Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.
Prolific Apple hacker/developer Steve Troughton-Smith last night posted on Twitter that he has found a one-handed mode for the iPhone keyboard, hacking the iOS Simulator to demo the unreleased feature as shown above. The code has apparently been in the system since iOS 8 but is yet to be released as a public-facing feature.
The one-handed keyboard mode is activated by an edge swipe on the keys, revealing a sidebar of cut/copy/paste controls and squishing the other keys down to the side. This would make it much easier for the user to stretch their thumb across the entire width of the alphabet keys, improving one-handed use on larger iPhones.
Last week, we reported that Sonder Design was in talks with Apple to license its futuristic keyboard technology, that replaces the normal printed keys with dynamic E-Ink displays. A new article from the WSJ today confirms that Apple does intend to use the technology and is aiming to ship new MacBooks including the special keyboards in 2018, citing anonymous sources. The keys can automatically adjust to show emojis, international characters, special command functions, as well as the standard QWERTY layout.
Apple will be making its first steps in this direction next week, when it unveils a new MacBook Pro with OLED function key row at a to-be-announced October 27 media event. However, the E-Ink keyboard for 2018 could represent the most significant user interface changes for Apple’s line of laptops, although it’s still a few years away …
Apple appears to the be the primary beneficiary of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall blunders, with replacement devices also prone to catching fire which eventually resulted in the company cancelling production of the Note 7 entirely. This means Note 7 customers have no choice but to choose another type of phone. Obviously, Samsung hopes customers will flock to one of its other phones (like the Galaxy S7) but a report from KGI believes that Apple and Android manufacturer Huawei will be the biggest benefactors.
Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that 5-7 million ex-Note 7 orders will convert into iPhone 7 sales, predominantly iPhone 7 Plus thanks to the dual camera. KGI says Note 7 users will have lost faith in the Samsung brand and have a tendency to like iOS and camera features, making the new iPhone an attractive sale.
Apple has reportedly changed its near-term plans for the Project Titan electric car project, moving away from the development of a vehicle for the time being. After Bob Mansfield took the helm in July, Apple changed its outlook for the team according to Bloomberg.
Hundreds of employees have been let go or re-assigned with the remaining members focusing on development of a self-driving autonomous car platform. In the future, Apple may return to developing its own vehicle or could partner with an existing car manufacturer. Apparently, executives have set a late 2017 deadline for the team to “prove the feasibility” of the autonomous driving system. Reports about the project shifting gears towards the software stack first surfaced in July.
The Regent Street Apple Store has been closed for many months as it was undergoing major refurbishment works to modernize the interior. Apple has finally completed the work and the new store will be open to the public on Saturday, October 15. The press got an early look at the new appearance, as shown by these photos via Engadget. The glass staircase and most of the first floor have been removed to create a dramatic double-height “grand hall” replete with green trees bathed in natural light.
The redesign brings the Regent Store appearance in line with the ‘next generation’ stores already seen in some US locations, created by Jony Ive and team. Sadly, the iconic glass staircase has had to go — customers can now use one of two stairs made from Italian stone …
Amazon has launched its own music streaming service today called Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99/month, adding another worthy competitor to Apple Music and Spotify. The service offers access to tens of millions of songs from major labels like Sony, Universal and Warner. Music Unlimited features a 30 day free trial so you can give it a go without committing any money for the first month. On iOS, users access their streaming libraries through the Amazon Music app.
Amazon is incentivizing signups with some discounts for loyal Amazon users. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, then Music Unlimited is cheaper: just $7.99 per month. If you use Amazon Echo smart speakers in your home, you can also sign up to a dramatically cheaper $3.99 monthly plan, but this option limits music streaming to only Echo devices.
iOS 10 is now installed on more than two thirds of the active iOS device install base, recording 66.7% twenty-seven days after iOS 10 was released according to Fiksu. Mixpanel is also recording iOS 10 adoption topping 66% since Sunday.
As shown by the graph, iOS 10 has the fastest adoption rate than any previous update, a month after release. Interestingly, iOS 10 initially lagged behind iOS 6, 7 and 9 until about two weeks in. The upgrade rate then rockets upwards to take the top spot at the end of September.
Apple will unify its cloud service teams to improve product development and software quality, according to a new report by Bloomberg. Currently, employees that develop Internet services like Siri, Maps, iCloud, News and Apple Pay are housed in many different buildings mostly outside of the main Infinite Loop campus.
To improve collaboration and speed up product development, Apple will be moving all the relevant teams into the Infinite Loop buildings. This ultimately leads to a better services division, which is the leading source of revenue growth for the company. It is also unifying web products to run on a new backend, codenamed ‘Pie’ …
Update: Kapeli’s developer updated his blog post today indicating that Apple found evidence of App Store review manipulation, something the developer denies ever doing. This decision is final and Apple will not allow for an appeal. Phill Schiller has also responded (after the jump) …
For unknown reasons, the developer account associated with popular developer app Dash, a utility tool providing offline API documentation, has been terminated by Apple. Consequently, both Dash apps for iOS and macOS have been pulled from the respective App Stores, crippling the developer’s business model in an instant without any explanation. The iOS app cannot be sold outside of the App Store, but the Mac version is now only available through the developer’s site.
What is particularly strange is that Apple gave no reason for the removal, after years of Dash existing in the App Store without issue. In a blog post describing the situation, the company says they literally “don’t know” what happened …
In the first high-profile iMessage App Store rejection we’ve seen, the developer of the Phoneys sticker pack says Apple has reached out with bad news: the company will pull the app in a week if it is not significantly changed. Phoneys (currently) features stickers that look like iMessage bubbles, effectively allowing users to replace messages from their friends with some funny alternative text.
The app hit #1 Top Paid in the iMessage App Store. Despite getting approved initially, Apple says that the store does not accept “prank apps” and the current form of the stickers violate Apple trademarks …
Apple currently uses LCD display technology for all of its iPhones but this appears to be changing next year with the rumored radically-new iPhone in 2017, following the iPhone 7’s smaller, iterative, design changes. Many reports have said that the next-generation iPhones, dubbed ‘iPhone 8’, will feature OLED displays for the first time. More indicators for this has come to light today with Bloomberg reporting that Apple is negotiating with Sharp to produce OLED panels for its phones.
Osmo is a game system for iPad that uses the tablet’s camera to interact with real-world objects like puzzle pieces or drawings (buy the starter kit for $69). There are several Osmo apps, spanning drawing, literacy, physics puzzles and more. Each one offers a mini ‘augmented reality’ experience where the iPad apps bring the real-world accessories to life.
The basic Osmo system contains a dock/stand for the iPad to sit on and a reflective mirror that attaches to the FaceTime camera. This adjusts the optics so that the camera is essentially recording the table area in front of the iPad, so that the Osmo apps can ‘see’ the objects placed there. Read on for a walkthrough of how well this all works …
Apple has said many times that it sees medical and health initiatives as a big area for expansion in the future. Some of these plans are now actively being developed, according to Bloomberg. Firstly, Apple is working on new sleep tracking and fitness apps for Apple Watch that take advantage of the heart rate sensor for insight.
Apple is yet to offer sleep analysis of any kind in its wearable and its current Heart Rate app in watchOS 3 is very limited. The report says the new heart rate app will be more advanced, measuring a person’s fitness by observing the amount of time it takes for a heartbeat to fall from a peak to resting rate. The company is also apparently exploring ways to dramatically expand the functionality of HealthKit and the Health app …
Apple is now publishing public web pages for landmarks and POI in its Apple Maps database: here’s one such place. The website link shows details about the place such as location, name, telephone number and reviews. The design is identical to the cards in the iOS 10 Maps app.
When on an Apple platform, these URLs appear to act as deep links into the native Maps app. If viewing in Chrome or on a non-Apple device like Android, the fallback webpage is loaded. The purpose for these URLs is unclear, but it may possibly foreshadow a larger move by Apple to offer its own online mapping service to compete with Google Maps on the web.
Apple has just seeded the first iOS 10.1 beta for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This follows the public release of iOS 10 from just last week. It has also seeded the first update to watchOS 3; watchOS 3.1. There is also a bug fix for tvOS being seeded; tvOS 10.0.1.
iOS 10.1 includes the bokeh depth-of-field Portrait feature for the iPhone 7 Plus, which allows users to take pictures of people and have the phone synthetically blur the background. The public beta for iOS 10.1 will be available on Friday, so more people can try out the iPhone 7 Plus ‘special sauce’.
Update: McLaren has issued a statement in response, rejecting the report and denying any discussions with Apple about a potential investment. A separate report from the New York Times also indicates Apple is in talks to acquire Lit Motors, a startup working on a self-balancing motorcycle.
The Financial Times is reporting that Apple is in talks to acquire McLaren, a supercar manufacturer to aids its own automobile efforts for the long-rumored Apple Car. The report says Apple is considering a full takeover acquisition of McLaren with talks spanning several months.
In McLaren, Apple may be interested in expertise and talent relating to car materials and “on-board computer systems”. The FT says an acquisition would be valued around a $1.5 billion dollars; McLaren currently records yearly losses.
macOS Sierra now supports video picture-in-picture just like the iPad for Safari and iTunes. You can pop out a video from the web into a floating overlay that stays on top of other windows and snaps to corners or anywhere on your display when you hold Option.
It’s a really nice feature when it’s available, but a lot of websites do not yet expose a PIP button. Luckily, Developer Arno Appenzeller has released a free Safari extension that enables PIP for Safari, Netflix and more video services. Here’s how to use it:
According to a new report by IHS, Apple’s component costs for the iPhone 7 have risen compared to the previous iPhone. This means you are technically getting more bang for your buck when you buy an iPhone. But don’t fear, Apple is still making a tidy margin higher than the industry average.
Folks will almost always say “that leaves out costs for software/hardware development, research marketing, etc etc.” But the reason these companies make these estimates is for the n+1 cost of the iPhone. That means the profit Apple makes on every extra iPhone above the fixed costs and an important metric to consider.
The report says Apple’s bill of materials for a 4.7-inch iPhone 7 with the base 32GB storage is $220.80. Apple sells this iPhone 7 for $649 at retail so there’s plenty of room for Apple to make money. Full breakdown of component costs after the break …