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It sure was a busy Thursday, with plenty of app updates, security changes and even a big riddle wrapped in an enigma when it comes to Google Now making it to iOS. We've managed to pick the scraps off the floor from yesterday's whirlwind announcements and have laid them all out for you nice and tidy-like to help ease you into the weekend...
As first noted by 9to5Mac on Thursday afternoon, Apple has increased its security options for Apple ID accounts by adding two-step verification, similar to what Google currently offers. Once activated, two-step verification requires a user to verify their identity using a trusted device any time changes are made to the account or when an iTunes or App Store purchase is made from a new device. In the event your account or devices are hijacked or lost, Apple provides a Recovery Key for accessing the account. The change requires only a few minutes of time on Apple's appleid.apple.com account management website, and it's easier and more secure if you're already using Find My iPhone with your trusted devices, but also works via SMS to any trusted mobile numbers as well (two are recommended).
iOS lovers waiting for a taste of Google Now on their iPhone were certainly confused on Thursday. First, TechCrunch reported that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told attendees at the company's Big Tent Summit in India the ball was in Apple's court as far as bringing its Android-based Now service to iOS. Later in the day, however, CNET managed to pin down an Apple spokesperson, who confirmed that Google has yet to submit any such app. Seems like a bit of a head scratcher, but given that Schmidt is no longer CEO of Google, maybe he should spend a tad less time hopping around the globe and a little more time focused on what the company is up to these days instead.
Curious about who's on top of the cloud storage game here in the United States? According to Engadget, that would be Apple, with Strategy Analytics research revealing Cupertino holds 27 percent of major cloud media services between iCloud and iTunes Match. The next nearest competitor is Dropbox at 17 percent followed by Amazon Cloud Drive with 15 percent and Google Drive at 10 percent. Curiously, the next notch down is held by UltraViolet, the entertainment locker service which is starting to gain traction here, although only with usage of four percent at the moment.
Thursday brought a pair of welcome updates to the iOS fold, first with Podcasts 1.2, the latest version of Apple's often-fickle podcast app. Podcasts now allows users to create custom stations of favorite podcasts and promises they'll update automatically with new episodes thanks to being stored in iCloud. Playlists synced from iTunes also now appear in the Podcasts app, which should come as welcome news to long-suffering users. Speaking of suffering, Ookla has ended some of ours by releasing Speedtest.net Mobile Speed Test version 3.0, a positively swanky new look for the official Speedtest.net app which finally supports the iPhone 5's taller display. There's also an option to permanently remove advertising with an in-app purchase and users can also share results easier than ever. Both free apps are available now from the App Store.
While FxFactory is best known as an app store for video creation effects, filters and plugins, they aren't turning their back on the needs of Final Cut Pro X users with less than perfect footage. Their latest release is Tokyo Pixel ReAnimator, a $49 plugin featuring a comprehensive suite of tools for quickly and easily repairing dead pixels, lens dirt and other artifacts that attempt to ruin otherwise great shots. As always, FxFactory offers a free trial version so users can try before they buy, and this one is exclusively for Final Cut Pro X.
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