software Stories April 1, 2017

How to approach updating software on iPhone and iPad

First time checking out this series? You’ll get the most value by starting at the beginning, however you can also use the series overview if you’d like to go buffet style.

Note for regular readers, the already tech savvy, and IT professionals: this series is designed as a resource you can share with those you are helping or for those looking to become tech savvy on their own.

Background, Expectations, & Best Practices

Staying up to date with software can sometimes be a confusing and frustrating task, but fortunately it’s a more straight forward process with iOS than compared with macOS.

First, let’s define some of the vocabulary we’ll be using. Software can refer to both the applications (apps) or the operating system (iOS) for your iPhone or iPad. We’ll define apps as computer software designed and written to fulfill a particular purpose.

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software Stories March 11, 2017

Become Tech Savvy

First time checking out this series? You’ll get the most value by starting at the beginning, however you can also use the series overview if you’d like to go buffet style.

Note for regular readers, the already tech savvy, and IT professionals: this series is designed as a resource you can share with those you are helping or for those looking to become tech savvy on their own.

Background, Expectations, & Best Practices

Staying up to date with software can sometimes be a confusing and frustrating task, these issues are usually caused by the various ways that different software is designed to update and where it was installed from. The good news is that Apple is continually improving how updates happen. With its latest operating system, macOS Sierra, there are some sharp features to make updating software more smooth and seamless. This won’t apply in all instances, but still helps provide an overall improved user experience.

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software Stories May 16, 2016

Apple releases watchOS 2.2.1 for Apple Watch with various bug fixes and security improvements

Alongside iOS 9.3.2, Apple has also released a bug fix update for Apple Watch in the form of watchOS 2.2.1. The release notes indicate the OTA update (weighing in at around 30 MB) includes various bug fixes and security updates. Given the version number, we aren’t expecting any new features but we’ll update if we see anything new. Check the Apple Watch app on the iPhone to update to the latest firmware.

To install updates on Apple Watch, connect the paired, nearby, iPhone to WiFi and connect the Apple Watch to its charger. The Apple Watch hardware needs at least 50% battery in order for the update to go through.

software Stories April 21, 2016

iOS 9.3

Although Apple usually updates its iOS adoption statistics on a fortnightly basis, the company had strangely stopped updating its iOS chart last month. As iOS 9 growth appeared to have stalled, perhaps the numbers simply didn’t change significantly in that time. However, this week Apple has updated the chart with a significant jump, now reporting iOS 9 was seen on 84% of active devices as of April 18th. With iOS 10 set to be announced in June (and internal testing gradually ramping — see below), it appears iOS 9 will end up peaking around the 90% adoption mark in line with previous versions.

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software Stories April 18, 2016

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[UPDATE: Apple has confirmed what Siri told us earlier today. The company has now issued a press release in which it says that WWDC will be held from June 13th through June 17th in San Francisco. The same lottery process applies to getting tickets this year as in previous years. Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website now through Friday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.

In a change from traditional years, the Monday keynote will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, not Moscone West. All other conference sessions will take place at Moscone, though. The annual Bash will also be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.]

In an unusual chain of events, it appears Apple is announcing the WWDC dates through Siri. Although the Apple website has not been updated with any new info, Siri is proudly proclaiming that WWDC 2016 will indeed be held in San Francisco from June 13th to June 17th. Although Siri didn’t explicitly say, it is almost certain that WWDC will once again be held at Moscone West, simply because it’s the best choice of venue for an event like this in San Francisco. This is an unusual announcement nonetheless, it being the first time Apple has used Siri as the primary announcement vehicle for one of its events. WWDC is expected to feature the unveiling of iOS 10, OS X 10.12 and more …

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software Stories November 11, 2015

Google Chrome leaves OS X cats out in the cold

Google has announced in an official blog post that its Chrome browser no longer supports a number of older Mac OS X versions. Google initially prepared users a few months ago that a move away from these platforms would be coming by the end of this year. Today is that day, and Google Chrome will no longer get software feature or security updates on the following Mac platforms:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 – “Snow Leopard”
  • Mac OS X 10.7 – “Lion”
  • Mac OS X 10.8 – “Mountain Lion”

On the Mac side, it’s essentially everything before Apple moved to its California-inspired version names (or anything with a cat name). The company also announced that it’ll be ending support for Windows versions XP and Vista, so it’s not just older Mac users who will no longer get updates. The reason behind the end in support is simple: Apple and Microsoft don’t actively support those platforms any more, and so Chrome will no longer actively support them either. This doesn’t mean Chrome will no longer work, it just means it won’t get any more security or software updates on machines running these versions of the OSes.

If you’re still running one of the aforementioned software versions, Google encourages you to upgrade to a more modern OS, since there are now security risks (however small) attached to using them. If you’re not sure which version of Mac OS X you’re running, you can find out by simply clicking the Apple logo in your top toolbar, and clicking ‘About this Mac’.

software Stories October 16, 2015

Apple’s web-based iWork for iCloud finally out of beta, adds new features

Yesterday, Apple updated its iWork apps for iOS and OS X with added features including Split View for iPad, 3D Touch for iPhone 6s, and bonuses for El Capitan. Missed at the time was the fact that Apple also deemed the web-based version of iWork worthy of full consumption by the public, too.  Apple removed the ‘beta’ label from iWork for iCloud, while also adding a number of new features. The browser-dependent iWork suite now supports commenting on documents, and has support for ten new languages.

As well as removing the ‘beta’ labels, Apple has also created new splash pages for each of the new web apps showing off some of the new features. Apple lists the previously mentioned upgrades, as well the following:

Pages

  • Create custom colors
  • Word count
  • Version history
  • Preview on mobile browsers
  • Comments
  • Open Pages ’08 and ’06 documents
  • View documents with tracked changes
  • Insert pages and sections

Numbers

  • Edit pop-up menu cells
  • Create custom colors
  • Open Numbers ’08 spreadsheets
  • Filter tables
  • Version history
  • Animate interactive charts
  • Preview on mobile browsers

Keynote

  • Show, hide and resize slide navigator
  • Preview on mobile browsers
  • Version history
  • Comments
  • Create custom colors
  • Copy and paste slides
  • Open Keynote ’08 and ’06 files

If you want to check out the new web-based apps for yourself, head on over to iCloud.com.

software Stories October 15, 2015

Turn your Live Photos into GIFs with new Live GIF app

Live Photos is one of the stand-out new features on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It captures a short video while you’re taking pictures, which you can then watch back, and interact with using 3D Touch on your Lock Screen. Today, a company named Priime launched a new app which makes them easily shareable and viewable with anyone, regardless of device or platform.

Live GIF is the first app of its kind and lets any iPhone 6s or 6s Plus user turn their Live Photos in to GIFs which can then be shared by MMS, email, or shared on social media. The best part is, it doesn’t really require much setting up. Launch the app and it automatically detects any Live Photos on your phone, displays them in a grid (as shown below). Once you’ve picked one to share, you can choose either to ‘share as GIF’ or ‘share as video’, then select which service you want to share them on, and you’re done.

 

As you’d expect, Live GIF also supports 3D Touch. On the home screen, this lets you quickly open the last Live Photo and turn it in to a GIF immediately.

Live GIF is available to download from the App Store from today, and costs just $1.99. The app is compatible with any device running iOS 9.0 or later including iPhone 5s, 6, 6 Plus and the new 6s and 6s Plus as well as several iPad models.

software Stories August 18, 2015

Nuance, the voice recognition and productivity software company behind the iOS keyboard’s Dictation feature, today has revealed a series of updates to its applications and a new cloud-based synchronization service at the core. Nuance provided us with a demonstration last week of the new iOS and Mac apps, and we came away impressed with the accuracy, speed, and capabilities of the upgraded platform.

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software Stories June 15, 2015

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Following on from the Apple Watch native apps hack, Steve Troughton Smith has also found that the keyboard view in iOS 9 has much better adaptability support on Apple’s latest operating system. As shown by the screenshots, at larger resolutions, the iPad keyboard rearranges itself to make use of the space. Tab and Caps Lock keys are notably added onto to the left side as well as an entirely new top row of symbols.

This new row reflects the symbols normally found on hardware keyboards above the number keys: @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ +. Next to the ‘p’ on the first row, the keyboard also gains curly braces and a pipe symbol.

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software Stories June 8, 2015

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At WWDC, Apple has officially announced the new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9. The update will be available in the fall for free. iOS 9 runs on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Developing. Follow our liveblog here.

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software Stories April 10, 2015

applewa

Apple Watch is finally available to preorder, but if you missed the mark at 12:01 a.m. you might be waiting quite a while to get your hands on one. Luckily, Apple is providing try-on appointments that will allow you to get a taste of the experience and feel one out for yourself. Recently, we took that opportunity to get our hands on a few and offer some initial impressions on the hardware and software…

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comScore: Apple still smartphone OEM leader with 41.7% market share

ComScore has released its latest report today, detailing the market share of the major smartphone OEMs and their platforms. Unsurprisingly, Apple is still leading in terms of handsets shipped with 41.7% of smartphones shipped, while Android is still leading the mobile operating system market with 52.8% of the market.

software Stories April 8, 2015

steelwatch

Apple has just lifted the embargo on the Apple Watch for reviewers, allowing the technology press the to give their verdict on the device ahead of Watch preorders on the 10th. The device will actually be available to the public on the 24th. The Apple Watch is a huge release for Apple, its first new product category under Tim Cook. The anticipation for Apple Watch has been simply immense. The pricing model alone is a huge step for the company, entering ‘high-end’ luxury for the first time with the Apple Watch Edition … and a price tag in the $10,000 range. These reviews are our first glance at whether Apple succeeded in making the next hit product.

Reviewers got a demo of the entire Apple Watch buying process, from the initial Apple Store try-on experience right through to handling the device for a few days. Reviewers got to choose their watch-band combination, although the Edition was not available for reviewers (although you can see what Pharell thinks about it of course)

Read below for our roundup of the reviews from a handful of publications:

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software Stories November 6, 2014

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CBS has updated its Radio News application with support for Apple’s CarPlay interface. The new UI allows users to browse and play the network’s library of on-demand shows such as the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes. Users will also find that the Now Playing screen presents them with their local weather conditions.

Also included in the new update is a set of bug fixes for issues such as two audio tracks playing back at once for some users. There is also a new introduction screen that walks users through the functions of the app. CBS News also rolled out a channel for the Apple TV earlier today.

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software Stories October 29, 2014

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Update: Microsoft has now announced the Microsoft Band, a $199 fitness band that does everything described below. It goes on sale Thursday.

Microsoft hasn’t officially announced its wearable device, but it seems the company has accidentally published its desktop syncing client to the Mac App Store early. Whoops. The device is called the Microsoft Band (possibly Lumia Band, according to some currently non-functional support URLs) and sports a 310 x 102 resolution display.

The Microsoft privacy policy for the app lists some of the Band’s features: “Microsoft Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep.” Links in the document claiming to lead to a page with additional data, such as a list of sensors, currently lead to a 404 page.

Other key feature include the ability to get phone notifications on the Band, create reminders using Cortana, and more:

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software Stories October 28, 2014

Microsoft has pushed out updates for its OneNote client on both iPhone and iPad, adding support for new features added in iOS 8 and a design that’s optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Users can now password protect sections of documents directly from mobile devices (a feature that used to require a Windows PC). Those with an iPhone 5s or newer will also find that they can now unlock password-protected sections of documents using Touch ID. That feature isn’t mentioned in the iPad change log, so users on the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 might need to wait for a future update to enable it.

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software Stories September 26, 2014

Secret developers launch new notification-focused app called Ping

The developers behind the controversial Secret social app have launched another piece of iOS software today. The new app is called Ping and its entire purpose is to send you notifications when certain events happen. It’s essentially like an automated version of Yo.

When you first launch Ping, you’ll be presented with a screen that allows you to choose what topics you want to be notified about. This can be anything from weather updates to “pickup lines for Friday night.” After you’ve picked a few topics to subscribe to, you close the app and wait. When there’s a change to one of those topics, you’ll get a push notification.

There’s not really much to the application beyond that. New topics can be pushed over-the-air by the developers, and you’ll be notified when new ones become available (several new ones have been added just since the app launched a few hours ago). The developers say that as you use the application it will learn to adapt to what you like or don’t like based on your usage.

Ping is free on the iOS App Store.

software Stories September 23, 2014

Adobe announces Photoshop and Premiere Elements 13 with ‘Guided Edits’ and more

Adobe has announced its next major upgrades to its popular Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements applications, with each being bumped up to version 13.

Both apps add new editing features, such as “photomerge compose” for lifting subjects from one photo and quickly moving them into another with proper lighting and other effects. New cropping tools allow you to automatically compose perfectly cropped by detecting faces and other details and determining how to best frame them in the shot.

software Stories August 27, 2014

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=savBvN9Jz5g]

Earlier this month, 2K Games announced that it would be bringing its landmark horror-shooter BioShock to the iPhone and iPad. Tonight, the game finally arrived on the App Store in most of its original glory. The story, game mechanics, level design, and audio have all be ported to the mobile devices, though the graphics have been toned down to make it run on phones and tablets.

BioShock is set in the underwater would-be utopia of Rapture, which has been overrun by its own psychotic, drug-addled citizens on one especially-unfortunate New Years Eve. Players take on the role of Jack, who arrives in Rapture after a plane crash that leaves him stranded in the middle of the Atlantic, and must utilize a selection of upgradable weapons and genetic enhancements to track down Andrew Ryan, the madman running what’s left of the city.

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software Stories August 13, 2014

Dash releases its smart driving application for iPhone with support for third-party hardware

Dash, a popular smart driving tool that originally launched on Android in January, is now finally available for iPhone users. The free app pairs with a device that plug into your car and transmit data back to the app. From there you can see data about your car’s performance and alert you of any potential issues and an average cost for any repairs you might need.

Dash can also track your driving habits and suggest ways to improve your car’s gas mileage, increase performance, or generally increase the overall lifespan of your vehicle.

software Stories July 21, 2014

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Earlier today, Apple released iTunes 12 to developers with a new design to fit in with OS X Yosemite. We’ve taken a look at the new player and below is a gallery of what end-users can expect to see come fall:

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software Stories June 20, 2014

skype

Skype has announced that it will discontinue support for older versions of its desktop clients, including Skype for Mac.” An exact date for the change hasn’t been given, but the company says it will happen “over the next few months.” Mobile clients like Skype for iPhone won’t be affected by the change.

The specific versions being phased out are 6.14 and older (the current version is 6.18). The change is being made to ensure feature compatibility across the versions of the software in use and enable the developers to continue building on that foundation. The current version of Skype offers several features not provided in older versions, such as the option to send messages to offline users.

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software Stories June 12, 2014

Facebook Messenger updated with 15-second video messages, even bigger likes

Facebook has updated its Messenger app with a new video messaging feature that allows users to shoot and send short, 15-second videos from with the app. It’s certainly an interesting addition, given the impending release of the company’s “Slingshot” messaging app. Also included in the update is the ability to send an even bigger thumbs-up icon as a reply to incoming messages by holding down the “like” button.

You can grab the Messenger update for free on the App Store. The change notes are below:

What’s New in Version 6.0

Instant Video Sending: Shoot and play 15-second video messages from the camera right in the app

Big Likes: Press and hold to send an even bigger thumbs up when you really, really like something.

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