MONO FOR UNREAL ENGINE 

 

Earlier this year, both Epic Games and CryTech made their Unreal Engine and CryEngine available under an affordable subscription model. These are both very sophisticated game engines that power some high end and popular games.

We had previously helped Unity bring Mono as the scripting language used in their engine and we now had a chance to do this over again.

Today I am happy to introduce Mono for Unreal Engine.

This is a project that allows Unreal Engine users to build their game code in C# or F#.

This is a taste of what you get out of the box:

  • Create game projects purely in C#
  • Add C# to an existing project that uses C++ or Blueprints.
  • Access any API surfaced by Blueprint to C++, and easily surface C# classes to Blueprint.
  • Quick iteration: we fully support UnrealEngine's hot reloading, with the added twist that we support it from C#. This means that you hit "Build" in your IDE and the code is automatically reloaded into the editor (with live updates!)
  • Complete support for the .NET 4.5/Mobile Profile API. This means, all the APIs you love are available for you to use.
  • Async-based programming: we have added special game schedulers that allow you to use C# async naturally in any of your game logic. Beautiful and transparent.
  • Comprehensive API coverage of the Unreal Engine Blueprint API.

This is not a supported product by Xamarin. It is currently delivered as a source code package with patches that must be applied to a precise version of Unreal Engine before you can use it. If you want to use higher versions, or lower versions, you will likely need to adjust the patches on your own.

We have set up a mailing list that you can use to join the conversation about this project.

Visit the site for Mono for Unreal Engine to learn more.

Miguel de Icaza (miguel) 

Posted by Andrew Tierney Friday, October 24, 2014 8:55:00 AM

Mono 3.10.0 Released 

Mono 3.10.0 is a bugfix release with a few features.

Highlights

  • Implemented System.IO.Compression.FileSystem.
  • Uri now implements the .NET 4.5 behavior, it can be reverted to the old behavior in the same way by setting the System.Uri::s_IriParsing static field to false.

Performance

  • Remove unnecessary locking from core metadata parsing functions.
  • Avoid cache thrashing of locals array when looping over enumerator.

Known Issues

The OSX package packages an invalid libgdiplus library that affects users of System.Drawing that requires it to work.

This specially affects Xamarin.Mac users that fit the following criteria:

  • Uses Xamarin.Mac Classic (Unified is unaffected).
  • Uses the subsets of System.Drawing that use libgdiplus.dylib internally
  • - System.Drawing.RectangleF, PointF, Colors are unaffected
  • - System.Drawing.Bitmap, and font for example are affected

The symptom of the problemw is your application failing with: “System.TypeInitializationException: An exception was thrown by the type initializer for System.Drawing.GDIPlus —> System.Exception: GdiplusStartup”

Bug fixes

Runtime

  • Fix support for unaligned offsets in the store_membase_imm opcodes. Fixes #23267.
  • Fix the lookup of nested types which have a namespace. Fixes #21653.
  • Increase some opcode sizes. Fixes #23026.
  • Always pass the imt arg to interface calls in gsharedvt methods. Fixes #22624.
  • Store the epilog length in MonoArchEHJitInfo instead of encoding it in jinfo->unwind_desc, since the latter can overflow for methods with large epilogs. Fixes #22685.
  • Add a mono_thread_detach_if_exiting () public api function which can be called by embedding code to detach the runtime if the code is running from a pthread dtor. Fixes #21164.
  • Fix yet another native types problem. Fixes #22053.
  • Fix the leaking of mach ports introduced by 98bbf8512aec0fa01b4426583280f6d231d22187. Fixes #22068.
  • Add support for constrained calls with vtype return types in gsharedvt code. Fixes #22109.
  • Fix the PLATFORM_GNU check so it works with gnueabi etc. as well. Fixes #21520.
  • Don’t make runtime invoke signatures generic. Fixes #21973.
  • Allow v8..v15 in unwind info on arm64. Fixes part of #21615.
  • Fix Process.PrivateMemorySize64 etc. on ios. Fixes #21882.
  • Fix enum->int casts in gsharedvt code. Fixes #21893.
  • Don’t assert when loading a generic methodspec with 0 arity. Fixes #19097.
  • Avoid asserting when a cattr cannot be loaded. Fixes #21653.
  • Avoid making generic calls from gsharedvt methods normally, go through the rgctx infrastructure instead. Fixes #21677.

Class Libraries

  • Fix Uri UserInfo parsing. Fixes 23246.
  • Update RequestMessage.RequestUri.AbsoluteUri after redirect. Fixes #22383.
  • Fixes XContainer attempt to create a XNode from a null value. Fixes #20151.
  • Changed XObject OnChanged and OnChanging to use Owner. When XObject.Owner is not a XElement XObject.Parent returns null and the owner would not be notified of changing and changed events. Fixes #18772.
  • Process XslLiteralElements with only child attributes as empty ones. Fixes #14751.
  • ‘finally’ protect ClientRuntimeChannel.Begin/EndProcess(). Fixes #22179.
  • WebClient.OpenWrite() must get the response on close. Fixes #10163.
  • Fix WebClient.UploadValuesTaskAsync(); Fixes #20359.
  • Improve System.Security.Claims. Fixes #22282.
  • Fixed serialization of XmlNode field with attribute XmlAnyElement. Fixes #3211.
  • Handle String::Format with escaped closing }. Fixes #22114
  • Add a missing check to TypeBuilder.CreateType (). Fixes #22059.
  • Xml Serialization of Base class w/o a parameterless constructor. Removed validation code that did not allowed serialization of base classes without a parameterless constructor. Fixes #6913.
  • Fixed XmlSerializer to handle attribute XmlSchemePrivider.IsAny. XmlSerializer no longer outputs a root element with class name when the class has the attribute XmlSchemeProvider and IsAny is true. Fixes #11916
  • Test that DeflateStream.Read does read an empty stream. Covers #19313.
  • Reseting all private key values to null is required because a new import may not overwrite existing values. Fixes #18482.
  • Handle quoted filename value. Fixes #21960.
  • Dispose XmlReader using correct value. Fixes #21771.

C# Compiler

  • Don’t use `1 naming for compiler generated second level and deeper nested types. Fixes #22893.
  • Extend missing type check to type lookups. Fixes #20933.
  • Fix copy and paste error in constraints checker. Fixes #22131.
  • Speed up nullable tokenizer. Fixes #20195.
  • Coalescing operator if the lhs of a null is a integer type that is larger than the integer type on the rhs. Fixes #22054.
  • Check for duplicate destructors. Fixes #21983.
  • Switch statement with constant block at first label. Fixes #21805.
  • Decimal constants modulo folding. Fixes #21743.
  • Update codegen for boolean loads. Fixes #21685.

MSBuild

  • Workaround for issues with CreateItem task where metadata are not generated due to up-to-data inputs. Fixes #23022.
  • Add KeepDuplicates etc. to 4.0 as internal. Fixes #20961.
Posted by Andrew Tierney Tuesday, October 7, 2014 10:56:00 PM

CastleSoft switches to Syncfusion 

CastleSoft is happy to announce that today we have switched from our current .NET Tool provider Telerik to Syncfusion.

Why did we switch ?  Syncfusion has support for Desktop/Web/Mobile/JavaScript and soon the Xamarin platform.

As a Xamarin consulting partner having Syncfusion support gave us reason to question our choice of vendor.

Syncfusion is the enterprise technology partner of choice for Windows development, delivering a broad range of software frameworks and tools. Syncfusion has established itself as the trusted partner worldwide for use in mission-critical applications. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Syncfusion has more than 10,000 customers, including large financial institutions, Fortune 100 companies, and global IT consultancies.

We look forward to working with Syncfusion and hope to make some further announcements soon..

Posted by Andrew Tierney Friday, October 3, 2014 7:57:00 PM

IOS 8 BIGGER AND BETTER WITH XAMARIN 

We are excited to announce that we have just released our support for all of the new APIs introduced in iOS 8.

This release is the perfect companion to the iOS 8 GM developer release that you can use to submit apps to the App Store that take advantage of the new iOS 8 APIs.

We added support for the just-announced Apple Pay API, so developers can integrate this new payment system into their iOS apps.ios8-icon We have shipped same day support for iOS since iOS 5, enabling developers to add the latest features to their iOS apps immediately.

To ensure you get the most out of these exciting changes in iOS 8 using Xamarin and C#, we’ve created an extensive set of resources to help you get started:

Introduction to iOS 8

First off we have our Introduction to iOS 8 document, which describes all of the new features and major improvements to iOS 8, provides links to detailed usage documentation, and provides examples of using updated iOS features in Xamarin and C#. Additionally, you will find plenty of new iOS 8 samples to try right away.

App Extensions

app-extensions-iconWith iOS 8, Apple lets you extend select areas of the system by supplying an App Extension — code that enables custom functionality within the context of a user task. To find out more about extending iOS 8 with Xamarin, check out our Introduction to App Extensions document.

TouchID Authentication

touch-id-iconIn iOS 8, an application can use TouchID to authenticate a user. Some apps may need to secure access to all of their content, while others might need to secure certain pieces of information or options. In either case, you can require the user to authenticate before proceeding. To learn more about using TouchID in Xamarin, check out our Introduction to Touch ID document.

PhotoKit

photokit-iconPhotoKit provides new APIs for working with photo and video assets, including iCloud Photos assets (managed by the Photos application), so that an application can edit photos directly in the Camera roll without having to import them first. For a quick example of using the PhotoKit framework in Xamarin, see Mike Bluestein’s Build Great Photo Experiences in iOS 8 with Photokit blog post.

Manual Camera Controls

camera-api-iconThe AVFoundation Framework makes it easier than ever for users to take great photos. An app can take direct control over the camera focus, white balance, and exposure settings. An app can also use bracketed exposure captures to automatically capture images with different exposure settings. To get the most out of Manual Camera Controls in Xamarin, see our Introduction to Manual Camera Controls document.

HealthKit

healthkit-iconHealthKit allows apps providing health and fitness services to access shared health-related information in one place. A user’s health information is stored in a centralized and secure location and the user decides which data should be shared with an app. Find out more about using HealthKit with Xamarin by reading ourIntroduction to HealthKit documentation.

HomeKit

homekit-iconHomeKit provides seamless integration between accessories that support Apple’s Home Automation Protocol and iOS devices, allowing for new advances in home automation. With HomeKit, the mobile app that a user controls their home with doesn’t have to be provided by the vendor that created their home automation accessories. To find out more about supporting HomeKit in Xamarin, read our Introduction to HomeKit documentation.

CloudKit

cloudkit-iconWith CloudKit, you can focus on your client-side app development and let iCloud eliminate the need to write server-side application logic. CloudKit provides authentication, private and public databases, and structured and asset storage services. To learn more about using CloudKit with Xamarin, check out our Introduction to CloudKit documentation.

Document Picker

document-picker-iconThe document picker view controller grants users access to files outside an app’s sandbox. It is a simple mechanism for sharing documents between apps. It also enables more complex workflows, because users can edit a single document from within multiple applications. Learn about using the Document Picker with Xamarin by reading our Introduction to the Document Picker document.

Handoff

handoff-iconHandoff is a feature in OS X and iOS that extends the user experience by providing continuity across devices. Handoff enables users to begin an activity on one device, then switch to another device and resume the same activity on the other device. Learn how to enable Handoff in your Xamarin app by reading our Introduction to Handoff documentation.

Unified Storyboards

unified-storyboards-iconiOS 8 makes dealing with screen size and orientation much more versatile. Using Unified Storyboards, you can create a single interface for an app that works well on both iPad and iPhone devices by adjusting easily to orientation changes and different screen sizes as needed. Find out about using Size Classes and Unified Storyboards by reading our Introduction to Storyboards document.

SceneKit

scenekit-iconSceneKit is a high-level 3D graphics framework that helps you create 3D animated scenes and effects in your apps. SceneKit’s 3D physics engine enlivens an app or game by simulating gravity, forces, rigid body collisions, and joints. It’s also completely integrated with SpriteKit, so you can include SpriteKit assets in 3D games. For a quick example of using the SceneKit framework in Xamarin, see Mike Bluestein’s Lights, Camera, Action – 3D in iOS 8 with Scene Kit blog post.

SpriteKit

spritekit-iconThe SpriteKit framework adds new features to make it easier to create high-performance, battery-efficient 2D games. With support for custom OpenGL ES shaders and lighting, integration with SceneKit, and advanced new physics effects and animations, you can add force fields, detect collisions, and generate new lighting effects in your games. For a quick example of using the SpriteKit framework in Xamarin, see Mike Bluestein’s New Sprite Kit Physics Features in iOS 8 blog post.

Installing Xamarin.iOS for iOS 8

Windows users with Visual Studio, in addition should:

  • Switch Visual Studio Xamarin Updater Channel to “Beta”.
  • Install the Visual Studio extension update.

You can browse our entire API change log and release notes to find out the latest features released today with Xamarin.iOS 8.0 and the new iOS 8 APIs.

Get Ready for iOS 8 Webinar

Xamarin Developer Evangelist Mike Bluestein will provide an overview of the top new and updated APIs it includes. Join us Thursday, September 11th at 8 am PT for this webinar to learn about incorporating all of the great new features into your app.

Register for Get Ready for iOS 8

Posted by Andrew Tierney Thursday, September 11, 2014 3:37:00 PM

UNIFIED API WITH 64-BIT SUPPORT FOR IOS AND MAC 

Today we are pleased to share some major improvements to the APIs for our iOS and Mac products.

ios and osx logos

Why a new API?

The Classic Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Mac APIs had two major flaws:

  1. They did not support 64 bit applications.
  2. They made iOS and Mac code sharing cumbersome.

As Mac OS X evolved, more and more frameworks became available only as 64 bit frameworks. Additionally, iOS recently made the 64-bit jump when the iPhone 5s was launched.

Last year we started a redesign for our 64-bit support, one that would meet the following goals:

  1. The same source code must work on both 32 and 64-bit platforms
  2. Libraries and binaries would run either in 32 or 64 bit modes, depending on the host platform and build settings, with no source code changes or recompilation required
  3. Improved code sharing story between our Mac and iOS products.

Enter The Unified API

The result of more than a year of development on our API bindings and Mono’s runtime is our Unified API, which we are introducing today as a preview feature. The Unified API accomplishes everything we set out to and so much more.

First, we addressed the 32/64 bit split, by surfacing an API that is 32/64 bit agnostic.

Second, we dropped the namespace prefixes. This makes sharing code between iOS and Mac apps less tedious to maintain and easier on the eyes. An example to demonstrate this is what you had to do before when you had to use a using:

1
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#if MAC
MonoMac.Foundation;
#elif IOS
MonoTouch.Foundation;
#endif

With the Unified API you can simply use:

1
Foundation;

64bitThis means with the new Unified API we have not only made it easier to share common code across your iOS and Mac applications, but you are now able to take advantage of all of the new 64-bit APIs on each platform.

Get Started & Backwards Compatibility

The new Unified API is available now in the Beta channel. We made the new Unified API opt-in, which means there is no need to upgrade to this new API unless you want to take advantage of the features outlined above. Xamarin will continue to support the Classic API you are familiar with for both Mac and iOS alongside the Unified API indefinitely.

We have ported all of our Mac samples and our iOS samples to the new API so you can see what is involved. They are both maintained on a branch that for historical reasons is called “magic-types”.

We are currently working on both templates to get you started (or you can migrate on your own), as well as a migration assistant that will do the bulk of the port for you.

What is Missing?

We are aware that the following features are currently missing and we are working on them:

  • Binding Project Types, to easily call into native libraries
  • Complete templates for all the scenarios previously supported
  • Xamarin’s Components are not available yet

Register for Our Webinar

We’ll be hosting a webinar to help you, “Get Ready for iOS 8,” on Tuesday, September 11 at 8 am PDT. Join us then for a walkthrough of the top new and updated APIs in the iOS 8 release. Xamarin developers will be able to take advantage of the new APIs within hours of Apple’s public release, so attend this webinar to help get your apps iOS 8-ready.

Posted by Andrew Tierney Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:12:00 PM

ANDROID L DEVELOPER PREVIEW & ANDROID WEAR SUPPORT 

Today we have published support for Google’s Android L Developer Preview in the Alpha channel. Additionally, we are introducing preliminary support for new SDKs that Google has released, including Android Wear, Android TV, and brand new Support Libraries.Android Robot

Installing our Android L Preview

  • With this release, a Java JDK 1.7 is now required to properly compile applications. You can download one for your system from Oracle website.
  • Update your Android SDK Tools to 23.0.2 from the Android SDK Manager
  • Install Android SDK Platform & Build-tools to 20

Android SDKTools

  • Download the Android L and Android 4.4W SDKs

Android L Preview SDK Download

Android Wear

Android WearWhen Google announced their new wearable platform, Android Wear, last March, they only made a new library for enhancing existing notifications available.

At Google I/O, an official developer SDK to create full-featured applications capable of running on an Android Wear device was unveiled. With this release, Xamarin developers will now enjoy the same ability.

We are also making available the Android Wear UI Library preview on NuGet to include in your wearable apps. Our Android Support Library v4 was also updated to include many of the new Android Wear interaction APIs, such as NotificationCompat and RemoteInput.

Android Support Libraries

Not only did the Android L Preview come in with a new series of core APIs, it also brought a large update to the Android Support Libraries set.

Along with Android Support Library v4 updates, additional Support Libraries are now in preview release, including great new features such as RecyclerView,CardViewPaletteAndroid TV Leanback, and update to Support Library v13. All of these libraries are now available straight from NuGet.

IDE Improvements

We have also added some new features to help you design for those new platforms to our Android designer for both Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio. You’ll find Wear device support, Material theme selection, and Action Bar previewing, among others, starting today.

Android Wear Designer support

See the Xamarin Studio release notes for more information and known caveats.

Getting Started

You should have the new APIs available now. Check our release notes for more details and a detailed list of the new APIs.

Register for Our Webinar

We’ll be hosting a webinar to help you, “Get Ready for Android L, Wear and TV,” on Tuesday, September 16 at 8 am PDT. Join us then for a walkthrough of the top new and updated APIs in the Android L release, as well as the new Android Wear and Android TV SDKs.

 
Posted by Andrew Tierney Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:11:00 PM

MAJOR XAMARIN.MAC UPDATES 

We are happy to announce a few major updates to Xamarin.Mac. The first major update is the result of more than a year of development on our API bindings and Mono’s runtime which brings the following features to Xamarin.Mac:

  • 64-bit support
  • New 64-bit Frameworks
  • Support for lighter mobile profile
  • Easier code sharing between Mac and iOS

These features are available today in the Beta channel.

Yosemite OS X Logo On top of these new features we have been hard at work binding the new Mac OS X Yosemite APIs. We are pleased to announce support for Yosemite is now available. Since Yosemite is still an unreleased platform and may continue to change you will find these APIs in the Alpha channel along with all of the other features I mentioned earlier.

64-bit support & Easier Code Sharing

We recently announced the brand new Unified API for Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Mac. The Unified API allows developers to support both 32 bit and 64 bit applications with the same source code (as well as binaries) on both Mac and iOS.

In addition to this we also took the time to enhance the code sharing story between iOS and Mac. An example of this is that you no longer are required to add any namespace prefixes. This means code that looked like this:

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5
#if MAC
using MonoMac.Foundation;
#elif IOS
using MonoTouch.Foundation;
#endif

Can now simply be written in one line:

1
using Foundation;

For more information, read our new Guides for Cross Platform Mac and iOS code.

New 64-bit Frameworks

With the introduction of our Unified API we are finally able to support all of those 64 bit-only frameworks that Apple has introduced in the last few years, including but certainly not limited to the many new 64 bit-only frameworks in Yosemite.
What's new in scene kit

Shadows in Scene Kit

 

Lightweight Profile

Also with the Unified API comes the ability for users to adopt Xamarin’s Mobile profile. The Mobile profile is the same API profile that we use on Android and iOS which has been designed to be linkable and have a much smaller footprint on disk than the regular desktop edition. This is convenient for applications going into the AppStore or that wish to share more code across Android and iOS.

Samples!

Many of our Mac samples are being ported to the Unified API and currently live in their own branch. In addition, we are starting to publish our internal ports of the Yosemite samples which can be found in the Yosemite directory.

Posted by Andrew Tierney Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:10:00 PM

RAD Studio XE7 available today! 

 
RAD Studio XE7
 
RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder XE7 are available today! 
Get the must-have upgrade of the award winning, multi-device development solution for connected apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, gadgets and wearables. PLUS! Keep building, evolving, and extending your Windows applications using the updated VCL!
 
Introductory Offer: Buy or Upgrade before September 30th and SAVE 10%!
Qualifying RAD Studio, Delphi and C++Builder XE7 new user and upgrade products have a discount built into the prices through September 30, 2014.
 
Bonus Pack: Get free extras including FastCube VCL 2 data analysis tools and components, and Premium Style Packs for VCL and FireMonkey when you upgrade or recharge now!
 
Here’s what YOU can do with RAD Studio XE7:
  • Extend existing Windows Applications: Embrace the expanding world of devices including phones, tablets, gadgets, wearables and more, all within a single IDE!
  • Deliver Highly Connected Apps: Easily connect with enterprise data, cloud services, devices, sensors, gadgets…and more!
  • NEW FireUI Multi-Device Designer: Build user interfaces once for multiple device form factors and OSs with native fidelity, capabilities, and uniqueness
  • NEW Parallel Programming Library: Easily integrated for super-charged performance of your VCL and FireMonkey applications
  • NEW Bluetooth App Tethering: Extend existing Windows applications with tethered mobile apps using WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • NEW Enterprise Mobility Services (EMS): A turnkey REST based Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) middleware stack that provides custom API hosting and service deployment, including data and SQL database access, and analytics for mobile, desktop and web application clients
  • Easily connect with popular cloud services with REST as well as BaaS providers for push notifications, authentication, storage and more!
  • And much more…
These and many other innovations delivered in RAD Studio XE7 will result in you and your team building high performance, connected apps up to 20x faster!
Posted by Andrew Tierney Tuesday, September 2, 2014 10:21:00 PM

ANNOUNCING THE XAMMY AWARDS 

By  

Xammy BadgesWe are excited to announce the Xammy Awards, which will be awarded this year at Xamarin Evolve 2014. Xamarin developers represent the world’s top mobile developers and this is your chance to be recognized on our global stage.

Apps can be submitted in the following 4 categories:

  • Consumer: Tell us how your app changes the way we interact with the world and each other.
  • Gaming: Show us how you’ve created a breakthrough new game concept, or otherwise advanced the craft of game development.
  • Enterprise: Highlight how your app is transforming business processes and making BYOD work for employees and businesses.
  • Emerging Devices: Showcase how you’re taking C# to new form factors, and pioneering the next generation of mobile experiences.

There will be winners in each category, a Grand Prize winner, and a Developers’ Choice winner. Submissions are open from now until August 11th, and winners in the 4 categories will be announced at Xamarin Evolve 2014.

There is only one chance to claim a category for this inaugural year of the Xammy Awards — submit your app today!

Posted by Andrew Tierney Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:12:00 PM

WWDC Summary 

Apple Announces iOS 8 with Touch ID for Apps, QuickType, Third-Party Keyboards and More

Monday June 2, 2014 11:11 am PDT by Marianne Schultz

Apple announced iOS 8 at the keynote event of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference today. iOS 8 gets a multitude of new features for consumers, including revamped notification features, an upgrade to auto-correct called QuickType, support for third-party keyboards, improvements to Mail, and a new health tracking component called Health

Notification Center 

Interactive notifications let users pull down notifications and interact with them to respond to text messages or other notifications without leaving the current open app, or complete actions from notifications shown on the lock screen. In a demo, Craig Federighi was able to reply to an iMessage and like a Facebook post directly from the on-screen notification, which popped over a separate app he was using. 

Keyboard Enhancements 

A new feature in the iOS keyboard called QuickType, adds predictive typing suggestions that adapt to the current context. QuickType learns each users habits and language while protecting privacy. Along with QuickType enhancing the existing iOS keyboards, Apple is going to allow users to install third-party keyboards for the first time, which means keyboards like Swype can be used natively on the operating system. 

Messages Improvements 

Messages gets the ability to name conversation threads, add and remove people from group conversations, allow users to leave group conversations, a feature that has been much-requested by users. In addition to leaving a message thread, users also have the option to turn on "Do Not Disturb," which will mute message notifications from a noisy group message thread. 

With iOS 8, Messages allows users to share their locations right within the app. It also allows audio and video messages to be recorded directly in the Messages app and sent to friends. These messages can be viewed inline or via the lock screen. Craig Federighi showed off a neat trick with an audio message -- he held the phone up to his ear to reply, with the message automatically sending when he lowered the phone. 

HealthKit 

HealthKit is a new developer API that will gather and consolidate users' health information from multiple sources and apps, such as those from Nike and Fitbit. A corresponding "Health" app will monitor fitness metrics, linking into third-party apps to gather data. 

Apple has been testing HealthKit with the Mayo Clinic, letting patients and doctors work together using HealthKit to get personalized thresholds for readings, notifying doctors automatically when something is wrong. HealthKit aims to bridge the gap between patients, doctors, and health-tracking devices. According to the Mayo Clinic, HealthKit has the potential to "revolutionize" how the health industry works. 

Siri 

Siri gets several updates, with the ability to be invoked hands-free with the phrase "Hey, Siri" along with Shazam song recognition, 22 new dictation languages, streaming voice recognition to show users search results as they speak, and more. 

Extensibility 

There are thousands of new APIs for developers, and one of the most exciting of those was Extensibility. This feature allows apps within iOS 8 to share information with each other and with the Notification Center. Demoed on stage, Extensibility allowed filters from third-party apps to be used directly on pictures within the Photos app and it also brought Bing translation to Safari. 

Extensibility also allows apps to install widgets within the Notification Center, which work similar to existing Apple widgets for the Calendar, Stocks, and more. This was demoed with an ESPN SportsCenter widget, which allowed sports scores to be displayed automatically within Notification Center. 

Touch ID 

Developers will also be able to access Touch ID for the first time to protect sensitive apps. Fingerprint data will be kept separate, but authentication will automatically unlock passwords stored in keychain to grant user access to apps. 

Family Sharing 

A Family Sharing feature will let families share photos, calendars, reminders, and more among up to six family members at once. Family Sharing also allows families (of up to 6 people) with Apple ID accounts using the same credit card to share apps and books. With Family Sharing enabled, when a child attempts to purchase an app, an adult will get a popup on their own device asking them to approve the purchase. 

iOS 8 will support most recent Apple iOS devices with the notable exception of the iPhone 4. iOS 8 will be available to developers as a beta today and it will be released to the public in the fall. 

 

Apple Announces OS X Yosemite with Improved Cross-Device Connectivity and New User Interface

Monday June 2, 2014 10:52 am PDT by Husain Sumra

Apple today announced the latest version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite. The sequel to last year's OS X Mavericks, Yosemite includes a user interface redesign, as well as major new features focusing on seamless integration between Mac and iOS devices, a new cloud storage system called iCloud Drive, as well as the ability to make phone calls and send text messages through an iPhone. 

Continuity 

Continuity is the biggest new feature of OS X Yosemite, improving the connection between Macs and iOS devices. With Continuity, it's possible to share files between Mac and iOS devices and it's also possible to make phone calls on a Mac via an iPhone. 

AirDrop finally allows users to share files, photos, and more between iOS devices and Macs. Previously, this feature only allowed files to be shared from Mac to Mac or from iPhone to iPhone, which means sharing files from an iOS device to a Mac will now be far easier. Apple also debuted Handoff, which is a feature that allows iOS devices and Macs to recognize one another, letting users seamlessly transition from one device to another. For example, if a webpage is opened on Safari on a Mac, a user can pick up an iPhone and continue browsing that same site on his iOS device. In a demo on stage, the function was used to show an email started on the Mac continued on an iPhone. 

Through Continuity, iPhone communications integration allows users to make and answer phone calls sent to their iPhones right on their Macs. "Green bubble" SMS messages from Android also now show up on Macs, and it's easier than ever for a Mac to connect to an iPhone hotspot. 

Design and Notification Center 

The new UI is very similar to the flat look of iOS 7 with translucent windows, a new dock and app icons and an all-new notification center with a Today pane and both first- and third-party widgets like Weather and SportsCenter. There's also a new dark mode, which lets users turn the overall interface into the more darkened tone of Notification Center. 

Spotlight 

Spotlight has a brand new interface which looks somewhat like third-party Mac apps likeAlfred and Quicksilver and pops up in the center of the desktop. The new Spotlight allows users to not only search through their computer, but online through sources like Wikipedia, Yelp and for live movie times. In addition, Spotlight can do unit conversions, like converting miles to kilometers. 

iCloud Drive 

Another significant new feature is iCloud Drive, a Dropbox-like service that syncs documents across Macs, iOS devices and Windows. It offers an iCloud storage folder directly within Finder so users can see exactly which files they have in iCloud and it is accessible from both Macs and iOS devices. Apple has introduced new pricing for iCloud with the debut of iCloud Drive. The first 5GB of iCloud storage is free, while 20GB costs $0.99 per month and 200GB costs $3.99 per month. Tiers of up to 1TB are also available.

Mail 

Improvements to the Mail app in Yosemite include Mail Drop and Markup. Mail Drop's intention is to solve the problem of sending attachments that are far too large and result in failed sendings. iCloud now encrypts the attachments and sends the recipient a link to the attachment if it's too large. Attachments are limited to 5 GB. Markup allows users to sketch and doodle on emails, much like Evernote's Skitch

Safari 

Safari has also seen improvements with a new "bird's eye" tab view, improved Privacy windows, and support for advanced HTML5 video, allowing for a 2 hour increase in battery life when streaming Netflix. The new tab view, essentially designed to replace the existing bookmarks bar, allows users to see a bird's eye view of all open tabs and lets users to bunch tabs together. Smart suggestions, which display favorite sites directly under the search bar, also help to replace the bookmarks bar. 

As far as Privacy goes, users are now able to open a separate private window that does not affect existing windows or tabs, whereas previously, turning on privacy affected all open content. Safari includes 6.5x faster Javascript, with WebGL, SPDY, IndexedDB, Javascript Promises, CSS Shapes and more. 

OS X Yosemite is available today to registered developers and will be launched to the public this fall. There will also be an public open beta program launched later this summer. OS X Yosemite will be a free upgrade for all users. 

 

     

Posted by Andrew Tierney Friday, June 6, 2014 11:53:00 PM
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