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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 apple.com/itunes or via Apple’s Software Update utility.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
During its presentation on iOS 6 today, Apple unveiled Passbook, a new integrated app designed to serve as a digital storage for information such as boarding passes, tickets and store cards. Initially integrated with companies such as United Airlines, Amtrack, Starbucks and Fandango, Passbook allows users to store digital copies of items for quick and easy retrieval on demand or based on geo-location; for example users can have the app automatically pull up their Starbucks card directly on the lock screen when near their favourite Starbucks location. Information such as boarding passes can also be updated as departure times and gate changes occur and push notifications provide users with near real-time updates as updates are received.
Apart from the already revealed iCloud Tabs feature, Apple has announced that Safari in iOS 6 will receive a number of other enhancements. The Reading List feature, introduced in iOS 5, will gain a new offline mode so users can read when away from an Internet connection, and the updated app will allow for image uploads directly from the browser. Apple is also adding fullscreen support in landscape, and a new feature called Smart app banners that will let services sync between web activity and app activity, and will allow users to easily jump into or download the app.
As part of its unveiling of iOS 6, Apple has announced that the new OS will support FaceTime calls over cellular connections. As part of this feature rollout, the company will also be unifying users’ phone number and Apple ID, so that if a FaceTime call comes to a phone number, that user could answer the call on a Mac or iPad. This same unification will be used for iMessage, hopefully allowing for more streamlined interoperability between various iOS devices and Macs.
As part of iOS 6, Apple will be rolling out several enhancements to the iPhone’s Phone application and offering a new notification setting called Do Not Disturb, The Phone application will now offer users the option of replying with a message or reminding them later should they choose not to answer a call. Both features have a number of built-in options, with preset text messages available for the first and reminder options based on time or location for the latter. In addition, iOS 6 will add a new feature called Do Not Disturb to the Settings app near notifications. The feature will allow users to set scheduled Do Not Disturb times, with fine-grained control over what calls should be allowed.