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Apple's Jeff Williams: Native Apple Watch Apps Coming This Fall, Apple Watch Sales are 'Fantastic'

Apple's Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams today took the stage at Re/code's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, to speak about Apple's recently released wearable device, the Apple Watch.

Williams is the person who oversees Apple's supply chain, much like Tim Cook used to before he became Apple's CEO, and he was described by Walt Mossberg as the "quiet figure" behind many of Apple's popular products like the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Williams says he oversees 3,000 engineers in addition to the supply chain, and offered a tidbit on Apple's recent 74 million iPhone sales in the holiday quarter -- if you stack them like pancakes, they'd reach higher than the International Space Station.

According to Williams, who declined to give specific sales figures on Apple's wearable, the Apple Watch is doing "fantastic." When asked by what metric, he went on to say that customers "love the Apple Watch" even more than he expected. The Apple Watch, he said, is "gathering momentum" even in a market where other products aren't doing as well, because many millennials don't wear watches.

When pressed for details on Apple Watch sales numbers, Williams said that Apple would "rather spend time making great products" than focusing on the numbers, but he did say Apple had sold "a lot" of them.

On the topic of Apple Watch apps, Williams says third-party apps will get better when developers are able to release native apps and when access to native sensors is permitted. He gave an example of what a native Apple Watch app might do, suggesting an app like Strava

iOS 9 to Gain New 'Proactive' Lifestyle Management Feature With Augmented Reality Maps

Apple's Siri and search features may expand significantly in iOS 9, letting Apple better compete with Google's feature rich voice-based search component, Google Now. As detailed in a lengthy report from 9to5Mac, Apple is said to be working on an iOS initiative called "Proactive," integrating features like Siri, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps into an expanded Spotlight search.

Proactive will reportedly function as a search feature that's built deeply into iOS, replacing the existing Spotlight search menu (shown to the right). It may be accessed either from the top of the screen home screen as Spotlight is, or from the left of the home screen. Taking advantage of several Apple acquisitions like Spotsetter and Cue, Proactive is positioned as a lifestyle management tool.

Proactive is said to include a dedicated search bar much like Spotlight, so the design will be instantly familiar to iOS users, and it will continue to allow searches for email content, apps, music, and more. Below the search bar, a new user interface will display unique content from apps, Contacts, and Maps, providing easily accessible information to help iOS users navigate through their daily activities.
For example, if a user has a flight listed in her Calendar application and a boarding pass stored in Passbook, a bubble within the new Proactive screen will appear around flight time to provide quick access to the boarding pass. If a user has a calendar appointment coming up, a map view could appear with an estimated arrival time, directions, and a time to leave indicator

CBS Likely to Reach Streaming TV Deal With Apple, Met With Eddy Cue Last Week

Apple's much-rumored plans to launch a streaming TV service in the fall were confirmed today at Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where CBS CEO Les Moonves told Re/code's Kara Swisher that CBS will "probably" sign a deal with Apple for the network to be included as a launch partner. “We’re very excited about it,” he told Swisher during his live interview on Wednesday morning.

CBS CEO Les Moonves speaks with Kara Swisher at Code Conference (Re/code)
Moonves confirmed that he met with Apple senior executive Eddy Cue last week to discuss the plans, as part of an "ongoing conversation" about the upcoming streaming TV service, but said he does not know when the service will launch. The service has been rumored to be unveiled at WWDC next month, but Apple's efforts to include local programming could delay the announcement until later this year.
“Apple TV is trying to change the universe,” Moonves said, by offering a smaller bundle of TV networks, delivered over the Web, than pay TV providers traditionally sell. Moonves said Apple’s effort was similar to ones that have already launched from Dish Network’s Sling and Sony’s Vue.

“I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying,” Moonves said. “The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS,” adding that his network will get a bigger proportion of whatever revenues those “skinny bundles” generate than it does in traditional packages.
Apple's web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between

Apple Updates WWDC App With Apple Watch Support, Confirms June 8 Keynote Date

Apple today updated its its WWDC app ahead of its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference, adding support for the Apple Watch and confirming the keynote event for the conference will take place on Monday, June 8 from 10 a.m. Pacific Time to 12 p.m. Pacific Time. According to the app's release notes, with the new Apple Watch portion of the app, users can add sessions to Calendar, listen to audio, and give feedback on session videos right from their wrists.

This year's WWDC keynote should be rather exciting, as Apple is poised to launch two new services at the event. Rumors have suggested that we can expect to see the debut of both a new streaming music service based on Apple's existing Beats service and a new streaming television service.

The television service is brand new territory for Apple, and will see the company offering an assortment of channels that can be streamed over the Internet with no cable subscription. A new set-top box with support for Siri and a full App Store is also expected to make an appearance at WWDC, as is additional detail on Apple's HomeKit initiative.

We will, of course, see the next versions of both iOS and OS X. iOS 9 and OS X 11 are rumored to be updates that are focused on bug fixes and performance improvements, but some consumer-facing features will be included. Transit Maps routing information and split-screen multitasking may find their way into iOS, OS X may gain a new Control Center, and both operating systems are expected to adopt the San Francisco font introduced with the Apple Watch.

Update: An earlier version of this

Google Search Will Begin Indexing iOS App Content in Coming Weeks

Google has announced that it will begin indexing content from iOS apps in search results in the near future, enabling iPhone users to open mobile app content straight from Google Search. The company says that indexed links from an initial group of apps will begin appearing on iOS in search results in both the Google app and Chrome for signed-in users in the coming weeks.

Google first introduced app indexing in search results for Android in October 2013, giving developers full control over what app content they would like indexed in search results. A user looking to make a reservation at a restaurant in New York, for example, can access an indexed version of OpenTable directly from search results, book a table and return to Google by tapping the top bar.

Google also outlines instructions for developers on how to get an iOS app indexed in search results, a process that, among other steps, involves adding deep linking support to the app and submitting an iOS app indexing interest form. Google notes that filling out the form does not automatically guarantee getting app deep links in iOS search results, and encourages those interested to attend the “Get your app in the Google index” talk at Google I/O this

Apple Surpasses Google to Reclaim Title of World's Most Valuable Brand

Apple was named the most valuable global brand in market research firm Millward Brown's tenth annual BrandZ brand value report [PDF], seeing a 67% rise in brand value to $246.9 billion. The Cupertino-based company surpassed Google, which ranked first in the 2014 report, to reclaim the top ranking in the study for the fourth time in the past five years. See BrandZ's annual reports in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for reference.
"With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent."

The top ten most valuable global brands in the report is made up almost entirely of technology and telecom companies, with Microsoft, IBM, Visa, AT&T, Verizon, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Marlboro rounding off the top ten after Apple and Google. Other notable technology companies on the list include Facebook (12th), Amazon (14th), HP (39th), Oracle (44th), Samsung (45th) and Twitter (92nd).

Millward Brown explains that its brand valuation methodology is based on three million consumers and more than 100,000 different brands in over 50 markets, with brand appeal measured against actual sales performance. The overall brand value of BrandZ's index saw a 14% year-over-year increase and 126% growth over the past decade.

New iOS Bug Crashing iPhones Simply by Receiving a Text Message [Includes Fix]

A new bug has been discovered in the Messages app, allowing a string of characters sent to a person via iMessage or SMS to crash an iPhone and cause the Messages app to crash after being opened. The bug, which requires a specific string of symbols and Arabic characters to be sent, was first noticed on reddit earlier this afternoon and has been spreading around the Internet since then.

Sending the string of characters to an iPhone results in an immediate respring, causing an iPhone to crash and quickly reboot. From there, if the Messages app was opened at a list view, the Messages app crashes automatically when you try to open it. If it was opened to the conversation where you received the message, the app will open, but attempting to go to another conversation causes Messages to crash.

MacRumors tested the bug on iPhones running iOS 8.3, but it may also be affecting other versions of iOS.

If you receive one of these messages, there are a few possible fixes that have worked for us and for other people who have encountered the bug. If the Messages app was opened to the conversation with the person who sent the offending message, the Messages app can be reopened to this conversation. Sending a reply message fixes the problem.

If Messages was opened to the conversation list view, the app will crash when you attempt to open it. You can fix this by having someone send you a message or by sending a message to yourself. There are several options for sending a message to yourself, including sending yourself a message via Siri or through the Share sheet in any app.

Apple Replaces Problematic 'Discoveryd' Process With mDNSresponder in 10.10.4 Beta 4

In today's fourth OS X 10.10.4 beta, Apple made a significant behind-the-scenes change that could result in improved networking performance for some users -- the removal of the "discoveryd" process. As noted by MacRumors forum members and 9to5Mac, in OS X 10.10.4 beta 4, the discoveryd process has been replaced by mDNSresponder.

Since OS X Yosemite debuted in October, there have been ongoing complaints about discoveryd consuming CPU resources, draining battery life, and causing issues with Wi-Fi. These problems have lingered for several months, even after multiple bug fixes and performance improvements included in OS X 10.10.1, 10.10.2, and 10.10.3.

Discoveryd was introduced with OS X Yosemite, replacing mDNSResponder for managing Mac networking tasks, but it's led to a host of problems like those listed above along with issues like slow wake from sleep, failures to resolve DNS names, duplicate machine names, and more, as detailed in a post earlier this year by Ars Technica. Several developers have also complained about discoveryd in Yosemite, including Instapaper's Marco Arment and Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry.
It's no secret in the tech community that discoveryd is the root cause of so many problems. There are even crazy workarounds. With so many issues, you'd expect some information from Apple explaining ways to mitigate the problems.
The removal of the unstable discoveryd process in OS X 10.10.4 beta 4 may improve network stability problems for many users who have been experiencing continual issues. With the removal of discoveryd, Apple has reverted back to

iOS 9's Upcoming Transit Addition to Maps May Be Limited in Scope at Launch

Apple has been working on adding mass transit routing information to its Maps application for several years, and while the feature appears to be ready to debut as part of iOS 9, it could be limited in scope at launch. The transit service may initially be available only in a small number of cities across the United States, Canada, Europe, and China when iOS 9 is released to the public, according to sources that spoke to 9to5Mac.

San Francisco and New York are said to be two of the locations in the United States where transit directions will be available. Both major cities are known for their public transportation options. In Canada, Toronto will likely gain transit routing options in the Maps app, as will London, Paris, and Berlin in Europe. Cities in China will also be included in the initial launch.

Apple is planning to expand access to transit information to additional cities following the fall launch of iOS 9, and cities that the company is hoping to add support for in the near future include Boston, Massachusetts and Tokyo, Japan, among others. Apple will likely work quickly to expand the feature even further across the rest of 2015 and into 2016.

Mass transit routing options have been missing from Maps since 2012, when Apple's native mapping system first replaced Google Maps in iOS 6. Transit directions were initially expected as part of iOS 8, and hints of transit options were indeed found in iOS 8 documentation, but organizational issues and staff shortages allegedly delayed the feature's release.

Apple's acquired many mapping-related companies since it

Apple Seeds Fourth OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite Beta to Developers, Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of OS X 10.10.4 to developers, just over two weeks after releasing the third OS X 10.10.4 beta and a month after releasing the first OS X 10.10.4 beta. OS X 10.10.4 has been in testing since mid April, following the early April release of OS X 10.10.3 with the new Photos for OS X app.

The new beta, build 14E26a, can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store or through the Mac Developer Center.

OS X 10.10.3 brought several consumer-facing changes including the new Photos for OS X app, a redesigned emoji picker, and diversified emoji, but OS X 10.10.4 appears to be an under-the-hood update that brings performance enhancements and bug fixes. Thus far, OS X 10.10.4 betas have not included outward facing design changes or feature additions.

The first two updates to OS X Yosemite, OS X 10.10.1 and OS X 10.10.2, were also minor behind-the-scenes updates that improved performance through bug fixes and

iOS 9 to Feature Force Touch With Haptic Feedback, New Keyboard and Group Read Receipts

Following a recent report suggesting that iOS 9 could feature "Rootless" security, "Trusted Wi-Fi" and support for legacy A5-based devices, today 9to5Mac followed up on a few smaller-scale improvements to Apple's next major software version that could have a big impact on the overall experience for iPhone and iPad users.

The next-generation iPhone will feature some form of Force Touch as one of the biggest new additions to the hardware, a rumor that has been circulating since the beginning of the year and only gaining forward momentum. The report today, however, specifically mentions that Apple has designed iOS 9 "to be Force Touch-ready" and is already hard at work with developers to integrate the technology into various apps.

Since Apple's work on Force Touch runs the gamut of iOS devices, there's also a possibility of updated Force Touch displays on new iPad models sometime this year. All iOS versions of Force Touch are also expected to provide the real-time haptic feedback buzz similar to that of the Apple Watch to provide users a physical response when their deep presses have been noticed. As 9to5Mac points out, however, since any new Force Touch on iOS announcement automatically requires the confirmation of new hardware, any iPhone and iPad support for the feature is unlikely to happen at WWDC.

Next, Apple is rumored to be working on a new keyboard experience for iOS 9, with the company experimenting on multiple designs, like one that is "slightly longer than the current keyboard" and provides users with a more robust suite of editing options while in

Microsoft Announces Cortana For iPhone Available Later This Year

Microsoft today announced that its Cortana personal digital assistant will be available for iPhone and Android smartphones later this year, after multiple rumors hinting at cross-platform expansion of the service over the past year. Windows 10 will also feature a new "Phone Companion" app as a central place for PC users to install Cortana and other Windows-related apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.


Microsoft unveiled Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 last April as the company's answer to Siri and Google Now, and the company is also bringing the personal digital assistant to the desktop as part of Windows 10 this summer. Cortana's features include contextually-aware reminders, routing and mapping, current weather and traffic conditions, sports scores, biographies and more.

Some of Cortana's features on Windows Phone won't initially be available on iPhone and Android smartphones, including toggling settings, opening apps or "Hey Cortana" hands-free invoking of the personal digital assistant. Microsoft will also release an updated version of its Xbox Music app for iOS with free streaming playback of your music files and playlists from OneDrive in late June or