SuperTooth has announced that it is now shipping its SuperTooth HD Bluetooth speakerphone. Designed primarily for in-car use, the SuperTooth HD features dual 2.5 watt speakers, dual microphones with anti-echo and noise cancellation features, voice commands for answering calls, selecting pre-dialed numbers, and checking the battery level, a Dial2Do Handset Assistant feature that lets users compose and send Facebook, Twitter, email, and SMS messages via voice—the unit comes with a free six-month trial—A2DP music streaming support, multi-point technology for connecting up to two devices simultaneously, up to 20 hours of talk time from a single charge of the integrated, rechargeable battery, and an included USB cable and in-car charger. SuperTooth’s SuperTooth HD Bluetooth speakerphone is available now and sells for $129; for more information, see our full review.
A number of second-generation Apple TV users are reporting that they are unable to update their units. According to a lengthy thread on Apple’s Support Communities site, afflicted users are left unable to update their devices using the devices themselves or via iTunes. One user indicated that Apple is aware of the issue, which is reportedly related to problems with the company’s various update servers. That same post indicated that Apple hoped to have the problem fixed by tomorrow, June 28; notably, the problem does not appear to affect all users, and seems to be at least slightly related to the user’s geographic location. [Thanks, Jeff]
Apple will tap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to produce its next-gen “A6” ARM-based System-on-a-Chip sometime in 2012, according to a new report. Citing multiple sources inside the semiconductor industry, Ars Technica reports that the move is partially the result of increasing tension between Apple and Samsung, which are involved in a heated patent dispute with opposing lawsuits in multiple countries. As noted in the report, rumors of a partnership between Apple and TSMC date back to 2011, and it was been suggested that Apple was working with TSMC to move its mobile processors to the foundry’s 28nm process; Samsung currently produces the A5 chip using a 45nm process.
Apple has posted the second beta version of iOS 5. Available to paid iOS developers, the release—listed as build 9A5248d—includes support for Wi-Fi Sync. As noted by Mac Rumors, the release notes state, “In iOS 5.0 beta 2, wireless syncing is now available for the Mac. It requires iTunes 10.5 beta 2 and OS X 10.6.8 or Lion. You will see an option to enable wireless syncing when you connect your device to iTunes with the USB cable. It is recommended you perform your initial sync with a cable after restoring your device.”
The text continues, “Wireless syncing is triggered automatically when the device is connected to power and on the same network as the paired computer. Or, you can manually trigger a sync from iTunes or from Settings -> General -> iTunes Sync (same network as paired computer required). Be sure your device is plugged into a power source when performing Wireless syncs. If you find issues with apps, media and/or photos synced to your device, you can reset then resync. From Settings -> General -> Reset, choose Erase all Content and Settings. Then reconnect to iTunes and sync again. In this beta, iTunes may incorrectly report Photos as ‘Other’ in the capacity bar. Photo syncing otherwise works as expected.” In addition to iOS 5 beta 2, iTunes 10.5 beta 2 and Apple TV Software beta 2 have also been released; all three are available from the iOS Dev Center.
iLounge has learned that the costs involved with adding AirPlay functionality and Thunderbolt support to devices may be limiting the adoption of the Apple co-developed standards. Regarding AirPlay, sources have noted that the cost of adding AirPlay music streaming support to a set of speakers results in a retail price bump of around $100, making it unlikely that the standard will be widely adopted in lower-priced audio systems for the foreseeable future. Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple’s standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved.
We similarly have learned that the price of the components required to add a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive is roughly equal to the cost of a low-end hard drive itself, a high cost that one developer has suggested will limit Thunderbolt’s near-term use to products aimed at the professional market. This high cost structure also makes it unlikely that Apple will integrate Thunderbolt ports in its iOS devices in the immediate future—a feature that many people have guessed would be available for iPads—and would partially explain Apple’s drive to push for Wi-Fi-based synchronization in iOS 5.
Despite these facts, a number of companies are actively readying AirPlay- or Thunderbolt-ready products for introduction in the coming months, and we’ve seen at least one speaker system—Philips’ Fidelio AD7000W—that was priced as low as $230, setting a new price floor for AirPlay audio systems. It remains to be seen when or if costs will come down further to promote more widespread adoption of the accessories.
Apple has posted a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) article regarding the transition from MobileMe to iCloud. The document confirms that users will be able to access iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Find My iPhone via the web at icloud.com after the service launches this fall. It also states that users will be able to keep their current .me or .mac email addresses, and move their MobileMe mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service, with further details to come once the iCloud service comes online. iWeb publishing, MobileMe Gallery, and iDisk services will not be available in iCloud, according to the FAQ; those services will be available until the June 30, 2012 MobileMe shutdown date.
G5 Entertainment has released the latest instalment in its Treasure Seekers game series, Treasure Seekers 3 - Follow the Ghosts. A hidden object puzzle game, Treasure Seekers 3 puts players back in the role of Nelly and Tom as they seek to release unlucky ghosts trapped by an evil alchemist. Players must find the necessary items to free the dead ancestor of Cardinal House and others. The game includes five chapters and 48 levels with two game modes for both casual and advanced players along with Retina Display and Game Center support. Treasure Seekers 3 is available from the App Store as two free, trial version: Treasure Seekers 3 for the iPhone and iPod touch and Treasure Seekers 3 HD for the iPad. The full game can be unlocked in either version via an in-app purchase for $5 for the iPhone/iPod touch or $7 for the iPad.
Shape Services has released an update to IM+ Pro, its multi-platform instant messaging application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. IM+ Pro is a universal app that allows iOS device users to connect to a wide variety of messaging services including AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, ICQ, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and more. The app provides support for Push Notifications for new incoming messages and e-mail on supported services, group chat, chat history and a built-in browser. Users can also add speech recognition capabilities via an optional $1 in-app purchase. Version 5.2 introduces a new location-based Neighbors feature that allows users to locate their friends on an integrated map view and find new friends in their local area. Privacy settings allow users to set positioning accuracy to either their specific location, general neighbourhood or city and users can also post local announcements. The update also adds the ability to send chat history to e-mail and provides several other bug fixes and UI and performance enhancements. IM+ Pro 5.2 is available from the App Store for $10.
Gameloft has released BackStab, a new universal iOS action-adventure game. BackStab puts players in the role of Henry Blake, a former officer in England’s Royal Navy who has had his life stripped away and must undertake a quest for justice and revenge against those who betrayed and imprisoned him. Players travel across a variety of different 3D environments, climbing and jumping and fighting enemies along the way using a combo-based combat system. In addition to the movement and combat system the game provides detailed character interactions and lifelike voice effects and players can explore four unique cities to discover new quests and secrets. BackStab is a universal app supporting the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store for $7.
iOS developer LovApps has debuted its first game, Feed The Rat. The new physics puzzler challenges players to successfully deliver a piece of cheese by launching it into the playing area and rebounding it off the walls and other objects to reach the rat. Each level must be completed in five seconds or less and includes optional “tips” that can be collected by adjusting the trajectory of the cheese so that it passes over them in order to score additional points and unlock bonus levels. The game currently provides 32 levels and Retina graphics for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Feed The Rat is available from the App Store for $1.
Good.iWare has updated GoodReader for iPad adding several new user interface and file management improvements. In version 3.8 users can now easily switch between recently used files from a file tab without having to return to the main file list view and can star and unstar files on the Find Files control panel. The update also adds a new persistent on-screen side menu for creating PDF annotations as an optional alternative to the popup menus used in prior versions; users can “pin” the side menu to keep it on screen when performing annotations and then close it when they’re done to return to the full PDF view. Additional enhancements include the ability to delete local copies of files that are no longer on a server configured for a download-only sync, improvements to PDF freehand drawing, a redesigned PDF page slider and better support for native display mirroring on the iPad 2. GoodReader for iPad 3.8 is available from the App Store for $5.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced [PDF Link] that a final decision in Kodak’s patent infringement case against Apple and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion will be delayed a week. The decision, which was expected yesterday, will now be handed down on June 30; no reason was given for the delay. In January, ITC Judge Paul Luckern said in his preliminary findings that Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry devices do not violate a Kodak patent covering a common image preview feature, however, those findings are still subject to review by the six-member commission, which will issue its final ruling next week.
As part of its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung, Apple has filed a lawsuit against Samsung in its home country of South Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports that in its complaint, Apple makes the same product-copying clains that it made in its U.S. suit, namely that many of Samsung’s recent Android-based smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets copy the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad, respectively. The report also notes the deep relationship between the two companies when its comes to components, as Apple is its largest customer when it comes to flash memory, microprocessors, and flat-panel screens.
Apple has posted its complete library of session videos from its 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference. Available only to registered developers, the library includes 110 videos which cover a wide range of topics relating to iOS and OS X, including Game Center, iCloud, and AirPlay. The videos are available for viewing in Safari from developer.apple.com/videos, or as free downloads from iTunes.
NewKinetix has released a major update to its Re Universal Remote Control app for iOS, adding native iPad support. With a full-screen layout designed to take advantage of the larger iPad screen, the new version allows users to places remote and favourites selections, activity remotes and device remotes all on a single view, reducing the need to switch between multiple views to control more complex home entertainment systems. The application works in conjunction with the Re IR accessory which connects to the device’s Dock Connector and contains a pre-programmed database of devices and brands that provide a simplified setup for home audio and video equipment. The latest update also adds the ability to customize the wallpaper on the app from their own photo library, providing custom backgrounds behind the remote control elements. Re Universal Remote Control 3.0 is
available from the App Store as a free download. The Re hardware accessory is required to use the app and sells for $80 from the company’s web site.
The Omni Group has released an update to OmniFocus for the iPhone adding the Forecast mode that was originally introduced in the iPad version last year. Replacing the individual “Due Soon” and “Overdue” lists found in prior versions, Forecast mode allows users to see all of the tasks that are overdue and starting or due over the next seven days, broken down by individual day. With the addition of Forecast mode, tapping on an event notification will now take the user directly to the Forecast screen when opening the app, allowing the user to see all due items at a glance. Version 1.1 also adds direct support for setting up with the app with the Omni Sync Server and adds buttons to go directly to a project or context from the Action and Project editing screens. Additional enhancements include improvements to searching for projects and contexts throughout the app, a redesigned editor for assigning locations to contexts and several other user interface and workflow improvements. OmniFocus for iPhone is available from the App Store for $20 and is a free upgrade for current users.
Daniel Spitler, one of the hackers responsible for the exposure of email addresses and SIM ICC-ID numbers for 114,000 iPad 3G users last June, has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and one count of identity theft. Reuters reports that Spitler made his plea before U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark, New Jersey federal court, and that each count carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Spitler will be sentenced September 28; the case of his co-defendant Andrew Auernheimer is pending. Spitler and Auernheimer, under the name of “Goatse Security,” discovered a publicly accessible script on AT&T’s website through which they extracted the data. The pair alerted the carrier only after they had stolen the data, shared the PHP script used with several third-parties, and supplied Gawker with the user account information.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced that Apple has joined its board of directors. According to the release, Apple, along with Nordic Semiconductor, will join Intel, Motorola, Lenovo, Nokia, Microsoft, Ericsson AB, and Toshiba on the Bluetooth SIG board. The release indicates that insight from Apple on platform development will help a smooth growth trajectory of Bluetooth v4.0 into the areas of hubs that capture data from small sensors and turn that data into useful information.
“We see the importance of platform development and ultra-low power sensor silicon for Bluetooth technology and believe guidance and board participation from Apple and Nordic, industry leaders in these perspective fields, is essential,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “We have set the ambitious goal of shipping five billion devices in 2015 – to get there we must continue to build a technology that will offer a simple and secure solution that can be found everywhere, in every type of device. These additions to our board will ensure we succeed in new markets we have targeted for growth.”
Apple has received approval from U.S. antitrust regulators to bid for the assets of now-bankrupt Nortel Networks, according to a statement released by the Justice Department. Citing a person familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reports that the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department reviewed and approved Apple’s request to bid for a number of the defunct company’s patents, although it will continue to review any anticompetitive issues that could arise if an agreement is reached. Reuters reported last December that Apple was expected to bid on the patents, which pertain to third- and fourth-generation wireless technology such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), optical and data networking, Internet video, Internet advertising, voice technologies, and personal computers.
Philips has debuted a number of new AirPlay-enabled speaker systems at CE Week 2011. Based on the company’s previously-revealed Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W system—which will launch in the U.S. this month for $799—the Fidelio SoundSphere DS6800W system features a handcrafted enclosure made from real wood, a silver and black color scheme, “floating” speakers, an auxiliary input for connection of other audio sources, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It wil be available this holiday season and will sell for $500.
The Fidelio DS8800W is a desktop-style, one-piece system offering 2x15W RMS total output power, neodymium drivers, bass pipes for enhanced bass reproduction, an included remote control, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will sell for $400 and is expected to ship this July. The circular Fidelio DS3881W features 16W RMS of total output, a 360-degree surround sound effect, a compact design, a rechargeable battery, an auxiliary input, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will be available this holiday season for $329. Finally, the Fidelio AD7000W is a compact, desktop-style system featuring an aluminum and fabric finish, 10W RMS of total output, auxiliary and USB inputs, the latter of which can charge and play a connected iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will also be available this holiday season, and will sell for $229.