17/05/2013 - iOS 6 approved for use on American military networks
The Defense Department has officially given the thumbs up to Apple devices running iOS 6 -- paving the way for iPhones and iPads to become standard issue around the Pentagon. The move was hardly shocking. In fact, the Wall Street Journal had it on good authority weeks ago that the DoD was planning to give iOS its seal of approval. With Samsung devices running the Knox security suite and BlackBerry 10 already trickling into the hands of Pentagon employees, the decision sets the stage for a three-way bout for military market supremacy. And we're sure the government drones can't pick sides fast enough. After all, who wants to live under the tyranny of BlackBerry 7 any longer than necessary?
If you've been following the trends, Gartner's mobile phone market figures for the first quarter of 2013 won't surprise. The research firm estimates that Android was on 74.4 percent of all smartphones sold in the period, with Samsung the key beneficiary of such dominance. While the Korean behemoth doesn't release solid sales figures, Gartner believes its market-flooding strategy has paid off, topping the league with 30.8 percent market share -- Apple has a firm grip on second place, with 18.2 percent, which is well ahead of LG, which has 4.8 percent. Samsung is also king of the mobile phone space, owning 23.6 percent of the market, ahead of Nokia, which has fallen to 14.8 percent share. Gartner's research also found that feature phone sales are slowing, so we guess that it's only a matter of time before the humble candybar goes the way of the netbook.
After a month of offering the iPhone 5 for $100 down, T-Mobile has quietly increased the upfront cost by $50. Even with the price hike, it's still less expensive than on most other carriers, but some type of warning would've certainly been appreciated. As for the rest of T-Mobile's new pricing scheme, its $20-a month, two-year amortization schedule remains intact. Consider us skeptical, but hopefully this is just a case of growing pains, and unannounced promotions won't be part of the UnCarrier's game plan going forward.
On April 28th, the iTunes Store turned 10. Back in 2003, Apple opened up shop for its digital goods and the impact on the industry is still quite evident today. In a new edition of our weekly, we examine the iTunes influence and whether or not streaming services could cut into its success. Eyes-On goes after a set of Ultimate Ears, Switched On spends three days without Google Glass and Fall Out Boy's Joe Trohman tackles the Q&A. Unfortunately, we couldn't include a slide of cake with each download, but you can rest assured that there's plenty of fresh-baked digital goodness via the usual repositories.
Flush from that springtime financing boost from Samsung, Sharp's reportedly readying production on new screens for Apple's next smartphone. According to Nikkan Kogyo, one of Japan's business dailies, the display manufacturer will start production on LCD panels for the next iPhone in its Kameyama plant this June, although there's no specifics about size and resolution differences since the iPhone 5. Company team-up Japan Display (which includes LG Display, Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba) has also allegedly received orders from Apple, with production already underway. With the combined might of all those screen-makers, we're hoping it'll sidestep any screen component delays.
Via: Apple Insider
Source: Nikkan Kogyo
06/05/2013 - Jon Rubinstein joins Qualcomm board of directors
When Jon Rubinstein left HP, it wasn't certain whether he would retire (again) or once more respond to the siren's call of technology. Clearly, he couldn't resist -- Qualcomm has confirmed that Rubinstein is joining its board of directors. It's not hard to understand why the firm would be interested, mind you. Between NeXT, Apple, Palm and HP, Rubinstein has extensive experience with Silicon Valley technology in general, and mobile in particular. While Qualcomm is already doing blockbuster business without his help, it no doubt wants to keep the money train going. Us? We're just happy to see a familiar name back in the limelight.
US Cellular is apparently seeing the light when it comes to offering Apple products to its customers, announcing today in its quarterly earnings that it'll begin selling unnamed Apple products in its stores starting "later this year." Though no specifics are given as to what products will be available, USC president Mary Dillon couched the announcement in iPhone-leaning verbiage.
"We have a number of strategies in progress to increase loyalty and attract more customers, including our announcement today that we will begin offering Apple products later this year. By further strengthening our device portfolio, we'll give consumers another great reason to switch to U.S. Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding U.S. Cellular customer experiences they deserve."
The company previously said (way back in 2011) that it couldn't find agreeable terms with Apple to offer its devices in USC stores, but apparently that situation has been resolved. We're reaching out to US Cellular for more information and will let you know as we hear it.
Blockbuster announced its entrance back into the video streaming game in January after pledging to exit that market late last year. Today, Blockbuster's reincarnation as a video streaming service continues, as the company rolled out its On Demand app for iOS, bringing "thousands" of movies to iPads and iPhones running iOS 4.3 and up. By adding Apple devices to the fold, Blockbuster can now shoot movies to the majority of mobile devices -- previously it was only available for Android (plus Mac, PC, Roku and Samsung Smart TVs). So, if you're looking for 1080p video with 5.1 surround streaming to your Apple-fied mobile screen, your download awaits.
Via: 9to5 Mac
Source: App Store
01/05/2013 - Bloomberg: Jony Ive said to be considering 'more dramatic' changes to email and calendar amid iOS 7 overhaul
It's hardly been a secret that Apple's Jony Ive is exploring some more radical changes to iOS since taking the design reins for software in addition to hardware, but Bloomberg is now reporting some new details that paint a better picture of just what's going on in the lead-up to iOS 7. As previously reported, that includes what's sure to be iOS' biggest visual overhaul to date, with a decidedly more flat and minimalist design replacing Apple's current skeuomorphic tendencies. What's more, Bloomberg is also reporting that Ive is exploring "more dramatic changes" to the e-mail and calendar apps, and that he's "methodically" reviewing all the new designs himself to avoid a repeat of the Maps fiasco.
Also as previously rumoured, Bloomberg reports that Apple is pulling people from the Mac team to work on iOS in order to get it done in time, and that Ive has been encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware teams -- which, as Bloomberg notes, have previously been operating in separate silos. That all comes as Apple is apparently pushing things closer to the deadline than usual; while Bloomberg reports that iOS 7 is still on track for a release "as soon as September," internal testing dates are reportedly being set later than they have in the past, and the sweeping changes Ive has embarked on are said to have put Apple "at risk of falling behind." Of course, Apple does have one upcoming date that's now set in stone: WWDC on June 10th, when it has already promised to show off new versions of both iOS and OS X.
30/04/2013 - iPhone 5S’s Latest Fingerprint Reader Coming Soon
If you've ever wanted to send some text from your computer to your phone, you usually have to go with a dedicated app like Evernote, with a mobile app required at the other end. With the new version of Clipr for Mac, however, all you need to do is enter your phone number in the settings and the info will magically appear on your mobile device via SMS -- just press the command key when selecting a clip and away it'll go. Right now all major US carriers are supported, with the promise of more to come. For the uninitiated, Clipr is a clipboard manager that works with your computer's existing copy and paste system without any special key combos. Bear in mind that while the app itself is free, the aforementioned SMS feature costs $0.99 extra. Still, at least this particular clip-inspired helper looks to be a lot better than, you know, that other one.
Source: Clipr (Mac App Store)
Stepping into a carrier's store can be like a visit to the candy shop for the gadget junkie, but once playtime is over and it's time to choose just one, the decision can get a bit overwhelming. You'll find Android phones that range in size from tiny to massive, Windows Phone handsets that cover the rainbow in colors and, of course, the ubiquitous iPhone, which has a price point to suit every need. There's also the latest BlackBerry, which melds a familiar name with a brand-new operating system.
Naturally, it's no easy task to sort through the wide number of options on the market today, and it's even more difficult to find the best of the best. That's where Engadget's smartphone buyer's guide comes in handy. Here, you'll find a very exclusive list of the smartphones that we confidently use and achingly desire. Regardless of your financial situation or platform preference, you're bound to find a stellar choice that's a great fit for your needs. So read on as we round up the very best smartphones of the season.
23/04/2013 - Apple posts $9.5 billion net profit in Q2 2013: sells 19.5 million iPads, 37.4 million iPhones
Apple has been on a roll for, well, almost as long as we can remember. Basically since the debut of the iMac, the company has been riding a rocketship back from brink of irrelevance. The iPod, iPhone and iPad have all led it to post record quarter, after record quarter, after record quarter. Now we're in the second quarter of financial year 2013 and it doesn't appear to be slowing down much. The company posted $43.6 billion in revenue during the quarter and net itself a handsome profit of $9.5 billion.
If you thought the patent war between Motorola (Google) and Apple was already over, you were mistaken. Though, today's decision by the ITC to toss Moto's complaint against Cupertino regarding the use of sensors to control the interface of a phone, might be the final blow struck. The claim over patent No. 6,246,862, was the last patent-in-suit standing from its 2010 complaint against Apple.
Source: FOSS Patents
It's no secret that Apple hangs onto your Siri data for some length of time (as does other companies with search data and the like), but it hasn't been clear exactly how long it keeps that data sitting on its servers. Wired has now cleared that up somewhat, though, hearing from Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller that the company "may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years." That word follows another report from Wired yesterday that raised concerns about the issue. As Muller notes, the data is immediately deleted if a user turns Siri off at any time, and it's anonymized from the start; neither your Apple ID or email address are stored with a data, but rather a randomly generated number that represents the user and becomes associated with the voice files. That number then gets disassociated from voice clips after six months, but Apple still hangs onto the files for another 18 months for what's described as testing and product improvement purposes.
The rumor about that more affordable iPhone just keeps coming back, but this time we're finally seeing some sort of progress. Courtesy of case manufacturer Tactus, we're apparently looking at the upcoming budget iPhone's polycarbonate shell, which was spotted at a factory that provides parts to Foxconn. It's the same story for the "iPad 5" case leak that Tactus published two days ago (the same day as our own scoop), so the company does seem to have a good contact for these kinds of goodies -- and it is a very competitive market, after all.
Compared to the old polycarbonate iPhone 3G and 3GS, this mysterious shell appears to have a flat back instead of the old curved one, meaning it should reduce manufacturing complexity and therefore the cost as well. Another notable difference is that the old volume rocker is split into two, and then there's also the LED flash that was absent on the old polycarbonate iPhones. Tactus adds that this body is slightly taller, wider and thicker than the iPhone 4 and 4S, but what we do struggle to believe is that apparently the same factory is producing this shell in black and white as well as blue, red and yellow. A decoy, perhaps? Only time will tell.
During Verizon's quarterly financials call, company CFO Fran Shammo let slip that of the 7.2 million smartphones that the company activated, 4 million of them were iPhones. He added that half of them were LTE-ready, which we can take to mean the iPhone 5, while the other half was mixed amongst the older devices in Apple's smartphone pantheon. While the executive didn't break out how much of the 3.2 million other smartphones were Android-based, we're reasonably confident that other operating systems haven't made too much of a dent in that figure.
As a part of a sweep that cited some 198 websites, China government officials directed Apple to remove obscene content listed in its App Store in the country. Apple recently faced criticism about, and eventually apologized for, its warranty policy in China. The Financial Times reported an app was pulled earlier this month for providing access to banned books, just days after the warranty issue surface. A report by Bloomberg suggests Apple includes a quote from research firm owner Mark Tanner suggesting Apple needs to do more to enhance its relations with the government to curry favor with consumers. Whatever the case, the listing on state-run news agent Xinhua does not specify the banned content, although it's probably still available on App Stores in other regions.
As we revealed a few days ago and Time Warner Cable announced yesterday, its iOS app has been updated with the ability to stream video even when away from subscriber's home networks. There's video on-demand available from 10 networks, and ten live TV channels ready for streaming. While the company's blog post only referred to access over WiFi, its about page confirms our initial information that 3G / 4G access is limited to Verizon Wireless customers. Our tipster indicted this exclusive would run out later this year, and the feature is also coming soon to the company's Android app and web portal for PC / Mac users. Today's update on iOS also tweaks the app's guide, with a new ability to filter by category, as well as sort alphabetically by network or show title. Subscribers can grab it at the link below -- let us know how well it works and if you've run into any unexpected restrictions.
Among the people affected by Apple's iOS 6 Maps debacle was claimed project head Richard Williamson, who was reportedly shown the door at the end of 2012. While the details were never directly corroborated outside of Williamson's exit in December, he may have found a new home at Facebook: Bloomberg's sources say that the director joined the social network's mobile software division within the past two weeks. We don't know what (if anything) Williamson might be producing when Facebook has so far declined comment, although there's no question that he has an appropriate pedigree when he managed interface development for key iOS apps and helped get Safari off the ground. Suffice it to say that the internet giant has plenty of projects that might benefit from his overall experience.
12/04/2013 - PSA: Pick up your T-Mobile iPhone 5 today
It's really happening. Starting today, you'll be able to pick up an iPhone 5 with that Magenta hue. T-Mobile are offering the device both in retail and online, starting at $100 plus 24 monthly installments of 20 bucks. You can pick from either of the two monotone extremes and if you're looking to spend a little less, you can also choose an iPhone 4S or 4 instead. Remember; you won't get the same subsidized pricing from Apple directly, so scroll through the options at the Uncarrier source and ensure that you're ready for that Coachella stream this weekend.
11/04/2013 - Otterbox iPhone 4 / 4S Defender case with iON Intelligence launching April 18th for $130 (video)
It was at CES that we were first introduced to Otterbox's Defender case with iON Intelligence, which promises to keep phones alive in two ways: by shielding them from physical abuse, and by serving up extra juice whenever they're thirsty. Otterbox has now told us the new case is nearly ready to
bounce off hit the streets, and will be launching on April 18th for the iPhone 4 and 4S. The case combines the familiar hard shell, rubbery sleeve and screen protector for laughing off falls, with a 1,450mAh battery -- that's a sliver bigger than the 4 / 4S built-ins -- to effectively double capacity. LEDs on the case let you know how much extra juice is left, and the companion iON Intelligence app automatically redirects power when it's needed, as well as monitoring usage to predict how long 'til your next charge. The iPhone 4 / 4S model will be available from Otterbox's online den for $129.95, and others are in the works for "other top iOS and Android devices." Check out the promo videos below for a full product walkthrough.
The many attempts at weaving biometric identification into mobile devices have usually focused on only one aspect at a time, whether it's fingerprints or voices, and often for access to just the device itself. AOptix isn't quite so narrowly focused. Its new Stratus system combines an app with a custom iPhone 4 / 4S case (the Stratus MX) to verify faces, irises, fingerprints and voices for grander purposes, whether it's office workers checking in or entire national ID programs. The bundle should be more portable than most such alternatives, as well as more intuitive through its familiar interface. Odds are that you won't be buying a Stratus kit to scan friends and family at home, though. Apart from the bundle's lack of support for the iPhone 5 or any non-iOS platform, the Stratus software in the App Store isn't an impulse purchase at $199 -- and an emphasis on quotation-based case sales likely means you'll be the scanner's target, not its owner.
As T-Mobile prepares to officially offer the iPhone for the first time, it's trying to pump up the lure with a trade-in offer for owners of the 4 and 4S models. Available through mid-June, the promotion lets iPhone 4 and 4S owners trade in their current device for an AWS HSPA+ friendly iPhone 5 for no money upfront (with monthly payments) under its new no-contract Simple Choice Plans. Additionally, depending on the condition of the hardware being traded in, customers can get a credit of up to $120 to be used against those payments (knocking it down to $15 from $20, for example) their usual bill or accessories. If last month's colorful presentation wasn't enough to pull you to T-Mobile from another carrier, does this new offer sweeten the deal enough? A full breakdown follows below in the press release, sales start Friday.
The Google Drive app for iOS is freeing users from the shackles of portrait-style document editing in its latest update, version 1.30, as well as speeding up Google Doc support in general. Alongside some "minor bug fixes," that's the general thrust of the latest Google Drive update for iOS devices; an update which adds what we'd call no-brainer functionality. Most importantly, this update should allow users to stop swearing loudly while trying to edit documents in portrait mode, which we'd call a major plus.
Via: The Next Web
Source: iTunes App Store