Apple has released iTunes 11.1 to the public, including new features such as iTunes Radio, Genius Shuffle, and customizable Podcast Stations. The update also is required for syncing with iOS 7, which should be released shortly. iTunes terms and conditions have also changed, with “additional information regarding authenticating your account for purchases,” information on automatic delivery of app updates, and Popular Near Me information all included now. The iTunes update can be downloaded from Apple’s website.
Amazon’s Amazon Instant Video app updated to version 2.1. Most notably, the free app now supports AirPlay to let users watch Amazon’s titles on the Apple TV. IMDB cast and director information, ratings, trivia, quotes, and goofs have also been added to the app.
Infinity Blade III ($7) from Epic Games’ Chair Entertainment Group debuted on iOS today. The game features two playable characters, Siris and Isa. As expected, the game’s graphics — powered by the Unreal Engine — are top-notch, running smoothly on all supported devices while adding additional special effects to take advantage of Apple’s latest hardware. On the other hand, the gameplay is largely more of the same, and beginning to feel stale despite the addition of potions to mix and enemies that switch weapons mid-fight. Fans of the series may enjoy the additional emphasis on the sci-fi/fantasy storyline this time around. Apart from some crash bugs we experienced on the iPad mini, Infinity Blade III is certainly worth grabbing for longtime fans of the series, and anyone looking to see what a given iOS device is really capable of.
Apple is currently in the process of releasing iOS 7-focused updates to its own apps, and we’re expecting a bunch to hit the App Store today. Here’s what’s now available.
The Apple Store app has been updated to version 2.8 — it’s been optimized for iOS 7 with a new UI.
Apple updated its AirPort Utility app to version 1.3.2. The app added support for iOS 7.
This story will continue to be updated as more Apple apps get iOS 7 updates over the course of the day.
JBL has introduced Synchros, a new line of headphones. The flagship headphones in the line are the Synchros S700 ($350) premium powered over-ear stereo headphones. Made out of aluminum, fabric, and steel, with leather ear cushions, the onyx- or glacier-colored S700 headphones use 50mm drivers, JBL LiveStage signal processing technology, and a rechargeable battery that lasts for 28 hours. The Synchros S500 ($300) are similar, but use AAA batteries instead of a Li-on battery, and the materials aren’t quite as high-end.
Also introduced were the Synchros S300 ($200), on-ear headphones that feature 40mm drivers and are available in six colors. The Synchros S200 ($130) are in-ear stereo headphones with a 10mm drivers, while the S100 ($100) headphones are very similar, with a 9mm driver instead. The entire line is available now.
A new report suggests that iPhone 5s supplies will be constrained at launch, as the iPhone 5c will make up the majority of stock at Apple Stores on Friday. Apple is reportedly expecting the space gray iPhone 5s to be the most popular, with fewer silver and gold options in stock. More high-capacity versions of the AT&T 5s models could be available, as compared to Verizon models. It’s also noted that an expected Apple Store app update would let customers keep tabs on what models might be available locally — that update could be released as soon as next week. [via 9to5Mac]
Kanex has introduced its Multi-Sync Keyboard ($70), a full-sized wireless Bluetooth keyboard that works with iOS devices and Macs. Bluetooth keys let users switch from an iPad to an iPhone to a Mac with the touch of a button. A full numeric keypad is also included.
Multi-Sync Keyboard comes with a micro-USB to USB cable, 2 AAA batteries to power the keyboard, and an iPhone/iPad stand. The keyboard also works with the Apple TV, though with the caveat that some hotkeys may not be compatible. Kanex’s Multi-Sync Keyboard is available now.
The first unboxing photos of Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c were recently posted on Weibo. Apple’s cardboard iPhone 5s box almost exactly matches a previously leaked box, with one exception — there is no iTunes Store icon on the box, likely a regional difference. Contents of the box were wholly unremarkable, and nearly identical to items bundled with the prior iPhone 5.
Official iPhone 5c boxes also appear to match previous leaks, showing an opaque white plastic package with a clear lid that enables the device’s color to stand out. A video of the iPhone 5c unboxing was posted, as well. [via HDblog.it (translated link)]
Apple’s iOS App Store is now letting users of older versions of iOS download specific legacy versions of apps. The App Store now prompts users to ask if they want to download “the last compatible version” of a selected app. First noted on Reddit, the move is beneficial to those with older hardware, or those using older versions of iOS for other reasons. App developers will also benefit from the change, as they’ll be able to offer staggered stable versions of software to users at various stages of iOS adoption. Apple has yet to officially comment on the new feature. [via TheNextWeb]
Sega’s Go Dance ($2) is an iOS dancing game, actively tracking your body movements using a FaceTime camera. Your hand, arm, and torso motions automatically are registered by the camera, which moves the on-screen character to follow your motions, hitting or missing beat-based triggers. Songs such as LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” come pre-loaded, while other songs are available as in-app purchases. Go Dance also supports AirPlay, letting players with an iPhone 5 or fourth-gen iPad view the game on an HDTV. Although the app is universal, we found that it’s much better when played with an iPad — standing at a distance from the iPhone’s small screen while trying to follow required dance movements presents obvious problems.
Joust Legend ($2) is a jousting game, though fans of classic arcade games may regret that no platforms or ostriches are involved. Rebellion Games has brought an authentic jousting game to iOS, with warriors charging at each other on horses, using lances to knock their opponents off their trusty steeds. The graphics are striking in Joust Legend, highly detailed with excellent polygon counts that really show off Retina displays. Gameplay itself is largely timing-based, with swipe and hold gestures determining the speed of your horse and direction of your lance, though the game gives players the option of upgrading armor, skills, and tricks before the joust.
Sprint is getting ready to launch its own early upgrade program for smartphones and tablets, reportedly called One Up. The program is set to launch on Sept. 20, the same date as Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c launch. Sprint becomes the last major U.S. carrier to offer such a program, as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all announced upgrade programs in prior months. One Up will allow Sprint customers to buy a device for no money down, instead paying in monthly installments with an Unlimited, My Way, or All-In plan. A customer will be able to upgrade to a new phone after one year. [via CNET]
Apple has updated its case design guidelines, releasing detailed schematics for the iPhone 5s and 5c. Notably, Apple’s guidelines for both devices include “keep away” spaces so that cases don’t interfere with ports or other iPhone features. However, based on the current schematics, no speakers and very few docks will be able to properly fit the Lightning connector—an issue discussed in a recent Lightning case/dock editorial.
As the size of the case “keep away” area for the Lightning port is significantly smaller than the Lightning connector supports Apple mandates for speakers, cases following Apple’s guidelines will not fit atop speakers. Though some companies may recognize this and adjust their case designs accordingly, it’s likely that there will continue to be compatibility issues with Lightning accessories.
Customers in China and Hong Kong will be able to reserve the iPhone 5s or 5c online starting at 6 a.m. tomorrow — Tuesday, Sept. 17. Most customers worldwide are only able to reserve the iPhone 5c at this point, with no preorders being taken on the 5s. The Chinese release date for both devices is Friday, Sept. 20. Customers who reserve a device online will be able to pick it up on Sept. 20.
Apple announced that Burberry will use the iPhone 5s to capture photos and video for its spring/summer runway show in London. The event is notable, because it’s a rarity for Apple to give anyone public access to its hardware before release. Burberry’s show takes place on Monday, Sept. 16, before the Sept. 20 release of the 5s. The show will be streamed live on Burberry.com.
iLounge has posted a comparison gallery featuring the newest color of the iPod nano and iPod shuffle. While Apple.com’s web site calls it “Space Gray,” the newly released iPod color is only listed as “gray” on the nano’s packaging, and has no name on the shuffle’s smaller box. Our photos compare it to the previous slate and silver versions of the device, as well as the first-generation iPhone that some have said the color would resemble. In person, the gray color is surprisingly close to Apple’s classic silver aluminum—just a little darker—with small differentiating touches such as a dark Apple logo on the iPod shuffle’s back, and a dark wireless antenna compartment on the iPod nano.
The new gray color is markedly lighter than the now discontinued slate color. iLounge will have complete unboxing and color comparison photos of the gray iPod touch, as well as the space gray iPhone 5s next Friday upon release.
As expected, Apple.com’s official pre-order pages have gone live for the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5c Dock, and iPhone 5c Cases. The company still shows availability for release day delivery for the iPhone and Dock, however, cases are listed as being on a 1-3 week delay through the online store. Orders are being processed with atypical efficiency for a pre-order event, given the number of outages and other issues Apple historically experienced on surge days; it is unclear how many people were waiting up at midnight Pacific Time to order the new plastic model. iPhone 5s orders will begin on September 20, the same day as in-store availability of both models.
Update: Canadian pre-orders are showing delivery date ranges from 9/20-9/24, suggesting that Apple may have prioritized U.S. orders and will be locking down specific delivery dates for other countries after demand for various models has been tallied across territories. UK, French, and Australian pre-orders now show 9/20 delivery “in most areas,” with Germany guaranteeing 9/20 delivery for the time being.
With over 1,400 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll – “If Apple includes a fingerprint scanner in the next iPhone, will you use it?” – has now ended. With rumours of a built-in fingerprint sensor in the next-generation iPhone, we asked readers to let us know if they considered this a feature that they would actually find useful in a new device. Readers were asked whether they would use a fingerprint scanner for device unlocking, secure transactions, or both, or whether they had no interest in a fingerprint scanning feature regardless of whether they otherwise planned to buy the new iPhone or not.
The overall majority of responses—fifty-two percent—indicated that they would be willing to use the fingerprint scanner for both device unlocking and secure transactions. Seventeen percent indicated that they would use a fingerprint scanner only for device unlocking, while three percent felt it was only appropriate for secure transactions. Seventeen percent of respondents told us that they didn’t plan on buying the next-generation iPhone regardless of the fingerprint scanner, while twelve percent indicated that they planned to buy the next-generation iPhone, but had no interest in fingerprint scanning capability.
Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars ($1) has updated to version 1.4. The game now features 30 new Endor levels. New gameplay elements including bouncing items off drums and waking up jumping Ewoks have also been introduced with the update. A big battle has also been added, in which players must destroy a bunker to disable the Death Star’s deflector shield. Angry Birds HD ($3) for iPad has also been updated.
Epic Games debuted Infinity Blade III ($7) during Apple’s iPhone event on Tuesday. The newest adventure in Epic’s acclaimed series is scheduled to hit the App Store next Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Silvio Rizzi has introduced Reeder 2 ($5). The new RSS reader is a sequel of sorts to Rizzi’s Reeder, and it brings the reader back to the iPad — Reeder 2 is universal. Reeder 2 is a client for Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Fever, and Readability. It has a number of new sharing services, and its new interface has been redesigned to match iOS 7. Gesture-based navigation has also made its way into the new app.
Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5s and 5c have larger batteries than the iPhone 5, according to FCC disclosures. Anandtech reports the iPhone 5s has a 5.96 Wh battery, and the iPhone 5c has a 5.73 Wh battery, as compared to the 5.45 Wh battery on the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5s battery reportedly has a capacity of 1570 mAh, while the iPhone 5c has a 1507 mAh capacity — the iPhone 5 had a capacity of 1440 mAh. As always, we will be conducting our own independent battery testing of Apple’s newest devices.
Apple now requires all users booking a Genius Bar appointment online to sign in using an Apple ID. In the past, only a name, address, and email were required, but the Genius Bar appointment page now asks for an Apple ID and password. A report notes Apple is trying to link the Apple ID with all actions in the company’s ecosystem. Additionally, by tying appointments to one specific Apple ID, scalping issues — such as those reported in China — should be eliminated. [via TechCrunch]
Apple’s new Touch ID system in its upcoming iPhone 5s won’t store users’ fingerprint images on the device, an Apple spokesman said. Touch ID will store encrypted “fingerprint data” in the iPhone processor, according to the Wall Street Journal. At this point, third-party applications will not be allowed to use the scanner. Touch ID users will also be required to set a passcode as a backup. Although the sensor is said to perform better than laptop fingerprint scanners, Apple noted Touch ID may have issues reading fingertips covered in sweat, lotion or liquids. The system might also struggle with reading scarred fingertips.