Skype for iPhone, iPad updated to 4.13, receives iOS 7 UI overhaul, other fixes

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 07:51
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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On Monday, Skype released version 4.10 of its iOS app.

According to 9to5Mac, the new version includes the following fixes and changes:
- Refreshed look and feel for iOS 7.

Accessibility improvements, including:
- Improved accessibility of dialpad with touchtype support.

- VoiceOver announces the senders name when messaging.

- VoiceOver improvements for group chats.

- General fixes

The update, available as a free download from iTunes, requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run and is suitable for all iPhones from the 3GS onward as well as all iPads and iPod Touches from 3rd Gen up.

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

Rumor: Fifth-generation iPad, iPad mini 2 to feature 8 megapixel cameras, Sony to function as exclusive sensor supplier

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Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 07:42
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

You can’t say the rumor mill isn’t interesting.

Per AppleInsider and a recent report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s iPad and iPad mini will both sport 8 megapixel rear cameras with new lens elements from Genius and Largan. It’s also been rumored that the sensor modules will be provided solely by Sony.

In his note to investors, Kuo predicts Apple will launch the so-called “iPad 5″ and “iPad mini 2″ later in quarter four, with upgraded 8MP shooters and enhanced lens elements. Separately, an inside source tells stated that Sony nabbed all sensor orders bound for the next-generation tablets.

With the new Sony sensors, Apple will bump resolution to 8MP, up from 5MP in the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini. The boosted specs will be a first for Apple, which traditionally fields tablets with cameras comparatively lower in resolution than the flagship iPhone.

The source did not specify what type of module will be used, but it can be speculated that Apple will employ a backside illuminated component, possibly with larger 1.5-micron pixels, as seen in the iPhone 5s.

As for Kuo’s report, the analyst believes Apple will rely on camera upgrades to further differentiate the iPad from competitors in a tablet market becoming increasingly crowded with high-spec Android devices.

Apple’s previous ace in the hole, the Retina display, has been effectively implemented by a number of other manufacturers. Most recently, Amazon’s 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets boast pixel densities of 323 ppi and 339 ppi, respectively, much higher than the 264 ppi found in Apple’s fourth-generation iPad.

Along with the sensor upgrade, Kuo notes the iPad 5 will sport an updated five-element lens module with larger aperture manufactured by Genius Optics and Largan. The two firms are responsible for the optics used in Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c.

Finally, Kuo forecasts shipments of the iPad 5 at 1.2 million units and 10.5 million units for the third and fourth quarter, respectively. The iPad mini 2 stands at zero units in quarter three and 2.1 million units in quarter four. This last metric aligns with a report earlier today that claimed the mini would see severe supply constraints if launched this year.

This is all speculation at this point, but please stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

Staples starts pushing iPads and iPod via company’s online storefront

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:22
Category: iPad, iPod, News, retail

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This came a little earlier than expected.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, only seven months after Staples became an authorized reseller of Mac and iOS accessories, the office supply giant is now selling both iPads and iPods via its online store.

The splash page for Staples.com advertises the iPad and iPad Mini while also indicating that the items are eligible for free shipping and 5 percent back in rewards points.

As it stands now, iPads and iPods via Staples are only available online, but that may soon change if online sales of Apple’s popular tablet prove to be successful.

With over 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores across 26 countries, getting the iPad into Staples retail stores would certainly help Apple sell more iPads.

If you’ve seen Staples having begun to sell iPads and iPods in a brick and mortar fashion in your area, please let us know in the comments section.

Apple to issue $40 compensation checks to owners of certain iPad 3G units following AT&T class action suit over unlimited data plans

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iPad, Legal, News

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If you own a cellular-enabled iPad, You might be getting a check in the mail in the near future.

Per Law360, a US district court judge in San Jose approved a proposed settlement between Apple and wireless carrier AT&T on Thursday, according to Law360. Under the proposed plan, Apple will pay US$40 to everyone in the United States who bought or ordered a 3G-enabled iPad on or before June 7, 2010.

Additionally, cellular-enabled iPad owners who did not sign up with AT&T will get a US$20 per month discount on the telecom’s 5GB per month plan for up to a year.

The class action suit is looking to rectify an issue iPad buyers faced after purchasing the tablet. Some customers may have based their decision to buy at least in part on the promise of unlimited data through AT&T, which was the first U.S. carrier to offer the iPad with cellular capabilities. In a somewhat controversial move, the telecom nixed unlimited plans in 2010 in favor of a tiered model, citing bandwidth constraints.

At the time, data was capped at 2GB per month, but subscribers can now go as high as 5GB per month, which includes tethering to other devices. As a consolation to frustrated users, AT&T allows those unlimited data plans to continue their service as long as there is no break in payments. Device tethering is not offered for grandfathered all-you-can-eat plans and once a subscriber switches to a tiered option, they cannot return to unlimited.

The deal is subject to final approval, which is expected in February of 2014. At that point, Apple will begin contacting all eligible customers to inform them of their pending settlement check.

Those who no longer own their original iPad will still be eligible for the deal as long as they didn’t sign on to an AT&T data plan with that device, due to a no-class action clause in the carrier’s contracts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Staples to begin selling iPad, additional Apple products starting in October

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013, 06:15
Category: iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, retail, Rumor

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If you’re hankering for a more convenient source for Apple’s products, Staples could finally be in line to offer a decent selection.

Per 9to5Mac, an anonymous source close to the story has stated that office retail chain Staples is looking to start sales of various iPad and iPod configurations as soon as Oct. 1, bringing the company’s U.S. online store in line with its Canadian counterpart.

The source went on to say that an existing deal to distribute Apple products was meant to test the water for future agreements. Currently, Staples sells the Apple TV, AirPort models, iPad Smart Covers, the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, Time Capsule, and EarPods.

Staples first started selling Apple products through its U.S. online store in February, and initiated in-store sales a month later.

The company is looking to do much the same with the iPad and wants brick-and-mortar availability to begin in early 2014. Apple is reportedly stipulating weekly performance numbers for that to happen, however, with the source saying each physical store must refer one iPad sale per week in October, two per week in November and fiver per week in December.

If the conditions are met, Apple will supposedly allow in-store kiosks to be erected in various Staples locations. It is unclear how large these kiosks will be, though they are unlikely to be the “store-within-a-store” arrangement enjoyed by other retailers like Target and Walmart.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

FAA committee recommends easing of electronic device restrictions during takeoff and landing – provided they’re in airplane mode

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Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013, 06:06
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

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This could be the first step on the road that allows you to use more electronic devices on an airplane during takeoff.

Per 9to5Mac and the Associated Press, a committee created by the Federal Aviation Administration recommended earlier today that airline passengers be allowed to use specific types of consumer electronics during takeoff and landing. Under the panel’s advice, usage of devices like iPhones, iPods, and iPads would be allowed as long as those devices are switched to airplane mode, which disables internet and cellular connections to prevent calls and data transfers.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you can hop onto a plane and begin using these devices anytime soon, but the recommendations have been passed to top FAA brass, who will now decide whether or not to implement the panel’s well-researched findings. As is usually the case with government, the process of approving and implementing these changes will likely take time. At the earliest these new policies could take effect next year, although it’s quite possible it may take much longer than that.

Still, this is a step in the right direction for consumers who just want to listen to a few songs, get a quick work idea jotted down or get started on an ebook during takeoff before a long flight.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 7.0.2 update, fixes Lock Screen vulnerability

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013, 12:43
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

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It got some negative attention and now it’s got a fix.

On Thursday, Apple released iOS 7.0.2, an updated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Fixes bugs that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode.

- Reintroduces a Greek keyboard option for passcode entry.

iOS 7.0.2 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

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

AppleCare+ policies to change, will allow for hardware repairs in any country where AppleCare+ is offered

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 07:48
Category: Apple TV, AppleCare, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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If you travel with an AppleCare-covered device, you might like this.

Per AppleInsider and TechCrunch, it was revealed on Tuesday that Apple has changed the terms and conditions tied to AppleCare+ and will be lifting geographic limitations on support, meaning travelers can get their device serviced outside of their home country.

As noted, the recent policy change allows owners to take in products for repair in any country where AppleCare+ is offered, lifting previous restrictions that limited service to the country in which the plan was purchased. Devices include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Apple displays and Mac models.

It should be noted that replacements and repairs may not be offered in all countries. The publication offers the CDMA version of the iPhone 5 as an example, pointing out the handset can’t be serviced or replaced in countries where it is not sold, like Brazil.

The changes are likely part of Apple’s continued effort to overhaul its post-sales service. When the iPhone 5s and 5c were unveiled on Sept. 10, it was announced that the AppleCare+ for iPhone per-incident deductible would be raised to US$79, up from US$49 previously.

Currently, AppleCare+ for iPhone, iPad and iPod is offered in Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Opinion: A New Personal Computing Paradigm

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Opinion

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By Robert Snow

How soon before most personal computing can be done with a phone? With a 64-bit iPhone, perhaps quite soon. Imagine the phone as your take everywhere computer:

“Never”, you say, the screen’s too small, even a phablet. When you need a better display, just pull out your touchscreen. It would look like an iPad or iPad Mini only thinner, lighter and cheaper. No CPU or storage. It would connect to your phone via Wi-fi and act as a display and touchscreen input device with a camera, microphone and speaker. It would be indistinguishable from an iPad, so long as your phone is nearby and turned on. Apple is almost there with AirPlay.

Let’s say you do a lot of writing, then you would have a screen with hinged keyboard and trackpad. It would look like a MacBook Air only thinner, lighter and cheaper. Again, no CPU or storage. iOS would recognize the device and work more like OS X. This would require some additional code for iOS. Call it “iOS X”. This would require 64 bits, no question.

Go to work where they have BYOD. On your desk, you would have a display, keyboard and mouse that looked just like an iMac. Again, iOS would need to recognize the larger display, keyboard and mouse and scale up. Imagine an iPhone 6s sporting a processor that is truly “Desktop Class”.

A future iPhone and iOS working this way could dominate the enterprise. Security would be awesome. Your desktop computer would cease to be a computer once you leave work with your phone. Laptop or tablet stolen, no security issues. Of course, the phone is secured by Touch ID and a new phone could be issued and restored from an online backup in no time. Only one computing and communications device per employee. Personal computing could not be more personal. No synchronizing devices. Minimal IT support. Lower cost.

Cloud storage and larger onboard memory would be key to this working.No more costs associated with deploying Microsoft Office or maintaining complicated desktop and laptop operating systems.There would still be a market for powerful desktop and laptop computers, but most employees would simply need a phone as their computer and some specialized input/output device mimicking a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The phone would of course remain an expensive high-end phone. The upgrade cycle would be brilliant, keep your old IO devices and get a new desktop or laptop computer every two years by simply standing in line for the latest and greatest iPhone, subsidized by your carrier. Apple does make most of its profit on phones and this will sell more of them.

Sure, it would cannibalize iPad and Mac sales by growing a market for these IO devices and not just for the enterprise. Kids, grandparents and folks who just don’t need serious computing power could simplify their life by augmenting their colorful consumer phone with one of these devices. Consumer versions that are even cheaper and clad in plastic. If you need a phone right now, get a smart phone and you no longer need a camera, music player or GPS device. Get an iPhone in a year or two and you will no longer need a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer. Wearable computing, no problem. Dumb down iOS for a tiny screen and just a few buttons.

A post-PC world on steroids.

One more thing: Home entertainment and in-car entertainment.

Same paradigm and one more reason to buy an iPhone.

Four privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 19th, 2013, 00:11
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, privacy

Data backed up? Check.

iOS 7 installed? Check.

Data restored? Check.

Life is good and time to fire up your favorite iTunes Radio station, right?

Not so fast.

Before diving into the beautiful, parallaxy, candy-colored world that is iOS 7, you need to adjust your privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad. If you like your Privacy, that is. Installing iOS 7 is pretty easy and, even if you don’t back up your data ahead of time, it will usually put everything back right where it belongs.

Simple, right?

Well yes, that’s how iOS 7 is designed to work. But don’t let Apple’s thin Helvetica Neue and and serene, dynamic wallpapers lull you into complacency. A whole number iOS upgrade is a big deal and it resets a bunch of your settings and adds privacy and security settings that you should be aware of.

Apple hides its System Services settings all the way down at the bottom of the Privacy > Location Services panel. If you’ve owned your iPhone for more than a few months you’ll have dozens (possibly over one hundred) apps listed on this screen, making it a very long scroll. If you actually make it to the bottom of the list (most people don’t) you’ll see the fabled System Services setting and the explanation of what that little purple arrow icons means.

Again, the path is Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services:

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

Learn this screen and commit the meanings of the three little arrow icons to memory. Then notice when they appear in the top right of your iOS menu bar and come back to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to see which apps are using your location data. Audit this screen frequently to disable location access for apps that don’t need it.

Then touch System Services to reveal the most important privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad.

  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

I recommend turning OFF the following:

  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Diagnostics & Usage
  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Location-Based iAds
  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations

Diagnostics & Usage

This setting monitors everything you do on your iPhone and “anonymously” sends it to Apple for “improving iOS.” Whatever. It’s just like when all the major software companies changed their install screens from “send usage data?” to “customer experience program” or some such nonsense. If you leave the “Diagnostics & Usage” option on, you’re giving Apple permission to monitor and record everything you do on your device.

Location-Based iAds

iAds created it’s own privacy uproar in June 2010 when a 45-page update to Apple’s privacy policywhich detailed how your location information could be used to allow the company – and their “partners and licensees” – to “collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.” The privacy policy has been toned down quite a bit since then and Apple posted a knowledge base article titled “How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network.” I turn this off and am happy with “less relevant” ads being shown.

Frequent Locations

Frequent Locations is equally bad, if not more so. There was a big stir about this when iOS 7 beta 5 was released, and the data it captures about your whereabouts can be downright creepy. For many it brought back memories of the Locationgate fiasco from iOS 4 in April 2011 when a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location known as “Consolidated.db” was discovered on iOS 4 devices — and the computers they’re backed up to. Note that the iPhone 4 (and earlier) do not support the “Frequent Locations” feature in iOS 7.

Advertising

Next navigate to the iOS Advertising Privacy settings (Settings > Privacy > Advertising).

Here, you should do three things:

  1. Turn ON “Limit Ad Tracking”
  2. Touch “Reset Advertising Identifier” (which I wrote about in January 2013), and
  3. Touch “Learn More” and learn about what an “Advertising Identifier” is

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

Safari

Navigate to the iOS Safari Settings (Settings > Safari) turn on the following:

  • Block Pop-ups
  • Do Not Track*
  • Block Cookies is set to “From third parties and advertisers”
  • Fraudulent Website Warning

*Apple’s one of the few companies that still supports the aging Do Not Track standard in its mobile Web browser. Even if it is considered dead (my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott called it “worse than a miserable failure,”) I turn it on anyway, for the few web servers that actually respect it.

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While you’re at it it doesn’t hurt to touch “Clear History” and “Clear Cookies and Data” now and again.

If you found this article useful or important, please Share and Like it on Facebook, Google+ or your social network of choice. Please help get the word out about these important settings.