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Elgato debuts Eve home sensor product line

Elgato has debuted its new Eve line of home sensor products at the IFA Trade Show in Berlin. The line of sensors — six are shown on Elgato’s website — will gather data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, and energy and water consumption in a home. Users will be able to access all the data in Elgato’s free upcoming Eve app. The company says it will “announce and make available solutions” based on Apple’s HomeKit once iOS 8 becomes available. Pricing and availability for the Eve line is expected to be announced soon.

Elgato also introduced its Avea ($50) smart LED bulb, which can create dynamic mood lighting and scenes through an iOS app. The bulb, which uses Bluetooth Smart, is designed to be bought individually rather than in packs, and doesn’t require a hub like Philips’ Hue system. Additionally, Elgato’s new Smart Power ($100) is a 6000 mAh, 2.4A battery that can send a notification to an iPhone or iPad when it’s time to recharge.

Happy Labor Day from iLounge

In observance of Labor Day in the U.S. (and Labour Day in Canada), iLounge will be on a limited posting schedule today. We will return to our normal schedule with regular updates on Tuesday, September 2. Have a great holiday!

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, last chance for August giveaway

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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This is also your last chance to get in on our uNu Aero Wireless Giveaway, in which iLounge and uNu are giving away six uNu Aero Wireless Charging Battery cases and mats for the iPhone 5 and 5s in two different colour options. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends August 31, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple to add 3X Retina Display support to iPhone 6?

Apple may be adding support for a “triple-resolution” Retina Display into iOS 8 according to a new discovery by iOS Developer James Thomson. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Thomson indicated that he had discovered a bug in iOS 8 beta 5 that loads a 3X asset instead of a 2X asset, and further explained that this only happens specifically with 3X assets and not other resolutions like 4X, suggesting this indicates a deliberate decision in the iOS 8 code, rather than a matter of simply selecting the highest-resolution asset available.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac originally reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 screen resolution for the iPhone 6 that would be achieved by tripling each pixel from a “base resolution” of 568 x 320. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber added his speculation earlier this week suggesting different screen resolutions may be used and that the higher resolution would only apply to the larger 5.5” iPhone 6 in order to maintain a proper Retina Display pixel density. It still remains unclear what hardware Apple may ultimately intend to use this on, since although the iPhone 6 is scheduled for release next month, it is expected that new iPad models will also be appearing during the iOS 8 lifecycle, including a rumoured 12.9” iPad which may also require a higher pixel density for the larger display.

iPhone 6 logic board leak shows NFC, A8 chips

Another new report has surfaced adding more weight to rumors that the upcoming iPhone 6 will include NFC support. Field & Volk has released photos to Sonny Dickson alleged to be of the iPhone 6 logic board, which appear to show NFC chips along an Apple A8 chip, which will reportedly be a 2GHz dual-core CPU. A report from Wired earlier this week indicated that Apple plans to include an NFC-based mobile payment system, which seems to have been further confirmed by this morning’s Financial Times report that Dutch chipmaker NXP will be supplying Apple with the necessary NFC hardware.

Massive report reveals Apple’s PR strategies

A new nine-part report at 9to5Mac reveals techniques Apple has used to “quietly manipulate coverage over the years.” The comprehensive article relies on interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR pros — including some ex-Apple workers. Part one of the article discusses all of the prep that goes into Apple events, including how Apple plans for things to go awry, recounting once when an audience member fainted and was taken out by paramedics mid-Jobs keynote, and what happens backstage when things go badly.

Part two details all of Apple’s internal PR teams, including the Momentum and Buzz Marketing team, which “works with major sports leagues to integrate the iPad into coaching toolkits, helps music events integrate iPads into festivities, and gets organizations to deploy iBeacon-integrated apps for attendees.”

Part three notes that despite its detached public attitude, Apple actively monitors all media mentions of the company, even having employees checking tabloids for photos of celebrities holding iPhones. The company also actively pushes journalists and bloggers to go after negative reports about Apple in the press, providing them with links and information to undermine stories. Additionally, it plays journalists and publications against each other to get the best coverage, at one point telling Brian Lam of Gizmodo that he was getting an iPhone before the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, and pushing Newsweek and Time to fight over an exclusive cover story.

iWatch not shipping until 2015?

Although it’s expected that Apple will debut its wearable device on September 9, Re/Code is now reporting that the iWatch may not ship until 2015. While sources claim the device won’t be released “for a few months,” John Paczkowski writes, “we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015.” As the article points out, Apple’s first iPhone wasn’t actually released for nearly six months after its public debut. Though this would definitely fly in the face of recent Apple timing, it’s not out of the question, as the iWatch is a new category for the company. Apple declined comment on the report.

Report: Dutch chipmaker NXP to provide iPhone 6 NFC chips

Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP to enable NFC in the iPhone 6, according to the Financial Times. NXP will provide Apple with the NFC chips, enabling the company to use near field communication for its rumored upcoming mobile payment system. A Thursday report also claimed we would see NFC in the new iPhone to be used for mobile payments. As noted before, NFC has been rumored in iPhones for years — but the frequency of these reports, just weeks before the debut of the new devices, strongly suggests NFC is indeed on its way this time around.

Video Review: Parrot’s Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider

  • August 28, 2014

Parrot’s new Minidrones, the Jumping Sumo (reviewed here) and Rolling Spider (reviewed here) are the newest featured products in our latest video review. Check out these new toys in action and hear what we have to say about the experience. This is our second video review, following last week’s look at the Otterbox Agility Tablet System — feel free to share your feedback!

Apps of the Week: Hyperlapse, BioShock, Asphalt 8 1.5 + more

New Apps

Google Slides (free) — Google debuted its Slides app this week. The presentation-creating app joins Google Docs and Google Sheets as yet another Google Drive-based app. Slides allows users to open, edit, and save Microsoft PowerPoint files; the autosaving app can also work without an Internet connection.

Hyperlapse from Instagram (free) — Instagram’s Hyperlapse is a new app that seems like it could become a sensation. Users can quickly create time lapse videos with the app. It works amazingly well — you can shoot while stationary or in motion — and the app clearly shows users how much time an accelerated video will actually take to watch once the time lapse is complete. A hyperlapse video can go up to 12 times normal speed, enabling users to show a lot of action in a short amount of time. The effect is very impressive for a free app. It’s simple to use, and no sign up or account is required, so we highly recommend downloading Hyperlapse to see what the fuss is all about. Next month, iOS 8 will introduce an integrated time lapse video recording feature with comparatively limited settings.

Mobile Passport (free) — Airside Mobile’s new Mobile Passport app, which is officially approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allows users to enter the U.S. faster. You’ll be able to skip the regular line upon returning from abroad, as the app “effectively replaces” the traditional declaration form required of all travelers entering the U.S. by air. Both U.S. and Canadian citizens are eligible to use the app. Currently, the service is only available at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, with more supported locations to follow in the future. Keep in mind that the app is not a replacement for your passport.

Poppy Cat and the Bubble Volcano ($3) — The prolific StoryToys returns with another storybook app, Poppy Cat and the Bubble Volcano. Featuring the popular Poppy Cat, the app features a variety of games and activities. It’s similar to other StoryToys apps, but it’s definitely worth a look if your kid is into Poppy Cat — the app features sound effects and music from the show, and illustrations are based on the TV show’s animation.

Apple sends out invites to September 9 event

  • August 28, 2014

Apple has sent out invitations to its September 9 event. The invites simply list the date on a white Apple logo background with the words: “Wish we could say more.” This time around, the event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. As usual, the event will be held at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET. It’s expected that we’ll see two new iPhones at the event, and according to a Wednesday report, the long-awaited iWatch will debut, as well. [via The Loop]

Report: iPhone 6 to feature NFC mobile payments

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will come with its own mobile payment system, and the solution will use NFC, Wired reports. Use of near field communication has been rumored in the iPhone for years — speculation began around the time of the iPhone 4 in 2010, and every iPhone since has been accompanied by an NFC report that never came true. Talk about the use of NFC in the iPhone has heated up again in recent weeks, though considering the device’s history, there have been plenty of reasons to remain skeptical. However, with Apple’s known interest in mobile payments — and the apparent upcoming introduction of such a service — perhaps the time has finally come for iPhone NFC. There’s also been discussion about Apple using its iBeacon platform for mobile payments; it’s possible that iBeacon could still be involved in some way.

Report: Apple to unveil iWatch with new iPhones on September 9

Apple plans on unveiling its new wearable device alongside its two new iPhones on September 9, Re/Code reports. As expected, the new device will “make good use of” Apple’s new HealthKit and HomeKit platforms, though how the latter will be implemented isn’t quite clear. The wearable device has generally been referred to as iWatch, but the true name is still unknown at this point. According to the report, Apple will likely still hold an event in October — that event would undoubtedly introduce new iPads, at the very least.

iPhone 6 parts leak reveals front panel variation

A new group of alleged iPhone 6 parts have been posted on Chinese parts site ElekWorld, with a heretofore unseen front panel variation included among the pictures. While a picture of a completed front panel assembly for the 4.7” iPhone 6 looks similar to what’s been seen before, a separate picture of the front panel doesn’t match — it shows an extra sensor near the FaceTime camera. If this part is real, it’s possible that small dot could be a security light that notifies a user when the camera is on, as seen on Apple’s Macs. Many of the other pictures in the leak have been seen previously, though the apparent circular True Tone flash for the 5.5” iPhone 6 is also included.

Bloomberg: Apple now plans 12.9” iPad for early 2015

Apple suppliers are getting ready to manufacture a new iPad with a 12.9-inch screen by the first quarter of 2015, Bloomberg reports. Such a device has already been rumored for some time — previous reports claimed Apple was testing a larger iPad, with one late 2013 report claiming the company was testing five different 12.9-inch iPad prototypes for a release of two possible versions of such a device. Talk about the device has been quiet for some time until now, as the larger iPad was originally expected to see release sometime this year. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller declined comment on the new report.

More new Apple TV channels: SVT Play in Sweden, NRK in Norway

More new channels have been added to Apple TV, this time in Scandinavia. SVT Play has been added as a channel in Sweden, and NRK has been added for Apple TV users in Norway. SVT Play is a free service offering on-demand and live television, including sports, news, drama, documentaries, and children’s shows. NRK is a Norwegian public broadcaster now offering 40,000 shows on demand through Apple TV. Earlier today, Apple added Showtime Anytime to Apple TV in the U.S. and brought back its iTunes Festival channel, as well. [via 9to5Mac]

Showtime Anytime channel comes to Apple TV

Apple has just added the Showtime Anytime channel to Apple TV, following its reintroduction of the iTunes Festival channel. The new channel is basically Showtime’s version of HBO Go — it’s been available on the App Store for some time. Showtime Anytime has on-demand content and live streams of Showtime East and Showtime West for authenticated TV subscribers. Some free full episodes of Showtime shows are even available without cable or satellite authentication. Interestingly, the channel’s name may scroll from right to left when it’s selected, as there are too many characters to fit all at once with the 720p version of the Apple TV. No scrolling is evident on later 1080p Apple TV models.

LA Unified School District suspends iPad contract

L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has suspended the school system’s highly-publicized contract with Apple to provide iPads to students, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract would have provided all students in the country’s second-largest school system with iPads, but recent accusations claim that Deasy and deputy superintendent Jaime Aquino had “especially close ties” to Apple executives. “Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.,” Deasy wrote in a memo to the Board of Education. “Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the (project).”

A district technology committee found numerous problems with the bidding process, including that Aquino appeared to conspire with executives from Pearson — the company that was to provide curriculum on the devices — within an email. “I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one,” he wrote. Aquino was formerly an executive with a Pearson affiliate before joining the L.A. school system. Despite the new controversy, Deasy reportedly believes Apple and Pearson will still participate as bidders in the new process for the school’s technology contract.

iTunes Festival channel returns to Apple TV

The iTunes Festival channel has reappeared on Apple TV, not long before the festival kicks off in London. Apple’s iTunes Festival starts September 1 and runs through the whole month. As has been the case previously, the channel will let users watch live HD streaming video of the performances, as well as on-demand recordings after performances have ended. New acts, including Mary J. Blige, deadmau5, and Ed Sheeran, were recently added to the schedule. Currently, only two days of the festival have acts yet to be announced, as the schedule is mostly set.

Apple launches iPhone 5 battery replacement program

Apple has launched a new program to replace “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 units that “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.” Replacements will be made free of charge. The affected devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013, and are only within a limited range of serial numbers. A serial number checker on Apple’s webpage for the program lets users see if their devices are eligible. The replacement process has already started in the U.S. and China, with a launch in other countries on Friday, August 29.

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