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Foxconn to use robots in iPhone production

According to a report from IThome.com, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced at a recent shareholder meeting that new manufacturing robots are in the final testing stage. The first company to take advantage of the new robots’ capabilities will be Apple, presumably for the iPhone 6. Called “Foxbots,” these robots will cost between $20,000 to $25,000 each, and 10,000 are expected to be deployed. Each robot reportedly has a production capacity of 30,000 units, although it’s not clear what time frame that number speaks to. Foxconn previously announced plans to deploy a million robots on its assembly lines, and has already deployed at least 20,000 robots for other projects.

iLounge Weekly arrives Monday, new July giveaway

  • July 4, 2014

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.

Your Email Address:   

IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.

We also have a new giveaway for the month of July! In our Unu Ultrapak Tour Giveaway, iLounge and uNu are giving away five (5) uNu Ultrapak Tour Portable Battery Packs. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends July 31, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple hires TAG Heuer exec, reportedly plans to market iWatch as “Swiss made”

CNBC news reports that Apple has hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer to work with the company on the launch of the iWatch, according to a statement from Jean-Claude Biver, head of TAG Heuer’s parent company. Biver notes that Apple reportedly plans to use the prestigious “Swiss made” label to market the iWatch, and that the TAG Heuer sales director left within the last week “to take a contract with Apple.” [via 9to5Mac]

Update: 9to5Mac reports that the “sales director” in question is Patrick Pruniaux, former Vice-President of Sales and Retail for TAG Heuer, and was hired late last month according to a “source familiar with the hire.” Apple apparently also tried to hire several other employees from TAG Heuer, although Pruniaux was the only employee who actually made the move.

Happy Independence Day from iLounge!

As our U.S.-based editors are celebrating Independence Day, iLounge will be on a limited publishing schedule today. A very happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers. We’ll return to our normal schedule next week.

Apps: 120 Sports, Civilization Revolution 2, Health Mate 2.2 + Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

The new 120 Sports app from the company of the same name is a new player in the world of sports coverage. A free app that requires no cable subscription, 120 Sports offers highlights and discussion of major sports leagues. 120 Sports claims to show “8+ hours of live programming every night — real-time, unfiltered, trending, unbiased coverage of the entire world of sports at the action happens.” The app also includes more than 100 on-demand videos. It’s an interesting idea, and though there are undoubtedly a few kinks to work out coverage-wise at the start of 120 Sports’ run, we’ll see if an iOS-based sports coverage network can make an impact. If you’re a sports fan, it’s definitely worth the free download.

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 ($15) from 2K is the first game in the acclaimed Civilization series to be developed exclusively for mobile devices. The game is similar to the first Civ Revolution, but features new 3D graphics. Also included are new military units, technology, buildings and wonders, and a scenario mode for reenacting historical events and battles. Keep in mind the original Civilization Revolution is only $3 — paying $15 for the new version will depend on how much you care about the redesigned graphics and other updates.

Retailer suing Apple, Amazon, for deleted Amazon listings

An independent retailer that sells Apple products on Amazon is suing both companies, CNET reports. The company, Hard 2 Find Accessories, has accused Amazon of pulling product listings due to Apple’s demands and suspending the Hard 2 Find account. According to the lawsuit, Apple requested that Amazon pull the listings because it thought the products were counterfeit — Hard 2 Find denied those allegations, while claiming that Apple and Amazon conspired to prevent the retailer from selling Apple products at an “aggressive price point.” Hard 2 Find claims it’s losing more than $180,000 a month due to Amazon’s conduct.

FTC accuses T-Mobile of knowingly billing for fraudulent charges

The Federal Trade Commission has accused T-Mobile of making “hundreds of millions of dollars” through unauthorized “premium” SMS subscriptions offered by third-parties. T-Mobile kept 35 to 40 percent of charges for “content such as flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip,” which cost users $9.99 per month, the FTC claims. It’s also said that even after T-Mobile was made aware of these fraudulent charges, the carrier sometimes continued to bill customers for the services. A T-Mobile bill excerpt included in the FTC report alleges the carrier included the charges under the vague line of “usage charges.”

The FTC is seeking a court order to prevent T-Mobile from continuing these practices; refunds are also being sought by the commission. T-Mobile has not yet responded to the accusations.

Apple introduces nine new CarPlay partners

Apple has announced nine new CarPlay partners: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda, and Ram. The new partners are now listed on Apple’s CarPlay page under the “future models” section. Audi recently announced it would be incorporating CarPlay into 2015 car models. There are now a total of 29 announced CarPlay automaker partners according to Apple’s site, with Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo all expected to incorporate CarPlay into models this year. There are also upcoming aftermarket systems from Alpine and Pioneer.

AppleCare+ purchase window now 60 days, basic plan discontinued

Apple is extending its AppleCare+ purchase window to 60 days starting today, 9to5Mac reports. Previously only available within the first 30 days of purchase, the plan costs $99 for recent iPhone and iPad models and can be purchased in Apple stores or online. Additionally, Apple is discontinuing its AppleCare plan without protection for iPhone and iPad today in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. The company is now only offering the more expensive AppleCare+ plan for those devices.

Apple Q3 earnings call coming July 22

Apple has announced that it will release its Q3 financial results on Tuesday, July 22. The company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. ET that day, notably expected to be the first with new CFO Luca Maestri leading the discussion. For the third quarter, Apple previously provided guidance of revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion, and gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide live coverage of the results.

Apple launching Back to School promotion Tuesday

Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion Tuesday, July 1. It’s unclear what sales will be featured this year, but last year’s promo featured $100 App Store gift cards with Mac purchases, and $50 gift cards with iPad or iPhone purchases made by students. It’s possible that there could be a special iPad deal given today’s iTunes U announcement, an unusual pre-release announcement of major new software features slated to debut a week from tomorrow.

Updated July 1, 2014: As expected, the Back to School promotion has launched. Instead of App Store gift cards, the company is offering a $100 Apple Store gift card with eligible Mac purchases, and $50 Apple Store gift cards with eligible iPad or iPhone purchases, in addition to existing educational discounts on Macs and iPads. The deal runs through September 9, 2014.

Apple releases iOS 7.1.2

Apple has released iOS 7.1.2. The update “improves iBeacon connectivity and stability.” Other bug fixes and security updates include a data transfer bug fix, and a fixed issue with data protection class of Mail attachments – it was a known issue that iOS 7.1.1 was not encrypting email attachments within the Mail app. iOS 7.1.2 is available over-the-air or through iTunes.

iPhone 6 antenna breaks to differ from mockups; curved display?

Recent iPhone 6 mockups feature a basically accurate design, but the antenna breaks will differ from what’s been seen thus far, Nikkei reports. Numerous pictures have shown white stripes connecting the antennas in the iPhone 6 — as seen in the above graphic from Nikkei — but color-contrasting stripes will reportedly not be part of the final design. The stripes are likely a placeholder for another material, potentially glass, but quite possibly Liquidmetal. It’s also noted that the iPhone 6 may contain a curved display. The screen would have a seamless fit with the device’s aluminum shell. [via G for Games]

Apple to update iTunes U with course creation on iPad, student discussions

Apple has announced that it will be updating its iTunes U app on July 8, 2014, adding new features that allow teachers to “create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time,” while giving students the ability to begin discussions and pose questions from the iPad. Teachers will be able to use content from iWork, iBooks Author, and the App Store in creating their courses, as well as photos and videos taken with the iPad’s built-in cameras. Students, on the other hand, will be able maintain conversations on various topics, optionally receiving push notifications when there are replies.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, last chance for giveaways

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.

Your Email Address:   

IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.

This is also your last chance to get in on our uNu DX-5 Battery Case Giveaway. This month, iLounge and uNu are giving away fifteen uNu DX-5 Battery Cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s in three different colour options. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends June 30, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

iLounge Game Spotlight: Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Cartoon Network’s newest game is Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake ($5), a puzzle game with lots of RPG elements. The game has a cutesy art style, but don’t let that turn you away — this title has plenty of depth and charm.

While the title reminds us of the 16-bit classic Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the gameplay of Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is like any other number of puzzle games that require players use the abilities of multiple characters to get through a level. The main protagonist is Niko, who leaves his village to find his dog and get back his birthday cake. But it soon becomes clear there’s more to the story.

Audi to integrate CarPlay into 2015 cars

Audi has announced it will bring Apple’s CarPlay to its cars, to be available “in the first Audi models starting in 2015.” Interestingly, Audi was not introduced as an initial CarPlay partner in March. The announcement notes there is “intensive dialog” between Audi and Apple on CarPlay integration. No specific models were mentioned in the release.

Apple ceasing development for Aperture, iPhoto in favor of Photos

Apple has told The Loop that it will be ceasing development of both Aperture and iPhoto for Mac in favor of its new iCloud-based Photos app that will be coming in iOS 8 and Yosemite. “With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple told The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.” It seems likely that Apple’s iPhoto for iOS will suffer a similar fate; iPhoto will not launch in current iOS 8 betas, and developers have been told to “edit and organize [their] photos in the Photos app” instead.

This change clearly marks a major shift in Apple’s photo management strategy for iOS devices, and it is unclear at this point what this will mean for other features such as the original iCloud Photo Stream and iTunes-based synchronization of photos onto iOS devices. Apple first introduced photo synchronization in iTunes 4.7 with the release of the iPod photo in 2004, and the feature has remained largely unchanged since, with iPhoto and Aperture commonly used as photo management apps for organizing photos to be transferred onto iPods and iOS devices. The deprecation of these two apps suggests that Apple is moving more strongly toward a cloud-based photo management solution, while also ceding the “pro” photo management space to applications such as Lightroom, which recently introduced its own cloud-based sync along with feature-rich mobile editing apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple adds Best New Game Updates section to App Store

Apple has added a new section to its App Store for Best New Game Updates. The section reveals a list of newly updated titles, which often were previously featured in the Best New Games section — that section should now only feature brand new titles. Titles in the new updates section include Plants vs. Zombies 2, Zen Pinball, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, among others. Apple has slowly been introducing features that make it easier to find desired apps; the “related” App Store search feature first popped up months ago.

Apple stores now selling prepaid T-Mobile, AT&T iPhones

Apple retail stores are now selling and activating T-Mobile and AT&T phones with prepaid plans. The T-Mobile devices must be activated in store with $50 or $70 worth of service, and the offer is limited to one device per customer. 9to5Mac also confirmed AT&T is now selling iPhones with prepaid GoPhone plans. A report earlier this month noted Apple would introduce prepaid and month-to-month plans.

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