At a recent speaking engagement, Apple senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive revealed that Apple thought about ceasing work on the iPhone at multiple points during its development, the Independent reports. “There were multiple times where we nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can’t solve,” Ive said, explaining that one such problem involved an early prototype “where I put the phone to my ear and my ear dials the number” accidentally. Ive went on to explain that Apple frequently kills internal projects that are “good” but not necessarily up to the company’s exacting standards.
“We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realized we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I’m trying to talk a little too loud about something and realizing I’m trying to convince myself that something’s good,” he said. “You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it’s OK but it’s not great. And I think some of the bravest things we’ve ever done are really at that point when you say, ‘that’s good and it’s competent, but it not’s great’.”
Inkling has updated its iPad interactive book application adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch along with synchronization features designed to help with reading content across multiple devices. Inkling 3.0 is now a universal app and users can download and read all of their purchased Inkling content on their iPhone and iPod touch at no additional charge. Highlights and bookmarks are also now automatically synced between devices, including not only iOS devices but also Windows PCs and Macs. Inkling on the iPhone and iPod touch features a user interface specifically designed for the smaller screen and also allows users to download content on a per-chapter basis to conserve space and data usage. Inkling 3.0 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Good.iWare has updated GoodReader with direct support for Microsoft SkyDrive and improved support for a number of other online services via WebDAV. With GoodReader 3.17 users can now configure server-style connections to Microsoft SkyDrive as well as configuring automatic synchronization. The update also adds support for Novell NetStorage servers and Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint servers via WebDAV and adds a new “Windows-style name encoding” setting for WebDAV connections to address issues when uploading or synchronizing files named with accented characters to Windows-based servers. GoodReader is available in separate, device-specific versions: GoodReader for iPad ($5) and GoodReader for iPhone ($5).
Russian carrier MTS has publicly complained about Apple’s iPhone pricing in the country, as well as the company’s policies on how it’s sold. Bloomberg reports that MTS’ vice president of marketing, Vasyl Latsanych, was in New York for an event, and used the forum to express frustration over the iPhone’s price, as well as Apple policies that demand carriers’ retail locations to meet certain standards. “They’re more in a dictatorship mode where they say, ‘This is what you have to do or you don’t get the iPhone,’” said Latsanych. “Being arrogant with your partners in big markets doesn’t pay off.”
Michael Hecker, MTS’s vice president for strategy and corporate development, commented at the same event that Apple would be able to gain a larger share of the Russian market if it dropped the price or helped to subsidize the handset. “If Apple showed more flexibility then they would have a higher penetration in our markets,” Hecker said. The company later issued a statement through its representative Joshua Tulgan, saying “while we have differences with Apple, we have a constructive relationship. Smartphones like the iPhone are important to our customers and our economy and we want to get them into the hands of as many people as possible.”
Vimov has released a major update to Weather HD adding a number of new features including 3D weather maps, Push Notifications for severe weather alerts, new social features and more. Weather HD 2 adds a new set of high-quality weather animations along with unique 3D Weather Maps and a QuickView feature that allows users to easily see the weather at multiple locations at once. Users can also share the current weather with their friends, and users in the U.S. and Europe can configure Push Notifications to receive severe weather alerts. An optional MultiForecast feature is also now available via in-app purchase that adds Accuweather and MeteoGroup weather data. Weather HD 2 is available from the App Store for $1.
Apple has added a new Hulu Plus app to the Apple TV. The app, which may require a restart before appearing, allows for access to the online streaming video service. As with Netflix, users can subscribe to Hulu Plus directly from the Apple TV using their iTunes account to pay the $7.99 monthly fee; a free one-week trial is currently being offered. Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney, and is also available on Apple’s mobile iOS devices via a free app.
Apple is expected to hold a special media event on the week of September 12, according to two new reports. Citing sources who have been accurate in the past, iMore first reported that Apple will hold an event on September 12, and AllThingsD has since “confirmed” with unnamed sources that Apple is currently planning an event for that week. While the latter report simply speculates that the event will include the introduction of the next-generation iPhone, iMore claims that the handset will be unveiled at the event—ahead of a September 21 release—alongside a smaller iPad. Notably, iLounge reported earlier that the iPad mini will not be ready to ship as the same time as the new iPhone, and as such may see its debut moved to a separate event; our report also mentions that the fifth-generation iPod touch is likely to debut at the same event as the new iPhone.
Satechi has introduced its new Headrest Mount for the iPad and other tablet devices. The mount attaches to most automotive headrests via an adjustable clip, and offers a tilting, rotating mount with rubber protective bumpers for a secure grip and to prevent scratching. Satechi’s Headrest Mount for iPad and other tablets is available now and sells for $40.
Apple at one point discussed making a strategic investment in Twitter, according to a pair of new reports. Citing people briefed on the matter, the New York Times reports that the considered investment was in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and would have valued Twitter at more than $10 billion. While the report notes that the two companies are not in negotiations at the moment, the Wall Street Journal follows up with a report of its own, citing people familiar with the matter who claim that the discussions were held over a year ago. The latter report goes on to claim that the talks didn’t immediately result in a deal and aren’t currently active. Apple added direct Twitter integration to iOS starting with iOS 5, and subsequently added sharing support for the service to Mac OS X in Mountain Lion.
More photos claiming to show a partly-assembled next-generation iPhone have appeared online. Repair shop iLab has posted a number of photos showing the various purported repair parts for the next-generation iPhone pieced together to form a hollow but otherwise very convincing shell of an iPhone. As in prior leaks, the phone has a smaller dock connector on the bottom, alongside speaker and microphone holes and the relocated headphone jack, a centrally-placed FaceTime camera, a metal plate covering the majority of the rear, and what appears to be a larger screen. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone this fall. [via 9to5Mac]
Best Buy is now offering the iPhone 4 on-contract for $49.99. As noted by 9to5Mac, the pricing is good on black or white 8GB models from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. All three require a two-year service plan. Notably, the iPhone 3GS saw a similar price drop last year prior to the introduction of the iPhone 4S, at which time it became free with a two-year commitment.
Photos of a number of new, early iPhone and iPad prototypes have been revealed as part of the ongoing case between Apple and Samsung. The Verge has published a number of the photos, including some showing an iPad prototype with a built-in kickstand and iPod branding, CAD drawings of an iPad from 2004 that look quite similar to the iPad we have today. Also featured are a number of iPhone prototypes, including one with eight sides thanks to diagonal corners, early models with “MENU” written on the Home button, and one labeled “n90”—the supposed codename for the iPhone 4—that lacks a Home button and appears to have a much smaller screen than that device, despite sharing some aesthetic qualities. You can see the full gallery at the above link.
Apple has entered into an agreement to purchase mobile security firm AuthenTec. Reuters reports that the deal—worth $8 per share, or roughly $356 million—was disclosed in an SEC filing. AuthenTec makes mobile security software and chips for mobile phones, as well as chips for fingerprint recognition and near-field communication (NFC), the latter being a technology that has been repeatedly speculated upon in Apple’s upcoming devices. AuthenTec currently counts Apple competitors such as Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, and Fujitsu as customers.
Apple has received a stay on a court order that would have led to it posting pro-Samsung messages. Bloomberg reports that a London court has ruled that the order — which called for Apple to post a notice on its U.K. site and take out advertisements in British newspapers explaining that Samsung hadn’t copied the iPad — will be stayed until after Apple’s appeal is heard in October.
Invoxia has announced that it is now shipping its AudiOffice accessory for iOS devices. The AudiOffice is designed to serve as a handset accessory, speakerphone, and traditional speaker system, offering a built-in dock for the iPhone and iPod touch, a USB cable connection for the iPad, Bluetooth for wireless pairing with any compatible device, a wired handset for personal conversations, two MEMS digital microphones for speakerphone use, and an array of four speakers with dual bass ports for use in both speakerphone and traditional music playback modes. Invoxia’s AudiOffice for iOS devices is available now and sells for $299.
Avko Labs has released Feed The Penguin, a new logic game featuring unique, original artwork drawn using brushes and special painting techniques. The game puts the player in the role of a penguin who lives in a six-room flat and must solve logic problems in order to get fish, biscuits, strawberry ice cream and sausages. To solve the puzzles players plot the penguin’s path by adjusting a curve to collect all of the food items while avoiding obstacles such as boots, towels, teapots, cockroaches and spiders. Each level also includes three light bulbs that players are challenged to light up by passing over with the penguin in order to unlock the next room of levels. The game provides six rooms consisting of 20 levels each, for a total of 120 levels. Feed The Penguin is currently available from the App Store in a Premium version for $1; a free, three-room version is also expected to be released soon.
Google has released a major update to its Google Earth iOS app adding support for 3D cityscapes along with a new Tour Guide feature. Google Earth 7.0 now allows users to access a 3D flyover view of select cities; 3D imagery currently is currently available for Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva and Rome with new cities said to be added in the coming weeks. A new Tour Guide feature in the latest version also allows users to virtually explore new places with tours of major cities, historic landmarks and natural wonders. Google Earth 7.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. The new 3D imagery feature requires an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or third-generation iPad.
Path has released an update to its iPhone personal social networking application adding support for sharing movies and books and making several improvements to capturing and enhancing photos within the app. With Path 2.5 users can now share the movies they watch and books they read complete with full previews, actor and author pages, synopses and reviews. The update also sports an improved camera mode that allows users to capture both square and landscape photos and videos and fix and improve photos with Glo, Depth, Zoom and Crop tools.
The new version also improves both invitations and notifications, allowing users to send personalized invitations to friends that can include recorded audio messages. Users can also receive newly designed and more easily accessible rich notifications from friends and take advantage of a new “For Friends” notification feature for keeping up with conversations. Additional enhancements include larger photo and video display, support for taking photos using the volume button, simplified single-tap video recording, and new friend suggestions and “nudging” features to help encourage participation. Path 2.5 requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Rovio has released another free content update to Angry Birds Space, the latest instalment in its popular game franchise. The new update expands upon the food planet Utopia series introduced in May, adding two new characters and 20 additional levels. The Orange Bird gets a superhero makeover in this edition and a brand new space egg character is introduced. The update also includes 10 new bonus levels that can be unlocked by achieving three stars on the prior levels and a gigantic new boss fight to test players’ skills. Angry Birds Space is available in separate iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions: Angry Birds ($1) and Angry Birds HD ($3).
Google warned Samsung against copying Apple with its Galaxy Tab designs, according to a new report. Citing an unredacted version of Apple’s trial brief for its U.S. trial against Samsung, AllThingsD reports that Apple claims Samsung was well aware of its products’ similarity to Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and that the company discussed the fact internally. “Samsung’s documents show the similarity of Samsung’s products is no accident or, as Samsung would have it, a ‘natural evolution,’” Apple claims in its brief. “Rather, it results from Samsung’s deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone’s and iPad’s extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface. Apple will rely on Samsung’s own documents, which tell an unambiguous story.”
Apple then points to purported evidence showing that Google told Samsung in February 2012 that its “P1 and “P3” tablets—which became the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1—were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.” Samsung’s own Product Design Group purportedly noted that it was “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models, a thought that was repeated by a group of famous designers who said the device “looked like it copied the iPhone too much” during a Samsung-sponsored evaluation. The trial between the two is set to kick off next week.