Microsoft has released an update to its Bing search app for the iPad adding a new gesture-based search feature. Dubbed Lasso, the new feature allows users to select a word or phrase from within the app by outlining it with a touch gesture rather than needing to copy and paste it into the search box. In the company’s blog, the developers note that the new feature is a result of research into the way that searches are conducted, noting that many searches are inspired by things people are already seeing in their web browser, rather than original words. Lasso is designed to reduce the number of steps required to search on an item in a web page by allowing users to simply “circle and search in just two steps.” The new version also adds improvements to searching for movies, allowing users to view multiple showtime days and theatres, support for swiping through previous Bing homepage images and a number of other performance and UI improvements. Bing for iPad is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Verizon Wireless has announced details of its tiered pricing structure, which goes into effect July 7. Speaking with FierceWireless, Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney said that customers will now be able to choose from four monthly data plan options—$10 for 75MB, $30 for 2GB, $50 for 5GB, or $80 for 10GB—with overage charges of $10 per GB. Raney also said that existing customers will be able to keep their unlimited data plans, including when upgrading to another smartphone. Verizon has offered unlimited data plans to all iPhone customers since the device’s launch in February.
Apple has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in its patent infringement case against Samsung, a move which could see four of the South Korean company’s products barred from sale in the U.S. FOSS Patents reports that motion targets the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, and asserts three design patents and one utility patent, the latter involving “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display.” As the report notes, the move is a bold one for Apple; should the motion be granted, Samsung will be forced to remove the products from the U.S. market in a matter of months, while a failed motion could weaken Apple’s negotiating position. Apple is aiming for a court hearing on August 5, at which it will formally ask the judge to order the injunction.
The hacking collective Anonymous claims to have broken into an Apple server and has published a small number of usernames and passwords online. Reuters reports that the group said via Twitter that “Apple could be [a] target, too,” but reassured users by saying “we are busy elsewhere.” Included in the message was a link to 27 usernames and passwords supposedly taken from the abs.apple.com website, which is used for online surveys. It is unclear whether the group has planned any attacks on more significant Apple services, such as iTunes or MobileMe.
AT&T has announced that all models of the iPhone will be eligible for coverage under the AT&T Mobile Insurance program starting July 17. As noted by Mac Rumors, the program costs $4.99 per month and a $50 or $125 deductible for each claim depending on the model, and offers protection against loss, theft, accidental physical or liquid damage, and mechanical and/or electrical failure. AT&T’s site notes that “customers can only enroll within 30 days of a new activation or upgrade” and that “prior activations or upgrades outside of 30 days are not eligible,” meaning that many—if not most—current iPhone users will be unable to sign up for the program.
As our U.S.-based editors are celebrating Independence Day with our families, iLounge will be on a limited publishing schedule today, July 4, 2011. Happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers—we’ll be back in full force tomorrow!
Alongside its ITC complaint, Samsung has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in federal court in Delaware. FOSS Patents reports that the suit covers the same five patents as the ITC complaint, which relate to CDMA and mobile packet data transmission, a method for dialing in a smartphone, storing and reproducing digital audio data, and manipulating and viewing digital documents. As noted in the report, such lawsuits—often referred to as “companion lawsuits”—are quite common, as the ITC can order an import ban, but cannot award damages. Should the ITC agree to investigate Samsung’s claims, this suit would likely be stayed until the ITC makes a ruling.
Josh Pressnell has released an update to eNotify, an app for providing background notification of new mail on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Unlike other push notification e-mail apps that require users to setup mail forwarding rules, eNotify is unique in that it leverages background multitasking features in iOS 4 to check for mail and provide local notifications when new messages are received, operating entirely on the device. Users can create custom notification profiles based on account, priority, sender, subject line or recipient and can scan multiple IMAP folders for new mail. POP3, Hotmail, Yahoo and IMAP accounts are supported, and IMAP users can get immediate push e-mail via the IMAP IDLE protocol. A Do Not Disturb schedule can also be set to silence all alerts during certain times of the day and settings can be transferred between multiple iOS devices using Bluetooth.
eNotify version 1.7 adds configurable options to repeat new message alerts and override the silent switch for high priority e-mails or other specific alerts. The new version also includes several fixes for memory issues with IMAP servers, improves support for Hotmail POP3 servers and adds support for screen rotation on the iPad. eNotify is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $5; the app requires iOS 4.0 and a multitasking-capable device.
Mobiata has updated its flight tracking and status app for iOS devices adding a number of new features and improvements. FlightTrack 4.1 adds a new Travel Details section where users can label their flights and record their own notes such as flight confirmation numbers, seat numbers and more. The new version also includes an integrated calendar view for picking flight dates, a new preferences section for more easily managing settings, and the ability to automatically remove old flights from the flight list and calendar. The user interface for syncing with iOS Calendars and TripIt (available in FlightTrack Pro) has also been simplified and the app performs better with large numbers of flights and when working offline or with a poor network connection. The update also fixes a number of bugs related to scheduling and display of recurring flights in certain time zones and managing long lists of flights. FlightTrack is available in both standard and Pro versions; FlightTrack ($5) includes a full set of flight tracking features including weather radar, gate and baggage claim information, flight delay forecasts and SeatGuru charts; FlightTrack Pro adds push notifications, airport delay and closure information and TripIt synchronization. Both apps are universal and require an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.0 or later.
V-Moda has unveiled its new V-80 on-ear headphones with styling inspired by the HBO series True Blood. The V-80 is made from steel, aluminum, Kevlar, microfiber suede, and other high-end materials, and features 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers, detachable Kevlar-reinforced cables with 24k gold-plated plugs, interchangeable metal ear shields on either side of the ear cushions, one 3.5mm fabric cable with an inline, single-button remote and mic box, one standard 3.5mm fabric cable, and an included exoskeleton carrying case with blood vial zipper. V-Moda’s True Blood V-80 on-ear headphones are available now and sell for $230.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a mixed verdict in Kodak’s patent dispute with Apple and RIM. The AP reports that the agency essentially agreed with one of its judges who threw out Kodak’s claims, but did find limited patent infringement, and sent some matters back to the judge for further review. The commission revised its definitions for “motion processor” and “still processor”, asking the judge to decide whether Kodak’s patent was infringed under the new definitions, and also found that Apple and RIM had infringed on a patent related to “initiating capture of a still image while previewing a motion image.” It did not rule on any penalties; a revised decision is expected no earlier than August 30.
Tapbots has released another update to its Twitter app, Tweetbot, adding several new features and improvements. Tweetbot 1.3 improves switching between multiple accounts and adds support for viewing local Twitter trends from within the app. The update also adds several enhancements related to Direct Messaging, providing an improved recipient selector and allowing users to copy, delete and translate direct messages individually or as a group. Users can also now take advantage of more advanced list membership management and a new “Go to user” feature when searching for other users on Twitter. The update also includes several other small enhancements such as more intuitive loading of gaps in the timeline view, the ability to compose new tweets directly from a hashtag, and integrated support for Favstar, as well as various bug fixes. Tweetbot requires iOS 4.1 or later and is currently available from the App Store for $2.
Nortel Networks has announced that it has ended its multi-day auction of all the company’s remaining patents and patent applications, with a multi-company consortium placing the winning bid of $4.5 billion. The consortium includes Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony. According to the press release, the sale includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications “spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents.” The sale will be subject to applicable Canadian and U.S. approvals to be sought at a joint hearing on July 11; the involved companies will work to close the sale in the third quarter of 2011.
“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”
Tumblr has released a major update to its iOS app for posting to and accessing Tumblr sites. Described as a total rewrite, the new version provides a completely redesigned and simplified interface for managing multiple Tumblr blogs and improvements to Dashboard browsing and posting, including the addition of editing in landscape mode. Users can now also read and reply to messages on Tumblr and find followers via the address book. Tumblr 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has released a minor update to Keynote Remote for the iPhone and iPod touch. Keynote Remote allows iOS device users to control a remote presentation running in Keynote on a Mac using Wi-Fi or an iPad or another iPhone or iPod touch using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. Users can swipe to advance or return to a previous slide, view presenter notes on their device and preview the upcoming slide. Version 1.3 now maintains the position in presenter notes when advancing through builds and addresses several minor usability and reliability issues. Keynote Remote is available from the App Store for $1 and requires Keynote ‘09 for Mac OS X or Keynote 1.4 or later for iOS.