Apple today released iOS 8.3, the third major update to iOS 8. Seeded to developers in February and to public beta testers in mid-March, iOS 8.3 brings several new features and design tweaks to the operating system.
iOS 8.3 is available immediately as an over-the-air download. Xcode 6.3 is also available, as is a 7.2 update for the Apple TV and a 1.2 update for Swift, Apple's programming language.
iOS 8.3 has a heavy focus on emoji improvements, bringing an updated emoji picker that organizes emoji into categories in an easily scrollable list, new diversified emoji with expanded family options, and emoji skin tone modifiers for changing the look of people emoji. There are also several new flags and updated phone, computer, and watch emoji that now resemble the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch.
Other iOS 8.3 changes include wireless CarPlay, letting users connect their iPhones to their CarPlay systems sans Lightning cable, support for Google two-factor authentication that makes it possible to add Google accounts without the need for app specific passwords, and Apple Pay support for the China UnionPay network. On the iPhone 6 Plus, in landscape mode, there's now a bold/italics/underline key for formatting text. Previously, the key only allowed for bolding.
There are also minor changes to Passbook (dividing Apple Pay and Passes) and the Photos app (icon overlays for albums). Siri has gained new languages plus the ability to make calls using the iPhone's speakerphone, and in Messages, there's now an option to enable filtering to separate iMessages from friends from iMessages from Unknown Senders.
One of smaller but most notable UI changes includes an update to the space bar, which has been elongated to prevent users from hitting the period key in Safari when attempting to make a space. It's also now possible to turn on a setting to allow you to download free apps without the need to enter your password. We have a full list of the changes in iOS 8.3 in our iOS 8 Features Roundup.
iOS 8.3 also has a very long list of bug fixes, which we've added in below. There are multiple fixes to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, orientation, messages, and more.
Apple today launched a newly updated Siri website, which gives a comprehensive look at the voice assistant built into the company's iOS devices. The site opens with a quick overview of what Siri can do, and then provides users with a list of categories featuring Siri's different abilities: At a Glance, Staying in Touch, Getting Organized, Sports, Entertainment, Out and About, Getting Answers, and Tips and Tricks.
Talk to Siri as you would to a friend and it can help you get things done -- like sending messages, placing calls, or making dinner reservations. You can ask Siri to show you the Orion constellation or to flip a coin. Siri works hands-free, so you can ask it to show you the best route home and what your ETA is while driving. And it's connected to the world, working with Wikipedia, Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, Shazam, and other online services to get you even more answers. The more you use Siri, the more you'll realize how great it is. And just how much it can do for you.
Each category offers a look at the different commands that Siri can work with. "At a Glance" gives a quick rundown of a random assortment of questions that can be asked, like "When is the sunset in Paris?" and "What movies are playing today?" while other categories offer a more specific selection of available commands.
"Getting Organized," for example," includes commands specific to apps like Calendar and Reminders, such as "What does the rest of my day look like?" and "Remember to pick up dry cleaning next Friday." "Entertainment" includes commands like "Show me the trailer for Boyhood" and "Buy the latest season of Homeland."
Each of the pages offers a look at features many iOS users might not have known Siri was capable of, and they're organized in a compelling grid-like view that's easy to read and outfitted with pictures for visual appeal.
Apple previously had a site that offered information on Siri, but it was just a single page that offered more of an overview of what Siri can do rather than something more specific that drilled down into actual commands. The new Siri site offers a much deeper look at Siri's abilities.
Today's Siri website revamp follows the release of iOS 8.3 that added new Siri languages and the ability to make voice calls over the speakerphone using Siri. Apple has alsoadded new Siri features to several additional countries, making local search, directions, and more available in countries like Brazil, Denmark, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey.
have surfaced on social media today that provide a first look at what could be the retail packaging for the Apple Watch and individual bands. Instagram user Jeremy Gan posted the photos to his profile, which he has since switched to private, this afternoon. The photos appear to show a 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch with Milanese Loop propped on a stand within its official packaging, alongside a brown leather band in a separate box.
It appears that the pictures were taken during the day in Daily Mail's offices at 51 Astor Place in New York City, and it's plausible to think the publication may have had the device on hand. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee the veracity of these photos, and it is entirely possible that the retail packaging is not official. A number of fake Apple Watches have already hit the streets, and this could very well be fake packaging to go along with the knockoff models.
The long, narrow box for the Apple Watch band in particular appears mostly consistent with a stock image that appeared on Apple's careers page last month, which at the time was speculated to be retail packaging for bands. The packaging in Apple's picture appears to be plastic, however, with a slightly tapered appearance, which is slightly different than the box pictured above. The photos should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt until if and when their authenticity can be confirmed.
When Apple launched the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 in late 2014, many people were disappointed with the iPad mini update, which essentially just added Touch ID to the existing iPad mini 2 with no other external design changes. Since then, there have been a few rumors suggesting Apple is working on an iPad mini 4 update that includes iPad Air 2 design elements like a thinner body.
French site Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] today shared a video and some images of what's said to be an early version of the rear casing for the upcoming iPad mini 4.
The aluminum shell closely resembles the shell of the existing iPad mini, but it does include several design elements introduced with the iPad Air 2. There's a single row of larger speaker holes alongside the Lightning port at the bottom of the device, rather than two smaller rows, and the mute switch on the device has been removed and replaced with a microphone hole.
Rumors have suggested the iPad mini 4 will be thinner than the iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3, giving it a thickness more akin to the iPad Air 2, but it is difficult to determine the device's possible thickness based on the images that were shared. Along with an iPad Air-style design, an updated iPad mini 4 would likely adopt one of Apple's more recent processors, possibly the A8X in the iPad Air 2 or an A9 processor coming later this year.
There's been little word on when an updated iPad mini might launch, but given Apple's historical fall release schedule for iPads, it's unlikely we will see the iPad mini 4 until the later months of 2015.
Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out an email to all Apple employees to thank them for the effort they've put into the launch of the Apple Watch and to announce a major discount on Apple Watch models for Apple workers. The email was obtained byMacRumors and is shared below.
Employees will be able to order any stainless steel Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport for personal use at a 50 percent discount, and Apple is also offering $550 off the Apple Watch Edition. $550 is half off the most expensive stainless steel Apple Watch and the maximum discount that employees can obtain.
The day we’ve all been waiting for is almost here: Apple Watch is ready to ship.
Our retail stores are training for a whole new way to engage customers and help them experience Apple’s most personal product yet. On Friday, in over four hundred stores across four continents, we’ll open our doors to people who want to try on Apple Watch for the first time and start deciding which one is right for them.
Tens of millions of people have seen our keynotes and demonstration videos about the watch, and there’s much more to come. Some of the most innovative developers in the world are working on new experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch. More than one thousand apps were submitted in just four days last week when the App Store started accepting them, and the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then.
I know that many of you have been looking forward to choosing an Apple Watch for yourselves, and we want to make it easy for you. Starting Friday in countries where the watch is available for pre-order, a special Employee Purchase Plan will offer a 50% discount on any Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport for your personal use.
As we introduce the watch in more countries, the special pricing for employees will be offered in those countries as well. Discounts will begin at pre-order and last for 90 days after availability. AppleWeb has more details, so I invite you to check it out.
Our products enrich people’s lives like no others, and we think Apple Watch is going to delight our customers in ways people can’t yet imagine. We want you to share in that experience right alongside them.
Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard for years to help this product reach our customers. And thanks in advance to the thousands of retail employees around the world who will start placing it on people’s wrists starting Friday.
Over the course of the past several weeks, MacRumors has spoken to multiple Apple retail employees who have relayed just how much work has gone into Apple Watch preparations. Training for the Apple Watch has been intense and somewhat stressful, as employees have needed to learn all new sales techniques to relate to customers in a more personal manner to offer fashion recommendations.
Employees are also gearing up for a couple of busy weeks as customers begin scheduling try-on appointments in stores beginning April 10, so the discount on the Apple Watch will be seen as a welcome bonus. In his email, Tim Cook says that he wants Apple retail employees to "share in the experience" of the Apple Watch right alongside the customers that are purchasing them, and he goes on to thank all of the retail employees that will be working with customers in the coming weeks.
Tim Cook's email also includes a note about third-party apps. He says that "more than one thousand apps" were submitted to Apple for approval last week after the company began accepting submissions, and that "the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then." We've covered many of the Apple Watch apps that have already surfaced, both in a comprehensive list that contained many of the first available apps and individual posts (airlines, to-do lists, transit apps) that give a deeper look at how we'll be able to use the Apple Watch. Even more info on Apple Watch apps can be found on Apple'sdedicated app site.
The Apple Watch will be available for pre-order beginning April 10, which is also the day that try-on appointments will become available. The Apple Watch officially launches on April 24.
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