Netflix has released a major update to the iOS app for its video streaming service bringing its redesigned tablet user interface to the iPad. Originally announced last month and initially released for Android tablets, the new interface is designed to improve access to the Netflix catalog by displaying more titles on a given screen with a more attractive presentation. Multitouch gestures are also now supported allowing users to swipe through rows of titles with larger artwork, providing an experience similar to the iTunes Store. The update also brings Netflix availability to Latin America for both the iPhone and iPad versions and addresses several stability issues. Netflix 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple plans to open a research and development center in Israel that will focus on semiconductors, according to a new report. Citing Israeli newspaper the Globes, Reuters reports that Apple has already hired Israeli high-tech veteran Aharon Aharon to run the center, which will be located in Herzliya, an area considered to Israel’s version of Silicon Valley. According to the report, the center would be Apple’s first such site outside California; Apple’s vice president of R&D, Ed Frank, is said to be in Israel currently. Earlier this week, a report indicated that Apple is in talks to purchase Anobit, an Israeli fabless semiconductor company specializing in flash storage solutions.
An apparent glitch or oversight in the way Apple’s iMessage SMS replacement service is set up is allowing thieves and unknown buyers of stolen iPhones to continue to receive and send texts via iMessage using the Apple ID of the original owner. Citing separate Mac Rumors and Apple Support forum threads, Ars Technica reports that the problem persists even after the device is registered under a new account. According to the report, neither remote wiping, changing Apple ID passwords, or even moving the prior phone number to a new phone fixes the problem, with the only proven fix to completely cancel the Apple ID that was used for iMessages on the stolen device. Ars contacted Apple to ask why this was happening, but has yet to receive a response.
Satechi has announced that it is now shipping its BT Portable Speaker. As the name suggests, the BT features Bluetooth 2.1 AVRCP and A2DP for wireless audio streaming, as well as a collapsible design, the ability to function as a speakerphone, an integrated Li-ion battery, multifunction buttons, a mini USB port for charging, an LED indicator light, and a 3.5mm output jack that can be used to daisy chain two units together. Satechi’s BT Portable Speaker is available now and sells for $45.
Griffin Technology has teamed with Third Man Records to create the new Third Man 45 iPhone 4S Case. The case incorporates an actual seven-inch vinyl record, which has been die-cut to form the protective back of the case, which also features a snap-on design and cutouts for open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. The Third Man 45 case comes in yellow, black, or white, with a black record label back, while a pack of matching yellow, black, and white backs—“Treat Me Like Your Mother” by The Dead Weather, “Steady, As She Goes” by The Raconteurs, and “Candy Cane Children” by The White Stripes, respectively—is available separately. Each Third Man 45 iPhone 4S Case is available now for $30, while the set of interchangeable record inserts sells for $20.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has once again postponed a final ruling on the dispute between HTC and Apple, according to an HTC official. Speaking with Reuters, the official said that the ruling is now due on December 19, adding that the ITC did not give a reason for the delay. The ITC was due to deliver a ruling in the case, which could see sales of Android-based HTC devices banned in the U.S., on December 6, before it pushed back the date back to today.
This week’s featured photo comes from our iPads Around the World gallery, and shows a black iPad 2 in front of The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. 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!
Microsoft has released a native iPhone and iPod touch application for its SkyDrive cloud storage service, allowing users to access files from SkyDrive while on the go as well as uploading photos and videos from the iOS device. The app provides access to all of a user’s personal as well as shared SkyDrive files along with a section for quick access to recently-used documents. Users can also share a link to any file via e-mail, create new folders and delete files and folders from directly within the app. SkyDrive is available from the App Store as a free download. Hotmail, Messenger and Xbox Live accounts each include SkyDrive as well, or users can sign up for a free account directly at SkyDrive.com.
Foundation Games has released Lumi HD, a new action-puzzle game for the iPad that challenges players to explore unique powers of light and magnetism. Challenged with no less of a task than saving the universe, players take on the role of Lumi, a small but powerful creature with special powers based on magnetism and light. Lumi must venture through a darkened world to save his friends and restore peace to the land by moving through a wide range of game environments, collecting fireflies to brighten and revive Light Trees, discover new paths to explore and fight dangerous enemies. Users control Lumi using a touchscreen joystick to jump, fly and fling using magnetic attraction and fight epic boss battles. The game provides a wide variety of exciting worlds with high-quality graphics and different game environments with regular updates promised to evolve the game beyond its initial release. Lumi HD is compatible with the iPad and iPad 2 and is available from the App Store for $3. An iPhone and iPod touch version is also scheduled to be released later this month.
Songza Media has released an update to its free music streaming app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding AirPlay support and optimizations for iOS 5. Songza is a free social streaming music app that features a large collection of curated playlists put together for a wide range of categories such as activity, mood, genre, decade or pop culture theme, allowing users to discover an appropriate soundtrack for just about any occasion or setting. The application is completely free with no advertising or listening limits and users can also collect and share their favourite playlists via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Songza is an iPhone/iPod touch app requiring iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Boreaal Publishers has released LetterSchool, a new educational app for iOS devices that helps to teach writing skills, counting and phonics to young children. Using a custom-built OpenGL-based 3D game engine, LetterSchool provides advanced visual effects and animations to take a new approach toward handwriting instruction, encouraging children in their writing skills with a wide range of games. Children engage in writing with sparkling candy, squealing tires, cuddly animals and more, capturing the child’s attention to keep them coming back to the application and practicing while learning letters and numbers at their own pace. Designed for children from ages 4 to 6, LetterSchool combines different learning approaches as children practice each letter or number in four steps: memorizing the letter’s shape and sound, tapping the dots to form the letter’s shape, tracing the letter on-screen and finally writing the letter from memory. Once the player has completed all of the numbers and letters in the first level, they are taken to a second, more challenging level and are ultimately presented with a final free-form writing game to put their acquired skills to the test. LetterSchool is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $3. A free, Lite version is also available with a limited set of letters and numbers.
Microsoft has released an iOS version of Kinectimals, the mobile adaptation of its Kinect for Xbox 360 game of the same name. First released for the Windows Phone platform in October, the iOS version provides similar features, taking players to the virtual land of Lemuria where they are given their own cub to play with and care for through a series of mini-games. The game can be played as a standalone experience or can be used in conjunction with the Xbox game to unlock new cubs on the console side. Kinectimals is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Following this morning’s rollout of the iTunes Store in Brazil and other Latin American countries, Apple has launched the Apple TV in Brazil. According to The Next Web, the device is priced at R$399, or roughly $217, which can be paid in 12 installments without additional fees. [via Mac Rumors]
Lantronix has unveiled its new xPrintServer for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The xPrintServer is a hardware solution that adds AirPrint support to most networked printers. Users simply connect the device to the network using an Ethernet cable, and the xPrintServer automatically discovers printers on the network, then broadcasts their availability to nearby iOS devices. Lantronix’ xPrintServer is available for pre-order now and sells for $150; it is expected to ship in Q1 2012.
Apple is in talks to purchase Israeli company Anobit for $400-$500 million, according to a new report. Citing a report from Hebrew-based Calcalist, TechCrunch reports that should the deal go through, it would be Apple’s first acquisition in Israel and the first under new CEO Time Cook. Anobit is a fabless semiconductor company that specializes in flash storage solutions, which are designed to improve speed, endurance, and performance of flash storage systems while driving down cost. According to the Calcalist report, Apple relies on Anobit’s solutions in the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air, among other devices.
Apple has launched the iTunes Store in Brazil, as well as 15 additional Latin American countries. According to the company, the iTunes Store in Brazil offers a catalog of over 20 million songs, including local artists, over a thousand movies to rent or purchase, many in HD, and iTunes Match. In the other 15 countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela—customers can browse a catalog of music from the major labels and thousands of independent labels, and also receive standard iTunes in the Cloud service for free.
Apple today released iTunes 10.5.2, the latest update to its digital media management software. According to the company, iTunes 10.5.2 “includes several improvements for iTunes Match and fixes an audio distortion problem when playing or importing certain CDs.” iTunes 10.5.2 is available now as a free download from apple.com/itunes, and is expected to be available via Apple’s Software Update utility shortly.
Rovio has released a special update to its highly acclaimed Angry Birds for iOS in celebration of the application’s second birthday. Angry Birds 2.0 unlocks all in-game episodes and adds fifteen new “birthday cake” levels, providing access to 300 levels of Angry Birds in total. The update also adds a new expandable organ bird, new menus and graphics and special birthday achievements to challenge players. Angry Birds is available from the App Store in two versions: Angry Birds ($1) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Angry Birds HD ($5) for the iPad.
Microsoft has released a native iPad version of OneNote, its note-taking application for iOS devices. Microsoft OneNote allows users to capture ideas and tasks while on-the-go complete with text, pictures, bullets and checkboxes. Notes can be synchronized online via Windows Live SkyDrive and can be edited and managed from a web browser using the OneNote Web App or Microsoft OneNote 2010 for Windows. A free Windows Live ID is required to use the OneNote Mobile app; new users can signup for an ID directly from within OneNote. OneNote for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download and allows users to access, create and edit up to 500 notes after which a $5 in-app purchase is required to continue using the application. The separate iPhone version of Microsoft OneNote has also been updated to add support for viewing tables in notebooks and performance and reliability improvements.
Apple has released the second version of iOS 5.1 to registered iOS developers. According to Apple’s release notes, this new beta adds the ability to delete photos from a Photo Stream, along with other improvements; it also notes that the accompanying preview release of Xcode 4.3 is distributed as a single application bundle, allowing it to be installed directly from the App Store without the need for a secondary installation process. iOS 5.1 beta 2 is available now to registered iOS developers as a direct download from the iOS Dev Center.