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printed June 24, 2017
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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

by:  Apple


YouTube to Automatically Adjust Playback Size to Fill Your Screen

Thursday, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is about to make it easier to watch videos shot in different aspect ratios. With an update scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, the YouTube mobile app will "dynamically adapt to whatever size you choose to watch it in. That means if you’re watching a vertical, square or horizontal video, the YouTube player will seamlessly adapt itself, filling the screen exactly the way they should." This means videos will automatically fill more of the screen as users move their phones around. Google said changes are coming to the desktop version of YouTube, too, which will focus on simplifying the look and feel of the service. For example, a new Dark Theme will offer a more movie-theater-like appearance to videos. Google is also prepared to expand some sharing tools that make it quicker to share videos directly from the viewing screen. Google didn't say exactly when these changes will reach the mobile and desktop versions of YouTube.


Imagination Technologies Puts Itself Up for Sale

Thursday, 12:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Imagination Technologies today said it has put the entire company up for sale following its loss of business with Apple. Earlier this year Apple announced plans to make its own GPU for the iPhone, a part Imagination Technologies has manufactured for Apple for years. Apple was Imagination's largest customer and losing the GPU contract was a huge blow. The company has already listed two business units for sale and today made the entire enterprise available for purchase. Imagination said it already "is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders." Despite these plans, Imagination has filed legal grievances against Apple because it believes the iPhone maker will not be able to create its own GPU without using Imagination's patented technology.


Fourth Beta of iOS 10.3.3 Is Here

Thursday, 12:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3 beta 4, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and will soon make a public beta available for general testing. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September. Apple today also released tvOS 10.2.2 beta 4.


Virgin Mobile to Phase Android Out Slowly

Wednesday, 7:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile today announced plans to become an iPhone-only carrier, but the carrier's Android-based handsets won't vanish overnight. Virgin's reseller partners, including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, will continue to carry and sell Virgin Mobile's lineup of Android handsets along with the prepaid carrier's Data Love service plans, according to Justin Scott, Virgin Mobile's Director of Communications. These retail partners will not sell the iPhone for the Inner Circle yet, though Virgin anticipates they will later this year. Virgin says its existing customers won't have to worry about any immediate changes. All Virgin subscribers are welcome to keep their current phone and service plan. If they wish, customers can upgrade to the Inner Circle plan once it becomes available, but Virgin won't force them to right away. Virgin will, however, begin to phase out all Android handsets over time. "While we love our partners in the Android ecosystem and care deeply about our Android customers, the Inner Circle is a path to a different future," explained Scott. "Specifically, it's an opportunity to reposition the brand and align it with the other Virgin companies in the United States. We certainly didn't make this decision lightly and based some of it on consumer data. We chose to become the first iPhone-only based mobile carrier in the United States and launch a game-changing offer because it was time for Virgin Mobile to make a bold move." Scott did not provide any sort of timeline for phasing out the company's Android phones.


Apple Pushes Second iOS 11 Beta to Developers

Wednesday, 3:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today seeded iOS 11 Beta 2 to developers. It also offered up fresh betas of macOS 10.13, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and Xcode 9. Apple did not say what new features are included in the fresh builds. The company first announced iOS 11 earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The revised mobile platform takes aim at the App Store experience, uses machine learning, makes changes to the camera and control center, adds a file folder, tweaks iMessage, and improves Live Photos. This second beta is still an early build of the platform and is meant only for developers. Apple is expected to make the first public beta available next month.


Snapchat Introduces Simple Location Sharing

Wednesday, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today updated its mobile app and made it possible for users to share their location with one another. The tool appears to have just two modes, on and off. When users choose to share their location, all their friends will see where they are on a map. Alternately, users can remain in "Ghost Mode" to keep their location private. Snapchat says users' Actionmojis will show up on the map only when they open Snapchat. The map supports zooming, so you can see where all your contacts are as they move about cities or regions. Snapchat sees the feature as a way for people to find one another when out and about and share experiences. Snap Map is being added to the Android and iOS mobile Snapchat apps over the days ahead.


Instagram Powers Up Live Replays

Tuesday, 1:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it possible for people to share their live broadcasts through the Stories tool for up to 24 hours. Once users conclude a live broadcast, they can tap a new "share" button to add a replay of the the live broadcast to their Stories. The tool also makes it easy to discard live videos whenever the broadcaster might wish. According to Instagram, the shared replays will be visible to followers through a new button that appears on the profile photo on the Stories bar. People need only tap the button to watch the associated live broadcast, which supports scanning forward and backward 15 seconds at a time. The new replay feature is included in the latest version of the Instagram mobile app for Android and iOS.


Twitter Overhauls Its Mobile Apps and Web Sites

Jun 15, 2017, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today revealed a dramatic change to the look and feel of its Android and iOS mobile applications, and its mobile and desktop browser experiences. To start, Twitter has put profile, account, and privacy settings in a single place within the navigation menu to make them easier to find. Twitter says fewer tabs appear at the bottom of the iOS app to reduce clutter and improve browsing. Another iOS-only feature is how Twitter handles web links, which now open in the Safari viewer. This lets iOS users more easily access web accounts they may already be signed into. All versions of Twitter will see refined typography that features bolder headlines. The app adds rounded profile photos to help clarify which users are speaking, and tweaks function buttons such as the reply icon, which now appears as a speech bubble. Last, Twitter says tweets will update in real-time, so users can see replies, retweets, and like counts occur live. Twitter said the new versions of its Android and iOS mobile apps will arrive over the coming days and weeks. The web site changes are available right away.


Facebook Brings GIFs to Comments

Jun 15, 2017, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today made it possible to share GIFs within comment threads on posts. Facebook Messenger has supported GIFs for some time; in fact, people share 25,000 GIFs in Messenger every minute, totaling some 13 billion GIFs in 2016. Now, people will be able to add GIFs as reactions to posts and other comments. A dedicated GIF button has been added to the tool for composing comments. Users need only search for the GIF they want and insert into a comment thread. In order to celebrate the addition of GIFs to comments (and the 30th anniversary of the GIF), Facebook partnered with GIPHY Studios to create 20 new GIFs from a selection of celebrities, such as DNCE, Logan Paul, Amanda Cerny, Dreezy, Patrick Starr, Violet Benson, Wuz Good, Brandi Marie, and Landon Moss. The expanded support for GIFs is rolling out today for all Facebook users worldwide.


iOS 10.3.3 Reaches Third Beta

Jun 13, 2017, 12:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3 beta 3, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple hasn't provided any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. This minor update is likely to be the last for iOS 10 before Apple releases iOS 11. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with developers and will soon make a public beta available for general testing. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected to arrive until September.

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Instagram Turns On Archiving Feature

Jun 13, 2017, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it possible for all users to archive old posts for safekeeping. The idea behind the archiving tool is to allow people to customize their feed and perhaps hide photos they no longer wish to share publicly. "Your profile is a representation of who you are and evolves with you over time. With Archive, you now have more flexibility to shape your profile while still preserving moments that matter," explained the company in a blog post. Users will still be able to delete posts entirely, but can now also save photos to an archived folder that only the owner can see. Archived posts are saved complete with likes and comments. Further, archived photos can be made public again if the owner so chooses. The new function should reach all Android and iOS users over the next few days.


Sprint Gifting Customers with 6-Month Tidal Membership

Jun 8, 2017, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it is giving new and existing customers free access to the Tidal music streaming service for six months. The service is known for providing exclusive access to music from select artists. Tidal Premium normally costs $10 per month. After the six-month promotion expires, Sprint customers will need to pay the monthly fee. The promotion begins June 9 and is available to Android and iOS devices. Sprint is still offering switchers up to $650 in restitution to cover fees incurred by porting over. Moreover, Sprint is still offering four lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $90 per month (with autopay), though the cost of that plan will jump to $130 after June 2018. Sprint allows unlimited customers to stream video up to 1080p HD, stream music up to 1.5Mbps, and stream games at up to 8Mbps. Sprint will throttle users when the network is congested.


Apple to Offer Official Screen Repairs At More Places

Jun 7, 2017, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to make it easier to repair damaged or broken iPhone screens by distributing its proprietary fix-it machine to third-party stores. Apple Stores use a custom device called the Horizon Machine, which is about the size of a microwave oven, to replace cracked iPhone screens. The device contains a suction cup for loosening the display, the needed screw drivers, and other precision parts to complete each repair. Apple has agreed to make this device available to its authorized resellers, including Best Buy in the U.S. Apple has some 500 Horizon Machines already in use at its own stores and mail-in repair centers. It expects to seed about 200 of the Horizon Machines to its reseller partners over the next couple of months and reach a total of 400 by the end of the year. This will almost double the availability of Horizon Machines by the holiday season and should make it much easier for consumers to have their iPhone given a fully compliant repair. "We've been on a quest to expand our reach," said Brian Naumann, senior director of service operations at Apple, in a statement provided to Reuters. Naumann said repair times at its own stores have increased. Apple hopes providing more Horizon Machines will cut down on those repair times. The news from Apple comes as "right to repair" laws gain strength around the U.S. Kiosks and other small shops in malls offer screen repairs, but often do so without official parts or coverage from Apple and other OEMs. An aggressive law moving through the New York State legislature would require Apple to provide such shops with its genuine parts at a minimum. Though many small shops perform perfectly adequate repairs with third-party glass, Apple's official screen part includes the fingerprint sensor and only the Horizon Machine can repair damaged sensors.


Apple Doubles Top-Tier iCloud Storage Plan to 2 TB

Jun 6, 2017, 12:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has improved its high-capacity cloud storage option from 1 TB to 2 TB while keeping the monthly cost the same at $10. Apple did not change the storage allotment nor the cost of its other two storage plans, which cost $1 per month for 50 GB and $3 per month for 200 GB. All iPhone/iPad users receive free access to 5 GB of online iCloud storage. Apple says subscribers to the 1 TB plan will be upgraded automatically to the new 2 TB plan.


First Look: Apple iOS 11

Jun 6, 2017, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple debuted iOS 11 during the June 5 keynote of its annual developer conference. The refreshed mobile operating system is primed to hit iPhones and iPads later this year with improvements to the App Store, Apple Maps, the camera, Control Center, Files, keyboard, iMessage, Live Photos, Siri, screenshots, and much more. iOS 11 is only available to developers, but here is a first look at the initial beta from Apple.

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iPhone 5 and 5c Won't Run iOS 11, 32-Bit Apps Going Away

Jun 6, 2017, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Some older iPhones will not be part of the iOS 11 party scheduled to arrive this fall. According to Apple's web site, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c, and the fourth-generation iPad cannot handle iOS 11's 64-bit app requirements, so they will not be receiving the updated operating system. Devices that can run iOS 11 include the iPhone 5s and SE, 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, and the 7 and 7 Plus. On the tablet front, iOS 11 is compatible with the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4, the iPad Air and Air 2, the newer iPad, as well as the big and small iPad Pros. The older iPhones in question use 32-bit processors, while every iPhone and iPad released since 2013 uses 64-bit processors (with 32-bit backward compatibility built in.) One of the under-the-hood changes in iOS 11 is dropped support for 32-bit apps, moving all apps to 64-bits. Since the iPhone 5 and 5c can only run 32-bit apps, iOS 11 simply won't work as intended. Apple has been warning developers to update their apps with 64-bit compatibility for some time. Starting some point later this year, Apple will entirely drop 32-bit apps from the App Store. Such apps have likely not been updated by their developers in years. iOS 11 is available to developers in beta. The final version for consumers isn't expected to arrive until the fall.


iOS 11 to Let Developers Access the iPhone 7's NFC Radio

Jun 5, 2017, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is about to let iPhone owners use their handsets' NFC radios for more than just Apple Pay. Apple today introduced the CoreNFC API, which will permit the iPhone's NFC radio to detect NFC tags and read the information contained therein. Though several iPhone models include NFC radios (6, 6 Plus 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus), functionality is restricted to Apple Pay. The new API gives developers access to the NFC radio so their own apps "can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum." Based on the documentation published on Apple's developer web site, only the iPhone 7 and Phone 7 Plus will gain the ability to interact with external NFC tags. Android devices have long been able to use NFC radios and tags for varying purposes. The CoreNFC API is part of iOS 11, which dictates that the expanded NFC functionality for the iPhone 7/7 Plus won't arrive until later this year when Apple releases the final version of iOS 11.


Apple Targets Augmented Reality

Jun 5, 2017, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says its new mobile platform will soon become the biggest augmented reality platform with the adoption of ARKit, a new way for developer to take advantage of existing iOS hardware and software to generate AR experiences. Apple is already working with game and other content developers to bring AR to the iPhone and iPad. Augmented Reality merges real-world views with computer-generated content (think Pokemon). Like all iOS 11 features, the new AR content is expected to arrive later this year.


Apple iOS 11 Adopts More Machine Learning

Jun 5, 2017, 1:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says iOS 11 will take advantage of machine learning to a much higher degree than before. The the company has new, specific APIs that developers can use in apps such as the camera for face tracking, face detection, landmarks, text, and so on. Apple says apps like photos and Siri also rely on machine learning to generate a lot of their results. Developers will be able to take advantage of the new machine learning tools via the APIs starting this week. Smarter apps will arrive when iOS 11 does later this year.


Apple iOS 11 Gains a Brand New App Store

Jun 5, 2017, 1:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 5, 2017, 2:33 PM

Apple has totally overhauled the App Store for iOS devices. The App Store now features a new Today screen in order to start the in-store browsing experience. This view will show the newest application or important updates. Each day Apple will highlight an "App of the Day" and "Game of the Day." The Today Tab also provides a quick view of the most important things happening in the App Store. Games will be highlighted in their own tab, complete with charts and data on in-app purchases and other costs. Apps have a distinct tab to separate them from games. Apps and games will have their own product pages with photos, videos, reviews, and more. Apple says moving forward the majority of apps and games are approved by Apple within 24 hours of submission. The new App Store will be available in iOS 11 when it arrives later this year.


Apple Announces iOS 11 with Person-to-Person Apple Pay

Jun 5, 2017, 1:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 5, 2017, 2:34 PM

Apple today debuts iOS 11, its next-generation mobile operating system. Starting with messages, iOS 11 introduces improved discoverability for stickers and emoji. iOS 11 will automatically synchronize conversations across devices (iPhone, iPad, macOS), including deleted messages and threads. Apple says most iMessage content is stored in the cloud, which means it uses less storage on mobile devices. Apple Pay gets a boost in iOS 11, too, with the addition of person-to-person payments. The idea here is to make it easy to send money from one person to another when cash isn't available. Apple was sure to upgrade Siri. Apple used deep learning to create a new voice for Siri, both female and male. The app interface now displays multiple results, and can handle translation. Translations works between English and Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. SiriKit, for developers allows developers to push Siri deeper unto their own applications. The camera application takes advantage of new compression techniques in order to use less on-device storage. The camera roll gains more tools for Live Photos, which allows for video looping and other effects such as bouncing. The Depth API lets developers take advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus's dual-camera array for portrait-style photos The camera roll takes advantage of machine learning to identify the subjects within photos and tag them accordingly. Live Photos now support trimming, shortening, and more. iOS 11 redesigns the Control Center, as well as the lock screen and notifications center in order to make vital controls and data as easy to reach as possible. Apple Maps gains indoor map data, such as mall and airport floor plans, for navigating around within large buidings. A new tool called 'Do No Disturb While Driving' will essentially silence the device and prevent notifications from reaching your iPhone when it senses it is driving. AirPlay 2 brings with it playback controls for multi-room speakers. A separate API will help developers add AirPlay 2 and multi-room functionality to their own speakers. Apple Music lets people see what their friends are listening to. The new MusicKit API for developers will target social sharing for music, too. Apple is offering iOS 11 to developers in beta starting today. Apple expects to kick off the public beta for iOS 11 later this summer. The operating system won't reach all users until the fall.


Apple Announces WatchOS 4.0

Jun 5, 2017, 12:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 5, 2017, 2:35 PM

Apple today announced watchOS 4.0, a refresh of its wearable platform. One of the fist items to be added to watchOS 4.0 is a new Siri watch face that includes the owner's personalized data, such as commute times, calendar appointments, reminders, photo memories, weather updates, and more. It is rather like the Google Assistant on Android devices, and it even relies on machine learning to gather this data. The kaleidoscope watch face changes over time, and a wider selection of Disney characters are being added a watch faces. Apple says activity notifications will be more personalized, such as goal achievements, and adds monthly challenges with new "celebrations" for hitting milestones. The new workout app makes it quicker to start workouts, such as swims, hikes, runs, and more. Apple Watch will be more compatible with gym equipment for counting reps. The music service now supports multiple playlists and a wider selection of album art for workouts when using Apple EarPods. Moreover, music functionality will be much more accessible within workout apps. Other features include a new flashlight, a blinking light for nighttime visibility, and support for other sensors, such as glucose monitors. WatchOS 4.0 is available in beta to developers today and will reach all consumers in the fall.


Facebook Wants Albums to Become Destinations

Jun 1, 2017, 2:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook is rolling out a change to its Albums tool in order to make them more social. Moving forward, Albums can store not only photos, but also videos, news stories, status updates, location check-ins, and more. Facebook hopes people will use the tool to share a wider range of content that might all focus on a specific event or location. For example, users might create an album for a concert and stuff it with images and videos from the show, as well as status posts, and venue check-ins to provide a more well-rounded look at the overall experience. Moreover, people will be able to subscribe to one another's Albums and receive notifications when the Albums are updated with fresh content. Last, users can open up their albums to multiple contributors, making the idea of a concert album, shared with other friends who attend, more appealing. The new Facebook Albums feature is rolling out to Android devices and the web today, with iOS to follow later.

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Google Uses Machine Learning to Tweak Sheets

Jun 1, 2017, 1:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today rolled out new features for its Sheets spreadsheet application. Most of the new features target the desktop-based version of Sheets. For example, machine learning makes it possible to ask Sheets questions in a natural way to explore the data contained in any given document. For example, users can ask “what is the distribution of products sold?” or “what are average sales on Sundays?” and Sheets' new Explore function will help find the answers. Google also made it easier to share and/or import data from Google Docs and Google Slides. Other new features include improved keyboard shortcuts, printing previews, and chart editing. On the mobile front, the Apple iPhone and iPad will benefit from some of these improvements. Google says iPhone and iPad owners will be able to create and edits charts in a new sidebar. Mobile users will be able to select their own colors for personalization, and add trend lines to highlight data within charts. Last, iPhones and iPads will be able to create more types of charts, including 3D charts. Sheets for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Google didn't say when the machine learning tools might reach its mobile apps.


Microsoft Overhauls Skype, Adds Highlight Reels

Jun 1, 2017, 1:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has totally re-envisioned its Skype messaging application and, in the process, made it more like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. To start, Skype offers more personalization. For example, users can tweak colors and more easily add animated emoji and reaction icons to conversations. The app now supports what Microsoft calls a Highlight Reel, which is a Snapchat Stories-like compilation of videos and photos. Microsoft says people can create Highlights by accessing the in-app camera, or by pulling in content from their phone's photo gallery. People can then react to Highlights or use them as a starting point for a new conversation thread. Bots are headed to Skype, too, via the new Find tab that's built into the app. Users can take advantage of the bot-enabled search tool to find concert tickets, see what's trending across social networks, and more. Microsoft expects third-party developers (businesses and brands) to create their own add-ins and bots for Skype over time. Skype still supports one-on-one and group conversations, video calls, audio calls, and other legacy features. Microsoft says the new Skype will reach Android devices over the next few weeks with the iPhone to follow in a month or so, and Mac and Windows desktops to follow later this year.


Amazon Integrates iCloud Calendar with Alexa

Jun 1, 2017, 7:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

People who own an Alexa-enabled device can now interact with their iCloud calendar. Amazon added support for Apple's iCloud calendar service to Alexa this week, making it possible for iPhone owners to access and use their calendar through devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and more. In addition to iCloud, Alexa also supports email from G Suite, Gmail, Office 365, and Outlook. Setting up iCloud requires users to use the smartphone-based Alexa app. Two-factor authentication through Apple iCloud is required. Once the link is established, Apple users need only say, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?” or “Alexa, add lunch with Sarah at noon to my calendar" in order to interact with their iCloud calendar. The feature is available to Alexa-support devices in the U.S., U.K., and Germany.

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Instagram's Direct Messages Now Support Landscape Video

May 25, 2017, 11:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today updated its private messaging tool, making it easier to share certain types of videos. Moving forward, people sending permanent pictures or movies to friends won't have to crop them before sending. Instagram's Direct messaging function supports landscape video, so video will appear in its native format. Instagram also made it possible to share web links privately. Links can be previewed within the message thread, including the ability to select phone numbers and addresses embedded on those sites. Instagram said the landscape and portrait upload tool reaches the iPhone today and will hit Android devices soon. Both iPhones and Androids can share links via Direct starting immediately.


T-Mobile Digits Lets You Call or Text from a Phone, Tablet, PC

May 25, 2017, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 25, 2017, 10:49 AM

T-Mobile said it Digits service, first announced last year, will go live May 31. Digits allows customers to use the same phone number across multiple devices, or multiple numbers on a single device. The service operates over LTE and works with most connected devices, including phones, tablets, wearables, and computers. Digits relies on an app for Android and iOS devices, though T-Mobile says Digits is also built into the native dialer on certain Samsung phones (Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge +, S7, S7 edge, S8, S8+, Note 5) and the LG G5. T-Mobile customers sign in on whichever device is most convenient in order to access to their phone number, voicemail, text messages, and call history. The service allows a single smartphone to support up to five phone numbers without requiring additional SIM cards. Similarly, a single Digits number can be used across as many as five separate devices. T-Mobile has been beta testing the service since early this year and says the ability to send text messages from PCs is a favorite amongst early adopters. T-Mobile suggests Digits could be beneficial to business customers, as it would allow them to have their personal number and work number ring the same phone, negating the need to carry a second handset. It can serve families, too, allowing landline-based home phone numbers moved to T-Mobile to ring all devices on a family plan at the same time. Digits numbers can be assigned to run on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon phones through the Digits app. T-Mobile said every T-Mobile line will be upgraded to Digits on May 31 for free. A single Digits line can be used on customers' phones, tablets, and so on. New Digits lines added to an existing account (for example, a second number for one phone) cost $10 per month. For a limited time, customers who subscribe to the T-Mobile One Plus plan will be able to add a second Digits line at no extra cost. T-Mobile warns that Digits lines support 911 calls and texts, but reaching 911 via the main account line is best.


Google Photos Adds Archiving Tool to Hide Sensitive Pix

May 24, 2017, 3:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The latest version of Google Photos makes it possible to archive photos for safe, out-of-sight keeping. The tool was added to Google Photos 2.15 for Android devices, though it is not yet available to iOS devices or on the web. The archiving tool now appears within the navigation drawer on the left. A tutorial will walk people through the feature upon first use, after which archived photos can be accessed via the nav drawer. Archiving gives people a way to push photos out of their main feed without deleting them. The pictures are still readily accessible, though they will be out of view unless purposely sought out. The archiving function was first spotted by 9to5Google. Google Photos is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Facebook Tweaks Trending News and Expands Fundraising

May 24, 2017, 2:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook updated several of its offerings today, including how it handles trending news and supports fundraising campaigns. Facebook says it has redesigned its trending news function with the goal of surfacing higher-quality content in the news box. Moving forward, clicking on a trending topic opens a new carousel with stories from a variety of publications that users can swipe through. "By making it easier to see what other news outlets are saying about each topic, we hope that people will feel more informed about the news in their region," said Facebook. News articles highlighted in the trending stories section are the most popular on Facebook concerning that specific topic. Popularity is determined by a number of factors. The new trending stories box is available on the web, but Facebook says it is only just beginning to test the new trending stories on Android and iOS mobile devices. Facebook hopes to expand the new trending stories to all mobile users soon. On the fundraising front, Facebook is expanding the ability to raise money to more organizations and groups. For example, personal fundraisers are now available to everyone in the U.S. over the age of 18, and are available in two new categories (community and sports.) Fundraisers are easy to create and share in order to take advantage of the community effect. Facebook says people can raise money for education, medical costs, pet medical costs, crisis relief, personal emergencies, funerals, sports, community, and nonprofits. Facebook says it is able to review all fundraisers and launch them within 24 hours. The platform supports payment processing, vetting, security, and fraud protection for a small fee.


Instagram Bows Location and Hashtag Search

May 23, 2017, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it easier to find story content in its mobile app based on location or interests/topics. A new story ring now appears at the top of the explore section. Stories that have location stickers applied to them will be added to the ring so people can view myriad stories shared from around the world. Similarly, people can now mark their stories with hashtags, making them searchable to others. Instagram says these stories may be shared with a much larger audience via the explore tab, but users can opt to share their location or hashtagged stories only with followers (rather than everyone). The new searching tools will appear in Instagram 10.22 for Android and iOS, which is rolling out this week.


Snapchat Debuts Story Collaboration Tool

May 23, 2017, 8:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today unveiled a new feature that makes it possible for many people to contribute to the same story. Snapchat calls the new tool custom stories. One person creates the story and then invites others to add their own snaps. The creator can limit the story so only those invited to contribute are allowed to see it. Further, the creator can geofence the story so only people in a specific location can see the story. Snapchat says stories will disappear after 24 hours if no one contributes to them. Snapchat's new collaborative stories are rolling out to Android and iOS devices in a fresh update to the mobile app.


YouTube TV App for iOS Adds AirPlay Compatibility

May 23, 2017, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated its YouTube TV app for iOS and gave it the ability to push content to the Apple TV. The Android version of the mobile app can cast video to Chromecast-enabled TVs, but Apple TV users were left without a way to connect the gap between their iPhone and television set. The new version of YouTube TV for iOS adds AirPlay, allowing iPhone owners to view YouTube TV programming on their television set through the Apple TV. YouTube TV for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store, but the availability of the service is limited to just a handful of markets for the time being.


Small Company Takes Apple to Court Over Apple Pay Patents

May 22, 2017, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Universal Secure Registry, a small firm from Boston, has filed a patent complaint against Apple and Visa over the technology used to create Apple Pay. According to the lawsuit, Kenneth P. Weiss, CEO of Universal Secure Registry, holds 13 patents pertaining to the use of fingerprints and one-time tokens in order to authenticate secure financial transactions. Weiss pitched the technology extensively to Visa in 2010. Visa agreed to a 10-year nondisclosure agreement and even assigned engineers to understand how Universal Secure Registry's process worked. Visa never adopted the technology, but several years later worked with Apple, MasterCard, and American Express to create Apple Pay, which launched in 2014. Apple Pay relies on fingerprints and one-time tokens to facilitate iPhone-based mobile payments. Patent law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan — one that represented Samsung and its fight against Apple over Android patents — suggested Universal Secure Registry take Apple to court over the patented technology. Apple has not yet responded publicly to the lawsuit.


5 Most Important Things Google Announced At I/O

May 19, 2017, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google I/O, the search company's annual developer conference, is wrapping up after a whirlwind few days in Mountain View, Calif. Google hit attendees with a blitz of announcements centered around artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mobility. While much of what Google showed off is meant for its developer partners, plenty will reach consumers in the days, weeks, and months ahead — not only on Android devices, but iOS, the web, your car, your wrist, your headset, and more.

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Facebook Streamlines Messenger

May 18, 2017, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today said it is simplifying the main screen of Facebook Messenger, returning the app's focus to messaging. Facebook has over the last year added numerous features to the messaging tool and the app's usability has suffered somewhat as a result. The app introduces tabs along the top for all the different actions and features, rather than cramming them in small slots on the home screen. The tabs will also show users which of their friends are available for conversations, as well as a dedicated place to host group conversations. The bottom bar now offers shortcuts for making calls, taking pictures, searching or people, playing games, and, later, exploring the forthcoming discover tab. Last, Messenger includes a red dot to help people see what's new. "These changes are designed to make Messenger simpler for you — to help you get to your contacts quickly, jump into your conversations where you left off, start new chats, and stay up to date," said Facebook's David Marcus. The new Messenger is hitting Android and iOS devices this week.


Google Photos Debuts Suggested Sharing, Photo Books

May 17, 2017, 12:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 1:11 PM

Google today made it easier to share photos with others. The new suggested sharing tool relies on machine learning to recognize faces in photos and match them with known contacts. The app will automatically select the best shots from events/locations and offer personalized sharing suggestions to family and friends. The app can, for example, eliminate duplicates and select images that are in focus and then instantly push them to those in the photos. Google Photos can share albums and images with anyone, no Google Photos account required. Google Photos is adding a shared libraries feature, as well, allowing people to share and contribute to specific libraries. Photos added to shared libraries will instantly appear on all devices/accounts linked to the library. Last, Google added a tool called Photo Books to Google Photos, which lets people create photo albums that can then be printed in soft- or hard-covered albums. The tool can automatically pick the best shots among those selected, lay them out instantly, and then print and ship the album. Google said these features will reach Android, iOS, and the web in the coming weeks.


Google Dials Up Voice Calls for Google Home

May 17, 2017, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 1:09 PM

Google today said its Google Home device can now make free voice calls to landline and mobile phones in the U.S. and Canada. There are no apps, set-up, or apps required. Google Home owners simply need to ask the Assistant to call anyone in their contact list. The tool is smart enough to discern between six users and their individual accounts by their sound of their voice. By default it will dial out from a private number, but users can configure it to display their own number for outgoing calls. Google Home is also adding support for Spotify for music streaming, and will soon support Bluetooth for streaming from any Android and iOS device. Home is gaining more compatibility with Chromecast, too, and can display information requests on connected TVs. These updates are expected to reach Google Home over the coming months.


Google Brings Google Assistant to the iPhone

May 17, 2017, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 12:36 PM

Google today announced Google Assistant for the iPhone. The app can respond to voice input and take action for a wide variety of tasks. It can supplant Siri on the iPhone to read emails, send messages, perform searches, and open/use applications. Google didn't say exactly when Google Assistant for the iPhone will be available.


Apple Pushes iOS 10.3.3 to Developers

May 17, 2017, 11:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple didn't provide any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. Earlier this week, Apple released a final build of iOS 10.3.2, which was also a maintenance release.


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