iOS 7 How-to: Redeem iTunes gift cards with your device’s camera

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iTunes gift cards are a great gift for iOS Device users. They can be used to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore. However, entering in the string of characters to redeem the gift card balance has typically been a pain with the touch keyboards on iPads, iPhone, and iPod touches. Like iTunes 11 on the Mac, iOS 7 moves to solve this problem. You can now use your device’s camera to scan in the code.

Go to the main/featured page in whichever store you choose and to get to the redemption screen, scroll all the way down, and press on redeem:

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A look at what some high-profile apps will look like when iOS 7 hits

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Click for a larger view.

Apple announced on Tuesday that iOS 7 will be publicly available on September 18th. The revamped OS moves completely away from the realistic designs of the past six generations, dropping almost all “artificial shadows” (as Apple SVP Craig Federighi called them), gloss, and even button borders. Instead, the Jony Ive-inspired interface features an entirely rethought design language that focuses heavily on large icons, lightweight fonts, whitespace, transparency, and conservative use of color.

We previously took a look at what some of Apple’s own in-house apps could look like when redesigned for iOS 7. During Apple’s September 10th event, Federighi flashed up a slide displaying the upcoming iOS 7 updates for many third-party applications. None of the apps were labeled, but we’ve tracked down names for most of them.

The apps featured are:

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Apple starts new campaign to push businesses to convert tools to iPad apps

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Apple has replaced its iPad in Business apps website with a new site that is much simpler and more direct. The new page highlights multiple specific use cases for which a business could use an iPad, then presents specific applications to complete those tasks. The old website was more cluttered and less specific. The iPhone version of Apple’s business apps website still showcases the older format…

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Free content begins showing up in Apple Store iOS app amid sales push

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Two weeks ago, we reported that Apple would update its Apple Store iOS app with the ability to receive free content. The app was updated a couple of weeks ago to lay the groundwork for this feature, and now free content has begun appearing. The first paid app (normally $0.99) for free is Color Zen, and Apple will provide either a new app, piece of iTunes media content, or iBook each week.

The functionality works both in Apple Stores and actually if you are not in a store. A user just needs to pull up a store inside of the app’s store panel (see image above). When you click the free content option, you are taking to a screen to finalize your download.

We previously reported that Apple Store employees are instructed to install this application on a new iOS Device during Personal Setup (After a purchase). At an internal event in San Francisco last month, Tim Cook revealed that only a small percentage of Apple customers are aware of the app, but Cook wants to use the app as an element of his plan to boost iPhone sales in his stores. 

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In an iOS 7 world, here’s how Apple’s iLife, iWork, iBooks and other apps could look

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The introduction of iOS 7 brought forth a new era of iOS design: one that discards old thinking and draws little inspiration from past designs. While Apple’s included applications in iOS 7 have all been updated for the new design aesthetic, their App Store apps haven’t. Installing any of Apple’s other applications alongside iOS 7 reveals a huge discrepancy between the old, skeuomorphic design, and the new, flatter look. Obviously, Apple will have to redesign all of their App Store applications. So, what will they look like?

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New for app developers in iOS 7: text to speech, motion effects, background downloads, free in-app purchases, more

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We’ve reported on a number of big improvements coming to iOS 7 for both app developers and accessory manufacturers already. Yesterday we reported first on the new blinking and smiling detection features available to camera and photo app developers, and earlier this month told you about some of the new Bluetooth related APIs coming this fall.

We previously walked you through some of the new APIs and features for gamers, but there is still a lot more coming to third-party app developers in iOS 7. A few big improvements: a text to speech API, background downloads for in-app content, motion effects, 3D maps, and much more.

Head below for details on some of the more notable new APIs available for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7: Read more

Photoful takes an amazing gesture-based approach to organizing and sharing photos

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Even with upcoming improvements to the native Photos app in iOS 7, simple tasks like sharing, organizing and deleting a couple of photos can take quite a few taps. If you’d like to share multiple photos, you need to tap on literally every single picture then press the share button. In comes the new, free Photoful app – and it blows the native app out of the water.  Read more

Logitech announces the Harmony Ultimate Hub: Turns any iPhone into a full-fledged Universal Remote

harmony-smart-control-gallery-02After nearly selling their Harmony remote line, Logitech has officially announced the Harmony Ultimate Hub, an “appcessory” that turns any iPhone (or most any Smartphone!) into a slick universal remote.  Bringing the beautiful Harmony remote touch interface to smartphones everywhere.  The hub allows up to 8 devices to connect and control entertainment systems from anywhere in the house via a Bluetooth connection.  No more precision remote shooting to try and hit the IR sensor just right… Read more

This could be one of the first Apple authorized iPhone gaming controllers

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We already know that Apple has added support for game controllers in iOS7, but it appears that these plans are further along than first thought.  According to Kotaku, the above image shows an early  iOS gaming controller prototype made specifically for the iPhone 5 by gaming giant Logitech. While they weren’t forthcoming with details of where the device was seen or who showed it to them, Kotaku is standing firm that they believe this photo to be absolutely authentic.  The decision to support integrated gaming accessories is in stark contrast to Steve Jobs’ stance that such products would ruin the “elegance” of Apple devices (even though he got his start at Atari).

A reader reached out with this image from one of Apple’s WWDC sessions, which appears to show the same Logitech controller.

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Bluetooth gaming devices have existed for iOS devices for quite some time but most have had limited compatibility and fragmented compatibility.  An integrated, Apple authorized (MFi) gaming controller is going to be a welcomed addition for the iOS gaming community.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 8.13.24 AM3rd party gaming accessories like the iCade Mobile (Above) have existed for years

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Comcast isn’t waiting around for new Apple TV, shows off next-gen ‘X2′ TV platform & iOS apps

We didn’t get any updates to Apple TV at WWDC this week like some were hoping for, but yesterday Comcast–one of the cable companies that has been rumored to be in discussions with Apple over a new and improved Apple TV service– unveiled its next-generation cable box arriving this fall. On top of a brand new UI and platform dubbed “X2″, the company also gave us a look at its revamped iOS apps & a new controller with voice control features that will let you search by actor, show type, series, etc.

Comcast-X2-02While showing off a new slick UI with recommendations and brand new, customizable guide views, the company also showed off integration with apps such as Pandora, Rotten Tomatoes, and zeebox for ratings. Within the new apps section (shown at 16:40), we see integration with Facebook, Pandora, Instagram, Xfinity Home apps, and much more.

An interesting aspect of the presentation, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts noted that the company sees the new open platform as being an open architecture that would allow for a “family of boxes” and a family of personalized remotes. We’re not sure if that means the company has plans to integrate third-party hardware with its platform, like an Apple TV for example, but it’s clear Comcast has no plans on completely getting rid of its own cable box anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like Comcast is waiting around for Apple to revamp its TV service with apps and voice control, and we also got a quick look at the new X2 experience running on an iPad and iPhone (pictured right). Read more

9to5Toys Last Call: $59 Logitech UE Mini Boombox Bluetooth speaker, $15 Apple Leather Smart Cover (open-box), Father’s Day Gifts, more

From 9to5Toys.com:

A large majority of the deals we cover each day come from a variety of ‘Daily Deal’ websites or are so popular that they don’t even last 24 hours.  We know you can’t be at your computer every second, so we’re going to roundup the best deals each day to make sure you have a fair shot at the deals you want. Be sure to follow 9to5Toys.com so you never miss a deal... TwitterRSS FeedFacebook

Today’s Featured deals:

91bci4gzz7l-_sl1500_Logitech UE Mini Boombox Bluetooth speaker, ‘the best portable speaker you can buy’: $59 shipped

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Apple iPad Leather Smart Cover (open box) $15 Shipped (Reg. $69 new)

3-in-1 Universal USB Charging Cable -This universal USB cable is the last charging cable you’ll ever need. It can charge up to 3 devices simultaneously, and is compatible with iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS/3G/3, iPad, iPod, Android, HTC, Samsung and other devices. It’s optimized to avoid tangling, and for $7 + Free Shipping (a big discount from $59) it is the same price as Apple’s single Lightning cable. We reviewed the Cable here for more information.

Other great deals we love:

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Apple’s App Store reaches 50 billion downloads

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In just over a year since its 25 billion milestone, Apple’s App Store has just crossed the threshold of 50 billion downloads. As a reminder, the App Store launched just shy of five years ago, on July 10, 2008. The App Store has celebrated three major milestones since its launch, the first for the 10 billionth download in January of 2011, followed by 25 billion just a little over a year later.

In a press release this January, Apple noted that over 40 billion apps had been downloaded, meaning that one-fifth of all downloads from the App Store have already come in 2013. It remains quite remarkable that five years after launch, the App Store is still seeing such accelerated growth.

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