Honda has announced its Display Audio interface and Next Generation HondaLink, two new technologies that will debut in the 2014 Civic and will also be included in the 2015 Fit. Display Audio is a touchscreen interface that connects directly to an iPhone. Its features include audio, phonebook, and media access, in addition to navigation. The interface also integrates with the Civic’s built-in Siri Eyes Free mode, so iPhone users will be able to operate Siri through the steering wheel.
Next Generation HondaLink is an app-based platform that lets users access content in and outside of the car. It will be compatible with the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s at launch. It’s notable that these technologies are not a true implementation of Apple’s iOS in the Car, though the features are similar; it’s unclear whether cellular-capable iPads and other iOS devices will be compatible.
Apple is testing five 12.9-inch iPad prototypes designed by Foxconn, and the company could end up releasing two versions of the device, according to a report from China. The report suggests “2K” and “4K” screens are being tested, and it’s possible that the former could be released in April as the “iPad Pro”, with an advanced 4K “iPad Pro” coming in October.
While it’s possible that Apple could release both non-Retina and Retina iPad Pro models at different price levels and times, the likelihood of such a move is questionable at best. Current-generation iPad Air screens offer 3-Megapixel but “2K” resolutions, while MacBook Pro Retina screens offer 4-Megapixel resolutions—half the resolution of 4K (8-Megapixel) displays. Apple could easily release an upgraded 4-Megapixel iPad Pro with additional pixels, offering Retina-quality resolution while still falling short of the “4K” television standard. [via PadNews]
Jetpack Joyride (free), the popular endless runner from Halfbrick Studios has updated to version 1.6 with a number of new features. Strong Arm Machine or S.A.M. mode turns the protagonist, Barry Steakfries, into a giant robot. Using S.A.M. five days in a row will unlock exclusive outfits — 16 new costumes in all. For a limited time, players can buy The Sleigh of Awesome, which is powered by rocket-powered robotic reindeer, as a $5 in-app purchase.
James Kelleher’s Lonely Beast is back in The Lonely Beast 123 ($2), a counting app for kids. The big beast spends his days counting everything in his house, from 1 to 12. Mildly interactive scenes await children, who can listen to a voiceover by The Lonely Beast author Chris Judge. The app promises no in-app purchases, no third-party advertising, and no social media, making it a safe experience for youngsters; light tapping on screens activates voices and small animations.
Mophie has introduced the Powerstation XL ($130), a 12,000 mAh USB battery pack. The Powerstation XL can charge two iPads at the same time, as its dual USB ports each offer 2.1 amps of power. A micro USB port is also included, along with a cable to refuel the battery.
The Powerstation XL includes built-in short circuit protection and a LED battery status indicator. Mophie’s Powerstation XL is available now.
A subsidiary of China Mobile in Suzhou, China started taking preorders for the iPhone 5s and 5c late Monday local time, Fortune reports. The reservation page was later replaced with a note that indicated reservations would reopen later. It’s possible the Suzhou preorders were a soft launch for the iPhone on China Mobile. The carrier has already announced that it plans to introduce a new brand on Dec. 18, and a leaked promotional poster indicated the iPhone 5c and 5s are on the way.
Apple has acquired social media analytics firm Topsy Labs, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal, which was confirmed by Apple, is reportedly worth more than $200 million. Topsy is a Twitter partner that has full access to all tweets, and the company offers “tools to analyze tweets and other information to help track consumer sentiment,” according to the WSJ. Topsy’s website offers a search engine that allows users to “search and analyze the social web.” The report notes Apple’s plans for Topsy are “unclear,” but speculates the acquisition could benefit Apple’s iTunes Radio efforts in some way.
Apple has posted holiday shipping deadlines on its online store to inform customers of when orders must be placed to receive products by Dec. 24. The site shows when iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Macs, and other select accessories must be ordered to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve, for both standard and next day shipping. Notably, customers only have a few days left to receive an iPad mini with Retina display by Christmas Eve, with Dec. 5 being the deadline. The iPad Air can be ordered up until Dec. 9, and the iPhone 5s must be ordered by Dec. 12 for pre-Christmas delivery. Apple’s online store is offering free shipping on all products through Dec. 22.
Apple is offering 0% financing on select online hardware purchases in many European countries. France, Italy, Spain, and the UK are a number of countries offering the promotion. The promotion differs slightly by country in how many monthly installments are required to pay off the device. There’s also a minimum amount financed for each country’s promotion — for instance, the UK site requires a minimum purchase of £449. The promotion runs through Jan. 10. [via 9to5Mac]