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Apple airs new iPad 2 ad ‘Learn’

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Apple has started to air its latest TV commercial for the iPad 2. Entitled “Learn,”  the 30-second advertisement is similar in tone to the company’s prior iPad 2 commercials, and features a voiceover by Peter Coyote which states, “Are you curious about new ideas? Do you want to learn a new language, or just a new word? Maybe you want to know more about anatomy, or astronomy. You could master something new, or uncover a hidden talent. There’s never been a better time to learn.” The new commercial is available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Apple releases iOS 5 beta 7 to developers

Apple has seeded its seventh beta version of iOS 5 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to registered developers. Listed as build 9a5313e, the release is also available as an over-the-air update for devices running the prior beta, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 7 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

EA releases Surviving High School HD

Electronic Arts has released Surviving High School HD, an iPad version of its popular choice-based role-playing game. First released for the iPhone and iPod touch nearly two years ago, Surviving High School has provided unique, ongoing playability by providing a storyline and framework in which the developer releases new episodic content each week allowing the player to experience new stories and adventures in the lives of a group of high school and college students in the fictional town of Centerscore.

Providing the same general gameplay as the original, Surviving High School HD also introduces two new iPad-specific game features that appear when playing in landscape mode. A new “Faceplace” section provides a fictional Facebook-style news feed where in-game characters post their thoughts as the game progresses while a Decision Tree section adds a full diagram showing the current scene and possible story branches and allows the player to skip back to specific scenes once they’ve completed an episode. As with the original version, the game begins with the included “Football Season” story and continues each week with new episodic content. Users can access the current week’s “Now Airing” episode for free or purchase previous episodes from an “On-demand” section. The application also displays a new illustrated episode timeline unique to the iPad, showing each episode in thumbnail form. Unfortunately, in-app purchases made in the iPhone version of Surviving High School are not transferable to the new iPad version and must be purchased separately, although previous seasons are available in discounted content packs. Surviving High School HD is available from the App Store as a free download.

Refurbished iPad 2 units now available from Apple

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Apple has started to offer a limited selection of refurbished iPad 2 units on its online store. Currently, the models offered include 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G models on AT&T and Verizon, 64GB Wi-Fi only models, and 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G models on both AT&T and Verizon. Each model is priced at $50 less than retail, making the prices for the three models mentioned above $679, $649, and $779, respectively. It is not clear how much stock Apple has, although it is likely that these more expensive models will be joined by more affordable 16GB and 32GB units in the coming weeks.

Apple created team in 2008 to tackle counterfeiting

Apple organized a team in 2008 to crack down on the spread of knockoff iPods and iPhones in China, according to a new report. Citing a September 2008 memo from the Beijing embassy that was published online by WikiLeaks, CNN reports that despite Apple’s move, progress has been slow, as gadget piracy isn’t a high priority for the Chinese government. The report states that members of Apple’s global security team were recruited from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer after it executed a series of crackdowns on counterfeit Viagra production in Asia, and that former Pfizer security chief—and former FBI agent—John Theriault leads the team. It goes on to say that China’s Guangdong province has become a hub for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Apple products, as Apple manufacturing parter Foxconn operates factories there. According to the report, the Chinese counterfeit ring is also responsible for supplying knockoff goods to India, where officials had discovered shipments that came from China through Hong Kong.

OfficeTime releases iOS time tracking app

OfficeTime Software has released an iOS version of its popular desktop time and expense tracking app. Aimed at consultants, freelancers, attorneys and other professionals who need to track their time for billing purposes, OfficeTime for iOS is designed to balance features and ease of use, making it simple and intuitive to enter time and expenses. The application includes support for multiple timers, easy switching between tasks and continuing timing in the background while using other iOS applications.

Advanced features include one-touch report generation by project or time period, tracking billable hours against fixed cost estimates and contracts and exporting reports and data to Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers. OfficeTime for iOS can also synchronize data with OfficeTime for Mac and Windows including support for aggregating data from multiple iOS devices for team reporting and billing. OfficeTime for iOS is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $8. A free version is also available which provides limited projects and categories and excludes data export and desktop synchronization capabilities.

PopCap releases Peggle HD for iPad

PopCap games has released the long awaited iPad version of its highly acclaimed Peggle arcade puzzle game. Optimized for the larger iPad display, Peggle HD provides the same basic game play and features from the iPhone and iPod touch version, where players must clear pegs from the board by launching a ball into the playing field and hitting the pegs either directly or rebounding off other objects. Four different game styles are available: the classic campaign-style Adventure mode, Quick Play, two-player Duel mode and Challenge mode. Players can train with the usual ten Peggle Masters to learn special magical skills for different levels and progress through 55 levels and 40 Grand Master Challenges. Peggle HD is available from the App Store for $3.

G5 releases Virtual City Playground HD

G5 Entertainment has released Virtual City Playground HD, a sequel to the company’s popular city-building game introduced last fall. Virtual City Playground is an expanded version of the previous game adding 87 new quests, over 90 new buildings and landmarks and Facebook and Game Center integration. Players can build their own open-ended city in a see sandbox mode with no predefined goals or take on any of the optional scenarios for more challenges.

Virtual City HD also incorporates a new freemium model with In-App Purchases that can be used to buy in-game currency, city credits and invest points to progress more quickly in the game and access additional content. Game Center integration allows users to post high scores and achievements and users can also share their achievements on Facebook to earn invest points. G5 Entertainment also plans to release additional regular free updates to offer more content, game mechanics and improved social integration. Virtual City Playground HD is available from the App Store as a free download.

JailbreakMe founder to intern at Apple

Comex, founder of the browser-based jailbreak tool JailbreakMe and major figure in the jailbreak community, has announced that he will soon be starting an internship with Apple. “It’s been really, really fun, but it’s also been a while and I’ve been getting bored,” he wrote in a Twitter update. “So, the week after next I will be starting an internship with Apple.” It’s unclear what type of position the coder might hold with Apple, but given his background, it seems likely that his expertise may be used to discover and plug vulnerabilities in iOS and in mobile Safari in particular. [via 9to5Mac]

Samsung cites ‘2001’ in iPad suit defense

Samsung has filed its opposition to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States, and in doing so has cited a sci-fi classic as evidence that the iPad’s design existed well before Apple’s patent covering it. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports that in its briefing, Samsung cited a pair of devices shown during Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as valid prior art for a certain iPad-related design patent. “In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers,” the briefing reads. “As with the design claimed by the D’889 Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.” While the actors are seen interacting with the tablets as they would static video screens, the scene does not show the devices running an OS, applications of any sort, or otherwise performing other tasks one would associate with an iPad. The clip is available for viewing below. [via MDN]

Radiant pegged as iPad 3 backlight supplier

  • August 23, 2011
  • iPad,

Taiwan-based Radiant Opto-Electronics is set to become the major supplier of backlight units for the iPad 3, according to a new report. Citing anonymous industry sources, DigiTimes reports that LG Display will be the largest supplier of LCD panels for the next-generation iPad, while Samsung and Sharp will also be counted on as LCD suppliers. The report claims that Samsung relies on Radiant for all its backlights for iPad 3 panels, while Radiant’s backlights account for over half the backlights needed by LG, and will also be used in some of Sharp’s panels, although Sharp also sources some of its panels from a Japan-based supplier. A report from late last week indicated that the iPad 3 will launch in early 2012 and will sport a high-resolution 2048 x 1536 display.

Apple offering refurbished iPads for $299 and up

Apple has dropped its pricing on refurbished first-generation iPad units, offering them for as low as $299. As of the time of this writing, 16GB Wi-Fi only refurbished units are priced at $299—although currently out of stock—while 32GB units sell for $399 and 64GB models are priced at $499, with the latter pair listed as in stock and shipping within 24 hours. Wi-Fi + 3G models are also available and sell for a $100 premium over their Wi-Fi only counterparts.

Support for Japanese earthquake warnings found in iOS 5

Support for Japan’s earthquake warning system has been discovered in the latest beta release of iOS 5. 9 to 5 Mac reports that iOS 5 users in Japan can turn on an early earthquake notifications via a slider at the bottom of the iOS Notification Center settings pane. According to a Time magazine profile of the system from earlier this year, it provides warning messages to users from seconds to one to two minutes before the most damaging waves strike, giving them a chance to seek cover. As noted in the report, the new feature will likely replace third-party apps offering similar functionality.

Evernote adds Rich Text Support

Evernote has released a major update to its universal note management app for iOS devices adding support for creating and editing rich text notes, accessing shared notebooks and more. Evernote 4.1 now allows users with iOS 4.2 or later to add rich text styles, lists and links to notes as well as editing existing Evernote items containing simple styles; prior versions of Evernote could display rich-text content from Evernote, however users were limited to appending plain-text information to existing formatted notes. Additional new features include the ability to access notebooks shared by other users, view images in notes as a slideshow and search within individual notes.

The iPad version of the universal app also now sports a new look look and feel with the ability to pinch and zoom in the note list and select multiple notes for simplified sharing and deletion. The iPhone and iPod touch version also includes redesigned screens for creating and editing notes. Additionally, users with an Evernote Premium subscription can now also specify a password to lock the Evernote application on the device. Evernote is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. An Evernote Premium subscription is required for some features and additional storage and can be purchased within the app for $5/month or $45/year.

Rdio introduces Family Plans

Online music service Rdio has introduced a new Family Subscription Plan allowing users to purchase multiple Rdio Unlimited accounts for family members under a single subscription and at a discounted price. Rdio Unlimited accounts are designed for individual personal use and do not allow streaming of music from more than one device simultaneously; under the family plan each member gets their own separate Rdio Unlimited account with control over their own music collection, social network and other Rdio features.

Once subscribed to the Family Plan, the master user can invite users via e-mail to either create new accounts or link their existing accounts to the plan. Invitations are accepted either via the Rdio website or using the Rdio iOS app and users under the same Family Plan are automatically setup to follow each other on Rdio by default. Family Plans start at $18/month for two accounts with each additional account priced at $5/month extra. Recently updated with iPad support, the Rdio iOS app is available from the App Store as a free download.

Gameloft confirms new releases to be Universal builds

Pocket Gamer reports that iOS game developer Gameloft has officially confirmed that it plans to “release everything as Universal” going forward. Until recently, the popular game development studio had traditionally been releasing separate iPhone and iPod touch versions of most of its games, followed later by separate “HD” versions for the iPad that had to be purchased separately. In addition to requiring users with both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad devices to potentially purchase two versions, the HD versions often came out weeks or months after the initial iPhone release.

Over the past few weeks, new releases such as BackStab and 9mm diverged from this practice, but it was unclear whether this was exclusive to these titles or indicative of a change in policy on the company’s part. Gameloft’s Digital Marketing PR Manager, Gregory Wintgens has now confirmed that this is in fact a reflection of the company’s future plans as a result of consumer feedback. [via Touch Arcade]

Apple releases iOS 5 beta 6 to developers

Apple has released the sixth beta version of its upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Listed as build 9A5302b 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 6 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Report: Apple to launch Retina Display iPad in early 2012

  • August 19, 2011
  • iPad,

Apple is preparing to launch an iPad with a high resolution display in early 2012, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is currently working with component suppliers and its assembler in Asia for trial production of the next-generation tablet, and has already ordered key components such as display panels and chips. The report claims that the next-generation iPad is expected to boast a 2048 x 1536 display, which has already shipped in small quantities for sampling. Such a display would likely qualify as a “Retina Display” in Apple’s eyes. “Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012,” said a person at one component supplier, which has already received orders for parts for roughly 1.5 million next-generation iPads in the fourth quarter.

HP kills webOS hardware, will spin-off/sell PC business

HP today announced that will discontinue operations for its webOS devices, effectively removing iPhone and iPad competitors such as the Pre line of phones and touchPad tablet computer from the market. “HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones,” reads a statement from the company. “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

Notably, the same press release states that the company is exploring alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), where former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein now serves as senior vice president of product innovation. Options for the group, which is responsible for business and consumer PCs, mobile computing devices and workstations, include a full or partial separation from HP “through a spin-off or other transaction,” suggesting that HP will exit the hardware businesses for computers, phones, and tablets in the near future. Should the webOS software team be joined with the PSG, it could create an organization similar to Apple, leaving products such as enterprise services and software under the HP banner. However, the announcement may signal a substantial liquidation of HP’s patents or hardware businesses, which would be a stunning blow to a previously strong rival to Apple’s various businesses.

Apple to invest $1 billion in Sharp LCD plant?

Apple has plans to invest in a Sharp Corp factory in order to secure a supply of LCD screens for iPhones and iPads, according to a new report. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that the move has spurred speculation that Apple may move to diversify its range of suppliers in light of its ongoing legal dispute with Samsung. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” said one of the sources. The report notes that Sharp has already secured a contract with Apple to supply “power-efficient” screens for the sixth-generation iPhone, due in 2012. According to the report, Japanese media have said Apple’s investment may be as large as $1.3 billion; Sharp officials could not be reached for comment.

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