New Education Features in iOS 9.3 Include Shared iPads, New Classroom App and Improved Apple ID Management

With iOS 9.3, Apple is introducing a number of new features that are specifically geared towards the education market. Outlined on a new Education Preview site, education-oriented features in the iOS 9 beta include shared iPads for students, a new classroom app, an Apple School Manager feature, and an improved Managed Apple IDs function.

Apple’s new Shared iPad feature is designed for educational systems where a 1:1 student-to-iPad ratio isn’t possible. It gives each student an Apple ID that can be used to log into any iPad in the classroom, with all of the student’s content readily available on any device. That means students can switch from classroom to classroom, logging into an iPad in each class while the iPad remains in the classroom for all students to use during class time.

Students have access to all of their apps, books, and documents when logging on, and for a student that uses the same assigned iPad in a class each day, an intelligent caching system keeps all of their content at the ready. Shared iPad uses a photo login system to make it easy for kids to find their assigned iPad, and a PIN system for logging in makes the system easy for younger children.

Along with Shared iPads, there’s a new Classroom app. With Classroom, teachers can launch the same app on all student iPads at the same time and guide students through the app. A Screen View feature lets teachers see what’s on any student’s iPad at any given time, and it allows teachers to lock apps to keep students on task. There’s also a feature for helping reset student passwords directly within the classroom app.

Apple School Manager, a web-based feature, is designed to give admins a central location for creating Apple IDs, building courses, and managing accounts for students, teachers, and admins. It allows administrators to make volume purchases of books and apps and distribute the content quickly.

Within the Apple School Manager, there are new tools for Managed Apple IDs, which are Apple IDs created specifically for schools. Managed Apple IDs have all of the functionality of a standard Apple ID, but they allow administrators to reset passwords, audit accounts, and assign customized roles to each ID.

Apple has been working on overhauling its iPad in Education program since early 2015, when a leaked email suggested the company was planning on unifying deployment programs, simplifying app distribution, and updating the way student Apple IDs work.

Apple’s new educational features will be available to schools with the launch of iOS 9.3. iOS 9.3 was provided to developers this morning.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tags: education, iOS 9.3
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Duet Display Updated With iPad Pro Support, Major Performance Improvements

Second-screen app Duet Display received a significant update today, introducing a new resolution option to support Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro and bringing significant performance improvements for both iPads and Macs that run the accompanying software.

For those unfamiliar with Duet Display, it’s an app that is designed to turn the iPad or iPhone into a secondary display for a Mac. Duet Display was the first app to use a Lightning cable to allow an iPad or iPhone to interface with a Mac, thereby drastically cutting down on the lag that’s typically present when an iOS device is used as a secondary display for a Mac over Wi-Fi.

Since its late 2014 launch, Duet Display has been updated several times to improve performance on a wide range of iPads and iPhones, but according to Duet Display developer Rahul Dewan, today’s update brings „massive performance improvements.“ Improving performance was necessary to allow a Mac or PC to drive the high-resolution display of the iPad Pro while maintaining a lag-free connection, but the improvements also apply to all older iPads.

With the latest version of Duet Display, CPU usage has been reduced by over 80 percent on iPad and Mac or PC, thanks to a new algorithm that’s more efficient and an intelligent refresh feature that’s similar to the iPad Pro’s own faster refresh technology, but on the software end. Extremely high CPU usage was one of our major complaints with Duet Display when it was first released and it’s been a customer concern for some time, so this update should go a long way towards fixing one of the major pain points in the app.

Duet Display has proven to be a popular app with iPad owners as it gives the iPad the versatility to be used as a second display for a Mac. iPad Pro owners may find Duet Display to be especially useful given the large screen real estate of the device.

Duet Display can be downloaded from the App Store for $9.99 (reg. $15.99). [Direct Link]

Tags: App Store, Duet Display
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Former Secret Service agent sentenced to nearly six years imprisonment for Bitcoin theft

Crooked Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has been sentenced to 71 months in prison for stealing over $800,000 in Bitcoin and obstructing the investigation against the drug site, Silk Road. Read more…

Apple, Google pull InstaAgent app for ‘stealing’ login info

InstaAgent, a third-party app for users to track visitors to their Instagram feeds, was pulled out of app stores by both Apple and Google after an iOS developer discovered the app was stealing people’s logins and passwords. If you have InstaAgent on your smartphone – and reportedly half a million of you do – delete […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Firefox for iPhone and iPad Launches on App Store

Following a soft launch and months of testing, Mozilla has released Firefox for iOS on the App Store for free. The WebKit-based web browser for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch features a Firefox-like design, Intelligent Search, Firefox Accounts, Visual Tabs, Private Browsing mode on iOS 9 or later and more.

The web browser’s features are best suited for users that also use Firefox on Mac or PC:

Intelligent Search: Suggested search results and list of search options, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Twitter, Amazon and WordPress

Firefox Accounts: Firefox browser history, passwords and open tabs synced between Firefox on the desktop and your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

Visual Tabs: A card-based grid of intuitive visual and numbered tabs easily let you find content for future reference

Private Browsing: Firefox won’t remember any of your history or cookies, but new bookmarks will be saved

Mozilla Firefox was once a leading desktop web browser for PCs and Macs, but it has lost significant market share since Google launched its own Chrome web browser in late 2008. Firefox is now the fourth most popular desktop browser in many countries, trailing behind Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Mozilla was initially opposed to releasing Firefox on iOS because of Apple’s policy that requires third-party browsers to use its own WebKit framework and JavaScript engine, but the company eventually reversed course and announced plans to release an iOS app in December 2014.

Firefox for iOS is free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and requires iOS 8.2 or later. The app is written in Swift 2.0 and open source on GitHub.

Tags: App Store, Firefox for iOS, Mozilla, WebKit
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Malicious App ‘InstaAgent’ Sends Instagram Passwords to Unknown Server, Posts Spam in Users’ Feeds

InstaAgent, an app that connects to Instagram and promises to track the people that have visited a user’s Instagram account, appears to be storing the usernames and passwords of Instagram users, sending them to a suspicious remote server.

An app developer from Peppersoft downloaded InstaAgent – full name „Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent“ – and discovered it’s reading Instagram account usernames and passwords, sending them via clear text to a remote server – instagram.zunamedia.com.

InstaAgent is also using the credentials to log into accounts and post unauthorized images. Instagram does not permit third-party apps to upload photos to user accounts.

While InstaAgent isn’t particularly popular in the United States, it is currently the number one free app in both the United Kingdom and Canada, with thousands of downloads that puts a huge number of Instagram users at risk of having their information stolen. In the Google Play store, the app had between 100k and 500k users, and the install numbers could be similar for iOS.

Google has removed the InstaAgent Android app from the Google Play store, but InstaAgent is still available in the iOS App Store for the time being. Anyone who has downloaded InstaAgent should delete the app immediately and change their Instagram password.

Passwords for other sites and accounts that were the same as the Instagram password should also be changed as a precaution. We also highly recommend a password management app like 1Password, which can generate unique complex passwords for each and every site or service. Instagram also advises against installing third-party apps that don’t follow its Community Guidelines.

There are dozens if not hundreds of third-party apps that promise to provide Instagram users with followers and other perks, and these kind of apps should be avoided. According to Instagram, these apps are „likely an attempt to use your account in an inappropriate way“ as InstaAgent does.

Tags: Instagram, InstaAgent
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AMD face lawsuit after falsely advertsing the number of cores in their chips

AMD have been struck by a class action lawsuit, due to false-advertising surrounding the number of cores offered by their Bulldozer range. Due to the design, these cores fail to operate independently. Read more…

Power-cutting cord gives your device battery the perfect amount of juice

We know that keeping our smartphones and tablets plugged in over night, well past the point of a full charge, will deplete precious battery life. But who among us purposely gets up in the middle of the night to unplug? The team at UsBidi assumes very few, which is why its developers believe they have […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Apple to Open Up Apple TV’s Universal Search to Additional Apps via New API

One of the key features of the new Apple TV set to launch later this month is universal search, which allows users to find content across a number of different services using text entry or, in some countries, Siri voice search. Universal search will work across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime at launch, but it was initially unclear whether the feature would be expanded to include additional content sources over time.

In a follow-up story on his interview with Tim Cook last month, BuzzFeed‘s John Paczkowski relates some additional details on Apple TV shared by Cook, including word that developers will indeed be able to make their content available to universal search via an API.

“At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”

And Apple’s confident that they will do just that. “I think that many, many people will want to be in that search,” Cook said. “And that’s great for users. Think about your experience today. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the content you want to watch in an app, you sometimes don’t remember exactly where that show is, so you’re going to Netflix or Hulu or Showtime. You shouldn’t have to do that. It should be very simple.”

Cook went on to note that universal search will be intelligent enough to know which services the user is subscribed to, highlighting which sources are available free or with existing subscriptions. This is true even when different services offer only a portion of a television series’ seasons, such as a show where older seasons are available through Netflix with an existing subscription but newer seasons may need to be purchased through iTunes or through a new HBO subscription.



Microsoft Excel is 30 years old, v1.0 team discusses shifting from DOS to Mac mid-stream

Four veterans of the first Excel team celebrate the applications 30th anniversary in Seattle by discussing “ripping off” other products while creating “cool original stuff.” Read more…