Google Now was probably the best thing to happen to mobile devices in 2012. Google’s brilliant virtual assistant uses location, search history and other data to automatically present users with information like the weather, driving directions to meetings and travel times, sports scores and more without any interaction required on the user’s part. After a long wait, iOS device users finally gained access to Google Now earlier this week when Google updated its iOS search app with Google Now functionality, but its arrival was marred by two problems: first, platform limitations on iOS and Google’s decision to forego push notifications make Now far less useful on Apple devices than it is on Android. Beyond that, an apparent bug in Google’s app is seemingly causing location services to stay on and drain users’ batteries. More →
Soon after its IPO, Zynga’s share price spiked above $15 in early 2012. Very little has gone right since then. Just last month, Zynga issued yet another warning and its share price now hovers just above $3. On Thursday, Zynga’s latest flagship game, Draw Something 2, dropped out of iPhone’s top-10 paid app chart after having spent only six days there. The original Draw Something spent nearly three months on the iPhone’s top-10 chart in early 2012. More →
Apple on Thursday released a minor software update for the iPhone 5 only. The change log for iOS 6.1.4 includes just one entry — “updated audio profile for speakerphone” — and it is unclear if the new iOS build includes any additional bug fixes or enhancements. IOS 6.1.4 is available from Apple immediately as an over the air (OTA) update, and it should also be available for download through iTunes shortly.
Apple’s iOS 7 operating system update is expected to be shown off for the first time during the keynote at WWDC 2013, but a recent report suggested the platform’s launch may be delayed. Apple engineers are reportedly working on a major overhaul of iOS’s user interface, and it is seemingly taking longer than expected to refine and “flatten” the interface. According to multiple reports from reporters with nearly impeccable track records, however, Apple has pulled engineers away from OS X to help work on iOS 7 and the new mobile OS update will launch on time. More →
Apple had better hope that its investments in iOS Maps yield some major improvements if it hopes to push its much-maligned mapping application into more automobiles. Unnamed sources tell 9to5Mac that Apple “plans to move aggressively into the in-car integration space later this year” and “is working with car makers to deeply embed iOS’s Maps and Siri services into cars.” Essentially, Apple wants to give drivers the ability to plug their iPhones into their cars and have them deliver turn-by-turn directions through a combination of Siri and iOS Maps, thus giving users a safer hands-free navigation option. All of which sounds good until you remember that Apple’s mapping application still has major issues, and it has even been blamed for stranding tourists in the Australian outback after they followed a set of faulty iOS Maps directions.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform has slowly increased its market share since being released last October. The latest numbers from Kantar Worldpanel found that the operating system accounted for 5.6% of sales in the United States in the first quarter of 2013, up 1.9 percentage points from the same period in 2012. Android smartphones continue to dominate the market, increasing 1.4 percentage points and accounting for 49.3% of all smartphone sales, compared to the iPhone’s market share, which fell from 44.6% in Q1 2012 to 43.7% last quarter. More →
After more than six years, it definitely feels like time for Apple to freshen up the look of iOS. Unfortunately, a new report suggests the revamped look iOS 7 is said to be getting may be “unsettling” to longtime iOS device users. 9to5Mac cites multiple unnamed sources in claiming that iOS 7 will indeed feature the “flat” user interface redesign that had been rumored in earlier reports. According to the site’s sources, however, the new look isn’t just flat — it’s “very, very flat” to the point that it is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Windows Phone user interface and current iOS users who enjoy the look of the software might not like it. “The interface loses all signs of gloss, shine, and skeumorphism seen across current and past versions of iOS,” one source told the site. While the look may be surprising, 9to5Mac says the new version of iOS will be just as easy to use as earlier versions of the platform.
Google’s revolutionary Google Now service is finally available on iOS. After Google chairman Eric Schmidt mistakenly claimed Google Now for iOS had been submitted to Apple for review, it was unclear when the exciting feature might finally arrive on iPhones and iPads. The wait wasn’t very long, as it turns out — Google Now is available immediately as an update to Google’s search application for iOS. Google Now is an intelligent assistant feature that automatically presents users with information based on location, search history and more, without any action required by the user. Google’s search app with Google Now is available for free in the iOS App Store, and it can be downloaded via the source link below.
Apple’s next-generation OS X 10.9 software is obviously launching this year, and a new report claims to reveal several details about the upcoming OS that will debut at WWDC 2013. 9to5Mac on Monday reported a number of features seemingly set to debut in OS X 10.9, which it says has been given the codename “Cabernet” internally at Apple. OS X 10.9 will not be a major overhaul according to the report, which may be fitting considering the lackluster MacBook refresh expected to be showcased at WWDC. Apple’s updated PC platform will include a number of interesting new features, however, and it will also reportedly pull in some “core features” from iOS. More →
While Google’s Android operating system has a lead over iOS in overall market share, it faces a hard barrier that blocks its ability to expand its lead much further: The loyalty of iOS users. AllThingsD points us to a new survey from the Yankee Group showing that 91% of iPhone users plan to buy an iPhone for the next smartphone while just 76% of Android users plan to stick with Android. Granted, this means that the majority of Android users are loyal to their platform but not to the same extent as Apple fans are loyal to the iPhone. Going forward, the Yankee Group thinks that the iPhone will expand its share of the mobile market and overtake Android, although it doesn’t think Android’s current market share will significantly deteriorate. Rather, most of the gains for iOS will come at the expense of non-smartphone operating systems that are slowly phased out over the next few years.
Swype, the popular Android typing application owned by Nuance, may be making its way to the iPhone in some form. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Swype vice president Aaron Sheedy said that his company has “chatted with” Apple about bringing Swype to iOS, although no deal is imminent at this point. 9to5Mac notes that Swype owner Nuance is already licensing out its voice recognition technology to Apple to use for its Siri personal assistant software, so the two companies do have a good relationship. At the very least, 9to5Mac says, the talks with Nuance over Swype mean that Apple is likely “looking to make some big improvements to its built-in iOS keyboard,” which could involve adopting Swype or licensing some of the technologies it uses.
Doom and gloom aside, it looks like there are still a few people eager to develop for Apple’s iOS and OS X platforms. Tickets for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference this year went on sale at 1:00 p.m. EDT and they’re already sold out according to Apple’s website — and it took less than 3 minutes for all of them to go. To put Thursday’s unbelievable sellout into context, WWDC 2011 sold out in just under 12 hours and WWDC 2012 sold out in about 2 hours. Among the highlights expected at this year’s WWDC are an overhauled user interface in Apple’s iOS 7 software and an updated version of OS X. Apple might have a few surprises in store as well, and the show kicks off on June 10th in San Francisco.
Apple pays out more than $1 billion to third-party developers who sell apps in its iOS and Mac App Stores each quarter, so the hefty $1,599 it charges for each ticket to its annual Worldwide Developer Conference seems like a good value. The company recently recently announced that WWDC 2013 tickets would go on sale at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, and Apple has now made them available to purchase online. More →