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Mix: iOS v. Android, Sony Tablets, PlayStation breach, Priceline

iOS continues to lead in platform interest among mobile developers, according to the latest data from Appcelerator/IDC. The Appcelerator-IDC Q2 2011 Mobile Developer Survey Report, taken April 11-13 among 2,760 developers, shows that 91 percent of developers say they are “very interested” in iPhone development, while 86 percent are similarly interested in developing for the iPad. These numbers compare favorably to the 85 percent interest in Android phones and 71 percent in Android tablets, both of which fell from the previous survey primarily due to concerns over device fragmentation. [via MDN]

Sony has announced that it plans to release two tablet devices based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb with which it plans to compete with the iPad, reports Reuters. The two tablets, codenamed the S1 and S2, offer a 9.4-inch screen and curved design or dual 5.5-inch displays in clamshell design, respectively, and will feature Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity, as well as support for Sony’ PlaystationSuite Android gaming service. Pricing and release information was not revealed.

Sony has started sending out emails to customers of its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, admitting that a recent, extended service outage was due to a catastrophic data breach that left users’ personal information exposed. “We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network,” the company said. It continued, stating that breach included “name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID” information, and that “while there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility.” The service remains down as of this post.

Walker Digital, founder of the travel site, has filed a second lawsuit against Apple and other companies, alleging patent infringement related to a system that provides supplemental information for video programs. According to AppleInsider, Apple was included in the suit not due to its own applications, but for making available on the App Store allegedly infringing apps from other named companies like The Walt Disney Company, The Weather Channel, The Nielsen Company, Digimarc Corporation, and TV Aura Mobile. Walker Digital’s first suits named Apple along with more than 100 other major technology companies, claiming patent infringement related to technologies it claims to have invented in the 1990s.

PhatPad adds clipart library, iPad 2 support

PhatWare had updated its iPad note-taking and sketching app adding a new clipart library, iPad 2 camera support and synchronization improvements. PhatPad is an advanced drawing and writing application for the iPad that allows users to sketch, draw and hand-write notes in digital ink that are then converted into digital text and geometric shapes. In version 1.3 users can now enhance their notes by adding clipart from an included library of over 1,200 images organized into 27 categories and the update also includes support for the camera on the iPad 2 and improves the built-in file manager. The new version now allows users to send PhatPad documents to Google Docs in PDF format and improves synchronization with Dropbox. PhatPad 1.3 is available from the App Store for $8.

Apple to launch iPad 2 in 12 more countries this week

Apple has announced that it will launch the iPad 2 in 12 more countries this week. According to the company, the iPad 2 will launch in Japan on Thursday, April 28, and will come to Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the UAE on Friday, April 29. In addition, the company has announced that it will officially launch iPad 2 with Wi-Fi in China on Friday, May 6; further international availability will be announced at a later date.

Apple posts Q & A on Location Data

Apple has posted a ten-question Q & A document discussing the collection of location data on iOS devices. In response to the first question, “Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?”, the company writes, “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.” The second question asks why, then, is everyone so concerned; Apple responds by saying that users are confused, partially because creators of new technology—including itself—have not provided enough education about such issues. In response to the third question, “Why is my iPhone logging my location?”, Apple explains that the iPhone—and presumably other iOS devices—are not logging locations, but “maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”

Apple blames the size of the current on-device database on a bug it has uncovered, which is also to blame for the continued updating of the database after Location Services is turned off. Interestingly, Apple admits to “collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.” In response to the final question, “Does Apple believe that personal information security and privacy are important?”, the company responds, “Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.”

Apple states that it will release a free iOS update “in the next few weeks” that will reduce the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, cease backing up this cache, and delete the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off, and promises that the next major iOS software release will encrypt the database on the iPhone.

White iPhone 4 coming April 28


Apple has announced that it will officially launch the white iPhone 4 Thursday, April 28. According to the company, the handset will be available in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S. tomorrow, and will come to “many more” countries around the world soon. The press release notes that the white model will be available from both AT&T and Verizon in the U.S., suggesting that other CDMA carriers worldwide may carry it as well. “The white iPhone 4 has finally arrived and it’s beautiful,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We appreciate everyone who has waited patiently while we’ve worked to get every detail right.” Pricing for the white iPhone 4 will be the same as for the black model, or $199/16GB or $299/32GB with a two-year commitment on AT&T or Verizon.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Europe


This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone at 2525m above sea level, overlooking the peak of Mont Blanc in Europe. 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!

Amazon responds in ‘App Store’ lawsuit, requests dismissal

Amazon has filed a response in its lawsuit with Apple, in which the latter accuses Amazon of trademark infringement and unfair competition for its use of the “App Store” trademark. In its response, which has been published online by GeekWire (PDF Link), Amazon admits to opening a software store with the name Appstore, but denies that Apple coined the App Store mark, and claims that the term “app store” is generic and unprotectable. It also points to a comment made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in October 2010, in which he uses the term “app store” in a generic sense, saying that Apple’s App Store is “the easiest-to-use, largest app store in the world, preloaded on every iPhone.” Notably, Microsoft has used similar arguments in its opposition to Apple’s “App Store” trademark, the review of which is still ongoing. Amazon is asking the judge to dismiss the case, and to declare that its use of the words “app store” does not infringe or dilute any rights, trademark or otherwise, of Apple. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple to charge for cloud-based iTunes?

Apple will eventually charge a fee for its cloud-based iTunes service, according to a new report. Citing music industry insiders, Cnet reports that while Apple has indicated that it could initially offer the service free of charge, it will eventually require a fee. A pair of reports from last week indicated that work on Apple’s cloud-based music service has been “completed,” and that the company has already secured deals with two of the four major music labels for the service, while company executives push to finalize the remaining deals. The service will reportedly allow iTunes customers to store their songs on a remote server, and access them from anywhere they have an Internet connection. Cnet notes that while an earlier report pegged Apple’s pricing for the service at $20 annually, none of its sources were sure what the company plans to charge.

Counterfeiters now cloning Fling iPad game controller

Knockoff iPod and iPhone products have been making their way across Asia for years, so perhaps it’s no surprise that counterfeiters are moving on to the latest low-hanging fruit: iPad accessories. Earlier today, a Chinese manufacturer sent out e-mails offering the “iPad Fling game controller”—the same Fling released in January as a transparent, flexible tactile screen add-on for the iPad by developer Ten One Design—on a wholesale basis. Ten One has confirmed that the accessories being offered by the Shenzhen-based manufacturer are counterfeits. “Sometimes I like to think of this as a disreputable compliment, but mostly it’s just a hassle to police on eBay,” Ten One’s Peter Skinner said in an e-mail to iLounge. Notably, the email from the manufacturer used not only the Fling name, but promotional images from Ten One showing the product in use. The original product sells for $20; the clone is offered with a seemingly duplicated carrying pouch for between $6 and $9.20, depending on quantity.

TweetDeck redesigned, released as entirely new app

TweetDeck has re-released a completely redesigned version of its Twitter client as an entirely new application, removing the prior version from the App Store. TweetDeck 2.0 has been entirely rebuilt from the ground up focused on flexibility and performance with a completely redesigned user interface. The new app supports all of the standard Twitter features such as sending updates, both native and quoted retweeting, favourites, mentions, direct messages and searching and also allows posting to multiple accounts and integration with Facebook for posting status updates, notifications and wall posts.

Full custom column management is supported as in the prior version for configuring multiple accounts, services and feeds; columns can be easily reconfigured and new columns can be added at the touch of a button while navigating Twitter profiles and lists. The new app provides integrated support for posting longer tweets and supports image uploading, geo-tagging, username autocomplete and URL shortening using ( TweetDeck 2.0 is currently available in an iPhone and iPod touch native version only; the iPad native version has notably been removed from the App Store with a note on the developer’s site that the redesigned version for the iPad is “coming soon.” TweetDeck 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple blocks iTunes Store on iTunes 8.x?

Apple has blocked access to the iTunes Store for users running iTunes version 8.2.1 and earlier, according to a 9 to 5 Mac report. Citing a reader tip, the report claims that a user running iTunes 8.2.1 on a G3-powered Mac attempted to access the store, only to see a prompt to upgrade to iTunes 10. According to the reader, the store worked fine previously on 8.2.1, indicating that this is a recent change. Notably, iTunes 8.2.1 was the last version of the software to support G3-based Macs, leaving these legacy devices with no way to access the store. iLounge has confirmed that the iTunes Store is still accessible by users running iTunes 9, which ushered in a redesign of the iTunes Store.

Nielsen: Android grabs U.S. smartphone lead

Android now enjoys the largest installed base of any smartphone operating system in the U.S., according to the latest data from Nielsen. As of March 2011, the report states, 37 percent of U.S. smartphone users own an Android device, followed by 27 percent who use an iPhone, and 22 percent who use a RIM BlackBerry. By comparison, Apple held the U.S. smartphone OS lead as recently as November of last year with a 28.6 percent share of the market, compared to 26.1 percent for BlackBerry and 25.8 percent for Android. Unsurprisingly, the new data showed that half of all those surveyed who purchased a smartphone in the last six months bought an Android device, compared to a quarter who purchased iPhones, and 15 percent who bought a BlackBerry. Among consumers planning to buy a new smartphone in the next year, 31 percent plan to buy an Android device, 30 percent plan to buy an iPhone, and 11 percent plan to buy a BlackBerry, while 20 percent are unsure.

iPad 2 poll ends, white iPhone 4 poll begins

With over 3,500 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Did you buy an iPad 2, and if so, what do you think of it?”—has ended. Readers were given a range of positive and negative responses, including one for those who wanted to purchase an iPad 2 but were unable to due low stocks of the devices.

81 percent of those who said they bought an iPad 2—49 percent of overall readers purchased the device—said they were very happy with it, followed by 15 percent who said they were generally satisfied with it, and a scant four percent who said they were slightly underwhelmed with their purchase. Among those who didn’t buy one, 53 percent said they didn’t want one, followed by 35 percent who said they had been trying to purchase one but hadn’t been able to secure a unit. Another 12 percent of non-iPad 2 owners said the device wasn’t yet available in their country. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on the white iPhone 4. We’d like to know if you plan on buying one. Have you been holding out since last June, or recently decide to buy an iPhone and want the white model? Or are you waiting for the next white iPhone, or wanted the black model instead? Or perhaps you wanted the white version originally but settled for the black model, or got tired of waiting for the white model and gave up, or never wanted an iPhone 4 at all? Our new poll—“Will you be buying a white iPhone 4?”—lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

Apple sued over iOS location tracking

Apple has been sued in federal court over iOS 4’s ability to track device location. Bloomberg reports that Vikram Ajjampur, a Florida-based iPhone user, and William Devito, a New York iPad user, have filed suit against Apple in Tampa, FL, accusing Apple of invasion of privacy and computer fraud, and seeking an order barring the alleged location data collection. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status to represent U.S. customers whose devices run iOS 4, a group that could include one-third to one-half the country’s 60 million iPhone users, according to Aaron Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go,” Mayer told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “If you are a federal marshal you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one.”

NewerTech intros GripStand, GripBase for iPad

NewerTech has introduced its new GripStand case for the first-generation iPad. Made from hard plastic with a shock-absorbing inner rubber liner, the GripStand offers full access to all ports and controls, and features a removable, skid-resistant desktop stand that rotates 360º to support both landscape and portrait viewing modes, and doubles as a grip or as a wall hook. With the stand removed, GripStand also supports the GripBase, a “desktop workstation companion” base that offers full adjustability of viewing angles as well as 360º rotation. NewerTech’s GripStand for the first-generation iPad is available now by itself in white or black for $30 or in a bundle with the GripBase for $40; the GripBase is also available separately for $20.

Photo of iPhone ‘4S’ with larger screen appears online

A photo of a white iPhone—dubbed the “iPhone 4S”—has appeared online. Without noting the source of the photo, M.I.C. Gadget reports that the device in the photo has a larger display—it appears to be both slightly taller and slightly wider than the screen of the current iPhone 4—as well as “edge-to-edge” glass. The report also contains a second image, comparing an older white iPhone 4 prototype/conversion to the front plate of the model appearing in the first image. Notably, both the original image and the front plate feature the new proximity sensor opening seen in the white Vodafone iPhone 4 photographed late last week; M.I.C. admits that it has doubts about the veracity of the new images.

NBA JAM adds local multiplayer support, debuts iPad version

EA Sports has released an update to NBA JAM adding local multiplayer support and introducing a separate iPad version and free iPhone version. NBA JAM is an arcade style basketball game that allows players to jam with all 30 NBA teams and their favourite NBA stars. Users can play through various challenges to unlock additional NBA players or simply purchase the unlocks directly from within the app. The game provides both quick play and campaign modes and the latest version now allows players to compete against a friend over either a local Wi-Fi or peer-to-peer Bluetooth connection. The update also makes several other tweaks under the hood to improve gameplay. With this update, EA Sports has also introduced a free NBA JAM Lite version that includes the Lakers and Celtics in a one-quarter exhibition. A separate full version of the game for iPad users is also now available. NBA JAM by EA Sports is currently available from the App Store for a sale price of $1; NBA JAM for iPad is available separately for $10.

iPhoneGeotag applies stored iOS location data to iPhoto

Following last week’s discovery that iOS 4 devices have been keeping location records, AppleScript developer Peter Burkimsher has released a utility to make use of this data for geotagging photos. iPhoneGeotag is an open-source AppleScript for Mac iPhoto users that reads the location data file from an iOS device backup and uses matching timestamps to apply geotag information to a user’s iPhoto library. The script is open-source under the Apache 2.0 license and can be freely viewed and modified; location data is not transmitted outside of the user’s own computer and the script does not even require an Internet connection. iPhoneGeotag is free and can be downloaded from the developer’s site.

iOS location tracking draws government inquiries, Jobs responds

A report from last week revealing that iOS 4 devices regularly record their positions to hidden files has sparked a wave of inquiries from government agencies and representatives. According to the New York Times, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota and Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts have contacted Apple separately, each asking for an explanation as to why the location data was being collected and stored, and what it was being used for. The same report indicates that various agencies in Germany, Italy, and France are planning investigations and/or inquiries into the matter, while Politico reports that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is also looking into it. Separately, Bloomberg reports that South Korea’s Korea Communications Commission has also asked Apple how often the location data is collected and saved, whether users have a choice over whether it is saved or deleted, and whether the information is being stored on the company’s servers.

The Wall Street Journal has tested the feature on an iPhone with its Location Services turned off, and discovered that the location data is still recorded despite the setting, although the coordinates recorded were not from the exact locations the phone traveled, which is consistent with prior results. Finally, Mac Rumors reports that a reader emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs about the issue, saying, “Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.” Jobs responded in his typically terse style, saying, “Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.” While it is obvious that iOS 4 devices are indeed tracking and recording users’ locations, it’s possible Jobs was referring to the fact that the data does not appear to be collected by Apple, thus supporting Jobs’ “we don’t track anyone” claim.

T-Mobile iPhone emerges, A5 chip inside?

A prototype iPhone 4 with T-Mobile 3G has been spotted and photographed, suggesting Apple is considering adding the carrier as a third option in the U.S. Boy Genius Report states that the prototype carries an internal model number of N94, different from the N92, which is the Verizon iPhone, and N90, which is the standard GSM variant of the iPhone 4. Although T-Mobile USA uses the GSM standard, its 3G bands are of a different frequency than most other GSM carriers, explaining the need for a specialized handset. Meanwhile, citing code found in iOS 4.3, 9 to 5 Mac claims that the “N94” designation of this prototype means that it contains an S5L8940 processor, which is another name for the A5 chip. A report from last week indicated that Apple was seeding select developers with A5-powered iPhone prototypes that look “virtually identical” to the current iPhone 4 save for the processor inside, however, this alone does not explain the T-Mobile 3G-capable hardware found in this latest prototype.

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