iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
FBI Director James Comey has again voiced his displeasure with the new encryption tools added to Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8. Both Google and Apple added the default encryption to their mobile operating systems in order to protect user data. Comey says this is an impediment to law enforcement, making it more difficult -- if not impossible -- to intercept real-time communication, such as phone calls and text messages. Comey said more and more criminals are turning to technology to hide or enable their unlawful activities. He beseeched Congress to create legislation that will require tech companies to provide back-door access to encrypted communications between suspected criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union disagrees. "Any effort by the FBI to weaken encryption leaves our highly personal information and our business information vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments and criminals," said ACLU director Laura Murphy. Congress has not responded publicly to Comey's comments.
Twitter today announced a new feature that will allow users of its Android and iOS apps to listen to music/sound clips directly from their timeline. According to Twitter, the new Twitter Audio Card can be docked and allow users to listen to the songs or clips even as they continue to browse through their timeline. SoundCloud is the first third-party company to add support for the Audio Card, but Twitter said it expects to add more services over time. Twitter hopes more parters, artists, and creators will adopt the feature for sharing purposes. The feature is free to use within the Android and iOS versions of Twitter. Twitter didn't say if or when the feature might reach other platforms, such as Windows Phone.
Apple today revealed details about iOS 8.1, an update to its smartphone and tablet platform. iOS 8.1 targets numerous bugs that have caused issues for iPhone and iPad owners since its debut, such as connectivity and crashing. As far as new features, iOS 8.1 adds support for Apple Pay and includes the public beta of iCloud Photo Library for sharing photos. The update also brings back the camera roll within the photo application. Apple said iOS 8.1 will be available for download beginning Monday, October 20.
Apple today announced that Apple Pay will go live Monday, October 20. Apple Pay is Apple's NFC-based mobile payment service. The service hooks into iPhone owners' iTunes accounts and the associated credit cards. Apple Pay will also (eventually) work with cards issued by more than 500 banks across 220,000 locations operated by dozens of retailers. Apple Pay is limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus due to their embedded NFC radios. Apple Pay also works on the web, and can be used to make purchases from select online services.
Facebook and Twitter today both pushed out updates to their iOS applications. The Facebook app has been updated with support for the screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Twitter has been updated with several bug fixes and other improvements. Both apps are free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Microsoft today made Skype 5.6 available for the iPhone. The updated app now supports the screen size and resolution of all iPhone models, including the newer iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Skype says the app displays more of your recent chats and shows more messages in conversation view on the larger iPhones. Skype 5.6 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Skype today announced a new video messaging app called Qik. The service, explains Skype, is to give smartphone users a fun way to interact with others and maintain conversations that have more personality than standard text messages or video calls. Qik users can record and send up to 42 seconds of video to recipients who can then respond with video messages of their own. Skype says videos remain live for just two weeks, and can be erased by the creator at any time. Qik also lets users prerecord five-second Qik Fliks, which Qik describes as canned video responses to use when there's no time to record a new video. Qik used to exist as a stand-alone messaging service, but was purchased by Skype in 2011 and later shuttered entirely. Skype Qik is available to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. The app is free to download from each platform's respective app store.
HTC today announce the RE Camera, a small standalone camera device that connects to any Android or iOS device. Roughly the size and shape of an inhaler, the waterproof body sports an ultra-simple interface with a capture button you press to snap a still, and hold down to record video. It turns on automatically when you touch the body. The 16-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor is paired with an ultra-wide 146-degree lens that captures practically everything in front of it. It also records 1080p HD video, optionally in slow motion via a small second button. It charges via micro-USB and supports USB mass storage for easy file transfer. It also has a microSD slot and comes with an 8 GB memory card. It mounts to any standard camera tripod. It pairs with the smartphone app via Wi-Fi Direct. The app can browse and/or download photos and videos. It's also used to configure various settings, can be used as a remote live viewfinder, and controls a highly configurable time-lapse mode. It also includes one-touch correction for the "fisheye effect" from the wide-angle lens. Available accessories include a bike mount, lanyard, and deep underwater case. A future update will enable live broadcasting via YouTube. Available colors include white, teal, navy, and coral. It will go on sale at Best Buy by the end of October for $199.
HTC today announced that its new Zoe app and service has exited beta and is being launched as a revamped, cross-platform social network. The new Zoe app will be available for both Android and iOS, and combines the Zoe Highlight Video functionality with a social network much like Instagram or Vine. It also lets users remix and add to friends' content. In beta, the app required at least 8 media items (photo or video) in order to make a 30-second auto-edited video clip. The new version 1.0 can make videos as short as seven seconds using as few media as you like, even just one photo. (It still supports using up to 16 media, and outputting videos up to 30 seconds.) It also includes a revamped tool to find Facebook friends who are using Zoe, and can post Zoes to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Like Instagram, Vine, and Twitter, it lets you follow friends and be followed, and the app centers on a scrolling feed of content posted by people you follow. The app automatically mixes content into a creative video montage, with various options to customize music and timing. It's available for Android 4.3 and higher starting today, and iOS 7 and higher starting later this fall.
Microsoft today announced Xim, an app and service that allows people to share photos with select groups of people. Xim was created by Microsoft Research's FUSE labs and is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Users can select up to 50 photos to share and create a Xim. Users can pluck photos from their camera roll, Facebook, Instagram, Google Drive, or OneDrive. The Xim can then be viewed by whoever the user invites, including those who don't have the app (viewed via the browser). The app includes a group chat feature that allows everyone invited to a Xim to chat with each other. Xims are impermanent, sort of like Snapchat, and expire after a short period of time. The Xim app should be available in the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store today.
Swiftkey updated its keyboard app for iOS devices today. Most importantly, Swiftkey fixed lag in the app and improved the time it takes to load the keyboard. The update tackles a number of bugs, such as disappearing letters and crashes. The app also gains stability improvements. Swiftkey Keyboard is compatible with the iPhone and iPad and is free to download from the iTunes App Store. The newest version of the app works best with iOS 8.0.2, but will still function with iOS 8.0.
Google today pushed out minor updates to two of its iOS apps. First, it improved Chrome for iOS with better support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens. The app also now allows users to download files from the browser directly to Google Drive. YouTube gained only bug fixes. Both apps are free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today updated its Gmail application for Apple's iOS devices. The new version supports the screen sizes and resolutions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Gmail is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Virgin Mobile USA recently made the LG Tribute available on its web site. The Tribute is a low-cost Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 5-megapixel camera, LTE and LG's Knock Code. The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Virgin is selling the Tribute for $80 without a contract. The device is also being sold at Best Buy, RadioShack, and from Amazon.com, QVC.com, HSN.com.
The NFC Forum today launched the NFC Developer Program, a series of resources aimed to help developers create NFC-enabled apps. The NFC Developer Program will include events, as well as web-based tools, such as SDKs, tech specs, news, and product highlights. The NFC Forum believes this program will help catalyze developer interest in NFC and bringing it to their applications. The NFC Forum is hosting a product showcase to help spur interest in the program. Developers can find the pertinent details on the new Tap Into NFC web site. Most mid-range and high-end smartphones include NFC radios. To-date, NFC is generally used for pairing devices, though efforts such as Softcard and Apple Pay rely in NFC for mobile payments.
Vine today updated its Android application and brought it closer to parity with the iOS version thereof. The chief new feature in Vine for Android is support for the camera roll, which allows Vine users to import video they've already shot (rather than record live). Vine users are free to piece together multiple segments from their phone to create 6-second masterpieces. Vine for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Apple today made available iOS 8.0.2, an update that Apple says fixes an issue in iOS 8.0.1 that impacted cellular network connectivity and Touch ID on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In addition to resolving the cellular connectivity issue, the update also repairs a number of other issues. For example, it fixes a bug so HealthKit apps can now be made available in the App Store. It also: addresses an issue where third party keyboards could become deselected when a user enters their passcode; fixes an issue that prevented some apps from accessing photos from the Photo Library; improves the reliability of the Reachability feature on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; fixes an issue that could cause unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages; fixes an issue where ringtones were sometimes not restored from iCloud backups; and fixes a bug that prevented uploading photos and videos from Safari. iOS 8.0.2 is free to download and install over the air, or via iTunes.
Apple published directions on its support web site that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners can use to revert their devices to iOS 8 from iOS 8.0.1. The work-around restores cellular connectivity, which had been broken by the yanked iOS 8.0.1 update. It involves downloading the .ipsw file from Apple and using it in conjunction with iTunes on a computer to install a clean version of iOS 8. Apple also noted that it is preparing iOS 8.0.2, which will also resolve the cellular issue as well as resolve the bugs iOS 8.0.1 was meant to fix.
Apple released a new version of iOS 8 this afternoon only to yank it shortly thereafter. The purpose of iOS 8.0.1 was to resolve a wide range of bugs impacting iOS devices, such as the inability to download HealthKit apps from the App Store. Instead, the update caused even more grief as it disabled cellular service on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus across multiple carriers. The update also broke Touch ID functionality. Once users reported losing cellular service on their devices, Apple removed the update from its servers. "We have received reports of an issue with the iOS 8.0.1 update," said Apple in a statement. "We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can. In the meantime we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update." iPhone owners who've lost cellular service due to the update should be able to regain access to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon by restoring their iPhone to iOS 8.
Google today rebranded and relaunched its Google Currents app for iPhones and iPads. The new name of the magazine and news service is called Google Play Newsstand - a named markedly similar to Apple's own Newsstand app. Along with the new name, Google redesigned the app. It features new navigation tools to help users find articles more quickly; a 'read now' tool for jumping to fresh articles amongst the user's subscriptions; and an expanded library that stores all the user's articles in one spot. Google Play Newsstand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google recently updated the tools available to Chrome App for Mobile developers, who can now add more native-app functionality to their web apps. Chrome App for Mobile, which was launched earlier this year, gives developers a way to package up web apps and make them available in the Play Store or App Store. According to Google, it has added Chrome APIs for managing identity, Google Cloud Messaging, and rich notifications. This means developers will be able to take advantage of these new capabilities and build them into their Chrome-based web apps for Android and iOS devices. Google said it also improved developer workflow and extended the modern WebView capabilities to versions of Android back to Ice Cream Sandwich. Developers are free to access the new tools through Google's Chromium developer portal.
Google has updated its Chrome browser for iOS devices. The latest version of Chrome adds support for iOS8, and with it support for extensions. App extensions will allow web sites and developers to enable more ways to post and share content between Chrome and third-party apps. The update also makes stability improvements and fixes bugs. Chrome for iOS is free to download from the App Store.
Skype today updated its iPhone application to version 5.5. The latest rendition of Skype takes advantage of extensions, which are a new feature of iOS8. The update lets Skype users answer voice and video calls from either the lock screen or the notification center, thanks to new UI tools. The same also applies to Skype messaging conversations. Skype is free to download from the iTunes App Store, though some calling features cost money to use.
Microsoft has launched a limited promotion that will double OneDrive users' free storage to 30GB. Microsoft already offers 15GB of online storage for free. Those who sign into their OneDrive accounts between now and the end of September will see their free storage jump to 30GB. The offer is good for all users of OneDrive, including people using Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Windows Phone devices. Microsoft also offers incremental amounts of additional storage (usually 3GB) when smartphone/tablet owners choose to backup their camera roll to OneDrive. Users who already have more than 30GB of free OneDrive storage will receive the additional 15GB of storage, too.
Google today said that encryption will be turned on automatically in the next release of Android, which is expected to arrive next month. Encryption will make it harder for law enforcement to access user data on such devices. "For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement," said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff to the Washington Post. "As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on." With encryption turned on, only those who enter the correct password will be able to gain access the device and the information stored on it, such as photos and videos. New devices that ship with Android L will benefit from this immediately. In the mean time, Android device owners can turn on encryption manually in the settings menu. Earlier this week, Apple said it took similar steps with the latest release of its mobile operating system, iOS8, which is also encrypted.
Facebook updated its Messenger application for iOS devices. Facebook didn't call out any new features other than to say it is compatible with iOS8.
Twitter today updated its application for iOS devices. The new version of Twitter makes two major changes. First, it places a greater emphasis on user profiles, which are easier to see. Twitter explains that bios are visible as soon as you get to the profile page for any given user, it no longer requires a swipe to access. The improved profiles are visible to all devices running iOS7 and up. Second, Twitter for iOS8 takes advantage of some of the new features in the operating system from Apple. iPhone owners running iOS8 will be able to interact directly with push notifications from Twitter, meaning they can Retweet, favorite, and follow directly from the notifications as they appear on the screen. Twitter is free to download from the App Store.
Samsung today said it will begin accepting preorders for the Galaxy Note 4 on September 19. The device won't ship, however, until October 17. Samsung said the Note 4 will be available in black and white, and it will be carried by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular. Samsung said the phone will also be available at Samsung Experience Shops in Best Buy stores, as well as from Amazon, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Individual carriers and retailers will provide their own pricing and availability details in the near future. AT&T was first to announce those details. AT&T said the Note 4 will cost $34.42 per month with AT&T Next 18; $41.30 per month with AT&T Next 12; $299.99 with a two-year agreement; or $826 at full retail. AT&T is offering a $100 bill credit to new/existing customers who activate a new line of service with the Note 4. Verizon is offering the Note 4 for $299 with a new contract and said Verizon Edge installment pricing will also be available. T-Mobile isn't accepting preorders until September 24, and it is asking for $0 down followed by $31.24 a month for 24 months.
Amazon today announced a new version of its FireOS platform. FireOS 4 Sangria further integrates Amazon's devices with its cloud-based content offerings. The revised operating system has a redesigned user interface and adds individual Profiles, which allows family members to have their own email and social media accounts, as well as settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, and game levels. Fire OS includes ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), which Amazon says can predict the movies or TV shows the owner may want to watch and streams them instantly. Another feature called Smart Suspend will use individual user profiles to determine when the device is most often dormant and can then proactively take steps to conserve battery life, such as turning off the wireless radios. FireOS 4 adds a function called Family Library, which makes it easier for families to share apps, games, books, and other Amazon content. Last, FireOS 4 brings Firefly to Amazon's tablets. FireOS 4 ships on Amazon's newest fourth-generation Kindle Fire tablets and will be available for Amazon's third-generation tablets through an over-the-air system update. Amazon said Fire OS 4 will be available on Fire Phone early next year. FireOS 4 Sangria is based on Android 4.4 KitKat.
Apple's new iPhones will include a kill switch that owners can use to remotely lock or wipe them, reports Reuters. The feature has been part of iOS for several years, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will have the feature turned on by default. The feature can be installed on older iPhone models, as well. The news comes from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, rather than Apple itself. Earlier this year, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all agreed to add kill switches to their devices by July 2015. Most major wireless network operators in the U.S. have agreed to a similar framework. Lawmakers believe the presence of the kill switch will eventually deter street crime and reduce the thefts of smartphones. The logic behind the effort is to reduce the demand for stolen goods by allowing owners to render them useless and valueless to thieves.
Apple has delayed the release of HealthKit, which is part of iOS8, thanks to a bug. "We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We're working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month," said Apple. Users who install iOS8 will notice the Apple Health app has been added to their iPhone, but without associated apps it isn't of much use. HealthKit serves as the link between health/fitness apps and Apple Health on the iPhone. According to Reuters, apps developed by MyFitnessPal and WebMD were yanked from the App Store at the last moment today thanks to the bug.
Apple released iOS8 today and with the updated operating system comes a new feature many will surely relish: support for third-party keyboards. Though Apple took care to revise its own keyboard application, iOS devices can now install and use keyboard apps made by other companies. Some of the first to leave the gate are Swype and SwiftKey, two keyboards that are well known to Android device owners. Swype is available for $0.99 and the SwiftKey Keyboard is available for free. Swype includes several themes, supports a handful of languages, and supports personal dictionaries. iPhone owners can easily switch between the stock keyboard and Swype for easier typing. Swype works on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. SwiftKey offers a similar feature set, including word predictions, enhanced autocorrect, and cloud-based learning for a more personal experience across devices. SwiftKey's one limitation is that the Flow (tracing) keyboard only works with the iPhone and iPod, but not the iPad. Flesky and Minuum are two other such apps.
Apple today released iOS8 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (5th gen). iOS8 offers a number of refinements to Apple's mobile operating system. Some of the new features include a new word prediction engine and support for third-party keyboards; family sharing for iTunes content; Continuity for seamless messaging across devices; revised gallery and camera apps that make sharing and editing easier; improvements to Spotlight search; the ability to send audio clips within text messages; and Health for tracking fitness and health apps. iOS8 is compatible with the iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, and 5c, as well as most iPads. It comes preinstalled on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which go on sale September 19. The system update can be installed over Wi-Fi or via iTunes.
Microsoft today updated its OneNote application to support Google's Android Wear platform. The app allows Android Wear owners to wake their device and use OneNote to dictate notes that are saved on the host Android smartphone. In addition to Android Wear compatibility, Microsoft also updated OneNote for both the iOS8 and Windows Phone platforms. The iOS8 version of OneNote adds extensibility, which allows users to save files to OneNote without leaving the app they are currently using. The Windows Phone version of OneNote was updated to allow users to convert photographs into PowerPoint or Word files. The updated OneNote apps are free to download from the Play Store, iTunes App Store, and Windows Phone Store.
Google and its partners today revealed the first three Android One handsets. Google initially spoke about Android One in June. The idea behind Android One is to bring low-cost handsets to the largest-possible populations around the world. To that end, Google worked with hardware makers, component suppliers, and wireless network operators to develop inexpensive smartphones for India. The first three devices are the Karbonn Sparkle V, the Micromax Canvas A1, and the Spice Dream UNO. The phones include front and rear cameras, large touch screens, MediaTek processors, dual SIM card slots, memory card slots, FM radios, and removable batteries. All three phones are being sold for about $105. According to Google, the devices ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, but will be among the first to receive Android L later this year. Google, rather than the local network operators, will provide all the system updates for these devices. Google said it has signed more manufactures to the Android One project, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, Asus, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. Google plans to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka later this year, with more to follow throughout 2015. The main goal is to connect as many people as possible - more than 5 billion - to the internet.
RadioShack is considering whether or not to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as its cash reserves dwindle. The company ended its most recent quarter with just $30.5 million in cash on hand, with debts totaling $658 million. It has lost money 10 quarters in a row as electronics buyers shun the chain for larger retailers or the web. Filing for bankruptcy would help protect RadioShack's remaining cash reserves, and could set the stage for a reorganization of the firm. The company is also weighing taking on investments and cited liquidation as a last resort. Earlier this year RadioShack announced plans to close 1,100 stores, but later reduced that number to 200 after investors balked. RadioShack sells wireless service from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless, as well as several prepaid brands.
Google today updated its Hangouts service with the ability to make free voice calls from Android and iOS devices, as well as from the web. Hangouts users can call one another and regular numbers in the U.S. and Canada without incurring any costs. Google says calls to other countries will require fees, but its rates are low. Google plans to make Hangouts version 2.3 available to Android devices over the next few days, and users wishing to make calls will need to install an additional dialer. The feature will show up automatically in the iOS and web versions of Hangouts. Hangouts users are already able to use the app to send IM and SMS messages, as well as make video calls.
Apple today said iOS 8 will be available to existing iOS devices beginning September 17. It is compatible with the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4s; the iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display; and the iPod 5th generation.
Apple today revealed new iPhones during a special event held in California. The new devices have curved designs, a protruding camera module, and Apple's signature metal design. The phones have a glass front, aluminum frame, and a steel Apple logo on the back. The iPhones have Retina HD displays that measure 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively. The smaller screen has 1334 x 750 pixels and the larger one has 1920 x 1080 pixels. The iPhone 6 measures 6.9mm thick, the 6 Plus measures 7.1mm - both are thinner than the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 Plus offers a wide array of landscape-optimized apps, such as a two-panel view in messaging, along with a wider keyboard. A double-press of the home button will move the UI elements normally positioned at the top of the screen down so they are easier to reach with one hand. Apple said content designed for the different iOS screen sizes and resolutions will now scale up to match whichever device is being used. The phones feature a 64-bit A8 processor that uses a 20nm processes that Apple says is 20% faster than the iPhone 5s' A7 chip, and provides a 50% bump in graphics performance. The iPhones also use Apple's M8 Motion coprocessor to help manage sensors for fitness apps. The sensors are able to differentiate between cycling and walking, and can calculate speed and elevation changes. The new handsets feature 20-band support for LTE networks, and include carrier aggregation, VoLTE capabilities, and Wi-Fi calling (from select carriers). The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both feature an 8-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and what Apple calls True Tone flash. The cameras can shoot panoramas up to 43-megapixels. Thanks to a new image signal processor, the cameras are faster to focus, and faster to detect faces/blinking. The 6 uses digital processing for image stabilization, but the 6 Plus uses optical image stabilization. The cameras can shoot 1080p HD vide at 30/60fps, as well as slow-motion video at 120/240fps. The user-facing camera, which Apple calls FaceTime, has an all-new sensor that is faster at detecting faces, allows in 81% more light than the 5s, and can capture selfies in rapid-fire bursts. The iPhone 6 will cost $199, $299, or $399 for the 16-GB, 64-GB, and 129-GB models, respectively. The iPhone 6 Plus costs $299, $399, and $499 for the 16-GB, 64-GB, and 128-GB models, respectively. Those prices are available only with two-year contracts. Both iPhones go on sale September 19, with preorders beginning September 12. The iPhone 5s will remain available for $99, the 8GB iPhone 5c will be available for free.
Google today updated the Play Movies & TV app for iOS devices. The most significant new feature is support for offline playback. iPhone and iPad owners will be able to rent movies from the Google Play store, download them to their device, and watch them when offline though the Play Movies & TV app. Google also made stability improvements to, and enhanced performance of, the app. Google Play Movies & TV is free to download from the iTunes App Store.