iBooks 1.3 helps your kids learn to read

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Apple updated iBooks to 1.3 today for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.  Most notable is the read-aloud feature included in select children’s books from the iBookstore.

The read-aloud feature uses a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.

Initially, it isn’t certain whether or not the narrator will be a (Nuance?) Text to speech voice or if the audio is included by the developers.

The new functionality isn’t just for children’s books. Enhanced books can now automatically play audio or video included with the book.

Apple is now going beyond the other eBookstores offering innovation and functionality that differentiates books into the realm of apps.  Apple now offers Books directly in iTunes as part of the 10.3 update yesterday as well.

The 1.3 update also offers some bugfixes and enhancements from previous versions. More below: Read more

The guide to migrating personal data from MobileMe to iCloud

Yesterday, Apple killed MobileMe and replaced it with the iCloud online services suite which will be available free with iOS 5 this Fall. Apple has published a nice Q&A explaining what the transition means to MobileMe subscribers and how the company plans to go about it. Additionally, a notice at http://www.me.com/upgrade says that “you’ll be able to upgrade your account to iCloud soon”. With that in mind, you may want to prep your migration ahead of the Apple-imposed June 30, 2012 cut-off time when the MobilMe service will no longer be available. Wondering how? Turns out there’s a leaked document for that!

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Safari 5.1: GPU acceleration, crash-proof processes, full-screen web content, more

A new developer preview of Safari 5.1 was released yesterday in the Safari Dev Center. Safari 5.1, which ships with Lion in July, will take advantage of GPU acceleration on Windows and enable new HTML5 APIs allowing for the creation of much more sophisticated web apps. In addition to support for the latest CSS3 goodies such Text Emphasis, Vertical Text, Auto-Hyphenation and Transitions and Animations, the 45.3MB download also works with Web Open Font Format and Mathematical Markup Language (MathML). More importantly – and in line with Chrome’s architecture – plug-ins and Safari’s WebKit rendering engine now run in their own process separately of the main Safari process, meaning a misbehaving plug-in or HTML code cannot crash the browser. We’re just getting started, though.

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Find My iPhone gets email notifications, offline device removal

Apple has just updated its free Find My iPhone app for iOS devices. From the release notes accompanying the 5.2MB version 1.2 update.

• when you are unable to locate a device because it is is offline, you will receive an email if the device comes online and is located
• ability to remove an offline device from the list using the app

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WWDC 2011: Camera app in iOS 5 – faster, direct lock screen access, volume up shutter

With the news (that we’ve known) that iPhone 4 is the most popular camera on Flickr, Apple’s Scott Forstall unveiled new camera features of iOS 5. It is much faster and you can access it directly from the lock screen! Another steal from some third-party apps: You can use the volume up button to take photos, turn on optional grid lines to align your shots and pinch to zoom instead of using the zoom slider. You can also hold your finger to lock the auto-focus and aut0-exposure settings for higher-quality snaps.

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WWDC 2011: Apple shows off Twitter integration in iOS 5

The rumors were true, iOS 5 will sport a tight Twitter integration. You sign in to your Twitter account in the Settings app and all apps that use Twitter can automatically use the sign-in you provided. You can tweet articles from Safari, videos from the YouTube app, location from maps and more. The Contacts app also works with Twitter, allowing you to grab photos for contacts. Twitter integration will no doubt be one of the more popular iOS 5 features, no doubt..