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iOS 6 adds Wi-Fi Plus Cellular data option

The fourth beta version of iOS 6 has added a new Wi-Fi Plus Cellular data option for iPhones and iPads. AppAdvice reports that in the General>Cellular section of iOS 6 beta 4’s Settings app lies an option called Wi-Fi Plus Cellular. According to the screenshot posted in the report, the option is designed to “allow apps having trouble with Wi-Fi to use cellular data.” Notably, iOS 6 beta 3 appeared to enable such behavior by default; this switch in beta 4 is effectively adding a way for users to turn the feature off. Apple is set to release iOS 6 this fall.

Apple now offering refurbished third-gen iPads

Apple is now offering a range of refurbished third-generation iPads on its online store. Pricing for the refurbished units starts at $449 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and goes up to $779 for a 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Notably, both black and white versions of both models are available, as are both AT&T and Verizon variants of + cellular models. As with all Apple refurbished products, all of them include a full one-year Apple warranty.

Apple airs new third-gen iPad commercial

Apple has started to air a new TV commercial for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “All On iPad”, the ad follows the patten of prior third-gen iPad ads, showing the device performing various tasks in front of a white background while a narrator speaks. “Read it, Tweet it, be surprised, be productive,” the narrator reads. “Make a sale, make some lunch, make a movie night. Play a game, or an old favorite. Do it all more beautifully with the Retina Display on iPad.” The new commercial is available for viewing from the above link or in embedded form below.

iOS 6 Simulator points to 1136x640 display support

Apple’s most recently released version of the iOS Simulator developer tool suggests that iOS 6 already contains support for 1136x640 displays. 9to5Mac reports that when using a tweaked version of the iOS Simulator application, iOS 6 fully supported the expected next-generation iPhone resolution, offering up five complete rows of icons, not including the dock. When the current public release of iOS 5.1 was used, the Simulator instead displayed the Home screen with a stretched set of four rows of icons. Notably, the report claims that the simulator will not correctly display five rows of icons at resolutions other than 1146x640, instead scaling icons to an “iPad-like” Home screen layout, and not at the proportions and scaling of the current iPhone and iPod touch display. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone at a special media event on September 12.

iOS 6 beta 4 removes YouTube, adds Bluetooth Sharing

A couple of noteworthy changes have been made to iOS 6 as of the fourth beta update. Perhaps most notably, Apple has removed YouTube from the list of built-in apps. YouTube was a last-minute pre-launch addition to the iPhone in 2007, and has remained a built-in app across all iOS devices since. Apple has recently moved to distance its mobile platform from Google in iOS 6, however, replacing the latter’s Maps service with an in-house solution. The YouTube app had not been updated in some time; Apple may simply be leaving its development up to Google, which will presumably be able to release a new YouTube app as a free download from the App Store.

In addition, a new “Bluetooth Sharing” menu has appeared inside the Settings app. Found under the Privacy heading, it lists apps that have requested the ability to share data via Bluetooth. While its exact purpose is currently unknown, it is possible that this menu could tie-in to the Bluetooth 4 linking feature revealed by iLounge in a report last week.

Update: Apple has released a statement regarding the removal of the YouTube app. “Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.”

Apple seeds iOS 6 beta 4 to developers

Apple has released the fourth beta version of iOS 6 to developers. As with prior iOS 6 beta updates, beta 4 is available as an over-the-air software update or as a direct download from the iOS Dev Center, and is accompanied by a new beta version of the Apple TV software, as well as an updated version of Xcode and the iOS 6 SDK. The new version is listed as build 10A5376e; it is unclear what changes may be contained in the release. iOS 6 beta 4 is available now to registered iOS developers.

Apple in talks to acquire Pinterest rival The Fancy?

Apple is in talks to acquire The Fancy, a growing social commerce site, according to a new report. Business Insider claims that while it has learned that there have been talks between the two companies, there is no signed deal and no guarantee of one. It is unclear what price Apple proposed to pay, or how recently the talks took place, but the report claims—citing a source familiar with Apple’s acquisition strategy—that The Fancy is at a stage where Apple typically buys companies. The Fancy is similar to Pinterest in allowing its users to make lists of items they find interesting, but has also started linking users to transactions, taking a 10 percent cut of sales in the process. Notably, Apple CEO Tim Cook is a user, having opened his account after meeting The Fancy CEO Joe Einhorn at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference earlier this year. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes are on the company’s board, along with LeRoy Kim of Allen & Co. and Boston Celtics owner James Pallotta; Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz are also investors.

Apple Store update adds iWork preinstall option

Apple has updated its Apple Store app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding the ability for customers to have Pages, Keynote and Numbers pre-installed on any MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro ordered from the Apple Store. Added to the Apple Store on the web earlier this week, the new option allows users to choose to bundle the purchase of any of the iWork apps with their new Mac, which will come already installed from the Mac App Store in the same way as the iLife apps—iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie—presently do. The latest update to the Apple Store app also includes performance enhancements designed to improve the shopping experience. Apple Store 2.3 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple patent points to advanced Smart Cover

A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a Smart Cover for the iPad that offers more functionality than the current accessory. Notably, the patent outlines a flexible display embedded in the cover itself, receiving power and data via a connector on the side. According to the patent, the display may be touch-sensitive, or may have a portion of the cover flap dedicated to an eInk display, which would require no power to maintain state. As noted by Engadget, possible uses for such a display are space for extra icons, media controls, or as a notification display; an image accompanying the patent application also shows a portion of the cover’s interior being used as a keyboard, like Microsoft’s recently announced Surface tablet cover. As with all Apple patents, this application does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research and interest in this area.

Nevada board endorses Apple data center deal

The Nevada Board of Economic Development on Wednesday endorsed a deal negotiated by the state to help lure Apple to Reno with $89 million in tax breaks. The Associated Press (via the San Jose Mercury News) reports that the action was largely ceremonial, since the panel lacked the authority to change the agreement. Nevada Government Brian Sandoval called the deal a “win” for the state and said that Apple’s commitment will generate interest from other companies. The deal will see Apple build a 350-acre data center east of Sparks, NV, to house servers, as well as a purchasing and business center in a currently rundown area near downtown Reno.

Apple, Twitter talks focused on product integration

Following dueling reports from earlier in the week indicating that Apple had met with Twitter reps about a strategic investment, a new report claims that talks between the two companies centered more on product integration ideas. Citing multiple people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the investment idea never progressed into serious discussion or negotiations, while the product integration deal came together very quickly. According to the report, which cites two people briefed on the matter, the two companies continue to talk about future product integrations, which may include more deeply melding Twitter and iTunes as Apple prepares to phase out Ping later this year. Apple added Twitter integration in iOS 5 last year, and in OS X Mountain Lion last month.

AMD nabs Apple chip architect Keller

AMD has announced that it has hired Jim Keller away from Apple. Keller, who joined Apple as part of its acquisition of PA Semi, was a director in the platform architecture group and was focused on mobile products, playing a key role in the development of the A4 and A5 chip families. At AMD, Keller will serve as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores, and will report to CTO and senior vice president of technology and engineering Mark Papermaster, who is also an Apple veteran and who left the company in 2010 following the uproar over the iPhone 4’s antenna woes.

First day of Apple v. Samsung trial proves lively

The opening statements and first testimony were given yesterday as the trial between Apple and Samsung kicked off in San Jose, CA. Reuters reports that Apple attorney Harold McElhinny gave the opening statement, focusing on the dramatic difference in design between Samsung’s pre-iPhone handsets and those that came after the iPhone’s launch. During the statement, McElhinny showed jurors an internal Samsung product analysis which said the iPhone’s hardware was “easy to copy”; another said the company was in a “crisis of design” due to Apple’s handset. “As we all know it is easier to copy than to innovate,” McElhinny told the court. “Apple had already taken the risks.”

The first expert witness called was longtime Apple designer Christopher Stringer, who helped design the iPhone and also shed light on Apple’s internal design process. Cnet recounts his testimony, during which he said that the process for any product begins with lots of sketching, before heading off to a CAD phase, and said his team’s role is to “imagine objects that don’t exist, and guide the process that brings them to life.” “We work together around a kitchen table,” Stringer said. “We have our lives all around the products. In some ways it feels like a small company.” Regarding the iPhone, Stinger was very direct in his criticism of Samsung’s devices. “We’ve been ripped off, it’s plain to see. It’s offensive,” he said. “It’s a huge leap of imagination to come up with something new, that’s something we did. By which you have to dismiss everything you know, forget everything you know, it can be difficult.”

Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller briefly took the stand towards the end of the day, and discussed influences on Apple’s products. “We don’t use any customer input in the new product process,” Schiller said. “We never go and ask the customer, ‘What feature do you want in the next product?’ It’s not the customer’s job to know. We accumulate that information ourselves.” Schiller is expected to testify again when proceedings resume on Friday, the New York Times reports.

The day ended with Judge Lucy H. Koh demanding to know who on Samsung’s legal team authorized the public release of evidence that she had ordered excluded from the case. The release of the evidence—which was related to a Sony-inspired, Apple-created iPhone design—was accompanied by a statement from Samsung, which has been reprinted by AllThingsD. “The Judge’s exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the jury the full story and show the pre-iPhone design for that and other phones that were in development at Samsung in 2006, before the iPhone,” the statement reads. “The excluded evidence would have established beyond doubt that Samsung did not copy the iPhone design. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.”

Apple adds Hulu Plus to Apple TV

Apple has added a new Hulu Plus app to the Apple TV. The app, which may require a restart before appearing, allows for access to the online streaming video service. As with Netflix, users can subscribe to Hulu Plus directly from the Apple TV using their iTunes account to pay the $7.99 monthly fee; a free one-week trial is currently being offered. Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney, and is also available on Apple’s mobile iOS devices via a free app.

Apple discussed buying stake in Twitter

Apple at one point discussed making a strategic investment in Twitter, according to a pair of new reports. Citing people briefed on the matter, the New York Times reports that the considered investment was in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and would have valued Twitter at more than $10 billion. While the report notes that the two companies are not in negotiations at the moment, the Wall Street Journal follows up with a report of its own, citing people familiar with the matter who claim that the discussions were held over a year ago. The latter report goes on to claim that the talks didn’t immediately result in a deal and aren’t currently active. Apple added direct Twitter integration to iOS starting with iOS 5, and subsequently added sharing support for the service to Mac OS X in Mountain Lion.

Apple to acquire AuthenTec for $356 million

Apple has entered into an agreement to purchase mobile security firm AuthenTec. Reuters reports that the deal—worth $8 per share, or roughly $356 million—was disclosed in an SEC filing. AuthenTec makes mobile security software and chips for mobile phones, as well as chips for fingerprint recognition and near-field communication (NFC), the latter being a technology that has been repeatedly speculated upon in Apple’s upcoming devices. AuthenTec currently counts Apple competitors such as Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, and Fujitsu as customers.

Apple gets stay on Samsung non-copy notice

Apple has received a stay on a court order that would have led to it posting pro-Samsung messages. Bloomberg reports that a London court has ruled that the order — which called for Apple to post a notice on its U.K. site and take out advertisements in British newspapers explaining that Samsung hadn’t copied the iPad — will be stayed until after Apple’s appeal is heard in October.

Google warned Samsung against copying Apple

Google warned Samsung against copying Apple with its Galaxy Tab designs, according to a new report. Citing an unredacted version of Apple’s trial brief for its U.S. trial against Samsung, AllThingsD reports that Apple claims Samsung was well aware of its products’ similarity to Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and that the company discussed the fact internally. “Samsung’s documents show the similarity of Samsung’s products is no accident or, as Samsung would have it, a ‘natural evolution,’” Apple claims in its brief. “Rather, it results from Samsung’s deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone’s and iPad’s extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface. Apple will rely on Samsung’s own documents, which tell an unambiguous story.”

Apple then points to purported evidence showing that Google told Samsung in February 2012 that its “P1 and “P3” tablets—which became the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1—were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.” Samsung’s own Product Design Group purportedly noted that it was “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models, a thought that was repeated by a group of famous designers who said the device “looked like it copied the iPhone too much” during a Samsung-sponsored evaluation. The trial between the two is set to kick off next week.

Apple updates iWork iOS apps for Mountain Lion

Apple has released updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote for compatibility with the new iCloud Documents features in Mountain Lion and the corresponding Mac OS X updates released yesterday. The three apps, now at version 1.6.1, simply now list that they work with iCloud to make documents, spreadsheets and presentations automatically available between iOS devices and the corresponding Mac OS X applications, with changes made on one device now being “instantly available” on the other. The three iWork apps for iOS were originally updated to add iCloud support last fall with the initial debut of iCloud in iOS 5, allowing users to share documents, spreadsheets and presentations between multiple iOS devices. However, iCloud support did not come to iWork for the Mac until yesterday’s release of OS X Mountain Lion; these latest iOS updates appear to be primarily focused on ensuring compatibility with iCloud on the Mac. Pages, Numbers and Keynote 1.6.1 are universal apps and require iOS 5.1 or later. Each is sold separately from the App Store for $10.

 

Apple updates Podcasts app

Apple has released a minor update to its Podcasts app focused on performance, stability and usability improvements. Originally released last month, the new standalone Podcasts app is designed to replace the Podcast playback functionality previously incorporated into the iOS Music app with additionl features such as the ability to search for and subscribe to new podcasts and download or stream podcast episodes over a 3G or Wi-Fi connection.

In addition to listing “significant improvements to performance and stability,” the Podcasts 1.0.1 update adds several small user interface tweaks, including displaying the number of unplayed episodes for each Podcast in the user’s library, displaying the Podcast titles in Top Stations in place of missing artwork, remembering the last-used playback speed when switching between episodes, and fixing problems with the Subscribe button and Top Stations artwork. Podcasts 1.0.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

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