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News

iOS 6 to get re-written core apps, Facebook integration

iOS 6, the upcoming version of Apple’s operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, will offer rewritten versions of the stock applications and Facebook integration, according to a pair of new reports. Citing a source with deep connections to Apple, iDownloadBlog claims that iOS 6 will offer stock applications that feature improved capabilities and some “major surprises”, but will look nearly identical to iOS 5 when looking at the lock or Home screens. “Basically, you wont know it is iOS 6 until you launch apps”, said the source. Separately, TechCrunch reports that iOS 6 will offer Facebook integration. The report claims that the sharing options and interface will likely be very similar to the Twitter integration found in iOS 5, and that the move should allow for more seamless handling of Facebook authentication within applications. Apple is expected to introduce iOS 6 during its keynote address at WWDC on June 11.

Vonage Mobile adds Bluetooth support

Vonage has updated its Vonage Mobile calling app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding Bluetooth support and several other messaging related enhancements. Vonage Mobile allows iOS device users to place free voice-over-IP calls to other Vonage Mobile app users and make calls directly to landline phone numbers for low, per-minute rates with up to 3,000 minutes per month of free calls to phone numbers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for a limited time. Version 1.5 adds the ability to use any iOS-supported Bluetooth headset for making calls with the app and adds text messaging improvements allowing users to share address book contacts and include photos, locations and contacts in a single message. Users can also now open received locations directly in the Maps app and send website links to other Vonage Mobile users. The update also simplified the registration process and improves call quality, connectivity and performance. Vonage Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download. Calls to International and some domestic U.S. and Canadian numbers may require credit to be purchased via in-app purchase.

Apple reminds users that MobileMe goes dark June 30th

Apple has begun sending out e-mails to current and former MobileMe subscribers as a reminder of the service’s scheduled shutdown on June 30, 2012 and advising users to ensure that they download any Gallery photos and iDisk files and move any iWeb sites that are still hosted on the service before that date.

The subscription-based MobileMe service was replaced by the free iCloud service last fall with the release of iOS 5; at that time Apple announced the MobileMe sunset date of June 30, 2012, providing users with the option of migrating their MobileMe accounts over to iCloud at their own pace. Not all of MobileMe’s services were transitioned to iCloud, however, so users who migrated their MobileMe accounts to iCloud were allowed to continue using the Gallery, iDisk and web publishing services from their former MobileMe account up until the scheduled MobileMe shutdown date. An Apple support article provides additional guidance on saving content from the MobileMe service both for users who have already migrated to iCloud and for those who are unable to migrate to iCloud due to using non-iCloud-compatible devices.

Nano-SIM Standard receives ETSI approval

The Verge reports that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute has adopted a proposal for a new nano-SIM format. The new design will be approximately 40 percent smaller than the existing micro-SIM format and will be packaged in a way designed to be backward-compatible with existing SIM card designs in much the same way that micro-SIM cards are currently distributed.

Today’s announcement follows several weeks of discussion and conflict between two major proposals for the new standard put forward by competing mobile groups; Motorola, Nokia and RIM had proposed their own design in opposition to a proposal made by Apple. Both designs were revised throughout the selection process with the resulting final designs now very similar to each other with exactly the same exterior dimensions. ETSI has not yet published the specifications for the new standard and has declined to comment on which group’s design was selected. [via Mac Rumors]

IK Multimedia ships iRig MIC Cast

IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping its iRig MIC Cast ultra-compact microphone for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The iRig MIC Cast is a miniaturized unidirectional microphone designed for recording podcasts, interviews, lectures, voice memos and more. The accessory connects to an iOS device’s headphone jack and the bumper-friendly design is also compatible with a wide variety of cases. A stereo mini-jack output allows users to connect a set of headphones or speakers for real-time monitoring of recordings and the device also includes a switch to toggle between high and low gain settings to adjust for different sources and recording environments.

The iRig MIC Cast uses a unidirectional condenser capsule mic designed to isolate the intended audio source with a tight pickup pattern to minimize extraneous background noise, promising “crystal clear sound.” A highly portable tabletop stand is included to allow users to position their device in an optimal position for audio recording or FaceTime calls. iRig MIC Cast can be used with any app that supports audio input, including standard phone calls, FaceTime, Skype, and other Voice-over-IP apps; users can make recordings with Apple’s built-in Voice Memos app or any number of other audio recording apps available from the App Store. IK Multimedia also provides two free apps designed to work with the iRig MIC Cast: iRig Recorder for basic voice recording and editing and VocaLive which provides a multi-effects processing app for vocalists. iRig MIC Cast is available now and sells for $40.

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