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Crackle adds AirPlay Support

Crackle has released a major update to its universal iOS video streaming app adding support for watching movies and TV shows on an external TV via AirPlay or HDMI out. A division of Sony Picture Entertainment, the Crackle app allows users to stream popular full-length Hollywood movies and mainstream TV series directly to their device with unlimited, on-demand viewing of video content over either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. In addition to video output support, Crackle 3.0 also provides a completely redesigned user interface with the aim of making it easier for users to discover their favourite movies and TV shows along with an improved playback experience. Crackle requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. The Crackle service is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia; not all content is available outside of the U.S.

Instagram adds Location Features

A major new update to Instagram has been released adding support for location information in photos along with a number of design improvements. Instagram 3.0 now provides a new map view to allow users to view their photos by geographic location along with a profile setting to control which photos are displayed on the map. The update also features redesigned profile and uploads screens alongside other design improvements throughout the app. In addition, Photo feeds now provide infinite scrolling and users can flag inappropriate comments. Instagram 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Sprint offers $100 gift card with iPhone purchase

Sprint is now offering new customers a $100 gift card with the purchase of an iPhone 4S. According to Sprint’s promotion page, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models—both pre-owned and new—are eligible, bringing the effective price range of the iPhone 4S on Sprint down to Free-$250. Notably, the promotion only runs from August 14 - August 26, requires a new line of service, and pays out the $100 in the form of a Reward Card from American Express. Given Apple’s recent decision to match carrier and retail pricing and promotions in its own retail stores, Business Insider called a New York location and confirmed that Apple will match the deal, giving customers $100 in store credit in lieu of the Reward Card. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple in talks with cable operators over live TV

Apple is in talks with some of the U.S.’ largest cable operators about letting an Apple device serve as a set-top box for live television and other content, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that no deal has yet been reached with any of the operators, possibly due to their reluctance to let Apple establish a larger presence in the TV business. Although the report does not state whether the device in question is an iteration of the current Apple TV or a more sophisticated device, it does cite two people briefed on the matter who claimed that the technology could be embedded in a television.

Korean carriers SK, KT in talks with Apple over LTE

Korean carriers SK Telecom and KT are in talks to offer LTE service for Apple’s next-generation iPhone, according to a new report. Citing officials from the companies, the Korea Times reports that any such deal could require a change or addition to the handset’s supported LTE frequencies. While Verizon operates its LTE network on the 700 MHz frequency and AT&T uses both 700 MHz and 2100 MHz, SK is using the 800 MHz frequency, and KT is using the 1800 MHz frequency. “KT is in negotiation with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT’s 1.8-gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone,” said an anonymous KT source. A high-ranking SK executive added, “If Apple’s upcoming iPhone again fails to support LTE bandwidths, then this would be a very disappointing scenario as LTE is everywhere in Korea.” Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone at a special media event next month. [via MDN]

Coordinated ‘iPad mini’ rumors claim iPod-like thinness, small bezel

A number of separate reports claiming consistent information on the so-called “iPad mini” have appeared online. 9to5Mac seemingly led off the reports by posting an article displaying mockup renderings, supposed back casing part leaks, and purported cases for the device. According to the report, the iPad mini will not keep the thick bezels of the 9.7-inch iPad on all sides, but will instead feature smaller bezels along the sides in portrait mode, separated volume buttons, and a mic in the middle of the back. That premise is then used to validate a set of purported schematics from mid-July—originally posted by a hitherto unknown site called Think iOS—that showed such a device, measuring 7.3mm thick by 134.73 mm wide and 200.13 mm tall. These measurements would place the iPad mini in the same thickness range as an iPod touch.

Oddly, 9to5Mac links to separate corroborating reports from iMore and Daring Fireball, the latter of which goes into unusual detail to justify its assumptions, including comparisons between the proportions of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to the aspect ratios of their displays. For reasons unknown, 9to5Mac’s report appeared first, followed by the others, even though 9to5Mac said that its report was inspired by an article from Daring Fireball that was actually posted hours later. All three reports reference an unusual public discussion between Apple-focused bloggers on the discussion site Branch, suggesting that their reports were coordinated.

 

While some of the details in these reports line up with information that iLounge has heard from trusted sources, the schematic drawings mentioned in 9to5Mac’s report included an odd aspect ratio for the device’s screen, as seen in the above image, which led us to hold off on publishing them back in July. However, as the schematics do not provide exact dimensions for the screen itself, it’s possible that the discrepancy is due to accurate measurements of a rear shell, relying on assumptions regarding the placement and size of elements on the glass front face.

Pinterest update adds iPad support

Social content sharing service Pinterest has released a universal update to its iOS app adding native iPad support and making several general usability improvements for the iPhone interface. The Pinterest service allows users to collect and “pin” content from around the web for sharing with followers in an image focused service. Users can pin content from within the app, view general categories for existing pins, follower other users and create new pins with their iOS device’s camera.

The new iPad user interface provides a fullscreen layout based on the same design as the website with a swipe-based navigation menu that allows users to view different categories and share, like, re-pin and comment on posts; an integrated browser is also present to allow users to easily visit source web sites without needing to leave the app. The update also includes a new two-column layout and performance and stability improvements. Pinterest requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. [via TUAW]

Apple granted Radial Menus Patent

Apple has been granted a major patent relating to a new radial menu design for computer applications, according to a report from Patently Apple. In the newly granted patent 8,245,156, Radial menu selection, Apple describes a design for radial menus that can be used for both desktop and portable devices, working with a mouse or touch interactions using a finger, stylus or iPen, presenting menus and submenus at optimal locations. Such a new radial menu system would be an alternative method of presenting menu options from the traditional linear pull-down menus that have been used in most computer applications and operating systems to date.

Radial menus would appear as a collection of menu options presented as a set of wedges surrounding a central cursor position on a display, with submenus cascading from the first circle of wedges as necessary. Apple’s patent describes several unique aspects of radial menu implementations using sweep-based gestures, including Sweep Commands, Selecting and Activating Menu Items with Sweep Commands, Predicting Stopping Location of Sweep Commands, Serial Sweep Commands, Moving Menus and Spring-Load Commands. The patent was originally filed in 2008 and lists Charles Migos and Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux as the inventors.

Mix: EU iPhone Preorders, In-Cell Patent, Jobs’ Home Theft

According to a report from a German website, Deutsch Telekom will begin to offer preorder tickets for the next-generation iPhone today. The tickets will guarantee access to the new device on the day of release, without having to stand in line, a process the carrier used last year during the iPhone 4S launch. [via 9to5 Mac]

Following rumors that Apple plans to incorporate thinner touchscreens in upcoming devices, the company was awarded a patent today for in-cell screen technology. Unlike traditional touchscreens that place touch-sensitive elements between two pieces of glass, this method incorporates touch sensors directly into the LCD, reducing thickness while improving the screen’s appearance. [via AppleInsider]

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The Palo Alto home of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was burglarized on July 17, according to a just-discovered police report. Kariem McFarlin of Alameda, CA is alleged to have stolen over $60,000 worth of “computers and personal items,” which would raise questions regarding potential exploitation of the legendarily secretive Jobs’ personal files. According to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, however, the robbery “was totally random.” [via 9to5 Mac]

ThinkGeek Unveils Padintosh Case for iPad 2, iPad (3rd-Gen)

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Novelty retailer ThinkGeek has launched a new shell-style iPad 2 and iPad (3rd-Gen) case called Padintosh. Selling for $25, the case’s rear surface has been designed to resemble the front of a classic Macintosh computer from the 1980s, minus Apple’s logos and specific Macintosh branding. The plastic is 2mm thin, with cutouts for the iPad’s ports and buttons, as well as space to accommodate a Smart Cover. It’s available now from the company’s website.

 

Apple Releases (PRODUCT) RED iPhone 4 Bumper

Somewhat surprisingly, Apple this morning quietly released a new red-colored iPhone 4 Bumper as part of its partnership with the (PRODUCT) RED campaign, which shares profits as a donation to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. This is the first update to the Bumper since the original version’s openings were reconfigured to accommodate the subsequent CDMA iPhone 4, and the first new color option. Available for the same $29 as the rest of the line, Apple’s website lists it as shipping in 4-6 business days with no in-store availability at this time. Considering the near certainty of a newly redesigned iPhone being launched next month, the timing is odd, and a likely sign that Apple will keep the iPhone 4 and 4S around for at least another year.

Apple: Microsoft licensed iOS patents, Samsung declined

In recent testimony given in the Apple and Samsung patent trial, Apple patent licensing director Boris Teksler revealed that Apple has licensed its design patents to Microsoft, although the deal includes an “anti-cloning agreement” that prevents Microsoft from directly copying the iPhone and iPad in its own designs. Teksler described Apple’s decision to license its patents to Microsoft as consistent with its corporate strategy as the deal prohibited Microsoft from building direct copies of Apple’s products.

Teksler went on to note that Apple also offered a patent licensing arrangement to Samsung in 2010, although it viewed patents related to the “unique user experience” as a highly protected category, which included design patents involved in the current lawsuit between the two companies relating to the “look and feel” of the iPhone and iPad.  Teksler told the court that he could “count on one hand” the number of times that Apple had actually licensed those patents. The two companies were ultimately not able to come to a licensing agreement at that time and Apple filed a lawsuit in federal court in April 2011.

AT&T preparing for late September iPhone launch?

A new report suggests that AT&T has begun preparations for the launch of the next-generation iPhone, targeting the third or fourth week of September. BGR reports that AT&T has sent out internal communications to this effect advising employees that their availability will be required from that time period through to the middle of October. BGR also cites a separate AT&T source that indicates that the company is rescheduling a large training event that was originally planned for the first week of October due to a conflict with a “huge announcement.” This follows earlier reports of an Apple event scheduled for September 12th at which the company is expected to announce the new iPhone for a September 21st release.

Alleged next-generation iPhone Logic Board photos appear

On the heels of alleged photos of the new Dock Connector, French site Nowherelese.fr has now posted photos of what it believes to be the motherboard of the next-generation iPhone (Translated Link). The photos show both the front and back of the board, with the accompanying text noting that the format is “broadly similar” in format to other motherboards used by Apple and that the design appears to fit with the previously leaked photos of casings for the coming iPhone. [via Mac Rumors]

Things adds Cloud Sync

Cultured Code has released version 2.0 of its Things task management app for iOS and Mac adding its long-awaited cloud synchronization feature. Originally beginning development over two years ago, Things Cloud went into a closed beta in mid 2011 and was expanded to a limited public beta several months ago. The new feature replaces the former Bonjour Wi-Fi Sync that has been in place since Things’ debut in 2008 with the company’s own online service, Things Cloud, allowing users to keep data seamlessly synchronized across the iPad, iPhone and Mac versions of Things.

Things 2.0 also introduces a new Daily Review feature to help users keep on top of their tasks for each day at a glance and a new Date Picker to make selecting dates easier by implementing a scrolling, rather than page-based, calendar view. Additional enhancements include visual refinements, the ability to cancel to-dos, move completed to-dos immediately to the Logbook, and view whole Projects in the Today list. Things 2.0 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store in two versions: Things ($10) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Things for iPad ($20); a Mac desktop version of Things is also available from the Mac App Store separately for $50. Each Things 2.0 app is a free update for users of the corresponding prior version.

Alleged photos of new Dock Connector surface

New photos showing purported next-generation Dock Connector cable parts have appeared online. Nowhereelse.fr (Translated Link) has posted the images, which it claims are of the new Dock Connector as seen on the next-generation iPhone. Notably, the connectors in the photos appear to sport eight gold pins and to be capable of insertion in either orientation, consistent with iLounge’s prior report. [via MacRumors]

WordPress for iOS introduces major UI refresh

Automattic has released an update to WordPress for iOS feature a major UI redesign focused on improved navigation and ease of use. WordPress 3.1 now includes a sidebar menu for quick navigation along with a sliding panels interface on the iPad, updated colours and graphics and landscape support throughout the app. Additional enhancements include support for post formats, WordPress.com and Quick Photo on the iPad, and new WordPress.com stats. A new friend finder feature has also been added to help users find their friends with blogs on WordPress.com and the latest version also provides easier access to user’s sites and web dashboard directly from within the app. WordPress 3.1 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Purported next-gen iPhone battery appears online

Photos showing a purported next-generation iPhone battery unit have appeared online. 9to5Mac reports that the photos, which came from a reliable parts source, show new iPhone battery packs with a slightly higher capacity than past cells. The new battery sports a 1440 mAh capacity, up from 1430 mAh in the iPhone 4S and 1420 mAh in the iPhone 4. The voltage is also up, rising to 3.8 from 3.7 in the two prior units, and the watts-per-hour measurement has also increased to 5.45, from 5.3 on the iPhone 4S and 5.25 on the iPhone 4. Based on the labeling, it appears the battery was manufactured in June 2012. The lack of a significantly higher capacity battery suggests that Apple has either selected very efficient, newer LTE-capable chips for the next-generation iPhone in an effort to keep battery life comparable to that of the iPhone 4S, or that battery life will drop from the prior model. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone at a special media event on September 12.

Apple Stores now price-matching iPhone discounts

Apple’s retail stores have started to match retailers’ and carriers’ discounted iPhone prices, according to a new report. Citing an unnamed source, MacRumors reports that the stores have received authorization to match “Market Support-approved” prices from major retailers and carriers. As such, a discount of $49.01 will be taken off select iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models, depending on the carrier. The report notes that customers will likely need to cite the source of the lower pricing in order for Apple to honor the offer; the policy appears to apply only at Apple’s retail stores and not to online orders.

Acase unveils F1 case for third-gen iPad, iPad 2

Acase has unveiled its new F1 case for the third-generation iPad and iPad 2. The F1 is a folio-style case, offering a protective polycarbonate back with a non-slip edge, and a folding leather cover that allows for a variety of viewing and typing angles. Other features include a red leather interior and open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Acase’s F1 case for the third-generation iPad and iPad 2 is available now and sells for $40.

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