Older models being traded in hints at strong wave of new-model upgraders
Online trade-in site Gazelle has reported that iPad trade-ins for cash jumped 175 percent over normal on the weekend of Black Friday, a certain indicator that Apple CEO Tim Cook's prediction that it would be an "iPad Christmas" is likely to come true. The Apple tablet, which continues to dominate the category three and a half years after its introduction, has also topped holiday wish list compilations and has seen some constrained supplies of the two latest models, particularly the Retina iPad mini.
US first to see changes
Google has redesigned the Android and iOS versions of its News web app with a variety of improvements. The look of the app has been cleaned up to make it easier to read and track different stories, and it can now be customized with light or dark themes, adjustable font sizes, and/or bigger story cards that include more content. Navigation has been streamlined by funneling access to every section, including customized ones, through a News icon in the top left; Google Feedback can be reached through a menu in the upper right.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Unusual design may allow iPhone to tilt up to 45 degrees
Gaming hardware maker Razer is working on a Made for iPhone-certified controller, a leak hints. Images depict a case-style product similar to the Logitech PowerShell, allegedly codenamed the Kazuyo. An unusual aspect though is the Kazuyo's ability to tilt an iPhone or iPod up roughly 45 degrees, potentially giving players a better viewing angle.
Tech already supported in Apple Store iPhone app
Apple is today deploying iBeacons at all 254 of its US retail stores, according to the Associated Press. At the Fifth Avenue store in New York City alone, the company has 20 iBeacons; some of these are reportedly just iPhones and iPads, but, like regular iBeacons, can communicate with a visitor's iPhone as they walk around the store. To receive notifications a person needs to have Bluetooth enabled, and the latest version of the Apple Store iPhone app, which must be allowed access to location data and push notifications.
Production finally catching up with demand in time for holidays
At one of the best possible times, Apple's production of the iPhone 5s appears to be catching up with demand, allowing worldwide online Apple Stores to offer the highly-prized smartphone -- even in the prized gold color -- with a shipping estimate of just 1-3 days for all carriers and capacities, the first time this has happened since its debut in September. The 64-bit smartphone, which has seen delays so severe that on occasion Apple's website offered no specific timetable for delivery, is now much more widely available.
Android, iOS, Windows all gain share at BlackBerry's expense
Apple's share of the smartphone market in the US continues to grow slowly, though chief rival Samsung is growing at a faster rate but still has a long way to go to catch up. Android sales combined continue to dominate, but have seen very slow or flat growth in recent months -- however, in the latest three-month ComScore MobiLens survey, the platform managed twice the growth rate of iOS. Windows Phone also gained share, with all three platforms benefitting from BlackBerry's continuing fall.
Agreement would increase iPad sales opportunities, lift Apple revenues
Assuming that the latest iPhones (and possibly iPads) debut in China and on China Mobile as expected on December 18, Apple will have just two weeks of sales there to record before the close of the company's fiscal Q1 for 2014. In a testament the sheer scale of both China's overall economy and China Mobile's subscriber base are, those few days might be enough to materially affect Apple's overall earnings for the period, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Venture thought to be worth over $1 million
TV host Ryan Seacrest and a venture co-founder have invested over $1 million in producing a keyboard case for the iPhone, the Typo Keyboard, sources say. The pair are eventually expected to invest over $5 million in their company, since other keyboard products are already in development. Seacrest claims that inspiration for the iPhone case came from the frustration of friends and peers carrying two phones: an iPhone as their main device, and a second phone for "typing and correspondence."
Further refines look for iOS 7
Check-in service Foursquare has released a major update of its iOS app, v7.0. Building on earlier releases, the interface has been evolved to bring it further in line with iOS 7. The most significant addition however may be an expanded push notification system, capable of alerting people to the most interesting things about a new location without having the app open. At a restaurant, for example, notifications may point out the most popular menu item, or food on discount.
Obama sticks with BlackBerry due to security risks
President Barack Obama's administration is likely the most tech savvy the United States has seen, but the Commander in Chief can't rely on the best selling smartphone in the world for personal use. In a summit at the White House today, Obama revealed that he cannot use an iPhone for official business due to "security reasons." The President still uses a BlackBerry in the course of his daily duties, but even that device is quite limited in what it can be used for.
Special conditions apply
AT&T has introduced Mobile Share Value Plans, a new discount option for its subscribers. The option cuts significant amounts per month off of a Mobile Share plan, so long as a customer meets certain criteria: people must have an off-contract phone, or else upgrade through AT&T's Next program. Under these scenarios, a person can save between $10 and $115 per month on a single device, and between $20 and $105 on a two-device account. Two phones on a 4GB plan, for instance, costs $120 per month.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
iPad app so far going without free downloads
Apple is now giving away Christmas music via the Apple Store iPhone app, users observe. Some of the songs made available this week include "The First Noël" by Mary J. Blige, "Silent Night" by Kelly Clarkson, and "Ave Maria" by Il Volo. The music is only available in the US, and is missing from the recently-launched iPad app. The offer will expire on December 31st.
Repeated reports may be an 'echo chamber' effect, or mirror actual trials
Rumors and other unconfirmed reports about Apple products -- particularly those that are only in an experimental prototype or testing phase -- are difficult to sort out. Readers who see similar reports on multiple sites or in various print and online outlets have a tendency to believe them after a while, even if the reports are just echoing each other. New reports have emerged recently from different sources claiming that Apple is at least probing the idea of larger iPad and iPhone models, but a healthy dose of skepticism is often required.
Display Audio tech requires iPhone 5 or later
The 2014 Civic and the 2015 Fit will each get two forms of iOS integration, Honda has announced. The most significant is Display Audio, which will let users control functions like music, calling, and navigation through gesture controls on a built-in capacitive touchscreen. Connecting will require an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c, and one or more of four new HondaLink apps: Connect, Navigation, Aha, and Launcher. Aha provides access to Internet audio including radio, podcasts, and audiobooks, plus Twitter and Facebook updates, and listings for nearby points of interest. Launcher is used to find and launch HondaLink-compatible apps. The official Honda apps are all free except for Navigation, which costs $60.
Discounts limited to 10 percent
Some US Apple Stores have quietly begun price matching for the iPad Air and iPhone 5c, sources say. The option arrived earlier this week, although not all stores and regions are participating. Even when a store is willing to match a competitor, the ceiling is a 10 percent discount off Apple's usual sticker price. A 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, for instance, would drop to $449, and a 16GB 5c would dip to $89.
Ember offers image file organization, sync via iCloud
RealMac Software has launched its latest app for iOS, imaging organizer Ember (formerly known as LittleSnapper). Allowing users to collect images and organize them into projects, the compiled library can be synced via iCloud for accessing on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Design gets shareable themes, drag-and-drop data
Having leaked it yesterday, today Apple-owned FileMaker has formally announced FileMaker 13, the next major edition of its database creation software. One of the major additions is WebDirect, an HTML5-based method of publishing databases to the web without special programming. When developing iOS frontends, users can now generate them in a single step, and add things like slide controls, popovers, gesture controls, custom keyboards, and barcode capture functions.
First acknowledgement of deal between Apple and world's largest carrier
A website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile has begun taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the first time any site affiliated with China's (and the world's) largest carrier has done so. The move signals a formal deal between Apple and the carrier, which has taken some six years to put together -- and marks the opportunity of a lifetime for Apple to make more serious inroads in China's expanding smartphone market.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Feature additions go unmentioned
Various editions of FileMaker Pro 13 have gone on sale at Apple's UK online store ahead of an anticipated official announcement. The listings don't make mention of specific feature upgrades, but in screenshots the OS X release appears to have a new "Share" button, while the companion iOS app - FileMaker Go -- has been given a visual overhaul for iOS 7. Still missing is a matching FileMaker Server update.
Apple's future phone takes on the Google phone
Two of the hottest smartphones on the market right now come from two companies that were once close allies, but have been divided by Google's decision to enter into the smartphone market with a very similar product. While Apple may or may not have legitimate grievances about what transpired depending on your view, there can be little question that consumers have benefited as a result of what transpired. While their current respective flagship smartphones offer similar functionality, the Apple iPhone 5s and the Google Nexus 5 are both symbolic of how the two companies differ fundamentally in their approach to winning customers. So which is best?
Allows scaling for different phone, tablet szies
RunRev has released v6.5 of LiveCode, its simplified app development tool for iOS and Android apps. The update primarily adds resolution independence -- meaning that the same app can quickly be rescaled for any screen size, whether on a phone or a tablet. This includes accommodation for displays with high pixel densities, such as the iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
EasyPak 5-volt charger
Uuuuug, so much turkey. So much stuffing. So much delicious gluttony. Take a break from the never-ending piles of food, because it is time to recharge with another installment of our Holiday Giveaway Blitz! We have two EasyPak 5V chargers from Newtrent to give away to our readers. Just in time too -- I didn't think my phone was going to make it through another plate.
Skulls of Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition now ported to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Originally released for Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam, Skulls of Shogun is now available for iOS users. The Bone-A-Fide edition of Skulls features five episodes of single-player content, and 36 multi-player maps, playable over the Internet through the turn-based Skulls Anywhere mode, or pass-and-play with up to four people.
Once again, third-party 'knockoff' charger suspected in death
A 28-year-old man was found dead in Rayong province in Thailand, clutching a burnt iPhone 4S in his hand in another case of electrocution -- though police say that once again the use of a third-party charger is believed to be the source of the electric malfunction. Photos taken at the scene strongly suggest that the charger, which was plugged in while the man was using or lying on the device, was not an Apple-made charger. Two other people, both from China, have died or fallen into a coma from faulty chargers connected to iPhones.
Plaintiffs could not prove any data breach, actual harm
US District Court Judge Lucy Koh -- who just concluded a damages retrial between Apple and Samsung and will preside over the next round in the two companies' ongoing patent battles -- dismissed a consumer protection lawsuit on Wednesday that charged that iOS' "geotracking" data -- discovered in iOS 4 in 2011 to be an unprotected file that could theoretically have been accessed by third parties was deliberately designed to collect personal data without consent.
Giveaway: PureGear Utilitarian case
This week MacNN and Electronista are getting into the holiday spirit, and as such we are going to be giving away a lot of cool prizes from today through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weekend in between. Be sure to check back often to get in on the action. First up, we are giving away three PureGear Utilitarian cases for iPhone 4/4S and 5, or Galaxy S III.
Fifty per cent off Black Friday sale on Garmin's premium navigation apps
Garmin has announced that its premium navigation apps for iOS, Navigon and StreetPilot, will be available at a 50 percent discount on Black Friday. Garmin's premium apps offer a range of features not included in its free app versions, such as being able to store map information locally on the iPhone.
Appalachian Wireless deal valid today only
T-Mobile is planning to cut down payments for the iPhone 5s and 5c to zero on Black Friday, according to a leaked memo. Normally T-Mobile charges $149 for the 5s, and $49 for the 5c. The deal should officially run Friday through Sunday, although a "select number" of stores will reportedly begin discounts on Thursday evening. On Cyber Monday, T-Mobile will adjust down payments to $50 and $10, respectively, before scaling back up to full price.
New iPhones, NTT DoCoMo contributing factors
The iPhone accounted for 76 percent of Japanese smartphone sales during the month of October, according to Kantar World Panel data. Specific reasons for Apple's dominance are unmentioned, but are likely attributable to two factors. The first is the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c on September 20th, since model refreshes always cause a surge in Apple sales. The other, though, is the addition of NTT DoCoMo as a carrier.
Supplier adds more workers to assembly lines
The recent uptick in iPhone 5s supplies is connected to "around the clock" production at Foxconn, and more people being brought onto assembly lines, says the Wall Street Journal. At the supplier's Zhengzhou facilities, 100 lines are said to be operating at all hours for the 5s, with about 600 people per line. "We have been churning out about 500,000 iPhone 5ss everyday, the highest daily output ever," an anonymous Foxconn executive is quoted as saying.
China Mobile 4G network compatible with iPhone 5c, 5s
The Chinese state media outlet, Xinhua News Agency is claiming that Apple's new iPhone releases, the iPhone 5c and 5s, will see release on the country's largest mobile operator, China Mobile, on December 18. The report dovetails with previous claims of the release being on that date.
iOS mirroring still limited to 2014 Civic Coupe
Honda has officially launched Siri Eyes Free integration for a handful of vehicles. These include 2013 and 2014 models of the Honda Accord, and 2013 models of the Acura RDX and ILX. Eyes Free lets people trigger Siri through a button on their steering wheel, instead of having to reach for their iPhone to control functions like texting, music playback, or turn-by-turn navigation; it also shuts off the phone's screen to reduce distractions. To get the feature, car owners must pay for a dealer installation.
GPS Photo Geotag Without Cell Service
Today in the MacNN forums, one Mac Elite was looking for a way to do GPS photo tagging when they don't have cell service. Grizzled Veteran "And.reg" is frustrated about receiving multiple e-mails from Apple telling him how to reset his password, but he hasn't tried resetting it and he wonders if there is a way to stop this from happening.
Fix also deals with spacing issues
Apple has made changes to the App Store search engine in recent weeks that have improved its ability to cope with typos, sources note. Typically this means that using one or two wrong letters will still turn up the proper app. The store is now also able to ignore spaces, for example successfully finding QuizUp if someone searches for "Quiz Up" instead.
Supplies finally catching up to demand
Roughly 90 percent of iPhone 5s models are back in stock at US Apple Stores, according to data collected by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Breaking figures down by carrier, the two biggest US providers -- AT&T and Verizon -- are showing 99 and 98 percent availability, respectively. The ratio shrinks to 72 percent for Sprint; unmentioned are figures for T-Mobile or SIM-free models.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on a refocusable camera system similar to Lytro's camera technology. Apple's concept is based on a microlens adapter, but like Lytro, would let people refocus a photo after it's taken -- something impossible with regular camera optics. The Apple patent in fact cites the work of Lytro founder Ren Ng as prior art, and reports have previously noted that, prior to Lytro going public with its product, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs invited Ng to his home for a demonstration.
Inventor argued that iPhone equalled computer plus phone
An inventor named Richard L. Ditzik has discovered, thanks to a jury, that an iPhone isn't just a computer and a phone slapped together. The inventor, through his company NetAirus Technologies, has sued Apple (though strangely, no other smartphone makers) claiming in a just-decided case that the iPhone 4 violated a patent that described a method for computers to make phone calls through Wi-Fi and cellular networks. A jury, in an unusual majority vote, disagreed that Apple was in violation.
New case waterproof up to 2 meters, MILSPEC 810G rated
Case designer Incipio has announced the launch of the Atlas ID Waterproof Case for the iPhone 5 and 5s. The Atlas ID Case features an intelligent Touch ID interface which is compatible with the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor, and includes a device limited warranty and accompanying registration App. Incipio's Atlas ID Case is waterproof up to two meters (6.56 feet) for 30 minutes, meets US Military Standard 810G for drop protection, water and dust ingress, and has an IP68 ingress protection rating against water and dust.
Custom streaming protocol developed for low latency streaming
Thin. Thin gadgets are in. We blame Steve Jobs. Regardless of the source, thin devices are prevalent and popular in the speaker marketplace, and with them comes generally tinny, lightweight sound. Bluetooth streamers are everywhere, but can introduce a delay in the audio signal, making them unsuitable for some uses. Core Brands' offshoot Korus has a solution -- a plug-and-play wireless audio solution catering to any computer with a USB connection (or an assortment of Apple iOS devices) in the Korus V400 and V600 Wireless Speaker System. Electronista has been headbanging for a month with the pair from Korus -- check to see what we thought about the system!
Cook initiative to sell more iPhones in-house making progress
A new study has revealed the startling statistic that Apple's retail stores are one of the biggest sellers of cell phones outside carrier-direct and carrier-store sales. The Apple Store chain now sells about 11 percent of all cell phones bought in the US, and is responsible for roughly 25 percent of all US iPhone sales. The study, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, puts Apple's retail stores just behind Best Buy (with 13 percent of US cellphone sales).
Tech eliminates need for intermediary streamer
A Danish company, GN ReSound, has collaborated with Apple to develop the first Made for iPhone-certified hearing aid, Reuters says. The LiNX is capable of connecting directly to an iPhone using Bluetooth Low Energy, instead of first connecting to an intermediary "streamer" that bridges Bluetooth devices and regular hearing aids. The LiNX will let people stream music and make phone calls, as with a dedicated Bluetooth headset; a companion iOS app will let people configure device settings.
Full 3D sequel offers classic characters with new heroes and ten playable tales
Nearly 20 years after Final Fantasy IV's release, a full 3D remake sequel has been released for iOS. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years includes classic characters alongside new heroes, such as Ceodore, son of King Cecil and Rosa of Baron. Another moon has appeared in the sky, as well as new destructive monsters that threaten the world.
Samsung's market share continues to decline in Japan
Samsung may sell the most smartphones in the world overall, but the South Korean tech giant is struggling in Japan even as its chief rival, Apple, achieves greater heights. Sunday brought word from The Korea Herald that Samsung's share in the Japanese smartphone market dropped again last quarter, making for four straight quarterly declines. Last quarter, Samsung moved just one million units in Japan, only about one-fourth the total that Apple sold.
New Wren V5BT's 3-inch throw drivers and four layer voice coils produce realistic bass
American audio company, Wren Sound Systems, is now shipping its latest speaker product, the Wren V5BT portable speaker. Powered by Intersil's classic D2 50-watt DSP-controlled class D amplifier, the V5BT is able to deliver room-filling sound in a compact design.
2014 Honda Civic Coupe to support iOS mirroring
The 2014 Civic Coupe will support iOS mirroring when it becomes available on December 4th, Honda has announced. The car has a 7-inch multi-touch display built into the dash, which people will be able to use to control an iOS device without having to use a mount or reach down. Honda adds that promised Siri Eyes Free updates for its vehicles will also be available in early December.