iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Microsoft has released a public preview of its new, completely revamped Office app for Android and iOS. A single Office app replaces the previously separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. It also includes the previously-announced features that let users take a photo of a document to create an editable Word document, and use the camera to import table data directly into Excel. It includes dedicated sections for non-Office documents: PDF, Media, and Notes. An Actions panel makes it easy to transfer files between phone and computer, or with nearby phones. It also includes shortcuts to create PDFs and add signatures to them. Anyone can try out the public preview, but it requires extra steps of enrolling in the testing program, a process that requires joining a group for Android, or using TestFlight for iOS.
Fitbit has agreed to be purchased by Google for $2.1 billion. Fitbit makes activity-tracking wearables, having sold more than 100 million devices, with 28 million current active users. Google has its own Wear OS smartwatch platform, which integrates with its Google Fit activity- and health-tracking service. Google said it sees "an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market." On privacy, Fitbit says "Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads." Fitbit also pledged to continue supporting both iOS and Android.
Razer this week launched two new phone accessories focused on the gamer market: Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds and the Junglecat, a dual-sided gaming controller. Both are designed to work with the company's own Razer Phone 2, as well as other phones. The Junglecat includes cases to fit the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy S10+, as well as the Razer Phone 2. The Junglecat can be used attached to one of those three phones, or attached to a dedicated controller grip and used with any Android phone or Windows PC. It uses Bluetooth LE and charges via USB-C. The Hammerhead earbuds use a customized Bluetooth 5.0 connection for ultra-low latency of just 60ms. The earbuds offer 3 hours of battery life by themselves, and 15 hours with the included charging case, which charges via USB-C. The buds also sport touch controls, voice assistant compatibility, and IPx4 water-resistance rating. They're compatible with both Android and iOS devices, with an app available for both platforms. Both the Junglecat and Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are available now for $100 each.
iOS 13.2 is now available from Apple. It adds the previously-announced Deep Fusion feature to the iPhone 11 (and 11 Pro) camera. The update also adds new emoji and Siri privacy settings. Deep Fusion takes multiple exposures with each shot, and uses machine learning to combine the best parts of each exposure, producing photos with "better texture, details, and reduced noise, especially for mid to low light scenes."
The popular Mophie Juice Pack Access battery case accessory is now available for Apple's iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. The cases include a large extra battery that keeps the iPhone topped up via wireless charging, and can themselves be charged wirelessly. Wireless charging leaves the iPhone's Lightning port free. The Juice Pack Access includes its own USB-C port for charging. Pass-through charging will charge the phone first, and then the case. The versions for the 11 and 11 Pro add a 2,000 mAh battery to the phone, while the case for the 11 Pro Max contains a 2,200 mAh battery. All versions are $100. They're available now in black, and coming soon in pink and (PRODUCT)RED.
Hulu is rolling out the ability for users on its ad-free plan to download shows to watch offline. The feature is available now for iOS, and soon for Android.
Sony is updating its PS4 software this week for both console and mobile platforms. The new PS4 Remote Play app for Android will work on all phones with Android 5.0 and up; it was previously available only on Sony Android phones. Remote Play is already available for iOS. Sony is also updating its Second Screen app that turns your phone into a companion device while console gaming. Second Screen will now include a voice transcription accessibility feature for group chats, which converts party voice chat to text, and enables you to enter text that is read aloud to other party members. The new software is rolling out this week.
Getting a new iPhone? The back may be a lovely honed finish this year, but it's still all glass, so consider getting a case. We took a look at a few options from three established companies offering good protection at affordable prices. And since design is a core part of the iPhone's appeal, we also focused on options that show off or complement the Apple aesthetic, including various types of clear cases. These cases are all shipping now, support wireless charging, and cost $40 or less.
Apple will release iOS version 13.1 on Sept. 24th, a week earlier than originally planned, reports Engadget. Many reviewers and users have reported that iOS version 13.0 is unusually buggy.
Sprint is offering a free iPhone 11 to new customers when they trade in an iPhone 7 or newer. The old iPhone can be in any condition but must be unlocked. The deal requires a new line activation and an 18-month "lease" that costs $0 after a monthly credit is applied. Verizon is offering a similar deal of a free iPhone 11 for new customers with trade-in. T-Mobile is offering 50% off the new iPhones with trade-in.
Apple's new iPhone 11 series of phones includes a new U1 chip, which uses ultra-wideband technology to determine the relative location of other devices with U1 chips nearby. Apple promises "amazing new capabilities" thanks to the new chip. The first new feature to utilize the U1 is AirDrop, which now lets you choose who to send a file to by simply pointing your phone at theirs.
Apple today announced the iPhone 11 Pro, which comes in two sizes. The smaller model has a 5.8-inch screen like the iPhone Xs, while the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch screen, just like the iPhone Xs Max. Both iPhone 11 Pro models have three 12-megapixel cameras on the back: one "wide", one ultra-wide, and one telephoto, together providing a total 4x optical zoom. The matte glass back and camera surround is milled from a single sheet of glass, set into a stainless steel frame. The OLED display has been improved with HDR, Dolby Vision, 1200 nits peak brightness, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, P3 color gamut, 458 ppi, and True Tone. Apple calls the new display "Super Retina XDR". Audio has also been improved with Dolby Atmos and spatial audio. Battery life has also been improved, adding 4 hours for the smaller size and 5 hours for the Max, and a 18W fast charger is now included. Like the cheaper iPhone 11 announced today, the iPhone 11 Pro is powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, and supports slow-motion video with the selfie camera, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. In the fall, a software update will add a new camera feature called Deep Fusion, which combines multiple quick photos with one long-exposure using computational photography to create a higher-quality photo in lower-light situations. The iPhone 11 Pro comes in Midnight Green, Space Gray, silver, and gold. The smaller model starts at $999, while the Max starts at $1099. Pre-orders begin at 8am Eastern on Friday, September 13th, with full retail launch on September 20th.
The new iPhone 11 from Apple sports a new dual-camera system with two 12-megapixel cameras, one "wide" and one "ultra-wide". It replaces the iPhone Xr and has the same 6.1-inch display size. It's the most affordable of today's three new iPhones at just $699. It's powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, 1 hour extra battery life compared to the iPhone Xr, and Wi-Fi 6. The front camera has also been updated with higher resolution, wider field of view, and the ability to shoot both 4K video and slow-motion video, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera also now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. The iPhone 11 has a milled glass back and comes in six colors: cream, yellow, mint, lavender, Product Red, and black.
Apple Arcade, the company's game subscription service, will launch next week, on September 19th. It will cost $4.99 per month. One subscription will cover a whole family, and the company will offer a one month free trial. 100 exclusive games will be available "in the coming weeks", with more added over time. The games run across all major Apple platforms, including iOS, tvOS, and macOS.
Apple is opening up its official iPhone repair program to allow independent repair shops of all sizes access to genuine Apple parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics. Apple had previously restricted these resources to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs), which now includes all Best Buy locations. But now any repair shop with an Apple-certified technician on staff can offer Apple-sanctioned service for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Employee certification is free of charge. The new program is called the Independent Repair Provider Program. Participating businesses will receive Apple-genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics at the same cost as AASPs. Interested businesses can apply starting today.
Apple has updated Apple Wallet to support additional vendors of systems that power contactless student ID cards, enabling a number of new colleges and universities to roll out support for storing a student ID card in Apple Wallet. The feature lets students use their iPhone or Apple Watch to access campus facilities and pay for meals, laundry, and other purchases where a student ID is accepted as payment. The feature supports multiple account balances per card, such as Food, Laundry, Flex, etc. The new card-system vendors supported are CBORD, Allegion, and HID. Previously, only Blackboard Transact was supported. New schools supporting Apple Wallet include Clemson University, Georgetown University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of Vermont, and Arkansas State University. Schools that already support Apple Wallet include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama, Temple University, and Johns Hopkins University.
Apple is expanding its bug bounty program to solicit security vulnerabilities from security researchers. The program will now be open to all, not just researchers on pre-approved list. The bug bounties have also increased from $200,000 to as much as $1 million for the most serious bugs, such as hacking the kernel — the core of any OS — with zero clicks required by the iPhone owner. Another $500,000 will be given to those who can find a "network attack requiring no user interaction." There’s also a 50% bonus for hackers who can find weaknesses in software before it's released. Apple is also extending the program to watchOS. The announcements were made in a talk by Apple's head of security engineering Ivan Krstić at the annual Black Hat conference. Krstić said the bug bounty program has been a success to date, with 50 serious bugs reported since the 2016 launch.
Apple has agreed to pay $1 billion for the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. The deal includes approximately 2,200 Intel employees, along with associated equipment and leases. The deal also includes numerous related patents. Intel will retain access to that intellectual property for non-smartphone applications. Apple's Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said the deal "will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward." The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. In April, Apple reached a deal with Qualcomm to use their modem chips exclusively, in order to resolve a long-running patent dispute. At the same time, Intel canceled its 5G modem project, which was intended for future iPhones. Prior to the Qualcomm deal, Apple had used both Qualcomm and Intel modems in its iPhones.
Google Maps now includes real-time data on how many bikes (and empty spots) are at each bike-sharing dock station in 24 major cities. Available in both iOS and Android version of the Maps app, the information covers Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich. To use the feature, search in a covered city for a phrase like "bike share", or the name of the local system, like "Bixi". Result cards include an indicator in the top-right showing the current number of bikes and the total number of spots.
The latest beta version of iOS 13 includes a new feature in FaceTime called Attention Correction, which subtly alters the image of your face in real time to make it look like you're looking into the camera even when you're looking down at the screen to see the other person. It only seems to work on the very newest generation of iPhone models, (Xs, Xs Max, and Xr, but not the original iPhone X,) indicating that the feature may require the A12, Apple's newest processor chip.
The Google app for iOS and Android now makes it easier to search for animated GIFs and share them directly to popular messaging apps. When searching for "excited gif", for example, a new "share GIFs" section in image results will show GIFs based on how likely they are to be shared, and include a "share" button that connects directly to apps including Whatsapp, Android Messages, Gmail, and Hangouts. The feature is also available in when searching Google in Chrome on Android.
Mobile service provider Visible is removing the 5 Mbps data speed cap that it launched with. Visible offers unlimited service on Verizon's network for $40/month. New and existing customers will get the un-capped, faster data speeds for as long as they remain customers; the company may re-impose speed limits at a later date for customers signing up after that date. Visible is also offering $20 referral bonuses, and $20 off the first month of service for new customers. The company has no physical locations, offering activation, support, and all customer interactions via its app. Visible is compatible with most iPhones as well as the Samsung Galaxy S9(+), Google Pixel 3 (XL), and the Visible R2. The company is adding support soon for the Pixel 3a (XL) and Moto g7 Power.
Apple has made a public beta available of iOS 13, the next major version of the software that powers iPhones. Major new features include swipe gesture typing, a new version of CarPlay, Dark Mode, richer Maps content, a new Shortcuts app, audio sharing, and smarter AR. Also, apps load faster and Siri has a more natural-sounding voice that's easier to understand. The beta software is available today for users who opt in to Apple's beta testing program. The final version is expected this fall.
Facebook today announced Libra, a new digital currency that aims to combine the best features of other cryptocurrencies in order to be more consumer-friendly. The currency will be administered by the Libra Association, a new non-for-profit based in Geneva. Founding members include Facebook, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Vodafone Group, and Coinbase, as well as non-profit and academic members. Facebook's new Calibra subsidiary will create a Libra wallet app. The Calibra wallet will not require a Facebook account and Calibra will not share transaction data with Facebook. Third parties will also be able to create their own Libra wallet apps. Users will be able to exchange local currency for Libra (and vice versa) through these wallet apps, and at physical locations. The local currency will be transferred to the Libra Association to provide 100% backing for Libra currency. Interest on those deposits will pay for operating expenses, investments in the ecosystem, engineering research, and grants to non-profits and other organizations. Excess interest will be distributed to founding members. Libra transactions won't carry the high fees that credit cards do, although a small (less than one cent) transaction fee will deter certain spam and denial attacks. The symbol for the Libra is ≋ (three wavy lines). The value of a Libra is tied to a basket of deposits in historically stable international currencies, which can be rebalanced to keep the Libra stable. The Libra's starting value will be close to one dollar, euro, or pound. Libra is much faster and more efficient than Bitcoin, able to handle 1,000 transactions per second and designed to scale much higher. When a transaction is submitted, each of the Libra nodes, run independently by Libra Association members, runs a blockchain calculation. Two-thirds of the nodes must come to consensus that the transaction is legitimate for it to be executed and written to the blockchain. Facebook's Calibra will implement Know Your Customer rules in the sign-up process to prevent fraud, requiring a government-issued photo ID, for example. The Libra Association will incentivize other wallet providers to do the same. Libra is launching a limited test network today. When Libra launches to consumers in the first half of 2020, Facebook will launch Calibra as a standalone wallet app, but also as a feature within Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on both Android and iOS.
An Israeli company that supplies law enforcement agencies worldwide announced that the newest version of its tool to access locked phones can access almost any smartphone, including Apple devices running iOS 7-12.3 and most Android phones. The company, Cellebrite, promises that its new UFED Premium device offers nearly complete access to Apple devices and "flagship Samsung devices", as well as support for accessing the file system on "popular device models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi." The company boasts that its device lets law enforcement "Bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on many high-end Android devices.... gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more". Apple has added features to iOS in recent years to thwart this kind of access, and is rolling out iOS 13 this summer and fall.
Anker continues to crank out a steady stream of universal chargers, batteries, and similar accessories that are at the leading edge of functionality and small form factors. Their latest PowerPort chargers offer high-power USB-C charging in tiny packages, now with flip plugs for even more portability. They're compatible with all Android fast charging techs, as well as iPhone, via Anker's Apple-certified USB-C-to-Lightning cable. We checked them out in person.
The Skype app for iOS and Android now supports screen-sharing in video calls. Microsoft announced the launch of the feature this week, after making it available to beta testers a few weeks ago. The feature lets you share whatever is on your phone's screen, including other apps, with the person on the other end of the video call. Skype also tweaked its video call interface with a new design and the ability to hide all controls during a call.
Apple today announced iOS 13 with a long list of new features for iPhones. The Apple text keyboard now supports swipe gesture typing, which Apple calls Quick Path. Users can now grant apps access to location data on an as-needed basis, and prevent apps from gathering location data using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Apple also introduced its own universal sign-in service available to all web sites and apps. Sign in with Apple does not track users across the web like other services. Real names and/or email addresses are only shared with explicit permission, and Apple will optionally generate a unique email address for each app, that forwards to your real email address, keeping your real email address private. iOS 13 includes a dark mode that defaults to dark backgrounds in most apps. A revamped Reminders app supports natural language entry and attachments. An updated Siri uses neural text-to-speech technology to sound more natural and be easier to understand. A new option lets users send spam calls directly to voicemail. The Shortcuts feature now has its own app, which analyzes your usage patterns to create Suggested Automations. Enterprise users can now set up separate iCloud accounts for personal and work use. The latest Maps app supports Collections of favorite locations. It also adds Look Around, which is like Google's Street View, but supports smoother 3D animations when moving around. In Messages, you can now choose to share your name and/or photo when messaging someone for the first time. The camera app supports adjustable studio lighting effects and new Instagram-like editing options for photos and videos. iOS 13 also includes an Audio Sharing feature for sharing whatever you're listening to with another iPhone user wirelessly. When using AirPods, users can now have incoming messages (from any app) read aloud, and reply by voice. iOS 13 also includes performance tweaks such as smaller app updates and faster app launches. The update will be available for iPhones this fall, with a "public seed" version in July, and a developer beta available today.
Apple today announced watchOS 6 for Apple Watches. The update adds a full App Store directly on the watch, offering independent apps, which no longer require a companion app on an iOS device. Apple also added a new streaming audio API for live sports and more as well as support for audiobooks. A new Noise app continuously monitors sounds levels to detect loud levels that could damage your hearing. Also new is a Cycle Tracking app for menstrual cycles and fertility, also coming to the Health app in iOS. A voice memo and calculator app have also been added, including a tip calculator.
Google today announced the global launch of a group video calling feature for its Google Duo app. The feature lets up to eight people join a live video chat at once. It's available for both iOS and Android. Apple's FaceTime has supported group calls of up to 32 people since January, but only works on iOS devices.
Microsoft is working on a new Minecraft game for phones that uses AR to overlay Minecraft as a persistent, massively multiplayer game over the whole planet. Players will be able to build with Minecraft blocks anywhere in public. Players will be able to see avatars of other players and collaborate. Adventure challenges will pop up in the game, with rewards like treasure and rare blocks. Microsoft says it will kick off a closed beta of Minecraft Earth this summer on iOS and Android. Microsoft is also starting with select locations before eventually expanding the game to be truly global.
The Steam Link app — which lets you play Steam games on your PC or Mac remotely on another device such as a phone, tablet, or TV — is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Unlike the Android version, it does not support new game purchases within the Steam Link app, to comply with Apple's App Store rules. The app supports Bluetooth game controllers.
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that an antitrust lawsuit can proceed against Apple for the way it runs its App Store. Today's ruling only affirms that the consumers bringing the suit have the right to do so; it does not touch on the merits of the case. The case will now proceed in lower courts, which may take years. At issue is whether Apple can require that apps be purchased through its store, where it takes a 30% cut and imposes rules on pricing that may inflate prices.
Coolpad today announced FamilyLabs, a new app that lets parents communicate, locate, and provide remote support to multiple family members, on both Android and iOS phones. The first phase of FamilyLabs is launching on Indigogo, where available bundles include the app, a new Coolpad phone, and service from Mint Mobile. Bundles start at $99 with 1 month of service. Larger bundles include up to three months of service (unlimited talk and text plus 8 GB of 4G data per month). The initial version of the app will offer location tracking, geo-fencing with alerts, content filtering, remote setting of alarms and reminders, and panic alerts. Coolpad will actively solicit feedback and ideas from Indiegogo supporters in order to refine the app before a wider launch beyond Indiegogo. The included phone is the Coolpad Model M, which is based on the REVVL Plus for T-Mobile. Coolpad will make both iOS and Android versions of the app available for Indiegogo customers to download and test on other phones. The target shipping timeframe for Indiegogo customers is June. Beyond the app, FamilyLabs is also a platform and brand Coolpad will use for additional family-oriented products. The company launched Dyno, a smartwatch for kids, in January.
Google's basic activity-tracking app, Google Fit, is now available for iPhone and other iOS devices. Because it supports Apple Health, it can automatically import activity data captured by Apple Watch. It can also sync with smartwatches powered by Wear OS by Google. Like the Android version of the app, it tracks two key metrics: Move Minutes for basic movement, and Heart Points for more strenuous exercise. It also imports and logs more detailed exercise data. The app encourages you to reach activity goals recommended by the American Heart Association and World Health Organization. Google Fit is available now for free from the Apple App Store.
Intel has confirmed that it has cancelled its 5G modem project intended for phones such as a future iPhone, and will focus its modem business instead on products for devices other than phones, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple currently uses both Intel and Qualcomm modems in its iPhones. Earlier today, Apple and Qualcomm announced an agreement to end a years-long, ugly patent dispute. The agreement included a new commitment by Apple to use Qualcomm chips – perhaps exclusively – at the expense of Intel. Without its largest customer (Apple), Intel was left with no path to profitability for its phone modem business.
Google has turned its Smart Reply technology into an API that third-party Android and iOS developers can easily deploy in their own messaging apps. The software looks at the (up to) ten most recent messages in a thread, applies Google's machine learning algorithm locally (nothing is sent to the cloud,) and suggests three complete replies that can be sent with one tap. The software also uses machine learning to identify sensitive topics, so it can avoid making inappropriate suggestions in response to cases of personal tragedy/hardship or profanity. The feature is part of ML Kit, a suite of APIs that all use machine learning. Google also just added Language Identification to ML Kit. The new Smart Reply API is available first in English, and uses Language Identification to only suggest replies in the appropriate language. The first third-party app to make use of the Smart Reply API is textPlus.
Google's automated voice assistant features for handling calls on a person's behalf are now rolling out to more phones beyond Google's own Pixel phones. The two features are Duplex and Call Screening. Duplex will make an entire interactive call on a user's behalf, making a reservation with a restaurant or business when requested via Google Assistant. This is rolling out to nearly all Android phones, as well as the iOS version of Google Assistant app. It's available in 43 US states. Call Screening is an alternative to directly answering an incoming call. With it, callers are prompted to explain who they are and why they're calling. The answer is transcribed and displayed in real time on the phone's screen, so you can decide to pick up if it's someone you want to talk to. Call Screening is rolling out now to Motorola g7 and One phones as a software update.
The new Powerbeats Pro from Beats use technology borrowed from Apple's latest AirPods to create the first Powerbeats without a wire between the two earbuds. Optimized for workouts, they have redesigned, adjustable rubber loops that hook over the ear like other Powerbeats. Despite being fully wireless, they're 23% smaller and 17% lighter than the Powerbeats3. Like AirPods, they automatically pause when removed from the ear. They also use the same Apple H1 chip as the latest AirPods, which enables them to respond to "Hey Siri" commands. Beam-forming microphones help filter out background noise during calls. Each bud has a full set of identical controls, allowing either one to be used without the other. Beats claims that each bud will last for 9 hours of music, and the included charging case brings that up to 24 hours total. Quick charging provides 1.5 hours of music playback with just five minutes of charging. Powerbeats Pro are compatible with both iOS and Android phones. Apple will sell the Powerbeats Pro in May for $250. They will be available in Black, Navy, Moss, and Ivory.
Apple today announced an updated version of its Apple TV app that supports paid channels within the app. It will be available on iOS, tvOS, macOS, Roku, Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio. It will be available in May in over 100 countries. Paid channels available in the US include Apple's new "Apple tv+" channel with its own original content, as well as HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, CBS All Access, Comedy Central, and more. The new Apple TV app supports offline viewing and family sharing.