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Airfoil Speakers Touch adds direct AirPlay support

Rogue Amoeba has released a major update to Airfoil Speakers Touch adding native iPad support and a new optional feature for receiving audio directly from iTunes and other AirPlay audio sources. Originally designed as a companion app for the company’s Airfoil for Mac and Windows, Airfoil Speakers Touch allows users to listen to audio streamed wirelessly from their computer to their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Version 3.0 adds a new “Enhanced Receiving” feature, available as a $3 in-app purchase, that presents Airfoil Speakers Touch as a remote AirPlay audio device, allowing users to stream directly from iTunes and other iOS devices without requiring Airfoil to be running on the computer. The new version also adds support for remotely controlling and displaying track info and artwork from a number of additional sources streamed via Airfoil for Mac. Airfoil Speakers Touch is now a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. Streaming audio from a computer requires Airfoil for Mac or Airfoil for Windows or an AirPlay compatible application such as iTunes with the purchase of the $3 in-app upgrade for Enhanced Receiving.

Notes from Apple’s Q2 2012 Conference Call

During Apple’s second-quarter 2012 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod businesses.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, opened the conference call by calling attention to the company’s record March quarter, which he said was fueled primarily by strong iPhone and iPad sales. He said that iPod sales, though down year-over-year, were ahead of internal projections, and as with the past few quarters, the iPod touch accounted for over half of iPod sales. Regarding the iTunes Store, Oppenheimer said that the catalog now includes over 28 million songs and 45,000 movies.

iPhone sales more than doubled in the Asia Pacific region, according to Oppenheimer, who added that the January launch of the iPhone 4S in China and the addition of China Telecom as a second carrier were responsible for a lot of growth. Cook later stated that the company saw 3X year-over-year revenue growth in China. Oppenheimer said that the manufacturing ramps for both the iPhone 4S and the third-generation iPad were extremely successful, which enabled the company to fulfill demand in the March quarter, compared to the June quarter last year. As a result, the company is expecting a sequential decline in iPhone sales.

The company was “very pleased” with iPad sales during the quarter—including sales of the third-generation model, which is now available in over 40 countries. iPad sales more than doubled in each segment, and as a result, the company is slightly supply-constrained. Oppenheimer said that the iPad is about to enter the K-12 institution buying season, which the company expects to boost sales, and later added that the company is selling third-generation iPad units as fast as it can make them.

When asked about what the company is learning about lower price points on the iPhone and iPad, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is thrilled with the results they’ve seen thus far, although obviously it’s only been a few weeks. He added that the lower price of the iPad 2 unlocked some education demand, probably more price-sensitive customers, and in some countries, there was a marked change in demand. The company is not sure yet what the mix of third-gen iPad to iPad 2 will be, but said that on absolute sales of the iPad 2, what the company is seeing is exciting. Cook went on to say that the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 contributed to the 35 million in iPhone sales—the company’s second biggest quarter in terms of iPhone sales.

Overall, more than 365 million iOS devices have been sold, and the App Store now offers over 600,000 apps, 200,000 of which are built specifically for the iPad. Oppenheimer added that iCloud now has over 125 million customers signed up.

Finally, when asked about the company’s ongoing legal disputes, Cook said that he has always hated litigation, and just wants companies to invent their own stuff. He added that if Apple could reach agreements where it would be guaranteed that companies would be using their own inventions, and that included a fair settlement on stuff that’s occurred, it would be happy to settle instead of battle. That said, he added that Apple can’t become the developer for the world—that the company needs people to invent their own stuff.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Mac, iPad lines will not merge

During the company’s Q2 2012 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CEO Tim Cook made several very interesting comments regarding the merging of traditional PCs with tablets. Cook said that while any two types of products can be forced to converge, the resulting products involve tradeoffs, and eventually reach the point at which they no longer appear to anyone; combining products creates compromises that do not please either user. He used the MacBook Air as an example of continuing innovation in the Mac space, and said that it appeals to someone who has somewhat different requirements than an iPad user. Cook specifically said that Apple will not make the compromise of convergence, adding that while others might converge their lines—especially for defensive reasons, such as seeing their computer or tablet sales flagging—Apple will play in both markets simultaneously.

Apple Q2 2012: 35.1m iPhones, 11.8m iPads, 7.7m iPods

Reporting its second quarter 2012 financial results today, Apple said it sold 35.1 million iPhones in the quarter, an 88 percent increase year-over-year, but down slightly from 37.04 million units in the prior quarter. Apple sold 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, up 151 percent from the year-ago quarter and down from 15.43 million units in the first quarter of 2012. Finally, the company said it sold 7.7 million iPods during the quarter — a 15 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Unit sales of iPhones, iPads, and iPods bring the cumulative totals for the three device categories to 218.1 million, 67.08 million, and 344.28 million, respectively.

Apple posted revenue of $39.19 billion and net quarterly profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $24.67 billion and net quarterly profit of $5.99 billion, or $6.40 per diluted share in Q2 2011. Revenue from Other Music Related Products and Services, which includes revenue from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore in addition to sales of iPod services and Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories, was $2.027 billion for the quarter, up 32 percent year-over-year and down 6 percent over the prior quarter.

“We’re thrilled with sales of over 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads in the March quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The new iPad is off to a great start, and across the year you’re going to see a lot more of the kind of innovation that only Apple can deliver.”

“Our record March quarter results drove $14 billion in cash flow from operations,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $8.68.”

ITC judge: Apple infringes on single Motorola patent

Apple infringed on a single Motorola Mobility patent in its production of the iPhone, iPad, and several other products, according to an International Trade Commission judge. Reuters reports that ITC Judge Thomas Pender handed down his preliminary ruling in the dispute today, stating that Apple had infringed one Motorola patent, but did not violate three other patents which Motorola accused it of infringing. Judge Pender’s ruling is not final, and will be reviewed by the full commission before a final ruling is issued in August.

Chinese official claims Proview owns iPad trademark

Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of China’s National Copyright Administration, has said that the government regards Proview as the rightful owner of the iPad trademark, according to an Associated Press report. “The dispute between Apple and Shenzhen Proview concerning the iPad trademark is going through the judicial process,” Yan said in a news conference, adding that “according to our government’s laws, Shenzhen Proview is still the lawful representative and user of the trademark.” A lawyer for Proview said last week that the two companies were in talks aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute; Xiaohong’s remarks will likely put added pressure on Apple to find a solution.

Waves Audio releases Mashup Pro DJ app

Waves Audio and Musicsoft Arts have teamed up to release Mashup, a new DJ mixing app designed to provide pro DJ’s with a sophisticated mobile DJ booth on their iPad. Replacing complex and expensive DJ gear, Mashup provides two rotating stereo decks and a mixer capable of playing all standard unprotected audio formats, an advanced scratch engine, resonant filters with a large touch-ribbon UI and hi-end equalizers with larger interface controls. Users can create unlimited playlists on the fly, setup auto-sync and beat matching between decks and record mixes in stereo for further editing, mixing and sharing in other apps. Tracks can be selected from the iOS music library or purchased from an in-app DJ Shop with a collection of tracks from top DJs such as Junior Sanchez and Kris Menace. Users can also pair Mashup running on an iPhone or iPod touch with the iPad version over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for DJing with headphones.

Mashup is designed to provide superior audio processing on the iPad with technology developed by Waves Audio, a leading developer of professional audio signal processing technologies and recipient of the 2011 Technical Grammy award. In addition to the standard audio engine with features such as resonant filters and noise-free scratching, users can also optionally upgrade to Waves’ unique MAXX sound enhancing engine which provides boosted base frequencies and improved volume designed for any listening environment from headphones to large cabinet speakers. Mashup is a universal app requiring an iPhone 4/4S, fourth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2 or third-generation iPad and iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $40; the optional MAXX add-on is available via in-app purchase for an additional $5.

Apple launches new iPhone, iPad Business websites

Apple has launched new mini websites highlighting the use of the iPhone and iPad in business. Entitled “iPhone in Business” and “iPad in Business”, respectively, the sites include pages dedicated to apps that are useful for business, discussion of integration of the devices into existing company infrastructure, task-specific examples of how the devices can help with various tasks, and profiles of businesses that are using the iPhone and iPad to help boost their productivity. Apple regularly touts business adoption of both the iPhone and iPad, both of which have been adopted by a high percentage of Fortune 500 companies.

Third-gen iPad shipping times drop to 5-7 days

The shipping wait time for new third-generation iPad orders from Apple’s online store has dropped once again. A check of the store now shows that all models—including both black and white variants of either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 4G models, across all capacities—are now listed as shipping within 5-7 business days, down from 1-2 weeks. Notably, this applies to the US and Canada stores; a quick check of Apple’s UK storefront shows shipping waits in that country still listed as 1-2 weeks. [via Cnet]

Apple, Proview in talks over iPad trademark

Apple and China-based Proview have started talks aimed at resolving the ongoing legal dispute between the two companies over the iPad trademark. MacWorld UK reports that Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer representing Proview, said the talks were ongoing, but declined to share any details. The legal dispute between the two companies is still being deliberated by Chinese courts, but according to a court spokesman, the court earlier this week recommended that the companies find a way to mediate the dispute. Notably, Apple has yet to launch its third-generation iPad in China despite having received regulatory approval for the device; some have suggested that the ongoing trademark dispute may be behind Apple’s decision to temporarily withhold the device form the Chinese market.

Read It Later gets major refresh, now “Pocket”

The service formerly known as Read It Later has just received a major redesign and a new name: Pocket. Similar to—and actually predating—services such as Instapaper and Readability, Read It Later was one of the first services to allow users to save content from the web for offline reading, although it was not as widely adopted on the iOS platform due to the early lack of an official iOS app for the service.

Read It Later has now been rebranded across the board to Pocket, with a major refresh on both the web service end and the iOS app. Version 4.0 of the app has been redesigned from the ground up to provide a cleaner and lighter reading experience along with new features for viewing and organizing content. Pocket provides a whole new UI with content displayed in an easy visual layout specifically adapted for either the iPhone or iPad versions with fewer toolbars and a new full-screen mode that allows users to focus on the content rather than the app. Filters can now be used to switch between saved articles, videos and images and users can now bulk edit, favourite and tag items in their Pocket collection for quicker and easier organization. The update also adds improvements to syncing, downloading and sharing of content along with numerous bug fixes. Pocket is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple testing local backups for in-store device replacements?

Apple is testing a new system which would automatically backup the device of any customer seeking an iOS device exchange or replacement at an Apple Store Genius Bar, according to a new report. Citing retail sources, 9to5Mac reports that the system is based on a wireless server that would securely and temporarily store a user’s content locally, then automatically wipe the content once the device swap is made. The report indicates that this backup information could come from iCloud or the device itself, and that this solution is preferable to simply relying on an iCloud backup as the process of restoring from an iCloud backup is typically takes too long. The system is said to be in the very early stages of testing, and should it launch, Apple is planning to pilot the system in a few select store by mid-2013, with a full-scale launch coming later that year.

Plants vs Zombies adds new game mode, more content

PopCap has released updates to Plants vs Zombies for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad adding a new game mode, additional mini-games and more new content. The latest update of Plants vs Zombies for iPhone adds a new “Vasebreaker Endless” mode that moves the former mini-game into the mainstream challenging players to survive nine unique levels as they battle zombies hiding in vases and compete for high scores in the Vasebreaker leaderboard.

In Plants vs Zombies HD for the iPad, users can also now relax and start their very own Zen Garden with a unique collection of plants that can be grown to collect rewards; users can find new plants in the game or get Marigolds and Mystery Sprouts to plant from Crazy Dave. Players can also now see how the other side lives with the new nine-level “I, Zombie Endless” game mode which challenges them to help the zombies get past the plants to their brainy rewards. The latest version also adds four new mini-games: Slot Machine, Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist with fun new challenges and adds four new achievements in the iPhone/iPod touch version and 28 new achievements for the iPad version. New coin packs are also now available for in-app purchase and language support has been added for French, Italian, German and Spanish. Plants vs Zombies is available from the App Store in two versions, Plants vs Zombies ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Plants vs Zombies HD ($7) for the iPad.

FreshGames releases Cubis Creatures

FreshGames has released Cubis Creatures, an evolution of the highly acclaimed three-dimensional match-3 puzzler Cubis. The new game provides a completely refreshed mobile version of the title with a vibrant visual presentation for the iOS platform and advanced puzzles to challenge both new players and die-hard Cubis fans alike. Each level is individually crafted and provides unique gameplay with a dynamic cube queue that randomly presents an assortment of cubes and power ups that players must strategically use to clear each level. Players will also be able to compete in Cubis Daily Tournaments against other players around the world and Game Center integration provides tracking of achievements and leaderboards. The game includes 80 levels with additional level packs available via in-app purchase. Cubis Creatures is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1. A free lite version is also available with 20 levels and a single character.

Fotopedia National Parks gets new iPad update, now free

In celebration of Earth Day and National Parks Week, Fotopedia has released a new update to its National Parks app for iOS with support for the third-generation iPad Retina Display and a collection of new photos and visual stories. Fotopedia National Parks takes users on a visual exploration of the 58 National Parks across the U.S. with over 3,000 high-resolution images with point-of-interest descriptions throughout. The new version features a new Visual Stories section, published several times per week that provides a new way to experience the beauty and adventures of the National Parks in a magazine format.

The extraordinary image collection contained in the app is the result of a ten-year project by renowned photographer Quang-Tuan Luong who was the first person to photograph all 58 U.S. National Parks with a large format camera, travelling over 100,000 miles and producing extremely detailed photos that immerse the viewer in the landscapes. Users can navigate through the collection by searching or using smart tags and interactive maps as well as viewing instant slideshows and downloading free wallpapers; users can also mark photos as favourites to build their own personalized albums and share photos via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. The app also includes a trip planner and itinerary builder for planning a visit to any of the various National Parks. Fotopedia National Parks is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple releases Configurator 1.0.1

Apple has released Configurator 1.0.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Originally debuted in March, 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 1.0.1 improves overall stability and performance, and address a number of issues, including those related to the import and installation of .ipa files, redemption codes, note and bookmark deletion, WPA2 passwords, and backup name editing. Apple Configurator 1.0.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store. [via MDN]

Intel, Microsoft teaming on iPad competitors

Intel and Microsoft have been working with first-tier PC vendors in an effort to develop new tablet PCs based on Windows 8, which the companies hope will drag the iPad’s global market share to below 50 percent by the middle of next year, according to a new report. Citing Taiwan-based ODMs, DigiTimes reports that 32 Windows 8 tablet PCs will be launched by HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asustek, and Toshiba by the end of 2012, with entry-level models to run under $300 and target Android tablet PCs, and models over $300 to be targeted directly at the iPad. The report claims that Microsoft will release Windows 8 for x86 platforms in September and Windows RT, a version built specifically for ARM architectures, at a later date. [via AppleInsider]

MumboJumbo releases The Midnight Mysteries: Haunted Houdini

MumboJumbo has released a new iPad hidden object game, The Midnight Mysteries: Haunted Houdini. The fourth entry in the company’s long-running Midnight Mysteries adventure game series, Haunted Houdini takes players on a mystical journey where they must help the spirit of the famed illusionists wife Bess unravel the secrets of what really led to her husband’s death. Along the way, players will discover aspects of Houdini’s life such as his obsession with debunking mediums and his passing involvement with a vindictive secret society while they solve puzzles, adapt objects into tools and consult with famous ghosts such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Howard Thurston. The game provides highly detailed visuals and sound effects along with dozens of challenging puzzles to solve, story-driven hidden object scenes and a detailed hint system. Players can choose from three game modes with different levels of difficulty for the novice and experienced player alike. The Midnight Mysteries: Haunted Houdini is available from the App Store for $7 with an optional Collector’s Edition upgrade available via in-app purchase for $3. The Collector’s Edition adds an exclusive bonus chapter and game mode along with a detailed illustrated strategy guide and additional fan content such as wallpapers and sketch art.

Reader X provides a new way of looking at Google Reader

Wolfgang Augustin has released Reader X, a new Google Reader client for iPad users. Taking an approach somewhere between traditional list-based news readers and magazine-style content aggregators, Reader X presents the user’s Google Reader news feed in a large, wallpaper-style grid. All headlines are displayed in a single view, with each feed presented as a horizontal stripe with items ordered chronologically; users swipe horizontally to browse through items in a single feed or vertically to browse down through additional feeds in their Google Reader account.

Colour coding is used to differentiate unread, starred and read items with colour gradients used to represent the age of each item—newer items use more vibrant, saturated colours while older items are more faded. Users can display only unread or starred items with a single tap or zoom into a feed by tapping its title to present the individual feed in a scrollable grid view. Reader X also provides options for starring, saving and sharing articles via e-mail, Readability, Instapaper, Read It Later, Pinboard, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Users can also use Readability and Instapaper to render web pages for quick reading on the go. Reader X requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.

Verizon to cover two-thirds of US population with LTE

Verizon Wireless today announced the latest expansion of its 4G LTE network, which will see coverage for more than two-thirds of the U.S. population when it goes live April 19. The expansion will include 27 new markets and the expansion of coverage in 44 other markets, for a total of 230 markets covered; Verizon plans to offer LTE service in more than 400 markets, covering 260 million people, by the end of the year. Apple included support for LTE data service in the third-generation iPad and is expected to include it in the next-generation iPhone.

“Verizon Wireless 4G LTE is the premier wireless data service in the nation, with more than six times the geographic coverage of our nearest competitor’s 4G LTE network and now available to more than two-thirds of the nation’s population,” said David Small, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless. “We will continue to introduce new markets and expand covered markets to ensure even more wireless users across the United States can take advantage of the benefits that 4G LTE brings to consumers, small businesses and enterprises.”

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