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iOS 6 Maps criticized for location errors, image issues

Following yesterday’s official release of iOS 6, users all over the globe have continued to register complaints about Apple’s new Maps application, the first in five years to discontinue use of maps and points of interest databases assembled by Google. As noted by iLounge editors, Maps now fails to properly route users to the nearest possible correct results, instead making seemingly random or logically tortured guesses as to which “Main Street” is being searched for, offering directions to Australia rather than America, and sometimes presents disfigured 2-D and 3-D renderings of cities.

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Amongst additional issues spotted by various publications: AppleInsider mentions that a search for “Columbia, SC” brings users to Santiago De Cali, a city in Colombia;  the BBC reports on missing British towns and incorrect locations, the Irish Times notes the potential dangers of an incorrectly placed airfield in Dublin; and NorthScotNews of Scotland claims Apple has sent “the Highlands back to the dark ages” with black-and-white satellite imagery. A sarcastic Tumblr page titled The Amazing iOS 6 Maps documents more follies of Maps, including aerial photography interrupted by clouds and inaccurate directions.

Apple seeks face unlocking, battery charging patents

  • September 20, 2012
  • Apple,

Three newly published patent applications have shed light on additional innovations Apple has been developing in its labs. A new patent application details a new facial recognition locking and unlocking system, which could conceivably allow a user to unlock his or her phone simply by looking at the device, and lock it by looking away. It’s already drawing comparisons to a similar Android feature and Google patent, but according to Patently Apple, “Apple’s invention adds so much more depth.”

Another patent application suggests an on-the-go charging mechanism, enabling a device to recharge using the motion of magnets across printed coils. Shaking or moving the device would create a current that could be stored as battery power. [via AppleInsider]

Apple has notably received a patent for a universal battery system, originally contemplated in 2007 and 2010 filings, which would allow users to swap rechargeable batteries between devices. The patent suggests that Apple was exploring the possibility of creating a flat, cell phone-style battery pack that could be charged inside a docking bay of a desktop computer, then placed inside anything from a wireless keyboard or mouse to a cell phone. While the concept is exciting, the company has been shifting away from user-replaceable batteries over time, leaving only certain computer peripherals with that option. [via Engadget]

Apple’s Schiller confirms: No iPhone 5 dock

Apple has no plans to release an iPhone 5 dock, according to an email from Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Published by 9to5Mac, the email was sent in response to a customer inquiry about the dock. “We do not plan or making a dock for the iPhone 5,” the email reads. “Most people who use docks use them with speaker or clock systems.”

Previously, Apple has released a white plastic dock for each new iPhone form factor, as well as for past iPods and iPads. Each dock has placed the device on a gentle recline, and enabled it to connect with wires for charging, syncing, and audio/video out purposes; two of these features are increasingly handled wirelessly. Third-party alternatives to Apple’s docks were common years ago, but subsequently disappeared from the marketplace.

Apple, publishers settle EU e-book antitrust investigation

  • September 20, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple and four major publishers have agreed to settle an EU antitrust investigation, Reuters reports, by letting retailers sell e-books at a discount in Europe. For two years, Apple, along with publishers Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre of France, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany, will not “restrict, limit or impede e-book retailers’ ability to set, alter or reduce retail prices for e-books and/or to offer discounts or promotions,” the European Commission reported. A settlement was first offered in April.

EU regulators had examined Apple’s e-book pricing deals, including contract clauses that disallowed publishers from selling e-books for prices lower than those set by Apple. Apple and the publishers have agreed to suspend those contracts for five years, the Commission said. Among the publishers being investigated with Apple, only Penguin has not agreed to settle with the Commission. Apple, Penguin and Macmillan continue to fight a similar legal battle in the U.S., though Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette settled with the U.S. government in April.

Shared Photo Streams go live for iOS 6, Mac

Announced in June, Shared Photo Streams have officially arrived today with the release of Apple’s iOS 6, as well as corresponding updates to Mac OS X applications. Users can now create iCloud-based virtual photo albums that can be shared as web pages or individual photos, both capable of being viewed and commented on by other iOS 6 and iCloud users.

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It should be noted that Shared Photo Streams don’t have to include photos from the main Photo Stream, and they are not subject to the same Wi-Fi-only and 30-day, 1000-photo limitations. They don’t appear to count against iCloud storage allocation, either, and enable users to easily notify family members and friends of new images that are being privately shared amongst themselves.

 

iPhoto for iOS adds numerous enhancements

Following the release of iOS 6 earlier today, Apple has released an update to iPhoto for iOS devices adding a multitude of new features and enhancements. iPhoto 1.1 now includes six new Apple-designed ink effects along with a collection of Coaching tips in the help system to assist new users in getting started with the app and producing the best results. Users can also now import full resolution photos via iTunes File Sharing, with images of up to 36.5 megapixels in size supported on the iPhone 5 and third-generation iPad. Custom tags can be added to photos to create tag albums and multiple photos can now also be saved out the Camera Roll in a single operation. Photos can be sorted by date and filtered using new criteria and a Power Scroll strip has been added for high-speed scrolling through the app. A month-year overlay also now appears when scrolling in Photos view and a grid of thumbnails can be expanded to multiple rows when viewing in portrait orientation.

A number of enhancements have also been made to the various editing features including the ability to rotate tile-shift and gradient effects, modify fonts and alignment of text in journal items, and resize journal Note and Memory items. Dividers can also now be manually added to break journal pages into sections and a new Swap mode is available for changing the placement of items in a journal layout. In addition, links to journals can be shared directly to Facebook and Twitter and send out via Messages and links to remote journals can be shared from any device. Users can also control when to update their journal via a new “Publish Changes” button.

Facebook integration has also been improved with the ability to more easily add comments, upload videos to Facebook and set locations and friend tags when posting photos. Photos previously posted to Facebook can also now be more easily replaced with a more current version and notifications are now displayed when a Facebook upload completes in the background. The new version also adds integration with other apps such as Cards and iMovie, allowing photos to be shared directly to these apps from within iPhoto for iOS and adds support for the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch. iPhoto for iOS 1.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 6.0 and is available from the App Store for $5.

iMovie adds new editing features, 1080p HD uploading

Apple has updated iMovie, its universal video editing and creation app for iOS devices adding new content and editing features along with improvements to video sharing and exporting resolutions. iMovie 1.4 includes three new trailers—Adrenaline, Coming of Age, and Teen and now provides the ability for users to easily add Ken Burns animated photos to any trailer. A new Precision Editor is also available on the iPad to create split audio edits and clips can be previewed in the Video Browser before being added to a project. Photos can also be shared from iPhoto for iOS and finished projects can be shared to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport in full 1080p HD resolution. The new version also provides new Coaching tips to help users get started and provides easy access to audio recordings captured in a project via the Audio Browser. iMovie 1.4 is a universal app requiring iOS 6.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

App Store adds Passbook-enabled apps listing

Following today’s general release of iOS 6, a new page has appeared in the App Store providing a list of apps that provide support for the new Passbook feature. Users can access the listing by tapping on the “App Store” button that appears at the bottom of the Passbook app introduction screen. The current list includes such apps as Live Nation, Lufthansa, MLB.com at Bat, Sephora to Go along with Walgreens and Fandango Movies in the U.S. and Cineplex Mobile in Canada. Passbook allows iPhone and iPod touch users with iOS 6 to store digital copies of items such as tickets, store cards, boarding passes and coupons along with alerts based on time or location.

Cards app adds native iPad support, new designs

Apple’s Cards app, previously available for iPhone and iPod touch, has added iPad support alongside an iOS 6 compatibility update. Cards allows users to create professional quality greeting cards to be printed and mailed out directly by Apple through the U.S. Postal Service.

There are a number of other improvements to the Version 2.0 release, including six new letterpress holiday card designs, new layouts featuring three photos on a single card, iPhoto image sharing directly to the app, mailing of customized cards to up to 12 recipients within the same order, automatic image sharpening, and an enhanced card history view on iPad, along with improvements to address verification and the checkout process. Cards is available from the App Store as a free download, with individual cards sold at $3 including mailing within the U.S., versus $5 for international recipients.

GarageBand adds Music import, Ringtone creation

Apple has released an update to GarageBand for iOS adding the ability to import songs from the iOS Music library and create ringtones directly from the app. With GarageBand 1.3 users on iOS 6 can now create custom ringtones and alerts for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and save them directly into the device’s ringtone/alert library. The new version also adds support for importing songs directly from the iOS Music library and playing and recording in the background while using other apps on the iPhone 4S/5 and the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. A number of minor performance and stability issues have also been addressed in this update. GarageBand 1.3 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

Podcasts app adds iCloud sync

Apple has updated its standalone Podcasts app for iOS adding support for iOS 6 and synchronization of podcasts subscriptions between devices via iCloud. Users can now also choose to automatically download new episodes only when on Wi-Fi and play episodes in both forward and reverse chronological order. A new pull-to-refresh gesture has also been added to check for new episodes on iOS 6 devices. Podcasts 1.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

iOS 6 out now, back up your iOS devices

  • September 19, 2012
  • Apple,

Although Apple has not yet officially stated the time when iOS 6 will be released today, unconfirmed reports have claimed that it will become available at 1:00pm ET, or 10:00am PT.

As the update will be a significant change to iOS devices, with the risk of installation-related issues, we would strongly recommend that you take the time now to back up any devices that will be receiving the update. iTunes and over-the-air update options will likely be available, and we’ll update this article when the official release takes place.

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Updated 12:55pm: iOS 6 is out now as a free download. We’ve posted a Secrets and Features of iOS 6 article to help you learn what’s new and improved, as well as what’s sort of shaky (Maps). Apple’s official list of new features is included below.

Apple plans huge Hong Kong data center

  • September 19, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple plans to open an enormous data center in Hong Kong SAR, China, according to 9to5Mac. The location will be near the Shenzhen, China border, and a bidding contractor employee suggests that the scale of the center will be massive.

Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013, and the center should be operational by 2015. The article notes that companies often select Hong Kong for data centers due to both its autonomy — which keeps the Chinese government away from private data — and its close proximity to mainland China. Apple has also recently filed plans for a data center in Prineville, Oregon, and announced plans for a data center and a business and purchasing center in Reno, Nevada.

iPhone 5 orders now 3-4 weeks out through Apple

Customers hoping to purchase the iPhone 5 through Apple’s website will now have to wait three to four weeks for shipment, as high demand for the phone continues to absorb supplies. This follows Apple’s official announcement that iPhone 5 pre-orders exceeded 2 million in the first 24 hours of sale. Customers who haven’t pre-ordered and still want the phone by its Sept. 21 release date will likely have to wait in line for Apple’s retail stores to open at 8 a.m. Friday, or seek more limited stocks at carrier partners’ stores.

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Delivery information for the iPhone 5 differs on the main carrier websites. AT&T lists the iPhone 5 as shipping in 14-21 business days. Verizon claims the phone will be delivered by Oct. 5. And Sprint offers the 16GB model for shipping in “up to two weeks,” with the 32GB and 64GB models shipping in up to one week.

Apple design team accepts D&AD Awards in London

  • September 19, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple was named best brand and best design studio of the last 50 years at the prestigious D&AD (Design and Art Direction) Awards, and Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive and the rest of the design team flew into London to collect the awards. As The Weekly Standard reports, Apple’s design team has never before attended an award ceremony, and have rarely if ever been publicly photographed together, but all 16 members took the stage to receive the honors. Ive declined public comment at the D&AD Awards, which were held at Battersea Park, London.

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Ive also made headlines for an announced collaboration with German photography company Leica, which said that Apple’s famed designer will create a one-off version of the Leica M for charity, to be auctioned off by U2 singer Bono. The Leica M usually costs about $8,100, so an exclusive Ive-designed edition will almost certainly sell for an incredible premium. Design on the camera has yet to begin. [via Engadget]

First iPhone 5 unboxing images posted

A lucky reader sent BGR unboxing photos of the iPhone 5. Like the iPhone 4 and 4S before it, the iPhone 5’s packaging features an angled picture of the new iPhone, showing its slender profile.

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Opening the box reveals the iPhone 5, a pair of EarPods with Remote and Mic plus their travel case, a power adapter, and the Lightning to USB Cable. An included photo compares the iPhone 5 to the previous model.

SwitchEasy debuts Colors, Nude cases for iPhone 5

SwitchEasy has announced Colors and Nude, two familiar cases that have been redesigned for the iPhone 5. A previous iLounge Best of the Year Award-winner, Colors ($20) is a silicone case with tactile “jellybean” buttons. The case comes in 13 colors, each including two screen guards and a microfiber wipe.

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Nude ($20) is an ultra-thin case made from hard polycarbonate. Only 1 mm thick, Nude is available in 12 different colors. As with Colors, the case also comes with screen guards and a microfiber wipe. Both designs will ship this month.

AT&T’s FaceTime restriction sparks FCC complaint

Three groups have informed AT&T that they will file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission regarding AT&T’s plan to restrict certain subscribers from using Apple’s FaceTime Over Cellular feature. Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute are contending that AT&T is violating network neutrality rules.

AT&T previously announced that FaceTime Over Cellular would only be available on its more expensive Mobile Share data plans. The announcement has drawn plenty of criticism, and the official complaint isn’t surprising — Free Press started a petition about the carrier’s policy in August. Today’s release from the group calls AT&T’s decision “a clear violation of the FCC’s Open Internet rules.”

AT&T responded to the original concerns, arguing that it didn’t violate net neutrality rules. It’s unclear as to when the FCC may respond to the complaint. Verizon and Sprint aren’t placing any user restrictions on FaceTime Over Cellular functionality. [via GigaOM]

Sprint to remove iPhone 4 from stores, sell online

As of September 21, Sprint will only sell the iPhone 4 online rather than in stores, CNET reports. While there was speculation that the phone might be removed from the carrier’s lineup completely, a Sprint spokeswoman has confirmed that the company “will certainly still be selling it,” though only through its web site. Due to the iPhone 5’s release, the iPhone 4 will become a free device for customers accepting a new two-year cellular service contract.

Report: A6 contains custom core; new CPU in 2014

  • September 18, 2012
  • Apple,

A report from VentureBeat offers more insight into the development of Apple’s A6 chip, refencing a post by chip analyst Linley Gwennap, who adds to claims that Apple has created a custom CPU. Gwennap’s notes that Apple has spent a total of $500 million on chip company acquisitions and chip development, investments that are beginning to bear tangible fruit with A6. By creating its own chips rather than relying on other companies’ designs, Apple will be able to narrowly target its processors to the horsepower and energy needs of its devices, as well as reducing costs — and/or raising its profits.

Following Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi, the company began work on separate projects, says Gwennap: the refinement of an ARM Cortex design into what became the Apple A4 chip, and the creation of an all-new CPU, leading Apple to inquire Intrinsity in 2010, and subsequently complete the A6 last year. Gwennap claims that the A6 is similar in complexity and performance to the ARM Cortex-A15 and the Krait CPU that appears in Qualcomm’s newest chips, noting that the A6 is larger than would have been the case if Apple’s third-generation iPad A5X processor was shrunk from a 45-nanometer manufacturing process to a 32-nanometer manufacturing process; had Apple done nothing more than shrink the A5X, the chip would have been 82 square millimeters. According to Gwennap, the 96 square millimeter size is likely attributable to a more powerful custom CPU core, as well as a better image processor for the camera. He expects Apple to use the A6 through 2013 and then launch a new CPU design in 2014, possibly based on the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set.

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