TIME Software

Apple’s OS X Yosemite Beta Is Rolling Out Now, but Be Aware of These Issues

The anticipated 10th version of OS X is finally deploying to one million users who signed up for Apple's public beta.

As promised, Apple has started rolling out a public beta version of its forthcoming OS X Yosemite operating system for Mac computers and laptops. The beta build, listed by Apple as 14A299l, is a tick higher in enumeration than the fourth developer preview released on Monday, though it’s not clear whether there’s a meaningful difference between the versions or simply a designative one.

The beta build will go out to one million program participants in the form of a code, downloadable through the Mac App Store. Beta members can retrieve their code by logging into the beta website and following the instructions. Apple says you’ll need to be running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later, have at least 2GB of memory and at least 8GB of free disk space.

Don’t expect to receive updates as frequently as developers, says Apple, but you’ll be able to upgrade to the final version whenever it’s released (sometime this fall) seamlessly.

Before you dive in, be aware that some of Yosemite’s iOS 8-related features won’t be available in the beta (until you have iOS 8, which won’t be out until this fall, and which is only available now in beta through Apple’s developer program). It’s also worth scanning through the following issues Apple’s listed as present in the initial public beta to determine if they’re deal-breakers for you:

  • Safari may hang when playing certain Netflix content.
  • iPhoto 9.5.1 and Aperture 3.5.1 are required on OS X Yosemite. Update to these versions from the Mac App Store.
  • When entering edit mode in iPhoto, a black screen may be displayed instead of the selected photo.
  • Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing may not function properly when both iPhoto and Aperture are installed.
  • The shared purchase history page on the Mac App Store is disabled for Family Sharing accounts.
  • iCloud Drive may appear empty in the Finder after first time setup. Restart to resolve this problem.
  • AirDrop may not show nearby Macs.
  • Sending files to another Mac using AirDrop may not work.
TIME Companies

Microsoft to Cut Up to 18,000 Jobs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco, April 2, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco, April 2, 2014 Eric Risberg—AP

Most of the cuts will come from Nokia, which it bought in April

Correction appended 11:o9am ET

Software giant Microsoft Corp will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, it announced in a press statement Thursday.

The company said the cuts are part of “a restructuring plan to simplify [the] organization and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy.”

The bulk of the cuts, around 12,500 professional and factory positions, will come from the Nokia business, which Microsoft purchased for $7.2 billion in April. The acquisition brought Microsoft’s headcount to around 127,000 staff.

The cuts, which will be fully completed by June 30 next year, are the largest in Microsoft’s 39-year history. In 2009, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cut 5,800 jobs or 6 percent of staff to stem the effects of the recession.

The plans were announced in an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was appointed in February. This email follows Nadella announcing plans for a “leaner” business in an open note to employees last week.

Nadella’s cuts may be an attempt to make Microsoft more competitive against Google and Apple. Computer-maker Hewlett Packard has also announced job losses with plans to cut 50,000 of their 250,000 workforce over the next three to five years.

Correction: This article originally misstated how many staff joined Microsoft with the Nokia deal. It was around 32,000.

TIME Software

BlackBerry Has a Virtual Assistant Now

BlackBerry Assistant
The BlackBerry Assistant app is meant to compete with Apple's Siri, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistants BlackBerry

Because you can't have a modern smartphone platform without advanced voice commands.

BlackBerry is still fighting for survival as a mobile phone maker, and its latest move is to add a virtual assistant on par with Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Windows Phone’s Cortana.

Newer BlackBerry phones already support voice commands, but the BlackBerry Assistant sounds more advanced. Users can set reminders, launch apps, send BBM messages, search through e-mail and calendars, listen to recent e-mails, set the ringer to “phone calls only” and find out what’s happening on Twitter. All of these actions happen within the app, which apparently adapts to the user’s behavior and becomes more accurate over time.

While it doesn’t sound like a major departure from virtual assistants on other platforms, the ability to use more than just a rigid set of voice commands has become table stakes on mobile devices. BlackBerry needs this kind of feature if it wants to hang onto its mobile device business.

BlackBerry Assistant will be part of the company’s BlackBerry 10.3 software. While there’s no word on when BlackBerry 10.3 will launch, it will be built into the BlackBerry Passport–a phone with a square screen and physical keyboard–when it arrives in September.

TIME Smartphones

10 Free iPhone Apps Everyone Should Download

+ READ ARTICLE

There are tons of apps on my iPhone that I love and use all the time, from my local supermarket’s app to fun games like Threes. It’s really hard to choose favorites, but that’s exactly what my editor Suzanne asked me to do: Pick my 10 favorite free iPhone apps.

It wasn’t easy. But after much deliberation, I narrowed the apps I use every day down to a list of 10 that spans multiple genres, from GPS navigation to fitness tracking. Take a look at my faves, and if you’d like, use the comments section to tell us all your favorite free apps that I might have missed.

 Maps
Google

Google Maps

To be sure, the stock Maps app on your iPhone has improved a lot since its disastrous launch two years ago, but it’s still not as well designed and robust as the Google Maps app it replaced. Google Maps 3.0 offers highly accurate traffic reports, construction alerts and road closings provided by Waze, lane guidance so you don’t miss your next turn, the ability to save maps for offline use and even mass transit directions with schedules built in. And if a new, faster route becomes available, Google Maps will alert you and ask if you’d like to switch.

You can download Google Maps for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Weather Channel App

Yahoo has long been the provider of your iPhone’s stock weather app, but that’s about to change later this year in iOS 8 when Apple will switch to The Weather Channel. But you shouldn’t wait for iOS 8 – the stand-alone Weather Channel app is leagues ahead of Yahoo’s version now. It offers extended 10-day forecasts and hyperlocal rain reports down to your exact location. It looks great, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t glitch out like the stock iPhone app occasionally does.

You can download The Weather Channel app for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Stitcher

I’m a big fan of NPR shows like Radio Lab and Wait, Wait, but I’m rarely around a radio when the shows are broadcast. That’s why I like the Stitcher radio-on-demand app. It streams podcasts direct to your phone from all the biggest names, from popular NPR shows to The Nerdist to Penn Gillette to Joe Rogan. There are plenty of news briefs, too, so you can stay current on what’s going on in the world.

You can download Stitcher for iOS on the Apple App Store.

gas-buddy-ios-app-510px
Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy

I recently took a cross-country road trip, and as you can imagine, I spent a lot of money on gas along the way. But I was able to save a lot of money on gas, too, thanks to the Gas Buddy app. It relies on crowdsourcing to constantly update gas prices at fueling stations across the country, letting you compare prices no matter where you are. You can even overlay prices on a map, pinpointing the best, cheapest location to refuel on your route. Prices tend to be accurate, and are generally quickly updated when they’re not.

You can download Gas Buddy for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Facebook

Pretty much everyone is on Facebook these days, for better or worse. To stay connected with everyone in your social circle, I recommend downloading the official Facebook app. It learns your preferences as you use it, delivering content it thinks you’ll find most relevant. And you can change your own profile and write your own updates on the go, making all your friends jealous of your exciting night out on the town. It’s a guilty pleasure that I just can’t do without.

You can download Facebook for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Google Now

It the past, I’ve called Google Now “creepy” – and it is. But that’s just because it’s so good at learning about you and your life. Google Now learns where you work, where you live, and where you travel, providing you with instant weather alerts, traffic and mass transit updates based on where it thinks you’re going. And if you’ve got a Gmail account, Google Now pulls travel bookings and restaurant reservation confirmations from it, automatically notifying you if your flight is delayed and letting you know when you’ll need to leave home to catch it. Plus, it learns from your Google searches to deliver sports scores and news headlines it thinks you’ll be interested in. You have to give up a lot of privacy to Google to use it, but Google Now is so good that doing so feels worth it.

Google Now is part of the Google Search app and is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Adidas miCoach

There are plenty of great fitness apps available on your iPhone, but one of my (and Suzanne’s) favorites is Adidas miCoach. It offers coaching, training plans, exercises, performance tracking that includes steps taken and calories burned, and GPS tracking. You’ll get the most out of miCoach by pairing it with a compatible activity monitor, but it still works great as a standalone app. Give the free app a try – you have nothing to lose but a few pounds.

You can download Adidas miCoach on the Apple App Store.

yelp-app-ios-pizza-search-510px
Yelp

Yelp

Whenever I’m feeling hungry away from home, I reach for the Yelp local discovery app. It ranks local businesses based on user-submitted ratings and reviews, making it easy to discover a great new hair salon or the place with the best pizza in your town. Yelp learns your preferences as you use it and check in to businesses, tailoring recommendations to your own individual tastes. Yelp also helps you save money: Occasionally, businesses offer coupons and specials on the app just for stopping and checking in.

You can download Yelp for iOS on the Apple App Store.

RedLaser

RedLaser is a shopping assistant app designed to help you find the best prices on any item with a barcode. Just use the app to take a photo of an item’s barcode and RedLaser will figure out what the item is, which local stores and websites sell it, and at what prices. And as a bonus, the app stores all your loyalty card info and offers coupons, helping you turn a good deal into a great deal.

You can download RedLaser for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Spotify

I’ve said it before, but Spotify is my absolute favorite app for streaming music to my iPhone. I pay for the $9.99 monthly premium service, but there are plenty of free listening options available for those who don’t mind a few ads every now and then. Spotify lets you create and modify your own radio stations, create playlists and shuffle through songs by your favorite artists. And if you install the app on an iPad, Spotify now lets you listen to individual songs on demand without you having to shell out the cash to become a premium subscriber.

You can download Spotify for iOS on the Apple App store.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Software

Apple’s iOS 8 Borrows Liberally from Android, and That’s Great

Apple

Don't call it a rip-off: Apple adds its own imprint on features that Android users have long enjoyed.

Apple gave its fans plenty to swoon over at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, but it also gave its haters a lot to sneer at.

Although Apple introduced each feature as if it was brand new, some of iOS 8′s biggest additions have been available in some form on Google’s Android platform for years.

To wit:

  • Interactive notifications will let users quickly respond to messages, accept calendar appointments, “Like” Facebook posts and more without having to enter the app itself. Android has offered these kinds of actionable notifications since 2012.
  • Apple will add a row of word predictions above its software keyboard, just like Google Keyboard for Android. iOS 8 will also support third-party software keyboards, which Android has always allowed.
  • Apple has extended iCloud to support all file types, and will let users easily access their files and folders across all their devices. It’s similar to the Google Drive integration found in Android 4.4 KitKat and Chromebooks.
  • Notification Center will support third-party widgets for things like sports scores and breaking news. Google has allowed third-party widgets on the Android home screen for years.
  • The App Store will allow video previews, just like Android’s Google Play Store.
  • Sharing in iOS will be open to all apps instead of just a handful of Apple-approved ones. Android’s Share button already allows sharing to any app that supports it.

If you’re an Android fan, it’s tempting to lampoon Apple for lifting features from its rival. But calling iOS 8 a rip-off of Android would be disingenuous for a couple reasons.

For one thing, Apple isn’t just copying Android features verbatim. It’s adding its own spin. Notifications, for instance, will be interactive straight from the lock screen, which is not currently the case on Android. The addition of widgets in the Notification Center also shows an Apple-like touch: It lets the home screen stay as simple as possible, while moving more advanced functionality off to the side for power users.

Even app-to-app sharing is more advanced than what Android offers. It’ll allow developers to create photo filters within the main Photos app (this feature is actually borrowed from the “Lenses” function in Windows Phone), and extensions such as text translation or document watermarking that work across many apps.

Taking concepts from Android and refining them is not a new approach for Apple. Although Android was first to allow multitasking, Apple’s version had tighter controls on how apps could run in the background, saving system resources and battery life. Android was first to allow copy-and-paste, but Apple’s version was better-executed when it finally arrived. Google, in turn, tweaked Android over time to better handle system resources and to make copy-and-paste more consistent.

Meanwhile, Apple is adding plenty of other features to iOS 8, including HomeKit to make home automation simpler, HealthKit to unify all your health tracking apps, and a bunch of ways to make all Apple products more connected.

This is exactly how competition should work. Instead of just blindly copying Android, Apple has found ways to improve upon key Android features, while adding other things that are entirely new. Now it’s Google’s turn to try and do the same.

Whether you prefer iOS or Android, that’s a very good thing. Over the last couple years, mobile operating systems have felt stagnant, with only minor tweaks to the way we use them. The new features in iOS 8 are a sign that there’s plenty of room left to innovate. I have a hard time getting snarky about that.

TIME Apple

Apple Unveils New Operating System Dubbed “Yosemite”

Apple today unveiled the next version of its Mac OS X operating system. The new release, called OS X Yosemite after the famed national park, includes a largely redesigned user interface more closely aligned with the look of its mobile iOS software.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s software engineering chief, took the stage of the firm’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference to show off the software. The new version, which features a sharper, flatter look, is more similar to the iOS software that runs on iPhones and iPads than any previous version of the Mac operating system.

OS X Yosemite also includes a “Dark Mode” that minimizes the translucency effect and introduces a darker color palette. Executives previewed changes to the software’s Notification Center, Spotlight search, Maps, Calendar, Messages, and Safari web browser.

A system dubbed “continuity” is intended to allow iOS devices and Macs to communicate seamlessly. A user can, for example, begin composing an email on an iPhone and automatically finish writing it on a nearby desktop computer. The system can also be used to place and answer phone calls and text messages that come to a phone on a nearby computer.

To show off the feature, Federighi placed a call from his desktop to new Apple employee Dr. Dre. “How you doing this is Dre,” said the rapper who is joining the company as part of a $3 billion deal for headphone-maker Beats Electronics. “Thanks for creating such amazing apps,” he said. “Say, what time should I show up for work?”

Apple made a developer preview available to conference attendees today. It will be available for free to all users this fall.

TIME technology

Pixar Is Giving Away Its Software For Free

Now you can animate your own jumping desk lamp

Pixar animations are beloved the world over: All of the studio’s feature films are in the 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time (and a few have even cracked the general 50 highest grossing films of all time). They’ve collectively won 27 Oscars, 7 Golden Globes, and 11 Grammys, among many other accolades.

Of course, as a 3D animation studio, Pixar’s heavily reliant on bespoke software to cope with the heavy demands of creating beautiful films. Now any aspiring animator can get their hands on a version of Renderman—Pixar’s in-house version of 3D rendering software—for free. Yes, the same software that was used to create Cars, Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Up. What are you waiting for?

TIME Apple

Here’s What You Can Actually Expect from Apple at WWDC

WWDC Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces iOS 7 at a keynote address during the 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center on June 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Kimberly White--Getty Images

Let the rumors fly, this conference is all about software

Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, starts on Monday in San Francisco. As usual, the company will open the week-long gathering with a keynote, likely to be packed with announcements and previews. WWDC is all about software, particularly the operating systems that power Macs, iPhones and iPads. But from time to time, the company also uses the event to showcase new hardware. There are tons of rumors about what will be unveiled this year; here’s what you can safely expect from the event:

Mac OS X 10.10
Apple’s mobile software got its first top-to-bottom overhaul last year. Out went the so-called skeuomorphic design championed by former software chief Scott Forstall. In came the sleeker, flat designs of Jonathan Ive. Now it may be the Mac’s turn to get a similar treatment.

iOS 8
Look for Apple to iterate on its major changes last year to the software that powers the iPhone and iPad. After a major overhaul, the company typically focuses on adding functionality and tweaks. Almost certainly up this time: changes to Apple Maps.

Beats
This will be the first time the company’s top executives will address fans since buying Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion. Chief Executive Tim Cook will likely address the purchase and may bring his two newest recruits—Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine—on stage.

TIME Software

China Bans Windows 8 on Government Computers

A little over a month after Microsoft officially ended support for its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system, China has decided that the software meant to replace XP, Windows 8, is to be banned from government computers.

Reuters reports that China’s official Xinhua news agency vaguely cited security measures and energy-saving efforts as the rationale behind the ban, though “neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated,” says Reuters.

Former CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly told employees in 2011 that Microsoft’s Windows sales were roughly 5% in China compared to what they were the U.S. — even though PC sales were about the same. Despite widespread software piracy in China, however, this Windows 8 ban could have a lasting effect on Microsoft’s bottom line there: As the Associated Press points out, the Chinese government is Microsoft’s largest paying client.

[Reuters]

TIME Web

‘Quick Facts’ Feature Turns Google Maps into Your Personal Tour Guide

Quick Facts
Google's "quick facts" feature serves up basic info about various places, buildings and landmarks. Google

Google Maps' new feature makes the service more informative

Google announced Wednesday that it has added a new feature to its Maps service that turns it into something of an informative guide.

Users can already click on notable landmarks and buildings for directions and addresses, but now many places feature a “quick facts” section with information about the location.

The details vary in each place, but Maps can generally give you the basics.

Click on the Empire State Building in New York City, for example, and a small box will tell you its height (1,250 feet), the number of stories (103), and the date construction began (1929). Go to Le Bernardin, one of Midtown Manhattan’s most well-known restaurants, and “quick facts” tells you when it was started (1972), its total number of Michelin stars (three) and its founders (Gilbert and Maguy le Coze).

For now, the “quick facts” feature is only available on the desktop version of Google Maps, but it’s an addition that makes the service more interactive and more fun to use.

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