Late last week, Apple quietly updated its loyalty pricing program with several improvements that should drive more sales to organizations, IT pros and education. Read More
iOS 7.1, released this morning, includes several notable features, like support for CarPlay, a fix that improves the reliability of Touch ID, and a fix for a bug that caused crashes to the home screen. Along with those major enhancements, the update …
iOS 7.1, released earlier today, includes support for existing iPad models along with support for two unannounced models, labeled iPad4,3 and iPad4,6. It is possible that these new model numbers represent minor hardware revisions for existing iPads tha…
The upcoming iPhone 6 has been incorporated into a new concept video by designer Sam Beckett, which was initially posted to The Verge forums. According to the dimensions Beckett provides, his “iPhone Air” concept includes a 4.7-inch display, a 1920 by …
Alongside the launch of iOS 7.1, Apple today updated its Apple TV software to version 6.1, adding a much-requested feature that allows users to hide unwanted channel icons from the main screen without needing to access the Parental Controls menu. The hiding feature joins an already existing rearranging feature, letting users further customize their Apple TV home screens as the number of channels has grown significantly in recent months.
Arranging or hiding icons can be initiated by selecting an item in the main menu and then pressing and holding on the Select button of the remote control until the icon jiggles, much as how icon rearranging functions within iOS. Icons can be moved using directional buttons, with Play/Pause available for more options.
The Apple TV software was last updated to version 6.0.1 in October, following the release of the 6.0 software in September, which brought several new features including iTunes Radio and AirPlay from iCloud. Earlier this week, the Apple TV gained a new iTunes Festival channel ahead of SXSW.
Users can download the Apple TV 6.1 software through the Apple TV’s over-the-air update mechanism found in Settings –> General –-> Software Update.
Apple has also updated the Remote app for iOS devices to version 4.2, adding a feature that allows users to browse purchased movies and TV shows within the app and then play them on the Apple TV. The update also includes the ability to control iTunes Radio on the Apple TV and offers bug fixes and stability improvements. [Direct Link]
Following a lengthy beta testing period, Apple today released iOS 7.1 to the public, marking the first major update to iOS 7 since its September release. The update includes much-needed improvements to the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system built-in to the iPhone 5s, an update for a home screen crashing issue, and it brings CarPlay support, which was first unveiled by Apple last week.
Apple has launched a new website page that shows off some of the additions to iOS 7.1.
The update also includes multiple visual tweaks, such as revamped shift and caps locks keys on the keyboard, refined icons for the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages apps, and a redesign for several aspects of the Phone dialer and shutdown screen.
Accessibility has been improved with a new “Button Shapes” option that indicates where tappable areas are located, a “Darken Colors” option, and an enhancement to Contrast allowing users to reduce iOS 7’s white point.
A multitude of minor improvements to enhance the performance of the operating system have also been bundled into the update, such as new bounce animations in Control Center, more prominent buttons in the Music app, and a new event list view within the Calendar app. Full release notes are as follows:
– iOS experience designed for the car
– Simply connect your iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle
– Supports Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps
– Control with Siri and the car’s touchscreen, knobs, and buttons
– Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when you stop talking
– New, more natural sounding male and female voices for Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
– Search field above Featured Stations to easily create stations based on your favorite artist or song
– Buy albums with the tap of a button from Now Playing
– Subscribe to iTunes Match on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to enjoy iTunes Radio ad-free
– Option to display events in month view
– Country specific holidays automatically added for many countries
– Bold font option now includes the keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs
– Reduce Motion option now includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations
– New options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point
– New Camera setting to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s
– iCloud Keychain support in additional countries
– FaceTime call notifications are automatically cleared when you answer a call on another device
– Fixes a bug that could occasionally cause a home screen crash
– Improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition
– Improved performance for iPhone 4
– Fixes display of Mail unread badge for numbers greater than 10,000
– Continued user interface refinements
The update officially disables the evasi0n iOS 7 jailbreak, patching key kernel exploits.
iOS 7.1 can be downloaded via the software update tool in the settings menu on iOS devices. Users on devices upgrading from iOS 7.0.6 are seeing file sizes of approximately 268 MB, while those upgrading from a beta are seeing larger downloads of 1.3-1.4 GB. Users who are still on iOS 7.1 beta 5 should upgrade to the full version of iOS 7.1 as the betas do not include features like the SSL fix released in February and a finalized version of CarPlay.
Apple has also launched a new update for the Apple TV and Xcode 5.1, with bug fixes, improvements, and new Auto Layout constraint inspector, and Quick Look support in the debugger for custom object types. [Direct Link]
The following Apple apps have also received minor updates alongside iOS 7:
Musician Neil Young, who has also dabbled in songwriting and directing, has been working on a competitor to Apple’s iPod for several years now, which is now close to seeing a release date.
The PonoPlayer is a $399 digital music player that is designed to offer high quality sound, beating out Apple’s iPod. The sound is described as “master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible,” which allows listeners to feel the true emotion and detail of the music, “the way the artist recorded it.”
Young initially unveiled plans for the higher-quality digital music in 2012, after he revealed in an interview with AllThingsD that he had discussed high definition music formats with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs ahead of his death. Young has been in favor of higher definition music formats for several years, but such formants require larger files, which may have held Apple back from jumping on board.
When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was “working on it,” but that “not much” ended up happening to the pursuit.
Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.
Apple offers iTunes music in an AAC format at a quality of 256 kbps and while the company does support a lossless audio format, the files take up more space than AAC files and are not sold on the iTunes Store.
Young’s PonoPlayer works in conjunction with the yet-to-be-released PonoMusic service, which pledges to “significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music.” The PonoPlayer itself will ship with 128GB of memory, storing from 100 to 500 high resolution albums.
As for Apple’s line of iPods, several of the devices, including the nano, the shuffle, and the classic, have gone more than three years without an update. Apple did introduce a minor color change for some of the devices, but it appears the company may be planning to phase out several models. The exception may be the iPod Touch, which was updated with a new design in 2012.
During a recent conference call, Tim Cook called the iPod a declining category for the company, which has been overtaken by more popular offerings such as the iPhone and the iPad. “All of us have known for some time that the iPod is a declining business,” he said.
The $399 PonoPlayer will be introduced to the public via a Kickstarter project that is set to go live later this week.
After expanding to France last week, Apple’s iPhone trade-in program is now available in Apple retail stores throughout Canada as noticed by 9to5Mac. Though not publicly announced, the launch was confirmed on Canadian Apple Store retail pages and in the Apple Store app.
The in-store recycling program allows customers to trade-in an older iPhone model and immediately receive a gift card up to $275 towards the purchase of a new iPhone. The program encourages customers to responsibly recycle their old iPhones instead of throwing them away. SellCell estimates customers are storing and not recycling approximately $13.4 billion in unused iPhones.
This in-store iPhone recycling program debuted in the U.S. last summer and was expanded to include the UK a few months later. Apple also offers a mail-in recycling program that requires customers to send in their iPhone before receiving a credit. Customers may receive more money for their iPhone via the mail-in program, but they lose the convenience of a no-hassle credit that’s immediately available to spend on a new phone.