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Apple developers are scrambling over accelerated iOS 14 release

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Apple angered many in the iPhone and iPad developer community yesterday when it announced that iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 would be available to consumers today. A single day’s notice is a big departure from the company’s usual approach, where developers are given about a week’s notice to put the finishing touches on their apps ahead of the major operating system release.

The surprise comes as some iOS developers are already exasperated with the way Apple is exerting control over its App Store. Ben Thompson, Kara Swisher, and John Gruber all reported earlier this year that many are terrified about speaking up about policies they think are unfair.

Nevertheless, Apple developers have sure been vocal about the sudden iOS 14 launch.

On the face of it, the launch of iOS 14 just a day after Apple’s event is a great piece of news. Today’s release will be the first chance for most people to try iOS 14’s new bells and whistles, which include new home screen widgets, a picture-in-picture mode, and a new Translation app, to name just a few. But it wasn’t great news for iOS developers, who were left with a tight deadline to compile, test, and submit their apps in time for iOS 14’s launch day. It’s unwelcome stress for many developers, summed up so eloquently by Halide camera’s co-founder and designer Sebastiaan de With:

“I think a lot of developers won’t be sleeping tonight, or instead just give up and opt to release as and when they want to instead of alongside the new OS,” iOS developer Shihab Mehboob told me after Apple’s event. Or as another developer, Jesse Squires, put it less charitably in a blog post, “Why is Apple acting like an Asshole?

“I get how whiny this sounds, but I think this is the most negative I’ve felt after an Apple event,” Dark Noise developer Charlie Chapman tweeted. “I don’t push myself that hard, but I did do a lot of work to prepare to hit the “day one” release for iOS 14.”

“Legit probbaabbblyyy not gonna do any of that “sleeping” stuff tonight,” Christian Selig, the developer behind the Apollo Reddit app tweeted.

“A big WTF at Apple dropping iOS 14 tomorrow without giving developers any notice, or final tools to submit their apps,” developer Steve Troughton-Smith said.

To be clear, yesterday wasn’t the first time developers heard about iOS 14. Apple announced the new software back at its developer conference in June, and its first developer beta was released on the same day. Most developers will have spent the months since adding new iOS 14 features and making sure their apps are compatible with the new software.

Apple’s September iPhone event has traditionally been a crucial day for developers because it’s the day the company releases the so-called “Golden Master” (GM) versions of iOS and the Xcode developer tools. This is the same build Apple will usually release to the public “99 percent of the time,” iOS developer Rhys Morgan tells me. It’s a key milestone, and it’s the moment developers can get started on the final version of their software without worrying that something might change before its release. Apple put out the GM versions after yesterday’s event, just a day before the release of iOS 14.

iOS betas change frequently on the way to the GM release. Sometimes these changes are minor, but other times, there will be new features that get cut or others rejigged in response to bugs. One such example was posted on Twitter by developer Peter Steinberger, who noted that Apple has removed support for a new API with iOS 14’s GM release, after it appeared in the beta releases.

“So if your app had been using [the new API] or you were releasing a framework using that, all of a sudden… you can’t. That’s it, it’s gone, you’ve got to replace it,” Morgan says. The week that developers normally get between the GM release and the official release of a new version of iOS is useful for ironing out these kinds of issues.

As if the deadline looming over developers wasn’t bad enough, even once a developer has downloaded the latest development tools and recompiled their app, they have to go through Apple’s App Store approval process to make their wares available for download. This is a process that developers sometimes set aside a whole week for to allow time to address any concerns that the review process might raise. Over the past day, some developers have reported that their apps have been approved by Apple in as little as one to two hours, Morgan says, which is much faster than normal, leading to some speculation that Apple is expediting iOS 14 app approvals. However, others, like Chapman, say they’re still waiting for their apps to be approved hours later.

At least one high-profile app has warned its users not to upgrade to the latest version of iOS if they want to continue using its software. Yesterday, the official Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Twitter account confirmed that its app cannot open on devices running iOS 14. “We do not recommend you to update your device to iOS 14 until we have fixed this issue,” its tweet read.

However, the developers I spoke to said that it was unlikely we’d see piles of broken apps as iPhone owners start updating to iOS 14. They said that newer versions of iOS are generally good at running older software designed for its previous versions, and that having had access to iOS 14’s beta versions will have given developers time to prepare for any big changes that are on the way.

 

 

 

“I mean, we’ve had iOS 14 since WWDC. I don’t think this is going to have this mass effect where everything’s just broken on the App Store,” Halide’s de With explains. “If by now your app is in an extremely broken state on iOS 14 it would have been broken on release. I don’t think it would have been that big of an issue.”

Chapman agrees that it’s unlikely many older apps will be broken by iOS 14. “It’s frustrating, but I really don’t think that the customer experience is actually going to be that bad,” he says.

But the developers I spoke to also suggested that the tight turnaround may mean that some of iOS 14’s new features might not be widely supported on launch day. De With says that the Halide team would have “loved to” have supported iOS 14’s new home screen widgets feature on launch day, for example.

Supporting these major new features can result in big publicity boosts for smaller developers. Chapman tells me that he’d been planning for his app to support Apple’s new home screen widgets feature in the hope it would lead to press coverage on day one of iOS 14’s release, as publications round up the best apps with support for the operating system’s latest features.

For some developers, however, the changes to this year’s release schedule are more of a relief. For an app like Halide, which prides itself on supporting both the latest and greatest hardware and software features of each iPhone, this year’s delayed iPhone release makes things easier than previous years, de With tells me. The team can focus on making sure Halide works seamlessly on existing iPhones running iOS 14 for now (they expect to push a small compatibility update next week), and then build in support for whatever new camera hardware arrives with the iPhone 12 when that’s released next month.

The big question is why Apple chose to release iOS 14 today in the first place since it doesn’t have any new iPhone hardware in urgent need of a new operating system.

Morgan and Chapman tell me that Apple needed iOS 14 to be available to coincide with the release of the new Apple Watch Series 6, which runs the new watchOS 7 out of the box. Apple says the new version of watchOS requires iOS 14 for setup. However, that doesn’t explain why Apple chose to release iOS 14 today, rather than waiting until the smartwatch’s release on Friday.

In any other year, giving iOS developers a day’s notice that a new version of iOS is about to arrive might have been written off as an annoyance. But in 2020, when Apple’s App Store policies are facing an unprecedented amount of regulatory and legal scrutiny, it starts to look like an unforced error. Apple needs allies now more than ever, and policies like a new appeals process are clearly designed to address developer concerns. But its hurried iOS 14 release has done it no favors.

Apple did not return The Verge’s request for comment.

Source:- The Verge

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Enter the Zuckerverse? Social media churns with new names for Facebook

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Zuckerverse. Timesuck. Faceplant.

They’re just a few of the suggestions being bandied around online following reports that Facebook plans to rebrand itself with a new group name. The company refused to comment on rumor or speculation, of course, but the Twitterati had no problem.

The debate careered from sensible to screwball to strange.

“Meta” was one of the more sober trending suggestions, referring to Facebook’s reported desire to assume a name that focuses on the metaverse, a virtual environment where users can hang out.

Bookface, Facegram, Facetagram, FreeFace, FreeTalk, World Changer.

On the wilder side, Twitter user Dave Pell drew a comparison with musician Kanye West who recently changed his name to “Ye”.

“It would be awesome if Facebook changes its name to  Ye,” he said.

Several humorous suggestions reflected online speculation that the alleged rebrand was driven by founder Mark Zuckerberg’s yearning to make Facebook “cool” once more.

The platform has been deserted by many younger users who have moved to apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, and has become increasingly populated by older people.

“Teenage Wasteland”, one wit suggested.

“The Old People’s App because that’s what us younger people call it,” college student Vittoria Esteves told Reuters in Rome.

“Boomerville”, suggested Marco, referring to so-called baby boomers born in the years following World War II.

‘STREISAND EFFECT’

The online naming feast was sparked by a report on the Verge tech site that a newly named group would act as a parent for all the company’s brands, including Facebook itself, Instagram and WhatsApp, and reflect a focus on virtual and augmented reality.

An announcement is expected next week, according to the report.

Many suggestions however reflected the public’s concern about how the company handles user safety and hate speech. Internal documents leaked by a whistleblower formed the basis for a U.S. Senate hearing last week.

“Fakebook”, for example. Tracebook.

Other people were sceptical whether a name change would be enough to detract from the growing legal and regulatory scrutiny that has tarnished the company’s reputation.

“It’s going to be the Barbra Streisand effect thing going on,” said 20-year old Glasgow student Thomas van der Hoven, referring to the phenomenon where seeking to suppress something inadvertently turbo-charges popular interest in it.

“So they’re going to try and change it, and then that’s just going to put the spotlight on the fact that they’re changing it. Why are they changing this?” he added. “So it’s probably going to spit back in their face at some point.”

 

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Antonio Denti; Additional reporting by Reuters newsrooms; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Tesla says new factories will need time to ramp up, posts record revenue

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Tesla Inc said on Wednesday its upcoming factories and supply-chain headwinds would put pressure on its margins after it beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries.

The world’s most valuable automaker has weathered the pandemic and the global supply-chain crisis better than rivals, posting record revenue for the fifth consecutive quarter in the July-to-September period, fueled by a production build-up at its Chinese factory.

But the company led by billionaire Elon Musk faces challenges growing earnings in coming quarters due to supply chain disruptions and the time required to ramp up production at new factories in Berlin and Texas.

“There’s quite an execution journey ahead of us,” Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said, referring to the new factories.

Price fluctuations of raw materials such as nickel and aluminum had created an “uncertain environment with respect to cost structure”, he added.

Even so, he said Tesla was “quite a bit ahead” of its plan to increase deliveries by 50% this year.

“Q4 production will depend heavily on availability of parts, but we are driving for continued growth,” he said.

Tesla shares, up about 23% this year, were down about 0.6% in extended trade late on Wednesday.

Musk himself was not present on the quarterly earnings call for the first time, a development that may have disappointed those investors keen to hear the celebrity CEO’s latest thoughts.

Third-quarter revenue rose to $13.76 billion from $8.77 billion a year earlier, slightly beating analyst expectations according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tesla’s automotive gross margin, excluding environmental credits, rose to 28.8%, from 25.8% the previous quarter.

Tesla’s overall average price fell as it sold more lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y cars, but it raised prices in the United States.

The company posted robust sales in China, where its low-cost Shanghai factory has surpassed the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in terms of production.

Tesla also said it intended to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry, which is cheaper than traditional batteries but offers lower range, in entry-level models sold outside China. Analysts said this would help keep costs down and address shortages.

It expected the first vehicles equipped with its own 4680, bigger battery cells to be delivered early next year, although it did not say which model would be fitted with them. Musk said in September last year that using its own cells would let Tesla offer a $25,000 car in three years.

In the third quarter, Tesla posted $279 million in revenue from sales of environmental credits, the lowest level in nearly two years. The company sells its excess environmental credits to other automakers that are trying to comply with regulations in California and elsewhere.

 

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)

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Samsungs Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition lets users customize their phone – MobileSyrup

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Samsung is letting customers customize their handsets with a new ‘Bespoke Edition’ of the foldable Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The Bespoke Edition lets users configure the foldable smartphone with one or two frame colours (black or silver) and five-panel colours, including ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Yellow,’ ‘Pink’ and ‘Blue.’

The Bespoke Edition will be available starting October 20th for $1,399.99 CAD.

Samsung says altogether this gives users 49 different colour combinations.

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Additionally, the South Korean company will let users change their device’s colours after purchasing the smartphones with ‘Bespoke Upgrade Care.’

There will also be the Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke Studio wearables that let users customize their smartwatch before purchasing. It seems like the Z Fold 3 isn’t getting a Bespoke Edition, which is odd considering it was possible to change the frame of the Z Fold 2.

The Bespoke Studio starts at $329.99 for the 40mm variant and the $459.99 for the 42mm version.

Samsung also announced a collaboration with the designer brand Maison Kitsuné that includes special brand editions of the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4. The special edition designs include cute fox branding on both the watch and buds.

The Maison Kitsuné 40mm Galaxy Watch costs $529.99. And the Maison Kitsuné Edition Galaxy Buds 2 costs $349.99.

The South Korean tech giant is also releasing a Galaxy Watch 4 update that lets users customize their watch faces and the mix and match complications. This update brings gesture controls and the ability to activate an app with a knock-knock motion on your wrist.

To learn more about the Galaxy Z Flip 3, check out my review of the foldable smartphone.

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