Mujjo releases Understated, Low Key sleeve collections for iPhone 5s and iPad
Tech accessory producer, Mujjo, has announced the release of its two new sleeve collections - Low-key and Understated - for iPhone 5s, iPad mini and iPad Air. Composed of vegetable-tanned leather, the Low-key collection features a matte black finish, and the Understated collection a tan colour. The sleeves' leather is treated with aniline oil for color enrichment, and the vegetable tanning process creates a dense and compact product. Both collections feature a combination of leather and felt, each with and angle-cut exterior pocket for additional items. The Low-key and Understated collections are now available for purchase online through Mujjo.
Case shrinks dramatically as Apple, Samsung agree to avoid SEP disputes
The second patent trial between Apple and Samsung, scheduled to start on March 31, took a dramatic turn late on Friday as the two companies filed a stipulation with the court dropping some of the claims and counter-claims to be debated in the second trial. Samsung, perhaps fearing further investigations over its improper use of standards-essential patents (SEPs) as legal weapons and bargaining tools, has agreed to drop all SEP claims from the case, leaving it with only two claims on two patents, down from its original five.
Suggests higher prices may not equal quality
When Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover first came out, it caused something of a minor stir in the iPad world. It was the very first keyboard cover, solving a problem many people probably didn't realize they had: finding a Bluetooth keyboard that's more convenient than a separate unit, but less bulky than a full-on keyboard case. The one major issue -- apart from having to find your own protection for an iPad's rear shell -- was price. Even now, the Ultrathin is $100, which isn't far off from the cost of a keyboard folio. Anker's TC930 attempts to duplicate much of the Ultrathin for a cheaper price, while simultaneously putting its own spin on things.
Retailer ups smartphone trade-in credit by $50 for new iPhone buyers
Beginning on Sunday, the US branch of Target will run another trade-in promotion for iPad 2 owners. People who bring in a used iPad 2 will be awarded a gift card worth at least $150. Although that credit can only be used at Target, the company is also offering an extra $30 card if a person buys a new iPad. $150 is generally higher than most specialized third-party trade-in services offer. The promotion ends March 15th.
ProtectCell report highlights iPhone, iPad desirability; tablet thefts rising
Third-party insurance firm ProtectCell has issued a report based on its two million policies with various mobile device owners, saying that while iPhone users are 46 percent less likely than other platform smartphone owners to need a replacement device due to accidental damage, they are 65 percent more likely to have their device get stolen or go missing than other groups.
Users move to 7.0.6 quickly to avoid threat of SSL and VPN-based attack
Following the discovery of a dormant but serious flaw in iOS 6 and iOS 7's handling of VPN and SSL security and the release of a patch by Apple to handle the issue, advertising and content-presentation company Onswipe estimates that more than 50 percent of the entire iOS userbase has already moved to iOS 7.0.6 as of March 3, under two weeks since the update became available. The transition has set a record for the fastest in iOS history.
App visible in US, but downloads may be broken
[Updated: US version of the app now downloading normally] Apple appears to have released an updated iTunes Festival app, v5.0, with content support for next week's SXSW concerts in Austin, Texas. So far, though, mostly people outside the US have successfully downloaded the software; Americans trying to download it via iTunes are encountering errors saying the app is "unavailable." Likewise, the title doesn't appear in US App Store searches.
Changes could be wedged into iOS 7.1
Apple is "scrambling" to make changes to the way in-app purchases work ahead of an FTC deadline, a source tells ZDNet. As a part of its $32.5 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, Apple must fix flaws in the App Store that have allowed people -- mostly children -- to inadvertently rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in iTunes charges. The deadline for those changes is just a few weeks from now, March 31st.
Breaks down another distinction of iAd
Beginning sometime this year, companies advertising via iAd will be able to use fullscreen, auto-playing interstitial video ads on the iPhone/iPod touch as well as the iPad, according to Advertising Age sources. At the moment, a person has to tap an iAd banner to get a video to play. As interstitials the videos will likely play after certain in-app actions have finished, such as reading an article or finishing a game level.
Brings CNN content into Flipboard
iOS- and Android-based news reader service Flipboard has bought its main rival Zite from CNN, the company and reports have confirmed. The deal is worth about $60 million, and beginning today has allowed Flipboard to integrate tailored CNN content into its news feeds, including not just general news but feeds from shows like Anderson Cooper 360, Crossfire, and Inside Politics. Some celebrities from the network, like Jake Tapper and Fareed Zakaria, are launching their own Flipboard magazines.
Secure a new Mac Pro with the $49 Switchd MacPro Lock
A new security solution for the latest Mac Pro has been announced from a company called Identified Media, which is taking pre-orders now for a new locking alteration referred to as the Switchd Mac Pro Lock. The lock is expected to ship next month, using a replacement part for the existing case lock switch on the 2013 Mac Pro that creates an opening for a standard cable lock. The pre-order price is $49, and emails are being accepted for notification about when the product debuts.
App will allegedly require iOS update
A public release of iOS 7.1 may be imminent, says John Gruber. The tech commentator says he's learned that the app Apple will use to stream iTunes Festival SXSW will require v7.1. Since the festival starts next week, that means that v7.1 would have to be ready in a matter of days.
Apple still most successful individual tablet maker
Android ruled global tablet marketshare in 2013, accounting for 62 percent of devices by shipments, according to somewhat questionable data from research firm Gartner. That represents a significant upset, since in 2012 the iPad was in firm control with a 52.8 percent share. Apple, however, continued to do best among individual tablet makers in sales, with a 36 percent share and claimed sales over 70.4 million units -- an increase from a figure just under 61.5 million in 2012.
Europe asks for safeguards to prevent accidental purchases
Apple and Google will soon be meeting with the European Commission to talk about problems with in-app purchases, according to a press release from the political body. The two companies will be asked to provide measures to protect customers, primarily parents, from accidental in-app purchases. A number of game developers publishing to the iOS App Store or Google Play have been accused of marketing "free" games that lure and/or deceive kids into buying digital items and currency; Apple and Google have sometimes been blamed as lax about putting up barriers to those purchases.
Ruling claims Apple's non-SEP lawsuits amount to 'first shot fired'
In a judgement that has bewildered international patent and legal analysts, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has rejected Apple's complaint against Samsung that the latter was using FRAND-pledged standards-essential patents (SEPs) for bargaining leverage and as threat of litigation in order to strike unjust licensing deals. The Korean FTC has essentially said that suing or seeking product injunctions over SEPs is perfectly okay -- if your company is based in South Korea.
Critical SSL security fix will be on majority of devices by next week
[Updated with more recent statistics from Chitika] One of Apple's biggest advantages over other mobile platforms is its ability to update its OS quickly, and more crucially -- particularly in the case of the rare security issue -- to deploy the update across all compatible devices rapidly, rather than have to wait weeks or months for carriers and partners to incorporate their own apps and other processes and "skins" into the fix. Updted stats from mobile ad analysts Chitika show that more than 25.9 percent of all North American iDevices were already running the latest version within four days of its release.
GrooveMaker 2 released by IK Multimedia
IK Multimedia has announced the release of its mobile loop based music-making app, GrooveMaker 2. Designed for iPad, the app offers users the ability to create professional quality grooves, beats and songs in real time. Its library features over 3,600 available loops and over 60 collections of music genres, including House, DubStep, Hip Hop, Techno, Reggae and more. GrooveMaker 2 can be utilized as a live DJ performance tool as well as a mobile composition app. Users can set the length of individual loops and grooves down to 1/4 of a bar, providing flexibility when building and layering a track.
Jury snubs Samsung, Microsoft, others; iPhone 5s passed over for best smartphone
Despite not having a presence at the massive Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, Apple nonetheless scored a win in the Global Mobile Awards, awarded by the governing body of the MWC convention, the GMS (Groupe Speciale Mobile) Association. The iPad Air won for "best mobile tablet," ignoring its various competitors and latest entries from Microsoft, Samsung, LG and others. The HTC One was awarded "best smartphone."
Even patched versions of iOS 6, 7 are exposed, firm says
A vulnerability in iOS could allow remote hackers to log every keyboard and button press a person makes, says security firm FireEye. The exploit is only theoretical -- and would require a compromised app to somehow make it through the App Store review process -- but is said to have been tested and could potentially expose both software and hardware interactions. This includes Touch ID unlocks, although not the actual fingerprint data involved.
Allows streaming movies purchased elsewhere for free
Disney has launched a new iOS app, Movies Anywhere, with unusual hooks into the iTunes Store. The app lets people access Disney, Pixar, and Marvel videos from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The iTunes integration means, however, that it can stream or download videos already bought through the iTunes Store; each movie page also includes links for a preview and buying a movie via iTunes. The app can further be used to redeem digital copies included with Blu-ray and DVD versions of releases.
Grovemade introduces walnut and maple cases for iPhone and iPad, iPhone docks
Accessories designer Grovemade has introduced new walnut and maple wood cases for iPhone and iPad today, as well as wooden iPhone docks. Each wooden iPhone case is milled from a solid block, and features a reinforced interior for durability. Cases for iPad Air and Mini feature three standing positions for reading, typing and viewing content, and Grovemade's iPhone Dock combines a wooden top with a solid three pound steel base for sturdy, one-handed operating. Walnut and maple cases and docks retail at $100.
Cross-device access costs $10 per month
As predicted, access to the WWE Network has launched on the Apple TV, as well as other iOS devices via the WWE app. Subscription signups are handled through iTunes or the WWE website, and cost $10 per month plus tax. Buyers can purchase time in six-month blocks for $60.
Includes unusual iPhone mount
Accessory maker Mad Catz has announced the C.T.R.L.i, a new wireless gamepad for iOS devices. The controller connects via Bluetooth, and works with any device capable of running iOS 7. It comes with a spring-loaded mount, however, specially tailored to hold an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c at a convenient viewing angle.
Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iPad and more
Looking for a deal on a new Mac Pro can be tough, but Adorama is offering great discounts to VIP members, which requires signing up for a free account. Save $100 off the MSRP on a current-generation Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel Quad-Core Xeon E5 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe-based flash storage. It carries a list price of $4,399, but is reduced to $4,299 with free US shipping. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
iOS 7 update deals with SSL connection problems
Apple has released a pair of new iOS updates, iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6. Release notes indicate that the former deals with a problem in "SSL connection verification." 6.1.6, meanwhile, eliminates several bugs experienced by iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch users.
Design held back by critical mistake
We've likely all had to cope with something -- a product, a person, a place -- that was almost perfect, but shot down by some critical flaw. I imagine that for many people, Chil's updated Notchbook case for the iPad Air may fit into the same category. In our review we'll see if the Notchbook might still be worth a go, since it gets so many things right, and offers a few features other cases miss.
Supporting regions still under a dozen
Apple has brought its two-step verification process to several more countries, the company's support pages show. Until today, only the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand were supported. Now however the list also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
iOS' first wide-release third-party keyboard
Developer Fleksy has released the completed SDK for its iOS keyboard, following up on an original announcement in December. Although it can't replace iOS' own system-wide keyboard, owing to limitations from Apple, the Fleksy code can be integrated into third-party apps, and offers advanced options like prediction, gesture commands, and different color themes. Adding the app to a keyboard requires minimal work on the part of developers, but users must have the Fleksy app installed, which carries over settings and dictionaries between apps.
Bought up 'entire three-year supply' of 4.5-inch super-tough material
Ubuntu developer Canonical has told investors and analysts in a conference call that part of the reason it had been unable to produce a planned 4.5-inch smartphone running the Linux-based OS was because (in addition to financial issues) Apple had "scooped up" the entire three-year supply" of sapphire screens the company had planned to use. While not a confirmation that Apple plans to create a 4.5-inch display in a future iPhone, the quote seems to reaffirm that Apple is planning to incorporate the practically-unscratchable material in its future products.
Mountaineers show iPad's uses as GPS tool, documentary device
Apple's dedicated "Your Verse" iPad mini-site added a new story on Tuesday, talking with mountaineers Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger about their use of the iPad in their profession. In addition to the tablet leveraging the power of GPS, the two also use it for social media and documentation of their climbs. The iPad helps them figure out where to camp, the best route to take, take photos and videos, and allows the pair to blog and stay in contact. By enabling them to proceed with greater safety, the pair have been able to explore places they otherwise wouldn't have attempted.
future Mac hardware
Today in the MacNN Forums, Moderator "P" started a conversation about what the future of Mac computers will look like, citing an array of recent announcements from hardware manufacturers such as Intel and Nvidia. In the thread titled ""Spilt water on my MacBook when on, am I doomed?"0, one Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the forums looking for advice while in a panic after spilling a glass of water on their MacBook.
128GB iPad 4 for only $650
For the next six days, Groupon has the 128GB iPad 4 with Retina Display on sale for $650. That's 30 percent off the list price of $929, and it is $79 less than the price Apple charges for a refurbished model. It features a 9.7-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048x1536, dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics, 5MP iSight camera, and it has a built-in battery that lasts for up to 10 hours on a single charge. It comes with iOS 6 pre-installed, but is eligible for the iOS 7 upgrade. Included is a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Changes won't affect most of the public
iOS 7.1 should ship "around March 15," and incorporate an overhaul of Apple's existing mobile device management (MDM) platform, a source tells AppleInsider. The company is said to be working with several MDM vendors and institutional clients on the overhaul. It has already launched a new Volume Services website, which is reportedly still in testing but includes options like "Automate MDM Enrollment" and "Buy Apps and Books in Volume." The new tools are expected to go live around the same time as iOS 7.1.
Company said to be suffering from low production yields
(Updated with LTE chipset claims) Apple has dropped Samsung as a manufacturer of the A8 processor in 2014, a TechNews Taiwan report claims. Samsung is said to be having trouble manufacturing the chip using its 20nm process. TSMC, though, is allegedly capable of meeting Apple demands, and is predicted to take on all A8 production this year.
May beat touch-oriented Office interface to market
Microsoft's long-delayed Office for iPad may actually arrive sooner than people are anticipating, sources suggest. In October, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer indicated that the iPad software wouldn't arrive until after a touch-oriented version of Office -- allegedly codenamed "Gemini" -- was launched for Windows. Toward the end of 2013, though, Ballmer and other executives are said to have changed their minds, and approved a recommendation from the Office team that the iPad suite -- codenamed "Miramar" -- go to market as soon as it's ready, even though that might mean eclipsing the Windows release.
Customizable luxury case for iPad Air
Shortly after the original iPad launched in 2010, one of the first cases on the scene was the DODOcase -- a luxury folio made using bamboo and traditional bookbinding techniques. That product set the stage for an influx of imitators, some better, some worse. One of the companies that joined the crowd was Pad & Quill, perhaps best known for its Contega series. Now, though, it has a new, slightly cheaper Author Series case available for the iPad Air. We'll put it through the ringer to see how well it holds up.
Newer iPads overwhelming sales of old model
Apple has decided to start ramping down production of the iPad 2, sources tell AppleInsider. The shift is attributed to sales skewing overwhelmingly towards the iPad Air and iPad mini. It's not clear when iPad 2 production might stop, but that will presumably happen sometime before October or November, when Apple is typically expected to refresh the iPad lineup.
iPhones account for vast majority of devices
iOS devices represented some 73 percent of all enterprise mobile device activations during the December quarter, a new Good Technology report claims. The data (PDF) comes from customers of the company's Good Dynamics Secure Mobility Platform, but includes a number of Fortune 500 companies spread across different sectors. Good notes that it saw overall activations grow 34 percent between Q1 and Q4.
Whole Foods become second large-scale customer of Square
Natural foods grocery chain Whole Foods has plans to integrate Square's iPad cash registers into its stores, with a few of its locations already implementing the devices. Whole Foods has signed a deal to put Square's iPad-based payment systems inside US grocery locations, where they will be used at counters that sell ready-to-consume products, such as pizza, sandwiches, and beverages, for the purpose of supplementing conventional checkouts. Customers will be able to pay for 'quick purchases' at the cash register with credit and debit cards, cash, and the Square Wallet smartphone app (in some locations). Whole Foods is the second major company to adopt Square's payment system.
Assistive communication app leads the pack
Hovering on the edge of awareness for most iOS users exists a class of apps that I hope you never have to use, or even see. I'm talking about assistive communication applications for the iPad and other tablets -- used to help people unable to speak from injury, disease, or other reasons. One of the leaders of the pack (and the first to market a few years ago) is AssistiveWare's Proloquo2Go, an application designed for easy customization for end-users to be given a voice, some for the first time in their lives.
Glitch devastating some developers
iOS 7.1 beta 5 appears to solve a problem that can kill all location tracking on a device, according to VentureBeat. In iOS 7.0.x, force-quitting an app that uses location services can also disable all location-aware functions, which were previously able to run in the background. This is said to be crippling some developers of location-based apps, such as Life360, which in the switch to iOS 7 saw drops in its userbase ranging from 30 to 50 percent.
Have I Been Hacked? Am I A Robot Now?
In the MacNN forums today, one paranoid Mac Enthusiast was asking other members if he had been hacked after having strange connectivity problems over the past few weeks. Also today, one Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the forums after their company switched from Blackberrys to iPhones, and now they are having trouble sending mail through the SMTP servers.
Executive may have been key to iPad growth
Rita Lane -- Apple's VP of operations for the iPad, Mac desktops, and Mac accessories -- has retired from the company, according to a LinkedIn profile update. Lane was specifically responsible for handling supply chain and manufacturing issues. As a result she may have been critical to the success of the iPad, since the company has had to overcome a number of manufacturing obstacles to meet demand for the tablet. Only since late 2012 has the company had relative ease in satisfying demand, and then not for all models.
Canada, UK, New Zealand rumored to be coming soon
iTunes Radio is now available to people in Australia, Apple has announced. There the service is functionally identical to its American sibling, in that it's primarily supported by advertising, but free to people who have an iTunes Match subscription. To listen, people need a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes, an Apple TV, or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
SpiShutter for MacBooks released, protects webcam privacy
Web camera privacy accessory SpiShutter has been released for Mac laptops, offering an always-available physical barrier to block the built-in camera on a Macbook Pro or MacBook Air laptop. Consisting of an opening in the center of the strip that lets its user enable the webcam by sliding the strip left or right, the SpiShutter then blocks the camera physically when not in use. SpiShutter can remain on the laptop when closed, and is coated with low-friction powder to prevent the screen from scratches. Priced at $20, SpiShutter is available in black, silver and yellow through Amazon.
DOJ shut down inquiry, claiming that Presidential embargo veto sufficient
Following the ITC-ordered embargo of Apple products and subsequent Presidential veto, the US Justice Department commenced an investigation of Samsung, and its use of standards-essential patents (SEPs) as a legal weapon. Declining any action, the Department of Justice is closing the investigation, but noted that Samsung was guilty of abusing SEPs legally, and that it would keep monitoring patent lawsuits filed by the Korean electronics manufacturer.
Calendar, general interface tweaks only visible changes
As rumored earlier, iOS 7.1 will indeed not reach the public until March, new sources say. The people add that the update will also lack any "secret features," meaning items which Apple sometimes conceals from betas so it can make a splash when the software is finished. Instead the update is expected to concentrate only on the sort of things that have been seen so far, such as improved Phone and Calendar apps, speed boosts, and bugfixes.
Retina, non-Retina iPad minis close in shipments
Apple appears to have ordered somewhere over 30 million iPad display panels during the holiday quarter that ended in December, according to new research data by WitsView. The company only sold 27 million iPads to the public, suggesting that remaining quantities -- actually closer to 4 million -- went into channel inventory. The bulk of the panels, 17 million, are believed to have gone towards building 9.7-inch iPads. WitsView doesn't distinguish between iPad Air and iPad 2 panels, but the latter are likely marginal.
Could result in cheaper add-ons
In January, Apple quietly scaled back the licensing fees it charges companies wanting to make Lightning and/or Made-for-i accessories, reports say. To what extent the fees have been reduced hasn't been made public. The change could, however, potentially reduce the cost of accessories to the public and/or encourage development of more products.
Exploit blocked in iOS 7.1
A newly-discovered hack lets people disable Find My iPhone without first entering a password. Shown in a YouTube video (below), the exploit requires only making a few simple changes to a device's iCloud account. It's confirmed to work on iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.0.4, although it appears to be blocked in iOS 7.1, which is still in beta.