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swift-screenshot

At this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple blew developers out of the water with the announcement that the company would be moving away from the decades-long programming language it currently uses. With iOS 8, coders will throw Objective-C out the window in exchange for the easier-to-use Swift programming language. What does that mean for the rest of us? It means better apps with less code glitches and bugs because coders will have an easier time creating programs for us to use. Apparently, Swift has been in the pipeline for almost half a decade.

Apple’s director of Developer Tools Department Chris Lattner recently noted on his personal website that Swift has been in the making since 2010 with only a small group of engineers working alongside him.

“I started work on the Swift Programming Language in July of 2010. I implemented much of the basic language structure, with only a few people knowing of its existence. A few other (amazing) people started contributing in earnest late in 2011, and it became a major focus for the Apple Developer Tools group in July 2013.”

The team also managed to make Swift backwards compatible with the currently existing Objective-C language. So, coders don’t have to go in and rewrite everything in order to switch over to Swift. Instead, they will be able to implement the new language, replacing the old along the way as needed.

From Apple’s Developer website, “You can begin using Swift code immediately to implement new features in your app, or enhance existing ones. New Swift code co-exists along side your existing Objective-C files in the same project, making it easy to adopt.”

Lattner writes that the reason he started working on Swift in 2010 was to make programing more interactive and user-friendly. “I hope that by making programming more approachable and fun, we’ll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how Computer Science is taught.”

Maybe Swift will ring in a new era of coding that will become the industry standard for future coders.

[Via: TechCrunch]

Messages Main

When iOS 8 drops this fall, we will see a lot of big changes to the way the system runs. Users will be able to set a third-party system wide keyboard, Family Sharing will make it possible for members to download each other’s purchased content, and Photos will get in-app editing capabilities. Oh, there’s more. Much more.

One big update we are looking forward to involves changes to Messages. With iOS 8, we will be able to record voice messages, send videos faster than ever, control group chats, and more. Practically everything we’ve always wished were possible with Messages will come true in iOS 8.

Messages Voice Recording

Starting with voice recording, in iOS 8, Messages will include the ability to record snippets of audio right inside the app. You can then send the clip to whomever you are texting with so they can play it back on their iOS device. Touch and hold the microphone button to start recording. When you are done, let go. Then swipe up to send it. To play back audio in Messages, you only have to lift your device to your ear and it will automatically play. When you are done, lower your device and it will stop. Of course, if you don’t want to hold your 10-inch iPad to your ear, you can simply press the play button on the screen.

Apple will make it possible for you to send videos with one touch. Instead of accessing the camera, taking video, confirming the clip, and then sending it, users will be able to quickly access the camera feature to record a clip and send it seamlessly without all the extra steps.

Messages Group Chat Control

With iOS 8, users will have more control over group chats. You’ll be able to name a conversation, like “Band Practice,” or “Camping News.” I often times have multiple group conversations with the same people, only about different subjects. This will help me keep messages organized so I can quickly go back to them later.

You’ll also be able to add or remove contacts from the group message at any time. If you’ve already started a conversation and realize you want your mom involved, add her. If your brother decides he doesn’t want to go on the family trip, you can remove him so he won’t have to hear all the updates unnecessarily. If your part of a conversation is over, feel free to leave it whenever you like.

I regularly end up in group chats with people who have a lot to say. If I’m busy doing something, but am part of a group chat, it can get annoying to hear dozens of notifications that distract me. With iOS 8, users will be able to set individual Do Not Disturb restrictions on chats. This allows the messages to come through, but you won’t hear them. Then, you can go back later to see what the fuss was about.

Messages Location Sharing

Messages will also be equipped with location sharing. If you are meeting friends somewhere, you can share your location so they know where you are at any given time. You’ll be able to share for just one hour, share until the end of the day, or share indefinitely, for as long as you choose to. Your chat buddies can share their location as well, so you’ll always be aware of each other’s whereabouts. It’s like Find My Friends on a more personal and temporary level.

Messages At A Glance Attachments

When the update goes live this fall, Messages will include the ability for users to see, at a glance, all attachments in a conversation on one screen. Instead of scrolling up and up, trying to find that picture your sister sent you of the couch she wants to buy, you’ll see all her sent pictures on one screen for quicker access.

Speaking of pictures, with iOS 8, users will be able to send multiple pictures and videos in one shot. Currently, users must select photos and videos to send, one at a time. With the update, multiple selections can be made at once.

iOS 8 will be compatible with iPhone 4s and newer, iPad 2 and newer, and iPad mini and newer. The software update will launch this fall for free.

Infinity Blade III 3

The third installment of the Infinity Blade trilogy has been a long time coming. We thought we would see its release sometime during iOS 6’s lifespan, but the app had been postponed nearly to death. Last week, Apple showed off Infinity Blade III at its iPhone event with a promise that it would launch alongside iOS 7. Well, the game’s developer has made good on its promise. Infinity Blade III is now on sale in the App Store.

“It’s been amazing to see the continued success of Infinity Blade and to have the ability to tell a complex story across different mediums, using a single device we take wherever we go,” chAIR’s Creative Director Donald Mustard said. “We’re so proud of Infinity Blade III and feel it not only offers a powerful finale to the series, but also gives mobile gaming another giant push forward.”

Infinity Blade III 2

The new game (64-bit on iPhone 5s) promises fantastic iOS touch controls, tap-to-move navigation, a dynamic 3-D world, two different characters to play, and more. You be able to invite allies to join your adventure in The Hideout. Meet up with the Gemcutter, the Potionmaster, the Blacksmith, and the Merchant to unlock new skills and strengths for your fighter.

You’ll be able to choose a variety of game paths, find new quests, play side missions, and fight in a group setting. Battle enemies as Siris the hero or Isa the rogue. Team up with players from around the world for group-based “ClashMobs” where you can unlock rare treasures and earn exclusive items.

Bonus features include detailed story cutscenes, voice talents from John Noble and Troy Baker, the animated “Infinity Blade: Origins” short film, and the in-game debut of “Monster,” a new song from Imagine Dragons.

Infinity Blade III is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch for $6.99. Download it in the App Store today.

ios 7

For those who have been refreshing their iPad’s software updates every few minutes for the past few hours, Apple has officially launched iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update is compatible with the iPhone 4 and newer, the fourth-generation iPod touch and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, and the iPad mini.

This update will require 3.1GB of free space on your device. Check out our tutorial on how to download iOS 7 here. We’ve even got a few suggestions for what to do if the download is too big.

iOS 7 includes the following new features:

  • New design
  • Redesigned interface updates the entire system and every built-in app
  • Subtle motion and animation; layers and translucency provide depth
  • Elegant new color palette and refined typography
  • Updated system sounds and ringtones
  • Control Center
  • Quick access to commonly used controls and apps with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen
  • Turn on & off Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb; adjust screen brightness; access media controls; turn on AirPlay and AirDrop
  • Quickly access flashlight, timer, calculator, camera and music controls
  • Notification Center improvements
  • New Today view gives you an overview of your day, including weather, calendar, and stocks
  • Notifications dismissed on one device dismisses across all your devices
  • Multitasking improvements
  • Preview screens of open apps when you switch between them
  • Permits any app to keep content up to date in the background
  • Camera improvements
  • Swipe through different camera modes – video, still photo, square aspect, and panorama
  • Real-time photo filters with iPhone 4S or later, and iPod touch (5th generation)
  • Photos improvements
  • Automatically organizes your photos and videos based on time and location into Moments
  • iCloud Photo Sharing supports multiple contributors and videos, plus a new Activity view
  • Add photo filter effects
  • Flickr and Vimeo support
  • AirDrop
  • Quickly and easily share content with people nearby
  • Securely encrypted transfers with no network or setup required
  • Supported on iPhone 5, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation) and requires an iCloud account
  • Safari improvements
  • New iPhone tab view that lets you easily switch between open web pages
  • Unified smart search field for both search terms and web addresses
  • Shared Links shows web pages shared by people you follow on Twitter
  • iTunes Radio
  • Streaming radio service
  • Pick from over 250 featured and genre-focused stations
  • Start your own station from your favorite artist or song
  • Siri improvements
  • New, more natural sounding male and female voices for US English, French and German
  • Integrated Wikipedia, Twitter search, and Bing web search results
  • Change settings including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and brightness
  • Supported on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad with Retina display, iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation)
  • App Store improvements
  • See apps relevant to your current location with Popular Near Me
  • Discover age-appropriate apps in the Kids category
  • Keep your apps up to date automatically
  • Find My iPhone Activation Lock
  • Turning off Find My iPhone, erasing your device, reactivation, and signing out of iCloud requires your Apple ID password
  • A custom message can be displayed on your device even after a remote erase
  • iTunes Store improvements
  • Preview and buy songs you’ve heard on iTunes Radio while inside the iTunes Store
  • Add to, and shop from, your iTunes Wish List
  • Scan code with camera to redeem iTunes Gift Cards
  • Music improvements
  • Play music purchases from iCloud
  • Rotate your iPhone or iPod touch to browse your music with the Album Wall
  • Videos improvements
  • Play movie and TV show purchases from iCloud
  • View similar movies and TV shows from Related
  • Maps improvements
  • Turn-by-turn walking directions
  • Automatic night mode
  • Bookmarks shared across devices via iCloud
  • Mail improvements
  • New Smart Mailboxes, including Unread, Attachments, All Drafts and To or CC
  • Improved search
  • View PDF annotations
  • FaceTime audio calling
  • Block unwanted Phone, Messages and FaceTime callers
  • Support for sending long MMS messages
  • Pull down on any Home Screen to reveal Spotlight search
  • Scan to acquire Passbook passes
  • New ringtones, alarms, alerts and system sounds
  • Definitions of a selected word for additional languages: Italian, Korean, and Dutch
  • Inclinometer in the Compass app
  • Wi-Fi HotSpot 2.0 support
  • Accessibility features
  • Individuals with limited physical motor skills can now control their device using Switch Control
  • Customize closed caption style
  • Handwriting input support in VoiceOver
  • Math input support using Nemeth Braille in VoiceOver
  • Select from multiple premium voices for speak selection and VoiceOver
  • Support for Made for iPhone Hearing Aids and stereo audio for iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation)
  • Enterprise features
  • Manage which apps and accounts are used to open documents and attachments
  • Per App VPN
  • App Store license management
  • Enterprise single sign-on
  • Remote configuration of managed apps
  • Automatic data protection for third-party apps
  • Exchange Notes syncing
  • Install custom fonts
  • New management queries and restrictions
  • Education features
  • Mobile device management for Apple TV
  • Request AirPlay Mirroring from a student device to Apple TV
  • Pre-configure AirPlay destinations and AirPrint printers
  • Streamlined MDM enrollment
  • Ability to restrict changes to accounts
  • Web content filtering
  • Authorized apps can initiate single app mode
  • Configure accessibility settings for single app mode
  • Features for China
  • Tencent Weibo integration
  • Chinese-English bilingual dictionary
  • Improved handwriting input with improved accuracy, stroke order independence and support for simultaneous multiple character input
  • Bug fixes

If you are receiving the following error message when attempting to download and install iOS 7, “Software Update Failed: An Error occurred downloading iOS 7.0,” don’t worry. You are not alone. I am having the same experience right now. I also received the message, “Unable to Check for Updates: An error occurred while checking for a software update,” on my iPad when attempting to download iOS 7.

POGO-LEAD-IMAGE

As the reviews come in regarding each new version of the iPad and iPad mini, one thing tech bloggers hate about Apple’s tablet is the missing stylus. What those techies fail to realize is that, by leaving out such a useful tool, Apple has made it possible for third party companies to flourish.

Ten One Design is one of those third party companies who has made a name for itself as being one of the most popular providers of stylus pens for the iPad. The Pogo has been hugely successful, especially since the launch of the iPad. Today, the company has announced that the Pogo has just received a makeover and will be ready just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The new Pogo is made from a solid brushed aluminum case with a capacitive tip that works on any touch screen device. Thanks to its responsive tip, the Pogo can create file lines and controlled stores. It comes with an additional interchangeable tip and removable clip so you can further customize your stylus pen.

pogo_painting

“We wanted to recreate the classic Pogo, yet update it to enhance use with today’s most popular smartphone and tablets,” says Ten One Design Co-founder Peter Skinner. “We’re excited to offer unique elements of Ten One Design products, like the interchangeable tips, that allow users to customize their stylus.”

The newly redesigned, customizable Pogo stylus is available for $19.99 from the company’s website. Order yours today. It makes the perfect stocking stuffer for any iPad owner.

Tweetbot for iPhone 2

Although Twitter has its own app that is available for free, third-party apps have been very popular, even at a price. One of the most popular, some would say the most popular, is Tweetbot. The app’s creator has been working for months on updating all of its apps, to be compatible with iOS 7. Today, Tweetbot 3 for iPhone and iPod touch has been given the iOS 7 redesign. It is just a matter of time before the company unveils the new iPad version.

As a foretelling of things to come for the iPad, the iPhone version of Tweetbot has been completely redone. Thanks to Apple’s background refresh feature, Tweetbot 3 can now fetch tweets for you while you are doing something else. You can create multiple drafts of your tweets and display how many are pending sot that you will remember to go back to them at a later time. You have more control over how the tab bar looks. You can even hide tweets that have certain hash tags in them.

Tweetbot for iPhone

Tweetbot 3’s new features include:

  • Completely redesigned from the ground up for iOS7.
  • Native Push Notifications.
  • Mute filters lets you block messages from users without unfollowing them. Mute services, hashtags, people, and even keywords (regex included).
  • Sync timeline position, direct message read statuses and mute filters between iPhone, iPad, and the Mac via iCloud or Tweetmarker.
  • Customizable Navigation. The last 2 tabs are customizable and unused tabs are easily accessible.
  • Support for multiple services like Pocket, Instapaper, Readability, CloudApp, Droplr, and more.
  • Save drafts, add locations and POI’s, attach photos/videos, manage your lists, and much more.

Tweetbot 3 for Twitter (iPhone & iPod touch) is available in the App Store for $2.99. There is no official information regarding the launch of the iPad version at this time. However, it will likely be within the next few months. We’ll keep you posted.

APphoto_LA Schools iPads

We’ve been closely following the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) iPad program over the past few months. The LAUSD is a “tastemaker” of sorts, being the second largest school district in the nation. If L.A. is successful, other districts will follow. When it comes to the iPad program, it appears that L.A. has been anything but successful.

We first heard that 300 tech savvy students had figured out a way to hack into their iPads in order to access content that should have been off limits. Then, it had come to light that 71 tablets totaling nearly $50,000 went missing. At the beginning of this month, the LAUSD decided to take back the iPads from schools. At the time of reporting, one third of the devices still had not been recovered.

Now, the L.A. Times is reporting that the iPad program is significantly more expensive than the District expected it to be. The devices are costing at least $100 more each thanks to a misunderstanding on the discount for large orders.

According to the L.A. Times, a new school district budget shows that iPads will cost $770 each. Apple’s discount on the tablets doesn’t kick in until the District buys at least 520,000 of them. That will cost approximately $400 million. In a statement to the Times, officials said that earlier cost estimates, “preceded the actual procurement process.” The District went on to say, “The negotiated discount [i.e. $678] does not go into effect until the district has reached the $400-million spending threshold.”

Additional costs that have increased since the original cost estimate include more than half a million dollars for special iPad charging carts. The District plans to postpone adding a system for online courses and will be using approximately $550,000 from the general fund to offset the impact of the loss of school construction bond money.

In the recent budget presentation, the District writes that, “we are right where we want to be,” implying that the increase in costs were to be expected. It is not unusual for actual costs to come in over budget from estimates. However, this program has seen enough problems and has received enough resistance from the community that an increase in costs is just adding fuel to the fire.

The District has proposed extending the schedule for completing the iPad program from December 2014 to December 2015 to allow for more time to complete all of the necessary upgrades and implementations for each school.