Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.
Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.
Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.
“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.
Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.
iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.
iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.
A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.
Adobe has announced “Adobe Touch Apps,” a new line of creative apps for tablet devices. The new apps include Photoshop Touch, Collage, Debut, Kuller and Proto alongside Adobe Ideas which was already released for iOS last year. The apps are expected to integrate with Adobe’s Creative Cloud service for sharing files and transferring projects between the tablet apps and Adobe’s Creative Suite apps on the desktop. Photoshop Touch is designed to be a tablet optimized version of the venerable desktop application, allowing users to combine images into separate layers, select parts of images using touch gestures, apply filters, paint with various brushes and share photos via Facebook. Collage allows users do combine images, text and other drawings for sharing on the Creative Cloud, Debut provides a viewer for images created with Adobe’s desktop apps, Kuler allows users to select and share color pallets and themes; Proto provides tools for creating interactive mockups of web sites for mobile devices. Adobe’s Touch Apps will initially be released on Android, but are planned to come to iOS devices in 2012.
Madfinger Games has released Shadowgun, a third-person action shooter built on the Unity development platform. Shadowgun puts players in the role of John Slade, a professional bounty hunter in a futuristic world who must hunt down a rogue scientist infiltrating his fortress and battling an army of mutants and cyborgs. The game provides console quality graphics taking advantage of the capabilities of modern iOS devices with advanced lighting effects and detailed environments in an immersive storyline with multiple possible outcomes. In addition to military style tactical combat players must also solve hacking mini-games to progress and advance the plot. Shadowgun is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $8. The game requires an iPhone 3GS/4, iPod touch 3G/4G or iPad.
AllThingsD reports that Disney has announced plans to release a new line of toys that work in tandem with iPad games. Dubbed Disney Appmates, the first game is based on the movie Cars 2 and provides players with miniature toy cars that can be “raced” on a virtual track displayed on the iPad screen. The toy interfaces with the iPad application via the touchscreen allowing the user to interact by moving the car across the screen with the app reacting precisely to the player’s movements and displaying the appropriate feedback and responses. The game will provide open-ended gameplay allowing players to simply drive around and explore or attempt to complete specific challenges such as racing or collecting hubcaps.
The Appmates are expected to go on sale in stores on October 1, including the Apple Store and Disney Store, with four “Cars 2” characters in the initial series, sold in two-packs for $20 each; the game will be available from the App Store as a free download. Each Appmate will unlock specific features and content in the game, encouraging users to collect the entire set. The Appmates line is part of a wider range of physical accessories that Disney is developing for kids to use with the iPad.
Skype has released an update for its iOS applications adding support for Bluetooth audio on recent devices. Skype for the iPhone and iPod touch now supports Bluetooth headset devices on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad 2; the iPad version of Skype has also been updated to add Bluetooth support for the iPad 2. Additional improvements in the iPhone and iPod touch version of Skype include a redesigned user interface with support for emoticons and enhanced video with image stabilization. Both of the Skype applications include bug fixes related a security vulnerability nd are now ad-supported—advertising will be shown to users who do not have a Skype subscription or Skype Credit in their account. Skype for the iPhone and iPod touch and Skype for iPad are available separately as free downloads from the App Store.
Business Insider reports that Facebook engineer Jeff Verkoeyen, the developer responsible for building the company’s iPad application has left Facebook to take a job at Google. In a post on his blog earlier today, Verkoeyen expressed frustration that Facebook has delayed the release of the iPad app despite the fact that it has been ready to be released for several months. Verkoeyen noted that he was the lead engineer on the Facebook iPad app back in January and put a great deal of time into the app, which was considered “feature-complete’ in May. Despite this, Facebook reportedly kept repeatedly delaying the release, leading Verkoeyen to believe that at this point the app “may never be released.” Verkoeyen has since updated his blog post to remove details about the iPad application and spoke with Business Insider to clarify that the frustration was his “personally” and was not a “reflection on Facebook as a company.”
In June the New York Times reported that Facebook was planning to launch a native iPad app in the “coming weeks” citing people briefed on Facebook’s plans, and native iPad support was later discovered in a July update to the iPhone and iPod touch application. These reports led many to speculate that Facebook was simply waiting to release an iPad app during the company’s f8 developer conference last week, however no mention was made of the iOS platform at all during the keynote presentation, which focused primarily on major new social features for the web.
Taiwan-based Via Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPad maker infringes on three of its patents covering microprocessors. Bloomberg reports that the suit, filed yesterday in U.S. federal court in Deleware, is based on three Via patents covering the use of microprocessors in mobile phones and tablet computers. “The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices,” Via said in the complaint. Apple was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by LVL Patent Group against 27 companies, claiming they infringe upon four patents related to the wireless recording of transactions. AppleInsider reports that LVL is seeking a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from selling the supposedly infringing products.
Canadian Television Network CTV has released a new iPad application that provides on-demand access to its network content alongside an interactive social environment. The app provides on-demand streaming of television shows, including popular prime-time content carried by the network such as Desperate Housewives, Flashpoint and Pan Am. Users can also bookmark episodes for future or repeat viewing, check local broadcast schedules, share web links to shows on Twitter and Facebook and view series photos, episode guides and news updates.
A unique CTV Social Screen feature also provides a ‘second-screen’ experience during select live broadcasts where users can interact with other CTV app users in a moderated, live chat using their existing Facebook or Twitter accounts. The curated chat environment also integrates tweets from cast members, Facebook comments and other insider commentary from across the social web to act as a companion during primetime shows. The CTV app for iPad requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Mobigame has released an update to its popular block-rolling puzzle game Edge adding a new 3D engine and Game Center integration. With the new engine the latest version of Edge now runs a full 60 FPS and users can sync progress between their devices using Apple’s Game Center. The update also includes graphics optimized for the Retina Display and iPad 2 multisample anti-aliasing along with optimizations for older first- and second-generation devices. Users can also now play against a ghost block and several bug fixes are included to improve playability. Edge 1.7 is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Despite the country’s seeming fervor for Apple products in recent months, the iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G launched in China with no lines whatsoever, according to a new report. Citing reports from Chinese-language Eastday and Netease, M.I.C. Gadget reports that Apple’s flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing failed to bring in crowds for the release, despite preparations that included hiring black-shirted security guards and the set up of long queues outside the stores, which are shown sitting empty in photos accompanying the report. An anecdotal report from the Beijing Xicheng Apple Store included in the report indicates that the store actually delayed opening for ten minutes due to the fact that there were no customers inside, with the first customers to arrive looking to purchase iPhones, not iPads—the first 3G iPad 2 wasn’t sold until the store had been open for twenty minutes. The report suggests that this particular model isn’t selling well due to a combination of price, the fact that it had been available in other parts of the world for some time and was therefore sold on the grey market, and China Unicom’s data offerings for the device.
Alawar Entertainment has released Farm Frenzy 3, the third instalment in its popular farming sim series for the iOS platform. The latest game features a revamped art style, new gameplay and introduces a new storyline presented in comic-book style interludes. In Farm Frenzy 3 players take on the role of a new character, Scarlett, whose must earn the trust of the community by building a successful farming business and unseat the greedy president of the Farmers Union in the next election. The game provides 95 levels where players must manage local farms across exotic locations from the South Pole to Africa, feeding animals, protecting the farm, collecting produce and manufacturing goods. Game Center and OpenFeint integration also provide tracking of 16 different trophies and achievements and the developer plans to offer sequels via in-app purchase providing additional levels and new challenges. The full game is available in two versions: Farm Frenzy 3 ($3) for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and third- or fourth-generation iPod touch and Farm Frenzy 3 HD ($5) for the iPad. Free Lite versions are also available that provide a more limited set of levels and animals.
Canon has announced that it has added AirPrint support to three PIXMA printers. According to the announcement, the PIXMA MG8220, MG6220 and MG5320 Wireless Photo All-In-One inkjet photo printers will now support AirPrint wireless printing from the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. In addition, the company also announced that the majority of PIXMA inkjet printers launched from this point forward will include support for the feature. Introduced in iOS 4.2 last November, AirPrint allows for configuration- and driver-free printing to supported printers directly from iOS devices.
Springpad has released an update to its iOS application adding new features to allow users to more quickly get information into the system. Springpad is an online notebook service that allows users to easily collect and record ideas and information in a structured manner, providing automatic organization of content and links to relevant external sources. The latest update introduces a Quick Add shortcut that can be saved to the iOS home screen allowing users to directly access the app’s new item entry screen and a mobile-optimized web clipper that can be installed as a bookmarklet in Safari. The new version also addresses some issues with international keyboards, scanning of QR codes and note editing. Springpad is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Toktumi, developer of the popular Line2 VoIP communications app for the iPhone and iPod touch has released a native iPad version of its app. Line2 HD brings voice calling and text messaging to the iPad over either a Wi-Fi or 3G data connection. Users can place and receive calls using the built-in speakerphone or connect a wired headset of Bluetooth device. As with the iPhone version users sign up for a Line2 account and are assigned their own phone number that acts a full-featured phone line to place and receive calls and text messages in the app. Calls can also be forwarded from the Line2 service to up to six other phone numbers when the iPad is out of data coverage. The app also provides caller ID support, handling of multiple calls including conference calling with up to 20 participants, visual voicemail, call waiting and call transfer features. Call history and text messages are logged and grouped in a single contact-orientation communications stream making it easy for users to get a snapshot view of communications with a given contact. Line2 HD is available from the App Store as a free download. A Line2 account is required to use the app, with a free 7 day trial available, after which a subscription is required starting at $10/month for a basic plan with unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada.
Apple has signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to a new report. Citing industry sources, Digitimes reports that under the new agreement, TSMC will use its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs. Reports linking the two companies date back to as early as June, as tensions between Apple and A5 manufacturing partner Samsung became increasingly evident. The report goes on to state that Apple and TSMC have not yet discussed backend manufacturing, and suggests that Apple may have TSMC and other dedicated packaging and testing houses split the orders due to TSMC’s limited backend services capacity.
TweetDeck has released an update to its iPhone app removing support for its Deck.ly extended posting service. Redesigned and released earlier this year as an entirely new app, TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch incorporated its own tweet shortening service known as Deck.ly that allows users to write tweets longer than 140 characters, posting as many characters as possible within the tweet followed by a link to an online page to display the full length of the tweet.
At the time that the new app was released, TweetDeck also promised that a similar iPad update would be coming. However, shortly after this the company was acquired by Twitter and despite claims that the company would continue to provide “the same focus and products” all references to the iPad app were removed from the company’s web site. There have been few TweetDeck updates since the acquisition, and this latest update appears to have been released primarily to remove Deck.ly support “as part of the process of making TweetDeck more consistent with Twitter.com & Twitter’s mobile apps.” TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download.
An ex-Samsung Electronics manager has testified that he disclosed confidential shipping data for iPad components to investors prior to the device’s release, Businessweek reports. Testifying in the insider-trading trial of Primary Global Research (PGR) exec James Fleishman, Suk-Joo Hwang, who worked for 14 years at Samsung’s U.S. division, told jurors that he had lunch with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager in Mountain View, CA, four months prior to the iPad’s launch, at which he shared the information. “One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,” Hwang said. “This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.” Hwang was working for PGR as a consultant at the time.
Hwang went on to say that a man at a nearby table was staring at him, and he became concerned that the man might be an Apple employee; shortly after the lunch, he was told by a colleague that Samsung had lost a supply contract with Apple. “I thought, ‘Oh that guy was an Apple guy and they found out,’” Hwang said. “I was scared.” Hwang was granted immunity from prosecution by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in return for his testimony.
Apple’s iPad increased its share of the tablet market in the second calendar quarter of 2011, according to new research from IDC. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, demand for the iPad 2 gave Apple a share of 68.3 percent in Q2, up from 65.7 percent in the prior quarter, while Android’s share of the market slipped from 34 percent in Q1 to 26.8 percent in the second quarter. Overall tablet shipments were up 88.9 percent over the prior quarter an 303.8 percent year-over-year to 13.6 million units; IDC is predicting second-half 2011 tablet shipments of 62.5 million units.
SkyGrid has released an redesigned version of its iOS news aggregator app improving the user interface and navigation. SkyGrid 2.2 now allows users to select the Photo Grid view across all sections and provides a separate Following Grid for every source and topic being followed. Image quality has also been improved throughout the app and users can now swipe between home screens and take advantage of more seamless scrolling to view additional stories. The new version also includes an updated Choose Your Interested Guide providing more content and allows users to add more topics or sources to their following grid from any page simply by tapping on the green ribbon in the top right corner. SkyGrid is available from the App Store as a free download.
New code discovered in Apple’s iChat instant messaging client suggests that the company is preparing to add iMessage support to the app. Citing information provided by a developer, Mac Rumors reports that the version of iChat in OS X Lion contains properties for “_timeDelivered” and “_timeRead,” suggesting that the application will offer the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Such features, however, are not offered by any of iChat’s current native messaging services, but are offered by iMessage. As noted in the report, support for iMessage in OS X Lion would allow Mac users and iOS 5 users to exchange messages with one another in real time, and would serve as a compliment to Apple’s FaceTime video chat service, which also allows for direct communication between Macs and iOS devices.