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Apple releases iOS 7.1.2

Apple has released iOS 7.1.2. The update “improves iBeacon connectivity and stability.” Other bug fixes and security updates include a data transfer bug fix, and a fixed issue with data protection class of Mail attachments – it was a known issue that iOS 7.1.1 was not encrypting email attachments within the Mail app. iOS 7.1.2 is available over-the-air or through iTunes.

iPhone 6 antenna breaks to differ from mockups; curved display?

Recent iPhone 6 mockups feature a basically accurate design, but the antenna breaks will differ from what’s been seen thus far, Nikkei reports. Numerous pictures have shown white stripes connecting the antennas in the iPhone 6 — as seen in the above graphic from Nikkei — but color-contrasting stripes will reportedly not be part of the final design. The stripes are likely a placeholder for another material, potentially glass, but quite possibly Liquidmetal. It’s also noted that the iPhone 6 may contain a curved display. The screen would have a seamless fit with the device’s aluminum shell. [via G for Games]

Apple to update iTunes U with course creation on iPad, student discussions

Apple has announced that it will be updating its iTunes U app on July 8, 2014, adding new features that allow teachers to “create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time,” while giving students the ability to begin discussions and pose questions from the iPad. Teachers will be able to use content from iWork, iBooks Author, and the App Store in creating their courses, as well as photos and videos taken with the iPad’s built-in cameras. Students, on the other hand, will be able maintain conversations on various topics, optionally receiving push notifications when there are replies.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, last chance for giveaways

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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This is also your last chance to get in on our uNu DX-5 Battery Case Giveaway. This month, iLounge and uNu are giving away fifteen uNu DX-5 Battery Cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s in three different colour options. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends June 30, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

iLounge Game Spotlight: Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Cartoon Network’s newest game is Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake ($5), a puzzle game with lots of RPG elements. The game has a cutesy art style, but don’t let that turn you away — this title has plenty of depth and charm.

While the title reminds us of the 16-bit classic Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the gameplay of Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is like any other number of puzzle games that require players use the abilities of multiple characters to get through a level. The main protagonist is Niko, who leaves his village to find his dog and get back his birthday cake. But it soon becomes clear there’s more to the story.

Audi to integrate CarPlay into 2015 cars

Audi has announced it will bring Apple’s CarPlay to its cars, to be available “in the first Audi models starting in 2015.” Interestingly, Audi was not introduced as an initial CarPlay partner in March. The announcement notes there is “intensive dialog” between Audi and Apple on CarPlay integration. No specific models were mentioned in the release.

Apple ceasing development for Aperture, iPhoto in favor of Photos

Apple has told The Loop that it will be ceasing development of both Aperture and iPhoto for Mac in favor of its new iCloud-based Photos app that will be coming in iOS 8 and Yosemite. “With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple told The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.” It seems likely that Apple’s iPhoto for iOS will suffer a similar fate; iPhoto will not launch in current iOS 8 betas, and developers have been told to “edit and organize [their] photos in the Photos app” instead.

This change clearly marks a major shift in Apple’s photo management strategy for iOS devices, and it is unclear at this point what this will mean for other features such as the original iCloud Photo Stream and iTunes-based synchronization of photos onto iOS devices. Apple first introduced photo synchronization in iTunes 4.7 with the release of the iPod photo in 2004, and the feature has remained largely unchanged since, with iPhoto and Aperture commonly used as photo management apps for organizing photos to be transferred onto iPods and iOS devices. The deprecation of these two apps suggests that Apple is moving more strongly toward a cloud-based photo management solution, while also ceding the “pro” photo management space to applications such as Lightroom, which recently introduced its own cloud-based sync along with feature-rich mobile editing apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple adds Best New Game Updates section to App Store

Apple has added a new section to its App Store for Best New Game Updates. The section reveals a list of newly updated titles, which often were previously featured in the Best New Games section — that section should now only feature brand new titles. Titles in the new updates section include Plants vs. Zombies 2, Zen Pinball, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, among others. Apple has slowly been introducing features that make it easier to find desired apps; the “related” App Store search feature first popped up months ago.

Apple stores now selling prepaid T-Mobile, AT&T iPhones

Apple retail stores are now selling and activating T-Mobile and AT&T phones with prepaid plans. The T-Mobile devices must be activated in store with $50 or $70 worth of service, and the offer is limited to one device per customer. 9to5Mac also confirmed AT&T is now selling iPhones with prepaid GoPhone plans. A report earlier this month noted Apple would introduce prepaid and month-to-month plans.

Apps: Opera Mini 8.0, The Rhythm of Fighters, Supernauts + The Weather Channel for iPad 4.0

Opera Software’s free Opera Mini Web browser has been updated to version 8.0. The UI for the speedy browser has been given an overhaul with new themes and a new compression mode. A QR reader has also been added. Opera boasts that Opera Mini allows web pages to load faster, which is especially beneficial when not connected to a Wi-Fi network. The speed and its new features make it worth a look, at least as a possible backup browser.

The Rhythm of Fighters ($1) is a curious new release from SNK Playmore. Featuring a number of characters and music tracks from various SNK games, TRoF is a tapping rhythm game. It features a terribly slow in-game download before you can even play, which took longer than 20 minutes for us. Though the game claims to have simplistic controls, the tutorial isn’t very clear, and the experience doesn’t improve much even when the controls become a bit more understandable. All but the biggest SNK fans should probably skip this one.

Apple’s new 16GB iPod touch update: unboxing and impressions

iLounge has obtained a new 16GB fifth-generation iPod touch, introduced this morning. The differences between this model and the existing 32/64GB models are extremely minor, but there are a few. Inside the box, along with the iPod, are a set of EarPods and a Lightning cable. Although the iPod touch has the same loop attachment as the higher capacity versions, no loop is included; they can be purchased separately for $9. We’ve noticed a very, very slight color difference in the PRODUCT (RED) edition, as compared to the 32GB model, pictured after the break. It is just a bit more muted, but still quite vibrant. Click through for more photos!

 

Report: Apple working on smart home hardware

Apple is reportedly working on its own smart home hardware products that integrate with the company’s current devices, according to 9to5Mac. Development of these home devices has advanced “beyond the exploratory phase,” and sources said Apple thinks the devices could have “mainstream” usage — sources noted Apple is looking to make products that would have wider usage than the thermostat and smoke detector made by Google’s Nest. However, it’s unknown as to exactly what kinds of home devices Apple is developing, though sources noted it could be “advanced speaker systems or control panels for homes.” Apple’s home products would be built on its recently introduced HomeKit software. No timeline for the devices is known at this time.

Apple intros new 16GB iPod touch, cuts prices on 32/64GB models

Apple has quietly switched up its iPod touch 5G lineup, replacing the rear camera-less 16GB model introduced last year with a model that now has feature parity with the higher capacity units. Further, this new 16GB iPod touch now sells for $199—$30 less than last year’s feature-limited model—and comes with all of the same assets and accessories, save for the iPod touch loop lanyard, which can be purchased separately. It’s also now available in the full array of colors originally introduced for the fifth-generation iPod touch. In addition, the 32GB model has also seen a price drop of $50, down to $249, and the 64GB model has been slashed from $399 to $299.

Updated: Apple has issued a press release announcing the updates.

Report: Apple relaxes app rejections for ad viewing, social sharing

Apple is reportedly “rolling back” a new policy in which the company rejected apps for including rewards for watching video ads or sharing socially, TechCrunch reports. Rejections are now “being undone,” with some offending apps allowed back into the App Store. This follows a report from two weeks ago noting that developers were receiving rejection notices for such apps. The Cupertino company is apparently still cracking down on apps that incentivize giving that app a review or rating; Apple is also reportedly removing fake reviews from the App Store.

Apps: Air Stylus, Amazon Instant Video 2.7, Assassin’s Creed Pirates 1.4 + Transformers: AoE

Avatron Software’s Air Stylus ($20) enables the use of an iPad as a pressure-sensitive, wireless drawing surface for your Mac. Users can draw or paint directly onto the iPad screen using one of many popular graphics programs, and the screen becomes an extension of the computer desktop through the free Air Display host software. Air Stylus has garnered mixed reviews from users thus far, but digital artists may want to take a closer look.

Amazon Mobile’s free Amazon Instant Video has updated to version 2.7. The app also now gives users the ability to stream the first episode of some TV shows for free, and Prime customers also have access to a number of full seasons of certain popular HBO shows, including The Sopranos and The Wire. Video playback controls have also been tweaked, allowing for one-touch play/pause and 10-second skip forward/backward, as well as an episode-skipping feature for TV shows.

New Apple TV channels: ABC News, AOL On, PBS Kids, Willow

Apple has added four new channels to Apple TV: ABC News, AOL On, PBS Kids, and Willow. The ABC News channel features live streams and a variety of shows. AOL On is AOL’s video library service, which also features original programming. PBS Kids features popular children’s television programming — shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Arthur, and Dinosaur Train. Notably, PBS Kids requires activation and for users to sign in with Facebook, Google+, or a PBS account, though no cable subscription is necessary. Willow is a cricket channel, requiring a $15/month subscription.

Withings unveils Activité fitness tracking watch

Withings has debuted Activité ($390), a new iOS-compatible fitness tracking watch. Activité has the look of a real watch, and connects to the Withings Health Mate fitness tracking app using Bluetooth LE. It uses the smartphone connection to display “the exact time, always,” automatically adjusting to time zone changes. Additionally, a second dial also tracks fitness progress on the watch itself. Activité uses an accelerometer to track steps and distance. The water-resistant watch also allows for swim tracking and sleep monitoring, and can automatically detect whether it should be in sports or sleep mode.

Activité uses responsive glass that reacts to tapping — a user can tap the glass twice to check the alarm clock time. The watch has no need to recharge, as it comes with a button cell battery that will last for a full year. Included swappable straps — one leather, one plastic — allow users to change the look and feel of the watch for workouts or everyday life. Withings Activité comes in black or silver and will be available in the fall.

Bloomberg: New iPhones could launch at same time

Apple’s upcoming 4.7” and 5.5” iPhones will enter mass production next month and might become available at the same time, Bloomberg reports. The report claims the phones may ship to retailers “around September,” which corroborates some past reports claiming a September release. Bloomberg also notes the 5.5” iPhone is “more complicated” than the 4.7” version, leading to lower production efficiency “that must be overcome before manufacturing volume can be increased.” A number of reports have indicated the 5.5” iPhone would be released after the 4.7” model — but Apple could be pushing for a simultaneous launch, with the larger device debuting with a more limited supply.

Bono questions Apple’s treatment of (RED) branding

Speaking at a Cannes Lions presentation about his global AIDS nonprofit agency (RED), U2 frontman Bono took Apple to task for the way the company has branded its (RED) products, Adweek reports. Bono criticized the company with his friend and Apple design chief Jony Ive seated on stage, saying Apple is “so f———annoyingly quiet about the fact they’ve raised $75 million. Nobody knows!” According to Bono, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs refused to put the signature (RED) parentheses in any Apple stores, and understates them on Apple products. “Where’s the (RED) branding?” Bono asked Ive, pointing to their hidden location inside an iPad Smart Cover. “Nobody can see that. This is modesty run amok. This is the Apple way. They’re like a religious cult.”

Ive sidestepped the criticism: “We started in 2006 with one (RED) product, a Nano, and now we’ve got well over half a dozen,” he said. “It’s been really, really special for us.” Apple has been one of (RED)‘s biggest supporters from its early days, as all of its red-colored iPods, iPhone accessories, and iPad accessories have been (PRODUCT) RED exclusives. The company’s (PRODUCT) RED website notes Apple alone has raised more than $70 million; in total, (PRODUCT) RED’s numerous partners has raised more than $250 million for the Global Fund to help African AIDS programs.

Foxconn, Pegatron hiring for iPhone 6 production

Foxconn and Pegatron, two of Apple’s largest manufacturing partners, have begun hiring workers to produce the iPhone 6. The former is recruiting more than 100,000 people, a Chinese continental record, according to reports from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News and Reuters. The bulk of the orders will go to Foxconn, which is said to be responsible for 70 percent of production; Pegatron will handle the rest. High demand is expected, with Pegatron adding 30 percent to its workforce in one mainland factory.

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