- August 21, 2014
- Apps + Games,
Lytro Mobile App (free) — Lytro has relaunched its Lytro Mobile App. The new app is universal, and allows users to interact with Lytro’s “living pictures” through various gestures. Both the old app and the new app are free, so if you’re a Lytro user, there’s no reason not to download this new edition. For the best viewing experience, iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display are recommended.
Star Walk 2 ($3) — Vito Technology’s Star Walk 2 is the sequel to the popular Star Walk app, which allows users to point their iPhone or iPad to the sky for information on constellations and astronomical data in real time. The new app offers a new design with a cleaner interface, new visual and sound effects, and 3D models of celestial bodies which are available through in-app purchase. For those who enjoy the original app, Star Walk 2 is worth the upgrade — the interface is gorgeous. Anyone with even a passing interest in astronomy should grab Star Walk 2.
- August 21, 2014
Apple has released a new beta for iTunes 12. We took an in-depth look at the first iTunes 12 beta in late July, and we’ll update this story with changes found in the new edition. The latest beta includes a few more cosmetic changes, such as redesigned media section icons and a new “Recently Added” section in areas such as Movies and TV Shows.
- August 21, 2014
While we’ve seen plenty of alleged leaked parts for the 4.7” iPhone 6, there’s been relatively few leaks for the 5.5” iPhone 6. A new leak posted at evasi0njailbreak.com claims to show the rear shell of the 5.5” iPhone 6 compared to the 4.7” model. The images are said to have come from “deep within Apple’s supply chain in China,” and they could be prototype parts. Unsurprisingly, the 5.5” iPhone 6 shell just appears to be a larger version of the 4.7” model, with no major noticeable differences other than size.
Otterbox’s new Agility Tablet System for iPad Air (reviewed here) is the featured product in our brand new video review. You can see the ups and downs of this multi-accessory case, mounting, and charging solution, complete with iLounge’s honest evaluation of its pros and cons.
We’re currently testing video reviews to give iLounge readers a different way to get a closer look at new products. As this is an early effort, let us know what you think!
- August 20, 2014
- Apple TV,
As anticipated, NFL Now has been added to Apple TV today as a dedicated channel. Like the iOS app, the Apple TV channel offers customized highlights and other video clips with the creation of an NFL.com account. Without that account, users can still access a variety of videos, including news updates, and clips from NFL shows such as Hard Knocks. For $2 a month, users can upgrade to NFL Now Plus, which offers immediate in-game highlights from every game, and access to the vault of NFL Films shows and documentaries.
- August 20, 2014
A new schematic alleged to represent the 4.7” iPhone 6 again shows a protruding camera lens on the device, as has been suggested by a number of earlier leaks. The schematic, posted by Taiwan’s Apple Club, shows the camera protruding 0.67mm to 0.77mm past the shell. However, the schematic’s reference to “proto” likely means these are changing measurements from iPhone prototypes, and subject to further change—the protrusion could be different in the final model. Apple introduced a protruding lens cover in the fifth-generation iPod touch, but has not as yet repeated the design element in other iOS devices. [via G 4 Games]
Mercedes-Benz and Volvo won’t be offering Apple’s CarPlay until 2015, 9to5Mac reports. Both carmakers were previously said to include the functionality in car models by the end of this year. While Volvo’s upcoming new XC90 will be able to use the feature, the functionality won’t be included until 2015. Hyundai has yet to incorporate CarPlay into its 2015 Sonata, but a spokesperson said the functionality will indeed be included by the end of 2014.
An iOS 8 preference list file has been found with an iPhone resolution of 736x414, reports 9to5Mac, which would translate to a Retina “2X” screen resolution of 1472x828. At a 4.7” screen size, this would be around 359 pixels per inch (PPI), versus a 307 PPI resolution for 5.5” — the latter just enough pixel density to qualify as a Retina display. If displayed on a 4” screen, this would equal 422 PPI. Previously, 9to5Mac reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 resolution for the next-generation iPhone, which we noted at the time oddly fell just shy of the “full HD” 1920x1080 resolution found in virtually all HDTVs and many competing smartphones. It’s possible that either or both reports are wrong, however, the 736x414 resolution comes directly from Apple’s latest Xcode 6 SDK betas for iOS 8.
If the new numbers are accurate, it suggests that Apple — rather than merely tripling every pixel from 320x568 as was previously suggested, increasing the level of detail while keeping the same balance of on-screen elements — may instead be adding 94 pixels of width and 168 pixels of height to the existing iPhone UI. Conceivably, that resolution could enable one additional column and one or two additional rows of Home Screen icons, adding 11-16 more icons to the Home Screen for a total of 35-40. It might also mean additional coding work for game developers, as on-screen art would need to be manually adjusted to fill the extra pixels. 9to5Mac reports, though, that the preference list file suggests the resolution will display the same number of icons—20—as on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s.
Apple has released the sixth beta of iOS 8 to its testing partners, including cellular wireless providers, according to BGR. This beta has not gone out to the standard broad array of developers, reportedly since the sixth beta has arrived too close to iOS 8’s anticipated Gold Master release in September. The report also claims this carrier build has already been rejected as a potentially final version due to an issue with using YouTube in Safari. A number of fixes can be seen in the beta’s release notes, for resolving issues with Continuity, Mail, Messages, Photos, Push Notifications, and more.
- August 19, 2014
Sprint has announced its new Family Share Pack, a shared data plan that offers double the quantity of data as its competitors for similar rates. The included charts note the pricing breakdowns and carrier comparisons; Sprint notably bills the data as “high-speed,” though its cellular network has been criticized for offering sub-par performance in much of the United States.
Coming off its failed merger with T-Mobile, Sprint is doing away with its highly advertised “Framily Plans,” replacing them with the new Family Share Pack plans. In addition to the new data prices, for a limited time Sprint is offering up to $350 to buy out the contracts of customers switching from other carriers, via Visa Prepaid Card. The Family Share Pack will be available starting on Friday, August 22.
- August 18, 2014
A series of new photos of the alleged 5.5” iPhone 6 show a 2915 mAh battery, which would be a considerable upgrade over the iPhone 5s battery and the anticipated battery in the smaller, 4.7” iPhone 6—around twice the capacity of prior iPhone batteries. The new photos were posted by Apple Daily. According to leaked photos, the smaller 4.7” iPhone 6 may have a 1810 mAh battery, versus the 1560 mAh cell in the iPhone 5s. Even taking into account the additional power needed for the larger display, the 5.5” iPhone 6 could have significantly better overall battery life than the 4.7” model if these specs are true.
A few allegedly leaked photos of reversible USB cables have popped up in recent days, with reports claiming that Apple’s new Lightning to USB cables could include the feature. The most recent photo comes from Sonny Dickson, who has leaked real Apple parts in the past, depicting a USB connector that would work with any standard Type A USB port, but could be inserted upside down or right-side up. It’s notable that Apple has filed a recently-revealed patent for a reversible USB connector, discussing a “tongue” with contacts on its top and bottom, potentially capable of determining which side’s contacts are being used and deactivating the other side’s contacts. [via 9to5Mac]
- August 15, 2014
- Apps + Games,
Quick, easy-to-play games have always been popular on iOS, but the success of Flappy Bird and others seems to have further emphasized the “quick.” Pako - Car Chase Simulator ($2) by Tree Men Games certainly has more detail and thought than most of those titles, but we’re still talking about a game in which each round lasts not minutes, but seconds. It’s on sale for $1 for a limited time.
Pako is a basic-looking game that will remind some of the early Grand Theft Auto games, with a fun premise — you’re driving a car, so try not to crash. Yes, the police are chasing you, but the levels will give you enough of a challenge on their own without that hot pursuit. That’s due to the control scheme — tapping the left side of the screen turns left, tapping the right side turns right. And that’s it. Your car automatically travels at a steady speed. There is no braking, no going in reverse. If you’re going to swerve into a wall, you’re already too late.
- August 15, 2014
The Fair Labor Association has released new reports containing audits of two Apple supplier factories, both Quanta facilities, in Shanghai and Changshu, China. Both audits were done in August 2013. Issues cited include workers being charged hiring fees, given excessive consecutive work hours, not receiving pay for sick leave, and factories keeping incomplete information for chemical substances. Apple released a statement to TechCrunch, in which the company notes the Quanta facilities in question were included in its 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report.
The statement also notes that, “In the year since the FLA’s visit, we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple. Apple conducted four follow-up inspections on top of the annual audits of both facilities, to ensure the needed corrections are in place.” Apple reports Quanta has averaged 86 percent compliance with its 60-hour workweek through the end of July this year.
- August 15, 2014
Apple has added five new vice presidents to its executive profile webpage. The newly listed VPs include Paul Deneve, Vice President of Special Projects, Lisa Jackson, VP of Environmental Initiatives, Joel Podolny, VP and Dean of Apple University, Johny Srouji, VP of Hardware Technologies, and Denise Young Smith, VP of Worldwide Human Resources. According to the bios, all of the newly listed positions report to CEO Tim Cook. Full bios are available on the webpage, which now lists a total of 15 Apple executives in all; the additional profiles appear to be an effort to enhance the company’s public-facing executive diversity. [via 9to5Mac]
- August 15, 2014
An Apple shareholder has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple’s board and the estate of Steve Jobs, Patently Apple reports. The lawsuit is based on another suit involving Apple’s anti-poaching agreement with Google, Adobe, Intel — that case recently saw the defendants’ settlement proposal rejected. This new suit claims that Apple’s decision to enter the anti-poaching agreement damaged the company’s value. The suit, filed by shareholder R. Andre Klein, accuses Apple of breach of fiduciary duty, gross mismanagement, and waste of corporate assets.
- August 14, 2014
- Apps + Games,
Hanx Writer (free) — Hanx Writer from Hitcents.com is a new writing app designed to mimic the experience of a typewriter on an iPad. Also, it was created by actor and noted typewriter aficionado Tom Hanks. Documents can be emailed, printed, and shared like any other, except that writing them will give you all the sounds and animations of a traditional typewriter. The app offers use of the Hanx Prime Select typewriter for free, and users can make in-app purchases to use different “typewriters.”
Sago Mini Friends ($3) — Sago Sago’s newest childrens’ app is Sago Mini Friends. It features characters from a few of the developer’s other games. Kids pick from one of five friendly animals, and visit the homes of the other characters to participate in very simple mini games. For those familiar with Toca Boca’s exploration apps such as Toca Town or Toca House, think of Sago Mini Friends as a more basic version of those, but for younger children.
- August 14, 2014
Less than a month from its expected iPhone launch event, Apple is considering using sapphire screens in the more expensive models of its upcoming iPhone and iWatch, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report notes that the first sapphire displays for those devices are “expected to roll off production lines this month.” It’s also reported that the company will use sapphire in more expensive models of the two new iPhones, “if it can get enough of the material.” The report suggests that sapphire-equipped iPhones would likely carry a higher price tag than the lower-end versions of the same models.
Although the report isn’t entirely implausible, rumors of material differentiations in Apple devices have rarely proved accurate in the past, though the company has sometimes restricted base models to one or fewer colors than higher-end models, and one iPod—the third-generation iPod shuffle—was briefly offered in a premium stainless steel version alongside aluminum models. With the new iPhone launch seemingly so close, last-minute changes to major components would be somewhat hard to swallow, unless production is running significantly behind schedule.
Thai officials revealed on Wednesday that Apple received approval to sell two new iPhone models in the country, and a new report notes that a seemingly displeased Apple has met with those officials about the disclosure. The translated report, from Thai Rath, also makes a point to note that the new devices may or may not be called “iPhone 6,” leaving some doubt into what the names of the new devices will actually be; “iPhone Air” has previously been floated as a possible alternative. Though Apple may be upset, it doesn’t seem the disclosure will likely affect the sale of the new phones in Thailand. The report suggests the phone could launch in Thailand in early October, after first hitting the market in late September. [via MacRumors]
Apple has banned the use of two chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in final assembly of its iPhones and iPads, the Associated Press reports. The company has drawn criticism in the past for using both potentially hazardous chemicals — workers reported n-hexane-related sicknesses in 2010, and by 2011, workers at an Apple manufacturing partner wrote a letter regarding their concerns and health issues due to n-hexane exposure. Though Apple claims an investigation at 22 factories revealed no evidence that either chemical endangered workers, the company is requiring all factories to test substances for the two chemicals on top of the general ban. “This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.” Apple also released a new message from Jackson on the company’s decision to ban the two controversial chemicals.