Rdio has released an update to its universal iOS app adding support for displaying song information on the iOS 5 lock screen and when streaming via AirPlay. Much like the native iOS 5 Music app, Rdio 1.2.4 now displays track information such as song title and album artwork on the lock screen on iOS 5 devices and sends this information when streaming audio over AirPlay to a compatible device such as the Apple TV. The latest update also optimizes its storage to reduce the size of iCloud backups, storing content that is cached for offline listening in such a way as to be excluded from wireless backups to iCloud. Several other small bug fixes and UI improvements are also included. Rdio 1.2.4 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. A subscription to Rdio Unlimited is required to use the app, with a seven-day free trial and monthly plans starting at $10 via rdio.com or $15 via in-app subscription from the iTunes Store.
FishLabs has released Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, a high-performance version of its popular space adventure game exclusively for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Taking full advantage of the A5 chip, Galaxy on Fire 2 HD provides 3D models rendered with four times as many polygons and textures at a four times higher resolution than the original Galaxy on Fire 2, running smoothly at up to 40 frames per second. New Open GL 2.0 shaders and additional texture sets and specular maps provide extremely detailed surfaces for each of the 30 space ships and space stations in the game with console-quality graphics and enhanced special effects.
As with the standard version of Galaxy on Fire 2, the HD version takes the player on a journey through a vast universe of more than 20 star systems, 100 different space stations and 30 configurable space ships while following the immersive storyline of Keith T. Maxwell, thrust 35 years into the future and halfway across the galaxy by a malfunctioning hyperdrive. Maxwell must quickly adapt to his new environment while being drawn into the middle of an intergalactic struggle between the four major races and helping defend against a new alien threat. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD also provides support for transferring saved games between iOS devices and Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD for Mac OS X via iCloud, including support for the upcoming Valkyrie HD add-on scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2012. Game transferability between the regular version of Galaxy on Fire 2 and the new HD version will also be coming with the release of Valkyrie HD. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is a universal app requiring an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and is available from the App Store for $10.
As is common with many literary releases, several copies of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ authorized biography—Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson—have leaked out prior to the book’s official launch on Monday. As expected, early reports of the book have found a number of substantial, interesting quotes and anecdotes within. As it is likely that more stories related to content within the book will be forthcoming over the next several days, we are creating this story as a catch-all for information from the book, and will update it as appropriate when new information emerges.
According to The Associated Press, which purchased a copy of the book yesterday, Jobs considered Google’s copying of iPhone features for its Android OS to be equal to “grand theft.” “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” He also told then Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a subsequent meeting, “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”
The same report notes that Jobs called Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive his “spiritual partner” at Apple, and told Isaacson that Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself, and that no one in the company can tell him what to do, which, Jobs says, is “the way I set it up.”
The New York Times, which also obtained a copy of the book ahead of its release, reports that Jobs spent the first months after he was diagnosed with cancer trying fruit juices, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other treatments in an effort to avoid surgery, a decision that infuriated family and friends. “The big thing was that he really was not ready to open his body,” Jobs’ wife Laurene Powell said. “It’s hard to push someone to do that.” When Jobs did decide on medical treatment, he did so with his trademark passion, studying and deciding on each treatment, and becoming one of only 20 people in the world to have all the genes of his cancer tumor and his normal DNA sequenced—at a price of $100,000—so as to allow doctors to tailor and target the drugs he was prescribed. Jobs later told Isaacson that he would either be one of the first “to outrun a cancer like this” or be among the last “to die from it.”
The Huffington Post also obtained a copy of the book, and recounts Jobs’ interactions with current President of the United States Barack Obama. “You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of a meeting between the two men in fall 2010. Jobs told Obama that the administration needed to be more business-friendly, citing “regulations and unnecessary costs” which make it more difficult to do business in the U.S. as opposed to foreign countries such as China. Jobs later offered to help create Obama’s political ads for his 2012 reelection campaign, telling Isaacson that he wanted to do for Obama what the “morning in America” advertisements had done for former President Ronald Reagan during his reelection campaign of 1984.
Jobs is also said to have had lingering doubts about his contemporary Bill Gates. While Gates described Jobs as “fundamentally odd” and “weirdly flawed as a human being,” Jobs said that Gates would be “a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger,” adding that “Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”
Update: According to The Washington Post, which reviewed the biography, Steve Jobs suggested to Isaacson that he had been working on an Apple-branded television set. “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote in the book. “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’” While it is unclear whether such a device would be dependent on a currently unannounced streaming service or current a la carte programming as offered on iTunes, rumors of such a set have persisted for years, and would be an obvious extension of Apple’s current Apple TV set-top box.
We will update this story with further details as they become available.
Verizon has revealed that it sold two million iPhones during its third fiscal quarter, although it has yet to reveal early iPhone 4S sales figures. AllThingsD reports that during the company’s conference call discussing its third quarter results, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo revealed the two million figure, while continuing a trend started by Apple of blaming anticipation for the iPhone 4S for slower than expected customer additions. Shammo went on to say that the company is “extremely pleased” with the iPhone 4S’ launch thus far, as it ran out the first day—and continues to be on allocation from Apple—but declined to share any sales volumes.
Speaking during the company’s Q3 2011 results earnings call, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega made several interesting comments regarding the iPhone, and more specifically the iPhone 3GS. “[The] third quarter was simply slow because we didn’t have an iPhone launch in the third quarter like we did a year ago, but we think that’s going to dramatically change [in the fourth],” de la Vega said. “...we have another device that I think is going to dramatically change those people that are on smartphones and quick messaging devices, the [iPhone] 3GS, which is free with a 2-year contract. We’ve seen a tremendous, tremendous demand for that device even though it’s a generation old. And actually, we’re getting more new subscribers coming on the 3GS on the average than other devices. So we also have an inventory sold out on that device.” Earlier this week, AT&T reported activations of 2.7 million iPhones during the quarter, along with over one million iPhone 4S activations in the first five days the device was available.
Apple has aired its first TV commercial for the iPhone 4S. The new 30-second spot focuses on the iPhone 4S’ Siri virtual assistant, and shows a variety of people interacting with Siri, making statements such as “we have a flat tire” or “I’m locked out,” asking it to make meetings, bring up directions, send a text, make a reminder, or play music, asking it about the weather, or asking general questions. At the end, voiceover says, “Say hello to the most amazing iPhone yet” while the iPhone 4S and Apple logos appear onscreen. The ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Good.iWare has updated both the iPhone and iPad versions of GoodReader adding support for storing files in iCloud, iOS 5 compatibility fixes and improvements to Data Protection and AirPlay. In the latest versions of GoodReader running on iOS 5 a new iCloud storage folder now appears allowing users to optionally move or copy files into this folder for easy sharing across multiple iOS devices. The new versions also allow iOS Data Protection to be enabled for all files, regardless of whether they are individually password-protected and allows iOS 4.3 devices to use AirPlay for streaming audio files. Additional enhancements include the ability to disable the side menu in the iPad version and deletion confirmation dialog boxes for PDF annotations. GoodReader is available from the App Store in two separate device-specific versions: GoodReader for iPad ($5) and GoodReader for iPhone ($5).
Apple has announced plans to hold an iOS 5 Tech Talk World Tour, offering developers around the world a chance to learn more about Apple’s latest mobile operating system. According to Apple’s developer Tech Talk page, the tour will hit nine cities—Berlin, London, Rome, Beijing, Seoul, São Paolo, New York City, Seattle, and Austin—with dates ranging from November 2, 2011 to January 23, 2012. “We’re taking iOS 5 on a world tour and we want you to come along for the ride,” the page reads. “Learn from Apple experts as you take your apps to the next level with the exciting new technologies in iOS.” The talks will be for all registered iOS developers, however, space is limited, and priority will be given to developers who already have an app available on the App Store. For more information, such as specific dates and talk agendas, see Apple’s website.
XtremeMac has introduced its new InCharge Sync dock and InCharge Home charger for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The InCharge Sync is a desktop docking solution featuring an adjustable rear support to accomodate different device depths and encased devices, and an including 4’ USB to mini USB cable for charging and syncing. The InCharge Home is a low-profile wall charger, offering 10 Watts of power for fast charging of all Apple portable devices, collapsible prongs for added portability, a design that allows access to a second wall outlet, and an included, detachable 4’ USB to 30 pin cable. Both the InCharge Sync and InChange Home are available now and sell for $30 each.
Samsung has overtaken Apple for the title of world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in Q3, according to a new report. Citing a person familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung shipped more than 20 million smartphones in the quarter ending September 30, substantially more than Apple, which revealed earlier this week that it sold over 17 million iPhones in the quarter ending Sept. 24. Apple stated that handset sales slowed noticeably over the second half of the period due to the intensification of speculation and rumors surrounding the then-unannounced iPhone 4S. Both companies surpassed former market leader Nokia, which shipped 16.8 million smartphones during the period.
Crayola and Griffin Technology have teamed up to debut the new Crayola Trace & Draw for iPad 2. The Trace & Draw is an accessory and app combo that turns the iPad 2 into an animated drawing and coloring activity center for young artists. The Trace & Draw consists of a shatter-resistant protective shell for the iPad 2 with a sliding drawer for storing the included black fine line marker when not in use, a static peel screen protector, and the free Trace & Draw app, which works with the included pre-sized tracing paper to offer more than 35 characters to trace, along with animations and activities to keep children entertained. The Crayola Trace & Draw for iPad 2 is available now and sells for $40.
Facebook has released an update to its Facebook Messenger app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for viewing friends’ online and mobile status and the ability to see when other users in a conversation thread are typing a message. The update also prioritizes the friends’ list for composing new messages to allow users to easily select the friends they communicate with the most. Additional changes include performance improvements, support for 12 additional languages and compatibility with iOS 5. Facebook Messenger is available from the App Store as a free download.
AT&T, reporting its third fiscal quarter financial results, has revealed that it activated a 2.7 million iPhones during the period. According to the release, those 2.7 million iPhones represented over half of the 4.8 million smartphones sold by the company during the period, which ended September 30. By the end of the quarter, over half—52.6 percent—of the company’s 68.6 million postpaid subscribers were using smartphones, up from 39.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. In a separate release, AT&T said it had activated more than one million iPhone 4S units as of Tuesday, making it the most successful iPhone launch in the company’s history.
Apple has added a toggle for turning iTunes Match on and off to the Music section of iOS 5’s Settings app, suggesting an imminent launch for the service. 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. The appearance of the toggle — which currently activates an alert stating that “You are not currently subscribed to iTunes Match. Use iTunes on your computer to subscribe” — has some suggesting that the service may launch ahead of Apple’s “end of October” estimate, however, the service does require iTunes 10.5.1, which is currently in developer beta and not available to the public at large. [via Mac Rumors]
Voting for our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards is continuing at a brisk pace, with thousands of votes already counted. The Readers’ Choice Awards let you pick the year’s best from four categories—Apple’s best new product, iPad/iPhone/iPod Accessory Developer, iOS Application Developer, and iOS Game Developer. The iPad 2 holds a sizable lead in the race to be the Top Apple Product of 2011, but the recently-released iPhone 4S is quickly making up ground. Apple continues to lead the Application Developer of the Year category, with Skype, Adobe, Square, and Autodesk all making pushes of their own, while Griffin, Speck, LunaTik, Logitech/Ultimate Ears, iHome, and Incipio are in a hotly-contested race in the Accessory Developer of the Year category. Finally, Rovio has seen a slight lessening in its lead for Game Developer of the Year, as Electronic Arts/Firemint/Chillingo, Epic Games, Halfbrick Studios, and Gameloft are all within striking distance. Write-in votes in each of the categories are significant, so if your favorite company’s not on there, write it in! 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!
Apple has updated its iPhone 4S specs page to indicate that the new handset offers support for GLONASS, a Russian acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System that serves as the Russian version of GPS. According to Wikipedia, the system fell into disrepair during the 1990s as the Russian economy collapsed, and was only recently restored to offer full global coverage. As noted by Mac Rumors, no mention is made on the page if the 4S will be able to take advantage of satellites from both systems on a worldwide basis, and only the device’s U.S. tech specs page has thus far been updated to mention GLONASS support.
Apple has updated its prior Steve Jobs tribute page with a constantly updated page that highlights messages from people all over the world. Entitled “Remembering Steve”, the page reads, “Over a million people from all over the world have shared their memories, thoughts, and feelings about Steve. One thing they all have in common — from personal friends to colleagues to owners of Apple products — is how they’ve been touched by his passion and creativity. You can view some of these messages below.” The page also notes that readers still have a chance to share their own messages by sending an email to [email protected]
U.S. regional carrier C Spire Wireless has announced that it will become the fourth carrier in the country to offer the iPhone 4S. “C Spire Wireless announced today that it will launch iPhone 4S, the most amazing iPhone yet, in the U.S. in the coming weeks,” said a brief release on the carrier’s site, which also announced that per-registration begins today. Based in Mississippi, C Spire serves various in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
Audyssey has debuted its new Lower East Side Audio Dock Air sound system for iTunes, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The Lower East Side Audio Dock Air features built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support, and also offers Audessey’s Smart Speaker technology for rich sound. Specifications include two one-inch tweeters, two three-inch midrange woofers, two four-inch passive bass radiators, a 3.5mm input, a headphone output, and a weight of five pounds. Audyssey’s Lower East Side Audio Dock Air is expected to ship next month and will carry an MSRP of $399, which the company suggests will result in street pricing around $349.
During Apple’s fourth-quarter 2011 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad businesses. As noted by Cook at the beginning of the call, it was the company’s first after the passing of the company’s co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs. Cook repeated a message posted on the company’s website following Jobs’ death, expressing gratitude for the condolences and expressions of support the company has received, and reassuring listeners of the company’s dedication to “continuing the amazing work that he loved so much.”
Directly following Cook’s brief statement, Oppenheimer gave his opening remarks, touting new all-time quarterly records for Mac and iPad sales, and a new September-quarter sales record for iPhone. He said that while iPod sales were down year-over-year to 6.6 million, they beat the company’s internal expectations, as the iPod touch continues to account for more than half of all iPods sold, and the iPod continues to be the top-selling MP3 player in most countries the company tracks. Oppenheimer also briefly discussed the iTunes Store, which produced nearly $1.5 billion in revenue—a record result—and has seen over 16 billion song and 650 million TV show downloads, and the iBookstore, which has seen over 180 million downloads thus far.