The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that Apple violated a Samsung standards-essential patent, and now faces an import ban on the AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the first- and second-generation 3G iPad. Apple plans to appeal the decision. “We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD. “Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States. Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.”
Google’s Chrome (free) has been updated to version 27.0.1453.10. Voice search has been improved in the update, as the app now features faster voice recognition, with text results streamed on the fly. Answers are now spoken back to users, and web results are tailored to questions. Pages also reload faster now, even if the network is slow or unavailable.
Eye-Fi (free) has updated its app to version 3.0 with iPhone 5 screen support, as well as a somewhat redesigned interface, and support for the new mobile device-focused Mobi model of the Eye-Fi card. Bug fixes and stability improvements are also included in the update, along with in-app video playback.
- June 4, 2013
A new report from the spotty DigiTimes claims that Apple will release the fifth-generation iPad in the third quarter, but will delay the release of the second-generation iPad mini by a few months. The new iPad mini will allegedly be delayed for one of two reasons: to prevent the mini from impacting sales of the larger iPad, or due to Apple’s supply chain “being unable to meet the mass-production schedule.” Despite the supposed delay, it could be released for the holiday season. The report also claims that the redesigned fifth-generation iPad will feature a “thin-film-type touch panel solution” to reduce its weight.
Apple has released an official WWDC app, just ahead of next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The app notably features daily session videos for all Registered Apple Developers, enabling thousands of people to have access to the event’s tutorials despite the continued unavailability of tickets.
Users of the app can also browse the conference’s schedule, keep up with news, and view maps of Moscone West, among other features. Attendees can also add their information to Passbook for quicker on-site registration.
Apple is reportedly testing versions of iOS 7 with AirDrop, the Mac’s Wi-Fi file sharing tool, which lets users exchange files between devices more easily than sending e-mails or using Messages. According to a report, AirDrop may be integrated into the iOS sharing menu, and could work between two iOS devices, or between a Mac and an iOS device. Like the reported Flickr and Vimeo integration in iOS 7, there’s a possibility AirDrop will not make it to the newest version of iOS. [via 9to5Mac]
Pioneer has announced the XDJ-R1 ($899), an all-in-one DJ system using wireless control functionality through an iOS app. The app lets users continue music mixing performances even while away from the system by allowing access to many of the system’s functions.
The XDJ-R1 features auto beat loop, beat sync, USB connectivity, built-in dual CD players, MIDI control, and a number of music mix features. Pioneer says the XDJ-R1 will be available in June.
- May 31, 2013
A photo of an alleged front panel for Apple’s fifth-generation iPad has leaked on Apple.pro. The picture shows what appears to be a smaller front panel — the left and right bezel are nearly eliminated, and the areas above and below the screen also appear to be reduced in size. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has raised its prices for the iPad and iPod in Japan in response to a weaker yen, according to a report. For instance, the 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad now sells for 49,800 yen ($493), an increase of about $70. The iPod shuffle increased roughly the equivalent of $6. “We made some pricing adjustments due to changes in foreign exchange rates,” Apple spokesman Takashi Takabayashi said. [via Bloomberg]
Google Multiplatform Chief Sundar Pichai announced that Google Play Music All Access will launch for iOS “a couple weeks from now.” Google Play Music All Access is Google’s new streaming music service, and currently offers unlimited access for $8 a month; the price will jump to $10 a month in July. [via All Things D]
Capcom’s Phoenix Wright has made his way to iOS in Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD (free). The Ace Attorney games are visual adventures casting the player in the role of a defense attorney. Though marketed as a trilogy, the app is freemium; it’s notable that only the first two episodes of the franchise’s first game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, are free to play. In-app purchases are required to purchase the remaining games, either separately or in a bundle. However, even if you have no intention on spending money, the Phoenix Wright Trilogy is still worth a download for those first two episodes. The Ace Attorney games feature memorable characters and engaging gameplay.
Realmac Software’s Analog Camera ($1) is a new camera app with three camera modes — including manual focus and exposure — and eight filters. Designed to be easy to use and minimalist, Analog Camera lets users quickly add filters to the device’s camera, with simple Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail sharing. Analog Camera doesn’t have a landscape mode or orientation support — the photos are square. The app may be best for people who want to share filtered photos, but don’t want to sign up for Instagram.
Macally has announced iKeyLT ($60), the second full-size wired keyboard debuted thus far for Lightning devices. iKeyLT comes with a 2.75-foot long cable, four rubber feet, and two kickstands for changing the keyboard’s position. A foldable iPad stand is also included.
Macally’s iKeyLT comes in white, and $1 from every keyboard sold will be donated to U.S. educational charities. iKeyLT will be available in July; a 30-pin version of the keyboard called iKey30 is available now for the same $60 price.
Formerly known as Weather HD, a long-time favorite of iLounge’s editors, Vimov has re-released its weather app as Clear Day ($2). Clear Day is version 2.5 of the prior app, with a new layout that reduces obscuring elements to let you see more of the weather videos. A free version — Clear Day Free — is ad-supported and lacks push notifications for severe alerts. Users of the full version can add an unlimited number of cities, as well as advanced weather data using in-app purchases.
Photo editing app Halftone 2 (free) from Juicy Bits allows users to turn their photos into comic book pages. A sequel to the original Halftone app, Halftone 2 is freemium, offering many in-app purchases. Users can easily insert thought bubbles and words into their photos, as well as tweaking colors and comic book-style layouts. There are also plenty of sharing options, via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and more.
- May 24, 2013
Apple has dropped its prices on refurbished fourth-generation iPads and iPad minis in its online store. Refurbished fourth-generation iPads are now $419, $499, and $579 for Wi-Fi 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models, and $529, $609, and $689 for corresponding Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Refurbished iPad minis are now $279, $359, and $439 for Wi-Fi 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models, and $389, $469, and $549 for corresponding Wi-Fi + Cellular models. [via MacRumors]
The new iOS 7 is reportedly dropping heavy textures and adding black and white elements, with sources calling the new iOS “black, white, and flat all over.” A new report from 9to5Mac offers more details about iOS 7, about a month after a previous report noted the new iOS would have a “very, very flat” interface. Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive is — as many expected — leading iOS away from skeuomorphism, reportedly believing “designs filled with physical metaphors do not stand the test of time,” and that differing designs could confuse users.
Ive has apparently made sweeping changes to the interface. These changes may include: A removal of the shiny, transparent time bar on the lock screen, replacing it with a “shine-free, black” interface; the square pin code grid will feature round, black buttons; the lock screen could utilize additional gestures; widgets may be added to Notification Center; Notification Center will be dark with white text instead of featuring the current “dark linen” background; a panel for Wi-Fi, airplane mode, and Bluetooth toggles could be added; app icons have “lost shine” and Apple icons have been made less skeuomorphic; Apple’s Notes, Mail, Calendar, and Maps apps have a uniformed “flat white” look; panorama-like wallpapers are available; navigation and tab bars have lost gradient textures with some bars sporting a “minor blurring effect”; App Store, Newsstand, Game Center, Safari, Camera, and Weather have changed significantly; iPhone may introduce its own standalone FaceTime app, just like iPad and iPod touch.
iOS 7 has reportedly been “re-architected” several times, so interface changes are still possible. Designers and engineers are also “prioritizing an overhaul of the iPhone’s version of iOS” over iPad’s version of the software. As noted earlier, Flickr and Vimeo will likely be integrated. iOS 7 will likely be released in the fall with new Apple hardware.
Foursquare Labs has introduced a number of new search features to its Foursquare (free) app in version 6.2, letting users filter searches by price, places that users have saved, places users haven’t been yet, places open at that time, and more new options. These advanced filters were added to the desktop version of the site a few weeks ago; now they’ve made their way to Foursquare’s mobile app.
“Fearless” isn’t the first word we’d generally use to describe brick-breaking games—the Breakout-inspired genre is so old and established that new versions can’t help but feel iterative. Yet Barry Kostjens’ new Hyper Breaker Turbo ($2) manages to feel genuinely fresh and even pretty ingenious, thanks to the developer’s decision to throw away some of Breakout’s most classic rules. Instead of requiring you to break every brick on the screen before moving to the next level, Hyper Breaker Turbo’s 75 stages continue scrolling upwards to follow the motion of your ball, which can be gently reflected off your curved paddle, or smashed with upward momentum. The paddle can pass through bricks, but the ball must break or dodge them, adding another interesting twist to keep things moving smoothly. You beat each stage by making the ball touch a goal that’s generally several screen lengths up, buried behind layers of destructible bricks and walls formed by unbreakable blocks. While the game’s graphics and music aren’t going to wow anyone, they’re competent enough to look and sound good on even the latest Retina iPads and iPhones, while the touchscreen is used ideally for paddle and ball physics. Breakout fans should consider this one a must-see for the price.
ABC Aquarium ($3) by Peapod Labs is yet another release in the company’s ABC family of universal iOS education apps. Each app has brought a new theme, complete with an alphabet’s worth of new photographs, videos, and simple rub-on-the-picture activities, plus small user interface improvements. Aquarium leverages all of the prior titles’ UI tricks to provide a relatively seamless look at dozens of different fish and animals you’d find at aquariums, ranging from sea lions to koi, lobsters to zebrafish. The photos in this edition are particularly compelling, thanks to high-res details and great colors, though as with prior editions, some issues slip through — two images of Emperor Angelfish are nearly identical, for instance, and some of the swiping activities feel a bit underdeveloped and stale. Once again, each letter of the alphabet includes multiple photos for one or more creatures, plus in-frame YouTube videos that teach kids more than just the letters and words for each animal. Parents looking for bilingual instruction can also switch on an optional translation feature that flips each word between English and Spanish.
Disney’s Disney Junior Appisodes app (free) is a new hub to hold interactive versions of full-length TV episodes. Recommended for ages 4 and up, Disney Junior Appisodes let children touch, tap, swipe, tilt, shake, and talk through Disney Junior episodes while completing activities. The app comes with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally Appisode—a standalone download we previously found incredibly impressive—and additional Appisodes are available for purchase within the app.
Apple is reportedly planning an “increased presence of third-party social networks” in iOS 7, and more specifically, a deeper integration of photo and video sharing services Flickr and Vimeo. According to a 9to5Mac report, users will be able to sign into Flickr or Vimeo using iOS 7’s Settings application. Users could log into and use Flickr and Vimeo as simply as they currently use Facebook or Twitter for iOS. However, the report notes a “very real possibility that any feature in testing could be removed” before iOS 7 is announced.
While a recent report detailed Apple and Yahoo’s discussion of a deeper partnership, it’s unknown if the Yahoo-owned Flickr was part of those talks. The proposed addition of Vimeo to iOS could conceivably further distance Apple from Google’s YouTube app; sources didn’t comment on Vimeo completely replacing YouTube.
Google’s new music subscription service Google Play Music All Access doesn’t yet have its own iOS app, but an existing app may add support for the service in the near future. An update for gMusic, a $2 Google music player app, has been submitted to the App Store to support Google Play Music All Access. If accepted, the update will let users access Google’s new service through the gMusic iOS app. [via Wired]
AT&T has made a statement suggesting the carrier will allow all mobile video chat apps over cellular on its network by the end of the year. In a statement made to The Verge, AT&T said that pre-loaded Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry’s video chat apps will be enabled by mid-June “over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.” Additionally, “Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.” The company notes that any mobile video chat app downloaded from the Internet can already be used. AT&T said due to the higher usage of pre-loaded apps, the carrier took a “deliberate” approach on enabling the apps on its network.
BlackBerry’s recently announced iOS app for its BBM messaging service is expected to launch this summer, but it apparently won’t be coming to iPad right away. According to a report, Vivek Bhardwaj, head of software portfolio at BlackBerry, said BBM will be coming to “iOS phones running iOS 6 and higher.” Bhardwaj said smartphone is the company’s “real focus” for BBM. “When you start looking at tablets, computers and other screens, the usage model changes and behaviour changes. For us right now the absolute focus is getting BBM onto smartphones,” he said. [via Trusted Reviews]