Educational product manufacturer LeapFrog has released its first application for the iPhone and iPod touch, Scout’s ABC Garden. Designed to teach children to explore letter names and sounds, the app brings LeapFrog’s plush toys Scout and Violet to life to guide the child on an interactive journey through Scout’s garden. The app allows each child’s experience to be customized based on his or her name and favourite food, colour and animal which is carried throughout the game to deliver content tailored to the child’s individual interests. Kids explore the garden by touching objects to trigger fun sounds and animations while Scout and Violet’s virtual radio plays traditional kid-favourite songs. Rubbing Scout’s or Violet’s belly allows children to hear a song with their name or grow their own letter garden. The application is customized to allow children to learn at their own pace and additional features allow parents to be alerted to their child’s achievements and share them with friends and family via social channels such as Facebook. The application also supports up to three customization profiles allowing it to easily be used with different children. Scout’s ABC Garden is available from the App Store for $4.
Elgato has released an update to its universal EyeTV app adding support for streaming videos to an Apple TV via AirPlay. EyeTV for iOS is a companion app for Elgato’s EyeTV solution for Mac OS X that allows users to stream live TV or recordings to their mobile device even when away from their home network, over either Wi-Fi or a 3G data connection. With the latest EyeTV update users can now enable AirPlay to stream any video that can be viewed on the device, either live or recorded, to an Apple TV or other AirPlay compliant device. Combined with the ability to use the EyeTV app remotely this new feature allows users to easily access and view live TV or recordings from their home while using an Apple TV at another location. EyeTV is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $5; the app also requires EyeTV for Mac OS X.
A recent report from ModMyI suggests that retailer Toys R Us may begin selling the iPad 2 in its stores as early as next month, revealing a photo of an iPad 2 product knowledge sheet from an internal training session intended to familiarize employees with new products. Toys R Us began selling select iPod models in late 2008, however the retailer has not previously offered the iPad. It is unclear at this time whether the iPad 2 would be sold internationally or only in the company’s U.S. stores. The iPad 2 is already being sold in the U.S. at other third-party retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and Radio Shack. [via Mac Rumors]
Atari has released a huge collection of its classic games in a single universal iOS app. Atari’s Greatest Hits provides access to over 100 classic Atari titles including 18 classic arcade games and 92 games from the Atari 2600. The free app includes the classic arcade version of PONG with the remainder of the games available via in-app purchase as a series of 25 different game packs selling for $1 each; users can purchase the entire collection in-app for $15. Most packs also include at least one version of each game with multiplayer head-head play via Bluetooth, and titles include original cabinet and box art to help users relive the classic Atari experience. Atari’s Greatest Hits requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.0 or later and can be obtained from the App Store as a free download.
Nearly two out of every ten U.S. teens now owns an iPhone, according to the results of the latest Piper Jaffray bi-annual teen survey. Fortune reports that 17 percent of teens said they own an iPhone, up from 14 percent in the October 2010 survey. Perhaps more importantly, 37 percent said they plan on purchasing—or having their parents purchase for them—an iPhone in the next sixth months, up from 33 percent in the prior survey. 22 percent said they either owned a tablet or had one in their household, 20 percent expect said they expected to purchase one in the next sixth months, and 86 percent said they owned an iPod, up from 78 percent in the October survey. The survey was based on responses from 4,500 U.S. teenagers.
Apple has ordered a staggering 12 petabytes of storage for iTunes video content, according to a new report. Citing an source inside Isilon Systems, the company from which Apple purchased the storage, Storage Newsletter reports that the storage will be used to “manage the video download of its customers using iTunes,” and that Apple’s order probably makes it the largest of the company’s 1,500 customers. Apple has reportedly been working on an online digital locker service for personal data such as photos, music, and videos, although the report makes no mention of this being a possible use for the storage. [via AppleInsider]
Apple took its online store offline last night at Midnight eastern time, during which time it removed the white iPhone 4 from its database, according to a new report. Citing information from a “retail contact,” 9 to 5 Mac reports that the handset’s SKU was removed from Apple’s system during the downtime, the only changed noticed during that period. Italian-language Apple Rumors notes [Translated Link] that any remaining images of the white iPhone 4 were also removed from the store. Apple has said only that it will release the long-delayed white iPhone 4 this spring, a statement which was reiterated in March by Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller.
MacPhun has released Silent Film Director, a new creative video editing app that allows users to turn their video clips into old-style movies ranging from the silent films of the Charlie Chaplin era to retro music clips from the days of Elvis Presley. The app allows users to choose video effects, customize quality and speed of video playback and add soundtracks, title cards, special transitions and photos. Silent Film Director includes several predefined video effects that depict milestones in the movie industry including silent films from the 20s, vintage movies from the 50s and home videos of the 60s and 70s. Users can use their own soundtracks from the iPod library, upload music from their computer or choose from a variety of appropriate built-in soundtracks. Source video can be imported from the device’s camera roll or transferred into the app using iTunes File Sharing. Finished movies can be rendered in low, normal, high or HD quality and shared via YouTube, Facebook, e-mail or saved to the device’s camera roll. Silent Film Director is available in both standard and pro versions; the pro version, available via an in-app purchase upgrade, adds enhanced features such as silent film themed title cards and additional transitions, video editing options, and video and picture mixing features. Silent Film Director is available from the App Store for $1, with the upgrade to the Pro version available via in-app purchase for an additional $1. Users of the appropriate version of MacPhun’s prior Vintage Video Maker app will receive Silent Film Director as a free update.
Fring has announced that it will soon be adding group video calling to the iPhone and Android versions of its popular mobile voice and video calling app, making it the first app to support multi-way video calling on the iOS platform. Highlighted on the company’s blog, the new group calling feature will allow iPhone and Android users to conduct free live video calls with up to three of their friends over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Users start a video call normally and can then add up to two more friends at which point the iPhone screen is divided into four quadrants to display each friend along with the user’s own preview video. The company indicates that it is currently putting the finishing touches on the service and has announced a limited beta to solicit feedback from users ahead of the public launch. Interested users can sign up for the beta by filling out a form at the blog link above; beta applicants will need to provide their device information and list up to three other friends who will be participating in the beta with them.
A newly granted Apple patent suggests the company is working on a thinner, high-speed dock connector. Entitled “Reduced size multi-pin male plug connector,” the patent describes a dock connector-like plug and receptacle, both of which use any one of a variety of design changes in order to reduce their height in an attempt to accomodate ever-smaller devices; one embodiment also includes a moveable door to protect the contacts. In addition, the patent specifically singles out DisplayPort and USB 3.0 as possible high-speed data communication standards. Interestingly, the patent application was filed just days after Intel first introduced its Light Peak technology, on which the company collaborated with Apple to bring it to market under the name Thunderbolt. As Apple is now shipping its new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt ports but without USB 3.0, it seems likely that Thunderbolt would supersede DisplayPort and USB 3.0 as the preferred communication standard in any revised dock connector. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Patently Apple]
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 4 displaying a photo taken on the beaches of Poipu on the island on Kauai in Hawaii. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
Apple has released a new app designed specifically for displaying ads from the company’s iAd network. Described as a “celebration of advertising,” iAd Gallery allows users to view ads by searching or browsing by advertiser, category or ad feature. Users can also learn more about the featured ads and the advertising agencies that developed them and add their favorite ads to a “Loved” section for quick access. iAd Gallery is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Incase has debuted a new collection of cases, sleeves, and bags featuring the work of pop artist Andy Warhol. Officially licensed by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the collection includes the Snap Case for iPhone 4 ($50), Book Jacket for iPad ($80), Protective Sleeves for the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros, and a Shoulder Bag for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Available styles include the Banana screen print, the 1964 Flowers print, Dollar Signs, a cow portrait taken from 1966’s Cow Wallpaper, and a late-era Camouflage. Incase’s Andy Warhol iPhone and iPad cases are available now.
According to the results of the latest ChangeWave survey, U.S. iPhone 4 users reported nearly identical levels of satisfaction, whether they were on Verizon or AT&T. Among Verizon iPhone 4 users, 82 percent said they were “very satisfied” with the handset while 16 percent described themselves as “somewhat satisfied,” compared to 80 percent and 18 percent of AT&T iPhone 4 users, respectively. The survey also sought to find the disparity between dropped calls reported by Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4 users; Verizon users reported a dropped call rate of 1.8 percent over the last 90 days, compared to 4.8 percent for those on AT&T. Finally, among customers planning to purchase an iPhone 4, 46 percent plan to use Verizon as their wireless service provider, while only 27 percent plan to use AT&T.
Facebook has released an update to its official application for the iPhone and iPod touch introducing a new map view for Facebook Places and other small improvements. With Facebook 3.4 users can now view their friends’ Facebook Places check-ins using either the list view or a new integrated map view. The update also adds the ability for users to check-in to events that they are attending and to unfriend other Facebook users directly from the iOS app. The news feed and the notifications list has also been slightly redesigned with photos now displayed in the notifications list. Facebook 3.4 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Altec Lansing has introduced its new Octiv 650 speaker system for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed to be used with TV, the Octiv 650 offers component and composite video out jacks, a flat front panel with a centrally-placed dock, two three-inch full-range drivers and a nested four-inch subwoofer, an auxiliary input, a full-featured remote, and compatibility with Altec’s Music Mood app, which supplies “soothing” pre-loaded videos and sounds, as well as a graphic equalizer. Altec Lansing’s Octiv 650 speaker system for the iPhone and iPod touch will be available in May and will sell for $200.
Nasdaq OMX is expected to announce a rebalancing of its Nasdaq-100 index, which will see a marked reduction in Apple’s weighting. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple, which currently makes up more than 20% of the index, will make up 12.3% of the Nasdaq-100 once the rebalancing takes effect May 2. According to the report, the rebalancing was driven in part by the performance of Apple shares, which are up more than fourfold in the past two years; a change in fortune for the shares has a huge impact on the index with the current weighting. Among Apple’s rivals, both Google and Microsoft will see their share of the index increased, by 1.6 and 4.9 points, respectively.
Apple has won a reversal in a patent infringement case that saw the iPod-maker hit with $625.5 million in damages. Bloomberg reports that U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis ruled that Apple didn’t infringe on patents owned by Mirror Worlds LLC, and closed the case in Apple’s favor. The judge also said the damages awarded were too high, although he did uphold the validity of the patents. “Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but it failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law,” Davis wrote. The case revolved around Apple’s Spotlight, Time Machine, and Cover Flow interfaces for Mac, iPod, and iOS.
Apple has once again lowered its shipment wait times on new iPad 2 units ordered from its online store. A quick check of the U.S. store shows a 2-3 week wait for all new models, down from 3-4 weeks; the same estimated shipment times are given on Apple’s international stores, as well, according to Mac Rumors.
An Apple patent application covering an electronic document authoring system has suggested the company plans to release a version of its iWeb website building application for the iPad. In the patent, pointed out by Patently Apple, Apple lists iWeb in a list of productivity apps that have been designed to work with gestures and touchscreen displays such as the iPad, alongside existing applications Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.
AT&T has quietly raised its early upgrade pricing on the iPhone, according to a new report. Citing an image of an internal AT&T memo, Android Central reports that the company is adding $50 to its early upgrade pricing for iPhone, bringing the 8GB iPhone 3GS to $299, the 16GB iPhone 4 to $449, and the 32GB iPhone 4 to $549.
Nature’s Eye Studios has discovered how to enable display mirroring on the first-generation iPad. According to a blog post on the company’s website, the hack requires that the iPad be running iOS 4.3 or later and be jailbroken; users then need only make a simple change in a .plist file, save, and restart the device.
According to the latest data from digital market measurement firm comScore, the Verizon iPhone was the most acquired handset in the U.S. in February. Those sales helped Apple maintain its fifth-place position among all U.S. mobile phone manufacturers, with Samsung keeping its lead, followed by LG, Motorola, and RIM. The latter two companies both lost share while Apple gained 0.9 percent on a three month average ending in February, compared to the three month average ending in November. iOS also held its third place position in the smartphone platform market over the same period, gaining 0.2 percent, while second-place BlackBerry lost 4.6 percent share, and Android added another seven percent, giving it 33 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.