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21
Mar

Apple Releases iOS 9.3 With Night Shift, New Quick Actions, App Improvements, ‘1970’ Bug Fix and More


Apple today released iOS 9.3 to the public, marking the third significant update to the iOS 9 operating system since it launched in September of 2015. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11 with new features, refinements, and bug fixes added throughout the beta testing period.

iOS 9.3 is available immediately to all iOS 9 users as an over-the-air update. It can also be downloaded through iTunes on the Mac and PC.

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As a major update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new functions, important bug fixes, and feature refinements. Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of Night Shift mode, designed to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPhone or iPad display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum.

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Night Shift mode can be set to turn on automatically at sunset or it can be manually toggled on when needed via the Settings app or through the Control Center Night Shift icon, shaped like a sun. For full instructions, check out our Night Shift how to.

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For iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users, several apps are gaining new Quick Actions. Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store all offer new or improved features when pressed on the Home screen. Settings, for example, offers quick access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Battery settings, while the App Store now offers an option to update all apps.

appstoreitunesquickactions
In Apple News, users will find better personalized recommendations, more frequent updates, support for in-line video, and a landscape view on the iPhone. In Health, there’s a new Apple Watch-style “Activity” view, and in Notes, there’s now an option to password protect individual entries with a passcode and/or Touch ID. Third-party apps, like Shazam are able to add songs to Apple Music playlists, and Verizon Wireless subscribers can now use Wi-Fi calling.

CarPlay includes “New” and “For You” sections in Apple music for better content discovery, and iOS 9’s Nearby feature is now available in CarPlay Maps for more information on local points-of-interest located close by. When paired with an Apple Watch running watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 can support multiple Apple Watches.

For the education sector, there are multiple features to make the iPad more appealing to teachers and students. There are better tools for managing Apple IDs, accounts, and courses, along with a Classroom app that lets teachers guide students through app-based lessons. Multi-user login is also supported in iOS 9.3 for educational users, and while a highly desired feature, it not available to the general public. Apple is also introducing improved transparency for its Mobile Device Management users, which encompasses iOS devices controlled by schools and businesses, to let people know when an iPhone is being tracked and controlled by an organization.

As for bug fixes, iOS 9.3 fixes a bug that caused 64-bit iPhones and iPads to be disabled or “bricked” when the date on the device was set to January 1, 1970. In iOS 9.3, devices can be restored to working order using iTunes, and it is no longer possible to set a date before 1/1/01 at 12:00 a.m. GMT.

In early iOS 9.3 betas, Apple Pencil navigational functionality was removed, preventing iPad Pro owners from using it to select text, scroll, swipe between apps, and more. Apple restored the functionality in iOS 9.3 beta 5, and at release, the Apple Pencil is working as normal.

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Along with the above listed additions, there are numerous other minor tweaks, performance improvements, and bug fixes in iOS 9.3, designed to refine and improve the overall functionality of the iOS 9 operating system.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
Discuss this article in our forums

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21
Mar

Apple Releases tvOS 9.2 With Bluetooth Keyboard Support, Siri App Store Search, App Folders, Dictation and More


Apple today released tvOS 9.2 to the public, marking the second major update to the tvOS operating system since the fourth-generation Apple TV was released in October. tvOS 9.2 has been in beta since January 11 and brings a slew of new features that were introduced throughout the testing period.

tvOS 9.2 can be downloaded over-the-air through the Settings app on the Apple TV 4 by opening the System section and choosing the Software Update option.

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tvOS 9.2 brings two new text input methods — dictation and Bluetooth keyboards — to the fourth-generation Apple TV, making it much easier to insert passwords and search for content like apps, movies, and television shows. Bluetooth keyboard support is a major feature that was missing from previous versions of tvOS, a curious absence as the Apple TV 4 has supported Bluetooth gaming controllers since launch.

With dictation support, Apple TV users can dictate text for tasks like spelling user names and passwords instead of typing them in. Dictation capabilities are available in all countries where Siri is available on the Apple TV. Bluetooth keyboard support and dictation join the Siri remote and the Apple TV iOS app as ways to interface with the Apple TV 4.

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In tvOS 9.2, apps can be grouped into folders, making it possible to create a more organized iOS-style Home screen, and there’s also a new look for the App Switcher interface.

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Full support for iCloud Photo Library is included, so Apple TV users can access all of their photos on the device, including Live Photos taken with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Photo Stream was the only available photo option prior to tvOS 9.2, and iCloud Photo Library can be turned on through the Settings app.

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Siri’s capabilities are expanded in tvOS 9.2, a change that may be the most welcome to most Apple TV users. Siri is now able to search the App Store, improving app discovery. Using Siri, searches can be made for specific apps or categories of apps, like social media or games.

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After installing tvOS 9.2, Apple TV owners will be prompted to update their Siri Remotes with new firmware. The update will improve motion sensor performance within games and apps and it adds support for additional sound bar and receiver hardware.

Other new features in tvOS 9.2 include support for MapKit, so developers can incorporate maps into their tvOS apps, and additional Siri languages. Siri supports US Spanish (in the US only) and French Canadian (in Canada only). UK English, Australian English, and US English are available as options in the UK, Australian, and US Storefronts when English is set as the tvOS language.

With today’s update, the fourth-generation Apple TV is gaining sorely needed features to improve the overall user experience, so Apple TV owners will likely want to install the new software right away.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tag: tvOS 9.2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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21
Mar

Want a Netflix Recommended TV? You’ve got just these two options


Netflix has launched a label for televisions it deems up to scratch for the standards it requires, only two manufacturers made the list. So if you want a TV that’s perfect for your favourite video streamer you won’t have to spend long picking.

The idea behind the Netflix Recommended TV label, which first launched last year, is to clarify to customers they’re getting something that’ll support the software. Also it’s a way for Netflix to push manufacturers to advance hardware to suit its needs.

This is the first update to the Recommended TV label since it launched last year. Now televisions worthy of Netflix need the following features: instant on, TV resume, latest Netflix version support, fast app launch, fast app resume, a dedicated Netflix remote control button and easy Netflix icon access.

All that adds up to just two brands which support the exacting standards: LG and Sony. Any Sony Android 4K UHD TV from 2016 onwards should get the label as should LG 4K UHD TVs with webOS 3.0.

The complete list for LG is UH6300, UH6500, UH7500, UH8500, UH9500 and G6. For Sony it’s the S85D, X85D, X93D, X94D, XD93, XD94, SD85 and XD85.

So if you’re a serial Netflix user and want a new TV, picking the right option should have just got a lot simpler.

READ: Which is the best movie streaming service in the UK?

21
Mar

What was your first Tweet? It’s this easy to find out


Twitter is 10 years old. Thinking back, can you remember what your first tweet was? Fortunately, Twitter is way ahead of you. Two years ahead of you in fact. 

To celebrate Twitter’s 8th birthday (so 2 years ago), the social network took the initiative, making it really easy to find your very first tweet, or perhaps more interestingly, the first tweet of anyone else.

All you have to do is head to https://discover.twitter.com/first-tweet where any Twitter handle can be typed in to display that user’s first tweet. That includes the exact date and time it was published.

There is also a button to “Tweet it”, taking meta to a whole new self-indulgent level. A case of history repeating itself.

The Pocket-lint team had a pretty broad mix of topics over the varying times we joined the Twitter movement. Can you see who ditched their old account and started anew?

checking out twitter

— Pocketlint (@Pocketlint) April 24, 2007

I’m in the Gaylord. Took a few pints to ease me in, but I’m comfortable

— Chris Hall (@christhall) October 30, 2008

@christhall testing multiple accounts in twitter – word up dog

— Stuart Miles (@stuartmiles) April 20, 2009

Already sick of hearing about swine flu

— Luke Edwards (@eelukee) April 29, 2009

Wondering what to put as my first ever Twitter posting… erm… er… oh dammit, can’t think of anything witty. Ho hum!

— Rik Henderson (@RikHenderson) August 6, 2009

Pow! I’m on Twitter…

— Mike Lowe (@mrmickeylowe) May 19, 2010

I can’t be bothered to get up!

— Britta O’Boyle (@brittaoboyle) July 4, 2010

Can’t wait! Game of Thrones season 5 begins 12 April in US http://t.co/gnpritw8gg via @Pocketlint

— Élyse Betters (@elysebetters) January 9, 2015

Head over to Twitter and type your Twitter handle in to find what your first tweet utterance was.

21
Mar

Apple drops Apple Watch price, unveils new watch bands and more


Apple is now holding its spring event in California – where it just announced a new price for the Apple Watch along with fresh accessories for the year-old wrist wearable.

Starting with the new watch accessories, Apple said it is coming out with a new band called a “woven nylon band”. It features a four-layer construction and will launch in a variety of vibrant colours, according to CEO Tim Cook, who took the event stage to discuss the band. He also said Apple Watch would soon get “new sport and leather bands in all new colours” as well as a “stunning space black Milanese loop” band.

A few of these upcoming bands could be seen in a image shown on the screen behind Cook (as seen above). The chief executive said we could expect these bands to become available this spring, though he neglected to mention how much they would cost. The current 38mm Milanese loop costs $149, so we’re expecting the new black version to cost at least that much. But nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

And finally, Apple announced the Apple Watch now starts at $299. Prior to this price drop, you could buy the Apple Watch Sport edition starting at $349. We’re assuming this price change will be effective as soon as the Apple Store goes back online after the event concludes.

Stay tuned to Pocket-lint’s Apple hub for more breaking news from the event, or tune into the live-stream here to watch the action unfold yourself.

21
Mar

Apple iPhone SE formally announced, a 4-inch iPhone for all


Apple has announced the iPhone SE, a smaller format of device that updates its entry-level of device at its special event on 21 March 2016.

Apple said that the smaller format was still hugely popular and the newly updated iPhone SE will give you the power of the iPhone 6S, but in that smaller 4-inch format.

The iPhone SE is powered by the Apple A9 chip, supported by the M9 motion coprocessor, and it will give you the same processing and graphical performance as the iPhone 6S. 

It will also carry the 12-megapixel iSight camera, offering 4K video capture, as well as the ability to edit 4K video you capture, and all the fancy camera features offered on the 6S, such as Live Photos. 

There will also be Touch ID through the fingerprint scanner on the front, with support for Apple Pay, so you’ll be able to pay conveniently on the go.

The design is very much the same as the iPhone 5S, so the iPhone SE doesn’t get the metal unibody of the iPhone 6, instead sticking close to the design of the device it replaces.

The iPhone SE will be available from $399 for 16GB, with pre-orders opening on 24 March and hitting shelves on 31 March. 

We are still awaiting UK pricing.

21
Mar

Apple TV gets new voice and photo features in latest update


Apple has announced a new update to its Apple TV set top box. The new update, which will be available from today will bring with it a number of new features like Folders, as well as sort some of the complaints from the initial release last year.

Apple TV Voice updates

Apple has confirmed that the new tvOS update will add more voice search partners including NBC, Fox Now, Disney as well as the promise to bringing voice search to CBS, A&E and the History Channel.

Beyond voice search allowing you to search for things like movies or actors across a number of different apps, Apple has said Apple TV gets greater voice commands and controls across the platform.

Users will now be able to dictate to enter text on the screen for when users need to say user names or passwords, as well as adding Siri support for the App Store so you can voice search for apps.

Apple TV Photos updates

On the photos front, Apple has added both the ability to access all your iClould photo library photos rather that be limited to a set number, as currently is the case, and support for Live Photos if you’ve taken them on the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, or the new iPhone SE.

21
Mar

Apple shows off iOS 9.3 features like Night Shift, updated CarPlay, Notes and more


Apple has shown off its latest iOS 9.3 update and the most notable thing about it is a new Night Shift feature.

Night Shift is basically a night mode for iOS devices, as it reduces the amount of blue light iPhones and iPads emit during the evening hours. Studies have shown that blue light can negatively impact sleep by affecting the body’s circadian rhythm, but with the new Night Shift mode enabled, your iPhone’s screen will instead emit warmer and, essentially, yellower colours.

These colours in the spectrum effectively cut down on the amount of blue light shining through at night. Keep in mind this mode is both automatic and temporary, and during the day, your iPhone’s screen will go back to mimicking natural daylight. Apple is not the first company however to test such a feature or even launch it. Amazon, for instance, offers a similar thing on its devices.

The first major update to Fire OS 5 – a forked version of Android powering Amazon’s tablets – introduced something called Blue Shade earlier this month. It also changes display colour and brightness so Amazon’s tablets are optimised for nighttime. According to Amazon, many studies indicate that blue light coming from tablet displays suppress melatonin production at night.

Night Shift for Apple’s devices is currently available to developers who have downloaded the iOS 9.3 beta and will be coming in the update soon. Beyond that feature, the software also includes the ability for an iPhone to pair with more than one Apple Watch as well as improvements to Apple News, Notes, Health, and CarPlay.

Notes now has protection thanks to its use of TouchID to unlock the notes made. Health, which has over 2500 apps that push data into the app, now has added health suggestions to place data on the iPhone dash. News, introduced with iOS 9 is now used by over 50 million users who can enjoy the new Top Stories and Editor’s Picks features. CarPlay’s Apple Music now has recommendations from experts and more based your preferences. The apps now offers the nearby feature to find petrol, restaurants, parking and more with a tap.

It’s worth noting that there are third-party apps that perform a similar function to Night Shift, such as f.lux.

21
Mar

Apple ResearchKit and CareKit: Everything you need to know


Apple wants to turn iPhones from across the world into devices that collect scientific data for medical research. Back in March 2015 the Cupertino company introduced ResearchKit during its Spring Forward event, following that up a year later with the announcement of CareKit.

ResearchKit is an open-source software framework designed for medical and health research. The premise is simple: doctors and scientists will use the software to launch iPhone apps that can frequently gather accurate data from volunteers. Researchers will essentially be able to ask iPhone users from around the globe to download their iPhone apps and thus participate in medical studies. These studies are about asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and more. Nobody is obligated to participate; the goal is to transform the iPhone into a tool for medical research.

CareKit, a separate open-source software platform and the hub of your personal health, with specific doctor-patient apps, is “a framework to build apps that empower people to take an active role in their care”. The first app is for Parkinson’s Disease sufferers, with other apps due to follow. It will be available in April.

What is ResearchKit?

ResearchKit gives developers the ability to make new iPhone apps that can not only gather health-related but also access data from the Apple Health app – and all of that collected data will help doctors and scientists study diseases and other medical issues. ResearchKit chiefly makes it easier for researchers to recruit volunteer participants for large-scale studies (i.e., not limited to small demographics, regions, populations, etc).

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How does ResearchKit work?

As we mentioned above, you won’t ever have to come face-to-face with ResearchKit. It’s for app developers. You’ll only use the new iPhone apps that will launch as a result of Apple making ResearchKit available to developers.

Here’s an example of how a ResearchKit-based app works: Download the new Asthma Health app from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and LifeMap Solutions. Once you get the app and then open it, you will need to grant permission for the app to access data from the Health app on your iPhone. It’ll look at data like weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and asthma inhaler use, which are measured by third-party devices and apps.

The Health app first launched alongside HealthKit software framework in 2014. The framework provides apps developers with the ability to develop health and fitness apps that can communicate with each other, while Apple’s Health app displays all your health and fitness data collected by those apps in an easy-to-read dashboard. You can also use the Health app to designate which apps can share your data, among other things.

ResearchKit expands upon the Health app and HealthKit. It accesses sensors in the iPhone, including the accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope, and GPS sensors, in order to gain insight into your gait, motor impairment, fitness, speech, memory, and more. None of this information will be collected by ResearchKit-based apps unless you download the apps, then willingly participate in their studies, and decide to share your data.

The new Asthma Health app, for instance, is designed to “facilitate asthma patient education and self-monitoring, promote positive behavioral changes, and reinforce adherence to treatment plans according to current asthma guidelines.” It is basically a study app that tracks symptom patterns and potential triggers for exacerbations in volunteer participates so that researchers can learn new ways to treat asthma.

Apple

What are some of the first ResearchKit-based apps?

Apart from the Asthma Health app, Apple has highlighted a few of the first apps based on its new ResearchKit framework. The Share the Journey app, for instance, which the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute developed with Penn Medicine, Sage Bionetworks, and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a study that aims to understand why some breast cancer survivors recover faster than others, among other things.

Another app is called MyHeart Counts by Stanford Medicine. It measures heart activity to help researchers accurately evaluate how a participant’s activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. And then there’s the GlucoSuccess app by Massachusetts General Hospital. It attempts to understand how various aspects of a person’s life – such as their diet, physical activity, and medications – affect blood glucose levels.

Apple has also showcased the Parkinson mPower app by Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester. It helps people living with Parkinson’s track their symptoms by recording activities through things like a memory game, finger tapping, speaking, and walking. The data collected will help fuel Parkinson’s research at a scale never before possible.

Apple

What is CareKit?

CareKit is separate to ResearchKit, designed to help people actively manage their own medical conditions and share information with their doctors and medical practitioners if they wish. Just like with ResearchKit this will happen in the form of apps created by CareKit developers.

At launch in April there will be a Parkinson’s Disease app to help track the effectiveness of medicines being taken, and a post-surgery app by the Texas Medical Centre to ensure best possible recovery after being discharged.

CareKit will be released as an open-source framework from April 2016, allowing developers to continue building on the first four modules designed by Apple: Care Card, for tracking care plans and action items, such as taking medication; Symptom and Measurement Tracker, for users to record how they’re feeling; Insight Dashboard, to map symptoms against the action items in Care Card; and Connect, for sharing information with doctors, medical practitioners, or even family members.

Apple

Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Williams, said during the Loop You In event held in Cupertino that privacy was of the utmost importance. “Nothing is more sensitive than health data” – with the promise that CareKit allows you to share health data with who you want and how.

There are seven highlighted initial partners on board – Sage Bionetworks, University of Rochester, The Texas Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, One Drop, Start by Iodine, and Glow Inc. – to accompany the six major institutions: University of Rochester Medical Center, UCSF, Johns Hopkins Medicine, PDCNY (Parkinson’s Disease Care, New York), Stanford Medicine, and Emory Healthcare.

Are ResearchKit- and CareKit apps US-only or worldwide?

ResearchKit-based apps were initially only be available on the US App Store (at appstore.com/researchkit). Since then Apple’s ResearchKit apps have been made available elsewhere: in the UK or Hong Kong you can now access the MyHeart Counts app, for example. It is the first ResearchKit app to get an international release – prior to August 2015, the ResearchKit software platform could only be used in the US.

CareKit will be US-only at launch, with other countries expected to follow later.

Which devices support ResearchKit- and CareKit-based apps?

The following Apple devices support ResearchKit- and CareKit-based apps: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE and the latest iPod touch.

Want to know more?

Watch the above video for information on ResearchKit. You can also go to Apple’s ResearchKit page; Apple’s CareKit page; or to sign up head to http://www.researchkit.org.

21
Mar

Apple 9.7-inch iPad Pro with Retina display announced, preorder 24 March


Apple is now holding its spring event in California – where it just announced the “second member of the iPad Pro family”.

Phil Schiller, the the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, took the stage to unveil a follow-up to the monster iPad Pro announced last year. The new version is still a “pro” but considerably more portable; it’s a 9.7-inch iPad Pro with a Retina display. It doesn’t seem to have a name other than that, so get used to calling it the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Schiller said it weighs less than 1 pound and is meant for the 200 million people out there already using smaller iPads as well as 600 million PC users stuck with computers now going on more than 5 years old. The new iPad will of course work with the over 1 million iPad apps in Apple’s App Store, and it features many of the fancy technical specifications found in the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro – like those “Pro” display materials.

Both displays have all the same materials, which include oxide txt, a custom timing controller with a variable refresh rate, photo alignment technology, 40 per cent less reflection than iPad Air 2 (at 1.8 per cent), 25 per cent more brightness than iPad air 2, 50 nits of light (making it brightest tablet available, according to Apple), and 25 per cent greater colour saturation than iPad Air 2.

The new iPad Pro also works with Apple’s Night Shift feature and has something unique called “True tone display’, which basically measures color temperature of ambient light to adjust light for different environments. Apart from the display, the new iPad Pro features four speakers, helping it to achieve twice the volume output of the iPad Air 2, and it has the bigger iPad Pro’s A9X.

That top-of-the-line chip touts over 3 billion transistors, 12 cores of graphics (more than what the Xbox 360 offers), and an integrated M9 coprocessor. As if that wasn’t enough tech crammed into the tablet, Apple said it loaded the new iPad Pro with a 12-megapixel iSight rear-facing camera with Focus pixels, a True tone flash, and a new image processor. It can therefore take panoramas up to 63 megapixels and shoot 4K video.

You’ll find a 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera on the front as well, and the whole display doubles as a Retina flash, according to Apple. Other stand-out feature of the new iPad Pro include support for always-on “Hey Siri” voice commands, iPad Pro accessories (like the smart keyboard and pencil), and even new accessories like a USB card reader and SD card reader.

Apple

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has Apple’s new smart connector and will run iOS 9.3 out of the box. If you’re interested in this device, you can get it four finishes (silver, gold, Space Grey, and for the first time – rose gold). Preorders start 24 March, and shipping begins 31 March.

As for pricing, Apple said the 9.7-inch iPad Pro costs $599 for the 32GB W-Fi version or $749 for the 128GB version. There’s also a new 256GB Wi-Fi price point of $899. We’ll update with UK pricing when that becomes available.

Stay tuned to Pocket-lint’s Apple hub for more breaking news from the event, or tune into the live-stream here to watch the action unfold yourself.

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