- May 9, 2013
AT&T has announced the launch of Aio Wireless, a new prepaid cellular brand. Aio Wireless offers a number of devices under no-contract plans, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 is being sold for $650. It is available with the Aio Smart plan, featuring unlimited talk, messaging, and data with high speed access for the first 2GB for $55 a month, or the Aio Pro plan, which offers the same features as the Smart plan, but with high speed access for the first 7GB of data for $70 a month. Aio Wireless is available now in Houston, Orlando, and Tampa — the service will make its way to additional U.S. markets during the next year.
After a long absence from the bleeding edge of the high-end earphone market, Shure has just debuted a four-driver canalphone model: the SE846 Quad Driver Earphones ($1000). Using 10 laser-cut, laser-welded stainless steel plates, Shure boasts that the SE846 earphones offer a true subwoofer experience through a revolutionary low-pass filter. The earphones feature two low-frequency drivers, one mid-frequency driver, and one high-frequency driver. Users will be able to choose between three sound signatures — warm, balanced, or bright — while listening.
The SE846 Quad Driver Earphones feature removable cables and offer a transparent look. Shure claims the earphones will isolate up to 37 decibels of ambient noise. The earphones are available for pre-order at Earphone Solutions, and are estimated to ship in June.
Multiple reports have noted a surge in mobile traffic from devices using iOS 7 recently, as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is now about a month away. Notably, there’s been a reported rise in usage from iOS 7 iPhones and iPads in the Cupertino and San Francisco areas. Increased testing suggests Apple will have a public preview of iOS 7 available for developers at the conference, as many already expect. [via MacRumors, TechCrunch]
Having been less conspicuous in the Apple speaker market for the last few years, Klipsch has just released its KMC 3 Wireless Music System ($400), a new Bluetooth speaker. KMC 3 is a 2.1-channel wireless music system with a 5.25” subwoofer and two 2” full range drivers. A USB input is included for charging devices, and the speaker can run on 8 D batteries when unplugged.
Klipsch’s KMC 3 Wireless Music System comes in black or white. According to Klipsch’s website, it is available now in black in “limited quantities,” with a “spring” release planned for the white version.
- May 8, 2013
During its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, Apple is attempting to force Google to turn over documents related to the Android operating system. In a court filing, Apple argued that Android is used in all of the allegedly infringing products from Samsung, and the operating system “provides much of the accused functionality” in Apple’s claims. Apple claims Google is improperly withholding information about the terms it’s using to locate documents that Apple requested. “It’s a question of transparency,” Apple lawyer Mark Lyon said. “We have concerns that they’re not doing a full search.” [via Bloomberg]
- May 8, 2013
Mass production on the screen for the new iPhone, likely the iPhone 5S, will reportedly begin in June. The “liquid crystal panel” will be produced by Sharp, LG Electronics, and Japan Display, according to a report from Japan’s Nikkan (translated link). The report notes the display’s specifications are “close” to the iPhone 5, suggesting the new version could be slightly different than the current display, though no further details are given. [via 9to5Mac]
Scosche has released its RH1060 Bluetooth stereo headphones ($200), which were featured in a First Look in January, though the original pricing was announced at a higher price of $250. One of our Best of Show finalists at CES 2013, the RH1060 headphones feature 40mm drivers and playback controls on the exterior of the right ear cup.
Scosche’s RH1060 headphones use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to iOS devices, with a range of 33 feet. A rechargeable lithium ion battery allows for up to 8 hours of continuous playback, and a micro USB cable can fully recharge the headphones in less than three hours. The RH1060 headphones are available now.
New for iPad from Warner Music Group is The Doors, ($5) a new app that “brings The Doors’ story to life.” An interactive career retrospective of the Jim Morrison-fronted rock band, The Doors app features insider stories about the group, a timeline of The Doors’ history, song samples, lyrics, and more. A graphic novel about the band’s famous “Miami Incident” is included, as are 44 video commentaries and 6 full-length music videos.
PDFpen for iPad ($10) by SmileOnMyMac lets users make edits and corrections to a PDF file on the screen. It can use iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs as storage. The iPad app notably added support for Adonit’s new Jot Touch 4 pressure-sensitive stylus in version 1.5.2, making it one of the first apps to support the Bluetooth 4 peripheral. Since that recent update, version 1.5.3 has resolved issues with Dropbox and other various crash issues.
- May 7, 2013
A German court has told Apple to change customer data rules, according to a consumer group that has noted on its website that eight of 15 provisions in Apple’s data-use terms were struck down. Apple cannot ask for “global consent” to use customer data or use the location information of customers. The ruling only applies in Germany — however, a U.S. judge ruled in March that Apple must submit “a detailed account of how it collects and evaluates” documents, and the company may face court-ordered penalties over its practices. The U.S. lawsuit alleges Apple collected data from millions of devices without permission. [via Bloomberg]
- May 7, 2013
Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is reportedly undergoing a new shift in strategy to reduce its reliance on Apple. Recently, the company reported that its first quarter revenue was down 19.2 percent compared to last year, due to declining iPad and iPhone orders. “The decline in the business of our partners, such as Apple and Nokia, does affect us,” Foxconn spokesman Simon Hsing said. “We don’t want to just wait for orders. We are actively talking with many clients and asking if they can fully utilize what we make.” Some estimate the Taiwan-based Foxconn receives at least 40 percent of its revenue from Apple. Foxconn is looking to develop products of its own, with an “especially aggressive push” into large TVs. The company recruited Vizio to sell their TVs in the U.S., as Foxconn apparently doesn’t want to market its own brand. Apple declined to comment on the story. [via The New York Times]
- May 6, 2013
- iPad Accessories
Adobe today announced Project Mighty — a pressure-sensitive Bluetooth pen that will rely on the company’s Cloud servers for the transfer of settings, enabling the pen to be used on multiple devices without reconfiguration. The pen features a rechargeable battery, interchangeable tips, and on-board memory. Few other details are available at this time.
The company also announced Napoleon, a ruler device that can interact with tablets. Napoleon was shown projecting traceable digital lines onto an iPad. Both products were shown while connected to an iPad via Bluetooth. [via The Verge]
- May 6, 2013
Fortune has released this year’s Fortune 500, its annual ranking of America’s largest corporations, and Apple has cracked the top ten for the first time. Despite well-publicized issues that have deflated the company’s stock value, Apple rose to 6th on the list, up from last year’s rank of 17th. Though Fortune notes “Apple is bigger than ever,” the company’s overview also says last October’s product announcements “maintained more than disrupted,” while CEO Tim Cook’s apologies for Apple maps and Chinese repairs are also cited in the brief summary.
Thanks in part to Apple’s switch to more expensive Lightning connectors, as well as the ascendance of Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Apple’s grip on accessory makers is starting to slip, according to a New York Times report. While many retail stores and hotel rooms previously featured Dock Connector accessories, the market has expanded and broadened, reducing Apple’s presence. A number of accessory makers expressed frustration with the Lightning connector transition, as companies were not notified of the change in advance, and fees for both licensing and manufacturing have gone up. Consequently, accessory makers opted to leave Apple docks out of their products; Logitech, Voxx, and Geneva Lab told the Times that they’ve dropped physical Apple connectors from most or all of their products.
For its part, Apple says it doesn’t mind accessories continuing in a more wireless direction. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said, “Apple provides users with the best wired and wireless connectivity options to work with the broadest range of accessories.” Still, sales of speakers with docks dropped 16% in 2012, while sales of wireless streaming speakers jumped 175%, according to an NPD Group report.
- May 3, 2013
- Site News
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U.S. Cellular announced that it will “begin offering Apple products later this year” during a release of its quarterly revenue results. Though no specific products were mentioned in the announcement, the iPhone will likely be offered, as U.S. Cellular notes, “By further strengthening our device portfolio, we’ll give consumers another great reason to switch to U.S. Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding U.S. Cellular customer experiences they deserve.” U.S. Cellular currently boasts 5.8 million customers — the carrier claims its 4G LTE network currently covers 61 percent of its customers, and the network will be expanded to cover 87 percent of its customers by year’s end. [via 9to5Mac]
As it has for a number of iTunes milestones, Apple has launched a new contest, this time for the 50 billionth iOS app downloaded. The person who downloads that app will win a $10,000 App Store Gift Card, and the next 50 people will win $500 App Store Gift Cards.
Along with the prizes, Apple has listed the top 25 all-time paid and free apps, for both iPhone and iPad, with Angry Birds, Facebook, Pages, and Skype for iPad at the top of the lists, respectively. As of the time this story was posted, the counter appeared to be at just over 49,207,000,000 downloads; a rough calculation suggests that the 50 billion mark will be hit in roughly 11 days.
With users of Google Now for iOS — found within the Google Search app — complaining about excessive battery drain, a recently published post on Lifehacker suggested turning off location reporting in settings for a fix. However, Google responded to the Lifehacker report, claiming that reports about excessive loss of battery life are “incorrect.” The company claims Google Now uses cell towers and wifi hot spots “for much lower battery impact.” Google claims Google Now for iOS was tested extensively for months without any significant battery impact.
Apple has released iOS 6.1.4, an iPhone 5-only update. The software update lists an updated speakerphone audio profile as its only revision.
Originally a Facebook-only game, Rovio’s Angry Birds Friends is now available on iOS for free. The game still revolves around Facebook though — you have to sign into Facebook to compete in the tournaments and challenge friends for trophies. New levels are added to tournaments every week, and the iOS game syncs automatically with the Facebook game. However, keep in mind the only single-player experience focuses on practicing with power-ups. It’s free, but Angry Birds Friends is still only worth downloading if you’ve got friends willing to play along. Otherwise, you’d be better off sticking with one of Rovio’s many other flying fowl titles.
Haunted Hollow (free) from 2K Games was developed by Firaxis, the same studio that made Sid Meier’s Civilization and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The new strategy game for iOS lets players build and rule over a mansion while creating an army of monster minions. Players can send monsters such as vampires, zombies, mummies, witches, and reapers into town to capture townhouses and do battle. Multiplayer mode lets Haunted Hollow players face off against friends.
Gear4, the U.K.-based brand behind Apple accessories such as AlarmDock Halo 2 and Renew SleepClock, has gone bankrupt and cut most of its U.K. workforce, but has effectively been re-formed as a new entity in Hong Kong. Disruptive Hong Kong bought the rights of all designs, brands, and intellectual property from Disruptive Ltd — the company behind the Gear4 branding — and the company is relocating its headquarters. Disruptive founder and CEO Tom Dudderidge said the economic climate forced the company to review its operations, including “product development, business model and location.” According to the company, all U.K. customer warranties will be honored, and the company will retain a small number of sales and marketing workers in the U.K. [via The Channel]