- November 5, 2013
Apple has published a report providing details on its customer privacy policies in light of information requests that it receives from government agencies. In the document, titled Report on Government Information Requests, Apple emphasizes that its priority is on ensuring that its customers “have a right to understand how their personal information is handled” and that it has released the report in the interests of transparency and included “all of the information [the company] is legally allowed to share.” Apple notes in the report that “the most common account requests involve robberies and other crimes or requests from law enforcement officers searching for missing persons or children, finding a kidnapping victim, or hoping to prevent a suicide” and that most requests usually involve providing only information such as a name or address, and only “in very rare cases” is the company asked to disclose content such as “stored photos or email.”
The document also includes charts that disclose how many requests the company has received from various governments throughout the first half of 2013 for both account information and devices. Account information is broken down for each country by total number of requests, accounts specified in the requests, and the number of requests for which data was disclosed or where Apple objected, and which type of content was disclosed. The second table provides details on the total number of device requests received by Apple, usually related to lost or stolen devices, and how many of these requests resulted in some data being provided. [via 9to5Mac]
Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 has gone free to play in version 1.1.0. The game has also added the Clio R.S., and Gameloft claims “new cars will appear at any moment.” New limited-time cups and boosters are now included, and a multiplayer world series introduces seven new reverse tracks. Touch controls can also be customized now, with the quiet addition of support for “Apple gamepads” also nestled inside the update.
Basecamp (free) from 37signals now supports iOS 7. The project management app lets team members access everything in a project from the app, from anywhere, providing comments while they collaborate on the project. Basecamp lets members view progress and upload files, as well. The latest version 1.4.1 fixes a blank screen bug.
- November 4, 2013
- Site News
Our special edition poll – What is your pick for the Readers’ Choice Award: Best Apple Product of 2013? – has now ended. With the debut of Apple’s last two major new products for 2013, we asked our readers to let us know which of this year’s product releases from Apple represented the best of the year.
The vast majority of responses were split almost equally between the iPhone 5s and the new iPad Air, at twenty-eight percent each. Coming up as a close second as the new iPad mini with Retina Display at twenty-two percent, followed by iOS 7 at nineteen percent. The iPhone 5c put it an extremely poor showing, with only two percent of overall respondents opting for that device as the best Apple product of 2013.
Apple has updated its Remote app to version 4.0. The app has been considerably redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.
While users shouldn’t expect a huge number of new features, the revamped UI is cosmetically a big change. Remote is a free download and a universal app.
- November 4, 2013
iOS Vice President of Engineering Henri Lamiraux has left Apple, as confirmed by his LinkedIn profile. Lamiraux was reportedly in charge of developing iOS applications, leading feature implementation, and managing bug-fixing, among other duties; his position was underneath Senior Vice President Craig Federighi, who has recently become one of Apple’s public faces for iOS releases. Lamiraux was also listed as an inventor on a key Apple patent covering a great portion of the iOS interface. He departed the company some weeks ago, after the release of iOS 7.0.3; the reasons are unknown. [via 9to5Mac]
iLounge has posted our comprehensive review of Apple’s iPad Air. Nine pages long and packed with over 50 photos, our review covers a number of overlooked but important details, including how the iPad Air’s battery life far outstrips both Apple’s claims and battery life in the fourth-generation iPad, as well as its apparent lack of support for 2.4-Amp charging, negating the need for special accessories that were developed for the fourth-generation iPad. The review details how battery accessories work considerably better on the Air than on its predecessor, as well.
We also found slight differences in audio output, as well as interesting examples of where the A7 processor does and doesn’t show marked differences from the fourth-gen iPad — they’re not necessarily where you might expect to find them. Check our full iPad Air review today.
- November 4, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a short opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The proposed legislation would protect employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “We urge senators to support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and we challenge the House of Representatives to bring it to the floor for a vote,” Cook wrote. He noted that Apple already goes beyond current legal protections, as the company prohibits discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.
- November 1, 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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NOCS has announced its NS900 ($250) on-ear headphones, billed as a “professional DJ headphone.” The NS900 comes with 40mm titanium drivers and interchangeable ear cushions. A stainless steel headband is bolstered by an internal headband with steel hex screws.
NS900 uses a lock to keep the audio cable secure. Three exchangeable cables come with the headphones, including a cable with a three-button remote and mic. NOCS’ NS900 is available for pre-order and ships Dec. 20.
- November 1, 2013
iFixit has done its teardown of the iPad Air and has found a 32.9 Watt-Hour (WHr) battery — a battery slightly larger than what Apple has advertised as a 32.4 WHr battery. It’s a smaller, two-cell battery, compared to the fourth-gen iPad’s 43 WHr three-cell battery. iFixit also confirms that “the speakers have gone stereo” like the iPad mini — the fourth-gen iPad and its predecessors had a mono speaker.
Few other surprises are revealed in the teardown. iFixit gives the iPad Air a repairability score of 2 out of 10, meaning that it’s very hard to repair. Lots of adhesive is used to hold components in place, with iFixit noting, “This is the most difficult battery removal procedure we’ve seen in an iPad.”
- November 1, 2013
iLounge has posted a full unboxing and comparison gallery for Apple’s new iPad Air. Over 30 photos show the contents of the iPad Air package, and differences between the Air and past iPads, including the first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPad, and the iPad mini.
The gallery also showcases the iPad Air’s new body colors, cellular and Wi-Fi models, and other physical features. A full review of the iPad Air will be posted in the near future.
Apple’s online store now lists the iPad Smart Case and iPad Smart Cover as discontinued for the iPad 2 and iPad (3rd/4th-Gen). The site now only shows a dark gray Smart Case and Cover, but both are unavailable for purchase online. Limited inventory may be available in some retail stores.
This is a somewhat curious move, considering Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its lineup. However, Apple is still selling a number of third-party cases that are compatible with the iPad 2, as well as new iPad Air and iPad mini Smart Cases and Smart Covers.
Update: Apple is now selling dark gray versions of the iPad Smart Case and Smart Cover in its online store again.
Infinity Blade III ($7) from Chair Entertainment Group has upgraded to version 1.1, bringing gamers Infinity Blade III: Soul Hunter. A new quest, location, and enemy await players on their journey to find the missing Infinity Weapons. More than a dozen new items have been added, and a new explore feature lets players return to unlocked areas to grab loot and boost XP. Those playing through Infinity Blade III a second time after beating the game will now be able to skip cinema scenes, credits, and the tutorial. Support and optimization have been added for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
PlayDate Digital’s My Little Pony: Party of One ($3) is an interactive iPad storybook app that uses the ponies to teach reading and vocabulary. Social skills are also a big part of the app as Pinkie Pie looks for friends to attend her party. All the popular characters are included, and the app’s content is aimed at children — primarily little girls.
Customers who ordered an iPad 3G before June 7, 2010 have begun receiving claim forms for the class action settlement over misleading AT&T iPad data plans. Apple previously agreed to pay $40 to customers as the result of a suit based on AT&T advertising of an iPad unlimited data plan that was later eliminated. Some customers may also be eligible to receive a $20/month discount from AT&T on the carrier’s 5GB monthly plan. A website for the settlement offers more information. [via Apple Insider]
The Federal Aviation Administration has reached a decision to allow airlines to expand in-flight use of electronic devices. Use of portable electronic devices will be permitted “during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions,” according to the announcement, which also notes that electronic items should be held or placed in the seat’s back pocket during the “actual takeoff and landing roll.” Separate FCC regulations, however, will still require that cell phones be placed into airplane mode, as they cannot be used for airborne calls. The FAA also notes that in “some instances of low visibility — about one percent of flights — some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant,” and users may still be asked to turn off their devices in such situations. Implementation will still be the responsibility of each individual airline, however the FAA expects many airlines to enact the allowance of electronic devices from “gate-to-gate” by year’s end.
Bad Elf has introduced its GPS for Lightning Connector ($130), a portable GPS device that connects to a Lightning connector to add instant GPS and GLONASS location support. Latitude, longitude, altitude, speed and tracking are provided, and the company claims accuracy to within 9 feet and support for altitudes up to 60,000 feet and speeds up to 1,000 mph.
Bad Elf’s GPS requires no Internet connection or monthly subscription, and enables Wi-Fi only devices to use full GPS-based location services, even in areas without Wi-Fi. The GPS is powered from the attached iOS device, and a micro-USB cable is included for passthrough charging. The GPS for Lightning Connector is expected to ship sometime in November.
- October 30, 2013
- Site News
Tomorrow is the last day to vote in our 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. Thousands of votes have been cast, but a last-minute push could make all the difference. Belkin, Logitech, and uNu are leading the way for Accessory Maker of the Year, and Google, Facebook, and Nosy Crow are battling it out for App Developer of the Year. Rovio, EA, and Epic are ahead of the pack in Game Developer of the Year, but it’s not impossible for another company to make a final victorious surge in any of the categories.
Also vote in our separate Readers’ Choice Awards poll for Best Apple Product of 2013. The iPad Air and iPhone 5s are currently battling for first, with the iPad mini with Retina Display close behind. Voting in both polls ends at 11:59 Pacific Time, Oct. 31. The winners will be announced in our 2014 iPad/iPhone/iPod Buyers’ Guide, coming in early November.
- October 30, 2013
Apple has filed its annual 10-K report with the SEC, revealing another jump in research and development expenses, among other details. The company spent $4.48 billion on R&D in 2013, a 32 percent increase from last year’s $3.38 billion expenditure. Apple also now has 80,300 full-time employees — last year, the number was 72,800. The report also notes that the company plans on opening “about 30 new retail stores” in 2014, with two-thirds of those stores to be located outside the U.S. The entire report can be viewed on Apple’s investor website.
Geneva Lab has introduced three new wireless sound systems: the Geneva Sound System Model M Wireless ($599), the Geneva Sound System Model L Wireless ($1,199), and the Geneva Sound System Model XL Wireless ($2,299). The Model M uses Bluetooth A2DP for wireless audio streaming and includes an FM radio, digital clock with alarm, LED display, and touch-sensitive controls. Four amplifiers in the wooden cabinet produce a combined 60 watts of output power.
The Model L Wireless is larger than the Model M and uses Bluetooth aptX streaming and adds a slot-loading CD player. The system’s four amplifiers produce 180 watts of output. The Model XL is the largest model; also boasting Bluetooth aptX and a CD player, XL uses six amplifiers for 346 watts of power. The new models are all dockless versions of the company’s prior iPod/iPhone sounds systems—a response to Apple’s Lightning and AirPlay restrictions. All three sound systems will be available in November in black, white, red, or walnut finishes.
Apple has confirmed a problem with a “small number” of iPhone 5s units causing the battery to drain quickly, The New York Times reports. “We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5s devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.” Apple did not say just how many phones were affected, although the report notes it could be “a few thousand phones.”