Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at Jordan@9to5mac.com.  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for 9to5Google.com and the latest gear and deals on 9to5Toys.com.

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May 16, 2013

pebble

Pebble, the popular Bluetooth smartwatch that raised over $10M on Kickstarter before shipping to backers in January, today announced the release of an updated SDK and APIs that will allow iOS and Android developers to create apps for the platform. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky had this to say about the updates:

“The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities”, said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder. “This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble’s extraordinary potential.”

The updated Pebblekit SDK will now allow developers to create third-party apps that will be able to send and receive data to apps on the Pebble smartwatch. The updated SDK will effectively allow developers to build new apps for the platform, for example, taking weather or news information from an iOS or Android app and displaying it on the watch. Previously devs were limited to implementing the basic functions of Pebble.

You might have heard RunKeeper recently added support for tracking data using Pebble and today Pebble is making easier for similar fitness apps to do the same with a new Sports API for accessing the GPS features of the watch.  expand full story

Update: AllThingsD got its hands on some better images (above) and a statement from Apple on the new store (below):

“We’re thrilled to be working with the city of San Francisco on a new Apple retail store at Union Square…. Our store on Stockton Street has welcomed over 13 million customers since it opened nine years ago, and we look forward to serving them in an amazing new location when this project is complete.”

San Francisco Chronicle reports today that Apple has now submitted plans to open a new store in San Francisco’s Union Square. The new location would apparently replace Apple’s old retail location just a few streets away at Stockton and Ellis.

The new building is said to give Apple around 45% more space than its old San Fran retail location and will apparently occupy a building formerly home to Levi’s in Union Square at Stockton and Post Streets.

Apple thinks it will add about 50 jobs on top of the 350 it employees at its current Stockton street location: expand full story

9to5toys 

Research firm IDC is out with its latest numbers for Q1 2013 today tracking worldwide smartphone shipments by OS and OEM noting Android and iOS combined accounted for 92.3% of all shipments during the quarter.

IDC noted that Apple and Android  shipments combined increased year over year approximately 59.1% with a total of 199.5 million units shipped worldwide during Q1. That’s up from just 125.4 million a year ago. Apple is clearly a large driver of the growth with the report pointing out that iPhone had its “largest ever first quarter volume.” However, despite that, Apple also saw a decline among usage of iOS compared to growth of the industry as a whole, allowing Android to keep its top spot by OS and Samsung to remain number 1 by OEM.

How far is iOS behind Android? According to IDC it accounted for 17.3% of the market in Q1 compared to 75% for Android. Of course this is likely taking shipments (not sales) into account and also doesn’t represent tablet usage that we know iOS continues to dominate.  expand full story

Apple today has officially announced the winner of its $10,000 iTunes gift card giveaway in a press release after reaching 50 billion app downloads yesterday.

And the app that marked the 50 billionth download goes to: Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC. Lucky winner Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio will be receiving a $10,000 App Store gift card for his download.

Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue provided the following statement:

“Apple would like to thank our incredible customers and developers for topping 50 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The App Store completely transformed how people use their mobile devices and created a thriving app ecosystem that has paid out over nine billion dollars to developers. We’re absolutely floored to cross this milestone in less than five years.”

Apple’s full press release below: expand full story

May 15, 2013

9to5google 

Google just announced a new unified messaging service today that will be available across multiple platforms and now the iOS app is officially available to download on the App Store.

Google-Hangouts-app-iconThe free Hangouts app is available as a universal download for both iPhone and iPad and offers group conversations with photos or 850 emojis, Video calls for hanging out with up to 10 friends, alerts that are synced across devices and more.

More Hangouts awesomeness: — View and continue your Hangouts across devices. — Get notifications just once.  After you see an alert, it’ll be removed on other devices. — Snooze your notifications if you’d prefer to respond later. — See what you talked about in the past, including shared photos and your video call history. — Keep a record of any Hangout for just a short period of time by turning history off. — View collections of photos shared from each of your Hangouts. — Choose from over 850 emoji to express what’s on your mind.

The Hangouts feature will also be coming to Gmail users today: expand full story

Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome on the desktop. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.

Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.

Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.

The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.

The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.

Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today: expand full story

Update: The app is now live on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

Google today launched its much rumored messaging service live on stage at its I/O keynote and announced the service would be coming to multiple platforms later today. While some thought the service would be dubbed “Babel,” Google instead rolled out a standalone app called simply “Hangouts” that will be making its way to iOS, Android and Gmail on the desktop.

Google execs provided a demo of the app running on Android , but also gave us a glimpse of the iOS version as pictured above. The demo mostly focused on showing a list of conversations (not contacts) as well as one-on-one and group messaging, photo albums stored in the cloud, and the ability to start text conversations and video calls with contacts in one tap.

As for Gmail: expand full story

electrek 

From 9to5Google:

Google just announced its much rumored new music service called Google Play Music “All Access” live on stage at its Google I/O event keynote presentation.

Google execs focused on showing off curated playlists but also made a note of pointing out a “radio” feature that will automatically create an endless radio station based on the song you’re currently listening to. The service will also allow users to search for a particular song or view the “playlist” of a radio station to remove unwanted songs.

Also included is a feature called “Listen Now” that will provide quick access to recently listened to songs, customized radio stations based on your preferences, and recommendations for new releases from artists you like.

The service will be available on the web, tablets, and phones through Google Play and cost users $9.99 per month with a 30 day free trial in the US. Those that sign up before the end of June will be able to get the subscription for just $7.99/month and Google said the service will land in other countries soon.

From 9to5Google:

We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.

Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.

Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:

-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.

-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.

-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.

-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.

Google’s full press release below: expand full story

Belkin today announced that it is launching a new TV receiver for iPhone and iPad specifically designed to work with the Dyle Mobile TV service which provides live local broadcasts through a growing number of accessories for mobile devices. We’ve already seen some Dyle TV receivers for iPad, like this one from Elgato, as well as the technology baked into select Android devices on MetroPCS, but Belkin is the first big name iOS accessory maker to launch a receiver for iPhone and iPad.

For now, Belkin is making a 30-pin version of the receiver available:

Weighing less than six ounces and less than half the size of a deck of cards, the Belkin receiver with Dyle mobile TV is a compact and portable accessory that easily fits into a pocket or small purse. To enable, simply plug the accessory into the iPhone or iPad’s 30-pin connector, extend the flexible titanium antenna for maximum reception coverage and launch the Dyle TV app, currently available for free in the App Store.

The free Dyle TV service is currently available to 37 major markets across the US. You can check out a full coverage map to see what networks are available in your area here.

Belkin’s Dyle TV receiver will sell for $129 starting today through Belkin’s website and later hit other retailers such as Amazonexpand full story

DirecTV has updated its iPhone app that allows users to access live and on demand programming, as well as manage their DIRECTV DVR, with new voice recognition features today. Accessible from a new tab called “Voice” within the app, the Voice Search feature allows users to “speak to the app just as you would to a person” in order to find and play specific programs.

As you can see from the screenshot to the right, DirecTV has created a UI similar to Siri and other voice-based apps that allows users to see their dialogue as they speak. The app will also let users switch to a TV mode in order to view dialogue and results from Voice Search on their TV instead of the iPhone’s display.

With Voice Search, DirecTV said users will be able to “search for programs by mentioning title, channel, keyword, actor, time frame, genre and more,” and also “change the channel, record, and play content” at home. The new TV Mode also offers a view of personalized recommendations on the big screen.

The update has not yet hit the iPad app and the TV Mode will require users to have an Internet-connected HR24 DVR model or above.

expand full story

9to5toys 

Image (1) iBookstore1.jpg for post 30622

In the ongoing e-book price fixing case with the Department of Justice, in which Apple is accused of conspiring with publishers to fix eBook pricing and cut out Amazon, Apple has again responded to the DOJ’s claims detailing the “tough negotiations” it went through with publishers. To further prove its point that it was not colluding with publishers to fix e-book pricing, Apple said it “one-on-one” and “contentious negotiations” at a time when publishers were already considering methods of getting Amazon to increase pricing: expand full story

May 14, 2013

Nearly three years after the device first launched, GigaOm points us to a recently filed class action lawsuit that claims Apple’s iPhone 4 has a defective power button. The lawsuit claims that a defective flex cable typically causes the on/off switch to fail shortly after the device’s one year warranty has expired. It also claimsApple is aware of the problem, which is costing users around $149 to fix off of warranty.

Apple of course still sells the iPhone 4 through a number of carrier partners as its low end, $0 down iPhone option.

According to the lawsuit, “thousands of iPhone 4 users have suffered” from the issue that Apple allegedly knew existed before manufacturing and selling the device. The problem has never received a lot of mainstream media coverage or a response from Apple, but the lawsuit notes that a support forum on Apple’s website boasts over 800K views since first popping up in January 2011.                                                                                                         expand full story

9to5google 

Although BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about  60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.

The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced “social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible. expand full story

electrek 

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