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Apple audio chip supplier Cirrus reveals production snafu

Cirrus Logic, Apple’s primary audio chip supplier for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, has disclosed manufacturing problems related to a new audio device. The Wall Street Journal reports that while Cirrus didn’t specify Apple as the customer for the new chip, the iPod maker accounts for roughly half the company’s revenue, and is therefore the company most likely to have ordered such a component. According to the report, the chips went into volume production last month, but it was determined that few were performing properly, and an even lower ratio of chips were meeting standards as production increased. “While this is unfortunate, our highest priority was ensuring that we did not prevent a successful launch for our customer, said Cirrus CEO Jason Rhode, “and we believe that we have been successful in that regard.”

While the exact nature of the new chip and its capabilities is unknown, Apple has continued to push for lower-power chip solutions, and recently has touted the ability of certain AirPlay accessories—including the recently-released Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air—to handle 96KHz/24-bit audio. Apple has reportedly been in talks with music labels to obtain higher-quality audio files, which would offer the potential for sonic improvements that would likely be imperceptible to human ears under most conditions; the higher bitrates might be used in lossless, multi-channel audio, but not in most compressed audio files.

GoPano micro promises 360º video from iPhone 4

EyeSee360, makers of the GoPano Plus 360-degree panoramic optic for digital cameras and camcorders, is now seeking funding to manufacture the GoPano micro, a new lens for the iPhone 4. According to the company, the GoPano micro will use a unique optic + software combination to allow iPhone 4 users to record 360-degree video; a working prototype and essential software is said to be completed, with a web platform to host 360-degree interactive movies in the works. The company has already received nearly $95,000 of funding via Kickstarter—its goal was $20,000—so it appears the product will indeed be produced, however, interested readers can still “pre-order” the GoPano micro with a pledge of $50, $30 off the expected retail price of $80. [via PhotographyBlog]

CBS legal threat forces Star Trek-like DiagnosticPADD from App Store

Paul Messias, developer for Park Bench Software, has informed iLounge that the company’s iOS app DiagnosticPADD will soon be removed from the App Store due to copyright and trademark infringement claims from CBS Interactive. The $1 universal app mimics the LCARS fictional computer operating system from Star Trek: The Next Generation; it offers functions such as viewing and emailing device information, battery status, network settings like IP address and host name, GPS coordinates, accelerometer data, microphone levels, and file system information. Messias says that the company received an email from Apple stating, “we received a notice from CBS Interactive that CBS Interactive believes your application named ‘DiagnosticPADD’ infringes CBS Interactive’s intellectual property rights. In particular, CBS Interactive states that your application is ‘...using our branded Star Trek elements’. ”

In a follow up email to CBS Interactive, the network claimed ownership of the acronym “PADD,” as well as the look and feel of the interface. “In response to your questions, the Application uses the ‘PADD’ trademark and the interface is substantially similar to CBSS’ copyrighted LCARS interface. Your use of the Series’ Properties improperly trades on the goodwill and reputation of CBSS and the Series and is likely to cause confusion among consumers that the Application is affiliated with or licensed by CBSS and/or the Series. CBSS has concluded that such use constitutes trademark infringement, dilution, passing off and misappropriation under the Lanham Act and applicable state laws, as well as copyright infringement under applicable U.S. copyright law and counterpart laws around the world.”

Park Bench Software notes that as a small developer, “[w]e certainly don’t have the legal backing or the ability to fund a defensive lawsuit,” but says that he couldn’t find evidence of a trademark for PADD, and doesn’t think that a Star Trek-inspired “look and feel” could be copyrighted. Regardless, the developer is pulling the app, and “is sad to see something we spent our time and energy on disappear.” As of this writing, the app is still available on the App Store.

Bluetrek unveils MusiCall clip stereo Bluetooth headset

Bluetrek has unveiled its new MusiCall clip-on stereo Bluetooth headset. Vaguely resembling an iPod shuffle, the MusiCall offers Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, AVRCP, and multiple connections, letting users connect both their mobile phone and media player—if necessary—and also features on-board playback, track forward/back, and volume controls, a 3.5mm jack for connecting any stereo headphones, an integrated microphone with NoiseLock noise, wind, and echo cancellation, an included pair of earbuds, and voice dialing support. Bluetrek’s MusiCall clip-on stereo Bluetooth headset is available now and sells for $70.

Mysterious device listing appears on, removed from App Store

A mysterious device string appeared earlier today on some App Store product pages, leading to speculation that Apple could be planning to allow a fourth device to download apps from the App Store. Panic software developer Cabel Sasser first spotted the string, “ix.Mac.MarketingName,” earlier this morning in the requirements section of the listing for his company’s new iOS app Prompt; he speculated that the text could be a placeholder string for a mysterious new fourth device. While an App Store for the Apple TV has been the subject of past speculation, the string in question appears to point to some sort of Mac compatibility for iOS applications, even though its disclosure at this point was most likely the result of an error. [via Mac Rumors]

Panic debuts on App Store with SSH client for iOS

Software developer Panic, known for award-winning Mac apps such as Transmit and Coda, has made its debut on the iOS App Store with Prompt, a new SSH client for the iPhone and iPad. Designed to be clean and easy to use, Prompt is targeted at system administrators, web developers and other technical users who regularly need to connect to SSH-based servers and other devices. The application provides full support for Bluetooth keyboards, including special command keys and customizable keys and shortcuts and full VT100 compatibility. Frequently used commands are automatically saved for autocompletion and each connected server is automatically saved as a favorite. The application also includes support for SSH public/private key pairs for secure password-free login, can handle multiple active connections and automatically discover local SSH servers via Bonjour. Prompt is available from the App Store for $5.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame releases iOS app

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has released an iOS application based on its Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll exhibit. The app features a multimedia showcase of over 600 songs from the 1920s through to 2006 selected by the museum’s curatorial staff and a number of rock critics and historians as influential in the evolution of rock and roll. Users can swipe through the app to experience the music from each era. Individual songs in each decade are presented using an album cover slideshow and users can listen to an audio preview of the song and read about the history of it and an explanation of why it made the celebrated list. Users can build a custom playlist of songs within the app or tap a link to purchase a song from the iTunes Store. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $2.

Apple hires away Microsoft cloud computing manager

Apple has hired Kevin Timmons, former General Manager of Data Center Operations for Microsoft, according to a new report. Saying simply that members of the data center community had been discussing the development, the Green Data Center Blog reports that Timmons’ position at Apple is not known, but that he will not be filling the position left open by the passing of Oliver Sanche, who had been Apple’s Director of Global Data Center Operations—in fact, the report states that Sanche’s position has already been filled by another data center operations executive. Microsoft has confirmed Timmons’ departure, telling Data Center Knowledge that “Kevin Timmons, general manager of Datacenter Services, has decided to pursue other career opportunities and is no longer working at Microsoft,” and adding that “We appreciate the contributions he made to Microsoft during his time here;” Apple has yet to comment on the matter.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.2 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Apple has released iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM), iPad, iPad 2, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update “fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call,” “fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on iPad Wi-Fi + 3G,” and “contains the latest security updates.” Notably, the notes make no mention of the problems domestic iPad 2 CDMA users had connecting to Verizon Wireless’ network, as had been previously speculated. In addition, Apple has released iOS 4.2.7 for the CDMA iPhone 4. Both updates are available now via the Update feature in iTunes.

Update: Apple has posted a support article documenting the security changes in iOS 4.3.2.

Designer creates iPhone-inspired speaker + table

Kyle Buckner Designs has taken the wraps off its new iTable, a hybrid coffee table and sound system inspired by the iPhone 4. It features a black and silver design with wrap-around rails bolted onto the outside of the table using 96 stainless steel hex-head bolts, a flat black top with two LED-lit, aluminum-trimmed cup-holders, a dock, and touch-sensitive controls for the LED lighting, volume, and motorized sound bar. The sound bar itself holds eight “high-end” transducer speakers, augmented by a hidden six-inch down-firing subwoofer. The company is accepting orders for the hand-crafted table and is offering customization options; for pricing and more info, see the company’s website. [via Engadget]

Id’s Carmack: Not enough money to be made on Android

Speaking in an interview with Now Gamer, id Software co-founder John Carmack made several statements on the development of games for iPhone vs. Android. When asked, “With Rage HD on iOS do you see yourself ever working on Android?,” Carmack responded, “Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android, and decide if it was time to start really looking at it.” He continued, “At the last Quakecon I took a show of hands poll, and it was interesting to see how almost as many people there had an Android device as an iOS device. But when I asked how many people had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there was a big difference. You’re just not making money in the Android space as you are in the iOS space.”

He added, “We made more money than people may expect on the Doom RPG stuff. It’s just fun to develop on iOS. We’d show people what we were working on and they’d go ‘Oh, when are you going to ship that? And I’d say “next month” and they’d go ‘Aww, I wanna work on an iPhone title.’ It’s hard to make a rational business decision to say I want to take resources from something else and put them on this. We did actually hire a person to be our Android guy, but it looks like he’s going to get stuck on iOS development!” Id has released several games for iOS devices, including ports of its classic titles Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM, as well as the aforementioned Rage HD.

Bloomberg: White iPhone 4 coming by ‘end of April’


Apple is preparing to release its long-awaited white version of the iPhone 4, according to a new report. Citing three people with knowledge of the plans, Bloomberg reports that the handset will arrive for AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the next few weeks; one of the sources said it would arrive by the end of April. According to another of the sources, the release was stalled due to manufacturing challenges. After two prior delays, Apple announced in October 2010 that the white iPhone 4 would be delayed until this spring; Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller recently reiterated the spring 2011 timeframe for the device’s release.

Tapbots releases Twitter client

Tapbots, developer of well-known iOS apps such as Pastebot, Convertbot and Calcbot today released Tweetbot, their anticipated Twitter app. The company originally announced plans to develop a Twitter client last spring, however were forced to take a step back and re-examine their approach following Twitter’s acquisition of Tweetie as the official Twitter client. After almost a year’s delay, Tapbots announced in March that Tweetbot was in fact being actively developed and was finally in beta. Described as “a Twitter client with personality,” Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone and iPod touch Twitter client that distinguishes itself through its unique UI design typical of Tapbots’ other iOS apps. The app features easy switching between the main timeline and Twitter lists, easy access to conversation views, related tweets and more through configurable smart gestures, customizable navigation buttons, support for the standard set of URL shortening, photo/video uploading and read-later services and the ability to save drafts, add locations and points-of-interest and manage lists and profile information from within the app. Tweetbot requires an iPhone or iPad touch running iOS 4.1 or later and is currently available from the App Store for $2.

MobileNavigator adds safety cameras, augmented reality features

Navigon has released an update to its MobileNavigator series of turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps for the iPhone and iPad updating to the latest NAVTEQ maps and introducing new augmented reality, safety camera and traffic features. MobileNavigator 1.8 users can now take advantage of Reality Scanner, a new augmented reality feature that displays points of interest overlaid onto a live camera view, designed to help pedestrians easily locate POIs while on foot. The update also includes a new $5 optional add-on feature that provides drivers with alerts on upcoming static speed and red light cameras along their route by using data from leading safety camera detection company RoadTraps. The regularly updated RoadTraps database provides access to over 3,900 speed and red light cameras in the U.S.  A new Traffic Check feature is now also included in the latest version at no additional cost, so even users who have not purchased the add-on Traffic Live feature can still get a quick at-a-glance view of current traffic conditions along their selected route; more detailed traffic information is available as before with the purchase of the Traffic Live add-on. In conjunction with this latest update, Navigon has reduced the prices on all of its MobileNavigator apps and in-app purchases until April 28. MobileNavigator North America is currently available from the App Store for $45; separate versions are available for other geographic areas with similar discounts from the company’s App Store page. Safety Cameras, Traffic Live, ZAGAT Survey Ratings & Reviews and Panorama View 3D are available separately via in-app purchase.

New for iPad 2: Green Onions, Maclove, Mivizu, Moshi

Green Onions, Maclove, Mivizu, and Moshi have all introduced new products for the iPad 2. From Green Onions Supply comes a new range of screen protectors. Each of the Glossy Anti-Fingerprint, AG2 Anti-Glare, and Anti-Glare Screen Protectors offer precise fit and dry application with included dust isolation sheets and microfiber cleaning cloths; they sell for $25 each. Maclove has introduced its new Jumper case for iPad 2, which is designed to work with or without the Smart Cover. Features include push-through coverage for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, open access to the headphone port, cameras, and side switch, a hybrid soft case design, a removable hard shell piece for side coverage when the Smart Cover is not attached, and an integrated Dock Connector cover. Maclove’s Jumper case comes in a variety of colors to match Apple’s Smart Covers and sells for $39.

Mivizu has introduced its new Sense case for the iPad 2. Crafted from full grain leather, the folio-style case features the ability to fold the front cover for use as a keyboard/video stand, openings for access to all controls, ports, and cameras, and hermetically sealed magnets in the cover for compatibility with the iPad 2’s automatic sleep/wake function. It is available for Amazon and sells for $30. Finally, Moshi has introduced its iVisor AG screen protector for the iPad 2 (Pictured above). Available in white or black, this bordered screen protector offers “100% bubble free” installation, an anti-glare, anti-fingerprint surface, multi-layered construction to minimize speckling, and cutouts for unencumbered use of the Home button, front-facing camera, and ambient light sensor. It sells for $30.

Guardly introduces iPhone personal safety solution

Toronto-based startup Guardly has released a new iPhone mobile personal safety solution. Designed to help iPhone users easily alert, connect to and collaborate with friends, family and authorities in an emergency, Guardly allows users to configure multiple contact groups and send location-based emergency alerts via voice call, SMS or e-mail to selected groups. Contact groups can be organized for different purposes to include friends, family and emergency services like campus police or 911. A connection auto-detection feature automatically continues checking for a voice or data connection when sending an alert in an out-of-coverage area to ensure that alerts get sent as soon as the device can connect to the network. Alerted friends and family are automatically sent a link to an Emergency Response Page on the web which provides a central site for messages and location updates; users can also take photos with the iPhone camera which are automatically posted on the Emergency Response Page. The user’s location continues to be automatically tracked for the duration of the emergency incident and an emergency beacon can be activated at any time to play a loud, repeating whistle at maximum volume. The Guardly app is available from the App Store as a free download. Users can use the app for free to send emergency alerts via phone, email and SMS to multiple contact groups; advanced features such as conference calling, location tracking and photo sharing require a $10/month Guardly Premium subscription.

ArtStudio for iPad increases canvas size, improves brushes

Lucky Clan has released an update to ArtStudio for iPad increasing the maximum canvas size for the iPad 2, improving brush quality and adding several additional fixes and improvements. Art Studio 3.2 now allows iPad 2 users to draw on a canvas of up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and adds a new hard/medium/soft selector to all brushes. The “dots” brush tool now includes new brush stamps and a “jitter rotation” slider allows easy texture creation. Users can now images directly from the iOS clipboard or open JPG and PNG images in ArtStudio from other applications on iOS 4.2 or later. The update also fixes issues with importing images that include transparency settings, preserving transparency in gradient fills and provides optimizations to bucket filling in smart mode. ArtStudio for iPad 3.2 is available from the App Store for $3.

Mix: Gartner, Apple suit, iOS 4.3.2, Schmidt at Apple

Research firm Gartner has released its latest forecasts for tablet sales through 2015, which predict that Apple will still hold a 47.1 percent of the market in 2015, on sales of over 135 million iPads. “Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Many, however, are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience. Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple.”

Apple has won a preliminary round in its ongoing lawsuit against companies manufacturing and/or selling unauthorized accessories for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Ars Technica reports that U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel has denied a request from four of the companies to have the case dismissed on procedural grounds, ordering the suit to proceed. Apple sued Eforcity Corporation, Accstation, Itrimming, Everydaysource, United Integral, Crazyondigital, and Boxware Corporation last July, claiming that the companies violated as many as 10 of Apple’s patents and additional trademarks by selling unauthorized electronic accessories, including chargers, speakers, and cables. “Many are of inferior quality and reliability, raising significant concerns over compatibility with and damage to Apple’s products,” the company said at the time.

Boy Genius Report, citing an Apple source, has claimed that iOS 4.3.2 is due in “the next week or so,” and will deal with several issues, namely problems experienced by Verizon iPad 2 owners unable to connect to 3G, FaceTime issues, and security fixes. While BGR’s record on predicting Apple iOS update releases is mixed, Apple has confirmed that it is aware of the Verizon iPad 2 troubles, saying, “We are aware that a small number of iPad 2 customers have experienced connectivity issues with the Verizon 3G network and we are investigating it.”

According to In The Plex, a new book about Google penned by technology writer Steven Levy, Apple hid the development of the iPad from then-current Apple Board member and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. As reported by the Daily Mail, the book claims that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was so enraged after seeing iPhone features such as pinch-and-zoom being implemented in Android after a visit to Google’s Mountain View campus that he hid the iPad’s development from Schmidt. Schmidt resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors in August 2009; the iPad was unveiled roughly six months later.

II:XX debuts iWah stands for iPad 2

II:XX Stands has debuted its new iWah Original and iWah 2 stands for the iPad 2. Designed to work in concert with iPad guitar amps that use the device’s accelerometer and gyroscope as means of controlling various guitar effects, both the iWah stands hold the iPad 2 securely alongside a foot pedal that allows the player to control the effect as they would with a traditional setup. Other features include T-6 aluminum construction, silicone tubing and bumpers on the iPad cradle to prevent scratches and dings, rubber bumpers on the bottom to protect flooring surfaces, non-slip grip tape on the foot pedal, and, on the iWah Original, the ability to lock the iPad cradle in either portrait or landscape position; the iWah 2 offers a cradle permanently fixed in the horizontal position. II:XX Stands’ iWah Original and iWah 2 stands for the iPad 2 are priced at $135 and $100, respectively; availability has yet to be announced.

Apple patent points to hybrid E Ink/video display

A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is investigating display technology that would allow devices to switch between an e-Ink and video displays as needed. Entitled “Systems and Methods for Switching Between an Electronic Paper Display and a Video Display,” the patent describes a device with a display that contains a touch-sensitive surface, an electronic paper display, and a video display. While E Ink electronic paper is specifically mentioned in the application, the display could include any suitable electronic ink display. By using addressable microcapsules inside the electronic ink display, the display could be made to appear transparent, allowing for viewing of the video display—of LCD, OLED, or some other suitable technology.

In addition, the patent describes a system of regions within the displays that could be used to show both the electronic paper display and the video display in different areas of the screen at the same time. According to the patent, the device could automatically choose which display technology to use based on color composition or rate of change. As with all Apple patents, this application does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Patently Apple]

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