TIME Apple

Everything We Know About Apple’s New iPhone Software

Get ready for split-screen views, transit routes and lowkey shade delivered via iMessage

The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system is almost here.

The company is expected to unveil iOS 9 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. A new iOS update isn’t quite a big deal as a new iPhone, but the announcements can often be substantial–iOS 7 brought us a completely revamped mobile interface, while iOS 8 featured a health activity tracker and improved predictive keyboard.

Here’s what’s rumored to be in the works for Apple’s iOS 9:

A New Font

Apple is reportedly planning to dump the Helvetica font it’s been using since iOS 8 in favor of a San Francisco font that’s currently in use on the Apple Watch. The font was chosen for Apple Watch specifically because it’s readable on small screens.

A “Home” app for connected devices

In iOS 8 Apple added HomeKit, a framework that helps users control connected devices in their home. Now the company is working on a user-friendly app called “Home” that will let users more easily control disparate devices from a single interface. Among the features rumored to be part of the Home app are virtual rooms that let users easily detect which parts of their house have which connected devices. However, 9to5Mac warns that the featureset so far is fairly limited so the app may not be ready for a public debut in June.

Improved Apple Maps

Apple is finally planning to add subway and bus routes to its Maps app, a feature that’s been available in Google Maps for years. The initial rollout may be limited to just a handful of cities globally, including New York and San Francisco. The company is also using Roomba-sized robots to develop indoor maps of buildings and landmarks, though that feature won’t necessarily be ready for iOS 9.

Dual-app viewing for iPad

Apple wants to give iPads the ability to run two apps side-by-side. The split-screen functionality is already available in tablets by Samsung and Microsoft, so it would be a welcome addition to Apple’s device. The new mode could allow users to resize an app to take up one-third, one-half or two-thirds of the screen.

The iPhone 4S may still be supported

The iPhone 4S is close to four years old, which is an eternity in the world of mobile tech. However, Apple is expected to continue supporting the still-popular device with iOS 9. In fact, according to 9to5Mac, Apple is changing its software development process to ensure that iOS 9 runs better on old iPhones and iPads than iOS 8 did.

Contact-specific read receipts

Passive-aggressive texters, rejoice! Apple is apparently tweaking iMessage to let you choose which of your contacts you share read receipts with. Drake is probably really excited.

A Google Now Competitor

Apple may be planning to expand its digital assistant capabilities beyond Siri with a new personalized interface code-named Proactive. The menu, which would likely be located left of the main home screen, would integrate information from a user’s calendar, Passbook and other apps to provide daily itineraries. Proactive could remind you to call your mother each week for instance, or automatically pull up directions to your office each morning. The similarity is similar to Google Now, which is available for Android phones.

TIME Retail

Target CEO Would ‘Love’ to Have Apple Pay

Christmas Shopping Season is Underway
Scott Olson—Getty Images A clerk rings up sales for a customer at a Target store November 30, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois.

But first, retailer must finish transition to more secure credit card system

Apple Pay may soon be coming to a Target store near you.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told Recode that he’s been in discussions with Apple chief Tim Cook about adding the digital payment system at the physical retailer (Target already supports Apple Pay for online purchases).

However, before that happens, Target plans to outfit its stores with systems capable of reading chip and PIN cards. Chip and PIN is a technology common in Europe that stores credit cards’ data in an embedded computer chip rather than on a magnetic stripe, an innovation that helps boost security. Retailers that don’t have chip and PIN terminals available will become liable for credit card fraud that occurs at their stores later this year, so it’s no wonder Target’s head is making that upgrade a top priority.

Getting Target on board will be another big win for Apple Pay, which has been steadily recruiting new retailers since launching in October. Best Buy began supporting Apple Pay in its iOS app in April and pledged to support the payment system in its physical stores later this year.

TIME Smartphones

This Phone Has a New Trick You Wouldn’t Expect

Typing will never be the same

Lenovo has unveiled a new smartphone that doubles as a laser projector.

The Smart Cast features a built-in projector that can cast images large enough to turn a wall into a movie screen. The device also recognizes hand gestures, so users can cast a keyboard on a flat table and type away.

In a video demo, Lenovo showed off the Smart Cast being used to play music on virtual piano keys displayed on a tabletop and to slice through the mobile game Fruit Ninja on a wall.

No word yet on a price or release date for the device, which is just a concept product for now. While other smartphones have sported built-in projectors before, the Smart Cast uses a different projection technology, Engadget reports.

TIME Autos

Everything You Need to Know About Android Auto

Android Auto
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T at the 107th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on FEBRUARY 13, 2015.

Reviewers say it trounces old-school in-car navigation systems

Google’s operating system for cars has finally arrived. Android Auto, which lets drivers control popular smartphone apps through their car’s dashboard interface, is now available in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and will be rolled out to additional vehicles in the future.

Here are the key insights from reviewers at The Verge and the Wall Street Journal who have taken Android Auto for a test drive.

Android Auto truly replaces your phone

While driving, Google wants you to put your phone away completely and rely on Android Auto to make phone calls, get directions, queue up music and even send texts. Drivers are locked out of their smartphones while the device is connected to Android Auto. Apps like Maps are as fully-featured through the car as they are on a smartphone (though you can’t look up walking or transit directions).

You’ll be doing a lot of talking

In order to increase driver safety, Android Auto encourages people to use voice commands instead of having drivers type information. You can simply speak to ask Android Auto for directions or to place a call. The app itself is pretty talky as well. For instance, it will read aloud text messages you receive and also read back texts that you dictate before you send them off to friends.

Music is at your fingertips

Listening to music is one of the most common activities in the car, and it’s a key part of Anroid Auto. Currently compatible services include Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio (Pandora isn’t currently supported). Users can use voice search to find songs or artists, though reviewers said the feature worked much better with Google Play Music than with third-party apps. There’s also a quirk that limits how far drivers can scroll through a playlist in order to prevent long periods of distraction from the road, so it would be hard to comb through a whole music library using the app.

Your car is now your personal assistant

In addition to expected features like navigation and music playback, Android Auto makes use of Google’s digital assistant Google Now to offer context-sensitive suggestions for getting through your day. The app may present navigation directions to your office when you get in the car in the morning, for example, or present the route home when you boot up the car in the evening.

Overall, reviewers tended to agree that Android Auto is a big step up from the clunky navigation systems that have become standard in many new cars. With Apple’s CarPlay also planned to roll out to more vehicles soon, expect the smartphone to soon become a standard tool for in-car navigation and communication.

TIME mergers

Everything You Need to Know About Merger Mastermind John Malone

The deal-maker had a hand in creating the cable industry itself, now he's at it again

Once known as the King of Cable, John Malone helped introduce pay-TV to the masses in the ’70s and ’80s. Now the media mogul, who serves as the chairman of the conglomerate Liberty Media, is helping orchestrate a merger between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. (Liberty Media owns the largest stake in Charter.) If approved by regulators, the combined cable and broadband giant would serve almost 24 million total customers, making it nearly as large as industry leader Comcast, which has 27 million subscribers. Here’s everything you need to know about Malone.

Claims to Fame: After an early stint as a researcher at Bell Labs, a 32-year-old Malone became the CEO of a struggling cable operator called Tele-Communications Inc, or TCI, in 1973. By the 1980s TCI was the largest pay-TV operator in the United States, wiring millions of Americans’ homes for cable for the first time. He sold the company to AT&T for $55 billion in 1999, then turned his attention to his role as chairman of Liberty Media, where his investments have ranged from Charter to Sirius XM to the Atlanta Braves.

Current Challenges: The cable industry Malone helped build is losing subscribers because of online competitors such as Netflix and Hulu, which let customers stream their favorite television shows whenever they want on any device. Costs are also on the rise as networks charge ever-increasing fees to carry their content—ESPN alone now charges cable companies more than $6 per subscriber.

Biggest Champion: Charter and Time Warner Cable CEOs Tom Rutledge and Rob Marcus. Rutledge, who has been a vocal proponent of consolidation as a way to protect the cable industry’s future, would remain the head of the newly expanded Charter. Marcus, who has been trying to sell Time Warner Cable since he took on the top role at the company last year, could receive more than $61 million in severance pay.

Biggest Obstacle: The Federal Communications Commission, which forced Comcast to scuttle its own plans for a merger with Time Warner Cable in April. Regulators worried that the expanded Comcast would have too much control of the broadband Internet market.

Can He Do It? Malone’s merger has a better shot than Comcast’s because a combined Charter and Time Warner Cable still wouldn’t control a majority of the broadband market. And Malone is as skilled in the dark art tax-saving acquisitions and spinoffs as they come—in addition to being anointed the king, some have called him the Darth Vader of cable.

Vital Stats

74: Malone’s Age

$55 Billion: Money in cash and stock Charter will pay to buy Time Warner Cable

$8.6 billion: Malone’s net worth, according to Forbes

2.2 million acres: Amount of land Malone owns, making him the largest landowner in the U.S. (For more on Malone’s holdings, check out this Fortune story.)

TIME Companies

Apple’s Design Guru Just Got a Big Promotion

Jonathan Ive gets a new title

Jonathan Ive is taking on an even more important role at Apple. The design mastermind behind the look of the iPhone and the iPad will be promoted from senior vice president of design to the newly created position of chief design officer, CEO Tim Cook said in a memo to staff.

“Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name,” Cook said in the memo, obtained by 9to5Mac. “His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time.”

Ive is already responsible for overseeing the physical look of Apple products as well as the design of the company’s software. In his expanded role, he’ll have more time to focus his design expertise on other parts of Apple’s empire, such as its Apple Stores, the physical packaging of its products and even the design of its massive new spaceship-shaped headquarters, which is set to open by 2017.

In an interview in the Telegraph, which first reported the promotion, Ive revealed that one of the touches he’s added to the new campus is custom-designed desks that can be raised or lowered with the press of a button.

Freeing up Ive to do more big-picture thinking will be two men taking on some his previous day-to-day managerial duties. Richard Howarth is being promoted to vice president of industrial design and Alan Dye will become the vice president of user interface design. The changes take place on July 1.

TIME Accident

3 Children Injured in Bounce House Sent Flying by Waterspout

Accidents in inflatable houses have become increasingly common

Three children were injured Monday in Florida when the bounce house they were in was lifted into the air by a waterspout and carried several feet.

The bounce house, which had been secured to a basketball court, flew above a tree line and across four lanes of traffic, according to police in Fort Lauderdale. The children were dumped out of the bounce house onto the sand shortly after it was airborne. Police later confirmed that two of the children had been released from the hospital with minor fractures while the third was being held overnight for observation. The bounce house had been provided for public use as part of a city Memorial Day event and was properly secured, police said.

MORE: Bounce-House Injuries Become an ‘Epidemic’

Bounce-house injuries among children have grown increasingly frequent in recent decades, as it’s become easier for anyone to buy and set up the inflatable structures. In 2010, about 31 kids per day were sent to the emergency room in the U.S. for inflatable-bouncer-related injuries in the U.S.

TIME World Cup

Russia Eyes Use of Prison Labor to Prepare for World Cup

Journalists look at a light installation showing the official logotype of the 2018 FIFA World Cup during its unveiling ceremony at the Bolshoi Theater building in Moscow, October 28, 2014.
Maxim Shemetov—Reuters Journalists look at a light installation showing the official logotype of the 2018 FIFA World Cup during its unveiling ceremony at the Bolshoi Theater building in Moscow, October 28, 2014.

Country hopes to keep costs down amid economic struggles

The Russian government has proposed using prisoners to help prepare for the 2018 World Cup.

Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker, has gotten the backing of the Russian prison service to enlist some of the country’s prisoners in building projects related to the soccer tournament, the Associated Press reports. Such an initiative would help keep costs of the World Cup down, since Russia typically pays prisoners about $300 per month for labor projects.

“It’ll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price,” Khinshtein told the AP. “And apart from that it’ll make it possible to get prisoners into work, which is very positive.”

The total estimated budget for the 2018 World Cup is 638 billion rubles, or more than $12 billion. However, the Russian ruble has lost significant value against the dollar since the start of 2014 because of international sanctions imposed against the country and the falling price of oil.

[AP]

TIME Transportation

This Is Uber’s Last Place to Conquer

Ride-sharing services are now invading airports

Ride-hailing service Uber has already become ubiquitous on the streets of many major American cities. Now the company wants to conquer U.S. airports as well.

Uber is brokering deals with airports around the country to allow its drivers to pick up arriving passengers in the same way traditional taxis do, the New York Times reports. Airports often fine non-registered drivers who try to pick up passengers curbside, so in places like Atlanta, Uber users sometimes sit in the front seat and load their own luggage into a driver’s car so it looks more like they’re being picked up by a friend than hailing a ride. However, other cities like Nashville have fully embraced ride-sharing apps and now have a separate lane for passengers being picked up by Uber and services like it.

The stakes for airports are high because they charge fees to traditional taxis, and would likely want to do the same to Uber. Airports could also be liable for any accidents involving Uber cars that occurred on the highways they own and maintain.

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