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Enter the Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway today

Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for August, iLounge and Slacker are giving away 12 subscriptions to one year of free Slacker Radio Plus. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on August 31, 2010 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple cracking down on Camera apps that use volume buttons?

Following news from earlier this week on a hidden volume shutter button feature in the Camera+ app, it appears that Apple may now be cracking down on other iPhone camera applications that have employed similar features. In a post on Tap tap tap’s blog explaining how its Camera+ update was initially rejected by Apple, developer John Casasanta noted that there were other camera apps that “make use of the volume buttons for snapping photos” but that Apple advised him that these likely “slipped through the review cracks” as a result of developers intentionally omitting the feature from descriptions and screenshots.  Tap tap tap was forced to remove the volume button shutter feature from Camera+ but later revealed via Twitter that the feature was still hidden away within the app and described how to enable it. Camera+ was subsequently removed from the App Store, presumably for violating the terms of Apple’s Developer Agreement.

Today, another iOS developer, KendiTech, released an update to its Camera Zoom 2 app with release notes indicating that it had “Removed [the] Volume Button Shutter feature.” It is unclear whether this removal was precipitated by a specific request from Apple or whether the developer chose to be proactive in removing this feature as a result of the demise of Camera+.

Citing precedent with Apple’s approach to LED flashlight apps, which were originally banned from the App Store for a similar reason, Casasanta has submitted a feature request to Apple to allow for the hardware volume controls to be used for other purposes and encourages users to send feedback to Apple to attempt to pressure the company to change its policy.

iPad emerging as tool for teaching autistic children

  • August 13, 2010
  • iPad

The iPad is emerging as an effective tool for teaching autistic children communication and social skills. SF Weekly has posted lengthy profile of Leo, an autistic child whose mother won an iPad in a raffle and subsequently found herself amazed by her son’s progress with the device. “Before the iPad, Leo’s autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication,” Shannon Rosa wrote for BlogHer. “With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills.” Leo is using the device for video watching, drawing—something that had been very difficult before—and for using spelling apps like FirstWords and more specialized apps like Stories2Learn and First Then Visual Schedule.

While only one study is currently looking at the iPad for use with autistic children, early results are positive. Rhonda McEwen, an assistant professor at the iSchool at the University of Toronto who is running the study “Touch Technologies in the Classroom,” said that teachers have reported lengthening attention spans, children sitting next to each other to use the device together—atypical for autistic students—and in one case, allowed a breakthrough for a teacher who had been working with a boy for two years and was unsure of whether he understood language. “With the iPod, for the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he did understand,” McEwen said. While the Rosas want to be careful not to overhype the iPad before science proves its worth, for the time being, they are thrilled with the results. “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” said Shannon Rosa, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.” [via Daring Fireball]

2Do update adds iOS 4 support, location-based tasks

Guided Ways Technologies has released a major update to its 2Do task management application adding iOS 4 support and several other significant new features. 2Do 2.0 brings iOS 4 multitasking support on capable devices including Fast App Switching and Local Notifications, including updating of the application badge count. Push Notifications can still be used for devices that do not support multitasking or are running an older iOS version, and users can continue to configure e-mail alerts as well if desired. The new version also completely revamps the interface, themes and internal layouts, including adding iPhone 4 Retina Display support and landscape view and in-place display of notes, audio and images within tasks. A new Nearby and Locations feature has also been added, allowing users to assign tasks to physical locations and have the application filter tasks based on GPS location, display tasks on a map or automatically notify the user when they are near a location with outstanding tasks. The update also improves synchronization and backup features, with automatic nightly backups for users who don’t sync and the ability to sync multiple devices with the desktop helper app. Users can also now export their tasks as a CSV file via e-mail. 2Do 2.0 is available from the App Store for $4 and is a free update for current users.

Elgato: EyeTV name stays if Apple TV becomes iTV

Elgato, makers of the EyeTV tuner hardware and software for the Mac, have no plans to change its products’ names despite the possibility of Apple changing the Apple TV’s name to the phonetically identical “iTV.” Engadget has reported that the next-generation Apple TV will see its named changed to “iTV” while undergoing some hardware and software changes. “They don’t see themselves changing the name of the product line,” said a spokesman for Elgato Systems, noting that there are also i.TV applications and the ITV British television network for Apple to be concerned about. “iTV was going to be the original name for the Apple TV,” another Elgato spokesman noted, “I don’t think Elgato said anything about changing the name then… But who knows what Apple have in mind.”

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ITV execs ‘furious’ over possible Apple TV name change

Executives for U.K.-based broadcaster ITV are enraged by a report that Apple may change the name of its Apple TV set-top box to ‘iTV’. Earlier this week Engadget reported that the next-generation Apple TV would see its named changed to ‘iTV’—the name it was originally called by—while also gaining some sort of app functionality. While it is believed that the name was scrapped in part due to Elgato’s EyeTV products for Mac, it appears that the name runs afoul of more than just a single product. “You only have to look at recent problems with the iPhone 4 to see not everything Apple produces is gold dust,” an ITV insider told Mirror.co.uk. “We all take our ITV brand very seriously and we’ll do everything in our power to protect it.”

iPad is owners’ preferred reading, gaming device

  • August 13, 2010
  • iPad

According to the results of a survey done by copywriting agency Cooper Murphy Webb, the iPad is the preferred reading device of people who already own one. 31% of respondents said the iPad was their preferred method of reading newspapers and magazines, compared to 26% who said they preferred to read magazines and newspapers on their laptop or other computer, and 24% who said they preferred print. 41% said the device was their preferred method of reading books, again ahead of print, which represented 36% of respondents. Somewhat surprisingly, the iPad also edged out gaming consoles in the “preferred device for gaming” category, with the iPad receiving 37% of the vote, compared to 35% for gaming consoles. Cooper Murphy Webb’s numbers are based on the answers of 1034 U.K.-based iPad owners who were questioned via a research-administered telephone poll between July 28 and August 10. [via MDN]

Photoshop Mobile adds iPad support, gets new name

Adobe Systems has released an update to its free Photoshop Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding native iPad support and renaming the app Adobe Photoshop Express. The latest update provides initial support for the iPad with specific features such as landscape and portrait orientations, redesigned Online, Edit and Upload workflows and the ability to work on multiple photos in sequence from within a single workflow. The new version also sports a redesigned Organizer view with simplified album sharing and updates icons and visuals for easier navigation and use of the Editor. Users can also now upload to both Photoshop.com and Facebook simultaneously. Adobe Photoshop Express is available from the App Store as a free download and should appear as an automatic update for users of Photoshop Mobile.

id Software demos Rage on iPhone 4, discusses Apple gaming

In a keynote speech at QuakeCon 2010 today, John Carmack of id Software demonstrated an impressive iOS version of its upcoming Rage first-person shooter running on an iPhone 4. Primarily a proof-of-concept at this point, the game was shown using the id tech 5 game engine running at 60 frames-per-second, which Carmack described as a “similar or better frame rate to Doom Classic [and] significantly better than Doom Resurrection.” Carmack noted that he “did some fairly clever things to approximate sub-pixel precision on the movement” and that the games also look “incredibly cool on an iPad” and can even run reasonably well on an original iPhone. He went on to mention that with the capabilities of modern iOS devices he can “kill anything done on a previous-generation console like an Xbox or PlayStation 2” with the biggest limitation of the devices being battery drain—Carmack notes that id Software will need to offer a 30 fps option in their game engine in order to deal with this. Carmack also mentioned that id’s iPhone titles have been doing well for the company and that it plans to continue developments for the iOS platform.

During his keynote, Carmack also provided some insight into Apple’s general approach to gaming on the iOS platform, mentioning that “at their heart and core they’re not really a game-friendly company” and that it was an “eye-opener for Apple that gaming has been big on their platforms.” He went on to say that although there are gaming advocates at Apple that he speaks with, such as Quake III Arena designer Graham Devine, Apple as a company remains resistant to making hardware changes specifically for gaming. As an example, Carmack describes touchscreen and graphics delays on the iPad while running the Rage demo and strongly believes that this indicates room for improvement in Apple’s engineering.

id Software is still in the process of pulling Rage into a game framework and indicates that the first iteration of the game on the iOS platform will be a small “show-off” sort of title using the tech 5 game engine and set in the Rage universe, with a larger game due out next year to coincide with the main release of Rage. [via Kotaku]

FastMall adds offline access, barcode scanning

MindSmack has released an update to FastMall, its interactive mall navigation and shopping application, adding offline access and barcode-based price comparisons. FastMall provides maps and information on the largest shopping malls in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and France to help users easily find stores and other amenities such as restrooms and elevators while inside the mall. FastMall 3.0 now integrates with ShopSavvy to allow users to scan product bar codes for online price comparisons and provide completely offline access to all interactive mall maps, including support for turn-by-turn navigation within a mall. The update also boasts enhanced speed and performance with a redesigned user interface including map dock icons to provide quicker access to important feature and a new category and keyword search feature to help find stores. FastMall 3.0 requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

iCollect Movies adds cloud sync and sharing

Hooked in Motion has released an update to its movie cataloguing application, iCollect Movies, adding online synchronization and sharing features. iCollect Movies allows users to manage their movie collection directly on their iOS device with features such as automated lookup for adding movies, integrated barcode scanning, links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and tracking wishlists and loaned movies. Version 3.4 adds the ability to sync the user’s movie database from their device to icollectmedia.com and share their collection with friends and family members’ devices. Users can also backup and restore their collection via the web and update their movie information with the latest information from the developer’s database. The update includes numerous other changes and fixes including revamped settings, a new tutorial section, additional genre and format options, and new movie information fields. iCollect Movies 3.4 is available from the App Store for $3 and is compatible with all devices running iOS 3.0 or later; the barcode scanning feature requires an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4.

Japanese regulators satisfied with iPod nano replacements

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has said Apple has satisfied its requirements for more improved safety warnings related to overheating first-generation iPod nano units, Reuters reports. Earlier this month, the Ministry ordered Apple to post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how first-generation iPod nano owners could receive a replacement battery. Apple went a step farther, launching a replacement program for potentially troublesome units. “We’ve worked closely with METI to make sure first-generation iPod nano customers who are concerned with their battery have the latest information,” said U.S.-based Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. Roughly 60 cases of overheating nanos have been reported in Japan, including four cases of minor burns.

iAd pleasing early advertisers, developers

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Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform is pleasing early partners on both sides, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Application developers, including Dictionary.com and CBS Mobile, told the paper that iAd is allowing them to charge more for ad space in their applications — a 177% increase in Dictionary.com’s case. Meanwhile, advertisers like Nissan and Unilever report that their initial ads are attracting more users and holding their attention for a longer period of time. “We feel pretty strongly that this is the way to capitalize on where the mobile Web is heading,” said Chad Jacoby, a senior manager of Nissan’s media operations. “What iAd promises is the most progressive thing I’ve seen to date” in digital advertising. Rob Master, the North American media director for Unilever — which ran an iAd for its men’s line of Dove hygiene products — said the company’s iAd resulted in a double-digit percentage of users seeking more information about the product. “The ad served to help rally the organization at large” to the possibility of iAd advertising, he said. “And now that we’ve been through one, the amount of time and team dedicated [to producing an ad] drops dramatically.” Apple began rolling out its iAd platform on July 1.

iPhone fourth in Q2 worldwide smartphone sales

Apple’s iPhone was the fourth most popular smartphone platform by worldwide sales in the second quarter, according to the latest data from Gartner. Apple sold 8.7 million units in Q2, good for 14.2% of the smartphone market, compared to 5.3 million units, or 13% of the market, in Q2 2009. The iPhone’s growth was overshadowed by that of Android-based smartphones, however, as sales of Android devices went from roughly 756,000 in Q2 2009 to 10.6 million in Q2 2010, accounting for 17.2% of the global market and good for third place in sales, behind only BlackBerry-maker RIM with 11.2 million units, or 18.2% of the market, and Symbian, with 25.4 million units and 41.2% of the market. Overall, Apple held a 2.7% share of the worldwide mobile communication device market, which includes both smartphones and traditional cell phones.

CDMA-capable iPhone in late testing phase?

Apple is in the late testing phases of a CDMA-capable iPhone that could potentially be released by Verizon, according to a new report. John Gruber of Daring Fireball reports that the phone, codenamed N92, is in the “engineering verification test” phase, two steps away from production and one step below “device verification test” status, which was the current phase of the iPhone 4 unit that was lost by an Apple employee. Gruber notes that the phone doesn’t necessarily have to be Verizon-bound, and could potentially launch on Sprint or China Telecom, amongst other carriers throughout Asia and South America.

Next Apple TV to be capped at 720p, run apps?

The next-generation Apple TV will be capped at 720p for video output and will be capable of running apps, according to a new report. Without citing sources, Engadget reports that the new device won’t be enabled to handle 1080i or 1080p video, supposedly because the A4 chip can’t handle higher-resolution content — although the report states there is much internal debate going on at Apple concerning this issue. In addition, Engadget claims that the device will be capable of running apps, but it is unclear in what form they would arrive given that the Apple TV lacks a touchscreen interface and other hardware necessary to run certain iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad applications. Finally, the report claims that the next Apple TV will be renamed “iTV,” which was the product’s name when it was first shown in September 2006; it is believed that the name was scrapped in part due to Elgato’s EyeTV products for Mac.

Apple releases iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 with security fix + more? (updated)

Apple has released iOS 4.0.2 for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, second-, and third-generation iPod touch, as well as iOS 3.2.2 for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, both releases patch a “security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.” Apple recently came under fire for the security hole, which could result in a hacker gaining administrator access to the device. iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 are available now through the Update function in iTunes.

Updated: One iLounge editor has noticed an uptick in reported iPhone 4 signal strength since installing iOS 4.0.2 software. Under 4.0.0, the iPhone reported 4-5 bars of strength, falling to 2-3 bars when 4.0.1 was installed. The same iPhone 4 now shows 3-4 bars of strength, suggesting that something may have changed again in Apple’s bar-displaying algorithm. If you’ve noticed a change, or no change, please let us know in the comments to this article.

Orange UK: White iPhone 4 coming at year’s end

Orange in the UK is emailing customers to tell them that white models of the iPhone 4 won’t be available until the end of the year. “We wanted to let you know that there won’t be any white iPhone 4’s in the UK until the end of the year,” the email, posted to TiPb, reads. “If you’re happy to wait another few months we’ll let you know as soon as they’re back in stock. Alternatively, if you want it now, click here or visit your local Orange shop to get the iPhone 4 Black 16GB or 32GB today.” In July, Apple announced that it was delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 “until later this year” after previously saying it would be available at the end of July. [via Mac Rumors]

Hidden Camera+ app setting adds hardware shutter control

UneasySilence has uncovered a hidden feature in tap tap tap’s Camera+ iPhone photography app that allows users to control the camera shutter using the iPhone volume controls. Tap tap tap had originally planned to include this feature in the most recent update to Camera+, however the update was rejected by Apple for using “iPhone volume buttons in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion.” Tap tap tap reports that it spoke with Apple at some length about this and were informed that “overriding the volume controls is one of the most common reasons for app rejection” and that other camera apps that make use of the volume buttons likely “slipped through the review cracks” due to developers intentionally hiding the feature during submission. Tap tap tap was ultimately forced to resubmit its Camera+ update to the App Store without the hardware shutter control feature enabled. As UneasySilence reports, however, the feature is still present in the app and can be enabled by entering a simple URL in Safari on the iPhone. To enable the volume buttons to be used as shutter controls within Camera+ users can open Safari and enter camplus://enablevolumesnap into the address bar. The feature can be similarly disabled by entering camplus://disablevolumesnap in the Safari address bar. It is unclear at this time what Apple’s response will be, if any, to this feature still being available within the app. Camera+ is available on the App Store for $2.

Update: Camera+ is no longer available on the App Store. There has been no official word from Apple or Tap tap tap as to why the app was removed.

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