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News

Fingerprint sensor, NFC in iPhone 5S?

A firm will supply Apple with fingerprint and near-field communication (NFC) components to be included in the iPhone 5S, according to a report. Chipbond Science and Technology will supply the chips for both features, as well as the phone’s integrated touch display driver. Fingerprint sensor possibilities have been claimed a number of times for Apple’s next iPhone — speculation increased prior to the release of the iPhone 5, with the company’s acquisition of AuthenTec, and continued after the iPhone 5’s release with Apple’s reported deal with Microlatch for use of fingerprint recognition technology, strongly suggesting that enhanced biometric security is a priority for Apple. However, numerous claims of imminent Apple NFC adoption have proved inaccurate in the past; it is possible that Apple is waiting to combine both features together for a proper digital wallet solution before adopting either one of them. [via China Times (translated link)]

Early iPhone prototype closer to iPad

A recently revealed early iPhone prototype from early 2005 confirms that the device was originally tested in a size closer to the iPad—the first physical evidence of Steve Jobs’ 2010 revelation that the iPhone began life as a tablet project. From early 2005, the early prototype features a 5” x 7” screen and a number of ports, including USB, Ethernet and serial ports.

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An anonymous former Apple employee noted that “at that early date no one knew what (the final device) would be.” The prototype was never meant to be anything more than that, and Ethernet and serial ports were only included for development purposes. [via Ars Technica]

Updated Apple TV houses small A5, not A5X

An earlier claim that an updated Apple TV would contain Apple’s A5X processor has been refuted by a recent teardown of the device. The tweaked Apple TV instead houses a smaller version of the Apple’s A5 chip, believed to be a 28-nanometer version of the prior design, a component that likely consumes less power and certainly less space while performing the same tasks as before. Originally spotted as Apple TV3,2 in iOS 6.1, this tweaked Apple TV does not feature any notable changes for users, according to Apple. [via MacRumors]

Update: Chip experts at Chipworks have discovered that despite the A5 billing, the chip is a new 32nm design, and not just a 28nm shrink of the earlier design. That Apple would develop another, smaller version of the A5 and test it inside the otherwise unchanged Apple TV suggests that it plans to use the chip in future devices. [via MacRumors]

Update x2: A further update suggests that the new chip has been designed to include only a single ARM CPU core, rather than the previous design, which contained two cores, one of which was disabled. [via MacRumors]

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, new March giveaway

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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Also, be sure to enter our uNu Enerpak Universal Battery Pack Giveaway for March, in which iLounge and Unu are giving away ten uNu Enerpak Tube Flashlight Universal Battery Packs. Simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page to enter; the giveaway will end on March 31, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple must reveal secret documents in privacy lawsuit

A judge has ruled that Apple must submit “a detailed account of how it collects and evaluates” documents in a recent privacy lawsuit, according to a report. Plaintiffs’ attorneys claim Apple has withheld documents it was required to produce in a lawsuit that alleges Apple collected data from mobile devices without permission. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal wrote that Apple “had provided more than enough evidence itself to suggest to the court that it has not fully complied with the court’s order.” The report notes the judge’s orders are forcing Apple to “reveal inner workings that the company normally goes to great lengths to hide.” Grewal’s order will also allow plaintiffs’ attorneys to view documents regarding how Apple reviews applications for mobile devices — according to a court filing, Apple redacted the information because it is “incredibly sensitive and valuable and is a closely guarded trade secret.” Apple has yet to comment on the order. [via Bloomberg]

Incipio offers 3.4-Amp Lightning Dual Auto Charger

Incipio has announced its Dual Auto Charger ($35), a 3.4-Amp charger for Lightning. The charger is capable of simultaneously recharging a Retina iPad at full speed, along with another device.

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The Dual Auto Charger features a coiled Lightning cable with a pass-through USB port. Incipio lists the charger as “coming soon.”

Thought Out debuts PED4 Planet iPad mini stand

Thought Out has released the PED4 Planet IPM50 stand ($70) for iPad mini. A steel ball pivoting stand highly similar to the company’s PED4 Planet BH50 stand for iPhone 5, this stand can be used on an iPad mini with or without a case, due to its configurable sliding fingers.

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The PED4 Planet IPM50 also screws off at the base to mount onto any photography tripod, should you want to use your iPad mini for photo or video purposes. Thought Out’s iPad mini stand is available now.

Apps: Liberation Maiden, Metal Slug X, Sonic Dash + Temple Run: Oz

You’ve heard the classic story of the teenaged Japanese president, right? The girl who put on a mechanized battle suit and liberated Japan from robotic invaders? If not, Level-5’s new Liberation Maiden ($5) will let you experience her exciting adventure first hand. Mixing After Burner-style lock-on weapons with the 3-D urban mecha flavor of Konami’s Zone of Enders, Liberation Maiden isn’t going to win any raves for the depth or variety of its gameplay; you just fly from map point to map point with a virtual joystick, using taps and swipes to destroy towers called “spikes” and various war machines. But the brief and decidedly Japanese-feeling title comes to iOS via Nintendo’s 3DS, and has received resolution and texture upgrades that look respectable on Retina displays. If you’re hungering for a little robotic shooting action, this is a decent title.

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SNK Playmore’s Metal Slug X ($4) is an updated remake of Metal Slug 2, with new elements, and bosses and other enemies placed at different points within the game. New weapons, such as remote-controlled missiles, bouncing land mines, and homing missiles are also included. Multiplayer gameplay is also possible through Bluetooth, as a friend can fight beside you. Packed with cool 2-D animations and art, Metal Slug X is funnier and more diverse than the original Metal Slug, including not only the outdoor Middle Eastern scenes you’d expect—now complete with camel rides—but also mummy attacks inside pyramids, turning you into an undead soldier if you’re touched by a mummy or poisoned animal. It’s a great side-scrolling shooter, and certainly worth the low asking price.

Report: Apple’s low royalty offer stalls music streaming

Apple’s proposed streaming music service is being held up by the company’s low offer for royalty rates, according to the New York Post. Sources said Apple has offered record labels around 6 cents per 100 songs streamed, about half of what Pandora offers: 12 cents per 100 songs streamed. A December report noted that progress was slow in talks between Apple and record labels, but no further details were given. While the new report notes that labels would love to open up a new revenue stream via Apple, the offer is seen as too low. Some insiders suggest Apple should pay the rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board, which is around 21 cents per 100 songs streamed.

A related report from The New York Times notes that licensing negotiations will likely delay the launch of Apple’s proposed service until the summer. It’s believed that Apple will pre-load an app on iOS devices for the Pandora-style service, which will be supported through iAds.

Marvel Unlimited comics subscription app hits iOS

Marvel Comics has released its new Marvel Unlimited iOS app, enabling iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to access Marvel’s digital comics subscription program. Though the app is free, subscriptions to the Marvel Unlimited service are $10 a month, or $60 for a year.

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About 13,000 back issues of Marvel comics are included with the service. Comics can be added to a user’s library, and six issues can be stored for offline reading; downloaded comics can be synced across all of a user’s devices. Peter Phillips, SVP of Marvel Digital, said most major Marvel titles “should be in there at six months,” according to a report; all of the comics available through Marvel Unlimited are at least six months old. [via Gizmodo]

Apple patent filing suggests digital content loans, resales

A recently published Apple patent filing titled “Managing Access to Digital Content Items” reveals details about the possible user-to-user transfer of digital content, such as books, music or movies found in iTunes. The most recent of three patent applications involving such transfers, filed in June, describes a system that would allow one user at a time to access a digital content item. A user who purchases a digital content item can loan the item or resell it, with part of the proceeds from the “resale” going to the original digital publisher or creator. In either case, the digital rights to access the content are also transferred. It’s also possible that the loaned or resold content could be stored remotely, in the cloud, removing the need for a seller or lender to send digital content directly to a buyer. [via Apple Insider]

Apple wins UK 3G patent ruling over Samsung

Apple has won a court ruling over Samsung in the UK over the use of standard essential 3G patents. Judge Christopher Floyd ruled Apple’s products do not infringe Samsung patents that apply to sending and receiving information from devices on a 3G network. While Samsung hopes to claim roughly 2.5 percent royalties on sales of Apple 3G products, each Apple court win makes that claim more unlikely. Samsung expressed disappointment with the result, as a company spokeswoman said it would determine whether an appeal would be filed. Apple declined comment. [via ZDNet]

NUU intros MiniKey case for iPhone 5

NUU has announced its MiniKey ($59) case for iPhone 5. Like the iPhone 4 version of the case, the new MiniKey is a slide-out Bluetooth keyboard case, though it boasts a thinner and lighter frame, in addition to other improvements. The backlit keyboard has 42 keys and includes multiple keyboard shortcuts.

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MiniKey for iPhone 5 features a snap-in design and comes in black. It is available for pre-order now, and ships March 15.

iSkin debuts Slims iPhone 5 case

iSkin has announced its Slims case ($35), an ultra thin case for the iPhone 5. Unlike many thin cases, which are just rear shells, iSkin’s Slims is a full case with rear and front protection, plus a clear screen shield. Only 0.4mm in width, Slims is formed from BPA-free polycarbonate, and the case resists scratches, as well.

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Slims comes in camouflage, wood, and chevron designs. It is available now.

Apple asks judge to dismiss app monopoly suit

Apple has asked a federal judge to dismiss a consumer lawsuit regarding an iPhone app monopoly. Filed in 2011, the suit alleges Apple maintains a monopoly because the App Store is the only place to buy iOS apps. “There’s nothing illegal about creating a system that is closed in a sense,” Apple attorney Dan Wall said during a court hearing Tuesday. While the suit claims customers are forced to pay what developers charge for applications at the App Store, Wall argued that Apple doesn’t set prices, and that charging a price for distribution doesn’t violate antitrust laws. [via Bloomberg]

Report: Apple, Beats talk streaming music service

Apple has discussed a potential partnership with Beats Electronics involving Beats’ planned “Project Daisy” music subscription service. According to a report, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President Eddy Cue met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine about the service. Held in late February, the meeting covered a variety of music-related topics, and Cook “expressed interest in Daisy’s business model and its rollout plans,” sources said, but he and Iovine “did not discuss specifics of a deal.” Prior reports have indicated that Apple is interested in launching its own streaming radio service, and Iovine recently noted that he had previously discussed a plan with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, possibly in an effort to encourage the company to strike a new deal. Both Apple and Beats declined comment. [via Reuters]

Ferrari, Apple talk in-car entertainment partnership

Ferrari is currently talking with Apple about “broadening a partnership on in-car entertainment,” Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said today at the Geneva Motor Show. Di Montezemolo said Ferrari will be “more precise” about its partnership with Apple in the coming months, according to a Bloomberg report; a related press release from Ferrari notes that the company’s FF model “is also now seamlessly integrated with Apple technologies, thanks to direct access to the infotainment system via Siri voice commands and the adoption of two iPad Minis as the entertainment system of choice for the rear seat passengers.” Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue notably joined Ferrari’s board of directors last year.

Apps: Chrome 25, Google Maps 1.1, iBooks 3.1, Into the Dead + Wheel of Fortune

The newest update for Google’s Chrome (free), the memorably-named version 25.0.1364.86, features improved search and sharing. In a feature rolling out in the coming weeks, a search term can be seen in the omnibox, instead of the long search URL. Holding the back button can now quickly access any page in your tab history, and any web page can now be shared via Messages. Bug fixes and stability and security improvements are included in the update, as well.

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Also from Google, a version 1.1 update for the iPhone and iPod touch app Google Maps (free) brings a search for Google Contacts; signing in lets users access saved address for friends and family by name. Version 1.1 also introduces a quicker local search by category, and the ability to choose between miles and kilometers for distance units. Some features may not be available in all countries, and there is still no iPad-specific version of the app.

Apple considered naming iPhone ‘Telepod,’ ‘Mobi,’ ‘TriPod’

Ken Segall, former ad agency creative director for NeXT and Apple, recently revealed several other names Apple considered for the iPhone. “Telepod,” “Mobi,” and “TriPod” were all considered for the name of the device before Apple settled on the iPhone moniker. Apple believed “Telepod” was a futuristic twist to telephone, Segall said, and “pod” was already in use for Apple’s iPods. “Mobi” was a shortened version of the word “mobile,” and “TriPod” comes from the iPhone being marketed as a “tri” device — phone, iPod, and internet device. Segall revealed that iPad was also considered as a name for the iPhone. [via 9to5Mac]

Gear4 debuts Lightning AlarmDock Halo 3, StreetParty 5, more

Gear4 has announced its new line of Lightning products, including an alarm dock, speaker, and assorted chargers. AlarmDock Halo 3 ($130) is a Lightning-compatible alarm clock dock for iPhone 5 and the fifth-generation iPod touch — it’s an updated version of the company’s AlarmDock Halo 2. The dock works in conjunction with a free app — an alarm set in the app automatically syncs to the Halo 3. Also, an in-app media player can use iTunes, Spotify, or other networked tracks as wake-up music.

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StreetParty 5 ($80) is a speaker dock for iPhone 5 and fifth-gen iPod touch that can be powered by AA batteries, based on the earlier StreetParty 4. Gear4 also introduced its Lightning Dock for iPhone 5 and fifth-gen iPod touch ($40), MicroCharger for Lightning ($35) and InCar Charger for Lightning ($30), all said to be currently available.

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