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Apple today released iTunes version 11.3 and with it is making its iTunes Extras featureavailable for HD movies on Macs.  Apple also announced today that the feature is now available for Apple TV with update 6.2 and will arrive on iOS 8 this fall.

While we’ll have to wait for iTunes Extras to arrive on iOS with the release of iOS 8 this fall, theApple TV OS 6.2 update rolled out late last month to users alongside iOS 7.1.2.

iTunes Extras offers an interactive experience for some video content on iTunes that often includes behind-the-scenes videos, image galleries, commentary from the creators, cast interviews, exclusive clips, short films, and more. Content creators decide whether or not to offer the iTunes Extras feature and create the experience using templates provided by Apple. Apple also notes that “new iTunes Extras will be automatically added to your previously purchased HD movies as they become available- at no additional charge.”

The iTunes update, version 11.3, is available now through Software Update in the Mac App Store. The Apple TV update, version 6.2, which also brought general performance and stability improvements, is available now as an over-the-air update.

Source: 9to5mac.com
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Nike is today launching a brand new app called Nike Football (or Nike Soccer in the US), that will act as a hub for all things Nike Football from exclusive content and Q&A sessions with athletes to the latest product launches for the company’s line of football products. Nike is also including some social features that let users organize their own pick-up games, trash talk among friends and teammates, and more:

"The Nike Football app features custom football emojis within its chat feature to extend the dressing room camaraderie, and uses geo-tracking technology to allow members to set up matches around the world… The app allows players to create their own micro-communities with the “Crew” feature, staying connected to their friends and teammates and making sure they never miss a chance to play. Using the “Play” section, members can set up a time and location for a game or kick-about and track who is in."

Another interesting aspect of the app is Nike will use it as the only place to register for Nike Academy trial events, which are the only way to eventually earn a spot at the Nike Academy at the St. George’s Park National Football Centre in the UK.

“This is Nike Football in your pocket.  The app will allow members of the Nike Football community to be the first to access the latest product, stories and event experiences. It’ll be the only way to earn a spot in the Nike Academy and earn your way to the highest level of the game, something we’ve seen from players such as Tom Rogic (Australia), Abdul Waris and David Accam (both Ghana),” said Davide Grasso, Chief Marketing Officer for Nike.”

The Nike Football/Soccer app is available for iPhone on the App Store for free now.

Source: 9to5mac.com
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Apple has launched a blog on its official developer website to promote the new Swift programming language. Swift, which was announced at WWDC 2014, is a successor to the Objective-C programming language for iOS and OS X, and it provides new, cleaner, and more robust tools for developing applications. The blog will be dedicated to Apple engineers working on Swift sharing tidbits behind the language’s development as well as hints. Here’s the first Swift blog post:

Welcome to Swift Blog

"This new blog will bring you a behind-the-scenes look into the design of the Swift language by the engineers who created it, in addition to the latest news and hints to turn you into a productive Swift programmer.

Get started with Swift by downloading Xcode 6 beta, now available to all Registered Apple Developers for free. The Swift Resources tab has a ton of great links to videos, documentation, books, and sample code to help you become one of the world’s first Swift experts. There’s never been a better time to get coding!

- The Swift Team”

Additionally, the blog now discusses Swift and its compatibility with current and future versions of Apple software. You can read those details below:

One of the most common questions we heard at WWDC was, “What is the compatibility story for Swift?”. This seems like a great first topic.

App Compatibility

Simply put, if you write a Swift app today and submit it to the App Store this Fall when iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are released, you can trust that your app will work well into the future. In fact, you can target back to OS X Mavericks or iOS 7 with that same app. This is possible because Xcode embeds a small Swift runtime library within your app’s bundle. Because the library is embedded, your app uses a consistent version of Swift that runs on past, present, and future OS releases.

Binary Compatibility and Frameworks

While your app’s runtime compatibility is ensured, the Swift language itself will continue to evolve, and the binary interface will also change. To be safe, all components of your app should be built with the same version of Xcode and the Swift compiler to ensure that they work together.

This means that frameworks need to be managed carefully. For instance, if your project uses frameworks to share code with an embedded extension, you will want to build the frameworks, app, and extensions together. It would be dangerous to rely upon binary frameworks that use Swift — especially from third parties. As Swift changes, those frameworks will be incompatible with the rest of your app. When the binary interface stabilizes in a year or two, the Swift runtime will become part of the host OS and this limitation will no longer exist.

Source Compatibility

Swift is ready to use today, in brand new apps or alongside your proven Objective-C code. We have big plans for the Swift language, including improvements to syntax, and powerful new features. And as Swift evolves, we will provide tools in Xcode to help you migrate your source code forward.

We can’t wait to see what you build!”

Apple engineers have also been especially talkative on Apple’s developer discussion forums and via Twitter regarding Swift. Chris Lattner, lead developer of Swift, even published a short blog post on the day of the WWDC keynote about Swift. This new Swift blog is also interesting as it is Apple’s first blog on its official website. This represents Apple opening up to both developers and consumers.

Source: 9to5mac.com
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It appears that Apple has recently changed its iTunes Music Store policy regarding song samples, reverting preview times for certain tracks from 90 seconds to the old 30-second standard.

The exact timing of Apple’s apparent reversion to shorter clips is not clear, though Twitter users havebeen reporting the change for at least one day. As noted by MacRumors, which first reported on the issue, the switch is affecting a wide variety of titles, including new and popular songs featured by iTunes staff. 

Some users have reported the change was performed within the past few hours, with tracks previously eligible for 90-second previews now seeing 30-second time limits.

AppleInsider has confirmed that certain songs over the required time limit are, in fact, playing back 30-second clips. The distribution of shortened previews seems random, however, as a recent release from Trey Songz played for the usual 90 seconds, while Judas Priest’s “Redeemer of Souls” album limited playback to 30 seconds. Confusingly, a randomly chosen selection from Neil Diamond also reverted to the old 30-second limit. 

Apple first debuted 90-second previews in 2010 for songs longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds sold through the U.S. iTunes Music store. 

Without an official announcement from Apple, it is impossible to tell whether the truncated previews are due to an iTunes glitch, or a more comprehensive change in store policy. Another possibility is pressure from record labels that no longer agree with the extended preview time period. 

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment on the situation and will update this report when a response is received.

Source: appleinsider.com
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Industry consensus holds that Apple’s so-called “iWatch” will see manufacture in September ahead of wide distribution in October, but one well-connected analyst believes mass production is to be pushed back to November, meaning only small quantities will be available at launch.

In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iWatch represents a new level of difficulty for Apple in regard to both hardware and software development. Because of the new challenges, Kuo believes current consensus on Apple’s iWatch production and distribution schedule is incorrect. 

Kuo estimates Apple will push back mass production to mid- or late-November, one month later than previous models claiming large-scale manufacturing would start in late-September. With only a few supplier ramping up ahead of an anticipated October release, supplies of the wearable will be constrained and are unlikely to meet market expectations of 10 million shipped units by the end of 2014. Instead, Kuo says about 3 million iWatches will be in the wild by year’s end.

On the hardware side of things, the analyst notes Apple is deviating from its normal component cache to more advanced — and difficult to manufacture — parts and materials. 

For example, the iWatch is thought to sport a flexible AMOLED display complete with sapphire cover glass. Apple has never deployed an OLED display in a consumer product, nor has the company fielded a product with such a large sapphire glass installation. So far, the largest sapphire part in any iOS device has been the protective Touch ID covering seen on the iPhone 5s. Recent rumors claim the iWatch will use a “slightly rectangular" 2.5-inch display.

In addition, new system-in-package (SiP) processes will be used to shrink down operational circuitry to wristwatch sizes, which complicates matters since Apple is looking to meet high waterproofing standards. Not mentioned in the report are other rumored features like wireless charging that could add to the device’s already complicated build. 

As for software, Kuo believes the main challenge is redesigning iOS to fit on a smaller screen while maintaining interoperability with larger devices like the iPhone and iPad. Apple is well known for its stellar hardware and software vertical, though iWatch UI refinement could present a problem as the form factor is completely new and doesn’t have the benefit of being on the market for years.

Source: appleinsider.com
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Apple late Thursday issued a security message saying it has blocked old versions of Adobe’s Flash Player plug-in for Safari, citing a recent flaw that could potentially allow hackers to harvest browser data like cookies.

As noted in an updated support document regarding the issue, Apple has taken action against a recently discovered Flash vulnerability by restricting plug-in access through its Safari Web browser.

Users with out of date plug-ins will be met with a message saying, “Blocked plug-in,” “Flash Security Alert” or “Flash out-of-date” when attempting to access Flash content in Safari. Clicking on the alert takes users to Adobe’s Flash installer page, where the latest version of the plug-in can be downloaded and installed. 

According to Adobe, the flaw can be found in Flash Player for Mac version 14.0.0.125 and earlier. After a proof-of-concept exploit was demonstrated by Google engineer Michele Spagnuolo, Adobe advised Mac users to update to version 14.0.0.145. Aside from OS X, Windows and Linux builds of Flash were also affected by the bug. 

Users who need to run older, flawed versions of Flash may do so by configuring Safari’s plug-in management settings to allow specific websites to “Run in Unsafe Mode.” Re-enabling older Flash versions requires Safari 6.1 or later.

Source: appleinsider.com
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After multiple torture tests, a purported sapphire front cover rumored to be bound for Apple’s 4.7-inch “iPhone 6” has finally been broken, but getting there took a car weighing 1.6 tons.

The supposed sapphire display cover started making the rounds online on Monday and has since been subjected to all variety of stress testing to determine the part’s durability. 

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday by HK Apple Daily, the component is put through the usual battery of scratch testing, stabbing and bending before seeing savage assessment involving fire and, ultimately, a car. 

As seen below, testers are able to shatter the purported iPhone front cover by crushing it with a 1.6-ton vehicle. The result may be expected, though a closer look at the subsequent destruction yields some interesting clues as to the part’s makeup and design. 

Note the most damaged portion of the cover is the edge that first makes contact with the tire. It appears the overwhelming force shattered this leading edge and quickly propagated toward the trailing edge, breaking off a substantial portion of the window that was likewise crushed as the car moved over it. 

Since a piece of the glass broke off cleanly — without “spiderwebbing” — by a compressive force rather than a high-energy kinetic impact, it can be inferred that the material is strengthened and possibly made of laminated layers. This does not necessarily mean the part is made of sapphire, but few materials can withstand extreme bending and exhibit resilience to surface scratches while being shatter resistant. 

Corning’s most advanced Gorilla Glass shares similar properties, but is still vulnerable to high velocity impacts as evidenced in numerous smartphone drop tests.


AppleInsider this week reported on an Apple patent for strengthening single-crystal sapphire through “residual compressive stress,” which basically describes advanced tempering techniques. Another patent for lamination processes details construction methods in which a sapphire glass layup can be made flexible while retaining superior surface hardness.

Whether the purported iPhone front cover glass is actually made of sapphire or some other hardened material has yet to be determined, but it is interesting to see the part come out (mostly) unscathed from some serious abuse.

Source: appleinsider.com
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