WatchESPN app updated to version 1.7, adds Live Toolbar, dual-stream viewing, other features

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Date: Friday, August 16th, 2013, 09:49
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, News, Software

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I’m not completely indifferent to sports and I’ll support the Boston teams until the day I die.

My mom, on the other hand, will gladly run out, try to flip a police car over and light it on fire whether the Red Sox win, lose or tie in a playoff game.

That being said, the WatchESPN app for iOS received an update on Thursday that adds a new way to watch in-app content among other new features.

Per AppleInsider, the new update for WatchESPN brings the app to version 1.7, and gives iPad owners access to a new Live Toolbar. Users can now stream scores and on-demand videos from sporting events at the same time that they’re watching live programming on ESPN.

The Live Toolbar includes ESPN’s TV lineup, scores from games, and top videos. It’s available on the iPad and iPad mini only.

The update also allows users connecting from colleges and military networks to get access to ESPN3 events automatically. Additionally, it adds compatibility with ESPN on ABC events and compatibility for devices running iOS 7.

Version 1.7 of WatchESPN is available as a free download in the App Store. The 9.0MB download requires an iPhone, iPod, or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.

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

WebKit adds support for Retina-quality images, changes to be made to HTML5

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Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013, 06:36
Category: iPad, iPhone, MacBook Pro, News, Software

The images on the Web are about to get snazzier looking.

Per webkit.org, WebKit, the Apple-supported open source project behind Safari, is the first browser layout engine to support a new Web standard that makes it easier for developers to take advantage of high-resolution displays, like the Retina panels found in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro.

The new standard, an addition to the HTML5 specification called “srcset,” provides developers with an easy way to serve users different image versions based on the resolution of their device. For example, a website may serve larger, higher quality images to visitors browsing on a Retina MacBook Pro while sending smaller, lower quality images to visitors on a MacBook Air.

Websites and Web-based applications have been slow to provide support for Retina displays since the screens first appeared on the iPhone 4 in 2010. Current methods for implementation are suboptimal – they can be cumbersome for developers, degrade the user experience, or lack cross-browser support.

Using srcset, developers can specify multiple variations of an image with a single declaration, and it is designed for compatibility with older systems. Browsers that do not support srcset will simply ignore it without any adverse affect on the user.

The syntax is similar to Apple’s iOS conventions for Retina-ready graphics: developers simply provide an alternate filename and a resolution multiplier, e.g. 1x, 2x, or 4x. The “resolution multiplier” is a measure of how many physical pixels make up one display pixel; for example, the iPhone 5 has a physical resolution of 1,136-by-640 pixels, but a display resolution of 568-by-320 pixels. This means there are 4 physical pixels for each display pixel, or a 4x multiplier.

The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, the international organization that defines and administers the open standards that underpin the Web, added srcset to the HTML5 specification in May 2012.

A similar feature, called “-webkit-image-set,” was added to WebKit and shipped with Safari 6 and Google’s Chrome 21 in October of the same year. The asset never achieved widespread adoption, however, as it was not implemented in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, which together commanded more than 50% of the international browser market at the time.

WebKit is the first browser engine to announce support for srcset, and the feature is likely to ship in Safari 7 with OS X Mavericks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut thinner next-gen iPad, iPad mini with Retina display in 2013

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Date: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013, 06:38
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The upcoming iPad could be thinner for the full iPad and feature a Retina display for the mini version.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will launch a Retina iPad mini and a slimmed down full-size iPad by the end of 2013.

The publication cites sources familiar with Apple’s plans as saying the company will not only debut a redesigned 9.7-inch iPad in the fourth quarter, but is also looking to release a hotly anticipated iPad mini with Retina display before the year is out. It is unclear if the models will launch simultaneously.

One source stated the next-generation iPad will take its design cues from the current iPad mini, including a thinner side bezel and rounded corners. There have been a number of supposed parts leaks, as well as analyst predictions, regarding Apple’s next iPad, most of which point to a redesigned exterior and enhanced innards.

As for the next-gen iPad mini, Monday’s report was light on specifics, only mentioning that the tablet would include a high-resolution Retina display. Similar rumors have been present since June with few, if any, true specifics to be had here.

Stay tuned for details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple to expand USB takeback program to UK, other countries

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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.