Apple has released Configurator 1.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Configurator enables schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time, update software, create and restore backups of settings and app data, and more. According to the release notes, version 1.1 improves reliability and ease of use when installing paid apps with Volume Purchase Program redemption codes, adds new preferences to disable the automatic removal of apps or profiles installed by the user when a configuration is reapplied and disable reapplying a configuration each time a supervised device is connected, includes small changes to the profile editor, and ensures that VPP codes are no longer marked as invalid if the App Store is unavailable. Apple Configurator 1.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store.
A number of users appear to be having problems with some apps crashing on launch following updates downloaded from the App Store. Instapaper developer Marco Arment reports that “within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update” last night, he was “deluged by support email and Twitter messages” from users indicating the the app was crashing on launch, even with a clean install. Arment notes that not only had Apple obviously reviewed the app, but that his own submitted version worked fine, yet when he downloaded the update himself it “crashed instantly.”
Arment goes on to report that in some regions the App Store is sending out a “seemingly corrupt update” with the U.S. and U.K. being specifically affected, but not Australia as far as he was able to tell. Developer Ken Seto of Massive Damage notes that the issue may be affecting some Canadian users as well. Arment lists several apps that have been reported to him as causing issues, including his own Instapaper app along with GoodReader, Readdle Scanner Pro, Threadnote, Please Stay Calm, Angry Birds Space HD Free and more and notes that he contacted App Review very shortly after the Instapaper update went live and it appears that a functional version of Instapaper began being distributed on reinstalls and doesn’t appear to have recurred since. Users who are experiencing a problem with newly downloaded apps crashing due to corruption will likely need to wait until a good copy is being served again by the App Store, and then delete and reinstall the app.
Apple has officially opened its iCloud Beta portal to developers enrolled in the iOS 6 beta. MacRumors reports that the site, which is located at beta.icloud.com and was spotted briefly in early May, offers previews of new Calendar functionality, as well as a redesigned Find My iPhone web app, and all-new Notes and Reminders apps. The new apps most mirror the functionality of their iOS counterparts, with the new Find My iPhone tool adding a battery status icon and support for the upcoming “Lost Mode.” The new iCloud web app suite is expected to see a public rollout alongside the release of iOS 6 this fall.
Apple will soon be adding a “Food & Drink” category to its App Store listings. MacStories reports that the company has started to send out emails to select developers informing them of the change. According to the email, the new category will include “apps that help users cook and bake, mix drinks, manage recipes, find new restaurants and bars, and learn what their friends like to eat and drink”, but will exclude “diet, grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, or food-related game apps.” The new category is expected to come online “in the next few weeks.”
Apple has announced that it will report its financial results for the third fiscal quarter of 2012 on Tuesday, June 24. The release will be followed by the usual conference call to discuss the financial results, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. iLounge will be providing coverage of the call. The call will likely discuss full-quarter sales of the third-generation iPad and third-generation Apple TV, early sales of Apple’s new MacBook lineup, and could possibly offer insight into Apple’s product plans for the rest of the year.
Apple has been granted a request for a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled in Apple’s favor for the second time in recent days, as she also approved a pre-trial ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. “Apple has made a clear showing that, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, it is likely to lose substantial market share in the smartphone market and to lose substantial downstream sales of future smartphone purchases and tag-along products,” Judge Koh said her ruling. As a condition of the injunction, Apple was ordered to post a bond of more than $95 million to secure payment of damages suffered by Samsung should Apple lose the actual trial.
Apple has settled its trademark dispute with Proview over the iPad name in China. As part of the settlement, Apple will pay Proview $60 million for the rights to the name, which Apple claimed it purchased in 2009, but was never transferred. Speaking with the AP, Proview lawyer Xie Xianghui said the company had hoped for as much as $400 million from a potential settlement, but felt pressure to settle because it needs to pay debts. The company may still be declared bankrupt in a separate proceeding. “The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” the Guangdong High People’s Court said in a statement. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”
Apple today announced that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire. According to the company, Mansfield’s role will be transitioned over several months to Dan Riccio, current vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering. In his role, Mansfield has overseen Mac hardware engineering since 2005, iPhone and iPod hardware engineering since 2010, and iPad hardware engineering since the device’s inception.
“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”
“Dan has been one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry,” added Cook. “Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.”
Alongside its rollout of the iTunes Store to 12 new Asian countries, Apple today launched the Apple TV in nine new markets. MacRumors reports that the Apple TV is now available from Apple’s online store in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, and through third-party resellers in Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, and Sri Lanka. Pricing varies by country; the set-top box does not appear to be available in the Philippines, Taiwan, or Thailand, three countries that also saw local iTunes Stores launch today.
Apple is planning to open both a new data center and a business and purchasing center in the Reno, NV area. The Reno Memo reports that the data center, which will house cloud computing operations, will be located in the Reno Technology Park, which sits to the east of Sparks, NV. The business park and purchasing center will be located in Reno’s Tessera District; overall, the development plans will represent a $1 billion investment by Apple over the next 10 years, and will account for 41 full-time jobs at the data center, as well as 200 contract employees. The news follows word from earlier this year that Apple plans to build a similar data center in the tax-friendly Prineville, OR area.
Apple’s latest beta version of the Apple TV software allows users to reorder the icons on the main menu page. Citing Portugese-language MacMagazine.com.br, MacRumors reports that the feature is accessed by holding down the center Select button on the Apple Remote for several seconds, which causes the currently-highlighted icon to wiggle, as seen on other iOS device when moving apps. While wiggling, the icon can be moved using the direction buttons on the remote, with the other icons automatically adjusting to the movement. This is the latest indication that Apple plans on allowing third-party apps on the Apple TV, a feature that has been heavily rumored since the launch of the most recent Apple TV OS in March.
Apple has won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in U.S. District Court. Foss Patents reports that Judge Lucy Koh entered the injunction at the close of business yesterday; Samsung has since filed a notice of appeal. The ruling is based on an iPad design patent, and states that “the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is ‘virtually indistinguishable’ from Apple’s iPad and iPad 2”. The injunction will go into effect as soon as Apple posts a $2.6 million bond.
Apple has released a new universal app dedicated to subscribing to, viewing and managing Podcasts on iOS devices. Dubbed simply Podcasts, the new app allows users to browse through hundreds of thousands of audio and video podcasts available in the iTunes Podcasts catalog, stream or download individual episodes for offline listening or subscribe to an entire podcast series. A Top Stations feature also provides a unique user interface with a quick view of the most popular podcasts, organized by topics such as arts, business, comedy, news and sports. A radio-like “Now Playing” screen with simple playback controls allow the user to easily skip forward and back and the app integrates with iTunes to access podcasts synced from an iTunes library in the traditional manner. The application also supports syncing episode bookmarks via iCloud for seamless playback between devices along with a built-in sleep timer and the ability to share favourite podcasts episodes via Twitter, Messages and Mail. Podcasts is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Syncing episodes requires iTunes 10.6.3 or later and streaming is supported over both Wi-Fi and cellular data connections.
Apple has seeded developers with the first update to its iOS 6 beta. The update has yet to appear on Apple’s Developer web site, but is apparently available as an over-the-air update for those running the iOS 6 beta on their devices. Notably, the update weighs in at 322 MB for the iPhone 4S, 497 MB for the third-generation iPad, and the gears of the Settings icon seen on the update screen animate as the update is downloaded and installed. According to Apple, the update contains “bug fixes and improvements”, it is unclear what other changes might be included in the update. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple’s Maps application in iOS 6 will offer users the ability to check-in to Yelp directly from the app, according to a new report. Citing materials Apple distributed to software developers, Bloomberg reports that the integration—which will let users communicate with Yelp without exiting the map—may help Yelp challenge competing check-in services from Foursquare and Facebook. Apple already has a relationship with Yelp through Siri, and has also integrated the service’s reviews and photos into the iOS 6 Maps application.
A judge has thrown out opposing lawsuits filed by Apple and Motorola accusing one other of patent infringement. Bloomberg reports that U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner denied the requests for relief in a 38-page court order, in which he wrote that “Neither party is entitled to an injunction,” adding, “neither has shown that damages would not be an adequate remedy.” Posner rejected both companies’ money-damages theories and canceled a related jury trial earlier this month, claiming that there was a “simple failure of proof”. The trial would have been the first between Apple and Google, which completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility last month.
As promised during its WWDC event earlier this month, Apple has launched the App Store in 32 new countries. The new territories include: Albania, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Fiji, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Liberia, Malwai, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Palau, Papau New Guinea, Sao Time e Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe. With the launch of these new countries, the App Store is now available in over 155 markets.
Apple and Liquidmetal have extended an agreement between the two companies into 2014. According to an SEC filing, the original agreement expired this past February 5, but has now been extended to February 5, 2014. The original agreement gave Apple “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercial such intellectual property in the field of electronic products in exchange for a license fee.” Liquidmetal’s alloys feature an amorphous, non-crystalline structure that gives them a greater strength than comparable aluminum or titanium alloys, or even stainless steel, while offering a scratch and corrosion-resistant exterior. Liquidmetal technology is believed to have been used in the SIM ejector tool included with the iPhone 3G, but has yet to appear in a prominent position on any subsequent Apple product. [via MacRumors]
Apple has started to air its latest TV advertisement for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “Do It All”, the add focuses on a number of tasks that can be completed using the device. “Send a note. Stay informed. Catch a show. Make your point,” the narrator states. “Make a memory. Make a masterpiece. Read something. Watch something. And learn something. Do it all more beautifully, with the Retina Display, on iPad.” The ad is available for viewing below in embedded form or on YouTube via the above link.
Apple has made changes to an iOS configuration file commonly known to hold references to future products. TUAW reports that the USBDeviceConfiguration.plist file no longer contains any references to non-shipping products, which was a common occurrence in prior versions of iOS. As noted in the report, Apple had previously obscured references to future products in the same file by humorously loading it up with references to products that were obviously fake.