iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Nest recently updated its iOS app and added support for the Apple Watch. With the update installed, Nest owners can control their Nest Thermostat from their wrist. The app also makes it easier to view various spaces by grouping Nest products together by room. When connected to WiFi, the app automatically shows live views of all associated cameras. Users can now share a password-protected live view of their camera with others online. Last, the Dropcam Pro gains support for 1080p HD video, and video quality will adjust automatically to provide the clearest possible picture. The Nest app is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Here has renamed and refreshed its core mobile mapping service for Android and iOS devices. Here Maps is now called Here WeGo. The company said it believed the original name was too generic. Along with the name change, the apps gain a significant revision. Here WeGo now prioritizes the search function for finding specific addresses or places. Users will be able to compare multiple different routes more easily, including car, public transit, cycling, and pedestrian options. Here WeGo also now displays options from car-sharing firm Car2Go, as well as regular taxi services with approximate fare rates and wait times. Last, Here WeGo improved bicycle route details with elevation profiles. Here WeGo is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Google today introduced the Google Play Family Library, which allows a single account holder to share purchases with up to six family members. Google says eligible app, game, movie, TV show, and book purchases from the Play Store can be shared across Android and iOS devices, as well as the web with no additional sign-up fee. Account holders will have control over what content is shared and what is not. Users can make their credit card available to other family members for purchases, too, and control/manage those purchases. The Google Play Family Library is free to use, but does not include access to Google Music. The fee for the Google Music family plan remains $15 per month. Google says the Family Library is going live in the U.S. and a handful of other countries beginning today.
Twitter today announced a new night mode tool for its Android app that should make viewing in the dark less stressful on the eyes. The refreshed app includes a slider tool in the settings menu that when activated changes the background from white to a deep blue. Twitter for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Twitter didn't immediately say if it will make this same feature available to iOS devices.
Google today rolled out a fresh version of Maps for Android, iOS, and the web with a cleaner user interface. Google says it eliminated unnecessary UI elements, such a road outlines, while simplifying the typography for street names, points of interest, and more. Google Maps now treats areas of interest differently with orange shading. Users can readily spot and click on areas of interest to see things to do in that area. Last, the refreshed Google Maps relies on a new color scheme that Google says is easier to use to differentiate between man-made and natural map features. The new version of Google Maps is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Skype recently updated its app for the iPhone and iPad to version 6.20. The refreshed app focuses on making bots easier to find and use. For example, Skype now includes a bot icon in the "recents" header. A simple tap takes you to an up-to-date list of bots for chatting. Skype users may now also mark their favorite bots so they are easier to return to. Skype says version 6.20 improves notification reliability and keeps muted conversations quiet. Skype is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 Public Beta 2 available to those who've signed up to test the pre-release operating system. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. The second public beta follows the third developer beta, which Apple released earlier this week. iOS 10 makes significant changes to the Music, Photos, and News apps, the lock screen and notifications, and iMessage.
Microsoft today said its Skype service will no longer be updated for Windows Phone 7 - 8.1 and older versions of Android and iOS. The company said it wants to "focus on the platforms of the future" which means it "must end support for some devices and operating systems." Skype will continue to support Windows 10 for Mobile, Windows 7, 8, XP, and Vista, Yosemite on Mac, iOS 8, and Android 4.03. Versions of Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android older than those named here will no longer be supported with updates. Skype says its service won't cease immediately on older platforms, but as the company continues to move Skype to the cloud, some features may become broken over time.
Deezer today made its music-streaming service available to anyone who wants it in the U.S. The service was previously limited to Cricket Wireless customers and those who owned Sonos home stereo equipment. Deezer's offering is similar to Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Music in that it provides access to millions of tracks, radio stations, and podcasts to mobile devices. Songs can be streamed or downloaded for offline playback. Deezer is available to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. The app itself is free to download, but the Premium+ experience requires a $10 monthly fee.
Microsoft has updated its Groove Music application for Android and iOS devices for the first time since September 2015. Microsoft says the refreshed application offers a number of performance and feature improvements. For example, playback should be more reliable, albums and songs should download faster, and a wider variety of screen sizes and resolutions are supported. The app gains a tool for exploring new releases and popular songs from top artists, as well as new sorting options for viewing music collections. Last, the sign-in process is quicker when using a Microsoft account. Microsoft warns that app will need to rebuild users' libraries from scratch to improve sync. This may take a few moments when the app is first launched. Groove Music is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 Developer Beta 3 available to registered app developers. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. This is not the public beta. Apple will provide a separate update to the iOS 10 public beta in the near future.
Facebook today brought Instant Articles to Messenger for the Android platform. Instant Articles load faster on mobile devices, up to 10x quicker than traditional mobile links. Facebook believes adding Instant Articles to Messenger will boost the number of interactions with web content shared through Messenger. Instant Articles are signified by a lightning bolt in the corner. Facebook expects to bring Instant Articles to Messenger for iOS in a few weeks.
Google today said the Unicode Technical Committee, the organization that oversees the development of emoji, has agreed to add some of the professional women emoji Google proposed earlier this year. Specifically, Unicode will add 11 (of the 13 suggested) professional female emoji in all skin colors. Google says together these will amount to more then 100 new emoji depicting women in a wider variety of roles at work. Unicode also agreed to add male and female versions to 33 existing emoji. Google says the new emoji will be included in future versions of Android and other platforms, such as iOS. In June, Unicode accepted 72 new emoji in the Unicode 9.0 standard. It's unclear how quickly Unicode will adopt these new emoji from Google.
Facebook recently updated its Messenger application for iOS devices, adding support for 3D Touch to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Owners of these devices can now long-press the screen to preview conversations, contacts, photos, links, stickers, videos, and locations. The update also refines performance for all iOS devices. Facebook Messenger is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today updated Hangouts and Photos for iOS devices, giving each a handful of fresh tools. Hangouts gains the ability to kick users out of group conversations, as well as attach videos up to 2 minutes in length. The app also introduces a fix for static GIFs and square image cropping in media attachments. Google Photos now has better support for burst photos and a new cropping tool. Google improved Photos' performance, too, with quicker app startup and reduced battery and cellular usage. Google Hangouts and Google Photos for iOS are free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 available to the public in beta form. The public beta follows the recent release of iOS 10 Beta 2 for developers. People who choose to install the public beta of iOS 10 should expect some bugs and performance issues. Many, but not all, of iOS 10's new features are contained in the beta. The full release is scheduled for the fall. Core iOS 10 features include new support for third-party apps in Siri; refreshed iMessage, Maps, Photos, and News apps; expanded notifications on the lock screen; and more 3D Touch functionality. Apple also today released the first public beta of macOS Sierra. The big feature in Sierra is the addition of Siri to Apple's Mac computers. Both the iOS 10 and macOS Sierra betas are free to download and install from Apple's web site.
Walmart today said Walmart Pay, its mobile payment service, is now available at all of its stores across the country — more than 4,600 locations. The service, first announced last year, competes with Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. It works with both Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own. The company says customers rate the experience highly and are using it increasingly.
Commuters who ride select Long Island Railroad or Metro-North routes can use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's new eTix app to purchase, activate, and use train tickets. The MTA says mobile ticketing is available to those who ride LIRR's Port Washington branch or Metro-North's Hudson Line, with support for all branches/lines due by the end of August. The app, available to Android and iOS smartphones, allows commuters to purchase single ride, round-trip, 10-trip, or weekly tickets. Commuters will need to activate individual tickets when boarding trains and make sure their phone is available for conductors to validate each ticket. The MTA says all tickets purchased through the eTix app will cost the same as those purchased via MTA ticketing machines, with no extra fees or charges. Refunds for tickets are available, but limited. eTix supports multiple tickets for families/groups, employer discounts, and receipts for business travel. Notably, eTix program tickets are not compatible with the NYC Transit (subway/bus) nor the NICE (bus) systems. The MTA's eTix app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made a second beta version of iOS 10 available to developers. According to Apple, the new beta contains bug fixes and other improvements. iOS 10 beta 2 is available to developers as an over-the-air update. Apple plans to release iOS 10 in beta form to public testers later this summer. The full release is scheduled for the fall. Core iOS 10 features include new support for third-party apps in Siri; refreshed iMessage, Maps, Photos, and News apps; expanded notifications on the lock screen; and more 3D Touch functionality.
Google gave Google Maps users the ability to plan multi-stop trips. The latest version of Google Maps allows people to add multiple destinations to a single excursion. Users can reorder the stops whenever needed, as well as search for specific locations, such as gas stations or restaurants, to add to the route. Google says once users plot their multi-stop route, navigation functions as it always has. This feature is coming to Google Maps for Android first, with Android Maps for iOS to follow soon. Google gave Android users another tool in Maps that can help surface travel memories. Google says Maps users who have Location History turned on can view their travel timeline and select any date from recent trips to see the photos they took on that day. Google Maps is free to download from the Play Store.
Google Keep gained a useful tool in a recent update — the app can now categorize notes by topic. Keep will assign categories to topics such as web sites, recipes, or favorite places, and those topics will be searchable via keyword. The updated version of Google Keep is available to Android and iOS devices, as well as the web. Keep is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Google today offered developers access to the Google Cast SDK version 3.0 for Android and iOS. Google first discussed changes to its casting platform at the I/O developer conference in May. Google Cast allows people to push content from smartphones, tablets, and laptops to other devices, such as television sets or media players. The revised Google Cast SDK is easier to use, more reliable, and quicker, says Google. Developers can make use of the SDK to add casting features to their own apps. The SDK is free for developers to access and use. Google believes the simplified SDK will convince more app writers to make content cast-able.
Facebook is prepared to ease the process of creating compelling video posts with your pictures. The company today said it plans to relocate the Slideshow feature built into its Moments app and drop it into the main Facebook app for iOS. Once the feature is moved, it will automatically assemble photos and videos into small, easy-to-digest slideshow videos. In order to function, Slideshows will look for collections of at least five photos and/or videos posted within a 24-hour period. The tool adds themes, transitions, and music on its own, but users can customize them if they so wish. The feature is similar to Memories in Apple Photos and Movie Assistant in Google Photos. Facebook for iOS with Slideshows is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Twitter today said it is bringing stickers to its Android and iOS mobile apps. Twitter users can browse through Twitter's library of hundreds of accessory, emoji, and prop stickers to "make your photos more fun." Twitter says people can use multiple stickers on a single photo, as well as resize and rotate the stickers to better fit the image. Once images are adorned with stickers, the sticker's name will be added to the image as a searchable hashtag, allowing everyone to search for stickers to see how they've been used on various photos. Twitter is rolling out stickers to mobile devices and the web gradually over the next few weeks. Stickers have become popular in messaging and social networking apps, including Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.
Walmart this week expanded the reach of its mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, to a total of 16 states. Walmart Pay was already available in Alabama. This week, the service went live in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Walmart Pay works with Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Walmart said it expects to complete its rollout by the end of summer. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own.
Verizon Wireless updated its go90 mobile video app this week, making it possible to push content from the iPhone to TVs via Apple TV and Chromecast. Verizon says the app has a new design with simplified navigation, and now more visibly curates video content based on category, such as action, comedy, drama, or reality. go90 for iOS is more social than ever, allowing iPhone owners to share clips or full episodes via email, text, Facebook, and Twitter. Users willing to register the app will be able to save favorite shows and actors, as well as leave comments on episodes and clips. Verizon Wireless' go90 app is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Verizon hasn't said if a similar update is on deck for the Android version of go90. The service is free to most smartphone users, regardless of carrier.
Google has made it easier for people to setup and use two-step verification to protect their accounts. Google already allowed users to tap a Security Key or enter a verification code sent to their phone. Now, users can also approve a new security prompt that pops up on the screen. According to Google, users can select any of these three methods for two-step verification via their Google account settings online. Android users will need the latest version of Google Play Services on their device, and iOS users will need the Google Search app. As the name implies, two-step verification adds a second layer of security to account logins.
Walmart today launched its mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, at 120 of its retail stores in Alabama. The service, announced late last year, works with Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Walmart initially expected to deploy the technology around the country by mid-year, but Alabama is the first statewide deployment so far. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own. CurrentC, another mobile payment app developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange, was recently cancelled. Apple and Google have both outlined plans to expand their mobile payment services to the web in the months ahead.
Opera updated several of its mobile browsers today, bringing its ad blocking tool to Android, iOS, and Windows handsets. First, Opera refreshed its main Opera browser for Android. In addition to the ad blocker, Opera for Android also gains support for web push notifications and multi-window support. Further, the browser's core was upgraded to Chromium 50. Opera for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Opera also updated Opera Mini for iOS and Opera Mini for Windows phones (8.1 and 10). Both platforms gain access to Opera's ad blocker. For all devices, the ad blocker is not on by default; users will need to activate it in the settings. Opera Mini for iOS and Windows is available from the iTunes App Store and Windows Store, respectively.
Apple has indicated which iPhones and iPads will be able to run the newest version of iOS, and as always older devices are left out. iOS 10 is compatible with all versions of the iPhone from the 2012 iPhone 5 through the 2016 iPhone SE. The iPhone 4S and older models will not be able to run iOS 10. Similarly, iOS 10 will run on all models of the iPad from the 2013 iPad 2 Mini through the 2016 iPad Pro 9.7. The original iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, and original iPad Mini will not be able to run iOS 10. Only the sixth-generation iPod is compatible with iOS 10. iOS 10 will be available to the public in beta form starting in July, with the full release expected in September.
Apple said it took steps to improve privacy in iOS 10, which adds a number of tools to help protect end users. With iOS 10, iMessage, FaceTime, and HomeKit will use end-to-end encryption, which makes data unreadable by anyone other than the sender/recipient. Apple said one of iOS 10's best new features, the revamped version of Photos, uses on-device intelligence to identify people, places, and things, but does not use that data to build profiles of users. Moreover, iOS 10 adopts what Apple calls Differential Privacy. This method allows Apple to analyze the usage patterns of large groups of iPhone and iPad users without providing Apple or its partners with any individually-identifying factors. Apple says Differential Privacy will help with the QuickType keyboard, Spotlight link suggestions, and Lookup Hints in Notes. Apple claims Differential Privacy will allow it to collect useful and shareable data that can't be tied to any one person.
Apple today pulled a number of its own, core apps out of iOS and dumped them into the iTunes App Store. Apps such as FaceTime and Mail — made by Apple — have only received updates once per year when Apple updates the entire iOS. Now, these and other apps populate the iTunes App Store and will presumably see more frequent updates apart from OS-level updates. The apps added to iTunes include Calculator, Calendar, Compass, Contacts, FaceTime, iCloud Drive, Mail, Maps, Music, Notes, Podcasts, Reminders, Stocks, Tips, Videos, Voice Memos, Watch, and Weather. Apple did the same with a handful of iPad apps. The company didn't say if or when these apps might begin to receive updates. Perhaps more importantly, iOS 10 allows iPhone users to delete unwanted stock apps for the first time. For example, the Stocks, Notes, Watch, and Weather apps can all be removed at will. This should help people free up space on their iPhone, as well as make it easier to manage app arrangements on the home screens. Apple notes that removing built-in apps may impact other system functions. For example, removing the Weather app means Weather won't be available via CarPlay or in the widget tool.
Apple today announced Swift Playgrounds, an app targeted to help kids learn how to code using Swift. Swift is the newer iOS programming language Apple introduced last year. The Swift Playground app is available to the iPad. It pairs instructions with actions and helps kids see how code generates viewable actions. Lessons are presented in series, but can be consumed at will. It includes code libraries to easily insert code to set repeat actions, for example. Swift Playground also works with the iOS SDK and can handle more advanced coding. Swift Playgrounds will be part of the iOS 10 developer beta. It will be available through the public iOS 10 beta in July, and to all via the App Store in September.
Apple today showed off a new version of iMessage bound for iOS 10 that should help the app compete with the likes of Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. The new iMessage app makes it far easier to find and use emoji, which now appear bigger on the screen. A tool can automatically find every word that can be "emojified" and a simple tap will convert those words to the corresponding emoji. iMessage gains new emotion bubbles that convey the intensity of messages with small, medium, large, and huge text/animations. Users can create new stylized photos, and recipients can now react to those photos with "likes" and such. Apple Music previews shared through iMessage are playable without leaving iMessage. Most importantly, iMessage is now open to third-party developers. Apple believes developers can do really interesting things by adding their own extensions and functions to iMessage. For example, iMessage can support stickers that can be moved around and placed on photos before they are shared. Apple also showed off an app that makes it possible to collaborate on a lunch order through iMessage. The new iMessage is available on the iPhone and iPad, while the Mac and Apple Watch can receive (though not create) the richer messages.
Apple today showed off Apple Home, a new app based on HomeKit to help control connected devices around the home. Apple Home will work with any HomeKit-compatible gear so people can adjust lights, open garage doors, and adjust the thermostat, and even interact with video doorbell apps. Apple Home will be part of iOS 10, which should be available in the fall.
Apple today said third-party developers can now access Siri and add Siri to their own applications. This means iPhone and iPad owners will be able to ask Siri to perform a much wider range of actions. For example, WeChat has added Siri and users will be able to say, "Hey Siri, send a WeChat messages to Mom." Some of the apps prepared to add Siri include Snapchat, Shutterfly, Internet, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Runtastic, AliPay, SquareCash, Vonage, Skype, and many others. Apple didn't provide specifics about the APIs involved, but Siri can handle followup questions and understand a conversation thread better than before. All of Siri's new features will be available to iOS and MacOS devices, as well as through CarPlay, later this year.
Apple today showed off iOS 10, what it calls the biggest release of iOS ever for both end users and developers. To start, the platform changes up the lock screen, making it easier to access the camera, notifications, Control Center, and widgets. A shake-to-wake feature lets people turn on their phone by shaking it as they raise it up. Widgets have gained the power to show dynamic content, including live video. Many of the improvements center on the 3D Touch functionality, which will only be available to newer iPhones. Siri in iOS 10 will be much more advanced because Apple is opening Siri up to developers. Siri can now handle more conversational language requests and interact with apps such as Skype, WeChat, ShutterFly, and others. iOS 10 brings Siri's smarts to the QuickType Keyboard, too. For example, Siri can automatically schedule a lunch date based on comments in iMessage regarding restaurants, dates, and times. The QuickType Keyboard supports current location, contact information, calendar availability, and more. iOS 10 makes changes to Photos, including better organization based on location data. Moreover, Photos adds advanced visual calculations so the app can automatically find and organize photos based on faces, objects, and scene recognition. Apple also uses new AI to cluster photos related based on people, scene, and location to automatically create albums. Apple says a new user interface makes the collections easy and engaging to use. Photos gains new editing tools, too, allowing people to add filters and to photo and video galleries. Apple Maps sees a design refresh, with simpler search tools. Navigation has been simplified so it is quicker to understand and access route details, such as gas stations or restaurants. Apple is opening up Maps to third-party developers, so others can add extensions to Maps to book reservations or hail Uber rides. iOS 10 features a new version of Apple Music. Apple News has been refreshed to include a new design, subscriptions, and breaking news alerts. iOS 10 adds an app called Apple Home, which integrates with HomeKit-comaptible gear around the house to control connected gear. The revised platform from Apple also now plays better with VoIP apps, permitting incoming calls from any app to reach the lock screen. Last, the iMessage app gains rich links, so users will see previews of links directly in iMessage. The app works better with the camera, as well. Emoji will appear three times bigger in conversations, and the keyboard can predict which emoji best fits the convo. People can easily control the size of text bubbles to convey volume. Apple is previewing iOS 10 to developers starting this week. A public beta will be available soon, with the final release expected in the fall.
Apple says the next version of its desktop operating system, renamed MacOS, will work better with iPhones and iPads. Apple has made improvements to its Continuity feature so its is easier to pass stuff between iPhones and Macs. For example, Apple says a universal clipboard will allow you to paste text copied from an iPhone onto a text field on a Mac computer. Changes to iCloud give people more free storage (150GB), which Apple believes will allow people to sync more personal files and content between Mac and iOS devices. MacOS will also take advantage of Apple Pay, which will soon be available across the web. It will allow iPhone owners to verify purchases via TouchID on their smartphone or on their Apple Watch. Apple says a large number of online retailers are prepared to add Apple Pay support to their sites. Other new features headed to MacOS Sierra include tabbed apps, picture-in-picture support for online videos, and Siri. Siri is accessible directly from the MacOS dock, and includes search history with savable results that can be shared with others. Siri is able to handle many of the same tasks as on the iPhone, such as performing searches, sending messages, and setting reminds. MacOS Sierra is available to developers starting today, a public beta will launch in July, with general availability scheduled for the fall.
Facebook has made it possible for people to comment on posts, photos, or videos with videos of their own. Facebook says the idea was to "enable more engaging and immersive conversations." Comments now support videos, links, photos, stickers, and emoji. Videos can be used as replies to posts made by people, groups, company pages, and events. The video comment feature is available to web, Android, and iOS users worldwide.
Facebook today made it possible for people to upload and view 360-degree imagery. The tool includes support for panorama-style photos, as well as full 360-degree photos or photo spheres. Facebook says it will call out 360-degree images with a little compass icon, and users will be able to interact with them both on mobile devices as well as the web. People can view 360-degree photos through Samsung's Gear VR headset, as well. Facebook says a number of organizations, such as NASA, have prepared 360-degree photos that will be available on Facebook soon. Facebook plans to update its Android and iOS mobile apps in the next couple of days, which will include the ability to upload 360-degree photos. Facebook already supports 360-degree video.