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Eye-Fi app adds Direct Mode, iPad support

Eye-Fi has released a major update to its iOS application adding support for Direct Mode transfers and native iPad compatibility. The new Direct Mode feature allows Eye-Fi X2 card users to transfer photos and videos from their camera directly to their iOS device by establishing a direct Wi-Fi network between the camera and the device. Photos transferred using Direct Mode are saved in the device’s built-in camera roll and appear in the Eye-Fi app where they can be previewed or uploaded to the user’s home computer or any of their configured online sharing services. An optional full-screen mode allows users to automatically preview photos on their iOS devices as they are transferred. The update also adds support for background file transfers on multitasking-capable devices and can automatically transfer photos taken with the Camera app on the iPhone, fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad 2. The Eye-Fi app requires a device running iOS 4.0 or later; Direct Mode requires an Eye-Fi X2 card with firmware 4.5021 or higher and Eye-Fi Center 3.3 or later for configuration. Eye-Fi 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.

iOS 4 devices quietly track, store users’ locations (updated)

A pair of programmers has discovered that iOS 4 devices are regularly recording their positions to hidden files, which reside on the devices and are transferred to any computer the devices are synced with during backup. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden report for O’Reilly that while working on data visualization projects, they discovered a file “consolidated.db” that contains latitude-longitude coordinates along with a timestamp, and while the coordinates aren’t always accurate, they are rather detailed. According to the report, it appears that the location collection started with iOS 4, and thus the file could potentially contain tens of thousands of data points, or an entire year’s worth of movements. The pair note that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and have contacted Apple’s Product Security team, but have yet to hear back.

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As noted in our forums, Apple appears to have moved away from Skyhook and to an internal location database/detection service as of iOS 4. Given that users of Wi-Fi-only iPads and iPod touches have reported an ability to fairly accurately determine their location in situations that would prove challenging for an actual Skyhook-based system—such as in a moving car, with no Internet access available—it appears likely that iOS 4 devices are relying on this internal database to provide users with approximate location data even when no such data would normally be available. For those interested in seeing their own data, Allan and Warden have created a free Mac OS X application called iPhoneTracker that will automatically search the computer for any location files and display them on a timeline-enhanced map.

Update: The authors of the report have added a new section entitled “Who has access to this data?,” in which they state, “there’s no immediate harm that would seem to come from the availability of this data. Nor is there evidence to suggest this data is leaving your custody. But why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it — or not — are important questions that need to be explored.”

Update 2: One week after the release of this report, Apple posted a Q&A on Location Data, explaining that while some iOS devices are in fact storing location information indefinitely, the data refers to locations of nearby cell towers rather than the particular GPS coordinates of the user, and is primarily being used for quickly providing mapping information. Our followup article explains how the company will change the collection of this data going forward.

AT&T Q1 iPhone sales up despite Verizon iPhone launch

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AT&T announced its first-quarter fiscal results this morning, revealing that iPhone activations at the carrier increased by nearly one million year-over-year, despite newfound competition from the Verizon iPhone. In total, the company activated 3.6 million iPhones during the quarter, 23 percent of which represented subscribers new to the company, while iPhone subscriber churn levels remained unchanged from the year before. Notably, the iPhone accounted for 65 percent of AT&T’s best-ever smartphone sales of 5.5 million. In addition to details regarding the iPhone, AT&T also revealed that it added 322,000 tablet subscribers in the quarter, over 80 percent of which were prepaid customers; it did not specify how many of those were iPad users.

Real Racing 2 HD adds 1080p TV-out support

Firemint has released an update to Real Racing 2 HD for the iPad adding support for 1080p HD TV output on the iPad 2. With this latest update Real Racing 2 HD users can connect their iPad to a television set or monitor via HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adapter in order to play the game on a larger screen. When connected to an external monitor, the game displays real-time racing telemetry on the iPad screen while displaying the actual race on the HDTV. The update also provides enhanced visuals for the Alkeisha Island and San Arcana tracks for iPad 2 users and various other minor improvements and fixes. Real Racing 2 HD requires an iPad running iOS 3.2 or later; the new TV output feature requires an iPad 2, Apple Digital AV Adapter and HDMI connection. Real Racing 2 HD is available from the App Store for $10.

Report: Next iPhone to ship in September

Apple is planning to ship its next version of the iPhone in September, according to a new report. Citing three people with direct knowledge of the company’s supply chain, Reuters reports that production on the new iPhone will start in July or August and that it will look largely similar to the iPhone 4. The report also claims it will have a faster processor, most likely the dual-core A5 that debuted in the iPad 2, and pegs Largan Precision as a camera module maker—likely for the front-facing camera, as Sony is widely believed to be supplying an eight-megapixel sensor for the rear—Wintek as a touchscreen panel supplier, and Foxconn as the external case maker for the new model.

Photo of the Week: iPad 2 in Paris

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This week’s featured photo is from our iPads Around the World gallery, and shows a white iPad 2—with a pink Smart Cover—being held in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. 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!

Elgato intros Tivizen mobile TV tuner for iOS

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Elgato has introduced its new Tivizen mobile TV tuner for iOS, Mac, and Windows. Powered by a rechargeable battery, the Tivizen is a compact TV tuner than receives Freeview, or DVB-T signals, then transmits the signal to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using its own local Wi-Fi network and a free companion app. Other features include the ability to timeshift and record shows, a built-in program guide, 3.5 hours of battery life, and the ability to transfer TV recordings from an iOS device to a computer for archiving or later viewing. Elgato’s Tivizen mobile TV tuner is available now and sells for £150/€150.

Deep Green Chess goes universal, adds Retina Display support

Cocoa Stuff has released an update to Deep Green Chess adding iPad support and optimizing the app for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch Retina Display. Deep Green Chess is designed for the casual chess player and allows users to play chess against the game engine with adjustable strength and concentration settings for differing challenge levels. Users can also manually setup the board, replay a previous move or an entire game and choose to either tap or drag to move pieces. Suggested moves are available and the game can optionally provide callout notifications or vibration on check, stalemate and checkmate. Two skins are included and the latest version provides a new default skin rendering the board and each piece in impressive high-resolution detail. Deep Green Chess is available from the App Store for $8.

Crackle provides free movie and TV streaming to iOS

Crackle has released an iOS application allowing users to stream movies and TV shows from its online service to an iOS device. A division of Sony Picture Entertainment, the Crackle service was started back in 2007 to allow users to watch popular full-length movies and TV shows online, beginning with a web-based streaming player and later expanding to a wide variety of third-party hardware and mobile platforms. The release of the universal Crackle app for iOS devices now provides iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users with the ability to stream Hollywood movies and mainstream TV series directly to their device. The app provides unlimited, on-demand viewing of video content streamed over either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, optimized for both the iPhone/iPod touch or iPad. Users can browse through movies, TV shows by genre or search by keyword and build a viewing queue for use within the app of online at Crackle.com. The library includes movies and TV series from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics and more; users can view a list of available content at the web site or directly within the app. Crackle requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Crackle is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia; not all content is available outside of the U.S.

ComScore: iOS outreaches Android in U.S.

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iOS as a whole is outpacing Android among U.S. mobile subscribers, according to the latest data from comScore. The research firm reports that iOS enjoys an installed base of 37.9 million users among U.S. mobile subscribers age 13 and up, good for a 16.2 percent share, compared to a base of 23.8 million users for Android, good for a 10.2 percent share. Among the iOS users, the installed base of iPhones slightly exceeded that of iPod touches, both of which were roughly twice as high as the number of iPads; only four million iOS users—10.5 percent—used more than one iOS device. Indeed, the percentage of iPad users who also use an iPhone is only slightly higher—27.3 percent—than the percentage of smartphone users who use an iPhone (25.2 percent); 17.5 percent of iPad users were found to use a RIM BlackBerry as a smartphone, while 14.2 percent of iPad owners use Android phones.

MIx: Apple Support, Foxconn, iOS gaming, App rejections

  • April 19, 2011

Apple has revamped its former Support Discussions section, renaming it Apple Support Communities. The new support section divides the discussion and question threads into “communities” based on certain products, offers the ability to track community activity via email or RSS, the ability to “Like” posts, the ability to see correct and/or helpful answers without needing to dig through an entire thread, and more. The new section can be accessed by visiting discussions.apple.com.

Apple has added Chimei Innolux, an affiliate of the Foxconn Technology Group, as a third supplier for touchscreen sensors for the iPad 2, according to a new report. Citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Innolux will begin supplying the components next month, joining TPK Holdings and Wintek, who will remain Apple’s key suppliers for the sensors. Notably, Foxconn is also the assembler of both the iPad and iPhone.

Former Apple iPhone Game Technologies team member Graeme Devine has made several comments regarding the state of iOS gaming. Speaking in an interview with Business Insider, Devine said with a chuckle that he “can’t talk so much” about Apple’s future plans, but said that Apple is serious about gaming on iOS. “Apple is clearly focused on gaming. A lot of people say Apple doesn’t get gaming, but Apple has probably the most popular gaming device on the planet right now, and that doesn’t happen by accident,” said Devine. “Apple is intensely focused on gaming and intensely aware of it. Every ad for the iPod Touch only shows games; no running music.” Devine, who left the company in December 2010 to start his own studio, added that it “would be crazy cool” if Apple decided to expand the Apple TV’s reach into the gaming segment.

Apple is cracking down on applications using pay-per-install marketing campaigns, according to a new report. Citing Tapjoy, developers of a number of such apps, GigaOM reports that a number of developers have recently seen their apps rejected because they were running incentivized app installs, in which developers pay to have their app installed in other apps, including offering virtual currency in exchange for app downloads. Tapjoy speculates that Apple may be using section 3.10 of the developer program agreement to justify the rejections; the section states, “[d]evelopers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program.”

Apple asks for dismissal in iPod, iTunes antitrust lawsuit

Apple has asked a federal judge to dismiss a consumer antitrust lawsuit related to the pairing of the iPod to the iTunes Music Store. Apple attorney Robert Mittelstaedt told U.S. District Judge James Ware that blocking iPod music downloads that used competitors’ software was intended to protect iTunes and iPod customers’ quality of experience. “Apple’s view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems,” Mittelstaedt said at a hearing. The request comes just days after Apple CEO Steve Jobs, still on medical leave from the company, met with plaintiff attorneys for a court-ordered deposition. The case, which dates back to 2005, revolves around RealNetworks’ Harmony technology, which promised to allow copy-protected music sold on its online store to be played on iPods. The technology was introduced in July 2004, and Apple took just five days to announce software updates to render the technology inoperable, saying its was “stunned” that Real had “adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod.” Judge Ware is expected to rule on Apple’s dismissal request by May.

Combined multitasking, search feature to debut in iOS?

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Apple is planning to add a new combined multitasking and search view to a future version of iOS, according to a new report. Vietnamese-language Tinhte.vn has posted video of an iPhone running what appears to be a post 4.x version of iOS, complete with a redesigned multitasking interface. Instead of the row of app icons that currently slides up from the bottom of the screen when double-pressing the Home button, the version of iOS depicted in the video instead brings up a new view with nine thumbnails showing the current state of open applications; the app thumbnails can be pressed and held to bring up small black “x” buttons for closing the app, similar to what is seen when doing the same maneuver on the Home screen. In addition, the view has a “Search iPhone” box at the top that appears to function in the same way as the current Spotlight search, while the version of iOS depicted doesn’t appear to have a separate Spotlight search area to the left of the first Home screen. Tinhte.vn has provided correct reports of future Apple products in the past, however, it remains unknown whether the “test version” of the software seen in the video is legitimate, or if it will be included in any public iOS release. The video is available for viewing in embedded form below. [via Engadget]

Update: Tinhte has posted a second video showing the same interface running on a different iPhone. The phone in the second video carries an “XXGB” marking on the back, but in fact has 64GB of internal storage, and is seen running a version of iOS 4.0, suggesting that the thumbnail multitasking interface has been in development since before the release of iOS 4; it is still possible that Apple might move to a thumbnail-style interface in future versions.

PBS for iPad now supports AirPlay video

PBS has released an update to its iPad app adding support for AirPlay video streaming on iOS 4.3 devices. Originally released last fall, the PBS app allows users to view current programs and content from the PBS archives streamed to their iPad on-demand, with access to classic PBS shows and new content created specifically for the iPad. Version 1.2 adds the ability to stream video to an Apple TV using AirPlay and now supports multitasking allowing users to quickly resume where they left off in a program after switching between apps. The update also fixes issues with audio playback when using the Mute switch on the iPad and adds several performance enhancements and network-related improvements. PBS for iPad is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Apple releases iTunes 10.2.2

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Apple has released iTunes 10.2.2, the latest version of its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, 10.2.2 includes a number of “important” bug fixes; it addresses an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad, resolves an issue which could cause syncing photos to an iOS device to take longer than necessary, fixes a problem where video previews on the iTunes Store could skip while playing, and addresses “other issues that improve stability and performance. iTunes 10.2.2 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes and is a 24.5MB download for Mac users.

Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy phones, tablets

Apple has sued Samsung over the latter’s Galaxy series of phones and tablets, claiming that the products infringe on Apple’s intellectual property. The Wall Street Journal reports that the suit names products such as the Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Nexus S, and Galaxy Tab as copying the look and feel of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. “Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products,” the lawsuit said. Notably, Apple purchases flash memory and other components from Samsung, and the South Korean company is the manufacturer of the A4 chip found in the iPhone 4, as well as the new A5 chip that powers the iPad 2.

ITC recommends siding with HTC, Nokia over Apple

The staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has recommended that HTC and Nokia shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple patents. Bloomberg reports that Erin Joffre, a lawyer for the staff that acts on the behalf of the public as a third party in the case, made the staff’s position known at the start of an ITC trial in which Apple is seeking to block imports of Android-powered HTC phones as well as some made by Nokia. “What makes Apple products so successful is not just what you see, but what’s under the hood,” said Apple lawyer Greg Arovas of Kirkland & Ellis during his opening arguments. Arovas described the patents in question as important for the “seamless integration of hardware and software” in smartphones. HTC lawyer Robert Van Nest of Keker & Van Nest countered, saying that “HTC is a smartphone innovator and pioneer in the smartphone sphere—they were there long before Apple. The fundamental differences from the Apple patents represent choices made by HTC and Google.” The Judge in the case, Carl Charneski, is expected to release his findings on August 5.

GoodReader for iPad adds Data Protection support

Good.iWare has released an update to GoodReader for iPad adding support for encrypting files stored within the app using the Data Protection features in iOS 4. With the latest version, users can now easily designate which files and folders they wish to have secured and the underlying operating system will automatically encrypt those files whenever the device is locked with a passcode. By integrating with the iOS Data Protection features, GoodReader is able to leverage hardware level encryption built into modern iOS devices making the process fast and transparent for end users while ensuring that sensitive files are protected in the event a device is lost or stolen. The update also adds support for “flattening” PDF annotations, embedding them in the main PDF body for reading in PDF viewers that do not provide annotation support and protecting them from further modification. Additional new features include symbolic PDF page label support, AirPlay video playback and several improvements related to connecting and synchronizing with remote servers. GoodReader for iPad 3.6 is available from the App Store for $5.

Update (04/19/2011): An update to GoodReader for iPhone is also now available adding the Data Protection and other new features to the iPhone version.  Data Protection requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4 or later.

White iPhone 4 in Verizon’s system, coming April 26?

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The white iPhone 4 has reportedly appeared in Verizon Wireless’ inventory system, while a separate report has pegged the long-awaited handset’s launch for April 26. Citing screenshots of Verizon’s internal system, 9 to 5 Mac reports that the white version of the iPhone 4 is listed as model number MC679 for the 32GB version and MC677 for the 16GB version, while the black CDMA models are MC678 and MC676, respectively. iPhoneItalia, meanwhile, cites a reliable source (Translated Link) as saying that the device will launch in Italy on April 26, which if true suggests that the device will launch in the U.S. on the same day if not before. Apple has said only that the white iPhone 4 will launch sometime this Spring.

Update: UK carrier Three now has the white iPhone 4 available for order with an “Earliest Delivery” date of April 20.

Dropbox app improves uploading features

Dropbox has released an update to its popular iOS application adding several improvements related to file uploading and making some small UI changes. Dropbox 1.4 returns to the former tab-based navigation interface and adds a new dedicated Uploads section for tracking current and recent file uploads. The new version also adds support for bulk uploading of photos and videos from directly within the app and uploading files from other apps such as Mail and Safari using the iOS 4 “Open In” feature; the latter feature now allows users to upload any file type to their Dropbox directly from other supported apps. The update also adds Spanish, French German and Japanese language support and numerous bug fixes. Dropbox 1.4 is available from the App Store as a free download.

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