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Apple releases Podcasts app

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 seeds iOS 6 beta 2 update to developers

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]

iOS 6 Maps to boast Yelp check-in integration

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.

Judge throws out Apple, Motorola patent suits

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.

Apple launches App Store in 32 new countries

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, Liquidmetal extend agreement to 2014

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 airs new ‘Do It All’ iPad TV ad

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 removes hints of future products in iOS 6

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.

Apple, Time reach agreement on magazine sales

Apple and Time have reached an agreement that will see the latter make all of its magazines available via Apple’s Newsstand. In an interview with the New York Times, Time CEO Laura Lang and Apple senior vice president for Internet software and services Eddy Cue said the two companies had reached an agreement that would allow readers to subscriber to 20 Time magazines—including People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, and Entertainment Weekly—through the Newsstand section of the App Store. Time had previously sold single issues of its magazines through the App Store; Lang, who took over as CEO in January, said that a deal with Apple was a top priority. “For a magazine or brand like People or Time, a tablet will become an increasingly important part of the experience,” Ms. Lang said. “Our goal is to offer content where our consumers want to read it.”

Apple Store iOS app adds Express Checkout

Apple has updated the Apple Store iPhone app introducing a new Express Checkout feature. The Apple Store app allows iPhone users to lookup and purchase products from the online Apple Store or reserve products at any U.S. Apple Store for local pickup. Users can also use the app to request help and make Genius Bar and One to One reservations and users in the U.S. and the Netherlands can take advantage of EasyPay to make self-serve purchases in an Apple Retail Store using an iPhone 4/4S to scan the product barcode and complete the purchase transaction directly within the app. Apple Store 2.2 now allows users to save their account information for online purchase to expedite the checkout process and iPhone 4S users in the U.S. can now let Apple Store Specialists know when they’re approaching the Apple Store for a pickup so products can be ready by the time the user arrives. Apple Store requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple to axe Ping in next major iTunes release?

Apple will discontinue its Ping social network for music in the next major release of iTunes, according to a new report. Citing sources close to the company, AllThingsD reports that Ping will be gone in iTunes’ next major release, which is likely scheduled for this fall. The report claims that at that point, Apple’s social networking features will rely entirely on Twitter and Facebook. Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at Ping’s demise in a recent interview, stating, “We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said ‘This isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into’”. Ping launched in September 2010.

Apple updates AirPort Utility, adds IPv6 support

Apple has released an update to its AirPort Utility for iOS devices adding support for the new Apple AirPort Express (Mid 2012) released yesterday. AirPort Utility allows users to manage Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, presented as a graphical overview of the user’s Wi-Fi network and devices. Users can display information about connected Wi-Fi devices, view and change base station and network settings, restart devices and update firmware and passwords. With the latest update users can now configure IPv6 settings on AirPort base stations as well. AirPort Utility requires iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

TomTom announces maps deal with Apple

TomTom has announced that it has signed a global agreement with Apple to provide maps and related information. It is unclear what specific data the company is providing, but as the company’s name appears prominently in Apple’s new iOS 6 Maps application, it appears that it plays a major part in Apple’s new mapping service. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, news of the deal have sent TomTom shares higher, but the deal also poses a threat as the turn-by-turn directions baked into the new Maps app may cause an increased decline in sales of both standalone GPS units and TomTom’s own GPS apps, which sell for between $50 and $120 each.

Apple posts video of WWDC 2012 Keynote

Apple has posted a streaming video of its keynote address from its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. During the event, Apple unveiled a revamped notebook lineup, provided further details of OS X Mountain Lion, and announced iOS 6, offering over 200 new features. The video clocks in at over 110 minutes and is available for viewing now.

Apple releases iTunes 10.6.3

Apple today released iTunes 10.6.3, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to the release notes, version 10.6.3 includes support for OS X Mountain Lion and addresses a number of issues, including a problem where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing a first-generation iPad that contains an iBooks textbook, an issue where photos synced to a device appear in an unexpected order, a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly delete playlists created on a device, a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly delete apps on a device; it also improves overall performance and reliability, and is required for the newly released iOS 6 beta. iTunes 10.6.3 is available now as a free download from or via Apple’s Software Update utility.

iOS 6 to feature redesigned iTunes, App + iBook Stores

Apple’s just-posted iOS 6 Preview page has revealed that the on-device iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstores will receive substantial makeovers in the new OS. According to the page, the redesigned stores will feature “the best of what’s new in music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books at the top of each store’s home page”, and will allow users to browse those listings with swipe gestures and tap to learn more. The new stores will also offer a History button for reviewing media you’ve previewed, and will sync History across devices via iPad. Finally, the text on the page states that “now you can buy your favorite music, apps, and more without leaving the app you’re in”, suggesting iOS 6 will support In-App Purchasing of content from Apple’s various stores.

iOS 6: New Maps with traffic & turn-by-turn navigation

During today’s WWDC 2012 Keynote, Apple took the wraps off a new Maps app and service integrated with iOS 6 and completely rebuilt by Apple from the ground up. Described as a “world-wide effort” the new Maps service includes Apple’s own local search with over 100 million business listings already included providing local business information and direct integration with third-party services such as Yelp. Maps are presented as vector graphics with a transition to a 3D representation when zooming in more closely. A fly-over is also available allowing users to view a three-dimensional satellite view presentation of buildings and landmarks.

The new Maps app also builds in turn-by-turn navigation with a visual 3D presentation and Siri integration for features such getting directions, receiving ETA updates and finding points of interest en route. Apple has also announced the integration of its own traffic service based on “anonymous, realtime” information crowd-sourced from iOS users, providing a graphic representation of busy traffic areas and integration into its new built-in turn-by-turn navigation, with real-time ETA updates and prompts for re-routing based on heavy traffic.

iOS 6: Guided Access improves app experience for children

Apple today announced that iOS 6 will include a new accessibility feature called Guided Access. This new feature is aimed at children with autism and allows a parent or other adult to select specific portions of apps—such as navigation controls—to disable, and also provides the option to enable or disable the hardware buttons, touch controls, or motion controls independently.

Apple introduces iOS 6, coming this fall

Apple today announced iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, second- and third-generation iPad, and fourth-generation iPod touch. It will contain over 200 new user features and will ship to consumers this fall; a developer preview is available today. Apple highlighted several of the new features during its WWDC Keynote Address; you can find more information on those select features by following the links below:

iOS 6: Siri comes to iPad, gains new features
iOS 6: Facebook integration coming to iOS, iTunes + App Stores
iOS 6: Enhancements to Phone, Do Not Disturb
iOS 6: FaceTime over cellular, Apple ID unification
iOS 6: Safari gains offline Reading List, image uploads
iOS 6: introduces Passbook
iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams, Mail improvements
iOS 6: Guided Access improves app experience for children
iOS 6: New Maps with traffic & turn-by-turn navigation

iOS 6: Shared Photo Streams, Mail improvements

Among the new features of iOS 6 announced by Apple today are enhancements to its Photo Stream service and Mail app. The Shared Photo Streams feature will allow iCloud users to select photos and friends with whom they’d like to share the photos. Those friends will receive a notification alerting them to the stream, and those photos will appear in an album on their device, with the ability for friends to comment on photos. In Mail, users will be able to select certain users to designate as VIPs, which will elevate their alert status and cause the app to file all emails from that person in a dedicated mailbox, which will sit alongside a new Flagged mailbox. The new version of Mail will also allow users to insert photos and videos right from the compose window, open password-protected documents, and pull to refresh their messages.

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