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iPhone 5S: gold, new Home Button, dual flash confirmed?

Apple’s upcoming iPhone will indeed be called the iPhone 5S, according to a new report from Macotakara, which also makes several claims regarding specifics of the model that is now expected to debut in September. First, the report suggests that a third color option beyond black or white will in fact be offered — a gold iPhone 5S, matching prior component leaks. Second, the rounded square icon seen on all prior iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad Home Buttons may be removed for this model, due to inclusion of a fingerprint sensor. A report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) suggests that the new button will be slightly convex, and made from sapphire, a switch from the concave plastic in prior Home Buttons.

Third, it’s claimed that the iPhone 5S camera will be improved with a faster f/2.0 lens to increase light gathering capabilities, but the sensor will stay at 8-Megapixels; reports have differed on whether the sensor would jump in megapixel count this time. A separate leak (via AppleInsider) also appears to confirm that the new camera will include a dual-LED flash system.

iPad 5 to use mini-style film touch panel

  • August 12, 2013
  • iPad

Apple’s fifth-generation iPad will use a film-based touch panel like the iPad mini, according to The Wall Street Journal. The film-based touch panel sits on top of the iPad’s glass display, and is both lighter and thinner than the glass-based touch panel used in the current iteration of the iPad. Film-based touch panels are now more advanced than before, allowing Apple to reduce space while still providing a high-quality display. The fifth-generation iPad is now reportedly being produced by Asian suppliers. We’ve long expected the new iPad to use a different screen technology, and to resemble the iPad mini.

Report: New iPhone event slated for September 10

Apple will unveil its next-generation iPhone at a September 10 event, according to a report from AllThingsD—a publication that is frequently fed accurate advance details on upcoming product releases by Apple. AllThingsD says that the event will focus on the “update it has in store for the current iPhone,” but doesn’t definitively rule in or out an unveiling of the well-documented but still unannounced low-cost iPhone. “Naturally, any new phones will be running iOS 7,” the report notes, suggesting that the public release of the operating system first shown in June will also take place in September.

The report suggests that the event is unlikely to see the release of OS X Mavericks, and says there is “no indication” that Apple’s television or watch products are “close to debuting.” Nothing was said about new iPads, iPods, or other products.

iLounge Weekly arrives Monday, new August giveaway

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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Be sure to also enter our new Unu Enerpak Extreme Dual Giveaway for the month of August, in which iLounge and uNu are giving away ten Enerpak Extreme Dual USB Battery Packs. Simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page to enter; both giveaways will end on August 31, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Report: Apple board worried, pushes Cook to innovate

Apple’s board of directors have become concerned with the pace of innovation at the company post-Steve Jobs, and that concern is “manifesting into pressure on” Apple CEO Tim Cook to innovate, according to Fox Business News’ Charlie Gasparino. The board “is now worried about what’s in the pipeline,” Gasparino said, referring to a lack of innovative products from Apple moving forward under Cook. However, Gasparino also claims that the board is completely behind Cook at this point. “This does not mean Tim Cook is out of a job or there’s a job search out there,” he said.

Obama meets with Apple’s Cook, others on surveillance

President Barack Obama met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a number of other technology executives yesterday to discuss government surveillance, according to Politico. Thursday’s meeting was one of “a number of discussions” the Obama administration is holding on surveillance, which an aide said is part of the president’s “national dialogue about how to best protect privacy in a digital era, including how to respect privacy while defending our national security.” Cook had no comment on the report. The issue of government surveillance has been in the spotlight since a June report on PRISM, the code name of the extensive government data mining program. Apple denied knowledge of the program, and denied its servers were being accessed by government agencies.

Report: Vevo developing Apple TV music video app

Music video site Vevo is developing an Apple TV app that will play its 24/7 music video channel, according to AdAge. The app would play Vevo TV, a traditional music video channel that plays videos around the clock without letting viewers select which videos they want to watch. Vevo already has both a regular and iPad-only HD app for iOS. Neither Apple nor Vevo commented on the report.

T-Mobile to offer more Apple products?

T-Mobile may soon carry more Apple products, as CEO John Legere alluded to the possibility in a recent interview. “I think there’s a whole array of Apple products that we look forward to carrying,” Legere told AllThingsD. “We will expand what we offer from them.” Legere may have been referring to WiFi + Cellular iPads, Apple’s new upcoming iPhones, or all of those devices.

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.

Apple now seeking Samsung device ban

Apple recently saw an import ban on older iPhones and iPads vetoed, and now the company is trying to turn the tables on Samsung by asking a U.S. appeals court tomorrow to block sales of certain Samsung devices. Bloomberg reports that Apple will try to block the sale of Samsung models that have been found to violate patents covering the “iPhone’s look and features.” A U.S. trade agency will then determine if any Samsung imports will be stopped. The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Apple violated a Samsung patent, and an import ban was to block the AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the first- and second- generation 3G iPads from being imported to the U.S., but the ban was recently overturned by the Obama administration.

RHA debuts MA750i and MA600i in-ear headphones

British audio company RHA has announced two premium in-ear headphones, the MA750i ($130) and MA600i ($90). The MA750i in-ear headphones come with stainless steel housings and handmade dynamic drivers. A reinforced cable and remote and mic are also included on the headphones, which come with a carrying case and a selection of ear tips.

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The less expensive MA600i is constructed from aluminum. It also offers a remote and mic and carrying case with a set of ear tips. Both new RHA in-ear headphones are set for release on Aug 28.

iTunes in the Cloud for Movies now in 8 new countries

Apple rolled out movie support for iTunes in the Cloud across eight more countries today: Austria, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Users in those countries can now re-download previously purchased iTunes movies. Notably, Apple has yet to mark the countries as now offering movie support on the iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match Availability page. There are still a number of countries in which Apple offers support for music and music videos in iTunes in the Cloud, but not movies. [via MacRumors]

Publishers object to agency ban in proposed Apple remedy

The five major U.S. publishers that settled with the U.S. government prior to trial are objecting to the U.S. Department of Justice’s proposed remedy for Apple’s e-book price fixing, The Wall Street Journal reports. In a court filing, publishers said eliminating the “agency model” for five years as proposed would harm the publishers instead of Apple, since publishers were given the ability to set the retail prices for e-books under the model. The publishers — Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, and HarperCollins — all settled with the government before a price fixing trial, while Apple went to court and was subsequently found guilty of fixing e-book prices. Apple has spoken out against the DOJ’s proposal, calling it a “draconian and punitive intrusion.”

iTunes Store outage affecting ‘some users’

An outage with Apple’s iTunes Store is preventing some users from making purchases, as well as completing transactions that were underway at the time of the outage. The issue has continued for nearly two hours as of this writing, according to Apple’s System Status page. iLounge editors have experienced the problem firsthand, in the form of being unable to complete video purchases, and through in-progress app downloads that won’t authorize via iTunes.

Update: Apple’s System Status page is now showing a number of issues with other services. According to the status page, “Users may be unable to make purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, or iBookstore. Users may also be unable to download previously-purchased content, use iTunes Match, or successfully restore Apps and Music from an iCloud backup.”

Second update: All of those services have been restored, but now some users are unable to make FaceTime calls, according to Apple’s System Status page as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

AppleCare to intro 24/7 chat support, new website

Apple will soon make major changes to its AppleCare support service, including making online chat support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, according to a report. Around-the-clock chat support could go live as soon as Aug. 12, with the online chat “likely” to support users of both iOS devices and Macs. Along with the always-available online chat support, Apple is also readying the launch of a redesigned AppleCare website. The interface of the revamped site will feature larger and simpler navigation and icons, similar to iOS. [via 9to5Mac]

Heckler Design debuts WindFall C iPad point-of-sale stand

  • August 7, 2013
  • iPad

Heckler Design has released WindFall C ($129), a secure iPad point-of-sale iPad stand that works with a number of compatible card readers. A second-, third- or fourth-generation iPad can be mounted to the steel-and-polypropylene stand. The stand, which is angled at 45 degrees, can be placed on a swivel or mounted to a counter.

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WindFall C doesn’t come with an included card reader — instead the stand supports popular options such as Square, Intuit’s GoPayment, and PayPal Here, among others. Heckler Design’s WindFall C stand comes in seven different colors and is available now.

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.

Twelve South debuts HiRise for iPhone stand

Twelve South has released HiRise for iPhone ($35), an adjustable stand for iPhone 5 and iPad mini that works exclusively with Apple’s Lightning cable. The metal pedestal elevates an iPhone 5 or iPad mini without blocking the speakers, mic, or headphone port. An Apple Lightning cable is not included with the stand.

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Twelve South notes the HiRise stand is compatible with “most every case on the market.” The user can position a self-supplied Lightning connector with one of three included adjustable clips, and the rear support on the stand can move back and forth to adjust for different-sized cases. HiRise for iPhone 5 is available now.

Philips extends Hue with LightStrips and Bloom

Philips will soon be extending its Hue wireless lightbulb family with the addition of LightStrips ($90) and Bloom ($80), according to a report. LightStrips are flexible two-meter LED strips that can be placed in a wide variety of places, including around frames or fixtures. Bloom is a portable lamp with a 120-Lumen LED bulb that can be used to highlight parts of a room.

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Philips has incorporated the ZigBee LightLink wireless standard into the Hue line of products, which allows users to customize the lights’ intensity, color, and more. LightStrips and Bloom will be on sale in “the coming weeks,” according to the report. [via The Verge]

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