Path has released an update introducing Facebook support and new effects to its eponymous photo sharing app. In Path 1.5, users can now privately share their entire Path with specific friends on Facebook or publish individual Path moments on the Facebook Wall, with responses from friends rolled in with other Path activity displayed within the app. The update also introduces Lenses, a new feature that allows users to apply a variety of lens effects to photos and videos recorded within the app. The app includes four lens effects: Pro, Ansel, Instant and Diana with three additional effects available via in-app purchase for $1 each. Path is available from the App Store as a free download.
iLounge has discovered that the microphones in the Wi-Fi and 3G models of the iPad 2 have different sonic qualities. As noted in our comprehensive review, the microphone hole of the iPad 2 has been moved from its position beside the headphone port in the original to the middle of the device, over top of the front-facing camera; the shape has also changed from a circle to a pill-shaped hole. These changes mean that the microphone of iPad 2 Wi-Fi models sits in the metal housing, but in the plastic antenna strip at the top of both the GSM and CDMA 3G models. Perhaps due to this change in materials, the Wi-Fi model offers markedly cleaner audio than that of the 3G, which sounds slightly muffled and echo-prone as a result. Curiously, we found the GSM 3G model’s audio to be slightly preferable to that of the CDMA model, which seemed to suffer the issues more severely. The problem is particularly evident when the iPad’s screen is facing the user, as is the case when using FaceTime and a great many other apps; it is unclear whether Apple will make any modifications to the devices’ microphones mid-production to help minimize the differences.
H2O Audio has debuted its new Interval Waterproof Headphone System for the fourth-generation iPod shuffle. The Interval is a waterproof case for the iPod shuffle that offers external track controls, submersible protection down to 12 feet, integrated goggle loops for attaching to most swim goggles, integrated Surge 2G headphones with short cables to keep the system contained to the user’s head, and five included sets of Elastomer earplugs for a secure fit. H20 Audio’s new Interval Waterproof Headphone System for the iPod shuffle 4G is available now and sells for $100.
Gumdrop Cases, iStyles, and Wrapsol have all unveiled new products for the iPad 2. Gumdrop’s new offerings include the Drop Series case, a ruggedized, multi-layer play-through case that sells for $60, and the Surf Convertible case, a faux-suede folio-style case that sells for $45. Both cases are available for pre-order now. Wrapsol’s new iPad 2 products include the Ultra glossy and Clean anti-glare, anti-fingerprint screen protectors, both of which utilize a new dry application process and sell for $30, as well as the company’s original screen and rear shell protection package, which uses a wet application process and sells for $40. All three are available for order now. Finally, iStyles has announced its new range of Skins for the iPad 2. Available in a range of designs, the glossy vinyl skins include both front and back covers and sell for $20; matte versions are available for an extra $5.
Just take delivery of a new iPad 2 or iPhone 4? We want to see it! In our iPads, iPhones, and iPods Around the World Galleries, you can share photos of your new device in front of landmarks from both near and far. So get out there, take some photos featuring your favorite iPad, iPhone, or iPod, and submit them to our galleries—maybe your submission will be featured as our next Photo of the Week!
An icon depicting a white version of the CDMA iPhone 4 has been spotted in iTunes 10.2. Citing reader research, Mac Rumors reports that the icon, which is in the application’s resource files, is different from the existing GSM illustration in that it depicts the antenna break found on the top right side of the CDMA model that is not present in the GSM version. As the report notes, the icon’s appearance isn’t a guarantee that the long-awaited model will be available in a CDMA version, but instead suggests that designer responsible created it based on either a belief that the such a model exists, or as a “just-in-case” addition. Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller recently indicated that the white iPhone 4 is still on track for a spring release, adding, “it is a beauty!”
Adobe has released an update to Photoshop Express for iOS introducing a new camera workflow and optional Camera Pack feature. Adobe Photoshop Express is a universal iOS photo editing application that allows users to perform basic editing and apply filters, effects and borders to photos. Version 2.0 allows users to purchase a $4 Camera Pack expansion in-app providing additional features for taking photos, including noise reduction, a self-timer and automatic review of photos as they are taken. The update also provides full Retina Display and multitasking support. Adobe Photoshop Express is available from the App Store as a free download. The Camera Pack expansion can be purchased within the application as a one-time $4 purchase for all devices using the same iTunes Store account.
The National Film Board of Canada has added AirPlay video support to its iPad app, allowing users to stream films from the app to an Apple TV, a capability that was only recently made available to third-party apps with the release of iOS 4.3 last week. NFB Films for iPad provides free access to over 2,000 documentaries, animations and feature films from the National Film Board’s archives, including the ability to download films onto the iPad for offline viewing for up to 48 hours. In addition to AirPlay support, version 2.0 sports a redesigned user interface and adds multitasking capabilities, including background downloading of films for offline viewing. NFB Films for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
According to the latest data from The NPD Group, Netflix dominated the digital movie market between January and February 2011, grabbing a 61 percent share of all films downloaded or streamed during that time period. Comcast held the second place position in the market with an eight percent share, followed by Apple, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable, each of which grabbed four percent of the market. Based on information from the company’s VideoWatch Digital tracking service digital video now accounts for 25 percent of all home video volume. The company also collected consumer satisfaction numbers for four digital video models—electronic sell-through (EST), Internet video-on-demand, cable video-on-demand, and subscription streaming—and found that while consumers feel EST services such as iTunes have the most current releases available, Netflix was credited with providing the best overall shopping experience and value.
Google has released an update to its Google Search app for iOS devices, introducing a significantly redesigned user interface. Also known as Google Mobile in some places, the latest version of Google Search improves fast-app switching support and adds a number of swipe gestures for choosing search categories, accessing settings and logging into Google. The new version also adds support for Google Goggles photo-search technology on the fourth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G. Google Search is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
FileMaker has released an update to Bento, its popular lightweight database application for iOS, adding a number of new features in conjunction with today’s release of Bento 4 for Mac. In addition to adding synchronization support for the new Mac version, Bento 1.1 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adds the ability to record voice memos into media fields, adds location fields and simple lists and introduces support for multitasking, Retina Display graphics and printing of embedded PDFs via AirPrint. The new version also now allows related data fields to be created and edited within the app, allows users to disable Address Book and iCal Tasks synchronization or optionally sync iCal Tasks with Bento 4 for Mac. Users can also now use the app in landscape orientation and view embedded PDFs in full-screen mode. Bento for iOS is available in two separate versions: Bento for the iPhone and iPod touch and Bento for iPad. Both versions are available on the App Store for $5 each and are a free upgrade for current users. Bento 4 for Mac sells on the Mac App Store for $49 for a single license or $99 for a five-user family pack; a $20 rebate is available for users of a prior version of Bento for Mac.
New cases and accessories for the iPad 2 are continuing to roll in from manufacturers. Griffin has announced updated versions of its Elan Folio Slim textured polyurethane folio case ($40) and CinemaSeat headrest adapter/case ($40) for the iPad 2, along with new colors of its Sylus for iPad ($20). Speck has introduced its iGuy case for the iPad and iPad 2 ($40), a revised version of its iconic case for the original iPad that debuted at the 2011 CES, and its new PixelSkin HD Wrap case for iPad 2 ($50), featuring an integrated cover/stand.
Orbino has unveiled its new Padova II case for the iPad 2 ($209 and up), offering integrated magnets compatible with the iPad 2’s Smart Cover technology, while XGear is offering its 360 Shield Polycarbonate Swivel Case ($40) and 360 Shield Case ($100) for the iPad 2, the latter made from real carbon fiber. Finally, Hub International has announced that a revised version of its HandStand case ($50) will be available for the iPad 2 in the next two months.
Apple has released Remote 2.1.1, the latest version of its Wi-Fi-based remote control application for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, Remote 2.1.1 offers improvements when connecting to iTunes or an Apple TV, a new “skip back” button when playing video, and other unspecified stability and performance improvements. Remote 2.1.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store and requires iOS 3.1.2 or later.
Update: The update also adds the ability to turn the iTunes visualizer on and off, directly from the Now Playing screen. The feature appears to be Mac-only, and requires users to activate the visualizer on their computer first before the new button—which sits between the Genius and shuffle controls—appears.
Apple has announced that it is delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. “We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris. Reuters reports that Apple has yet to provide a new launch date for the iPad 2 in the country, although it plans to launch the device in more than 20 additional countries next week. Demand for the iPad 2 has been strong in the U.S., with most retailers sold out, and Apple’s website now showing a 4-5 week shipping wait for new orders.
Microsoft plans to stop introducing new models of its Zune media player, according to a new report. Citing a person familiar with the decision, Bloomberg reports that the company will instead focus on building out its Zune software for mobile phones and Xbox 360. The software offers music and movie purchasing options, as well as an unlimited music streaming subscription service. In an email statement to Bloomberg, Microsoft declined to comment on the report, instead saying “We have nothing to announce about another Zune device—but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America.[...] Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”
The report notes that Microsoft plans to continue selling existing versions of the Zune, which include the Zune HD, the company’s last all-new hardware model released in 2009. Microsoft first introduced the Zune in 2006 as a rival to the iPod, with CEO Steve Ballmer saying at the time that “We can beat them, but it’s not going to be easy,” referring to Apple. The company later split the Zune team into two separate groups, with one focusing on hardware and one focusing on software, mostly for other platforms including the company’s Windows Phone and Xbox devices.
Some iPhone 3GS/4 and iPod touch 4G owners are complaining of severe battery drain under iOS 4.3. Multiple Apple Support Discussion threads (one, two, three, four) have been dedicated to the subject, with most users reporting that turning off push services, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Location Services does not help the problem. One thread in particular tells of users whose iPhones have not auto-locked, and sat idle with the screen on for minutes or hours at a time. Notably, several iLounge editors have also noticed severe battery drain, although the problem is not present on all our phones. The problem appears to affect both iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 units, as well as the iPod touch 4G, and several users have reported that they were able to eradicate the issue by performing a restore and re-populating the phone manually file by file instead of from a backup.
LogicInMind has released a new application for iOS devices designed to act as an AirPlay client for sharing content with friends and family between two iOS devices. AirTuner is a universal application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that allows a user’s device to receive video and photo content via AirPlay from iTunes or another iOS device. This can be useful for allowing users to easily share photos with friends or display photos and videos from an iPhone or iPod touch on a larger iPad screen. AirTuner also supports connection to an external monitor on supported devices using the Apple VGA adapter allowing the AirPlay content to be displayed on an HDTV or computer monitor. AirTuner requires all devices to be connected to a single Wi-Fi network and the current version does not support music or DRM protected movies. AirTuner is available from the App Store for $1.
Aging rocker Jon Bon Jovi has accused Apple CEO Steve Jobs of ‘killing’ the music business. Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, he said, “Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it. God, it was a magical, magical time.” He added, “I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”
Update: We’ve penned an Open Letter to Jon Bon Jovi on the topic, which is generating substantial reader interest.
Apple will not be including Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the next iPhone, according to a new report. Citing sources at several large UK mobile operators, the Independent reports that Apple has disclosed in meetings that it will not offer NFC in its next iPhone. “The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry,” said one source. Apple is reportedly working on incorporating NFC technologies into future iPad and iPhone models, including creating accessories that use NFC to offer additional functionality, and a NFC-based payment system.
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller has confirmed that the white iPhone 4 is on track for a spring release. In reply to a customer inquiry, Schiller wrote on Twitter, “The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!).” Curiously, Schiller didn’t specify that he was speaking about the iPhone 4, but Apple has previously stated a spring release date for the long-delayed model.
Apple is now accepting monetary donations via iTunes for the American Red Cross to benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami victims. Donation buttons are available on a dedicated page in $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200 amounts; as with past iTunes donation drives, 100% of the donation will go to the Red Cross to support disaster relief efforts, specifically to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Notably, because iTunes does not sharing user information with the organization, the Red Cross will be unable to further acknowledge any donations made, and an email receipt will serve as the only record of the donation. Apple has also posted a direct link to the iTunes donation page on its company homepage at apple.com.
Speaking with The Loop, Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller categorized customer demand for the iPad 2 as “amazing” while declining to reveal exact sales figures. “Demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing,” said Miller. “We are working hard to get iPad 2 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible.” The report also cites Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who claims that there were no iPad 2 units available in the U.S. by the end of the device’s launch weekend. Apple took a slightly different approach with the first iPad, touting first day sales of 300,000 units.
A number of iPad 2 owners are reporting problems with backlight light leakage. The issue, when present, is most noticeable in a dark room with the iPad 2’s brightness turned up and a black or similarly dark image on the screen, however, it can be noticed under other circumstances, as well. One report claimed that the issue is similar to past yellow tinting issues, related to a bonding agent not having dried yet; should that be the case, the problems will likely dissipate over a few days of use, but if not, repair or replacement may be necessary. [via Engadget]
The iPad 2 is selling well on the gray market in China, according to a M.I.C. Gadget report. According to the report, a Hong Kong retailer named Mr. Lo received 200 pre-orders for the device prior to its launch, and had eight couriers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles working to get his customers the device by March 13. Prices range from HKD$7,980—roughly $1,025—for a black 16GB Wi-Fi model to HKD$11,880 (~$1,525) for a black 64GB 3G model; white units carry a HKD$1,500-$2,000 premium. The retailer was also offering Smart Covers and the Apple Digital AV Adapter, with prices set between HKD$580 for the adapter to HKD$1,280—or over $160—for a leather smart cover. The report notes that most of the 60 units that arrived yesterday were 64GB 3G models, as most customers are more concerned with having one than with the capacity, and the higher-end models allow the retailer to make more profit.
IHS iSuppli has completed its teardown analysis of the iPad 2, claiming that the 32GB GSM model carries a bill of materials (BOM) cost of $326.6, while the 32GB CDMA model has a BOM of $323.25. As reported by DigiTimes, the company claims that the cost of the device’s touchscreen has shot up since the introduction of the original model, with the display and touch screen subsystem accounting for $127 of the device’s BOM cost, compared to the initial $95 estimate for the original iPad. Other major components, such as the NAND Flash memory, battery, and A5 processor, are estimated to cost $65.7 (in the 32GB model), $25, and $14, respectively, with the latter cost expected to go down over the course of the year as Apple ramps up production.
Lead designer at Mozilla Labs Kevin Fox has suggested that the iPad 2’s headphone port, which is set on a steep curve, could actually be the first of a new kind of headphone jack from the company. Citing an Apple patent application from September 2010, Fox argues that the port’s slim design suggests that it may be one of the “pogo pin” jacks described in the application. Named after the pogo stick, the jack described in the patent employs retractable Pogo pins to conserve space, and replaces the traditional, larger “cantilever beam” design. [via Gizmodo]