IBM Expands MobileFirst for iOS Lineup With Eight New Apps [iOS Blog]

IBM on Tuesday announced the continued expansion of its MobileFirst for iOS enterprise portfolio with eight new workplace apps ranging in specialty from healthcare, insurance coverage, and retail sales (via AppleInsider).

The majority of this week’s expansion lies in the healthcare field, with four of the eight new apps focusing on apps aimed at assisting healthcare professionals with more easily manageable patient and hospital data. They range from basic patient data file management to curating a list of current and completed tasks required of nurses working any given area of a hospital, and even an app that allows doctors and nurses to continue evaluating and administering diagnoses while a patient is at home.

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The Hospital Lead app offers head nurses a dashboard of employee delegating tools.

The remaining four apps cover new areas for the IBM and Apple partnership, like the industrial products field, and old ones, seeing its retail and insurance lineup bolstered with new solutions.

Travel and transportation gets a new app, as well, called Ancillary Sale, which allows flight attendants to sell seat upgrades, food, beverages, and merchandise to passengers with the ease of Apple Pay. The app also remembers individual passenger preference, so flight attendants can recommend items on current flights based off of the purchases a user made on previous flights.

Apple and IBM first announced the workplace-focused partnership back in July, with the first round of ten apps hitting last December. Since then, the companies expanded slightly in early March with three new enterprise apps for the travel and transportation, retail, and financial fields. Every app in the collection is built exclusively for iPhone and iPad, with highly secure software that can be deployed, managed, and customized to fit every business hassle-free.

Visit the official websites of both Apple and IBM for more detailed looks at all of the old, and new, MobileFirst for iOS apps released over the past few months.






Happy April Fools’ Day 2015: Pets Unleashed, Kameleon Kloak and More

apple_original_logo_150As happens every year on April 1, today is April Fools’ Day, and readers should be wary of hoaxes and claims at both news and rumor sites. Today also represents Apple’s 39th anniversary, with their partnership having officially been founded on this day in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

As has become tradition, a number of today’s pranks have focused on Apple and tech, and here are a few of the more interesting ones to surface so far today. Keep in mind that some hoaxes may be mildly NSFW, so turning down your volume or watching later may be best if you are at work or in a public space.

T-Mobile Pets Unleashed

T-Mobile introduced Pets Unleashed, a revolutionary new family plan that lets your pets get their paws on the hottest smartphones and stream the latest animal-related content without using up your data. The plan includes several apps such as Fetch Freedom, FitPet and Pet Tinder, ensuring that your dogs, cats and entire family stay connected.


Moshi Kameleon Kloak for iPhone 6

Moshi today announced Kameleon Kloak, the first chameleon-powered iPhone 6 case.


This post will be updated throughout April Fools’ Day with the latest pranks and hoaxes.






Pandora CFO Calls Apple a ‘Frenemy,’ Says Music Service is Coming to CarPlay and Apple Watch

pandora_newlogoWhen Apple’s CarPlay feature launched last year, Apple partnered with several music services to offer a variety of listening choices on the platform, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Rdio, and more.

Noticeably absent from CarPlay was Pandora, but that appears to be set to change. Pandora CFO Mike Herring spoke to Fox Business Network yesterday and said Pandora will “definitely be in CarPlay” and integrated into the Apple Watch as well.

Though Herring did not provide a timeline for the possible launch of a Pandora CarPlay app, his statement to Fox is the closest Pandora’s come to revealing its plans for the platform. Last year, Pandora told MacRumors that Apple was a valued partner and though it did not have a CarPlay offering at the current time, it was exploring opportunities to expand its presence in the car in the future.

Speaking to Fox, Herring also spilled some details on Pandora’s relationship with Apple, which hints at why there may have been a delay getting Pandora on CarPlay. According to Herring, the two companies have a “frenemy kind of relationship,” possibly due to the similarities between Pandora and Apple’s iTunes Radio.

Pandora, which owes part of its success to the popularity of its iPhone app, has a “frenemy kind of relationship going on” with Apple, according to Herring. “We were part of what made it fun to have an iPhone,” Herring added. While the two companies are “close partners,” it is a “very interesting relationship.”

At the current time, there are still only a handful of CarPlay apps available, like Spotify, Beats Music, CBS Radio News, Umano, MLB.com At Bat, Overcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Rdio. If Pandora comes to CarPlay, it’ll be the fourth non-Apple owned music app available.

CarPlay is still largely limited to aftermarket in-dash systems from companies like Alpine and Pioneer, as many automobile manufacturers are still working on integrating CarPlay into their vehicles. Of Apple’s CarPlay partners, Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai have promised CarPlay-compatible cars will be available for purchase in 2015.






Verizon Wireless Lets Customers Opt Out of Tracking ‘Perma-Cookies’

Last year, Verizon and AT&T made headlines when researchers discovered they had been engaging in some unsavory customer tracking techniques, using unique identifier numbers or “perma-cookies” to track the websites that customers visited on their cellular devices to deliver targeted advertisements, a practice called “Relevant Advertising.”

Following customer backlash, AT&T stopped using the hidden web tracking codes to keep tabs on the websites that its customers visited, but Verizon continued on with its Relevant Advertising program, which it’s been using for approximately two years. While there was an option to opt out of Verizon’s program, opting out did not stop the intrusive code from being inserted into the URLs of Verizon customers, leaving a security hole that could let advertisers exploit Verizon customers.

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As of today, The New York Times reports that Verizon has given its customers a true opt out option that does not insert the identifying tracking codes (or UIDH) into the URLs of customers who opt not to be tracked, as it promised to do in January.

In a statement, Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, said privacy is a “central consideration” for the company when it develops new products and services.

“As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus,” Ms. Lewis said. “As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.

Verizon customers can opt out of the Relevant Advertising program by logging into their My Verizon accounts and selecting “Manage Privacy Settings” from the “Manage My Account” section of their user profile. AT&T and Verizon customers are able to check whether their devices are sending identifying codes by visiting a website created by Kenneth White, one of the security researchers who originally discovered the tracking methods. Verizon’s tracking programs are automatic opt-in, so many users may need to navigate to the aforementioned page to turn off the tracking.






Grovemade Review: Hands-On With the Leather & Maple iPhone 6 Plus Case and Dock [iOS Blog]

Portland-based company Grovemade is known for its range of attractive wood accessories designed for the iPad and the iPhone, which it has been producing for several years now. Grovemade recently invited MacRumors to go hands-on with two of its newest products for the iPhone 6 Plus, and we jumped at the chance because Grovemade products have been popular with our readers in the past.

We checked out the Maple and Leather iPhone Case and the matching Maple iPhone Dock. Read on to see what we thought.

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Maple & Leather iPhone Case

All of Grovemade’s products are crafted by hand and the company’s attention to detail is evident in both the dock and the Maple & Leather iPhone Case. The base of the iPhone case is made of maple (there’s also an option for a darker walnut) that’s been carved to fit the iPhone 6 Plus.

Design
The phone fits tightly into the maple shell, which has a cutouts for the camera, the mute switch, the headphone port, the speakers, and the Lightning port. There are darker wooden buttons for the volume and the power, which are lined with foam on the inside to activate the volume and power on the iPhone.

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At the points where different wood pieces have been joined to create the case, there’s darker wood burned accents, which is aesthetically pleasing, and there’s also some wood burning around each of the ports, for a darker look. A piece of leather wraps around the backside of the shell and covers the front of the phone, and the leather front cover is attached to another thin piece of maple that protects the iPhone’s display.

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On the maple attached to the cover, there are three pieces of metal, which adhere to three magnets built into the wooden shell. Inside the case, there are two additional magnets that pop away to allow the leather cover pull back to serve as a stand for the iPhone when in landscape mode. There are three separate stand positions that give slightly different viewing angles, and because of the cover, the phone also stands up by itself in portrait mode.
Read more Grovemade Review: Hands-On With the Leather & Maple iPhone 6 Plus Case and Dock [iOS Blog]

Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide: Which One Is Right for You? [iOS Blog]

After announcing the Apple Watch in September of 2014, launch time has finally arrived. Apple in March announced that pre-orders for the Apple Watch will begin on April 10, with an official launch taking place on April 24.

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Apple product lines for its iOS devices and Macs are relatively simple, consisting of a few models from which to choose. Picking an Apple Watch is a little more complicated, with the different models, a couple of watch sizes, and multiple band options. The prices start at $349 and go all the way up to $17,000 — a very wide range.

This guide walks you through the considerations you need to make when buying an Apple Watch. If you’re not sure which one to buy, this guide will lead you in the right direction.
Read more Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide: Which One Is Right for You? [iOS Blog]

HBO CEO: We Partnered With Apple for HBO NOW Based on HBO GO Popularity

Apple and HBO recently inked a deal that will see Apple becoming the exclusive launch partner for HBO’s upcoming “HBO Now” web-based streaming service, and in an interview with CNBC, HBO CEO Richard Plepler explained why the company chose to partner Apple.

According to Plepler, the main reason why HBO opted to team up with Apple was due to the success of its existing cable-based service, HBO GO. 60 percent of HBO GO traffic comes from Apple devices, including the Apple TV, Macs, and the iPhone and the iPad. HBO GO apps have been available on iOS devices since 2011 and the service has been available on the Apple TV since 2013. Plepler also pointed towards the popularity of Apple devices as a deciding factor.

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Well, listen. They’re obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.

HBO Now differs from HBO GO because it does not require a cable subscription for access. Instead, all of HBO’s content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, is available to customers for $14.99 per month. Launching in time for the Game of Thrones premiere in April, HBO NOW will be exclusively available on the Apple TV and Apple devices for the first three months of its life.

Once that three month period has expired, HBO will bring the service to other platforms as well. Plepler expects HBO NOW will be popular with millennials, calling it a “millennial missile,” and he doesn’t believe the price, which is higher than other services like Netflix, will turn customers away. “We think we have a premium product,” he said. “We have extraordinary content … and it’s the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn.”

In addition to partnering with HBO for HBO Now, Apple is also in the middle of negotiations for its own streaming television service, which would provide a select number of cable channels to customers via the web, with no cable subscription necessary. Apple is said to be planning to price the service at $30 to $40 per month for approximately 25 channels, and is partnering with ABC, CBS, Viacom, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and more.

Apple may be planning to launch its new service in June, at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, possibly alongside a revamped set-top box.






Apple Begins Accepting Apple Watch App Submissions From All Developers

Apple announced on Tuesday that all registered developers can now submit Apple Watch app submissions based on WatchKit for approval on the App Store. A number of popular apps have already been updated with Apple Watch support on the App Store over the past week, and the approval process is now extended to all members of Apple’s Developer Program.

Apple Watch App Submissions
Apple has updated its WatchKit website with details on how developers can optimize the design and development of their Apple Watch apps, including the app’s name, description, icon, screenshots, keywords, version number and build number. Apple Watch apps, excluding the ones that have already appeared on the App Store, should be steadily approved leading up to and following the launch of the wrist-worn device.

A select number of testers and reviewers will be able to access the apps prior to April 24, unless developers set the release date for their apps to “manual” and update on that date. Apple Watch apps that have started appearing on the App Store include Evernote, Sky Guide, Dark Sky, Target, NYTimes, Procreate Pocket, Yahoo Tourney Pick’em, ECB Cricket, The Wall Street Journal, MLB.com at Bat and Expedia.