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Resource id #62Apple Offers Temporary Fix for iOS Text Bug, Says Update's Coming Soon
A couple days after a new iOS bug was discovered, allowing a select string of characters sent in an iMessage or text to reset iPhones and crash the Messages app, Apple has created a new support document to address the problem. The Cupertino company acknowledges the problem and says that it's working on a fix, offering temporary solutions in the mean time.

messagescrashingbug
Apple is aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update. Until the update is available, you can use these steps to re-open the Messages app.

1. Ask Siri to "read unread messages."

2. Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you'll be able to open Messages again

3. In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.
In addition to Apple's suggestions, there are other possible fixes that have worked for MacRumors in other scenarios. For instance, if Messages was opened in conversation list view you can fix the issue by having someone send you a message or sending yourself a message via Siri or through the Share sheet in any app.



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Google's Free, Unlimited Google Photos Service Now Available on iOS and Web
At its I/O developer event this morning, Google announced a new Google Photos platform that's designed to compete with both photo sharing sites like Flickr and cloud services like iCloud Photo Library. Google Photos is cross platform and available on iOS, Android, and the web.

Both the iOS app and the web service are now live, letting those in Apple's ecosystem make full use of Google Photos. The service is free for high-quality photos and it lets users upload an unlimited number of photos (up to 16 megapixels) and videos (up to 1080p).

Google Photos
Photos with resolutions that exceed 16-megapixels will be downscaled to 16MP, and videos with resolutions higher than 1080p will also be downscaled. Google offers an option to store photos and videos in their original quality, but only with the 15GB of free storage that comes with any Google account. Additional storage is priced at $1.99/month for 100GB or $9.99/month for 1TB.

16-megapixel downscaling is suitable for most camera phones and point-and-shoot cameras, but the free storage option may not be as appealing to DSLR users who need to store original-quality images. According to Google, photos uploaded with a 16-megapixel resolution or lower will look "essentially" the same when uploaded to the site using the free plan.

Google designed Photos around three central ideas: a "home" for all of your photos, deep organization, and easy sharing. On iOS, Google Photos is not unlike the default Photos app that Apple offers. It includes a main photos view that's organized by when a photo was taken, and it's possible to zoom in and out to adjust the view using pinch gestures.

You can organize your photos and videos into albums, but Google has also built in its own organizational tools. Google Photos will group images based on the person in the photo, an item in the photo (like a dog) or the place where it was taken. Google demonstrated the facial recognition features on stage at Google I/O, showing how it was able to recognize the same child at multiple ages, starting from birth.

In the iOS app, there are tools for quickly enhancing photos to improve color, lighting, and more, plus it's possible to create collages, animations, and movies using the app's tools.


Google Photos has quick selection tools for grouping up multiple photos, and this feature works alongside the app's photo sharing tools. Users can create a link to any number of grouped photos, sharing all of them by simply sending the link. It's not necessary for those who view the photos to log into the Google Photos app, but doing so allows the shared photos to be downloaded to one's own library.

Sharing is also bolstered by a built-in Photos Assistant. This tool automatically makes videos, GIFs, and collages out of a series of photos, which can then be shared if so desired. Google Photos also includes tools to share photos to numerous social networks.

Google Photos for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple Purchases Augmented Reality Startup Metaio
Apple recently acquired augmented reality startup Metaio, reports TechCrunch. According to the company's website, Metaio is a "pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision" that built the Metaio Creator, an augmented reality authoring tool. With the Creator, users could create augmented reality scenarios "within minutes."

Metaio has stopped taking new customers and a shareholder document concerning the transferring of shares has confirmed that it was purchased by Apple. Apple also provided TechCrunch with its standard acquisition confirmation statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Metaio's augmented reality tools have been used by several companies to create interactive experiences. Ferarri, for example, created an augmented reality showroom with Metaio, and it's been used in Berlin with historical footage to let travelers see what the scene they're viewing would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was still in place.


It is not clear how Apple plans to use Metaio's technology, but there have been persistent rumors indicating Apple is interested in virtual reality and augmented reality. Based on patents, Apple has explored a video headset, a motion-sensing virtual 3D interface for iOS devices, and 3D "hyper-reality" displays.

It's possible that Apple could use Metaio's AR creation tools to introduce unique features to Maps and other apps. A 2014 rumor suggested Apple was considering adding augmented reality features to Maps, and a more recent rumor points towards Apple's work on a "Browse Around Me" feature for iOS 9 that includes an augmented reality view.

Recent rumors have suggested that Apple has a small team working on augmented reality projects at its Cupertino headquarters, but it remains unclear exactly when we'll see Apple incorporating AR and VR features into its products.


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Google Announces Android 'M' Developer Preview, Android Pay and Free Unlimited Photo Storage
Google today previewed Android "M," the next major version of its mobile operating system featuring Android Pay for mobile payments, app permissions, an improved web experience with Chrome Custom Tabs, app linking, Doze power management, USB-C support, direct sharing, simplified volume controls and a handful of other incremental improvements and bug fixes.

Google also announced free unlimited high-quality photo (16MP) and video (1080p) photo storage through a new service aptly named Google Photos for iOS, Android and the web, contextual information and a new "Now on Tap" feature for Google Now, and an "Internet of Things" operating system and HomeKit rival called "Project Brillo" for devices like thermostats and lightbulbs.

googleioandroidm
Android M prompts users with app permissions when access is required to certain elements of the operating system, including the microphone, location services, camera, contacts, phone, SMS, calendar and sensors. The new software version also features app linking, with verified links automatically redirecting to their related app without a cumbersome dialog popping up.

Android M delivers an improved web experience with Chrome Custom Tabs, which function as a Chrome web view overlaid in third-party apps with prefetched content. Google partnered with Pinterest, for example, to integrate Chrome Custom Tabs, providing all of Chrome's benefits such as signing in, saved passwords, autofill and multi-process security. Chrome Custom Tabs are available on the Chrome developer channel today and in Q3 for the public.

Doze is a new power and charging management system built into Android M that tracks your device sync activity and exponentially blocks background app activity when possible for up to double the amount of standby battery life, based on a side-by-side test of a Nexus 9 running Android Lollipop and Android "M" Developer Preview.

Google also briefly announced several other features of Android M, including USB-C support, simplified volume controls, improved Bluetooth low energy scanning, support for seven additional languages, unified Google and device settings, direct sharing and more. Android M is available today as a developer preview for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player and in Q3 for the public.

Android Pay

androidpay
Android Pay, essentially a rebranded and improved version of Google Wallet, is an NFC-based mobile payments service with virtually identical functionality as Apple Pay. Android Pay keeps payment information secure by generating a virtual account number and requiring fingerprint authentication for secure identification.

Android users can add their supported credit and debit cards to the Android Pay app and easily tap to pay at over 700,000 retailers and businesses that accept contactless payments, such as American Eagle, Bloomingdale's, McDonald's, Macy's, Staples, Target and Walgreens. Android Pay can also be used for in-app purchases in supported apps.

Google announced that four major credit card companies in American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover will support Android Pay, alongside major financial institutions and AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the United States. More partners should be added in the future.

Project Brillo

Brillo is a slimmed-down version of Android that's designed to power the Internet of things. It's an operating system that will be made available to manufacturers, who can build it into devices like thermostats and lightbulbs. It includes support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

googleioprojectbrillo
Weave goes along with Brillo and serves as a communications layer that allows Internet of things devices to talk to one another. With Weave, Brillo devices, smartphones, tablets, and the Internet can communicate. Weave is cross-platform, so it can work with non-Android devices, and Android devices can auto-detect Brillo and Weave devices. Brillo will be available to devs in Q3, while Weave will be available in Q4.

Google Now

Google announced a new feature for Google Now in Android M: Now on Tap. With Now on Tap, you can tap on the home button of an Android device to get more information about what's on the screen.

googleiogooglenow
For example, when listening to music in Spotify, if you tap and hold on the home button and ask a question about the artist, Google Now understands the context and will reply. When tapping on the home button, Google Now is able to read the content of any app that's running and bring up relevant, contextually aware Google Now cards. Apps don't need to implement support -- it works automatically.

Another example: On stage, a chat window with a discussion about laundry and a restaurant was brought up. A tap on the home button brought up a to-do card and cards for Maps, Yelp, and OpenTable.

Google Photos

Google announced a new Photos app centered around three ideas: a "home" for all your photos, deep organization, and sharing. Google Photos includes unlimited high-quality photo (16MP) and video (1080p) storage at no cost. It's launching today on Android, iOS, and web.

Google Photos
Google Photos backs up all photos from an Android device, much like iCloud Photo Library. The smartphone app looks quite similar to the Photos app on the iPhone, supporting a main view with all photos with pinch gesture controls for zooming in and out on albums and timelines.

Google Photos includes auto-organization that organizes photos by people and place. Its facial recognition capabilities are impressive, able to recognize a person even as that person ages. A Photos Assistant feature automatically creates GIFs and videos from your content, which you can share or delete. Sharing is simple -- you can group multiple photos and instantly get a link that lets other people see the images.

Juli Clover contributed to this report.


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Apple Adds High-End 15" Retina MacBook Pro to List of Macs Supporting Dell's 5K Display
dell_up2715k_5kApple has updated a support document on its website to reflect that the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, equipped with AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics, is capable of driving Dell's dual-cable UP2715K 27-inch 5K display. Apple initially released OS X 10.10.3 in April with support for the dual-cable 5K monitor on the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro, but no notebooks supported the display at the time.
Dual-Cable Displays

Some displays with resolutions higher than 4K require two DisplayPort cables to connect the display at full resolution. With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 or later, the Dell UP2715K 27-inch 5K display is supported on the following Mac computers:

Mac Pro (Late 2013)
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014 and later)
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) with AMD Radeon R9 M370X
Dell's dual-cable 5K display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution that takes up two Thunderbolt ports on a Mac. The availability of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year will enable Apple to update Macs with support for external 5K displays that function over a single cable, at which point the company could theoretically release a 5K Thunderbolt Display.

The support document also lists the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro as capable of driving most single-stream 4K displays (4,096-by-2,160) at 60Hz on OS X 10.10.3, becoming the first notebook to support single-stream 4K displays alongside the Mac Pro (Late 2013) and iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014 and later).

Apple initially listed the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with AMD Radeon graphics as capable of supporting an ultra-wide display with up to 5,120-by-2,160 resolution at 60Hz, but has since updated the notebook's technical specifications to reflect its ability to drive a single external display at up to 5,120-by-2,880 resolution at 60Hz.


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Apple Store in Upper East Side of Manhattan Opens June 13
Apple overnight added signage to its upcoming retail location in the Upper East Side of Manhattan that confirms the store will open on June 13. The new store will be located at 940 Madison Avenue, on the corner of 74th Street, and remains under construction ahead of opening. The new store will be Apple's seventh retail location in New York City alongside Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, SoHo, Upper West Side, West 14th Street and Staten Island stores.

Apple Store Upper East Side
Apple Store in Upper East Side at 74th Street and Madison Avenue (Instagram/Krystyl)

Apple updated its retail store list today to reflect the new Upper East Side location, with store hours listed as 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern on Monday through Saturday and 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern on Sunday. Apple likely opted for earlier closing times than some other New York City locations to please Upper East Side residents that have voiced their opposition against the store and large crowds that it could attract.

The upcoming store at 940 Madison Avenue will occupy a former banking complex built in 1921 that most recently housed luxury retailer VBH. The building itself offers a large amount of space, featuring a 4,000 square-foot ground level and 1,000 square-foot mezzanine. Apple leased the building nearly one year ago and the site has been under renovation since at least October 2014.


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Apple Pay Rewards Program to Debut at WWDC
Apple-PayApple plans to introduce a new rewards program for Apple Pay at WWDC next month, reports The New York Times. In a piece covering upcoming mobile payment upgrades from Apple and Google, the site suggests that Apple will announce details about enhancements to Apple Pay at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Few details are known about the rewards program that Apple plans to implement, but it is said to offer "perks" to customers who make purchases using Apple Pay.
But analysts have noted that a missing piece from Apple Pay was a rewards program to keep users returning to participating merchants. People familiar with Apple Pay said that next month, Apple will announce such a program offering perks to consumers who make purchases with the service, though they declined to reveal details.
There have been rumors about a rewards program for Apple Pay since before Apple Pay launched in October of 2014. In September, a report suggested Apple was working on a pilot program that could see it partnering with multiple third-party retailers to form an Apple Pay loyalty program.

Further rumors suggested the system could tie into iAd, delivering targeted ads to consumers via iBeacons and Bluetooth LE with coupons for free or discounted products, but it is not clear if that's how Apple's finished rewards program will work.

Upcoming Apple Pay competitor CurrentC offers a built-in rewards program that's able to incorporate loyalty cards and discounts for individual merchants, and CurrentC executives tout this as one of the major differentiating features of its system. With its own rewards program, Apple Pay will be better situated to compete with the reward-based features of CurrentC.

It is not known if Apple has plans to introduce additional Apple Pay features at its Worldwide Developers Conference, but it's possible that it could share details on an expansion of the service to additional countries like Canada. Canada is expected to be one of the first countries beyond the United States to gain Apple Pay support.


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Target Plans to Offer Apple Pay After Chip-and-PIN Card Upgrade
targetTarget CEO Brian Cornell spoke at Re/code's Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California today, where he confirmed that the company plans to offer in-store support for Apple Pay in the future. According to Cornell, while he'd love to have Apple Pay available "right now," support will not be coming until Target upgrades its system to support integrated circuit credit cards to comply with new standards.

Integrated circuit cards (or chip-and-PIN cards) replace the magnetic stripe on a credit card or debit card with an embedded microchip. The microchip communicates with a supported point-of-sale system to authenticate transactions. Chip-and-PIN cards are already used in many countries around the world because they're believed to be more secure than traditional credit cards. In the United States, retailers are being encouraged to adopt point-of-sale systems that support chip cards by the end of 2015.

Target is especially eager to move to a more secure transaction system following a major data breach in late 2013 that saw hackers obtaining payment information for approximately 40 million of its customers. The move is a major transition for Target, and Cornell says he doesn't want to "distract the team" with work on other payment systems.
"Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays," Cornell said at the second annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. "Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want. But this decision was all about focus. ... It is a major undertaking to convert to chip-and-PIN, and I decided that we can't distract the team."
Cornell says he has met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, and once the chip-and-PIN transition is completed, Target will be "open-minded" about supporting additional payment systems like Apple Pay. Target already supports Apple Pay in its iOS app.


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Apple Store App Gains Postmates Integration With Same-Day Delivery
Apple is now offering same-day delivery of certain products in its Apple Store app, through a partnership with Postmates. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Apple Store app is offering a same day delivery option on products that are available in local Apple Stores.

For example, ordering an Apple TV in the San Francisco Bay Area results in a four-hour same-day delivery window, as does an order for a Lightning cable. In some areas, like San Francisco, delivery turnaround times are as fast as an hour, but for some products, delivery times can take up to a day.

deliverstodaypostmatesapplestore
Customers who have Postmates delivery options available to them will see same-day delivery options listed whenever they search for a product that is available for purchase in a nearby Apple Store. After an order is placed, the Apple Store app offers live tracking options that let customers know where an item is and track it as it progresses from the Apple Store to the delivery location. The app also delivers notifications with estimated delivery times and tracking information.

postmatecouriertrackingapplestore
Customers who do not live in an area where Postmates delivers will not see same-day delivery options for Apple products, instead receiving only standard shipment delivery times without an option for Courier Delivery.

Apple products have long been available for order through Postmates' own iOS app, but this is the first time that Apple's offered same-day delivery on orders in its own Apple Store app. Delivery price varies depending on location and the distance that needs to be traveled to transfer an item from the Apple Store to your doorstep. In our location in the South Bay, the delivery price was $19 regardless of what was ordered.

Postmates operates in several major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, Orange County, Portland, Phoenix, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Minneapolis, and Charlotte, but it appears that Postmates deliveries for Apple Store app orders may be limited in scope for the time being, available only in the San Francisco Bay Area.

postmatestracking
Update: We received our Postmates Apple Store order within 35 minutes, much faster than the four-hour delivery estimate. According to our delivery driver, Apple's partnership with Postmates is brand new, with Postmates deliveries from the Apple Store app kicking off today.


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Chevrolet Bringing CarPlay and Android Auto to 14 New 2016 Models Later This Year
General Motors and its Chevrolet brand are announcing today expansive plans to bring support for both CarPlay and Android Auto to fourteen vehicle models for the 2016 model year, a move that will mark a significant step forward for the availability of enhanced in-car smartphone experiences. The first Chevy vehicles with CarPlay support will be the Tahoe, Suburban, and Volt, all of which are scheduled to enter production in July, with the remainder of the CarPlay lineup rolling out as the new models launch in subsequent months.

chevy_carplay_abram
GM chief infotainment officer Phil Abram introducing CarPlay and Android Auto support for Chevrolet

MacRumors attended a media event with Chevrolet marketing director Steve Majoros and GM chief infotainment officer Phil Abram yesterday where the company discussed its commitment to giving customers the flexibility to use both iPhones and Android phones responsibly while in the car and its desire to make a splash with a broad set of models that represented over half of Chevrolet's global sales in 2014.
For the 2016 model year, Chevrolet will offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility in more models than any automotive brand. The 14 Chevrolet models include the all-new 2016 Cruze, which will debut on June 24. Cruze is Chevrolet’s best-selling passenger car, with more than 3 million sold since launch.
Among the 14 models, CarPlay and Android Auto will be supported on all vehicles with 7-inch or 8-inch MyLink screens, which will include most trim lines. CarPlay support will be available as all of these new models hit the dealerships, while Android Auto support will initially be limited to those with 7-inch screens while 8-inch screen support is planned for later in the model year.

Supported 2016 Vehicles


- 7-inch Screens: Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Silverado, Silverado HD

- 8-inch Screens: Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Volt, Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Corvette, Corvette Convertible, Colorado, Silverado, Silverado HD, Tahoe, Suburban

Staff from Apple and Chevrolet were on hand at the event to answer questions about CarPlay integration, with Apple staff emphasizing the company's desire to make CarPlay available to as many users as possible by opening up the specification to all interested auto manufacturers. Apple also believes it is key for CarPlay to integrate with automakers' own in-dash systems rather than pushing for something like an dash-mounted iPad, giving the car companies flexibility to leverage CarPlay as they see it best fitting with their systems.
“For most of us, our smartphones are essential,” said Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. “Partnering with Apple and Google to offer CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility across the widest range of models in the industry is a great example of how Chevrolet continues to democratize technology that’s important to our customers.”
Apple's representatives also highlighted the company's early focus on support for third-party audio apps due to the clear demand for such functionality in the car. The company may open up APIs for other functionalities to let additional third-party apps gain CarPlay support in the future, but Apple is being conservative considering the duty it and the automakers have to minimizing driver distraction.

With the recent addition of the Apple Watch, Apple also highlighted the way the watch and CarPlay can work together through the linked iPhone to minimize driver distractions, such as with fewer notifications being passed to the Apple Watch and less mapping information available on the wrist when the user's iPhone is in CarPlay mode. With some information already being made available through the dashboard, there is less need for it to appear on the Apple Watch, and with everything being linked through

chevrolet_carplay
We asked Apple and GM about the potential for wireless CarPlay support, which was spotted in early betas of iOS 8.3 but not included in the final release. Chevrolet's initial CarPlay support will require the user's iPhone to be connected via a Lightning cable, but that will likely change in the years to come as future models gain Wi-Fi support for their in-dash systems.

Chevrolet was one of the first brands to offer support for Siri Eyes Free mode in select vehicles, and has been one of the more highly visible CarPlay partners as Apple and auto manufacturers have demoed the technology over the past year. Earlier this year, the 2016 Volt was spotted carrying CarPlay support on the floor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Announced over a year ago, CarPlay has taken a fair bit of time to come to market given vehicle development cycles and other factors, although a host of car manufacturers have committed to supporting the technology. Ferrari was the first to bring CarPlay-compatible systems to market late last year, followed quickly by aftermarket solutions from Pioneer and Alpine. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted at the company's "Spring Forward" event in early March that there will be over 40 car models offering CarPlay support by the end of this year.

Update: This article has been updated to correct statements regarding wireless CarPlay.


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Apple's Jeff Williams: Native Apple Watch Apps Coming This Fall, Apple Watch Sales are 'Fantastic'
applejeffwilliamsApple's Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams today took the stage at Re/code's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, to speak about Apple's recently released wearable device, the Apple Watch.

Williams is the person who oversees Apple's supply chain, much like Tim Cook used to before he became Apple's CEO, and he was described by Walt Mossberg as the "quiet figure" behind many of Apple's popular products like the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Williams says he oversees 3,000 engineers in addition to the supply chain, and offered a tidbit on Apple's recent 74 million iPhone sales in the holiday quarter -- if you stack them like pancakes, they'd reach higher than the International Space Station.

According to Williams, who declined to give specific sales figures on Apple's wearable, the Apple Watch is doing "fantastic." When asked by what metric, he went on to say that customers "love the Apple Watch" even more than he expected. The Apple Watch, he said, is "gathering momentum" even in a market where other products aren't doing as well, because many millennials don't wear watches.

When pressed for details on Apple Watch sales numbers, Williams said that Apple would "rather spend time making great products" than focusing on the numbers, but he did say Apple had sold "a lot" of them.

On the topic of Apple Watch apps, Williams says third-party apps will get better when developers are able to release native apps and when access to native sensors is permitted. He gave an example of what a native Apple Watch app might do, suggesting an app like Strava will be more full featured as it would have direct access to sensors.

The native Apple Watch app SDK will be previewed at WWDC, according to Williams, suggesting full featured Apple Watch apps that can access health sensors, the Digital crown, and more, will be available when iOS 9 is released to the public in the fall.

Williams also spoke on working conditions at its supplier's factories in China, reiterating Apple's efforts to improve the lives of factory workers, and he talked about ResearchKit, Apple's platform for enabling researchers to obtain health-related data from iOS users for studies and research.

Apple's already learned "some amazing things" with ResearchKit. Using Parkinson's disease research as an example, Williams says that Apple discovered a set of the control group participants in that study had Parkinson's but didn't know it. When it comes to Apple Watch, its medical contributions will be "huge," says Williams, but true medical features may take awhile because of the need for health studies and regulatory approval. "We're just beginning," he said, commenting on Apple's health efforts and ResearchKit, and in a later comment, he said that Apple has a "great interest" in helping people.

Williams also hinted at Apple's interest in the car. When asked about what industries Apple's looking at for its next amazing product, Williams referenced the car as "the ultimate mobile device," but then clarified he was speaking of CarPlay. He went on to say that Apple's "exploring a lot of interesting areas."

Additional details on Williams' interview can be found over at the full Re/code live blog, and when video clips of his interview become available, we'll update this post to include them.


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iOS 9 to Gain New 'Proactive' Lifestyle Management Feature With Augmented Reality Maps
spotlight_nearbyApple's Siri and search features may expand significantly in iOS 9, letting Apple better compete with Google's feature rich voice-based search component, Google Now. As detailed in a lengthy report from 9to5Mac, Apple is said to be working on an iOS initiative called "Proactive," integrating features like Siri, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps into an expanded Spotlight search.

Proactive will reportedly function as a search feature that's built deeply into iOS, replacing the existing Spotlight search menu (shown to the right). It may be accessed either from the top of the screen home screen as Spotlight is, or from the left of the home screen. Taking advantage of several Apple acquisitions like Spotsetter and Cue, Proactive is positioned as a lifestyle management tool.

Proactive is said to include a dedicated search bar much like Spotlight, so the design will be instantly familiar to iOS users, and it will continue to allow searches for email content, apps, music, and more. Below the search bar, a new user interface will display unique content from apps, Contacts, and Maps, providing easily accessible information to help iOS users navigate through their daily activities.
For example, if a user has a flight listed in her Calendar application and a boarding pass stored in Passbook, a bubble within the new Proactive screen will appear around flight time to provide quick access to the boarding pass. If a user has a calendar appointment coming up, a map view could appear with an estimated arrival time, directions, and a time to leave indicator based on traffic. Proactive will also be able to trigger push notifications to help the user avoid missing calendar events. Even with these new notifications, however, the existing Notification Center apparently isn't likely to see major changes.
Proactive is able to integrate with third-party apps as well, and it will learn which apps to display based on usage habits. Someone who checks their email right after waking up might have the email app displayed on the screen for quick access, while someone who makes a phone call at a regular time might see the Phone app pop up. Around dinner time, the feature may display restaurant suggestions and ratings for nearby eateries.

Maps will be an important part of Proactive, helping people navigate through their days with quick access to routes and information on the places they need to be. Maps is said to be gaining transit routing features in iOS 9, and it may also be updated with a revamped in-house Points of Interest system that includes an augmented reality view for local listings and a feature called "Browse Around Me."

With the augmented reality feature, which may or may not be ready for iOS 9, a user will potentially be able to hold up an iPhone, point it at a location on the street, and see information about the location. Pointed at a restaurant, Maps might display a menu. Pointed at a street, Maps would show the businesses located there with a virtual outline of each store. "Browse Around Me," meanwhile, is a simpler feature that may show all local points of interest on an overhead map.

Apple's upcoming Proactive feature will integrate with third-party apps, and in iOS 9, developers may be able to access a limited Siri API called "Breadcrumbs." This feature will let Proactive and Siri index apps, but full Siri access will not be permitted due to privacy concerns.

Today's report warns that the above mentioned features might not make it into iOS 9, or that the features listed above could be introduced as scaled-down enhancements that will improve over time.


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CBS Likely to Reach Streaming TV Deal With Apple, Met With Eddy Cue Last Week
Apple's much-rumored plans to launch a streaming TV service in the fall were confirmed today at Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where CBS CEO Les Moonves told Re/code's Kara Swisher that CBS will "probably" sign a deal with Apple for the network to be included as a launch partner. “We’re very excited about it,” he told Swisher during his live interview on Wednesday morning.

Code Conference CBS CEO
CBS CEO Les Moonves speaks with Kara Swisher at Code Conference (Re/code)

Moonves confirmed that he met with Apple senior executive Eddy Cue last week to discuss the plans, as part of an "ongoing conversation" about the upcoming streaming TV service, but said he does not know when the service will launch. The service has been rumored to be unveiled at WWDC next month, but Apple's efforts to include local programming could delay the announcement until later this year.
“Apple TV is trying to change the universe,” Moonves said, by offering a smaller bundle of TV networks, delivered over the Web, than pay TV providers traditionally sell. Moonves said Apple’s effort was similar to ones that have already launched from Dish Network’s Sling and Sony’s Vue.

“I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying,” Moonves said. “The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS,” adding that his network will get a bigger proportion of whatever revenues those “skinny bundles” generate than it does in traditional packages.
Apple's web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month, anchored by popular networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN and FX. The service is expected to be available in the United States this September if Apple can secure content agreements in time.


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Apple Updates WWDC App With Apple Watch Support, Confirms June 8 Keynote Date
Apple today updated its its WWDC app ahead of its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference, adding support for the Apple Watch and confirming the keynote event for the conference will take place on Monday, June 8 from 10 a.m. Pacific Time to 12 p.m. Pacific Time. According to the app's release notes, with the new Apple Watch portion of the app, users can add sessions to Calendar, listen to audio, and give feedback on session videos right from their wrists.

This year's WWDC keynote should be rather exciting, as Apple is poised to launch two new services at the event. Rumors have suggested that we can expect to see the debut of both a new streaming music service based on Apple's existing Beats service and a new streaming television service.

The television service is brand new territory for Apple, and will see the company offering an assortment of channels that can be streamed over the Internet with no cable subscription. A new set-top box with support for Siri and a full App Store is also expected to make an appearance at WWDC, as is additional detail on Apple's HomeKit initiative.

WWDC 2015 Logo
We will, of course, see the next versions of both iOS and OS X. iOS 9 and OS X 11 are rumored to be updates that are focused on bug fixes and performance improvements, but some consumer-facing features will be included. Transit Maps routing information and split-screen multitasking may find their way into iOS, OS X may gain a new Control Center, and both operating systems are expected to adopt the San Francisco font introduced with the Apple Watch.

Update: An earlier version of this post indicated that media invites for WWDC had been sent out to journalists and analysts, but MacRumors has learned that official invites have not yet gone out. Some media attendees have received advanced notification about a pending invite, but actual invites will be sent out in the coming days.


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Google Search Will Begin Indexing iOS App Content in Coming Weeks
Google has announced that it will begin indexing content from iOS apps in search results in the near future, enabling iPhone users to open mobile app content straight from Google Search. The company says that indexed links from an initial group of apps will begin appearing on iOS in search results in both the Google app and Chrome for signed-in users in the coming weeks.

OpenTable Side-by-side
Google first introduced app indexing in search results for Android in October 2013, giving developers full control over what app content they would like indexed in search results. A user looking to make a reservation at a restaurant in New York, for example, can access an indexed version of OpenTable directly from search results, book a table and return to Google by tapping the top bar.

Google also outlines instructions for developers on how to get an iOS app indexed in search results, a process that, among other steps, involves adding deep linking support to the app and submitting an iOS app indexing interest form. Google notes that filling out the form does not automatically guarantee getting app deep links in iOS search results, and encourages those interested to attend the “Get your app in the Google index” talk at Google I/O this week.


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Apple Surpasses Google to Reclaim Title of World's Most Valuable Brand
Apple was named the most valuable global brand in market research firm Millward Brown's tenth annual BrandZ brand value report [PDF], seeing a 67% rise in brand value to $246.9 billion. The Cupertino-based company surpassed Google, which ranked first in the 2014 report, to reclaim the top ranking in the study for the fourth time in the past five years. See BrandZ's annual reports in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for reference.
"With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent."
2015 BrandZ Rankings Apple
The top ten most valuable global brands in the report is made up almost entirely of technology and telecom companies, with Microsoft, IBM, Visa, AT&T, Verizon, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Marlboro rounding off the top ten after Apple and Google. Other notable technology companies on the list include Facebook (12th), Amazon (14th), HP (39th), Oracle (44th), Samsung (45th) and Twitter (92nd).

Millward Brown explains that its brand valuation methodology is based on three million consumers and more than 100,000 different brands in over 50 markets, with brand appeal measured against actual sales performance. The overall brand value of BrandZ's index saw a 14% year-over-year increase and 126% growth over the past decade.


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New iOS Bug Crashing iPhones Simply by Receiving a Text Message [Includes Fix]
A new bug has been discovered in the Messages app, allowing a string of characters sent to a person via iMessage or SMS to crash an iPhone and cause the Messages app to crash after being opened. The bug, which requires a specific string of symbols and Arabic characters to be sent, was first noticed on reddit earlier this afternoon and has been spreading around the Internet since then.

Sending the string of characters to an iPhone results in an immediate respring, causing an iPhone to crash and quickly reboot. From there, if the Messages app was opened at a list view, the Messages app crashes automatically when you try to open it. If it was opened to the conversation where you received the message, the app will open, but attempting to go to another conversation causes Messages to crash.

messagescrashingbugMacRumors tested the bug on iPhones running iOS 8.3, but it may also be affecting other versions of iOS.

If you receive one of these messages, there are a few possible fixes that have worked for us and for other people who have encountered the bug. If the Messages app was opened to the conversation with the person who sent the offending message, the Messages app can be reopened to this conversation. Sending a reply message fixes the problem.

If Messages was opened to the conversation list view, the app will crash when you attempt to open it. You can fix this by having someone send you a message or by sending a message to yourself. There are several options for sending a message to yourself, including sending yourself a message via Siri or through the Share sheet in any app.

To send yourself a message in Siri, tell Siri to "Send a message to myself." Siri will open up a dialogue where you can give her a quick message like "Fix" that'll be sent to your iPhone to clear away the malicious message.

Alternatively, you can open an app like Notes, craft a quick note, and use the Share option (the little document with an arrow) to message it to yourself. Sending yourself something though the share sheet of an app opens a new messages window where you can enter your own contact information.

According to a Twitter user who spoke to Apple support, Apple's engineers are aware of the problem and are working on a fix.

Update: Apple has provided a brief official statement to iMore:
We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update.



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Apple Replaces Problematic 'Discoveryd' Process With mDNSresponder in 10.10.4 Beta 4
In today's fourth OS X 10.10.4 beta, Apple made a significant behind-the-scenes change that could result in improved networking performance for some users -- the removal of the "discoveryd" process. As noted by MacRumors forum members and 9to5Mac, in OS X 10.10.4 beta 4, the discoveryd process has been replaced by mDNSresponder.

Since OS X Yosemite debuted in October, there have been ongoing complaints about discoveryd consuming CPU resources, draining battery life, and causing issues with Wi-Fi. These problems have lingered for several months, even after multiple bug fixes and performance improvements included in OS X 10.10.1, 10.10.2, and 10.10.3.

discoverydmdnsresponder
Discoveryd was introduced with OS X Yosemite, replacing mDNSResponder for managing Mac networking tasks, but it's led to a host of problems like those listed above along with issues like slow wake from sleep, failures to resolve DNS names, duplicate machine names, and more, as detailed in a post earlier this year by Ars Technica. Several developers have also complained about discoveryd in Yosemite, including Instapaper's Marco Arment and Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry.
It's no secret in the tech community that discoveryd is the root cause of so many problems. There are even crazy workarounds. With so many issues, you'd expect some information from Apple explaining ways to mitigate the problems.
The removal of the unstable discoveryd process in OS X 10.10.4 beta 4 may improve network stability problems for many users who have been experiencing continual issues. With the removal of discoveryd, Apple has reverted back to using the earlier mDNSresponder process that was used before discoveryd was implemented with OS X Yosemite.


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iOS 9's Upcoming Transit Addition to Maps May Be Limited in Scope at Launch
Apple Maps iOS 8Apple has been working on adding mass transit routing information to its Maps application for several years, and while the feature appears to be ready to debut as part of iOS 9, it could be limited in scope at launch. The transit service may initially be available only in a small number of cities across the United States, Canada, Europe, and China when iOS 9 is released to the public, according to sources that spoke to 9to5Mac.

San Francisco and New York are said to be two of the locations in the United States where transit directions will be available. Both major cities are known for their public transportation options. In Canada, Toronto will likely gain transit routing options in the Maps app, as will London, Paris, and Berlin in Europe. Cities in China will also be included in the initial launch.

Apple is planning to expand access to transit information to additional cities following the fall launch of iOS 9, and cities that the company is hoping to add support for in the near future include Boston, Massachusetts and Tokyo, Japan, among others. Apple will likely work quickly to expand the feature even further across the rest of 2015 and into 2016.

Mass transit routing options have been missing from Maps since 2012, when Apple's native mapping system first replaced Google Maps in iOS 6. Transit directions were initially expected as part of iOS 8, and hints of transit options were indeed found in iOS 8 documentation, but organizational issues and staff shortages allegedly delayed the feature's release.

Apple's acquired many mapping-related companies since it introduced its Maps app, including transit apps HopStop and Embark, and in recent years, the company has also been expanding its in-house routing team as it furthers its work on the transit feature.

iOS 9, with the new Maps transit feature, is expected to be introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8.


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Apple Seeds Fourth OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite Beta to Developers, Public Beta Testers
os_x_yosemite_round_iconApple today seeded the fourth beta of OS X 10.10.4 to developers, just over two weeks after releasing the third OS X 10.10.4 beta and a month after releasing the first OS X 10.10.4 beta. OS X 10.10.4 has been in testing since mid April, following the early April release of OS X 10.10.3 with the new Photos for OS X app.

The new beta, build 14E26a, can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store or through the Mac Developer Center.

OS X 10.10.3 brought several consumer-facing changes including the new Photos for OS X app, a redesigned emoji picker, and diversified emoji, but OS X 10.10.4 appears to be an under-the-hood update that brings performance enhancements and bug fixes. Thus far, OS X 10.10.4 betas have not included outward facing design changes or feature additions.

The first two updates to OS X Yosemite, OS X 10.10.1 and OS X 10.10.2, were also minor behind-the-scenes updates that improved performance through bug fixes and enhancements.


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