HP today announced that will discontinue operations for its webOS devices, effectively removing iPhone and iPad competitors such as the Pre line of phones and touchPad tablet computer from the market. “HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones,” reads a statement from the company. “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”
Notably, the same press release states that the company is exploring alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), where former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein now serves as senior vice president of product innovation. Options for the group, which is responsible for business and consumer PCs, mobile computing devices and workstations, include a full or partial separation from HP “through a spin-off or other transaction,” suggesting that HP will exit the hardware businesses for computers, phones, and tablets in the near future. Should the webOS software team be joined with the PSG, it could create an organization similar to Apple, leaving products such as enterprise services and software under the HP banner. However, the announcement may signal a substantial liquidation of HP’s patents or hardware businesses, which would be a stunning blow to a previously strong rival to Apple’s various businesses.
Apple has plans to invest in a Sharp Corp factory in order to secure a supply of LCD screens for iPhones and iPads, according to a new report. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that the move has spurred speculation that Apple may move to diversify its range of suppliers in light of its ongoing legal dispute with Samsung. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” said one of the sources. The report notes that Sharp has already secured a contract with Apple to supply “power-efficient” screens for the sixth-generation iPhone, due in 2012. According to the report, Japanese media have said Apple’s investment may be as large as $1.3 billion; Sharp officials could not be reached for comment.
Google has released Google Catalogs for the iPad, a new free app that allows iPad users to browse through their favourite catalogs in an interactive, rich-media format. The application features digital versions of catalogs from diverse categories such as fashion and apparel, jewelry, kids, home decor and gifts, with content from top brands including Bloomingdale’s, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Nieman Marcus, Urban Outfitters and many more. Users can zoom in on photos to see close-up views of products, tap on tags for more information and view photo albums and videos as well as finding products in nearby stores or online. The app also provides the ability to search for products across multiple catalogs, build a collage of favourite catalog pages and products, and share individual products or user-created collages with friends; users can also mark catalogs as favourites to be notified when new issues arrive. Google Catalogs is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Taiwan-based HTC has filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Delaware, claiming patent infringement. According to a Reuters report, the complaint claims that Apple infringes on three HTC patents through the sale of Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, and “other devices,” and seeks an injunction against Apple’s importation and sale of the devices, compensatory damages, triple damages for willful infringement, and other remedies. The legal battle between the two companies dates back to March 2010 when Apple filed a patent infringement suit against HTC; HTC has since filed a complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission, while Apple has filed two such complaints against HTC. Last month, the ITC ruled in Apple’s favor in one of the complaints, prompting HTC to say that it was “open to having discussions” with Apple in the hopes of reaching a settlement.
Not A Basement Studio has released Wikly, a new weekly calendar app for the iPad aimed at combining functional ease of use and aesthetics. Sporting a unique interface design, Wikly provides users with a week-focused view of their calendar with multiple colour schemes and multitouch gesture controls. Targeted at delivering a simple and fun experience for the average user, Wikly deliberately omits advanced power user features preferring instead to keep the majority of interaction on a single screen. Gesture-based controls allow users to tap-and-drag to create events, use three-finger swipes to navigate between weeks and drag-and-drop events to reschedule them. Wikly also includes over 20 colour schemes to allow users to customize the appearance of the application and provides an integrated to-do list to keep track of tasks. Wikly requires an iPad running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
Infinite Dreams has released Shoot The Birds (iLounge Rating: A-), a new universal iOS game that challenges players to get revenge on flocks of flying vermin by shooting down waves of birds in mid-flight. In Shoot The Birds, the player takes control of a crossbow-armed scarecrow and must fire arrows at bird targets flying above. Players must take down as many birds as possible within a set time limit with the goal of accumulating the highest score, the time limit varying based on how well the player performs. In-game objectives provide the opportunity to gain additional power-ups and point multipliers to rack up even more points with achievements and high scores tracked and shared via Apple’s Game Center. Shoot The Birds is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has started trial production of Apple’s next-generation A6 processor, according to a new report. Citing industry sources, Taiwan Economic News reports that the production design is on schedule to be “taped out” in the first quarter of next year and publicly unveiled in the second quarter of 2012. The report states that TSMC is using a 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies in the production of the A6, which once again is based on ARM architecture. TSMC was previously capable of handling processor production for Apple, according to the report, but had not pursued a relationship with the company due to limited production lines that were fully booked by existing customers including Nvidia and Qualcomm. If Apple follows its pattern of the last two years, it will debut the A6 in its next-generation iPad next year. [via BGR]
PAN Vision and Tactile Entertainment have released Pigs in Trees, a new iOS game that puts players in charge of a group of tree-dwelling pigs that must defend their home from an invading army of woodpeckers. Described as the antithesis of Angry Birds, players use a real-time line drawing mechanic to navigate their flying pigs around a map shooting down enemy birds and racking up points. The game provides multiple ammo types and power-ups and challenges users with different types of enemies each with their own abilities as they play through three campaigns and 45 levels. Game Center integration provides support for tracking and sharing achievements and high scores. The game is available in separate versions, Pigs in Trees ($1) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Pigs in Trees HD ($2) for the iPad.
Boxee has released an iPad app for accessing, viewing and sharing video content. Boxee for iPad allows users to view videos from popular services such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as well as streaming content from the user’s own computer; the application connects to the user’s social networks and aggregates all video content in a single view and allows users to easily share their own videos on the same networks. A watch later feature also allows users to create a queue of videos from various sources around the web and a featured videos section provides a curated list of funny, creative and insightful videos.
Using the companion Boxee Media Manager application on a Mac or Windows PC users can also stream content to Boxee on the iPad from their computer using a local Wi-Fi connection in almost any file format supported by the computer without having to worry about converting videos to an iPad-ready format. A “Send to TV” feature also provides integration with the hardware Boxee Box allowing users to send video from their iPad directly to the big screen; the feature is expected to be added in an update to the Boxee software coming this fall. Boxee for iPad requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Online video service Vudu has introduced support for streaming movies to the iPad. Rather than relying on a native iOS application, the Vudu service uses a web application; users simply open the Safari browser and navigate to www.vudu.com to use the service. From there, users can browse and rent movies using an iPad-optimized user interface and watch movies streamed directly through the browser. As with PC and Mac viewing, iPad streaming is limited to standard-definition content at 1 Mbps and can be viewed using either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. [via Engadget]
Hothead Games has announced plans to release an interactive edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy this fall for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Designed to provide an authentic experience for fans of the venerable Douglas Adams “trilogy,” the app will replicate the handheld Guide from the series on the iOS platform. Users can read up on the importance of towels, Vogons and their poetry, the Babel Fish, a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. “We really focused on taking existing Guide entries and presenting them in a new, interactive way,” commented Joel DeYoung, Producer at Hothead Games. “We have so much respect for the original that we had to stay true to the style of Douglas Adams and deliver an app that feels familiar to fans but updated for today’s devices.” More information on the upcoming app can be found on the official launch page at http://www.thenewhitchhikersguide.com.
Amazon has launched a new web-based app for reading Kindle e-books on a PC, Mac or iPad. An alternative to Amazon’s native Kindle apps, the Kindle Cloud Reader provides access to users’ Kindle libraries from compatible web browsers, specifically Chrome and Safari and includes the ability to continue reading even without an Internet connection. Notably, the web application specifically indicates support for the Safari browser on an iPad running iOS 4.0 or later; as a web application the app can also provide access to an integrated “Kindle Store for Tablets,” allowing users to easily purchase content directly from their device.
Earlier this year Apple revised its App Store policies and began requiring iOS applications to remove links to external services for purchasing content, resulting in Amazon being forced to remove the Kindle Store button from its native iOS Kindle app. The new Kindle Cloud Reader provides an alternative for users who wish to easily browse for and purchase content from their iPad. Kindle users can access the Kindle Cloud Reader simply by visiting http://read.amazon.com and logging in with their Amazon ID and password.
The Iconfactory has released an update to Twitterrific, its Twitter client for iOS introducing the ability to synchronize timeline positions across multiple devices. Twitterrific 4.3 adds support for the Tweet Marker API to automatically bookmark the user’s current timeline position and sync that information to Twitterrific running on other iOS devices or Twitterrific for Mac. The latest version also improves t.co and Twitter picture handling, adds support for displaying Camera+ campl.us images inline, improves error handling related to time zones and makes several graphical refinements. Twitterrific 4.3 is a universal app available as a free download from the App Store; the free version includes ads and support for a single Twitter account. A one-time $5 in-app upgrade is available to remove the ads and provide multiple account support.
Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the European Union. Citing German-language dpa, FOSS Patents reports that the injunction bars distribution of Samsung’s largest tablet in the entire European Union, save for the Netherlands. In its argument supporting the injunction, Apple claimed that the Tab imitates the iPad and infringes on various IP rights owned by Apple. Apple asked for an injunction under which Samsung is threatened with fines of up to €250,000 (roughly $356,000) for each violation or imprisonment of Samsung’s management in the event of continued infringement, which are “standard sanctions” under German law, according to the report. Notably, Florian Mueller, the author of the post, is a resident of Germany, and states that the Düsseldorf district court—in which the case is being tried—is similar to the Eastern District court of Texas in its tendency to side with the patent holders in such disputes.
Apple over the weekend released the fifth beta version of its upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Listed as build 9A5288d and available exclusively to paid iOS developers, the release does not appear to include any major changes from prior versions, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 5 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Following its acquisition of online image service Pixlr, Autodesk has released Pixlr-o-matic, a new retro photo editing app for iOS devices. Originally a web app, Pixlr-o-matic allows users to quickly and easily edit, layer and filter photos right from their mobile devices. Users can apply colour filters and lighting effects to adjust mood, amplify tone, add surreal effects and more and finish off photos with a variety of border styles, providing a retro grunge look for photos in three easy steps. Photos can be taken directly in the app on camera-equipped iOS devices or users can choose an existing photo to work with from the device’s photo library. The resulting images can be shared from within the app via Facebook or imm.io. Pixlr-o-matic is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Silvio Rizzi has released an update to his Reeder apps for iOS adding full integration with web-based reading service Readability. Originally introduced in Reeder for Mac last month, Reeder’s Readability integration allows users to not only save articles to the Readability service for later viewing and publisher-crediting, but also provides direct access from within the app to the user’s saved content on Readability.com. With the latest version of Reeder, users can now sync, read offline and manage their Readability reading list from directly within Reeder right alongside their RSS feeds. Reeder is available from the App Store in two versions: Reeder for the iPhone and iPod touch ($3) and Reeder for iPad ($5).
Twitter has announced that it has launched a new HTML5-based web interface for the iPad, and will be rolling it out soon. “We’ve launched our HTML5 version of twitter.com for iPad,” reads an update on Twitter Mobile’s account. “It will be rolling out to device owners over the next week or so.” Citing Twitter mobile engineer Manuel Deschamps, TechCrunch reports that the new interface was based on Twitter’s HTML5 client for iPhone and Android. “The HTML5 app provides a great option for people who prefer to use the browser over native apps,” said Twitter representative Carolyn Penner. “Its two-column view is consistent with the Twitter experience you’re used to (on Twitter.com), and it takes advantage of touch gestures and other device capabilities.” The new interface will be accessible by loading twitter.com from the Safari browser on the iPad.
Spielhaus has released Pixel Dude, a new app for creating and editing pixel art on the iPad. Designed with usability in mind, the app provides useful shortcuts and drawing tools to allow users to put together creative pixel art directly on their iPad. Tools include a colour gradient like selection tool, selected colour history, symmetric drawing tools and layer support along with selective layer movement and unlimited undo and redo support. Multitouch gestures provide shortcuts such as a three-finger swipe for undo/redo and double-tapping to switch between eraser and pen modes. In true retro pixel art fashion, users are limited to a 32x32 canvas which is automatically scaled up to 64x64 and 128x128 when saving. Dropbox support allows work to be saved and seamlessly synchronized across multiple devices. Notably, almost all interface graphics in the application were created with an early prototype of the app itself. Pixel Dude requires iOS 4.0 is later and is available from the App Store for $4.
MGS Development has released a major new update to forScore, its sheet music management app for the iPad. forScore is designed to allow musicians to take thousands of pages of music scores with them in electronic form and use the iPad as a sheet music reader while practicing or performing. forScore 3.0 adds Dropbox integration, the ability to rearrange pages in a score and save and restore multiple versions. The update also adds a new Darkroom feature that allows users to create PDF files from images in the iOS photo library or taken with the camera on the iPad 2.
The new version also includes a download manager that allow users to queue up multiple files and continue browsing and download files directly without needing to preview them first. Several updates have also been made to the application’s user interface, including a redesign of various UI elements and menus and navigable thumbnail previews of bookmarked files. Users can also now search set lists for specific titles or view and navigate their set lists alphabetically, by least-often played, or in shuffle mode. Additional new features in version 3.0 include automated backups, expanded multitouch gesture support, improved PDF import and parsing and more. forScore 3.0 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.