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Apple to notify users about government data requests

Apple and other companies are updating their policies to “expand routine notification of users about government data seizures,” the Washington Post reports. Microsoft, Facebook, and Google are also taking similar steps, with the report noting the companies would move forward with user notifications about data demands, excepting specific requests by a judge or another legal authority. “Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

While Apple and the other companies argue that users have a right to know about such requests, the Justice Department believes these new policies will threaten investigations and endanger potential victims. Investigators will be forced to choose between withdrawing data requests, letting users be notified of such requests, or seeking gag orders or search warrants, which take a longer period of time. Not all requests fall under these new policies — any requests approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are kept secret, as are any national security letters issued by the FBI.

Angela Ahrendts takes over as Apple head of retail

Angela Ahrendts has officially taken over as Apple’s new head of retail. Her official title is Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, as seen on Apple’s leadership website. Ahrendts was previously CEO of Burberry, and had executive roles at Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan International prior to that. Prior to hiring Ahrendts, Apple was without a retail chief since late October 2012, when John Browett left the company.

Apps: Beats Music 2.0, Botanicula, OneNote for iPhone 2.2.1 + Snapchat

Beats Music has come to iPad with version 2.0.0. The app features the same functionality as the iPhone-designed version with native iPad support in landscape and portrait modes. In-app subscription and account management is now available through an iTunes account. A Find Your Friends feature has also been added to the app, to let users find and follow Twitter friends who use Beats Music.

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Botanicula was released for OS X about two years ago, and today it makes its iOS debut with a $5 price tag. A point-and-click adventure game, Botanicula lets players guide a small cast of tiny creatures along branches in order to save the last seed from their home tree. A beautifully designed, wordless adventure, it combines puzzle gameplay with a whimsical, unique look and feel. The game earned plenty of praise for its charm and imagination upon its first release, and should find a whole new audience on iOS.

Apple adds iTunes in the Cloud video support, Apple TV shows in Germany

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Apple has added iTunes in the Cloud support for movies and TV shows in Germany, iFun.de reports. TV shows have also been added to Apple TV in the country. Previously, iTunes in the Cloud was only available for music, apps, and books in Germany. At this point, Apple has yet to update its iTunes in the Cloud availability page to reflect the changes. [via 9to5Mac]

iOS 8 features may be pushed to iOS 8.1; Apple TV update still in the works

Apple may push a number of notable features originally planned for iOS 8 back to iOS 8.1, 9to5Mac reports. Some of these features could possibly include Healthbook, an updated Maps app, a standalone iTunes Radio app, VoLTE calling support, and TextEdit and Preview apps, among other additions. Resources are being allocated to the upcoming OS X operating system 10.10 and other projects, which may be the cause of the delayed push to iOS 8.1 for some features, sources said.

It’s also noted that Apple may give “a larger presence” to OS X operating system 10.10 at its Worldwide Developers Conference over iOS 8. iOS 8 could take advantage of a new processor from Apple, referred to as A8 — the successor to its current 64-bit A7 chip.

The report also notes that though Apple planned to introduce a new Apple TV in the first half of this year, it appears obvious that date has been pushed back. It’s possible that Apple’s discussions with Comcast could have contributed to the delay. Apple is reportedly working on both new hardware and revamped software for the Apple TV, but the two things are “not specifically tied together,” and could arrive at different times.

Another alleged iPhone 6 physical mockup spotted

A new physical mockup of the alleged iPhone 6 design was posted to Chinese blog 86Digi. The mockup was supposedly created from real machine templates for the device. It’s impossible to determine the veracity of the mockup, but it does appear to be similar to pictures and another physical mockup seen earlier.

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The three-stage design with rounded edges is still present in this mockup, and the power button is seen on the side of the device. Allegedly, the device is 6mm thick, as reported earlier. Again, the dual flash has apparently been replaced by a circular flash.

Google brings Google Docs, Sheets to App Store

Google has announced that its Google Docs and Google Sheets apps are now available in the App Store. Both apps are free, and work offline.

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Google Docs is Google’s document app for creating, editing and collaborating, and Google Sheets is a similar app for spreadsheets. The company also announced that its presentation program, Google Slides, would soon be arriving as a mobile app, as well.

Hulu to allow free mobile viewing, launch new app

Hulu announced today that it would let viewers watch a selection of ad-supported TV shows for free on mobile devices starting this summer. Currently, Hulu only allows desktop users to stream full episodes for free, while mobile device users must have a paid Hulu Plus subscription to be able to watch anything at all. Additionally, Hulu will launch a redesigned Hulu Plus iPhone app this summer. According to The Verge, free episodes will reach Android users first before arriving on iOS.

Apple, Samsung make closing arguments in patent trial

Apple and Samsung have made their closing arguments in the latest patent trial between the two companies, with the jury starting deliberations expected to continue throughout today. While Apple is seeking $2.2 billion in damages for alleged patent infringement by Samsung, Samsung is only asking for $7 million from Apple. According to an Apple attorney, failing to award the Cupertino company a large sum for damages would validate Samsung’s “illegal strategy” of copying the iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We don’t think we owe Apple a nickel,” Samsung lawyer John Quinn said. “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Cupertino if you give them $100 million.”

Lawyers hammered home their key points on Tuesday, with Apple claiming Samsung had to copy the iPhone to make up ground in the smartphone market. “Where was Samsung before the iPhone? You know the answer to that one. They didn’t even have a smartphone,” Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said. Samsung claims it relied on developments by Google that were being developed before the iPhone’s debut.

Welcome to the new iLounge.com!

Today, we’ve launched an all-new version of the iLounge web site — seriously streamlined to improve as much of the user experience as possible. The biggest change you’ll notice is the replacement of our old top-of-page, ever-moving “randomizer” with a static collection of our most important links, one each for the iPhone, iPad, iPod/iTunes, Apple TV, and Mac, with a large link to the most noteworthy accessory we’ve recently covered. But there are lots of other changes, too.

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Near the top of each page, you’ll see an improved navigation bar, focused more squarely on the news, reviews, features, forums, and Mac coverage we’re highlighting. Hover over or touch the nav bar and you’ll see photographs and links within our site’s sections, enabling you to easily see what individual articles have inside.

Occupying the majority of our main page, you’ll also find an easily browsable stream of all of our latest content, sortable by News, First Looks, Reviews, Apps, Articles, and Giveaways if you only want to see one type of article at a given time. This column is bigger than ever before, so you can enjoy larger pictures and text before you click through to the article. We’ve also moved voting, contests, our newsletter signups, and deals into a box right next to the main column.

We’re still tweaking the new site, so don’t be surprised if you notice a little issue here or there. Enjoy the new iLounge!

Office for iPad adds AirPrint support

Microsoft has announced that Office for iPad now allows printing via AirPrint. All three Office for iPad apps — Word, Excel, and Powerpoint — have been updated to version 1.0.1, enabling users to print Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations with any AirPrint printer. The Powerpoint update also includes SmartGuides, which helps users easily align pictures, shapes, and text boxes. Excel has also added AutoFit to adjust multiple rows or columns at the same time.

Apps: Clear 1.4, Doozer Creek, Facebook Messenger 5.0 + What Do I Wear?

Clear ($5), the popular productivity app from Realmac Software, has updated to version 1.4. The update has introduced reminders for Clear — users can now set a date and time for each task within a list. Clear can sync the alerts across all devices. It’s also now possible to customize Clear’s sounds through in-app purchases. For $2, sci-fi or 8-bit sound effects can be added to the app. Clear+ users can get the sound packs for free.

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Doozer Creek is a new free app from The Jim Henson Company. If you’re unfamiliar with the characters, Doozers are the small green creatures from Fraggle Rock who love to work. And work they do in Doozer Creek, as kids build worlds on a blank play mat within the app. The interactive building app offers seven free play pieces with additional playsets available for in-app purchase.

Apple security hole allowed access to personal developer info

A recent security hole in Apple’s website allowed anyone to access personal information for all registered iOS, Mac, or Safari developers, 9to5Mac reports. The issue was reportedly discovered by developer Jesse Järvi, and 9to5Mac says that the hole was quietly patched Sunday night. A flaw in Apple’s internal Radar application allowed Järvi to access the information — which included cell phone numbers — from the full roster of developers. Information belonging to a number of high-ranking Apple executives was also accessible. Apple will reportedly be issuing a statement in the near future.

Re/Code conference to feature Apple’s Cue, Federighi

Re/Code has announced that its upcoming Code Conference will feature interviews with Apple executives Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. Apple SVPs Cue and Federighi will speak on the conference’s second night, May 28. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the conference’s predecessor of sorts, All Things D’s D11 conference, following a tradition of Apple CEO appearances. Cook remained mum on new products at the time. It’s unlikely that Cue or Federighi will reveal anything groundbreaking during the interview, but the report notes the two will talk about “a range of things” going on at Apple, “especially in the important mobile sector.”

Apple offers to replace faulty iPhone 5 sleep buttons

Apple is offering to replace faulty sleep/wake buttons on qualifying iPhone 5 units. The company has set up a website for the replacement process, noting that models manufactured through March 2013 may have an issue where the sleep/wake button stops working or works intermittently. Users with faulty buttons can type in their iPhone 5 serial numbers on the site to see if they qualify for replacements. The replacement program is already available in the U.S. and Canada; it will become available in other countries on Friday, May 2.

Additionally, 9to5Mac is reporting that customers who make a Genius Bar appointment for the issue have the option of trading in their device, which could net up to $350 — $80 more than what Apple is offering for non-affected devices. It’s noted that Apple employees “have been instructed not to present this option” unless a customer specifically asks about upgrading to a new phone.

New alleged iPhone 6 renderings include measurements

Newly leaked alleged iPhone 6 renderings posted on UkrainianiPhone.com include possible measurements for a new iPhone with a 4.7” screen. Though not the first renderings we’ve seen for the rumored phone, the new schematics claim the new iPhone will be 138 mm x 67 mm and 6 mm thick. According to our math, the numbers work out almost exactly to equal a 4.7” screen — and slightly reducing the bezels could easily hit that number right on the dot.

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The renderings appear to match past images in other ways, including rounded edges, a new power button location, and the disappearance of the 5s dual flash. A size comparison chart —included below — was also posted, comparing the iPhone 5 to the alleged iPhone 6.

iOS 7.1 code references iPad Touch ID

A reference to the iPad family was reportedly found in iOS 7.1 code within Touch ID resources, prompting further speculation the touch sensor will be coming to new iterations of the iPad. The code was posted in a tweet by a French developer with the Twitter name @bp_unicorn. It’s been speculated for some time that the new iPads will have Touch ID — analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed new iPad Air and iPad mini devices would have Touch ID this year. Kuo also said the devices would both have an A8 processor and the new iPad Air will come with a 8MP camera. [via iDownloadBlog]

iLounge Game Spotlight: Third Eye Crime: Act 1

The stealth puzzlers just keep on coming, apparently. Following last week’s release of Square Enix’s stunning Hitman GO, Gameblyr has introduced Third Eye Crime: Act 1 ($3). Like Hitman GO, Third Eye Crime has a distinct design, with this game going for a noir look.

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Third Eye Crime lays the noir theme on thick from the get-go through an interactive comic strip scene before gameplay. Players control Rothko, a criminal who finds himself walking through various areas while picking up diamonds or other items and avoiding guards along the way. Rothko has limited telepathic abilities — hence the “third eye” in the title. Gamers can anticipate where the guards will go next. This allows Rothko, who isn’t exactly a speedster, to make his escape. If you run into a guard, you’ll have to restart the level.

Apple, others settle poaching antitrust suit

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have agreed to settle an antitrust lawsuit regarding no-hire agreements, Reuters reports. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Former employees of the companies were reportedly seeking $9 billion in lost wages, alleging the companies agreed not to hire each other’s employees. The trial was scheduled to start in May.

Some iOS 6 users must upgrade to iOS 7 to fix FaceTime

A new Apple support document reveals that some iOS 6 users must upgrade to iOS 7 in order to get FaceTime to work properly. Those iOS 6 users who have seen FaceTime call issues pop up after April 16, 2014 may be affected by a bug “resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date.” The only course of action to fix FaceTime is to update to iOS 7. People using iOS 7.0.4 or later or iOS 6.1.6 won’t be affected by this issue. [via MacRumors]

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