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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Apple intros space gray iPod touch, nano, shuffle

Apple has quietly added space gray as a color option for the iPod touch 32GB and 64GB models, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, replacing the previously slate black versions of each device. The new color option is sold as a color option for the devices at the same prices as before.

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Considering the unannounced color addition, it’s unlikely that Apple will further update their iPod line this year. In 2011, the fourth-generation iPod touch skipped a year in updates, only adding white as a new color.

Apple now accepting iOS 7 app submissions

Following the release of the iOS 7 GM seed to developers earlier today, Apple has officially announced that developers can now begin submitting apps built with the new iOS 7 SDK to the App Store.

Apple has also posted a set of developer documents covering building apps for the new iPhone 5s, including programming guides for the new A7 64-bit chip, OpenGL ES 3 and M7 and Core Motion.

Apple releases iOS 7 GM seed to developers

Apple has released its Gold Master seed of iOS 7 to registered developers. Listed as build 11A465, the GM build is normally the last to be seeded prior to the software’s official launch, expected on September 18, and as such can be used to submit iOS 7 applications to the App Store for review. It is unclear whether the iOS 7 GM seed will be made available as an over-the-air software update, as has been the case with past iOS beta releases, however Registered Developers can download the iOS 7 GM seed and the accompanying SDK from the iOS Dev Center now.

Apple sets iOS 7 release date

During today’s iPhone event, Apple announced the official release date for iOS 7, the next generation of the company’s mobile operating system. Originally unveiled at WWDC in June, iOS 7 includes a “stunning new user interface” that marks a dramatic visual departure from every prior version of iOS, sporting refined typography, with new animations, layered effects, and transparency.

During the event, Senior VP Craig Federighi took the stage to quickly demonstrate several of the major new features in iOS 7, including the new lock screen and “harmonious layout” of the home screen, along with the new Control Center, Notification Center, and multitasking view. He also highlighted how Siri can search Twitter, Wikipedia, and perform inline web and photo searches, and showed off the new camera filters and mode features and the new “share sheet” with AirDrop support for sharing items with other nearby iOS devices over a Wi-Fi connection. Federighi highlighted the new iTunes Radio feature as well, describing it as “the best way to experience new music.”

iOS 7 is compatible with the iPhone 4 and later, fifth-generation iPod, iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display, and iPad mini. It will be available for download as a free update via iTunes and OTA update on September 18th.

Live updates from Apple’s 2013 iPhone Event

Breaking with recent tradition, Apple apparently will not be streaming live video of its 2013 “brighten everyone’s day” iPhone Event from its Cupertino headquarters. Regardless, we’ll be posting live updates here to discuss what’s taking place at the event as it happens. Thus far, details leaked before the event strongly suggest that we will see the introduction of the iPhone 5S (possibly styled “iPhone 5s”), iPhone 5C (“iPhone 5c”), and iOS 7, as well as software updates to iTunes and the Apple TV—the basic details of which have been known for days or weeks. Also possible are price changes and other tweaks to the iPod lineup, which has been suffering from declining sales for quite some time.

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Apple has announced the plastic iPhone 5c ($99 for 16GB, $199 for 32GB) as a complete replacement for the iPhone 5, available in five plastic colors (white/pink/blue/green/yellow). It has also debuted the iPhone 5s (16GB: $199, 32GB: $299, 64GB: $399) as a sequel, in three colors (space gray, silver/white, and gold/white), with a 64-bit processor, improved cameras (improved FaceTime HD, faster iSight lens, plus 120fps 720p video recording), Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and promised somewhat better battery life. The iPhone 4S (now restyled as “iPhone 4s”) will oddly remain as an 8GB model for $0 on contract. The new phones will go on pre-order September 13 and hit stores on September 20.

Additional details are found after the fold, so if you’re on our main page, click on the title of this article for the full story. Updated: Apple’s official video of the event was posted after its conclusion, and is available here.

Fast Company interviews reveal Apple design history

Fast Company is on the cusp of concluding an extensive feature story titled “An Oral History of Apple Design.” The story has interviews from many interesting figures throughout Apple’s recent history, revealing a number of details that were little-known or unknown before. As the piece notes, very few designers have left the design team of Apple Senior Vice President Jony Ive — “Two quit; three died.” Fast Company interviewed the two designers who quit, along with a number of other Apple veterans. The series is set to end tomorrow, and it’s a recommended read for anyone with a remote interest in Apple design. We’ve highlighted a few interesting tidbits and revelations within the expansive article.

The feature starts in 1992. It notes that Ive personally tailored the design studio’s every facet to make former Apple CEO Steve Jobs comfortable, ranging from the clothing people wore to the music they played, to the rule that people had to slowly move away from where Steve was when he came in. It became the CEO’s “happy place.” Apple designers chose translucent plastic for the iMac because it gave “the feeling that there was something intelligent” inside the computer, which were all previously opaque beige boxes, a design theme that carried over to the iPod.

Keep reading for many additional interesting details.

Apps: Chug Patrol, Kindle 3.9.2, Tweetbot 2.8.4 + Xbox Music

Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue ($5) is a new Chuggington interactive pop-up book from StoryToys Entertainment. Based on the licensed Chuggington characters, this flip-style book is lightly animated on its regular pages, but features lots of voice narration and audio samples to keep kids excited. Interactive roadside rescue/task games break up the flat pages, and kids will find it easy to play the activities due to simple tap action commands. Young fans of Chuggington will find this book charming, and the artwork is all in extremely high resolution.

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Amazon’s Kindle (free) app has updated to 3.9.2. According to Amazon, it is a required update before upgrading to iOS 7. The update fixes an issue with iOS 7 that could cause customers to have to re-register and re-download books which were already purchased from Amazon.

Apps: Call of Duty: Strike Team, Hello Vino 3.0, Real Racing 3 1.3.5 + 2K Drive

Coming out of nowhere today is Call of Duty: Strike Team ($7), a premium-priced shooter from Activision. The newest title in a long line of Call of Duty games, Strike Team offers both first-person and third-person views of combat, as players can switch views during the game for traditional FPS shooting and melee combat, then tactical strategy viewed from the position of a drone. CoD: Strike Team features a single-player campaign mode, plus a survival mode which lets players fight off waves of enemies while competing against others. It’s a neat game — unfortunately, like 2K Drive below, we experienced a few technical problems with the game, as it crashed multiple times during the first level. Hopefully future updates will fix the issues.

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Hello Vino, the free wine app from Drive Thru Interactive, has gotten a sizable update in version 3.0. The updated app has been redesigned and is now universal for iPhone and iPad. Hello Vino now offers insider wine deals, expert reviews from Elizabeth Schneider, audio pronunciations of wines, improvements to the “My Wines” feature and enhancements to the wine label scanner. Tens of thousands of new wines have also been added to the app’s database.

Apple updates iLife apps modestly before iOS 7 launch

Apple has released minor updates to its iLife apps for iOS — iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband. The heavily skeuomorphic apps are all described by Apple as receiving compatibility and stability fixes, without additional details, and continue to run without obvious changes on iOS 6 and iOS 7. While these behind-the-scenes fixes are not a surprise considering the upcoming launch of iOS 7, this may also signal that Apple is not planning to make major visual changes to those apps to coincide with iOS 7’s release. [via 9to5Mac]

Apps: ArtRage 1.6, Combo Crew 1.2, Daniel Tiger + Speakeasy Cocktails 3.4

ArtRage for iPad ($5) from Ambient Design Ltd. has updated to version 1.6. The updated art studio app has enhanced stylus support, as the app now supports the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus and TenOne Pogo Connect Stylus, in addition to the original Adonit Jot Touch. Tap and hold color sampling is now optional, and a number of UI issues have been addressed to make the app easier to use.

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Combo Crew ($4), a touchscreen-optimized brawler by The Game Bakers, has added two new special characters in version 1.2.0. Viewtiful Joe of the Capcom series and Lester Knight from the classic action puzzle game Out of this World (aka Another World) join the fray. A $2 in-app purchase is required to unlock Joe, but Lester Knight — an inspired addition — comes unlocked with the update. The game has also added new challenges and missions to King of the Tower mode.

Apps: djay 2 2.0.2, Flickr 2.20, The Room Epilogue + Twitter 5.10

Algoriddim’s djay 2 has been updated for both iPhone ($2) and iPad ($10) to version 2.0.2. Both versions have added support for the Pioneer DDJ-WeGO2 DJ controller, improved syncing with tapped BPM, an improved “analyze library,” and improved sampler button mapping for supported DJ controllers. The iPhone version has also added Slip Mode in waveform view.

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Flickr (free) from Yahoo! has updated to version 2.20.1134. With the update comes filters, which have become popular in other photo apps. Flickr features stock and customizable filters, as well as live filters, which show what the filtered picture will look like before taking the shot. New camera tools have been added, including grids, pinch-to-zoom, and locking focus and exposure points. Additionally, pro editing tools such as enhance, crop, sharpen, and more are free to use within the app. New animated transitions between the camera and editing tools have also been added.

Apps: Madden NFL 25, Notability 5.01, Pinball Arcade 2.7 + Solar Flux HD

EA’s Madden NFL 25 (Free*) has taken the “freemium” game model to ridiculous extremes. Feeling more like a shakedown than a football game, Madden is free to play, but rubs artificial-feeling limitations in your face well before your team can take the field. Before you get to play the game, you’re told that you’re being given some basic player cards and enough credit to play a game for free, after which the title tries to sell you Madden Cash using in-app purchases. Paying lets you keep playing a seriously stripped-down version of Madden football using very simple tap and touch controls, but in some cases, you’ll have to unlock individual plays, as well as players. If paying outright for player cards didn’t seem silly enough, Madden includes an in-app auction where players can compete against each other to buy cards for certain players. We can’t imagine anyone paying anything—let alone $100, as offered in one in-app purchase—to keep playing a game that has nowhere near the depth or content of a console football title. The in-game graphics aren’t much better than football titles from two years ago, Retina support not withstanding, and the audio’s nothing special, either. Our advice: skip this one.

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Notability ($5) from Ginger Labs has updated to version 5.01, and is now universal on all iOS devices. The note-taking app has also added iCloud support to keep notes updated on any iOS device running iOS 6 or later. A new scissor tool lets users scale and rotate handwriting. Themes have gotten a new look and feel, and one new theme has been added, as well.

2K Drive coming this fall from Gotham Racing devs

2K Drive, a racing simulation game for iPhone and iPad, will launch this fall, 2K Games announced. 2K and Lucid Games are behind the game, with Lucid being a boutique studio founded by the creators of Project Gotham Racing and Blur. The racing game will feature single and multiplayer modes, including track racing, drag racing, street racing, off-road racing, and mini-games.

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More than 25 licensed cars will be included in the game. 2K Games has recently released a number of notable iOS games, including XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Haunted Hollow, and Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol.

Apple releases iOS 7 beta 6

Apple has released iOS 7 beta 6, earlier than expected, as a small patch to beta 5. The sixth beta addresses an issue with iTunes in the Cloud, in which some purchases may download or play unexpected items. Apple just released the fifth beta last week.. iOS 7 beta 6 is available through Apple’s developer portal or Software Update in iOS settings.

Apps: Amtrak 1.6, Flipboard 2.0.5, Plants vs Zombies 2 1.1 + Yelp 7.0

Amtrak has updated its free app to version 1.6. The app now features redesigned station details with more features, including more hours and improved map integration. Recently selected stations are now included in the station list for easy access. It’s also easier to switch arrival and departure stations on search pages.

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The free Flipboard app is now at version 2.0.5, and with the update comes… GIFs, which are now supported on Flipboard for both iPad and iPhone. The day’s top stories have also been divided into sections for News, Tech, Business, and Sports.

iOS 7 gold master to partners Sept. 5, devs Sept. 10?

Apple will release the gold master version of iOS 7 to employees and partners “around” Sept. 5, according to a report. The gold master build will then be released to developers on Sept. 10, the day of Apple’s next iPhone event. Though the report isn’t verified, it’s not a stretch to believe Apple will release the gold master to developers on that day based on past events. That version of iOS will likely be released as the finished product — with possible slight variations — a few days before the release of the next iPhone. [via BGR]

Apps: CBS Sports 6.0, KeyMe, Moose Math + Skype 4.1

CBS Sports (free) from CBS Interactive now features full iPad support. Version 6.0 of the redesigned app features live video, including SEC football games, NCAA basketball games, PGA Tour events, and various CBS Sports shows. When it comes to live scores, CBS Sports doesn’t offer scoring in as many leagues as ESPN’s ScoreCenter, but it’s still extensive and won’t affect most users of the app. Considering how quick and reliable scoring is on CBS Sports’ website, the CBS Sports app will likely be a good alternative to other popular offerings.

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KeyMe’s free KeyMe: Digital Keychain is an interesting new app that allows users to take a picture of their house keys for storage in the cloud. The app offers instructions on making the keys from scratch, so that if users get locked out, they could conceivably go to a local hardware store or locksmith to get a new key. KeyMe also lets users order copies of keys directly from the app for $10 each. The keys are then mailed to the user, in a number of different designs. It’s also possible to share digital copies of keys with family and friends.

Apps: Instagram 4.1, Interactive Alphabet 3.0, Mikey Hooks + Twitter 5.9

Burbn’s Instagram (free) app is now at version 4.1. Two major features are included in this update: users can now import any videos from their camera roll, instead of having to use Instagram itself to record the video. Also, Instagram now automatically straightens photos when taken with the Instagram camera.

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Pi’ikea Street’s Interactive Alphabet ABCs, ($3) a long-time iLounge editors’ favorite for kids, has just reached version 3.01—a milestone that adds letter tracing and an add-your-own-image mode. The letter trading feature is really well-conceived, using illuminating lights to track the path of a child’s finger, and providing both helpful clues and rewards to encourage progress. Separately, the photo feature lets parents add their own photos, words, and sounds to the app’s Explore mode, presenting each photo as an alternate page for a given alphabet letter — a cool way to add “D is for Daddy” or “M is for Mommy,” just to name a couple of examples. Pi’ikea Street has effectively added another app worth of content to the title, yet it has cut Interactive Alphabet’s footprint in half. It was already a must-download app for young kids; this update further cements its excellent reputation.

Apps: Aztec Puzzle, Dropchord, NFL Mobile 8.0 + US Airways

The sequel to the excellent Mayan Puzzle, Mind Crew’s just-released Aztec Puzzle ($2) is all about redirecting flowing elements — water, fire, earth, and air, represented by moving lines passing through directional arrows — from one place to another using a limited amount of moves. The game has 72 total levels, and a “pure mode” to cut out distractions. It may not be as aesthetically impressive as Mayan Puzzle was, but Aztec Puzzle is a fun, challenging game, with some neat special effects and interesting challenges.

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Double Fine Productions’ Dropchord ($3) is a quick-moving game, conceptually inspired by the classic Atari game Missile Command. Dropchord initially challenges you to control a line-shaped beam of light by using two fingers on opposite sides of the screen. Moving one finger up or down moves one of the beam’s sides up or down, while moving both fingers at the same time lets you twist the beam around inside an on-screen circle filled with moving dots that need to be popped with the beam. Other levels include one- and two-finger dot-tapping challenges, breaking up the action. There are tons of psychedelic special effects recalling beloved console games such as Atari’s Tempest 2000 and Sega’s Rez, as well as an impressive electronic soundtrack.

Apple releases iOS 7 beta 5

Apple has released iOS 7 beta 5 to registered developers. The fourth beta was released just last week after Apple’s developer site went down, so it appears Apple is trying to stick to the original release schedule for the iOS 7 betas. As has repeatedly been the case iOS 7 beta 5 only lists “bug fixes and improvements” as features, and is available for developers through Software Update in iOS settings, or Apple’s developer portal.

Update: Apple has also released Apple TV Software beta 4.

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