A number of photos showing a very early prototype of the iPad have surfaced online. Citing a December 2011 deposition of Apple Senior VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, Network World reports that Ive recalls seeing what is referred to as the “035 mockup” sometime between 2002 and 2004, when the company was “first exploring tablet designs that ultimately became the iPad.” The mockup itself is easily identifiable as an early version of the iPad, despite the fact that it lacks Home, sleep/wake, and volume buttons. The device is far thicker than the original iPad—more closely resembling white iBook enclosures of the day—but does feature a Dock Connector mounted at the bottom, as well as a headphone jack which is mounted on the side. To see the complete collection of photos, follow the above link. [via 9to5Mac]
Urbanears has introduced its new Zinken on-ear headphones. Developed to work well for both traditional users and DJs, the Zinken features features swivel ear caps, an adjustable headband, 40mm dual diaphragm drivers, dense foam ear cushions for noise isolation, a collapsible design for easy portability, a coiled cable with one 3.5mm end and one 6.3mm end, letting the user connect to both traditional headphone ports and DJ equipment with on cord, and a “ZoundPlug” audio output socket that allows for music sharing with another pair of earphones or headphones. Urbanears’ Zinken headphones are available now in seven colors and sell for $140.
AT&T has announced its new Mobile Share plans with Unlimited Talk & Text. Designed for customers with multiple devices, the plans offer a set amount of data along with unlimited talk and text; customers are also charged for every device that’s added to the plan. Plans start at $40 for 1GB of monthly data and go up to $200 for 20GB, while the cost of adding each smartphone to the plan goes down as the data amounts rise—each smartphone costs $45 on the 1GB plan, but only $30 when you choose one of the three most expensive plans. In addition, customers can add basic phones to their plans for $30 a month, laptops, netbooks, and LaptopConnect cards for $20 a month, and, most importantly for iPad users, tablets and gaming devices for just $10 a month; additional data will be charged at a rate of $15 per GB. AT&T’s new Mobile Share plans will be available in late August.
Adobe has released an update to its universal Adobe Reader app for iOS devices introducing support for adding text annotations to PDFs and improving compatibility with more complex PDF forms. Adobe Reader for iOS allows users to access, manage and share PDF files, including support for PDF Portfolios, password-protected documents, forms and Adobe LiveCycle rights-managed PDFs. PDFs can be opened in Adobe Reader for third-party iOS apps supporting the “Open In” feature and users can search text, view PDFs in page-based or continuous scrolling modes, and access bookmarks and thumbnails for navigating through PDF documents. Annotation tools provide the ability to highlight, strikethrough and underline text, make freehand annotations and add comments to a document. With Adobe Reader 10.3, users can now use forms that have Field Validation, Calculation and Formatting. The update also provides an improved file organizer allowing users to create folders and copy, move, rename and delete PDF files stored within the app. Additional enhancements include support for looking up definitions in the iOS 5 system-wide dictionary and bug and performance fixes.
Sonos has updated the iOS controller apps for its wireless music system adding high resolution graphics for Retina Display devices and improved volume controls. The free Sonos Controller app, available in separate iPhone and iPad versions, allows users of Sonos wireless music systems to use their iOS devices to remotely control playback of content from iTunes, NAS devices and a variety of online music and radio streaming services. Users can search for songs and control the music selection and volume in each room individually, configure alarms and sleep timers and playback music from Airplay sources. In addition to Retina Display graphics, the latest update also adds support for using the hardware volume buttons on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.3 or later to control the Sonos playback volume. Sonos Controller for iPhone and iPod touch and Sonos Controller for iPad are available separately from the App Store as free downloads.
Optrix is now shipping its XD Sport case for the iPhone, iPhone 4S, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Like the company’s prior HD Sport mount, the XD Sport is comprised of a ruggedized case, offering the ability to access most device functions while protecting against intrusion and damage from water, dirt, and shocks. The XD Sport also features a built-in 175º wide-angle aluminum and glass lens designed for use in sports video recording, and includes a number of accessories, including a curved mount, a flat mount, a quick-release latch, a lens cap, and a rubberized sled that doubles as a case. Optrix’s XD Sport case for the iPhone and iPod is available now and sells for $99; iPod touch sled sold separately.
Scosche has announced that its Realm RH600 series of on-ear headphones are now available. The lineup includes the RH656, an iLounge Best of Show Award-winning model featuring 40mm drivers, viscoelastic memory foam ear pads, a ported sound chamber, an adjustable headband, the company’s tapLine III in-line remote control and mic, and an angled 3.5mm connector. Also available is the RH600 model, offering all the features of the RH656 save for the remote and mic. Scosche’s new Realm RH656 and RH600 on-ear headphones are available now in black or white and sell for $130 and $100, respectively; for more information, see our full review of the RH656.
Griffin Technology has debuted its new Binder Insert Case for the third-generation iPad and iPad 2. The Binder Insert Case is designed to secure an iPad inside a standard 3-ring binder for easy note-taking and research, and features reinforced grommets, a loop for holding a stylus or pen, and accommodations for right- or left-handed users, with open access to all ports and controls from either side. Alongside the case, Griffin is releasing a new Quizzam! iOS App, designed to enable wireless interaction between students and teachers, including two modes for monitoring students’ answers to teacher-posed questions. The Binder Insert Case for iPad is available now and sells for $25; the Quizzam! is also available now as a $1 download from the App Store.
Velocomp has unveiled its new iBike Powerhouse cycling fitness system for the iPhone and iPod touch. The system consists of a water- and shock-resistant case, electronics to perform cycling measurements, including power, a wireless speed and cadence sensor, and a handlebar mounting system. This hardware works in conjunction with the iBike Powerhouse app to measure results and guide users through a multi-week fitness program, providing feedback such as when to pedal with more effort, speed, when to slowdown, and so on, custom-tailored to each user’s current level of fitness and end goal. Velocomp’s iBike Powerhouse system is available now and sells for $279.
AT&T may be planning to charge iPhone users extra for FaceTime over Cellular capabilities, according to a new report. Citing a new alert that appears in iOS 6 beta 3 warning users that in order to enable FaceTime over cellular, they must contact AT&T, 9to5Mac reports that it appears AT&T is planning to charge extra for the feature, as they do for Personal Hotspot access. AT&T provided a statement for the report, which reads, “We’re working closely with Apple on the new developer build of iOS6 and we’ll share more information with our customers as it becomes available.” Notably, 9to5Mac was unable to bring up the same error message when enabling the FaceTime over Cellular feature on a Verizon iPad; instead, the feature enabled without issue. Apple announced FaceTime over Cellular last month as one of the new features coming in iOS 6.
Apple’s next-generation iPhone will feature a thinner screen and use new nano SIM technology, according to a pair of new reports. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the next-generation iPhone will sport panels using in-cell technology. In-cell integrates touch sensors into the LCD, reducing the panel’s overall thickness, and improving the quality of displayed images. The report claims that Sharp, Japan Display, and LG Display are all currently mass producing panels for the device.
In a separate report, the Financial Times reports that European mobile operators are currently stockpiling a new, miniature SIM card—referred to as a nano-SIM—in anticipation of the technology being used in Apple’s next-generation iPhone. Citing two sources with knowledge of the situation, the report claims that operators expect the next-gen iPhone to take advantage of the standard, which Apple helped shape. The report notes that Apple caught some operators by surprise by adopting the micro SIM standard in the iPhone 4 and original iPad in 2010, leading to supply shortages in the early weeks of those devices going on sale. Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone sometime this fall.
Xobni has released an update to Smartr Contacts adding support for iCloud mail and Facebook messaging along with a number of other interface improvements. Smartr Contacts provides a contact management solution designed to provide an aggregated view of contact information from multiple sources such as e-mail conversations and social networking profiles. Version 1.6 adds support for bringing iCloud e-mail messages into Smartr Contacts as well as opening Facebook messages directly from within the app. Users can also now view and reply to e-mails from their contacts and view and open any calendar appointment along with the profile for each attendee.
The update also improves contact editing with archiving and the ability to view the source for a given phone number as well as improving searching, phone number ranking and location data from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Additional enhancements include unlimited contact and message availability, improvements to social update information and performance, speed, stability and security enhancements. Smartr Contacts for iPhone is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has revealed that it is starting to transition users away from the me.com email addresses and Apple IDs available through MobileMe to new @icloud.com addresses. In its iOS 6 beta 3 change log, a portion of which was posted online by MacRumors, Apple says that “icloud.com email addresses are now available for iCloud mail users. Users signing up for new Apple IDs, or enabling Mail on their iCloud account for the first time, will automatically receive an @icloud.com email address instead of a me.com email address. iCloud users with @me.com addresses that have been used with iOS 6 beta 3 will receive an @icloud.com email address that matches their @me.com address.” As noted in the report, Apple made a similar transition away from @mac.com addresses when it moved from .Mac to MobileMe in 2008.
Apple has seeded developers with the third beta version of iOS 6. While the update has yet to appear on Apple’s Developer website, it is available as an over-the-air update for those running the prior iOS 6 beta on their devices. The update weighs in at 347MB for the iPhone 4S; according to the brief release notes, the update “contains bug fixes and improvements.”
A judge has ruled against Bose in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by the company against a number of well-known makers of speaker docks for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. CE Pro reports that the judge ruled that SDI Technologies Inc.—the parent company of iHome—Imation Corp., Memorex Products Inc., 3XM Consulting LLC, and D.P.I. Inc did not violate a Bose patent for “Interactive Sound Reproducing” that covers an audio system that receives signals from a computer and converts the digital signal to an audio signal. The suit covered 144 products in total, including at least one AirPlay-capable unit.
“In our minds, the decision is a boon to Apple users and the entire audio technology industry that’s built up around Apple products,” said a spokesperson for Thompson Coburn, the firm that represented Imation and DPI. “Bose targeted three relatively low-cost producers of speaker docks with the belief they wouldn’t fight the lawsuit and pony up a license fee to Bose. Had these smaller manufacturers folded, Bose likely would have lodged similar infringement claims against higher-cost producers, continuing until it had licensed the entire market. This decision promotes the healthy competition that keeps prices down for Apple consumers.”
Arctic Accessories is now offering its Wallet Stand case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Wallet Stand is a snap-on style hard polycarbonate case that features a fabric back, an integrated pouch that stores up to 2 cards or cash, and a stiff, flap for the pocket that doubles as a kickstand and secures itself to the back of the case using Velcro when it’s not needed. Arctic’s Wallet Stand case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now in grey or blue and sells for $26.
Apple plans to launch a 7.85-inch iPad, according to The New York Times. Citing people with knowledge of the project, the report claims that the device will sell for “significantly less” than the third-generation iPad’s current base price of $399, and will be announced later this year. Such a device has been repeatedly rumored over the past few months; last week, a photo of a purported case mold for the device was spotted online.
EK Ekcessories is now shipping its new Dri Cat waterproof case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Dri Cat is a hardshell case that uses a “silicone shield” to allow for use of the device—including the rear camera—while encased. Other features include a snap-together design and an integrated lanyard or strap with carabiner clip. EK Ekcessories’ Dri Cat case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $60.
The Omni Group has released an update to its OmniPlan project management app for the iPad adding PDF export and support for generating HTML task and resource reports along with several other bug fixes and usability improvements. In OmniPlan 1.1 documents can now be printed directly from the document picker in Edit mode or exported in PDF, HTML or OmniPlan formats. Gantt charts can be e-mailed directly as PDF files in either full canvas or paginated formats and users can now create task and resource reports as standalone HTML web pages for sharing or posting to a team server. The update also fixes some Gantt drawing alignment issues when using baselines, improves the clarity of the calendar exceptions list, and fixes several WebDAV related synchronization issues. OmniPlan requires an iPad and iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $50.
A hacker has discovered a method for obtaining in-app purchases without having to pay for them. Citing Russian blog i-ekb.ru, 9to5Mac reports that the method was published by a Russian developer, and works on all devices running iOS 3.0 or later, no jailbreak required. According to the report, the hack involves the installation of two certificates and the changing of a DNS record in Wi-Fi settings. The report claims that the hack does not work on 100 percent of apps, failing with certain purchases in certain regions; the developer of the hack also receives unnecessary data when using it—including the user’s location—and for obvious reasons we recommend against trying this on your own device.