Take a browse through Apple's App Store and you'll notice something interesting: there are no free apps for Mac, iPhone and iPad any more. Or at least you'd be forgiven for thinking that was the case. Rather than trying to entice people into downloading apps by emblazoning a sexy "Free" button next to them, Apple now opts for a more descriptive "Get" button.
This does not mean that free apps now cost money, but it does mean that the apps you download may cost you money further down the line. Confused? The rewording of the download buttons seems to have come about because of regulators in Europe expressing disapproval that apps previously labeled as free could lead to large bills via in-app purchases.
It seems that Apple is in update mode today. As well as the launch of the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update, today also sees the release of iOS 8.1.1. The focus this time around is not really on delivering exciting new features, or even fixing glaring problems, but keeping owners of older devices happy. Aging iPads and iPhones are in for a treat as there are performance boosts to look forward to.
Pre-iPad 2 owners miss out, but the update is available for iPad 2 and newer a well as iPhone 4s and newer. Apple is yet to publish a changelog for the update, but check for an update on your idevice and you'll see a brief description about what to expect.
According to the third annual State of Mobile App Security report from application protection company Arxan Technologies, 87 percent of the top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked.
Don’t feel smug if you're an Android user though as the report reveals 97 percent of the top 100 paid Android apps have been too. But whilst the Android figure is in line with previous years, the iOS percentage represents a jump from 2013 when 56 percent were found to have been hacked.
Today, there is a messaging service for just about anything and anyone. The core features are pretty much the same across the board, however. Where they differ is mostly in the way those features are implemented. For instance, you can chat with others using any messaging app, but not all offer encrypted conversations or delete your messages after they're received. The devil is in the details, as always.
Despite all the different options available today, there is still room for new messaging services to make their mark. Wiper is among the new up and coming players, with its main highlights being the option to delete conversations everywhere, on-demand, and provide secure HD video chats.
When Microsoft released Office for iPad, it was immediately popular and shot to the top of the app charts. This was hardly surprising, as people had been hoping for it ever since Apple's tablet was released. Sure, Apple's iWork solutions are fine, but Office is, well...Office. It is the gold standard for getting things done.
The problem was, while the apps were free, editing was not. You see, downloading Word, Excel and PowerPoint cost nothing, but it did not function as consumers had hoped. Only viewing office documents is a frustrating experience -- people want to edit too. The solution for this was to become an Office 365 subscriber, which unlocked the full potential of the software. While many recognized the value in being a subscriber, it is a hard sell when Apple's offerings are much more affordable (or free with a new iPad). Microsoft responded by making editing a free feature and all are happy right? Not so; what about the people who already paid? Great news, you can get a refund now!
As a web user it's very easy to feel like just another cog in the financial machine. Visit just about any website and you'll encounter ads. These generate revenue that's needed to pay for developers, writers, servers and so on, but the likes of YouTube, which rely on user-generated content, can quickly generate large profits thanks to the costs to revenue margins. Now video streaming service Hang w/ is bucking the trend and sharing profits with its users.
The platform exists as an iOS and Android app, and enables users to broadcast to users around the world as well as conducting video chats. It has managed to earn itself celebrity endorsement from the likes of Cheech and Chong (oh, yes), 50 Cent, Soulja Boy, Timbaland, and Ultimate Poker, and has helped to drive 22 million downloads for major shareholder MEDL Mobile. Recognizing the fact that it is users creating content, Hang w/ now shares 25 percent of its advertising revenue with users.
In spite of some incidents here and there, both iOS and OS X are mostly safe from malware. Obviously, that assumption only holds true assuming that users do not go out of their way to get into trouble by jailbreaking their devices and messing with cracked apps or software grabbed from shady places. It is common sense, really -- the security measures that Apple enforces can only go so far to protect users in uncontrolled environments. (The same thing can also be said in regards to Android and Windows, but that is a different story.) And if you need any more proof of just how important it is to stick to trusted sources, this is it.
In the past six months, hundreds of thousands of iOS and OS X users have been affected by the WireLurker malware family, according to security research firm Palo Alto Networks, after using Chinese third-party app store Maiyadi App Store to download OS X software. Go figure!
As if giving Office 365 subscribers unlimited OneDrive storage was not enough, Microsoft today has some more news relating to its office suite. Previously only available as previews, a batch of new Office 365 APIs open up new opportunities for developers to tap into Office with their own apps. With APIs available for mail, files, calendar and contacts, there's lots of potential for the future.
One of the first big names to take advantages of the new APIs is IFTTT, the online automation service. The new APIs mean that it is possible for IFTTT to react to things that happen in Office applications -- so it is possible to set up an alert when an email matching certain criteria arrives. There are also updates to the Android and iOS SDKs for developers to work with.
Social media scheduling service Buffer has unveiled Buffer 4.0 for iPad and iPhone, a major new release of its companion app for sharing and scheduling posts on social networks. Like the web-based service, the app supports Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts.
Version 4.0 becomes a universal app, and now offers full, native iPad support. It also adds a new Share option for scheduling content from other apps.
Firebase, a company helping developers to produce apps and services that store and sync data in realtime, is the latest Google acquisition. With a user base of 110,000 developers three-year-old Firebase announced that it is joining Google and plans to continue the work it already does, but pointing out it will be possible to "do much more, much faster" with Google's resources and backing.
With Firebase's focus on the cloud and mobile, it is little surprise that Google's own announcement about the acquisition came on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. The two companies appear to be a good match, with Firebase's aim to "continue to be platform agnostic and provide clients for iOS, Android, the web, and more" being very much in keeping with Google's own ethos.
Still in buoyant mood after the launch of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch, and iPad Air 2 -- even the Mac mini -- Apple gave its Q4 2014 earnings call yesterday. CEO Tim Cook announced that the company generated $42.1 billion in revenue in the quarter and a net profit of $8.5 billion, up from $37.5 billion and $7.5 billion for the same period last year. Referring to the "biggest iPhone launch ever", Cook explained that Apple is due to enter the holiday season with its "strongest product lineup ever".
He explained that 60 percent of the quarter's revenue came from international sales, and sales have gone up in just about every area of the company with the exception of iPad and iPod sales. The iPhone remains the biggest seller (some 39.272 million units, up 16.2 percent), and Mac sales are also strong (5.52 million units, up 20.7 percent).
With Android 5.0 Lollipop, Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 on the horizon, as well as some great Android devices already on the market, some of you may be thinking about ditching iOS for Android. It is unquestionably a big decision, so you may want to ensure that the switch from an iPhone or iPad will be as painless as possible.
To help with the switch, Google has prepared a nifty guide that explains how you can migrate your data from iOS to Android, tackling key areas such as multimedia content, contacts, email, messaging and, of course, apps. You may recall that Apple posted a similar guide last month, detailing to would-be customers the steps they need to take to move from Android handsets to iPhones. Google now looks to simply be returning the favor.
Whatever your mobile platform of choice, there are some apps which are all but impossible to avoid. Some -- like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube -- have reasonably dull histories; we all know the corporations behind their creation. But there are plenty of other big names with less well known histories. A new infographic from IrishApps.org reveals the stories behind some famous titles, and reveal the fortunes they have generated.
For example, did you know that Flappy Bird was originally going to be called Flap Flap, and was put together in just two days? Or that the founder of Summly was just 17 years old when he sold his app to Yahoo? How about the fact that the Ukrainian developer of WhatsApp is estimated to be worth $7 billion?
Following all of the NSA revelations, mass surveillance has increased the general level of paranoia to be found online -- although it could be argued that not all surveillance is bad. With everyone on such high alert it's little wonder that an app that described itself as "an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves" should be so popular. Whisper encourages users to embrace the supposed anonymity it offers and reveal secrets they would not otherwise feel comfortable sharing.
Many kids nowadays are lazy and sedentary. They come from school, sit on the couch, eat Go-Gurt and watch nonsense like Adventure Time. Actually, swap the Go-Gurt for Teddy Grahams and Adventure Time for Heathcliff and it sounds like my youth, but I digress. Kids don't play outside enough and thanks to smartphones and tablets, they don't get as much sleep as they should. Hell, can you blame them? If I had an iPad in the 80s, I never would have slept.
Today, a new product called KidFit from a company called X-Doria becomes available. In a nutshell, it is a watch-like wearable that you strap onto your kids, so you can track both their activity and sleep patterns. While some may claim the use of such a product is lazy parenting, I disagree; utilizing this technology is a proactive approach to combatting obesity and fatigue.