The splash page of Apple's US website changed this evening from the usual product displays and content links to a spare, elegant black and white portrait of Nelson Mandela. The South African activist, decades-long political prisoner and statesman who served as the first black president of a post-apartheid nation died Thursday at age 95.
The tribute page appears only on the US site at this time as far as I can tell, although it may end up on Apple's international web pages soon. While this "takeover" style of front-page tribute is unusual, it is not unprecedented on Apple's site. Founder Steve Jobs took over the home page in the days following his passing in 2011 and again on the first anniversary of his death. Longtime Apple board member Jerry York was memorialized on the front page in 2010, and other notables (cited by 9to5Mac) include dancer Gregory Hines, civil rights icon Rosa Parks and musician George Harrison.
Musical legends get memorialized via the iTunes splash page when they shuffle off this mortal coil. Soul singer Isaac Hayes was remembered there in 2008, and Lou Reed in October this year. The iTunes tribute practice may be considered somewhat crass, as it does capitalize on the surge of consumer interest when a performer dies.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
There is no shortage of clever and interesting iPhone cases out there, but VanD's line of polycarbonate light-up cases may just take the cake.
The cases take advantage of a toggle in iOS that allows users to set the LED light on their device to flash upon receipt of an incoming call or text message.
In iOS 7, this can be enabled by going to Settings > General > Accessibility and then toggling on "LED Flash for Alerts."
Using the same principles as fiber-optic tables, these clear plastic cases from VanD harness the light from your iPhone's flash to internally illuminate, revealing etched patterns and designs.
But as is typically the case, you really have to see these babies in action to fully appreciate their unique appeal.
The cases, compatible with both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, cost US$19.99 and feature an assortment of designs just begging to be lit up.
Below is an example of what a VanD case looks like when not illuminated.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
TUAW's staff is made up of a lot of fans of the accessory lens products from Olloclip. They're designed to work perfectly with various models of the iPhone, and are nicely designed and well built. Now the company has announced the Macro 3-in-1 Lens kit (US$69.99 SRP) for the iPhone 5/5s, made specifically for taking those really close-up shots of everything in the world around us.
Things start off with a 7x macro lens, bump up to a 14x lens and then go into the realm of the microscope with a 21x lens. Since it's often difficult, if not downright impossible, to get properly focused on your subject when using macro lenses, Olloclip includes a pair of translucent focusing cups that make it much easier to hold the lenses the correct distance away.
As usual, Olloclip machines the lens casings out of aluminum and uses ground-glass, multi-element lenses. A small bag for the lenses is included, as are lens caps to keep everything dust- and smudge-free.
On one side of the Macro 3-in-1 Lens is the 7x macro, while the other side has the fixed 21x macro. To bump the magnification of the 7x side to 14x, you simply screw on the 14x lens and its included focusing cup if desired.
Rather than talking about how this lens works, I decided to put it to the test taking photos of two objects -- an Icelandic 1000 Kroner note and a euro coin:
In each case, the images are taken first at 7x, then at 14x and finally at 21x. As you can see, the amount of detail that the lenses can pick up at the higher magnifications is nothing short of remarkable. The images are razor-sharp at the center, but do have a tendency to lose focus at the periphery of the photos.Conclusion
Dedicated iPhone photographers will find a lot to like in Olloclip's Macro 3-in-1 Lens. It's extremely well constructed, includes the novel focusing cups to aid in focusing on subjects and, all in all, works beautifully as a set of three macro lenses.
Who is it for?
Olloclip's Macro 3-in-1 Lens is a powerful little stocking-stuffer originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Black Friday is a sales bonanza for stores across America -- heck, even our Canadian neighbors are getting in on the action. But there's more to the day than just blowing all your money on cheap consumer goods. It's also a day for selling your old consumer goods to pay for upgrades. Gazelle, the web's leading trade-in service for old tech, contacted us to let us know how its Black Friday went and what products drove trade-ins.
Here's a hint -- Apple products helped business a lot:
Considering the recent release of the newly upgraded iPhone and iPad options on the market, Gazelle's trade-in numbers make a lot of sense.
The company is still running its holiday promotion, a coupon that you can include with gifts that will allow recipients to get an extra US$10 with their own trade-ins.
Gazelle saw iPad and iPhone trade-ins jump on Black Friday originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
If you live in the US and own an iPhone or iPad, there's a really good chance you booted up an app or two on Thanksgiving weekend this year. In fact, there's a better chance you used an app this year on Thanksgiving than any year prior, with more than 1.2 billion app start-ups initiated according to new data from Flurry Analytics. For comparison, Thanksgiving weekend last year didn't even break 800 million app starts.
So why the spike? Well, Flurry's data shows that Thanksgiving is a huge time for smartphone usage, which can be attributed to travel, cooking, football and a host of other common Thanksgiving traditions. This year, however, both media apps (music, video and camera apps) and games were used more than the previous two years, while travel apps were used less than in 2011 or 2012, possibly due to an untimely winter storm.
What did you use your smartphone for while relaxing with some turkey and stuffing this year?
US app usage spikes on Thanksgiving to the tune of more than 1.2 billion app starts originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple provides a pretty efficient mail app for iOS, but third parties are always trying to be better and some users are always looking for more. Inbox Cube is a free iPhone app (it's not universal, but will work on the iPad) that makes some improvements on the basic Apple Mail app.
Inbox Cube supports iCloud mail, AOL, Yahoo and Gmail. One feature I think is very strong: the ability to just see photo, video or document attachments in a single click. That includes attachments you have sent as well as received.
The on-screen display is attractive, and it is easy to navigate. You get notifications of new email just as fast as you would with the Apple mail client. I had them both activated and heard the mail alerts at the same time from both.
Search for content in mail is very fast. In addition to global search, you can also search by subject, text in the body of the email or the from / to fields. When emails are listed, each has a colored icon with the first letter of the senders name, which makes for a quick visual way to sort. Each letter is a different color. You can swipe through mail and attachments. You can also assign favorites for mail you want to get to easily.
I don't see any support for POP or explicit support for Outlook. So, if you are outside what is supported, beware. It should be easy to set up with most IMAP-compatible systems. Outlook does support IMAP clients, but I was unable to test it. You can have multiple accounts, for example, on Gmail or the other supported mail protocols, and view them separately.
In my testing, the app was solid, although I've seen some reports of crashes. Moving to a new email app is always unsettling. Nothing is ever where you expect it to be, and only by staying with the app for a while did I get comfortable. Inbox Cube is simple enough to not be intimidating. It has some good ideas that Apple should emulate, and if the features appeal to you, it is certainly worth the free download. Your mail will still come in on the Apple client, so you're not going to lose anything. I think the only question about any new email client would be about support. It's hard to get used to something and have it go away. Hopefully, Inbox Cube is here for a long ride.
Inbox Cube requires iOS 6.1 or later. It's optimized for the iPhone 5. If you're looking for something with some fresh ideas, try it and see what you think. You can find some videos showing Inbox Cube in action at this link.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
The site for Apple's "spaceship" headquarters and Campus 2 is in the process of being cleared, with demolition of existing buildings at the location now well underway.
MacRumors posted a number of photos today showing the construction fences erected around the location, as well as equipment being used for the demolition. The demolition work is proceeding on land purchased by Apple in 2006, where a massive underground parking structure will be built.
According to the MacRumors article, the headquarters building is to be located on land north of where the work is taking place. The 2.8 million-square-foot facility is included in Phase 1 of the construction, expected to be completed by 2016, along with a fitness center and auditorium. Phase 2 plans include 600,000 square feet of office and R&D buildings.
Image provided by MacRumors
Apple Campus 2 construction begins... with some demolition originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Xcode Fundamentals for iOS 7 - Learn to build Apps and Design User Interfaces [On sale for $79, down from $499]
So you want to make apps but you don't know where to start. You start a few tutorials on the internet but you end up without an app or any knowledge whatsoever.
If you want to make apps you pretty much have to use Xcode, Apple's app-making program. But when you download it and take a look it seems really complicated to use. There are tons of books on how to program and use Xcode but none of them are that user-friendly.
That's where this course is different! This course shows you how to use Xcode while learning another in demand valuable skill: user experience. User experience is one of the toughest jobs to fill in 2012 according to Forbes. With this course you get to learn mobile user experience and Xcode at the same time!
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Note: All prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly. TUAW is not responsible for third-party deals and cannot guarantee availability or quality of any particular product at a specific price.
Daily Deals for December 6, 2013, featuring the Xcode Fundamentals for iOS 7 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.
You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.
No Flash? Click here to listen.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
In addition to the nearly US$1 billion judgment Apple secured against Samsung for patent infringement, Apple now wants the Korean-based tech giant to foot a percentage of its legal costs.
In a motion filed on Thursday, Apple articulates why Samsung should fork over $15.7 million in attorneys' fees. According to the filing, that figure amounts to about less than one-third of what Apple spent on legal fees from the outset of the case through March 1, 2013, the date marking "the last order on motions arising from the first trial."
To bolster its position, Apple cites Section 1117(a) of the Lanham Act, which details appropriate remedies in cases where willful trade dress dilution is present. The Lanham Act allows for an award of reasonable attorneys' fees in "exceptional cases."
Apple's motion explains that previous court rulings have fashioned the term "exceptional" to mean cases where "fraudulent, deliberate or willful" conduct has been found.
To that end, Apple's motion doesn't mince words, calling Samsung's copying "willful, deliberate and calculated."
Under any measure, this was an exceptional case. The evidence that Samsung deliberately copied every aspect of Apple's revolutionary iPhone product was overwhelming. Apple prevailed on one or more claims of trade dress dilution or patent infringement against 26 of 28 accused products.
Apple's motion also references a 138-page Samsung report that painstakingly detailed the positive attributes of the iPhone and ways in which Samsung devices could incorporate them.
The Relative Evaluation Report compared virtually every aspect of the iPhone with the Samsung phone then in development, each time finding Samsung's phone wanting and each time directing that Samsung's phone be changed to resemble the iPhone. Samsung acted in complete disregard of Apple's IP - there is not a shred of evidence in the record to suggest that Samsung made any effort to determine whether the various iPhone features were protected, much less to avoid violating Apple's IP rights.
In sum, Apple argues that Samsung, in its zeal to amass market share in the smartphone market, blatantly copied a number of iPhone features without any regard to Apple's intellectual property.
As a final point, Apple insinuates that Samsung should be glad it's only being asked to pay $15.7 million, a figure which Apple claims is "conservative."
Apple seeking $15 million in attorneys fees from Samsung originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Deer Hunting season may be drawing to a close, but Dear Hunter 2014 aims (pun intended) to keep you hunting game even in the off-season. You'll get a chance to own firearms you could only dream about and can travel to locations around the world.
This hunting simulator has impressive graphics that look great on the iPad Air. The scenery and animals are very well rendered and their movement is fluid and fast, especially at the more difficult levels. I even played it on the iPad 2 and performance was still very good.
You play the game as a stationary hunter who is aiming for animals as they run or fly by you. You can move left or right to get a better angle, but you can't track an animal like you can in some simulations. You have controls to zoom in on an animal, reload your weapon or swap between weapons. Deer Hunter 2014 not only has you hunting deer as its name implies, there are a wide assortment of animals from varying locales.
Currently featuring six different locations, the game requires you to hunt trophy animals for each locale before moving on to the next one. There are about 10 trophy hunts per level. Each trophy hunt will earn you the most money in the form of hunter's bucks, which can be used to buy new firearms, energy drinks and other items. There are also regular hunts, contract hunts and club hunts that come with a smaller bounty. During the holidays, there are holiday hunt campaigns that bring new weapons and animals to the game.
There are a wide variety of firearms from which to choose including rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, and pistols. As you progress through the game you will need to purchase various upgrades to your weapons including sights, barrels, stocks, and ammunition. The more you hunt, the more money you earn and the better weapons you can buy. Having the right weapon makes all the difference in some of the upper level hunts, so it behooves you to buy the best gun you can afford.
Those interested in a quicker way to get through the game than "hunt all the time" can buy additional hunter bucks and gold via in-app purchases. Gold is a commodity in the app, used to purchase high-end weapons, add upgrades to your weapons and replenish your energy supply. You earn gold when you level up, or by watching promotional videos. There's also a promotional page that'll give you gold when you sign up for a new service. If you have some real-life cash, you can buy gold via an in-app purchase, but it is expensive.
This brings me to one of the biggest detractors for the game. Playing time is limited. You cannot just hunt for as long as you want. Deer Hunter has an energy meter that decreases every time you begin a hunt. Once the meter is depleted you must wait a certain amount of time before your energy meter fills up again and you can continue playing. It takes about 15 minutes to drain your energy and an hour to fill it up. You can instantly replenish your energy meter with gold, but that gets expensive fast.
Another aspect I did not like about Deer Hunter 2014 is that some weapons can only be purchased with gold forcing you to make an in-app purchase or spend a huge amount of time watching video ads or filling out online surveys. As much as I would like the Grantham Model 2200x, I'm not going to pay 350 gold via a US$19.99 in-app purchase to buy it. Also, there are ads for other games that pop up intermittently when you play.
Even with the above complaints, Deer Hunter 2014 manages to draw me in for short periods of time each day. The stand-out graphics and sound are some of the app's best assets. I only wish the game was not so deeply integrated with the "pay to play" revenue model. I would have preferred to pay a reasonable price for the game and progress though it without the ads and the temptation to buy gold.
Deer Hunter 2014 is available from the iOS App Store for free and is provided as a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad.
Daily iPad App: Deer Hunter 2014 allows you to hunt even when hunting season is over originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Spotify is looking to give users an added incentive to choose its streaming-music service over the droves of competitors by offering free on-demand music via its mobile app. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the new option will be offered as an ad-supported alternative to services like Pandora and iTunes Radio.
Currently, Spotify's mobile app offers a free radio service that is streamed based on a user's preferred music genre, with the on-demand service reserved for Spotify paid subscribers. If this plan does indeed come to fruition, the only difference between standard Spotify and Spotify Premium, which costs US$9.99 per month, will be that the paid service comes without ads.
Spotify ups its game, plans to offer free on-demand music for mobile originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Ember, an app from Realmac Software built to help designers and artists compile, collect and otherwise make sense of their ideas and influences, employs an extremely clever in-app feedback feature that we wouldn't mind seeing become a new norm.
Rather than a simple, static feedback page with an email address or perhaps a phone number, the app first asks you how you feel about Ember, be it happy, confused or unhappy. Happy users are encouraged to write a review, share their feelings on Twitter and Facebook and contact the Ember team directly. Meanwhile, confused users are directed to a help guide with the additional option of contacting Ember via email, and the unhappy souls are given just the option of emailing the team.
This system clearly benefits Ember by increasing the likelihood that happy folks will leave positive reviews or social mentions, but it also directs the confused and unhappy users to the areas that will do them the most good. After all, telling an angry customer to tweet about it doesn't benefit the developers or the user, but having a frustrated user send their concerns directly to the people who can fix it certainly can.
App's clever feedback system helps happy users tweet, while angry customers can only email originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Wall Street Journal today came to the very public defense of Apple in an editorial opinion piece titled "Apple's Star Chamber: An abusive judge and her prosecutor friend besiege the tech maker." The abuser in question is Clinton appointee Judge Denise Cote, who thrashed Apple back in July for allegedly conspiring with publishers to raise digital book prices. As part of her ruling, Cote appointed a friend -- Michael Bromwich (AP photo above) -- to monitor antitrust compliance and training procedures. Bromwich has since decided "to act as the inquisitor of all things Cupertino," to quote the WSJ.
Cote's original injunction provided a period of time ending on January 14, 2014 for Apple to thoroughly examine and update its antitrust policies. But as the Journal notes, by late October, Bromwich had "demanded immediate interviews starting in November with every top Apple executive and board member, including CEO Tim Cook, lead designer Jony Ive and Al Gore," adding with no small amount of snark, "Does he want to disinter Steve Jobs too?"
Things have gotten worse since then, with Bromwich asking for documentation outside of the clearly defined area of his appointment and ordering board members and executives to meet with him without lawyers present. Cote proposed making things even easier for Bromwich just before Thanksgiving, suggesting amending her injunction to give Bromwich more power and then have him report to her monthly, once again without Apple's participation.
The Journal points out, "the arrangement is flatly unconstitutional. Special masters are typically imposed on a company to remedy a pattern of especially egregious conduct using a settlement consent decree in which litigants agree to the terms of the appointment." In this case, Apple objected to Bromwich's appointment to no avail. The WSJ article notes that, "Judges aren't supposed to appoint their own agents to annex ... activities reserved for the executive branch," and that Bromwich has "rewritten his job description to investigate Apple all over again."
As TUAW has noted earlier and as reiterated in the WSJ editorial, Bromwich has no antitrust law experience, is billing Apple US$1,100 per hour and has brought in a "friendly" law firm -- Fried Frank -- to cover his lack of antitrust abilities at $1,025 per hour, once again billed to Apple. The Journal ends its piece with a flat-out suggestion that "the Second Circuit where her ruling is on appeal should remove her from the case," and that Cote's cozy agreement with Bromwich "is offensive to the rule of law and a disgrace to the judiciary."
It's not often that we see a major news source like the Wall Street Journal come to the defense of a corporation, but it appears in this case that the harsh words in print are justified.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
A new patent by Apple suggests that Siri may be headed for the home. The filing, titled "Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device," details an advanced base station that would host a device like the iPhone or iPad, and could automatically activate the voice-recognition features of said device without any physical interaction.
The patent describes existing electronic voice-recognition capabilities as requiring "an initial activation step requiring the user to interact with the finger controls and/or GUI of their device before voice commands can be processed." The invention in the patent would accomplish this in a different manner, such as constantly listening for a specific word or phrase. The dock itself could feature physical controls or a touchscreen, but it would remain rather "dumb" until being coupled with a phone or other gadget.
Translating the patent-speak into normal English, the dock could activate Siri, which would then provide information, send a text message or add an item to your calendar while you remain on the couch. The dock itself also includes speakers of its own, so music playback would likely be a big deal as well.
As always, these patents may never yield any actual retail product, so don't go adding the Apple iDock to your wish list any time soon.
Apple patents 'smart dock' that auto-activates for voice recognition originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Last chance to enter the turkey day video contest with FilmThis originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple's share of the US smartphone market climbed from July to October of this year, but only by a small margin, according to new data from comScore. The newest report showed a 0.2 percentage point increase for Apple, moving from 40.4 percent to 40.6 percent, and the company remains the top smartphone manufacturer in the states by a very wide margin.
Samsung was the biggest mover on the chart, climbing 1.3 percentage points to 25.4 percent of overall share, with Motorola grabbing a 0.1 percentage point bump to 7 percent. Meanwhile, HTC and LG both lost share, dropping 1.3 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively. In terms of platform market share, Android is still king with 52.2 percent, while Apple remains in second place at 40.6 percent.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the supply of the iPhone 5s is catching up with demand. Both in the US and other stores in Europe, the ship times for the iPhone 5s has dropped to one to three days. This is the lowest ship time since the handset launched earlier this year. Even the coveted gold model, which was scarce at launch, is now readily available.
If you plan to buy a new iPhone for a loved one this holiday season, you should be aware of Apple's shipping deadlines. All configurations of the iPhone 5s and the 5c must be ordered before December 18 if you want the phone to arrive on or before December 24. Apple is also offering free shipping on all orders.
iPhone 5s supply is strong for the holiday shopping season originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple is rolling out iBeacon technology to all its 254 US Stores starting today, December 6, says a report from the Associated Press. The technology will allow customers to receive messages about products, events and discount offers as they walk through a store. It will also alert customers when an order is ready to be picked up.
Apple demoed the technology at its Fifth Avenue store in New York City earlier this week. The store has 20 iBeacon transmitters, some of which are iPhones and iPads that utilize this iOS 7-based technology. The iBeacons will connect to your iOS device using Bluetooth, and the connection is optional for the user. You don't have to be pinged about upcoming events if you don't want to. The iBeacons offer a distinct advantage over GPS, which doesn't work well indoors and lacks the sensitivity to detect movement around a store.
Apple now using iBeacon technology in its US retail stores originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple on Thursday updated its developer website with a chart indicating that iOS 7 adoption as of December 1 is already at 74 percent. The chart additionally reveals that 22 percent of iOS devices are still running iOS 6, while just 4 percent of iOS devices are running even older iterations of iOS.
The 74 percent figure is extremely impressive, and further serves to highlight that Apple does a tremendous job of releasing major iOS updates capable of running on older devices. The iPhone 4, for example, was released about three and a half years ago and still supports iOS 7.
This stands in stark contrast to Android where only 1.1 percent of devices are currently running Android 4.4, otherwise known as KitKat. What's more, 42 percent of Android devices are currently running various iterations of Android that were first released way back in 2011.
This certainly aligns with a chart we highlighted earlier this week illustrating how a number of Android devices, just two years into their life cycles, often fall two major versions behind the most recent update to Android.
Earlier this week, Chitika released its own adoption rate data, which pegged iOS 7 adoption on the iPhone and iPad at 74.1 percent and 63.8 percent, respectively. And for all you curious minds out there, Chitika found that iOS 5 adoption on the iPhone currently checks in at 2.6 percent, while the number of iPhones currently running iOS 4 checks in at 0.9 percent.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments