Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library, SMS Relay & Instant Hotspot, bug fixes and improvements.

iOS-8-logo-mockup-001

As promised, Apple on Monday released iOS 8.1 for public consumption. Users who have an older version installed on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad can now update to the latest software over-the-air, by choosing Software Update under Settings > General.

iOS 8.1 flips the switch on Apple Pay in the United States on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the newly released iPad Air 2and iPad mini 3.

It also re-enables the missing Camera Roll album in Photos and beta iCloud Photo Library (in beta) while bringing additional Continuity features like Text Message Forwarding between iOS 8 devices and Yosemite Macs and more.

Apple Pay, a headline new feature in iOS 8.1 supports mobile payments in apps, on websites and at select brick-and-mortar locations. On devices that don’t have NFC, like the iPhone 5s, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple Pay only works when you buy stuff online and through apps.

To recap, here are the supported devices for Apple Pay:

  • iPhone 6 (in-app, online and in-store purchases)
  • iPhone 6 Plus (in-app, online and in-store purchases)
  • iPad Air 2 (in-app and online purchases only)
  • iPad mini 3 (in-app and online purchases only)

Although Apple’s marketing materials don’t make the distinction between in-app and online purchases, Safari is technically and app. Moreover, company executives did say during the WWDC keynote that Apple Pay will be supported by participating online stores through a browser.

Apple Pay is also coming to Apple Watch early next year, extending Apple Pay to over 200 million owners of iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s worldwide, Apple said in a media release.

Apple-Pay-device-requirements-001

Another cool new feature: Text Message Forwarding.

It lets you receive text messages in the Messages app alongside iMessages on Macs running Yosemite and iPads and iPod touches running iOS 8.1. Text messages are actually routed through a user’s iPhone, allowing you to both send and receive SMS directly from a Mac or iPad.

Text Message Forwarding requires that both your Mac and iOS device be on the same Wi-Fi network and have Bluetooth turned on for proximity.

iOS-8-SMS-Relay-iPhone-and-iPad-001

iCloud Photo Library, a built-in service that puts your entire photo library in the cloud, is now available as a beta to everyone in iOS 8.1. Once enabled in Settings > iCloud > Photos, your device will automatically upload and store your photos and videos in iCloud and sync any changes between devices.

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You can elect to “Optimize Storage” to keep device-optimized versions of photos on an iOS device or “Download and Keep Originals”, which stores full-resolution photos and videos on your device. Just to clear up any confusion, iCloud always keeps your snaps and videos in their original resolution.

Your iCloud Photo Library is also available via a brand new Photos app in iCloud’s web interface, depicted above, using any Mac or Windows PC running the latest version of Safari, Chrome or Firefox. And in early-2015, a Mac edition of iOS’s stock Photos app will launch allowing for the complete end-to-end photo-syncing solution between desktop, mobile and the web.

iCloud Photo Library is great, but you’ll quickly run out of space as every iCloud account includes a meager five gigabytes of free storage. Apple’s iCloud storage upgrade pricingisn’t the most competitive: the firm is offering 20 gigabytes for 99 cents per month, 200 gigabytes in exchange for five bucks per month, 500GB for $9.99 per month and 1TB for $19.99 per month.

icloud-drive-price

Compare this to the $9.99 1TB Dropbox Pro plan (same as Google).

Microsoft is offering 1TB OneDrive bucket for seven bucks per month and they’re also throwing in Office 365 for that price. By the way, if you’re serious about iPhone photography you should consider Yahoo’s Flickr service, which includes one terabyte of free storage for your photos.

As mentioned before, iOS 8.1 also brings back the Camera Roll album which went missing in iOS 8. The Camera Roll album collates only the photos you’ve taken directly on the device or saved from Mail and other apps. The Camera Roll comeback makes the operating system compatible with applications that required it, such as WhatsApp.

iOS-8-Photos-search

The problem stems, as many have complained, from the fact that iOS 8.0 has removed the system-wide Camera Roll album for no apparent reason. In addition to these features, iOS 8.1 contains bug fixes, performance enhancements and several improvements listed below.

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iOS 8.1 includes other nice-to-haves

A new Enable Dictation toggle in Settings > General > Keyboards (seen above) is now available. Moreover, you’ll notice slightly larger app icons when managing your widgets in the Notification Center. The iBooks icon has been slightly redesigned and there’s now an alternative way to access privacy settings on a per-app basis, through their respective pane in the Settings app, as pictured below.

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Note that certain iOS 8 features are only available in select markets.

The operating system is compatible with:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5/5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6/Plus
  • iPad 2, 3 and 4
  • iPad Air and iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini and iPad mini 2
  • iPod touch (fifth-generation)

Apple Unveils the New iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iMac with Retina, Thunderbolt 2, OS X Yosemite Available Today, iOS 8.1 Coming on Monday!

iPad Air 2

Apple has unveiled the iPad Air 2, a successor to its incredibly thin 10-inch tablet from last year.

The overall design is largely the same, with slim bezels on the size and slightly larger ones at the top and bottom. The original iPad Air was heralded for being as thin as a pencil; the iPad Air 2 is 18 percent thinner, coming in at a ridiculously skinny 6.1mm. To achieve this feat, Apple swapped out the display for a laminated version, leaving no air gap. it includes an anti-reflective coating, which Apple says has never been included in a tablet before.

iPad Air 2 Thin

The iPad Air 2 also comes with a new chipset, the A8X, which was created specifically for the device. It uses a second-generation 64-bit architecture, which should improve performance across a range of tasks. Apple says graphics performance will be 180 times faster than the original iPad.iPad Air 2 full

The tablet also includes Apple’s M8 motion co-processor, tracking motion with precision. While you won’t be running with the iPad (unless you’re determined) it could still prove useful for lower intensity apps and games.

Tablets aren’t known for their photography credentials, but the iPad in particular has proven a useful snapper for many people both outside and in the home. The iPad Air  2 has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, boasting 1.12 micron pixels, an f/2.4 aperture and 1080p video recording. It also supports slow-motion recording; 120 frames per second at 720p resolution.

iPad Air 2 Back

The FaceTime camera has been improved with a new sensor with f/2.2 aperture, capable of accepting 81 percent more light. Face detection has been improved and it also includes “burst selfies” for capturing perfect self portraits.

Touch ID iPad Air 2

In line with yesterday’s leak, the iPad Air 2 has a new home button with Touch ID, which should make unlocking the device just that little bit simpler. It also supports Apple Pay for secure online purchases.

iPad mini 3

iPad mini 3 with same specs different screen size and a Gold color.

The device was confirmed yesterday when images of the device, alongside the iPad Mini 3, were found inside a user guide for iOS 8.

iPad Mini 3 Colors

iMAC

iMac Retina

A stable of new iPads wasn’t all Apple had up its sleeve today. The folks in Cupertino have also been hard at work on a desktop update, and the iMac is the beneficiary.

If you’ll recall, Apple quietly trotted out a more affordable version of the machine back in June, but this fall’s release packs a much bigger punch.

iMac 5mm thin
With the latest model, the company’s all-in-one option gets a boost in the screen department with the addition of a Retina panel. That 27-inch display is what Apple’s calling “Retina 5K,” which touts a 5,120 x 2,880 resolution with 67 percent more pixels than 4K.

The outer edge is 5mm thick, keeping the trim frame all the way around.

iMac

 

Mac Mini

Mac Mini Desktop

Mac Mini 2

At its October media event, Apple announced the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite later today.The world first got a glimpse of Yosemite at WWDC in June. The annual desktop OS update includes a more modern look, new cross-functionality with iOS devices and expanded search capabilities.

Apple is also touting new iCloud Drive cloud storage features and a major update to its iWork productivity suite.

Screen Shot 2014 10 16 at 18.31.09 730x397 Apple to release OS X Yosemite on the Mac App Store later today

Apple ran a public beta for OS X 10.10 this summer, granting more than 1 million users early access to the update.

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At its iPad conference today, Apple announced that its new NFC-based mobile payment service,Apple Pay, would roll out on Monday, October 20. Apple says over 500 banks will support the service.

Apple first introduced Apple Pay during its iPhone and Apple Watch event a little over a month ago. Supporting Mastercard, Visa, and American Express cards, the company hopes to make in-store cashless transactions easier and more secure. The process generates a one-time payment number, and the merchant never sees your credit card information.

Of course, Apple Pay isn’t the first payment system to work with NFC-chips. Google Wallet has been around for a while without tremendous success, but Apple hopes its loyal user base and simple TouchID authentication will help make payments via phone (or watch) the norm.

WatchKit 730x366 The Apple Watch SDK, WatchKit, will be available next month

Apple just announced that the Apple Watch SDK, WatchKit will be available to developers starting next month.

Developers will be able to create apps for the Apple Watch that will launch in early 2015. Apple introduced the Apple Watch at its September event.

Today’s announcement isn’t surprising. Apple makes new OS SDKs available at its yearly WWDC event months ahead of the release of new hardware.

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Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. And apparently, Apple also giveth back.

At the Apple event this morning in the Town Hall auditorium at Apple’s headquarters, Craig Federighi, the company’s senior vice president of software engineering said Apple will restore  the camera roll to its Photos app as part of the updates to iOS 8.1.

Camera Roll is back and will will support Apple Pay. public beta for iCloud Photo Library.

“We are bring back the beloved camera roll,” Federighi told the audience.

But of course there’s more. Federighi also announced a public beta for iCloud Photo Library and support Apple Pay as well. Apple Pay  and iOS 8.1 will launch on Monday.

Apple accidentally confirms ‘iPad Air 2′ and ‘iPad mini 3′ with Touch ID and Burst mode!

New-iPads-leaked-on-iTunes-Store

An inadvertent (or is it?) slip-up on Apple’s iBooks Store on Wednesday all but confirmed that tomorrow’s media event will in fact serve as a launchpad for at least two new iPads, as suspected: a second-generation iPad Air and third-generation iPad mini. Furthermore, the images suggest Touch ID fingerprint scanning for both new tablets, in addition to the Burst camera mode but only on the regular-size iPad.

These revelations were made public through iTunes screenshots for the iOS 8 iPad User Guide that can be downloaded to iBooks, as first discovered by the prolific Apple blogger Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac.

As depicted top of post, the Apple-made electronic guide detailing iOS 8.1 for iPad has also confirmed device branding as ‘iPad Air 2′ and ‘iPad mini 3′.

And here’s an iTunes Preview of the iPad User Guide for iOS 8 on the web.

New-iPads-leaked-on-iTunes-Preview

Don’t bother tapping the e-book link for Apple’s already removed the page from iBooks, though it was still accessible at post time as an iTunes Preview on the web when following the URL on desktop.

The Burst camera mode was first introduced with the iPhone 5s release last Fall to allow the user to take multiple frames per second, and has since made its way to the iPhone 6and iPhone 6 Plus.

If the iPad User Guide is anything to go by, it would appear that only the second-generation iPad Air 2 will gain an improved camera with Burst mode, not the iPad mini 3.

If true, this in turn might indicate that the upcoming full-size iPad could indeed run a more powerful A8X processor leaked yesterday on photos of a claimed printed circuit board.

Couldn’t be more obvious than that, no?