Apple Fixes FaceTime on Older Versions of OS X, iOS 6 Still Not Working

facetime_ios_iconApple tonight released an update for FaceTime on OS X [Direct Link], which resolves connections issues and is recommended for all FaceTime users currently running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The connection issues are presumably related to the problems reported last week which affected both older versions of OS X and iOS 6 versions of FaceTime.

Apple, however, has not yet addressed the problems with FaceTime that are in iOS 6. While it is encouraging that Apple released an update for FaceTime for OS X 10.6, Apple support's recommendations for iOS 6 users has been to upgrade to iOS 7. One user has quoted Apple support as saying that the only fix for iOS 6 is to upgrade to the latest version of iOS 7, with no current plans to release a fix on iOS 6 or iOS 5.

According to Apple's updated FaceTime troubleshooting page, users who are still having trouble with the application are recommended to update to the latest version of iOS or OS X.


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Apple Debuts New 'Powerful' TV Ad Focusing on iPhone 5s [Updated]

Apple has debuted a new TV ad alongside Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tonight on ABC called "Powerful". The ad, which was first spotted by 9to5Mac, showcases iPhone 5s owners using the device to enhance their lives in multiple ways.


With "Gigantic" by the Pixies [iTunes] playing in the background, the app has users using the iPhone 5s to check their health, check for directions, create short monster movies, record videos, create art installations and more, including the Pixies preparing to play their song. The ad ends with the tagline "You're more powerful than you think".

Apple has not aired an iPhone 5s ad since the seasonal holiday ad "Misunderstood", which has since been removed from its YouTube channel. In the meantime, Apple has instead focusing its advertising efforts on the iPad's "Your Verse" ad campaign.

Update 8:31 PM: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the ad as "Gigantic". It has been corrected to its proper name, "Powerful". Apple's official YouTube video for the ad has also been swapped in.


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Apple Opens OS X Betas to General Users for Free with New Seed Program

For all of Apple's strengths, it's usually not a company that's associated with letting us do things for free. Judging from last year's news about OS X Mavericks and the followup news about the iWork suite, that may be changing. Indeed, as The Loop reports, Apple is apparently even introducing an beta program for OS X that'll let non-developers see the builds for Apple's signature desktop operating system before they're released to the public.

Up until recently, discovering what waited in store in the next iteration of OS X required a developer account costing $99 per year. Now, however, average users can apply to join the OS X Beta Seed Program, which will let you download pre-release versions of OS X via the Updates panel in the Mac App Store.

The only catch is that you'll have to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents you from sharing, publishing, or disseminating information about the beta to anyone who's not enrolled in the program. You'll then be asked to download a backup for your Mac and then download a Beta Access Utility App that ensures that the Mac App Store will list the newest beta updates.

All you need to sign up is your Apple ID, which you enter on the new "Appleseed" web site. Keep in mind, though, that betas are usually unstable by definition, and running them brings a real risk of causing problems you wouldn't have otherwise experienced on your Mac.

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Apple Takes Thinly Veiled Jab at Samsung in New Environmentally Focused Ads

It's been a while since we've seen Apple employ the same competitive snark that we see in advertising from its rivals, but the Cupertino company today played a rare hand in the form of a full-page ad lightly poking fun at its ongoing legal battle with Samsung. The ads chiefly appear overseas (for now), and read "There are some things we want every company to copy."

Cnet lists the ads as appearing in British papers such as the Guardian and the Metro, but since then others have been spotted in Australia, Germany and numerous other countries. The ads are meant to highlight Apple's commitment to its green energy programs and new sustainable architecture, but with a not-so-subtle nod toward its biggest smartphone competitor. The full text reads as follows:

Source: Cnet

"There’s one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefits. We’d be more than happy to see every data centre fuelled by 100% renewable energy sources. And we eagerly await the day when every product is made without the harmful toxins we have removed from ours.

Of course we know we can continue to do better. We’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for reducing our impact on climate change, making our products with greener materials and conserving our planet’s limited resources. So the next time we come across a great idea that can help leave the world better than we found it, we look forward to sharing."

The ads were designed to complement Apple's new "Better" campaign that was launched yesterday in preparation for today's celebration of Earth Day.

Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

iWatch May Ultimately Replace iPod, No iPod Updates Expected in 2014

A research note (via Barrons) from Christopher Caso, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, reiterates previous analyst reporting about the iWatch, saying Apple is looking to enter production with a pair of screen sizes in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Caso says Apple has production targets of 5-6 million units, but believes the iWatch will "essentially replace the iPod in the consumer portion of AAPL's product lineup" and will see lowered iPod sales as a result of customers choosing the iWatch instead. The note says the iPod is not expected to be updated this year.

Ipodfamily
Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year that the iPod "is a declining business", with sales dropping to under $5 billion in 2013, down from a peak of more than $8 billion in 2008. Apple's iPod lineup has not seen a significant update since Fall 2012, other than a minor color change to match the rest of Apple's portable offerings. The iPod Classic has not been updated in several years.

Apple has worked hard to have products at a variety of price points, from the $49 iPod Shuffle up to the 128GB iPad Air at $799, and then to the various Mac products.


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Google is covering lawyer fees and potential damage awards with regards to four patents in the ongoing Apple/Samsung patent case, according to a report from Re/code, quoting deposition testimony from a Google attorney that Apple introduced in court today.

Google's contractual obligations to defend Samsung relate to a "Mobile Application Distribution Agreement" between the two companies related to the distribution of Google applications, including Gmail on Samsung's Android devices. Samsung called several Google employees as witnesses as part of its defense.

The case between Apple and Samsung is seen by many as a proxy for the larger battle between Google and Apple over the company's respective mobile operating systems.

apple_samsung_logos
Apple played deposition testimony from Google lawyer James Mccoun, who verified e-mail in which Google agreed to provide partial or full indemnity with regards to four patents as well as to take over defense of those claims.

A Samsung representative said he could not immediately say which if any claims in the case for which Google is in fact providing the defense and indemnity.
Yesterday, Samsung argued that, if it lost at trial, it would only owe Apple $40 million in damages, substantially less than the $2 billion that Apple says it is owed for infringement of five of its patents.


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betaseedprogram
Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and accept the Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. Apple will provide a Beta Access Utility for your Mac, which gives you access to pre-release versions of OS X in the Mac App Store Updates panel.
Users can apply to join the beta program on Apple's new Appleseed Beta website, which allows users to apply using an Apple ID.Apple requires everyone who signs up to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents users from disclosing, publishing, or disseminating confidential information to anyone not also enrolled in the Appleseed program.

After agreeing to keep beta information confidential, Apple asks users to make a backup on their Macs before downloading a special Beta Access Utility App which allows a Mac to be enrolled for beta software updates. All updates will be delivered via the Mac App Store, similar to standard OS X updates.


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iOS 7.1.1 Now Labels Apps with 'In-App Purchases' in Top Charts and Featured Sections

As part of iOS 7.1.1, released earlier today, Apple has implemented some minor changes to the iOS App Store to make it more clear which apps offer in-app purchases.

Apple has provided an "Offers In-App Purchases" disclosure on individual app detail pages since March of 2013, but now the App Store has been updated to include a small "In-App Purchases" notification for apps in Top Charts listings and on specific featured apps listings, such as in the "Great Free Games" category.

inapppurchases711
Old Top Charts view on left, new Top Charts view with in-app purchase disclosure on right

This expanded in-app purchase view allows users to determine which apps on the Top Free, Paid, and Grossing charts offer in-app purchases. The disclosure is also available on top category listings as well.

Apple's new in-app purchase warnings come following a January settlement with the FTC that saw Apple providing $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items. Apple was also required to obtain express consent from consumers before billing them for an in-app purchase, a measure that it initially implemented with iOS 7.1.

In-app purchases have long been an issue for Apple, first landing the company in hot water with the FTC in 2011 after multiple parental complaints over children over-spending within apps. Apple has made many updates to its in-app purchase policies since that time, including requiring a separate passcode entry for initiating an in-app purchase and providing multiple notifications before a purchase is made.

Along with changes to the App Store, iOS 7.1.1 also includes improvements to Touch ID, Safari support for top-level domains such as .photo, and a few bug fixes. It can be downloaded over-the-air via the Software Update tool in the Settings menu.

Update 3:40 PM PT: Apple has notified developers that it is also adding new app content descriptions to the App Store.
You can now use the following descriptions: Medical/Treatment Information, Gambling and Contests, and Unrestricted Web Access (for apps that permit navigating and viewing web pages, for example with an embedded browser).
There are also new territory specific restrictions based on rating.


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