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Apple’s watchOS 4 brings Siri watch face, smart activity coaching and more

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Kevin Lynch watchOS 4 Keynote

Apple announced watchOS 4, the fourth major update to Apple Watch’s watchOS, at WWDC 2017 in San Jose. The update makes Apple Watch smarter, bringing more intelligence and fitness features to the wearable. Siri watch face, smart Activity coaching, and a new music experience are among the new features coming to Apple Watch with watchOS 4 this fall.

A smarter coach and workout partner. Better in tune with your taste in music. And an even more proactive all-day assistant. With watchOS 4, Apple Watch is dialed in to you like never before.

watchOS 4 brings the all-new Siri watch face. Coming in with a cool new Siri icon, the Siri watch face on watchOS 4 dynamically updates the information on the screen based on the time the day, daily routines and data extracted from the apps you use, with each rise of the wrist.

Apple watchOS4

The software update, which is currently available to developers in preview mode, improves the Activity app feature also for which it has been much loved. The Activity app now delivers intelligent coaching, with tailored encouragement and suggestions regarding their day-to-day activity. There’s also unique Monthly Challenges deigned for users, which is solely based on the activity of the users. The Siri watch face and Activity both are powered by machine learning.

The Music app on your wrist has been redesigned to the personal level. It now automatically syncs your New Music Mix, Favorites Mix and most listened to music. With AirPods and watchOS 4 on your Apple Watch, you should have better workouts on the go. Not to forget that the feature will require an Apple Music subscription to work.

The Workout app on the Apple Watch Operating System now includes auto-sets for pool swim workouts and new motion and heart-rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. You can easily combine multiple workouts to measure all the data at once.

Apple also announced GymKit, allowing users to pair their Apple Watch directly to treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes or stair steepers with a tap, and seamlessly sync data — including calories, distance, speed, floods climbed, incline and pace — across the smartwatch and GymKit-enabled devices from global manufacturers such as Life Fitness and Technogym.

We love Siri, and Toy Story, too. The new watchOS comes with new Toy Story and Kaleidoscope watch faces, along with the Siri watch face. It brings Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear to the Apple Watch, while the Kaleidoscope watch face escorts mesmerizing patterns. Watch faces aside, Apple also introduced new Apple Watch summer bands. The offering includes vibrant Sports Bands, a bright yellow Classic Buckle and Nike Sport Band. Apple is also offering a Pride Edition Woven Nylon in rainbow stripe.

Interestingly, Apple has brought Person to Person Payments with Apple Pay to watchOS 4 on Apple Watch. With watchOS 4 on board, you can make and receive payments quickly, easily and securely with friends and family with Apple Pay within Messages or using Siri. The money is received in the new Apple Pay Cash account, and can be used instantly to send to someone or while making purchases using Apple Pay in stores and apps. In addition, you can also transfer the money to their bank account. The feature will be available in the US on iPone SE, iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and later and Apple Watch.

The watchOS 4 update will be available this fall as a free update to Apple Watch; the developer preview is now available to developers enrolled in Apple Developer Program.

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Twitter removes its official Mac app from the App Store

Twitter just killed off its official Mac app, ends support in a month.

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Twitter Social Media

Like the Twitter app on your macOS? Well, today’s news isn’t a good one for you, if your answer is yes. Twitter has pulled off the official Twitter for Mac app from the Mac App Store today.

In a tweet pushed from Twitter Support, the micro-blogging site announced that “starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download.” What appears to be the reason for the sudden demise of the Twitter for Mac app is the company’s efforts to provide a great Twitter experience that’s consistent across platforms. Simply put, use Twitter in your browser!

While this is for sure to make many Twitter users feel sad as the macOS client offered way better features over the browser version of Twitter, the move also means that we will be seeing improvements in the web version of the platform. Twitter for Mac will continue to have support for 30 more days, and after that, you won’t be able to use it at all.

“For the full Twitter experience on Mac, visit Twitter on web,” says Twitter.

Alternatives like Tweetbot and Tweeterific from third-party developers are a better option rather than using Twitter on the web. It comes at a cost though, unlike the official Twitter for Mac app.

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Google Maps for iOS adds one-tap access to commute information

The features arrived on Android last year.

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Google Maps for iOS update

Google has updated its Maps app for iOS. The latest release of Google Maps for iOS offers real-time commute information, with a three-sectioned bar at the bottom of the screen. Finding nearby restaurants and hotels, real-time traffic data, and transit information are now easier than ever.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see three different tabs aligned together: Explore, Driving, and Transit. The very first, as the name suggests, helps you find nearby places for restaurants and hotels, while the latter two provide you with real-time traffic details and transit information, respectively.

Whether we like it or not, sometimes life just flies by. And in the moment, every minute counts. Just one minute can be the difference between catching the last train or walking home in the rain. Or getting to that new restaurant in time to snag the last table.

The company brought the same set of features on Android last year. It’s good to see the handy one-tap feature making its way to millions of iOS users, a year later though. Google Maps is available on the App Store for free, grab the latest update now!

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Microsoft Cortana now available on iPad

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Microsoft Cortana iPad

Microsoft has released Cortana for iPad. Cortana makes its iPad debut eight months after the smart assistant was available on iPhone last year. The iPad counterpart features a brand-new design for the larger screen with a much faster experience.

The Cortana digital assistant from Microsoft isn’t quite like Alexa or the Google Assistant, much like Siri, but is a Microsoft alternative for Siri — with enough limitations, thanks iOS. You can’t configure to replace Siri with Cortana (or any other assistant) on your iOS device, however.

The human interface is same as the iPhone counterpart, but with an interface optimized for larger screens and looks perfect on the iPad Pro line-up. Furthermore, the app now launches 20 percent faster on iOS devices.

Cortana can help you schedule appointments, set reminders, answer questions, alongside third-party integration with services like Netflix and Spotify. Microsoft Cortana is available on the App Store for free.

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