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Apple sued for second time by Personal Audio

Apple has been sued for the second time by the non-practicing entity Personal Audio, which accuses Apple of patent infringement related to downloadable playlists. FOSS Patents reports that the new filing comes just weeks after Personal Audio was awarded an $8 million jury verdict in a case involving the same patents in relation to the iPod classic, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone. The new case focuses on the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod shuffle, fourth-generation iPod touch, iPhone 4, and iPad 2. As noted in the report, the damages awarded in connection with the iPhone and iPad could be substantially greater than those from the first suit, which focused primarily on iPods; in any case, the report suggests it is likely that the two parties will settle their dispute soon.

Calvetica Calendar goes Universal, adds many new features

Mysterious Trousers has released a major update to Calvetica Calendar adding iPad support and rebuilding the app from the ground up with an entirely new UI and feature set. Version 4.0 provides numerous interface enhancements including a month and day layout on a single screen, a portrait-mode week agenda view and the ability to hide and reorder items in the event details screen. New gestures have also been added allowing features to be activated using press-and-hold and swipe gestures to set reminders, move UI elements off the screen, and more. Enhancements to notifications allow users to enable custom alerts and improved alarm sounds and snooze alarms when they go off, along with an alarm picker that allows users to quickly and easily choose multiple alarms as well as showing complex alarms set in other applications.

The new version also introduces support for task management, allowing users to create tasks that can be organized into custom color-coded groups with title, priority and notes. A free cloud service provides automatic backup and synchronization of tasks between devices running Calvetica. A number of additional features have also been added including the ability to share calendar events via e-mail or SMS, create complex repeats in natural language, map location information, call, e-mail or SMS event attendees from within the app, search for events within a time range by title, notes or location and much more. Calvetica Calendar is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.

Notes from Apple’s Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that the company has experienced the highest quarterly earnings and revenues in its history, as well as record sales for the iPhone and iPad. Apple sold 7.5m iPods last quarter, ahead of expectations with the iPod touch being over 50% of all iPods sold. The iPod share is now over 70% of all MP3 player sales in the U.S. according to the latest NPD data, and leads in most other markets as well. The iTunes Store had revenues of almost $1.4 billion the past quarter, with continuing strong sales of music, video and apps. The iTunes Store continues to be the number one music retailer in the world with 15 billion songs downloaded to date.

Turning to the iPhone, the company sold a record 20.3 million iPhones in the past quarter, as compared to 8.4m in the year ago June quarter and over double of the smartphone growth overall. Oppenheimer reported very strong year-over-year iPhone growth everywhere, with quadrupled sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Manufacturing capacity has been increased and the iPhone is now available on 228 carriers in 105 countries. Apple now has 5.9m iPhones in inventory, which constitutes enough to meet a demand of approximately 4-6 weeks. 91% of Fortune 500 companies are now deploying or testing the iPhone, up from 88% last quarter. 57% of global 500 companies are either deploying or testing the iPhone.

Apple sells 7.54m iPods, 20.34m iPhones, 9.25m iPads in Q3 2011

Reporting its third quarter 2011 financial results today, Apple said it sold 7.54 million iPods during the quarter—a 20% percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, a 142% percent increase year-over-year, and up from the 18.65 million units sold in the second quarter. Apple also sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, up 183% from 3.27 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 128.89 million, 314.56 million, and 28.73 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $28.57 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $15.7 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, in Q3 2010.

“We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Right now, we’re very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall.”

“We are extremely pleased with our performance which drove quarterly cash flow from operations of $11.1 billion, an increase of 131 percent year-over-year,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $25 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.50.”

iTeleport adds Lion compatibility, wakeup support

iTeleport has released an update to its popular desktop remote control application adding compatibility with Mac OS X Lion and introducing the ability to wake remote computers from standby or sleep modes. iTeleport is a VNC-based remote control app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to remotely access and control their computer’s desktop anywhere a Wi-Fi or 3G connection is available. The application can connect to Mac computers using the built-in VPN capabilities in OS X or Windows or Linux PCs using any number of third-party VNC server apps. A companion app, iTeleport Connect allows users to easily access their computer when away from their home or office network, or iTeleport can use the VPN capabilities built into iOS to establish a connection through a home or office firewall. iTeleport is available from the App Store for $25 as a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; an iPad-only version is also available for $20.

CNN app adds live 24h streaming for U.S. subscribers

CNN has introduced live streaming of its 24-hour television networks via its web site and iOS apps for subscribers in the U.S., making it the first news organization to provide a service of this nature. With this launch, CNN.com is also debuting a higher-quality video player capable of delivering HD quality streams to users. CNN streaming will be available to subscribers of participating TV providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Dish Network, Suddenlink and Verizon; users will be required to validate their cable, satellite or telco provider by logging in with a username and password before being granted access to the live video streams. In addition to the live network stream, users can also continue to access four specific live streams for breaking news and events as well as access on-demand video clips. For iOS users, the new streaming video requires the latest version of the free CNN App for iPhone (U.S.) or CNN App for iPad and iOS 4.0 or later.

Coverjam plays artist slideshows to your music

Electric Pocket has released Coverjam, a new iOS application that displays dynamic slideshows of images related to the songs a user is listening to. Coverjam takes the currently playing track and searches for photos on Instagram and Flickr tagged with the artist’s name, presenting the images in a full-screen slideshow as the user listens. Typical photos that Coverjam finds and displays include shots of the band on stage, publicity stills and fan photos inspired by the band. A fresh slide-set appears each time a new track starts playing and the app allows users to share their favourite photos on Twitter, Facebook or via e-mail or flag unwanted photos to remove them from future slideshows. Users can select music for playback within Coverjam or simply open the app while a track is already playing to load photos for the current song. The app is available in two versions: The basic version, Coverjam, is free and ad-supported and is an iPhone and iPod touch app; Coverjam Pro sells for $1 and is an ad-free universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Gameloft releases Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard HD

Gameloft has released an iPad version of its popular Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard title released for the iPhone and iPod touch earlier this year. As with the iPhone version, Shadow Vanguard HD is an FPS game where the player leads a team of elite soldiers on a quest to stop an organization of global terrorists. Unlike traditional FPS games, the player must not only control their own character but provide tactical direction to the other team members in order to accomplish each mission. The game includes eleven missions with levels based on the original Rainbow Six game such as the Embassy Hostage Crisis and the infiltration of a rebel camp in Africa and a new Rainbow unit with three new members and unique abilities. Multiplayer support allows players to join with up to two friends as additional team members in cooperative play through the standard missions or go head-to-head against up to ten other players across five additional specific multiplayer maps. Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard HD is available from the App Store for $7.

Shipping times improve as iPad 2 supply catches up with demand

Fortune reports that shipping times for the iPad 2 have now improved to a more standard 1-3 business days. Since the initial launch of the iPad 2 in early March Apple has found it difficult to keep up with the demand for the device with shipping times originally starting at 3-4 weeks and very recently being reduced to 3-5 days. As of this past weekend, all models are now showing as available within 1-3 business days.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.4, fixes PDF security issue

Apple has released iOS 4.3.4, the latest version of its mobile operating system for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM) and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update fixes a security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files. Apple’s support article provides additional details noting that the issue is related to handling of TrueType and Type 1 fonts that could allow viewing of a “maliciously crafted PDF file” to lead to “unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.” iOS 4.3.4 (build 8K2) is available now via the Update feature in iTunes; a similar update, iOS 4.2.9 (build 8E601), is also available for the CDMA iPhone 4.

X-Plane adds simulated system failures

Laminar Research has released another update to its X-Plane series of flight simulator apps for iOS devices adding simulated systems failures to the experience. Continuing its focus on developing the most realistic flight simulator experiences possible on the iOS platform, Laminar has been consistently updating the entire collection of X-Plane applications with new planes and scenery, new aircraft features and regular tweaks to the flight dynamics for the different aircraft.

Version 9.7 brings X-Plane’s realism to a new level by adding a plethora of system failures that the user can optionally enable and practice dealing with, much like actual flight instructors would do. System failures available in X-Plane 9.7 include flight-control failures, engine failures, landing gear failures, tire blowouts, brake failures and even bird strikes which can be configured to take place instantly or randomly. Failures such as bird-strikes may even cascade into additional systems failures. The aerodynamics and flight model will respond accordingly to systems failures, making the aircraft more difficult to handle and creating unique challenges.

X-Plane for the iPhone and iPod touch is available in several versions divided by category of aircraft: the original X-Plane 9 ($5) includes a series of general aviation aircraft ranging from the venerable Cessna 172 to the concept single-engine Cirrus Jet, with other specific versions available such as X-Plane Airliner ($5), X-Plane Helicopter ($5) and X-Plane Extreme ($5) and more. The iPad version, X-Plane for iPad ($10) includes the full collection of different aircraft and locations from the various iPhone versions all within a single app in an interface optimized for iPad users.

Gameloft releases 9mm

Gameloft has released 9mm, a new action adventure game for iOS in which players take on the role of John “Loose” Kannon, the leader of a special team of hardened cops who become a target for revenge after taking out a local drug lord’s brother and stealing millions in cash. Kannon’s team is left with no choice but to take down the enemy gang leader first by any means necessary. The game provides fast-paced action where players dive into gunfights jumping, shooting and firing in slow-motion stunts as destructible environments splinter and explode from the gunfire.

Players can choose from an arsenal of weapons ranging from pistols to grenade launchers and fight across a variety of locations such as Latino suburbs, night clubs, police departments and more. Multiplayer support allows players to join friends and opponents in free play and team deathmatch games with up to 12 players across four different maps. A background hip-hop soundtrack intensifies the tone of the game along with high-quality graphics optimized especially for the iPad 2. 9mm is a universal app compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third and fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad and is available from the App Store for $7.

G5 releases Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds

G5 Entertainment has released a new mystery adventure game, Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds. In the game, players take on the role of two New York City detectives assigned to a new investigative unit, the Special Enquiry Detail, where they must solve their first case: the shocking death of the daughter of wealthy benefactors. The player must help with forensics, investigate clues and interrogate suspects in order to uncover the trail that leads to the murder. The game provides 12 chapters across 30 locations and includes 25 mini-games throughout an immersive storyline along with Retina Display support and integration with Apple’s Game Center. The game is available in two free trial versions: Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds for the iPhone and iPod touch and Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds HD for the iPad. The full game can be unlocked in either version via in-app purchase for $5 for the iPhone/iPod touch or $7 for the iPad.

Star Walk adds extensive real-time satellite tracking database

Vito Technology has released an update to its popular Star Walk astronomy application for the iOS platform adding a comprehensive database of the approximately 8,000 currently functioning satellites presently orbiting the Earth. The database includes not only information on the satellites but also their exact positions over the ground providing for real-time tracking capabilities of interest to both hobbyist astronomers and users looking to orient satellite receivers for better reception. Star Walk 5.3 organizes the list of satellites by categories such as Special Interest, Weather & Earth Resources, Communications, Navigation, and more.

The latest update is also dedicated to the Star Walk Month of Astronomy: For one month starting July 14th the Star Walk team will be sharing the most interesting space discoveries and running a series of educational contests about the Universe. More information on the Month of Astronomy can be found on the company’s web site. Star Walk is available in two versions: Star Walk ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Star Walk for iPad ($5).

Film Festival TV showcases indie films from around the world

Film Festival TV is a new free app by Culture Unplugged designed to provide access to a global collection of documentaries and films by independent film-makers, activists, grassroots production organizations and purpose-driven institutions. Presenting stories by film-makers from 113 different countries, Film Festival TV is a philanthropic offering from Culture Unplugged Festivals with the aim of uplifting collective consciousness and global cultural harmony by revealing the interconnected world and also includes content from non-profit broadcasting network Link TV. Film Festival TV allows users to watch a variety of documentaries, films and stories across a broad variety of subject areas ranging from human rights, peace and democracy to science, politics and globalization. Beyond simply viewing the films, the application also offers users the ability to respond and provide feedback to the film-makers and story tellers through interactive dialogs. Film Festival TV requires an iPad running iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Real Racing 2 adds new events, multiplayer improvements

Firemint has released an update to Real Racing 2 adding additional Career mode events to the iPhone and iPod touch version and multiplayer improvements to both versions. iPhone and iPod touch users can now take advantage of seven new Career events including the H2NRG Cup, Nissan GT-R H2H and IEJ Volkswagen Scirocco R Time Trial, among others. Several significant multiplayer changes have also been made to both the iPhone and iPad versions that should improve the gameplay experience, including preventative measures to counteract wall-riding, fairer track selection and a new track voting system and fixes related to high latency connections.

This latest update introduces in-app purchasing for trading real money for in-game currency in order to buy new cars and upgrades. Players can also disable previously purchased upgrades to adjust a car’s performance and P-Rating, allowing users to more easily compete in different race categories and can now trade-in their only car for another model provided they can afford the upgrade price. Additional graphics enhancements have also been added, including anti-aliasing support for third-generation devices and visual improvements to body roll and wheel simulation. A number of other fixes and improvements have been made to optimize performance and enhance game precision. Real Racing 2 is available from the App Store in two versions: Real Racing 2 ($7) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Real Racing 2 HD ($10) for the iPad.

Bongiovi releases universal DPS app for iOS

Bongiovi Acoustics has released a new iOS app bringing the company’s patented DPS audio enhancement technology to the on-device listening experience. Known in the iOS community for its inclusion in several of iHome’s speaker products, Bongiovi’s Digital Power Station technology provides real-time audio re-mastering to improve clarity and provide cleaner and deeper bass response, even when using lower-end speakers or headphones. The new universal iOS app allows users to listen to their music, videos and podcasts in their device media library enhanced by DPS technology and optimized for playback through any device connected to the headphone or line-out jack or even the built-in speaker. The app can also compensate for differences in volume between songs, provide enhancement to dialog and sound effects in videos and improve clarity when listening in noisy environments.

Rather than adjusting individual settings, users select from a set of professionally tailored profiles designed to optimize audio for playback through specific types of headphones and speakers. The Bongiovi DPS app is ad-supported and available as a free download from the App Store; the free app includes profiles for the standard Apple earbuds and the built-in speakers of supported iOS devices. Users can purchase an in-app upgrade for an introductory price of $1 to remove the ads and provide access to the full set of audio device profiles, including any new profiles that will become available in the future. Bongiovi DPS requires iOS 4.1 or later and is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and the IPad.

Apple, others sued over GPRS data transfer technology

Apple, along with a host of other well-known companies, has been sued by a Hawaii-based company over technologies related to GPRS 3G data transfer in the iPad and iPhone. AppleInsider reports that GPNE Corp. of Honolulu alleges that Apple is infringing upon three of its patents, by making and selling devices “with the ability to function with GPRS.” Specifically, the patents are related to a “Network Communication System Wherein a Node Obtains Resources for Transmitting Data by Transmitting Two Reservation Requests,” a “Communication System Wherein a Clocking Signal from a Controller, a Request from a Node, Acknowledgement of the Request, and Data Transferred from the Node are All Provided on Different Frequencies, Enabling Simultaneous Transmission of these Signals,” and a “Network Communication System with an Alignment Signal to Allow a Controller to Provide Messages to Nodes and Transmission of the Messages Over Four Independent Frequencies.” Other companies named in the suit include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Garmin, Nokia, Pantech, Research in Motion, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson; GPNE is seeking damages, as well as ongoing post-judgement royalties.

ALK releases new CoPilot Live Premium, Standard apps

ALK Technologies has released a major update of its CoPilot Live series of turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps, dividing the product line into new and separate Standard and Premium versions. Completely redesigned with a more intuitive user interface, CoPilot Live Premium provides detailed street maps stored directly on the device with voice-guided turn-by-turn directions between destinations. The new app provides users with up to three different routes when available and allows users to drag routes on-screen to select their preferred roads. Users can choose to view a 3D map, 2D map or simply a list of directions and the app provides speed limit displays and warnings, lane indicator arrows and signpost information for major highway exits and interchanges.

The new version also provides more interactive features allowing users to tap on the map to navigate to or discover location-specific information about points of interest. Wikipedia and Bing Local Search have also been added to provide users with an extensive database of additional local businesses and places beyond those included in the built-in POI database. A new Walking Mode provides users with a more appropriate interface when navigating by foot with an on-screen interface and enhanced display of POIs and Wikipedia locations on the map.

The updated versions are being sold as entirely new apps rather than as a direct upgrade to CoPilot Live version 8, however the company is offering discounted pricing during the initial release of the new applications. For now at least, the company has chosen to release only the Premium versions for the iOS platform. CoPilot Live Standard is available only on Android devices and simply provides an “a la carte” approach to allow casual users to purchase individual features that are bundled in the Premium version. CoPilot Live Premium is available in separate versions for various regions including CoPilot Live Premium USA ($10) and CoPilot Live Premium Europe ($44) for the iPhone and iPod touch and CoPilot Live Premium HD USA ($15) and CoPilot Live Premium HD Europe ($44) for the iPad. Additional regional versions can be found on the ALK Technologies App Store Page. No specific North American version is available, however users of the USA version can add a map of Canada for an additional $5 via in-app purchase. Additional optional in-app purchases include one-year subscriptions to real-time traffic for $10 and live fuel prices for $5.

PDF Converter turns documents into PDFs

Readdle has released PDF Converter, a new iPad app that allows users to easily convert documents into PDF files directly on their device. The application supports Microsoft Office and iWork document formats as well as web pages, photos and contacts. PDF Converter provides accurate conversion preserving important document elements such as proper page breaks and content formatting, producing professional-grade PDF files. Conversion is performed entirely on the iPad, providing a secure process and eliminating the need for an active Internet connection. Once installed, PDF Converter becomes available in the “Open In” menu in many other iPad applications allowing documents to quickly and easily be sent to PDF Converter. Users can also save web pages directly from Safari simply be prefixing the URL with “pdf” to reload the web page in PDF Converter. PDF Converter requires an iPad running iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $7.

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