Posts tagged Apple’s

Apple’s Going To Talk More About Its Watch On March 9

Apple has just set a date and time to reveal more about the Apple Watch.

The company Thursday sent out invitations to an event on March 9 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. The invitations simply say “Spring Forward,” which many are interpreting as a pun on traditional watch technology (or, alternatively, daylight savings time).

Apple first announced the smart watch during a September press conference, then informed attendees it wouldn’t be available until spring. In January, CEO Tim Cook gave an update to say development was progressing “right on schedule.”

See also: What You Can Do With The Apple Watch

As a result, we’ve got only a general idea of what the watch is supposed to do. Cook said the watch will “redefine what people expect from its category,” serving not only as a wrist-mounted communicator, but a health tracker loaded with sensors, too.

Hopefully, Cook will take the March event to answer some of the more pressing concerns about the watch, like whether it really needs to be charged every couple of hours. Constructed with luxury metals like 18k gold, it’s also possible that Apple will announce a fleet of brick-and-mortar stores exclusively for Apple Watches, according to recent reports.

See also: The Apple Watch Could Get Its Own Dedicated Store

Apple may have eliminated more of the mystery than usual by announcing the watch months before it would become available, but it’s clear consumers still have plenty of questions. Now we only need to wait until March 9 before all is revealed. 

Lead image courtesy of Apple

View full post on ReadWrite

Apple’s Emoji Characters Will Soon Look More Like The World

Beware, expressionistic faces of Simpsonesque yellow hue and traditional nuclear families—your emoji dominance of texting is drawing to a close.

Apple has unveiled new, diverse sets of emoji representing a variety of ethnicities and family types in the latest beta versions of iOS (for iPhones and iPads) and OS X (for Macs). The change lets you pick new, realistic skin tones for many emoji characters, ranging from dark brown to pasty white, all in addition to traditional crayon-yellow. To change the color of a human representative emoji, just select and hold until the new tones appear.

Credit: <a href=”https://twitter.com/AndLup/status/569932530029346816/”>Andrea Luppichini</a>

Of course, the diverse emoji aren’t available to the general public yet, although the wait probably won’t be that long. In the meantime, we’re stuck with a turban-wearing young Sikh boy as the only emoji available to represent all people of color. For all Apple’s recent proclamations of diversity, it’s actually taken the company nearly four years to start representing the people who use its products.

See also: Tim Cook Takes A Diverse Stance: Apple’s Gay And Disabled Employees Matter Too

The same, of course, is true of Google and any other company using emoji. That’s because the new characters are only possible thanks to a change in the Unicode standard’s “skin tone modifier.” (As of writing, there was no word as to when Android will update to use the new emoji set. I pinged Google for comment and will update if I hear anything back.)

 A Brief History Of Emoji

Emoji first appeared in 1999 on mobile phones in Japan. According to Unicode, it was unclear at the time “whether these characters would come into widespread use,” which may explain why there’s been such a be blamed for the lack of diversity early on.

For frequent emoji users, it’s hard to remember a time before we could express ourselves only on text message. In fact, Unicode 6.0 encoding with emoji didn’t become available on iPhones until November 2011. But in just a few short years, they would overtake iMessages everywhere.

Of course, the immediate predecessor of emoji—typographic emoticons, which may have been around for a very long time—didn’t have racial or orientation-related diversity issues. The simple :) is a universally understood smile, devoid of any gender, sexuality or racial signifiers.

See also: Facebook Provides 56 New Gender-Identity Options

Emoji likewise tried to sidestep racial identification thanks to their yellow hue, which may have made them somewhat more relatable to a broader audience than if they’d actually been colored white. Yet as technology has spread to vast numbers of people around the globe, so has a desire for emoji that more closely resemble their users. Better late than never.

Lead photo by Fred Benenson; new emoji screenshot by Andrea Luppichini

View full post on ReadWrite

Surprise! Now There’s A Charlie Hebdo App In Apple’s App Store And Google Play

Five years after the staff of Charlie Hebdo gave up on the idea of submitting an app to Apple due to its notoriously restrictive approval process for political and controversial content, the French satirical magazine now has one live in the App Store, as well at Google Play.

What a difference a bunch of dead cartoonists makes.

Last week, Apple approved a “Je Suis Charlie” geo-tracking app for people who want to show their support for free expression in the wake of the massacre at the publication’s office in Paris.

“Contrary to what you thought would happen if Charlie Hebdo was to submit its app, it did get approved,” a spokesperson from Le Monde, the French daily newspaper which built the app, said.

Groupe Le Monde, which owns Le Monde, is one of several media outlets in France to offer material support to Charlie Hebdo following the January 7 terrorist attack, which left 10 staff members dead. Along with with the daily newspaper Libération, Radio France and France Televisions, Groupe Le Monde volunteered staff and equipment to ensure Charlie Hebdo’s continued publication.

As part of that support, Le Monde’s mobile team began building the Charlie Hebdo app the day after the massacre. They wanted to have the app available for download on Friday, the day the first post-shooting issue of Charlie Hebdo hit the newsstands, the spokesperson told ReadWrite. Now, anyone unable to find a print copy of Charlie Hebdo’s 7  million-issue run (up from its standard 60,000) can download the app in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The Charlie Hebdo app is free to download, but you have to make a $2.99 in-app purchase in order to access the latest issue, or shell out $89.99 for a year’s subscription. The latest issue is available in English and Spanish as well as French. But Anglophones and Hispanophones take note: future issues will be only appear in French.

According to Le Monde’s spokesperson, time limitations proved the greatest obstacle in getting the Charlie Hebdo app on the market. “We needed to build the app, to translate all the content to Spanish and in English, and hurry a way to display the translations,” he told ReadWrite. “Second, we needed to get the proper documents from Charlie’s survivors to open the official accounts, and as you can guess they were mourning their loss, working on the survivor’s issue, dealing with the press.”

Despite Charlie Hebdo’s caustic content, receiving Apple’s approval for the app was not a problem. “Apple and Google both have been very kind and helpful and of course they never asked to limit the content in any way,” the spokesperson told ReadWrite.

Even the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest edition, which depicts the prophet Muhammad holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign while shedding a tear, appears in the App Store. Depicting Muhammad’s image—something that Charlie Hebdo does regularly—is considered heretical to some Muslims.

The necessity of making an in-app purchase to access Charlie Hebdo’s content may provide Apple with enough comfortable distance to approve the free app. Regardless, it’s a dramatic change for Apple, which rejected comparatively tame American political cartoonist Mark Fiore’s animation app in 2009. According to Apple’s rejection letter at the time, Fiore’s offending images included cartoons that criticized torture and White House party crashers. It wasn’t until 2010, when Fiore won the Pulitzer Prize, that Apple relented.

An onslaught of customer complaints following Fiore’s rejection also led to changes in Apple’s rules, which now allow apps that feature ridicule of public figures and the like. Apple’s difficult relationship with satire remained an issue, however. In 2013, the App Store rejected the iOS game Sweat Shop, which dealt with the conditions in Third World factories.

Whether the Charlie Hebdo app is an aberration greenlighted in the aftermath of a horrifying tragedy, or this marks a real change to Apple’s App Store and iTunes restrictions, remains to be seen. 

Lead image courtesy Valentina Calà

View full post on ReadWrite

Surprise! You Can Now Buy Terrorist-Baiting Charlie Hebdo App In Apple’s App Store And Google Play

Five years after the staff of Charlie Hebdo gave up on the idea of submitting an app to Apple due to its notoriously restrictive approval process for political and controversial content, the French satirical magazine now has one live in the App Store, as well a Google Play.

What a difference a bunch of dead cartoonists makes.

Last week, Apple approved a “Je Suis Charlie” geo-tracking app for people who want to show their support for free expression in the wake of the massacre at the publication’s office in Paris.

“Contrary to what you thought would happen if Charlie Hebdo was to submit its app, it did get approved,” a spokesperson from Le Monde, the French daily newspaper which built the app, said.

Groupe Le Monde, which owns Le Monde, is one of several media outlets in France to offer material support to Charlie Hebdo following the January 7 terrorist attack, which left 10 staff members dead. Along with with the daily newspaper Libération, Radio France and France Televisions, Groupe Le Monde volunteered staff and equipment to ensure Charlie Hebdo’s continued publication.

As part of that support, Le Monde’s mobile team began building the Charlie Hebdo app the day after the massacre. They wanted to have the app available for download on Friday, the day the first post-shooting issue of Charlie Hebdo hit the newsstands, the spokesperson told ReadWrite. Now, anyone unable to find a print copy of Charlie Hebdo’s 3 million-issue run (up from its standard 60,000) can download the app in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The Charlie Hebdo app is free to download, but you have to make a $2.99 in-app purchase in order to access the latest issue, or shell out $89.99 for a year’s subscription. The latest issue is available in English and Spanish as well as French. But Anglophones and Hispanophones take note: future issues will be only appear in French.

According to Le Monde’s spokesperson, time limitations proved the greatest obstacle in getting the Charlie Hebdo app on the market. “We needed to build the app, to translate all the content to Spanish and in English, and hurry a way to display the translations,” he told ReadWrite. “Second, we needed to get the proper documents from Charlie’s survivors to open the official accounts, and as you can guess they were mourning their loss, working on the survivor’s issue, dealing with the press.”

Despite Charlie Hebdo’s caustic content, receiving Apple’s approval for the app was not a problem. “Apple and Google both have been very kind and helpful and of course they never asked to limit the content in any way,” the spokesperson told ReadWrite.

Even the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest edition, which depicts the prophet Muhammad holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign” while shedding a tear, appears in the App Store. Depicting Muhammad’s image–something that Charlie Hebdo does regularly–is considered heretical to some Muslims.

The necessity of making an in-app purchase to access Charlie Hebdo’s content may provide Apple with enough comfortable distance to approve the free app. Regardless, it’s a dramatic change for Apple, which rejected comparatively tame American political cartoonist Mark Fiore’s animation app in 2009. Offending images included, according to Apple’s rejection letter at the time, cartoons that criticized torture and White House party crashers. It wasn’t until 2010, when Fiore won the Pulitzer Prize, that Apple relented.

An onslaught of customer complaints following Fiore’s rejection also led to changes in Apple’s rules, which now allow apps that feature ridicule of public figures and the like. Apple’s difficult relationship with satire remained an issue, however. In 2013, the App Store rejected the iOS game “Sweat Shop,” which dealt with the conditions in Third World factories.

Whether the Charlie Hebdo app is an aberration greenlighted in the aftermath of a horrifying tragedy, or this marks a real change to Apple’s App Store and iTunes restrictions, remains to be seen. 

Lead image courtesy Valentina Calà

View full post on ReadWrite

How Apple’s New App-Refund Policy Could Hurt Developers

European Apple users got a holiday bonus recently: Apple now offers a new two-week return policy for iTunes, App Store and iBooks customers in the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and other countries in the European Union.

Apple’s previous policy restricted refunds to a narrow set of circumstances where the user might claim they never got the app in question—before “delivery of the product has started.” Apple support reps could make exceptions when glitches or busy servers made downloading impossible, but people had to contact them first.

Now residents in many European countries won’t have to deal with that hassle. But their win could be a thorny issue for app developers.

European Users May Cheer, But Not All App Makers Will

The official change in policy likely stems from an E.U. mandate last June that requires retailers to provide a 14-day right of cancellation or return period. Likewise, the new terms expand the review period to 14 days, within which users can get a refund, no questions asked.

Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.

The refund policy does not apply to iTunes gift cards. In all other cases, however, there’s little to stop people from trying out apps and then getting their money back. (They can request it online via the “Report a Problem” tool, or by writing to the company). 

See also: Apple Services iOS Developers With New App Store Analytics

That may be a welcome change for users, but it can complicate matters for app makers. Thanks to the policy, people may try out paid apps and choose to keep ones they wouldn’t have downloaded before. In the best-case scenario, it could wind up lifting its already exploding digital economy even further. The iTunes store brought in $4.6 billion in revenue last quarter, including 85 billion App Store downloads.

Sounds great. But developers who make high-value apps—like games—could wind up being collateral damage if users get in the habit of grabbing them for a specific purpose, then demanding refunds. 

For instance, you can keep your visiting brother out of your hair with “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” and then ask for the $6.99 back after he leaves in a week. No questions asked. It would be the equivalent of buying a DVD, watching the movie, and then returning it—something most retail stores don’t allow.

It’s already hard enough to get users to pay for apps up front. The refund policy will likely push more app developers to offer free games with in-app purchases, such as new levels or abilities that can only be unlocked if the player pays up.

On the other hand, a more liberal refund policy could prompt users to download paid apps they might otherwise have passed up. If those users end up keeping the app, that’s money the developer might not otherwise have seen.

A Test Case

In the U.S., brick-and-mortar retailers tend to offer a similar refund policy that can run anywhere from one week to a couple of months, depending on the purchase and the location. But there’s no universally applied law covering all retailers, both physical and digital—and in most cases, playable media like movies and video games can only be returned unopened.

Apple’s new terms apply to E.U. countries only. The old, annoying restrictions on refunds live on for Mac and iOS users in the U.S., Canada and other non-E.U. countries. 

Photo collaged by Adriana Lee, based on image by OTA Photos

View full post on ReadWrite

Mastering Apple’s Gigantic iPhone 6 Plus With Puny Hands

When I held an iPhone 6 Plus for the first time, I laughed. It looked comically huge in my little grip. Now I can’t imagine life without that big screen.

If you’ve dismissed large phones due to their unwieldy size, here’s something to consider: Despite tiny hands and normal-size pockets, I’ve managed just fine with Apple’s “embiggened” new iPhone. No hand cramps. No finger spasms. Believe it or not, I can even use most features with one hand.

If you’re wondering what dark magic this is, let me fill you in on my secret: A couple of cheap add-ons have made all the difference, transforming the super-sized phone from ridiculous gizmo to one of the most useful, usable Apple mobile devices I’ve ever relied on.

The Add-On That Makes The 6 Plus Sing In My Hands

The Plus is so big, it can literally hide my whole hand.

The iPhone ditched its squarish design, going for a super-slim profile with rounded sides that feel good, but make the iPhone 6 Plus a dicey proposition. Perhaps more than other huge smartphones, this potentially delicate device feels like it could slip easily out of my hands. Having butter fingers really doesn’t help.

I took the plunge anyway, and I’m glad I did. My own clumsiness and an upsetting phone-snatching incident this summer put me on the hunt for a phone case with finger loops. What I found was even better. Meet the Bunker Ring

This is no cockamamie thumb extender. The Bunker Ring (available on Amazon for $16) is a simple metal loop that attaches to your phone. The add-on can rotate 360-degrees, double as a kickstand and be reused on different devices. 

Initially, I doubted the grip of the tacky material that adheres it, but after several weeks now, I can attest that it hangs on for dear life. (It’s actually rated for 8 to 9 pounds of weight.) But if it ever starts to feel wiggly, just pull it off and rinse it under water. There’s no actual glue or adhesive, so water won’t ruin it, and it won’t damage your phone’s finish. Just let it dry, and it’s sticky again, ready to be reapplied. 

See also: A Thief Snatched My iPhone—And I Learned A Lot About Smartphone Crime

Concerned about the holding power being too good—Would pulling it off bend my device?—I picked up an inexpensive phone case and tacked it to that instead. 

Presto.

Bonus, the case even has a little nub for a hand strap or dongle.

Even less expensive options exist, of course, but for an item that holds up my very expensive phone, I didn’t want to go too cheap. 

A Bunker Crop Of Goodness

With my gear complete, the 6 Plus has taken on new life for me. I can reach up to the top …

… down to the bottom …

… and all the way to the left. 

No need for that weird workaround Apple calls “Reachability,” which lowers the screen so users can touch the tippy top. I kept setting it off accidentally, which had me rushing to shut it down. Now I don’t ever have to trifle with it again.

With the ring on the back, the phone feels more stable in my hand. My fingers can stretch to reach buttons or inputs without any phone-teetering now. I can hold the device above my head to snap photos, reach most controls on the opposite side of the screen, as well as do some basic texting. 

“Basic” is the operative word, though. The shift key and numbers button on the lower, far left side still remains out of reach. So if I need to text more than “lol,” “ok,” “c u” or “be right there,” the effort may require my other hand.

This hasn’t been a huge problem. I use a smartphone with one hand much less often than I realized. And when my hands are full, I tend to dictate to Siri anyway. Your mileage may vary.

The iPhone 6 Plus: 6 Weeks Later

Apple needs to stock this item, because it makes an incredible difference to the usability of the iPhone 6 Plus.&nbsp;

More than a month in, and I’ve noticed changes in my habits. I’ve barely touched my iPad mini (which may partially explain the downturn in Apple’s tablet business). I watch a lot more video on my phone now, and I tend to reach for the Plus for viewing photos, documents and websites.

Through all that usage, I have yet to drop my device. Apparel makers want to help too; they’re already redesigning pockets to fit large phones. But there’s one scenario I haven’t solved yet: taking it on a bike ride. Massive arm bands for the 6 Plus are nothing short of ridiculous.

There are two items that might resolve that: the $29 Flip Belt and the LD West Holster ($120 CAD, roughly $106 USD). Once again, both accessories work for different devices. 

The holster might be a bit pricey, and I could question the value of a smartphone that requires add-ons to make it functional. But then I remind myself of one thing: With the 6 Plus—or, for that matter, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Nexus 6—I don’t need a tablet anymore. If the 6 Plus can save a bit of money, why not dedicate a fraction of those savings to accessories? 

Product photos courtesy of related companies; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite 

View full post on ReadWrite

Shots Fired! Mark Zuckerberg Defends Against Anti-Ad Statements From Apple’s Tim Cook by @mattsouthern

If you follow Apple news you might remember a story back in September where CEO Tim Cook published an open letter expressing his criticism of free online services that make money through advertising. When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product… Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or Web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. Cook’s comments weren’t lost on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company does a lot of what Cook was critical of. In an article published this week by Time […]

The post Shots Fired! Mark Zuckerberg Defends Against Anti-Ad Statements From Apple’s Tim Cook by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

View full post on Search Engine Journal

Apple’s iOS 8.1.1 Update Is Pretty Minor—Unless You Have An iPhone 4S Or iPad 2

Apple mobile software updates have been a dicey proposition lately, so you might be inclined to skip the minor follow-up to last month’s big iOS 8.1 release. Unless, that is, you have an older iPhone or iPad.

Apple promises to boost performance for the earliest gadgets with the A5 processor and iOS 8—specifically the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The fifth-generation iPod touch and the first iPad mini also use the A5 chip, though Apple didn’t call them out explicitly. But it’s possible they might see some improvements as well. 

See also: Apple Really Needs To Get It Together

Developers have been working with an early beta version for a few weeks now, and by all accounts, the software appears to be pretty stable. So if you still have PTSD over the world of hurt iOS 8.0.1 wreaked, take heart—at the very least, this one shouldn’t cripple your phone.

The caveat, as with most iOS software updates, is for jailbreakers. If you hacked your iPhone using the Pangu tool to gain access to system-level resources or ability to install unauthorized software, or plan to some time soon, you may want to hold off on iOS 8.1.1 for now. The update will kill the Pangu jailbreak.

As for everyone else, the release notes for version 8.1.1 boast “bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.” 

The new update follows last month’s introduction of iOS 8.1, which launched Apple Pay and the iCloud Photo Library public beta.

You can download and install the software directly on your handset over Wi-Fi through Settings > General > Software Update, or perform the update by connecting to iTunes on your desktop.

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

View full post on ReadWrite

What Does Apple’s iAd Global Expansion Mean for Search Marketers?

As paid search moves toward mobile, search marketers need to hone their ad buying skills and diversify their spend.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

SearchCap: App Extensions Coming To Bing Ads, Apple’s Search Ambitions & How To Win At SEO

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: App Extensions Coming To Bing Ads App extensions will be available to advertisers on Bing Ads starting next spring. Timed to coincide with the removal of explicit…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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