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ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes added to Apple TV

Apple has added ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes to the ESPN channel list on Apple TV. ESPNEWS is ESPN’s 24-hour sports news channel, and ESPN Deportes is the company’s Spanish-language sports channel. There are now seven ESPN channels on Apple TV, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, and Goal Line, the last of which is a live college football channel only available during college football Saturdays.

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All of the ESPN channels require a cable provider sign-in. It’s a big week for new channels on Apple TV, as Vevo, Disney, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel were just added on Tuesday.

Report: AppleCare+ to debut in Europe

Apple will soon launch its AppleCare+ extended warranty program in Europe, according to a French report. AppleCare+ was introduced for the iPhone in the U.S. in 2011, and later expanded to include the iPad in addition to launching in Canada and Japan. Despite rumours of a U.K. launch last year, AppleCare+ was never made available in Europe, which continues to offer customers the standard AppleCare Protection Plan. AppleCare+ is an enhanced version of the standard AppleCare plan which provides iPhone and iPad users with coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling. No exact timeline or specific countries were mentioned in the report. Notably, Apple has had issues involving properly informing customers about warranty rights in a number of European countries. [via iGen.fr (translated link)]

CableJive intros new dockBoss air

CableJive has released a new version of dockBoss air ($35), an adapter that lets users wirelessly stream audio from a device to a 30-pin audio dock. Unlike the recently released dockBoss 5, the new dockBoss air uses Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, allowing for audio control from up to 33 feet away from a speaker dock.

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CableJive claims this version of dockBoss air has clearer audio and increased volume than the prior version. The new dockBoss air is available now.

E-book case judge seeks competition, not Apple punishment

The judge who found Apple guilty of fixing e-book prices doesn’t want the government’s proposed remedies to drastically affect Apple’s business, reports the Associated Press. “I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business,” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said. Cote believes any provisions that would affect the App Store — such as allowing third party apps to link to their own e-bookstores — are unnecessary. “The App store (sic) was only an incidental part of this trial,” she said. Cote also said she would likely limit the authority of a monitor that would be assigned to prevent antitrust behavior at Apple. A trial to determine damages is still set for May 2014.

Apple acquires Swedish algorithm developer AlgoTrim

Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Swedish company that specializes in compression algorithms for mobile phones. AlgoTrim “developed algorithms for lossless compression of processing instructions in operating systems and applications,” according to a Swedish news service. The compression techniques allow for faster processing and reduced use in flash memory. AlgoTrim’s software was found in about 100 million phones by the end of 2011, with the company previously focusing on Android phones. Apple has made five known acquisitions in recent weeks, most recently acquiring transit app developer Embark. [via Rapidus]

Report: 64-bit chip unlikely in iPhone 5S

Despite recent speculation, it’s unlikely that Apple’s iPhone 5S will actually contain a 64-bit chip, according to a new report. ARM Ltd’s first 64-bit mobile processor cores aren’t expected to appear in smartphones until 2014, and a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures would only yield an 8 to 10 percent performance boost on its own, suggests ARM’s James Bruce. Bruce also said the industry will move to 64-bit mobile chips “over the next four years,” starting with the Cortex-A53, ARM’s first 64-bit mobile processor. The report concludes with the assumption that Apple is indeed pursuing and testing 64-bit chips, but such tests can’t be taken as definitive evidence that such a chip is forthcoming this year. [via Network World]

Apps: Madden NFL 25, Notability 5.01, Pinball Arcade 2.7 + Solar Flux HD

EA’s Madden NFL 25 (Free*) has taken the “freemium” game model to ridiculous extremes. Feeling more like a shakedown than a football game, Madden is free to play, but rubs artificial-feeling limitations in your face well before your team can take the field. Before you get to play the game, you’re told that you’re being given some basic player cards and enough credit to play a game for free, after which the title tries to sell you Madden Cash using in-app purchases. Paying lets you keep playing a seriously stripped-down version of Madden football using very simple tap and touch controls, but in some cases, you’ll have to unlock individual plays, as well as players. If paying outright for player cards didn’t seem silly enough, Madden includes an in-app auction where players can compete against each other to buy cards for certain players. We can’t imagine anyone paying anything—let alone $100, as offered in one in-app purchase—to keep playing a game that has nowhere near the depth or content of a console football title. The in-game graphics aren’t much better than football titles from two years ago, Retina support not withstanding, and the audio’s nothing special, either. Our advice: skip this one.

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Notability ($5) from Ginger Labs has updated to version 5.01, and is now universal on all iOS devices. The note-taking app has also added iCloud support to keep notes updated on any iOS device running iOS 6 or later. A new scissor tool lets users scale and rotate handwriting. Themes have gotten a new look and feel, and one new theme has been added, as well.

Apple iPhone Reuse + Recycle Program starts Aug. 30 (Update)

Apple’s new iPhone trade-in program, the iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program, will roll out in select Apple stores this Friday, August 30, according to 9to5Mac. The program will roll out on a larger scale in September. Apple store employees will offer a value for an old iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S or 5 based on display and button quality, hardware and liquid damage, engraving, and if the device powers on and works normally. When trading in the device, customers will receive a gift card with the determined value amount to go toward the new iPhone. Customers will receive the old SIM card and employees will offer to setup the new iPhone.

As was reported in June, BrightStar will handle shipping and processing. Non-functioning iPhones with no worth will also be recycled through BrightStar. It’s also noted that “trade-in pricing for the iPhones is slightly below the competition.” An unlocked, undamaged 16GB iPhone 5 could net about $279, and an AT&T version of the same iPhone will be worth around $255, both below current Gazelle rates. A GSM 8GB iPhone 4 “will be worth between $120 and $140,” while the CDMA version will be closer to $80.

Update (Aug. 30): Apple is rolling out its in-store iPhone trade-in program nationwide today, according to a CNBC tweet. It was initially reported that Apple would roll out the program in select stores before a larger rollout, but it now appears the company is launching the program in all U.S. Apple stores.

Apple TV adds Vevo, Disney, Weather Channel, Smithsonian channels

Apple has added new channels to Apple TV today — Vevo, Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel. Disney XD is a separate channel from Disney Channel, aimed at preteens and teenagers; both Disney channels require signing in with a selected cable provider. Smithsonian Channel includes a collection of on-demand videos, and does not require an existing cable TV subscription. After requesting your city or zip code, The Weather Channel uses a new interface to show you today’s weather, full-screen hourly and 10-day forecasts, region-specific forecast videos, access to Weather Channel shows, topics of interest, and featured videos.

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It was expected that Vevo would be introduced to the device soon, and the channel has both live and on-demand music videos. Interestingly, a system update isn’t needed to see the new channels, which means a prior update enabled Apple to add full-fledged channels to the Apple TV at any time. The new channels do not appear to be available outside of the United States at this point.

Apple says DOJ e-book remedies biased toward Amazon

Apple has responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s revised remedies in the e-book price-fixing case, claiming that the proposed remedy is biased in favor of Amazon. Apple said in a court filing, “Plaintiffs are seeking a remedy that would give Amazon significant competitive advantage over Apple — an advantage it is neither entitled to nor deserves.” According to a report, Apple is “vehemently opposed” to Amazon and others providing links from e-book apps to their own bookstores without paying Apple. The company also takes issue with the proposal of an external monitor, and is still seeking new remedies from the DOJ. Apple and the DOJ are scheduled to meet in court today. [via AllThingsD]

New AppleCare website, 24/7 chat support launched

Apple has launched a redesigned AppleCare support website, alongside 24/7 chat support for both iOS devices and Macs. The new site offers a number of options to help users, including live online chat and phone calls from Apple Support — users can see wait times for both options.

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The streamlined site also offers suggestions to resolve frequent support issues, sorted by device. A recent report noted that Apple would soon be introducing these revamped online support options. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple’s iPhone trade-in program set for September

Apple is getting ready to launch its rumored iPhone trade-in program in its retail stores in September, according to a new report. The program will let customers trade in older iPhones for new models. A June report claimed Apple would be launching its trade-in program that month, but this most recent report claims a planned July launch was “pushed back for unspecified reasons.” In addition to pushing iPhone sales, Apple believes the program will convince customers to trade in damaged iPhones for newer devices, so Genius Bar workers will be able to concentrate on issues other than getting customers refurbished replacement phones. Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly emphasized selling more iPhones in Apple stores, and it would make sense for Apple to introduce such a program around the release of the company’s newest iPhones next month. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple restricting access to iWork for iCloud beta

Apple is denying some users access to iWork for iCloud beta, which just opened to the public on Friday. A message from Apple says the new service has “had an overwhelming response,” and that users should “check back soon.” No timeframe is given for when the service will open up to users who are currently unable to gain access. Public invites to iWork for iCloud beta were first sent out in July. [via 9to5Mac]

iPhone 5S: 64-bit A7, motion tracking, graphite color?

Several late-breaking rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S may include a speed bump, gesture control capabilities, and a graphite/black color option similar to the first-generation iPhone. According to a tweet from Fox News’ Clayton Morris, the iPhone 5S new A7 chip is running “about 31% faster than A6,” providing the first apparent quantification for a June rumor that an A7 chip was inside iPhone 5S prototypes. Separately, 9to5Mac notes that some 5S prototypes have contained 64-bit versions of the A7, which would smooth graphics and animations. Morris has also heard “there’s a separate chip devoted to motion tracking,” tweeting, “Should be an interesting camera upgrade.” Some speculation suggests that the motion tracking could go beyond just automatic camera adjustments, and aid in controlling the iPhone without touching the screen.

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Finally, a leak of iPhone 5S parts by Sonny Dickson suggests that Apple has been testing another color option: a graphite metal and black glass color combination. The parts clearly show a metal iPhone 5-style chassis that is slightly darker in color than the white and silver iPhone 5S, with black — not white — antenna interruption bars on the sides.

DOJ revises proposed Apple e-book price fixing remedy

The U.S. Department of Justice has revised its previously proposed remedy addressing Apple’s e-book price fixing. While the general terms have not dramatically changed, the DOJ has offered to reduce the length of the injunction from ten years down to five along with easing some of the restrictions on Apple’s ability to make new deals with book publishers.

Apple’s response to the original proposal was to call it “a draconian and punitive intrusion” into the company’s business, and has stated that it will be appealing the July 10th ruling, arguing that it “exceeds the bounds of even criminal price-fixing cases” and is an effort to “inflict punishment” upon the company. [via Engadget]

Apple revising App Store rankings system?

Apple may be working toward incorporating user ratings into its App Store Top Charts rankings, according to some new analysis by Fiksu, an app marketing startup. The report notes that based on some in-depth and ongoing analysis, it would appear that Apple has been at least testing changes to the iTunes ranking algorithms to factor in user ratings and reviews in addition to the traditional number and frequency of downloads—apps with four stars or more seem to be receiving a consistent ranking boost.

The report also notes that the position of apps in the App Store appear to be updating with less frequency—every three hours as opposed to every 15 minutes previously. Fiksu speculates that this change may be to add a ‘buffer’ period to prevent developers and marketers from trying to game the system through short download bursts. It is unclear at this point whether these changes are part of a new strategy on Apple’s part or simply the result of the company experimenting with the App Store rankings. [via 9to5Mac]

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, giveaway update

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 Unu Enerpak Extreme Dual Giveaway for the month of August, in which iLounge and uNu are giving away ten Enerpak Extreme Dual USB Battery Packs. Simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page to enter; both giveaways will end on August 31, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Heckler Design debuts HighSign iPad mounting frame

Heckler Design has introduced the HighSign ($79), a new secure mountain frame for the iPad. Featuring a sleek, minimalist design intended for creating a kiosk iPad experience in retail and hospitality settings, HighSign is constructed from commercial-grade steel. It is available in six colours and is compatible with the iPad 2, and third- and fourth-generation iPad models; it also offers compatibility with a number of standard card readers and payment systems.

Apple pushes forward with major TV content providers?

A new report from Quartz suggests that Apple is continuing to pursue talks for a future television offering. The report suggests that Apple has shifted its focus to negotiating directly with individual content providers rather than traditional cable companies. New sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks such as Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom about possible strategies. Additionally, Apple reportedly has concluded that it “doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy,” rather just “enough good programming to distinguish the new product.”

While it remains unclear what stage these talks are at, sources indicate that Apple’s strategy could involve forming its own pay television service with content delivered entirely over the Internet—a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”), akin to planned offerings from Google, Intel, and Sony. With agreements from content providers, Apple could also offer channel-specific apps without the need for an existing cable television subscription. Apple has already gradually rolled out new services to the current Apple TV set top box, with both ESPN and HBO GO being added in a software update in June. These apps, however, depend on existing cable television subscriptions to the ESPN and HBO channels, as well as streaming agreements with specific cable providers.

iWork for iCloud beta opens to public?

Apple appears to have opened its iWork for iCloud beta to the general public, allowing anybody with an Apple ID to access its new web-based productivity suite. Originally only available to registered iOS Developers, Apple later sent out invitations to some users to the beta to for early access to the service.

Users can check out the new Pages, Numbers, and Keynote web apps by logging on with their normal Apple ID and password at iCloud.com. It is unclear at this point how long this public beta period for iWork for iCloud will run or whether Apple will continue to provide the web apps as a free service to iCloud users following release. [via Engadget]

 

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