HTC’s new One X and Evo 4G LTE handsets face an indefinite import delay at U.S. Customs due to a prior International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling in Apple’s favor. The Verge reports that both handsets are delayed while Customs investigates whether they infringe upon a specific Apple patent for which Apple won a ban on HTC’s Android devices at the ITC last year. The ban involves a patent covering so-called “data tapping”, or the automatic conversion of chunks of text such as dates, phone numbers, and email addresses into tappable items. According to the report, the ban was delayed so HTC could engineer around Apple’s patent, but went into effect on April 19.
“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order,” HTC said in a statement. “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval.”
IQSoftware has released Rainbow Train, a new educational app designed to teach colours to young children. Rainbow Train presents a variety of objects with different colours that toddlers can match to the corresponding compartments of the train, speaking out each colour as it is matched. The game begins by introducing basic primary colours such as red, green, blue and yellow, with more complex colours added at higher difficulty levels while retaining the same overall game experience. Rainbow Train is designed for children between 1 and 3 years of age and to provide easy, fun and intuitive game play for young children with ten fun colours and 50 different objects to match and three different game modes. Rainbow Train is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Bulkypix has released The Sandbox, a unique new physics-based universe-building game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In The Sandbox, users start with basic elemental building blocks such as stone, water and soil and must master these elements and discover new compounds to create their very own universe. Players can grow plants, build walls, craft progressively more complex elements, draw their own pixel art landscapes and even compose their own in-game chip music soundtrack. Elements interact with each other to bring life to the player’s universe, such as evaporating water, eroding stones and growing plants and as players evolve their universe, more advanced non-organic elements become available such as metal and lightbulbs. An online gallery allows players to share their creations and view universes created by other players and Game Center integration provides leaderboards and achievements. The Sandbox requires iOS 3.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Adobe Systems has released two new creative apps for the iPad as part of its Adobe Touch Apps suite announced last fall. Adobe Collage and Adobe Proto are the latest two Adobe Touch Apps to be brought to the iPad, joining Adobe Photoshop Touch released in February.
Adobe Collage ($10) allows users to build creative “moodboards” that combine images, drawings, video and text as well as files from other Adobe Creative Suite applications to help brainstorm and illustrate ideas and concepts. Collage supports importing PDF, PSD and Adobe Illustrator files as well as directly searching for and importing content from Google, Flickr and YouTube. Variable canvas sizes are supported as well as multiple pen types and text fonts. Users can access their existing content library via Adobe Creative Cloud and export their finished mood boards to their Adobe Creative Cloud account for sharing with others. Adobe Collage is an iPad app and requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Adobe Proto ($10) is a prototyping app for websites and mobile apps that allows users to create wireframe layouts using simple touchscreen gestures. A component toolbox provides interactive wireframe components such as menus, tabs, accordions and more and users can utilize well-known CSS grid systems for building wireframes. A built-in WebKit preview with jQuery support allows users to quickly preview their designs directly within the app and the resulting work can be synced to Adobe Creative Cloud to continue work using Adobe Dreamweaver CS6. Adobe Proto requires iOS 4.2 or later and an iPad.
For eight years running, iLounge has published fantastic Buyers’ Guides for Apple’s digital media products—now the latest and greatest is just around the corner! Later this month, we’ll release a special edition focused on the iPad, and we’d love to include reader contributions from our famous Around the World photo gallery section.
If you have a picture of your iPad being used anywhere in the world, preferably in front of an identifiable local or national landmark, we’d love to consider it for the Guide. We’ll be fielding new submissions over the next week, so use this link to submit your images to the iPads Around the World gallery.
Past images submitted to our iPods, iPhones, and iPads Around the World galleries have been spectacular, and you can see examples of them here. If you have any questions regarding other Buyers’ Guide submissions, e-mail Dennis Lloyd. We look forward to seeing your images, and sharing the new Guide with you very soon!
ESPN is in talks with Apple regarding the former’s WatchESPN app being included on the Apple TV. Bloomberg reports that a deal between the two companies is not imminent, but notes that a similar deal has already been worked out between the sports network and Microsoft, which offers WatchESPN access via the Xbox 360. “We’re a platform-agnostic content company,” said Sean Bratches, ESPN’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales. “To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something that we will participate in.” The network currently offers the WatchESPN app—which requires a subscription to the traditional cable channel through a participating operator—as a free Universal download for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Apple dominates all other cell phone manufacturers when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). According to the report, Apple’s iPhone earned the company an 83 out of 100 customer satisfaction, the first time a cell phone company has ever broken into the 80s. Its nearest competitors were Nokia, LG, and HTC, all three of which scored a 75. The ACSI’s scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 70,000 U.S. customers. [via TUAW]
Mentions and appearances of Apple products on TV were up in 2011, according to a new report. Citing numbers from researcher Nielsen, Apple products were discussed or shown 891 times on TV in 2011, up from 613 in 2009. In addition, the company’s iDevices (iPhones, iPads, and iPods) appeared in more than 40 percent of weekly box office-topping films—nearly twice as often as the next most common brands, according to Brandchannel. Unlike most companies, Apple refuses to pay for product placement in movies or TV shows, although it has been known to hand out freebies. “Apple won’t pay to have their products featured, but they are more than willing to hand out an endless amount of computers, iPads, and iPhones,” said Curb Your Enthusiasm producer Gavin Polone. “It’s kind of a graft situation.”
The Iconfactory has released an iPad version of Astronut, its casual jump game for iOS. Astronut challenges players to explore the galaxy hopping from planet to planet, collecting star shards while avoiding unfriendly life forms. The new iPad version provides the same gameplay features first introduced in the iPhone and iPod touch version adapted for the larger Retina Display screen, with the added ability to use the free iPhone version as a remote control for playing on the iPad. The game includes 24 levels across six different sectors and Game Center integration with 40 achievements to unlock. Astronut for iPad is available from the App Store for $2; the original version for the iPhone and iPod touch, Astronut, is a free download and has been updated to add remote control capabilities for the iPad version.
Online task management service Remember The Milk has released a major update to its iOS app introducing a redesigned UI for iPhone and iPod touch users and Retina Display support for the iPad. Adapted from the native iPad user interface introduced last year, Remember The Milk 3.0 adds a sliding panels view with a left-hand toolbar and stacked “cards” for categories, task lists and task details and notes; left and right swipe gestures provide a natural intuitive UI to allow users to view their tasks and notes. The update also refines the task details view to display associated notes on the same screen and provides buttons for quick access to complete, postpone or delete individual tasks. Support for batch-editing multiple tasks on the iPhone and iPod touch has also been added, similar to the iPad version, allowing select multiple tasks and postpone them or edit common information such as due date, priority, list and tags. In order to adapt to the new sliding panels interface, a tap-and-hold gesture is now used to bring up the complete tasks instead of the previous swipe gesture, and users can now swipe up from this view to access a postpone button instead. Remember The Milk 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; a $25/year “Pro” account subscription is required for some features such as automatic synchronization and Push Notifications.
Sparrow has updated its iOS e-mail client adding support for composing messages in landscape orientation and several other UI improvements. Sparrow 1.2 also now allows users to swipe up and down to navigate between different messages while in the reading view and supports creating and editing labels/folders directly in the app. The update also fixes several bugs and now supports nine languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Russian and Chinese. Sparrow 1.2 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Apple is preparing to add new photo-sharing features to its iCloud service, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the new features will allow iCloud users to share sets of photos with other iCloud users and comment on photos. The report goes on to say that Apple is also working on a feature that would allow iCloud users to sync videos via iCloud. Apple is expected to announce the iCloud upgrade alongside iOS 6 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple may launch both developer-accessible Siri APIs and Siri for iPad with the release of iOS 6, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, TechCrunch reports that the software, codenamed “Sundance”, will indeed feature a new, Apple-based replacement for Google Maps in the Maps application, and while the 3D mapping feature is said to be neat, it is also unlikely to be used very often. The report goes on to state that there have been “whispers” backing up the idea that Apple might announce a set of developer-accessible APIs for Siri, which would also make its debut on the iPad in iOS 6. Regarding the latter, the report claims that the difficulty with Siri on the iPad has been in designing a UI for the larger screen, rather than any technical challenge.
Finally, the report claims that new iCloud functionality and deep ties to OS X Mountain Lion will also be key parts of the software, which it claims may arrive at the same time as a completely revamped version of iTunes, and potentially even a “full-on Spotify competitor.” Apple is expected to unveil iOS 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month.
Apple over the weekend quietly went about changing the official name of its third-generation iPad with cellular data capabilities. Previously known as the Wi-Fi + 4G model, it is now referred to on Apple’s website and in its retail locations as the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. It “connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and fast mobile data networks,” reads the description on Apple’s UK online store. Apple had been facing scrutiny from regulators in several countries, which claimed that the “4G” moniker was misleading as the device didn’t support 4G LTE networks anywhere but in the US and Canada. [via 9to5Mac]
iHome has unveiled its new iP76 Color Changing Speaker Tower. Measuring three-feet tall, the iP76 is designed to be a focal point of whatever room it is in, thanks to 16 multi-color LED clusters that allow it to perform a variety of lighting effects, including fading from one color to another, pulsing to the music, or producing a strobe-like effect. The tower also features four speakers, Reson8 speaker technology, Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, an iPod/iPhone dock on the top, and component video outputs. iHome’s iP76 Color Changing Speaker Tower will be available in June and is priced at $200.
Adobe has updated Ideas adding support for its Creative Cloud service. Adobe Ideas is a universal iOS app designed to provide users with a digital sketchbook for capturing ideas while on-the-go and easily transferring them into Adobe’s desktop design applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop. The application provides a multitouch drawing interface with simple vector-based sketching tools, variable-size brushes, and multiple drawing layers and colour themes. Version 2.0 allows users to sync their artwork to Adobe Creative Cloud where they can access it from Illustrator CS5/CS6 for further editing; users can sign up for a free membership to Creative Cloud which includes 2GB of storage for syncing and sharing. Adobe Ideas 2.0 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.
A beta version of Apple’s iCloud.com online tools has revealed that the company plans to add Notes and Reminders access to the site. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered the beta.icloud.com site by accident this morning, and posted a screenshot showing a beta message that read “The beta version of iCloud.com requires a developer account and setting up your Apple ID with latest iOS or OS X.” Behind the pop-up were the icons for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, a missing image marker that was later discovered to be the iWork icon, and two new icons for Notes and Reminders. Further investigation of the site by 9to5Mac discovered that the code for the site made references to iOS 6, specifically, “To use beta.icloud.com, first sign in to iCloud with the iOS 6 Beta.” Apple has since pulled the website, but it appears likely that Apple will officially open the site alongside the release of a beta version of iOS 6.
Yelp has released an update to its location-based social app for iOS improving commenting features and adding support for Norway. Yelp allows users to search for businesses based on criteria such as open hours, neighbourhood, distance and price, read through and contribute reviews and tips for various venues, check-in to venues and make reservations at supported restaurants via OpenTable. Yelp 5.8 now allows users to comment on they friends’ check-ins, allowing them to immediately add their thoughts, tips and recommendations when they see their friends check-in at a familiar location. Length limitations on tips have also been increased allowing users to write longer, and more expressive tips. Yelp 5.8 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Adobe has updated Photoshop Touch for the iPad increasing the maximum supported resolution and adding new synchronization and export features. Adobe Photoshop Touch 1.2 now allows users to work with 2048x2048 resolution photos with up to 10 layers, although the default remains at 1600x1600 with 16 layers; users can choose the higher resolution in the application’s Preferences. In addition, Photoshop Touch can now automatically synchronize with Adobe’s Creative Cloud and users can export images to PSD or PNG via the iOS Camera Roll, e-mail and iTunes File Sharing. The updated version also improves workflows for rotating and flipping images, adds two new tutorials and four new effects and is now available in English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Italian. Adobe Photoshop Touch requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad with iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.
Pocket has released a minor update to its iOS offline reading app adding several improvements and refinements to the major 4.0 release from earlier this year. Pocket 4.1 now supports the Dark Theme throughout the app rather than merely in the article view and adds a new Sepia theme with a focus on contrast and readability; the maximum font size has also been increased in the article view. Users can also now swipe left or right to enable a books-style Page Fipping view instead of scrolling through articles. The latest version now also automatically detects URLs found on the clipboard when opening the app and offers to add them to Pocket and provides support for additional video sides including TED and Devour. Pocket 4.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.