Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week’s episode of „The Talk Show,“ where they commented on recent opinions that Apple’s software isn’t up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code‘s Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled „Apple’s Apps Need Work,“ pointing towards a „gradual degradation“ in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he „dreads“ opening it because it’s „bloated, complex, and sluggish.“

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg’s opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user’s content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

„We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you’re in music and iTunes, all you see is music,“ said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.

„That’s not to say we are continuing… and will continue to think about what’s the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we’ve designed iTunes and you’ll see we’ve got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that’s coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space.“

Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there’s a „tricky balancing act“ with software updates.

„People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there’s a lot of responsibility.

The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

„I would say first there’s nothing we care about more,“ said Federighi, speaking on Apple’s software and services. He believes Apple’s core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. „Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up,“ he said.

Federighi and Cue’s full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple’s efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.

Tags: iTunes, Apple Music
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App Store and iTunes Experiencing Issues for Many Users Worldwide

Apple has updated its System Status page to reflect that many users may be unable to access, purchase, or update apps on the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Multiple other iCloud services are or were also experiencing downtime, including the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, and iWork for iCloud.

The issues began shortly before 7:00 a.m. Pacific and appear to be widespread, affecting customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, according to social media posts. Apple TV services and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program are also affected by the service issues.

Update (9:10 a.m. Pacific): Apple’s System Status page shows that the App Store, iTunes, and other iCloud services have been restored.

Tags: App Store, iTunes, iCloud, downtime, system status
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iOS 9.2 is now available to the public

Apple just released iOS 9.2 to the public today after months of beta testing by developers and public testers. iOS 9.2 is the second major update since iOS 9 was released to in Septmeber and brings with it a host of new bug fixes, as well as significant tweaks to the Safari View Controller that […]

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


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Apple Releases iOS 9.2 With Safari View Controller Improvements, AT&T NumberSync Support and Bug Fixes

Apple today released iOS 9.2 to the public, marking the second major update to the iOS 9 operating system since its September launch. Prior to being released, iOS 9.2 was in testing since late October after being seeded to developers and public beta testers one week after the launch of iOS 9.1.

Today’s iOS 9.2 release is available as an over-the-air update to all iOS 9 users. Though it is the second major update, iOS 9.2 is actually the fourth update to iOS 9 in total, following the launches of iOS 9.0.1, iOS 9.0.2, and iOS 9.1. Xcode 7.2 is also available today.

iOS 9.2 includes a huge list of bug fixes, which we’ve outlined below.

This update contains improvements and bug fixes including:

– Apple Music improvements

–You can now create a new playlist when adding a song to a playlist

–Your most recently changed playlist is now listed at the top when adding songs to playlists

–Download albums or playlists from your iCloud Music Library by tapping the iCloud download button

–See which songs have been downloaded with the new download indicator next to each song in My Music and Playlists

–See works, composers, and performers while browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog

– A new Top Stories section in News so you can stay up to date with the most important news of the day (available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia)

– Mail Drop in Mail for sending large attachments

– iBooks now supports 3D Touch to peek and pop pages from the table of contents, your notes and bookmarks, or from search results inside a book

– iBooks now supports listening to an audiobook while you browse your library, read other books, or explore the iBooks Store

– iPhone support for the USB Camera Adapter to import photos and videos

– Improved stability of Safari

– Improved stability of Podcasts

– Fixing an issue that caused mail attachments to be inaccessible for some users with POP email accounts

– Resolving an issue for some users that caused attachments to overlap text in mail

– Fixing an issue where Live Photos could have turned off after restoring from a previous iCloud backup

– Addressing an issue that could cause search in Contacts to display no results

– Resolving an issue that could have prevented Calendar from displaying all seven days in week view

– Fixing an issue where Camera screen on iPad could be black when attempting to capture video

– Addressing an issue that could cause instability in the Activity app when viewing the day of Daylight Savings Time transition

– Fixing an issue that could prevent data from appearing in Health

– Fixing an issue that could prevent Wallet updates and Lock screen alerts from displaying

– Addressing an issue where updating iOS could prevent an alarm from going off

– Fixing an issue where some users were unable to login to Find my iPhone

– Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing

– Addressing an issue where using the iPad keyboard could unintentionally trigger text selection mode

– Improved keyboard responsiveness when using Quick Reply

– Improved punctuation input on the 10-key Chinese (Pinyin & Stroke) keyboards with new expanded view of punctuation symbols and better predictions

– Fixing an issue on Cyrillic keyboards where caps lock would be enabled when typing in URL or email fields

– Siri support for Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)

– Accessibility improvements

–Fixing issues with VoiceOver when using Camera face detection

–Adding support for VoiceOver to wake up the screen

–Adding support for VoiceOver to invoke app switcher with 3D Touch gesture

–Fixing an issue with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls

–Improved functionality for Switch Control users when using 3D Touch

–Fixing an issue with speech rate of Speak Screen

Beyond bug fixes, iOS 9.2’s biggest change is a tweak to the way the Safari View Controller works within third-party apps. The Safari View controller is what allows a pop-up Safari window to be used within third-party apps, and with iOS 9.2, the Safari View Controller supports third-party Action Extensions, letting apps like 1Password to be accessed in the Safari view of other apps like Tweetbot.

In the Hipchat app for iOS, clicking a link brings up an in-app browser. In iOS 9.1, seen on the left, there’s no option for third-party extensions. In iOS 9.2, seen on the right, there’s support for third-party extensions like 1Password.

The Safari View Controller has also been updated with the ability to long tap on the Reload button to reload content without content blockers and it now supports the request desktop site function and an edge swipe to dismiss the Safari window.

iOS 9.2 also includes support for AT&T’s NumberSync Wi-Fi calling feature, allowing AT&T users to accept calls on any device even when their phone is not nearby.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.2
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Multiple Apple Services Experiencing Widespread Outage [Updated]

Apple has updated its system status page to reflect widespread issues affecting multiple Apple products and services since approximately 7:30 PM Pacific, including the App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes Match, iTunes Store, Mac App Store and Radio.

Many users are also unable to fully access or use the Apple website, Apple Online Store, Apple ID, Apple Music, FaceTime, iCloud, iMessage, Mail, TestFlight and several other Apple services, suggesting possible larger server or DNS issues.

Apple’s standard response on its system status page says it is investigating and will provide a status update as more information becomes available.

Update 8:38 PM: Apple’s system status page now indicates the issues have been resolved, and users are indeed reporting Apple’s services are up and running once again.

Tags: App Store, iTunes, Apple, iMessage, iCloud, system status
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F.lux for iPhone and iPad Launches in Beta Outside of App Store

F.lux, popular Mac software that adjusts the color of your computer’s display to adapt to the time of day, has been released for iPhone and iPad in beta outside of the App Store. The app can be downloaded and side-loaded on iOS 9 devices using Xcode 7 on a Mac running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later.

F.lux will adjust your iPhone or iPad display to appear like sunlight during the day, and warm during nighttime hours to avoid looking at a bright screen. The app has settings to adjust the brightness level during the day and night, and you can also configure a time that you normally wake up each day.

Apple does not allow developers to access the Private APIs that f.lux requires to work on iOS, so the app is unlikely to appear on the App Store unless that policy changes. Since the app is side-loaded, there are no automatic updates, so the beta performs a daily update check and will display a message if a new version is available.

How to Sideload F.lux on iPhone and iPad

F.lux has provided step-by-step instructions on how to sideload the app on iPhone or iPad.Download and install Xcode 7 from the Mac App Store

Download F.lux for iOS, unzip and open the “iflux.xcodeproj” project in Xcode

Open Xcode > Preferences > Accounts and enter your iCloud or developer credentials

Under Targets > iflux > General > Identity, give the Bundle Identifier a unique name

Under the same Identity > Team menu, select your iCloud account or Developer profile

Next, connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac using a Lightning cable and follow these steps:

From the Xcode Product menu, choose Destination and select your iOS device

Push Cmd-R when you’re ready to have f.lux

When you first run, you’ll be prompted to open Settings > General > Profile on your device, and trust your developer account

Run again, and allow location and notifications – the app needs to be able to constantly communicate to run wellF.lux for iOS was developed by Michael Herf and is free for iPhone and iPad. The app was released for jailbroken iOS devices in late 2011.

Tags: F.lux, Xcode 7
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Apple Releases Second iOS 9.2 Beta for Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the second beta of iOS 9.2 to public beta testers, one day after seeding the second beta to developers and a week after releasing the first iOS 9.2 public beta. iOS 9.2 follows iOS 9.1, which launched on October 21.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program and have will receive the second iOS 9.2 beta as an over-the-air update.

Those who want to be a part of Apple’s beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and OS X betas. As iOS 9.1 was recently released, it will likely be several weeks before we see the public release of iOS 9.2.

According to the release notes for the first iOS 9.2 beta, the Safari View Controller (the view of Safari you see within apps) is being updated with support for third-party Action Extensions that will let it more closely mirror the Safari app. It also includes options to reload content and request a desktop site, as in Safari, and iOS 9.2 beta 2 improves Safari View Controller further, introducing support for dismissing it with an edge swipe.

Along with improvements to Safari View Controller, iOS 9.2 also introduces support for AT&T’s NumberSync Wi-Fi Calling feature and includes bug fixes for iCloud Keychain, Apple Watch syncing and pairing, audio quality when streaming to stereo systems, and more.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.2
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Microsoft Reduces OneDrive Storage for Office 365 and Free Users, Eliminates Unlimited Option

Microsoft tonight announced that it was making changes to its OneDrive cloud storage services, reducing the amount of storage both Office 365 and free users are granted and eliminating its unlimited option. The company says that the changes were needed to „ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected and intelligent service.“

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average. Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.

Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers will no longer have access to unlimited storage. Instead, these users will be limited to 1 TB of storage. The 100 GB and 200 GB plans are being eliminated for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 a month, which will launch in early 2016. Free OneDrive users will see their storage decreased from 15 GB to 5 GB, with the 15 GB camera roll storage bonus also being eliminated. These changes will also roll out in early 2016.

Microsoft says it wants to make the transition for its users as easy as possible, outlining the steps its taking to notify users of the change. Office 365 subscribers that have more than 1 TB of storage will be notified and will be allowed to keep their increased storage for 12 months. Office 365 customers who no longer desire the service because of the change will be given a pro-rated refund. Free users who have used more than 5 GB of storage will have access to all their files for 12 months after the changes go into effect in early 2016 and will receive a free one-year subscription to Office 365. Individual OneDrive subscribers to the 100 GB and 200 GB plans will not be affected.

In June 2014, Microsoft boosted its storage plans for OneDrive, bumping Office 365 subscribers from 20 GB to 1 TB before adding unlimited storage in October 2014. The company also increased storage of its free service from 7 GB to 15 GB while also decreasing prices for the 100 GB and 200 GB plans.

At its „Hey Siri“ event this year, Apple announced price reductions for its own cloud storage service, iCloud Drive. 5 GB of iCloud storage is free while 50 GB is priced at 99 cents per month, 200 GB is $2.99 per month and 1 TB is $9.99 per month.

Tags: Microsoft, OneDrive, Office 365
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iCloud for Windows 5 Adds iCloud Photo Library and Two-Factor Authentication

Apple has released iCloud for Windows 5 with support for iCloud Photo Library and two-factor authentication for Apple ID accounts. Windows users were previously limited to accessing iCloud Photo Library through the web interface.

Apple recommends that iCloud for Windows users have Windows 7, 8 or 10 installed. For email, the software currently supports Outlook 2007 through Outlook 2013, while Outlook 2016 users can access iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendars on iCloud.com.

Use iCloud Photo Library on your Windows PC to download all of the photos and videos from your Apple devices to your computer, or upload your Windows Pictures library to iCloud. And when you turn on iCloud Photo Sharing, you can share your captured memories with just the people you choose.

Apple has published a support document for setting up and using iCloud Photo Library on Windows.



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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.

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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