Apple has released updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote for compatibility with the new iCloud Documents features in Mountain Lion and the corresponding Mac OS X updates released yesterday. The three apps, now at version 1.6.1, simply now list that they work with iCloud to make documents, spreadsheets and presentations automatically available between iOS devices and the corresponding Mac OS X applications, with changes made on one device now being “instantly available” on the other. The three iWork apps for iOS were originally updated to add iCloud support last fall with the initial debut of iCloud in iOS 5, allowing users to share documents, spreadsheets and presentations between multiple iOS devices. However, iCloud support did not come to iWork for the Mac until yesterday’s release of OS X Mountain Lion; these latest iOS updates appear to be primarily focused on ensuring compatibility with iCloud on the Mac. Pages, Numbers and Keynote 1.6.1 are universal apps and require iOS 5.1 or later. Each is sold separately from the App Store for $10.
Apple has released a minor update to its Podcasts app focused on performance, stability and usability improvements. Originally released last month, the new standalone Podcasts app is designed to replace the Podcast playback functionality previously incorporated into the iOS Music app with additionl features such as the ability to search for and subscribe to new podcasts and download or stream podcast episodes over a 3G or Wi-Fi connection.
In addition to listing “significant improvements to performance and stability,” the Podcasts 1.0.1 update adds several small user interface tweaks, including displaying the number of unplayed episodes for each Podcast in the user’s library, displaying the Podcast titles in Top Stations in place of missing artwork, remembering the last-used playback speed when switching between episodes, and fixing problems with the Subscribe button and Top Stations artwork. Podcasts 1.0.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has released an update to its universal iTunes U app adding new note-taking and sharing features and improvements to searching within the app. iTunes U 1.2 now allowed users to take notes directly in the app while watching or listening to a lecture. An improved search feature now allows users to search for text within posts, assignments, notes and other course materials from any of their subscribed courses, and users can now also share their favourite courses with friends via Twitter, Mail or Messages. iTunes U 1.2 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
During Apple’s third 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 June 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. U.S. share of the MP3 player market remained at over 70 percent. He added that iPhone is now available from over 250 carriers in over 100 countries, and said that the company estimates that the number of Fortune 500 iPhones has doubled over the last year.
Regarding iPad, Oppenheimer said the company was “thrilled” with sales. The company saw very strong year-over-year growth globally, and the iPad is now available in 97 countries. Just under one million iPads were sold into the education market during the quarter, and Oppenheimer said sales of iPad 2 in K-12 market were particularly strong. Notably, the iTunes U app has been downloaded over 14 million times, and over 700 new courses have been added.
Overall, over 410 million iOS devices have now been sold. The App Store now offers 650,000 apps, 225,000 of which are tailored to the iPad. Apple has now issued over $5.5 billion in payments to developers, and now boasts 150 million iCloud users.
During the Q&A session, both executives made several comments of interest.
Oppenheimer said that weekly iPhone sales continue to be impacted by rumors and speculation related to new products, a subject that would come up later, when Tim Cook replied to a pointed question about iPhone transitions. Cook said that he’s happy that people want the next thing, and added that he’s not going to put any energy into trying to get people to stop speculating about what the company may be doing next.
Discussing iPhone pricing in emerging markets, Cook said that the company has been very focused on China, seeing it as an enormous opportunity. He said that he firmly believed that people in emerging markets want great products, so Apple is going to stick to its “knitting,” and continue to make the best products it can.
Cook also discussed the iPad pricing umbrella, competing tablets, and the decision to offer the iPad 2 for $399 alongside the third-generation iPad. He said that iPad 2 did very well during the quarter. In terms of competition, he said Apple has seen tons of tablets come onto the market this year, and doesn’t think any of them have gained serious traction. He said the company is going to keep innovating in the space, and feels really confident about its momentum. Later, when discussing the iPad 2’s price point, he said that the company believed it would help drive elasticity, and it certainly helped in the K-12 market. He added that it’s been a big help to Apple, and he’s glad the company did it.
Discussing the Apple TV, Cook said that Apple sold 1.3 million in the third quarter, up over 170 percent year-over-year, bringing sales for the year to over 4 million. He said that’s still at a level that Apple would call a hobby, but it continue to invest in it, and there are a lot of people at Apple who are believers in Apple TV.
Finally, when asked if Passbook be a stepping stone to a digital wallet, he said that it’s a key feature, and that employees of Apple all found themselves receiving all these tickets and passes. He said it does a great job of pulling all those together in one place. He again called it an important feature, but said that he wouldn’t want to speculate on where it might lead.
Reporting its third quarter 2012 financial results today, Apple said it sold 26 million iPhones in the quarter, an 28 percent increase year-over-year, but down somewhat from 35.1 million units in the prior quarter. Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, up 84 percent from the year-ago quarter and also up from 11.8 million units in the second quarter of 2012. Finally, the company said it sold 6.8 million iPods during the quarter — a 10 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 244.1 million, 84.08 million, and 351.08 million, respectively.
Apple posted revenue of $35.02 billion and net quarterly profit of $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $28.57 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share in Q3 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 2.06 billion for the quarter, up 31 percent year-over-year but down four percent from the prior quarter. Apple’s Board of Directors also declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on August 16, 2012, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on August 13, 2012.
“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”
“We’re continuing to invest in the growth of our business and are pleased to be declaring a dividend of $2.65 per share today,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65.”
Gameloft has released The Dark Knight Rises, a new exclusive gaming experience inspired by the concluding instalment in the Batman movie trilogy. The new game challenges players to take on the role of Bruce Wayne as Batman to protect Gotham City through a collection of missions dealing with hostage situations, bomb squads, jailbreaks and car chases. To succeed, players must learn to take advantage of the variety of tools in Batman’s arsenal and master different fighting moves to take on a variety of villains. Players can also climb into vehicles such as the Bat-Pod and The Bat to drive and fly through Gotham City on special missions, exploring the city and its different districts across a huge map. The Dark Knight Rises includes an immersive storyline with likenesses of key characters from the movie such as Catwoman, Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon along with detailed high-resolution graphics and soundtrack. The Dark Knight Rises requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $7.
Hemisphere Games has introduced multiplayer support to its hit game Osmos in a major free update released earlier today. In Osmos (iLounge Rating: A) players control a ball known as a Mote by tapping to navigate it through a pool of fluid, absorbing nearby smaller motes to grow in size while avoiding larger objects and other obstacles; challenges across numerous levels include growing larger than other objects in the pool or absorbing specific target objects. The game also provides a unique physics engine and numerous small gameplay-enhancing touches such as gravity attractors, time warping controls and AI opponents to add strategy and unique gameplay throughout each level.
Osmos 2.0 takes the game into a new dimension by allowing players to challenge their friends to a mote-eat-mote absorption fest of skill and strategy in any of six distinct arenas via either local Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) or online Game Center play. The update also adds a new unique level type for multiplayer, Antimatter Impasse. iPad vs iPhone play is also supported for local multiplayer games, while Game Center requires all users to be on the same device. Additional enhancements in the new update include support for Retina Display graphics in the iPad version, Twitter integration for sending out achievements and challenges to friends and followers, and numerous audio/visual enhancements. Osmos 2.0 is available in separate, device-specific versions: Osmos ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Osmos for iPad ($5). Both require iOS 4.1 or later.
Apple has been granted a patent that covers a wide swath of the iOS user interface. Patently Apple reports that the patent covers the basic user interface for many of iOS’ built-in apps, including Mail, Photos, Camera, Videos, Music, Calendar, Safari, Notes, and Maps. Also covered by the patent are iOS’ scroll bar, as well as the virtual keyboard. As noted in the report, Apple lists the following inventors on the patent: Scott Forstall, Henri Lamiraux, Andrew Platzer, Michael Matas and Imran Chaudhri. The patent was originally filed in the first quarter of 2007; Apple refiled the application in March of this year.
Apple has seeded developers with the third beta version of iOS 6. While the update has yet to appear on Apple’s Developer website, it is available as an over-the-air update for those running the prior iOS 6 beta on their devices. The update weighs in at 347MB for the iPhone 4S; according to the brief release notes, the update “contains bug fixes and improvements.”
NBC Universal has officially launched two universal iOS apps to allow users in the U.S. to follow coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games. NBC Olympics (free) will provide users with news, video clips and photos for every sport and information on all Team USA athletes, along with social media integration to follow favourite sports, teams and athletes on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as engage with other fans. The app provides real-time results and schedules, medal counts, and TV and online listings as well as a second screen experience for users following the NBC televised nightly Primetime Show. Push Notifications will provide breaking news, programming reminders, and results for selected team sand athletes.
NBC Olympics Live Extra (free) is a universal app that will provide live viewing of the 2012 London Olympic Summer games for verified cable, satellite and telco customers, complete with alternate camera views and full replays. Users can similarly follow their favourite events and sports and receive Push Notifications to be reminded of event start times. Users can browse by event, watch simulcasts of Olympic programming from NBC television cable channels and access DVR capabilities for most live streams and all full event replays. Users of the NBC Olympics Live Extra app must verify an existing cable, satellite or telco subscription at a tier that includes both CNBC and MSNBC to get access to the full collection of live stream content. Both of the NBC Olympics apps require iOS 5.0 or later, with video features accessible only to users in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories.
IMDb has updated its iOS app adding new social features such as check-ins and message boards along with several other improvements to available information and discovery. IMDb 2.7 now allows users to “check-in” to Movies and TV shows and share what they are watching via Facebook and Twitter and access a variety of online message boards for topics ranging from general discussions to specific topics such as people, movies and shows.
The new version also increases the amount of IMDb data accessible within the app, including filming locations and soundtracks and adds a “More Like This” feature to help users discover new similar movies and TV shows while browsing through the app. New navigation buttons have also been added when viewing TV show episodes to allow users to quickly browse through episodes sequentially without having to navigate back and forth from the season listing. Additional enhancements include improvements to Watchlist support and a full History list along with various bug fixes and performance improvements. IMDb Movies & TV is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Rovio Entertainment has released Amazing Alex a new physics puzzler representing the company’s first departure from its venerable Angry Birds franchise. The new game puts players in the role of a whiz kid with a boundless imagination and a houseful of toys where they are challenged to build creative, chain reaction solutions to accomplish various tasks ranging from battling cardboard robots to cleaning up Alex’s room. Players build elaborate Rube Goldberg devices from a collection of toys that bounce, pop, ricochet, bash and crash into each other; most puzzles can be solved in more than one way and users can share their most creative solutions with their friends and see what their friends have come up with as well.
Amazing Alex includes 100 built-in levels and users can also design their own levels and share them with friends or worldwide using 35 different interactive objects set in four different locations. A gallery of user-contributed levels is expected to add to the replayability and Rovio also promises regular free updates with its own new level packs. Amazing Alex is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
Twitter has released an update to its official iOS app adding support for its new Expanded Tweets feature and improving notification options along with several other user interface enhancements. With Twitter 4.3 users will be able to view extended content within Tweets containing links to selected partner websites such as content previews, images, videos and more. Selected events will also now provide an enhanced experience highlighting the best Tweets and photos from specific users involved in the event.
Twitter 4.3 also provides more options for Push Notifications, allowing users to now choose to receive notifications any time someone they follow posts a tweet or retweet to their timeline and provides less intrusive “ambient notifications” in the status bar when using the app. Additional enhancements include improvements to search autocompletion for users, tappable avatars that link directly to user profiles, notification of new information on the Discover tab, Hungarian language support and numerous bug fixes and performance improvements. Twitter 4.3 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has released Configurator 1.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. 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 1.1 improves reliability and ease of use when installing paid apps with Volume Purchase Program redemption codes, adds new preferences to disable the automatic removal of apps or profiles installed by the user when a configuration is reapplied and disable reapplying a configuration each time a supervised device is connected, includes small changes to the profile editor, and ensures that VPP codes are no longer marked as invalid if the App Store is unavailable. Apple Configurator 1.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store.
Apple has chosen AutoNavi to supply map services in China, according to a new report. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that AutoNavi will supply maps of China to users running iOS 6 on their devices. AutoNavi set up a joint venture with TomTom—a known supplier of mapping data for Apple’s iOS 6 Maps application—in 2010. Apple touted improved support for Chinese services in iOS 6 during its WWDC keynote address.
Google has released a universal iOS client for its Google Drive service. Introduced earlier this spring, Google Drive is an evolution of Google Docs into a full cloud-based file storage and sharing platform. The new iOS app allows users to access their Google Drive online storage allowing viewing PDFs, photos, videos, and documents while on the go; files can also be opened in other iOS apps supporting the “Open in” feature. Users can also search for files, add collaborators to documents and sync files for offline use when no network connection is available. Note that this initial release of Google Drive for iOS does not currently support editing files directly within the app, real-time collaboration, creating new items, or moving items between folders or into the trash, although the company notes that it is continuing to develop the app. Google Drive is a universal app, requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Navigon has released an update to its universal iOS navigation apps adding integrated support for Google Street view, custom routing and a new optional ‘Cockpit’ heads-up display feature. When planning a route with Navigon 2.1, users can now be shown a street-level view of their destination when starting a route, helping them to identify the specific location they should be looking for upon arrivel. The Google Street view integration provides an initial snapshot of the area that users can then expand to a full screen 360-degree view of the destination’s surrounding area; the Google Street view preview will also appear automatically shortly before arriving at the destination.
A new Navigon Cockpit feature has also been added as an optional $3 in-app purchase, allowing users to display relevant, real-time driving data on screen to see a snapshot of their driving habits. Data includes gForce, speed, horizontal and vertical position and an adjustable speed and altitude graph as well as a separate screen with compass and altitude information designed for off-road driving. The new version also adds support for manual route blocking to help users more effectively set their own custom routes. Users can view their route on a map and block certain sections simply by tapping on them, prompting the app to automatically calculate an alternative route to avoid the selected areas. Users can access the manual route blocking both when planning a route as well as during navigation.
Additional enhancements include Retina Display graphics for the third-generation iPad, an optimized map manager interface for downloading and deleting maps and improvements to start-up time and map rendering performance. The Navigon apps are available from the App Store in a variety of regional versions, including Navigon North America ($40), Navigon USA ($30), Navigon Canada ($35) and Navigon Europe ($85); a full list can be found on the Navigon AG App Store page. The North American Navigon apps and related in-app purchases are available at reduced pricing until July 16, 2012.
Google has released a universal iOS version of its Chrome browser. The app is designed as an alternative to the built-in Safari browser for users of Chrome on the desktop and allows users to sync their open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibox data between their computer and their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing them seamlessly transition between devices and preserve a unified browsing experience. Users can also send pages from their desktop Chrome browser directly to their iOS device for reading on the go, even when offline.
Chrome for iOS also provides fast search and navigation with a single, combined address and search bar similar to the desktop version with search results that appear as the user types. Intuitive touchscreen gestures are used to open and switch between tabs, allowing iPhone and iPod touch users to flip through their screens like a deck of cards or iPad users to swipe from edge to edge to quickly switch between tabs. The iOS version also supports the “Incognito” mode from the desktop version, allowing users to open pages and browse without saving history or other tracking data. Google Chrome requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
In celebration of Atari’s 40th Anniversary the company is giving away all of the 100 games included in its Atari’s Greatest Hits iOS app for free. Normally available as in-app purchases at $1 each of $10 for the entire set, for today only users will be able to download Atari 2600 classics such as Asteroids, Centipede, Pong, Battlezone and more. An updated version of the app has been released on the App Store for the 40th anniversary special. Atari’s Greatest Hits is a universal iOS app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has released a new universal app dedicated to subscribing to, viewing and managing Podcasts on iOS devices. Dubbed simply Podcasts, the new app allows users to browse through hundreds of thousands of audio and video podcasts available in the iTunes Podcasts catalog, stream or download individual episodes for offline listening or subscribe to an entire podcast series. A Top Stations feature also provides a unique user interface with a quick view of the most popular podcasts, organized by topics such as arts, business, comedy, news and sports. A radio-like “Now Playing” screen with simple playback controls allow the user to easily skip forward and back and the app integrates with iTunes to access podcasts synced from an iTunes library in the traditional manner. The application also supports syncing episode bookmarks via iCloud for seamless playback between devices along with a built-in sleep timer and the ability to share favourite podcasts episodes via Twitter, Messages and Mail. Podcasts is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. Syncing episodes requires iTunes 10.6.3 or later and streaming is supported over both Wi-Fi and cellular data connections.