Apple releases Find My iPhone 2.0.1, adds turn-by-turn driving directions to located devices

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Date: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 08:36
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

This could help out a bit.

Apple has added driving directions to Find My iPhone with version 2.0.1 of the iOS app for iPhone and iPad. Users now have the ability to get driving directions courtesy of Apple Maps directly within the app.

The directions include voice turn by turn directions and in-app directions, too, just like in Apple Maps.

The update also made the Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase buttons all appear separately from the map view within the app.

The Find My iPhone application is free, available on 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, please let us know in the comments.

Apple launches iPad mini in China, still deals with scalper element at product releases

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Date: Monday, December 10th, 2012, 07:36
Category: iPad, News, retail

In spite of various protocols, it’s hard to keep a good scalper down.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s reservation-only system in China, put in place after a near-riot occurred for the iPhone 4S launch, led to few crowds for the debut of the iPad mini.

Many of those who turned out for the iPad mini launch in China on Friday were scalpers looking to resell and profit from the device. But Apple’s recently instituted rules have made it tougher for scalpers to get in the way of legitimate customers.

Chinese customers must participate in an online lottery one day in advance to purchase an iPad mini at one of the company’s seven retail stores in China. Those who are selected are limited to two iPad minis and must bring photo identification.

The system was instituted after the iPhone 4S launch in January of this year was disrupted by an unruly crowd in Beijing. The crowd prevented Apple from opening its store in Sanlitun, and the company decided to postpone the launch of the iPhone 4S in Beijing and Shanghai.

And in May of 2011, the launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 caused a scuffle in Beijing in which disgruntled customers shook a glass door at the Sanlitun Apple Store and shattered it.

Those incidents prompted Apple to implement its anti-scalping measures this July for the launch of the third-generation iPad in China. Local media alleged that scuffles at Apple’s stores were between rival groups of scalpers.

For Friday’s iPad mini launch, a Wall Street Journal reporter was harassed by a group of scalpers for filming them outside the Apple Store in Sanlitun. The scalpers told the reporter they felt it was an invasion of their privacy.

“After the reporter pointed out that they were conducting business in a public place, they proceeded to kick, swat and push him as Apple and mall security stood by,” Friday’s report said.

Aside from scalpers at the Sanlitun Apple Store, there were no crowds for Friday’s iPad mini launch. The scalpers stood near the store’s entrance to collect iPad minis from Chinese customers in exchange for cash.

So…despite annoying scalpers snagging up as much of the supply as they could, the iPad mini is out in China.

Google releases updated iOS app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

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Date: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, 06:36
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

Remember how you liked a native iOS version of the YouTube app?

It’s back.

Per AppleInsider, Google on Tuesday released its native YouTube app for Apple’s iDevices, bringing an optimized user experience for iPad and the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen as well as other enhancements.

When Google launched the first standalone YouTube for iOS app in September, the effort was largely considered to be a stopgap until the company was able to build a universal version that would work on both the iPad and iPhone, including the then-unreleased iPhone 5.

Until now, iPad users wanting access to YouTube were forced to download third-party apps or use the ubiquitous web video service’s web client through Safari. With Tuesday’s update, YouTube is now native on all iOS devices, including the Retina display-toting iPad. The app also supports the iPhone 5’s 4-inch display, meaning the app no longer has black “handlebars” when viewing videos in landscape mode, a major gripe some had with the original version released before iOS 6.

The new version offers the following fixes and changes:
– Optimized for iPad and iPhone 5.

– Stream videos with AirPlay.

– Tap logo to open your Guide of channels.

– Add and remove videos from your playlists.

– Clickable links in video descriptions.

– Improved accessibility with VoiceOver.

YouTube for iOS weighs in at 11.6 MB, requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run and can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

Apple releases third iOS 6.1 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, 08:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could lead to some cool stuff.

Per AppleInsider, developers on Monday were provided with the third pre-release beta of iOS 6.1, Apple’s forthcoming software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The update is available through Software Update in the iOS Settings application. People familiar with the software said it is identified as build “10B5117b.” It arrives three weeks after the second beta was issued.

One person testing the software stated that users are now asked to enter security questions for iCloud once their device boots up. This feature was not in previous betas of iOS 6.1.

The iOS 6.1 beta is compatible with the fourth-, third- and second-generation iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Apple informed developers that the beta “contains bug fixes and improvements.”

Earlier betas of iOS 6.1 added the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri.

The first two betas of iOS 6.1 also featured an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow developers to search for map-based addresses in points of interest. In one example provided to developers, users could search the term “coffee,” and the system would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

If you’ve managed to get your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments. Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple release iTunes 11, offers new features, simplified interface

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 07:56
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released version 11.0 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 200.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Completely Redesigned: iTunes makes it more fun to explore and enjoy your music, movies, and TV shows. You’ll love the beautiful edge-to-edge design, custom designs for each album, movie, or TV show in your library, and getting personal recommendations any time you click in the Store.

– A New Store: The iTunes Store has been completely redesigned and now features a clean look that makes it simpler than ever to see what’s hot and discover new favorites.

– Play purchases from iCloud: Your music, movie, and TV show purchases in iCloud now appear inside your library. Just sign-in with your Apple ID to see them. Double-click to play them directly from iCloud or download a copy you can sync to a device or play while offline.

– Up Next: It’s now simple to see which songs are playing next, all from a single place. Just click the Up Next icon in the center display and they’ll instantly appear. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

– New MiniPlayer: You can now do a whole lot more with a lot less space. In addition to showing what’s playing, MiniPlayer now includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes it easy to search for something new to play all from a smaller and more elegant design.

– Improved search: It’s never been easier to find what you’re looking for in iTunes. Just type in the search field and you’ll instantly see results from across your entire library. Select any result and iTunes takes you right to it.

– Playback syncing: iCloud now remembers your place in a movie or TV show for you. Whenever you play the same movie or episode from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, it will continue right where you left off.

iTunes 11.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

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

iPhone 5 supply stabilizes, units now readily available for holiday shopping season

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Date: Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 07:41
Category: iPhone, News, retail

It took a while and there were muchos conflicts with Foxconn, but it finally happened: Apple’s iPhone 5 supply chain has stabilized.

Per AppleInsider, the popular iPhone 5 handset is now readily available in the U.S. at Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail stores as the company has apparently overcome supply issues experienced since the device was launched in September.

While the Apple online store still shows one-week ship-by dates, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said a poll of 20 U.S. Apple Stores reveals the iPhone 5 is readily available at physical Apple Stores for the first time since the unit was released at the end of September.

“We believe the iPhone 5 has finally reached a point where consumers can walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a phone,” Munster said in a note to investors on Thursday.

The analyst performs a nightly check with the online Apple Store for local pick-up orders half an hour after new stock arrives at 100 locations. He also noted that 20 out of 20 Apple Stores polled showed availability for Verizon models, the supply of which has been the most constrained out of the three major U.S. carriers.

“The bottom line is that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are consistently showing 90%+ availability,” Munster wrote.

A similar report earlier this month showed that, while inventory of Sprint versions of the Phone 5 was improving, models supported by AT&T and Verizon’s networks were still seeing constraints.

Going further, Munster maintains his estimate of 45 million iPhone shipments for the fourth quarter, but warns that there may not be a significant upside as supply is only now meeting demand.

According to a recent report, the iPhone 5 helped to double Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market, pushing it ahead of worldwide leader Android.

Nokia releases “Here” map application to iOS App Store, offers alternative to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps program

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, 08:40
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you’re looking for an alternative to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps, Nokia just delivered.

Per The Next Web, Nokia on Tuesday made good on a promise to bring its new “Here” mapping service to iOS as it launched a free app complete with offline caching and voice-guided walking directions.

The “Here” app comes exactly one week after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that the app would be available for iPhones, iPads and iPods sometime in the coming weeks.

According to Nokia, the HTML5-based mapping solution includes offline capabilities and, unlike Apple’s own Maps app, voice-guided walking navigation and public transportation directions.

“Maps are hard to get right – but location is revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world,” said Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Location & Commerce Michael Halbherr, who is responsible for Here. “That’s why we have been investing and will continue to invest in building the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today.”

The Finnish company also noted that future updates will come with 3D capabilities akin to Apple and Google’s solutions, which will come from technology acquired by earthmine. Nokia is rolling out the mapping service on its Microsoft Windows Phone handsets as well as versions for Google’s Android and Mozilla’s Firefox OS.

Nokia’s app is one of the first major no-cost mapping submissions to rival Apple’s Maps app, which caused a flap with consumers and the media when it was released as part of iOS 6 in September. With Maps, Apple chose to move away from its longstanding partnership with Google Maps to a proprietary solution built completely in house. Upon launch, however, the program was fraught with problems like rendering issues and incorrect location data.

The internet search giant is said to be planning its own standalone iOS app that may see release soon as rumors claim the company is distributing near final versions of the software to outside testers. One of the major gripes with Apple’s solution is the lack of Google’s Street View option, however that feature was brought back to mobile Safari with the Google Maps web app in October with limited functionality.

Nokia’s Here is available now for iOS as a free download from the App Store.

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

Users report second iMessage, FaceTime outage in one week

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Date: Monday, November 19th, 2012, 07:04
Category: News, Software

Sometimes a network runs perfectly, other times it flops over and takes a prolonged nap a la Seabiscuit…

Per AppleInsider, users reported that iMessage and FaceTime experienced outages across the U.S., the second time in a week that services attached to Apple’s iCloud saw issues.

A number of users reported on Sunday that they could not send or receive iMessages from their iPhones and iPads, a problem that is becoming more common since the company’s newest iOS 6 was released in September.

According to Apple’s iCloud system status webpage, “some” users unable to use iMessage or place FaceTime calls, with the error coming less than two days after an issue appeared with iCloud storage upgrade payment transactions. Apple said service will return to normal “ASAP.”

Sunday’s downtime marks the fourth such outage in the past three months, with one incident in September and two in October affecting users of iMessage on both iOS and OS X clients. At the time, messages sent through Apple’s proprietary service were pushed through as SMS texts.

While iMessage and FaceTime appear to be the most prone to errors, iCloud’s email service has also seen problems, the latest being a September outage that affected 1.1 percent of all users.

Introduced alongside iOS 5, iMessage is Apple’s smartphone-integrated answer to online messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger and Google Chat. The service is data based, allowing iOS device users to communicate with each other and Macs running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, without racking up text fees.

The services were apparently restored as of 4:41 AM PST on Monday.

If you noticed the outage on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iBooks 3.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, November 15th, 2012, 10:59
Category: iOS, News, Software

Never knock a good update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 3.0.2 of its iBooks update for its iOS reader program.

The new version, a 41 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– See all your iBookstore purchases in iCloud – on your bookshelf with iOS 6.

– Scroll vertically through your books using the new Scroll Theme.

– Receive free content updates to purchased book (new chapters, etc.)

– Look up definitions for words under the German, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese languages under iOS 6.

– Share thoughts about your favorite books via Facebook, Twitter, Messages or Mail.

– Resolves a crash wherein the iBooks app may unexpectedly quit in iOS 6.

iBooks 3.0.2 requires a compatible iOS device and iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

Apple looking into quieter “vibrate” function for future iPhone handsets

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Date: Thursday, November 15th, 2012, 07:05
Category: iPhone, News, Patents

applelogo_silver

Your iPhone might get a bit quieter soon.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office and AppleInsider, Apple is investigating ways to make the iPhone’s “silent mode” truly silent by monitoring audible sound levels generated by a phone’s vibrator and adjusting the mechanism if it becomes too loud.

Since the earliest days of portable telecommunications, devices like pagers incorporated a silent option to the standard beeping tones that alerted a user of an incoming message or, years later, cell phone call. The system is flawed, however, in that the so-called “silent mode” is not completely silent, especially when a device vibrates on a hard surface, causing a rattling noise often times more disruptive than a normal audible tone.

The current iPhone 5, with its aluminum uni-body construction, is another candidate that may be less than discreet in some circumstances. To remedy this longstanding problem, Apple has devised a method in which a phone’s vibrations, as well as the result of said vibrations, are monitored by microphones or movement sensors. If these sensors detect conditions that may cause an unwanted disturbance, a number of mitigation methods are initiated, including tuning the vibrator and introducing feedback signals to reduce reverberation.

Apple’s solution takes into account two types of haptic devices, or vibrators, commonly used in modern smartphones, both of which present separate problems. The usual rotating vibrator used in many devices has an eccentric weight attached to a spinning drive shaft, while an oscillating linear vibrator relies on magnetic force to drive a weight back and forth.

While the rotating motor is somewhat louder than its magnetically-driven cousin, it produces an arguably more violent vibration which can be an asset for those who wear thick pants or need a stronger alert. For reference, the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 and all versions of the iPhone 4S used a linear vibrator, while the iPhone 5 marks the return of the rotating system found in legacy models.

As described in the invention, movement, sound and visual sensors begin monitoring various attributes when a vibration alert is detected. The sensors can determine If the vibration is causing the phone to move or generate a noise louder than ambient noises in the surrounding environment.

Once a movement or sound threshold has been reached, the mitigation mechanisms kick in to modify the alert or stop it altogether. In some embodiments, the action of vibrator motor is adjusted. For a rotational vibrator, the frequency of the motor can be slowed, while the motion of a linear vibrator can be dampened by an electromagnetic force.

The patent application goes on to offer alternative alert methods that can be used when a vibrator is found to be disturbing, such as visual alerts or soft audio tones which are output at level deemed to be more quiet than the sound created by the phone’s vibrations.

Such mechanisms do not exist in the current iteration of Apple’s handset, though the technology may one day make its way to a future iPhone as an enhancement to the product line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.