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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Test shows Retina iPad mini slower than iPad Air

  • November 12, 2013
  • iPad

A benchmark test posted at Geekbench reveals the new iPad mini with Retina display is slightly slower than the iPad Air. The new mini clocked in at 1.29 GHz according to a test, about the same speed as the iPhone 5s, which came in at 1.3 GHz. Meanwhile, an iPad Air test showed a 1.39 GHz processor speed. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple quietly starts Retina iPad mini sales

Without so much as a day’s warning, Apple has started online sales of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, offering an extremely limited set of units for near-term shipping. Only 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models are available for shipment in 1-3 days, with all other models shipping in 5-10 days, including higher-capacity Wi-Fi units and all cellular models from any carrier in any capacity.

Recent reports suggested that major screen-related manufacturing issues have constrained the initial rollout of the mini, with one report claiming that the launch would be delayed due to the scarcity of defect-free screens. Apple instead notified resellers via a late Monday message that it would begin sales on Tuesday, then opened its online store to orders at midnight Pacific Time. The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and climbs to $829 for 128GB LTE models; it is available in the same two colors as the iPad Air.

Update: Apple has officially announced availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. The press release notes the device will be sold online for shipping or personal pickup at Apple retail stores, or through carriers and select resellers — it’s still unclear when the devices will be sold in Apple stores. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller alluded to the suspected lack of inventory for the device, saying in the press release that “...we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”

iPad demo model catches fire in store

An iPad demo model recently caught fire in an Australian store as a “burst of flames” appeared from the charging port, news.com.au reports. The Vodafone store in Canberra was evacuated after the incident, and no one was injured. Though the report only refers to the device as an iPad, other reports — such as this report from the Daily Mail — claim the device was an iPad Air. Apple reportedly sent a representative to investigate the incident. Two shock incidents earlier this year involving iPhone chargers in China prompted Apple to add a power adapter page to its Chinese website, as those accidents were allegedly caused by counterfeit chargers.

Apps: Anomaly 2, Cobra iRadar 4.0, Google Search 3.1 + Penultimate 5.0.1

Chillingo’s Anomaly 2 ($5) has arrived on iOS after debuting on the Mac earlier this year. The graphically intense tower defense game has an online multiplayer mode which lets gamers play as the alien towers or attacking humans, as well as a standard offline single-player mode with “one million tactical combinations,” according to Chillingo. We’re pretty blown away by the fine detail on the Retina displays of iPads, and although the gameplay is very similar to Anomaly’s, developer 11 Bit Studios has added the ability of units to transform into different configurations for specific situations such as long- or short-range attacks, plus some other tweaks. It’s a very cool sequel to the prior Anomaly titles.

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Cobra iRadar (free) from Cobra Electronics Corporation has a revamped map and a number of new features. A follow-me mode makes it easier to see alert locations on the road ahead. Simple navigation options and live traffic info have been added, as well as map controls and a macro map view. Some of the app’s features are only accessible when using a Cobra iRadar Detector.

Apple adding suppliers to boost device production

Apple is preparing to add Asian manufacturing partners to increase iOS device production, the Wall Street Journal reports. iPhone 5c manufacturing will reportedly be outsourced to Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Wistron Corp. later this year, while Compal Communications will manufacture the iPad mini “starting next year.” The shifts are being made to meet consumer demands.

Apple’s main supplier, Foxconn (Hon Hai), is focusing on making the iPhone 5s, which is in short supply. The report notes Apple’s frustration with Foxconn, stemming from scrutiny of its labor practices and defective iPhone 5 units produced by the manufacturer — Apple declined comment. An unnamed Foxconn executive said, “Apple has raised this quarter’s iPhone 5s orders from Hon Hai as demand has been stronger than expected. But it takes time to boost production capacity and Apple can’t find other assemblers to increase production to meet demand immediately.” Foxconn is taking a “cautious stance” on increasing production of the 5s, the executive said.

Apps: Asphalt 8 1.1, Basecamp, Fantastical 2, Jake’s Never Land Shapes and Patterns + Nike+ Move

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 has gone free to play in version 1.1.0. The game has also added the Clio R.S., and Gameloft claims “new cars will appear at any moment.” New limited-time cups and boosters are now included, and a multiplayer world series introduces seven new reverse tracks. Touch controls can also be customized now, with the quiet addition of support for “Apple gamepads” also nestled inside the update.

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Basecamp (free) from 37signals now supports iOS 7. The project management app lets team members access everything in a project from the app, from anywhere, providing comments while they collaborate on the project. Basecamp lets members view progress and upload files, as well. The latest version 1.4.1 fixes a blank screen bug.

Apple updates Remote app to version 4.0

Apple has updated its Remote app to version 4.0. The app has been considerably redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.

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While users shouldn’t expect a huge number of new features, the revamped UI is cosmetically a big change. Remote is a free download and a universal app.

iLounge posts iPad Air review with new battery + A7 findings

iLounge has posted our comprehensive review of Apple’s iPad Air. Nine pages long and packed with over 50 photos, our review covers a number of overlooked but important details, including how the iPad Air’s battery life far outstrips both Apple’s claims and battery life in the fourth-generation iPad, as well as its apparent lack of support for 2.4-Amp charging, negating the need for special accessories that were developed for the fourth-generation iPad. The review details how battery accessories work considerably better on the Air than on its predecessor, as well.

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We also found slight differences in audio output, as well as interesting examples of where the A7 processor does and doesn’t show marked differences from the fourth-gen iPad — they’re not necessarily where you might expect to find them. Check our full iPad Air review today.

iPad Air teardown reveals 32.9 WHr battery, stereo speakers

  • November 1, 2013
  • iPad

iFixit has done its teardown of the iPad Air and has found a 32.9 Watt-Hour (WHr) battery — a battery slightly larger than what Apple has advertised as a 32.4 WHr battery. It’s a smaller, two-cell battery, compared to the fourth-gen iPad’s 43 WHr three-cell battery. iFixit also confirms that “the speakers have gone stereo” like the iPad mini — the fourth-gen iPad and its predecessors had a mono speaker.

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Few other surprises are revealed in the teardown. iFixit gives the iPad Air a repairability score of 2 out of 10, meaning that it’s very hard to repair. Lots of adhesive is used to hold components in place, with iFixit noting, “This is the most difficult battery removal procedure we’ve seen in an iPad.”

iPad Air unboxing and comparison gallery posted

  • November 1, 2013
  • iPad

iLounge has posted a full unboxing and comparison gallery for Apple’s new iPad Air. Over 30 photos show the contents of the iPad Air package, and differences between the Air and past iPads, including the first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPad, and the iPad mini.

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The gallery also showcases the iPad Air’s new body colors, cellular and Wi-Fi models, and other physical features. A full review of the iPad Air will be posted in the near future.

Apps: Infinity Blade III 1.1, My Little Pony, Paint and Play + Pet Bingo

Infinity Blade III ($7) from Chair Entertainment Group has upgraded to version 1.1, bringing gamers Infinity Blade III: Soul Hunter. A new quest, location, and enemy await players on their journey to find the missing Infinity Weapons. More than a dozen new items have been added, and a new explore feature lets players return to unlocked areas to grab loot and boost XP. Those playing through Infinity Blade III a second time after beating the game will now be able to skip cinema scenes, credits, and the tutorial. Support and optimization have been added for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

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PlayDate Digital’s My Little Pony: Party of One ($3) is an interactive iPad storybook app that uses the ponies to teach reading and vocabulary. Social skills are also a big part of the app as Pinkie Pie looks for friends to attend her party. All the popular characters are included, and the app’s content is aimed at children — primarily little girls.

Claim forms sent for iPad 3G lawsuit

Customers who ordered an iPad 3G before June 7, 2010 have begun receiving claim forms for the class action settlement over misleading AT&T iPad data plans. Apple previously agreed to pay $40 to customers as the result of a suit based on AT&T advertising of an iPad unlimited data plan that was later eliminated. Some customers may also be eligible to receive a $20/month discount from AT&T on the carrier’s 5GB monthly plan. A website for the settlement offers more information. [via Apple Insider]

FAA allows expanded in-flight use of e-devices

The Federal Aviation Administration has reached a decision to allow airlines to expand in-flight use of electronic devices. Use of portable electronic devices will be permitted “during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions,” according to the announcement, which also notes that electronic items should be held or placed in the seat’s back pocket during the “actual takeoff and landing roll.” Separate FCC regulations, however, will still require that cell phones be placed into airplane mode, as they cannot be used for airborne calls. The FAA also notes that in “some instances of low visibility — about one percent of flights — some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant,” and users may still be asked to turn off their devices in such situations. Implementation will still be the responsibility of each individual airline, however the FAA expects many airlines to enact the allowance of electronic devices from “gate-to-gate” by year’s end.

Apps: ABC Actions, Delivery Status touch 5.0, Seene + Tweetbot 3

Peapod Labs is back with another alphabet app — this time, it’s ABC Actions ($3). Unlike prior noun-focused editions, the latest ABC app concentrates on teaching children verbs and action words. More than 150 photos, 100 videos, 50 interactive games, and 50 action words are featured within the interactive app.

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Delivery Status touch ($5), a package tracking app from Junecloud, recently updated to version 5.0. The app has been redesigned for iOS 7, and with the redesign comes a host of new features, including background notifications, calendar support, search, archive, AirDrop sharing, text and iMessage sharing, iCloud sync, and much more. Barcode scanning has improved, and 1Password can be integrated for easy password access. Delivery Status touch supports dozens of delivery services, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, and more.

Apple Q4 2013: 33.8m iPhones, 14.1m iPads, 3.5m iPods

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2013 financial results today, selling 33.8 million iPhones, a new record for the September quarter. It sold 26.9 million iPhones in Q4 2012. The company sold 14.1 million iPads in the fourth quarter, compared to 14 million in Q4 2012. Apple reported $37.5 billion quarterly revenue and a quarterly net profit of $7.5 billion — $8.26 per diluted share. In Q4 2012, Apple reported $36 billion quarterly revenue and a net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share.

Apple’s Board of Directors also declared a cash dividend of $3.05 per share of the company’s common stock, payable on Nov. 14 to shareholders of record, as of the close of business on Nov. 11. For the fiscal first quarter of 2014, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $55 billion and $58 billion, and gross margin between 36.5 percent and 37.5 percent.

“We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “We’re excited to go into the holidays with our new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, iOS 7, the new iPad mini with Retina Display and the incredibly thin and light iPad Air, new MacBook Pros, the radical new Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and the next generation iWork and iLife apps for OS X and iOS.”

“We generated $9.9 billion in cash flow from operations and returned an additional $7.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the September quarter, bringing cumulative payments under our capital return program to $36 billion,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in the release.

Update: A more detailed release reveals Apple’s dropping iPad sales numbers — the company sold 3.5 million iPods in Q4 2013, compared to 4.6 million iPods last quarter, and 5.3 million iPods in last year’s fourth quarter. In total, Apple has sold 382.78 Million iPods, 421.278 Million iPhones, and 169.18 Million iPads.

Apple to offer personal pickup for iPad Air

Apple will offer the personal pickup option for the upcoming iPad Air, according to recent reports. Customers will be able to reserve an iPad Air at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Nov. 1 and pick it up at an Apple store that day without a wait. The option to use personal pickup seems to indicate there won’t be any shortage of iPad Air supply on launch day. [via MacRumors]

Apple ordered to pay 12M euros for unpaid iPad fees

Apple has been ordered to pay 12 million euros to Copie France for iPads sold from March to December 2012, according to a report. While Apple collected fees from iPad consumers to be paid as renumeration for private copying, the money was apparently never actually paid to Copie France as required. French law requires payment for a number of devices and materials that can keep private copies of licensed material. Apple was ordered to pay 5 million euros in May for the same reason, and its total renumeration due has been estimated at 30 million euros. [via PC INpact]

Apps: Badland 1.6, Gangstar Vegas 1.2, Podcasts 2.0 + Rosetta Stone

A favorite of one of our editors, Frogmind’s Badland ($4) has received a Halloween update in version 1.6. The addictive physics-based side-scroller now has a Halloween theme and a new multiplayer level. Four new multiplayer characters have also been added to the game. Badland is $1 for a limited time, due to a special Halloween sale.

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Gameloft has added a number of new features to Gangstar Vegas (currently $3) in version 1.2.0. The Gangstar Superhero update brings five new hero costumes to the game, in addition to nine new vehicles, and three new weapons. Gameloft also added 14 new missions and some limited-time events to the game.

Apple stores to open at 8 a.m. for iPad Air launch

Apple has confirmed on its website that its retail stores will open at 8 a.m. Nov. 1 for the launch of the iPad Air. Customers will also be able to order the iPad Air online on Nov. 1. Apple still lists the iPad mini with Retina display as “coming to stores later in November,” and will not be selling that model in stores during the Air launch.

Apple quietly changes iPad Air, Retina mini batteries

Apple’s new iPads — the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display — have quietly undergone significant battery changes from their prior incarnations, iLounge has learned. The iPad Air actually has a much smaller battery than the fourth-generation iPad — 32.4-Watt-hours compared to the previous model’s 42.5-Watt-hours; as a result, the battery should recharge faster, coming closer to the four-hour refueling times required from the iPad and iPad 2 than the five- to six-hours of the last two iPads.

Meanwhile, the Retina iPad mini is moving up to 23.8-Watt-hours from 16.3-Watt-hours in the original iPad mini—a 46% increase in battery size that will change how the new model works with external battery packs. Apple is now including a 10W charger to reduce recharging time. To read about the battery changes and more under-the-radar features in the new iPads, read our newest Ten Things You Didn’t Know article.

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