Garmin releases StreetPilot GPS app for iOS

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Date: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011, 10:33
Category: iPhone, News, Software

GPS outfit Garmin announced on Tuesday that the company had released StreetPilot, its first turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone. Per Macworld, StreetPilot offers voice-prompted directions—with text-to-speech capability for reading aloud street names—along with a variety of more advanced GPS features.

As with Garmin’s standalone GPS devices, StreetPilot offers free traffic alerts, lane assistance with realistic previews of upcoming junctions, 2D and 3D views, and speed limit indicators. The application sports current maps of the U.S. and Canada that are fetched from Garmin’s servers, and also provides points of interests and local search integration.

The app also integrates with various bits of data on your iPhone: you can control your music, quickly access your friends’ addresses, and, of course, take advantage of iOS 4’s multitasking.

StreetPilot retails for US$40 and requires an iPhone 3G or newer, or an iPad with 3G, running iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Apple confirms iOS 4.2.1 alarm clock bug, says issue will resolve itself by January 3rd

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Date: Monday, January 3rd, 2011, 06:30
Category: iPhone, News, Software

If you were looking for your iOS device to signal its alarm around New Years, you may have been in for a surprise. Per Macworld, Apple has confirmed an iOS bug where non-repeating alarms fail to ring on the first few days of the new year, recommending that users set recurring alarms until Jan. 3, when the alarms will resume working properly.

As various time zones entered the new year, reports began cropping up from iOS users whose one-time alarms had stopped functioning after the device’s clock had ticked over to January 1, 2011. According to reports, the issue affects devices running the iOS 4.2.1, the latest version of iOS.

Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison stated the following: “We’re aware of an issue related to non repeating alarms set for January 1 or 2,” Harrison said. “Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning January 3.”

The issue is reminiscent of the iOS alarm bug that caused alarms to miss the daylight saving time change that occurred earlier this fall. After Australian users were woken up an hour early because of the bug, Apple stated that the company was “aware of this issue and already developed a fix which will be available to customers in an upcoming software update.”

Stay tuned for additional details and if your iOS device missed an alarm over the past few days, let us know.

Skype 3.0 now available for iOS, allows video chat over 3G, Wi-Fi protocols

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Date: Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 05:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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As expected, Skype has added a new video calling feature to version 3.0 of its iPhone app, giving users an alternate service from Apple’s own FaceTime video chat standard.

Per Engadget, reports emerged last week that Skype was planning to make “a series of video-related announcements” at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. A support document detailing how to make video calls via iPhone served as further evidence of the imminent release of a video-capable Skype iPhone app.

An update to the Skype for iOS app Thursday allows users to make Skype to Skype video calls over WiFi and 3G with other iOS Skype users or Skype desktop users, Engadget reports. Two-way video calls are only supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch, while iPad and third-generation iPod touch users can receive video calls. Video calling on Skype 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or above.

Skype’s launch of video chat on the iPhone and iPod touch will challenge Apple’s efforts to get its FaceTime video conferencing standard to catch on. With over 500 million user accounts, Skype has the user base needed to promote rapid adoption of its video call features over Apple’s FaceTime.

Skype 3.0 is available for free and requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new video chat feature on Skype and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

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Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Merry Christmas from the PowerPage

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Date: Saturday, December 25th, 2010, 06:00
Category: Announcement

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The tree’s lit, the presents are waiting to be unwrapped and the friends and relatives are en route for brunch later in the day. With that in mind, Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the crew here at O’Grady’s PowerPage, who will be taking the day off to savor the egg nog, cookies and iOS apps before returning on December 27th to bring you the latest in mobile news coverage for the Mac.

If you have a spiffy holiday story, please share it with us in the comments.

And, in keeping with the holiday spirit, we present the Narwhal Song:



Apple updates Remote app to version 2.1, includes AirPlay features

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Date: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010, 13:25
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes it’s the little software updates that prove the coolest.

Per Macworld, Apple has released version 2.1 of the Remote application for its iOS-based devices.

The new version, which can be snagged via the App Store, includes the following fixes and changes:

- AirPlay video support to control iTunes on your computer to stream videos to an Apple TV.

- Internet radio control to play thousands of internet radio streams in iTunes on your computer.

- The ability to control iTunes on your computer to play Movies and TV shows that are rented from the iTunes Store.

- Addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV.

- Includes stability and performance improvements.

Remote 2.1 requires iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run and is available for free.

Apple to shut down Mac OS X Downloads web site on January 6th, 2011

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Date: Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 14:06
Category: News, Software

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The Mac App Store is en route and things are changing in preparation for its launch.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has revealed to developers that it will be shutting down its Downloads page for Mac OS X on Jan. 6, the day of the Mac App Store launch, as it focuses on the Mac App Store as “the best destination” for Mac OS X apps.

The company announced last week that the Mac App Store will debut in 90 countries on Jan. 6. Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the store at the October “Back to the Mac” media event, promising that the store would open within 90 days.

In an email to developers, Apple revealed its plans to remove downloadable apps from the company’s Mac OS X Downloads site, instead redirecting users to the Mac App Store.

“Thank you for making the Mac OS X Download site a great destination with apps that offer users new ways to work, play, learn, and create on their Mac.

We recently announced that on January 6, 2011, the Mac App Store will open to users around the world, presenting you with an exciting, new opportunity to reach millions of customers. Since the introduction of the App Store in 2008, we’ve been thrilled with the incredible support from developers and the enthusiastic response from users. Now we’re bringing the revolutionary experience of the App Store to Mac OS X.

Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.

We appreciate your support of the Mac platform and hope you’ll take advantage of this new opportunity to showcase your apps to even more users. To learn how you can offer your apps on the Mac App Store, visit the Apple Developer website at http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac.”

For years, Apple’s Mac OS X Downloads site has served as a repository for Mac OS X apps. Though the site promotes a number of third-party applications, Apple also uses the page to feature several of its own Mac OS X applications, such as iTunes, Safari and iWork.

Like the App Store on iOS devices, developers will receive a 70% share of sales through the Mac App Store, with Apple keeping 30%. Unlike iOS, the Mac App Store will not be a “walled garden,” leaving developers free to offer their apps through other avenues. Developers have been encouraged to use their own websites for demos, trial versions, or betas of their software, since the Mac App Store will only accept “fully functional, retail versions” of apps.

Evidence of Mac App Store support has been found in developer builds of Mac OS X 10.6.6. The store will be available to Mac OS X Snow Leopard users as a free download through Software Update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple looking to hire additional software engineers to boost iOS navigational features

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Date: Monday, December 20th, 2010, 04:21
Category: News, Software

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A quartet of job postings on its employment web site (1, 2, 3, 4) shows that Apple is looking to hire at least four new employees for its iOS development team. The description for the full-time job based in Santa Clara Valley, Calif., calls for “outstanding engineers to deliver the next generation of Apple products.”

“Seize this ground floor opportunity to help us build the world’s best hosted platforms at massive scale,” it reads.

Per AppleInsider, Apple seeks job candidates with “valuable knowledge” related to the development of navigation software, as well as “deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory.” Candidates are required to have at least 3 years’ experience of developing “high quality, robust software systems.”

The hires, and the mention of navigation software, could signal that Apple is gearing up to build its own personal navigation tools into the iOS mobile operating system. Apple’s chief competitor in the mobile space, Google, introduced its own turn-by-turn software for Android devices over a year ago.

A cloud-based navigation solution could also be a major use for Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina. Another job listing posted this week for an iOS software engineer notes that it looking for an employee to manage and automate “distributed image processing on a server cluster.”

“The position is with an emerging and rapidly growing product team building software used by millions of Apple customers in rapidly growing markets worldwide,” the description reads. “The candidate will be part of a team that develops and maintains a complex array of global content.”

iOS 4 also includes a video out feature that could allow remote control and display of an iPhone, a feature that has already been taken advantage of by BMW. It’s possible that Apple’s solution could seamlessly integrate turn-by-turn directions with a vehicle using this method.

Apple has also shown interest in developing its own unique mapping solution for the iPhone, with two key acquisitions related to maps: Placebase and Poly9.

In April of this year, Apple began integrating its own databases for location-based services following the release of the iPad and iOS 3.2. Previously, Apple relied on databases maintained by Skyhook Wireless and Google for location services.

The iOS Maps application still relies on Google for map imagery as well as its “Street View,” but the change could signal that Apple plans to rely solely on its own technology in the future. In addition, in 2009, Apple indicated it wanted to hire someone who would help take the iPhone’s Maps application “to the next level,” with the intention of changing how users use Maps and find things.

“We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way,” that job listing read. “We’ve only just started.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Latitude released for iPhone

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 06:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

On Monday Google’s Latitude app finally became available for the iPhone, the app fully supporting iOS 4 and optionally providing constant position updates in the background on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Privacy is still a focus as users can selectively turn off both background updates, hand-pick a location or turn off positioning altogether.

Per Electronista, the official release comes roughly a year and a half after Google was forced to release an HTML5 version for the iPhone after Apple rejected the original version for reportedly being too similar to Apple’s own Maps tool. Critics have argued that the initial block was motivated by attempts to punish Google for Android, where Latitude has been a native part of Google Maps itself for most of the platform’s history.

It’s widely suspected that a loosening of App Store rules, prompted by Adobe-backed FTC and EU investigations into approval processes, may have changed Apple’s approach. Apple recently allowed Google Voice after a similar delay and what’s believed to be for identical reasons.

If you’ve played with Latitude and have any feedback, let us know.

Apple quietly removes jailbreak API detection code in iOS 4.2

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This is a bit weird but maybe it makes sense in the long run.

Per Network World, less than six months after introducing it, Apple has quietly disabled its jailbreak detection API (Application Programming Interface) through the iOS 4.2 software update, according to a new report.

The publication reported that the API, which was released in June as part of a mobile device management (MDM) bundle for iOS 4.0, has been disabled in iOS 4.2, leaving perplexed vendors to question why. The API had previously allowed third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria, to check for unauthorized modifications to the system files, author John Cox wrote.

Third-party MDM vendors had created their own utilities to check for jailbreaks, but Apple’s jailbreak detection API granted MDM applications direct access to iOS system information.

“We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”

Though jailbreaking an Apple device voids its warranty, the U.S. government recently legalized the process through a handful of exemptions to preexisting laws forbidding it.

Since the release of iOS, Apple has gone back and forth with the jailbreaking community, both sides working to one up each other with each new update. As vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited by the hacking community, Apple rushes to patch the issues, while hackers secretly move on to the next flaw.

In August, hackers released a high publicity browser-based jailbreak for the iPhone 4 that drew attention to a glaring security flaw that could have exposed users to malicious software just by visiting website.

As hackers became aware of the jailbreak detection API, they may have begun circumventing it, adding another layer to the tug-of-war between jailbreakers and Apple.

“Whatever [Apple] adds [in the OS] to detect the jailbreak, if it is to be queried from the iOS kernel, it must be accessible and have the ability to be changed,” security consultant Jeremy Allen told Cox. “Meaning, if it is going to be a useful detection method it can also be circumvented. It is a fairly intractable problem to solve 100%.”

The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers. Also at stake is Apple’s relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks. In the U.S., for instance, the iPhone is only available through AT&T, though Verizon is expected to begin selling the iPhone early next year. Users looking to use their locked iPhones on other carriers often jailbreak and unlock their handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.