Meet the new and improved Windows. No, it’s not Windows 9 — Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) is going straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10. Microsoft showed off the latest version of its flagship operating system at an event in San Francisco Tuesday. It wasn’t a complete unveiling — Microsoft focused on a handful of features … Continue reading →
Apple's Swift is a new programming language with a focus on speed and ease of use
Apple's used Objective-C as its programming language of choice for right around twenty years now, but it's brought something new to its yearly developer conference: Swift, a new tongue of its own making. Apple describes its new lingua franca as "Objective-C without the C," but it keeps (and improves on) the speed of its progenitors. In other words, iOS and OS X apps built with Swift should run even smoother and faster than counterparts made with the tried and true Objective-C. According to Cupertino, Swift can be used to craft anything from social networking apps to 3D games.
iOS 8 apps can share data, features with each other
Apple's annual developer conference is well underway, and it just revealed what could be a seismic shift in the iOS world: third party apps will soon be able talk to each other. Historically, applications on iOS have lived in their own silos, without being able to share data and features, but that's set to change in iOS 8. Apple has given developers "Extensibility" tools -- a suite of APIs, if you want to get technical -- that they can wield to let their apps share everything from documents to translation services. A demo onstage showed a Bing extension for Safari doing inline translation of a Japanese website, and using Pinterest to share a photo from a website in just a few taps.
Apple will let you log into other apps with TouchID
Guess what folks! With iOS 8 Touch ID will finally be useful for something besides unlocking your phone and buying apps. During the big keynote at WWDC 2014 Apple announced the debut of an API for TouchID. That means other apps will be able to use the fingerprint scanner on your iPhone for authentication. Your actual fingerprint data is still stored securely on the hardware, and is never actually exposed to developers. That means you could quickly and easily order a bombproof case for your precious phone just by holding your thumb across the home button and never worry that a bug in the Amazon app could expose your fingerprint to nefarious actors. That should relive some of the pain associated with keeping all your various accounts secure -- which, as you've been told countless times, should all have unique passwords with a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters. Android users may have in-app access to LastPass, but simply scanning your thumbprint seems that much easier.
Apple's smart home initiative is called HomeKit
We heard it was coming, and here it is: Apple's smart home platform. Taking the stage in sunny San Francisco, Apple's Craig Federighi announced HomeKit: Cupertino's solution for the connected home. Don't expect to pick up a unified automation system at your local Apple Store, though -- the firm's foray into the field a communication standard, not a product. Federighi describes HomeKit as a "common network protocol with secure networking to ensure only your iPhone can open your garage door or unlock your door."
Siri in iOS 8 will let you identify songs and buy from iTunes
Siri is going to learn a few new tricks in iOS 8. As rumored, the voice assistant will now identify songs using Shazam; if you want to find out the name of a catchy track, you don't have to fire up a separate app. You'll also have the option of buying iTunes content. The speech recognition system is smarter, to boot -- it now shows what you're saying in real time, and you can start commands by speaking "hey, Siri" (much like Android KitKat's "OK Google") instead of holding down the home button. There's no mention of integration with third-party apps so far, but this is still a big step forward for iOS users who prefer voice dictation for all their tasks.
Apple will finally support third-party keyboards in iOS 8
After years of waiting, Apple has finally brought support for third-party keyboards to iOS. Inside iOS 8, keyboards like Swiftkey and Swype, which have enjoyed huge usage on Android, will have system-wide access to all apps and services on your iPhone and iPad. Swiftkey has confirmed it's on board, but if you don't fancy that, you'll still able to enjoy Apple's new QuickType keyboard. The company says the improved keyboard learns from the way you type and text, offering a pick of suggestions for your next word based on the content of your message or the person you're conversing with. Planning a meal with your friend or loved one? The keyboard will auto-populate words like "dinner" or "eat" as you type. At launch, QuickType will support 14 regions including the US, UK, Canada and Australian English, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (that includes Hong Kong and Taiwan), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Thai.
Apple's iOS 8 supports widgets in Notification Center
It's been a long time coming, but Apple is finally adding support for widgets to iOS. On stage at its Worldwide Developers Conference, the company's senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, revealed that devs can now start building widgets within the Notification Center on iOS 8. Unlike Google's take on widgets with Android, Apple's equivalent won't have them living on the home screen of your smartphone or tablet. Instead, iOS widgets will share the drop-down hub with app notifications. Still, there's a lot of potential here, as it's going to let those of you with an iOS device have more interactivity and quick access to your favorite applications. iOS 8 will be available this fall.
Apple App Store getting developer bundles and video previews
As Tim Cook embarked on the developer section of the keynote at WWDC, it might be easy for end users to disconnect. But, if you did, you'd have missed out on two fairly solid updates: developer app bundles and (finally) video previews. Now, developers can combo their apps and sell the for a discounted price should they choose. Likewise, previews allow developers to give us a better taste before we buy. If you happen to dabble in developing yourself, then you might also be relieved to hear that TestFlight is now officially part of Apple's developer set-up, too.
Family Sharing on iOS spreads photos, purchases and more amongst relatives
With the arrival of iOS 8, sharing amongst the family is about to get a lot easier. Once you set up all the members of your household (up to six total), you can automatically share photos, calendars, reminders, location and more. But that's not all. You know that catchy tune your son bought last week? Well, you'll be able spin it on your iPhone too. Sharing books, movies, apps and songs is also thrown in, and it can all be tied to a single credit card. Don't worry parents: you'll get a notification when your kids want to make a purchase.
Apple's Health app for iOS 8 collects your vitals from Nike and more (update)
Apple's iPhone is going from part-time health stat monitor to full-time mobile monitoring unit. HealthKit is a new service coming to the iPhone that tracks, records and analyzes your fitness level across a variety of metrics (sleep, movement, etc.). The way you use it on iOS 8 is through a new app called, simply, "Health." The initiative works with companies like Nike to bring all your health information into one place, under the Health app in the next update to iOS. It looks a lot like Passbook, using cards to identify various stats. Thusly, it enables customization of the stats you want tracked and how you want it presented.
OS X Yosemite will let you answer calls to your iPhone from your Mac
As part of OS X Yosemite's focus on creating a more seamless experience between your Mac and iOS devices, Apple's updating iMessage to keep conversations going. Now, it's not just instant messages from other Apple devices that show up on the desktop app, but also texts and multimedia that've been sent from other platforms (texts from your friends' Android devices, for example). Oh, and you can now make and take regular phone calls from your Mac when your iPhone is in range. As part of the new "Handoff" feature that means your computer and iDevice know exactly what the other is doing, a call to your phone will trigger a pop-up asking if you want to answer right from your computer. It works the other way around, as well, so you can make calls without touching your phone. And, what better way to show off the new feature than to call Dr. Dre live on stage?
Apple reveals iOS 8 at WWDC, available for free this fall
We all knew it was coming, and now it's here. Apple CEO Tim Cook just put months of breathless speculation to rest by pulling back the curtain on iOS 8 during the company's WWDC 2014 keynote address in San Francisco. It doesn't look like the sort of quantum leap that iOS 7 was, but Apple's head honcho assures us that it interacts in some fantastic ways with the new version of OS X and that it pairs great end user features with great developer features. Well, we'll be the judges of that. The big keynote just wrapped up -- here's what we know and what it means for you.
First things first. There's a lot to dig into, but you'll get iOS 8 as a free update sometime this fall for the iPhone 4s and newer, the 5th gen iPod touch, and the iPad 2 and newer. If you're a developer though, you'll be able to access the iOS 8 beta and SDK today.OS X Yosemite will be available for free this fall
Apple just announced that its latest desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite, will be available as a free upgrade to Mac users later this fall. Developers, meanwhile, will have access to it starting today. In addition to this, Apple revealed that, through its public beta program, some non-developer folks can start playing with the new version of OS X in the summer. Yosemite brings a completely redesigned user interface and deep integration with iOS, to highlight a couple of things. We'll likely hear more about Apple's OS X Yosemite in the days to come; for now, stay tuned to our WWDC liveblog to get more Apple-related coverage.
Apple revamps Safari with new UI, power-saving features
Apple's not forgetting about Safari with all the changes to OS X Yosemite. The browser has been completely overhauled with power-saving tweaks, new tabs and a privacy mode, among other new features. By far the biggest change, though, is in the UI -- it's got a new flat look that matches the new OS. On top of eliminating the favorites bar (which now pops up when you type in the address field), you get a bird's-eye view of tabs, and can scroll from side to side to select them. There's also a new Spotlight search that gives additional suggestions, as well as those from search engines like Google. Apple also says its latest Safari is standards-compliant and no longer requires video plugins -- which could net you up to two more hours of battery life when playing video.
Apple takes on Dropbox with iCloud Drive
Apple's slowly improved iCloud since it transitioned from MobileMe, but this year, it's getting a serious upgrade. On stage at WWDC 2104, Apple's SVP of Software Craig Federighi introduced us to a better way to manage files with the new iCloud Drive. With Drive, all of your iCloud files are available right inside Finder, letting you access documents and media wherever you are on your Mac. Because they're on iCloud, they're automatically auto-synced across devices and are fully searchable and taggable. You will, of course, need OS X Yosemite to take advantage of Finder support, but Apple hopes you'll ditch Dropbox's and Google's services in favor of Drive's deep OS support. As expected, iOS 8 will also include iCloud Drive functionality, letting you to work with a single version of a document on all of your devices (which surprisingly includes Windows machines).
Apple's WWDC 2014 in numbers: 40 million on Mavericks, 800 million iOS devices and billions of apps
Charts, graphs and stats: These are the things Apple keynotes are made of, and today's WWDC 2014 kickoff was no different. CEO Tim Cook took to the stage this morning at the Moscone Center in San Francisco armed with enough numerical ammunition to put your best boardroom PowerPoint Keynote to shame. Cook kicked things off boasting that over 40 million copies of OS X Mavericks have been installed and more than 50 percent of the install base is working on its latest OS. He went on to point out that while PC sales continued to slip (down 5 percent, according to Cook), Apple's computer sales are growing.
A sign is pictured in the hallway of the Microsoft Cybercrime Center, the new headquarters of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, in Redmond, Washington November 11, 2013.
A previously unknown flaw in a recent version of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer web browser is being used to attack Internet users, including some visitors to a major site for U.S. military veterans, researchers said Thursday.
Security firm FireEye Inc. discovered the attacks against IE 10 this week, saying that hundreds or thousands of machines have been infected. It said the culprits broke into the website of U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars and inserted a link that redirected visitors to a malicious web page that contained the infectious code in Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash software.
FireEye researcher Darien Kindlund said the attackers were probably seeking information from the machines of former and current military personnel and that the campaign shared some infrastructure and techniques previously attributed to groups in mainland China.
He said planting backdoors on the machines of VFW members and site visitors to collect military intelligence was a possible goal.
A VFW spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
A Microsoft spokesman said the company was aware of the “targeted” attacks and was investigating. “We will take action to help protect customers,” spokesman Scott Whiteaker said.
The latest version of the browser is IE 11, which is unaffected, and a Microsoft security tool called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit also protects users who have installed that.
Previously unknown flaws in popular software are a key weapon for hackers and are sold by the researchers who discover them for $50,000 or more, brokers say.
They are most often bought by defense contractors and intelligence agencies in multiple countries, but some of the best-funded criminal groups buy them as well.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
(Credit: Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)
It's a classic game show conundrum: keep the gift you're given or swap it for a chance at winning something better. That's the idea behind Microsoft's new online gift exchange.
Each day from Monday, December 9, until Friday, December 20, Microsoft's gift exchange page will offer you a chance to win a surprise holiday present. After the gift pops up, Microsoft plays virtual Monty Hall by giving you the option to exchange it for something else. The grand prize of an online gift code worth $500 will end up in the stockings of 12 lucky winners.
To qualify, just fill out the form with your name, e-mail address, phone number, and zip code. Be sure to check the box to certify that you're a US resident. But you may want to uncheck the option to receive news and promotions from the Microsoft retail store.
A mystery gift then appears, which you can keep or swap for something else. On my first try, I opted to keep the gift and ended up with nothing but a message that said: "Bah Humbug. Sorry, you didn't win this time but you can still take advantage of our great holiday deals going on now. Don't forget to come back tomorrow and try you luck again."
Sure, Microsoft, I'll try again tomorrow. But I have a hunch I'll get the same message.
Like the 12 days of deals promotion, the online gift exchange is Microsoft's attempt to drum up excitement for its products among all us holiday shoppers.
Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED
In addition to being a conduit for iTunes, Apple’s little black streaming box also wants to be your new in-home radio station.
The perpetual hobby known as Apple TV was updated to software version 6.0 today. The firmware bump brings Apple’s new iTunes Radio service to the set-top box. Similar to Pandora, the service has radio stations built around genre, artists, and songs. You can also vote songs up or down. Subscribers to the $25/year iTunes Match will get an ad-free experience while everyone else will be subject to occasional ads, according to Apple.
The iTunes Radio service is a part of Apple’s massive iOS 7 update that landed on iOS devices Wednesday. The desktop iTunes App was also updated on Wednesday to 11.1 and includes iTunes Radio.
The service is Apple’s (much delayed) answer to similar radio features on Slacker, Rdio, and Spotify. By placing its radio service on the Apple TV, the company has linked iTunes Radio to the best — or at the very least, the most used — speakers in the house. While music from other apps can be pushed to the Apple TV via AirPlay, having a native app could give Apple a distinct advantage over competing products in homes with Apple TVs.
More importantly for the bottom line, it gives Apple the chance to sell more tracks from its iTunes music. Songs that are played in iTunes Radio show up in the services history on all devices and can be purchased from those devices including the Apple TV, thanks to today’s update.
Today’s update also brought AirPlay From iCloud, which lets guests stream their purchased music, photos, and videos stored in iCloud to another person’s Apple TV. If you bought World War Z on iTunes, you can now go to a friend’s house with an Apple TV and watch it there without having to log into their Home Sharing account or store it on your phone. It’s all streamed from iCloud.
by Roberto Baldwin
Follow @strngwys on Twitter.
If you’re a Flickr member but you haven’t been using the Flickr iPhone camera app(Free), you may just start doing so after you get your hands on its new filter-rich update and other added features.
iPhone camera apps are plentiful, but the new Flickr Mobile App seeks to up the standards with a fresh set of eighteen filters and photo effects to choose from. Now before you yawn, you should know that not only can you scroll through and preview filters to see how they will affect your selected photo, but the new feature also allows you customize applied filters to get the look you want.
In the new update you can tap on the pencil icon of a filter and then pinch to adjust the vignetting and/or blur the background or edges of an image.
In the new update you can tap on the pencil icon of a filter and then pinch to adjust the vignetting and/or blur the background or edges of an image.
For advanced shutter bugs, the mobile app includes exposure, color balance, levels, sharpening and cropping tools so you don’t have to open your images in another app to edit them. If you’re looking for even more professional editing, tap on the crop tool and you get yet another set of tools for rotating, flipping, and cropping an image to one of four aspect ratios, e.g., 4:3, 1×1, and 16×9. And as with previous versions of the app, you can upload photos to your Flickr account for public or private viewing.
If all these controls sound like too many bells and whistles, then just tap the magic enhancement tool and you’ll more than likely get results better than your original shot, and sufficient enough for sharing.
It seems with this latest update Yahoo! is making clear that it’s still squarely in the photo sharing business along side the popular Instagram. Let us know what you think of the new upgrades.
It's a dream that Carl Dietrich, the company's co-founder, CEO and CTO, has been working at steadily since at least 2006.
Terrafugia is perhaps just a few regulations and one very powerful battery away from clearing most of the hurdles it needs to create a flying car that consumers in the market for the equivalent of a super luxury sedan could afford.
With a cruising speed of 100 miles per hour in the air and gas mileage of about 35 to the gallon on the ground, Terrafugia's first model of flying car exists already.
The Transition is basically a small general-aviation airplane that can fold up its wings with the push of a button. It runs on normal automative gasoline — about 30% less expensive than aviation fuel (its range is about 410 miles plus a 30-minute reserve). Fly the Transition to a small airport, land, and the wings withdraw in less than a minute. Its propeller disengages and its rear-wheel drive turns on. At that point, you're street legal and ready to roll. At home, the Transition is designed to fit within a single-car garage.The next generation from Terrafugia, the follow-up to the Transition, should prove a bit more universally affordable.
Google’s primary search domain for Palestine has seemingly been hacked, with the standard Google search interface for the region being replaced by a political message from its hackers.
From the information available so far, it doesn’t appear that Google’s own servers were hacked — instead, it seems that Google’s Palestinian domain was hijacked and redirected to another server altogether. How that was done, exactly, is unclear. One current theory is that Google’s top-level domain provider for the region was compromised, allowing hackers to point the domain somewhere else.
“uncle google we say hi from palestine” taunts the defaced page, “to remember you that the country in google map not called israel. its called Palestine”
Here’s a screenshot of the defaced page as it appeared this morning:
Credited to a Domino’s Pizza franchise in the UK, a prototype or publicity stunt pizza delivery drone whizzes through the skies outside London to bring two pizzas to a waiting customer. While debates rage over whether it is real, whether Domino’s really intends to pursue the concept, and if it is even legal; there are some interesting questions for the logistics community.
The drone supplier, Aerosight, is an innovator in aerial photography, using unmanned video drones to capture stunning images and videos for film makers, advertising, and broadcast media. Just as the military have adapted surveillance drones to carry weapons, why not a civilian application to carry small packages?
The practicality of widespread use of drone delivery devices is limited. If the application were to become popular, it would drive congestion overhead with the potential for midair collisions – though having a beer copter and a pizza drone collide and rain down pizza and beer at a college campus event may be seen by many as a positive mishap. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of some real applications.
One very real “cargo” opportunity for the drones comes to mind in post disaster response. Flying a drone into a flood area can aid responders in locating victims and identifying those with the most critical needs – and then providing some relief. Such a drone might carry a communications device and some basic medical supplies (like insulin) that can help save lives.
A document drone might shuttle paperwork between remote locations at a port or a large terminal operation. At the same time, the camera can provide location verification on trailers and containers and a security check while enroute.
While we watch the skies for flying pizza, enjoy the video above (or click here) and feel free to add comments on how we might apply drones to other social and disaster recovery problems. Keep in mind that until recently a commercial carrier making deliveries in space sounded fantastic – then came the SpaceX Dragon.
Google has been awarded a patent that could allow Google Glass users to unlock the screen using eye tracking.
As of now, a single side swipe across the high-tech spec's touchpad unlocks the device, but if the patent is any indicator, that may soon get even easier.
In the patent filing, Google details how a moving object could appear on Glass' projected screen, sort of like a screensaver, and unlock a wearable device when eyes align with the movement. In this case, we're assuming the "wearable device" the company refers to is its own Google Glass, but it notes wearable computers can be worn "under or on top of clothing or integrated into eye glasses."
In an attached picture, the company uses an image of a bird flying back and forth (see below). When one's eyes follow the bird's movement, the technology recognizes the alignment and unlocks the device.
The same concept applies to text scrolling across the screen.
"The computing system may determine that a path associated with the eye movement of the user substantially matches a path associated with the moving object on the display and switch to be in an unlocked mode of operation including unlocking the screen," Google said in the filing.
The speed of the moving object on the screen could also accelerate or decelerate, and the technology would detect the eye's corresponding response to those changes and in turn unlock the screen, the filing said.
By Samantha Murphy
Mozilla is teaming up with Taiwanese company Hon Hai Precision Industry — better known as Foxconn — to launch a new device running the Firefox OS.
Mozilla confirmed the partnership to Reuters and although the company wouldn't share the exact nature of the device, it is believed to be a tablet. Mozilla is expected to unveil the plans at Focus Taiwan on June 3.
Mozilla has already signed partnerships with Alcatel (TCL), Huawei, ZTE and LG for Firefox phones but this would be its first tablet initiative.
Foxconn makes most of its money from Apple but is reportedly looking to diversify its customer base. It already makes Android devices but this would be its first foray into the Firefox OS space.
Firefox OS is just one of the class of operating systems vying for a fourth or fifth spot in the smartphone ecosystem. These platforms — which also include Ubuntu Touch and Tizen — are primarily targeting emerging markets and first-time smartphone buyers.
What do you think of Foxconn getting into the Firefox OS space? Let us know in the comments.
Photo via Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images
Source - Mashable
Coffee With Tim Cook Charity Auction Ends With $610,000 Bid.
A charity auction that offered up coffee with Apple chief Tim Cook closed this week at $610,000.
The chance to have coffee with Cook at 1 Infinite Loop pulled in 86 bids, with the winner pledging more than half a million to chat with Apple's CEO.
The winner - and a friend - only get 30-60 minutes with Cook, so that's about $10,000-$20,000 per minute, depending on how chatty Cook feels that day.
The auction, hosted by Charitybuzz, kicked off in late April, and quickly racked up over $100,000 in bids. Charitybuzz valued the meeting with Apple's CEO at $50,000, but Apple fans clearly felt he was worth much more.
Proceeds from the Cook auction will go to The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, as will a number of other Charitybuzz auctions, including a tour the SpaceX Center in Los Angeles and a meeting with Elon Musk, which went for $42,500.
"We're truly amazed by the results of Tim Cook's remarkable donation. Sincere thanks goes out to Charitybuzz's community of socially conscious bidders here in the U.S. and overseas, whose generosity has helped us raise an incredible amount for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights," Coppy Holzman, Charitybuzz CEO and founder, said in a statement. "With the support of cultural icons from Hollywood to Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley, we are thrilled to have amassed more than one million dollars this spring for the RFK Center's powerful work."
Charitybuzz did not release details about the winning bidders. Don't expect to hear about it, either. According to the auction rules, "the winner cannot blog, social network, talk to press, write about, take pictures or record during the experience in any way due to security regulations."
The winner will also sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) upon arrival at Apple headquarters. The time and date for the sit down will be agreed upon in the coming days, but must happen within a year. Travel and accommodation costs are not included.
There are actually 147 auctions on Charitybuzz that will benefits the RFK Center. After three weeks, the first wave of auctions closed this week, raising more than $1.1 million for its global human rights programs. To date, the RFK Center's annual auctions at Charitybuzz have raised more than $4.6 million for human rights over six years.
"The RFK Center's annual auctions empower our human rights advocacy around the world, from courtrooms to classrooms, from Cambodia to California," said Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Center. "We are enormously grateful to our generous donors and to all those whose support will help us carry forward Robert Kennedy's dream of a more just and peaceful world."
Cook's auction tied the record for highest winning bid on Charitybuzz, which was set by a 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster auctioned in March 2013 for $610,000.
Cook, meanwhile, is reportedly scheduled to have a more stressful sit down next week. According to Politico, the Apple CEO will appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation on May 21 for a hearing about "offshore profit shifting and the U.S. tax code." The witness list for that hearing is not expected to be released until Friday, but an Apple spokesman told Politico that the company has been working with the committee.
According to Bloomberg, Apple avoided $9.2 billion in taxes by funding a dividend and stock buyback program.
Source: PC Mag