WaterBlock technology demoed at CES, could provide waterproofing shield for iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, 04:13
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

With any luck, something will come of this.

And it will be spiffy.

Per Pocket Lint, HzO, the maker of a “WaterBlock” technology shown off at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, has said it is in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone.

HzO was promoting its nano-scale film barrier at CES last week, pitching it as a potential solution to waterproof expensive electronic equipment. One of their demonstrations included submerging an iPhone into water, and having it remain in proper working order.

HzO’s technology is similar to the nano-coating process demonstrated at CES by P2i, branded “Aridion” and profiled yesterday. A video demonstration of Aridion-treated paper also appeared recently. The technology is already in use by Motorola on both its Droid RAZR smartphone and XYBOARD tablet.

While speaking to attendees at the show, officials with HzO said that Apple is among the companies that have shown interest in the water repelling technology. Company officials said Apple was interested in making a future iPhone waterproof, potentially with a sixth-generation model expected to be released later this year.

“We expect HzO to be in next season’s phones,” the company reportedly said.

In addition to Apple, its rival Samsung is also said to have shown interest in HzO’s technology. The company said it showed a Samsung executive a waterproofed Galaxy S smartphone, and that company officials were “really excited” by what they saw.

HzO’s WaterBlock technology protects the insides of devices on a molecular scale. It has been used in demonstrations to protect a number of Apple products, including the iPhone 4S, iPads and iPods, after the material has been applied to the devices in a vacuum deposition process.

The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material that is safe for people to use. It also doesn’t change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight.

The technology is intended for “accidental encounters” with moisture, meaning use in deep waters or being submerged for an extended period of time is not recommended. However, HzO coated devices have reportedly been immersed in water for “many continuous hours,” and they continue to work fine.

“The technology is designed to protect against failure due to jumping in a pool and forgetting your phone was in your pocket, or dropping your iPod in the sink while doing dishes, or getting caught in a torrid rain storm and getting soaked, or leaving your smartphone in your pants when they go through the wash,” the company said.

Still, a video’s worth a thousand words, so here we go:



Let us know what you make of this in the comments.

XtremeMac announces Tango TT dock/speaker accessory at CES

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Date: Thursday, January 12th, 2012, 03:51
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

This could prove nifty.

Over at CES, accessory maker XtremeMac has announced the Tango TT, a new speaker dock for iOS devices. Per iPodNN, the dock is unusual in featuring a sliding back, which can raise or lower a device for viewing at different vertical angles. It also features a flexible dock connector, which lets iOS devices (including iPads) sit in the dock in portrait or landscape orientations.

The speakers in the dock are multi-directional, and additionally support input from non-iOS devices through a line-in jack. At launch, a remote app and a photo frame app will be available to enhance use. The Tango TT is due to ship sometime this summer, but no pricing has been announced.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

QuarkXPress 9.2 update released

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Date: Wednesday, January 11th, 2012, 11:30
Category: News, Software

quarklogo

Oddly enough, QuarkXPress is receiving fairly favorable reviews these days.

And if your life revolves around it, this may help a bit.

On Wednesday, software developer Quark released version 9.2 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 1.03 gigabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Create a new project specifically for ePUB.

– Add sound, video and hyperlinks to an ePUB e-book.

– Create new articles, visually crop pictures, and split text components in a reflow article.

– New Actions for iPad apps allow you to build buttons that control other media elements such as sound and video.

– iOS 5 Newsstand support.

– New Box From Clipping path command turns complex clipping paths into objects.

– And moreā€¦.

QuarkXPress 9.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 later to install and run and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

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

Comcast releases AnyPlay functionality for iPad, allows live TV streaming to devices

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 11:02
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

This could be nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Comcast on Tuesday began to roll out its new “AnyPlay” functionality for iPad, allowing subscribers to stream live TV to Apple’s tablet.

Comcast’s Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in Denver and Nashville can now access live streaming TV on their iPad over Wi-Fi at no additional charge. The cable provider said it plans to add the service to more markets in the coming months.

AnyPlay is only available for users who access the Internet on their home Wi-Fi connection. Outside of the home or over 3G, the Xfinity TV application allows users to access On Demand content, including 8,000 hours of movies and TV shows.

The new AnyPlay functionality is currently only available on the iPad, though support for the Motorola Xoom tablet is coming “very soon.” Using the service, users will be able to watch a show separate from what someone else might currently be watching on the TV.

“Here’s how it works… the AnyPlay device works the same as any other set top box in the home, but instead of delivering the incoming channel lineup to a television, AnyPlay delivers the lineup to the Wi-Fi router on the home network,” a post at the company’s official blog reads. “The router then distributes the secure video signal to the iPad or Xoom over your home’s wireless network. So as long as your tablet is within range of the home wireless router, you can turn it into another television screen.”

Word of Comcast’s AnyPlay service first surfaced last September in the form of a leaked memo. That document said that the AnyPlay service would be limited to 10 registered tablets per home, and only one device could be used at a time to stream live TV programs.

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

Corning unveils Gorilla Glass 2 at CES, material now 0.8mm thick and withstands 121 pounds of pressure

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 09:13
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

Because you always wanted your iPhone to be nigh-on-invincible.

Per Gizmodo, Corning unveiled its new Gorilla Glass 2 at CES this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the original Gorilla Glass was about 1 millimeter thick, the new material is 20 percent thinner at just 0.8mm.



Corning said Gorilla Glass 2 will enable device makers to build thinner and sleeker devices with brighter images and greater touch sensitivity. Gorilla Glass is widely believed to be used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, though the company has not revealed its suppliers for recent products like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Product qualification and design implementation for Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is said to be underway with Corning’s customers. Devices featuring Gorilla Glass 2 will reportedly be unveiled over the coming months. While the new glass is just 0.8mm, it can withstand 121 pounds of pressure without cracking.

Corning’s special glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, thanks to a chemically strengthened alkali-aluminosilicate material. It is the most widely used cover glass, featured in more than 30 major brands and 575 different product models, with more than 500 million units sold worldwide.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 beta 3, areas of improvement still hazy

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 04:42
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s not as specific as you might like it to be, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday supplied developers with a new pre-release build of its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 5.1 beta 3.

Little is known so far about the latest beta, which was issued to test devices as an over-the-air update. iOS 5.1 beta 1 is not yet available to developers as a direct download from Apple, and as such, there aren’t yet any release notes.

The second beta of iOS 5.1 came a month ago, and gave developers the ability to delete individual Photo Stream pictures. In current, public versions of iOS, users cannot delete individual Photo Stream pictures, and must turn off the Photo Stream feature entirely if they do not want a picture to be stored on Apple’s servers.

iOS 5.1 beta 3 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

The first beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers in late November. It included references to a next-generation iPhone, labeled “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2″ and “iPad3,3.”

If you’ve received the new beta and have any feedback to offer, let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to ship iPad 3 in March, iPad 4 in October

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 6th, 2012, 07:20
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make technology interesting.

Per DigiTimes, component makers in Taiwan have stated that the so-called “iPad 3″ will launch in March with a high-resolution Retina Display, like is found on the iPhone and iPod touch. That will be followed by an “iPad 4″ with “killer applications” set to launch in October.

The report claimed that Apple is planning to launch the fourth iPad quickly in October to counter a rumored Google-branded tablet as well as touchscreen devices running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. The Taiwanese industry publication said the fourth iPad will feature “much upgraded hardware specifications and integrated applications so as to compete with an array of Android-, Wintel- or WoA (Windows on ARM)-based tablet PCs to be released in the fourth quarter.”

As for the third-generation iPad, the report said it will feature a QXGA display with a resolution of 1,536-by-2,048 pixels. It will also sport longer battery life, but reportedly “may not be so amazing as expected.”

Finally, the publication also reiterated belief that Apple will continue to sell the current iPad 2, but will drop its price to US$399, much like Apple currently does with older iPhone models. Such a move is believed to be in an effort to counter lower priced tablets that are available, such as the Kindle Fire for US$199.

Of course, Friday’s report should be taken with a heavy dose of skepticism, as similar rumors surfaced numerous occasions last year that Apple planned to launch a third-generation iPad in 2011. That, of course, never came to be, and Apple stayed true to its promise of 2011 being the “Year of iPad 2.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Developers unveil demo of MobileX hack, allow Apple TV units to run full-screen iOS apps

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Date: Monday, January 2nd, 2012, 05:19
Category: Apple TV, Hack, News

This could prove really nifty.

Per AppleInsider, hackers have developed a workaround that enables full-screen versions of iOS apps for the iPad to run on a jailbroken Apple TV device.

Steve Troughton-Smith and a developer known as “TheMudkip” published over the weekend photos and video of the hack, dubbed MobileX, for Apple’s set-top box.

“MobileX is a window manager for iOS that replaces springboard with the added bonus of letting iPhone and iPad apps run on the Apple TV,” Troughton-Smith said in the video, adding that “any apps just run and scale up to the 720p resolution adequately.”

The hack appears to be in its early stages and has yet to be released to the public. In order to run the utility, the developers first performed the “Seas0nPass” jailbreak on the Apple TV. Apple has warned in the past that the jailbreak process, which allows users to run unauthorized code and apps on iOS, may void a device’s warranty.

Given that the Apple TV doesn’t include a full-featured input method such as a touchscreen, the pair used a combination of Virtual Network Computing (VNC), Secure Shell (SSH) and the Apple Remote to control the device. According to them, MobileX features a built-in menu that allows users to “quit apps, launch Safari, connect to Wi-Fi or show multiple apps side by side” from the Apple Remote.

Troughton-Smith demoed the iPad version of the FaceBook app and claimed that any of Apple’s own apps, such as Safari, Maps and YouTube also work well. VNC did, however, cause some sluggishness in some of the apps, though Troughton-Smith noted that a direct input method such as a remote or a mouse or keyboard would make performance “much smoother.”

Rumors of an AppleTV model that would allow access to the App Store have swirled for years, but developers appear to have taken matters into their own hands.

“If Apple isn’t going to give us a way to make real AppleTV apps, then I guess we’ll have to make one ourselves,” Troughton-Smith wrote in the video’s description on YouTube.

Apple released the latest version of the Apple TV in September 2010. The $99 set-top box runs on the company’s A4 processor and is a fourth the size of the first generation Apple TV.

The hack comes even as speculation on an upcoming Apple television set has heightened considerably. The release of late co-founder Steve Jobs’ biography set off a flurry of rumors after revealing that Jobs believed he had “cracked” the secret for a connected TV interface. Since then, reports have suggested that an Apple television will run on custom-built chips similar to those powering the iPhone and iPad and may come in three sizes.

Take a gander at the video and please let us know what you think in the comments:



Apple patent for iOS device facial recognition goes live

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 30th, 2011, 05:59
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Patents

At least your iPad will remember who you are.

Per Free Patents Online, a recently published patent application shows how future iOS devices could use a forward-facing camera to recognize an individual user, whereupon the device could automatically customize applications, settings and features to a user’s personal preferences once they pick up the unit.

Entitled “Low Threshold Face Recognition,” the patent describes a low-computation solution for quickly and accurately recognizing a user.

The filing provides a simple way for multiple users to share a single device, like an iPad. Each user could customize their personal profile with unique wallpaper, applications and settings, and that profile would be immediately accessed once the iPad recognizes a user’s face.

Apple’s application notes that robust facial recognition systems that work in various lighting conditions and orientations can be taxing on an electronic device, requiring resources and draining battery life.

Its solution would reduce the impact of lighting conditions and biometric distortions on an image. The filing describes a “low-computation solution for reasonably effective (low threshold) face recognition that can be implemented on camera-equipped consumer portable appliances.”

Rather than aggressively analyzing a user’s entire face and using up time and resources, Apple’s concept would rely on a “high information portion” of a human face. Potential high information portions could include eyes, a mouth, or the tip of a user’s nose.

By recognizing the individual features on a user’s face, the system could scale the distance between someone’s eyes and their mouth. That distance could then be measured against the reference image originally captured by the user in order to confirm it is in fact the same person.

Apple’s application notes that its facial recognition capabilities could be constantly active due to lower power consumption. This means a user could simply point an iPhone or iPad at their face, without pressing a button, and have the screen automatically turn on and unlock the device.

This could be accomplished through an “orange-distance filter,” which would capture the “likely presence” of a human face in front of a camera. This filter would also be used to detect a person’s skin tone, and measure the distance of their face from the camera.

Once a user has been recognized, the facial recognition technology could not only grant them access to the device, but also customize its settings based on a unique user profile. Each user would be presented with a personalized configuration, as an iPhone or iPad would be able to “modify screen saver slide shows or other appliance non-security preferences,” the application reads.

The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in June of 2009. It is credited to Robert Mikio Free.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPad 3 to retain Apple dock connector

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 11:10
Category: iPad, Rumor

If there’s one universal constant, it’s the Apple dock connector.

Per Macotakara, new components claimed to be from Apple’s third-generation iPad show continued use of the 30-pin dock connector, potentially dispelling rumors that it would be replaced with a smaller form factor.

The web site ordered a handful of components claimed to be from prototype builds of Apple’s anticipated third-generation iPad. The so-called “replacement parts” purport to be a microphone flex cable ribbon, power on/off flex cable, and dock connector charging port.

The dock connector is the most significant of the trio of components, because the 30-pin port still fits with Apple’s existing iPod cable used on current iPhone, iPad and iPod models. The hands-on look at the part found that the cable sticks slightly shallower into the port, and the connector is shorter than before.

An earlier rumor about the next iPad’s dock connector surfaced in October from the same website, suggesting Apple’s third-generation iPad would feature a new, smaller dock connector. It was then claimed that the port would include the same 30-pin input and electricity specification internally, but it would be redesigned and smaller on the outside.

The current 30-pin dock connector was first introduced in Apple’s iPod lineup back in April of 2003. It has been largely unchanged ever since, and Apple has even managed to squeeze the port onto its diminutive touchscreen iPod nano.

As for the other alleged third-generation iPad components, the power on/off flex cable includes a power button, rotation lock button, and volume button, suggesting all of those hardware features will be retained in the next iPad. The microphone flex cable is also said to be redesigned from the iPad 2.

The parts were obtained from reseller TVC-Mall.com, which gained attention earlier this month when it was found to be selling the microphone flex cable ribbon replacement. Because the part shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry than with the iPad 2, it led to speculation that the internal components of a so-called “iPad 3″ may feature a significant redesign.

The first purported iPad 3 part surfaced in July, and it too hinted at material design changes with the next-generation tablet, at least internally, due to different part numbers on a hardware component.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.