It’s been a long time coming, but Firefox for iOS is nearly here… in a manner of speaking. Mozilla has revealed that it’s about to conduct a “limited” beta test of the web browser, and has already posted source code for early testers. The organization would like to have an open beta that gives everyone an early peek (à la Android), but that’s not really possible with Apple’s current testing mechanism. Still, a public release is likely close behind — if you’re not a fan of your iPhone’s existing web surfing options, you’ll have another major alternative before long.
9to5Mac, citing unnamed sources, reports that Apple is potentially gearing up to release its updated Transit service — the same one it nixed immediately before last year’s WWDC event — with iOS 9. Transit acts as an add-on layer to Apple’s existing Maps program providing accurate navigation instructions for public transportation systems. This functionality hasn’t been available as a part of the official built-in app ever since Apple switched to its own service instead of using Google’s.
Transit will reportedly also offer a host of additional UI tweaks when it’s released, in addition to those bus, train and subway routes. That includes larger icons, a trip-planning feature and “transit view” — an alternative to the existing Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite/Flyover shots. iOS 9 is scheduled to debut at WWDC 2015 so we’ll have to wait until June to see if Transit actually does make the cut this year.
Source: 9to5 Mac
Missed out on a live game tournament stream when you were at home, but want to catch up when you’re on the road? As of now, you can. Twitch is pushing out updated Android and iOS apps that include video on demand, giving you highlights and past broadcasts when you’re stuck on the bus. Both releases are available today, although it’s important to note that you can’t simply update the Android version — a security fix requires that you install a brand new app, and the old one will stop working as of today.
Hey, Google: you might not be the only tech giant that can rethink email apps. Twitter user WalkingCat claims to have discovered a download page for Microsoft’s “Flow by Outlook,” an iPhone email app that’s all about “rapid” and “light-weight” conversations. Reportedly, the software tosses out the usual trappings, such as subject lines and signatures — you’re supposed to use Flow almost like a chat client, and it only includes threads that started within the app. There’s no mention of when Flow would arrive (or spread to other platforms), and Microsoft isn’t commenting on the leak. If the scoop is accurate, though, you’ll probably get a chance to try this client at some point in the relatively near future.
When Apple switched the iPhone to the smaller, simpler Lightning connector back in 2012, it also ditched one of the iPhone’s most appreciated accessories: the dock. Yes, for the past three years you’ve had to either buy a third-party cradle or accept that your smartphone would lay flat on its back. At long last, though, you have an official option. Apple has quietly released the iPhone Lightning Dock, a simple perch that keeps any Lightning-equipped iPhone standing while it’s charging or playing tunes through the dock’s built-in audio jack. At $39, it’s certainly not the cheapest dock you can get. If you insist on first-party gear, though, you can order this peripheral today.
Source: Apple Store
The Great Apple/Samsung Legal Throwdown of 2012 ultimately resulted in the Korean company having to pay a whopping $930 million in damages for violating Apple intellectual property… or it did, until this morning. A Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier today that while Samsung did indeed violate Apple’s design patents, it didn’t do the with same Apple’s trade dress – broader elements of design and aesthetic that dictate the presentation of Apple’s gadgets. With that bombshell dropped, the court has asked for an update on the damages to be awarded sans the trade dress stuff, which should work out to a roughly $382 million discount for Samsung.
Let’s flash back to the heady days of 2012 for a moment. During the heat of the trial, Apple presented a handful of examples of (unregistered) trade dress that it believed Samsung had infringed upon with devices like the Galaxy S and Nexus S. While some of Apple’s examples – “a rectangular product with four evenly rounded corners,” “a flat, clear surface covering the front of the product” – the company tried to argue that they were just for show and had no impact on usability. After some further investigation, the appeals court disagreed with the argument, saying that “the requirement that the unregistered trade dress ‘serves no purpose other than identification’ cannot be reasonably inferred from the evidence”. That is to say, since trade dress protection only applies to design elements that are nonfunctional and these design choices were seemingly made for the sake of customer comfort, Apple’s argument is out.
If you’re itching for some juicy documents to kick off your Monday, the full decision (courtesy of AppleInsider) can be found below.
Filed under: Mobile
Does DARPA employ psychics or something? I mean they must, or how else can you explain this precognitive glimpse at the modern world? The advanced research agency produced it more than a decade ago! Admittedly, many of the ideas featured were already rolling out, in development or pulled from sci-fi, but you can see the futuristic vision (and ugly UIs everywhere) in this DARPA film, Strategic Cyber Defense. Included are a number of modern technologies such as ubiquitous touchscreens, voice activated computer interfaces (a la “Ok Google“), advanced behavioral analysis, real-time translation and automated cyber-defenses. Watch the video below to see how many of today’s future technologies you can spot — and how many are better off left as concepts that didn’t pan out.
Filed under: Science
Source: DARPA (Twitter)
Extra-large phones have been hot stuff in some countries for a long while, but not so much in the US. The country must have had a change of heart in the past few months, however. Kantar Worldpanel estimates that gigantic devices jumped from 6 percent of American smartphone sales in the first quarter of last year to 21 percent in early 2015. Why? If you ask Kantar, the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus was partly responsible — it racked up 44 percent of all supersized phone sales despite being just a few months old. The analyst group isn’t saying much in public how other brands were doing, although it’s safe to say that category pioneer Samsung grabbed a large slice of the pie thanks to high-powered behemoths like the Galaxy Note 4.
Android still rules the roost worldwide, although there’s signs that this is changing ever so slightly. Google’s mobile OS was the top choice in the five biggest European countries with a 68.4 percent share, but the iPhone grew its stake by 1.8 percent. The biggest leap was in China, where Apple’s gangbuster iPhone sales saw it grow from 17.9 percent of the market in early 2014 to 26.1 percent a year later. Reportedly, that’s due in part to Apple courting more than just well-off buyers. While Android still dominates the budget space (35 percent of European Android buyers said price was a major factor), it doesn’t have the free rein that it enjoyed in the past.
Photo by Will Lipman.
Apple doesn’t have to rely solely on outside web providers like Google or Microsoft to fuel your iOS and Mac searches. The company has confirmed the rumored existence of Applebot, a web crawler that collects site information for the sake of Siri and Spotlight queries. It behaves much like Google’s crawler, looking for the familiar “robots.txt” file that tells it what results to exclude on a given site; it’ll follow typical Google instructions if there isn’t any Apple-specific rule set. It’s not clear how long Cupertino has been running its bot, or whether there’s anything more in the works. However, it’s evident that Apple wants its online searches to work no matter what its partnerships look like in the future.
Mophie’s cases are a popular choice for adding some extra minutes to your mobile device’s battery life. While the company already had both charging and storage options for the iPhone 6, it how offers protection from water damage, too. The H2PROTM accessory not only packs in an additional 2,750 mAh battery, but it’s waterproof as well. An IP-68 rated Otterbox-esque design also protects the handset from dirt and drops with easy access to those side-mounted controls and a mute switch. Worried about Touch ID? Mophie’s scratch-resistant membrane that covers the screen will still allow you to leverage that feature. What’s more, priority-charging tech makes sure your phone charges before the case when plugging in is unavoidable. If you’re itchin’ to snag one, the Mophie H2PROTM is available for pre-order now for $130 and it’s schedule to ship later this month. Unfortunately, there’s no word on an iPhone 6 Plus option just yet.