T-Mobile has announced it will begin offering global data roaming coverage at no extra charge, starting Oct. 20 for new customers, and Oct. 31 for existing customers. The unlimited data coverage will be available in more than 100 countries, with free texting and 20 cents-per-minute calls. According to T-Mobile’s website, data is available at “up to 2G speeds.” Customers must have a qualifying Simple Choice Plan to receive the coverage.
Apple is preparing to launch its iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in the United Kingdom, according to a report that notes the program will debut “in the coming months.” The report suggests that Apple may also debut the program in other European countries after the UK launch. The recycling program launched in late August in the U.S., ahead of the iPhone 5c/5s launches. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: The trade-in program has launched in the UK, 9to5Mac reports.
Case-Mate has launched Style Box, a new risk-free trial program for the company’s luxury iPhone 5/5s cases. Style Box gives users an assortment of Case-Mate cases to try for free for seven days; the goal appears to be to get users to purchase more than one iPhone case, possibly even several, by getting a bunch into their homes at once.
Customers can keep their favorite cases and return the rest to Case-Mate, free of charge. Four different Style Boxes are available, all containing a mix of different cases.
Apple announced that the iPhone 5c and 5s will be coming to more than 25 countries on Friday, Oct. 25. On that day, the phones will be released in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.
The two phones will also be available in more than a dozen countries a week later, on Friday, Nov. 1. That day, the iPhone 5c and 5s will hit Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.
Apple will hold its new iPad event on Oct. 22, AllThingsD reports. The event will feature “the latest updates to the company’s iPad line” — the report mentions the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini — as well as Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks. AllThingsD states that the iPad mini will indeed receive a Retina display and A7 chip, while the full-sized iPad will be redesigned with an A7 chip and improved camera. The location of the event is unknown at this time. Apple declined on-the-record comment on the report.
Camera+ ($2) from tap tap tap has upgraded to version 4.2. The update fixes and enhances burst mode shooting on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s. Additionally, a new effects pack has been added that includes all the filters in Apple’s iOS 7 Camera and Photo apps. The developer’s oddly punchy, not particularly Apple-friendly description of the update on the iTunes preview page is actually worth a read, as well.
Real Boxing ($5) from Vivid Games is now at version 1.4.1, which offers new iPhone 5s support within the Unreal Engine. This comes only a week after version 1.4, which gave players the ability to bet on their fight outcomes and win in-game currency. An enhanced multiplayer mode and global leaderboards were added, as well as Korean, Chinese, and Japanese language support.
Leica has revealed the Leica M for (RED) camera, which was redesigned by Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive and designer Marc Newsom. As reported earlier, the camera was created for a Nov. 23 Sotheby’s auction to benefit The Global Fund. Leica claims the design team went through 561 models and made nearly 1,000 prototype parts while designing the camera over a span of 85 days.
The camera features “a laser machined aluminum body and an anodized aluminum outer shell.” It packs a full-format CMOS sensor and a new Leica APO-Summicron –M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens.
Apple’s iTunes Radio is expected to launch in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2014, Bloomberg reports. A source noted that Nordic countries were “being targeted in the same time frame.” Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue recently said plans are to bring iTunes Radio to more than 100 countries. It appears the streaming radio service will beat Pandora to launch in both the U.K. and Canada, as Apple has already negotiated agreements for international rights with record companies. Pandora doesn’t have similar agreements, instead relying on “rights granted by government entities.”
Apple has announced on its investor website that it will release its fourth quarter 2013 fiscal results on Monday, Oct. 28. As usual, a conference call discussing the results can be found on the same website at 5 p.m. Oct. 28. The call will likely feature Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer discussing sales of the iPhone 5c and 5s, among other results. It’s possible that Apple may also comment on iPad releases, which may be announced before the conference call.
Nest has introduced Nest Protect ($129), a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Like the company’s earlier Nest Thermostat, the alarm can be controlled using an iOS app. Nest Protect is able give an early warning to smoke or let users know when carbon monoxide levels are rising by lighting up yellow and speaking with a human voice. Nuisance alarms can be canceled out by waving an arm near Nest Protect, rather than touching a physical button. Nest Protect can also send a message to any smartphone or tablet as soon as the alarm goes off, as well as monitoring its own battery levels and sensors.
Nest Protect alarms can work in conjunction with each other, communicating even if Wi-Fi is down. The alarm also works in conjunction with the Nest Thermostat — for instance, the alarm automatically turns off a gas furnace if the carbon monoxide alarm goes off. Also notable is the Protect’s Pathlight feature, which can illuminate a dark hallway when triggered by motion. Nest Protect comes in black and white, and is available now for preorder.
Ahead of iLounge’s upcoming 2014 iPad/iPhone/iPod Buyers’ Guide, we have just opened voting for the 2013 edition of our Readers’ Choice Awards. Held annually for years, our Readers’ Choice Awards give you the opportunity to vote for your favorite third-party developers across both accessories and software.
Vote now using this link. Our three-question survey asks for your choices in the categories of: iOS Accessory Maker of the Year, iOS App Developer of the Year, and iOS Game Developer of the Year. Numerous options are provided for your convenience, and we always consider write-in votes as well. Voting closes at 11:59 Pacific Time on October 31, so don’t wait — cast your vote today!
Apple has drawn criticism for pulling an app from China’s App Store that circumvents firewalls and allows access to restricted sites. OpenDoor, which is still available in other markets, is a free app that uses a randomized IP address to browse anonymously. It was removed from the Chinese App Store for containing “illegal content,” CNN reports. The app’s anonymous developer said Apple provided no notification of pulling the app — the developer learned the news from customers. After the app was pulled, a number of Chinese users of microblog site Weibo accused Apple as showing too much loyalty to the Chinese government.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has closed its review of Apple’s finances, AllThingsD reports, as Apple has apparently been cleared of wrongdoing regarding its tax policies and its handling of overseas cash. The company has taken heat for its tax policies since a U.S. Senate subcommittee accused Apple of tax avoidance in May. But the SEC sent a letter to Apple in September stating its review had been completed. Apple’s disclosures were apparently sufficient enough to avoid SEC action.
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.
IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.
Also be sure to enter our new iBattz Mojo Refuel Aqua Case Giveaway for October, in which iLounge and iBattz are giving away five Mojo Refuel Aqua Battery Cases for iPhone 5/5s. Simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page to enter; the giveaway will end on October 31, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Apple plans to enter smaller India markets by opening a number of new stores, according to The Economic Times. The company is looking to enter the “top 50 tier II and tier III markets” by selling iPhones, iPads, and iPods in 100 exclusive standalone stores, and other stores-within-stores. Apple reportedly plans on setting up the stores within this fiscal year. The company has recently upped its presence in India, increasing the size of its executive team in the country. Earlier this year, Apple introduced incentives to make the iPhone more affordable in India.
A number of revelations behind the original launch of the iPhone in 2007 have been published in The New York Times Magazine. Fred Vogelstein, author of the upcoming “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,” profiles a number of Apple employees at the time, including Andy Grignon, senior manager in charge of all radios in the original iPhone. Grignon tells of the tense moments leading up to launch, as the iPhone suffered from numerous bugs prior to the unveiling. During rehearsals, Grignon “had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch” — including dropped calls, lost Internet connections, freezes, and unprompted shutdowns. A “golden path” was pre-determined to keep the iPhone from crashing through the numerous known issues, but backups on stage were ready in case of a failure.
The report notes that “software in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio was so unstable that Grignon and his team had to extend the phones’ antennas by connecting them to wires running offstage so the wireless signal wouldn’t have to travel as far.” AT&T brought in a portable cell tower to boost phone reception, and Apple rigged the on-screen cellular strength indicator to show 5 bars at all times, even if the phone’s radio crashed and restarted. But the biggest problem involved memory, as the iPhone often required a restart when multitasking. Jobs usually had a backup plan, but not this time. “It was Apple TV or the iPhone,” Grignon said. “And if he had gone to Macworld with just Apple TV … the world would have said, ‘What the heck was that?’ “
Jobs initially resisted making a phone, and Apple designed and built three early versions of the iPhone in 2006, putting inordinate pressure on employees in the process. Employees were pulled from other areas at Apple and told that they would work on something amazing, but that it would be the hardest work they had ever done. Other insights in the piece include the challenges of shrinking OS X, developing capacitive multitouch, and some incredible details on the lengths of Jobs’ obsession with secrecy surrounding the launch—including a squashed plan to keep contractors sleeping at the venue the night before the unveiling to avoid leaks. The successful iPhone demo ended with Grignon and the iPhone team drunk from scotch snuck into the keynote event.
A Hong Kong company, E-Ser Electronic Co., claims to have completed Lightning cables compatible with both iOS 7 and allegedly new Lightning authentication chips found inside the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The claims haven’t been verified, but are still notable, as non-certified Lightning accessories began to invoke warnings and charging malfunctions after iOS 7 was released.
Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-area voice actress, has revealed herself as the original voice of Siri. Though Apple won’t confirm Bennett as the voice, CNN reports, “Professionals who know her voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ‘100%’ certain the two are the same.” Though Siri didn’t debut until Oct. 4, 2011 during the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, Bennett unknowingly recorded voice samples for the virtual assistant in July 2005. Under contract with ScanSoft, Bennett recorded samples for four hours a day that month. Bennett didn’t find out she was Siri’s voice until the iPhone 4S was released. A colleague with the new phone emailed Bennett, asking if she was Siri. Bennett checked Apple’s website to hear the audio. “Oh, I knew,” she said. “It’s obviously me. It’s my voice.”
Apple has released iTunes 11.1.1, which fixes a problem with deleted podcasts and resolves an issue that may cause iTunes Extras to display incorrectly. The minor update can be downloaded at iTunes.com, or installed through the OS X App Store.
Apple has acquired personal assistant app Cue, according to numerous reports. The acquisition has cost Apple at least $35 million, as reported by Apple Insider, while TechCrunch reports the app sold for somewhere between $40 million to $60 million. Cue recently shut down its app, which was capable of culling information from your e-mails and social media accounts to provide a daily agenda, as well as offering a searchable collection of your personal online information. Conceivably, Cue could bolster Apple’s iOS 7 notifications and Siri features. In response to inquiries, Apple released its typical acquisition statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”