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iPhone tops ACSI smartphone satisfaction ratings

Apple dominates all other cell phone manufacturers when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). According to the report, Apple’s iPhone earned the company an 83 out of 100 customer satisfaction, the first time a cell phone company has ever broken into the 80s. Its nearest competitors were Nokia, LG, and HTC, all three of which scored a 75. The ACSI’s scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 70,000 U.S. customers. [via TUAW]

Apple product placement up in 2011

Mentions and appearances of Apple products on TV were up in 2011, according to a new report. Citing numbers from researcher Nielsen, Apple products were discussed or shown 891 times on TV in 2011, up from 613 in 2009. In addition, the company’s iDevices (iPhones, iPads, and iPods) appeared in more than 40 percent of weekly box office-topping films—nearly twice as often as the next most common brands, according to Brandchannel. Unlike most companies, Apple refuses to pay for product placement in movies or TV shows, although it has been known to hand out freebies. “Apple won’t pay to have their products featured, but they are more than willing to hand out an endless amount of computers, iPads, and iPhones,” said Curb Your Enthusiasm producer Gavin Polone. “It’s kind of a graft situation.”

The Iconfactory releases Astronut for iPad

The Iconfactory has released an iPad version of Astronut, its casual jump game for iOS. Astronut challenges players to explore the galaxy hopping from planet to planet, collecting star shards while avoiding unfriendly life forms. The new iPad version provides the same gameplay features first introduced in the iPhone and iPod touch version adapted for the larger Retina Display screen, with the added ability to use the free iPhone version as a remote control for playing on the iPad. The game includes 24 levels across six different sectors and Game Center integration with 40 achievements to unlock. Astronut for iPad is available from the App Store for $2; the original version for the iPhone and iPod touch, Astronut, is a free download and has been updated to add remote control capabilities for the iPad version.

Remember The Milk for iPhone gets major UI facelift

Online task management service Remember The Milk has released a major update to its iOS app introducing a redesigned UI for iPhone and iPod touch users and Retina Display support for the iPad. Adapted from the native iPad user interface introduced last year, Remember The Milk 3.0 adds a sliding panels view with a left-hand toolbar and stacked “cards” for categories, task lists and task details and notes; left and right swipe gestures provide a natural intuitive UI to allow users to view their tasks and notes. The update also refines the task details view to display associated notes on the same screen and provides buttons for quick access to complete, postpone or delete individual tasks. Support for batch-editing multiple tasks on the iPhone and iPod touch has also been added, similar to the iPad version, allowing select multiple tasks and postpone them or edit common information such as due date, priority, list and tags. In order to adapt to the new sliding panels interface, a tap-and-hold gesture is now used to bring up the complete tasks instead of the previous swipe gesture, and users can now swipe up from this view to access a postpone button instead. Remember The Milk 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; a $25/year “Pro” account subscription is required for some features such as automatic synchronization and Push Notifications.

Sparrow adds landscape support, more languages

Sparrow has updated its iOS e-mail client adding support for composing messages in landscape orientation and several other UI improvements. Sparrow 1.2 also now allows users to swipe up and down to navigate between different messages while in the reading view and supports creating and editing labels/folders directly in the app. The update also fixes several bugs and now supports nine languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Russian and Chinese. Sparrow 1.2 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.

Apple to add photo-sharing features to iCloud

Apple is preparing to add new photo-sharing features to its iCloud service, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the new features will allow iCloud users to share sets of photos with other iCloud users and comment on photos. The report goes on to say that Apple is also working on a feature that would allow iCloud users to sync videos via iCloud. Apple is expected to announce the iCloud upgrade alongside iOS 6 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Report: Siri APIs, Siri for iPad coming in iOS 6?

Apple may launch both developer-accessible Siri APIs and Siri for iPad with the release of iOS 6, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, TechCrunch reports that the software, codenamed “Sundance”, will indeed feature a new, Apple-based replacement for Google Maps in the Maps application, and while the 3D mapping feature is said to be neat, it is also unlikely to be used very often. The report goes on to state that there have been “whispers” backing up the idea that Apple might announce a set of developer-accessible APIs for Siri, which would also make its debut on the iPad in iOS 6. Regarding the latter, the report claims that the difficulty with Siri on the iPad has been in designing a UI for the larger screen, rather than any technical challenge.

Finally, the report claims that new iCloud functionality and deep ties to OS X Mountain Lion will also be key parts of the software, which it claims may arrive at the same time as a completely revamped version of iTunes, and potentially even a “full-on Spotify competitor.” Apple is expected to unveil iOS 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month.

Apple rebrands third-gen iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G

Apple over the weekend quietly went about changing the official name of its third-generation iPad with cellular data capabilities. Previously known as the Wi-Fi + 4G model, it is now referred to on Apple’s website and in its retail locations as the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. It “connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and fast mobile data networks,” reads the description on Apple’s UK online store. Apple had been facing scrutiny from regulators in several countries, which claimed that the “4G” moniker was misleading as the device didn’t support 4G LTE networks anywhere but in the US and Canada. [via 9to5Mac]

iHome unveils iP76 Color Changing Speaker Tower

  • May 14, 2012

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iHome has unveiled its new iP76 Color Changing Speaker Tower. Measuring three-feet tall, the iP76 is designed to be a focal point of whatever room it is in, thanks to 16 multi-color LED clusters that allow it to perform a variety of lighting effects, including fading from one color to another, pulsing to the music, or producing a strobe-like effect. The tower also features four speakers, Reson8 speaker technology, Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, an iPod/iPhone dock on the top, and component video outputs. iHome’s iP76 Color Changing Speaker Tower will be available in June and is priced at $200.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, giveaway reminder

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 to enter our iBattz Bundle Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for May, iLounge and iBattz are giving away 10 bundles consisting of a Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet II and an iBattz Mojo Treble Keychain Cable. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on May 31, 2012 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Adobe Ideas adds Creative Cloud support

Adobe has updated Ideas adding support for its Creative Cloud service. Adobe Ideas is a universal iOS app designed to provide users with a digital sketchbook for capturing ideas while on-the-go and easily transferring them into Adobe’s desktop design applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop. The application provides a multitouch drawing interface with simple vector-based sketching tools, variable-size brushes, and multiple drawing layers and colour themes. Version 2.0 allows users to sync their artwork to Adobe Creative Cloud where they can access it from Illustrator CS5/CS6 for further editing; users can sign up for a free membership to Creative Cloud which includes 2GB of storage for syncing and sharing. Adobe Ideas 2.0 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.

iCloud.com beta site reveals Notes, Reminders access

A beta version of Apple’s iCloud.com online tools has revealed that the company plans to add Notes and Reminders access to the site. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered the beta.icloud.com site by accident this morning, and posted a screenshot showing a beta message that read “The beta version of iCloud.com requires a developer account and setting up your Apple ID with latest iOS or OS X.” Behind the pop-up were the icons for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, a missing image marker that was later discovered to be the iWork icon, and two new icons for Notes and Reminders. Further investigation of the site by 9to5Mac discovered that the code for the site made references to iOS 6, specifically, “To use beta.icloud.com, first sign in to iCloud with the iOS 6 Beta.” Apple has since pulled the website, but it appears likely that Apple will officially open the site alongside the release of a beta version of iOS 6.

Yelp adds comment check-ins, comes to Norway

Yelp has released an update to its location-based social app for iOS improving commenting features and adding support for Norway. Yelp allows users to search for businesses based on criteria such as open hours, neighbourhood, distance and price, read through and contribute reviews and tips for various venues, check-in to venues and make reservations at supported restaurants via OpenTable. Yelp 5.8 now allows users to comment on they friends’ check-ins, allowing them to immediately add their thoughts, tips and recommendations when they see their friends check-in at a familiar location. Length limitations on tips have also been increased allowing users to write longer, and more expressive tips. Yelp 5.8 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Adobe Photoshop Touch increases maximum photo resolution

Adobe has updated Photoshop Touch for the iPad increasing the maximum supported resolution and adding new synchronization and export features. Adobe Photoshop Touch 1.2 now allows users to work with 2048x2048 resolution photos with up to 10 layers, although the default remains at 1600x1600 with 16 layers; users can choose the higher resolution in the application’s Preferences. In addition, Photoshop Touch can now automatically synchronize with Adobe’s Creative Cloud and users can export images to PSD or PNG via the iOS Camera Roll, e-mail and iTunes File Sharing. The updated version also improves workflows for rotating and flipping images, adds two new tutorials and four new effects and is now available in English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Italian. Adobe Photoshop Touch requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad with iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.

Pocket improves Dark Theme, adds Page Flipping

Pocket has released a minor update to its iOS offline reading app adding several improvements and refinements to the major 4.0 release from earlier this year. Pocket 4.1 now supports the Dark Theme throughout the app rather than merely in the article view and adds a new Sepia theme with a focus on contrast and readability; the maximum font size has also been increased in the article view. Users can also now swipe left or right to enable a books-style Page Fipping view instead of scrolling through articles. The latest version now also automatically detects URLs found on the clipboard when opening the app and offers to add them to Pocket and provides support for additional video sides including TED and Devour. Pocket 4.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Foxconn making preparations for Apple HDTV

Foxconn is making preparations for production of Apple’s long-rumored HDTV set, according to a new report. Speaking at a news conference in Shanghai, Foxconn chief Terry Gou said that the company is making preparations for iTV, the rumored name for Apple’s upcoming high-definition TV set. China Daily claims that the set reportedly features aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling. Gou added that Foxconn’s recent 50-50 joint venture factory with Sharp is one of the preparations made for the device, although he said that neither development or manufacturing has yet to begin.

Apple to drop Google Maps in iOS 6

Apple will drop Google Maps as the backend to its built-in Maps application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, according to a new report. Citing trusted sources, 9to5Mac reports that Apple will make the move in iOS 6, and will replace Google’s mapping solution with an in-house mapping service built upon technology from acquisitions Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly9. The report claims that the application design is “fairly similar” to the current Maps app, but is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience. The new app will also feature a new 3D mode built upon technology from C3 Technolgies, and, according to the report, and the change will be signified with a redrawn icon. The report claims that iOS 6 is likely to appear at Apple’s WWDC conference in June.

Apple releases Apple TV Software Update 5.0.1

Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 5.0.1, the latest update for its set-top box. Available for both the second- and third-generation Apple TV, 5.0.1 includes support for HD previews for movies and TV shows on the iTunes Store, a fix for an issue that caused some iOS apps to have trouble connecting via AirPlay, Home Sharing reliability improvements, fixes for an issue that affected Netflix login and navigation, and overall stability and performance issues. Apple TV Software Update 5.0.1 is available now via the Software Update feature of the Apple TV’s Settings menu.

AirCassette delivers a retro music experience

Majasalmi has released an update to AirCassette, a retro music player app for the iPhone and iPod touch. AirCassette allows the user to listen to music from their iOS library presented in a nostalgic “cassette player” view, complete with rotating spindles, track information scrawled on the label and realistic rewind and fast-forward animations. Users can browse their music library to queue up additional tracks for playback while listening, check the number of tracks in the queue and their total paying time or remove individual tracks from the queue without interrupting playback. Users can also choose from a variety of authentic retro cassette label designs to customize their now playing screen. Version 1.3 adds the ability to share favourite cassette tape labels, complete with the currently playing track via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail along with an iTunes song preview and link to the iTunes Store where available; users can share individual tracks or their entire song queue. The update also adds shuffled playback, new cassette designs, and Last.fm scribbling. AirCassette requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.

Clarion debuts Next Gate in-vehicle controller for iPhone

Clarion has debuted its new Next Gate in-vehicle controller for iPhone. Designed to make controlling the iPhone in a vehicle both safer and more convenient, the Next Gate sits on a vehicle’s dash, and allows the user to control certain iPhone functions via the built-in 7-inch WVGA touchscreen. It can control certain apps—including Pandora and Odyssey—that have been optimized for in-vehicle use, control audio playback, handle calls over Bluetooth with a built-in microphone and speaker for hands-free calling, offers voice control and text readout for select functions, can charge a connected iPhone via an included cable, adheres to the dash via a 360-degree adjustable suction mount, and features a microSD slot, an auxiliary audio output, and blue LED buttons. Clarion’s Next Gate in-vehicle controller for iPhone will be available June 1 and will sell for $270.

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