Apple gives iPod touch A8/M8 CPU, 8MP camera, 3x faster Wi-Fi & more with new nano/shuffle colors!

iPod family mid-2015 image 001

Following a recent discovery of hidden graphics assets inside iTunes 12.2 which have hinted at an imminent iPod refresh, Apple on Wednesday quietly refreshed its dedicated music player family with a press release and a website update.

The headline new model is a much improved sixth-generation iPod touch, “the best iPod touch yet.”

It now features the Apple-designed 64-bit A8 processor, essentially the same chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and runs Apple’s M8 motion coprocessor. Apple really went all out with the iPod touch: there’s three times faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac and also an improved FaceTime HD camera with an updated sensor and burst mode for even better selfies.

But the good news doesn’t stop here: the back-facing iSight camera has received a substantial upgrade, going from five to eight megapixels with slo-mo and burst mode, 1080p video capture at 30FPS, cinematic video stabilization and more.

The screen size has remained the same, measuring four inches diagonally, and there’s no Touch ID. The device runs iOS 8.4 with the all-new Music app and Apple Music integration. As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, they have received a minor refresh with new color options available.

“iPod touch gives customers around the world access to Apple Music, the App Store and iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, starting at just $199,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone, iPod and iOS Product Marketing.

“With big advancements like the A8 chip and the 8 megapixel iSight camera, customers can experience next-level gameplay, take even more beautiful photos and enjoy their favorite music, TV shows and movies.”

iPod touch sixth generation lineup 001

The 64-bit A8 processor is indeed a major upgrade: the chip allows the sixth-generation iPod touch to run latest Metal-optimized games and graphics-heavy applications with ease. Even better, the A8 processor supports Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 operating system upgrade and will no doubt run a few future iOS releases as well.

Apple claims the A8 processor inside the new iPod touch is six times faster than its predecessor and 10 times faster in graphics performance.

The inclusion of the M8 motion coprocessor for steps and elevation tracking is also a smart move on Apple’s part as it helps the iPod touch support modern health and fitness applications in the App Store, without taking a toll on its battery.

Its eight-megapixel camera is now on par with the latest iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 devices in terms of pixel count. On the downside, Apple appears to have removed the Loop wristband from the corner of the new iPod touch.

New iPod touch price matrix

As shown on the image above, the new iPod touches still start at $199 for the 16GB version, with the 32GB/64GB editions fetching $249/$299. Also, a new model with 128 gigabytes of storage is now available for $399.

The iPod touch received its last minor refresh in June 2014 when the 32/64GB models received a price drop to $249/$299 and a new $199 16GB model got introduced. The previous-generation iPod touch with the A5 processor and a five megapixel camera released back in October 2012 so this hardware refresh is way overdue.

As for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, these music players have received a minor cosmetic change and are now available in new darker blue and pink colors. In addition, the iPod touch, iPod shuffle and iPod nano are now available in gold, too.

The full lineup of six new iPod colors now includes silver, space gray, red, bright pink, deep blue and gold.

The refreshed music players are available starting today from Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The 128GB iPod touch is available exclusively through Apple and all models are available in PRODUCT(RED).

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iOS 8.3 Jailbreak is now Available with TaiG 2.0!

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A jailbreak has been released for iOS 8.3 by the TaiG team. This jailbreak supports iOS 8.1.3 through iOS 8.3 and is Windows only.

The tool, which is dubbed TaiG 2.0. This release is quite interesting, since it was thought that the Pangu team would be the one to release a jailbreak for iOS 8.3 and TaiG would focus on iOS 9. That, obviously, is no longer the case.

Keep in mind that lots of things still need to be updated for iOS 8.3, including Cydia Substrate. Thus, support is limited with regard to jailbreak tweaks and apps.

Step 1: Download and extract TaiG 2.0

Step 2: Disable Find My iPhone and Passcode lock on your device

Step 3: Connect your device to your computer

Step 4: Run the TaiG 2.0 tool and it should detect your device

Step 5: Uncheck the 3K assistant, but keep Cydia checked

Step 6: Click Start

Step 7: Wait until the jailbreak completes. If you see storage full errors, just ignore those

Step 8: Once the jailbreak completes, find the Cydia app on your Home screen and launch it

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WWDC 2015: Apple announces OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Music and so much more!

OS-X-El-Capitan

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has kicked off in San Francisco this morning with a keynote talk at 10am PST. Surprisingly, Apple has skipped the usual round of business updates and went right for the big news.

Following months of speculation and rumor mongering, the California firm has formally unveiled the next major version of the Mac operating system. It’s called OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Yup, you read that right.

OS X 10.11 has new gestures like the shaking gesture to show the mouse pointer and more.

Safari Pin Tabs

In Safari, you can pin a website.

pin Tabs

Pin Tabs have a dedicated icon left to the tab bar. If a tab plays audio, there’s a new option to see what website is playing and can mute it with a click of the mouse button.

Spotlight Search Improvements
The improved Spotlight has better natural language processing so you can search for stuff like “Mail I ignored from Phil,” “Documents I worked on last June” and more.

OS X El Capitan Spotlight

Improved Mission Control
You can now snap windows to either side of the screen directly in Mission Control, similar to Windows 7, which provides a great way to work split-screen. If you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment. Super handy.

And if you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment.

Split View

Super handy.

Performance

OS X El Capitan features some serious plumbing work to accelerate your daily computing. You’ll experience 1.4 times acceleration in app launching, 2x faster in snappiness, four times faster opening PDF in Preview and more.

Metal, an iOS 8 framework for close-to-the-metal access to the GPU is now available to Mac developers.

Metal in OS X El Capitan delivers 50 percent increase in graphics performance and 40 percent greater rendering efficiency, leading to better battery life.

El Capitan performance improvement

Metal will do wonders for all kinds of Mac applications.

Apple is working with Adobe, which will update its creative apps for the Mac with support for Metal technology. Epic Games showed off an updated Unreal Engine with Metal support.

A demo shown off on stage included 64 layers of shading, with all the effects done completely in real-time. Epic said Metal on OS X El Capitan delivers a 70 percent reduction in CPU use compared to OpenGL.

OS X El Capitan Beta today

Apple has taken the stage this morning inside San Francisco’s Moscone West to deliver the latest advancements to its three crucial platforms: iOS, OS X and watchOS.

According to Apple, registered Mac developers will have their chance to download the first beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan later today, which just got officially announced, after the event has wrapped up (currently, Apple’s portal for developers is down).

Members of Apple’s OS X Public Beta Program will be able to try out El Capitan next month, and we’ll update you on that as soon as it becomes available.

For everyone else, OS X 10.11 El Capitan will roll out this fall as a free update.

OS X El Capitan free upgrade fall

OS X 10.11 includes an improved Mission Control with great window snapping features, an enhanced Safari browser with the Pin Tabs feature, Spotlight Search improvements and a number of performance optimizations revolving around Metal for Mac and more.

iOS 9

Ask More to Siri

Finishing up with OS X El Capitan, Apple’s Craig Federighi moves on to talk about Siri. Apple has been working on a number of improvements to the digital assistant, which has been criticized over the years for lagging behind the efforts of Google and others.

In line with run-up event rumors, Siri is getting more intelligent in iOS 9 thanks to ‘Proactive,’ which makes your device more contextually aware.

For some examples, saying “Show me photos from Utah from last August” will now return all of your photos that have been geo-tagged in Utah. “Remind me to grab coffee off the roof of my car when I get in” will also work, because Siri knows when you’re in the car.

Spotlight iOS 9

Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS.

iOS 9 Search

To access the new search interface, you’ll need to swipe right on the Home screen to reveal the search panel. Not only do you get the standard search input box, but you’re provided with Siri suggestions, nearby information based on your location, news, Netflix movies, sports schedules, and more.

One of the most impressive things about the new search interface is its ability to deep link into the apps that you have installed on your phone. When tapping on one of the app links provided in the search interface, you’ll be taken directly into the respective apps, and not just to the app’s main interface, but deep into the location in the app that relates to the specific search result.

Apple Pay UK

Apple Pay, Apple’s wireless payment system, will be coming to the United Kingdom next mont with 250,000 UK merchant locations. Commuters using London transportation system will be able to use Apple Pay, too. Furthermore, the system will be available to Discover’s 50 million card members this fall, said Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today.

Trader Joe’s, J.C. Penneys and many other retailers will be joining Apple Pay soon. Small business will be supported on Apple Pay through Square via a brand new reader that will be available on Apple Stores.

Apple will enable loyalty and rewards in-store cards through Apple Pay this fall, it’s been confirmed.

Developers are seeing more than 2x checkout conversion rate with Apple Pay, noted the firm, saying that Pinterest will roll out support for Apple Pay next month.

Maps Transit

It’s transit time! Apple just announced that its Apple Maps service now provides transit lines, bus stations, ferry lines and more.

Available across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, the improved Apple Maps also sports departure times, multi-modal routing with step-by-step directions and estimated times for walking directions.

You can now find locations by type with just a tap, with a new icon telling you if a business location accepts Apple Pay.

Noting that Apple is seeing 3.5 times higher Maps usage compared to the “next leading mapping app,” the firm has said that you’ll be able to ask Siri for transit directions, too.

Maps cities launch transit

Apple Maps will be rolling out to a select number of major cities throughout the world, including more than a hundred cities in China.

Wallet rewards

During its WWDC conference today, Apple announced that it has decided to change the name of its stock iOS app Passbook to Wallet. The move makes sense, considering that last fall it took over Apple Pay duties, and soon it will be getting store and reward cards.

That’s right, you can now add store and rewards cards from retailers and restaurants. Kohl’s, Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts are all apparently on board for the launch of this initiative, and it sounds like Apple is talking to a number of other high profile partners.

Notes Sketch

Apple says that many iPhone users use the Notes app regularly to do things like create lists, capture ideas, and more. As a big proponent of the Notes app, I completely concur.

Notes on iOS 9 brings some significant new improvements to the Notes app to help those users, including the ability to create lists, rich text, and hand-drawn notes, and more.

Notes Checklist

The new Notes app will also allow you to add content directly from Safari, Apple Maps, and other apps. This is done via the share sheet, which is accessible via the share button on supported apps.

Lastly, you’ll be able to use your camera directly from the Notes app to add photos. As someone who often captures images for documentation, the ability to do this right from within the Notes app is a great feature.

Keyboard improvements

Apple has said that people using iOS 9 on their iPads will be more productive thanks to an improved QuickType virtual keyboard. The suggestion bar introduced in iOS 8 now has handy shortcuts to format your content, move between apps, position the cursor and even multitask like a pro.

Located right at the top of the QuickType keyboard, a new bar provides access to handy shortcuts to cut, copy and paste text. You also get shortcuts for rich text formatting, accessing attachments and your photos and much more.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Probably the coolest feature of the improved QuickType keyboard is the ability to move a cursor by dragging: just put two fingers on the keyboard and it essentially turns it into a virtual trackpad of sorts, allowing you to position the cursor more precisely and easily than before, no need to use the copy-paste loupe whatsoever.

ios 9 battery

Among the many new features Apple announced today in iOS 9, is a new Low Power battery mode. Much like the feature of the same name on Apple Watch, the new iOS feature will help save precious battery life on your iPhone or iPad.

MULTITASKING Finally!

Split View multitasking

True multitasking is now a reality on the iPad! With iOS 9, you can view two apps at the same time and interact with them using multitouch at the same time.

You can also adjust the Split View between the two apps on the fly, and access additional apps by means of a brand new App Switcher. You’ll even be able to watch videos via a brand new Picture in Picture mode.

Picture in Picture

The new multitasking interface works using four main components:

App Switcher – The App Switcher has been completely redesigned in iOS 9.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Slide Over – Lets you open a second app from the side of the screen without leaving the app that you’re currently using. Slide over is available for the following iPad models:

  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad Mini 3

Split View is available only on the iPad Air 2, and allows two apps to be open and active on screen at the same time. You can then use multitouch gestures with both apps simultaneously.

Slide Over

Picture in Picture – Will scale down a video so that you can enjoy the video while doing things like web browsing and checking email.

Multitasking on the iPad is a complete game-changer, and one of the biggest changes to the iPad since the original device launched in 2010. Seriously, it looks incredible, and I’m going out to buy a new iPad Air 2 asap.

HomeKit iOS 9

HomeKit, Apple’s platform for the connected home that was unveiled last summer, is beginning to pick up support from some well-established names in smart home appliances.

Last week, several vendors brought out some compelling HomeKit-certified home automation devices ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. And now, HomeKit is going to get a lot smarter with support for new types of home automation systems and improved remote management of your home.

In addition to the existing crop of device types for the connected home, HomeKit in iOS 9 will support many more types of sensors to make your connect home smarter, including windows shades, carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors and dedicated security systems as well.

Additionally, you will be able to access and manage your home via iCloud.

It should be noted that the current crop of devices can be managed remotely through the Apple TV acting as a HomeKit hub, or a dedicated HomeKit hub device.

iOS 9 beta today

In wrapping up its iOS 9 preview at WWDC, Apple announced availability for the upcoming software update. As usual, it looks like a beta will be available to developers sometime after the keynote today, but there’s a bit of a new twist this year.

iOS 9 public fall

As with previous versions of OS X, Apple says that non-developers will be able to get in on the beta festivities this year. You can sign up here for Apple’s public beta testing program, and it will be released in the vague timeframe of “July.”

For those who don’t care about pre-release betas, Apple says iOS 9 will be available to the public “this fall.”

Watch face photo

Framed as a “giant moment” that feels like “opening the App Store” back in 2008, Apple CEO Tim Cook today at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco said that apps for the Apple Watch, which launched just six weeks ago, will soon run natively on the device through the new watchOS.

The forthcoming Apple Watch operating system update, among other things, brings out a pair of additional watch faces with custom Complications.

watchOS 2 (yes, that’s what they’re calling it) also includes a plethora of other enhancements such as improvements in communications, health and fitness, Maps, Siri and more.

watchos 2 third party

Now that it’s done talking about OS X El Capitan and iOS 9, Apple has moved on to watchOS. In previewing the Apple Watch’s first major software update, the company has announced several new features including support for third party complications.

Apple Music is official

Apple Music

“The next chapter in music,” the rumored Apple-branded subscription streaming-music service, is now official. Apple CEO Tim Cook brought Jimmy Iovine today on stage in San Francisco to deliver what Apple’s been doing in the music space.

Apple Music is all your playlists, recommendations, radio stations with celebrity DJs, streaming music, the Connect feature that’s basically artists pages with information about their songs, behind-the-scenes videos, news updates and more, all available through one app.

Here’s what else Apple Music is all about.

Apple Music is “All the ways you love music, all in one place.”

Apple Music three pilars

It’s three things:

  • Revolutionary music service
  • 24/7 global radio
  • Connecting fans with artists

Revolutionary music service

Apple Music is curated by hand-picked experts to help create the magic of what app comes up next, depending on your activity, mood and a number of other criteria.

Apple Music revolutionary music service

All your purchase music and playlists created on Macs and iOS devices are included in the My Music section of Apple Music. Another new tab is For You, a personalized playlists of artists and songs that Apple’s team of experts thinks you’ll love, with a little help of the iTunes recommendation engine.

These recommendations can be explored by genre and activity.

“Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional taks,” said Iovine.

24/7 global radio

They’re calling it Beats One.

Apple Music Global Radio

As for the global radio, they’re using celebrity DJs in three major cities—New York, Los Angeles and London—that provides great music “without any restriction.”

Connecting fans with artists

Noting that the streaming music and video space is “a fragmented mess,“ Iovine said that Apple Music delivers the art of music, with the sense of respect and discovery, giving artists a place to engage with their audiences.

Artists can post, publish and update anything, and fans can like and comment on those posts.

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Apple iOS 9 to Feature Force Touch, New Keyboard and Group Read Receipts!

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The next-generation iPhone will feature some form of Force Touch as one of the biggest new additions to the hardware, a rumor that has been circulating since the beginning of the year and only gaining forward momentum. The report today, however, specifically mentions that Apple has designed iOS 9 “to be Force Touch-ready” and is already hard at work with developers to integrate the technology into various apps.

Since Apple’s work on Force Touch runs the gamut of iOS devices, there’s also a possibility of updated Force Touch displays on new iPad models sometime this year. All iOS versions of Force Touch are also expected to provide the real-time haptic feedback buzz similar to that of the Apple Watch to provide users a physical response when their deep presses have been noticed. As 9to5Mac points out, however, since any new Force Touch on iOS announcement automatically requires the confirmation of new hardware, any iPhone and iPad support for the feature is unlikely to happen at WWDC.

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

Next, Apple is rumored to be working on a new keyboard experience for iOS 9, with the company experimenting on multiple designs, like one that is “slightly longer than the current keyboard” and provides users with a more robust suite of editing options while in portrait mode. Also in the works is a more accessible way to access the QuickType keyboard and a redesign to the unpopular Shift Key to provide an easier visual understanding of when shift or caps lock is engaged.

Today’s report also falls in line with previous rumors reporting that Canada will be the first country outside of the United States to support Apple Pay, with the report claiming that iOS 9’s Passbook app includes a “necessary foundation” to support various banks, credit and debit cards, and credit unions within the country. Although Canada is well-prepared for such a service, with many retailers and businesses across the country equipped with the contactless payment terminals needed for Apple Pay, such an expansion outside of the United States has proved difficult for Apple, especially in places like China, so a WWDC announcement yet again seems unlikely.

The final minor update to iOS 9 reported today includes the addition of read receipts to both group chats in iMessage as well as on a per-contact basis. Users will be able to turn on the read receipt functionality for specific recipients while leaving the read status of a message in the dark for other contacts. The company also seems to be considering removing the little-used Game Center app altogether in iOS 9, and minor data points suggest a few additions and updates to the new Health app, as well.

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