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.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows a black iPhone 4 overlooking the Philippine Sea off the east coast of Taiwan. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
Griffin Technology has introduced its new “Freak Show” cases for the fourth-generation iPod touch. Released in anticipation of Halloween, the new line of silicone cases features push-through coverage for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, open access to all other ports, controls, and cameras, and a large modled monster on the back—either Frankenstein, a mummy, a vampiress, or a werewolf. Griffin’s new line of “Freak Show” cases will be available for a limited time beginning October 27 and will sell for $25 each.
Satellite navigation company Garmin has released Garmin Fit, a new fitness application and accessory solution for the iPhone. The Garmin Fit app allows users to track workout metrics such as speed, pace, distance, time and calories and can also track heart rate and cadence with the help of additional Garmin hardware accessories. Along with the new Garmin Fit app the company has also introduced its ANT+ adapter for the iPhone allowing users to integrate their ANT+ fitness accessories such as footpad sensors for indoor training or speed/cadence sensors for cycling. The Garmin Fit app also allows users to control music playback and answer incoming calls and text messages without interrupting their workout and can also map workouts using the iPhone GPS and automatically upload workout data to its online Garmin Connect service. The online service provides the ability to log workouts, track totals, set goals and share workouts with friends and family as well as displaying a view of workout metrics through charts, illustrations, reports and map representations. Garmin Fit requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1. The Garmin ANT+ adapter for iPhone is priced at $50 and available directly from Garmin.
ThinkGeek has introduced its new IRIS 9000 voice control module for the iPhone & Siri. Modeled after the HAL 9000 artificial intelligence computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the IRIS features a built-in microphone and speaker—and included remote control—for activating and interacting with Siri from across a room, and a glowing LED eye that flickers along with Siri’s voice. ThinkGeek is now accepting emails for notification when the IRIS 9000 is available, and expects to ship it next year at a price of $60.
Jeff Robbin, vice president of consumer applications at Apple and veteran of both the iTunes and iPod teams, is heading the company’s HDTV efforts, according to a new report. Citing three people with knowledge of the project, Bloomberg reports that although it it’s not guaranteed that Apple will release a television, if released, it would likely allow users to seamlessly search for a show or movie, integrating various sources such as Netflix, iTunes, and potentially even cable or satellite, removing the need to check separately for content across multiple sources. Late Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to create an “integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” and that it “would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.” ‘“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs said. “I finally cracked it.” Robbin was a developer of SoundJam, the program which Apple purchased and subsequently hired him to turn in to iTunes. Apart from his work on the iTunes team, Robbin was also heavily involved in the development of the iPod.
Apple has released Apple TV software 4.4.2, its latest update to the set-top box. Arriving on the heels of last week’s 4.4.1 update, which reportedly “bricked” some units and was pulled for some time, Apple has yet to detail what upgrades or enhancements 4.4.2 might bring with it, but does note in a Support document that Apple TV devices running software version 4.4 and 4.4.1 have an issue with updating software to later versions. According to the document, users may need to go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings before upgrading to 4.4.2, and notes that if you apply the update without resetting all settings first, the updater will do so for you. Once it has been reset, the unit can then be updated via the Update Software option in Settings. “We recognize that this is an inconvenience and apologize,” reads a statement at the end of the page. Apple TV software 4.4.2 is available now.
Readdle has released a major update to ReaddleDocs, its document viewer and file manager for the iPad, adding a redesigned user interface, improved PDF viewer and full text searching of Microsoft Office, RTF and text files. The update also adds support for viewing Open Office Writer files, adding underline and strikeout annotations to PDFs and saving bookmarks inside PDF outlines. Additional enhancements include an integrated MP3 player with background audio support, the ability to open RAR archives and improvements to file access protocols including private key support for SFTP servers and better performance and compatibility for FTP, SFTP and WebDAV. ReaddleDocs for iPad 3.0 is available from the App Store for $5.
Halfbrick Studios has released an update to Jetpack Joyride adding new content and features such as new jetpacks and costumes. Jetpack Joyride puts the player in the role of hero Barry Steakfries who must commandeer a series of experimental jetpacks and use them to escape from a secret laboratory of evil scientists. The latest update adds two new jetpacks to the collection: the Chrome Plated Afterburner and the Golden Piggy Pack and several new costumes including a Sensei from Fruit Ninja, a silver robot and more. The new version also adds in-game markers illustrating friends’ high scores from Game Center and adds the ability to post scores to Facebook and Twitter. Jetpack Joyride is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.
China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by subscribers, now has 10 million iPhone users on its network, despite not offering the device, according to a Reuters report. Speaking at the ITU World telecoms fair in Geneva, China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said, “The total number of iPhones in China Mobile’s network has reached 10 million—and we didn’t pay any subsidies.” He went on to say that Apple “promised to provide, when they develop the iPhone for LTE, that it will include TD-LTE,” China Mobile’s next-generation network technology. Wang added that the companies are “discussing the details,” although no agreement has yet been reached. China Mobile had more than 630 million customers at the end of September.
Apple is preparing to roll out a new pilot program that will allow customers to pickup orders placed through the company’s online store at their local retail store, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, Mac Rumors reports that the program, known as Sherwood, will include any product available through the online store, including custom-configured Macs, engraved and gift-wrapped products, and a full range third-party accessories. The report claims that customers placing online orders will be offered the local pickup, and that standard configurations will generally be available for pickup the same day, while other items may take a few days to be delivered.
It is said that proof-of-purchase and an ID will be required for pickup, and that customers may designate one additional person as eligible to pickup the order, should they want to do so. Beyond order pickups, the report suggests that with the rollout, Apple’s retail stores will also begin accepting returns of eligible online orders. The program will reportedly be initially available through select retail stores only, with plans to expand it across the entire chain in the future.
Update: Apple has since launched the program in San Francisco on a pilot basis.
Geneva Lab has unveiled its new Model XS sound system for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other portable media devices. Yet to receive a formal debut in the U.S., the Model XS is a portable audio system featuring a flip-open design inspired by classic travel clocks, a sturdy, integrated leather-like clamshell case, two one-inch tweeters and a 2.25-inch woofer—individually powered and chambered for improved sound—Bluetooth 2.1 A2DP for wireless audio streaming, a digital FM tuner, a digital clock with alarm, an LED display, backlit, touch-sensitive controls, a 3.5mm line-in jack for connecting other audio sources, an integrated, rechargeable 2,700mA lithium battery, and a piano-lacquered composite cabinet. Geneva Lab’s Model XS sound system comes in white, black, or red, and will soon be able to order in the UK market for £179, or roughly $285.
Voting for our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards is in its final days, with thousands of votes already tallied. 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 continues to lead the Top Apple Product of 2011 category, but both the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 still have a shot at the title. Apple has widened its lead in the Application Developer of the Year category, with Skype, Adobe, Square, and Autodesk all represented well, while Griffin, Speck, LunaTik, Logitech/Ultimate Ears, iHome, and Incipio continue to battle it out in the Accessory Developer of the Year category. Finally, Rovio has slid further back to the pack in the Game Developer of the Year category, as Electronic Arts/Firemint/Chillingo, Epic Games, Halfbrick Studios, and Gameloft are all within reach of the Angry Birds maker. Every vote counts, and there’s still time to make up ground, so if your favorite company or product is losing out, be sure to make your voice heard before it’s too late. Voting ends at midnight Eastern Time on October 28—and all it takes is filling out a simple four-question survey, so cast your vote today!
TomTom has released an update to its collection of iOS apps adding native iPad support and general interface improvements. TomTom 1.9 now includes an optimized iPad user interface with a full-screen display providing an integrated driving and Advanced Lane Guidance view. As a universal app, existing TomTom users can also transfer any existing subscriptions to premium services for use on the iPad as well as their iPhone and iPod touch. The update also includes the latest map data and provides an improved interface with the ability to return to the driving view with a single tap from anywhere in the app and easier access to guidance options and route types. TomTom is available from the App Store in several versions for different regions with prices ranging from $50 for TomTom U.S.A. and $70 for TomTom U.S. & Canada to $120 for TomTom Europe.
iSkin has debuted its new Glam screen protectors for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Available in three colors, the Glam offers ultra-clear, touch-sensitive access to the iPhone’s Retina Display, a similarly clear window for full access to the front-facing camera and sensors, and a glittery, metallic finish covering the rest of the face, save for the Home button. iSkin’s Glam screen protectors for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available now in pink, silver, and purple, and sell for $20 each.
Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ official biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, is now available on the iBookstore and through other retailers. Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over the last two years of his life, as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, competitors, and contemporaries, the book spans Jobs’ entire life from his younger days growing up in Mountain View, CA, to his decision to step down as the CEO of Apple earlier this year. As expected, the book also holds several surprises, as Jobs spoke openly of his thoughts regarding competing products — Android in particular — and of the inner works at Apple; we’ve collected a few such anecdotes here. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is priced at $17.
Apple has updated its iPad Smart Cover lineup heading in to the holiday shopping season. According to the iPad Smart Cover product page on Apple’s online store, the company has nixed the orange polyurethane smart cover, replacing it with a dark gray model, and has also added a detail referring to “color-matched microfiber lining” on both models. Curiously, the company has yet to update its standard Smart Cover webpage, which still shows the orange version as part of the lineup. Apple’s iPad Smart Covers sell for $39 for polyurethane models and $69 for the leather versions. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has posted a video of its special event celebrating the life of Steve Jobs. The video, which runs over 80 minutes in length, was recorded at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, CA on October 19, and features speeches and remembrances from Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Apple employee and Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, former U.S. Vice President and Apple board member Al Gore, and Apple senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive, and musical performances by Norah Jones and Coldplay.
Siri co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus has left Apple, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, AllThingsD reports that Kittlaus made the move—which was both amicable and planned for ahead of time—due to his family still residing in Chicago, a desire to take some time off, and an interest in new entrepreneurial ideas. Kittlaus led Apple’s internal speech recognition efforts since the company acquired Siri in April 2010, and had served as Siri’s CEO since 2007. The report claims that other key executives from Siri are expected to remain with Apple.
Ten years ago today, Apple announced the original iPod, an early step in the computer maker’s evolution into a consumer electronics giant. Designed solely to store and play music, the first iPod was distinguished by its unusually small size for a then-considerable 5 Gigabytes of storage space, enough to hold roughly 1,000 songs. With a clear and white plastic face and a mirror-polished stainless steel back, the iPod used a physically moving Scroll Wheel and four physical buttons to navigate black text menus on a white backlit screen.
At the time of its introduction, the original $399 iPod was embraced by some Apple Macintosh computer fans, but derided by others—and much of the existing PC marketplace—as overpriced and lacking in features. iLounge’s founder Dennis Lloyd immediately fell in love with the minimalist design and created this site to gather information about it, launching around the iPod’s November 10, 2001 release date. By the end of its first year, only 125,000 iPods had been sold, but the numbers began to climb the next year as PC-compatible iPods were released, and then jumped considerably in 2003 with the introduction of more affordable, USB-compatible models with Dock Connectors. The iPod family continued to grow in popularity and market dominance as Apple added color screens with support for photos, videos, games, and apps, combined with lowered prices, and the evolution of the original Scroll Wheel into various types of touch interfaces.
This video shows the unveiling of the iPod at Apple’s headquarters on October 23, 2001. No one, including then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs, had any idea just how successful the iPod would eventually become. As of today, over 300 million iPods have been sold. The DNA of the iPod resulted in the iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad, while influencing the design of Apple’s Mac hardware and software. Elegance and simplicity were taken to new levels in the Apple products that followed the original iPod, leading to a widespread perception that Apple’s offerings were uniquely capable of catering to users of any age and skill level. The iPod’s “halo effect” led Apple to change its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc., reflecting its shift into consumer electronics, and eventually to Apple’s valuation as one of the largest companies in the world. Yet the iPod family has recently received comparatively modest attention from Apple as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac have continued to surge in sales; even today’s anniversary has proceeded without a mention on the forward-looking company’s web site.
If you’re reading this or listening to something on an Apple device right now, there’s a pretty good chance that the iPod’s success is at least partially responsible for that. And we wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for the little music player that could. Happy 10th anniversary, iPod!