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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

TV4 Play added to Apple TV in Sweden

Apple has added a new TV4 Play channel to Apple TV in Sweden. Swedish network TV4 announced the addition to Apple TV, along with pricing tiers and features.

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For free, users can can watch some live broadcasts, and shows for 7 days after broadcast. A premium tier adds some live sports and removes commercial breaks, while the premium sports tier adds even more live sports, including the Swedish Hockey League and various world soccer leagues. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple sapphire partner expects orders in ‘latter part’ of 2014

  • February 25, 2014
  • Apple

Apple sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies recently announced its 4Q 2013 fiscal results, noting the company “now expects equipment orders from investments to be received during the latter part of 2014.” GT expects “meaningful revenue recognition” will start in early 2015. “We expect to return to profitability during the second half of 2014,” Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO of GT said. These comments appear to allude to a fall 2014 launch of one or more new Apple products containing sapphire, making a summer or earlier launch of such products extremely unlikely at this point.

Apple urges veto of Arizona anti-gay bill

  • February 25, 2014
  • Apple

Apple has asked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians, the Associated Press reports. Company spokeswoman Kristin Hueget confirmed Apple “had reached out to Brewer and urged a veto,” according to the report. Apple announced plans in November to build a sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona. Just a few days before that announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed piece in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, noting that Apple prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees. Brewer has five working days to veto or sign the bill.

Report: Apple sues Chinese gov’t agency, company over Siri

  • February 24, 2014
  • Apple

Apple is reportedly suing a Chinese government agency and a Chinese company over patent rights for Siri, according to the Xinhua news agency. The Cupertino company has targeted Shanghai’s Zhizhen Network Technology, which “developed software similar to Siri,” and the State Intellectual Property Office, which controls Chinese patent rights protection. Apple was previously denied a request by the agency to declare the Zhizhen patent invalid, the report claims. The case will be heard on Thursday; Apple declined comment. [via AFP]

ReSound Linx MFi hearing aid launches

GN ReSound has launched ReSound Linx, an MFi hearing aid. First announced last October, the hearing aid connects directly to an iOS device.

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The ReSound Smart app will let users adjust volume, treble, bass, and geo-tag locations for preferred settings. A price was not released for the ReSound Linx, but a past report claimed the hearing aid would likely cost more than $3,000.

Mad Catz unveils C.T.R.L.i iOS controller

Mad Catz has introduced its C.T.R.L.i ($80) iOS controller. The Bluetooth-enabled controller comes with a removable clip with a mount that can hold current iPhones, and can also adjust for larger devices.

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The controller will reportedly come in black, white, blue, red, and orange. C.T.R.L.i is set to launch in April. [via Engadget]

WWE Network launches on Apple TV

As expected, the WWE Network has launched on Apple TV today. The new network from World Wrestling Entertainment can be purchased with an iTunes account.

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It costs $60 for a six-month WWE subscription on Apple TV, as opposed to $10 per month on other platforms. WWE Network features streaming content 24/7, and offers access to all live WWE pay-per-views in addition to a library of on-demand content.

Apple iPhone trade-in program coming to Canada soon?

Apple’s in-store iPhone Reuse and Recycling trade-in program will launch in Canada in “the coming weeks,” 9to5Mac reports. A source indicated Canadian Apple Store employees would begin training for the program soon. The iPhone Reuse and Recycling program already exists in the U.S. and U.K., and Apple also has a more limited version of the program in India.

Fitbit pulls, recalls Force fitness tracker

Fitbit has issued a voluntary recall of its Fitbit Force Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband. The company has also pulled the fitness tracker from the market — Fitbit’s Force webpage notes the product is “currently not available for purchase.” Fitbit is citing skin irritation as the reason for the Force’s recall and removal from the market.

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A letter from Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park claims “only 1.7 percent of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation.” Park points out that Force contains commonly used materials, but “some users may be reacting to the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel used in the device. Other users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to assemble the product.” FitBit is offering a refund of the device’s full retail price, and the company has set up a page dedicated to the recall. [via TechCrunch]

iLounge Game Spotlight: Tengami

The long-awaited Tengami ($5) has finally reached the App Store. Created by Nyamyam, an independent developer founded by former Rare employees, Tengami is described as “an atmospheric adventure game set inside a Japanese pop-up book.” Rated 4+, the game has no in-app purchases and no advertisements.

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As expected, Tengami is a beautiful game, as it looks like a real hand-crafted pop-up book in motion. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the aesthetics of Tengami are pretty undeniable for an iOS game. Players can fold and slide pages of the intricate book while guiding the character past waterfalls and wolves. The soundtrack from David Wise and sparse sound effects only add to the enjoyable, soothing experience.

Apple acquires TestFlight parent company Burstly

  • February 21, 2014
  • Apple

Apple has acquired Burstly, the parent company of mobile app testing platform TestFlight, according to TechCrunch. Burstly also makes SkyRocket, an in-app management platform for ads. Notably, TestFlight recently announced it would be terminating Android support. Apple, which confirmed the acquisition with Re/code, could be looking to improve its own beta testing platform with the purchase.

Apple releases iOS 7.0.6

Apple has released iOS 7.0.6 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The 35.4 MB security update provides a fix for SSL connection verification.

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iOS 7.0.6 is available now over-the-air.

Update: Apple has also released Apple TV Software Update 6.0.2. According to the company’s support page, this update addresses SSL issues as well. Apple TV Software Update 6.0.02 is available now for second- and third- generation Apple TVs via the Software Update feature of the Apple TV’s Settings menu.

Steve Jobs postage stamp arriving in 2015

  • February 21, 2014
  • Apple

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs will be the subject of a commemorative USPS postage stamp in 2015. A list of stamps obtained by The Washington Post reveals a Jobs stamp is coming next year. The stamp is already in design development, according to the obtained document.

Apps: Google Translate 2.1, Second Chance Heroes, Venmo 4.7 + Zen Pinball 1.15

Google’s Google Translate (free) has updated to version 2.1.0 with native iOS 7 support, bringing a new keyboard and status bar. The app also adds handwriting input for more languages — Arabic, Esperanto, Gujarati, Hebrew, Javanese, Maltese, Maori, Marathi, Persian, Punjabi, Telugu, and Zulu. Google Translate currently supports translation of 80 languages.

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Second Chance Heroes (free) from Rocket City Studios is a frantic action game in which you fend off zombies, werewolves, and other enemies while controlling a chainsaw-wielding Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra, Nikola Tesla, and other historical figures. This kind of trope has been overdone in recent years, but Second Chance Heroes stands on its own, especially with the twist of tag team gameplay for swapping characters mid-game. The game supports both single player and multiplayer, and though there are in-app purchases, they never feel invasive.

Apple ID two-step verification comes to Canada, France, more

Apple has introduced two-step verification for Apple IDs in a number of countries today, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The countries that can currently use the optional two-step verification feature for Apple IDs are listed in an Apple support document. Two-step verification can be activated via the My Apple ID website. Apple first debuted the service last March. [via 9to5Mac]

Tesla CEO Musk verifies Apple meeting; acquisition ‘unlikely’

  • February 20, 2014
  • Apple

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a Bloomberg interview that his company did meet with Apple’s acquistions chief, but said a sale of Tesla was “unlikely.” A recent report noted Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica met with Musk. “We had conversations with Apple, I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition,” Musk said. He said any acquisition of Tesla could distract the company from focusing on creating a compelling mass market electric car, which would make a sale unlikely. 

Musk noted any scenario that would make it easier to produce such an electric car could make a Tesla acquisition possible, but he doesn’t foresee such a development. When asked what he would tell Apple if the Cupertino company wanted to make cars, Musk said, “I’d probably tell them that I think it’s a great idea.” Tesla recently confirmed plans for its battery “Gigafactory” — there’s speculation that Apple could partner with Tesla in the new battery plant. [via GigaOM]

GBA4iOS 2.0 Game Boy emulator released

GBA4iOS has released version 2.0 of its Game Boy simulator on its website. The free download lets users play a number of Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy games on their iPhone or iPad, with a built-in browser giving users the option to download more ROMs. GBA4iOS 2.0 can run on any iOS device running iOS 7 or higher, and no jailbreak is required.

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The non-App Store download appears to rely on a certificate issued through Apple’s Enterprise Developer Program and could therefore still potentially be disabled by Apple. Installation is quick and simple, but be sure to read the site’s FAQ, and be aware of any privacy and security risks involved with installing such software. [via MacRumors]

Apple bringing iTunes Festival to US

Apple has announced it is bringing the iTunes Festival to the U.S. for the first time. The event — which previously has only taken place in London — will be held at SXSW in Austin, Texas, from March 11-15, at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, Keith Urban, and ZEDD have already been announced as acts. All five nights of the event will be able to watch as a free stream on the iTunes Store, and the iTunes Festival app will offer HD streaming to iOS devices and Apple TV.

Apps: Dinosaur Train A to Z, Intro to Letters 2.0, Pinball Arcade 3.3 + Yahoo Fantasy Sports 5.4

Dinosaur Train A to Z ($2) from PBS Kids uses characters from the show Dinosaur Train to teach kids about 26 different dinosaurs — one for each letter of the alphabet. Children can feed the dinosaurs, explore x-rays, and learn more than 50 facts. Additional dinosaur packs can also be purchased. The app is narrated by Mr. Conductor, who fans of the show know is a Troodon. That’s right, T is for Troodon in this app, not Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dinosaur Train isn’t afraid of getting a bit obscure.

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Montessorium’s Intro to Letters ($10) has been completely redesigned for iOS 7 in version 2.0. The Montessori-based letter-learning app has also added a new feature, Recording Studio. In Recording Studio, adults can record, save and use their own voiceovers to teach their children the letters. As the app’s description claims, “You learn best from the ones that you love.” The app is currently $5 for a limited time.

AirPlay Recorder allows iTunes Radio ripping

Continuing its longtime anti-DRM campaign, doubleTwist has released AirPlay Recorder ($10), a Mac app that enables real-time iTunes recording for offline use. iTunes Radio tracks can effectively be ripped by using the app, which appears as an AirPlay device in iTunes.

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AirPlay Recorder for Mac is only available on doubleTwist’s website. The free version of the app allows for 10-second sample recordings, while the full version costs $10.

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