Software

Apple Watch Still Waiting On App Developers 213 213

An anonymous reader writes: It's been almost three months since the Apple Watch launched, and the tiny device hasn't taken people's wrists by storm. That's not to say it's a failure — experts estimate Apple has sold between three and five million of them, and we may get more detailed sales information during their earnings call, tomorrow. But many major app developers are still missing from the Watch's catalog, and Apple doesn't have a good way of roping them into the new section of its ecosystem. "I don't know if we could get it all in there in a way that feels good and works well," said a Facebook executive. "Why would you look at a small picture when you can look at a large one on your phone?" said Snapchat's CEO. The app rush that hit phones and tablets is dampened for the Watch. For now, all Apple can do is improve their development toolkit and hope coders can figure out useful new wrist-based interactions.
Businesses

Silicon Valley Still Wrestling With Diversity Issues 398 398

An anonymous reader writes: As major tech companies come under increased scrutiny over the diversity of their workforces, many of them are focusing solely on the "pipeline" of workers educated in a computer-related field. They're pouring resources into getting kids to code, setting up internships, and even establishing mentoring programs for underrepresented groups. But experts say they're still failing to root out their own internal biases when making hiring decisions. "That bias shows up in recruiting, with companies drawing from the same top universities, where black and Hispanic graduates are still lagging behind other groups. ... The problem is particularly acute at start-ups, where black founders are just 1 percent of venture-invested firms, according to a 2011 survey by CB Insights." The tech companies are under mounting pressure to solve this problem, and the solutions they're pursuing won't show results quickly.
United Kingdom

Man Arrested After Charging iPhone On London Overground Train 674 674

An anonymous reader writes: 45-year-old Robin Lee was arrested after he used a socket on a London Overground train to charge up his iPhone. He was handcuffed and arrested for "abstracting electricity". Robin was then charged with "unacceptable behaviour" after "becoming aggressive" when objecting to his first arrest. The Guardian reports: "Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lee said he had been confronted by a police community support officer on the overground train from Hackney Wick to Camden Road on 10 July. The Overground is part of Transport For London’s wider network that also includes London Underground and the buses. 'She said I’m abstracting electricity. She kept saying it’s a crime. We were just coming into the station and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform. She called to them and said: ‘This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested’.”
Cloud

How Apple Music Can Disrupt Users' iTunes Libraries 360 360

An anonymous reader writes: Early adopters of Apple Music are warning others they could get more than they bargained for if they intend to download tracks for offline listening. Since Apple Music is primarily a streaming service, this functionality necessitates turning on iCloud Music for syncing purposes. The way Apple syncs files is to scan your library for known music files, and if it finds one, the service gives your account access to Apple's canonical copy. Unfortunately, this wipes out any custom edits you made to the file's metadata. For those who have put a lot of time into customizing their library, this can do a lot of damage to their organizational system. Apple's efforts to simplify and streamline the process have once again left advanced users with a difficult decision to make.
Movies

"Jobs" vs. "Steve Jobs": Hollywood Takes Another Stab At Telling the Steve Jobs Story 266 266

theodp writes: Didn't like Jobs, the 2013 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher? Maybe you'll prefer Steve Jobs, the 2015 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender. "Steve Jobs is a tech visionary, total dick," writes Esquire's Matt Patches in his mini-review of the just-released Steve Jobs trailer. So, is inspiring kids to become the "Next Steve Jobs" a good or bad thing?
Safari

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 311 311

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
United States

Google, Apple, and Others Remove Content Related To the Confederate Flag 818 818

davek writes with news that Google is removing results related to the Confederate Flag from Google Shopping, the company's online marketplace. They're also blocking advertisements involving the flag. They say, "We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our Ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group." At the same time, Apple is removing from the App Store any games or other software featuring the Confederate Flag. This, of course, follows the recent shooting in South Carolina, which triggered a nationwide debate over whether the flag should be flown at government buildings (or anywhere). Major online merchant websites like eBay and Amazon have already taken the step of banning merchandise relating to the flag.
Music

Taylor Swift: Apple's Disdain For Royalties Is 'Shocking, Disappointing' 368 368

Mark Wilson writes to note that Apple Music, yet unlaunched, already faces resistance on several fronts. From the BetaNews article: It's not just smaller, independent labels that are complaining about Apple's refusal to pay artists any royalties during the initial three month free trial period. Taylor Swift has added her voice to the growing number of complainants, writing an open letter to Apple in which she says she will withhold her new album "1989" from the service. In the letter, entitled "To Apple, Love Taylor," the singer says that the company's decision not to make royalty payments is "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Swift is an artist who could afford to shoulder the cost of three months of not being paid by Apple, but she has chosen to make a stand and stick up for those who are less fortunate.
Businesses

Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats 288 288

An anonymous reader writes: Since 2005, Monster cables have been licensed under Apple's "Made For iDevice" program, which lets cable manufacturers put a logo on their product signifying they work with Apple products. Now, Apple has revoked that certification. In January of this year, Monster sued Beats, accusing its founders of fraud. Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014, and Monster is accusing Apple of bullying them by terminating the licensing deal. Monster's general counsel said the move would "significantly disrupt Monster's business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008."
Programming

Swift: Apple's Biggest Achievement For Coders 337 337

GordonShure.com writes: Despite its publicity and hype being rather quiet by Apple standards, the Swift programming language has attracted praise since its release last year. Swift is one of the few Apple products that represent a departure from the hardware-led Steve Jobs approach to the business. If this year's survey of coders by Stack Overflow is anything to go by, it looks as if the language might have potential to really shake things up in a landscape which has been little changed since the 1990s. Might the days of Apple programmers relying upon objective C be numbered?
Portables

Surface Pro 3 Handily Outperforms iPad Air 2 and Nexus 9 204 204

An anonymous reader points to an interesting comparison of current tablets' peformance, as measured with the Geekbench benchmarking tool, which boils down various aspects of performance to produce a single number. The clear winner from the models fielded wasn't from Apple of Samsung (Samsung's entrants came much lower down, in fact), but from Microsoft: the i5-equipped Surface Pro 3, with a Geekbench score of 5069.; second place goes to the Apple iPad Air 2, with 4046. The Nexus 9 rated third, with 3537. One model on the list that U.S. buyers may not be familiar with is the Tesco Hudl 2, a bargain tablet which Trusted Reviews seems quite taken by.
Open Source

Reactions To Apple's Plans To Open Source Swift 246 246

itwbennett writes: At Apple's WWDC 2015 event yesterday, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, announced that the company planned to open source the Swift language. Reaction to this announcement so far has sounded more or less like this: Deafening applause with undertones of "we'll see." As a commenter on this Ars Technica story points out, "Their [Apple's] previous open-source efforts (Darwin, WebKit, etc) have generally tended to be far more towards the Google style of closed development followed by a public source dump." Simon Phipps, the former director of OSI, also expressed some reservations, saying, "While every additional piece of open source software extends the opportunities for software freedom, the critical question for a programming language is less whether it is itself open source and more whether it's feasible to make open source software with it. Programming languages are glue for SDKs, APIs and libraries. The real value of Swift will be whether it can realistically be used anywhere but Apple's walled garden."
IOS

WWDC 2015 Roundup 415 415

Here's an overview of the main announcements and new products unveiled at WWDC today.
  • The latest OS X will be named OS X El Capitan. Features include: Natural language searches and auto-arrange windows. You can make the cursor bigger by shaking the mouse and pin sites in Safari now. 1.4x faster than Yosemite. Available to developers today, public beta in July, out for free in the fall.
  • Metal, the graphics API is coming to Mac. "Metal combines the compute power of OpenCL and the graphics power of OpenGL in a high-performance API that does both." Up to 40% greater rendering efficiency.
  • iOS 9: New Siri UI. There’s an API for search. Siri and Spotlight are getting more integrated. Siri getting better at prediction with a far lower word error rate. You can make checklists, draw and sketch inside of Notes. Maps gets some love. New app called News "We think this offers the best mobile reading experience ever." Like Flipboard it pulls in news articles from your favorite sites. HomeKit now supports window shades, motion sensors, security systems, and remote access via iCloud. Public Beta for iOS 9.
  • Apple Pay: All four major credit card companies and over 1 million locations supporting Apple Pay as of next month. Apple Pay reader developed by Square, for peer-to-peer transactions. Apple Pay coming to the UK next month support in 250,000 locations including the London transportation system. Passbook is being renamed "Wallet."
  • iPad: Shortcuts for app-switching, split-screen multitasking and QuickType. Put two fingers down on the keyboard and it becomes a trackpad. Side by side apps. Picture in picture available on iPad Air and up, Mini 2 and up.
  • CarPlay: Now works wirelessly and supports apps by the automaker.
  • Swift 2,the latest version of Apple’s programing language . Swift will be open source.
  • The App Store: Over 100 billion app downloads, and $30 billion paid to developers.
  • Apple Watch: watchOS 2 with new watch faces. Developers can build their own "complications" (widgets with a terrible name that show updates and gauges on the watch face). A new feature called Time Travel lets you rotate the digital crown to zoom into the future and see what’s coming up. More new features: reply to email, bedside alarm clock, send scribbled messages in multiple colors. You can now play video on the watch. Developer beta of watchOS 2 available today, wide release in the fall for free.
  • Apple Music: “The next chapter in music. It will change the way you experience music forever,” says Cook. Live DJs broadcasting and hosting live radio streams you can listen to in 150 countries. Handpicked suggestions. 24/7 live global radio. Beats Connect lets unsigned artists connect with fans. Beats Music has all of iTunes’ music, to buy or stream. With curated recommendations. Launching June 30th in 100 countries with Android this fall, with Windows and Android versions. First three months free, $9.99 a month or $14.99 a month for family plan for up to six.
Businesses

Why Apple and Google Made Their Own Programming Languages 260 260

Gamoid writes: This Business Insider article looks into the state of Google Go and Apple Swift, highlighting what the two languages have in common — and why tech companies would bother involving themselves in the programming language holy wars. From the article: "One fringe benefit for Google and Apple is that making your own programming language makes recruitment easier — for instance, since it builds a lot of its own server applications in Go, Google is more likely to hire a developer who's already proficient in the language since she would need less training."
DRM

Apple Music and the Terrible Return of DRM 260 260

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's rumored music streaming service looks set to materialize soon, and a lot of people are talking about how good it might be. But Nilay Patel is looking at the other side — if the service fits with Apple's typical mode of operation, it'll only work with other Apple products. "That means I'll have yet a fourth music service in my life (Spotify, Google Play Music, Prime, and Apple Music) and a fourth set of content exclusives and pricing windows to think about instead of just listening to music." He points out Steve Jobs's 2007 essay on the state of digital music and notes that Jobs seemed to feel DRM was a waste of time — something forced on Apple by the labels. "But it's no longer the labels pushing DRM on the music services; it's the services themselves, because locking you into a single ecosystem guarantees you'll keep paying their monthly subscription fees and hopefully buy into the rest of their ecosystem. ... Apple Music might be available on Android, but it probably won't be as good, because Apple wants you to buy an iPhone.... There's just lock-in, endless lock-in. Is this what we wanted?"