Apple has received final approval for its upcoming Union Square Apple Store from the San Francisco Planning Commission and the city’s Board of Supervisors, reports Re/code. With the go ahead from the city, Apple can begin construction on the new store, which is located approximately three blocks away from its existing San Francisco store.
A model of the San Francisco Apple Store courtesy of ifoAppleStore
"We are thrilled that the city of San Francisco has given its final approval to begin work on our new store and public plaza, which will make a wonderful addition to Union Square and create hundreds of local jobs," Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette told Re/code. "Our Stockton Street store has been incredibly popular, welcoming over 13 million customers since it opened nine years ago, and we look forward to making a new home on Union Square."
Apple first earned final approval from the planning commission in February and it received a necessary zoning concession from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week after agreeing to revise its initial building plans. Apple’s original plan, which received some criticism, called for the removal of the historical Ruth Asawa fountain at the location and the installation of an 80-foot wide wall along a key pedestrian and transit corridor.
The company filed a revised plan back in August, pledging to move the fountain to a nearby location, add an eight-foot wide window for visual interest, and move the glass wall of the store back by four feet.
Apple's new Union Square store will be located in the former Levi's building at the corner of Post and Stockton streets. Renderings of the location have suggested it will have massive 44-foot tall sliding glass panels at the entry way, with an Apple representative calling the location "more iconic" than the company's well-known Fifth Avenue store in New York City.
Though it was only released yesterday morning, iOS 7.1 has already been installed on 5.9 percent of iOS devices in North America, according to a new report from analytics firm Chitika. To get its numbers, Chitika measured ad impressions from tens of millions of iOS-based devices in the U.S. and Canada from March 9 to March 11, 2014.
The adoption rates are similar to those of iOS 7.0.6, which offered a critical security fix and was installed on 13.3 percent of iOS devices 48 hours after release and 25 percent of devices after four days.
As with most minor version updates, iOS 7.1 adoption rates have been less dramatic than those of its major-version counterparts. In the 24 hours following the operating system's public release, iOS 7.1 users generated 5.9% of total North American iOS Web traffic.
iOS 7.1 offers CarPlay support, Touch ID improvements, bug fixes, and several visual tweaks for iOS, including revamped shift and caps locks keys for the keyboard, refined icons for the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages apps, and a redesign for several aspects of the Phone dialer and shutdown screen.
Beyond iOS 7.1, iOS 7 users generated more than 80 percent of all iOS web traffic over the three days Chitika measured, a number that has remained steady since the company's previous February 26 study.
Chitika's overall iOS 7 usage numbers in North America are in line with reports from Apple's App Store support page for developers, which indicates 83 percent of all iOS devices have iOS 7 installed as of March 9, 2014.
Tuesday March 11, 2014 11:31 am PDT by Juli Clover
Microsoft is planning to introduce an updated version of its Office productivity suite for the Mac in 2014, according to Thorsten Hübschen, Business Group Lead at Microsoft Germany, who gave Computerwoche (via Macworld) the news at the Cebit trade fair in Hanover.
While there's little information available on a possible release date, Hübschen said more news on the product should come during the second quarter of 2014. Microsoft's current Office software for the Mac was released more than three years ago in October of 2010.
At the Cebit trade fair in Hanover, Hübschen told Computerwoche that there are now development teams for each of the Office applications, which each produce versions of their product for different platforms. In addition to MacOS, other possible targets for the future may include tablets running iOS and Android.
Microsoft originally had plans to release Office for Mac in the spring of 2014, but it appears the company will miss that timeline, instead planning for a release later in the year. According to a representative from Microsoft, the company is indeed working on the next version of Office for Mac.
"The team is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac," she said in an email. "While I don't have details to share on timing, when it’s available, Office 365 subscribers will automatically get the next Office for Mac at no additional cost."
Tuesday March 11, 2014 10:40 am PDT by Juli Clover
When Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen removed his ultra popular app from the App Store back in February, he gave little explanation for the surprising decision, aside from a short message stating he could no longer take the attention.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Nguyen explains why he pulled the app, pointing to extensive press coverage and unwanted attention in his home town of Hanoi. While Nguyen enjoyed his early success, he was swarmed by the media after news of his monetary success was revealed. At the height of its popularity, Flappy Bird was generating upwards of $50,000 per day.
As news hit of how much money Nguyen was making, his face appeared in the Vietnamese papers and on TV, which was how his mom and dad first learned their son had made the game. The local paparazzi soon besieged his parents' house, and he couldn’t go out unnoticed. While this might seem a small price to pay for such fame and fortune, for Nguyen the attention felt suffocating.
Even more troubling were the messages he began receiving from parents and Flappy Bird players who had become addicted to the game. One woman told him he was "distracting the children of the world," and Nguyen worried the game was too addictive.
Another [message] laments that "13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it’s addicting like crack." Nguyen tells me of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids. "At first I thought they were just joking," he says, "but I realize they really hurt themselves."
According to Nguyen, who had trouble in school because of his own addiction to Counter-Strike, those messages were a major reason why he opted to put an end to Flappy Bird. When asked by the interviewer why he ultimately pulled the app, he said "I'm master of my own fate. Independent thinker."
With Flappy Bird’s removal from the App Store, hundreds of clones have popped up. While Apple initially attempted to stem the flood of Flappy Bird-style games, the game’s success has continued to tempt developers into creating clones. At the end of February, one-third of new games released over a 24-hour period ended up being games that were heavily inspired by Flappy Bird and Nguyen's success. "People can clone the app because of its simplicity," Nguyen said, "but they will never make another Flappy Bird."
Flappy Bird clones
Nguyen told Rolling Stone that removing Flappy Bird from the App Store has been a "relief," but he is also contemplating returning the app to the App Store.
"I'm considering it," Nguyen says. He’s not working on a new version, but if he ever releases one it will come with a "warning," he says: "Please take a break."
Though Flappy Bird is no longer available for download, it continues to make money for Nguyen, "generating tens of thousands of dollars." The app's success has led Nguyen to quit his job, and he’s considering purchasing both a Mini Cooper and an apartment as he continues to develop new games.
Rolling Stone's full interview with Nguyen, which is well worth reading, also includes tidbits on the development of Flappy Bird, details on Nguyen's childhood, his game creating experience, and info on his future plans.
Tuesday March 11, 2014 8:18 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple is preparing to significantly improve its Maps application in iOS 8, claims a report in 9to5Mac. Apple will slow its work on UI changes and focus instead on improving the underlying infrastructure that powers the application. These data-level changes will make Maps more informative and reliable for iOS users.
The new application will also be injected with new points of interests and new labels to make places such as airports, parks, train stations, bus stops, highways, and freeways easier to find, the sources added. Sources also say that the mapping application’s cartography design has been tweaked to be slightly cleaner and to make streets more visible.
Public transit is another major area that Apple will bring to the iOS 8 version of Maps, tapping into the engineering talent the company has acquired from mapping companies such as HopStop and Embark. The new Maps app likely will allow users to find train, subway and bus information in major U.S. and international cities. These public transit options will be embedded in the maps themselves and in the Directions panel, where they will show up in a new tab next to "Driving" and "Walking."
Mockup of iOS 8's transit features
These changes are only the beginning of Apple's proposed plans for its Maps application, as the company is reportedly also working to add indoor mapping views, improved car integration, and augmented reality features in the future.
Apple switched away from a Google-powered mapping solution in 2012 when it introduced its own Maps application alongside iOS 6. Apple's Maps faced extensive criticism at launch when a series of high-profile incidents highlighted embarrassing inaccuracies in mapping data and missing features like street view and transit directions that were available in its competitors' products. Apple CEO Tim Cook even issued a personal apology to iOS owners, promising to improve the app until it lives up to Apple's "incredibly high standard."
Tuesday March 11, 2014 7:03 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple's much rumored larger iPhone is said to be a variation on the iPhone 5c rather than the iPhone 5s, according to a new report from Mac Otakara. Sources indicate that the larger iPhone would be an expansion to Apple's lineup rather than replacing the positions currently held by the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Mac Otakara's sources claim Apple has decided on 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch displays as potential candidates for new iPhone models that would launch later this year. These two sizes originally were singled out by Reuters in a report published last year.
This new iPhone model may keep the basic design of the iPhone 5c such as the rounded back edges, button designs, and speaker/microphone hole designs, with some inspiration from the seventh-generation iPod nano. The latest iPod nano models are available in a range of colors like the iPhone 5c, but feature an anodized aluminum design instead of polycarbonate.
Sources also claim the 4.7-inch iPhone will measure at 14x7 cm, while the 5.7-inch model will be larger with dimensions of 16x8 cm. Possibly both models will be 7 mm thick with a protruding rear camera as seen on the current iPod touch models, although it the report indicates that the final version of the phone could be expanded to 7.5 mm thick to match the thickness of the camera module. The design for the phones should already be complete for a launch later this year, so it is unclear if Mac Otakara's sources are sharing information from earlier in the design process or if there is simply still some uncertainty in the sources' information.
Rumors about Apple's next generation iPhone have been scattered, with reports suggesting the iPhone 6 will adopt a "bezel-free" display and a 10-megapixel or higher camera module with an improved filter. A sketchy report from earlier this year also claimed Apple was working on an iPhone with a 5.6-inch display that would not be marketed with the iPhone name because of its experimental nature.
While Pandora and iHeartRadio took first and second place with a 31% and 9% share of the market respectively, iTunes Radio accounted for an 8% share with over 20 million users, passing Spotify's 6%. Apple's streaming service also passed the likes of competitors such as Google Play All Access, Rhapsody, Slacker, and TuneIn Radio.
While users can hop between services freely (and at least one report has suggested that 92 percent of iTunes Radio listeners also find time for Pandora), that figure would suggest that iTunes Radio is growing at the fastest rate of the top three services, and is likely to overtake iHeartRadio in the next quarter or two.
Apple launched iTunes Radio in Australia last month, as the company looks to ultimately have the service "in more than 100 countries," according to senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue. The company will be able to roll out its service to additional countries more quickly than competitors due to its existing international rights deals with Universal Music Group and other record companies.
Monday March 10, 2014 6:39 pm PDT by Jordan Golson
Last September, when Apple released iOS 7 to the public, the iPhone 4 was the oldest model supported by the operating system. However, many iPhone 4 users found their devices to be slow and unresponsive, something Apple was likely aware of because there were a number of iOS 7 features that didn't work at all on the iPhone 4, including Siri, AirDrop, AirPlay Mirroring, and a number of special effects across the user interface including parallax, some translucency effects, and live wallpapers.
Today, with the release of iOS 7.1, Apple has much improved the experience of iPhone 4 users on iOS 7, though not entirely back to what users saw in iOS 6.1.3. According to Ars Technica, there is a measurable improvement in iOS 7.1 across a number of native iOS apps, including the speed at which the apps open from the home screen:
There's a measurable improvement over iOS 7.0 across all of these apps, some more noticeable than others. In a few instances, iOS 7.1 very nearly catches up with iOS 6.1.3, which is impressive given the gap between the two operating systems in some of these apps. It's not a complete recovery from the original iOS 7.0 release, but it's about as good as Apple can do with hardware this old. The small speed improvements are present throughout the operating system, and this makes the iPhone 4 feel more responsive than it did, if not always as responsive as it once was.
iOS 7.1 also helps with the UI jerkiness that was all over the place in 7.0. It's easiest to capture the difference in video—actions like launching apps or pulling up the Control Center shade
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 also offers a slew of minor visual tweaks and improvements to the operating system, such as refined icons for the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages apps, along with revamped shift and caps locks keys and a new look for elements of the Phone app.
YouTube channel iTwe4kz has posted a handy overview of the new update, which shows off all of the new features that iOS 7.1 has to offer. The video has a detailed walkthrough of all the visual changes and enhancements, which is well worth watching for users who want a quick guide on what's new.
The full set of changes to the operating system were detailed in our initial post on iOS 7.1, which has a list of release notes directly from Apple and information on other app updates that were released today, including Xcode 5.1 and Remote.
As noted in the video, iOS 7.1 officially disables the iOS 7 evasi0n jailbreak by patching a key kernel exploit. iOS 7.1 is now available for all users via an
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.
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:
CarPlay - 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
Siri - Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and
Musician and songwriter Neil Young, who also has experience 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 formats 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
Monday March 10, 2014 5:51 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Samsung may play a larger role in the production of Apple's next generation A8 processor than previously rumored, claims ZDNet Korea (via GforGames). According to the report, the Korean company has already signed a contract to produce the A8 processor at its Austin, Texas plant and is in the final stages of testing before mass production begins.
This latest information from an anonymous Samsung official contradicts an earlier report that said Samsung was struggling with poor yields of the A8 processor and could not meet Apple's demands. As a result, the bulk of A8 chip production was said to be shifting to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). These "manufacturing issues" were "exaggerated claims" says the Samsung source, stating that the company is ready to start mass production of the A8 in Q2 2014.
While Samsung and TSMC may be splitting A8 production however, the latter already appears to have a lead on the Korean manufacturer. A recent report from Taiwan's Commercial Times claims TSMC has started production of the next generation chip.
Samsung has been the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's A-series chips, but Apple has been looking to depend less on its rival by shifting some of its orders to TSMC. Apple reportedly struck a deal with TSMC in 2013 to start A-series chip production early in 2014.
Sunday March 9, 2014 7:56 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Speaking at this year's South by Southwest conference, Google executive Sundar Pichai announced today that the company will be releasing an Android software development kit (SDK) for wearable devices in two weeks, reportsThe Wall Street Journal.
The news comes ahead of Google's I/O developer's conference in June, where the company is likely to unveil its own smart watch developed in collaboration with electronics manufacturer LG.
Google executive Sundar Pichai told the South by Southwest conference Sunday that the company plans to release in two weeks a software development kit based on Android for makers of wearable devices, such as smartwatches.
Pichai stated that Google is releasing its Android SDK for wearables ahead of actual devices in order to gather "plenty of feedback," as the company's smartwatch will likely be the first device to run its new software. The Wall Street Journal also reported in February that the new mobile operating system will integrate the company's Google Now voice assistant and search feature.
Apple is widely rumored to be working on its own "iWatch" smart watch that could be revealed in the fall, which is said to carry a "full" version of iOS that emphasizes biometrics and integration with other iOS devices. According to the most recent reports, the device will include advanced sensors to track a variety of health metrics such as a user's blood pressure, hydration, heart rate and more. Other rumors have suggested that Apple is developing "Healthbook", an iOS 8 app that would help the iWatch monitor and track health statistics like
Sunday March 9, 2014 3:23 am PDT by Richard Padilla
In preparation for this week's iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, Apple has expanded its Apple TV lineup to include a revamped iTunes Festival channel that allows users to live stream the concert's shows as well as view lineups and artist information.
The channel showcases artists who will be performing at the festival such as Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, and Keith Urban, complete with artist bios and concert showtimes. Direct iTunes links to artist albums are featured as well, along with full details on opening acts.
Apple also updated its iTunes Festival app for iOS last week, which introduced a new design and a revamped icon. Apple announced last month that it would be expanding its iTunes Festival to the U.S. for the first time, as five shows will be held from March 11-15 at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas as a part of the film and music-focused SXSW event.
Moyano pictures a perfectly round device, with grooves in the side that'll allow for multiple looks with different bands. Similar to the Shine from Misfit Wearables, the concept design features no buttons to catch on your sleeve and no holes to allow in water or dust. Submersible and resistant to dust, the watch lacks speakers and will rely on vibration notifications to alert you to an incoming message.
Wait a moment, no speakers? Think about it. A watch is almost always on your hand, pretty far from your ears. Imagine yourself walking on a noisy city: If you want to hear a notification sound from your smartwatch, it should be a loud sound, and to produce it, it would need a lot of energy and big components. Both things not easy to include on a such small device.
Besides that the iWatch will be constantly in contact with your skin and body, an important fact to consider. That's why I decided you shouldn't hear, but feel the notifications. That is right: Vibration notifications. Perfectly submersible and dust resistant vibration notifications.
Battery life will be a challenge in such a small device, so Moyano visualizes the iWatch with micro-solar panels and wireless recharging. To conserve this precious power, the concept iWatch will sacrifice the cellular connection and associated services
Friday March 7, 2014 7:41 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple retained its crown as the number one handset manufacturer among consumers in the U.S., while Google's Android operating system remained the number one platform, according to comScore's latest MobiLens and Mobile Metrix reports. These figures measure smartphone ownership and cover the three months ending January 2014.
Apple beat out rival Samsung with 41.6 percent market share as compared to Samsung's 26.7 percent. When comparing changes over the measured periods, Apple, Samsung and LG made small gains, while Motorola and HTC fell. Apple's market share continues to grow, but its rate of adoption is slowing.
Apple may be the top handset maker, but iOS is outnumbered by the volume of Android phones on the market. Apple's iOS platform was number two with 41.6 percent of the smartphone market, while Google's Android OS was number one with 51.7 percent market share in the recently ended period.
iOS was only the platform to gain ground in the three-month period, inching up from 40.6 percent in the period ending October 2013 to 41.6 percent in the most recent period. Android and BlackBerry lost ground, with each platform dropping 0.5 percentage points.
comScore measures both ownership and usage across a customer's primary smartphone and tablet. It uses an intelligent online survey as well as both panel and census-based measurement methods to compile its data.
Thursday March 6, 2014 9:55 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Just released earlier tonight, Apple's OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 beta appears to have built-in support that enables all compatible 4K displays to be set at a "Retina" resolution, with an option for 60Hz output. The compatibility was first discovered by Twitter user @KhaosT, and was tested with both the Late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro and redesigned Mac Pro in conjunction with Dell's UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD Monitor.
To this point, OS X compatibility with 4K displays has been known to be somewhat erratic, as AnandTech revealed in December that Sharp's 32'' 4K display supported only one scaled resolution at 2560 x 1440. Furthermore, it was discovered that Apple had chosen to render text, menu and UI elements in the same manner as the Retina MacBook Pro, resulting in small and difficult to read on-screen elements on a 4K display. Various other 4K monitors were also found to be not properly supported.
Native support for 4K displays could also indicate that Apple is gearing up to release a higher-resolution Thunderbolt Display, as Apple last refreshed the monitor over two years ago. A number of other companies also introduced more affordable 4K displays at CES 2014 in January, with options from the likes of Lenovo, Asus, Seiki, and LG expected to hit the market throughout this year.
Apple today seeded the first test build of OS X 10.9.3 to registered Mac developers, just over a week after releasing OS X 10.9.2. The new beta, which has a build number of 13D12, is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.
Apple is currently asking developers to focus on Graphics Drivers and Audio, and there is no word yet on specific fixes and changes included in the update.
The last Mavericks update, OS X 10.9.2, added FaceTime Audio, the ability to block iMessage users on the Mac, and a fix for a critical SSL vulnerability. 10.9.2 saw a beta testing period of approximately two months, and it is likely 10.9.3 will also see several beta iterations before a public release.
Thursday March 6, 2014 12:41 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple today updated its iTunes Festival app to version 5.0, ahead of next week's SXSW iTunes Festival, which kicks off on Tuesday, March 11. As noted by MacStories, the iTunes Festival app shows up in the iTunes Store with a revamped icon and is listed as having a "refreshed design" and support for SXSW, but the app isn't available for download in the U.S. just yet.
Clicking on the download link results in an error message that asks users to try again later, but it will presumably be downloadable shortly. Users in other countries have been able to download the app with iOS 7.0.6, suggesting SXSW streaming does not require iOS 7.1 as was reported earlier this week.
Apple's SXSW iTunes Festival is the first it has hosted in the United States, with previous iTunes Festivals occurring annually in London. The festival will offer five free nights of music, beginning on March 11 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Featured artists include Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, Pitbull, Keith Urban, and more.
All of Apple's iTunes Festival concerts are presented for free, with tickets available via a lottery system. Live and on-demand streams of the shows will be available through the revamped iTunes Festival app and the Apple TV.
Thursday March 6, 2014 10:01 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple's CarPlay feature, introduced earlier this week, may be able to be installed in older vehicles, according to new information from Mercedes-Benz. The car company has told 9to5Mac that it is working on "an after-market solution for previous cars," that would allow CarPlay to function in older models.
We've confirmed that at least Mercedes-Benz is looking into aftermarket installations of CarPlay that will allow older models of vehicles to access the feature. While the company confirmed that it is trying to get an "an after-market solution for previous cars" it couldn't confirm when the option might become available. While there is no info yet on how the aftermarket installation would work, we'd imagine it will be a dealer installed accessory for select older models like Honda and others already offer for Apple's Siri Eyes Free feature.
While it is unclear how an aftermarket solution might be implemented, information uncovered earlier this week indicates that CarPlay works in conjunction with BlackBerry's QNX car operating system. The QNX Car Platform is what powers many of the existing in-car infotainment systems installed in a wide variety of automobiles.
CarPlay can be likened to Apple's AirPlay, utilizing in-car infotainment systems to mirror the iPhone's display and functionality, which indicates that it is a technology that can possibly be installed in older vehicles as well as new ones. It will be up to both individual manufacturers and Apple to decide whether aftermarket options will be available for older cars, however. Mercedes-Benz is thus far the only
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