Two can play the OS statistics game, it seems. Just a couple of days after Google noted that 1.1 percent of Android devices visiting Google Play are running KitKat, Apple has revealed that 74 percent of recent App Store customers are using iOS 7. That's a healthy 10-point improvement over what we saw in October, when 64 percent were running Cupertino's newest platform. The differences in OS adoption rates aren't totally surprising, mind you. Apple is targeting a narrower pool of hardware, doesn't have to wait for third-party approvals and recently launched two new iPads that could easily boost iOS 7 adoption. Android by its nature targets a wider range of devices and software interfaces that won't always receive updates at the same time. We wouldn't expect a big spike in KitKat use until larger phone makers like HTC and Samsung throw their full weight behind Google's latest platform.
28/11/2013 - US judge throws out Apple location-tracking lawsuit
Remember all the fuss a couple years ago about Apple storing your location data from iPhone 4 handsets and the subsequent privacy lawsuits that resulted? Well, that's all amounted to nothing for four of the plaintiffs, as all their claims have just been dismissed in court by none other than Judge Lucy Koh. She said that those folks failed to show they had relied on any alleged Apple misrepresentations, and suffered no harm in any case. Shortly after the allegations were made in 2011, Apple countered that it was just using the data to improve connection times, and the only thing it did wrong was keep it for too long. As a result, it ended up patching the problem so that the offending file only stored your information for a week, instead of a year. Despite Koh's ruling, Apple has paid out similar suits elsewhere, and still has up to 19 more to contend with stateside. Anyway, after what we've seen since then, the whole thing now seems downright quaint.
Brazil's national currency is the real, but you wouldn't know that by looking at its iTunes storefront. Apple prices everything there in US dollars, which has led Brazil's Consumer Protection Secretariat to write a formal letter to the company requesting an explanation. We're not sure why this has taken so long, given that iTunes came to Brazil two years ago, but in any case Apple now has ten days in which to respond or face the threat of a penalty. Other countries that've tackled Apple over its pricing policies in the past have generally failed to reach a resolution, and in some cases even urging people to take matters into their own hands.Cult of Mac
Source: Brazilian Ministry of Justice
28/11/2013 - Engadget's Black Friday 2013 roundup
Don't think that the Black Friday shopping rush this year is all about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We've rounded up a smorgasbord of Thanksgiving week deals that should appeal to tech-savvy shoppers of all stripes, whether they're looking for entry-level smartphones or giant 4K TVs. Hop past the break and you'll find bargains that could please the gadget lovers in your life -- and just might spare you from battling the crowds at the mall.
[Image credit: AP]
25/11/2013 - Apple patent filing adds trackpad functions to home button and turns entire display into fingerprint sensor
Arguably the most notable characteristic of the iPhone 5s is the TouchID fingerprint sensor, which lets you unlock your phone and authorize app purchases simply by resting a pre-authenticated fingertip on the home button. It turns out, however, that Apple might've had plans for the technology that go far beyond just that. According to a patent application filed with the World International Property Organization, the Cupertino company may use TouchID's sensor technology to transform the Home button into a trackpad, similar to the ones on BlackBerry's older line of Curve handhelds. Indeed, the patent filing describes how users could navigate the phone by "revolving" or "twisting" their fingerprint on the button's sensor. Additionally, the sensor could measure the length of time and amount of pressure that is placed on it, which might lend to more interesting use-cases in apps or games.
What's even more intriguing, however, is that the document goes on to describe how the entire display can be used to read your fingerprints. This sounds like a crazy idea at first, but if implemented, the phone would then know exactly which finger of which hand is on the screen. This could lead to certain actions mapped to specific digits -- perhaps a long-press of your index finger could launch Maps, while a pinch of your pinky and thumb could open up Messages, for example. A few diagrams from the patent application show how screen-wide fingerprint recognition could be used for playing a piano or touch-typing on the virtual keyboard. If you're concerned that this could lead to serious battery drain, the patent even addresses that, stating that the phone would be smart enough to recognize when it's in moments of fingerprint recognition (i.e. "enhanced sensitivity") or when it's normal everyday use, otherwise known as "reduced sensitivity."
Further, it seems that enhanced sensitivity could just be restricted to small screen areas so that only certain apps -- like banking or email perhaps -- would be cloaked in that extra layer of protection. Of course, just because such functionality is filed away in a patent application doesn't mean we'll see this in real life. However, taken with the promise of Apple's recent acquisition, we'll admit we're very interested to see how the iPhone 6 will turn out. Those interested in patent minutiae can go ahead and peruse the rather lengthy 612-page document in the link below.
Via: Unwired View
25/11/2013 - Engadget's smartphone buyer's guide: fall 2013
As the leaves turn to gold and flutter from the trees, the Engadget team digs out their scarves and mittens to get ready for the mad rush of phone launches that take place ahead of the holiday season. We've seen big devices (both large and high-profile ones) enter the world over the last few months, including new heavyweights from Apple and Google. Then there's Samsung, Nokia and HTC, which are all following the philosophy that bigger is better.
But it's not just on the hardware side that things are getting exciting. T-Mobile's eliminated roaming charges and Verizon is doubling its LTE speeds to a whopping 80 Mbps. AT&T is offering customers a $5 daily pass for internet and is making mobile share plans the standard rather than the exception. Of course, if you'd prefer unlimited data, Sprint is promising that its Spark LTE will beat the field -- but it's currently only available in NYC, LA, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. Whether you're looking for a smartphone right now, or if you're contract is about to expire, this is your guide to the best ones on the market.
Two sticks, four face buttons, a pair of shoulder paddles and a d-pad: the formula for a modern gamepad and the layout of MOGA's Ace Power controller. It's a pretty standard assortment of inputs, but this controller happens to be the first fully featured peripheral to support Apple's new iOS 7 gamepad protocols. Naturally, we couldn't wait to put the pad through its paces.
The MOGA Ace may have the normal assortment of buttons and triggers, but it has one trick most gamepads can't emulate: it telescopes. Taken out of the box, the Ace is hardly longer than an iPhone 5s, but pulling on either end stretches the peripheral to fit your iDevice. The Gamepad's left side retains enough tension to hold a device in place on its own, but our iPod had trouble identifying the controller unless we made a point of pushing the controller's edges inward to secure the connection. Once we had a compatible iOS 7 device locked in place, however, the Ace worked like a dream.
22/11/2013 - Engadget's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Smartphones
Welcome to Engadget's holiday gift guide! Head back to our hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month.
Who doesn't want a new smartphone? Even if you love the handset in your pocket, there's bound to be a newer, higher-specced device calling your name. If you're generous enough to give the ultimate mobile-tech gift, we'd like to help. We've lined up the hottest phones both on- and off-contract, from less than $100 to north of $500. Extra points if you foot the bill for the giftee's early termination fee.
You don't have to hold onto hope for that truly unlocked iPhone 5s any longer -- it's now available to buy on Apple's site. To be clear, this version of Apple's TouchID-imbued flagship comes completely free of any carrier attachment, separating it from the unlocked T-Mobile variant that ships with a Magenta nano-SIM inside. The SIM-free GSM handset, which'll ship within one to two weeks from order, is available in the standard 16GB/32GB/64GB storage and color configurations, so pricing remains the same at $650/$750/$850, respectively. But you'll still need to hitch your data ride to AT&T or T-Mobile for that fancy phone to work in the US. So, the strings... they're still attached. There are just less of them now.
Via: 9 to 5 Mac
21/11/2013 - Apple v. Samsung lawsuit inches closer to a conclusion, jury revises total damages due Apple to $888 million
When Apple was awarded over $1 billion in damages at the conclusion of the tech trial of the century (until the next one, at least), we knew that the ultimate price paid by Samsung would be different. Why? A few months after the jury announced its calculations, presiding judge Lucy Koh ordered a retrial regarding $450 million of the original award because the jury based that number on some faulty legal logic. In this second damages calculation proceeding, Apple has asked that the jury adjust the award to $380 million, while Samsung argued it only owes $52 million. Today, the jury has settled between those two numbers, and Samsung's revised legal tab is $290 million. That number, when combined with the $598 million not at issue in the retrial brings the total Samsung owes to $888 million.
Of course, this latest decision doesn't change anything but dollar signs -- the court's earlier finding of infringement upon Apple's patents still stands. Still, with the damages settled, the case is closer than ever to a conclusion, though the lawyers on both sides still have plenty left to do. There are still post-retrial motions and appeals to be filed, as has been the case with prior rulings made during the case. Still, at least now we know just how big a check Samsung will have to write if and when those appeals cease.
The Bluetooth-based iBeacon feature in iOS 7 is theoretically ideal for retailers -- they can offer location-sensitive deals without having to track shoppers using GPS. We're about to find out how well it works in practice, as Macy's has just started testing Shopkick's iBeacon-derived ShopBeacon service in a closed beta. Stores in New York's Herald Square and San Francisco's Union Square now carry transmitters that send discounts and recommendations to participating iPhone users when they pass nearby. Whether or not Macy's offers the feature to the public will depend on the success of the trial, but it may not be long before your favorite store is more than eager to greet you.
20/11/2013 - Hands-on with Logitech's PowerShell Controller, an iOS 7 gamepad that charges your phone
Remember that fuzzy-looking iOS 7 gamepad that leaked back in June? Turns out it's called the Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery (a mouthful, right?), and it's one of the first iOS 7 certified gamepads on the market. Compatible with Lightning-equipped iPhones and iPods, the controller juts off of your device's top and bottom edges, adding four face buttons, a d-pad, two shoulder buttons and a 1,500 mAh battery that charges your phone while you game. It's also one of the least obstructive gamepad accessories we've ever used.
23/10/2013 - Top 5 Features of iPad mini with Retina Display
We're no fans of patent litigation, and we imagine German iPhone users weren't thrilled when Motorola shut down iOS push email in the nation. After numerous pieces of paperwork (and a $135 million bond) was put on the table, an interim decision has allowed Apple to offer the service while the issue is resolved in court. All Teutonic users need to do is activate "Fetch New Data" from the "Mail, Contacts and Calendars" settings pane and, when all of this is settled, hope that messy patent litigation can stop getting between us and our email.
A number of iOS 7 users have reported problems sending and receiving using iMessage (not that it's the first time), and tonight Apple has responded. The Wall Street Journal has a statement from the company claiming the issue affects "a fraction of a percent" of its iMessage users, and says it will be fixed in a future software update. TechCrunch points out a support document that may provide temporary relief to those experiencing the issue, otherwise users may need to fall back to one of the many, many, many other messaging services out there (but not BBM, yet, and Google Hangouts had its own issue recently) to make sure those messages are getting through.
Source: Wall Street Journal
You knew this day would come, Virgin Mobile fans, and now the highly sought after iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c are available for purchase at Virgin Mobile. Better yet, you're in for a rather nice discount, as Sprint's prepaid subsidiary is selling each of the phones outright for $100 less than you'd pay elsewhere. This puts the 16GB iPhone 5s at $550 and the 16GB iPhone 5c at $450. Each of these phones should be available for purchase either online or in a retail setting, but if you want to score an iPhone with larger storage (either 32GB or 64GB), you'll need to direct your browser to Virgin's website. With its surprisingly low pricing, perhaps Virgin Mobile is retraining its brain as well.
Via: Apple Insider
Apple offers iPhones through both large and small US carriers these days, but it has so far given Boost Mobile the cold shoulder. That may soon change, however -- @evleaks has just leaked ads hinting that Boost will get the iPhone 5c and 5s in the near future. While the images don't reveal any launch dates or pricing, they suggest that both smartphones will be eligible for the provider's "shrinking" unlimited rates. The expansion isn't all that crucial given the upcoming 5c and 5s launches through Virgin Mobile, but it doesn't hurt to have another option for low-cost iPhone service.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
Another day, another lawsuit finally drawing to a close. This time, a judge has approved a settlement for a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple and AT&T, based on the unlimited data claims of the original iPad that were later withdrawn by AT&T. So, if you bought a 3G iPad before June 7th, 2010, you'll get a $40 payout from Apple, even if you stand among AT&T's grandfathered customers. Meanwhile, if you purchased the original 3G iPad but didn't get a mobile plan, you're also eligible for a $20 / month discount for up to a year under the carrier's current $50 offering. The toddler-aged class action was born out of affected customers' frustration over the change and the belief that they overpaid for their devices as a result. Unfortunately, the ruling won't be finalized until February 2014, so don't expect to hear from Apple about the payout -- or plan a modest $40 dinner for two -- until then.
Major League Baseball is becoming very iPhone-friendly: it gave iOS 6 users Passbook ticketing this season, and it's now planning a treat for iOS 7 users. A 2014 update to MLB's At the Ballpark app will use iOS 7's iBeacon feature to guide sports fans as they pass by low-power Bluetooth transmitters in the stadium. Enter the ballpark and you'll get seat directions; visit specific points and you may get coupons or highlight videos. Only the New York Mets are testing the feature at Citi Field, but the league believes that other teams are likely to follow suit.
Just a few short months after Virgin Mobile's Sprint-fueled US arm listed the iPhone 5 for sale, the MVNO is teasing the smartphone's successors as "coming soon." According to the firm's homepage, both the iPhone 5s and 5c will debut for prepaid customers, though pricing and availability remain unknown. Judging by the previous-gen's starting price of $550, however, you might want to start saving up now. The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, remains on the ticket. That handset is currently listed for 15 percent off its $450 sticker price, available today for $382.49.
Source: Virgin Mobile USA
Apple confirmed and assured everyone that it was working on a fix to the iOS 7 lockscreen bypass bug last week that let sneaky individuals mess with users' email and social network accounts. And now, exactly seven days later, said update is hitting handsets in the form of iOS 7.0.2. Directly to the point, the update is said to "fi[x] bugs that could allow someone to bypass the lock screen passcode." And hey, there's also a Greek keyboard option for passcodes thrown into the update for good measure.
Via: 9 to 5 Mac
It's been a long while since Maxthon updated its iOS app, and hot on the heels of iOS 7, it finally has. Not only does it offer the usual speed and performance enhancements, the latest update to the mobile browser also reveals easier access to social media, a unique "shake-and-send" feature that lets you send content to the cloud by shaking the phone, localization in 15 more languages and a new "Push Away Menu" that supposedly helps you navigate the web one-handed. Seeing as Safari didn't get a ton of updates with iOS 7, it might prove useful to hit the source and seek out a possible alternative.
Source: Maxthon (App Store)
Have a third-gen Apple TV and an iDevice running iOS 7? If you've yet to set up Cupertino's set-top box, you can do so now by simply touching your iPhone or iPad to the Apple TV. Okay, Apple's take on Bump requires a few more steps than that; you'll first need to enable Bluetooth on your iOS 7 device, then connect to the WiFi network you'll use with the Apple TV. (Your machine also needs Apple TV software 6.0 or later.) Still, it sure beats the labor-intensive process of selecting letters on-screen with the included remote. Once you've tapped your iPhone to the set-top box, prompts should appear on both the phone and the TV screen, and you're good to go. Give it a whirl for yourself -- Apple's directions are available via the first source link below.
When your name is on a Major League Baseball stadium, and you're a mobile operator, you carry the iPhone. Unless you're US Cellular, that is. For reasons that cannot be comprehended by mere mortals, one of the United States' largest regional carriers still isn't offering the iPhone in any variant, despite promising back in May to carry Apple products before the year's end. In fact, things have gotten so bad over at USCC that its Facebook page has gone dead silent since September 13th, with customers far and wide ranting in the comments section about the carrier's inability to get the one phone they all want.
Making matters worse for USCC is the fact that Appalachian Wireless, C Spire, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, GCI, MTA, Nex-Tech Wireless, Ntelos and Strata are all lined up to start selling both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s on October 1st. We suppose even more could be added as time rolls on and the supply / demand balance rights itself, but it's probably high time for US Cellular holdouts to head on over to a rival. Patience only gets you so far, you know?