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Apps: Asphalt 8 1.1, Basecamp, Fantastical 2, Jake’s Never Land Shapes and Patterns + Nike+ Move

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 has gone free to play in version 1.1.0. The game has also added the Clio R.S., and Gameloft claims “new cars will appear at any moment.” New limited-time cups and boosters are now included, and a multiplayer world series introduces seven new reverse tracks. Touch controls can also be customized now, with the quiet addition of support for “Apple gamepads” also nestled inside the update.

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Basecamp (free) from 37signals now supports iOS 7. The project management app lets team members access everything in a project from the app, from anywhere, providing comments while they collaborate on the project. Basecamp lets members view progress and upload files, as well. The latest version 1.4.1 fixes a blank screen bug.

Best Apple Product of 2013 poll ends, iPad Air poll begins

Our special edition poll – What is your pick for the Readers’ Choice Award: Best Apple Product of 2013? – has now ended. With the debut of Apple’s last two major new products for 2013, we asked our readers to let us know which of this year’s product releases from Apple represented the best of the year.

The vast majority of responses were split almost equally between the iPhone 5s and the new iPad Air, at twenty-eight percent each. Coming up as a close second as the new iPad mini with Retina Display at twenty-two percent, followed by iOS 7 at nineteen percent. The iPhone 5c put it an extremely poor showing, with only two percent of overall respondents opting for that device as the best Apple product of 2013.

Apple updates Remote app to version 4.0

Apple has updated its Remote app to version 4.0. The app has been considerably redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.

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While users shouldn’t expect a huge number of new features, the revamped UI is cosmetically a big change. Remote is a free download and a universal app.

Apple loses iOS Engineering VP Henri Lamiraux

iOS Vice President of Engineering Henri Lamiraux has left Apple, as confirmed by his LinkedIn profile. Lamiraux was reportedly in charge of developing iOS applications, leading feature implementation, and managing bug-fixing, among other duties; his position was underneath Senior Vice President Craig Federighi, who has recently become one of Apple’s public faces for iOS releases. Lamiraux was also listed as an inventor on a key Apple patent covering a great portion of the iOS interface. He departed the company some weeks ago, after the release of iOS 7.0.3; the reasons are unknown. [via 9to5Mac]

iLounge posts iPad Air review with new battery + A7 findings

iLounge has posted our comprehensive review of Apple’s iPad Air. Nine pages long and packed with over 50 photos, our review covers a number of overlooked but important details, including how the iPad Air’s battery life far outstrips both Apple’s claims and battery life in the fourth-generation iPad, as well as its apparent lack of support for 2.4-Amp charging, negating the need for special accessories that were developed for the fourth-generation iPad. The review details how battery accessories work considerably better on the Air than on its predecessor, as well.

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We also found slight differences in audio output, as well as interesting examples of where the A7 processor does and doesn’t show marked differences from the fourth-gen iPad — they’re not necessarily where you might expect to find them. Check our full iPad Air review today.

Apple CEO Cook pens op-ed on workplace equality

Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a short opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The proposed legislation would protect employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “We urge senators to support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and we challenge the House of Representatives to bring it to the floor for a vote,” Cook wrote. He noted that Apple already goes beyond current legal protections, as the company prohibits discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.

NOCS intros NS900 DJ-style headphones

NOCS has announced its NS900 ($250) on-ear headphones, billed as a “professional DJ headphone.” The NS900 comes with 40mm titanium drivers and interchangeable ear cushions. A stainless steel headband is bolstered by an internal headband with steel hex screws.

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NS900 uses a lock to keep the audio cable secure. Three exchangeable cables come with the headphones, including a cable with a three-button remote and mic. NOCS’ NS900 is available for pre-order and ships Dec. 20.

iPad Air teardown reveals 32.9 WHr battery, stereo speakers

iFixit has done its teardown of the iPad Air and has found a 32.9 Watt-Hour (WHr) battery — a battery slightly larger than what Apple has advertised as a 32.4 WHr battery. It’s a smaller, two-cell battery, compared to the fourth-gen iPad’s 43 WHr three-cell battery. iFixit also confirms that “the speakers have gone stereo” like the iPad mini — the fourth-gen iPad and its predecessors had a mono speaker.

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Few other surprises are revealed in the teardown. iFixit gives the iPad Air a repairability score of 2 out of 10, meaning that it’s very hard to repair. Lots of adhesive is used to hold components in place, with iFixit noting, “This is the most difficult battery removal procedure we’ve seen in an iPad.”

iPad Air unboxing and comparison gallery posted

iLounge has posted a full unboxing and comparison gallery for Apple’s new iPad Air. Over 30 photos show the contents of the iPad Air package, and differences between the Air and past iPads, including the first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPad, and the iPad mini.

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The gallery also showcases the iPad Air’s new body colors, cellular and Wi-Fi models, and other physical features. A full review of the iPad Air will be posted in the near future.

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