All things iPod, iPhone, iPad and Beyond | iLounge

Gear: Just Mobile AluCable LED

Just Mobile’s AluCable LED is a 1-meter aluminum-accented Lightning cable with a small LED built into the USB plug head. The light lets users know whether or not an iOS device is done charging without having to look at the device’s screen — the LED is designed to pulse amber when charging, and glow solid green when a device is fully charged.

Apps: Google Photos, Korg iM1, Moleskine Timepage, AmpliTube 4.0, Inbox by Gmail, Pixelmator for iPhone

Google Photos (free) — Perhaps the biggest news in apps this week is Google’s launch of its new Google Photos app, announced Thursday at the company’s Google IO conference. Google’s approach to managing photos has taken a strange route from the original Picasa acquisition to Google+ Photos — the latter move essentially saddling a pretty nice photo app with a social network that many users chose to eschew. However, with Google Photos it looks like the company has wisely decided to break out its photo management solution into a separate app and web service that brings the best of what was found in the Google+ implementation without requiring users to get at it through a social layer. Photos can be automatically imported and backed up from the camera roll on your iOS device, and what’s particularly great is that Google is providing unlimited storage of photos up to 16 megapixels in resolution and videos up to 1080p. While Google implies that photos may still be recompressed on upload, they won’t be scaled down unless they’re over these limits, so the “High Quality” option will likely be more than adequate for the vast majority of casual users. For purists and professional photographers who prefer original photos be stored, an option is available to do so, but it will use your Google Drive storage allotment, so you’ll need to pay for whatever storage you use over 15GB. The app also provides editing capabilities, so you can apply filters, adjust colors, and more, and Google has brought over its “auto-awesome” features debuted on Google+ Photos in the form of an Assistant that will provide the ability to automatically create montages, stories, collages, and animations, or you can just select a group of photos manually and build your own from there. Google also brings its search power to the cloud-based photo library, allowing you to ferret out your photos with ease — not only is text within images fully searchable, but Google can even index landmarks — for example, you can search for something like “Eiffel Tower” to pull up photos of your Paris trip, or even search for something like “food” to filter out your food spotting shots.

Korg iM1 ($20) — Nostalgic electronic music fans will have something to be absolutely thrilled about with Korg’s latest iPad app, which provides a faithful reproduction of the legendary Korg M1 music workstation. This is not merely a collection of sampled sound banks; to build this app, Korg used PCM data from the library of the original M1, and analyzed the circuit diagram of the original design, replicating it in the app, and even involved engineers from the original M1 design to tweak the app to get the sound of the original unit. Korg then added some newer high-tech developments appropriate to the modern era, including a KAOSS pad, the much-requested Filter Resonance feature from the original hardware, and an increase of up to 18 effects parts. The app also bundles in not only the core sounds of the M1, but with in-app purchases you can get all 19 of the original M1 ROM cards and the sounds of the M1EX and T-series. A “Smart Sound Browser” makes it easy to navigate through the library of more than 3,300 different sounds, and even provides a ranking based on how often other iM1 users around the world select them. MIDI compatibility allows you to use an external controller such as a keyboard, so your iPad can be leveraged as a sound module.

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Apple issues workaround for Messages text string bug

Apple has issued a workaround for the recent Messages bug, which causes iPhones to reboot and Messages to repeatedly crash after a specific, strange string of unicode characters is received via text. In an official support document, Apple recommends using Siri to re-open the Messages app. Users are instructed to ask Siri to “read unread messages,” then to reply to the malicious message. Messages should then be able to open again, and users can delete the message, or the entire conversation. Apple notes that an upcoming software update will fix the issue.

Daily Deal: ZeroLemon SolarJuice 10000mAh Battery

In today’s iLounge Deal we’re offering the ZeroLemon SolarJuice 10000mAh Battery for only $29.99 – that’s 40% off the normal price. Combining a 10,000 mAh battery pack with a 1.2W monocrystalline solar panel, the SolarJuice lets you power up your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or other USB device repeatedly and can be plugged in to charge up at home, or simply recharge from the power of the sun. Three outputs allow for simultaneous charging of multiple devices, with a 2A port for faster charging of higher-powered devices like the iPad and iPhone 6 Plus. The battery is also certificated for over 1000 recharge cycles, and as an added bonus, this durable, lightweight and compact battery pack also includes an ultra bright LED flashlight, making it a great solution for any number of outdoor activities.

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Apple acquires Metaio, an augmented reality company

Apple has made yet another acquisition in the form of Metaio, a small augmented reality company, TechCrunch reports. Metaio launched in 2003 as a result from a project at Volkswagen, and the company has worked on a number of virtual reality and augmented reality projects, including the 2010 launch of Junaio, one of the very first augmented reality apps for the iOS platform. A legal document sourced by TechCrunch notes that shares in the company were transferred to Apple on May 21-22. Although Apple’s response was the usual standard boilerplate confirmation: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” there are several readily apparent possibilities as to what Apple may be planning to do with Metaio, particularly in light of recent news that Apple may be bringing augmented reality features to iOS 9.

Gear: Spigen Apple Watch Cases

Spigen has introduced a number of Apple Watch covers in its Apple Watch Case Collection. We received Rugged Armor ($15), Slim Armor ($20), Thin Fit ($15), and the clear Liquid Crystal ($15, not pictured) for the 42mm Apple Watch. There’s also a Tough Armor ($25) edition. The covers are designed to provide extra protection for the Apple Watch, with the models varying slightly in design and thickness.

Review: Spigen Apple Watch Stand S330

Spigen's Apple Watch Stand S330 ($25) is a straightforward stand for docking and charging Apple Watch. Made mostly of lightweight aluminum, the stand holds Apple Watch's magnetic charging cable puck with a small black section of TPU. The charging cable is fed through a hole in the side of the dock, then up into the circular cut-out, where the magnetic charging puck holds the Apple Watch. Apple Watch Stand S330 isn't very tall, so users may want to keep their watch band curled up when docked.

Apple stuck with court-appointed antitrust monitor

Apple’s appeal to the courts to have its appointed antitrust monitor dismissed has been rejected, the The Wall Street Journal reports. Former Justice Department inspector general Michael Bromwich had been appointed to assess and oversee Apple’s antitrust compliance policies after the company was found liable in conspiring to raise e-book prices back in 2013. Since that time, Apple has been trying to have Bromwich dismissed, arguing that he has been exceeding the scope of his mandate, and that his fees were “exorbitant.” According to Bromwich, Apple has become uncooperative with the monitor in recent months, inappropriately limiting his access to necessary corporate records and denying requests for interviews with key personnel.

In a decision handed down earlier today, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Bromwich’s role was “appropriately constrained” and noted that Apple can continue raising objections in the lower court if it believes Bromwich has overstepped his bounds. Mr. Bromwich’s role was clarified by the court in early 2014, in a decision which made it clear that Apple was required to cooperate with the antitrust monitor, but that his role was limited to ensuring that “Apple has policies in place to prevent future antitrust violations and that senior executives and board members understand them.” One of the judges in today’s decision further noted that Apple failed to follow the court-mandated dispute resolution process in dealing with the monitor, instead choosing to sit “on its hands, allowing issues with the monitor to fester and the relationship to deteriorate, mostly without the district court’s knowledge.”

Apple to unveil rewards system for Apple Pay

Apple is preparing to unveil a new rewards program tied to Apple Pay, according a new report by The New York Times. According to sources familiar with Apple Pay, the service could be unveiled as early as next month — likely at WWDC — and would provide perks to consumers who make purchases through the Apple Pay service. No further details are available, and it’s unclear whether these rewards would be tied to specific bank and card issuers or specific retailers.

Daily Deal: HUSKK Quickdraw Phone Case & Wallet

In today’s iLounge Deal we’re offering the HUSKK Quickdraw Phone Wallet Case for only $24.99 – that’s almost 50% off the regular price. This hybrid wallet case helps you lighten your load by holding your iPhone and up to 7 cards and a bit of cash. Made from Italian leather, the case is both stylish and functional, and includes a hidden magnetic closure and a convenient “quick-access” slot for cash or a frequently-used card, and a “Face Down” screen guard even provides screen protection.

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