Apple releases iOS 7.1.2 with iBeacon, Mail attachment, third-party accessory fixes & Apple TV OS 6.2

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Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to end users today over-the-air with the following changes:

• Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
• Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
• Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments

The update is available over-the-air or via iTunes for the latest iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The fix for Mail addresses a well-publicized security problem regarding attachments. Apple has also released OS X 10.9.4 with various bug fixes and security enhancements.

The build number is 11D257 and it comes in at approximately 30 MB over-the-air on the iPad and 32 MB on the iPhone. The update is approximately 1.4GB for a complete download via iTunes.

In addition, Apple has released Apple TV software version 6.2 (build number 11D257c) without any major changes. The update addresses stability and performance issues:

  • Includes general performance and stability improvements.

And the World’s Most Admired Company in 2014 Is…

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For the seventh straight year, Apple has been named the World’s Most Admired Company by a jury of its peers in Fortune. Despite a rocky year which saw the tech giant’s stock jump and fall and a sometimes-hot, sometimes-cold public battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn, Apple is still the envy of the corporate world’s eye.

From Fortune’s ranking:

Top 50 rank: 1
Rank in Computers: 1
(Previous rank: 1)
Overall score: 7.94

Why it’s admired:
The iconic tech company known for the iPhone and other stylish and user-friendly products is back in the top spot on this year’s list, for the seventh year in a row. Apple, the most valuable brand on the planet according to Interbrand, brought in $171 billion in revenues in FY2013 and is flush with cash, but fan boys and girls (not to mention the market) are getting antsy to see its next big product. Bets are on a smartwatch or AppleTV, but the company is also reportedly turning its attention to cars and medical devices.

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Amazon and Google were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, having switched places from their 2013′s rankings. Among the other tech companies in Fortune’s top-50 “all star” list: IBM at No. 16, Samsung at No. 21, Microsoft at No. 24, and Facebook at No. 38. The full list of most-admired companies and a description of the methodology used to choose them are available here and in the issue of Fortune that comes out today.

Apple seeds iOS 7 beta 5 to developers: Tweaks to icons, Control Center and more!

iOS 7 beta for Developers

A little over a week after iOS 7 beta 4, Apple has seeded iOS 7 beta 5 to developers. It is available over-the-air via Software Update. The previous beta brought several minor interface and performance tweaks to the operating system, and beta 5 will likely continue doing that.

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A new Apple TV seed is also available:

Notes

• You can now use an iOS 7 device to set up an Apple TV after restoring or resetting all settings. (iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are not supported.)

We will continuously update this post with discovered changes.

– All Settings icons redesigned (left is new) :

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– More Yahoo presence:

Unknown

– New Twitter icon in iOS 7:

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– Can now disable Control Center while in apps:

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– Major performance improvements across the system

– Camera swipe access from Lock screen is easier

– New slide to power off design:

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– New in-call icons:

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– New option to pull down on a banner

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– Some transparency, blur, UI animation changes across the system.

Purported Image Of iOS 7 Home Screen Hits The Web!

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Much has been said about Apple’s management shakeup that happened last October. If Scott Forstall’s departure came out as a bombshell, the fact that Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, was made the head of the newly created Human Interface group was less of surprise.

Now in charge of everything design, Ive has been expected to give iOS a facelift by getting rid of, or at least by minimizing all use of skeuomorphism in Apple’s mobile operating system. But it doesn’t stop here!

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Something we’ve been hearing for a while when talking about Ive’s possible take on an iOS makeover is the word “flat”. Not flat as in boring. Flat as in simpler. This was confirmed last week when 9to5Mac reported that according to their sources, iOS 7 might be black, white, and flat all over.

What does that mean for parts of the UI such as app icons? Our friend Sonny Dickson got his hands on a blurry screenshot showing the Home screen of an iPhone running iOS 7. The image quality is terrible, but with the help of talented designer Surenix, we were able to reproduce some of these icons to give you an exclusive look at what some stock app icons on iOS 7 might look like.

If we had to describe the changes in one word, that would be: unified…

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When you look at the current state of stock apps icons, it seems that all of them were designed by different teams. Most of them have a different look. They don’t have unified features that tie them all up together. Some of them have a gloss effect. Some of them don’t. Some of them have borders. Some of them don’t, etc…

From what we’ve seen, we believe Jony Ive’s touch on iOS 7 will homogenize the look of Apple’s stock apps icons. Below are some of the major differences we’ve discovered.

Icon gloss effect: gone!

The first thing that caught my eyes when looking at these icons is that the gloss effect is now gone. Apple first introduced this effect when iPhone OS first came out six years ago. Through its SDK, Apple currently allows developers to either easily add a gloss effect on an icon, or not.

As Surenix explains, each app icon is supported with three different layers. The bottom layer is the drop shadow that all icons sport at the bottom. The secondary layer adds the the gloss effect to an icon. The top mask layer crops the corners of the icons, giving it that unified rounded corners look. We believe the secondary “gloss” layer will not be used for Apple’s apps any longer, and won’t likely be used for third party apps as well.

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If all the app icons that are currently on my iPhone are any indication, it seems that most developers have actually started going away from the glossy effect and already use a flatter look. It makes sense, especially for applications that are available on different platform. Instagram, for example, wouldn’t want to have a gloss effect on its iOS icon, but no gloss effect on its Android app icon.

A few good examples of this lack of gloss can be seen on the icons of Instagram, Facebook, Clear, and Dropbox.

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Apple’s own stock apps themselves don’t always have a gloss effect. Here are those that do:

  • App Store
  • Music
  • Photos
  • Phone
  • Mail
  • Voice Memos
  • iTunes
  • Compass
  • Stocks
  • Weather
  • Clock
  • Safari
  • Messages

And here are those that don’t:

  • Calendar
  • Settings
  • Camera
  • Maps
  • Game Center
  • Contacts
  • Videos
  • Notes
  • Calculator
  • Passbook
  • Reminders

As you can tell, it’s about fifty fifty. Thirteen of Apple’s own stock apps come with the gloss effect, while 11 don’t.

Should Apple decide to indeed drop the gloss effect from its own app icons, it wouldn’t be too surprising if it also removed the option from Xcode itself. The result would bring more consistency across Apple apps and the thousands of third party apps out there.

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Weather icon temperature: gone!

Although not a fan of skeuomorphism, it looks like Jony Ive decided to bring a little more real life elements to the Weather app icon by adding a few clouds to it.

Noticeably, and from what we can tell, the icon finally dropped the ever static 73 degrees temperature, which didn’t really make sense to begin with, and might even be confusing to older iOS users who may think the Weather app icon reflects current local weather conditions. Removing the 73 degrees temp from the icon is a smart move.

Icon borders: gone!

Do you know what set the Settings and Reminders app icons apart from all other stock icons? They have a border. These two are the only icons among the 24 stock app icons that have a defined border.

Of course, having a border is highly inconsistent with the rest of the stock icons set, which probably explains why it looks like the Settings icon will get rid of this border. While we couldn’t have a good look at the Reminders app icon, it wouldn’t be surprising if it lost its border too.

Diagonal stripes: gone!

While we can’t really tell from the leaked screenshots, Sonny Dickson tells us he is very confident he saw a “more plain” Phone app icon, without the diagonal stripes. This was also confirmed from another source who called the Phone and Messages app icon “all flat” on iOS 7.

As you can see on Surenix’s rendition of this icon, it looks flatter and cleaner. But more importantly, it looks more consistent with other icons such as the Music icon.

Why Apple used diagonal stripes on the Phone and Messages icon in the first place is a mystery. If the inconsistency of the Phone and Messages app icons drove you crazy (I know it drove me crazy), then you will probably welcome this flatter look.

Bigger is better?

A subtle design change was brought to the camera app icon. The lens is now slightly bigger, covering more real estate on the icon. In my mind, bigger lens, means easier to identify on the screen.

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Miscellaneous

There are two icons we weren’t really sure about. The Game Center, as you may be able to see on the leaked screenshot above, looks white with a couple blue and yellow round shapes. Could these be boxing gloves? We don’t know for sure so we left this one out. The other icon we didn’t render is the Videos icon. It seems that it now sports a triangle-shaped “play” icon, but we weren’t sure either and left it out of this post for this reason.

Unified icons

As you can tell, there are no dramatic changes here, only subtle ones that bring more consistency and conformity across the Home screen. It seems that those that were expecting big, flat square icons will be disappointed. However, those who like continuity and consistency will be glad to see that some elements of iOS 7 will still look very familiar while bringing delicate changes.

Of course, nothing is set in stone and things could change up a bit before WWDC.

iOS 6.1.3 is out! Kills evasi0n jailbreak! (Updated)

iOS 6.1.3 download promptApple has just issued iOS 6.1.3 (build 10B329), an incremental update to its mobile operating system powering iPhones, iPads and iPods. This particular update brings fixes to the widely reported Lock screen vulnerability, first discovered a month ago, which lets people with access to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to easily bypass your passcode and get to your personal information on the device.

Today’s firmware also contains Maps improvements for Japan. If you’re jailbroken, you’ll want to stay away from this update until we collect more information…

According to release notes accompanying the 18.2MB download, this update contains the following improvements and bug fixes:

• Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the passcode and access the Phone app
• Improvements to Maps in Japan

You’ll recall that Apple earlier this month has delivered a bunch of much-needed fixes and improvements for its iOS Maps application in Japan via an over-the-air update to non-iOS 6.1.3-beta devices.

To apply this update, go to General > Software Update in your iOS Settings or connect your device to iTunes.

The previous update, iOS 6.1.2, fixed an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.

Evasion Wallpapers

It was fun while it lasted, but it appears that Apple has finally put an end to evasi0n. Earlier today, the company released iOS 6.1.3 to the masses, and as expected, it contains patches for multiple exploits used in the popular iOS 6.x jailbreak.

MuscleNerd confirmed our fears on Twitter just a few moments ago, pointing out that Apple has credited the evad3rs with the discovery of 4 of the 6 security flaws that were patched in today’s update. So jailbreakers should stay far away…

Here’s one of the exploits mentioned in the security briefing:

Kernel Available for: iPhone 3GS and later, iPod touch (4th generation) and later, iPad 2 and later Impact: A local user may be able to determine the address of structures in the kernel Description: An information disclosure issue existed in the ARM prefetch abort handler. This issue was addressed by panicking if the prefetch abort handler is not being called from an abort context. CVE-ID CVE-2013-0978 : evad3rs

Remember, as planetbeing explained in an interview last month, the evasi0n jailbreak relies on a number of exploits. So it’s not clear what this means exactly for the jailbreak community in the near future. But we’re guessing it’s not good news.

As for the distant future, though, the evad3rs have said that they still have several ‘major’ exploits in reserve, outside of what evasi0n used, so rest assured that we will see another jailbreak come around again. We’re just not sure when.

The evasi0n jailbreak tool was created by the evad3rs team—made up of MuscleNerd,pod2g, planetbeing, and pimskeks. It landed on February 4 of this year, and withstood two iOS software updates.

Apple yesterday let iOS 6.1.3 out of the gate, fixing the widely reported Lock screen vulnerability. As you’re probably aware, the glitch was first detailed a month ago and lets people with access to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch easily bypass your passcode and mess with your private data on the device. But as is often the case, new software releases fix old bugs and introduce new ones to be squashed in the future.

A report Wednesday claims an all-new Lock screen vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 6.1.3, one making it easy to – you guessed right – bypass one’s passcode and gain access to an unsuspecting user’s contacts and photos kept on the device. Luckily, this one can be avoided easily by disabling the Voice Dial feature…