Apple TV 6.0 out the door, adds support for AirPlay, iTunes Radio, other new features

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Date: Friday, September 20th, 2013, 11:05
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

On a day filled to the brim with iPhone 5s and 5c happenings, Apple pulled the trigger on the good stuff for its Apple TV set top box.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released its anticipated software update to Apple TV today. The new software adds the followings fixes and changes:
- Added support for iTunes Radio and AirPlaying content from iCloud — like music from iTunes Match — to another person’s Apple TV.

- Allows users to take any purchased iTunes content — such as music, movies or TV episodes — and stream it directly to an Apple TV that may not be configured with their iTunes login credentials. The authentication is instead provided wirelessly by a connected iOS device, like an iPhone or iPad.

- Added access to purchases from the iTunes Music Store, and allows users to sync their podcasts. Photos from a shared Photo Stream can also be accessed.

- Added support for the newly launched iTunes Radio service, which is similar to established streaming Internet music provider Pandora. iTunes Radio debuted on Wednesday on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the release of iOS 7.

The new Apple TV update may be the last software refresh before the company’s rumored Apple TV hardware reboot. The company took delivery of a mysterious shipment of “set top boxes” in the days leading up the iPhone 5s and 5c announcement.

As always, the software can be downloaded and installed by entering the Apple TV’s General Settings, then clicking “Software Update”.

If you’ve tried the new Apple TV software and have any comments or feedback about it, please let us know in the comments.

Aussie-based tech shop iExperts performs initial teardown of iPhone 5s, reports findings

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Date: Thursday, September 19th, 2013, 14:56
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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The Aussies completed an initial teardown of the iPhone 5s and there are some impressive components inside.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Australia-based tech shop iExperts, the guys at iExperts were able to remove the standard pentalobe screws holding the handset together, then used a suction cup to remove the screen. The team noticed that there’s a special cable that connects the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s to the charging port assembly — not sure of the reason, but some speculation has indicated that it’s for grounding the sensor when the iPhone is docked and charging.

The batteries on the new devices have higher capacities than the one on the iPhone 5 (5.45 Whr), with the iPhone 5s coming in at 5.92 Whr and the iPhone 5c at 5.73 Whr. Those batteries, according to iExperts, are made by Apple Japan, something they’ve never seen before on iPhone batteries.

The logic boards for the new iPhones are quite compact in comparison to the one in the iPhone 5, and iExperts noted that the 5s and 5c boards share a similar design. The team also marveled at the “incredible functionality for such little circuitry” found in the Touch ID sensor on the 5s (below).

If you’re one of those people with an iPhone 4, iPod touch, iPod nano (sixth generation) or iPhone 5 that had a power switch failure, you’ll be happy to know that the switch assembly has been changed in the new iPhones.

The iExperts team will be posting more information on the chips located on the logic board later, so bookmark the page for additional information as it becomes available.

Apple releases iOS 7.0, 7.0.1 updates for iOS devices

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Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013, 13:34
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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It’s finally here.

On Wednesday, Apple released iOS 7.0 and iOS 7.0.1 (depending on your iOS device), the long-anticipated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a several hundred to a 1.33 gigabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Control Center: Control Center gives you quick access to the controls and apps you always seem to need right this second. Just swipe up from any screen — including the Lock screen — to do things like switch to Airplane mode, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or adjust the brightness of your display. You can even shine a light on things with a new flashlight. Never has one swipe given you so much control.

- Notification Center: Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.

- Multitasking: Multitasking has always been a smart way to switch between apps. Now it’s even smarter. Because iOS 7 learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 a.m. every day, your feed will be ready and waiting for you. That’s multitasking in iOS 7. It knows what you want to do before you do.

- Camera: Camera in iOS 7 puts all your shooting formats — still, video, panorama, and now square — front and center. With a swipe, you can capture what you want the way you want. Fast. And new filters let you do even more with each image. Give it a retro feel. Dial up the contrast. Or go black and white. Artistic license is all yours.

- Photos: Now there are faster, easier, and more delightful ways to scroll down memory lane. Introducing Years, Collections, and Moments — smart groupings of your photos and videos based on time and place. Tap Years and all your shots fill the screen. Each year holds Collections, like your trip to San Francisco. And in that Collection are distinct Moments — photos from Union Square, videos from AT&T Park. So you can find a shot from whenever, wherever, in no time.

- AirDrop: Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps. Enter AirDrop for iOS. It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.

- Safari: Browsing is bigger, better, and more beautiful with Safari in iOS 7. Buttons and bars — like the unified smart search field — stay hidden until you scroll to reveal them. So you see more content than ever on your screen. And with a swipe, you can go back or forward a page. It’s all designed so nothing gets in your way or slows you down.

- iTunes Radio: iTunes Radio features streaming radio stations you’ll love from day one — from the best selection of music. The more you listen, the more personalized it becomes. And it’s available on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, and Apple TV for free. It’s radio re-imagined.

- Siri: Siri in iOS 7 gets a new look, a new sound, and new capabilities. It features a redesigned interface that fades into view — on top of whatever’s on your screen. A clearer, more natural-sounding female or male voice makes Siri even easier to understand. It’s faster at answering questions and it checks more sources, such as Bing, Wikipedia, and Twitter. And Siri takes on extra tasks, like returning calls, playing voicemail, controlling iTunes Radio, and more.4

- App Store: Apps Near Me — a new feature of the App Store in iOS 7 — shows you a collection of popular apps relevant to your current location. And the new Kids category lets you browse and buy the best apps for children based on age. iOS 7 also keeps your apps up to date automatically, so you don’t have to bother. Another bonus of automatic updates: no more little red badge begging for your attention.

- Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Losing your iOS device feels lousy. Thankfully, Find My iPhone can help you get it back. But if it looks like that’s not going to happen, new security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who’s not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased. And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your device is still your device. No matter where it is.

- Bug fixes for iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

iOS 7.0 and iOS 7.0.1 are available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

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

Apple releases iTunes 11.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013, 08:57
Category: News, Software

This should add some nifty and long-awaited stuff to iTunes.

On Wednesday, Apple released version 11.1 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 215 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- iTunes Radio: iTunes Radio is a great new way to discover music. Choose from over 250 stations or start a new one from your favorite artist or song. Enjoy iTunes Radio ad-free once you subscribe to iTunes Match.

- Genius Shuffle: Introducing a magical new way to experience your music library. Choose Genius Shuffle and iTunes instantly plays songs that go great together. Click it again to hear something new: enjoying your music has never been this easy.

- Podcast Stations: You can now create custom stations of your favorite podcasts that update automatically with new episodes. Your stations, subscriptions, and current play position sync over iCloud to the Podcasts app.

- Sync with iOS 7: You can now use iTunes to sync your favorite music, movies, and more to devices with iOS 7. In addition, iTunes now makes it even easier to quickly organize and sync apps to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

iTunes 11.1 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.

Apple releases Find My iPhone 2.0.3 update, adds bug fixes

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Date: Thursday, August 22nd, 2013, 11:17
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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You might want to snag this sometime today.

On Thursday, Apple released version 2.0.3 of its Find My iPhone app for iOS. The new version, a 17.5 megabyte download, adds bug fixes and stability improvements for the app.

Find My iPhone 2.0.3 requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

Yeah, this may not be the most poignant thing that’ll happen to you today, but if your iPhone, iPad or iPad touch gets snagged and this gives you a better shot at getting it back, then it’s worth grabbing the new version if you have a free minute.

As always, be careful out there and let us know what’s on your mind in our comments section.

WatchESPN app updated to version 1.7, adds Live Toolbar, dual-stream viewing, other features

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Date: Friday, August 16th, 2013, 09:49
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, News, Software

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I’m not completely indifferent to sports and I’ll support the Boston teams until the day I die.

My mom, on the other hand, will gladly run out, try to flip a police car over and light it on fire whether the Red Sox win, lose or tie in a playoff game.

That being said, the WatchESPN app for iOS received an update on Thursday that adds a new way to watch in-app content among other new features.

Per AppleInsider, the new update for WatchESPN brings the app to version 1.7, and gives iPad owners access to a new Live Toolbar. Users can now stream scores and on-demand videos from sporting events at the same time that they’re watching live programming on ESPN.

The Live Toolbar includes ESPN’s TV lineup, scores from games, and top videos. It’s available on the iPad and iPad mini only.

The update also allows users connecting from colleges and military networks to get access to ESPN3 events automatically. Additionally, it adds compatibility with ESPN on ABC events and compatibility for devices running iOS 7.

Version 1.7 of WatchESPN is available as a free download in the App Store. The 9.0MB download requires an iPhone, iPod, or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple to hold iPhone media event on September 10th

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Date: Monday, August 12th, 2013, 07:40
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

The next-gen Apple iPhone may have a media event date.

Per All Things Digital and AppleInsider, unnamed sources have indicated that Apple is looking to hold a media event for the long-anticipated iPhone model on September 10th. That date would occur on the second to the last day of the IFA consumer electronics trade show being held in Berlin, Germany from September 6-11. Samsung is expected to announce its Galaxy Note 3 at the show, and HTC may release its own “One Max” phablet.

The event is expected to officially release the redesigned new iOS 7, which Apple says will support the existing iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later models now being sold, as well as the 5th generation or newer iPod touch.

Apple is expected release an enhanced new iPhone 5S with a similar form factor to the existing iPhone 5.

The new iPhone 5S is expected to introduce enhanced new features thought to include a camera with potentially a dual LED, a faster processor, and potentially the fingerprint sensor technology it acquired with AuthenTec.

Apple is also rumored to potentially release a new iPhone 5C aimed at entry level users, sporting cases in multiple colors and a lower price targeting first time smartphone buyers.

Leaked schematics that appeared in June depicted a new low-cost iPhone model that would be a hair wider and taller than the iPhone 5S.

The documents also suggested that the new low-cost iPhone will be about 0.8 millimeters thicker than the iPhone 4S, with back edges that are rounded off, similar to the iPod classic.

Apple is also expected to capitalize on the continuing, strong performance of iPhone 4, which is now nearly three years old. A revamped iPhone 5C, also referenced in rumors as an “iPhone Lite,” could provide Apple with a more modern but still entry level priced device with support for features introduced after the iPhone 4 was developed in 2010.

In Apple’s most recent conference call, its chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer stated that “iPhone 5 remains by far the most popular iPhone, but we were also very happy with sales of iPhone 4 and 4S,” later adding that “iPhone 4 sales accelerated as we offered more affordable pricing in emerging and in other markets.””The number of first time smartphone buyers that the iPhone 4 is attracting is very, very impressive.”

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook referenced lower iPhone 4 pricing as a significant factor in the “unusual” growth in iPhone sales in the June quarter, noting that “with the moves that we made on [iPhone] 4 and with iPhone 5 continuing to be the most popular model, we saw very strong sales in several of the emerging markets, sort of pre-pay markets.”

Cook later added that “what we’ve seen is that the number of first time smartphone buyers that the iPhone 4 is attracting is very, very impressive. We want to attract as many of these buyers as we can and we saw that beginning to happen toward the end of the Q2 timeframe, as I’d referenced on last quarter’s call, and we did that on a wider spread basis, offered more affordable pricing on a wider scale basis this quarter, and continue to be very happy with what we saw.

“Where iPhone 5 continues to be the most popular iPhone by far, we’re really happy to provide an incredible high quality product with iPhone 4 running iOS 6 to as many first-time smartphone buyers as we can, and I think it’s proven to be exactly a great product for that buyer.”

Stay tuned for additional details about the upcoming media event as they become available.

Netflix to add multi-user profiles to subscriber accounts

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Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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This may cut down on some potential arguments in the future.

Per AppleInsider, Netflix on Thursday rolled out a long-awaited feature to its iOS and Apple TV apps, allowing subscribers to maintain separate profiles for individual users sharing one account.

Subscribers will be able to add up to five profiles for each account they own. Profiles will receive unique personalized suggestions based on viewing habits and ratings.

More importantly, those individual accounts will each have their own Instant Queue and Recently Watched lists. For example, parents will no longer have to share a queue with their children, or even spouses with each other, if they so choose.

Each personal profile can also be attached to a different Facebook account, allowing for personalized suggestions from that individual’s friends on the social networking site.

Netflix has promised that the new user profiles will roll out to iPad, iPhone and Apple TV “over the next few days.” Other devices set to receive support in the immediate future are Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and newer Smart TV and Blu-ray players. Support for Nintendo Wii and Android has been promised to arrive “soon.”

User profiles first began appearing on the Apple TV set-top box earlier this week as part of a test run. That roll-out coincidentally happened after the launch of a new Apple TV software beta, leading some to incorrectly assume the two were related. Current Apple TV owners will receive the feature without needing to run a pre-release beta.

Competition in the mobile streaming space is heating up, with Google’s newly released US$35 Chromecast dongle offering users the ability to stream content from an iPhone or Android device directly to their TV. While less fully featured than the Apple TV, the device is available at about a third of the price.

The price of a refurbished Apple TV direct from Apple also hit a new low this week, and is now available for just US$75, knocking 25 percent off the cost of a new model. A new Apple TV software update, expected to arrive this fall, will also give users the ability to purchase music directly from the device.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you try this new Netflix account feature and have any feedback to offer, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

iOS 7 beta 4 code strings point towards forthcoming fingerprint recognition feature

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Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 12:44
Category: News, Software

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It’s the beta code that tells you where things are going.

Per Electronista, code strings buried in iOS 7 beta 4 suggests that one or more next-generation iOS devices will indeed have fingerprint sensors. An unused folder in the firmware, discovered by Hamza Sood, is titled “BiometricKitUI.axb.” Accompanying code strings moreover make reference to a “Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb,” a percentage completion meter for fingerprint recognition, and “a fingerprint that changes colour [sic] during the setup process.”

Apple has been expected to add a fingerprint sensor to iOS devices ever since it bought out AuthenTec last year. It was unclear if Apple would have the technology ready for this year however, and indeed Apple could simply be laying the groundwork for 2014 devices. At the same time, rumors have sometimes pointed to an iPhone 5S getting fingerprint recognition, and there would be competitive advantages.

On a basic level, the feature could let people unlock an iPhone or iPad without having to enter a passcode. It could also enable multiple user accounts however, since iOS would be able to automatically differentiate users. If Apple brings NFC to the iPhone, if might permit an upgraded Passbook app to make transactions, instead of just store coupons, tickets, and passes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches Back to School promotion, throws in $50 and $100 iTunes gift cards

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Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, 07:49
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, retail

Never look a back to school promotion in the mouth.

Per the Mac Observer, Apple kicked off its annual Back to School deals on Tuesday for educational buyers and includes iTunes Store, App Store and iBookstore gift cards worth up to US$100 with new Mac, iPhone and iPad purchases. The special deals are available now and run through September 6, 2013.


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The offer reads as follows:
“Buy a Mac for college and get a $100 gift card to spend on apps and more — and also save with education pricing. Or buy an iPad or iPhone and get a $50 card.
Qualifying products include Macs other than the Mac mini, plus the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the iPad 2, fourth generation iPad, and iPad mini.”

Not a bad thing and where a US$50 or US$100 iTunes gift card are concerned, it’s hard to go wrong there.