Sunday, September 30, 2012
To our customers,
At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.
There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.
While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.
Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.
Tim Cook Apple’s CEO
The iTunes Ping service has closed. More commonly referred simply as Ping, was Apple's attempt at a social media service integrated with the iTunes Store. Ping was available in iTunes for Mac and Windows PCs.
Users were greeted with a simple message in iTunes stating that the service has closed. Ping was a service that allowed iTunes users share and discover new music and old favorites. It was also intended as a way for artists to connect with their fans and offer updates on what they were doing and when they would be touring.
Ping turned out to be one of Apple's rare disasters with low adoption and usage rates. It was also widely held that Apple had originally intended to have iTunes integrate with social media giant Facebook, but a deal could not be reached between Apple and Facebook. The cost of the licensing agreement for the interface to Facebook was rumored to be the cause of the disagreement.
iTunes Ping was launched on September 1, 2010.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Earlier today, Apple posted Update 5.1 for second and third generation Apple TV boxes.
Update 5.1 brings enhancements to Apple TV to match some of the features in iOS 6 which was released on Wednesday of last week.
The full change log can be viewed on Apple's website.
CUPERTINO, California—September 24, 2012—Apple® today announced it has sold over five million of its new iPhone® 5, just three days after its launch on September 21, and more than 100 million iOS devices have been updated with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iPhone 5 is available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, and will be available in 22 more countries on September 28 and more than 100 countries by the end of the year. Demand for iPhone 5 exceeded the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders have been shipped to customers, many are scheduled to be shipped in October.
“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”
iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina™ display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology*—all while delivering even better battery life.**
* LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks, check with your carrier for details.
** Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
[Via Apple PR…]
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Ok, I think that this is a bit much. The iPhone 5 was released this past Friday and customers are already getting their pitchforks out for "Scuffgate".
What is scuffgate? That is this year's "major design flaw" after the iPhone 4's "antennagate."
Oh my God! Yes, if you take a sharp object and start scraping it on the back of your iPhone 5, yes, it's going to get scratched! Duh!
Yes, the anodized aluminum coating is going to wear off over the normal use life of the iPhone 5 if you chose to use it without a case. That's to be expected. Don't like your gear getting banged up, knocked around, or nicked? Put it in a case.
Shove your caseless iPhone in your jeans pocket with your lose change, rings, or car keys? Yup, it'll get scratched up.
You took a sharp metal object, say a Liquidmetal SIM card tray pin, and rubbed the sharp end on the back of your new black iPhone 5 you say? Yup, it's going to get scratched up! What were you expecting would happen?
Come on people, the iPad is "magical," not the iPhone. The iPhone 5 also doesn't have a "molecular bonded shell" like KITT had in the 1980's TV show, "Knight Rider."
People who are opening up the box an taking their iPhone out for the first time and finding scratches and nicks in the metal casing, yes, those people have legitimate complaints. People taking sharp objects to the unprotected metal plating don't.
Ok, lets try to put this in perspective. You go out and buy a new car. Are you going to take the keys and rub them, sharp side to the paint, down the side of your new car? No! Why not? Because it will scratch the paint! So, no, of course you're not going to do that. And if you did, you can't go running back to the deal and demand a refund. They know you did it. Same thing applies here.
To be fair, I'm not defending Apple. If they are shipping out iPhone 5 handsets that have paint chips, nicks, or other types of scratches or defects in the paint or metal band around the phone, they should be fixing it. Me? I'm a use it in a case kind of guy, because, honestly, I don't like my gear getting all scratched up. To get the iPhone 5 you had to either sign a 2-year contract with your wireless provider or shelled out $300+ to get the phone off contract so you really need to take care of the hardware.
Let's lighten up on the gear, ok, folks? This stuff isn't indestructible.
Friday, September 21, 2012
I was at the Grand Central Terminal Apple Store this evening and I picked up a pair of the new EarPods.
I know what you're thinking, "I hate Apple's ear buds!" Ok, that's fine, but I actually like them, so I'm OK spending the $29.99 for the redesigned EarPods. I find them even more comfortable to wear than the previous generations and the sound quality is better than the ear buds that came with my iPhone 4S last year. That said, if you are serious about your music, don't even bother with the stock earbuds and get yourself some quality earbuds or over the ear headphones. You'll be glad you did.
As you can see from the photos, the iconic glass cube is shrouded in a black curtain. Before big launch events, Apple tends to block out the windows while they are setting things up. In the case of the 5th Ave store, the whole above ground structure is cloaked.
While it ruined my chance at an evening shot of the store, you can see that people are getting in line, NYC police are on the scene. While I didn't get a picture of them, street vendors are selling hot dogs and the such and a local news crew is on hand too.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Update: Looks like iPhoto also received an update to add support for shared photo streams in Mountain Lion, new card and calendar themes, and performance and stability improvements.
The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users and includes new features and fixes.
Updating your system
You should back up your system before installation; you can use Time Machine.
Do not interrupt the installation process once you have started to update your system.
You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modiﬁcations installed, or if you've modiﬁed the operating system through other means.
Choose Apple () menu > Software Update… to check for the latest Apple software via the Mac App Store, including this update.
Other software updates available for your computer may appear, which you should install. Note that an update's size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others.
You can also download the manual update installer. This is a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. These versions of the standalone installers are available from Apple Support Downloads.
This update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users, and includes new features and fixes:
- Single sign on for Facebook
- Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos
- See Facebook friends' contact information and profile pictures in Contacts
- Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations
- Added Facebook "Like" button for games
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement
Other new features
- Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010)
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac*
- You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from Safari and Mail on your Mac*
- FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number*
- New shared Reminders lists
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them
- Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian
- Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts
* Requires iOS 6
The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 update also includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, including the following fixes:
- Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As
- Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used
- Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari
- Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages
- Resolves an issue that may cause the "Enable Autodiscover" checkbox to always remain checked
- Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled
- Support for @icloud.com email addresses
- Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks
- Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out
- Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to re-appear prior to logging in
- Improvements to SMB
- Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled
- Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible
- Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system
- Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard
For information about the security content of this update, please visit this website.
Once you've installed iOS 6 on your current model iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, make sure you head over to the App Store and install the latest software updates for your applications. Doing so will provide you with new features and continued stability and compatibility with your new operating system.
To install the software, you can connect your supported iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a Wi-Fi network and download the software update over the air.
The over the air update can be started by tapping:
Settings > General > Software Update
For the more traditional crowd, you can connect your supported iDevice to your Mac or Windows PC running iTunes 10.7 and download and install the software update using your sync cable.
While we're waiting for the update to go live on Apple's servers, there are a few things we can do to get ready.
1. Download and install iTunes 10.7 if you haven't already done so. iTunes 10.7 is a minor update that adds support for iOS 6. iTunes 11, due out later this year, will be a major overhaul of Apple's media player software.
2. Backup your iDevice before upgrading.
3. Have your charger handy. The iOS upgrade will run if you have more than a 50% charge, but avoid the chance of trouble with the phone turning off during the upgrade.
4. Practice relaxation techniques. If the volume of iPhone 5 pre-orders are any indication, lots of people are going to be trying to download the update, so be prepared for possible longer than normal download times.
You will also want to head over to the iBook Store after the iOS 6 software is released and download the new user manual for your device. For example, after last year's iOS 5 release, Apple published iPhone User Guide for iOS 5 and iPad User Guide for iOS 5. I have no doubt that by the weekend, we'll see new versions of those books for iOS 6.
iOS 6 includes a completely new Maps application, replacing the Maps offering that was powered by Google data and has been around on the iPhone since it was released in 2007.
Apple is also upgrading the features and capabilities of their personal assistant, Siri.
Also included in the iOS 6 update is Facebook integration similar to last year's Twitter integration, the ability to share your Photo Stream with the people you choose.
Passbook is Apple's new tickets and "rewards cards" system that has the potential to become a big hit with customers and retailers if Apple turns it into a full fledged alternative to Near Field Communications (NFC) payment systems being offered by by Google and others.
The Phone application has been enhanced with some much needed features on call management when you are unable to answer the call right away - like when you are sitting in a meeting. Something that I have been waiting a long time for because this is a feature that my 2007 Palm Treo 700 had.
The Camera app now has a cool panorama photo mode that helps you take some amazing panoramic photos. I'm actually looking forward to playing with this feature during outdoor fall activities. It should make for some very nice photos.
Apple has also included updates to Safari, Mail, and FaceTime.
To learn more about the major new features in iOS 6, check out the Apple website.
The iOS 6 upgrade will be available for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS; for the iPad 3 and the iPad 2; and the 5th and 4th generation iPod touch.
The iOS 6 upgrade is a free upgrade that will be available as an update delivered over-the-air or a download package when you sync your device over the wire with your Mac or Windows PC running iTunes 10.7. iTunes 10.7 can be downloaded directly from Apple.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
iOS 6 is the software that allows the iPhone and iPad do all the amazing things we do with them. One of the new tent pole features of the software is FaceTime video calling over 3G and 4G cellular networks. Up until now, it has only been possible to make a FaceTime call over a Wi-Fi connection and iOS 6 aims to change that.
However, AT&T has stated that they will only allow customers who sign up for their new Mobile Share plans will be allowed to place FaceTime calls on their cellular networks. While customers have been crying foul, AT&T has been trying to limit the congestion on their 3G and 4G LTE networks that caused so much bad press for them with earlier iPhone models, most notably, the 2010 iPhone 4.
When you look at the Mobile Share plans, AT&T tells you that you can have up to 10 devices included on a single share plan. Then you look at the pricing structure and the sticker shock sets in.
For unlimited, traditional voice calling and text messaging plus 1GB of shared data, you will have to spend $40/mo for the service plus and additional $45/mo for each smartphone participating in the plan. For 4GB of data, the price jumps up to $70/mo plus $40/mo for each smartphone. AT&T is also offering shared data packages in 6GB, 10GB, 15GB, and a 20GB pool. The larger the pool of shared data, the larger the base monthly fee is, but the monthly cost per smartphone drops.
As you can see, the monthly totals can add up quickly if you are trying to share a pool of data amongst family members.
And that's why Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute have banned together to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The trio feel that it is unfair for customers to have to buy into a shared data plan like AT&T's Mobile Share plans just to be able to make a FaceTime call over a cellular network. While they did provide AT&T with notice of the impending filing, at least publicly, no date has been given as to when the filing will be made.
Customers looking to sign a new service agreement with AT&T do have other options. Sprint, for example, will be allowing customers who have signed up for their Simply Everything plans ranging from $79.99 - $109.99/month to make FaceTime calls on their network. Verizon Wireless' Simplify with Share Everything 4GB share package offers similar features to that of Sprint's, but will run you about $150/mo when sharing data across two smartphones.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Last Friday many mobile new websites, including BGR.com, reported that HP has aspirations to build another line of smartphones.
Today, BGR ran another story indicating that not only are plans underway to develop a new line of smartphones, that a test device, code named "Bender", has already been created and is being tested. The kicker? The prototype device is said to be running Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system.
Huh? After HP ingloriously put Palm webOS, Palm's hardware, and people out to pasture HP is trying to jump start things again with an Android phone? I'm sure this is very frustrating for WebOS's fans. HP said that they wanted to get out of the smartphone business when they shutdown production of the Pre3, Veer, and TouchPad - the last three webOS devices - and then making webOS open source.
Then a year later, things are going gang busters again? This seems totally inefficient to have a smartphone and mobile OS division up and running, shuttering things, and then rebuilding a hardware and software team to, essentially, re-inventing the wheel with a new hardware platform and Android ICS.
To be fair, I can see why HP decided to go with Android over their in-house webOS hardware and software software assets. Android, and Apple's iOS, have gobbled up an insane amount of marketshare in the mobile space. webOS, even in it's hay day, back in 2009 when the original Palm Pre launched on Sprint, never achieved a significant foothold. When I chose to switch from the Sprint Palm Pre to the iPhone 4S in 2011, webOS was below 2% marketshare. If you are trying to become relevant in the smartphone space, you need an option that will draw customers, developers, and carriers to your platform. webOS isn't that platform. Just ask Nokia, Research in Motion (RIM), and Microsoft about their efforts to increase their smartphone marketshare.
But, seriously? This seems like a gigantic waste of time, money, staff resources, and momentum. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM have all realized that they need to control the customer experience "end-to-end" from the hardware and software, to the online software store, and ultimately, the customer experience. This tight integration has propelled Apple and Google to amazing heights and others are trying to replicate it. Palm, with webOS and their webOS device line up, offered the kind of solution that HP is trying to fabricate with Android and new hardware.
If I was an HP shareholder, I would be furious at the opportunity costs associated with tearing everything down, and then, essentially, outsourcing the software development to Google, and ultimately, putting Google in the driver's seat for the software development of HP's new 'gotta do it' smartphone strategy.
At the end of the day, the only thing that is clear for me, is that I won't be replacing my iPhone 4S with a new HP smartphone. I've made my peace with webOS and will remember Palm fondly.
"Bad Piggies" is based on Rovio's Angry Birds universe, but is not an Angry Birds game. Think of Bad Piggies as what Amazing Alex should have been, and cross it with Angry Birds. Check out the linked to video for a preview of what the game play is expected to be like - Bad Piggies Game Play Trailer.
[Image via BGR.com...]
CUPERTINO, California—September 17, 2012—Apple® today announced pre-orders of its iPhone® 5 topped two million in just 24 hours, more than double the previous record of one million held by iPhone 4S. Demand for iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October. iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina™ display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology*—all while delivering even better battery life.**
“iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet, the most beautiful product we’ve ever made, and we hope customers love it as much as we do.”
iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new user features including: an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover™ view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center; Passbook®, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place; new Siri® features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings;*** Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari® and Maps; and Shared Photo Streams via iCloud®.
Pricing & Availability
iPhone 5 will be available at 356 Apple retail stores in the US beginning at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, September 21. Every customer who buys an iPhone 5 at an Apple retail store will be offered free Personal Setup service, helping them customize their iPhone 5 by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store and more, so they’ll be up and running with their new iPhone before they leave the store.
iPhone 5 comes in either white & silver or black & slate, and will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the 64GB model. iPhone 5 will be available from the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, and through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, select Best Buy, RadioShack, Target and Walmart stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 4S will also be available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 4 will be available for free with a two-year contract.****
* LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks, check with your carrier for details.
** Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
*** Not all features are supported in all countries.
**** Availability varies by carrier.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The 'hook' for the Flex is that in addition to being an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the phone will offer a custom User Interface (UI) overlay called "Easy Experience". The intent of Easy Experience is to minimize the complexities of the Android home screen and application launcher 'drawer' that can be overwhelming or confusing for some customers.
On the Flex website, Pantech says the new smartphone as has "an intuitive interface with enhanced usability and efficiency: it’s easy to toggle back and forth from Easy Experience to Standard Experience."
Some other key features of the Pantech Flex include:
- Easy Experience: for people wanting a simple, straightforward view of their phones’ features Simplifying everything without sacrificing anything
- One home screen with quick access to key features: Phone, Camera, Messages, and Menu
- Large, easy-to-read text and buttons
- Shortcut icons with access to: Web, Quick Contacts, App Shortcuts
- Easy navigation with limited scrolling
- Uncomplicated setup process
- Keep benefits of smartphone technology
For now, it looks like the phone is going to be sold in the United States on AT&T, however, Verizon Wireless is also listed on the "Where to Buy" page which suggests that the phone will available on the nation's two largest carrier networks.
There always seems like there is an endless supply of Android smartphones coming to market with a dizzying array of features that cover the range from novice to 'hackers' who love to 'root' and tinker with their phones. I thought that this phone has a clean and simple hardware and software design that it can be a good first smartphone for people upgrading from 'feature phones'.
The Pantech Flex is expected to go on sale at AT&T Wireless on September 16 for $49.99 with a new 2-year service agreement. For more information, visit the Pantech Flex website.
As you can see from the graphic, the date is 9/12 and the '12' is casting the shadow of a '5' indicating the 'iPhone 5' that has been rumored for months now.
AppleInsider.com, who received an invitation, writes:
"The invitations sent out read "It's almost here," with a large number 12. Below the date of the event is a shadow cast with a number "5," implying the unveiling of Apple's next-generation iPhone, the successor to the iPhone 4S.[Via AppleInsider.com...]
The event will be held next Wednesday at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif."
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Gameloft and Electronic Arts have many games in Apple's App Store on sale for $0.99.
Atari and APPODAY are running a promotion on the Atari's Greatest Hits game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can download the complete 99-game pack for FREE between August 31 - September 1! Better get cracking, as this offer expires TODAY! Once you download the games to your iOS device, you can have unlimited play until you delete the Atari's Greatest Hits games off your device. Once you do, you have to pay $9.99 for all the games, or $0.99 for a game pack.
Astraware HP TouchPad Word Games on Sale
Astraware, a long time creator of mobile games is running a promotion for their HP TouchPad webOS word games. For more details, checkout the HP App Catalog or the Astraware HP TouchPad word games website.
Thanks to RobT for the tip!
Amazon flamed the "Fires", sorry obligatory pun was necessary, when it published a press release on Thursday (8/30/12) stating that the current model Fire has sold out.
"“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made Kindle Fire the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “This has been a big year for digital products on Amazon—all of the top 10 sellers on Amazon.com since Kindle Fire launched just less than a year ago are digital products. Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”"So it took Amazon nine months to sell out of their Kindle Fire. I guess that isn't too bad. While boasting "over 10,000 5-star customer reviews" and having "captured 22% of tablet sales in the U.S.," Amazon continues to keep sales numbers to themselves.
Regardless, the Kindle Fire is likely the best selling Google Android-powered tablet on the market today. But it may not stay that way for long. Google has recently started shipping their own 7-inch Android tablet, the Nexus 7 to rave reviews. And Apple, not wanting to lose any sales opportunities, is rumored to be launching a new 7-inch "iPad Mini" in October, just in time to ruin Google's and Amazon's holiday sales numbers.
While we don't know if Amazon will be unveiling one or two new Kindles next week, what does seem pretty clear at this point is that the online mega retailer won't be releasing a 10-inch iPad competitor. AppleInsider.com writes:
"While a larger Kindle Fire may still be in the works, the source says Amazon is sticking with the 7-inch form factor and will announce two new models next week, including a slightly reworked version of the existing tablet. The decision is thought to be a defensive move in response to a growing small form factor tablet market, with new devices like Google's Nexus 7 offering stiff competition to Amazon's device."We'll have an update on Amazon's new Kindle offerings next week.