iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se to Be Available on March 18 Following March 15 Introduction

Apple is planning to begin selling the upcoming iPad Air 3 and the 4-inch iPhone 5se starting on March 18, reports 9to5Mac. The two devices will be offered in stores and online starting on Friday following their introduction at an event to be held on Tuesday, March 15.

Apple is not expected to accept pre-orders for the two devices, and the short period between announcement and launch suggests Apple expects supplies of the iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se to be plentiful. It is unusual for Apple to offer an iPhone directly after an announcement, but this is the first time the company has launched a standalone non-flagship device.

Launching the new iPhone and iPad models so soon after introduction and not offering pre-orders would be a new strategy for Apple. Apple typically releases new iPhone models one or two weeks following the introduction events and an online pre-order period.

Rumors have suggested the iPhone 5se will be similar in appearance to the iPhone 5s, but with the curved cover glass used in the iPhone 6s. It is also expected to include an upgraded A9 processor and an 8-megapixel camera similar to the camera used in the iPhone 6.

The iPad Air 3 is rumored to take on design elements from the iPad Pro, offering a four-speaker layout and a Smart Connector that would work with iPad Air accessories. Size wise, it is expected to be nearly identical to the iPad Air 2, and i may also include a rear-facing flash.

Apple’s March event is also expected to see the debut of new bands for the Apple Watch, including a Black Milanese Loop that was spotted on the Czech Republic Apple Store website in January. Software currently in testing, including iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, OS X 10.11.4, and tvOS 9.2 could be unveiled shortly after the event.

Related Roundups: iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se, iPhone 6c
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Air (Don’t Buy)
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iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se to Be Available on March 18 Following March 15 Introduction

Apple Pencil makes app designers stand up and shout

The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are making paper and pencil design workflow a thing of the past. Amanda Somers, a user experience (UX) designer for mobile app developer Mindsea Development, writes on Medium about her newfound respect for the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro combination. “We are confident in saying we are able to […]

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


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Apple Pencil makes app designers stand up and shout

Apple Open Sources Swift Benchmark Suite

Apple today announced that its Swift benchmark suite is open source, just over two months after making its Swift programming language open sourced as promised at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple’s Swift benchmarking suite is designed to track Swift performance with 75 benchmarks that cover multiple important Swift workloads, libraries with commonly needed benchmarking functions, drivers for running benchmarks and displaying performance metrics, and a utility for comparing benchmark metrics across multiple versions of Swift. The Swift benchmark suite is available on GitHub.

Introduced in 2014 and launched alongside iOS 8 and OS X, Swift is Apple’s programming language built for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS, designed to work with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks along with Objective-C while also being widely accessible. In 2015, Apple debuted Swift 2 with new features like advanced error handling and syntax enhancements.
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Apple Open Sources Swift Benchmark Suite

Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 9.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second iOS 9.3 beta and two months after the public release of iOS 9.2. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11.

The third iOS 9.3 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the iOS section of the Apple Developer Center.

As a major .1 update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new features. There’s a Night Shift mode to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPad or iPhone display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum, and there are several features designed to improve the iPad for Education program, such as multi-user login.

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Multiple apps and features are also seeing updates in iOS 9.3. Apple News includes more personalized recommendations, faster updates, a landscape view on the iPhone, and support for in-line video, while Health includes a new Apple Watch-style „Activity“ view and Notes has an option to password protect individual entries.

Apple Music for CarPlay offers „New“ and „For You“ sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps offers more information about what’s close by. Paired with watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 is able to support multiple Apple Watches, and for iPhone 6s users, there are new Quick Actions for Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store.

The second iOS 9.3 beta added a Control Center toggle for the Night Shift feature, and new additions in the third iOS 9.3 beta will be listed below.

What’s new in iOS 9.3 beta 3:

Verizon Wi-Fi calling – The third beta of iOS 9.3 adds Wi-Fi calling for Verizon users, allowing them to place calls over a wireless connection when cellular connectivity is poor.

T-Mobile bug fix – Today’s beta includes a carrier update for T-Mobile users, fixing a bug that prevented apps from loading over a cellular connection.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 9.3 to Developers

Wake up to the sound of music videos on your iPhone

Ringtones are passé; why not wake up to the sound of a music video in the morning? You’ll be the envy of everyone who hears your alarm go off with this neat iOS 9 feature. Here’s how to enable it. First off, you’ll need some music videos. The best way is to head into iTunes […]

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


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Wake up to the sound of music videos on your iPhone

Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

Following Apple’s first quarter earnings report, Apple executives hosted a Town Hall meeting with Apple employees to answer questions and to divulge a few details about the company’s future plans. 9to5Mac has shared highlights of what was covered at the event. While much of what was said was reiterating information that was shared during the earnings call, there are a few tidbits worth noting.

When it comes to the iPhone and the rumor that Apple has perhaps reached „peak iPhone,“ Cook said the device is the „greatest business of the future“ with growth potential in key emerging markets like India and China. He said Apple does not need to launch a less expensive device with pared-down features to entice buyers in these markets, as research suggests people will spend more for a better experience. These comments relate directly to the upcoming „iPhone 5se,“ which some rumors have suggested will be positioned as a less powerful, lower-end device, though not a cheap one by general smartphone standards.

On the Apple TV and tvOS, Cook said the two products point towards a „bright“ future for Apple, but he didn’t mention how Apple might expand its presence in the living room going forward. tvOS is Apple’s way of giving content providers the tools to offer streaming television solutions to customers after having failed to launch its own streaming service due to difficulties with negotiations. The most recent TV-related rumors suggest Apple is exploring the possibility of original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon.

Cook also reportedly expressed excitement over future products coming from the company’s software, services, and hardware divisions. In the next few months, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5se, the iPad Air 3, new bands for the Apple Watch, and perhaps new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros. Later in the year, Apple is also expected to introduce the highly-anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

He also teased „far off“ hardware products coming beyond 2016, perhaps hinting at the company’s work on the Apple Car or its exploration of virtual and augmented reality. Recent rumors suggest Apple is prototyping virtual reality headsets similar to the Oculus Rift.

The last bit of interesting information was on Apple Campus 2, the company’s second „spaceship“ campus that’s under development in Cupertino. Construction appears to be on track to be finished at the end of 2016, as Cook says the first employees will move into the campus by the end of January 2017. He also said the new underground auditorium will allow Apple to hold events on its grounds instead of at venues in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.

The meeting also included more mundane information on upcoming time-off benefits for Apple employees, flagging iPad sales, new solutions for retaining employee talent, and Apple’s supply chain, which can be read at 9to5Mac.

Tag: Tim Cook
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Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

iOS Keyboard Maker SwiftKey Acquired by Microsoft for $250M

SwiftKey, the company behind the popular third-party SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS and Android devices, is being acquired by Microsoft, reports Financial Times. Microsoft is said to be purchasing SwiftKey for $250 million in a deal that will be announced imminently.

The SwiftKey keyboard has been available on Android devices since 2010, expanding to iOS in January of 2014 through the SwiftKey notes app. When Apple included support for third-party keyboards in iOS 8, SwiftKey was one of the first companies to produce a keyboard replacement app.

SwiftKey’s keyboard is notable for its word prediction tools, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning to make custom word predictions based on what a user has previously written. Microsoft will likely use SwiftKey’s technology to bolster its own AI-based products, including its Word Flow keyboard and virtual assistant Cortana.
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iOS Keyboard Maker SwiftKey Acquired by Microsoft for $250M

What’s New in iOS 9.3: Night Shift, New Quick Actions, Improvements to Apple News, Notes, CarPlay and Health

Apple’s iOS 9.2.1 update is still in testing, but that didn’t stop the company from surprising us with an iOS 9.3 beta this morning. The iOS 9.3 beta is one of the biggest updates to iOS 9 yet, introducing a new Night Shift feature and improving several existing apps, including Notes, Apple News, Health, CarPlay, and more.

We’ve gathered up a full list of the changes and new features in iOS 9.3, to give MacRumors readers a clear picture of what they can expect to see when iOS 9.3 is released to the public.

Night Shift – Night Shift is a new feature that’s designed to automatically cut down on the amount of blue light an iOS user is exposed to at night by shifting to more yellow tones for the iPhone or iPad’s display. Studies have suggested blue light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

Night Shift settings are available in the „Display & Brightness“ section of the Settings app. In this section, there’s a new option to toggle on „Blue Light Reduction“ and set the display to be Cooler or Warmer. A Schedule option lets users set a custom schedule or choose to turn on Night Shift from sunset to sunrise.

Quick Actions – On the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there are new 3D Touch Quick Actions for several of the stock apps, including Weather, Settings, Compass, and Health. Weather’s Quick Actions allow you to see the weather at your current location or for saved locations in the app. Settings includes useful shortcuts for accessing Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Battery, and Wallpaper options. Health’s Quick Actions provide access to the Medical ID or a user’s dashboard, while Compass now features options to open directly to the compass or the level.

There are also new Quick Action options for the App Store and iTunes Store apps. For the App Store app, Quick Actions now include „Update All“ to update all apps at once from the Home screen, and „Purchased“ for opening up to a list of all purchased apps. For the iTunes Store, new options include „View Downloads“ and „Purchased.“

Notes – There’s a new option to use Touch ID or a password to protect notes within the Notes app. With this enabled, Notes will ask for either the user’s password or a fingerprint when opening Notes that have been protected with a password. Password Protection for Notes can be set on a note-by-note basis within the Notes app. There are also new options in Settings to organize notes by Date Edited, Date Created, or Title.

News – Apple has improved the news app in iOS 9.3 to make it more tailored to each person’s interests. The For You section is also incorporating trending topics and specific picks from Apple editors to help users better discover content. Other new features include a new landscape view for News on the iPhone, in-line video playback for videos in news stories, and faster content updating when opening the news app.

Health – In the Health app, when viewing the Weight, Workouts, and Sleep categories, Health now links to apps you can download that will allow you to collect this data. Health also mirrors the Apple Watch move, exercise, and stand data in a new „Activity“ interface, and it displays your goals. The new Health features in iOS 9.3 may not be functional yet, as the new interface and the app suggestions were not available on our iOS devices running iOS 9.3.

CarPlay – Several CarPlay apps have been updated to bring them in line with iOS apps on iOS 9. The Apple Music CarPlay app now includes New and For You sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby feature in Maps offers better access to information about what’s close by, providing suggestions for local gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, and more.

Alongside iOS 9.3, Apple’s also provided a comprehensive list of all the cars in the United States and other countries that offer CarPlay support. Apple’s list includes more than 100 2016 and 2017 models from 22 auto manufacturers like Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Opel, Porsche, Peugeot, Seat, Škoda, Suzuki, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Education – iOS 9.3 includes multiple Education-oriented features including shared iPads for students, a new Classroom app, an Apple School Manager, and improved Apple ID management features.

Apple Watch – With iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2, the iPhone is able to pair with more than one Apple Watch. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and the iPhone running iOS 9.3. WatchOS 2.2 was seeded to developers alongside iOS 9.3.

Live Photos – On the iPhone 6s, there’s a new option to save a full resolution photo from a Live Photo. When using the Share Sheet, choosing „Duplicate“ now gives an option to create a Still Photo duplicate of a Live Photo.

Wallet/Apple Pay – In Wallet and when using Apple Pay, there’s now an option to open an app that’s linked to a pass or credit card. For example, on a Southwest boarding pass, there’s a new icon that will open the Southwest app when tapped.

Siri – Siri has been updated in iOS 9.3 to include the following languages: Malay (Malaysia), Finnish (Finland), and Hebrew (Israel).

App Switcher – iOS 9.3 includes haptic feedback when using the Force Touch app switcher on an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus. „Peek“ feedback is provided when first opening the app switcher, and a full „Pop“ feedback is given when pressing further to open it fully.
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What’s New in iOS 9.3: Night Shift, New Quick Actions, Improvements to Apple News, Notes, CarPlay and Health