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Prong debuts Prong PWR Case for iPhone 5/5s

Prong has introduced its Prong PWR Case ($80), a new iPhone 5/5s case with an integrated wall plug and detachable backup battery. The detachable battery charges using the integrated plug, while the iPhone remains separate in its own protective bumper. As in Prong’s PocketPlug iPhone 5 Case + Charger, the plug on the Prong PWR Case retracts by folding into the case.

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The Prong PWR Case also comes with a micro USB port and cable. Prong’s new case comes in four colors and is set to ship this summer. It’s currently available for preorder at a reduced price of $65.

Former employee says Apple left iOS users vulnerable

Apple left iOS users vulnerable by not fixing security weaknesses in iOS at the same time as in OS X, former Apple employee Kristin Paget wrote in a blog post. Paget points out that an OS X fix included a number of the same issues which popped up about three weeks later in Apple’s recent iOS 7.1.1 update. “Is this how you do business?” Paget wrote. “Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for *weeks* afterwards? You really don’t see anything wrong with this?” Paget asks readers to compare previous updates of iOS and OS X to see how security patches differ over time between the two operating systems. [via Ars Technica]

iOS 7.1.1 makes in-app purchases clear in Top Grossing chart

Along with minor tweaks and bug fixes, today’s release of iOS 7.1.1 sees Apple continuing to make it clear which apps support in-app purchases. Now, the Top Grossing chart in the App Store lists when an app has in-app purchases.

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This is the latest step the company has taken to point out which apps may eventually cost more than their initial purchase price.

 

Apple releases iOS 7.1.1

iOS 7.1.1, an update to Apple’s mobile operating system, is now available for download. The update lists improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition, the virtual keyboard, and Bluetooth keyboard usage.

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While complaints regarding iOS 7.1’s keyboard space key have been fairly widespread, the update appears to address keyboard responsiveness issues rather than design.

Report: 5.5” ‘iPhone Air’ may not be seen until 2015

Apple’s rumored 5.5” iPhone may not hit the market until 2015 due to battery issues, according to Taiwan’s Commercial Times. The phone — referred to in the report as “iPhone Air” — supposedly needs a battery that’s 2mm or less in thickness. Suppliers need more time to meet Apple’s requirements, thus delaying the phone. While the report doesn’t seem completely unreasonable, it’s worth noting that the Commercial Times previously claimed a 4.8” “iPhone Math” — almost certainly a translation error — would arrive last year. [via G for Games]

Yahoo aims to become default iOS Safari search engine

Yahoo is attempting to make its search engine the default option on Apple’s iPhone and iPad Safari browsers, Re/Code reports. Though it is a major goal for Yahoo, it “has not happened as yet officially and no deal is imminent.” Currently, Google is the default search on iOS, though users can change that to Yahoo through setting adjustments.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly has the attention of some Apple executives, including SVP of design Jony Ive. One source said “it will take more than pretty pictures” to get Apple to switch from Google as the default browser, as Apple aims for providing a top-notch user experience. It’s notable that Apple already uses Yahoo to power its iOS weather and stocks apps.

Apple working with Shazam on iOS song discovery feature

Apple is partnering with Shazam on a song discovery feature that will appear in a future iOS update, Bloomberg reports. The new feature will not require a separate download, and it will also incorporate Siri so that an iPhone user has the option of doing a voice search for what song is playing. It’s likely the app will then be able to link users to iTunes to purchase the song — as the report notes, Apple has been considering several options on how to tweak iTunes, with a number of rumors and reports already floating about. Though it’s pointed out that Apple will preview iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developer Conference next month, it’s unclear if the new feature will be a part of the next major iteration of iOS, or if it will come in a separate update.

Hyundai bringing CarPlay to 2015 Sonata

Hyundai announced it is bringing Apple CarPlay functionality to its 2015 Sonata, making the Sonata one of the first vehicles to feature CarPlay. The functionality “will be available on 2015 Sonatas equipped with navigation later in the 2015 model year.”

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While the 2015 Sonata will be released early this summer, the wording of the release makes it seem as if CarPlay functionality won’t be available immediately in the first batch of vehicles. CarPlay will eventually be available in 2015 Sonatas equipped with Hyundai’s eight-inch touchscreen navigation systems.

Apple agrees to anti-theft smartphone measures

Apple and a number of other smartphone makers have agreed to a voluntary commitment to include anti-theft technology on phones starting next year, Re/Code reports. Other smartphone makers, including Google, HTC, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung have all agreed to make such a commitment, and the five largest U.S. cellular carriers are also on board. All those involved have agreed devices sold after July 2015 must have the ability to have data wiped remotely and be rendered inoperable at a user’s request. Recovered devices could then later be restored. Apple is ahead of the game, as Activation Lock in iOS 7 already lets users prevent reactivation of a stolen or lost device.

8GB iPhone 5c launches in more European countries

Apple has made the 8GB iPhone 5c available in a number of European countries today. The low-capacity iPhone is now on sale in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. In each country, the 8GB 5c is roughly $50 cheaper than the 16GB 5c. The 8GB 5c is still unavailable in the U.S. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: The 8GB iPhone 5c is also now available in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. [via MacRumors]

iPhone 6 metal mockups spotted at electronics show

A few metal mockups of the alleged iPhone 6 — said to be used to make cases for the upcoming device — were spotted at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Macotakara reports. The pictured mockups do seem to somewhat resemble what’s been indicated for the expected upcoming 4.7” iPhone 6.

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However, it’s notable that the FaceTime camera position on the mockup appears to be lower and closer to the screen than on the alleged front panel leak from earlier today, casting doubts upon recent pictures. The report notes there wasn’t “much confidence” about the mockup unit.

Alpine Electronics announces aftermarket CarPlay products

Alpine Electronics officially announced today it will offer aftermarket products compatible with Apple CarPlay. A Monday report noted Alpine would sell such a system, and today Alpine confirmed the existence of upcoming products. The Alpine system will be an in-dash touch screen that incorporates CarPlay using a Lightning connector.

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Alpine said the CarPlay-compatible products will be available in the U.S. and Europe “later in 2014.” Models and pricing won’t be announced until the time of launch. The news comes on the same day Pioneer announced it will be incorporating CarPlay into some of its own existing in-dash systems.

Pioneer officially announces aftermarket CarPlay access

Pioneer officially announced today it will be releasing an aftermarket system for Apple CarPlay, as was previously reported. The company will make CarPlay accessible through a firmware update to its existing NEX in-dash multimedia receivers, which range in price from $700 to $1,400.

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Pioneer says CarPlay compatibility will be available “in early summer 2014.” To access CarPlay, users must plug a Lightning-to-USB cable into the multimedia receiver, connecting their iPhone 5 or later running iOS 7.1.

Alleged iPhone 6 front panel, batteries leaked

A picture of the alleged iPhone 6 front panel was posted on Weibo. The alleged white front panel is shown next to an iPhone 5s. Indeed, it looks like a larger iPhone screen, and would belong to the rumored 4.7” model iPhone.

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Additionally, a shot of alleged iPhone 6 batteries has also been leaked. The picture shows five batteries in a tray, but doesn’t offer further context. [via iPhon.fr, nowhereelse.fr]

Windows Phone 8.1 supports Passbook passes

According to a post on WPCentral.com, Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8.1 software allows Apple Passbook passes to be used natively. When a user chooses to download a Passbook pass, it will be downloaded to the Microsoft Wallet application, and can be used as if it were on an iPhone or iPod touch. It’s unclear what specific Passbook features are supported, or if Apple will put a stop to the process.

Alpine to release aftermarket CarPlay system

Alpine Electronics will sell a standalone console featuring Apple’s CarPlay system this fall, Nikkei Asian Review reports. It will be the first aftermarket CarPlay product. The system will be available first in the U.S. and Europe and will “likely cost around $500 to $700.” It’s noted that the screen will “likely” be seven inches, and connect to an iPhone 5 or later with a wire. Previously, it’s been reported that other manufacturers — Pioneer and Mercedes — have been working on their own aftermarket CarPlay solutions, but Alpine’s system is the first with a reported release date and price.

iOS 8: Healthbook as aggregator, faster camera speed

Apple’s planned Healthbook app in iOS 8 is described as “an application that aggregates health and fitness data from various applications and hardware accessories” in a new 9to5Mac article. The feature, which mainly summarizes much of what’s already been reported about iOS 8, alludes to Healthbook being a sort of base app for other possible health-related applications. Additionally, the article notes Apple is working to speed up the time required to take a photo with the new iPhone’s hardware components, and pushing to further improve overall speed in iOS 8.

Apple internal slides reveal need for larger, cheaper phones

Internal Apple slides revealed by Samsung in the latest patent battle between the companies illustrate Apple’s need to create larger and cheaper smartphones. The slides from an April 2013 meeting, posted by Re/Code, show that while the iPhone growth rate is slowing, there’s still demand and growth for cheaper and larger phones.

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One slide, titled “Consumers want what we don’t have,” shows all of the market growth coming from smartphones either priced at $300 or cheaper, or phones more expensive than $300 with a screen larger than 4”. Apple is rumored to be developing two new iPhones with displays larger than 4.7”.

Update: The same Re/Code article contains internal Samsung documents showing the company regarded Apple’s iPhone as its top rival. One slide noted that “everything must be in context of beating Apple,” and the “threat from Apple is extremely real and urgent.”

Apple granted patent for camera lens mount

A new Apple patent for bayonet attachment mechanisms may signal the company’s interest in using an attachable camera lens system in its iOS devices. The patent describes a system that would use a bayonet mount integrated into the camera of an electronic device — lenses could be swapped in and out of the mount.

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Patently Apple notes how quickly the patent was approved — the patent application was only published weeks ago — speculating that Apple may be looking to use the feature in the near future. An alleged leaked picture of the iPhone 6 shows the device with a protruding camera lens, but it’s unclear if any sort of mount system is included. Images in the patent document depict the fifth-generation iPod touch. [via Apple Insider]

iPhone 6 with 4.7” screen in fall, 5.5” model delayed?

Apple suppliers will start mass producing displays for the next iPhone “as early as May” for the next iPhone’s release this fall, Reuters reports. It’s reported that a 4.7” screen is “likely” to be produced first, but the rumored 5.5” version of the new iPhone could be delayed. According to a source, difficulties with in-cell production technology in the larger version of the phone prompted Apple to start mass production of the 4.7” version on its own. The 5.5” version of the new phone could enter production “several months later,” with a film sensor being used instead of in-cell technology.

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