Apple patent application explores idea of magnetic stand that could hold iPads in new ways, configurations

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Date: Thursday, February 28th, 2013, 08:23
Category: iPad, News, Patents

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If you ever need to hang an iPad upside down, Apple may just have you covered.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office and TechCrunch, a new patent application by Apple published this week describes a stand for the iPad that uses magnets to hold the Apple tablet in place. iPads already come with fairly powerful magnets built into their frames, something Apple introduced along with the very first model to make the iPad compatible with its smart cover. The patent describes a magnetic stand which would be able to hold the iPad firmly in place in a number of different settings, and perform various functions.

Some examples provided in the patent include mounting the iPad to a tripod, a treadmill, or a music stand, and even attaching two iPads together via a hinge that would allow iPads to be used together in a book-style configuration. The patent text says that the mounting device would work together with a shielded, in-built magnetic component on the target device (which the iPad already has), thus enabling for a much stronger connection that would normally be possible, since powerful unshielded magnets could have an adverse effect on internal electronic components.

The mounting system described in the patent does more than just provide for a stand that can grip the iPad firmly: different permutations also include data connections, so that in the book type instance, for example, both tablet devices have a wired connection built in to their portion of the hinge, making communication between the two tablets possible. That would mean things like flipping pages in a book would actually have an effect on both tablet displays simultaneously, instead of each acting independently.

The patent also goes into a lot more detail about how an in-car mount might work with an iPad. A rotational sensor could be used to activate and deactivate the tablet, for instance, meaning the iPad could have an on and off position (likely portrait and landscape respectively), and there’s also potential to have a tablet-to-vehicle connection initiated when a car detects a specific “magnetic signature.” That, combined with wireless connection direct to a car’s communication system, would effectively render a person’s iPad a unique and personalized in-car entertainment device and control console.

The patent describes a driver issuing voice-based commands to the iPad, which are passed on to the car to change the car’s “configuration.” The communication would be two-way, too, with the car feeding ”car status information “ back to the iPad, which would also be able to handle navigation duties and play back music through the connected car’s stereo.

Cool stuff and it could help integrate the iPad into even more areas than before.

The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed with the USPTO in August of 2011. The invention is credited to Matthew D. Rohrbach.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Fifth-gen iPad to take after iPad mini, feature slimmer design

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Date: Monday, February 25th, 2013, 08:52
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

Sometimes it’s the leaked case specs that give it away.

Per MacRumors, Apple accessory manufacturer MiniSuit has already created a case for the upcoming fifth-generation iPad, based on data and specifications received from what the site claims is a reliable source.

Case manufacturers (in this case, accessory maker MiniSuit) often obtain case specs ahead of product releases to get a jump on manufacturing. Creating a case based on measurements can be a gamble, but an early case release can be financially beneficial.

The iPad 5 case is slimmer than the fourth-generation iPad case, which supports rumors that the next iPad will share design similarities with the iPad mini, most notably featuring smaller side bezels.

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The back of the case depicts an extra hole, which is for the microphone. The current fourth-generation iPad’s microphone is located at the top of the device, but Apple has relocated the microphone to the back of the iPad 5, as noted in leaked photos of the rear shell of the device.

In addition to slimmer bezels and a smaller size, the iPad 5 is said to be significantly thinner than the iPad 4, featuring the chamfered edges of the iPad mini, which is apparent in the less angled design of the iPad 5 case.

An iPad 5 with a reduced size would likely necessitate a redesign of the interior of the tablet as well, incorporating smaller chip components and a thinner display panel.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Flip4Mac updated to 3.1.0.24

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Date: Monday, February 25th, 2013, 07:29
Category: News, Software

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Late last week, software developer Telestream has released version 3.1.0.24 of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, a 66.3 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and changes:

New Features:
– Added support for Retina displays.

– Added the ability to export to iTunes from Flip Player, including exporting both audio and video, or exporting just the audio portion of a movie.

– Added iPad mini and iPod Nano scaling presets.

Fixes and Enhancements:
– Fixed a bug that prevented Flip4Mac from playing ASX files with a bad first entry but a valid second entry.

– Fixed a bug that prevented exports from the Mac App Store version of ScreenFlow due to a sandboxing violation.

– Fixed a bug that could cause Flip Player to crash if a movie was closed while being loaded for trimming.

Flip4Mac 3.1.0.24 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 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.

Sony unveils upcoming PlayStation 4 architecture, announces “PlayStation App” to extend second screen functionality to iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, February 21st, 2013, 07:39
Category: iOS, News, Software

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This could lead to something nifty.

In a follow-up to Sony’s PS4 announcement on Wednesday, the company released a statement regarding the platform’s “second screen” abilities, noting that Apple’s iOS devices will be supported.

Per AppleInsider, the “PlayStation App” will allow iPhone, iPad and Android device owners to use their devices with the upcoming PlayStation 4 console. While second screen apps were touched on in the platform unveiling, specific device support went unmentioned.

Information regarding the app’s capabilities is scarce, and it is unclear how feature-rich Sony is willing to make the second screen experience given that the company is pushing hard to incorporate its own handheld, the PS Vita, as part of the PS4 ecosystem.

A new application from SCE called “PlayStation®App” will enable iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets to become second screens. Once installed on these devices, users can, for example, see maps on their second screens when playing an adventure game, purchase PS4 games while away from home and download it directly to the console at home, or remotely watch other gamers playing on their devices.

During the keynote, Gaikai founder David Perry noted users will be able to purchase game content from mobile devices and have it downloaded to their consoles at home. Another possibility for the app is live streaming to friends’ devices through the PS4’s “Share” option, though this feature was mentioned in regard to the PS Vita.

Microsoft currently offers its own app, called Xbox SmartGlass, for the Xbox 360, though the title’s feature set offers little more than controlling basic console functions.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, 12:42
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

Never doubt the speed of a fix in the wake of bad PR…

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 6.1.2, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its supported iOS devices:

– Fixes an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.

iOS 6.1.2 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

Staples to begin carrying Apple products, exact start date unknown

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Date: Friday, February 15th, 2013, 05:53
Category: News, retail

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This one’s been a long time coming…

Per 9to5Mac and MacRumors, office retailer Staples had a meeting today with corporate employees announcing that Apple products were coming to their stores. The company followed up with a tweet to confirm that a deal with Apple has been finalized and that their stores will begin selling Apple products. Staples Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources Regit Mulot confirmed the deal on Twitter, albeit this tweet has since been deleted.

While there’s no mention of what Apple products Staples would carry, it’s been overheard that Staples would carry Apple’s full lineup of Macs, iPads as well as the iPhone 5 in their stores.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

New Zealand to deploy 9,900 iPhone, iPads to police force over next decade

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Date: Thursday, February 14th, 2013, 06:25
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

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It’s hard to say if iOS devices will help fight crime in the land of the kiwi, but it’s worth a try.

Per Electronista, the New Zealand Police will be issuing 6,000 frontline officers with iPhones. Of those officers, a further 3,900 will also receive an iPad in an outsourcing deal with Vodafone worth US$159 million over ten years, including cellular charges. According to the NZ Police chief information officer Stephen Crombie, Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines were chosen following officer feedback after an 11-month trial.

“Based on frontline officer feedback from the trial (over 100 staff in four districts trialled smartphones, laptops and tablets over an 11-month period) the preferred devices are the iPhone as smartphone and iPad for the tablet,” Crombie told the National Business Review. “The approach used to develop the applications means Police can move to other devices with relative ease as technology changes,” he added.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Evasi0n hack now over 7 million downloads, updated version available for iOS 6.1.1

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Date: Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, 08:16
Category: Hack, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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You can’t knock a good hack.

Per Redmond Pie, the Evad3rs team on Tuesday rolled out an update for the Evasi0n untethered jailbreak tool, fixing bugs found in the initial software while adding support for the Apple’s iOS 6.1.1 mobile operating system just one day after its release.

After launching last week, version 1.3 of the Evasi0n jailbreak is now available to the public, allowing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners to liberate any device running iOS 6, 6.1 and 6.1.1.

Multiple reports noted that Evasi0n was downloaded over seven million times in four days, making the so-called liberation tool the most popular in iOS history.

Apple’s release of iOS 6.1.1 on Monday broke compatibility with the software hack, but version 1.3 brings back support for all iOS devices, including the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Apple’s iOS release targeted battery life and 3G issues seen by some iPhone 4S users, and was not meant to patch the Evasi0n exploit.

Available on OS X, Windows and Linux, the untethered hack allows users to jailbreak their devices without having to connect to a computer.

It should be noted that the process of jailbreaking is legal, but will void the supplied Apple warranty as it leverages exploits in the iOS software to run unauthorized code.

If you’ve run the Evasi0n hack on your iOS device and have any feedback to offer, please let us know via the comments.

Rumor: Apple may be developing Bluetooth-based “iWatch” wrist watch device

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Date: Monday, February 11th, 2013, 08:15
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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Because you ALWAYS hope Apple would make a snazzy wristwatch product.

Per the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Apple is apparently working on developing a smartwatch device. In exploring devices beyond its currently hot-selling iPhone and iPad, Apple is said to have discussed a smartwatch with Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as by its U.S. trade name Foxconn.

Foxconn is said to be working on multiple technologies that could appear in wearable technologies. The Taipei-based company is looking to lower power-usage and to strip down the chip technologies that would go into such devices. In particular, the report claims that Foxconn is working on the underpinnings of wearable technology for more customers than just Apple. The Journal does not detail for which other companies Foxconn might be developing the components.

Google is known to be working on its own wearable technology, a glasses-mounted heads-up display known as Google Glass. That device is currently in testing with developers, and Google has targeted early 2014 as a consumer release window. Shortly after Google Glass was unveiled, an Apple patent emerged, showing off similar technology aimed at solving issues arising from such displays.

Many industry observers believe that “wearable” computing is a near-inevitable next step for mobile technology. In January, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted such technology would ultimately replace the iPhone, much like the iPhone has replaced the iPod.

Apple is likely to leverage its existing patents on creating curved glass to bring to market a product its competitors could not quickly and easily imitate. Such a device might also intermittently satisfy Wall Street investors, who have pummeled Apple’s stock in recent weeks due to concerns over competition, and possibly plateauing profit growth and innovation.

The Journal was the second major news publication on Sunday to leak details on a possible Apple smartwatch, lending credence to the notion that such a device is in development or at least under consideration. The past months have seen increasing speculation on the existence and capabilities of an “iWatch.”

In December, rumors emerged that Apple was working with Intel on a smartwatch accessory that would feature a 1.5-inch OLED display and low-power Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. That device was said to work alongside a user’s iPhone, with the ability to access simplified iOS functions.

And just last week, prior to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reports, Bruce Tognazzini opined in long-form on his blog about the possibilities of an iWatch. Tognazzini — creator of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines — based his predictions on his knowledge of the way Apple operates, saying an iWatch would “fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem” and would complement all of Apple’s other devices.

Apple is notoriously secretive about products in development. Chief Executive Tim Cook, during Apple’s most recently quarterly conference call, would say only that Apple’s product pipeline is “chock full” of “incredible stuff,” but that Apple would only reveal its plans when the company feels the time is right.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases first iOS 6.1.1 beta, focuses on improving Maps experience for Japanese marketplace

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Date: Thursday, February 7th, 2013, 07:43
Category: iOS, News, Software

The next version of Apple’s iOS is en route, and it’ll improve the Maps app if the company has anything to say about it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday released the first beta of iOS 6.1.1 with a clear focus on improving its much-criticized Maps application, specifically in regards to turn-by-turn navigation in Japan.

In a note to developers accommodating the release, Apple said iOS 6.1.1 beta 1 includes the following improvements to Maps for Japan:
– Improved pronunciation of roads during turn-by-turn navigation
.

– Optimized directions to more strongly prefer highways over narrower roads.

– Now indicates upcoming toll roads during turn-by-turn navigation
.

– Added labels for junctions, interchanges, on-ramps, off-ramps, and intersections
.

– Added indicators for transit station buildings, subway lines, and traffic lights
.

– Updated freeway color to green
.

– Updated icons for some location categories including fire stations, hospitals, and post offices Added 3D buildings including Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower.

The move comes as Apple is looking to strengthen its presence in Asia, where revenue has been on the double digit rise, particularly in China and Japan, which were up 67% and 25% year-over-year, respectively, during the company’s most recent December quarter.

The iOS 6.1.1 beta carries build number 10B311 and is available for the iPad 2 and greater, iPhone 3S and greater, iPod touch 4th-gen and greater, and the iPad mini.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.