AllThingsD reports that Disney has announced plans to release a new line of toys that work in tandem with iPad games. Dubbed Disney Appmates, the first game is based on the movie Cars 2 and provides players with miniature toy cars that can be “raced” on a virtual track displayed on the iPad screen. The toy interfaces with the iPad application via the touchscreen allowing the user to interact by moving the car across the screen with the app reacting precisely to the player’s movements and displaying the appropriate feedback and responses. The game will provide open-ended gameplay allowing players to simply drive around and explore or attempt to complete specific challenges such as racing or collecting hubcaps.
The Appmates are expected to go on sale in stores on October 1, including the Apple Store and Disney Store, with four “Cars 2” characters in the initial series, sold in two-packs for $20 each; the game will be available from the App Store as a free download. Each Appmate will unlock specific features and content in the game, encouraging users to collect the entire set. The Appmates line is part of a wider range of physical accessories that Disney is developing for kids to use with the iPad.
iLuv has announced the WorkStation Series, a new line of docks and cases designed to provide iPad users with a PC computing experience for business and productivity purposes. The iMM737 WorkStation Dock provides a docking station for the iPad with a wired laptop-style keyboard that includes dedicated iPad function keys and a tilting and rotating bracket that allows the iPad to be used in both landscape and portrait orientations. The iMM517 WorkStation Pro provides a more advanced solution with a Bluetooth keyboard and integrated speakers.
For mobile use, the WorkStation series includes the iCK826/iSK912 Professional WorkStation Portfolio case with detachable Bluetooth keyboard and the standalone iBTKB20 WorkStation Bluetooth Keyboard, both of which include laptop-style keys for improved typing capabilities and dedicated iPad function keys. Prices for the iLuv WorkStation Series range from $50 to $180. Most of the accessories in the WorkStation Series will be available at select retailers this month with the iMM737 WorkStation Dock coming in November. As of press time, iLuv had not released photos or offered web links for the new lineup.
Griffin Technology has announced the release of the TechSafe Case for iPad 2. Designed to provide users with the security of a desktop cable locking system, the polycarbonate case secures and protects the iPad while providing an anchor point for the included 4-digit combination lock security cable. The iPad can remain in the case for normal everyday use with two foldout workstands for typing or upright landscape viewing built into the case. The security cable snaps into the iPad to easily lock it down and it can be quickly removed simply by dialling in the combination and pushing the plunger. The TechSafe Case and Cable Lock is available from Griffin Technology’s web site for $80.
Apple today has invited select members of the press to a special “Let’s talk iPhone” event for the next-generation iPhone. As previously reported, the event will be held on Tuesday, October 4 at Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium on its corporate campus in Cupertino, CA. The invitation includes four classic iPhone icons, showing the Tuesday date, 10:00 (AM/Pacific) event start time, Infinite Loop location, and Phone app with the number “1” next to it.
Apple is widely expected to introduce at least one new iPhone at the event, and will also likely announce a release date for iOS 5, as well as one or more new iPod models, although no specific reports related to the latter have surfaced in recent months. As the company occasionally hides hints in the icons and text of its invitations, it’s possible that the event may focus solely on a single new iPhone model, rather than the two that have been rumored for some time.
Skype has released an update for its iOS applications adding support for Bluetooth audio on recent devices. Skype for the iPhone and iPod touch now supports Bluetooth headset devices on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad 2; the iPad version of Skype has also been updated to add Bluetooth support for the iPad 2. Additional improvements in the iPhone and iPod touch version of Skype include a redesigned user interface with support for emoticons and enhanced video with image stabilization. Both of the Skype applications include bug fixes related a security vulnerability nd are now ad-supported—advertising will be shown to users who do not have a Skype subscription or Skype Credit in their account. Skype for the iPhone and iPod touch and Skype for iPad are available separately as free downloads from the App Store.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has officially denied Apple’s request for a trademark on the term “Multi-touch.” Mac Rumors reports that Apple originally applied for the trademark on January 9, 2007, the day after the original iPhone was introduced. According to the report, the initial trademark application was denied by a USPTO lawyer, which caused Apple to appel to the body’s Appeal Board. In its decision denying Apple’s appeal, the Board found that “‘multi-touch’ not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device,” but also found that the term has taken on a generic meaning, as it is widely used to describe the capacitive touchscreen technology found on a wide variety of modern devices.
Apple has announced that it will report its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011 on Tuesday, October 18. As usual, the release will be followed by a conference call to discuss the financial results, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. iLounge will be providing coverage of the call. Depending on the timing, it is possible the call could serve as a platform for Apple to release launch period sales numbers for new iPhone models, assuming they are released prior to the call. In addition, it is also unclear whether Tim Cook will continue his previous appearances on the call given his new title of CEO, or whether Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams will fill Cook’s prior role opposite CFO Peter Oppenheimer.
Google has released an update to its official Google+ app adding support for the social network’s new Hangouts feature and making several other improvements to messaging and commenting features. The latest version of Google+ for iOS allows users to join existing Hangouts and participate in video conferences from their device, although new Hangouts must still be created from the web app on the desktop. The update also renames the Huddle IM service to Messenger and allows users to send photos in the instant messaging stream. Additional improvements include the ability to +1 comments, granular push notification settings, new profile map views, better +mention support and various bug and performance improvements. The Google+ app is available from the App Store as a free download.
Business Insider reports that Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen, the developer responsible for building the company’s iPad application has left Facebook to take a job at Google. In a post on his blog earlier today, Verkoeyen expressed frustration that Facebook has delayed the release of the iPad app despite the fact that it has been ready to be released for several months. Verkoeyen noted that he was the lead engineer on the Facebook iPad app back in January and put a great deal of time into the app, which was considered “feature-complete’ in May. Despite this, Facebook reportedly kept repeatedly delaying the release, leading Verkoeyen to believe that at this point the app “may never be released.” Verkoeyen has since updated his blog post to remove details about the iPad application and spoke with Business Insider to clarify that the frustration was his “personally” and was not a “reflection on Facebook as a company.”
In June the New York Times reported that Facebook was planning to launch a native iPad app in the “coming weeks” citing people briefed on Facebook’s plans, and native iPad support was later discovered in a July update to the iPhone and iPod touch application. These reports led many to speculate that Facebook was simply waiting to release an iPad app during the company’s f8 developer conference last week, however no mention was made of the iOS platform at all during the keynote presentation, which focused primarily on major new social features for the web.
Automattic has released an update to its official WordPress app for iOS devices adding a new rich content editor, full screen editing and a new integrated reading mode. With WordPress 2.9 users can now create rich-text posts including formatted text, bulleted lists and other advanced formatting features and edit posts in a full-screen view. A new Reading Mode also allows users to browse and follow other blogs from directly within the app. Additional improvements include enhancements to Quick Photo allowing users to post picture from the iOS photo library and use the image post format in their WordPress theme when posting photos and access to referrer links and comment links from directly within the app. WordPress 2.9 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Groundspeak has released an update to its official Geocaching app for the iPhone adding improvements to favourites, offline support and cache search results. Geocaching is an app designed to support the real-world treasure hunting game by allowing users to directly access the Geocaching.com online database of worldwide caches and leverage the iPhone GPS and location services to help search for and locate caches, log finds and submit field notes. The latest update now allows Premium users to add and remove favourite points to caches they have located, provides access to Trackables inventory while offline and adds hidden and last found dates to the cache description for Pocket Queries. A number of bugs have also been addressed in this update include favourites not loading properly and Trackables not being properly updated when dropped at locations. Geocaching 4.5.6 is available from the App Store for $10; a free introductory version is also available to help familiarize new users with Geocaching.
Speaking at the GigaOM Mobilize conference today, T-Mobile USA CMO and executive vice president Cole Brodman indicated that the company will not be offering the next-generation iPhone to its customers when the device launches. ”We’d love to have the iPhone whenever Apple makes that available,” Brodman said, adding that the ball is in Apple’s court. “We are waiting for that phone call.” He went on to say that 75 percent of all devices sold by T-Mobile are smartphones, and that 90 percent of those are powered by Android. Brodman made a similar claim in a recent internal T-Mobile meeting, saying that “we are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year;” a prototype iPhone running on T-Mobile’s 3G network was photographed earlier this year, leading to speculation that the handset would soon be offered by the carrier.
Verizon Wireless has filed a brief in U.S. District Court in California supporting Samsung in a patent infringement case filed against the South Korean company by Apple. FOSS Patents reports that in the briefing, Verizon argues that issuing a preliminary injunction barring four Android-powered Samsung products from sale in the U.S. “would hinder Verizon Wireless in developing and deploying its next generation high-speed LTE [fourth-generation] network, the job growth dependant [sic] on that network, and will undercut key public policy goals, including expansion of American’s [sic] access to broadband networks and faster communication with emergency personnel.” As noted in the report, the same court holds records for another case, Oracle v. Google, that include a document showing that Verizon and Google promised each other unspecified favors—potentially anti-competitive favors—as part of their cross-promotion of Android devices, many of which have been marked with “Droid” branding. Apple has yet to respond to the filing.
Apple’s next iPhone will feature 1GB of RAM, as well as a Siri-powered Assistant feature that will be exclusive to the device, according to a new report. Citing a source familiar with the iPhone’s microprocessor manufacturing, 9to5Mac reports that these features will arrive alongside previously-rumored upgrades like an eight-megapixel camera, a dual-core A5 processor, and a Qualcomm Gobi baseband chip that will allow a single model to operate on both GSM and CDMA networks. The report goes on to claim that the new Assistant feature is dependent on the phone’s A5 processor and extra RAM, and will therefore be unavailable to users of previous iPhones.
Powered by Nuance speech recognition technology, the Assistant feature is said to be a huge step up from iOS’ current Voice Control feature, allowing users to perform tasks such as setting calendar events and reminders, getting directions, and sending text or email messages using nothing but their voice. In addition, the report claims that the feature will be able to communicate with the user in a conversation-like fashion, audibly asking for extra information such as which email address to use when contacting someone. The report goes on to claim that the feature also integrates into a new Find My Friends contact-locating feature, as well as Wolfram Alpha. Apple is expected to debut its next-generation iPhone at a special media event next week.
Apple will hold its upcoming iPhone event at the Town Hall Auditorium on its Cupertino, CA campus, according to a new report. AllThingsD, citing sources close to the company, claims that the event will be held on Apple’s campus, while reiterating their claim that the event will be held on Tuesday, October 4. As noted in the report, the move would represent a break from the norm for the company, which has traditionally held its fall consumer product events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.
Rogers Wireless in Canada has started sending out text messages to its customers, reminding them of the company’s Reservation System ahead of the next iPhone launch. One such text received by iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington states, “As a valued customer, we want you to know that we have the Rogers Reservation System. This means you could be one of the first in line in Canada for the next iPhone as soon as it’s available! Reply YES to be notified when the next iPhone can be reserved.” A link included in the message leads to a Q & A support page dealing with the reservation system. At this point it is unclear if the company is sending the messages to all customers, smartphone customers, or iPhone customers only, but it does suggest that the carrier is preparing to begin accepting reservations — or pre-orders — for the device.
Vers has unveiled its new 7E enhanced bass earphones, as well as a new case for the iPad 2. The 7E is an in-ear earphone, featuring a bamboo or walnut body made from sustainably-sourced wood, an 8mm driver, an included felt-lined metal carrying case, and an in-line microphone and single-button remote. Vers’ 7E earphones are available now and sell for $70. The Slimcase for iPad 2 is also made from bamboo or walnut, and offers a two-piece slide-together design, open access to all ports and controls, and a metal foot for use as a stand. It sells for $80.
Taiwan-based Via Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPad maker infringes on three of its patents covering microprocessors. Bloomberg reports that the suit, filed yesterday in U.S. federal court in Deleware, is based on three Via patents covering the use of microprocessors in mobile phones and tablet computers. “The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices,” Via said in the complaint. Apple was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by LVL Patent Group against 27 companies, claiming they infringe upon four patents related to the wireless recording of transactions. AppleInsider reports that LVL is seeking a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from selling the supposedly infringing products.
Lifestyle brand Paul Frank has released a new mobile game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Go Julius Go challenges players to take the iconic monkey on a worldwide adventure in search of snacks while avoiding obstacles. Users ride and leap through the streets of San Francisco, Paris and Shanghai collecting treats, dodging wild poodles and scooter-riding hamsters and attempting to collect a magical Winnebago to receive unlimited jumps. An endless runner mode and Game Center integration are also provided. Paul Frank Go Julius Go is available from the App Store for $1.
Bracketron has introduced the iRoom iDock wall mount for iPad in North America. Available in portrait and landscape models, the iDock is an integrated, flush wall mount for the iPad offering motorized docking and release of the iPad, a proximity sensor to automatically open when the user is near, the ability to charge the iPad while docked, compatibility with both iPad and iPad 2 models via conversion kits, and a feature that automatically opens the dock in the event of a power failure. The iRoom iDock is available now black, white, or aluminum; pricing has yet to be announced.