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.
Agreement with Apple requires $28 million in marketing as well
After not carrying the iPhone for nearly four years because of a dispute about sales guarantees, Russia's second-largest carrier Megafon signed a new deal with Apple late last year to return to selling the popular smartphone. The new deal requires the carrier to buy at least 750,000 iPhones over the course of three years, and spend at least $28 million in marketing the smartphone. While not a high number compared to the US, the figure was called "reasonable" by Russian financial analysts.
Report confirms speculation that 5s outselling 5c by 3:1
A new report from mobile ad analysis firm Mixpanel has reinforced some speculation about the iPhone 5s, even as it has dispelled other rumors about the iPhone 5c. In its latest report, the company says that the iPhone 5s is set to top the popular iPhone 4s in user share, with the newer model currently accounting for about 19 percent of all active iPhones.
iPhone still most popular device
Apple grew its share among US smartphone owners during the last quarter to 41.6 percent, according to new comScore data. Data polled between October and January shows that Apple advanced 1 percentage point. The company's main rival, Samsung, grew ownership by 1.3 points, but remained firmly in second place at 26.7 percent. LG's share rose just 0.3 points to 6.9 percent, presumably on the back of the G2 and the Google-branded Nexus 5.
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.
Main barrier may be Apple approval
CarPlay support is fairly easy to implement for apps, suggests Brian Lakamp, Clear Channel's president of Digital. iHeartRadio -- an app that streams Clear Channel stations -- is one of the few third-party offerings currently supported by CarPlay. "Apple is pretty selective about how they disclose information," Lakamp says about how his company gained a toehold. "Apple made us aware of the opportunity. We were enthusiastic to participate and then worked closely with them to build the demo that they just demoed in Geneva." The iHeartRadio team was given early access to the private CarPlay API.
Wello smartphone case tracks blood pressure, ECG, heart rate
Azoi has entered the health tracker market, by announcing a fitness-tracking smartphone cover that works with both iOS and Android devices. Wello contains a number of sensors on the side and back that take a snapshot of the user's vital signs after a few seconds of being held, with the results transferred wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.0 LE and recorded in a companion app.
May alleviate problem of limited CarPlay support
Mercedes-Benz is working on an aftermarket installation option for older cars without Apple's CarPlay, the company has confirmed. While the technology will be present in the 2014 C-Class, even people with older C-Class models won't have access to the technology at first. Mercedes will only say that it's developing "an after-market solution for previous cars," leaving pricing and other details unknown.
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.
Repackaged iPhone doing poorly next to iPhone 5s
Due to poor sales, unsold inventory of the iPhone 5c has amassed to more than three million units, anonymous Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. Production of the phone is said to have been cut completely towards the end of 2013. Regardless, manufacturer Pegatron allegedly is said to have two million or so units in stock, with the remaining phones being held by carriers and distributors.
Wal-Mart offering 5c for $29, 5s for $119 with two-year contract
Walmart has reduced prices significantly on the Samsung Galaxy S4 for users signing two-year contracts with AT&T or Verizon. The Galaxy S4 has been reduced to $49, down from $99. A 16GB iPhone 5s has also been reduced to $119, with the iPhone 5c seeing a cut to $29. Additionally, consumers purchasing a Samsung phone with a two-year contract will be given a $50 Walmart gift card.
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.
Manufacturer allegedly has 'most' orders for logic/power chips
Taiwanese supplier TSMC has already begun manufacturing chips for the next iPhone, claims supply chain sources for a local publication, the Commercial Times. The company is said to have won "most" of the orders for logic and power management chips in the new device. The exact nature of the chips is left vague by the Times, but a Taiwanese website, TechNews, is claiming that TSMC will become the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's upcoming A8 processor.
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.
Tonewood Products introduces iPhone cases made from premium wood
Tonewood Products has introduced a new line of iPhone cases. Built from guitar tonewoods such as maple, mahogany and rosewood, the company's wood-grain holders protect the phone while recreating the aesthetic of an acoustic guitar. Available for iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s, the cases feature wooden volume and power buttons. Tonewood's phone case pricing begins at $80.
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.
Touch ID fix on the way
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss problems with Touch ID, and to many users' delight, Apple has announced that there is an iOS update in the works to fix the issue. Yesterday Grizzled Veteran "And.reg" turned to the forums looking for a reason why iTunes 7 is not showing any radio stations on a Powerbook G4 that they recently picked up.
Pandora support could come down the road
As it stands, Apple's CarPlay doesn't currently support Pandora, according to an official statement. When CarPlay was announced on Monday, Apple initially highlighted just Spotify, Beats Radio, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and its own Podcasts and iTunes Radio as compatible music/podcast-themed apps. "At this time, Pandora is not integrated with Apple CarPlay," the Pandora statement reads. "As a first mover in the auto space, we continue to broaden our relationships with OEMs while also exploring other opportunities to expand our presence in the car. Apple has been and continues to be a valued partner."
Could be playground for new campaign, effort to capture youth demographic
The advertising agency behind many of Apple's campaigns appears to have launched an official iPhone 5c Tumblr page, using the multi-media blogging space to showcase and promote the colors of Apple's iPhone 5c, called "ISee5c." While the junior of Apple's two current top phones is actually doing better than the iPhone 5 did at the same point in its history, reports have claimed that the fashionable phone is losing ground to the more advanced iPhone 5s.
Carmaker to also offer Android, existing in-car options
Following in the same steps as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz has published a series of photos (below) showing how CarPlay integration will look in future vehicles. The company is due to show off a new C-Class with CarPlay support at this week's Geneva Motor Show. Significantly, though, Mercedes says it will continue to offer non-Apple alternatives.
Tech to be supported in Volvo vehicles with Scalable Product Architecture
Carmaker Volvo has published a new promotional video (below), demonstrating how Apple's CarPlay will be integrated into its future car models. Seven apps are shown, including Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, Now Playing, Podcasts, and Spotify. In related press material Volvo notes that integration will be reserved for vehicles supporting its new Scalable Product Architecture, beginning with the XC90 SUV.
Canadian expansion still in the wings
The iPhone Reuse and Recycle program has been extended into France, Apple has confirmed. The program lets people trade in an older iPhone towards the purchase of a new one. It debuted in the US last year, and has since spread to the UK and (in modified form) India. French iPhone owners are promised "up to €215" ($296) for trade-ins.
HTC allegedly among poaching targets
Apple has been hiring "hundreds" of new engineers and supply chain managers in China and Taiwan, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. In particular the company is said to be building up teams in Shanghai and Taipei to accelerate product development and ship a wider range of devices. The supply managers may be at least partly meant to cope with allegations of labor and safety abuses at supplier factories.
Apple rolls out CarPlay, brings iPhones to cars with official interface
Apple has announced CarPlay, its automotive interface for iPhones running iOS 7 or later. "CarPlay" is the new official product name for its previously-announced 'iOS in the Car' initiative. Apple is touting CarPlay as a "smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car." CarPlay will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show this week, with debuts from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
Messaging app focusing on own network, shirks Facebook Chat, AIM, Google Talk, more
To the surprise and disappointment of most of its users, chatting application imo.im has announced that it will discontinue support for third-party networks -- including Facebook Chat, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Jabber and Steam -- in order to focus on building out its own chat platform, beginning March 3. According to the service, its chat apps for Android, iOS, Amazon and the web have over 10 million users.
Will reportedly solve 'fade' glitch
Apple is at work on a software update that will fix a "fade" glitch with the iPhone 5s' Touch ID sensor, a source says. The company has reportedly been working with the original AuthenTec team -- which was absorbed into Apple in 2012 -- to smooth out iOS' recognition software. The problem is that while Touch ID appears to be extremely reliable for the first few months after setup, some users have subsequently encountered intermittent failures.
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.
Apple changes and adds to mobile device management programs
Ahead of the release of iOS 7.1, expected in the middle of next month, Apple has proceeded with an overhaul of its existing Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms for educational, enterprise and institutional clients. It launched a new Volume Services web site earlier this month, and has now activated a number of features on that site, kicking off a big push for large-scale iOS deployments.
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.
Will allow people to preorder from digital menus
Mobile payment service Square is testing out a new app called Pickup, reports say. Priceonomics notes the app is currently in beta with some San Francisco restaurants, and lets people order takeout food in advance of showing up. This is possible because the app has access to participating restaurants' menus, and lets people pay through Square.
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.
Age of device likely overriding concern
Sprint-based MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) Ting will start supporting unlocked iPhone 5 units on its network by next week, sources say. The carrier's iPhone support has so far been limited to the iPhone 4 and 4S; iPhone 5 support has allegedly been held up by Sprint, which often avoids allowing phones on MVNOs until they're a generation or more behind. Because the iPhone 5s and 5c have been available for several months already, the iPhone 5 has reportedly been given the go-ahead.
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.
Financial forecast hints at sapphire coming to iWatch or new iPhones
GT Advanced's partnership with Apple on sapphire production is "progressing well," according to a statement in the company's latest quarterly earnings report. CEO Tom Gutierrez notes that build-out of the Apple-oriented sapphire plant in Arizona began last quarter, and that hiring started around the same time. Although he doesn't reveal when mass production will start, he says that GT should return to profitability in the second half of 2014.
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.
Companion app adjusts settings to different locations
GN ReSound has officially launched the LiNX, its promised MFI-certified hearing aid. The unit connects wirelessly to an iPhone (or other iOS device), which with a companion iOS app can serve as a remote controlling volume and EQ settings, including presets. A unique feature is geofencing, which can automatically switch presets based on location, such as home or work. A Find My Hearing Aid option can help retrieve a lost LiNX.
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.
Program still in limited reach internationally
Apple's iPhone Reuse and Recycling trade-in program will be launching in Canada in the next few weeks, a source says. The person explains that staff training is due to begin this week. As elsewhere, the backend of the program is expected to be handled by BrightStar.
CEOs, top lawyers met in early February, but could not come to agreement
Ahead of the second patent trial between Apple and Samsung scheduled for March 31 -- which covers a completely different set of patents and is not an appeal of the first trial, which Apple won last year -- the two companies are said to be making efforts at settling their differences rather than going to trial. Thus far -- as before, ahead of the first trial -- the negotiations have not resulted in an agreement, but in a court filing, both companies said they were willing to keep talking.
A larger iPhone 6 could bring Apple challenges for general usability
If the rumor mill is to be given any credence, Apple will be releasing an iPhone with a larger display, possibly between 4.5 and 4.8-inches, along with a larger 5.5-inch or 6-inch 'phablet' later this year. Although Apple has been content to run its own race historically, the rise in popularity of large Android smartphones, and the expectations of Wall Street, almost demands that Apple offers an iPhone that appeals to users who prefer larger displays. In fact, it would be more of surprise come the unveiling of the 'iPhone 6' if Apple were to release only another 4-inch device. Until now, Apple's seeming reluctance to embrace a larger iPhone has revolved around one-handed usability and what it considers to be unacceptable trade-offs that compromise the user experience. If Apple does indeed launch an iPhone with a larger display, how will it maintain the usability of an iPhone with a larger display?
Larger iPads? yea or nay
This week in the MacNN Forums, members debate the practicality of larger iPads in the thread titled "What would a larger iPad really be good for?" which was started by Mac Elite "PeterParker," who wondered if iPads portability is actually its best feature. In the thread titled "iMessage black hole" Mac Elite "abbaZaba" was trying to figure out why it was that when people switched from an iPhone to a phone running Android, messages sent from iMessage would seem to get lost -- and they wondered if fellow forum-goers had a similar experience.
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.
Ignores developing markets, or Apple's other products
There is a tendency among analysts to think of Apple as only "the iPhone maker" and ignore its other products and services, feeling that the fortunes of its most popular and profitable product -- the iPhone -- is the key to the company's overall health, at least in terms of its performance on Wall Street. Barclay's analyst Ben Reitzes told investors in a memo on Thursday that he expects AAPL to stay within a narrow range for the next two years.