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Apple releases Configurator 1.1

Apple has released Configurator 1.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Configurator enables schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time, update software, create and restore backups of settings and app data, and more. According to the release notes, version 1.1 improves reliability and ease of use when installing paid apps with Volume Purchase Program redemption codes, adds new preferences to disable the automatic removal of apps or profiles installed by the user when a configuration is reapplied and disable reapplying a configuration each time a supervised device is connected, includes small changes to the profile editor, and ensures that VPP codes are no longer marked as invalid if the App Store is unavailable. Apple Configurator 1.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store.

Apple’s iOS Maps to use AutoNavi in China

Apple has chosen AutoNavi to supply map services in China, according to a new report. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that AutoNavi will supply maps of China to users running iOS 6 on their devices. AutoNavi set up a joint venture with TomTom—a known supplier of mapping data for Apple’s iOS 6 Maps application—in 2010. Apple touted improved support for Chinese services in iOS 6 during its WWDC keynote address.

Reports point to ‘iPad mini’ launch

Two new reports have reiterated that Apple plans to launch a sub 8-inch iPad before the end of the year. Citing people with knowledge of the plans, Bloomberg reports that the new model will have a screen that’s between 7 and 8 inches in size diagonally, and may be announced in October. The report also states that the new product will not have the “high-definition” screen seen in the third-generation iPad. In a separate report, the Wall Street Journal cites people familiar with the situation as it states that the device will sport a screen smaller than 8 inches in size. The report goes on to claim that Apple and its component suppliers are preparing for mass production to ramp up in September, which suggests a launch later this year. Apple has long been rumored to be working on such a device; the frequency of reports suggesting a near-term launch have increased greatly this year.

Google releases Google Drive for IOS

Google has released a universal iOS client for its Google Drive service. Introduced earlier this spring, Google Drive is an evolution of Google Docs into a full cloud-based file storage and sharing platform. The new iOS app allows users to access their Google Drive online storage allowing viewing PDFs, photos, videos, and documents while on the go; files can also be opened in other iOS apps supporting the “Open in” feature. Users can also search for files, add collaborators to documents and sync files for offline use when no network connection is available. Note that this initial release of Google Drive for iOS does not currently support editing files directly within the app, real-time collaboration, creating new items, or moving items between folders or into the trash, although the company notes that it is continuing to develop the app. Google Drive is a universal app, requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Navigon adds Google Street View

Navigon has released an update to its universal iOS navigation apps adding integrated support for Google Street view, custom routing and a new optional ‘Cockpit’ heads-up display feature. When planning a route with Navigon 2.1, users can now be shown a street-level view of their destination when starting a route, helping them to identify the specific location they should be looking for upon arrivel. The Google Street view integration provides an initial snapshot of the area that users can then expand to a full screen 360-degree view of the destination’s surrounding area; the Google Street view preview will also appear automatically shortly before arriving at the destination.

A new Navigon Cockpit feature has also been added as an optional $3 in-app purchase, allowing users to display relevant, real-time driving data on screen to see a snapshot of their driving habits. Data includes gForce, speed, horizontal and vertical position and an adjustable speed and altitude graph as well as a separate screen with compass and altitude information designed for off-road driving. The new version also adds support for manual route blocking to help users more effectively set their own custom routes. Users can view their route on a map and block certain sections simply by tapping on them, prompting the app to automatically calculate an alternative route to avoid the selected areas. Users can access the manual route blocking both when planning a route as well as during navigation.

Additional enhancements include Retina Display graphics for the third-generation iPad, an optimized map manager interface for downloading and deleting maps and improvements to start-up time and map rendering performance.  The Navigon apps are available from the App Store in a variety of regional versions, including Navigon North America ($40), Navigon USA ($30), Navigon Canada ($35) and Navigon Europe ($85); a full list can be found on the Navigon AG App Store page. The North American Navigon apps and related in-app purchases are available at reduced pricing until July 16, 2012.

Apple settles iPad trademark dispute in China

Apple has settled its trademark dispute with Proview over the iPad name in China. As part of the settlement, Apple will pay Proview $60 million for the rights to the name, which Apple claimed it purchased in 2009, but was never transferred. Speaking with the AP, Proview lawyer Xie Xianghui said the company had hoped for as much as $400 million from a potential settlement, but felt pressure to settle because it needs to pay debts. The company may still be declared bankrupt in a separate proceeding. “The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” the Guangdong High People’s Court said in a statement. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”

Google releases Chrome for iOS

Google has released a universal iOS version of its Chrome browser. The app is designed as an alternative to the built-in Safari browser for users of Chrome on the desktop and allows users to sync their open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibox data between their computer and their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing them seamlessly transition between devices and preserve a unified browsing experience. Users can also send pages from their desktop Chrome browser directly to their iOS device for reading on the go, even when offline.

Chrome for iOS also provides fast search and navigation with a single, combined address and search bar similar to the desktop version with search results that appear as the user types. Intuitive touchscreen gestures are used to open and switch between tabs, allowing iPhone and iPod touch users to flip through their screens like a deck of cards or iPad users to swipe from edge to edge to quickly switch between tabs. The iOS version also supports the “Incognito” mode from the desktop version, allowing users to open pages and browse without saving history or other tracking data. Google Chrome requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

The New York Times now available in Flipboard

Flipboard has released an update to its social news magazine app for iOS with the addition of content from The New York Times. Designed to provide users with a personalized collection of their news and social feeds, Flipboard collects information from major media publications and social networks, presenting the information in an appealing magazine style view. With the latest update, Flipboard users can read The New York Times’ Top News section at no charge while paid subscribers can access the full paper, integrated with their other news and social feeds. Flipboard 1.9.4 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Atari offers 100 Greatest Hits free for 40th Anniversary

In celebration of Atari’s 40th Anniversary the company is giving away all of the 100 games included in its Atari’s Greatest Hits iOS app for free. Normally available as in-app purchases at $1 each of $10 for the entire set, for today only users will be able to download Atari 2600 classics such as Asteroids, Centipede, Pong, Battlezone and more. An updated version of the app has been released on the App Store for the 40th anniversary special. Atari’s Greatest Hits is a universal iOS app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Google intros Nexus 7, Nexus Q as iPad, Apple TV rivals

Google today introduced its first self-branded tablet, the Nexus 7, as well as a new Apple TV-challenging device called the Nexus Q. Halfway between the Kindle Fire and the iPad, the Nexus 7 is positioned as a media tablet, featuring a 7-inch, 1280x800 IPS display, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, NFC support, a microphone, GPS, and the Android 4.1 operating system. It is available for pre-order now, priced at $199 for an 8GB model or $249 for a 16GB unit.

Shaped like an orb, the Nexus Q is akin to a beefed-up Apple TV: powered by dual ARM Cortex A9 CPUs and relying upon 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, Nexus Q boasts 16GB of flash storage, Bluetooth, NFC support, 32 perimeter LEDs for ambient lighting, Micro HDMI and optical audio outputs. Unusually, it also includes an integrated 25W amplifier with banana jack outputs for connecting directly to speakers, as well as a top-mounted dome volume control. However, Nexus Q’s current software does not appear to have been designed for standalone use, seemingly relying instead upon another Android device running Google Play or YouTube for control; like the Apple TV, a USB port is included solely for service and support. In addition, it allows multiple Android users to add media to the device’s playlist. It is similarly available for pre-order now, and is priced at $299.

Apple wins ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Apple has won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in U.S. District Court. Foss Patents reports that Judge Lucy Koh entered the injunction at the close of business yesterday; Samsung has since filed a notice of appeal. The ruling is based on an iPad design patent, and states that “the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is ‘virtually indistinguishable’ from Apple’s iPad and iPad 2”. The injunction will go into effect as soon as Apple posts a $2.6 million bond.

Apple releases Podcasts app

Apple has released a new universal app dedicated to subscribing to, viewing and managing Podcasts on iOS devices. Dubbed simply Podcasts, the new app allows users to browse through hundreds of thousands of audio and video podcasts available in the iTunes Podcasts catalog, stream or download individual episodes for offline listening or subscribe to an entire podcast series. A Top Stations feature also provides a unique user interface with a quick view of the most popular podcasts, organized by topics such as arts, business, comedy, news and sports. A radio-like “Now Playing” screen with simple playback controls allow the user to easily skip forward and back and the app integrates with iTunes to access podcasts synced from an iTunes library in the traditional manner. The application also supports syncing episode bookmarks via iCloud for seamless playback between devices along with a built-in sleep timer and the ability to share favourite podcasts episodes via Twitter, Messages and Mail. Podcasts is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Syncing episodes requires iTunes 10.6.3 or later and streaming is supported over both Wi-Fi and cellular data connections.

Gmail app adds Notification Center support

Google has released an update to its official Gmail app for iOS adding Notification Center support. Although the Gmail app previously provided support for Push Notifications in the form of badge counts, it was missing more detailed per-message notifications found in the iOS 5 built-in Mail app. With the latest update, users can now receive individual new message alerts as banners, Notification Center entries and lock screen notifications. The update also improves support for the alternate sender feature that was added to the back-end web interface in March and adds persistent logins so that users are no longer required to re-authenticate every few days. Gmail 1.2.7812 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple seeds iOS 6 beta 2 update to developers

Apple has seeded developers with the first update to its iOS 6 beta. The update has yet to appear on Apple’s Developer web site, but is apparently available as an over-the-air update for those running the iOS 6 beta on their devices. Notably, the update weighs in at 322 MB for the iPhone 4S, 497 MB for the third-generation iPad, and the gears of the Settings icon seen on the update screen animate as the update is downloaded and installed. According to Apple, the update contains “bug fixes and improvements”, it is unclear what other changes might be included in the update. [via 9to5Mac]

iOS 6 Maps to boast Yelp check-in integration

Apple’s Maps application in iOS 6 will offer users the ability to check-in to Yelp directly from the app, according to a new report. Citing materials Apple distributed to software developers, Bloomberg reports that the integration—which will let users communicate with Yelp without exiting the map—may help Yelp challenge competing check-in services from Foursquare and Facebook. Apple already has a relationship with Yelp through Siri, and has also integrated the service’s reviews and photos into the iOS 6 Maps application.

Reading Rainbow launches official iPad app

Reading Rainbow has released an official iPad application based on the popular and long-running children’s television series. Hosted by LeVar Burton, the Reading Rainbow library provides users with access to a trusted library of books that can be customized to the child’s interests. Children can also take exciting virtual video field trips to themed islands where they can discover new fiction and non-fiction books that include audio storytelling by celebrity actors and light animations and activities to enhance the story.

Reading Rainbow provides access to over 150 interactive books and 16 video field trips and promises frequent updates to expand the available content further. Reading recommendations can be customized to the child and an integrated reward program helps to motivate reading; parents can also access a dashboard to share their child’s reading progress. The Reading Rainbow app is a free download and users can select a single book and view introductory videos for free; a recurring in-app subscription of $10/month or $30 for 6 months provides unlimited access to the library and can be used on multiple iPads that share the same iTunes Store account. Reading Rainbow requires an iPad running iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

GoodReader adds YouTube video downloading

Good.iWare has released an update to GoodReader for iPad adding the ability to save HTML5 video from Safari along with several improvements for PDF handling and remote server connections. GoodReader for iPad 3.15 now allows users to create a special bookmarklet in Safari that can be used to download and save HTML5 video from web sites such as YouTube; videos can then be stored in GoodReader for offline viewing or uploaded to a computer or online file sharing service in the same manner as any other file. PDF improvements include an eraser tool for freehand PDF drawing annotations, the ability to e-mail a PDF Annotations Summary and support for links with custom URL schemes for launching other iOS apps from within a PDF document.

Users can also now setup one-way download-only Auto Sync to allow local files to be overwritten with remote files even if they have been edited on the local device and a new “Upload” button provides a quick shortcut for uploading files and folders to remove servers. Dropbox links can also now be created for any file or folder from directly within the app, allowing users to send out the link for sharing files with other users via Dropbox. Several issues have also been addressed with AFP servers and video files losing their playback position on iOS 5.1. GoodReader for iPad 3.15 is available from the App Store for $5.

Cyan Worlds releases realMyst for iPad

Cyan Worlds has released realMyst for the iPad, an iOS version of the 2000 remake of the classic video game Myst. As with the original remake, realMyst for the iPad provides a realtime 3D environment in which users can freely move rather than being restricted to pre-rendered stills, with higher resolution graphics and controls optimized for the touchscreen display. realMyst provides the full gameplay and interaction of the original classic with all of the original Myst Ages plus the bonus Rime Age along with Interaction Guides to get users started and an integrated Hint Guide. Dynamic environments provide effects such as rippling water, falling rain and waving trees accompanied by dynamic 3D sounds and the haunting Myst music score; Full Retina Display support is also provided for the third-generation iPad. realMyst requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad using iOS 3.2 or later and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $7.

FileMaker releases Bento 4 for IPad

FileMaker has released a major new version of its Bento personal database application for the iPad, adding new design tools that allow users to effectively use the iPad version as a standalone app. A complete reinvention of the original Bento iPad app, the new version allows users to build their own database solutions right on the iPad for organizing contacts, tracking projects, planning events, managing lists and much more, all using powerful and intuitive drag and drop design tools. Users can choose from 25 included database templates or link directly to the Bento Template Exchange to access hundreds of free templates to get up and running quickly or simply start from a blank slate and build their own solution; the new design tools allow users to quickly and easily customize templates and create forms with 40 Retina Display ready themes that can also be used to add coordinated backgrounds, fonts, and shading.

Bento 4 for iPad also expands the data views available, allowing users to visualize their information in Table, Split and Full screen views in addition to custom form designs. Multi-field sorting and highlighted searching are also now available to make information easier to find and organize and new database fields have been added for calculations, encrypted data and GPS location. With the new design tools the iPad version of Bento can be used by itself to create database apps on the iPad; Bento for Mac users can also still continue to sync with Bento for Mac, including the ability to transfer new libraries and apps created on the device back to the desktop version. Bento 4 for iPad is a new app rather than an update, although users can optionally import and update databases from the earlier version. Bento 4 for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $5 until July 31. Bento 4.1 for Mac is required to sync with the new Bento 4 for iPad; it is available from the Mac App Store for $30 and is a free update for existing Bento 4 for Mac users. The iPhone and original Bento for iPad apps also remain available on the App Store and provide a more limited set of features designed for viewing and updating database content on the go.

Apple airs new ‘Do It All’ iPad TV ad

Apple has started to air its latest TV advertisement for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “Do It All”, the add focuses on a number of tasks that can be completed using the device. “Send a note. Stay informed. Catch a show. Make your point,” the narrator states. “Make a memory. Make a masterpiece. Read something. Watch something. And learn something. Do it all more beautifully, with the Retina Display, on iPad.” The ad is available for viewing below in embedded form or on YouTube via the above link.

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