Skype for Business Available on iPhone

Microsoft announced this morning that Skype for Business iOS is now available as a new universal app in the iTunes Store. iPhone users will get the upgrade from Lync 2013 automatically, but iPad users will need to download the new app manually from the store. I checked and there was my Skype for Business upgrade ready to go!

Microsoft made Skype for Business generally available on Windows earlier this year, but it shipped a preview version of the mobile app for iOS and Android in August.Today’s release means that Skype for Business is generally available on iOS (iPhone and iPad).

New features include:

One-touch meeting access. You can now join a meeting with just one touch thanks to an updated dashboard view that provides links to upcoming meetings alongside your most-recent conversations.

Enhanced meeting experience. The in-meeting experience has been enhanced with larger buttons for muting, adding participants, and other commands; full-screen video, and simultaneous viewing of shared content and video.

New authentication and security options for IT admins. Office 365 commercial customers can now use Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)-based authentication, multi-factor authentication, and ADAL-based authentication.

iPhone users with Lync 2013 will automatically get updated to the Skype for Business app, but iPad users with Lync 2013 will need to download the new Universal app from the iTunes Store.

Android user? Microsoft says that the final version of Skype for Business for Android will ship “later this year.”

Apple Updates iOS 9 Less Then a Week After It’s Release

Apple has already rolled out an update to its recently released mobile OS – iOS 9. The first update to Apple’s new operating system will fix a few reported glitches. The company has issued an instruction guide on its website for users looking to fix the bug. The update is available as an OTA download for all the devices that support iOS 9.

iOS 9.0.1 will fix a bug which was reported by many users wherein the device stuck on the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ screen after updating to iOS 9 or while restoring from a backup. The company also fixes the glitches, including inability to complete the setup assistant process after upgrading the device to iOS 9.

Additional improvements include fixing the bug that would cause alarms and timers to fail when activated. It also fixes an issue in Safari and Photos where pausing a video could cause the paused frame to appear distorted. iOS 9.0.1 also fixes an issue that caused many users with a custom APN setup via a profile settings to lose mobile data. Lastly, the new update will also offer a few security fixes.

Follow the below steps to update to iOS 9.0.1:

1. Connect your iOS device to a computer. Then make sure that iTunes is open.

2. While your device is connected, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.

3. When asked, choose Update.

4. Once the restore is done, finish the onscreen steps to set up your device.

Apple Removes Infected iOS Apps

Apple has removed a large number of apps from its store after it was found that around 40 iOS apps had been infected by a modified version of the company’s software for developers.

Last week Apple announced that it has removed apps from the App Store that it knows have been created with counterfeit software in order to protect its customers.

Palo Alto Networks reported last week that a new malware, called XcodeGhost, modified the Xcode integrated development environment for building apps for the Mac, iPhone and iPad.

The security firm reported last Friday that it had found that over 39 apps, including many popular Chinese apps, had been infected by the malware. Some of these apps are used outside China.

It was recommended that that all iOS developers be aware and take necessary actions. XcodeGhost, which targets compilers, collects information on devices and uploads the data to command and control servers.

The mode of attack can also be used to target enterprise iOS or OS X apps in “much more dangerous ways,” Palo Alto researcher Claud Xiao wrote.

Palo Alto Networks further stated that XcodeGhost was a “very harmful and dangerous” malware that could prompt fake phishing dialogs, open URLs, and read and write clipboard data, which in some cases can be used to read passwords.

Some analysts have suggested that the compromised Xcode may have been downloaded from a server in China to get around slow Internet connections to Apple’s own servers.

The good news here is that Apple is being aggressive in their respond and removing the infected apps.

Apple Embraces Ad Blockers

Ad Blockers are becoming very popular these days. Why is that? Very simply most ads pop up or eat up website space and slow internet browsing down.

Now Ad Blockers are coming to your iPhone, if you want it. Thank You Apple.

A $2.99 app called Peace, promises to block “most ads and privacy-invading trackers on web pages”. To prove the popularity of this type of feature Peace is the top paid app in the App Store. Then there is a $3.99 app called Purify Blocker which stands at at No. 4 on the paid-apps charts. And a 99 cent app called Blockr is No. 17 on the charts.

Why this sudden interest in ad blockers? Apple’s new iOS 9 software, adds a feature that allows the Safari Web browser to tap into content blocking from third-party apps. You simply install such an app and then set Safari to use it to block advertisements and similar content as you surf the Web.

As I said at the start of this article ads have long been a sore spot for people surfing the Internet.

iOS 9 Arrives Tomorrow

If you have a relatively new model iPhone, iPad or iPod, you will soon be able to download what Apple is calling “its most advanced mobile operating system yet” otherwise known as iOS 9. Available starting tomorrow as a free update, iOS 9 is being touted by Apple as more intelligent and more proactive than any previous version.

Among the changes you are most likely to notice include, new support for multitaskinga new News app; the addition of public transit information in Maps (not available in the Philadelphia area sadly); and an updated Siri digital assistantthat’s quicker to offer both answers and suggestions.

Before upgrading to iOS 9, Apple you should take the usual precaution of backing up the content on their devices first. The new mobile operating system will work on the iPhone 4 and later generations, fifth-generation and later iPod Touches, and the iPad 2 and iPad mini and up.

Peek and Pop with your IPhone

Perhaps Apple’s most daring change will arrive with the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus on September 25. The new 3D Touch responds to the amount of pressure a user puts on the device, which Apple reported will enable new gesture controls such as “Peek and Pop” (i.e., press lightly to peek at an app, press harder to pop into the content).

Microsoft Tests a Mobile News Reader

Microsoft is testing an intriguing app that is designed for people who want help keeping up with today’s busy news cycle.

The app, called News Cast, has not been officially announced, but it is available if you have an iPhone. News Cast takes articles from around the Web and starts reading summaries of them to users in an ongoing playlist. Users can save articles for reading later and view the full text of any article News Cast pulls in using a built-in browser or a distraction-free reading view.

It’s all designed to keep users up to date on the latest news while they’re commuting and don’t want to be staring at tiny text on their phone.

Surprisingly, NewsCast is only available for iOS right now which probably allows Microsoft to have a large number of live testers of the new app. This is not the first time Microsoft has built something specifically for Apple’s mobile platform before its own.

You can download the app from this website and install it on an iPhone, though it’s not clear how long it will be before Microsoft takes it down. Because it’s not being sent through the App Store, users will have to give it permission to run on their device.

Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Today Apple released iOS 8.4, the latest update to its mobile operating system. The update is not as wide-ranging as iOS 8.3, but it does add a few notable things, chief among them are a revamped Music app and a fix for a bug where a specific set of characters could crash the operating system. iOS 8.4 is available for the iPhone 4S and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch.

The redesigned music app accompanies the launch of Apple Music and the 24-hour, human-curated Beats One radio station, which Apple exec Eddy Cue and a parade of others spent a long, long time unveiling at WWDC earlier this month. The Spotify-esque on-demand streaming station comes with a three-month trial, and when that ends, it will cost $10 a month for individuals or $15 a month for families of up to six people.

Also included in iOS 8.4 are improvements to iBooks, which can now be used for audiobooks. “Made for iBooks” books now work on the iPhone, too. Other improvements include a setting to turn off the auto-night theme, the ability to pre-order books in a series, and various bug fixes.

Finally, iOS 8.4 fixes another problem that “prevented GPS accessories from providing location data,” and “fixes an issue where deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install.”

iOS 8.4 will likely be the last major update the operating system receives before iOS 9 is released later this fall. The new version, which will also be available as a public beta next month, will run on every device that currently runs iOS 8. Among other things, it introduces a more intelligent, context-aware Siri, multitasking for newer iPads, and many refinements for existing apps.

Apple’s iOS Text Bug

A new bug affecting iOS and iMessages has emerged that causes the app to continuously crash when a certain text is received. If the text is received while the phone is on the lock screen, it also causes your iPhone to reboot without any notice or explanation. This is a big problem for iPhone users, especially those with mischievous friends and even enemies.

This isn’t the first time a bug like this has emerged. This particular bug has happened appeared times in the past. Apple usually fixes the issue in a timely matter, but until it’s fixed, it is a rather malicious problem. The ability to crash iMessages and reboot someone’s iPhone is limited to iPhone-to-iPhone communication. Since the character strand is so specific, most people should never accidentally experience the crashing. Anyone who does experience the crashing was likely singled out on purpose.

You can find examples of the problem through a simple Twitter search which will return results from hundreds of people who can not access their iMessages app because of it. As you can see, it is already being used maliciously by many, so hopefully Apple rolls out a fix for it soon.

There are several workarounds available. The easiest one is having the person who sent you the malicious message to send another message effectively canceling out the initial strand. Another option is to send yourself a message via Siri, the share sheet, or from your Mac.

Cortana Set to Arrive on iOS and Android

One of the things I miss very much about having and using a Windows Phone is Cortana. Boy was she special. Cortana is much like Siri but she actually works for you. I really – really miss her but is looks like Cortana is going cross platform.

This is because today Microsoft made official what had been rumored two months ago: It will release Android and iOS mobile apps that feature Cortana, Microsoft’s intelligent assistant.

“It all starts with the big picture,” Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, argued in a Tuesday interview. “Microsoft wants to provide a connected experience with all a customer’s devices. Windows is nowhere in phone, nowhere in tablets, so they have to provide an experience that [crosses] these platform lines.”

The Android app will debut next month, and the iOS version later this year, Joe Belfiore, who leads Windows design at Microsoft, said in a blog post.

The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on your PC or on a Windows phone. Those things Cortana will do on rival platforms include reminder notifications, notebook syncing and flight tracking. The apps will not feature Cortana’s voice-activated functionality, as in, “Hey, Cortana” which is kind of a bummer.

By offering Cortana, even in a stripped-functionality form, and native Android and iOS apps for other services, Microsoft is executing on its stated “cloud-first, mobile-first” strategy. Along with other major moves.

Saving Windows Phone with Phone Companion?

Also today, Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 for desktops will come with a “Phone Companion” app that will promote not only Cortana, but other Microsoft services and their necessary Android and iOS apps.

Phone Companion will walk Android and iOS device owners through the steps of acquiring apps such as Cortana, Office, OneDrive OneNote, Outlook and Skype, and if available, set up data synchronization between Windows 10 and non-Windows smartphones or tablets. Photos taken on an iPhone, for example, will sync with the Photos app on Windows 10, while music stored on OneDrive will be playable on an Android or iOS device.

“Phone Companion will reportedly help you connect your Windows PC to whatever phone you own — whether it’s a Windows phone, Android phone, or iPhone,” Microsoft Promised.

Microsoft did not set specific release dates for either the Android or iOS Cortana apps, but said that Phone Companion would be bundled with a Windows 10 preview build expected to go public “in a few weeks.”

Windows 10 is to launch this summer.

iOS 8 Woes Confirmed by Apple

Apple’s iOS woes continue in a very real public way.

Apple today has recommended to users of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones to reinstall iOS 8 after an update this Wednesday led to complaints of lost cellular service (which is critical in a phone by the way) and functionality on the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor.

Apple went as far as providing instructions to affected users on its support site for reinstalling iOS 8.0 through iTunes.

Apple reported that they are preparing a new software update, iOS 8.0.2, with a fix for the issue.

The iOS 8.0.2 update will release “as soon as it’s ready in the next few days” Apple said, without giving a specific date.

Earlier on Wednesday there were reports that Apple had withdrawn the iOS 8.0.1 update it rolled out earlier, after complaints from users. That update was meant to fix a number of bugs in iOS 8, which was rolled out last week.

Apple is also facing criticism from some users that the aluminium case of the larger iPhone 6 Plus, with a 5.5-inch display, bends under pressure. Stay tuned on this one.

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