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.
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.
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.
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.
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 NoĂ«l" 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.
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.
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.
MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMacs on sale at B&H, MacMall
Black Friday sales are well under way today, and online retailers promoting Apple products are selling out quickly. Presently, the best Black Friday deals still available at this writing can be found for Mac computers at B&H and MacMall. The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with an i7 Dual-Core 2.9GHz CPU, 8GB RAM and 750GB hard drive is available from B&H for $1,250 (saving $200), and the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with an i5 Dual-Core 2.5GHz CPU, 8GB RM and 128GB hard drive is available for $1,150 from MacMall.
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.
iPod touch available at lowest price from Target
Apple's fifth-generation iPod touch is available at a reduced price for Black Friday this year, with many online retailers competing for the lowest sale price. MacNN has found the best deal currently available is from Target, which sells the device at normal retail price but with a $50 gift card upon purchase, making the unit's net price $180 for the 16GB harddrive capacity, available in black or silver.
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.
Up to $100 off MacBooks, iMacs; $70 off iPad Air, $90 Apple TV
Apple online retailer MacMall has launched its Black Friday sale early, with the company now offering discounts on selected Macs, the iPad Air, non-Retina iPad minis and Apple TV among other items and accessories. The specific discounts could mirror Apple's as-yet-unspecified Friday discounts, and hint that Apple doesn't intend to discount the limited-supply Retina iPad mini or its iPhone line at all this year.
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.
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.
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.
Keynote gets substantial improvements, others get back customizable toolbars
[Updated with additional information] As promised by the company in response to user feedback, updates have been made to Apple's iWork suites of apps for Mac and iOS. Apple has released v2.0.1 updates for the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The iOS versions of, Pages and Numbers have only received minor bugfixes, but the Mac versions gained back a feature removed from the v10 remakes - customizable toolbars. The Mac and iOS version of Keynote also added a series of new transitions and builds.
Tool redesigned for more simplicity
Quark has released a new version of App Studio, a tool for converting InDesign and QuarkXPress layouts into web and mobile apps, including digital newspapers and magazines. The latest release has been redesigned with iOS 7 in mind, for instance incorporating a theming feature that controls colors throughout an app. It also integrates with iOS 7's native sharing functions for Facebook, Twitter, and email.
Allows easier editing of Office documents
Microsoft has released a v4.0 iOS client update for SkyDrive, its cloud storage service. The centerpiece of the update is Camera Backup, which like Dropbox or Google+ can now automatically upload new images saved to a device's Camera Roll. The app has also been given a visual overhaul, bringing it into line with iOS 7.
SnowLizard SLPower 7 portable battery charger
Owning a smart phone or a tablet is great, but having the battery die while on the go is not so great. There are various ways to avoid having this happen -- one of them being a portable battery charger. SnowLizard's SLPower 7 charger provides 7000mAH of power that can be used to simultaneously charge two tablets or smartphones. Electronista has one of these to give away to our readers.
Second major controller release for iOS 7 devices
Following months of leaks, Logitech has officially announced the PowerShell, its first game controller case for the iPhone and iPod touch. Compared with MOGA's new controller the PowerShell has a minimalist number of controls, limited to a direction pad, four face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. Both cases do however incorporate a battery -- in the case of the PowerShell, one rated at 1,500mAh.
Release notes only hint at bugfixes, performance boosts
Apple has begun seeding the first beta of iOS 7.1 to registered developers. Release notes suggest that the update will mainly focus on bugfixes and performance improvements. There are some minor cosmetic differences, such as new text after clearing entries in the Notification Center, and the inclusion of an updated Yahoo logo that first appeared in iOS 7.0.4's Settings app.
software, hardware and OS discussions
This week the MacNN forums have been rather quiet, however there have been some unanswered questions. Yesterday, Grizzled Veteran "jeff k" asked if anyone has used "TypeIt4Me" and wonders if there are any good alternatives. This week, one Mac Elite was asking if it would be better to use DVI or DisplayPort for connecting two 24-inch displays to their Retina MBP.
Includes support for All Access, Radio
Google has released a long-awaited iPhone version of its Play Music app. On a basic level, Play Music lets users listen to up to 20,000 songs uploaded from a desktop or laptop system; the iPhone and Android apps let users cache personal playlists locally for offline playback. By paying $10 per month people can additionally subscribe to All Access, a service with a complete catalog of songs and support for radio stations generated from individual songs, artists, or albums.
Will allow forms to sync from desktop version of Chrome
The iOS version of Chrome will soon be getting Autofill support, Google promises in a new blog post. The feature is already in the Android app, and has long been present in desktop editions of Chrome. Google hasn't said when the iOS app will be updated, but when it is Autofill information will sync automatically with Chrome on other platforms.
Apps adopt look similar to Newsstand redesign
Following long after its iLife and iWork refreshes, Apple has updated the mobile iBooks and iTunes U apps to suit the look of iOS 7. Both apps have jettisoned the skeuomorphism of previous versions in favor of designs similar to the iOS 7 Newsstand. This includes elements like "flat" shelves, although iBooks continues to sport page-turning animations.
New build of iOS sees release across iPads, iPods, iPhones
Apple has released version 7.0.4 of its iOS operating system for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. The update is available through the Settings app, under General --> Software Updates. Apple says the update addresses "bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue that causes FaceTime calls to fail for some users." Apple has also pushed out an update for its Apple TV set-top box.
Supports soundtracks, splicing clips
Google has released a major update of YouTube Capture, its iOS app for recording and uploading video. Version 2.0 is the first to allow complex editing; multiple clips can be spliced together, as well as individually trimmed and rearranged. Soundtracks can be added from a personal music library, or else Capture's own sound collection. While still shooting users can pause and resume recording.
Best Buy, Walmart to offer Apple product promotions
Black Friday, a major US shopping event, offers consumers major sale prices to kick off the Christmas holiday gift buying season. Several retailers that offer Apple products -- such as Walmart and Best Buy -- have begun advertising upcoming deals for iPhones, iPads and MacBook Pros. Best Buy is currently advertising up-front discounts, such as $200 off 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, whereas Walmart is offering gift cards in varying amounts with the purchase of an iPhone, iPad mini and more. Black Friday begins the day after American Thanksgiving, on November 29 this year.
Soundmatters' wireless, 'pocketable' speaker DASH7 now available
Audio accessory maker Soundmatters has announced the availability of its wireless pocket-portable speaker, the Dash7. The new Daah7 is three-quarters of an inch thick, and offers omnidirectional sound in a size that fits in a slim bag or pocket. Featuring extended Bluetooth range, the Dash7 can also be used as a noise-cancelling speakerphone. Available in red, white and black, it can be purchase for $250 through various online retailers, and the Soundmatters website.
Happy 12th Birthday iPod
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Professional Poster "ajprice" started a thread wishing the iPod a Happy Birthday, since it was 12 years ago (on November 10, 2001) that the iPod was first released. Also yesterday, Forum Regular "hab" has been trying to diagnose an Internet connectivity issue that they believe is related to their Mac, so they turned to the forums looking for some advice before taking it to a Genius bar.
Samsung not being substituted
The involvement of GlobalFoundries in production of Apple's A-series chips likely has the company serving as "flex capacity" for Samsung, new sources affirm. Under that arrangement, Samsung is expected to pay for use of GlobalFoundries' Malta plant to boost A-series production when the Samsung facility in Austin, Texas is under strain. Although the Austin factory is dedicated mostly to Apple chips, it also helps produce chips for Samsung's own devices; there are, therefore, times when a second plant might be needed to satisfy dual demands.
Samsung will allegedly help start production
GlobalFoundries is preparing to manufacture Apple A-series processors at its "Fab 8" plant in Malta, New York, a source tells local publication the Times Union. At present, every A-series chip is produced by Samsung at a factory in Austin, Texas. The source indicates that Samsung will help GlobalFoundries get started with the new project, but it's unknown if GlobalFoundries is being contracted by Samsung or directly by Apple.
Apps share similar functions
The new iOS 7 version of iPhoto appears to have stolen icon art from a third-party app, Pic Stitch, users note. The icon for iPhoto's "Web Journal" option (located under the Share menu) appears to be virtually identical to the Pic Stitch app icon except that it's rotated and the colors are swapped. The developer of Pic Stitch, Big Blue Clip, has yet to respond to inquiries.
App remade for iOS 7
Google has released a major update of the Google Drive iOS client, v2.1.0. The app now includes full iOS 7 support, but has also gained several other features. These include support for multiple accounts, letting people access files with separate purposes; a given example is keeping distinct personal and work libraries.
Adds notifications for events, public transit
Google has released a major update of its iOS Search app, v3.1.0. One significant addition is hands-free voice search, activated by saying "OK Google" as on Android devices. With iOS the option requires an iPhone 4S or better; voice searches can still be triggered by tapping a button.
Changes mostly cosmetic
Apple has issued a new version of its Remote app for iOS, 4.0. The release adds support for iTunes 11.1, but more significantly has been given a design overhaul for iOS 7. Changes so far appear mostly cosmetic, including the use of transparencies, new buttons, and an overall "flat" look.
Update timed to coincide with launch of iPad Air
Flipboard has released a new version of its iOS client, 2.1, timed to refresh the app for the launch of the iPad Air. Speed improvements have been made throughout, and the look and feel of the interface has been brought in line with iOS 7. Another significant change is the ability to scale text sizes.
Political divisions continue to impact app
Taiwan's foreign ministry has issued a complaint to Apple about the way the country is characterized in Maps, reports say. In both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Maps lists Taiwan as a province of China. "The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval and hope Apple will make the change," a ministry official states. While many Taiwanese consider themselves independent, the Chinese government considers the country a possession, which in the past has led to political conflict and threats of war. Apple has yet to respond on the matter.
Enables tweets without text
Twitter has released a small update for its iOS client, v5.12. The new version makes two significant additions. When browsing a personal timeline, the app will now display inline previews of Vine videos, photos uploaded to Twitter, and "other select content." This makes it more practical to use only an image for a tweet; to see a photo fullscreen, users just have to tap it. If necessary previews can be disabled via Settings.
Declining PC market, competitive mobile environment hurt margins
Apple had another record-breaking year overall in fiscal 2013, which for the iPhone maker ended on September 30 -- but all was not perfectly rosy in Cupertino. While the company reached new highs in overall revenue -- some $15 billion more than in 2012 -- profits were noticeably down, mostly due to the declining PC market as well as the more-competitive mobile market. Apple made $35 billion in profits on $170.9 billion of income compared to $41.7 billion on $156.5 billion last year.
Company witnesses setbacks in some sectors
In parallel with an official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal Q4 results. The data shows that revenue in the Americas was up just 1 percent year-over-year to $13.941 billion, and even down marginally in Europe, shifting from $8.023 billion to $8.005 billion. Greater China however grew 6 percent to $5.733 billion, and Japan surged 41 percent to $3.341 billion. Offsetting this only slightly was the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, which dipped 6 percent to $1.980 billion. Global retail numbers increased 6 percent to $4.472 billion.
E-mail productivity app Dispatch adds social network sharing, unified inbox
Clean Shaven Apps has released an update for its email client, Dispatch: Action-Based Email. Intended to speed up the process of sorting and responding to email, Dispatch can interact with 26 apps (such as Evernote, web browsers, OmniFocus and more), simplifying workflow. Version 1.3 provides a unified inbox, and new actions such as the integration of Twitter and Facebook sharing, and copying a message and a gmail link to e-mails. Bug fixes are also included in the update, with scrolling issues, inbox glitches and other issues having been corrected. Dispatch: Action-Based Email requires iOS 7, and is available for purchase (priced at $5) on iTunes.
Doesn't impact alarms, actual calendar events
A daylight savings-related bug is creating problems in the iOS 7 Calendar app, users say. This weekend's time shift has reportedly displaced the red "current time" line by an hour. It doesn't affect the scheduling of calendar events however, and general iOS alarms and system times should work properly.
MacBook Pros and iPods
This week at Apple’s online store save on a variety of MacBook Pro and iPod models. Starting at only $999 is the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. A $440 discount is offered on the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage, now $1,059.
Apple TV users see movies disappear completely
(Updated with Amazon disappearance) Some Disney and Pixar movies have been pulled without warning from the US and UK iTunes Stores, accounts say. These include titles like The Lion King and Mater's Tall Tales. The situation is worse in the case of Apple TV owners, who are no longer seeing the titles in their libraries. No refunds have been offered.
Fixes bugs in iMessage, Spotlight, other areas
Apple has quietly issued a minor update to iOS, v7.0.3. The firmware adds two new features, primarily iCloud Keychain, which can be used to sync logins, passwords, and credit card numbers between devices. Also new however is Password Generator, which lets Safari suggest complex password for user accounts.
RingMeMaybe app's disposable phone numbers ideal for dating, Craigslist
Mobile developers yourVirtualSIM has announced the release of its app RingMeMaybe, a program able to generate disposable US phone numbers for iOS devices. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, users can access unlimited numbers for anonymous communication, removing the need to publicly reveal primary phone numbers. Utilizing VoIP technology, anyone requiring temporary numbers -- such as those who may be casually dating, or buying and selling on Craigslist -- can do so for a flat rate of 99 cents per virtual number (the equivalent of '10 credits'). Each number can be generated within seconds, and remains attached to your primary number for one week, but can be extended with the addition of more credits. RingMeMaybe's VoIP feature also provides unlimited calling service for no additional fee. Users receive 20 free credits with their download, equating to two virtual phone numbers. RingMeMaybe is available from the App Store as a free download.
The calm before the storm
This week, the MacNN forums were suspiciously quiet, in what could be the calm before the storm -- as Apple will likely debut a wide range of products next week. Complaints continue to trickle in about alleged problems with iOS7 in the thread titled "iOS 7 is terrible." Forum members go on discussing what is taking up their hard drive space, and how to remedy this problem in the thread titled "YIKES where'd my disk space go?"