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5
Oct

iOS 9 App Slicing Feature Once Again Available for Developers


In late September, Apple announced that app slicing, an App Thinning feature of iOS 9, was unavailable to developers because of an iCloud backup issue. Apple today updated developers on the status of app slicing, noting that it’s once again available for use following the iOS 9.0.2 update and the recent Xcode 7.0.1 update.

appthinning

The issue affecting app slicing has been fixed, and device-specific versions of apps will be delivered when downloaded by users running iOS 9.0.2 or later.

App slicing is one facet of App Thinning, an iOS 9 feature designed to decrease the size of iOS apps to save valuable space on devices without a lot of storage space. With app slicing, users only download the app assets created for their particular device rather than a full set of assets for multiple devices. For example, on an iPhone 6s, a user will only need to download iPhone 6s specific files, ignoring both larger iPad artwork and lower quality resources for earlier iOS devices.

To take advantage of the space saving features in app slicing, all iOS 9 users should upgrade to iOS 9.0.2. App slicing is not available in earlier versions of iOS 9 or in iOS 8.


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5
Oct

Apple Responds to YiSpecter Malware, Says Fix Was Implemented in iOS 8.4


Over the weekend, security site Palo Alto Networks detailed a new iOS malware that’s able to infect non-jailbroken Apple devices using enterprise certificates and private APIs. It originated in Taiwan and China and was installed through several methods, including hijacking traffic from ISPs, an SNS worm on Windows, and offline app installation.

Called YiSpecter, the malware is able to download, install, and launch apps, doing things like replacing existing apps, displaying advertisements in legitimate apps, changing Safari’s default engine, and uploading user information to remote servers.

yispecterpopupadA popup ad that was able to install YiSpecter on iOS devices
In response to the detailing of YiSpecter, Apple has released an official statement to The Loop explaining that YiSpecter is only able to target iOS users who are running an older version of iOS that have also downloaded content from untrusted sources.

“This issue only impacts users on older versions of iOS who have also downloaded malware from untrusted sources. We addressed this specific issue in iOS 8.4 and we have also blocked the identified apps that distribute this malware. We encourage customers to stay current with the latest version of iOS for the latest security updates. We also encourage them to only download from trusted sources like the App Store and pay attention to any warnings as they download apps.”

Apple implemented fixes for YiSpecter in iOS 8.4, so iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9 are immune to the malware. Users who want to avoid being targeted by YiSpecter should make sure to upgrade to the latest version of iOS and as always, should avoid downloading apps from unverified sources.


5
Oct

Apple Expanding Maps Transit Directions to Boston and Sydney


Apple_maps_ios-9Apple today updated its iOS 9 features page to highlight two new cities where transit directions in the Maps app are now available: Sydney, Australia and Boston, Massachusetts. Sydney and Boston are the first two cities to gain transit information beyond the first wave launch cities.

Transit directions within Maps became available alongside the launch of iOS 9. The first areas that incorporated public transit information into Maps included Baltimore, Maryland; Berlin, Germany; Chicago, Illinois; London, England; Mexico City, Mexico, New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; and Toronto, Canada. Transit directions are also available within hundreds of cities in China.

Apple is planning to expand the availability of transit directions to other cities going forward, with major metropolitan areas being a priority for the company. It appears transit information in Sydney and Boston may still be rolling out as it is not yet accessible to all users in Apple Maps.

Today’s transit update follows recent news that Apple will soon shut down HopStop, the mapping company that it purchased in 2013. The HopStop service offered detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions in more than 600 countries throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and has likely played a major part in the development of the long-awaited transit feature within Apple Maps.


5
Oct

Verizon stops moving forward with Sony Xperia Z4v launch plans


sony_xperia_z4_verizon_white_and_black

Verizon earlier announced that it would be exclusively carrying the Sony Xperia Z4v. And now, the carrier has updated the product announcement saying that it will no longer be going ahead with those plans.

It’s certainly a disappointment for Sony fans, but Verizon could still carry new Sony devices in the future. Here’s what Verizon had to say:

Verizon will no longer be launching Xperia Z4v, however we are committed to supporting Sony Mobile’s product portfolio and will support existing products. Sony is a strategic partner as we continue having ongoing discussions together as part of our future portfolio.

With a Octa-Core Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, the device was one of Sony’s more impressive handsets. It’s unfortunate that Verizon will not carry it, however, it’ll be interesting to see what Verizon and Sony plan to partner with next.

source: Verizon

Come comment on this article: Verizon stops moving forward with Sony Xperia Z4v launch plans

5
Oct

Android 6.0 Marshmallow update begins rolling out over-the-air


android_6-0_marshmallow_falling

Google took to its blog to announce that it has begun rolling out the much anticipated Android 6.0 over-the-air update for Nexus users. It brings with it a whole bevy of cool new features, such as Now on Tap, better battery life, and more.

Google released the factory images for many of its Nexus devices earlier today, allowing users to manually install it. For those not interested in going that route, you should be getting a prompt to download the update over-the-air shortly. If you haven’t gotten it yet, just head on into your devices settings menu and check for it manually.

Keep in mind that the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (2012) will not be getting the update. However, it won’t be long before it’s made available via a custom ROM, but who knows how well it’ll actually perform.

Now we just sit and wait for Android 6.0 on flagships from manufacturers like LG and Samsung. Anyone get the update on their Nexus device yet?

source: Google (Twitter)

Come comment on this article: Android 6.0 Marshmallow update begins rolling out over-the-air

5
Oct

Apple Watch Hermès leather bands are now available


In case you haven’t been paying attention for the last seven months or so, it’s very, very easy to spend a lot of money on an Apple Watch. But if Apple’s own lineup of bands and crazy expensive solid-gold cases aren’t exactly working with your own personal aesthetic, fear not: today, the newly-announced set of Hermès leather bands are now available in selected Apple Stores and Hermès locations around the world.

As a refresher, Hermès is an iconic Paris-based fashion designer and manufacture that has a particular focus on high-quality leather products. As such, they’ve created three different leather bands for the Apple Watch: a fairly traditional leather band called the Single Tour, a longer, double-wrapping strap called the Double Tour, and a wider, chunkier band called the Cuff. The Single Tour model starts at $1,110, comes in both 38mm and 42mm sizing options and is available in three different colors (depending on which size you choose). The Double Tour is for the 38mm Watch only and comes in four different colors, while the Cuff is for 42mm Watches only and is available in one single leather finish.

Fortunately, your hard-earned cash doesn’t just go towards these fancy new straps — you’ll also get an exclusive Hermes-designed watch face and the Hermès logo engraved on the back of your Watch’s body. On the one hand, it’s easy to laugh at these prices, but a partnership with an internationally-recognized fashion designer like Hermès could go a long way towards positioning the Apple Watch as the fashionable timepiece the company wants it to be viewed as. And to keep things properly exclusive, the Apple Watch Hermès is only available in retail stores — no utilitarian online orders will be accepted for this

Via: Apple Insider

5
Oct

Bud Light’s connected fridge ensures you never run out of beer


There’s no good time to run out of beer. And if it’s going to happen, it’s usually when you have friends over or your team is in a close game. To ease the frustration of drinking up all of your suds, Bud Light has the Bud-E Fridge. The mini fridge for folks who are #UPFORWHATEVER monitors the number of bottles inside (it holds 78, by the way) and lets you now when they hit the “optimal temperature” for drinking. There’s also a display on the outside, so a quick glance at the door lets who know how many beers you have. Those stats are beamed via WiFi to a mobile app on both iOS and Android which will also alert you if the game day supply is too low when your favorite NFL team is getting ready to take the field. It also has a countdown timer so you’ll know the exact moment those beers hit the proper temp.

As you might expect, the fridge also works with Bud Light’s home delivery effort so you won’t have to leave the couch when the stock gets dangerously low. Unfortunately, the Bud-E Fridge is only available to California residents right now, and you need to be in San Francisco, LA or San Diego to have a fresh supply delivered. If you happen to live in the Golden State, though, you can snag one for $299 before the price goes up to a whopping $599. Of course, the crew here at Engadget HQ wonders if you could use the fridge to manage your supply of good beer. We’re willing to skip the delivery feature to give it a go.

Via: CNBC

Source: PR Newswire, Bud Light

5
Oct

Sony and Verizon just scrapped the Xperia Z4v’s US launch


Sony makes a mean smartphone, but it could never quite crack the macadamia nut that is the US mobile market. For while there it seemed like it had another fighting chance in the Verizon-only Z4v, too. Not anymore. After much hemming and hawing about its release date, a Sony spokesperson confirmed in an email that Sony and Verizon aren’t bringing the Z4v to America after all. Way to keep us hanging, guys.

“Sony Mobile remains dedicated to the US market and aims to build a sound and stable business in this region,” the statement reads. “Verizon is a strategic partner as we continue having ongoing discussions together as part of our future portfolio.” That’s nice, but it also means Sony doesn’t have much of a portfolio to speak of right now at all. A quick check of the big 4 US wireless carriers’ websites shows precisely one Sony smartphone available for sale now: a $179 pre-owned Xperia Z1S from T-Mobile. We’re sure people are just champing at the bit to get their hands on it, too. There would’ve been more Sony-flavored options but Verizon — one of the company’s biggest US supporters — discontinued the mostly solid Z3v shortly after the Z4v was announced. Perhaps that was… a little premature.

Anyway, it’s maybe not hard to see why Sony and Verizon seemed to just wash their hands of this thing. Sony’s impressive Z5 smartphone family is slated for a global launch in October (a.k.a. this month) and its likely someone up in the corporate chain of command went nope, launching the Z4v right now makes no sense. They were probably right! Regardless, the Z4v was certainly nothing to sneeze at it with its Snapdragon 810 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 20.7-megapixel camera and Quad HD screen — it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea but surely someone would’ve gained a newfound appreciation for Sony after using it. Oh well. Bring on the Z5s, then.

5
Oct

HTC posts yet another huge quarterly loss for Q3 2015


HTC One M9+-7

It’s no secret that HTC has been struggling as of late, and it still looks like things aren’t getting any better. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, HTC has achieved yet another huge loss for the third quarter in 2015.

The Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer has announced that its net loss for the three months ending on September 30th was NT$4.48 billion (~US$138 million). This is compared with a net profit of NT$0.6 billion a year earlier. HTC’s revenue has also dropped to just NT$21.4 billion (~US$658 million) from NT$41.9 billion (~US$1.29 billion) in the same period a year earlier.


HTC One M9+-10Related: HTC is struggling and will continue to struggle44

Unfortunately, this shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone who has been following HTC over the past few years. The company was recently dropped from the TWSE 50 Index, which is the stock market index of Taiwan’s 50 largest firms. This is after HTC announced its plans to cut around 15 percent of its workforce in an effort to cut costs and improve its profitability.

Although it’s clear that HTC’s mobile efforts are dwindling, all hope isn’t lost for the company. HTC is planning to form a new business unit to focus on virtual reality and connected lifestyle products. The HTC Vive really impressed us when we got a first-hand look at the VR headset back at MWC 2015, so for now, we’ll remain hopeful that the company will get back on its feet sometime soon.

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5
Oct

Nexus availability through the years, and is this year any different?


 

nexus 5x first look aa (27 of 28)

Head to Head: the two new Nexus products for 2015 will be supplied…in short?

Since their inception back in 2008, Google’s Nexus reference devices have given developers and consumers alike a fantastic feature: the ability to run Android as envisioned by the very team that creates, maintains, and develops it. Unlike so many OEMs that rely on enhancing the user experiences with gimmicks or modified skins, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) builds that exist on these hallowed “pure” devices are assisted by the hardware, not driven by it.

The problem, especially as of late, is that while the Nexus line has seemingly become more and more popular with each passing year, Google has consistently failed to meet demand. The problem truly began when the Nexus 4 released and undercut so many competitors with its pricing, however it continued even as recent as last year’s Nexus 6 which rang in at a premium price tag. In this piece, we will take a look at the pricing history of the Nexus smartphones, discuss the paradoxical sales situation that exists within the pricing, and then offer some thoughts on how this year’s new Nexi’s supply story might fare.

The “slow start” of the traditional trio

Evolution-Google-Smartphones Nexus 5 Nexus s Nexus one History

The Traditional Trio (center 3).

The Nexus One, also known by the codename “(HTC) Passion” launched on January 5, 2010 and rang in at $529 sans contract. It was commissioned and created to guide OEMs and provide developers a standardized work environment with which they could test and create Android software. The Nexus One was openly branded as a failure, as exemplified in this piece by PC World, and discontinued by that summer.

The Nexus S, also known by the code name “Crespo” was made by Samsung and formally announced on December 6, 2010. The asking price was even greater than the One, at $699.99 off contract. While the device was generally regarded as cutting-edge and worthwhile, the high cost arguably worked against it, as did the perceived superiority of Samsung’s own Galaxy S2, which the Nexus S was created from.

The Galaxy Nexus, also known by the code name “Maguro” was formally unveiled on October 19, 2011. The full retail price was an impressive $399 which garnished much praise on Google, including this piece by GigaOM, who called the Galaxy Nexus a “big deal”. The Galaxy Nexus saw a much larger push from Google, though the carrier-branded versions were not without setbacks and update problems.

The second trio…

AndroidPIT-Nexus-4-5-6-size-comparison-w628

Behold the second trio, all victims of major supply shortages upon launch.

AndroidPIT

The Nexus 4, also known as Mako, was manufactured by LG Electronics and released on November 13, 2012. It was sold in two variants, an 8GB model originally retailing for $299 off-contract, and a 16GB model originally retailing for $349 off-contract. The device was widely praised for its extremely affordable price tag. Based on the LG Optimus G, the price tag was so low as to be deemed sold “at cost” and was immensely popular.

So popular was the product that it literally sold out within minutes upon release. The availability problems continued, and became so widespread that Google itself issued a public apology, blaming LG for “scarce and erratic” supply but also pointed the finger internally as well, citing poor communication. Interestingly enough, despite the unrelenting stock shortage, one report claimed Google had sold just 3 million units by Q2 2013. Unfortunately the problem would continue.

nexus-5-out-of-stock

A very familiar site to see back in the day: Out of Inventory.

The Nexus 5, also known as the Hammerhead, was released on October 31, 2013. Developed again by LG Electronics and based on the Korean OEM’s own G2 hardware, the price was once more, an unbeatable proposition: the 16GB variant cost $349 off-contract, and the 32GB variant $399 off-contract. At this point in time, similar hardware (including the G2 itself) was retailing for unsubsidized prices in upwards of the $600 mark. History, unfortunately, would be doomed to repeat itself, as the phone again sold out in minutes and faced shortages that lasted for months on end.

The Nexus 6, also known as Shamu marked a major change for the Nexus program when it was unveiled on October 15, 2014: this time around Google went with Motorola for the manufacturing and produced a 6-inch phablet. The device was immediately deemed as polarizing to the point where Google itself went on the defensive, suggesting that after users try it out, the will begin to love it. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the price itself however, which market a return to the highs of 2010: the 32GB variant cost $649 and the 64GB variant cost $699. Despite the high point of entry, the phones immediately sold out. And continued to sell out. In fact, they remained difficult to get for some until around mid-January 2015; at one point Google itself had to promise more supplies were coming.

 ..and its paradoxical pricing problems

nexus 6p vs nexus 6 quick look aa (15 of 18)

Without a doubt, Google’s decision to price both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 at such a low price point made the devices instantly affordable to all, and therefore undeniably desirable. Those who tried to purchase even the 8GB Nexus 4, for example, may recall taking to eBay only to have found sellers offering the device for almost triple the $299 MSRP, and it was still selling. The supply issues were clearly the result of either Google, LG – or both – failing to anticipate the demand.

And yet. Considering the aforementioned report that the Nexus 4 had only sold 3 million units by Q2 2013, one has to stop for a second and consider what was truly going on. LG is an absolutely gigantic company, and the hardware in question was basically a modified G2 of which LG had released months earlier. How is it logically possible that a company with the resources of LG was unable to manufacture enough of the phones to meet demand for months on end? Perhaps the better question therefore, is in considering just how few units Google would have asked LG to manufacture in the first place. And yet: at that price? Still, hindsight is 50:50 and especially in light of concrete figures (as Google doesn’t talk numbers unfortunately) the Nexus 4 blunder was just that: a blunder. 

nexus 6p vs nexus 6 quick look aa (14 of 18)

That the same problems repeated again the next year with the Nexus 5 however, would serve to suggest something more critically flawed is going on in the supply-chain-management process. Unfortunately we will never known the full story from those in the position to tell it, but there are a myriad number of angry, infuriated personal narratives of customers who had to wait weeks or months for even the chance to order their desired product let alone receive it. Truth be told, it matters not what caused the problem in the end, only that there was a shortage.

Ironically the Nexus 6’s pricing arguably had little to do with its extended supply issues. Rumors had circulated that key components such as the AMOLED display panel, were not being supplied in quantities great enough to meet demand, and so too did Google arguably underestimate just how many people would want the super-sized smartphone. Add in the fact that Motorola itself was literally being moved to China and all that entails from such a major change of ownership, and the problem would only be magnified.

The Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P: when will these phones actually get to me?

nexus 5x s8 chromecast pixel c (1)

Putting the past aside, let’s look to the present: Google has just announced not one, but two new Nexus phones. These darling devices cater to very different markets as evidenced by their display size, spec sheet, and pricing points. Assuming that the pair of products will be as widely available around the world as the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, if not more so, the most immediate question is the one on everyone’s mind. How long will I have to wait before I can get one?

The most obvious answer is – at the moment – not for almost a month. Seemingly simultaneously as the new products became available for pre-order on the Google Store, all models were listed with a 3-4 week shipping time. Here in Japan the 64GB Nexus 6P is listed as a 4-5 week shipping delay.

Given the time that had passed from the site update and the announcement, it is possible Google was listing the delay as a placeholder, especially since there didn’t seem to be a specific day indicated for the actual shipments, just that the devices would release “in October”.

It is also possible that the devices will be more readily available in other countries given the higher price points they are being sold at, though one can only imagine what issues the Japan-exclusive Gold colored Nexus 6P will face.

Why no carriers?

Verizon logo

Brick and mortar? Don’t expect these devices to give the new Nexi any quarter.

Shutterstock

One thing curiously missing from Google’s press event was the mention of retail stores or carriers that will be selling either of the new Nexus devices. In fact, according to a leak obtained by Android Central just a day before the event, it seemed clear that Google will only be offering the devices online, at least within the United States. This could mean one of two outcomes: either (1) there will be sufficient supplies to go around as physical retailers will not receive allocations, or (2) the devices will be harder to purchase than ever due to everyone being forced to buy online.

While this move may indeed seem like a strategic one designed to ensure customers receive their orders as quickly as possible (i.e. option 1), the more likely explanation is inevitable that…

Project Fi functionality is included

Project Fi financing

Project Fi-nance: Google is allowing its MVNO customers the ability to finance the new Nexi in installments.

That Google spent time in the unveiling to call out Project Fi compatibility should give readers a good indication of the company’s overall product picture. That Google is allowing users to pay for the device with a Project Fi plan should cement it even more securely. Mountain View has its own MVNO service (a very good one at that) and its interests are therefore best served by avoiding the traditional ones entirely.

If the phone is sold at a local Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint store, users are inevitably going to sign a contract, and thus not use Project Fi. Moreover, if customers are given a monthly installment plan by those carriers, they are definitely not going to be interested in using Project Fi to pay it off. This is a very calculated move to be sure, though – in consideration of this piece’s topic – it will only serve to contribute to the whole idea of a supply shortage.

An Optimistic Opportunity

There is currently a thread on reddit devoted to what the community has deemed a “successful” launch for the two new Nexi. Mentioned are things such as the Google Store website not crashing and “having stock” of the item although the question remains how a 3-5 week ship date is considered “in stock”. Some users have reported an estimated delivery date of late October, while others are looking at the beginning of November.

The general consensus seems to be that a late October ship date is actually normal for the device, and the overall tone is quite positive. Indeed this may be an indication that Google has finally straightened things out, though in avoiding carriers and their supply demands as well as releasing two devices with multiple colors and storage configurations has arguably helped dilute the interest from concentrating on one specific variant.

We, like all Google fans, remain optimistic that this year will be different. The new Nexus devices are pure Google gold and everyone wants to treasure our treasure as soon as possible.

Wrap Up

nexus 6p vs nexus 6 quick look aa (17 of 18)

Last week’s new product announcements, while hardly shocking to those that follow tech, are the culmination of months – if not years – of planning. They also represent the fruition of the endless stream of rumors that have been freely flowing around the internet. While the fever pitch may be bigger than ever at the prospect of two divergent, different Nexi, it is truly just a matter of time before customers can get their hands on one, or both.

We are quite interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you purchased a Nexus device before? Did you experience delays or supply issues? What kind of reaction do you think the new Nexi will have in the market, and how long will it take before they are readily available? Please feel free to answer the survey questions below, and leave us your comments and opinions!

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