- October 9, 2012
- iPhone Accessories
Apple has said that it’s not planning to release an iPhone 5 dock, but a UK-based website has proposed a Lego-based solution. The Daily Brick is now offering free instructions on how to build a customized iPhone 5 dock out of 42 Lego bricks, featuring an angled view and clips to hold the Lightning cable in place. Lego grill pieces are used under the phone so the device’s speaker can be used during docking. Those looking to buy all of the correct Lego pieces required to build the dock can do so on the site for roughly $19.
- October 9, 2012
A previously unknown iPad has showed up in a developer’s app analytics, according to a report from MacRumors. The “iPad 3,6” appears to represent a new version of the existing iPad, and is believed to use the same architecture found in Apple’s custom A6 chip and iPhone 5.
iLounge noted in July that Apple was working on a modestly tweaked version of the third-generation iPad, which was planned to include “the [Lightning] Connector, a rear-side microphone, and spec-improving/heat-reducing changes to the hardware inside.” The “iPad 3,6” is not believed to be the upcoming iPad mini based on the format of the device name, which matches existing iterations of the current-generation iPad. It’s unclear when this new full-sized model will be introduced, however, multiple sources have told iLounge that Apple could debut it alongside the iPad mini this year.
- October 9, 2012
Clarifying a glitch that suggested that former MobileMe members would continue to receive free iCloud storage upgrades for decades to come, Apple has actually extended the complimentary extra iCloud storage for one year. All users who moved MobileMe accounts to iCloud between Oct. 12, 2011 and Aug. 1, 2012 will continue to receive extra storage for no charge through Sept. 30, 2013. For more information, see Apple’s support document.
Customers have received notifications from Apple that the new iPod touch, iPod nano, and both Lightning to 30-pin Adapters — the direct plug adapter and the version with a 0.2m cable—are shipping, with some deliveries beginning today. Readers outside the United States are already beginning to find the new iPod touch and nano up in Apple’s retail stores today, confirming previous reports. Users interested in getting a leg up on the new iPod touch may want to peruse the official user’s guide, which has been posted on Apple’s website.
- October 8, 2012
- Site News
In preparation for the November 1st release of iLounge’s 2013 iPhone + iPod Buyers’ Guide, we are opening voting today for our annual Readers’ Choice Awards. In the short, four-question survey, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for Apple’s top product of the year, iPod/iPhone/iPad accessory developer of the year, iOS application developer of the year, and iOS game developer of the year. You can vote now using this link; voting will end on October 27 at 12:01AM Eastern Time. The survey takes less than a minute to complete, so cast your vote today!
- October 8, 2012
- Site News
Our editors are celebrating Columbus Day and the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday today, but will be making modest updates to iLounge. We’ll all be back tomorrow, October 9, with our full slate of news and reviews.
We hope you, your family, and friends enjoy a relaxing holiday together.
A just-issued China Labor Watch report claims that thousands of workers at Foxconn, Apple’s contract manufacturer, went on strike following heightened quality control demands for the iPhone 5. The new standards apparently limit dents in the aluminum body to 0.02mm or less, and relate to “scratches on frames and back covers.”
Some early purchasers of the iPhone 5 noted the presence of scratches and/or dents on the aluminum bodies of newly-opened devices, as discussed in iLounge’s comprehensive review of the device, and although Apple’s marketing chief dismissed them as “normal,” the company apparently quietly attempted to improve the quality control standards to guarantee that such marks would not be visible to customers.
According to the report, Foxconn’s workers were unable to “turn out iPhones that met the standard,” claiming that the new guidelines were too difficult to meet without proper training, and suggesting that the iPhone’s design is flawed. Fights between workers broke out, leading to injuries, property damage, and additional physical threats, which were allegedly ignored by Foxconn management, subsequently leading to a work stoppage. China Labor Watch blames Foxconn pressure on the workers, including limits on vacation time during Chinese holidays, for contributing to the issues. [via AppleInsider]
Update: Foxconn denied that a strike or workplace stoppage had taken place, conceding that two fights had broken out but claiming that they were quickly addressed by management. The company also said that workers had been paid three times their normal wages for labor over the Chinese holiday break, which they had undertaken voluntarily. Regardless, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported that quality inspectors had indeed briefly halted their efforts after a workplace clash at Foxconn.
- October 5, 2012
On the anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, web design company Inventika Solutions has posted a fitting tribute: a virtual classic iPod that works within your browser. The virtual iPod works just as the original did — operate the clickwheel and play one of the loaded songs. Designer Pritesh Desai wrote in a tweet to Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal that the design was made in tribute to Jobs; Apple has notably forced past iPod interface simulators offline, so it’s worth seeing this one before it disappears. [via Gizmodo]
Apple has contacted retail stores to prepare for an Oct. 9 launch of the new iPod touch and iPod nano, according to Japanese blog Macotakara. Japanese stores have been contacted about the launch first, Macotakara told iLounge, noting that there will apparently be few units in the initial shipment. There has been no official announcement from Apple as of yet, and the Apple Store still only lists the new iPod touch and nano as available to ship in October. Some readers have seen pre-order shipping status change to “preparing for shipment,” suggesting that these orders will be fulfilled shortly.
- October 5, 2012
- iPhone Accessories
Since Apple apparently has no plans to release an iPhone 5 dock, third-party options are now underway, including the Lightning Dock, which will start at $25. Created by an eponymous company that says that it has been “producing docks and mounts” for “over 3 years,” the Lightning Dock uses Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable to hold up the phone — the dock is made of hardwood or aluminum, with a hole in the middle for the connector.
The company claims the Lightning connector is strong enough to support the phone on its own, but gives consumers the option of adding a back support to the dock. It works with or without a case on the phone. While the hardwood dock is priced at $25, the aluminum or black aluminum dock is $35. Adding a back support costs another $5, and the dock can ship with an Apple Lightning Cable for an extra $20.
- October 5, 2012
Marking the one year anniversary of former CEO Steve Jobs’ untimely passing, Apple this morning posted a brief video tribute and letter on its home page. Describing Jobs’ death as “a sad and difficult time for all of us,” current Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his “hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.” An embedded video runs for under two minutes, including photos of Jobs and brief audio snippets from several of his most memorable product introductions, overlaid atop a Yo-Yo Ma rendition of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude.
Cook’s letter says that Apple was one of Jobs’ greatest gifts to the world, and that “[n]o company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” The letter is reprinted in full below.
- October 4, 2012
- Apps + Games
ESPN’s free iOS app, WatchESPN, has been updated to offer AirPlay support for all ESPN channels. Consequently, Apple TV users now have AirPlay-enabled access to live streaming feeds of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and the online-only ESPN3, although access to the app is based on a user’s participating TV provider or Internet service provider.
Current participating TV providers are Bright House Networks, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS TV. Notably, Verizon High Speed Internet is the only participating Internet service provider, and it only offers access to ESPN3. The app includes support for AirPlay streaming in the background, so users can continue to use their devices while content is streamed to a TV.
iOS 6 users with iPhones and iPod touches can now add the Starbucks app to Apple’s Passbook, thanks to a new update. Existing Starbucks Card holders can add their cards to the app for phone payment and rewards, while users without cards can sign up for a new mobile card. Up to 10 “favorite stores” can be added to the app — your device can use geofencing to recognize that you’ve entered one of those stores, and load your card accordingly. To add the card to Passbook, sign in, then go to My Card>Manage>Add Card to Passbook. Note that while the Starbucks app is not yet formatted for iPhone 5, it runs properly in the center of the new iPhone’s taller screen.
A patent application from Apple reveals the company has been exploring hybrid wireless headphones that could detach from a cable if needed. Convenience during physical activity is noted as the reason for Apple’s investigation of this headphone design, which would allow a user to use corded headphones, magnetically detaching the top half of the cables for wireless listening while using the bottom half of the cord to transmit audio to the detached headphones.
While most iPods now have integrated Bluetooth transmitters, a feature that would minimize the need for special headphones, the Mar. 29, 2011 patent filing uses images of the sixth-generation iPod nano, and hints at a 3.5mm headphone port-based recharging solution for the headphones akin to the iPod shuffle. [via AppleInsider]
Street View has officially been added to the mobile Google Maps web app, accessible on iOS devices at Maps.Google.com, or by searching for an address within Safari’s search bar. After selecting a location within Google Maps, a new icon of a person pops up on the bottom of the screen, leading to Street View within a new Safari tab. The web app for Google Maps also has a new, branded icon, which users will see after adding the page to their Home screens.
Today’s addition of Street View was anticipated by recent reports, and it arrived sooner than initial estimates anticipated. Google Maps is one of the apps mentioned by Apple CEO Tim Cook as an alternative to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps.
- October 3, 2012
Although a small number of reports shortly after the iPhone 5’s launch suggested that a strange “purple haze” was appearing in certain photos taken with the rear iSight camera, we held back on running the claims because they appeared to be consistent with a well-known phenomenon known as lens flare. Users noted that purple-tinted light rays were appearing in photos with a bright light source — such as the sun — near the edges of the frame, and now Digital Photography Review has examined the iPhone 5’s camera more closely, as shown in its photo below, ultimately attributing the issue to two common lens factors: lens flare and internal reflections.
Although the flare is a bit more noticeable on the new iPhone than on some larger cameras, DPReview notes that all lenses can suffer from lens flare, and in this case is likely “caused by a combination of different things, none of which, alone, is unique to the iPhone 5.” The site suggests that users “avoid putting bright lights near the edge of the frame when shooting.”
British audio company RHA is making its first foray into the American market with its budget-priced MA450i and SA950i headphones. Sold in black or white, the noise-isolating in-ear MA450i earphones ($50) are equipped with 10mm drivers and an in-line remote, made from aluminum, and packaged with seven sets of ear tips. They’ll be available here in mid-October.
By comparison, the larger on-ear SA950 headphones ($60) feature 40mm titanium-coated drivers and an in-line remote. Made primarily from glossy black plastic with metal accents, they will be available here at the end of October.
- October 3, 2012
A new Bloomberg Businessweek feature offers new insights into the post-Steve Jobs era at Apple, drawing from “interviews with more than two dozen current and former Apple executives, employees, and partners.” The story notably discusses reactions to the retirement of Senior Vice President Bob Mansfield, as “several senior engineers on Mansfield’s team vociferously complained to Cook about reporting to his replacement, Dan Riccio, who they felt was unprepared for the magnitude of the role.” Cook responded by offering Mansfield a package of cash and stock worth roughly $2 million per month to stay at Apple as an adviser, after which Mansfield unretired.
Information about Jobs’ involvement with iOS 6 Maps is included, as insiders said Jobs initiated the project. The report speculates that Jobs could have killed the app before its launch, and notes that “Jobs also discussed pulling Google search from the iPhone, but figured that customers would reject that move, according to two former Apple executives.”
The Bloomberg story also includes details about the leadership style and decisions of CEO Tim Cook, who gave a speech to employees that Jobs’ death was “the saddest moment in his life.” As the story notes: “No one would say Apple is better off without Steve Jobs. But to a surprising degree, it’s doing fine.”
Following up on prior reports that Apple had not made Lightning connectors available to developers, multiple reliable sources have confirmed to iLounge that Apple has made significant changes to its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policies, tightening control over the manufacturing of Lightning accessories. According to the sources, only Apple-approved manufacturing facilities will be allowed to produce Lightning connector accessories, even including third-party accessories. Moreover, Apple hasn’t approved any factories yet, which the sources say will limit the number of Lightning accessories available in the near future.
One source notes that Apple is planning an MFi “seminar,” where it will discuss changes to the program and the rules for Lightning accessory development going forward. The seminar will be held in November in China, notes the source, after the point at which third-party Lightning accessories could be manufactured in time for holiday sale. Sources have further noted that the Lightning connector has proved difficult to copy, reducing the near-term likelihood of unauthorized third-party connector cables.
Notably, Amazon orders for a third-party “iTronz” Lightning Adapter offered in September have now been canceled, with the vendor citing a “very critical functional issue.” An e-mail from Amazon made reference to authentication chips found in the Lightning connector, initially citing a 20-25 day shipment delay. The vendor subsequently ceased sales altogether.
Updated Oct. 17: The seminar is scheduled for Nov. 7-8, according to a TechCrunch report. The report also notes Apple will strictly regulate sales of Lightning connectors for MFi partners, and that Apple will control the supply of Lightning pins — it will only supply partners with the pins when their products meet Apple’s specifications and standards.
- October 3, 2012
Apple has reportedly struck a licensing deal with Microlatch for fingerprint recognition technology. The Australian (registration required) reported the agreement, concluding that it’s “another sign the company is readying its iPhone line for the mobile payment era.” Microlatch’s patented technology apparently can register a user’s fingerprint on a device to authenticate financial transactions, a feature that could add additional security for near-field communications applications such as a digital wallet. It’s worth noting that Apple recently acquired AuthenTec, a company that makes mobile security software and chips for fingerprint recognition and NFC. [via Apple Insider]