AT&T has plans to move to an iPad-based Point of Sale system over the next two years, according to a new report. Citing unnamed sources as well as an AT&T spokesperson, 9to5Mac reports that the new system, which is being tested in AT&T’s Chicago “concept store”, will give employees the ability to perform all functions currently handled on behind-the-counter PCs on the iPad. These will include upgrade checks, account research, and servicing as point-of-sale terminals. The report goes on to claim that stores will receive Wi-Fi base stations meant specifically for the iPad system, and that lockers will be added to the back of the store for storage of the devices. According to the report, AT&T plans to aggressively deploy the new system for a larger test in a number of markets by early next year.
A new video has emerged comparing a purported front panel from a next-generation iPhone to that of an iPhone 4S. The video, posted by parts company Etrade Supply and available for viewing in embedded form below, is accompanied by a blog entry that offers up several still comparison photos. Together, they show that the next-gen iPhone’s screen will indeed be roughly 4 inches in size. The next-gen panel is also shown to be thinner—0.91mm thick, compared to 1mm for the iPhone 4S—and more transparent. The ambient light sensor has been moved to the side of the earpiece on the new panel, and the Home button is 0.3mm smaller in diameter than on the iPhone 4S, which also features larger top and bottom bezels. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone at a special media event on September 12. [via MacRumors | iPhoneinCanada]
Firemonkeys, a new gaming subsidiary of Electronic Arts born from the merger of FireMint and IronMonkey, has announced the coming release of Real Racing 3, the third instalment in the popular iOS racing game series. Expected to arrive later this year, Real Racing 3 will feature an all-new series of licensed, real-world tracks along with detailed, photorealistic cars from manufacturers such as Porsche, Dodge and Audi. The new lineup of tracks will be the first time that real world tracks have appeared in the series and will include famous tracks such as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Indianapolis Motro Speedway and Silverstone. The new version will also feature a 22 car grid allowing players to challenge themselves against 21 other drivers in a single race.
Avid has released an update to Avid Studio, its pro-grade video editing app for iPad users, adding Retina Display optimized graphics along with several other minor improvements for stability and workflow. The latest update adds support for Handbrake-encoded videos, fixes issues with audio fade-in and aspect ratio in certain cases, adds alpha channel support for PNG images and addresses issues with situations where removed media is still being used in a project. Avid also indicates in the release notes that 1080p export is currently being worked on and will hopefully be appearing in a future update. Avid Studio 1.1.1 requires an iPad running iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Rovio has released another update to Angry Birds, adding fifteen new tropical-themed levels along with a new set of power-ups. Continuing the beach vacation theme introduced in the last update, the newest version adds four new power-ups: King Sling, Birdquake, Super Seeds and Sling Scope to help players gain the elusive third star on even the most challenging levels. The game is available in two separate versions: Angry Birds ($1) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Angry Birds HD ($3) for the iPad.
Apple has updated its Apple Store app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding the ability for customers to have Pages, Keynote and Numbers pre-installed on any MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro ordered from the Apple Store. Added to the Apple Store on the web earlier this week, the new option allows users to choose to bundle the purchase of any of the iWork apps with their new Mac, which will come already installed from the Mac App Store in the same way as the iLife apps—iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie—presently do. The latest update to the Apple Store app also includes performance enhancements designed to improve the shopping experience. Apple Store 2.3 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a Smart Cover for the iPad that offers more functionality than the current accessory. Notably, the patent outlines a flexible display embedded in the cover itself, receiving power and data via a connector on the side. According to the patent, the display may be touch-sensitive, or may have a portion of the cover flap dedicated to an eInk display, which would require no power to maintain state. As noted by Engadget, possible uses for such a display are space for extra icons, media controls, or as a notification display; an image accompanying the patent application also shows a portion of the cover’s interior being used as a keyboard, like Microsoft’s recently announced Surface tablet cover. As with all Apple patents, this application does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research and interest in this area.
According to the latest data from IDC, Apple’s iPad continues to lead the worldwide tablet market, and by a wider margin than just one year ago. IDC estimates that Apple’s second calendar-quarter shipments of 17 million iPads accounted for 68.2 percent of the worldwide tablet market, up from 61.5 percent in the second calendar quarter of 2011. While the tablet market as a whole grew at a year-over-year rate of 66.2 percent, Apple’s growth is pegged at 84.3 percent, bested only by Samsung, which holds a 9.6 percent share of the market thanks to 117.6 percent year-over-year growth, and ASUS, which saw its shipments grow 115.5 percent year-over-year, good for 3.4 percent of the market. Following Apple and coming in third between Samsung and ASUS was Amazon with 5 percent of the market; Acer rounds out the top five with 1.5 percent of the market.
Epic Games and Chair Entertainment have released another new content update for the critically acclaimed iOS game Infinity Blade II. The new content pack, dubbed Skycages, expands upon the storyline of the Deathless with new areas to explore and relics to discover along with new enemies, weapons and other items. The update also includes a completely new weapon type to master—the Solar Transport Energy Blades along with a collection of 30 new other weapons, magic rings, shields, helmets and armor. New Achievements have also been added, as well as new gems and treasure maps and exclusive ClashMob challenges. Infinity Blade II is a universal app requiring an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad and is available from the App Store for $3.
Desk Pets has unveiled its new CarBot remote control car for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android devices. The CarBot is controlled with a free app that communicates with the car via an include IR dongle that plugs into the device’s headphone jack. Four interactive modes are available: Drift ‘n’ Race for full-speed racing, Maze mode, Battle mode for multi-player, and Personality mode, in which the car speeds and spins while flashing lights and emitting sounds. In addition, the USB-rechargeable battery is good for 25 minutes of play time for every 40 minutes of charging. Desk Pets’ CarBot remote control car for iOS and Android is available now for $30.
The Nevada Board of Economic Development on Wednesday endorsed a deal negotiated by the state to help lure Apple to Reno with $89 million in tax breaks. The Associated Press (via the San Jose Mercury News) reports that the action was largely ceremonial, since the panel lacked the authority to change the agreement. Nevada Government Brian Sandoval called the deal a “win” for the state and said that Apple’s commitment will generate interest from other companies. The deal will see Apple build a 350-acre data center east of Sparks, NV, to house servers, as well as a purchasing and business center in a currently rundown area near downtown Reno.
During a press briefing following the release of its latest quarterly earnings report, Sharp claimed that it is slated to build display panels for the next-generation iPhone. “Shipments will start in August,” said Sharp’s new president Takashi Okuda. Okuda declined to give a more specific date for shipments; however, recent reports have suggested Apple will hold a media event on September 12 at which it will announce the next-generation iPhone, with a launch to follow on September 21. According to the report, both LG Display and Japan Display are also going to supply display panels for the handset.
Following dueling reports from earlier in the week indicating that Apple had met with Twitter reps about a strategic investment, a new report claims that talks between the two companies centered more on product integration ideas. Citing multiple people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the investment idea never progressed into serious discussion or negotiations, while the product integration deal came together very quickly. According to the report, which cites two people briefed on the matter, the two companies continue to talk about future product integrations, which may include more deeply melding Twitter and iTunes as Apple prepares to phase out Ping later this year. Apple added Twitter integration in iOS 5 last year, and in OS X Mountain Lion last month.
iDevices has announced that it is now shipping its iShower speaker for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and other devices. First shown at the 2012 CES, the iShower is a Bluetooth-enabled, water-resistant speaker that’s designed to be used in the shower. Features include built-in play, pause, forward, rewind and volume buttons, a claimed 200 foot range, up to 15 hours of battery life from three AA batteries, a time display, tool-free installation, and the ability to pair with up to five devices at once. iDevices’ iShower is available now and sells for $100.
Amazon has released its new Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad. The app, which requires iOS 4.3 or later, allows users to watch movies and TV shows from Amazon’s streaming library. Amazon Prime members can watch titles from Prime Instant Video for no additional cost, while all users can watch over 120,000 videos available from the Amazon Instant Video store. Purchased and Rented videos can be downloaded to the device for offline video, and users can also add videos to their Watchlists and resume watching videos they have already started thanks to Amazon Whispersync. Amazon’s Instant Video app for the iPad is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Mophie has debuted its new Outride action sports case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Outride is both waterproof and impact resistant, made from lightweight polycarbonate with a modular quick-release mounting system, an integrated wide-angle lens, and a variety of included custom mounts for various applications. The company also plans to introduce a companion Outride app that will allow for video capture, as well as various social networking functions. Mophie’s Outride action sports case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S will be available in mid-September and will sell for $130-$150.
AMD has announced that it has hired Jim Keller away from Apple. Keller, who joined Apple as part of its acquisition of PA Semi, was a director in the platform architecture group and was focused on mobile products, playing a key role in the development of the A4 and A5 chip families. At AMD, Keller will serve as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores, and will report to CTO and senior vice president of technology and engineering Mark Papermaster, who is also an Apple veteran and who left the company in 2010 following the uproar over the iPhone 4’s antenna woes.
The opening statements and first testimony were given yesterday as the trial between Apple and Samsung kicked off in San Jose, CA. Reuters reports that Apple attorney Harold McElhinny gave the opening statement, focusing on the dramatic difference in design between Samsung’s pre-iPhone handsets and those that came after the iPhone’s launch. During the statement, McElhinny showed jurors an internal Samsung product analysis which said the iPhone’s hardware was “easy to copy”; another said the company was in a “crisis of design” due to Apple’s handset. “As we all know it is easier to copy than to innovate,” McElhinny told the court. “Apple had already taken the risks.”
The first expert witness called was longtime Apple designer Christopher Stringer, who helped design the iPhone and also shed light on Apple’s internal design process. Cnet recounts his testimony, during which he said that the process for any product begins with lots of sketching, before heading off to a CAD phase, and said his team’s role is to “imagine objects that don’t exist, and guide the process that brings them to life.” “We work together around a kitchen table,” Stringer said. “We have our lives all around the products. In some ways it feels like a small company.” Regarding the iPhone, Stinger was very direct in his criticism of Samsung’s devices. “We’ve been ripped off, it’s plain to see. It’s offensive,” he said. “It’s a huge leap of imagination to come up with something new, that’s something we did. By which you have to dismiss everything you know, forget everything you know, it can be difficult.”
Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller briefly took the stand towards the end of the day, and discussed influences on Apple’s products. “We don’t use any customer input in the new product process,” Schiller said. “We never go and ask the customer, ‘What feature do you want in the next product?’ It’s not the customer’s job to know. We accumulate that information ourselves.” Schiller is expected to testify again when proceedings resume on Friday, the New York Times reports.
The day ended with Judge Lucy H. Koh demanding to know who on Samsung’s legal team authorized the public release of evidence that she had ordered excluded from the case. The release of the evidence—which was related to a Sony-inspired, Apple-created iPhone design—was accompanied by a statement from Samsung, which has been reprinted by AllThingsD. “The Judge’s exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the jury the full story and show the pre-iPhone design for that and other phones that were in development at Samsung in 2006, before the iPhone,” the statement reads. “The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.”