Author Archives: Mark Gurman

Apple developing iOS 8.1, 8.2, & 8.3 in shift for 2015 launches

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Starting with iOS 5 in 2011, Apple has released a major new iOS version each fall and a notable follow-up update early in the following year. For example, iOS 6 launched in September 2012 and was updated to iOS 6.1 in January, and iOS 7, which was launched in September 2013, was updated to iOS 7.1 with CarPlay and interface improvements in March 2014. But starting with the recently released iOS 8, it appears that Apple has a different development schedule for 2015 and perhaps beyond. According to sources, Apple is already hard at work on three major follow-up versions to iOS 8: iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3.

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We’ve confirmed that these major new versions are in development via two means. First, a developer of a major hardware-connected iOS application has shared with us their analytics, and this data indicates that all three versions are in testing by Apple employees in or around Cupertino, California. Second, and much closer to home, our own Google Analytics for 9to5Mac.com show that iOS users are visiting our website via iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3 devices. iOS 8.1 hits to 9to5Mac.com started appearing even months before iOS 8.0 launched, but 8.2 and 8.3 visits only started picking up following iOS 8’s release in mid-September.

8.3 9to5iOS 8.3 visits to 9to5Mac

While Apple works on several iOS features and enhancements over the course of several years, it typically only begins wholly testing major new releases close to the ship dates of the preceding release. Apple working on three significant follow-ups to iOS 8 is a shift from the usual development cycle, one which would normally indicate Apple to be working on just iOS 8.1 as well as iOS 9.0. It’s possible that iOS 9 is also in the works, and of course Apple is always working on nominal bug fix (x.x.1 or .2 or .3) updates, but the fact that 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 are all in simultaneous development raises some interesting possibilities:

The first possibility is that Apple is moving away from annual iOS releases in the fall that are tied to hardware. Right now, Apple releases hardware updates to its two most critical lines in the fall alongside new iOS versions: the iPhone and the iPad. While connecting the new hardware to major annual software releases is a prime marketing tactic for Apple and ensures that the latest hardware and software are well integrated, problems do occur. For example, while the hardware of the past few iPhone models (the iPhone 5, 5s, and 6/6 Plus) has clearly been ready for launch, the corresponding software releases have been buggy.

iOS 6’s inclusion of the faulty Apple Maps app left a sore in an otherwise successful iPhone 5 debut, iOS 7’s new design and feature-set remained unpolished for nearly six months following the launch of the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6’s launch was met with a buggy iOS 8 that included a nonfunctional HealthKit app and a botched iOS 8.0.1 update. Perhaps Apple has realized that releasing major new versions in the fall tied specifically to hardware has more cons than pros, and perhaps Apple is readying these later 8.2 and 8.3 updates as more minor releases for the 2015 iPhone and iPad models. Perhaps one of the updates is even a forked version specific to the upcoming 13-inch iPad.

Another possibility is the exact opposite: perhaps Apple is simply speeding up its iOS development process. Maybe Apple is still planning to launch iOS 9.0 around September or October 2015 alongside new hardware, and the company also plans to release significant iOS 8 feature updates throughout the first three quarters of 2015.

Our sources indicated early this year that Apple has been planning to include significant Maps improvements with iOS 8, but that the feature was pushed back due to bugs and internal conflicts. Apple has also been working on a new iPad split-screen mode for a version of iOS 8. Additionally, Apple is readying an iOS update to activate the NFC-based Apple Pay service and the company will need to release an iOS update in early 2015 to make iPhones play nicely with the upcoming Apple Watch. Perhaps those aforementioned upcoming features will be staggered across 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 across this fall and next year.

A final possibility is that Apple could be moving its iOS naming convention to an iOS 8.x system, much like the Mac operating system is marketed as OS X 10.x. It could be confusing to Apple users in a couple of years from now when iOS X/10 and OS X will co-exist. Perhaps the 8 will be to iOS what the 10 is to the Mac OS, and we’ll be living several years into the future with iOS 8.x releases. That last piece of speculation, however, seems far less likely than iOS 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 accounting for significant hardware-tied features coming across 2015.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, Apple pay, Apple watch, craig federighi, Hardware, iOS, iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, iOS 8.3, iOS 9, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mac, maps, NFC, OS X, split-screen, Transit

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Apple’s new icons for Yosemite’s Mac App Store

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Apple made a minor over-the-air change to the Mac App Store today on OS X Yosemite. The company updated the icons to be more in line with the new design aesthetic. The top bar is the new version, while the bottom is the old one that can still be seen on OS X Mavericks. The new icons also better match up with those on the iOS version. Apple will launch Yosemite next month for free. 

 

 


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, iOS, Mac App Store, OS X, Preview (Mac OS), Software release life cycle, yosemite, Yosemite National Park

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iOS 8’s Notification Center gets a new useful widget: ESPN SportsCenter

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The official ESPN SportsCenter app has been updated with support for an iOS 8 Notification Center widget, and it seems awesome thus far. The widget allows you to get quick access to scores from your favorite team (go Lakers) and provides access to ESPN’s radio stations. The update is free on the App Store.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, ESPN SportsCenter, iOS, iPad, iPhone, New York Times, Notification Center, SportsCenter

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Uber app updated with iPhone 6/6 Plus support

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If you’re an iPhone 6 user running the botched iOS 8.0.1 update and can’t make a phone call to ask for a ride, Uber has some great news for you today. The company has updated its iOS application with full optimization for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens. The update does not add much else today, but expect an update in the near-future with support for the upcoming Apple Pay payment service.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Android, app, Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPhone 6, OnePlus One, Uber

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Tim Cook: ‘This month has been one for the record books’, employees get Thanksgiving week off

Tim Cook Apple Store iPhone 6

This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to all employees to recognize Apple’s September accomplishments and the products still in the pipeline. Cook also announced that Apple employees will receive extended vacation time for the November Thanksgiving holiday, which is an offer that Cook has extended in previous years. “This month has been one for the record books,” Cook wrote in the email, highlighting the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iOS 8, Apple Pay, and the preview of the Apple Watch.

“Each of these introductions represents years of innovation and hard work by teams all across Apple,” according to Cook. “Many of you have put the best work of your lives into these amazing new products, which bring together world-class hardware, software and services in the way only Apple can,” he added. Cook also acknowledged the teams working on Apple’s efforts in user privacy, the environment, climate change, and improving educational materials and services for students.

With all that in mind, Cook tells employees that “without you, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Our people are the soul of our company, and we all need time to refresh and renew.” So, he’s “happy to announce that [Apple is] extending the Thanksgiving holiday this year. [Apple] will shut down with pay on November 24, 25 and 26 so our teams can enjoy the whole week off.” Of course, while many Cupertino-based employees will get the week off, retail and AppleCare assets will need to be on call. So, those teams will get the same days off at a later point.

The full email from Cook to employees is available to read below:

Team,

This month has been one for the record books.

Just two weeks ago, we launched the biggest advancements in iPhone history with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which our customers absolutely love. We introduced Apple Pay, a new service which will make mobile payments easier, more secure and more private. And we previewed the next chapter in Apple’s story with Apple Watch, our most personal device ever and one which has already captured the world’s imagination.

Our customers are enjoying new ways to use their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 8’s intuitive new features, and the ground-breaking security of iOS 8 has demonstrated our strong commitment to protecting users’ privacy. Coming up this fall is OS X Yosemite, with continuity features that deliver an even more fluid experience across all our iOS devices and Macs.

Each of these introductions represents years of innovation and hard work by teams all across Apple. Many of you have put the best work of your lives into these amazing new products, which bring together world-class hardware, software and services in the way only Apple can. This is what we do best, and the result transforms people’s lives. It’s simply inspiring.

I am also incredibly inspired and proud of all of our work to protect the environment, advance human rights, and change the way teachers teach and students learn.

Without you, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Our people are the soul of our company, and we all need time to refresh and renew. To provide that time, and to recognize all of these achievements — as well as your boundless talent and dedication — I’m happy to announce that we’re extending the Thanksgiving holiday this year. We will shut down with pay on November 24, 25 and 26 so our teams can enjoy the whole week off.

Retail, AppleCare, and several other teams will continue to serve our customers over those days, but will receive the same amount of time off at a date that’s best for them. Please check with your manager for details. International teams will schedule vacation days when appropriate for their country.

Enjoy the extra time off with your families and loved ones. You’ve earned it!

Tim


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Apple reportedly acquired iPad magazine creation software PRSS this year

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Add another startup to the list of those under Apple’s wings: PRSS. The company launched in 2012 and gained coverage in 2013 as a simple tool for creating magazine apps for the iPad and Android tablets. TNW explains the startup well in a 2013 article:

Prss, launching today at The Next Web Conference USA, is a Web app that allows users to create beautiful magazines via a drag-and-drop interface and then publish them to Newsstand. Up to 30 people can collaborate on any magazine in a similar fashion to a Google Doc, and users can create as many magazines as they like. Prss (pronounced ‘press’) is free to use, with the startup charging a very competitive 5 US cents per magazine download. Once your magazine is tweaked to your satisfaction, it can be uploaded to your native iOS Prss magazine app, which you can brand and customize as you like. Unlike many other magazine creation solutions for the iPad, it’s easy and quick to push updates to your publications (for example, if you spot a typo). This is because rather than generating large image files for each magazine, PRSS builds pages dynamically, in a similar way to how Web pages are constructed of separate element and assembled on the fly.

Essentially, this is a web-based version of iBooks Author that is oriented toward magazines. It’s no secret that Apple’s Newsstand platform, originally launched in 2011 with iOS 5, has not taken off to Apple’s largest ambitions. While the money piece may be one side of the issue, another could be the ease of use for creating iPad-optimized titles.

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Apple nor PRSS have confirmed the acquisition, but Netherlands-based Apple blog iCulture says it confirmed the acquisition. The report claims that several employees from PRSS now work at Apple. We’ve also noticed that the startup’s website has been completely shut down. In July, the company announced it is shutting down its service, so it’s likely that the Apple deal occurred in the early summer of this year.

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