Posts tagged iPhone

SearchCap: Google Mobile URLs, Bing Ads Variants & Bing iPhone App

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Bing iPhone App Gets A Refresh With New Privacy Controls, Image Search Results & More Emojis

Updates make it possible to launch apps from the search results page, enable a “Privacy Search” mode, view video snippets inline and more.

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Bing Ads Launches iOS Mobile App For iPhone And iPad

Advertisers can monitor account performance and make simple edits to their campaigns on the go.

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Here’s More Evidence Google May Bring Android Wear To The iPhone

With photos to back it up, the Verge reported Thursday that Google is definitely developing an Android Wear app for use on the iPhone. This is the second time such news has made its way to the Web, having first been reported in March on French tech site 01net.

Before that, an enterprising tinkerer had figured out a way to connect his Moto 360 with his iPhone. There’s even an app on the Play Store right now that claims to connect Android Wear devices with an iPhone (though my own attempts to do so with my iPad have all failed so far). 

Google’s official response to my inquiry on this report has been the standard “We have nothing to announce at this time.” But the photos—showing both a Moto 360 and a G Watch R displaying iOS-specific notifications—make it seem pretty clear that the app is happening.

The real questions, however, are whether Apple would actually have the guts to allow it to show up on its App Store—and what Google has to gain by provoking Apple in the first place.

Apptagonism

As we’ve discussed before, Apple isn’t completely opposed to letting other companies’ wearable companion apps into the App Store. Pebble, Fitbit, and Microsoft all have apps available in the App Store that link non-Apple devices with the iPhone.

That said, Apple is still selective in terms of which devices will get its full support. Neither Fitbit nor the Microsoft Band are compatible with Apple’s Health App; they have to rely on standalone apps, or in the case of Fitbit, third-party workarounds.

<a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shiitakeo.android_wear_for_ios”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Apple has even less incentive to allow any kind of Android Wear capability onto iOS, simply because Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch are such direct competitors. Add Google and Apple’s longstanding mobile rivalry, and it seems even less likely.

At the same time, it’s difficult not to see Google’s potential iOS app as a gibe at Apple’s walled-off ecosystem. Assuming Google isn’t developing the app with Apple’s cooperation—which seems reasonable given their antagonistic relationship—an Android Wear app for iOS would only exist as a testament to Apple’s refusal to play nice.

The Pursuit of Appiness

However, Apple would actually have plenty to gain by opening its software doors to Google. For starters, it could show that Apple isn’t afraid to show off the Apple Watch’s superiority to Android Wear.

If iPhone users truly want to go for a less expensive wearable, they ought to be able to. And if the Apple Watch truly is the superior device, those cheapskates might realize their mistake before too long.

More important, however, Apple opening its doors to Android Wear might also mean the eventual appearance of an Apple Watch app on the Google Play Store. With Android’s worldwide market share exceeding that of the iPhone, allowing those mobile users to connect a shiny new Apple Watch might be a great business move. (If somewhat at odds with Apple’s apparent desire to hook its users specifically into its services.)

<a href=”androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo on the Google Play Store”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Remember, the iPod was once an Apple-exclusive device. It became a true hit once a Windows-compatible version was released. The Apple Watch is the first new product to come from the company in years. Opening up its potential to users on non-Apple platforms would be a smart way for the company to ensure it’s as much of a hit as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it.

Android Wear on iPhone images via shiitakeo on Google Play Store

View full post on ReadWrite

There’s More Evidence That Google May Bring Android Wear To The iPhone

With photos to back it up, the Verge reported Thursday that Google is definitely developing an Android Wear app for use on the iPhone. This is the second time such news has made its way to the Web, having first been reported in March on French tech site 01net.

Before that, an enterprising tinkerer had figured out a way to connect his Moto 360 with his iPhone. There’s even an app on the Play Store right now that claims to connect Android Wear devices with an iPhone (though my own attempts to do so with my iPad have all failed so far). 

Google’s official response to my inquiry on this report has been the standard “We have nothing to announce at this time.” But the photos—showing both a Moto 360 and a G Watch R displaying iOS-specific notifications—make it seem pretty clear that the app is happening.

The real questions, however, are whether Apple would actually have the guts to allow it to show up on its App Store—and what Google has to gain by provoking Apple in the first place.

Apptagonism

As we’ve discussed before, Apple isn’t completely opposed to letting other companies’ wearable companion apps into the App Store. Pebble, Fitbit, and Microsoft all have apps available in the App Store that link non-Apple devices with the iPhone.

That said, Apple is still selective in terms of which devices will get its full support. Neither Fitbit nor the Microsoft Band are compatible with Apple’s Health App; they have to rely on standalone apps, or in the case of Fitbit, third-party workarounds.

<a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shiitakeo.android_wear_for_ios”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Apple has even less incentive to allow any kind of Android Wear capability onto iOS, simply because Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch are such direct competitors. Add Google and Apple’s longstanding mobile rivalry, and it seems even less likely.

At the same time, it’s difficult not to see Google’s potential iOS app as a gibe at Apple’s walled-off ecosystem. Assuming Google isn’t developing the app with Apple’s cooperation—which seems reasonable given their antagonistic relationship—an Android Wear app for iOS would only exist as a testament to Apple’s refusal to play nice.

The Pursuit of Appiness

However, Apple would actually have plenty to gain by opening its software doors to Google. For starters, it could show that Apple isn’t afraid to show off the Apple Watch’s superiority to Android Wear.

If iPhone users truly want to go for a less expensive wearable, they ought to be able to. And if the Apple Watch truly is the superior device, those cheapskates might realize their mistake before too long.

More important, however, Apple opening its doors to Android Wear might also mean the eventual appearance of an Apple Watch app on the Google Play Store. With Android’s worldwide market share exceeding that of the iPhone, allowing those mobile users to connect a shiny new Apple Watch might be a great business move. (If somewhat at odds with Apple’s apparent desire to hook its users specifically into its services.)

<a href=”androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo on the Google Play Store”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Remember, the iPod was once an Apple-exclusive device. It became a true hit once a Windows-compatible version was released. The Apple Watch is the first new product to come from the company in years. Opening up its potential to users on non-Apple platforms would be a smart way for the company to ensure it’s as much of a hit as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it.

Android Wear on iPhone images via shiitakeo on Google Play Store

View full post on ReadWrite

Kill Switches Are Killing Off iPhone Thefts

Looks like the theory that smartphone kill switches discourage theft may be graduating to fact.

Three cities—London, New York and San Francisco—all saw fewer iPhones reported stolen since Apple began putting kill switches into its smartphones, Reuters reports. The drop in crime wasn’t just a subtle downward slope either. Think of it more like the fall off a cliff.

Apple launched the iPhone feature a year and a half ago, and since then, New York City authorities noted a 25 percent decline in iPhone thefts. San Francisco weighed in with a 40% decrease, while in London, thefts dropped by half. All thanks to the software that effectively “bricks” phones by disabling them.

Officials in the three cities issued a joint statement announcing the results.

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

The news must be very gratifying for London Mayor Boris Johnson, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, all of whom argued for laws to make kill switches mandatory.

Few U.S. jurisdictions have kill switch laws outside of Minnesota and California. The latter just passed one of the strongest last year, though it hasn’t yet gone into effect. Apple, as the maker of one of the most stolen smartphones, voluntarily added the switch—dubbed Activation Lock—in August 2013. Last year, the feature remained a fundamental part of the company’s new and very popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phablet.

Samsung and Google have also implemented kill switch features, and Microsoft will add them into its upcoming Windows phones. In general, the mobile industry seems open to the broad idea of kill switches, but would rather make them opt-in, rather than turned on by default. That led smartphone makers, carriers and the mobile trade group CTIA to argue against the California law, which will mandate default activation. 

See also: Smartphone “Kill Switch” Now Mandatory In California

According to William Duckworth, an associate professor of data science and analytics at Creighton University, American consumers spend $580 million per year (PDF link) on replacements for stolen phones. A National Consumers League statistic from 2012 revealed that 1.6 million people in the U.S. had a handheld device stolen from them. 

Lead photo by Jonas

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The Scoop On Microsoft’s New Outlook App For iPhone and Android

Acompli built an Outlook-like mobile app that was so good, Microsoft bought it, renamed it and just released it as the company’s own official Outlook app for iOS and Android

Microsoft has been pushing to extend the reach of its Office productivity software to iPhones and iPads, as well as a preview version for Android tablets. (The latter loses the “preview” label today and becomes a full release.) Meanwhile, the company also gave Windows mobile users Office apps and its own version of the email and calendar software. The lack of Outlook apps for iOS and Android, the world’s most popular mobile platforms, seemed like a huge gaping hole. 

Turns out, Acompli managed to fill that annoying, inefficient void just fine. 

See also: Microsoft Office Comes To iOS For Free

Like Outlook, Acompli combined email, appointments, contacts and an attachment manager into one app, so users don’t have to bounce between separate, incompatible applications. Microsoft acquired Acompli last December, and appears to have wasted no time in slapping a new name on it and pushing it out the door. Here’s what you need to know. 

Building A Better Outlook: Mission Acompli’ed

There’s no question that Outlook on the desktop is a powerhouse email client. On Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms, however, it looked like a power failure. 

Microsoft’s email, calendar and contacts application has been dominant on the desktop literally for decades—which is no surprise, since it comes bundled with versions of Microsoft Office. But before Thursday, Outlook on iPhones and Androids existed mostly as glorified Web apps for Office 365 users or via numerous third-party Outlook alternatives. 

See also: How To Get Started With Microsoft Office On iPad

Most of the choices paled in comparison to full-fledged Outlook, but one managed to do better. Launched less than a year ago, Acompli garnered immediate rave reviews after its April 2014 release. The free app quickly became a hit—so much so that Microsoft itself couldn’t resist scooping it up later that year. 

For the startup, the deal gives it access to “over a billion Office users,” Javier Soltero, co-founder of Acompli and now general manager for Outlook, wrote on the Microsoft Office blog. It also allows for “tighter integration with Office and Outlook, the most popular desktop email app on the planet.” 

The new Outlook is a dead ringer for the old Acompli, an app I’ve been using on the iPhone for several months now. In that time, three features have stood out for me: I can choose Chrome as the default Web browser for email or document links, instead of Safari.

The “focused inbox” for priority messages may not be perfect at picking out important emails, but it’s helpful enough to be handy. The app also offers a handy attachment viewer that integrates with cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and, of course, Microsoft’s OneDrive service. 

All of these features remain in the new app, at least for now. 

“For our Acompli users, Outlook will be a familiar experience, as we’re developing the apps from this code base,” the Official Microsoft Blog states. “You will see us continue to rapidly update the Outlook app, delivering on the familiar Outlook experience our customers know and love.”

In other words, Microsoft wants the former Acompli app to resemble the Outlook experience, and it’s in a hurry to get it there. How much of a hurry became plain when Julia White, Microsoft’s general manager of Office, told the Verge, “We have been and we’ll continue to update the app weekly.” 

Those updates will likely lead to heavier emphasis on the company’s own offerings. Hopefully that won’t come at the expense of integration with Google Drive or other external cloud storage services. 

Super Email Busting Powers

When it comes to email on Acompli—er, Outlook—support for Gmail, Yahoo and iCloud, as well as Microsoft’s own Outlook.com and Exchange, won’t go anywhere. In fact, it would benefit Microsoft to link up with as many major email providers as possible, to keep users relying on the app. 

Outlook also offers one of the most popular email features these days: Like with Google’s Inbox, Dropbox’s Mailbox and the now-defunct Acompli, users can swipe to schedule, archive or delete. 

The finger-flinging really adds a jetpack to zipping through unwieldy piles of messages, which should appeal to the businesses and workers that form Microsoft’s key user base. 

Serving businesses has always been a primary focus for Microsoft, which has seen competition heat up in this area—most recently by Amazon, which just introduced its own WorkMail service. White said, “we’ll be rounding out the really important business and organizational capability of the app too,” though she didn’t elaborate on what exactly that means yet. But with weekly updates, we may not have long to find out.

For now, Outlook for iOS and a preview for Android are both available for download. Early user reviews seem solid for the iPhone version, and generally positive on Android, though apparently some people report various bugs. That’s understandable, given that the preview app is essentially an early beta-type release. 

The user interface supports 30 languages, and the apps require iOS 8.0 and higher, or Android 4.0 and above. To check them out, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play, or play the promo video embedded below. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite; all others courtesy of Microsoft

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The iPhone May Be Booming, But The iPad Is Still Cratering

Lurking behind Apple’s dazzling October-December iPhone sales  (74.5 million units, up 46% against a year earlier) and financial results (a 30% jump in revenue to $75.6 billion, a 38% jump in net income to $18 billion) was some almost unremarked bad news. Namely, that the iPad is still tanking.

Apple sold just over 21 million iPads during the holiday quarter, a drop of 5 million units compared to the same quarter a year earlier. The once iconic tablet also posted its first full calendar year of decline; Apple sold just 63 million iPads in 2014, the lowest number since the tablet’s launch in 2011 and a 14.6% fall compared to 2013.

See also: How The iPad Stalled And Android Took Over The Tablet Market

Overall tablet sales have slowed dramatically over the past year, but the iPad is faring much worse than the overall market. In November, the research firm IDC predicted that 2014 tablet shipments would rise by 7.2% compared to 2013, but that iPad shipments would fall by 12.7%.

We now know that the iPad did even worse than that, although IDC hasn’t released final 2014 figures yet. For comparison, IDC predicted 16% growth in Android tablet shipments and a 67% rise (from a low base) for Windows tablets.

The Apple Rebuttal

As always, Apple CEO Tim Cook remained upbeat about the iPad despite the poor sales numbers, insisting that he felt it was a product that should be looked at “over the long arc of time” rather than in quarterly segments.

“I see that the first time buyer rates are very high,” he said during the company’s earnings call with analysts. “If you look in developed markets like the U.S., Japan, (and) the U.K., you’d find that 50 percent of people are buying iPad for the first time. In China, it’s over 70 percent. When you have that kind of first time buyer rate, you don’t have a saturated market.”

Cook also theorized that the lifespan of the iPad was playing a part in the decline in sales. “The upgrade cycle is longer, somewhere between an iPhone and a PC,” he said. “There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with Mac on one side and iPhone on the other. It’s very hard to tell in the early going.”

According to Apple, the record-setting financial numbers were due to all-time highs in iPhone, Mac, and App Store sales. Sales numbers were up in China, where Apple established two more retail stores in the last quarter. On the conference call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said Apple planned to have 40 stores open in Greater China by 2016.

China figures to be a key battleground for Apple in the near future, representing a huge market for customers and the base of its largest competitor in the country, Xiaomi

Photo by TonyV3112 for Shutterstock

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iOS 8.1.3 Shrinks Free Space Needed For iPhone Updates

Apple just removed one of the biggest irritations with its current iPhone software—the amount of free space on your handset required to install updates.

The latest release of its iOS mobile software, version 8.1.3 shrinks that storage requirement, which can vary depending on the specific iPhone or iPad model. Previous versions of iOS 8 forced many users—particularly those with 8GB or 16GB devices—to either delete apps, media or other data to make room, or connect their cables to perform a “tethered” iTunes sync. 

iOS 8.1.3 also promises to nix password issues for Messages and FaceTime, a Spotlight glitch that sometimes kept apps out of search results; and problems related to iPad multitasking gestures. The release notes also cover new configuration options for education standardized testing environments. 

For the most part, the update looks like a set of bug fixes. The next major version, iOS 8.2, which has entered its fourth beta for developers, will include support for Apple’s upcoming wearable, the Apple Watch. Analysis of that beta version reveals that the software will let Watch users customize watch faces, and include a passcode-protected lockscreen (and auto-unlock in the presence of a companion iPhone), among other things.

iOS 8.1.3 will apply to any device running iOS 8, which includes iPhones 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus; iPads 2 and later; and the iPod Touch, fifth generation.

Photos and screenshots by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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EFF To Apple: No iPhone App For You

On Friday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation released an Android app designed to alert users about new digital-rights campaigns, such as this one against NSA surveillance. iPhone users, however, are out of luck; the EFF refused to release an iOS version of the same app, explaining that it found Apple’s developer-agreement terms “outrageous.”

Among other things, the EFF objects to Apple’s complete control over the availability of apps; they can only be distributed through the company’s app store, and Apple can remotely disable apps on a whim should it choose to. The EFF is also not a fan of Apple’s attempts to prevent developer from talking about the agreement itself.

Corynne McSherry is the intellectual property director at EFF and has worked there since 2006. She specializes in issues dealing with copyright, trademark, and free speech issues, and penned the post by EFF explaining its problems with the Apple terms. While neither Apple’s developer agreement nor EFF’s problems with it are new, McSherry said the issue seemed newly relevant given the organization’s release of the Android app.

“We felt like we owed folks an explanation,” she said. According to McSherry, Apple hasn’t budged on the agreement.

“Suffice to say Apple is well-aware of our concerns,” she said. “Apple has made a choice that they don’t want to change that agreement. I think they’re going to change it if they hear from enough people, not just EFF but also developers.”

While the EFF feels the Google developer agreement for Android apps isn’t perfect, it doesn’t make the same “onerous” demands that Apple does. McSherry said that EFF understands many people and developers feel they need to agree to the terms for business reasons, and that the organization doesn’t mean to imply anything negative about anyone that does agree to them. Still, EFF felt it needed to “walk the walk” as far as its espoused beliefs.

“We were not going to put our imprimatur on that agreement,” she said. The EFF currently has a petition asking Apple to make changes.

Apple did not respond to request for comment.

Photo by TonyV3112 for Shutterstock

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