The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes Monday morning. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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Also, if you haven’t yet entered our uNu Ex-Era Battery Case Giveaway, this is your final chance. In our Giveaway of the Month for June, iLounge and uNu are giving away 10 uNu Ex-Era Battery Cases for iPhone 4/4S. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on June 30, 2012 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Five years ago today, Apple released the first-generation iPhone. Priced at $499 for a 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model, it featured EDGE cellular networking, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel rear camera, and was exclusive to AT&T. Notably, it was limited to 16 built-in apps—the App Store didn’t debut until a year later.
In celebration of the anniversary of its release, we’d like to point you to our reviews of each generation of iPhone, and have also embedded a video of Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone at MacWorld Expo in 2007. Feel free to share your iPhone remembrances in the comments below.
Apple today announced that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire. According to the company, Mansfield’s role will be transitioned over several months to Dan Riccio, current vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering. In his role, Mansfield has overseen Mac hardware engineering since 2005, iPhone and iPod hardware engineering since 2010, and iPad hardware engineering since the device’s inception.
“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”
“Dan has been one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry,” added Cook. “Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.”
Mobigame has added 30 additional levels in an update to Cross Fingers, its unique multitouch puzzle game for iOS. Cross Fingers is a tangram puzzle style game that combines creativity and imagination with reflexes and dexterity, requiring players, often requiring multitouch finger gymnastics to rearrange pieces and solve puzzles. An arcade mode also provides additional action based challenges for additional replay value. The latest update adds 30 additional levels for a total of 570 and now awards the user 2 starts for completing any level pack along with free stars for installing the update. Cross Fingers is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.
Google has released a universal iOS version of its Chrome browser. The app is designed as an alternative to the built-in Safari browser for users of Chrome on the desktop and allows users to sync their open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibox data between their computer and their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing them seamlessly transition between devices and preserve a unified browsing experience. Users can also send pages from their desktop Chrome browser directly to their iOS device for reading on the go, even when offline.
Chrome for iOS also provides fast search and navigation with a single, combined address and search bar similar to the desktop version with search results that appear as the user types. Intuitive touchscreen gestures are used to open and switch between tabs, allowing iPhone and iPod touch users to flip through their screens like a deck of cards or iPad users to swipe from edge to edge to quickly switch between tabs. The iOS version also supports the “Incognito” mode from the desktop version, allowing users to open pages and browse without saving history or other tracking data. Google Chrome requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
With over 3,800 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Which one of the following devices is your primary computer now?”—has ended. Readers could pick from Mac or PC desktops or laptops, as well as the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or some other device.
Mac laptops led the pack of responses, with 28 percent of readers saying they were on some model of MacBook. Somewhat surprisingly—and definitely indicative of the impact Apple’s tablet is having on the marketplace—26 percent of readers said the iPad was now their primary computer. 54 percent of those said the iPad has overtaken their Mac as their primary computer, 42 percent said the same of their PC, and roughly four percent said their iPad was their only computer. 17 percent said they primarily use a Mac desktop, 12 percent of people said they primarily use a PC laptop for their computing needs—the same percentage that said they primarily use a PC desktop—followed by three percent who said they use an iPhone or other smartphone, one percent who said they rely on an iPod touch, and one percent who said they rely on some other computing device. Only 15 readers said they didn’t own a computer. Thanks for all your responses!
Our new poll focuses on the iPod touch. Given the increasing number of $200, 7-inch tablets on the market—most notably from Google and Amazon—we’d like to know what you think Apple should do with the iPod touch to stay competitive. Should it drop the price and improve the chips, do both, and enlarge the screen, or keep the same price, improve the chips, and radically increase the screen size to transform it into an iPad mini? Or should it discontinue it in favor of a $199, off-contract iPhone, or just leave it alone for (yet another) year? Our new poll—“What should Apple do with the iPod touch given competition from $200 7” tablets?”—lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Vote today!
Griffin Technology has announced that it is now shipping its Kiosk secure display mount for iPad. Compatibile with all models of the iPad, the Kiosk is available in two height options: a 47.5” Floor Mount and a 12” Table Mount, and features an impact-resistant polycarbonate housing with security screws to lock the iPad in place, a flexible arm that allows for adjustment of the viewing angle, an included power cable that runs through the center of the steel arm, three included faceplates to allow for optional access to the Home button and camera, and openings at the bottom for bolting the mount to a floor or tabletop using included hardware.
In addition, the Kiosk is designed to work with the Kiosk App, which offers a user-defined home URL and web domain, a timed reload of a page when not in use, an optional whitelist of approved domains, a customizable Navigation Bar, and email notifications for power loss, low battery and physical abuse. The Kiosk App is available now for $2.99; the Kiosk mount is also available now and sells for $299 for the Floor model or $199 for the Table model.
Just Mobile has announced its new Gum battery pack for the iPhone, iPod, and other USB charging devices. Not to be confused with the company’s original, plastic Gum, this new model features a compact design, an aluminum shell, a 2,200 mAh battery with 1A output, three LED power indicators, and an included travel pouch, micro USB to USB cable, and micro USB to Apple Dock Connector adapter. Just Mobile’s new Gum battery pack for the iPhone and iPod is available now in silver, red, or black, and sells for $50.
Phiaton has debuted its new Moderna earphones and Bridge headphones. The Moderna earphones feature a “half in-ear” design that sits outside the ear canal, as well as a tangle-free oval-shaped cable with a built-in mic and an included black and red carrying case and cleaning tool. They will be available in August and will sell for $150. The Bridge headphones feature a machined aluminum, body covered in perforated leather, a dual- chamber structure and multi-tune acoustic design for superior sound quality, a foldable body, and a tangle-free cloth-wrapped cord with an in-line mic. They will be available in November; pricing has yet to be announced.
Flipboard has released an update to its social news magazine app for iOS with the addition of content from The New York Times. Designed to provide users with a personalized collection of their news and social feeds, Flipboard collects information from major media publications and social networks, presenting the information in an appealing magazine style view. With the latest update, Flipboard users can read The New York Times’ Top News section at no charge while paid subscribers can access the full paper, integrated with their other news and social feeds. Flipboard 1.9.4 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple’s rumored, upcoming overhaul of iTunes is said to include new features for sharing music, according to a new report. Citing people with direct knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg says the update will integrate more tightly with iCloud, making it easier to manage media and apps across devices, and is also intended to improve how people manage all their files. Improvements to media discovery—including sharing—are said to be included, highlighted by a feature that would allow a user to listen to a song sent to them from a friend for free. Apple has already previewed some of its moves with the redesigned iTunes Store in iOS 6 and with its new Podcasts app that removes podcasts from the store in favor of giving them their own standalone application.
In celebration of Atari’s 40th Anniversary the company is giving away all of the 100 games included in its Atari’s Greatest Hits iOS app for free. Normally available as in-app purchases at $1 each of $10 for the entire set, for today only users will be able to download Atari 2600 classics such as Asteroids, Centipede, Pong, Battlezone and more. An updated version of the app has been released on the App Store for the 40th anniversary special. Atari’s Greatest Hits is a universal iOS app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Google today introduced its first self-branded tablet, the Nexus 7, as well as a new Apple TV-challenging device called the Nexus Q. Halfway between the Kindle Fire and the iPad, the Nexus 7 is positioned as a media tablet, featuring a 7-inch, 1280x800 IPS display, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, NFC support, a microphone, GPS, and the Android 4.1 operating system. It is available for pre-order now, priced at $199 for an 8GB model or $249 for a 16GB unit.
Shaped like an orb, the Nexus Q is akin to a beefed-up Apple TV: powered by dual ARM Cortex A9 CPUs and relying upon 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, Nexus Q boasts 16GB of flash storage, Bluetooth, NFC support, 32 perimeter LEDs for ambient lighting, Micro HDMI and optical audio outputs. Unusually, it also includes an integrated 25W amplifier with banana jack outputs for connecting directly to speakers, as well as a top-mounted dome volume control. However, Nexus Q’s current software does not appear to have been designed for standalone use, seemingly relying instead upon another Android device running Google Play or YouTube for control; like the Apple TV, a USB port is included solely for service and support. In addition, it allows multiple Android users to add media to the device’s playlist. It is similarly available for pre-order now, and is priced at $299.
Alongside its rollout of the iTunes Store to 12 new Asian countries, Apple today launched the Apple TV in nine new markets. MacRumors reports that the Apple TV is now available from Apple’s online store in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, and through third-party resellers in Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, and Sri Lanka. Pricing varies by country; the set-top box does not appear to be available in the Philippines, Taiwan, or Thailand, three countries that also saw local iTunes Stores launch today.
Apple is planning to open both a new data center and a business and purchasing center in the Reno, NV area. The Reno Memo reports that the data center, which will house cloud computing operations, will be located in the Reno Technology Park, which sits to the east of Sparks, NV. The business park and purchasing center will be located in Reno’s Tessera District; overall, the development plans will represent a $1 billion investment by Apple over the next 10 years, and will account for 41 full-time jobs at the data center, as well as 200 contract employees. The news follows word from earlier this year that Apple plans to build a similar data center in the tax-friendly Prineville, OR area.
Popular remote desktop service LogMeIn has released an update to its iOS applications adding support for using a Bluetooth keyboard in remote desktop sessions. The new feature allows users with external keyboards to maintain full screen visibility of their remote Mac or PC while typing, rather than having to contend with the on-screen keyboard. The update also expands the My Cloud Bank feature with support for Skydrive and Box.net, joining other popular online file services such as Dropbox, and Google Docs. In addition, Windows users can now have their host screen resolution automatically set to mirror the iPad screen resolution when connecting to their PC. LogMeIn is available from the App Store in two versions: LogMeIn (free) provides standard remote access capabilities at no additional cost with the option to purchase a LogMeIn Pro subscription for $40/year per computer to add HD video and sound streaming, remote printing and file management with cloud services integration; LogMeIn Ignition ($130) provides the full set of “Pro” features for multiple computers as a one-time purchase and continues to be a free upgrade for previous Ignition users.
Apple’s latest beta version of the Apple TV software allows users to reorder the icons on the main menu page. Citing Portugese-language MacMagazine.com.br, MacRumors reports that the feature is accessed by holding down the center Select button on the Apple Remote for several seconds, which causes the currently-highlighted icon to wiggle, as seen on other iOS device when moving apps. While wiggling, the icon can be moved using the direction buttons on the remote, with the other icons automatically adjusting to the movement. This is the latest indication that Apple plans on allowing third-party apps on the Apple TV, a feature that has been heavily rumored since the launch of the most recent Apple TV OS in March.
Apple has won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in U.S. District Court. Foss Patents reports that Judge Lucy Koh entered the injunction at the close of business yesterday; Samsung has since filed a notice of appeal. The ruling is based on an iPad design patent, and states that “the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is ‘virtually indistinguishable’ from Apple’s iPad and iPad 2”. The injunction will go into effect as soon as Apple posts a $2.6 million bond.
Apple today launched the iTunes Store in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and nine additional countries in Asia. According to the company, customers using the iTunes Store in those countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam will be able to browse a selection of over 20 million songs, including local and international music from all the major labels and thousands of independents. The new stores will also offer movie rentals and purchases from major studios including 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Disney, and Warner Bros. In addition, Apple will be offering iTunes Match in all the new stores beginning today, with iTunes in the Cloud included for music purchases at no extra cost.
CableJive has rolled out its new LineOut Pro accessory for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Designed to offer high-quality, line-level audio, the LineOut Pro is a black, 3-foot, case-friendly cable that connects to a device’s 30-pin port, with a gold-plated 3.5mm connector at the other end for connecting to a variety of audio devices. CableJive’s LineOut Pro is available now and sells for $11.