support, iHome’s $40 SmartPlug.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.24.07

Apple has officially released OS X El Capitan for the Mac, adding some new improvements as well as bringing parity with changes in iOS 9, released two weeks ago. OS X El Capitan (version 10.11), can be installed on any Mac that runs OS X Yosemite: simply download the free update from the Mac App Store. The release does not feature anything radically new — like the major visual overhaul that came last year — but there are new features as well as a strong focus on overall performance and stability improvements.

Here’s what’s new in Apple’s latest version of the Mac operating system …

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ios 9 1 beta 3

Just one week after the last beta was pushed out to developers, Apple has released a third version of the iOS 9.1 beta to software makers for testing. Like the two previous builds, the new beta comes with a handful of new emoji and, as of the last beta, an option for disabling contact photos in the Messages app.

Update: This build has also been seeded to users on the public beta.

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IMG_1297

With OS X El Capitan releasing today, Apple has also updated iOS to version 9.0.2 with an over-the-air software update. This bug fix update marks the second release since iOS 9.0 launched earlier this month.  expand full story

Popular Reeder 3 RSS client hits the Mac App Store with redesigned themes + OS X El Capitan features

Timed cleverly with the launch of OS X El Capitan, the popular RSS client Reeder is officially out with version 3.0 today with full support for OS X 10.11. As we first saw in Reeder 3’s public beta, the latest version of the feed reader includes a selection of Yosemite and El Capitan style themes with translucency and modern design.

OS X El Capitan users will benefit from new features including using Reeder in split-screen mode next to other supported full-screen apps. The new version also supports Apple’s new system font, San Francisco, plus a lot of customization options to make the reading environment best fit your needs. Check out the full release notes below:

9to5Toys Last Call: Anker Dual-USB Solar Charger $40, WD 4TB NAS $160, Cards Against Humanity 20% off, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

TiVo makes the DVR sexy with 4K content, AirPlay and one-click commercial skipping

Anker 14W Dual-USB Port Solar Charger: $40 shipped (Reg. $50+)

WD My Cloud 4TB Personal Cloud Storage NAS $160 shipped (Orig. $220)

Amazon Gold Box – Cards Against Humanity 20% off: Starter Kit ($20) and Expansion Packs ($8)

Get a no-contract iPhone 6s from Boost Mobile for just $450 shipped (Orig. $649)

Apple iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi: 16GB $380 shipped (Reg. $499), 64GB $490 shipped (Reg. $599)

More new gear from today:

LG 34-inch 21:9 UltraWide LED IPS Monitor: $620 shipped (Reg. $780+)

More deals still alive:

USB Power: Anker 15,600mAh Battery Pack $24 (Reg. $30), Lumsing Wall Charger + 3-ft. MFi Lightning Cable $10more

Four magazine subs for $16 (or less): Wired, Dwell, ESPN, GQ, Rolling Stone, Men’s Fitness, and many more

New products & more:

Bose’s latest connected speaker lowers the entry price into the SoundTouch family

Keurig’s new KOLD brewer lets you make Coca-Cola at home but it’s going to cost you

touchid21

Following last week’s release of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple’s support community pages are lighting up with new reports of problems with the new iPhones for some customers. The issues range from overheating Touch ID buttons to random power-offs, significant audio distortion, and 3D Touch glitches.

Below, we look at some of the most interesting iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus problems users are reporting, as well as possible solutions…

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chromecast-audio

During the announcement of Google’s Chromecast Audio yesterday, the company made sure to mention that music subscription leader Spotify will soon be one of the many music streaming services supported by the platform. With many Apple Music subscriptions renewing (or not renewing) and Google unveiling a $35 dongle that retrofits our existing home speakers with Wi-Fi, some are rightfully wondering: What about Apple Music?

According to statements from one Googler (via TrustedReviews), Google has no bar on any platform joining in on supporting Chromecast, and the Mountain View company has already directly asked Apple to play along… expand full story

Metadata+ app removal

As long as there has been an App Store, Apple has practiced strong discretion over which apps it approves and which it doesn’t allow on the iPhone and iPad. This has sometimes meant controversy for Apple, as its judgement is called into question when apps that were once approved are sometimes pulled for questionable reasons. Metadata+, an app that sends iPhone users alerts when a US drone strike leads to death, is the latest casualty, The Guardian reports expand full story

Gatekeeper-bypass-hack

A security researcher has found an extremely simple way to bypass Gatekeeper to allow Macs to open any malicious app, even when it is set to open only apps downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Patrick Wardle, director of research at security firm Synack, told arsTechnica that once Gatekeeper okays an approved app, it pays no more attention to what that app does. The approved app can then open malicious apps – which Gatekeeper doesn’t check.

Wardle has found a widely available binary that’s already signed by Apple. Once executed, the file runs a separate app located in the same folder as the first one […] His exploit works by renaming Binary A but otherwise making no other changes to it. [He then] swaps out the legitimate Binary B with a malicious one and bundles it in the same disk image under the same file name. Binary B needs no digital certificate to run, so it can install anything the attacker wants … 

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lowe-cooper

In a Radio Festival interview in London by Zane Lowe‘s former boss, Lowe told Radio 1 head Ben Cooper that Beats 1 is like a new-born baby.

We’ll grow up, but right now we’re three months old, and babies make a lot of noise, they look at the world all wide-eyed and they shit everywhere. That’s kind of what Beats 1 is, it’s very, very new, 13 weeks man, it’s crazy. It’s all new and weird – and no rules man, no rules.

He said that despite the high-profile nature of the station, he wasn’t taking its future for granted. Asked why Apple Music needs Beats 1, Lowe said he wasn’t sure that it did …  expand full story

Apple describes its first store in Europe as “tired and outdated” as it joins the queue for a refresh

A planning application to refresh the design of Apple’s Regent Street store in London describes the current look as “tired and outdated” as it joins the queue to see a major redesign. This is expected to be broadly in line with the new look first seen in Brussels when it opened two weeks ago, overseen by Jony Ive in his new role as Apple’s Chief Design Officer.

The status of the building as ‘listed’ (historically protected) will limit the exterior changes the company is allowed to make, but the four Apple logos in the windows will be removed to allow in more light, reports the Evening Standard.

The brief looked to re-imagine the overall customer experience within the store and address a tired and outdated interior sales area […] Part of the proposed works is also removing the four Apple Logos from the Regent Street facade. This assists with natural light penetrating the retail floor and preserves the historic character of the facade.

The upper floor will be set back from the front of the building, to allow more light into the ground floor. The existing glass staircase will also be removed and replaced with ““two new dramatic staircases,” which we assume to be the spiral designs seen in many Apple Stores. The store first opened in 2004, and has seen only limited interior refreshes since then.

As with the Brussels store, the redesign will be carried out by Foster & Partners, the architects behind London’s famous Gherkin building. It’s not known when the work will be completed, the planning approval being valid for up to three years.

iFixit iPhone 6s seal iFixit's teardown reveals a liquid resistant seal
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iFixit iPhone 6s seal

iFixit’s teardown <a href="http://ifixit.org/blog/7408/iphone-waterproof/" target="_blank">reveals</a> a liquid resistant seal

iFixit wasted no time in carrying out its teardowns of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and now IHS has weighed in with its usual estimate of the component and assembly costs. It reckons the total cost of materials and manufacturing of the 16GB 6s Plus to be $236.

Direct Material Costs (Component Costs)

 

 

$231.50

Conversion Costs (Assembly / Insertion/ Test Costs)

$4.50

Total Cost (Direct Materials & Manufacturing)

$236.00

Tim Cook would doubtless take issue with this estimate, as he has with others.

There are cost breakdowns around our products that are much different than the reality. I’ve never seen one that is anywhere close to being accurate.

IHS said that 3D Touch and the associated haptic engine were the most obvious new components over the previous year’s model, with an estimated $10 of additional costs, but also noted three improvements geared to making the device more robust …  expand full story

September 29, 2015

Apple purchases 200 acres of land in Oregon to further expand its server farms

Oregon news outlet The Bulletin reports that Apple has purchased nearly 200 acres of land in Prineville, Oregon this week. The property purchased this week is directly adjacent to Apple’s already existing facility in the city. Apple reportedly paid $3.6 million for its new 200 acre plot.

Apple hasn’t specified its plans for the land to Prineville yet, although in April it filed for an application to expand its data center operations. In that application, Apple said it wants to build two more “pods” to house its server farms for its cloud-based services. The project is expected to cost over $6 million.

McCabe said he expects Apple to apply for the same Oregon enterprise zone tax abatements it already enjoys on its existing facility. The 15-year agreements, created by the state to encourage development in counties with high unemployment rates, save companies millions of dollars in taxes on equipment and site improvements. In return, they must create a specific number of jobs that pay well above the county median wage.

Apple originally purchased 159 acres in Prineville back in 2012 to start its campus. With today’s new addition, Apple now holds 359 acres of land in the city for its cloud-based operations.

Tim-Cook-China

Apple today announced via a press release that its Apple Music, iTunes Movies, and iBooks services are now available to customers in China. The company says that Apple Music is launching in China with “millions” of songs, including local artists like Eason Chan, Li Ronghao, JJ Lin and G.E.M, as well as international stars like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

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apple music.00_00_11_24.Still011

When Apple Music officially launched earlier this year, we ran a poll seeing where people were switching from to use the service. A surprising 33 percent of the 18,000 responses said they were switching from Spotify to Apple Music, while another 23 percent said Apple Music was their first streaming service. At the time, however, anyone using Apple Music was getting it for free. In fact, 17 percent of people said they were using the service, but only during the trial.

As we noted earlier today, however, the first 3 month free trials are wrapping up, which means it’s time to see who’s sticking with Apple’s streaming music service and who’s leaving…

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Google Maps comes to the Apple Watch in latest iOS app update

Google has released an updated version of its mapping application for iOS that includes several new features, including an Apple Watch app. Along with the new watch app comes the ability to compare ETAs for different modes of transportation, such as biking and walking.

$450 for a prepaid iPhone 6s seems like a typo, but Boost Mobile is making it happen

From 9to5Toys.com:

Update (10/1 1:00pm): Boost Mobile has announced new monthly plans with “growing data.”  When enrolled in one of these plans you’ll earn an extra 500MB of high-speed monthly data (up to 3GB) for every 3 on-time payments you make.

Apple’s latest flagship iPhone isn’t even a week old yet, but it’s already getting its first significant discount. Boost Mobile (a pre-paid arm of Sprint’s Network) offers the 16GB iPhone 6s in Space Gray for $549.99 (already $100 below list), but applying coupon code B6677847 during checkout drops your final price down to just $449.99 with free shipping. That’s $199.01 below Apple’s retail price and a pretty crazy deal for such a new release. This iPhone comes free from any contracts, but is locked to Boost Mobile’s service. Prepaid plans with unlimited data, talk, and text start at just $35 $30 per month so it is actually a pretty solid deal all the way around if you live in a good Sprint coverage area.

iPhone 6s features 3D Touch, 4K video recording, Live Photos, and more as we’re sure you already know.

More Apple deals via 9to5Toys:

Happy Hour 21

Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are finally here and we’re giving you a rundown of our favorite features and overall impressions. Does the iPhone 6s live up to the hype? Check out this week’s episode for more details. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/226144945″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

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leave

With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, users now have the option to shoot up 12-megapixel photos and 4K video at 30 fps. This is four times the video resolution found on the iPhone 6, but how does it perform? We’ve put together a new video test to find out exactly what it looks like…

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