Author Archives: Jordan Kahn

TestFlight prepares for takeoff, now lets developers send 1000 public beta invites


Apple announced today that its TestFlight Beta testing service now allows developers to invite public beta testers. Developers can invite up to 1,000 testers (in addition to the internal testing features that were previously available) through an email invitation sent from iTunes Connect.

You can now invite up to 1,000 testers to beta test your iOS apps by simply sending them an email invitation through iTunes Connect. Once they accept your invitation, testers can install your beta app on their iOS devices, get updated builds, and provide feedback

TestFlight app hit the App Store last month and allows users to access beta builds they are invited to as well as give feedback to developers.

Apple acquired the TestFlight service earlier this year and the company announced integration of the service into its developer portal at WWDC.

Filed under: AAPL Company

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Apple will continue evaluating GTAT’s sapphire production progress, could repurpose Mesa facility


Following news this week that Apple had reached at a settlement with bankrupt sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced, today the company has responded to the situation in a comment to Recode. While GT previously said it would wind down sapphire production operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and sell furnaces to repay the $439M owed to Apple, today Apple hinted it might have its own plans for the facility.

“Apple put a lot of effort into an ambitious new sapphire manufacturing process with GTAT which is not ready for production.”

Apple continues by noting that it is still committed to work with Mesa and that it will potentially repurpose the facility and “help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs.”

When GT’s lawyers earlier this week called the settlement an “amicable parting of ways,” there was no confirmation if Apple would continue to work with the company or utilize the Mesa, Arizona facility. Today, however, Apple said it would continue to evaluate GT Advanced for “progress on larger sapphire boule development.”

Apple’s full statement is below:

“Apple put a lot of effort into an ambitious new sapphire manufacturing process with GTAT which is not ready for production. We’re going to continue evaluating GTAT’s progress on larger sapphire boule development, as well as consider other options for the facility. We remain committed to the city and we’re going to work with Mesa and Maricopa County to help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs.”

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Arizona, GT Advanced Technology, GTAT, mesa, Sapphire, Supply chain

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Facebook releases ‘Rooms’ for iPhone, a chat room app that lets you go anonymous

Rooms-Facebook-01 Rooms-Facebook-02 Rooms-Facebook-03 Rooms-Facebook-04

Facebook is today unveiling the latest app being released under the company’s Creative Labs project that recently released the new Paper, Slingshot, and Mentions apps. The new app, called Rooms, is described by Facebook as a meeting place inspired by early Internet chatrooms and web communities: Rooms lets you create places for the things you’re into, and invite others who are into them too.

A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text – not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook – with a topic determined by whoever created the room. Early users have already created rooms for everything from beat boxing videos to parkour to photos of home- cooked meals. There’s even a room called “Kicks From Above” that showcases photographs of cool shoes in cool places.

Facebook also notes that Rooms are highly customizable with the ability to change text, emoji, cover photos, colors, and member permissions with many other customization tweaks coming in future updates. The company makes a point of noting users can remain anonymous if they choose and change their names at any time:

That’s why in Rooms you can be “Wonder Woman” – or whatever name makes you feel most comfortable and proud. You can even create different identities for different contexts. In my room for technology industry discussions I am “Josh” but in another about backpacking travel I am “jm90403” – a homage to my hometown zip code. Sometimes I want to go with my real name and sometimes I prefer a nickname. It depends.

The new Rooms app is available on the App Store now for iPhone.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: creative labs, Facebook, mentions, Paper, rooms, Slingshot

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Continuity Activation Tool enables Handoff/Instant Hotspot/AirDrop features on unsupported Macs


Apple decided not to support all Bluetooth 4.0 capable Macs for its new Continuity features in OS X Yosemite for undisclosed reasons, but it is possible to get the feature up and running on some older, unsupported Macs. Previously it required a bit of manual tinkering, but now a utility called OS X Continuity Activation Tool makes the process much easier.

It’s an all-in-one app to activate and diagnose OS X 10.10 Continuity (Handoff/Instant Hotspot/Airdrop iOS<->OSX) on older Mac configurations. I’ve been working on it for the past few weeks and tested it successfully on various Mac models. It should be stable enough now.

Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot for seamlessly switching between Macs and iOS devices are currently only officially supported by Apple on MacBook Air (Mid 2012 and later), MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 and later), iMac (Late 2012 and later), Mac mini (Late 2012 and later), and Mac Pro (Late 2013). Some Continuity features, such as phone calling and SMS, work with any Mac running OS X Yosemite as they only rely on a Wi-Fi network as opposed to requiring Bluetooth as well.

While the creator notes the tool has been tested successfully on various Macs, there are a few warnings to proceed at your own risk. The tool supports the Macs with Bluetooth 4.0 built-in that aren’t supported by Apple, but not those using a Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle. The creator previously published the list below noting which Macs require a new Bluetooth card or modifications to work:

-Macbook Air:Early 2008-2010: Requires new bluetooth/wifi card and modified Kext.
-Macbook Air:Mid 2011:Requires modified kext only
-Macbook Air:Mid 2012-2014: Works OTB
-cMacbookPros:Mid 2009-Mid2012 requires new bluetooth/Wifi card and Modified Kext.
-RetinaMacBook Pros: Works OTB.
-cMacPros:Early2008-2013 requires new bluetooth/Wifi only
-NMacPros:Works OTB .
-MacMini:Early 2009-2010 requires new bluetooth/Wifi Card and modified Kext.
-MacMini:Mid 2011-2012 Only requires Modified Kext
-iMac:Mid 2007-2011 requires bluetooth/Wifi Card and Modified Kext
-iMac:Late 2012-2013 works OTB

The tool and its source code are available on GitHub.

Filed under: Apps

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iPad Air 2 teardown shows minor internal tweaks, 15% smaller 7340 mAh battery


With iPad Air 2 units now officially arriving in the hands of customers, our friends over at iFixit have officially kicked off their ritual teardown of the device. For the most part the teardown only revealed minor changes on the inside, such as repositioned display cables that iFixit calls a welcomed changed for repairs.

Also revealed are minor tweaks to Wi-Fi antennas and other components. In addition, the teardown confirms an approximately 15% smaller battery compared to the previous generation iPad Air…

The newly-bonded front panel is more rigid than in previous iPad models, and therefore feels a bit sturdier to pry against—however, flexing the glass still disturbs the LCD, even when you aren’t inserting the pick very deeply. That being the case, the glued-down display remains the iPad’s only access point, so there’s still a risk of damaging it even when performing ordinary repairs.

iFixit used a Wi-Fi only model of the new iPad Air 2, so it couldn’t comment on positioning of cellular components in relation to the repositioned Wi-Fi antennas.

The teardown shows a 7340 mAh battery (27.3-watt-hour), which as expected is smaller than the 8827 mAh (32.9 WH) battery it found in the previous generation Air. Several reviews of the Air 2 noticed a reduced battery life over the first generation iPad Air in real world use, but Apple quoted the same 10-hour battery life for the new iPad. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, however: The first iPad Air also had a smaller battery than the iPad model before it, which often goes hand in hand with a much slimmer design.

Components found in the teardown that aren’t disclosed by Apple include:

-NXP Semiconductors 8416A1 Touch ID Sensor
-Parade Technologies DP675 LCD Driver
-Texas Instruments TPS65143A LCD Bias Solution For LCD Panels
-Apple APL1012 A8X 64-bit Processor
-Elpida (Micron Technology) F8164A3MD (two identical chips)
-SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMR 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND Flash
-NXP 65V10 NFC Module (as found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
-Apple (Cirrus Logic) 338S1213 Audio Codec
-NXP Semiconductors LPC18B1UK ARM Cortex-M3 Microcontroller (Apple M8 Motion Co-Processor)
-Maxim Integrated MAX98721BEWV Boosted Class Amplifier
-Broadcom BCM5976 Digitizer Controller
-Texas Instruments TI48WHXDP 343S0583
-Fairchild Semiconductor FDMC 6683 and FDMC 6676BZ (two chips that date all the way back to the iPad 2)

The teardown is still in progress at iFixit.

Filed under: iOS

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Yahoo Mail iOS app updated w/ travel & event notifications in Today view

Yahoo-Mail-notifications-01Yahoo updated its Yahoo Mail mobile apps today bringing new travel and event notifications to the app for iPhone and iPad.

For travel, the app’s “Today” view will now display information on flights including when flights are cancelled or delayed, and users will be able to “get directions to the airport, call the airline to rebook your flight or go directly to the airline website” in a single tap.

And once you land at your destination, you’ll receive suggestions for the top restaurants and attractions in the area, with reviews and pictures from Yelp.”

Yahoo-Mail-notificaitons-02The updated Yahoo Mail app also provides notifications for events in the Today view from Evite, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster, event information, and the ability to view and share directions.

Yahoo also said the update includesthe latest headlines with News notifications” that can be switched off in Settings. All of the new features are available in the U.S. only.

The updated Yahoo Mail app for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 3.2.8

- The Multi-talented Yahoo Mail app is now even smarter. Now in Yahoo Today, view your upcoming flight details plus get real time updates of flight delays or changes. Also, see your upcoming events which you can map directions to and easily share with friends. Available in the US only.
– Stay on top of the latest headlines with News notifications. Turn it on or off anytime under Settings. Available in the US only.
– Performance improvements
– Bug fixes

Filed under: Apps

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A fix for Apple Pay bug displaying incorrect card designs is on the way


A fix for a bug in Apple Pay that causes credit cards from Chase and others to not display the correct physical card design is being worked on, according to sources close to the situation.

There have been a few hiccups for the launch of Apple Pay this week as the company works to quickly roll out support for additional banks and card types. In addition to some glitches causing users to be overcharged and many unsupported card types, a number of users have noticed that the physical card designs for some cards aren’t displayed correctly in the Passbook app when added to Apple Pay. Instead users are presented with a generic card design and the Citi-Apple-Payissuing bank’s company logo, which can be confusing for users with multiple cards from the same bank (pictured above).

Readers have reported the issue with cards not displaying correctly for Visa cards through both Chase and Citi as well as co-branded cards through several other banks. In some cases the cards don’t even have a description of the card type and only the card number to distinguish between cards from the same bank.

For users having issues adding cards from supported banks, yesterday we detailed that many card types, such as corporate cards, are still not supported through some of Apple’s initial launch partners.

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apps Tagged: Apple pay, chase, Citi, credit cards, debit cards, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, mobile payment service, NFC

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