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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Apps: Angry Birds 3.2, Limbo, Vine 1.3 + Yahoo! Weather

Rovio’s original Angry Birds ($1) now features a brand new episode, Red’s Mighty Feathers, in which the Red Bird gains new powers from the Mighty Eagle. Instead of seeking to defeat the pigs, Red Bird is defending his eggs in this episode, making for a shift in gameplay. The new levels in version 3.2 also incorporate gameplay from Rovio’s Bad Piggies game, as the pigs advance in contraptions to steal eggs. Red’s Mighty Feathers features 15 new levels.

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Playdead’s acclaimed sidescroller Limbo ($5) finally makes its way to iOS. Having debuted for XBox Live Arcade in 2010, the game features a young boy making his way through a dark forest. A quiet, atmospheric game in black and white, Limbo gives users no indication on how to control its character or what to do next. It can leave gamers a bit lost at first when sending the boy into another gruesome death, but the trial-and-error nature of the game almost begs users to walk into certain death to figure out a better way to navigate its puzzles. The controls are intuitive, even when using a touchscreen. If you dig its creepy vibe, Limbo is certainly worth buying as a welcome twist to the sidescroller genre.

Just Mobile debuts Gum++ Backup Battery

Just Mobile has released the Gum++ ($90), a new stylish high-capacity backup battery for smartphones, tablets, and other USB-powered devices. The Gum++ incorporates a 6000mAh battery encased in a glossy, durable hard ABS shell, and provides enough capacity to recharge an iPhone up to 3 times or add additional charge to an iPad, including the ability to provide up to 2.5A of current for full-speed iPad charging.

The Gum++ is available in a range of colours and is bundled with a USB-to-micro-USB cable for recharging the battery from any USB power source.

Happy Independence Day from iLounge!

As our U.S.-based editors are celebrating Independence Day with our families, iLounge will be on a limited publishing schedule today, July 4, 2013. Happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers—we’ll be back in full force tomorrow!

CEO Cook emphasizing iPhone sales in Apple stores

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke to Apple Retail Store Leaders about selling more iPhones in Apple Retail Stores, according to a report. During a summit that lasted for about three hours, Cook mentioned that Macs and iPads have sold well in Apple’s stores, but 80 percent of iPhones are purchased from other outlets. Apple will reportedly create new incentives to sell more iPhones in its own stores — the iPhone is now included in Apple’s Back to School promotion, and an earlier report noted Apple will start an in-store trade-in program for used iPhones. Sources said that program will be heavily promoted within stores. It’s also notable that one source said to expect “an army of new products this fall.” [via 9to5Mac]

Boston Univ. sues Apple for patent infringement

Boston University has filed a lawsuit alleging Apple has infringed upon a patent held by computer engineering professor Theodore D. Moustakas. The 1997 patent for highly insulating mono crystalline gallium nitride thin films is alleged to be infringed upon in the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air. BU has reportedly filed identical claims against other companies, including Amazon and Samsung. The university plans to show in court that “at least one other company pays a licensing fee” for use of the allegedly infringed component. [via Boston Herald]

Budget iPhone leak reveals white, blue shells?

After alleged photos of Apple’s budget iPhone were leaked earlier this week, new images have appeared. These additional photos show a white shell and the sides and inside of a blue shell, while the previous photos showed yellow, red, and green shells.

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The previous yellow and red shells are also seen in the new photo, with the red shell looking more like a pink shell. Again, these could be knockoffs, but a case can also be made for their legitimacy. [via NowhereElse.fr]

Apple hires Yves Saint Laurent CEO for ‘special projects’

Apple has hired Paul Deneve, former CEO of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve will report to CEO Tim Cook as a vice president working on “special projects,” according to Bloomberg. He previously worked for Apple in Europe in the 1990s. Considering Deneve’s fashion background, it’s possible those “special projects” may include Apple’s smart watch — the company has recently filed for an iWatch trademark in numerous countries.

Apple nearing Time Warner deal for TV programs

Apple is close to a deal with Time Warner Cable that would give Time Warner subscribers access to channels on Apple TV, Bloomberg reports. An agreement between the two companies could be announced “within a few months,” according to sources. A recent Apple TV update added HBO GO and WatchESPN to the device, among other subscription services. Sources also say Apple is hiring Hulu senior vice president Pete Distad to help negotiate with media and cable companies.

Apps: Press Here, Procreate 1.8, Reeder 3.2 + Samurai Shodown II

Based on the acclaimed kids’ book by Herve Tullet, Press Here: The App from Chronicle Books is available for iPad ($2) and iPhone ($1) — the latter as a “small version.” The app features 15 simple games and activities, focused on the three colored dots featured in the considerably more expensive books. Though the app version appears to be simplistic in design, Press Here uses its basic dots to spark imagination and problem solving, testing memory, artistic abilities, and much more.

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Procreate ($5), an iPad app from Savage Interactive that lets users illustrate and create, has updated to version 1.8. So many new things have been added — a freehand selection tool, a new copy-and-pastesystem, painting and brush improvements, transform improvements, and a new interface for creating a canvas, amongst other tweaks. A number of other experiences have been improved, including interface animations and redesigned menus. The app also now supports Adonit’s Jot Touch 4.

Lifeproof intros Frē case for iPod touch 5G

Lifeproof has announced its Frē ($50) case for the fifth-generation iPod touch. Recently acquired by OtterBox, the company is known for waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof, and shock proof cases; Frē is a design with integrated screen protection.

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Lifeproof recently released its Frē for iPad mini. Frē for the fifth-gen iPod touch has no release date as of yet, but LifeProof’s website notes the case is coming soon.

Apple granted patent for touch-sensitive bezel

Apple was granted a patent for a touch-sensitive bezel that could act as another form of input on a device. The filing details a method in which a display screen would be accompanied by a bezel that covers “a second portion of the active area.”

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Sensors would recognize when the bezel is about to be used for input. The appearance of the bezel could be adjusted so control functions could become visible upon use, by changing the transparency of the active area; buttons hidden below the bezel could conceivably begin to glow as fingers approach. [via Apple Insider]

Apple files ‘iWatch’ trademark in more countries

It has been discovered that Apple has filed for an “iWatch” trademark in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, and Colombia, just one day after learning the company filed for the same trademark in Japan. Apple has also apparently filed for the trademark in Russia. The easily found, widely reported trademark filings are unlike Apple; though a smart watch release from the company seems inevitable, it’s still unclear if this means we’ll be seeing the device earlier than expected. [via 9to5Mac, MacRumors]

Apple’s Back to School promo likely this week

Apple is likely to launch its annual Back to School promotion this week — and possibly tomorrow — according to a report. Eligible students will receive an iTunes/App Store gift card with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, and now, an iPhone. While $100 gift cards come with a Mac purchase, an iOS device purchase will net students a $50 gift card. Last year’s promotion ran from June into September — there’s a possibility this year’s promotion could run later due to its late starting date. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: Apple’s Back to School promotion started today, July 2, and it runs through Sept. 6.

Budget iPhone leak reveals shell colors?

Alleged photos of Apple’s budget iPhone have surfaced on WeiPhone.com, with back plastic shells pictured in shades of yellow, red, and green. While it’s been widely rumored that Apple’s new low-cost iPhone will come in a variety of different colors, the poor image quality and off-looking colors make these photos less than entirely convincing. It’s possible that these are knockoffs, but also possible that they’re legitimate.

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Additional photos reveal the insides of the backplates. Other rumored color options include blue, navy, gold orange, gray, and yellow-orange. [via Nowhereelse.fr]

Apple eyes LTE-Advanced iPhone 5S for S. Korea

Apple is reportedly negotiating with South Korea’s SK Telecom to release an LTE-Advanced iPhone 5S in “the coming months” in South Korea. An SK Telecom official said the company approached Apple to include LTE-A technology. “We are in the middle of negotiations,” the official said. It’s unclear if Apple has plans to include LTE-A technology in all iPhone 5S models, and whether the approach to Apple—a company that has been hesitant to adopt regionally-available cellular technologies outside of the United States—will be successful. [via The Korea Times]

Report: Apple paid no UK corporation tax in 2012

Recent U.K. tax filings have revealed Apple paid no corporation tax last year, despite making about $103 million in pre-tax profits. A report states, “Tax deductions from share awards to employees helped wipe out the corporate tax liabilities of the UK subsidiaries in the year to September 2012.” Apple paid around $17 million in taxes the previous year. The new findings only increase public pressure on the company, as Apple faced questioning from the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on tax issues in May. [via Financial Times]

Apple raided by French authorities in investigation

France’s Competition Authority recently searched Apple’s French headquarters, in addition to Apple wholesalers and retailers, according to a report. A 24-hour search was conducted, and documents were seized by investigators. The Competition Authority confirmed the searches, which appear to be based on anti-competitive issues. Among details noted in the report, France’s largest Apple reseller, eBizcuss, went bankrupt last year, and the company accused Apple of favoring its own retail stores. The report also notes the App Store is being monitored, possibly due to an increase last year in pricing for newspapers and magazines. [via LesEchos.fr (translated link)]

Apple files trademark for ‘iWatch’ in Japan

Apple is looking to trademark “iWatch” in Japan, according to Bloomberg. The company filed for the trademark with the Japan Patent Office on June 3. A prior report noted Apple filed for “iWatch” in Russia, though that report could not be independently confirmed. The name of Apple’s rumored smart watch is still unknown, but “iWatch” is certainly a distinct possibility based on these reported filings.

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