Apple has released iOS 6.1.2, an update that fixes “an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.” Though not specifically mentioned, it’s likely the update will also resolve the lock screen security flaw found in iOS 6.1. iOS 6.1.2 can be downloaded from iTunes or via the Settings > Software Update menu on an iOS device.
The India version of Apple’s web site is now showing a live page for Apple TV as the set-top box launches in the country. Various reports are listing slightly different prices in rupees for Apple TV, but it appears that the cost will be roughly $150. Apple TV can also be found in the iPod section of India’s online Apple Store, though there is currently no option to buy online. [via BGR India]
Happy Presidents’ Day from all of us at iLounge! We’ll be on a limited publication schedule today; we will return to normal updates on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Current U.S. President Barack Obama revealed what was on his iPod during his run to the White House, and former President George W. Bush showed off his iPod contents while in office. Tell us in the comment: what’s on your iPod these days?
Apple has acknowledged the lock screen security flaw found in iOS 6.1, and a fix is on the way. Company spokeswoman Trudy Miller said the company is aware of the issue, and a fix will be delivered in a future software update. [via AllThingsD]
Staples has announced to corporate employees that the company will soon start selling Apple products in the U.S, according to reports. A number of employees tweeted about the news, including Staples Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources Regis Mulot, who later deleted his tweet. A mock-up page was found on Staples’ website in late January, with an Apple TV test page among the pages seen before removal. [via 9to5Mac]
Kickstarter has unveiled an official free app for the iPhone and iPod touch, which functions much like a mobile version of the crowd funding site. Most users will use the app to discover new projects, watch videos, and get updates on projects they’ve funded straight from the app. Allowing location services also lets users find new nearby projects automatically. On the flip side, project creators can track their project’s progress, connect with backers, and post updates from anywhere. While we’re generally very hesitant to treat Apple-focused Kickstarter campaigns as real news, based on the frequency of delays, over-promising in campaigns, and other issues, users who are interested in trying their luck with the service may like the app.
Amazon’s free Kindle app has been updated to version 3.6 with several new features. Multicolored highlights allow users to select from four different colors to highlight important passages. After finishing a book, readers can now easily share that fact with friends on Facebook and Twitter, as well as rating the book and writing a review. Other books of interest can then be added to a wish list. Also, the brightness control within the app will now be saved, so when a user’s device goes to sleep, the settings will no longer be changed and needed to be reset.
Apple has quietly released a 0.5m version of its Lightning to USB Cable ($19). Although half the size of the “standard” cables it has been selling, it retains the same price; its release suggests that Apple may shift to packing shorter Lightning cables in with future products.
Apple also tweaked its In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic — the remote now is a bit more rounded, matching the redesigned remote on EarPods. The rest of the design and the $79 price haven’t changed. [via MacRumors]
Urbanears has introduced Slussen ($15), a stylish-looking portable DJ adapter with a free companion app. Slussen plugs into an iOS device, using two 3.5mm jacks to connect headphones and a sound system. Upon launching the app, users can hear one song through headphones while another is playing through the speaker. The app allows music to be controlled in a number of ways, by adjusting BPM, syncing tracks, and EQ effects; a scratch function, crossfaders, and equalizer are also included.
Slussen comes ready for keychain attachment. Available now, it comes in four colors — grape, pumpkin, petrol, and tomato — with the tomato version priced at $20.
Powerskin has introduced Pop’n ($80), an external 2000 mAh battery charger that affixes to the back of an iPhone 5, using a dangling Lightning plug for connectivity. Pop’n can adhere to iPhones and some existing iPhone cases by using small, flexible suction cups; the size of the Lightning connector will determine whether it works with a given case.
As one of the first Apple-approved external battery chargers for iPhone 5, Pop’n uses an LED light strip to indicate how much battery charge remains in the case. It extends power by up to 70 percent, and is available now in black and white, with red and pink versions to come.
A security flaw in iOS 6.1 allows anyone to bypass the iPhone’s lock screen to view and modify contacts, listen to voicemails, and browse photos. Using the phone’s emergency call function, a series of precise steps involving making an emergency call and holding down the power button can let anyone access sections of the iPhone. iOS 4.1 had a similar security flaw; a security update will likely be on the way shortly. [via Apple Insider]
Nat Brown, “a founder of the original xBox project at Microsoft” who “gave it its name,” has suggested in a blog post that Apple could easily turn the Apple TV into an open game console, taking advantage of the still-poor Xbox user and developer experience to rapidly conquer the market. “Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV [sic],” Brown wrote. “I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money.”
According to Brown, “The current numbers already say a lot, even with Apple-TV not already an open console: 5.3M sold units in 2012, 90% year-over-year growth — vs. xBox 360 — about 9M units in 2012, 60% YoY decline,” though the Xbox 360 is notably nearing the end of its life cycle. Brown argues that a “console-capable” Apple TV could benefit indie developers as well as users, who would jump at a chance to get away from Xbox’s confusing menus, loading times, and poor online marketplace for software, which hides smaller titles in an area without any promotion. Microsoft and Sony are both expected to announce next-generation game consoles this year, but at price points significantly higher than the Apple TV’s, which Brown suggests could become more expensive while still undercutting rivals.
A team of roughly 100 Apple product designers are currently working on a “wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad,” according to a Bloomberg report. The team includes managers, marketing group members, and software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone and iPad. People familiar with Apple’s plans said the team size suggests that the smart watch has moved beyond the experimentation phase. Other media outlets known to receive official leaks from Apple reported earlier this week that Apple is developing a smart watch.
HBO has announced that the cable network’s apps are now able stream from an iPhone or iPad to Apple TV via Airplay, thanks to updates to the HBO Go app and Cinemax MAX Go app. Kessler confirmed that HBO Go will become directly available through Apple TV in the future, as was reported earlier this month; no date was specified. [via AllThingsD]
Fans of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly now have a free iOS app to enjoy in The Chihuly App, which lets you create your own art with the looks and shapes of his celebrated glass sculptures. After picking one of Chihuly’s styles, you blow into the microphone to create a virtual sculpture that can be moved, molded, and color-changed by touching the screen. When the work is complete, you can view your creation in 3-D, and share it on Facebook. It’s also possible to browse artwork other users have made, and read a timeline of Dale Chihuly’s life and accomplishments. It’s pretty neat stuff for a free download.
A puzzle/sandbox game for iPads, Little Inferno ($5) is an “interactive fireplace” that lets you burn things, advancing through stages by discovering combos when certain items burn together. All you’re really doing from an actual gameplay standpoint is buying items, throwing them in the fireplace, and lighting them ablaze—complete with brief but frustrating delays between the purchase of an item and being able to toss it in the fire. You also get snippets of correspondence from other characters via letters, which create a story with an ending that’s claimed to pack a wallop. You’ll need to decide whether you have enough video pyromania to continue experimenting with the items for hours; in any case, you’ll find Little Inferno to be a unique gaming concept.
During the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed the huge potential for tablet sales, noting that 50 percent more iPads were sold last quarter than PCs. “There has been a sea change here, but I think we’re in the early innings of this game,” Cook said. While noting that competitors don’t disclose their actual sales numbers, he said that around 120 million tablets were sold last year, and cited an estimate that tablet sales would more than triple to 375 million units per year over the next four years.
Apple has made significant expenditures in building the iPad’s ecosystem, said Cook, and laid the groundwork for all of the key elements of future success—investments competitors may not have made. Cook noted that 300,000 apps have already been custom-made for the iPad’s screen, versus “hundreds” for competing devices.
Cook doesn’t “really think about” the cannibalization question as it relates to the iPad mini having any impact on the full-sized iPad. “If we don’t cannibalize, someone else will,” he said, later mentioning, “It seems perfectly reasonable to me to have an iPad and an iPad mini” in the product lineup.
Currently speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to a question about increasing the screen size on phones by mounting a direct attack on specsmanship. “The customer experience is always broader than that which can be defined by a simple number,” Cook said, suggesting that specs are what companies focus on when they can’t make truly great products. “Do you know the speed of an AX processor?” asked Cook. “Does it matter?” He said that for Apple, a great experience and great products were the goal, “the only religion that we have.”
Cook compared Apple’s Retina display to OLED displays, which have been the topic of much discussion yet have what Cook deemed “awful” color saturation. “The Retina display is twice as bright as an OLED display,” he said, mentioning that Apple feels very confident about the choices it has made with displays. “The only thing we’ll never do is make a crappy product. We’re going to make a great product… We must do something great, something bold, something ambitious. We want the customer to be the center of it ... to enrich customers’ lives.”
As for future display technology, Cook said, “I’m not going to comment about what we’re going to do in the future, that releases our magic, I’m not going to do that.”
Apple was awarded two design patents on Tuesday for the fourth-generation iPod and Newsstand app icon. Released in July 2004, the fourth-generation iPod features the Click Wheel, and introduced the photo and iPod color models. Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive is credited as an inventor of the design.
The Newsstand app icon, which launched in June 2011 with iOS 5, features a skeuomorphic bookshelf design. Elizabeth Caroline Cranfill is the only credited designer of the icon. [via Apple Insider]
Apple has rapidly released iOS 6.1.1 for the iPhone 4S to fix issues users of that model were experiencing with iOS 6.1. A report earlier today noted that two European mobile operators were telling iPhone 4S users to avoid updating to iOS 6.1 due to a 3G connectivity issue. This is notably not the same version of iOS 6.1.1 that was released last week to developers, sporting Japan-focused updates to Apple’s Maps application; those updates will follow in a subsequent release.
Belkin has announced a multi-year licensing partnership with toymaker LEGO to create accessories for mobile devices, initially focusing on iOS devices including the iPhone and iPod touch. While images were not yet available at press time, Belkin plans to start with the release of smartphone cases with LEGO bricks for a “buildable” case experience, starting this spring. The cases will be “based on iconic LEGO toys,” Belkin said.
Once again, Apple has announced that CEO Tim Cook will speak at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, and his presentation will be streamed live tomorrow, February 12 at 10:15 a.m. Eastern on Apple’s site. While Cook will probably discuss Apple’s business, it’s unlikely that he’ll make any sort of product announcement. [via 9to5Mac]