Kevin Ng, the developer behind the label Pixels on Toast, has posted an interesting discussion of the challenges facing game developers should the next iPad launch with a 2048 x 1536 Retina display. Ng notes that such a high-resolution screen will require four times the video memory, and will also require much larger assets, which could make the current 20MB 3G download size cap that much of a hassle, if not downright untenable; he suggests the limit will be raised for iPad apps should the next iPad launch with a Retina display.
100% crop of Food Run on non-Retina display
Ng also raises questions regarding the artwork required for high-resolution games. “So the question that us iOS developers are asking ourselves is, are we ready for this?”, Ng asks. “Not all iOS developers make their artwork using vectors. Many of the more hand-drawn titles will have pixel-based source art, meaning that unless they were working in high resolution to begin with, there is going to have to be a lot of reworking to fully support the new displays.”
100% crop of Food Run output at 2048 x 1536
He continues, “Titles using 3D graphics will be in a better state of readiness than bitmap games. It’s likely that just a few lines of code will enable these games to run on the new display. However, for best results, games developers are going to have to raise the resolutions of their textures, otherwise the 3D models will look smeary, albeit with sharply defined silhouettes.” Ng notes that games that are 2D vector in nature, including his upcoming title Food Run, are in the best shape, as they are already Retina capable. Apple is widely expected to include a Retina display in the next iPad, which it will announce at a special media event on March 7.
Offline web reading service Readability has released an official native iOS application. The free universal app allows Readability users to sync and access their saved web articles on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad while on the go. Designed to focus on simplicity, the application provides a clean, minimalist reading interface with impressive typography and intuitive gesture controls for managing and navigating content. Users can access and manage their current reading list as well as starred and archived items and can share items to Facebook and Twitter from directly within the app.
Readability originally attempted to release a native iOS application last year, but the app was rejected by Apple for not using the App Store’s in-app purchasing for its Premium subscription service. Instead, Readability continued as a web-based application specifically optimized for the iPhone and iPad Safari browser and the company partnered with other developers to provide Readability integration into other news and reading apps such as Reeder, Pulse, Longform and Early Edition 2. It is also worth noting that earlier this year the company changed its subscription model to remove the requirement for a paid subscription to access the full set of Readability features; instead subscriptions are now voluntary donations to support the Readability service and writers. Readability is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or late and is available from the App Store as a free download.
MLB.com has relaunched its MLB.com at Bat iOS app for the 2012 season as a single free universal app for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, implementing in-app subscriptions for paid features. In prior seasons, MLB provided separate apps for the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad, sold individually for $15 each, requiring fans to either choose to use the app on a single platform or purchase both individually. The 2012 version of the app is now packaged into a single universal app available as a free download; rather than requiring payment up front for the app users can instead sign up for an At Bat 12 subscription via in-app purchase or simply log in to their MLB.com account to use their existing MLB.TV Premium subscription.
The At Bat 12 subscription is priced at $15 for the entire season or $3 per month and provides live game day audio with no blackouts for any home or away broadcast, pitch tracking, league stats and in-game highlights. Subscribers can also watch a live stream of the selected Game of the Day and access Live Lookins on other games in progress. MLB.TV Premium subscribers can also view live and on-demand video of any out-of-market game simply by logging into their MLB.com account, although the usual blackout restrictions apply; MLB.TV Basic subscribers must still purchase an At Bat 12 subscription separately, however. The MLB.com At Bat app can also be used without a subscription to track up to the minute scores, and access news, game schedules, team rosters, venue information and tickets and promotions. MLB.com At Bat requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple and Google have been sued by Florida-based PanoMap over the iOS’ implementation of Google Maps’ Street View feature. PaidContent reports that the complaint, filed in federal court in Orlando, claims that implementation violates a PanoMap patent related to an “Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images”. The suit seeks damages with interest from both parties, as well as attorney fees and costs.
From the patent abstract: “A method and system for indicating the camera position, direction, and field of view in a map or panoramic image comprises a map image window which displays a map or panoramic image of the site to be studied (house, apartment, city, etc.). A detailed view window displays a portion of the map image, taken from a point in the site. A highlighted sector in the map image represents the viewing position, direction, and field of view that the detailed view window displays. When the user changes the field of view in the detailed view window, the highlighted sector in the map image changes in synchronism. The resulting interactive windows allow a person to easily and quickly view and understand the field of view, position, and direction of the image being displayed in the detail view window.” [via TUAW]
As expected, Apple has sent out invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a special event on March 7. The image accompanying the invitation features a finger reaching out to touch the Calendar icon on a noticeably high-resolution iPad screen, and the tagline “We have something you really have to see. And touch”. Notably, no Home button is seen on the device, although it may simply be rotated to the side. Apple is expected to unveil the third-geneartion iPad at the event; the device is expected to feature a Retina Display with four times the pixels, as well as 4G LTE connectivity and a new chipset, all in an almost unnoticeably thicker shell that we first saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco and will start at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Citing code found in a beta version of iOS 5.1, a new report claims that Apple is simultaneously developing its next-generation A6 processor, as well as an “A5X” variant of the A5 processor that currently powers the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. 9to5Mac reports that the code makes reference to both an “S5L8950X” chip—said to be the A6—and an “S5L8945X” chip, which is said to be the A5X. For reference, the original A4 was referred to as “S5L8930X”, and the A5 “S5L8940X”. A later report from the same outlet suggests that the A5X will find its way into the next-generation Apple TV, while the A6 will power the next-generation iPad.
Best Buy is now offering a substantial discount on the iPad 2 ahead of the expected announcement of the next-generation model. A brief check of the retailer’s website shows that all models of iPad 2—including white and black models of all capacities, and Wi-Fi as well as Wi-Fi + 3G—are $50 off their standard retail price, with prices now starting at $450 and ranging up to $780. Apple is widely expected to announce its next-generation iPad next week at a special media event in San Francisco.
Vimeo has added native iPad support to the iOS app for its popular online video sharing service. The Vimeo app allows users to not only view and upload videos from their iOS device but also provides integrated video capture and advanced editing features including the ability to add transitions, titles and effects, layer background music and sound recordings and adjust volume levels. Vimeo 2.0 is now a universal app introducing a native iPad user interface. The new version also adds integration with the Vimeo Music Store and the ability to shoot video, create projects and browse featured channels without signing up for or logging into a Vimeo account. Users can also now view their subscriptions, likes, and watch later album and share, add comments and view licenses, credits and likes on other people’s videos. Vimeo 2.0 requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Adobe has launched Photoshop Touch for the iPad, the first in its series of “Touch Apps” for the iOS platform first announced last fall. Adobe Photoshop Touch provides a core set of features from the full desktop version of Photoshop in an iPad optimized app, including support for working with multiple layers and advanced selection tools along with a number of professional effects and filters. Intuitive touch gestures allow users to access Photoshop tools, zoom and pan within an image and precisely select and refine parts of an image. Images can be opened from the iPad photo library or users can take advantage of an integrated Google Image search to acquire images from various online sources.
Finished results can be shared via Facebook or e-mail, printed via AirPrint or uploaded as projects to Adobe Creative Cloud and opened in Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Touch on another iPad or tablet device. Advanced Facebook integration also allows users to view comments on their shared photos directly within the app. Photoshop Touch also provides a collection of 13 step-by-step tutorials covering professional techniques as well as a gallery view to allow users to easily choose the styles and results they’re looking for. Adobe Photoshop Touch requires an iPad 2 with iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.
Bandwdith Publishing, in conjunction with the George Harrison Estate has released The Guitar Collection: George Harrison, a new iPad app celebrating the famous guitarist and his historical guitar collection. The new app provides a virtual guided tour of George Harrison’s private guitar collection through photographs, detailed descriptions and audio and video footage; 360-degree imaging by photographer Steven Sebring allows provides an immersive experience allowing fans a never before seen view of the classic guitars right down to every scratch, ding and worn thread. The app includes a selection of Harrison’s best known guitars such as the Gretsch G6128 Duo Jet, the Gibson J-160E, the Rickenbacker 360/12, the Fender Stratocaster named ‘Rocky’, the Ramirez Classical, the Fender Rosewood Telecaster, and the Zemaitis Lotus 12-String, with plans to add additional guitars to the app in future updates.
The application also includes personal audio recordings from Harrison himself introducing many of the guitars and playing selections of songs, along with a list of songs from his catalogue organized by the guitars used on each track. A detailed history of each guitar is also provided, including its origin, how it came to be part of Harrison’s collection and modifications Harrison made to create his distinctive sound. The app also includes video footage of Ben Harper, Josh Homme, Mike Campbell, and Dhani Harrison playing and showcasing the guitars as well as a discussion by Conan O’Brien and Dhani on what makes these guitars so exceptional and an interview with guitar great Gary Moore sharing his views on what made George Harrison such a distinctive and influential guitar player. The Guitar Collection: George Harrison is available from the App Store for $10.
Leading up to the Oscars, Umami has added two major new social features to its TV companion app for iPad users: FreezeFrame and Dishboard. Umami is a “second-screen” iPad app designed to allow TV viewers to easily see relevant background information while watching their favourite shows. The app can automatically recognize what a user is watching from major television networks by listening to the TV and display relevant information including rich show info including cast bios along with one-click access to official show pages, fan sites and Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia pages. Version 1.2 adds a new FreezeFrame feature that allows users to instantly share and comment on an image of what they’re seeing on their TV screen via Twitter or Facebook, allowing users to share their favourite moments, actors, recipes, products and more in real-time while they watch. The update also adds Dishboard, a new social TV dashboard that allows users to visualize conversations occurring around their favourite TV show as it unfolds, collecting the most popular links and tweets that are trending around a show and allowing users to share what they’re interacting with while they watch. Umami for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
A Shanghai court has rejected Proview’s request for an injunction barring the sales of iPads in the city. Reuters reports that the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court also agreed to Apple’s request that the trademark case be suspended pending a ruling in a separate case in a higher court. Proview has sued Apple in various jurisdictions in the country claiming trademark infringement over the iPad name; Apple claims that it purchased the trademark from a Proview subsidiary in 2009.
New photos comparing a claimed next-generation iPad back panel to an iPad 2 offer further evidence that the device will be slightly thicker than its predecessor and sport an improved rear camera. In a wider-reaching roundup of iPad rumors, M.I.C. Gadget has posted a number of comparison photos, which claim to show an iPad 2 and a “confirmed rear shell for iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 3G model”. Notable in the photos is a more gradual taper to the edges on the iPad 3, a much larger rear camera lens, and the fact that the new model is roughly 1-1.5 mm thicker depending on the model, although it is said to still fit inside some iPad 2 cases despite the difference. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPad on March 7.
A claimed “pre-GM” seed of iOS 5.1 has been obtained by Brazilian enthusiast site Blog do iPhone, and reportedly offers a new form of lock screen camera access. According to the report (Translated Link), the new Camera access control sits on the lock screen permanently, and provides instant access to the camera by simply sliding the icon upward. Currently, users must double-tap the Home button, tap the camera button, and then wait for the Camera application to load. In addition, the report claims that Japanese is now listed in Siri’s Settings as an officially supported language; an expected addition, considering the virtual assistant has recently been listing Japanese when answering inquiries into her language support. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple this morning announced OS X Mountain Lion, the next release of its desktop operating system for its Mac computers. Among the new features debuted by Apple this morning—many of which were based on existing iOS apps, including Notes, Reminders, and Game Center—is AirPlay Mirroring. As the name suggests, the feature will allow users to mirror their Mac’s screen on a HDTV using an Apple TV, making it easy for users to share web pages, videos, lessons, and presentations with others. In addition, the company announced a beta version of Messages for OS X. This iChat replacement mimics the Messages app on iOS, allowing users to send iMessages across both iOS and Mac devices. The app also integrates support for AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts, as well as FaceTime, removing the need for a separate, standalone app. The beta version of Messages is available now as a free download for users of OS X Lion 10.7.3 or later; OS X Mountain Lion is currently available in preview form to registered Mac developers and is slated to ship in late summer.
As Chinese authorities in two towns have started seizing iPads from local retailers, China-based Proview is now seeking an import ban on the device. Citing various Chinese-language news reports as well as Proview attorney Ma Dongxiao, the New York Times reports that the confiscated iPads are under “temporary impoundment” from retailers in Xuzhou and Shijiazhuang. According to the report, Proview has asked authorities in more than 20 cities to investigate whether iPads were being sold following a December court ruling that dismissed Apple’s claim to the iPad name in China. In addition, Proview has made a filing with the General Administration of Customs in China seeking to block the export of iPads from the country should Proview’s trademark claims be upheld. Such a move could be devastating to Apple, as the vast majority—if not all—of its iPads are built in China; however, the report suggests that the confiscations and filing are “warnings” of the consequences Apple could face should it decide not to settle the trademark dispute.
Apple is currently working to test an iPad model with a smaller screen, according to a new report. Citing officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has shown the suppliers screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around eight inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. One person said the smaller device will have a similar resolution to that of the iPad 2, and that Apple is working with AU Optronics and LG Display to supply the test panels. As noted in the report, Apple could opt not to proceed with the device; iLounge’s own sources have repeatedly said that Apple was working on an iPad model with a screen size in the seven-inch range, but have similarly expressed uncertainty as to whether the product would ever actually be released.
Apple will announce its next-generation iPad at a special media event scheduled for Wednesday, March 7, according to a new report. Citing sources who have been reliable in the past, iMore reports that the device will feature a 2048x1536 Retina display, a quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip, and “possibly” 4G LTE wireless data capability. The latter feature was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, which claims that both Verizon and AT&T will offer 4G data plans for the device. The iMore report goes on to repeat claims that originated with iLounge, including the suggestion of a vastly improved—5-8 megapixel—rear camera and FaceTime HD-capable front camera for the device.
Retailer Meijer has significantly dropped the price of the 16GB iPad 2 ahead of the rumored arrival of the next-generation model. AppleInsider reports that the big-box store’s weekly ad for February 12-18 touts the 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi as being priced at only $429—a $70 discount off the typical retail price—and notes that “all iPads [are] on sale”. The promotion is being offered on a “while supplies last” basis, suggesting that the sale may be part of a move by the retailer to clear out inventory ahead of the new model’s arrival. Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPad early next month.
Apple is said to be in “crunch mode” when it comes to picking the apps it will demonstrate on-stage at the launch of its next-generation iPad and feature in new advertisements for the device. Citing sources with knowledge of the matter, The Next Web reports that the process of soliciting demonstrations from app developers and picking demonstrations to use at the live event is continuing at an increased rate as Apple seeks to finalize its lineup. As expected, the report claims that the company is focused on graphics-oriented applications with high-definition assets that will be able to take advantage of the device’s expected Retina display. The report goes on to say that some apps are being forwarded to TWBA/Chiat/Day for possible inclusion in the initial commercial spots, with that process entering its final phase, as well.