Today, Google updated its Gmail app on Apple's mobile platform, bringing with it some features bound to be very useful for users. The iOS application is finally capable of fetching mail in the background, so new stuff can hit your inbox at any given time -- not just when you open the app. For the background app refresh to work as intended, however, the company points out that notifications will need to be turned on. Google's also made its sign-in process more streamlined, meaning that once you log into the Gmail app, you'll automatically be signed in to other iOS apps from the search giant. Because, c'mon, Google wants you to be doing Google things all the time.
Source: App Store
Apple's in-car infotainment system has been a long time coming. After it was announced at the company's annual WWDC conference in June last year, "iOS in the Car" flew under the radar, only to undergo a rebrand and launch publicly yesterday under a new moniker: CarPlay. Sharing part of its name with the company's AirPlay media streaming protocol, CarPlay combines all of the iPhone's most important features and mirrors them inside the car, allowing car owners to call, text, navigate and listen to music (and more) using touch or Siri-based voice inputs. The new in-car interface is compatible with new Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo models unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, and it's there we got the chance to test Apple's automotive assistant inside a suitably-equipped Ferrari FF coupe.%Gallery-slideshow182910%
03/03/2014 - Apple announces CarPlay: in-vehicle voice and touch access to notifications, maps and music
Apple has officially announced CarPlay, its new in-car interface that'll be compatible with new Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo cars unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this week. Designed "from the ground up" to bridge the gap between your iPhone and your auto, it will offer touch and Siri-based voice navigation of your smartphone services, including contacts, voicemail, notifications, map directions and music cueing -- it will even support third-party apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio from launch. The service will launch as an iOS update for Lightning-enabled iPhones (that's iPhone 5s and up), with CarPlay-compatible vehicles launching later this year. And if any of the above aren't your preferred automaker, Apple says that you can expect compatible cars from BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and several more in the near future.
01/03/2014 - Apple is reportedly launching iOS in the Car next week with Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo
Apple's iOS in the Car has been a long time in coming -- we first heard about the automotive interface last June, and it still isn't ready despite the presence of relevant code in recent iOS 7 builds. The wait may soon be over, though, as the Financial Times hears that Apple will unveil formal car integration deals with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo next week. There aren't more forthcoming details, although the rumored announcement implies that the automakers could name compatible models and possibly show the technology in action. We wouldn't refer to iOS in the Car as Apple's "first in-car operating system," like the FT does -- it's still dependent on an iPad or iPhone to work. Even so, any potential launch next week would represent a big step forward for 1 Infinite Loop's in-car efforts, which haven't advanced much since iPod Out.
[Image credit: Steve Troughton-Smith, YouTube]
Source: Financial Times
Several companies and organizations have already come forward to test out iOS7's Bluetooth-based iBeacon technology for tasks like shopping and navigation, but it could become a lot more commonplace in the near future. That's because the Cupertino company has quietly released the iBeacon specification for its Made for iPhone program, signifying a stronger push to make the technology more widespread. In essence, it ensures that any future product that bears the iBeacon logo will be fully compliant with Apple's standards.
What does this mean for you? Well, as a brief reminder, iBeacon is a location-based technology that allows iOS products to talk to each other using low-power Bluetooth signals. This means that whenever you see something with that iBeacon logo, you know it should work seamlessly with your iDevice. If we dare speculate, this could pave the way for a potential iWatch -- it makes obvious sense for it to communicate with the iPhone using iBeacon. Indeed, now that Apple is showing signs it's pushing the standard forward, we wonder if this is a not-so-subtle hint to developers to start incorporating iBeacon into their apps. As rumors of an Apple wearable heats up, we think that's certainly more likely than not.
Last year Apple introduced store sheet, a feature that allows developers to offer sell things like music and movies inside their apps without making you leave and head to iTunes. Now a new app from Disney is taking the feature a step further, allowing you to play iTunes purchases in-app as well. The first of its kind, Disney's new Movies Anywhere app not only allows you to purchase and play new Disney movies within the app, it also allows you to stream Disney content you've already purchased from iTunes without downloading it again onto your device.
As long as the app knows you've purchased the movie before, you'll be able stream it for free on your favorite iOS device or on your home computer. As you might expect, movies purchased within the app will also be available through your iTunes library to play on your iPhone or iPad without the Disney app, and can be played on your TV via Airplay. To use the app you'll need to first sign in with both your Disney and iTunes account information. Once you're logged in, it automatically brings in any Disney flicks you've purchased through iTunes previously, as well as any Disney Movie Rewards digital copies you might have redeemed from Blu-ray or DVD purchases.
The app is built using Disney's proprietary digital rights locker, KeyChest. A technology we've been hearing about for years -- and part of the reason Disney/Apple haven't joined in with Ultraviolet digital copies -- it could help Movies Anywhere stretch beyond iOS to other platforms in the future. As originally designed, it can work with any studio, DRM system or digital video store that wishes to participate, and unlock copies purchased via one storefront on any other automatically. That could include Ultraviolet shops like Vudu and Redbox Instant, or those going it alone like Amazon, Google Play and Comcast video on-demand -- not to mention other hardware platforms like Android and Roku. Of course, Disney has talked up the buy-once play-anywhere tech since 2009 and it's only now arriving on a single platform and store, so patience may be required.%Gallery-slideshow181653%
You don't need to cast bones or read entrails to know that smartphones arrive in predictable cycles. February, home of Mobile World Congress, is likely to see the launch of new handsets from heavy hitters like HTC, Samsung and LG. Those new flagships will rule the mobile hill until the fall, when Apple and Google are likely to wheel out next-gen devices of their own. Sony, meanwhile, recently launched its latest handset, the Z1 Compact, which reverses the "bigger is better" trend to great effect.
There may have only been one top-tier phone launching in January, but the phone industry has hardly been hibernating this winter. Two years after Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, it sold the rejuvenated handset maker to Lenovo. AT&T, meanwhile, has rejigged its mobile share plans to shrink your monthly data bill; T-Mobile will now pay you to leave your carrier; and we're inching ever closer to a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, the FCC permitting. If you're already on the hunt for a new smartphone, or your deal's only for a few more months left and you like to be prepared, this is your guide to the best handsets on the market.
22/02/2014 - Apple and Samsung headed for another patent trial in March after failing to reach a settlement
It's back to court for Apple and Samsung. After an attempt at settling their latest patent dispute, the two companies will begin another trial in March, according to a filing with the US district court in San Jose. To be clear, this isn't a re-trial of the case that Apple brought back in 2011 -- you know, the one where Samsung was made to pay nearly a billion dollars in damages. No, this is a different case, one that addresses a different set of patents, and one that names more recent devices, like the GS3. For now, it's unclear how much money is at stake, though experts cited by The Wall Street Journal claim that the damages could be higher this time around, given that the case includes newer Samsung devices that sold even better than the products named in the earlier suit. All will be revealed in March, we suppose. We'll be back then reporting any major developments -- even if we're as sick of these patent wars as you are.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Is that an iPhone in your pocket? Then you'd better pull it out, dive into the settings menu and check for updates: there may be an important patch waiting for you. Apple has quietly pushed out iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6 -- small updates that addresses a hitherto unknown security issue with its mobile OS. According to the company's security notes, the previous versions of iOS was missing key SSL validation steps that kept Secure Transport from validating authentic connections, making it possible for "attackers with a privileged network position" to "capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS." In other words, iOS devices were failing to protect themselves on shady networks, unbeknownst to the user. It's not clear if this security flaw was known outside of Cupertino, but it certainly is now. Lucky you, then, that Apple has already issued the fix. Well, what are you waiting for? Update your phone/tablet/Apple TV, already.
21/02/2014 - Smartwatches are dumb, but they don't have to be
If recent trends are any indication, there are two roads that lie ahead for smartwatches and the companies foisting them upon us: the all-you-can-eat, tracker + smartphone approach and the single-minded focus on health and wellness bands. One meanders off to a fuzzy horizon laden with disregarded Dead End signs, a jumble of features and an overload of quantified-self data. And the other... well, that narrowly focused path to wellness simply falls off a cliff. It's not because dedicated health and wellness devices have no place in the wearables market -- right now, they do. It's because that area of lifestyle tracking will inevitably be consumed by the smartwatch borg as a subset of ancillary features. And yet, here we are -- about to enter into the irrevocable phase of mobile technologies as wrist-worn wearables with questionable (for now) benefits. A future we'll preview more intensely at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as some big-name manufacturers unveil their in-development takes on what can currently be described as redundant lifestyle tech.
It's easy to forget that the wondrous, tiny computer in your pocket is built from components sourced all over the world, and sometimes, those building blocks come from not-so-nice origins. War-torn regions of the world often use resource and mineral sales to fund local conflict, creating a moral dilemma for gadget consumers and hardware manufactures alike. Naturally this issue has gotten some attention, and Apple says it's doing its part to ensure that its products are built from conflict-free materials.
In the company's 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, Cupertino confirmed that as of January 2014, all of the smelters that provided tantalum metal to its supply chain were verified as conflict-free by third-party auditors. The company couldn't quite say the same for the other metals used in consumer electronics, however: several of its gold, tin and tungsten suppliers won't openly verify compliance with the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP). Apple hasn't cut ties with these manufactures, but it has pledged to publish a quarterly report of the names, countries and CFSP status of all its suppliers to help "drive accountability" and promote participation. With any luck, Cupertino will be able to shame the rest of its supply chain into boycotting conflict-minerals -- delivering on its 2011 promise to build guilt-free iPhones.
Lately it's seemed like Apple can't build anything without a few prototype shells and cases leaking into public view, and now we're seeing pictures of what could be the next iPhone. Posted by a Twitter user earlier today and addressed to several Apple-focused websites, the empty iPhone 6 shells look very close to current models, but appear to have space for a larger edge to edge-style display, which has been rumored before. Sonny Dickson, who has previously obtained iPhone and iPad parts prior to the launch of new devices, has also apparently received the same pictures and tells MacRumors they came from a source in China. Are these pics the real thing, and if they are, do they represent what we'll likely see from Apple later this year? Without any details to back them up we can't be sure, but you can check out a few more pictures for yourself after the break.
Sometimes memory lane is paved in VHS and Beta bricks, other times it's wound around a film reel. Either way, you should really flip those classic video moments up to the cloud already -- it's 2014. With Valentine's Day rolling through, YesVideo -- purveyors of digitized nostalgia -- have taken it upon themselves to offer one Engadget reader the tools to do it. It's ponied up a new iPad Air so you can watch those classic wedding, honeymoon or prom vids in Retina clarity on a slate that weighs little more than a pile of sweet nothings. YesVideo is also giving the winner a $100 gift certificate for its video digitizing and cloud storage services to help them expunge those old formats and make room for that
ridiculous darling pink Valentine's bear. You've got to be in it to win it, so head down to the Rafflecopter widget and take a chance. It might just be your lucky day.
Perpetual court combatants Apple and Samsung have revealed their final list of allegations ahead of a trial starting March 31st. Though each started with five disputed patents, Samsung only has four now since a multimedia sync patent was knocked out earlier by Judge Lucy Koh. She also gave Apple a summary judgement win on its auto-complete IP, putting it ahead before the trial even begins. As for the rest, it's worth noting that all of Apple's patents are related to user interaction, while two of Samsung's are standards-essential (FRAND) patents -- which companies are normally obligated to license out. Samsung did have one point in its favor, however: the USPTO has agreed to take a second look at the validity of Apple's aforementioned auto-complete patent.
As for the devices accused of infringing those patents, none are very recent models and many aren't even on the market anymore. However, the historical sales of each will affect the size of any award given by the court if an allegation is upheld. That's a lot of infringement for ultra-popular models like the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, iPhone 5 and iPhone 4s, which have far outsold disputed models from the previous trial (like Samsung's original Galaxy S). Other names on the list include the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 from Samsung, along with Apple's iPads 2, 3, 4 and Mini. Of course, there's always the upcoming negotiations between company CEOs to avoid all that, but... nah, who are we kidding.
Source: Foss Patents
03/02/2014 - How would you change the iPhone 5?
The iPhone 5 was thinner, lighter and came with a bigger display than its predecessor. There's plenty to like about this handset, even if the Lightning connector broke compatibility with 100 million iDevice accessories. But what we want to know is this: if you had disguised yourself as Jonathan Ive and snuck into Infinite Loop's development labs, what would you have done differently? For instance, your humble narrator would have sacrificed a few more millimeters of thinness in exchange for a bigger battery. After all, those few MMs are a walk in the park compared to hauling a battery sleeve around with you all day. But what about you? Head on over to the forum thread and share your wisdom.
We still don't know exactly what Apple's long-rumored smart watch is, or what it's called -- yes, iWatch is probably right -- but a report today from 9to5Mac posits a whole heap of new information. First, the wearable works in concert with "Healthbook," a new internal app intended to track various fitness (steps, distance, etc.) and health metrics (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). Second, it looks like Healthbook -- at least currently -- is a crucial part of iOS 8, and when paired with iWatch (or whatever it's called) the two are "able to monitor several other pieces of health and fitness data." It's unclear exactly what that means. Like it's name, Healthbook is apparently pretty similar to Passbook, and you'll be able to swipe through various "cards" with health information.
Of course, none of this should come as a tremendous shock (though it's all still firmly in the rumor bin) -- word of Apple working on a wearable has been floating for quite some time, and it's past the point of coincidence. Between Apple hiring wearable electronics engineers (notable ones!), meeting with FDA regulators about "mobile medical applications," and the competition already staking a firm claim in the nascent smart watch market, no one following the tech news beast should be shocked. That's to say nothing of the dedicated chip inside Apple's latest iPhone (seen above). Regardless, with nothing officially announced just yet, we've reached out to Apple for more.
31/01/2014 - Apple bombarded with candy-themed games in protest at the word 'candy' being trademarked
Such sweet, sweet revenge. After the maker of the hugely popular Candy Crush series of games on the App Store somehow managed to trademark the word "candy" in Europe, other developers have started to fight back by blitzing Apple with an insulin-inducing array of Candy-themed game submissions. Over 100 hastily prepared titles have already been put forward as part of an organized "Candy Jam" protest against the trademarking of common words, including such gobstoppers such as CAN D, ThisGameIsNotAboutCandy, CanDieCanDieCanDie and the inimitable Candy_Game ("Press to hear Candy.")
In the meantime, the developer at the center of the controversy, King.com, continues to pursue legal action against those who use any of words in its arsenal of trademarks, even those that have nothing to do with sugar. This apparently includes one poor dev who had the cheek to use the word "saga" in a Norse mythology-themed game called The Banner Saga -- a title that treads too closely to Candy Crush Saga, according to legal documents filed by King. What's more, now that King has also filed for new trademarks in the US, this whole saga (eek) could be about to get even more sickly.
Source: Candy Jam
30/01/2014 - Make Evernote your own with its latest iOS update
Just look at those three totally different -- well, kinda different -- versions of Evernote for iOS above. That's Evernote illustrating just how distinct you can make the latest version of its popular productivity app, from color themes to sections to where it syncs. Oh, and if it weren't already apparent, the latest update brings an even more distinctly iOS 7 look to Evernote; that's an intentional evolution, as today's update is emblematic of changes that users requested "ever since we launched our iOS 7 redesign," the team says. Not convinced it's worth your precious MBs? Head below for a video tour of all the changes.
Will Apple ever open up its mobile platform to allow the use of third-party keyboards? Y'know, customizable boards that have features like clever word prediction algorithms and finger-swiping gestures? Despite CEO Tim Cook's suggestion last May that we might see iOS open up more in the future, we've seen no strong indication that alternative keyboards are even on the drawing board at present time. Fortunately, some developers are finding small workarounds to this dilemma: even though they aren't allowed to change the keyboard on the platform level, it's possible to do so within third-party applications. Fleksy is a prime example of a company that's thinking outside the box, opening up a developer kit allowing third parties to incorporate the Fleksy keyboard into their own app.
SwiftKey is also making the jump to iOS, but it's taking a different approach: the keyboard maker just announced SwiftKey Note, a note-taking app that's integrated with your Evernote account. This is great news for current Evernote users, and it may even be enough of an incentive for newbies to try it out. Using the new Note app, you'll be able to create notes that sync up with the account on your desktop or other mobile app. But what's more important is that you'll have the help of SwiftKey's trusty and faithful word prediction engine combined with the look of the default iOS 7 keyboard. We've got a gallery, video and additional impressions after the break.
Late last year, Samsung found itself in trouble over claims it had secretly spied on Apple and Nokia documents to gain a better position in patent deals. It denied any wrongdoing, saying it hadn't done so wilfully, and now US judge Paul S. Grewal has finally drawn the same conclusion. PCWorld reports that the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Wednesday that the Korean company could not have used confidential information for its patent licensing talks with Nokia, a deal that was extended in November, because it already knew all of the terms ahead of the leak.
The court considered sanctions against Samsung after the company's legal negotiator, Dr. Seungho Ahn, had reportedly told Nokia that its terms with Apple "were known to him," even though they were marked "highly confidential -- attorneys' eyes only." Up to 50 Samsung employees were said to have been given non-redacted copies of Apple documents by its external counsel Quinn Emanuel, which included patent deals with Nokia, but also Ericsson, Sharp and Philips. While Samsung has escaped further action, the court will force its legal representatives to cover both Apple and Nokia's legal fees, effectively making the "junior associate working late one night" pay for underusing that big black marker.
Apple's usually pretty quick when it comes to fixing issues with its software, and today is no exception. The iPhone maker has begun delivering iOS 7.0.5 to 5s and 5c models that are available in China, an update that is expected to solve "network provisioning" for some affected handsets there. This comes shortly after Apple finally announced a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, which put an end to a long, long period of negotiations and landed its shiny new devices on the carrier. As such, and even though the changelog doesn't single the network out, iOS 7.0.5 would appear to be tailored for China Mobile subscribers who recently bought an iPhone. Either way, for those of you outside of China, no need to be hunting for this particular version -- it's only for those who actually need it.
28/01/2014 - GetGlue and i.TV combine to create tvtag for iPhone, focus on real-time updates about live TV
After powering second screen connected TV experiences for other companies including DirecTV and Nintendo's TVii app, i.tv acquired TV check-in service GetGlue last year to pull those experiences together. Now, GetGlue is relaunching as tvtag, an advertising-supported one-stop information and social network centered around television watching, full of information from broadcast partners, augmented in real-time by a team of live curators and TV viewers. At launch, the reworked app is available only on the iPhone, but CEO Brad Pelo tells us a version for Android is due in a few days, with a web experience and iPad-ready version launching shortly after that. The i.TV app is sticking around for now, but will be updated in the future, while DirecTV and Nintendo are already lined up for integration with the new platform.
The check-in and sharing features -- and built-in user base -- from GetGlue remain, but it's the curated info that the company expects will separate it from other services. The "taglines" are built by over 50 employees creating high level tags for live TV (covering the majority of what viewers are watching, on any channel), which users then fill in with additional captures, comments and reactions. It's also why tvtag thinks users will choose to open this app over Twitter and Facebook while they're watching TV, with the ability to search info from sources like IMDB and Google, or add to the tagline with their own notes and doodles. Those taglines are available for browsing later for DVR viewing, but this experience is about live TV. For events like last weekend's Grammys or Pro Bowl, and the upcoming Super Bowl, it can push play-by-play updates, as well as constantly refreshed stats and field positions.
Other than the big social networks, competition to provide synced TV info on other screens like your phone, tablet or PC is fierce, with everyone from Google Now, Dijit's recent acquisition Miso and Yahoo's IntoNow offering similar features. IntoNow is one of the most similar, adding the ability to ID TV content via audio and a complete feed of images from live TV channels to the mix. tvtag is more than an app however, and since it can open up access as an SDK or API, we may see its features and content pop up in other apps and on other devices soon. Still, given the following GetGlue has been able to attract we expect to see plenty of tvtag shares popping up in our timelines -- we'll see if its exclusive information and tight TV-focused environment is enough to keep its audience coming back.
28/01/2014 - Apple's next cash cow could be your fingerprint
The mobile payments arena may not seem so big right now, but make no mistake: we're just seeing the beginning of an exponentially growing trend. Some estimates we've seen from market research firms put the future mobile payment market in the US alone at around $90 billion spent in 2017. Compared to that, the $12 billion spent in 2012 is just pocket change underneath the couch cushions. Apple's very much aware of the revenue potential in this category, and it's taking the possibility seriously.
"Mobile payments in general is one [area] that we've been intrigued with, and that was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID."
On today's quarterly earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that people love to buy content using Touch ID, the fingerprint reader featured on the iPhone 5s. "Mobile payments in general is one [area] that we've been intrigued with, and that was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID," Cook said. "We're not limiting ourselves just to that." This is the first direct confirmation that mobile payments were at least on the table in some form when Apple began developing Touch ID. This wasn't a promise from Cook that anything will happen in the near future, but it seems as though Apple would be leaving a lot of money on the table if it sat on the opportunity.
28/01/2014 - Apple says it received less than 250 National Security Orders in the first half of 2013
Following the terms of an agreement announced today between government agencies and a number of tech companies, Apple has released an updated report on National Security and Law Enforcement requests. Current through June 30th, 2013, it updates the data released last November and in June by breaking out the number of National Security Orders, which falls somewhere in the range between 0 and 250, "regardless of geography." Apple stated it had not received any requests for bulk data collection -- mentioning once again that personal conversations over iMessage and Facetime are encrypted -- echoing statements by CEO Tim Cook this weekend that it does not provide the government a backdoor to its servers.
The other data it can now reveal includes exact numbers for account information requests by law enforcement. That includes 2,330 accounts specified in requests, which resulted in information being disclosed for 747 accounts. All in all, the numbers and ranges support claims by the industry that the amount of data requested is very small, but as we've learned, the NSA isn't always concerned with asking about how to get what it wants from accounts, networks and/or mobile devices.
You could say Apple's had a pretty successful six months in Russia. After finally opening a localized version of its online store in June, it's also seen three of the country's biggest operators begin selling the iPhone again. Reuters reports that Megafon, Russia's second-biggest carrier, today became the final provider to resume sales of the fruity smartphones, committing to a three-year deal after almost four years on the sidelines. Last year, MTS, VimpelCom and Megafon reportedly suspended sales following a dispute over unfavorable contract terms, but a relaxation in Apple's distributor sales policy saw two of the three return to the fold by the end of 2013. While the deal isn't likely to drastically boost Apple's small share of Russia's smartphone market (at least right away), competition can only be a good thing -- especially given the high pricing on Apple's online store.