Facebook is testing a couple of new features for its WhatsApp service, with new additions coming to the company’s iPhone app.
As first spotted by German blog Macerkopf, those wishing to get data out of WhatsApp for whatever reason will be pleased to learn that it now appears Facebook is testing a feature that would allow users to download their chat history as a ZIP file, making getting their own data onto a computer considerably easier than it is right now. Currently, the only export feature available to users is to back up to, or restore from iCloud. That’s all well and good if you’re using an iOS device, but getting data onto a computer can be a little trickier. This new, unannounced ability to download chat histories to a ZIP file will solve that problem.
We learned this week that Apple shipped 74.8 million iPhones globally during the recent holiday quarter, which is just slightly up from the 74.4 million shipped during the same quarter the year prior and just under the 75 million that analysts expected.
Today Strategy Analytics has released new data showing how Apple’s last two years of shipments compare to competitors like Samsung and Huawei. The data also breaks down how Apple’s global smartphone marketshare stacks up to those same competitors.
By Mr Grandstyl @ywkb
Earlier this evening, the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit revealed Android’s revenues and profits for the first time. The same case has now revealed that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 as part of its ongoing deal to be the main search provider as in the one that resides in the search bar by default on iOS devices.
Specifically, Apple’s deal with Google gives it a percentage of the revenue that the search engine generates through Apple devices. An Oracle lawyer said that the revenue share was 34 percent (although it’s not clear based on the transcript whether that means Apple got 34%, or if Google kept 34%). A Google lawyer quickly tried to get the percentage struck of the public record stating, “We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.”
In 2014, rumors emerged that Yahoo was pushing to replace Google as the search engine on iOS devices. Obviously, that did not materialize and whether it was because Google paid more or was the better search engine quality-wise is unknown. Google makes 4x more on iOS users than it does on its own Android users, and as such keeping the search deal is highly important to its core business.
Interestingly, this information highlights a hypocrisy on Apple’s part, revealing how much the company indirectly and directly profits from the Google ad business that it criticizes.
The revenue-sharing agreement reveals the lengths Google must go to keep people using its search tool on mobile devices. It also shows how Apple benefits financially from Google’s advertising-based business model that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has criticized as an intrusion of privacy.
The magistrate judge presiding over the case initially refused Google’s request to block the sensitive information in the transcript. Google has asked a federal judge to seal and redact the transcript, saying the disclosure would negatively affect their ability to negotiate similar agreements. Interestingly, Apple has also filed to redact the information.
The legal case between the two companies is born out of Oracle accusing Google of using its Java software in the creation of Android without compensation. The Supreme Court denied Google’s request to hear the case and is now back to a district court where damages are being determined. Oracle could end up receiving up to $1 billion in damages when new versions of Android are factored.
With the introduction of the first beta of iOS 9.3, Apple introduced a new feature called Night Shift that adjusts the color temperature of your device’s display at night as to make it easier to fall asleep. One qualm many have had with the feature, however, is that you have to go into the Settings app to turn it on and off. Apple’s iOS 9.3 Canadian preview page, however, hints that it make become easier to enable the feature with future iOS 9.3 updates…If you head to the iOS 9.3 preview page on Apple Canada’s website, you can see that there’s an option to enable Night Shift from Control Center on the iPad. The Control Center toggle brings up two options: “Turn On For Now” and “Turn On Until Tomorrow.” This toggle is noticeably missing from the American version of the 9.3 preview page, so it’s unclear what exactly Apple has planned for it (via Reddit)
One possibility is that we’ll see the Control Center Night Shift option appear in a future iOS 9.3 beta, the next of which could come as early as next week. It’s unclear as to whether this will be an iPad only feature or if it will come to the iPhone, as well.
If you’re unfamiliar, Night Shift uses your iOS device’s location and clock to automatically adjust the colors in your display, making them warmer and easier on the eyes at nighttime. In the end, Apple says this should make it easier to fall asleep as the bright blue light normally emitted from a display has been found to disrupt your circadian rhythms.
If a new beta of iOS 9.3 should come out next week, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the Night Shift Control Center toggle.
Mr Grandstyl @ywkb
There’s a new iOS 9.2.1 update within the Settings app awaiting all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users today. Apple released the first developer beta version of the software update in mid-December after shipping iOS 9.2 earlier in the month. The second iOS 9.2 beta was later released at the start of January. Apple has since started testing iOS 9.3 with developers and public beta testers.As the version number suggests, iOS 9.2.1 so far hasn’t included any major feature changes or enhancements, and the official release notes only reference bug fixes, security improvements, and an MDM server issue fix.
The software update for iPhone and iPad likely includes fixes for any issues introduced with iOS 9.2 at the beginning of the year. Today’s release may also be timed as to support AT&T’s NumberSync feature, which bridges iPhone numbers with other connected devices like iPads and Macs, although we’ll have to go hands-on before we know for sure. This feature was previously tested in other iOS 9 betas.
By Mr Grandstyl @ywkb
Apple earlier this week introduced the first beta of iOS 9.3 and included in it is a new feature called Night Shift. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s location and clock to automatically adjust the colors in your display, making them warmer and easier on the eyes at nighttime, which ideally would allow you to sleep better. When Apple announced this feature, people immediately noticed the similarity to the popular third-party app Flux, which was only briefly available for iOS last year before Apple shut it down. Now, the developers behind Flux have come out and offered a comment on Apple’s new Night Shift feature…In a blog post, the Flux team acknowledged that it’s a big step for Apple to acknowledge the health risks that go along with looking at a bright display late at night. Flux, however, wasn’t going to let its own contribution go unnoticed and reaffirmed the fact that it is the “original innovators and leaders” in the market.
Flux didn’t stop there, though. The developers said that they are now calling on Apple to allow them to release Flux on iOS and to open up access to the API used to power Night Shift. As I mentioned before, Flux was briefly made available for iOS via side loading with Xcode last year, but not through the App Store as to not break Apple’s policies. The app, however, was removed from the developer’s website at the request of Apple a day later.
Whether or not Apple responds to Flux’s argument remains to be seen. Even if Apple were to allow Flux to be available in the App Store, it would be hard to convince the average user to download it as opposed to just using built-in Night Shift feature, even if Flux offers considerably more customization. Nevertheless, Flux remains available for Mac.
By Mr Grandstyl @ywkb
Korea’s ET News claims that Samsung will become Apple’s primary supplier of OLED display panels, stating that an agreement has “practically been decided.” Samsung is reportedly gearing-up for the contract with an initial investment of between $2.49B and $3.32B in plant and equipment, rising to $7.47B depending on order levels.
Apple currently uses OLED displays in the Watch. Rumors that it will switch to OLED for the iPhone have been doing the rounds for many years, but have been getting much more specific of late. The switch is said to be happening in 2018, with Apple recently reported to be ‘close to agreement‘ with suppliers. The most recent report named both Samsung and LG as likely suppliers
KGI last year said that Apple would not be switching to OLED screens in the iPhone before 2018, key supplier Foxconn having recently invested $4B in a new LCD plant for iPhone screens. However, Jony Ive is clearly a fan of OLED, saying that LCD screens feel “very, very old.”
OLED displays are thinner, display more vivid colors and allow deeper blacks than LCD, and can also be more power-efficient – but only where the majority of the content displayed is black, as is the case for the Apple Watch. On the downside, manufacturing costs are higher, displays don’t last as long and they aren’t as bright as LCD displays. The benefits of OLED over LCD tie in neatly with display technologies Apple is said to be testing in a secret Taiwanese lab.