Apr 04, 2013 - 1:51 PM - by Maura
iDownload Blog reports today on a new survey from Flurry that looks into time spent by US users on their devices on particular activities. According to the survey, the average US smartphone or tablet user is on their device for two hours and 38 minutes. This breaks down further into over 30 minutes using a mobile browser, and more than two hours per day is spent in apps, such as Facebook. As far as the most-used apps are concerned, Flurry found that, as you might expect, games come out on top, with 32% of time spent by iOS and Android users. Facebook is in second place, with 18% of time spent, meaning that the social network is starting to threaten Safari’s top position as the most popular means of accessing content on the web. As iDownload Blog notes, the reason for Facebook gaining on Safari’s supremacy is because you can use the Facebook app to open web links that might normally be viewed in Safari or another browser.
Source: Flurry: one-third of app time spent on games
Apr 03, 2013 - 2:58 PM - by Maura
The highly credible Jon Gruber at Daring Fireball has posted some very interesting “scuttlebutt,” as he calls it, about iOS 7. After referring to a post on Branch.com that talks about Apple starting iPhone 5S production this quarter as “smart”, Gruber goes on to contribute two “nuggets” of news of his own. Firstly, he says that he has heard that iOS 7 is behind schedule, so much so, in fact, that engineers have been pulled from working on OS X 10.9 so that they can work on iOS 7 and get it back on schedule. Secondly, Gruber says that he has heard that iOS engineers that have “carry privileges” (i.e. actually get to handle and use iPhones with the new iOS 7 installed) have polarizing filters fitted to their iPhone displays that limited the angle at which the displays can be viewed, and thus prevent any prying eyes, or cameras, from getting a peek of the “rather significant system-wide UI overhaul.” iOS 7 will be the first iOS that has been designed with Jony Ive in control, and speaking of this, Gruber seconds Rene Ritchie’s view that, “Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad.”
Source: Daring Fireball
Apr 03, 2013 - 2:08 PM - by Maura
BGR has some fresh news today about Apple’s much-rumoured own-branded HDTV set, courtesy of the usually very well sourced Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, who is currently on a fact-finding trip to China and Taiwan, where he has been speaking with his sources in Apple’s supply chain. According to White, these sources have told him that Apple will be launching the iTV set in the second half of 2013, and, more specifically, they have told him that this new TV set will have a game-changing innovation that will “revolutionize the TV experience forever,” which is pretty exciting stuff to hear!
White is very detailed in his description of the features that his sources have told him to expect in the Apple-branded TV. First off, he says that it will be 60 inches in size, secondly, he says that it will come with a mini device called the “iRing”, which you will wear on your finger, and then use as a pointing device to control the TV, doing away with some aspects of the traditional remote. Thirdly, White’s sources say that the iTV will have a “mini iTV” screen, where you can also view content, as well as using it for other tasks, such as video conferencing, home security, etc. These mini screens will also be able to capture content from the TV over a distance of up to 200 meters, so that you can view your TV programmes in your kitchen, or garden, for example. White also says that Apple’s rumoured iWatch will work in conjunction with the iRing. He ventures that the entire package could cost around $1,500 to $2,500. All sounds very exciting, if true!
Source: Apple iTV Release Date: 2013 Launch, Major Innovation Coming | BGR
Bringing back in the spotlight the fact that Apple is preparing to launch the new iPhone 5S this summer, a new Wall Street Journal report states that the production of the new gadget will start this quarter.
It’s reasonable to assume that if Apple will launch the next generation iPhone in June, the production of the handset will start sometime at the end of this month. This way, the company makes sure that enough smartphones are going to be available, when the time comes.
The iPhone 5S is expected to sport almost the same design in terms of shape and size, as its predecessor, according to sources familiar with the matter.
On top of that, Apple hasn’t abandoned its idea of creating a low cost version of the iPhone aimed at developing countries like China. The Wall Street Journal report mentions that the cheaper iPhone will probably hit the market starting with the second half of the year. As previous information stated, the low cost smartphone will most likely feature a casing made of a cheaper material. Apple has apparently also been developing cases of different colors for the device, but nothing in this sense is known for sure.
Analysts feel that Apple has taken up the project of developing a cheaper iPhone, due to experiencing a lot of competition from Samsung. Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics explained:
"The panacea is to transform the industry with a revolutionary design". Nevertheless "you have to do the traditional business school implementations like manage costs and move quicker than rivals."
Will the low-cost iPhone be the weapon needed to fight Samsung in developing nations?
Apr 02, 2013 - 1:34 PM - by Maura
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has been talking about his recent meeting with an Apple representative, during which he talked about the possibility of building some sort of “kill switch” into future iPhones that would disable the phone at a flick of a switch, or remote trigger, as a deterrent to thieves. According to a report in The Huffington Post, Gascon says that he asked the Apple representative to think about using such technology in future iPhones in a bid to crack down on the black market trade in stolen phones. However, Gascon adds that the meeting turned out to be “very underwhelming,” and he now wants to take his campaign right to the top at Apple, and is, to that end, seeking a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Source: Apple Should Create Stolen iPhone 'Kill Switch,' Says Top City Prosecutor
“Given how nimble our technology companies are and how they can develop so many new features, I strongly believe that [an iPhone kill switch] is a very doable thing,” Gascon told The Huffington Post.
If in a surge of curiosity, you have downloaded a song from iTunes, but ended up hating it, you might want to re-sell it in order to get your money back. It turns out you might be performing illegal activities.
This week, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that users who purchase songs from the iTunes music service are prohibited to resell them. The ruling in question can be considered collateral damage in the Capitol Records – ReDigi trial.
ReDigi is a startup which wants to create a place where music lovers who have abandoned rock in favor of jazz, let’s say, have the possibility of cashing out their previous playlists. This makes sense, since when you buy a CD or a DVD, it’s considered perfectly legal to re-sell it to individuals or in second hand shops.
However, US District Judge Richard Sullivan didn’t see this as a fit argument. He sided with Universal Music Group Capitol Records, explaining that unless the reseller can get the copyright owner’s agreement to resell the media, he is performing an illegal operation. The court ruling said:
“However, here, the Court cannot of its own accord condone the wholesale application of the first sale defense to the digital sphere, particularly when Congress itself has declined to take that step. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Capitol's motion for summary judgment on its claims for ReDigi's direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its distribution and reproduction rights. The Court also DENIES ReDigi's motion in its entirety.”
Tthere might still be hope. Sullivan’s ruling is for the moment a partial one and both companies were ordered to come back on April the 12th to receive further instructions.
We all know that the high-end smartphones like the iPhone cost a lot of money. Thieves especially are well aware of that. The number of expensive gadgets being stolen has been on the rise recently, as more and more consumers purchase such apparel.
In San Francisco alone, the iPhone accounts for more than half of the devices reported as stolen. Therefore, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón met with smartphone makers and carriers alike in an attempt to find a solution to the situation. Even if the purpose was noble, coming up with a battle plan wasn’t about to be easy as Gascón discovered. He humorously stated that his talk with Apple’s government connection Michael Foulkes let nowhere:
“He did most of the talking. It was incredible. He would just go on and on, one subject to the next. It was hard to follow. It was almost like someone who’s been trained in the art of doing a lot of talking and saying nothing."
The discussions, however, revealed something interesting nevertheless, so Gascón’s suffering wasn’t all in vain. For example, Foulkes said that Apple has already the blueprints for the next two generation of iPhone and that those iPhones were designed before Steve Job’s death.
Foulkes also explained that Apple was researching an anti-theft device, something like a “kill switch” kind of system, so if the phone gets stolen, relevant parties are immediately notified.
In the aftermath of the discussions, no plan has been made yet and Gascón feels that Apple is not really interested in iPhone thefts because overall "there's just too much being made on stolen phones."
After the famous trial, when Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages, everybody thought that the story has finally reached an end. But Judge Lucy Koh surprised everyone when she ordered a new trial to reevaluate the real amount of money that the Korean giant should pay for patent infringement.
At the time, the new trial was interpreted by the media as a victory for Samsung, leaving room for speculation that Samsung might not pay the whole amount. Important publications frantically wrote:
"Apple had a major setback in its ongoing mobile patents battle with Samsung Electronics on Friday, as a federal judge slashed a $1.05 billion jury award by more than 40 percent" (Reuters)
"A federal judge on Friday weakened the blow from Apple's legal victory" (New York Times)
"The ruling is a setback for Apple" (Wall Street Journal)
But things are apparently not so straight forward as the media has originally painted it. As a matter of fact, everything seems to be all a big misunderstanding: Samsung might end up owing more to Apple than expected. FOSS Patent’s Florian Muller explained:
"The second damages trial over the 14 products, could result in a figure that is lower or higher than (or, theoretically but unlikely, identical to) the one reached by the jury in August."
In a later statement, Samsung lawyers agreed. The new trial could do only damage. Apparently, the disinformation occurred due to the failure of analyzing the court statement in depth. The word “stricken” is very important in the discussion, since in the official order text it is supposed to be understood as “vacated”. However, should such an important document leave room for interpretation?
Recently, rumors that talked about Apple releasing an iPhone with a larger screen size, sometimes dubbed the iPhone Plus, have been appearing around the Internet. But how do we reconcile this information with the knowledge that the tech giant is going to launch the iPhone 5S in a couple of months. This smartphone will feature the same Retina Display we’ve seen in the iPhone 5.
An iPhone with a larger display would certainly have to feature a more advanced resolution – a HD Retina Display – in order for the effect of fragmentation to be avoided. And there are some rumors hinting towards the fact that Apple is indeed performing tests on such a technology.
Competitors like Samsung have lately released ground breaking products, viewed from the resolution department and not only – like the Samsung Galaxy S4 which features a 1080P HD display. Here might lie the key to understanding Apple’s efforts – the company is trying to come up with a battle plan to counteract the popularity such smartphones might gain.
Where would Apple start looking if it was planning a HD Retina Display? The CES 2013 proved that the tech giant has some options available. The most obvious is the Retina+ Sharp IGZO display. In Barcelona, techies present at the event were shown a 5-inch smartphone with a Sharp IGZO screen boasting a 720P HD resolution.
If Apple decides to introduce the Retina HD, there’s a possibility that two versions of the smartphone will become available on the market at the same time – the normal sized one and the Retina HD. So Apple doesn’t risk losing customers who like to keep their gadgets smaller.
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:06 AM - by Maura
The Runaway adventure game series is incredibly popular with fans of the genre, so it’s great to see that Bulkypix has just released an iOS version of the award-winning Runaway: A Twist of Fate. The darkly humorous adventure boasts graphics worthy of an animated movie, as well as dozens of charismatic characters, 200 riddles and puzzles, and a variety of colourful environments. The plot in this latest instalment sees Brian faking his own death in order to escape his sentence for allegedly murdering Colonel Kordsmeier. Gina’s back too, joining Brian as he attempts to prove his innocence. And talking of Gina, Bulkypix says that in a first for a Runaway game, the adventure will feature more balanced gameplay, with players getting to play some of the time as Gina, and some of the time as Brian.
Here are some of the game’s main features, courtesy of Bulkypix:
If you’re a fan of similar adventure games such as Broken Sword, then don’t hesitate to try this. As ever, it’s great to see how point-and-click adventure games are thriving on the iOS platform.
- A rich plot, hilarious dialogue and stellar graphics make Runaway: A Twist of Fate an adventure game for the ages
- Visit close to 100 exceptionally stylized sets, each with unequalled detail
- Tons of charismatic 3D characters which blend perfectly with the game’s 2D backgrounds.
- An innovative, user-friendly help system
- The app is divided in two parts because of its size
Click here to download the game for $4.99: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/runa...608379750?mt=8
Mar 29, 2013 - 10:36 AM - by Maura
A true classic RPG has just arrived in the App Store, with Square Enix bringing Final Fantasy V to iOS! Yes, 20 years after the game was originally released in Japan, the classic RPG is finally here for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The epic storyline features four heroes brought together by fate: Bartz and his Chocobo companion (you can never have enough Chocobos or Moogles on iOS, if you ask me!), Princess Lenna of Castle Tycoon, the mysterious Galuf, and pirate captain Faris. Join them on their adventure to prevent disaster, as the crystals that bring peace and prosperity to the world— earth, water, fire, and wind—have lost their power. And it looks like this latest version of the classic game is in safe hands, as veteran character designer Kazuko Shibuya is responsible for recreating the characters and graphics.
You can also now customise characters with more freedom than ever before, using the Job and Ability System, which includes the additional Gladiator, Cannoneer, Oracle and Necromancer jobs. The touch-screen controls and active-time battle system have both been optimised for fluid combat on your iOS devices, and this new version of the game also includes “The Sealed Temple” from the 2006 version, as well as the Tetsuya Nomura-designed optional boss, Enuo. It’s already getting great reviews from the fans in the App Store, so it looks like Square Enix has done another great job!
Click here to download for £10.99/€14.99$15.99: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fina...609577016?mt=8
Source: Square Enix
After medical researchers have managed to turn an iPhone into a microscope, another team of scientists have managed to turn the seemingly all-purpose Apple smartphone into a hearing aid.
The team, working at the University of Essex, has created a special iPhone/iPod app that might prove to revolutionize the hearing aid equipment. Why is that? Because most hearing aids concentrate in amplifying the sound, but this particular app is much more advanced than that. The application has been dubbed BioAid and its most important feature is that it takes into account the inner biology of the human ear and its overall complexity. The app features 6 different settings that can be used by patients depending on their condition.
Professor Ray Meddis, in charge of the research, explains:
“Sounds are a complicated mixture of different frequencies and hearing loss is usually a loss of sensitivity to some but not all frequencies. Standard hearing aids amplify some frequencies more than others but BioAid is different because it also compresses the very loud sounds that can make social situations like going to the pub, cinema or a birthday party intolerable.”
BioMed features a microphone that picks up the noises from the environment, which are then sent for cataloguing into different frequency bands. Based on the patient’s condition, the bands are then recombined and mixed in order to provide the final frequency band that gets passed on in the ear plug.
But why choose the iPhone as a platform, one might wonder. Well, the medical team behind the invention seems to feel that mobile platforms overall are a great way to quickly bring the newly created hearing technology to the public.
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