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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 announces record-smashing 10 million iPhone 6/Plus opening weekend sales!

When Apple sold 9 million iPhones in the opening weekend of iPhone 5S and 5C last year, it was assumed that would be the zenith; the cheaper 5C offered more opportunity, and launching in China for the first time offered untold opportunity. And then this year Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units, with no China (yet) and a lot more cash at stake.

The report comes after Apple’s initial announcement that it had moved 4 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets the very first day. As it turns out, it almost kept that pace up through out the weekend. And that was with supply constraints. According to CEO Tim Cook:

“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin. While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”

What Apple didn’t reveal is the breakdown of unit sales between the 6 and 6 Plus, although it’s not clear how helpful it would have been if they had; the 6 Plus hit shipping delays far faster in a way that hinted more at severe supply constraints than overwhelming demand.

Still, 10 million is hugely impressive given that the phones are pricier and lack the scale of launch countries that the iPhone 5 and 5S did. We’ll see how the numbers fully shake out once Apple catches up to the demand. In the meantime, a record is a record, and it seems as though the company hasn’t lost any of its shine.

iOS 8 is Out and Already Breaking People’s iPhones!

ios 8

Apple iOS 8 is barely 12 hours old and already the software update is being hit hard on Twitter, with hundreds reporting crashing apps as well as stalled updates.

Ironically it seems Twitter is the largest app offender at the moment with users taking to the social site to complain about its app not working with iOS 8.

Another common cause seems to be people trying to download the update on older devices like the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 and iPad 3.

While the app-specific crashes appear to be affecting everyone the operating system problems appear to be localised to Apple’s older devices, the same applies to stalled updates with the download crashing as well as mid-install crashes appearing to be a common theme as well.

Apple is also currently fighting a bug that has caused it to pull almost all of the HealthKit compatible apps from the App Store.

On the other hand:

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn’t Do On iOS 7

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

Load up iOS 8 and you might not notice the difference straight away, but there are plenty of little tweaks and changes behind the scenes. Here are 25 different things you can do on your device that you couldn’t do yesterday.

1. Install another keyboard

That’s right—it’s finally possible to install third-party keyboards on iOS once you’ve made the jump to 8.0. You can pick up Swype for $0.99, Fleksy for $0.99, or SwiftKey for free, and more alternatives will appear in the months ahead.

2. See what’s using your battery

Apple is promising better battery life on the iPhone 6 models, but it’s useful to stay on top of it. Delve into the Settings app and select General then Usage. Tap on the Battery Usage entry and you can see exactly which apps are taking up all of your precious battery power.

3. Shoot timelapse video

iOS 7 had slow motion, iOS 8 has timelapse. You’ll find the new option in your Camera app and it captures one frame of video every second. Timelapse videos can be identified in your photo stream by the small timer icon in the lower left corner.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

4. Get out of group chats

If you’re in a Messages conversation that has more than two participants, you can now give it a name, mute it, share your location, or get out of it with a couple of taps. Select the Detailsoption from the conversation screen to bring up the new options.

5. Send out your phone’s last location

Find My iPhone isn’t new, but there is a new option in iOS—head to the iCloud section of Settings, tap Find My iPhone and enable Send Last Location. When the battery in your device gets critically low, it will ping out a location report before it dies, giving you a better chance of finding a dead device.

6. Search the Web from Spotlight

Swipe down on the home screen to access Spotlight, type out a few words and you’ll notice that Web links now appear alongside results from apps. Results from Maps may also be included. The Spotlight section in the Settings app lets you change this behavior.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

7. Send voice messages

Actually typing out your iMessages is so September 16—now you can speak them in a kind of instant voicemail fashion. Press and hold the record button in the bottom right corner to speak. To listen to a message, press play or hold your device up to your ear with the conversation in view.

8. Trash and flag emails more easily

There are some handy extra features added to the native Mail app in iOS 8. One of them is the ability to left swipe to bring up options for trashing and flagging messages. Swiping right reveals the option to mark as unread, unchanged from iOS 7.

9. Use Siri like Shazam

There aren’t many changes to Siri this time around (the digital assistant often gets minor upgrades between iOS releases) but there is now Shazam-style music recognition. Activate Siri with a hold of the Home button and ask “What song is playing?” to run the query.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

10. Share with the family

One of the biggest iOS 8 upgrades which you may already be aware of is Family Sharing. It lets you spread purchases of apps, music, movies, photos and so on between other users running iOS 8 devices. Head into the Settings app then tap iCloud and Set Up Family Sharing to get it up and running.

11. Go gray

We’re not sure exactly how useful this one is for most people, but we wouldn’t want the Accessibility options to go overlooked when it comes to new features. Tap Accessibility on the General page in Settings and there’s a new Grayscale option you can activate. It’s very Casablanca.

12. Search with DuckDuckGo

If you’ve had just about all you can take from Google and its over-zealous tracking, Safari lets you change the default search provider for the first time. DuckDuckGo, Yahoo and Bing are the new options, which you can find in the Safari section of the Settings app.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

13. Track your health

Well… eventually. Due to some teething problems Apple has had to pull third-party app updatesthat try and tap into its new HealthKit platform. The standalone Health app is still available though, as long as you’re using an iPhone 4s (or above) or the latest iPod touch.

14. Set timed photos

Most third-party iOS camera apps have a self-timer mode, and now Apple has added the functionality into the native app too. Tap the timer icon that appears by the on-screen shutter button to choose between a three second and a ten second delay.

15. Customize sharing

With iOS 8, Apple devices now have a far more flexible sharing system for getting your content out into different apps. As with Android, though, this can lead to the Share menu getting a little overwhelming—tap the More button next to the sharing options to change their order or to prevent some of them from appearing at all.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

16. Answer calls on an iPad

You’ll need to wait for OS X Yosemite to officially arrive before you can pass calls between computers and mobile devices, but if your iPhone and iPad are both updated to iOS 8 and on the same Wi-Fi network then you can take calls from your iPhone on your tablet. The same Apple ID and associated number need to be set on both devices too.

17. Scan credit cards

The digital money revolution continues apace: Not only does iOS 8 bring Apple Pay to the table, it also lets you scan in credit cards rather than wasting time typing out all of the details. Look for the Scan Credit Card option in Safari when you’re entering payment details.

18. Upgrade to iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive is iCloud 2.0 and all of Apple’s apps and services will be upgrading to it eventually. It’s currently only compatible with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, so don’t upgrade until all of your devices and computers are running the latest software. When you’re ready to take the plunge, the option is rather predictably on the iCloud screen in the Settings app.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

19. Hide photos

If you’re a hard-working tech journalist you probably have several thousand screenshots taking up room in your photo stream that you don’t necessarily want to see day after day. Any image can be hidden from the Moments, Collections, and Years views by long-pressing on it; the actual file isn’t deleted from your device, however.

20. Find recent contacts

The multi-tasking screen (two taps on the Home button) now features a list of recent contacts as well as recent apps. Tap on any friend, relative, colleague or random acquaintance to see the different ways in which you can interact with the person in question.

21. Edit the Today page

Swipe down from the top of the screen and you’ll notice there’s a new Edit button on the Today page. Tap on this to control which ‘widgets’ are allowed to show up and in what order; there’s also the option to prevent specific apps from appearing on this page.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

22. Respond to notifications

The iOS 8 Notification Center is smarter than the one in iOS 7. You can now reply to messages directly from the pull-down menu, for example—swipe right-to-left to bring up the new options for a notification.

23. Change photo exposure

As in iOS 7, you can tap on a part of the picture in the Camera app to change the focus point. In iOS 8, a sunlight icon appears next to the focus frame—slide this up or down with your finger to change the exposure level and the amount of light let into your shot.

24. Show the desktop site

In iOS 8 you can force the browser to bring up the full desktop version of any site by tapping on the address bar (to get to the grid of favorite sites), then swiping down and tapping Request Desktop Site.

25 Things You Can Do On iOS 8 That You Couldn't Do On iOS 7

25. Paste GIFs into Notes

Good news, animated GIF fans—you can copy and paste these magical moving images into your Notes app or select them from your photo library. Now your off-hand scribblings can be brought to life like never before.

Happy 6th anniversary, iPhone!


On this day six years ago, the original iPhone went on sale at Apple and AT&T stores in the United States – following six months of unbelievable hype and media frenzy that I suspect won’t repeat anytime soon. It’s somewhat hard to grasp that it’s been six years already and that the original Jesus phone, as the media nicknamed it, was so rapidly obsoleted by subsequent models that it’s now become a piece of history itself.

A lot has changed since June 29, 2007. The iPhone back then didn’t have the App Store and was pitched as three devices in one: a “widescreen iPod with touch controls,” a“revolutionary mobile phone” and a “breakthrough Internet communicator”.

Today, it’s anything you want it to be thanks to smart developers who pour their heart and soul into their apps, and there are now 900,000+ of them in the App Store. It’s fair to say there’s a world of difference between 2007 and 2013 in terms of mobile technology, here’s why…

The landscape was radically different  back then.

Nokia was the top dog in cell phones. Poor Samsung was an also-ran. Cocky Research In Motion ruled the boardroom. And nobody could touch greedy carriers. Back then, Steve Jobs hadn’t lost yet his tremendously courageous and bravely public fight against cancer that would take his life four years later, on October 5, 2011.

In introducing the iPhone during the January 2007 keynote, he put up a great show and arguably the best product presentation ever.

Back then, there were no stupid patent infringement lawsuits than span continents because established handset makers were in a state of shock when the iPhone sold its first millionth unit just 74 days after introduction so they weren’t even thinking about copying Apple’s technology.

This is also gold: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer trash-talking the iPhone.

Talk about the lack of insight.

So today things are so different yet very familiar.

Gizmodo is blacklisted from Apple’s media events. And, believe it or not, we’ve come alive through Antennagate, Glassgate, Mapsgate and other fabricated scandals. Yes those were real issues, but blown way out of proportion.

The media is hating on Apple so much that it’s beyond belief.

Yet, this isn’t surprising as journalists, analysts and business executives have pronounced Apple death sentences over the years. In fact, according to Bryan Chaffin at the Mac Observer, Apple is pronounced dead or dying every few weeks.

Apple is being called out for its slipping market share, as if the company ever led the pack in terms of market share. Quite the opposite, since its inception the iPhone has captured the bulk of industry profits with a tiny share of the handset market.

Back then, the iPhone took crappy pictures and couldn’t shoot video.

Today, it captures full HD footage and takes eight-megapixel snaps, and will soon enter the twelve-megapixel territory with the introduction of the iPhone 5S later this year. Small wonder that the top three most popular cameras on Flickr are iPhones.

Back then, the summer was for the new iPhone.

In 2011, the trend reversed and now new iPhones get introduced in Fall, closer to the start of the all-important holiday shopping season. Back then, everyone wanted an iPhone because competition couldn’t offer a comparable experience as it was in dire straits.

Nowadays, competition is heightened.

Rivals are becoming increasingly aggressive in their marketing pitches and advertising against Apple, carriers are back on their feet and balking at Apple and click-hungry bloggers are throwing mud at the company over the iOS 7 icons that most happen to like after all.

If you just glance at tech headlines these days, Apple has lost its cool and is doomed.

Yet, the iPhone remains America’s top selling smartphone, the most profitable product and the top brand in terms of customer satisfaction – and those are metrics money can’t buy – so Apple must be doing something right after all.

Indeed, it doesn’t take a genius to see who’s the king of the sea and who’s the bottom feeder who pays students to lambast the iPhone in web comments, lives off other people’s ideas and derides Apple with every ad in the hope of painting itself comparable with Apple.


Yes, competition has caught up with Apple – and in some cases overtaken it, mostly in terms of meaningless features that are outside of Apple’s primary focus. No, there is nothing wrong with top smartphones from Samsung, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC et al.

But that after six years nobody came close to creating their own unique experiences that are as lively, delightful and seamless as the iPhone tells me little has changed in terms of innovation since 2007 as most vendors remained complacent.

So instead of throwing mud at Apple, naysayers should applaud Apple.

Because, if it weren’t for the iPhone, carriers would still control everything. There would be nothing like the App Store where a guy in a living room could make a fortune writing mobile apps. Vendors would be churning out cheap plasticky devices and paying little attention to industrial design and seamless integration.

And smartphones would have never become as pervasive and integral to our lives.


And with iOS 7, Apple has taken a step in the right direction, in many ways breathing new life into its mobile operating system. Not only does it look prettier and easier on the eyes, iOS 7 will spur developers to re-think and de-clutter their apps, ushering in a new era of clean yet sophisticated software design.

And when your favorite apps get updated with iOS 7 look and feel, you’ll realize why speeds and feeds don’t really matter much and why the iPhone is such an iconic smartphone.

Disagree with me, vilify me or call me stupid – but the iPhone isn’t going anywhere.