In a new twist on an old problem with stolen Apple devices, a thief successfully convinced the Apple Store to swap a stolen iPad 2 for a new device with a different serial number, after which Apple refused to help the victim of the crime. iLounge reader Dan Chang says that he purchased a black 64GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G from the Apple Store Tysons Corner in May, and the device was stolen less than a week later. Chang filed a police report and was told that the iPad’s serial number would show up as a stolen item if sold to a pawn shop. On June 6, Chang used Apple’s Service and Repair tool to check the serial number of the stolen iPad, and received the following message: “We’re sorry, but this is a serial number for a product that has been replaced… If your information is correct, you may need to contact us.”
Chang followed the instructions and contacted Apple Customer Service, providing the company with his serial number. Apple confirmed that the iPad 2 had been replaced at another local Apple Store based on a battery-related complaint, and told Chang to visit the Store in person to discuss the matter. During his visit, the manager told Chang that she was not responsible for his stolen iPad, and told him to call Apple Customer Service, which he had already done.
Again following instructions, Chang was told that the iPad had been “recycled” and was no longer traceable; further, the representative said that Apple was not responsible for the stolen item, and that he should contact the police to try and catch the thief. In the end, Chang ended up without his $870 iPad 2, which he says he will not be replacing with another iPad or any other Apple product. He says he wishes that the thief had taken the stolen iPad to a pawn shop, where at least it could have been reclaimed thanks to the serial number tracking system, instead of to an Apple Store, where it was accepted with no questions asked and with no recourse available to the victim. The absence of a simple online Apple tool enabling users to report the loss or theft of their devices is at least partially to blame for this problem.
Apple has recalled a select batch of Verizon 3G iPad 2 units, according to a new report. Citing a number of customer complaints on Apple’s Support Communities board, 9 to 5 Mac reports that a batch of Verizon iPad 2 units—most, if not all of them engraved—were shipped out to customers directly from China, in some cases reaching the customers’ local facilities before being redirected to Apple’s Elk Grove offices per Apple’s request. The report also cites an anonymous Apple Store employee, who claims that Apple has given all the stores a list of serial numbers to scan, and if a given unit is a match, it is to be set aside and shipped back to Apple. The employee claimed that the serial numbers cover only Verizon units, and that he or she personally had over one hundred to send back. Apple is offering two accessories of the customers’ choice to those who had their online order shipped—and thus charged to their cards—only to see it recalled. It is currently unclear what the problem with the recalled units might be.
Update: 9 to 5 Mac has indicated that the problem may be related to an inability of the recalled units to let users view or edit account information once they are activated with Verizon.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the classic arcade shooter Galage, Namco Bandai Games America has released Galaga 30th Collection for iOS. A universal app, the Galaga Collection includes access to the redesigned and modernized remakes of the four classic Galaga series titles: Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus and Galaga 88 all in one app. The free app includes the Galaxian G 30th Edition and 30th anniversary opening movie with the other three game titles available via in-app purchase. The games feature updated graphics for the iOS platform, optimized touch-panel controls and leaderboards and achievements through Apple’s Game Center that can also be shared via Twitter and Facebook from directly within the app. Players can earn Galaga points that can then be used to upgrade and customize their fighter and aim for high scores with a new score attack mode. Galaga 30th Collection Requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Additional game titles are available via in-app purchase for $3 each or $8 for all three.
Code within the new iOS 5 beta suggests that Apple is planning to enable a built-in panorama function into the Camera app. 9 to 5 Mac reports that various panorama-related code snippets, including PANO_OPTION = “Take Panorama”, SAVING_PANORAMA = “Saving Panorama”, and CANCEL_PANO_BUTTON_TITLE = “Cancel”, have been found in the beta code. Apple has in the past included code in iOS beta releases that didn’t appear in the initial release; it is also possible that the code pertains to a feature that will be specific to some yet-unannounced device. In addition, the publication has found that iOS 5 has the ability to setup an Airport base station from within the Wi-Fi Networks menu, and also supports playback of 1080p video files on the iPad 2.
iLounge has discovered that in iOS 5, users can customize the alert sounds for New Mail, Sent Mail, and Calendar alerts, and that the prior “Syncing” progress screen has been replaced by a status bar indicator. Images of both can be found below.
A new iPad app has been released to provide users with a single point for searching out entertainment content across multiple online services. Designed to make it easier for users to find their favourite movies and TV shows online, Fanhattan allows users to search for content across Netflix, iTunes, Hulu Plus and ABC all from within a single app. Users can search for and browse related content including reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, ratings, trailers, actor and crew bios and more and then easily begin watching content in the appropriate app with a single click. Fanhattan is available in the App Store as a free download.
Apple today demonstrated the new Twitter integration features and Reminders app of iOS 5 as part of its WWDC keynote address. The software’s Twitter integration will allow users to sign in once and then tweet directly from all Twitter-enabled apps, which include Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube, and Maps; new APIs will allow third-party developers to take advantage of the feature, as well. Reminders is a new app that helps users manage tasks, offering features that include creating and grouping related tasks together and setting time or location-based reminder alerts, letting the device remind the user when a certain deadline approaches or when the arrive at or depart a location. iOS 5 will be available this fall.
If you’ve purchased music or music videos from the iTunes Store in the past, now would be a good time to check out the iOS 4 version of the iTunes Store application. A new “Purchased” tab has just been added dynamically to the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad versions of iTunes, enabling you to see and retrieve the entire collection of music that you’ve previously purchased from the iTunes Store—including music videos. This is the live implementation of the iTunes in the Cloud.
Several options are available from the Purchased tab. A list of “All” songs shows you everything you’ve purchased, with 50 Recent Purchases as a secondary list, above a scrollable alphabetical collection of individual artists with a number of downloaded files off to the side. You can Download All [Artist’s Name] Songs by clicking a cloud download icon, or do the same with the Recent Purchases list—but not the “All Songs” collection. You’re also able to use a tab to sort the list by Not On This iPad/iPhone/iPod files, seeing only the ones you don’t currently have on the device.
Songs are downloaded individually to the device, and cannot be streamed; this is solely a locker to retrieve tracks as needed for your device. For users who thought they’d lost their only backups of iTunes-purchased music, this is a great new feature, and provides high-quality 256kbps AAC versions of tracks, assuming that you purchased the “iTunes Plus” versions from Apple. We’ve discovered that tracks that were purchased at 128kbps and not upgraded to iTunes Plus will still redownload via iTunes in the Cloud at 128kbps.
Note: The feature appears to be working only for U.S. iTunes Store accounts for the time being, notes our Canada-based editor Jesse Hollington.
Two of the new changes in iOS 5 were not given special attention during the WWDC 2011 Keynote today. First, Apple has officially added new multitasking gestures to the iPad that were previewed—originally for comments from developers—starting in a prior beta version of iOS 4. The gestures include four- or five-finger swipes to reveal the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and left- or right-swipes to switch between apps. While some developers complained that the gestures created issues in their apps, Apple’s decision to preview them in iOS 4 and then include them in iOS 5 gave developers a chance to figure out ways to accommodate them; the beta version of iOS 5 will continue this testing opportunity through fall.
Additionally, Apple has disclosed a collection of Accessibility updates. In addition to adding support for specialized hardware accessories created for users with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive disabilities, iOS 5 includes LED flash and custom vibration settings to signal when people are calling. It also includes VoiceOver improvements such as custom element labeling to provide personalized spoken cues for menu options.
A third interesting feature was briefly previewed: a new iPad “split keyboard” that lets users rely on their thumbs or fingers on opposite sides of the screen for typing. Swiping down with four fingers will bring up the keyboard, which includes roughly half of its smaller-sized keys on each side of the screen, and can be repositioned upwards or downwards as you prefer. The new keyboard enables you to see more of the center of the screen without having keys in the way.
We’ve just posted the full chronological transcript of our play-by-play from the WWDC 2011 Keynote. If you haven’t seen the separate news stories yet, today’s big announcements pertained to the fall 2011 releases of iOS 5 and Apple’s new free wireless synchronization service iCloud, as well as the July 2011 release of Mac OS Lion. Click on the title of this article for the full transcript, and visit our Flickr photostream for live photos from the event.
Along with a host of other changes and improvements, Apple today showed off updated versions of iOS’ Camera and Safari apps. The Camera app has been given new prominence via a button on the lock screen that allows for instant access to the Camera app without the need to unlock the phone. Users can also now use the volume up button as a physical shutter button, and the app has also gained AE/AF lock, pinch to zoom, and basic editing tools including crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, and automatic enhancement. Safari has received the Reader feature from the Mac version, as well as a “Reading List” that syncs between devices, and tabbed browsing on the iPad.
As part of iOS 5, Apple today demonstrated a new notifications system for iOS, as well as a new messaging service called iMessage. The new Notification Center moves all notifications into a new slide-down drawer at the top of the screen. All app notifications appear in this area, and users can tap on a notification to go the related app, or tap a small “x” to dismiss them; weather and stock information can also be configured to show up at the top of the drawer. The new iMessage system works very similarly to the iPhone’s existing Messages application, but also offers delivery and read receipts, typing indication, automatic push of new messages to all a users’ devices, and works over 3G or Wi-Fi.
During its WWDC keynote address today, Apple unveiled iOS 5, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The software offers over 1,500 new APIs for developers and over 200 new user features, including an all-new notification system, a new “iMessage” messaging system that will work across all iOS devices, enhancements for the Camera app, Mail, Safari, Game Center, integration with Twitter, a new service called News Stand that works like iBooks but is meant for magazines and newspapers, AirPlay mirroring, which will let users beam whatever is on their iPad to an Apple TV, wireless syncing with iTunes, and over-the-air software updates, that also allow iOS devices to be setup and used without connecting them to iTunes. Apple will release iOS 5 this fall for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.
“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”
iVerse Media has released an update to its Comics platform for iOS adding the ability for users to view comic book pages in their original form. The Original Page View option presents HD versions of the original comic book pages exactly as the creators intended, unaltered and unadapted for the iOS screen. Users can use standard panning and zooming gestures to freely explore these original renderings with intelligent zooming to focus in on detailed artwork and smaller text. The latest update also includes a number of other smaller enhancements including faster image and application loading, improved scrolling performance, and improved organizing and searching on shelves. Comics+is available from the App Store as a free download with individual issues and series’ available through in-app purchase. Some of iVerse Media’s series specific comic reader apps, including Archie Comics, Stan Lee BOOM! Comics and Green Hornet Comics have received similar updates.
Apple may have hired Peter Hajas, the developer behind the jailbreak replacement notification system Mobile Notifier, to work on iOS’ notification system. Redmond Pie reports that Hajas indicated in a recent Twitter update that he would soon be going to work for a “fruit” company in California. In a follow-up blog post, Hajas wrote that we couldn’t say why he was stepping away from app development, but that “it’s worth it,” adding that “if you look around hard enough, you’ll probably figure it out” before finishing the the line “stay hungry and stay foolish,” a reference to the phrase Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to close out his 2005 Stanford University Commencement speech. [via Business Insider]
Konami Digital Entertainment has released an iOS version of its classic 1992 X-Men arcade game. Retaining the retro 8-bit graphics and design of the original, X-Men is a side-scrolling action game where players take on the role of their favourite X-Men characters and fight their way through Sentinels and battle classic villains such as Pyro, Mystique and Magneto. The game provides local multiplayer support and integration with Game Center, Openfeint and Facebook for tracking leaderboards and posting achievements. X-Men is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Pulse has released an update to its popular visual news reader for iOS devices adding support for Pulse.me, its new offline reading service. Pulse allows users to view and explore their RSS feeds in a unique and engaging way by displaying articles in a series of interactive thumbnail views rather than the list format used by many other RSS apps. With the introduction of the new Pulse.me service, users can now quickly and easily save stories for later reading which can then be viewed on any other Pulse-enabled device or via the Pulse.me web site. Users can create a Pulse.me account directly in the Pulse app using Facebook Connect or their own unique Pulse.me username and can then save stories simply by starring them within the app. Pulse.me also provides optional integration with Instapaper, Evernote, Read It Later and Google Reader, allowing users to simultaneously save their starred items to these services as well. Pulse News for iPhone and Pulse News for iPad are available separately from the App Store as free downloads.
Acrylic Software has updated its distinctive Pulp newsreader for the iPad adding the ability to sync with Pulp for Mac. Pulp provides users with a customizable newspaper-style view of their RSS feeds, grouping articles into pages that allow users to quickly scan through headlines, previews and photos. Users can create their own categories to organize their pages and customize the column layout and presentation of each page. The latest version now allows users to synchronize pages, feeds and read articles between the iPad and Mac versions of the app via a free Pulp Sync account. The update also adds a home screen badge to display the number of new articles, the ability to search feeds based on title or keyword, swipe gestures for moving between articles and support for saving articles to Readability. Pulp for the iPad requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $5. Pulp for Mac is sold separately and is currently available from the Mac App Store for an introductory price of $10.
Junecloud, developer of the popular Delivery Status touch app has released Notefile, a new light-weight note-taking app for iOS devices. Notefile is a universal app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to quickly take notes and sync them across multiple devices and the web. Notes are synced automatically via an SSL-secured connection with the Junecloud web service where they can be accessed from any web browser or on a Mac using a free dashboard widget. Delivery Status touch users can also use their Junecloud account to manage both Notefile and Delivery Status tracking info in one place. Notefile also provides integration with SmileOnMyMac’s TextExpander app for snippet expansion when composing notes. Notefile is available from the App Store for $5; a Mac dashboard widget is also available as a free download from the developer’s web site. Users must register for a free account at junecloud.com/sync to sync notes between devices.
Foxconn has reopened its Chengdu, China plant following an explosion last month that killed three employees and injured numerous others. AllThingsD reports that the company has also concluded its investigation into the incident, but has yet to release the results. The upper floors of the building are home to iPad 2 production lines, which had been shut down since the May 20 incident; Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said in a note to clients—quoted by AllThingsD—that the factory had yet to reach its optimal utilization rate due to component shortages, thus making the impact of the explosion less damaging to iPad 2 supplies than it could have been.
Apple has released an update to GarageBand for the iPad adding audio out support and the ability to import audio files. GarageBand 1.0.1 now supports audio output via AirPlay, Bluetooth A2DP and HDMI using the Apple Digital AV Adapter and users can also now import AIFF, WAV and CAF audio files and Apple Loops directly into the app. Additional improvements include the ability to copy and paste audio clips into GarageBand from other supported apps on the iPad and several stability and performance fixes, including addressing an issue with GarageBand freezing when using Smart Instruments. GarageBand 1.0.1 requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.