Waze realtime incident data now incorporated into Google Maps following acquisition earlier this year

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Date: Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

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This is one of the better sides of companies buying each other out.

Per AppleInsider, crowd sourced traffic data from Waze, a company that Google acquired earlier this year, is now included in the official Google Maps application for iPhone and iPad.

The company announced on its official Lat Long blog on Tuesday that real time incident reports from Waze users will appear in the official Google Maps apps for both iOS and Android in the U.S. and U.K., as well as France, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Google has also updated the Waze app for iOS, as well as Android, to add Google Search functionality. Google’s data now joins other search providers in being integrated into Waze.

Finally, Google also announced that the Waze Map Editor has been updated with Google Street View and satellite imagery. This will make it easier for users in the Waze community to correct map errors. Google announced it had acquired Waze, a crowd-sourced traffic and navigation service, in June.

Google announced in June that it had acquired Waze, a popular cross-platform, crowd-sourced traffic and navigation service to bolster its own Google Maps. As of April, Waze had more than 40 million people actively using its service and contributing data.

The Waze iOS application was highlighted by Apple >last year following the launch of iOS 6, when the company promoted alternative mapping applications and apologized for the substandard quality of its own Maps.

Google, in turn, has been working to greater monetize users of its own mapping software on iOS, as the company rolled out new banner ads for the official Google Maps application earlier this month.

If you’ve seen the realtime incident reporting in action and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Apple begins graphics card program for designated iMacs, looks to replace faulty AMD Radeon HD 6970M units

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Date: Monday, August 19th, 2013, 07:10
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

Check the manufacturing date on your iMac, it may be eligible for a replacement graphics card.

Per AppleInsider, addressing complaints from owners, Apple has decided to institute a replacement program for graphics cards used in specific 27-inch iMac models sold between May 2011 and October 2012.

According to a document on Apple’s Support webpage, the AMD Radeon HD 6970M video cards shipped with certain 27-inch iMac desktop configurations would fail, causing the display to “appear distorted, white or blue with vertical lines.” In some cases, the screen would simply go black.

Models covered in the replacement program include high-end “mid-2011” 27-inch iMacs with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processors. The all-in-ones first hit store shelves in May 2011 and remained on sale until the current ultra thin iMacs debuted in October 2012.

Apple will replace failed video cards free of charge for up to three years after the initial purchase date. In addition, people who may have paid for repair or replacement associated with the issue can seek a refund.

Those affected by the issue can take their iMac in for evaluation at the Genius Bar of a local Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. If those services are unavailable, owners are instructed to call Apple Technical Support for other further options.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone to include gold color, 128GB capacity

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Date: Friday, August 16th, 2013, 07:06
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

The next-gen iPhone could hold twice as much data as the current model.

And be a classy gold color.

Per AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo offers his predictions on Apple’s anticipated next-generation iPhone, including a new 128GB storage option and a gold colorway.

Kuo points out in his note investors that the so-called “iPhone 5S,” will carry over many of the features already established with the current iPhone 5, including the 4-inch screen form factor.

The analyst predicts Apple will make the usual processor buff, this time to a new A7 system-on-chip design with 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The latest chip is expected to be of Apple’s own design based on the ARMv8 architecture, suggesting efficiency may be increased by up to 20 percent. Because Apple controls both the operating system and hardware for the iPhone 5S, it can optimize the faster LPDDR3 RAM spec for the A7 SoC, keeping the amount of addressable memory to 1GB.

The phone’s rear-facing camera will also be tweaked. While the sensor unit will remain untouched, the iPhone 5S shooter will use a larger f2.0 aperture lens assembly with dual LED flashes.

As for the widely rumored fingerprint sensor, Kuo reiterated the view he expressed in a separate note last week, saying the package will likely be embedded in a sapphire glass home button.

For storage, Kuo expects Apple to add on a new option for a capacious 128GB of on-board flash memory, the same change the company made to the fourth generation iPad in February.

Finally, a new option for a gold casing is expected to be offered alongside the traditional black and, with the iPhone 5, silver colors. Gold parts purportedly bound for the 5S were leaked in June, though an accompanying chassis sporting the new color has yet to surface.

Contrary to some predictions, Kuo doesn’t see Apple implementing near-field communication (NFC) in the iPhone 5S.

Apple is rumored to be prepping for a Sept. 10 iPhone announcement, at which the company is expected to launch the iPhone 5S and possibly a less expensive handset dubbed the “iPhone 5C.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 7 Golden Master to partners, employees on September 5th

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Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013, 07:47
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

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Apple’s long-awaited iOS 7 release is getting that much closer to a ship date.

Or at least there’s now a Golden Master date.

According to Boy Genius Report, Apple is preparing to release the final beta release of iOS 7, beta 6, sometime next week followed by a final Gold Master release ahead of Apple’s expected September 10th iPhone event. This time frame would mark two weeks from the release of beta 5, and Apple was on a two week schedule prior to the Developer Center outages. BGR is also claiming that Apple plans to seed a final GM version of the software on September 5th to employees and partners and release it to developers after the event early next month:

“After iOS 7 beta 6, Apple will be seeding a GM (gold master) version for its employees and partners to test starting around September 5th. This will mostly likely be the software that is released to the public later on in the month of September, barring any major bugs or problems that might be discovered… After Apple and its partners are comfortable with the gold master build, the company will release it to developers on September 10th, the day of the company’s iPhone event.”

It’s not hard to predict that a GM is just around the corner, as Apple would clearly want to have it ready for its reported September 10th iPhone event. No specific source has been identified as having provided a specific source of the information, but a release of the final iOS 7 version on September 10th to developers is a given if Apple continues in the tradition of years past.

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.

Apple patent looks towards “gifting” iTunes media via NFC

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Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013, 06:19
Category: News, Patents, Software

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With any luck, you’ll be able to give iTunes media as gifts.

Or, even more conveniently than you do now.

Per AppleInsider and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent application was published on Thursday for a system that allows users to “gift” media content from iTunes and their own library to other iOS device owners, with the transaction facilitated by near-field communication.

The lengthy patent filing, titled “Media gifting devices and methods,” is a fairly straightforward invention that could may have greater implications as to how iOS device users purchase and consume digital content.

At the heart of the invention is gifting, or the simple idea of purchasing a song, e-book or video to give to another person. The document describes two main modes of giving gifts: purchasing media directly from the iTunes store, or sending a copy of already owned media to another device.

Apple already has systems in place for gifting digital media with the iTunes store app, while Passbook-redeemable gift cards can be purchased with the Apple Store app.

Currently, there is no way to gift a piece of owned media directly from one device to another through iTunes.

Thursday’s patent application outlines a number of techniques that iOS device owners can use to give gifts provided by iTunes, all of which involve digital rights management (DRM) and authentication keys. The system is similar to Apple’s established giving methods in that one user purchases a gift and sends it to another person, but instead of using email, a gifter can transfer the purchase to the giftee over NFC.

The first step of a transaction originating from the iTunes Store occurs when the gifter selects an item they want to give away, such as a song. In one embodiment, the next step authorizes a gift charge to be placed on the gifter’s iTunes account, which the recipient will redeem for the associated file.

Downloads in this scenario are handled by the iTunes server, which checks the recipient’s authorization key before pushing out a gift. In some cases, the download will begin automatically, though the invention allows for recipients to retrieve the file at a later time.

The second, and arguably more interesting, of the two scenarios is the gifting of an already-owned media file.

Here, Apple again employs a method of authentication via a central server to determine what can and can’t be downloaded by a recipient device. For example, a gifter can send a copy of a song currently playing on their device by tapping a user interface button. The operations performed after the gift purchase fork into two separate actions.

In one instance, the gifter’s device sends a request to the server for a charge to be placed on their account for a given song. The giftee transfers an authentication notification to the recipient’s phone, which then has permission to download the song from iTunes.

Alternatively, if Internet access is unavailable, the gifter can send a locked version of the media file via NFC to a giftee’s device, along with a DRM or authentication code to be redeemed when network access is reestablished. Both devices will communicate with the server, and the purchase will be deducted from the gifter’s account, while the recipient will have the media file unlocked. Another option when offline is to send just the key without the associated file, which can later be used to download the song.

Also noted are various operations to ensure proper transmission of authorization and DRM keys, including checks with a central server for both gifter and giftee, purchase acceptance codes sent via NFC, and other safeguards.

Finally, the patent filing adds that a number of attachments, such as photos and audio messages, can be sent along with the gift.

It is unknown if Apple will roll out a gifting feature in a subsequent version of iOS, but the service could be a boon for iTunes and content providers as users would have yet another well-implemented media purchasing system to choose from.

Apple’s media gifting patent application was first filed for in 2013 and credits Gloria Lin, Amir Mahood Mikhak, Taido Lantz Nakajima, Sean Anthony Mayo, Michael Rosenblatt and Andrew Hodge as its inventors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.6.4

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Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, 08:47
Category: News, Software, wireless

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This might help out.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple released AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.6.4 on Tuesday, a maintenance release for the company’s line of Wi-Fi routers that squashes three bugs. One affects Apple’s Time Capsule models, another deals with IPv6 issues, and a third fixes iOS device connectivity.

This update is available for all Apple 802.11n Wi-Fi base stations including AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. It contains fixes that:
– Resolve an issue that may cause AirPort Time Capsule to report that the backup disk is in use.

– Resolve an issue that may cause an IPv6 Tunnel error.

– Resolve an issue that may intermittently cause a loss in Wi-Fi connectivity with iOS devices.

Note: This firmware update is for all 802.11n AirPort base stations.

Users can find the update in AirPort Utility on their Macs. The update may show up immediately in the form of a dialog box. If not, you can click Edit within AirPort Utility and look for the Update button.

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

Apple purchases content aggregator Matcha.tv, may be planning new features for Apple TV services

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Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, 07:55
Category: Apple TV, Finance, News, Software

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It’s the acquisitions that point to interesting stuff on the horizon.

Per All Things D and VentureBeat, Apple has acquired a small startup called Matcha.tv, which provided a second-screen iOS app connected to various content outlets like cable TV, Internet streams and digital storefronts.

Citing sources familiar with the story, VentureBeat reports that Apple acquired Matcha.tv for an estimated US$1 million to US$1.5 million. As part of the agreement, the firm’s founders will be assimilated into Apple’s team for at least two years.

Shuttered in May, Matcha.tv was an aggregator for content from popular streaming sites, cable TV and digital video stores. The erstwhile app supported Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes and cable networks like Comcast, among others.

In addition to arranging content, users were able to manage viewed content and receive recommendations for future viewing. A social networking element was also included in-app to generate recommended media and provide a form of interactivity.

While Apple has yet to implement any of the firm’s technology into the Apple TV, the buyout suggests the company could have something brewing for an upcoming software update or even a new product.

Apple has become increasingly interested in expanding its “beloved hobby” beyond its current capabilities. In June, a software update brought HBO GO, WatchESPN, Sky News and other channels to the small set-top streamer. More recently, a report claimed popular music platform Vevo is working on an app that will bring 24/7 music to Apple TV.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen low cost iPhone may not include Siri, could replace iPhone 4 as base model

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Date: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013, 07:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The plastic low-cost iPhone may become Apple’s new overall base model.

Per AppleInsider, in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts Apple may scale back iOS 7 on a rumored low-cost iPhone, possibly hobbling the handset by deactivating features like Siri.

Recognizing recent rumors of a Sept. 10 iPhone announcement, Munster took the chance to update investors on his Apple product pipeline predictions for the rest of the year and into 2014.

The analyst’s expectations for the next-generation iPhone, dubbed by many as the “iPhone 5S,” are very much in line with rumors and reports coming from a multitude of sources. Aside from incorporating a fingerprint sensor into the home button, which Munster believes will be limited to user authentication, the 5S will feature the usual “S-series” component upgrades. These include increased processor performance, extended battery life, more memory, and other spec bumps.

While his iPhone 5S outlook is in line with mainstream rumblings, Munster’s thoughts on the rumored less-expensive “iPhone 5C” are a bit unconventional. Like others, he predicts the 5C will have a plastic casing, 4-inch display and slightly lower end internal components than the iPhone 5S. However, the analyst believes Apple will exclude software features when the handset launches, specifically the Siri voice recognizing virtual assistant.

Curiously, Munster cites the lack of Siri on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 in his iPhone 5C prediction, but fails to mention the service was never part of iOS until Apple incorporated the feature in the iPhone 4S. Apple purchased Siri, which was formerly an iOS app, in April 2010, ultimately baking the technology into iOS 5 over a year later.

Siri was never officially activated on the iPhone 4 or earlier models, though a jailbreak proved the service could run on older hardware. It is thought that special noise cancellation tech implemented in certain A5 processors, used in the iPhone 4S, iPad mini and fifth-generation iPod touch, is needed for Siri to work optimally. Even with the latest iOS 6, Siri is still absent in the iPhone 4 and below.

As for Apple’s low-end handset offerings, Munster believes “it may make sense” for the company to discontinue the iPhone 4S product line instead of carrying the model over as a free-on-contract device. This would bring parity to the lineup, the analyst says, with the iPhone 5S, current iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C all sporting similar designs and screen sizes.

In this configuration, Munster sees the iPhone 5C as selling for an estimated US$300.

Finally, Munster agrees with the September iPhone event rumor, and sees October as a likely launch timeframe for both a new iPad and iPad mini. Further out, he predicts Apple to debut a new TV product before the end of 2013, while a larger-screened iPhone and so-called “iWatch” should hit store shelves by mid-2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple offers rare iTunes movie collection sale

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Date: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013, 07:08
Category: News, retail

A deal’s a deal.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple is apparently offering a rare sale on iTunes movie bundles yielding the lowest prices seen to date on digital downloads of 25 popular movie collections. Bundles are available in SD/HD and start at US$9.99, making a lot of these “buy one get two free” pricing.

From what’s being seen, the prices have fluctuated a bit and the offer is apparently only applicable in the U.S.

Some standouts (HD Prices):
– Harry Potter Complete Collection: US$9.99 (normally US$125.92)

– Spiderman Trilogy: US$19.99

– The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration: US$19.99

– The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: US$9.99 (normally US$44.97)

– Lethal Weapon Movie Collection: US$9.99

– Austin Powers Collection for US$9.99

– The Bourne Collection – US$29.99 (normally US$59.96)

– The Matrix Trilogy: US$9.99 (normally US$44.97)

– The X-Men Quadrilogy US$29.99 (normally US$59.96)

– Die Hard Ultimate collection: US$39.99

– Back to the Future Trilogy: US$19.99

It’s unknown as to when this sale will last until, so catch it while you can and let us know what you make of it in the comments.