Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion tomorrow, according to a new report. MacRumors claims that this year’s promotion will again involve iTunes Gift Cards for those purchasing new equipment. Students purchasing qualifying Macs will receive a $100 iTunes Gift Card, while those purchasing an iPad will receive a $50 Card. Notably, this is they first year in which those purchasing an iPad will be eligible to participate. While specifics were not available, Apple’s Back to School promotions have traditionally ended in September.
The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. 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, be sure to enter our new uNu Ex-Era Battery Case Giveaway. 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!
Apple will soon unveil a new way for mobile developers to track who users their software, according to a new report. Citing people briefed on Apple’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that the new tool could be unveiled “in the coming weeks”—although next week’s WWDC event would seem the most likely place for such an announcement to take place—and is aimed at serving as a substitute for the Unique Device Identifier, or UDID. The report notes that details of the tool, including how it works what metrics it will allow developers to track, are still unclear.
Adobe has updated Photoshop Express for iOS adding new optional add-ons alongside several sharing and editing improvements. Adobe Photoshop Express 2.5 adds the ability to share photos on Tumblr as well as native iOS 5 Twitter integration and improves Facebook and Flickr sharing by allowing users to share to specific albums and choose photo sizes before sharing. The new version also now allows users to easily compare original and edited photos, zoom in while editing, preview borders and effects and adds new controls for Hue, Brightness and White Balance. A new Effects Pack is also now available as an in-app purchase for $3 and the update adds 18 new borders to the $2 Border Pack add-on introduced in February, bringing the total number of borders to 40. The new version also adds support for the iPad Retina Display. Adobe Photoshop Express 2.5 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Introversion Software has released an iPad version of its classic hacking RPG Uplink. Originally developed for the PC platform in 2001, Uplink puts the player in the role of a freelance hacker in a futuristic world of high tech computer crime and corporate espionage. As an Uplink Agent the player makes a living performing hacking jobs for clients ranging from major corporations to shady underworld organizations, breaking into classified computer systems, stealing research data, sabotaging systems and “adjusting” academic and criminal records. As players earn more income they are able to upgrade their hacking tools to tackle jobs against more sophisticated systems such as banks and government mainframes, all the while being careful to cover their tracks to avoid getting caught. In addition to standard one-off missions, a storyline also unfolds that draws players into a web of intrigue as a global conspiracy unfolds that could take down the entire Internet and plunge the world into an information dark age.
Notably, the iPad port of Uplink was actually developed by a fan of the game rather than Introversion itself. In an interview with Modojo, Introversion Software’s Mark Morris explained that while the company had worked on a mobile version of the game as far back as 2001 for the Windows CE and Palm OS platforms, the iPad version actually came into existence after the company was contacted by a fan, Andrew Carne, who had purchased the Uplink developer CD who then carried on to actually produce an almost complete port that Introversion was then simply able to polish and release. Morris went on to note in the interview that “If Andrew Carne hadn’t finished the port for us I don’t think we would have done it internally.”
A photo taken during the raising of banners in preparation for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has confirmed that the company will reveal iOS 6 at the event. 9to5Mac has posted the photo in a gallery of other shots showing the preparations; the iOS 6 logo is featured prominently, and has changed ever so slightly from the prior iOS 5 logo. Below the iOS 6 logo is the tagline “The world’s most advanced mobile operating system.” While it was widely assumed that Apple would announce the software at the event, it had yet to confirm as much, stating only that developers at the conference would “learn about the future of iOS”.
Algoriddim, developer of the popular djay DJ mixing app for iOS devices has released vjay, a new mixing and mashup app for video content on the iPad. Providing direct integration with the iPad media libraries, vjay allows users to mix and scratch both video and audio content from iTunes along with personal video footage to create their own interactive audio visual experience. Users can also record their very own clips into the mix using the iPad camera and add real-time video transitions and audio visual effects, loops and real-time VideoScratch. Users can also take advantage of a three-band equalizer, on-the-fly BPM and tempo detection with AutoSync and a split output mode for pre-cueing using headphones and an appropriate DJ mixing cable.
Resulting mashups can be saved to the iPad video library for sharing with friends or displayed on a TV using a direct connection or wirelessly via AirPlay. iTunes Store integration allows users to easily search for and purchase music videos on the fly directly from within the app. A free bundle of content is also included in the app to help users get started including a music video from Parov Stelar, a dance video from Lil’Buck and Yak Films, a soccer video by football duo F2, a skateboarding video from Stereo Vinyl Cruisers, a snowboarding video by Isenseven, a video of parkour artist group, Parkour Paris and a collection of visual art videos by VJLoops. vjay requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $10.
A new report claims that Apple will introduce a SDK for its TV products at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Citing an anonymous source, BGR briefly reports that the SDK will allow third-party developers to create software for “Apple’s TV products”; considering that the company has yet to introduce an HDTV set, it seems likely that the SDK will initially target the Apple TV set top box, and may allow apps tailored to that device to run on the rumored HDTV when it is released. Apple will kick off WWDC on Monday with a Keynote Address, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PT.
Apple has agreed to pay a AU$2.25 million (roughly $2.22 million) penalty to settle a case involving the third-generation iPad’s prior “4G” labeling. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple admitted that it may have misled consumers over the ability of the iPad to connect to fourth-generation cellular networks in Australia. Apple has also agreed to pay the court costs for the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission, which amount to AU$300,000, or roughly $296,000. Apple originally listed its cellular data-capable third-generation iPad as the “Wi-Fi + 4G” model, a name that drew the ire of regulators in a number of territories; it soon changed the name to “Wi-Fi + Cellular”.
Popular location based social network Foursquare has released a major update to its iPhone app featuring a completely redesigned user interface. Foursquare 5.0 has essentially been completely rebuilt as an almost entirely new app designed with a focus on making the Foursquare mobile experience easier, more intuitive and more in-line with how people typically use the app. The Check-in button has been moved to the top-right corner for easier access, with the bottom navigation bar simplified to contain three major categories: Friends, Explore and Profile. The new Friends screen is now more photo-centric, with huge, swipeable photos presented in the timeline alongside tips, lists and places saved by friends; users can also now quickly “like” and comment on activity directly from the timeline view.
The Explore section has also undergone a similar redesign with an emphasis on presenting information right away instead of forcing users to search and providing information on nearby friends as well as tips on deals and recommendations nearby, based on the user’s previous check-ins, friends’ check-ins and general Foursquare community activity. The app can also now adjust recommendations based on whether a user is in their normal home neighbourhood or travelling, and users can still search for and browse through popular categories to find more specific recommendations. The third Profile tab allows users to more quickly swipe through their history, look up their favourites, and discover other relevant information such as stats, tips, lists, badges, photos and more. Foursquare 5.0 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Grove has introduced its new SkateBack protective back plate for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Made from 100% post-industrial skateboard material left over during the manufacturing process, the SkateBack attaches to the rear of the iPhone via peel-and-stick 3M adhesive, and has precision-cut holes to allow for access to the rear camera and flash. Grove’s SkateBack back plate for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available in three color schemes and sells for $49.
iBattz has unveiled its new Mojo Armor and Mojo Vogue removable battery cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Mojo Armor is a rugged, impact-resistant battery case offering integrated port covers for the headphone jack, micro USB charging port, and ring/silent switch, push-through coverage for all other ports, two included, swappable 1700 mAh battery modules, and a built-in power on/off button. The Mojo Vogue also includes two swappable 1700 mAh battery modules, but features a slimmer design that offers open access to all ports, controls, and cameras—save for the Dock Connector—and comes in a wide range of colors. Pricing and availability for both cases has yet to be announced.
The Omni Group has released OmniPlan for iPad, the iOS adaptation of its popular Mac project management app, completing its commitment to bring its five premium Mac apps to the iOS platform. Designed to help users visualize, maintain and simplify projects, OmniPlan for iPad provides mobile access to important project management information with advanced features such as enhanced collaboration, change tracking and smart scheduling for project teams. Users can also share and synchronize entire projects over-the-air between multiple devices using a WebDAV service, allowing project teams to keep current while on the go; change tracking further allows users to easily see the latest updates at a glance.
OmniPlan for iPad also provides advanced resource management including resource splitting and hammock tasks with user-defined prerequisites along with a Smart Scheduling feature to help project managers schedule projects for both individual resources or the project as a whole, including working back from a fixed end date and both automatic and manual resource levelling. Custom filters allow users to easily focus on specific aspects of a project plan based on criteria such as resource, status, type or date range and users can also create multiple baselines for project history analysis. OmniPlan for iPad can be used as a standalone app or synchronize with OmniPlan for Mac using Omni’s Sync Server or any WebDAV server; users can also configure multiple server repositories for sharing different projects with different teams. OmniPlan for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $50.
As previously rumored, Virgin Mobile has announced that it will launch the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on Friday, June 29. The carrier, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, will charge $649 for the 16GB iPhone 4S and $549 for the 8GB iPhone 4, but will offer plans for as little as $35 a month. That low-end plan offers 300 voice minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited data—which is capped at 2.5GB of “full speed” data. The most expensive plan—which runs $55 monthly—offers unlimited calling, text, and data; the company will offer a $5 monthly discount to customers who sign up for automatic monthly payments. Mobile hotspot service will also be offered for an additional $15 a month, but will expand the “full speed data” cap to 3.5GB per month.
Apple has filed complaints against both Samsung and HTC seeking to block imports of the companies’ new smartphones. FOSS Patents reports that Apple’s new complaint against HTC is the third such complaint it has filed against the company with the International Trade Commission (ITC). Apple is claiming that HTC’s devices still infringe upon its “data tapping” patent, which HTC was found to infringe in last December; a total of 29 devices are targeted by the new complaint. It also filed a motion in its second California lawsuit against Samsung, seeking a preliminary injunction against the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, noting that the device “has been reported to be the most extensively preordered piece of consumer electronics in history.” Apple’s request is based on alleged infringement of both the aforementioned “data tapping” patent and a unified search patent, which is closely related to Siri; the Galaxy S III features an almost comically similar feature called “S Voice”.
Following its somewhat mysterious disappearance last month, Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil Speakers Touch has reappeared on the App Store, with an updated version that removes the “Enhanced Receiving” in-app purchase option that allowed users to receive audio streamed natively over AirPlay from iTunes or another iOS device. With version 3.1 users can also now set the app to stay awake in order to remain available for streaming at all times; the keep awake setting is also enabled automatically when charging.
Rogue Amoeba first reported the removal of Airfoil Speakers Touch on May 24, indicating at the time that the company did not have a clear answer as to why Apple had chosen to remove the already-approved application, and that it believed Airfoil Speakers Touch to be “in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements.” Rogue Amoeba CEO Paul Kafasis later posted a follow-up on the company’s blog, indicating that Apple had told the company that the app was in violation of Apple’s rule stating that “applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs” but had been unable to tell them which specific APIs were being misused. Kafasis goes on to address the speculation that the issue may have been the feature added in version 3.0 to receive audio natively from other AirPlay sources, but argues that the API rules should not apply as AirPlay is a network protocol and not an API. However, AirPlay is an encrypted network protocol requiring an AirPlay receiver to have an appropriate private key to decrypt the audio stream; although other developers have successfully reverse-engineered the Airport Express key to develop software-only AirPlay receivers, it is unclear what method Rogue Amoeba was using in their particular application. It is also worth noting, however, that manufactures of hardware devices such as AirPlay speakers are required to pay a licensing fee to Apple to use the technology; no such licensing program currently exists for software-only AirPlay implementations.
Wahoo Fitness has rolled out its new Blue SC Bluetooth 4.0 Bike Speed and Cadence Sensor for the iPhone 4S. The small, bike-mounted sensor works in conjunction with various apps—including the company’s own Fitness Odometer App and third-party offerings including Cyclemeter and Strava—to provide odometer functionality and workout data including speed, cadence, location, map, time, pace, calories, and workout history. The sensor also records lifetime bike mileage by week, month, and year—even when not connected to an iPhone, and requires no charging between rides for up to two years. Wahoo Fitness’ Blue SC sensor for the iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $60.
Popular online music service Spotify has added Push Notification support to its universal iOS app. With the latest version of Spotify, users can now receive notifications for events such as updates to their subscribed playlist and new subscribers to shared playlists; users can choose their preferred notifications in the settings. The update also adds an introduction guide for new users and fixes issues with Retina Display graphics on the iPad and high-resolution album art for items in offline playlists. Numerous other performance and stability improvements have also been made. Spotify requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Byte² has released an update to Office² HD, its Microsoft Office compatible document editing app for the iPad, adding support for Excel and PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 formats (XLSX, PPTX) and the ability to use revision tracking in documents. With Office² HD users can now track text changes and make comments in documents, allowing users to more effectively review and collaborate on documents while on the go. The new version also adds support for Microsoft SkyDrive, Egnyte and Soonr services and fixes problems opening Excel files with protected structures, improves support for conversion between Word 97-2003 (DOC) and Word 2007-2010 (DOCX) formats and improves issues with persistent table column widths in Word 2007-2010 documents and curved and bent connectors in Word 97-2003 documents. Office² HD is available from the App Store for $8.
Apple may soon introduce a new iPod shuffle, according to a purported Apple inventory listing. 9to5Mac has posted what are claimed to be prices and part numbers for new MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros that Apple is expected to announce next week at its WWDC event. Alongside those machines are seven listings for the same item—labeled B67, seemingly with six color options—that the report says are “probably” iPod shuffles based on the appearance of a seventh personalization option. The price for all of the B67 versions is AU$59, or roughly $58; the current iPod shuffle sells for AU$55, or $49 in the United States. While WWDC would seem to be an odd occasion for such an introduction, Apple may use the event to add Voice Control to the diminutive budget music player, a long-rumored feature that could dovetail with a larger discussion about the future of Siri. It is also possible, however, that the listings simply represent some other, as-yet-unannounced product for which Apple will offer personalization services.