Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at Jordan@9to5mac.com.  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for 9to5Google.com and the latest gear and deals on 9to5Toys.com.

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June 10, 2013

Apple’s head of iTunes Eddy Cue is live on stage during Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote presentation today and just unveiled a brand new, revamped version of Siri that includes a lot of new features on top of a redesign that fits in with the rest of the new look for iOS 7. It also announced a new service dubbed “iOS in the car” that will bring more functionality to the consoles of some vehicles through a partnership with several car manufacturers. The integration will allow you to place calls, have more control of Siri, and view maps, much of which we already revealed leading up to today’s event.

As for Siri, the app now has an all new voice and users will also have the ability to change the voice between male and female. New highly quality voices in both male and female will initially be available only in English, French, and German, but Apple plans to add more over time. That’s not all, however, Siri is also getting a bunch of new features and integration with other web services such as Wikipedia.

Eddy Cue noted during his demo of the redesigned Siri that you’ll now be able to control a lot more functions on your iPhone with Siri, such adjusting the brightness of your display, enabling Bluetooth, or playing a voice mail. The just unveiled iTunes Radio will also have Siri integration.

Microsoft is happy about Apple’s decision to include Bing web results (and not Google) in Siri for iOS 7. 

Siri will also be able to answer a lot more questions in iOS 7, which is in part thanks to the integration of new web services including Wikipedia, Twitter (to view Twitter account updates through Siri), and web search results from Bing.

The new in-car features through ‘iOS in the car’ will be arriving in vehicles from several car manufacturers in 2014.  expand full story

Confirming our earlier suspicions, Apple today showed off some new features for its iWork suite of apps, which includes both Mac and iOS versions of the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps. While Apple confirmed that new versions of the apps for Mac and iOS would be coming later in the year, it spent its presentation today showing off brand new web versions of the apps designed to run right in the browser through iCloud.com. The new web apps, available initially only to developers starting today, will be dubbed ‘iWork for iCloud’ and bring web apps to iCloud that will compete directly with Google Docs and Google’s other suite of web apps.

Apple execs spent much of the time on stage showing off the new Pages for iCloud app, demoing how users can drag and drop Microsoft Word files and other documents directly into the iCloud.com UI in their browser to begin editing a document. Apple also briefly demoed presentations and spreadsheets running in web versions of the Numbers and Keynote apps.

During the demo of the new iWork for iCloud apps, Apple also made a point of noting that the new apps run in any browser by showing off the apps running on Windows 8.

The new apps are available as developer beta starting today. A public beta of the new iWork for iCloud apps will be arriving later this year. Apple didn’t mention any details regarding pricing, or whether or not the web apps will be a separate purchase from the apps currently available on Mac and iOS.

As we expected based on our intel leading up to the event, Apple just introduced refreshed MacBook Airs live on stage at it’s WWDC 2013 keynote address today. Apple announced that the new MacBook Airs will be arriving with the new Intel Haswell chips, as expected, and spent most of the time talking about increased battery life for the devices which now includes up to 12hrs battery. The 13-inch model now boasts battery life up to 12 hours (up from 7 on the previous generation), while the 11-inch model is expected to get 9-hour battery life (up from 5 on the previous generation).

Apple also announced that the new MacBook Airs would include the faster 802.11ac with “a maximum data rate of 1.3Gbps, almost three times faster than 802.11n.” Other specs that Apple mentioned: dual microphones, a FaceTime® HD camera, a high-speed Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0 ports.

All models will be available with a 1.3 GHz processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.6 GHz and 4GB of RAM, but Apple will also make a BTO option available with a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

Apple said the new MacBook Airs include up to 40% faster graphics, 2x GPU execution units, and more energy efficient CPUs, while the machine itself now meets ENERGY STAR 5.2 and EPEAT gold environmental standards.

Apple will be shipping the new MacBook Airs starting today starting at $999 for a 128GB 11-inch model and $1099 for the 128GB 13-inch model. An extra $200 will bump you up to the 256GB models, but Apple didn’t provide any other details on any other upgraded internals.

Earlier this month we received SKUs indicating that Apple had some MacBook refreshes in the works for today’s event that would include an upgrade to Intel’s new Haswell chips and upgraded internals. At the time, the SKUs pointed to availability of the refreshed MacBooks this week, but it was unclear when the models would ship and if some would arrive before others.

Apple’s full press release below: expand full story

9to5toys 

Today at Apple’s WWDC keynote, Apple took some time to announce some improvements to Notifications, as we expected. The majority of the improvements that Apple has demoed so far include new features for Notifications on the Mac coming in the just announced OS X Mavericks, such as quick replies, the ability to receive iOS push notifications, and lock screen access.

Apple showed off a new quick reply feature for Notifications on the Mac that will allow users to mouse over a notification and quickly reply from a dialog that pops depending on the app. Not only can you reply to messages to respond to FaceTime calls, for example, you will also be able to perform other actions with the quick reply Notifications such as quickly deleting emails.

Another feature that we saw today during Apple’s keynote is the ability to receive iOS push notifications right on your Mac for apps installed on your iPhone and iPad. These are a few of the updates we were expecting from Apple today, but we’ll have to wait to see if they fixed the other half of the problem during its iOS 7 portion of today’s presentation but Apple also showed off a redesigned Notification center for iOS including lock screen access and new tabs (pictured below).

Additionally, Apple showed off the ability to view Notifications directly from the lock screen in OS X Mavericks.

Update:  As we expected, Apple also announced that Notification Sync will be coming in iOS 7, but didn’t show off any specifics. expand full story

Live on stage at Apple’s WWDC keynote presentation this morning, CEO Tim Cook has opened things up with the usual updates on some of the company’s core businesses and accomplishments over the past year. Sharing numbers on how its products have been selling and outpacing the competition has become somewhat of a tradition for Apple keynote addresses. Below you’ll find a roundup of the stats that Cook shared today including info on retail stores, iPhones and more:

-6 Million registered developers, 1.5M in last year

-WWDC sold out in 71 seconds

-1m daily visitors at Apple retail

-Millions of customers come for personal training

-407 stores in 14 countries

-50 billion apps

-900,000 apps (93% downloaded each month)

-375k iPad apps

-575,000,000 store accounts (more accounts with credit cards than any store online)

-paid developers 10 billion (3 times more than all other mobile platforms combined) expand full story

June 7, 2013

9to5google 

(Preparations for Apple’s 2013 WWDC developer conference / Image via Nick)

There’s a lot we already know about what we’ll be seeing next week at WWDC– we’ve already brought you exclusive details on iOS 7, OS X 10.9, a MacBook refresh, Apple’s new Radio service, and much more. What else might we see Apple show off next week? Below are a couple of our best predictions based on what we think Apple is most likely to show off as well as few things we’ve been hearing: expand full story

In case you hadn’t heard: BlueStacks, the company with around 10M+ using its technology that brings Android games to PC and Mac, has recently been working on a new dedicated Android gaming console that aims to compete with OUYA and others in the space. It’s yet to launch, and up until today its big differentiator has been its $6.99/per month subscription model, but today it becomes the first to bring iOS games to the TV.

We spoke to John Gargiulo from BlueStacks who told us a little more about the announcement and how the company will bring iPhone and iPad games to the GamePop platform using its ‘Looking Glass’ technology. It’s also announcing its first major partner from the iOS developer world, and it happens to be creators of the hugely popular Fieldrunners series, Subatomic Studios. expand full story

electrek 

June 6, 2013

Facebook-Contacts-iOS-6Over the past week a number of 9to5 readers have noticed issues with their Facebook contacts within the Contacts app on iOS 6 and up that are automatically synced when logging into Facebook through Settings. Some users have taken to the Apple support forums to discuss the problem, noting that a large portion of their contacts from Facebook no longer appear in the iOS Contacts app. Rather than a bug, we reached out to Facebook about the problem who told us it’s actually Facebook’s new effort to remove “phone book entries that were not useful.”

In other words, Facebook is trying to remove some of the spam from your iOS Contacts app by no longer syncing friends that have no useful contact information. According to a Facebook spokesperson, friends that have no contact information on their profile other than a @facebook.com email address will not be synced to the Contacts address book going forward.

The result, of course, is you might notice more than a few of your Facebook friends disappearing from Contacts. You can always add them back manually, but Facebook is thinking the majority of users will be happy with its decision to declutter its iOS sync feature.  expand full story

Update: We just got our hands on the iPad 5 cases. A couple images above and a full gallery is after the break.

This certainly isn’t the first time that an iOS accessory maker made a bet on making cases for an unreleased Apple product. In fact, it has become somewhat the norm for CEO of case maker Gumdrop, Tim Hickman, who for many recent Apple products decided to make an investment and start accepting orders for cases of yet to be released products.  It’s not always a losing game– Gumdrop sent over its iPad mini case the day before the iPad mini was even announced and, when we finally got out hands on the device, it fit perfect. However, this time around, there is a good possibility Gumdrop is betting on a rumored product that won’t be announced any time soon: the iPad 5.

We spoke with CEO of Gumdrop Tim Hickman about the bet he’s making on seeing an iPad 5 next week at WWDC and just how far into production the company is. We also got our hands on the first images of the three new cases the company is launching today for iPad 5, including: the Drop Tech Series, the Drop Tech Designer Series, and the Bounce Skin, all of which include the rumored slimmed down iPad mini-like design that is rumored for the iPad 5. expand full story

9to5toys 

Kamcord, the startup offering a free SDK that makes it easy for iOS devs to offer in-game recording functionality to their users, today is announcing some pretty big updates to the service. Since grabbing $1.5 million in seed funding from some notable investors back in December (Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and others), the Y Combinator-backed service has experienced some significant traction and the team is adding plenty of new features to stay ahead of the competition.

Kamcord-iPad-01The big new feature being announced is voice overlay functionality that will allow users to narrate their videos while they play, as demoed by the team in the video above. CEO Matt Zitzmann also provided us with some other updates the team has added in the last month, including: Video trimming, a custom UI / white-label solution, and a new “Gameplay of the week” notifications feature.

Also being announced today: Kamcord has recorded over 500 million gameplay videos in the last 6 months alone across the 100 apps its currently deployed in. One those games includes the latest from Chillingo and Zitzmann says the company is talking to all the other big mobile game developers too. expand full story

June 5, 2013

Update: a person in the know has pointed out a few problems with Brown’s post:

  1. It was taken down and is currently down.
  2. If you look at one of the lines of Apple’s code that he uses to allege throttling, it doesn’t even have anything to do with throttling internet speed. It’s just the term, used to talk about how often a phone should ping the network when it doesn’t encounter a signal, or something like that.
  3. AnandTech posted a lengthy article explaining why it just isn’t true.

test-drive-t-mobile

Joseph Brown, the developer behind the hacked carrier updates floating around for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, just posted a lengthy blog post detailing how he claims “Apple limits devices to even out” the networks of its carrier partners. Specifically, Brown says that Apple is limiting the iPhone 5 to Category 10 (14.4Mbps) HSDPA despite the device’s support for category 24 (42.2Mbps) DC-HSDPA+ and the AT&T network supporting up to Category 14 (21.1Mbps) HSDPA+:

Here we can see what is quite obvious to, really, anyone at this point from being jerked around so much by carriers. Yes folks, this is throttling coding. When we made the AT&T Hacked Carrier Update, this was the first line of coding to be scrapped when the project started. Immediately, through my testing on an AT&T iPhone 5 and iPad 4th generation, there were significant and noticeable results. There is no argueing or disputing that this is clear evidence you are purposely, 24/7, being throttled, even if you haven’t used more data than your authorized to use or that you’ve purchased with your hard earned money. AT&T users, do you think this is fair?

The theory is that Apple limits the capabilities of the device in order to combat the large amount of data/bandwidth iOS device users consume and ease congestion on carrier networks. Brown found signs of throttling data speeds for Verizon and Sprint too. The only carrier that is apparently not limiting the iPhone 5’s capabilities is T-Mobile.

Brown also says “Apple has band preferences set for T-Mobile and AT&T causing signal issues” that could be easily fixed.

Here’s what Brown found in his analysis of the other carriers: expand full story

9to5google 

Image (2) tron-iad-121410.jpg for post 42302Following several reports from earlier this week claiming Apple’s much rumored free, ad-supported radio service would be tightly integrated with its iAd business, AdAge claims to have more details on how ads will work in the service.

In case you were wondering whether or not the ads would be audio ads or traditional app-like iAds, AdAge says both:

The audio ads will be sold via iAd, Apple’s mobile ad network, according to a former Apple executive with knowledge of the situation. In addition to audio ads, the streaming music service will also contain the mobile ads iAd currently sells.

The aim of the ad-supported service, which according to the report’s sources will not include the ability to search or play specific songs on-demand, is to drive song downloads to iTunes.

The report adds that a spokesperson for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the one major publisher that reportedly hasn’t made deal with Apple yet, said the company “is optimistic it will sign a deal with Apple soon.”  expand full story

electrek 

Apple police

After sending a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google, and others questioning if the companies could be doing more to prevent increasing thefts of smartphones, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has now scheduled a face to face meeting with the companies to discuss the issue.

NYDailyNews reports Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon will meet with representatives from Apple, Google, Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft at a June 13 “smartphone summit” in New York.

Schneiderman wants the same thing that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has been pushing device makers on in recent months– a ‘kill switch’ that would render a device inoperable and discourage thefts of devices:

Letting customers shut down their phones would make them worthless on the black market and reduce so-called “Apple picking” — the fastest-growing street crime in New York City. Schneiderman cited statistics that show a 40% jump in the theft of mobile devices in New York City in 2012.

Back in December, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed thefts of iPhones and iPads were the cause of the increase in the city’s annual crime index and the NYPD’s most recent report showed crimes involving Apple products in the city had increased 40 percent. expand full story

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