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Apple plans iOS volume button shutter changes?

Recent reports suggest that Apple may be once again rejecting apps that make use of the iPhone volume buttons for shutter control, despite iOS 5’s addition of the feature into the built-in Camera app, and the subsequent approval of several camera apps implementing the feature.

Several app developers added volume button shutter controls to their iOS 4 camera apps in 2010, most notably Tap tap tap’s Camera+. Apple rejected the app due to this feature, so Tap tap tap added it as a hidden option instead. Soon thereafter, Apple began cracking down on apps with the feature, citing App Store Guidelines that prohibited changing the features of iOS hardware buttons. When Apple discovered the hidden feature in Camera+, it removed the app entirely from the App Store, and Camera+ didn’t return until several months later, with the “VolumeSnap” feature conspicuously absent.

With iOS 5.0 Apple brought the ability for the volume-up button to be used as a shutter control in the built-in Camera app. Several developers took this as a sign of Apple’s willingness to approve the use of this feature in third-party apps, and Camera+ was able to resurrect VolumeSnap late last fall. Several other camera app developers followed suit.

It appears that Apple is planning to change the volume button shutter, though it should be noted that the App Store Guidelines were never updated to permit third-party apps to use the feature. Last week, SmugMug released an update to its Camera Awesome photo app, adding Instagram support, however as Harry McCracken discovered, the update also quietly removed the ability to use the volume up button to take photos. McCracken contacted SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill for an explanation and was informed that Apple had “called and told [them] that they were asking all app developers using the volume button this way to remove the functionality because it was going to break in a future iOS update.” MacAskill goes on to explain that Apple has not confirmed whether it will provide an approved method for using the volume button as a shutter control, and notes that he “expect[s] more apps to start removing their volume button support in the future as a result.”

Notably, however, the latest version of Camera+, updated around the same time as Camera Awesome last week, still retains the ability to use the volume up button as a shutter control.

Survey: One-third of US high schoolers own an iPhone

Over one-third of U.S. high school students now own an iPhone, according to the latest Piper Jaffray semi-annual survey of U.S. teenagers. As reprinted by MacRumors, the survey found that 34 percent of surveyed students now own an iPhone, representing an all-time high and double the percentage seen just one year ago. In addition, 40 percent of those surveyed indicated that they plan to purchase an iPhone within the next six months. As for tablets, 34 percent of students said they own a tablet, and 70 percent of those said they have an iPad. 53 percent of iPad-owning students also own an iPhone, and 19 percent of students said they plan to purchase a tablet within the next six months, with 80 percent of that group planning to purchase an iPad. The survey was conducted among 5,600 U.S. high school students.

Sprint PR points to unlimited LTE iPhone data

Sprint has issued a press release for its upcoming LG Viper offering which suggests that the carrier will continue its tradition of offering unlimited data plans even to handsets that use LTE. “LG Viper pairs perfectly with our unlimited data plans to bring customers the benefit of new technology, including our upcoming 4G LTE capabilities at a great price”,  said David Owens, vice president of Product Development at Sprint. The carrier later confirmed to Engadget that LTE service will be included on its existing Everything plans. Sprint plans to launch LTE service in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio by “mid-year”, with other cities to follow in the coming months; Apple is widely expected to include LTE in its next-generation iPhone. [via TechHog | MacRumors]

FileMaker releases FileMaker Go 12 for iOS

FileMaker has released a major update to its FileMaker 12 database software lineup, including new, free versions of its FileMaker Go iOS companion apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The prior version of the FileMaker Go iOS apps previously sold for $20 for the iPhone version and $40 for the iPad version; the new FileMaker Go 12 apps are now available for both devices as free downloads from the App Store.

FileMaker Pro 12 for OS X provides a new set of themes and Starter Solutions combined with powerful design tools geared toward creating databases designed explicitly to work on the iOS platform. The new Starter Solutions include read-to-use screens and touch controls optimized for the iPad and iPhone that make use of iOS specific design elements. New design tools allow users to take an existing theme and customize every detail to create their own, unique design.

The FileMaker Go 12 iOS apps are designed to be used as companions to the desktop and server versions of FileMaker, allowing users to access databases from their mobile device while on the go. Users can connect live to FileMaker Server 12 or FileMaker Pro 12 via a Wi-Fi or cellular network connection to make updates in real-time or copy databases into FileMaker Go via iTunes File Sharing or open them from an e-mail for offline use. Sync is not natively supported but advanced FileMaker developers can create custom solutions for synchronizing and reconciling changes. The new FileMaker Go apps introduce iOS multitasking support and direct media integration for audio and video recording and playback along with enhanced container fields when used for streaming media content from fileMaker Server 12 without any storage limitations. The new version also adds support for several additional export formats including Microsoft Excel, CSV and HTML. FileMaker Go 12 for iPad and FileMaker Go 12 for iPhone require iOS 4.3 or later and are both available from the App Store as free downloads. FileMaker Pro 12 is required to create or modify databases.


nTelos to launch iPhone 4S on April 20

Regional carrier nTelos has announced that it will begin to offer both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 on April 20. According to the announcement, the carrier will offer a $50 discount on the handsets relative to other carriers, with iPhone 4S units costing between $150 and $350 and the iPhone 4 priced at $50, all with a new two-year agreement. The carrier will be opening its stores at 7:00 a.m. local time on April 20 for the launch. nTelos is headquartered in Virginia and provides service to over 400,000 subscribers in its home state, West Virginia, and portions of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Shazam updated for Retina Display, adds speed improvements

Shazam has updated its music recognition apps for iOS adding Retina Display support in the iPad version and several major performance optimizations in the iPhone and iPod touch version. In addition to Retina Display support, Shazam for iPad 2.7 also adds extra exclusive and interactive content when watching TV shows and ads that display the Shazam logo on the screen. Shazam 5.0 for the iPhone and iPod touch have also been updated with significant performance improvements allowing the app to start up and perform both tagging and recognition much more quickly than in the prior version. Version 5.0 also provides instant listening on start-up, more responsive navigation and scrolling, and speed improvements in the Shazam Friends feed. iOS 5 users can now edit their tweets before posting them and the new version also provides improved LyricPlay synchronization. Shazam is available from the App Store in several versions: Shazam for the iPhone and iPod touch and Shazam for iPad are both ad-supported free downloads from the App Store with in-app purchase options to upgrade to the full versions; alternatively, users can purchase Shazam Encore ($6) or (Shazam)RED ($6) which are ad-free and provide additional features such as links to music on Spotify and Pandora.


AmpKit adds Retina DIsplay support, Trace Elliot amp system

Agile Partners has updated its AmpKit guitar effects and recording app for iOS adding Retina Display support for the new iPad along with an expanded array of gear available for purchase in the in-app Gear Store. With AmpKit 1.3, bass players can now purchase a full-featured bass amp and cabinet modeled after the Trace Elliot 1215 combo that includes features from the real Trace Elliot amps such as switchable valve (tube) drive and signature Pre Shape circuits. The AmpKit model also includes the Trace Elliot 12-band graphic equalizer tuned for bass frequencies, an optimized dual-band compressor and a convolution-based simulation of the 1x15 cabinet.

Additional new gear available in the latest version includes the Rocktron Metal Planet Distortion pedal for hardcore heavy metal distortion with mid-frequency controls for adjusting between the classic scooped heavy metal sound or modern rock tone; and the Rocktron HUSH Noise Reduction circuit to wipe out hiss and pickup buzz, delivering 65dB of signal cleanup while maintaining the integrity of the music signal. AmpKit 1.3 also introduces extended support for digital guitar interfaces, updated headset input compensation for the third-generation iPad and iPhone 4S and the ability to save setups for all channels on multi-channel amps. AmpKit is available from the App Store in two versions: AmpKit (Free) includes the Peavey ValveKing amp with two cabinets, two pedals and two mics; AmpKit+ ($10) adds three additional amps and eight additional pedals. Additional gear such as the Trace Elliot 1215 is available via in-app purchase.

PDF Expert updated for Retina Display, adds embedded media support

Readdle has released a major update to PDF Expert for iPad with support for the Retina Display and improved PDF viewing features. The new Retina Display support renders PDF documents with sharper and more readable text and annotations providing a paper-like reading and annotating experience. PDF Expert 4.0 also adds support for embedded media in PDF documents allowing users to listen to audio and watch videos within documents directly in-place. PDF Attachments and PDF Portfolios are also now supported in the latest version allowing users to more effectively organize their PDF files and transfer entire collections of related PDF files as a single portfolio document. PDF Expert 4.0 requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.

iOS, Android account for 80% of US smartphone market

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android now account for over 80 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to the latest data from comScore. While Android continues to lead iOS with a 50.1 percent share of the market, iOS has seen continued growth, accounting for 30.2 percent of the market in February—up from 28.7 percent in November 2011, and up five percentage points from a year ago. iOS’ and Android’s growth has come at the expense of RIM’s BlackBerry, which now accounts for just 13.4 percent of the market, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which accounts for 3.9 percent of the market; those numbers represent three-month declines of 3.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. ComScore’s data data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and older.

LogMeIn adds new iPad support, HD for Mac users

LogMeIn has updated its free LogMeIn and paid Ignition apps for iOS adding support for the new iPad Retina Display along with additional in-app Pro subscription options for users of the free version. Following a recent update to the Mac OS X LogMeIn app, the iOS version now also provides Mac users with access to high-definition video streaming capabilities and sound directly from their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

HD support was added to the LogMeIn iOS apps in December, however the feature requires an accompanying update to the computer-side component which was initially only available for Windows users. With the latest Mac update, LogMeIn Pro subscribers can now stream HD-quality video with sound from their remote Mac, allowing users to view movies and TV shows and even play games over a remote desktop connection. For users of the free LogMeIn iOS app, a Pro subscription is required to access the new HD features for each remote computer; in-app subscriptions have been updated in the latest release with three-month and six-month options in addition to the $40/year annual subscription. Users of LogMeIn’s paid Ignition app can access the HD video streaming and other iOS-related Pro features such as My Cloud Bank for multiple remote computers with no additional subscription required. LogMeIn for iOS is available from the App Store as a free download; Ignition is priced at $100 and is a free update for users of prior versions. Both apps are universal with support for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Hyped Jorno keyboard/stand killed before delivery

Cervantes Mobile’s widely-touted Jorno folding Bluetooth keyboard and stand has died without having ever shipped, iLounge has learned. We were contacted by a reader who placed a pre-order for the Jorno following its introduction in late 2010, and was subsequently told that the product wouldn’t actually ship until March 31, 2012. After that date came and went without any word from the company, the reader then received an email from Cervantes Mobile, explaining that the Jorno was being cancelled due to lack of funding, and that the company was “re-launching our business” around an alternative keyboard—the Nomad—a less deluxe design that’s it’s now selling for the same price as the Jorno.

As pointed out by our reader, the Nomad Mobile store is selling this keyboard, alongside an iPad stand called “the Base Cradle.” While the keyboard is inoffensively designed, the Base Cradle is a clone of the excellent Compass stand, unauthorized by developer Twelve South. Interestingly, the lone comment on our September 2010 story covering the Jorno turned out to be prescient: “I’ll keep my eye on this, but they won’t be getting my money until they actually deliver both a product and on the promise of the product.” Cervantes Mobile has yet to update the Jorno website to indicate that the product is no longer expected to launch; indeed, it still states that the Jorno will be “Available March 31, 2012.” (Thanks, Jason!)

Apple to announce Q2 2012 earnings on April 24

Apple has announced that it will report its results for the second fiscal quarter of 2012 on Tuesday, April 24. The release will be followed by the usual 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. The call will likely discuss first quarter sales of the third-generation iPad and third-generation Apple TV, and could possibly offer insight into Apple’s product plans for the rest of the year.

iStudiez Pro adds Retina Display support, UI enhancements

Class and study management app iStudiez Pro has been updated with support for the new iPad Retina Display and several other smaller improvements and bug fixes. iStudiez Pro is a universal app designed to help students, teachers and parents easily keep track of school schedules, homework, exams and grades by providing planning tools, assignment notifications, grade/GPA tracking features and more. Version 1.6 adds options for selecting multiple assignments to delete or copy in a single operation and a new pinch-to-zoom gesture to expand content in the Assignments list view. Users can also now send their data backup out as a file and the update fixes a number of bugs related to cloud sync, editing time frames and proper display of birthdays. Localizations for Hungarian, Italian and Traditional Chinese have also been added in the latest update. iStudiez Pro is available from the App Store for $3; a companion Mac desktop application is also available from the Mac App Store for $10.

TiltShift Generator for iPad adds Retina Display, camera support

Art & Mobile has released an update to TiltShift Generator for iPad adding support for the Retina Display and the built-in camera on second- and third-generation iPad devices. TiltShift Generator allows users to apply linear and radial depth-of-field effects to photos as well as adjust colour saturation, brightness, contrast and vignettes. In addition to Retina Display and camera support, version 1.8 also adds performance optimizations for the new iPad and integration with the built-in Twitter support on devices running iOS 5 or later. TiltShift Generator for iPad is available from the App Store for $3.

Poddities adds money clip to iPhone 4, 4S

Poddities is now offering its Money Clip for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Unlike case-based solutions, Poddities’ clip attaches to the iPhone on the bottom, requiring the user to unscrew the two bottom screws and subsequently replace them with longer versions that accomodate the added thickness of the money clip. Made from stainless steel, Poddities’ Money Clip for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for roughly $32.

AR.Drone FreeFlight adds Video Recording

Parrot has released a major update for the FreeFlight remote control app for its AR.Drone Quadricopter (iLounge Rating: B+) adding a revamped user interface along with support for capturing photos and video. FreeFlight 2.0 now allows users to record high definition video from the AR.Drone 2.0 on-board camera via the Wi-Fi connection; recorded videos can then be uploaded to YouTube from directly within the app. Users can also capture photos from the AR.Drone and share them on Picasa. The updated version also provides a new “absolute control” piloting mode and support for performing acrobatic flip manoeuvres with the AR.Drone 2.0 ‘copter. Users can also now register with a new online community, the AR.Drone Academy, from within the app to share flight data, photos and videos and discover other users flying in their neighbourhood. FreeFlight 2.0 requires iOS 4.3 or later and an AR.Drone or AR.Drone 2.0 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Judge hands Apple key win in Motorola patent dispute

Well-respected Judge Richard Posner has handed Apple a key victory in its ongoing patent dispute with Motorola. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports that Posner has delivered his interpretation of Apple’s touchscreen heuristics patent—which covers a handful of basic gestures—and has agreed with many of Apple’s assertions. In more detailed terms, the patent covers the strategy used by software to interpret a user’s touchscreen input by recognizing movements that are not straight lines, thus enabling vertical and horizontal scrolling using natural gestures. “Jury trials come with considerable uncertainty, but based on Judge Posner’s conclusions, Motorola will realistically be unable to avoid a finding of infringement and will have to come up with some really good invalidity arguments if it wants to avoid a disaster,” Mueller writes.

Notably, a passage from Apple’s argument is also included in the report. “[H]aving identified the problems associated with imprecise finger gestures, solved them, and successfully incorporated them into a commercial product, Apple should be entitled to the fruits of its innovation via broad patent protection, and the public is benefited by the disclosure of Apple’s invention,” it reads; Mueller notes that the “disclosure” would not happen until 2028.

Facebook adds iPad Retina Display support, bug fixes

Facebook has released an update to its official iOS app adding support for the Retina Display on the third-generation iPad as well as several other small new features and bug fixes. Facebook 4.1.1 now allows users to set their status to offline in Facebook chat and adds support for several new languages including Czech, Danish, Greek, Indonesian, Malaysian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Thai. The update also fixes several problems found in prior versions including issues with incorrect profile pictures, missing people in friend lists, incorrect names being displayed in photo sets, and friend-request notifications being incorrectly displayed. Facebook 4.1.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Third-gen iPad tops iPad 2 in consumer satisfaction

The third-generation iPad has received even higher customer satisfaction ratings than its predecessor, according to a ChangeWave survey. 82 percent of new iPad owners said they were very satisfied with the device—compared to 74 percent for the iPad 2—while another 16 percent said they were somewhat satisfied, compared to 23 percent for the iPad 2. In total, 98 percent of third-gen iPad owners were at least somewhat satisfied with their device, compared to 97 percent for the iPad 2. The Retina display was the most popular feature of the new iPad—followed by battery life and LTE capability—while the cost of the device and wireless data service were the most popular dislikes. ChangeWave conducted its survey on March 22-28 among 200 third-generation iPad owners.

Apple increases iAd developer revenue

Apple over the weekend announced that it has increased the share of revenue that developers receive from its iAd network. AppleInsider reports that Apple posted a statement on its developer center stating that it had made changes to its Developer Advertising Services Agreement for the iAd Network. “The revenue share for the iAd Network is now 70% to the Developer,” the message reads. Apple previously offered developers a 60% share of revenue; the change became effective immediately.

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