Apple has been awarded a patent for its iOS devices’ “slide to unlock” feature. BBC News reports that U.S. patent number 7657549 states, “A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device.” As noted in the report, the broad language of the patent would appear to cover not only Apple’s unlocking method, but those used by rival platforms, including Android and Windows Mobile. The patent was originally filed in June 2009, and lists Apple senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall as one of the seven inventors.
TomTom has released an update to its collection of iOS apps adding native iPad support and general interface improvements. TomTom 1.9 now includes an optimized iPad user interface with a full-screen display providing an integrated driving and Advanced Lane Guidance view. As a universal app, existing TomTom users can also transfer any existing subscriptions to premium services for use on the iPad as well as their iPhone and iPod touch. The update also includes the latest map data and provides an improved interface with the ability to return to the driving view with a single tap from anywhere in the app and easier access to guidance options and route types. TomTom is available from the App Store in several versions for different regions with prices ranging from $50 for TomTom U.S.A. and $70 for TomTom U.S. & Canada to $120 for TomTom Europe.
FishLabs has released Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, a high-performance version of its popular space adventure game exclusively for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Taking full advantage of the A5 chip, Galaxy on Fire 2 HD provides 3D models rendered with four times as many polygons and textures at a four times higher resolution than the original Galaxy on Fire 2, running smoothly at up to 40 frames per second. New Open GL 2.0 shaders and additional texture sets and specular maps provide extremely detailed surfaces for each of the 30 space ships and space stations in the game with console-quality graphics and enhanced special effects.
As with the standard version of Galaxy on Fire 2, the HD version takes the player on a journey through a vast universe of more than 20 star systems, 100 different space stations and 30 configurable space ships while following the immersive storyline of Keith T. Maxwell, thrust 35 years into the future and halfway across the galaxy by a malfunctioning hyperdrive. Maxwell must quickly adapt to his new environment while being drawn into the middle of an intergalactic struggle between the four major races and helping defend against a new alien threat. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD also provides support for transferring saved games between iOS devices and Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD for Mac OS X via iCloud, including support for the upcoming Valkyrie HD add-on scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2012. Game transferability between the regular version of Galaxy on Fire 2 and the new HD version will also be coming with the release of Valkyrie HD. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is a universal app requiring an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and is available from the App Store for $10.
Apple has added a toggle for turning iTunes Match on and off to the Music section of iOS 5’s Settings app, suggesting an imminent launch for the service. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. The appearance of the toggle — which currently activates an alert stating that “You are not currently subscribed to iTunes Match. Use iTunes on your computer to subscribe” — has some suggesting that the service may launch ahead of Apple’s “end of October” estimate, however, the service does require iTunes 10.5.1, which is currently in developer beta and not available to the public at large. [via Mac Rumors]
Cocoa Box Design has released an update to Penultimate its digital ink notebook application for the iPad adding the ability to rearrange page sections, new pen colours and more. With Penultimate 3.2 users can now move, cut, copy and paste freeform sections of pages by drawing a selection shape around the section they want to select, useful for rearranging notes and stamping designs. The update also adds new pen colours, including a white pen for marking up images with dark backgrounds and allows users to mix-and-match papers within a single notebook. Users can also now move pages between notebooks either individually or in a batch or even merge entire notebooks together. Additional improvements include the ability to change the name of a notebook by tapping in the toolbar and improvements for iOS 5 compatibility. Penultimate 3.2 for iPad is available from the App Store for $2.
Reporting its fourth quarter 2011 financial results today, Apple said it sold 6.62 million iPods during the quarter—a 27 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, a 21 percent increase year-over-year, and down slightly from the 20.34 million units sold in the third quarter. Apple also sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, up 166 percent from 4.19 million units in the year-ago quarter. The unit sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 145.96 million, 321.18 million, and 39.85 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $28.27 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in Q4 2010.
“We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.”
“We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30.”
Griffin has released Crayola Paint & Create for the iPad, a new app for children that provides a collection of more than 40 games and activities including puzzles, mazes, color-by-numbers, connect-the-dots and more. The app allows kids to use their fingers as coloured pencils, pain brushes, crayons or markers, dynamically drawing on the touchscreen and bringing colouring pages to life with motion and song effects. Animated pages allows users to colour in existing scenes or they can start from a blank canvas to generate their own works or art. All artwork can be saved to the gallery, mailed, uploaded to Facebook or printed out via AirPrint. Paint & Create can be used alone or in conduction with the Crayola ColorStudio HD and iMarker accessory. Crayola Paint & Create is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $3.
Apple is offering “special limited time” pricing on refurbished first-generation iPad units. The refurbished iPad page of the company’s online store shows several models in stock, including 64GB Wi-Fi units for $399, 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G units for the same price, and 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G units for $499, a substantial savings off the original $829 price. All of Apple’s refurbished iPads come with a new battery and outer shell, all manuals and accessories, and the same one-year warranty as new models.
Marco Arment has released Instapaper 4.0, a major update to the popular offline reading app for iOS devices. The new version features a number of significant improvements including completely redesigned interfaces with a new grid view on the iPad version and a unified and restyled navigation view on the iPhone/iPod touch versions. Users can now also perform server-side searching of the full content of their entire Instapaper archive and can select multiple articles to archive, delete or move in a single operation. The update also adds support for hardware brightness control in iOS 5, draggable scrollbars for quickly navigating through documents and the inclusion of article authors, published dates and site titles in articles whenever available.
Instapaper 4.0 also expands Friends support allowing users to browse recent links from their Facebook news feed, Twitter timeline and Tumblr dashboard and users can also customize the number of liked and archived items stored on the device, take advantage of integrated Wikipedia lookups from within articles and opt to use the built-in dictionary under iOS 5. A number of other smaller enhancements and bug fixes have also been included. A detailed overview of the new features is available in a post at Macro Arment’s blog. Instapaper 4.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
A U.S. Judge has ruled that Samsung does infringe on Apple’s patents with its Galaxy line of Android-based tablets, but stopped short of issuing a preliminary injunction against the devices. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said that while Apple must show that Samsung infringed its patents, it must also prove that its patents are valid under the law. Koh said she would deny an injunction based on one of Apple’s “utility” patents, calling her thoughts “tentative” while promising to issue a formal order “promptly,” but did not say whether she would grant an injunction based on three other Apple “design” patents. Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in various suits against one another in Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.
An Australian court has temporarily banned Samsung from selling its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android-powered tablet in the country. According the Associated Press, the ruling prevents Samsung from selling the device in Australia in its current form until a further court order, or until the lawsuit is resolved. The ruling will likely prevent Samsung from launching the product in time for the lucrative holiday sales season, barring a settlement between the two companies, which seems a tenuous suggestion at best. Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in various suits against one another in Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.
Apple has released iTunes Movie Trailers, a new iOS app that allows users to access new and exclusive movie previews in HD on their device. Users can browse trailers, clips and featurettes for both major Hollywood films and independent cinema along with high-resolution photos, a year-long calendar of movie releases and location-based showtime info. The application also allows users to purchase movie tickets directly from their iPad or iPhone. Favorite movies and theatres can be saved for quick access and images can be saved to the iPad photo gallery to use as desktop wallpapers or share with friends. AirPlay is also supported allowing users to view trailers on their Apple TV, and favourites can be pushed to multiple iOS devices via iCloud.
iTunes Movie Trailers requires iOS 4.3 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch. iCloud sync requires iOS 5 or later and a valid iCloud account. iTunes Movie Trailers is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Apple has released iOS 5 updates to its three iWork apps—Pages, Numbers and Keynote—adding support for sharing documents via iCloud. The latest versions allow users to automatically store presentations, spreadsheets and word procession documents in iCloud and automatically keep them up to date across all iOS devices. Documents can also be downloaded to a Mac or a PC from iCloud.com in either native iWork, PDF, or Microsoft Office compatible formats, and new compatible files can be uploaded to iCloud.com for automatic synchronization to iOS 5 devices.
Several other new features have also been added to each of the apps in addition to iCloud and iOS 5 support. Keynote 1.5 introduces the ability to stream presentations wirelessly to an Apple TV via AirPlay along with support for navigating slides, viewing presenter notes and using the virtual laser pointer while giving a presentation. Keynote also adds several new builds and transitions, advanced presentation controls including loops slideshows and autoplay and support for hyperlinks between slides.
Pages 1.5 adds voice dictation support for the iPhone 4S, the ability to create footnotes and endnotes in documents and character, paragraph and page counts. Numbers 1.5 improves formatting and data entry features adding sliders, steppers and pop-ups to simplify entering data and support for merging cells and hiding rows and columns. All three apps also improve compatibility with their iWork for Mac and Microsoft Office counterparts and include improved support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean language input.
As expected, Apple today released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The anticipated update offers over 200 new features, including a new Notifications system, Reminders app, Twitter integration, Camera enhancements, full support for iCloud, Wi-Fi Sync, PC-less setup, and more. iOS 5 is available now for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch via the Update feature in iTunes 10.5.
Apple has released an iOS version of its Airport Utility for configuring and managing Airport and Time Capsule wireless devices. The free universal app provides similar functionality to the Mac version, allowing users to manage Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Users can see a graphical overview of the Wi-Fi network and devices, get more information about a connected Wi-Fi device and view and change base station and network settings, including restarting devices and updating firmware versions and configuring passwords, DNS and router addresses and DHCP reservations and port mappings. AirPort Utility requires iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
According to the latest data from comScore, the iPad accounted for 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic in the U.S. in August 2011. The research firm also found that iPads have also started to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones, representing 46.8 percent of all iOS device traffic, compared to 42.6 percent for the iPhone. Despite Android’s larger share of the smartphone market, iOS had the highest market share of connected devices and smartphones in use with 43.1 percent, compared to Android’s 34.1 percent, a difference largely attributed to the iPad’s dominance in the tablet market. iOS as a platform also accounted for the largest share of Internet traffic among such devices, representing 58.5 percent of all non-computer traffic in the U.S., compared to a 31.9 percent share for Android.
Mobiata has released an update to FlightTrack and FlightTrack Pro adding support for the upcoming iCloud release and integration with the new Twitter features in iOS 5. With FlightTrack 4.2 users can now synchronize their flight lists and FlightTrack settings across multiple iOS devices using iCloud and post flight updates to Twitter using the new integrated iOS 5 Twitter integration. The update also fixes a number of bugs, improves performance when tracking large numbers of flights, adds thousands of additional airports and provides more readable and concise airport weather forecasts. FlightTrack is available in both standard and Pro versions: FlightTrack ($5) includes a full set of flight tracking features including weather radar, gate and baggage claim information, flight delay forecasts and SeatGuru charts; FlightTrack Pro adds push notifications, airport delay and closure information and TripIt synchronization. Both apps are universal and require an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later; iCloud and Twitter integration features require iOS 5.
The Omni Group has released an update to its OmniFocus apps for the iPhone and iPad adding background location reminders and general support for the upcoming iOS 5 release. The latest update to OmniFocus now allows users to set geo-fence style location reminders under iOS 5 that can be triggered in the background when arriving at or leaving a specified location. Although OmniFocus has provided location-based contexts for some time, the feature was previously confined to querying tasks nearby and plotting them on a map. The new Location Reminders feature will alert the user to available tasks at nearby locations even when OmniFocus is not the active application. Location Reminders can be associated with contexts and users can choose from one or three ranges to determine at what distance the reminder is triggered.
This latest update also adds several other enhancements including improvements to map views and edit modes, better display of calendars in Forecast View, and several fixes related to syncing and other miscellaneous bugs. OmniFocus is available from the App Store in two versions: OmniFocus for iPhone ($20) and OmniFocus for iPad ($40). Both versions require iOS 4.0 or later; the new Location Reminders feature requires iOS 5 and an iPhone 4/4S or iPad 2 with 3G.
Facebook has released an update to its iOS application adding the anticipated native iPad support. Originally reported by the New York Times in June to be appearing in the “coming weeks,” the app was inexplicably delayed, prompting a prominent developer to leave Facebook in frustration and report that it had in fact been “feature complete” as far back as May. Many later expected the rumoured iPad update to be released at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in September, however the event came and went with no mention of iOS at all.
Today’s update to Facebook 4.0 finally adds native iPad support to the existing Facebook application providing an iPad optimized user interface with higher resolution photos, improved navigation and access to Facebook apps and games. Users can also zoom in on photos, updates and stories and share photos and status updates without leaving the news feed. The update adds several new features to the iPhone and iPod touch version as well, including improved searching and browsing, similar games and app support, bookmarks and improved navigation. Facebook 4.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Firemint has announced plans to release a major update to Real Racing 2 and Real Racing 2 HD in conjunction with the launch of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S. The new version will deliver full 720p AirPlay support for playing on the Apple TV from an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S and promises to improve the graphics and performance by utilizing the power of the new A5 processor in the iPhone 4S. Visual upgrades will include real-time dynamic shadows and specular lighting on car interiors, a 4x increase in polygon count on car visuals with more details modelled in, improved reflections, enhanced road lighting and HDR-like exposure effects.
The new version will also introduce a “Party Play” mode that will allow 2 to 4 players to engage in split screen local multiplayer games via AirPlay. One iPhone 4S or iPad 2 will be required to act as the “host” device and handle the AirPlay output. Additional players can join in using any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch models can then join in. Although no specific dates have been provided, Firemint has indicated that the updates should be coming “just in time for the launch of iOS 5.” Real Racing 2 ($5) and Real Racing 2 HD ($7) are available from the App Store.