It’s here: iLounge’s annual guide to the iPhone and iPod, plus their accessories, apps and games has arrived! Download the 2012 iPhone + iPod Buyers’ Guide today!
The 2012 Buyers’ Guide is a one-download shortcut to all of the best iPhone and iPod holiday shopping information we’ve compiled over the last year, designed to be useful for any sort of reader. As always, the Guide contains plenty of accessory shopping information for new users, alongside more in-depth analysis and suggestions for experienced owners. Additional details are after the download links below.
Now 218 pages long, the 2012 Guide includes over 15 different brand new and refreshed features, including full guides to the best iPhone and iPod accessories, lists of the smartest places to buy Apple products, selling prices so you can trade up your old model, and tips on shopping for digital content. In addition to a new guide to iPhone and iPod touch digital photography and a redesigned timeline of iPod/iPhone/iPad history, you’ll also find sections dedicated to the best 100 games and 100 essential apps for the iPhone and iPod, plus discussions of new products for the Mac and iPad.
Our 2012 iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers’ Guide is available in a computer- and iPad-friendly wide-screen version, a single-page version suitable for printing, and a small-screen version for viewing on the iPhone or iPod touch. iPad users: The two-page version is entirely readable on the iPad; the one-page version increases the amount of page-turning but makes text larger on the iPad, and is easier to print if need be. We strongly recommend that iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users download the Guide to their computers, then drag and drop it into iTunes for reading in iBooks. Each version is completely free for iLounge readers, and distributed in PDF format for maximum compatibility across devices. For additional details, click here to see the full story. And please do your part to share the Guide by telling a friend, or hosting it on your file sharing network of choice. Enjoy!
Apple plans to allow customers to check themselves out via the company’s retail store iOS app, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, Mac Rumors reports that the option will be available for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s stores, and that the purchases will be charged to the customer’s iTunes Store account. Although details of the post-purchase experience are vague, it is expected that customers would be able to show an emailed receipt to any employee as a proof-of-purchase upon leaving the store. The report notes that high-value items such as Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPods are kept in the stockroom and will still require employee assistance for purchase, but that smaller items such as cases and cables will be available for purchase without the need for employee interaction. The report also claims that Apple is expected to update its online store to allow for single orders to be routed to multiple shipping addresses, allowing customers to make all holiday purchases in a single transaction, and have then shipped to different recipients.
LunchMeet is a new iPhone app designed to help busy professionals find new networking opportunities by easily facilitating business meetings at convenient free times and locations. Inspired by the best-selling book “Never Eat Alone,” LunchMeet integrates with LinkedIn to find professional contacts nearby who are available and willing to meet up for a meal, coffee or drinks. LunchMeet users simply log into their LinkedIn accounts, indicate when they will be available to meet and where, and can then search for and invite other professionals who are also available to meet. Users can setup and manage multiple availability slots, announce their availability via LinkedIn status updates and invite, discuss and arrange meeting details via in-app messaging. The application also allows users to choose venues from an integrated map view and automatically add meeting details to their calendar. LunchMeet requires a LinkedIn account and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has acquired 3D mapping company C3 Technologies as part of its ongoing effort to build an in-house mapping solution, according to a new report. Citing unnamed sources, 9to5Mac reports that Apple has purchased the company, and that C3 Technologies CEO Mattias Astrom, CFO Kjell Cederstrand, and Product Manager Ludvig Emgard are all now working within Apple’s iOS division. It is said that this leading trio, as well as most of the former C3 team, is still working together in Sweden—where the company was based prior to Apple’s purchase—under the division name “Sputnik”. Spun off from aerospace and defense company Saab AB in 2007, C3 specialized in creating high-quality, incredibly detailed photo-realistic 3D models of the real world, seamlessly integrating “traditional 2D maps, satellite images, street level photography and user generated images.” Prior mapping-related Apple acquisitions include mapping service Placebase and online 3D mapping firm Poly9; the report suggests that Apple may introduce a new mapping solution based in part on technology from all three companies in iOS 6.
Bulkypix has released a universal iOS version of its classic tower defense game Grave Defense HD. Originally made popular on the Android platform, Grave Defense HD sets the player in a post-apocalyptic world where they must defend their base against hordes of the undead along with some of history’s most notorious monsters. Following a traditional tower defense model, players must build weapons towers and upgrade them to fight off the zombie invasion across a number of unique locales ranging from the Amazon rainforest to the Bermuda Triangle and outer space. As the players advances, additional towers and upgrades become available along with new types of zombies and monsters to contend with. The iOS version also adds a number of unique new features, including a survival play mode with more tower upgrades, an online ranking system, visible monster paths, tower meters and an iPad-specific heads-up display view. Four difficulty levels provide challenges for both casual and hardcore players. Grade Defense HD is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Over the weekend, Apple started to air three new television ads for the iPhone 4S. Entitled “Siri, Snow Today”, “iCloud”, and “Camera”, the ads focus on the iPhone 4S’ Siri virtual assistant feature, iCloud integration for iTunes purchases, documents, iBooks, and Photo Stream, and the advanced optics and on-board editing and sharing features of the iPhone 4S’ eight-megapixel camera, respectively. All three ads are available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Grayscale has unveiled its new Cdock for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Designed for use with the myriad of clock apps available, the Cdock is an iPhone clock dock, offering a 1.25-inch thick walnut housing, a six-foot USB charging cable, an opening in the front for full access to the docked device, and a front faceplate made from black or white resin, brushed aluminum, or walnut. Pricing for the Cdock varies from $55 to $70; it is available for pre-order now.
Apple’s LCD manufacturing partners, including LG Display and Samsung, are facing a steep challenge in trying to build enough high-resolution displays in time to be included in the iPad 3, according to a new report. Citing a source who is in contact with Asian suppliers, Cnet reports that Apple is seeking to include a 2048x1536 resolution display in the iPad 3, quadrupling the number of pixels seen in prior iPad models. “They have production plans for 2,048 x 1,536 displays. Starting in November. But those are only plans at this point,” said the source. “It’s not a question of making just one. That, of course, can be done. The challenge is making lots of them. This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn’t been done before.”
The report also claims that the manufacturers are offering 1,600 x 1,200 screens as an interim option should the higher-res panels prove too difficult to build, although it remains to be seen if Apple would consider such an option given the difficulties such a product would pose to developers. Surprisingly, the report doesn’t mention Sharp, a company with which Apple reportedly had plans to invest $1 billion in a factory to build LCD panels for iPhones and iPads.
Apple has released its Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) as an open-source project. Debuted in 2004, ALAC is “a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file.” The project, released yesterday, contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder, an example command line utility, and a description of a “magic cookie” for use based on the ISO case media file format. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license.
Apple has released an update to its iAd Gallery application adding support for Push Notifications. Described as a “celebration of advertising,” iAd Gallery is a free app that allows iOS device users to access and preview an on-demand collection of iAd campaigns running on Apple’s in-app advertising network. Users can browse through the complete list of campaigns, search by advertiser, category or iAd feature, learn more about the features ads and agencies behind them and create a list of their favourite iAds. Version 1.1 introduces support for Push Notifications for advising users when new iAd campaigns are available. iAd Gallery is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
iTeleport has released an update to its remote desktop application for iOS devices adding support for the integrated speech recognition features on the iPhone 4S. With iTeleport 5.1.4 dictation is now supported in both the regular keyboard view and compose text view, allowing users to dictate text for sending to the remove computer. The latest version also adds the ability to tap the text display to toggle secure text mode, improves typing accuracy with iOS 5 and makes several other performance and UI improvements. iTeleport: VNC 5.1.4 is available from the App Store for $20.
Good.iWare has updated its GoodReader for iPad application adding integrated text lookup from PDF files and optimizing data storage for iCloud backups. With the latest version, users can now select text in a PDF file and use the magnifying glass button on the popup menu to lookup the selected text in the iOS 5 built-in dictionary or on Google or Wikipedia. In addition, downloaded files are now placed by default in a special Downloads folder that is not backed up to iTunes or iCloud, resulting in smaller backups and shorter backup times; files can be manually moved to another folder within GoodReader to ensure that they are included in subsequent backups. The update also implements several changes to the Google Docs API for uploading files. GoodReader for iPad 3.10 is available from the App Store for $5.
Apple has launched new iTunes Store movie content in a number of new markets. Citing reader reports as well as iTunes Store checks, Mac Rumors reports that movies are now available in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia, with Romania strangely left out. According to the report, Apple has yet to add dedicated navigation bar tabs for movies in the new markets, but the content is showing up in search results.
Apple plans to use Siri as the primary interface of an upcoming HDTV set, according to a new report. Citing various sources, the New York Times reports that such integration would allow Apple’s TV to bypass the traditional remote control, allowing users to request specific programming—be it on traditional cable or Internet-based content sources such as iTunes, Netflix, or YouTube—and allow the TV set to find it for them, without the need for navigating through channels or directories of content. “Absolutely, it is a guaranteed product for Apple,” one of the sources told the NYT. “Steve thinks the industry is totally broken.” According to the report, which claims Apple still has “quite a bit of work to do” on the project, and may also need to wait on large display prices fall, Apple could announce the product as early as late next year, with an official release coming in 2013.
XtremeMac has rolled out its new Microshield SC & SCL cases for the iPad 2. Offering complete compatibility with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover, the SC & SCL both cover the iPad’s aluminum back while allowing for full access to all ports, controls, and cameras, with the SC offering a thin profile and a soft-touch finish in polyurethane Smart Cover-matching colors, and the SCL featuring a leather exterior so as to match Apple’s leather Smart Covers. XtremeMac’s new Microshield SC & SCL cases for the iPad 2 are available now and sell for $35 and $70, respectively.
Apple has sent out an email notice to registered iOS developers, informing them that the company will be deleting all iTunes Match libraries later today. “To continue to improve the overall quality and reliability of iTunes Match, we will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Thursday, October 27,” the message reads. It also reminds users to turn off iTunes Match on all their computers and iOS devices ahead of the scheduled deletion. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. Apple said at its “Let’s talk iPhone” event that the service would be available at the “end of October.”
Today is the final day to get your vote in for our 2011 Readers’ Choice awards. iLounge’s Readers’ Choice Awards let you pick the year’s best from four different categories—Apple’s best new product, iPad/iPhone/iPod Accessory Developer, iOS Application Developer, and iOS Game Developer. The iPad 2, LunaTik, Apple, and Rovio hold the lead in their respective categories, but each race is close enough to come down to some last-minute votes — so why not make yours one of them? Voting ends at midnight tonight, so cast your vote now!
Online financial management service Mint.com has released a substantial update to its iOS application. Foremost, version 2.0 is a Universal app, adding several new features for the iPad, including multi-touch graphs showing where money is going, a redesigned overview screen, the ability to enter cash and pending transactions, and the ability to view your data when offline. Mint.com’s app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Permits issued to Apple by Catawba County, North Carolina, have revealed that the company plans to build a solar farm across from its data center in Maiden, NC. The Charlotte Observer reports that the company has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 arces it owns opposite its massive data center. Notably, the permits offer no details about the farm itself, including its exact size and position, and the county has yet to be asked to approve a building permit for the property. Citing the Hickory Daily Record, Mac Rumors adds that local residents have been upset by the smoke from fires set to help clear the land. Apple’s website touts the company’s commitment to using sustainable energy when possible, as its facilities in Austin, Texas, Sacramento, California, and Cork, Ireland, are 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
Apple has been awarded a patent for its iOS devices’ “slide to unlock” feature. BBC News reports that U.S. patent number 7657549 states, “A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device.” As noted in the report, the broad language of the patent would appear to cover not only Apple’s unlocking method, but those used by rival platforms, including Android and Windows Mobile. The patent was originally filed in June 2009, and lists Apple senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall as one of the seven inventors.