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Apple TV gets Red Bull TV channel

Apple has added a Red Bull TV channel to Apple TV today. The channel offers a variety of extreme and adventure sports programs.

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The channel also has a section for upcoming events.  Red Bull TV’s website gives would-be users a good idea of what to expect from the Apple TV channel.

Report: Nintendo to release free smartphone mini games (Update: No)

Nintendo plans on releasing free mini games on smartphones by year’s end, according to a new report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei. It’s unclear whether the games will be stand-alone titles, or merely demos for existing or upcoming Nintendo games available on the company’s own hardware; the company is apparently hoping to leverage smartphones and tablets to entice people to buy its handheld and home consoles. Other information about Nintendo games may be made available through smartphones, as well. Further details on the plan will reportedly be announced this week. [via Kotaku]

Update: Nintendo has told Engadget the company has no plans to release mini-games on smartphones.

Apple posts security update, DOJ allows more disclosures

Apple recently posted an update to its website on National Security and Law Enforcement Orders received by the company. The update includes the amount of National Security orders Apple received worldwide from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2013. In the National Security column, Apple reports that a range of 0 to 249 orders were received, and a range of 0 to 249 accounts were affected. More specific numbers were included for account information requests from law enforcement, as there were 927 account requests received during the same time period, among other numbers disclosed by Apple.

Apple also notes, “...we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the U.S.” Those new rules were confirmed in a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. The joint statement from Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, “Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.” It’s noted that additional steps are required before the reforms are fully implemented.

Video shows pre-release iOS in the Car in action

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith, who last week showed pictures of a pre-release version of Apple’s upcoming iOS in the Car, has uploaded a video to YouTube of the system in action. The video shows an iOS in the Car in-dash display running next to an iPhone using iOS 7.0.3. Troughton-Smith notes on YouTube that this is “all available in the public, shipping version of iOS 7.”

He also notes iOS in the Car supports multiple resolutions, touchscreens, hardware buttons, wheels, and touchpads. It does not support multitasking, as the car display shows the same app as the iPhone. Voice recognition is used as input, as there is no keyboard UI. Most notably, Troughton-Smith points out the UI is “clearly subject to change;” screenshots released recently showed a markedly different interface with a vertical, driver-side control panel. [via 9to5Mac]

Notes from Apple’s Q1 2014 conference call

Apple’s Q1 2014 earnings conference call after the company’s reported record quarter started with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer discussing the company’s all-time quarterly records for iPhone and iPad sales. Oppenheimer cited iPhone market share numbers in various markets — he said iPhone has 69 percent of the smartphone market in Japan — in addition to mentioning web traffic numbers from iPhone and iPad.

As of this month, 80 percent of iOS devices are running iOS 7, Oppenheimer confirmed, following Apple’s quiet release of those numbers earlier today.

Oppenheimer said iTunes services made $4.4 billion in the quarter, with $2.4 billion in sales from iTunes alone. Apple has paid a total of $15B to App Store developers. Mentioning some specific apps, Oppenheimer said Clumsy Ninja was downloaded 10 million times in the first week of release, and Plants vs. Zombies 2 was downloaded 16 million times in the first five days of release. He also briefly mentioned iBeacon, which is now showing up in Apple stores.

During the Q&A, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week was the best ever in China for iPhone activations. “We really turned in a stellar quarter in greater China overall and we’re really proud of it,” he said.

Asked about mobile payments, Cook said, “The mobile payments ... in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with ... and that was one of the thoughts with Touch ID.”

On iPhone market share, Cook mentioned the growth in emerging markets, but also said, “Our North American business contracted somewhat year over year.” He said iPhone 5s supply wasn’t strong enough. Carriers changing their upgrade policies is also having a major effect on North American sales, Cook said.

When asked if Apple is still a growth company, Cook referred back to Oppenheimer’s comments while reiterating the iPod is bringing down the overall numbers.

On iPhone user growth, Cook also said Apple saw significant new-to-iPhone numbers on the 5c. “It’s typically not just upgraders,” he said.

On expanding the iPhone product family, Cook said, “We’re willing to make any product that’s a great product. Our line in the sand is making something that’s not fantastic.”

When asked about 5c sales, Cook played up the 5s. He said, “People are really intrigued with Touch ID. It’s a major feature that has excited people.”

To end the call, Cook made a vague comment on future products, saying “Innovation is deeply embedded in everybody here ... we have zero issue coming up with things we want to do that we think we can disrupt in a major way.”

Apple Q1 2014: 51M iPhones, 26M iPads, record $57.6B revenue

Apple reported its first quarter 2014 financial results today, selling 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads, both all-time quarterly records. The company reported a record $57.6 billion quarterly revenue, as well as quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion, or $14.50 per diluted share. Apple sold 6 million iPods, a 52 percent decrease in units from Q1 2013. iPhone unit sales were up 7 percent, and iPad unit sales were up 14 percent from Q1 2013.

Gross margin was 37.9 percent, compared to 38.6 percent in Q1 2013. Apple noted that international sales accounted for 63 percent of revenue in Q1 2014. For Q2 2014, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $42 billion and $44 billion, and gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. EST, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website.

“We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better.”

“We generated $22.7 billion in cash flow from operations and returned an additional $7.7 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the December quarter, bringing cumulative payments under our capital return program to over $43 billion,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said.

Reports: NSA using popular apps to collect data

The National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters have been working together to collect user information through “leaky” mobile apps, according to secret documents released by Edward Snowden. Google Maps, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all used as examples of apps said to scoop up personal information in a recent New York Times report. Information obtained from these apps may include address books, buddy lists, phone logs, and geographic data. The report notes that the “scale and specifics of the data haul are not clear.”

Though Angry Birds is used as example of a newer app the agencies could use to acquire information, it is not made “explicit whether the spies have put that into practice.” The NSA and the British Agency are reportedly mining information that has been acquired by ad firms, with data depending on which ad service compiles the user data profiles. In addition to the Times report, The Guardian and ProPublica have their own reports on the documents.

Apple: 80 percent iOS 7 adoption rate

Apple now claims on its developer website that 80 percent of devices are using iOS 7, a statistic measured through the “App Store during a 7-day period ending January 26, 2014.” In early December, Apple released numbers in the same quiet manner, noting that 74 percent of devices were using iOS 7 in a seven-day period ending Dec. 1. Apple now claims 17 percent of devices are using iOS 6, with 3 percent using an older version of iOS. Intended for developers, the metric obviously doesn’t capture devices that aren’t actively using the App Store, so it’s unclear how generalizable the numbers are to the entire iOS-using population.

WSJ: Apple mulls physical purchases via iTunes accounts

Apple is investigating the possibility of enabling users to pay for physical goods and services through their iTunes accounts, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Apple SVP Eddy Cue has reportedly met with industry executives on the matter. It’s also noted that Apple executive Jennifer Bailey, who ran Apple’s online stores, is now in a new role “to build a payment business within the technology giant.” A number of possibilities exist regarding how Apple could institute the system, which will no doubt leverage the hundreds of millions of credit cards currently linked to the iTunes Store; a recently discovered patent application revealed a method for making secure payments using two “air interfaces.” Still unknown is the per-transaction fee Apple expects to charge for the service; given common credit card transaction fees in the 3% range, some third-party vendors loudly balked at the 30% cut Apple demanded when in-app purchases were rolled out for the App Store and Newsstand.

Lunatik intros Lynk smart watch collection

Lunatik, the design company headed by Nike watch designer Scott Wilson, and known for its iPod nano watchbands, has launched a preview of its Lynk smart watch collection. Four smartwatches are included: Lynk, Lynk Pulse, Lynk Vapor, and Lynk Extreme. Lynk Pulse appears to be a heart-sensing version of the Lynk smart watch.

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Lynk Vapor is a more streamlined band-style watch, while Lynk Extreme is a more heavy-duty model. No pricing or release information has been announced yet.

iLounge Game Spotlight: In Fear I Trust

We’re debuting the iLounge Game Spotlight to give you an extended look at one particularly interesting game per week, helping you to decide whether or not a title is worth your time and money. Enjoy!

In Fear I Trust ($3) is not a game you might expect from Chillingo, the publisher of Catapult King and the original Cut the Rope. It’s a first-person puzzle game described as a psychological thriller, and it comes with a 17+ rating. Like some other similar games, In Fear I Trust recommends gamers play with headphones for the best, most immersive experience. The game is compatible with iPad and iPhone, but not iPod touch.

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There will be no story spoilers here, which fits right in with the game, as you wake up in a facility with no knowledge of what happened before. As the app description explains — and as you’ll probably sense — you became a test subject in this strange gruesome place, but how? And why? You pick up clues to piece together the story.

Incipio debuts Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case

Incipio has announced the launch of its Cashwrap Mobile Wallet Case ($70) for iPhone 5/5s. First seen at CES 2013, Cashwrap is the first NFC case for iPhone 5/5s. The case uses Isis Mobile Wallet to make payments with a tap of the iPhone.

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Incipio notes that Cashwrap payment card information is stored on a DeviceFidelity microSD-based secure element platform for additional protection. The case comes with a micro-USB cable. Cashwrap will be available online today and in AT&T retail stores Jan. 31.

Apple updates iWork iOS apps to version 2.1

Apple has issued updates for the iOS editions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. All three — updated to version 2.1 — gain the ability to share password-protected documents via iCloud link, in line with the recent iWork for iCloud update. The suite sees improved compatibility with Microsoft Office 2013 documents, and bug fixes and stability improvements. Additionally, each app has its own individual upgrades.

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For example, Pages now allows character counts with or without spaces, and improved support for bidirectional text, while Numbers users can view and edit spreadsheets in landscape orientation. Keynote has absorbed the features of Keynote Remote, which has been removed from the App Store, and can now control presentations on other devices. There are also new transitions among the other changes.

Apps: Baldur’s Gate II, In Fear I Trust, Podcasts 2.0.1 + Sidecar Ride 3.0

Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate II ($15) Enhanced Edition has arrived on iPad. This edition of the classic fantasy RPG includes the original Shadows of Amn campaign, in addition to a number of expansions, including the Throne of Bhaal expansion. The game is only available for iPad and requires 2.5 GB of free space.

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In Fear I Trust ($3) is a new 17+ rated nightmarish puzzle game from Chillingo. It’s available for iPhone and iPad, but not compatible with iPod touch. Look for more information tomorrow in our new Game of the Week feature.

Screen protector poll ends, Apple TV poll begins

With over 1,800 votes from readers, our latest poll—Do you use a screen protector or film on your iPhone or iPad?—has now ended. With the evolution of Apple’s device lineup over the years and iPhones and iPads becoming more common, we were curious to know how many of our readers still use screen protection, and if so what their reasons were for doing so.

Responses from the overall majority of our readers were pretty closely split between those who don’t feel a screen protector is needed at all (40%) and those who use one primarily for protection (39%). Of the remaining responses, twelve percent indicated that they’d like to use one, but really don’t like its impact on their device’s screen, seven percent indicated that they do use a screen protector for oth protection and anti-glare, and two percent use one primarily for anti-glare purposes. One percent of respondents indicated that they simply don’t want to pay for one.

iWork for iCloud gets redesign, new features

Apple has updated iWork for iCloud, adding redesigned elements to the web apps while introducing new features to Pages, Numbers and Keynote. The template selector and document library now resemble iOS 7. Upon opening the apps, Apple reveals the new changes.

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Users can now add passwords and share password-protected documents, and view documents that have been shared by others, among other features added to each app. VoiceOver support has also been improved in all three apps. [via 9to5Mac]

IK Multimedia debuts iRig Mic HD microphone

IK Multimedia has announced iRig Mic HD ($100), an updated digital version of 2011’s iRig Mic. Briefly seen at CES, the microphone is noteworthy for its use of a Lightning plug to connect directly to iOS devices—it also supports USB and Dock Connector—as well as its high-quality audio performance.

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The accessory has a 24-bit audiophile-grade A/D converter, a 44.1/96 kHz sampling rate, and a low noise/high definition pre-amp. Thanks to its traditional shape, iRig Mic HD is compatible with standard microphone stands. It will be available in “early Q2,” according to IK Multimedia.

Reports: Apple TV to add games in coming update

iLounge has heard from reliable industry sources that Apple TV will soon be getting proper game support in an update, likely to come in March or earlier. We’ve heard that developers are currently working on Bluetooth controller options, and it’s expected that games could be downloaded directly to the Apple TV rather than relying on another iOS device as an intermediary. One developer has suggested that game support could be backward-compatible with the current-generation Apple TV. However, it’s unknown what current Apple TVs would use for storage — it’s possible iCloud could be part of a solution. This update would effectively put Apple TV on par with the latest Roku devices, which have already had their own app stores for some time. An Apple TV App Store has been awaited for years.

WSJ: Larger iPhones coming, iPhone 5c to be cut?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Apple will release two new iPhones with larger screens this year. The two new handsets will feature displays larger than 4.5” and 5”, respectively. “The smaller of the two models is further along in development, and is being prepared for mass production,” the Journal reports. “The larger-screen version is still in preliminary development.” The phones will not feature curved displays.

An initial reading of the story also appeared to suggest the iPhone 5c would be scrapped, but the language may only suggest that the new iPhones will feature metal casings, instead of the 5c-style plastic casings. Both new iPhones are expected to be released in the second half of this year. Apple declined to comment.

Apogee intros JAM 96k guitar interface, MiC 96k

Apogee Electronics has introduced the JAM 96k ($129) guitar interface and MiC 96k ($229) microphone. Both iOS-compatible products are new, upgraded versions of previous accessories — the Jam and MiC. As the names of the new products note, both accessories offer up to 96kHZ recording — an upgrade from their previous iterations.

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Apogee’s JAM 96k guitar interface comes with a nickel-plated finish and includes a Lightning cable. MiC 96k, a studio quality microphone, includes a Lightning cable and a microphone stand adapter. Both accessories also come with an iOS Dock Connector cable and USB cable. JAM 96k and MiC 96k are available now.

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