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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

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ITC investigating Apple devices after Motorola complaint

  • September 18, 2012
  • Apple

The U.S. International Trade Commission has opened an investigation of Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs, according to an official release. This investigation stems from a complaint filed by Motorola Mobility, which is requesting an exclusion order and a cease and desist order. Few other details are provided on the investigation, but seven patents are addressed in the complaint. [via TNW/9to5Mac]

Apple awarded patent for ‘Antennagate’ iPhone 4 design

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for bezel gap antennas, a design element that was originally utilized in the iPhone 4. While the design was initially touted as a breakthrough by Apple, it led to “Antennagate,” a public relations crisis after the iPhone 4 was discovered to have wireless connectivity problems when the gaps were bridged by users’ conductive hands.

The patent details how “a parallel-fed loop antenna may be formed from portions of an electronic device bezel and a ground plane,” and was filed on Dec. 3, 2009, half a year before the release of the iPhone 4. “Antennagate” led to a case giveaway by Apple, eventually ending in a class action settlement, entitling U.S. iPhone 4 owners to a free case or small cash payment. [via Apple Insider]

Twitter unveils revamped iPad UI

Twitter has released an update to its official iOS application with a completely redesigned user interface for iPad users. Departing from the prior unique sliding panels interface, the new iPad version now uses a full-screen UI adapted from the iPhone and iPod touch, with the standard navigation buttons on the left side and a single timeline view. The new layout makes use of the additional iPad screen space by providing header photos in user profiles and photo streams on profiles and events, however it does not expand when using the iPad in landscape orientation, leaving empty space to the left and right of the timeline view. The iPhone and iPod touch user interface remains the same in this update other than minor improvements, polish and fixes. Twitter 5.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Third-party Lightning Adapters appear online

Hitherto unknown third-party developers have begun to offer purported Lightning to 30-Pin adapters through Amazon.com, notes AppleInsider. Nanotch and iTronz currently have pre-order pages on Amazon promising $10 to $18 prices for the Adapters, which feature male Lightning connectors on one end and female 30-pin ports on the other, with promised availability near the end of this month.

On the surface, these accessories appear to be better values than Apple’s own Lightning Adapters, which will sell for $29 each when released in October. However, established developers have told iLounge that early third-party adapters will likely experience either delays or functional problems with old accessories and new Apple devices, citing Apple’s decision to keep both parts and specifications to itself until the last moment. These developers have suggested that both the quality and electronic compatibility of unlicensed adapters may be poor, given that new Apple authentication chips will be required to make them work properly. The adapters should be considered risky investments until they’ve been properly tested with the new iPhone 5 and iPods.

Case-Mate releases iPhone 5 cases

Case-Mate has rolled out its line of cases for the iPhone 5. The company’s collection includes more than 40 announced cases thus far, ranging from designer print cases to animal designs.

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Notable cases include the latest version of Pop! ID ($40), which features an integrated wallet on the back for two credit cards, and the Artistry Woods ($50) case, made out of hardwoods such as ash, rosewood, and zebrawood. All of Case-Mate’s cases should be available by the iPhone 5’s release on Sept. 21; some are already available for purchase.

Report: iOS 6 Maps local search flawed

  • September 17, 2012
  • Apple

One user’s experiences with Apple’s new iOS 6 Maps app have led him to claim that local search is “broken.” After installing the seemingly final Gold Master of iOS 6, Josh Carr discovered point of interest database limitations attributed to Apple’s use of Yelp for business searches.

Now that Google is no longer associated with Apple’s Maps application, Carr reports users can search for businesses in one of three ways: business name, address, and Yelp category. Numerous searches revealed major issues, Carr claims, including a search for “iPhone repair” that only returned two results; both were companies that “illegally use the trademarked term ‘iPhone’ in the name of their company on their Yelp record,” even if the term wasn’t actually in their business names. Additionally, Yelp’s database isn’t as large as Google’s, and searches must now be more exact in their wording to yield proper results. Despite the addition of major new features such as turn-by-turn driving directions, Siri integration, and some 3-D mapping capabilities, Carr concludes that iOS 6 Maps is “a tremendous step backwards,” particularly for local point of interest searching. [via TUAW]

Report: A6 chip is Apple-designed with fast new memory

A technical report from Anandtech suggests that Apple’s A6 chip is a custom ARMv7 processor of the company’s own design—quite possibly the product of earlier Apple acquisitions of semiconductor developers. Citing inside sources, Anandtech suggests that Apple did not move to a Cortex-A15 chip as was originally believed, and instead is continuing to run an iPhone 4S-like dual-core CPU with a dual-core graphics processor, albeit at a higher clock speed of 1.0Ghz, plus 1GB of RAM.

While Apple’s on-stage discussion promised “2x” CPU and graphics performance, suggesting speed gains in the 1.7x to 2.1x range, leaked early benchmarks appear to show considerably greater improvements of up to 3.68x under some tests. The results suggest that the iPhone 5 will be on par with, if not superior to, rival smartphones with less power-efficient processors. While the benchmarks are not guaranteed to be accurate, they are very plausible, and are believed to result in part from memory improvements. 

Scosche introduces Rhythm workout monitor and app

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Scosche has announced Rhythm ($100), a new pulse monitor and app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Rhythm’s neoprene arm strap fits over the forearm, allowing a user to manage, track, and analyze workouts. Two alternating LEDs with a photo sensor measure pulse, while a built-in accelerometer helps to provide estimates of calories burned, speed, pace, route, and distance. Wireless remote control over iOS music playback is also included on the armband, which boasts up to six hours of continuous battery life.

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Interestingly, data from Rhythm’s personalized workouts can be stored in the cloud at Scosche’s Rhythm Dashboard website. The Rhythm monitor and app are available now.

Miniot shows new Book, Pouch, iWood for iPhone 5

Dutch manufacturer Miniot has introduced three new wooden accesories for the iPhone 5: the new Miniot Book, Miniot Pouch, and the iWood 5. Miniot Book (€109, $143) is a book-style case for the iPhone 5 made from two types of wood. Its hinges are able to fold into a stand, snap to the back for handheld use, or allow the lid to act as a sunshade for photography, while an ultrasuede liner covers the glass. It will be available in three wood combinations starting on Oct. 28.

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Based upon the prior-generation version for iPhone 4/4S, Miniot Pouch (€59, $78) is a box-like case carved out of one piece of wood. Available in a number of wood types, including teak, cherry, maple and zebrawood, it covers the iPhone and locks into place. It will be released Oct. 15. Finally, Miniot’s iWood 5 (€79, $104) is the followup to its playthrough-style iWood 4 case. Coming in a variety of woods, the iWood 5 is thinner than its predecessor, and will be available on Sept. 28. All products come with an option to engrave a message, piece of art, or logo.

First photos show 2012 iPod shuffle colors, textures

iLounge has posted a photo gallery showing the refreshed 2012 iPod shuffles, which have changed in both colors and textures from the original fourth-generation iPod shuffle models released in 2010.

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The refreshed iPod shuffles have returned to the classic sandblasted anodized aluminum look of earlier iPod shuffles and nanos, doing away with the polished, glossy aluminum seen in earlier versions. Apple has also restored the high-contrast white Apple logos on the rear of the shuffles, which were previously rendered with a lighter version of each model’s base color, and changed the colors to a new set of tones. Pink, for instance, has become rose-colored, and blue has the classic aqua tones originally seen in earlier iPod mini models. Additional colors, such as purple, yellow, and black, have been added to the lineup as well.

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While minor, these changes cosmetically align the refreshed shuffles with the colors and textures of the yet-to-be-released seventh-generation iPod nano. Apple continues to include its prior-generation Apple Earphones with the shuffles, which continue to come in tiny hard plastic boxes. The colors of the shuffles are obvious from both the fronts of the boxes, and in colored Apple logos and iPod shuffle text found on their tops and sides.

Blueprints for iPhone 5, new iPods posted online

Apple has posted detailed blueprints for the bodies of its iPhone 5, new iPod touch, and new iPod nano online. The documents are available through Apple’s developer portal.

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Packed with caliper-level measurements of each device’s key external features, the documents open the gates for accessory designers, enabling the creation of cases and related accessories with tight tolerances. [via 9to5Mac]

iPhone 5 pre-orders top 2 million, double iPhone 4S

Apple announced this morning that pre-orders of the iPhone 5 exceeded 2 million in 24 hours, more than doubling the first-day sales pace of the iPhone 4S. In a press release, the company noted most pre-orders would be delivered on the Sept. 21 release date, but “many are scheduled to be delivered in October.” This news follows a morning announcement that iPhone 5 has set sales records for AT&T, though the company did not disclose figures. Verizon and Sprint have not as yet announced sales tallies.

iPhone 5 cases: Incipio, Orbino, CM4 and more

We’re wrapping up the massive collection of iPhone 5 case announcements we’ve received over the past few days with looks at some of the cases disclosed by notable developers. See our first roundup and second roundup of the day for more.

Perennial favorite Incipio has introduced seven cases for the iPhone 5, including the DualPro Shine ($35), a hard shell silver and black case with a silicone core. The case is available for pre-order and has an estimated shipping date of Sept. 21. Six cases have been unveiled by the unusually creative team at X-Doria, including the Engage Form ($30), which offers a lattice-type metallic polycarbonate design to protect the phone. Long-time Apple favorite case developer Incase has debuted five iPhone 5 cases, including the latest Metallic Slider Case ($35), a two piece hardshell that comes in three colors. Incase cases are available for pre-order and will ship in early October.

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Orbino has announced its Pantera 5 ($189) case, a hand-stitched leather case made in Italy. The case comes in four different colors and seven special editions in animal skins — ostriches and crocodiles, for instance. Those editions range in price from $209 to $399; shipping begins in early October. Ballistic has introduced five cases, including the SG Maxx ($50), which offers four protective layers and comes in six color combinations. And budget case maker Macally has introduced seven new iPhone 5 cases, including its Jazz5 Piano Case ($20), a snap-on shell with piano key styling and a built-in stand. Most of Macally’s new cases should be shipping by the end of September.

CM4 has announced its Q Card Case ($40), which features a soft-rubber exterior and a fabric wallet sleeve for carrying up to three cards plus cash. The case is available in four colors and is expected to ship in early October. And last but not least, XtremeMac announced five new cases for the iPhone 5, including the XtremeMac Sportwrap LED ($80), an armband case with LED lights for nighttime activity. The cases should be available in September.

iPhone 5 cases: Scosche, Hex, Hitcase and more

Dozens of new iPhone 5 case announcements have been hitting our desks over the past few days, as many developers have been sharing early photos and details of numerous cases. We’re offering roundups focusing on one case from selected developers. See our first roundup of the day for more.

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Scosche has introduced a number of new cases, including the Kickback Sport ($30), which comes with a built-in kickstand and advertises antimicrobial covering. The case is available for pre-order and ships by Sept. 21. Griffin has introduced an array of cases, notably including the quirky Mustachio case ($25), which features a variety of cartoony mustache styles on the back of one’s iPhone. The case is listed as coming soon. Cygnett has debuted 11 new cases, including the Icon ($30), which comes in a variety of artistic styles.

Hex has announced three iPhone 5 cases, including the Stealth ($35), which uses RFID-friendly technology to allow a concealed smart card to be used by compatible card-reading devices. Pre-orders are available, and the case has an estimated shipping date of Oct. 1. Numerous cases have also been announced by iLuv, including the Camera Case ($40), which looks like a vintage camera case with a hollow “lens” pocket for cable or earphone storage. Premium leather case maker Sena has debuted 11 new leather cases for the iPhone 5, including the MagnetFlipper ($50), which has a magnetically attached front flap to cover the phone’s screen. It will ship before Nov. 7.

Hitcase announced the iPhone 5 Hitcase Pro ($130), to be available in mid-December. The case includes a removable wide-angle lens for the phone’s camera and a mounting system, which will presumably need some testing before shipping to customers. Acase introduced the Superleggera Pro ($20), a thin snap-on case, which is listed as coming soon. And Zoogue announced its Social Shell case ($15) in 10 colors, which the company is offering free for a limited time with use of a promo code, given on the site. The case is expected to ship in three to six weeks.

iPhone 5 cases: Fabrix, CalypsoCrystal, Seidio and more

An abundance of iPhone 5 case announcements have made their way to iLounge since the phone’s introduction, as dozens of developers are sharing early photos and details of numerous cases. To provide a sampling of the many options that are about to become available, we’re offering a few roundups this morning; this one focuses on one case each from a bunch of developers.

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Fabrix introduced its Bespoke Edition sleeves ($30), which fully cover the iPhone. Made from cloth, its sleeves are ready to ship now, and come in five different styles, including tweed and houndstooth. Amongst other plastic designs, Beyond Cell introduced its Streamline case series in eight different colors, featuring a shaded design on the back; pricing is not yet available. And fabric case maker WaterField Designs has announced its Smart Case ($39), a padded sleeve for the iPhone 5. Available for pre-order, it ships Oct. 5.

CalypsoCrystal has released a new CalypsoCase designer collection by fashion designer Lara Bohinc. The collection features three different leather cases, notably including the high-end Sunrise ($169), a black leather sleeve with a silver ring around the outside; it will ship in three weeks. LUXA2 has introduced a wide variety of iPhone 5 cases, including the Sandstone case, which is treated with sandstone paint finish for scratch resistance. Skech has also announced five new iPhone 5 cases, including the Groove, which comes in five colors.

Seidio has announced three new cases, including the Convert ($50), which comes with a locking holster and screen guard, and allows the user to add protective layers. It can be pre-ordered now and will ship the week of Sept. 24. FreshFiber introduced five new cases, including the Boombox Case ($35), which looks like a boombox and comes with a built-in stand. Last but not least, Amzer debuted seven new cases in a variety of colors, including the biodegradable Organics Snap On Case ($15), one of the most affordable cases we’ve yet seen for the iPhone 5.

Lightning Connector sparks confusion, uncertainty for Apple users

Officially announced and briefly discussed at this week’s iPhone 5-focused event in San Francisco, Apple’s next-generation Lightning Connector has quickly become a flashpoint of confusion for iPhone and iPod users. Revealed piecemeal in several leaks ahead of the event, the Lightning Connector replaces Apple’s 30-Pin Dock Connector, a ubiquitous rectangular port found on every iPhone, every iPad, and every iPod released since 2003, except the iPod shuffle. The first device to feature the new port will be the iPhone 5, with the iPod nano and iPod touch following soon thereafter; iPads will reportedly begin to make the transition this year. To enable some prior accessories to work with the new devices, Apple is now selling three types of Lightning Adapters, two for old 30-Pin Dock Connector accessories and one required in Europe for Micro-USB chargers. Through a spokesperson, Apple has also announced plans to release at least two more Lightning Adapters for HDMI and VGA output.

Despite Apple’s connector and adapter announcements, significant uncertainty remains regarding prior accessory compatibility, and the availability of Lightning Adapters. Conflicting reports this week suggested that the “all-digital” Lightning Connector might not be able to support analog audio or video output; however, Apple has confirmed that its Lightning to 30-Pin Adapters will be capable of passing iPhone 5 audio to prior Dock Connector-based docks, speakers, and cables, but will not support video out from the iPhone 5 to older video accessories, or “iPod out” mode transmission of data and album art, used in some car and home video dock accessories. It remains unclear whether the iPhone 5 will display jarring error messages when used with Apple’s Lightning Adapters, or just gracefully pass through what it can share. The first third-party accessories built with Lightning Connectors are not expected to hit stores until late this year or early next year, according to an iLounge source.

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Adapter availability has also become a point of concern. The iPhone 5 will be delivered to users starting next week, however, Lightning Adapters will apparently not be available until some time in October, so the first round of customers will not be able to test their prior accessories with the iPhone 5 until well after the phone arrives. Apart from one brief and apparently erroneous hint during the iPhone 5 ordering process, Apple has not suggested that the iPhone 5 or new iPhones will include Lightning Adapters. According to a dialogue box spotted by TheNextWeb during iPhone 5 pre-ordering this morning, Apple’s web site told some European customers that the iPhone 5 “includes a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter,” and offered the purchase of “this additional adapter to have a second adapter for your home or office.” Some time afterwards, Apple changed the language to omit references to the “included” and “additional” adapters, with sales representatives describing the text as “an error.”

iPhone 5, iPod touch, iPod nano pre-orders begin

Despite web site hiccups early on Friday morning, Apple and its carrier partners are now officially accepting and processing pre-orders for the iPhone 5. Falling a little behind schedule after promising a 12:01am PT/3:01am ET online pre-order process, Apple’s web site began to accept orders several minutes later, and provided a reasonably graceful fallback reservation process when AT&T’s computers buckled—an outage that lasted for approximately 30 minutes as AT&T’s own site quickly failed at processing upgrade eligibility status for existing users.

Users attempting to order Verizon phones were promptly processed, while AT&T iPhone 5 orders through Apple were given reservation numbers and the opportunity to log in to complete their orders when AT&T’s computers became operable. E-mails offering that opportunity began to go out by 12:35am PT, and were processed properly at that point. Notably, iPhone 4S customers have discovered that they are not eligible for discounted or fully subsidized iPhone 5 pricing, with October 8 of this year as the earliest date for discounts, and May 8, 2013 for full subsidized pricing. iPhone 5 unlocked and off-contract pricing remains the same as for the iPhone 4S: $649 (16GB), $749 (32GB), or $849 (64GB).

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Apple also began to accept pre-orders for the fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano during the same time period. Unexpectedly, Apple limited iPod touch orders to two per person, with no limitation on iPod nano orders. iPod touch loop wrist strap accessories became available separately for $9 each. The company provided no further details on ship dates for the new iPods or accessories beyond the word “October.”

Updated: One hour after pre-orders began, Apple sold through its initial U.S. pre-order allocation of iPhone 5s; the Apple Store web site thereafter told customers that new orders would ship in “two weeks.” iPod availability apparently remained unchanged.

Verizon, Sprint iPhone 5s: No cellular data while talking

Making an eleventh-hour disclosure just before pre-orders start, Verizon and Sprint have confirmed that their CDMA version of the iPhone 5 will not be able to use cellular data services while making telephone calls—a limitation that previously existed for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but was believed to have been remedied for the iPhone 5. According to reports, an additional antenna would have been needed to support simultaneous phone calling and data for Verizon’s and Sprint’s CDMA networks, but was not included in the new iPhone.

As was the case before, AT&T users will still be able to access cellular data and calling functionality simultaneously with the iPhone 5. However, the iPhone 5 will fall back to HSPA+ (“4G”) speeds for data during phone calls. Despite the cellular data limitations, all versions of the iPhone 5 will be able to access available Wi-Fi networks for data during cellular phone calls. [via The Verge]

Ping to shut down on Sept. 30

As of September 30, Apple will deactivate its unpopular Ping social network for music. According to a message found within iTunes, “Ping will no longer be available as of September 30. Thank you for your interest in Ping. We are no longer accepting new members.”

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The move was previously indicated by Apple, and the service’s lack of traction was openly conceded by executives some time ago. In addition to integrating some support for social networks such as Twitter and Facebook within iTunes, separate reports have suggested that Apple is working on a music streaming service similar to Pandora, which might offer new opportunities for users to discuss and share their favorite songs.

iPhone 5 preorders start 3 a.m. ET Friday

Following yesterday’s official announcement of the iPhone 5 along with an unspecified pre-order window to begin on Friday, carriers are confirming that pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will begin at 3 a.m. Eastern Time/12:00 midnight Pacific Time on Friday. The time was verified by both Sprint and Verizon, with AT&T likely to follow. All of the carriers and Apple will ship iPhone 5 hardware for deliveries starting on September 21. In addition to accepting online pre-orders through the online Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores will also open at 8:00 a.m. on September 21 to sell the device directly to customers.

Update: Walmart is offering the 16GB iPhone 5 for $190, and is also instituting its own pre-order system: Customers can pre-order an iPhone 5 starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 with a $25 deposit and return to the same store for pickup on Sept. 21.

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