Author Archives: Mark Gurman

Snapchat CEO says that holding down Snaps to View might go away

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Speaking at the Code Conference south of Los Angeles this evening, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel revealed that the key Snapchat feature of needing to hold down the display to view a photo or a video will go away in the future. Asked by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg about needing to hold down on the display to view content, Spiegel said that the feature was originally designed to circumvent the lack of a Screenshot API on the iPhone…

Without developer access to the screenshot control, Snapchat used the holding down on the display mechanism to block people from being able to take screenshots of Snapchat photos and videos they were sent. Now that iOS has a Screenshot API, Spiegel hinted that the need to hold down on content to view pictures and videos will go away in the future. He said he doesn’t want to give away any “surprises,” but that the removal of needing to hold down content to view “may be in the cards,” while strongly hinting that this will come.

Addressing the Apple Watch, Spiegel said that the company looked closely at developing a smartwatch app, but that the company will take its time to make something “unique.”

Speaking of the Code Conference, we are here on the scene and will be covering Apple Senior VP of Operations Jeff Williams’ interview tomorrow. That event kicks off at 10:30 AM Pacific time, and we’ll be providing a live blog in the morning. Top image via Recode.


Filed under: AAPL Company

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iOS 9 Transit Maps to launch in a handful of cities in North America, Europe & China

Maps Transit

While Apple plans to debut its own mass transit directions service for Maps in iOS 9 as soon as June, the rollout will not be as ambitious as some users may have hoped. In its first iteration, Apple’s Transit service will only support approximately a half-dozen cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe, in addition to China, according to sources…

In the United States, the planned launch cities are San Francisco and New York, two major metropolitan areas that are known for public transportation, while Toronto will be likely Canada’s sole representative for the iOS 9 Maps Transit feature at launch. In Europe, Apple is said to be gearing up to first launch the feature in London, Paris, and Berlin.

While Apple has accumulated its own data for North America and Europe, Apple is working with longtime partner AutoNavi to source transit data for China. Pre-existing agreements currently prohibit Apple from collecting its own transit maps data in China, according to a source, and Apple already utilizes AutoNavi data for pre-existing Maps features for iPhones in China.

While these are the planned cities for this fall’s iOS 9 launch, Apple is already working on its next round of cities. Apple considers Boston, Massachusetts and Tokyo, Japan as its next two priority cities after the initial launch, but Tokyo support may be farther out due to the region’s expansive transit service offerings. Los Angeles, pictured in our mockup above from last year, is low on Apple’s transit priority list, the sources added.

As we noted in our original article on the transit feature for iOS 9 Maps, Apple has developed the ability to dynamically add more cities to the Maps app over-the-air, not requiring a full iOS software update. Apple will also be able to notify users via a push notification as support is added in their current city of residence, we noted in our previous report. Apple does not yet notify users of new geographical support for features.

Apple currently plans to unveil its Maps Transit features at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address on Monday, June 8th. Besides this new Maps tentpole feature, Apple plans to introduce a new systemwide typeface called San Francisco, a Home app for controlling approved HomeKit devices, several security and optimization upgrades, enhancements to the Messages and Health apps, iPad split-screen apps, and a new built-in keyboard.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Alibaba, Apple Maps, AutoNavi, Berlin, china, directions, Google Maps, iOS 9, list, London, Maps app, Paris, Tentpole, Toronto, Transit

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iOS 9 supports ‘iPhone 6S’ Force Touch, may enhance iMessage, Keyboard & Apple Pay

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Some of iOS 9‘s more important planned enhancements include split-screen apps on iPads, a new Home app for controlling HomeKit accessories, a new system-wide UI font, a mass transit directions service for the Maps app, and major quality, performance, and security enhancements. However, multiple sources note that there will also be some smaller, but still important, tweaks to the operating system. We spotlight some of these expected changes below…

Force Touch for the iPhone 6S

Sources confirm that the next-generation iPhone will look like an iPhone 6 but will include a Force Touch display with haptic feedback as one of its marquee feature additions. To go with the new hardware, Apple has designed iOS 9 to be Force Touch-ready and is working to let developers integrate Force Touch into App Store apps. Force Touch on the iPhone will be used to clear up some control space across the system, and potentially replace some long press-and-hold button interactions.

Additionally, Force Touch on the iPhone will offer similar functionality to the Force Touch Trackpads built into new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros. Force Touch will be integrated into Maps to drop new pins, into media players for pressure-sensitive scrolling, into the Calendar for adding new events, and across the system for quickly looking up word definitions, according to sources who have used Force Touch on prototype versions of the “iPhone 6S.” However, as Force Touch is tied into new and unannounced hardware, it’s unlikely that the support will be announced at WWDC.

One of our sources believes that Force Touch on the iPhone 6S will be more “power user-centric,” as it will not be essential to using the iPhone, as contrasted with its necessity within certain Apple Watch applications. Apple’s Force Touch work for iOS also spans to the iPad version of iOS, so it’s quite possible that Force Touch displays will also end up in upcoming iPad models. Notably, like the MacBook trackpad, the Force Touch display in the new iPhone is expected to present realtime haptic feedback so users can feel their input physically.

Keyboard

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iOS 8’s iPhone 6 Plus Keyboard

Beyond Force Touch support, Apple is also working on an updated keyboard for iOS 9. Apple is said to have prototyped multiple new keyboard designs, including one that is slightly longer than the current keyboard and includes additional editing controls while in portrait mode. Apple also believes that the QuickType keyboard in iOS 8 is not always accessible enough, so it is working on ways to make that experience more prominent across the system. Likely to the joy of many users, Apple is said to have also redesigned iOS 8’s infamous Shift Key so that it is easier to tell when shift or caps lock is activated.

Apple Pay for Canada

In line with reports that Canada will become the first country outside of the United States to officially support Apple Pay, we are told that iOS 9‘s Passbook application includes the necessary foundation to support banks, credit/debit cards, and credit unions in Canada. While the technical side for Canada is being built into iOS 9, it’s unlikely that such a launch will be announced until Apple finalizes its negotiations with Canadian banks. As Apple’s previous efforts to launch Apple Pay in China have reportedly been delayed by similar negotiations, it’s unclear whether any international expansion of the service will be announced at the WWDC keynote. Apple is also expanding its iTunes Radio and Apple Music rollouts this year internationally.

iMessage

Lastly, we are told that iMessage is expected to receive some minor but important enhancements. Apple has upgraded its back end infrastructure to support read receipts for group chat threads, as well as read receipts on a contact-by-contact basis. This means that iOS 9 users will be able to activate read receipts for only certain contacts, such as parents or friends, while leaving read status ambiguous for work colleagues. Apple has also, once again, considered removing the Game Center app (it is not present in some internal iOS 9 builds), and data point additions are planned for the Health application.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Pay, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, Apple Music, Apple pay, Canada, iMessage, iOS 8, iOS 9, iPad, iphone 6s, itunes radio, keyboard, keynote, QuickType, Shift Key, WWDC

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Gold Apple Watch Editions arrive for regular customers with new box, booklet, gold pairing screen [Gallery, Video]

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Nearly a month after the Apple Watch officially went on sale, gold Edition models have begun arriving for non-celebrity customers who placed the earliest online orders. As expected, the Apple Watch Edition’s white external packaging is nearly identical to the cardboard box for the stainless steel Apple Watch, save for the box noting the color of the 18-Karat gold casing and unique band on the side.

Inside the box, however, the items are a bit different. As we’ve noted before, the Apple Watch Edition includes a colored leather-covered box that integrates the MagSafe charger. The Edition also includes a color-matched cleaning cloth with the word Edition embossed into the material. The steel Apple Watches instead include a plastic white box with lining and a beige cleaning cloth. The Edition also includes a booklet explaining the manufacturing process. 

When you power on the Apple Watch Edition for the first time, a gold, not silver, description of the Watch’s hardware materials appears (as can be seen above). MacRumors noted earlier today that Editions started to ship, and the images of arrived Watches first appeared on their forums. You can find a gallery of more images below.

Update: Below, we’ve also added the first video unboxing of the Edition as well as pictures of the bundled booklet into the gallery.

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Video:

Thanks, Shemar!


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch

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Reading Roundup: Everything to know (so far) about iOS 9 and OS X 10.11

Over the past week, we’ve published several articles detailing the future of iOS (the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch’s operating system), OS X (the Mac’s operating system), and Watch OS (the software that runs on the Apple Watch). With the long weekend ahead, we’ve decided to put together a roundup of all of our published stories on these topics…

iOS

Apple plans to refresh iOS 9, OS X 10.11 using new Apple Watch font: This story details Apple’s plans to utilize a new typeface for iOS 9, taking a page out of the design language for the Apple Watch.

– Apple’s planned iOS 9 ‘Home’ app uses virtual rooms to manage HomeKit accessories: This article discusses Apple’s testing of a new application called “Home” that will be used to manage various HomeKit devices within the home.

Maps Transit

Apple readies Transit subway, train + bus guides for iOS 9 Maps, deploys robots for indoor mapping: After not being ready for release last year, Apple is apparently finally ready to take the wraps off of its Transit directions service for the iOS Maps application. This story also details Apple’s indoor mapping initiative and special robots roaming the Apple Cupertino campus.

 Future of iPad: Dual-app viewing mode, then J98/J99 ‘iPad Pros,’ multi-user support: In this story, we detail three major iPad-centric initiatives, including planned multi-user software support, a split-screen app viewing mode coming in iOS 9, and a pair of 12-inch iPads with enhanced industrial designs.

 iOS 9 & OS X 10.11 to bring ‘quality’ focus, smaller apps, Rootless security, legacy iPhone/iPad support: This extensive story reveals Apple’s plans for using its 2015 Mac and iOS updates as a time to introduce significant performance, optimization, and bug fix-based enhancements. Apple is also planning on supporting older iPhones and iPads, while boosting their performance simultaneously.

OS X

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– Apple plans to refresh iOS 9, OS X 10.11 using new Apple Watch font: This story details Apple’s plans to utilize a new typeface for OS X 10.11, taking a page out of the design language for the Apple Watch.

 iOS 9 & OS X 10.11 to bring ‘quality’ focus, smaller apps, Rootless security, legacy iPhone/iPad support: This extensive story reveals Apple’s plans for using its 2015 Mac and iOS updates as a time to introduce significant performance, optimization, and bug fix-based enhancements. We also share the first details about Apple’s upgraded Swift programming language and platform for developers. Apple is also planning to add some new features to the Mac, including a Control Center panel that swipes out from the left side of a Mac’s display.

Watch OS and Apple TV

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– Apple readies first significant Apple Watch updates, ’TVKit’ SDK for Apple TV: This story details the first significant updates coming to the Apple Watch, including upgrades for third-party complications and better Apple TV remote support. Speaking of the Apple TV, this article also details Apple’s plans for a new iOS-based Apple TV to debut at WWDC.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned next week as we’ll have many details on other major new features coming to iOS. As the early June Worldwide Developers Conference gets closer, we’ll publish a thorough roundup of everything to expect, so keep an eye out for that as well.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch, iOS, iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, IBooks, iOS, iPad, iPhone, IPod Touch, iTunes, OS X

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iOS 9 & OS X 10.11 to bring ‘quality’ focus, smaller apps, Rootless security, legacy iPhone/iPad support

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For the first time in several years, Apple is changing up its annual iOS and OS X upgrade cycle by limiting new feature additions in favor of a “big focus on quality,” according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s operating system development plans. We first reported in February that iOS 9, codenamed “Monarch,” would heavily feature under-the-hood optimizations, and we’ve now learned that Apple is taking the same approach with OS X 10.11, codenamed “Gala.” Sources have revealed additional new details on how Apple will optimize the new operating systems for improved stability and performance, add several new security features, and make important changes to its Swift programming tools for developers…

According to sources within Apple’s software development departments, Apple engineers have been pushing executives for a Snow Leopard-style stability focus in 2015, following numerous bugs that clouded the launches of both iOS and OS X. Apple directors reportedly opposed a complete pause on new features, but agreed to focus on quality assurance by holding back some features that were initially planned for the latest operating system launches. One source explained, “I wouldn’t say there’s nothing new for consumers, but the feature lists are more stripped down than the initial plans called for.”

New Features For iOS 9 and OS X 10.11

Apple’s broader and deeper quality assurance testing includes stricter stability and polish guarantees before new features are officially added to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. We reported that iOS 9 is expected to include the Apple Watch’s new San Francisco typeface as its system-wide font, while a new Home application for managing HomeKit devices, split-screen iPad app views, and an upgraded Apple Maps application with mass transit directions are also in the cards. As for OS X 10.11, we are told that Apple has realized that annually adding new features to the mature Mac operating system is more challenging than with iOS, so 10.11’s upgrade list may be slimmer than iOS 9’s.

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But that does not mean OS X 10.11 will be feature-less: we’re told that the new operating system will have system-wide interface tweaks to continue the work done in OS X Yosemite, as well as the San Francisco font from the Apple Watch and iOS 9. Additionally, Control Center has been planned for inclusion in OS X 10.11, after appearing in some early beta seeds of last year’s OS X Yosemite, only to be left out of the final release. Control Center moves many of the controls from the Mac’s Menu Bar to a pane that slides out from the left side of the Mac’s display, adding on-screen music controls and other iOS-influenced features. However, Control Center reportedly has been in flux during development, and could be pushed back again.

Security Upgrades – Rootless, iCloud Drive + Trusted Wi-Fi

Marquee features aside, Apple has been working on significant enhancements to the security fundamentals of both operating systems, ranging from a major new initiative called “Rootless,” re-architected Apple apps with iCloud Drive file encryption, and a new feature called “Trusted Wi-Fi.”

Rootless

Sources within Apple are particularly enthusiastic about a new security system called Rootless, which is being described internally as a “huge,” kernel-level feature for both OS X and iOS. To prevent malware, increase the safety of extensions, and preserve the security of sensitive data, Rootless will prevent even administrative-level users from being able to access certain protected files on Apple devices. Sources say that Rootless will be a heavy blow to the jailbreak community on iOS, though it can supposedly be disabled on OS X. Even with this Rootless feature coming to OS X, sources say that the standard Finder-based file system is not going away this year.

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iCloud Drive

In order to make its syncing apps more secure for consumers, Apple is in the process of converting many of its core applications to an iCloud Drive back end. Currently, Apple applications such as Notes, Reminders, and Calendar utilize an IMAP-based back end for syncing content across devices, whether you’re using an iCloud, Gmail, or Yahoo account.

With iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, Apple plans to transition this sync process to iCloud Drive, which offers better end-to-end encryption and faster syncing than traditional IMAP servers. As an example of how this will work, when a user launches Notes in either of the new Apple operating systems, a splash page offering to move content from the IMAP server over to iCloud Drive will appear, making the transition easy for users.

The promotion of iCloud Drive will also likely pull some users away from competitors, and move them over to Apple’s cloud services. According to sources, Apple is also upgrading its iCloud Drive and CloudKit servers to sustain the expected uptick in usage when more core applications move to a pure iCloud foundation. A dedicated iCloud Drive app to view files has also been developed, but it may remain for internal use only.

Trusted Wi-Fi

Last on the security front, we are told that a new feature dubbed “Trusted Wi-Fi” is in development for release as soon as later this year, but that it could be pushed back to next year’s iOS and OS X releases. Trusted Wi-Fi would allow Macs and iOS devices to connect to authorized wireless routers without additional security measures, but would instate a more heavily encrypted wireless connection for non-trusted routers. Apple has been testing its own apps and third-party apps to ensure that they will still work over various wireless networks with this feature enabled.

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Older Device Optimization – Good News for iPhone 4S + iPad mini

While some users of older iOS devices have speculated that Apple’s recent operating systems were built to encourage the purchase of new phones and tablets, the company has actually been working on ways to make legacy iPhones and iPads more efficient while running the upcoming iOS 9.

In what will come as a surprise to many people, our sources note that even A5-based Apple devices, including the original iPad mini and discontinued iPhone 4S, will be able to run iOS 9. In order to avoid the sluggishness and bugginess that was most notably seen in iOS 7 for the iPhone 4, Apple has restructured its software engineering process to better support older hardware.

Instead of developing a feature-complete version of iOS 9 for older hardware and then removing a handful of features that do not perform well during testing, Apple is now building a core version of iOS 9 that runs efficiently on older A5 devices, then enabling each properly performing feature one-by-one. Thanks to this new approach, an entire generation (or two) of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches will be iOS 9-compatible rather than reaching the end of the iOS line.

Chris Lattner, pioneer of Swift, demoing at WWDC 2014

Chris Lattner, pioneer of Swift, demoing at WWDC 2014

Swift 2.0 + Smaller App Sizes

Besides re-organizing its development process to improve older iOS hardware, Apple is preparing a major upgrade to its Swift programming language. Swift was first introduced at the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, and the new version will benefit both developers and users.

Since Swift is still evolving as a development language, Apple previously did not include Swift programming “code libraries” within iOS. For this reason, developers who choose to write App Store apps with Swift must include the code libraries inside each of their apps. Consequently, App Store applications written in Swift carry approximately 8MB of additional code, and the more Swift apps you have, the more storage space you lose to code library copies.

With iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, we are told that this will change: Swift is planned to reach what is known as “Application Binary Interface (ABI) stability,” and its code libraries will therefore be pre-installed within the new iOS and Mac operating systems. This means that Swift applications updated for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 will require less space and consume less data when downloaded over a cellular connection. Users with lower-capacity iPhones and iPads or non-unlimited cellular data plans will see at least small improvements over time.

While Swift is planned to reach ABI stability in version 2.0 at WWDC 2015, Apple will apparently not ship Swift versions of its own iOS and OS X applications this year. Instead, we are told that Apple currently plans to convert its own apps over to Swift in 2016 via iOS 10 and OS X 10.12, unless unforeseen roadblocks emerge over the next year.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: iCloud Drive, iOS 9, OS X 10.11, Rootless, Swift, Trusted Wi-Fi

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Future of iPad: Dual-app viewing mode, then J98/J99 ‘iPad Pros,’ multi-user support

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Facing slowing growth for the first time since the iPad’s 2010 debut, Apple is working on several significant software and hardware updates to reinvigorate the tablet over the next year. Apple is developing a dual-app viewing mode, 12-inch iPads codenamed “J98″ and “J99,” as well as support for multi-user logins, according to sources briefed on the plans. First planned for debut last year, the split-screen applications feature for the iPad could be introduced as soon as June at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, while multi-user login support and the 12-inch iPads will apparently arrive later…

Apple had originally intended to debut side-by-side app support with iOS 8 on the iPad Air in 2014, matching the cornerstone feature of Microsoft’s Surface and Surface Pro tablets. In the lead up to WWDC 2014, the feature was deemed too unpolished for public consumption and pulled from iOS 8.0, with tentative plans to appear in iOS 8.1. However, Apple reprioritized its software engineering resources to finish up the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch, opting to cut the split-screen app feature for the time being, and reassign the majority of the engineers who were working on it.

Sources now say that Apple plans to show off the side-by-side feature for iOS 9 using currently available iPad models. The latest plans suggest that the split-screen mode will support 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 views depending on the apps. When split, the screen can either display two different apps side-by-side, or multiple views of the same app. This would enable iPad users to see two separate Safari tabs, or compare a pair of Pages documents at the same time. Sources are quick to warn, however, that the feature could still be pulled before next month’s conference, as additional polish would be needed to bring it to the same level as other features that will be making their way into the first iOS 9 beta next month.

While Apple has tested the feature with plans to release it for current iPads, we are told that the feature was actually developed with a larger, 12-inch iPad in mind, so it could potentially be held back for a debut with the new hardware. Sources have confirmed that Apple is testing jumbo-sized iPads internally codenamed “J98″ and “J99,” which are apparently larger versions of the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2, save for additional speaker holes. Dubbed “iPad Pro” in prior reports, the larger device’s launch date is yet to be locked down, as the tablet is still waiting for its software to be finished up, and new hardware components to be readily available.

While current “iPad Pro” prototypes are said to run a version of iOS that looks like a larger variant of the iPad mini and iPad Air version, Apple’s goal is to further tweak iOS for the bigger iPad so users can better leverage the additional screen real estate. Besides split-screen apps, Apple is considering redesigning core apps and features, including Siri and Notification Center, to be better presented on the larger display. This new iPad is also rumored to have additional keyboard and USB support, and basic manufacturing schematics for the device leaked late last year.

Another significant iPad feature in the pipeline is support for multiple users, according to sources. This feature will allow several users to share an iPad, but have access solely to their own apps, documents, and media, like on a Mac. As of earlier this year, Apple had planned to ship multiple user support in iOS 9, but sources now indicate that the feature has been pushed back from its planned WWDC Keynote debut and is unlikely to be ready for iOS 9.0 this fall. However, the feature is still in simultaneous development with iOS 9 as Apple executives believe it to be critical to the enterprise and education sectors. Consequently, it could be released later this year as a .1 or .2 upgrade to iOS 9, alongside the “iPad Pro,” or next year.

For iOS 9, we have reported that Apple is planning transit directions support for Maps, a font change to the Apple Watch’s San Francisco typeface, and a new Home app to support HomeKit. We first reported in February that iOS 9 will also have a major focus on stability, optimization, and security fixes.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Display, iOS 10, iOS 8, iOS 9, iPad, ipad air, iPad mini, iPad Pro, Mac, Microsoft Surface, multi-user, Retina Dispay, Split View, split-screen, Two-Up

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