Review: mik Sound Case cranks up the volume on your iPhone

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The mik Sound Case is a new type of phone case available for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5s. It amplifies the phone’s speaker by an additional 15 to 20 decibels and improves the clarity and quality of the sound. By blocking the speaker, the case forces the sound to travel through a hollow space and out an opening on the back of the phone. Thankfully, the lightweight case doesn’t add any additional weight to the phone.

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iPad Air reviews go live, highlight thinner & lighter form factor, battery life, and speed improvements

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During last week’s media event, Apple announced a new model of the iPad that is lighter and thinner than the previous generation. The iPad Air weighs only one pound and improved internals. The new tablet features the same 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5s, support for MIMO Wi-Fi, and an improved FaceTime camera. All of this is packed into a 7.5mm case, a noticeable improvement over the previous 9.4mm fourth-generation iPad.

Tonight, tech writers across the web published their reviews of the iPad Air. The reviews are mostly positive, with much emphasis on the new form factor, battery life, and faster processor. You can find links and highlights for each review below.

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Apple reportedly testing changes to App Store ranking algorithms, now including user ratings

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According to a new report from research firm Fiksu, which regularly tracks changes to App Store charts, Apple might be experimenting with new algorithms for iTunes and App Store rankings that incorporate user ratings. Apple previously only used the number of downloads and how fast an app was being downloaded in order to rank apps for its top charts, but Fisku thinks it has recently started incorporating user rankings:

In late July, we first began to notice apps unexpectedly shifting position without a corresponding increase or decrease in downloads. Upon closer inspection, we discovered these position changes correlated with the apps’ ratings. As evidenced by the graph below, apps with ratings of 4 or more stars received a rank boost in late July and have maintained that rank throughout August. Poorly rated apps with less than 3 stars received the opposite treatment about two weeks later, dropping off precipitously in rank and staying that way. Average rated apps, between 3 and 4 stars, suffered a slight degradation in rank but have generally been less affected.

The report also notes that, in recent weeks, Apple appears to be updating App Store charts every three hours opposed to the 15 minute intervals it was using previously. Fisku speculates that the increase could be to help prevent manipulation of the app charts, noting that “three hours allows enough time to identify anomalies and remove apps before they suddenly appear at the top of the rankings.”  Read more

Hit indie game ‘Limbo’ arrives for iPhone & iPad for $4.99 in App Store

We already knew critically acclaimed indie game Limbo would be arriving on iOS this week after an announcement from Danish developer Playdead late last month. Today the title has finally arrived in the App Store for all users and comes with a mere $4.99 price tag for one of the best reviewed indie console games in recent years.

Early reviews for the iOS port seem to be positive and, apart from some tweaked controls for the touchscreen, includes the entire game experience from the console versions.

Limbo ($4.99) for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now. Read more

Review: Panic’s Status Board — the ultimate information dashboard for your iPad

My personal Status Board

The guys over at Panic Inc. have been teasing their new iPad app on their blog and Twitter all week, and today the app known as Status Board hits the App Store.

Panic was kind enough to allow us a preview of its app, and needless to say, we liked what we found.

The Oregon-based software company is largely known for their OS X FTP client Transmit, but entered the iOS space in April 2011 with the launch of Prompt, their SSH client for iPhone and iPad, followed by their affectionately named web editor Diet Coda this past May. This marks the third year in a row that Panic has released an entirely new app on the iOS platform.

Let’s jump right on board:

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