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Apple Daily: New iOS 9 Beta Highlights; Public Betas Coming; Apple Orders 85-90M iPhones

The latest beta for iOS 9 is here, and it’s a massive one with long-awaited features such as Apple Music (for iOS 9) and the News app, in addition to new features such as separate Photos folders for your selfies and screenshots. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, it appears that a public beta isn’t too far away. In addition, Apple is reportedly ordering a record number of iPhones for September’s launch.

Apple Releases iOS 9 Third Beta, Bringing a Wealth of New Features

Apple today released the third beta for IOS 9 into the hands of developers earlier today, and it’s full of both new features and previously announced features that are making their way into the developer release for the first time. Many developers have already had their hands on the system for a few hours now, and the following is a rundown of what they’ve discovered so far.

Apple Music at last comes to the operating system as of the update, which was originally kept out of the iOS 9 beta in the wake of the official launch for iOS 8. The update also marks the first iOS 9 appearance of the revamped News app, which was first announced at this year’s WWDC but which has been under the radar for several weeks. The app is said to tailor your content based on the content you like to read, making it sort of like Apple Music’s “For You” feature but with an emphasis on written material.

Source: Cult of Mac

The Photos app also gets some love with the update in the form of separate automatic folders for both selfies and screenshots. Now, whenever you take a photo with the front-facing camera, it’ll go into the selfie folder, and when you take a screenshot, it’ll go into the proper folder as well.

Other features aim to provide a more customized and streamlined experience, such as an option to make Siri vibrate when activated instead of making a “ding” sound when the phone is on silent mode. Now, when you swipe down on the Home Screen to activate the search feature, you’ll also see app recommendations based on the apps you use most often. In addition, Apple also introduced an improved version of two-factor authentication for both iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan that’s steadily being rolled out to beta users while Apple’s smooths out some of the kinks.

Rounding off the known changes are new labels for actions in the Mail app when you swipe left on a message, and there’s a new limit of 16 apps for iPad folders thanks to a boost to a 4×4 grid, which marks a significant improvement over the previous limit of nine with the 3×3 grid.

 

iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan Public Betas on the Way

At present, if you’d like to try out any of iOS 9′s new features, you have to be a member of Apple’s developer program. But that’s likely about to change soon, as Apple claims in the support notes for the tweaked two-factor authentication feature mentioned above that it’s specifically designed for the “the public betas of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan” (via MacRumors).

This seems in line with Apple’s statements during WWDC that public betas for the operating systems would be available in July. It’s not known exactly when those public betas will hit, but the very existence of the support page and its frequent references to the public betas suggest it should be soon.

 

Apple Said to Have Ordered 85-90 Million iPhones for Next Launch

The massive, stunning sales of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have apparently given the Cupertino company a similarly massive boost of confidence, as a new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple will be ordering a jaw-dropping 85-90 million units of the so-called iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus for launch. If that number doesn’t impress you, consider that Apple only ordered 70-80 million iPhones for last year’s launch.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and friends are obviously hoping to avoid yet another iPhone shortage situation, although it’s shaky timing considering that the next generation is quite likely to be one of Apple’s “S” releases — in other words, a release that’s mainly focused on improving the internal components of the device it released the previous year.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: New Retina iMac coming?; Apple Pulls Confederate Flag Apps; Taylor Swift to Stream ’1989′

Apple just involved itself in the timely debate over the display of the Confederate flag by yanking some Civil War-focused games from the App Store, and some onlookers believe Apple’s actions are more harsh than necessary. In other news, Taylor Swift has agreed to allow streaming of her album 1989 on Apple Music, and code in the El Capitan beta hints that we might be seeing a 21.5-inch Retina iMac sometime soon.

OS X El Capitan Beta Code Hints at 21.5-Inch Retina iMac

Once more, secrets in Apple’s code seem to hint at upcoming products, and this time it’s the code for the OS X El Capitan beta suggesting that we can expect a 21.5-inch Retina iMac with 4096 x 2304 resolution at some point in the future (via 9to5Mac). Apple has already released a gigantic 27-inch Retina iMac, but the Cupertino company reportedly has had to wait on the proper chips before it can achieve the same results with a smaller 21.5-inch model.

Adding fuel to the speculation is the discovery of references to a new graphics chipset known as Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, which is integrated with Intel’s Broadwell processors and which just launched earlier this month. There’s a chance that the chipset is actually meant to be included in the MacBook line, but it should also work well for a 4K iMac.

The code also points to a new Bluetooth Remote Control, which features a multi-touch trackpad with inertial scrolling support and possible support for Siri commands. Current speculation from multiple outlets seems to agree that this is upcoming redesigned Apple TV remote, which alleged insider sources first discussed with The New York Times back in May.

 

Apple Confirms It’s Removing Apps with Confederate Flag from App Store

Earlier this morning Apple made headlines when Civil War-focused games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg started disappearing from the App Store, presumably in response to the widespread protests against the display of the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston church massacre last week. This afternoon, Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it had indeed removed apps from the App Store featuring the Confederate flag, at least if they used it “in offensive or mean-spirited ways.”

In its statement, Apple claims that it hasn’t enacted a wholesale ban on the flag, and that images of the flag can remain if they’re shown for “educational or historical uses.” The problem is that Apple appears to be interpreting “offensive and mean-spirited” quite broadly, as it has even pulled games like Hunted Cow’s Civil War series, which simply features the flag in its historically accurate context as the flag of the army of the Confederate States of America.

Source: Game-Labs

Apple is said to be working with the developers to get their apps on the App Store again, although reportedly this mostly entails replacing the Confederate flag with some other flag. In one case, developer HexWar plans to replace the familiar St. Andrew’s cross with a lesser-known flag from 1861. In the meantime, critics throughout the Internet are pointing out the seeming inconsistency of removing the Confederate flag from such settings while leaving flags with Nazi swastikas visible in iOS games like Wolfenstein 3D.

For its part, Game-Labs, the developer behind Ultimate General: Gettysburg, announced on its blog that won’t redesign its game to fit Apple’s policies. The studio reports that educators have found their game to be a useful tool for teaching history in the classroom, particularly for understanding key battles from the commander’s perspective.

“Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List‘ did not try to amend his movie to look more comfortable,” Game-Labs said in its notice. “The historical “Gettysburg” movie (1993) is still on iTunes. We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money. Therefore we are not going to amend the game’s content and Ultimate General: Gettysburg will no longer be available on AppStore. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results.”

 

Taylor Swift to Allow Streaming of ’1989′ Album on Apple Music

Mere days after Apple reversed its stance on paying artists during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period following an open letter from singer Taylor Swift, Swift has taken to Twitter to announce that she’ll be streaming her hit album 1989 on Apple Music after all. Last week, Swift announced on Tumblr that she was pulling the album in protest of Apple’s initial decision not to pay artists during the trial.

Late yesterday, The New York Times revealed that Apple would pay artists 0.2 cents for each song streamed during a customer’s trial period, which potentially amounts to a hefty sum of cash considering Apple’s pool of millions of listeners. Swift claimed on Twitter that her decision wasn’t based on any exclusive deal with Apple (such as the one Pharrell Williams made for iTunes exclusivity with his upcoming single “Freedom”), but rather because she believes this “is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album.” Swift’s 1989 album currently isn’t available for streaming on Spotify, one of Apple’s chief rivals in the streaming arena.

The news follows on the heels of yesterday’s revelation that Apple’s decision to pay artists during the trial period had won over indie music rights holders Beggars Group and Merlin Network, thus bringing over 20,000 indie music brands over to Apple Music in time for the service’s launch on June 30. The Cupertino company announced Apple Music as the “one more thing” during this year’s WWDC keynote on June 8, where it also revealed that users will pay a monthly subscription fee of .99 following a three-month free trial period.

The service will initially launch for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC, although versions for Apple TV and Android are expected to appear sometime this fall.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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WWDC 2015: Tons of New Features Coming to Apple Watch

The next iteration of Apple Watch’s operating system, called watchOS 2, will be bringing a wealth of new features to Apple’s recently released wearable. Kevin Lynch took the stage at WWDC 2015 to discuss enhancements such as new watch faces, including a Photo Album face and a Time-Lapse face, which displays 24-hour timelapse shots from different locations, all designed to sync with your local time. Many more features were announced — so many, in fact, that the presentation was comparatively scant on details.

Third-party developers are now allowed to make their own “complications” for watchOS 2 (such as flight times, car charge for electric cars, and sports scores), thus allowing more information on the screen at any given time. There’s now a feature called “Time Travel” as well, which lets you scroll forward in time and watch the relevant complications update.

There’s also now a Nightstand mode that lets you see the time while your phone is charging, and there’s also an alarm clock feature. Friends can now be added to the Digital Touch screen from the screen itself, and you can reply to an e-mail from your Apple Watch as well. Fitness apps can now run natively without needing to be tethered to the iPhone, you can use Siri to start workouts, and there’s even a new achievement section for celebrating exercise milestones.

Source: The Verge

Further Apple Watch nativization includes the ability to support store and loyalty cards for Apple Pay on the watch itself. HealthKit information can be displayed directly on the watch, and short videos can be played directly on the watch, too. In addition, Apple Watch will now provide transit directions (including mass transit). Siri can also control HomeKit appliances through the watch as well, and it can show you “glances” for various apps — yes, even if they’re not installed.

Lynch also announced some of the goodies for the watch, such as the way developers can access the microphone on the watch and play audio on the watch, in addition to the TapTic Engine and the device’s Accelerometer. They can also control the Digital Crown, thus giving them the ability to create custom UI elements.

Lynch ended his presentation with a demo of the various elements.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Music Streaming, Retail Apple Watches Coming Soon; $100K Apple I

In today’s Apple Daily, a new report claims that Apple’s long-rumored streaming music service may be just a week away, a San Francisco Bay area woman drops off a 0,000 Apple I at a local recycling center, and Apple sends out a video to retail employees informing them to prepare for the imminent Apple Watch retail launch.

WSJ: Apple’s Music Streaming Service to Debut Next Week

Following months of speculation stretching all the way back to Apple’s highly publicized acquisition of Beats Music, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple will unveil its long-awaited streaming music service at WWDC next week. The service won’t include a Spotify-style free tier, however, and it’s said to require a subscription of per month.

The absence of a free tier isn’t too surprising considering Apple’s alleged attempts to get Spotify and others to get rid of theirs, but Apple’s reasoning is apparently that its customers already get free music through iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio itself is said to be getting some love in the form of special channels created by DJs, such as former BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe.

The emphasis on radio is primarily aimed at users outside the United States, the report says, in the hopes that said users will use iTunes Radio if they don’t have access to Pandora, which, in turn, could possibly lead to a subscription to Apple’s streaming service.

Also notable is Apple’s alleged emphasis on the service, which goes so deep that the company will reportedly encourage you to subscribe to the service in iTunes if you were in the process of buying an album instead.

The report claims that Apple still hasn’t secured deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, or Warner Music Group, but deals with these companies are thought to be completed soon. That’s a big chunk of the music industry, though, and the delay could mean that we’ll only hear an announcement at WWDC. Getting our hands on the service, unfortunately, could take a while longer.

 

Apple Watch Retail Launch Coming Soon

After weeks of constrained supplies that led to the Apple Watch being sold exclusively online, the Apple Watch is at last on the verge of coming to the company’s retail stores. As 9to5Mac reports, a new video from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was sent out to Apple retail employees today informing them of the imminent in-store launch, and telling them that they need to be “above and beyond ready.” Jim Bean, Apple’s vice president of retail operations, also spoke for a bit about a new “Reserve and Pickup” feature.

 

With Reserve and Pickup, customers interested in the Apple Watch will be able to log on to Apple’s website every day at 8:00 a.m. their time to see if their local Apple Store has watches in stock. They’ll then be able to go to the store and pick it up in person on the same day. The report also claims that customers will also be able to place reservations for Apple Watches that aren’t yet in stock.

“This is our moment to shine, this will be a launch unlike any we’ve ever had before,” Ahrendts said, noting that employees should take the time to review their Apple training materials. “This is what you were born to do, this is why you are at Apple.”

The video doesn’t specify the actual launch date, but it’s widely believed to be sometime this month. Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a meeting in China that the retail Apple Watch launch would occur in June for all “wave one” countries.

 

SF Bay Area Widow Drops Off a 0,000 Apple I at Recycling Firm

If you’re a woman in the San Francisco Bay area who dumped off several boxes of electronic equipment at the Clean Bay Area recycling center because you wanted to “get rid of stuff” after your husband died, there’s a big surprise waiting for you. One of the items in those boxes was one of the only 200 Apple I units ever made, and it sold for 0,000. And get this — the company wants to split half of it with you.

Another Apple I that sold at Bonhams last year. 

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the woman stopped by on a Friday just before closing time. Victor Gichun, the vice president of Clean Bay Area, claims that it’s company policy to gave half of the proceeds from such sales to the owner.

Don’t think you can just walk in and claim it for yourself if you’re a woman and you own an SUV, though — Gichun claims that he remembers the woman’s face and her SUV. All he needs to do is see her come through the door again.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Jony Ive’s New Title; More iOS 9 Rumors; Cortana Coming to iOS

In today’s Apple Daily, Apple design chief Jony Ive gets a spiffy new title and some new responsibilities. In other news, more rumors about what we’ll see in iOS 9 are surfacing, and Microsoft’s “Cortana” service is said to be coming to iOS sometime later this year.

Jony Ive Named ‘Chief Design Officer’ at Apple

For years Jony Ive stuck to the shadows at Apple, to the point that most people outside the company only knew what he looked like from the same handful of publicity stills. Over the last couple of years, however, he’s taken on a more visible role at the company, and he’ll have a title that better suits that role than “Senior Vice President of Design” come July 1. As Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in an internal memo yesterday (via 9to5Mac), Ive is now Apple’s “Chief Design Officer,” and Richard Howarth and Alan Dye will take over the everyday management of Apple’s industrial design and user interface teams.

Source: Gabriela Hasbun/The Telegraph

That may seem like it’s taking a lot of day-to-day responsibilities from Ive, but Ive retains his oversight. In addition, the position brings new responsibilities with it. Ive, for instance, will be taking a much larger role in the design of Apple’s retail stores and its upcoming “spaceship” campus, and he’ll be able to travel beyond Cupertino to more of Apple’s other development sites across the globe.

For their part, Howarth and Dye are anything but slouches. Howarth, the new vice president of industrial design, has worked with Ive for almost two decades and has served on the iPhone’s development team since the first generation. Dye’s original focus was marketing and communications, but he became a key figure on the user interface design team in the wake of the departure of Scott Forstall. Dye was also a key figure in the design of the interface for the Apple Watch, and as such he was the subject of a profile by Wired earlier this year.

Alongside Tim Cook’s announcement, The Telegraph published an interview of Ive, Howarth, and Dye by Stephen Fry.

 

More Small Improvements Rumored for iOS 9

Apple will most likely announce iOS 9 during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month, and anonymous insider sources are already starting to spread word about what we’ll see. In accordance with the general perception that iOS 9 will be more focused on tidying up the operating system rather than introducing sweeping changes, the latest rumors emphasize small improvements.

In accordance with rumors we’ve heard in the past, Apple wants iOS 9 to be “Force Touch-ready,” and that it’s already working with developers to integrate the tech with existing apps. Force Touch was introduced with the 12-inch MacBook back in March, and it adds an extra dimension to traditional touch-based interfacing by adding a pressure component alongside the familiar taps and swipes.

Apple is also rumored to be working on a new keyboard design for iOS 9 that will be “slightly longer” than the current version and bring more editing options when using the standard portrait mode. The new design is also expected to bring a better “Shift” key, in addition to providing an easier way to access the QuickType keyboard.

The report also claims that Apple Pay is essentially ready for launch in Canada judging from the “necessary foundations” for compatible banks and associated institutions in Passbook, but ongoing negotiations will likely prevent a WWDC announcement this year. In addition, Apple may remove the rarely used Game Center app altogether, and it may introduce iMessage read receipts for both group chats and users on a per-contact basis. As the report says, this means users “will be able to turn on the read receipt functionality for specific recipients while leaving the read status of a message in the dark for other contacts.”

 

Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’ Voice Service Coming to iOS Later This Year

Confirming rumors that dropped back in March, Microsoft announced today that it’s bringing its Siri-like Cortana voice service to iOS and Android, in addition to its own Windows Phone platform. In order to ensure that that it works properly on each system, each operating system will have its own dedicated “companion app”, but Microsoft insists that you’ll be able to ask the digital assistant the same questions regardless of which platform you’re using. The Android version is scheduled for release on Android in late June, but we iOS users will have to wait until sometime later this year. It’s probably for the best, as Siri might get jealous.

Unfortunately, Cortana apparently won’t be quite as powerful as it is on its native Windows platform owing to problems with integration with the operating system. Cortana will be able to answer questions, track flights, and send alerts, for instance, but it won’t be able to launch apps or alter system settings. Perhaps most sadly of all, it won’t be able to answer to the always-cordless, always hands-free “Hey, Cortana” command available on Windows 10 and some of the niftier Windows phones.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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