Apple has released iOS 4.3.3, the latest version of its mobile operating system for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM), iPod touch 3G, and iPod touch 4G. According to Apple’s release notes, the update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache; the update reduces the size of the cache, no longer backs up the cache to iTunes, and deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off. The database in question was the cause of a recent uproar over Apple’s supposed location tracking, leading the company to release a Q&A document in which it gave an explanation for the cache, and blamed its large size on a “bug.” iOS 4.3.3 is available now via the Update feature in iTunes; a similar update, iOS 4.2.8, is also available for the CDMA iPhone 4.
ColorWare is now offering its custom coloring service for the iPad 2. The company is offering customers two ways to get the service, either by purchasing a unit directly from them—prices start at $900—or by sending in their own and paying $400. Through the service, users will be able to pick individual custom colors for the rear shell, logo, and Home button, each available in glossy or soft touch finishes. ColorWare’s custom coloring services for the iPad 2 are available now.
Apple has begun airing its latest TV advertisement for the iPad 2. Entitled “If You Asked,” the 30-second spot shows iPad 2 units in a variety of settings with task-specific apps, while the narrator states, “If you ask a parent, they might call it intuitive. If you ask a musician, they might call it inspiring. To a doctor, it’s groundbreaking. To a CEO, it’s powerful. To a teacher, it’s the future. If you ask a child, she might call it magic. And if you asked us, we’d say it’s just getting started.” The new commercial is now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
South Korean carriers SK Telecom and KT have halted online orders for the iPad 2 in the wake of high demand. Reuters reports that the carriers, which began accepting orders for the device last week, declined to share sales numbers but indicated that the move was spurred by tight supplies. “Our iPad 2 inventory has been depleted and we apologize for failing to provide enough supplies due to the product’s global supply shortages,” SK Telecom said in a posting on its website. Apple launched the iPad 2 in South Korea, as well as Hong Kong, India, Israel, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the UAE last Friday.
Update: 9 to 5 Mac notes that the Apple Online Store in Singapore has stopped accepting orders for the both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models of the iPad 2, perhaps indicating a more widespread shortage of the device.
Update x2: Apple’s online store in Hong Kong is also listing all models of the iPad 2 as “currently unavailable.”
Refulgent Software has released a restaurant management solution built entirely on the iOS platform. Designed by developers with real-world restaurant management experience, Ambur provides an end-to-end point-of-sale (POS) system that allows hospitality staff to efficiently take and submit orders, print kitchen slips and customer receipts and process payments—all using an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Unlike traditional point-of-sale systems, however, Ambur does not require a traditional computer on the back-end; the app is installed on an iPad that acts as the “hub” for the system, connecting and syncing data wirelessly in real-time with other iOS devices being used by front-line staff. Ambur can be loaded up by any iOS device running on the same Wi-Fi network as the iPad, with each user receiving an individual username and password. The app can also print wirelessly to Wi-Fi connected receipt printers.
Using Ambur, waiters can take orders directly on a device such as an iPod touch using an easily viewed single-screen layout that manages items, guests, discounts, gratuities, and merged or split orders, allowing customer requests to be easily fulfilled right at the table by the server. Completed orders can be sent directly to a kitchen printer for preparation and a final check can be printed directly from the app. Ambur also allows payment to be processed within the app, including the ability to automatically open cash drawers for cash payments and optionally integrating with a credit card terminal for processing payments right at the table. Customer reservations can be managed and tracked from the app, which also produces detailed reports for analyzing customer trends. Ambur is available from the App Store as a free download in trial form that allows users to access all of the app’s features except for customizing menu items. A full license sells for a one-time in-app purchase of $999.00 for an unlimited number of iOS devices; there are no additional monthly charges or support fees, and the company promises all future upgrades will be delivered free via the App Store.
For nearly ten years, iLounge has collected an amazing number of iPod and iPhone photos from all across the globe—thousands of reader-submitted pictures taken everywhere from Antarctica to Zambia. (You can see them in our iPods Around the World and iPhones Around the World galleries.) With the growth of the iPad, and the release of the iPad 2, we’d like to build our smaller iPads Around the World collection up, featuring photos of your iPad wherever you live or travel.
Submissions to the iPads Around the World gallery are generally meant to be outdoors rather than inside—though either is great for recognizably famous places—and always include brief details about where the photo was taken. We’d love to see where you’ve taken your iPad, so use our iPads Around the World submission form to upload a photo or three. The best shots will be featured on our main page and in our semi-annual Buyers’ Guides, so send us something cool today!
i.TV has released a significant update to its iOS TV and media guide application adding native iPad support, a completely redesigned user interface and new services. i.TV 3 is now a universal app supporting the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and sports a significant user interface redesign to make it easier to navigate and find information. A new “Shows” page allows users to directly browse and search for their favourite shows without having to scroll through the guide pages and a daily news feed page provides the latest entertainment news that can be filtered by show. The new version also introduces integration with IMDb and Hulu in addition to existing support for Netflix and iTunes; users can look up related show information on IMDb without leaving the app and see if selected content is available on Hulu online or in the Hulu Plus app. The latest version has also be redesigned from the ground up with a new code base for improved performance and stability. i.TV 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has won an initial ruling in its patent dispute with Elan Microelectronics. Reuters reports that Judge Paul Luckern of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said in his initial decision that Apple did not violate Elan’s patents related to touchpad technology. Elan filed a complaint against Apple with the ITC in March 2010, claiming that Apple was violating its patents related to touch-sensitive input devices with multi-touch capabilities, specifically with the iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook laptops, the Magic Mouse, and the iPad; the ITC agreed to investigate the claims roughly a month later. The full ITC will now need to rule on whether to accept or reject Luckern’s initial decision; that ruling is expected in August.
Time, Inc. and Apple have reached a deal that allows subscribers to the print editions of Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Time to download the iPad versions of the magazines free of charge. The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is an expansion of a similar arrangement for Time’s People magazine, which has allowed print subscribers free access to the iPad edition since last August. Time and other major publishers still have yet to agree with Apple on terms for selling subscriptions to iPad editions of their publications, mainly due to Apple’s stance on sharing user information with the publishers, according to the report. Time executives told the WSJ that Time general counsel Maurice Edelson has quietly been leading talks between the publisher and Apple, meeting frequently with Apple vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue. The same people said this latest deal is a sign that the two companies are moving closer.
Samsung has expanded its legal battle with Apple, filing a lawsuit against the iPhone-maker in U.S. federal court. Bloomberg reports that Samsung is claiming that Apple infringes on 10 of its patents related to “fundamental innovations that increase mobile device reliability, efficiency, and quality, and improve user interface in mobile handsets and other products.” “Samsung is continuing to respond actively to the legal action taken against us,” the company said in an statement. Apple first sued Samsung on April 18, stating, “[r]ather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products.” Samsung quickly countersued in South Korea, Japan, and Germany, claiming infringement on 10 patents by the iPhone and iPad; according to recent comments made by Apple COO Tim Cook, Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer and considers them a valued component supplier, and that he expects their strong relationship to continue despite the lawsuit.
Gameloft has released an official iOS game for Universal Pictures’ new action-thriller “Fast Five.” Recreating the high-speed action from the movie, the game puts players in the role of Brian O’Conner, a wanted fugitive who must build a team of top drivers to avoid capture. Players take the wheel of various cars from the film such as the 2011 Dodge Challenger and race through the streets of places such as Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic avoiding explosions and structural collapses that change the track and create new obstacles in their path. Players can customize their vehicles with tuning packs to improve performance and the game includes a Rewind Time feature to allow users to quickly replay after a crash and both local and online multiplayer support for up to 10 players. Fast Five the Movie: Official Game is available from the App Store in separate iPhone and iPad versions for $5 each.
Fishlabs has released the first add-on for its epic iOS sci-fi adventure game, Galaxy on Fire 2, delivering gameplay improvements, new in-game content and a brand new storyline. In creating the new add-on, Fishlabs engaged the existing fan base to determine the improvements that players themselves most wanted to see and used these ideas to develop the Valkyrie add-on. The expansion picks up where the main storyline leaves off continuing Keith T. Maxwell’s galactic adventures as he now attempts to unravel a conspiracy orchestrated by a mysterious and cunning new enemy. The new add-on provides new spaceships, weapons and equipment including guided missiles, mines, automated turrets, emergency shields and repair robots as well as nine new planets across four solar systems and a black market trading system that can be used to acquire illicit equipment and rare goods. The free game update also now allows players to buy their own space station to store multiple spaceships and store valuable goods and introduces refurbished versions of three classic spaceships from the original Galaxy on Fire saga. Galaxy on Fire 2 is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $10; the Valkyrie add-on sells as an in-app purchase for an additional $5.
Ina Fried of AllThingsD has conducted a phone interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, and Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall, during which the Apple executives a number of comments relating to the iOS location data issue, as well as the white iPhone. For the most part, the executives simply reiterated points the company made in its earlier Q&A document, but Jobs did reveal that he expected Apple to testify before Congress about such technologies, and that he thinks it is “great that they are investigating this.” He also briefly mentioned the traffic service alluded to in the aforementioned Q&A document, saying “that is all we are going to mention at this point in time before we have something to announce,” and brushed aside a question about his timeline for returning to work full-time at the company.
Discussing the white iPhone 4, Schiller described the process of making the handset as “challenging,” saying, “it’s not as simple as making something white. There’s a lot more that goes into both the material science of it–how it holds up over time… but also in how it all works with the sensors.” He added that while there were unexpected interactions between the color and various internal components, the white paint also required more UV protection than the black model. “We thought we were there a year ago, or less than that, when we launched the iPhone 4 and we weren’t,” Schiller said, adding that the wait allowed them to deliver a product that was up to expectations. Jobs also noted that the work necessary to bring the white iPhone 4 to market benefitted the company in other areas, saying, “[w]e obviously think about this in a generic way because you have a white iPad.” Apple will launch the white iPhone 4 tomorrow.
Parrot has released AR.FlyingAce, the highly anticipated augmented reality game for its AR.Drone iOS-controlled Quadicopter. Previewed earlier this month, the free app allows two AR.Drone owners to compete in head-to-head dogfights using the quadricopters’ integrated cameras to track and virtually “shoot down” their opponents. Players compete in a time-based game where they attempt to score hits on each other with virtual plasma missiles that are fired by shaking their iOS device. At the end of each game, the player who scores the most points is declared the winner. AR.FlyingAce is available from the App Store as a free download and requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later, and of course an AR.Drone Quadricopter.
Apple has announced that it will launch the iPad 2 in 12 more countries this week. According to the company, the iPad 2 will launch in Japan on Thursday, April 28, and will come to Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the UAE on Friday, April 29. In addition, the company has announced that it will officially launch iPad 2 with Wi-Fi in China on Friday, May 6; further international availability will be announced at a later date.
Apple has posted a ten-question Q & A document discussing the collection of location data on iOS devices. In response to the first question, “Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?”, the company writes, “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.” The second question asks why, then, is everyone so concerned; Apple responds by saying that users are confused, partially because creators of new technology—including itself—have not provided enough education about such issues. In response to the third question, “Why is my iPhone logging my location?”, Apple explains that the iPhone—and presumably other iOS devices—are not logging locations, but “maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”
Apple blames the size of the current on-device database on a bug it has uncovered, which is also to blame for the continued updating of the database after Location Services is turned off. Interestingly, Apple admits to “collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.” In response to the final question, “Does Apple believe that personal information security and privacy are important?”, the company responds, “Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.”
Apple states that it will release a free iOS update “in the next few weeks” that will reduce the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, cease backing up this cache, and delete the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off, and promises that the next major iOS software release will encrypt the database on the iPhone.
A report from last week revealing that iOS 4 devices regularly record their positions to hidden files has sparked a wave of inquiries from government agencies and representatives. According to the New York Times, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota and Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts have contacted Apple separately, each asking for an explanation as to why the location data was being collected and stored, and what it was being used for. The same report indicates that various agencies in Germany, Italy, and France are planning investigations and/or inquiries into the matter, while Politico reports that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is also looking into it. Separately, Bloomberg reports that South Korea’s Korea Communications Commission has also asked Apple how often the location data is collected and saved, whether users have a choice over whether it is saved or deleted, and whether the information is being stored on the company’s servers.
The Wall Street Journal has tested the feature on an iPhone with its Location Services turned off, and discovered that the location data is still recorded despite the setting, although the coordinates recorded were not from the exact locations the phone traveled, which is consistent with prior results. Finally, Mac Rumors reports that a reader emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs about the issue, saying, “Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.” Jobs responded in his typically terse style, saying, “Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.” While it is obvious that iOS 4 devices are indeed tracking and recording users’ locations, it’s possible Jobs was referring to the fact that the data does not appear to be collected by Apple, thus supporting Jobs’ “we don’t track anyone” claim.
Condé Nast is pulling back on its goal to deliver iPad versions of all of its magazines, according to an AdAge report. Citing anonymous company employees, the report claims that the change in strategy is due to lower sale volumes than are optimal for attracting advertisers. The report states that the company is still committed to the iPad as a platform, and has another undisclosed iPad edition of one of its magazines arriving in May. “It’s a shift,” one Condé publisher said. “The official stance was we’re going to get all our magazines on the iPad because this is going to be such an important stream. The new change is maybe we can slow it down. In my opinion it makes Condé look smart because we have the ambition, but we’re not rushing. They’re not all doing all that well, so why rush to get them all on there?” The company was one of the earliest supporters of the iPad, announcing prior to the iPad’s launch its intentions to bring out iPad editions of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and The New Yorker. [via Mac Rumors]
During Apple’s Second Quarter 2011 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Apple COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its media-related products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In his opening statements, Oppenheimer said that it was the highest March quarter in revenue and earnings ever for the company, with the highest year-over-year revenue growth ever generated. The numbers were boosted by an single-quarter record for iPhone sales, plus “robust” iPad sales—he said the company was “thrilled” with the iPad’s momentum—and 28% year-over-year growth in Mac sales, which totaled 3.76 million.
Oppenheimer also said that the iTunes Store had its best quarter ever, and the iBookstore saw 17,000 eBooks added during the quarter; the iBookstore now offers eBooks from 2,500 publishers, and has seen over 100 million downloads. While overall iPod sales were down, they were ahead of internal expectations, and were comprised of 60 percent iPod touch units, enabling Apple to maintain a 70 percent share of the MP3 player market. Overall, just under 189 million iOS devices had been sold, cumulatively, by the end of the quarter.
FileMaker has released an update for FileMaker Go, its iOS app for mobile access to FileMaker Pro databases. The new version adds support for printing FileMaker data via AirPrint and viewing and editing charts created with FileMaker Pro 11 using chart data from FileMaker or passed through from SQL database sources. FileMaker Go now also provides the ability to capture and save digital signatures directly on an iOS device, making it easy to sign contracts and invoices; signed documents can be exported to a computer or uploaded to centralized FileMaker Server databases. Other new features in the update include enhanced PDF creation for sending print-ready reports, notifications of record lock conflicts and the ability to open hidden files. FileMaker Go is available from the App Store in two separate versions: FileMaker Go for iPhone ($20) and FileMaker Go for iPad ($40). Both require iOS 4.2 or later. FileMaker is also offering new FileMaker Go customers 50% off the purchase price of FileMaker Pro 11 until June 17, 2011.