- November 15, 2013
- Site News
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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Also don’t forget about our two November giveaways! In our Unu DX-5 Battery Case Giveaway, iLounge and uNu are giving away fifteen uNu DX-5 Battery Cases, while in our Gosh! Parallel Battery Case Giveaway we’re working with Gosh! to give away five giving away Parallel Battery Cases for iPhone 5/5s. Simply fill out and submit the forms on the giveaway pages to enter; the giveaways will both end on November 30, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($6) from Loud Crow Interactive features everyone’s favorite sad sack, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts crew for this interactive book. Dialogue, music, and sound effects all come straight from the 1973 animated special, and the iOS interface has been substantially improved from prior Charlie Brown holiday apps. Three reading modes are available, and word highlighting and touch-to-speak technology are also included in the app.
SNK Playmore has brought its classic fighting game The King of Fighters ‘97 ($4) to iOS. The fourth game in the classic KOF series, the ‘97 edition features 35 characters and new teams — hidden characters Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona are included from the get-go. Both the extra and advanced fighting modes are available, as in the original game. Both a four-button and six-button control scheme are available, and it’s possible to move the controls around the screen, and change the joystick/button sizes as well. Due to a bug in the control-moving system, it’s harder to set the buttons up properly on an iPad, but hopefully SNK Playmore will fix the issue.
Google has released its Google Play Music app for iOS. The free app provides access to a standard music streaming service and All Access service, which costs $10/month. Google’s standard service lets users add up to 20,000 of their own songs, and listen to the music from all iOS devices and Google’s web player.
All Access lets users listen to unlimited songs, and includes an ad-free radio service. Radio stations are customizable, and there are no skip limits on listening. The app was originally expected to launch much earlier this year.
- November 15, 2013
- Apple TV
Killer Duck Decals is featuring some really interesting Apple TV skins ($10) on its site. The skins fit over the entire Apple TV. Six designs are currently available.
Nintendo fans might love the NES, SNES, Gamecube console skins, as well as the Portal-themed and Mario Question Block skins. A cartoony waffle skin is another option. [via Cult of Mac]
Modernist Cuisine at Home is indeed an $80 app, but if you’re a cook, you’ll understand why it’s actually a bargain. An interactive digital version of the $140, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, the app from Inkling includes 260 more recipes and 359 more photos than the print cookbook; it’s also been reformatted to read more easily on screens much smaller than the gigantic original volume. The app also features 37 cooking technique videos, including how to execute the water displacement method or how to use a blowtorch on steaks, as well as interactive versions of Modernist Cuisine’s famous photographs, and calculators to let you scale recipes up or down for your needs. A free demo chapter is available through Inkling’s own app; the book can be downloaded in full through Inkling and added to the app’s library, or kept as a standalone version.
Sony’s free PlayStation App has made its way to the App Store just before tomorrow’s release of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation App lets users interact with friends, receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations. An iOS device can also be used as an onscreen keyboard. Among other features, the app also lets users buy games from the PlayStation Store to push to the PS4.
- November 14, 2013
- Apple TV
Alongside iOS 7.0.4, Apple has released version 6.0.2 of its Apple TV software, which is based upon the same iOS code. There do not appear to be any obvious changes to the interface in the update. The update should occur automatically, but can be manually pushed to the device through the Settings menu.
Apple has released updated versions of its iBooks and iTunes U apps with new designs for iOS 7. The new versions replace the older wood textured design with a new white shelf look consistent with the built-in iOS 7 Newsstand app and new iOS 7 icons.
Like most of the new iOS 7 design philosophy, the updated apps depart from the prior skeuomorphic textures and book-like visual elements such as wood shelves, covers, and page depth, the visual page turning animations remain in place much as they were before, although expanding the animation to include on-screen controls and intersecting into the status bar.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.
Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.
Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.
- November 14, 2013
iPhone resellers that had previously unlocked AT&T iPhones in bulk have ran into issues with unlocking the phones recently, putting their businesses in jeopardy. The Wall Street Journal tells the story of Louis Ashner, who ran a business buying used American iPhones and reselling them in China. Sometime in October, Ashner was suddenly unable to unlock iPhones in bulk, and his business collapsed. Other business owners in the U.S. are reportedly experiencing the same issues. It appears that AT&T has done something to make the devices harder to unlock — the carrier didn’t comment on the issue, but AT&T did say it hasn’t changed its policies for unlocking phones for individual customers. AT&T stopped accepting unlocking requests over the phone in mid-October, and now requires online requests.
iLounge has posted our full review of Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display. The comprehensive nine-page review covers a number of important and previously unknown details about the Retina iPad mini, including improved battery life and issues with color performance, which are quite noticeable when compared to the iPad Air.
Also under the microscope are the performance of the new mini’s A7 processor, and slight differences in the device’s front camera compared to the previous iPad mini. Read the full Retina iPad mini review today.
- November 13, 2013
Apple and Samsung have started a retrial for damages owed by Samsung for infringement of Apple patents. Attorneys for both companies have made opening statements — Apple is seeking $380 million in additional damages, while Samsung believes it should only pay $52 million. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in August 2012 after Samsung was found guilty of violating numerous iPhone patents, but the awarded damages were reduced in March. Samsung now owes about $600 million, and the new damages will be owed on top of that amount — Apple is trying to get almost all of the full initial award back.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinney referenced an internal Samsung document as “conclusive evidence Apple lost sales because of Samsung.” Samsung’s attorney, Bill Price, said “Apple is asking for more money than it’s entitled to.” The difference in damage claims comes from lost profits — Apple maintains it’s owed money for lost profits, Samsung’s profits, and royalties, while Samsung doesn’t believe Apple is owed anything at all for lost profits. [via CNET]
- November 13, 2013
Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly “hiding” more than 1 billion Euros ($1.34 billion) from Italian tax authorities, Reuters reports. “The Apple investigation is under way,” a judicial source said. Apple’s Italian subsidiary was not available for comment. The company has already faced increased scrutiny into its tax practices this year, and tax authorities in Italy have been stepping up investigations into multinational corporations.
- November 13, 2013
iFixit has completed a teardown of the iPad mini with Retina display and has found a 24.3 Watt-Hour battery, which is slightly larger than the 23.8 WHr battery Apple claims is in the device. The first-generation iPad mini had a 16.3 WHr battery. Interestingly enough, iFixit previously found the iPad Air also had a battery that was slightly larger than Apple claimed.
The A7 chip in the iPad mini with Retina display is the same A7 found in the iPhone 5s, rather than the faster A7 found in the iPad Air; this isn’t a big surprise, especially considering recent benchmark test results. iFixit also found an LG display in its Retina iPad mini.
- November 13, 2013
Apple is spending a great deal of its record capital expenditure budget on new technology for use in its manufacturing processes, Bloomberg reports. The company’s annual 10-K report mentions that Apple expects to spend $10.5 billion on non-retail expenditures, “including product tooling and manufacturing process equipment.” Apple is reportedly investing in polishing equipment for the iPhone 5c’s plastic body, laser and milling machines for the MacBook, and “testing gear” for iPhone and iPad camera lenses. The increased spending will enable Apple “to get a jump on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and lay the groundwork for new products.”
IFTTT — also known as If This Then That — has upgraded its free IFTTT app to version 1.2. The updated app now has actions for iOS Photos and Reminders, meaning IFTTT can now automatically add photos to iPhone albums, and create new to-do items in Reminders. Swipe gestures have been added for iOS 7, as well as improved background syncing.
iTeleport ($25) updates its popular universal remote desktop app, giving it an all new layout for iOS 7. Hardware keyboard support has also been added, while version 6.1.8 fixes additional layout issues. The iPad-only app ($20) was updated, as well.
- November 12, 2013
iLounge has posted its unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display. Photos show the iPad mini with Retina display packaging, and a number of comparison shots between the new mini, iPad Air, and first-generation iPad mini.
Close-up feature shots of the newest iPad mini are also included in the gallery. A full review of the iPad mini with Retina display will be posted in the near future.
- November 12, 2013
A benchmark test posted at Geekbench reveals the new iPad mini with Retina display is slightly slower than the iPad Air. The new mini clocked in at 1.29 GHz according to a test, about the same speed as the iPhone 5s, which came in at 1.3 GHz. Meanwhile, an iPad Air test showed a 1.39 GHz processor speed. [via 9to5Mac]
Scosche has released its reVOLT ($25), a car charger with two USB 12W ports. While it’s exceptionally similar to earlier reVOLT models, both ports now charge at 2.4A, allowing for full simultaneous iPad charging regardless of the iPad model.
Scosche notes that charging circuitry in reVOLT is designed for iOS — though the charger will work with most non-iOS smartphones and tablets, those devices may not charge at the fastest rates. Notably, Apple appears to have ended 2.4A/12W regarding speeds with the release of the iPad Air; only prior-generation full-sized iPads benefitted from the faster standard. The new reVOLT is available now.
Apple is now offering the ability to donate to relief efforts in the Philippines through iTunes, after the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan. The option is available at the top of the iTunes store. iTunes will transfer 100 percent of a donation — of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 — to the American Red Cross.
As Apple notes, while donors will receive an email receipt, the American Red Cross will be “unable to further acknowledge your donation,” as iTunes doesn’t share personal information with the American Red Cross. The donation doesn’t qualify for any tax deduction, and iTunes Store credit cannot be used. Typhoon Haiyan has already caused a confirmed 1,774 fatalities; estimates claim that as many as 10,000 people may have died in the disaster.
Without so much as a day’s warning, Apple has started online sales of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, offering an extremely limited set of units for near-term shipping. Only 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models are available for shipment in 1-3 days, with all other models shipping in 5-10 days, including higher-capacity Wi-Fi units and all cellular models from any carrier in any capacity.
Recent reports suggested that major screen-related manufacturing issues have constrained the initial rollout of the mini, with one report claiming that the launch would be delayed due to the scarcity of defect-free screens. Apple instead notified resellers via a late Monday message that it would begin sales on Tuesday, then opened its online store to orders at midnight Pacific Time. The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and climbs to $829 for 128GB LTE models; it is available in the same two colors as the iPad Air.
Update: Apple has officially announced availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. The press release notes the device will be sold online for shipping or personal pickup at Apple retail stores, or through carriers and select resellers — it’s still unclear when the devices will be sold in Apple stores. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller alluded to the suspected lack of inventory for the device, saying in the press release that “...we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”