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‘Alfred Remote’ Turns iOS Devices Into Remote Controls for Macs [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
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Running with Crayons today announced Alfred Remote, an iOS app that turns an iPhone or iPad into a remote control for various tasks on a user’s Mac, from controlling a screensaver to launching apps (via The Verge).

Designed with parity of the Alfred app on the Mac App Store in mind, Alfred for iOS also allows users to expand into systemwide interactions with their desktop computers. Users with a Powerpack addition to their Alfred 2 experience, which costs about $25, can then use the Remote to control Powerpack-exclusive features via iOS.

These include iTunes playback, copying and pasting from iOS to OS X, running user-defined scripts, AppleScripts, and terminal commands, and creating and controlling custom Workflows for enhanced productivity. Normal features like opening websites and setting a screensaver are available to all users.

With a single touch on your iOS device, you can control many Alfred 2 actions on your Mac, including:
– Show Alfred 2 on your Mac
– System Commands: Lock, restart, shut down, log out or sleep your Mac, eject all devices, quit all apps and empty trash
– Launch Applications and System Preferences on your Mac
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Lockitron Introduces New $99 App-Enabled Smart Deadbolt Lock ‘Bolt’ [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
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Lockitron today announced a new product in its lineup of smart keyless home locking system devices, the $99 Bolt. Lockitron previously entered the market a few years back with the somewhat rocky launch of an earlier smartphone-enabled deadbolt lock, and the company is now shifting gears to focus on Bolt.

The basics of the device allow users with the free-to-download app to unlock and lock their home deadbolts via Bluetooth Low Energy, meaning a user must be near the lock to interact with it, but the lock will keep working in event of a power outage.

As reported by TechCrunch, Lockitron co-founder Cameron Robertson assures customers the company has learned a lot from the problems faced with its last product. The team simplified component costs by sourcing high quality parts elsewhere, and subsequently got both the lock’s price and size reduced.

Bolt is smaller, more elegant and more robust than the crowdfunded Lockitron. It has a better battery life, more fault tolerant embedded architecture and includes Lockitron’s most popular features like sharing access, activity logging and Sense. Most importantly, however, Lockitron Bolt has been designed with mass manufacturing in mind from day one.

The Continue Reading

Apple TV Updated with Sports Illustrated’s New 120 SPORTS Channel [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
120 Sports Apple TV

Apple has updated the Apple TV today with a new channel for Sports Illustrated’s 120 SPORTS network. 120 SPORTS was launched last year as a streaming platform for major sports networks, including the MLB, NHL, NBA, Nascar and leading college leagues. As of today, the channel provides sports fans with a collection of recent in-game highlights and replays from its partner leagues.

MacRumors can confirm that 120 SPORTS was added to the third-generation Apple TV, although it has yet to appear on the second-generation set-top box.

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The new channel arrives just a few weeks after the Apple TV was refreshed with Tennis Channel Everywhere, providing access to live court streaming and other on-demand coverage.

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Twitter Updating iOS App With Group Messaging and New Video Features [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
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Following a soft update that added a recap feature for top tweets last week, Twitter today announced a substantial feature update to its iOS and Android mobile apps that includes two new additions to the service: group messaging and “a new mobile video experience.”

Similar to the Direct Message feature, Group Messages will allow multiple users to converse privately amongst one another in a group chat room. Most notably, however, users won’t need to already follow one another to be able to begin and engage in a Group Message conversation.

Private conversations on Twitter are a great complement to the largely public experience on the platform. You might prefer to read (or watch) Tweets but converse about them privately. You might want to continue a public conversation privately with a smaller group, or start one based on a Tweet you saw. Many of you use Direct Messages to reach the people and brands you’re only connected to on Twitter. Whatever the case may be, the ability to converse privately with groups gives you more options for how and with whom you communicate on Twitter.

The new video camera allows Twitter users to capture up to thirty Continue Reading

Western Union Now Accepting Apple Pay in United States [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
Apple Pay Western Union

American payment services company Western Union announced on Tuesday that it now accepts Apple Pay as a way for customers to make money transfers and bill payments in the United States. iPhone users will be able to make NFC-based payments using their smartphones at Western Union’s flagship locations and at kiosks in over 7,600 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide.

Apple Pay support was launched at Western Union’s iconic 1440 Broadway store in New York City and will be rolled out to other agent locations in the near future. The company operates over 65,000 agent locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico, processing over 242 million consumer-to-consumer transactions and moving over $82 billion in principal between customers in 2013.

“Our customers have an expectation of using mobile technology to make money transfer service and product accessibility easier. Western Union is rising to the occasion as we harness our system with modifications to link cash and digital transfers between retail locations, mobile phones, prepaid cards, online and traditional bank accounts and ATMs,” said David Thompson, Executive Vice President, Global Operations and Technology and Chief Information Officer.

USA Technologies, a provider of mobile payment technologies for small-ticket, self-serve retailing industries, Continue Reading

Foxconn to Cut Workforce as Apple Expected to Announce Record-Breaking iPhone Sales [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
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Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s main assembly partner for iPhones, today announced (via Reuters) major plans to reduce its workforce due to “declining revenue growth and rising wages in China.” The announcement comes mere hours before Apple’s financial earnings announcement for the first fiscal quarter of 2015, in which the company is expected to announce record iPhone sales.

The company doubled its labor costs in recent years following a few public scandals involving worker suicides and poor working conditions, while revenue growth has slowed. After a decade of steady increases following the explosion of popularity for smartphones and tablet devices, mostly thanks to the manufacturing of Apple products, Foxconn hasn’t faced the issue of diminishing returns until now.

“We’ve basically stabilized (our workforce) in the last three years,” Woo said. When asked if the company plans to reduce overall headcount, he responded “yes”.

Revenue growth at the conglomerate tumbled to 1.3 percent in 2013 and only partially recovered to 6.5 percent last year after a long string of double-digit increases from 2003 to 2012.

Today’s news comes on the heels of reports indicating Apple likely sold more iPhones in China than the U.S. in the Continue Reading

Apple Patents Snap-On Game Controller And Keyboard Accessories For iPhone

Posted by | January 27, 2015.
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Apple has a new patent (via AppleInsider) that covers modular accessories for mobile devices like the iPhone, which include a physical gamepad with action buttons, D-pads and analog joysticks; a QWERTY hardware keyboard for typing; additional camera, speaker and microphone units; and even a full, secondary multitouch input like a trackpad. The accessories in the patent are described as… Read More
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iCloud.com Photos App Gains New Zoom, Email Features

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
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Apple’s , Apple’s web-based Photos app has also gained a new feature that allows users to send photos via email directly from the website, making sharing photos easier than ever before.

The addition of new zoom and email features follows a major November update to the iCloud.com Photos app, which began allowing users to upload photos to iCloud for the first time. Before the addition of the uploading tool, the standard iCloud.com site only allowed users to view, download, and delete iCloud Photo Library images.

With the uploading tool and new sharing features, iCloud is slowly becoming a viable and useful storage option for users who wish to upload and manage entire photo libraries. Still in beta, iCloud Photo Library was initially introduced alongside iOS 8.1, letting users sync and access all of their photos on all of their iOS devices and Macs via the web.

Apple is working on a Photos app for the Mac, which will work alongside both the Photos app on iOS and the iCloud.com Photos app on the web. Photos, which will replace both Apple’s iPhoto app and Aperture, is supposed to be launching in the early months of 2015. There’s Continue Reading

‘Bowling Central’ Expands Wii-Style Gaming on Apple TV [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 26, 2015.

Back in 2013, Rolocule debuted Motion Tennis, an iPhone game that brought Wii-style gaming to the Apple TV via AirPlay. Using AirPlay Mirroring, users could display the game on an Apple TV while using an iPhone as a tennis racket. The setup drew natural comparisons to Nintendo’s Wii Sports, with the iPhone playing the role of the Wii Remote.

Motion Tennis wasn’t perfect, as it did suffer from minor lag and there were naturally concerns about users accidentally throwing their iPhones across the room or into their televisions, but it did serve as an interesting glimpse of both the potential of AirPlay and the possibilities for Apple TV gaming.

Rolocule is now back with an addition to its sports-themed Apple TV games, earlier this month debuting Bowling Central. The game itself is fairly simple, allowing users to bowl a classic game of 3, 6, or 10 frames, or take on a challenge mode that currently offers 30 stages with various stationary and/or moving blockers in the way of the pins.

Bowling Central is by no means the first bowling game for iOS, nor even necessarily the best or most realistic, but once again the selling point is Continue Reading

Apple to Shut Down Old TestFlight Beta Testing Website in February [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
TestFlight iTunes Connect

Apple today began notifying developers about the upcoming closure of the old TestFlight beta testing service accessible through TestFlightApp.com, reports The Next Web. The impending February 26 shutdown of the standalone website arrives nearly one year after Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight through its purchase of Burstly and subsequent integration of the service into iTunes Connect.

TestFlight on iTunes Connect and the legacy website were operated as independent services over the past year, enabling developers to test significant changes to their apps. Apple now encourages TestFlightApp users to export current testers so that they can be imported to the iTunes Connect version, and has posted a help document to help developers transition between the services. The new version of TestFlight is available for iOS 8 and later.

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Point-of-Sale Suppliers See Massive Increase in Retailer Interest Following Apple Pay Launch [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
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A new report by The Wall Street Journal looks at the early performance of Apple’s new electronic payments service, Apple Pay, finding strong signs of momentum behind the service. One of the key signs of interest in mobile payments comes from point-of-sales system suppliers seeing drastic increases in retailer interest following the launch of Apple Pay last October.

Harbortouch has offered free wireless readers to its retailer clients since 2012, and in the month following the Apple Pay launch 68 percent of client orders asked for the readers supporting wireless payments. As of August of 2013, only 22 percent of its clients had installed such readers in their stores.

“It’s like night and day,” said Brendan Lauber, Harbortouch’s chief technology officer. “Now, merchants are actively coming to us and asking how to support this.”

The Wall Street Journal piece also covers the general surge in public acceptance for the service, remarking on recent stories that Apple Pay now supports cards representing about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States, and that Apple’s upcoming financial reports for the latest quarter may provide more details.

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OS X 10.10.2 Includes Fix for ‘Thunderstrike’ Hardware Exploit Affecting Macs

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
macbook_air_pro_yosemite

Apple is readying a fix in OS X 10.10.2 for the so-called “Thunderstrike” hardware exploit targeting Macs equipped with Thunderbolt ports, , the latest OS X Yosemite release will also add iCloud Drive in Time Machine and resolve issues related to Wi-Fi, VoiceOver and security. In particular, a recently identified glitch causing Spotlight on OS X to expose system information to spammers through remote content loading will reportedly be patched. Safari will also gain improved performance and security.

No public instances of Thunderstrike attacks have yet to be reported.

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Rumored ‘iPad Pro’ and Companion Stylus Imagined in New Renderings

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
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Following an influx of rumors surrounding the “iPad Pro” and a possible stylus accessory launching around the same time, well-known 3D modeler and designer Martin Hajek has created a series of concept renderings for each device on his blog.

Hajek’s models include several details rumored for the iPad Pro, which has been claimed to carry a 12.212.9 inch display and fall in line with the rounded design of the current iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The renderings are based on some design drawings that surfaced last November, with Hajek noting the design brings back the larger bezels seen in earlier-generation iPads. Consistent with the schematics and other rumors, he also places speakers on the top and bottom and edges of the device, allowing for stereo sound when used in landscape orientation.

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Otherwise, the iPad Pro sticks by most of the current-generation standbys, including volume rockers on the right side of the device, a lock button on the top right, a Lightning charger on its bottom center, and a Touch ID capacitive home button sitting in its normal central position.

Beyond the iPad Pro Continue Reading

Apple’s AuthenTec Acquisition Left Nexus 6 Without a Fingerprint Sensor

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
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The dimple on the back of Motorola’s Nexus 6 would have featured a Touch ID-like fingerprint sensor if Apple had not acquired sensor firm AuthenTec in 2012, according to former Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Woodside states the company had plans to include the finger-sensing feature in the Nexus 6, which was launched late last year, but due to Apple’s poaching of “the best supplier” for the technology and other suppliers not meeting quality expectations, Motorola decided to remove the feature before launch.

“The secret behind that is that it was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier. So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren’t there yet,” says Woodside. Nonetheless, he adds, the addition of fingerprint recognition, “wouldn’t have made that big a difference.”

Woodside, now CEO of Dropbox, expresses relief at freedom from these “uncontrollable market forces” in his new position. “We’re not trying to serve ads or sell hardware,” he told The Telegraph.

Apple’s introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s sparked much interest in fingerprint-sensing technology, and the company Continue Reading

Apple Likely Sold More iPhones in China Than in the U.S. Last Quarter [iOS Blog]

Posted by | January 26, 2015.
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A day before the company is set to announce earnings for its first fiscal quarter of 2015, Financial Times highlights a recent report suggesting Apple may report it sold more iPhones in China than in the U.S. for the first time ever.

According to analysts from financial firm UBS, China accounted for 36 percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared to 24 percent for the U.S. The analysts also compared the numbers to 2013, noting that a year before China accounted for only 22 percent of shipments with the U.S. at 29 percent.

Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin concurs with the UBS report, believing around 2 million more iPhones were sold in China than in the U.S. during the quarter. With the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, he also believes it’s just the beginning of the country’s fiscal dominance over Apple sales.

“It’s already been a good year, building up to the climax of this quarter,” said Bajarin, referring to Apple’s momentum in the world’s largest smartphone market. “It leads to a lot more optimism for China . . . Their potential headroom in China is higher than it is here [in the US].

They will Continue Reading

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