Apple revises iOS Developer Program requirements, begins asking for Retina Display-compatible screenshots across the board

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Date: Wednesday, February 8th, 2012, 06:20
Category: iOS, News

It looks like the Retina Display might be arriving for additional advices.

Which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday notified members of its iOS Developer Program that they will be required to provide high-resolution, Retina Display compatible screenshots when initially submitting or updating an app through iTunes Connect.

The note sent out to third-party software developers says that any future updates will not be approved by Apple unless 960×640 pixel screenshot is included, a change from the company’s earlier policy which supported Retina Display screenshots but did not require them.

Previously, non-Retina Display images and apps were scaled up from their native 480×320 pixel resolution on devices that sport the high-resolution display, and many apps in the App Store have yet to support to the higher pixel count.

Currently, the only Apple products to boast the Retina Display are the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and the fourth generation iPod touch, however speculations that the much-rumored next-generation iPad will include its own high-resolution display have been cropping up since early last year.

The iPhone 4 was the first device to use the 960×640 pixel screen, with the display being introduced to the current iteration of the iPod touch in 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to hold “Strange” special event in February

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Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012, 05:59
Category: iOS, iPad, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that make tech interesting.

Per Macotakara, a rumor is circulating that Apple will hold a “Strange” event in February and a Special Event to launch the third-generation iPad in early March. Staff writer Danbo has now corrected the original claim as only telling a “half-side of truth.”

According to him, Apple will indeed hold an event in February, but it will be a “Strange” event rather than a full product launch. The author was unable to provide further details on what exactly a strange event would entail, though he did reiterate that it would not be a product event.

One possibility is that the rumored February event could contain industry-related announcements similar to how last month’s education event in New York City to mark the release of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author without showing off new hardware.

“Special Event for new products will be hold in early March and will release products during March as usual,” Danbo continued.

The publication’s most-recent corrections put its insider information more in line with other reports that have pegged March as the month that Apple will release its new iPad, similar to last year. Bloomberg reported last month that production for the next-gen iPad was already underway ahead of a March launch. That report also claimed that the device would feature a high-resolution display, LTE compatibility and a quad-core processor. Rumors out of Taiwan have also pointed to March as the time frame for the launch.

The third-generation iPad is generally believed to feature a doubled-resolution display with a pixel density of 254 pixels per inch. Apple is also expected to unveil its next-generation A6 processor alongside the next iPad as it did with the A5 and the iPad 2 last year.

As for iOS 5.1, a beta release of the software provided by Apple to developers appears to contain references to deep Facebook integration similar to system-wide elements for Twitter that the company built into iOS 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

EFF looking to keep jailbreaking iOS devices legal in U.S.

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Date: Friday, January 27th, 2012, 13:04
Category: Hack, iOS, iPad, iPhone, News

Since it’s now kind of, sort of legal to jailbreak your iOS device, the Electronic Frontier Foundation aims to keep it that way.

Per AppleInsider, an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that has made iPhone “jailbreaking” legal is set to expire, and a digital rights advocacy group hopes the U.S. government will renew and expand that exemption.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week reached out to members of the public, asking them to help protect the act of jailbreaking, in which users can hack their iPhone or iPad to run unauthorized code. Up until now, jailbreaking has been legal through exemptions in the DMCA, but that exemption is set to expire this year.

“The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement, but it’s been misused to threaten tinkerers and users who just want to make their devices more secure and more functional,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “The U.S. Copyright Office should hear from concerned Americans who want to run software of their choice on the gadgets of their choice.”

The EFF helped to ensure that jailbreaking was granted an exemption in the DMCA in 2010, but this year the group wants to expand it to specifically cover tablets and videogame systems through its “Jailbreaking is Not a Crime” campaign at jailbreakingisnotacrime.org.

The term jailbreaking usually refers to hacking Apple’s iOS devices in order to run software not approved by Apple. But the EFF’s campaign uses jailbreaking as a blanket term for hacking all devices, regardless of platform.

Every few years, the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office authorizes exemptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material. Two years ago, the office officially ruled that jailbreaking is an acceptable practice, though it still voids Apple’s product warranties.

Through jailbreaking, hackers have created their own custom applications which are available from an alternative storefront known as Cydia, similar to Apple’s official App Store for iOS. There are many free and paid applications available on Cydia that allow users to install custom tweaks, user interface themes and various pieces of software that does not comply with Apple’s iOS developer agreement.

While jailbreaking itself is not illegal, the process can be used to pirate software from the App Store, which is against the law. Concern over piracy is one of the main reasons Apple has fought the practice of jailbreaking.

To keep jailbreaking legal, the EFF has asked that supporters sign a letter written by author and hacker Andrew “bunnie” Huang, an MIT graduate who wrote the 2003 book “Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering.” Huang’s letter advocates for expanded jailbreaking exemptions to protect “security researchers and other tinkerers and innovators.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Volume Purchase Program allows businesses to buy iOS apps in bulk

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Date: Thursday, January 26th, 2012, 05:58
Category: iOS, News, retail, Software

Sometimes a business just needs certain App Store apps.

Per Macworld, Apple quietly unveiled a Volume Purchase for Business program (also known as VPP) last summer: Essentially, it’s an App Store specifically for businesses, where they can purchase iOS apps in bulk. It allows developers to custom-tailor software for specific businesses; it also gives Apple another entry into the business market.

Here’s how the Volume Purchase Program works: Businesses create a single Apple ID to manage their purchases. Using that account—which needs to be linked to a corporate credit card or purchasing card—organizations can search for apps and then buy them in bulk.

Once the purchases have been made, Apple issues the company a list of redemption codes for the app. Whoever is managing app distribution for the company can email those codes to employees, allowing them to download the app just by following a link on their Mac, PC, or iOS device. The management interface is updated as users redeem the apps, keeping track of which codes are still available, as well as retaining a full purchase history.

Developers say Apple sets a minimum price of US$10 per app, but after that they’re free to offer custom prices, features, and services to specific customers.

VPP does have its limitations and as of now has yet to expand beyond the United States.

For years, Apple has famously focused on the consumer end of the market. But as more and more of those consumers bring their iPhones and iPads to work, IT departments are increasingly needing to take advantage of those devices; VPP gives Apple a way to help with that and thereby make inroads into the enterprise market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve ever used the VPP for your business, please let us know about your experience, positive or otherwise.

Apple releases iTunes U app, allows college students to view course materials, sign up for classes, etc.

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:11
Category: iOS, News, Software

And now, you have even less of an excuse for not signing up for the courses you want.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released its iTunes U application for iPad on Thursday. The app will allow college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

In its presentation to the press, Apple showed off an online course from Duke for “Core Concepts in Chemistry.” In the iTunes U application, students can get an overview of the course, view teacher details, obtain the class syllabus, rate the course and even access information like the teacher’s office hours.

The iTunes U application for iPad has sections for “Info,” “Posts,” “Notes” and “Materials.” In the “Posts” section, teachers can provide updates to students, including assignments.

The assignments can even be context sensitive, allowing a student to tap on it and automatically be sent to the appropriate section of a textbook in iBooks. When an assignment is completed, it can be crossed off of the included task list.

In the “Notes” tab, users can access and modify their class notes, even highlighting certain text. And the “Materials” tab shows off all of the material for a course, including textbooks, videos, audio, and documents.

The iTunes U application itself is free and now available on the iPad App Store. Participating schools that have had early access to the software are Duke, Yale, Harrisburg Area Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Open University.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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.

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.

Comcast releases AnyPlay functionality for iPad, allows live TV streaming to devices

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 11:02
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

This could be nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Comcast on Tuesday began to roll out its new “AnyPlay” functionality for iPad, allowing subscribers to stream live TV to Apple’s tablet.

Comcast’s Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in Denver and Nashville can now access live streaming TV on their iPad over Wi-Fi at no additional charge. The cable provider said it plans to add the service to more markets in the coming months.

AnyPlay is only available for users who access the Internet on their home Wi-Fi connection. Outside of the home or over 3G, the Xfinity TV application allows users to access On Demand content, including 8,000 hours of movies and TV shows.

The new AnyPlay functionality is currently only available on the iPad, though support for the Motorola Xoom tablet is coming “very soon.” Using the service, users will be able to watch a show separate from what someone else might currently be watching on the TV.

“Here’s how it works… the AnyPlay device works the same as any other set top box in the home, but instead of delivering the incoming channel lineup to a television, AnyPlay delivers the lineup to the Wi-Fi router on the home network,” a post at the company’s official blog reads. “The router then distributes the secure video signal to the iPad or Xoom over your home’s wireless network. So as long as your tablet is within range of the home wireless router, you can turn it into another television screen.”

Word of Comcast’s AnyPlay service first surfaced last September in the form of a leaked memo. That document said that the AnyPlay service would be limited to 10 registered tablets per home, and only one device could be used at a time to stream live TV programs.

If you’ve tested the functionality and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Nintendo to create Wii U app store, work to draw business from iOS App Store

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Date: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 10:05
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

You know all those nifty profits Apple seems to be making from the App Store? Nintendo might want some of it for itself.

Quickly coming on the heels of talk of a full Wii U app store is a rumor late Monday of Nintendo actively courting iOS developers. The gaming giant was said by a developer talking to Forget the Box to be offering “assistance” porting apps for Apple’s platform to the Wii U. The titles would by necessity played on the controller’s 6.2-inch touchscreen.

Per Forget the Box, Nintendo may also be dipping into e-reading on its mobile devices for the first time, the source said. It would make e-reading catalog with books, comics, magazines, and other periodicals. The aim would be to let owners read even when the TV is occupied, since the ultra-wideband wireless controller would let users treat the Wii U controller as a tablet while within range.

To stand out, Nintendo would bring some of its own content into the fray. Every issue of Nintendo Power ever released would be available, as well as its Players Guides and manuals for Virtual Console games. Titles would be available on both the Wii U and the 3DS, presumably taking advantage of the 3DS’ second screen for extra reading space.

All of this remains a rumor, but combined with talk of an app store point to Nintendo hoping to get away from its reputation solely as a child-oriented game system developer. Both Microsoft and Sony have made their systems media hubs with access to several or more music and video services and, in Microsoft’s case, an revenue losses to Apple from those using their iPads and iPods both for gaming and for apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.