iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
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.
Google today pushed out an update to its Google Search app for iOS devices and included several new features. Most importantly, Search for iOS now allows people to use incognito mode. Searches performed when in incognito mode are not saved in users' search history. Moreover, people can secure incognito mode with Touch ID, meaning only the device owner will be able to enter the secure search mode. Google says it added a 3D Touch shortcut to incognito mode, as well, making it easily accessible from the home screen. The other significant new feature in Search for iOS is the ability to watch YouTube videos directly in search results without opening the YouTube app. Google says the refreshed app also adds iOS 10 refinements and stability fixes. Google Search is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon Wireless today said its prepaid subscribers will have access to VoLTE services, including HD Voice and video calls, starting September 25. Prepaid customers will need to add HD Voice to their account before they can make HD calls, but the add-on will be free. Calls are routed over Verizon's LTE data network rather than Verizon's legacy voice network. HD Voice supports six-way conference calls, one- or two-way video calls, and WiFi calling. As always, both the handset making the call and the handset receiving the call need to have the feature enabled and must be connected via LTE for HD Voice to function properly. Verizon said its prepaid customers HD Voice is available to more than two dozen newer iOS and Android smartphones. All WiFi calls made to U.S. phone numbers are free, but calls made to foreign numbers are billed at international long distance rates.
Apple today made iOS 10.0.2 available to iPhones and iPads in order to resolve some bugs. According to Apple, the small update addresses a problem impacting audio controls, fixes an issue that prevents some app extensions from working, and solves a bug that caused Photos to crash. iOS 10.0.2 is free to download and install.
Apple today made iOS 10.1 beta available to those enrolled in the public beta testing program. The only known 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 available to developers. Apple hasn't said when iOS 10.1 will be released to all iPhones, but earlier indicated that Portrait Mode wouldn't reach the iPhone 7 Plus until October.
Apple today made a handful of beta operating systems available to developers. To start, the company releases iOS 10.1, which follows last week's public distribution of iOS 10. iOS 10.1 adds Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus and makes a resolves a number of bigs and performance issues. Along with iOS 10.1 Beta 1, Apple also released betas of watchOS 3.1, macOS Sierra 10.12.1, tvOS 10.0.1, and Xcode 8.1. Apple didn't discuss any details of the betas, such as new features. Registered developers can download these beta operating systems immediately. Apple is expected to make iOS 10.1 Beta 1 available to public beta testers by the end of the week.
Instagram is pushing a small update to its mobile app that adds the ability for users to save drafts. People will need to add effects, filters, a caption, or their location to a photo before being given the option to save it for later. Draft posts will be accessible in the library folder upon reopening the app. The new version of Instagram will be made available to Android and iOS devices over the next few days. The app is free to download.
Google today made Allo, the messaging app it first revealed back in May, available to Android and iOS devices. Allo expands the ability for expression by tapping into the new Google Assistant, all while keeping conversations secure. The app supports emoji and stickers, and a tool called "whisper shout" that lets people shrink or expand the size of text to convey volume or impact. Allo supports drawing tools for marking up or annotating photos. It uses machine learning to guess or suggest responses that could be appropriate for the conversation — all without requiring users to type. Google says the app can do things such as help make dinner plans, find answers to basic searches, and share YouTube videos. Users need only type "@google" to bring the assistant into group chats. The app permits people to converse directly with the Google Assistant to, in effect, perform searches, such as sports scores and headlines. Incognito mode encrypts messages from end-to-end for privacy and offers private notifications and expiring chats. Further, when incognito conversation threads are deleted they are gone forever. Google says Allo can send simple SMS messages to people who don't use Allo, and can also send previews of Allo-stylized messages with a link to the app for download. Google Allo is free to download from the Google Play Store and from the iTunes App Store.
Google today launched a new "Discover" tool within its Google Play Books app and service. Google says the tool is meant to help people find new books based on their interests and what's popular around the web. For example, the Discover section will reveal what books are being made into movies, or what lands on NPR's recommendations list. The tool looks for news, reviews, lists, and videos about books and delivers these recommendations to readers in a way that's easy to browse. Google will also look at recommendations based on users' reading history and preferences, and will also point people toward the latest book reviews and editorial showcases that center on specific authors and/or subjects. The new version of Google Play Books is headed to Android devices today and will reach iOS devices in the near future.
Google today improved the sharing options within its Google Photos service. Google Photos now circumvents the dialog box that requires people to choose which apps to use for sharing photos. "You pick the photos, tap 'share' and select the people you want to share with, instead of the apps — and we take care of the rest," explained Google in a blog post. People (recipients) who use Google Photos will receive a notification that new photos have been shared with them. People who don't use Google Photos will receive either an SMS or email with a link to Google Photos so they can view the images online or on their mobile device. Google said it is also working harder to automatically create movies and other photo compilations for Photos users. Google said it will suggest videos from summer vacations, events such as weddings, and more. These updates are rolling out today across Android, iOS, and the web. Google says more changes are headed to Photos in the near future.
Google today released a new application for Android and iOS devices that's meant to help people plan vacations and other trips. The app provides information about cities and points of interest, as well as all the details associated with traveling to and from those locations. The idea is to give people a single app where they can manage everything to do with their trips. For example, plane, train, bus, and hotel reservations are automatically added from Gmail so they are in a single place on the phone. The app will offer suggestions for day plans complete with maps, routes, and food/drink options along the way. The app can also provide suggestions for nearby attractions while travelers are on the go, or suggest places that might require a small amount of travel to find. Last, the app stores all data offline so it can be accessed when the phone has no internet connection. Google Trips is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Pandora today announced Pandora Plus, a revised version of its $5-per-month music streaming service. Pandora Plus offers ad-free listening with the ability to skip and replay songs, as well as listen offline. Pandora accomplishes offline listening by caching a selection of songs from users' top stations on the device. When users lose signal and can't stream over the network, Pandora Plus will switch to the cached station for uninterrupted listening. Moreover, Pandora is revising its ad-supported service to give people more functionality. For example, free listeners can skip more songs or replay a song if they agree to view a short video ad. Pandora Plus launches online today. The company said it will update its iOS and Android apps in the coming months. Customers who already subscribe to Pandora One will be transitioned to Pandora Plus. Last, Pandora said its fully interactive on-demand option is expected to launch later this year. Pandora competes with Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and other streaming services on phones, tablets, and PCs.
Apple today released iOS 10 to the general public after months of testing. The refreshed platform, compatible with iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch, brings with it a number of core changes and features. The most important new tool is third-party access to Apple's voice assistant, Siri. Moving forward, Siri will be able to do more with third-party apps installed on iOS devices. Apple also made design changes to iMessage, adding new animations, stickers, and emoji. A sticker store now accompanies iMessage, allowing people to download sticker packs. The keyboard also adds contextual suggestions; further, people can more easily switch between languages for multi-lingual typing. Apple News, Music, Maps (reservations, in-route search, smarter re-routing), and Photos also gain retooled designs and features. Apple Photos, in particular, is better at organizing photos thanks to improved facial recognition aided by artificial intelligence. Notifications now appear when users raise the phone, and notifications offer previews of images and videos. iOS 10 is free to download over the air. It is compatible with all iPhones from the 2012 iPhone 5 and up. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will ship with iOS 10 preinstalled.
Microsoft today updated its Outlook email and calendar app for Android and iOS devices. The refreshed communications and scheduling tool offers a number of new features aimed at the calendar. For example, Outlook now offers design elements borrowed from Sunrise (a calendar app acquired by Microsoft.) The Outlook calendar will show things like coffee cup and bike emoji when people schedule coffee meetings or bike rides. Moreover, Outlook will autocomplete addresses when filling in meeting locations, as well as allow users to tap the time/date on the calendar to create events with those details filled in automatically. Meeting participants will be notified automatically if the organizer adjusts meeting start/end times, and users can create Skype for Business meetings directly from their phone. Last, Outlook will allow people to discover and subscribe to interesting calendars, such as sporting events, holidays, and more. Microsoft's Outlook email and calendar app for iOS and Android is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
Google today made it easier for more people to take and share 360-degree photos. The company has made its Cardboard Camera application available to iOS devices, allowing iPhone owners to capture 360-degree shots and look at them via the Google Cardboard VR viewer. iPhone owners were previously limited to consuming Cardboard VR content shot by others; now, they can shoot and view their own. Moreover, Google made 360-degree shots more shareable thanks to new tools in the Cardboard Camera application. People can easily send one another 360-degree photos that are then stored in the app itself for subsequent viewing. Google Cardboard Camera is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
Google updated Google Photos for iOS and merged its separate Motion Stills app into the larger Photos app. This chiefly impacts Live Photos as captured by the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Live Photos can be shared with other Apple devices and through Facebook, but not other social networks. Google Photos now uses Google's video stabilization technology to freeze the background portions of Live Photos while allowing the subject/foreground to move independently. It can also pan across the background to follow moving subjects. The end result is a looping GIF that can be shared easily via most social media apps. The app allows iPhone owners to merge looping GIFs into a larger moving picture. The new version also makes it easier to select thumbnail photos, sort photo albums, and share to YouTube. Google Photos is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Motion Stills will remain available as a separate app.
Apple today made the penultimate version of iOS 10 available to public beta testers. The release gives testers one last change to check for and report bugs before the final version is released to everyone September 13. iOS 10 adds a number of features to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Most importantly, it opens Siri up to third-party developers, who will be able to integrate Siri voice commands and actions into their own apps. iOS 10 also improves Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music, and adds features such as stickers and animations to iMessage. iOS 10 will be compatible with all iPhones from the 2012 iPhone 5 up. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be the first iPhones to ship with iOS 10 installed.
Twitter today said it is enriching Direct Messages with more real-time tools. Moving forward, Direct Messages will be more dynamic than before thanks to read receipts, typing indicators, and web link previews. People will be able to see when others have read their messages thanks to a new checkmark that appears once messages have been viewed. A separate indicator will say when all recipients of a group DM have seen the message. Moreover, users will be able to see when recipients are typing replies in one-on-one and group conversations. Last, links sent via DM will generate a preview of the web page. The expanded features transform DMs into a nearly full-fledged messaging service. The new Twitter DM tools are rolling out to users gradually on Android and iOS.
Google today boosted the number of ride-hailing services available within Google Maps to a total of nine. Moving forward, Lyft and Gett will display ride options in the U.S. alongside Uber and others, allowing users to find the cheapest, quickest, or most appealing option to get from one place to another. Google Maps will display estimated ride arrival times, travel times, and fares, as well as any additional services that may be offered by each individual ride provider. The new ride-hailing options are available to Maps for Android and iOS.
Apple today revealed that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners will be able to upgrade to the latest version of its iOS platform come September 13. iOS 10 focuses on integrating Siri into third-party apps and makes significant changes to the Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music apps. Apple expanded its HomeKit compatibility and says the iPhone will be compatible with more than 100 home-automation products in the near future. The messaging app adds stickers, animations, accents, and contextual suggestions. News stories will appear cleaner. Users will be able to make dinner reservations from within Maps. iOS 10 will ship in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It will be available for download to the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.
Apple today announced the iPhone 7, the latest version of its flagship product. The device is machines from aluminum and features a refreshed design. The home button, which owners use hundreds of times per day, is now a capacitive, force-sensitive button that works with a taptic engine to create an entirely new feedback feel. The enclosures are water and dust resistant. It rates IP67 thanks to new seals and baffles. The camera is all new. It includes a large-pixel, 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture and six-element lens with optical image stabilization. The quad-tone LED flash helps balance skin tones and wide color gamut. An image signal processor makes billions of calculations in a fraction of a second to ensure the best photos. The camera adds stabilization to Live Photo capture, and iOS 10 permits RAW image capture both from the Apple camera app as well as third-party camera apps. The user-facing camera has a 7-megapixel sensor with wide color and image stabilization. The iPhone 7 Plus adds a second, telephoto 12-megapixel camera. The main camera has an effective focal length of 28mm, and the second has an effective focal length of 56mm for a zoomed-in effect. Apple is calling it 2x optical zoom and, when combined with digital zoom, produces higher quality photos at up to 10x zoom. The 7 Plus also includes a Bokeh effect to create better portraiture. (This feature will be added to the 7 Plus later this year.) Apple updated the displays, which it says are 25% brighter than last year's models, offer a wide color gamut, color management, and 3D Touch. For the first time, the iPhone includes stereo speakers that are twice as loud as the 2015 iPhones and have twice the dynamic range. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remove the headphone jack and rely on just the Lightning port for audio connections. The devices will ship with Lightning earbuds, as well as a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter. The new iPhones rely on the A10 Fusion processor, which Apple says is 40% faster than last year's A9 and twice as face as the 2014-era A8. The four-core CPU offers two high-efficiency cores that run at one-fifth the power draw for low-intensity or background tasks. Graphics are improved, too. Apple says battery life better, with the 7 providing two more hours of life per day when compared to the 6s and the 7 Plus providing one more hour when compared to the 6 Plus. The devices include LTE-Advanced for speedy wireless. The iPhone 7 comes in jet black, black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Pricing for the iPhone 7 is $649 for 32 GB, $749 for 128 GB, or $849 for 256 GB. Pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32 GB, $869 for 128 GB, or $969 for 256 GB. The iPhone will be available for preorder September 9 and goes on sale September 16.
Nintendo today said its famed Mario character will come to the iPhone for the first time. Nintendo plans to bring a game called Super Mario Run to iOS devices. The side-scroller features hopping and jumping movements based on tapping and swiping the screen. Super Mario Run will also feature "battle mode" for multi-player action. The game will be sold at a single price with no in-app purchases for unlimited playing. Availability is slated for before the holidays. Nintendo has long resisted making the leap from its own consoles to today's mobile platforms, iOS and Android.
Instagram is discontinuing its Photo Map feature, which allowed people to see their photos on a map. The change was confirmed to Mashable via email. "Photo Map was not widely used, so we've decided to remove the feature and focus on other priorities," said the company. Instagram began disabling the feature for users last week. Separately, Instagram recently updated its iOS app with a new exposure tool that is available when shooting stories. The tool helps users correct for low-light scenes. Instagram didn't say if or when the feature would be added to the Android version of its mobile app.
Facebook today added the ability to stream video live within its Messenger application. The feature is different from a two-way video chat, which has been part of Messenger since 2015. With Instant Videos, users tap a button and automatically begin streaming live video in one direction. The recipient can see the video without taking action, but needs to tap the video in order to hear sound. Instant Videos are available within chat threads and can be initiated with a single tap. Both the sender and the recipient need the latest Android/iOS Messenger app from Facebook in order for Instant Video to work. Moreover, both people need to be viewing the conversation thread at the same time for the video to connect. Facebook said the updated Android and iOS Messenger app will reach the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store soon.
Instagram today announced an update to its app that allows users to zoom in on photos and videos using a standard pinch gesture. The update is available today for iOS, and "in the coming weeks" for Android.
Pebble today released a new firmware update for its line of wearables that should improve the day-to-day usability of Pebble smartwatches. For example, a new Quick View feature lets users see what's next on their calendar from the watch face. Pressing the watch face opens all current events. Another tool called App Glances lets people view app data without fully opening the app. Moreover, Pebble owners can use the 4-Button Quick Launch feature to customize their device by assigning their favorite apps to each button. The health app has been redesigned with more glanceable information. It also brings back weekly charts to help provide a broader overview of health stats. Last, the revised system software adds email actions for iOS users, who can reply to, delete, and archive emails directly from the notification screen. Pebble OS 4.0 is free to download and install via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 9.3.5 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The update, according to Apple, resolves three security issues. Two of the problems could have led to remote code execution. Apple suggests all users update as soon as possible. The update is free to download over the air.
Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard now features a search tool for finding GIFs, images, and emojis. The search functionality also allows iPhone owners to find contacts and look up restaurants. Microsoft says the app includes more predictions, including GIFs, that show up as users type. Word Flow now makes it possible to control the cursor placement with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The app gains some accuracy improvements, particularly when in one-handed mode, and support for the iOS text replacement function. Last, Word Flow has even more themes that people can use to customize their keyboard. Word Flow from Microsoft is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Opera Software today launched a free VPN for Android devices that allows smartphone and tablet owners to browse the web more securely and access what might be prohibited content when using managed networks. The VPN removes ad trackers for privacy purposes and supports virtual locations (U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands), which should let people get around some region-based restrictions. The VPN includes a WiFi tester that can detect the strength of WiFi security. If the VPN determines the network isn't secure, it will recommend users connect through the VPN. The WiFi sniffer also checks to see if the network its public or private, if it's encrypted, how many other devices are using it, if the IP address/location are exposed, and whether or not others can see your device. Opera imagines the VPN will be useful to students and office workers who are restricted from accessing social networks or other types of web sites when using campus or office WiFi. Opera VPN is free to downloaded from the Google Play Store. Opera made the same VPN available to iOS devices earlier this year.
Twitter today made its night mode tool available to devices running iOS. Twitter says night mode should make viewing the app in the dark less stressful on the eyes. The refreshed app includes a tool in the settings menu that, when activated, changes the background from white to a deep blue. Twitter for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Night mode has been available to Android devices since last month.
Instagram today added a new Event feed to its Explore tab. The Event feed collects video highlights shared from concerts, sporting events, and other activities so people can find and view them quicker. The events will be customized for each individual user based on what Instagram things they will like. The updated Explore tab is rolling out through Android and iOS app updates in the U.S. first.
FreedomPop today announced a new SIM card that provides free access to WhatsApp. The WhatsApp SIM comes with unlimited WhatsApp usage, 200 MB of data, and 100 voice minutes — all of which can be used for free. The card works with unlocked Android and iOS devices and functions in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, and two dozen other countries with no roaming fees. More data and voice minutes can be added to the card for low rates when/if needed. The WhatsApp SIM card is available for free from FreedomPop's web site.
Google today released Duo, the video chatting app for Android and iOS it announced earlier this year. Duo is simple to use. It doesn't require a separate account, users need only their phone number to get started. Google says it built the app to function well even across poor network connections. The app will change the resolution to match the connection speed in order to keep the call going, and can seamlessly switch from wifi to cellular. A feature called Knock Knock gives people a preview video of the person calling so they can see what's up before answering the video call. Duo is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today released iOS 10 Developer Beta 6 and iOS 10 Public Beta 5, fresh builds of the pre-release operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The release notes suggest the update contains only bug fixes and other unspecified improvements. At nearly 2 GB, Apple recommends the developer beta be downloaded only over WiFi. At around 100 MB, the public beta is much smaller. Apple typically updates the developer and public betas separately, so today's double release suggests important fixes are contained within. The final version of iOS 10, which improves Siri, News, Music, and Photos, isn't expected to arrive until September.
Apple today released iOS 9.3.4, an update for iPhones and iPads that plugs an unspecified vulnerability. In the release notes, Apple calls the iOS 9.3.4 an "important security update" and recommends all iOS 9.x users update right away. The update is free to download over the air.
Microsoft has updated Skype for Android, iOS, Mac, the web, and Windows devices and given the communications tool access to more chat bots. Microsoft says it worked with select partners this time around to bring dedicated services to Skype. A bot from Skyscanner lets Skype users search for flights, while a StubHub bot makes it simpler to find event tickets. A bot from IFTTT can deliver alerts from apps, devices, and web sites, while a Hipmunk bot helps book entire vacation packages. Microsoft updated its bot platform last month with support for group bot chats and info cards. The company says more bots and capabilities are on the way. Skype is free to download from the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Store.
BlackBerry today announced BlackBerry Hub+, a software offering that brings the company's BBOS 10-based messaging control center to all Android devices running 6.0 Marshmallow and up. The bundle includes BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper and is available on a trial basis for free for 30 days. After the trial ends, people can continue to use the suite for free as long as they agree to view some ads. Alternately, people can subscribe to BlackBerry Hub+ for $0.99 per month. The for-pay subscription adds Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes, and Launcher to BlackBerry Hub+. The Hub+ is the same software BlackBerry's own Priv and DTEK50 use for communications. The one-stop-shop provides a central place to manage email, text, IM, and social media messages. BlackBerry says BlackBerry Hub+ will reach the Google Play Store later today. BlackBerry said it is working to bring Hub+ to devices running Android Lollipop and iOS.
Apple today made iOS 10 Public Beta 3 available to those who've signed up to test the pre-release operating system. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. The third public beta follows the fourth developer beta, which Apple released earlier this week. iOS 10 makes significant changes to the Music, Photos, and News apps, the lock screen and notifications, and iMessage.
Instagram today announced Instagram Stories, a new way to share photos and videos that is similar to Snapchat's Stories. With Stories, Instagram users can post as many photos and videos as they want throughout the day and customize them with text, stickers, and drawing tools. Instagram says the packaged Stories will disappear after 24 hours, and they won't be shown in user grids or feeds. Stories from people you follow will appear at the top of the screen, tapping the user's profile photo will take you to their Stories. Privacy settings in Stories mirror those of the main account, and Stories can be easily hidden when needed. Further, users can check to see who's viewed their Stories. Instagram says Stories will roll out to all Android and iOS users globally over the next few weeks.