All things iPod, iPhone, iPad and Beyond | iLounge

Mozilla begins rollout of Firefox for iOS preview

Mozilla has announced a limited release of its Firefox browser for iOS. Originally hinted at last December, Mozilla changed direction on earlier statements that its browser would only be made available on iOS if Apple were to loosen its restrictions and permit the company’s own web engine to be used. The first preview version of Firefox is being released exclusively in New Zealand so that the company can collect feedback from a limited user base in a single country. Highlighted features of this first release include Intelligent Search, which provides suggested search results and a choice of search providers, as well as Firefox Accounts, which allows users to sync browser history, passwords, and tabs between Firefox on the desktop and the iOS version. A Visual Tabs feature is also included to help users keep track of open tabs. Mozilla plans to release future previews in “a few more countries” prior to a full public launch of the browser scheduled for later this year.

Tip of the Day: See when messages were received on an Apple Watch

Due to the limited screen space, the Apple Watch adds timestamps to your messaging conversations far less frequently, so it may not be clear just by glancing when a given message was actually sent or received. Fortunately there’s an easy way to check this out, and it works the same way as it does on your iPhone.

When viewing the message list, pull any conversation bubble to the right and you’ll see the timestamps displayed beside each message indicating when it was sent from your Apple Watch or received by it. You can still scroll up and down through the conversation, and releasing your finger will pop back to the normal view.…

Mac: Eltima Software Commander One

Many Mac power users have long felt that the built-in Finder app in OS X doesn’t quite cut the mustard, despite Apple’s incremental improvements with each OS X update. This has spawned a number of alternatives over the years, and one of the latest entries into the group is Eltima Software’s Commander One (free/$30). The new dual-pane file manager for Mac is written entirely in Swift and designed specifically for OS X users, providing not only basic file management but a number of advanced features that power users will love — especially those who grew up in an era when dual-panel tools like this one were more the norm. You can view each panel in one of three view modes, and open unlimited tabs in each, make multiple selections and queue files up for various operations, automatically rename files during copy and move operations, and setup custom hotkeys for any action. Local and network drives are fully supported, and you can use Spotlight for basic searches or construct more advanced searches using regular expressions.

Review: Belkin WeMo + OSRAM Lightify White Tunable Starter Set

The third new WeMo + OSRAM product to come out of Belkin's recent Sylvania partnership is the new Lightify White Tunable Starter Set ($100), a new kit that's reminscent of last year's Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set, with the key difference being Sylvania's OSRAM Lightify Tunable White bulbs replacing Belkin's own smart LED bulbs in the starter kit. While the two prior WeMo + OSRAM products we've reviewed — the Flex RGBW and Gardenspot Mini RGB lights — were more specialized, this kit gets back to the basics, providing standard LED light bulbs that can be used in just about any fixture around the home.

Google releases Google Street View app for iOS

Google has announced a new Google Street View app that allows iOS users to explore a collection of immersive 360-degree “photo sphere” panoramic images associated with locations around the world. The new app is actually a major redesign based on the company’s earlier Photo Sphere Camera app, which was originally designed to allow users to collect their own 360-degree spherical photography shots and upload them to Google Maps. The new Google Street View app takes this one step further, adding the ability to now explore Street View collections and content from Google Maps and photo spheres contributed by other users. In addition to creating and contributing photo spheres from the iPhone camera, the new app also adds support for connecting to external spherical cameras.

Review: Logitech Logi BLOK cases for iPad mini + iPad Air 2

Logitech recently announced its newest label, Logi, and we've received the first products from the new imprint, a series of iPad cases. BLOK Protective Shell ($40) is a simple, blocky case for iPad mini 2 and 3 and iPad Air 2 (we received the mini version). BLOK Protective Case ($70) for iPad Air 2 is a folio-style case with a folding cover that creates different viewing angles, while BLOK Keyboard Case ($130) combines a case with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard. All cases provide coverage for the sleep/wake button and volume controls.

Apple admits Apple Music still needs work, says iTunes downloads remain strong

Speaking to The Guardian, Apple has admitted that it still has “homework to be done” on the Apple Music service. Oliver Schusser, the vice president of iTunes International, told the Guardian that a lot of work is still being put into improving the service, with “teams all around the world” focusing on editorial and playlists, but also adding features and “cleaning up certain things.” When asked about usability criticisms that have been levied against the service, Schusser reiterated that the service remains a priority for Apple, noting that it was a very big launch and they’re getting a “ton of feedback” but are “obviously trying to make it better every day.” Schusser also confirmed that Apple remains on track to launch Apple Music for Android devices and Sonos players this fall.

Schusser also stated that the download business has been “really, really healthy,” and iTunes continues to be a big part of Apple’s business on which they are still focused, as well. Dr. Dre’s recent release of “Compton: A Soundtrack Album” was streamed 25 million times in its first week, however, it still sold nearly 500,000 iTunes downloads in the same time frame. Schusser holds up Compton as a “really good example of how streaming and downloads can be successful side-by-side,” stated that they’ve proven “when there’s great content, customers will buy as well as listen.”

Judge approves $415M settlement in anti-poaching lawsuit

A U.S. judge has approved a $415 million settlement in the anti-poaching lawsuit against Apple and several other Silicon Valley companies, Reuters reports. The class-action antitrust lawsuit, filed in 2011, accused Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe of conspiring to avoid poaching employees from each other, thereby allowing them to also hold down employee salaries. While the four companies offered up a $324 million settlement in April 2014, that proposal was rejected by the judge as falling “below the range of reasonableness” after an objection from one of the plaintiffs. In January of this year, the four came back with the offer of $415 million, which received final approval from Judge Koh in a ruling on Wednesday, finding that the deal was “fair to the thousands of plaintiff workers in the class action.”

Daily Deal: Twist Plus+ World Charging Station

In today’s iLounge Deal we have the Twist Plus+ World Charging Station for only $34.99. This hassle-free charging solution provides you with the ability to charge your Mac plus four other USB-equipped devices at once, all from one convenient plug. The Twist Plus simply attaches to your Apple MacBook power adapter, doing away with the need to carry a tangled web of chargers and converters when you’re on the road. The universal AC power outlet is ideal for international travel, and will work seamlessly with the electric outlets in over 150 countries. Built-in fuse protection also provides safe charging, and the light and compact design easily twists to allow you access to the charging port of your choice.

Get the Twist Plus+ World Charging Station now for only $34.99

Gear: IK Multimedia iRig PowerBridge

IK Multimedia’s new iRig PowerBridge ($70) is a new accessory that solves an issue we’ve had with IK’s Lightning-connected studio accessories for a while — the problem of powering your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch while using them. Devices such as the iRig PADS, iRig KEYS, and iRig Mic HD connect to the Lightning port, so you can’t normally connect your iOS device to power at the same time. While this is fine for casual use, it can be a problem for anybody looking for a serious studio session.

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