Apple gains app development platform with Buddybuild

Apple has acquired the iOS continuous integration and deployment provider Buddybuild. Buddybuild is a Canadian based application development startup that aims to tie together CI, CD and a feedback solution in one platform.

“We’re excited to share that the buddybuild team has joined the Xcode engineering group at Apple to build amazing developer tools for the entire iOS community,” the buddybuild team wrote in a post.

As part of the acquisition, the company will no longer be accepting new customers, and will be discontinuing its free starter plans and Android app development in the beginning of March this year. The company will still provide its services to existing customers, and work on building, testing and shipping iOS apps to testers.

Buddybuild features a customizable workflow, automated unit and UI testing, one click continuous deployment, user insight, and integrated services. Developers can integrate with popular tools such as GitHub, Slack, JIRA, HipChat and Trello. In addition, it provides a feedback reporter for filing bug reports, crash reports with source context, and instant replay into each bug or crash report.

“For iOS developers, Buddybuild can take care of all the work associated with code signing, and managing provisioning profiles for you. Beta testers and stakeholders get a streamlined, ‘one click’ install experience as buddybuild manages provisioning profiles and devices for you,” the company wrote.

Apple: A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns

About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

  • Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on
  • Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
  • As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

Apple follows Microsoft’s footsteps, plans to launch unified app platform

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a unique way that allows an app to run on various Windows 10 devices like the Xbox, Mobile, etc. But this platform has lost its charm since Microsoft killed its mobile platform which was mainly going to be benefitted by this.

It basically offers an API in the core of the OS across devices that can be used by the developer to create their app package that would work on all devices regardless of the screen size. It is basically a common or a unified platform for the apps so that they can run on various Windows 10 devices at the core. Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform will be getting a competitor and the competitor is Apple.

A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is also following the footsteps of Microsoft by unifying its platform for apps. Apple would be creating a unified platform for apps so that developers can create apps for iOS and macOS devices. The project is internally codenamed as ‘Marzipan’ and may get announced at annual WWDC next year, according to an article by Bloomberg. After which developers will be able to create an app package for their apps that would work on any hardware be it iPhone with iOS on a touch interface or on a Mac with macOS on a mouse. This platform may be rolled out as part of its next major updates for iOS and macOS.

According to a statement by CEO Tim Cook, he doesn’t seem to be a fan of this idea at least till when he said it. His statement goes like this, “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.” Even this idea was called a compromise by Apple’s software chief. But the idea is really beneficial especially for the apps that never get updated on the macOS. What do you think about Apple’s UWP clone? Let us know in the comments below.

Microsoft Edge for Android recently reached the 1 million download mark and now the browser is in the list of top 20 Free Apps chart on the Google Play Store, meaning that the company’s browser is actually popular among the Android users. Since Microsoft Edge has ditched the preview tag, the browser is actually gaining huge popularity.

This is also a living proof that Microsoft is very keen on becoming a top developer on rival mobile platforms, with more focus on Google’s Android. Since Microsoft Edge is now expanding to rival mobile platforms, this would also help the browser gain some more market share.

Microsoft Edge is the 17th popular app after Facebook and Netflix on the Play Store, according to the top 20 apps chart. Microsoft Edge debuted in 2015 and the browser has barely improved its market share on the PCs since then, on the other hand, Microsoft Edge is growing at least on the rival mobile platform, while Google Chrome is the top choice for any user.

Since the Microsoft Edge adoption rate is going strong on Android and iOS, we can assume that the Microsoft is pretty satisfied with the performance of its browser. At the time of writing this story, Microsoft Edge has between 1 million and 5 million hits on the Google Play Store.

Microsoft Edge on Android comes with important feature like ‘Continue on PC’ and Password Sync, it could also boost adoption of the browser on desktops as many users are looking for applications that support cross-platform syncing, however, the feature requires a Microsoft account to function. You can get the Microsoft Edge browser from the Google Play Store by clicking on the below link.

Download Microsoft Edge for Android.

Stack Overflow: Angular and Swift are dramatically rising in popularity

Stack Overflow is taking a look at the most dramatic rises and falls in developer technologies. According to its data, Apple’s programming language for iOS development, Swift, and Google’s web framework Angular are getting a lot of attention from developers today.

“Life as a developer (or data scientist, in my case) involves being comfortable with changing technologies,” Julia Silge, data scientist at Stack Overflow, wrote in a post. “I don’t use the same programming languages that I did at the beginning of my career and I fully expect to be using different technologies several years from now. Both of these technologies grew incredibly fast to have a big impact because they were natural next steps for existing developer communities.”

The data is based off of Stack Overflow “questions by” tag.

The data also shows Google’s mobile IDE Android Studio, Apple’s iPad and Google’s machine learning library TensorFlow with remarkable growth over the past couple of years.

Technologies that have had a decrease in interest within the developer community include JavaScript framework Backbone.js, game engine Cocos2d, Microsoft’s Silverlight, and Flash framework Flex.

Stack Overflow also looked at technologies with the highest sustained growth since 2010. The report found Angular.js, TypeScript, Xamarin, Meteor, Pandas, Elasticsearch, Unity 3D, machine learning, AWS and dataframe have grown at a high level over the past couple of years.

“Several of these technologies are connected to the growth of data science and machine learning, including Pandas and the dataframe tag,” wrote Silge. “Others occupy unique positions in the software industry, such as the ubiquitous search engine Elasticsearch and the game engine Unity. These technologies are diverse, but they all have grown at strong and steady rates over the past 5 to 7 years.”

KotlinConf kicks off with Kotlin 1.2 RC

The Kotlin programming language is getting a number of new updates and improvements as part of the inaugural KotlinConf taking place in San Francisco this week. Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for modern multiplatform applications developed by JetBrains.

The big announcement from the conference’s keynote was the release of Kotlin 1.2 Release Candidate. The new release will include experimental support for multiplatform projects, language improvements, support for array literals in annotations, and compiler enhancements.

In addition, the Kotlin team announced support for iOS development with Kotlin/Native. Kotlin/Native is designed to compile Kotlin directly to machine code. iOS support is being released as part of Kotlin/Native 0.4. “This support is still in its early days, but it’s there, and it’s a major step on our path of enabling Kotlin development on all platforms,” Dmitry Jemerov, software developer for JetBrains, wrote in a post.

Earlier this year, the programming language made headlines when Google announced it would support Kotlin in Android. Since then, the Android team has seen more than 17% of Android Studio projects using Kotlin.

“We are really excited about the strong momentum, and we are thrilled that Android developers all over the world are discovering the joy of Kotlin programming,” James Lau, product manager for Android, wrote in a post. “Kotlin for Android is production-ready. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, developers are already using Kotlin to build their apps. Developers from Pinterest, to Expedia, to Basecamp — and many others — are finding their use of Kotlin is increasing productivity and their overall developer happiness levels.”

Google recently released Android Studio 3.0 with Kotlin support built-in.

Other announcements from the keynote included: Kotlin/Native IDE support, a initial preview version of the Kotlin/Native plugin for CLion; Ktor 0.9, a asynchronous coroutine-based Web framework built from Kotlin; and official Kotlin wrappers for React.js. According to the team, the new wrappers are perhaps the biggest news for web front-end development with Kotlin. The new feature enables developers to create modern web apps using React and Kotlin, without having to worry about project setup and build configuration.

“As for the future evolution of the language, our main goal at this time is to enable better and broader code reuse between the platforms supported by Kotlin. We plan to extend the set of libraries available on all platforms with the same API to include I/O, networking, serialization, date handling and more,” Jemerov wrote.

The focus of Kotlin 1.3 will include internal changes such as better performance, improved type inference, and improved responsiveness of IDE plugins.

Gameloft is dropping support for Windows Phone but not because of Microsoft

Gameloft recently announced that it would no longer support the Windows Phone platform, blaming Microsoft for not supporting its own mobile operating system. While the company stated that it wouldn’t support Dungeon Hunter and some selected games, however it is likely that no new games will be released for Windows Phone because the platform is unfortunately dead.

A week ago, Gameloft’s Community Manager revealed that it is dropping support for Windows Phone because of Microsoft. “Microsoft announced recently that they are discontinuing development of this platform, for that reason, we will not be able to keep creating updates for DH5 for Windows Phones,” the company said in the forum.

However, today the company has released yet another statement, this time Gameloft has said that Windows Phone is no longer being supported because of low user base. Surprisingly, Gameloft is not blaming Microsoft anymore.

“An internal miscommunication led to an incorrect statement regarding the end of support for Dungeon Hunter 5 on Windows Phones. To clarify, the reason we will not be able to release further updates for Windows Phones is that, unfortunately, the community of players on this platform has become too small for us to support.

We thank all Windows Phone players for their continuous engagement in Dungeon Hunter 5, and want to offer them the possibility to migrate their progress to Windows PC, or to an iOS/Android device, in order to continue playing with the most recent content and events. Dungeon Hunter 5 will still be available on Windows Phone for those who choose to remain on this platform, with all its current functionalities, but will not receive updates,” Gameloft said in a statement.

Gameloft recently released a new game for Windows Phone and PC, despite saying it wouldn’t do so. But now as Windows Phone platform is no longer being supported, more and more users are likely to quit the platform for Android or iOS, as a result Gameloft will also not release any new games for Microsoft’s mobile platform.

news digest: PostgreSQL 10 released, Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6, and ReactOS moves to GitHub

The open source database PostgreSQL has announced the release of their latest version, PostgreSQL 10. It includes the ability to distribute data across many nodes, also known as a divide and conquer strategy. Other features include logical replication, declarative table partitioning, improved query parallelism, quorum commit for synchronous replication, and SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication.

Logical replication will enable users to send modifications to different databases. The new release improves upon the existing table partitioning by providing a new syntax, which allows users to create and maintain range and list partitioned tables. The update also provides better queries by enabling more parts of the query execution to be run in parallel. The quorum commit allows for flexibility in how the primary database gets confirmation that changes were successfully written to replica databases. And the SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication is designed to provide a more secure way of authentication than what was previously in place.

Red Hat announces Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6, which will be available later this month. Container-Native Storage integrates with their OpenShift Container Platform, the latest version of which was released in August. New features include block storage, support for core infrastructure elements of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, and the ability to have three times as many applications and microservices deployed on a single cluster, according to the company.

“As enterprises deploy containers, many see a need for storage solutions designed specifically for these types of systems,” said Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of Storage at Red Hat. “Red Hat Container-Native Storage, optimized for multi/hybrid cloud deployments with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, offers that.”

Microsoft Edge to be released on iOS and Android
Microsoft has announced that they will be bringing Microsoft Edge to iOS and Android devices. Currently, it is available in iOS to limited number of users as a part of Apple’s TestFlight system. It will be available soon as part of the company’s Play Store Early Access. Microsoft Edge is built on the EdgeHTML platform, but the iOS version will be built using the WebKit engine and the Android version will be built using the Blink rendering engine from Chromium. The mobile version will be able to sync with the desktop version so that users can open pages on their phone and then pick up where they left off on their computer.

“A web platform is a complex piece of technology that in many respects duplicates aspects of an entire operating system in a single app,” Sean Lyndersay, principal program manager lead for Microsoft Edge, wrote in a post. “Taken in that light, it should then not be a surprise that we have chosen to adopt the core web platform technologies on each of the app platforms we are announcing today.”

ReactOS moves to decentralized Git repository
The ReactOS source code has been migrated to a Git repository. According to the company, the team has been wanting to move to a decentralized repository for years, but were unable to do so until now. They are still in the process of rewriting development documentation that reflects changes after the Git migration. “We expect that this move greatly improves the way we collaborate on ReactOS development and reduces the barriers for newcomers,” said Colin Finck in a blog post.

AngularFire adds Cloud Firestore support

The Angular team has announced support for Cloud Firestore in AngularFire.

Cloud Firestore was released into public beta this week by the Google Firebase team. It features querying; real-time data synchronization; iOS, Android and web SDKs with offline data access; and multi-region data replication.

AngularFire is the official Angular library for Firebase. “AngularFire combines the power of Angular, Firebase, and RxJS to act as your serverless backend. It includes modules for the Realtime Database, Firebase Authentication, and now we’ve added Cloud Firestore to that list,” according to an Angular blog post.

With Cloud Firestore, AngularFire now features improved querying and offline data.

iPhone users complain iOS 11 slows down their apps

Apple is catching some heat over the release of the new iOS 11. A litany of iPhone users are reporting experiencing a significant drop in performance after updating to the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The issues range from reduced battery life to noticeably slower app performance, according to numerous posters on Reddit. Among other things, users are complaining that apps either take unusually long to open or crash altogether when loading. One common trait is that issues began occurring after updating to iOS 11.

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“Ever since I upgraded, launching apps is an absolute chore,” one dissatisfied user wrote. “Safari, Reddit, ESPN, Yahoo, texts [and more] all have a terrible time opening. They either crash back to home, freeze and require closing the app, or take well over a minute to load. I never had a single issue with my [iPhone] 7+ before last night.”

The sentiment seemed to be shared among Apple consumers.

“My iPhone 7 did so well throughout the public beats until the last one or two,” another user writes. “Now apps are slow, Snapchat is not functional when I open it via notifications, the Music app just crashed and my iPhone needs to be rebooted a few times a week. Battery life is suffering as well.”

Another complaint says the following:

I have this [performance] problem all the time. It seems to come and go a little bit, but sometimes my phone will just get stuck on apps, and it happens with Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Messenger, Safari, basically any app that I can think of. Often a hard reset is the only way out. [It all started] happening after iOS 11

A slew of users have also mentioned having difficulties using the control center from lock screen, including noticing faulty behavior when changing songs or adjusting the volume.

In all fairness, the issue doesn’t seem to be affecting all users, with some reporting their iPhones are functioning nice and smooth after updating to iOS 11.

One thing to keep in mind is that minor technical issues following major release updates aren’t all that uncommon –  even for the Big A. The good thing is that you can take some measures to alleviate the damage.

Those who are yet to move to the latest iteration of the mobile OS can check which apps are still not optimized for iOS 11 prior to updating. Unfortunately, if you have already installed the update, your best bet is to simply wait for Apple to distribute fixes in upcoming updates.

You could also opt to revert your iPhone back to iOS 10, but the process is rather cumbersome and not all users are reporting the move has been successful so far. You might be better off holding off for the next iOS 11 update.