Apple to expand USB takeback program to UK, other countries

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Date: Monday, August 12th, 2013, 14:30
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPod Touch, News, retail, Rumor

replacement_adapter

The Apple USB power adapter takeback program has expanded.

Per MacNN and 9to5Mac, Apple is extending the number of eligible countries in its USB adapter takeback program. The program began in China August 9th, and is coming to the US on August 16th. Now also joining on the 16th will be Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

The deadline for the program in the new countries is October 18th, as in the US. Participants can get a new USB adapter at a discounted price, so long as they bring in an old third-party adapter plus an iPhone, iPod, or iPad to validate a serial number. The lower price is $14 in Canada, €10 in France and Germany, ¥1,000 in Japan, and £8 in the UK.

9to5Mac claims that each retail Apple Store will have at least one iOS Genius on hand to conduct trade-ins for the old adapters. Stores are also, reportedly, already receiving related training materials.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Play Books for iOS updated to 1.6.0, adds textbook rental support

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Date: Friday, August 9th, 2013, 06:16
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

googleplaybooks

This is kind of nifty.

Per AppleInsider,

Google on Thursday updated its iBooks-like Google Play Books port, bringing in-app rentals, highlighting and note taking for scanned books, as well as other features to the iOS title.

Now at version 1.6.0, Google Play Books for iOS now supports in-app rentals, which allows users to access select books from the service’s “millions of titles” on their iPhone, iPad or iPod.

In addition to existing rental titles, users can choose from Google Play’s newly introduced digital textbook library. According to Google’s website, students can save up to 80 percent off the cost of physical textbooks by renting through its service.

With the new service, users can highlight, make notes and, in some cases, copy text from textbooks during the rental period. A quick look at the Google Play store shows a number of titles are already available.

Aside from textbooks the latest version of Google Play Books allows users to mark up books compiled from scanned pages. A new sepia reading mode and stability improvements round out the update’s changes.

Google Play Books comes in at 16.6MB, can be downloaded for free via the App Store and requires iOS 5.0 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.

Comcast Labs DVR app comes to iTunes Store, looks to take on Sling, Tivo services

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 8th, 2013, 11:48
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could come in handy.

Per the cool cats at Engadget and The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Comcast has released a new cloud-based DVR app to the iTunes store.

The app actually showed up back in July but is only being spotted now. The reason for that is because the app is companion software to a Comcast service that has not rolled out to a large audience yet. That service is called “X2″ and combines a set-top box with cloud storage to allow users to DVR their favorite shows and store them in the cloud.

Once the service rolls out, the Comcast Labs DVR app will allow users to access their cloud-based DVR (cDVR) programs when behind a Comcast modem. From the app’s description:

This app is intended for customers of our new cDVR Service enabling our new best in class DVR service. With this app, customers will have access to their Comcast video services on an iPad® or iPhone® while in their home behind a Comcast cable modem.

The Comcast Labs DVR app is available for free and requires iOS 5.1 or later to install and run.

Apple to launch “Takeback Program” on August 16th, seeks to replace faulty knockoff USB power adapters with genuine article

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 6th, 2013, 07:34
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

replacement_adapter

You should probably stick with the real McCoy.

Per 9to5Mac and Mac|Life, following incidents such as the apparent electrocution of a Chinese woman by a faulty knockoff iPhone charger, Apple is ramping up a program in which customers can bring in their old USB power adapters and receive new, Apple-designed ones for a lower price via a “Takeback Program.”

To take advantage of the offer, simply bring in your old power adapter for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod after August 16 (either third party or designed by Apple) to your local Apple Store or authorized retailer, and the staff will dispose of it for you “in an environmentally friendly way.” If you did so, you can then purchase a new one for just US$10, although Apple’s announcement also states that this offer will only be available until October 18.

The new support page reads as follows:
“Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters.

Customer safety is a top priority at Apple. That’s why all of our products — including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad, and iPod — undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked video shows translucent bezel, other changes for fifth-generation iPad

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 5th, 2013, 08:28
Category: iPad, News

It’s hard to say how legit it is, but the video looks damn cool.

Per Mac Otakara and nowhereelse.fr, the following video has surfaced of the fifth-generation iPad bezel:



As seen above, the 30-second video appears to show a partially assembled 9.7-inch iPad with design cues taken from the existing iPad mini, including rounded corners, thinner bezels and a rear-facing microphone. For reference, the purported next-gen tablet is sitting between current-generation models of the iPad and iPad mini.

Noticeably absent are the tablet’s internals, including basic circuitry like a home button. However, because the assembly is missing a display, the black front panel stands out in sharp relief against the assumedly aluminum rear shell, granting a look at how thin the side bezels are compared to a current iPad.

Also seen through the front glass is the Apple logo, which is revealed to be a translucent white color when viewed from the back, much like Apple’s MacBook lineup. By contrast, current iPads feature an opaque black plastic insert that acts as a window for radio signals.

While unlikely, the design could allow for an illuminated logo lit by the LCD panel’s LED backlighting system. Such a feature would be difficult to implement, however, as adhesive is used to secure the tablet’s large battery pack to the interior shell wall, a design that covers the Apple logo in both the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini. In theory, a light pipe or some other mode of light transport could supply adequate illumination, but the added build and parts costs may be prohibitive.

Although not much can be gleaned from the short clip in the way of new information, it does offer one of the first looks at what Apple’s rumored fifth-generation iPad may look like.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Netflix to add multi-user profiles to subscriber accounts

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

netflix-logo

This may cut down on some potential arguments in the future.

Per AppleInsider, Netflix on Thursday rolled out a long-awaited feature to its iOS and Apple TV apps, allowing subscribers to maintain separate profiles for individual users sharing one account.

Subscribers will be able to add up to five profiles for each account they own. Profiles will receive unique personalized suggestions based on viewing habits and ratings.

More importantly, those individual accounts will each have their own Instant Queue and Recently Watched lists. For example, parents will no longer have to share a queue with their children, or even spouses with each other, if they so choose.

Each personal profile can also be attached to a different Facebook account, allowing for personalized suggestions from that individual’s friends on the social networking site.

Netflix has promised that the new user profiles will roll out to iPad, iPhone and Apple TV “over the next few days.” Other devices set to receive support in the immediate future are Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and newer Smart TV and Blu-ray players. Support for Nintendo Wii and Android has been promised to arrive “soon.”

User profiles first began appearing on the Apple TV set-top box earlier this week as part of a test run. That roll-out coincidentally happened after the launch of a new Apple TV software beta, leading some to incorrectly assume the two were related. Current Apple TV owners will receive the feature without needing to run a pre-release beta.

Competition in the mobile streaming space is heating up, with Google’s newly released US$35 Chromecast dongle offering users the ability to stream content from an iPhone or Android device directly to their TV. While less fully featured than the Apple TV, the device is available at about a third of the price.

The price of a refurbished Apple TV direct from Apple also hit a new low this week, and is now available for just US$75, knocking 25 percent off the cost of a new model. A new Apple TV software update, expected to arrive this fall, will also give users the ability to purchase music directly from the device.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you try this new Netflix account feature and have any feedback to offer, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Apple advises Chinese customers to avoid counterfeits, opt for genuine Apple products after charger-related incidents

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013, 06:40
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News

applelogo_silver

Sometimes it’s best to stick with the genuine article.

After a pair of iPhone-related electrocutions in China allegedly caused by unauthorized third-party chargers, Apple has added a section to its Chinese website helping users identify official iOS device chargers as well as advised users to charge its devices with genuine Apple chargers according to CNET.

The page offers a look at official charger designs for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad with Retina display, and iPad 2.

The website notes that Apple “always” puts the safety of its users first, and that products are “subject to stringent safety and reliability testing.” The official chargers that come packaged with new iPhones and iPads are also designed to meet government safety standards from around the world.

The site comes after a pair of dangerous charger-related incidents occurred in China this month. In the more serious example, a woman died while using an iPhone 5 that was plugged into the wall to charge with a non-Apple adapter.

In the second incident, a man ended up in a coma after he was accidentally electrocuted using a third-party charger with his iPhone 4. It was said that the man was using a “counterfeit” adapter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Sprint partners with Raketu Communications, works to bring caption calling feature to iOS devices via app

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 06:48
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, Software

This could be interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Sprint on Tuesday announced the availability of a new accessibility feature aimed at helping iPad and iPhone owners on that network with hearing loss better use their devices.

Partnering with Raketu Communications, Sprint has developed Wireless CapTel for installation on the phones and tablets of the hearing-impaired. Wireless CapTel allows users to read conversations with real-time word-for-word captions displayed on the screen of their phone.

Users download the Wireless CapTel app from the iTunes App Store. The app is free with an Everything Data plan on Sprint.

After installation of the app, calls to the device will automatically connect to the CapTel service when an outgoing call is made. The service listens to what the caller on the other end says and automatically transcribes that into text the user can read.

The service does require that users give out the special number that routes calls through CapTel in order to have all calls transcribed.

Wireless CapTel is a Sprint-exclusive feature, and the carrier is rolling it out for some Android devices as well.

The CapTel app requires an iOS device running iOS 4.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Wireless CapTel service on your iPhone and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Analyst sees late September launch date for iPhone 5S, earlier launch dates for next-gen iPads, Haswell-based Retina Display MacBook Pro

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Date: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013, 06:06
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

The guesses as to when the next-gen iOS devices are out.

Per AppleInsider, according to a research note obtained by the web site, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S” is seeing setbacks in the production of “numerous components,” as well as handset assembly, meaning the next-gen smartphone will be available in limited amounts following a late September launch.

“While shipments forecasts may still grow sharply in 4Q13, we are concerned iPhone 5S may face the same problem as its predecessor, namely that by the time supply matures, demand will already have waned, hurting shipments,” Kuo writes.

The analyst also sees shipments of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone being below expectations, though the device will be available sooner than the iPhone 5S due to a less complicated manufacturing process. Kuo sees the model being priced at US$450 to US$550, with shipments capped at 26 million units for 2013. Market consensus had shipments at 30 to 40 million units.

As for Apple’s tablet plans, Kuo notes a redesigned 9.7-inch version will be the “highlight of iPad in 2013,” as no new iPad mini model is set for release this year. The analyst says Apple is unlikely to debut an anticipated Retina display version of the 7.9-inch tablet with A7 SoC this year. Due to higher energy demands attached to the Retina panel, as well as the components required to improve power efficiency in such a small form factor, Apple will likely shoot for a launch in March or April 2014.

Interestingly, Kuo points to a possible cheaper iPad mini running a legacy A5 processor. That device could still see release by the end of 2013, December at the earliest, but given the model is unlikely to see a substantial price cut compared to the current iPad mini, Apple will most likely debut the tablet next year.

Finally, the Mac lineup will see continued upgrades to Intel’s Haswell silicon in the coming months. Apple’s Retina display MacBook Pro is looking at a mid-September refresh, while the iMac will get the chips in late August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple testing larger-screen versions of upcoming iPhone, iPad devices

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Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2013, 06:09
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

Maybe there’s money to be made in the larger display market.

Per the Wall Street Journal and 9to5Mac, Apple and its suppliers are reportedly testing versions of the iPad and iPhone with larger displays.

Apple and its Asian component makers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, officials at the company’s suppliers say.

Due to mounting competition from hardware competitors like Samsung, a larger-screened iPhone has long been expected and rumored. However, this is one of the first specific claims for a larger sized iPad. In March of this year, an unverified claim emerged for a 12.9-inch iPad model being in the works with a rather unlikely name. The report pointed to a display “measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally.”

A June report claimed that Apple and its suppliers are testing versions of the iPhone with both 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screens. With Apple likely releasing a new iPhone with the same design as the iPhone 5 later this year, it seems likely that Apple’s 2014 iPhone will include significant design changes. The WSJ report does not specify screen sizes for the future iPhones.

The 2013 iPhone update, likely known as the “iPhone 5S”, will include an improved camera system, better chip, and potentially a slow-motion camera mode and fingerprint sensor.

As for today’s larger iPad claims, as Apple moves forward in its post-PC initiative, and as Mac sales dwindle, larger iPads that could replace more Mac features seem plausible.

In 2012, Apple slightly enlarged the iPhone display size by increasing the screen to 4-inches diagonally. Apple also shrunk the iPad by debuting a 7.9-inch model called the iPad mini.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.