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Latest iOS 12 Betas Reach Developers and Public Testers

Yesterday, 12:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made new betas of iOS 12 available to its developer community and public testers. iOS 12 developer beta 4 was released earlier this week and iOS 12 public beta 3 was released today. The updated betas are cleaner than their respective predecessors; Apple didn't spell out any specific changes. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until the fall.

Apple to Bring More Emoji to iPhone Later This Year

Monday, 12:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Monday, 12:19 PM

Apple today committed to adopting more than 70 new emoji. The Unicode Consortium announced Unicode 11, which includes dozens of new emoji, in February and made the final version available in June. Apple says new emoji characters will soon grace the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. Unicode 11 brings new representation for emoji with options for red hair, gray hair, curly hair, and no hair, as well as more food, animals, sports, and other items. Apple didn't specifically say Unicode 11 will be added to iOS 12, but that is the route Apple is most likely to pursue. iOS 12 is already in beta testing and will be distributed to iOS devices in September or October.

Update to iOS 11 Aims to Prevent Hacking via USB

Jul 10, 2018, 7:56 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple has released iOS 11.4.1, which improves stability and the Find My AirPods feature. It also introduces USB Restricted Mode, a feature designed to prevent a third party from attempting unauthorized access to a locked iPhone via the Lightning port and USB. When the phone has been locked for a full hour, all USB access is disabled. However, security researchers at ElcomSoft have discovered that attaching any USB device to the iPhone will reset this 1-hour clock, providing a an easy workaround for any third party that comes into possession of the phone within an hour of its last use. A new toggle in the settings lets users disable this security feature.

Apple to Rebuild Maps from Scratch Using Its Own Data

Jun 29, 2018, 11:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple hopes to improve its Apple Maps app and service by rebuilding them from the ground up with all new data. Apple launched Maps six years ago relying on data from third-party providers such as TomTom. The launch was shaky at best, as the map data was often incorrect or out of date. Apple promised to improve Maps over time, and it did. Four years ago, however, Apple decided to wholly reimagine maps by starting over. Apple has its own fleet of cars to gather information, and it is using "segments of trips you take that have been anonymized," according to TechCrunch. This information comes directly from iPhone owners and is used by Apple to determine the validity of routes and whether or not there's traffic congestion. Apple says the data is completely anonymous and only ever takes a small picture of an entire trip without recording the beginning and end points. Even so, iPhone owners can opt out of the data collection using the privacy settings in Maps. Eventually, users will begin to see more information in maps, such as foliage markers, parking lots, pools, sports complexes, accurate building shapes, and pedestrian pathways. Apple says it has thousands of people working all over the world to improve maps. Apple is going to launch the new map data in the Bay Area in early July, with a broader rollout in Northern California expected with the arrival of iOS 12 in the fall. Apple didn't say when state- or country-level maps will be available.

Apple and Samsung Settle Their Lengthy Patent Suit

Jun 27, 2018, 2:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and Samsung today said they have reached a settlement in their ongoing fight over patents. The two companies began filing litigation against one another in 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of copying its designs. In 2012 a jury award Apple with $1 billon, finding that Samsung willfully copied Apple's designs. The reward has been whittled down to $539 million in subsequent appeals, most recently in May. The companies have already settled other claims made after 2012. Terms of the deal concerning the 2011 patent suit between Apple and Samsung were not disclosed.

Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 12

Jun 25, 2018, 4:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 12 available in beta to those willing to test the pre-release operating system. The platform has already been in testing with developers for several weeks. Consumers interested in testing the platform will need to sign up on Apple's web site and download and install the public beta profile to their devices. Once the profile is installed, the public beta should show up through the normal software update tool in the system settings. Apple says iOS 12 will run on iPhones back to the 2013-era iPhone 5s. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, performance refinements, Screen Time for monitoring usage, and better security. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until the fall.

Apple Adds Section Highlighting the 2018 Midterm Elections to Apple News

Jun 25, 2018, 7:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple hopes its new section focusing on the 2018 midterm elections will help iPhone and iPad users stay informed about local and national races. Apple says the section, curated by its editors, will feature breaking news, exclusive highlights, and analysis from reliable sources so readers can get up to speed on candidates and topics. The section will have several sub-sections. For example, The Conversation will house opinion columns about hot-button issues, while On the Ground will highlight reporting about local issues and races. Apple says it will include content from a variety of publishers, including Axios, Fox News, Politico, Vox, and the Washington Post. Apple says the Apple News 2018 Midterm Elections section is already available to U.S. readers and will remain in place through the elections in November.

Apple Seeks to Invalidate Qualcomm Patents

Jun 22, 2018, 8:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple hopes to nullify four patents held by Qualcomm as the two tech giants continue to tussle over licensing and fees. Specifically, Apple filed petitions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking the agency to cancel Qualcomm patents that it says aren't new. The patents in question cover autofocus on digital cameras, devices that function as a phone and a PDA, touch displays, and circuit memory. Each patent is part of the broader lawsuit that Qualcomm filed against Apple in 2017. The two companies have been arguing over the royalties involved and how much should be paid for using the patents. The two companies also have cases pending with the U.S. ITC, and in China and Germany. The U.S. PTO will review Apple's request to decide whether or not to initiate a formal review of the patents.

Apple, Samsung Support Digital Key for Unlocking Cars with Phones

Jun 21, 2018, 10:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Car Connectivity Consortium this week announced release 1.0 of its Digital Key specification, which will let people use their phone to unlock their car. The spec supports the ability to lock, unlock, start, and share access to cars from smartphones and other devices. The underlying technology makes it possible for carmakers to securely transmit a digital key to a mobile device, which then makes use of NFC and a secure element to provide vehicle access. The Car Connectivity Consortium says it has lots of support from both phone and car makers. Some of the member companies include Apple, Audi, BMW, Continental, Gemalto, GM, LG, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Volkswagen. The CCC is already working on release 2.0, which it expects will arrive during the first quarter of 2019. The group didn't say how long before consumers can expect to see the technology gracing their local automobile showroom.

Apple Releases iOS 12 Beta 2 to Developers

Jun 19, 2018, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 12 Beta 2 available to developers. This build focuses on resolving bugs and performance problems found in the first beta. Those who write apps for Apple devices can download the update over the air. Apple hasn't said when it will launch the public beta program for iOS 12. The new platform will run on iPhones back to the 2013-era iPhone 5s. The final version of iOS 12 won't arrive until the fall. iOS 12 includes a number of new features, such as improved notifications, memoji for the iPhone X, and more.

iOS 12 to Give 911 Precise iPhone Location During Emergencies

Jun 18, 2018, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said iPhones will soon provide 911 emergency services with more exact locations of callers. Since 2015, Apple has relied on HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), which uses cellular, GPS, and wifi access points to estimate 911 callers' locations. This system is not always perfect. Starting with the release of iOS 12 in the fall, Apple will use RapidSOS's internet protocol-based pipeline to share HELO location data with 911 centers quickly and securely. Apple says this new system will integrate with 911 centers' existing software to more finely pinpoint location. Importantly, Apple says user location data cannot be used for non-emergency purposes and 911 centers will only have access to location during 911 emergency calls. By law, wireless network operators are required to locate callers within 50 meters 80% of the time, but not until 2021. Apple says its new feature exceeds this requirement today. "This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety,” said Tom Wheeler, former chairman at the FCC. "Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS." iOS 12 is expected to reach iPhones and iPads in September or October.

Apple Partners with Oprah On Video

Jun 15, 2018, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it has forged an agreement with Oprah Winfrey to "create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world." Winfrey is known for her talk show, movie roles, television network, and philanthropy. The content will be released as part of Apple's forthcoming lineup of original shows and distributed through Apple's platform. The deal will be in place for at least several years. Apple didn't say how quickly the partnership will begin to bear fruit.

Apple Confirms It Will Lock iPhone Lightning Port to Protect Users from Law Enforcement

Jun 13, 2018, 3:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will change the behavior of iPhones in order to protect its users. The company plans to alter its software to lock the Lightning port of iOS devices that are not used for an hour. The function, called USB Restricted Mode, prevents data transfer via USB, though the phone can still charge through a Lightning cable. The idea is to thwart law enforcement use of GrayShift and Cellebrite boxes, which are able to crack iOS security using a direct USB connection through the Lightning port. The devices work by disabling the number of times passwords/PINs can be guessed by the machine before the iPhone is locked or erased. "We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data," said Apple in a statement to Reuters. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs." The Lightning port will be re-enabled for data transfer once the owner enters their password, PIN, fingerprint, or Face ID. Apple primarily expects the feature to protect consumers "in countries where police seize phones at will." Researchers discovered USB Restricted Mode in beta builds of iOS 10.4 last month. Apple told Reuters that it will be added permanently to iOS in a future release.

Apple Bars Apps from Storing Friend Data

Jun 12, 2018, 4:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is taking more steps to protect its users' data. In its latest App Store Guidelines, Apple forbids developers from creating databases from contacts, photos, or other apps/APIs that can access user information. "Apps should not attempt to surreptitiously build a user profile based on collected data and may not attempt, facilitate, or encourage others to identify anonymous users or reconstruct user profiles based on data collected from Apple-provided APIs," said Apple in its guidelines. The new rules specifically call out use of the contacts and photos apps, which developers are not allowed to cull to build a contact database for their own or commercial purposes. Developers may also not contact people using the information collected from the contacts/photos apps. Further, any data pulled from Apple's various APIs (HomeKit, HealthKit, MovementDisorder, Camera, Photo, or Consumer Health Records) may not be used for marketing or advertising purposes. Apple made a number of changes to its App Store guidelines earlier this month as developers build apps for iOS 12, watchOS 5, and macOS 10.14.

Apple Refreshes Public Beta of iOS 11.4.1

Jun 12, 2018, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Registered developers and public testers alike can download the latest versions of iOS and watchOS from Apple. Apple made both iOS 11.4.1 beta 2 and watchOS 4.3.2 beta 2 available for download. There's no word on what changes are built nto the latest code, though changes are likely confined to bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple released iOS 11.4 to the general public last month. iOS 11.4 introduced iMessage in the Cloud and AirPlay 2 to iPhones and iPads. Apple is also beta testing iOS 12 and watchOS 5, but hasn't distributed new builds since earlier this month. The final versions of iOS 12 and watchOS 5 won't arrive until the fall. iOS 11.4.1 is likely the last build of 11.4 before Apple releases iOS 12.

Apple Previews Apple Books App, Which Will Replace iBooks In the Fall

Jun 12, 2018, 11:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has a brand new reading app in store for iPhones and iPads later this year. The company offered a brief look at the new Apple Books app during its recent Worldwide Developers Conference, but is now more fully revealing the app and its features. For example, the new Reading Now tab includes a collection of the books being read or listened to by users. The Want to Read tool lets people manage wishlists of books, while the Complete the Series function offers suggestions based on previously read books. Apple Books will more prominently call out audiobooks, simplifying the process of listening on an iPhone, iPad, or via CarPlay. The Book Store tab includes new ways to browse via best-seller charts, staff picks, editorial recommendations, and special offers. Apple says the more people browser, buy, read, and listen via the app, the better the Apple Books store will be able to offer personalized recommendations. The new Apple Books app will be available in 51 countries later this fall with iOS 12.

Apple Says Apps Can't Be Used to Mine Cryptocurrency

Jun 12, 2018, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple doesn't want iPhones and iPads to be used by developers to mine Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The company recently updated its App Store guidelines with specific bans on mining. "Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device" such as in the cloud, said Apple. Some apps have hidden cryptocurrency mining in their background processes, using mobile and other devices to mine the currencies unbeknownst to device owners. This is now forbidden. Apple is still allowing apps to facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, as well as facilitate Initial Coin Offerings as long as they come from established banks. Google has put a similar cryptocurrency mining ban in place in its Chrome Web Store.

AT&T-Run FirstNet More Generally Available to First Responders

Jun 11, 2018, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said fire, medical, police, and other first responders now have more access to its FirstNet network. FirstNet has been available for purchase by agencies, but hasn't been directly sold in stores. Beginning today, any verified first responder can walk into one of AT&T's 5,300 retail shops and initiate service with a new device. The retail availability of FirstNet will be a boon to first responders who volunteer and/or aren't issued communications devices by their agency or local government. A fairly wide number of phones are compatible with FirstNet, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, S8 Active, Note 8, S9, S9 Plus, and J3; Apple iPhone 6/Plus, 6s/Plus, 7/Plus, 8/Plus, and X; LG V35 ThinQ; Motorola Moto G6 Play; Sonim XP5S and XP8; BlackBerry KEYone; and the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router. The public safety network is available nationwide in its own, reserved spectrum (Band 14). First responders may also sign up for FirstNet service using AT&T's web site.

iOS 12 Supports Alternate Faces for ID on iPhone X

Jun 5, 2018, 11:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

iOS 12 adds a surprising feature to the iPhone X: support for up to two different faces for the Face ID security feature. Under the settings for Face ID, it's now possible to set a second face. The description reads "In addition to continuously learning how you look, Face ID can recognize an alternative appearance." Using the tools, it is simple to record two different faces for securing and unlocking the iPhone X. Apple did not call this feature out on stage during its recent WWDC keynote, and it's possible the feature will change while iOS 12 undergoes beta development.

Apple Tweaks App Rules to Curb Games Streamed from PCs

Jun 5, 2018, 8:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made adjustments to the guidelines in the App Store in order to control purchases made in or through streamed apps. The altered language says apps distributed through the App Store cannot contain their own app store or let users “browse, select, or purchase software not already owned or licensed by the user.” Apple takes a 15% to 30% cut of apps and subscriptions purchased via the App Store. The updated policy makes it more explicit what types of purchases are allowed from within apps. The move follows Apple's recent denial of an app from Steam that would have allowed iPhone and iPad owners to stream their PC-based games on their mobile device. Despite this change, iOS apps are still allowed to offer remote mirroring, such as access to a desktop. Apple is simply preventing certain streaming apps from offering in-app purchases that aren't made through the App Store itself. The move is seen as a way for Apple to protect its App Store revenue.

WatchOS 5 Drops Support for Original Apple Watch

Jun 4, 2018, 6:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today detailed which of its smartwatch wearables will have access to watchOS 5, and the original Apple Watch is not among them. The new platform, which adds a wide number of new features, will be available to the Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 w/LTE wearables. WatchOS 5 will also require an iPhone running iOS 12 and up, which means an iPhone 5s or later. WatchOS 5 adds improved notifications, third-party app access to Siri, podcasts, walkie-talkie, and automatic workout detection. WatchOS 5 is in beta testing now and is expected to reach end users in the fall.

Apple Releases First iOS 12 Beta for Developers

Jun 4, 2018, 3:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made the first beta of iOS 12 available to registered developers. Those who write apps for Apple devices can download the update through Apple's developer console to iPhones and iPads. Apple hasn't said when it will launch the public beta program for iOS 12. The new platform will run on iPhones back to the 2013-era iPhone 5s. Apple also released developer betas of watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS 10.14 Mojave. The final versions of these updated platforms won't arrive until the fall.

Apple to Bring Some iOS Apps to the Mac

Jun 4, 2018, 2:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will eventually allow select iOS applications to run on its Mac computers. The company said it hopes to roll out the feature at some point next year. The first such apps will be Apple's own, some of which will include Stocks, News, Home, and Voice Memos. Apple didn't go into detail about how its iOS apps will work with non-touch laptops and PCs. Apple said in no uncertain terms that it is not planning to merge iOS with macOS. Developers will have access to the tools needed to bring iOS apps to the Mac next year.

iOS 12 to Let People Manage Their Screen Time

Jun 4, 2018, 2:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple hopes its new version of iOS will help people find a better life-device balance. Screen Time tools being added to the platform make it easier to control when and for how long people use their iPhones and iPads. For example, Screen Time provides an Activity Report for iOS devices, detailing which apps are being using, when, and for how long. Parents can use Screen Time to manage their kids' devices. The tool gives parents the ability to block off time when iOS devices cannot be used at all, such as at night or during school. Parents can control which apps are available, how much time they are allowed to be used, and set limits. People can also use Screen Time to limit their own use of certain apps or their device in general. The tool works across iOS devices via Family Sharing. The new Screen Time tools will arrive with iOS 12 later this year.

iOS 12 Promises to Tackle Notifications

Jun 4, 2018, 1:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says its forthcoming operating system will cure the ills facing its notification platform. The idea is to help reduce interruptions. iPhone and iPad owners will be able to instantly turn off notifications, or send them to the notification center. Siri can also intelligently suggest when to mute or turn off notifications for select apps based on user behavior. Most importantly, iOS 12 introduces support for grouped notifications, which will let people view, manage, and dismiss multiple notifications at once. The new notifications will also interact with the improved Do Not Disturb mode in iOS 12, which will let people take more control over when their phone is allowed to bother them. These and other features will arrive with iOS 12 later this fall.

WatchOS 5 Adds More Workouts, Social Challenges, Walkie-Talkie

Jun 4, 2018, 1:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 2:31 PM

Apple today provided a preview of watchOS 5 and it bolsters Apple's wearable with a wide range of new features. To start, the wearable now brings new social powers, allowing people to challenge one another to various workouts or simply closing rings. WatchOS 5 brings third-party access to Siri, which will let Siri on the Apple Watch surface content or suggestions for apps other than those made by Apple. The platform gains support for WebKit. WebKit views will make some content easier to view on the Watch. WatchOS 5 also gains a walkie-talkie function for quick conversations with other Apple Watch owners. It works over cellular and wifi. WatchOS 5 introduces support for podcasts. Other features include student ID cards, notification tuning, UV index in weather, new emoji picker, auto workout sensing, background audio mode, support for stocks, and customized world clocks. WatchOS 5 is expected to arrive later this fall.

Memoji Lets iPhone Users Make their Own, Self-Styled Animoji

Jun 4, 2018, 1:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 2:49 PM

iOS 12 will make iMessage more fun, says Apple, thanks to the addition of Memoji. Similar to the way Samsung's AR Emoji work, the iOS 12 Memoji will let people customize an animated emoji sticker that resembles their face. It offers lots of tools for customizing hair color and style, eye color, accessories such as glasses, and much more. The tool works natively with iMessage and the new FaceTime app so people can dress up their conversations in real-time. The Memoji are animated just like Animoji. This lets people record short clips of their Memoji for sharing with others. The new Memoji will arrive with iOS 12 later this year.

iOS 12 Brings 3rd-Party App Support to CarPlay

Jun 4, 2018, 1:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 2:50 PM

Apple today said its CarPlay in-car system will support third-party apps in iOS 12. The addition means people will be able to, for example, use Google Maps rather than Apple Maps for navigation from point to point when in their car. To start, only third-party navigation apps will have access to CarPlay. Apple didn't say if it would open up CarPlay to other third-party apps, such as music and messaging. iOS 12 is expected to arrive later this year.

iOS 12 Adds Group FaceTime

Jun 4, 2018, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 1:03 PM

Apple today said its FaceTime video chat app will support multi-person chats. It can handle between two and 32 people at a single time. FaceTime is now integrated into iMessage, allowing people to move from a group chat to a group video chat east. Members can drop out of group FaceTime chats any time. People speaking are automatically given visual prominence in the windows. Apple says fun features, such as Animoji, Memoji, stickers, and more will be available within the new FaceTime. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and supports audio in Apple Watch. This feature will arrive with iOS 12 later this year.

Apple Says iOS 12 Will Be Faster, Work Better On Older iPhones

Jun 4, 2018, 12:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 2:33 PM

Apple today announced iOS 12, its next-generation platform for the iPhone and iPad. Apple says it spent time improving the performance of the operating system, which in claims will work well on iPhones and iPads that went on sale as far back as 2013. iOS 12 makes changes to how it handles CPU requirements, able to cycle up instantly to handle intense tasks and cycle back down to conserve power. It claims some apps will launch up to 40% faster. In addition to performance, iOS 12 is taking a big step forward with augmented reality. It debuted a new augmented reality file format called USDZ that developers can put to use when creating content. Apple says measurements are important to AR, so it is adding a real-world measuring tool to iOS 12 allowing people to measure physical objects through AR. ARKit 2.0 includes improved face tracking, 3D object detection, realistic rendering, and shared AR experiences. iOS 12 will make improvements to search in Photos with search suggestions, such as people, places, dates, and actions. It adds tools such as suggested sharing, suggested animations, and "remember this day" style images that all fall under a new tab called For You. iOS 12 promises "shortcuts" for Siri, which expose quick actions to Apple's voice-controlled assistant. Developers will be able to add these actions to their own apps, expanding Siri's ability's across the iPhone. Siri will now proactively offer suggestions that are context-aware, such as placing calls or sending alerts. An new tool called Siri Shortcuts will allow people to build custom actions, such as commuting home, that will engage a number of activities, such as checking traffic, changing the thermostat, and turning on lights. iOS 12 makes refreshments to Apple News with a new browse tab for discovering channels and topics. News also gains a new sidebar for easier navigation. The Apple Stocks app gains integration with Apple News, pairing stock price changes with related business news. The voice memos app is rebuilt, and will be available to the iPad for the first time. Voice memos gains iCloud support so recordings stay synced across devices. The iBooks app has been renamed Apple Books, such as a new store, better resume behaviors, and more. iOS 12 adds support to third-party apps in CarPlay. iOS 12 makes a big push to limit excessive use of smartphones. The Do Not Disturb tool is being amped up for bedtime routines, limiting notifications and distractions. iOS 12 retools some notifications, giving people more control over notifications. The update will supported grouped notifications, as well as Siri-based suggestions to mute apps that aren't used often. Group notifications can be dismissed en masse. Another tool provides a full activity report on how much time people spend on their iPhones, such as time, time in apps, how often the phone is picked up, and which apps are sending the most notifications. People can set time limits for individual apps and these can all be controlled by parents within family groups. Parents can dole out device allowances for apps, devices, and more. The iPhone X gains four more emoji (ghost, koala, tiger, t-rex), as well as the ability to interact with the owner's tongue. iOS 12 introduces Memoji, or the ability to create personalized Animoji. iOS 12 will be made available in the fall.

Unicode 11 with Dozens of New Emoji Arrives June 5

Jun 1, 2018, 11:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

New emoji are coming to a phone near you, eventually. Unicode 11.0, which was finalized in February, will be released on June 5, according to Emojipedia. Some of the new options will let men and women emoji select from various hair styles (including red-haired and bald), while new hero and villain styles support new gender and skin tone options. There are new colors available for leg, foot, bone, and tooth emoji; new animals such as badgers, swans, peacocks, and llamas; new food such as mangos, leafy greens, and moon cakes; and many new places, activities, games, objects, and symbols. Support for Unicode 11.0 will be gradual. For example, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft are expected to adopt Unicode 11.0 between June and August, while Google and Apple likely won't add Unicode 11.0 to Android and iOS, respectively, until September or October. Phone makers such as Samsung may not adopt Unicode 11.0 until January or February of next year.

New iOS and WatchOS Betas Available from Apple

May 30, 2018, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Registered developers can download the latest versions of iOS and watchOS from Apple. Apple made both iOS 11.4.1 beta 1 and watchOS 4.3.2 beta 1 available for download. There's no word on what changes are baked into the latest code, though any changes are likely confined to bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple released iOS 11.4 to the general public earlier this week. iOS 11.4 introduced iMessage in the Cloud and AirPlay 2 to iPhones and iPads. Apple hasn't made public betas of iOS 11.4.1 and watchOS 4.3.2 available yet, but likely will before the end of the week.

T-Mobile Trots Out Thirteen BOGO Offers for Summer

May 30, 2018, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today rolled out a big BOGO deal that sees the company offering free phones across a handful of brands. T-Mobile says the BOGO deal applies to the latest flagships from top-tier device makers including Apple, Samsung, and LG. Each brand has its own eligibility requirements, but there are some rules that apply to all the BOGO offers. First, customers can't mix and match brands, but they can mix and match models from the same brand. The second phone must be of equal or lesser value than the first. Both devices need to be financed on a T-Mobile equipment installment plan. Some of the offers include money back via prepaid card rebate while others are credited monthly on customer bills. T-Mobile customers get free access to Netflix, unlimited LTE on a T-Mobile One plan, T-Mobile Tuesday promos, GoGo in-flight WiFi on some domestic flights, and free data roaming in more than 140 countries. T-Mobile's summer BOGO deals will be available starting June 1.

Apple Releases iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2

May 29, 2018, 10:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.4 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The most significant new feature of iOS 11.4 is AirPlay 2, a more advanced version of Apple's wireless audio technology. AirPlay 2 lets people create multi-room wireless audio systems so music and other media can play on different devices in different rooms at the same time. Apple says built-in Control Center and Siri actions make it easy for people to control where the music is playing. AirPlay 2 works natively with Apple's own HomePod speaker. Apple says the HomePod can automatically stream music around the house without requiring users to first manually group them. Apple Music subscribers can ask Sir to play different songs in different rooms or the same song everywhere. Apple said AirPlay 2-enabled speakers are on the way from partners Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos. Once these device makers add support for AirPlay 2, owners will be able to use Siri to control music on these third-party speakers, too. HomePod owners can turn on support for personal requests, which allow them to send messages, add reminders, check calendar appointments, set timers, play podcasts, and catch up on news, sports, traffic, and the weather. iOS 11.4 also introduces Messages in iCloud. This tool lets people store complete message threads in iCloud for porting to new devices. Once synced, Messages in iCloud brings entire iMessage conversations to users' devices so they always have access to them. The other goal of Messages in iCloud is to free up local space on users' devices, as media embedded in messages is kept online, rather than stored locally on the iPhone. iOS 11.4 should be available starting at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern.

Jury Says Samsung On the Hook for $539M Over Apple Designs

May 24, 2018, 7:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A California jury today decided that Samsung must pay Apple $539 million for copying its smartphone designs. The decision comes after a retrial concerning the amount of damages owed for the 2012 case that found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design patents. A jury in that case initially awarded Apple $1.05 billion, though that amount was later reduced in subsequent appeals and hearings. The courts eventually decided to retry the damages portion of the case, as the original jury was improperly instructed on how to calculate damages. Samsung later paid Apple $399 million in December 2015. If today's award survives appeal, Samsung will owe Apple another $140 million to cover the entire $539 million figure. Apple said it was pleased with the outcome. "We believe deeply in the value of design," said the iPhone maker in a statement. "This case has always been about more than money." Samsung did not immediately say if it will appeal this latest decision, but it did say, "Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers." Apple and Samsung eventually settled all outstanding lawsuits and patent fights other than this case.

Apple to Let People Download Everything It Knows About Them

May 23, 2018, 12:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to give its customers a bit more control over their data. In order to comply with the pending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in Europe, Apple is allowing customers in the European Union to download all their data. Such data includes files and information synced to iCloud, as well as activity on devices, Apple Music, AppleCare, the App Store, and other Apple services. Apple's new Data and Privacy web site also makes it easy for people to edit the data Apple stores, as well as delete it entirely. Apple warned that preparing the data download may take several days. While this tool is reaching European citizens first, Apple intends to make it available globally later this year.

Apple to Reimburse Some iPhone Owners Who Paid Full Price for New Batteries

May 23, 2018, 11:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple said it plans to reimburse customers who, between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 28, 2017, paid full price for an out-of-warranty battery replacement for their iPhone 6 or later. The credit will amount to $50. On Dec. 28, 2017, Apple dropped the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 after it revealed that it throttled performance of older iPhones to manage battery life. The company agreed to step up its battery replacement program to alleviate the performance issue. Customers who paid full price to replace their battery during the designated period will need to have proof of purchase, and will need to have completed the repair at an authorized Apple service location. Apple will proactively reach out to these customers between now and the end of July. The credit will be applied to the credit card used to make the original battery replacement. Batteries replaced under warranty are not eligible for the $50 reimbursement.

Apple Pushes iOS 11.4 Beta 6 to Developers and Public Testers

May 18, 2018, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has released iOS 11.4 Beta 6 to both registered developers and public beta testers. The release comes just several days after Apple pushed iOS 11.4 Beta 5. Apple didn't provide a reason for the quick iteration. iOS 11.4 primarily adds support for ClassKit, Apple's new set of developer tools that target educations. It also re-introduces several features that were meant to be included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. Developers and public testers alike should be able to download and install iOS 11.4 Beta 6 over the air.

Apple Makes iOS 11.4 Beta 5 Available to Devs

May 14, 2018, 1:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.4 Beta 5 to registered developers. Most importantly, this build adds support for ClassKit, Apple's new set of developer tools that target educations. The build also re-introduces several features that were meant to be included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. Developers should be able to download and install iOS 11.4 Beta 5 over the air. Apple will likely make the same beta available to public testers within several days.

iPhone X Gains HDR Playback in YouTube

May 11, 2018, 9:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube has rolled out support for HDR video playback on the Apple iPhone X. The latest version of YouTube adds the feature, which needs to be toggled on in the settings menu. The iPhone X is the first iPhone capable of playing HDR video, which offers more contrast than standard video. YouTube is free to download from the iTunes App Store.

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