Apple has released iBooks 1.3, the latest version of its e-Reader software for iOS. According to Apple’s release notes, iBooks 1.3 adds support for a new read-aloud feature for younger children that’s included in select children’s books from the iBookstore. The feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you and/or your child, and in some books, will highlight the words as its reading them aloud. Other features include automatic audio or video playback in enhanced books, improved responsiveness when opening very long books, and a fix for an issue where some books may display the same page twice. iBooks 1.3 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
In an e-mail just sent to MobileMe members, Apple confirmed what many users have expected since rumors of a follow-up service began to spread: MobileMe as it’s currently known will cease to exist after June 30, 2012. As a goodwill gesture to current users, the company will automatically extend MobileMe subscriptions through June 30, 2012 “at no additional charge,” after which “MobileMe will no longer be available.” Attempts to purchase additional MobileMe service are being rejected and refunded by the company as of today.
Apple urges users to sign up for the just-announced iCloud in order to keep their MobileMe e-mail addresses, mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks, and re-confirms that iCloud will be free for iOS 5 and OS X Lion users. While the company does not specifically address what will happen to MobileMe’s iDisk, Gallery, and iWeb services, it states that “more details and instructions on how to make the move” will be shared when iCloud opens for business this fall.
Apple has posted the complete video from today’s WWDC Keynote Address. At nearly two hours long, the video shows Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other company executives discussing Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud. Apple has also posted a brief five-minute video highlighting the new features of iOS 5, including Notification Center, Reminders, Safari, and iMessage. Both videos are available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
We’ve posted a huge collection of news stories regarding all of Apple’s iOS 5 and iCloud announcements today, and wanted to give you all an opportunity to discuss everything in one central location in advance of our editorial on the topic.
Did Apple impress you with the collection of features added to iOS 5? Are you excited or glad to hear about the free services coming in iCloud? Was anything really important missing today? Sound off in the comments section below.
As part of its new iCloud service suite, Apple today unveiled iTunes in the Cloud, a service which allows users to download previously purchased iTunes music to all devices at no additional cost. For music that wasn’t purchased from iTunes, users can gain the same benefits by signing up for a service called iTunes Match. iTunes Match scans a user’s existing music library and replaces existing tracks with 256 kbps AAC DRM-free files if they can be matched to the over 18 million songs on the iTunes Store and will upload any tracks that it can’t match to Apple’s servers. Apple indicated during its keynote address that there will not be any limit to the number of tracks that can be used with the service. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee.
Update: Apple has updated its website to indicate that iTunes Match will be limited 25,000 songs, but that any purchases made from the iTunes Store don’t count against the limit.
Apple today introduced its new iCloud service suite. As a replacement for the company’s previous MobileMe service, iCloud is completely free, and works to store content in the cloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all a user’s devices. Features of iCloud include rewritten push Contacts, Calendar, and Mail services, automatic synchronization of purchases and downloads from the App Store, iBookstore, and iTunes Store, a Backup features that automatically and securely backs up iOS devices on a daily basis over Wi-Fi, a Photo Stream service that automatically uploads photos taken or imported on any iOS device and pushes them to all a user’s devices—including Apple TV. iCloud also includes 5GB of free storage for mail, documents, and backup, which also serves to seamlessly store all a user’s documents that are created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically push them to all that user’s devices. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5 and will be free for all users.
We’ve just posted the full chronological transcript of our play-by-play from the WWDC 2011 Keynote. If you haven’t seen the separate news stories yet, today’s big announcements pertained to the fall 2011 releases of iOS 5 and Apple’s new free wireless synchronization service iCloud, as well as the July 2011 release of Mac OS Lion. Click on the title of this article for the full transcript, and visit our Flickr photostream for live photos from the event.
During its WWDC keynote address today, Apple unveiled iOS 5, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The software offers over 1,500 new APIs for developers and over 200 new user features, including an all-new notification system, a new “iMessage” messaging system that will work across all iOS devices, enhancements for the Camera app, Mail, Safari, Game Center, integration with Twitter, a new service called News Stand that works like iBooks but is meant for magazines and newspapers, AirPlay mirroring, which will let users beam whatever is on their iPad to an Apple TV, wireless syncing with iTunes, and over-the-air software updates, that also allow iOS devices to be setup and used without connecting them to iTunes. Apple will release iOS 5 this fall for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.
“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”
As noted by our editors inside the venue, Apple has several covered banners placed around Moscone West, in anticipation of an announcement or announcements to be made during the company’s keynote address this afternoon. The appearance of the covered banners is notable as Apple has uncharacteristically pre-announced its main talking points for the event, which include Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud, all of which are featured prominently on banners elsewhere in the building. It is possible that these banners feature a yet-unannounced product or service, or they could instead feature specific information—such as a release date for Mac OS X Lion—that Apple wants to keep under wraps until after the event.
Updated: The uncovered banners include details about iOS 5 and iCloud that were not previously public before the announcement.
iLounge’s editors are on-site at Moscone West in San Francisco, site of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The event will kick off with a keynote address from Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other Apple executives beginning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time today. During the address, Apple will be discussing Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and its new iCloud service. As with past live events, we’ll be switching over to our optimized Live.iLounge.com page right before the event begins, and will also host a separate chat room for reader discussions of the announcements as they happen. Stay tuned!
Apple may have hired Peter Hajas, the developer behind the jailbreak replacement notification system Mobile Notifier, to work on iOS’ notification system. Redmond Pie reports that Hajas indicated in a recent Twitter update that he would soon be going to work for a “fruit” company in California. In a follow-up blog post, Hajas wrote that we couldn’t say why he was stepping away from app development, but that “it’s worth it,” adding that “if you look around hard enough, you’ll probably figure it out” before finishing the the line “stay hungry and stay foolish,” a reference to the phrase Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to close out his 2005 Stanford University Commencement speech. [via Business Insider]
iLounge will be providing live coverage of Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, which is slated for Monday, June 6, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. During the event, Apple is expected to preview iOS 5, the next-generation version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, unveil its iCloud online service, which is expected to include a music storage and streaming component, and discuss Mac OS X Lion, the latest version of its desktop OS. As with past live events, we’ll be switching over to our optimized Live.iLounge.com page right before the event begins, and will also host a separate chat room for reader discussions of the announcements as they happen. See you then!
Apple has agreed to pay the four major music labels between $100 and $150 million in advanced payments as part of its cloud music deals, according to a new report. Citing three separate sources, the New York Post reports that Apple will pay each label between $25 million and $50 million to get on board with the iCloud service, dependent on how many tracks early customers are storing. According to the report, these same payments were a major hold-up for Google in its discussions with the labels, and may have influenced its decision to launch its cloud service without label support. The report states that Google will now likely have to pay higher fees to secure deals similar to those between the labels and Apple, but could have a similar cloud offering online as soon as September.
Becoming the second outlet to report that Apple has signed a cloud music deal with Universal, giving it deals with all four of the major labels, the Los Angeles Times has provided additional details on Apple’s upcoming iCloud service. Citing sources familiar with the negotiations, the report claims that the service will initially be offered for free to customers who purchase music from the iTunes Store, but will eventually cost roughly $25 a year. The report also states that Apple plans to sell advertising around the iCloud service—specifics, including if the ads would appear for paid subscribers, were not offered—and that the company’s agreements with the labels call for it to share 30 percent of any revenue from the service with the labels, as well as 12 percent with music publishers. In line with recent reports, it also notes that although the service is initially focused on music, Apple eventually plans for the service to be used for movies, TV shows, and other digital content sold through iTunes.
Apple has released an official iOS app for its 2011 Worldwide Developer Conference being held in San Francisco next week. The WWDC app provides a mobile reference guide allowing attendees to access conference information from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. A session and lab schedule allows users to view all events, including lunchtime and evening events and search by technology, platform, session or lab. Users can also reserve time at selected labs from directly within the app, create a personalized WWDC schedule of favorite sessions and events and view detailed floor maps of Moscone West to find their way around. A conference news and photos section provides up-to-date announcements during the week and images from the sessions, labs and special events. The WWDC app is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has released an update to GarageBand for the iPad adding audio out support and the ability to import audio files. GarageBand 1.0.1 now supports audio output via AirPlay, Bluetooth A2DP and HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adapter and users can also now import AIFF, WAV and CAF audio files and Apple Loops directly into the app. Additional improvements include the ability to copy and paste audio clips into GarageBand from other supported apps on the iPad and several stability and performance fixes, including addressing an issue with GarageBand freezing when using Smart Instruments. GarageBand 1.0.1 requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Apple is using a little-known guideline document in an attempt to curb third-party iPad and iPhone giveaways, according to a new report. Fortune claims that Apple has only recently begun to reach out to companies in an attempt to enforce its Guidelines for Third Party Promotions, a document that has been around since at least last January. The rules for third-party promotions forbid the use of the iPad, iPhone, or iPhone Gift Card in a promotion, specify that the iPod touch can only be used in “special circumstances and requires a minimum purchase of 250 units,” forbid the use of the word “free” as a modifier for an Apple product name, and the use of Myriad Set font, and require that the promotion notes that “Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.”
Apple has released a minor update to its iMovie app for iOS improving compatibility with the Apple Digital AV Adapter. iMovie 1.2.1 will now output audio to an HDTV when using the Digital AV Adapter. Videos from Marquee will also now play in full screen when output from the device via the Digital AV Adapter’s HDMI connection. Additional improvements and bug fixes include resolving issues with missing media in projects, grouping clips more accurately by date in the video browser, fixing issues with background music fading and a number of other small performance and reliability improvements. iMovie requires an iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad 2 running iOS 4.2.6 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Following legal threats made to third-party iOS application developers and a strongly worded response from Apple, Lodsys has filed suit against seven developers while denying Apple’s claims. FOSS Patents has identified the seven developers named in the suit as Combay, Iconfactory, Illusion Labs, Machael G. Karr, Quickoffice, Richard Shinderman, and Wulven Games. At issue in the case is a Lodsys patent entitled “Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity Across a Network”, which it claims covers in-app purchase and upgrade button technology.
In a series of posts on its company blog, Lodsys claims that it “chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned”—it had promised to give app developers 21 days to respond—“in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.” In discussing Apple’s response, in which the company claimed that its licenses gave third-party developers “undisputable” freedom to use Lodsys’ patents, Lodsys claims that it has “no discernable basis in law or fact.” The company goes on to state that it has sent a letter to Apple explaining its legal position on the license interpretation issue. Finally, Lodsys claims that it will pay $1,000 to each developer or entity to which it sends an infringement notice should Apple’s existing license rights turn out to cover their work. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple may have plans to include the online storage and streaming of both films and TV shows in its iCloud offering, according to a new report. Citing two sources close to the negotiations, Cnet reports that Apple has increased its efforts to convince major Hollywood film studios to issue licenses that would enable such a service; the report notes that Apple began discussing such a service with the studios over a year ago. The report also claims that part of the challenge in signing all six major studios is the so-called HBO blackout, part of the contract between the cable network and three of the six studios—Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and NBC Universal—that prohibits other electronic distribution outlets from selling the title while it’s airing on HBO. Whether or not a deal concerning the HBO contract is ready in time, the report states that Apple could still launch such a service with the support of the other three major studios—Disney, Paramount, and Sony—when it officially unveils its iCloud service June 6.