Instagram nixes native Apple Watch app, citing death of watchOS 1 SDK

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With its latest iOS update, Facebook’s Instagram has also killed its native Apple Watch app, once used to showcase the first-generation Watch that launched in 2015.
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Instagram for Apple Watch killed as Apple begins requiring native apps in updates

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Despite dramatic improvements to Apple Watch speed, some high profile apps have been actively pulled from watchOS over the last several months. Instagram is the latest major app to disappear from Apple Watch as part of today’s iPhone app update…

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Spotify is testing native voice search, suggesting an impending smart speaker

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We’ve been hearing that Spotify is aiming to produce its own hardware for a few weeks now, and this latest news substantiates those rumors. A native voice search is being tested in the iOS app, pointing towards future integration with a Spotify-built smart speaker.

This was confirmed by a Spotify spokesperson to be “just a test for now,” and it only seems to be popping up on iOS. If the test is available to you, a white bubble with a microphone icon will be on the bottom right of your screen when you’re in the ‘Search’ tab.

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Spotify is testing native voice search, suggesting an impending smart speaker was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Spotify tests native voice search, groundwork for smart speakers

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Now Spotify listens to you instead of the other way around. Spotify has a new voice search interface that lets you say “Play my Discover Weekly,” “Show Calvin Harris” or “Play some upbeat pop” to pull up music.

A Spotify spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that this is “Just a test for now,” as only a small subset of users have access currently, but the company noted there would be more details to share later. The test was first spotted by Hunter Owens.

Voice control could make Spotify easier to use while on the go using microphone headphones or in the house if you’re not holding your phone. It might also help users paralyzed by the infinite choices posed by the Spotify search box by letting them simply call out a genre or some other category of songs. Spotify briefly tested but never rolled out a very rough design of voice controls a year ago.

Down the line, Spotify could perhaps develop its own voice interface for smart speakers from other companies or that it potentially builds itself. That would relieve it from depending on Apple’s Siri for HomePod, Google’s Assistant for Home or Amazon’s Alexa for Echo — all of which have accompanying music streaming services that compete with Spotify.

Spotify is preparing for a direct listing that will make the company public without a traditional IPO. That means forgoing some of the marketing circus that usually surrounds a company’s debut. That means Spotify may be even more eager to experiment with features or strategies that could be future money-makers so that public investors see growth potential. Breaking into voice directly instead of via its competitors could provide that ‘x-factor.’

For more on Spotify’s not-an-IPO, check out our feature story:

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Instagram Getting Native Portrait Mode-Like Camera Feature

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Looks like Instagram is adding native portrait mode-like camera feature to its iPhone and Android app. Here are the details.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Android Users Are Finally Getting a Native Dark Mode

For years, iOS and Android users have been requesting a proper dark mode for their respective operating systems. And now, it seems, the latter camp is getting their wish fulfilled. A Google Issue Tracker post seems to confirm that dark mode is coming to Android. The post was made by a Google employee in response […]
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LastPass now supports Oreo’s native Autofill

The password managing app LastPass has added support for Android Oreo’s Autofill framework, which means it will fill app logins and forms more seamlessly on Android. However Chrome and apps that haven’t been updated to support Oreo’s autofill framework will require you to revert to the old way of autofilling logins through the accessibility-based option. LastPass announced that it’s working on support for Oreo’s Autofill framework back in April of 2017. However early issues prompted LastPass to release a separate beta app in which to continue work on the Oreo Autofill…

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Android 9.0 P To Bring Native Support For iPhone X-Like Display Notches Later This Year [Report]

Google to bring native support for iPhone X-like display notches to Android 9.0 P later this year according to a new report.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Microsoft Cortana app update brings native iPad support

Microsoft Cortana iPad

More than two years after launching on the iPhone, Cortana has made its way to the iPad.

Microsoft today updated its Cortana app for iOS with iPad support. The look of the app is largely unchanged from the iPhone version, but now the UI is optimized for the larger display of the iPad.

Also rolling out as part of this update, which is version 2.6.8, is a faster start-up. Microsoft says that this new version of Cortana launches 20 percent faster than before.

Cortana is a digital assistant similar Siri or Google Assistant. It can answer your questions about things like the weather and your calendar, help you start a list, do conversions, and more. It can also set reminders based on email or location and track packages and flights.

Because Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to be set as default apps on iOS, Cortana can’t be “built-in” to your iPhone like Siri can. That means that you’ll have to launch the Cortana app every time you want to use it rather than simply calling Cortana up with your voice. Still, for Windows users that like having Cortana on their desktop, it’s nice to see a native Cortana app available for the iPad, too.

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