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Missing iPad tracked to home of TSA agent

  • September 28, 2012
  • iPad

An ABC News investigation team tracked an iPad from a security checkpoint to the home of a TSA agent. During the investigation, which sought to determine what was happening to items that were disappearing from airport checkpoints, ten iPads were left at airport security locations, and nine were returned according to agency guidelines. But in one case, Apple’s free iPad tracking software led investigators to the home of TSA officer Andy Ramirez.

In a statement to ABC News, the TSA said it has “a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates any employee who is determined to have stolen from a passenger.” The TSA reports that 381 of its officers have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012.

Yantouch introduces Black Diamond 3 speaker

Yantouch has debuted its Black Diamond 3 wireless speaker — a significant change from its former iterations as an iPhone dock and passive lamp. The redesigned BD3 is a now an iOS-compatible Bluetooth speaker, though it retains and enhances its color-changing lamp functionality, now featuring 16 million colors.

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Two speaker drivers power the device, which can be controlled via remote. USB or wall power can be used for both the color-shifting light and speakers. No price or release date has been announced yet. For additional pictures and details, check out our First Look here.

Updated photo gallery: every new 2012 iPod shuffle

iLounge’s 2012 iPod shuffle photo gallery has been updated to feature all of this year’s new shuffle colors, including the red, silver, and green models, the latter only just becoming available after unexpectedly shipping later than the rest.

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Our previous article about the photos offers more details on the tones and textures, which have shifted from the original 2010 versions.

Report: Apple music streaming nixed over royalties

Apple planned to build its own Pandora-style music streaming service—allegedly as a new iPhone 5 feature—until talks with the world’s largest music publisher Sony/ATV reached a late impasse, according to the New York Post. The two companies couldn’t agree on a per-song rights fee, sources said, dashing the possible deal. While those rights are normally a tenth of a penny per stream, Sony/ATV sought a higher rate from Apple. According to the report, Sony/ATV is also reportedly set to leave the ASCAP and BMI copyright associations, throwing a wrench into future negotiations with other services over streaming rights. [via CNET]

iPhone 5 debuts in 22 countries, adds regional carriers

As of midnight, 22 additional countries saw the iPhone 5 become available from Apple. The full list includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Prices vary from country to country, but some customers are already complaining about the high costs of the new phone—an annual tradition resulting from international exchange rates, taxes, and country-specific costs of doing business.

The iPhone 5 was also released on a number of regional carriers today, and some of the carriers are already offering discounts on the phone. The regional carrier list includes Cellcom, nTelos, and Appalachian Wireless — all three are knocking $50 off the standard price of the major carriers — as well as C Spire, GCI, and Cricket Communications. Cricket is notably offering a no-contract iPhone 5 for $499. [via PC Magazine]

Apple CEO Cook “sorry” for Maps, suggests other apps

A letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook posted on Apple’s website apologizes for the much-maligned launch of iOS 6 Maps. The letter begins, “At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Cook’s letter also suggests trying alternatives while Apple is “improving Maps,” naming apps from Bing, MapQuest, and Waze, as well as mentioning the option to create a home screen icon for Google or Nokia’s web apps. He notes that the new Maps has already been installed on 100 million iOS devices, with “nearly half a billion locations” searched for—interestingly, an average of less than five location searches per device. The letter is currently at the bottom of Apple.com’s front page, as “A letter to our customers regarding Maps.”

CableJive sells DockBoss+ 30-pin to Lightning adapter

CableJive has announced the DockBoss+ ($30), an adapter that connects Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable to existing 30-pin docking stations. Although the solution’s a somewhat complicated workaround with plenty of extra wiring, the iPhone 5, new iPod touch and new iPod nano all become compatible with older existing accessories when using the DockBoss+.

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DockBoss+ promises to let you charge and listen to audio at the same time from a Lightning-enabled device; an extra audio-out port is also included for analog audio systems. It’s available now.

Wind Solutions announces CopyTrans Contacts

Wind Solutions has announced the final release of CopyTrans Contacts, software that allows PC users to import and manage contacts across iOS devices without using the cloud or any third-party servers. Contacts can be transferred or imported from other iOS devices and PC email solutions such as Outlook or Gmail. Users can edit contacts on a PC or through the Contacts app. Designed for Windows 7, XP, and Vista, the download is currently available for $2, and is compatible with all iOS devices.

Libratone debuts Zipp speaker for AirPlay

Libratone has announced Zipp ($399), a portable speaker that can use AirPlay with or without an existing Wi-Fi network. The Zipp can connect directly to AirPlay devices using PlayDirect technology, establishing its own wireless connection when necessary. It also sports a cylindrical design, so it can be placed in the center of a room without facing away from listeners.

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The Zipp gets up to eight hours of playback time when used in a wired mode, and up to four hours when accessed in wireless mode. It comes in eight different interchangeable colors, and is due for an October release.

Camera+ for iPad released, iPhone version adds iCloud sync

Tap tap tap has released Camera+ for iPad, an iPad optimized version of its popular photography app for the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to support for the larger iPad screen, Camera+ for iPad introduces several additional unique features including new brush on effects, a photo straightening tool, advanced image adjustments and the ability to layer multiple effects. Users of the iPad version can also import photos from Flickr and Facebook directly into the app to apply effects or touch them up from there.

iCloud support has also been included in the new Camera+ for iPad and added to the iPhone version in an update, allowing users to automatically sync their Lightbox photos between all of their iOS devices using iCloud. The iPhone update also adds support for the expanded iPhone 5 screen and Facebook sharing with single sign-on in iOS 6. Camera+ for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is currently available from the App Store for $1.

Garmin, Navigon updates add Apple Maps integration

Garmin has released major updates to both its Navigon and StreetPilot Onboard iOS apps adding the Public Transit and other navigation features announced last month for both apps as well as bringing Navigon’s Google Street View and Panorama View 3D features to StreetPilot Onboard users.

In addition, the latest versions of Navigon and StreetPilot Onboard now feature full support for the larger iPhone 5 screen and integration with the new iOS 6 Maps allowing users to select an address or point of interest in the Apple Maps app and then switch to Navigon or StreetPilot Onboard to navigate to the selected destination, including support for driving, walking and public transit directions, where available, with the optional Urban Guidance add-on. Garmin StreetPilot OnBoard and Navigon are available from the App Store in several region-specific versions, including Navigon North America ($50), Navigon Europe ($90), Garmin StreetPilot Onboard North America ($45) and Garmin StreetPilot Onboard Western Europe ($85). Urban Guidance is available as a one-time in-app purchase at a special price of $3 as a limited-time discount from the regular $5 price.

Apple patent suggests next-gen inductive charging

  • September 27, 2012
  • Apple

Apple has applied for a patent on an inductive charging mat that could perform different functions based on the physical orientation of devices on top of the mat. The application notes that functions such as charging, data transfer, data synchronization, and diagnostic checking could be performed depending on how a device rests on the mat. For instance, an iPhone facing down on the mat could sync, while an iPhone facing up could charge. Physical orientation wouldn’t be limited to face-up or face-down — devices placed sideways or facing specific directions could also activate functions.

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The inductive mat could also alert the user to what’s been activated using sounds, vibrations, or on-screen indications, as well as connecting wirelessly to other devices. [via Apple Insider]

Users report stuck USB plugs on Lightning cables

Some users of Apple’s new Lightning to USB Cable have been reporting issues with the USB end of the cable getting stuck. A discussion thread on Apple’s support forum started a week ago, and has continued to grow with reports of issues in computer and car USB ports. Some users have found it extremely difficult to remove the USB end of the cable after plugging it in, and various unorthodox methods have been suggested to extract the cable. Notches in the metal USB jacket of the new cable are noticeably deeper than those on the old dock cable, leading users to suggest a variety of unwise ideas to fill in the holes. One forum poster wrote that AppleCare is “aware of the problem,” but there has been no official Apple comment as of yet.

Street View returns to iOS via Safari web app

Users of iOS 6 who miss Google Maps already have a workaround to access Google Maps — a workaround that will offer Street View in two weeks, according to the New York Times. Street View will soon be added to the iPhone indirectly, through the Google Maps Safari web app. Like any website on Safari, you can add maps.google.com to your home screen; you’ll be prompted to add it to the Home Screen each time you visit. While this isn’t as easy to use as a native iOS app, it’s a quick way to restore nearly everything Google Maps offers, including written directions and traffic reports.

The Google Maps web app does not, however, offer spoken directions, and All Things D reports the lack of voice-guided navigation on iOS Maps was the true deal breaker between Apple and Google, causing Apple to go its own way with Maps. Prior reports citing Google’s desire to add new features and more prominent branding to Maps were also verified as points of contention in the new report.

IK Multimedia releases DJ Rig for iPad

IK Multimedia has released a native iPad version of DJ Rig, its pro-quality DJ Mixing app for iOS. Originally released for the iPhone and iPod touch earlier this year, DJ Rig is a double-deck DJ mixing app designed for both the casual and professional user with support for basic mixing between audio sources alongside advanced tools such as effects, looping, cueing and sample pads. Users can mix tracks from the iOS music library or connect external sources via an appropriate DJ adapter cable or company’s own iRig MIX hardware accessory.

The iPad version brings the features of the original iPhone and iPod touch version to the larger iPad screen, with a size that provides a more efficient DJ mixing platform for the serious user, making controls and features more easily accessible. Users can mix and scratch tracks on the virtual turntables along with tempo sync and beat matching features—even from external sources—to help smooth crossfade transitions as well as taking advantage of an AutoMix feature to automatically build a mix set from the user’s iOS music library. An effects deck is also provided with 18 BPM-synced effects available and a sampler machine allows users to take advantage of nine assignable pads and up to 15 sound banks with live sampling functionality. DJ Rig for iPad is available in two versions: the full DJ Rig for iPad ($20) includes 12 effects and eight built-in sound banks while a free version, DJ Rig Free for iPad provides only a single Low Pass Filter effect and sound bank. Additional effects and sounds available for both versions via in-app purchase.

Evouni debuts iPhone 5 cases

Evouni has announced a new line of cases for the iPhone 5. One standout design is the Leather Arc Cover, which is made from Italian calfskin leather and comes in three colors: claret, black, and blue. It folds into a viewing stand when needed, and uses a magnetic closure to cover the phone’s screen.

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Separately, there’s the Leather Arc Wallet case, which is similar to the Arc Cover, adding an inner pocket for cards and cash. No pricing information or release dates have yet been announced.

Apple left Google Maps early, created China maps

Apple opted to switch over to its internally-designed maps application for iOS more than a year before its contract with Google Maps expired, according to The Verge, suggesting that the under-polished Apple Maps software could have been released after additional tooling. The report claims Google is working to develop a new iOS Google Maps app, but it’s incomplete and likely months away. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt recently said his company would need Apple’s approval before bringing Google Maps back to the App Store.

Both companies apparently had their concerns moving forward: Apple was concerned about iOS Google Maps lagging behind Android’s mapping capabilities, as Google’s iOS Maps lacked turn-by-turn navigation that had been available on Android for years. Google sought more prominent branding and the ability to add new features, which Apple wouldn’t allow. Nevertheless, Apple made the decision to end the deal early.

Criticism continues for the new iOS 6 Maps, except perhaps in China. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple made a special version of Maps for the country, and it appears to be an upgrade over Google Maps within China’s borders. Apple used data from Chinese mapping company AutoNavi Holdings to create more detailed maps, though the maps are far from perfect — they don’t offer spoken driving directions or 3D flyover technology, and their detail within other countries is limited.

iPhone 5 modem could create China Mobile deal

The discovery of a particular Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 5 has led to speculation that Apple may be planning to make its newest handset available for use on China Mobile — the world’s largest mobile carrier. A report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple could reach a deal with China Mobile due to the presence of a TD-SCDMA compatible chip in the iPhone 5 which could support the 3G networking standard used by China Mobile. A research note from HSBC Holdings PLC says Apple is “clearing the way for a potential iPhone deal between China Mobile and Apple.”

Apple has already offered the iPhone to smaller competitors of China Mobile — China Unicom and China Telecom, and Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China earlier this year and is rumored to have met with China Mobile on a prior trip in 2011. [via Cult of Mac]

iPhone 5 battery often falls short of 4S, tests show

Following extensive testing, iLounge has found that the iPhone 5’s battery life often lags slightly behind its predecessor in certain areas. The iPhone 5 came up short of the 4S by a fractional amount of time in voice calling, FaceTime video calling, Wi-Fi data, and cellular data tests, although results notably varied based on the user’s proximity to LTE and 3G cellular towers, with weaker signals taking a great toll on the battery.

In 1080p video recording and playback, however, the iPhone 5 matched or slightly exceeded the battery life of the iPhone 4S as well as Apple’s own estimates, although the iPhone 4 still fared slightly better than both of the more recent models in the latter test. Audio playback fell short of Apple’s specs and the iPhone 4/4S, however. In the end, the iPhone 5’s battery life doesn’t quite measure up to Apple’s claims, and is one of our main concerns with the new iPhone 5. Read our comprehensive review for more details on the iPhone 5.

Apple’s Schiller: iPhone 5 scratches “normal”

Scratches on the iPhone 5’s aluminum body are “normal,” according to an email from Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. The email from Schiller, published at 9to5Mac, is in response to a reader’s concerns about scuffs and scratches on a black iPhone 5. “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color,” Schiller responded. “That is normal.” Numerous reports — and our own tests — have noted the relative ease at which the iPhone’s new aluminum body can be scratched or dented.

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