Android

New version of Beeper Mini Android-iMessage bridge gets past Apple’s block [Updated]

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Beeper Mini app
Beeper Mini reverse engineered iMessage to send blue texts like an iPhone, but Apple blocked it, citing security and privacy concerns.
Photo: Beeper Mini

Security and privacy concerns caused Apple to block messaging service Beeper Mini, the company said Sunday. But on Monday Beeper Mini got around the block and pledged to keep making its service available.

This followed Beeper Mini’s highly publicized launch on December 5. It said it had successfully reverse-engineered iMessage to turn green Android text bubbles blue on iPhones.

From that moment, many people wondered how long Apple would let it stand (just a few days, it turned out).

Update: Beeper Mini is back with improvements, according to a new blog post that puts the ball back in Apple’s court. Beeper said it’s willing to share its codebase with an independent research firm and reirterated it could add a pager emoji to enable filtering of Beeper Mini messages in iMessage. See more on the story so far below.

Beeper Mini app brings iMessage to Android, blue bubbles included

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Beeper Mini messaging app
Beeper Mini may be the first app to reliably make Android users' text appear in blue bubbles on iPhone.
Photo: Beeper

Believe it or not, a 16-year-old high school student may have been the first to fully reverse-engineer iMessage and turn green Android text bubbles blue on iPhones with the new Beeper Mini app, released Tuesday.

The text messaging world is buzzing over it, wondering how it may avoid security pitfalls like other recent attempts to merge the two texting worlds — and puzzling over whether Apple may put a stop to this incursion into its “walled garden.”

Shocker: Apple commits to RCS for better texting with Android users

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iMessage bullying
But we don't yet know if blue and green bubbles will remain.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

In what is apparently an enormous change of direction, Apple reportedly plans to add support for Rich Communication Services to the iPhone Messages app in 2024. This will enable iPhones and Androids to communicate more effectively, with more of the bells and whistles associated with Apple’s proprietary iMessage platform.

It also could be the end of the green bubble versus blue bubble controversy, though not necessarily.

Make any room a cinema with new portable projector and AirPlay

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With this projector, you can use AirPlay or ChromeCast to project a big screen almost anywhere.
With this projector, you can use AirPlay or ChromeCast to project a big screen almost anywhere.
Photo: BenQ

Want to create an immersive cinematic experience almost anywhere? Now you can with the GV31 Portable Projector BenQ released earlier this month.

With built-in Netflix and Android TV among other streaming options, the 1080p projector can stream on walls or ceilings via AirPlay from your Mac, iPad or iPhone, or from Android devices via ChromeCast.

Moment beefs up whole lens lineup for growing iPhone cameras

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Got an iPhone 13 or newer? The bigger T-Series lenses should suit you.
Got an iPhone 13 or newer? The bigger T-Series lenses should suit you.
Photo: Moment

Moment said Wednesday its whole lineup of popular smartphone cameras lenses is getting bigger and bolder to suit growing handset cameras like iPhone’s, including the upcoming iPhone 15 series.

The new T-Series comprises eight lenses that are new versions of the company’s M-Series, which came out to widespread acclaim in 2017.

Android’s Find My clone hits a snag, and Google blames Apple

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Androids will soon warn of AirTags used by stalkers
Google’s Find My Device system, a copy of Apple’s, won‘t arrive for months.
Photo: Google

Google thinks Apple’s Find My network is so clever it’s “borrowing” the idea. But the upcoming extension of Android’s Find My Device network to tracking tags has been delayed — and Google says it’s all because of Apple.

The snafu supposedly stems from the companies working together on a scheme to prevent stalkers from misusing tracking tags made for the two rival platforms.

Win a compact charger that juices up 3 devices at once [Cult of Mac giveaway]

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Cleverly designed to charge three of your Apple devices simultaneously
This travel-worthy charger can handle iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously.
Photo: Kuxiu

This week we teamed up with Kuxiu to put an X40 3-in-1 foldable magnetic wireless charger and stand in the hands of one lucky winner.

This charger, which retails for $89.99, can juice up an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch all at once. And it’s perfect for travel, thanks to its light weight and compact size. It tips the scales at just 6.9 ounces, so you can take it anywhere and just pop it in your pocket for extra convenience.

Top 5 reasons Android users switch to iPhone

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If you switched from an Android device to an iPhone, what would be your reason?
If you switched from an Android device to an iPhone, what would be your reason?
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A new report Wednesday from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) revisits the group’s recent finding that Android users increasingly switched to iPhone in recent years and gets into the reasons why.

It gave four specific major reasons and a fifth vague but important one, below.

More Android users switch to iPhone than you might expect

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iPhone shipments grow while Android tanks
Even after all these years, there are lots of Android users who jump ship for iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The percentage of U.S.-based iPhone owners who just dumped their Android has grown in recent years, according to a market-analysis company.

That’s exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom says should be happening. Nevertheless, the percentage of Android switchers hasn’t been this high since 2018.

Today in Apple history: Apple embraces over-the-air iOS updates

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ios 5
Over-the-air iOS updates took iTunes out of the equation (and leveled the playing field with Android).
Photo: Apple

May 4: Today in Apple history: Apple embraces over-the-air iOS updates May 4, 2011: Reports circulate that Apple is negotiating with carriers to bring over-the-air updates to iOS, beginning with iOS 5.

Such a move would free iPhone owners from using iTunes to get updates for their devices. That means no more plugging an iPhone into a computer via USB to download the latest version of iOS.

Apple and Google join forces to fight location-tracker abuse

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After a bit of confusion, Lufthansa says it won't ban AirTags from checked baggage.
It'll soon be easier for Android users to tell if they are being tracked by an AirTag.
Photo: Daniel Romero/Unsplash License

Apple and Google jointly proposed an industry specification Tuesday to help fight the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices. Their proposal would make it easier for both iPhone and Android users to detect that they are being surreptitiously followed by a tracking device.

The proposal enjoys support from other makers of location trackers, too.

iPhone still reigns supreme among US teens

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6.1-inch iPhone 14 and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus
In other news, the kids can't get enough of Nike, Amazon or Goldfish.
Photo: Apple

A whopping 87% of U.S. teens own an iPhone, according to a recent survey. This continues a long trend of iPhone reigning supreme in high schools.

The survey also shows that Apple Watch and Apple Pay prove quite popular with teens.

Why iPhone is winning the global smartphone battle

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iPhone shipments grow while Android tanks
If you bought a top-tier smartphone anywhere in the world, it's almost certainly an iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Premium smartphones are on a roll. Revenue from iPhone and other devices that cost more than $600 grew to the point that they contributed more than half of all revenue from the product category in 2022, according to a market research firm.

That’s to Apple’s advantage, as iPhone sales make up 75% of this category.

A whopping 80% of the world’s bestselling handsets are iPhones

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Apple California Streaming event: iPhone 13 comes in an array of five colors.
iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone in the world in 2022.
Photo: Apple

iPhone captured eight spots in the list of top 10 bestselling smartphones for 2022, according to a market-research firm. In fact, Apple makes the three most popular models.

But Samsung’s flagship Android device surely lands at least one spot in the top 10, right? Nope.

Newest Android version installed on a mere 5% of devices vs. 74% for iOS 16

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iPhone shipments grow while Android tanks
Android 13 is out of the reach of most users. In contrast, virtually all iPhone owners can install iOS 16.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s considered somewhat controversial that iOS 16 has been installed on only about 70% of iPhones four months after its release. But that’s a problem Google can only dream of. A full six months after the debut of Android 13, it’s on a whopping 5.2% of devices.

A year ago, Samsung has promised users more Android updates. Clearly, it’s not having much of an effect.

Apple TV app could be on the way to Android

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Apple TV app could be on the way to Android
Android users may soon have an Apple TV application.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Android users could soon find it easier to watch Apple TV+ shows and films. A reliable tipster says an Android version of the Apple TV application is in development.

It would be a win-win for both Android and Apple.

50 million Android users crave that sweet iOS look

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50 million Android users crave that sweet iOS look
"Is that the new iPhone?" "Not exactly..."
Image: Samsung/LuuTinh Developer/Cult of Mac

An app to make Androids copy the look of iPhone running iOS is widely popular. So many people wish their Android was an iPhone that Launcher iOS 16 has been downloaded over 50 million times from Google Play. And a rival app has just as many.

That sure is a lot of jealous Android users.

Samsung’s flawed, foldable Androids show why folding iPhone remains years away

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Samsung's flawed, foldable Androids show why folding iPhone remains years away
Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 would be amazing if they weren't so flawed.
Photo: Samsung

The just-announced Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 offer the clearest evidence yet that Apple is correct to hold off on releasing a folding iPhone. Flexible screens still come with too many problems to be acceptable in an iPhone.

Of course, that didn’t stop Samsung from releasing handsets with these drawbacks.

Why Google really, really wants Apple to add RCS to iMessage

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iMessage bullying
Google wants iPhone to adopt RCS and end the differences between blue bubbles and green bubbles.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Google’s campaign to talk Apple into supporting Rich Communication Services in iMessage continues. The Android-maker introduced a new website Tuesday that claims that because iPhone does not support RCS it lacks “modern texting standards” and causes unnecessary problems.

Apple has long resisted RCS, choosing instead to reserve the best benefits of its messaging software to iPhone users.

New Apple ‘Switching to iPhone’ video makes it easy for Android users

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Thinking of switching from an Android phone to an iPhone? It's easy.
Thinking of switching from an Android phone to an iPhone? It's easy.
Photo: Apple

Apple aimed a new video Monday at Android users who might want to switch to iPhone. The video answers the most common questions switchers ask, from transferring contacts to trading in handsets and much more — all in about 4 minutes.

The video comes as Apple prepares the iPhone 14 series for release and follows Cupertino’s surprisingly positive earnings results Thursday in which the company mentioned a record numbers of switchers from Android to iPhone.

Apple still can’t keep up with iPad demand

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Brydge 11 Max+ keyboard case is built for hardcore iPad Pro users
There's plenty of demand for tablets as low-cost alternatives to traditional computers.
Photo: Brydge

iPad shipments declined modestly in the Q2 2022, but not because people don’t want Apple tablets. iPad is still suffering from component shortages that slow production.

This was the second quarter in a row that Apple couldn’t make enough iPadOS units to meet demand.

iPhone shipments grow while smartphone market shrinks

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iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 13 sold well in Q2 2022.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

iPhone shipments grew 3.3% year over year during the second quarter of 2022, according to a market-research firm. That’s in contrast to the global smartphone market, which declined 7%.

Apple made up 16% of the total market, its highest second-quarter performance in more than a decade.