Archive for October, 2013

iOS 7.0.3 has been released

703update1Apple has released an update to iOS7 today, which will upgrade your iPhone to iOS 7.0.3 (build 118511) which is the most recent update since the last one only 7.0.2 (build 118501) which was itself released only a month ago.

The new update brings support for iCloud Keychain and among other things, fixes some of the accelerometer issues. This update is available to download over the air as it is only 92.8MB for the iPhone 5.

This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:

  • Adds iCloud Keychain to keep track of your account names, passwords, and credit card numbers across all your approved devices
  • Adds Password Generator so Safari can suggest unique, hard-to-guess passwords for your online accounts
  • Updates lock screen to delay display of “slide to unlock” when Touch ID is in use
  • Adds back the ability to search the web and Wikipedia from Spotlight search
  • Fixes an issue where iMessage failed to send for some users
  • Fixes a bug that could prevent iMessage from activating
  • Improves system stability when using iWork apps
  • Fixes an accelerometer calibration issue
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Siri and VoiceOver to use a lower quality voice
  • Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode
  • Enhances the Reduce Motion setting to minimize both motion and animation
  • Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver input to be too sensitive
  • Updates the Bold Text setting to also change dial pad text
  • Fixes an issue that could cause supervised devices to become un-supervised when updating software

The new “Reduce Motion” feature could now help to alleviate some of the concerns many users reported, who where finding the new parallax and other effects in iOS 7 to be visually unsettling. This new feature introduces a new, more subtle “cross fade” effect.

iOS 7 Sounds created by Owl City

Electronica artist Adam Young, the man behind the popular music of Owl City, is thought to be responsible for many of the new sound and tones in iOS 7.

Alongside the top-to-bottom redesign of the visual user interface in iOS 7, Jony Ive’s design team with Young’s help has also reworked all the sounds in the OS as well. It isn’t clear exactly which sounds Young worked on, though many of the message and ringtones sound similar to his music.

 

Some of Adam Young’s more well-known songs, under the Owl City name, include his breakout hit FirefliesGood Time with Carly Rae Jepsen, and When Can I See You Again?from Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph.

 

 

Young began creating songs in his parents’ basement, sharing tracks on MySpace before signing with a record label and receiving commercial success. Like many musicians, he uses Macs and a number of different software titles including Apple’s LogicPro Tools, and Propellerhead’s Reason.

Apple sued over Automatic iOS7 Downloads

Not long after iOS7 was released some user reported that upwards of 3GB was being used up on their devices by “Other Content”. This turned out as we reported in a previous article to be a “Pre-Download” containing install files for iOS 7 which are required to perform the upgrade, however for users planning on sticking with iOS 6 there is no way to remove these files.

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For many users this was a great feature as it meant less time for them to actually update their devices as the majority of the files had already been downloaded without their knowledge, however for those who plan on sticking with iOS6 or who are short on storage space, this turned out to be a big issue as there is no way to remove the extra 3GB on set-up files without installing iOS 7.

 

One user in particular seems more annoyed by this than any other, Mark Menacher is actually suing Apple, more specifically apple’s CEO Tim Cook for his “disregard for customer preferences in relation to iOS 7 is corporate thuggery”.

Steve Jobs was reportedly rough on company employees in pursuit of happy customers, but Tim Cook apparently cultivates a culture of contempt for customer satisfaction in pursuit of corporate profits. It is a policy that will eventually fail.

According to a report over on CNet Mark is asking for a way to delete the iOS 7 installer from his iOS 6device, plus an additional $50. He has filed a similar complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Anki Drive Cars Will Be Available on October 23

First announced at WWDC this year, Anki’s iOS-controlled AI-based racing game is set to debut later this month. Unlike your usual racing toys, Anki Drive is largely self-operating and is described by anki as a “video game in the real world.” The concept is similar to scalextric, with added enhancements that include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls.

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The Anki cars are placed on a specially designed vinyl track and connect to an iPhone using Bluetooth-LE. Using software and tiny cameras, the cars are able to calibrate their positions on the track and handle steering on their own. Players control the acceleration and the guns using an iPhone and the Anki Drive app, shooting at other cars on the track to score the highest number of hits.

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Hits convert to points, and points can be used to both upgrade cars and weapons. Each of the Anki Drive cars has its own unique name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others have more energy. Engadget went hands-on with the Anki Drive and has a description of the game play:

As soon as you’re done, you can simply set the cars on the track and away they’ll zoom; there’s no need for you to hit an accelerate button at all. Indeed, the cars will even know just where to turn. We wanted to see if we could mess it up, so we picked up a car and turned it the other way around to see what would happen. The answer: It just flipped around and went back on the right direction.

So if the cars can drive themselves, what do they need you for? Well, you can affect the race by tilting the phone either left or right to force it to make a wider or sharper turn. There are also special weapons you can deploy if you’re in a competition – a couple of starter ones include a tractor beam to slow down an opponent and a gun that you can use to mow them down afterward.

Anki Drive has several different gameplay modes, including the multi player mode that allows several players to compete against one another and a single player mode where one of the cars is controlled through AI. Each of the Anki Drive cars has its own name, personality, and statistics, with some offering greater acceleration speeds while others have more energy. No car can be fully upgraded to match the others, which makes each one unique.

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Anki Drive will only be be available in the United States and Canada at launch from Apple’s website and in retail stores from the 23rd October. Each kit, will includes two cars, chargers, and a race track, and will be priced at  $199 (approximately £123.00). Two additional cars can be purchased for $69 each.

 

 

The Anki Drive app can be downloaded from the App Store for free.

City Council Gives Unanimous Approval for Apple’s New Campus

Following approval of Apple’s plans for its new “spaceship campus” by the City of Cupertino’s Planning authority earlier this month, the Cupertino City Council has just given its unanimous approval to the project at its recent October meeting. The approval came after more than six hours of discussion this evening, with many statements of support and the occational expressions of concern from members of the community, the approval was met with significant applause by those in attendance at the meeting.

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Today’s planning approval is nearly final, pending any appeals for reconsideration, which must be filed within ten days. If no appeals are received within that period, Apple will be granted permission to begin demolition of the former HP building currently located on the site, as well as utility relocation, tree removal, and construction of a temporary sound wall. The formal agreement between Apple and the City of Cupertino must be given a second public reading, scheduled for the council’s meeting on 19th November, and Apple’s full set of permits would go into effect the following day.

Apple’s plans for Phase 1 of the project call for a 2.8 million square foot ring-shaped main building with an underground parking facility for nearly 2,400 vehicles, a 100,000 square foot fitness center, a 120,000 square foot auditorium, a main parking structure with space for nearly 6,000 vehicles, and assorted other minor facilities. A second phase of construction would consist of 600,000 additional square feet of office and research and development buildings, as well as other parking and energy generation facilities.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a Tweet about the approval, interestingly quoting the title of our own article on the topic.

Will Microsoft bring Office to the iPad?

The most recent word on Office for iPad came back in April, when a leaked roadmap indicated that the next major version of Office was due to ship in spring 2014, with an iPad version arriving in the fall of that year.

onlivedesktopactionshot979876-1Microsoft does indeed appear to be waiting to launch the next major version of its main Office suite before launching an iPad version, as The Verge reports that outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today revealed that Office will come to the iPad once a “touch first” interface is ready. That interface will reportedly be arriving on the next version of Office for Windows.

“iPad will be picked up when there’s a touch first user interface.” That touch first interface appears to be making its way to the Windows version of Office first, with the iPad edition to follow afterwards. Ballmer noted the touch first interface is “in progress.” […]

Microsoft’s head of applications and services, Qi Lu, also commented on touch versions of Office at an analyst meeting recently. Lu said the company is “working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite,” and that Microsoft will “bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers’ needs.”

The timing for an Office for iPad release remains unclear based on these most recent developments, but they appear to be consistent with the previously leaked roadmap, which would put the Office for iPad launch into late next year.

iTunes radio may be coming to the UK

Following last week’s news that iTunes Radio would be expanding to Canada within the next few months, we are hearing rumours that Apple plans expand the service to the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand by early 2014, ahead of competitor Pandora’s own expansion. The expansion could also include Nordic countries.

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Apple is able to roll out its service to additional countries more quickly than Pandora because it has already signed international rights deals with Universal Music Group and other record companies. Pandora, however, relies on rights “granted by government entities” which limits its service to the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

Apple Inc. plans to expand iTunes Radio to English-speaking countries outside the U.S. by early 2014, beating industry leader Pandora Media Inc. to the U.K. and Canada, people with knowledge of the situation said.

ITunes Radio is also set to start early next year in Australia and New Zealand, where Pandora already operates, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Nordic countries are also being targeted in the same time frame, the people said.

First introduced alongside iOS 7 in September, iTunes Radio is currently limited to listeners in the United States, though users in other countries can skirt restrictions with a U.S. iTunes account.

Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue has said that launching iTunes Radio worldwide is a top priority for the company, with Apple ultimately aiming to have the service “in more than 100 countries.”

New model of Apple’s “Spaceship” is released

Apple’s proposed Apple Campus 2, now in the final planning stages, can be seen in detail in new model photos below. The 4-story circular building, which Steve Jobs famously described as “like a spaceship,” encompasses more than 2.8 million square feet and is designed to house upwards of 12,000 employees.

Dai Sugano

As seen in the model, the campus includes the main spaceship building with curved glass windows and polished concrete ceilings, several auxiliary buildings, a massive parking structure topped with solar panels, an underground parking lot, and a huge number of trees. In addition to the main working area, the plans include an auditorium for events, a fitness center, and additional space for research and development. Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, Peter Oppenheimer, was on hand to give some details about the campus.

“You see the energy and the love and the attention to detail that we’ve put into this,” he told this newspaper during a sneak-peek of a top-secret, living-room sized model of the building. “We have treated this project just as we would any Apple product. And this will be a place for the most creative and collaborative teams in the industry to innovate for decades to come.”

“The concept of the building,” said Oppenheimer, “is collaboration and fluidity. It’ll provide a very open-spaced system, so that at one point in the day you may be in offices on one side of the circle and find yourself on the other side later that day.”

Though only the main buildings will be constructed during the first phase of the project, Apple has plans to add additional buildings to house extra employees at some point in the future.

Following an early October approval from the Cupertino Planning Commission, the campus is still subject to a vote from the Cupertino city council on October 15 and a final vote on November 19. If all parties involved approve the construction, Apple will remain on track for a 2016 debut of the new structure.

Apple has begun sending out brochures asking residents of Cupertino to support the new Apple campus by emailing the Cupertino city council and attending the October 15 vote. The company says that it intends to break ground shortly after the campus is approved.

Update: The City of Cupertino has posted a nearly three-hour video of the October 1 session discussing Apple’s Environmental Impact report on the new campus project. The session includes a presentation by Apple Senior Director of Real Estate and Facilies Dan Whisenhunt, with a brief overview video beginning at the 8:15 mark in the session video.

New Logitech game controller images leaked

An image of what might be Logitech’s upcoming MFi (Made for iPhone) controller for the iPhone has been leaked on Twitter by @evleaks, who has been known to provide reliable images in the past.

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The enclosure controller wraps around the iPhone, adding buttons and controls on either side of the phone and is similar to an earlier prototype that was leaked back in June. It also fits with teaser images that Logitech released a few weeks ago.

controller

While the controller in the image is an enclosure model, other available models are said to be standalone controllers that will not require an attachment to an iPhone or an iPad to function.

In addition to the Logitech gamepad, GameCase last week released a trailer for its GameCase iPhone controller, which connects via Bluetooth and is battery operated.

News of MFi controllers first surfaced in June, after Apple debuted the controller API at WWDC. Since the release of iOS 7, many games have incorporated Game Controller Support, including several major titles like Walking Dead and Bastion.

Though no game controllers have yet to hit the market, the appearance of controller support in games and continuing hardware leaks suggest that a release could come at any time, possibly during Apple’s rumored iPad-centric fall event.

ICloud’s free package for legacy MobileMe Users comes to a close

Following up form their previous message regarding the free 20GB storage for former MobileMe subscribers, apple has now stopped this and downgraded all non-paying users to their free 5GB plan.

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Users who are currently over the free 5 GB limit following the expiration of the complimentary 20 GB will see such features as iCloud Backup, Documents in the Cloud, and iCloud Mail cease functioning until they bring their accounts under the lower 5 GB limit.

Apple replaced MobileMe with iCloud in 2011, giving paying MobileMe customers an extra 20 GB of iCloud storage as a good will gesture. The additional storage was set to be discontinued in September 2012, but Apple decided to extend the offer, giving MobileMe users another free year of extra storage.

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