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How to score the best deals at Best Buy for Apple products

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How to Save Money at Best Buy

Best Buy has stood the test of time in the world of electronics and has outlasted many competitors, including Circuit City and Radio Shack. Today, Best Buy is known for having a huge selection of all kinds of electronics and gadgets. Although the prices tend to be reasonable, they are often not as low as they could be, which makes it even more important to know how to shop smartly and save money. Use the following techniques to get great electronics for great prices at Best Buy.

Join My Best Buy

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Best Buy recently revamped and renamed its rewards program to attract more customers. The “My Best Buy” program is free to join at the basic level and provides a number of money-saving benefits.

You can join My Best Buy in store or by registering online at BestBuy.com. All you need to create an account is your full name, email address, and phone number. If you join in store, you can easily enter your member ID when you create an online account. My Best Buy comes with a number of benefits, including these three:

  • Rewards certificates: As a My Best Buy member, you’ll earn one point for every dollar you spend at Best Buy or BestBuy.com (excluding taxes and fees). Once you hit 250 points, you’ll receive a $5 rewards certificate. Rewards certificates work similarly to coupons and can be used for nearly any purchase that is over the certificate amount, like an iPhone case or Apple TV. You can also choose to save your points until you hit 1,000 points and redeem them for a $20 rewards certificate. Although this is a better deal, it can take longer to reach and is the maximum amount you can reach before the points reset. Note that it can take 15 days after a purchase for the points to be applied to your account and the points expire after one year.
  • Member-only exclusives: My Best Buy customers are often the first to know about upcoming sales and are given early access to many promotions and store events. You will also sporadically receive exclusive special offers, which can vary from a coupon for 15% off a certain type of product or extra rewards points when you buy certain brands.
  • Free shipping on $35+: Many expensive items, like the iPad Air or MacBook Pro, come with expensive shipping costs, which makes this offer of free shipping on all order of $35 or more even more appealing. This offer excludes items with scheduled delivery, like refrigerators.

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Elite and Elite Plus Memberships

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Although the basic free membership has its share of perks, you can also opt for the Elite and Elite Plus versions of My Best Buy if you are a very loyal customer. You must spend at least $1,500 at Best Buy in one calendar year to become an Elite member, and you must spend $3,500 in a single calendar year to become an Elite Plus member. The elevated reward status comes with bonuses, including:

  • Extended exchanges and returns: Instead of the typical 15 days to return an item, Elite members have 30 days after making a purchase and Elite Plus members have 45 days to return or exchange.
  • Point banking: While basic My Best Buy members have a cap of $1,000 points for a $20 reward certificate, Elite and Elite Plus members can accrue points with no limits. Unlike basic membership, the points never expire so you can save for a huge reward. Note that you have to maintain the Elite or Elite Plus annual spending levels to keep your points active—if you fail to spend the right amount of money in a year, you will be demoted to basic status and lose your points.
  • Bonus points: Instead of the basic one point per dollar spent, Elite members get 1.1 points for every dollar spent and Elite Plus members get 1.25 points for every dollar spent. That means basic members get $5 back for every $250 they spend, Elite members get $5 for ever $227.27 they spend, and Elite Plus members get $5 back for every $200 they spend.

If you are a frequent Best Buy customer and take great advantage of the My Best Buy program, a My Best Buy credit card could be a good option. Cardholders get 5% back in points on every purchase compared to 2% for basic members or they can choose interest-free 12-month financing on purchases of $399 or more. You can also use the My Best Buy credit card to get to Elite or Elite Plus status more quickly, as the $1,500 and $3,500 spending requirements can be met with any purchases made on the credit card, not just those at Best Buy and BestBuy.com

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Shop Deal of the Day

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Aside from its regular clearance sales online and in store, Best Buy also runs a Deal of the Day section that is similar to Amazon’s Lightning Deals. The Deal of the Day section is easy to use. Best Buy releases a new deep discount on a specific item every day, but the deal only lasts for one day before it is replaced by a new product with a deep discount. Daily Deal discounts are almost always at least 25% off and frequently more than 50% off. There are also sporadically Bonus Deals of the Day with extra items with low prices for a single day.

Because Deal of the Day products come with such great discounts, many items sell out quickly. Stay on top of the best discounts by signing up for the Deal of the Day email newsletter so you can score a product as soon as it is released.

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Shop Best Buy Outlet

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Best Buy was one of the first stores to create an online outlet shop, which is a great place for bargain hunters to get a great deal.

The outlet section of BestBuy.com features clearance, open-box, refurbishes, and pre-owned items. This is a great place to pick up Apple products for less. Search by category, brand, or savings level to find the perfect item. Outlet items can be picked up for free at Best Buy stores and can even be returned or exchanged, which is rare for online outlets. Products fall into the following categories:

  • Clearance: Items that are discounted by the manufacturer or that are no longer in stock
  • Open box: Practically new items that have been returned
  • Refurbished: Items that have been repaired so they are as good as new
  • Pre-owned: Restored used items that have passed tests to make sure they are in like-new condition

Clearance and open-box items from the outlet still qualify for manufacturer warranties, but pre-owned and refurbished items may not have an applicable warranty, so be sure to ask customer service before making your purchase.

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Use the Best Buy Price Match Guarantee

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Best Buy rewards loyal customers with an extensive price match guarantee that allows them to shop for everything at Best Buy while knowing they are getting the best possible price. Best Buy will match any local competitor’s in-store or online price and the price of identical items sold at online-exclusive stores like Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, crutchfield.com, HP.com, newegg.om, and tigerdirect.com, as well as BestBuy.com

The price match guarantee applies to identical products from other retailers, but it doesn’t apply to third-party marketplace sellers on BestBuy.com, Amazon.com, or other similar sites. Clearance items, coupon offers, flash sales, mail-in rebates, open-box items, and refurbished and pre-owned outlet items are also disqualified from the price match guarantee. Best Buy doesn’t match any sale prices from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, so don’t plan on price matching during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

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Buy Discounted Gift Cards at CardPool.com

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Save even more money at Best Buy by purchasing a discounted gift card from CardPool.com, a site that also sells discounted gift cards for many other stores. CardPool.com sells Best Buy gift cards at a great 5.5% discount, which can add up to great savings online or in store. Best Buy allows up to 10 gift cards to be used in a single transaction, which means you can buy two Best Buy gift cards from CardPool for $181.50 and save $11.59 instantly on a $200 purchase. In addition to selling the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV, Best Buy now sells the Apple Watch (*hint* *hint*). When used with sale or clearance items, the savings can be even greater. The smallest amount for an electronic gift card is $20, but physical gift cards can be mailed with free shipping and come in amounts as small as $10.

This great Best Buy Store Guide was brought to you by ZipfWorks, which seeks to revolutionize the way you shop by making you a smarter and more empowered shopper. Check out their other great services, like StyleSpotter, which helps you find the lowest price on more than 12,000 clothing brands, and DealSpotr, which shows great deals with coupon codes for national companies.

Here’s everything new in iOS 9 beta 5: Wi-Fi Calling, new iBooks theme, Keyboard shortcuts

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On Thursday, Apple seeded the fifth beta for iOS 9 to developers for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. There are several new features added with this beta, like new wallpapers, Wi-Fi calling on AT&T and a new iBooks theme. In this post, we show you all the new features (even ones not mentioned on other blogs):

Shuffle Music

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In the Songs section of the Music app, there’s now a Shuffle All button to play all your My Music songs in a randomized order.

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Wi-Fi Icon

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When disabling Wi-Fi, instead of the bars disappearing one-by-one, the entire icon goes gray and then disappears.

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Siri Suggestions

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When selecting a contact in Siri Suggestions, only their photo with name and icons for Phone, FaceTime, Messages and contact information are displayed.

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Updated Keyboard

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credit: 9to5MacThe Shift, Backspace and Dictation keys have been slightly tweaked with a new design on the iPhone.

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CarPlay

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credit: 9to5Mac

The CarPlay interface has been updated and you can now heart songs playing with Apple Music.

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New Theme in iBooks

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In addition to the White, Sepia and Night backgrounds for reading books, there’s a gray background available now.

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Headphones In, Device On

When you plug your headphones in, the device will light up to the Lock screen and show the Music icon opposite of the Camera icon in the left corner.

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Calendar Splash Screen

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A new screen appears when opening Calendar for the first time detailing all the new features.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

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In the Settings app, Keyboard Shortcuts has been renamed to “Text Replacements.” There’s also a new toggle for Shortcuts (next to Predictive text) to be enabled on the keyboard.

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Wallpapers

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As expected, there is a set of new wallpapers for devices running iOS 9. Apple has deleted some old ones from other operating systems (like the iconic earth, flower and grass wallpapers) while adding a few others that fully utilize the Retina display. There are close-ups of feathers, planets, flowers, paint and abstract wallpapers.

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Updated Settings

  • Handoff & Suggested Apps: On the Lock screen, only installed apps will be displayed when your nearby a relevant location instead of previously also displaying uninstalled apps. For example, when you’re near Starbucks, the app icon would show opposite of the camera icon on the lock screen regardless whether you had the app downloaded or not; now it will only show if the app is downloaded.
  • Regulatory information: Previously this information about your device was accessed in General, About, Legal and Regulatory. Now it’s just General, Regulatory.
  • Wi-Fi Calling: Users on the AT&T network can now enable Wi-Fi Calling on their devices, instead of only users on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks.
  • Wi-Fi Assist: When the device’s Wi-Fi connection is slow, there’s a feature that can be enabled to automatically switch to cellular if that is a faster connection.

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There will be a few more betas coming out before the public launch of iOS 9 in September alongside the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Here’s everything new in iOS 9 beta 4

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On Tuesday (roughly two weeks after there previous beta launch), Apple released the fourth beta of iOS 9 to developers for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This update brings many bug fixes and quite a few new features. In this post, we show you everything new about iOS 9 beta #4.

Reorganized Music Settings

credit: 9to5Mac

credit: 9to5Mac

Within Music settings, there’s a new section called “Playback & Downloads” which moved about the “Library” section. There’s options for using cellular data and listening to high quality music on cellular.

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Apple Music Share Sheet

credit: 9to5Mac

credit: 9to5Mac

When sharing music, you can now view the song in the iTunes Store and delete it from your device.

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Activity Indicator

credit: @MWS4K on Twitter

credit: @MWS4K on Twitter

When the Back button appears on the top left, the activity indicator windmill icon is moved to the right side.

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Updated UI and Icons

With Handoff, the app is now a banner in the app switcher instead of previously taking a space like other multitasking apps. Swipe up on the banner to show the app.

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credit: @v1597psh on Twitter

The Notifications icon in Settings changed from gray to red.

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The Battery icon in Settings was updated with rounded edges.

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In the Battery Notification Center widget, there’s new icons for the iPhone and Apple Watch.

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Various Other Updates

The Podcasts app supports Picture-in-Picture for viewing videos on the iPad.

In the Settings app, there’s an new list of HomeKit settings available.

In the Settings app, you can disable Bing web results in Search.

Double clicking the Home button, when enabled, will launch Passbook from the Lock screen. Only passes with barcodes will come up.

In the previous beta, the ability to take a picture with the volume controls in the Camera app was removed, but it appears it was only temporary.

Although removed with iOS 8.4, Home Sharing is back with iOS 9 beta 4.

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There will be a few more betas coming out before the public launch of iOS 9 in September alongside the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

How to create a location-based reminder

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The Reminders app can remind you to do a certain task when you arrive or leave a location. These location-based reminders can be set up with a few steps in the Reminders app. Once set up, a reminder will come up on your device about the certain task when you enter the selected area, for example, “Buy Milk” when you arrive at Walmart or “Take out trash” when you leave your house. Please watch our video or follow the instructions below.

To start, please open the Reminders app and tap on the list you want to use. Tap on the empty line and write in your reminder. For my example, I chose “iPhone case.” Afterwards, tap on the (i) icon to open up details about the reminder. Here, you can change when you’ll be reminded, where you’ll be located when the reminder appears, the reminder’s priority, the list you selected it to be in and any notes you want to add. Toggle ON Remind me at a location and tap Location. Write in the address or business where you want the reminder notification to appear. At the bottom of the screen, tap When I arrive… if you want the reminder to appear when you arrive at a specific location or When I leave… to be reminded when you’re leaving a location. Slide the black dot to increase or decrease the radius of the reminders area. Tap Details and Done to save the reminder. You’ll now see your new reminder on your list.

You can also set up a simple reminder by asking Siri to do it for you, although she may take locations very literally. For example, tell her “Remind me when I get home to take out the trash” and she will set up a reminder for when arrive at home. If you say “Remind me when I get to Walmart to buy an iPhone case“, she will literally create a reminder that says “when I get to Walmart to buy an iPhone case.”

Please check us out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/devicegeekblog or follow us on YouTube for more weekly tips!

Here’s all the details for the iOS 8.4 update coming today at 11am EST

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At 8am PST (or 11am for those of us on the Eastern side of the United States), Apple will release its iOS 8.4 update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This last major update to iOS 8 brings a completely revamped Music app with Apple Music, some design tweaks, bug fixes and a new Audiobooks player in iBooks.

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The all-new Music app will be home to both Apple Music and music purchased from the iTunes Store. Apple Music is made up of three basic components. The first, which is the on-demand music service, allows paid subscribers to access the entire iTunes Store library of over 30 million songs for unlimited streaming. Apple gives new users a 3-month free trial with the service and then it will be $9.99/month for individuals or $14.99/month for families once the trial ends. The second component is the radio which is made up of Beats 1, the new global 24/7 radio hosted in three cities with several guest stars, and playlists listed by genre created by humans (not computer algorithms). Beats 1 starts its first broadcast an hour after iOS 8.4 launches. Finally, there’s a section called Connect that will let users follow their favorite artists and view sound clips, photos, videos and more shared by them. This section won’t be just limited to the major artists, unsigned artists can connect with their fans on here too.

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The Music app also received a complete redesign with many new features and a fresh icon. It is organized into five tabs: ‘For You’, ‘New’, ‘Radio’, ‘Connect’ and ‘My Music.’ The ‘For You’ tab recommends playlists, albums and music based on your likes and the ‘New’ tab shows new music that’s also based on your likes. The ‘Radio’ and ‘Connect’ tabs, as we mentioned above, are part of Apple Music. Finally, the ‘My Music’ tab is all the music that you own, including those stored on your device and in the cloud.  For new features, there’s a MiniPlayer that subtly opens up when music is played, playlists can be personalized with pictures, descriptions and names, Up Next functionality to chose which songs play next and improved Now Playing to focus on artwork of albums and the music you’re listening to.

The iOS 8.4 update can be downloaded over-the-air with the Settings app (go to: General –> Software Update –> Download & Install) or with iTunes (plug in your device and click Check for Update).

Sources: 9to5Mac, AppAdvice

Apple releases iOS 9 beta 2 to developers

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On Tuesday, Apple seeded the second beta of iOS 9 to developers for testing. We noticed the following changes with the update.

New Podcasts icon

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In iOS 9, we see a new Podcasts icon that is more vibrant by replacing the transparent light gray lines with white ones.

Apple Watch app changed to just “Watch”

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The Apple Watch companion app is renamed to just “Watch” which matches Apple’s website for the Apple Watch and other apps in iOS with one word names.

Updated Low Power Mode description

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The description wording changed slightly, but nothing changed about how it functions.

New Undo/Redo buttons on iPad keyboard

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The Copy and Paste icons have been replaced by these new Undo and Redo buttons. However, when text is selected, the Copy and Paste icons reappear.

Handoff in app switcher

credit: MacRumors

Handoff, which was introduced with iOS 8, allows you to start a document, email, read a webpage, etc. on one iOS device and then hand it off to continue on another. In the app switcher, the content from the other iOS device is on the first page.

Updated Safari settings

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The settings options in Safari have added two new toggles: Show Favorites Bar and Show Tab Bar and has eliminated the option to turn off Content Blockers.

News app added to iCloud

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The News app, which replaces the Newsstand app, is not yet available in this beta of iOS 9, but there’s a toggle for it in iCloud settings. Turning it on and off doesn’t do anything just yet.

Third-party Search

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Starting when developers start using the Search API announced at WWDC, users will be able to search through non-Apple apps for content. Toggles for these apps have been added to Search Results settings.

Auto app delete/install

If there is insufficient storage on a device for the newest iOS update, the device can automatically delete any apps needed to free up space for the download. Once the update is completed, the device will reinstall all deleted apps and restore them to how they were before the update so no data is lost.

 

The iOS 9 software update, which will be released in fall 2015 for the public, comes with many bug fixes and plenty of new features. Check out our iOS 9 guide for a full list of new features.

 

Sources: MacRumors

How to enable Low Light mode

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When you are using your iPhone at night, the lowest brightness setting is sometimes too bright and you want something darker. There’s a Low Light mode that takes a few steps to turn on, but it will significantly lower the display brightness and allow you to not be blinded by your iPhone at night.

In the following video we should you how to turn on Low Light mode using our iPad running iOS 9. We followed the same steps you would take in iOS 7 and iOS 8, but you may notice some buttons or sections that aren’t on your device. Please ignore these.

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To access the lowest brightness setting, you’ll need to open the Settings app, go to General, Accessibility and then Zoom.

Toggle the Zoom setting ON, tap the long oval at the bottom of the Zoom box, tap Full Screen Zoom, tap Choose Filter and then Low Light and move the circle over to completely zoom out.

Go back to the Accessibility settings, tap Accessibility Shortcut and tap Zoom.

Once you do this, you’ll be able to turn on Low Light mode on your device by triple clicking the Home button. This feature makes it a lot easier to use your device at night since there’s not a bright light glaring in your face.

WWDC 2015: Apple announces iOS 9

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On Monday, Apple announced the next-generation operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This update was rumored to be relatively minor, mostly focusing on bug fixes and improvements, however, Apple came out with a lot of new features. The operating system update comes with new apps (with different default ones), enhancements to preexisting ones and some of those long-time rumored features are finally here.

iOS 9 beta 1 on the iPad mini 2

iOS 9 beta 1 on the iPad mini 2

The operating system, when first installed on a new device, comes with most of the standards apps we saw in iOS 8, but there’s a couple of changes. The Newsstand app is now gone, and although the first beta doesn’t have it, it will be replaced by the Flipboard-Like News app. In addition, the iPad comes pre-installed with the Find iPhone, which used to be called the “Find My iPhone”, and Find Friends, which used to be called the “Find My Friends”. When the Notes app is opened for the first time, the device prompts you to download the iCloud Drive app.

Most of the apps in iOS 9 also have updates, here is what we have seen so far:

  • System-wide: new San Fransisco font, when switching from one app to another (i.e. Camera to Photos app) there’s a new button to take you back to the previous app on the top left of the display, new user interface for App Switcher
  • Multitasking: the iPad can use two apps simultaneously with Slide Over (one app pulls in from the side and is accessed on top of another), Split View (two apps are side-by-side), Picture in Picture (video plays in square on top of another app)
  • Keyboard: new Shift key, lowercase letters when typing in lowercase, new toolbar on iPad for copy, paste and cut, new design for Dictation
  • Search: two ways: iOS 7-style (swipe down from Home screen) and Proactive Search (screen to the left of the first Home screen)
    • Proactive Search: view Siri suggestions for contacts and recently used apps, nearby businesses and what’s currently in the news
  • Siri: updated user interface, more functions
  • Camera: new HDR toggle
  • Photos: scrub through all photos using scrubber at the bottom of the display
  • Contacts: your contact information is at the top of the list with profile picture
  • Maps: mass transit navigation, Share icon replaced with “Share”, reviews for locations come from TripAdvisor instead of Yelp, more options when viewing details about a location, Nearby feature to see what’s around you
  • Notes: updated user interface, notes can be grouped, more can be added to notes (URLs, drawings, maps), take pictures from within the Notes app, Recently Deleted notes group, Attachments group for all your content and more
  • Podcasts: updated user interface, more like the Podcasts section of the iTunes Store, group unplayed podcasts together
  • Find Friends: merge friends from a different Apple ID, automatically share location, Notification Center widget
  • Find iPhone: updated user interface
  • iCloud Drive: turned off by default, shows all content stored in iCloud by date, name and tags
  • Settings:
    • search Settings (FINALLY!)
    • group incoming notifications in Notification Center by app (versus time or day)
    • new Accessibility options: Touch Accommodations allow those who have a difficult time using the touch screen to change how the device responds to touches, disable Shake to Undo, toggle lowercase keys on keyboard, customize typing experience with a hardware keyboard, Call Audio Routing, toggle automatically playing audio descriptions for content, thoroughly customize AssistiveTouch menu
    • toggle vibration on/off permanently
    • use side switch to toggle mute or rotation lock on all devices (versus just the iPad)
    • new section for Battery to view usage and activate Low Power Mode
    • enable Show Contacts Found in Mail for device to search through email for incoming unknown callers
    • change default text format in Notes
    • Continuity options now in Phone section (instead of FaceTime section)
    • view Content Blockers for Safari
    • new settings for the frame rate, regular and slo-mo videos for your iPhone’s camera
    • Siri Audio Feedback toggle when mute switch flipped on
    • six digit Passcodes
    • wireless CarPlay

All of the above features were discovered using the first beta of iOS 9. Some of these features may not make it to the final public release version or they may be altered. Additionally, there may be more features in future betas and the public release version.

The iOS 9 update can be downloaded by registered developers from the developer’s portal.

Sources9to5Mac

WWDC 2015 Keynote: Apple announces iOS 9, Apple Music and watchOS 2

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The annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference started a few hours ago with a keynote from Apple CEO Tim Cook. He, along with several members of the Apple team, announced many new software products like Mac OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, watchOS 2 and more.

Mac OS X El Capitan

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The next-generation operating system for Mac has arrived. This update has two major focuses: experience and performance. For changes in experience, Apple added many new features that enhance the way the Mac is used. For example, Split View allows you to work on two apps simultaneously together. Like Windows, the computer will automatically size two apps to fix next to each other in your fullscreen window space. Apple also expanded the Notes app, Mail, Safari, Photos, Maps and made Spotlight Search more like Facebook’s Graph Search. For performance, they added the Metal graphics core technology which increases the performance and graphics of apps.

Comes out to developers today, to public beta testers in July and the public in the Fall.

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iOS 9

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Apple announced several new updates with the next-generation operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Like El Capitan, the team focused on key areas when talking about the updates. In terms of Intelligence, Siri has been updated with a new colorful user interface and more capabilities. Siri can search through your photos and videos in the Photos app to provide specific answers to requests, like searching for those pictures you took last year at WWDC. There’s a new page to the left of the Home screen (where the search bar used to be pre-iOS 7) that displays suggestions for people to talk to, apps to use, what’s nearby in terms of food, drinks, shopping and fun and what’s currently in the news. This section is also for Spotlight Search and it has expanded capabilities to return search results with videos on YouTube and Vimeo, third-party apps, measurement conversions and more.

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The second key area is Enhancements and this, simply put, means that Apple has updated several of their apps with more functions. For example, the Notes app has a new toolbar that has shortcuts for formatting options, the App Switcher has a completely new user interface, the Health app can track more data points, the Maps app can provide transit directions and Apple added a new app called News, which provides magazines and news articles from several sources in an easy-to-read format.

Apple also focused on increasing performance with the iPhone. They reduced the total available space to 1.3GB in order to install iOS 9 instead of the 4.6GB needed for iOS 8. The team also increased the energy efficiency by adding an additional hour of battery time for devices running iOS 9 and a new function called Low Power Mode that will switch off many functions to add up to three additional hours of battery life (on top of the hour).

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Split View on the iPad Air 2

For the final area of focus, Apple designed specific features of iOS 9 to solely work on the iPad. After nearly two years of rumors, Multitasking is finally here on the iPad. Like the iPhone, there’s a new App Switcher user interface. The iPad can use two apps simultaneously next to each other with features called Slide Over, Split View and Picture in Picture.

Comes out to developers today, public beta testers in July and the public in the Fall. All the devices that could upgrade to iOS 8 will be able to update to iOS 9 as well.

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Apple Watch (watchOS 2)

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Even though the Apple Watch is only a few weeks old, Apple has announced the second-generation operating system. On a side note, this means we can expect a new operating system every WWDC (so watchOS 3 in June 2016). Anyway, watchOS 2 adds a lot of new functions, like photos for the watch’s face, third-party complications, new apps can run without the need for the iPhone, support for transit directions, Siri can control HomeKit-enabled devices and more.

Comes out to developers today, the public in the Fall.

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Apple Pay

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To start off talking about Apple Pay, the team went into detail about the success the payment service has seen. Apple Pay has been out since October 2014 and is now accepted in over one million locations. Several major retailers have announced they will soon be accepting the service in their stores too, like JCPenney, Forever21, Dunkin Donuts, Trader Joe’s, Best Buy and many others. With iOS 9, the Passbook app has been renamed to Wallet and there’s a new icon. Store credit and debits cards and loyalty and rewards cards will also be stored in the app. Finally, Apple announced that Apple Pay will begin its international expansion by entering the United Kingdom in July.

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One More Thing…

Apple Music

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As rumored, Apple announced their new music streaming service that will directly compete with Spotify and Rdio. This music service will allow for unlimited streaming for every song found in the iTunes Store (some of which are not found on Spotify). It will recommend playlists and albums based on the music you listen to, show you top charts, new music and more, allow you to connect to your favorite artists and view the content they share, like photos, videos and sound bites, and there’s a 24/7 global radio that is live from New York City, Los Angeles and London. The music streaming service, which is found in the all-new Music app, will be available for $9.99/month per person or $14.99/month for families of up to six people. Apple is offering a three-month free trial for those who want to test out the service.

The new Music app with streaming service comes with iOS 8.4 and is available to download on June 30th. Apple will also be releasing an app on Android in the Fall.

iOS 9 rumor roundup: new Home app, Proactive menu, updated keyboard

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On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook will announce the next-generation operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch called iOS 9.  We don’t expect huge changes like previous updates (e.g. iOS 7), but there will be some new features in addition to the rumored bug fixes and improvements. For these features, there will be a new Home app, we will see Apple Music and a few apps will receive updates.

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Proactive

On the Home screen, there will be a new menu available by either swiping down from the middle of the display (the same gesture to open Spotlight search) or it will be available on the screen left of the Home screen. This menu, called Proactive, will integrate information from Apple stock apps and third-party app to provide daily itineraries and other details. It will be the Google Now of Android devices on iPhone.

Updated Stock Apps

  • Messages– Read receipts will now be on a contact-by-contact basis so you can inform some friends that you have read their messages and others that their messages have only been delivered
  • Maps– support for train, bus and subway navigation; future support for Street View
  • Siri– new interface with more colors like Apple Watch, more support for Siri indexing third-party apps
  • Music– redesigned Music app, revamped iTunes Radio and new music streaming service for $10/month (may be part of iOS 8.4)
  • Game Center– yet again, rumored to be removed in this update
  • Health– more data points available

New Home App

In iOS 9, there will be a new “Home” app that will be the central control center for all smart home accessories. Users will be able to control their lights, thermostat, outlets, etc. all from the Home app instead of opening different apps to control their home. The app will also display virtual rooms so users can easily detect which rooms are being controlled.

Force Touch

Both of the new iPhones are expected to come with the Force Touch display when they are announced in September. This will allow the phone to distinguish between a tap and the entire finger pad pressing on the display and depending on this, the phone will respond differently. There are numerous new changes to iOS that Apple will hold off to announce until September since they will use the Force Touch display.

Other Features

  • New font– Apple will replace the Helvetica Neue font introduced with iOS 7 for San Francisco (found on the Apple Watch)
  • Updated keyboard– more accessible Quick Type, better landscape keyboards and better-to-understand shift key
  • Apple Pay in Canada– iOS 9 has the necessary foundation for Canadian banks, credit unions and retailers to begin supporting Apple Pay
  • Split-screen multitasking– on the iPad, two apps will be able to run simultaneously side-by-side

In addition to the above rumored features, the update will also be support on older devices, like the iPhone 4S, even though history tells us that iOS 8 will be the last major operating system update for the phone. Many features will not be included due to limits of the hardware, but we expect Apple to announce iOS 9 support for the iPhone 4S.

Sources: 9to5Mac, Fortune