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printed August 29, 2014
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Apple Denied Injunction Bid Against Samsung

Wednesday, 3:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple lost in its attempt to ban the sale of select Samsung devices today, as U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple's request. The company sought a ban on devices found to infringe on its patents at trial earlier this year. "Apple has not demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm to its reputation or goodwill as an innovator without an injunction," wrote Judge Koh in her ruling. Apple was also denied a bid to ban sales of older Samsung phones in the 2012 patent trial that it won. Juries awarded Apple damages of $120 million and $930 million in the 2014 and 2012 cases, respectively. Samsung is still appealing to have the damages reduced or overturned. Earlier this year, Apple and Samsung resolve all their patent issues outside the U.S., leaving only these two cases unresolved.


AT&T Names Glenn Lurie as CEO of Wireless Unit

Tuesday, 3:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today made some changes in its executive ranks and has replaced Ralph de la Vega as the CEO of AT&T Mobility. Taking de la Vega's place is Glenn Lurie, a longtime AT&T vet who was instrumental in bringing the Apple iPhone to AT&T back in 2007. Lurie most recently oversaw AT&T's connect home business. He will head the entire wireless group moving forward, but AT&T also indicated it is merging its wireless and enterprise solutions groups. The new, merged business unit will be managed by de la Vega. His new title is CEO Mobile & Business Solutions. The executive changes are effective immediately. AT&T Mobility's change of CEO follows closely that of Sprint's, which replaced Dan Hesse with Marcelo Claure.


California Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Into Law

Tuesday, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that will mandate all smartphones to come with a kill switch by July 2015. The law's goal is to curb smartphone thefts. Lawmakers believe that allowing smartphones owners to render their device unusable after it is stolen will reduce the appeal to thieves, who won't be able to use or sell them. Minnesota enacted a similar law earlier this year, and the CTIA Wireless Association said all carriers will support kill switches by July 2015, too. Apple already added a kill switch functionality to iOS, and Google and Microsoft are working on similar tools for Android and Windows Phone.


Huawei: No Tizen and No More Windows Phone for Us

Monday, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei recently said it has no plans to release a Tizen-based smartphone, and also said it will no longer make smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. "Some telecom carriers are pushing us to design Tizen phones but I say 'no' to them. In the past we had a team to do research on Tizen but I canceled it," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, to The Wall Street Journal. "We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful. Even for Windows Phone it's difficult to be successful." Tizen is a Linux-based platform created by Samsung and Intel. Samsung, Tizen's primary backer, has delayed plans to realize a Tizen phone indefinitely as it builds up the app ecosystem. Huawei remains a member of the Tizen Association, but its new stance on the platform further clouds Tizen's potential. As for Windows Phone, Huawei complained of losing money on the platform for two years. "We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone," said Yu. "It wasn't profitable for us. So for now we've decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold. We have worries about Android being the only option, but we have no choice. And we have a good collaboration with Google." Google's Android platform holds about 85% of the global smartphone market, with Apple's iOS holding 11% and Windows Phone holding 2.5%. BlackBerry's share of the market is less than 1%.


Apple Offering to Replace Faulty iPhone 5 Batteries

Aug 23, 2014, 9:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has launched an iPhone 5 battery replacement program. According to Apple, a limited number of iPhone 5s sold between September 2012 and January 2013 may experience a sudden decrease in battery life, requiring frequent recharges. Customers who believe their device may be affected can verify their device's eligibility through the serial number. Apple will replace the battery for free, or reimburse customers who paid to have the battery replaced on their own. Apple said the program is limited to batteries. iPhones with cracked screens or other problems will likely incur charges to have those separate issues resolved before the battery is replaced. The program launched in the U.S. and China on August 22, and will launch in other countries August 29.


Samsung to Buy SmartThings

Aug 15, 2014, 7:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said it has agreed to purchase a startup called SmartThings. SmartThings, which is based in Washington, develops technology for the Internet of Things. It sells a home controller device for $99, but has also created an online service to help developers design and create their own internet-enabled and smartphone-controlled gadgets. The company claims 8,000 apps and 1,000 devices use its platform. SmartThings will move its operations to Palo Alto, Calif., where Samsung has a developer facility, but SmartThings' CEO Alex Hawkinson said the company will be run independently. The move is largely seen as a way for Samsung to counter steps made by Google and Apple to expand the functionality of their smartphones and tablets to control household items. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


OmniVision Receives Buyout Offer from Chinese Investors

Aug 14, 2014, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

OmniVision today indicated it has received an acquisition offer from China-based venture capitalists. Hua Capital Management offered $29 per share for OmniVision, which values the company at about $1.67 billion. OmniVision makes camera sensors for smartphones and tablets. Its chips are found in devices such as the Apple iPhone. OmniVision's products compete with those from Sony, Samsung, and others. OmniVision, which is based in California, said it is evaluating the offer.


New, Reversible USB Connector Finalized

Aug 12, 2014, 12:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The USB Promotors Group has finished developing the design and specifications for the USB Type-C plug and port. The Type-C connector will replace the Type-B connector (microUSB) found in most modern mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. One of the key aspects of the Type-C connector is that it is reversible and can be inserted either way (much like Apple's Lightning connector). The Type-C connector will support USB 3.1, providing for theoretical data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, and 100W of power for charging batteries. According to the USB Promoters Group, USB Type-C will be fast and powerful enough for laptops, in addition to smartphones and tablets. The Type-C connector will not be compatible with existing USB ports, but the USB Promoters Group claims an extensive array of adapters will be made available during its introduction. It's unclear how long it will take hardware manufacturers to adopt the new standard, but the USB Promoters Group is already offering companies the technical details they need to get started.


HTC One (M8) to Add MirrorLink Support for Cars

Aug 11, 2014, 7:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC and the Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that a forthcoming software update will make the One (M8) MirrorLink compatible. MirrorLink is a connectivity tool for pairing smartphones and cars. It works across smartphone platforms and car manufacturers, and, according to the CCC, is the only vendor-neutral standard available. With MirrorLink aboard, the One (M8) will be able to connect to select in-car infotainment systems,m allowing drivers to more safely access their phone's content when behind the wheel. It's unclear how many cars currently support MirrorLink, but the CCC hopes with HTC's support more will choose to support it. Apple and Google both recently announced their own connectivity solutions for cars, which are expected to appear in iOS 8 and Android Release L, respectively. HTC said it will add MirrorLink support to mode devices down the road.


Apple and Samsung Drop Lawsuits Outside US

Aug 6, 2014, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and Samsung said they will cease squabbling over patents in various courts around the world. "Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States," they said in a statement. "This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts." Apple and Samsung have been slugging it out in courts for years over smartphone patents in countries around the globe, including Australia, Germany, Korea, the Netherlands, and the U.K. The two companies still have ongoing unresolved court cases in the U.S. Apple won a major victory in 2012 and a smaller one earlier this year, though the cases are in various stages of appeal.


Apple Closes Acquisition of Beats

Aug 1, 2014, 11:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today closed its acquisition of Beats Audio. The $3 billion deal was announced earlier this year. Apple now owns Beats' headphone and music streaming businesses, which it will use to enhance its own offerings.


EU Approves Apple's Proposed Beats Acquisition

Jul 28, 2014, 1:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The European Union has given the green light to Apple's proposed acquisition of Beats Audio. Apple announced its plan to buy the music-focused company earlier this year in a deal valued at about $3 billion. The deal includes Beats' headphones business and music streaming service. U.S. regulators are still researching the deal. Beats was recently sued by Bose for infringing on noise cancellation technology. It's not clear if or how Bose's legal action will impact Apple's ability to close the acquisition of Beats.


Sony to Boost Smartphone Camera Sensor Production

Jul 23, 2014, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony plans to make a large investment its in imaging business and will increase production of CMOS sensors for mobile devices. The company will spend as much as $345 million to improve the capacity of its sensor-making facilities. Sony has already purchased several new manufacturing plants. The company currently makes about 60,000 sensors a month. It will improve those yields to 68,000 by August 2015 and eventually 75,000 by the end of 2015. Sony makes CMOS sensors for its own smartphones and tablets, but also for other manufacturers, such as Apple.


Apple Joins Forces with IBM to Bring iOS To Enterprise

Jul 15, 2014, 4:36 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple and IBM today announced a partnership that will see more business-oriented apps developed for iOS, and IBM selling iPhones and iPads directly to its large corporate customers. The two companies will jointly develop the apps, of which there will be about 100, targeted as various industries. IBM is today primarily a software and services provider, implementing complete IT solutions for large companies.


Apple Dabbles In Mobile Payments in Japan

Jul 15, 2014, 7:24 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple has introduced a rudimentary mobile payment system in Japan. The system exposes the user's iTunes account via a 2D barcode on a Passbook card, and allows users to carry a positive cash balance, much like a Starbucks account used through Apple's Passbook app. For now, the system can only be used to purchase apps and content through Apple's iTunes and App Store, and deposits must be made in person at Apple Stores. Although the current system is quite limited, it marks a new step for Apple toward full mobile payments, and gives a glimpse of how such a system could work.


Apple Adds Extras to iTunes, iOS 8

Jul 10, 2014, 10:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 10, 2014, 10:57 AM

Apple today released iTunes 11.3 and discussed new features headed to the iPhone and iPad later this year. iTunes 11.3 adds new support for "extras" that are often available with purchases of HD movies. Extras typically contain interviews, shorts, and other production content associated with movies. Moving forward, extras will be added to prior HD movie purchases automatically. Extras will also become available for viewing on the Apple TV for the first time. Last, extras will be available to devices running iOS 8 when it launches later this year. Apple is currently beta testing iOS 8, which is expected to debut in September or October.


Amazon Refuses to Settle with FTC Over In-App Charges

Jul 2, 2014, 1:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon has made clear to the Federal Trade Commission that it will not settle with the government over claims it didn't adequately prevent customers from making in-app purchases. Consumers complained that children were able to easily make unwanted in-app purchases from Amazon's Appstore. Amazon has operated its own Appstore for Android and Fire OS apps since 2011. The FTC has threatened Amazon with litigation if it fails to sign a consent decree similar to the one signed by Apple earlier this year. Apple settled with the FTC for $32.5 million in order to avoid any courtroom drama. Amazon believes it responded quickly and adequately to the issue at hand and shouldn't be beholden to government action. The company said in a letter to the FTC that it will defend itself in court. The FTC argues that Amazon needs to require passwords for in-app purchases, make warnings more prominent, and make it easier for customers to receive refunds. Amazon has already provided some refunds. The FTC has yet to file formal charges.


Microsoft Joins Qualcomm-Backed AllSeen Alliance

Jul 2, 2014, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has joined the AllSeen Alliance, an effort backed by Qualcomm to provide a standard for connecting the Internet of Things. The alliance already has 50 companies on board, including LG, Panasonic, and Sharp. The group's goal is to make it easy for devices to interact with one another by devising a single standard through which they can communicate. Qualcomm's rivals, however, are prepared to form their own group, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters. The competing consortium may launch as soon as next week, and will seek to create its own standard for connecting the Internet of Things. Apple has already announced HomeKit, its own protocol for connecting smartphones and tablets to devices around the home. Further, Google recently released an SDK for its Nest thermostat, which will eventually allow smartphones, tablets, and other apps to interact with Nest. Multiple standards may make it more difficult for consumers to find devices that work with one another. Reuters didn't say which companies are going to support the competitor to AllSeen.


Apple Releases iOS 7.1.2 to Squelch Bugs

Jun 30, 2014, 12:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a minor update to iOS for iPhones and iPads. The small system jump resolves several bugs and can be downloaded and installed over the air for free.

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T-Mobile Allowing Customers to Pair iPhone with Prepaid Plans

Jun 26, 2014, 2:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 30, 2014, 4:28 PM

T-Mobile today announced customers can now purchase an Apple iPhone at Apple retail stores and use it with T-Mobile's prepaid, no-contract plans. T-Mobile is offering iPhone buyers a $50 discount off the price of the phone when paired with a prepaid plan. Customers who buy an iPhone and use it with T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans will receive a $50 iTunes gift card. T-Mobile also announced today it is selling the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad Mini with Retina Display (with T-Mobile LTE) at Costco locations around the U.S. T-Mobile says Costco is offering the devices at "competitive out-of-pocket prices." Today's announcements come on the heels of T-Mobile's free, week-long iPhone trial, which was revealed at its UNCarrier announcement in Seattle. All three promotions are meant to help T-Mobile sell more iPhones.


Google Makes Android Release L Available to Developers

Jun 26, 2014, 1:36 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made good on its promise to release a preview of the next-generation Android platform to developers. The L Developer Preview is available for download from Google's developer web site. It is compatible with the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013 Wi-Fi model). The operating system will need to be installed manually. The preview is not meant for general consumers; it is for developers or others with the technical know-how to install the operating system. Google warns that the preview may not be stable, and may not work properly with all third-party applications. Google is expected to make Android Release L available to consumers in the fall. Google is providing developers with an early look at the operating system so they may prepare their applications. Apple does a similar thing with iOS, releasing successive betas between the time the OS is first announced and when it goes live.


Google Fit to Combat Apple's HealthKit

Jun 25, 2014, 1:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today showed off Google Fit. Similar to Apple's HealthKit, Google Fit will be a platform through which Android and Google customers can track and manage their healthcare and fitness data across apps. Some of the initial partners supporting Google Fit include Adidas, Basis, Nike, RunKeeper, and Withings. Google will release an SDK in the coming weeks so developers can integrate Google Fit into their Android apps.

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Google Debuts Android Auto for the Connected Car

Jun 25, 2014, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced Android Auto, its new platform for connecting smartphones to select cars. Similar to Apple's CarPlay, Android Auto will project a simplified version of key apps to the car's infotainment system. Like Android Wear, Android Auto relies heavily on Google Now and its voice-based commands for interacting with the system. It brings over the phone app, Google Maps, Play Music, Search, and a handful of others that drivers can access when in their car. Android Auto will be baked into the L release of Android, which is expected to arrive this fall. According to Google, two dozen car makers have agree to support the platform and will roll cars off assembly lines with Android Auto preloaded by the end of the year.

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Sprint Revives 30-Day Risk-Free Trial

Jun 23, 2014, 1:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said customers will once again be able to test drive its network and services for a period of 30 days with no risk. The move appears to be a response to T-Mobile's recently announced one-week trial, which lets potential customers try an Apple iPhone 5s on T-Mobile's network for one week for free. Sprint's guarantee says customers not wholly satisfied with their service during the first 30 days may return their handsets for a full refund. Sprint will also waive any activation or service charges incurred during the initial trial period. Sprint used to offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, but shortened it to 14 days back in 2011. The satisfaction guarantee is available beginning June 27 to new consumers, select small business customers, and current customers who add a new line of service.


Google, Microsoft Commit to Smartphone Kill Switches

Jun 19, 2014, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google and Microsoft today indicated they will add theft deterrent tools to their respective mobile platforms. The commitment comes after major cities, including New York and San Francisco, saw significant drops in iPhone thefts during the first few months on the year. Apple added kill switch tools to the iPhone when it introduced iOS 7 last September. Google has yet to spell out the specifics of its kill switch feature, but Microsoft said it will add a kill switch to all devices running Windows Phone 8 and up. The Windows Phone tool will allow owners to: remotely wipe personal data from the phone; render the smartphone inoperable; prevent reactivation without the owner's permission; reverse the inoperability if the phone is recovered; and restore user data if the phone was erased. These functions will be added to Windows Phone's Find My Phone tool. Microsoft said it will have the tool ready before the July 2015 deadline set by the CTIA for implementing such features. Lawmakers have been urging phone makers and carriers to add these tools for well more than a year. The CTIA Wireless Association, which lobbies for the wireless industry in Washington, voluntarily set up a timeline for theft deterrent tools which are to be added to all new phones by next year. The commitments from Google and Microsoft should help speed up those efforts. The long-term goal is to reduce the number of smartphone thefts, which are popular targets due to their value.


Apple Settles E-Book Pricing Suit

Jun 17, 2014, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has settled a civil lawsuit over the prices it charged for e-books, according to court documents filed in New York. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the parties have agreed to the basics of the settlement. Consumers and several U.S. states were seeking as much as $840 million over allegations that Apple colluded with publishers to raise the prices of e-books from $10 to $13/$15 for popular titles. Plaintiffs claimed Apple over-charged consumers by $280 million, and sought three times that amount in damages. The settlement will need to be approved by the court before it is implemented. Apple maintains it has done nothing wrong, though it is currently appealing an antitrust ruling levied against it last year.


Parallels App Lets Androids and iPhone Access PCs

Jun 17, 2014, 6:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Parallels today made it possible for Android smartphones/tablets and the iPhone to remotely access Windows and Apple computers. Parallels previously offered a version of its Parallels Access app to the iPad. Parallels Access lets smartphone/tablet owners log into their home or work PC using Facebook. Once logged in, Android users can launch desktop apps directly on the screen and control them through their phone. A file browser for the iOS variant of the app lets iPhone users browse and open files and apps. Parallels Access supports use of the smartphone's microphone for voice-controlled apps on the desktop machine, and allows users to alter screen resolution for the best performance on their device. The app costs $20 for a one-year subscription or $35 for a two-year subscription, which allows an unlimited number of iPhones/Androids to access and control up to five PCs. Parallels will charge only $30 for a two-year subscription to those who download the app before June 30. Parallels Access requires iOS7 and Android 4.0 and up. It is compatible with Windows computers using Win7, 8, and 8.1, and OS X machines running 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9.


Newest Phones Deliver Peak LTE Speeds

Jun 11, 2014, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 11, 2014, 11:38 AM

Data collected by PCMag for its Fastest Mobile Networks shows the latest smartphones are best able to take advantage of the country's LTE networks. PCMag received crowd-sourced data from 323 different devices across 822 metro areas in the U.S. The key in attaining the best speeds is support for more LTE bands. Specifically, devices that support Sprint Spark and Verizon XLTE showed significantly better performance than devices that don't. For example, PCMag contends that Spark-compatible phones offer twice the LTE performance of non-Spark phones on Sprint's network. Sprint Spark makes use of three different LTE bands to improve capacity and coverage. Similarly, Verizon's XLTE uses two bands to provide capacity and coverage. Older phones, such as the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3, may be available at bargain prices, but they don't match the network prowess of devices such as the iPhone 5s/5c and Galaxy S4/S5.


Rok MVNO to Combine Mobile with Music

Jun 9, 2014, 9:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A new MVNO called Rok Mobile plans to offer a merged mobile-and-music service when it launches in July. The company is working with two unnamed carriers (one GSM, one CDMA) to resell access to LTE 4G networks, but it will also bundle in its own streaming music service as part of the core offering. Rok has not revealed what its monthly cost will be, but the price will include unlimited voice, messages, and data service in addition to music streaming, downloading, and caching. Rok purchased access to 20 million tracks just last month, and will let people create their own playlists as well as automatically generate playlists based on customer interests. The company intends to sell the Apple iPhone as well as high-end Android smartphones, though it will also encourage potential customers to bring their own handsets. Rok will have dedicated Android and iOS apps for customers, and will also provide access to music via desktop web browsers at some point after launch. Rok's tack is a bit different from Cricket's Muve Music, which added unlimited music for just $5 more per month. Rok Mobile is using music as the centerpiece of its offering, not pitching it as an add-on. Rok plans to launch July 4, and more details should become available at that time.


ZTE Hopes High-End Phones Will Increase Sales

Jun 9, 2014, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today said it plans to push into the high-end smartphone market controlled by the likes of Apple, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony. According to Reuters, sales of ZTE's mid-range and entry-level handsets are strong, but margins are too thin. The company wants to use high-end handsets to help increase its margins. "We will make more and more premium smartphones," said ZTE's Zeng Xuezong to Reuters. The company wants to trade its image as a low-cost phone maker for one that rivals the current market leaders. "There is indeed a gap between the brand awareness of Chinese companies and those top global brands, and this is what our team is trying to build for consumers" with handsets such as the Nubia Z5, said Zeng. ZTE believes it can increase is worldwide sales from 40 million units in 2013 to as much as 100 million units by 2016. In the U.S., it is seeking to raise its marketshare from 6% to 10% by 2017 with the help of premium devices and by spending more money on marketing. Most of the ZTE handsets available in the U.S. are entry-level devices sold by prepaid or low-cost carriers.


T-Mobile Says Wi-Fi Calling Coming to iPhone

Jun 2, 2014, 4:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said that, with the arrival of iOS 8, its iPhone subscribers will have access to Wi-Fi calling. T-Mobile has offered other smartphone platforms Wi-Fi calling for years as an alternative for making voice calls in poor cellular coverage areas. Apple introduced iOS 8 earlier today and one of the many new features is support for voice calls over Wi-Fi. iOS 8 won't be available to most people until the fall, but Wi-Fi calling will be available to T-Mobile's iPhone customers as soon as the new operating system from Apple arrives.


iOS Gains Key APIs for Touch ID, Camera, More

Jun 2, 2014, 2:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today revealed a significantly expanded set of new tools for developers to use for creating iOS apps. The new iOS SDK includes some 4,000 APIs for developers to put to use. Of those, core APIs concern the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s, which will now support third-party apps. Previously, only select Apple-made apps could access Touch ID. New camera APIs will allow developers to do more with their own camera apps and let users access more photo features. The HomeKit API will let Apple devices talk to the myriad different home automation products in the market so people can control their electronic door locks, garage door openers, and other tools from their iPhone. SceneKit will give developers light sources, field forces, and per-pixel physics in their games. A tool called Metal can be used to create 3D graphics while also freeing up system resources. Last, and most importantly, Apple debuted Swift, a new coding language that it promises with be faster and simpler for developers to use. As Apple described it, "Swift is Objective C without the C." Swift works with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch and uses all the same compilers and vectorizers already available within C. iOS 8 is available for developers to download in beta status beginning today.


Apple to Support Third-Party Keyboards within iOS 8

Jun 2, 2014, 1:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said that iOS 8 will support third-party keyboards, such as Swype, through the new extensibility feature of the App Store. Third-party keyboards will function in all apps system-wide if the users permits it.

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Apple Makes iTunes App Store More Appealing for Devs

Jun 2, 2014, 1:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today outlined a number of changes headed to the App Store that will benefit both consumers and developers alike. The App Store will add a new explore tab, as well as a tool for viewing the top-trending searches and continuous scrolling in the search result screens. The new App Store will support app bundles, so developers will be able to package collections of their apps and sell them to consumers together. Apple is also giving developers the opportunity to beta test their apps through a program called TestFlight. Last, Apple said the iOS 8 SDK will include some 4,000 new APIs for developers to use for creating and enhancing applications. Part of the SDK includes extensibility, which will allow apps to extend the system and offer their services to other apps. Further, developers will be able to add widgets to the notification panel (similar to in OS X Yosemite). These will be able to show dynamic content, such as sports scores. The new iTunes App Store features will be available in the fall, along with the general release of iOS 8.

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Apple Introduces HealthKit

Jun 2, 2014, 1:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 2, 2014, 1:26 PM

As part of iOS 8 Apple also introduced HealthKit, a hub and service that can be used to monitor health and interact with healthcare providers. HealthKit works with third-party apps, such as those from the Mayo Clinic, to collect and sync data from iOS devices to the owners' doctor's office. Apple envisions HealthKit as a central repository for all the health apps running on a device. Developers will be able to hook into the service to enrich peoples' ability to track and manage their health.


Apple Details iOS 8

Jun 2, 2014, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 2, 2014, 1:23 PM

Apple today announced iOS 8, which the company says will be compelling for both end users and for developers. iOS 8 builds on the design of iOS 7. Notifications are now interactive, which will allow people to respond to emails directly from the notification bar or the lock screen. A new people-tasking function lets users see recently-contacted people by double-tapping the button (works in conjunction with multitasking tool). The mail application now lets users more easily save drafts and return to the inbox, as well as automatically add events to the calendar, and flag, mark-as-unread, or delete messages with single gestures. Spotlight search offers details on apps, news, music, restaurants, and more - both on and off the device. Spotlight also works with Safari to bring better suggestions for searches and web sites. iOS 8 adds a new keyboard with predictive typing suggestions as users peck out text. Apple claims the software is context aware and will suggest phrases or words specific to the contact being messaged. It does not appear that the keyboard adds the ability to swipe words. iOS 8 includes the Continuity features that are part of OS X, such as AirDrop and call/message syncing. The messaging app makes it easy to add recipients to form group conversations, as well as leave group conversations, and share location, images, and videos simply. iOS 8 works with iCloud Drive, Apple's new cloud-based file management system, which syncs folders and files across iOS and OS X devices. The messaging app can now send short audio and video messages. iOS 8 adds the ability to support families of up to six and provides access to all the iTunes content shared from a single account. Family Sharing also lets users sync photos, calendars, reminders, and find-my-friends. A new Photos app for iOS 8 expands editing features with smart suggestions, and will add all photos taken on the device to the user's iCloud photo library. Changes to photos can be synced across devices, too. Last, Apple is boosting Siri's abilities in the car, which makes it function automatically for dictation, song search, and navigation. iOS 8 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is expected to arrive later this year.


Apple's AirDrop Now Works Between iOS and OS X

Jun 2, 2014, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that AirDrop, which allows people to wirelessly pass files between devices, is compatible between iOS and OS X devices. Previously, AirDrop could only send files from iOS to iOS, or from OS X to OS X. This will help ease the pain of sending files between devices. The new functionality of AirDrop is part of something Apple calls Continuity, which will sync information, such as iMessages and call logs, between devices. Further, iOS and OS X devices can set up peer networks and remain connected when they are in proximity with one another. When networked (via Wi-Fi), Apple's Mac computers can make calls and act as a speakerphone for the iPhone (which is what is actually making the call). Continuity will also sync open web pages within Safari on OS X and iOS so users can pick up on one device where they left off another.


Apple to Buy Beats Music and Electronics for $3 Billion

May 28, 2014, 3:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that it has agreed to acquire Beats Music and Beats Electronics for a total of $3 billion. Beats Music is the relatively new music service launched earlier this year. It will be folded into Apple's own music offerings. The deal also includes Beats by Dr. Dre, the headphone and portable speaker company. Andre Reed and Jimmy Iovine, Beats executives with deep knowledge of and contacts within the music industry, will join Apple. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. Apple expects to close the acquisition in the fourth quarter of the year.


Truphone to Sell Apple iPhone 5s/5c May 30

May 23, 2014, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Truphone announced that it will sell the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c beginning May 30. Truphone traditionally relies on a bring-your-own-device model and only sells SIM cards and mobile applications. The iPhones will be among the first handsets the company has sold directly. Truphone didn't say how much it will charge for the iPhone 5s/5c, but they will likely be the unlocked versions of the handsets in order to be compatible with as many different networks as possible. Truphone offers worldwide coverage thanks to roaming agreements with carriers around the globe. People can purchase a Truphone SIM card and rate plan and enjoy local calling, messaging, and data rates in dozens of countries. Earlier this week, Truphone expanded its reach to 66 countries. Travelers will enjoy the best rates in the Truphone Zone, which are eight core countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Spain). Customers can choose up to eight international phone numbers that are active on the same SIM card in order to take advantage of the best rates possible. Truphone also offers apps for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices that provide free international calling via Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G.


Apple Hopes to Resolve iMessage Glitch

May 22, 2014, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says it is working to fix a problem that results in lost text messages for former iPhone owners. The issue stems from Apple's iMessage service, which can be used to send either SMS or IM messages between iOS devices. The intent of the system was to allow iPhone owners to reduce their reliance on carrier-based SMS services, and possibly even save money on their monthly bill. While the system works as intended for iOS device owners, iPhone customers who choose to buy a new, different handset - but keep the same phone number - are losing texts to the iMessage void. One California consumer has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, alleging its iMessage problem deprives former customers from deriving the full value of their new handset, as well as interfering with the services offered by the wireless network operator. Apple has not addressed the litigation, but said in a statement provided to Re/Code, "We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update. For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare." Apple didn't say how soon it might fully resolve the problem.


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