Apple announces interactive textbooks, releases iBooks 2.0 update

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

As Apple’s Guggenheim-based education event continues, the company kicked off its announcements with iBooks 2.0, which will bring a new textbook experience to the iPad. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, these textbooks will include standard text interspersed with interactive high-quality images, videos, animations and 3D models.

This content will allow for features such as being able to pinch to zoom on images, tap on a word and read the glossary entry to find out what they are looking at. It will also include “My Notes” which will let you easily create study cards from a section of the textbook.

The first textbooks made available will be biology and high school science titles from Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These publishers make up 90 percent of the textbook market. DK Publishing will also launch with several interactive titles for children. Pricing is amazingly competitive with high school textbooks costing US$14.99 or less.

The new iBooks 2.0 app just launched and is available for free over on the iTunes App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T announces data plan price increases

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 07:13
Category: iPhone, News

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You might not like this.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has introduced new data plans for smartphone and tablet users, adding additional cap space but also charging customers more. The new plans max out at 5GB with tethering for US$50 per month.

A press release on Wednesday stated that the new rates that will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 22, marking the first change to the company’s data plans since 2010.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

The new smartphone pricing is basically a US$5 surcharge for a 1 GB bump in data for DataPro users, while DataPlus subscribers will get an extra 100 MB for the same price.

Tablet owners will see a reshuffling of options as the previous 2 GB DataConnect plan is to be replaced a 3 GB per month flavor previously only available on a two-year contract. An additional 5 GB plan will also be added for US$50 per month and the lowest 250 MB plan remains unchanged.

Current subscribers can keep their existing plans or opt in to one of the new tiers when the program launches on Sunday.

Smartphone plans are as follows:
- AT&T DataPlus 300MB: US$20 for 300MB

- AT&T DataPro 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

- AT&T DataPro 5GB: US$50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Additional data pricing remains at US$10 per gigabyte for the DataPro plans and US$20 per additional 300 MB for DataPlus customers.

Tablet data tiers have changed to:
- AT&T DataConnect 250MB: US$14.99 for 250MB

- AT&T DataConnect 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

- AT&T DataConnect 5GB: US$50 for 5GB

Overage charges only apply to 30-day tablet prices and include US$14.99 for and extra 250MB with AT&T DataConnect 250 MB, and US$10 per additional gigabyte for DataConnect 3 GB and 5 GB.

The new plans reflect an upward trend in cellphone and tablet data pricing from U.S. carriers as their networks strain under the pressure of a growing customer base.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

The Apple Core: Jason lends his thoughts on Apple’s education event and announcements

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Opinion

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Everyone’s got their theories and PowerPage head honcho Jason O’Grady has his own per Apple’s much-anticipated education announcement over at the Guggenheim in New York City today. With that in mind, kindly check out the Apple Core for his thoughts, ideas and notions as to what’s en route.

And if he’s totally wrong, he’ll buy each of you a puppy.

Apple releases Brother Printer drivers 2.8.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 11:27
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting update in the world, but it could prove useful.

On Wednesday, Apple released updated Brother printer drivers for the Mac OS X 10.6 and Mac OS X 10.7 operating systems. Brother Printer Driver 2.8, a 150 megabyte download offering the most current drivers for Brother’s printers and multi-function devices.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via the built-in Mac OS X Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new drivers and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 build 11D46 to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 11:21
Category: News, Software

Hold your horses, Mac OS X 10.7.3 will get here eventually.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released build 11D46 of its anticipated Mac OS X 10.7.3 update. The build, a 1.2 GB combo update / 989 MB delta update, focuses on iCloud document storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari.

The last seed was released a week ago. Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2 to the general public in October, which added iCloud support.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the build, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple nukes $100 rebate with purchase of qualifying printer, future incentive programs in question

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 05:23
Category: News, retail

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You know, it was kind of nice having a nifty incentive/rebate to look forward to.

Per ” target=”_blank”>AppleInsider, Apple’s promotion that offered a US$100 rebate to customers who purchased a Mac and qualifying printer has been discontinued with no alternative incentives announced.

In a change to its promotion information webpage on Tuesday, Apple announced that the long-standing printer rebate program has been cancelled, leaving the company without any rebates or incentives for new computer buyers.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has traditionally offered some sort of incentive when customers buy a new Mac, such as the US$100 instant rebate when purchasing a computer and printer. While the programs were usually “limited time only” affairs, Apple’s latest printer rebate was a perpetual offer that stipulated the company could end it at any time.

Apple has advertised a US$100 printer rebate sporadically from 2001 alongside numerous other discounts and promotions for both hardware and software.

The company is also known for its educational rebates and discounts, including the annual back-to-school promotion which has offered free iPods to gift cards.

Currently, Apple offers discounts for students and teachers through its Education Store or at Apple Store locations and campuses though the program is more of an institution rather than form of incentive.

It is unclear whether Apple is slowly phasing out incentives as the company’s online store usually has some type of discount.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Flip4Mac updated to 2.4.1.4

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 04:22
Category: News, Software

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Early Wednesday, software developer Telestream has released version 2.4.1.4 of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, a 24 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and changes:

- Added a progress indicator while waiting for streams to buffer in web browsers.

- Fixes an export scaling issue that causes video quality issues with source frame sizes not divisible by four.

- Fixes a problem exporting Silverlight templates.

- Fixes numerous problems in the Web browser plug-in that prevented streaming and playback of various sites and other problems with clicking and scrolling while in the plug-in.

- Adds support for Windows Media scripting. Note that scripting only works with Web browsers running in 32-bit mode. You may need to select “Open in 32-bit mode” in Finder’s Info pane for Safari or Firefox for scripting to work.

- Fixes a warning dialog issue with DRM protected content.

Flip4Mac 2.4.1.4 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 5.1 beta 3 points towards additional Facebook, Twitter integration

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Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, 13:00
Category: iOS, Rumor

What might you expect out of iOS 5.1? More Facebook.

Per iMore, evidence has been found indicating that Apple could add deep Facebook integration into a future operating system update. In one screenshot shown for the iOS Contacts application, there is an option to enter a person’s Facebook user name right below their Twitter account.

System-wide Twitter integration was one of the most-touted features of iOS 5, which was publicly released last October. After its release, signups for Twitter grew by 25 percent.

Deep integration with the social networking service allows users to quickly post Web links from Safari or pictures saved in the iPhoto application to Twitter. Presumably, future iOS integration with Facebook would offer similar functionality, making it easier for users to share information with their friends on the popular website.

The pre-release build of iOS 5.1 also reportedly includes references to new iPad models named “J1AP” and “J2AP.” The references corroborate with rumored code-names of “J1″ and “J2″ that were first reported last November, when it was said Apple was secretly working on two new iPad models.

The third beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers last week. It is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and fourth- and third-generation iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to hold iOS 5.1, iPad 3-focused press event in early February

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Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, 12:25
Category: iOS, iPad, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: there’s generally a small kernel of truth to them.

Per Macotakara, a new rumor suggests Apple is planning to hold an earlier-than-expected special event in early February to introduce its third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1.

The web site reported on Tuesday that the unveiling of a so-called “iPad 3″ along with iOS 5.1 will occur in February, citing both an Asian supplier and a source in the U.S. Despite a rumored early February introduction, the report claims that the new iPad would still launch in early March, much like the iPad 2 in 2011.

Last year, the iPad 2 was introduced in a media event held on March 2, and the device went on sale just 9 days later on March 11. But Tuesday’s rumor would suggest that Apple could have a longer wait time in between the unveiling of a third-generation iPad and its sale date.

That delay would be at least in part because Chinese factories will be shut down to celebrate that country’s New Year. This year’s festival is earlier than usual, and runs from Jan. 23 through 28.

Recent reports have suggested that Foxconn and Pegatron will begin shipping the first “iPad 3″ units in early March. Rumors leading up to the anticipated iPad unveiling have generally pointed toward a March launch of the device, but a monthlong wait time between the unveiling and sale of a new iPad would be a change from Apple’s approach in 2011.

Rumors have generally agreed that the next iPad will support a new high-resolution, Apple-branded “Retina Display” akin to the screens currently found on the iPhone and iPod touch. There have also been claims that Apple will continue to sell the current-generation iPad 2 at a reduced price.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

WaterBlock technology demoed at CES, could provide waterproofing shield for iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, 04:13
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

With any luck, something will come of this.

And it will be spiffy.

Per Pocket Lint, HzO, the maker of a “WaterBlock” technology shown off at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, has said it is in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone.

HzO was promoting its nano-scale film barrier at CES last week, pitching it as a potential solution to waterproof expensive electronic equipment. One of their demonstrations included submerging an iPhone into water, and having it remain in proper working order.

HzO’s technology is similar to the nano-coating process demonstrated at CES by P2i, branded “Aridion” and profiled yesterday. A video demonstration of Aridion-treated paper also appeared recently. The technology is already in use by Motorola on both its Droid RAZR smartphone and XYBOARD tablet.

While speaking to attendees at the show, officials with HzO said that Apple is among the companies that have shown interest in the water repelling technology. Company officials said Apple was interested in making a future iPhone waterproof, potentially with a sixth-generation model expected to be released later this year.

“We expect HzO to be in next season’s phones,” the company reportedly said.

In addition to Apple, its rival Samsung is also said to have shown interest in HzO’s technology. The company said it showed a Samsung executive a waterproofed Galaxy S smartphone, and that company officials were “really excited” by what they saw.

HzO’s WaterBlock technology protects the insides of devices on a molecular scale. It has been used in demonstrations to protect a number of Apple products, including the iPhone 4S, iPads and iPods, after the material has been applied to the devices in a vacuum deposition process.

The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material that is safe for people to use. It also doesn’t change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight.

The technology is intended for “accidental encounters” with moisture, meaning use in deep waters or being submerged for an extended period of time is not recommended. However, HzO coated devices have reportedly been immersed in water for “many continuous hours,” and they continue to work fine.

“The technology is designed to protect against failure due to jumping in a pool and forgetting your phone was in your pocket, or dropping your iPod in the sink while doing dishes, or getting caught in a torrid rain storm and getting soaked, or leaving your smartphone in your pants when they go through the wash,” the company said.

Still, a video’s worth a thousand words, so here we go:



Let us know what you make of this in the comments.