Apple has confirmed that it has agreed to acquire PrimeSense, the motion tracking company behind Microsoft’s original Kinect technology. The purchase was confirmed by Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet, Bloomberg reports. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she said. The deal was first reported last Monday; it is believed Apple paid around $350 million for PrimeSense, and that the technology was acquired for a future Apple TV product.
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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Be sure to also enter our two November giveaways! In our Unu DX-5 Battery Case Giveaway, iLounge and uNu are giving away fifteen uNu DX-5 Battery Cases, while in our Gosh! Parallel Battery Case Giveaway we’re working with Gosh! to give away five giving away Parallel Battery Cases for iPhone 5/5s. Simply fill out and submit the forms on the giveaway pages to enter; the giveaways will both end on November 30, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Some Apple stores are now reportedly offering Retina iPad minis for sale to walk-in customers, though it doesn’t appear as if customers will have many choices regarding models. For instance, a personal pickup search reveals that space gray Wi-Fi models are available in multiple capacites in numerous stores, but silver Wi-Fi models are a bit more scarce, and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions remain largely unavailable.
Many stores still listing all Retina iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular capacities for all carriers as unavailable for pickup. Apple has spread out availability for the devices differently than before — we know Wi-Fi + Cellular models have sprung up in numerous Canadian Apple stores, for instance, while some American stores said as of yesterday morning that they hadn’t ever received Wi-Fi + Cellular models at all. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is now selling the iPhone 5s unlocked and SIM-free in its U.S. online store. Users will need to supply their own GSM SIM card, after which the model will work on numerous networks throughout the world. The SIM-free phone is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities for $649, $749, and $849.
All three color options are available. Currently, the unlocked SIM-free iPhone 5s is listed as available to ship in 1-2 weeks. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple was awarded $290 million in damages from Samsung on Thursday for patent infringement, and jurors pointed to one particular witness as key to getting Apple the majority of the $380 million it sought. According to jurors, Chicago CPA Julie L. Davis “provided clear evidence they could use to arrive at their damages sum,” Bloomberg reports. Juror Barry Goldman-Hall — who Samsung unsuccessfully requested to move from the jury due to his cousin’s employment with Samsung ending “under bad circumstances” — said Davis offered a lot of information in determining which disputed royalties should be awarded to Apple. Samsung has already announced that it plans to appeal the verdict.
The Federal Communications Commission will propose that airplane passengers be allowed to make phone calls and use cellular data on e-devices at 10,000 feet and above, the Wall Street Journal reports. Any use of cellphones on planes would require airline approval, as airplanes would need equipment installed to communicate with cellphone towers. Less than a month ago, the Federal Aviation Administration allowed airlines to expand in-flight use of e-devices, although FCC regulations still require phones to be used in airplane mode. The FCC originally pushed for the FAA to allow for expanded in-flight e-device use last December.
Concluding a retrial on damages today, a jury determined that Samsung must pay Apple $290 million in additional damages for the infringement of iPhone patents. Samsung now owes about $900 million in total, which isn’t that far from Apple’s original damages award of $1.05 billion. Apple got the bulk of what it wanted, as the company sought $380 million in additional damages, while Samsung only looked to pay $52 million as the retrial began last week. Apple’s original $1.05 billion award was reduced by $440 million in March, pending the results of this retrial. [via CNET]
Animal Band — Nursery Rhymes ($1) is a new music app for young children from Storytoys. Kids can interact with eight animal characters to get them to join into a song, with each animal acting as a separate instrument. The four initial songs are classic nursery rhymes, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s a simple concept, and a section with a third background for extra songs is shown as “coming soon,” but younger kids might find it entertaining.
ESPN’s ScoreCenter has just become ESPN SportsCenter (free) in an update to version 4.0.0. The popular sports scores app has a whole new clean look. It’s also easier to navigate through the app and access the scores of your favorite teams. A news section is still intact, as well as a new “now” section, which is really just a curated ESPN-centric Twitter feed. Though there are other sports scores apps out there, this is probably still your best bet, especially if you’re into more obscure sports and leagues.
With over 1,200 votes from readers, our latest poll—Have you or will you be purchasing an iPad Air?—has now ended. With the iPad Air going on sale when the availability date for the Retina iPad mini was uncertain at best, we wanted to know how this affected our readers’ plans for purchasing one or both of the new models.
The overall majority of responses were from readers indicating that they either had already purchased an iPad Air (41%) or were planning to buy one within the near future (13%). Only eleven percent of readers indicated that they were waiting to see the iPad mini before making a purchasing decision, while twelve percent indicated that they had already decided to pass on the iPad Air in favour of the iPad mini with Retina Display. Of the remaining responses, sixteen percent indicated that they weren’t planning to upgrade their existing iPad to one of the new models, while four percent indicated that they were waiting for the next generation before upgrading, and another four percent indicated no interest in the iPad at all.
Clumsy Ninja, which was featured in last year’s Apple media event for the fifth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 5, has finally made its way to the App Store as a free download. One of two high-profile game demos from Apple last year — the other being Infinity Blade Dungeons, which was shown at the third-generation iPad event in March 2012 and later canceled — Clumsy Ninja’s release was delayed for more than a year without explanation.
The freemium game lets users interact with a kid ninja, letting you teach him a variety of tasks. He improves, learning new tricks and moves through his training. Impressive kinematic animation and cartoony graphics add to the fun factor of the universal release.
Acoustic Research has introduced a new line called “AR for Her.” The line will feature a Bluetooth speaker, made to look like a clutch handbag, that streams music from up to 30 feet away. A built-in microphone and rechargeable battery are also featured in the speaker.
The speaker will come in black, white, white with pink polka dots, and leopard print. Acoustic Research plans on updating the look each season while introducing more accessories. The speaker collection will be available in spring 2014.
China Mobile announced that it plans to introduce a new brand on Dec. 18, with many expecting the world’s largest carrier to debut the iPhone on that date. It’s been rumored for years that China Mobile would carry the iPhone, but only now does the launch appear inevitable. A recent leak showed a promotional poster claiming China Mobile would carry both the iPhone 5c and 5s. One analyst estimates at least 70 million of China Mobile’s 700 million subscribers could be potential iPhone customers. [via Wall Street Journal]
BuQu Tech has introduced its Magnetyze Mobile Battery ($60), a new accessory for its impressive Magnetyze case. When attached to an iPhone with a Magnetyze case, the 1800mAh battery can supply up to 8 hours of additional talk time, according to the company. The battery can be charged using any Magnetyze charger or a standard micro USB cable.
A four-light LED gauge lets users know how much power remains on the battery. The Magnetyze Mobile Battery is available now.
iFazz has introduced a 50x Super Long Range Telescope Lens ($115) for the iPhone 5/5s. The fixed lens offers micro manual focus adjustment, magnifying subjects by 50 times. With no zoom capability, the lens is pitched as a way to take photos of objects in the sky.
The large aluminum-cased lens comes with an adjustable tripod that can turn 360 degrees. It is available now.
Apple has released an Apple Store for iPad app today, oddly separate from the iPhone/iPod touch Apple Store application released years ago. The new iPad version of the app puts a greater focus on high-resolution photos showing off the products, serving as a stripped down and reorganized version of the Apple Store web presence.
Item selection screens are able to change quickly to provide topic-specific information on products, helping users to quickly see differences in cellular options for iPads and iPhones, capacity choices for multiple devices, and individual product availability by store location. The Apple Store app for iPad is available now.
Logitech has officially introduced and priced its previously-leaked PowerShell Controller + Battery ($100), compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and fifth-generation iPod touch. The game controller encases an iOS device, and includes an integrated 1500 mAh battery.
Logitech also released a list of games compatible with the PowerShell. The PowerShell Controller + Battery is available now.
An anticipated sequel, Epoch 2 ($3) from Uppercut Games offers more Terminator apocalypse-inspired robot battles. The third-person shooter will likely appeal mostly to fans of the first Epoch, but it may not expand the audience much more than that. New weapons and features have been added, most notably including moving backgrounds and varied types of simultaneous attackers to fight against, all within an Unreal Engine 3-generated environment. But the gameplay remains relatively shallow and repetitive.
Apple has finally updated its free Find My Friends app for iOS 7 with version 3.0. The new design is more iOS 7-esque, of course, losing the skeuomorphic leather stitching, and switching to a lighter, orange-accented design. Friends are now seen on the map in tiny picture circles, as opposed to just dots, and the prior version’s font excesses are gone.
Yahoo Screen and PBS channels have both been added to Apple TV. Yahoo announced the addition of Yahoo Screen, a channel that features video from Yahoo, including Saturday Night Live, The Onion, Comedy Central, and Vogue, among others.
PBS has also added a new channel to Apple TV. The app requires an activation code to be entered on a computer or portable device, and the creation of a free account. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is planning on debuting a 12.9-inch iPad “early next year,” according to The Korea Times. The previously rumored device is said to have improved picture quality — near ultra high-definition quality, which would place it in the range of 4 million pixels versus the current iPad Air and Retina iPad mini’s 3 million pixel displays. “Apple’s local first-tier display supplier” in Korea is already reported to be working on the larger iPad. The company’s claimed interest in additional iPad sizes is an acknowledgement that tablets are replacing PCs in the market, according to a supplier source. Claims as to the release dates of first-generation Apple products should generally be taken with a grain of salt, given the frequency of production-related delays.
MOGA’s Ace Power controller should be available this week, and comes with an integrated battery to compensate for the power drain of iOS gaming, depending on a Lightning plug for connectivity. Look for iLounge’s full review in the very near future.