Archive for March, 2012

Apple Releases iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

In addition to announcing the third-generation iPad, Apple also announced the availability of iOS 5.1 at its press event today and it’s now available for download.

iOS 5.1 includes a few new features, including a redesigned camera app for the iPad and the ability to delete individual photos from Photo Stream, a long-awaited feature for many. Also, the camera shortcut no longer requires a double-tap of the home button to appear on the lock screen – it is now a permanent feature of the lock screen.

Also, Siri gets Japanese language support in iOS 5.1 and an updated network indicator for AT&T is also present, which is already showing “4G” for iPhone 4S users in the carrier’s HSPA+ areas. The plans for this network indicator update came to light in October and is somewhat controversial since the use of 4G to describe the bulk of AT&T’s current network is not quite accurate since does not technically fulfill the official 4G standard.


Image courtesy of MacRumors.com

iTunes 10.6 is also now available, bringing the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows downloaded from the iTunes Store. iTunes Match sees improvements as well, with better song matching, artwork handling and more.

 

Apple Announces Third-Generation iPad with Retina Display and 4G LTE

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

As expected, Apple announced the third generation of its popular tablet device featuring a high-resolution retina display and 4G LTE connectivity at its press event today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

The new iPad’s display has a resolution of 2048 by 1,536 pixels, which adds up to more than 3.1 million pixels and offers better color saturation than previous models. Inside, it has Apple’s quad-core A5X processor. The new iPad maintains its 10-hour battery life despite these internal changes that will require more power.

The next-generation iPad also gets an improved rear camera with a 5 megapixel sensor and many of the camera features present in the iPhone 4S, including auto face detection and exposure and focus lock and the ability to record 1080p HD video.

Voice dictation also makes it to the iPad though full-fledged Siri and its capability to complete tasks like creating calendar events and reminders and searching the internet are not present.

Global 4G LTE also makes it into the new iPad. In the US, Apple will offer additional models for Verizon’s 4G CDMA network.

The new iPad will be available on March 16 in the US and 11 other countries with online pre-orders beginning today. Pricing remains the same with the Wi-Fi-only models coming in at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB and the Wi-Fi + 3G/4G models pegged at $629, $729 and $829 respectively for the same capacities. As with the iPad 2, both black and white models will be available.

Apple will continue to sell the 16GB iPad 2, dropping the price to $399 for the Wi-Fi model (down from $499) and to $529 for the Wi-Fi + 3G model (down from $629).

Apple’s 25 Billion App Store Downloads Countdown Contest Concludes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Apple announced today the successful conclusion of its 25 billion App Store download contest that kicked off late last month. Chunli Fu of China downloaded the 25 billionth app, Where’s My Water? Free, winning the contest’s grand prize, a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

We’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users.

Apple had celebrated 10 billion App Store downloads last summer with a similar contest, also offering a $10,000 iTunes gift card grand prize then. That contest was won by Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent in England.

Readability Debuts for iPhone and iPad

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Readability, a service that lets you save and view articles on the web in a cleaner format for easier reading, has released a universal iOS app for the iPhone and iPad. The service offers both free and paid subscription options, with a portion of the revenue from paid subscriptions going to the publications and writers whose articles are viewed through the service.

Readability has created a video overview to describe its service:


 

Readability had initially submitted an app to Apple more than a year ago when the service available only through a paid subscription. At that time, Apple had reportedly rejected the app since it did not utilize the established in-app purchase system to share revenue with Apple. The Readability service was later changed a few months ago to offer a free subscription option. The Readability app now available in the App Store works with both free and the premium paid accounts though it’s not possible to set up a premium account through the app. However, the app does offer a method to make a contribution via in-app purchase.

Readability is a competitor to Marco Arment’s Instapaper. Instapaper and Readability offer essentially the same type of service though Readability shares some of its revenue with the writers and publishers whose articles are read by its users through its service.

I’m a long-time Instapaper user and am a fan of this type of service to read online articles. So far, I’ve found that Readability and Instapaper offer a similar reading experience – see below for screenshots from each iPhone app showing a Wirecutter article where Readability is on the left and Instapaper is on the right (it’s possible to change the font settings in both apps to suit your preferences). However, I think I’m going to give Readability a more through try-out now since I’m drawn to the company’s intent to pay writers and publishers.

Readability (left) and Instapaper (right)

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