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.
Skype has released an iPad native version of its popular instant messaging, video and voice chat app. Skype for iPad provides the same general features as the prior iPhone and iPod touch version, optimized for the iPad’s larger display and user interface. With the app users can make and receive voice and video calls via the Skype network over either a Wi-Fi or 3G data connection. The application provides support for both the front and back cameras on the iPad 2 in either portrait or landscape orientation and users can also simultaneously engage in instant message chats separately or while in a voice or video call. Skype for iPad also integrates with the iOS contact list allowing users to easily find and add Skype contacts. Skype for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download. Notably Skype has chosen to release this version as a separate app rather than upgrading the iPhone and iPod touch version to a universal app; users with the original Skype app installed on their iPad for use in compatibility mode will need to remove the old version manually.
Apple has once again lowered its shipping times for the iPad 2. For the first time since the device’s launch in March, all models of the iPad 2 are listed as shipping “Within 24hrs” on Apple’s U.S. online store. Apple most recently dopped the shipment estimate to 1-3 business days; the estimated wait for an iPad 2 as recently as July 1 was 1-2 weeks.
Google has announced that it plans to roll out an improved search experience for users of the iPad and Android 3.1 tablets. According to a post on the comapny’s Mobile Blog, the revised service offers a simplified layout of search results, larger page contents like text, buttons, and other touch targets, a search button below the search box for quick access to specific categories of results like Images, Videos, Places, etc., and improved images results, with enlarged previews, continuous scrolling and faster loading of image thumbnails. To see the new enhancements, visit google.com from an iPad or Android tablet.
iStudentPro has released an update to its iStudiez Pro class and study management app for iOS adding several new improvements related to tracking and scheduling class and exam information. iStudiez Pro is a universal app designed to help students, teachers and parents easily keep track of school schedules, homework, exams and grades by providing planner tools, notifications, grade and GPA tracking features and much more. iStudiez Pro 1.5.2 adds options for grading exams, assigning multiple instructors to classes and exams and re-enables the option to add partners to assignments. Users can also now enter grading and GPA scales with more precise values, take advantage of a GPA scale for percentage-based marks and assign negative values for grades.
Several synchronization improvements have also been added including the ability to sync cancelled classes and class notes. iPad users can also now enter calendar events directly from iStudiez Pro. The update also addresses several performance and stability issues. iStudiez Pro is a universal app requiring iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $3; a free Lite version is also available with limited class management features. A companion Mac desktop application is also available from the Mac App Store for $10.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate Samsung’s claims that Apple is infringing on its patents. Samsung filed a complaint against Apple with the ITC last month, and as Reuters reports, is accusing Apple of infringing five patents with the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone. Apple filed an ITC complaint of its own against Samsung earlier this month; both companies are seeking to ban imports of the other’s products into the U.S.
Fishlabs has released Waterslide 2, a sequel to its previous hit game Waterslide Extreme with newer and faster challenges. In Waterslide 2 players take on the role of a male or female character or a penguin and race through a gigantic, city-wide waterslide at high speed, collecting pearls and avoiding obstacles; wild algae, crabs, jellyfish and other sea creates will slow the player’s progress and present other unique challenges. Additional in-game power ups such as a vortex and inner tube can be collected and used at the right time to help avoid obstacles and gain additional points. Waterslide 2 includes 30 brand-new levels with atmospheric lighting, OpenFeint and Game centre integration for tracking high scores and achievements and a variety of new enemies, obstacles and items. The game is a universal app with full Retina Display resolution for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch and can be downloaded from the App Store for $1.