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Key claims confirmed for Apple rubber-banding patent

Four key claims of Apple’s “rubber-banding” patent have been validated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple informed Judge Lucy Koh of the USPTO’s intent. In April, a “Final Office Action” ruled one of the main claims invalid; this claim had been key in Apple’s patent battles with Samsung. That claim will now receive a reexamination certificate, strengthening Apple’s case moving forward. [via FOSS Patents]

Apps: Angry Birds Star Wars 1.3, Myspace 3.0.1, QR Reader 3.5 + Word Lens 2.1.1

Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars ($1) has upgraded to version 1.3.0, and with it comes Lando Bird, a bird based on Billy Dee Williams’ famously suave Lando Calrissian. The game picks up at the point where Lando Bird is joining the Rebel Alliance, for those trying to keep their Star Wars and Star Wars Angry Birds timelines in order. Rovio has added 20 new Cloud City levels, new power-ups, new bonus levels, and a new boss fight — players can now take on Lard Vader. The same updates have been added to the iPad-only Angry Birds Star Wars HD ($3).

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Myspace has completely revamped its free Myspace app to match the changes on its site. The new app now has a GIF creator and Social Radio, which allows users to create personal radio stations, like Pandora. It’s easier to connect with people through People Browse, and a number of other social sharing features have been added. There’s a heavier emphasis on music — will it be enough to get people talking about Myspace again?

iOS 7 increases Bluetooth LE integration

Apple’s iOS 7 is adding improved integration for Bluetooth 4 LE (low-energy) accessories. iOS devices will work with more Bluetooth 4 accessories, and include new features for time, notifications, stereo sound, keyboards and more. An ability to sense location beacons will make location awareness much more precise. It will also be possible to set up and configure Wi-Fi accessories from iOS. Bluetooth will also be linked to the Apple Notification Center Service and Preservation and Restoration service. The ANCS allows for push notifications to Bluetooth Smart accessories. The Preservation and Restoration Service can figure out why an app was terminated, or to continue running an app, whereas in iOS 6, an app would stop talking to a Bluetooth device in such situations. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple mulls 4.7”, 5.7” iPhone screens

Apple is considering releasing two larger iPhones next year, according to Reuters. One phone could have a 4.7-inch screen, and the other would have a 5.7-inch screen, though Reuters’ sources are unclear as to whether either or both would actually come to market. If true, Apple would effectively be entering the “phablet” market, which has been written off by some as impractical despite growing demand. Sources also said test production for the next two iPhones — the iPhone 5S and budget iPhone — will start next month, with an eventual September launch target for both phones. Reuters suggests that the iPhone 5S will have new fingerprint technology, while Apple’s budget iPhone will come in a range of five to six colors. Additionally, Apple has discussed a price of $99 for the low-end iPhone, though it’s noted that the phone’s release “could slip to next year.”

iOS 7: Redeem iTunes gift cards with camera

iOS 7 users will be able to redeem iTunes gift cards using the device’s camera, thanks to an addition to the upcoming operating system’s App Store. iTunes for the Mac added the same feature last year, and it makes even more sense to bring the option to iOS devices. Additionally, the ability to read barcodes is built into iOS 7, opening up greater possibilities from third-party developers going forward. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Many iOS 7 icons designed by Apple marketing

Many of the new icons in Apple’s recently revealed iOS 7 were “primarily designed by members of Apple’s marketing and communications department,” according to a report. Apple Senior VP of Industrial Design Jony Ive reportedly used the print and web marketing design team to “set the look and color palette of the stock app icons.” The app design teams then designed the icons using those set palettes as a guide. Sources also said there are “inconsistencies in icon design,” and it’s been noted that iOS 7’s first beta is “mid stride” and a “work in progress,” fueling speculation that there could be a fair number of changes to the new OS by the time it’s ready for full release in the Fall. [via The Next Web]

Apple fixes Belgian, French, German warranty policies

Apple has updated its warranty policy in Belgium to comply with EU law, offering a full two-year statutory warranty, according to a Dutch Apple site (translated link). The company also similarly updated policies in France and Germany. Apple published a document in Dutch, noting the Belgian warranty changes. Previously, Apple had come under fire from a Belgian watchdog group, which filed a complaint regarding the company’s warranty practices. Apple was fined twice in Italy over similar warranty issues. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple posts guidelines for game controller development

Apple is now offering developers instructions for creating officially sanctioned game controllers. Two game controllers are illustrated — both with a d-pad, four front buttons, and shoulder buttons. One of the controllers slightly resembles a Wii U Gamepad, as an iOS device could be placed within the controller’s center. The other controller is more traditional, and similar to Xbox or PlayStation controllers, adding two analog joysticks and two extra shoulder buttons. It closely resembles the shape of Nintendo’s Wii Classic Controller.

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The new Game Controller framework describes three controllers — a standard and extended version of the iOS device controller, and a controller that connects wirelessly to an iOS device or Mac. The controllers must be optional, and will connect automatically once discovered. In addition to gaming for iOS devices and Macs, expect speculation about the devices being used for the Apple TV, which could conceivably become a home gaming console of sorts with wireless accessories. [via Touch Arcade]

iOS 7 now warns on non-certified Lightning accessories

iOS 7 detects when non-certified Lightning accessories are connected to iOS devices, and offers an onscreen warning: “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this (iPod/iPhone/iPad).” The message appeared when connecting a non-certified accessory.

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Despite the warning, the message can be dismissed, and users can continue to use a non-certified accessory. The current version of iOS 7 is only a first beta version, and the message may be changed or eliminated by the time the software is officially released. [via 9to5mac]

Apps: Airport Utility 1.3, PGA TOUR Caddie, RunKeeper 3.5 + Yelp 6.8

Apple’s AirPort Utility (free) manages Wi-Fi networks and AirPort base stations — AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule — from an iOS device. The newly released version 1.3 lets users configure and manage the new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

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PGA TOUR Caddie (free) by Shotzoon Software is an amazing app for golfers. TOUR Caddie offers GPS access to 500,000 greens across more than 40,000 golf courses worldwide, and a 3-D flyover preview lets golfers visualize each hole. Golfers can track and record each shot, including clubs used and round info, as well as comparing statistics to other golfers with similar handicaps. Additionally, the in-app TOURAcademy purchase ($10 per year) offers tips and drills video from instructors, and TOURCaddie PRO (free 30-day trial, $30 per year) gives golfers real-time distances to hazards and targets on each hole, and on-the-spot club recommendations based on performance.

Scosche debuts smartRoll Bluetooth gaming dice

Following a quiet demonstration earlier this year at CES, Scosche officially announced its iOS-compatible smartRoll electronic gaming dice at E3. smartRoll is a pair of two Bluetooth Smart powered gaming dice with built-in accelerometers and motion sensors. Rolling the dice displays the results on an iOS device’s screen. LEDs flash when the dice are in motion. The dice are evenly balanced for random results.

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smartRoll dice are made of rubber and plastic and use a shake-to-wake function to conserve battery life. Three games — Trivia, Craps, and Music Challenge — are included with smartRoll. The replaceable coin battery is said to last for a year. Note that no launch date or pricing for smartRoll has been announced as of yet; Scosche is still seeking developers for apps.

iOS 7 beta 1 now available to developers

As announced earlier at today’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple has released the first beta of iOS 7 to registered iOS developers. Carrying a build number of 11A4372q, the beta is available for all models of the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 4, as well as the fifth-generation iPod touch.

An iOS 7 beta for the iPad is not yet available and was announced as coming later this month. The beta downloads are also accompanied by a beta of Xcode 5 with the iOS 7 SDK, a pre-release Apple TV Software version for the second- and third-generation Apple TV, and a beta version of Find My iPhone for the new security features in iOS 7. The beta is available now to registered iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.

Apple posts iOS 7 in action page

Apple has launched an iOS 7 page, showcasing the features of its newly announced mobile operating system. The iOS 7 introduction video is available on the site, in addition to 12 new or updated iOS 7 features, shown in action.

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These features include: Control Center, Notification Center, Multitasking, iTunes Radio, Photos, AirDrop, Camera, Safari, Siri, Mail, Weather, and Messages. Links on the page let readers get a closer look at the new design and features.

WWDC: iTunes Radio announced

Apple announced iTunes Radio, the company’s long-rumored streaming music service. iTunes Radio is a free, ad-supported service, and it’s ad-free for iTunes Match users. The Pandora-esque service lets users choose featured music stations, or create their own stations based on specific artists. iTunes Radio keeps track of played songs within its history. Initially launching in the U.S., iTunes Radio is built into the iOS 7 Music app, and it will also be built into iTunes for Mac, PC, and Apple TV.

WWDC: Apple debuts iOS 7

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced iOS 7, the company’s latest operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Touting amazing new features and a “stunning new user interface,” iOS 7 represents a significant departure from the well-known iOS software design, delivering an entirely new UI structure with refined typography, redesigned icons, and a new color palette. The new UI also involves more transparency, layered effects, and new animation and motion. iOS 7 was described by Cook as “the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.”

The App Store now updates apps automatically. Notification Center is now accessible from the lock screen. Multiple pages are now possible within folders. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen now activates Control Center, which allows users to adjust brightness, volume, playback controls, Do Not Disturb, and more, while accessing a flashlight option as well. All apps will now allow multitasking, and iOS 7 uses “intelligent scheduling” to refresh app information. A double-click on the home button lets users swipe left and right through all open apps to multitask. An updated weather app, calendar, and messages were shown off in a demonstration.

Safari for iOS 7 has a full-screen interface with swipe navigation for browsing. Tabs for Safari now give a preview of the page, while scrolling up-and-down, and there’s no longer an 8-tab limit. AirDrop for iOS 7 lets users share securely encrypted files with nearby users over peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. Filters have been added to Camera, and a new Photos app makes it easier for users to organize photos with its new Collections feature.

 

Siri has been updated with a new interface and new voices — female or male. French and German voices are available with other languages to be added “over time.” Siri can now do more commands such as “turn on Bluetooth” or “increase brightness.” Twitter, Wikipedia, and Bing have also been integrated into Siri. iOS in the Car was announced, featuring integration into the display screens of cars.

A new “Activation Lock” feature has also been introduced that will prevent a stolen iPhone from being re-activated—even after a full wipe—without entering the original owner’s iCloud Apple ID and password.

WWDC: More than 900,000 apps, $10B to developers

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at Apple’s WWDC 2013 Keynote that there are now 900,000 apps available in the App Store, and 93 percent of those apps are downloaded each month. About 375,000 apps have been developed for iPad. Cook also said Apple has paid $10 billion to developers through the store, with $5 billion in the last year alone. There are now 575 million iTunes accounts.

Cook later announced there are 300 million iCloud accounts, 300 million users of iTunes in the Cloud, and 240 million Game Center users. iCloud has sent 800 billion iMessages and 7.4 trillion push notifications.

WWDC 2013 Keynote: Live Updates + Insights Here

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Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote is about to begin in San Francisco, California, with iOS 7, an Apple music streaming service nicknamed iRadio, and new Mac computers/software expected to be officially announced. We’ll be providing live updates throughout the course of the event to let you know what’s happening with iOS 7, any new iOS-related accessories, and other products that may be announced. Click on the title of this article for the latest details as they happen.

Note: We’ve moved iOS-related updates to the top of the article so you can see them before the Mac-related news.

Note 2: The event is now over, with all updates below.

AT&T adding iPhone push-to-talk for corporate users

AT&T will launch a push-to-talk, walkie-talkie style application to the iPhone for its corporate customers, according to a report. Push-to-talk has long been a feature of the Nextel network, which is shutting down this summer, and was a popular selling point for business users. This is the first time the iPhone will have the feature, though the function will require more than just downloading an app — AT&T will need to specifically enable it for corporate customers. At this point, there’s no indication the feature will be available for all AT&T iPhone users. [via The Washington Post]

AT&T changes upgrade eligibility to 24 months

AT&T has announced it has changed its device upgrade policy to 24 months with a standard two-year wireless agreement, a change from the company’s prior 20-month upgrade policy. Customers must now wait two full years to receive a full discount on purchasing a subsidized device. The company suggests that the change applies to customers whose current contract agreements expire in March 2014 or later. In April, Verizon also changed its full subsidy upgrade eligibility to 24 months.

iOS 7: Mockup, preview suggest thin font, color shifts

Apple is set to unveil iOS 7 today, and 9to5Mac has posted a mockup of Apple’s new OS released with additional details before its official debut. iOS 7 reportedly uses a thinner font throughout the Home Screens. Apple has replaced the carrier signal bars with five white or gray dots. App icons have also changed in various ways — for instance, Camera is now gray with the image of a camera, as opposed to a lens. The Photos, Game Center and Safari icons have changed, while Mail, Music, App Store, and iTunes Store icons apparently look like flatter versions of the previous icons.

There are also apparently two color schemes for many of the apps — a “black” color scheme and “white” scheme. It’s unknown what role these schemes will play, but black and white iPhones could have their own color schemes, or the phone might change color schemes based on time or the amount of ambient light. Maps will reportedly add walking directions, and as was previously reported, AirDrop sharing will be available.

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