Elokence’s popular Akinator the Genie app ($2) has just been optimized for the iPhone 5. For those unfamiliar with the title, Akinator is a genie who guesses what real or fictional character you’re thinking of through yes-or-no questions and a surprisingly robust database. Results can be shared on Facebook, and the 12+ rated app also has a child filter so kids can play safely. People you know can also be added to the game through customization, and the database continues to grow through user-submitted results. If you want to sample the content for free, the Akinator website will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Though it has supported the iPad for quite some time, The Atlantic Magazine: Digital Edition (free) is now also formatted for the iPhone after a recent update, which includes adjustable font size and navigation elements that can be hidden on article pages. Also included in the app’s update is the magazine’s Sexes section, which “explores how the changing balance of power between men and women is transforming society.” Subscribers get free digital magazine access, of course, but the price for a single issue has gone up for non-subscribers: it’s now $7 for a single digital issue, instead of $5.
- February 26, 2013
Virgin Mobile has announced that it’s now offering 4G LTE service to United States-based customers, opening the possibility for the carrier to sell the iPhone 5 here. Known for its no-contract plans, Virgin already offers the iPhone 4/4S in the U.S., and sells the iPhone 5 in other countries, such as Canada and Australia. [via 9to5Mac]
Qualcomm has announced the RF360 Front End Solution, a family of chips designed to give next-generation devices global 4G LTE compatibility. The chips will support all seven cellular modes — LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE. All 40 cellular radio bands currently in use will be supported, as well as 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and LTE Advanced, allowing companies such as Apple to make devices that will access all LTE bands, rather than just the small subsets offered in current iPhone and iPad models. The RF360 Front End Solution will be available in the second half of 2013.
Acquired some time ago by Amazon, long-time audiobook vendor Audible has released version 2.0 of free its iOS app, now optimized for iPad. The clean, redesigned interface features improved navigation and the ability to sign in with an Amazon account. Finished audiobooks can now be hidden from view, and up to three hours of audio can be downloaded over 3G and 4G networks while on the go.
Cordy 2 (free to try, $5 full game) is the side-scrolling followup to SilverTree Media’s acclaimed iOS action game Cordy. Owing some debt to Sonic the Hedgehog, the fast-moving Cordy makes his way through levels while picking up new abilities along the way, such as a double jump and Bionic Commando-style skyhook. Four levels can be played for free, and all 48 levels become available via a $5 in-app purchase. Multiple “packs” are also available for varying prices, which allow players to customize Cordy with different costumes and colors. If you’re into iOS side-scrollers, Cordy 2 is a fun time with the same style of 2.5-D graphics found in the original title.
Apple has released iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This is notably the second version of the one-time “6.1.1” beta, containing the same Japanese-focused enhancements to the Maps application; Apple changed the name after releasing 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 patches to fix bugs with iOS 6.1. The beta is available through Apple’s developer portal. [via 9to5Mac]
During its partial introduction of the PlayStation 4 video game console on Wednesday, Sony announced a new app that will let an iOS device become a “second screen” for PlayStation 4 games. The upcoming PlayStation App will allow iPhone and iPad users to download PS4 games to play at home, remotely watch other gamers play, and see additional information on the screen when playing a PS4 game. As an example, Sony said an adventure game could use the app to let players see maps on their iOS devices. According to Sony, the PlayStation 4 will be available “this holiday season,” though pricing, region-specific release dates, and the final form factor of the console have not yet been made public.
Apple’s largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has frozen its hiring across China. Bloomberg reports the decision was unrelated to iPhone 5 production, according to Foxconn spokesman Bruce Liu. However, the Financial Times (subscriber link) reports the hiring freeze is related to a slow down in iPhone 5 production, citing spokesman Liu Kun.
Apple has released iOS 6.1.2, an update that fixes “an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.” Though not specifically mentioned, it’s likely the update will also resolve the lock screen security flaw found in iOS 6.1. iOS 6.1.2 can be downloaded from iTunes or via the Settings > Software Update menu on an iOS device.
Kickstarter has unveiled an official free app for the iPhone and iPod touch, which functions much like a mobile version of the crowd funding site. Most users will use the app to discover new projects, watch videos, and get updates on projects they’ve funded straight from the app. Allowing location services also lets users find new nearby projects automatically. On the flip side, project creators can track their project’s progress, connect with backers, and post updates from anywhere. While we’re generally very hesitant to treat Apple-focused Kickstarter campaigns as real news, based on the frequency of delays, over-promising in campaigns, and other issues, users who are interested in trying their luck with the service may like the app.
Amazon’s free Kindle app has been updated to version 3.6 with several new features. Multicolored highlights allow users to select from four different colors to highlight important passages. After finishing a book, readers can now easily share that fact with friends on Facebook and Twitter, as well as rating the book and writing a review. Other books of interest can then be added to a wish list. Also, the brightness control within the app will now be saved, so when a user’s device goes to sleep, the settings will no longer be changed and needed to be reset.
- February 14, 2013
A security flaw in iOS 6.1 allows anyone to bypass the iPhone’s lock screen to view and modify contacts, listen to voicemails, and browse photos. Using the phone’s emergency call function, a series of precise steps involving making an emergency call and holding down the power button can let anyone access sections of the iPhone. iOS 4.1 had a similar security flaw; a security update will likely be on the way shortly. [via Apple Insider]
HBO has announced that the cable network’s apps are now able stream from an iPhone or iPad to Apple TV via Airplay, thanks to updates to the HBO Go app and Cinemax MAX Go app. Kessler confirmed that HBO Go will become directly available through Apple TV in the future, as was reported earlier this month; no date was specified. [via AllThingsD]
Fans of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly now have a free iOS app to enjoy in The Chihuly App, which lets you create your own art with the looks and shapes of his celebrated glass sculptures. After picking one of Chihuly’s styles, you blow into the microphone to create a virtual sculpture that can be moved, molded, and color-changed by touching the screen. When the work is complete, you can view your creation in 3-D, and share it on Facebook. It’s also possible to browse artwork other users have made, and read a timeline of Dale Chihuly’s life and accomplishments. It’s pretty neat stuff for a free download.
A puzzle/sandbox game for iPads, Little Inferno ($5) is an “interactive fireplace” that lets you burn things, advancing through stages by discovering combos when certain items burn together. All you’re really doing from an actual gameplay standpoint is buying items, throwing them in the fireplace, and lighting them ablaze—complete with brief but frustrating delays between the purchase of an item and being able to toss it in the fire. You also get snippets of correspondence from other characters via letters, which create a story with an ending that’s claimed to pack a wallop. You’ll need to decide whether you have enough video pyromania to continue experimenting with the items for hours; in any case, you’ll find Little Inferno to be a unique gaming concept.
- February 11, 2013
Apple has rapidly released iOS 6.1.1 for the iPhone 4S to fix issues users of that model were experiencing with iOS 6.1. A report earlier today noted that two European mobile operators were telling iPhone 4S users to avoid updating to iOS 6.1 due to a 3G connectivity issue. This is notably not the same version of iOS 6.1.1 that was released last week to developers, sporting Japan-focused updates to Apple’s Maps application; those updates will follow in a subsequent release.
Images posted on a Chinese site allegedly show Apple’s as-yet-unannounced iPhone 5S. The photos notably show a front panel similar to the iPhone 5, with a slightly different front proximity sensor design.
Images of the interior components reveal what appears to be a linear oscillating motor for vibration, which differs from the iPhone 5. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: Reversing its original report, 9to5Mac now identifies the images as an iPhone 5 clone, pointing out the presence of a smaller 1150 mAh battery and SD card slot.
Two European mobile operators, Vodafone UK and 3 Austria, have told iPhone 4S users to avoid updating their devices to iOS 6.1 due to a 3G connectivity issue. Vodafone’s statement contends that 4S handsets have seen their 3G performance impacted, as “Some customers may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or connect to the internet.” While the statements notes that “Apple is working on a solution to their software issue,” Apple has yet to comment. [via GigaOM]
Following last week’s general release of iOS 6.1, Apple has now released iOS 6.1.1 beta to developers. The new version includes a number of improvements to Maps for Japan, including improved pronunciation of roads and identification of toll roads during turn-by-turn navigation, direction optimizations, and new indicators and icons for various features such as interchanges, transit systems and location categories. The beta also adds 3-D buildings for locations such as Tokyo Station, Japan’s Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower.
It is notably unusual for Apple to release betas to developers for minor iOS versions; for example, both iOS 6.0.1 and 5.1.1 were released directly to the public with no prior betas sent out for developer testing. It is also worth noting that this beta release does not include an iOS SDK update nor any updates for the Apple TV or iTunes.
Apple’s Siri Eyes Free feature will be coming to the 2013 Honda Accord, Acura RDX, and Acura ILX as a dealer-installed option. The feature, which allows drivers to complete a number of hands-free tasks by relying on Siri voice commands, works on iPhone 5 or 4S models running iOS 6. Honda was initially announced as a manufacturer that would use Siri Eyes Free. In late November, GM announced integration with Siri Eyes Free in its Spark and Sonic cars. [via Engadget]
Apple’s share of the smartphone market is expected to peak at 22 percent this year, according to a Reuters report, and cellular carriers may be in a position to negotiate more competitive prices. The report details how the strength of other smartphone operating systems may loosen Apple’s grip on the overall market. “The more operating systems we have to compete in this area the better the competition,” said Fran Shammo, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications, noting that Apple’s iOS now confronts Android, Windows, and Blackberry as strong platforms. Reuters also notes that T-Mobile USA plans to stop subsidizing smartphones when it begins to sell the iPhone, and other carriers are considering follow suit. “That’s something we’ve looked at on several occasions. I kind of like that idea,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “It’s something we’re going to be watching.”
The report claims that a “less powerful Apple could be welcomed by telecommunications carriers and component suppliers that have grown accustomed to the tough terms Apple was able to exact thanks to its massive scale and leadership in the market.” Apple may already be anticipating the loss of subsidies and a future with lower-cost devices as it prepares a low-cost iPhone for release.
Apple today released iOS 6.1, the newest version of the mobile operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Weighing in at 107 MB, the update can be installed over the air or by connecting to iTunes.
According to the release notes, the update adds LTE support for an additional 36 iPhone and 23 iPad LTE carriers, the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri, individual song downloads from iCloud for iTunes Match subscribers, and a new button to reset the Advertising Identifier. Interestingly, using Fandango to purchase tickets requires you to have separately downloaded Fandango’s app. An Apple TV update based upon iOS 6.1 was released simultaneously.
Speaker components from two upcoming iPhones have leaked, according to a new report.
While the report suggests that the parts are for the “iPhone 5S” and the “iPhone 6,” as shown in the included photo, there’s good reason to believe that the parts are for the iPhone 5S and lower-cost iPhone currently believed to be coming later this year. They show only modest changes from the current-generation iPhone 5 speaker, with the “iPhone 6” part noticeably thicker than the iPhone 5S component, consistent with reports that the less expensive iPhone will be thicker than the nearly identical-looking iPhone 5 and 5S. [via Nowhereelse.fr]