- November 26, 2013
iLounge has updated our iPad mini with Retina display review to include the Wi-Fi + Cellular model of Apple’s device. The Retina mini achieved roughly an hour better cellular battery life than the original model, running for 9 hours and 46 minutes. Cellular speeds were identical to the Air and iPhone 5-series phones.
We awarded the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini an A-, the highest rating yet for a Cellular mini, and a tie with the differently-capable iPad Air. The single biggest surprise with the Cellular model was actually seeing the difference in screens, which had previously been reported by DisplayMate; our first three units had seemingly identical displays without image retention, but the fourth unit did show image retention issues. A photo of the issue is included in the updated review, though under most conditions, users will not notice the issue at all.
Just Mobile has introduced AluBolt ($50), a Lightning dock for iPhone and iPad mini. The aluminum dock comes with a built-in Lightning-to-USB cable.
Just Mobile claims AluBolt will work with devices in cases, however, it’s unclear how many and what kind of cases will be supported. The dock will be available in early December.
- November 22, 2013
Some Apple stores are now reportedly offering Retina iPad minis for sale to walk-in customers, though it doesn’t appear as if customers will have many choices regarding models. For instance, a personal pickup search reveals that space gray Wi-Fi models are available in multiple capacites in numerous stores, but silver Wi-Fi models are a bit more scarce, and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions remain largely unavailable.
Many stores still listing all Retina iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular capacities for all carriers as unavailable for pickup. Apple has spread out availability for the devices differently than before — we know Wi-Fi + Cellular models have sprung up in numerous Canadian Apple stores, for instance, while some American stores said as of yesterday morning that they hadn’t ever received Wi-Fi + Cellular models at all. [via 9to5Mac]
Animal Band — Nursery Rhymes ($1) is a new music app for young children from Storytoys. Kids can interact with eight animal characters to get them to join into a song, with each animal acting as a separate instrument. The four initial songs are classic nursery rhymes, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s a simple concept, and a section with a third background for extra songs is shown as “coming soon,” but younger kids might find it entertaining.
ESPN’s ScoreCenter has just become ESPN SportsCenter (free) in an update to version 4.0.0. The popular sports scores app has a whole new clean look. It’s also easier to navigate through the app and access the scores of your favorite teams. A news section is still intact, as well as a new “now” section, which is really just a curated ESPN-centric Twitter feed. Though there are other sports scores apps out there, this is probably still your best bet, especially if you’re into more obscure sports and leagues.
Clumsy Ninja, which was featured in last year’s Apple media event for the fifth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 5, has finally made its way to the App Store as a free download. One of two high-profile game demos from Apple last year — the other being Infinity Blade Dungeons, which was shown at the third-generation iPad event in March 2012 and later canceled — Clumsy Ninja’s release was delayed for more than a year without explanation.
The freemium game lets users interact with a kid ninja, letting you teach him a variety of tasks. He improves, learning new tricks and moves through his training. Impressive kinematic animation and cartoony graphics add to the fun factor of the universal release.
Apple has released an Apple Store for iPad app today, oddly separate from the iPhone/iPod touch Apple Store application released years ago. The new iPad version of the app puts a greater focus on high-resolution photos showing off the products, serving as a stripped down and reorganized version of the Apple Store web presence.
Item selection screens are able to change quickly to provide topic-specific information on products, helping users to quickly see differences in cellular options for iPads and iPhones, capacity choices for multiple devices, and individual product availability by store location. The Apple Store app for iPad is available now.
An anticipated sequel, Epoch 2 ($3) from Uppercut Games offers more Terminator apocalypse-inspired robot battles. The third-person shooter will likely appeal mostly to fans of the first Epoch, but it may not expand the audience much more than that. New weapons and features have been added, most notably including moving backgrounds and varied types of simultaneous attackers to fight against, all within an Unreal Engine 3-generated environment. But the gameplay remains relatively shallow and repetitive.
Apple has finally updated its free Find My Friends app for iOS 7 with version 3.0. The new design is more iOS 7-esque, of course, losing the skeuomorphic leather stitching, and switching to a lighter, orange-accented design. Friends are now seen on the map in tiny picture circles, as opposed to just dots, and the prior version’s font excesses are gone.
- November 19, 2013
Apple is planning on debuting a 12.9-inch iPad “early next year,” according to The Korea Times. The previously rumored device is said to have improved picture quality — near ultra high-definition quality, which would place it in the range of 4 million pixels versus the current iPad Air and Retina iPad mini’s 3 million pixel displays. “Apple’s local first-tier display supplier” in Korea is already reported to be working on the larger iPad. The company’s claimed interest in additional iPad sizes is an acknowledgement that tablets are replacing PCs in the market, according to a supplier source. Claims as to the release dates of first-generation Apple products should generally be taken with a grain of salt, given the frequency of production-related delays.
A number of iOS users have noted that some of the photos they’ve taken with iOS 7’s Camera application have disappeared without a trace, an issue that we’ve confirmed firsthand. Posts in Apple’s number of Apple discussion forums show how some users are experiencing the issue, while struggling to explain why it’s happening. Based on what we’ve seen, the problem appears to be sporadic, affecting only a small number of photos shot over a period of time; the photos are taken as indicated by a snap of the device’s shutter, but then do not appear in the Photos application’s Camera Roll. An Apple community specialist suggested closing all apps and restarting the device to fix the problem, a solution that has not worked for us, with backing up and restoring the device as a next possible option.
Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta to developers. The download is available within Apple’s developer portal. Initial indications are that the software addresses bugs in the original iOS 7 release, however, additional features may have been quietly added.
All prior iOS 7 device models can run 7.1, however, the release is not yet intended for general consumption.
- November 18, 2013
New reports on color within the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen have corroborated what we found in our review of the device. During testing of multiple iPad mini units, we discovered that some colors looked notably faded and less vibrant on the Retina iPad mini when compared to the same colors on the iPad Air. Through a series of detailed measurements, DisplayMate notes that the iPad mini with Retina display has a 63 percent color gamut, roughly the same as the first-generation iPad mini. The color gamut “produces noticeably subdued image colors,” which DisplayMate says is “inexcusable for a current generation premium tablet.” DisplayMate ranks the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen as a “distant 3rd” behind the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7.
Anandtech also noted the iPad mini with Retina display has the same color gamut as the original iPad mini. While the site does say the Retina iPad mini has a much better panel overall than the previous mini, the Air holds a “display advantage.” Apple notably has marketed the iPad mini with Retina display as “identical to iPad Air in every way,” a claim that was parroted by the company’s hand-picked reviewers.
Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.
Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($6) from Loud Crow Interactive features everyone’s favorite sad sack, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts crew for this interactive book. Dialogue, music, and sound effects all come straight from the 1973 animated special, and the iOS interface has been substantially improved from prior Charlie Brown holiday apps. Three reading modes are available, and word highlighting and touch-to-speak technology are also included in the app.
SNK Playmore has brought its classic fighting game The King of Fighters ‘97 ($4) to iOS. The fourth game in the classic KOF series, the ‘97 edition features 35 characters and new teams — hidden characters Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona are included from the get-go. Both the extra and advanced fighting modes are available, as in the original game. Both a four-button and six-button control scheme are available, and it’s possible to move the controls around the screen, and change the joystick/button sizes as well. Due to a bug in the control-moving system, it’s harder to set the buttons up properly on an iPad, but hopefully SNK Playmore will fix the issue.
Google has released its Google Play Music app for iOS. The free app provides access to a standard music streaming service and All Access service, which costs $10/month. Google’s standard service lets users add up to 20,000 of their own songs, and listen to the music from all iOS devices and Google’s web player.
All Access lets users listen to unlimited songs, and includes an ad-free radio service. Radio stations are customizable, and there are no skip limits on listening. The app was originally expected to launch much earlier this year.
Modernist Cuisine at Home is indeed an $80 app, but if you’re a cook, you’ll understand why it’s actually a bargain. An interactive digital version of the $140, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, the app from Inkling includes 260 more recipes and 359 more photos than the print cookbook; it’s also been reformatted to read more easily on screens much smaller than the gigantic original volume. The app also features 37 cooking technique videos, including how to execute the water displacement method or how to use a blowtorch on steaks, as well as interactive versions of Modernist Cuisine’s famous photographs, and calculators to let you scale recipes up or down for your needs. A free demo chapter is available through Inkling’s own app; the book can be downloaded in full through Inkling and added to the app’s library, or kept as a standalone version.
Sony’s free PlayStation App has made its way to the App Store just before tomorrow’s release of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation App lets users interact with friends, receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations. An iOS device can also be used as an onscreen keyboard. Among other features, the app also lets users buy games from the PlayStation Store to push to the PS4.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.
Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.
Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.
iLounge has posted our full review of Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display. The comprehensive nine-page review covers a number of important and previously unknown details about the Retina iPad mini, including improved battery life and issues with color performance, which are quite noticeable when compared to the iPad Air.
Also under the microscope are the performance of the new mini’s A7 processor, and slight differences in the device’s front camera compared to the previous iPad mini. Read the full Retina iPad mini review today.
- November 13, 2013
iFixit has completed a teardown of the iPad mini with Retina display and has found a 24.3 Watt-Hour battery, which is slightly larger than the 23.8 WHr battery Apple claims is in the device. The first-generation iPad mini had a 16.3 WHr battery. Interestingly enough, iFixit previously found the iPad Air also had a battery that was slightly larger than Apple claimed.
The A7 chip in the iPad mini with Retina display is the same A7 found in the iPhone 5s, rather than the faster A7 found in the iPad Air; this isn’t a big surprise, especially considering recent benchmark test results. iFixit also found an LG display in its Retina iPad mini.
IFTTT — also known as If This Then That — has upgraded its free IFTTT app to version 1.2. The updated app now has actions for iOS Photos and Reminders, meaning IFTTT can now automatically add photos to iPhone albums, and create new to-do items in Reminders. Swipe gestures have been added for iOS 7, as well as improved background syncing.
iTeleport ($25) updates its popular universal remote desktop app, giving it an all new layout for iOS 7. Hardware keyboard support has also been added, while version 6.1.8 fixes additional layout issues. The iPad-only app ($20) was updated, as well.
- November 12, 2013
iLounge has posted its unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display. Photos show the iPad mini with Retina display packaging, and a number of comparison shots between the new mini, iPad Air, and first-generation iPad mini.
Close-up feature shots of the newest iPad mini are also included in the gallery. A full review of the iPad mini with Retina display will be posted in the near future.