Apple has risen to fifth place in the Japanese cellphone market, according to new data from IDC Japan. Citing the data, The Mainichi Daily News reports that Apple grabbed a 12.2 percent share of the Japanese cellphone market over the July-September period, good for fifth place behind local companies Sharp, Panasonic, Fujitsu, and Kyocera, the former of which led the market with an 18.8 percent share. Notable beyond the challenges faced by foreign companies in Japan is the fact that the numbers include all cellphones, not just smartphones, and that the iPhone is offered by only one Japanese carrier—SoftBank—which is the third-largest in the country, behind market leader NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. [via MDN]
With the final weekend of the holiday shopping season fast approaching, now is the perfect time to download our 2011 iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers’ Guide if you haven’t already. Topping 200 pages, the 2011 Guide includes tons of helpful shopping information, like lists of the lowest-priced and smartest places to buy iPods, iPhones, and accessories, selling prices so you can trade up your old model, sections dedicated to the best 100 games and 100 essential apps for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, up-to-date lists of top-rated accessories—sorted by device model and by category, and more. It’s a must-download for anyone who has an Apple-minded loved one on their holiday shopping list.
The 2011 iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers’ Guide is available in a computer- and iPad-friendly wide-screen version, a single-page version suitable for printing, and a small-screen version for viewing on the iPhone or iPod touch. iPad users: The two-page version is entirely readable on the iPad; the one-page version increases the amount of page-turning but makes text larger on the iPad, and is easier to print if need be. We strongly recommend that iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users download the Guide to their computers, then drag and drop it into iTunes for reading in iBooks. Each version is completely free for iLounge readers, and distributed in PDF format for maximum compatibility across devices. For additional details, click here to see the full story. And please do your part to share the Guide by telling a friend, or hosting it on your file sharing network of choice. Enjoy!
Apple has received approval from Canadian regulators to open the iBookstore in the country, following a review to determine if the investment made by Apple Canada in opening the store would be of benefit to Canada. “Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” said Canadian Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore in an official release. “Apple has demonstrated how iBookstore Canada represents new opportunities for Canadian authors and publishers, and I have determined that this investment will be of net benefit to Canada.” According to the release, Apple has promised to promote Canadian-authored books in its iBookstore both in Canada and internationally, offer increased access to titles from Aboriginal authors and publishers, and assist Canadian publishers in streamlining the e-book creation process, among other commitments. Canadian users have had access to limited version of the iBookstore in the past; it is unclear how quickly Apple will expand the store’s offering based on the Minister’s approval.
A recent survey conducted on behalf of DirecTV suggests the company is exploring the possibility of allowing NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers to access programming from their Apple TVs. Alongside traditional and Red Zone Channel-only offerings, an image from the survey, published by Engadget, also touted a potential digital-only Sunday Ticket option, that would allow for viewing games on a tablet, such as the iPad, on a smartphone, such as an iPhone, or on a TV connected to an Internet-connected Blu-ray player, game machine, Apple TV, Boxee Box, or Roku player. The company currently offers separate Sunday Ticket apps for the iPhone + iPod touch and the iPad which allow subscribers to watch games over Wi-Fi or 3G; it is unclear, given the Apple TV’s current lack of apps, whether such an offering would be tied to new app capabilities for the device or if it would appear in the device’s menu system, a la Netflix.
Mashed Pixel has unveiled its new Surc universal remote control for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 4. The Surc solution is comprised of a case with IR ports on the top, open access to all ports, controls, and camera, save for the dock connector, and a Micro-USB port for charging the device while in the case, and a free companion app. From within the app, users can set up custom remotes based activity or room, with the ability to look up remote codes from the Surc database or learn new codes from existing remotes. According to the company, the case itself works from up to 15 feet away, and users can share remote setups with friends and family via the app, and also backup remote layouts. Mashed Pixel’s Surc universal remote for iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 4 is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2011 and will sell for $70.
Hemisphere Games has released an update to its acclaimed Osmos for iPad game adding support for Apple’s Game Center. Users on iOS 4.2 devices can now post scores and achievements on Game Center and a new feature allows users to skip ahead by up to three levels in the Odyssey game via the pause menu. The update also adds additional fixes and improvements for iOS 4.2. Osmos for iPad is available from the App Store for $5.
Cocoa Box Design has released an update to Penultimate, its handwriting notebook app for the iPad, adding new features for sharing notebooks and reordering pages within a notebook. Penultimate 2.2 adds a new browse view that allows users to see all pages in a notebook and insert, delete, reorder and duplicate pages. Users can also now export and import Penultimate Notebook files via e-mail and iTunes File Sharing for collaboration with other iPad users and backup purposes as well as saving individual pages to the iPad Photo Library in image format. Penultimate is available from the App Store for $4.
Apple has released its latest Software Update for the second-generation Apple TV. According to the device’s About section, the new software is version 4.1.1, as opposed to the prior 4.1; the OS Build Version is listed as 4.2.1 (8c154), while the prior build was version OS Build Version 4.2.1 (8c150). Whatever changes have been made in the new software version are currently unknown, however, the point point (4.x.x) nature of the release suggests that only minor tweaks have been made under the hood.
Update: According to an Apple support document, the update addresses issues with playback of 480p content on high-definition TVs, and with unnecessary re-downloads of movies or TV shows.
Erica Sadun of TUAW has released what is described as an “extremely alpha” version of AirPlayer, a new Mac application designed to allow for video streaming from an iOS 4.2 device to a Mac. According to Sadun’s post announcing the software, the application was made by reverse engineering AirPlay, and creates and advertises a custom Bonjour AirPlay service that pretends to be an Apple TV. The post notes that users do not need a jailbroken device to use the software; it is unclear what Mac system software and specs are required for it to run. AirPlayer version 0.01 is available now as a free download from Erica Sadun’s personal website.
Apple has extended its iAd mobile advertising network to the iPad. Citing an Apple spokesperson, AdAge reports that a spot for Disney’s upcoming film Tron Legacy will be the first iAd to appear on the iPad, and will remain the sole iPad-formatted iAd through the end of the year. According to the report, the iAd includes nearly 10 minutes of video content, images from the movie, a theater locator with showtimes, a preview of the film’s Daft Punk-scored soundtrack with the ability to purchase the album from iTunes without leaving the ad, and the ability to send an email promoting the movie from within the ad. “Disney and Apple are excited to debut the ‘Tron Legacy’ iAd today as a special preview of iAd for iPad, which launches next year,” said the companies in a statement for Ad Age. “iAd brings ‘Tron’s’ pulsing energy and vivid graphic style to iPad’s stunning display, creating a truly immersive ad experience.” In addition, Apple also told AdAge that many of the early challenges that led to lengthy ad creation processes have been overcome.
Cool Invent has rolled out its new Dual iDocker stand for the iPad and iPhone. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, the Dual iDocker features separate charging cradles for the iPad and iPhone, both of which are mounted on articulated dual ball joints to allow for independent adjustment of each device’s height, orientation, and angle. Other features include a large, stable base, slots for holding pencils, pens, business cards, and sticky notes, soft polyurethane foam cradle lining for protection against scratches, and twin USB cables for connection to a computer or dual-port charger. Cool Invent’s Dual iDocker for the iPad and iPhone is available now and sells for $130.
Sling Media has released an update to its SlingPlayer Mobile client for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for High-Quality (HQ) streaming from specific Slingbox models. Users of Slingbox Solo and Slingbox Pro-HD devices can now stream their content in High-Quality mode over Wi-Fi or 3G connections provided sufficient bandwidth is available between the user’s home network and the iPhone or iPod touch. The new version maintains compatibility with older Slingbox Classic, Tuner, AV and Pro models for streaming in standard quality. Slingbox Solo and Pro-HD users will also need to update their Slingbox Software before they will be able to connect using the new version of the iOS app. SlingPlayer Mobile 2.0 is available from the App Store for $30 and is a free update for current users.
Google has released an update to its official Google Voice app adding compatibility with the iPod touch and iPad. Originally released with iPhone support only, the new version can now be used on other iOS devices to send and receive text messages, receive Push Notifications and listen to voicemail. Users can also now place calls using Google’s Click2Call feature to connect the call via a nearby phone. Although not a universal or native iPad app, Google Voice can also run in iPhone compatibility mode on the iPad. The update also adds several other improvements including access to the Do Not Disturb setting, disabling of text forwarding when Push Notifications are enabled and improvements in Address Book and SMS integration. Google Voice is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download. A free Google Voice account is required to use the service.
Apple has quietly removed or disabled an API meant to allow security software to detect jailbroken devices from afar, only months after adding it to iOS. NetworkWorld reports that the API, introduced in iOS 4.0, was part of a bundle of mobile device management APIs, but is not functional under iOS 4.2. In simple terms, the API allowed security software to remotely query the OS to see if it had been compromised, but according to one security engineer, the API was simple one piece of a larger set of checks used to determine jailbreak status. “We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” said Joe Owen, vice president of engineering at Sybase, which offers Afaria device management software. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”
Owen added that the API itself might not have been 100 percent reliable, as certain jailbreak routines could have compromised its functionality. “It’s an interesting concept - asking the OS to tell you if it has been compromised,” he added. “Because a smart attacker might first change that very part of the OS. Jailbreaks often get better and better at disguising the fact that anything has been compromised.” Enterprises used the API, and still employ other jailbreak detection techniques, to block jailbroken devices from accessing potentially sensitive corporate data. Apple has yet to acknowledge the change in API status or give any reason for its apparent removal.
Galcon has released an update to Galcon Labs adding Retina Display support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch and fast app switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Galcon Labs is a real-time Risk-style conquest game set in space where players must send fleets of ships out to defeat and occupy other planets. A sequel to the original Galcon game, Galcon Labs contains unique new game styles such as moving planets, invisible enemy ships and in-flight battles. Multiplayer support is also provided through Galcon’s own servers and the new iOS 4 multitasking feature allows users to switch away from the app between rounds and return to the same server to continue the next mission. Galcon Labs is available from the App Store for $3.
A new Apple job posting reveals that the company is looking for a Verizon iPad engineer. The job carries the official title of Verizon iPad System Engineer, but surprisingly doesn’t involve work on any cellular radio or network technology. Instead, the iPad System Engineer will “work with the carrier business teams, business customers, and Apple sales resources to drive the adoption of iPad in enterprise accounts,” and will be responsible for “developing carrier relationships within the carrier technical teams.” The listing calls for someone with enterprise sales experience, knowledge of VPN, Wi-Fi, and enterprise security technologies, and, if possible, hands-on experience with Microsoft Exchange Active Sync and Exchange Server. While it appears as though the position could be aimed at helping to drive enterprise sales of the Wi-Fi-only iPad at Verizon, it also serves as further evidence of the expanding collaborative relationship between Apple and Verizon. [via Engadget | Electronista]
MotionX has released an update to its turn-by-turn GPS navigation app for the iPad adding the ability to check-in with Facebook Places directly from within the app. The update also adds faster map pre-loading, direction arrows in search results and a new and improved navigation flow. It is also no longer necessary to create a MotionX ID in order to use the app. MotionX GPS Drive HD is currently available from the App Store for $3 and includes 30 days of free live voice guidance. To continue using live voice guidance after the initial 30-day trial period users must purchase a subscription from within the app for $3 per month or $20 per year.
Flixster has released an update to its Movies app adding new features to the iPad version such as social network integration and Netflix queue management. With the latest update, iPad users can now log in with their Facebook or Flixster accounts to rate movies and see ratings from their friends and can also now manage their Netflix queue directly from their iPad. Although a universal app, these features were previously available only on the iPhone or iPod touch. The update also adds major performance improvements on all iOS device platforms for faster browsing. Movies by Flixster is available from the App Store as a free download.
Boomwave has introduced its Zu Series cases for the fourth-generation iPod touch. Made from high grade silicone, each Zu Series case offers push-through button coverage for the sleep/wake, volume, and Home buttons, open access to all ports and both cameras, a large graphic on the rear of the case, and an included screen protector, squeegee, and cleaning cloth. Boomwave’s Zu Series cases for the fourth-generation iPod touch are available now in six colors—each with its own rear graphic—and sell for $18.
Apptwee has debuted its new Ri Universal Remote accessory for iOS devices. The Ri is a small white accessory that connects via the headphone port and features an IR blaster on the front. Working in conjunction with the company’s free Ri App for iOS, it allows users to control their home theater equipment and any other device that accepts IR-based remote control signals directly from their device. Apptwee’s Ri Universal Remote for iOS is available now for pre-order and sells for $20.