Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta to developers. The download is available within Apple’s developer portal. Initial indications are that the software addresses bugs in the original iOS 7 release, however, additional features may have been quietly added.
All prior iOS 7 device models can run 7.1, however, the release is not yet intended for general consumption.
New reports on color within the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen have corroborated what we found in our review of the device. During testing of multiple iPad mini units, we discovered that some colors looked notably faded and less vibrant on the Retina iPad mini when compared to the same colors on the iPad Air. Through a series of detailed measurements, DisplayMate notes that the iPad mini with Retina display has a 63 percent color gamut, roughly the same as the first-generation iPad mini. The color gamut “produces noticeably subdued image colors,” which DisplayMate says is “inexcusable for a current generation premium tablet.” DisplayMate ranks the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen as a “distant 3rd” behind the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7.
Anandtech also noted the iPad mini with Retina display has the same color gamut as the original iPad mini. While the site does say the Retina iPad mini has a much better panel overall than the previous mini, the Air holds a “display advantage.” Apple notably has marketed the iPad mini with Retina display as “identical to iPad Air in every way,” a claim that was parroted by the company’s hand-picked reviewers.
Apple has bought PrimeSense for $345 million, according to a report from Israeli publication Calcalist. PrimeSense is the company behind Microsoft’s Kinect technology, which uses motion sensors to track body movements. A report from this summer revealed Apple was negotiating to acquire the company, noting the deal could cost $280 million. It’s possible Apple is looking to use the technology in a next-generation Apple TV or its anticipated TV set. PrimeSense made a statement to Business Insider, which concluded with: “We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.” However, the Calcalist report notes the transaction will be officially published “in the next two weeks.”
Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.
Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.
Netatmo has introduced its wireless Netatmo Thermostat, designed by Philippe Starck. An app can control the iOS-compatible thermostat and let users view their heating habits. The thermostat works with most oil, gas, and wood furnaces.
Following Nest’s strategy of updating the common thermostat with a more beautiful and elegant housing, Netatmo’s thermostat makes temperature control particularly easy, and comes with five interchangeable color frames to match the room where it’s installed. It will be released in Europe this month for 179 Euros ($241), with a US release date and price to be announced in January at CES.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($6) from Loud Crow Interactive features everyone’s favorite sad sack, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts crew for this interactive book. Dialogue, music, and sound effects all come straight from the 1973 animated special, and the iOS interface has been substantially improved from prior Charlie Brown holiday apps. Three reading modes are available, and word highlighting and touch-to-speak technology are also included in the app.
SNK Playmore has brought its classic fighting game The King of Fighters ‘97 ($4) to iOS. The fourth game in the classic KOF series, the ‘97 edition features 35 characters and new teams — hidden characters Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona are included from the get-go. Both the extra and advanced fighting modes are available, as in the original game. Both a four-button and six-button control scheme are available, and it’s possible to move the controls around the screen, and change the joystick/button sizes as well. Due to a bug in the control-moving system, it’s harder to set the buttons up properly on an iPad, but hopefully SNK Playmore will fix the issue.
Google has released its Google Play Music app for iOS. The free app provides access to a standard music streaming service and All Access service, which costs $10/month. Google’s standard service lets users add up to 20,000 of their own songs, and listen to the music from all iOS devices and Google’s web player.
All Access lets users listen to unlimited songs, and includes an ad-free radio service. Radio stations are customizable, and there are no skip limits on listening. The app was originally expected to launch much earlier this year.
Killer Duck Decals is featuring some really interesting Apple TV skins ($10) on its site. The skins fit over the entire Apple TV. Six designs are currently available.
Nintendo fans might love the NES, SNES, Gamecube console skins, as well as the Portal-themed and Mario Question Block skins. A cartoony waffle skin is another option. [via Cult of Mac]
Modernist Cuisine at Home is indeed an $80 app, but if you’re a cook, you’ll understand why it’s actually a bargain. An interactive digital version of the $140, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, the app from Inkling includes 260 more recipes and 359 more photos than the print cookbook; it’s also been reformatted to read more easily on screens much smaller than the gigantic original volume. The app also features 37 cooking technique videos, including how to execute the water displacement method or how to use a blowtorch on steaks, as well as interactive versions of Modernist Cuisine’s famous photographs, and calculators to let you scale recipes up or down for your needs. A free demo chapter is available through Inkling’s own app; the book can be downloaded in full through Inkling and added to the app’s library, or kept as a standalone version.
Sony’s free PlayStation App has made its way to the App Store just before tomorrow’s release of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation App lets users interact with friends, receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations. An iOS device can also be used as an onscreen keyboard. Among other features, the app also lets users buy games from the PlayStation Store to push to the PS4.
Alongside iOS 7.0.4, Apple has released version 6.0.2 of its Apple TV software, which is based upon the same iOS code. There do not appear to be any obvious changes to the interface in the update. The update should occur automatically, but can be manually pushed to the device through the Settings menu.
Apple has released updated versions of its iBooks and iTunes U apps with new designs for iOS 7. The new versions replace the older wood textured design with a new white shelf look consistent with the built-in iOS 7 Newsstand app and new iOS 7 icons.
Like most of the new iOS 7 design philosophy, the updated apps depart from the prior skeuomorphic textures and book-like visual elements such as wood shelves, covers, and page depth, the visual page turning animations remain in place much as they were before, although expanding the animation to include on-screen controls and intersecting into the status bar.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.
Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.
Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.
iPhone resellers that had previously unlocked AT&T iPhones in bulk have ran into issues with unlocking the phones recently, putting their businesses in jeopardy. The Wall Street Journal tells the story of Louis Ashner, who ran a business buying used American iPhones and reselling them in China. Sometime in October, Ashner was suddenly unable to unlock iPhones in bulk, and his business collapsed. Other business owners in the U.S. are reportedly experiencing the same issues. It appears that AT&T has done something to make the devices harder to unlock — the carrier didn’t comment on the issue, but AT&T did say it hasn’t changed its policies for unlocking phones for individual customers. AT&T stopped accepting unlocking requests over the phone in mid-October, and now requires online requests.
iLounge has posted our full review of Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display. The comprehensive nine-page review covers a number of important and previously unknown details about the Retina iPad mini, including improved battery life and issues with color performance, which are quite noticeable when compared to the iPad Air.
Also under the microscope are the performance of the new mini’s A7 processor, and slight differences in the device’s front camera compared to the previous iPad mini. Read the full Retina iPad mini review today.
Apple and Samsung have started a retrial for damages owed by Samsung for infringement of Apple patents. Attorneys for both companies have made opening statements — Apple is seeking $380 million in additional damages, while Samsung believes it should only pay $52 million. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in August 2012 after Samsung was found guilty of violating numerous iPhone patents, but the awarded damages were reduced in March. Samsung now owes about $600 million, and the new damages will be owed on top of that amount — Apple is trying to get almost all of the full initial award back.
Apple attorney Harold McElhinney referenced an internal Samsung document as “conclusive evidence Apple lost sales because of Samsung.” Samsung’s attorney, Bill Price, said “Apple is asking for more money than it’s entitled to.” The difference in damage claims comes from lost profits — Apple maintains it’s owed money for lost profits, Samsung’s profits, and royalties, while Samsung doesn’t believe Apple is owed anything at all for lost profits. [via CNET]
Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly “hiding” more than 1 billion Euros ($1.34 billion) from Italian tax authorities, Reuters reports. “The Apple investigation is under way,” a judicial source said. Apple’s Italian subsidiary was not available for comment. The company has already faced increased scrutiny into its tax practices this year, and tax authorities in Italy have been stepping up investigations into multinational corporations.
iFixit has completed a teardown of the iPad mini with Retina display and has found a 24.3 Watt-Hour battery, which is slightly larger than the 23.8 WHr battery Apple claims is in the device. The first-generation iPad mini had a 16.3 WHr battery. Interestingly enough, iFixit previously found the iPad Air also had a battery that was slightly larger than Apple claimed.
The A7 chip in the iPad mini with Retina display is the same A7 found in the iPhone 5s, rather than the faster A7 found in the iPad Air; this isn’t a big surprise, especially considering recent benchmark test results. iFixit also found an LG display in its Retina iPad mini.
Apple is spending a great deal of its record capital expenditure budget on new technology for use in its manufacturing processes, Bloomberg reports. The company’s annual 10-K report mentions that Apple expects to spend $10.5 billion on non-retail expenditures, “including product tooling and manufacturing process equipment.” Apple is reportedly investing in polishing equipment for the iPhone 5c’s plastic body, laser and milling machines for the MacBook, and “testing gear” for iPhone and iPad camera lenses. The increased spending will enable Apple “to get a jump on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and lay the groundwork for new products.”
IFTTT — also known as If This Then That — has upgraded its free IFTTT app to version 1.2. The updated app now has actions for iOS Photos and Reminders, meaning IFTTT can now automatically add photos to iPhone albums, and create new to-do items in Reminders. Swipe gestures have been added for iOS 7, as well as improved background syncing.
iTeleport ($25) updates its popular universal remote desktop app, giving it an all new layout for iOS 7. Hardware keyboard support has also been added, while version 6.1.8 fixes additional layout issues. The iPad-only app ($20) was updated, as well.
iLounge has posted its unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display. Photos show the iPad mini with Retina display packaging, and a number of comparison shots between the new mini, iPad Air, and first-generation iPad mini.
Close-up feature shots of the newest iPad mini are also included in the gallery. A full review of the iPad mini with Retina display will be posted in the near future.