iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Apple today released iOS 10.2 beta 5 for developers, mere days after releasing beta 4. App writers can download and test beta 5 of iOS 10.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. Apple hasn't yet updated the public beta to match the developer beta.
Twitter today made its Moments story-creation tool available on mobile phones. Moments, which has been available on the web since September, lets people assemble a series of Tweets about a subject or event into a single package that tells a complete story. Moments are found in a separate tab in the Android and iOS mobile Twitter apps. People can subscribe to Moments, which will be inserted into the timeline. Moments can be loaded with multimedia, such as photos or videos, to make them more engaging. Moments are displayed in chronological order, with discernible beginning, middle, and end segments. The feature is being rolled out to mobile users worldwide.
Netflix today made it possible for U.S. customers to download and store movies and television shows on mobile devices for offline playback. Netflix made the announcement via its Twitter account and said, "Airplane mode. Road trip mode. Stuck-in-the-subway-for-20-minutes mode. Your favorite stories are now available for download any time." The initial selection of shows and movies that can be downloaded is rather small, but should expand over time. A new version of the Netflix app is being made available to Android and iOS devices today that supports offline playback. The feature does not cost extra to use. Competing services, such as Amazon Prime Video, have supported offline playback for some time.
Facebook has added video games to its Messenger application. Launching in beta in 30 countries, Facebook users will be able to play Pac-Man, Galaga, Space Invaders, and 14 other games inside Messenger. The gaming feature lets people challenge one another and creates a score-based leaderboard with game results. The feature is available to newer Android and iOS devices and will be added to the newest version of the Messenger app. Facebook says it will add more titles and expand to more markets over time.
A quick hands-on tour of the DirecTV Now app for Android. (An iOS version also available.) This is the boldest attempt yet to bring all of the major network and cable content to cord-cutters, and the full service is available from mobile apps, in addition to home streaming boxes. We took a quick look, and found a rich interface, but also a few annoyances. Read on for our impressions.
AT&T today announced an over-the-top television service called DirectTV Now. It includes a range of live, streamed television and on-demand content at a variety of price points. The $35 option includes 60+ channels. Customers will need to opt for the $50 plan for 80+ channels, the $60 plan for 100+ channels, or the $70 plan for 120+ channels. Premium movie channels, such as HBO and Cinemax, cost $5 per month extra. (No CBS/Showtime programming for now.) DirecTV Now will be streamed over internet connections, including both wired and wireless, and is available to most connected devices and platforms. The service launches November 30 and will be available to Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick; Android phones and tablets; iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV; Chromecast; Google Cast-enabled LeEco ecotvs and Vizio SmartCast Displays; as well as the web. AT&T said more platforms and devices will be available starting next year. At launch, early adopters will be able to score the 100+ channel option for $35 per month. This is a limited promotion, but those who sign up early will be grandfathered in. Moreover, AT&T is working with several hardware vendors, including Amazon, Apple, and LeEco, by offering between one and three months of service for free with select purchases. Last, AT&T is zero-rating DirecTV Now for its wireless customers, who won't see their data plans hit when streaming DirecTV Now content.
Apple today released a handful of new beta versions of its core operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 4 of iOS 10.2, watchOS 3.1.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. The newest beta of watchOS 3.1 includes stability improvements. Apple typically makes the public beta available a day or two after the developer beta.
The AT&T Send Message Skill, set to be made available on November 19, will let AT&T customers send text messages by asking their Amazon Echo to do it for them. The skill we be added to the Amazon Alexa application (for Android and iOS). AT&T says it is the first carrier to bring messaging to Alexa and the Echo. Alexa is the artificial intelligence that powers the Amazon Echo in-home speaker and assistant. Echo-owning AT&T subscribers will need to enable the skill and can then add up to ten frequent contacts to the skill for messaging via voice command. Messages will appear as though they were sent by the account holder's main AT&T mobile number. The feature will be available to the original Amazon Echo as well as the Echo Dot. Alexa is already able to read news headlines, sports scores, and the weather report, as well as answer general trivia questions, play music, and pay bills. AT&T plans to sell the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot at its stores starting November 18.
Google today announced a wholly refreshed version of Google Play Newsstand that reimagines the newsreader and expands its availability beyond smartphones and tablets. To start, Google is relying on machine learning to make more personalized recommendations for readers. The launch screen now carries a better mix of major headlines, national news, local news, and personal interests. The app takes a big step forward with multimedia and now includes autoplay videos, podcast controls, and high-resolution imagery. Google says it is taking advantage of its own AMP program to improve the speed of articles within the app. Users can always turn on the Data Saver mode to cut back on multimedia when using a metered connection. Last, Newsstand is now available on the web. Google says no matter which platform or device people use, all of their personalized content and sources are available at a whim. Google plans to roll out these changes on Android, iOS, and the web over the next couple of days.
Google today rolled out an update to its Allo messaging app that may pepper your messages with more emoji. The Smart Smiley tool will suggest relevant emojis and stickers as people type to help spice up their missives. Google says suggestions will change based on the context of the message. Google is also making a new sticker pack available to users of Allo that includes characters from the forthcoming "Fantastic Beasts" movie. Last, Google is giving Allo users the ability to swap between several new themes to give conversations a bit more style. The new version of Allo for Android and iOS is being made available over the net ew days. Smart Smiley will initially be available only in English, but will eventually come to more languages over time. Allo is an AI-assisted messaging app, but it cannot be used to replace SMS.
Google today announced a new way for people to save old photos and improve the ones they already have stored in Google Photos. First, PhotoScan is a brand new app that people can use to take pictures of physical prints for storing digitally in the cloud. The app is able to automatically find edges, correct orientation, and eliminate glare. Scanned photos are automatically stored in users' Google Photos account. The app is free to download for Android and iOS devices. Google Photos also now offers even more ways to edit pictures. First, a new tool can automatically adjust photo elements such as exposure and color for the optimum in balance. Second, Photos gains 12 new filters for making artistic edits to images. The filters use machine learning to apply specific changes to each image, rather than make blanket adjustments that may or may not work. Last, a new light-management tool lets people fine-tune highlights, shadows, and warmth. The new Google Photos is available to Android and iOS devices, as well as the web, beginning today.
WhatsApp today announced that it is enabling video calls for all users around the world. Video calling is being added to the Android, iOS, and Windows phone mobile apps over the coming days. With it, users will be able to make encrypted video calls to one another. WhatsApp said it developed the app such that the majority of phones and networks — not just the most expensive and strongest ones — can handle the video chatting client. The app allows users to switch between cameras and makes use of a simple calling button to make connecting easy. WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is late to the video calling party. The service already supports group texting and voice calling, but most of its competitors have already adopted video chats.
Apple today released a handful of new beta versions of its core operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 3 of iOS 10.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.2, and tvOS 10.1, and beta 2 of Xcode 8.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. Apple typically makes the public beta available a day or two after the developer beta.
Google today updated its Google Music service for Android, iOS, and the web with the hope that it will provide better, more personalized music recommendations. Moving forward, Google Music will match users' existing libraries and playlists with outside cues, such as location, weather, and activity, to make smarter suggestions. The new machine learning features within Play Music are able to read contextual tools to understand when people are relaxing at home, exploring new cities, or working out at the gym. (People must choose to opt in to receive the more personal recommendations.) In order to highlight these new recommendations, Google revamped the app's home screen experience where new music recos will be ready and waiting every time people open the app. Last, Google Music will automatically add some recommended music to the phone while it charges so people will have access to some tunes even when offline. The new Google Play Music is rolling out to Android and iOS devices over the next few days. It is already available via the web.
Instagram today made its stories feature more fun and powerful with the addition of Boomerang and @mentions support. Moving forward, people using the stories function will be able to record Boomerangs directly within Instagram. Boomerang takes a series of photos and then assembles them into a very short video that loops forward and backward. Further, storytellers can now add username @mentions to their stories for a greater degree of interaction. The app will notify people when they've been mentioned in stories, and people who view stories will be able to pull up the profiles of those whose usernames are attached to stories. Last, a "see more" tool should now be visible in stories, allowing verified accounts to provide links and other details concerning themselves and/or their business. Instagram's new features are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows 10 Mobile apps.
Adobe today made its mobile photo editing apps far more powerful. Fresh updates to Lightroom for Android, Photoshop Express for iOS, and Lightroom on the web give mobile device users a richer array of tools for manipulating photos on the go. In particular, Lightroom for Android adds support for raw images thanks to the new Raw Technology Preview function. Android device owners will now be able to import raw photos from their camera to their device for editing. Photoshop Express for iOS adds features called Intelligent Layout and Style Transfer for automatically creating collages. Photoshop Express for iOS also gains the ability to select and import images from online Google Photos accounts. Last, Lightroom on the web makes it easier to share photos to various social networks as well as download original-quality images. Lightroom for Android and Photoshop Express for iOS are free to download and use from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively. Lightroom on the web is free to use via desktop browsers online.
Facebook today announced Caffe2go, an artificial intelligence client that it is adding to its mobile applications for Android and iOS. Caffe2go is able to condense computations by a factor of 100, allowing it to efficiently perform neural network and machine learning tasks on mobile devices. The first practical use of Caffe2go within Facebook is a new set of filters that Facebook is adding to its in-app video tool. Moving forward, Facebook users will be able to apply a variety of stylized filters to their video in real time as they shoot the video — similar to what Prisma recently announced. Facebook has prioritized video and is adding features to its mobile video repertoire at a steady clip. Facebook says that while the new video filters are the first to take advantage of Caffe2go, the artificial intelligence will be given more responsibility over time. Moreover, Facebook plans to let developers to use Caffe2go within their own Facebook-related apps. The social network intends to open-source some of the AI framework over time.
Apple has made iOS 10.2 Beta 2 available to both developers and public beta testers. Apple has not publicly listed the new features in iOS 10.2, but a handful are present in the test build of the operating system. For example, iOS 10.2 includes Unicode 9 and a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. iOS 10.2 Beta 2 is free for to download from Apple's developer console, or via the public beta program. Apple hasn't said when it might release iOS 10.2 to all users. Apple also made new betas of watchOS 3.1.1, tvOS 10.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.2 available to developers.
Google pushed out an update to its iOS Calendar app today with a handful of new tools. To start, the app now includes month view and week view in landscape modes, which make the app more flexibile. The Calendar also adds support for Apple's Spotlight Search, allowing Google Calendar users to search for events, reminders, and goals across accounts. Last, Calendar for iOS adds support for alternate calendars, such as non-Gregorian and others. Google Calendar for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today made a new version of Gmail available to iOS devices and the refreshed email app boasts new features and performance improvements. To start, Gmail for iOS now includes the Undo Send tool from Inbox that gives people a short opportunity to recall emails before they are pushed out. Gmail gains a swipe to archive/delete function, as well, which provides more control over inbox clutter. Google improved search in Gmail, adding instant results, spelling suggestions, and raw speed. The revised appearance includes sleek transitions and quicker performance across the board. Gmail for the iPhone and iPad is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Instagram is prepared to turn its photo-sharing social network into a link-filled shopping destination. The service is going to let brands put clickable links in their imagery. Users will know to look for links thanks to the addition of a new icon at the bottom of the photo. When pressed, white text bubbles will spring up with information and links to as many as five products per photo. Tapping one of these links will open a more detailed product page, from which users can choose to jump to the brand's retail web site to buy that particular product. Instagram is calling this new tool a test for brands and has partnered with 20 U.S. retailers, including Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Warby Parker. Social media stars have learned to make money through Instagram by partnering with brands to showcase those brands' products in imagery shared to their many Instagram followers. From Instagram's perspective, adding "buy now" links is the next logical step in helping to close the loop. The new shopping functionality will reach the iOS version of Instagram in the next week. Instagram didn't say how long the test might last before shopping is rolled out to other versions of its mobile app.
Apple this week released new beta versions of all its core operating systems to developers. App writers can download and test beta 1 of iOS 10.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.2, watchOS 3.1.1, tvOS 10.1, and Xcode 8.2. The company did not spell out what's new in these betas, but a number of features in iOS 10.2 were immediately apparent. For example, it includes Unicode 9 and a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. The camera feature, in particular, allows people to easily save the most-recently used setting. iOS 10.2 beta 1 is free for developers to download. Apple hasn't said if or when it will release a public beta of iOS 10.2, but it typically does so about a day after the developer betas are made available.
Apple today pushed iOS 10.1.1 to iPhones and other iOS devices to resolve several bugs. In particular, iOS 10.1.1 fixes an issue that prevented Apple Health data from being visible to some users. The update is free to download and install over the air.
Microsoft today announced an update to its Outlook email app for iOS that should ease the process of scheduling group meetings. A new scheduling assistant built into the app makes it possible to see coworkers' availability when booking new meetings. Users will first need to create an event and set invitees. Outlook will then use color-coded effects to show when invitees are free. Users can drag the time picker around the calendar until it turns green, which signals when all the invitees are available. A few more taps sets the event and sends invites to the other participants. The new tool requires a connection to Office 365 or the latest version of Exchange. Microsoft said this feature will be available to Android and Windows 10 Mobile devices soon. Outlook is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Microsoft today announced a new 3D Capture app for phones. Using only the phone's camera, it can capture an object's shape and texture for importing into the new 3D tools available in the new version of Windows 10, dubbed Windows 10 Creators Update. The app will be available soon for Windows 10 Mobile, followed by versions for Android and iOS.
Apple's iOS 10.1 — released today — fixes several potentially-major security vulnerabilities in iOS. At least two of the issues could potentially allow an attacker complete control of the device after the user merely visits a web page with malicious code. All users should upgrade to iOS 10.1 immediately. In one issue with the "CoreGraphics" system software, viewing "a maliciously crafted JPEG file may lead to arbitrary code execution". JPEG is the most popular image format for photographic content, both on and off the web. In a separate issue with WebKit — which a large number of popular apps use to display web pages — "Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution". A number of other security and privacy issues are fixed by the 10.2 update, although most would be more difficult to exploit. iPhone and iPad users can update to 10.1 by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
iPhone and iPad users can now use the Software Update feature to get the final version of iOS 10.0, which adds Portrait Mode (blurred backgrounds) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Today also sees the release of watchOS 3.1 for the Apple Watch.
Google has updated its Gboard keyboard app for the iPhone with new 3D Touch-based features. A hard press on the keyboard puts it in cursor mode, allowing users to more easily and accurately move the cursor around the screen for editing. The refreshed app also gains new themes and contacts search. Last, Gboard now includes all the iOS 10 emoji. Gboard is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 5 available to registered developers and public beta testers alike. This fifth beta follows the release of the fourth beta by just two days, implying that some urgent bug fixes may be contained within. Apple otherwise didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."
Instagram today said it will begin to show Instagram Stories under the Explore tab in its mobile app. Instagram Stories, which are ephemeral like Snapchat posts, let people share everyday moments as photos and/or video clips strung together. Instagram is adding Stories to the Explore tab so it is easier to discover the stories being shared across the social network. Moreover, a Suggested Stories section will highlight what Instagram believes are the most interesting stories being told from around the world. Instagram is free to download for Android and iOS devices.
Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 4 available to registered developers. Apple didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple typically releases public betas a day or two after the developer beta. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."
Apple today made iOS 10.0.3 available to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This update is targeted at Apple's newest iPhones and resolves an issue that impacted cellular connectivity. Apple recommends all iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners apply the update when possible.
Google says it will work harder to call attention to fact-check articles within Google News. Google believes fact-check style articles have become an important type of journalism, especially in the context of the presidential election. Moving forward, a "Fact Check" tag will clearly highlight which stories examine claims made by politicians, celebrities, and other pundits. Such articles will be clearly labeled in Google News online and in the Google News Android and iOS mobile apps. Further, Google is offering publishers more tools to help them tag their articles as fact-check style pieces so they can be found more easily within Google News. Google News is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Google today is rolling out an update to Google Photos that introduces some new AI-assisted tools. First, Photos will reach deep into users' libraries to pair old photos of people with the newest photos of those same people so you can reconnect with those older memories. Second, Photos plans to automatically assemble highlights from selections of recent photos of users' children or friends. These two tools make use of facial recognition technology. Third, Photos will begin to scan users' videos and automatically create short, shareable highlight videos from those larger pieces. Last, Photos will find sideways or other improperly-oriented photos and suggest they be righted. The new features are available to Google Photos for Android, iOS, and the web.
Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 3 available to registered developers. Apple didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (booked effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple typically releases public betas a day or two after the developer beta. Apple also made tvOS 10.0.1 Beta 3 and Xcode 8.1 Beta 3 available to developers.
Prisma's Android and iOS apps today gained the ability to apply filters to short videos. Prisma 2.6 allows users to shoot up to 15 seconds of video through the Prisma app and then dress it up with a number of filters. Prisma says the filters are applied locally, which means a network connection is not required in order to create interesting and artistic videos. Prisma hooks into other social networks for easy sharing. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to those enrolled in the public beta testing program. The highlighted new feature of iOS 10.1 is Portrait Mode for the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait Mode uses both the rear cameras of the 7 Plus to help blur the background of portrait images — creating a Bokeh effect. Apple already made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to developers earlier this week. Apple hasn't said when iOS 10.1 will be released to all iPhones, though the company earlier indicated that Portrait Mode wouldn't reach the iPhone 7 Plus until later this month. Apple also released new developer betas of tvOS 10.0.1 and watchOS 3.1.
Facebook today announced Marketplace, a dedicated place for people to sell and buy goods in their local community. Marketplace is an evolution of swap-and-sell services that have sprung up within Facebook Groups over the last few years. Facebook Marketplace is a more legitimate tool meant to help users discover, buy, and sell items with friends and neighbors. It competes with services such as Craigslist. Marketplace is located front-and-center in the main Facebook app. People can browse through Marketplace or search for specific items via categories such as electronics or furniture. Tools allow people to search in specific neighborhoods or towns, and on the flip side sellers can set the general location of their items without giving away their home address. Interested buyers can reach out to sellers through the Marketplace app to communicate about availability and price, as well as arrange drop-offs and/or pick-ups. Facebook says it does not facilitate payments or deliveries, which is up to individual buyers/sellers. Facebook Marketplace is rolling out to Android and iOS users in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. Facebook says other markets will follow over time.
Google today updated Google Calendar for Android and iOS devices with a new smart scheduling tool. Users can now tap a "find a time" button and Calendar will automatically suggest meeting times and available rooms based on preferences. The tool takes into account all attendees' availability, as well as meeting locations. It will suggest times with the fewest conflicts, help to reschedule conflicts, as well as include several backup suggestions. As always, the person scheduling the meeting has control over the time and location finally selected. The new smart scheduling tool is free to use in Google Calendar. The updated apps are available for download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. Google says this feature will reach the web version of Google Calendar by the end of the year.
Microsoft today released a new version of Skype for iOS 10 devices that includes support for Siri. Skype users can now initiate Skype calls by asking Siri to connect them. In order for the tool to work well, Skype suggests users save Skype contact information directly to the native contacts app — something that's now possible in the new version of Skype. This should make it easier to start Skype audio/video calls, as well as Skype IM chats, without requiring people to first open the Skype app. Last, Skype for iPhones and iPads makes use of Apple's CallKit, so incoming and outgoing calls now rely on the native iOS phone application. Skype 6.25 for iOS 10 devices is free to download from the iTunes App Store.