9to5Mac’s biggest stories of 2013: ‘All the leaks were…’

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Just like in 2011 and 2012, 2013 was an exciting year for 9to5Mac in terms of leaks, exclusive stories, and breaking news. This year was interesting however because there was considerable doubt cast at many of the stories we’d broke which added some entertainment into the mix. Below, we break down our biggest stories of the year by product type:

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Review + Giveaway: Abstergo jailbreak tweak finally fixes iOS notifications

When Apple introduced Notification Center in iOS 5, they changed the way most people manage notification on their iOS devices. For the most part, they were right. Unfortunately, Notification Center introduced its own deficiencies and now people are looking for changes once again.

Today, change has finally come in the form of a jailbreak tweak called Abstergo, and we’ve got five free copies for our readers. Keep reading for a full breakdown of the tweak and more information about how you can win a copy.

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Budget iPhone rear shell leaked?

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Could this be the rear case of the long-rumored low-cost iPhone? Tactus (via Macrumors) thinks so.

While Tactus doesn’t have a notable track-record in such leaks, the design does appear reasonably consistent with the majority of rumors so far. It’s a plastic shell, similar dimensions to the iPhone 4 but a little thicker as you’d expect with a polycarbonate casing.

Tactus also claims to have some details of the phone’s spec:

I’ve also heard on the grapevine that the alleged budget iPhone will have an A5 processor like the iPad Mini with a 32nm diecast. It’s also rumoured it will have a 3.5 inch retina screen, much like the 4S, but not as big as the iPhone 5 … I’ve also discovered the factory producing this secretive project have confirmed the device will be available in Black, White, Blue, Red and Yellow

Real or not real? Let us know your view

Verizon unveils 1 year “Device Payment Plan” for yearly updaters, moves full subsidies to 24 months

Verizon announced a few notable changes this week, possibly in response to T-Mobile’s new ‘Uncarrier’ pricing structure.

The first change enforces 24-month contracts and restricts subsidized upgrades during that period. Customers will no longer enjoy ‘early upgrades’ after 20-months, as was previously the policy.

While the change may disappoint customers who enjoyed upgrading their devices more frequently, Verizon told The Verge that a new “Device Payment Plan” will be accompany the policy changes.

The new payment plan allows customers to upgrade their smartphone annually by paying the upgrade fee at the register and dividing the rest of the full-retail price over 12 months. This payment plan will include a $2/month finance charge through the duration of the year.

For people like us who update annually, this option is a more pragmatic approach, especially when vendors like Gazelle (as well as others) typically pay more than the subsidized cost of a new smartphone for last year’s smartphone.

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Apple to pay $53 million in class-action suit following iPhone warranty policy

via Flickr

Bring your faulty iPhone into your local Apple Store and probably the first thing the technician behind the Genius Bar troubleshooting your device will do is check the status of Liquid Contact Indicator, which signals excessive exposure to water.

This hidden tape strip reacts to moisture and can be found in your device’s headphone jack and charging port. The status of your warranty coverage depends on its color: if it is white, you pass, which means you are probably not responsible for replacement costs; if it is pink, your warranty is void, which can lead to expensive repair costs.

Apple’s practice of not honoring its hardware warranty based on this practice led to a class action lawsuit against the company in California.

Apple has reportedly agreed to pay up to the tune of $53 million in a settlement, nearly $16 million of which will go toward the legal counsel of the plaintiffs, and should be filed in a San Francisco federal court in the coming days, according to Wired.com.

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Apple nears ‘iRadio’ streaming deal with Warner and Universal in a dozen markets, royalties on par with Pandora rates

We’ve heard no end of rumors of a streaming Radio player from Apple.  We even found pay radio buttons in the iPad’s music player app code earlier this year:

The Apple radio service, once rumored for late 2012 to Q1/2013, has now been pushed back to mid-late 2013 because of difficulty signing the labels. Today the Verge says that Warner is all but signed up at rates comparable to what Pandora pays the labels  – which is to say a lot. Earlier reports put Apple’s asking price much lower.

Apple is expected to sign its first interner radio licensing agreement with a major record label perhaps as soon as next week, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks have told The Verge…Apple initially offered to pay 6 cents per 100 songs streamed, or about half of what Pandora pays. Now, Apple will pay rates nearly “neck and neck” with Pandora, one of the sources said.

Update: CNET reports that Universal is also close to signing and that Apple is hoping to go into a dozen territories by summer:

The press has dubbed the service iRadio, in negotiations with the labels Apple is referring to it as its “new streaming service,” says a source…Apple is building some unique features, such as the ability to jump back to the beginning of a song…Apple is hoping to quickly unveil the service in up to a dozen territories, according to sources, including the U.K, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

We’re hoping that Apple has an announcement to make at WWDC, if not earlier.

BlackBerry 10 launch by the numbers: Over 50% returns, 71% of people don’t want under any circumstances, 83% of Americans unaware it even launched (Updated)

via theapplelounge.com

via theapplelounge.com

Six years after Apple took the smartphone industry by surprise with its release of the iPhone, former market leader BlackBerry Limited, or RIM as it called itself until just recently, launched what some consider to be a true iPhone competitor.

The problem is that almost no one has seemed to notice. A recent poll by MKM Partners reveals that an overwhelming 83% of Americans do not know that BlackBerry has launched their new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone or  new Blackberry 10 platform.

The company’s trouble does not just include marketing woes. The Wall Street Journal reports that over 50% of customers have returned their BlackBerry smartphones after trying out the platform.

That is not to say that BlackBerry hasn’t reached the top of any list. We learned today that BlackBerry is the most undesirable smart phone, learning that 71% of people would not consider the BlackBerry under any circumstances.

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Apple Stores pushing new table-based sales strategy, minor emphasis on third-party product support

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Apple is slowly rolling out a new customer service initiative across its retail stores called ‘table selling.’ With the new strategy, Apple Store employees are assigned a product table where they are responsible for working with groups of customers with different needs, albeit the same device, according to people familiar with the strategy. Previously, customers were individually helped on a first-come, first-serve basis and organized by an “iQueue” system that often resulted in lengthy wait times and customers walking out.

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Yahoo! Mail, Find My iPhone, Angry Birds, 1Password 4, Pokédex, Fantastical, Shazam, TWC TV, price drops, and more

9to5Mac has once again scoured the App Store for all the latest app launches, price drops, noteworthy news, and updates, and we have compiled everything in a roundup below. Check it out, but keep coming back as we continually refresh the list throughout the day.

Announcements

1. 1Password 4 for iOS
AgileBits, the makers of 1Password and Knox, posted a teaser vid on its blog this morning (above) and revealed 1Password 4 for iOS is coming: 

An unforgettable journey. An epic battle. A fellowship strengthened. Ancient truths protected by the one password you need to remember.

1Password 4 for iOS is coming.

Just Released

1. Yahoo! Mail | Free
Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer announced on Yahoo’s corporate blog today that a new Yahoo! Mail app for iOS has launched:

We’ve redesigned the new version of Yahoo! Mail with speed in mind — getting through your emails is faster than ever before. We’ve also made your inbox more intuitive and easier to navigate, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your messages. And, because mobile is everything these days, Yahoo! Mail now has a consistent look and feel across devices.

The app features inbox access with just one tap, push notifications for new messages, continuous scroll for inbox, auto complete email addresses, swipe gestures, multi-select message options, and the ability to attach photos, preview photos, and search in folders.

2. Pokédex for iOS | $1.99
An official Pokédex for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad finally launched last night. The universal app features Retina display and iPhone 5 support, six languages, powerful search functions, and the ability to “combine Pokémon from each region to make a National Pokédex!”

More updates and price drops below.

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