iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
PayPal today said it will sunset its Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon Fire Phone apps on June 30. After that date, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Fire Phone users will not be able to login to or use the Paypal mobile app. PayPay says these users will be able to sign in to PayPal.com via the browser of their device and conduct transactions online. PayPal further said all Android and iOS users of its mobile app need to upgrade to version 6.0 between June 3 and June 30. Version 6.0 of the PayPal mobile app has a fresh design. PayPal said it gave more prominent placement to features its customers use most, such as send and request money, PayPal balance, and transaction history. PayPal is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Google today said it plans to place advertisements in Google Maps on mobile devices. The change is meant to help Google's business customers promote their own businesses to people who search through Google Maps. Google says advertisers can take advantage of location extensions to showcase their locations on maps as promoted pins. Google is experimenting with a variety of ad formats, and will relaunch local business pages so they are more appealing and include special offers and the ability to browse product inventory at any given store. The introduction of advertising will come to both the Android and iOS versions of Maps, but Google didn't say exactly when. The new advertising push is part of Google's attempt top shore up its core business.
Pebble today announced the Pebble 2 and Time 2 smartwatches, as well as the Core connected button. The two wearables target fitness users and include heart rate monitors for tracking workouts and monitoring sleep. Pebble recently updated its health tools, and the Pebble 2 and Time 2 are able to take advantage of the upgraded software. Both devices serve notifications, show the owner's schedule, control music, run some 13,000 apps, and perform simple tasks. Each has an e-paper display and is water resistant down to 30 meters. The Pebble 2 can run for seven days and costs $99, while the Time 2 can run for 10 days and costs $169. They work with Android an iOS smartphones. The Core is a 3G-enabled fob that Pebble says acts as a smartphone when on the go. The device has two buttons that can be programmed to do anything, such as start/stop streaming Spotify playlists. The Core has Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS radios, and can act as a relay to the internet for Pebble smartwatches. It can be paired with Bluetooth headsets and accept voice commands, serve as a hotspot, and sync with select fitness apps. The Core costs $99. All three devices are available for pre-order via Kickstarter. The Pebble 2 ships in September, the Time 2 ships in November, and the Core ships in early 2017.
Google offered a few details on what the future holds for Android Auto. The platform will be expanded thanks to Android N. To start, Android Auto will soon be available to Android devices — sans car. The phone-based app will be updated with the same user interface and functionality found on the in-dash experience, allowing people who drive older cars to enjoy the benefits of Android Auto even if their car doesn't support it. Some of the tools included are voice-enabled calling, media payback, messaging, and navigation. Android N brings support for AM/FM radios, HVAC controls, Bluetooth calling/media streaming, multi-channel audio, and digital instrument clusters. Google says more carmakers are selecting Android Auto as the base for their in-car systems. Moreover, Android Auto will soon gain connectivity independent of a phone thanks to Qualcomm's modular Snapdragon 820 Automotive Platform. The Android Auto platform will soon add Waze, hotwording, and support for apps and services directly from carmakers, including Honda and Hyundai.
Google today delivered a small update to the YouTube app for iOS devices. Specifically, the refreshed app adds support for Google Cardboard content. This means iPhone owners can use a Google Cardboard headset to view virtual reality content on YouTube. The update also resolves a bug resolving watch counts. YouTube for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 9.3.2 available to iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The update mainly addresses bugs. For example, it resolves an issue that impacted Bluetooth audio quality on the iPhone SE. It also fixes a problem that prevented people from searching through the dictionary. The update adds one new function, allowing people to use Night Shift and Low Power Mode at the same time. iOS 9.3.2 is free to download and install over the air.
Google today introduced a new app called Spaces, which is meant to facilitate group conversations around specific subjects. Google imagines the app could be helpful to book clubs, or to people planning trips, and so on. Chrome, YouTube, and Search are built into Spaces, so finding and adding content to conversation threads is a cinch. Google says threads are easy to follow, and because they are searchable it is easy to go back and find previous discussions, comments, or content. Spaces can be created with a single tap, and invitations can be sent via email, social network, or messaging. Google Spaces is available to all Gmail accounts today online, and for Android and iOS devices. The service is free to use.
Google and Microsoft have fielded new keyboard apps — GBoard and Word Flow, respectively — for the Apple iPhone. GBoard includes search tools, while Word Flow lets you create your own themes. Here is a quick rundown on these alternative keyboard apps for iOS users.
Google today said it is making Google Photos more social for both Android and iOS devices. The latest version of the app adds commenting and smart suggestions to shared albums. People who join shared albums can comment on the photos therein, as well as comment the larger album as a whole. Comment threads can be created directly from the mobile app. Moreover, Photos now suggests which photos in users' libraries will fit with the images inside shared albums. Users will still have full control over what images are actually shared with others, but Photos will make selecting the right photos easier. These new features are rolling out now to Android, iOS, and the web. Google Photos is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Microsoft plans to discontinue the Sunrise calendar application it offers to the Android and iOS platforms. Microsoft acquired the team behind Sunrise last year. Sunrise will be removed from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store within a few days and will cease working entirely on August 31. The Sunrise team is now working to bring Sunrise's best features to the Outlook email/calendar app for Android and iOS.
Google has updated its Google Translate app for Android and iOS mobile devices with a handful of new features. A tool called Tap to Translate in the Android app makes it simpler to translate text on the go. Google says users can copy text in any app and view the translation in a pop-up box that appears without forcing users to switch apps. Google Translate for iOS now works offline thanks to the addition of offline mode. iOS Translate users will need to download language packs in order to see translations when offline. Google said it reduced the size of language packs by 90% to about 25MB each. Last, both the Android and iOS versions of Google Translate can now instantly translate Chinese via the Word Lens function. Word Lens makes use of the camera, which people aim at text (menus, signs) they want to see translated. Chinese is the 29th language added to Word Lens. Google Translate for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
Instagram today revealed a new look for its Android and iOS mobile apps. The updated appearance includes new app icons for the main Instagram app, as well as Instagram's ancillary apps, Layout, Boomerang, and Hyperlapse. Inside the app, Instagram toned down the chrome and adopted a black and white design. Instagram has been testing the new design for several weeks. "The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app," explained Instagram in a blog post. The updated series of apps are free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Pebble today improved its smartwatch platform with more health and fitness features. The expanded toolset is being made available through a firmware update for the Pebble Time-series watches as well as the accompanying Pebble app for Android and iOS smartphones. Pebble firmware version 3.12 lets Time watch owners see interactive charts of their step and sleep activity in a new Health section on the watch itself. Pebble Health can automatically detect runs or long walks, and develop notifications and timeline pins once the activity is completed. The new firmware adds a Smart Alarm, which Pebble says wakes people up when it detects light sleep patterns within 30 minutes of the alarm's scheduled time. These same features and tools have been added to the Android and iOS Pebble apps. The iPhone Pebble app also installs the ability for Pebble owners to send text replies to incoming messages or missed calls (this feature is already available to Android-based Pebble owners). The Pebble mobile app version 3.12 is available for free from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Google has updated its Google News product across all platforms with improved visibility of locally-sourced stories. The local source tag in Google News highlights local news outlets that have covered large, national news stories. Part of the idea behind tagging such stories is to provide more credit to local news teams that may have uncovered or broken stories that are later picked up by larger media outlets. Google says local stories will be visible in the expanded story box online, and in the Android and iOS Google News & Weather apps. Google News is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Opera Software today launched a free VPN for iOS devices that allows iPhone and iPad owners to browse the web more securely and access what might be prohibited content when using managed networks. The VPN removes ad trackers for privacy purposes and supports virtual locations (U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands), which should let people get around some region-based restrictions. The VPN supports a handful of languages, including English, Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Opera imagines the VPN will be useful to students and office workers who are restricted from accessing social networks or other types of web sites when using campus or office WiFi. Opera VPN can be downloaded directly from Opera's web site.
Apple today said it has partnered with SAP to help developers create better business apps for the iPhone and iPad. The idea is to combine the tools offered by Apple and SAP so developers can create native iOS apps that are able to reach into SAP's business intelligence systems. "Millions of SAP users will have access to critical data with more ease, speed, and efficiency than ever before," explained Apple. The companies are preparing a new SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK that will give businesses the ability to quickly and efficiently build their own iOS apps for the iPhone and iPad based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Apple believe this new partnership with SAP will help it win over more business customers and convince them to adopt the iPhone or the iPad.
Netflix has given users of its Android and iOS mobile apps control over how much cellular data the apps use. Netflix subscribers can opt to stream video only over WiFi, or at varying degrees of quality to limit data consumption. For example, the "low" setting says it offers about 4 hours of viewing per 1 GB of mobile data, while the "medium" setting cuts that to 2 hours of viewing, and the "high" setting cuts that further to 1 hour of viewing per 1 GB. An unlimited options is available, too, but Netflix strongly recommends subscribers select that option only if they're on unlimited data plans. By default, the app is set to "auto," which delivers around 3 hours of viewing per 1 GB. Netflix recently came under fire after AT&T and Verizon discovered the service was throttling the speeds of its customers, and not the customers of Sprint and T-Mobile. Netflix is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, but the service costs $10 per month and up.
Google today announced an update for its Slides presentation tool that adds the ability for presenters to easily field questions from attendees/viewers. Slides now include a link within presentations that viewers can click on to submit questions for the presenter. All viewers can see and vote on the submitted questions to help the presenter prioritize which to answer. Viewers can submit questions anonymously, or with their names attached. Slides also now allows people to present slides through a Hangout from an iPhone or iPad, or push the presentation to nearby screens using Chromecast or AirPlay. Last, the web version of Slides gains a new laser pointer. Slides for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
Spotify has refreshed the user interface of its iPhone app in an update rolling out today. Notably, the new UI ditches the "hamburger menu" tool that adorned the left side of the screen to call up options. Spotify for iOS now uses a navigation bar positioned at the bottom of the screen that contains the same options (home, browse, search, radio, and your library). Spotify says it tested the revised navigation tool and found an uptick in usage and satisfaction among subscribers. The new Spotify app is available from iTunes beginning today in U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, and Sweden. Spotify said it will expand the UI change to other regions — and the Android app — over time.
Twitter today announced a new tool meant to make it easier to find new people and accounts to follow. The "connect" tab will appear on Twitter for the web, and in the Android and iOS mobile apps beginning today, where Twitter will curate a list of accounts it believe users might like to follow. Twitter says it makes recommendations based on who users already follow, which tweets they like, global events, and what's popular nearby. Twitter says it will refine its recommendations over time. The connect tab also integrates with the user's address book, making it simple to follow contacts en masse. Twitter says the connect tab is rolling out for all users. Twitter is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Periscope users can now sketch on the screen during live broadcasts. Periscope added the feature in a recent update to the app, which it says "provides a new way to express yourself while broadcasting." The tool, which requires a long-press to access, lets users draw in red, green, or blue, or use a dropper to sample a color from the video. Sketching is limited to the iOS version of Periscope for now. Twitter, Periscope's parent company, didn't say if or when the feature might be carried over to the Android app. Periscope is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
YouTube is pushing out a new version of its mobile app to Android and iOS devices with changes to the home screen. The home section of the app offers more relevant personalized recommendations, says Google, that are generated by neural network technology. The computer-assisted curation can detect patterns in users' watching behaviors to learn and improve as it goes. Google says it focused on how its system recommends recently-posted videos from users' favorite content creators. In tests, Google claims people who've taken the new recommendation system for a spin have spent more time watching the latest videos. YouTube is also preparing to roll 6-second ads that cannot be skipped ahead of all videos, particularly those viewed from mobile devices. The refreshed YouTube app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Microsoft has begun inviting people who registered to test its Word Flow keyboard to download the app from the iTunes App Store. Microsoft had been testing the alternate keyboard in a closed beta, but started accepting signups earlier this month. One the iPhone, Word Flow will support custom backgrounds, one-handed typing, and swiping gestures to spell words. The keyboard was developed by Microsoft's Garage unit, which heads up projects for Android and iOS. Word Flow for the iPhone only supports English at launch. It is free to download and use.
Snapchat has updated its iOS application and given it the popular face-swapping feature that's already available to the Android app. SnapChat says iOS users can face swap with a photo from their phone's camera roll. Snapchat for iOS also allows users to replay any snap once for free. Snapchat is free to download from iTunes.
Google today updated its Inbox service with features that should help people keep track of events, newsletters, and web links with less fuss. Google says Inbox will now cluster emails regarding a single event together and always display the most up-to-date information in an easy-to-glance format. Inbox has improved how it handles newsletters by prioritizing those most often read by the user. It will minimize newsletters once they're read to save space. The new "save to Inbox" tool is meant to help people save web links for later. The most recent version of Inbox for Android and iOS includes the link saving tool in the sharing menu and should negate the need for people to send themselves emails with web links. Inbox will group saved links together to make them easier to find. Inbox, an alternate email app for Gmail, is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Microsoft is one step closer to releasing its Word Flow keyboard to the iPhone. The company is testing the keyboard in a closed beta, but is now allowing consumers to request invitations. Microsoft first announced plans to release the keyboard back in January. One the iPhone, it will support custom backgrounds, one-handed typing, and swiping gestures to spell words. The keyboard is being developed by Microsoft's Garage than, which heads up projects for Android and iOS. Microsoft didn't say when invitations for the keyboard will go out.
Instagram today said it plans to roll out a new way for people to discover video. Its Android and iOS mobile apps will soon feature a personalized channel called Videos You Might Like. The channel, located in the Explore section of the app, contains a series of videos from around the world that Instagram believes will match user interests. Instagram will also package together featured channels that center on specific topics or subjects. Instagram says the Videos You Might Like tool will improve with use, as the app's algorithms learn what the user likes and doesn't like. People will be able to signal which types of posts they'd prefer to see less of. Instagram says the explorational video channels are launching in the U.S. first, with other regions to follow. Instagram for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store. Instagram recently increased the length of videos people are allowed to share from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. The social network says video accounts for a growing percentage of shared content.
Snapchat updated its Android and iOS apps today with animated emoji stickers. The stickers can be used on videos and will remain attached to whatever subject they are pinned to. That means the stickers will move if the subject moves. Snapchat is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Vine today provided an update to its Android and iOS apps, making it easier to view videos. The app has added a Watch button that, when pressed, will play all the videos in a given channel without stopping. Previously, users had to scroll through the videos manually. People can press and hold any given Vine to watch it loop before resuming the feed. The revised app also lets people sort through likes and comments, and makes speed and performance improvements throughout. Vine is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Google has updated its Calendar app for Android and iOS devices with the ability to schedule time for personal goals. Goals are activity based, such as working out or playing an instrument. Google Calendar users can choose an activity, answer several questions about it, and Calendar will find time for it in the user's schedule. Calendar can automatically reschedule goals when something more important comes up, and will learn over time as users defer goals and complete them. Google Calendar is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Facebook today announced the Facebook Live API, a tool developers can use to enable Facebook Live videos from cameras beyond those within smartphones. Facebook users are already able to stream video live directly from their device. Facebook wants to expand live video to more devices. During its F8 developer conference, Facebook demonstrated the power of the Live API by streaming video from a hovering DJI drone. It will be up to camera and app developers to expand live video through use of the Live API, which is available beginning today. Live video is now showcased in a new version of the Facebook mobile app for Android and iOS devices, which places the live content in a separate tab.
Dropbox has integrated its own service into Facebook's Messenger app, allowing people to share files from Dropbox to friends and family through Messenger. The integration requires senders to have both the Dropbox and Messenger apps installed on their phone. Dropbox says shared images, videos, and GIFs will appear directly in message threads. Recipients will need to click a link to Dropbox's mobile site to access other types of files. Dropbox is available within Facebook for both Android and iOS.
Microsoft's Garage team has made a productivity-minded keyboard available to Apple's iOS devices. The keyboard, says Microsoft, works in tandem with an Office 365 account for tapping into OneDrive, Office, and other Microsoft account information. Microsoft suggests users toggle between the standard iOS keyboard and Hub Keyboard when needed, using Hub to grab and share URLs of Office documents or contact details from the phone or associated Office 365 account. It also has an enhanced copy-paste function for doing text between apps, documents, and files. The Hub Keyboard is first available in English for the U.S. and will expand to more languages and countries over time. Microsoft's Garage team focuses on creating apps for Android and iOS devices. It released Hub to the Android platform in February. The app is free to download.
Microsoft today said an update to Outlook for Android and iOS will allow users to add calendars from Facebook, Evernote, and Wunderlist. The integration supports events, notes, and reminders. Individual calendars can be color-coded for easy visibility. The features comes from the Sunrise email service, which Microsoft purchased last year. Microsoft believes integrating more calendars with Outlook will help people better plan their work and personal lives. Outlook for Android and iOS are free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
Facebook today significantly expanded the capabilities of its Live Video feature by adding more ways to connect and share with viewers. First, users can now broadcast live video to small groups or schedule live video events in advance. Live video also gains reactions, replayable comments, and filters. The reactions work similar to those on Periscope, which means they pop up in real time while the video is playing. Moving forward, comments made during the live video will be re-published in order when the video is played back later. The filters provide videographers with more options to customize the appearance of their content. Facebook Live Videos makes it simple to invite friends to watch live content with a tool built directly into the viewer. Last, Facebook is making it easier to discover live video. A new section highlighting live video will appear in the mobile app to serve as a central spot for people to seek out content. Moreover, Facebook is adding a live map on the desktop so people can see where video is being shared. The service is expanding to 60 countries today. Facebook said these features will reach Android and iOS devices via updates over the next few weeks.
WhatsApp today updated its service with full end-to-end encryption. Now, the latest version of the app protects calls, messages, photos, videos, files, and voice messages by default. Users don't need to take any action to enable it. Encryption applies to messages sent to individuals and groups. The company says no one but the recipient(s) will be able to read the messages. WhatsApp itself cannot see message contents. The update covers all versions of WhatsApp, including the Android, iOS, and Windows apps. WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, says more than one billion people use the app to communicate. The change follows the widely publicized FBI case against Apple, which ordered the company to unlock an iPhone. Apple refused, but the FBI was able to unlock the device using another method. WhatsApp says the government will not be able to read WhatsApp messages.
Twitter is adding a new button to its Android and iOS apps today that makes it simple to send tweets directly to other users. The tool is meant to help take public content private, so it can be shared and discussed with individuals in direct messages. Twitter says it is adding the button due to user feedback. Users have always been able to share public tweets privately via direct messages, but it previously took more effort. Now, users can tap the new button and send right from the tweet in question. The update will hit Android and iOS devices starting today.
BBM users now have more control over their messages thanks to an update BlackBerry made available to Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices. All three platforms now have unlimited use of the Retract and Timer features. Retract lets users retract messages and images they no longer want the recipient to see. Timer gives users control over how long messages, pictures, or location details can be viewed by a message recipient. Previously, these features were reserved for BBM Premium subscribers, which carries a monthly fee. BlackBerry added other tools to BBM, including Private Chat (removes names and avatars) and Edit (allows editing of sent messages) functions, message forwarding, and bug fixes. Changes specific to Android include the ability to mute notifications, scroll through pictures, and save pictures to camera roll. The update adds support for Android 6.0 and improves BBM voice call quality. For Blackberry devices, the latest BBM makes it possible to retract or edit messages sent to groups, as well as delete messages from just the sender's view of the conversation. For iOS devices, BBM refreshes the chat screen experience, allows users to capture and share larger videos, adds support for multi-select mode to handle bulk tasks, and makes it possible to save images to the camera roll. BBM is free to download from the Google Play Store, BlackBerry World, and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made a minor update available to iPhones and iPads in order to fix a browser-based bug. In particular, iOS 9.3.1 addresses an issue that caused apps to sometimes hang or crash completely after users tapped links in the browser or other apps. iOS 9.3.1 is free to download and install over the air.
Microsoft is giving Skype a boost of intelligence thanks to Cortana and Skype Bots. With Cortana integration, Skype users will be able to do things such as manage their calendar and contacts without leaving the Skype app. Cortana will also be able to interact with bots, which Microsoft said will allow people to perform tasks such as book hotels and order pizza by conversing with the app itself. Bots are available in preview form within the messaging part of Skype, but will eventually be added to audio and video calling, too. A new version of Skype for Android, iOS, and Windows enables the bots. Companies will be able to create their own bots for Skype via Microsoft's developer program. People will be able to add the bots they want to their contact list. Microsoft revealed the bots are part of its larger vision for voice-activated computing.